Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

Marketing Experimentation: Answers to marketers’ and entrepreneurs’ questions about marketing experiments

April 17th, 2023

Here are answers to some chat questions from last week’s ChatGPT, CRO and AI: 40 Days to build a MECLABS SuperFunnel. I hope they help with your own marketing efforts. And feel free to join us on any Wednesday to get your marketing questions answered as well.

Am I understanding the message correctly that the main value at first isn’t in more conversions or $$$ but in deeper understanding of the customer mindset?

This questioner is asking about the value of marketing experimentation. And it reminds me of this great movie quote…

Alfred: Why do we fall, Master Wayne?
The (future) Batman: So we can learn to pick ourselves back up again.

Similarly, we might say…

Marketer: Why do we run experiments, Flint?
Flint (the real Batman) McGlaughlin: “The goal of a test is not to get a lift, but rather to get a learning.”

So when you see marketing experiments in articles or videos (and we are guilty of this as well), they usually focus on the conversion rate increase. It is a great way to get marketers’ attention. And of course we do want to get performance improvements from our tests.

But if you’re always getting performance improvements, you’re doing it wrong. Here’s why…

Marketing is essentially communicating value to the customer in the most efficient and effective way possible so they will want to take an action (from Customer Value: The 4 essential levels of value propositions).

So if you’re always getting performance improvements, you’re probably not pushing the envelope hard enough. You’re probably not finding the most efficient and effective way, you’re only fixing the major problems in your funnel. Which, of course, is helpful as well.

In other words, don’t feel bad about getting a loss in your marketing experiment. Little Bruce Wayne didn’t become Batman by always doing the obvious, always playing it safe. He had to try new things, fall down from time to time, so he could learn how to pick himself back up.

While that immediate lift feels good, and you should get many if you keep at it, the long-term, sustainable business improvement comes from actually learning from those lifts and losses to do one of the hardest thing any marketer, nay, any person can do – get into another human being’s head. We just happen to call those other human beings customers.

Which leads us to some questions about how to conduct marketing experiments…

Do we need a control number?

In the MEC300 LiveClass, we practiced using a calculator to determine if results from advertisement tests are statistically significant

The specific tool we practiced with for test analysis was the AB+ Test Calculator by CXL.

I’m guessing this questioner may think ‘control number’ comes from previous performance. And when we conducted pre-test analysis, we did use previous performance to help us plan (for more on pre-test planning and why you should calculate statistical significant with your advertising experiments, you can read Factors Affecting Marketing Experimentation: Statistical significance in marketing, calculating sample size for marketing tests, and more).

But once you’ve run an advertising experiment, your ‘control number’ – really two numbers, users or sessions and conversions – will be data from your ads’ or landing pages’ performance.

You may be testing your new ideas against an ad you have run previously by splitting your budget between the old and new ads. In this case, you would usually label the incumbent ad the control, and the new ad idea would be the treatment or variation.

If both ads are new, technically they would both be treatments or variations because you do not have any standard control that you are comparing against. For practical purposes in using the test analysis tool, it is usually easier to put the lower-performing ad’s numbers in the control, so you are dealing with a positive lift.

Remember, what you are doing with the test calculator is ensuring you have enough samples to provide a high likelihood that the difference in results you are seeing is not due to random chance. So for the sake of the calculator, it does not matter which results you put in the control section.

Labeling a version a ‘control’ is most helpful when actually analyzing the results, and realizing which ad you had originally been running, and what your hypothesis was for making a change.

Which brings us to what numbers you should put in the boxes in the test calculator…

Users or sessions, would that be landing page views? I’m running on Facebook.

In this specific test calculator, it asks for two numbers for the control and variation – ‘users or sessions’ and ‘conversions.’

What the calculator is basically asking for is – how many people saw it, and how many people acted on it – to get the conversion rate.

What you fill into these boxes will depend on the primary KPI for successes in the experiment (for more on primary KPI selection, you can read Marketing Experimentation: How to get real-world answers to questions about a company’s marketing efforts).

