Archive

Posts Tagged ‘social media marketing’

Social Media Marketing: Setting expectations both internally and externally [Video]

August 26th, 2014 No comments

“#FAIL” is the last thing you want to hear from your audience on your social media channels.

From disgruntled users or customers to people calling out your company or brand’s blunder, handling the outcome of a social media fail correctly is critical for recovery.

But beyond just addressing a crisis online, is there an effective way to prevent these cringe-worthy mishaps from even happening?

epicurious-boston-tweet

 

In the MarketingSherpa Media Center at IRCE, Andrew Jones, Industry Analyst, Altimeter Group, explained how using a simple two-part strategy can help prevent social media fails before they occur.

 

Strategy #1. Manage expectations internally

Before you embark on social media, Andrew explained there should be a plan going into the journey to set guidelines for those who will be posting.

“At first, I think a lot of brands got involved and saw it as kind of a cute toy, and said, ‘Oh, let’s give it to the intern,” or, ‘Let’s give it to someone who doesn’t necessarily know a lot about the company,”‘ Andrew explained. “That can cause problems if the engagement that ends up representing the company in a very public space ends up causing social media fails or misrepresenting the company.”

Andrew recommended that the team managing a company’s social media account has rules and scenarios on how to interact with the audience online, especially when there’s a problem.

Read more…

Social Media Marketing: Adding Reddit to the mix

April 8th, 2014 No comments

Social media is almost certainly a part of your marketing mix by this point. Facebook and Twitter are the two overall leaders, and B2B marketers are probably at least looking into how to leverage LinkedIn. Then, there are a host of additional social media platforms such as StumbleUpon, SlideShare, Pinterest, Vine, Quora and many others.

One platform that probably isn’t on most marketers’ radars is Reddit. Marketing tactics on Reddit are not readily obvious, and the platform’s users are not there to be marketed to and don’t welcome any interaction that feels like marketing.

Should you consider Reddit in your social media strategy? If so, how should you approach the platform?

To answer these questions, we reached out to two experts in marketing on Reddit: Brent Csutoras, Social Media Strategist, Kairay Media; and Greg Finn, Internet Marketer, Cypress North.

Here is the result of that discussion.

 

MarketingSherpa: It sounds like a key challenge to marketing on Reddit is the platform’s policies toward that activity. Briefly cover what marketers should know and understand about these policies.

Brent Csutoras: It is very important to first understand that Reddit is not a single community, but rather a platform to either join existing communities or to create your own communities. Each community is made by a Redditor who then can add moderators and who makes the rules for which everyone in the community must follow. It is super important before trying to submit any content to Reddit to understand the moderators and the rules for each Subreddit you intend to submit your content to.

For instance, some Subreddits will not allow certain domains to be submitted to their community, some like “TodayILearned” require content to be at least two months old, and some like “/worldnews” do not allow news about the U.S.

As to the challenge of marketing to an audience who is by nature against the concept of marketing, it definitely takes someone with a long-term goal and general interest in Reddit to balance the line between being a valuable member of the community, while at the same time, trying to submit your own content.

Greg Finn: The biggest question to ask when participating in Reddit is: Are you contributing? That’s essentially what you should be asking yourself before beginning any type of “marketing.” One of the lines in Reddit’s User Agreement is:

“Cluttering Reddit with junk or spam reduces the quality of the Reddit experience.”

Make sure that you are going into the site with the mindset of increasing the quality of content shared. Also, while not blatantly obvious in the user agreement, you should not be too promotional with your content. Reddit moderators will swiftly ban users that only submitting their own content or commenting with their own links. Treat it like a forum and build credibility in a specific Subreddit, add to the community, then start marketing.

 

MS: Beyond the key challenge addressed above, what are some of the unique marketing challenges (and potential advantages) faced when marketing on Reddit over other social media platforms and other digital marketing channels such as email and paid search?

BC: I mentioned earlier, how individuals really need to make sure they understand the rules of each Subreddit they are submitting to in order to have any real chance at long-term success.

Another challenge that people might now understand is that Reddit has a lot of anti-spam elements at play on the site. New users to a Subreddit, and in some cases, new domains, can find themselves being auto-filtered or even silent-filtered, where their submissions might show as submitted to them, but are actually hidden from all other users until it becomes approved by a moderator.

Lastly, it is really important to understand Reddit’s voting algorithm, which, to put it simply, values the combination of the first 10 votes the same as the following combination of the next 100 votes, and then 1000 votes, and so on. This means that what happens during the first 10 votes of your submission are super important. Choosing the right Subreddit, knowing what type of content the moderators support, and selecting the best title when submitting are key to making sure your first couple votes are positive.

