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7 Smart Tools to Help Improve Your Social Media Branding

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Building a strong brand is critical for every business, and social media has quickly become the ultimate space to expand your audience, and scale your brand to the next level. 

With around 3.8 billion people around the world now regularly scrolling through their favorite social platforms, the medium offers huge potential for businesses to improve their performance – but with so many people logging on, there’s also a challenge in differentiating your brand, in order to stand out of the pack. 

Social branding has become the touchstone of digital marketing. Social branding helps businesses increase brand awareness, connect with relevant communities, and establish their place within consumers’ lives, through regular, ongoing contact.

But how do you do it? How can you map out a strategy that will maximize your social branding efforts, and improve your social media performance?

Here are seven lesser-known tools you can use within your branding process, each of which caters to a specific element in an effective branding system.

1. SE Ranking: Produce Share-Worthy Content

The key to successful social media branding lies in creating content that encourages people to share and engage.

The content that you share on social media shapes your brand, which is why it’s important to analyze your content resources and share the right type of content.

SE Ranking is a multifaceted tool that highlights hidden opportunities, and helps you figure out what content will connect best with your audience.

For example, you can use its Competitor Research feature to discover the best-performing content on social media, then “borrow” good ideas for your social media strategy. 

Once you have an understanding of the kinds of content that your competitors create, and which websites link out to them, you can use that info to boost your own content efforts.

2. Crello: Create Your Stunning Designs

Engaging visuals are a must in social media marketing – because we all know that people are more likely to like, comment, and share something that’s visually appealing.

Crello is a simple solution to help create stunning designs for social media posts – including Instagram Stories, Facebook and Instagram ads, Twitter headers, YouTube thumbnails, Pinterest graphics, and much more.

The platform includes thousands of animated templates, and you can also add animated objects to any static image within minutes. All designs can also be automatically resized to another preset social media format, or to custom dimensions within the app.

Crello’s paid plan starts at $7.99 per month (if you pay for a year), which provides you with access to thousands of high-quality, royalty-free images and files without limits.

Crello is available as a mobile app for iOS and Android, and includes over 25K design templates for all social media formats.

3. Messagely: Use Chatbots

More and more customers want tailored experiences, designed with their personal preferences in mind. And today, 89% of them are looking to connect with brands via messaging – and catering to this, chatbots can be a good option to help increase sales, maximize lead acquisition, and improve the customer experience. 

Messagely provides the capacity to integrate chatbots into different social channels, and the platform is jam-packed with advanced features that can help you to quickly set up and engage with customers 24/7.

The platform helps you better understand your audience needs, and assess potential problems within your chatbot flows. This enables you to take a tailored approach with your marketing efforts, and maximize connection with your followers.

4. NapoleonCat: Improve Your Brand Reputation on Social Media

NapoleonCat enables you to manage all of your social media profiles within one dashboard, covering everything from publishing and conversation tracking, to analytics and reporting.

NapoleonCat

The best thing about this tool is its Social Inbox feature, which enables you to see all of the messages, reviews, and comments from different channels in one place. You can instantly respond to these comments, and ensure that nothing escapes your attention. 

This feature is especially useful for businesses that have multiple locations on Google My Business, since all of the reviews from all locations can be moderated using a single dashboard. 

That can be a major time saver for businesses that want to monitor their brand/s online, or offer support via social channels. 

5. SendX: Leverage Your Email List

Building a solid email list can be a great way to boost your brand messaging, provide more info about your company, and interact with your customers. But maximizing engagement with your emails often comes down to formatting, and making your messages look more appealing.

Which is where SendX can help.

SendX

SendX uses a drag-n-drop editor, making it easy to create better looking emails, while it also includes a range of templates and tools to help you put together more sophisticated email marketing campaigns.

Sendx also enables you to upload your lists of email subscribers to Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook, to create more personalized offers for your email list, and find significant connections. You can also build effective retargeting ads exclusively for people who clicked though within your emails. 

6. Finteza: Measure Your Social Efforts

In addition to building your social media follower counts, you also need to measure how people are responding, based on the additional actions they take on your social profiles and posts. 

Finteza offers an advanced analytics system to measure the effectiveness of your social media campaigns. The tool provides information about the traffic quality to your site, and conversions by channel, helping you measure the actual results of your social media efforts.

With Finteza, you can create funnels on each of your pages to explore user behavior from social media sources. These insights can reveal the elements you need to pay more attention to and develop. 

7. Awario: Track Your Brand Mentions

Word spreads fast, and negative comments spread even faster. As such, you need to have a social media monitoring process in place to track brand mentions, and respond in a timely manner, as required.

Awario enables you to monitor your social media mentions in real-time, and reply to them from the dashboard. The tool includes a range of features, including deep-dive analytics, sales prospecting, Boolean search, etc.

With its Leads feature, you can also find potential opportunities on social media based on people asking for recommendations, or seeking a solution in their posts. You just need to set up your brand name in the project flow to start monitoring. 

Awario also provides sentiment analysis tools, which track not only what people are saying about your brand, but how they’re saying it. It will then let you know what customers feel, in general, about your brand.

Conclusion

If you want to build a strong brand on social media, using tracking and response tools is the best way, and each of the apps mentioned above provide great functionality on various fronts. 

To choose the right tools for you, you need to have a clear understanding of your business goals, and what you want to achieve. Once you’ve established that end goal, you can then work backwards to find the tools that support those goals – rather than going to other way, and using the tools available to guide your approach.

Once you have a clear path, and the tools to track your results, you can then ensure you’re advancing in the right direction with your approach.

Socialmediatoday.com

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Google Outlines Ongoing Efforts to Combat China-Based Influence Operations Targeting Social Apps

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Google Outlines Ongoing Efforts to Combat China-Based Influence Operations Targeting Social Apps

Over the past year, Google has repeatedly noted that a China-based group has been looking to use YouTube, in particular, to influence western audiences, by building various channels in the app, then seeding them with pro-China content.

There’s limited info available on the full origins or intentions of the group, but today, Google has published a new overview of its ongoing efforts to combat the initiative, called DRAGONBRIDGE.

As explained by Google:

In 2022, Google disrupted over 50,000 instances of DRAGONBRIDGE activity across YouTube, Blogger, and AdSense, reflecting our continued focus on this actor and success in scaling our detection efforts across Google products. We have terminated over 100,000 DRAGONBRIDGE accounts in the IO network’s lifetime.

As you can see in this chart, DRAGONBRIDGE is by far the most prolific source of coordinated information operations that Google has detected over the past year, while Google also notes that it’s been able to disrupt most of the project’s attempted influence, by snuffing out its content before it gets seen.

Dragonbridge

Worth noting the scale too – as Google notes, DRAGONBRIDGE has created more than 100,000 accounts, which includes tens of thousands of YouTube channels. Not individual videos, entire channels in the app, which is a huge amount of work, and content, that this group is producing.

That can’t be cheap, or easy to keep running. So they must be doing it for a reason.

The broader implication, which has been noted by various other publications and analysts, is that DRAGONBRIDGE is potentially being supported by the Chinese Government, as part of a broader effort to influence foreign policy approaches via social media apps. 

Which, at this kind of scale, is a concern, while DRAGONBRIDGE has also targeted Facebook and Twitter as well, at different times, and it could be that their efforts on those platforms are also reaching similar activity levels, and may not have been detected as yet.

Which then also relates to TikTok, a Chinese-owned app that now has massive influence over younger audiences in western nations. If programs like this are already in effect, it stands to reason that TikTok is also likely a key candidate for boosting the same, which remains a key concern among regulators and officials in many nations.

The US Government is reportedly weighing a full TikTok ban, and if that happens, you can bet that many other nations will follow suit. Many government organizations are also banning TikTok on official devices, based on advice from security experts, and with programs like DRAGONBRIDGE also running, it does seem like Chinese-based groups are actively operating influence and manipulation programs in foreign nations.

Which seems like a significant issue, and while Google is seemingly catching most of these channels before they have an impact, it also seems likely that this is only one element of a larger push.

Hopefully, through collective action, the impact of such can be limited – but for TikTok, which still reports to Chinese ownership, it’s another element that could raise further questions and scrutiny.

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The Drum | Trump’s Instagram & Facebook Reinstatement Won’t Cause Marketers To Riot Yet, Experts Say

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The Drum | Trump's Instagram & Facebook Reinstatement Won’t Cause Marketers To Riot Yet, Experts Say

While the reinstatement of Donald Trump’s Twitter account in November had some advertisers packing up in protest, many will strike a different tune with Meta-owned Facebook and Instagram, experts predict.

Meta Wednesday announced that it’s lifting the ban on a handful of Facebook and Instagram accounts, including that of former US president Donald Trump – who was suspended nearly two years ago following the January 6, 2021 riots at the Capitol.

In a blog post yesterday, Nick Clegg, Meta’s president of global affairs, explained the reasons for the company’s decision, saying that it “evaluated the current environment” as it pertains to the socio-political landscape and security concerns and determined that “risk has sufficiently receded.” As a result, the company will welcome Trump back onto Facebook and Instagram.

The former president will be expected to comply with Meta’s user policies, but, considering his past violations, will face “heightened penalties for repeat offenses,” Clegg explained.

While it’s unclear whether Trump will become an active user on either platform following the decision, media and marketing experts are already sounding alarm bells at his potential return.

In particular, experts are cautious considering recent developments at Twitter. Elon Musk’s turbulent takeover – which has included mass layoffs, dramatic platform changes and the decision to reinstate the accounts of controversial figures like Trump and Kanye West (whose account has since been re-suspended) – has led to an exodus of advertisers. Could Meta’s decision to reintroduce Trump invite a similar fate?

‘Fear, frustration and protest’ could catalyze drawback

Concerns regarding brand safety and suitability on Facebook and Instagram are piquing among marketers. Trump’s presence on social media has long proven to exacerbate the spread of misinformation online. The risks of a potential recession, paired with new political tensions spurred by the 2022 midterms and the anticipation of the 2024 presidential election, may only up the ante.

“Misinformation on Meta’s platforms was an issue prior to Trump’s ban, during the ban and will likely continue to be an issue, even with the new [policies that] Meta has put in place,” says Laura Ries, group director of media and connections at IPG-owned ad agency R/GA. In light of this fact, Ries says, “Advertisers will need to continue to consider the type of content they’ll show up next to when evaluating whether or not to advertise on the platforms, especially as we march toward the 2024 election.”

She predicts that Meta may see some advertisers leave Facebook and Instagram “out of fear, frustration or protest.”

Others agree. “I suspect advertisers will not be pleased with this move and might make reductions in spend as they have done with Twitter,” says Tim Lim, a political strategist, PR consultant and partner at creative agency The Hooligans.

Although some advertisers are sure to pull back or cut their investments, the number will likely be low – largely because the scale and reach promised by both Facebook and Instagram will make it hard for most advertisers to quit. Smaller brands and startups in particular often rely heavily on Meta’s advertising business to spur growth, says Ries.

A ripple, not a wave

Most industry leaders believe Trump’s reinstatement won’t cause anything more than a ripple in the advertising industry. “Marketers who advertise on Facebook and Instagram care about their own problems, which generally [entail] selling more products and services,” says Joe Pulizzi, an entrepreneur, podcaster and author of various marketing books. “If Meta helps them do that, they don’t care one bit about brand safety – unless this blows up into a big political issue again. It might not, so marketers won’t do a thing.”

