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State of Social (July 2019)

State of Social (July 2019)

International Foodie Management, The Buffalo Rose Restaurant and Influencer Marketing Tips!

Twitter Lists: Marie Kondo that Twitter Feed

Twitter Lists: Marie Kondo that Twitter Feed

There’s no better time than the present to declutter your Twitter feed. We take a look at how you can leverage Twitter lists to have more meaningful conversation with your followers.

Budgeting for Social Ads

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Budgeting for Social Ads

With the ever changing newsfeed one thing has become apparent, to stay in front of your audience you need to set aside ad dollars. Let's get down to it - so how much is it going to cost?

1. Industry matters.

If you're B2B plan on spending between $1 - $3 per engagement. If you're B2C cost per engagement will most likely run you $.30 - $60. I often say the more "fun" your business is (think food, spirits, fashion), the less money you'll need to spend.

2. Networks matter.

Whether you are B2B or B2C, Facebook tends to be the most cost efficient when it comes to social ads, followed by Twitter and then LinkedIn. This has held consistently true no matter what the industry. Facebook also allows integration of Instagram with its ad platform, so you can target two networks at once.

That said, if you can't find your audience easily through Facebook targeting, it may be worth spending the extra money on Twitter and LinkedIn. At the end of the day you want your message to reach the right people, even if that means fewer people overall.

3. Goals matter.

What's your ask? If you want people to click to an external website you'll probably pay more. If you want people to commit to liking your page versus liking a boosted post you'll also pay a slightly higher premium. The larger the "ask," the more you'll need to budget.

4. Reach matters.

Like any traditional ad buy, the more people you want to reach, the more it will cost you. I recommend a minimum $50 a month ad buy to clients. This allows you to boost two posts a week at $5 reaching around 1,000 - 3,000 people based on your targeting goals.

Social ads are accessible, easy to create and a must in today's world of social media marketing. Make sure you carve out budget to support your content, otherwise you may be talking to yourself.

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Do you really need Facebook ads? Yes.

Remember when Facebook ads used to be a nice to have? If you want to reach even a third of your fanbase those days are over. As Facebook decreases the organic reach of pages you can expect less than 10% of your fans to see your content. Here are a few strategies for tackling the ever decreasing organic reach.  

  • Budget for ads. Simple enough. You need to carve out a certain amount of dollars to get the content that matters most in front of your fans. Whether that be specials sales or a new product. Consider boosting at least one post weekly to keep top of mind. The good news is you don't have to throw thousands of dollars behind a buy, depending on your audience size, sometimes $5 a post will do.

 

  • Diversify. Sure Facebook-owned Instagram will probably follow suit in a year but in the meantime see what kind of organic exposure you can gain. Twitter has an ad product but as of now they aren't "editing" your stream the way Facebook does. That said the Twitter stream moves so quickly it self-edits in a way. Pinterest is testing ads and favoring those with a bit of development prowess - rich pins rule - but you don't have to advertise at this point in order to get seen.

 

  • Create content your fans want to share. Even if a mere 5% of your fanbase is seeing it, if your content is good that 5% may share expanding your reach.

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Why Pinning is Winning

Pinterest recently moved into the Number 3 spot for social networks, which means a newbie like Pinterest is actually doing better than a giant like Google+. Aside from the fact that it is one of the fastest growing websites to ever hit the interwebs, why should you care?

1. The studies are still rolling in, but Pinterest does an amazing job at driving traffic back to web sites. The whole point of Pinterest is to bookmark web sites, but bookmark them in a much more visually interesting way. Whereas Facebook tends to work inside its own eco-system and Twitter tends to link to more news sites and blogs, Pinterest is there to capture more of the lifestyle links. We aren't necessarily learning about the latest volcanic explosion as it happens, but we are able to see a really enticing recipe or cute new spring dress.

2. The visual world is becoming more important. We've seen that Facebook posts with images tend to perform better than text-only posts, but on Pinterest if you don't have a good visual, you really don't have much. Remember if you want people to be driven to your site, you have to host interesting visuals on your site. If you're a clothing store who is constantly updating new images and styles online you are set. For the rest of us, that's something to think about.

