Twitter: The party isn’t over…

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At Sircle Media, we are buyers of underpriced attention and we are not overly romantic about where that attention comes from (amen @garyvee). Social networks have made communication at scale so easy, that sometimes we lose site of how each can add value.  We always want more, and we get lost in the shiny newness of the next big thing. We encourage that you think about what you want to have happen and then reverse engineer from there.

While some brands are moving away from Twitter, we are finding some pockets of attention that are very attractive on the platform. Last month, we executed a Twitter party with the micro influencer @heyaprill for our client Paula’s Choice Skincare. The client decided to run a last minute promotion to push their 2% BHA liquid exfoliant and came to us looking for a quick program to help generate awareness, buzz and most importantly sales. Of course we looked at Facebook and Instagram organic and paid efforts first, but we also recommended they consider leveraging the captive audience which can come from a Twitter party.  They gave us the green light and we got to work.

18222259_10154348693051861_549624885018734284_nAll Aprill needed from us was a graphic (seen above) talking points (which we crafted and made about BHA specifically), hashtags to track the chat, and prizes provided by the client.  We arranged all of this on their behalf, within 24 hours. Prior to the party, she teased the giveaway on her website where people could RSVP for the chat and 1995 people did!

On the day of the chat we had her give away bottles of 2% BHA (every 10 mins), a $100 visa gift card (from @heyaprill), and a grand prize of a year supply of 2% BHA. These were incentives for people to want to join the chat and ultimately keep them participating for the full hour.

The actual chat was amazing and people were so engaged throughout. We monitored all chatter around it on Hootsuite and the notifications were literally non stop. Participants were active and passionate with their messaging and were using the hashtag #BHACHAT as requested. The conversation centered around real issues and the benefits and value of the product to help remedy those problems. This was excellent and highly targeted content consumption.

On top of all of that active and consumed content about the brand and the product, the client also netted 202 new followers in about 10 hours.  The party didn’t stop there though, because in the days that followed, we started to see tweets trickle in about people buying the product because of this chat which is a home run and stamp of real measurable ROI and success for the client. That is what really matters and was super sweet coming from a platform and tactic they were quick to dismiss up front.

While not as sexy as Instagram and Snapchat these days, Twitter is a valuable resource in your social media arsenal. #Respectthebird!

 

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On why I sometimes feel like a personal trainer…

SM PT

When clients hire Sircle Media it is very much like hiring a personal trainer.  At this point, (April 2017) they know they need smart social media management for their business, very much like a person knows they should make good diet choices and work out consistently.

When they begin with Sircle, things are awesome for the first couple of months. They are hopeful, attentive, responsive and full of energy.  It is really amazing and we immediately see an improvement in the quality of their content, the consistency of their engagement and if they truly listen, in the results (be it growth, reach, interaction, traffic etc.)!

There is a real parallel here to working out with a trainer. Right out of the gate you psychologically feel good, because you sense you are taking the right proactive action to improve how you look and feel.  You start to get consistent in your efforts, because that accountability partner makes you stick to a schedule and you see some early results. Those could be increased energy, stamina, dropping a couple of pounds OR just that false sense of immediate muscle mass increase that many feel, but isn’t truly there so early on.  Either way, things are good…

Then with both, you often hit a flat period. Results don’t pour in as fast and you start to question the value of the efforts.  With social media, this often leads to quick pivots that include cutting back on paid efforts, reducing or eliminating influencer outreach and/or missing scheduled meetings and punting social media while you focus on “more important initiatives” for the business. With training this can mean missing sessions, reducing efforts/reps/sets or even cheating with stress meals and focusing on other areas of your life, like work, family etc.  Truth is that in both cases, you need to figure out how to balance the social media/training with those other items if you really want to succeed.  It has to be in addition to, not in lieu of.

The main reason for churn at Sircle is when a client loses site of the marathon view and focuses solely on the sprint results. When numbers are flat, they often ignore any of their own contribution to that and will come at us aggressively looking for a silver bullet that will magically turn things around. We explain that they need to remain holistically committed to the cause and need to keep their head down and focused on the end goal. There is no ROI on any one tweet, but there is real fruit if you are patient and let the vines grow their grapes.

