Infant or Superhero Status: What’s Your Social Marketing Maturity Level?

As a marketing discipline, social media has reached its challenging teenage years. In terms of strategy, it’s not so young that anything goes. While there are new channels popping up constantly and experimentation is always encouraged, there are established best practices for both B2B and B2C brands. At the same time, it isn’t as seasoned by time as a discipline like traditional public relations.

For most marketers, there are well-respected guidelines about how, where, when and why PR should be brought into the mix. When it comes to social media as a marketing tool, many brands have worked through the awkward junior high years of defining their social identity. Yet while 92-percent of marketers reported in a Social Media Examiner survey that social media is important to their businesses, many are still trying to grow their social media practices into sophisticated, functioning resources of their organizations.


Recently, Meltwater and Forrester hosted a webinar on using social insights to drive business results. In it, researcher and presenter Samantha Nao advocated for investing time and resources into gleaning actionable nuggets from social data. A brand’s entry in the social media world begins when its presence is established on strategically chosen channels and a strategy for activity is defined. But following birth, there is a maturation process from, “Hi! This is our first tweet!” to gathering insights and turning them into business recommendations that can impact operations, customer service, leads and more. Likening the scale to achievements in mobility, Forrester proposes that marketers move along a social intelligence maturity scale from crawling like baby to soaring like Superman.

Here’s how to assess where you’d fit in:

  1. Crawl Stage – The crawl stage is where it all begins. In this phase, marketers are active on their own social media channels and are monitoring topics related to their businesses. They are listening to social media conversations taking place with them, about them, about competitors and about an industry; but they’re not going beyond that. It’s an awareness phase.
  2. Walk Stage – In the walk phase, marketers are taking customer insights and validating them through social data. This could mean taking a hypothesis from the sales team about the most important factor in a purchasing decision and using social data to prove or disprove that. The walk phase is similar to market research.
  3. Run Stage – When you’re ready to run, it’s time to start combining social and traditional customer data through dashboards, scorecards or custom metrics.
  4. Fly Stage – The business value of social media intelligence really takes flight when an organization has advanced to the point of integration. The flying stage includes integrating social and traditional customer data in the customer database through social listening, appending existing records or collecting social information through opt-ins.

Forrester found that most marketers fall into the crawl or walking phases, while only 6 percent have matured to superhero status. Just like in life, everyone starts out on the floor; but at M/C/C, we are experts in helping our clients run the most sophisticated marketing programs.

These are some of our tips for developing your social marketing maturity and getting the most value from social data.

  1. Bring other groups outside of marketing in to join the analysis process of social insights. Collaboration between social marketing, customer service and sales teams can be particularly fruitful for B2B businesses. For example, if you are a data center colocation service provider that has the most engagement on content with a financial industry focus, that could serve as a clue for the sales team to pursue financial leads more aggressively or even elevate that effective content to them through a more personal channel such as email.
  2. Feed recommendations from social insights into real-world operations changes. An example of this could be for a national home auction solution provider who has long established geographic markets flagged as having the highest demand. If a high amount of interest and activity from users in a geographic area that has appeared dormant outside of the engaged social media community, then reconsidering the way properties in that area are organized and presented online could result in a thriving new market and higher number of bids.
  3. Finally, if you want to fly, the key is to make the match between social user names across multiple platforms with the best corresponding record in your customer database. Remember that only 6 percent of marketers are currently doing this. From here you can really begin to document your customer’s pain points and know what is relevant to them.

Don’t be like Peter Pan. It’s time to grow up in social media, and we’re here to help.

Five LinkedIn Tips for B2B Brands

With 380 million registered users worldwide, LinkedIn has become the go-to social media network for business professionals. In fact, 35 percent of community members use the network daily. In the last 12 years, LinkedIn has evolved from a resume holder to a robust network of individuals representing more than three million businesses.LinkedIn Tips

Research shows that 50 percent of LinkedIn members are more likely to purchase from a company they engage with on the social platform; thus making it the perfect place to engage with customers, clients and potential partners about what you do best – your business. There are multiple ways to capitalize on these opportunities. Here are my top five for business-to-business brands:

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Only Seven Months In, “Year of Social Advertising” Doesn’t Disappoint

At the end of every year, marketers gather ‘round in Facebook groups, Twitter chats or comment chains on agency blogs to make predictions about changes afoot in the coming months. Topping the trend lists for 2015 were content marketing as an integrated, company-wide strategy, like Kevin has written about before, and the shift in allocation of digital marketing budgets from primarily social media management and monitoring to paid advertising on social media platforms.

Social AdvertisingIn fact, a study done in partnership between Adobe and the CMO Council found that 53 percent of senior marketers are currently spending part of their digital dollars on social media community growth and engagement. If you’re reading this, that’s probably not news to you. It’s likely that you’re part of the 53 percent. But if you’re also a frequent purveyor of M/C/C’s marketing intel for marketing experts, then you’re well aware that organic community growth and engagement on the largest and most traditional social platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, has plateaued and very quickly – like as quickly as you can say, “I-P-O!” – and has become a pay-to-play game.

