Why Content is Still King

According to the 2014 State of Marketing report by ExactTarget, 98% of marketers plan to increase their spend in 2014. Top areas for increased spending include Data & Analytics (61%), Marketing Automation (60%), Email Marketing (58%), Social Media Marketing (57%), and Content Management (57%).

In fact, 46% of marketers believe social is core to their business.

But success in social media isn’t about posting to your favorite social networks at all. Success in social and today’s new media environment is about creating epic content. Your content is the glue that binds your desired channels of choice. Content should inspire and invite directed effort on the part of your audience.

Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action. (Content Marketing Institute)

Simply put, content is intelligence and inspiration made visible.

Epic content spreads and inspires.

In the race for attention, winning content is a mechanism for driving lasting engagement.

We’ve gathered a few solid content marketing resources to help you get started:

  1. Content Marketing Institute (http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/)
  2. Convince & Convert (http://www.convinceandconvert.com/)
  3. Unmarketing (http://www.unmarketing.com/)
  4. Copyblogger (http://www.copyblogger.com/blog/)

Now it’s up to you to create vibrant, liquid, spreadable, and amazing content! Don’t worry. We can help.

 

 

What We’re Reading and Thinking

The race for new customers and business growth requires a little bit of perspective. For an agency like Hub 81, this comes in the form of exploration. Reading some of the latest blogs, books, tweets, magazine articles, and so forth helps bring a sense of awareness to what is happening in the ever changing marketing landscape.

For startups, brands, NGO’s and organizations of all types, it’s what you know that matters. Of course, it’s who you know and who knows you that also stands as critical to your success. Without further ado, below are a few recommended reads to help your brand activate awesome:

The Impact of the Collaborative Economy

Why the Lean Startup Changes Everything

Launching a new enterprise—whether it’s a tech start-up, a small business, or an initiative within a large corporation—has always been a hit-or-miss proposition. According to the decades-old formula, you write a business plan, pitch it to investors, assemble a team, introduce a product, and start selling as hard as you can. And somewhere in this sequence of events, you’ll probably suffer a fatal setback. The odds are not with you: As new research by Harvard Business School’s Shikhar Ghosh shows, 75% of all start-ups fail. Read more.

A Leader in Latin-Influenced Food Market, Goya Enters Baby Aisle

For lessons in how to appeal to an increasingly diverse America’s changing tastes, just look at Goya Foods.

Facebook’s fastest-growing page in the U.S.? Best Vines

Facebook’s fastest-growing page in the U.S. (in terms of likes) celebrates Instagram’s biggest competitor. The page Best Vines — which started June 1, 2013 — hit 5 million likes on July 10 and is charging hard toward 6 million likes. Read more.

What we’re thinking.

Jargon. You have to love it right? Here’s the gist:

Growing your brand requires an understanding of changing technology, media, and customer preferences.

We’re glad to help you stay up-to-speed with what’s happening in the brand building arena.

 

(Image credit: Readability on the iPad.)

Room for Growth in Real-Time Marketing

Oreo is perhaps a leading case study in rapid response to customer events via on-time and relevant messaging. Their tweet following the blackout at the super bowl was a real winner. Mostly because of the timing and creativity of the response. In case you missed it:

What this confirms is that brands must be ready at the spur of the moment to respond to market activity in a manner that sparks conversation and brand relevance. eMarketer recently released some data on the number of companies engaging in this practice known as real-time marketing.

Creating real-time responses to customer actions is still a relatively new practice. It requires an understanding of how real-time marketing works, investment in the proper tools and technology, and ideally, integration of the marketing program across all channels.

In this type of environment, first-mover advantage is huge. The companies that move fast in response to trends, customer feedback, and marketing opportunities will find unique windows in which to pioneer custom engagement.

“The key to real-time marketing is to then use data and analysis to deliver real-time messaging through automated technology, which can rapidly respond to customer actions by pushing out ads, marketing collateral and other content to the appropriate channels.”

