Moving Day!


Okay, I have finished my resume site, so this blog is moving! I’ll still be posting every week, so please come and visit.  The new home of my blog is at rsj8000.com/myblog

I thank anyone and everyone who has read or contributed to this blog, and I look forward to seeing you at the new site!

Your pal,
Ryan Johnson

Report: Facebook Pages More Effective Than Websites


Hey Gang! I want to share an article with you by David Cohen titled “Report: Facebook Pages More Effective Than Websites“.  Normally, I prefer to paraphrase articles and put in my own two cents, but Cohen’s article is so succinct that I have decided to reprint it in it’s entirety. Here it goes:

Who needs a website when you can have a Facebook page? A recent survey by market-research firm Lab42found that 50 percent of the 1,000 social media users who were polled believe Facebook pages are more useful than brands’ websites, and 82 percent feel that pages are good places to interact with brands.

However, brands must be judicious about their posts, as 48 percent of respondents have unliked pages that post too often.

Other findings from Lab42include:

  • The top three ways people interact with pages on Facebook were: To print or redeem coupons or discounts; to like posts or comments; and to learn about new products.
  • Besides posting too frequently, other reasons cited for unliking brands were: stopped liking the brand, and bad customer experiences.
  • It’s no secret that people like saving money, but 77 percent have done so as a result of liking brands on Facebook; 66 percent have saved $20 or more in the past 12 months; and 17 percent have saved more than $100.
  • 35 percent of respondents felt that brands were more responsive to them on Facebook than elsewhere.

Lab42 CEO Gauri Sharma said:

A common social media goal for companies is to increase their number of Facebook likes. Our study sheds lights on the ever-present question increasingly considered by brands: What is a Facebook like worth? Companies have devoted significant time, money, and marketing resources in an attempt to answer this very question. Rather than guessing, we decided to go straight to the source and ask consumers about their Facebook liking habits and opinions.

Readers: Did any of the findings by Lab42 surprise you?

Fritos and the Facebook focus group


I think you would find this article in The New York Times to be rather interesting.  If you are too lazy to click the link, the article, “Social Media Are Giving a Voice to Taste Buds” notes how Frito-Lay is using Facebook to test new flavor ideas in lieu of costly focus groups.  Frito-Lay has developed an “I’d Eat That” button that allows Frito-Lay to measure the popularity of various proposed flavors in different parts of the country.

This is an example of a company unlocking the true potential of social media.  Think of how much it would cost to hold focus groups in California, New York, and Chicago to find out what flavors were popular in each region.  And if a mega corporation like Frito-Lay (which can certainly afford focus groups) decides it is just as good to use Facebook, think about what good news this is for your business!

The article, written by Stephanie Clifford, notes, “While consumers may think of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare as places to post musings and interact with friends, companies like Wal-Mart and Samuel Adams are turning them into extensions of market research departments. And companies are just beginning to figure out how to use the enormous amount of information available.”

Another great piece from the article:

“When Wal-Mart wanted to know whether to stock lollipop-shaped cake makers in its stores, it studied Twitter chatter. Estée Lauder’s MAC Cosmetics brand asked social media users to vote on which discontinued shades to bring back. The stuffed-animal brand Squishable solicited Facebook feedback before settling on the final version of a new toy. And Samuel Adams asked users to vote on yeast, hops, color and other qualities to create a crowdsourced beer, an American red ale called B’Austin Ale that got rave reviews.”

While your competitors are still toiling away at the old rules of marketing, you can use social media to engage your fans and conduct market research at the same time.  Use this opportunity to brainstorm ways you can combine research and fun for your fans.

Think about it this way – you spend money on focus groups to tell you what your fans like.  Why not just go directly to fans? The will feel like they have a stake in your company – this builds affinity and allows you the opportunity to connect with fans on a more meaningful level.

When fans buy the new flavor of chip that they voted for, they can say, “I helped make this possible.” Something to think about this weekend!

Until next time…

Create your own infographics


Infographics are a great way to liven up magazines, newsletters and websites. I was reading an article by Johna Revesencio, “4 Online Infographics Generators,” and I think she offers some great resources for creating info graphics.

I tried out two of them and would suggest you give them a whirl. The one pictured on the right was created with Infogram and shows some stats for this blog. Unfortunately, right now Infogram makes it very difficult to export your deign – I had to do a screencapture and re-purpose it in PhotoShop. Also, the choices for teh chart are pretty limited.

Piktochart takes a little more effort to use, but is a much more robust tool for creating charts with a variety of colors, charts and foreground and background items.  As a bonus, you can download the images to use in whatever format you require.  The image on the left is one I made with Piktochart – a little garish, but I wanted to test out all of the options!

Take a look at Revesencio’s article and look at some of her other suggested sites, and start making your own infographics today.

Until next time.

From Click-Z: 4 Ways to Build a Winning Digital Contest


Hey gang! I have written previously about using contests to boost your social media attention.

In her new article, “4 Ways to Build a Winning Digital Contest“, Tessa Wegert offers some great tips on running online contests that get results. I am going to paraphrase her here, but please check out her article for an engaging read!