If your primary KPI is a conversion on a landing page, then yes, you could use landing page views or, even better, unique pageviews – conversion rate would be calculated by dividing the conversion actions (like a form fill or button click) by unique pageviews.

However, if your primary KPI is clickthrough on a Facebook ad, then the conversion rate would be calculated by dividing the ad’s clicks by its impressions.

Which brings us to the next question, since this tool allows you to add in a control and up to five variations of the control (so six total treatments)…

Can you confirm the definition of a variation really fast? Is it a change in copy/imagery or just different size of ad?

Remember what we are doing when we’re running a marketing experiment – we are trying to determine that there is a change in performance because of our change in messaging. For example, a headline about our convenient location works better than a headline about our user-friendly app, so we’ll focus our messaging about our convenient location.

When there are no validity threats and we just make that one change, we can be highly confident that the one change is the reason for the difference in results.

But when there are two changes – well, which change caused the difference in results?

For this reason, every change is a variation.

That said, testing in a business context with a necessarily limited budget and the need for reasonably quick action, it could make sense to group variations.

So in the question asked, each ad size should be a variation, but you can group those into Headline A ads, and Headline B ads.

Then you can see the difference in performance between the two headlines. But you also have the flexibility to get more granular and see if there are any differences among the sizes themselves. There shouldn’t be right? But by having the flexibility to zoom in and see what’s going on, you might discover that small space ads for Headline B are performing worst. Why? Maybe Headline B works better overall, but it is longer than Headline A, and that makes the small space ads too cluttered.

Ad size is a change unrelated to the hypothesis. But for other changes, this is where a hypothesis helps guide your testing. Changing two unrelated things would result in multiple variations (two headlines, and two images, would create four variations). However, if your experimentation is guided by a hypothesis, all of the changes you make should tie into that hypothesis.

So if you were testing what color car is most likely to attract customers, and you tested a headline of “See our really nice red car” versus “See our really nice blue car,” it would make no sense to have a picture of a red car in both ads. In this case, if you didn’t change the image, you wouldn’t really be testing the hypothesis.

For a real-world example see Experiment #1 (a classic test from MarketingExperiments) in No Unsupervised Thinking: How to increase conversions by guiding your audience. The team was testing a hypothesis that the original landing page had many objectives competing in an unorganized way that may have been creating friction. Testing this hypothesis necessitated making multiple changes, so they didn’t create a variation for each. However, when making a new variation would be informative (namely, how far should they go in reducing distractions) they created a new variation.

So there were three variations total. The control (original), treatment #1 which tested simplifying by making multiple changes, and treatment #2 which tested simplifying even further.

When we discuss testing, we usually talk about splitting traffic in half (or thirds, in the case above) and sending an equal amount of traffic to each variation to see how they perform. But what if your platform is fighting you on that…

One thing I’m noticing is that Google isn’t showing my ads evenly – very heavily skewed. If it continues, should I pause the high impression group to let the others have a go?

It really comes down to a business decision for you to make – how much transparency, risk, and reward are you after? Here are the factors to consider.

On the one hand, this could seem like a less risky approach. Google is probably using a statistical model (probably Bayesian) paired with artificial intelligence to skew towards your better performing ad to make you happy – i.e., to keep you buying Google ads because you see they are working. This is similar to multi-armed bandit testing, a methodology that emphasizes the higher performers while a test is running. You can see an example in case study #1 in Understanding Customer Experience: 3 quick marketing case studies (including test results).

So you could view trusting Google to do this well as less risky. After all, you are testing in a business context (not a perfect academic environment for a peer-reviewed paper). If one ad is performing better, why pay money to get a worse-performing ad in front of people?

And you can still reach statistical significance on uneven sample sizes. The downside I can see is that Google is doing this in a black box, and you essentially just have to trust Google. It’s up to you how comfortable you are doing that.

When you go to validate your test, you could get a Sample Ratio Mismatch warning in a test calculator, warning you that you don’t have a 50/50 split. But read the warning carefully (my emphasis added), “SRM-alert: if you intended to have a 50% / 50% split, we measured a possible Sample Ratio Mismatch (SRM). Please check your traffic distribution.”

