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Digital marketing,
an introduction

by Paul Wlshaw

There are 42 million people on social media in the UK, they live and breath social and on average spend 1 hour and 48 minutes a day via multiple devices.

Business is a personality. Not vague business goals, people want to engage, complain, promote your business and not read about your company vision or objectives. There should be a clear divide on how you engage and grow your followers via social media.

Generally stick with the 80%/20% posting rule:

80% building stories, what’s going on behind the scenes what do people want to know about you and your business. Use this 80% to have fun, experiement with what works and what doesn’t, then start building on this.

20% brand promotion and sales, when you’ve got a bit of traction you can then lead into sales and brand awareness.

Different platforms are great for different themes and audiences.

Here’s some insights on some of the most popular platforms:

Twitter

Twitter is a fast-paced platform, with content generally visible for 18 minutes or less. Retweets can add to content’s longevity, but the upper limit is still measured in hours, not days. Demographics: Twitter boasts over 15 million monthly users in the UK. Of that 13 million, 65% are under the age of 34.

What Type of Content Works Best: There are over 6,000 tweets per second on Twitter. To stand out above that kind of noise tweets need to be snappy, have personality, and feature an eye-catching visual.

Use it For: Expanding your audience with links to compelling content. Include a personal comment with each link, and spend time engaging with users on the platform. It’s tempting to auto-schedule posts a week at a time, but that practice is less likely to get engagement. Twitter is a good low-stakes way to make initial contact with a potential client or influencer. Follow them, like and retweet some of their tweets, then ask to connect on LinkedIn.  (Business.linkedin.com. 2016)

  • Don’t forget to pin important or well performing tweets, job postings or important message.
  • Create a professional @ handle.
  • Add a professional and relevant header image, don’t be affraid to change these to reflect your posts, events or even important dates in history.
  • Get noticed, join relevant and/or trending hashtags (# — theses babies).
  • Ask questions, run polls, get feedback.
  • Retweet and engage with content that your followers would find interesting.

Facebook

What it’s Like: If my news feed is any indication, Facebook is a site for posting memes featuring Minions and divisive political opinions.

Only joking. Facebook has become a part of the fabric of our lives — people use it for everything from vacation pictures to wedding announcements. It’s definitely got a personal, casual vibe.

Demographics: Facebook claims 1.71 billion active monthly users worldwide. Though there are signs younger users are moving to newer platforms, 82% of 18–29 year olds online use Facebook, compared to 79% of 30–49 year olds and 56% of people 65 and up.

What Type of Content Works Best: Purely brand content — really any content without a distinctive personal voice — won’t perform well on Facebook. Keep the tone conversational, and focus on compelling stories in which customers are the hero, not the brand.

Use It For: Engaging in dialogue with customers and followers, building an audience (but expect to pay to reach that audience). Interactivity is key — it’s a good platform for running contests and giveaways.(Business.linkedin.com. 2016)

  • Don’t forget to link your page to your website.
  • Add your business opening times, address, contact details, etc.
  • Use animated GIFs and videos to generate interest.
  • Importantly change the call to action button to something relevant, for example, shop now, buy now or contact.

 

Instagram

What it’s Like: Instagram is intensely visual — the text is usually minimal, in support of images. Which isn’t surprising for a platform built on sharing straight from your smartphone camera. Instagram may be the most overtly promotional platform — power users endorse products, and the majority of the most popular hashtags are branded.

Demographics: Instagram claims 400 million monthly users. Over half of their user base is aged 18–29, while 25% are 30–49.

What Type of Content Works Best: Bold visuals are the reason Instagram exists. Some brands go for slick, processed photos — but you’ll get better engagement if you go with candid shots edited on the platform.

