Monthly Archives: June 2011

Does your Facebook Social Media Manager know strategy?

dashboard mashup

Your brand’s success on Facebook depends on how you integrate social media into your overall marketing mix

Has your brand unknowingly placed limits on itself with its Facebook strategy? I’ve spoken to over a hundred brands — in particular, to the folks who are in charge of their Facebook presence. These companies included consumer packaged goods businesses, banks, retailers and more, all in a wide range of size and brand recognition. From those conversations, I’ve noticed that there are three primary types of individuals guiding their Facebook strategy:

  • Brand marketer: This is most often a mid-level manager with responsibility for social and sometimes another channel such as SEO or advertising. They care initially about fan counts, and once their presence is larger, they want engagement. They don’t know how to measure engagement, which means they are not sure how to optimize in a scientific method. So they buy a number of tools and spend money, since Facebook and their ad agency tells them to, plus their competitors are doing it.
  • Customer care manager: They see Facebook as an extension of the phone and email channels, which means the page is a complaints board that needs moderating. In retail, they can’t avoid customers who complain, so they spend their day responding to the wall. They also buy tools — primarily wall management. But as their presence grows, they can’t keep up, don’t have resources, and soon have a polluted channel. Without the coordination of other marketing channels, there is no branding power, just a reactive apology center. This person is usually lower level, as the brand hasn’t figured out a strategy for brand management and the integration of multiple paid and organic channels.
  • Direct marketer: They are held to return on investment, just like their counterparts who manage pay per click or direct mail. They live and die by the holy metrics of conversion rate, margin, and ROAS (Return On Advertising Spending). Brand investment or nurturing of the customer relationship doesn’t matter, since every touch is measured by how many conversions happen immediately in that visit. So they continue to spend money on bottom of funnel marketing that is less about demand generation as opposed to demand collection. They don’t realize or pay credence to an early touch or recommendation that can lead to a sale later. This is especially true in B2B, which has a lengthy funnel. Attribution modeling is in its infancy, so this problem will linger for quite some time.

Recognize any of these three as your role? It’s like the blind men and the elephant. I met with a telecom company to discuss their social media strategy (name withheld to protect the guilty) and pointed out that customers were complaining in droves on their Facebook wall. Their head of customer care, the guy who runs the call centers, pointed at the social guy. But the social guy assumed that it was a customer care function. We see this all the time.

Your social media channel doesn’t need to produce its own content, it need only leverage the power of your existing brand assets.

The fundamental issue is that social media is not just another marketing silo. Rather, it’s a layer that cuts across all marketing functions (and even beyond marketing). I feel bad for the company that appoints a VP of Social, unless that person’s role is primarily spent on coordination vs. execution. The moon doesn’t generate its own light — it reflects the light of the sun. Your social media channel doesn’t need to produce its own content, it need only leverage the power of your existing brand assets.

Your brand’s success on Facebook is a matter of how well you can connect people who love you in the real world — not Facebook fans, but real-world fans — to hit the Like button on Facebook. It’s hard to like something you don’t already know about. I’m not saying you can’t do customer acquisition with Facebook. Instead, I’m saying the first step is to harvest the low-hanging fruit of customers who already know you. And only then can leverage the recommendations of those fans to drive new fans. This “friend of fan” targeting yields often a doubling of CTR (click-through rate).

nike facebook dashboard

So ask yourself:

  • What is the gap between your real-world presence and your Facebook presence? Perhaps look at your monthly unique visitors and compare that with how many active visitors you have on Facebook. Perhaps you have a portfolio of products — if you’re the NFL, you have multiple teams with multiple players. If you manufacture soaps and shampoos, aggregate your portfolio there.
  • How are you doing vs. competitors and similar companies? Do you know how you stack up not just in audience size, but quality of that audience measured by engagement rate, conversion rate, referral rates, and even metrics such as Net Promoter Score? Yes, there are ways to approximate any of these metrics, which will be the topic of a separate article.
  • What is a fan worth to you? Now, this is a trick question, because it assumes that there is a value for fans in the real world, that you are able to capitalize upon it, and that you can measure the overlaps with other channels. Yes, your social media can impact your in-store sales in the same way that a TV or radio campaign can. And your TV campaigns will drive traffic to Google and Facebook, while your Facebook presence can increase conversion rate in your email channel.
First, get a strategy in place — and then start measuring

Marketing is the fuzzy science (arguably more science than art) of allocating your budget between different channels. If you are the CMO or someone with budget authority, you have to decide how to spend the chips that you have. If you have a common metric that guides the allocating decision (and you should), then you must have in place a measurement strategy that encompasses the above channels. And as we’ve seen, Facebook is part branding, customer care, and direct marketing — so you must have weighting in all areas.