With training, it is very easy to blame them. You question why you aren’t seeing faster results, why things have plateaued and whether or not you should seek a new teacher. First off, the real long term results take awhile to see. Secondly, you might be sneaking doughnuts at night (which to me is the same as not spending Ad dollars on Facebook mind you) which will compromise results greatly.  Only the client/individual knows the real truth there.

When you leave a trainer, very much like when a brand leaves Sircle, there is typically a precipitous drop off across the board. Clients move on and we see their imagery, cadence and frequency take a big dip, as well as their engagement and growth efforts. It is so obvious, and just like with a trainer it reflects poorly on us, when they leave and “gain weight and get out of shape” so to speak. We literally have to either remove them from our website or tell new prospects the exact date we stopped working together, so they can see the difference between good (with us) and not so good (post us).

In the end of the day, your north star needs to be that you are fully aware that remaining committed to social media and personal training, is the right play long term. You wont survive professionally or personally if you dont figure out both. You need to then attack either with an unwavering commitment to it.  Most often, switching agency or trainer is not the right answer and working on listening more and developing that relationship more fully is.

I am actually amazed by how many of my former clients still come to me personally with questions, and still respect me and what we do so much, despite having moved on.  They usually know what they had and are fully aware about how things have turned since they left. My recommendation is to lean in, rather than leave with Sircle and the gym.  That is how we start to really see the results and reap the benefits together!

 

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On having confidence in the work you do…

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That was my senior yearbook quote and was something that was instilled in me by my amazing parents. You don’t have to be the best at everything, but you have to have the confidence in yourself that you can do anything.  It is very important to believe that each and every day.

I have found that true self confidence is the real differentiator between winners and losers in the workplace.  Whether it be my employees, or our counterparts and client accounts, the ones who believe in what they do and back it up with hard work win.

When employees lack confidence it shows in their work.  Therefore, I try very hard to be a good leader and to create an environment where it is clear that they have the skills to succeed and need to lean forward in their efforts.  I tell them that if I critique them it is not because I don’t believe in their ability.  On the contrary, it is because I genuinely believe they can do it, but are practicing bad habits or not concentrating and/or believing in themselves and that is keeping them from succeeding.

When clients lack confidence it shows in their commitment to the work we do.  If something bounces sideways, the confident clients brush it aside and see it is part of the journey.  The clients (or employees at the clients) who lack confidence, will freak out and have doubt as soon as there is any adversity and/or if things take longer than expected. Therefore, I try to create an environment with them where they feel they can be open and honest and express their concerns, so I can then address head on and assuage them.  If they don’t and remain 50/50 in their commitment to the effort, then they greatly compromise their ability to succeed.

Social media is a long game, especially if you want to do it right. Confidence in the cause is mission critical to it’s success.  Lack of confidence puts them at a great disadvantage and limits their ability to think outside of the box and bank wins.  It comes down to this:

Social media is essentially the internet and social networks are a major part of the ecosystem. If you believe in your product or service and you believe that online is a place to communicate with potential customers, then you need to be confident in both and convey that effectively and consistently in all that you do. Never waiver and remain committed to winning the game.  If you do that, you have won even before you have started.

 

 

 

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Win of The Week: Brand collaboration gold…

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Social media is all about leveraging content, engagement and growth tactics effectively. Brand collaborations are an excellent way to attack all three and are very easy to execute. They offer you access to new eyeballs, easy ways to “stage your product” and new conversations with potential would be customers along the way. We are all in!

Here at Sircle Media, we are big buyers of underpriced attention for our clients. Brands are all trying to figure out how to maximize their own social media efforts and are usually very interested in collaborating this way. We regularly seek out partners who have a nice aesthetic, are clearly open to working with other brands and who have a highly engaged audience.  As an agency, companies are even more interested in working with us, as we can be an entree to working with multiple brands and not just a one off transaction. We use this to our client’s advantage of course, to help land more relationships and control the conversation along the way.

Some brands make the mistake of only looking to others who have larger audiences than their own. In every collaboration there is always one who will be bigger and one smaller, and we think they all have value. We care more about the image, the target and the experience. If a brand has a smaller, but highly engaged audience of core customers we want to be in front of, then we are buyers for sure!

