The good folks at Wedu, Inc. gave me a bit of spring cheer today with an influencer campaign that is pretty awesome. Like I always say, a good influencer campaign has to value the brand of the influencer more than your own brand. Well, played, friends!Read More
I had an interesting opportunity today to explain the difference between mass-market and luxury market consumers, and why mass-market social tactics aren't as effective with luxury product buyers. Here are my insights.Read More
There is a false assumption when talking about what goes viral. It's something like this: "Viral is what happens to great content."
It's a nice thought. Sometimes it's even true. But as much as we'd like to believe that well-scripted, beautifully produced and properly placed content always goes viral, again and again we see examples of how that's just not the case.Read More
Remember when we were all worried about what blogger and Twitter endorsements would do to the reputations of those individuals who participated? Many social media and regular media and media media experts were fretting that selling your blogging soul to a brand would reduce your credibility to your audience.
Well, holy crap, we couldn’t have been more wrong.
Not only are bloggers more influential than ever, it seems that the more they whore themselves out to brands, the greater their influence becomes. It’s as if their communities are actually rooting them on as they get on the “take.” It’s like a great big, “Stick-it-to-the-man” thing, where all the readers are cheering that their favorite living-room, pseudo journalist is finally getting her due.
And the agencies and PR shops and brands and media buyers could not be happier about all this. They crow and crow about their “earned media,” which is really “paid media.” But why split hairs here? They’re getting those coveted endorsements from the average mom who just happened to be sitting on top of a media empire, all for a fraction of the cost that real media empires cost. Hell, sometimes all it takes it shipping free product and they are getting thousands of impressions.
Of course, there is the question of whether this is really moving the needle on sales. As with all things social, we are loathe to discuss the troubling ROI question. But no one is looking too closely at this because we are earning...I mean buying...I mean earning...I mean buying...cheap awareness for our products and no one is getting hurt. But still, you gotta wonder if it’s doing anything to get a “almost-earned” endorsement from a blogger, when the audience listens with equal rapt attention to the average Today show product placement, which let me tell you, is still reaching far more of America that Bobby-Sue’s living-room blog.
But back to the point. We were wrong in thinking that a blogger’s audience was any different from a loved celebrity’s audience. That’s why books fly off the shelf when Oprah recommends them, even though we know Oprah’s on the take. It doesn’t matter to us. We like Oprah anyway. The same is true of bloggers on the take. Their audiences think of them as celebrities. So an endorsement has the same effect. It’s just cheaper.
So have at it, you willing product Johns, looking for a good blogger wench to bed. We need no longer fear a venereal backlash of audience outrage. And while you’re at it, I run a popular podcast and also love to accept free merchandise. Call me! 336-549-0938.
The following appeared first in the April 8, 2013 issue of Ad Age:
Some say we can’t value social marketing efforts directly. Others claim that if we can’t attribute a return on investment, we shouldn’t be doing it. But maybe we’re all missing the point. Maybe the problem is not whether social value can be measured in dollars. Perhaps the issue is we can’t measure in dollars objectives that weren’t intended to be profitable in the first place.
Most CEOs and CMOs have a clearly defined objective to make money for their organization. Yet most social marketing programs are still designed to create engagement, gain followers or generate Facebook Likes. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that there’s a disconnect there. Getting to an ROI figure from most social efforts doesn’t take better analysis tools — it simply takes the inclusion of objectives that are centered on generating profit.
Customer loyalty, advocacy, engagement, interest and awareness are all important in the marketing funnel, but the assumption that they supersede the “baser” activity of selling is pure hubris. If customers don’t also desire “buying” relationships with us, then we have no business being in business.
We need to get to a better balance with our social marketing efforts and speak to the entirety of the customer permission set, including how they want to buy from us. Only then can we form measurable profit objectives that intersect with these permissions. Because, the object of social marketing is not simply to collect audience appreciation, but to make every customer experience shareable — including the purchase.
For example, Zappos has been heralded as a “social brand.” But that’s not entirely true. Zappos is a “customer service” brand. The majority of their “social marketing” investment actually goes into hiring the right people and creating amazing customer experiences. I still share about the time I sent an anonymous gift with Zappos. During the transaction the operator fawned over me repeatedly for making such a wonderful gesture. It was a little embarrassing, but I was gratified. Then came the surprise, because over the next two weeks this operator shipped to me gift package after gift package of cookies, socks, books and even a messenger bag in appreciation of my act of kindness. It was amazing!
Sure, Zappos still collects likes for posts about new articles of clothing or holiday well-wishes. But they have a broader mission of making the sales experience personal, meaningful and ultimately shareable.
In a nutshell, Zappos doesn’t do social to generate sales. Zappos makes selling social.
Further, the assumption that the spectrum of social media is being ruined by the “old” tactics of push selling is disingenuous. Push and pull always need to work together. We can say that Louis C.K. or Radiohead have proved that fan-led pull efforts are the new way to market. But have you noticed that nearly all of these “fan-led” successes are built on the backs of years and sometimes millions of dollars in old-school push promotions?
Going back to the Zappos example, they may use social to generate pleasant relationships, but they also buy a boatload of social ads that push product. What’s more, they are one of those vendors who use “stalking” ads that display the products you last looked at on their site. And frankly, despite the creepy factor, customers don’t mind for the most part, because the relationship they’ve built is centered on us buying stuff from them.
If we want to look for the real value of social to an organization, it’s that it shreds the veil between marketing and operations. It puts on public display every customer touchpoint within the company. So, we need to stop creating passive programs that simply use social media, and start thinking of social marketing as a discipline of doing business in a manner customers want to share. Selling must be social. Because only then are we able to measure the profitability of social marketing.
Everybody who's anybody in social media schedules posts. It's just a fact. And whether you love it, accept it or hate it, scheduling is here to stay out of the pure expediency of having to juggle social reputation against a job and a life.
So, what's the best way to handle scheduling posts? Here are a few helpful suggestions to keep it from getting annoying for the rest of us.
Stop Filling the Day
There is a notable difference between those who schedule posts to appear all day long and those that are simple spreading out a lot of content.
If your strategy is simply to have five, ten or fifteen posts during the day, you're probably combing through sites looking for links that you may or may not even be taking the time to read. You're just filling up space — and with half a billion tweets a day, let me assure you we don't need the space filled.
However, if you really do have things to say and interesting links to share, by all means spread it out. We don't need you to clump up your posts either, and frankly we appreciate having time to react to each separate statement.
The difference comes down to whether you are piling it on or spreading it out. Scheduling needs to be a service to your readers, not a tool for making sure you are seen during each and every hour of the day to maintain your Klout score.
Schedule To Be Present
Spreading out your posts is all fine and good. But please also make sure you are scheduling these posts with a mind toward when you will be available to interact with the comments and conversations that may result.
This suggestion also applies to cross posting to multiple networks. If you aren’t around to interact with a post when it happens, you break the illusion of spontaneity and you reduce the value of being on social media in the first place.
Set alarms. Plan for breaks. Do whatever is necessary to only schedule posts that coincide with you or a team member’s availability.
Meet Your Audience Halfway
A lot has been written about dayparting social posts. This is the practice of choosing a timeframe for content to appear that most closely matches the time of day that the content’s audience will be available. Buddy Media’s report from last year offers some good advice on this subject.
It is less important to schedule hourly or some other evenly spaced posting plan, than it is to think about when your audience is available to read. Are they consistent lunchtime audience? Are evenings after 9p usually best?
Think logically about your posting timeframes. It’s a lot like media buying. If you do your research, you’ll always find the slots that make the most sense for your audience.