On influencers and KPI’s…

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We have written several pieces on the power of influencer marketing and the need to have it as part of your marketing mix, if you are looking to sell a product to consumers these days.  Our position on the topic has only strengthened over time, and we once again encourage all readers to really consider the potential and to get into the game.

Don’t get caught up in semantics, and most certainly don’t be stubborn about being anti-pay to play engagements with micro influencers. Some brands we speak with feel they are a vanity play and don’t drive real results.  We would argue the exact opposite, as the data points to these types of engagements being real KPI winners.  You have to be smart about who you engage with, what the goal is and the metrics for success should be outlined up front of course. This is true for any marketing tactic though.

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As other digital advertising becomes more competitive and intrusive it is very important to find new ways to penetrate and create awareness for your products or services.  Influencers (especially the good ones) provide an entree to captive audiences who trust their marketing messages and endorsements.  You must seek out the right partners and capitalize on these opportunities.

TapInfluence put out this compelling report, that highlights some telling statistics and is worth a download. Here are some that they collected and posted on their website:

Influencer marketing content delivers 11X higher ROI than traditional forms of digital marketing. (TapInfluence study with Nielsen Catalina Solutions, 2016)
Twitter users report a 5.2X increase in purchase intent when exposed to promotional content from influencers. (Twitter and Annalect, 2016)
74% of people turn to social networks for guidance on purchase decisions. (Ogilvy Cannes, 2014)
40% of people say they’ve purchased an item online after seeing it used by an influencer on Instagram, Twitter, Vine, or YouTube (Twitter and Annalect, 2016)
49% of people say they rely on recommendations from influencers when making purchase decisions. (Twitter and Annalect, 2016)
73% of Millennials see it as their responsibility to guide friends, peers, and family toward smart purchase decisions. (Fleishman-Hillard PR & Hearst Magazine)
71% of marketers believe that ongoing ambassadorships are the most effective form of influencer marketing. (TapInfluence & Altimeter, June 2016,)

These stats jump off the page and should make it pretty clear that this is a frontier that needs to be in the mix. Influencer collaborations drive real business results and cannot be ignored. In the end of the day they are just people with a POV and a captive audience that seems to care about what they have to say, and takes direction when they give advice. Perhaps I just influenced you to get started?  Case in point…

 

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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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Facebook ups their targeting game

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We have made it very clear that we are big buyers of the Facebook Ads platform and all that comes with it here in this blog before. The Social Network provides unparalleled targeting opportunities and if you play the game right and are committed to staying the course, it can/will provide brands with an excellent ROI. We remain, ALL IN!

They just stepped their game up to a whole new level by adding to their already awesome custom audience groupings, that allow you to target people based on an action they took. Previously you were able to put Ads in front of people who engaged with Lead Ads, Facebook Canvas creatives and even videos.  We have seen excellent results, especially when retargeting those who have watched video content.  This is an excellent way to move users down the conversion funnel.

They have now added to this group and included the targeting of users who have engaged with your page, known on the platform as “Facebook Page Engagement Custom Audiences.” This will allow marketers to go into the Ads Manager, create a new custom audience and create a new target group based on their engagements with your fan page during a certain timeframe.

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You can create audiences based on the following types of engagement:

  • Everyone who engaged with your Page
  • Anyone who visited your Page
  • People who engaged with any post or ad
  • People who clicked any call-to-action button
  • People who sent a message to your Page
  • People who saved your Page or any post

Now you can glean more value out of the people who actually engage with the content you put out and better leverage your community management efforts. Brands can zero in on the users who are actually taking time to engage with their fan page, and hit the right fans (or random users) rather than going with a shotgun approach to all fans or friends of fans, many of whom will never engage with our transact with them.

This is a very exciting opportunity for serious social media marketers, and one we will be attacking right away for our clients. For some more detail on this new rollout and a breakdown on how to easily create these types of audiences, click here.

 

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On taking the leap with paid social…

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I am constantly baffled by clients who are spending money on traditional mediums like TV, outdoor and print, but are still so hesitant to jump into the paid social game. I think it is more of a “creature of comfort” move than anything else and this really is something that needs to change.  Most just prefer what they know (even if it stinks) over what they don’t know (or worse, just don’t understand) when it comes to marketing.

Paid social media provides highly targeted audiences to brands looking to sell products and in a medium where they are paying close attention. This is not serving banner ads on publisher sites, nor is it competing in the Google landscape, where smaller brands with minimal budgets can get eaten alive. This is about value for your dollar and knowing where consumers are paying attention and this is where we are ALL IN, ALL DAY LONG!

Above is a screenshot from a client’s Google Analytics after our first week with them. We convinced them to assign a nominal budget ($200) to test paid social out, and it produced early and promising results.  They generated $852 on $200 spent (4X1 return) and generated 807 unique visitors and 9000+ impressions for their branded content.  I would argue this might be the best $200 they spent on their business to date, and it should certainly pave the way for a bigger commitment to the platform(s).

