Category Archives: Social Networks

Social Networks

Growth Hacking Your Startup Into The Cloud

Growth Hacking Your Startup Into The Cloud

SaaS Growth Hacking

Growth hacking could be just the kick your business’s marketing strategy needs but knowing that the cheap and prolific tools and tactics work and knowing how to make them work for you are two different things. We take a look at who to get advice from, which brand strategies to replicate, and where to get the how-tos.

A Few of the Experts

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Though there’s no definitive list of growth hacking experts, there are a few who’ve made a name for themselves in the field and continue to develop their art. Sean Ellis is notable not only for coining the term ‘growth hacking’ but also for the marketing triumphs of Dropbox, LogMeIn, and Eventbrite (to name a few). Check out Sean’s Twitter feed for some valuable advice. Neil Patel, co-founder of CrazyEgg and KISSmetrics, is another digital marketer with an excellent reputation and a list of top tier clients he’s helped to grow. Considered a top influencer on the web by the Wall Street Journal, Neil provides tons of quality growth-hacking content on advertising, SEO, content marketing and much more. Though the range of experts worth tapping includes far more than mentioned here, Brian Dean rounds us off with specialist SEO expertise that helps organizations build traffic growth through SEO. Brian keeps thing simple with a few key strategies and detailed step-by-step tutorials for decisive success.

Influential Brands

brands-tech

But don’t just take the experts’ word for it; it’s always a good idea to have a look at the growth hacking success stories to see what might best fit your own business. Hotmail made excellent use of simple email tag lines that invite new users through mail sent out by existing users, and both Gmail and Pinterest exploited the public’s love of exclusivity to create a buzz through invite only access. Twitter’s automatic suggestions of new users to follow have encouraged broader connections and sustained use, a version of upselling that when correctly employed is extremely fruitful. A few brands, including PayPal and Dropbox, have made good use of the fact that nobody can say no to free stuff with incentivizing schemes that encourage existing users to refer friends to their services, a growth hack that not only expands customer bases but improves the loyalty of current users.

The How-Tos

For some tips, tricks and detailed growth hacking tutorials, consider the following:

Growth Tribe

Coming to you from Amsterdam, ‘Europe’s 1st Growth Hacking Academy’ offers a wealth of information helping individuals and companies build and use top growth hacking skills.

GrowthRocks

26 online courses to help you make the most out of the available growth hacking tools.

Udemy

With a sizeable range of growth hacking courses available, this online learning platform lets you pick and choose the skills you’d like to master.

Traction

How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth’ – by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares, a practical and tactical must-read.

100 Days of Growth

Sujan Patel and Rob Wormley’s ‘Proven Ways to Grow Your Business Fast.’ Practical advice in an actionable set of guidelines and strategies with examples of successful devices.

Just as growth hacking provides budget-friendly and efficient marketing tools to new and growing businesses, the growth hacking community is eager to share and build their skills inexpensively and abundantly. For those with the will, the resources are waiting.

By Jennifer Klostermann

Data Driven Social Selling Strategies

Data Driven Social Selling Strategies

Social Selling Strategies

Social selling, the use of social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Linkedin for salespeople to interact with current and potential customers, is a valuable instrument in the martech bag that’s made the role of marketers both easier in some ways but often more complicated overall. The consumers being targeted today are more savvy than in years past, demand far better customer engagement and satisfaction, and can easily keep themselves informed about the products and their competitors which hold their interest. In fact, many marketing researchers and experts believe that the majority of consumers use online platforms to research products before committing to a purchase, and social media plays a prominent role in both the investigation and recommendation of purchases.

Making the Most of Social Selling

Social selling helps sales teams engage customers in an informal and continuing manner, without making these customers feel harassed or inundated by advertising. It is a way for marketing teams to nurture relationships with customers and foster personal connections that not only keep products top of mind in a non-intrusive way but also bolster feelings of brand belonging. Customers who feel a personal affinity to and pride in a particular brand are far less likely to stray to competitors in the future and also tend to promote the brand through word of mouth. (Social selling statistics and infographic discovered via Hubspot

social-selling-statistics-1

According to LinkedIn research, social selling leaders create nearly twice as many opportunities as peers with lower SSI, are 51% more likely to reach quotas, and 78% of social sellers outsell peers who don’t use social media. Thanks to the real-time characteristic of social media communication, social selling keeps marketers intimately entwined with their target audiences, and better indicates suitable moments for follow-up messaging and product reinforcement. It also offers a very informal and friendly method for answering customer questions and complaints and reinforcing compliments; it tends to come across as caring customer relations instead of impersonal sales management.

