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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Be content, with content marketing funnels.

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If you aren’t all in on leveraging Facebook’s Advertising platform, you are missing out.  Paid Facebook efforts are the most powerful tool in your arsenal these days and you need to be leveraging them on the daily. We have pointed that out here on this blog many times before, and we continue to deploy for our clients on a consistent basis.

The royal flush is to have a content plan, that you then put money behind to help convert users down a marketing funnel. In the picture above you can see that strategy in full effect. Our awesome client Lurong Living, has been a believer in the power of social media for many years now and has been with Sircle for 3+.

They are looking to sell products and subscriptions online, and they want to target a very specific audience and even subsets of audiences with their messages. Facebook has proven to be the real winner (not surprisingly) to do so, and we are constantly driving results through our efforts.

With this one post, we created a very simple recipe (piece of content) that lives on their domain. We then targeted a specific audience with $10 via a boosted post and optimized it for engagement. Typically that would translate to very little reach, as Facebook is objective based and is promoting this to users based on their likelihood to interact with it. The 10,000+ people who saw this piece of content were therefore an ancillary benefit of this initiative. Of greater importance (at least in this instance) were the 685 clicks and 558 link clicks bringing traffic back to the website.

This not only led to direct sales opportunities, but it was a very easy way to build up an audience for our retargeting campaign. Now we know what type of content they consumed and can target them with a very specific Ad that we know they are likely to be interested in.

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This is just a small snapshot of the results of leveraging that funnel mentality. Those conversions produced 4X the spend up front and since the product purchased was a monthly subscription, the lifetime value goes way beyond that.

Yup- It pays to play!

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Win of The Week- Facebook Advertising Small Ball

Sircle- WIN of the Week

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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Why employee turnover can be a very good thing.

 

Courtesy: Recruiter.com

Courtesy: Recruiter.com

I invest a lot in my employees at Sircle Media. They cost me money, time, focus and attention, each and every day. I’m not complaining mind you- they work hard for me and I am happy to give it all to them in return.  As a result, it has led me to hold onto employees for too long sometimes. I knew in my gut that they are not right, but I just don’t want to lose out on the investment I made and I feel like somehow I failed and/or failed them, because I couldn’t make it work. Truth is, that it is always for the best if they move on.

If you both genuinely try hard and listen to one another’s needs and concerns and it still doesn’t work out, then the best move is to make a change. Despite the frustration and opportunity cost spent on replacing them, it has always been a great move for my business. I can say with confidence, that the best employees on my staff, came as a result of one of these transitions.

I love anyone who has worked for me, even if only for a short period. I realize they could work anywhere and I appreciate every minute they gave me and my company.  I will work hard to help set them up after they leave here with advice, letters of recommendation and even go so far as to set them up with interviews. They helped me and I choose to return the favor.

I also have found, that if the foundation of the departing employee is strong, then the exit can be a smooth and positive one. They are relieved that you are not harsh with them and they want to do everything they can to set you up to win when they leave. It also shows your remaining staff that you do back up what you say and that you are professional and courteous to your team, even at a dark time. This makes it clear that any (even that super stressful and uncomfortable) conversation is OK to have with you. This makes for improved and open communication amongst those who stay, which is a very good thing.

The only negative thing that happens (almost every single time) is that when you look under the hood of an unhappy or bad fit employee’s work, it is a mess. Their work product is just not up to snuff (most likely because they have been distracted and/or conflicted about their role) and their output suffered.  So once again, the faster you address that the better off your company will be.  In a service business like mine, you need to address this quickly, because even one day of lackluster work can be very detrimental to client relationships.  They would prefer change, over anything less than 100% effort and results.

So my advice? Audit your employees regularly. Understand their vision (both short and long term) and make sure your company infrastructure is in line with where they want to be. If you are out of sync, it likely wont work for long.  Reverse engineer what would make them happy and working at their best, and then create an environment that allows you to win together. Then you have something that is built to last!

