Tag Archives: social media strategy

Running a Successful Facebook Contest—The Right Way

So you’ve finally decided to run a Facebook contest. That’s great! Social media contests can improve engagement and likes, and encourage your audience to interact with your brand. Besides, everyone loves the chance to win something!

facebook logo official

  1. Give away something people actually want to win

If you make consumable products, you have a built in prize. If not, try looking into branded hats, mugs, t-shirts, keychains, or anything that makes sense for your business. You might be surprised how excited people will get over a plastic cup or a notepad. If those don’t seem to be good options, you can always give away a gift certificate.

  1. Add pictures of the prize, if possible

Engaging content has swiftly shifted more and more to video and photo content and if your Facebook fans can actually see the prize they have a chance to win, they are much more likely to interact with your contest. This is your chance to get creative by arranging the prizes in a way that looks the most appealing.

  1. Create a strategy

What do you want to get out of this contest? More engagement? More interaction? More new likes? Take the time to think about what you want out of the contest and plan the terms around it. For example, if you want more engagement, you might want to ask your audience to like and comment on the post. Or if you want more new page likes, you might run a contest to get to your next milestone. Keep it easy and engaging, but somehow tied to your brand.

  1. Promote contest posts

This is important! You can’t just rely on word of mouth or shares for your contest to do well. In order to get the most engagement you need to reach the largest possible audience. As most of you may know, Facebook’s algorithms don’t show every single post to every single member of your audience. Even if you have a small budget, promoting your posts is definitely affordable.

  1. Stay involved

While the contest is going on, be sure to interact with the audience as they are commenting. You don’t have to like or comment on every single post, but some engagement is necessary. When you host a social media contest, you’re bound to get a variety of comments, so make sure you’re checking them regularly and commenting as necessary.

  1. Choose your winner fairly

It might be tempting to choose a winner who often interacts with your page or maybe even someone you know. Don’t. I use Fanpage Karma’s “Good Luck Fairy” to randomly pick a winner from likes, comments, shares or a combination. The best part? You can download a spreadsheet of everyone who interacted with the contest so you can have a hard copy of your winners.

  1. Notify winners and send prizes promptly

Don’t delay with notifying winners. They are excited to hear who won, and I’m willing to bet you’ll be excited to notify them after you’ve ended the contest. Facebook has recently allowed businesses to contact winners directly, but it’s also not a bad idea to write a post notifying the winner or winners.

  1. Study your analytics

Look at your engagement numbers and percentages to see how well you did and learn from it. If you didn’t get the engagement that you hoped, you might want to switch gears and go with a different strategy. Or maybe you want to spend more on advertising or give away a bigger prize.

At the end of the day, running a contest on Facebook should be fun! It’s exciting to see people get so pumped up over winning a prize. You users will be more engaged and watching you to see what contest you’re running next, which leads to more traffic to your Facebook page and eventually to your site.

#ALLinCLE: Three Things Brands can Learn from the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Social Media Usage During the Playoffs

Cavs blog post imageThe 2015 NBA season was a fun ride for Cleveland fans. Although the Finals didn’t turn out the way we hoped, there is still plenty of room for hope looking forward to the 2015-2016 season.

While the 2015 NBA playoffs gave fans a chance to watch LeBron James and company play basketball at the highest level, another part of the Cavs’ organization had a chance to shine—the social media team.

Whether it was Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat, the Cavs were all over social media during the playoffs. Fans saw the playoffs through an entirely new lens made possible by effective use of social media.

Believe it or not, your brand can learn from what the Cavaliers’ social media team did during the playoffs. I understand you’re probably not in a business as glamorous as professional basketball, but there are plenty of things to take away from the Cavs’ social media success to help your brand.


Use of Hashtags

#ALLinCLE. This was everywhere during the playoffs. It was seen on t-shirts, rally towels, billboards and in almost every Cavs social post. The hashtag received so much notoriety that when people used it during the NBA Finals, Twitter automatically added a Cavs logo to the end.

Keep in mind that your brand is probably not going to have the luxury of Twitter adding your logo to your hashtag, but creating a hashtag and promoting it correctly will still pay social media dividends.

Let’s say your company is hosting a walkathon to raise money for a special cause. You could come up with a creative hashtag to use in all of your posts about the event. You should also include the hashtag on the event’s marketing materials such as posters and ads. This will encourage people to use your hashtag when posting about the walkathon.

