Hello from the other side: What is social listening?

Social listening is one of those magical, marketing buzzwords that seems to hold the key to customer information, new sales, and social engagement. But what is it? Whether you’re a new digital marketer or a seasoned business owner, understanding social listening (and knowing how to use it) can be a powerful tool in your toolbox. We know that wading through the myriad of marketing blogs and platforms can be daunting, so we’ve stripped down the jargon and confusion to give you the real deal on social listening.

What is social listening?

Social listening is a common marketing practice that involves auditing and collecting information your customers are saying about your brand online. This may include capturing comments about your brand on social media, cataloging reviews, combing through news articles, or monitoring blog posts. Often times, companies will score each comment based on whether it’s positive or negative, and whether it’s coming from an influential source or an insignificant channel. Social listening can give business owners insight into the types of brand associations their customers are organically building by considering who is speaking most frequently (i.e., mommy blogs vs. trade journals) and what their conversations are about.

What do you use social listening for?

Knowing whether your customers and prospective customers have a positive or negative opinion about your products, and what other products they’re comparing them to, can give you a clear picture into whether you’re effectively communicating your unique value proposition. Understanding who your customers are talking to and where they are discussing your products can also help you target a better, more valuable audience and serve them information and content where they are already surfing the web. This information allows you to address customer service issues, generate leads, and encourage viral sharing depending on how you respond to your findings. Social listening gives you an inside look into your customers’ mindset and helps you interact when them in a more authentic way.

Start listening in now

Although there are many tools that can help you conduct your own social listening, such as Hootsuite, the best, most reliable option is to partner with a social marketing agency. Agencies often have access to multiple listening tools, so you’ll get a broader, more holistic picture of the conversations taking place. Every good social marketing agency also has a team of experts monitoring and interpreting data as it comes in, so you can quickly and appropriately respond to positive or negative turns in the conversation. They can make recommendations on how to best respond, and tailor your future marketing campaigns to your customers’ needs.

Buzzwords aside, social listening is truly and incredible way to understand your customers’ psyche and learn how to interact with them. The process is easier than it seems, but immeasurably powerful when put to good use. They say that we have two ears and one mouth for a reason; and this maxim is especially true on the internet as you combat the endless stream of clutter and noise that might otherwise distract your customers…so contact our team of social strategists today to get listening and start learning!

 

What do you do when your audience ISN’T millennial?

We all know that staying competitive in the digital world means staying on top of new marketing trends, knowing when the latest SEO changes are taking place, and trail blazing new opportunities. But, if you are trying to focus on a more elderly market or targeting senior marketing initiatives, it’s important that you use market research to understand where your audience is spending their time online, how they are consuming digital content, and what types of senior marketing ads are relevant to their lives.

This year (or at least part of the year), forget about the millennials. We know, we know. We can hear your collective gasp from here. We are exaggerating a little bit. We only give this advice to organizations and brands that are targeting baby boomers, senior marketing, or non-technical natives. If that’s you: read on.

1. Use market research to target your senior marketing group

First and foremost: big data is your friend. We have never been able to glean a more precise understanding of what people are doing and where they are spending their time online than right now. This is important when you are targeting a group that may not consume digital content the way you intended them to. Older demographics may favor certain channels over others, adopt trends slower than digital natives, and more consistently start and complete their online journey on fewer devices. While this certainly isn’t always the case, it is a good foundation to begin building and testing into hypothesis to drive your digital sales motions. Use a little market research to guide where you believe people are entering your site, how best to target them, and why they may be having trouble completing sales farther down the funnel.

2. Start 2017 with “winback” senior ads

Another great use for market research within the senior subset is for winbacks. In short: do your homework. Cross reference information about your target audience with your competitive set to understand why you may have lost some customers over the past year, then target and differentiate yourself to win them back. Market research is especially helpful when you are trying to avoid a downstream price war or want to avoid competing on price alone. Remember, when you’re targeting Baby Boomers, you have the luxury to focus on value rather than price because they still hold the top spot as the demographic with the most disposable income in the market.

