• Act-On Software
    Act-On Software on November 17, 2014

    The Rules of Engagement on Facebook

    If you want to make your content sharable and searchable on Facebook, you need to have a thorough understanding of Facebook principles and the general rules that apply to content and behavior.
  • With less than a week until Christmas the holiday season in general, you may have already mentally checked out for the year. While many people leave their marketing at the door when they rush out for the holidays, there are plenty of ways to keep your marketing going during this notorious “down time.”

    With less than a week till Christmas the holiday season in general, you may have already mentally checked out for the year. However, you may also be wrapping the last of your marketing campaigns for 2014 and carefully analyzing your 2015 plan to know where to start when you come back in January.

    While many people leave their marketing at the door when they rush out for the holidays, there are plenty of ways to keep your marketing going during this notorious “down time”.

    I am not going to sugarcoat it though – B2B marketing during the holidays is tough. In the B2C world, the holidays are an ideal time for marketing. Consumers are all about spending, gifting and then regifting. In the B2B world, most consumers are analyzing their budgets from the current year and wondering where all their money went and strategically planning for 2015 and don’t particularly want to be bothered with your “hey our company is awesome at this email”.

    Here are some tips for your holiday marketing:

    1. Hit the social media sites – Hard.

    The B2B market is regularly on LinkedIn and Twitter – especially LinkedIn. Studies have demonstrated that LinkedIn use is higher during down time like right before work or right after work hours. So while our B2B market is filling up on holiday food and drinks and then recovering, they may be spending ample time on social media over the holidays.

    If you can, post daily with links to the website. Feel like taking some down time yourself, schedule posts and tweets using Hootsuite.

    1. Schedule an email marketing campaign – but keep it light

    Even if the B2B crowd is relaxing during the holidays, most will still be checking emails on a regular basis. Try to organize a small content marketing piece on some industry trend or something forecasting 2015. Remember to optimize the campaign for mobile since most will be on phones and tablets over the holidays and may mark the email to read when back in the office.

    Don’t expect lead generation from this campaign, just use it to keep your brand fresh in their minds. Again, if you’re looking to take a break too, schedule the campaign to go out ahead of time.

    1. Collect content for the New Year

    Ok, this requires some work on the marketer’s end, but it’s not as bad as it seems. While other marketers might be slacking, keep checking social media and your industry websites for news circulating over the holiday period and take note (or a mental note) of what’s new and interesting so your January 2015 content can be fresh and first to market. Note what your B2B audience is posting in LinkedIn groups over the holidays because, believe me, they will be active.

    1. Skip the sappy Happy Holidays message and go for the New Years message

    How many pointless “Happy Holidays” emails do you get the week before Christmastime? The blank message with a cute decoration that says “Happy Holidays from Company X”? Great, thanks for the wishes, but at this point we just delete those emails. Focus on a New Years campaign that hits people when they are coming back into the office. It can be in the form of an email or even – gasp – snail mail!! Imagine getting a New Years card with a company brochure in the mail. Remember, sometimes marketing is about thinking outside the box!

    With that being said, Happy Holidays from this blogger!

    Skippy is one of the biggest peanut butter brands in the world, and their social media presence reflects this - but they recently embarked on a new campaign to underline the 'fun' behind their products, with Twitter playing a big part. In this interview with Skippy Peanut Butter Senior Brand Manager Mike Guanella, we discuss the campaign and how Skippy uses social media.

    One of the biggest names in peanut butter is Skippy. Founded in California in 1933, Skippy is one of the best-selling peanut butter brands in the world. The company has effectively changed perceptions of peanut butter, establishing it as an ingredient in main courses, not just as a spread, a success which has translated particularly well to the Chinese market, where it’s the number one peanut butter brand. Skippy’s built on that market success with their social media presence – their Facebook page has more than 655 thousand fans, and posts regularly get more than a thousand likes and 60 comments. Those are impressive engagement figures by any measure, and Skippy recently looked to extend their social media presence by making a more concerted effort on Twitter. I spoke to Mike Guanella, senior brand manager for Skippy Peanut Butter, to discuss Skippy’s social media presence and the thinking behind their new Twitter handle, @TheFunNut.

