Tag Archive: Social Media Marketing

  1. #Sponsored: Is Influencer Marketing Worth Your Brand’s Investment? 

    influencer marketing

    It’s hard to make a single scroll through Instagram without seeing #Sponsored, #Ad #Partner pop up on a post. Influencers are everywhere and MediaKix estimates that influencer marketing is currently a $500 million industry and expected to reach $5 billion by 2020.

    With more and more brands deciding to #collab with influencers, it may seem like working with influencers is a winning strategy. But be warned–influencer marketing isn’t right for every brand. Before deciding to invest in working with influencers, consider the following:

     

    • Are you willing to invest more than just money? In addition to monetary costs (which can be substantial), influencer marketing requires time. It takes time to research relevant influencers, determining key messages, reviewing content, campaign management and negotiating agreements and rates. Creating a successful partnership demands both your time and attention.
        
    • What does success look like to you? Just because you strike a partnership with someone who has millions of followers does not guarantee you millions of likes or millions in sales. When it comes to influencer marketing, you have to look at how metrics, such as likes and engagement rates, can translate into increased brand awareness or customer retention.
    • Does your company have a story to tell and not just a product to sell? The real value for influencer marketing comes from the emotional connection they’re able to create with their audience and your potential new customers. Your brand needs to be able to “connect the dots” when it comes to answering why your product or service is relevant to the influencer and their audience.

     

    Whether with money or time, influencer marketing is an investment. But with the right strategy, the value in influencer marketing can extend way beyond a double-tap or click of the “Like” button. 

    If you think influencer marketing is right for your brand, get more from your company’s investment with these tips:

     

    Leverage Locals

    Influencer marketing does not mean celebrity endorsements. Most brands can’t afford the half-a-million-dollar price tag of a post from Selena Gomez, plus research suggests it may not be worth that payout.

    According to a study by Mobile Marketer, engagement rates for micro-influencers are much higher than their mega-influencer counterparts. Micro-influencers, influencers with fewer than 100,000 followers, are likely to have more engagement while also being far more budget-friendly. 

    Look into partnering with these more local influencers who directly reach your target audience. After all, it’s these people who already organically interact with your brand and are viewed as a trusted source by their community. 

     

    Set Your Own Metrics

    There is no one-size-fits-all approach to influencer marketing, so the results of an influencer partnership will look different for every company. Determine ahead of time what your business’ goals are and what metrics matter to your business to align your campaign goals accordingly. A brand awareness campaign should result in more impressions and traffic while a sales-focused campaign should track conversions from affiliate links or unique promo codes.

     

    Develop a Partnership

    Any investment in influencer marketing should be a mutually beneficial relationship. While your business should have key deliverables, you should also be open to feedback and suggestions from your influencer partners. If all goes well, be sure to follow up with a thank you note and keep in touch. The influencer may just continue to promote your business informally and you’ll have an established contact for any future marketing push.  

     

    Respect Their Voice

    Influencers have a defined voice and brand of their own–that’s part of the reason they are able to influence their audience’s decisions. Your brand should be willing to let them create content that speaks to their audience. 

    Sam Carrell, the owner of pet-influencer Tinkerbelle The Dog often creates posts of the papitese traveling, eating and exploring popular places but from the dog’s perspective. This provides powerful exposure to smaller-to-medium-sized businesses that she visits. Beyond these smaller businesses, Tinkerbelle has even partnered with major brands, including Sprint. By allowing Sam to stay true to Tinkebelle’s brand, Tinkerbelle’s followers actively engage with the content and many of her hosted trips and event appearances are later picked up national media outlets. 

    While letting influencers take the lead on content can have winning results, the most successful influencer marketing push happens when you work with an influencer who is also directly aligned with the values and voice of your company.

     

    Amplify the Content

    Influencers want brand exposure for themselves, too. Consider sharing their content, tagging them in posts and engaging with them directly in their comments sections. Getting their content noticed by as many eyes as possible is a win-win.

     

    Ultimately, there’s a lot more to investing in influencers than what you see on your feed. It’s not a tactic you can simply throw money at and expect results. It is a tool that demands extensive strategy, goal setting and relationship building, but if done right, can yield big results. Just remember, with the right approach to influencer marketing you can earn the attention and trust of new customers.

  2. Tools of the Tweet: How to Use Twitter for Marketing

    Twitter Tools of the Tweet

    Not all social platforms were created equal. And they definitely don’t play by the same rules. Case in point: Twitter. It’s a fast-moving world of articles, breaking news and memes—all wrapped up in a 280-character limit. But is this a world your brand needs to live in?

    Just because a social platform exists doesn’t necessarily mean you need to participate in it. In fact, it could actually hurt your brand image if you’re not using the platform correctly (and the last thing you want to do is be seen as a social media dinosaur). With Twitter, in particular, you get what you put in. And that means doing much more than sending out one-way messages. 

    So, ask yourself these questions before getting started.

    Should Your Brand Start Tweeting?

    1. Is anyone listening? First things first, determine if your audience is already using Twitter. You want to be where your potential and existing customers are. So, if they’re not on Twitter, your message could fall on deaf ears.
    2. Did you say something? Your message needs to be concise and engaging. Again, Twitter is not the place for one-way messages. The ideal Tweet will start a conversation and spark audience involvement.
    3. Do you have the time? To be successful on Twitter, you’ll need to dedicate some serious time and effort to the platform. With an average lifespan of 15 to 20 minutes, Tweets die faster than your old iPhone’s battery. So, you’ll need to post several times per day in order to be seen.

    If you’ve determined that your brand belongs in the Twitter-verse, that’s great! Now, how are you going to use it to your advantage? Twitter appeals to a unique audience and comes with a specific set of strengths. Here are a few ways to leverage the platform to fit your specific goals.

    5 Ways to Use Twitter for Marketing

    1. Establish your brand voice. Because Twitter users actually want to hear what you have to say (seriously, they’re all ears), it’s a perfect opportunity to establish your brand’s voice. An otherwise “boring” brand has the potential to be more interesting. Take Wendy’s, for example. An audience of over 3 million users follows the fast-food company for its snarky jokes and good-natured roasts—and its stores have seen tangible growth because of that.
    2. Offer customer support. If you sell a good or service, customers could turn to Twitter to ask questions, report concerns or give feedback. By monitoring brand or product mentions, you can see what they’re saying in real time. Capitalize on these Tweets as opportunities to build relationships and show your customers that you care about them. 
    3. Change the narrative. Unfortunately, you might see your fair share of criticism and complaints. But that doesn’t mean you should sit idly by and ignore them. Using Twitter to change the narrative, whether that’s with a “clap back” or an apology, can go a long way.
    4. Start a conversation. Hosting (or joining) a Twitter Chat can help your brand get noticed. It’s an opportunity to show your expertise and thought leadership on a particular topic, and can even help grow your following.
    5. Have some fun. It doesn’t have to be all about business! Merriam-Webster (yes, even the dictionary is on Twitter) uses GIFs, shares quizzes and makes jokes to make learning about words more engaging. Being authentic and humanizing your brand are great ways to connect to your audience.

    Twitter isn’t for everyone, but it can definitely give a competitive advantage to those who know how (and if) to use it. It’s a place where companies can build relationships, establish brand loyalty, start conversations and show some personality, making it a powerful tool to have in your arsenal. That is, if you decide it’s the right tool for your “trade.”

  3. Five Social Media Questions to Ask Yourself Before Pressing “Post”

    Are you ready to hit the ground running with your brand’s social media? Sounds like a breeze, right? You could post everything from an artsy pic of your latte to that cute thing your dog did this morning. Just take a picture, throw on a filter, andfreeze!

    Step away from the “share” button and put your strategy where we can see it.

    Social media is an extension of all your marketing efforts. It may seem simple, but don’t underestimate it. Like on a website or in a brochure, the things you say matterand require just as much strategy. Here are a few questions to ask yourself the next time you go to post.

     

    Five Strategic Social Media Questions to Ask Yourself

     

    1. What am I really trying to say? Your audience will notice (in a bad way) if you’re posting just for the sake of posting. So, take a step back and determine what you’re really trying to say. Are you making a point about your brand? Trying to get your followers to take action? If you can’t come up with an answer, it’s probably time to rethink your post.
    2. Do I really need to say it? If you’re oversharing or overposting, your follower count will take a hit. Being “annoying” or “spammy” are among the top brand behaviors that drive away followers.
    3. Is this consistent with my brand identity? Everything you post, from the image to the caption to your response to a comment, should be consistent with your established brand identity. If not, you run the risk of confusing your audience and diluting your message. Is your brand serious or goofy? Will your followers understand if your caption has technical jargon or youthful slang? Does it make sense for you to use that picture? Maintaining a clear, authentic brand will make your content more memorable and give your followers a better experience.
    4. Do my followers care? Just because you find something interesting doesn’t necessarily mean your audience will think the same. In fact, 41% of consumers have unfollowed brands for not sharing information that matters to them. Before posting, think about who your audience is and why they’re following you. Then, ask yourself if this content falls in line with that. Will the post give them new or interesting information? Will it entice them to take some sort of action? Will they like or share it? Remember, you’re posting for them.
    5. Is this the appropriate platform? Knowing where to say something is just as important as knowing how to say it. To effectively communicate your message, make sure you’re leveraging each social platform appropriately. For example, quick and timely updatesespecially if you’re posting several of thembelong on Twitter. Longer text posts, however, fare better on Facebook or LinkedIn. And Instagram is great for highly visual posts, but not so much for posts that include links to blogs or articles. Figure out how to tailor your post to best fit the platform, and don’t be afraid to skip one if it doesn’t fit.

    When used correctly, social media is an invaluable tool for increasing brand awareness, engaging with your customers, building brand loyalty and more. So, it’s important to invest the time into creating a social media strategy. And if you find yourself walking the line between “post” and “erase,” remember these questions. It’s all about being intentional about your content, staying true to your brand, and giving your customers a reason to follow you.

  4. Facebook Ads: The Truth Behind the (Nearly) Mind-Reading, Audience-Targeting Tool

    Facebook Ads

    A couple of months ago, a few members of our client services team here at Findsome & Winmore attended a social media summit with one of our clients. We were so fortunate to have attended and were able to hear from many renowned speakers in the social media world – one of them being Facebook. Though we had many interactive sessions, one that we found particularly helpful was the Facebook Ads Best Practices session. With over 2 billion new Facebook users each month, and 1 billion of those users part of Facebook’s Audience Network, the platform has become one of the most effective ways to advertise your business online. Advertising with Facebook has an unparalleled ability to target audiences based on interests, age, behavior and location. For small and large businesses, Facebook ads can be a game-changer.

    Figuring Out Facebook Ads

    If you have ever been in your ads manager and quickly become confused or intimidated, you are not alone! Ad Manager is an incredible but complex tool that allows you to set up, manage and report on your Facebook Ads campaigns. First and foremost, it is important to understand that there is a hierarchy for each campaign – campaign, ad set and ad. There are multiple levels, grouped in this same hierarchy that advertisers have full control over to impact overall performance. Setting up your campaign is the first step to the ads creation flow and where you tell Facebook your ultimate business goal. There are a number of options such as traffic, engagement, video views, lead generation, etc. Selecting the correct objective for your business is vital, as the delivery options available to you will be customized to this objective. As an example, the most common business objectives are conversions, lead ads and traffic. Common objectives for branding are brand awareness, reach and video views. The next step in the ad’s creation is targeting. This is at the “ad set” level and where you tell Facebook who you want to reach with your campaign. There are three different categories of targeting on Facebook: core audiences, custom audiences and lookalike audiences.

    • Core audiences are segments available to every advertiser on Facebook and are built off first-party data that users provide, including location, demographic, interests, behaviors.
    • Custom audiences are built off your own first-party data (email subscribers, current client information, website visitors, visitors that have engaged with your content across social platforms).
    • Lookalike audiences are, well, lookalikes! This is a targeting strategy that allows you to find those who look and act most like those in your most valuable audiences. Facebook’s algorithm is so advanced that it can take your core audience and find individuals to target that may not have come to your site, but based on their behaviors, would likely visit if they saw an ad.

    The next steps involve budget and the allocation of that budget. A unique feature that Facebook offers is the “Campaign Budget Optimization.” Essentially, Facebook allows you to assign a campaign budget and gives the algorithm the flexibility to optimize delivery towards the best performing ad set. Pretty powerful stuff. The last and final step of this process is creative. There are a number of best practices that should be considered when determining the overall strategy for your campaign.

    • Campaigns using static images plus light motion video achieved 17% higher conversion lift vs. static images alone. That is supported by Cisco’s prediction (Source: Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2016–2021 White Paper, March 2017) that 78% of all mobile data traffic will be video in 2021. Video is a huge consumer trend and we will continue to see an increase in video consumption over time.
    • It’s important to have a clear message and focus. Engaging, concise copy can capture your audience’s attention more quickly, so stay away from too much text.
    • How an ad looks on mobile is one of the most important aspects to consider when designing creative. The ads should introduce the brand quickly, be shorter in duration and designed to work without sound.
    • Use a combination of text and images to help deliver the message as effectively as possible.

    Next time you are served an ad, realize that it’s not magic, digital voodoo or a team of tech-savvy elves working around the clock at Facebook HQ. No, it is an incredibly robust marketing tool that is well worth the time of marketers and social media mavens. By allowing brands to highly target their ads and set specific goals, most any company on the platform now has the power to reap real benefits from this social media giant.

  5. Facebook Best Practices for Businesses

    Marketing on Facebook continues to evolve before our eyes. With the most recent and seemingly ongoing algorithm changes, agencies and marketers are being forced to roll with the proverbial punches as they navigate the uncertain waters of drafting paid and organic content strategy plans and tactics for each new quarter. Businesses are constantly being challenged to increase followers, foster engagement, (ultimately) generate leads, and stay competitive and relevant amongst the changes that Facebook continues to throw our way. All this in an attempt to justify ROI and ensure that the platform is benefiting the business.

    So, what does it take to succeed on Facebook and see results from tireless efforts and the countless (billable) hours of content development and paid ad spends? Starting with a solid foundation and getting back to basics can help answer this question. Throughout the year we’ll be identifying best practices on each platform to assist in your marketing approach to help put (or keep) your strategy on the right track.

    But first, let’s dive into the top five practices your business needs to master in order to get the most out of Facebook marketing.

    Facebook Best Practices

    • Know Your Target Audience: Utilize Facebook insights or a third-party social media management app to get to know your audience demographic inside and out. Doing so will help you focus on developing content and advertising for those who are most likely to engage with and benefit from your brand.
    • Keep It Short and Sweet: Keeping your audience’s attention is critical. When developing content for Facebook, you want to keep in mind that your sole purpose is to educate, inform and entertain your audience about your brand with the objective of increased brand engagement or conversions. While the Facebook character limit caps out at 500, sources suggest maintaining characters at 100 or less. Let the visuals do the talking through dynamic images and videos. Also, remember to keep the hashtags at bay.
    • Be Engaging: This holds true for both the type of content that you post and when responding to your customers. Asking open-ended questions, posting interesting and fun live videos related to trending topics–these are the cornerstones of content tactics on the platform as they exist today. Being social on social media and communicating with your audience is what develops trust and loyalty, inviting referrals and new customers to buy into who you are as a brand and what you can do for them.
    • Get Out of Your Comfort Zone: Taking chances on social is an approach countless brands are making to differentiate themselves from the competition and garner interest and intrigue. Utilizing the tools that boost organic engagement (Facebook Live, anyone?) will put your brand and spokespeople on center stage to reach your audience in the moment with live chats and behind-the-scenes moments exclusive to your brand. Giving users a sneak peek into what you’re all about humanzies their experience and interaction with your brand.
    • Pay to Play: Even with the recent changes to the algorithm, paid advertising on Facebook continues to be one of, if not the most, beneficial and measurable forms of digital advertising. With over two billion users, the opportunity to develop brand loyalty and awareness and eventually acquire new customers and conversions is staggering.

    Knowing your audience, keeping your messaging concise, engaging your fans, experimenting with live streaming, and dabbling in the Facebook Ads platform are all perfect ways to leverage the power of this social media behemoth. Even through the recent controversies over suspicious data collection practices, Facebook will continue to be a valuable resource well worth leveraging for years to come. With these best practices in mind, your business can craft content that breaks through the marketing filter and reaches fans on a more personal level than ever before.

