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Social commerce: How it works and why you should care in 2021

Online shopping is going social.

Social commerce features are emerging across a number of platforms, creating new opportunities for brands big and small. The COVID-19 pandemic put further strain on brick and mortar businesses. Now executives are all in on digital transformation

How can you strategically take advantage of this new revenue opportunity? In this article, we give you a detailed breakdown of social commerce: what it is, how it works and most importantly, how it could work for your business.

What is social commerce?

Social commerce is the buying and selling of goods or services directly within a social media platform. This model moves social media beyond its traditional role in the discovery process by encouraging users to complete the entire purchase process without leaving their preferred apps. 

Executives overwhelmingly agree that social commerce is driving an increasing portion of their company’s marketing-driven revenue, according to The State of Social Media Investment Report. About eight in 10 expect to be selling their products or services via social within the next three years.

A comparison chart of companies already participating in social commerce vs. those who anticipate doing so within the next three years.

In 2020, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest launched revamped social commerce tools to help retailers streamline online shopping experiences in the midst of the pandemic. These features create new digital storefronts that can be found organically or boosted through paid advertising. 

The difference between social commerce and ecommerce

Ecommerce broadly enompasses the process of buying and selling goods online. The model is convenient, but it’s far from perfect. Over 50% of all internet traffic is from mobile devices, and mobile users have a much higher cart abandonment rate than desktop users. As buyers move to the small screen for everyday purchases, streamlining your checkout process is key.

This is where social commerce comes into play. It removes the drop-off points that can result in abandoned transactions.

The best social commerce platforms to use in 2021

So far, three major platforms have introduced social commerce features: Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Others aren’t far behind, with both Youtube and TikTok exploring “shop now” buttons. Twitter is experimenting with a new card format that features a large “Shop” button, as well.

If you’re interested in getting ahead of this potential revenue channel, here are the platforms you’ll want to test out:

Facebook

Facebook’s social commerce tool, Facebook Shops, has a very low barrier to entry. Shops are free to set up and are hosted within your Facebook business profile.

If your ecommerce solution is supported as a partner platform, you can automatically sync your entire inventory list in seconds. If not, product information can be uploaded via a spreadsheet.

The Facebook Shop tab on the platform’s mobile app features products based on user preferences to encourage organic brand discovery. Once consumers find your products, they can complete a purchase within the app or on your website. Sellers communicate with customers within Messenger to ask questions, offer support and more.

Instagram

Instagram Shopping is directly linked to your Facebook Shop. To set up a shop, users must link their Instagram business account to their Facebook business profile. Once that’s completed, users can upload an existing product catalog or create a new one.

Instagram offers more opportunity for creative social commerce promotion due to the visual nature of the platform. Brands can drive interest through shoppable posts and Stories that link directly to in-app product pages. Like Facebook, purchases are processed within the app or on your business website.

Pinterest

Product Pins are not direct social commerce tools, as buyers still redirect to a product-specific landing page to complete their purchase. These shoppable posts look like regular pins with additional fields for pricing and availability information.

Brands using Shopify can use the Pinterest for Shopify app to add their product catalog to their Pinterest business page.  If you’re using another ecommerce platform, you can still set up Product Pins by manually marking up your product page using Graph, Schema.org, or oEmbed.

Eighty-nine percent of Pinterest users are actively searching for purchase inspiration. Although the setup process takes some technical know-how, Pinterest Product Pins get your brand in front of ready buyers.

3 social commerce examples you can learn from

1. The Tiny Tassel

The Tiny Tassel, a retailer specializing in handmade jewelry, uses Facebook Shop features to create informative, Facebook-native product pages. Each listing features detailed product descriptions, customization options and shipping information.

Tiny Tassel's Facebook Shop A Facebook product detail page for a pair of Tiny Tassel earrings

Brands should follow Tiny Tassel’s lead and post listings that communicate value. This builds trust with potential buyers who are new to your brand, motivating them to make that first purchase.

2. Patagonia

Pinterest boards can be set up to act as product navigation tools for your audience. Take Patagonia’s Pinterest structure: their Product Pin boards mimic its website navigation, creating a familiar experience for returning audiences and new potential customers that click through to the brand’s main site.

Patagonia's Pinterest account with a verified merchant badge. A collection of Product Pins shared by Patagonia on Pinterest.

Most social commerce platforms offer just enough flexibility to recreate your brand experience. Use these tools to create consistency for your audience.

3. Target

Catalog setup can take a long time If your ecommerce platform doesn’t partner with Facebook. Rather than list all of its products, Target focuses on items that align with its Instagram content strategy. This creates a better browsing experience for its established Instagram audience.

Target's curated list of items for sale on their Instagram Shopping page.

If you’re working with a larger inventory, you can use Sprout’s Instagram Performance Reports to make smarter listing choices based on content engagement and hashtags consumers associate most with your brand.

4 key benefits of social commerce

1. Get in front of more potential customers

Traditional brand loyalties are wavering as people buy more online. Among three-quarters of U.S. consumers who changed their shopping behavior since the start of the pandemic, 40% have switched their brand preferences to better suit their digital shopping habits. And with over 50% of consumers learning about new brands on social media, now is the time to start rethinking your profile experience.

You only get one first impression. When it comes to brand reputation, the buying experience is just as important as the product itself. Social commerce features streamline that first purchase, creating a winning customer experience that people want to repeat.

2. Convert customers where they are

Social media usage is booming. A majority of consumers say that their usage has increased over the past year, and many expect a continued rise over the next three years. To meet your customers where they are, you should aim to offer more opportunities for engagement on social media.

A chart comparing how social media usage has increased over the past year and how people expect it to increase over the next three years.

Social commerce features create a natural next step for customers who already love your awareness content. Removing a step in your buying process can reduce friction in your sales funnel, capturing revenue that might have been lost if a buyer did not follow through on a redirect.

3. Increase reviews and recommendations

If your business is new to selling online, your social media accounts are the perfect place to begin establishing much-needed social proof. When shopping online, your buyers can’t necessarily test or try on your product. Reviews can be the key to making an educated purchase decision.

Managing your end-to-end customer journey on social media creates a positive feedback loop that impacts your bottom line. Your social content attracts new followers into your funnel, but offering social commerce gives them a chance to purchase and leave reviews in one centralized location. As your engagement continues to grow, social media algorithms will deem your content relevant to even more potential customers.

4. Gather useful data on your customers’ social habits

Social commerce features give you direct access to your customers’ social profiles. Savvy sellers can use this information to confirm existing voice of customer research against real examples.

Sprout's sentiment analysis report.

Combine these insights with routine listening practices to create more inspired conversion experiments. Findings can inform messaging A/B tests, CTA optimizations and more, so you can make a bigger impact with your target audience.

3 ways to increase sales on social media

1. Know your audience

Align your social commerce strategy with your target social audience for maximum engagement. Choose products and messaging based on this specific customer subset rather than repurposing what’s on your website verbatim.

Sprout's Facebook Pages report.

A social media analytics tool can help you keep up information as your audience grows. Sprout Profile Reports offer follower demographic data that can inform customer personas by platform. Use these in combination with post performance data to make your initial decisions about which products to list and how to position them.

2. Schedule your content

Once you share a listing, schedule some promotional posts to build interest and drive traffic to your new social storefront. This is a great way to share additional product information, like walkthroughs and close-up shots.

Sprout Social's ViralPost scheduling tool.

Using an automated scheduling tool like Sprout’s ViralPost® can help increase engagement. By analyzing your audience’s usage and engagement patterns, this patented technology will share your posts at the best time for authentic engagement.

 3. Learn what works (and do more of it)

As you dip your toe into the world of social commerce, the best thing you can do is measure, measure, measure. Knowing what’s working can help you repeat your success as you scale your strategy. It can also illuminate new opportunities you might have otherwise missed.