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    Simple Fun

    Introduced via TVC, The Fun Nut is a new character that represents the ethos of the Skippy Peanut Butter brand. Tied in with the television campaign, Skippy partnered with Zócalo Group to launch a new Twitter handle, @TheFunNut, in October, the aim of which was to embody the simple fun of peanut butter and to share that fun online. And the new handle has been a success – Skippy’s main Twitter profile, which has been active since 2009, currently has just under four thousand followers. @TheFunNut has 12.3 thousand followers, highlighting the engagement the campaign has achieved. “People have been ecstatic about @TheFunNut.” Guanella said. “It’s been taking people’s days from 10 to 11. After surprising and delighting the Twitter community during the initial implementation period we’ve seen continuous engagement from fans asking for @TheFunNut to surprise them with a SKIPPY treat.”

    Engagement is the key element – of all the tweets sent from @TheFunNut account, a solid 79% of them have been replies, telling jokes, offering birthday wishes even congratulating people on life events such as marriage proposals or a new job. @TheFunNut carries an amazing sense of... well, fun. I asked Guanella about the engagement focus and how their team approached these interactions: “@TheFunNut aims to respond to as many tweets as he can - but to the right people of course. We set specific protocols to ensure the people @TheFunNut is responding to are in line the brand. Additionally, @TheFunNut has blitz days where he responds and surprises more fans than on a normal day, but these are never planned, you just have to follow along and wait for cues.”

    Scrolling through the many responses, you can’t deny the sense of joy in all that @TheFunNut brings. And 12.3k followers can’t be wrong.

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    Platform Differentiation

    For Skippy, Facebook has long been it’s primary social platform of choice. While they maintain presence on Twitter and Pinterest, Facebook’s the platform that has driven the most traffic back to their website (53.1% share of social referrals) and has seen the most fan engagement. I asked Guanella about the decision to make a more significant push on Twitter, and in particular, whether Facebook’s organic reach decline had anything to do with it. “We wanted to engage with a new community in an agile way, so Twitter was naturally the answer,” he told me. “We’ve seen a lot of success on Facebook through the years, but for this program, specifically, Twitter was the right choice. @TheFunNut wouldn’t have been able to comb the social community on Facebook like it did on Twitter to find those open conversations. And additionally, we wanted the content to be a mix of visual and straight status updates and we know that mix works better on Twitter. Lastly, we wanted to have a direct dialogue with followers and non-followers, interrupting conversations that didn’t necessarily pertain to peanut butter, but fit within our voice and tone – again Twitter was our answer for that.”

    Utilising Twitter also enabled Skippy to capitalise on the hashtag #YIPPEE, which has been aligned to The Fun Nut campaign. “People we’re already using the #YIPPEE we just needed them to tie it back to @TheFunNUT and Skippy Peanut Butter.” The more engrained use of hashtags on Twitter has facilitated better use of the hashtag, maximising brand association and benefit.

    Campaign Implementation

    With @TheFunNut responding to so many questions, I asked Guanella about the implementation of the campaign. “We had two community managers managing @TheFunNut during the paid program of the campaign,” he said. “During the activation days we had a room of five people – community managers, an art director and a copy writer – all there to make sure we could surprise and delight as many people as possible. The ongoing community management is managed by one person who truly is the voice of @TheFunNut.”

    Given the visual nature of the campaign, and the real-time response emphasis, the size of the team working on the main components is no real surprise, but it’s great to get an overview and understanding of the inner workings of the campaign process. It’s a question people always have, one that came up prominently in the wake of Oreo’s ‘Dunk in the Dark’ tweet – it’s great that they could get such a clever tweet out so quick, but how exactly did they do it? What sort of team do they have in place for such events? Having a group like this, working side by side in real-time, has clearly produced some great results for Skippy, with @TheFunNut’s best tweets gaining well over 100 re-tweets, boosting impressions and brand awareness.

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    Wisdom of the Peanut

    I asked Guanella how he felt about the campaign and the engagement they’d seen through @TheFunNut. “The engagement was very high and we gained more than 13k fans in just 30 days. That said, it’s hard to compare the engagements versus Facebook, since they were very different interactions. Our engagements on Facebook are clearly from our most loyal fans, whereas Twitter engagements seemed to be from new fans or fans that didn’t know we were on Twitter.” Guanella told me. “Overall, it was a success because we gained a new audience and set a different voice from what we have on our other social channels, while still remaining on strategy.”

