Tag Archive: Social Media Marketing

  1. A Common Social Media Mistake: Putting Interns in Charge

    Millennials on Phone

    We’ve said it before, and again and again, but I’ll say it one more time to get the point across:

    Social media isn’t going anywhere.

    It may have started out as a way to share cat videos and keep up to date on your kids’ whereabouts (and for many, it still has this purpose), but it has since evolved into a place where companies and brands can reach new customers where they spend their free time. If you’ve heard this plea and decided to create a social media presence for your brand, good for you! I’m proud. But if you’ve assigned this task to your interns (or someone in a department completely unrelated to marketing and/or social media), you’ve made a serious social media mistake. Take a step back and examine these numbers:

    Your social media presence affects your customers; it’s up to you whether that’s in a positive or negative way. Don’t put this task on the shoulders of your interns. Why? Let’s explore.

    Your Brand is Forever. Your Interns Aren’t.

    Your brand is your company. Your social media presence is the personification of your brand online. It should reflect your company’s values, personality, goals, hopes, dreams and fears while translating this message to your customers and fans.

    Your interns are designed to be short-term — that’s why they’re interns. An internship should be a learning experience; do you really want your social media manager to be “just figuring it out along the way?”

    1. Every 4-5 months, when your interns leave, you will be responsible for training the next batch on your social media etiquette.
    2. Interns do not (and should not be expected to) live and breathe your brand.
    3. You will be changing passwords more than getting actual work done, or worse, leaving that task up to the intern, who will inevitably misplace or misfile them.

    The Power of Flexibility Comes with Experience

    It is 100% essential to have a content calendar that guides your social media posts throughout all channels. Without this, no one will know what’s going on and you’ll probably end up posting some pretty weird stuff. But the content calendar should not be the end-all, be-all.

    Interns are generally not comfortable thinking too outside the box. They are in an unfamiliar environment for a short amount of time, most likely still in school where requirements are rigid, and again, they are not as familiar with your brand as your social media manager should be. Interns will stick to the script; they don’t have the power to make flexible decisions when it comes to your social media strategy. Social media requires creativity, strategy, and sometimes, a good amount of risk. Your interns simply aren’t there yet.

    To Be or Not To Be…On 5,000 Social Media Sites

    At the risk of sounding like a broken record, your interns do not understand your brand well enough to decide which social media platforms to take part in. An excited intern tasked with starting up a company’s social media presence may be tempted to create an account on every single social media site known to man. Intern Sally may get a kick out Snapchat, but your investment banking company literally has no business there.

    There’s a Lot of Messy Upkeep

    Snapchat for Business

    Photo by: https://www.flickr.com/photos/67683836@N02/ https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

    If you do make the wise choice to stop assigning social media duties to your intern and hire an agency or manager instead, there is a very high possibility that you will experience the following:

    1. The entire state of Florida will have the highest level of administrative access to your Facebook page.
    2. Your company will have approximately 13 random Google+ pages for your 1 location.
    3. Some of those Google+ pages may actually be personal Google+ profiles and not business pages. That’s not what we meant when we told you to give your company a personality.
    4. Your company will also have four Twitter accounts, nine Facebook personal pages, Facebook business profiles, and Facebook location pages**, and a myriad of other accounts set up on various review sites and blogging platforms that no one has used in the past 10 years.
    5. No one will know the passwords to the above.

    I could go on.

    **Yes, all 3 are things.

    Dealing With the Unexpected

    Customers Complain on Social Media

    “The Brighthouse guy missed my appointment again.”

    Unexpected Scenario #1: Your intern does not have the experience to deal with the hoards of angry humans that turn to social media to complain, ask weird questions, or just cause drama. This is also a lot of pressure for your intern who may ignore these angry/annoyed customers, or respond incorrectly and cause larger problems.

    Unexpected Scenario #2: It’s extremely easy to slip up and offend someone or make your company look silly, uneducated, or naive. I’m not saying that your intern will tweet a myriad of profanities from your company account; sometimes all it takes is an unfortunate spelling error, attaching the wrong photo to a tweet, or simply using the wrong choice of words.

    Unexpected Scenario #3: It’s simpler than you think to post something to a company account that you meant to post to your personal account. And while that photo of Jessica doing a keg stand at the Saturday rager is sure to go viral amongst your intern’s friend group, it may have a slightly different effect on your customers.

