POV on Instagram Stories – March 2018

On this episode, I talk about the compelling stats behind Instagram Stories.  Some compelling stats:

- 300 million active daily users

- Over 1/3 of Instagram users are viewing Stories daily

- Snapchat Story views have declined 15-40% since Instagram launched their Stories product

- Major Snapchat influencers are now posting 2x more on Instagram Stories than on Snapchat

- 1 in every 5 organic Stories earns a direct message (proving consumption is happening)

- Daily consumption of Instagram has skyrocketed since the launch of Stories (raising the tide for the whole platform)

If you aren’t taking Stories seriously, you need to recalibrate. This is a real platform in and of itself and should probably be the first focus when using Instagram and not in the second position. Experimenting with organic and paid Stories efforts will prove out the be far more beneficial than sweating the organic reach and like count on each Instagram post. That serves a purpose too, of course, but is less of a driver than before.

Invest in Stories more now and take advantage of the good times, before that starts to change for the worse and they less value. Don’t sit on the sidelines reading yesterday’s news. Grab your phone and start telling your brand’s story…

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On balancing the art and science on social media…

On this episode, we talk about balancing the art (brand) and science (sales) in your social media strategy. For a brand looking to win online, it is imperative that you have a balance of both. It doesn’t need to be 50/50 but it also cannot be 100% on either extreme.

Sometimes brands try to be too cool with their branding and messaging and they lose out on sales opportunities. You shouldn’t get too cute with your imagery and copy and risk losing out on transactions. If you have a brander or designer running point, you risk leaning too far this way.

Conversely, if you have a salesperson or E-commerce lead running point you will tend to lean too far in the ROAS/ROI direction and come across too sales-y. If you are only looking for the money, then consumers won’t feel a brand connection and your product or offering becomes less relevant and important. You need to have a brand and a POV to stand out and be sticky in the minds of your consumers.

Our recommendation is to constantly be looking to find a balance that works for you. Look at your feeds, review your strategies and tactics regularly and listen to your audience. You don’t want to feel like an art gallery or a telemarketer. You want to convey who you are and what you stand for, and then make it very easy for those who are listening to transact with you. Social networks make this very easy to do, but the tools only work if you know how to use them the right way.



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On KPIs and social media…

On this episode, we talk about social media and the KPI conversation. Our argument is that a brand or business needs to first determine what their goals are and then articulate that to their employees and/or vendor partners. They shouldn’t get lost in the weeds on terms like CPM’s and Ad Recall Uplift, they should just define what they want/need to happen and then allow their team to create a gameplan against that.

Let me explain this a bit further. “I want to grow my Instagram followers by 5K” sounds like a KPI but I would push back on that and ask – why, what does that give them specifically? This is a tactic and not a goal. Worth noting:
Goals are at the top and are the macro drivers: 
i.e. Reach 1 million vegan moms
Strategies are one step down and are different tributaries to that goal:
i.e. Facebook Ads, influencer partnerships etc.
Tactics are the small ball, micro executions within strategies:
i.e. Dark posts, influencer giveaways etc.

So growing your IG follower count is a tactic, under the strategy of leveraging the IG Platform and that strategy should feed into a bigger goal. So if that goal is to reach 1 million vegan moms, then we would argue that in today’s IG landscape, harvesting your own follower count is not the best tactic to accomplish that. You are better served by leveraging more paid Instagram work, more integrated collaborations with influencers and even brand collaborations that put you front and center with an audience already established by another like-minded brand.

We are all about KPI’s and ROI, as a way to measure success via social media, but I flip the script and put it on the client to think it thru first. Define the goals, discuss and debate strategies and then let your team execute on different tactics. Tactics will vary and come and go, and strategies will change and modify along the way too, though less frequently.  Goals should remain pretty consistent and be revisited every 6 months.

Don’t make your social media vendor (or any vendor for that matter) or your internal social media team report back on random statistics that add no value.  Tell them where your destination is and let them lead the way to get there. The trip won’t always be straight or perfect, but if all turns are made with the destination always in mind, then you are more likely to get where you were going at the outset.




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On why PR Firms suck at social media management…

In this episode, we talk about why PR Firms are just not good at managing social media. PR is a very controlled messaging medium whereas social media is all about uncontrolled conversation. They want to say as much as they can, in as few words as possible and not get a verbal or written response and with social media, you want the opposite. You seek out the dialogue and then you must close it out with solid community management, which can be laborious and time-consuming. Also, in order to win these days, you need to be awesome at paid social, and both are just not PR’s game.

Disclaimer: Many PR Firms are awesome and can be game changers for brands. We have worked with plenty and can refer them at any time. Conversely, we stink at PR and although I could easily get clients to pay me for it, I stay far away. It is just not our game.

Both PR and social media are mission critical for brands looking to scale fast and gain exposure for their products. I just don’t think you can find one partner for both.  #my2cents

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Instagram POV – further explained…

In this episode, we go a bit deeper into our current POV on Instagram. We have recently shared our take on what matters on Instagram, as well as why we love Instagram Ads so much right now.  Here we frame how to rethink your strategy for the platform and be able to better explain the right approach to retailers, investors and/or even yourself.

Instagram (just like Facebook before it) has given away a lot for free to build their brand and user base.  Now they are saying to brands that if they want to reach people and leverage the platform, they will need to pay. This is a good thing and if done right, it actually provides much more value than your follower count OR how many likes your last photo received ever did.

Hope this helps shape the conversation a bit more…

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On the importance of a website, even without E-commerce…

On this episode, we talk about the importance of a website even if E-commerce is not your main focus. Some brands punt the website experience or seriously under-invest in it if they aren’t selling product there. This is a mistake and it compromises your social media efforts and limits your ability for exposure and conversions on Amazon and/or at retail partners.

You need to invest more time and effort into your web experience and create some deeper connections with customers and prospects. You can set up retargeting, couponing and/or email captures all of which have value regardless of where you transact. You can also set up your future E-commerce aspirations by spending time harvesting interest and engagement on your non-sales oriented website now.

Don’t sleep on it!


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On video content usage…

On this episode, I talk about my current POV on video content creation and usage. Yes, we are big believers in creating video content and being committed to video, but sometimes it makes sense to leverage the good stuff rather than just churning out tons and tons more to fill some quota.

Brands get jazzed up about video (rightfully so) and they just throw it at all problems to try and fix them.  A quality video takes a little more time to create and when you find an asset that works, you should invest more in pushing it with paid efforts,  as you will get a lot of consumption at very low prices. You should also look to glean more value from it by using it on social, email, medium, blogs and your website.

Double and triple down on the winners!




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On what matters on Instagram right now…

On this episode, I talk about what metrics really matter on Instagram in January 2018. Followers and even engagements and/or engagement rates with those followers are rapidly becoming less important as the platform moves towards a “pay to play” ecosystem. Nowadays, and even more so going forward, it will be more about how well you deploy smart paid social tactics, than how many user accounts follow you or how many likes your last picture received.

Key Takeaways:
It is still important to story tell on this visual platform and to continue to publish branded content that conveys key brand messaging. If you want that key messaging to be seen AND to be seen by the right eyeballs, then you should boost that content at a very specific audience and guarantee delivery.

If retailers, partners or even your boss ask about why you don’t have more followers (or likes on your posts), tell them you don’t play in that game, as the platform has shifted away from it. Instead, show them real data that supports where you have deployed paid marketing dollars and how that has delivered targeted reach and attention for your messages. If those messages benefit them, they will be all ears.

Instagram stories are where attention is most being paid and an area where you can still stand out from the clutter and deliver key messages proactively. Commit to posting more consistently and look at the data to tell you what is resonating and where you might want to pivot and deploy different tactics.

Instagram is still “THE PLATFORM” of the moment, but the way you use it has definitely changed.  Change with it and reap the benefits.

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On under-investing in social media…

I am continuously baffled by brands under-investing in social media. While many say they want exposure, engagement, and access to targeted consumers, most don’t want to invest the time or energy into their social efforts. What is the alternative?

First off, you must market your business in order to tell your story and even put yourself in play for consumers to make a buying decision. So where else are you doing that? Print? Out of Home? Word of Mouth? Demos? All of those are less measurable and harder to scale than leveraging social networks. Are they not?

I think brands get lost in the unknown aspect of it all, and they fear that since they don’t understand it they won’t be any good at it. As a result, many stand on the sidelines watching other brands succeed. No expert was labeled that way on day one. It takes time and effort to develop expertise. Just like developing a good product or service takes careful thought, planning, trial, and refinement, so too does your social media efforts.

Also, brands take a long time to come around to action and by the time they do the ball has moved. Newer brands to social media are looking at fans and followers and the metric for success, yet those are 2016 KPIs. These days it is about paid social prowess, influencer tactical warfare, and true content marketing. So some put their toe in and when they get it wrong they recoil and almost take an “I told you so” posture. This is the wrong move, because not only do you need to stay the course, but you need to be all in and on all fronts.

With anything good in life, what you get out of it depends on what you put in. You must invest the time and resources now if you want to succeed and just like working out, you must not get discouraged if you don’t see results after your first session. You must believe in the religion over the tactics (shoutout @garyvee) and play the long game. It is a matter of survival…

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