    This is a great point, one which may prove to be the greatest success of @TheFunNut campaign. While Skippy’s main social media presence has been focussed around recipes and building the brand around that key element - establishing peanut butter as more than just a sandwich filling - through @TheFunNut, the team have been able to better enhance the fun aspect of the brand. The engagements and audience responses to @TheFunNut highlight the effectiveness of this strategy, of building around real engagement and using social as a means for establishing brand personality and purpose. Skippy’s taken an intelligent approach to Twitter, recognising what the audience is using the platform for, then working to the strengths of the platform, rather than trying to push the same message through every network. The campaign also highlights how you can do this, how you can focus on specific audience subsets or elements of overall brand strategy, targeted at specific social platforms. It’s taking note of how people use social, what they’re actually doing on each platform, then tailoring the message to fit, rather than using networks as broadcast channels relative to demographic brackets. Building community is far more effective - interacting and responding, rather than post and hope.

    Overall, a great campaign and some helpful insights provided by Guanella on how his team views and utilises social. There’s much that marketers can take from the wisdom of that little peanut - and that’s something I can honestly say I never imagined I’d write. 

    Consumers aren't a "KPI": they're people. They have value to brands and they hold the keys to the social media kingdom, not the other way around. Today, marketers play a vital role in how brand content is viewed digitally. But content is only one piece of the sales funnel; there's also direct engagement and community which builds loyalty.

    I recently had the opportunity to interview Bryan Kramer for my YouTube series #SMRealTalk. In addition to being the CEO of PureMatter, a Silicon Valley digital agency, Bryan's also a Top 25 Influencer to Follow by Forbes, Top 100 Most Influential Tech People on Twitter by Business Insider, and author of the recently released book "There Is No More B2B or B2C: It's Human to Human #H2H".

    I've followed Bryan on social media over the last year and, as a brand marketer in the digital world, have been drawn to his philosophy: Between the two marketing segments of B2B and B2C, it's hard to tell the difference between the two anymore. We all need to think like the consumers we are, putting ourselves in the mindset of the buyer instead of trying to speak such an intensely sophisticated language full of acronyms and "buzz words". 

    Consumers aren't a "KPI", they're people. They have value to brands and they hold the keys to the social media kingdom, not the other way around. Today, marketers play a vital role in how brand content is viewed digitally. But content is only one piece of the sales funnel; there's also direct engagement and community which builds loyalty. 

    Over the length of our 37-minute conversation, Bryan and I spoke about everything from Taco Bell going "dark" for days on social media to promote the lanch of its mobile app and the impact it made on sales and PR; brands like KLM and Outback, who are successfully humanizing social media; and tips on how brands can own social conversation. 

    Below's my interview with Bryan Kramer via YouTube:

    5 Easy Ways to Humanize Your Brand:

    1. Community Management

    Humanizing your brand begins with community management. Without community, social content is merely advertising. Twitter and Facebook pages are simply viewed as digital billboards. Some of the most successful brands online, including: Southwest Airlines, Best Buy and Hilton, have earned their favorable reputations because they are as reliable and available to its customers needs online as they are in person. Before investing top dollar in digital content creation, every brand who's opted to engage in social media (whether only on Facebook or across multiple channels) needs to invest in hiring a community management team who will be ready and available to answer customer inquiries during its hours of operation. So if you're in retail, travel/hospitality, or food and beverage, and you're open 7-days a week, you should have a staff member monitoring your brands social media accounts for customer comments, Swarm check-in's, Yelp reviews, etc. The worst customer experience is one that goes ignored. 

    2. Surprise and Delight 

    Showing appreciation to customers who regularly engage with your brand is just the right thing to do. Not only does it show them that you care about their business but it also builds longlasting loyalty which is what grows sales. Developing brand advocacy is as easy as dropping your most, highly engaged followers with a gift card, sample product to demo or even a birthday card. As an example, I follow Outback and often praise their brand's consistentcy in food quality and service when I visit. On my birthday this year, they surprised me with a birthday and gift card to come in for a free meal. Another example is Olive Garden who recently sent me a bag full of mint chocolates after I tweeted about my love for their after-dinner treats. It's the "little things" that go a long way to building loyalty and keep highly influential customers coming back.

    3. Be Authentic 

    Look, every brand is trying to go viral everyday. When you try too hard nobody listens. Not everyday is the Super Bowl and not every momet is a "Dunk in the dark". Often times those brands that go out of their way to be funny or catchy wind up falling flat. Look at Dave & Busters recent social media flop. Here's my advice, offer value to your social community and create content that feels natural to your brand. Engage bloggers and influencers, connect directly with end-users who're tweeting or speaking about your brand, participate in Twitter chats relative to your brands industry but DON'T go over the top and talk about the Grammy's just because it's a nationally trending event. Instead, make a natural connection to your brand and a nationally trending event when and where it makes sense. Again, people tune out what's not relevant. 

    4. Personalization 

    Social media is customer relationship management. Point blank. Especially Millennials, engage a Millennial consumer and you've potentially earned access to his/her friends and followers too. Ignore a Millennial and you've lost a customer for life. Part of community management involves listening to what consumers are saying about your brand, and competition too, and engaging whether the dialogue is good or bad. Embrace the good/bad that consumers are saying about your brand. Use social media as an opportunity to gage public perception and even improve it. Get to know your online customers, develop a relationship with them. Similar to dating, you're goal is to keep them coming back even after the first and second date. There's a lot of tools out there today, build "VIP" or top customer lists and make it a priority to acknowledge them by name often. There's a certain "coolness factor" whenever a brand tweets a shout out to me or someone I know. 

    5. Content to Inspire and Engage -- NOT Sell

    On most days, checking my Facebook or Twitter feed is like walking into a car dealership. It's not something I look forward to. Why? People don't want to be sold to, they want to be engaged. Ask yourself, when was the last time that you went on Facebook because you wanted to buy something from a brand or you wanted to see a sponsored post. That's what you have your social network for, as a sound board, and that's what brands need to realize. People are influencers, they have klout and the power of word of mouth is stronger than any paid media buy. One of the best social campaigns that I saw this year was #ShareACoke. People want to be part of a movement, give them content that inspires them to be share, engage, and repeat. Social media is NOT sales, it's relationship building. Real talk. 

    From your perspective, which brands online are cutting edge in being human? Tweet your replies to @CarlosGil83 or post a comment below. 

    With the holidays upon us, it only seems fitting that this week’s social selling tips highlight the spirit of helping. In these posts, you will learn about a simple mantra that can add clarity to your sales strategy. You will also discover phrases that demonstrate your willingness to offer assistance, along with a strategy for making the maximum impact in the least amount of time. So give yourself the gift of knowledge this week, and then pay it forward by helping those you work with.

    With the holidays upon us, it only seems fitting that this week’s social selling tips highlight the spirit of helping.

    In the posts below, you will learn about a simple mantra that can add clarity to your sales strategy. You will also discover phrases that demonstrate your willingness to offer assistance, along with a strategy for making the maximum impact in the least amount of time. So give yourself the gift of knowledge this week, and then pay it forward by helping those you work with.

    One Killer Sales Tip:

    In this post, Amar Sheth discusses his journey to becoming a better salesperson and credits one basic idea for his success: “Help Buyers Always, In All Ways.”

    To him, always helping means educating as opposed to selling, and being willing to invest your time to ensure customer needs are met. Helpful guides, introductions, and customized content are all tactics he uses to help his clients win.

    Read on to see examples of how you can help buyers at every stage of the sales funnel.

    Are You Giving Your Prospects A Clear Choice? And, Is It You?

    Stroll down the cereal aisle at your local grocery store and you’re instantly overwhelmed with endless choices.

    This is also what it’s like for B2B purchasers. With all of your competitors offering seemingly similar products or services, your prospect has plenty of options to choose from. But what makes you stand out as the best choice?

    As Andy Paul points out, it often comes down to how you sell. As a result, he provides three strategies for making sure you sell with maximum impact in the least amount of time.

    Discover how you can polish your sales skills to become the clear choice for your sales prospects.

    Let Me Know How I Can Help

    “You can never be poor as long as you give.” This Congolese proverb is the basis for Craig Rosenberg’s latest post, and applies directly to your selling.

