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 Lynda.com

No, it’s not what you think. LinkedIn doesn’t have a new girlfriend named Lynda. Last
month LinkedIn declared its intention to purchase Lynda.com, 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 Lynda.com. Known as “a leading online learning company teaching business, technology and creative skills to help people achieve their professional goals,” Lynda.com is based in Carpinteria, California, and was co-founded in 1995 by Lynda Weinman and Bruce Heavin. Lynda.com 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 Lynda.com” »

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.

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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.

Taylor Swift: 1.287 Million Reasons Why Marketing Works

taylor-swift-live-stream-party

As lines between advertising, public relations, social media and SEO continue to blur, integrated marketing has become one of the best ways to market a brand. Encompassing all four disciplines successfully markets to target audiences both in real life (IRL) and in the bustling digital world. One personal brander and one of the world’s best-selling artists of all time has perfected this practice with the recent release of her all pop album, 1989. Let’s explore some of Taylor Swift’s brilliant tactics that’s leading the artist to break the record for most sold copies of an album in a single week since 2002:

Brand Partnerships

Swift is no stranger to partnering with big brands, but for this release she capitalized on not only one but two! With Swift becoming commonly known as someone who loves cats, especially her two — Meredith and Olivia, she launched a partnership with Diet Coke that features a spot with her and plethora of kittens that begin showing up in her living room each time she drinks her Diet Coke. What’s brilliant about it is that the spot, which appeared on TV a few days before the album release, featured an unheard, new song from 1989, and Swift herself voices a call-to-action to buy her album at the end of the spot. With only about 20 seconds of this new song used, fans couldn’t get enough and were only left guessing what the song was discussing and what more would come. It was simple, cute and very branded for Swift’s personality and interests.

dietcoke

Additionally, Swift partnered with Target through an exclusive Target-only edition of her 1989 album that included three bonus tracks and content. Also, a certain number of this special edition featured a special code that could be used to enter to win the SwiftStakes — a chance to get two tickets and a meet and greet to a future show or one of 1,989 other prizes.

Continue reading “Taylor Swift: 1.287 Million Reasons Why Marketing Works” »

Filter This: Facebook and Instagram Face Off

As social platforms continue to create one-on-one connections between brands and consumers, it is important to look at all of the social media options available. Most brands grasp Facebook and Twitter by now, but as these networks become pay-to-play platforms thanks to discovery algorithms and as visuals become more important  in cluttered news feeds for boosting engagement, brands should start looking into highly active and visual platforms like Instagram.

In a recent survey on the state of corporate social media use (where 36 percent of the participants were B2B companies, 23 percent were B2C companies and the rest had some aspects of both) the adoption of Facebook by companies has stalled in the last year-and-a-half, while the adoption of Instagram has skyrocketed from 20 to 45 percent in the past year. It’s important to note the data shows most companies have stopped adopting Facebook because 90 percent of those surveyed already have a Facebook page. More companies have started adopting Instagram because it is a newer social platform that is not oversaturated with messages yet. In fact, Forrester recently reported that Instagram’s engagement rate is 58-times better than Facebook’s. While ours is not quite that high, we have noticed our Instagram engagement is indeed higher than that metric on our Facebook content.

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