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BreakPoint: From Black Friday to Advent, have a merry (offline) Christmas



Black Friday has certainly given America’s cultural reputation a black eye. The day after we pause to give thanks as a nation for God’s provisions, we trample security guards for iPhones and flat-screen televisions. It’s now an annual tradition: America’s big-box stores drop their prices and, in response, shoppers go berserk.

News stations everywhere lead with the requisite embarrassing video footage, showing shoppers crawling over each other, throwing elbows and curse words. Checkout lines at Walmarts and Best Buys nationwide become dangerous places to be or to work. It’s not a good look.

Of course, online Black Friday sales have already been going on for a month now, which allows us to indulge our consumerist tendencies without physical violence. I guess that’s an improvement …

Dennis Prager once told me on a panel that if this is America’s biggest problem — scuffling with each other in a rush to buy presents for our loved ones — we could do a lot worse. I told him that I was not convinced these shoppers were altruistically buying for others, but still, I take his point. There certainly needs to be room for frivolity at Christmas time.

All of this should remind us of the idols vying for our attention this Christmas season. Certainly there is the idol of stuff, but, looking through social media, there is also the idol of other people’s perceptions.

Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook are full of this idol, and we allow ourselves to feel the pressure. All those pictures of a perfectly decorated home of perfectly well-behaved and perfectly matching children, complete with color, theme and pattern-coordinating attire. Matching Christmas pajamas, shown off with a family lip-sync.

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All the Pinterest-worthy décor and Instagram-worthy celebration videos reveal a different kind of materialism — a materialism of experience. And it has become another distraction in a season meant for holy reflection.

Throughout church history, the days leading up to Christmas celebrations were to be a time of fasting. Many liturgically oriented Christians see Advent as a bookend to Lent, the liturgical season of fasting and prayer that occurs in the 40 days before Easter. For Christians, Advent is a time to reflect on Jesus’ first incarnation and prepare for his second coming. The Bible doesn’t prescribe this outright, of course, but Advent does provide us with a different calendar to go by, something especially helpful today in our hurried cultural moment.

Unfortunately, for many of us, Black Friday settles into a rushed and hurried holiday-season rhythm. And for many, along with the chaos comes the melancholy. It’s a frustrating paradox: Feeling sad during what’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year.

Jesus offers some insight in the Gospel of Matthew, when he calls the weary and burdened to come to him. “I will give you rest,” he said. “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Obviously, Jesus isn’t saying that to follow him means having an easy or comfortable life. After all, his own earthly life wasn’t easy or comfortable in any sense. When he says his “yoke is easy,” I think at least part of what he’s talking about is simplicity.

Maybe our Christmastime melancholy is the byproduct of all the pressure to have a good time and all the options we have in order to have a good time and all the pressure we face to prove to others on social media that we’ve had a good time. After all, our culture implicitly convinces us, you’ll only know you’re having a wonderful, valuable life if you follow every Pinterest recipe and constantly upload joyful moments to Instagram and Facebook and get lots of likes.

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We’re afraid our lives won’t be full, but neglect that which will fill us: reflecting on holy things, like Mary’s obedience and Jesus’ sacrifice; embracing ordinary beauty like extra time with family and special traditions.

By all means, enjoy the frivolity. But don’t lose the season curating online versions of holiday experiences or by comparing your curated memories with theirs. Celebrate Jesus’ birth. Give gifts freely. Eat some extra calories.

Have a Merry Christmas — just don’t feel the pressure to put it on Instagram.

From BreakPoint, Nov. 29, 2019; reprinted by permission of the Colson Center,

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How to Use Story to Boost Your YouTube Views




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Wondering how to increase watch time on your YouTube videos? Want to become more memorable to your viewers?

In this article, you’ll discover a seven-step story framework for creating effective YouTube content that inspires action.

How to Use Story to Boost Your YouTube Views featuring insights from Tim Schmoyer on the Social Media Marketing Podcast.
This article was co-created by Tim Schmoyer and Michael Stelzner. For more about Tim, scroll to the Key Takeaways at the end of this article.

