VERDICT MEDIA STRATEGIES – Changing the face of business as we know it.

Posted on Posted in Big Data, Blog, Cyber Safety, Digital, dmgsocial, Entertainment, Investment, Johngdryden, Media, Reputational Management, Social Media, Startups, Uncategorized

Every company has a perfect customer. And at Verdict Media Strategies, we’re all about finding and engaging with them for you. We design, target and measure your content by combining art and science – beautifully crafted and intelligent copy with analysable metrics. Reach out to me to see how VMS can benefit your business with intelligent insights and powerful tools to increase your business activity and sales. Call John Dryden on +61 4 8461 3508

Social Media will be stepped up over the Christmas/ New Year Period! Curated by John G Dryden

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Is social media worthwhile over Christmas break?……. 100%!!

With Christmas now less than a week away, many people are looking forward to a much-needed break. But should businesses be taking a break from social media over the holiday period?

Author and owner of PR firm CP Communications, Catriona Pollard said that studies have shown that some 60 per cent of Australians use the internet more than five times a day, and that 70 per cent admit to using their phone during mealtimes, meaning that “the digital world remains a prevalent part of everyday life”. And social media plays a central role in that connectivity.

“For this reason, it’s important that your business is maintaining a presence, with content in the pipeline, ready to jump into 2019,” the author said.

 

Social still gets used over summer: Facebook

Kaylie Smith, Facebook’s head of SMB for Australia and New Zealand, said that most people don’t stop using their social accounts when the holidays arrive, and that means businesses should be, too.

She told My Business that having a presence on social media post-Christmas “gives you an opportunity to boost sales among your holiday customer base”, while tapping into customers checking out post-Christmas sales or seeking ideas for spending gift cards they had received as presents.

“Business should defo be thinking about their social strategies over Christmas and the New Year, as holidays are a great time to introduce your brand to new shoppers and attract new buyers in volume,” Ms Smith said.

“I know by my habits that most Australians over the summer and holiday season always have their mobile phone within easy reach. We travel with the phone, sunbath with it and look at our apps throughout the day.

“People are spending on average over three hours a day on their phones, and mobile is the ideal way to reach them with relevant products and compelling offers.”

 

 

Benefits of staying active on socials over Christmas

Ms Pollard said that there are a number of business benefits to maintaining a social presence over the holiday period, even if your business will be shutting down. These include:

Getting in on the festivities

“Unless you’re the Grinch who stole Christmas, it can be fun to involve your business in the festivities of the season,” Ms Pollard said.

“This doesn’t mean your business needs to start planning an elaborate Christmas event; incorporating festive flair can be as simple as adding a holiday-themed cover image to your business’ Facebook page or sharing a few holiday-related articles on your Twitter.”

Maintaining a visual presence

Keeping your brand in the minds of customers is a year-round task, and the holiday period is no exception.

Ms Pollard said that if your business is shutting down, there are various tools and apps that allow for content to pre-scheduled, ensuring a fresh stream of posts continues throughout the shutdown period.

Your customers may be off work, too

Many people take time off over the holiday period, and it can be easy to forget that we’re not alone in doing so.

“With many people off from work, there’s an opportunity to drive high engagement levels over the holiday period,” Ms Pollard said.

“Whether this be through posting regular content, replying to customer comments and feedback or even offering a special, holiday promotion, your business will reap the benefits of audience interaction.”

Go to www.dmgsocial.com.au to find out how your business can benefit over Summer and into the business year of 2019! Speak with the Team at DMG Social today!

Credit: Original article produced and posted by ADAM ZUCHETTI on the 26th of November, 2018 on www.mybusiness.com.au

Suzy Welch: The 4 business buzzwords you should stop using immediately

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When discussing upcoming meetings, complicated projects or even a workplace conflict, it’s easy to fall back on well-worn phrases to get your point across. But according to bestselling management author and CNBC contributor Suzy Welch, this indirect and confusing language can easily do more harm than good.

