Brighton SEO is one of the UK’s most popular digital marketing conferences, and a firm favourite on the Aspectus calendar. Last Friday, our search team headed to Brighton with our iPads, flat whites and precautionary umbrellas, ready to hear about the latest issues facing the industry.
Talks covered the full spectrum of digital marketing topics – from analytics to international SEO, but we’ve summarised our key takeaways here:
Social media reduces the gap between companies and their customers. This creates a culture of transparency, but companies don’t need to share everything – and in some cases definitely shouldn’t. What really matters is authenticity.
Content strategist Tanya Korobka pointed out that – for the most part – nobody is interested in your brand story. People care about movements they are passionate about. If you can tap into an idea that resonates with consumers on an emotional level, then what you’re selling can be a by-product of the campaign.
Take Protein World’s recent ‘beach body ready’ ad campaign as an example. The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority received nearly 400 complaints about the controversial ads. Brands including Lastminute.com and Carlsberg reacted with spoof campaigns which resonated with consumers’ emotional response to body shaming.
So what can we learn from this? People will engage with a cleverly executed, timely idea that provokes a particular emotion. But use with caution: it doesn’t always go to plan.
Brand consistency comes through the look, feel, tone and terminology of your brand. Social media has made this more complicated by opening up more channels for communication. This puts some of the marketing power back in the hands of consumers.
Companies often use a combination of agencies and inhouse resources to manage their social media presence, which could dilute their tone of voice without careful management. Alternatively, a firm might hand responsibility for social media to an inexperienced employee with limited knowledge of the firm or industry. Bear in mind that social media is an extension of your brand, and is just as important as your other online communications – including your website.
However, this is all a balancing act. As Lucy Freeborn from Leapfrogg mentioned: too much consistency on social media can lead to a lack of clarity about how your audience is meant to engage with you. For example, if you use Pinterest for inspiration, Twitter for promotions, Facebook for direct communication and Instagram to show the inner workings of your company, then your followers will have a clear reason to visit each channel. If they can’t identify its purpose, then they’re more likely to take a passive role.
Some metrics are more valuable for gauging genuine engagement – and long-term effectiveness – than others. As Christoph Cemper from LinkResearchTools surmised, “I can ‘like’ 50 posts per minute, but does that mean I’m engaged?” Probably not. So if social signals (such as likes and favourites) only measure distribution, then what signifies engagement? For this, you’ll need to look at links, comments, downloads, clicks and views. These metrics signify that users have done something more substantial and can be considered the highest level of engagement.
At 16, Cathal Berragan, set up his first Twitter page. Fast forward four years and he’s created numerous viral social media accounts (amassing half a million Twitter followers on the way) and become content director at the UK’s largest influencer marketing agency. It’s fair to say that he knows a thing or two about social media marketing and was quick to make the point that ‘humans crave visual content’.
You have less than five seconds to make an impression. Creative visuals can help to capture the imagination of your audience much more quickly than words. Remember the (now infamous) Oreo Super Bowl tweet? That quick thinking led to more than 15,000 retweets and 20,000 Facebook likes, and cost rather less than their official Super Bowl ad.
Visual content doesn’t have to be expensive – simply produce good quality content that captures the attention of your audience and always, always, keep the end user in mind.
The convergence of SEO, PR and marketing
As Stacey MacNaught from Tecmark said, ‘a good idea is great, but you can’t ignore promotion’. The lines between SEO, PR and marketing are becoming increasingly blurred. Producing a brilliant piece of content is great, but what’s the point if nobody sees it?
There are more tools at our disposal than ever before – the trick is knowing how to translate an idea into the most appropriate format and then selecting which channels will work best to promote it. As an agency, we need to understand our clients and what they’re trying to achieve. Is a whitepaper the best option? Or perhaps an infographic or animation might work better. Then we’ll need to think about where to promote it – this could be via the traditional media outlets, or by contacting prolific bloggers. Instead we might decide to run a PPC campaign or turn it into an interactive social media campaign. Get this right and you’ll pull in your audience naturally.
As we move into 2016, digital marketers must work to connect with their audience in new and exciting ways – and not just in the consumer space; B2B marketing must adapt too. Digital marketers can no longer stick to the tried and tested marketing methods: to stand out you must look at the available data, truly understand your target market and deliver exceptional content that resonates at just the right time.
At Aspectus, we know how to create content that makes an impact. To find out how we can capture the attention of your audience, get in touch.