Monitor your social analytics to manage performance. Remember to go beyond sales alone by digging into sentiment analysis and inbox reports. These analyses gather information from both direct and indirect messages, providing useful data on how people are feeling about your brand. With Sprout, you can schedule report deliveries on a weekly or monthly basis to stay on top of this process.

Get started with social commerce

Social media has revolutionized the way businesses and consumers interact, and social commerce is its newest frontier. Now is the time to be adaptable and lean into change. The earlier you experiment with social commerce, the faster you can scale later. For more on how businesses are doubling down on social media download The State of Social Media Investment today.

This post Social commerce: How it works and why you should care in 2021 originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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How to use QR codes effectively in 2021

QR codes have come a long way since they’ve been introduced back in 1994. What was once used to track automative parts’ inventory has evolved as a strategic marketing tactic. These standard black-and-white barcodes can be customized branded designs.

The 2020 pandemic is credited with helping bring the QR code back to marketing use. With a scan of a code, people can learn everything about a product, make a payment and even write a quick Yelp review.

What are QR codes?

Quick Response (QR) codes were created to store a lot of data in a small 2D matrix barcode. But unlike barcodes, QR codes can store far more information (more than 7,000 characters) and be read more than 10 times faster. The QR code was officially released by two engineers at Denso Wave in 1994 and first used by Japan’s auto industry.

The other unique feature of a QR code is that the specifications of it were intentionally made to be publicly available. Because of this, being added to the ISO standard in 2000 and smartphone apps and cameras with the capability to read them, the codes were easy to create and accessible to many people around the world.

When creating codes, it’s important to know that the more information you are encoding, the larger and more complex the code will be. These codes are also permanent for as long as the landing page or action is available. On the consumer’s end, though, all they need is a smartphone that has a reader in the camera.

Are QR codes still relevant for business marketing?

When created and executed well, QR codes can be incorporated or centered in a marketing campaign. They can also be used daily, such as for a payment option. Two different kinds of QR codes exist: static and dynamic. As implied, static codes are hardcoded once they’re created and are best used for tasks like sharing an email address or contact information.

Dynamic codes don’t store the data but instead redirect the scanner, much like when you share a link to a webpage. But they’re not limited to only webpages. Dynamic QR codes can also lead you to a coupon, event page, a PDF and even SMS text creation. If needed, you can change up the contents or type of dynamic code without regenerating a fresh code. This makes dynamic codes the best for marketing campaigns.

According to a September 2020 survey of US and UK customers, 31.98% of those surveyed had scanned a QR code within the last week.Statistic: During the last six months, in which of these locations or instances have you scanned a QR code? | Statista

And when asked about where they scanned the QR code, three locations stood out:

  • 37.68% have scanned at a restaurant, bar or cafe
  • 37.27% scanned at a retailer
  • 31.78% scanned on a consumer product.

Because of their no-touch feature in limiting contact between people, QR codes have been more recently favored and used by businesses.

How to use QR codes in marketing

There are many ways to incorporate QR codes into your marketing efforts. Here are just a few to get your brainstorming juices flowing.

Share your social media accounts

Many social media platforms offer you the ability to customize your account’s QR code. When scanned, the person is led directly to your profile, where they can then hit the button to follow you. These codes can also be printed out to be used in-person to bridge the digital and retail location gap.
instagram qr code
Instagram’s QR code is available in your profile and has options to customize: emoji, color and selfie. Each platform has their own take on the account QR code, often incorporating brand colors and embellishing the design.

Another option is to create a landing page where all of your social media accounts are linked. A single scan lets the consumer choose which accounts to follow.

Post a coupon

If there is one thing that everyone loves, it’s a good deal. QR codes can be posted on social media, in an aisle at a retail store or passed out in flyers. After scanning the code, the consumer is led to a coupon that’s available online or in an app.
getcoupon
In this example, Target encourages buyers to scan the code to activate the deal in their Target app account. As a shopper, you no longer need to cut out coupons or remember to bring them to the store. A coupon QR code is a great way to bring in new customers or increase your brand loyalty.

Share a food or service menu

The restaurant industry took a huge hit in 2020 and owners got creative on how to navigate a touchless environment. Instead of handing out paper or reusable menus, use a QR code to redirect diners to a webpage of all your menu items.
qr menu
In this example, beer garden Hoptinger uses signage inside to provide a link to their menus. And because the scan only leads to a webpage, Hoptinger can then update the page with new menu items without generating new codes.

Ask for reviews or feedback

Reviews are of utmost importance for many industries but getting them can feel challenging at times. One of the strategies for increasing your review count is to outright ask for reviews.

review qr

Encourage reviews by handing out cards like the one above, posting them on signage on doors, tables or menus, or sending them through email. The code takes the customer to the survey or review site to make it easier for them to leave their feedback.

Provide product information

There’s only so much information you can put onto a product package before it appears cluttered. Use QR codes on product packaging to encourage customers to learn more about a product. They can link to anything from a promotional video to a quick start guide to how to assemble the product.

qr packaging

Using QR codes in packaging like those above cuts down on potential paper waste and frees up space for other designs. In addition, if these take you to something like a quick start guide, you can change up the guide without having to reprint thousands of updated booklets.

Run a giveaway

Besides a good deal, giveaways also get people excited is a good giveaway. If you’re looking for a way to encourage giveaway participation, make it easy for people to join in. In the past, giveaways have lived on a single platform like an Instagram contest or asked people to visit a URL to sign up. But asking people to remember a URL means you’re relying on memory. Scanning a QR code to lead directly to the entry form is fast and simple.

qr giveaway

In the example above, you can see how the QR codes were incorporated into the packaging as a contest entry option.

How to track & measure QR code success

It’s easy to create your own custom QR code thanks to readily available, free online QR code generators. Some services allow for basic data QR codes while others lock the features behind a pro plan. For QR codes that link to a website, generating a specific shortcode will let you track the clicks.

But if you’re serious about using QR codes in your multichannel marketing campaigns, then it’s best to invest in software that provides data beyond the number of scans. You’ll be able to learn where the scanners are based, what operating systems they use and scans by date. Much like social media advertising, QR code data is tracked and displayed in real-time, offering you the chance to possibly tweak campaigns as they are run.

QR code recap & best practices

QR codes have seen a resurgence lately. They’re convenient to scan, the designs can be customized to be more visually appealing and they’re inherently a contactless technology. For businesses, it’s just as easy to incorporate QR codes into every part of the marketing funnel as it is to generate your own code.

When you’re starting out on using QR codes for business marketing, there are a few best practices to keep in mind:

  • Add a call-to-action: Slapping a code by itself onto anything won’t be beneficial without context. What is the code for? Add a call-to-action near the code. It could be part of a border surrounding the code or a simple line of text above.
  • Have a purpose: Just because you read about QR codes doesn’t mean you have to use them. Make sure that you’re using codes to aid in your marketing or to smooth out some customer experiences, not because it’s an emerging marketing trend.
  • Incorporate into a design: Let’s admit it: the basic black-and-white QR code square is not the most visually appealing design out there. Dress it up by blending it into an existing design and adding your own brand spin to it. Again, notice how, in an example above, Arsenault uses their brand’s navy color as the background to their QR code.
  • Track the codes: Marketing campaigns are useless if you don’t have the data to back up the success. Be sure to check in periodically on your codes to see if the campaign is successful.

Feeling ready to incorporate QR codes into your marketing but don’t know where to start? Try it out with your content. Take a look at the different types of social media content you can create to incorporate QR codes for and be armed with data.

This post How to use QR codes effectively in 2021 originally appeared on Sprout Social.

Reblogged 8 hours ago from feedproxy.google.com

How to Make Your Emails More Interactive [Expert Tips + Examples]

As a Millennial, my experience with email has been quite interesting.

For a while, it’s where I received chain mail that I was forced to forward unless I wanted something terrible to happen to me or my family. Then, it was where I sent junk emails from brands I didn’t care about.