Listening tools and active participation across all channels is critical for timely and relevant brand engagement. Those who embrace this reality will face a real chance to shine across all devices.

Timing is everything.

(Image credits.)

 

 

Nonprofits More Likely to Be Present On Social Media

According to eMarketer, nonprofit organizations operating on tight budgets want to generate as much publicity and excitement as possible surrounding their initiatives—and at a low cost. To do so, a considerable percentage are turning their attention to social media to communicate with constituents and encourage sharing among fans supportive of their cause.

An October survey of US nonprofits by VerticalResponse, a self-service marketing platform for small businesses, found that more than three out of five nonprofit organizations reported spending more time on social media than they did a year ago. Only 4% of respondents said they spent less time.

And nearly two out of five nonprofits reported devoting 6 or more hours per week to social media. Respondents cited finding content to share as the most time-consuming aspect of social media engagement, a point of view that seems to cut across businesses.

For the full article, click here.

Hub 81 is a digital marketing agency based in Santa Maria, California helping clients activate awesome brand experiences. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help with your marketing and communications needs.

 

 

Are Banks Putting the Social in Media?

Does social media have a place in banking and the financial services industry? We think so despite all the risks that may be involved. Are we moving one step closer to helping these organizations make a successful transition into the conversation arena? The FFIEC recently released some proposed guidance on the role and practice of social media.

Financial Regulators Propose Guidance on Social Media

The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) today released proposed guidance on the applicability of consumer protection and compliance laws, regulations, and policies to activities conducted via social media by banks, savings associations, and credit unions, as well as nonbank entities supervised by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and state regulators.

The FFIEC is responding to requests for guidance in this area from various industry and consumer interests. The guidance is intended to help financial institutions understand potential consumer compliance, legal, reputation, and operational risks associated with the use of social media, along with expectations for managing those risks. Although the guidance does not impose additional obligations on financial institutions, the FFIEC expects financial institutions to take steps to manage potential risks associated with social media, as they would with any new process or product channel.

Significant Risk

The use of social media by a financial institution to attract and interact with customers can impact a financial institution’s risk profile. The increased risks can include the risk of harm to consumers, compliance and legal risk, operational risk, and reputation risk. Increased risk can arise from a variety of directions, including poor due diligence, oversight, or control on the part of the financial institution. The proposed guidance is meant to help financial institutions identify potential risk areas to appropriately address, as well as to ensure institutions are aware of their responsibilities to oversee and control these risks within their overall risk management program.

Grab the proposed guidance here.

Hub 81 is a digital marketing agency based in Santa Maria, California helping clients activate awesome brand experiences. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help with your marketing and communications needs.

Twitter Announces Update to Embedded Tweets

Today, Twitter announced a revamped embedded tweets experience allowing you to add a bit of social pizazz to your website or blog.

“Tweets bring you closer to what’s happening around the world, from breaking news to global conversations. With embedded Tweets, you can see and interact with Tweets across the web.”

More content and context. Embedded Tweets display photos, videos, article summaries and other content shared in a Tweet, just like you see on twitter.com. You can also view retweet and favorite counts to better understand engagement. Twitter made some tweaks to the design so that embedded Tweets are easier to read.

Faster loading. You’ll see Embedded Tweets show up faster on the sites you visit.

Embed with ease. It’s now even easier to embed a Tweet on your own website. Just click the “More” button in any Tweet on twitter.com, and then select “Embed this Tweet” to enrich your blog posts or pages.

It’s easy to embed a tweet. Here’s a recent tweet straight from Santa Maria, California (eh…twitter.com)!

Establishing your digital footprint and embarking on a journey of content marketing is made easier as Twitter and its social media counterparts evolve.

