by: Finella Kristle Panlilio
Monday, December 22, 2014 | Comments (0)
Category: Outsourcing Research / Trends
Social media, albeit not rocket science, is difficult to master, especially when used for business purposes. It is, therefore, normal for businesses to commit social media blunders occasionally. Fortunately, these mistakes can be turned into opportunities - learning from them and at the same time teaching others how to avoid the same ones.
Entrepreneur passes on some social media wisdom on the most common social media mistakes and how to correct them.
1. Focusing too much on yourself
Be liberal in sharing profound content, but make sure your material is relevant to your audience and educates and informs them. When it comes to engagement, keep it proportionate to the amount of followers you have per social network. That means retweeting and sharing at a rate that is balanced with the size of your following on Twitter - and when most of your audience is online, so as not to barrage the stream. If you have more audiences on Instagram, Facebook, and Google+, then continue your conversations on those platforms.
If you think that other people’s work would be helpful to your followers, don’t be afraid to share it. Retweet them a few times or post a few comments on their posts as a way of saying hi. On a side note, avoid sending e-mails and direct messages about your campaign or asking for favors before you have properly introduced yourself. Get to know each other first, then consider whether what you’re about to ask might be burdensome and whether you know each other well enough already to expect favors. Before proposing something to collaborate on, make sure that it benefits both parties.
2. Focusing on numbers and popularity rather than relationships
Before focusing on sales and the number of followers you have, work on building real and lasting relationships first. The ROI will come once you have a solid foundation of relationships in place. Be humble, kind, and genuinely helpful. The key here is to treat people as friends - nurture virtual relationships as you would real-life relationships.
3. Using too many hashtags that are not relevant to your brand
It’s important to be considerate and sensible in hashtag usage. Prior to an event you will be working at (one that will benefit your fans and is aligned with what you are going to endorse), be selective and judicious and avoid oversharing. Just choose one or two hashtags exclusive to the occasion. And before you chat at events, don’t forget to contribute and give mutual respect and honest appreciation to get others’ attention. Show genuine interest in people, instead of what people can do for you.
PR professionals no longer rely only on AVEs and impressions now that PR has become a metrics-driven business, with first-touch attribution letting us monitor and measure. This initial step starts on the customer journey, which is usually related to PR initiatives. Event promotions, blog posts, and visual media drive early awareness and then end with a sale.
Vocus lists three reasons why we should monitor and measure first-touch attributions:
1. It proves value. The traditional measuring stick in the past was last-click attribution. Now, we can measure other touch points and assign value to all the steps taken along the customer journey.
2. It gives PR professionals a seat at the strategy table. Because value is proven, our efforts gain respect. PR pros have a say during strategic planning for they are essential to overall business success.
3. It ties PR activities to business outcomes. Knowing how their efforts impact business outcomes enables PR professionals to monitor and polish their work, leading to greater awareness and interest as well as increased leads and sales.
As 2014 draws to an end, businesses all over the world are guaranteed to be enthusiastic over the new opportunities that 2015 has to offer, particularly in the Information Technology (IT) segment. Next year, IT services and products are expected to fuel productivity, streamline organizational growth, drive innovation, develop capabilities, and enhance customer relationships.
A post at WhaTech.com lists down five of the major developments in the IT segment that companies should prepare for:
Innovative mobile apps and solutions
Businesses will integrate mobility and upgrade their already advanced capacity in various ways, and with that comes countless challenges which include security and flexibility. Regardless, firms will continue to empower their capacities with new applications that will help them properly engage with their customers.
Latest in cloud technology
Cloud technology is one of the strongest movers in today’s business industry. It enables companies to reduce the cost of operations and overhead expenses by paving the way for accessible data storage and information. As IaaS and PaaS continue to gain traction, development and testing of new applications are widely reinforced by this IT feature. The cloud has evolved from being merely a tool for disaster recovery and testing. The cloud is expected to assist in mobile functions and big data application development.
In-depth coverage on data and analytics
More applications will be created next year that are geared towards data and analytics. Businesses are seen taking advantage of all the data they collect from all activities, and are using it to improve competencies and strategies. Some of the trends in big data next year consist of linking Systems of Record (SOR) for various types and sources of content such as data, audio, video, and images.
New features in interface design and usability
Covering protocols, domains, and applications
Forrester Research said the Internet of Things (IoT) will move to software from hardware next year. Cloud services will be utilized to connect all the rules or requests across all domains and platforms. Analytics and data will also increase as IoT continues to drive businesses including small to medium-sized ones to digitized processes.
