What a great way to start the New Year! Thank you NZFuture Community Trust for inviting me as a guest speaker for thedigital marketing strategy workshop for small businesses. A great audience, meaningful conversations, and interesting questions.
It was a pleasure to learn from future-forward and enthusiastic people about their challenges and help them draft some ideas for social media and content marketing.
The workshop covered two of the most important aspects of digital marketing – social media and content marketing. All materials, including industry templates and tools introduced during the workshop, were also provided via Google Classroom. Such an approach greatly benefited learning as I kept my Google Classroom open even after the workshop finished, to give participants time to download the resources they found useful. For two days we talked and experimented with some approaches that proved to be effective:
Digital Marketing Workshop: Day 1
Digital marketing strategy overview: goals/strategy/metrics
Understanding customers: buyer persona creation/online-based research tools
Social media audit: purpose/key steps/tools
Social media marketing overview: key aspects/content creation/ scheduling/tools
Digital Marketing Workshop: Day 2
Content marketing overview
Content marketing best practices: types of content, content scheduling/effective writing attributes
Content marketing analytics: what to measure and how. Tools and resources
What workshops would you be interested in attending in the future? Select your top 3 topics. Thank you!
Being in marketing education, I always look for new partnerships with NZ businesses to keep my teaching grounded in real business experiences, so the workshop was beneficial in many respects, not to mention the fresh perspectives I gained for my digital marketing course that is kicking off in March at the University of Auckland. So, I hope Russians are right in saying that the beginning of the new year sets the tone for the next 12 months. I hope it’s going to be a busy and productive year.
If you’re looking for a simple solution for sharing multiple of your social accounts on Instagram, try Linktree. Currently I’m using a free plan that offers a number of useful features. I was able to share links to my university academic profile, a blog and social media accounts. Linktree allows you to copy your link URL and/or download a QR code and post it into the ‘website’ field of your Instagram or Twitter bio, or share it in Facebook content. You’re welcome 🙂
How to add links to Linktree
It’s relatively easy to add links to Linktree. The platform is self-explanatory, it contains all the steps needed for users to figure out how it works. So, let’s get it started.
Start with the “Links” button to add links you’d like to share with your followers/audience. Click “Add New Link” and provide a name for your link and a URL. You can also reposition your links – click on the three dots in the left-hand panel to re-order the links.
Go to the “Appearance” section to choose a theme for your Linktree landing page. You have a limited choice of background images/colours and button styles if you use the free plan. But to be honest, it’s good enough to start with.
The next stop is “Settings” which mainly provides PRO features such as email and SMS signups. Under “Settings” you can choose how you’d like to connect with your followers. Linktree allows for downloading a QR code as well as a URL of your landing page.
Lastly, post your QR code or URL across your social media channels.
You can also explore the PRO option which is next to “Settings”.
While the QR code seems to be a good option for my blog home page, for social media accounts I use a Linktree URL considering that you have just a few lines to give visitors all the important information about you that they need. Hopefully Linktree will help to get a little more exposure for my blog and social media channels. Let’s see 🙂
When reflecting on the year, I am reminded of Bob Dylan’s famous quote – there is nothing so stable as change. I believe that we can all agree that this year has taught us to always be ready to reinvent ourselves, be in tune with what is going around us, and quickly adapt to change.
Talking about change, here are my top 3 predictions for digital marketing in 2021. Personalisation, personalisation and personalisation – it applies to all aspects of marketing. Start introducing the people behind your brand as in general nobody likes to deal with faceless organisations. But more importantly, get to know your audience/your customers first, talk to them and listen – it will help you find creative ideas not only for your content strategies, but also new prospects for your business. So, let’s get personal in 2021!
Hi friends and followers. The research on NZ small business social media marketing training needs that I co-authored last year has been published by the International Journal of Advanced Science and Technology.
In short, we found out that email marketing, marketing automation and video marketing are top social media marketing skills currently recognised and required by SMEs. Interestingly, research participants often pointed out the problematic nature of existing training in relation to video content production. It came as no surprise that many SMEs we interviewed tend to outsource video marketing as there is a lack of training available.
Overall, the following training priorities have emerged: 1) understanding customers’ needs/preferences and behaviour online; 2) designing social media-friendly customer services that are relevant to target markets; 3) designing effective strategies via marketing automation; 4) creating targeted content for video marketing. Plus, networking and ongoing support after trainings were perceived as value adding services that should be included in training offerings.
The list of top social media marketing skills may be different next year, but today it’s in line with some future skills predictions. This definitely provides some food for thought.
We’re so excited to use new communication channels in business which is understandable. We try to be ahead of the game with chatbots, emails, social media and content marking, search and display ads – you name it. We’re so excited to introduce a new digital service which we hope will be a game changer and put us on the map. Sure, but sometime it seems like we forget WHY we develop a new service or product, or launch a new communication channel.
The fact is we can adapt multiple communication channels, but for our customers there is still just one – our customer service regardless online or offline. I believe the biggest challenge is not about advancing our digital communications, but how to make our messages coming from our channel mix consistent and relevant to customers. So, before we decide to introduce our nicely-designed chatbot or new app, let’s think about our customers first.
Would your chatbot help to solve their problems as soon as they occur? Would your website 24/7 help-line be able to answer your clients’ questions without redirecting them to other channels or departments? Would your app help customers get required information in a one-step process? We don’t want to overwhelm our customers with unnecessary and often useless information, do we? So let’s get back to basics and think how we can help them to get from Point A to Point B before reaching for any fancy new technologies.