  1. Start small – start with a small Facebook effort designed to increase your fan base. Wegert suggests using using a Facebook contest application like Wildfire. Wildfire is a very inexpensive way to run a contest, and they will take you step-by-step through the process.  I am a big proponent of it!
  2. Use hashtags – Wegert notes, “For image-based contests, ask consumers to post a predefined hashtag along with their video or photograph. It’s a small addition to each submission, but it will greatly expand the contest’s reach across Twitter and potentially generate additional online buzz.” I need to start using and emphasizing hashtags more, so this is a good recommendation. Read more about hashtags here.
  3. Use all of your channels to support the contest – Wegert says, “Support your contest with multi-channel ads whenever possible. Contests that are mentioned in TV spots and print ads, display ads, and on social sites are more likely to get moving quickly, and launching with a bang is critical when your campaign is time-sensitive and short-lived, as contests typically are.” I think all of your marketing efforts need to support each other – none should live in a silo.
  4. Socialize your contest – Wegert says, “Give participants the chance to share your contest with their peers. In addition to incorporating sharing functionality into the contest itself, invite consumers to help you judge the winners. By opening a contest to public voting, brands can recruit additional participants and improve word of mouth, and the small act of recognizing the value of consumer feedback can have a big impact on the way consumers perceive your brand.” Again, this is where Wildfire can come in handy.  They will help you set up to receive submissions, like in a photo content, and to let your fans vote on winners. This is another great way of socializing your content!

The article has some great tips, and I hope to hear from you when you decide to launch your own online contest!  Until next time…

A handbook for Facebook success


Optimize your Facebook content and engage your fans!

I was perusing my email and found that Click-Z has issued a new “Facebook Casebook”, which documents some ways large and small companies are using Facebook successfully in their marketing.

It is free of charge, you just have to sign up and have it emailed to you.  I would highly recommend getting it. I am in no way endorsed by or affiliated with Click-Z, but I consider them to be a highly reliable source of news for social media and online marketing.

Some of the features:

  • How Nutella’s Facebook ads outperformed their TV advertising.
  • How Domino’s used Facebook to create an event, driving 542,000 users to the Domino’s ordering sites on Dec. 8, 2011.
  • How to use Facebook e-commerce to allow customers to create “wish lists”.
  • How to optimize paid Facebook ads.
  • How CNET socialized their website content with Facebook and Twitter links. In addition they used HootSuite to plan out posts in advance. They raised CNET’s Facebook likes from 69,000 to 842,000, while pushing Twitter followers from 24,000 to 212,000.
  • CNET Social Media Manager Nathan Bransford notes:“It’s not the result of some huge ad campaign or anything we’ve done spending a bunch of money,” he said. “It’s all about organic growth. My philoso­phy is that there is not a social media bullet. You can’t do ‘X’ to get to ‘Y.’ People always say, ‘What do I need to do? What do I need to do?’ There’s not a magic to it. What’s important is being consis­tently good, and consistently giving people things that they want…. I think you can get in the weeds of social media and forget the important things.”

Take a look, because it won’t cost you anything but time.  What tactics have you used to optimize your Facebook marketing?  Please let me know!

Until next time…

Optimizing and boosting your YouTube Rankings


Figure 1 – check out all of the search terms people used that landed them on a tennis instructional video. Expand your keyword!

Heidi-ho friends!

I was reading this article by Chris Sietsema about optimizing your YouTube content. I think the author is mostly right on, but I’d like to augment his ideas with a few tips of my own. Remember, YouTube is searchable, and anything that is searchable can be optimized!

1)      Make entertaining content. I think entertaining is the wrong word here; it conjures up painful images of corporate suits ordering the marketing department to create a “viral video.”

I think a better word to use is relevant.  Make your videos relevant.  Every business has knowledge to share. It’s just a question of when and how you share it.

A good example is this video about the odds of filling out a perfect NCAA bracket. This video was released just before the 2011 NCAA tournament and got the majority of it’s views around that time.  Now, you may be thinking, “Hey, this video only has 5,000 views.” However what you are not noting is that this video will be relevant every March, anytime someone searches YouTube for “perfect NCAA bracket.”

Sietsema also cites the ingenious “Will It Blend?” video series, which manages to make product demonstration entertaining.

The “Will it Blend” series is a great example of entertaining YouTube marketing and it costs almost nothing to produce. The videos are brief, informative and entertaining. Plus, they provide tangible product benefits.

Find some bit of important knowledge that your business can add to YouTube and start to plan not only what you will release but also when would be the right time to put that content forward.

One more note – keep it brief. I would keep your video at three minutes or less if possible.

2)      Find your keywords. This is absolutely essential in order to get your video noticed.  Whenever you upload a video, you have the option of adding keywords.  Think of any possible search term that someone interested in your video might use in the YouTube search box.

Take a look at the search terms people plugged in that brought them to this instructional/promotional video about tennis lessons (figure 1). The video profited from those searches by adding in keywords like Serena, Roddick and Sampras.

Additionally, Sietsema notes the importance of the YouTube Keyword Tool.  This is a great, free resource that allows you to see the top search words that have led people to videos on that topic.  You can also past in the URL of a video and see the search words that brought people to that video.  Try it now – and then incorporate the phrases that have garnered the most searches into your keywords.

Don’t worry about making the most polished video in the world. Just make something that is interesting, brief (three minutes or less), authentic and – hopefully – entertaining.

I encourage you to check out the rest of Sietsema’s article, where he goes into detail about optimizing video on your website. More so, I encourage you to think about ways you can create optimize your YouTube presence for improved marketing.

Until next time…