It has been such a long time since I’ve posted on socialallie.com. Shame on me! Here’s the deal – Most of my blogging efforts are now through db&r. As their Social Media Specialist, I curate and write for our blog (sixstoriesup.com). I’m still writing!
So, while I think about my next post exclusively for socialallie.com, I thought I’d share some of the most recent blogs I’ve posted for db&r.
It’s All Relative – Social Media Engagement To Stand The Test Of Time | Nov. 6, 2012
Today, I turn 26 years old. Maybe you think I’m pretty young… or just maybe you’re thinking that’s the perfect age (and I’m hoping this is the case!). As I prepared for a simultaneous election and birth-day, I began reflecting on what it means to be 26 in a “social” world: how has my social media use changed over time; how do I use use social media differently from my parents, my older sister, and my co-workers; and most importantly for us at db&r, what does all this mean for social media marketers? Continue Reading…
Must-Read Posts: Presidential Debate, Social TV, Social Style, Pinterest & More | Oct. 18, 2012
It’s been a busy week (well, couple of months really) here at db&r. Even still, we always make time to stay in touch with the latest online conversations. Here are some of our favorite blog posts, articles, or videos from the week so far: Continue Reading…
Five for Friday: 5 Mac Memories in Remembrance of Steve Jobs | Oct. 5, 2012
It’s exactly one year after one of the greatest innovators of our time passed away – Steve Jobs. When we realized it had already been a year since he passed, we had nothing but memories of our first interactions with Apple. So, for this week’s Five for Friday we pulled together our first Macintosh memories. Continue Reading…
Myspace Redesigns & Repositions: New Myspace Features [Slideshow] | Sept. 27, 2012
A few days ago Justin Timberlake tweeted a link to what I call “the little video that could,” which recaps the new Myspace design as well as some of its functionality. This video has the whole social media world tweeting up a storm. And why? Not just because of its “sexy” design. It’s how the brand seems to be repositioning itself as more of a partner to Facebook and Twitter than a replacement. This move could potentially allow the network to penetrate the mass market…quickly. Continue Reading…
Google Reader & Marketing Your Brand: Why & How to Use RSS Feeds & Google Reader | Sept. 10, 2012
Google Reader has been around since a beta was launched in Google Labs in 2005 – I first started using the service about three years ago. But I’ve discovered that not everyone understands or is even aware of what Google Reader is, let alone how to use it for marketing purposes. So here’s your guide to using Google Reader as a marketing tool. Continue Reading…
Demystifying Facebook Advertising: 9 steps to optimize your Facebook ad campaigns for success | Aug. 14, 2012
Ever since GM pulled its ad dollars from Facebook back in May, there’s been a ton of conversation around the worth and effectiveness of Facebook ads. When Facebook became an IPO, the controversy continued. Now the question is not only whether Facebook advertising justifies a major ad spend, but are also whether Facebook will even be around in a few years. Continue Reading…
ROI (Return on Investment) has been THE buzz word for the past six months or so (well before Facebook became an IPO and stole its thunder). Why? Because now that social networking sites are here to stay, marketers are being forced to carve out a place for it in their overall marketing budgets, instead of using discretionary funds for “emerging technologies.” But it’s no easy task to get the buy-in on a whole budget dedicated to social media marketing (SMM) – especially if you work for a small business.
First of all, many people perceive that social media marketing is virtually free.
Networking sites themselves are “free” to be a part of, but managing them correctly and devoting the time necessary to developing a strategy and creating unique content is in no way FREE. Large corporations have huge sectors and agencies and freelance writers devoted to keeping their blogs and social networks alive. That’s a lot of actual dollars and cents.
To boot, if you ever took an intro level economics class, you know about “opportunity costs.” These are the costs you incur by not doing something else. For instance, if you spend 2 hours writing a blog post, you’re losing 2 hours where you could have been creating an email. If your emails on average garner about $800 each, then to make spending your time creating a blog post worth it, you’ve got to at least generate $800 in revenue from it, right?