  6. 3 Tips to Help Your Business Handle the Facebook Algorithm Update

    Facebook algorithm

    Ah, social media. Like death and taxes, social media’s constantly changing nature is perhaps the only other absolute in this life. Though unsurprising, the new Facebook algorithm update is absolutely worth digging into, especially if you promote your brand on the social platform.

    To help guide the way through this substantial update to the top-secret Facebook algorithm, I’ve enlisted two of our digital marketing maestros to help wrap our heads around what this change means for how we market and interact on the platform. Did Zucks (yeah, we’re close like that) and co. hit a home run or strike out? Along with Heather and Robyn, I’ve set out to see if it’s a change worth “liking.”

    Three Ways Your Business Should Embrace the Facebook Algorithm Change

    Quality (Content) Over Quantity

    Anthony Charmforoush, Digital Marketing Manager

    The newsfeed algorithm change comes down to something we have always preached: quality over quantity. Facebook has started prioritizing content that creates “meaningful interactions” between its users. So what does this mean? Long gone are the days of posting in order to fill a feed, and say goodbye to those vanity-likes. Welcome to the age of meaningful engagement.

    If you want to get noticed you’ll have to devote time to creating content that is highly shareable and starts conversations with your audience. Focus on content that is actionable but be careful not be perceived as comment or share baiting. You will want to double down on your audience insights to ensure that your content subject matter resonates with and is relevant to your readers. When crafting content, it is no longer about whether or not a page fan is likely to “like” it but rather, are they likely to comment on it or share it with a friend.

    Facebook has stated that live content is one of the main drivers of engagement on the newsfeed. With this algorithm update, that is even truer. If you’re a brand that can leverage live events then you’re already a step ahead of the rest. If not, you might need to become more creative. Things like hosting a weekly live blog or influencer takeover are just some of the ways that brands like Adobe have taken advantage of the Facebook Live feature.

    With this emphasis on user-to-user interaction, now more than ever, you are driving your own reach on Facebook. This will initially reduce the amount of your brand’s content that is consumed directly on the newsfeed. However, by focusing on creating content that gets your audience talking, you can ensure that your brand is better positioned to overcome the latest Facebook hurdle.

    Influencing the Algorithm in Your Favor

    Heather Britt, Digital Marketing Manager

    As defined by Sprout Social, influencers are “power users who can help your potential customers make a buying decision through social networking”. Influencers can come in a variety of formats, from celebrities to experts to hyperlocal bloggers. Regardless of why, influencers have a wide reach to an audience who is important to you and your brand.

    Traditionally, we know influencers to be pivotal in marketing on Instagram, Snapchat and maybe even through their own blog. However, the Facebook algorithm change has created a new need for influencers on Facebook. Facebook users with a large number of friends or followers can help garner attention for your brand now that brand posts are essentially receiving less exposure in overall Facebook newsfeed reach.

    Here are a few reasons why an influencer’s post could see more reach than a post from a brand page:

    • Real people’s posts are automatically going to reach a higher percentage of their followers than a brand page’s post would.
    • More people trust the opinion of a person, even if it’s a brand evangelist, rather than a branded account.
    • Oftentimes, posts by real people and celebrities create genuine interactions–comments and conversations, likes, and shares. These types of interactions are what Facebook is currently optimizing towards, which will dramatically increase reach.

    If an influencer campaign seems like a lot to take on as a smaller brand, that’s because it is. Finding the appropriate influencers for your target audience is no small task. An easier method for a brand looking to dip its toe into the influencer strategy pool, is to start with a brand evangelist program. Brand evangelism can be as simple as setting up an in-store selfie station (see Riley Rose) or creating a hashtag for your customers to share their experience with. Even brand evangelism will help defeat the Facebook algorithm change blues. While unpaid consumers may not link directly to your brand, you can be assured that there will be additional brand impressions outside of your page.

    Double Down on Ads

    Robyn Guokas, Digital Marketing Manager

    The jury is still out on the effect that the Facebook algorithm change will have on social advertising in the near future, but with brands fresh into 2018, the main questions are: “How will this change affect my business and bottom-line?” and “How can we ensure that our fans and followers still see our content?”