 

 

 

 

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Video Content: Take Your Shot

Video content has really become a must have for any brand that is serious about leveraging social media for their business. It is very important to create content that stands out from the clutter and if you want to accelerate reach and visibility on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, then you need to get serious about moving beyond still photos and graphics in your content mix.

This video above was created for our client Michter’s Whiskey, one of our favorite clients for obvious reasons.  They have unbelievable, award winning products and a very loyal following on social media.  Since they are in the spirits business, e-commerce is not an option or part of their digital focus. For them, it is all about reach and storytelling to help them be relevant in a very crowded vertical.

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A key metric for success in our engagement, is our ability to earn them consumption (pun intended) of their content marketing. We aim to create simple, yet compelling assets and then get them the biggest bang for their buck when it comes to visibility. They do very well both organically and via paid media on Facebook, because it is a well known and widely appreciated international liquor brand. That being said, they want to really stretch beyond their fan base and get in front of new eyeballs whenever they can.

Here we deployed some paid efforts ($10) to help accelerate the reach and impressions on this particular creative. We targeted users who have an interest in whiskey, bourbon and rye and earned some excellent results. Nearly 15,000 people were reached and 2892 people viewed the video within 24 hours. For reference, their photos generally earn about half of that reach number with the same type of targeting and budget allocation.

Both are important and necessary, but the videos generally add a little more gasoline to the fire…Get involved!

 

 

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Content, Engagement + Growth = Social Media Success

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At Sircle Media we believe that social media efforts need to be equally distributed between content, engagement and growth tactics. It is our religion and we work diligently on this approach for our clients on a daily basis.

The collage above is an excellent example of how the three all work together and result in a smart and well rounded social strategy. On a recent call regarding content direction with our client Modern Oats, they really wanted us to focus on helping better craft their content message, as a product for the explorer/traveler/adventurer set.

We decided we would do a deep dive on Instagram to look for some content inspiration and source some influencers who we felt embodied this lifestyle and who had a sizable following from that demo.  We followed a couple of users who we felt had the right vibe and engaged with some of their content to get on their radar.  As a result of this engagement tactic, we found @_hoodoffair_ and reached out to him to start up a dialogue.

We asked if he would like to try our product and he said that he would love for us to send him some. This was done with no promise of anything other than him sampling it and providing feedback. For a photographer on the go, especially one shooting content outdoors, this product makes a lot of sense. We sent some out for him to try (and he loved it) and as a result we landed not just one, but three (one, two, three) free content posts on his account.

In the end, a content strategy call, led us to first deploy some down and dirty engagement tactics. The posts earned 8987 LIKE’s, thousands of impressions and 150+ new followers, all nice growth metrics. To take it full sircle, we also landed three beautiful images that we could then repurpose into our feed, rounding out our content efforts.

We call it: The Sircle of (social media) Life. ;)

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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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Chirp-Chirp: Are You Listening on Twitter?

13501786_1156139544448026_1069453187647699541_nWe are big buyers of Twitter these days and that is because it is the best place to go fishing for opportunities with people who might not already be following or engaging with your brand. By rolling up your sleeves and putting in the work, you can unlock real revenue driving engagements like the one above.

Here we curated the hashtag #caffeine in a Hootsuite stream which we regularly monitor for potential engagements with users on the platform. This person wrote a pretty straightforward and innocuous Tweet about needing “copious amounts of coffee” to presumably power her through her Tuesday.  Because we are on the ball and watching these things closely for our client Avitae, we replied swiftly and put their brand in front of her as a healthier alternative for her caffeine consumption. She replied almost immediately, and kept the dialogue going.

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We then took the client to a DM (Direct Message) and inquired about her zipcode and once she replied, we teed up various places where she could go purchase the product in her area.  This particular client doesn’t promote E-commerce (at least not yet) and instead relies heavily on social media to help support their wholesale business and to help facilitate foot traffic and improve velocity reports to keep them on retailer’s shelves. This was a really solid win in that regard, and now their sales team can use the evidence of this type of “ground support” from their social team, to help sell the brand into other retail locations too.

Good strategy + the use of the right social media tools + good old hard work and hustle = social media success!

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