As a proud Facebook account holder circa September 2004 and an early adopter when it comes to social media (Hello, Ello!), I have two reads on this paradigm shift. The bad news: the best things in life aren’t free, after all. The good news: they’re pretty darn affordable, though! We’ve been strategically planning and implementing paid social media campaigns for a variety of B2B and B2C clients using Facebook and Twitter’s self-serve platforms for more than a year now, and have seen incredible results in every case – including our own.

We’ve implemented unique campaigns with individual messaging to support separate goals such as growing a Facebook page with the right fans during the discovery phase of the funnel and then nurturing the acquisitions with promoted posts during the consideration phase. As long as we’re targeting correctly, these social communities are built of prospective customers whose interests align with our clients’ product and service offerings at every step of the way. Where one client’s average spend on converting a lead through online advertising could swing north of $40, our targeted social media ads were able to get our messaging in front of them for a mere $0.25 a pop.

That’s not to say that one program should be scrapped in favor of the other. On the contrary, they are great complements to each other when running in tandem, work to establish brand consistency and strive to achieve the greatest action that a prospect can make based on the situation and environment in which they’re viewing each type of ad.

With costs as low as a quarter per action, it could be hard to believe that the CMO Council cites eMarketer as uncovering that worldwide social network ad spending reached $16.10 billion last year marking a 45.3 percent increase over 2013. Just to recap – that’s the spending number before we officially entered the year of social advertising! Now that we’re six months in, I bet you’re curious to hear about what we’ve seen so far on that front.

Continue reading “Only Seven Months In, “Year of Social Advertising” Doesn’t Disappoint” »

Now Streaming – Meerkat and Periscope Go Toe-to-Toe

The latest live-streaming apps allow you to record or watch broadcasts from your mobile device. Two apps in particular, Meerkat and Periscope, seem to be capturing the most attention and attracting the most users. The buzz surrounding live-streaming apps really kicked off with the launch of Meerkat at this year’s South by Southwest Interactive. Many labeled it the “sweetheart” of the interactive conference, and not since the launch of Foursquare in 2009 had SXSW produced such an app hit. It didn’t take long for Meerkat to get some serious competition. As the app was gaining steam at SXSW, Twitter purchased Periscope to get in on the action and go toe-to-toe with Meerkat. Twitter even went as far as cutting off Meerkat’s ability to port people’s social connections over from Twitter to its own service. More on that here. General functionality of the apps is fairly similar, but let’s see how their features compare.

Now Streaming

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The Unwritten Rules of Social Media Courtesy

So you think you’re prepared for your business to have a productive, engaging social media program for your B2B brand? While social platforms are a great way to get your product and services in front of the right audiences, the platforms were not originally designed for this. Each platform runs a little differently, but they were all designed to engage humans through social actions. At M/C/C we don’t always do what’s “prim and proper,” but we always do what is right for our clients. So we’ve compiled our own etiquette list: The Unwritten Rules of Social Media Courtesy. Take a look below to see how your brand should socialize on social media and how you as an executive should interact with your brand there.

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LinkedIn Gets Serious with

No, it’s not what you think. LinkedIn doesn’t have a new girlfriend named Lynda. Last
month LinkedIn declared its intention to purchase, a leader in online training videos. With more than 300 million members worldwide, the new acquisition brings deeper implications for LinkedIn to the surface.

LLinkedIn Gets Serious with Lynda.comet’s start off with a little bit of background on Known as “a leading online learning company teaching business, technology and creative skills to help people achieve their professional goals,” is based in Carpinteria, California, and was co-founded in 1995 by Lynda Weinman and Bruce Heavin. offers a wide range of classes from marketing to photography to basic business principles in the form of membership packages that start at less than $20 a month. Continue reading “LinkedIn Gets Serious with” »

Does Social Media Affect Search?

Google’s algorithm updates have informed the public that good search engine optimization (SEO) isn’t just about on-page optimization. Public relations now plays a big part in getting ranked higher in search engine results. Quality links from sites that have greater domain authority, such as top tier media outlets, produce higher rankings in search engine results.

Now that we know that PR can affect search, we want to define where and how social media comes into play. Google may place a high value on social media links, or they may not even matter. Can social media really affect search?

The answer is yes and no. I recently listened to a webinar hosted by Spin Sucks and presented by Andy Crestodina titled rather bluntly “How Does Social Media Affect SEO” that offered some insight.  Continue reading “Does Social Media Affect Search?” »

Three Major Marketing Trends to Watch This Year

New Year 2015With the end of 2014 quickly approaching, and 2015 marketing budgets already mapped out, it’s time to start looking back at where we came from to see where we are going.

