Posts Tagged ‘strategy’


Confession of a Social Media Consultant

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

By Brad Wester

secret-1142327_960_720 I’ve been a freelance social media consultant for several years, and I have a confession to make.

The power of social media is a myth.

You know that great idea you have for your next Facebook post? It’s probably worthless. I’m not trying to be harsh, and I’m not saying you have terrible ideas, but take a moment to think about it. How many people are going to see that post? Hint: not enough.

In 2015, Facebook organic reach dropped from an average of 12% to under 6%. This trend has continued in 2016. Facebook’s organic reach is low and continues to drop. Reaching less than 6% of your audience isn’t powerful. It’s time to stop posting and hoping for the best. It’s time for a plan.

The power of social media has always been a myth. The true power is in the planning – it’s in the development of a social media strategy.

Posting on social media without a strategy means your posts may be missing your targeting audience. You may be posting at the wrong times, creating the wrong content and using the wrong call to actions. You could be using improper tracking methods or relying on the wrong metrics to show success. Without a social media strategy, you’re at risk of wasting time and energy that could be spent more effectively on other parts of your business. You may even be hurting the future success of your Facebook page due to poor performance now.

Having a fully developed social media strategy is essential and should include the ability to track and analyze data in each step. Tracking data will allow you to determine what social networks you should focus on, what type of content is most effective, if it’s more effective to create a wide variety of content, simply promote high performing content to a larger audience and even how much you can afford to spend on promoting your high-performing content.

More social networks, including Instagram and Snapchat, are creating algorithms to determine what content to show users. These algorithms will continue to decrease organic reach and increase competition, driving up the cost of effective social media marketing. Developing a social media strategy will help you rise above your competition.

It’s time to stop posting and start planning.

 

Byline

Brad Wester is a freelance digital marketing consultant specializing in helping small businesses create engaging online experiences that generate leads and drive sales. Follow Brad on Twitter: @wester_brad.

Transformation Influencers: Rust-Oleum’s 1,000 Projects Campaign

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

There are more than 100 million searches each month on “how to” do something. Rust-Oleum, a nearly 100 year-old company, came to the realization that people aren’t really passionate about products as much as they want to change and improve their living spaces, creating something beautiful that they can enjoy.

Photo: Pinterest Screenshot

Photo: Pinterest Screenshot

With the insight that people want to improve and/or change what they love, Rust-Oleum (along with its agencies) set out to create 1,000 compelling projects to serve as inspiration and demonstration to consumers. Leveraging paid media and using data driven marketing to share a transformation story through images and video, they empowered bloggers and every day influencers to share their own inspiration stories, in turn driving awareness and a new excitement—a re-introduction of sorts.

Lisa Bialecki, Senior Director, Integrated Communications at Rust-Oleum, shared their journey with attendees of PRSA St. Louis’ recent Digital Communications Summit.

They conducted fast data analysis to identify exactly what people are searching for and where they’re looking to find this information. Using this research data, they created a blueprint of projects that they needed to create and feature—for example, 14% of the project would be devoted to the garden tackling things like planters, fences and stones, while 5% would be devoted to garage revamping items such as cabinets, hardware, organizers and the garage floor.

Their strategy included media partners, consumers, professionals and brand projects. Rust-Oleum created “an army of project enthusiasts,” Bialecki said, leveraging volumes of content–using print, blogs, web, video, Facebook and Pinterest. They also hyper-targeted banner ads to their audiences and created a new website for project inspirations with a user forum section—creating a community.

But it wasn’t just all traditional print, social media and digital. Rust-Oleum hosted DIY conferences. They held multiple blogger innovation summits in an effort to generate excitement for these bloggers to write about new products. One such summit included 18 highly influential DIY bloggers (from 15 key blogs) over a three-day period. During the summit, they took them on a manufacturing plant tour, a corporate headquarters breakfast and tour which included a marketing studio “hands-on” session. Through these “in real life” events, they were able to build a stronger awareness of new products, strengthen existing and build new blogger relationships.

This integrated PR campaign not only supported Rust-Oleum’s retail marketing but has resulted in 250 million project impressions to date and 3 million project engagements. Pinterest has become their number two driver to the website. Most importantly, unit sales are up 40% year-over-year. This is a great example of PR, marketing, advertising, digital and social successfully working together!

Mapping Best Practices for B2B Public Relations

Friday, November 29th, 2013

Businessman and business sketchAt the PRSA International Conference a few weeks ago, I attended my colleague Johna Burke’s talk about best practices in B2B public relations. She focused on several important areas that will always be key to our evolving industry.

Many departments within an organization have a methodical workflow. Accounting and procurement departments have a clear definition of their tasks, and they have a method for bringing in, assessing, and approving information,

PR departments and practitioners don’t exactly follow that type of workflow. Although they might create a template, or spreadsheet to plug in information, the template never quite ends up in its original shape.

PR practitioners are tasked with creating a workflow that provides clear direction for their organization. Everyone from customer service and administrative staff to C-suite executives need to understand what public relations workflow looks like, or what to expect under normal daily operating conditions.

Key to developing an effective communications plan is a firm grasp on the organization’s business strategy. Whether that strategy is education, driving sales and revenue, advertising, public relations, or marketing, understanding that focus allows PR practitioners to develop a workflow that focuses on an organization’s overarching corporate goals.

Integral to the business strategy is an understanding of the organization’s financial statements. Understanding a company’s profit and loss statement effectively aligns PR workflow and department objectives. Public companies produce quarterly and annual financial statements. Look for it, whether it’s publicly or internally available, and study it, because everything ties into to funding.

Do the research yourself. While educating yourself and your staff on your company’s financials, do the same with your competitor. Think twice about hiring someone outside of your organization to gather intelligence; you are your most effective resource.

In researching your competitor, don’t go for the thirty-thousand-foot overview. It’s too easy to misinterpret your market. Also, it’s critical to market against a competitor’s reality, not their myth, or your perception of their overarching goals. Know their concepts, understand their message. Understanding their marketing materials and how your competitor is spending money is equally beneficial to your overall success. The time you put into understanding all of these elements will provide the intelligence to back up what you will ultimately need to sell to your C-suite.

Next, study your customer. How do they find you?  What does their daily organic search look like? How do they get to your product or service? Are you creating SEO interesting enough to speak to your audience and capture your service or product’s attention?

That static audience no longer exists. Understand why people are using each platform and what they’re doing with the information. Are your followers influencers? Can they help your business? Are they able to cause action? How do you communicate with them?

Create thought leadership around the topics your followers have posted. Look for themes around the content you’ve created, or the content displayed about you. This provides an opportunity to invite followers interested in a topic that’s related to your service, product or industry. Create a saturated market by looking at what surrounds your brand and how those themes tie in.

Take an open-mined look at the conversations around your content. Ask someone else in your organization to interpret your message and help you clarify your message.

Talk to your audience. Talk to your advocates, the people who have had a good experience with your product or service. Reach out to your badvocates, those who have had a bad experience and need to be reconverted. Acknowledge the trolls – those posters, who no matter what are going to be out there spewing venom.. Instead, classify them and if necessary, call them out with, “Dear Troll, we know you don’t like us, however, you are not our target audience, so what we’re saying doesn’t resonate with you, but thank you for the comment, we so appreciate your feedback.” Ultimately people connect with people behind the message, not with brands or the message themselves.

The Keys to Facebook Campaign Success: Scale, Targeted Reach, and Measurement

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

The Keys to Facebook Campaign Success: Scale, Targeted Reach, and Measurement - BurrellesLuce Fresh IdeasBecause of its size, Facebook allows businesses to scale, or reach full audience objectives, with just one media partner. Speaking to the Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association (MIMA) and Minnesota Public Relations Society of America (MNPRSA), Joe Benarroch, manager of corporate communications and international ads at Facebook, invited the audience to think about the intersection of scale (over 1 billion users), targeted reach, and measurement. He says when Facebook speaks with partners (businesses and organizations of all sizes) they emphasize the importance of thinking about the people, process, and technology, which can bring creativity at scale.

“Don’t think in silos,” said Benarroch.  All areas of an organization – PR, marketing, advertising, media, creative, brand, and others – need to work for a common brand message. Facebook conducts “Publishing Garages” with large brands, which bring together all these organizational areas and their agencies to re-engineer the process of creating content. One agency in attendance said the process has been a great success for their client.

We understand Facebook has the scale of users, and it also has the targeted reach. When you combine them, you have the reach of a mass media with the ability to target your primary audience’s demographic(s). You also have the ability to cluster people together.

Benarroch shared some of Facebook’s best practices:

  • Start with business objectives (and not a social metric)
  • Structure for success (include the right people)
  • Art and Science (prove the effectiveness of the campaign)
  • Leveraging @ Scale (you can reach large targeted audiences)
  • Ship & Iterate (Unlike traditional channels, you will get immediate feedback on your content, so you can refine and improve it at any time.)

Think Mobile

Facebook says they are a mobile first company, so companies need to think about how their content will look on mobile. Out of the 128 million U.S. Facebook users, 101 million are active daily mobile users (469 million globally are on mobile daily).  On average, Facebook users check Facebook 14 times per day, and 46 percent will even check it while they are shopping or running errands.  The time spent on the desktop is 320 minutes per month compared to mobile, which is 785 minutes per month. Additional usage stats are available on Tech Crunch.

