LinkConnector’s Director of Marketing, Jackie Lane Bates, spoke at the Performance Marketing Summit (#PMS15) in San Francisco today on driving brand and SEO in today’s interconnected world. Her presentation was titled, The New Rules of Engagement—read on to learn more about how businesses must humanize their brand today is stand out and succeed.
In 2015, we are connected more than ever before. Facebook has roughly 1.5 billion monthly active users (MAUs), 1.3 billion mobile MAUs and is valued at $248 billion. In 2015, Facebook has grown to be more populous than China! LinkedIn has 347 MAUs and is valued at $23 billion. Twitter closely follows with 284 million MAUs and a valuation of $19 billion. Connections are everything.
Our hyper-connected world has also produced an explosion of content. According to IBM, 90% of global data has been produced in the last two years. Thought leader, @BryanKramer tells us that every second two new blogs are created. In this context, how do marketers reach this audience—how do we build brand and search visibility today?
The only way for a brand to stand out is through making real, authentic connections with customers, prospects and even naysayers. Businesses that are able to humanize their brands are the ones standing out. Marketing today must very literally live. Here is a three-step “LIV” strategy:
- Listen (#SocialListening)
- Go Viral
Through social listening, marketers can find out what their prospects, customers and competitors are saying. By listening to user-generated content, marketers can gather insights to help them understand what buyers are seeking. Deep competitive intelligence is now widely available. And, as prospects turn to content and social media before buying, social listening enables marketers to engage with interested buyers (which is particularly effective for brands with acquired influence). Marketers can use social media to retain and connect with customers and much more. Essentially, social listening has become an integral part of the entire customer lifecycle.
Now that we have an understanding of where customers and prospects are in the marketplace, we can begin to meaningfully engage with them. Marketers can search and filter to find relevant audiences that care about what they have to say. Identifying and aligning interests with influencers in targeted verticals is an effective way to quickly gain a wider reach. Launch a blogger outreach campaign. Share content, follow, and thoughtfully engage with these groups, creating reciprocal, productive relationships. Your goals through these interactions should be to cultivate likability, earn trust and establish influence. You will not be “getting away” with anything in this transparent world, so always under promise and over deliver. It is essential to do what you say.
Now, with a well-tended “PR environment” planted seeds may start to grow. With established influence and earned trust, marketers can go out to relevant, vertical audiences with their message. With viral pickup, brands begin to experience a ripple effect. The messages—and brand itself—start to go viral. Messages should be customer-centric (not product-centric). Marketers should also understand that they co-own their brands with their customers and audiences and should adapt accordingly (or become extinct). One final thought—story tell, don’t sell. Make people feel good. The principle of influence, liking, tells us that we say “yes” to the requests of people we know and like.
Google and search rankings have followed suit. We can no longer influence this key channel through technical strategies—increasingly, search is about building relationships. With SEO success factors such as trust, authority and engagement—as well as social shares and reputation—it is impossible to deny that Google also cares that brands are human.
Increasingly, we see social, content and search marketing (SEO) all converge to achieve the same goals. Marketing must “LIV” to succeed.