This warning is likely meant to warn you of a difference that isn’t obvious to the naked eye if you intended to run a 50/50 split. This could be due to validity threats like instrumentation effect and selection effect. Let’s say your splitter wasn’t working properly, and some notable social media accounts shared a landing page link but it only went to one of the treatments. That could threaten the validity of the experiment. You are no longer randomly splitting the traffic.

On the flip side, if you want more control over things, you could evenly split the impressions or traffic and use a Frequentist (Z Test) statistical methodology and choose the winner after things have run. You aren’t trusting that Google is picking the right winner, and not giving up on an initially under-performing treatment too soon.

I can’t personally say that one approach is definitely right or wrong, it comes down to what you consider more risky, and how much control and transparency you would like to have.

And if you would like to get deeper into these different statistical models, you can read A/B Testing: Why do different sample size calculators and testing platforms produce different estimates of statistical significance?

Flint, do I remember right? 4 words to action in the headline?

This question is a nice reminder that we’ve been answering questions about testing methodology – the infrastructure that helps you get reliable data – but you still need to craft powerful treatments for your tests.

The teaching from Flint McGlaughlin that you are referring to is actually about four words to value in the headline, not action. Four words to value. To give you ideas for headline testing, you can watch Flint teach this concept in the free FastClass – Effective Headlines: How to write the first 4 words for maximum conversion.

Hi, how would one gain access to this? Looks fascinating.

How can I join a cohort?

How do you join a cohort on 4/26?

Are the classes in the cohort live or self-paced? I’m based in Australia so there’s a big-time difference.

Oh, I would be very interested in joining that cohort. Do I email and see if I can join it?

At the end of the LiveClass, we stayed on the Zoom and talked directly to the attendees who had questions about joining the MECLABS SuperFunnel Cohort. If you are thinking of joining, or just looking for a few good takeaways for your own marketing, RSVP now for a Wednesday LiveClass.

Here are some quick excerpt videos to give you an idea of what you can experience in a LiveClass:

Single variable testing vs variable cluster testing

What is an acceptable level of statistical confidence?

Paul Good talks about the need for the MECLABS cohort

How Brand Marketers Hitched a Ride on The Solar Eclipse in Social Media Marketing

August 31st, 2017

Every few years, everyone everywhere stops what they’re doing to watch the BIG THING that is happening, whatever it might be — the OJ Simpson trial, balloon boy or, most recently, last Monday’s (moon-day’s) total solar eclipse.

While it may have culminated in everyone gazing up at the sky Monday afternoon, wearing funny-looking glasses, remember that in the weeks beforehand, they had been looking at and searching for information online.

The question for marketers is, do you just watch these events pass you by, or do you capitalize on them for a little social cache?

Even our parent company, MECLABS Institute, got in on the moon madness and posted our eclipse party on social media.



Read more…

Social Media: How to make [the right] friends and influence people [who matter]

March 13th, 2017

It’s one of those randomly attributed phrases that people throw around in social media: “Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”

We’ve all probably randomly scrolled past that phrase and ones like it a thousand times. But for some reason, reading that today on LinkedIn got me thinking — why do so many brands just follow the status quo for social media when the space is made so that the user can stand out from the crowd?

There are so many different ways to reach out not only to your customers as a whole, but to maybe even excite a niche crowd. Here are three of those ways:

Tactic #1. Pioneer uncharted platforms — go where competitors aren’t

In navigating the competitive marketplace for high-end jewelry, the team at Brian Gavin Diamonds needed a cost-effective method to help them stand out.

At MarketingSherpa Summit 2016, Danny Gavin, Vice President and Director of Marketing, Brian Gavin Diamonds, discussed how the team wasn’t afraid of going somewhere the competition had yet to explore to do that.

This attitude led them to Vine, a social app that allows for six seconds of looping video clips.

“The natural paths of marketing can be more expensive. We turned to social,” he said. “No one in the jewelry business was using Vine. It was a wide-open playing field.”

There’s a reason no one else had dared — six seconds is not a lot of time to tell a story and sell customers.

The team came up with a four-part strategy to their Vine videos to surpass that hurdle:

  1. Don’t oversell
  2. Be true to the platform
  3. Be timely and relevant
  4. Distill

This Vine video follows that strategy by quickly showcasing what the company can do with the caption: “From idea, to design, to the custom engagement ring of your dreams … Brian Gavin Diamonds is a cut beyond brilliant.”

Read more…

Social Media Marketing: 4 steps to identifying the ideal social media platform for your company

September 15th, 2015

Recently, I spoke with a graduate business class about social media marketing and how the MECLABS’ heuristic can be used to optimize social media ads and pages. The MECLABS Institute is MarketingSherpa’s parent company.

However, the biggest question coming from the class was which social media platforms would be the best to invest in.

How does a marketer determine where to place their efforts? Casting a wide net might seem like the best answer, but that typically results in an unnecessary waste of time and money.

The key is to identify which social media platforms will be conducive to your relationship with consumers.

Below are four steps to help you determine where you should invest on social media.


Step #1. Address consumer value proposition

At the foundation of every marketing effort is the value proposition. Once you can securely address the question “If I am your ideal customer, why should I purchase from you?” then you can move into analyzing your data to better understand this consumer.

Read more…

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

March 6th, 2015

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

Read more…

Social Media Tips: 5 easy steps to set up a Facebook business account

November 1st, 2013

I’ve decided to start a Facebook account. Now what?

To start, we need to determine if we are looking to do a business account or a personal account.

Which type of Facebook account is right for you? For the purpose of this blog post, let’s focus on a business account.

If you are going to have a business account, you must start with a personal account. Facebook business pages are similar to personal timelines. A big difference are the analysis tools Facebook includes for business pages that offer in-depth knowledge to help you see how well you are connecting with your community.

Let’s walk together through setting up a page for your business. Please note that the Facebook landscape changes on a regular basis, so remember you can always visit Facebook’s Help Center for updated instructions.


Step #1. Set up your personal Facebook account

First, you are going to need a personal Facebook account to set up a page for your business.

The reason for this is driven by Facebook limiting your availability to access its business account process without an initial personal account.

If there is a silver lining to this, the business page will not interact with your personal page and your personal information is not public on the business page.

Facebook will allow you to switch back and forth from your personal account to your business account so you can interact as the business on the business page and then simply switch back to your personal account.

In addition, the business page is capable of being managed by multiple administrators if needed. Once additional administrators are set up for the page, each administrator can simply log in to their personal Facebook account to access the business page’s control panel.


Step#2. Select “Create a Page”

You can find this in the “More” section at the bottom of your personal account homepage.


Step #3. Select a page

Which page category should you select? 


Facebook classifies business pages into six major groups. Here’s a breakdown of each group to help you select the right one for your business.


Local Business or Place

  • If you have a brick-and-mortar store where customers physically visit, select the Local Business or Place page.

Company, Organization or Institution

  • If your business is mostly run online or has multiple locations, then you should select the Company, Organization or Institution page.

Brand or Product

  • If your business has products that are sold through multiple websites, resellers and/or retailers, then you will want to select the Brand or Product page.

Artist, Band or Public Figure

  • If you are in the public spotlight and your business is focused on promoting,  the Artist, Band or Public Figure page is the appropriate selection.


  • If you are looking to promote your television show, movie, book, radio station, magazine or other media, select the Entertainment page.

Cause or Community

  • If your organization is a community of action that supports specific issues, campaigns or nonprofit organizations, select the Cause or Community page.


If you feel like you made a mistake in your choice of page, you can always change your page type and category. You can do this after you’ve created the page through the admin control panel.


Step #4. Select your category and get started  

The category selection is just a simple category drop-down list.

After choosing a group that best fits your business, enter the required information for your page, read the terms, and if you agree, check the box and click “Get Started.”

Now that your business page is set up, the hard part is over!


Step #5. Create cover and profile photos  

Facebook allows for a standardized template design with two elements that can be changed on a regular basis.

These two components are:

  • Cover photo
  • Profile photo

These elements are essential to the look and feel of your page. They also serve as free advertising space for your business. Let’s take a more in-depth look at each of them.


Cover photos

Cover photos are the large image at the top center of your page that can serve multiple functions.

The size dimensions for cover photos are 850 pixels by 315 pixels.


To give you an example, let’s take a look at Motorola’s Facebook page.

Motorola has blended images of its products and text to thank fans for their engagement, which leads me to another point.

Cover photos are versatile and only limited to your creativity. They can introduce visitors to your page, promote special offers, provide contact information, and most importantly, help you set the tone of your page.

Even if you are not a designer or have very limited resources, you can still create effective cover photos.

Freeware like GIMP or will allow you to size, crop and save your images as needed.

Also, here’s a tip – try not cover more than 20% of the image with text. The reason is Facebook has been rather picky in the past about the amount of text you can use in images.

I also recommend creating multiple cover photos initially, and then upload and swap them out on a weekly basis.

Creating multiple images is hard enough without adding in the reminder to change the cover photo once per week. However, at the moment, when you change your cover photo, your audience will be able to see that photo in their timeline. Another recent MarketingSherpa blog post dives into the details on Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm.

But for now, I suggest implementing this tactic as a best practice to keep your brand top-of-mind with your Facebook fans. Also, changing out the cover photo on a regular basis to keep your page looking fresh is a good idea.


Profile photos

The profile photo is the square box to the bottom left of the cover photo. The dimensions for profile photos are 180 pixels by 180 pixels.


Your profile photo serves one main purpose: every time your page posts an update, your profile photo will appear alongside the post on your fans’ timelines.

The profile photo is a small square, so you will want to minimize the amount of text used in this box to maximize the real estate.

A lot of brands safely use a logo in this space for identity, but there is no right or wrong choice here. As I mentioned earlier, your boundaries are the limits of your creativity.

I recommend taking some time to find the right profile image that captures the heart of your business.


Related Resources:

Get the latest inbound and other marketing case studies and data from MarketingSherpa delivered straight to your inbox

Social Media Marketing: A quick look at Facebook EdgeRank

Social Media: 4 simple steps to calculate social media ROI

Social Media Marketing: Why should I like or follow you?

Is Social Media Better for Building Product Credibility?

October 29th, 2013

I had a conundrum once at dinner when I was a young military guy stationed in Tampa, Fla.

I wanted to try something new, and I had my mind set on Chinese food. In an attempt to get an unbiased opinion, I fired up my trusty laptop and Googled “Chinese food Tampa.”

After sorting through a few million results, I arrived at a few good recommendations based on star ratings and other such nonsense. Just to double check, I phoned a friend who had eaten at the spot I chose.

Knowing my personality and my legendary picky eating habits, he recommended that I not go to my top choice. Of course, I completely ignored him and did it anyway.

Gripped in the depths of gastrointestinal distress two hours later, and surrounded by throngs of hipsters, I realized a simple truth: star ratings are a ridiculous way to gauge a product or service.

As it turns out, most Americans agree with me, at least in principle.

A recent report from Forrester Research indicated 70% of Americans trust brand or product recommendations from friends and family. To give you an idea of how high that percentage is, only 46% of Americans said they trusted consumer-written online reviews.

The takeaway from this research is Americans trust personal recommendations at a much higher rate than reviews from strangers.


That creates an interesting dichotomy since most e-commerce stores offer consumer ratings, but not friend and family recommendations via social media.

Take a look at this product page. It just so happens to be the Amazon product page for my recently published book. 


You’ll notice the product page offers a star-based review system whereby people who have read the book are able to review it.

This represents the traditional attempt by retailers to reduce customer anxiety about their purchase and increase credibility of the product by allowing real people to give their unfettered opinions of the product. The problem, of course, is the Forrester report has introduced an element of doubt about how effective consumer-written online reviews are at influencing the purchasing behavior of individuals shopping online.

