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Introducing Native Social Video for Monetizing Your Social Channels

Introducing Native Social Video for Monetizing Your Social Channels

In today’s digital world, monetizing your audience takes more than focusing on the readers that hit your homepage. With more and more publisher traffic originating from social media sites like Facebook, there’s a clear need for fresh, innovative strategies. That’s why we’re excited to announce our Native Social Video offering, which allows our publisher partners to utilize social media traffic to build a new, video-based revenue stream.

During its first few months in beta, Native Social Video content generated over 100 million views, 500,000 shares, 400,000  likes, and more than $1M in gross sales — clear signs that there is high demand for snackable videos featuring engaging products.

By creating these videos at scale, we’ve successfully helped partners with large Facebook followings that historically struggled to directly monetize their rapidly growing social audiences. By utilizing our platform in addition to their own audience insights to drive on-site impressions and purchases via social video, Native Social Video’s launch partners have seen video commerce increase their total commerce-related revenue over 20%. Users have purchased over 30,000 products as direct result.

“Fresh monetization solutions are critical for the future of publishing, and digital publishers need to be open to utilizing e-commerce in completely new ways” said Ben Gafni, VP of Business Development. “Driving revenue through social commerce — in particular, the way we’re doing so through video — is poised to be a huge trend for publishers in 2017. By creating engaging product videos specifically for social, we’re helping publishers to monetize an increasingly mobile, and ad-averse, readership.”

We’re rapidly rolling out social video commerce across our network. To read more, see our official press release.

Social Commerce: 3 Essential Ingredients for Selling on Social Media

Social Commerce: 3 Essential Ingredients for Selling on Social Media

Social media is everywhere. It may have started as a way to connect people, but it’s evolved into so much more. It’s quickly become an undeniable cornerstone of commerce. You don’t think so? Think again.

Celebrities are selling Facebook posts on a per click basis, viral videos usually feature some sort of product placement, and let’s not even get started on the web arbitrage model. But how can you effectively incorporate commerce into your social media strategy without turning off your followers?

The first step to working commerce into social media is creating great content. It’s been said before and it’ll be said again, content is king. Remember the days when a simple post linking to a deal page garnered tons of clicks? The glory days. Unfortunately for social media managers, consumers now recognize ads disguised as content from a mile away.

Audiences know ads and they don’t want them. So step one – stop trying to sell so hard. Sell smarter, better, and always alongside entertainment or editorial value. Consumers want stories – they want narratives, they want “the why” not the “what” – and they most definitely don’t want clickbait.

Products sell on social channels when the content has three things: speed, value, and nuance. Let’s break it down:

  • Speed – Get the information out fast. No one wants to read for more than 10 secs or watch a video for more than 30 – so keep it short and sweet.
  • Value – What is the product and how will it add value to the reader’s life? Really speak to your readers as friends and make sure they are truly getting something out of each post. This authenticity will not be missed, and will build trust in your audience.
  • Nuance – Pick products that are: unique, interesting, funny or discounted. What’s the angle? Your readers don’t want to be just another victim of retargeting, they want to discover something worth discovering.

If you can add these three elements to what you’re sharing on social media, your audience will listen. Create content with these elements – and lots of it. Not every piece of content you create is going to resonate, but the more quality content you create, the better.

One easy way to create content fast is live streaming. With Facebook integrating live videos, it’s easier than ever to create instant content. You’ll also benefit from real-time commenting as a medium for conversing with your audience. Live video is humanizing. It gives your brand a face (or faces) and creates a conversation in real time. Consumers feel less like they’re being sold to, and more like they’re speaking to a friend.

Incorporating commerce into social media is by no means easy – the space is constantly changing and extremely unpredictable. The key is to keep trying new ideas; staying stagnant is never the answer. You might fail a lot, but just remember to fail fast and keep trying.

 

Why Social Media Can’t Save You (But Your Brand Needs It)

Why Social Media Can’t Save You (But Your Brand Needs It)

Data rules the day. Facebook and Google are thriving, because they study the habits and preferences of their users and play directly to them with advertisements. Do you follow the transaction trail your customer leaves, with direct email offers within their buying ecosystem? Data analysis and specialized customer service are absolutely everything in a world where commercial access is now ubiquitous in the developed world.

How thick of a security buffer are your Facebook followers or YouTube views? Slippery statistics in an ever-shifting algorithm aren’t success guarantees of any kind, regardless of the numbers. Your core functionality must be vivacious; in E-Commerce, social media alone will not serve a buoy in the high seas of change amid technological progress. The numbers can be (and often are) faked, and every few years we switch platforms and start counting all over again.

