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Archive for the 'social media' Category

Conversation Lost-How to Align B2B Social Media Marketing Efforts with the Right Strategy

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B2B Social media success is like the American ninja warrior TV show. Everyone makes it to the starting line and yet very few make it to the finish line. In fact, those that can make it just halfway through the course can sometimes advance to the next round, based simply on how difficult the course can be. They’re deemed, somewhat victorious for just getting ‘that far.’ The same holds true for B2B marketers. B2B social media marketing can be brutal but it’s not a loser.

If you’ve never watched the show, it’s essentially an impossible obstacle course that takes a lot of balance, agility, strength and sound judgment to complete. Those challenges, metaphorically speaking, completely exist in B2B social media in 2017. For those that were around in the “early days” of social media will be the first to tell you that today’s social media is a far cry from what it was back then. Understatements be damned, one could say that social media has evolved and still, others could say it has regressed.

So what is a marketer to do? Where does social media fit in the marketing mix? Should your organization have a social media strategy? The quick answers are: There is a path, it does fit into the marketing mix and yes but let’s quickly review what’s been happening.

Over the past 7-8 years, the act of truly conversing has slowly dissipated on most social networks, Twitter in particular. On other networks, however, see Snap for example, the act of communicating has escalated and changed. In reality, communicating in social media hasn’t so much as gone away, as it has been replaced by different types of communicating dominated more by imagery and less by conversations.

For marketers though, the one-way, scream it and blast it style of pushing out messages disguised as conversations, still exists today. Partly because a) they are struggling with a medium that deemphasizes the written word and embraces the emoji b) a general lack of understanding of how to use that medium and c) it’s not the only channel.

It used to not be like this. Social Media was at one point this living, breathing, conversational thing. Somewhere along the way though, marketers started to misunderstand the platform and treat social media and its content like it was an arms race. It became a content battle wrapped around the quantity and output of messages and how quickly follower ratios could grow.

Beyond that, companies became enamored with vanity metrics. Those are your typical likes, mentions, retweets, etc. In fact, orgs of all sizes still like vanity metrics, we all do. Why? Because it’s a tangible hard number that we can wrap our arms around. Like a unique visitor in the world of website traffic. How many times have you heard or have asked the question, how many uniques do you have or what’s your traffic like? It’s how we quantify and quantified success. The parallel is exactly the same as asking. “How many followers do they have?”

Recently I told someone that the same metrics that revolve around direct mail and direct e-mail success now apply to organic social media. Meaning that getting a 1-2% organic engagement rate via social is about equal to what you might see or hope to see in direct mail open rates. It’s almost considered a ‘win’ but not quite. It’s average. You would think that social media and social networks might have an advantage but social media marketers are generally not working off of lists. So for them, it’s all about the content and the creating of content. Engagement? That’s a bonus. Measurement? Maybe.

The crazy thing about social media content today? It’s not bad. In fact, it’s more visual than ever before. There are some great content creation tools these days and the whole process of creating content for social is an industry in and of itself. It’s not boring. It’s dynamic, it’s compelling and dammit, it’s clickable. But the kicker is, you have to see it. You have to find it. So really it’s not how the content is being packaged and it’s not how it’s being created or delivered. It’s more about when do you push that content out? It’s where and it’s why. Oh yea, and to whom matters too. Social media in a B2B setting is effective when the right content finds the right people at the right moment.

Blame it on growth and blame it on the “noise” that growth created but that’s the ‘other’ new reality. Getting the B2B customers’ attention is more difficult now than it ever was before. Your new digital marketing challenge is to figure out where social fits in your marketing mix. Keep in mind that it has to be there, you just have to decide which platforms you’re going to use and what the distribution of dollars and resources will be.  Let me reiterate. Social Media efforts in a B2B setting have to be there for the simple reason that the customers are there.

Does engagement really matter?

