How do you sell social media to your superiors?


Lack of measurement leads to the dark side: ego driven websites and social media.

Whether you like it or not, data is important. I have heard the arguments about Google Analytics and the rest don’t tell the whole story about your audience. The question is: if you are measuring nothing, how can you make any comparisons or determine success and failure.

Lack of measurement leads to the dark side: ego driven websites and social media. This is when the website content is based on the whims of someone – usually whoever is in charge – with no quantifiable reasons for the decisions made. It basically boils down to, “I don’t like Facebook, so it is not worthwhile,” or “My wife told me she didn’t like our landing page, so we should change it.”

Beware the Uneducated Boss

In his article “Social Media Measurement: The Numbers Suck Because the Models & Metrics are Wrong,” Sean Carton notes that “Currently only 16 percent of CEOs participate in social media themselves.”

This is huge problem, because people tend to think that things they don’t like aren’t important. Carton also notes, “Most companies (2/3rds) didn’t have any clear way of measuring what they were doing social media-wise and most weren’t bothering to measure the performance of their activities against their social media objectives. Most weren’t even measuring revenue generated by social media efforts.”

With the amount of people on Facebook alone, it seems crazy not to add social media to your marketing plan, but there have to be some ways to measure.  However, with no types of measurement of success, all it takes in a non-believer boss to turn their back on social media, and you are missing the chance to reach millions of potential customers.

No measurement is perfect, but you must pick something! At least then you can set a benchmark.

Pick something

As I mentioned, there is no perfect metric in web and social media analytics, but you have to pick something – some way to show that your efforts are paying off.  A few suggestions:

– Sell the idea of affinity. Try to show the social reach of your posts, noting what works and what doesn’t. This can give your boss the idea of the power of social media.

As Carton says, “The reason that nobody clicks on Facebook ads is because they get in the way of why people are on Facebook: to talk to each other, not to find products and services. “Marketing” in social media has to be about facilitating conversations, not interrupting them. Measuring the impact of social media has to move beyond the idea that it’s going to drive clicks and move toward measuring influence, participation, engagement, and, yes, delight.”

Rather than looking at how many products you sold in a limited amount of time, look at how many people are talking about your posts? The average person on Facebook has 190 friends, so anyone who has interacted with your content has broadcast (hopefully) good vibes about your company to 190 people.

You can measure Facebook Insights right from your page, or you can use a tool like HootSuite some cost) or ThinkUp (free!) to measure it for you and put it into nice, pretty reports.

– If you have made your website a destination, perhaps by posting news articles or blog posts on a regular basis, you can use Google Analytics to track where your visitors are coming from. Share with your boss the amount of traffic coming from Facebook and Twitter posts.

Facebook = Free Focus Group

– Note the idea of free focus groups.  As I mentioned in this post, large companies like Frito-Lay are eschewing focus groups and taking R&D right to the people.  You have your audience right in front of you. Don’t be scared to interact. It’s called SOCIAL media. Be social.

As mentioned before, there are no silver bullets for social media measurement, but if you arm yourself with some type of facts and measurements, you will easily defeat the ego-driven, information-free powers that be.

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…

How to become a social media pop star


This is a must read Hollywood Reporter article about homegrown pop phenomenon Austin Mahone.

Mahone has transformed his bedroom into a bank vault, selling 10 minute Skype chats to tween girls at $50 bucks a pop. That’s in addition to his concerts and merchandise.

He did it without an agent or record label, and he has built his career on solid principles of social media success – ones that can be duplicated for any business, not just pop singing.

  • Go where your customers are! Mahone has 762,000 Twitter followers, 482,000 Facebook fans, 350,000 Instagram followers and 74 million views on YouTube. He is engaging fans on multiple platforms.
  • All of your web and social media efforts should support each other – none are a solo act. Mahone started out on a YouTube channel with 800 followers from a previous venture.  he notes, “I promoted myself on Twitter and Facebook as hard as possible, nonstop.”  This is a great example of engaging using your successful social platforms to boost your other vehicles.  This may be your website or, in Mahone’s case, your YouTube presence.
  •  Be social, stupid!  The article notes: “’People started realizing that if they commented on my videos, I’d reply to their comment, so I started getting a lot more views and comments.’ In two months, he was up to 20,000 subscribers.”  Social media is not a one-way broadcast channel. It’s a conversation between brands and fans.  They are agreeing to give you a piece of their valuable social time, so you need to acknowledge and reward that effort.
  • Content is king! Mahone posts relentlessly, ensuring that his momentum doesn’t slow down.  In the social network world, attention is currency. You have to be entertaining, relevant, and produce enough content to keep fans coming back.