Why Stories Are So Effective in YouTube Videos

Stories offer a powerful way to create an emotional connection between the viewer and the content. Or rather, stories create an emotional connection between the viewer and the storyteller’s experience. And really, if the best way to experience something is firsthand, then listening to a really good storyteller is the second-best way to have that same experience.

As marketers, when we tell a story well, it lowers our viewers’ defenses. As soon as a viewer clicks into your video, their guard is up against ads, promotions, and the catch. Telling a really good story helps people relax. They can lean back in their chairs and listen and simply enjoy the content they’re consuming.

This experience has a huge impact on brain chemistry. Listening to a great story releases certain chemicals in the brain that create the reactions we hope our audience will have.

For example, dopamine is associated with suspense and an invitation to novelty, which often helps people to focus, feel more motivated, and better retain the content they’re consuming. All of these things are positive impacts that we want our audience to feel. We want them to focus on our content, remember it, and feel motivated to take action after consuming it.

Stories also release oxytocin, which is associated with empathy, vulnerability, and pity. So if you can build a story around empathy, people watching your video often become more trusting and generous. Vulnerability helps the audience build a deeper bond with you as a creator or with the person in the video.

Storytelling also releases endorphins, which are associated with laughter and having a good time, and phenylethylamine, which is the happiness drug. When people are feeling happy, they want more of it.

When someone hears a good story from you on YouTube—or really on any social media channel—they’re reacting exactly how you hope they’d react. They’re focusing on your content, remembering it, and wanting more of it because it makes them feel good. They’re becoming relaxed and empathetic toward you because you show vulnerability, and they’re motivated to take action. All of this leads to a deeper bond between you and your audience on YouTube.

The Key Elements Every Story Should Include

Your YouTube video’s thumbnail and title should be the hook of the story, the piece that grabs the audience’s attention and leads them to make that click and watch the video.

Then, the first few seconds of the video should pick up where the hook left off. Many times, marketers will repeat the title of the video in the first few seconds, but this can actually lead to a higher abandonment rate.

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Instead, you should weave your story’s hook into the title and thumbnail of the video and then lead off the video with the seven elements of story we’re going to cover next to keep your audience’s attention.

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You’ll notice that a lot of these elements are also prevalent in just about every movie or novel out there, and for good reason. They help create a story that the audience can get invested in and want to stick around to the end. Rather than merely listing a sequence of steps or explaining a new technique or concept, storytelling creates a more personal connection between you and your audience by building relationships, revealing possibilities, and influencing consumer behavior.

And the best part is that this can all happen fast—sometimes within just a few seconds. That’s why this format works so well, whether you’re producing long-form video for YouTube or shorter videos for YouTube Shorts. Either way, including these seven key elements is sure to keep your audience invested in your video, which will keep your channel growing.

#1: Who Is the Character of Your Story?

First and foremost, who’s the character of your story? In most cases, the character is going to be the person recording the video or talking in it. It may be you as a business owner or marketer. It may also be the version of you that matches your audience, but the most effective videos will feature you as the main character.

For this element of your video, it may be as simple as introducing yourself (in the present or past) and flowing right into the next element, which is your desire. For example, you can say something along the lines of you’re a new business owner, which would immediately identify you, the character, and who the video is for.

#2: What Do They Want?

The next element is the key desire the main character is after. This might be something basic like more sales, a larger business, or knowing how to do something. It doesn’t have to be very complicated; in fact, the simpler the better.

This is often a continuation of the introduction of you, the character. It can even be in the same sentence in the video. To use the example from above, you could introduce yourself as a new business owner who’s looking for a way to increase sales.

#3: Why Can’t They Have What They Want?

Think about what’s keeping the main character from being able to have what they want. In other words, what obstacles are blocking them from achieving the results they’re after?

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For example, you want to increase sales but don’t have any more hours in the day to dedicate to your business. Or you’re trying to grow your following on social media but are getting stuck behind the confusing algorithms and contradictory advice you find on the internet.

