Category Archives: Facebook

Real Numbers on Facebook Ads

My thanks to Forbes.com, for summarizing Facebook ad numbers. Forbes was reporting COO Sheryl Sandberg’s latest conference call with stock analysts. She quoted these numbers from a detailed study. 

Facebook ad numbers Sheryl Sandberg

  • media plans that included Facebook reached people who would not have seen the campaigns otherwise.  In fact, 45% of those reached were reached exclusively through Facebook.  
  • Facebook had a 68% lower cost per acquisition and drove 24% more new sales than other online channels. Facebook built a deep relationship with PepsiCo, working with its Lay’s brand to drive sales significantly ahead of plan and a 5x return on advertising spend for their ‘Do Us A Flavor’ campaign on Facebook. 
  • 65% of Facebook’s advertisers are now using ads in news feed, which run on both desktop and mobile, up from 50% at the end of the third quarter.  
  • Measurement work with Datalogix has shown that ads in news feed also drive more than 8x the incremental offline sales than ads on the right hand side.

Not surprising, but still … for people still wondering about business on Facebook. 

The Storytelling at the Heart of Future Marketing

My thanks to Social Media Today for embedding this video on their post titled 4 ways to prepare a Facebook content plan. That’s a good post, too. Especially this, prepared by Coca Cola, on what they call “passionate storytelling.” regarding future marketing. This is golden.

And what about a company of the size and scope of Coca Cola, one of the grand old brands that made traditional advertising great, a warlord of major media, sharing the intellectual highlights of its new-world thinking?

I’m impressed.

Can Research Make You Dumber?

Can research make you dumber? It can if you believe it. 

I just read Can Facebook Make You Fat and Poor? on Mashable. It’s a post by David Mielach, of BusinessNewsDaily. 

In particular, the researchers found that social media users were more likely to binge eat and have a higher body-mass index. Frequent Facebook users also were more likely to have certain financial problems, including a lower credit score and higher levels of debt.

But wait. It says the research was based on the responses of 541 Facebook users in the United States. So what does that really mean? What does this research really mean? And to be fair, I haven’t gone into the actual research. I’m just commenting on the coverage. Maybe they did everything right and avoided the problems I see. And maybe not. 

First, who’s in the sample? Is it Facebook users, really, or Facebook users who answer surveys? Those are different sets of people. Is it balanced for age, demographic, technology, geography?

Maybe people who answer surveys have less self control, which is part of the reason they answer surveys. And maybe people who answer surveys have less money, caused perhaps by the behavior that finds time to answer surveys. Maybe they are just younger, on average, and that causes the money difference.

Research depends on the sample. So that’s a good reason to be skeptical.

So maybe what it really shows isn’t about Facebook users but rather about people who answer surveys. Maybe they — survey answerers have less self control so they couldn’t resist taking the survey really know is that people who answer surveys on Facebook have less self control — that’s why they took their time to answer the survey. And maybe people who answer surveys have less money — because they waste their time answering surveys. 

And there is that whole issue of causation and correlation: Could we just as easily say living in a large house makes you rich, or attending college makes you young? That’s as logical as saying Facebook users have less self control and less money. Right? 

Here’s a direct quote from the research: 

These results are concerning given the increased time people spend using social networks, as well as the worldwide proliferation of access to social networks anywhere, anytime via smartphones and other gadgets. Given that self-control is important for maintaining social order and personal well-being, this subtle effect could have widespread impact.

So now it’s widespread impact. The emphasis above is mine. Wow: Is this looking for a news lead, or rather reaching out, stretching to the ultimate, to look for a news lead? Or what? 

I’m not saying that information is bad. Misinformation is. 

I’m not saying that research is bad. Believing it is. Question the research, question the assumptions, look through it, and then take what’s valuable in it. Never just believe it. 

Social Media Back Scratching Explosion

(Sung to the tune of Reciprocity, from Chicago)

I think it’s brilliant: there, in a nutshell, LinkedIn points out one of the key drivers of social media: reciprocity. Here’s the picture:

With this new skills-based endorsement feature the reciprocity is obvious. Every LinkedIn user has a set of skills claimed. Every other user can endorse those skills. So it’s “you scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours,” built in. Do I want to endorse people who endorse me? Yes, of course I do. Who has the most endorsements? The person who has given the most endorsements to other people.

There’s nothing new about the principle involved. It started with Facebook likes, evolved into twitter retweets. Like me, I’ll like you back. Retweet me, and I’ll retweet you back. The new LinkedIn feature looks to me like they saw how well the Klout topics-based +K feature was working, and made theirs even easier than Klout.

This should have been obvious all along, but I like the reminder, with what LinkedIn just did.

7 Social Media Tips for Small Business Owners

Stephanie Miles has seven good tips on social media for small business owners, posted over at Street Fight, as 7 Social Media Strategies for Small Business Owners. Who cares that they’re more tips than strategies? Not me. As long as they’re useful. Here’s a summarized version of her list (although comments are mine):

  1. Start measuring immediately. Stephanie talks about knowing which posts are working and which aren’t, and I think of also tweets and retweets, everything you can. You want to think about results. She says ”By choosing some metrics that are important and keeping track of those measurements early on, businesses can generate benchmarks that they can look back at to see how they’re faring over time.” I add a note of caution: participation in social media is not an activity that lends itself to instant measurement. What’s the return on investment of time and effort on participating in a community, sharing expertise and content, and, gradually, getting people to know, like, and trust you? That comes over time.
  2. Timing is everything. Some times of day are better than others. For example, restaurants may benefit from tweeting specials during lunchtime. She says “The best days to send messages are on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, since Monday is a catch-up day and Friday is too close to the weekend.”
  3. Use the right platforms. Stephanie says as examples that “photos are great on Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram, but they don’t have the same impact when posted on Twitter. Business owners should experiment to learn which types of content work best on which platforms, and then do more of whatever produces the greatest results.”
  4. Treat social media as a two-way street. This is so important. It’s not just shouting ad slogans, but engaging in something like conversation.
  5. Offer exclusive deals and discounts. Really? Stephanie says people follow brands to get special deals and offers. I say that may be true for some discount retail and cheap food stops, maybe; but for a lot of businesses the goal is presence of mind and developing a persona identified with the right kind of content and caring.  Special deals and offers get old, and they turn people off. In my opinion.
  6. Get smart about check-in sites. I guess this depends on your type of business. For traditional retail, perhaps, but not for every business. Stephanie writes: “Check-in sites like Foursquare provide an excellent opportunity for cross promotion. Businesses can tweet at customers checking-in to thank them for visiting, and then ask those customers to leave their feedback on sites like Google Places and Yelp. Foursquare is also a great place for customer acquisition, since businesses can actively reach out to people checking-in at competing establishments with special offers or deals meant to bring those people in.”
  7. Integrate social media into other business systems. It’s about business and business goals, not just about being popular. Stephanie suggests:  ’By integrating social channels with existing systems like Google Analytics and Omniture, and using a social media management system, companies can connect the dots and see the role social media is playing in their overall marketing efforts. Business owners should track the traffic that social media networks are driving to their websites and find out whether social media is converting certain activities into pre-defined goals, like sales or customer acquisition.”

So this is a goods list, despite my doubts about tips numbers 5 and 6.

5 Social Media Marketing Myths Debunked

Excellent! Read Evanne Schmarder’s 5 Social Media Marketing Myths: Busted on the Huffington Post yesterday:

Myth 1: Social media marketing is free.

Yes and no. It’s true that you can sign up and create a profile on popular platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Tumblr, and Pinterest for free. However, a monetary value must be placed on the time spent to develop the platform and the creation and implementation of an online social media strategy.

The truth is that time is money, and engagement takes time. Your persona needs to be developed and nurtured and constantly tuned and pruned. 

Myth 2: I’ll get a neighborhood teenager to handle my social networking, they know the ‘net.

Your social media communications plan must be as carefully crafted as any of your other marketing efforts. Not only should you not cede responsibility of your social media messaging to some young hipster that goes to school with your kid, you should tightly monitor all social media messages that come from your business or your brand.

Kids are great for coding and setup and such. But your online business persona is you and your business combined. You need somebody with judgment and experience if you aren’t going to do it yourself. 

Myth 3: If I get involved in social media marketing the ‘haters’ will hijack my marketing message.

Guess what, whether you are using social media or not, people are talking about their experience with your business. Creating a social media presence allows you to monitor what’s being said and offers you the opportunity to publically respond to less than favorable comments, winning the customer (and others that may have been swayed by the negative post) back.

The problem is not being there engaged in the conversation doesn’t mean they aren’t talking about you. It does mean that you don’t know it. Evanne cites the 2011 Harris Interactive/Right Now Customer Experience Impact Report to say that what matters is how you handle complaints more than the fact that people are complaining. 

Of the dissatisfied customers that post a complaint and receive a response, the study showed that 46 percent were pleased and 22 percent went on to post a positive comment about the business.

Myth 4: I built a Facebook page therefore I’m a social media marketer.

My response is a sarcastic “yeah, right.” And a blog post titled Social Media is Littered with Business Carcasses. Evanne says: 

Social media marketing — on Facebook and elsewhere — is not a ‘set it and forget it’ tool. It takes commitment, tenacity, time, and strategy to identify the best platforms for your business, consistently engage your target market, and develop business-driving relationships.

Myth 5: Using ‘friend-farms’ to buy ‘likes’ and ‘followers’ will build my business.

Fat chance. Evanne says:

It’s the same as sending a promotional email to an unqualified list. It’s dead on arrival, no matter how many addresses you send it to. You’d be much better served building your following by sharing relevant content, interesting news, and an occasional marketing message.

Social media is a powerful tool, fun, and worth the effort. But it’s also a great generator of myth. 

5 Steps for Dealing with Social Media Malice

Let’s say you’re involved in social media for your business and you’re the victim of a social-media attack. Somebody you don’t really know singles War Gamesyou out because he’s mad at your company, or had a bad day, or whatever; and launches an attack out of the blue, mentions you and the company you work for, and claims you treated him badly. Ouch.

So you’re just doing your job, doing your best, dealing with a lot of people at once, and suddenly somebody targets you. They are messing with your business reputation. It happens a lot. People whose job involves dealing with a lot of people do become the target of personal anger that’s really directed at the company, the situation, or life itself (sometimes it’s one of those bad day things, a last straw situation) and it ends up feeling really rotten, like having an enemy for no good reason.

So let’s say that has happened. You’ve been blindsided by one of these attacks. What do you do now?

1. Stop, breathe, think.

Remind yourself that the meanness usually shows. Assume you’re dealing with an idiot. At least the smart people who encounter one of these attacks will see through it. They’ll click links to see where it started. They’ll see the malice if they look.

2.  Don’t take it personally.

I know this is hard. We talk about thick skin, but jeesh! People can be really mean sometimes. Why do they take their anger out on you? Remember that if part of your job is dealing with a lot of people, then these things come with the territory. You have to have thick skin about it because if it spoils your day then that’s bad for your health on the long term and it makes you unhappy. The idiot had the power to make you stop and think about a response. That’s all. Don’t give him the power to ruin your day, or even your hour. He ruined your moment. That’s all.

3. Decide whether or not to respond.

Sometimes the most eloquent response is silence. Be careful, though, because more often than not, silence gives the wrong impression. And it might even be bad for your health too.

Remind yourself that you can’t argue in social media. Like it or not, what you put in Twitter or Facebook is publishing, and it lives forever. Angry words are not biodegradable.  Like in the movie War Games, the only winning move is not to play (by the way, you can click the picture up above for the Youtube video, or just scroll down).

4.  Settle your anger and hurt first, then respond professionally.

If you should respond, take your time, be careful, clear your head first, and give a single response you can live with forever. Don’t argue, apologize. If an apology makes sense – don’t take it personally, this is business, you didn’t mean to offend, you didn’t realize, it was accidental, part of your job – make it a clear, clean apology that covers the whole issue. Make it one you can live with, without further comment, forever. Make it a response that shows the world that this was one-sided only.

Don’t get mad, get even. Expose the idiot by staying professional and not engaging.

5. Then forget about it. Let it go. Get on with your day.

If you like this job, and you like dealing with people, then of course this hurt your feelings, but you have to get over it or it continues to hurt your feelings. The idiot spoiled your moment, and that’s his fault; but if you brood over it or stay angry or hurt, then that’s your fault. Because what happens now is in your control. You can minimize the damage, or not.

And for extra credit…

Even though it’s been more than a year now since I wrote my 18-point Twitter Etiquette Primer, I believe all of it as much or more now. I did have “don’t argue with people in Twitter,” but I didn’t have “don’t use Twitter as a weapon, a threat for blackmail, or for venting.”

Have you seen that bumper sticker that says “mean people suck?” What do you think of people who blindside other people by broadcasting personal complaints on social media? Pie in the face might be funny when the Three Stooges do it in black and white film, but mud in the face in social media isn’t. It’s meanness multiplied by social media influence.

Now here’s that video: