Social copy + paste = FAIL

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Social copy + paste = FAIL

It sounds obvious doesn't it, but you'd be surprised as to how many brands apply the copy + paste approach across their social channels.

So, when it comes to getting value from their social media efforts, brands must first understand the role of the channel and why their consumers are using it.

FB vs. Twitter vs. Pinterest

 

We all know organic reach is null and void on Facebook forcing brands with pages into the "Pay to Play" model, but with a better understanding of the channels' true value to your consumers, you can still get organic reach, engagement and value from your consumers through a well thought-out content strategy focused on relevancy.

Looking at Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, it's easy to see how your fans are using the channels for value in their daily lives. Social in it's essence is an online conversation. So take a group of friends who are out in a bar talking...their conversation will have past, present and future subject areas...all topics of interest to the group.

"Did you see that game last night? ...It was insane!" - PAST

OR

"Check out that couple at the end of the bar" - PRESENT

OR

"Hey, there's a new restaurant that just opened up around the corner and the menu looks amazing, we should check it out next weekend" - FUTURE.

And some of the most popular channels provide the perfect place for brands to engage in this way.

  • FACEBOOK: "What I've Done"
    • Your fans are posting their activities, experiences and stuff they find entertaining that they want to share with their friends. What this means is that they are seeking acknowledgement through a like or a comment to reassure themselves that their friends care and are paying attention.
  • TWITTER: "What I'm Doing"
    • Letting your followers know what you're engaged in at that particular moment and being able to comment and be involved in live news and events, is all part of the experience.
  • PINTEREST: "What I'm Going To Do"
    • This channel is all about discovery and looking for things that you would like to do in the future to add value and enrichment to your life. It's a creative and experiential planner if you like. Which makes it great for commerce for brands.

So with this understanding in mind...why would a brand copy + paste the same content verbatim? Seems crazy huh?  Of course, it can be the same message and overall type of content, it just needs packaging and delivering in a unique way to ensure it's relevant, on point, gets noticed and the consumer takes action.

Each of these channels have some cool features (and some decent native analytics too) to help you learn, improve and optimize. It's also important to note that embedding content into the channel not only provides convenience to the consumer (they don't have to leave the channel), but, and it's a big but, that channel will give it a better weighting and ranking within it's algorithm helping your reach and engagement no end. For example, it's clear Facebook is putting a premium on native video rather than linking out to YouTube.

So, there's plenty of tips, tricks and insights out there from commentators and specialists that you should be looking at. I've picked a few here (on the channels above) to help get you started:

Facebook: Tips

Twitter: Tips

Pinterest: Tips

And remember... be relevant with your audience at all times.

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The Ever Changing Face of Content and its Creators

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The Ever Changing Face of Content and its Creators

There's nothing new about the impact influencers can have on a brand and their products, but are we reaching a tipping point whereby they can truly displace the traditional media players from "ad budget feasts" at today's CMO's table? 

Many brands have been building better relationships with these influencers over the years and lots of "content creator" aggregators have popped up offering the services of these influencers. But it's become an increasingly challenging endeavor by brands to truly leverage this emerging talent pool whilst staying on the right side of editorial impartiality - not to mention the FTC.

Yes, it's happened. As influencers and content creators grow in importance, savvy brands are looking to squeeze value from them and flood them with calls from their PR and social team. So, how do these new social super-players transition into a fully commercial enterprise?

There's a couple of paths to monetizing their audience and adding value already in play. First, and probably the most common, is to use the audience size and traffic to their channel, blog or site by running ads in front of their content (YouTube ads, display ads or even solus email broadcasts to their database) and the second option is to co-create content with brands looking to leverage their creativity, editorial skills and POV. The latter is certainly more desirable for brands and certainly feels more native. However, it comes with big juicy FTC asterix for both the creator as well as the brand. FTC guidelines are being shaped constantly in this fast moving and volatile space based on emerging case studies. This makes it extremely difficult for brands to stay on the right side of the law, whilst also achieving their objectives.

But it's definitely worth the effort and brands should continue down this path of co-creation. Some of the best (and most impactful) pieces of content out there aren't carefully crafted by the typical publishers, but are in fact produced by the nimble and the creative who manage to find the sweet spot between timing, context and an interesting POV.

In the golf space (my playground), there's one guy in the UK who's carved out a nice little enterprise by offering real, informative and authentic content to golfers around the world. His name is Mark Crossfield and his YouTube channel Ask Golf Guru has over 130k subscribers. He's transformed himself from a PGA professional teaching and selling golf equipment into a global influencer and respected voice on the performance and comparison of golf equipment for the everyday golfer. He's quirky, interesting and entertaining (expertly finding the sweet spot I mentioned earlier) and even has a catchphrase - "Let's get stuck in!" - you know you've made it when you have your own catchphrase right?

My point here is that anyone, anywhere and at anytime can create compelling content by being creative and using the plethora of free tools, distribution platforms and endless opportunity that the internet and connected devices provide. The audience is there and is hungry for engaging and entertaining content.