Yours in lifelong learning
* I borrowed this signature from Sakhile, my Digital Analytics Course Success Manager at Massachusetts Institute of Technology 🙂
Do you follow digital humans on Instagram? According to StopPress, “a new wave of influencers is already here”. Last week I had a conversation with my colleagues about how AI will shape the future of marketing. While agreeing with many predictions, I was not sure about why we used the future tense in the discussion as AI is already shaking things up. I’m waiting for the day Instagram digital influencers replace current brand ambassadors, so that instead of hiring Julia Roberts for Lancôme, just custom build a virtual one based off the looks, personality, and slang promulgated by social media users to drive engagement. For example, @lilmiquela (a “change-seeking robot” with 1.8m followers) and her digital human friend, @burmudaisbae.
These are perfect examples of where I see branding going. Obviously, there are plenty of possibilities associated with AI that can massively change a PR or branding strategy – but there are also many questions around digital humans moving from the sphere of pure entertainment to becoming poster-children for political and social movements…Let me know your thoughts.
As it’s almost the end of 2019, I’ve decided to have a look at the most notable events in branding and marketing and create my personal top three list for 1) the lost opportunities and 2) best exploited opportunities.
Today let us cheer for the lost opportunities. First place goes to Smirnoff Vodka, who erected a billboard poking fun at the technical issues of Lime e-scooters. The cheeky billboard appeared in central Auckland just the next day after the scooters were temporarily banned by Auckland city council. It was a quick, well-thought out and planned reaction that, unfortunately, was not exploited any further. I was patiently waiting for a sequel on social media – but this did not happen. All Smirnoff Vodka managed to get is average coverage in the local media. The company fell short of using IMCs.
Second place belongs to Fly Buys, who mistakenly sold a $2000 Apple iPhone 11 at $140. Fly Buys said it would refund all customers who snapped up the bargain…Clearly consumer-brand relationships totally slipped their mind. Looking at responses, they definitely should have honoured the deal instead of offering a refund. The company fell short of consumer relationships.
In third place is Starbucks’ unwittingly anachronistic coffee cup on “Game of Thrones”. Even though experts say Starbucks has earned millions in free publicity because the social media community wouldn’t stop talking about it, the company, surprisingly, didn’t take full advantage of the event. Their response was very quiet, and hardly noticeable. I would have expected Starbucks to play a better role in the “after show” party. The company fell short of UGC, ambush marketing, and cross-promotion.
Seems like these companies have been taking pointers from Abe Weissman (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), who said: “Just because there is a door does not mean you use it.” What’s your list? What’s your take on it?
Thank you to all who had the time to attend my keynote guest speaker presentation at the #NZIE annual Business, Management and Leadership Symposium last month. After presenting my ongoing project on relationships between businesses and consumers on social media, the discussion turned to whether businesses know their consumers enough to offer meaningful and memorable experiences both online and offline. The short answer is no. So, here are some after-thoughts following my discussion with the audience.
Quite obviously, consumption practices take on new meanings in the digital age – without being broadcast/shared/communicated on social media, they are pointless. Last year my clients called a whale watching tour off simply because they forgot to charge their cameras. I’m not surprised, I teach consumer behavior in my marketing classes 🙂 What I try to say is that if a business does not offer their consumers an opportunity to create and share their content/experiences with others (yes, it’s about user-generated content and consumers’ self-expression, academically speaking) then it’s probably wasting time on social media. The key is to learn what makes consumers engage with a brand. I’m sure that there are numerous personal as well as professional reasons.
The travel industry provides a clear example of changes in consumer behaviour driven by social media. Millions of ordinary users take an active part in determining what they would like to see, like, follow, receive, consume and communicate with. Even though a range of social media marketing tactics and strategies has been developed for the travel industry over the years, they cannot guarantee that actual users will be responsive to sales funnels designed by travel companies. There is a need for a deeper understanding of the travel consumer journey on social media.
The results of the study by Tamara Zyrianova I have been involved in as an academic supervisor, has shown that Russian millennial travelers tend to follow travel bloggers on Instagram rather than travel companies. Bloggers have been chosen as the preferred source of information about future travel plans. Travel bloggers’ posts are perceived to be more personal and equal to friends’ recommendations.
Research has identified two primary motives for travel content consumption on Instagram: 1) desire for travel inspirations and 2) getting genuine information about travel destinations based on other consumers’ experiences. It is important to mention that Russian millennial travelers view Instagram as a departure point for trip planning. The data analysis has shown that research participants use Instagram as a search tool: not only do they look for places to visit, but also “where to eat and to shop”.
However, Russian millennial travelers do not solely rely on Instagram, they browse travel websites and other social media platforms to get maximum information about places of interest before they make a final decision. Interestingly enough, research participants pointed out that it is a very rare case when they remember Instagram accounts where inspiring travel contents were found, excluding, of course, their favorite bloggers. This is one of the challenges travel companies are being confronted with.
Hopefully, research findings will encourage travel companies to reconsider their current social media marketing approaches and change perceptions about their social media audience. For guest speaking and workshops please contact me directly.
There is no single formula for a good class or term. Every class is different and requires different strategies, activities, amount and types of attention, etc. What you aim for as a teacher is to create a learning environment in which students’ achievements are limited only by the extent of their personal ambitions and goals.
Today was the last class of my marketing course. 10 weeks of intensive learning are done and dusted. I felt touched when my students presented me with a gift – hand-made cards with the sweetest and kindest words (some were in Russian!). This is why many of us stay in academia regardless of the never-ending marking, sleepless nights, extra tutorials, and research supervision 🙂