Your business’ social media community can be an invaluable asset when working through product or service development.
The engagement and activation of your community can assist with virtually every stage of product development including idea generation, concept screening, concept development, commercial viability analysis, beta testing, and commercialization and launch.
There a huge number of ways that your community can contribute to product development, so I’ll just highlight a few to serve as thought-starters for the next time you plan to expand your product or service offerings.
Social listening for idea generation and analysis
Social media platforms such as Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Pinterest give you the ability to listen to your consumers and those within your target demographic to learn about their wants and needs, what they are hoping for from you and your competition, what trends are relevant to your business, how your consumers use your products, and more.
Not only can this information be used for idea generation, but also it can be invaluable when analysing your ideas and developing criteria for screening the gold from the pyrite.
Polls and surveys for idea generation, screening, concept development, and testing commercial viability
Tools such as Facebook polls and Survey Monkey can be used to survey your social media communities and very specific sub-segments of your consumer base to dig deeper into specifics that will lead to strong idea generation and direct feedback to screen those ideas. The benefit of these tools is that you can ask participants very specific questions, resulting in very specific answers that should help to move your product/service development process forward.
Polls and surveys can also be used when you’re past the idea generation phase of your product development process to narrow in on desirable features, potential usage behaviour, identifying likely consumers for this new product/service, and more. All of this information can be invaluable when developing your concepts, testing for commercial viability, and moving into concept or beta testing.
Community involvement and feedback during iterative testing
Who better to test your products as they’re being developed and refined than individuals within your social media community? So long as you’re not developing a top-secret product offering, members of your community will likely be thrilled at the opportunity test and provide feedback on your latest products as they’re being developed. Depending on the category in which you compete, and the loyalty of your consumers, those chosen to participate may even see this as a reward.
Conversely, recruiting loyal members of your competition’s communities to test and provide feedback is a great way to gain a broader perspective on your concepts.
Launching with confidence, pre-established consumer excitement and anticipation
When it comes time to finally launch your new product, you’ll be able to do so with increased confidence that it will be a commercial success. Involving your social media audience will have helped to ensure that your product development efforts were focused on producing something that will be desirable.
Also, by involving your social media audience in the development of your product, you will have effectively pre-established consumer excitement and anticipation for your launch. Your product development process will have become a story that loyal and highly interested consumers will have followed, shared, and conversed with others about. Your product development can be incredibly effective for feeding your content pipeline.
Frequently the product development process is done in isolation, secrecy, and with limited consumer involvement. In a business landscape where consumers have increasing power and input into business and brands’ definition and success, it only seems logical to involve them when creating offerings for them.
How do you use social media as a part of your product or service development process?
If you have used social media for this purpose, what advantages have you experienced?
What difficulties have you experienced from trying to involve your audience?
It would be great to chat with you about this more in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
Do you have access to Facebook’s targeting options for your timeline posts on your business or brand Page?
Funnily enough, I’ve found that this feature isn’t enabled by default for many Facebook Pages, which means you may need to make a few adjustments to gain access.
If you don’t have access to Facebook’s timeline post targeting options, no worries.
You can fix this by adjusting your privacy settings. Skip to the step-by-step instructions below for how to adjust your privacy settings to be given access to this powerful feature.
Being able to target an audience for your Facebook updates can be incredibly powerful.
It allows you to create and publish content for your audience with added context, which will make your posts all the more valuable. Also, if you have messaging or content that is only relevant or valuable to a portion of your audience, you can target your updates specifically for them, so as to not spam the rest of your audience and risk dreaded ‘unlikes’.
Targeting your posts is win-win for you and your consumers.
Benefits of targeting your posts include higher engagement and interaction with your content, and your audience will see greater value in the content you provide to them, which can lead to greater brand affinity, loyalty, virality, or stronger purchase intent to list a few.
Currently Facebook allows you to target based on your audience’s gender, relationship status, educational status, interests, age, geographic location, and language.
Following are step-by-step instructions for how to gain access to Facebook’s powerful timeline post targeting options on your business or brand Page:
STEP 1: In the Admin Panel, click on the ‘Edit Page’ drop-down menu
STEP 2: Click ‘Edit Settings’
STEP 3: Ensure you’re on the ‘Manage Permissions’ tab
STEP 4: Check the ‘Post privacy gating’ check box
STEP 5: Click ‘Save Settings’
That’s it! Those few easy steps and you’ve unlocked a whole new world of possibilities for your business or brand on Facebook.
If you have just gained access to Facebook’s targeting options, how do you plan to utilize them?
If you’ve been using Facebook’s targeting options for some time, how have you effectively been using them?
It would be awesome to chat with you about this in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial, so please don’t be shy to share your thoughts.
A blog post shouldn’t just be a blog post.
Any time you put the effort into writing a blog post, you should consider how to deconstruct it into several pieces of shorter form content to feed your business’ social media content pipeline.
I’ll describe how you can do this and a few things you should consider for each social media platform here:
Facebook, Google+ & LinkedIn
Each blog post should at the very least be cross-promoted on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn or whatever social media platforms your business is utilizing. Instead of just posting the title to your blog post, try also sharing a key point, or posing an interesting question to drive engagement.
A word of caution here is to not over-promote your content on these platforms. Limit your cross-promotion to a single post on each of these social media networks so you don’t come across as spamming your audiences’ timelines.
Get the most out of your blog post by also cross-promoting it on Twitter. In addition to tweeting the title of your article with a link, schedule follow-up tweets to share each of the key points, statistics, and otherwise tweet-worthy anecdotes.
The number of tweets that can be created from the contents of a blog post is dependent on how many points of value you’re able to extrapolate. The key here is to ensure that each of your tweets can stand on its own as being of value to your audience.
Pinterest might not seem at first like an obvious social media network through which to extend the value of your blog post, but there are often opportunities to share content from your blog here as well. Create images that highlight key points, lists, ideas, how-to’s, or other information from your blog post.
Similar to Twitter, the number of Pinterest pins that can be created from your blog post is reliant on how many individual points from your blog post alone can provide value to your consumers. When creating Pinterest pins, ensure that the content you will be sharing from your blog post is enhanced by the added visual element that is inherent on the platform.
Your blog posts can be reimagined as scripts or speaking points for YouTube videos. Video content can be created to touch on all of the points included on your blog, or you can create a series of shorter vignettes to engage your consumers with more bite-sized content.
Alternatively, your blog posts don’t need to be the beginning and end of a conversation. YouTube can be used to dig into certain points, provide additional context, highlight practical application, or interview others to gain their perspective on your content.
In addition to placing a huge amount of effort into creating content that will provide value to your consumers, you should also be focused on how you can get the most value from the content you create. By deconstructing your blog posts into content for your business’ other social media properties you’ll be able to extend the reach of your content by reaching different consumers on different platforms, and you’ll be able to save your social media and content marketing teams a huge amount of time creating content.
How do you deconstruct your blog content for use on other social media networks?
It would be great to chat with you more about this in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
There are amazing businesses and brands producing absolutely killer content every day. This post will highlight the awesome video, ‘Ship My Pants’, created by Kmart to raise awareness of their free online shipping, what makes it so amazing, and present a few strategies and tactics that can be applied to your business.
What they did
Kmart found an entertaining way to introduce a relatively dry offering – free online shipping – with video content that will play well on traditional media and online.
Why it’s killer
Whether you find this video humourous, crass, smart, or just downright stupid, you can’t deny that it has injected Kmart into the consciousness of consumers who probably didn’t even realize they were still in existence.
With the onslaught of noise that advertisers and marketers spew out each and every day, Kmart found a way to get noticed and generate conversations on social media in the meantime. As of now, the official ‘Ship my pants’ video has reached over 6.7 million views in just five days on YouTube, which is pretty killer.
What can be applied to your business?
Try something new
Opportunities in social media and content marketing are abundant, but if you’re not ever willing to try something new, you’ll never know how just how effective your efforts could be. A beautiful thing about social media and content marketing is that even if you try something new and it flops, you can cut it, learn from it, and move on. This is the worst-case scenario. Best-case scenario is that you try something new and your audience loves you for it. So, why not try something new?