3. The big dogs are already jumping on board. Quite often you'll see these new networks that never go anywhere, but Pinterest was smart enough to leverage what is already working to gain a mass quantity of users quickly. (In order to create an account you are prompted to use your Twitter or Facebook log-in which then allows you to see which of your friends/followers are also on Pinterest). You'll also see that some companies, like Lowe's, have begun using the "P" logo on the bottom of their ads. It's fresh, it's new and it's very relevant to women in their 20s and 30s.

4. Facebook and Twitter have been very popular for a very long time, at least "long" in terms of the tech world. When you see a network explode in the way that Pinterest has, it is something to take notice. Inevitably, things are going to shift. I'm not saying Facebook is going away tomorrow by any means, but I do think Pinterest has made a big enough splash for you to think about the ways your business could leverage it.

 

Old School Message Boards - Yep, I'm Pregnant.

Message boards? Those are so 1990's errr...was it early 2000's? If I was giving advice to a client I would definitely steer them toward something more modern. Set up a Facebook page, hop on Twitter, Pin something for goodness sake. But I have a confession to make. I've been spending more time on Message Boards than I have any other social network lately. Why the throwback, you may ask? I'm pregnant. Yes, it is true, and I am trolling the mommy boards on the What to Expect When You're Expecting site like no other. At first I was just a lurker, but now I'm a poster. I'm asking questions about which stroller to buy, whether or not I need to strap my baby on to me and if so, what do I do with the other one? (Did I mention it is twins?)

I have to admit these Boards are extremely useful, and here's why.

1. Anonymity. I don't want to be friends with these ladies on Facebook. Maybe it's their hormones or maybe they always skew toward the unhappy, but there are some "feisty" women on these boards. The Forum / Message Board function allows me to get what I need out of it without getting personal.

2. Common bonds. These ladies are just as obsessed/terrified/excited as me. We are all going through this new experience together. All due in July. And despite differences in personalities, political views, geography, all feeling the same aches and pains. Forums are great for bringing people together with a strong common interest.

3. Separation from my "social" social world. I'm not a big fan of posting every day about my pregnancy. I have a few photos of me pregnant but that's only because I went on vacation and happened to be pregnant. It gets to be overload when your friends share every moment of their pregnancy, soon to be followed by every moment of their labor and new child. I've been on the receiving end of the newsfeed and I swore I wouldn't do it. The forums allow me to have a place strictly for baby comments and for people who actually care about baby stuff.

4. You get to learn a new language. You know you're a part of an intense community when you have to learn the lingo to participate. DD (Darling Daughter), MIL (Mother In Law), FTM (First Time Mom), TTC (Trying to Conceive). I could go on and on. It took me awhile but I am in. It's kind of a barrier to entry, and inevitably some newbie will get on and actually ask what everything means. Please, you think these ladies are going to take the time to explain? You need to figure that one out. It's a rite of passage.

5. You get to listen in. Marketers should be here. I can't help it. Even when talking about my pepperoncini cravings I'm thinking with my marketing hat on. If I was a company in the baby products industry or even a doctor I would be listening on this board like no other. The women are constantly talking about their needs, recommending products, complaining about OB GYNs. It's like Yelp, Urbanspoon and TripAdvisor rolled up into one for the baby industry. Trust me, you want in on this conversation.

I'm not saying abandon Facebook or Twitter by any means. What I am saying is find the online communities where your hard core consumers are having an in-depth conversation and you'll find rich insights and feedback to be had. Maybe you can host one yourself (more tricky when they know the brand is listening) or maybe you can just be a fly on the wall, but don't disregard this space, unless you can't stomach all the husband bashing, odes to Taco Bell and Mother In Law rants. In which case, I completely understand.

Facebook and Twitter - the Conversation Bandwagon

I’m a firm believer that you should treat your Facebook and Twitter content differently. Don’t link them up. They are two different audiences and two different platforms. That’s just being lazy, no matter how much you tell yourself you’re being efficient. My belief was confirmed as Valentine’s Day rolled around and then Mardi Gras. Something struck me as I saw brands and people posting about the various holidays – on Twitter it benefits you to join in on the conversation, while on Facebook it can hurt you to be the same.