    Craig recounts a story of a young salesperson who called him and failed to do anything other than talk about himself. Using this example as a lesson, Craig provides seven ways the caller could have been more effective, complete with phrases that demonstrate a willingness to offer assistance.

    You’ll also enjoy a memorable story in this post involving Cisco CEO John Chambers that shows why he puts “business partners first, product second.”

    Read on to learn why being a giver isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the profitable thing to do.

    Here’s a look at five holiday campaigns that topped the “nice” list for us this year due to their creativity, as well as their imaginative integration of digital and social.
    Winter holiday spending is crucial for retailers, bringing in more than $600 billion in sales revenue in the 2013 season. In order to meet these numbers, retailers pull out all the stops when it comes to holiday marketing. Each brand pools their resources to create the most innovative, creative, and eye-catching campaigns designed to grab their share of the gift-giving market.

    Here’s a look at five holiday campaigns that topped the “nice” list for us this year due to their creativity, as well as their imaginative integration of digital and social.

    Kate Spade Gets Creative with Video

    The fashion retailer appeals to its target audience of stylish and quirky women with a candid video starring actress Anna Kendrick locked out of her New York apartment. The two and a half minute video entitled “The Waiting Game” appears in both pre-roll and shoppable formats, as well as in 5-second clips to accommodate the short attention span of mobile viewers.

    This has been the company’s highest performing piece of content over the past 30 days, garnering over 150K views on YouTube. Using Sprinklr’s Social Business Index, our team looked at the impact of this (and other) inspired holiday content on brand’s engagement and found that cumulatively it has helped increase the number of people participating in the discussion around the brand by 30% over the past month.

    Best Buy Continues to Experiment with Vine

    Following up on last year’s #vineinline Black Friday campaign, the electronics giant is at it again on social, encouraging customers to post how they “hint” for presents with the hashtag #hintingseason. In addition, the retailer is running a “Holiday Hacks” campaign on Vine to advertise new and innovative ways to use their products.

    By experimenting with emerging networks such as Vine and reposting user-generated content, Best Buy is able to connect with their target millennial audiences and improved their earned impressions by 111% over the month, according to our Social Business Index data.

    best buy

    Bloomingdales Makes Instagram Shoppable

    The department store is working to solve one of retailers’ biggest qualms about Instagram by making their posts “linkable” and “shoppable” within the app. The #zoomingdales campaign features one jam packed post that is “zoomable” by clicking on the different tags and individual profiles within, all while linking back to the website. Through this innovative campaign, Bloomingdales showcases it’s breadth of products and provides creative party use cases for their clothing including “Potluck House Party” and “Dressy Holi-Date”.

    According to Sprinklr’s Social Business Index data, the campaign is delighting fans, boosting positive market sentiment by 150% for the month and discussion strength by 32%.


    StubHub Gets Crazy With Hashtag Giveaways

    Ticket e-commerce marketplace StubHub (disclosure: StubHub is a Sprinklr client) is encouraging friends and family to stop with the bad gifts and give people what they really want – amazing experiences at concerts, sports games, and theater shows. By sharing their ideal ticket gift and using the hashtag #tixwish, participants are entered to win a variety of gift cards and prizes, all leading up to a grand prize giveaway of $10,000 on New Year’s Eve.

    According to StubHub, the hashtag has inspired a range of creative posts from eager fans,  gathering over 500K mentions on Twitter so far and providing 1.3 billion impressions for the brand.


    J.Crew Revamps the Website Gift Guide

    The fashion retailer took the traditional website gift guide up a notch this year with individual pages for men, women, boys, girls, and babies, each including a rainbow of products and dynamic pre-roll videos. To advertise their holiday customer service offerings such as personal stylists and same-day delivery, the retailer created four video clips on their YouTube channel starring an adorable Claymation elephant. As if this weren’t enough, J.Crew created an addition three “Links We Love” web pages that feature click through links to their favorite holiday activities and retailers including New York Ballet and Hammonds Candies.

    The messaging of “gift better” is resonating with fans, producing a 100% increase in earned impression for the retailer over the month, according to Sprinklr’s Social Business Index.

    Originally posted on Inc.

    online holiday shopping / shutterstock