“Business jargon is pretty much meaningless,” she tells CNBC Make It. “I mean, ‘shifting paradigm’ — really?”

Below, Welch highlights four business buzzwords that you should strip from your vocabulary today:

“Let’s take this offline”

Not all workplace conversations will be friendly. But regardless of whether or not you agree with your colleagues, Welch says you should never resort to the phrase, “Let’s take this offline.”

Using this business jargon sends a message that says, “We’ve reached an impasse and things are getting awkward, so I’m going to have a private meeting with a smaller group of people later to get what I want.”

Instead, Welch says, you should push through the challenging conversation and address whatever issue is taking place right in that moment.

“Empower” and “Ownership”

“Empower” and “ownership” are two buzzwords that Welch says have a “super high BS factor.” She emphasizes that you should never use the words together in a sentence like, “I’m empowering you to take ownership of this project.”

Instead, Welch suggests being more direct, and saying something along the lines of, “I am giving you the authority to run this project, and I will hold you responsible for its results.”

Once you say this, she says, the key is to actually hold that person accountable.

“Bandwidth”

Most of us have heard someone toss this one around, as in, “That’s a great idea, but we just don’t have the bandwidth for it right now.”

Welch says this is one of her least favorite buzzwords, because it’s usually used to “gloss over your real reason for saying ‘no.'” Rather than beating around the bush, you should be honest about why something can’t take place and simply say some version of:

  • “That idea doesn’t fit our strategy.”
  • “We don’t have the money.”
  • “Our competitors already do that better than we do.”

Regardless of how bad the truth hurts, Welch says that everyone prefers to hear it.

“I could go on and on, because, honestly, all buzzwords are bad,” she says. “Fight like crazy to banish them from your vocabulary, and you might be surprised how truly empowered you become.”

Suzy Welch is the co-founder of the Jack Welch Management Institute and a noted business journalist, TV commentator and public speaker. Think you need Suzy to fix your career? Email her at gettowork@cnbc.com.

One Size Does Not Fit All: Which Social Media Platforms Should Your Business Be On? By Seth Rand

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With new social media platforms popping up every day, how do you decide which sites your company should have a presence on?