It’s 2011 and the game is just starting. But before you start hiring like mad, running ad campaigns, and buying tools like they’re going out of style, I recommend getting a basic strategy in place that is measurable. How else will you be able to justify that you’re adding worth to the organization, defend your existence, and fight the internal battle for more resources?



The danger of buying Facebook fans.

A word of warning to brands looking to expand their Facebook footprint: There are no shortcuts

Should you “buy” Facebook fans from vendors that sell on a cost-per-fan basis? I have gotten this question a lot over the last couple of years, so let this article be your guide.

The short answer is: If it sounds too good to be true, then listen to your instincts. Whatever you decide, make sure the ads are being run in your own account, no matter what excuse they give you.

You’ve probably come across services that promise to deliver fans for just pennies each. (Or even cheaper!) That’s like saying you can buy a brand new iPod for a dollar. What’s the catch? Most of them can’t deliver, and most of the ones that do are offering you what’s effectively poison. Some reputable social advertising agencies like Epic Social can deliver you quality, but they are rare.

The top varieties of Facebook flim-flam

Here are the main flavors of snake oil, why they’re dangerous, and how to spot them:

Get 10,000 fans!

FB-fan-sites

If you see any variation of this, run. Often they have only a couple of hundred fans themselves. It’s no different than SEO vendors that promise links and yet have no Google PageRank or inbound links to show for themselves. Notice that you don’t see any customer testimonials — at least not real ones. And their fan page looks like something pulled out of an infomercial selling dietary supplements. They probably just switched the images out on that landing page to sell whatever is hot.


Promoted Account Success story on Twitter.

Thanks to: Simply Zesty http://t.co/lYx9KaR via @simplyzesty

Case Studies about promoted accounts are hard to find. Success stories about promoted accounts on twitter are very rare.  This is a useful case study for brands that are interested in buying their way to success on Twitter, Amtrak (a train service in the U.S.) havereleased stats to show how they doubled their followers on Twitter using a combination of Promoted Tweets and Promoted Accounts. Over a period of 3 months, the followers on the Amtrak account have doubled from 10,000 to over 20,000  , with 8,000 specifically linked to the Promoted Accounts placement. These are impressive results and show that Twitter’s unique advertising products work on the site, in order to gain more followers. Up until their investment in promotions on Twitter, the Amtrak account hadn’t matched the success of their Facebook activity, so they took the decision to pay for followers. A graph found via Media Culpa shows the sustained growth on their account, with the increase starting in April, when they introduced their promotions :

The pay for follow tactic certainly seems to have worked for Amtrak. But is this ultimately beneficial for the ecosystem of Twitter? They have achieved this growth despite only actually following 95 people, which you could argue is not the way to sustain an active corporate account, that is of use to their followers :

A new type of corporate Twitter?

The conversation on their account is decidedly one way, with roughly 1 in 20 tweets being replies to people, or retweets of other accounts. Amtrak’s growth and rise to success has almost been achieved entirely because of a direct ‘paying for followers’ model, as opposed to other means such as running an engaging account or exciting campaign that gets people interested and following. And they have a fairly large potential userbase, that should be interested in the content that they have to offer. So is this type of use for Twitter sustainable? Although Amtrak have invested in promotions through Twitter, the way in which they’re using their account isn’t supportive of the way in which Twitter functions. They have paid for their followers, but don’t seem particularly interested in doing anything with them. Looking at the tweets on their account, which are nearly all one-way messages, you would assume there is little conversation around the brand. A search for @amtrak however, shows a different story :

Given that one of their trains was also recently involved in a crash, you would also expect the level of tweets from Amtrak to be much higher, responding to individuals questioning this, as well as general customer care issues. But consistently over the past month or so, the account has been all about pushing one way messages. This shows the somewhat skewed approach to buying your followers on Twitter. What have Amtrak really bought other than a number on the side of their account? The best use of Promoted Accounts on Twitter lies in using them in conjunction with organic activity and of course, a good representative for your Twitter account. While you might look to Amtrak as a new way of using Twitter – simply as a noticeboard of information with no need to engage in conversation, akin to following the RSS feed of a news site for example, it seems odd to pay for followers but then do little to further that engagement for the maximum benefit and continue free, organic growth.

