The message from WikiLeaks in July 2016 to a group of Russian intelligence officers who prosecutors say were posing as a Romanian hacker named Guccifer 2.0 urged swift action before the opening of the Democratic National Convention that month.
“If you have anything Hillary related we want it in the next two days preferable because the DNC is approaching,” the error-ridden message read. “and she will solidify Bernie supporters behind her after.”
WikiLeaks had begun seeking stolen files from Guccifer 2.0 weeks earlier, after revelations that the Democratic National Committee’s server had been hacked, according to private messages cited in an indictment filed Friday by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III. The organization had told Guccifer that publishing the stolen material on the WikiLeaks site will “have a much higher impact than what you are doing.”
But WikiLeaks’ administrators, including Julian Assange, its founder, did not know what was in the trove — they were simply seeking anything that would widen the divisions inside the party between supporters of Hillary Clinton and those of Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator who had also sought the nomination.
The exchange offers a new look at the central role of Guccifer 2.0, the digital persona alleged to have been set up by Russian military intelligence, which passed the stolen Democratic documents and misinformation to WikiLeaks and some Americans, who then spread it through social media and news organizations.
The indictment provides never-before-seen detail of how the Russian cyberspies operated, based on intercepts that had to have come from American, British or Dutch intelligence, interviews in a recent months show. All three eventually got into the Russian networks, but it was the British who had first warned the National Security Agency that they were seeing the D.N.C.’s messages running through communications lines controlled by the Russian military intelligence service, called the G.R.U.
When Guccifer 2.0 appeared, many experts suspected it was an avatar for members of an elite military cyberunit operating from Moscow. The indictment documented the evidence against 12 Russian officials, mostly military officers, who were charged with conspiracy to influence the 2016 presidential election.
Those charges loom over President Trump’s meeting on Monday with Vladimir V. Putin, who American intelligence officials say launched and oversaw the operation to interfere in the election. A year ago, when the men met for the first time, the Russian leader insisted that Russia had nothing to do with the attacks, telling Mr. Trump, as he later related to a reporter, “If we did, we wouldn’t have gotten caught, because we’re professionals.”
Mr. Trump said, “I thought that was a good point because they are some of the best in the world.” Now, he meets Mr. Putin again just after prosecutors issued an unusually detailed account of the Russian military officers’ role in the hacks.
The effort by the team that posed as Guccifer to disseminate the fruits of the audacious cyberattack shows how aggressively the Russian operatives worked in 2016 to interfere with the presidential election. They showed dexterity in navigating their way through the national political debate and an increasingly sophisticated understanding of American electoral politics.
In addition to WikiLeaks, the Russians made contact with Americans who held sway both in Republican circles and with Mr. Trump, the indictment says. It does not assert that the Americans knew that Guccifer 2.0 was a creation of Russian spies.
Those figures included Roger J. Stone Jr., the longtime Trump friend who exchanged messages with Guccifer during the campaign but said in an interview on Saturday that he did not believe at the time that Russian state actors were behind it. “I originally thought he was a Romanian hacker because that’s what he claimed to be,” Mr. Stone said.
There was Lee Stranahan, who is now a co-host of “Fault Lines” on the Russian-owned Sputnik radio network but back then was at Breitbart News, whose chief during that period, Stephen K. Bannon, joined Mr. Trump’s campaign that August.
The indictment mentions that Guccifer 2.0 had sent some documents to a lobbyist in Florida, which had been previously reported. But it also reveals that a congressional candidate whom it did not name connected with the operatives, looking for stolen documents about a political opponent, which were then sent.
Using Guccifer 2.0 as their main means of communication, the Russian agents had regular contact with both conservative and mainstream journalists, the indictment said. In one case, it said, the Russians gave an unidentified reporter a password to view documents. The Smoking Gun said in a Twitter message that it was the “reporter” in the reference. In another case, according to the indictment, the Russians conferred with a writer about the timing of one planned leak; Mr. Stranahan announced on Twitter that he was the writer, then at Breitbart.
Suspicions that Guccifer 2.0 was of Russian provenance surfaced from the moment it was created. The avatar brazenly engaged on questions about its origins and its work with journalists at BuzzFeed, Vice, and The Wall Street Journal, telling The Journal in September 2016 that the accusation “made me angry.” Nonetheless, the suspicions never seemed to have interfered with its mission.
The G.R.U. was no newcomer to attacks in the United States: It had been central to previous thefts of emails from the unclassified systems at the State Department, the White House and, later, the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“Anybody who was sophisticated about Russian behavior immediately spotted what this was — it was not like you needed forensic data or any real insight,” said Andrew S. Weiss, a Russia specialist at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a former staff member of the National Security Council.
The indictment fills in several critical gaps in the sequence of events that unfolded after the electronic break-in at the D.N.C. and its partner group, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which helps elect House Democrats.
Top D.N.C. executives, emails previously obtained by The New York Times show, knew by April 19, 2016, that the D.N.C. system had been compromised. The committee’s lawyers that day discussed plans to meet with senior staff members who were aware of the hack, some of whom had already alerted the F.B.I.
But just three days later — as the D.N.C. was scrambling to try to contain the attack — the conspirators procured gigabytes of data, including so-called opposition research, the indictment said. That suggests that the worst of the hack occurred even after the committee knew that its systems had been breached.
Guccifer 2.0 made its first public appearance two months later, on June 15, just days after the last Republican primaries. On its newly created website, the Guccifer persona announced it was releasing “just a few docs from many thousands I extracted when hacking into DNC’s network.” The new blog post included the Democratic Party’s secret research dossier on Mr. Trump.
The name Guccifer 2.0 echoed that used by the Romanian hacker Marcel-Lehel Lazar, who, under the original Guccifer handle in 2013, hacked and then released emails from the Bush family, Colin Powell and Sidney Blumenthal, an informal adviser to Mrs. Clinton. Mr. Lazar, who is now in prison, said he came up with his handle by combining the words “Gucci” and “Lucifer.”
Five days after the first Guccifer 2.0 blog post, the military unit believed to be behind it sent out its first message under its connected Twitter account: “Hi! I’m on Twitter now! this is my official account!”
By June 22, Guccifer was encouraging anyone to communicate directly with its hacker avatar — and, as the indictment shows, it immediately drew in a host of Americans with influence in the media and Republican politics.
Some of the caches were particularly valuable because it included reports that the Democrats had compiled on vulnerabilities involving their own candidates — a due-diligence check to bolster their defenses — and never intended to make public.
In mid-August, the indictment noted, Guccifer 2.0 received a request for stolen documents from a candidate for Congress. The Russian intelligence operatives, it said, responded by sending the information about the candidate’s rival.
Stolen material from Democrats related to their House candidates from 2016 was passed out in states including Florida, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Ohio, Illinois, New Mexico and North Carolina.
In one case, a Republican lobbyist from Florida reached out to Guccifer, according to Aug. 22, 2016, text messages previously obtained by The Times. The lobbyist, Aaron Nevins, runs a website called HelloFLA! and was preparing to post some of the stolen documents.
In a later exchange, Mr. Nevins, who uses the pen name Mark Miewurd, wrote: “Let’s do an interview.”
“I’m not sure anyone has written about your motivation,” he wrote, before adding that, “the Democrats say you are a Russian operative, what do you say to that?” He got no specific response, according to messages he shared with The Times.
The same day in mid-August that Mr. Nevins received material from Guccifer 2.0, he started to post it to his blog, boasting that he had exclusive access to once-confidential Democratic Party voter turnout models and weakness assessments of the party’s Florida candidates.
Guccifer 2.0’s Twitter account in September 2016 forwarded one of Mr. Nevins’s blog posts detailing the Florida voter turnout modeling to someone the indictment called “a person who was in regular contact with senior members of the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump.” In a direct message, the Guccifer account wrote: “What do you think of the info on the turnout model for the Democrat’s entire presidential campaign.”
That person was Mr. Stone, an informal adviser to Mr. Trump and a prominent Republican operative who has long reveled in being called a “dirty trickster.” After receiving the message about the turnout model, Mr. Stone wrote back that he was unimpressed: “pretty standard.”
Mr. Stone was in contact with Guccifer 2.0 as of at least mid-August 2016, when he sent a direct message on Twitter congratulating it on overcoming a temporary suspension. (A Twitter spokesman said Saturday it had now shut the account down.)
“Thank you for writing back,” Guccifer 2.0 wrote to Mr. Stone. “Do you find anything interesting in the docs I posted?” The exchange, which Mr. Stone had publicly shared in March 2017, showed that he then asked Guccifer to retweet an article he had written for The Hill titled “How the Election Can Be Rigged Against Donald Trump,” a request Guccifer said it fulfilled.
Justice Department officials said Friday that they were not alleging that Mr. Stone knew he was communicating with Russian intelligence officers.
Mr. Stone said on Saturday that he eventually concluded that the D.N.C. had not been hacked and that its emails had been stolen by an insider — something Guccifer 2.0 alleged in pointing to conspiracy theories that the hack involved a murdered Democratic National Committee staff member.
Mr. Stone described his interactions with Guccifer as “pretty innocuous,” noting that after the account “sent me some voter model which evidently they sent to a number of people, I looked at it and said ‘pretty standard stuff’ and didn’t pass it on to anybody.”