These have proven to be a surefire way to grow an Instagram following, to land nice looking content to round out your own feed and to create direct communication opportunities with customers. With content, you get to use the imagery (including secondary shots of the products side by side) in your messaging, which alleviates some of your organic content creation pressure.

When it comes to engagement and growth, we recommend some gaming to help stir the pot. Above, we had an Instagram contest, that required both a follow AND the tagging of friends to enter.  We received 451 likes, 300 new followers and 142 comments, each of which included the tagging of 2 IG users. Afterwards, we engage with those accounts and strike up conversations on a one-to-one level, that can help our client Modern Oats establish a dialogue that would not have existed before.

In the end of the day, these collaborations provide a very powerful punch and should be a core component to any social media strategy.

 

 

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On playing the content game the right way…

The Fhitting Room, knows how to play the content game the right way. It doesn’t hurt that their Founder is a marketing maven and super savvy Entrepreneur, but they also clearly understand how to leverage the tools at their disposal in today’s digital landscape.

They came to Sircle for some help with content creation and together we crafted some videos about their incredible staff. In the crowded personal fitness space, especially in NYC, it is hard to stand out from the clutter. Besides being a one of a kind, excellent workout, they realized that their people are the foundation of what makes them special and represent a real unique selling proposition in the market.

We created a video series that highlights the stories behind these amazing humans and we used that social content natively on Facebook to draw users in. In doing so we leveraged the platform’s love for video, to hack increased organic and paid reach for targeted visibility in Manhattan. The content strategy/journey only begins there…

Once the user clicks through to consume more, they land on a FHITPRO profile page that takes you into a much deeper conversation about the trainer. You learn about their back story, a 21 question series about their personality, their Spotify playlist (content a prospect or customer can enjoy from home or work) and then it even links to their schedule, so people can book a class and experience them for themselves.

This funnel directly leads to bookings and email captures for future marketing. It also leads to retargeting opportunities that can be custom tailored based on the trainer(s) that the visitor viewed while on the site. This way the business can use content and strategic marketing to covert them later on, if they don’t transact up front, which is highly likely.

For those who do book, they now have a more intimate relationship with that trainer when they arrive. As a direct result, the customers are becoming more transformational than transactional and more sticky to The Fhitting Room brand in the process. This is mission critical for any small business looking to flourish. #wellplayed

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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.

Michters- Customer Service

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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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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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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On real social media strategy, that solves client needs…

Our client IMDbPro, (an Amazon Company) was referred to Sircle Media because they were seeking a social strategy that was right for their unique business. They are really focused on new user acquisition for their paid service, which focuses on all types of professionals in and around the entertainment industry. Whereas their consumer facing brand IMDb, can rely on countless movie quotes, actor backstories and unlimited useful (and sometimes useless) movie facts and pieces of information to help them create and cultivate a community, the Pro version has more of an uphill battle.

Sircle explained they needed to do a better job with conveying the USP’s of the platform, many of which lived only behind their pay wall.  We suggested moving some of their powerful video testimonials to their homepage, so new prospects could get a taste of the benefits they could expect from a subscription to the service.

We also recommended featuring a free 30 day trial to reduce the risk for new users and help get them into the brand’s marketing CRM channel.  We then created and implemented the use of video (as seem above) to help them convey the ease of signing up and to earn them more visibility. This type of clean and simple video content, is effective at conveying a brand’s key marketing messages and is a surefire way to hack more impressions on social media.

This creative will be used for organic messaging, as well as on paid social efforts.  We will optimize for reach and then retarget users who viewed the video, with messages that will move them further down the funnel.  Social networks provide targeted pools of individuals that you can serve smart messages to, and video arms you with a powerful tool that earns more impressions than all other forms of content.

Our suggestion is that brands reverse engineer what they want to have happen, without over thinking how social platforms will help at the outset. First identify the barriers to conversions and then work to remove them. Next, capture your USP’s through video, to properly convey your marketing messages and accelerate the reach of that content. Finally, deploy on social media platforms and add gasoline to the fire with paid social efforts.

Wash, rinse, repeat!

 

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