3. Market research unlocks product innovation within the senior marketing group

In the same way that market research can help you determine which customers are most likely to come back to your brand, it can also help you understand if (and where) you fall short against your competition. Use market research to understand how important certain features or services are, how valuable your product and others like it are perceived to be, and what secondary targets might be interested in your brand. This information can help you expand your market share by depending loyalty within your older segment and preparing for the next generation of customers.

But don’t take our word for it. Click here to discover ways market research has helped our clients like you and get back to basics today.

Why your business should care about lookalike targeting

Has a friend ever asked you what you think of their new girlfriend and found yourself at a loss for words because she looks exactly like their ex? You’re not alone. The reason is that people are predictable. As humans, we tend to gravitate toward what is familiar. People who share our values and trends that aren’t too far from what we already know and like. As marketers, though, this is a very good thing.
Lookalike targeting allows you to take advantage of this by marketing to audiences that behave similarly to your most valuable customers. This increases the chances of these customers noticing and engaging with your brand. Because we can’t be everywhere at once, or market to every audience effectively, lookalike targeting allows you to go after your most likely wins first and invest resources in the most likely path of success.

FIRST, WHAT IS LOOKALIKE TARGETING:

Because past performance is the best indication of future success, lookalike targeting serves content to potential customers who are searching, surfing, and interacting in similar ways to your target audience. Similar search patterns won’t necessarily cause customers to purchase your products, but the expectation is that these users are similar enough to your actual customers. This means they might be interested in your brand. Lookalike targeting also seeks out audiences who fall into similar sociodemographic categories that might serve as a benchmark weeding tool to ensure your messaging is reaching the right people. For example, if your brand targets pregnant women, simple lookalike targeting reaches women similar to your customers – likely between the ages of 20-50. They are searching similar baby brands on social media and far more likely to purchase than open advertising campaigns.

IS THIS LEGAL AND HOW CAN I GET IN ON THE ACTION:

Lookalike targeting is completely legal. Facebook’s ads manager allows you to very specifically and effectively engage in lookalike targeting with costs in line along with other advertising options. Thanks to the growing popularity of social sign on (an option where people can sign up for websites or newsletters with their social media accounts rather than entering their email and a password), we have the ability to track who is surfing for what even once they leave your site.

A customer might sign on to their favorite blog using their Facebook account, and then log on to Amazon using that same Facebook account. And Facebook aggregates it all. People are willing to forgo a level of privacy for the convenience and efficiency of social sign on. But there’s nothing nefarious going on here. The more we know about our web traffic, the better, more relevant content we can serve them. Which makes the browsing experience better all around.

HOW WE CAN HELP:

Once you have an amazing, primed audience you need to serve them amazing content. We’ll help you strike a balance between being too similar to your competition, but not so dissimilar that you lose these lookalikes’ interest. Audience is a big part of the equation, but content is still king (and always will be). Lookalike targeting is great for businesses on a budget to ensure you’re getting the most out of your marketing efforts without wasting money talking to people who will likely never buy your products. It’s a way to be everywhere you need to be, without trying to be everywhere at once, and a great way to give yourself a little competitive advantage.

Click here to learn more about the types of content we’ve created for clients like you or set up a free consultation to learn how we can target the right prospective customers.

The only four things you need to know about tourism analytics

Tourism analytics are a real asset for tourism-based businesses. Data can help you understand seasonal trends, know what your competition is doing, and support your customers’ purchase and planning process. Everyone has suggestions on what to track, what tools are best, and how to link it to your business insights.
The good news is, there isn’t a one size fits all recipe. There is so much data that you can track almost anything today. We want to share the only four things you need to know when building an analytics program for tourism marketing rather than getting caught up in the tools and processes.