    There is no doubt that Facebook’s main wealth generator will continue to plug along unscathed and could (now) be more important than ever. We are well aware that Facebook has pushed down organic reach to almost zero, and is funneling brands into pay-to-play x 1,000 to achieve meaningful growth and (hopefully) engagement. If you wish to continue to achieve on Facebook, it would be wise to master the art of ads to reach and engage with your community and new audiences–testing, optimizing, and investing in what you know works. With demand high and inventory low, the right fit could take a few tries to get on track.

    Along with website click and conversions, brands would be wise to adapt “brand awareness” as a new and vital addition to their social media marketing vernacular. Diversifying your ad spend and traffic sources to locate your audience through different avenues won’t hurt either.  

     

    What does the new Facebook algorithm change mean for your business? According to the educated opinions of my colleagues and myself, quite a lot. Whether pivoting to social media influencers, putting a new emphasis on quality content or renewing your efforts in Facebook ads, actions must be taken in order to keep your brand up to speed on this rapidly updating platform. Though change is inevitable, the most important thing you can learn from this blog is that you don’t have to fear the change–that is, as long as you’re willing to be flexible with your social media strategy.

  7. Findsome & Winmore Announces Plans to Occupy and Remodel 8,000 Square-Foot Building in Winter Park

    Orlando digital marketing firm enlists help of local clients to relocate headquarters ahead of anticipated agency growth

     

    Findsome & Winmore, the classic digital marketing agency that helps clients find and win new customers, announces today plans to relocate its headquarters to an 8,000 square-foot, full building located at 1550 South Lakemont Avenue in Winter Park. This announcement comes as the company prepares for continued strategic growth in 2018 and beyond.

    In searching for and finalizing the purchase of its new space, Findsome & Winmore enlisted the help of clients Foundry Commercial, Fountainhead Commercial Capital, and Sloane & Johnson. Additionally, Baker Barrios Architects, another Findsome & Winmore client, will oversee the remodeling of the building.

    “We have always considered ourselves to be an extension of our clients’ teams, so involving them in the process of finding our new home was very special for us, ” said Matt Certo, CEO and principal at Findsome & Winmore. “With their assistance, we have found a space that will not only allow us to grow our agency significantly over the next 18 months, but will also provide our team members with a creative, interactive environment they can thrive in. We thank Foundry Commercial, Fountainhead Commercial Capital and Baker Barrios Architects for their continued, invaluable insight as we embark on this journey.”

    Findsome & Winmore’s decision to relocate its headquarters comes just two years after the company expanded its current office space, increasing office capacity from approximately 15 people to 25 people. Now, the company is moving to a building that will sustain its steady growth trajectory while permitting extra room for a kitchen, coffee bar, multiple meeting spaces and more.

    In 2017 alone, Findsome & Winmore’s growth involved the onboarding of multiple new clients, including Virgin Produced, Tijuana Flats, Children’s Home Society, onePULSE Foundation, Park Square Homes, and more.

    Following a five-month construction period, the Findsome & Winmore team will relocate to its new office in May 2018.

  8. The Roll Out of Twitter’s Increased Character Limit

     

    Soon, we could all be saying goodbye to the days of reading and re-reading our would-be tweet to find out what words are actually necessary to convey our important thought. In a surprise update, Twitter has announced it will begin to roll out a 280 character limit to some users, doubling the original 140 character limit.

    The micro-blogging platform provided some pretty sound reasoning for the update, namely, equality across languages. Users who tweet in Japanese, Korean and Chinese are able to convey more information using fewer characters. In other words, they can say twice as much while using half the characters as users who tweet in most other languages. According to Twitter, Japanese users hit the character limit only about .4% of the time while 9% of tweets in English use all 140 characters.

    How does this change the way we use the platform?

    Twitter will always be about brevity, but the 140-character limit was conceived at a time when flip phones and SMS messaging reigned. As society has moved on to smartphones and data plans, the platform has been hesitant to adapt, slowing user growth, and scaring away some investors.

    This shift to an increased character limit will hopefully invigorate user growth on the platform, leading to more meaningful and engaging conversations between users.