If enough people use your hashtag in your area, it will start to trend and attract more tweets and potentially local news coverage.

Give Your Followers Something Unique

On game days, the Cavs would post pictures and videos from inside Quicken Loans Arena hours before fans were even allowed in. Their followers were treated to an inside look at employees placing t-shirts and towels on seats or players getting some extra practice in before the game, for example.

These are things that TV cameras don’t normally show but are still interesting to fans. It’s exciting to open up Instagram and see Kyrie Irving drain three pointers during warmups or what players are wearing when they arrive to the arena.

Your customers always see the finished product, but they rarely see what goes on behind the scenes. Social media is a great way to show your followers the process of how your products are made or highlight employees who are responsible for providing the services customers are accustomed to.

Going back to the walkathon example—instead of just posting pictures of the walkathon while it’s happening, post pictures of the set up or the people or place the funds raised will benefit.

Take Advantage of When Your Followers Post About Your Brand

Whether it was newborn babies at the Cleveland Clinic dressed in Cavs gear, photos posted by players or famous fans at the game, the Cavs were all over reposting or retweeting others’ posts.

The Cavs obviously can’t retweet every fan that tweets about them because they’d have hundreds of retweets a day, but they pick and choose posts that have prominence to share.
Most of the time, celebrities won’t post about your brand, (if they do, retweet, repost, share, comment, do whatever you can to promote that post!) but sometimes your customers will post about your company.

For example, if someone posts about how much fun your hypothetical walkathon was, repost or retweet them and thank them for their participation. This will validate your brand to other followers because people value others’ opinions (hence Yelp, product ratings, etc.) and will make the original poster feel even better about your brand.


The Cavs might not have won the NBA Finals this season, but they certainly won the social media championship. So, next time you’re brainstorming a new social media strategy, keep the Cleveland Cavaliers in mind.

Craft and market a creative hashtag, give followers a unique perspective and take advantage of when others post about your brand, and your brand will have the recipe for social media success.

Need help with your social media strategy? Check out our website to see how TKG can help grow your business.

5 Ways to Take Your Instagram Account to the Next Level

So you’re using Instagram for your business. Good idea! Instagram, like Pinterest, is doing wonderful things visually for businesses and brands.

But to really stand out from the crowd, it’s not enough to simply snap a photo, slap a filter on it and hope for the best. In fact, this approach has the potential to harm your brand more than help it. Remember, you’re competing for “double taps” (Likes) along with professional photographers, celebrities, and brands that aren’t afraid to go to extremes.

So here are 5 ways to take your Instagram account to the next level.

  1. Include your account in your content calendar

To make the biggest impact with Instagram, always incorporate your images as a part of your regular content calendar. While one-off, spontaneous photos are always an option with the platform, having at least a general idea of the kind of content you want to post will help direct and guide your photographers throughout a week or month.

Take, for example, Saturday Night Live’s Instagram account. During the week, they take photos of the general arc of the show: first big pitch meetings, then writers working hard on sketches, then costumes and sets in progress, then celebrity rehearsal sightings. Come Saturday night, it’s all behind the scenes photos of performers running backstage, changing costumes, or joking around between sketches. All day Sunday they post follow up photos of big moments backstage, after party candids, or what performers do on their day off.

nbcsnl

Your business may not have a similar weekly arc, but you likely have certain sales cycles, big events or other promotional efforts that you can align content around.

  1. Use the advanced editing tools

Anyone can take any old photo and choose a filter, but to truly make photos outstanding, it behooves you to use the advanced editing tools first before using filters.

To use these tools, simply click the wrench after taking or choosing your photo from your library. Many of the adjustments available here can either fix minor flaws (low light), enhance detail, or make colors pop.

tools

 

  1. Use other apps to add a different dimension to your product or brand

If you want to add something outside the Instagram “norm” to your photos, you’ll need to edit or enhance through other apps. Aviary, Camera+, Afterlight and Snapseed bring even more advanced editing options to the table. PicStitch, WordSwag, FontCandy and Party! Party! are fun apps to bring photos together, add text or easily create .gifs. You’ll need to edit or deck out photos in these apps first, then send to Instagram.

youcan_run

  1. Use video to tease other content or showcase products or services beyond stills

Instagram offers the use of up to 15 seconds of video on the platform. Some of the best uses of video are often when teasing or promoting other content (giving a short clip of a story to promote an upcoming podcast) or showcasing something that just can’t be shown in a still photo (acro yoga or hand-balancing to promote an upcoming class). Video is a powerful tool on Instagram; think carefully through how you can use video to enhance what you’re already doing with photos.