It's hugely exciting to work in this ever changing landscape of content and its creators, and brands will only truly succeed in navigating the space by putting the consumer first and delivering real value.

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Breaking Ads

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Breaking Ads

Is 2015 going to be the year of convergence in the digital advertising, social and content worlds?...the year where we break traditional digital ad behavior?

The battle for audience and traffic is as strong as ever and the CMO has some challenging times ahead. The rules of engagement (no pun intended) are forever changing and whilst the notion of paid, owned and earned has been clear in the past, does it really matter now? It's all one now...right? It's just "blended content".

The walls between ads and content are coming down...and native advertising coupled with content discovery networks are leading the charge with the hammers in their hands.

The consumer doesn't care where they first saw the product, the campaign, the message or the content...or who published it...all they care about is - is it interesting? is it resonating with me? and is it engaging me and driving me to learn more?

Let's examine some of the evidence. Standard display ads are dead. Nobody is clicking on banners, especially on mobile (if they do, it was probably a fat-finger or a bot). Plus, are media impressions and SOV (we're outspending our competitors, so we must be doing the right thing) really viable metrics in today's world when it's all about engagement and tangible ROI? There are some pertinent questions you should be asking yourself - how much wastage is there in CPM? is my video 100% viewable? do 30 sec pre-rolls do more harm than good?...and so on. Just put yourself in the shoes of your consumers - "would I like to be marketed to in this way?"

Don't get me wrong, there's a time and a place for ads...but just be smarter this year, challenge your media agency for other options and ask for real-time analytics or more frequent campaign reviews. If you wait until the campaign has finished, then...well...I'm afraid the ship has already sailed.

Consumers are savvy. They are savv-ier (I know that's not a word, but stay with me here) then ever before. "Stop selling me features & benefits" we hear them cry..."lead me to the great experience and the value and loyalty will follow". It's not rocket science. But we're impatient as marketers and slip into the old behaviors too easily. Executing a great creative campaign, with a mediocre media strategy that drives 1% sales/market share growth is much easier, than it is to be brave and change consumer emotions, feelings toward the brand and an overall better lifetime value.

Do some research, get insights, ask your consumers. Stop having "one night stands" with your consumers. You owe it to yourself, your CMO and even your CFO - who may even buy you a beer at the end of the year! But most of all, you owe it to your consumers, who just want to have a better relationship and experience with your brand.

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Digest vs. Woods

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Digest vs. Woods

Well, it may be the off season for golf, but we now have ourselves at interesting story developing in the golf space that has subsequently spilled "outside the ropes" and into the non-endemic sport media.

Golf Digest's December issue carries a "fake" interview between Dan Jenkins and Tiger and it's created quite a stir in the last 24hrs - for golf at least. You can view the original article here.

It's an interesting story in itself as it re-ignites some history between the two, but what I found more intriguing was the use of Derek Jeter's new "The Players Tribune" site to publish Tiger's official response to the article - from his POV - and not tigerwoods.com. Founded by Jeter, "The Players Tribune" provides "a new media platform that will present the unfiltered voices of professional athletes, bringing fans closer to the games they love then ever before." Is this just a glorified athlete blog or is it gearing up for much more?

It's this part of Tiger's official response process that I find most interesting. Once the "direct letter to the publisher" was executed, the next step was to set the record straight publicly via Jeter's new media platform - "Straight Up" - versus the athlete's own official domain. Are we entering a new phase of athlete digital communications? Is there a wider agenda at play here? Is the Digest article just a bit of fun or has it stepped over the mark. Anyway, you can make your own opinions and see how this whole thing pans out over the coming days/weeks before Tiger appears on Tour again at the Hero World Challenge.

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To Ello or not to Ello

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To Ello or not to Ello

Have you received your "Ello" invitation yet? Did you even apply? Do you have any idea what Ello is? Well it just very well could be the next big thing to hit social. But who is it for? Millennials tired of Facebook? Hipsters? Only time will tell.

But it is "another" social network...because you need another one don't you? However, with a promise of being "ad-free" and never to sell your data....could Ello be the Facebook killer of the future? Plus, the fact that you can be anonymous on the site (or at least not be required to use your real name like FB or G+) is a great play for millennials who prefer not to have their careers ruined with a mis-timed post or image!

Alas, it's invite only in it's current beta phase right now and the UI is super simple with features pretty basic right now, but they have an interesting roadmap - Ello features.

And there are some brands on there right now....but how do they interact and engage with fans and how should their presence differ from the other social networks?

Not to mention, how is Ello going to make money in the future? It has to at some point and suggested this would be through additional features. Even Snapchat recently announced that they were now doing ads because "...unsurprising - we need to make money". At the end of the day, if a product or service is free, then basically, you are the product....no such thing as a free lunch.

Anyway, it will be interesting to see how this thing grows and what user value (and brand value) it creates. In fact, should brands even be on Ello and how do they turn up when they get round to being on there.

Anyway, go and say "Ello" here.

 

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