Again, these don’t have to be huge or complex obstacles. They can be external obstacles such as a low budget, lack of resources, or even distractions around the home. They can also be more internal obstacles such as self-doubt, time management, or even a mindset block.

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And while you do want to keep the obstacles simple and easily relatable, you can also stack more than one obstacle into a single story. Often, listing more than one obstacle helps create more attention within the story, which naturally makes the story more engaging and the viewer more invested in what will happen.

#4: What’s at Stake?

What’s at stake refers to what happens if the character is unable to get what they want. In the movies, this might be something as dramatic as millions of innocent people suffering. What’s at stake for you doesn’t have to be life or death.

In fact, it can be something as simple as getting embarrassed or feeling guilty because it’s something that you should’ve known before. It can be something more serious such as losing your life savings or business.

Going with our working example, you’re trying to boost your sales but you don’t have enough hours in the day, your family is starting to feel neglected, and you’re feeling guilty that you’ve poured so much of your time and money into a business and you fear you’re about to lose everything.

Stories that expose your fears awaken the empathy inside your audience. They have the same fears and can relate to you on a deeper level. In a way, watching you come through these struggles feels like a win for them before they even get to your answer.

#5: Who or What Helps Them Get What They Want?

Once your audience knows what’s at stake and they’re starting to feel empathetic toward you—they’re invested in your story and want to see you come out the other end—it’s time to introduce the person or resource that helps you out of the struggle. This might be a guide or mentor or it can be a book, formula, discovery, motivational quote, or some other tool that helps you find the answer you were after.

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To continue with our working example, you’re looking to increase sales but you don’t have any more hours in the day to dedicate to your marketing, your family is starting to feel neglected, and you’re worried that you’ll fail, but then you attended an event where someone was speaking about sales in your industry. They gave you two pieces of advice that would change the way you looked at sales forever.

#6: How Do They Finally Get What They Want?

So what was a piece of advice that this speaker gave to you that changed the way you looked at sales forever? That’s exactly the question your audience will be asking next. How did you finally get what you wanted? How did the main character finally get whatever it was they were after at the beginning of the story?

This is where the explanation, demonstrations, or tutorials come into play within your YouTube video. The story might be interwoven all the way through the content or it can be split up into a couple of sentences at the beginning and the end, but this is the meat of your content that people are after. They want to know how you attained your objective.

#7: How Is the Character Transformed?

And finally, people want to know how achieving that objective transformed you as the main character. Did it enhance your life? Boost your sales? If it did boost your sales, how did that impact your family or your business?

This is the part of the story where they reach the conclusion—the emotionally satisfying ending that shows viewers not only what’s possible but what they want to see as a happy ending. This is the part where the hero saves the world, the workaholic saves their family, and the business takes off and all of their dreams come true.

And if you’ve told the story well through the other six elements, then even if this conclusion is semi-predictable, your viewers will still want to stick around to the end to see it play out.

Tim Schmoyer is a YouTube strategist and founder of Video Creators, an agency that helps established YouTube creators rapidly grow their YouTube following. He’s also host of the Video Creators podcast and his course is called Video Labs. Connect with Tim on Instagram and Twitter.

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What is Social Listening, Why it Matters, and 10 Tools to Make it Easier




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If you don’t have a social listening strategy in place, you’re missing out on some of the most valuable data available to help build your business.

In fact, nearly two-thirds of marketers agree that social listening has increased in value in the last year.

Social media listening tools allow you to build a solid understanding of exactly how customers and potential customers think about you by analyzing what they say on social channels. You can also learn what they think about the competition. This is incredible market research readily available in real-time—as long as you know how to access it.

Bonus: Download a free guide to learn how to use social media listening to boost sales and conversions today. No tricks or boring tips—just simple, easy-to-follow instructions that really work.

Social listening is tracking social media platforms for mentions and conversations related to your brand, then analyzing them for insights to discover opportunities to act.

