• Act-On Software
    Act-On Software on November 18, 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.
  • Movember is in full swing once again! Movember is the time when men all over the world grow mustaches of all shapes, sizes and colors. It’s happening in the SimplyCast office too, and it’s getting hairy around here.

    Movember is in full swing once again! Movember is the time when men all over the world grow mustaches of all shapes, sizes and colors. It’s happening in the SimplyCast office too, and it’s getting hairy around here. To donate to the cause, check out our team’s Movember page.

    Movember benefits an awesome cause, and the way it is marketed is very effective. What is so appealing about growing a mustache for men’s health? And how can you incorporate Movember’s marketing lessons into your own general marketing campaigns? Let’s get up close and personal with the marvelous mustache marketing movement.

    It has a strong, unique symbol.

    Mustache Lesson: Think about how much Movember and mustache-related merchandise you’ve seen. The mustache symbol is used for everything from jewellery to plates to clothing to just about everything else. The symbol is instantly recognizable, memorable and highly relevant to its cause.

    Marketing Takeaway: Create and promote a logo and brand image that strongly represent the essential aspects of your business. Focus on something that is unique to your business, simple so you can easily put it on merchandise and in advertisements, and memorable so customers will immediately associate it with your business whenever they see it.

    It uses humor to get attention.

    Mustache Lesson: Movember raises money for a very serious cause, yet a big part of its appeal is that it tackles the issue with humor. The main idea of growing a mustache for charity is innately silly, yet it is effective. Humor is a conversation starter. If you see someone rocking a mustache or mustache merchandise during Movember, this presents a great opportunity to talk about men’s health or just to have a chat. It brings people together and raises awareness at the same time.

    Marketing Takeaway: Humor is often a very effective marketing technique. Funny ads stands out from average boring ads so they gets people’s attention. Work humor into your own ads, but don’t overdo it. It really depends on your business’s personality and image. If your image is casual and friendly, outrageous humor may work effectively for you. If your image is more professional, your humor will probably be more subtle. Just make sure it’s not offensive or questionable, as this strategy usually backfires.

    It reinvents itself while maintaining its essence.

    Mustache Lesson: Although the cause is the same each year, Movember marketing is anywhere from mundane and boring. It retains its signature “mo” brand core focus to promote men’s health but it reinvents its promotions for each mustache season. This makes Movember very unique and memorable, setting it apart from other fundraising campaigns.

    Marketing Takeaway: It is essential to maintain a strong brand to create consistency and a memorable identity. This builds loyalty, helping you connect with more leads and customers. But don’t let your brand marketing get stale. Create exciting videos, new advertisements, contests and so on. Maintain your brand elements and image, but don’t be afraid to try a new approach. Test different campaigns and elements. You will be able to learn what your customers respond to and what they don’t.

    It’s personal.

    Mustache Lesson: Movember appeals to such a wide variety of people because each person has their own spin on it. It has mass appeal because almost all men can grow mustaches of some sort (and women can join in the fundraising fun too). Yet the individual mustache is unique to each person, who wears it in their own specific way.

    Marketing Takeaway: Your marketing campaigns need to appeal to a lot of customers yet also have to be personalized. How on earth can you accomplish this? Get a comprehensive marketing automation solution. Marketing automation solutions track and record customer behavior, activity, interests, special dates and more. This enables you to automatically personally target messages. Targeted messages get much higher open rates and conversion rates than mass messages. Marketing automation makes your marketing campaigns much more efficient and enables you to create personalized connections with each of your customers.

    It gets lots of people involved in a fun, competitive way.

    Mustache Lesson: Who doesn’t want to get involved in the Movember madness? It’s contagious! You can show your progress throughout the month, which creates a bit of competitive fun. It is interactive, which is ideal for keeping people engaged over time. Movember even uses teams, which gets more people involved and makes it more likely that people will follow through on their commitment.

    Marketing Takeaway: One of the best ways to keep your customers interested is to create interactive marketing content: run social media contests, ask customers to share their pictures and stories, hold fun events and send out automatically personalized invitations to your customers, feature customer case studies in your email newsletters and so on. Anything that gets customers involved with your content helps create loyalty and boost engagement.

    Sign up for a free marketing automation demo!

    Our friendly team is available to show you how to build complete interactive Movember, holiday and regular weekly campaigns. Sign up here for a free demo. Happy Movember!

    Photo Credit: Moustache Marketing/shutterstock

    In case you missed it, Facebook recently released an official announcement about Reducing Overly Promotional Page Posts starting January, 2015. What does this mean exactly? Well, it boils down to that if your posts are going to sound like a blatant advertisement, then it is an advertisement and Facebook wants you to pay.

    Business owners, entrepreneurs and marketers have been wondering if they should just give up Facebook altogether and move elsewhere. I’ve heard so many people’s complaints. “Facebook doesn’t work anymore.” “My page has no reach.” “I hate Facebook.” “Nobody sees my posts.” The list goes on and on. So, is it time to give up Facebook?

    When Google+ launched numerous marketers left Facebook altogether and made the move to Google+ instead. But they came back. Why? Facebook still has traffic and is only growing. Facebook is where the people are hanging out. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love Google+ also. There are reasons for each of the different platforms, but Facebook is still one of the top dogs.

    In case you missed it, Facebook recently released an official announcement about Reducing Overly Promotional Page Posts starting January, 2015.  What does this mean exactly? Well, it boils down to that if your posts are going to sound like a blatant advertisement, then it is an advertisement and Facebook wants you to pay.

    Facebook is not going anywhere and neither are your potential customers. So, what can be done to overcome this upcoming change for your Facebook Page?  

    Here are 6 Powerful Methods to Supercharge your Facebook Page in 2015

    #1: Change your Mindset

    We have all been spoiled by the 'free' social media marketing. When I first started working with businesses on Facebook marketing it was way back in 2008. At that time I had to convince a business owner that Facebook would be around for the next 5 years. Times have changed and now businesses know they need to market on Facebook and other social media outlets, but some still feel it should be free.

    Remember back in the day when businesses spent huge advertising dollars on TV ads, yellow pages, newspaper ads, etc? It is time to go back to that mindset with the internet. In order to be successful in social media, there needs to be ad money spent.

    #2: Get even more Creative

    If your page does a good job of speaking to their target market and being creative with their content, you really have nothing to worry about. You need to have a specific strategy that involves different types of content. You need a mix of images, questions, videos and so on. If you have not downloaded my Ultimate Guide to Social Media Content Creation, this might be a good time to do that. It’s more important than ever to mix it up and be creative!

    Bottom line is this change pushes marketers to be more creative. And ultimately, that’s a good thing.

    #3: Speak to your Audience

    When creating your posts, are you remembering who your target market is? Are you speaking to them or just trying to push out content? It’s important to remember to have a conversation and talk with your fans, not at your fans.

    If you have a main following of moms between the age of 35-45, are you talking about subjects that interest them? This is important. If you have had a Facebook Page for awhile, it is easy to learn who your fan base is. You can learn this through Facebook Insights on your Page.

    Go to: ‘Insights’

     

    Then, click on ‘People.’

     

    This will give you a general layout of men/women/ages. If your insights are showing you different than who you think is your target audience, you may have to revisit your strategy.

    #4: Create a Video Strategy

    Have you noticed what your News Feed is full of? VIDEOS!

    Facebook is giving a huge push to videos and the more creative they are, the more they show up in the News Feed. Video in 2015 is only going to grow via Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and other video outlets.

    Being that I’m a big advocate of YouTube video, don’t forget to get that video on YouTube too, but if you have a YouTube video, be sure to download the original from YouTube and upload directly to Facebook. Facebook wants the original video, not the YouTube link.