Facebook Shaking Things Up

The social network powerhouse recently announced a new feature called Graph Search. This new tool allows users of the site to search for friends with common interests and tap into their social graph. Is this a direct response to Google’s ongoing search dominance? Of course, but it’s a prime example of Facebook’s evolution. According to Jason Falls of the Social Media Explorer:

Facebook is now going to give you a way to see prioritized recommendations based on what your actual friends have said, done or recommended on Facebook. The data set is more limited, more meaningful and more relevant.

Access to socially fueled recommendations is another example of the importance of establishing a strong digital footprint. The ramifications for marketers are real. Those who have led the charge in building a strong social media community will thrive as the result of Graph Search. Talk about huge validation for establishing a presence on Facebook and the social media arena in general. Facebook also announced free phone calls through their messenger iphone app.

On another note, MySpace just made a comeback.

5 Key Trends Impacting Your Business in 2013

As we move toward closing the curtain on 2012, a few ideas and important trends remain top of mind and play a critical role in making sure your brand is fully primed for success in 2013. How many predictive posts and articles have you read lately? They’re sprouting up all over the place. So, without further ado, here’s our list of 5 trends to be on top of in 2013:

Integration

Targeting customers is becoming increasingly difficult thanks to a growing number of technologies and communication channels. If you’re not working on an integrated approach that unifies your brand communications across all of these touchpoints you’re on a direct path to irrelevance. Customers demand meaningful experiences at every point of interaction with your brand.

Content

Everyone from newspapers to brick and mortar shops are now being described as media companies. Gone are the days where marketing is just about offering information and making a pitch. Enter the all important area of content development. Marketers are now required to create unique content that is inspiring, entertaining, and informative.

Responsive Design

Device agnostic experiences is a fancy term for making sure that your website looks beautiful across multiple platforms such as desktops, tablets, and smartphones. How, when, where, and when users interact with your content is super important to making sure your brand stays relevant in today’s changing new media and technology environment.

Entrepreneurship

New players arise everyday and are changing the makeup of almost every industry. Think open education models and crowdfunding. These two areas alone are responsible for billions of dollars in new industry. Crowdfunding (a term that’s not even in the dictionary yet) is now a $2.8 billion dollar industry and is on pace to hit $6B plus in 2013. Open education startups such as Coursera, Udacity, and edX are new players that are sure to continue to make headlines. Smart marketers are aware of these trends and are seeking ways to create their own innovations that answer the call of progress, purpose, and social impact.

The Hispanic Market

Latinos are the fastest-growing and youngest demographic in the United States. They are trendsetters, increasingly mobile, and early to adopt new technologies. If your brand isn’t looking for ways to engage this audience you’re missing out on a $1.2 trillion dollar opportunity for impact and business growth.

At Hub 81, we are excited about what the future holds and are looking forward to continuing our work in activating awesome brand experiences.

Cheers!

Is Your Brand Ready for the Future Wave of Social Merchandising?

The rise of Interesante, Pinterest, Fancy, Fab, and Instagram have given way to a whole new arena of social media where visual elements contribute to a more enriching social experience. It is widely noted that visual posts do much better than plain text due in large part to our interest and desire as consumers to engage with media. However, there’s another wave of possibility and impact that is the direct result of these visually oriented social sites. Commerce.

Social media is moving from conversation and engagement to transaction fueled by the power of peer influence. Brands must strive to be relevant at the moment-of-truth or that all encompassing instance where a consumer is in full purchase intent mode. One way to do this is to take advantage of social and peer influence to drive commerce across the innovative and engaging array of social media sites that are increasingly made available thanks in large part to the explosion of mobile adoption.

“Social marketers are excited about this next wave because of its ability to drive product discovery results toward a meaningful impact on sales, making it much easier to calculate social ROI. They also are excited because social merchandising is poised to deliver much more measurable value to retailers and brands than its forefathers.” (Source)

Tapping into the social graph of consumers is a powerful play on engagement allowing for unique branding opportunities and meaningful interactions.

Is your brand ready for this new wave of social merchandising?

(Image credit.)