    The formula is simple:

    This increase is especially helpful for brands that routinely feel the pain of links depleting their already scarce character count within tweets. While links will still count toward the character limit, an increase from 140 to 280 characters leaves more room for brands to tweet without skimping on their message or leaving out an important link.

    So this sample tweet about our client:

    We are loving all of our new apparel options. Are you? Shop the collection and show the world that #WeWillNotLetHateWin http://bit.ly/2r9qft0

    No longer has to be this:

    We are ❤️ all of our new ?? options. Are you? Shop the collection & show the ?  that #WeWillNotLetHateWin http://bit.ly/2r9qft0

    Social media is a constantly updating medium, so, only time will tell if this change becomes the official standard, and for how long. For my money, the promise of major benefits and ease of use for countless users around the world just might make Twitter’s increased character limit a big winner by allowing people and brands more “real estate” to get their messages across. In the meantime, we’ll be keeping a close eye on whether this change is worth a “like.”

  9. How to Go Viral: The Science and Social Media Behind Creating Online Epidemics

    How to Go Viral

     

    It hits you when you least expect it. There you were, picking up your annual report from the printer when you notice a few of your coworkers crowded around Bob-from-accounting’s smartphone. Intrigued, you peer over their shoulders.

    “What are you all watching?”

    “Wait, you haven’t seen this yet?”, a coworker jeeringly asks, “It’s SodaStream’s new ad campaign with Paris Hilton.”

    Oh yes, you had seen it. How could you not? In a matter of days, every one of your social feeds was inundated that ridiculous video, featuring a reality star trying to vaguely sell you that odd contraption you pass by at the superstore. Despite the video’s vague, soft sell of the actual product, it worked–they gained your curiosity and your attention.

    The video in question is quite perplexing. One drop of a miracle liquid is said to have the hydrating effect of one full glass of water, putting an end to the disastrous environmental effects of plastic bottles. The claim is preposterous, but you are thirsty for more information and follow the link to purchase a SodaStream, the in-home soda and sparkling water maker.

    The question is, how did a campaign that was intentionally misleading and only tangentially related to the actual product become so pervasive on social media? Why do some campaigns go viral and others never seem to reach the ever-important untapped target audience? There really is no one-size-fits-all solution that will tell you how to go viral. However, successful viral marketing campaigns have a few commonalities that can be replicated and turn ripples into waves. Viral marketing campaigns act very similarly to their etymological counterparts, viruses.

    • Attachment: Viruses are useless without their host and must identify, then attach themselves to a living cell in order to reproduce. If you want your social media campaign to spread, you must identify, and “attach,” to the target audience who is most likely to engage and spread your message.  

      In the case of Soda Stream’s campaign, their target audience was the environmentally conscious and social-media-obsessed millennial. SodaStream not only ensured that the subject matter, messaging, and aesthetics of their campaign appealed to their target audience but also understood the economics of that audience. SodaStream understood that a larger portion of the millennial audience is beginning to acquire more disposable income to spend on products they want, instead of just need. To put it bluntly, SodaStream’s Nano Drop is essentially how to go viral 101.
    • Entry (Into the Market): In order to spread, viruses must enter an unsuspecting host cell by penetrating the protective membrane and then releasing the nucleic acid that will facilitate further growth and development.

      In order for a social campaign to penetrate the market and begin proliferating the brand’s message, one must take the information gathered in the stage above and ensure that it is released at the most optimal time. Start too soon and the message will fizzle, too late and you’re simply riding in the wake of someone else’s success.

      Timing is vital. If you want your campaign to go viral, you have to be willing and able to follow and seize the opportunity that comes with popular trends at a moment’s notice. SodaStream understood that millennials LOVE their reality stars, past and present. SodaStream also understood that millennials value brands that are environmentally conscious. By taking a non-essential product, packaging it with a socially conscious mission, and using a pop culture icon to spread the word in a tongue in cheek way, SodaStream capitalized on phenomena particular to the times we are living in.
    • Replication and Assembly: Once a virus penetrates the host cell it must replicate to ensure it spreads. In order for social media content to go viral, just like the virus, it must be replicable. In other words, it must not only attract the attention of the audience but also be engaging enough for it to be shareable.