    Here’s the directions to do get the MP4 from your YouTube channel. You can do this in 3 Simple Steps (See Image).

     

    #5: Don’t count on Facebook as your ONLY Social Network

    The reality is that Facebook is another platform among many forms of digital marketing. It should be used in conjunction with websites, social, email, SEO, etc.

    If you do not have a strategy in place that will get your fans from Facebook to your email campaign, it’s time to get one. Then you won’t be so dependent on your Facebook fans.

    Adding other social networks is a must. You need to look at your target market, figure out what other platforms your potential clients are hanging out. If you are a small business, then focus only on 1 or 2 more. Don’t fall prey to being on 10 different platforms that make it impossible to manage.

    #6: Get your Fans to your Website and Email List

    The ultimate goal of social media is to drive traffic to what you actually own. You don’t own Facebook. You don’t own Twitter. You DO own your website. You DO own your email list. It is important to convert your fans so that you can directly market on your territory.  Then, no matter what happens with any social network, you still have your core audience.

    In conclusion, I think you know my answer now to ”Is it time to give up Facebook?” NO, but it is time to GET CREATIVE and make some changes in the way you are currently marketing there.

    What are your thoughts on the upcoming Facebook changes?

    Similar to the concept of newsjacking, by carefully monitoring your competitors and industry, you’ll spot trends, gain insights and will know what’s causing a stir and creating buzz. This gives you an indication of demand, helping you target your activities accordingly.

    Agile marketing means being able to respond rapidly to changes. When it comes to online retailers, responding quickly to changes in the market, for example competitor price drops, is a crucial component of success. Never more so than during the busy Christmas shopping period.

    Similar to the concept of newsjacking, by carefully monitoring your competitors and industry, you’ll spot trends, gain insights and will know what’s causing a stir and creating buzz. This gives you an indication of demand, helping you target your activities accordingly.

    When you leverage existing buzz to your advantage, it means another brand has already done all the hard work, you just have to be fast enough to benefit from it.

    How can a retailer leverage buzz and benefit from it?

    Let’s take the example of the current John Lewis adverts featuring Monty The Penguin. As well as the plush penguins quickly selling out in John Lewis stores up and down the country, the popularity and buzz around penguins in general, means that the likes of eBay have seen a whopping 300% increase in penguin sales, whilst online retailer Etsy, has also reported a considerable increase in penguin related searches.

    This presents many different kinds of retailer with a golden opportunity to execute a rapid, reactive marketing campaign.

    The key is ensuring that what you do is relevant and timely. Leave it too long and you’ll miss out, as interest peaks and then goes into decline. Likewise, try and create some kind of tenuous link or tie in, and consumers will see straight through it.

    McVitie’s take a ride on the John Lewis Monty penguin bandwagon

    So what does this mean for a retailer? How can you take popularity and buzz and turn it to your advantage? For a better idea of how it’s done, take a look at how McVitie’s Penguin hitched a ride on the John Lewis #MontyThePenguin bandwagon. With their simple “This Penguin is for lunch, not just for Christmas” campaign which was rapidly executed across social media channels,  McVities provide a great example of clever and relevant agile marketing.

    Start by figuring out the opportunity, in this case, people are currently going penguin mad, and plush penguins are pretty hard to get. This presents many different kinds of retailer with a golden opportunity to execute a rapid, reactive marketing campaign, promoting anything penguin related that they sell.

    A penguin bedding set, a penguin story book, penguin onesies, DVDs about penguins, all manner of novelty penguin items. Anything you stock that is relevant will be extra appealing, and with penguins and Christmas top of many peoples minds, they are already primed to buy.

    Get clever with your campaign messaging, work on a website landing page, set up a PPC advertising campaign, email your mailing list and run social media promotions. Any retailer selling related products stands to benefit.

    It’s not just about penguins though

    The same principles apply regardless of what you sell. Did you know that every time a shuttle or probe is sent to Mars, demand for Mars Bars increases? Tap into unexpected opportunities by ensuring you are in a position to execute clever, creative reactive marketing activities quickly.

    Your website, email list and social media are the ideal tools that will allow you to bring talked about and in-demand products, to the attention of your customers, in real time.

    Recently Honda produced a new interactive video ad that serves as a prime example of creative advertising within social media.

    Viral ads aren’t a lucky break – they are the product of immense effort and ingenuity.

    Recently Honda produced a new interactive video ad that serves as a prime example of creative advertising within social media.

    Titled, “The Other Side,” this interactive mini-story shows one man’s double life by weaving together two parallel videos. As you watch the video, you can press ‘R’ on your keyboard to see the alternative, simultaneous story thread.

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    (Click To Play)

    Ads like these aren’t easy to make – they require immense creativity and long hours, but it’s content like this that has proven to have the best chance of going viral.

    Reddit, a site known for savvy audiences averse to advertising, championed the Honda ad, upvoting it to the front page – an incredibly unusual thing to witness with a blatant ad. Yet users embraced the video, commenting on the precision, artistry, and high-level of detail that is evidenced in the video.  

    Having users openly share and celebrate your ad is a marketing hole-in-one result. If you want your ad efforts to have similar results, take a page from Honda’s book. Create a high-quality ad and focus on:

    1. Effort. People enjoy seeing others do what they love and do it well. Modern audiences are savvy enough to distinguish between something thrown together vs. a work of labor and love. Today, what impresses users the most is content that clearly requires great effort and expertise to produce.

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    While polished video ads like Honda’s are an obvious example, this trend can be seen all across the web. Guides, ebooks, whitepapers, and tutorials are popular forms of content that succeed in part because of the tremendous effort involved. This is why the “Skyscraper Technique” works so well in online marketing – you don’t have to be the first to do something, you just need to do it better than anyone else. Works of immense effort are the ones that get a second glance from users.

    2. Easter Eggs. Much discussion of the Honda ad video digs into the hidden details and easter eggs scattered throughout the film. Audiences enjoy being rewarded for their attention and focus. The subtle secrets within the Honda ad creates rewatch value for audiences, and you can bet that the more a user watches a video, the more likely they are to share it with friends and remember it. 

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    3. Creative. Crafting something different and unique will always entrance audiences. Either one of Honda’s two videos would have been all right independently, but what really made this ad memorable was the interactive, dual element, with the two videos playing simultaneously, while the viewer hopped across alternative timelines. This is a truly one-of-a-kind form, and users enjoyed its originality.

    What do you think of Honda’s “The Other Side” ad? Has given you some ad inspiration of your own? 

    Here is mind game successful bloggers play with each other. “If you had to start over right now, how would you do it?” So here is my answer, an amalgam of stuff that worked and stuff I learned from mistakes I learned along the way. If you are just building a blog from scratch, here are the foundational steps I would take to do it.

    Here is mind game successful bloggers play with each other.

    “If you had to start over right now, how would you do it?”

    So here is my answer, an amalgam of stuff that worked and stuff I learned from mistakes I learned along the way. If you are just building a blog from scratch, here are the foundational steps I would take to do it.

    1. Don’t obsess with a niche

    Let me state plainly that yes … it is important to have a niche. You eventually need to carve out a little place on the web that you can make your own.

    But if you don’t know what that is, don’t let that stop you.

    Maybe you won’t discover your niche until you have blogged for six months, or a year. Maybe you will discover your niche based on an insight from a blog comment, maybe your niche will shift over time.

    When I started my blog I thought I knew my niche and found after six months that I hated it. So I changed it.

    Over years of blogging and 1,500 posts, I learned that my blogging niche is not writing about  Facebook, or strategy or SEO. My niche is me. My niche is the perspective I bring after being in business for more than 30 years. I think that is legitimate but it took me awhile to figure it out.