beachyogagirl

  1. Monitor analytics

There’s no point in putting in all the work into any content without determining if it’s actually effective. While you could splurge on a robust tool like Simply Measured, some free tools can give great insights into how photos are performing on the platform. Iconosquare (formerly Statigram), is a free tool that gives insight into follower engagement, spread rate, filter and hashtag impact and account growth. You can use other tools like Klout to cross reference which content seems to be resonating best with your audience, as well.

filter_impact

Once you are monitoring your Instagram content regularly, adjust your tactical approach as necessary. If fans are responding well to certain filters or hashtags add more into the mix, while phasing out content that has lower likes or engagement.

And of course, never be afraid to try something new and creative by showcasing your brand, product or service from a unique angle. Instagram users are hungry for great content to consume and tell their friends about!

Have Your Online Marketing Strategy and Eat it Too!

The Swedish Chef

Homemade cake is delicious and online marketing strategy can produce great results.

The only problem with homemade cake and online marketing is they take time to do them right. Don’t have time to make a cake? Go to the local bakery, pay a little cash, and enjoy! Same goes for online marketing, if you don’t have time to do it right, then partner with someone who can help.

All you need is the right ingredients to make a delicious online marketing strategy people will want to eat.

Maybe it’s a stretch to compare baking and online marketing, but I think there are some amazing similarities to consider:

  • Each calls for the right mix of ingredients. 
  • They both require science and art
  • The more you practice the better you get

Online marketing can be many different things depending on your goals. For the sake of this conversation we’ll use these tactics as our ingredients:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Paid Search Marketing
  • Content Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Social Media Strategy

If you’re coming to TKG (online marketing agency… not a bakery) we’ll make sure we do enough prep work before getting the kitchen dirty. We’ll complete the necessary research to learn your business and identify your marketing goals. All in the name of finding the right ingredients to bake the perfect online marketing strategy for your company.

Once the recipe is set, we’ll get to work in the kitchen doing all the messy work so you don’t have to worry about it. Let’s pretend your recipe needs all five ingredients listed above. Here is a look at what TKG would do for each:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – We continually optimize your website to help increase conversions (sales, lead generations, traffic, etc.)
  • Paid Search Marketing – TKG will complete the necessary setup, create all campaign details, develop custom landing pages, and then manage and optimize the campaign.
  • Content Marketing – Your website may have a pretty good base of content (copy, images, documents, videos, etc.) but we’ll work to refine the existing and create new content that works to draw in ideal customers.
  • Email Marketing – Grow your email list, segment your contacts, design beautiful email templates and landing pages, write the copy for emails, and then track and test.
  • Social Media Strategy – Make sure it’s a good fit, define the goals, select appropriate platforms, optimize each platform with good copy and images, develop a strategy to engage.

Does developing a successful online marketing strategy end with you feeling like the Swedish Chef from the Muppets? Throwing your arms up in the air and yelling gibberish shouldn’t be the end of it. Let us help you organize your thoughts, develop a strategy, and most importantly do all the dirty work for you.

4 Necessary Components to Any Content Marketing Team

content-marketing-teamFor years, marketing departments of all shapes and sizes have built teams of individuals charged with the task of reaching audiences.  But the tasks of marketing have changed in recent years.  To reference the Cluetrain Manifesto, the markets themselves have become conversations.

So the question is this: How does this massive technology-driven shift affect the structure of your marketing team?

Marketing Has Become Guerrilla Warfare

About 3 years ago now, I wrote about  my own paradigm shift, related to how small businesses could leverage teams of humans who are skilled at using social media tools.

This quote, from David Killcullin’s scholarly paper entitled Counter-insurgency Redaux, was what sparked those ideas:

“Thus insurgent operational art remains fundamentally a matter of aggregating dispersed tactical actions by small groups and individuals, and orchestrating their effects into a strategically significant campaign sequence.“

Consider this in the context of marketing teams utilizing social media tools.  It makes sense that if the trend towards humans engaging humans maintains, then the structures of corporate marketing teams need to reflect that shift and fill from the bottom up as opposed to adding more top level management.

