Tag Archive: Social Media Marketing

  1. Social Media for Lawyers: Best Practices to Implement in Your Firm

    How_Social_Media_Can_Help_Your_Law_Firm_Grow_and_Develop_-_YouTube

    Speaking to a group of Central Florida’s top litigators, our CEO and Founder, Matt Certo, breaks down how social media can help law firms grow and develop. Though this joint meeting between LMA and CFCALA is centered around lawyers and law firms, this social media advice can be useful for any brand looking to expand their ever-important social media presence.

    Video Transcript:

    How Social Media Can Help Your Law Firm Grow and Develop

    Speaker: Matt Certo

    It is an honor to be here, especially a joint meeting of the LMA and the ALA. Is that kind of like the Clash of the Titans? It seems like you all work together well, which I think is pretty cool.

    The topic they’re asked me to talk about today is really social media and law firms, was really where we started the conversation. In a brief period of time, because I know that we’re all busy and you have offices to get back to, we try to connect social media with what you all want to do, which is to help your law firms grow and develop. Hopefully this is social media, not just for the sake of social media, but social media for the sake of helping your law firms get more cases, develop more cases more efficiently, bill more hours, which helps everything grow.

    I was just having a conversation with Jason, who’s working with law firms and the financial model. We all that case load and good cases and good client relationships drive the success of your law firm, so that’s what we to try and cover today in a brief period of time. It was a very kind introduction. I always think it’s good for you to know who you’re hearing from so that before you decide whether or not you agree, you know the perspective that I’m bringing to the table.

    I’ve been the CEO of an agency, a digital marketing agency, called Findsome and Winmore here in town. We have a few of our folks here with us today for moral support, so they’re here. I’ve been doing this for about 20 years across a lot of different industries, but law firms have been a bit of a concentration for us. It didn’t start out that way. It wasn’t the intention but over the years we’ve picked up law firm clients, had an opportunity to learn from successes and failures of law firm marketing efforts. This has everything to do from website development to social media to search marketing, so we blend all those areas of our practice together to try and learn and then help clients grow in the future.

    I have spoken to a lot of these groups and organizations and try and make these as helpful as possible, especially if you’ve heard some of this before. I try and keep going and developing with some of the content.  The agency itself, just so you know, where we’re coming from, we’re about 25 people and we do web development, search marketing, social media marketing, content marketing … which we’ll talk a little bit more about today … and we do a lot of strategy work. It’s a fun group. I think of it as a living laboratory. I am a product of two parents who are both educators so I was raised to be a learner. I love to absorb what I’m seeing and try and formulate a model around how it could help others.

    One of the ways I do that, I have a weekly email I send out every Monday, called Marketing Tip Monday. It’s just one marketing tip that goes out that, hopefully, is practical to a client. It’s not an ad for the firm or anything like that but would encourage you all to sign up for that. I know some of you are on that list already. It’s a website, MarketingTipMonday.com, where you can sign up and hear more of this if it’s helpful.

    As was mentioned, about a year-and-a-half ago I put out a book called Found: Connecting with Customers in the Digital Age. It’s a quick read. If you’re interested, it’s very inexpensive on Amazon. To me, it’s designed to answer some of the questions we’ll be talking about today. These are the biggest ones I get from my clients, which is where I try and drive our efforts. Should my company or my law firm be on Facebook? Does anyone really use Twitter? How do you get to the top of a Google search? Should I have a blog? Is Google+ important to me anymore? Should I post on social media? What should I put on social media once I’ve made that leap? These strategic lessons I outline in that book, and I’ll do some of that today. You’ll see a blend of both our agency intellectual property as well as some of the material in the book, which I hope is helpful.

    Brief rundown, four key items. I know we’re on a tight schedule but we’re going to save Q&A for the end, hopefully. I’ll talk fast, hopefully not too fast. I want to talk a little bit about social media 101. I’m not going to talk too much about it because for reason number one, probably a lot of you already know social media 101 and if you don’t there are lots of resources out there to learn the bare bones of social if this is a brand new topic for you. I also want to look at some misconceptions about social media, which I think are important. Those two things is a backdrop for the common law firm problems that I see when I go in and work with law firms, and then some recommendations about what to do about some of those.

    Social media 101, just very, very quickly. These are some truths that I start with. First of all, social media has permeated every aspect of our society: news, politics, religion, sports. It’s everywhere. Social media is ever-evolving. It’s happening rapidly and quickly. Even as we sit here, new social networks are springing up. New behaviors on social networks are happening. The rules are changing on social media all the time. What I mean by that is, Facebook starts by doing one thing and then they change their privacy policy and they do another thing. Instagram started by showing you every photo that was posted and now they’ve upset a lot of people because they’re changing the algorithm by which they’re showing you the Instagram photos in your feed. You’ll see a lot more ads and a lot more of an algorithm-driven display, so it just changes. That’s just the truth.

    I believe social media is the new news cycle. If there even is a news cycle anymore, social media really is it. I feel like television is mirroring that as opposed to the other way around, which used to happen. I say all these things, not to say that I like it this way or dislike it this way, but just that it’s where we are now. I say these things without endorsing it, because personally we don’t all like that we’re always on our phones all the time or that every aspect of our lives seems to be published. It’s not endorsement one way or the other. We’ll make these slides available to you, so you don’t have to feel like you have to write all these down. Some of the key things, just bare bones, is to have some goals, to build a team around your social media, to identify the right social networks for you, to set policy, especially in law firms where you’re dealing with regulation.

    We deal with a lot of organizations that aren’t regulated any way, shape, or form, but I know that different state bar associations have different rules, different requirements, recommendations, best practices, making sure that your organization has a policy so that people understand, “When I am posting on social media I am an employee of this firm. Here’s what I should or should not be doing.” That’s very important to have in place. Is there a way to measure the success of the goals that you’ve set? Then, also, how do you, as an organization, begin to adjust once you see how the actual performance of your social media efforts are comparing against the goals that you set?

    101, just a handful of things. Again, I don’t want to spend too much time on it because there’s a lot of material and resources out there, some of which I’ll point you to here in a minute. What I do want to do is address some misconceptions as a backdrop to some of the best practices, just a few of them. I’m going to frame this in terms of some things that social media is not and some things that social media does not do. The first thing I want to say is that social media … and as you’re communicating to your law firms … is not just another advertising medium. I’m not saying it’s not an advertising medium, because it certainly is a place where you can go buy an advertisement or you can sponsor a piece of content, but if you look at it, or a law firm looks at it, just like they look at a phone book advertisement, which I hope none of you are doing anymore, or an advertisement in a newspaper, you’re going to get a different behavior. You’re going to get a different reaction to that.

    You have to understand that social media, it’s a community. It’s not just a place where you throw an ad out. It’s a community where people might respond. It’s a place where there is two-way feedback, communication between one another. It’s also a place where the ad doesn’t typically die or go away. Things that are put onto social media tend to stay. Good, bad, or indifferent, they will stay there unless you delete them. If they are deleted and they’re a big deal, chances are someone has already screenshotted that piece of content and it’ll come back to haunt you.

    Social media is also not a jukebox. What I mean by that is … some of you that are maybe younger in the audience have never seen one of these, but a jukebox is something where you would walk up into a restaurant or a bar and you’d put a coin in and you’d press a button and you’d get exactly what you expected. You’d get a song to play. You’d get a result after you had ordered it up and paid the price. Social media doesn’t work that way. You can’t guarantee a result. You can’t guarantee a metric. You can’t guarantee an immediate return.

    When you have a firm, or if you’re used to gauging, “What’s the result that’s happened as a result of a marketing activity that I have invested in,” and it doesn’t return something into a pretty spreadsheet that’s being graded by the partners, then that shouldn’t be a surprise. Social media tends to work organically. It tends to work over time. It tends to build. You can’t always get the result, you won’t always get the result, immediately. You’ve got to take more of a long-term approach.

    Another thing social media is not, is it’s not linear. It doesn’t happen according to a plan that goes A, B, C, D, E all the way down to Z. Social media, back to the jukebox analogy, it may surprise you down the line somewhere. A great book, if you haven’t heard of it, is a book called Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. This is written by a gentleman named Gary Vaynerchuk, who’s a big internet entrepreneur, and he talks about this very thing. Like a boxing match, you don’t exactly know which punch to throw and when, or when you’re going to get punched. You have to improvise. You have to go in knowing that the first step of the plan is pretty much the only thing you can count on. You don’t know what you’re going to encounter and how you have to react. You have to go in not expecting that things are going to play out in a linear fashion.

    This is a really good example of it. How many of you remember a couple years ago when the lights went out at the Super Bowl? No one could plan for that. Oreo, who happens to be there, happens to be on the spot, decides to put this up when there was an outage. If you can’t read that, it says, “You can still dunk in the dark.” No one could have ever planned for that, but it was a huge success. The reason it was a huge success is because they were aware. They were active. They had a group that was organized. They probably had a policy in place and things really, really came out well. It was a good result they never could have planned for.

    Here’s another example, and hopefully you can read this. This is more in the restaurant world. Here is a tweet from a woman named Destiny. It says, “If your boyfriend won’t take you out for pasta, is he really your boyfriend?” The hashtag is #AskAlfredo. Has anyone heard of this hashtag? It became a big deal in PR. It was talked about. The hashtag is actually one Olive Garden invented. Olive Garden said, at one point, “What if we started responding to all these crazy questions that we’re getting with a hashtag?” Olive Garden’s response was, “He may need a little hint, Destiny. His adoration for you is probably overshadowing delicious pasta meals.”

    Why is Olive Garden doing this? Because they’re improvising. They’re seeing they’re getting these questions and they’re having fun. This is a publicly traded corporation with rules, regulations, and restrictions. The gentleman who is behind this, a gentleman named Justin Sikora, and he’s a VP of marketing communications there … we talked about this example and he said, “We never could have planned for this, but this is probably one of the biggest things that we’ve ever seen develop results,” was this #AskAlfredo thing. It was not only big on Twitter, and is big on Twitter, they’re tying it in to the Bachelor television show, which is huge on Twitter, and it’s been a big PR hit. Again, you can sit and you can plan and think about this linear idea of results, like we all would love to have but, unfortunately, the world of social media just doesn’t work that way.

    The other thing is that social media doesn’t exist in a vacuum. You can’t just have a social media team. This is a diagram of four gears, which really is the essence of this book here. I believe that four things have to happen together. You have to understand who your audience, at the top. You’ve got to create original content via a blog. You have to optimize for search engines. That ties in with social media. All those four things, like four gears, have to work together. If only one of them breaks down then this entire marketing mechanism breaks down. Social media doesn’t exist on its own. It is a part of a mechanism, part of a machine, that a sound marketing company has working together for it.

    I want to go in, now, to some common law firm problems and solutions, so some things that I encounter when I’m asked to look at a law firm, or our team is asked to look at a law firm, and help with communications. One of the first problems that we see is a firm website with either no blog or a weak blog. The reasons for that are many. A lot of people still don’t believe in blogs. A lot of partners who drive social media and marketing efforts have never done this. It’s a practice that they’re getting more comfortable with but they haven’t been big believers. They haven’t been believers in the process and they haven’t seen it work and they haven’t existed with it, so there’s change that comes into play here that has to be ushered along, a lot of times by leaders like you.

    One of the things I always encourage you to do is to share data. Here’s a piece right here. Clients spend 16 minutes of every hour on some form of social media. Explaining to a marketing group of attorneys or partners that the audience is there is often helpful. Share more data. Share anecdotes. Share anecdotes with them about either other firms that have had success that you’ve heard about, or when you have posted something on social media an attorney has gotten feedback from the marketplace that it was seen, or a case was developed or a client relationship was developed in some or fashion with the help of social media. It may have been a LinkedIn message that was exchanged. That kind of feedback and data is often helpful.

    The biggest one is to ask someone who is against blogging, because it does sound eerily like teenage narcissism when they think about a law firm and a blog, why would you do that? Ask, really, if they would like to be found on Google because, ultimately, that’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. The example I think of is in the fall I was visiting my doctor for a checkup and the doctor looked at me and said, “Have you had your flu shot yet?” I said, “No. I haven’t had my flu shot yet. I don’t really believe in that.” He said, “All right. I guess call me when you get the flu,” was his response. He was right. Sometimes just doing the right thing is the right thing to do. This question is very similar to that. If you want to be found on Google you’ve got to be active in blogging.

    A lot of you will recognize the signer of this quote. Tom Peters has written a ton of business work. In Search of Excellence is one of his biggest pieces here. This is really what he does as a consultant to drive business, is blog. It happens to cost nothing. Now, it costs your time. It costs creativity. It costs energy, so it costs something, but it’s not the equivalent of taking an ad out or sponsoring an event, so that often is helpful, too. There’s data here from third-party sources that really connects this idea that those that blog, blog frequently, and blog well are in a better position to actually generate business leads. A lot of different ways that that does happen, but the data, it can be helpful to you to share with the partners.

    This ties very closely to a previous point. The other problem I run into, that I see, is that there’s a reluctance to give away free advice. This is very understandable because attorneys are paid to give advice, so why is it that we would give our advice away for free? This is a difficult one to get over, but there is an anecdote that I think is really great. A lot of you are familiar with Geek Squad. Geek Squad is the group that installs … if you buy a flat screen at Best Buy, Geek Squad will charge you a couple hours time to come out and install it. The Geek Squad exists to help people that don’t know how to install things or plug things in or they just don’t want to do it, and yet they provide tons of videos, blogs, tips, tweets, about how to do things yourself.

    When the CEO of that company was asked one time, “Why is it that you are giving away the answers to what it is that you’re trying to do?” his response was very simple. He said, “The people that are trying to fix it themselves are our best customers because they end up not doing it well the first time or not doing it right. They’ve seen our video and they said, ‘I’m just going to call,’ when they get frustrated.” Not quite the same with attorneys, although I will say … I won’t say that. I will just say to you that I have a colleague that recently tried to use one of these services where you go on and do your own legal documents for free. He’s had the most difficult time over the past month and he just said, “I don’t know why I just didn’t call an attorney to do this for me. It would have saved me a lot of heartache.” We’re recording this, that’s why I’m not using the actual name of the company, but you could probably guess which company he used to get his free legal work.

    There’s this reluctance to give free advice but, yet, if you really think about this practically, we’re all going to the internet to help us solve problems. That’s just what we’re doing now. It doesn’t mean that we won’t call a family member or a friend to help us out of a jam but it’s easier, sometimes, to put into Google, “How do I get here? How do I fix this? How do I know this? What time does so-and-so open?” This is where we’re going. This is where the consumer is. This leads into what we call content marketing, which you mentioned here. By the way, this is a great sheet. I don’t know who did it. The Legal Marketing Association provided this. Somebody did it. Raise your hand. All right, there you go. I didn’t know that. These two happen to be the ones who invited me to do this, but that’s just a coincidence.

    This is pure information for legal marketers. There are lots of great terms on here if marketing is now what you wake up and think about, things like the Association of Legal Administrators, contingency fee, pro bono. If you look on the back, PR, boiler plate, one-pager, pitch, proof, on background, off the record, embargo, editorial calendar. This is content that’s being provided by an organization. This ties right into this definition of content marketing, which is information, or the distribution of information, by a company to inform or influence, not advertise or sell. This is information that informs and influences you. This is an ad. We’ve got an after-hours coming up, it looks like, which looks like a lot of fun at this rooftop. This is an ad. There’s nothing wrong with either one of them but it’s important that you understand the difference.

    If I’m a law firm marketer and I’m posting something and asking someone to do something, to write me a check for something, or go out of their way for something, I’m advertising, but if I am providing information that helps, that informs or influences, then I’m in a position to connect more closely with that customer. Going back to the first couple slides about social media 101. We’re waking up and not going to our curb to get the newspaper. More of us are waking up and looking at Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to get our news. Whoever provides the content is going to be in a better position to win. That’s why it’s important to think about these two fliers when you’re posting. You want to get aggressive about social media, you want to see a return, don’t post ads, although people will want you to post ads because we want checks to be written. Post content that helps, that informs and influences.

    This goes back to that flu analogy. You’ve got to post answers to questions that your clients have. That’s the future of search marketing. I was asked this recently. This was a contest that was out by Search Engine World: Fill in the blank. What represents the future of organic search? My answer to that, which was one that they acknowledged, was solving your customers problems through innovative content creation represents the future of organic search. You, as legal marketers, need to be solving your customers’ problems, yes, giving away free advice; yes, investing in giving free content away, in order to be visible on Google Search. Google looks to see who has valuable content, who’s being re-tweeted and shared on social media. I would bet you the last time you shared something on social media that you saw and said, “I want to show my friends,” it wasn’t a coupon or an ad. It was a piece of content that you either found funny or you found endearing or you found informative or you found inspirational.

    As brand publishers … which is what you are, whether you like it or not … as brand publishers you need to be producing that kind of content that people are interested in, that’s not self-serving, that’s not an ad, not an inducement to write a check, but something that helps, something that solves their problem. I think this quote sums it up. Your currency, as a law firm, is your intellectual capital. Now, you don’t want to give away everything. That doesn’t work anyway and no one will ever be able to look at your Tweet and then all of a sudden be a Bar Certified Attorney. That’s not going to happen, but they can judge you and they can get a gauge of your credibility versus your competitor based upon what you’re sharing and what you’re involved with.

    Here are a couple of questions that you should be answering on that blog that is free that we talked about, depending on what your practice area is. What should I do if my employer isn’t paying me overtime? Someone who asks that question is having a problem. If your firm can solve that problem, among others, you ought to be helping them with the first steps. What should I do if I get a DUI? That person has got a problem. They are ripe for someone to help them, back to the practicality of a case load or a new case. How is alimony calculated in the State of Florida? All these questions that your clients have, whether it’s family law, corporate litigation, all those things are questions that you should be answering.

    The other issue is inactive attorneys. I often see a legal marketing group that is all bought in on this and they’re all excited about representing the firm and diving right in and then attorneys, the partners, don’t seem to really be on board with it. “I’ve got too much to do.” That’s understandable, but it’s a problem that holds back and it’s that missing link that, I think, prevents some legal marketing efforts from going from 20 miles an hour to 50 or 60 miles an hour, is not having that group involved.

    This takes time but a few tips that I’ve seen work is, enlist senior partners in that process. Enlist junior partners, also, but once you’re engaging the senior partners and they are “encouraging” the junior partners or the associates to be involved in this, the more of a snowball effect you can get. Training and educating. Once they’re able to see how this works and some of the efforts that have materialized as a result of investing in this activity, that can result, once they understand the possibilities and that it’s not just for teenage bloggers, then they begin to come on board and then become real cheerleaders. I’ve seen that happen. Showing the link between activity and efficiency. Everyone is pressed for time but if you can demonstrate that this will help you be more efficient with your business development or help you to be on the pathway to getting more attention from people, that’s helpful.

    Then, also, that people buy from people. When I see law firms get business it’s usually because the attorney gets the business. Not always the case, obviously. The brand is important, who they are, and the cache, and the history, and the longevity, credibility. All those things are important, but I often see a problem referred to someone that I know, someone who I go to church with or someone that I know from playing golf or someone I’ve traveled with or met. I know that person. If you encourage them that it’s not just that the company, or the firm, social media presence has a couple of new posts on it. It’s that you are out there and you’re active as an attorney and the people that you are connected with are seeing what you’re doing and they’re keeping you top of mind by sharing content, not advertisements, not hire me. I see that and that doesn’t look good. It’s, “Here’s something that just happened, alimony reform. This is what just occurred at the state level. Might want to be concerned about this. Here’s what you need to know.” Those are the things that drive engagement.

    Then, also, appeal to the competitive element. Most attorneys, if not all attorneys, I know are pretty competitive people. Showing them what other firms are doing or successes that other attorneys are having oftentimes drives activity. Here’s the other one, often an overwhelmed staff. “Okay, we’re in on this, but where do we start? How do we get our arms around all this effort? We’ve got writing. We’ve got posting. We’ve got timelines. We’ve got sponsorships. We’ve got responding to feedback. We have policy. We have planning.” The list goes on and on. That can very quickly overwhelm an internal staff. A lot of times inside a small firm that might just be part of the administrator’s job. Larger firms might have a team and it’s still a big effort when you’ve two or three or four people inside your firm looking at the marketing.

    Here are a couple of things. Look before you leap. Before you just jump in plan a few things you might want to do. Start small. Think about where you could start with one channel or one post a month. You might ultimately want to be at four or five posts or six posts a month along with a presence on LinkedIn, a presence on Twitter, a presence on Facebook, but starting small and thinking: crawl, walk, run. Developing a content calendar, which is on your list here.

    Most of you are pretty familiar, I’m sure, with what an editorial or a content calendar is, but it’s just planning out a year in advance, or six months in advance, “Here are the things we want to talk about as they relate to what’s going on around us.” It might be the legislative session that you want to tie in to. It might be events that are happening here locally that you want to tie in to. It might be cases that you’ve won or been awarded. Having a calendar to help you schedule out when these things need to happen helps to reduce that feeling of anxiety of, “What am I going to post next week?” Just think about it in advance.

    Also, engage others in the process. This really should be a joint effort across your firm. If you don’t have the resources internally to do it you engage others sometimes. That’s why people like me have jobs. If we don’t have the resources we’ll find someone who does, either a freelancer or a firm that can help us with this. My caveat to that is, don’t give the strategy part to an intern or a student just because they know how to use Facebook and post something. That’s something that I use as a refrain sometimes. One of our most popular blog posts has been about social media and interns, because it often can go wrong.

    Then, also, use tools like HootSuite and Sprout Social. If you haven’t heard of those tools, they are platforms that allow you to manage all these social media accounts across your enterprise so you don’t have to feel like you’ve got to memorize every password and go to this application and that application. It’s not as simple as I’m making it sound but there are tools that help you to do that. The other thing I see a lot is boring content. This is hard because how do you make things interesting? We struggle with the same thing. We see more success out of posts that aren’t just about marketing, but they’re about marketing and something else that people find interesting.

    I saw the stadium, the Orlando City soccer stadium, on the horizon. We recently did a post on marketing and the success of the marketing efforts of Orlando City Soccer. That’s been one of our most popular posts. It’s gotten a lot of attention. We like to think it’s because we’re great, but we really know it’s because people are interested in this town in the phenomenon of Orlando City Soccer. Like a newspaper, we actually called them and interviewed them and did some analysis. There’s no reason you all can’t be doing that. We find those kinds of posts are more interesting to people. How do you do that? Back to this idea of content marketing, don’t advertise, but think about something that will inform or influence the audience.

    Another thing we encourage you to do is to profile your different audience segments. Think about your areas of law that you practice. I made this up, but you got Herb, Nancy, and Thomas. Herb is 64. Nancy is 29. Thomas is 42. Herb is about to retire, Nancy is about to get married, and Thomas is in-house council for a publicly-traded corporation. The motivational overview, or what they care about: Herb is interested in estate planning issues as he heads into retirement. That’s what’s on Herb’s mind right now. Nancy is interested in the ins and outs of prenuptial agreements as she prepares for marriage. That may be something that hopefully she doesn’t have to worry about, but family law is family law. Thomas wants to know more about creative ways to manage his caseload effectively because he’s got all these cases that he’s managing and dealing with and he’s trying to figure out how to do that better, how to do it more efficiently. A law firm is in the position to answer all these questions because those are the ones that are being asked.

    Again, if the attorneys want traffic from Google they have to produce content that is interesting. They can’t produce content that’s interesting unless we know who these people are and we’ve really thought about what it is they care about. That’s the essence, in my opinion, of how you develop a good corporate blog. As you look at this intersection about what’s happening in your business or your firm and what these people actually care about. It’s an overlap. There’s a small area. It’s not everything you do as a firm, and it’s not everything they care about, but let’s look at the motivational profile of our prospects, or our clients, and then let’s figure out, how do we write content to those pieces, to those areas of their concern or their interest.

    Here’s just some dos and don’ts in general. I don’t know if that’s easy for you to see. On the left side is the things you should write about. The right side is things you shouldn’t write about. These are based upon what we see. Let’s start with what you shouldn’t write about, because we don’t care, back to the what do we care about. We don’t care about staff birthdays or summer vacations or a profile on the interns or your favorite coffee drink or your pet names, hobbies, off topic musing, or how great you think the firm is. We’ll be the judge of that, as consumers, of how great you are.

    You’ve got to be in a position where you talk about things that really matter, that they care about, things like industry shifts or problems that you have solved recently; ideas that help your clients prepare either for tax season or a change that’s happening in the environment with regard to eminent domain, any of these areas, alimony reform is another one; third party endorsements that you have, to the extent you can do that within your Bar regulations; testimonials; important personnel changes that you’ve made; new products or services; or just anything original where you’ve just said, “I think our client base as a whole is interested in this. We should be the ones writing about it, even though we’re a law firm and that doesn’t feel necessarily right. If we can tie our business to a topic of interest then we’re in a very good position.” That’s what I have in terms of misconceptions. Thank you very much.

  2. 2015 Marketing Campaigns We Loved

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    Did you know that every time a bell rings a marketing campaign gets its wings? Well, maybe the wings part is fiction, but they sure do sprout into this world at a rapid pace. With 365 days for different marketing initiatives across a variety of mediums (think email, web, social, native, etc.), there are plenty. Here’s a little breakdown on digital campaigns we FOUND and think WON this year.

    Geico’s Unskippable YouTube Ads

    If you’re like me and every other person I know, you typically tune out the preroll ads on YouTube right when you click play. You know they’re coming up, so you check out for a couple of seconds until you’re ready to watch your intended video. Knowing this, Geico’s marketing team opted to strategically alter their content to combat this issue.

    What Geico did was hook the viewer during the first five seconds, knowing that if they couldn’t get them then, they’ve lost them forever (or until the desired and intended video starts). They did this by creating digital ads that concentrated all messaging efforts on the first five seconds of the video while rolling funny, albeit ridiculous, footage afterwards for pure entertainment purposes. The real pull was that these ads put a new spin on preroll video and grabbed the attention of Geico’s peers, other digital marketing strategy agencies and yours truly. Check out one of the videos below for yourself.

    Domino’s Tweet-to-Order

    Pizza. Check. Twitter. Check. Emojis. Huh?

    pizza emoji

     

    You would think I was checking off a weird lunch/work list, but no, it’s just me talking about the Domino’s 2015 campaign and long-term strategy that struck a chord with millennials and more. Speaking to the five seconds that resonated with Geico, Domino’s understands that getting your message across in a clear, concise and clever way matters more now than ever. They also understand that ease and speed is more important to customers than ever too. Understanding that, they’ve given the ability to TWEET AN ORDER FOR PIZZA IN JUST ONE EMOJI. Right? It amazes me too. We might not be living the Jetson’s lifestyle I thought we would be by now, but we can tweet for pizza! That’s a win in my book, as it’s way more efficient than signing in online or calling in an order.

    All you need to do is register your Twitter handle on your Domino’s Pizza Profile. You can then tweet the pizza emoji or #EasyOrder to the Domino’s Twitter handle and, BOOM, you get a direct message confirming your order. Then pizza will be on its way to your home, office, bodega, wherever. Joy!

    This newfound system is a part of Domino’s AnyWare ordering technology. Not only can you order food from your computer and phone, but your smartwatch and smart TV as well. The digital options are nearly endless.

    The future is here my friends.

    Always “Like a Girl”

    A smart and heart-tugging campaign will, of course, be in the mix. You’ve got funny (the Geico campaign), the genius tech-centric (the Domino’s one) and now you have the smart, empowering and beautiful one.

    The Always “Like a Girl” campaign did exactly what it intended to:

    • Brought attention to the limitations put on girls by social norms
    • Established Always as an ambassador for equality

    The campaign first drew attention on SuperBowl weekend, with the Always 60-second spot airing during the big game. The reason this commercial stood out in its time slot was that it was so different from any of the previously played commercials. The spot challenged the idea that doing something “like a girl” is an insult, which is what it’s commonly thought of. Instead, it promoted the idea that anything performed “like a girl” could and should be associated with strength.

    The video was inspired by a study sponsored by Always. The results found that more than half of the respondents experienced reduced confidence during puberty, which occurs between the ages of 10-14 in girls. At the start of the video, it shows a group of kids, ages 10-14, acting out what “like a girl” means when speaking about certain activities. Those in this group presented themselves as weaker when acting out what “like a girl” means. When asking a younger group, the individual kids responded with assertiveness and power, showing the strength in what being a girl means and is.

    Social experiment campaigns (remember Dove’s Real Beauty?) that help shift social norms to a positive are always something that we can back…like a girl. 😉 WINNING!

    The above are just some of the many smart and creative campaigns that have grabbed our attention this year as the time ticks towards 2016. We hope the campaigns of the future present us with many more thoughtful, smart, creative and engaging campaigns to look forward to. Remember, the foundation of these campaigns is always a strong marketing strategy.

  3. 5 Reasons Your Business Should Scope Out Periscope

    Submerged in a barren sea off the coast of a frigid, fortified enemy stronghold, the ping ping ping of an oncoming destroyer alerts your naval crew of the imminent doom you and your shipmates will face if you can’t get a visual. In that steamy, cacophonous tube of steel and explosives, your one chance at survival is within arm’s reach. You whip out your iPhone 6 Plus and open the Periscope app: the Internet HAS to see this!

    Periscope for Business

    OK, so Periscope is of zero use to WWII-era submarine battles, but it can be of great, powerful use to your business. For the uninformed, Periscope is a relatively new app that allows users to stream live video at anytime, right from their cell phones. With an Internet connection, a user at Mardi Gras in New Orleans can stream shenanigans to an Irish sheepherder in Kerry. Other livestream services have been around for ages (see Twitch), but this app is one of the first to get mobile streaming right.

    Linked with a Twitter account, you can alert Followers and strangers alike to experience something with you, live. Viewers can “Heart” your stream as some positive feedback, or even comment directly via text-based messages that appear over your stream.

    Cool, but what the heck can it do for my business?

    Well, dear reader, I’m glad you asked:

    • Wizard of OzBehind-the-Scenes: People love to look behind the Wizard of Oz’s curtain. Let viewers get a peek behind the magic of what your business creates or provides. You may think it’s boring, every-day blahness, but your audience may have never known that you have to pull the big red lever to make the doohickey on the assembly line. Be sure to keep business secrets secret, but let people in a little for some great interactivity opportunities.
    • Q&A: Speaking of interactivity, there’s nothing as honest and transparent as a question and answer segment done live. Of course, the on-camera personality will have to be comfortable potentially answering difficult questions (or ignoring Internet vitriol), but you can even come with a prepared list of questions and disable commenting if you work in an especially controversial industry.
    • Take on Topics: Feature a regular “show” in which you discuss the latest news and innovations in your industry. This is not only great for brainstorming and staying up-to-date in your industry, but also can position your company as a thought leader.
    • Lead by Example: Leadership and management can host a quick lesson session, in which they share an industry insight with the audience. If someone from your leadership team is also speaking at an event, it’s a great chance to share awesome insights.
    • Be a Showoff: If you or your team frequent expos, trade shows or other similar events, document your time by streaming speeches and booth activities, or even providing a comprehensive review of the event after its conclusion. This may help expose your brand to new audiences.

    Another benefit to note: all of your streams can be saved within your phone for use on YouTube or another video service.

    Periscope doesn’t come without some dangers, however. Due to its live nature, you must always be careful to only choose team members that can exemplify the professional values that your business holds. Rule of thumb: Potty-mouthed Paula may not be a great choice to host your Q&A segment. Also, with comments enabled, you may bump into the ugly, belligerent underbelly of the Internet. Never acknowledge abusive comments and, if necessary, stop the stream and restart with comments disabled.

    Like any new-ish social media channel, only time will tell if Periscope rises above the waters of app oblivion or sinks into eventual obscurity. For now, however, it can be a powerful, innovative tool for nearly any business looking to expand its reach, tell its story or share its insights.

  4. 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. 

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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.