GF: The biggest challenge is undoubtedly the volatility of the community. There are dozens of unwritten rules that exist and can kill your promotion on arrival if you don’t follow along. If using images, submit with Imgur. Videos? Use YouTube. Follow along with the community, learn the inner workings before giving it a try.

One of the biggest challenges is the sheer competitiveness of Reddit these days. You need quality content, a killer title and a dash of luck to strike it big.

 

MS: What are some actionable tactics or tips for marketers looking to add Reddit to their digital marketing mix?

BC: Start by identifying the Subreddits you really want to participate and submit to, followed by learning what works in the Subreddit, both from the community’s acceptance and support, and from what the moderators are going to approve and support. Make sure to fully understand the rules of the Subreddit prior to submitting any content.

Never submit something that doesn’t fit into a Subreddit. It will almost always get removed, which can result in you having filters applied to your submissions and possible having your account silent banned.

You simply do not win on Reddit with brute force.

Lastly, you have to be a Reddit user first and foremost, to really understand how to be an effective marketer within Reddit.

GF: Far and away, the most valuable tactic is to go niche. Every marketer is looking for the homerun, but you can easily hit .400 while driving the right mix of targeted traffic to your site. Reddit has individual sections called Subreddits that are niche communities around a specific topic. These Subreddits have the most potential as you can get your content in front of a (smaller) group of highly targeted users.

Local business? Look for a local Subreddit near you and scope the scene.

Got a book about parenting? Head to r/parenting.

Manufacture crockpots? Try /r/slowcooking.

There is a Subreddit for everything. Seriously, take a look. Jump into a community that fits your niche and start participating. The numbers won’t be overwhelming, but the quality will.

Read more…

Social Media Marketing: How to use Facebook for customer engagement [Video]

August 6th, 2013 1 comment

Having a multitude of fans and followers on Facebook is a good thing. However, getting more fans on Facebook does not mean you’re getting more customers. In fact, it could be the opposite.

At MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2013, Jay Baer, President, Convince and Convert, presented, “More Alike than Different: Why email is Madonna, and Facebook is Lady Gaga,” in which he explained the relationship between email and Facebook and how marketers can take advantage of the two channels of communication to customers.

In this excerpt, Jay discussed a myth he spends of half his time working on disproving.

 

“When we talk about social media, there’s this tremendous myth, and I spend about half my time fighting against this concept. This one concept epitomizes what’s wrong with social media for business today,” Jay said.

Many marketers believe they must have as many fans as possible on Facebook. However, as Jay explained, this is not always a good approach to marketing on Facebook. Having more fans does not necessarily mean you have more customers.

Jay explained 44% of corporate social media marketers look at Facebook as a way to get new customers (Wildfire, 2012), but 84% of fans of company Facebook pages are current or former customers of those companies (DDB, 2011). People who have never used a product or service are less motivated to like it on Facebook.

“We like on Facebook what we actually like,” according to Jay.

Watch this excerpt to learn more about the biggest myth about fans on Facebook, and also how your fans and followers can become accidental marketers for your brand.

View Jay’s full free keynote from Email Summit 2013 to learn why social media and email should be integrated at your company, plus many insights on how to make this possible.

Read more…

Social Media Marketing: 4 basic tips for getting started

July 16th, 2013 6 comments

“I’m so far behind. Everyone tells me I need to be on social media, but I don’t know where to get started!”

Today’s MarketingSherpa Blog post is for the late adopters, those not yet deeply engaged in social media marketing.

But even if you are engaged in social media marketing, these tips may help you. Marketers all experience the same type of consternation when it comes to social media and receiving questions like these from peers:

  • Are you on social media?
  • Which platforms are you on?
  • How often do you post?
  • What are your engagement numbers?

Let me put your mind at ease. You are not alone. It’s a pressure we all feel within the industry. Companies large and small experience the same pressures.

  • How do we get noticed?
  • How do we create our social brand image?
  • How do we drive sales from a social-oriented platform?

At MarketingSherpa, we have many more resources to help you dive into the complexities of social media marketing and I’ll end this blog post with a few links to help you answer some of the above questions. But first, let’s back it up a bit, and take a 10,000-foot view of the essential elements of any social media marketing endeavor.

 

Essential Element #1. Realistic goals

To start, we need to keep this in perspective.