Here’s why: If there are 30 posts referencing Valentine’s Day on Facebook your post may very well be tucked into a grouping of all the others who posted about Valentine’s Day. Facebook groups similar topics together on your newsfeed. Great for the user but for a brand trying to break through,not so much.

Twitter is totally different. If Valentine’s Day is trending because so many people are talking about it, you should leverage keywords like Valentine’s Day. People who currently don’t follow you but are searching the topic or clicking on the trending topic, will then find you.

Long story short – find ways to stand out on Facebook to get your spot in the newsfeed, and find ways to jump in on Twitter to be a part of the larger conversation and gain more exposure.

Just another reason you should really treat your Twitter and Facebook management differently.

Social Media - Five Predictions for 2012

Another year, another step closer to viewing social media less as a newfangled technology and more as a must-have in your marketing plan. My 5 predictions for social in 2012. Feel free to add yours! 1. Going beyond the blue F. Yes, you have a tiny blue "F" at the bottom of your ad perhaps a tiny blue bird as well. While it's a good reminder to consumers to look for you in the social space it's kind of passe. People expect you to be there and people expect you to be listening. In 2012 I believe the companies who are doing it "right" will give people a reason to visit their page, use their hashtag, or take that extra step. Some will integrate it into a campaign - visit us on Facebook and tell us why you love to drive your Honda - others will wave a reward to lure people in - follow us on Twitter for breaking airline deals. Either way, you need to give a reason, the blue F isn't enough anymore.

2. Interests are key. Facebook will continue to be the keeper of our personal memories, stashed away in a beautiful timeline, but the other space to play in for social networks is our personal interests. Twitter has capitalized on this and the emerging network Pinterest is also quickly gaining ground. When we want to take a break from our friends and selfishly look at what interests us, these types of networks will be where we go. Facebook tried to tap into this with its subscribe button, but posts on your interests are often overwhelmed in your newsfeed by your friends' activity. I believe they are two separate needs, and ultimately two platforms.

3. Social will continue to be an important voice. From the upcoming election to unrest in the Middle East, social media will  be the people's voice and play an important role in social change.

4. Mobile, mobile, mobile. Social media will be how we show the world what we are seeing, hearing, feeling while we are on the go. From pictures to check-ins to status updates, social will continue to be our voice on the run, our source of news, our quick hellos, our way to kill five minutes in the waiting room. The big networks will continue to invest in their mobile platforms and you'll start seeing more mobile ads on social networks.

5. Getting help. Companies will continue to have that a-ha moment when they realize that social takes time and they need to either staff up or outsource. At first they'll try to save a few dollars and pawn it off on the intern. Then they'll realize their intern may know his/her way around Facebook but is not quite yet a marketing genius and get someone with more experience. It seems to be the path most businesses go. What I predict you'll see is more affordable social marketing support in the next year. Smaller agencies who will run your Twitter, Facebook accounts for a reasonable amount.

My five predictions, let's hear yours.

 

 

Experiencing 9/11 in a Pre-Social Media World

As we approach the 10th anniversary of 9/11 two things struck me - 1. How would it have been different if social media had been around? 2. I still was carrying a lot of emotion when it came to 9/11. Everyone has a story of where they were when 9/11 happened. It didn't matter if you lived in Manhattan or Des Moines, Iowa, your world suddenly stopped that day. I had just moved back from New York City to my hometown of Chicago a month before it happened. I did know people who lost loved ones from 9/11 and I did feel a sense of guilt for leaving the city behind.

I found out about the attacks when my father called me at work. He had been home watching the news and called when the first tower was struck. I kind of brushed him off because I was busy and had no idea the impact of what he was talking about. He called back when the attacks continued and I began to worry because his voice was wobbling. After all dads don't cry often. At least my Dad doesn't. I remember hanging up the phone and watching the office file one by one into the conference room where there was a TV. We were all watching in horror before they made the announcement to evacuate the building. There was a mad rush as we tried to get away from the tall skyscrapers of downtown to the train station. It was the longest elevator ride down 21 floors I had ever experienced.

Once home, I remember trying to call my friends back in New York and not being able to get through to any of them. All the phone lines were tied up and at the time texting never crossed my mind. It was a helpless feeling to not be able to connect.

Fast forward 10 years, and I truly believe that if I received the same call from my father today, Twitter would have been one of the first places I checked for news and Facebook the first place to check on my friends. Imagine going through half your phone list calling them  one-by-one versus scanning a newsfeed and knowing instantly. Sure Facebook could feel less personal then a phone call but at that time it wasn't about being personal it was just about knowing he or she was alive.

We've seen how people have used social media to connect over and over when disaster strikes from cleaning up cities post riot in London to posting a lost and found on Facebook after tornadoes struck the South. Social has allowed us to organize quickly, connect no matter what the distance and "see" the disaster firsthand through the tweets, posts and pictures of those on the ground.

Part of me is glad social wasn't around when 9/11 hit because it was so horrific. Part of me wish it had existed so I could have received more answers more quickly.  Either way I'm taking time to deal with some emotions (to feel, not wallow) on Sunday and to be grateful for all the good that has happened these last ten years.

How do you think 9/11 would have been different if social media was around?

 

Using Twitter to Gain New Business

As social evolves, businesses and organizations are becoming more savvy on how they use social to reach goals. Here are two ways to use Twitter to get new business: The Passive Approach: Position yourself as an expert to get referrals. Follow others in your field, create an industry specific list, tweet from conferences, share news articles on relevant topics. Be the expert of whatever it is that you're passionate about. It's important to try to be specific about your expertise, so you can make yourself easy to find. If I'm a lawyer then don't just talk about law in general but make your Twitter handle reflect the type of law you practice and the industry you focus on.

The Aggressive Approach: Go find your customer.The search function is highly underused by most companies in their Twitter strategy. Not that you want to cyberstalk people by any means, but it would be nice to find people who fit your customer profile and let them know you are out there.

If you are a restaurant with a focus on healthy, low-cal, fresh food , search for people in your area who are tweeting about exercising, use the term “fit” or perhaps even “diet.”  Reach out to them by following with the hopes you’ll peak their interest and get a follow back. It’s not about spamming someone, it’s about delivering content to someone who has similar interests and has given you permission to share in those interests via a follow.

What other ways have you seen Twitter used to gain business?

Google + = Twitter Plus Facebook

Google + has been a bit of a roller coaster for me. At first the high of getting in, the rush of the potential, the excitement of circles and then the low when I realized my friends are still elsewhere. It's an unusual network where you can be followed without following - a la Twitter - but it also looks a heck of a lot like Facebook not only in design but in the fact that it houses all of your info - photos, videos, likes/pluses.

My biggest struggle thus far is who to follow. I've used a weird methodology to following people - if we're already friends on Facebook, it is a no-brainer, they are in a circle.  If I follow them on Twitter it's okay for me to follow on Google + probably. I feel a little awkward. I'm trying not to follow anyone I'm not already following on one of the other two networks quite yet....seems a bit intrusive and I just don't want to be that creepy person that evokes the reaction - who the heck is this? Although I'm sure it has already happened.

In terms of content shared, Google + also raised some questions. On Twitter we're sharing links, brief comments and the occasional Twitpic, but all and all it can be somewhat impersonal. And then there's Facebook which if I really break it down feels like my online diary of sorts - I'm sharing info on relationships, vacation photos, events I've attended, birthday wishes.

So where does Google + fit in? Is this my new diary or is this my new means of keeping up with interesting articles from strangers who share similar passions?  It seems like a mish mash of both - my worlds are colliding.

For now, I'm keeping my eye on Google + and going to continue to navigate, but I'm not quitting Facebook or Twitter yet. At least I know how to behave and what to expect on those platforms. And best of all, everyone is in their proper place.

Social Media: Dealing with Non-Believers

While pitching new business I've realized that people have very different perceptions when it comes to social. I'm sure people had these same questions when PR first came into play and perhaps even advertising. The age-old "do we have to do that? I think we can make do with what we've always done" will always be some people's attitudes. But social media is at a place and time where it is now at least being talked about, thought about, shunned by some and embraced by others. Here are three different attitudes toward social and my suggestions for approaching them whether it is new business or upper management.

There are the believers. They've seen how social media can build loyalty, handle customer service issues and transform relationships. They understand that social media is most powerful when it works hand in hand with traditional efforts. They don't feel threatened, they embrace it and dive into the data.

Advice: For these folks, make sure they set realistic, measurable goals tied to business sales that can make other non-believers in the company understand. It's important that the entire organization gets behind social media and integrates it into advertising, research, etc.

There are those who are still on the fence. You can hear them saying: "Okay, so this is more than a fad, but I'm not sure it really does anything for my bottom line. Seems like a bunch of people wasting time online."

Advice: Show them what people are saying about their brands online. Explain how the word of mouth newsfeed works. Too often we assume people know and understand the impact of a brand/business mention on social.

And there are the anti-social. I'm not saying they are hermits, I'm just saying you won't find them using a hashtag anytime in the near future.

Advice: Do what you can to get them on social media. Without getting your hands dirty, social is a hard thing to wrap your head around no matter how many presentations you sit through. There is a a-ha moment that happens somewhere between a poke on Facebook and claiming a deal on Foursquare.

Any other advice you'd like to share?

Co-creating with customers. Give it a whirl.

There has been a lot of talk about revolts lately from serious political movements like Libya and Egypt to important, but less life threatening revolts like the Union struggle and even the NFL...which is important I suppose if you are a huge Colts fan like my husband. I would argue that consumers have been on a revolt of their own for the last few years using social media as a tool, but unlike the Middle East unrest, it has been easy for corporations to turn their heads and pretend it isn't going on.

Here is what I believe consumers are fighting:

- One sided marketing messages that are being forced down their throats at in opportune times (ie - uninteresting ads in the middle of your favorite TV show)

- Hearing recommendations or benefits of a product/service  from the same company who is selling it. (of course you'll say good things)

- Not having a voice. (will this company ever respond?)

Along comes social media and suddenly consumers can connect and share opinions, recommendations and experiences easier than ever before. They also have unprecedented access to companies and organizations without having to call into a 1-800 number or being lost in a sea of  "contact us" emails.

Despite the fact this has been going on for a few years now most companies are still spending a large amount of money on traditional advertising. While there's no doubt that TV or magazines reach a ton of people, producing ads the same way you've always done it doesn't really cut it.

So who is doing it well?

Kraft's experiment with Mac & Cheese and Twitter was a nice attempt at co-creating with consumers to produce a spot (the company took a tweet about Mac & Cheese and formed a commercial around it).  While I'm sure there are some tweaks and learnings it was the most interesting mac and cheese commercial I've seen in a while and they still got the fancy glossy food shot at the end.

Old Spice's response to consumers via short videos was engaging and fresh, not to mention extremely buzz worthy.

Jimmy John's is putting customer quotes on its outdoor boards.

Miracle Whip is enlisting everyday joes to proclaim their love or hatred for the product via short spots on YouTube.

Nationwide is inserting consumers or at least Pam..er.. NationPam into its commercial (kind of awkward, but props for trying).

Companies that are taking that first step forward are letting the consumer have a say from the get go. Like in any revolt or conflict there are bound to be negotiations, new ways of looking at things and chances to  give and take. Think about ways you can let your customers or members help co-create. It's a new era and I have a feeling that those who play nicely will be nicely rewarded.

Gottfried and Chrysler Twitter Mishap

I feel for the social media agency rep who was fired by Chrysler this month for writing disparaging remarks about Detroit. That rep not only lost his job but his error was smeared across the traditional news.  Gilbert Gottfried also caught heat this month when he made jokes about Japan. While wrong, he is a comedian and comedians tend to push the line on current events and topics we don't talk about. It's kind of what they do. So when Aflac axed him, his Twitter jokes had cost him a pretty penny I'm sure. (I had no idea he was their spokesperson in the first place). So what can you do to make sure you don't end up with a Tweet mishap? Here are a few tips:

1. Put your client/work Twitter handle on a separate app then your personal Twitter account. With so many Twitter apps out there, you have plenty of options and you can make sure you don't have the wrong account selected before you tweet. It's actually quite easy to do, especially on mobile.

