Tag Archives: social media

Top social media marketing skills for small business

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.

Image by Wolfgang Eckert from Pixabay

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.

Image by GradeOne from Pixabay

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.

The impact of Instagram content on Russian millennials’ holiday decisions

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.

The benefits of curiosity for branding on social media

pexels-photo-128299.jpg“I’m not interested in a brand if it doesn’t do something spectacular on social media; I just don’t see a reason to follow” (from a random conversation with my students)

When a business wants to stimulate discussion on social media, it is important to keep in mind that consumers’ interests in brands are often motivated by curiosity.

“It’s just curiosity. You never know what that link might give you. It might give you a piece of information of business that you need for yourself” (research participant).

I’ve got a nut allergy and a beautiful Anzac recipe was posted up on one of the chefs I follow. And I asked a question, do I need to substitute it with more flour to make it more balanced, and she [the chef] got back straight away and said: “No, it’s fine you don’t have to”. I was genuinely interested, and I was curious to see also how quick they’d respond, what their response would be” (research participant).

It can be suggested that social media helps brands to supply the ingredient that seems to be missing in traditional marketing communications – curiosity keeps the conversation going, stimulates and encourages participation, and creates a conversation that potentially may get good press down the line. The recent and much publicised white/gold/blue/black dress mystery illustrates how social media use curiosity as a hook. The story started on Tumblr and took Twitter and Facebook by storm – everyone felt a need to discover what was going on. The debate surrounding the dress – whether the stripes were white and gold, or blue and black – attracted much attention from journalists, scientists, and celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres, who tweeted “the dress is gonna start world war 3”.

(Piven, I. & Breazeale, M. (2016). A desperately seeking customer engagement: Five-Sources Model of brand consumption in social media community. In V. Benson, R. Tuninga, &  G. Saridakis (Eds.), Analyzing strategic role of social networking in firms growth and productivity. UK: IGI Global.)

If our life experiences are pointless without being broadcast over social media.

blog_1January and February are peak travel periods for New Zealand. Can you guess what would be the most important daily routine in tour guiding work?  It is to ensure that tourists charge their devices (cameras, mobile phones, etc). Why? Because they may want to cancel a scheduled tour if their devices are not ready to document their adventures. That is exactly what happened last year when my company’s clients called a whale watching tour off.

Some time ago I researched relationships between businesses and consumers on social media. One result that has come through vividly is that our consumption practices take on a new meaning in the digital age  – without being broadcast over social media, they are pointless. How does it apply to businesses?

Supporting consumers’ desire for self-presentation/expression has certain benefits for businesses, particularly when it comes to branding. For example, KiwiYo, a fast-growing chain of frozen desserts in New Zealand, blurs the line between its offline and online presence: photos taken by consumers in the cafe go to the company’s social media profiles in KiwiYo’s colorful promotional picture frames. KISS, an iconic American rock band, is famous for allowing their fans to display their photos on the stage jumbo screens, as well as on social media during the band’s performance. According to KISS’ website, they were the first band to experiment with “interactive concert photo experiences” (KISS debuts “KISS Liveshare”, 2010).

It seems logical to conclude that if business does not offer their consumers an opportunity for self-expression, then it might be wasting time on social media. In this respect, the ultimate goal for any business, regardless of industry, is to provide consumers with personalised experiences. Here is how:

  • Learn what makes consumers engage with a brand. There are numerous personal and professional reasons. Use this knowledge to change approaches to social media content and conversations.
  • Turn consumer-brand interactions into “red carpet” or “award ceremony” experiences by taking advantage of modern technologies in conjunction with social media.

(Piven, I. & Breazeale, M. (2016). A desperately seeking customer engagement: Five-Sources Model of brand consumption in social media community. In V. Benson, R. Tuninga, &  G. Saridakis (Eds.), Analyzing strategic role of social networking in firms growth and productivity. UK: IGI Global.)