What is engagement? Or rather what did it used to mean? Loosely defined in social media. it means that an action occurred, some type of reactive action occurred in the form of a like, a retweet, a mention, or a share. All of those actions dependent on, in theory, you, the user, doing something. Some, thing. Oddly enough, the actual true meaning of engagement could not be more diametrically opposed to what is happening here. You have either a formal agreement to get married or an arrangement to do something or go somewhere at a fixed time. Neither of those really pertain to social media, do they?

In social media, because an ‘action’ did occur, marketers measured it in a positive fashion. The problem occurs or occurred, when nothing happens or happened after that. Thus, marketers were and are ostensibly hanging their hats on hollow metrics.

In email marketing or direct mail marketing, we can measure click through rates, open rates, conversion rates, leads generated and of course sales. These are things that happened after the fact. We don’t call it engagement. These are definite and distinct actions. We have a crumb trail we can measure. We have user data before and after the mail is sent. We can create a snapshot of the user based on that data. We can tailor content and give them what they want. Social media marketing on the other hand, organically speaking has to be more strategic in order to be effective. The tools and data are there but marketers are lazy.

Let’s explain it a different way. What kind of crumb trail or user data do you get from an egg with one name, no bio, following 50, with 10 followers and 5 tweets? Not much. Marketers will recognize and acknowledge the retweet, the mention and the share of the egg-but what does that really mean? Nothing.

In part two, let’s look at what a marketer should do. Let’s talk about what the distribution of marketing and social media strategies, tactics and activities should be and let’s talk about bang for the buck. The operative word being, buck, as in dollars, which should be your clue.

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Why Entertainment and Social Media are Perfect for Each Other

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Twenty six years ago at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival I watched Stevie Ray Vaughn rip it up in front of thousands of people. The only way people knew that I did was because I told them about it. Yep, WOM.

I would go on to see SRV a few more times after that before he was taken from us too soon. My memories and stories of the times I’ve seen him and hundreds ( Yes hundreds, I sold concert T-shirts) of other acts are solidly entrenched in a sense and duty that those stories are waiting to be told to another willing listener/fan. Thats #WOM.   in a nutshell.

What’s changed since then? A lot. The entertainment industry is now built upon “Jenga” blocks of streaming services, subscription services, platforms for buying, sharing and saving music. All are on tenuous ground except for social media. Entertainment and social media are made for each other.

Social Media is the spinach to the Popeye that is Entertainment.

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The things is though, Social Media is just 1/3 of the elixir to what is ailing the entertainment business, specifically the music business IMO. The other two thirds that need to be “fixed” are streaming services and how artists can be rightfully paid for what they produce and what we hear. We can spend a whole blog post on that, but for now let’s focus on a few ways musical acts, venues and festivals can leverage social to  be successful

Let’s start with musicians. Above and beyond the actual creating of music, it’s imperative that musicians play. Whether it’s busking, club dates or in sheds, musicians have to play, preferably in front of people. But if no one knows they’re playing, then how’s that going to work out? Self promotion right? In a sense yes, but the key is social media, coupled with a an ample amount of balance. This tenet can hold true across the board, regardless of what part or side of the industry you’re on.

You have to balance the desire to pimp your stuff all the time with being interesting the rest of the time...oh and you have to make money doing what you love. So the balance is playing your music, marketing your music and selling your music. Artists can do it but it’s tough. Why is it? Last time I checked musicians are musicians and NOT marketers and certainly not social media marketers.

This is where the fans come in to play. This is where live events, concerts and festivals come in to play. All of the previous mentioned figure largely into the mix. Case in point, I go to the NOLA Jazz Fest as much as I can and to me, it’s about as good of a local and visitor “fan” experience as you can get with the combination of music AND Food. The Music is off the chain, but the food is a close contender. And people talk about it, A LOT. Tell me word of mouth is not big for an event like the Jazz Fest and I’ll see you some fertile Louisiana swamp land. 🙂

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Recently I went to the Gasparilla Music Fest in Tampa. A small festival comparatively speaking but no less eclectic when it came to the music, the diverse and high quality food offerings AND the tremendous local libations (Hat tip to Cigar City Beer)  The GMF is an absolute under the radar home run.