2. Know who is handling your account. I've heard too many people say: "We'll just give this duty to an intern." Would you let an intern produce your TV ad?  How about design your point of sale? Twitter, or any social media for that matter, can reach large amounts of people quickly, and traditional media seems to love to highlight social mishaps which translates into more bad press.

3. Check out your spokesperson before you sign them up. Twitter allows us a sneak peek into celebrities lives more than ever. Follow them for a bit and see what types of things they post before you engage with them in an offline deal. If you don't like what they say before you sign the contract you probably won't like it after.

Final words of advice - be kind. We're all human and I guarantee we're all going to have a social blunder somewhere along the way. You know just like how we all have our email nightmare stories - replying to all, copying the wrong person, etc.  When it happens take the necessary steps but try to be gentle.

Any other tips?

Social Gives Sheen a Stage

Call him crazy, call him a fad, but Charlie Sheen has been able to leverage social media to stick it to the man. Social has done two things for Charlie - 1. It has provided him a platform to tell his story after the traditional news segment has ended, and 2. It has  created new news for Charlie so he can continue to get airtime (ie) his record Twitter follower success - 1 million followers in 24 hours. Ten years ago it is quite possible that Charlie Sheen would have had his story played out over a few days and we would have moved on to another celebrity tragedy, but in today's world where social media gives a platform for anyone to have a voice, Charlie is stretching his rant and raves out as long as possible. Who knows...Sheen's Corner on UStream may end up getting just as many views as Two and a Half Men one day. Perhaps it already has.

The Sheen ordeal is an important reminder that Social Media is a powerful tool which allows you to tell your story in your own words to an enormous number of people.   As marketers, you may never have a chance to grab the spotlight in the exact same way Sheen is doing so now, but there are lessons to be learned.

1. Content is king. Be interesting, slightly unpredictable, creative and fun. #tigerblood

2. Seize the moment. If there's a time when large amounts of people are talking or thinking about your brand, jump in on it and have a voice. It is better to lead the conversation then let others talk about you behind your back.

3. When traditional media puts up a wall - you can't get a reporter to call back, or you've tapped out all your appearances, interview ops -look to social to create new news or to start your own "news" channel.

4. Try to get traditional and social media to work together to really amplify your message.  (ie) CNN promotes your Twitter handle, and you promote your CNN apperance on Twitter.

Who knows how this will end for Charlie.  Good or bad, thanks to social media and the lack of a PR person, he's going out guns blazing, and something tells me people kind of respect him for it.

Why Social is so Important to Your Marketing Mix

Most people know social is important even if they aren't active users. They've heard the names Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn enough to know this little thing called social seems more than a fad. But what they don't always think about is why social is so powerful in the marketing mix. If you think about the frequency and length of time to which consumers permit brands to speak to them social blows any other marketing channel out of the water.

Think about it, if you sent an email three times a week to your consumers, you surely would get a lot of unsubscribes. If you secure a great article or TV spot using PR you'd get a quick pop of interest, but it would soon be replaced by the next day's headlines.  Social, done right, allows you to speak with a consumer multiple times a week for long periods of time.

When it comes to investment social isn't totally free but the cost of creating compelling content will still pale in comparison to producing a TV spot. You also have a better chance at reaching people via social - less competition. TV is so fragmented that even with a large investment you are competing with hundreds of channels. People spend more time on Facebook than any other site and more than 80% of their time is spent on the newsfeed page. What does that mean? If you can get people to follow you, the chances of them seeing your message is quite high.

If done right, social has the power to allow you to talk more often, for longer periods of time than any other part of your marketing mix. It also allows you to have a two-way conversation and gives you the ability to listen in. Not bad. Not bad at all.