If only it were that simple. Social media marketing is a little different from traditional marketing- it takes time to build a base, a reputation, and to increase your site’s SEO. If your ultimate goal by participating in SMM is to increase revenue, then you’ve really got to think about three things:
TechCrunch reported that the value of a Twitter follower is less than one cent. Others think Twitter followers are worth closer to $3/month. There’s really no conclusive evidence because it’s always a case-by-case basis.
1. Instead of associating value directly to dollars, associate value to your key performance indicators (KPIs).
Ex. How many of our twitter followers shared our content or purchased our product?
2. To delineate your KPIs you have to think long and hard about what your end goal is.
Is it awareness about your brand? Is it to influence purchase decisions? In what part of the marketing funnel are you trying to reach your target?
3. Determine how active your followers are on average. Some indicators of their engagement level on various social networking sites are how personalized their Facebook or blog comments are and by how much time they spend on your landing page or site.
Do they visit your page, whether it be your Facebook page, blog, etc., once and then never interact with it again?
Some advocate for creating a social media scorecard. This method incorporates manually grading or balancing different interactions (a video view versus a tweet). These “grades” are dependent upon your SMM goal(s). You basically create a weighted scale to help you determine your ROI.
After you figure out the value of each KPI, you can put them in order and then multiply the number of interactions with the grade. Add them all up for a total campaign score. More about this method to come.
What factors do you include when calculating your social media ROI?
I recently finished reading The Tao of Twitter by Mark W. Schaefer. I was so happy that someone finally put words to what I’ve always felt people who haven’t truly immersed themselves in Twitter have trouble understanding – the reciprocal nature and “genuine authenticity,” as Schaefer calls it, of the twitterverse.
It’s true. Twitter is almost an anomaly. It’s both a platform and a publisher. It’s about both creation and consumption. But probably the biggest complexity I’ve found (and warmly embraced) about the Twitter world is the simultaneous one-to-one and one-to-many nature of conversations.
This is why it’s hard to get started. At the same time you’re conversing with someone you’ve just met in a twitter chat or on a #FF (Follow Friday) you’re also sharing this content with all of your followers and anyone who checks out your stream (unless it’s via DM). To some it’s a bit daunting – all of this, well, openness.
But if you can get past your initial privacy concerns and dive in, you’ll find Twitter to be one of the most rewarding outlets for not only your content, but also for networking and developing true relationships.
Some argue that these relationships are only skin deep because Twitter encourages competition – it seems as if everyone’s racing to get the most followers. But, as Mark mentions in the book and I’ve discovered over the years, it’s not actually very helpful to have a bunch of followers. What’s beneficial is having “targeted followers” – followers who you’re interested in reading content from and who are equally as interested in your content. If you can remember this, you really will be able to build relationships with your followers.
Once you become an avid tweeter, you’ll also understand the “rule of reciprocity” that is inherent in following someone. Usually if you follow someone with similar interests, they’ll follow you back. If someone shares one of your blog posts, or retweets you, somewhere down the line, you’ll return the favor for them.
Twitter is, then, a platform that’s run on sharing with and actually caring about your followers – who’d a thunk? It embraces quid pro quo (tweet for tweet) in the most authentic and friendly sense.
That’s why I’ve always felt as though Twitter was a micro-world based on karma. I thought: “It’ll just give you good karma to RT this post or follow that guy who just followed you. It’s the way of the world.” But I could never find a great way to describe this karmic sentiment until Mark referred to it as the Tao, or the way, of Twitter.
Mark mentions a few other facets that make Twitter a friendly, helpful, and ultimately golden resource for everyone in his book and so I highly recommend picking it up and giving it a read. It may not be 140 characters, but it’s short and sweet all the same. No matter what, though, I hope this has been the spoonful of sugar you needed to keep you on track with your twitter regiment.
How do you use Twitter for business?
Facebook Timeline is now mandatory for business pages, whether you like it or not! Prior to the switchover Facebook business pages you could produce a professional looking page with lots of options for fan engagement without a large budget.
With the new changes, though, Facebook business pages are definitely not as “small biz friendly.” The new format brought changes to Facebook’s EdgeRank, the look and functionality of business pages, as well as changes to their advertising options. There are now “premium” advertising options for the big guys – things like logout page ads, mobile ads, Facebook offer ads, even news feed ads!! The regular ads we’re used to will pale in comparison.
On top of this Facebook has also changed the amount of characters allowed in an ad to 90 characters so that they can fit more ads on the advertising panel. Meaning that not only will you have less space to get your message across but that you’ll also be competing with more ads. To compete, you’ll need to focus more on the image you post along with your ads – making it stand out from the rest.
So, what are the premium ad options?
1. News Feed Ads – Before this option, the only way an ad could make it to your News Feed was if one of your friends shared or liked the link. Now – businesses can pay for the News Feed placement of Featured or Sponsored Stories Ads regardless of the ad’s actual “Edgerank.” The ad will look like any other post in your feed, except for it will be tagged as “featured.” To the average user, this could be viewed as pretty intrusive, but it is a great opportunity for marketers to get some prime time impressions with their fans’ friends.
2. Logout Ads – I never log out of Facebook, but there are tons of people out there who do, actually around 37 million per day. Facebook is looking to capitalize on this by allowing big brands to purchase advertisements on the sign off page. But only one ad will show up on the sign off page at a time – one huge image for one huge impact. The thought is that these ads will convert more people because they are already ending their Facebook experience and are ready to jump to another site.
3. Mobile Ads – It’s happened. Facebook can’t help itself from serving ads to the 350 million active users who access Facebook via a mobile device. The mobile ads you purchase will appear in the News Feed, but no panel ads (the small screen prohibits side ads).
4. Offers – Premium accounts can now provide discounts and offers to their fans. Offers as easy to create as a status update and are super share-worthy. Combine an offer with a Sponsored Story ad and you’ve got a winning advertising campaign.
And the doozy….
5. Reach Generator - Brands can now pay to guarantee that at least 75% of their fans see a particular post (as opposed to the 16% an average post receives). This is good news for the big brands with deep pockets, but for smaller companies it’s out of the price range. Maybe in the coming months this option will be available at a more reasonable price, but for now it’s an advantage that the major players have over the little guys.
What’s the problem? All of these options sound awesome. The problem is multifaceted. First of all, consumers will be served more ads per day than they’re used to. Second, only certain businesses are allowed these features. The offers ads are great, but small businesses don’t have access to them. Nor do small business have access to News Feed ads.
Until there’s a different EdgeRank for underdogs – allowing their ads or posts to be revealed more often, big businesses are the ones who will be #winning with these new ad changes. One of the reasons so many smaller companies flocked to Facebook in the first place was the ease of use and low overhead it took to compete with their competitors – even the larger brands. Now – that is not so.
From a user’s perspective – yes, we will be receiving more ads then ever from companies. Fortunately, the ads that we’ll see will (or should) engage us more than ever.
What other implications do you see coming from the new ad changes?
WOMMA Webinar with Cara Friedman at Likeable Media
Mikal Belicove. How Facebook’s ‘Offers’ and ‘reach Generator’ Can Deliver More for Less. Entreprenuer.com. March 7, 2012. http://www.entrepreneur.com/blog/223062
I’ve been working on this post for a while. Why? Because to be completely honest, there’s a ton of debate around social media ROI and analysis. As I’ve researched, though, I’ve found a few tips that can help you in the right direction when it comes to measuring the success of your social media efforts.
I want to start by stating that it’s not all about the money. Let me qualify that – I mean, every marketing initiative doesn’t directly translate to actual dollars. A lot of marketing is about maintaining current relationships (CRM – Customer Relationship Management). Here’s a great quote I found in a recent STORES article:
“It may be hard to accept that the sweet spot for social is more about deeper engagement and brand building than a lift to the bottom line.”
Marketers are pointing to the ever expansiveness of social networking and claiming that even if you can’t evaluate the numbers properly, you still have to be involved with social media marketing. Nielsen’s Social Media Report noted that nearly 80% of Internet users visit social networks and 53% of active social networkers follow brand. No matter what, social networking is important for brands.
But, if you can’t measure the success of your latest social media campaign, then it’s almost impossible to determine areas for improvement and growth for your next social endeavor. So there’s no way that we can completely ignore the numbers!
Here are some low barrier to entry ways to start measuring the success of your social media efforts:
At the beginning of a campaign, be it a new facebook contest or an integrated social media and online event, the most important thing to do is to delineate what factors you’ll be looking at to indicate either an achievement or a failure. This could be increased engagement, awareness, preference change etc. There are many options in the marketing funnel.
Then, you must determine what Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s), will help you figure out if you’ve achieved this goal. What do you want your new followers or community to do – how do you define conversion? This could be FB likes, email opt-ins, ad impressions, site traffic, twitter followers.
Once your campaign launches, you then have to monitor them – looking at social “analytics!” What are people saying, are they retweeting you, how much? Are they sharing the content via FB, or forwarding an email, how often? Are they recommending your product or brand via Yelp or other networks? Are theyblogging about you?
You can find most of this information on your own, using Facebook insights, Hootsuite analytics or bit.ly for twitter (and Twitter also has its own website analytics), YouTube analytics, google analytics for web traffic levels and sources and you can even use technorati.com to search the blogs that include your brand name or topic.
Still wondering what the value of these followers and shares is? Check out my next post about low-level social media ROI!
How are you currently analyzing your social media efforts?
Valentine’s Day always makes me think about my family, friends, and if I have one, my significant other. I usually smile thinking about my parents and my sister – remembering our special Valentine’s Day dinners. I feel so lucky to have so many valentines in my life.
But more importantly, in the days leading up to the 14th, I’m forced to reflect on my relationships and to evaluate if I’m a good Valentine myself. Do I want to spend Valentine’s Day with myself? How do my mom, my sister, my father, my boyfriend and my friends think of me?
Brands should be doing the same thing, regularly. It’s important to monitor what your followers and your customers think of you – and how they think of you so that you. In other words, what’s the general brand sentiment?
Why is this an important thing to monitor? Sentiment is a good indicator of how well you’re doing as a company and it can help discover more & better ways to engage with your followers. So if you haven’t started yet, you should start monitoring brand sentiment this Valentine’s Day, but how?
I can tell how I’m doing based on the heart-shaped notes, chocolates, and maybe even flowers I receive, but how can brands tell how they’re doing? Thank goodness for social networks! Now there’s a whole new avenue for people to express themselves. To find out how we’re doing and what our customers are thinking about us, all we have to do is leverage this information.
First, the easiest thing to do is to set up search streams in either Hootsuite or Tweetdeck, so that any time your brand or company name is mentioned via twitter, it will show up. You can do the same with Google alerts, so that when there’s a mention in a news article or blog you’ll receive an email straight to your inbox.
In the same search stream you can search popular keywords in your industry or community as well – if there are popular owners or employees you can search their name as well. If you’re not using a twitter aggregator, then you can just do a normal search on twitter.
The next part is determining the “sentiment” of each of these mentions. Clearly, a recommendation is positive while a complaint is negative. For all of the negative comments, you should try to respond – try to find out more details about the problem and figure out a way to make it better. As you go on, this can become a means of customer service and market research.
There are some free services out there to help you evaluate your brand sentiment and I list some below. But it’s best to track sentiment on your own – that way you can respond in real time!
1. Socialmention.com: This website allows you to search by keyword (brand name for instance) in multiple categories (blogs, twitter, images, news, etc.). The sentiment they use is basically the “ratio of mentions that are generally positive to those that are generally negative.” It will also show you the people who are mentioning your brand the most and how often.
2. Twitrratr: To analyze your sentiment based only on twitter, Twitratr is okay. You can enter in your search term and it pops up with all of the twitter mentions in three different colums: positive, neutral, and negative. I’ve found that it’s not so useful all the time because words like “blue” make mentions appear in the negative column, but blue isn’t always negative!
3. Twitter Sentiment: Allows you to enter in a keyword and then it pops up with all of the mentions, red if it’s a negative comment and green if it’s positive. There’s no color if it’s neutral. Again – you can do this constantly on your own, by just setting up a search stream. But they do summarize the general sentiment at the top with a nice little pie chart and bar graph.
There are definitely other services out there, like Twendz etc. which require a little extra funding for pro accounts.
How do you monitor brand sentiment?
Social TV is changing the world. Okay – that might be a little too strong of a statement. But the reality is that social tv could very well be the television’s antidote to streaming services, Netflix, and even the high and mighty DVR. Why? Because it’s changing the way we consume programing. It’s definitely changed my television watching habits.
If you’re a little confused, I’ll break it down for you. People tweet, post updates on FB, and blog starting the minute their favorite program airs. Tweeps use special hashtags to ensure that they’re a part of the conversation. And now, at least for me, it’s almost a crime to not follow a hashtag along with a show, game, or political event.
Why? Because I want to know what others are saying, what they’re thinking, how they’re reacting. It’s a virtual “water cooler” that you don’t have to wait until the day after to converse around.
As we all stopped watching our shows in real time or began multitasking while watching TV, advertisers and networks started getting scared. There used to be a time when there were few TV channels that everybody watched quietly, with no distractions. How can we reach our target consumers? How do we keep our viewers engaged?
A popular historical reference comes to mind – FDR’s Fireside Chats. Though I wasn’t around in the thirties or forties, I do remember stories of families crowded around their radios to hear his coined, “Good evening, friends” speeches. In fact, Roosevelt’s Fireside Chats attracted more listeners than the most popular broadcasts of the time. There’s no way it couldn’t have been the next day’s topic of conversation.
In this era, we’re lucky that we can chat back and forth during our Presidents’ addresses. We can comment on his tie, his political statements, and whether or not our vice president is on the verge of falling asleep. And in doing so, we’re all coming together in front of our TV sets and paying attention. We’re listening to the words spoken and watching action scenes with our eyes widened.
We know that social media has changed the way we consume media. But, who would have ever thought that this technology would bring us back together akin to Roosevelt’s radio addresses? Well, it’s happening. And advertisers, brands, and networks are finally realizing that by leveraging social media, a 30-second spot can extend way beyond the television frame.
I can’t wait to see what advertisers have in the works for this Sunday’s Super Bowl. In fact, it’s been reported by lostremote.com that every major Super Bowl media investment has a social tv component. Smart for the brands and fun for the consumer. This Super Bowl Sunday is going to be HUGE, and not just for my fellow New England fans. I’m predicting that the social chatter during the game breaks all precedents and saves the almighty commercial from becoming obsolete.
My challenge for you is to get involved. Follow along with the hashtags within commercials in Hootsuite or Tweetdeck streams and join in the conversation. Use NFL Huddle to keep track of all of the updates from players, hosts, and the media before, during, and after the game. If you’re a social media nerd like me, you’ll be happy you did.
On Sunday night everyone was abuzz after Ravens’ kicker, Billy Cundiff, missed what could have been a game-tying field goal. I went to twitter after the fail, to see what people were saying, and guess what – twitter was down. Cundiff not only broke his fan’s hearts, but he also broke twitter! In fact this past weekend’s NFL social chatter surpassed the chatter of last year’s Super Bowl!
This incident brought to light a few thoughts - Is all press good press? Do social media campaigns that flop, but get tons of press actually end up doing some good?
The jury’s out on how this press will affect Mr. Cundiff’s career. One thing is for sure, though, the fans are pretty pissed. All Cundiff can hope to do is grow as a player and hope he doesn’t make the same mistake twice. No one, who actually knows Cundiff’s record, would consider him a failure.
When it comes to social media, though, we’re quick to label certain campaigns as “failures.” It seems so final. As social marketing evolves we’re learning that these failures at least give brands a chance to be in front of their consumer. Some brands even get a mulligan (but, remember, you only get one). Consider the Dominos faux paux over a disgusting employee video. Dominos struck back by revamping not only their social infrastructure, but also their pizza!
Just last week McDonald’s twitter campaign backfired. They encouraged their followers to tell their own McDonalds’ stories using the hashtag #McDstories. Instead of heartwarming stories, the hashtag took on a life of its own with tweets that included animal cruelty, weed, and super negative thoughts about McDonald’s.
This just goes to show that when you put things out there, you never know where the groundswell will take it. A part of being a great social strategist is realizing that a lot of what happens is out of your control. The best way to quell a social media storm, is to be ready for it in the first place.
McDonald’s is a huge company and their Social Media Director knew when the tweets starting getting too negative that they should try to regain control and steer their followers in another direction by promoting their own tweet: “When u make something w/ pride, people can taste it #McDstories.”
Regardless, instead of the nasty tweets appearing at the top of search, now all that’s attached to the hashtag are tweets about their social media flop – #McFail.
The bottom line is that you’ve got to try. If you have a sound objective and strategy, even the bumps in the road won’t keep you from achieving your ultimate goal. We can all follow Billy Cundiff’s words:
“I’ve had setbacks before but I’ll move on from this. It’s one of those things that will strengthen me in the end.”
How do you prevent social media disasters?
I’m not sure when MLK day became more than just a monday away from school for me. I think it must have been in the 6th or 7th grade when I read Why We Can’t Wait written by Martin Luther King, Jr. himself. When I read his words and realized just how intelligent, powerful, and forward-thinking this man was, I understood why the nation took a day off of school and work to celebrate his achievements.
It might seem like a stretch or even a “downgrade” to relate his efforts in the Civil Rights Movement to anything related to social media. But, when I think about MLK and his road to success – there are a few things that I truly feel relate back to our efforts in social media marketing.
1. Amazing writing - Everyone knows that MLK’s speeches were some of the best speeches the world has ever witnessed. Almost every line in his “I Have A Dream” speech or in his last speech “I’ve Been to the Mountain Top” are quote-worthy. Writing that compels someone to action is the only way to create a following. No matter your limitations – be it 420 characters or 140, always strive to write beautifully.
2. Great Timing – Use timing to your advantage. King paid attention to timing, not only when he was delivering speeches, but also when organizing movements, sit-ins, and boycotts. I remember reading MLK’s advice: ”except for Christmas, Easter is the main shopping period of the year…the best time to bring pressure to bear on the merchants for the needed change.” When creating content for social media, consider what’s going on in the world and be relevant. This leads to the most memorable and “viral” content.
3. Strategy – It’s true that MLK recognized the importance of spontaneous actions, like those of Rosa Parks. But he also realized that, without organization and long-range strategy, people will exhaust their energies. Though I don’t remember everything from Why We Can’t Wait, I do remember that every effort King organized in Birmingham was thoroughly thought-out such that it would make the Civil Rights Movement a “top-of-mind” subject for Americans. Extending beyond Alabama, planned well-organized boycotts played a major role throughout all phases of the movement.
Thinking through a social strategy is what makes a campaign successful. Even with the most eloquently written and relevant blogs, without a real plan or strategy, they may very well be over-looked.
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
- Martin Luther King, Jr., “I Have A Dream”
As some of you may know, I am a huge UNC Basketball fan. To some we’re “North Carolina,” to others we’re “the tarheels” and to me, we’re “#1.” Okay, I had to throw in that last one.
You can’t be a great NCAA basketball fan without a few key characteristics – including being crazy. And the same is true for being a great social media strategist, or marketing professional in general. So, I thought I’d sum up some of the most essential aspects to being great at one, or the other, or, for me, both.
What makes you a great fan & strategist?