In today’s business world, social media marketing is a strategy that no company can afford to ignore. With new social media platforms popping up every day, how do you decide which sites your company should have a presence on?
Below is a list of the top social media sites, along with the reasons you should—or shouldn’t—consider maintaining an active profile or page on each platform.
Facebook 
As the largest social media platform in the world with over a billion active users, Facebook is a social media platform that cannot be ignored. Unless your company is niche business that deals mainly on a B2B basis with a very specific and narrow type of audience, and doesn’t need to have a public way to interact with or provide content to your target demographic, your company should maintain a Facebook page.
Although most companies place Facebook at the forefront of their social media efforts, a small number of companies have decided to abandon Facebook in recent years. This abandonment is due to Facebook’s practice of modifying the algorithms that determine which posts appear on each users’ News Feed, which in turn has resulted in fewer company posts getting seen by a page’s followers.
Because of this, companies now have to spend money on Facebook ads or boosted posts to reclaim a prominent place in their followers’ News Feeds.
Having to “pay to play” for what used to be free has caused some companies to rethink or alter their Facebook strategy. That being said, only companies that have had considerable and measurable success on other social media platforms should consider leaving Facebook at this time.
Twitter 
Twitter focuses on brief, real-time communication, with almost 6,000 tweets posted every minute. Because of this, tweets can quickly become buried in a user’s Twitter feed. Due to this fast paced atmosphere, it is important to tweet at least a few times a day if you want to have any sort of visibility.
If your company doesn’t have enough content or commentary at its disposal to maintain an active presence on Twitter, you should consider focusing your company’s social media efforts elsewhere.
A major caveat to this rule applies to companies that frequently interact with their customers regarding questions or comments about their products or services. Twitter is the social media platform that customers are most likely to turn to when they have questions or complaints about a company.
Because of this, these types of companies should have a customer service specialists monitoring their Twitter account on a daily basis for any potential customer questions or complaints. According to a survey of Twitter users, 42 percent of customers expect to receive a response to a customer service complaint within one hour, so waiting to respond until the next business day could seriously hurt your businesses’ reputation.
LinkedIn 
LinkedIn is the most prominent social network for professionals. It’s an extension of old-fashioned, face to face social networking, and should be used as an avenue to connect with your colleagues, as well as potential business leads and referral partners.
If you run a B2B business, you should have both a personal and company profile on LinkedIn to increase the visibility of your company among other professionals in your field. Engaging in LinkedIn groups, both through posting and commenting on other posts, is another great way to build the professional reputation of individual members of your team.
Top-level members of your management team should also consider posting original articles on LinkedIn’s Publisher feature to improve the reputation and credibility of that individual, as well as your company.
Google+
Although Google+ is a platform that has never caught on in comparison to competitors like Facebook, the fact that Google+ is a Google product should make you still seriously consider investing time on this site. Content that is posted on Google+ is picked up by Google’s search engines in a way that content from other social media sites isn’t, so if you are looking to increase your company’s SEO, your company should be on Google+.
Another reason to have a profile on Google+, especially for local, service-oriented businesses, is Google+ reviews. Once a company receives five Google+ reviews, the number of stars associated with your business will show up directly on Google search results. Having a high rating on Google+ reviews will greatly impact the reputation of your company.
Pinterest 
Pinterest is a visual platform in which people can “pin” pictures and other content to their boards. This content usually consists of products that the user likes, and therefore, is the leading platform for website traffic referrals.
If you run any sort of business that’s core business consists of products dealing with home decorating, fashion, recipes or any other product that is visually appealing—especially to targeting women—your company should have an active presence on Pinterest.
Instagram
Instagram is currently the best platform to reach out to teenagers and other people that love a good image or short video. The difference between Pinterest and Instagram is that pictures shared on Instagram primarily focus on photos of people, landscapes, and the like as opposed to products, so companies such as travel companies, magazines or any other companies that have access to high-quality images of people using their products should be on Instagram.  
Using any sort of stock photography on Instagram is considered a major faux pas and should be avoided at all costs.

In Conclusion
Even though you should consider having a social media profile on each of the relevant platforms above for your business, remember that having an inactive social media profile might be worse than not having a profile at all. However, if you are busy and unable to consistently stay active on social media, then there is a variety of software available to help schedule posts such as Hootsuite, TweetDeck, SproutSocial, etc. Because of this, it is important to have a social media strategy in place before you set up your social media accounts.

Be sure set goals ahead of time, such as the number of times your company should be posting, tweeting or pinning per week. Once you develop your social media strategy, make sure you have the resources to properly execute your strategy.
If you find yourself unable to maintain an active social media presence with your current staff level, you should either hire a social media professional to manage your social media efforts, or enlist a marketing firm to manage your social media presence on your platforms. You can do yourself a disservice trying to do it yourself and doing it poorly, and consequently damaging your brand. Get it right from the start, work with a professional for a minimum of 90 days to learn and perfect your own social media craft.

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Client agency relationships: confessions of an ex-client

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Client agency relationships: confessions of an ex-client
Posted on June 22, 2016 by Bruno Gralpois.

This post is by Bruno Gralpois, co-founder of Agency Mania Solutions, a premier service and technology firm specialising in helping large brand advertisers realise the transformational value of managed partnerships. 

The uneasy truth about being a client and what it means to build lasting partnerships in today’s cut-throat environment.

I’d like to confess. Actually, I have multiple confessions to make. Four to be precise. No worries. This is not a remake of “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” (2002), so they won’t keep you up at night.

