Archive for the ‘Social Networking Evangelism Community’ Category

Social Media Marketing: How Lilly Pulitzer, Kahlua and Neiman Marcus use brand influencers

Customers have long been wary of content sponsored by brands. This is probably because marketers have been trying to sneak it past them for years — the notorious “Sponsored Content” label, buried at the bottom in tiny font.

The marketers from Lilly Pulitzer, Kahlua and Neiman Marcus — which have all been previously featured in MarketingSherpa case studies — found ways to be transparent about collaborating with bloggers and vloggers to promote their brands.

The brands were also able to approach this content in such fun, creative and colorful ways that consumers didn’t really care the content was company-generated, causing customers to engage regardless of the source material. Read on to learn how to create sponsored content that actually interests audiences.


Bringing bloggers along for the (bike) ride with Lilly Pulitzer

Every year, Lilly Pulitzer has a brand theme for all its marketing materials and events. This year, it is “Spill the Juice.”

Spill the Juice


#Spillthejuice, the hashtag for the year, goes back to the brand’s origin story, which is the life of Lilly Pulitzer herself.

Lilly Pulitzer was born into New York society and “could’ve lived a fancy life of galas and soirées and black ties and gloves. But she … was a real rule breaker,” Eleni Tavantzis, Senior Manager of Social Media Marketing and Public Relations, Lilly Pulitzer, said, adding that in her early twenties, Pulitzer eloped to Palm Beach, where her husband’s family owned citrus groves.

She eventually started a juice stand using citrus from the grove, and Pulitzer created her first shift dress because she wanted a wild print that would hide the juice stains on her dress — hence the phrase, “Spill the Juice.”

The brand frequently collaborates with fashion bloggers, according to Eleni. To pull the brand’s theme and brand influencers together, the team puts together trips to create powerful brand content.

“We’ve done two this year, two Lilly Spill The Juice influencer trips where we bring some of our favorite fashion bloggers and editors to Palm Beach with us to really experience what Lilly’s Palm Beach was like, which was not stuffy or fancy or full of rules,” Eleni said.

During these influencer trips, the marketers create a lifestyle out of brand ideals and have bloggers live it out — all while wearing Lilly Pulitzer, of course.

Spill the Juice Brand Influencers

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How to Increase Customer Interaction Using 6 Factors in Your Social Media

April 28th, 2015 1 comment

With the plethora of social media platforms out there, each with its own unique features and elements, it has become harder for marketers to leverage these social channels into successful campaigns.

In social media channels, what sets failed campaigns apart from successful ones is innovation.

The millennial generation (people born between 1980 and 1995), is quicker to adapt to new technology than older generations. We are usually the first on new social media platforms and the first to abandon them once something better comes along.

Marketing using social media is a low cost investment that could have a high return. To specifically see this with millennials, focus on valuing innovation over consistency.

Don’t be afraid to end a successful campaign right at its peak. This creates a strong “Fear of Missing Out” emotion. FOMO is a big emotional driver for millennials. It is the same drive that compels a majority of us to stand in line at specialty shops hoping to get our hands on a limited edition item to translate into bragging rights over friends on social media. The mark of a successful campaign is one that not only creates customers but also organic brand representatives.

When using social media, marketers have discovered a lot of wrong ways to market to millennials and just as many right ones. The difference between them is learning how to strike a balance between sincerity and irony, detail and vagueness and new and unproven.


Sincerity and irony

Millennials in general love irony. Campaigns that are self-aware and poke fun at their own calls-to-action, while still sincerely telling you why you should buy their product over competitors, work better in social media than traditional campaigns.



Newcastle beer company recently had a series of ad campaigns that poked fun at the traditional beer commercial featuring beautiful people drinking beer and having a great time. The campaign’s coup de grace was a Super Bowl ad making fun of how much money beer producers spend on Super Bowl ads by trying to put as many brands as possible into a one-minute commercial. The ad has been viewed 1.5 million times in two months and, through that, has probably increased Newcastle’s popularity with young adults.

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Social Media: Mellow Mushroom’s tips for engaging Facebook followers

March 6th, 2015 7 comments

Two things come to mind for me when I think of the word social:

  1. Social media
  2. Pizza

Social media for brands is all about developing a thriving online community of fans and followers that engage with your content and (hopefully) become brand ambassadors. To do this, your content must have that “engage-ability” factor: what will make your content or social presence something that your audience will want to share and interact with?