Motivating Social Selling Figures

According to various research accumulated by Sales for Life, the number of companies adopting social selling tactics is growing rapidly and benefiting organizations both large and small. Six key data-driven reasons are highlighted driving the adoption of social selling:

  • Typically, buyer are more than half way through the purchase process before salespeople even have a chance to speak to them.
  • The majority of B2B buyers conduct most of their research online before committing to a purchase.
  • It’s expected that by 2020 85% of enterprise interaction by customers will be managed without any human interaction.
  • 5.4 decision-makers participate in an average enterprise purchase.
  • Social sellers have a 66% greater quota attainment than others using only traditional techniques.
  • Buyers using social media typically have budgets 84% larger than those not using social media.

Overall, top performers are more often implementing social media guidelines for customer-facing people, their salespeople know how to create effective campaigns and new opportunities through these channels, and they report that social selling better helps them identify new decision makers and business opportunities. It’s clear that social media helps sales and marketing teams involved in content development spark sales conversations and educate buyers through more relevant information, and in one study a revenue growth of 63.4% for social sellers was reported over the growth of only 41.2% attained by non-social sellers.

Clearly social selling is an essential tool for marketers and salespeople and fortunately today’s martech platforms recognize this value and help integrate social selling strategies into overall marketing plans. But the beauty of social selling is that it fits neatly into just about any strategy and all of the top social platforms are already striving to make social selling via their platforms fruitful and straightforward. For those willing to adopt the latest technologies, adjust their thoughts on traditional marketing, and train up to best take advantage of these tools, social selling promises great rewards.

By Jennifer Klostermann

Twitter Partners With NBA To Provide Live Streaming Options

Twitter Partners With NBA To Provide Live Streaming Options

— The National Basketball Association (NBA) and Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) announced today an expanded content partnership that will bring exclusive original live programming and more video to Twitter, Vine and Periscope.

The NBA, through its NBA Digital partnership with Turner, and Twitter will deliver a free live stream of a new weekly NBA pregame show with first-of-its-kind elements created specifically for integration with Twitter conversation. The weekly pregame show will be featured exclusively on Twitter for logged-in and logged-out users. Ahead of the 2016-17 season, the NBA will announce an additional to-be-determined show that will also stream exclusively on Twitter.

“We’re excited about bringing live content to Twitter, which has proven to be an ideal destination for real-time sports conversations,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “We’ve seen technology bring fans closer to our game, teams and players in ways we could have only imagined a decade ago. This expanded partnership will help feed our fans’ growing demand for the NBA by more deeply integrating the league across Twitter’s many platforms.

Twitter is the fastest way to find out what’s happening in the NBA and to have a discussion about it,” said Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. “Watching NBA basketball together with Twitter is a great experience, and the league has been at the forefront of embracing new ways to reach their fans. We’re happy to bring even more great NBA content to our global audience.

The partnership also includes an extension of the NBA and Twitter’s Amplify program, with the league increasing its content creation across Twitter, Vine and Periscope. NBA videos on Twitter will continue to include #NBARapidReplay highlights, #NBAVine highlights and behind-the-scenes footage, #PhantomCam player arrivals, plays of the game, animated GIFs, #NBAmixtape custom edits, “Day in the Life” takeovers and Periscope live streams of press conferences and interviews.

In addition, @NBA will also produce more videos from major events, including NBA All-Star, NBA Playoffs, The Finals, NBA Draft and others, that will feature player Q&As, takeovers and behind-the-scenes access.

Since the NBA joined Twitter in 2009, the league has built the largest Twitter community of any sports league in the world with more than 22 million followers. The NBA recently became the first organization to surpass 2 billion loops on Vine and, since joining the platform during The Finals 2013, the NBA has built Vine’s largest community among all sports leagues, teams and players, with more than 1.8 million followers.

Article Source: NBA

Messaging Service ‘WhatsApp’ Has Tough Week

Messaging Service ‘WhatsApp’ Has Tough Week

WhatsApp shutdown in Zimbabwe

This week Zimbabwe was rocked by national protests against government corruption, economic collapse and the long-tenure of Mugabe, now 92. The response of the government was to shut down the messaging service WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook. It is also alleged that they limited the access to the Internet for most of the day.

The protests were largely organised and mobilized over WhatsApp and social media. Hashtags such as #ShutDownZim, #ZimbabweShutdown and #ZimShutdown dominated social media websites like Twitter in efforts to bring the country to a standstill in order to address the protester’s demands. Early in the morning then it was noticed that WhatsApp had stopped working for many users. Later it became apparent that only the users of certain Zimbabwean cellular networks no longer had access to the messaging service. The cellular networks did not appear to know the exact reason for the prohibited access. Econet, the largest Internet provider in Zimbabwe, merely acknowledging that it was not working.

whatsapp-social

(Image Source: Statista)

All sim cards in Zimbabwe are registered in the name of the user. Perpetrators can easily be identified” warned the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe. A letter issued by the regulating body expressed disdain at the use of social media to organize the protests and threatened the arrest of anyone. The Minister of Higher Education of the country tweeted in response to provoking tweets of protestors that “If there’s a stay away as you claim then stay away from WhatsApp…

Many users were able to circumvent the blackout by downloading and using a VPN app on their phones. By after midday, fortunately, access to WhatsApp had been restored.

That the Zimbabwean government limited communication and allegedly limited access to the Internet is especially chilling considering the fact that only days ago the United Nations declared the right of access to the Internet one that should be promoted and protected, something that was clearly not done here.

For anyone unfamiliar with the social media app can review the attached infographic discovered via shoponless outlining 47 interesting facts and stats about WhatsApp.

Interesting-WhatsApp-Facts-Stats-2015-compressor

By Jason de Klerk

Big Data Solutions For The Gaming Industry

Big Data Solutions For The Gaming Industry

Big Data, The Cloud and Gaming

Big Data plays a major role in gaming, an industry valued at over $90 billion today. With the gaming industry more competitive than ever, developers are trying to understand player psychology and behavior to ensure games are constructed in such a way that players find their “flow zone.” Ensuring gamers keep coming back through game optimization, refining factors which encourage titles going viral, and additionally monetizing games through in-game purchasing is a blueprint to a gaming business’s success.

Big Data Analytics for Gaming

Every player interaction, mouse click, and keyboard press creates valuable data in game logs. However, if you’ve ever opened a game log, you’ll wonder how on earth you’re supposed to find it. This is where Big Data analytics steps up to the plate. Aggregated and analyzed, game logs explain what engages players and what encourages them to return. With the added social media and web access integrated, player profiles can be further developed, allowing gaming companies to provide personalized experiences and drive game attraction.

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(Image Source: Shutterstock)

Through combined user behavior and demographic information, merged with brands regularly engaged with, it’s possible to understand preferences and create specifically targeted digital ads, improve user experience, and identify VIPs. Analyzing combined logs and player data also enables the identification of common characteristics, helping recognize what drives particular gaming segments to play, and play longer. This has the added benefit of enabling gaming businesses to target new users most likely to engage with their titles. Finally, testing and analyzing results ensure constant gaming development and tweaking, based on real player data feedback.

Big Data Solutions for the Gaming Industry

No longer a market only for the giants, thousands of smaller game designers and developers are creating successful products for both traditional and emerging platforms, such as social media or mobile devices. With some estimates suggesting approximately two billion video game players worldwide, Big Data services are more relevant than ever, but the nearly unlimited data collected poses its own problem. Sources include gameplay data, social media, micro-transactions, price points, in-game advertising, payment systems, virtual goods, real-time events, multiplayer interactions, and content updates, and developers run the risk of recording data merely because it might, at some time, become relevant. Suitable Big Data solutions are shifting the focus to the right data for generation of actionable insights.

Cloud-Based Architecture

Uniquely able to address many technical challenges of the gaming industry, cloud-based architecture can provide scalable data storage solutions as well as the essential real-time availability. With billions of records streamed and immediately analyzed, cost-effective and low CAPEX cloud solutions are attractive. For the small gaming providers, analytics and storage vendors are offering tailored cloud solutions that provide the necessary speed, scale, cost, and capacity through fully managed, cloud-based Analytics as a Service platforms. With their near real-time analytics of current and historical data, smaller gaming companies are able to compete with the likes of Sony and Microsoft through these innovative and cost-effective Big Data analysis platforms.

Swiftly adopting Big Data technologies, the gaming industry is refining customer engagement, optimizing game development and end-user experiencing, and creating more effective targeted and personalized advertising. The blending of cloud-based tools offers further advancement as complicated and expensive infrastructures are outsourced to cloud service providers who manage the IT staffing and maintenance necessary to these platforms. High performing, scalable, service-based analytics cloud solutions mean game developers can focus on what they do best, leaving the Big Data analysis to experts and directly embedding the insights gleaned into gaming projects for improved traction, larger market engagement, and greater business success.