It’s a two-step process:

Step 1: Monitor social media channels for mentions of your brand, competitors, products, and keywords related to your business.

Step 2: Analyze the information for ways to put what you learn into action. That can be something as small as responding to a happy customer or something as big as shifting your entire brand positioning.

What’s the difference between social listening and social monitoring?

At first glance, social listening might seem like social media monitoring, but the two concepts actually differ in important ways.

Social media monitoring is all about collecting data. It allows you to look back at what has already happened using metrics such as:

  • Brand mentions
  • Relevant hashtags
  • Competitor mentions
  • Industry trends

Brand monitoring on social media is great for things like monitoring ROI or A/B testing campaigns. It’s also great information to help prove the value of social marketing when it comes time to set the yearly budget.

But numbers alone don’t tell the whole story. It’s great if a post gets lots of positive engagement. But it’s not so great if a post racks up negative comments and angry-face reactions.

Social listening looks beyond the numbers to consider the mood behind the data. This “online mood” is also called social media sentiment.

Social media sentiment analysis is a key part of social media listening because it helps you understand how people feel about you and your competitors. Instead of just counting the number of times your brand gets mentioned, you look at what you can learn from social conversations to drive real business results.

Being aware of shifts in social sentiment also allows you to respond right away to unexpected changes.

overall sentiment graph

Social monitoring is essentially a record of what has already happened. The defining feature of social listening is that it looks forward and backward. It’s about analyzing the information you collect and using it to guide your strategy and day-to-day actions.

If you’re not using social media listening, you’re creating your business strategy with blinders on. Real people actively talk about your brand and your industry online. It’s in your best interest to know what they have to say.

Simply put, if you care about your customers, you care about the insights you can get from social listening. Here are some of the ways social listening can benefit your business.

Understand and engage with your audience

Social media listening helps you better understand what your audience wants from your brand.

For example, an existing customer might tweet about how much they love your product. Or you might spot a conversation where people are looking for solutions your product or service could provide.

Zappos is known for its legendary customer service and its consistent social engagement with fans. Tweet a photo of your cat in a Zappos box, and you just might get a retweet:

But they also keep an eye out for conversations where people recommend Zappos as an option for shoe shopping. They pop in with a positive comment or additional recommendation, but never a hard sell.

Industry and competitor intelligence

Social listening is more than understanding what people say about you. You also want to know what they say about your competitors and your industry in general. This gives you important insights into where you fit in the marketplace.

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Social listening shows you what your competitors are up to in real-time. Are they launching new products? Developing new marketing campaigns?

For example, when Wendy’s made a play on the Facebook/Meta brand update, Arby’s was quick to jump in:

Maybe the conversations you find will reveal a gap in the marketplace you could step up to fill.

Discovering these new opportunities and threats as they happen allows you to plan and respond in real-time.

Product intelligence

Monitoring conversations around the industry also uncovers a ton of insight about what’s working—and what’s not working—for existing and potential customers.

This information is a gold mine for your customer service, product development, and marketing teams.

For example, Nordstrom’s social team gained some important information here to pass on to the UX team:

Can you tweak an existing product or add a feature to resolve problems people are talking about? Maybe what you learn will spur a new product idea.

You’ll also learn about frustrations with your current products—and your competitors’ products. Can you modify things to help address the concerns? If you do, be sure to tell people about it with a targeted marketing campaign.

Avoid crises before they happen

Social listening allows you to track sentiment in real-time, so you can know right away if there’s a significant change in how much people are talking about you or the mood behind what they say.

It’s like an early warning system that alerts you to positive and negative changes in how your brand is perceived online.

If you’re getting more engagement than usual, look for the reasons behind it. Your audience shares loads of helpful information about what they like and what they don’t. Those lessons can help guide your strategy across channels.

Social listening also helps you address PR disasters before they get out of hand. If sentiment is down, review the social feedback to try to identify the source of the change. While you’re at it, look for lessons that could prevent a similar misstep in the future.

