Not all social media wins can be counted in numbers…

Social media is about so much more than fans and followers. Sometimes the best wins can come from simply paying attention to your audience, caring about what they have to say and then reacting in a courteous and professional way. If you want a community and want to empower positive WOM (word of mouth) marketing opportunities, then you need to listen and react accordingly.

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This past weekend a follower tagged our client @MichtersWhiskey in a tweet that included the picture to the left and the below message:
“Welp……guess I gotta drink it all. #idontwantto #ihaveto #nochoice #sacrifice #brokencork #qualitycontrol #michters @MichtersWhiskey

The tone was not super negative, but the person was not very pleased with a malfunction on the cork of his newly opened bottle. We sprung right into action and direct messaged him to get more details regarding what happened.

After some back and forth with him we remedied the situation and we explained that quality control is very important to us. We wanted to let him know he was heard and that the brand cares.

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He was very appreciative and thanked us via DM and then went ahead and tweeted out a message letting the Twittersphere know as well. Here we quickly turned a negative situation into a positive brand engagement and forged a deeper relationship with a fan. The WOM from this engagement is also sure to put the brand in a good light with anyone he shares the story with. Mark it as a social “small ball” win.

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On using video to hack better exposure on Facebook

If you are an online marketer, then you probably know that video content is all the rage right now.  It is a mission critical component for any content marketing plan and a surefire way to help you win online.

Facebook in particular, loves videos and continues to reward brands with increased exposure and engagement on its platform. It does this because users prefer this type of content and FB is focused entirely on creating an excellent user experience, to ensure the social network remains sticky and that they don’t lose their users to the competition. If you are a marketer you should be riding this wave.

Screen Shot 2017-01-29 at 8.19.07 PMOur client Natalie’s launched some new flavors this month and wanted to create awareness and excitement around it. We created a simple, yet attention grabbing video (see above) and pushed it out with a nominal budget on their Facebook fan page.  We set the promoted post to optimize for engagement and earned some really nice metrics, as you can see to the left. Added bonus, were the many shares it earned, which helped us also grab a reach of over 18000 people.

While we like to balance their social content between photography, graphics and short form video (all of which perform well and have their place) we felt that video was warranted given the freshness of the message (new flavors) and the fact that they wanted to get the best bang for their buck. For the moment, that is video all day, every day.

If you want to have more potential customers consume your content and see more tangible success out of your social media efforts (read: every brand) then you need to really pay attention and deal yourself into the video game. Your prospects are watchin…

 

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On what really matters most…

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I am turning 40 in about a month and it is such an interesting time of reflection for me.  It really does make you stop and think about where you are, where you came from and where you are headed.  Added bonus is I have been reading and consuming a lot of Tim Ferriss content lately (life hacking, introspection etc.) as well as implementing more meditation in my life. Mentally, I have more clarity than I have ever had, that is for sure.

What I have learned is that people and interpersonal human connections are what matter most. My wife and children, being the most important by far of course, but the quantity and quality of other relationships, are very important too. We lose site of that over the years and it is a big mistake. Life goes by pretty quickly and we need to really be more present and attentive – this coming from a ‘Social Media Expert’ mind you. In the end of the day, social media helps you connect with people at scale which is powerful and amazing, but we all need to take that to the next level and add depth to those relationships. Everyone wants to feel connected and it is the deeper more meaningful relationships that will mean the most in our lives. If I could go back in time I would:

Tell my 10 year old self to be less self centered and more aware of the opportunities around me. I didn’t grow up with a silver spoon in my mouth, but I had access to so many nice things. Sleep away camp, trips to Aruba and Colorado, a home with a swimming pool on the bay and just 300 yards from the beach etc.  Things were good and I was very fortunate and I wish I was more appreciative of my parents and all that they did for me.

Tell my 20 year old self to try and develop more meaningful friendships. It is astounding to me how few people I am still really in touch with and care a great deal about from that time in my life. I went to The University of Michigan and I lived in NYC, so I had a ton of affiliations, but very few deep connections. A squandered opportunity in my opinion!

Tell my 30 year old self to not let some of those meaningful relationships leave my life. It is clear how valuable and rare they are and a shame to let them disappear. I started grinding in my work life very early on and I put my head down, and focused on financial success. As a result I made a lot of money, started an amazing family (both spectacular things of course) but I found myself in my 3rd decade to be short on powerful friendships, including important ones that had dissipated over the prior 5-10 years.

So now I tell my 40 year old self to be more conscious of the amazing people I come in contact with each and every day. I love my employees and their individual stories. I am fascinated and motivated by my clients and their drive and commitment to succeed. I am working to rekindle some of the really special relationships of my past and keenly aware of the early signs of some new ones who have recently come into my life. I am teaching my children to appreciate the many interesting connections they are making in a NYC private school environment, and I am personally trying to invest time in getting to know their friends too.  It is all so important.

We all live just one life and in our final days we will want to reflect on our lives and know that we had a real impact on others. That could mean helping those who are less fortunate, doing hard and honorable work for your clients and even just being a good friend who was there for others in good times and in bad ones too. I want to control that narrative and make sure I am on the right side of that conversation. I have some work to do…

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On content and why you need to up your game…

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Social media content is an important area of focus for brands wishing to communicate online. Content is king and queen (perhaps even the whole castle) and you have to be committed to putting it out there for the world to see of you want attention. We tell clients that the business drives social and not the other way around, so the content plan begins well before it shows up on social.

First a brand must define who they are and what sets them apart from the pack.  It sounds crazy that you have to remind them of this, but we constantly explain that their story, should be their story. Not some other contrived fabricated tale, not what they think people want to hear, but their actual narrative. In this new age of brand transparency, if you aren’t honest and forthcoming it will be hard to land and keep customers.

For a healthy CPG brand this is so important to do, because it is a very crowded vertical and everyone thinks their baby is the cutest. Meaning they are so passionate about what they sell and why customers should care, but they struggle with how to explain that. Sircle encourages them to just start documenting and putting out a lot of content that conveys the why, behind the what.  It doesn’t need to be perfect, but it should be clean, concise and helpful in some way.

Gluten free, allergy conscious, all natural, non-GMO the list goes on and on.  Why should I care and why is your product a solution? Document some longer form content to answer those questions and ideally use video (more context, more organic and paid reach and more likely to be consumed) as your main format to do so.  Then take that content and push it our via social.

Remember content needs to:

1-Stand out from the clutter (the goal is to capture attention)

2-Be on brand (the goal is to get some of your branding out there and in front of consumers)

3-Be native to platforms (think sizing, clarity, length when talking videos)

4-Be experimental (don’t just be safe, experiment with new ideas)

5-Feel original (be careful of being too “cookie cutter” AND copying from other brands)

You need to put out consistently good content, do it at a reasonable and aggressive frequency AND not get complacent or lazy.  Don’t worry about social posting frequency, before you figure out what you might want to say.  If you have a lot to say and share (NOTE: playing DJ and passing along content from publishers can help covey your point too, and put less pressure on you to be the actual songwriter) then you will know how often you should post on the various social platforms. Let the content dictate your actions and then leverage social to win.

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On video and why you need to get serious about it.

Video is no longer a “nice to have” part of your marketing plan. It is a “must have” ingredient, if you want to story tell and succeed online. Most brands know it, though historically have not done much about it. This is going to be the year that all of that changes.

Video tops the list of consumed content and allows brands to add additional context and depth to their messages. People stay on websites with video longer and are more likely to pay attention to and share social media messages if brands use video.  You also hack increased organic reach and better brand recall because Facebook is a big fan and favors video.

This piece by Small Business Trends breaks down some more compelling statistics, and here are some highlights:

Video Increases Your Marketing Reach and Duration

If you want to stay top of mind, you’ll be glad to know that 80 percent of users recall a video ad they viewed in the past 30 days.

Videos turn watchers into advocates as 92 percent of mobile video consumers share videos with others while social video generates 1200 percent more shares than text and images combined.

You’ll also get more visitors on your website using video because companies using video enjoy 41 percent more web traffic from search than non-users and video drives a whopping 157 percent increase in organic traffic from search engines.

Video Drives More Sales

According to 70 percent of marketers, video produces more conversions than any other type of content. This pays off nicely for e-commerce sellers who have found that using product videos can increase product purchases on an online store by 144 percent

Even if you don’t have an online store, including video on a landing page can increase conversion by 80 percent and after watching video, 64 percent of users are likely to buy a product online.

Video is effective on both desktop and mobile devices: the average conversion rate for websites using video is 4.8 percent compared to 2.9 percent for those that do not use video while 40 percent of customers state that video increases the chance that they’ll purchase a product on their mobile device.

Simply put, videos drive sales: 74 percent of users who watched an explainer video to learn more about a product or service subsequently bought it and 77 percent of consumers say they’ve been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a video.

Finally, 90 percent of users say that product videos are helpful in the decision making process and that’s a good thing.

Video Contributes to the Bottom Line

The biggest advocates for video marketing seem to be the businesses and marketers who use the approach. In fact, 76.5 percent of marketers and SMB owners that have used video marketing said that it had a direct impact on their business.

And finally, a doozy of a statistic: businesses using video grow company revenue 49 percent faster year-over-year than organizations without video.