It is your fans, your readership, your customers who own your business. If they lose interest, if you stop producing in accordance with their needs you wither on the vine of missed opportunity and poor planning. Knowing your target audience and reaching them with an inspiring, engaging dialogue is vital to your success. Consistency is absolutely essential in delivering a comprehensive world in which your customer can find an engaging and comfortable place to explore – and keep exploring.

Your business relies on knowing who your fans are and how to reach them, but the same applies in the inverse. Don’t overload them – instead, play the notes they want to hear. How is your email strategy geared toward specific readers/buyers? A scattershot one-size-fits-all method will not yield the results that focal targeting can. Are you regularly updating a blog, to keep readers up to date on happenings around the office and culture periphery as related to your company?

If not, today is the day to begin.

Most of your fans are not vocal, but if you can inspire the few who are, they will not just click or tweet or explore your e-mails with an open minds – they’ll be satellite hubs of awareness in their support for your efforts. Stand for something. Bring the public into your world and give the effort a greater meaning. You’ll be surprised by the engagement, goodwill and meaningful brand recognition a partner charity cause can inspire. In the coming weeks, StackCommerce will outline the framework of our partnership with Creative Commons, a non-profit organization devoted to expanding the range of creative works available for others to build upon legally and to share.

Building Brand Loyalty Through Social Media: 6 Essentials

Building Brand Loyalty Through Social Media: 6 Essentials

All brands need instant-recognition visibility to thrive, and developing a loyal customer base is essential as our engagement options expand and attention spans are whittled down. If a business lacks a strategy to establish not just brand presence and loyalty but consistency, it’s not going to succeed – it’s that simple.

Social media is a defining factor in brand perception through the eyes of your target audience. As I mentioned in our 8 Key Points in E-Commerce & Social Marketing post, Americans now spend upwards of 5.6 hours a day online, with 3 or more hours dedicated specifically to social networks. With this nearly-constant online engagement, opportunities to establish brand loyalty are virtually endless – but a widespread strategy is key.

Social Media Engagement IS Advertising – Act Accordingly

Do you remember the last time you clicked a banner ad, or ignored YouTube’s “skip ad” option to watch an entire minute-long commercial before your desired video? We’ve all been annoyed by these digital billboards messing up the view, and as with billboards in the physical world, we have trained our eyes to ignore them. Meanwhile, advertiser spending is expected to exceed $14 billion by 2018.

Advertising blind spots are real, and as a rule what has worked in the past is likely to offer diminishing returns in the future as readers wise up to the absent value of clickbait-hooks. Direct reader engagement through social media is one key solution in not only developing a new relationship between marketing and readership, but to establish an exchange of information on both sides of the publish button. Polls, contests, giveaways and user-generated content initiatives are reflex methods brands should be actively testing across social platforms to offset reader fatigue from more traditional advertising strategies.

Champion Your Own Efforts

There has never been a better time for a brand to trumpet its socially responsible efforts, resulting in a halo effect for the company. Establish your brand through a compassionate lens, partnering with charities, philanthropic organizations and beyond, and wear those associations on your marketing sleeve. Utilize socially-conscious hashtags users can regularly return to and even share as a means of measuring your brand’s dedication to the greater good.

Custom Platform, Custom Voice – With Consistent Identity

Audiences interact differently on Twitter than on Facebook, Instagram and so on, and engagement triggers vary across platforms. While remaining true to core brand values & ideals and a consistent message, it’s important to strategically format your social media marketing to fit the particular platform while furthering your brand’s narrative. The more compelling the narrative, the more likely your audience is to echo that narrative and integrate it into their social ecosystem.

To be the brand that users recommend to friends, you need to provide value, clarity and authenticity – as well as consistency. Measure the success of your branded social media efforts, and adapt your strategy in accordance with the engagement of your audience. Stay the course on what works, and keep them coming back for more.

Explore Multiple Social Platforms – and Innovate!

Avoid being the “old dog” in your branding efforts. Developing new tricks and methodologies are essential for survival in the social media wars, and consistently kinetic advertising evolution is a must. A Facebook account alone isn’t going to cut it – building a community around your brand requires an engaged readership, and keeping up with the social media Joneses requires its own dedicated effort.

Explore emerging social media platforms in addition to the tried and true, and experiment with new opportunities. If your business doesn’t have dedicated accounts in FB, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or even Snapchat and beyond, you’re already behind in the game – take a moment to register new accounts, and begin developing strategy immediately. Brands such as McDonald’s, General Electric and more are paving new roads in Snapchat, experimenting in new methodologies with impressive results. The luxury carmaker Audi partnered with The Onion in 2014 to Snapchat the Super Bowl live, utilizing its agency Huge and Onion Labs for a humorous content team-up. The event grew Audi’s Snapchat following by over 5,500 users before the end of the big game.

