On Instagram collaborations and giveaways…

Instagram-Growth

At Sircle, we run all kinds of Instagram collaborations and giveaways for clients every day it seems. We do so, because they are surefire ways to hack new exposure for a brand and typically come with very little cost, other than some hard work and logistics management. They carry a lot of upside with little downside in our opinion, as you try to harvest and grow an Instagram community.

Working in this way is a “religion over tactics” (@Garyvee) type thing, as it takes commitment and consistency to see the results. You need to remain dedicated to the initiative and must not just put your toe in the water and be half sold on the mission. You also cant jump in and out and/or sweat the details of any one engagement, if you want to see real success.

The floor in this equation, is that these gain you new eyeballs and an endorsement from the brand or influencer you collaborate with in front of their earned audience. As a ceiling, if the ask is compelling and your content is attractive, then you gain new followers and engagement on your own account. Either way, you are displaying your product front and center with a group of people, who have likely never even heard of your brand before. Isn’t that the whole point of marketing?

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Earlier this month we ran this giveaway/collaboration for our client Wala Swim.  We partnered up with another brand, @mydevcurl, that brought with them 257K followers and exposure to a new and more diverse audience (another KPI for the client). We also lassoed in an influencer, @mzbiancarenee, who has a solid and engaged following, for accelerated reach and exposure.

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The table above is from Iconosquare and displays follower growth over a week in early August. When we posted on August 2nd we saw a big pop in followers (+1753 net) and had another solid day on August 3rd (+509 net) too. Both were well north of their average organic (125) and contest driven (300) daily growth numbers. Most clients focus on net growth numbers as their proxy for success with these, and though we think they are important, I am even more happy with the impressions, likes and comments it earned. I also like the engagement opportunities is teed up for us to strike up a one-to-one conversation with those who engaged.

Either way, this one did particularly well given the creative, timing and partners that were selected. The truth is you never know which will really pop until you take it for a spin. If it is an evergreen component to your strategy, then you are at least putting yourself in a position to win.  If you aren’t in the game, there is zero chance for success like this – that I know for certain!

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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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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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Win of The Week: Leveraging influencers via smart “pay to play” tactics…

Sircle-Influencer Pay To Play

Influencer marketing represents an excellent opportunity to get a brand in front of new eyeballs and to leverage underpriced attention. It is important to have an open mind to the potential that these collaborations can bring and to think about it more strategically than just “paying someone to post something.”

In January we advised one of our clients to rethink their influencer engagement strategy altogether.  In 2016, they deployed a hardline approach when it came to “pay to play” engagements. They would not do them and would only gift products where they had much less control AND limited their potential target list, by immediately canceling out anyone who asked for a fee.

This year they were hellbent on driving more traffic and wanted us to “get more creative” with ideas to help do so. They suggested buying email lists, affiliate deals (where they would pay commissions for converted traffic sent from other domains) and even programmatic marketing, that is very expensive and unproven for their model. It was time to change their POV once and for all.

Rather than denying all paid scenarios from the jump, we recommended they take a different posture. Dropping the term “influencer” from the conversation, we said “if we told you that Jane Doe had taken time to harvest a community of followers, one that actually listens to and cares about what she has to say, and that they are mostly your exact target demo, would you consider paying her for an opportunity to speak with them for a few minutes?” Of course they would, and this is no different.

They begrudgingly agreed to give us $500 to test out our theory “and prove that this wasn’t a complete waste of time.” We went to a couple of influencers who we knew had a highly engaged audience, understood the need to “give value” to their partners (especially an Agency like Sircle Media, who can bring them multiple brands and not just one) and who would work with us from a marketing angle. We also negotiated the price down to $400 ($200 each) and kept the $100 spread to help us boost some of the great content on Facebook down the line.

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We asked that they both post on January 23rd and had them do it on Instagram with a #linkinbio CTA that encourages users to take action and click that link. As a result, revenue on 1/23/17 was $1837.55 on a $400 all in spend (4.5X1 ROAS).  In addition to that, it doubled their referred traffic (one of their main goals coming into the new year) and delivered new ammunition for our retargeting efforts, which have already proven to be our best revenue driving audience on Facebook. We then took that $100 (in negotiated savings) and applied it to those efforts to drive new revenue further down stream.

It is important to not draw a line in the sand when it comes to engaging influencers. Sure, some have more value than others and of course there are some who wont deliver the goods. This is true with any type of marketing of course and cannot be your reason for not participating. I always say “you cant stop dating just because you had a bad relationship in the past and/or just fear the outcome if it does go south. You need to continue to date, to find the right one for you.”

Influencers represent an excellent value play and need to be in your social media strategy conversation if you have a consumer product. Added bonus is that if they take great photos, they also contribute positively to the look and feel of your outgoing content strategy. Bottom line, it just pays to play!

 

 

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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 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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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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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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