Expert Interview with Gavin Hammar on Getting Your Brand Noticed

In 2014, social media marketing will be all about visual content, says Gavin Hammar of social media management platform Sendible. In order to stand out from the other posts in a stream, it will be even more critical for organizations to share interesting and powerful images.

“We are also expecting social media advertising to really take off in 2014 and become almost as important as PPC,” he adds. “Businesses will need to get used to the idea of paying for their social media content to be seen.”

We recently checked in with Gavin to get more insight on how to successfully leverage social media to get your brand noticed.

Tell us about Sendible… when did your company get its start? What’s the story behind the name?

Before social media was even a term, I noticed that there were more and more social networks cropping up, each allowing users the ability to post updates. Facebook was just starting to gain momentum and Twitter had not yet become mainstream. I had the idea to build desktop software to allow users to post to multiple services at once, saving them the hassle of having to log in to multiple services and post updates manually.

SEE ALSO: Quality Content: Your Brand Reputation Depends on It

I used my experience having built banking integration systems to develop a robust platform that could integrate with any API. This meant that it could evolve to support all social networks, blogging platforms and even email and SMS. The reason I chose the name Sendible was because it made sending any type of message possible (send-ible). Having developed the core engine, I then built a basic website around it and released it to the public for free in the middle of 2008. Shortly after launching, articles were written about Sendible on Techcrunch, Mashable and ReadWriteWeb.

What types of services do you offer?

Since launching as a free service in 2008, we pivoted to become a complete Social Media Management platform for business. Sendible enables users to engage on multiple social platforms at once, monitor mentions and sentiment of their brand across the social web, measure ROI on social media efforts using our analytics tools and grow their business through our lead generation features.

What sets you apart from other online marketing firms?

Unlike other products in our space that only focus on Facebook and Twitter, Sendible integrates with just about every social network out there and because of the way our platform has been built, we are able to add new integrations very quickly. For this reason, our technology enables us to take our users’ feedback on board and add new features quickly. We also provide a white label solution that allows agencies to offer their own branded version of our dashboard to their clients. We have also developed innovative automation features that assist with social media lead generation. We are the only platform to offer this.

What are your favorite platforms for social media marketing?

Twitter is still the most powerful platform for social media marketing and lead generation. Companies with the most success on Twitter are listening in on conversations, adding value and building relationships. They are then leveraging those relationships to generate sales. At Sendible, we have developed several innovative tools that help businesses generate and convert leads using Twitter. We have also found Pinterest to be an extremely effective tool for generating clicks and leading customers to your website. We are excited to announce that Sendible has just recently integrated with Pinterest, making it possible for our users to share images and links directly from the dashboard.

How do business owners know if their social media campaign is working?

A successful social media campaign requires a significant investment of time and energy and thus, it’s important to understand whether this has paid off. Not only is it vital that you understand whether the overall campaign was a success, but you also need to be aware of which social networks are the most effective for your business. It’s no use investing heavily in Twitter if your audience is most engaged on Facebook.

The approach you take to measuring ROI on social media really depends on the campaign’s goals and objectives. If the objective is to grow brand awareness, then you would look at metrics such as shares, retweets, views, comments, sentiment and audience growth. If the goal is to generate sales then you would track the flow of clicks from the links you’ve shared on social networks right through to your website’s sales page. This can easily be achieved using a combination of links and Google Analytics. However, to effectively track the success of your social media efforts, you would need to use a tool such as Sendible to truly understand if your campaigns are meeting the goals and objectives you’ve set.

What do you think are common mistakes business owners make when building brand awareness on social media?

We find that business owners tend to treat their social media campaigns like they would email. They broadcast updates about themselves and then wonder why no one has engaged with their posts. Businesses needs to understand that social media needs to be treated like a cocktail party. You wouldn’t arrive at a cocktail party and tell the entire room about your latest special or business award. You may, however, walk around the room and join in on conversations about topics that are of interest. Social media is the same – the key is to join relevant conversations and add value to those so that you can build influence. The more influence you have, the more opportunities you have to generate leads for your business.

Share some best practices for social media marketing?

  • Use targeting: Where possible, be sure to target people who are most likely to engage with your content.
  • Use images: To generate the most engagement, you need to be sharing great quality images along with your content.
  • Stand out from the crowd and be controversial: In order to have the best chance that someone will engage with your posts, your content needs to be interesting and slightly controversial.
  • Experiment and adapt: To be truly effective, you need to experiment. By experimenting, you will be able to act on metrics such as the best time to post, most useful social networks, what your audience likes etc.
  • Share links that lead social media prospects to a capture form: Since you have so little time to convert a social media lead into a customer, it’s essential that you capture their email address so that you can market to them in the future.

With the advent of social media and SMS marketing, e-mail marketing seems outdated. Tell us why we’re mistaken.

Email is still one of the most powerful forms of marketing. This is because you’re reaching people’s inboxes directly. Keeping on top of social media can be very time consuming and since it is so fast moving, you have very little opportunity to get your message seen. Although social media marketing is extremely targeted and allows you to reach your precise audience, it still doesn’t scale in the same way that email does. The open and click-through rates for email is still much higher than social media. The reason is because users of social media are in “browsing” mode. They don’t really want to be taken away from their news feed – so even if your message is seen, they may open a link, glimpse at it and then go back to their news feed. With email, however, users are in a different mode and more likely to take action on the links you’ve shared via your email campaign.

How easy is it for small businesses to jump into SMS marketing?

SMS marketing is extremely easy to get into, provided your customers have opted in. SMS is still one of the most effective forms of marketing. This is because unlike an email inbox, which can be full of other unread messages and spam, SMS texts have the recipient’s full attention.

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