Does social interaction and engagement directly correlate to conversion? No.

So, if social interaction does not directly create conversions, what are we spending our time, money and resources on? While we cannot directly correlate brand engagement, brand recognition and brand interaction with engagement on a social media platform, we can say the personality and presence of a brand helps to inform consumers and keep them engaged in the conversation.

 

Essential Element #2. Organic conversations

First of all, we do not need to be on every single platform to get to the next level. Start with one platform (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Vimeo, Vine, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.) and start the conversation.

To start a conversation, we need to understand our audience wants to engage in an interaction. Start by asking questions (i.e., I’m having a case of the Mondays, how are you doing today? or TGIF! What are you planning this weekend?) then move on to talking about what you do or want to promote.

Obviously, these questions should be relevant to your brand. The goal is to engage visitors in a conversation and keep it going.

Ask more questions, respond and follow up. You do not want to be that company that puts something out there and doesn’t respond. It’s the same as sending a message to a friend to ask them out to dinner, having them respond to you and never setting a date or time.

 

Essential Element #3. A (growing) community

Grow your following.

I know! I know! How do I grow my brand’s following?

Once you pick where to start and you have a conversation going with your followers, this is an easy transition.

Let’s talk about the demographic you are targeting. Let’s get specific. I know. This is a hard thing to do. This is where you are probably saying “Come on Rachel, my product is perfect for everyone.” I get it.  I’ve had the same trouble myself.

So, let’s pick your top demographic and go from there. Pick your top demographic and find out:

  • Where they visit
  • Who they follow
  • What they read about.

Why is this important? It’s simple. Once you know where they go, start networking.

Social media marketing is all about the connections and creating conversations. For example, if I’m looking to help a company that is coaching boys soccer, where would I go? What would I search for?

I’d start searching locally. I would Google the top Facebook pages for the area by typing “Jacksonville” and “boys soccer” and “facebook.”

This search criteria would pull together the right information for my competition – Facebook pages I should start interacting with.

Read more…

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.

Read more…

Social Media Marketing: Michaels Stores increases Pinterest board followers by 86% with contest

March 21st, 2013 2 comments

With a new upscale product line, Michaels Stores decided to look toward harnessing the considerable power of its 150,000 followers on Pinterest, where the marketing team fosters “tremendous engagement,” according to Robert Freeman, Director, Digital & Social Marketing, Michaels.

This was the challenge for Michaels – to use those followers to build awareness on the platform for its new upscale line of frames, the “Platinum Collection from Studio Décor,” as well as driving engagement within their Pinterest audience.

 

Michaels decided to capitalize on its social media audience by launching a contest on Pinterest to users in both the United States and Canada – the “Pin It to Win It” campaign.

Freeman said Michaels chose Pinterest as the platform for launching this contest because it made sense on three levels:

  1. The new frame collection seemed like the right type of product to bring to this audience because, “First, Michaels has seen = Pinterest users are looking for project inspiration and are highly engaged with inspirational content on Pinterest,” he said.
  2. Michaels found Pinterest users enjoy engaging in promotions, especially those that are compelling and easy to enter.
  3. Pinterest provided an environment in which Michaels could showcase its products “both contextually and visually, to increase interest in the product,” he concluded.

With simplicity as one of the main objectives for the campaign, there were only a few key steps for users to participate in the contest.

The prize chosen were two $500 gift cards to Michaels to “to build your own display wall!” and the process for entering was threefold:

  • Follow Michaels Stores on Pinterest
  • Fill out a form asking for name, email address and postal code
  • Pin the image of “our new Studio Décor Platinum Collection”

 

After filling out the form, users then have the option to join Michaels email list before clicking submit. They are then taken directly to log into their Pinterest, or if already logged in, the pinning page, where they can select the board they wish to pin the Platinum Collection onto.

The pin already includes a pre-written comment reading:

“I just saw Michaels new Studio Décor Platinum Collection frames and wall décor and entered their Pin It to Win It sweepstakes for my chance to win a $500 USD Michaels gift card. Click this pin and follow the instructions to enter yourself!”

After pinning the contest, the user then also has the opportunity to share via Facebook or Twitter as well. Once they have pinned, they are redirected straight to Michaels “Framed” Pinterest board, where they can peruse the Platinum Collection as well as other related content. Michaels’ 79 other boards filled with merchandise are also easily accessible from that point.