    2. Stop making excuses

    Everybody gets busy. And when that happens, if blogging is the first thing that drops off the table, you will never, ever become a successful blogger.

    If you write consistently – let’s say two hours a week – blogging will become easier over time. You will find your voice, you will find your audience, your confidence will grow, you will become more efficient. But none of this will happen if you don’t stick with it.

    Carve out at least two hours a week if you are serious about this and never miss.

    3. Spend time building an audience

    It can be pretty depressing to pour your heart into a blog and know that nobody is reading it. I am speaking from experience. I get as many page views in a week that I got in my first 18 months of blogging put together! {grow} was a lonely place for a long time.

    I learned that “Build it and they will come” is a great movie line but a lousy blogging strategy. Blogging is not just about writing. I had to spend time finding and nurturing my audience.

    Here are a few posts with ideas to help you do that:

    25 ideas for your social media network strategy

    Five proven ways to get more people to read your blog

    An insider’s guide to audience connection

    Five essential tools to attract a relevant audience to your blog

    4. Read

    There are about 10 blogs that I read consistently and a lot of other resources like Marketing Profs, Social Media Examiner and Hubspot that I scan for ideas and trends.

    Being an active reader helps you to be a better writer.

    However … don’t try to BE like somebody else. Follow your own path.

    5. Make it look professional

    If you want to grow your blog and maybe even build it into a business, the site should look professional. If you are spending a lot of time on your blog, why put it in a cheap-looking container?

    I often recommend to new businesses that if they only have a little bit of money to spend on marketing, spend it on a great-looking website. It is your front door to the world.

    6. Stick to a schedule

    Whether you decide to blog once a month or once a week, it’s important to be consistent. If you are trying to build an audience, they need to know when to expect something new from you.

    7. Become a blogger, not a writer

    Even if you consider yourself a good writer, that doesn’t mean you are an effective blog writer. There is a big difference in what we might have learned in school and what readers on the web expect.

    So spend a little time learning how to write for the web. Here are some resources to help:

    8 Ways blog writing is unique

    10 Maxims of Successful Blogging

    The book Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content, by Ann Handley. 

    8. Be yourself

    To stand out you need to be original. To be original, you have no choice but to be yourself. Does that seem obvious? It’s not. It took me years to figure that out.

    Being yourself takes courage. I am still working on this and probably always will be.

    9. Think about SEO in context

    Optimizing your content for search may not be your top priority. Some people are going to have a twinge of anxiety at this piece of advice because SEO is a sacred cow in our business. But hear me out.

    For some businesses, SEO is essential, especially if you are trying to gain traffic to sell a discreet product like a clock or a computer.

    But what if you are trying to become a thought leader who aims to build loyalty? That doesn’t take “traffic.” That requires an audience. There’s a difference. And to build an audience, you need to serve them consistently with quality content, not necessarily keyword strategies.

    I recently wrote about the goals of different kinds of content (hygiene, hub, hero). The type of content you create and the relative importance of SEO must be in context with your goals as a writer. There needs to be a blend of priorities that fit your strategy.

    10. Know when to pivot

    When I started my blog, I thought that finding a niche meant being “on message.” I was afraid to sway from my core theme. Within a few months, I was bored.

    Everything changed once I allowed myself room to grow … and I am still growing! My blog is different than it was six months ago. It is radically different than it was two years ago.

    Some of this is because I am responding to changes in my audience. Part of the reason is because my interests have changed. But hopefully I am always staying interesting and relevant.

    I don’t see myself stuck in a theme or a niche. I am evolving. I am “pivoting” month by month, year by year.  Once you have found your niche, don’t be afraid to alter it. Don’t be afraid to {grow}!

    Well, those are some things that helped me when I started out and these are ideas I would use to start again. Which of these ideas had an impact on you?

    Illustration courtesy NatalieDee.com