The avatar was particularly complimentary to Mr. Stone, telling him at one point, “Please tell me if i can help u anyway … it would be a great pleasure to me.”
That was in keeping with the chummy and sometimes self-deprecating personality that the Russian military operatives gave Guccifer 2.0 as they sought, according to prosecutors, to use it to build relationships with Americans.
“Hi man, how’s life,” it said by way of introduction in a direct message to Mr. Stranahan. (Mr. Stranahan said in a video message over the weekend that he did not know of ties between Guccifer and Russian intelligence and is not convinced even now.)
The Daily Caller reported in late 2016 that after one Guccifer 2.0 lead did not live up to its initial billing, the purported Romanian hacker acknowledged in a direct Twitter message to the site that “he lacked the best news judgment and it was up to journalists to find the stories in his leaks.”
Maggie Haberman contributed reporting. Jaclyn Peiser contributed research.
Gary Vela Net Worth
Gary Vela Net Worth: $53 Million
Birthday: September 07/1982
Country of Origin: Pucallpa, Peru
Source of Wealth: Web Daytona
Last Updated: 2019
Who Is Gary Vela?
Gary A Vela, born September 7th, 1982 is a Peruvian-American entrepreneur and Internet marketing specialist. Born and raised in the jungles of Peru, Vela emigrated to the United States at an early age and is best known as a web developer, digital marketer, and founder of leading Florida Digital Marketing Agency, Web Daytona.
Gary Vela was born in Pucallpa, Peru to a single mother, where he discovered his love of business at an early age. Raised by a single mother in the Ucayali River region city, the young Vela began buying and selling as a child, picking and selling mangoes in nearby cities. He would collect and sell bugs to American tourists visiting his city, bringing home an income through his savvy business work.
Vela was 15 years old when he met his biological father on January 15th, 1998. This was a revelation to the young entrepreneur, connecting with his father who revealed by que BCd his own 4love of business to his son.
In 1999, Vela successfully emigrated to the United States at the age of 16 years. Still a native Spanish speaker at this point, he immediately started a two-year process of learning and perfecting English to be able to do better business.
After two years stateside, Vela began pursuing two-year a qualification in software engineering. A computer programming and analysis graduate, he supported himself during this time with a secondary job at a woodshop in Edgewater, Florida.
From there, Vela moved on to freelancing while earning a four-year bachelor’s in business management. Vela graduated in 2006, at the age of 24.
Vela freelanced for two years, after graduating, before starting Web Daytona, his first and only business, in 2008. Started as a computer repair company, the business quickly moved into website design before finally settling on a retainer model, offering professional digital marketing to a large stable of customers from across the state, country, and world.
As a child in Pucallpa, Vela would buy and sell bread, an industry he has been able to give back to in recent years, using capital from his successful digital marketing career to help his brother in Peru operate a bread shop, successfully employing several members of his hometown community.
He also has plans to start an NPO, based in his hometown but servicing neighboring cities. This group will be geared towards teaching underprivileged children computer programming essentials, English literacy, and business skills.
Where does Nika Stark live?
Nika Stark lives in Daytona Beach, FL.
Nika Stark is a Georgian-American entrepreneur, web developer, and software engineer from a small town in Georgia Samtredia. He is the founder and CEO of highly respected media and entertainment platform, StarkFeed, and a digital mastermind with tremendous experience.
He also helps business owners establish their digital footprint, following his personal philosophy that, with hard work and dedication, we can achieve anything.
HR Compliance: 5 Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making
HR compliance is a serious issue in any workplace. Regardless of what you do, there are specific guidelines in place to safeguard you and your employees.
Failing to follow these guidelines can be dangerous as well as costly when something goes wrong.
There’s a misconception that companies can pick and choose whether to classify their employees as exempt or non-exempt. The Department of Labor has extremely specific rules outlining exempt and non-exempt positions.
Always remember, menial jobs don’t mean the people working them are exempt from being paid overtime. Their job duties and rate of pay factor into it, all contributing to whether the employee is exempt or not.
By way of an example, a manager might assume that their accounting clerk is fulfilling some sort of white-collar position and that they’re somehow exempt. When a person fulfilling a job has no decision-making authority, however, it’s actually more likely the position is non-exempt and, therefore, eligible for overtime compensation.
These classifications are important because record-keeping and timesheets will differ, based on your employee’s status.
Incorrect Hiring Paperwork
This may be one of the simples processes that many companies forget to check every year. The correct eligibility-to-work documents are crucial to hiring a viable employee, and failing to record or document them can get you into hot legal water.
Before filing any paperwork, make sure to get dates and signatures confirming eligibility documentation in the form of the I-9. More often than you’d expect, employees fail to provide the correct supporting documentation, intentionally or not. A driver’s license or social security card may be necessary, but if the employer doesn’t request them, they’ll go by the wayside.