Today, I look forward to checking my email and hearing from my favorite brands on everything from the news and the marketing world to product launches and sales.

As this marketing channel continues to evolve, one thing users are looking for is interactivity. It makes emails more fun to read, and on the brand side, is a great way to convert users.

Let’s dive into how to use interactive elements in your emails and examples of brands getting it right.

So, why the push for interactive emails? Ashley Riordan, growth marketing manager at HubSpot says nowadays, users expect more.

“When you think about your own inbox – work or personal – the amount of emails we get in a day is a lot,” said Riordan. “Interactive emails, whether it’s a personalized element or multimedia feature, help attract readers’ attention, set your email out from the crowd, and cut through that noise.”

She suggests calling this era: email 2.0. Interesting email content isn’t enough – now it’s about taking it one step further to involve your audience in the emails they receive.

Studies show that consumers are welcoming this change, it’s marketers who are reluctant.

91% of consumers want interactive content, but only 17% of marketers provide it,” said Megan Moller, director of content marketing at Litmus. “That could be a missed opportunity as competition for subscribers’ attention is at an all-time high, and marketers report seeing a 200% improvement in click-through rates when using interactivity.”

The possibilities are not exactly endless, but they’re pretty extensive. You can add interactivity in email by adding a form, faux video, embedded video, animated GIFs, or carousel.

However, Moller adds that you have to make sure these elements will work for your audience.

“Don’t just add them for interactivity’s sake. Not all email clients support interactivity – though there is growing support of AMP for email,” she added. “Discover what environments (email clients, devices, and more) your subscribers are on with a tool like Litmus Email Analytics, so you can know which interactive strategies are possible with your subscribers.”

3 Reasons to Create an Interactive Email Newsletter

We know interactive elements make emails more engaging and can increase your conversions. But when do you usually use them? Technically, you can implement them anytime but here are some of the most popular ways to leverage interactive elements.

1. Highlight new product features.

Want to announce updates to your products or tease upcoming products? Why talk about it when you can just show it.

Look at this example from Canva.

Canva interactive email example

The graphic design platform regularly sends out emails to subscribers to share new features. By adding a simple GIF like this, users can quickly understand the new feature and get excited about what they could create on the platform.

Here’s another great example from Later.

Later interactive email example

2. Tease an upcoming event or announcement.

Let’s say you’re preparing for a big sale or upcoming event, you can use interactive elements to create some buzz and anticipation around your offers.

Adidas interactive email example

Adidas created an awesome GIF in honor of Mother’s Day, which shows a woman running with her two children in some Adidas gear.

It’s a great illustration of how to use GIFs in emails to pull the reader in while staying within your brand’s visual identity.

3. Increase your email engagement.

Sometimes, you may not have anything special to promote, but you want to improve your metrics.

Perhaps your clickthrough or open rate is low, and you want to encourage your subscribers to participate. That’s a great reason to add some interactivity to your newsletter.

The Daily Carnage interactive email example

Take The Daily Carnage, a daily newsletter that covers all things marketing.

With every newsletter comes a question of the day that relates to a topic covered in the email. Once you submit your answers, you can see how other subscribers answered the question.

This accomplishes two things: It gets users engaged and excited about the content and it helps the team at Carney learn more about their audience.

Interactive Email Examples

GIFs

GIF interactive email example

GIFS are the perfect middle point between images and videos.

A video can weigh down your email and make your loading speed slow. If you want to add some movement to your email but don’t want to go as far as embedding a video, GIFs are the way to go. Plus, they’re attention-grabby.

“Compared to a static image, GIFs are more eye-catching and therefore more click-catching,” said Riordan.

At HubSpot, we’ve had great success using them.

When sending out welcome messages for new contacts, we’ve found that emails featuring GIFs have a clickthrough rate that’s twice as high as emails without.

In addition to capturing subscribers’ attention, they also convert.

Quizzes

HubSpot interactive email example

As we covered in the previous section with The Daily Canage, you can increase your newsletter’s engagement rate by including quizzes and polls.

At HubSpot, we saw a 5% increase in open rate and a jump in unique clicks after adding a “Question of The Day” poll to one of our newsletters.

Here’s how it works: Users have to answer today’s “Question of the Day” to see the poll results from yesterday’s question. This approach, says Marketing Manager at HubSpot Clint Fontanella, creates this cliffhanger effect that keeps users engaged.

“This was our most successful test because it gave readers something in exchange for nothing. It gave them information and a little excitement and competition, in exchange for them visiting our blog,” said Fontanella, who used to manage the Service Blog newsletter. “It also gave them a reason to come back every day. By participating in today’s question, they could see yesterday’s results.”

Countdown Timers

Want to get your audience excited about an upcoming event or sale? Consider countdown timers.

Countdown timer interactive email example

Image Source

A countdown timer is a great way to create a sense of urgency and build anticipation. While this may require some HTML knowledge, it can be well worth the time.

In 2020, Riordan wanted to boost registrations and build some buzz around a webinar series. She ran a 50/50 test variation with one email including a countdown timer in the header image and another without.

The version with the countdown timer drove 30% more registrations.

A timer isn’t only useful for upcoming events or sales, you can use them for:

  • Product or website launches
  • Free trial notifications
  • Milestone celebrations

Personalized Calculators

When we think of personalization in email, we usually think of adding the subscriber’s name in the subject line and email body. However, there are ways to take it one step further. HubSpot interactive email example

This website grader by HubSpot, for instance, is an interactive tool that sends prospects a customized report of their website performance along with specific recommendations and resources for improvements.

This is a great lead generation tool that can bring you one step closer to turning a subscriber into a customer.

Interactive Email Design Dos and Don’ts

Do keep it to one interactive element per email.

While it may be tempting, make sure you don’t overdo it with your interactive elements. A good rule of thumb is one per email.

“Your email recipients will likely be drawn to the interactive element which is the goal, but also means that other parts of your email might be overlooked,” said Riordan. “Try to center your email around one interactive factor, whether that be a poll, video, or GIF.”

She adds, “You don’t want to compete for attention in your own email – the interactive part should be the main message.”

Don’t be afraid to experiment.

With any new strategy you implement, there will be a learning curve.

You may have to try out a few interactive elements before you figure out what works best. And even when you determine the right strategy, it may change depending on the type of email you’re sending and the goals you want to achieve.

For instance, let’s say you want to generate more sales for a product. You’ve tried embedding videos of satisfied customers and adding photos of positive reviews but it doesn’t yield positive results. Then, you find that creating lifestyle GIFs of the product increase conversions by 10%. You use that strategy from then on.

However, as your goals change, so will the methods you try. Be flexible and always be willing to test out various strategies.

Do prioritize accessibility.

As you incorporate interactivity into your email, don’t forget to keep accessibility in mind. This ensures that visually impaired, deaf, and hard-of-hearing users can enjoy your emails without any trouble.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Include descriptive alt text in every image, GIF, or any interactive element.
  • Use colors that contrast well. Use this tool to check if you’re on the right track.
  • Design your email with “Dark Mode” in mind.
  • Add captions and transcripts to your videos.

Interactive Email Templates

1. Litmus

litmus interactive email template

Litmus makes email marketing easy.

The platform offers a ton of interactive features and tools that you can customize based on the viewport (i.e. device) and email service. This includes hover effects, animated PNGs, and dark mode targeting.

In addition, the platform works for small to midsize businesses as well as enterprise-level companies. Pricing ranges from $99/month to $199/month, with custom pricing available for larger-scale organizations.

2. MailChimpMailchimp interactive email template

MailChimp is one of the top email marketing platforms on the market, known for its user-friendly interface.

On the platform, you can find over 100 campaign templates designed by professionals. All you have to do is fill in the gaps and hit “send.”

You can use the drag-and-drop feature to add interactive elements anywhere in your email and even import custom HTML templates.

MailChimp offers a free version for those who are just getting started with email marketing and goes all the way up to $299/month.