Engagement is Everything

Every social platform offers its own unique value proposition, and with a dedicated social media strategy and consistent follow-through it’s possible to not only engage readers and potential customers, but to establish their trust and loyalty in a manner far more effective than static ad placement.

Utilize the help of social media monitoring and engagement platforms like Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud to track and gauge your reader base. If people feel heard, if their concerns / complaints / compliments are registered and receive a reply, the likelihood for an establishment of brand loyalty is far higher than if the consumer were to feel ignored.

The Explosive Potential of User-Generated Content

Whatever service or product your business provides, if it’s worth its weight in binary code, it’s possible to turn casual readers into vocal supporters. Only some will be driven by an evangelistic fever to promote your brand, but engaging your audience is absolutely essential – as is inspiring them to do your work for you.

Utilizing reader engagement and user-generated content across traditional social channels and apps like Snapchat, SoundCloud and beyond are increasingly successful: 53% of Facebook video views in the last year were from shares. User-created content rose 122% in the same period, a remarkable leap in engagement leading a bottom-up trend. 65% of Snapchat’s 100 million daily users create content per day. Pinterest pin creation has leapt 75%, while Twitch video broadcasts are up 83% at over 11 million per month.

We’re currently in a cultural trend of personal oversharing on social media; people readily share €”their shopping habits, travel details, hobbies, passions and more, offering brands a virtually limitless was to connect with potential customers. If you provide a valuable resource or popular feature, and pair it with strategic vocalization, loyalty will follow.

Are you ready for a dedicated consumer base to rally around your brand? Then it’s time to hit the ground running!

4 Useful (and Free) Tools for Automating Content Distribution

4 Useful (and Free) Tools for Automating Content Distribution

You’re almost done. The i’s have been dotted, the t’s have been crossed…your article is now published. Time to get it posted on social networks…lots of them. Ugh.

Syndicating your content across the social web can be a monotonous chore, but there are a handful of tools (that start out free!) that you can use to quickly distribute your content across many channels instead of logging into one service after another to post.


 

OnlywireOnlywire

Onlywire allows you to push your content to dozens of social networks, content aggregators and bookmarking sites via individual posts or automatically through your RSS feed, making content distribution an absolute snap. All you have to do is authorize your accounts for each site and connect whatever feeds you want to use, and you are good to go.

Onlywire also includes a great monitoring section for seeing how your content performs (including Bit.ly analytics), as well as a “recommended” tab for finding great content to share with your audience.

Onlywire starts free, with paid plans starting at only $5/month.


 

IFTTTIFTTTIFTTT

Be careful with IFTTT (IF This, Then That) — once you start diving in, it can hard to stop! IFTTT enables you to create cross-service triggered actions, and with numerous services (or “channels,” as they are called on IFTTT) being added all the time, the possibilities are pretty much endless.

While most of IFTTT’s “recipes” focus on automating tasks in your personal life, there are a number of great actions that you can trigger from a new post being added to your blog, a new picture being uploaded to your Instagram, a new tweet going out with a specific hashtag…you name it. In just a few short minutes, you can set up very customizable “recipes” that automatically publish every new article on your blog to Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter and many other networks.

IFTTT is completely free to use.


 ZapierZapier

Zapier is similar to IFTTT, but with a heavier focus on business-related automation. All of the great content automation functions you can create in IFTTT can also be done in Zapier, so if your company uses several of the SaaS apps that can connect to Zapier, it’s worth trying out a Zapier account.

Zapier starts free, then scales upward, with paid accounts starting at $20/month. Zapier really starts cooking when you get to their paid accounts, though the free version is useful, too. You can also check out their library of 300+ apps and all of the triggered actions you can build before you pull out the credit card.


 

BufferBuffer

Buffer has a great reputation as a very useful tool for social publishing — and it definitely deserves it.

Buffer is built from the ground-up with today’s social media manager in mind, with plenty of great tools included for syndicating both your content and content you curate. Have you noticed that posting at certain times of the day or week is extremely effective? Great — you can create a custom posting cadence to make scheduling a breeze. Just add content to your Buffer queue and you’re set. You can even make things easier by connecting your Buffer account to IFTTT and Zapier.

Buffer has a robust free version, with their “Awesome Plan” costing $10/month. Buffer also has a business product, Buffer for Business, which starts at $50/month.