This year, it was no surprise that marketing was harder than ever. Jay Baer, a New York Times best-selling author and president of Convince and Convert, attributed this to increased competition, marketing and customer service becoming codependent. He noted how marketers are blind to customer needs, in a presentation on the difficulties of marketing during the Outreach Marketing Summit hosted by GroupHigh.

Expanding on this idea, businesses can no longer buy a prime-time television advertisement and expect to hit their customers. There should be an integration of traditional marketing tactics such as television, print and radio ads with newer tactics like content marketing, outreach marketing, digital advertising, native advertising and social media. With multiple brands using multiple marketing platforms, there is increased competition to be heard and it does not just lie among brands, but also with our friends, family and loved ones.

To read more, click here.

It’s Be-Pinning to Look a lot Like 2015: Social Advertising in the New Year

“Partnerships [with brands] aren’t just, ‘Go get ad dollars.’ That’s not how we think about it here. We’re really about teaching partners how to be their best on Pinterest and connect consumers in a very authentic way.”

Joanne Bradford, head of partnerships at Pinterest

Joanne Bradford, head of commercial and content partnerships at Pinterest, made the above statement to ReadWrite in an article that ran on May 30, 2014, outlining her “slow and steady” plan to help Pinterest monetize – a task she’d been brought on to help drive around six months earlier. As the third largest social network helping more than 44.5 million users get crafty, plan parties and organize their wants and self-improvements into neatly curated and stylistically clean, digital bulletin boards, Pinterest has exemplified Bradford’s sentiment by remaining ad-free since it’s 2010 debut, aside from a Beta program that opened to select marketing partners in June. Having promised brands the year before that it would be making its first finely-tuned and tested advertising product available to the public by the end of 2014, the company cut their self-imposed and eagerly anticipated deadline pretty close by announcing the official availability of Promoted Pins to all U.S.-based partners beginning January 1.

Pinterest Search with Promoted PinPromoted Pins will look and feel almost exactly the same as organic pins, appearing in search streams with the words “Promoted by X” below the pin’s image as their only ad identifier. They can be targeted by pinners’ interests and purchased on a CPM model with advertisers only paying for clicks through to their websites – something the Pinterest people also like to promote as “free impressions!” The launch announcement also included some interesting findings from their last few months in beta testing such as:

  • Promoted Pins were repinned an average of 11 times or higher, on par with repin performance of organic pins, and
  • Brands outside of the social network’s core categories, like financial and auto companies, found success in the program. Pinterest’s core categories are crafts, drink, food, home décor and women’s fashion.

Continue reading “It’s Be-Pinning to Look a lot Like 2015: Social Advertising in the New Year” »

A Few Lessons in Integrated Marketing

IMG_3275Here at M/C/C, we’re no stranger to integrated marketing for clients and have experienced great results from converging digital marketing with IRL experiences for clients like FairLease and the promotion of the company’s “Random Acts of Fairness.”

FairLease is not your average car dealer. They’re more interested in helping people which is why M/C/C helped them launch a “Random Acts of Fairness” campaign around Dallas offering free food to the masses. For this campaign, we utilized several tactics that include: spreading the word through FairLease’s social media accounts that we built and managed, teasing the events to influential news sources and nearby businesses, providing event management and onsite support, generating real-time event updates, leveraging popular Twitter users and hashtags, capturing social photos and producing videos from the events. For many, it was their first interaction with FairLease, and thanks to M/C/C it wouldn’t be their last. As a result, more than 1,600 new friends engaged with FairLease like never before, and FairLease received almost 20 leads directly from this successful campaign.


1. Over-Promise and Over-Deliver
Listen to customer feedback and decide what works, what doesn’t and how you can improve what you offer. Depending on your businesses, you can use various social media and review sites like Yelp to hear from customers. Focus on customer service above all; constantly surprise customers with how far above and beyond you’ll go for them.

2. Mix Your Energy with Commitment
Look at the big picture by taking a few minutes to write down what your goals are for the next year. Think about the skills and support you’ll need to attain them and then a few small ways to start working on achieving your goals. Don’t let a little success distract you from working hard on your business.

3. Be Open, Real and Flawed
When it comes to social media and customer reviews, don’t delete what your customers have to say. No company is perfect or has a 100-percent satisfaction rate, so don’t hide the few unhappy customers. Admit your mistakes when they happen, and in general, conduct your company’s dealings with honesty and candor. Your customers will notice and love you for it.

4. Care About the Little Things
Focus on the little things your company can do to surprise and serve your customers. Don’t take an immediate ROI or bottom-line look at this one. Happy customers will lead to gains in the long-term.

5. Stand Out and Find Your Niche
Think about your target market, look at what your competitors are doing and embrace your uniqueness! There’s only one of your company in the world.

Now that you know what others are doing as well as what we can accomplish for you, get up and give us a call! Remember, we’re experts in everything integrated.