  Read more…

Social Media Marketing: Social metrics from “likes” to ROI

March 8th, 2013 5 comments

Despite Super Bowl ads promoting the misconception that social media marketing is full of clueless hipsters, the social media marketing channel provides a wealth of data marketers can use for analytics to optimize and improve campaigns.

Jay Baer, President, Convince & Convert, in his keynote presentation at the recently held MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2013 in Las Vegas, even made the case that email marketing and social media marketing are similar in three main areas:

  • Operations and measurement
  • Channel and audience
  • Message and content

Jay went on to describe social media as email “with a fresh coat of paint.”

So, if you accept Jay’s analysis – and he makes a very sound point on the topic – email, the elder statesman of digital marketing, and social, the new kid on the block, are more similar than different.

When you take “measurement” from the first bullet point in mind, email metrics are likely fairly ingrained for most marketers – open rates, clickthrough rates, unsubscribe rates, list building, etc.

To take a closer look at social media marketing metrics, I turned to the recently published MarketingSherpa 2013 Marketing Analytics Benchmark Report and found this chart:

 

And, here is commentary from Brad Bortone, Senior Research Editor, MECLABS, and editor of the report:

HOW ARE MARKETERS TRACKING SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING METRICS?

Despite the fact that only 48% of surveyed marketers tracked social media marketing metrics, those who did were tracking a wide breadth of social tactics, with social reach (e.g., total followers, “likes,” etc.) being the most reported at 61%. This is likely the highest performer because these metrics are obtainable directly from the social media outlet in question.

This immediacy was beneficial to Mary Morel, Director, The M Factor Pty Ltd, who said social media enabled her the ability to, “concentrate most on regularly providing valuable information to build brand and watch Facebook stats, Twitter followers, Google Analytics, e-newsletter opens, subscribes and unsubscribes, and blog stats.”

Likewise, traffic referral data (49%) is information available from the social media outlet, and from link-tracking tools.

Read more…

SMB Marketing in 2013: 85% of SMBs to increase use of email

January 18th, 2013 5 comments

In part one of this blog post, Rick Jensen, Senior Vice President, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Constant Contact, provided his thoughts on where SMB marketers should focus their efforts in 2013.

Both of these MarketingSherpa Blog posts were prompted by research from AWeber, which found 68% of small businesses plan on increasing the marketing budget in 2013. That prompted me to reach out to experts in the SMB sector for tips and tactics specific for SMB marketers.

Today’s post offers more details from the AWeber research, along with more insight from industry experts.

The AWeber research was conducted during November and December of 2012, via an interstitial greeting AWeber customers received when logging into the company’s system. Visitors were invited to participate in the research, and 3,159 completed the survey. The methodology included randomized multiple choice options presented to respondents.

Here is an infographic summarizing the results of the survey:

What's in store for small business?
Data and infographic by AWeber

Read more…

12 Most-Tweeted MarketingSherpa Blog Posts of 2012: Inbound and email top the list

December 28th, 2012 No comments

This time last year, we put together the top 11 posts of the MarketingSherpa Blog for 2011, and social media marketing easily dominated the list. In 2012, email marketing put up a good fight, but social media marketing along with other inbound strategies and tactics still took the gold.

This year’s list focused on three areas: inbound, email and customer-centric marketing. Along with a brief summary of each post, you’ll also find some interesting tweets about select posts. Read on for 2012′s most popular MarketingSherpa Blog posts, as determined by your peers.

 

Inbound Marketing

Blog Awards: The 13 best marketing industry blogs (according to you)

Our top post of 2012 shared the results of the MarketingSherpa Reader’s Choice Awards, where we announced the 13 winning blogs, in a variety of categories, as decided by you, the MarketingSherpa Blog audience.

“If you’re looking for information to help you improve performance and advance your career, check these blogs out,” said Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content, MECLABS, in the post.

Read more…

Social Media Marketing: Penguin’s Twitter book club nets 14 million impressions for its hashtag

November 6th, 2012 2 comments

Some fields seem more resistant to social media than others, and the transition strategy isn’t always readily apparent. Marketers in these fields know the benefits social media can bring, but need to find a way to engage their consumers in a way that is familiar and will breed genuine excitement.

 

 

Reading, for instance, is usually a solitary pursuit. It is cherished by the people who love curling up in a comfy chair in a sunlit corner with a worn Penguin classic, or who craft their own alone time while in the middle of a crowded subway or city park.

Readers emerge from this private world to connect with other readers in two ways – local book clubs, and lining up to meet authors at book signings.

Penguin Group (USA) found a way to integrate the book world’s most social activities into social media.  Read more…