If sentiment is way down, make it a priority to find the cause and make changes right away by pulling a problem post or apologizing for an insensitive Tweet.

As Hootsuite’s social engagement specialist Nick Martin says in the video at the top of this post, careful social listening allows you to “make things right before they go wrong.”

Fill your funnel

People generally love it when you offer to help solve their problems. But strangers on the Internet most certainly do NOT love it when brands jump into their social conversations with a hard sell.

Social listening helps you uncover questions and conversations about your industry on social platforms. These are all potential opportunities to reach out and introduce your brand or share your expertise. But they should not be seen as openings to jump in and try to sell right off the bat.

Instead, view the conversation you join through social listening as an opportunity to develop relationships with potential customers in your industry who you can nurture into relationships for social selling.

Reach out, make a connection, and share helpful information. This will help establish your brand as the best resource when it comes time to make a purchase decision.

Identify opportunities for collaboration

Monitoring social conversations about your industry will give you a sense of who the important creators and thought leaders are in your space. These are important people to connect with.

They can have a huge influence on how people feel about you.

Remember: this is a two-way street. Supporting others in your industry makes it more likely they will support you in return. Rather than trying to barge into an existing community, connect through collaborations with people who already hold a meaningful place in the conversations you want to join.

Social listening will help you find ways to become a part of relevant online communities organically and in a way that’s perceived as helpful rather than salesy.

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As stated in Hootsuite’s Social Media Trends 2022 Report:

“If people within the community see you as an active partner in supporting the creators they admire, they’ll be more likely to trust that you have their best interests at heart too.”

You will also find people who already love your brand and are saying great things about you on social media. These are natural brand advocates. Reach out to them and look for opportunities to collaborate in meaningful ways with these existing cheerleaders for your brand.

Social listening software will make it much easier for you to implement an effective social listening strategy. Here are our picks for 10 of the best social listening tools.

1. Hootsuite

You may not be surprised to learn that we think Hootsuite is one of the best free social listening tools out there. You can use Hootsuite to set up social media streams that monitor conversations, keywords, mentions, and hashtags.

You can monitor and respond to conversations or mentions immediately from one dashboard—instead of logging in and out of various social platforms.

Hootsuite also allows you to keep an ear to the ground in your industry by monitoring the competition and building relationships with social media creators (a.k.a. influencers) and potential brand advocates.

2. Hootsuite Insights powered by Brandwatch

Hootsuite Insights goes even further and gives you data from 16 billion new social posts every month, added in real-time. Boolean search logic can help you find meaningful trends and patterns you might miss by monitoring keywords and hashtags alone. You can then filter your searches by date, demographics, and location to find the conversations most relevant to you.

Hootsuite Insights also makes it easy to track brand sentiment with intuitive word clouds and meters that gauge your sentiment and brand awareness against the competition.

3. Adview

adview social listening dashboard within Hootsuite

Unlike most social listening platforms, Adview is used specifically for social listening on Facebook and Instagram ads. You can use it to monitor up to three Facebook Ad Accounts across unlimited pages.

When you add Adview to your Hootsuite dashboard, you can reply to comments on all your Facebook and Instagram ads in one place.

4. Talkwalker

Talkwalker offers robust social listening features that analyze blogs, forums, videos, news sites, review sites, and social networks all in one dashboard. They draw data from more than 150 million sources.

You’ll be able to monitor conversations around your brand while analyzing the engagement, reach, comments, and sentiment behind them.

5. Synthesio

Synthesio dashboard

Synthesio tracks conversations on highly specific topics in carefully segmented audiences. It allows you to segment your social listening data by language, location, demographics, sentiment, gender, influence, and more. The reports also come with a handy social reputation score.

6. Mentionlytics

Mentionlytics dashboard

Track mentions, keywords, and sentiment across multiple languages. Also, you can easily find influencers across social networks and other online sources.

The Mentionlytics social media monitoring tool combs through social platforms, along with blogs and news sites, for mentions. Since it’s integrated with Hootsuite, you’ll be able to easily view them on your dashboard.

