TWITTER’S 280 CHARACTERS, WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR BRANDS?

You may have noticed recently, social media network Twitter has allowed all users to write up to 280 characters in a tweet, doubling the original 140 character limit. This was an intriguing move from Twitter, given that it has built its brand on users sharing content in this bitesize form.

Users’ reaction to this move has been mixed, with a lot of people mentioning the fact the most requested feature – to be able to edit tweets – has been ignored and has instead been replaced with a feature no one has asked for. You can see in this article that people were quick to utilise the 280 characters to express their desire for an ‘edit’ button.

“All we wanted was an edit button”

Upon announcing the expanded limit, Twitter rolled out the update to a select few users for a trial period, before rolling it out to the masses. Their findings helped them justify the update and it is now here to stay. Here is what Twitter had to say when it was eventually rolled out to everyone last week:

Tweeting made easier.

The justification for the update are all fair – we have all at some point had to try and make some grammatical sin when we’ve hit the character limit. Also, when you are curating content, trying to stick to the 116 character limit is always a challenge. Twitter released their findings here:

Giving you more characters to express yourself

Now you are probably wondering, as a B2B marketer, how you can best utilise the 280 characters to take your Twitter game to the next level. There are a few things you can do, but you also have to be wary of how it could damage your brand, if not done right.

It is probably not the best idea to try to reach the 280 character limit in every single tweet. Not only does this create more work for yourself, but this could actually be quite damaging to your brand. With Twitter content being produced in a greater volume and regularity, there is so much content being shared on people’s feeds. Twitter recently shifted to an algorithmic feed, rather than a chronological one (unless you use Tweetdeck) meaning that users will only see content from people they are regularly interacting with. If your tweets are constantly hitting the 280 limit, users may not pay attention to the whole tweet and potentially skip past it. This will happen more regularly as more users start to use the expanded tweet limit.

Choose your use of the limit carefully. For many of the reasons above, you should try to avoid bombarding your followers with 280 character tweets, but it can also be very useful if used sparingly and with good intent. If you want to see some good and bad ways that brands have used the limit so far, this list will give you all the examples you need:

Other than being careful with your use of the new limit, I think it is a fantastic way for brands to expand the way they communicate their messages to their followers. Ensure your content is still focused and relevant, but at least now you will have more flexibility with the content you post.

If you would like to have a chat with us about how your brand can best utilise social channels, and the new 280 Twitter limit, get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.

LEAD YOUR PAID MEDIA PLANNING WITH COST PER LEAD

Here’s the story of the ultimate chicken and egg in the world of paid media lead generation: how do you forecast your cost per lead (CPL) when you don’t have any historical account data as a benchmark?

Let’s establish why it’s important to set firm cost per lead targets in the first place, even where no prior data exists. First, a concrete plan to achieve expected revenue or profit goals will focus everyone’s mind and provide a tangible target to work towards. Including a cost per lead target is an integral part of this plan – after all, if you don’t have this defined there is very little basis determining the level of budget you should be using to achieve your business targets.

Planning any paid media campaign without a cost per lead target is like driving blind (and without any sat nav to guide you).

There are numerous blog posts and other sources on the internet which will at least give you a rough idea of a typical cost per lead benchmark for your vertical, or tap into your LinkedIn network or peer groups to get hold of this information.

A second important aspect to note here is that cost per lead varies considerably by channel for instance, across AdWords, Bing Ads, LinkedIn or Twitter advertising, so don’t assume one size CPL fits all. Thirdly, consider the type of brief your paid media campaign is working to – prospecting will require a much bigger investment per lead than remarketing. And fourth and finally, do make sure your conversion tracking is set up correctly before your campaign launches.

Once you have worked out this detail it is critical to devise a good strategy for how you are actually going to achieve your CPL target – for example by continuously adjusting your bids based on campaign performance, so that you are not paying top dollar for traffic which doesn’t deliver on efficient conversion.

Fast forward a week or two: you’ve written your battle plan including a cost per lead target; you have launched your campaign – now you can use the data that is streaming in to resolve initial challenges, helping you to troubleshoot and fix them early on in the campaign cycle. For example, is your cost per lead a lot higher than you had anticipated? Is this driven by a particularly costly but under-performing keyword? Are you using engaging and relevant ad copy? Are you making it as easy as possible for your potential customers to turn into a lead?

Based on the performance data the forecasting should be adjusted on a quarterly or ideally monthly basis. There will be external factors such as advertiser competition which will affect your cost per click and ultimately your cost per lead, so it is, therefore, important to tweak your targets and be as relevant and realistic with it.

