Tag Archives: social media marketing

Promises Promises

promise

I recently had a potential client ask me to make them promises on how many “likes” my product advertising would gain for the business. I wouldn’t do it. But why? Shouldn’t a marketer be able to promise a return on investment? Absolutely, but for so many reasons this request was simply wrong. Let’s break down why.
As I’ve written before, likes are largely irrelevant. If you want guaranteed likes, well then you can just buy them. They’ll be completely worthless. Let me correct myself; they’ll cost you to buy and then, later, they’ll cost you when you have to pay more to get your content out to your page since you now have a page that’s filled with people who don’t care about your stuff. But hey, if that’s your measure of success then you can, indeed, just buy them. But you’ll need to find another person to do that for you. I don’t do that kind of work. I also won’t sell you a bridge. Ruining my reputation isn’t worth it.

Another reason this request didn’t work is that this contract wasn’t about likes or growing the page. It was specifically about advertising product for purchase. Now granted, a side effect of advertising product is almost always growing a page. If people like and purchase a product, they’ll often like your Facebook page as well. It is important, however, to keep the actual end goal in mind. Do you measure your sales success by how many people like you? I hope your mortgage company takes likes as payment. Mine doesn’t. Measure sales success by sales.

I should stop here and say that I have done work to grow a page’s following. Lots of work focused on that end goal. There is a time and place for that. But how you go about that is VERY different from how you sell a product. It’s important not to mix the two. Just like friends, you don’t want your friends constantly selling to you, and when you go to buy something you don’t want someone spending all of your time trying to become your good buddy. There’s a time and a place for everything.
So then, will I guarantee sales? Probably not. But, isn’t that what the ad was about? You bet. And I’ve done exactly that in environments where I had control of ALL of the details that went into selling a product. The minute that one of those details changed my ability to guarantee sales drops to zero.

I can bring you in sales leads but if your sales team doesn’t follow up on those leads nothing I can do will make your product sell. I can get people to your website but if that website doesn’t convert there’s nothing I can do to make people want to buy. I’m more than happy to guarantee at least industry standards for metrics; frankly I’d be surprised to see anything that poor… I’ve yet to have rates that low.

If you want me or any marketer to guarantee something, they’d better have full and complete control over whatever it takes to make that thing happen. Are you willing to let your marketer do that? Check out this AWESOME post on just what a marketer should ask for regarding control should you want to guarantee sales…

As a marketer part of my job is setting realistic expectations. Some of that is working with customers to determine what they really want from their marketing. Many people don’t truly know. It also means sticking to an end goal. “I want ALL THE THINGS” from a single campaign doesn’t work. It’s the very reason many people believe Facebook and social selling doesn’t work. They’re doing all the things at the same time.

It also means making sure a client knows that a sales process isn’t simply putting out an ad. “If you build it they will come” works in fantasy baseball movie land. A true sales process is far more complex and requires effort across all parts of a company. If any part of that is broken the sales process suffers.

A final note. While all of this is “sales” related the same is true for nonprofits. Perhaps even more so. Many nonprofits have trouble determining what the end goal is for their social media campaigns. Or alternately they start with the hard sell before they’ve established any friends at all. You might be able to do that with a great product. As a nonprofit, you’re VERY unlikely to do that, even with a great cause.

The final point? Sometimes the person you need to hire is the person who will tell you no. No, you can’t (or shouldn’t) run this wire through your bathtub no matter how much you want to. Don’t listen to the electrician who tells you yes just because it’s what you want to hear.

Anyone can tell you yes, but that yes comes at a price. And that price is getting the results you ACTUALLY want.


Breaking the Law

It never fails that you’ll see an article here or there on the “Rules” of social media or marketing as a whole.  Sometimes these rules are pretty solid.  Sometimes they’re stupid.  But like anything else, there is always a time to break social media rules.

One of my personal rules?  

Never link accounts.  What do I mean by that?  Never have what you post on Facebook automatically post to Twitter.  Never have what you post on Instagram post automatically to Facebook.  Etcetera.

Why?  

Each of these platforms has its own unique ways of operating.  If you automatically post your Facebook content to twitter you’ll get tweets that are truncated and look bizarre.  You’ll usually be missing hashtags that could make you a part of a conversation or topic and you’ll likely not tag people who might need to see what you’ve written.