Pizza is also something that we socially consume. Arguably, sometimes we don’t share it, but overall, when you have friends over or you don’t feel like cooking for your family, pizza is always a solid option. Social gatherings call for pizza.

In a way, you could say that pizza and social media go hand in hand — they definitely do for Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers.

I recently had a chance to chat with Steven Sams, Digital Content Manager, Dusty Griffin, Senior Graphic Designer and Robert Pierce, Social Media Manager, all of Mellow Mushroom, for a MarketingSherpa case study about their work with the brand’s email marketing efforts.

We had so much to talk about that I even asked the team for a second interview to discuss the brand’s social media efforts. Why? Mellow Mushroom has truly found a way to speak its audience’s language and cater to that via social media.

Even if you’re not a pizza restaurant, there are still great lessons to be learned from Mellow Mushroom’s efforts. Read on for those, as well as the team’s top tips for interacting with an audience on Facebook.


Facebook for Mellow Mushroom

Steven explained that for Mellow Mushroom, Facebook is the main social media channel. With more than 172,000 followers on the platform, average posts will reach up to 2,000 people — sometimes up to 46,000.

Mellow Mushroom has several elements of its Facebook strategy that the team lives by:


Frequency and timing

First, frequency is key. At the corporate level, the team aims to post twice a day. This was upped from once a day because of recent Facebook algorithm changes causing lower performance in posts.

“We’re trying out some different things with our frequency because not many people are seeing them in their News Feed based on the algorithm. We thought we should post a little bit more,” Steven explained.

Next, the time of day the team is posting is also important. If they are posting something food-related right before lunch or dinner time, they will entice followers to stop by Mellow Mushroom for their next meal.

mellow 1


However, a busy time on Facebook is later in the evening, between 8 and 10 p.m., and the brand will post more quirky content. This content isn’t aimed at driving people to a restaurant to eat, but rather, to simply engage and entertain their base.

mellow 2

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Blogger Intervention: 3 reasons why no one is engaging with your content

January 30th, 2015 3 comments

So, you have low blog engagement or a handful of loyal followers that you were expecting to blossom into a world-wide audience — but it’s just not happening.

I’m not an expert content writer or blog wiz. However, working at MarketingSherpa has given me insights that I would not have otherwise about what can make certain pieces of content successful while others flop.

Here are three common mistakes to keep in mind as you structure your individual blog posts and also determine your blogging strategy:

Blogger Intervention


1. It’s all about you

The biggest mistake that content creators can make is centering their blogs on themselves.

They open with a relevant, beautiful challenge that the audience is facing, and then they ruin a perfectly good opening by presenting their product as the flawless solution — or their service as an end-all-be-all to those interested in a DIY experience. Content consumers aren’t looking for a reason to buy from you. They are looking for a resource to solve problems.

Be real, be relevant and be genuine. Make sure that your blog humanizes you, and explain how your audience  can learn from, and apply, your mistakes to their own campaigns.

Lastly, edit — grammatically and for content. Even the world of food bloggers (which I frequent) knows that the audience really only cares about how much salt is too much salt and why cream of tartar really makes a difference in the cookie recipe rather than just adding more baking soda. The annoyingly long charming story about your grandmother’s old pickup truck isn’t a necessary preamble for what I’m really interested in below.

Remember, every sentence should justify the reason as to why your post is solving the problem that your audience faces. It’s about them.

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3 Instagram Lessons You Can Learn from Taylor Swift

October 31st, 2014 3 comments

Taylor Swift uses Instagram just like I do. She takes photos of her cats, maybe takes a short clip of them jumping into boxes or snaps a photo of something that she baked that evening.

But, unlike me, Taylor has 12 million followers.

Aside from sharing her fascination with cats and baked goods, she also leverages Instagram to tease music she’s working on through behind-the-scenes glimpses into the recording studio or photos of lyrics that are yet to be released.

The brilliance of marrying these two techniques is two-fold. Not only is she using Instagram to market her albums, but also the personal and fun posts on her Instagram account give fans a glimpse into her world. By inviting fans into her home, it makes them feel like they’re actually friends with Taylor.



She makes her fans feel like they’re not too different than her (despite millions billions of dollars).

This strategy is part of Taylor’s value proposition. She tries to make her fans feel like friends. To supplement this strategy, she hosts and personally appears at secret fan parties around the world for “all-star” supporters, making Swifties feel special just for being her fans (I’m still waiting for my invite, Tay).

This is in stark contrast to the “arms-length” celebrities who keep themselves locked up in giant, fancy mansions in the Hollywood Hills with 12-foot ivy-covered fences and 24-hour security, quietly posting the occasional PR-induced Tweet.



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Social Media: 4 simple steps to calculate social media ROI

September 24th, 2013 2 comments

Recently, I went to visit some friends in Rochester, N.Y.

While waiting for my flight out there, I started browsing Facebook on my phone. After perusing a few status updates and pet pictures, I landed on Ray-Ban’s Facebook page.

Amidst the questions and comments, I saw a really nice pair of Clubmasters I like. While waiting for the return flight, I decided to catch up on some tweets from people I follow.

Coincidentally, one person I follow tweeted about the same Clubmasters sunglasses I was looking at on Facebook a few days earlier and included a link.

So, I clicked on it and was redirected to Ray-Ban’s e-commerce site. I spent a few minutes customizing pairs of Clubmasters to find the perfect combination to suit my tastes. I was tempted to order them, but it was time to start boarding – maybe some other time.

A week later, I noticed a PPC ad in my browser for Ray-Ban. I clicked on the ad, visited its site again, and checked out a video on “Clubmasters Remastered.” I was about to order them for a second time when the phone rang.  A few friends wanted to meet up at the Lemon Bar, a favorite dive for Jacksonville Beach locals.

After a few margaritas, I got a wild hair and decided to finally purchase those Clubmasters. I got home and plopped down in front of my desktop computer, navigated to the e-commerce site I visited earlier, and bought those suckers!

So goes the saga of the multidigital channel user and multidevice user, for that matter. What a mess!


Is accurate attribution even possible?

We have entered an era that presents new challenges for marketers.

How do we accurately attribute credit for conversions with so many possibilities? When it comes to crediting digital channels, a number of attribution models exist that can provide clarity. However, when talking about social media, some models are better at accomplishing this than others.

For example, social media is generally not a last click before a conversion.

Therefore, basing a marketing budget solely upon this method would undervalue the contribution of social media to the conversion process. Google Digital Marketing Evangelist Avinash Kaushik wrote an excellent blog post on attribution modeling, addressing these issues. He opined the Time Decay Attribution Model does a fairly good job above and beyond the last click, and I would agree.

Time decay assigns more credit to media that is closer in time to a conversion, rather than giving full credit to the touch point closest to a conversion as last-click does.

In the Ray-Ban example, instead of Facebook receiving zero credit for my purchase, it would receive at least some credit even though it was my first touch point. This gives a much more realistic picture of how users are engaging versus a last-click model.  Of course, it is the lesser of evils, not immune to biases.


How should you attribute social media ROI?

Now that we have a pretty decent way of attributing credit to digital channels beyond last-click, the next challenge is finding a way to accurately quantify the monetary value of social media.

There are a number of businesses offering solutions on how to determine social media ROI. However, I am not aware of a totally foolproof method. It’s still like the wild west out there and one can become lost.

To provide some direction, I’ve reviewed white papers and other literature floating around in cyberspace, piecing together the most compelling elements into a set of steps to estimate social media ROI that goes a little further than the methods I’ve mentioned.


How does your social media stack up against paid channels? 

The idea of analyzing social media’s value here is by indirectly comparing similar paid channels to social media first. It’s like assessing what the cost of a social media page would be if it were equivalent to a banner ad, for example. We might multiply the number of Facebook page impressions by the typical CPM of our banner ad campaigns to calculate cost.

A white paper I found offers six ways to measure social media and is responsible for that particular example, which I illustrate in Table 1 below.

The article does a great job of laying out this concept for a number of social media platforms. Other sources have expressed similar approaches. I cheekily refer to the whole of them as “vicarious values.” It’s not quite catchy as an acronym, but it encapsulates the main idea well enough.


Step #1. Determine the vicarious value of your social media channels


Table 1. Calculating the vicarious value for Facebook 


It’s likely your business uses multiple social media sites, so you would need to account for the vicarious value of each social media platform to calculate total vicarious value.

For simplicity’s sake, let’s assume our only social media presence is on Facebook.

We can easily calculate social network revenue since Facebook’s vicarious value is the same as total vicarious value in this case.


Step #2. Determine how many time decay conversions are attributed to your social media channels

This is where time decay attribution comes in.

So, for our example, we used data were taken from the Google Analytics Model Comparison Tool found under the conversions navigation menu. Facebook is our only social media platform. We can go ahead and assume Social Network (Table 2, Row 5) means only Facebook.


