What Social Listening Really Is

Social Listening: not the most glamorous of marketing buzzwords but an important one nonetheless. The rise in demand for measurable ROI for social media has produced the need for a more effective and meaningful approach to social media strategy. The practice of simply posting to a social platform, while never really effective but yet commonly used, is no longer acceptable. With the ever-increasing expectation of more personalized content and the fight for consumer’s attention and engagement, social listening gives marketers a direct link to the opinions, views, and needs that matter most throughout the development process:

1)   Industry Landscape: Before developing a campaign or strategy, it is important to have a firm understanding of what is being said not only about your brand but your industry as a whole. Who are the players in the space? The consumer favorites? What are important factors in purchase and loyalty? Are there any consistent complaints, compliments, or trends?  It is also important to monitor how different types of content, promotions, and campaigns have been received. Social listening can provide insights to these questions in addition to showing who is talking and where the conversations are happening.

2)   Strategy: Knowledge is power when it comes to developing an effective strategy. Understanding the landscape allows teams to identify the kind of content, programs, and promotions their target market wants to see as well as the best platform to reach them on. Perhaps you are looking for car model enthusiasts; are they on social media or forums? Fashionistas, maybe blogs and Instagram are your best bet. Designing content and placement based on known preferences increases the likelihood of interest and engagement by the target market.

3)   Monitor Response: Direct access to consumer conversations is a major benefit of social listening. Gaining feedback on how content is received allows for adjustments to be made in current campaigns as well as provides guidance in strategy development for future projects.

By finding where their customers are talking, what they’re talking about, and what they want to see brands are able to tailor their campaigns, budget spends, and content to fit the desires of their target market. Social listening effectively delivers those insights providing leverage for brands as they develop successful campaigns.

Want to know more about social listening? Let Branch Creative Network be your guide in the digital world. 

How Do We Create All That Content?

It is no secret that content marketing has become one of the hottest topics in marketing with brands across industries racing to find ways to capitalize. With ever increasing competition for consumer's attention and disposable income, the need to connect on a personal level has become an important factor in marketing strategy. Content marketing combines traditional principles of lead nurturing with a level of personalization by utilizing advanced data and sophisticated online channels and tactics for delivery. When planned and executed properly, it is both effective and cost-efficient. However, content marketing often has a major stumbling block  that most every CMO and marketing manager is familiar with:

How do we create all that content?

Great question. And there’s no getting around the fact that a great content marketing strategy requires great content - and a lot of it. At the end of the day, you, your marketing team, and/or your agency partner will need to develop and optimize content and keep it fresh for your prospects, customers, and search engines. It’s a lot of work, but you can save significant time and resources by being smart with your existing data and leveraging social media. Here are a few tips to get started:

1. Inventory Your Content — One of the most obvious but frequently overlooked steps in content marketing is inventorying available online and offline content. No matter the subject, format (e.g. white paper, brochure, video etc.), or source (e.g. online or offline), much of your existing content can likely be refreshed to fit into your new strategy. Before you start developing new content, be sure to see what’s already available. A few copy and SEO updates are far more cost-efficient than starting from scratch on a new piece of content. 

2. Do Your Research — You wouldn’t start work on a new product without understanding the market, would you? The same should be true of content marketing: in order to be effective, you have to know your audience. That means leading with market research. A small investment in research such as consumer surveys and focus groups as well as persona development can save you significant time, resources, and energy developing content tailored to each audience. This approach is perhaps even more important in content marketing than other channels given its highly personalized nature. A thorough and detailed understanding of your audience’s decision-makers and influencers can mean the difference between advancing a lead to the next step of the funnel, or losing them forever.

3. Listen to Social Channels — Especially near the top of the funnel, content marketing is all about positioning content that is most relevant and engaging to your target audience. Beyond the market research mentioned previously, there’s no better way to see at-a-glance what kind of content is resonating with your audience than monitoring their social media activity. By monitoring the social activity of your high-value customers, you can develop a better understanding of what motivates sharing and positive sentiment by your target prospects. Interests, even topics seemingly unrelated to your brand or products, can be applied in creating compelling content that drives market engagement.

No matter the industry, the ability to connect with consumers on a personalized level delivers a greater percentage of quality leads and sustainable relationships. If implemented correctly, content marketing is an effective tool for grabbing consumer's attention and convincing them to stay and chat a while

Have any other tips for developing content? Let us hear them!

3 Facts About the Female Car Buyer

Automakers serious about long-term success need to adapt their marketing and customer experience strategies to the values and preferences of female consumers.

Automakers serious about long-term success need to adapt their marketing and customer experience strategies to the values and preferences of female consumers.

Are car companies missing an opportunity among female consumers? Recent data suggests they are: according to separate studies by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute and the National Automobile Dealers Association, while female drivers now outnumber their male counterparts (105.7 million to 104.3 million), men represent 91% of salespeople at franchised car dealerships.

No matter how you want to look at it, that's a serious disconnect - especially when you consider the following 3 facts:

1. Women are extremely influential in the car-buying process 

On paper, J.D. Power estimates that women accounted for up to 39% of car purchases in 2013. However, automakers have long understood the behind-the-scenes influence women hold on the final decision. The Wall Street Journal's A.J. Baime reports that Carlos Ghosn, president and CEO of Nissan Motor Co., recently stated that women are "making the final decision on more than 60% of new car purchases."

2. Women account for a majority of the powerful Millennial market

For both size and purchase power, the Millennial market has the automotive industry salivating. And women account for 53% of that market.

3. Women take a different approach than men to the car-buying process

Women aren't just buying (or at least influencing the decision to buy) new cars, though. They're buying them in different ways, focusing on different values and using different tools. As opposed to men, who've traditionally relied on expert reviews, recent research indicates that women are more likely to "crowd-source" reviews via social media, and consult peer-to-peer sites like AskPatty.com and Women-Drivers.com

"[Social media] give women a voice that can impact brands like no other time in history." - Jody DeVere, CEO, AskPatty.com

What do you think? What brands have been most successful adapting their marketing strategies to women car buyers? Let us know in the comments below!