1.  Online Listening and Response

Monitoring conversations around your brand and category keywords is critical to any social media marketing program.  This role requires that the individual be skilled at the following:

  • Building and implementing keyword strategies.
  • Advanced understanding of search engines and search marketing tools.
  • Ability to work with RSS feeds.
  • Knowledge of and exposure to various listening tools and systems.
  • Understanding of social CRM and influencer identification applications and how to use them to manage the customer database.
  • Internal processes and how information flows throughout their own organization.
  • Various analytic platforms and how to interpret the data collected.

2.  Content Publishing, Production and Distribution

Content is the constant on the web today.  For any social media marketing program to survive, the brand and individuals must be able to produce content at an almost alarming rate. Skill sets to look for in team members include:

  • Video and audio production capabilities that include and understanding of lighting, shooting, and editing.
  • Basic photography skills.
  • Aptitude with image and video editing applications.
  • Basic knowledge of graphic design.
  • Ability and comfort with being on screen for interviews, etc.
  • Basic HTML and PHP.
  • Experience with production equipment set up and maintenance.

3.  Community Management and Customer Engagement

Online communities are now common platforms that brands use to engage their customers before, during and after the sale.  Attention to questions, comments and complaints can build significant online influence for a brand via word of mouth or social referrals.

Since most brands will have multiple social outlets, community managers must be able to spread their focus across platforms and manage multiple conversations at once.  They are frequently skilled in the following:

  • Understanding the culture and context of different social networks and online communities
  • Knowledge of the different network shorthand and norms
  • The functionality and features of different social media engagement tools
  • Utilizing and leveraging information stored in SCRM tools
  • Strong interpersonal communication skills
  • Copy writing and editing

4.  Strategic Leadership Content Marketing

For the success of any content marketing program to be ensured, there needs to be someone responsible for organizing the efforts of the team.

The leadership of the unit oftentimes acts as a liaison between the content marketing team, other departments and management of the organization, with their key responsibility focused on program design and making sure that content and social media efforts align with business objectives.  They are responsible for tracking and reporting on success metrics and held accountable to campaign performance.

Effective content marketing team leaders tend to possess the following:

  • Knowledge of and aptitude in all team roles
  • Solid project management skills
  • Problem solving skills and the ability to think on their feet
  • Strong interpersonal communication skills
  • Willingness to lead from the trenches
  • Deep understanding of analytics and how those translate to business goals and KPI’s

Each of these roles combined can support multiple content marketing functions in an organization, from managing a collaborative blog to facilitating a customer community and beyond.

In the not-so-distant future, I believe that a large part of corporate marketing departments will include specialized content marketing teams that include each of the four components.

What about you?  How is your content marketing team organized? Do you have one in place in your business?  If not, what are some of the barriers your are facing today?

TKGenius Q4 2012 Updates (and Some Posts You May Have Missed)

TKGenius BlogWe’ve been chugging along on our new TKGenius blog for about 3 months now and haven’t missed a a beat!

In fact, I’m extremely pleased to say that our content team has actually exceeded the publishing goal we set for ourselves of six new posts per week sustainably, over three months.

Go team!

Making the Multi-Author Approach to Business Blogging Work

There are a lot of different approaches for making a blog work as a business tool.

Some brands have become more widely talked about through the efforts of single-author CEO blogs. Others have developed blogs that pull content contributions from employees, or in some cases the customers themselves. Some brands flip the model completely, taking a decentralized approach to business blogging giving story telling power to local franchise owners, operators or dealerships..

The one thing each of these approaches has in common is that they all require a substantial amount of heavy lifting.

At TKG, we take a team approach to blogging.

Many Hands Make Light Work

That epigram from John Heywood describes what we believe to be one of the core foundations of any sustainable business blogging program.

TKGenius is produced by the efforts of 23 excellent contributors, all of whom work at the Karcher Group.

That’s right folks — blog contribution is part of the job description for every position in this agency, including the CEO. It takes that type of cultural commitment to set the tone that helps acclimate employees to a content program that builds enough momentum to sustain.

Building that also takes a ton of dedication, persistence and good ideas from individual members of the team who pour their heart an souls into written words, videos and other forms of new media in order to help educate our readers on the craft of digital marketing.

In case you missed some of these, you’ll find list of some of the most popular TKGenius posts of Q4 2012.

We tried to share a few posts to help you learn new stuff.

TKGenius welcomed some new contributors to the team.

We shared a few posts that made you laugh and think.