Not only was it a great venue for musicians but ditto for local eating establishments as well as those who were there for Spring Break and the weather. My point? Technology and social media can and could help and does help, to a certain extent, all those involved. But it can be better. This might be the part that musicians will hate to hear, but they can help their causes more by becoming more actively active, is that even a term? in every aspect of pushing social engagement with current and future fans. Why? Social Media loves entertainment but if it loves musicians, it loves and rewards fans even more. It’s a natural fit for fans to profess their love for a band or an artist and vice versa. But we have to make it easy as hell for them. Don’t forget, people are lazy and technology makes them even lazier!

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Real quickly, how good was the music at GMF? Well, when you can watch an artist as globally known as Erykah Badu slay it, up close and personal, that’s pretty cool; or listen to Memphis group Lucero just tear up the stage and then be tapped on the shoulder and be asked, “who are those guys,” that’s even cooler.  All told there were over 50 acts of various degrees culminating with Stephen Marley closing it down in fitting fashion. Stop it, just stop it.

Mini festival review not withstanding, I’d like to see the chasm between the makers of music and takers of music narrow so that we can all enjoy the why behind the music. Why do we love music? Why do we love to play music? It’s all about smiles on faces…

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A Look Back: What to Look for in Your Next Social Media Director Hire

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About four years ago I wrote a post/checklist on what you should require when you hire your next social media rockstar. Recently I was asked to build a roles/responsibilities description for a client who had a similar ask and thus I thought my old post might help me in building out that description. So let’s relook at the post and see how it compares to 2015 with comments, updates and observations in red.

1. Do you understand how social media fits into the overall marketing plans and goals of any organization regardless of industry? In 2015, I’d say now more than ever social is part of the fabric of every org. It’s either an integral part of every marketing plan or it does have some role.

2. Could you build a sound business strategy for a client around social media? Let’s hope so! Gone are the days where all clients or brands should or would accept someone who knows how to tweet, post to Facebook and take Instagram pics. That’s a given. But can you go deep on strategy? Do you know how to measure? And no not just vanity metrics.

3. Will you be accountable for the quality of all social media plans/strategies/services delivered to clients as well as their overall client satisfaction? You do know that we measure everything and everything can be measured? This is probably the biggest difference. In 2015 we can measure so much more in social than we did back in 2011.

4. Could you establish social media programs that actually drive revenue? Nothing, I got nothing. Self explanatory. Either you can or you can’t. 

5. Can you drive social media work for clients? Including strategy development, tactical expertise and execution, and measurement of all their social programs? Soup to Nuts and then some. Not only do we want you to drive the work, we want you to think ahead as well. Think Mobile and Social. What works now? Will it work next week, next month, next year?

6. Can you develop a methodology that includes resources, team structure, core processes, and best practices that can be  scalable across the board with media and marketing teams? What’s different in 2015? Managing social needs a team. In some cases, a very large team and a diverse team with general and yet specific skill sets.

7. Could you identify and define social media opportunities for clients as they align with their overall digital marketing goals and strategies? Can you replicate success? Do you understand that one size does not fit all in social?

8. Could you collaborate across all departments and disciplines to identify and implement social training needs? There’s “doing” social and being social but do you understand and can you articulate the nuances of social? Particularly as it corresponds to different platforms? This is a biggie as it can determine success.

9. Could you identify and act on opportunities to attract, market, and recruit top social media talent? I can tell you that what’s attractive to new talent is being able to craft and create social media programs and strategies that push the envelope of what’s possible. Want a hint? Think Periscope and Merrkat and Blab. 

10. Can you manage the recruitment, hiring, retention, and professional development of a social media team? Do you know what to look for? What you’re looking for are people that have worked on projects and campaigns from beginning, middle and end. They know what to measure and they know what success looks like. And, they can think on their own.