It’s a simple story, in the end, to plan based on CPL. But don’t just make yours a work of fiction – bear in mind that an ambitious CPL target can spur you on, but an unrealistic is more often counterproductive for you and the business in the end.

KICKING OFF A NEW CAMPAIGN? 11 STEPS FOR A PERFECT FORMATION

As the new football season approaches, and our favourite teams embark on another campaign of ups and down, the same old questions all fans have remain the same. Who’s in, and who’s out before the transfer window closes? Will Mr. Wenger finally silence his critics? And who’ll be the first managerial casualty?!

Whatever happens from now until the start of the season, one thing’s for sure; from the coaching staff to the players on the pitch, the setup and strategy will be paramount to their success. The same can be said for businesses of all shapes and sizes that are embarking on a new marketing campaign. The preparation and planning required to succeed can boil down to a range of factors, all of which need careful attention long before the first ball is kicked.

As a demand generation agency, we often work closely with our clients on not only the execution but the planning and implementation in the build-up to the big event. There’s a lot to consider, and not all of it will be areas every team is comfortable in tackling. Luckily, that’s where we come in, and below is our ‘one-to-eleven’ that covers some of the main areas you’ll need to consider. And, as with all good footy teams, we’ll start from the back with possibly the most important aspect of all. Strategy.

  1. Strategy

Get your strategy right and the rest will follow. It’s important to gain a deep understanding of your buyers and unravel what truly matters to them, to define buyer personas, mix in your objectives and then plan and translate your goals into long-life marketing programmes. Why? To help you build momentum over time and ensure you get from where you are to where you want to be, taking prospects and buyers along every step of the way.

  1. Content

Content marketing demands a value exchange – you have to offer your audience something helpful in order to earn a click. And it’s not about what’s important to you; it’s about what’s important to your buyers. Content can help you connect with buyer needs, present answers to their questions and help them find solutions. If your content is half-baked, we can help you turn up the heat.

  1. Design

Good design serves a greater purpose than to just look pretty. It inspires thought and action, emotionally engaging audiences to drive an action. That’s why we take it seriously. It’s important to honour the principles of design in order to develop creative concepts that catch the eye, complement content and visually communicate your messages and values.

  1. Inbound

Ensuring the right potential buyers actually see your content is as important as developing compelling content in the first place. We build targeted paid and organic acquisition programmes for search and social marketing to connect you with buyers that choose to ‘opt-in’. SEO then ensures your digital infrastructure is at the top of its game and implements ongoing strategy to build authority and compete for the traffic you want.

  1. Outbound

‘Batch and blast’ tactics have long since expired and relying on email alone is a fast way to go nowhere with buyers. There’s a place for outbound, but careful segmentation and strategy for developing nurture and trigger emails is vital. Scintillating email subject lines and crisp copy are still important, but timing and targeting are also crucial. And it doesn’t have to be just email. An outbound call to qualify a prospect in or out is a powerful way to accelerate progress and improve conversion.

  1. Lead Generation

Delivering a constant stream of high-quality marketing leads (MQLs) can be a challenge for marketing teams, but it isn’t impossible. We know the hard sell doesn’t work, and you have to allow buyers to self-select into your sales funnel. You can use content for inbound acquisition to capture the imagination and interest, then engage and nurture prospects through the stages of the buyer journey with planned content, all the while qualifying their readiness to buy.

  1. Web & Digital

Content marketing goes hand in hand with digital. A ‘fit-for-purpose’ website is essential to engaging buyers beyond a landing page, delivering the information they seek and inviting them through a content journey. Analytics provide the critical visibility to track buyer behaviour and to benchmark and monitor ongoing marketing performance. It’s important to also connect and select the right tools and technologies to see what’s happening with your marketing and to make informed decisions.

  1. Social

If you’re still not sure social has a place in B2B, stop reading now. We think it’s transformative. Consider social as the new alternative to email, helping you raise awareness, extend your reach and acquire the right audiences, including C-level, and to build segmented paid and organic outbound campaigns that deliver your message through opt-in channels.

  1. Events

Seen by some as an old-school form of marketing, events are still an effective way of engaging with your customers, both past, present and future. Plus, events these days come in a number of guises. Webinars and live streams are becoming ever more popular and if a more traditional face-to-face event doesn’t fit with your strategy then perhaps a more digital approach would work better? They can also align with other channels such as social and email, providing great content in unison.

  1. Email

Still an important marketing tool, and alongside social and paid-for it can provide invaluable support as part of an ongoing campaign. It is still to this day a low-cost marketing tool, helping you to communicate with fans of your brand that have at some stage taken the conscious decision to receive communications from you. They’re easy to create, share and analyse and can run simultaneously with other channels such as social media that will feed off of your content plan.

  1. Marketing Automation

Last but not least is marketing automation. With all of the above to think about, putting it all together can often be the final hurdle for many marketing departments. Marketing automation is here to help with that and consists of software that helps automate such tasks as email, social media, and sales in a more joined-up and cohesive way. Ultimately, marketing automation allows companies to nurture prospects and convert them into customers so as to generate new revenue and a far better return on the investment.

 

So, there you have it. It’s by no means an extensive list, and your formation could be a defensive 5-4-1 or a more attacking 3-3-4, but either way be sure to start from the back and get your strategy right. The rest should then fall nicely into place.

If you’d like to chat about planning for your next big campaign, please feel free to get in touch at hello@hitfirstbase.com or call us directly on 0203 542 6644.

 

3 IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS FOR YOUR FIRST PPC CAMPAIGN

While Paid Per Click (PPC) might be sounding more fantastic by the minute — not so fast! If you think you’re ready to dive into the world of PPC, here are a few considerations to explore before you start:

1 – You need to know your product
To sell a product successfully you should know it well. Your landing page needs to reflect that knowledge. Your goal is to build trust with potential customers. If you don’t know your product well then how can you sell that product to others?

2 – Harvest local keywords
Keyword research should reflect the local culture of your target market. It is important to understand which words have the most positive association and are the most “clickable” in the given context and location. The best way is to capture actual search queries and turn those into effective keywords.

3 – Focus on the right metrics.
Lack of tracking or focusing on the wrong metrics can be detrimental to any campaign. Regardless of industry and business type, tracking, analysis and testing should always form a big part of the equation. Without these components, a PPC campaign can easily fail.

So, are you beginning to see how PPC is a viable marketing channel for your brand? Even if you’ve never done it before, throw caution to the wind and test it out in 2017.

If you are thinking about implementing a PPC campaign and aren’t sure of the best way to do so, drop us a line at hello@hitfirstbase.com and we’ll be happy to have a chat with you.

AN INTROVERT’S GUIDE TO B2B SOCIAL MEDIA

I can see why B2B businesses might be wary of social. For many B2B social media represents uncharted territory, a blank space on the map reading ‘Here Be Millennials’, and it’s common for these businesses to take a half-hearted approach – they may dip their toe in the water but few have the courage to dive in.

But it’s for this very reason that so many B2B social media feeds are non-social and frankly, dull as ditchwater. Brands can sometimes lose sight of the main purpose of Twitter, LinkedIn etc. and use the platform as a megaphone instead of a telephone. Engaging your audience is the aim of the game here.

If this sounds a little like your situation, don’t panic. Plan. We’ve pulled together this five-step guide to get you started.

Benchmark performance

First things first, check the size and scope of your influence within the world of social. You’ll need to determine who’s currently connecting with your content and it’s worth carrying out an audit of your channels to gauge your inbound efficacy. Check out our social media audit template to get started.

Set targets

Once you’ve conducted your audit and established a benchmark for social performance it’s time to set some goals and objectives. These may include growth, audience acquisition, prospect generation and conversion. Goals should be specific and aligned with your broader marketing strategy. A model worth abiding by is S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound).

Follow influencers

If you’re a complete novice in the B2B social media world, don’t let that put you off. Find and follow influencers that you can draw inspiration from. Research the market leaders in your industry or sector and monitor how they interact with their customers through social media. This insight may help you develop a style and tone of voice that connects with your audience.

Perfect planning 

Don’t just post for the sake of it, plan what you’re going to promote and why! This means developing a robust content strategy and sticking to an editorial calendar. Bear your target audience in mind when you’re developing a plan and choosing content formats and topics for social channels. A clear understanding of your target audience, what they read and where they congregate will ensure your best-laid plans don’t go awry.

You should also have a good understanding of when to post on social media. Use this cheat sheet to work out the best times to post.

Create and disseminate

Now comes the fun part – creating killer content. Before you get carried away, ensure your social media messaging is aligned with your company’s values, messaging and tone. Then you can let fly with engaging, relevant posts. Remember, real people connect to real companies and authenticity and personality are integral to building a strong relationship between your business and its audience.

If your social media followers are looking a little lonesome, drop us an email at hello@firstbase.com to find out how you can pack more punch with your posts.