Behave like an underdog
A funny thing happens to many businesses when they’re leaders in their category. They get complacent. They stop pushing themselves. They stop reinventing themselves. They leave themselves open to the competition changing the game on them. You should do everything possible to push your business to behave like an underdog, even if you’re on top. If you can gain a leadership position within your category but you keep pushing yourself to be better, your competition will always be playing catch-up.
Don’t let greatness be a one-off
It’s easy to get high on success, even if it just strikes once. When you’ve done something amazing, it’s important to enjoy your success, but you can’t stop pushing. You need to figure out how to continue adding value to your consumers, or the effects of your success will quickly subside, and you’ll be right back where you started.
Create multi-channel content
Maximize your investment in both time and resources when creating content, and consider all of the channels on which that content can add value to your audience. If you’re creating video content, consider how it will work for your YouTube, Facebook, digital advertising, and mass media advertising audiences. With a bit of forethought you can more efficiently produce your content, feed your content pipeline, and fill your paid media.
What do you think of Kmart’s ‘Ship your pants’ video content?
Have you seen any killer content recently that you’d like to share?
It would be great to chat with you about this more in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
There are many great sources of information about what Google TrueView ads are, about the value they offer, the various types of TrueView ads, and generally how to use them. However, after the searches I recently conducted, there aren’t a great number of sources to inform you about the results you can achieve with TrueView ads.
This is the information gap I’m hoping to help fill by sharing my recent experience with these ad units, and I’ll share a few tips toward the end of this article.
Admittedly, I don’t have worlds of experience with Google TrueView ads, but I was recently challenged by a friend to help to generate relevant views on their small business’ video content and we decided together to put them to the test.
For context, this business is just getting started strategically utilizing social media and currently does not have a huge community. Also, their presence on YouTube is virtually non-existent, meaning they have literally zero subscribers (yet).
Here are the results of our test-buy of YouTube TrueView ads:
Investment – $250
Views – 5,500
Cost per view (CPV) – $0.045
Impressions – 32,500
Click-throughs – 437
Cost per click (CPC) – $0.57
To achieve these results I really didn’t do anything overly special. I spent a bit of time working through the targeting options – which are robust – and set up my campaign to run through my budget as quickly as the network would allow. I ended up spending the $250 in roughly 2 hours.
Overall, I was fairly happy with the results. The CPV seemed reasonable, I was happy to achieve a CPC that is competitive to Facebook’s suggested bid for my targeting selections, and I was very happy with the targeting options.
On the flip side, I was a little disappointed with the lack of engagement by way of likes and comments, though the content we were pushing could probably be optimized to encourage increased engagement, so I’m eager to test these ads with different content.
Despite having limited experience using these ads, I do have a few tips or suggestions to consider when diving in:
1. You can burn through cash
If you want to run a campaign with a longer duration, set your daily spend to allow for it. Otherwise, you’ll burn through your dollars in no time.
2. Google will charge you more than you want to pay
If your campaign is successful, Google will automatically run your ads to exceed your daily spend by 20%. This doesn’t make much sense to me, but you can account for this by setting your maximum daily spend to a total that is lower than your budget.
3. Not all ads are created equal
Of the various types of TrueView ads, there’s something about the ‘in-slate’ ads that makes them feel less valuable to me. With the promise of a 10+ minute video on the other end of viewing an ad, I think consumers are more likely to put up with watching an ad and aren’t necessarily openly opting into watching your video content. When setting up your ad buy, all options are automatically selected, so if you want to avoid running ‘in-slate’ ads, you’ll have to deselect those manually.
4. Give your video content a fighting chance
Don’t feel guilty for promoting your content with paid advertising. I find that particularly with small business owners, they feel a sense of pride or obligation to grow their audience organically, without the help of paid ads. The reality is that most video content that garners a huge view count has a number of traffic and view drivers including paid media, supporting advertising campaigns, PR, influencer support, seeding programs, and on. Use the tools at your disposal to give your content a helping hand.
There you go. I hope this article helps you out with predicting the results you can achieve with TrueView ads. Also, if you’ve got some killer video content to promote for your business or brand, I recommend at least experimenting with these ad units.
Do you have any experience with TrueView ads to share?
Is there a particular TrueView ad unit you’ve had particularly good success with?
It’d be awesome to chat with you about your experience in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial