Category: From Our CEO

Your Social Media Strategy Doesn’t Work Anymore

facebook reach declining new algorithm changeBy Craig Sherman

This is a must-read if you or someone you are paying is spending more than an hour per week on your social media efforts

Let’s face it, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are making it increasingly difficult for social media marketers to reach an audience with their content. Even your own fans & followers are only exposed to a small fraction of the posts you labor over in hopes of tapping into what you were promised when social media became a billion-person party. As paid advertising is rolled out across social networks, we can expect this trend to continue. Does that mean the era of earning a return on your time and money in social is dead? Not by a long shot. You just need to tweak your strategy a bit. Read on for your new road map.

OLD METHOD. (Does this sound familiar?)
Most social media marketers (agencies and brand marketers alike) fall into this category and most are struggling to see results as they fight the current. These marketers have pinned the majority of their hopes and efforts on direct community engagement, which looks like this:

brand to prospect social media marketing doesn't work

The idea is, figure out the most compelling content your prospects are searching for and push it out to them at a time when they are most interested in consuming it. This content frequently comes in the form of a blog post followed by a series of tweets and status updates driving traffic to the blog post.

To accomplish this, these marketers have amassed an arsenal of tools, like Hootsuite, Buffer, Bitly, Google Analytics, and a host of others.

 THE PROBLEM WITH THIS STRATEGY

  • Facebook reach has declined significantly following a recent algorithm change
  • Twitter & LinkedIn are rolling out new paid channels that make it more difficult for your organic messages to cut through the clutter and hit the mark.
  • It takes a significant amount of time to create fresh content, juggle all these tools and keep track of what is or isn’t working

THE NEW WAY TO OBTAIN BUSINESS RESULTS WITH SOCIAL MEDIA

Here’s an import thing to realize if you want to recapture your Facebook mojo: Facebook reach didn’t go away with the new algorithm update, it just shifted away from brands and into the hands of the friends of your target audience. Facebook decided that people want to see comments from friends instead of status updates from brands that they have ‘liked’. As a marketer, your job is to figure out how to capitalize on this shift. One way to do this is to make it easy for your existing customer base and prospects to share your brand’s information and recommendations with their friends, family and colleagues via social media. Your strategy will now looks like this:

customer to prospect social media marketing
You are going to need a new set of tools to accomplish this, or get yourself a social suite to keep everything neat and tidy under one login. Here are some innovative tactics brands are using to generate peer-to-peer sharing results:

  1. Use your social suite to integrate sharing applications throughout your website and all customer touch points that incorporate an incentive for your customer and their friends:
    a. Replace all your share buttons with custom share buttons that add a special offer to the share, like a coupon or white paper link.
    b. Add short URLs or QR codes to the bottom of all your white papers, sales collateral & business cards prompting a social share along with a coupon or white paper link.
    c. Add video and text testimonial widgets to key pages of your website and your fan page that allows customers to share their recommendation on all social networks along with a coupon or white paper link
    d. Run mobile optimized photo contests on your fan page that award something to the photos with the most votes to encourage sharing. Add a coupon or white paper link to all the shares
    e. Be sure your social suites add users of ALL of the above activities to a social CRM database so top influencers can be identified and cultivated into brand advocates
  2. Continue to publish to Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn, but integrate customer generated content into your scheduled posts.
    a. Link your testimonial campaigns from step 1 to all of your social media accounts, so when you approve the video or text testimonials, they are automatically posted to your social accounts and YouTube channel in addition to your customer’s social accounts
    b. Link your contest from step 1 to all your social media accounts, so when you approve a photo submission, it is automatically posted to your social accounts in addition to your customer’s social accounts
    c. Make your brand posts more engaging through the use of video content. Use your social suite to record a ‘talking head’ video to break that hot news story versus the same text post all your competitors are pushing out. Your social suite should be able to upload the video to your YouTube channel automatically so you are adding to your SEO machine with every post
    d. Publish to all of your social accounts in one step, but add calls to action that are appropriate for each network. Your social suite should allow you to add a different call to action to the end of your Facebook and LinkedIn posts as well as customizing your tweet with hashtags and @mentions
    e. Schedule your posts based on your objective. Your social suite should be able to schedule your post based on the optimal time for clickthroughs, purchases or white paper downloads

CONCLUSION

The Facebook algorithm isn’t the end of organic social media marketing. It just provided an opportunity for you to get your brand into the news feed of your target audience while your competition works twice as hard and barely keeps their nose above water.

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Craig Sherman is the founder and CEO of Sociamonials based in Elk Grove, California.

Why Your Company is probably an Epic Fail at Video Marketing and what you can do about It

mobile video testimonialBy Craig Sherman

Here are two reasons why your company is probably failing to get decent results from your video marketing efforts.

According to a recent report:

1. More than 50% of the videos published by the top 100 global brands got fewer than 1,000 views meaning most did not reach their audience.

2. Fewer than 5% of videos produced by the same group receive 100,000 to 1 million views and less than 1 percent achieved more than 1 million views.

The study looked at more than 1,000 verified channels and it included a variety of industries like financial services, luxury, cars, B2B and B2C technology, food and beverages and media.

The same report goes on to say that the top brands and marketers understand YouTube and treat it differently to get awesome results.

The ones who don’t understand video might end up wondering why competitors are getting the lion’s share of video views on YouTube as well as probably increased market share.

In this age of video, striving to understand video marketing especially as it relates to YouTube is as crucial to the success of your business as learning how to compile an accounting sheet.

YouTube is the largest video platform by far. It has 154 million monthly viewers in the U.S. It’s also the world’s second largest search engine.

If you are not achieving 100K+ views on a regular basis like brands like the Discovery Channel, here is one thing you can do now to jump start your results.

Start with the right on-line marketing software which can analyze what works and what doesn’t. It can also help you put together winning campaigns.

Maybe you are using HootSuite, which works well for some tasks. But going beyond that level, look at Wildfire, or my product Sociamonials which is a full marketing suite that makes it fast and easy to inject corporate produced and user generated fan videos into social marketing programs with the touch of a button.

Most of these tools are reasonably priced and could save you from having to hire a team of people to do the same tasks. Just make sure that whatever solution you implement “gets” video.

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Craig Sherman is the founder and CEO of Sociamonials based in Elk Grove, California.

Why Video Testimonials Rock the Customer Experience

mobile video testimonialBy Craig Sherman

There are three reasons why video testimonials rock the customer experience right now:

1. Peer recommendations can quickly turn prospects into buyers.

2. People trust others like themselves.

3. Video is the most shared brand content type on Facebook.

Social networking has grown at a crazy fast rate. There are more than a billion people on Facebook and more than 225 million on LinkedIn.

What has also grown quickly is the popularity of video on these and other social networks. In fact, video is the most shared brand content type on Facebook according to a recent study by Zuum.

A whopping 75 million people in the U.S. watch online video every day, streaming nearly 40 billion videos every month. YouTube accounts for the vast majority of this activity. More than a billion unique users visit there every month, watching four billion hours of video.

People from a variety of backgrounds globally are now comfortable viewing, sharing and shooting video with their smartphones. Some people in third world countries might have a phone with video capability even if they don’t have a computer, TV or landline.

Many social networks like Instagram and Twitter are leveraging the popularity of video. Both just added easy-to-use video features, like Twitter’s Vine, recently and consumers are already becoming addicted to them. Additionally, there is social marketing software called Sociamonials that makes it easy for a marketing manager to approve and upload fan videos to his company’s YouTube channel and several social networks at once by just clicking one button from a smartphone.

Now that the technology has caught up to consumer adoption of social video, companies need to kick it into high gear and focus on pushing more videos, especially fan testimonials out to prospects on-line.

Don’t think that every testimonial has to praise a product. It can also praise a company’s integrity or customer service. As you probably know from either your own personal experience or from managing a customer service department, people will switch vendors due to bad customer service.

If a client is about to switch to a competitor sees a credible compelling video testimonial of someone talking about a great customer service, she is more likely to stick around thinking that maybe the bad experience was one-off and won’t happen again. And everyone knows it’s easier to keep your current clients then to get new ones.

So talk to your marketing department or community manager about super charging your video testimonial program. The time is right and your chief financial officer will thank you.

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Craig Sherman is CEO and founder of Elk Grove, California-based Sociamonials, Inc. which offers a full social marketing suite with an easy to use video testimonials feature. His blog can be found at http://www.sociamonials.com/blog

8 Fast Facts about Social Media To Help You Increase Profits this Year

social media tipsBy Craig Sherman

The verdict is in and all signs point to a stunning increase in on-line marketing efforts by all businesses, most likely including your own.

This includes faster adoption of innovative new technologies and services and doling out new job descriptions like chief digital officer and community manager.

And it’s not just the hip companies like MTV getting more social. A WalMart executive was recently quoted in an article giving tips on social.

But the trend now isn’t to be social just to increase a brand’s exposure, get people to like you or to look cool.

Marketers are using social media to generate sales leads to the end goal of higher revenue and profits.

Here are eight facts and tips from a variety of respected experts like the CMO Council that will help your company increase its brand exposure and profits this year.

1. Social can increase sales. Not too long ago, IBM reported that they saw a huge 400% surge in their sales after launching their social pilot sales program. (Source: IBM)

2. 72% of marketers think that branded content is more effective than magazine advertisements; 69% say it’s superior to direct mail. No doubt a nice plug for people who produce content that sneakily pitches product. (Source: Custom Content Council)

3. 27 million pieces of content are shared each day. Sixty percent of it is branded. Your competitors are probably producing valuable freemium content. You should too. (Source: AOL & Nielsen)

4. People spend more than 50% of their time online looking at content. This one even surprised me. I would have guessed more like 25%. (Source: AOL and Nielsen)

5. Salespeople using social on the job outperformed peers not using it by 73 percent. They surpassed their quotas 23 percent more often than their colleagues who were not social. This includes following prospects to know personal likes and keeping tabs on the competition. (Source: Aberdeen Group)

7. Know thy testimonials.  Gather them by asking your customers via email or personal note. Entice them with freebies.  Save thousands of dollars per year by increasing user-generated videos and decreasing those that are professionally produced. (Source:  my company, Sociamonials.)

8. 87% of business people who responded to a survey said that online content plays a major or moderate role in influencing vendor selection. They valued professional association research and whitepapers most. The least valuable was vendor content, with 67% saying they don’t trust it. (Source: CMO Council)

So roll your sleeves up and get your social act together in organized efficient manner this year, with the right tools and people on board to help. Your chief financial officer will thank you.

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By Craig Sherman, CEO and founder of Sociamonials, the only full social marketing suite with fully integrated user-generated video feature. @Sociamonials

7/31/2013