By Jennifer Klostermann

Clouding Around With The Unicorns

Clouding Around With The Unicorns

The Social Unicorn

Early investors and technology consumers alike love the poignantly named “Unicorn” companies, or private startups that reach the $1 billion valuation. The most recent unicorn spotting is social media game-changer Snapchat, which was recently valued at $16 billion. According to a recent infographic from Alexa discovered via Adweek, Snapchat also proves to be one of the rarest unicorns of all.

fastest-growing-unicorns-by-industry_asset

In the technology industry, 25% of all unicorn companies are in the E-commerce vertical; social media is a distant 7th producing only 5.36% of total unicorns. The infographic shows the viral takeoff of the platform over the past few years, which says the biggest growth may still lie ahead for Snapchat, especially considering the youth of their user base. Social platforms can benefit from the exponential exposure their own platforms give them, and it looks like Snapchat has done just that.

most-popular-unicorn-industries_asset

Compared to Unicorns in other industries, Snapchat still lags behind companies like Aerospace iconoclast Space X and Deem in Big Data. This year has seen the rise and fall of unicorns like DraftKings and FanDuel, obviously competing in a different vertical, but a case in point of how a changing market or user-base can quickly make a unicorn company mythical, some never to be seen again.

By Thomas Dougherty

E-Commerce Advances For Savvy Marketers

E-Commerce Advances For Savvy Marketers

Digital Marketing Platforms

Advertising and marketing techniques have progressed rapidly in the last decade with both channel focus and the direction of content shifting considerably due primarily to advances in cloud technology. Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce 2016 singles out a few ecommerce providers who are topping their sector in both ability to execute and completeness of vision, and Gartner reports, “Digital commerce platforms enable organizations to build B2B, B2C or B2B-to-consumer commerce sites and support a continuum of business objectives, from the generation of incremental revenue to the enabling of transformational business change.”

Modern Consumers Transforming Shopping Behaviors

Shopping

According to recent studies, the majority of Americans prefer to shop online, and almost all have made at least one online purchase to date. Unsurprisingly, the younger generations show the greatest adoption of online shopping behaviors, but since both the Baby Boomer and Senior generations are also frequenting online stores, it’s clear that the ecommerce industry will continue to flourish.

Digital marketing spend, already at an all-time high, is predicted to grow a further 12.9% over the next year. With this leap, the internet overtakes TV as the largest advertising medium, but consumers are still suspicious of digital advertising, and along with the various ad blockers installed, the majority of internet users distrust banner ads and won’t click on them. Digital marketers are forced to apply more sophisticated techniques, and both content-focused marketing and social media advertising are restyling marketing solutions that provoke and attract circumspect internet shoppers. Add to this the influence of mobile marketing, representing a predicted 72% of all digital ad spending by 2019, successful businesses have no time to waste in implementing their own polished digital marketing solutions.

Social Media and Ecommerce

Nearly a quarter of online shoppers are influenced by social media recommendations, and the majority require good product visuals to close the sale. It’s no surprise, then, that Facebook and Pinterest are rated as the platforms from which online shoppers are most likely to make purchases, and moreover, these two social media sites are found to encourage referral purchases through the ‘pins’ and ‘likes’ of family and friends using the platforms.

social-media-cloud

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

Marketers that include Facebook in their strategies open their networks up to over a billion monthly users, and those able to connect directly with Facebook Shop further improve their reach with mobile-friendly shopping. And providing the visuals shoppers are asking for in a relaxed and user-driven environment, Pinterest’s picture-oriented platform has recently turned the trendy digital scrapbooking craze into an ecommerce-ready hub with Buyable Pins. Though boasting fewer users than Facebook, of the 100 million active monthly Pinterest users, 93% use the platform to plan purchases, and 87% affirm that Pinterest has directly driven purchases.

The time to reform advertising strategies to embrace digital marketing is upon us, and though traditional channels such as television, radio and print haven’t quite lost their charm, successful organizations realize the potential of robust ecommerce tactics. According to Bigcommerce, one of the leaders of Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce 2016, their merchants grow 28% year over year, with the industry average just a little more than half of that. Large or small, brands that want to grow quickly and increase business volumes need to implement ecommerce tools to back them up.

By Jennifer Klostermann

CloudTweaks Comics
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Is Machine Learning Making Your Data Scientists Obsolete?

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