Client agency relationship confessions
But if you’ve ever been a client, you too would have much to say. By now, we can all agree that the client/agency relationship is no longer what it used to be. Long gone are the days of long-lasting relationships where it took a major blowup for the partnership to be at risk.

Now, relationships are very fragile. So fragile indeed that the only thing that might keep an agency from walking over the deadly precipice of a separation is a performance improvement plan (PIP) and a 90-day termination clause, which is increasingly shorter as clients ask for more flexibility and are unwilling to commit long term.

I’ve had the opportunity to work as a client many times over and manage a complex set of relationships with incredibly talented agencies and their holding companies. Managing agency partnerships successfully is both an art and a science.

Because it’s both, it’s subject to many challenges, biases and other intangibles that are part of our daily lives. Ignoring them is risky. Acknowledging and embracing them is a first step toward overcoming most common challenges.

Confession #1: Most clients don’t understand the agency business.

That’s the reality. I was lucky to have worked at agencies before, but most clients have never had this experience. It puts them at a disadvantage because it’s hard to fully understand how agencies operate, how they manage their P&L and why they behave the way they do at times, unless you’ve walked in their shoes.

What can be done to address this? Some agencies do a very good job of sharing with their client the unique operational nuances of their business and how these might impact the relationship or how it’s managed. I always encourage clients to spend time at their agencies to experience firsthand the inner workings of the agency life.

Some clients organise agency days where client teams get to spend time with their agency counterparts in their offices. The better you understand the agency business, the better equipped you are to build mutually beneficial partnerships.

Confession #2: Too many clients think agencies are operating with fat or hidden margins.

Last year’s ANA survey, “Enhancing Client Agency Relationships,” demonstrated the huge gap in perception as it relates to compensation. Only 40% of agencies feel that their compensation arrangements are fair, while 72% of clients feel that they are.
One-third of agencies actually disagree or strongly disagree. It’s not new. The era of “Mad Men” in the 1960s, populated with alpha male characters like Don Draper, hasn’t helped and is still trailing in clients’ minds: agencies are perceived to be operating with fat margins that pay for the extra martinis.
The lack of transparency further accentuated by the recent debacle of AVBs and media rebates continues to fuel the perception that agencies are always finding ways to make up for profitability in ways that are not always clear to the client.

What is the solution?

Well, greater transparency around agency compensation and more accurate reporting go a long way to address this perception gap. Well-informed clients know that when agencies make reasonable profits, it allows agencies to secure and assign top talent, which ultimately benefits their clients.

Confession #3: Too many clients don’t know that they are bad partners.

Collaborating effectively with an agency is a skill set that most clients acquire over the years. They have the scars to prove it. And there are a number of benefits of being a great client. The work produces better results and you end up attracting the best agency talent over time. Everyone at the agency wants to work on your business, and as a result, the work continues to flourish.

What does it mean to be a good client?
Provide strong guidance. Set clear expectations. Encourage risk-taking and autonomy. Push the envelope. Challenge the work in constructive ways. Provide direct, timely and actionable feedback. Lead by example. And the list goes on.
Unfortunately, too many clients don’t know that they are bad clients. In the same ANA study referenced earlier, only 36% of agencies don’t think the client approval process works well, while over half of clients (54%) feel it does. Only 27% of agencies think clients provide clear assignment briefings to them, while 58% of clients think they do.

The solution?

Open, direct feedback and 360-degree client/agency evaluations allow clients to learn the important role they play in building a productive relationship with their agencies, and how to become better clients over time.

Confession #4: Clients significantly impact how agencies behave or perform.

The most progressive clients welcome the opportunity to conduct self-assessments or get feedback from their agencies about their role in the partnership.

Many times, I’ve seen clients complain about the lack of strategic insight brought forward by the team without realising that their fee-reduction efforts may have led the agency to remove critical staffing resources that would be tasked to fulfil that role.