Ignoring Safety Regulations
Being a business owner doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be good at managing all of the red tape of the various important onsite regulations. You’ll have to review the State and Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rules, specifically, to see how they to your business, employees and office space. The General Duty Clause requires employers to provide a location free of perceived risks to all employees, regardless of the size of the business.
Not Complying With Rapid Growth
Rapid growth sounds like something good and it often is. More employees means more work, which means a better shot at increasing your output and targeting more paying customers. During these fortunate periods of growth, however, it can be easy to get wrapped up in your successes and forget that more employees also means more exposure to compliance.
The cost of compliance, for instance, leads to businesses reclassifying workers as independent contractors, in an attempt to stay below the 50-person bar. Employees, however, can’t claim to be contractors with the same responsibilities as full-timers, however, without violating Labor Code regulations. Unpaid internships, similarly, are usually non-compliant according to the Department of Labor, making this a risky tactic as well.
Not Staying Current
Of all the HR mistakes a business leader could make, failing to keep up with the latest regulations that apply to the organization. Agency and employment laws have changed tremendously in the last few years, alone, and this isn’t a trend. It’s the industry, and you should stay aware of the latest policies managing:
- sick leave
- employee privacy
- employment regulations
- workplace safety and health standards
- salary regulations
- requirements for records management
- overtime laws
- discrimination and sexual harassment laws
- leave acts according to your region
HR Compliance: A Matter Of Safety
In the modern workplace, HR compliance is a matter of safety as well as corporate policy. Keep yourself and your employees taken care of with HR services from a trusted name, for a better, more reliable service.
Time Tracking: Bring Your Payroll Online The Smart Way
Time tracking and attendance solutions are a hallmark of a well-run office. Allowing business owners to automate the all-important process of timekeeping and attendance tracking. It’s a time-saving service that takes the guesswork out of and tracking attendance.
But how does it work? What are the systems major businesses use to keep staffers in line, clocking in and out on time every day? Let’s take a closer look at Vision HR’s industry-leading labor management systems, and how you can take your payroll online.
Vision HR’s proprietary system removes paper timesheets from your business entirely. Think about that for a second. Almost every payroll nightmare comes down to sifting through some awful paper trail to get to the facts. Need clock-in records from 2005? Good luck going through more than a decade’s worth of physical copies.
With a system like this, companies can easily automate their workforce management process, accessing the full selection of their documents from any computer with an Internet connection. Supervisors and Management can track the exact movement of their payroll dollars, keeping track of when and where labor resources are utilized.
User-friendly self-service points connect your workforce with the Vision HR system, allowing them the versatility to clock in or out, review their schedules, or transfer labor hours. Submitting time sheets, checking benefit accruals, and submitting requests for time off all benefit from online convenience.
And, with all of your labor data immediately stored in a database, it’s available to managers at the click of a button, literally anywhere.
Reporting Power: Anywhere, Anytime
Time tracking and attendance management is a central pillar most businesses rest on. With a powerful partner like Vision HR in your corner, you have the tools to dominate your labor maintenance process. Avoid unscheduled overtime, keep track of employee statuses and benefits, and take your payroll online with Vision HR.
The Benefits of Online Marketing Agency Work For Your Business
More small businesses than ever are implementing digital marketing tactics to effectively reach and attract their target consumers online. Spending on digital marketing from looks set increase to roughly 332 billion dollars by 2021.
The takeaway? Digital marketing tactics continue to be the most profitable way to reach potential customers anywhere in the world. Join us today as we take a closer look at three of the biggest benefits to this service for your business.
SEO And Local SEO Reach More Qualified Buyers
SEO is a powerful digital marketing tactic that offers a variety of benefits. By optimizing the content of your site for search engines, you can work to reach more online buyers than you every might, otherwise. Using relevant keywords that help describe your product or service offer helps to attract more targeted traffic to your site, increasing your conversions over time.
SEO is not only for big companies, either. Many consumers are looking for local companies online, and these searches always eventually lead to a conversion. In fact, according to Google, 28% of searches for something nearby lead to a purchase. Local SEO, or optimizing your website for local search results, is an invaluable digital marketing tactic for companies operating in specific geographic locations.
Digital Marketing Connects You With Mobile Customers
Another of the many benefits of digital marketing is that it allows you to connect with consumers who browse and consume content on their mobile devices. More than half of all online users access the web from a mobile device. Digital marketing can help you reach people on mobile devices, tablets and desktop computers.
Adapt Your Strategy For Better Results
With traditional marketing tactics such as television or newspaper ads, you have to wait until the campaign is completed to see results. And, although you can use what you learn to adjust campaign tactics later on, there is not much you can do “on the spot” to adapt your strategies.