This shows the consideration that brands must take when investing in promotions on Twitter. It’s slowly going to look more and more like the Facebook Pages that are on a race for Likes, with no real strategy as to what to do in order to maximise on the followers or even how to keep them there once you’ve paid for them. This could be ultimately detrimental to Twitter, as it becomes a system of noticeboards from companies, that interrupt the natural way of conversing between profiles.


Americans are More Addicted to LinkedIn than Twitter.

Are you as shocked by the title as I was? Yes, it is true.

A recent study by a digital measuring company, ComScore recently unveiled the top ten Countries that use LinkedIn and Twitter the most with the U.S coming in as the third Country most addicted to LinkedIn, which is not unexpected since it is a social networking site for businesses.

What was unforeseen was the lack of presence on the Internet penetration by reach for the U.S and the real-time  social networking site, Twitter, although it does have a strong American Twitter population, the U.S. did not make the list for Twitter…at all.

 

Here are Top 10 Countries in Internet Penetration for LinkedIn.com and Twitter.com by Reach (%)

LinkedIn Reach (%) Twitter Reach (%)
1. Netherlands 26.1% 1. Netherlands 26.8%
2. Ireland 21.0% 2. Japan 26.6%
3. United States 17.6% 3. Brazil 23.7%
4. Canada 15.6% 4. Indonesia 22.0%
5. United Kingdom 14.9% 5. Venezuela 21.0%
6. Denmark 14.4% 6. Canada 18.0%
7. Australia 13.1% 7. Argentina 18.0%
8. New Zealand 12.9% 8. Turkey 16.6%
9. Belgium 12.6% 9. Philippines 16.1%
10. Singapore 12.0% 10. Singapore 16.0%

 

Where Did Your County Place in the List for LinkedIn, Twitter or Both?

I lived and worked in Europe for over 12 years and know that LiknedIn is popular in English speaking countries. Non English speaking countries use services that cater to their language. For instance Germany uses a LinkedIn like service called Xing. A major problem for LinkedIn is the fact that the interface is in English. If they can get that fixed it would overtake other services.

Twitter is becoming more popular in Europe. It helps that it has a multilingual interface. However, it is still viewed by many as kitsch.

 


Let’s Get Ready to Rumble!!! ————————–Facebook vs. Google.

Facebook and Google have been battling it out for sometime now, since Facebook over threw Google in search. Google punched back with an e-mail regarding Facebook’s privacy issues and since then, the battle has been on to see who will win the champion belt of online power. Here is an infographic created by Obizmedia that shows the battle in the ring of the Internet.

Facebook Vs Google, Oh It’s On! [INFOGRAPHIC] |
Image Source: MBAProgramInfo.com

Stupid Things People Do On Social Sites Part:2

A 16-hour standoff with police ended with a suspect who was holed up in a motel room allegedly shooting himself, but not before posting updates

 about the tense situation on Facebook.

Jason Valdez, 36, was wanted on a felony drug warrant in Ogden, Utah, but refused to come out of a motel room there and refused to let an acquaintance in the room with him go free.

Police tried serving the warrant at around 5 p.m. last Friday, but Valdez barricaded himself in the room with the aquaintance, a woman. That led to a SWAT team on the scene, and police and family members trying to negotiate with Valdez. During those subsequent 16 hours, Valdez posted photos and updates on Facebook, according to police.

“I love u guyz and if I don’t make it out of here alive that I’m in a better place and u were all great friends,” was among the first things he said on the social networking site, according to police.

Family members and friends were using Facebook to communicate with Valdez. One friend posted: “Hey jason. im praying for u. i hope u make the right decision. god is wit u. listen to him. much love,” according to KSL-TV.

Valdez also put word forth on Facebook around the next morning that he would release the acquaintance-turned-hostage, identified as “Veronica.”

“Well everyone im letting Veronica go here real soon but this is the end,” he said on Facebook.

Once the SWAT team finally got into the motel room, according to theStandard-Examiner and KRIS-TV, Valdez fired at police, then shot himself in the chest. He was taken to an area hospital, where he remains in critical condition.