They may unintentionally do something that gets in the way of an outcome they desire. Is the client adequately training the agency? Is the client providing clear guidance and the resources needed for it to be successful? Is the client giving the agency enough time or access to resources to think proactively or innovate on the account? Is the client cutting budgets that might impact the quality of resources available to the agency?

Client decisions around agency assignments or budgets tend to have a domino effect on the agency relationship, which is felt later on and is likely to shape the relationship for the foreseeable future.

Why Cosabella replaced its agency with AI and will never go back to humans

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IBM’s Watson has changed the advertising industry, and Ad Agency Heads are denying it and burying their heads in the sand! It’s time to wake up and work with technology that is replacing known industry standards, experience and know how! Technology is changing the way we communicate, and we need to work with it, rather than deny it, please read this story below by Emily Tan

In October, lingerie retailer Cosabella replaced its digital agency with an AI platform named “Albert”. Since then it has more than tripled its ROI and increased its customer base by 30%.

Headquartered in the US, with ecommerce sites in the UK, Australia, Germany, France, Italy and Canada, Cosabella decided to engage Adgorithms (the creator of Albert) out of frustration with its digital ad agency.

“We know our brand best and communicating it to the advertising agency became time-consuming and difficult,” Courtney Connell, marketing director of Cosabella, said, declining to name the agency as they really were “very lovely people” who she had no wish to disparage.

Connell grew concerned when the retailer went through a flat quarter. “It was very scary, particularly when we enjoyed double-digit growth all the previous quarters.”

After parting ways with the agency, Connell looked around for alternatives and decided to try using an AI platform instead of building up a larger in-house team.

As a first test, Adgorithm’s Albert was tasked with identifying and converting high-value audiences. It was given Cosabella’s paid search and social media marketing efforts to manage and was allowed to autonomously execute Cosabella’s digital marketing efforts using creative and KPIs provided by the brand.

 

In the first month alone, Albert increased Cosabella’s search and social return-on-ad-spend (ROAS) by 50% and decreased its adspend by 12%.

On Facebook specifically, Albert produced a 565% increase in ROAS within his first month. By month three, Albert had increased Cosabella’s ROAS to 336% – a 155% increase over the previous quarter.

Overall, Albert’s work in the last quarter of 2016 contributed strongly towards the company’s 37% increase in overall website sessions, a 30% increase in new users, and 1,500 more transactions.

“After seeing Albert handle our paid search and social media marketing, I would never have a human do this again,” Connell said.

One of the biggest changes Albert has achieved, she added, was to grow the revenue Cosabella gained from social media. “Prior to Albert, only 5-10% of our revenue came from social media. Now, social media consistently accounts for 30% of our paid revenue. Albert’s success driving conversions on Facebook resulted in a 2000% increase in purchases originating from the channel.”

Agency versus AI

In terms of fees, Albert is no cheaper than an agency, Connell said. “An ad agency will charge 15-20% of your media spend. Albert charges 18% and had no monthly cost or implementation fee.”

Working with Albert has been seamless with no development or down time. “He doesn’t sleep, he’s fast, he doesn’t get into a fight with his girlfriend and lose focus,” Cornell commented, speaking of Albert as if of a favourite employee.
On Black Friday, Cornell recalls waking up at 2am in a panic, anxious that the campaigns Cosabella was running were not gaining the traction it was counting on. “But Albert was there, managing everything perfectly.”

Albert is capable of moving budgets into any of the areas he manages, and if ROAS is routinely above target, he’ll recommend a budget increase. “We’re meeting our KPISs across all channels,” Connell said.

There is a place for agencies in marketing, she mused, but it does not lie in managing paid-search, social and display campaigns. “I wouldn’t want a human to do this, it would be a terrible life. I do not see these skills as being relevant in future for a human.”

Working with an AI

Although Albert had no trouble getting to work, Connell and her team had a learning curve to navigate, she said.

