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How to link social media spend with business

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Social media isn’t just about sales and return on investment, so marketers should focus on the value of the relationships they build with customers. BIANCA QUINN-DIAVASTOS, from 25AM, shares her insights.

Millions of South Africans today depend on social media to keep in touch with the information and people that matter to them – whether they’re watching the Twitter war between DJ Zinhle and AKA, keeping an eye on running commentary about President Zuma’s state of the nation speech, or simply sharing personal photographs with their friends and families.

More than 36% of South Africa’s people (13 million-plus users) are active on Facebook today, giving just one illustration of social media’s growing reach. In addition to the fact that social media is starting to rival television and radio in terms of its reach, it also drives levels of engagement that make it an exciting platform for speaking to customers.

Yet, despite its prominent role in our customers’ lives, many brands and marketers are struggling to come to grips with how they measure their return on investment from social media campaigns and strategies. Part of the complexity comes from the fact that social isn’t just about audience numbers, circulation, clicks or conversions – it’s also about trust and relationships.

That means we need to measure social media results by quantitative metrics as well as qualitative outcomes. But before deciding which tools to use to measure social media results, marketers should decide what their business objectives are so that they can determine how they will measure the results.

Measuring what matters

Brands that invest in social media – whether we are talking about paid social media ads or owned social media channels – need to decide how they will use it to further sales, marketing and branding objectives. For example, is the aim to nurture customer relationships and improve service? Drive prospects to an e-commerce website? Gain insight into customer needs or build brand awareness?

Once a marketer has decided on the goal, he or she can start thinking about which social media channels are the best fit and decide how to measure success. It’s worth remembering, for example, that Twitter can be a powerful tool for disseminating news and addressing customer service queries, while Facebook can be good for direct marketing.

It’s wise to keep these metrics simple: for example, increase web traffic by five percent, improve share of voice in a topic, or improve SEO rankings for brand keywords. In addition to these hard numbers, remember to look at more qualitative elements such as how well you’re doing in building trust and relationships. These may be harder to measure, but they’ll also have a positive result on the quantitative elements you are tracking.

The tools of the trade

Luckily, marketers have a range of powerful tools today to help measure social media’s business results. You can use Google Analytics to track how your social activity is driving people to your site, as well as which social content is helping to increase engagement with your brand. You can see, for example, how visitors from different social sources behave on your site, which blog and social posts attracted the most traffic and how social media is impacting on your conversion goals.

Most social media platforms – including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn – also offer marketers powerful tools they can use to track user engagement with their content. For example, you can easily see which Twitter posts attracted the most views or retweets. Many social media sites also give you a wealth of demographic information about your followers.

In addition, more and more marketers are using social listening tools such as BrandsEye to get a wider perspective on how their social media efforts are building the company’s brand and reputation.

Social Listening tools can also listen to sources like blogs, forums and news, in addition to social media. They can enable marketers to track their share of voice compared to competitors and customer sentiment about their brands, products, services and campaigns.

And they can also alert brands to specific social media topics and conversations that need their attention. For example, an airline can see if a passenger on a delayed flight is tweeting a complaint, and respond with advice. Making things right at the moment a customer has a problem can build loyalty and create positive sentiment for the brand.

Closing words

Social media isn’t just about sales and direct return on investment, so marketers should focus on the value of the relationships they build with customers. It’s hard to measure trust directly, but one can see it reflected as metrics such as customer survey results, social media sentiment, and sales improve. Social media isn’t a short-term campaign – it is a long term strategy for building customer relationships and growing the business.

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How we use phones to avoid human contact

A recent study by Kaspersky Lab has found that 75% of people pick up their connected device to avoid conversing with another human being.

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Connected devices are becoming essential to keeping people in contact with each other, but for many they are also a much-needed comfort blanket in a variety of social situations when they do not want to interact with others. A recent survey from Kaspersky Lab has confirmed this trend in behaviour after three-quarters of people (75%) admitted they use a device to pretend to be busy when they don’t want to talk to someone else, showing the importance of keeping connected devices protected under all circumstances. 

Imagine you’ve arrived at a bar and you’re waiting for your date. The bar is busy, and people are chatting all around you. What do you do now? Strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know? Grab your phone from your pocket or handbag until your date arrives to keep yourself busy? Why talk to humans or even make eye-contact with someone else when you can stare at your connected device instead?