3. Stripo

Stripo interactive email template

If you want to skip coding when creating your email newsletter, find the templates you need at Stripo.

All you have to do is head to the website, find a template you like and customize it. It integrates with over 60 email service providers, making it easy for you to transfer your design.

You can start using Stripo for free. To take advantage of their premium features, you must subscribe to a monthly or yearly plan for $10/month to $34/month.

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Reblogged 15 hours ago from blog.hubspot.com

12 of the Best Facebook Post Ideas for Facebook Lead Generation

Most marketers know that Facebook is more than just another social media platform. It’s an essential business tool for companies of every size and industry.

With a daily active user base of over 1.8 billion (98.3% or 1.73 billion of which are on mobile alone), you know Facebook can help you reach new audiences you may otherwise have been unable to get.

Facebook can also help you get found more easily in search, create a community around your business, promote the content you create, and develop a strong brand identity.

But what about using Facebook for lead generation?

Attracting new leads using Facebook — leads that might eventually turn into paying customers — is one of the most intriguing reasons to use Facebook marketing. However, many marketers still fail to use Facebook to source leads. You’d be losing out on reaching thousands or millions of potential customers if you’re one such marketer.

Even if you’re currently generating leads on Facebook, we all could probably use a little boost in our lead generation efforts. And that’s why we created this guide.

To make sure we’re all on the same page, let’s start with what a lead is (and isn’t) and the two types of leads you can generate on Facebook.

What is a Facebook lead?

A lead is a person who has indicated an interest in your company’s product or services by giving you their information in some way. A lead can show interest in various ways: by filling out a form to download an ebook, requesting a demo, or completing an online survey.

Unfortunately, simply liking a status update, photo, or video on your Facebook page doesn’t qualify someone to become a Facebook lead. That type of action doesn’t indicate interest in your company or product/services, as it’s possible they just liked your post because it had a cute puppy in it, you know?

Below, let’s review the two types of leads you can capture on Facebook and what their differences are.

The 2 Types of Leads You Can Capture on Facebook

There are two types of leads you can generate on Facebook: direct and indirect leads.

Don't miss this live virtual event with Facebook and HubSpot on how to grow your business faster than ever with Facebook.

Direct Leads

A direct Facebook lead is generated by sharing content that links directly back to a lead form on your website. Visitors then share information in exchange for an offer — whether an ebook, coupon, infographic, or any other piece of content. This form is typically on a landing page dedicated to that specific offer.

Indirect Leads

Indirect leads are generated by using Facebook on the path to conversion. For example, if you share a blog post containing a call-to-action to a landing page at the bottom of the post, your initial Facebook share indirectly leads visitors to that landing page.

While directly promoting landing pages is an instant gratifier of leads generated, providing relevant content without a form makes your Facebook presence a friendlier home for content that your target audience will want to come back for again and again.

Let’s look at few ways to generate both indirect and direct leads in the section below. 

How to Generate Leads on Facebook

Lead Ads

Lead ads are arguably the most popular tool used on Facebook to generate leads. These are posts that are sponsored by your business and they appear on your audience’s News Feeds, Stories, Marketplace, and more. These ads target Facebook users who are most likely to be interested in your company based on the behaviors they display both on Facebook and off. Once a user clicks on a lead ad, they’re prompted to fill out a form and submit contact information to your company. 

Facebook Posts

Your Facebook posts are probably what got your audience’s attention in the first place. These can be one-off posts or a dedicated campaign that points viewers back to your website or Facebook page. You can include a link to a form within the actual post, or direct users to a landing page where they can submit their information. 

Facebook Messenger

Facebook Messenger is like a built-in live chat feature for your Facebook Page. Users can reach out to you in a private 1:1 conversation and ask questions about your brand and its products. 

Don’t have the time to manage a live chat channel 24/7? No problem. You can install a bot on your page to respond to customer inquiries. 

Whether it’s a bot or a person, your team can use Facebook Messenger to direct interested visitors to your website and landing pages so they can convert from prospects to leads. 

Facebook Events

Does your company host an annual networking event? Perhaps has a charity or a fundraiser that users can donate to? Share it on Facebook.

You can use the Events tool to create dedicated pages for your upcoming events. Your audience can sign up, fill out forms, and become leads all while registering for your event in one place. 

Facebook Live Video

If you’re looking for a more spontaneous approach to lead generation, you might want to try Facebook Live Video. Live Video creates a real-time, public stream that your audience can watch on their News Feed. Viewers react and comment on your video as it’s running and you can use this platform as a way to direct prospects to your marketing content.

For example, if you’re partnering with a local celebrity for an upcoming road race, you might ask them to “Go Live” on Facebook and show your followers what they’re doing to prepare for the race. Not only does this give people a behind-the-scenes look at the race prep, but it also gets the word out about your event. 

When you’re video is over, the recording is still available on your Facebook page. That way, people who may have missed the live version can catch the recording later on. 

Photo Albums

Keeping with our road race example, let’s your race when off without a hitch and it was a massive success. Your marketing team was there the entire time taking photos and capturing the most exciting moments from the day. 

But, the marketing team wasn’t just taking photos for fun. They’re planning to repurpose those images as lead generation content on your Facebook page. 

How? For starters, they can post a photo album on your company’s Timeline. This album would show followers how much fun and excitement there was at your race and it would motivate people to sign up for your next one. All you have to do now is include a link to your website in the comments, and you’ll be generating new leads in no time. 

These are just a few ideas for leveraging Facebook for lead generation. Read on for some more ways you can use this platform to generate leads for your business.

12 Ways to Generate Leads on Facebook

Now, let’s dive into some ways you can capture leads, whether they are direct or indirect.

1. Post landing pages for offers directly to Facebook.

One of the best lead generation ideas on Facebook is sending people directly to a landing page containing your offer. (If you don’t have many lead-generating offers yet, read this blog post for ideas.)

When you do this, make sure the offer has a compelling featured image that’s getting pulled into the Facebook post. To ensure Facebook pulls the right image from your blog post into your Facebook posts, you’ll need to optimize the image size and add the proper open graph tags to your website, which you can learn how to do here.

You’ll also want to make sure it’s clear to the reader where you’re sending them. If they think they’re clicking into a blog post and find themselves needing to fill out a form, they could get confused or frustrated.

Use phrases like “Download your ebook” or “Get your cheat sheet” to indicate where you’re sending them and the action they need to take.

Here’s an example from Sprout Social’s Facebook Page, which contains a “Download this toolkit” CTA.

 

In addition to using clear language, you may want to nix the stock photo from that image in favor of your custom image. Even the least design-savvy of marketers can easily create a custom image in PowerPoint or Canva that includes the name of the offer, just like we did in the example below. (Click here to browse through and download our collection of 100 free social media image templates.)

2. Post the blog posts that generate the most leads.

Another way of generating leads from your content is to pick and post the blog posts that generate the most leads. (Learn how to do a blog lead generation analysis here.)

The topic and title of the blog post will intrigue your audience to click and read, and then they’ll find a CTA within that post — preferably high up, near the intro — to either a solution to a problem they’re having or to something they want to learn more about.

Pro Tip: Our social media managers have found they can generate more leads from Facebook by posting blog posts containing anchor text CTAs in the introduction. If you aren’t using anchor text CTAs yet, you may want to read up on the study we did on anchor text CTAs and consider adopting the process yourself. In every post we tracked for that study, the anchor text CTA was responsible for between 47% and 93% of a post’s leads.

Here’s an example of a post from our Facebook page linking to a blog post that includes an anchor text CTA in the introduction:

And here’s that anchor text CTA, indicated by the red arrow. The blog post has a pop-up that prompts readers to download a free report containing more social media stats.

HubSpot Tik Tok Blog Post Facebook Lead Gen

3. Include links to landing pages in your image captions.

Most marketers understand the importance of using visuals like images and videos in their Facebook strategy. For example, Facebook posts with images see a higher engagement rate when compared to those without images.

To turn these higher engagement rates into lead generation opportunities, consider including links to your website in the descriptions for your images — especially your profile picture and cover photo descriptions.

Whether it’s to a blog post, a piece of lead gen content, or just an “About Us” page, links help your audience get to know your company better. And the descriptions of your profile picture and cover photo are prime real estate to do it. That way, any time people view your cover photo directly, they can access the download link.

Make sure you shorten your links and add UTM codes so you can track clicks on them. Shortening and tracking features are available in the HubSpot Marketing Platform and with tools like Bitly.

Here’s an example from Social Media Examiner’s Facebook Page:

facebook-post-showing-link-in-image-caption

4. Use videos to promote lead generation offers.

Facebook’s organic reach dropped to around 5.2% in 2020, a massive dip from 52% in 2016, thanks to the tweaks in Facebook’s algorithm.

Without creating a Facebook ad, it’s almost impossible for your audience to see your content. To get as much engagement as possible, marketers have turned to videos.

Why? For starters, Facebook’s algorithm favors video content. As a result, video posts have an average engagement rate of 0.26%, which is higher than engagement rates of other post types.

So, if you’re trying to increase your lead generation efforts on Facebook, you’ll want to start using videos on your Facebook page to introduce and promote your content, whether they’re offers, events, courses, or something else.

In addition to the text CTA that you can add in the video’s description, you can also include a verbal CTA to “register” or “download,” both earlier in the video and at the very end.

Check out how L.L. Bean used a video to encourage sign-ups for its course:

Here’s another example from us here at HubSpot, in which we used a how-to video to introduce a gated offer:

We’ve also created videos specifically to promote lead generation content as we did here for our career assessment called The Next Five:

5. Use Facebook Live videos to remind people to register.

Videos can be pretty time-intensive to create, not to mention intimidating. But you don’t necessarily have to pull together the time and resources to create a perfectly scripted and edited marketing video to leverage the power of video on Facebook — especially if you’re a small business.

Facebook Live is a feature that allows anyone to broadcast videos from their mobile device straight to their Facebook News Feed. The best part about these live videos is that they’re meant to be a little scrappier and more spontaneous than regular marketing videos — making them more authentic and personal.

So, get the conversation going about your lead generation offers by creating a live video to promote them. You might promote an event by showing the setup live, for example. Or, you might promote an offer by hosting an open Q&A on live video where you interact with Facebook commenters live and on camera.

Just like you’d do with your standard videos, add a verbal CTA to the video in addition to the text CTA. In a live video, though, you’ll want to repeat that CTA even more than you would with a pre-recorded video. Why? Because when you first start live streaming, you may have zero people watching. Even a few seconds in, you could only have a handful of viewers.

As people find your video on their News Feeds, they’ll join in — but that means you’ll want to repeat the CTA a few times to catch people up. You can also add a text CTA in the video’s description.

6. Pin posts that link to lead generation offers to the top of your feed.

Pinning a post to the top of your Page’s Timeline allows you to highlight and showcase what would otherwise be a typical post. It’ll stay at the top of your Timeline for up to seven days, after which it’ll return to the date it was published on your Page’s Timeline.

You can identify a pinned post by an unmistakable “pinned post” marker at the top of the post. Any post you decide to pin should be valuable to your audience and relevant to your online objectives.

Here’s an example from Apttus’ Facebook Page:

apttus-pinned-facebook-post.png

You can pin any type of post, from text to images to videos, even live videos. If you pin a Facebook Live video, that video will simply show up at the top of your profile with the whole recording, indicating that the Page “was live” at a certain point.

Here’s an example of what that looks like from Refinery29’s Facebook Page:

refinery29-facebook-live-pinned-post.png

7. Add a CTA button to your Facebook Page.

Adding a relevant CTA button to your Facebook Page is a crucial lead generation tactic that no marketers will want to miss out on.

Back in late 2014, Facebook added a feature to its business Pages allowing users to place a simple call-to-action button at the top of their Facebook Pages. This button is simple but powerful, and it can help drive more traffic from your Facebook Page to your website — including landing pages, contact sheets, and other lead generation forms. You can learn how to install and use the Facebook CTA button here.

You’ll find you have 17 pre-made button options to choose from. These options include “Sign Up,” “Shop Now,” “Contact Us,” “Book Now,” “Use App,” Watch Video,” and “Play Game.”

Facebook-CTA-buttons

Once you choose a button and link it to a page on your website, it’ll appear up at a fixed location right below your cover photo and to the right.

Facebook-CTA-button-example

While some marketers choose a CTA and keep it the same for weeks and months at a time, consider taking your marketing game a step further and switching up that button — and the web page it links to — to match your team’s and business goals and the campaigns you’re running at the time.

For example, you might align the CTA with your cover photo design and a pinned post around a single campaign

8. Ask for input from your Facebook audience about your products.

You can feed two birds with one scone (as my colleague Carly Stec would say) by posting a status update asking for feedback on your products/services and then linking to a landing page where people try your tool for free.

You’ll encourage sign-ups by linking directly to the landing page, and your followers will love the opportunity to give their two cents.

The obvious risk here is that you’ll be opening up the floodgates for negative commenters, so be selective on the tools and products you post for feedback.

Make sure you’re posting something you’re proud of and ready to receive feedback for. You’ll also want to have at least one or two people prepared to respond to Facebook comments as they roll in — both the positive and the negative.

If you do receive negative feedback, respond as quickly as possible to show you care and prevent them from turning into something more serious. If you get complaints about the product, use the “customer is always right” approach and say you’re sorry.

You’ll get respect from other customers for being upfront. Share your appreciation for folks’ feedback. Finally, ask how you can help — and then actually help. Take notes on the feedback you get and send it to the people who can make things happen.

(This post contains more tips for dealing with negative comments on social media)

9. Run a contest or giveaway.

People love contests and giveaways. Not only are they fun, but they can also teach you a lot about your audience — all the while engaging them, growing your reach, driving traffic to your website, and (drum roll, please) generating leads.

Since your giveaway aims to generate leads, you’ll need to publish posts that include an attractive featured image or video, compelling and straightforward copy, and a link to your giveaway page where they can fill out their details into your lead forms.

Read this post to learn more about running successful social media contests.

(Before you start your Facebook contest, though, make sure you can run it legally by reading through their Page Guidelines. Facebook has cracked down on contests due to liability issues, so read through their strict rules ahead of time.)

Below is an example from Zeamo’s Facebook Page:

Zeamo Facebook Contest

And here’s another example, this time from Yoplait. It promoted its contest using a video to get more visibility on folks’ News Feeds. And you can tell the contest was a success considering the amount of engagement the post received.

Yoplait-Facebook Contest

You could also extend your giveaways throughout other platforms like Instagram and Twitter.

10. Create a Facebook event page for your next webinar.

While sharing landing pages with dedicated content offerings are effective, webinars are another great format for capturing leads. While you can promote your webinar’s sign-up form by posting them to your business Timeline. Another way to spread the word is by creating a Facebook Event with a separate registration page on your website.

Once you invite someone to a Facebook Event, you can encourage them to register on a separate page, where they’ll become a lead. In terms of reaching new audiences, Facebook Events are also more visible than standard posts on the News Feed.

HubSpot Facebook Event

Facebook also added new features that help businesses promote their events and see how they’re performing. For example, you can create ads for the desktop and mobile News Feed that boost awareness of events and drive responses.

Facebook event example

Image Source

If you host events and webinars often, you can also use the Events tab on your Facebook page to share with your followers in a single view. That way, people visiting your page can scroll through your upcoming events and webinars. (If you don’t see the tab on your Page, click “Manage Tabs” at the bottom of your tabs and reorder them, so Events is one of the first to appear.) Read this blog post for more tips on hosting great webinars.

11. Run targeted ads to extend your content’s reach.

One of the best things Facebook can do for your business is to expand your reach to new audiences by running a targeted ad campaign for lead generation.

Thanks to Facebook’s very sophisticated targeting options, you create ads that target people based on their location, age, gender, interests — and even the things they do off Facebook.

There are three overarching formats for Facebook ads that I’ll cover here: boosted posts, right-hand column ads, and News Feed ads.

The main distinction here is the placement of the ad and the amount of writing and size of images they allow.

  1. Boosted Post: This is Facebook’s way of letting marketers turn otherwise regular Facebook posts into ads by “boosting” them. The post will show organically to some users, but to get better reach, the admin will press “boost” (shown only to admins, not to other users) to deliver to a larger number of fans and targets you can select ahead of time.
  2. Right-Hand Column Ads: This is the most traditional ad placement used to turn a user into a Facebook lead. The ad usually appears on the right side of a user’s News Feed. We often see less expensive clicks and conversions when using these ads, along with more advanced testing options.
  3. News Feed Ads: These appear directly in a user’s News Feed and look more like native advertising, although you can also add a small CTA button. They’re part of a tactic called “dark posts,” which means using News Feed-style ads that don’t get published to the News Feed of your Page. In our experience, these ads have a higher engagement rate than right-hand column ads (which makes your Page look super healthy), but they can also be more expensive.

While we won’t go too much more in-depth on Facebook advertising (download our Facebook advertising ebook if you want to learn more), here are two examples of Facebook ads in users’ News Feeds. This first one is a boosted post that targets people based on their Facebook connections:

infusion-soft-facebook-ad.png

This second one is a News Feed ad, which lets you add a CTA button to the post — in this case, “Sign Up.” These CTAs are only available for News Feed ads.

uber-facebook-ad.png

Whatever the kind of ads you want to create for lead generation, you can always use HubSpot’s ad software to manage your ads from Facebook and other social media channels within your HubSpot CRM.

12. Run lead ads to simplify the mobile signup process.

As if Facebook’s addition of CTA buttons to its link ads wasn’t exciting enough, it added an entirely new feature called lead ads in 2015, which lets users sign up for lead-generating offers and content without leaving Facebook.

Facebook created lead ads specifically to simplify the mobile sign-up process by creating instant forms that make it super easy for mobile users to fill out their contact details.

Why? Because the forms will auto-populate instead of mobile users having to pinch-and-zoom and type into tiny form fields. When you click on a lead ad, a form opens with your contact information automatically populated based on what you’ve shared with Facebook already, like name and email address.

Talk about solving for a form of friction. Of course, you can edit your contact information before you click “Submit.”

Facebook signup mobile example

Image Source

We won’t detail how to create lead ads here because we already have a guide that talks about how you can make them.

How do you extract the leads you get from lead ads? If you’re a HubSpot customer, you can integrate Facebook Lead Ads directly with your HubSpot account.

If you’re not a HubSpot customer, you can export a CSV straight from your Facebook Page, download them from Ads Manager or Power Editor, or request it directly through the API.

We hope you found these ideas for ways you can generate leads from Facebook helpful. Remember, though, that Facebook is constantly changing. While the ideas here are a solid start for success, nothing beats testing each strategy for your audience.

generate leads with facebook

Reblogged 15 hours ago from blog.hubspot.com

Are You Ready to Sell Like QVC?

“I didn’t even know QVC still existed,” more than one of my marketing colleagues has responded when I’ve pointed to the 35-year-old home shopping empire as the way of the future.

The truth is, I’d probably be sleeping on QVC, too, if it weren’t for my Irish ancestry having drawn me to their annual St. Patrick’s Day sales event for the past 30+ years to enjoy their made-in-Ireland product lineup.

About seven times more people with Irish roots live in the United States than on the actual island of Ireland, yet the shopping channel’s holiday broadcast is one of the few televised events tailored to our famous nostalgia for our old country home. My family tunes in every March for the craic of examining Aran Crafts sweaters, Nicholas Mosse pottery, Belleek china, and Solvar jewelry, while munching on cake made from my great-grandmother Cotter’s recipe. Sometimes we get so excited, we buy things, but for the past few years, I’ve mainly been actively studying how QVC sells these items with such stunning success.

“Stunning” is the word and the wakeup call

QVC, which is a subsidiary of Quarate Retail International, generated $11.47 billion in 2020 and as early as 2015, nearly half of those sales were taking place online — consistently placing the brand in the top 10 for e-commerce sales, including mobile sales. The company has 16.5 million consolidated customers worldwide, and marketers’ mouths will surely water to learn that 90% of QVC’s revenue comes from loyal repeat shoppers. The average QVC shopper makes between 22-25 purchases per year!

Figures like these, paired with QVC’s graceful pas de deux incorporating both TV remotes and mobile devices should command our attention long enough to study what they’ve done and how they’ve done it.

“Enjoy visiting Ireland, but buy your sweaters on QVC!”

While supplies last, I want to invite you to spend the next 10 minutes watching this Internet rebroadcast of a televised segment selling an Aran Crafts sweater, with your marketer’s eye on the magic happening in it. Watch this while imagining how it might translate as a static product or service video for a brand you’re marketing.

TL;DW? Here’s the breakdown of how QVC sells:

Main host

QVC hosts are personalities, many of whom have devoted fan bases. They’re trained in the products they sell, often visiting manufacturing plants to school themselves. When on air, the host juggles promoting a product and interacting with models, guest hosts, callers, and off-screen analysts. The host physically interacts with the product, highlights its features in abundant detail, and makes their sales pitch.

For our purposes, digital marketers are fully aware of the phenomenon of social influencers taking on celebrity status and being sought after as sales reps. At a more modest scale, small e-commerce companies (or any local business) that’s adopted digital sales models should identify one or more staff members with the necessary talents to become a video host for the brand.

You’ll need a spot of luck to secure relatable hosts. Just keep in mind that QVC’s secret formula is to get the viewer to ask, “Is this me?”, and that should help you match a host to your audience. This example of a nicely-done, low-key, densely-detailed presentation of a camping chair by a plainspoken host shows how simple and effective a short product video can be.

Guest hosts

Many QVC segments feature a representative from the brand associated with the product being sold. In our example, the guest host from Aran Crafts is a member of her family’s business, signing in remotely (due to the pandemic) to share the company’s story and build romance around the product.

Depending on the model you’re marketing, having a rep from any brand you resell would be an extra trust signal to convey via video sales. Think of the back-and-forth chat in a podcast and you’re almost there. Small retailers just reselling big brands may face a challenge here, but if you have a good portion of inventory from smaller companies and specialty or local manufacturers, definitely invite them to step in front of the camera with your host, as higher sales will benefit you both.

Models

Frequently, sales presentations include one or more models further interacting with the product. In our example, models are wearing these Irish sweaters while strolling around Ashford Castle. More romance.

Other segments feature models as subjects of various cosmetic treatments or as demonstrators of how merchandise is to be used. Models and demonstrators used to be standard in major American department stores. QVC brilliantly televised this incredible form of persuasion at about the same time it disappeared from real-world shopping in the US. Their sales figures prove just how huge the desire still is to see merchandise worn and used before buying.

For our scenario of creating online sales videos, such models could be a convincing extra in selling certain types of products, and many products should be demonstrated by the host or guest host. One thing I’ve not seen QVC do that I think e-commerce and O2O local brands definitely could do is a UGC approach of making your customer your model, demoing how they use your products in their real-world lives. Almost everybody can film themselves these days.

Callers

There are no live callers in our example, but QVC traditionally increases interactivity with the public with on-air phone calls.

If your sales videos are static, you’re not quite to the point of having to learn the art of handling live calls, but your product support phone and SMS numbers and links should be featured in every video.