Digital marketing allows you to see real-time results for your campaigns and adapt your tactics to improve results on-the-go. With a careful analysis of websites, you can see the number of visitors to your site, which pages they visit, and how much time they spend on each page. You can also see the days and hours of peak traffic on the site, as well as track conversion rates across your site.
Say you’ve written a series of blog posts as part of an content marketing strategy. You want to figure out if you should continue writing blogs in this series or focus on other topics. You can quickly and easily check your blog’s analytics to see how many people are reading your blog or how many are converting. Tracking success in this real-time content marketing campaign allows you to determine the best use of your resources and make the most of your campaign tactics.
Want to learn more about the benefits of digital marketing for your business? Visit Web Daytona, Florida’s foremost online marketing agency, today!
How to Choose the Right Digital Marketing Company
Digital Marketing is the cornerstone of businesses everywhere. As marketing is US alone spends more annually on marketing a year then every other country, the industry is ever-growing, and the promise that follows is something for businesses everywhere to look forward to.
If your business is in the aid of a digital marketing company, here is how to know you chose the Right One.
The best Digital marketing company uses its team’s strengths to the fullest. As there are different departments in the company, there are many moving parts.
With a skilled company, these parts will work together like clock work. They will understand that their work is special, but is also crucial to be the stepping stones of your business. Iron sharpens iron in the best digital marketing company.
Digital Marketing Companies are B2B. However, many of them are not in communication with their clients as they should be. If this is you, then it is time to take charge.
However, the best company will engage with your business, looking for information to come up with new ideas on how to grow your business. That is the main goal of a marketing company after all.
When looking for the best digital marketing company, look for a well organized team that streamlines its work using the best CRMs. And make sure that communication with you and your business is consistent and transparent.
Also check out this awesome article on why a digital marketing company is great for your business!
WHY YOU SHOULD HIRE GHOSTWRITING SERVICES?
Ghostwriting services are those services in which you hire someone else to write articles, blogs, contents, reports, journals, and much more. In these types of services, the client does the talking and the ghostwriter does the writing. The job is done by these ghostwriters but the main credit always goes to that person who hired the ghostwriter. Moreover, the designs and notions are primarily given by that person who hired a particular ghostwriter which are given the shape of the words by the ghostwriter.
Our Ghostwriting Services
You don’t have to wander all over the internet to search for the best-ghostwriting services as they are piled up in our ghostwriters. Well, it is certainly appealing to have your documents written from another person but still, all the credit goes to you, right? There are certain reasons as to why you should hire our ghostwriting service.
DreamStarters Publishing has the most experienced ghostwriters. The credibility and professionalism that reside in our ghostwriters are certainly unparalleled. Our ghostwriters will collect all the necessary information from you that is needed to make a high-quality book. We not only create your book in 30 days but we also design a high-quality cover for your book. Moreover, we keep you well informed about your document.
We Deliver Quickly
Today’s world is all about keeping up the pace. If you don’t run fast enough, someone else will beat you to the finish line. Therefore, DreamStarters Publishing has been renowned for its fast-delivering facilities. We cover a book in no time and publish it on Amazon in 30 days. Therefore, you can always rely upon our ghostwriting services for fast delivery. We are ready to help you at every cost even when you haven’t even started yet.
Our Ghostwrites provide a streamlined framework of a book which requires professional and qualified skills. Our ghostwriters are smart, patient, attentive, creative, and poised. You will get a book which is filled with thoughts, wonders, and stories, and this will certainly serve many generations to come. Our ghostwriting services are certainly mind-blowing and you will never be sorry after contacting us. DreamStarters Publishing has certainly the number one ghostwriting services for entrepreneurs.
The Bottom Line
Thus, if you are looking for efficient and effective ghostwriting services, contact us right now and get yourself the best of ghostwriters available in town. If you have any more questions are queries you can contact our staff online. Our website is http://www.dreamstarterspublishing.com. Therefore, you must not waste any more time and get a quote right away. Not every entrepreneur can get a time out of their busy routine and schedule. Therefore, if you have any pending story which needs to be transformed into words, our professional writers are ready to provide you with our ghostwriting services. You will certainly not regret it. We help all the magnates to attain more credibility.
Contact us and see the magic happen in 30 days.
How AI Will Revolutionize the Digital Marketing Industry
The world is becoming more and more advanced everyday. Artificial Intelligence used to be a thing of the future, but in a world where the future is today, here is how AI will revolutionize the digital marketing industry.
How AI Has Stimulated Every Day Life
AI and machine learning has been a part of our lives for a while now. It has made its appearance in customers service chat boxes, music apps that find music specific consumers might be interested in, and by optimizing searches based on algorithms that determine behavior. AI is an infant today though, being used quite minimally in the digital marketing industry, but in the coming years it will grow to be one of the most integral parts of marketing optimization.