We also shared some posts intended to make you think bigger.

And each week, Jackie Hufstetler wrapped up the fun from the TKGenius news desk.

Jackie HufstetlerI want to say a special thank you to TKG’s very own news anchor / reporter Jackie Hufstetler, and I encourage you to connect with her on LinkedIn. She is a young and talented content marketer on the rise!

As an intern, Jackie has left her signature on TKGenius by developing the content for our Weekly Social Business News Wrap — a content series that runs each Saturday morning and fits well with slippers and a cup of coffee.

I’ve personally enjoyed reading Jackie’s work each week. She always brings an accurate, pointed, funny and timely post on Saturday mornings that is served with the essence of her very personal voice and blogging style. She’s also always hit her deadlines which, as the editor, is a nice bonus in a regular contributor.

Jackie — Your creativity and hard work have made you a great asset to the TKGenius team and we’ve enjoyed working with you! Thank you for everything!

We’re also glad to announce that Geoff Taylor, one of the newest members of the TKGenius team will be picking up the series for Jackie.  While Geoff will have some big shoes to fill with the weekly series, I know you folks will like what he’s planning to bring to the table as well!

Gentlemint: A Pinterest for Men?

There’s no question about it, Pinterest is a niche social media community.  The majority of Pinterest members are female who pin and re-pin recipes, workouts, pictures of their baking successes and dresses.

There are men who have their own Pinterest boards, and re-pin content they find interesting. However, some are reluctant to post their Pinterest activity on their Facebook wall or Twitter timeline due to the fear of not being viewed as a “manly man”.

The solution…Gentlemint.

Gentlemint, founded by Glen Stansberry and Brian McKinney in November 2011 was intended to be a gender-inclusive form of Pinterest.  Stansberry and McKinney didn’t want to re-invent Pinterest. However, they simply wanted to create a social media community that would complement Pinterest.  A social community that would focus on a particular set of content.

Gentlemint is a place to find and share manly things. Gentlemint caters exclusively to men, although there are female members of the Gentlemint community.  The site is still in the early stages as it grew out of it’s beta stage in January 2012.

Gentlemint refers to its content as “tacks” as opposed to Pinterest’s “pins”.  Upon initial browsing of the site, I came across pictures of cars, firearms, watches, male-focused gift ideas, clothing and recipes. Yes – recipes!

Gentlemint’s influence on social media has yet to be seen.  Gentlemint has more than 5,000 followers on Twitter, compared to the 1 million that follow Pinterest; and more than 7,500 likes on Facebook, compared to the 2.4 million people that like Pinterest.

According to WebStatZone, as of October 25, 2012, Gentlemint’s daily traffic was more than 9,000 visitors and over 63,000 pageviews.

Although Gentlemint’s statistics are lower than what some brands would like to see, male-focused brands can take advantage of the Gentlemint community.

Brands such as Vera Wang, American Apparel and L’Oréal use Pinterest to appeal to the audience they know will not only re-pin their content, but also be on and offline brand ambassadors.

Male-focused brands such as Gillette, Old Spice and Axe now have a social media community to gain brand ambassadors of their own.

As Gentlemint continues to grow their social media community, marketing strategists will start to ponder if the niche social community will be a viable option for their social media strategy.

Without a business site like Pinterest, businesses may be reluctant to use the male-dominated Gentlemint. The possibility that, when developed properly, Gentlemint has the potential to drive more referral traffic than Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube combined, as does Pinterest, it is possible Gentlemint may grow to become the next big social media network.

Does Gentlemint have the potential to become the next big social media network that will convert a die-hard Pinterester? Tweet your thoughts

Using Facebook for Marketing: 5 Basics You Need to Understand

facebook-advertising-promoted-postsWith 70% of local businesses using Facebook for marketing, it is likely that if you’re a business owner, you’ve dipped your toe into the Facebook waters.

And, like many of the businesses I’ve spoken to, you may be experiencing frustration with your marketing efforts.

Perhaps your Likes are low, or no one responds to your posts. In a word, using Facebook as part of your marketing strategy just doesn’t seem to be giving you the returns you’d like.

I am happy to say that I now have a magic formula to help you get the most bang for your buck from Facebook! They’re actually magic beans, and they’ll only cost you three payments of $59.99…per month. To me. Cash only, please!

I kid, of course! There is no real magic formula for rockin’ out your Facebook Page.

Wamp, wamp.

The bad news is, simply having a Facebook Page up and running is not likely to bring noticeable or constructive results.

But there is good news! Using Facebook for marketing as a tactic in your overall marketing strategy doesn’t have to be overly complicated.

In fact, getting back to the basics can help you see a boost in your Insights.

Here are 5 of the basics you need to understand when using Facebook for marketing:

Basic 1: Remember Where You Are

While some might disagree with me, I think THE MOST IMPORTANT THING to remember about Facebook is that it’s a social sharing platform for individuals.

I know, I know…obvious, right? But indulge me for a minute here…

If you look at your own personal feed, you’ll see updates about friends’ workouts, what they ate that day, where they went shopping, their personal political and religious views…even pictures of their kids on the toilet.

Yup. You know you’ve seen it.

Which means that for individual Facebook users (who may be your customers or future customers), Facebook is a DEEPLY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE.

And even if your customers aren’t all that concerned about privacy (though at least 30% of them are, especially in relation to business pages), remember that as a business, your presence is only a peripheral part of that personal experience.

Come up with as detailed of a marketing strategy as you’d like: you’re still invited into their “home” by a Like, and most users are not afraid to ignore or uninvite you at any time.

So! All that to say, when thinking about your page, remember that you’re seeking to implement a tactical part of your marketing strategy in the same space with a person(s) who just published 72,468 pictures of Little Baby Joey’s First Tinkle on the Potty.

Which leads me to…

Basic 2. Post Content that Connects

Social Media is inherently about connection (some might say “conversation”…but I think that dismisses the value of a Like, Share, or click). Each one of those connections is a touch-point in someone’s overall experience with your business and brand.

When thinking about Basic #1 (Facebook as a personal experience), that means that the content you publish to your page should be the kind that people want to connect to within their personal space.

Many businesses get a little gun-shy using Facebook because they want to make sure that they don’t get off-brand in their messaging.

I understand the concern…but! If your company makes gates, you are going to have a hard time connecting in someone’s personal space if your marketing strategy dictates that every. single. post is along the lines of “Buy our gates! They are the best gates! All other gates can suck it!”

OK, I actually might like that brand…

I am always inspired and impressed by how Jeni’s Ice Creams uses Facebook. They maintain their brand while also connecting beautifully with fans and customers in a real and personal way (and they are geniuses with content).

The result? They’re able to sell their product right from the Facebook platform, or promote new flavors without seeming jarring or salesy or out of place.

And, with the average user connected to 80 pages on Facebook, that’s a pretty stunning feat.

Brands that do well using Facebook for marketing don’t just post content that connects, though. They also…

Basic 3: Post Content Consistently

We’ve established that Facebook is primarily about individuals connecting with other individuals via posts, likes, pictures, video, games and more.

The fact is, however, the Facebook algorithm (Edgerank) automatically gives business pages a lower ranking in news feeds, meaning that sometimes your content never reaches a fan’s feed, or that it’s simply grouped with other pages and brands that a fan “Likes.” (Check out this study from Edgerank Checker about the “life” of a Facebook post.)

So how do you make sure you’re reaching as many of your fans as possible?

Post consistently. Edgerank gives posts “weight” by how old they are. It also weights your content by how often it is Liked, shared, and commented upon.

If you’re not posting consistently enough that fans can’t remember the last time you did…you’re not posting often enough.

I can’t give you a magic formula for how often you need to post for your business. I say aim for at least once a day and you’ll be doing well.

Basic 4: Keep up the Conversation

Now that you’re posting content that connects on a personal level consistently, it’s time to remember that connection is a two-way street.

I’ve seen many instances where fans post wonderful comments (unsolicited!) on a brand’s page, just to say they love the product…and they are met with silence.

We are all busy…but if you business line rings, you would answer it, right? Of course you would. It might be a lead, or a sale, or a referral that you don’t want to miss.

Comments or posts on your Facebook Page shouldn’t be treated all that differently. If you cannot reply in real time (and a “reply” can be as simple as a “Like” from the page), set a time frame for when that fan or follower will be responded to.

A good rule of thumb? Never let more than 24 hours lapse between a comment or question and your response. If you can make it less (many companies have community management teams in place that answer and respond within the hour), I will personally give you a high five.

Here’s the thing: this recent study shows that 89% of consumer replies on company Facebook pages go unanswered (and other studies show it’s actually upwards of 95%).