By considering these trends next year, organizations can ensure that core strategies are not derailed and they will maintain their uniqueness in the aggressive and competitive world of business.
by: Finella Kristle Panlilio
Friday, December 12, 2014 | Comments (0)
Category: Outsourcing Research / Trends
When it comes to social media, entrepreneurs are split into two groups: there are those who have embraced it as the “next big thing”, taking advantage of its powerful influence for the time being, and there are others who view it as an unprofitable buzzword with a steep, complicated learning curve.
But social media is backed by statistics that, according to HubSpot, show 92% of marketers in 2014 claiming social media marketing is important for their business, with 80% indicating their efforts increased traffic to their websites. In addition to that, Social Media Examiner reports that 97% of marketers are currently participating in social media, with 85% of participants unsure of the best social media tools to use.
These numbers alone present a huge potential for social media marketing to increase sales, but a lack of understanding on how to achieve those results. Forbes gives a look at 10 of the best ways social media marketing can improve your business:
1. Increases brand recognition
Social media networks give you the opportunity to syndicate your content and increase your visibility. These channels make you more accessible for new customers, and make your existing customers better acquainted with your brand. Seeing your presence on multiple networks makes your brand recognizable.
2. Improves brand loyalty
A report published by Texas Tech University states that brands who engage on social media channels enjoy higher loyalty from their customers. Take advantage of social media tools available for you to connect with your audience. Don’t forget to have a strategic and open social media plan in place - this could prove influential in transforming consumers into being brand loyal.
3. More opportunities to convert
Building a following lets you interact with all of your customers - new, recent, and old. Every post you share on a social media platform - be it a blog post, an image, a video, or a comment - is a chance for someone to react, and every reaction could lead to a site visit, and eventually a conversion. Although not every interaction with your brand results in a conversion, the positive ones increase the likelihood of an eventual conversion. Don’t be put out by low click-through rates. The sheer number of opportunities you have on social media is significant.
4. Higher conversion rates
Social media marketing’s humanization element brings in higher conversion rates. The ability to interact in social media channels makes brands more humanized, and this is important because people like doing business with other people, not with companies. Furthermore, studies have shown that social media has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing. A high number of social media followers improve trust and credibility in your brand, representing social proof. It’s as simple as building a strong following in social media to improve conversion rates on your existing traffic.
5. Higher brand authority
Interact with your customers regularly to show good faith for other customers. People turn to social media to compliment or brag about a product or service. When they post your brand name, new audience members will want to follow you for updates. The more people who are talking about you on social media, the more valuable and authoritative your brand will seem to new users. Interacting with major influencers on Twitter or other social networks increases both your visible authority and reach.
6. Increases inbound traffic
Not using social media limits your inbound traffic to those who are already familiar with your brand and individuals searching for keywords you currently rank for. Keep in mind that every social media profile you add is another path leading back to your site. Work on publishing quality content to generate more inbound traffic. That means more leads and more conversions, eventually.
7. Decreases marketing costs
It only takes about an hour a day to develop your content and syndication strategy, and according to HubSpot, 84% of marketers found as little as six hours of effort per week to generate increased traffic. Even paid advertising through Facebook and Twitter is relatively inexpensive, depending on your goals. Start small so you never have to worry about exceeding your budget. Increase your budget once you get a better feel for what to expect.
8. Better search engine rankings
SEO is the best way to gain relevant traffic from search engines, but times have changed and it's no longer enough to regularly update your blog, ensure optimized title tags and meta descriptions, and distribute links pointing back to your site. Google and other search engines may be using social media presence as a significant factor in calculating their rankings. As such, a brand that is active on social media sends a "brand signal" to search engines that it is legitimate, credible, and trustworthy. If you want to rank for a given set of keywords, having a strong social media presence could be almost mandatory.
9. Richer customer experiences
At its core, social media is a communication channel like email or phone calls. Interacting with your customers on social media publicly demonstrates your customer service level and enriches your relationship with your customers. Let your customers know that you care about them by addressing their complaints immediately and thanking those who compliment you.
10. Improves customer insights
Social listening gives you the opportunity to gain valuable information about what your customers are interested in and how they behave. Know what people think of your business by monitoring user comments. Segment your content syndication lists based on topic and see which types of content generate the most interest - and then publish more of that type of content.
According to the report “Global Insurance BPO Market 2014-2018” released by TechNavio, a technology and research advisory firm, the insurance business process outsourcing (BPO) market is growing at a steady pace. The market is now worth over $4.6 billion and is anticipated to grow by 5.19 percent year-over-year to $6.04 billion in 2018.
Insurance BPO is part of the banking, financial services, and insurance BPO segment, and outsourcing providers have been seen carrying out support services for some of the renowned financial firms all over the world.