Content creation is one way companies can keep consumers engaged. Spicing it up with AI will create content more efficiently, as it will be designed to look like it was written by a human. AI has already seen its light in certain forms of content creation like real time stock readings business reports, but in the future the potential for AI to do so much more is so much greater.
More Personal Consumer Experience
Already AI has been implemented into certain websites, most notably google, in order to optimize consumer experience and essentially keep consumers coming back for more. Consumers appreciate when their experiences on certain websites are more personalized. As AI will continue to get smarter we can expect a giant leap in what it means for the personal consumer experience through AI.
AI Powered Consumer Insight
AI will be able to help companies review consumer behavioral patterns in order to come up with the best marketing schemes to their tailored audience. In doing this, Companies will be able to use AI to experiment with different schemes not only snag new customers, but also to keep the veteran customers engaged.
AI Running PPC
Most of the digital ad market today is currently run by Google. PPC campaigns are usually handled by agencies or other individuals with the know how, but introducing AI will not only make PPC campaign creation more efficient but will help look for new ways to optimize PPC ad campaigns. algorithms in the AI will be able to learn what works and what doesn’t in a much shorter amount of time. AI will be the new best way to optimize PPC ad campaigns and will help smaller companies if they implement it now.
Consumer and Marketer Connection
The connection between consumer and marketer is very important. AI will be able to assist in creating a stronger Consumer/Marketer connection by helping the marketer to create a more personal experience for the consumer with machine learning and behavioral-researching AI. That is only the beginning though. the future optimization of the digital marketing industry will rely heavily on AI. However, a healthy balance of the artificial and the organic will be necessary to create a truly meaningful Consumer experience.
The most personal consumer experience is one that feels natural.
The Best Social Media Marketing Strategies in 2018
Just a few years ago, you could get away with building a social media marketing strategy on the fly. As long as you were present, you were doing more than your competitors–right?
Well it’s 2018 and not much of the same logic applies today. With 30% of millennials saying they engage with a brand on social at least once a month, your strategy can’t be only about existence. Brands must be fully invested in their social media marketing strategies and focus on engagement. Otherwise, you’ll lose out on real customers, which means serious effects on your bottom line.
We’re not here to scare your brand into the world of social media. Instead, we want to provide your marketing team with the right steps to take toward a successful social strategy so your brand isn’t left in the dust.
Here are the 7 steps to create the best social media marketing strategy in 2018:
1. Create Social Media Marketing Goals That Solve Your Biggest Challenges
The first step to any strategy is to understand what you want out of your efforts. Social media marketing isn’t about flipping a switch and calling it a day. Instead, social media planning should be looked at like cooking your favorite dish.
Once you have your ingredients, you follow a recipe and presto! But that’s not always the case. What if you have guests and need to feed more people? What if someone is allergic to one of the ingredients? Suddenly, your goal goes from making a meal to ensuring it will feed enough people and be edible by all.
That’s why creating goals is so critical to the first part of your social media strategy. At the same time, it’s best to set goals that you know are attainable. Asking for 1 million new Instagram followers in 2018 is unrealistic. With achievable goals, you’re more likely to stick to the original plan and continue to take on new hurdles as you complete old ones.
This is the same reason why brands should never take on every social media channel possible in their current marketing strategy. Try to choose the channels that have the most importance based on your brand’s goals. Avoid over complicating a strategy with too many targets and objectives. Simplicity can take you a long way.
And also, don’t forget to document your social media goals. Not only is it important to help you benchmark where you are, but it also improves your chances of achieving them. According to some statistics, people who write their goals down are 30 times more successful.
Social Media Goals to Consider in 2018
Goal setting is a staple of all marketing and business strategies. Social media is no exception. Of course, with a range of social capabilities, it can be difficult to determine exactly what your objectives should be. For guidance, here are some common social media goals to consider:
- Increase brand awareness: To create authentic and lasting brand awareness, avoid a slew of promotional messages. Instead, focus on meaningful content and a strong brand personality through your social channels.
- Higher quality of sales: Digging through your social channels is nearly impossible without monitoring or listening to specific keywords, phrases or hashtags. Through more efficient social media targeting, you reach your core audience much faster.
- Drive in-person sales: Some retailers rely on social media marketing efforts to drive in-store sales. Is your brand promoting enough on social to reward those who come to you? What about alerting customers to what’s going on in your stores?
- Improve ROI: There’s not a brand on social media that doesn’t want to increase its return on investment. But on social, this goal is specific to performing a thorough audit of your channels and ensuring cost of labor, advertisements and design stay on track.