The truth is, our use of devices is making it much easier to avoid small talk or even be polite to those around us, and new Kaspersky Lab research has found that 72% of people use one when they do not know what to do in a social situation. They are also the ‘go-to’ distraction for people even when they aren’t trying to look busy or avoid someone’s eye. 46% of people admit to using a device just to kill time every day and 44% use it as a daily distraction.

In addition to just being a distraction, devices are also a lifeline to those who would rather not talk directly to another person in day-to-day situations, to complete essential tasks. In fact, nearly a third (31%) of people would prefer to carry out tasks such as ordering a taxi or finding directions to where they need to go via a website and an app, because they find it an easier experience than speaking with another person.

Whether they are helping us avoid direct contact or filling a void in our daily lives, our constant reliance on devices has become a cause for panic when they become unusable. A third (34%) of people worry that they will not be able to entertain themselves if they cannot access a connected device. 12% are even concerned that they won’t be able to pretend to be busy if their device is out of action.

Dmitry Aleshin, VP for Product Marketing, Kaspersky Lab said, “The reliance on connected devices is impacting us in more ways than we could have ever expected. There is no doubt that being connected gives us the freedom to make modern life easier, but devices are also vital to help people get through different and difficult social situations. No matter what your ‘connection crutch’ is, it is essential to make sure your device is online and available when you need it most.”

To ensure your device lifeline is always there and in top health – no matter what the reason or situation – Kaspersky Security Cloud keeps your connection safe and secure:

·         I want to use my device while waiting for a friend – is it secure to access the bar’s Wi-Fi?

With Kaspersky Security Cloud, devices are protected against network threats, even if the user needs to use insecure public Wi-Fi hotspots. This is done through transferring data via an encrypted channel to ensure personal data safety, so users’ devices are protected on any connection.

·         Oh no! I’m bored but my phone’s battery is getting low – what am I going to do?

Users can track their battery level thanks to a countdown of how many minutes are left until their device shuts down in the Kaspersky Security Cloud interface. There is also a wide-range of portable power supplies available to keep device batteries charged while on-the-go.

·         I’ve lost my phone! How will I keep myself entertained now?

Should the unthinkable happen and you lose or have your phone stolen, Kaspersky Security Cloud can track and protect your device from data breaches, for complete peace of mind. Remote lock and locate features ensure your device remains secure until you are reunited.

 

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Five key biometric facts

Due to their uniqueness, fingerprints are being used more and more to quickly identify and ensure the security of customers. CLAUDE LANGLEY, Regional Sales Manager, for Africa at HID Global Biometrics, outlines five facts about the technology.

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How many times in a day are you expected to identify yourself? From when you arrive at work you are required to sign in, visiting your bank, receiving healthcare services… The list is endless. When a system knows who you are, you are able to do any number common, everyday activities. Your identity is unique and precious. It is also easily stolen and the target of many hackers across the globe. Technology is constantly evolving alongside the criminal element, always looking for ways to protect data and identity. One such solution happens to be biometrics and it is rapidly gaining traction in our increasingly complex modern world.

Reliable, secure and fundamentally YOU, unique biometric traits such as fingerprints are being used by banks, enterprises and consumers to verify identity. Biometric solutions offer significant identity protection because they use unique biological details to ensure an account is only accessed by the account holder, a door only opened by the owner. Here are five things that are little known about this technology…

  • The uncut identity. Your fingerprint is unique to you. Nobody can use a copy of it to impersonate you. Good technology is capable of scanning down into the layers of the fingertip to differentiate unique elements of a person’s fingerprint, this data is then encrypted and used as a key to unlocking whichever physical or virtual door that the biometric system protects.
  • The living proof. No, there is nothing to the stories of fingerprints being used without their owner’s knowledge or permission. Biometric solutions can use specific variables to determine if the finger used to access the system is that of a present, living person.  A copy or a fake cannot be used to access a cutting-edge biometric solution.
  • Easy and convenient. Queues and documents and paperwork may well be a thing of the past should biometrics take a firmer grip of government and banking systems. The process of registering is easy, and access to identity documents and records is yours alone.
  • Security blanket. A thousand passwords and a hundred post-it notes stuck on walls and drawers.  An excel file with a list of sites and applications and their corresponding passwords, all a thing of the past.  Nobody needs to remember their password with biometrics, they only need to show up.
  • Anywhere is cool. Schools, airports, networks, offices, homes, toilets, banks, libraries, governments, border controls, immigration services, call centres, hospitals and even clubs and pubs – knowing “who” matters and biometrics can quickly and conveniently confirm your identity where needed.

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