11. Can you determine the correct roles, responsibilities, and expertise needed on your team to scale and grow a social media practice? If you’re our director, you better be able to. By the time you’ve reached this point, you should be able to “do” every aspect of social and yes that includes creating topic profiles in Radian 6. 🙂 So we need to assume that yes indeed you can determine correct roles and expertise.

12. Do you know how to monitor trends in any industry and collaborate with upper management to ensure preparation for potential changes within a market segment? and then position the company or division for success as an industry leader? This is the backbone of or one of the pillars of social. You have to know how to monitor what’s being said, where it’s being said and who is saying it and then…How to act on it. If you don’t? Next in line please…

13. Could you work with global practice leads and other social media managers to develop, document, and share social media strategies and successes? Can’t we all just get along? Social media is the best place to collaborate on best practices of what works and what doesn’t. We get new toys and platforms coming at us all the time. This is the fun stuff.

14. Can you facilitate collaboration, knowledge sharing, and encourage participation for social media across teams and offices? This is a tuffy Your ability to create handles, profiles and platforms is one thing, but then to mandate participation at least within your org, whether it’s internal or external, will always be a struggle. Why? Because not everyone is social and not everyone wants to be social, even if it’s on behalf of the company. Sometimes you can lead a horse to water…

15. Can you act or be the central resource for information related to social media? Would you want to be? I would hope so, on both accounts. I mean it is your profession and you are applying for the director position…Should I even ask if you can? Never mind. Shame on me for hiring you if you can’t.

16. Could you be a credible spokesperson of social media at industry events? This isn’t a deal killer. If you could that would be awesome, but if not, no worries.

17. Could you increase and raise the awareness of your organization’s credentials on social media both internally and externally? I would like this person to be active on the behalf of the company but we have others who can push that agenda. However, it is a bonus, whether it’s internal or external if participation is coming from you. So if I were you I’d answer yes to this, regardless. 🙂

18. Could you advise client teams and other internal executives on the execution of social media programs and new business opportunities? No changes here in 4 years, this is a resounding yes, you better be able to.

19. Can you determine the right solutions for technology and measurement of social media?  Including evaluation of current resources as well as social media vendors and develop partnerships with those vendors? This one is huge. What it requires is that you are on top of what is out there right now. What works, what doesn’t, what sucks and what can definitely elevate who we are and we do in the social space.  Technology and tool wise, you need to know what’s out there. Bottom line.

20. Can you collaborate closely across all departments and teams within an organization to provide complete solutions for clients? Depends on your role but in general, I would say you can count on probably being pulled into more meetings with more groups in which your expertise is required, than you initially thought. You’re the expert. 

21. Can you contribute to new business development by representing social media strategies and services? Could you sell social media to a client? If you got hired for your position, I’d say the answer is yes.    

22.  Do you have the ability to build relationships with senior executives within key client accounts? Is schmoozing part of your DNA? Here’s what you need to know, you’re always going to be selling social media to someone within your org. There will always be someone who is skeptical. Get used to it and don’t take it personal. Win early and they’ll come find you wanting to know how they can leverage it. 

Am I missing any more key requirements that you can think of? Let me know in the comments section. Let’s build the ultimate requirements doc. 🙂

What Does it Take to be a Senior Social Media Manager? [Infographic]

Think just because you play on Twitter and Instagram, have a Tumblr page and have a Facebook account that you could “do” social media for a large company? You might want to rethink that.,,

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The Reality of Social Currency

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One of the tougher jobs on any given days in the digital space is the curation and or the creation of good content. It’s everywhere and sometimes it doesn’t matter what RSS feeds ot Flip Boards or whatever you use to find it, it can slip through the cracks. Case in point, this morning I came across an interview with Erich Joachimsthaler, a former Harvard professor, author of over 40 articles & two books on brand strategy and the CEO of Vivaldi Partners Group. The interview, conducted by Steve Olenski on Explore B2B was titled: What Twinkies Can Teach Marketers About Comebacks And Social Branding.

Though it was a great read, I was struck by two particular exchanges that I’m semi-condensing. Pay attention to what Joachimsthaler says about social metrics.