- Create a loyal fanbase: Does your brand promote user-generated content? Do your followers react positively without any initiation? Getting to this point takes time and effort with creating a positive brand persona on social.
- Better pulse on the industry: What are your competitors doing that seems to be working? What strategies are they using to drive engagement or sales? Having a pulse on the industry could simply help you improve your efforts and take some tips from those doing well.
2. Research Your Social Media Audience
Approximately 79% of adults use Facebook–but are your customers actively engaging with your brand there? Understanding your audience is necessary to learn things like who buys your products, what age group is the toughest to sell and what income level makes up the most of your returning customers? As for social media, it’s just as critical to know your audience.
First, your brand should look into the demographics of your most valuable social channels. Like we mentioned before, you should have a goal in mind for your social media marketing strategy. This is why you need to research the channels that correlate the most with your goals.
To help you find your focus channels: let’s take a quick look at the essential demographics data for each major network:
- Facebook’s most popular demographics include:
- Women users (89%)
- 18-29 year olds (88%)
- Urban- and rural-located users (81% each)
- Those earning less than $30,000 (84%)
- Users with some college experience (82%)
- Instagram’s most popular demographics include:
- Women users (38%)
- 18-29 year olds (59%),
- Urban-located users (39%)
- Those earning less than $30,000 (38%)
- Users with some college experience (37%)
- Twitter’s most popular demographics include:
- Women users (25%)
- 18-29 year olds (36%)
- Urban-located users (26%)
- Those earning $50,000-$74,999 (28%)
- Users with college experience or more (29%)
- LinkedIn’s most popular demographics include:
- Men users (31%)
- 18-29 year olds (34%)
- Urban-located users (34%)
- Those earning $75,000 or more (45%)
- Users with college experience or more (50%)
- Snapchat and other auto-delete app’s most popular demographics include:
- Men users (24%)
- 18-29 year olds (56%)
- Those earning less than $50,000 (27%)
- Users with some college experience (27%)
See even more demographics data on our in-depth guide!
Identifying Customer Demographics
While the demographics data above gives you insight into each channel, what about your own customers? Further analysis has to be completed before you can truly know your customer demographics on social media.
That’s why many brands use a social media dashboard that can provide an overview of who’s following you and how they interact with you on each channel. Most brands today are using at least some sort of dashboard. However, does your dashboard address your specific goals?
Whether you’re an agency providing insights for your clients or an enterprise company discovering your own demographics, an all-in-one dashboard solution is critical.
Also Read: Are PBN’s Still Good For SEO in 2018?
3. Establish Your Most Important Metrics
While your targeted social media metrics might be the most important step of a strategy, it’s often the spot most veer off the path. Vanity metrics like follower count and likes are always good to measure, but does it tell you the whole story of your brand on social media?
We often get wrapped up in viewing followers and likes as the truth to a campaign, but it’s smart to take a step back and evaluate the social metrics associated with your overall goals.
Engagement metrics sometimes paint a better picture, because as we’ve mentioned many times here, building lasting relationships works on social. Large audiences and likable content is absolutely great, but here are some other metrics you might want to pursue in 2018:
- Reach: Post reach is the number of unique users who saw your post. How far is your content spreading across social? Is it actually reaching user’s feeds?
- Clicks: This is the amount of clicks on your content, company name or logo. Link clicks are critical toward understanding how users move through your marketing funnel. Tracking clicks per campaign is essential to understand what drives curiosity or encourages people to buy.
- Engagement: The total number of social interactions divided by number of impressions. For engagement, it’s about seeing who interacted and if it was a good ratio out of your total reach. This sheds light on how well your audience perceives you and their willingness to interact.
- Hashtag performance: What were your most used hashtags on your own side? Which hashtags were most associated with your brand? Or what hashtags created the most engagement?
- Sentiment: This is the measurement of how users reacted to your content, brand or hashtag. Did customers find your recent campaign offensive? What type of sentiment are people associating with your campaign hashtag? It’s always better to dig deeper and find what people are saying.
- Organic and paid likes: More than just standard Likes, these likes are defined from paid or organic content. For channels like Facebook, organic engagement is much harder to gain traction, which is why many brands turn to Facebook Ads. However, earning organic likes on Instagram isn’t quite as difficult.
4. Research Your Social Competitive Landscape
Before you start creating content (we promise we’re almost there!), it’s really smart to investigate your competitors. We put this before the content creation process because you often find new ways to look at content by analyzing what’s making your competitors successful.
Again, we’ll always believe you shouldn’t steal your competitors ideas, but instead learn and grow from their success and failures. So how do you find that information? The first step is to find out who’s your competition in the first place.