BPO providers help insurance companies administer and manage different processes that may include back office operations, which are in the line of human resources as well as finance and accounting. It could also consist of front office support like call center work based on the needs and metrics required by the client. The report also discovered that insurance companies are beginning to outsource more complex processes such as actuarial analysis, underwriting, and analytics support.
Outsourcing is gaining traction in the insurance market because firms are looking for ways to reduce costs and turnaround time, easier ways to comply with the stipulated regulations, and to standardize processes while reinforcing the value of their end products.
However, the study cited challenges that could hamper the growth of the market. First, data security is unquestionably an issue because of the types of confidential information transferred from provider to client. High attrition rate is likewise a challenge.
The report divided the BPO services for global insurance into two major segments: property and casualty, and life and pension. These are plotted against key geographical regions in the market.
Marketing via Facebook ads has become the norm for businesses. However, this isn't to say that company ads don’t get lost in the abyss on the social network. Ads that aren't well planned - from your organization’s goals for the ad campaign to the design, to the targeting - will most likely be unsuccessful, leaving your organic reach down to nearly nothing and you struggling to reach your customers.
So, how do you succeed when the odds are stacked against you? While it’s true that correct targeting ensures that your ads are reaching the appropriate group of users, there are other ingredients beyond targeting that make a great Facebook ad.
HubSpot shares three ways to help you create captivating ads that will get your prospects clicking:
1. Use attractive images that will appeal to your customer and entice a click.
Avoid using random stock images that have almost nothing to do with the product you’re marketing. That and an image so blasé that your ad just flies past it without anyone taking notice. Use compelling images, or pair your copy with a video. If the consumers like the image or video, they may read more about your offer.
2. Make your customer an offer he can’t refuse.
No, we did not mean like an offer the Godfather would make, but one that would surely make your customer’s time of day. Know what your customers love - deals, sales, freebies? Do they appreciate tips and free downloads like white papers and case studies? Knowing what your customer wants makes an offer worth looking over.
3. Great copy is your best friend.
There are ads that have obviously been produced with a great deal of effort and discussion, but oddly enough, almost do not say anything about their brand or what they offer. Make it easy for people to fall in love with you by creating clear and remarkable ad copies.
It’s easy to understand the lure social media holds for startups - it’s the best vehicle for moving your new business forward fast and gaining momentum you can build on. Startups only get one chance to make a great first impression with people on social media. Lose that chance and you’ll end up falling behind and struggling to work twice as hard to cover lost ground on social sites.
To help you avoid descending to social media irrelevance, Entrepreneur shares the five major social media mistakes and how to avoid them.
1. Trying to be everywhere
Every social media site is seen as a Mecca for prospects and if you don’t get them, somebody else will. No matter how strong the temptation is, you don’t have to be everywhere. First of all, it’s not easy to come up with original and relevant content for many different social networks. Second, it results to poor foundation for the whole social media marketing process. Focus on quality over quantity. Only choose the networks where most of your prospects are and that have the largest audiences. You can experiment with other networks as you expand your sales and build your team.
2. Promoting extensively without audience engagement
This is akin to social media suicide. Self-promotion is fine, but there should always be a balance between compelling content and engagement on one hand, and marketing on the other. Creative marketing will bring you audience and acknowledgment, while old-fashioned one-way advertising coming from an offline marketing mindset will only hurt your business.
3. Failing to plan
Failing to plan is planning to fail. Your product or service, no matter how great, won’t make a difference if people don’t trust you or know about you. You can’t expect to go viral and have people flock to your business unless you create a buzz and let people know you exist. Establish a posting schedule and stick to it. A mix of content, quizzes, polls, and videos will help. Your objective might be leads, brand recognition or sales, but for starters, your goal is for your target audience to get used to your presence and know that you engage.
4. Talking to the audience instead of talking with them
Boring content is counterproductive. Replace dull and generic opening lines with catchy (but not misleading) headers. Try to inject humor in your posts and responses. Make them genuine, infusing your personality into your content.
5. Losing steam after a strong start
Many startups fall into this trap, out of laziness, lack of focus, or impatience. Improve performance by measuring metrics, keeping track of competitors, and adapting to what your audience is telling you with their behavior. Don’t let your enthusiasm fade or you will lose the momentum.
One thing to remember is that social media marketing is a seemingly endless marathon, so be prepared to put in a lot of effort. Know your audience and show them that you care. Look for witty employees with a flair for language.
Now that you know what to do and what to avoid, you can now be on your way to beginning strong and executing your social media strategies the right way.