Method

“If you go up there with the intent to sell, it’s all going to come crashing down around you…The real goal of QVC…. was to feel like a conversation between the host, the product specialist (us), and ‘Her’ – the woman age 35 to 65 who is sitting at home watching television.” – I went on air at QVC and sold something to America

There’s an element of magic to how QVC vends such a massive volume of products, but it’s all data-based. They’ve invested so heavily in understanding customer demographics that they’ve mastered exactly how to sell to them. Your consumer base may be totally different, but the key is to know your customer so well that you understand the exact approach to take when offering them your inventory of goods and services.

Another excerpt from the article cited above really gets this point across when talking about guest hosts:

“Our experienced guests tend to focus on the product. But our best guests are focused on the viewer. Is this for the viewer? Everything goes through that filter. And if you do that, everything comes out more naturally.”

Here at Moz, there may be Whiteboard Friday hosts you especially enjoy learning from. As a business owner or marketer, your job will be to identify talented people who can blend your brand culture with consumer research and translate that into a form of vending infotainment that succeeds with your particular shoppers. Successful QVC hosts make upwards of $500,000 a year for being so good at what they do.

Being good, in the sweater sample, means pairing QVC’s customer-centric, conversational selling method with USPs and an aura of scarcity. I’ll paraphrase the cues I heard:

  • “These sweaters are made exclusively for QVC” — a USP regarding rarity.

  • “Enjoy visiting Ireland, but buy your sweaters on QVC” — this is a strong USP based on having better prices than a traveler would find if buying direct from the manufacturer.

  • “Reviews read like a love letter to this sweater” — incorporating persuasive UGC into the pitch.

  • “Half of our supply is already gone; don’t wait to order if you want one of these” —- this creates a sense of urgency to prompt customers to buy right away.

Analytics

The example presentation probably looked quite seamless and simple to you. But what’s actually going on “behind the scenes” of a QVC sales segment is that the host is receiving earpiece cues on exactly how to shape the pitch.

QVC’s analytics track what’s called a “feverline” of reaction to each word the host says and each movement they make. Producers can tell in real time which verbal signals and gestures are causing sales spikes, and communicate to the host to repeat them. One host, for example, dances repeatedly while demoing food products because more customers buy when he does so.

For most of the brands you market, you’re not likely to be called upon to deliver analytical data on par with QVC’s mission control-style setup, but you will want to learn about video analytics and do A/B testing to measure performance of product pages with video vs. those with static images. As you progress, analytics should be able to tell you which hosts, guests, and products are yielding the best ROI.

Three O2O advantages

In a large 2020 survey of local business owners and marketers, Moz found that more than half of respondents intend to maintain pandemic-era services of convenience beyond the hoped-for end of COVID-19. I’d expect this number to be even higher if we reran the survey in mid-2021. Online-to-offline shopping falls in this category and readers of my column know I’m always looking for advantages specific to local businesses.

I see three ways local brands have a leg up on their virtual e-commerce cousins, including behemoths like Amazon and even QVC:

1. Limited local competition = better SERP visibility

Screenshot of the Available Nearby filter in Google Shopping.

Virtual e-commerce brands have to compete against a whole country or the world for SERP visibility. Google Shopping’s “available nearby” filter cuts your market down to local map-size, making it easier to capture the attention of customers nearest your business. If you’re one of the only local brands supporting sales of your goods and services via videos on your website, you’re really going to stand out in the cities you serve.

2. Limited local inventory = more convincing authenticity

QVC is certainly an impressive enterprise, but one drawback of their methodology, at least in my eyes, is that their hosts have to be endlessly excited about millions of products. The same host who is exuding enthusiasm one minute over an electric toothbrush is breathless with admiration over a flameless candle the next. While QVC’s amazingly loyal customers are clearly not put off by the bottomless supply of energy over every single product sold, I find I don’t quite believe that the joy is continuously genuine. In my recognition of the sales pitch tactics, the company feels big and remote to me.

70% of Americans say they want to shop small. Your advantage in marketing a local business is that it will have limited inventory and an owner and staff who can realistically convey authenticity to the video viewer about products the business has hand-selected to sell. A big chain supermarket wants me to believe all of its apples are crisp, but my local farmer telling me in a product video that this year’s crop is crisper than last year’s makes a world of believable difference.

3. Even a small boost in conversions = a big difference for local brands

Backlinko recently compiled this list of exciting video marketing statistics that I hope you’ll read in full. I want to excerpt a few that really caught my eye:

  • 84% of consumers cite video as the convincing factor in purchases

  • Product videos can help e-commerce stores increase sales by up to 144%

  • 96% of people have watched an explainer video to better understand a product they’re evaluating

  • The Local Search Association found that 53% of people contact a business after watching one of their videos and 71% of people who made a purchase had watched an online video from that brand

  • Including filmed content on an e-commerce page can increase the average order value by 50+%

  • Video on a landing page can grow its conversion rate by up to 80%

If the company you’re promoting is one of the only ones in your local market to seize the opportunities hinted at by these statistics, think of what a difference it would make to see conversions (including leads and sales) rise by even a fraction of these numbers. Moreover, if the standout UX and helpfulness of the “v-commerce” environment you create makes you memorable to customers, you could grow local loyalty to new levels as the best resource in a community, generating a recipe for retention that, if not quite as astonishing as QVC’s, is pretty amazing for your region.

Go n-éirí leat — good luck!

Photo of a four leaf clover.

Like you, I’m longing for the time when all customers can safely return to shopping locally in-person, but I do agree with fellow analysts predicting that the taste we’ve gotten for the convenience of shipping and local home delivery, curbside pickup, and tele-meetings is one that consumers won’t simply abandon.

Sales videos tackle one of digital marketing’s largest challenges by letting customers see people interacting with products when they can’t do it themselves, and 2021 is a good year to begin your investigation of this promising medium. My top tip is to spend some time this week watching QVC on TV and examining how they’ve parlayed live broadcasts into static product videos that sell inventory like hotcakes on their website. I’m wishing you the luck and intrepidity of the Irish in your video ventures!

Ready to learn more about video marketing? Try these resources:

Need to learn more about local search marketing before you start filming yourself and your products? Read The Essential Local SEO Strategy Guide.

Reblogged 22 hours ago from feedproxy.google.com

What SEO elements are most important? Plus, a HUGE announcement; Monday’s daily brief

And don’t miss Search Engine Land’s updated PPC guide

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 1 day ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

The Ultimate Guide to Viral Campaigns

  

“He once ran a marathon because it was on his way. Sharks have a week dedicated to him. Mosquitoes refuse to bite him purely out of respect.”

Have you heard of him before? Yes, he’s “The Most Interesting Man in the World”— a fictional character that drinks Dos Equis beer and stars in the company’s viral commercials.

The commercials — which make me laugh every time — are part advertisement, part comedy skit and have a similar theme so fans always know when they’re watching a Dos Equis advertisement.

The company targets its audience of sophisticated beer drinkers in an engaging, creative, and humorous way through TV, social media, and YouTube. The unique campaign created fans around the world that helped spread it across multiple platforms, so much so that people even dress up as the commercial’s main character for Halloween

Dos Equis may not have been 100% sure that their campaign would take off the way it did, but they had a good idea about its potential popularity. 

Similarly, there is no guaranteed way to ensure your content goes viral, but there are certain steps you can take to give your marketing campaign the best chance at success.

 

Many marketers hope for a campaign to go viral — meaning it’s recognized, widely-accepted, and influential. But there’s no guaranteed formula. However, if you think about some of your favorite viral marketing campaigns, you’ll notice some common features. Marketers wanting to reach a bigger audience should keep these attributes in mind when creating their next campaign:

1. It appeals to a target audience.

A successful viral marketing campaign considers the target audience. For any campaign to go viral, it needs to resonate with the audience and make them feel so strongly about your content that they decide to share it with their family, friends, and followers.

Determine who your target audience is in the earliest stages of your campaign creation. To achieve this, ask questions such as: Who do I want to connect with? What content would they feel passionate about? What are their hopes, dreams, and values? Why would they care about my campaign? What will can I do to make them want to share my content with their social network?

2. It has a strong visual strategy.

Viral marketing campaigns require a visual strategy — this guides potential customers to understand your brand through the use of images.

A campaign should tell a story and that story is best told using visual elements that resonate with your audience. Your visual strategy needs to be compatible with your brand and target audience — it should be interesting, informative, and contain some element of intrigue, such as humor or hope.

3. It’s highly creative.

Think about your favorite viral marketing campaign. What sets it apart from others?

Marketing campaigns don’t go viral unless they have a unique, interesting, and innovative idea behind them — your campaign needs to be something new and attention-grabbing.

4. It has emotional appeal. 

Have you seen the Dove Real Beauty Sketches campaign? It makes you feel frustrated, insecure, strong, and confident in just a few minutes.

Each commercial shows a person sitting behind a curtain describing their appearance while an artist — who cannot see them — draws their portrait. After the individual is done describing his or her features and the portrait is complete, the curtain is removed. The artist then draws a second portrait of the individual based off what they actually see.

After the second portrait is finished, the artist places the two drawings next to each other. As you can probably imagine, the portrait derived from the individual’s self-description is less attractive than what the artist draws in the second portrait.

In fact, in each video throughout the campaign, the portrait that the artist creates is a much brighter and more realistic depiction of the individual. This is a message about self-esteem and the beauty within all of us.

The campaign went viral because of its relatability and emotional appeal. You need to make your audience feel something — otherwise, why would they want to share your content?

5. It’s easy to share and promote.

Thanks to the internet and social media, sharing and promoting your content with the rest of the world is pretty simple. You don’t need huge sums of money to produce successful photo or video content that can be consumed by the greater population. 

For something to actually go viral, it needs to be shared over and over again. This means you and your company need to share the content first in as many places — and in as many ways — as possible. Then, you need to make it easy for your audience to share it as well.

Enable sharing, embedding, and downloading capabilities on all of your content so your viewers can tag their parents on Facebook, message their best friends on Instagram, or download your video so they can easily turn your content into a memorable GIF. Create calls-to-action or elements that encourage people to send it to their friends. 

Think about asking a celebrity to promote your content if an influencer would fit with your overall message and add value to your campaign. For example, viewers may find your insurance commercial more entertaining and share-worthy if Peyton Manning or Brad Paisley are singing.

6. It’s published at the right time.

You should also consider the date and time that you share your content. Marketers use major holidays — such as Christmas — as well as major events, like the presidential race and the Super Bowl, to their advantage.

More people are scrolling through their social media feeds, watching TV, and keeping up with current events during these times which causes marketers to spend more money on their campaigns. 

Similarly, anyone who uses a platform like Instagram knows what I’m talking about when I say the date and time of your posts matter.

For example, if you post on a Saturday at 8 p.m., most people are out at dinner, seeing a movie, or just hanging out with friends — meaning they are most likely not browsing their newsfeed … at least not as much as they do on Tuesdays

After all of this sharing and promoting, you need to wait and see whether or not people latch onto your content. If so, you could have created a viral campaign. If not, you may have to try again.

Read this blog to learn about the reasons why some older campaigns stand the test of time.

The Advantages of Viral Marketing Campaigns

Creating a viral marketing campaign isn’t an easy or predictable achievement. But if your campaign does go viral, it can mean thousands or even millions of new people being introduced to your brand and buying your products — money in the bank!

For example, the Dollar Shave Club’s campaign video went viral, which made them a household name. They were then acquired by Unilever for $1 billion — not bad.

Here are a few more advantages of producing viral content:

1. They can build your brand.

When a marketing campaign goes viral, your audience automatically learns about your company, products, services, and brand. This includes people who may not have ever heard about your company otherwise. This is how some small companies make their “big break” and how large companies stay relevant.

2. They don’t require a large budget.

Some of the most successful viral content is created on a low budget. These days, individuals and companies of any size can film high-quality video and take professional-looking photos all on an iPhone.

Many content creators, or people who simply upload a random video, have found themselves become famous almost overnight. It’s not about the resources and budget — it’s all about what catches the attention of the internet. Marketers don’t always need a large-scale production with a celebrity to make their campaign funny, surprising, relatable, or informational. 

Fun fact:Jonathan Goldsmith, the man behind the “Most Interesting Man in the World” commercials, had only done a few gigs prior getting his big break when the campaign went viral. 

3. They get your brand in front of a new (and larger) audience.

Campaigns are considered “viral” when they have a large reach. Companies may experience an increase in sales, greater engagement on social media, and a boost in conversation about their brand and products.

This is exactly what happened for Smart Water when they brought Jennifer Aniston on board for their campaign in 2012. The video has over 6 million views on YouTube, and their humorous campaigns have done so well with the public that Aniston was featured in them through 2017.

3 of the Most Famous Viral Campaigns

Now that we have reviewed the features of successful viral campaigns and how to launch one yourself, let’s dive into some of the most popular viral campaigns ever created.

Old Spice: “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like”

Old Spice found that women are the ones to purchase men’s personal hygiene products, so they created an ad that spoke directly to this audience.

The “Old Spice Man” talks directly to the audience in a bold, confident, and humorous way. He tells women that anything is possible when your man uses Old Spice — all while he sails the ocean shirtless, turns sports tickets into diamonds, and rides a white horse on the beach.

This campaign went viral because … well … humor works. It was so successful that it even increased sales for the brand. The commercial has received over 55 million views on YouTube, won an Emmy for Outstanding Commercial at the Creative Arts Primetime Emmy Awards, and won the Film Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival.

ALS: “Ice Bucket Challenge”

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge began four years ago and was created to raise awareness for the debilitating disease. For the challenge, you had to pour ice cold water over your entire body and then nominate a friend to do the same. This became a movement that raised $115 million in the summer of 2014 alone. Because … who doesn’t want to watch a family member or friend pour freezing cold water on their head?

Celebrities from around the world started participating, challenging their famous friends, donating, and raising awareness. There was an Ice Bucket Challenge hashtag that gained popularity allowing for the videos to spread easily over multiple social media channels.

Most importantly — the challenge is fun and makes participants feel like a part of a bigger movement, which is why it remains relevant years later.

Always “#LikeAGirl”

This video became a major hit because it directly addressed how phrases that are so commonly used can be detrimental to someone’s self image and confidence. In the video, various men, women, and young boys are asked to “run like a girl” or “fight like a girl”. Then young girls are asked to do the same, with a very different approach: They show strength and confidence in their movements. 

It made viewers recognize how quickly we use female-oriented phrases as insults, and that doing something #LikeAGirl should be seen as inspiring and brave. 

The original TV commercial that came out in 2014 has over 65-million views on Youtube, and the hashtag — #LikeAGirl — remains popular today.

For more great examples of viral video marketing campaigns, check out this blog.

Conclusion

There is no roadmap for making your content “go viral.” You can review what has been successful in the past and try to emulate this, but ultimately, it’s about creating great content that connects with your audience and makes them want to share it. Do this, and you just might find that your brand is the one everyone is talking about. 

Reblogged 1 day ago from blog.hubspot.com

TikTok will no longer censor 'Asian women' in its automatic captions

TikTok will no longer censor 'Asian women' in its automatic captions

TikTok no longer considers “Asian women” a dirty phrase. The video sharing app has fixed an issue that censored the term in its automatic captions, saying that it was an “error.”

TikTok introduced automatic captions in early April, testing it in the U.S. and Japan with the intent to eventually roll it out more widely. This helpful new feature automatically detects and transcribes what video creators are saying, providing captions they can then review and edit for accuracy. Captions are a vital accessibility tool for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, and are also generally appreciated by anyone scrolling through their For You page without earbuds.  Read more…

More about Censorship, Tiktok, Social Media, and Social Media Companies

Reblogged 2 days ago from feeds.mashable.com