“It required a mindset change. Don’t give the AI a set creative focus. Instead, give him [Albert] different elements. Albert tests different copy with different photos and spends the first couple of weeks optimising,” she said. “Once he’s optimised your campaigns he’ll start to make his own.”

Albert, she continued, is capable of creating micro-segments of men and women customers based on micro-patterns, turning the three broad personas the marketing team used in house into hundreds of finely tune personas.

“I would say that, what’s cool about AI is that it doesn’t think about people in the same way we think about people. What Albert does, he optimises for each microsegment that he makes. He wants to speak to the woman however she wants to be spoken to, and he’ll do it with the brand assets he’s been given,” Connell said. “For example, if you described a human or an object you’d list about ten things. AI will understand subtle manoeuvres that humans would not deem relevant most of the time. And he never forgets.”

It would be a mistake for marketers to try and set audience target perimeters too rigidly when dealing with an AI, she commented. “This frustrated me too at first. But you have to give the AI the freedom to test and experiment. This way it can find micro groups of potential customers you have missed.”

Albert will also analyse the keywords used by competitors and suggest if the brand needs to start targeting those areas.

“He’s notified us that all our competitors are running promotions at a time we weren’t, so we should probably get on that. He has also told us that ads with humans perform 50% better than still life. So we should give him more creative assets with humans,” Connell explained.

One of the things Cosabella has benefited most from is Albert’s ability to detect “fatigue”: “He’ll tell us when he feels a creative concept is ‘fatiguing’, that is, its click rate is going down and interactions are dropping.”

Connell is so pleased with Albert that she’s currently testing another AI platform specialising in website management. “Otherwise it’s funny. Here we have Albert doing all this awesome stuff for us, but once the consumer lands on our site it’s bye-bye Albert.”

AI platforms are designed to be intensely specialised, she explained. So instead of trying to turn Albert into more of a multi-tasker, Adgorithms has identified partners to work with. “We’re working out a handshake between Albert and Sentient, the AI we have on our platform.”

A third of Instagram users have bought an item of clothing they saw on the social network

Posted on Posted in Big Data, Blog, Cyber Safety, Digital, Entertainment, Media, Reputational Management, Social Media, Startups

With more and more Instagram users inspired to buy clothing, the social network is fast establishing itself as a solid bet for fashion-led brands 

instagram story

Instagram has claimed fashion brands are most likely to succeed on its platform, with one in three of its 500 million global users having bought an item of clothing they discovered while using the social network.

Its latest report claims that an Instagram user interested in high street fashion checks their newsfeed 15 times a day. It also found fashion fans have 230% more followers than the average Instagram user and post three times as much, making them its most engaged segment of users.

instagram stats

And for brands looking to target Instagram’s fashionista community, the weekend is the best bet with Friday the peak day for posts.

The UK, meanwhile, came out on top for the number of accounts its users follow, with the average British ‘fashion’ user following 407 accounts.

“These new findings show how engaged and influential the fashion community is on Instagram – they post three times as often as the average person, with 230% more followers.”

Amy Cole, EMEA head of brand development, Instagram.

“They’re also ready to turn their passion for fashion into purchase – with one in three Instagrammers buying an item they’ve discovered on the platform. There is a huge opportunity for fashion brands and retailers to tell great brand stories and deliver real business results through Instagram,” she adds.

In February, Instagram reached the milestone of 200,000 advertisers as it claimed it was now the “look book for brands people love and the shop window for small businesses on mobile”.

Careers can be divided into 7 ‘clusters’ and not particular professions

Posted on Posted in Blog, Digital, Media, Reputational Management, Social Media, Startups


Careers can be divided into 7 ‘clusters’ and not particular professions

 Jan Owen of the Foundation for Young Australians says employers have to look at capabilities and skills. Once they …

Jan Owen of the Foundation for Young Australians says employers have to look at capabilities and skills. Once they identify this it will drive better candidate selection and improve productivity as well as reduce staff turnover. supplied

by Lucille Keen

Young Australians should not at 17 be deciding to be a lawyer, accountant, or some other profession. Instead they should choose whether they are an “informer”, a “generator” or a “technologist”.
A report commissioned by the Foundation for Young Australians, a not-for-profit backed by the Australian government and a number of ASX 100 companies, found young Australians should give up on focusing on one single “dream job”.
Analysing 2.7 million job advertisements, the report found it was better to think of seven “job clusters” or groups in the Australian economy that required skills that were closely related and portable.
There seven job clusters in Australia’s workforce are the generators, the artisans, the carers, the coordinators, the designers and the informers.


  

The report said only 6 per cent of adults end up in the careers they wanted when they were younger.
“Instead of training for a particular occupation and working in that area for life, some studies have estimated that Australians will make 17 changes in employers across five different careers,” the report said.
The report found for someone who has already trained for or worked in one job, 44 different jobs only request one additional skill and that did not necessarily require going back to university to obtain.
After doing just one job young people will have the skills for up to 13 others.
Career prospects


  

Some job clusters have stronger future prospects than others, with those in the “artisans” and the “coordinators” group likely to experience lower growth and high exposure to automation.
Technologists were most likely to have the highest growth in career prospects, at 19 per cent in the last five years, followed by carers and informers.
Foundation for Young Australians chief executive Jan Owen said companies needed to shift their mindset because linear careers would be far less common and young people would need a portfolio of skills and capabilities, including career management skills to navigate the more complex world of work.
She said career advice was outdated and the report highlighted the need to focus on a candidate’s skills rather than linear career path.
“Having one dream job for life is no longer the case,” Ms Owen said.
“But it also doesn’t mean they necessarily have to go back to university and start again. There are many roles people can transfer into because they already have the portable skills. This is liberating for young people. Employers have to think beyond linear careers and look at capabilities and skills.”
Ms Owen said once employers identify this it would drive better candidate selection and improve productivity as well as reduce staff turnover.
She said if educators, policymakers and the government addressed the issue of skills rather than linear career paths it would reduce the number of under-employed Australians.
Randstad recruitment manager Sally Mortimer said many young job seekers had high expectations of what jobs they were able to “walk into”.
“But they need to realise they might start in one area of a business and then have five career changes within it,” Ms Mortimer said.

7 Inspiring Ideas To Power Up Your Social Media Strategy With Special Events

Posted on Posted in Big Data, Blog, Cyber Safety, Digital, Entertainment, Media, Reputational Management, Social Media, Startups

As curated from my friends Jeffbullas’s blogJeff Bullas

You are doing yourself a disservice if you don’t make the most of social media’s promotional power to grow your business…

But social media marketing can get pretty impersonal when you’re purely using it to drive traffic, collect leads and convert users into sales.

A timeline full of flat out promotion leads to low engagement.

So it’s important to share posts that engage and delight your fans and followers. Trends and special events are a great way to reach your audience on an emotional level, appealing to their desire to share information, feel like part of a group, and provide value to their own audience.

Here are some inspiring ideas to implement trends and special events into your content calendar, so you have a consistently positive impact on your audience, and maybe send a post or two viral.

Bonus: For a bit of extra reading on this topic, I recommend you download this practical e-book about holiday posts and their potential to go viral on social media

1. Every day can be a holiday

The major holidays should always get some love, but every day can be a holiday.
With all the negativity floating around in the social sphere, an uplifting post about National Donut Day, or World Peace Day, can be just what your audience needs.

Also, don’t forget to use local events such as festivals and significant days in your city or town to spice up your social media strategy.

You can even make up your own holiday, like many brands have done. IHOP for example started National Pancake Day, and the inventor of cake pops invented National Cake Pop Day.

People like these “made up” holidays because they’re shareable, fun and interesting. And, days like National Cheeseburger Day or National Donut Day give people an excuse to break their diets, or to meet a friend for lunch to catch up. 

But you don’t have to come up with your own day, because there are plenty of social holidays out there you can use to engage your audience.

For example, PromoRepublic creates templates for these holidays every single day. 

You can check it out for free and save yourself hours of searching for these viral events.

2. Don’t be afraid of healthy, positive gossip

Psychology Today says that it could actually be a good thing to care about celebrity news.

They support a claim that our preference to pay attention to gossip is a byproduct of the social intelligence our prehistoric ancestors had to develop in order to survive and thrive within their communities. These people paid more attention to what other people were doing, which allowed them to predict behavior and even influence others.

Fast forward to today, and the phenomenon of celebrity news, combined with the power of social media, make celebrities socially important to humans. We can’t help ourselves.

So that means that sports news, celebrity birthdays and other pseudo-gossipy posts feed a primitive need in our mind. As long as you keep it respectful and mostly non-confrontational, you can expect engagement from these posts.

3. Take the opportunity to do something good

People are inspired by special days that are designed to spread goodwill and help a group in need.

One of the core reasons why people share on social media is to support a cause and do good. In fact, CoSchedule tells us that 84% of users share socially to support issues they care about.

So when you post about things like World Charity Month, Fire Prevention Month, and National Stop Bullying Day (just a few examples), you show your fans and followers that you care.

Since social is all about relationships, a great way to nurture these relationships is with socially aware posts that can raise awareness about different issues.

Letting people know that your brand is socially responsible can boost your reputation, increase positive customer sentiment, and is frankly, good karma.

4. It’s never bad to make people smile

There’s a reason why funny TV commercials are so popular. They make a brand more accessible and make people smile in the process.

Social media works in much the same way. A great meme or funny visual post can elevate someone’s day. And when that happens, they’re likely to share it with their own social audience.

The team at Social Media Examiner shared some great tips on using humor in your social posts:
Dirty or distasteful humor doesn’t fly

Find humor in everyday situations

Wittiness and puns are appreciated

It’s OK to have a sense of humor about your brand

Here’s one example of everyday humor being used to engage an audience:

If you follow these rules and make sure you do some A/B testing, you’re sure to be a hit.

5. It’s all about the visuals

People’s brains are attracted to visual content. So as you post your trends and special events, make sure they have a great visual component.

For example, on Facebook visual posts get 37% more engagement than text posts. Tweets with images get 150% more retweets than standard posts, and other social media channels like Pinterest are pretty much all visual. Even LinkedIn posts perform better with a strong visual component.

Just make sure you choose the right visuals for the right social network.

You don’t have to spend a ton of money on a graphic designer to create great visual posts. Tools like PromoRepublic and Canva can give you all the visual oomph you need to create a compelling visual post in little time, and for a lot less money than hiring a designer.

6. Knowledge really is power

People love to learn new things, especially in a way that makes it easy for them to share that knowledge.

You can do this through a link to an informative blog post that you have written yourself. Or you can do it by curating content from other credible sources.
Sharing knowledge is an important aspect to social media marketing, but you have to space it out with other types of posts.

Luckily, link posts aren’t the only means of sharing information. Infographics are an extremely powerful visual tool that usually spark engagement and shares. How-to posts, quizzes, polls and inspirational quotes all scratch that inquisitive itch too.

It’s important to understand what your audience cares about, in order to understand what sort of information they want to consume.

Tying a knowledge-heavy post into a current event, trend or holiday can be especially powerful, because it provides context. You aren’t just posting random information and hoping it hits the mark.

7. No matter what, context matters

The key to pitch-perfect social media is context.

It’s all well and good to come up with a visual social media post that is simply stunning, but if it’s written in a way or delivered in a way that doesn’t resonate with your audience, it falls flat.

Posting the right content, to the right audience, in the right place, at the right time, is the very definition of contextual social marketing.

As I said earlier, current events, trends and special events help you laser focus your posts to reach your audience with the most impact.