      All viral content on social media has one thing in common: It’s enjoyable enough that users want to share it with the rest of their peers. This piece is vital. Unlike most traditional marketing tactics, the success of viral content is not rigidly tied to the amount of money behind the campaign but rather the intrinsic likability of the subject matter. It’s not about how much money you spend, it’s about creating the right content that moved the company’s target audience to like and share the content for FREE.

    The bottom line is, the question should NOT be how to go viral, but how to produce beneficial and relevant content that appeals to your target audience.  If you do it right, the audience will do the work for you!

  10. It All “Ads” Up: How Do I Use Facebook Ads?

    Facebook ads

    More than just a place to keep in touch with old college roommates and Aunt Joanie (you really should call more, you know), Facebook has become quite the marketing tool for companies around the world. Offering a free marketing channel allowing potential customers the chance at product discovery and fans the ability to interact and share their love for the company and product.

    As a user of the social media channel in your personal life, you may be familiar with likes, shares, comments and other basics of the platform. However, many marketers and business owners don’t know where to begin when it comes to utilizing Facebook ads for their business. Luckily, the process is simple as long as you can define a few simple questions.

    Using our client, Old Town, as an example, we can explore our process and strategy of successfully crafting Facebook ads that work.

    Facebook ads

    • What is Your Objective? This goes beyond making money – you must think a bit deeper in order to make the greatest impact. Was the ad created to get more eyes on your brand? Perhaps you want to increase clicks to your newly rebranded website, or maybe directly improve online retail? Regardless of the answer, your ad starts here. 

      For Old Town, a Central Florida amusement, shopping and dining hot spot, our objective was simple: attract more visitors to the attraction, specifically for the “BBQ Throwdown” event.
    • Who is the Audience? Facebook ads are wonderful at targeting audiences with pinpoint accuracy. Age, workplace, job title, education gender, location, device used, purchase behaviors and personal interests are all factors you can use to define who, exactly, you want to see your ad. Furthermore, though this post is specifically focused on Facebook, Instagram is also under the social media giant’s umbrella, allowing you to share ads on that image-based platform as well. 

      Understanding that Old Town’s audience is largely baby boomers and those who enjoy traditional American fare, we were easily able to target these folks for a free, BBQ-filled event.
    • What is Your Budget? Facebook ads are just as substantial as traditional ads and you must treat them as such. They require just as much well-considered strategy when it comes to budgeting, as well as a real budget to boot. Though Facebook’s internal “bidding process” can seem substantially complicated, the process of budgeting for your ad is made easy, allowing for some flexibility based on daily or lifetime run times (budgeting for single 24-hour periods or as one lump of overall time). Keep in mind, a bigger budget does not guarantee a higher success rate. Throwing big bucks behind an ad that’s simply not engaging to your audience is a waste of money.

      The money that was dedicated to our Old Town ad was distributed evenly across four weeks, each week utilizing the similar text but a different image to attract fresh eyes.
    • What’s Your Format? Facebook ads allow you to choose from a number of different styles, including Photo (utilizing a single image), Carousel (multiple images or videos), Video (a single video), Slideshow (multiple photos for lower connection speeds), and Canvas (a mobile-friendly ad experience) ads. One thing to consider, however, is the growing prominence of videos and gifs as a way to catch an audience’s eye. Carousel is also often utilized, giving companies multiple visuals to share at once and adding a bit of interactive “clickability” to the ads.

      In this specific example for the Old Town event, we used a visual that we knew our audience would eat up (pun intended): a photo of sausages sizzling on a grill. This photo does the job of evoking the summer season and whetting the appetites of their audience for the BBQ event.

    Facebook ads

    Because we took on the task of crafting our Old Town Facebook ad with a clear objective in mind, targeted audience locked in, adequate budget secured and effective format chosen, we saw the ad’s relevancy score (which combines impressions, results, reach, feedback and more) climb into a range we were proud to share with the client.

    With the above four questions carefully answered, you too can design and employ Facebook ads to reach new audiences, drive online sales or simply get your message out there. If you want to dive deeper into learning the basics of Facebook ads, we recommend hearing it from the horse’s mouth. Facebook has some fantastic tutorials and support resources, making the social media marketing platform quite easy to “like.”