GREATS: Another brand that is, dare I say it….GREAT at digital!

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On this episode, we break down the brand GREATS, another brand doing everything right from a digital POV.  These days there are so many websites and countless brands, trying to sell to you online. It is hard to differentiate, but some dare to be great (sorry, had to) and stick the landing with next level E-commerce skills.  GREATS is one of those brands.

From the first time seeing their content, all the way thru to the first time you slip their products on your feet, it is an epic experience.  These guys really understand how to balance branding and sales. They create great content, are great at community management and engagement and are great at getting a user down their sales funnel and converting them from prospect to customer.  Their name is super fitting.

 

 

 

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Outerknown: A brand doing digital right!

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On this episode, I throw some props to Outerknown, a brand that I think is doing everything right when it comes to digital. From prospecting thru Instagram (which offers amazing targeting at very low CPMs) to retargeting me with Facebook Ads, they effectively got me into their funnel. They then had a social following (based on brand and awareness) that gave me a social queue that they might be a brand worth exploring further, based on social interest within the Facebook Graph.

On their website, they offered a first-time buyer discount to incentivize me to purchase and I pulled the trigger and purchased shorts from them that came in record speed mind you. I wanted to return two pairs for credit and their outsourced Zendesk customer service solution was excellent and resolved it for me right away.

When I went back to buy some new pairs, I didn’t want to pay full retail so I put some items in my cart and bet that this smart brand would have an abandoned cart campaign in motion in short order.  Of course, they did and when they teed up a 20% cart completion offer I pounced!

On top of all of this their branding and messaging from the packaging, to their emails is sharp and memorable. A cherry on top is that they have a sustainable mission and are the type of brand I want to invest my money and attention with. #wellplayed

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On using Twitter Search to your advantage…

On this episode, I talk about using Search.Twitter.com to your advantage more for business. I think brands have given up on Twitter and/or have really demoted it in favor of Instagram (proper and Stories) and Facebook. That is fine, but it most certainly should not be abandoned.

Whether you use it personally or not is irrelevant, what matters is that a ton of people do use it religiously and are often using it to seek information and recommendations about a range of topics. The search feature is incredibly powerful because within seconds you can take a peek at what conversations are happening and chime right in.

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A simple search for “Vegan Protein Powder” will give you a breakdown of all people who are talking about that topic on Twitter. Not only can you find other brands to collaborate with, competitor brands to monitor and influencers to engage as secondary benefits, but more importantly you will find customers looking for advice.

For a brand looking to sell a product online and to introduce something new to a niche market this is everything.  As you can see below, these are three inquiries for recommendations on this exact topic in the past week.

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For me, this is gold. I can easily see who is talking about the itch that my product can scratch and I can chime into the conversation from the comfort of my own home?  Sign me up…

 

 

 

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Facebook Advertising hacks, for April 2018…

On this episode, I talk about Facebook Advertising in April 2018. With all the news and concerns about Facebook as a platform right now, we are seeing some excellent pricing on Ads and really solid metrics across the board.  Our suggestion is to lean in when others seem to be leaning away and reap the benefits.

I break down two types of Ads that are really performing very well right now. One is a Video Views campaign, which is fairly straightforward. Create some simple, but catchy videos and then run them on Facebook with the intent of targeted reach and consumption of that video as the engagement metric. The second is re-targeting users based on having engaged with your Instagram Account. This is no longer new, but I have found it is underutilized by any brand I work or speak with. Some tips:

Head over to the Facebook Ad Manager and go to the ‘Audiences’ tab. Once you’re on the Audiences screen, you’ll need to click the blue ‘Create Audience’ button and select ‘Custom Audience’.

Select ‘Engagement’ from the list of Custom Audience types.

Instagram engagement ads

You can choose to either create your new Custom Audience based on people who have engaged with your Instagram business profile, OR who have watched one of your videos on Instagram!

Instagram business account engagement or video engagement

Choose the ‘Instagram Business Profile’ option to create a re-targeting audience based on people who’ve interacted with your Instagram account. Facebook gives us a range of options to choose from when it comes to targeting our Instagram audience.

You have the choice of creating an audience of Instagram users including:

  • Everyone who engaged with your Instagram profile (this includes visiting your profile OR engaging with your content or ads)
  • Only people who visited your Instagram profile
  • Only people who engaged with your content or ads
  • People who sent a message to your business profile
  • People who saved any of your posts or ads

I suggest you allocate some funds and experiment with all of these to see what works best. If you have spent time developing your Instagram profile and that is where you are seeing the most engagement and awareness, then this is a way to really leverage it across platforms and see additional benefits.  Get involved!

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On communication between clients and agencies…

On this episode, I talk about how clients and agencies should treat the courting process more like interviews to really get a better sense of what it will be like working together.  Of course, the skills and knowledge should be assessed, but the attitude, tone, and communication approach are of equal importance.

Clients should really try to smoke out how agencies roll in those areas and conversely, I think it is so important for the agency to get a sense of what the client is like and how they want to be communicated with. I try to do a real level setting up front, as well as ongoing temperature check-ins to see how we are faring throughout the relationship. I can say very confidently that the clients who openly communicate and are transparent with their thoughts and feelings about our approach and service all outperform those who do not.

We are experts in navigating social platforms, managing paid social ads, working with influencers and effectively running social media for brands, but we are not expert mind readers.  Just as open and honest communication internally between employers and employees is the key to success, so too is the need to follow suit with your agency relationships.

Tips:

1- Be straightforward and never passive aggressive. 

2- Be brutally honest and always fair. 

3- Don’t allow frustration to mount and allow a molehill to become a mountain.

4- Don’t assume the agency knows exactly what makes you tick, guide them.

5- Allow the relationship to evolve and do level setting reviews from time to time to point the compass for all parties involved.

Invest the time and improve your client-agency relationships, because if you do that you put your brand in a better position to win.

 

 

 

 

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On trusting your “trainer” when it comes to social media…

I wrote a blog post last year about sometimes feeling like a personal trainer when doing my job as the owner of a Social Media Strategy. The post actually received some positive feedback and I wanted to get into the topic again. On this episode, I took it a bit deeper and added my thoughts via voice which is a more popular format it seems these days. However you choose to consume it, I think it is a simple yet important one to hear.

If you are hiring a trainer for something as serious as your health OR an expert for something as serious as your business’ marketing success, it is imperative to choose a good one and then let them do what they do. Dont second guess or undermine along the way, especially in areas you might not be super well versed in.  Remove the hedge, follow blindly and see what comes from it.

I know for certain it will lead to better results with Sircle Media…

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On contradictions and how they can ruin your social media strategy…

On this episode, I talk about how contradictions will kill your social media efforts.  It is mission critical to figure out what you want to have happen and then hire someone (internal employee or agency partner) that you feel knows what they are doing to implement. Then it is wise to get out of their way and let them do what they do. Stating KPIs or needs and then putting roadblocks or hurdles in place that make those harder to hit is just not good business.

We encourage brands to really think about the creative direction they want to go in, the engagement style they feel good about and the growth KPIs and metrics for success they feel are right and then clearly articulate them up front. Then they should turn the wheel over to their trusted partner and let them do what they do.

Why hedge? Go all in and reap the benefits…

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Fault vs. Responsibility – in a service business.

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At Sircle Media, we are a service-based business working within the social media industry. I tell my team that we all have a responsibility to ourselves, to our company and to our clients to take ownership of any situation and deliver hard work and great service at all times. It doesn’t mean the customer is always right and in fact, they are often wrong in their approach and treatment of situations with us.

The reality is that most people struggle with managing their own work, let alone people under them or agencies that are serving them. Most people don’t respect authority and don’t know how to be their best selves or to deploy empathy and understand the other side of the conversation. If you want to be “a boss” when it comes to customer service, then you need to dare to be different.

I encourage my team to lean into the issues and never shy away from them.  To be vocal and confident and not cower and acquiesce just to play nicely. We work hard to make sure our clients are happy, but at times the path to happiness might be bumpy and unpaved. Some clients don’t want to be told what to do or that they need to improve on their end and as a result, they have a high churn rate with agencies. They won’t change and so the vendor is the one to go automatically. They place fault on the outsider rather than taking responsibility to fix it.

It is on us then to dig deeper, be even more solid in our work product and communication and to win through taking responsibility and owning our own actions.  When we do that, we are on the right side of history with each relationship and we will win much more than we lose. Those are just the facts.

I love this little rant about fault vs responsibility from Will Smith. I think it applies to our work with clients and is a great guide for life in general. Things happen to you personally and professionally all the time. The question is, how will you respond and fix the situation?

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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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