    Just Don’t Do It. Please.

    In conclusion, don’t task your temporary interns with managing your company social media accounts. Having a presence on social media is more than just posting every day. It requires a strategy and a bigger purpose. Allowing your interns to experiment with social in a supervised environment is A-OK, how else will they get the experience? But task someone else with management. Social media takes experience and daring; give your interns time to find this in a less public arena and you, too, can avoid these social media mistakes. 

  2. There’s No Debate: Professionals Need to Stay Cool During Heated Presidential Debates

     

    It’s really no surprise that the presidential debates always garner high ratings and produce a hotbed of headlines up until election time. Of course, with all eyes on the nation’s frontrunners for the race to the White House, people tend to have opinions; however, we recommend that professionals refrain from expressing such opinions on their social media channels of choice.

    We can trust that the Internet will be full of respectful opinion and rebuttal. We are in no way suggesting that it will be a carnival of name-calling and vitriol spewing. No. No sir.

    Quell your harsh opinions during election timeHowever, let’s just say that these debates percolate a bit of passion within yourself over certain political bullet points. In the sanctity of your own home, after a long day of work, you decide to state your opinion via Twitter, reply to a Facebook “friend” that simply doesn’t have the facts straight, or write a passionate Google+ blog post. Well, unfortunately, if you’re working as a professional in most any industry, you can be in hot water for getting a little hot under the collar on social media.

    While watching tonight’s GOP presidential debate, keep these five tips for professionals in mind before offering your two cents to the social media masses:

    1. Keep it PC.

    When we say keep it “politically correct,” we mean that you should not attempt to prove your political alignment is the only correct one. Be wary of expressing your opinion with terminology that can be interpreted as disrespectful to those with differing views than your own. It’s ok to have an opinion, but be respectful and knowledgable about it before posting.

    2. Leave the company out of it.

    As a professional in any field, social media can get you in some deep trouble or downright awkward positions. You have the freedom of speech, but keep in mind, social media can sometimes keep you accountable for your words. Never use your company’s social media account to express your personal political beliefs, as that’s a surefire way of alienating customers and employees with differing opinions.

    3. Avoid the lure of trolls.

    The Internet can be a firestarter. Don’t give in to unproductive debating/name-calling that is sure to ignite during and in the moments after the presidential debates. Getting into an argument with a stranger (or your Aunt Sue) online is always a losing battle.

    4. Retweet at your own risk.

    You often don’t have to say a word to share your opinion. You may not realize it, but a retweet, share or even a like is often viewed as an endorsement. If you don’t want yourself, professional or otherwise, aligned with a controversial view, keep away from endorsing such things on your social media accounts.

    5. Triple check your social media account.

    It’s happened countless times within countless major corporations: a social media manager doesn’t realize that they’re still logged into the company’s account and says some very heinous, inappropriate things on behalf of the fine folks at (insert corporation here). It’s a nightmare scenario, and one that you should absolutely do everything within your power to avoid. Double and triple check that you are, indeed, logged into and posting as your personal account before hitting that “publish” button.

    Be careful what you tweet. All-in-all, while watching the Republican presidential debates, don’t be afraid to have an opinion. It’s difficult to not be impassioned with these candidates that very well could shape the future of the United States. We only suggest that you, as a professional, realize that no matter how much you love or hate the policies of Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz and the other seven candidates in the prime-time slot, you can never completely remove your professional persona from the views you express on social media. It may seem unfair, but the price of sharing your views and opinions to the general public is that you will be held accountable for those opinions — for better or worse.

    It’s vital to study your company’s social media policy, but a good rule of thumb is to leave the debating to the professional arguers: politicians.

  3. The Social Media Zombie Apocalypse: A Survivor’s Guide

    The zombie – a soulless, shuffling ghoul, now famous for chasing a man in a cowboy hat through rural Georgia. I bring up zombies not just because I’m a horror film geek, but because that is precisely what your social media account becomes when you let it linger and die.

    Social Media ZombiesSocial media is not easy to maintain — it takes thought, consistency and a steady finger on the pulse of trending current events. For this reason, people often find themselves in too deep with two or three (or five) social media accounts too many, subsequently lifting their hands in defeat. Though having a social media presence is important, it’s also vital to not bite off more than you can chew. Surrendering is OK, but only if you deactivate your forfeited social media account before throwing in the towel and pretending your experimentation with hypothetical social media newcomer Facebookstigram+(™) was all just a bad, bad dream.

    Photo credit: Mark Lobo . via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND Photo credit: Mark Lobo . via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-NDCountless times, I’ve seen personal and business pages go by the wayside, their owners attempting to wish these pages into the ether that is the mysterious and wonderful Internet. That doesn’t happen of course — these accounts decay and die, only to return as the social media undead, often lurking in the shadows, hungry to steal away customers, clients, and friends that have the misfortune of coming across them.

    How do these “zombies” attack your personal and business social media footprint?

    The biggest pro and con of the Internet is that everyone has a soapbox. Anyone with a cell phone and Internet connection can now share ideas, information and opinions with, quite literally, the world. But with the reality of an interconnected world, we’re also inundated with noise more than ever. Anything you put out as either a professional, business or personal representation of yourself on the web should be current, accurate and active. If a customer accidentally clicks on an old, unused Facebook page, they may get an incorrect address or phone number, reach out for help where you’re not listening, or simply take the lack of activity on your page as a sign of slow business. By deactivating old and unused social media pages, you remove the possibility of this confusion, taking back control of your company or personal branding.

    Attack of the Spambots

    The most dangerous thing about not deactivating an unused social media account is the simple fact that you are no longer listening to conversations potentially being made in your name. One example that I’ve seen far too often is when a spambot takes over an under-used Twitter account, accosting all followers with offers for designer shoes and mail-order miracle pills. If the owner of this account no longer checks their Twitter on a daily basis, they’d have no idea that possibly hundreds or thousands of followers are readying torches and pitchforks in annoyance.

    Don’t Give Customers the Cold Shoulder

    Besides the possibility of hacking, simply coming off as ignoring your fan base is extremely bad form in the forum of social media. The phrase, “social media is a conversation” is cliché for a reason. Your social media page equates to something of a digital whiteboard — you have to expect people to write on it. Surely, some comments will be about how much they enjoyed your last blog post or how creamy your broccoli cheddar soup is. However, you better believe that people will also come to sound off about negative experiences in equal or greater measure. Believe it or not, it’s OK to get a negative comment or review, as long as you’re there to respond to it. It’s PR 101 to never ignore the negativity but, unfortunately, your zombie social media account may become a hub for ignoring clients, customers and friends without you even knowing it.

    Abandoned Store

    *crickets*

    Breathe easy though, friends. This zombie outbreak is highly survivable. There is a cure, and it’s the “deactivate account” button.

    Image Credits:

    “Zombies” by Flickr User Mark Lobo

    Kmart Closing by Flickr User Nicholas Eckhart

    Zombie! by Flickr User Daniel Hollister

  4. 5 Fun Facts To Up Your Super Bowl Game

    Football lover or not, the Super Bowl caters to all. I’m still in the process of understanding the beloved American game, but what I don’t need any help with grasping is the commercials (inject humor and/or a dog and I’m sold), the food (I’m a huge fan of chips and dip and think that any bowl that contains these two items is a super bowl, indeed), and the amazing stats tied to the Super Bowl (staggering, really).

    With that being said, below is what I consider need-to-know stats and facts when it comes to the Super Bowl.

    Average audience of last year’s Super Bowl: 111.5 Million

    It’s one of the most-watched events in the world and draws more than 80 million viewers every year since 1990. Want to be seen and hopefully remembered? Maybe you should consider advertising – both traditional and/or digital around this great event. You don’t need a huge budget to be a part of it–try tapping into social media to piggyback on the action.

    The rate for a 30-second spot during this year’s game: 4.5 Million (Insert gasp here.)

    The cost for a spot in the very first Super Bowl was a steal at $42,000; then again it was 1967 and a chocolate bar cost about a nickel at that time . No wonder this year Newcastle is opting to share the wealth with brands like Match.com, Jockey, YP.com, Boost Mobile, Charisma Bedding, Beanitos, Rotel, Brawny, Sharper Image, Dixie, and Krave Jerky, just to name a few. Seriously. Newcastle’s 2015 TV spot showcases a whopping total of 37 brands. According to Newcastle, ”It’s the most exciting, most jam-packed, most fiscally responsible big game ad ever.” I have to agree with the Brown Ale on that statement.

    The Super Bowl will be broadcasted in 34 different languages.

    English being the only one I understand, but still, that’s the ability for Super Bowl advertising to reach potentially everyone from Albania to Thailand. Can I get a cheers/prost/kanpai/salud to that?

    Miss the Bowl? No worries – NBC and Tumblr’s got your back.

    NBC is planning on posting all Super Bowl TV commercials to Tumblr moments after they air. This is just another genius way of gaining additional ad exposure. That should soften the blow of spending $4.5 million on a :30 second spot. Right?

    44% of people who eat chicken wings during the Super Bowl prefer bleu cheese dressing to ranch.

    I am a part of that 44%. Nothing goes better with chicken wings than some bleu cheese and beer. Maybe it’ll be a Newcastle this year? Well done Newcastle. Now I’m seriously considering you as my beer of choice for the big game due to your entertaining ad. What can I say? I’m a sucker for good entertainment.

    Bonus Fact: Budweiser Always Wins

    This one is really a matter of opinion. Mine to be exact. But Budweiser is targeting all with not only this year’s Super Bowl commercial, but every commercial they make that involves a dog, a horse and a man. Come on – dogs, horses and pulling on my heartstrings in one commercial? SOLD! Here’s a sneak peek of the commercial they plan on airing this Sunday, February 1st.

  5. Conquer LinkedIn In Just 10 Minutes A Day

    You’re a businessperson. Your phone probably rings 10 times before 9:30 AM, and you can’t even bear to look at your e-mail lest another crisis arrive signed with a frantic, “Best.” I understand — you’ve got a full to-do list. The last thing you need to do is get involved with social media, even though your marketing team is practically begging you to (that’s one of the unanswered emails in your inbox, isn’t it?)

    Social media can seem overwhelming at times and it may constantly fall to the darkest corner of your priority list. But guess what? It’s not going away anytime soon. Social media sites such as LinkedIn have become the way to increase your personal and professional online presence, create new business opportunities, and stay up to date on the “need to know” in your industry. Don’t let yourself fall behind the pack simply because you think you don’t have time.

    In a good day, you have maybe 15 minutes to hop up from your desk to grab a snack, a glass of water, or take a brisk walk before your legs fall off from sitting for too long. The good news is it only takes up to 10 minutes a day to create a following on LinkedIn!

    Is This Really Necessary?

    Short answer: Yes.

    Why do you need to be on LinkedIn? Because your peers are. Because more and more every day, it’s where connections are being made, deals are being closed, and opportunities are arising. And its use is evolving all the time.

    LinkedIn is for Professionals

    LinkedIn isn’t like Twitter or Facebook. You don’t have to whip out a clever quip in 140 characters or less. LinkedIn posts don’t lose relevancy in the blink of an eye. You don’t have to impress your followers with photos of all the influential and awe-inspiring people you’re meeting on a daily basis. LinkedIn is a place filled with people just like you. Businesspeople and professionals log on to share information about their companies, their professional lives, their industry knowledge — basically all of the things that you’re already thinking of 24 hours a day. So why not?

    Let’s Get Efficient

    If you haven’t already, download the LinkedIn app on your smartphone or tablet. Go ahead, I’ll wait….

    You know those times when you’re standing in line at Chipotle, sitting on mute on a conference call, or stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the interstate? These are all times when you are inevitably on your handheld device anyway, so log onto LinkedIn for 10 minutes and engage! Pulse (LinkedIn’s recommended news channel that automatically appears on your homepage) will do all the searching for you. It shows you articles that it knows you’ll be interested in.

    Tap an article, skim through it, and if you like it, share it! Let the author know that it was an insightful read or that it related to a problem that you just had the other day. Trust me, authors love your comments (No, really. We do. Wink.) and they’ll never be annoyed at hearing how their article impacted your day or even if you disagree with every point they’re making and think they’re full of bologna. The point is to start a conversation, even if you only have 10 minutes to do so.

    You Can Contribute Too

    Let’s kick it up just one more notch before you go back to all of your responsibilities.

    How to add a post on LinkedIn

    Got a blog post or article that you’ve written? LinkedIn has these handy “posts” where you can dust off that old content and repurpose it in a great way. Simply hover over the text box where you would normally post an update and click the pencil icon. Here, you can copy and paste content from a previous piece that you have published (just make sure to give credit and link back to the original source). Now, you’re not just commenting on others’ hard work, but adding to the pot as well!

    Now, businessmen and women just like you waiting in line for a delicious burrito can take 10 minutes, skim your article, and let you know what they thought about it. You may even make some new connections out of the deal.

    Just 10 Minutes a Day

    You probably read this article during today’s downtime, so I totally understand if you start tomorrow. But the next time you find yourself waiting around, pull up the LinkedIn app for just 10 minutes. Engage with content. Post your own! Add it into your daily routine. You’ll find that creating an active presence on LinkedIn isn’t nearly as time consuming (or pointless!) as you thought it was.

  6. The Social Snowball Effect: Why No One Sees Your Facebook Posts

    You may be thinking to yourself, “Why doesn’t anyone care about the content I’m posting to my company Facebook page? I’m not getting any likes. No comments. No one is sharing my stories. What are all of my fans doing out there? Are they ignoring me?”

    Whoa, there. Back up a few steps. Facebook isn’t kicking you to the curb. It’s much more likely that you’re seeing the results of the social media site’s many algorithms that affect what users see in their news feeds.

    Facebook carefully filters the content displayed in each user’s newsfeed – both crafted to its standards and with your fans’ interests and behaviors in mind. But before you angrily close out of this window declaring Facebook the enemy, know that there are ways to increase engagement on your business’ Facebook page, get it in front of more eyes, and create content that your followers want to see.

    Facebook’s News Feed Algorithm

    The Facebook algorithm’s methodology is right alongside the many search engine optimization updates you’ve been hearing about. It’s developed to show users content that they actually want to see. Pay attention to the old sales adage: “Everyone likes to buy, no one likes to be sold.” Users know the difference between being sold to and wanting to purchase and engage because they’re viewing content that is crafted to help or entertain them.

    No one likes to be sold to!

    Directly from Facebook’s FAQs:

    “The stories that show in your News Feed are influenced by your connections and activity on Facebook. This helps you to see more stories that interest you from friends you interact with the most. The number of comments and likes a post receives and what kind of story it is (ex: photo, video, status update) can also make it more likely to appear in your News Feed.”

    Facebook’s algorithm rewards well-performing posts that include dynamic content (photos, videos, articles, links). As more people interact with your post, your reach will continue to grow – just like a snowball!

    The bottom line: Facebook wants you to create good content that is useful to your followers.

    Increase Your Reach Organically

    There are a few things you can do to get your Facebook posts in front of more eyes before pulling out your wallet.

    1. Remind your employees to “Like” your business page.
    2. Encourage employees to engage with content that is posted. Incentivize Likes, shares, and comments with gift cards and random acts of appreciation. The more engagement a post receives, the more likely it is to appear within the feeds of your followers’ Facebook friends.
    3. Take a look at the types of content you are posting. Facebook incentivizes posts with photos, videos, articles, and links. It’s not so keen on text posts or posts that are overly sales-oriented. Just remember: people will want to share your content if you make it shareable.
    4. Engage with your existing followers. Create conversations, ask questions, and respond to comments, reviews, and messages.

    Use Paid Facebook Advertising

    Using paid ads on Facebook is a great way to give your follower count a little boost and increase post engagement at the same time. Remember to properly target your ads — take a look at your existing demographic and target similar people. They are more likely to be interested in what you have to say and will become highly engaged followers who are more likely to see your posts on a regular basis.

    Paid advertising does not have to cost you an arm and a leg. Every month or so, dedicate some extra money to a special campaign you’re running. Or test different types of content to see what performs better with your target demographic. Paid ads are a great way to gain insight on what is working and what you should avoid.

    Facebook Isn’t the Enemy

    Increasing your Facebook engagement is a process that takes time to perfect. Don’t expect to see immense change overnight. You may see small growth at first, but like a snowball rolling down a hill, this growth will only continue to expand over time as long as you continue to post compelling content & encourage engagement with your followers.

    Above all else, create content that your followers want to Like, share, and comment on. Engage them in conversations, make them laugh, inspire them. And sometimes, sneak in a sale, announce a great deal, or ask for a newsletter signup.

    Facebook’s algorithm isn’t the enemy; it’s a tool to create a better experience for your followers!

  7. Don’t Put Digital Marketing on the Back Burner

    Without proactive digital marketing, your restaurant will suffer.

    This conversation is based on actual events:

    Me:  On my way here, I tried to view your website on my iPhone, but it wasn’t responsive and your mobile site wouldn’t work properly.

    Manager of a restaurant chain with over 20 locations:  I’m sorry, what do you mean?

    Me:  Your website wouldn’t load on my phone when I was trying to place a to go order. 

    Manager: [Blank stare] Oh.  Um.  Someone is supposed to be handling that for us.

    Me:  So instead, I went to Urban Spoon and looked at your menu. But when I called here to place the order, they said the items on Urban Spoon were from your old menu.

    Manager:  What is Urban Spoon?

    Leverage Social Media for your Restaurant Business

    Whether your customers are trying to make a reservation, explore your menu, find your location, or read reviews, restaurant decision-making happens online more than anywhere else in the world. 

    With 1.2 billion people accessing the web from their mobile phones (and growing), Marketron says that 61% of users have a better opinion of brands when they have a good mobile experience.

    Need more proof? The same Marketron study found that 57% of people would not recommend a business with a poor mobile experience. 

    The days of relying exclusively on a good location, food, and service are over.  Those things only matter if lots of people show up.  And your competition isn’t just found in your neighborhood; it’s found on every mobile device in your city. 

    Your website, as well as your online reputation, are your digital storefront.  More people will visit you online than will EVER visit your restaurant.  If that’s the case, why do so many restaurants perform poorly online? And what can you do to avoid being one of them? mobile website tips

    5 Tips for Restaurant Digital Marketing

    Well, besides knowing what Urban Spoon is, here are five recommendations for proactive restaurant digital marketing:

    1. Make your website responsive.

    It is called ‘responsive’ because this web design automatically adapts to the size and shape of the user’s screen or device.  (As a consumer yourself, you’ve likely seen websites like this, so perhaps you know what I mean.)  When responsive web design is done correctly, each user gets an appropriately sized and oriented version of the website.

    2. Make sure your website has the five M’s: 

    • Menu (No PDF’s)
    • Map (Preferably Google Maps)
    • Make a reservation (Online or live phone number link)
    • Mobile-optimized photography (Images that are too large won’t load)
    • Minimal content (Keep it short and sweet)

    3. Claim social media profiles.

    Twitter, Instagram and Facebook are obvious choices since 49% of consumers use Facebook to search for restaurants (Mashable). However it is surprising how other convenience-based and reputation-based social media channels are mismanaged or ignored by restaurants.  Google+, Urban Spoon, CitySearch, Yahoo, Yelp!, and FourSquare are all examples of social places where your current and potential customers are browsing reviews and deciding where to eat next.

    4. Engage. 

    After you setup your social media profiles, you must engage. Read your reviews, update your menus, dedicate time to respond to (some) comments, and keep information current. The more you engage, the more people will share your content and recommend your establishment – and don’t forget that consumers are 71% more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals (Hubspot).

    5. Dedicate resources to marketing. 

    “If you build it, they will come” is old school thinking. You must attract customers by being available in their digital world and engaging with them when they arrive.  If digital marketing is someone’s job after they hire the staff, handle inventory, update the menu, book events, or bus tables, then you are not dedicated to earning new business. Marketing is creating a pipeline for your restaurant; the experience at the restaurant is closing the deal. And you can’t close the deal, if the customers aren’t there.

  8. What Facebook’s New “Buy Button” Means for Your Business

    Facebook Ads Facebook Ads

    You know that guy with the bagel cart rolling by your office in the morning? You were busy getting started on your business of the day, then this guy rolls up and well, now you’re hungry. “Ok,” you think to yourself. “I’ll grab a bagel.”

    The convenience of the impulse buy is hard to ignore. And more often than not, it doesn’t feel like we’re being sold or marketed to. We usually feel pretty confident that this is our decision. Yes, we didn’t know we were about to make this purchase, but we are totally in control and definitely want it. Right?

    Recently Facebook announced their new Buy Button which will allow your customers to purchase products from businesses without ever having to leave Facebook, mobile included. Your customers will be able to complete their entire order process (even shipping settings and payment) all in one cozy nook of the world’s favorite social media home away from home. Whether this sounds scary or convenient, it’s time to start planning how your business will adapt. Here are 3 things to consider when examining the new Facebook Buy Button, and what it means to you and your business.

    1. Say Goodbye to distracting ads and hello to engaging content.

    If you’ve ever tried Facebook ads to promote your company or goods and services, the buy button is a good thing. Buying online ads are hard to quantify from a success point of view. Sure you can track clicks and click throughs, even track where purchases came from. But these efforts typically work better in concept than application. Here’s the next step. Stop buying traditional Facebook Ads. With the buy button you no longer have to throw money at distracting your customers. You can, instead, connect with them via your content. Content that they’d be choosing to engage with anyway. Have a cool new product you want to get out to market, or even test? This could be where you do that.

    It’s a fact of life that many content owners are now looking to their “readers’ offers” initiatives to build e-commerce into their content sites. – Forbes (http://www.forbes.com/sites/haydnshaughnessy/2014/07/18/facebook-shopping-button-could-be-amazon-reviews-on-steroids/)

    2. The impulse buy: The next generation.

    This is certainly a whole new (more impulsive) impulse buy. The genius of it is basically this: Remember why that bagel cart concept works? Similarly, imagine a group of yourself and your closest colleagues and friends chatting around the water cooler about the things you collectively are interested in. Coffee, technology, low calorie drinks, impressively sharp knives, a new hybrid car. Now imagine while casually talking with your friends about these subjects, one of them said something like, “Well, if you’re interested I can get you a box of those knives for $20 less than the store.” They don’t have to earn your trust. They already have it. You don’t have to drive out to the store, or search prices online. You don’t have to do anything really. It’s organic digital content for sale. You’re seeing it in your news feed because you’ve already established, digitally, that it’s something of interest to you. This is the benefit of the Facebook Buy Button concept. And this will be the primary reason why it will work.

    Don’t forget to consider when you post also. Since these aren’t traditional social media ads running automatically, you must be conscious of when you post content with the ability to buy. Read our recent blog post on The Perfect Time to Post on Social Media.

    3. The power of viral reviews

    According to Convert With Content 87% of consumers are influenced by positive reviews, and trust customer reviews 12x more than manufacturers’ descriptions. With the new Facebook Buy Button capability, customer reviews will come first and the product second. In a way, customers have already been trained to reverse engineer their purchases online. It’s been going on for years and the new Facebook Buy Button will only sharpen this modern consumer skill.

    You need to understand how this will bring on competition for your sales. Facebook won’t be alone. Already, Twitter has announced it purchased a payments start up for integration in it’s ever-growing platform. Don’t be surprised if more join soon. The time to plan accordingly and add some grey area to your direct and indirect competition matrices is now. Wondering why your customers stopped buying sunglasses from you? Have they evolved where you haven’t?

    The future of online retail may be upon us. LIKE it? Don’t buy it? Tell us what you think with your comments below or let us know on Facebook!

  9. Focus Your Digital Marketing: From Chaos to Order

    Nearly every day a new app, social network, or technology appears promising to make your job easier and kick your next campaign in to high gear. Thanks to the real-time component of social media, marketers can invest a lot of time and energy in the things that will impress and connect with customers online.

    The function of marketing has evolved significantly as there’s been an explosion new channels – both online and offline – including web, email, social, video, e-commerce, and mobile devices. We build community engagement initiatives, develop content around the objectives of of education and awareness, and hope that we can establish early connections with customers online with the end goal of earning their trust and interest. 

    While new and emerging tools allow us to get closer to our prospects, customers, and fans, the integration of all these digital marketing disciplines can often lead to chaos.

    As our world of marketing has become much more complex, the objectives have ultimately stayed the same and are the connective tissue that brings these tools together into one cohesive strategy.

    Digital Chaos to Order

    Goal-Setting 

    New technology and social marketing present an overwhelming array of options to marketers, who have become disillusioned by the allure of “the next big thing” and the endless array of possibilities. So often we take the view that doing something is at least better than doing nothing–How many times have you heard, “Let’s create an app” without first asking why?

    Specific short and long-term goals are essential to creating your marketing strategy.  Any exercise in marketing planning should begin by exploring your expectations of the plan itself. And it doesn’t have to be complicated! Established goals should center on how well the technology aids brand engagement, and whether it helps users consume your content and products.

    Metrics and ROI

    Of course we want to reach the right audience with the right message to drive a conversion, but too often, we waste valuable resources evaluating every metric we have access to, rather than focusing on the metrics that really matter to our campaign.

    Marketo offers this advice: “To streamline your next campaign, make a list of everything you want to measure. How many items are on your list? 20? 30? More? Look at each metric, and ask yourself: ‘What decision would I make differently if I knew this number?’ If you can‘t come up with a clear answer, it’s not a good metric.”

    Solid marketing metrics should make your decisions significantly easier.  Data is everywhere (and very “big” these days), so we need to become increasingly savvy about the best ways to leverage it. Marketing in the digital world is still all about results.

    Stop Doing What Isn’t Working

    As famed author Mark Twain once said, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.” Stop doing what isn't working

    Sometimes a campaign won’t produce the results you were hoping to see.  The trick is learning to identify when these situations just need a few small tweaks to realign with your goals and when the campaign is going to fail, no matter how much tweaking you do. A willingness to risk failure also requires the confidence and resolve to cut and run.

    While this might be a sore topic for your team’s next planning meeting, you must stop doing things that don’t work.

    There can be lots of reasons why something fails, but resources are finite and the correct distribution of resources to achieve the maximum results is what separates mindless execution from strategic marketing.

    Whether you’re brand new to social marketing and technology or a seasoned digital marketing manager, the integration of all these marketing disciplines can often lead to chaos.  If you find yourself lost in the explosion of new marketing tools, don’t forget the bottom line: Why are you marketing in the first place?

  10. Book Review – Contagious: Why Things Catch On

    Contagious: Why Things Catch On

     

    As a digital marketing manager specializing in social media, I’m like a proud parent with the “My Child is on the Honor Roll” bumper sticker: I love social media and it’s easy to idolize. But a book I read recently gave a practical reminder that social media is a supportive communications vehicle, rather than a marketing strategy. For true success, a great social media presence requires contagious content!

    Book Review | Contagious: Why Things Catch On

    Jonah Berger’s book, Contagious: Why Things Catch On is a must-read for anyone seeking to differentiate their product or service in the marketplace and gain viral exposure through customer referrals.

    In the opening, Berger hooks every reader with this stat from a study by the Keller Fay Group: only 7% of word-of-mouth happens online.

    Now, before you throw your MacBook out with the bathwater, reconsider this surprising information through another lens – there is not a lack of valuable opportunities accessible through online marketing, but rather there are even more opportunities to trigger off-line conversations about your brand through strategic digital marketing. A key take-away from Contagious is this:

    Social media should be designed to support off-line conversations for maximum impact.

    Contagious breaks down the author’s six driving principals (STEPPS) uncovering why and how content becomes viral and, well, contagious.

    1. Social Currency – People care about how they look to others. Help them feel smart and appear in-the-know by giving them something they can share with others that will boost their social IQ. Whether it’s a funny video that just broke on YouTube or the phone number for the best tax pro in town, find a way to be their next bit of social currency.
    2. Triggers – As Berger says, “top of mind means tip-of-tongue”. By creating a context for your product outside its typical space, you’ll be thought of by your audience when they least expect it. (Try going just one Wednesday without being reminded that it’s Hump Day a la the Geico camel and tell me that triggers don’t work. I dare you!) 
    3. Emotion – “When we care, we share.” Emotional content reaches a place deep inside us that begs us to share it. Case in point? Every mom who’s watched this Publix Valentine’s Day commercial.
    4. Public – “Built to show, built to grow.” When your product or service leaves visible behavior residue, it’s more likely that it will be imitated by  others. Whether it’s the orange Cheetos dust (literal residue), a Bloomingdales big brown bag, or a yellow LIVESTRONG bracelet, find ways to help your products or services advertise themselves.
    5. Practical Value – Want your content to spread like wildfire? Berger shares the most simple solution of all: offer content with incredible value and package your knowledge and expertise so people can easily pass it on. From infographics and handy “how to’s”, people love sharing tools to simplify and solve everyday problems. Help them be a hero!
    6. Stories – Everyday brand stories travel under what seems like idle chatter. Berger stresses that stories are vessels, just like the famous Trojan horse. A narrative or story that people want to tell will carry your idea long for the ride. (Example: Think Jared from Subway.)

    Can’t imagine how to incorporate all of these principles in one Facebook post? Fear not! Try adding even one or two of these ingredients to your brand’s story and you’ll see a big impact.

    Keep this diagram handy after you read the book and remember to add some contagious content into your marketing mix to give both your social media and off-line communications a boost!