LESSON FOR MARKETERS
For small and medium-sized businesses, I absolutely LOVE the efficiency that comes with digital / social advertising. It's highly targeted, it's inexpensive and you control the costs. If it isn't already, it should be a part of your marketing efforts.
What are your success stories with digital advertising? What are the challenges you are still facing?
In my previous blog post, I listed the top 10 marketing highlights from 2015. In it, I (among other things) congratulate a brand -- Big Ass Fans -- that very cleverly poked fun at Kim Kardashian and her.... um.... well, let's leave it at that. Hoping that it might be an interesting post for business owners interested in marketing their business, I decided to post it on Facebook and boost the post with some advertising dollars. The image that I assigned to the Facebook post (shown above) was of her bare back (only!). According to Facebook's advertising guidelines, that was too much skin. I chose the image because my Facebook post described the blog post as "A look back at the marketing topics that are important...", and Kim Kardashian is looking back at the camera. See what I did there? Alas, the ad wasn't approved, and I had to change the Facebook post image to something far less clever.
It got me thinking, though, of the difference between Facebook and print media when it comes to marketing and advertising. On one hand you have Facebook who earned $16 billion in advertising revenue in 2015. On the other hand you have traditional print media (including magazines), who are suffering unprecedented declines in advertising revenue. This gives Facebook the flexibility and authority it needs to insist that advertising be done the proper way. This makes print media desperate for whatever ad revenue it can scrape together. Case in point: the Kim Kardashian image I am referring to is from a recent edition of Paper magazine who, as I'm sure you know, resorted to sexism for their cover photo and to full frontal nudity on the pages inside. It was clearly a desperate move to boost circulation, which would presumably attract advertisers.
Four thoughts on the matter:
LESSON FOR MARKETERS
Am I too much of a Facebook apologist? Am I overly critical of print?
Social media costs money.
We get it.
By now we've all come to realize that social media isn't "free". There are many costs, such as staffing and advertising (which this insightful infographic demonstrates) that marketers and business owners need to consider.
What I LIKE MOST about the infographic is that it goes on to list all the BENEFITS of an investment in social media, most of which are immeasurable. They (Social Media Today) list these benefits (which were gathered via an eMarketer survey) as a way of illustrating that marketers have dismissed "low cost" as a real benefit. A valid point to make, and an important one for their purposes. But to me, the most important point of this whole infographic is the fact that there are MANY benefits of social media, most of which are immeasurable, and all with considerable impact on the success of a business. Sure, we may not be able to calculate a numeric ROI (since we can't measure the total return), but the length of this list of benefits makes it hard to justify NOT investing in social media.
IMHO, there are a few missing from the list! Notably:
LESSON FOR MARKETERS
The case for investment in social media is compelling (perhaps overwhelming). The real question is whether or not you're taking advantage of all the benefits.
Any benefits that I missed? Don't forget to also check the ones in the infographic.
Too many businesses forget that social media is.... wait for it.... SOCIAL!
Social media is (supposed to be) a collection of real conversations between real people. They just happen to take place on a screen, rather than in person. Too often, though, businesses use social media as a channel to talk about their business, their offers, their events and so on. They treat social media as another channel for promotion. In other words, they talk about themselves.
With that in mind, look back at your posts, read them in succession, and imagine that you're saying all these things, in person, to real people. How do you sound? Do you sound like that annoying guy who only talks about himself? Are you saying anything that would be interesting to real people? My guess is (based on what I see every day on social media), NO.
You need to dedicate a considerable portion of your social feeds to interesting dialogue about things that have nothing to do with your business, just like you would in a real social setting! Real life conversations include all kinds of dialogue about current events, pop culture, and...wait for it... interesting topics! Eventually, the conversation may turn professional, but if you compare your social media feeds to what you talk about in real life to real people, there are surely vast differences in tone. And there shouldn't be.
The best example of real social engagement on social media is Mashable. They talk about all kinds of interesting things that have nothing to do with them. In the illustration above, I captured three recent posts: one about a nasty sea slug, one about the Paris attacks, and one about the Biebs. None of those posts are about about Mashable, a digital media website which describes itself as a "source for news, information and resources for the Connected Generation". They started in 2005 as a site focussed on technology and new media, but they quickly realized that when it came to their social media activity, they needed to be... wait for it...you know what's coming...SOCIAL! They talk a LOT about things that are interesting, regardless of how closely they relate to their business or their offerings. Slugs have nothing to do with tech. The Paris attacks have nothing to do with the Connected Generation. They talk about these things because they are interesting, and people listen. A LOT of people (they currently have more than 6 million Twitter followers).
THE LESSON FOR MARKETERS
You want to be interesting on social media, not self-promoting. Why? Because people listen to interesting brands. And the more interesting you are, the more likely you are to be remembered when those people need to buy a product that you just happen to sell. Social media's not for inspiring a purchase. It's for engaging in dialogue that makes you memorable. It's that brand awareness that will lead, one day, to purchase consideration.
How will you know if you're doing it right? Go back to your social media feeds and pretend you're saying what's in your posts to real people in real life. Do you like what you hear?
How much of your social media activity is dedicated to interesting conversation that is unrelated to what you sell?
Michael Sam, the first openly gay athlete to be selected in the NFL draft, wasn't fortunate enough to make the lineup of any NFL team. On Friday he found a home with the CFL's Montreal Alouettes.
The Huffington Post wrote about it and posted a link to their article on Facebook (image on the left), giving us the headline and the key information we needed to decide if we were interested in reading more or not. NFL.com, the click-baiters on the right, gave us nothing. They teased us, forcing (or baiting) us to click to find out which team signed him.
In the HuffPo example, they may not get as many clicks, but the click-throughs will be engaged readers, interested in all HuffPo has to say about this story. In the NFL.com example, they will get more clicks (probably the same number of engaged readers as with the HuffPo example, and a few more of the curious uninformed) which, presumably, allows them to sell advertising at higher rates. But at what cost?
In my case, I'm annoyed by NFL.com. They've given me so little information that I'm forced to click to get the basic information that I need. So annoyed in fact that I didn't click on that link. Instead, I continued down my Facebook feed and clicked on the HuffPo link to read the whole story.
LESSON(S) FOR MARKETERS
What do you think? Am I the anomaly? Is it worth it to annoy your readers to get more traffic? Comment below.
This morning, a random Tweeter named Chris Menke had a really clever thought about Big Ass Fans (image above).
He WOULD HAVE won the internet today (still gets the silver though), were it not for Big Ass Fans' response:
(On the off chance you don't get the Kardashian reference, here you go.)
This is brilliant on so many levels:
LESSON FOR MARKETERS
Social is easy, effective, fun, and less time consuming than you might think. Plus there are a multitude of lesser-known benefits, including employee satisfaction and loyalty. Go have fun!
Click to follow Chris, Big Ass Fans and Share Of Marketing on Twitter.
This isn't the first brilliant thing Big Ass Fans has done. Read what I said about them back in March here.
Almost by accident I discovered that one of Derek Jeter's retirement projects (besides dating Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover models) is the creation and promotion of a web site about sports written and edited entirely by professional athletes. Here are three things that I really love about this project:
LESSON FOR MARKETERS
There are several blog posts already written and still to come about this, but you need to take away from this post that your job, as a marketer, is to be valuable and unique to your audience. If you can do that well, your audience will do your job for you!
What do you think of the site? What do you think of the site design?
I had seen enough advertising for A Touch of Modern on Facebook recently (more on that - the power of Facebook advertising - in another post) that I decided to check them out as part of my Cyber Monday shopping. The image above is a screen capture of their home page.
You will notice that you need to provide your email address or Facebook profile information in order to enter the site.
I think I get the premise: that brands want to deepen their relationships with online shoppers like me, presumably to provide me with ongoing value, and that this is a way to get that relationship started. But don't you think that's a bit early to be asking for my personal information? I haven't even been on the site yet!
Don't they need to buy me dinner first?
LESSON FOR MARKETERS
Provide open access to your brand and the value you offer. Then, once you've demonstrated that value, ask consumers if they'd like a relationship. Furthermore, there needs to be a value exchange: "In exchange for your contact information, we, Brand X, will offer the following, exclusive value..."
How willing would you be to blindly offer personal information just to get to the home page of a web site? Comment below!
So I was browsing around the internet the other day, like any other internet junkie, and noticed an ad for a CBC TV show called The Honourable Woman. I'm a fan of Maggie Gyllenhaal, and since I was purposelessly browsing and curious, I clicked on the ad to see what she was up to. The image above is the page I landed on.
I couldn't find any indication of when the show was on.
I couldn't find any link to more information about the show (other than the image caption).
So, like most (if not all) internet junkies would do, I abandoned the site (after taking the screen shot so I could blog about it, of course) and went on with my browsing. I now have no interest in that show.
THE LESSON FOR MARKETERS
You need to think like the internet junkie! What would they want to do now that they're on your site or page? That applies to any business with a web site, not just the CBC. In this case, however, isn't it reasonable to expect someone would want to know when the show will air? Or where they can at least get more information about it?
Now, before CBC responds and claims there are several ways to access that information, such as navigating through the menu at the top, I need to make my main point: you have to make it EASY for people! The harder you make it to access content, the less likely people are to try. This is, after all, the instant-gratification generation.
In this case, all they needed was the air time, and a link to read more, and they'd have themselves an engaged site visitor.
My guess is that this detail was overlooked, because the folks at CBC know exactly when it's on, and exactly what it's about. But I don't. And I'm the browser.
Think like the browser, marketers.
What do you think? Am I being too hard on them? Should I quit being so lazy and take a few moments to navigate through the menu? Or should CBC have made it easier for me?
Today's marketing 'fail' comes courtesy of Alliance Films, who released The Hunger Games on DVD yesterday.
When I opened the disc I was immediately impressed (I'll get to their failure in a minute). They obviously thought hard about how to convert fans of the movie into consumers of other products. They inserted an invitation to read two chapters of the next book in the series and and promo for Jennifer Lawrence's next movie, House at the End of the Street. They're catching the attention of both fans of the book and fans of the actress. "Well done", I say to myself.
I enthusiastically scanned the QR code to read the two chapters of the next book, and...
"We're sorry, this player is not enabled for HTML5 delivery".
The marketing team at Alliance worked so hard to capture the excitement of the moment and promote complementary products, and I was ready to praise them for their thoughtfulness and creativity.
Sadly, they forgot the most important part!
Now it may be that I don't have the appropriate technology on my phone, but I doubt it. I have an iPhone 4S and had just updated all my software. It's not an old, obscure device by any stretch. My worry is that they didn't adequately test the QR delivery on an iPhone!!! All that effort, wasted.
LESSON FOR MARKETERS:
This blog is written by Glenn Cressman, Share Of Marketing's founder and Chief Share Builder (bio). It covers all things marketing. Feel free to comment!
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