 


Can’t Believe the Stupid Things Done on Social Sites. Part I

Police arrested six suspects between the ages of 16 and 23 who allegedly wrecked up a hotel room, then put photos of the damage on Twitter.

Oh, and just to be thorough, the suspects also posted photos of the nearby spa area that was damaged, too, at the hotel in South Charleston, West Virginia.

The party-goers “caused about $13,885 in damage, according to a criminal complaint filed in Kanawha County Magistrate Court,” reports the Charleston Gazette. “That total does not include damage the men had allegedly done to the hotel’s sprinkler system, the complaint states.”

South Charleston Police Officer E.M. Peterson said the suspects apparently rented the room to party. Three of the six “wrote messages back and forth on Twitter as they destroyed the hotel room, and posted pictures of the carnage along the way,” including photos of themselves, the newspaper said.

That made it pretty easy for police to ID and arrest the suspects.

“These kids handed me this case,” Peterson told the newspaper.

 

 

 


Remember everything in your Social Media Campaign.

Last week I was at a job interview in San Francisco. During the discussion the interviewer and I were talking about the overwhelming  number of tools available.

Keeping track of all the tools is becoming harder and harder. The person I was interviewing with had an Excel sheet with around 300 SEO tools listed. I use a similar system to track Social Media tools.  Sometime during our conversation I remembered Evernote.

Evernote is a suite of software and services designed for notetaking and archiving.

Chances are, if you can see it or think of it, Evernote can help you remember it. Type a text note. Clip a web page. Snap a photo. Grab a screenshot. Evernote will keep it all safe.

Let’s be honest there’s a lot being shared out there that’s worth remembering. Depending on how many people and brands you follow, you’re likely to see a lot of updates in your stream that you may not want to forget, but just don’t have the capacity to efficiently capture. Think of all the things you may want to grab from your Twitter stream and save to Evernote.

When it comes to tracking a social media campaign Evernote is great. Customer’s love to see charts and graphs that track the progress of a social media campaign. However, it is important to show customer’s a 360 degree view of the social media campaign. A bar graph or cart is one thing an Evernote presentation that shows the synergy  of a social media campaign.


 

 


Facebook strategy: ” Get the fans, keep the fans, activate fans “

 

This blog post by Jason Keith may be simple, but I like it. This is why, if you could put Facebook Fan Page strategy into one sentence it would be as Jason said ” Get the fans, keep the fans, activate fans “. Well said sir, well said. Your Facebook Fan Page is a great way to release your creative juices and interact with your community directly- but sometimes awesome ideas run dry. This article outlines 12 different tactics for your Facebook Fan Page that you could start tomorrow if you wanted to. Looking for even more ideas?  Socialfresh has a free e-book with 64 tactics.


Tips for Live Tweeting an Event

About two weeks ago I had a pleasure to be invited to a local event put on by a clients. My job for the day was to cover the event live via Twitter- which proved to be very invigorating but also not as easy as I anticipated!

Here are some tips I’ve put together based on my experience.

– Basics. Make sure your space has internet access! Ensure all of your “tools” are FULLY charged and that you have appropriate charging apparatuses handy. Finally set up a base camp where your computer, camera etc can always be found.

– Use a hashtag. (I know this is obvious) Hashtags make it easer to follow the related tweets and allow you, the twitter ninja, to respond and re-tweet other attendees or people following from home.

– Spread the word. Successful live tweeting is a community effort, make sure to promote the hashtag before the event. Also, try connecting to others tweeting on site face to face, get them to help support your efforts.

– Create RT Candy. This is pretty simple, but create Twitter content that other’s cant wait to share.  Funny or amazing quotes make good RT candy- copywriting is a big part of your job.

– Plan. Make sure to have a outline of how the day will go. It’s very easy to be distracted by what’s going on around you and get soaked into the event and theres’ NO time to waste.

– Get into the action.
 You’re a reporter, get as close as you can to the speaker and the event. You want to have clear photos, and access to the best content! Also try to shift focus to not only what is being said at the event, try blogging and tweeting about the mood, and the overall feeling.

– Craft your tool set. Having the hardware is half the battle, make sure you are using some kind of third party client that will help you sift through all the information being thrown at you. I used Tweetdeck, and it worked great to follow the event’s hashtag, the names of the people in attendance and sponsors of the event.


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