With traditional efforts, even if they worked, you wouldn’t have this type of actionable data to prove it. I still have conversations with my brand partner counterparts where they tell me that paid social doesn’t produce an ROI. Some stay away as a result, while others do it begrudgingly and more so as a necessary evil than a real revenue producing tactic.

It is so important that we change that mindset and that brands take that leap of faith with paid social.  The efforts pay off and without a commitment to the cause, you are leaving money on the table and allowing your competitors to take those dollars. That just cant happen, right?

 

 

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Win of The Week- Facebook Advertising Small Ball

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Our client Direct Eats recently launched an awesome new website and they looked to us to help them with a smart social media strategy to help drive awareness. Upon launch we focused heavily on driving traffic to the site from both their current base (fans, emails) and new prospects, via strategic targeting, including special interest groups and fans of competitor brands. This was very successful and while the goal was only traffic to start, it produced some really nice revenue and a ROAS around 5 to 1.

Screen Shot 2016-09-20 at 9.05.21 AMNow that we had started the funnel, we took a close look at Google Analytics and user behavior and then created some social content that would present the types of products or categories that users were interested in. We created the post you see here and then boosted it to 2 distinct groups:

$10 at website visitors from the last 30 days – because we wanted to retarget them with a nice looking piece of content and drive behavior with a limited time offer CTA.

$10 to fans of the brand – because fans really take to new and newsworthy content from the brands they follow, especially “insiders only” type messaging.

 

Both produced 3 direct transactions on the website, as you can see below:

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The first row shows the retargeting results, which as you can see had much less reach and engagement than the second row, which shows the fan target. That being said, it packed a nice punch and produced the same amount of sales. We turned $20 into $130 with some smart execution and a willingness to invest. Clearly, both have merit and warrant continued experimentation.

These types of small ball tactics, are precisely what make social media management so exciting and such a vital role to any organization who has online initiatives and goals (as all should).  This client launched a new website, with better functionality and UX and then leveraged Facebook to drive revenue and results. Well played guys, well played!

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Win of The Week: $5 in Facebook spend = $424 in revenue!

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We are big fans of paid social and we have shared our POV on the benefits of paying to play on Facebook here before.  With Facebook, sometimes the simplest of tactics can produce some really profound results.

In the image above we created a nice looking (Facebook optimized) piece of native content to help our awesome client Black Halo announce that they have new arrivals on their website. For a fashion brand that regularly releases new lines and updated SKU counts, this makes for some really simple and newsworthy information.  Sure we could deploy some really tactical strategic targeting (and we do of course) aiming at fans of competitors in the dress category, retargeting visitors to their dress pages and/or even members of their email list, but here it was a simple announcement and we just put $5 behind targeting their fans.

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For a brand who has not deployed any Cost Per Like (CPL) campaigns targeting new and unfamiliar users to meet their brand, their fan base is more “real and earned” than most. These are users who actually like the brand and their garments and therefore, new product arrival announcements are of real value.

As a result, $5 in guaranteed delivery to fans led to $424 in new revenue. That revenue was also the best kind, because it was on their own website and at full retail, which means it is the highest margin business they earn as a brand.

Mark that as a win for social media!

 

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Pay to Play on Facebook: Does it Pay?

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Facebook is a beast of a marketing platform, that drives amazing results. Period, end of paragraph.

Brands still struggle to get their head around this for some reason.  Facebook (like most platforms) gave “the goods” away for free at first (and for a long time) and once they grew up and decided it was time to make some money, people freaked out. This is a mistake, because A) of course that was coming, B) you just need to be nimble and adjust and C) if you aren’t taking advantage of this paid platform, then you are leaving a lot of money on the table.

I just think everyone needs a reset of sorts, to help them reassess Facebook in general. There is nothing more powerful in your arsenal and you must incorporate it into your digital plan. Remember, when you pay Facebook, you are unlocking their awesome targeting opportunities and you are guaranteeing delivery of content to a specific audience. Not partaking because you are angry that Facebook transitioned to a pay to play platform is the definition of cutting off your nose to spite your face. DON’T DO IT!

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Take the image to the left for example. This client was running a special on Good Morning America and offering a limited time offer of 50% off, as a way to generate e-commerce sales and acquire new customers. They have a very high retention rate (because their products are awesome) and they wanted to bring in revenue to their site (for a short term $ boost) and to help create some new user profiles, that would likely translate to long term and repeat customers. It is all about Life Time Value (LTV).

To help stoke the flames of this offer, we decided to boost this timeline post to two strategic audiences for $50 each. Fans of the brand (many of whom might not have purchased on the website before) and website visitors, who had not yet purchased on their website. This means they had been to the site, but never consummated a sale.

The results: 22,000+ reached, 378 clicks and (not seen here) $953 in revenue from this one post.

This was a solid investment from an up front ROI point of view, and an excellent way to initiate the life time funnel. Now we can implement some email CRM sequences and engage them in a much deeper conversation with the brand.

Did it pay to play?  Yessir.