Small businesses need to pay attention to these compelling statistics. The problem is that if/when they do, most don’t have the talent or capacity to create those videos internally.  The good news is that Sircle Media has got you covered.  Let’s get started!

 

 

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Win of The Week: Driving sales for retail partners.

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Can social media help you sell online? Yes, of course!  Can it help you sell offline too? ubetcha!

We work with a lot of early/growth stage healthy CPG brands and some of them do not have an E-commerce focus. For their short term or even permanent business model, they plan to use retail partners for sales and distribution. Therefore a real metric for success when it comes to their social media efforts, is traffic and support for retail to help with their velocity reports. Sales and distribution are only half the battle you see, it is how well their product actually moves when available on shelves to consumers that matters.

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Our client Natalie’s has a really nice foothold and relationship in Publix, which for a Florida based, family owned brand is a big deal. As they expanded their store and SKU counts, they wanted to help drive awareness via social media and we jumped right in. We swapped out creative on their website and Facebook cover photo as you can see above, because this was the most important content for the brand at the moment and should be displayed front and center.

We then deployed a dark posting strategy that targeted by geo location (close radius to new stores) as well as fans of Publix. We used a printable coupon as our CTA and created the image you see here, which spelled out PUBLIX using bottles of their product and fresh fruit.  The image really stands out from the clutter and used the retailer’s well known brand name to catch the user’s eyes in their feed.

For a nominal amount ($5 on this one asset) we were able to reach 2100 targeted people, and earned 2 shares and 16 likes. The more juicy result (pun fully intended) was that we sparked up a conversation with Brian, who saw the ad, printed the coupon and confirmed he used it in store.

We were sure to share that with the buyer over at Publix right away. :)

 

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Snap or Gram for your brand?

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What is better/more appropriate for your brand, Snapchat or Instagram Stories? Clients have begun asking this question with greater frequency for sure. With the heated rivalry bubbling at an all time high, they both provide very compelling arguments and benefits.

This piece from Social Media Today provides some solid insight, backed by data on the topic and is worth a read. Our take is that brands should be playing in any ecosystem where there is potential to stand out and capture the attention of their target demo AND IF they can put out good, relevant and consistent content. Know what you want to say, know how to say it on the platform(s) in question and then execute.

We work with a lot of smaller or early stage brands who are just learning their voice, who their customer is and how to create and deploy content. With them we have historically focused more heavily on evergreen vs ephemeral content, as it sticks around longer and carries more long term value. When Instagram stories came out we wrote a piece about it and talked about the idea of documenting vs creating (and therefore not having to invest a lot of time in crafting excellent visuals) and encouraged clients to experiment with some raw content. Early results for our clients have proven that there is underpriced attention there, and we are all in on that.

Since many SMB’s have already taken the time to create Instagram accounts for their business, have learned the ecosystem and have developed an audience already, we give “The Gram” a slight edge.  Brands have already figured out ways to “advertise” there and trying to do that for the first time in the Snapchat environment will feel a bit foreign.  It is also a bit less intuitive for most and harder to navigate, therefore making it a less attractive option in the short term.

We sense that both will play a big role in 2017, but as it stands today Instagram provides an easier roadmap and path to success for SMB’s. Stay tuned for updates on both throughout the year, but for now head over to IG and follow some of our brand’s stories for some inspiration.

 

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Win of the week: Facebook’s new custom audiences drive revenue!

Last month we wrote a piece about Facebook improving their targeting game and then we got to work for some of our clients, looking to hit hard in the final month of the year.  We have seen some really nice results early on.

One brand in particular, is our client Birdie’s Slippers. They are a new fashion brand, without a big budget and only sell through one channel, E-commerce. Every dollar is super important at their stage in their life cycle, and they don’t have enough marketing dollars to get into the Google AdWords game.  Facebook marketing is their only allocated spend and they were looking to really glean as much value out of that campaign as humanly possible.

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We started targeting people who engaged with their page over the past 30 days and here you can see we spent $17.36 and earned $336, using this technique on just one piece of creative.

15380365_10158196248710643_1781615209652302970_nWe have done a great job with their content this year, and through collaborations, page post engagements and empowered word of mouth, they have a highly engaged fan page. Even though their fan base is still relatively small, they are engaged and interested which is much more important than total fan count.

Here we took a fun and attention grabbing post and then targeted that audience with a moderate spend. We know this group had already engaged with the brand so there was some familiarity and we then deployed this new targeting technique to move them further down the sales funnel.

Marketers have a real winner on their hands here and they should get involved right away. Brands (and other “traditional” digital agencies) seem to always be looking to pick holes in the Facebook Ads game, which is just insanity. This year, do the opposite – and win!

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