Steve Olenski: What are some of things Hostess has done right in re-introducing and re-engaging the Twinkies brand with its fans in your opinion?

Erich Joachimsthaler: They have done well by building on key drivers of social currency mainly conversation, advocacy and affiliation (#cakeface instagram, etc). That is, the comeback campaign sought to activate loyalists and fans through various efforts on social networks. The good part about this effort is that it stretches the marketing dollars because it creates more visibility and awareness for the re-launch. At best, the effort creates some awareness to consideration conversion. The problem with this effort is that it does not lead toward purchase and loyalty.

The category requires constant and always-on top of mind marketing/PR buzz and it is hard to sustain such effort on social channels alone, and media advertising which is relatively expensive and not sustainable. I would say, it is impossible in today’s media cluttered environment, and consumers’ who tend to have ever shorter attention spans.

Olenski: How can Hostess ensure this (Twinkies return) will be a sustained effort and not just a fad that will eventually fade?

Joachimsthaler: Don’t be misled by social media metrics, likes, fans, and followers. It has about 650,000 likes on Facebook, compare this to more than 17 million for Nutella and 34 million for Oreo for example. Don’t measure the re-launch and sustained success on these metrics. Sustainable success will require driving consideration to purchase conversion and purchase to loyalty conversion. Those are the social currency metrics that really matter.

What caught my eye?

  • Social currency metrics worth measuring are driving consideration to purchse conversion and purchase to loyalty conversion.
  • Don’t be misled by social media metrics, likes, fans, and followers.
  • The key drivers of social currency are conversation, advocacy and affiliation

I know you’ve read and heard it all before about social currency and social metrics, or maybe not, but sometimes the message can resonate in different ways depending on the context in which it is said. In this context, it was said matter of factly. Well done!

The Biggest Social Media Story of 2013

Remember this? It’s one of the classic lines of all times in a movie. Greed is Good.

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Remember this? It was one of the biggest acquisitions in 2013.

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Remember this because it will be the social media headline of 2013…

 

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To quote The New York Times:

What business makes no money, has yet to pass its third anniversary and just turned down an offer worth billions of dollars? Snapchat, a social media service run by a pair of 20-somethings who until last month worked out of a beachfront bungalow in Venice, Calif.

The answer is in this last headline.

 

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A better offer…

Children and Social Media Project

I’m starting a new project. I have no time to really be doing this but it means that much to me; and I know it will have an impact, so I’m doing it. First the backstory. It started with an email I sent to the superintendant of our school system. It went unanswered. Here’s a few excerpts:

Dear ____ It’s been awhile since we last talked, the most recent being when we held a social media summit meeting in your office with some of the other “social media” people in our area….
…I continue to think about the impact that digital and social have on our kids. In as much that my children, are pretty heavy users, I’d like to think that I’m better than most parents at monitoring their usage; and that’s what scares me. I have come to the realization that the digital environment in which kids swim in is downstream as their parents swim upstream. We need to fix that
I don’t have the answers right now but what I do know is that there has to be an approach that leverages what we learn from their usage versus what they learn while at school and what parents learn on their own. There is a definite gap. Eventually we won’t be able to escape BYOD in the school sytem, but beyond that, where I think the gap is largest is in a lack of understanding of the mediums and the platforms, their impact and their implications.
I write this as someone who cares not only about my kids but also the kids of parents who just don’t know. I see a lot of kids, mine included, who sometimes don’t handle social properly, understand the impact of social and don’t realize the search implications of social. We have to fix this….
It starts with the wireframe below. it’s just a wireframe but it’s a start. I already have the URL too. It’s called The Social Parent.  I’ll eventually hand this over to some developers, but I’m still trying to flesh out what content needs to be there. the key? It has to be updated constantly. Things are changing rapidly. I’m not looking to make money, just make a difference. 🙂
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The Deets

Marc Meyer is a Digital and Social Media Strategist at DRMG. This is my personal blog where I share observations, thoughts and opinions that are all my own.

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