The simplest way to find competitors is through a simple Google search. Look up your most valuable keywords, phrases and industry terms to see who shows up. For example, if you sold various soaps, “handmade natural soaps” would be a great keyword to investigate:
You can exclude the major retailers like Amazon and Bath & Body Works. Search for those who show up who are in your specific industry. Next you want to see who is active on social.
As you can see, Wild Soap has an active social presence, which means they’re a great candidate to track. After gathering a handful of industry competitors, it’s smart to use a social media competitive analysis tool like Sprout Social to track Facebook and Instagram content.
Here you can see post break downs of text, images and video to see what your competitors are doing to drive the most engagement. Once you dig through the competitive analysis, you’ll have a better idea of what your potential customers want.
5. Build & Curate Engaging Social Media Content
Did someone say content? It’s no lie–social media content is extremely important to your marketing strategy. However, it’s best to follow the previous steps before planning out content (we caught you, blog skippers!) so you can start building more effective themes.
For starters, we recommend creating content that fits to your brand’s identity. This means you should avoid things like reaching out to your unpopular demographics without a complete strategy in place.
It’s necessary to find the perfect balance between target content and being overly promotional as well. In fact, 46% of users say they’ll unfollow a brand if there’s too many promotional messages. Additionally, 41% of users say they’d unfollow a brand that shared too much irrelevant content.
Video Content or Bust
How important is video to your SOCIAL MEDOA MARKETING strategy? Extremely–approximately 90% of online shoppers believe product videos help them make a purchasing decision. Additionally, the average online video is completely watched end to end by 37% of viewers.
These type of stats should only enforce your reasoning to invest in social media video content. Brands can reach users through Instagram Stories, Facebook Live and other in-the-moment media.
Build Content Themes
One of the toughest challenges to visual content is creating it on a day-to-day basis. A Venngage infographic showed 36.7% of marketers said their No.1 struggle with creating visual content was doing so consistently.
This truly shows how important highly-visual content is to marketers and the people they want to reach. That’s why building content themes is a great approach to sectioning out your content. Instagram is one your premier channels to work off visual themes.
Anthropologie does an amazing job at keeping their Instagram feed consistent, colorful and eye-popping. Work in content themes to ensure you have a consistent schedule of excellent content to publish.
6. Engage With Your Audience & Don’t Ignore
Social media channels are built as networks. This means their main purpose is to be a space to converse, discuss topics and share content. Your brand can’t forget these core elements of “networking” and it takes effort to ensure conversations or engagement opportunities aren’t left unattended.
Through social media, you gain respect as a brand by just being present and talking to your audience. That’s why social customer care is so important to brands wanting to increase audience awareness. It’s all about engagement.
For example, Seamless does a wonderful job of not only responding, but showing customer care is priority. Through the right social media monitoring tools, you can find instances across all your channels to interact, respond and gauge customer service inquiries.
Designating teams to specific tasks can help your staff run like a well-oiled social media team, whether you’re a group of one or 100.
Post at the Best Times to Engage
When is your brand available to engage and interact with customers? You might see some recommending times to post late in the evening. But if your brand isn’t there to communicate, what’s the point of posting at the preferred time?
Instead, try to ensure your social media or community managers are available and ready to answer any product questions or concerns when you tweet or post. It’s smart to learn the best times to post on social media, but it’s just as critical to engage after posting.
According to our Index, a brand’s average response time is around 10 hours. But did you know that most users believe brands should respond to social media messages within four hours?
With all the updated algorithms, organic content has a tough time reaching the majority of your audience. The last thing you want to do is ignore those who engage and lose out on sending more down your marketing funnel.
7. Track Your Efforts & Always Improve
So, how well did you do on your social media marketing strategy? Without continuously analyzing your efforts, you’ll never know how one campaign did over another. Having a bird’s-eye-view of your social media activity helps put things into perspective.
You’ve got down your most important goals, network preferences and metrics–now it’s time to make sure you made the right decisions. Knowing you’ve made the right choices is still a difficult task in social media.
In fact, 46% of B2B marketers are unsure if their social strategy actually created revenue for their brand. But marketers are always trying and looking for the perfect connection. That’s why the most commonly used metric (80%) for marketers is engagement.
If you work at building lasting relationships, there’s a lot less room for failure with your social media marketing strategy.
Use a Tool to Track Success
Sprout Social was created with social media marketing in mind. Our social media tools offer a full suite of analytics and reporting features to help you pinpoint exactly which posts, messages and hashtags perform the best.
It’s easy to connect other critical tools to our dashboard like Google Analytics, which helps you see which posts drove the most traffic, conversions and overall revenue.
Social Media Marketing Strategy Checklist
We wanted to give our readers a few resources to use moving forward. That’s why we put together this 7-step social media marketing strategy checklist to help all of our readers creating and auditing their own strategies.