Because so many people are accessing the Facebook newsfeed via mobile, businesses can still reach them when they are on their summer vacation, which is normally a slow time for other media.

When it comes to content, remember to make it “thumb friendly” or consumable by thumbs (mobile-friendly). The Lay’s Potato Chips “Do Us a Flavor” campaign‘s reviewing of new flavors is a great example. The campaign was easy to share, easy to respond to, and it provided Lay’s with new flavors and a new product to market.

What’s your Facebook strategy? How are you including it in your media mix?

Debbie Friez BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas Blog Debbie Friez serves as tech editor for the Capitol Communicator and is also a consultant. Previously, she worked as Vice President, Major Accounts for BurrellesLuce. She originally joined BurrellesLuce at their Minnesota Clipping Service affiliate.

Friez was a senior account director for West Glen Communications, a broadcast PR services company. While at West Glen Communications, she was a frequent contributor to the DC Communicator newsletter.

She has a broad understanding of the technologies that are transforming the marketing and communications profession. She serves on the advisory board for the Capitol Communicator, the membership committee for the Minnesota chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, the national marketing committee for the Association of Women in Communications, and is a member and past president of Washington Women in Public Relations (WWPR).

Friez is a graduate of the University of North Dakota. She lives in Minneapolis, MN with her husband Paul Croteau, their two cats, Smokey and the Bandit, and Gus, the dog.

LinkedIn: dfriez Twitter: @dfriez

Debbie Friez serves as the Tech Editor for the Capitol Communicator and consultant. Previously, she worked as Vice President, Major Accounts for BurrellesLuce. She originally joined BurrellesLuce at their Minnesota Clipping Service affiliate.

Friez was a senior account director for West Glen Communications, a broadcast PR services company. While at West Glen Communications, she was a frequent contributor to the DC Communicator newsletter.

She has a broad understanding of the technologies that are transforming the marketing and communications profession. She serves on the advisory board for the Capitol Communicator, the membership committee for the Minnesota chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, the national marketing committee for the Association of Women in Communications, and is a member and past president of Washington Women in Public Relations (WWPR).

Friez is a graduate of the University of North Dakota. She lives in Minneapolis, MN with her husband Paul Croteau, their two cats, Smokey and the Bandit, and Gus, the dog.

LinkedIn: linkedIn.com/in/dfriez Twitter: @dfriez

Making Sense of Social Media and ROI in the Digital Age

Monday, October 21st, 2013

Making sense of social media and ROIby Tom Kowalski*

Let’s be honest, social media in terms of ROI is overwhelming and convoluted.  How does one make sense of it all in a digital age where everyone has a decreased attention span and increased multi-tasking?  It’s impossible to give 100 percent to anything you do while multitasking.  So, in this day of #hashtag and social media platform overload, how do we give 100 percent, while effectively managing the online chatter?

I attended three presentations at last week’s Digital PR Summit: “The Wake-Up Call: PR’s Role in the Social Landscape,” “How to Measure and Communicate Social Media ROI,” and “What’s in Your Toolbox? Social Media Monitoring Tools – the Paid and the Free.” The common denominator throughout each presentation was listening.  Are you a good listener?  Listening well will ultimately equate to success.

But how can we be great listeners with so many different social media platforms that each play a significant role in the marketing DNA of our organizations, and how can we do it in an efficient and effective way?  There are platforms out there that bundle your various social media accounts, offering a one-stop-shop to listen and engage.  But what if the budget doesn’t allow for that?

Trying to sell social media to your C-suite to obtain a budget can be tough.  Executives want to see instant tangible results.  So before you give your elevator pitch, have a customized strategy with the organization’s end goals clearly defined and present the information real-time.  Don’t overload execs and bring them into the entire realm of the social media vortex; rather, start small, perhaps using Twitter and Faceboook as a sample.  Remember that your focus should never be whether you’re good at social media, but whether you’re good at business.

If there’s one question clients constantly ask me, it’s to provide suggestions to better analyze their coverage.  There is no magic equation, as there are many different factors that need to be taken into consideration to show ROI.  Therefore, the question is always turned into a consultation to discuss the organization’s needs before presenting a detailed road map.  As companies and the digital age rapidly evolve, so will reporting methodologies.

It seems that we’ve come far, but there is still a long road ahead on analysis of coverage in the digital age.  One size does not fit all and it’s imperative that you’re a good listener with a strategy that is mindful of your organization’s goals.

***

*As an account manager at BurrellesLuce, Tom Kowalski works closely with New York-based clients and PR agencies. Tom brings extensive knowledge of the PR industry with more than seven years of agency experience. He hopes to stimulate readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas by sharing useful information related to the communications industry and business in general, as well as different perspectives on customer service. LinkedIn: Tom Kowalski Twitter: @IntheknoTK Facebook: BurrellesLuce