Table 2. Facebook’s time decay conversions represented as Social Network


Under the Time Decay Conversions column, we see 3,029.57 conversions were attributable to Facebook.


Step #3. Calculate the revenue due to your social media channels

The conversions attributable to Facebook (Social Network) amounts to 2% of the total conversions as illustrated below.


Table 3. Channels as percent of total conversions 



Step #4. Subtract the vicarious value from the revenue attributed to your social network   

From here, you can calculate revenue due to Facebook by applying an average sale price for your goods or services to the number of conversions as seen in the formula provided in Table 4 below.

Now, do you remember that vicarious value we figured out in Step #1?

Here’s where it matters.


Table 4. Calculated estimate of ROI for Facebook 


By subtracting the vicarious value (labeled cost here) from the total revenue due to your social network, the remainder gives you the profit.

From there, we have all of the pieces to estimate the ROI.

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Social Media Marketing: Can you compete with your customer’s mom?

June 11th, 2013 No comments

At MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2013, I interviewed our keynote speaker – Jay Baer, President, Convince&Convert – about the book he was writing. Youtility: Why Smart Marketing is about Help not Hype will be released in two weeks, so we’re sharing that interview with you now …


A few key takeaways from Jay …

1:00 – Brands have to compete with customers’ friends and family on social media and in email.

1:27 – So how are you going to compete with friends and family? Just be useful.

1:41 – Make your marketing a benefit, not a burden.

2:16 – Hilton Worldwide’s instruction to employees monitoring social media – “Pay attention to Twitter. If you can find a place you can help, just help.”

3:02 – The difference between helping and selling makes all the difference.

To register to win your very own shiny new copy of Youtility, sign up this week for the MarketingSherpa Weekly Book Giveaway.


Related Resources:

B2B Social Media: Jay Baer discusses social media ROI and Facebook likes [Video]

5 Ways to Deliver B2B Marketing Content that Sells (Without Sabotaging Sales) (via Convince&Convert)

Value Proposition: How to use social media to help discover why customers buy from you

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Social Media Marketing: A quick look at Facebook EdgeRank

June 7th, 2013 1 comment

When I first graduated from high school, I took a job at a day care.

I was hired initially because I made it my personal goal to sign up as many kids as possible for our services. Of course, the responsibilities of more children under your supervision solves one set of problems while creating new ones.

One thing I quickly learned is that it’s pretty tough to convince a large group of kids to take a nap without using bribes of their preferred currency … chocolate.

So needless to say, my employment at the day care was brief because my true value as an employee was not just based on increasing volume, but also on how effective I was at engaging the volume that already existed.


Social media goal setting

A lot of marketers who have been conditioned by years of hard time spent in the midst of the media industrial complex hold the belief they should run their social media campaigns like I was running the day care – by taking a “more is always better” approach.

The idea behind this belief is simple.

Consumers who use Facebook have eyeballs. Therefore, the more eyeballs I can put onto our brand’s social media page the more “awareness” we can create which should eventually result in more business.

Because more is always better, right?


Fun with algorithms

The biggest problem with taking a “more is always better” approach to your social media marketing is a rooted assumption that all of your Facebook followers will see all of your content every time you post something.

Unfortunately, that’s simply not true.

Take our MarketingSherpa Facebook page, for example. On average, our posts reach somewhere around 15.26% of our followers on a given day, depending on the type of content.

So how can that be?

In three words … Facebook curates content.

According to Hubspot, the average Facebook fan spends about 40% of their time on the newsfeed as opposed to just 12% spent on profiles or brand pages. That margin makes the newsfeed the center of the Facebook universe.

So, to ensure that people have the most enriched newsfeed experience possible, Facebook curates content based upon on their homegrown algorithm known as “EdgeRank.”


There are three components to EdgeRank, wherein:

  • U = Affinity: which takes into account the past relationship between a Facebook user and your brand

If a user has interacted heavily with your social media content on Facebook previously, then it’s very likely they will see your next content offering in their newsfeed.

  • W = Weight: which relates to the types of content you have created. Some users prefer images while others may prefer text or video

The more a user interacts with a particular type of content through likes, comments and tags, then the more likely their preferred content types will appear in their newsfeed. If a user likes all of your pictures, then they will likely see the next picture your brand posts.

  • D= Decay: which is typically never a good thing

The older a post is, the less likely it is to appear on the newsfeed of a Facebook follower.

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Social Media Marketing: 4 questions to ask yourself about social media buttons

June 4th, 2013 4 comments

A common question we often hear about social media is “I put some social media elements onto my page and have not seen much of a difference …”

I’m sure you can relate, because social media icons are everywhere. On landing pages. In emails. Heck, I even saw some on a billboard while I was driving the other day.

Now, on behalf of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and their investors, I’d first like to thank you marketers of the world for all of that free co-op advertising.

All kidding aside, let me throw the questions back at you to help you get the most value from your sharing icons. In today’s MarketingSherpa blog post, we’ll focus on three questions you should ask yourself about your company’s use of social media icons.


Question #1. Should we be using social media icons?

All jokes about free advertising aside, most marketers likely will find some value in using social media icons. And, here’s the key. While the value might not be great, it is likely higher than the cost.

Because, frankly, as marketing tactics go, simply slapping a few social media icons or sharing buttons on a landing page is fairly easy to do.  Almost any value you get creates an ROI since it is higher than the minimal cost involved.

For example, AT&T added Facebook and Twitter icons into an email newsletter.


This was one small part of a program that helped the AT&T Developer Program increase its Twitter audience 136% and Facebook audience 113%.

Of course, as you’ll see in the case study above, the team at AT&T did much more than just add a few icons to an email to get that lift. But since the cost, in both IT execution to add the buttons and real estate on the email, was likely so low, and it certainly couldn’t have hurt their efforts, why not add social media icons?

Well, here’s why not. For most brands, the answer is simple: not every brand needs or should be using social media icons and sharing buttons. For example, I interviewed Steve Parker, Vice President, Direct Marketing, firstSTREET, in the MarketingSherpa webinar “Optimization: A discussion about an e-commerce company’s 500% sales increase.”

“In our case given our target market, you’re looking at an age 75+ customer, they’re not big social users. And, the ones who are on social media, they really just want to see pictures of their grandkids and their kids. So they’re not going to be as interactive in the social world. So from our standpoint, it’s pretty low on the priority list. There are no social buttons on this website,” Steve said.

He went on to share, “We’ve tested a little bit of that on some of our other properties. As baby boomers, the younger part that grew up with some social media lives grow older, yes, that will get more important. For my particular target market at this point in time, it doesn’t help.”


Question #2. Which social media icons should we use?

Ask your audience in direct conversations, in surveys, through customer service interactions and other customer-facing employees: what social networks do they use?

Then, be present on those platforms. See how they’re using social media.

And, look at your analytics.

Here on the MarketingSherpa blog, you’ll notice the prime social sharing button we use is from Twitter.


That’s because when we looked at our analytics, more inbound traffic came from Twitter than from any other social network.

You might also notice, at the bottom of our blog posts, we have social media sharing icons as well. 


That’s because the rest of our inbound social network traffic came from LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, Facebook, Delicious and Digg.

Your analytics won’t be foolproof. Over time, this becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy (we receive more Twitter traffic because we encourage the audience to share on Twitter), but combining your analytics with active listening to your audience through many means will at least get you in the ballpark of how they want to interact with your brand using social media.

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Social Media: Why Facebook’s new Graph Search will change social media marketing

May 10th, 2013 6 comments

When I was growing up, I remember a phrase my dad would use as a delay tactic on making big ticket purchase decisions that often frustrated my mother.

“I’ll ask the boys at work,“ he would reply.

My dad’s insistence on consulting people he perceived as experts before making a purchase is telling of human behavior – customers prefer to make decisions based on information, not persuasion.

I mention this because a shift to information over persuasion is coming to social media, driven by Facebook’s new Graph Search tool.

The way Graph Search works is simple … it filters our search results by what our friends and neighbors have previously liked and shared with us.

From a business intelligence perspective, the implications of this new function could be far reaching, given Graph Search allows users to formulate their perceptions of goods and services based on reviews from people they know and trust, potentially sidestepping most marketing efforts.

Here’s an example of Graph Search in action using the surroundings of our office here in Jacksonville Beach to put this into further perspective …


With Graph Search, relevance is king

Imagine you’ve just bought a beach cruiser and you’re searching Facebook to find the best spots for fun and entertainment in Jacksonville Beach.

Now, let’s say you search for “fun places to bike in Jacksonville Beach.”

Graph Search will present options your friends or other bicycle enthusiasts in a given geographical proximity have liked and shared.

From a customer’s perspective, this makes total sense.

Would you prefer to sift through a laundry list of options presented at random, or evaluate choices your friends and other biking enthusiasts are recommending?

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