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.

Advertisements

The Myth of SEO


The myth of search engine optimization

Slay the mythical beast known as SEO.

I’ve been to many meetings and job interviews where I am asked “What do you know about SEO? We want to make our page more search-optimized.”

This is the first sign you are dealing with someone who doesn’t know what they are talking about. There is a common misconception that SEO is some mystic practice where the right combination of keywords will put you on the front page of a Google search, and many web marketing groups would be more than happy to perpetuate this myth.

The truth is that Google’s ranking formulas are always changing.  The way to boost your pages searches is to create content that people like. That means you may need to actually transform your website from a corporate-mission-statement billboard into a place where people come to for valuable information and come back on a regular basis.

Keep your content fresh! Stale page = stale search results.

Keep it fresh

Give me a reason to come back to your site.  Find some way to update content frequently, at least in some part of the site.  That could be through a blog, a newsroom, photo galleries, videos or something great that I haven’t even thought of! Stale site = stale search results.

Give it away now

This requires you to give something away.  I don’t mean promotional t-shirts.  I mean information.

If you run a tax service, offer a weekly tip on financial fitness or deductions people might not know about. If you make carburetors, host a car-talk blog on your site.

Turn your site into a place where people know they will find new and engaging content on every visit.  Also, don’t be afraid of giving away your valuable information for free.  When you see restaurants giving out free samples, there’s a reason.  They know you’ll like it and you’ll come back when you’re hungry. If I read your baking tips every week, guess where I will come when I need a wedding cake? That’s called building affinity.

listen to your customers

Are you listening to your customers?

Listen to your customers

Instead of brainstorming terms you think are most important to your business, use Google Analytics look at the monthly keywords that are bringing people to your site. These are the keywords that are important to your customers, and they may not be what you think they are. Your customers are telling you what they want – are you listening?

Make it sociable and sharable

Okay, now that you have started creating great content on a regular basis, make sure people can share it.  Add social sharing options to all of your content and maybe even allowing comments on your blog posts or videos.

Consider creating interactive forums where customers can share tips and even troubleshoot product problems (saving you some customer service headaches). Your experts can participate in the forums too – a great way to monitor what people are saying about your company/products and to see any possible PR crises before they hit.

Also, use a strong social media presence, email marketing and a solid website to support each other.  You can read more about this concept here.

Say ‘so long’ to SEO

Now I want you to put your hand over your heart and swear that you won’t ask anyone about how to improve SEO again.  The truth is that SEO is a byproduct of having a site that provides information that is helpful – a site that people like, visit frequently, and share with their friends. You won’t get good search results just by being there – you have to be worth finding.

Until next time…

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…

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…