The same is true if you post your Instagram to Facebook.  Instagram LOVES hashtags.  HASHTAG ALL THE THINGS!  It’s how people find content they want to explore.  But seeing an endless stream of hashtags on Facebook is both annoying and tacky- Facebook doesn’t do hashtags except in joke.  

And really, regardless of the medium, your fans deserve quality content and effort don’t they?  Well… mostly yes.

But as with anything, there’s an exception to every rule.

 

Nial McGaughey of Hovercraft

 

Meet my friend Nial.  He owns and runs Hovercraft Amplifiers.  He builds beautiful stuff and does an awesome job of posting it to Instagram along with personal pics.  His fans love him and he’s growing a huge following there.

 

(you can see more of the Hovercraft Instagram feed HERE)

 

But Nial is also a sole proprietor who does everything himself, from answering endless emails to building these amps to packaging and shipping them out- and EVERY OTHER THING in between.

He doesn’t have time to manage every social media channel.  To be honest, he doesn’t have time to do half of the stuff he’s actually doing.  The fact that he can find time to even be on Instagram is a miracle.

And yet being on Facebook would be solid for his business and indeed Hovercraft has a page there… a page with 10k fans.  A page that he has no time to manage and has basically “shut down” by telling folks he won’t be posting there anymore.

My advice?  

You got it.  Link your Instagram account to Facebook and have it automatically post to Facebook for you.  He should be able to even turn off comments or at least, let fans know that they can’t get in touch with him on Facebook (remember, he has no time for community management… no really, he doesn’t).

This would help keep his page alive, with content and when it comes time to advertise on Facebook folks could see that something was being posted on the page.

 

For normal folks this would be problematic

REACH and all… but unlike most folks his fans actually are pretty rabid… he doesn’t need to worry too much about his reach and right now, with a page that isn’t being used, it can’t actually be less.  Remember, he posts pictures of his dinner on Instagram and people still love it.  Not everyone can get away with that.  He is a celebrity for the work he does and people want to see his process, even if it’s not well-polished marketing content with solid community management and perfect response times.

So yes, there are times to break rules.  Does this mean YOU should instantly have all of your Instagram posts pushed to Facebook?  Probably not.  Do you honestly have 10k fans you grew without trying who would care what you ate for dinner?  No?  Then the answer is NO.

The key to breaking rules is to know when it’s actually appropriate and not just doing it because you want to.

 

For those who want to learn more about Nial and the work he does you can read more about his work in this Popular Mechanics post here, or purchase his stuff here.


What You’re Paying For with BIG Marketing

marketing firms

 

Quite some time ago I had what I thought would be the great privilege to work with a huge marketing firm.  I was very excited about the project as I was going to get the opportunity to see how one of the “world’s leading global public relations firms” handles marketing, social media and the like.

I was thrilled to have such a great opportunity to look inside such a huge marketing juggernaut and to learn from them whatever there was to be learned.  But more importantly, I was extremely excited about a specific project they were suggesting for the tiny nonprofit I was working with at the time as a consultant.

Learning from the “Gurus”?

You see, just prior to this consulting gig, I worked with TechSoup Global and helped to run their Digital Storytelling Challenge.  We had a very small team of folks to run this international competition.  While we had, in my opinion, knocked it out of the park, like any other huge project done by a small group of people with a ton of other projects going on at the same time, there was certainly room for improvement.

This huge international marketing firm was suggesting something fairly similar to the digital storytelling event we had just completed at TechSoup.  It would be easier to run as it only involved photography rather than both a video and photography component as we had done at TechSoup.  Unlike the TechSoup Challenge, it was only going to be open to folks in the US rather than all over the globe, cutting out a ton of complexity.

And of course, with the HUGE global presence of a marketing firm with over 70 offices worldwide who contests all the time, marketing for some of the biggest companies in the world, watching them run something like this should be amazingly educational.  Right?

Learning How

As I sat in on the meeting a ton of the logistics about the contest didn’t seem to come up so I asked about them.  There didn’t seem to be much thought or knowledge about how these basics would work.  These things hadn’t even been considered.  I should add that I wasn’t talking to the high level idea people.  No, these were the people who would make this project happen for us.

Finally I asked the big question, the one we had struggled with at Tech Soup and the one that provides for a ton of really tricky concern as, if you do it wrong, you can get into a TON of hot water… RULES.