 

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Facebook Marketing + Messaging = “A Must” To Win Online

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Facebook is such a powerful advertising medium for any brand looking to share their story on the web.  It offers unprecedented targeting, very cost effective reach and is a proven winner when it comes to driving clicks and conversions on an e-commerce website. We have clients leveraging all three on the daily and are driving ROI’s as high as 13X their spend.

Paid social is a beast, but there are many who are still sitting on the sidelines.  As a result, they are missing out big time!  Many brands abandoned Facebook completely, when it went to a “pay to play” model and we have always run in the opposite direction of those people. We are all in on Facebook Marketing and have talked about our POV on it here in this blog.

Sometimes it is as simple as leveraging page post engagements (boosting posts) to your fans and their friends.  If you have a brand that makes great products, has strong customer service and in turn actually has a community of fans, then no other platform corrals them for you like Facebook. It tees up an opportunity for you to share a message and guarantees delivery to (a grip of) them if you want to put some funds behind it. Why is that a bad thing???

Our client Bombas, is a brand with awesome products, epic customer service and their fans absolutely love them. We chose to leverage the pretty piece of content you see above, showing off their new line of products by putting a nominal spend ($20) behind it and simply targeted their fans and friends of their fans. This $19.83 spend directly translated into $1,721.35 in revenue.  Seems like a good investment, wouldn’t you say?

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As a cherry on top, you can see the comment from one of their fans on the post, thanking them for “listening to their customers” and rolling out these new colors. They clearly exhibited that they care about their community, and implemented changes and improvements based on their feedback.  That is the whole point of social media, isn’t it?

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Can We Influence You To Do Influencer Marketing?

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We love influencer gifting for a myriad of reasons.  Not only does it get your product into the hands of someone from your core demographic, but it also gives you highly targeted exposure to their audience.  Now, not all influencers are created equal, so we would definitely analyze their accounts, their audience and their engagement before working with them. That being said, if you find the right ones, they can pay off in a big way.

We employ a “some is better than none” approach at Sircle Media (small influencers can be excellent allies) and we dont think you have to shoot for the moon either. Meaning you don’t necessarily have to work with people with really massive audiences to make a mark. The truth is, they are probably not priced right, so you are overpaying and not actually getting value for your spend.  The big players might be great, but that doesn’t mean their financial structure is a good buy.  For our clients we prefer to find those who are on their way up and their pricing is commensurate with their reach and value prop.  Playing that arbitrage game right can make all the difference, especially for those who micro analyze data and ROI/KPI metrics on things like this.

We like to encourage website visits whenever we can so we can generate traffic, retargeting opportunities and build look a like audiences based on their profiles.  So when you send a target demo influencer there, you are seeding your other marketing efforts with some very solid ammunition.

One proven method is to get the influencer to buy something from the website that we credit them for with a unique discount (or one time free) code.  Not only should they receive and review (or snap photos with) the product we send them, but we also want them to experience the website UX too. If they are writing a review we would love for them to mention how great the website is and/or if they aren’t you could still get some solid “free” feedback from someone with a lot of experience shopping online.  All upside!

Best bet is to create unique, one time use codes that they can use for the engagement and that expire after that one usage. This way you get the experience, but hedge against the risk that the code gets out to the masses and everyone takes advantage of discounted prices.  With a one time use restriction, we are big buyers of a broad macro approach. Meaning if we can bring in a lot of people (which odds are wouldn’t have purchased from you otherwise) than that is a smart move and worth it to acquire a new customer. If you have confidence in your product and your CRM skills, then that client should be able to be turned into a repeat client and the LTV (lifetime value) is more valuable than anything else.

Don’t be nervous, be proactive when it comes to influencer engagements.  They also will help you with the new Instagram algorithm changes, but that is the subject of another post coming soon. Employ some offense and put yourself in a position to win.  Play the game and reap the benefits!

 

 

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Facebook Lead Ads

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For any business looking to generate leads, you should be investing in Facebook’s Lead Ads.  The social network has simplified the process allowing users to subscribe to your email list with just two simple clicks (SUBSCRIBE/SUBMIT).  The information is pulled right from their profile and every user has an active email associated with their account, so you know the inputs are legit.

You can also require additional fields such as phone numbers, and though more inputs can lead to attrition, we are finding that the performance is excellent.  When you employ Facebook’s powerful targeting along with great creative you can generate tremendous results. Perhaps you want to target fans of your biggest competitor who live in the Los Angeles Area? Create an Ad that speaks to a pain point that you know they are experiencing (high cost, bad taste etc.) and then tell them to provide their email to learn more about how to fix it.

Also if you are doing digital the right way, you already have a re-targeting pixel on your webpage. You track every user who visits the site and clicks on a certain item and then leaves without a purchase. Now you can catch the user on Facebook, showing them the photo of the same product and rather than just sending them back to the site again you can offer them the ability to subscribe to your email list to get notified about future discounts on products just like the one they viewed. Just another smart way to bring prospects further down the sales funnel.

For those who think social doesn’t generate business, Lead Ads provide more evidence that you are wrong.

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