Use it For: Telling short visual stories. Instagram is great for promoting your employees and corporate culture. Let your authenticity shine, and show your audience the people behind the brand (Business.linkedin.com. 2016)

  • Use your photos and images to tell stories and get people interested.
  • Don’t over do the hashtags here, Instagram doesn’t like spamming with hashtags and can hide your profile among these hashtags for a undetermined amount of time.
  • Follow influencers, brands (of relevance) or people you find interesting. Do keep this aligned to your social voice.
  • Use stickers, text overlays and experiment with stories using series of images or photos over a short period of time.

Snapchat

What it’s Like: Snapchat started with one simple premise: Everything posted on it was meant to be ephemeral, to self-destruct in minutes or a few hours. While other platforms serve as a lasting record of memories, Snapchat is all about being in the moment, and moving on to the next moment without looking back.

Demographics: Snapchat has 100 million daily users, but they view 7 billion videos a day. Their audience skews heavily young, with 45% of users between 13 and 24, and only 17% over 45.

What Type of Content Works Best: You only get a few seconds to make an impression on Snapchat, so humorous content with a quick setup and punch line can get a good response. Keep it informal, keep it quick, and make it — well, snappy.

Use it For: Behind-the-scenes looks at your company, showing off your corporate culture, offering quick tips that improve your audience’s life. (Business.linkedin.com. 2016)

  • You can create your own Snapchat lenses using Snap’s Lens Studio
  • Create community filters or filters that are frames and artwork that anyone can use (location dependant) on their own snaps.

 

Linkedin

What it’s Like: LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional social media network. We focus on helping people connect with colleagues and develop their careers. LinkedIn is a little more formal than the other channels. That does NOT mean you should be stiff and impersonal, but it does mean fewer vacation photos and cat videos.

Who Is on It: LinkedIn has over 450 million members, pretty much evenly distributed throughout age brackets from 18 to over 65. Half of LinkedIn users have some form of higher education, and the platform boasts 61 million senior-level influencers, 40 million decision makers, and 6 million C-suite executives.

What Type of Content Works Best: The content that performs best on LinkedIn is content that helps the reader do his or her job more effectively, or adds to the conversation about a crucial topic in an industry? General motivational content performs well, too — but if you want to spur an audience to take action, industry-specific content is better.

Use it For: Lead generation. LinkedIn is best for building an audience of potential customers, helping them do their jobs better, and starting relationships that you can nurture through to conversion. Business.linkedin.com, 2016)

  • Create a LinkedIn Personal profile and company page, but don’t copy the same information on both.
  • Encourage your employees and connections to become brand ambassadors.
  • LinkedIn is pretty good for search engines, go on try and Google Paul Wilshaw, I think you’ll see what the top result is.
  • Generate interest by creating special showcase pages.
  • Share product news and thought-leadership posts.
  • Don’t be afraid to share an educated opinion on a current or trending story, if it fits with your social voice.

 

YouTube

The total number of people who use YouTube — 1,300,000,000.

300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute!

Almost 5 billion videos are watched on Youtube every single day.

YouTube gets over 30 million visitors per day.

In an average month, 8 out of 10 18–49 year-olds watch YouTube.

By 2025, half of the viewers under 32 will not subscribe to a pay-TV service.

6 out of 10 people prefer online video platforms to live TV

The total number of hours of video watched on YouTube each month — 3.25 billion.

10,113 Youtube videos generated over 1 billion views.

Since 2007 YouTube has paid $1,250,000,000 to rights holders.

(Digital Marketing Education, 2018)

For an indepth exploration of strategies for creating YouTube videos that people love to watch and share.

What, did you even read that?

The average attention span is down from 12 seconds in the year 2000 to 8 seconds now (Sourceglobalresearch.com, 2018).

I’ll let that sink in for a moment as that’s actually shorter than the average goldfish memory.

Sleeping Emoji with text underneath "the average attention span is 8 seconds" and then a fish emoji with the text underneath "that's less than the average goldfish memory"

More shocking, perhaps, is the fact that research from Jampp found that human attention span decreases by a whopping 88 percent every year (Cision, 2018).