You see each state has a ton of different rules about what is allowed when it comes to contests.  Use the word raffle in some states and you’ll be in serious trouble… cause now you’re gambling.  Aka no one can pay to enter your contest and your contest has to be a contest of skill, not chance.

And this is where my mind was blown.  It wasn’t that they didn’t know off-hand about how rules for each state would be handled.  No, that wasn’t the shocker.

They Didn’t Even Know…

They didn’t know that there was even a concern about rules regarding contests.  They didn’t even know that there were rules that existed for contests.  They didn’t know this would be an issue or something to even consider.

 

I’m not sure if I did a decent job of hiding my shock at this or not.  I doubt it.

 

These people are paid BIG BUCKS… in this case more than $350 for a blog post with a few words and some pictures (as an example) and they didn’t even know that contests have rules?  I can’t recall how much they were charging for the contest portion of the marketing contract.  It was a lot.

That may not seem like a huge problem but if they don’t know that there are rules around this sort of thing what other hot water might they get our tiny nonprofit into?  What other thing might I need to watch for?  

Is it possible that we could get into serious legal issues because they don’t even know what they don’t know?


And with the HUGE cost of what we were paying for, shouldn’t we be able to expect they would have our back legally?  Shouldn’t that kind of thing be a given from a major global marketing firm?

The answer is no.  You shouldn’t expect that from a major marketing firm apparently.  You shouldn’t expect that from the majority of marketers you work with.

 

The take-away?

So find someone who knows better.  Find someone who thinks “is there something we need to look into here legally before we do this thing?”

 

Just because you pay through the nose doesn’t mean you’re getting what you pay for.

 


Who is doing your social?

Do You know--

Who is doing your social?  Are you sure you know?

Usually when people hire a marketing firm they believe they’re getting a professional marketer to do their marketing.  But is that really the case?

Just recently I came across this post on Facebook and it absolutely blew my mind.  And then I realized I really shouldn’t be too surprised.  You see, it’s not that I don’t know who is offering up a lot of the social media consulting.  I do.

But do you?

WHAT

 

Notice, nothing about actually selling product.  Almost anyone can “capture leads” but can they actually SELL?  Isn’t that what you’re paying them to do?

Do yourself a favor, take a look at job postings for social media jobs.  Look specifically for job postings for agencies looking to hire people.  And since most of you are too busy to do that I’ll tell you what you’ll (often) find.

Who is doing social…

First, you’ll find people hiring for agency jobs often looking for people with little to no true marketing experience required other than experience why USE social media.  And often these jobs pay minimum wage if they pay at all.  Sometimes they’re hiring interns and interns only and yet the job makes it pretty clear they aren’t offering much in the way of training as they want this new hire to be competent at most of the job tasks without any supervision.

Here’s the thing folks, using social media and selling on social media is NOT the same thing.  Just because someone has a lot of friends on social doesn’t mean they know anything at all about how to actually get people to your event or sell your product.  Indeed, having worked with MANY newbie social media managers, it’s often true these folks know little to nothing about how to actually sell via social (though they usually assume they do).  Being a popular kid doesn’t actually sell product.  Certainly not unless you’re a celebrity and sometimes not even then.

The most important thing for you to consider is that a number of these marketing companies are hiring people YOU wouldn’t hire if you were hiring your own marketing person to do marketing in-house, certainly not for the price you’re paying them for their services.

And yet many people hire marketing companies assuming they are getting experienced marketing professionals.

For that matter many people are hiring the consultants like those being trained above assuming they are hiring marketing professionals.  They don’t assume they’re hiring someone who has a few months (if that) of marketing training under their belt, most of which focused on how to sell their business to you and not how to sell your business and its products or services!

A short training program isn’t going to make you competent at selling via social.  What it might make you able to do is convince people that you’re a “social media rockstar”.

So how do you hire someone to sell your business?

The same way you hire for any position.  Results.

If you’re hiring for a salesperson you want someone who has a proven track record of selling.  So hire a social media person who has a proven track record of selling.  Don’t focus on click-through rates.  Look for someone who has built pages, grown followings, someone who can get people in the door if you have a brick and mortar shop, and someone who has SOLD PRODUCT.

If they can’t prove that they can do this for you through their past efforts, find someone who can.