7. Netbase

Netbase dashboard

NetBase uses Natural Language Processing (NLP) to help you focus your social listening on key conversations. It collects data from hundreds of millions of social posts daily plus more than 100 billion historical posts across the social web.

8. Audiense

Audiense dashboard

Audiense allows you to identify any audience—no matter the size.

The app creates reports that tell you what they’re discussing, what they like, and even how they think and behave.

Its audience manager also helps you find and understand very specific audiences to make sure you have the perfect match for your brand.

9. Digimind

Digimind dashboard

Digimind sources data from more than 850 million sources in 200+ languages. Using artificial intelligence, it analyzes mentions to monitor trends and sentiment, presenting them in useful data visualizations.

10. ForSight by Crimson Hexagon

ForSight by Crimson Hexagon

ForSight by Crimson Hexagon allows you to filter your social listening streams by sentiment, opinion category, gender, geography, and influence score. With access to a data library of more than 400 billion social media posts, it allows you to engage with a large audience in real-time.

1. Listen for the right words and topics

Good social listening is all about choosing the most relevant keywords for your brand.

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The keywords and topics you monitor will likely evolve over time. Using social listening tools, you will learn what kinds of words people tend to use when they talk about your business and your industry. You’ll also start to get a sense of what kinds of insights are most useful for you.

That said, here’s a list of important keywords and topics to monitor right from the start:

  • Your brand name and handles
  • Your product name(s)
  • Your competitors’ brand names, product names, and handles
  • Industry buzzwords
  • Your slogan and those of your competitors
  • Names of key people in your company and your competitors’ companies (your CEO, spokesperson, etc.)
  • Campaign names or keywords
  • Your branded hashtags and those of your competitors
  • Unbranded hashtags related to your industry

You should also monitor common misspellings and abbreviations for all of the above.

For example, brands like Starbucks use social listening of their brand names to discover and respond to social posts even when they’re not tagged:

And KFC UK is clearly monitoring for a broad swath of keywords related to their business, jumping in here at the mere mention of gravy:

2. Listen in the right places

Part of finding out what your audience has to say about you is learning where they have their conversations. That means casting a wide net for your social listening program.

Conversations around your brand or industry on LinkedIn are likely to be much different than they are on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. And you might find that people talk about you all the time on Twitter, but not at all on Facebook.

You need to know where people are talking about you and your industry and how those conversations vary across networks. This will guide your strategy for joining the conversation through both organic engagement and paid advertising.

3. Narrow your search

Once you’ve nailed down what terms and networks are important for you to monitor, use more advanced search techniques to filter your results.

For example, depending on your market, you might want to limit your social listening efforts by geography. If you run a local business in Iowa, you might not be concerned about the conversation in Greece.

You can also use Boolean search logic to create more targeted search streams for social listening.

4. Learn from the competition

You never want to copy someone else’s strategy. But you can always learn something by listening closely to your competitors and what other people say about them online.

Social listening can give you a sense of what they’re doing right and what people love about them. But most importantly, you can see where they misstep and get it wrong, or when they’re facing criticism in the press or on social media.

For example, Coca-Cola went through a rough patch after Cristiano Ronaldo removed two bottles of Coke from view during a Euro 2020 press conference. Mike’s Hard Lemonade jumped at the chance to parody the moment.

It’s a lot less painful to learn a hard lesson by watching your competitors make mistakes than by making them yourself.

5. Share what you learn

Social listening provides a wide range of information that is useful for your whole company.

Maybe it’s a customer’s post that needs a response right away. Maybe it’s a great idea for a blog post. Or maybe it’s an idea for a new product or a new feature for an existing product.

The customer service, content marketing, and product development teams could all benefit from what you learn when you’re listening on social media. Make sure to communicate those learnings. And seek input from those teams, too. They might have specific questions you could answer by tweaking your social listening setup, too.

6. Keep alert for changes

As you start to collect social information, you’ll develop a sense of the regular conversation and sentiment around your brand.