I’ve never heard any on Mahone’s music, but I sure can appreciate his marketing smarts! There are a lot of college grads who could learn a  thing or two about social media marketing from this high schooler.

Until next time…

 

 

Instagram and your marketing – how top companies are doing it


I know I am a little late to the party, but I have just started getting into Instagram. For those of you who don’t know, Instagram is a mobile-only photo sharing site where your groups of friends can share photos that they take and then modify with the help of built-in filters and editing tools.

Instagram has been growing in popularity, and where people are paying attention, marketers are sure to follow.

I was searching for some good examples of Instagram-based marketing and found this article from HubSpot writer Allison Gale titled “The 10 Best Branded Companies on Instagram”.

Gale notes that marketers who succeed on Instagram have a clearly defined idea of their brand and audience, and that focus comes through in their photos. She notes:

The Boston Celtics organization sends out imitate and up-close photos of happenings during the season, including as games are happening. This photo was grabbed from the HubSpot article I cite in this post.

“When it comes to presenting your brand on social media, your reputation and brand image is only as strong and complete as your most recent update. If your content is off-brand, your image will come across as confused, incomplete, or just plain wrong. That’s not to say you should be dropping nothing but explicitly on-product tweets, but to say that your content, be it original or shared, should always carry within it some sort of a representation or affirmation of your brand’s identity in some way.”

Notables cited in the article include Starbucks – which goes for a very simple, coffee-centric vibe – and the Boston Celtics organization, which sends out imitate and up-close photos of happenings during the season, including as games are happening.

Check out the article and let me know some ways your company might make its mark on Instagram.  Also, please check out this report on Instagram Best Practices from Likable Social Media.

Until next time…

Make it easy to socialize your website


By now, we all know that social media is the place where most companies are now focusing their efforts.  That means that your website needs to be equipped for social sharing.  Attention is the currency of the internet, and you can’t get attention without word of mouth.

Image 1 – Puma’s social sharing

In image one, you can see how Puma all0ws you to socially share their products, encouraging you to post the image on Pinterest, to “Like” it and to Tweet about it.  This allows the customer to share things that they are passionate about.  Puma is not scared of you using their copyrighted images on Pinterest, they are encouraging it.  That’s because they will reach a much bigger audience through social sharing than they ever could through traditional advertising.  What’s more, the message is more trustworthy because it is coming from one of your Facebook or Pinterest friends.

While clothing is a great product for social sharing, this can be applied to many types of businesses. At your next brainstorming session, have a discussion about what items on your website would be good targets for social sharing.  I’d be interested to hear the results.

Another great item for social sharing is news.  If you put any type of news on your site – press releases, articles, blog posts, whatever – make sure it has social sharing functions attached.  Not only will this share your content, but it will also allow you to track the sharing via Google Analytics.  Keeping track of which items generate a lot of shares can give you a better idea of what appeals to your readers.  This is what you call Actionable Analytics.

Image 2 – This news article from Stanford University encourages social sharing.

In image two, you can see some social sharing links, which you should incorporate into any type of “news” that you put out.

(A side note: I’m of the opinion that you should put out news as much as possible.  Anything that happens at your company.  Cast a wide net, see what people like, and then start crafting your messages to meet the audience’s tastes.)

Showing the number of Tweets and Likes helps encourage sharing by showing the reader that others are doing it.  Adding your page to StumbleUpon will also help people find you (more on StumbleUpon in the future!).

What items on your website have you made sharable? What website items are you thinking about adding social sharing to?  Please let me know in the comments below!

Until next time…