Also take into consideration that attention spans with digital content are even shorter. Nielsen found that people do not read content on web pages. They scan (Cision, 2018) only 16 percent read word-by-word Nielsen (Norman Group, 1997) and that’s even worse when your users receive email newsletters.

As a note on Emailing your customers and subscribers; email newsletters should be even more quick and to-the-point for mobile use, while others can afford to present more leisurely content. It might be better to do one or the other rather than aim for a middle-of-the-road approach that will satisfy neither usage scenario (Nielsen Norman Group, 2010).

As a general rule people do not have enough patience to read through your content and why should they, what’s in it for them?

Define your audience

Who are they?

What are they into?

What/who influences them?

When are they online?

Which social media do they use?

Define your goals

What do you want to achieve?

Better customer service?

Grow brand awareness?

Generate more sales?

Get more people to your site?

Connect with influencers?

Newsletter sign up?

Angel emoji with text underneath "set your goals per platform"; megaphone emoji "define your social voice"; baby emoji with text underneath "start small choose a platform to focus on"

 

Choose these carefully, if something isn’t working, change it.

Test, learn and try different things.

*Remember that different channels need different strategies. There’s no point writing lots of wordy content for platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat.*

When should you post?
People like consistency, try posting at different times and see what sticks. Then make a note of the day and time and keep consistent. If people are engaging on, say, a Tuesday morning at 8:30am keep posting at that time every week. There’s free tools within Twitter check out Twitters new-ish Tweet scheduling, Twittimer and many more that can help with this.

Consistency is key

Along with timing your posts, blogs, polls, photos and competitions also consider the following factors:

What is your social voice?

Do’s and don’t guidelines.

Style of images.

Defining success.

Think about if you want to be seen as fun or serious; friendly or provocative; formal or casual.

Angel emoji next to a purple devil emoji with text underneath "friendly or provocative"; crazy face emoji next to a geek emoji with text underneath "fun or serious"; briefcase emoji next to a backpack with text underneath "formal or casual"

What’s your social voice?


Don’t forget that your posts should *always* be authentic, relatable and timely to gain credibility for your posts and brand.

Rocket emoji and speech emoji with text underneath "make it an experience worth sharing"

Make it interesting, would you click on it?


What should you share?
An experience worth sharing. That’s it in a nutshell.

Would you click on your own post?

If it’s really worth getting out there and you’ve done some testing on what and when works then pay for it — if it’s worth saying, it’s worth paying.

Don’t forget to KISS (Keep it simple, stupid).

 

Kissing face emoji with text underneath "keep it simple stupid"


And I am going to assume that you’ve skim-read this article and only remembered that last 8 seconds!

References

Business.linkedin.com. (2016). Why and When to Use Different Social Media Channels. [online] Available at: https://business.linkedin.com/en-uk/marketing-solutions/blog/posts/advertising/2016/why-and-when-to-use-different-social-media-channels [Accessed 18 Apr. 2018].

Sourceglobalresearch.com. (2018). Attention spans are getting shorter. Or are they? | Source Global Research. [online] Available at: https://www.sourceglobalresearch.com/blog/2018/02/15/attention-spans-are-getting-shorter-or-are-they [Accessed 18 Apr. 2018].

Cision. (2018). Are Declining Attention Spans Killing Your Content Marketing Strategy?. [online] Cision. Available at: https://www.cision.com/us/2018/01/declining-attention-killing-content-marketing-strategy/ [Accessed 18 Apr. 2018].

Nielsen Norman Group. (1997). How Users Read on the Web. [online] Available at: https://www.nngroup.com/articles/how-users-read-on-the-web/ [Accessed 18 Apr. 2018].

Nielsen Norman Group. (2010). E-Mail Newsletters: Increasing Usability. [online] Available at: https://www.nngroup.com/articles/e-mail-newsletters-usability/ [Accessed 18 Apr. 2018].

Digital Marketing Education. (2018). Youtube Statistics — 2018. [online] Available at: https://fortunelords.com/youtube-statistics/ [Accessed 19 Apr. 2018].

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