89%!! Can you imagine if you didn’t return MOST of your phone calls??

There’s good news: studies ALSO show that brands that are socially invested will see a 48% increased response rate from followers. In Social Media terms–where the average engagement on a Facebook Fan Page is around 1%–this is a HUGE gain, and could literally translate into hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue.

Basic 5: Measure and Adapt

Last but not least, check your Facebook Insights regularly, and make adjustments as needed. Since Social Media allows us to interact with fans and customers in real time in their personal space, it is natural that some of your posts will get a lot of buzz, and some just won’t.

And that’s okay!

The great thing about the Social space (and Facebook, in particular), is that there is room to grow and change and adapt.

Your customers don’t seem to respond to trivia questions? No problem. Try asking them to caption funny photos instead. Your fans go crazy with Likes and shares on your videos but are quiet about your latest honors or awards? Try more video related posts (even 15-20 second “shorts” with a Flip or iPhone work well).

I often tell businesses that there is no “wrong” in Social Media as long as you are not being a jerk to your customers on purpose (Boner’s Barbecue, anyone?).

So try a few different things…don’t be afraid to experiment with your content. Watch your numbers and adapt. Align your content with your seasonal promotions or sales calendar and try to anticipate your customer’s needs and wants.

Kraft Foods is extremely adept at understanding which recipes to post to their page, simply by following a seasonal calendar. Using Facebook, they post recipes and pictures that anticipate customer wants, needs and cravings.

Posting a recipe for roasted pumpkin seeds makes perfect sense in October, and naturally, they received a huge amount of Likes, shares and comments in return.

Not every post will be a winner, but if you watch your numbers and listen to your fans, you can have a lot more hits than misses.

And those are the basics! In my (extremely humble) opinion, the brands who do best on Facebook always remember these basics, even if they are equipped with more advanced knowledge and experience.

Let’s hear from you! Which businesses using Facebook for marketing do you think really understand these basics? Did I miss any other good “rules of thumb”? 

Spill it in the comments!

Supplemental Reading and Resources:

Facebook Marketing Tactics that Will Triple your Fans

Fascinating Facebook Facts and Figures

Interesting Facts, Figures and Statistics Revealed by Facebook 

50% of Customers Value a Brand’s Facebook Page More than its Website 

More Facts and Statistics about Facebook 

6 Facebook Posts that Build Engagement 

Socially Devoted Brands Increase Response Rate 

Competitive Analysis & Why Size Matters in Social Media Marketing

“In a competitive marketplace, the number of fans and followers you have does matter” – Click To Tweet

That tweet is sure to spark up a debate among your followers on Twitter.  Don’t believe me?  Go back and click the link and you’ll see what I mean.

competitive analysis social media marketingI feel like it’s become trendy for agencies and consultants to latch on to the ‘quality over quantity’ position when talking about social media marketing and fan and follower counts.

For me though, that argument dies when you decide to use social media to market your products and services to new or untapped segments of consumers.

No matter what anyone tells you, the number of fans and followers who pay attention to your marketing channels on social media will directly effect the total number of them who take an action that benefits your business.

This action could be as simple as having fans and followers sign up for your brand’s email data base, having them share their own content to a hashtag you’ve promoted, downloading a bounce-back coupon or even buying something from your eCommerce site.

There are essentially three methods that allow a brand to accomplish and scale these, and similar types of conversions using social media:

  1. Increase the conversion rate. This means working out strategies and tactics that will improve what percentage of your fan base actually onverts. For instance, if you have 1000 Facebook fans and 20% down load a coupon, you can potentially get 200 people to walk hrough your restaurant doors and claim the discount. At 40%, your total customer potential doubles to 400. Your conversation rate on social media channels is typically related to the type of content and offers you publish, how frequently you or your team are updating and responding, and whether or not your content aligns with the needs, wants and lifestyle of your audience.
  2. Increase the size of the channel. A lot of brands find it difficult to move the needle on the average conversion rate. A second method of increasing the number of prospects and customers who take action is to increase the total number of targeted fans and followers, thus increasing the size of your brand’s social media channels. Using the same scenario above, if your average conversion rate is stuck at 20%, your next option is to grow the Facebook fan base to 2000 targeted fans, thus giving you the same 400 potential customers through the door. While maintaining the same conversion rate during the initial stages of adding fans and followers can be difficult, networks like Facebook and Twitter have hinged their revenue models on providing advertising tools that have been designed to help brands support and maintain social media channel growth. We’ll get to more on why size matters to social media advertising next.
  3. Do both at the same time. The ideal situation for brands and marketing teams is to be masters of each camp in social media marketing and grow each aspect of their channels at the same time. But, doing so takes a more significant investment in terms of dollars for tools, human time and attention. Most brands today are simply not ready or able to make that type of investment into disruptive technology without more proof cases that show hard ROI.