The sentiment is underscored by Dr Karen Freberg, a professor of strategic communications at University of Louisville, who says: “Facebook and Instagram are key fundamental platforms for advertisers. Marketers may … be aware of the news, but I am not sure if it will make a drastic change for the industry.” She points out that Twitter’s decision to lift the ban on Trump’s account in November caused such a big stir among marketers advertisers that Meta’s decision to do the same may come as less of a shock.

Trump’s return may even benefit Meta’s ads business by giving the company new opportunities to serve ads to Trump devotees, says Pulizzi. Ultimately, he says, Meta “needs personalities like Trump,” who, whether through love or hate, inspire higher engagement. “With Facebook plateauing and Instagram now chasing – and copying – TikTok at every turn, Trump’s follower base is important to Meta, which is hard to believe, but I think it’s true.”

But while some users may be energized by the former president’s return to Meta platforms, others may be outraged – even to the point of quitting Facebook and Instagram, points out Ries. In this case, she says, “advertisers will need to follow them to TikTok, Snap or other platforms where they’re spending their newfound time.”

R/GA, for its part, which services major brands including Google, Samsung, Verizon and Slack, will work on “a client by client basis” to address concerns about Facebook, Instagram or any other platform, says Ries. “R/GA recommended pausing activity on Facebook and Instagram after the insurrection and won’t hesitate to do so again if another incident occurs.”

For more, sign up for The Drum’s daily US newsletter here.

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Snap Launches New Ad Campaign to Showcase its AR Offerings

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Snap Launches New Ad Campaign to Showcase its AR Offerings

Snapchat has launched a new promotional campaign which leans into the uniqueness of its viral AR trends, with a showcase of bizarre effects, as a means to present people with a different perspective on the real world.

Pretty trippy, huh?

As explained by Snap:

At Snap, we celebrate the joy, irreverence, and spontaneity of communicating with your real friends in fun, unexpected ways. Over the years, we’ve pushed the boundaries of how people see and experience the world through augmented reality. AR makes conversations and experiences better, and unlocks new ways to connect with others, learn about the world, shop, and more. [Our new campaign] shows you what it’s like to see the world the way Snapchatters do.”

It’s pretty weird, but will that get more people using Snap?

Certainly, the campaign will grab attention, and with 72% of active Snapchat users already engaging with AR elements in the app every day, there’s clearly a lot of interest in these types of weirdo activations that provide a new way of seeing the familiar.

Maybe that’ll prove to be a good lure to get people into the app, and broaden its user base. I mean, at the least, it’ll spark intrigue, which will likely get at least a few more people downloading the app to see what they can do.

AR is a key focus for Snap, and despite operating at a much smaller scale than Meta and Apple, which are both also investing big in AR projects, Snap has continued to punch above its wait in this area, by continually coming out with AR content that grabs attention, and engages audiences.

Meta is still struggling to maintain relevance with younger audiences, a key element that could de-rail its metaverse vision, while Apple has actually leaned on Snap to help showcase its advanced AR tools over time.

If nothing else, Snapchat has its finger on the pulse, which is why virtually every AR trend – from anime filters to baby faces, from crying faces to vomiting rainbows – all of these have originated from Snapchat, and that’s remained consistent over time, even with newer platforms like TikTok entering the same realm.

Snap is very in-tune with its user base, which is also why its Snapchat+ subscription offering is already doing better than Twitter Blue, even with the addition of tweet editing verification ticks (Snapchat+ has over 1.5 million paying subscribers, versus an estimated 325k for Twitter Blue).

That community sense has helped Snap maintain growth and relevance. But it also needs to expand – and maybe, through a bizarre showcase like this, that could help to make more people aware of the things that they can do in the app.

And this is how Snapchat Lenses tend to be shared. Somebody uses it, then they just have to show their friends.

In this respect, it seems like a good initiative, which could help Snap spark more interest and engagement.

It also serves as a demo of scanning in the Snap camera – if you want to try out any of the Lenses featured in the ad, you can scan the screen in the Snap camera, which will then open up whichever Lens is featured at that moment.

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