Figure out what you’re trying to understand:

First and foremost, decide what you want to learn. Depending on your business model, you might not need to collect every piece of data about your customers. For example, the Ritz Carlton is known for impeccable service, personalized experiences, and white-glove attentiveness. They decided to harness data to their customer management system to track trends in food and beverage, tastes and preferences, and expectations. They use this data to personalize the service delivery experience when guests are on site. You might decide you’d like to understand how your customers navigate between mobile and desktop sites, how long the sales cycle lasts and what assets they need during that time, or how to price competitively in your market. Knowing what metrics are most important will work best for you starts with defining the problem you hope to solve. Start there, and the rest of your data strategy will develop more naturally.

Realize that you can’t do it all:

Focus on the big swings. This is especially important if you are just building your data program. With so much insight available, it’s easy to try to do too many things at once. Work with your data team or a trusted marketing agency like ours to prioritize your data needs based on level of effort and impact. A good rule of thumb is to start with low hanging fruit (this might include things such as site heuristics, quick UX and content updates online, or mobile integrations).

This gives you time to formulate a problem and hopefully find its answer based in data. When choosing what metrics to track, always double check that that KPI relates back to a question you have about your business or client base. And don’t forget to pare down your strategy. To start, choose one to three things to track and work on each quarter. If you find this is easy, ramp it up; but start small to ensure you get results from your investment.

Learn and act fast:

Many digital marketers joke that ROI is out — and speed to market is in. While we still think ROI is an important metric to keep an eye on, we agree that action is key. Tourism and hospitality are ever changing industries where customers tastes shift as new trends emerge and new technology changes how we travel and interact with the world. Don’t collect data for the sake of collecting data and know what you want to do with it. Before tracking any given metric, create a hypothesis of what you think might be happening and how you would address it if data proves you right. That last part is critical. If you don’t have a plan for how you want to use this information, you’re simply collecting observations rather than insights; And that won’t help your business.

Invest in the future:

Because you might not be able to do everything at once, it’s important to prioritize your data collection and your data tools. Look ahead to consider the systems you will need in a year, or five years. Even if you opt out of these tools now, it’s important to keep them in mind so you don’t suddenly find yourself behind your competition. Partnering with a data-based agency like BIGEYE is a great way to help prioritize your data investments, tools, and collection roadmap so you are using the data you have and planning for the future effectively (and affordably).

 

No matter what stage you’re at in your data strategy, we’re here to help. Click here to learn more about the types of services we offer – from data mining and trend forecasting, to online testing and retargeting.

Understanding Generation Z

View more of BIGEYE’s creative infographics.

Understanding Generation Z

By BIGEYE Posted on October 19, 2016

The New Kids on the Block

This is their turf:

  • They are the first generation of digital natives.
  • Use an average of 5 screens: smartphone, TV, laptop, desktop, and iPad.

Fenced in generation:

  • This generation values privacy, preferring social media apps such as Snapchat, Whisper, and Secret over Facebook.
  • A quart of 13-17 year olds left Facebook in 2015.

As such, they are technology-dependent:

  • 79%display symptoms of emotional distress when kept away from their smartphones.

Get on their good side:

  • By 2020, Generation Z will account for 40% of all consumers.
  • They already wield a buying power of $44 billion.
  • Around 72% of current high-school Gen Z’s want to own a business.
  • 60% want their jobs to impact their world.

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows:

  • Z-Kids know a thing or two about hardship, from growing up post 9/11, the recession, and many mass shootings.
  • 58% of Gen Z’s are either somewhat or very worried about the future.
  • 57% prefer saving money to spending it.

They are not easily amused:

  • The average Gen Z kid has attention span of 8 seconds.

Augmented reality check: How AR will change the tourism industry

We can appreciate that some tourism marketers are hesitant to fully embrace augmented reality. It has the power to change the industry as we know it. And while we don’t buy into the most seemingly farfetched fears that we might end up in a Matrix-like world in which humans experience their world from behind a computer screen, we understand the sentiment. Instead of resisting this change, we recommend embracing it. Like the advent of robotic service providers that can bring towels, store luggage, or prepare meals for guests (thus eliminating the need for some hospitality roles) – the future is unavoidable. Instead of fearing these changes and risking the obsolescence of your tourism destination, find ways to integrate these new technologies with your existing service model.

Augmented reality can complement not replace tourism marketing:

There are unlimited ways that augmented reality could enhance your guests’ tourism experience. AR can help new travelers decide what type of trip is best for them (Is flying really that terrifying? Is cruising for me? Will I prefer a safari or a ski trip?). It can help them vet destinations and hotel or restaurant choices. And it can tease entertainment options that might seem like a splurge (until you experience them that is). Notice, it’s called augmented reality not alternative reality. We’re pretty sure a cross-continental flight that provides an oh-so-convenience excuse not to check work emails is enough to draw tourists from even the most farflung reaches of the globe. And in a world that is increasingly “on,” experiences are a valuable currency that lets us unplug, recharge, and connect with the world around us. Augmented reality can simply help make the preparation around these experiences more convenience.

Similarly, augmented reality could help alleviate logistic difficulties certain tourism destinations face. Whether your target audience has a language barrier, navigation challenges, or spotty internet and cell service, augmented reality can help prepare tourists for their trip and give them tools to navigate or seek assistance while on the go. This might be especially valuable for the business traveler who doesn’t quite know how to spend her freetime or who is unsure how to get to her next on-site meeting.

Augmented reality is the next best thing to tourism marketing:

That said, for those individuals who simply can’t afford to travel or take a two week vacation, augmented reality can provide a unique paid outlet for tourism destinations to monetize virtual trips to their location. We know, that doesn’t sound all that glamorous; but it is a win-win situation for those individuals who could now take park in experiences that were previously out of reach and for industry providers who will benefit from this trend. In the same way that television hasn’t replaced books or radio, we believe that augmented reality does not need to replace tourism, but can become an extension or alternative. To extend this metaphors one step farther farther: even if we’ve read the book, sometimes the movie is just as enjoyable. A trip using AR doesn’t necessarily mean there won’t be a physical trip, but it could if you jus tweed the Cliff’s Notes version in a pinch.

Augmented reality can preserve and promote tourism marketing:

If you’ve ever visited South East Asia and climbed through the ancient ruins of Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, you might have wondered how long the tourism destination will continue to allow visitors access to nearly all parts of these incredible temples. Augmented reality gives us the tools to preserve historic landmarks that should be off limits to protect their beauty for generations to come. In the most fragile sections of the temple, tourism officials could offer an augmented reality exhibit of the relief sculptures rather than full tourist access. Paintings that are light or temperature sensitive could not be seen, dangerous caves could now be accessible, and so forth. The same is also true in war torn countries where tourism has become less popular due to local unrest. Countries such as Egypt, Turkey and even Israel could continue to promote and share their unique experiences in times when some travelers may be hesitant to visit. And we’d like to think that’s one small step closer to repairing our global community.

Reenergize local attractions with augmented reality:

Even if you aren’t an exotic tourism destination, experimenting with augmented reality sets your brand apart and will allow you to adapt to changes as they occur, while promoting local exploration and discovery. Encourage your regional community to learn about their homes in new and unique ways be drawing them through a historic neighborhood with augmented reality attractions. Make local educational sites more interesting, and promote local businesses by harnessing AR’s navigational tools. At even the smallest levels, AR apps and smartphone pairings can provide new business marketing tools to expose local gems that make your community unique.

We realize that some of these attractions aren’t quite here yet, but they are coming. Prepare now by priming your current multi-channel marketing strategy for the next phase of digital marketing and beyond. Contact us, we are here to help with any questions you may have about this so called, “augmented reality.”