Why Size Matters on Facebook – Promoted Posts

Brands are beginning to take advantage of newer versions of advertising products like Facebook promoted posts.

Promoted PostsWith promoted posts, your brand has the ability to reach higher percentages of your Facebook fans with paid media that’s delivered right to their newsfeeds along with the updates they see organically from their family, friends and ex-high-school girlfriends.

This newer Facebook ad product also allows marketers to choose incremental budget investments based on the number of fans reached.

Used wisely, promoted posts can help keep your brand positioned top of mind with potential or existing customers.

But, one simply yet powerful truth remains — the effectiveness of using advertising products like promoted posts increases along with the size of your Facebook fan base.

Where Competitive Analysis Fits in Social Media Marketing

Understanding the competitive landscape for your category will help you determine how much of your effort, time and resources should be focused on building up your fan, follower and subscriber counts, and how much can be allotted to promotions that are are intended to drive sales.

Most brands today make the mistake of looking at these two aspects in reverse. Sold by the luster of creative promotions, contests and pretty custom tabs, the brand chooses to launch promotions to an oftentimes small and inactive channel of fans and followers.

When crickets happen, the decision maker is left asking: “What exactly did we get out of this? And how am I going to make this look good to my boss?!?”

Click To Tweet –> “The success of any social media promotion depends on whether the channel touches enough of the right people.”

Simply Measured – Our Weapon of Choice for Social Media Competitive Analysis

At TKG, we use a variety of tools to collect and analyze data for our clients, one of which being a neat dashboard called Simply Measured – a social media monitoring tool designed with competitive analysis in mind.

simply-measured

By using Simply Measured to benchmark our clients’ social media marketing efforts against their direct and category competition, we can easily see where opportunities exist to find the ‘path of least resistance’ for growth.

This sometimes means putting efforts into pulling their customer base to a channel where their competition has opted not to participate in full force, or even watching adoption trends among younger demographics that can key us into newer social networks where where the brand’s audience is suddenly spending more time.

In either case, the goals is to create a competitive advantage for our clients against other brands who may be more established, have bigger budgets and serve larger market areas.

When used correctly, tools like Simply Measured can help speed up time time it takes to collect and organize competitive data so that customer insights can be derived. These higher end tools also give us piece of mind that the data we are collecting is accurate and up to date. That said, Simply Measured comes at a price that ranges between $500 per month and up to $11,000 per month.

Is Your Brand Conducting Competitive Analysis

nate-riggsTools like Simply Measured are excellent for competitive analysis. And, used on an  ongoing basis they can help your brand established channel growth and activation benchmarks that can lead to more share of voice online and more successful promotions offline.

Are you doing this now?

Tell us in the comments how you go about looking at competitors and what tools your brand has invested in.

 

Photo Credit: Business Insider and AP images

Riggs’ Roundup: Inaugural Edition

One of the many, many great things about adding Nate Riggs to the TKG fam is that he like to write on social media….a lot. On his own blog, on our blog, and elsewhere on the Interwebs, too. He lives, eats and breathes this social stuff, people.

So, in an effort to keep up with Nate’s blog-writing goings on, we thought it would be helpful to post a once-a-month-or-so roundup of our “Nate faves.”  A month’s worth of Nate’s best social media advice and wisdom wrapped up nice and neat in one post. There’s a little something for everyone – from the theorists to the n00bs to the skilled social practitioners.

Enjoy!

Social Media Theory

  • The Secret To How We Will Be Social
  • The Cart and Horse of Social Media ROI
  • Mark My Words — 7 Reasons Why Twitter Will Win

Social Media Tactics

  • Twitter Tips: 17 Ways to Shorten Your Tweets
  • How to Build a Ground Swell for Your Startup Using Twitter (Guest post on OpenView Labs)

Social Media Advanced Tactics

  • 5 Social Media Measurement Tools for Building More Effective Marketing Channels
  • How To Use Buffer to Manage Twitter for Business