Let’s compare Amazon’s attempt to assuage anxiety to another approach, below:


I really like this example of integrating a Facebook comment into a product page because it illustrates the potential for using social media to build your products’ credibility. The widget will allow anyone to comment on your product or service, provided they have a Facebook account.

The widget can be coded to display socially relevant results first. In other words, you can show any comments from your customers’ friends and relatives at the top of the list, and as we’ve discovered, the recommendations of friends can be much more trustworthy.

The only problem I can foresee with this approach is having a lack of comments on a particular product.

Could the Facebook commenting process be so foreign to people that it scares them away?

Do customers understand this is the functionality that they should use to leave a recommendation?

We don’t have answers to those questions.

It seems as if we’re left with a valid research question: which attempt at alleviating anxiety and boosting credibility will be most effective?

Will it be the traditional user-based “star” concept that made me sick, or the socially empowered “friends and family” approach?

Read more…

Social Media Marketing: Insights from Email Summit keynote Jay Baer

July 30th, 2013

At MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2014, attendees will hear a wide range of case studies and keynote addresses covering many aspects of email marketing.

At last year’s event, 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 through integration.

In this excerpt from his presentation, filled with 16 ways to integrate email and Facebook into marketing plans, hear highlights from Jay’s session, including why this integration is so essential for businesses, now and especially in the future.


00:10 “If somebody is subscribing to your email newsletter on your website, on your thank you page, why not ask them to also like you on Facebook?” Jay asked, citing many brands he has audited have not tried this approach.

2:26 Jay explained why marketers who are doing advanced segmentation should turn to connecting Facebook accounts to websites to collect information from customers. Instead of having customers fill out a lengthy form with their information, allowing them to connect their Facebook accounts makes it easier on them to give up their information and faster for marketers to collect this essential data.

2:56 Jay revealed in this session how any time a marketer sends something, it is likely only 25% of the audience will see it at any given time. This is precisely why it is essential for marketers to surround customers with many options for communication, including email and social media.

4:08 While the integration tactics discussed in Jay’s keynote address are not difficult technically, they can be difficult to accomplish culturally, operationally and tactically. But, email marketers’ jobs depend on doing these things “because email isn’t going anywhere, but social media is getting a disproportionate amount of attention, and you know that to be true.”


Watch the full, free session from Email Summit 2013 to hear all of Jay’s insights about integrating email and Facebook.

Read more…

Social Media Marketing: 4 basic tips for getting started

July 16th, 2013

“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: Is in-stream e-commerce possible?

April 4th, 2013

E-commerce on Facebook was a horrible flop. That is to say, many brands found over the course of several years of experimentation the return on investment in terms of dollars spent developing their online storefronts didn’t measure up, so many of the most popular retail brands – such as The Gap, JC Penney and Nordstrom – were subsequently forced to close their Facebook shops. A recent study by W3B suggested just 2% of people with a Facebook account have made a purchase on the social network.

Yet, simultaneously, e-commerce sites in general (Amazon,, etc.) have posted impressive growth figures.  For example, holiday e-commerce sales were up 13% to $34 billion in 2012.

Why is it that some sites sell, and others don’t? In particular, why are social media sites so horrible at conversion? I believe it’s a phenomenon related to (what I refer to as) the locus of conversion.


Facebook is a pub crawl

The environment on Facebook yields similarities to the dynamic of a pub crawl. Surrounded by acquaintances and, yes, a few old friends, we dive into topics of various levels of seriousness ranging from the patently absurd, to the politically charged before wandering aimlessly from topic to topic.

We do so without expecting to be inundated with marketing messaging, much the same as we would expect to not be rudely interrupted by an insurance salesman while we were in the middle of telling our best frat house story from college at the local bar.

However, if you are able to be interesting enough to become the topic of our buzzed conversation, I might be willing, in that instant, to purchase your product. I don’t want to leave the bar, mind you. I just want a magical product genie to appear and offer your purple widget to me at a reasonable price. If I don’t have to leave my bar stool, you just might have a sale.

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