Once you know how much people talk about you on a regular basis, and what the overall sentiment level generally is, you’ll be able to spot change.

Major changes in engagement or sentiment can mean that the overall perception of your brand has changed. You need to understand why so you can adapt your strategy appropriately. That may mean riding a wave of positivity or correcting a misstep to get back on course.

Remember: If you don’t take action, you’re only engaged in social media monitoring, not social listening.

Social listening is not just about tracking metrics. It’s about gaining insights into what your customers and potential customers want from you, and how you can better address those needs.

Make sure to analyze patterns and trends over time, rather than just individual comments. These overall insights can have the most powerful effects in guiding your future strategy.

Hootsuite makes it easy to monitor keywords and conversations on social media, so you can focus on taking action on the insights available. Try it free today.

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Amazon Ads Wants to Help Travel Outfits by Sharing Its Customers’ Buying Habits




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It’s not just all about Amazon Web Services anymore when Amazon reaches out to travel industry customers. It is still early days but Amazon Ads may one day crimp travel brands’ spending on Google and Facebook.

Online Travel This Week

Very quietly over the last year-and-a-half, Amazon has been scaling up its Amazon Ads business to target the travel and hospitality sector.

Brands including Avis and Disney, as well as destination management organizations, including, are among the travel and hospitality organizations that Amazon Ads touts in case studies or other marketing materials for its fledgling travel advertising business.

Amazon Ads had an exhibitor booth at the Phocuswright travel tech conference in Hollywood, Florida this week, although Amazon account representatives declined to go on the record about the program.

The idea behind the new ad program is to use Amazon first-party data about its customers’ buying habits to enable travel and hospitality companies to better target travelers through display and video ads, for example, mostly across Amazon platforms and devices.

The promotional materials for Amazon Ads for travel and hospitality state that 78 percent of the U.S. population that Amazon reaches spent more than $500 on travel during the past six months. And travelers visit Amazon outlets 85 times on average in the month prior to a trip, the company says.

“By leveraging Amazon Ads’ audience-based marketing solutions, advertisers can focus on reaching the right travel audiences, with the right message, at the right time on and off Amazon,” goes the pitch.

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Although Amazon may in theory help advertisers reach travelers on other platforms, the emphasis appears to be on reaching target audiences in the U.S., Canada and Europe across Amazon’s own platforms and devices, whether it is on for shopping, the Alexa voice assistant at home, or Twitch video game live streaming.

Avis ran sponsored ads on Amazon targeted toward helping customers find road trip essentials, and offered car rental discounts and Amazon gift cards. “For a Camping Trip, we suggest a Ford Edge or a similar standard SUV,” read one Avis ad.

In September, Amazon and Disney announced a collaboration on a Hey Disney voice assistant feature on Echo devices in Walt Disney World Resort hotel rooms that enable guests to interact with Disney characters.

Destinations appear to be a sweet spot for Amazon Ads in these early days. For instance, produced a guide to Texas barbecue to target Amazon’s audience.

After all, Amazon Ads can help travel and hospitality companies target travel audiences because it has has so much data on whether people are shopping for luggage tags or buying certain books about dining or things to do maybe a month before an intended trip, for instance.

Amazon Ads are not a carbon copy of Google’s search engine marketing as the former may help target travelers earlier in their trip-planning activities. The pitch is for travel and hospitality companies to use Amazon Ads as a supplement to their Google or Facebook campaigns — for now, at least.

Asked about Amazon’s entry into the travel advertising business, Jeff Tolkin, co-CEO of cruise seller World Travel Holdings, who attended the Florida conference, said: “We will go wherever there is a cost-effective opportunity to source business. In any marketplace, having more vendors is preferential.”

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Amazon has tried and failed several times over the years to launch its own travel transaction businesses in the U.S. In addition to its travel ads program, Amazon has expanded beyond a Cleartrip flight partnership in India and agreed to start offering MakeMyTrip’s travel services on Amazon platforms in India.

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