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Marketing your conference across platforms: Snapchat and Pinterest

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While Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr are the main three platforms brands tend to work with, other brands are making strides in places like Snapchat and on Pinterest. If you have the resources to play around with these platforms in addition to the big three- or if you know that’s where you audience spends a large amount of their time- take the opportunity to see what you can do in these places to supplement and enhance everything you’re doing elsewhere. They’re particularly fun platforms to utilize in a cross-platform campaign.

Snapchat

We’ve covered the basics and specifics for brands on Snapchat, as well as showing which brands are using it well. Snapchat is a perfect way to keep in touch with event attendees in a lighthearted way throughout a conference; you can send snaps showing upcoming events, or recapping a session or a cocktail party. You can ask for snaps back in order to share free drink tickets or admission to a packed keynote; your creativity is the limit on Snapchat in terms of interaction with your followers. Like Instagram, it’s a great way to show off the atmosphere and get future attendees more interested in booking their trip for the next year.

It’s also a great way to foster conversations between attendees; intimidating names in a field can seem more approachable to build a connection with when they’re willing to send a silly snap.

Photo 6-25-14, 11 59 11 AM

 

A snap from Mashable attending a Google event in San Francisco. 

Just be sure you’re letting attendees know ahead of time across your other platforms that you’re on Snapchat, because most won’t think to look for you there. Having signage up around your conference will also let attendees know where to find you across platforms, and keep official hashtags in play, making post-event tracking easier for you!

Pinterest

Pinterest is a great way to help attendees get organized around a conference; build boards for them so they know what to pack, and what sites to see around town if they decide to come a few days early or stay a few days after. You could even encourage speakers to build their own boards around their areas of expertise, driving traffic back to their sites and letting attendees have a better idea of who they are and what their professional and personal focuses are.

SXSW Pinterest

 

An example of a Pinterest board from SXSW, showing off photos from Instagram and helping attendees figure out what to pack. 

The number and variety of boards you want to build up for your event is up to your creativity, time, and resources. Also keep in mind that Pinterest is great at driving sales, so pinning books your speakers have written after an event is a good idea as well as the same kind of snappy visual reminders you put on Instagram around deadlines for ticket prices.

The bottom line

The bottom line remains the same as in our previous post covering the big three social marketing platforms (aside from Facebook): Play to the strengths of every platform you have a presence on, but especially with these two, don’t be afraid to get creative and have fun.

If you have any questions or examples of great conference marketing we missed, please leave it in the comments!

Written by Sarah

July 15th, 2014 at 8:36 am

Marketing your conference across platforms: Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr

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We recently discussed 3 dos and don’ts for running a campaign across platforms, but what about marketing a conference or similar event across platforms? Successfully marketing an event requires tailoring your message for each platform, just as with any successful campaign. We’ll break down some of the specific uses for each platform here, playing to their individual strengths and making note of what to keep in mind based on how each works and interacts with the others.

Twitter

We’ve covered 16 ways to use Twitter to improve your next conference and 7 tips to maximize your conference attendance using Twitter, so what’s different when you’re adding other platforms to the mix?

When building your communication plan for your conference you want to keep in mind the strengths of each platform to plan which content you’re going to disseminate where; Twitter’s strength lies in it being the ultimate real-time tool. Use Twitter to broadcast quick updates and reminders throughout your event, such as:

  • Remind everyone of the official hashtag
  • Make announcements and reminders of keynotes, session start times, and any other events like a cocktail hour or party 
  • Let everyone know if a session, talk, or cocktail hour has been delayed, canceled or moved to a different location
  • Make suggestions about where attendees can head for meals or drinks offsite, tagging the handles of those businesses where applicable
  • Introduce speakers by their handles
  • Thank speakers, organizers, and any companies that have provided staff for catering or bars (and be sure to mention their handles too)
  • Answer any questions from attendees, and resolve any problems they bring to light quickly

Also be sure to prominently and consistently use and track the official hashtag you’ve created for your conference, which will tell you everything that went well and everything you can improve for the next time.

SXSWV2V Twitter

Instagram

Instagram is new territory for many marketers, which is why we’ve written a series for those new to the platform over on our Union Metrics Tumblr. Specifically for events you’ll want to check out how to effectively use hashtags, the nuances of sharing to other platforms via Instagram, and even the different moves personal brands should make there (in case you’re an event attendee in the future, wanting to promote yourself and connect with other attendees and organizers).

So whether you’re established on Instagram when you decide to market your event there, or you’ve decided to make the conference the official launch of your Instagram presence, there are a few things to keep in mind. Instagram’s purely visual nature is a strength for any brand looking to tell a succinct story in photographic terms. However, the single-track feed on mobile means that too many posts can easily overwhelm your followers, so established brands with a large following who know only a portion of that following will be present at an event will want to consider setting up a side account if you plan on frequent event updates.

With that in mind, some of the ways to use Instagram at a conference include:

  • To show off the conference venue, including what the weather in the host city is like
  • Share photos of sites to see around the host city
  • Tap into other big communities on Instagram by showing off the #food available on and offsite of your conference (be sure to tag any offsite restaurants and bars that have an Instagram presence, and follow their accounts)
  • Post reminders about meetups in other cities leading up to the conference, or after it, like this one from SXSW V2V
  • Share engaging photo reminders of deadlines for submitting speaker applications, getting a discount on event passes, and more
  • Post photos of keynote speakers, tagging their Instagram accounts with permission so that attendees can get a better idea of who they are
  • Post photos to highlight your event organizers, staff, and even regular attendees to give a behind-the-scenes look at everything that goes into the work of organizing and executing a conference (and tag their accounts too, where appropriate, or at least follow them)

Bonus: If you’re short on resources, use the snappy photo reminders around deadlines as a starting point to share the same reminder across platforms, tweaking the message for each. For example, hashtags don’t seem to increase engagement on Facebook, so if you’re going to use the sharing buttons native to Instagram, wait to post all of your hashtags in the first comment. They’ll work the same way for categorization and discovery across Instagram as when you put them in your initial photo caption, but they won’t clutter your post across platforms. 

SXSW V2V Ig

Tumblr

More and more brands have been experimenting with marketing on Tumblr and seeing some fantastic results. The built-in social aspect allows for amplification of announcements and photo recaps of any event or conference in  a way that’s not possible with traditional blogging platforms. A brand hosting an event on Tumblr might use the platform to:

  • Go into more detail about deadlines and what’s required on applications for speakers, but be sure to put it all behind a cut and underneath a snappy visual (maybe a version of the same one you used on Instagram!) 
  • Use the photo post-type collage option to show off the mood of the event, the venue, official accommodations, shots of the host city, past event parties and attendees, speakers and more (Tumblr automatically builds a collage as you upload multiple photos in one post)
  • Do a series using each of the ideas above, or pull a few of each type into one post for a photo overview. Pull these from Instagram or post a mix of Instagram photos and those from other sources
  • Use embedded video posts to show clips from the speakers you’re featuring, or a video summary of a past event; even a video tour of the host city
  • Video post types will also host SlideShares of presentations using their embed codes, perfect for recaps and previews of sessions and topics from speakers
  • Link to articles or blog posts from event speakers, or quote things past speakers have said using the quote post-type
  • If past event attendees have written up their experiences, link to those as well, or quote excerpts from what they had to say

Remember that Tumblr’s reblogging feature is what makes it so powerful; be sure to reblog anything appropriate or related to your conference from the Tumblrs of your upcoming or past speakers, regular attendees, organizers and more. Doing so will only encourage them to reblog you, amplifying your message to their audiences and possibly tapping new audience members. 

Conference Speaker on Tumblr

Example of a post from a speaker that SXSW V2V could reblog– if they had a Tumblr. 

After all, if they follow your speakers and attendees, it’s likely that they’re interested in the type of event you’re putting on.

The bottom line

Play to each platform’s strengths, and put in the work ahead of time to figure out where your attendees spend the most time. If you have limited resources, put your work into those places. Anything else after that will be a bonus.

Oh, and one more bonus tip: All of these platforms use hashtags, so search each one for any hashtags you can think of that are related to your conference or event to see how people are already talking about it in each place. Keep that tone and style in mind as you plan your approach, or use it to tailor and rethink your approach if you already have a presence there.

Got any questions, or have any ideas or examples of great conference execution across platforms that we’ve missed? Leave it in the comments!

Written by Sarah

July 9th, 2014 at 12:28 pm

Automotive social media marketing: Who’s doing it right, what to measure, and more

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Over the last few years we’ve watched the handwringing over social media and its usefulness evolve into campaigns with large social tie-ins, and stand-alone social campaigns. One of the industries that embraced this early- with both success and failure- was the automotive industry. Cars are seen as a necessary purchase for many households, particularly in cities where no reliable public transportation exists.

While Millennials are buying fewer cars right now, that doesn’t mean they won’t be doing so in a future of improved economic prospects. Smart automotive companies are targeting the next generation of car buyers on the social networks where they hang out.

Who has done it right?

One of the earliest and most comprehensive social campaigns came from Ford- an overall early social media embracer- and was centered around the launch of their new Ford Fiesta in 2009. It was successful enough that they’ve “remixed” the campaign for the 2014 Fiesta. The key to Ford’s success in this campaign was reaching out to their target customers where they were already hanging out- in this case, courting successful YouTubers- and giving them content for compelling storytelling: a car to use and take on adventures, and give honest reviews about. This strategy was designed to benefit both Ford and the vloggers, and it did, as per this Businessweek article discussing the campaign’s results:

“Fiesta got 6.5 million YouTube views and 50,000 requests for information about the car—virtually none from people who already had a Ford in the garage. Ford sold 10,000 units in the first six days of sales. The results came at a relatively small cost. The Fiesta Movement is reputed to have cost a small fraction of the typical national TV campaign.”

YouTubers don’t just spend time on YouTube either; they use platforms like Twitter to increase their exposure, find new viewers and subscribers, and connect with fans new and old– along with other YouTubers and brands.

Reason enough to remix it.

Other notable campaigns include an effort from AutoTrader, who put the fate of a car hanging over the Thames in Twitter’s hands, and more recently Toyota, who partnered with The Muppets around their latest movie Muppets Most Wanted to let the public know their Toyota Highlander has #NoRoomForBoring. Launched around this year’s Super Bowl, the ad campaign featured massive social tie-ins, with related tweets and posts to Instagram from both companies.

 

From Toyota’s Instagram.

From The Muppet’s Instagram.

We took a look at their Super Bowl results after the game (along with other brands), and partnering with lovable, family friendly Muppets was definitely a wise choice for Toyota. They’ve continued the brand partnership and campaign through the premiere of Muppets Most Wanted.

How do I plan this?

Before you start planning a social campaign, there are important questions to ask yourself. These will help you figure out what you’re going to measure as well (which we’ll get to in a minute):

  • Who is my target audience? Specific demographics tend to spend more time on specific platforms. Do the research and go where your people are.

  • Where do they hang out? Obviously whichever platform that is, is where you’ll want to be. If you’re a luxury vehicle brand, you might want to use Instagram to show off stunning visuals of your vehicles, tapping into the aspirational among Instagram users.

  • How do they talk in that space? Pay attention to how your target audience speaks to their friends, to brands, and just about brands. The golden rule of social media marketing is always listen first.

  • How do you, as a customer, like to be approached? Everyone has had good and bad customer experiences. Reflecting on your own can help in building a good experience for others.

Once you’ve answered those questions, plan to:

  • Talk to your audience and with them, not at them. This is why listening is so important.

  • Present your content in a beautiful and compelling way. Looking and listening can also inform the storytelling you’ll be doing on any platform. It should be high-quality, compelling, useful, and beautiful in form and function. When you’re approaching someone on a space they use for social interaction with their friends and family, be respectful of their time and attention so they won’t resent your presence and think of it as an unwanted invasion.

  • Involve your audience. The successful campaigns we referenced earlier have been interactive and smartly researched. The campaigns involving user-generated content that have backfired didn’t take the time to understand the audience they would be involving– and the audience shot back.

What should I measure?

There is no one right answer to this, because every company’s goals are different, as are the goals of every campaign. A lot of this is going to depend on how you answered the questions in the previous section; certain tactics will be more successful with different demographic groups and on different platforms.

Twitter is “especially appealing to 18-29-year-olds”, but there are “no significant differences by gender, household income or education” according to Pew Research via Marketing Charts. The same survey found Instagram to be especially appealing to women of the same age group. Do your research and use demographic information like this to tailor your campaign message for each platform, speaking to your target audience in the platform’s native language and to whomever you’re trying to reach there.

Further, look at what kinds of storytelling do best on each platform and let that inform your measurement goals: Will visuals on Instagram help raise brand awareness, while you tailor your message for Twitter to bring in sales? The most important question to answer is: What does success look like to you and your brand? That will tell you what you need to be measuring. For example:

  • If brand awareness is your goal, share of voice measurement will be important to monitor before, during and after your campaign 
  • If you’re looking to drive sales, bring your sales team onboard to decide what success will look like and how you’ll measure the traffic driving it
  • If you want to gain new fans and followers, share of voice will be important alongside paying attention to the reach of your campaign; don’t just concentrate on vanity metrics like the number of followers you have (though these are good baseline indicators).
  • If you want to see how a new Twitter campaign has improved over past campaigns, you’ll need historical Twitter data.

Need more references and help? Check out The 5 Easy Steps To Measure Your Social Media Campaigns, or shoot us an email to see how we can help. We’re always here.

Written by Sarah

March 26th, 2014 at 12:11 pm

The Week in Social Analytics #83

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It’s Friday, so that means it’s time for This Week in Social Analytics and our favorite posts of the past week in the world of measurement, analytics, and social media. See a great piece we missed? Link to it in the comments, or tell us about it on Twitter or Facebook.

Five Social Media Measurement Questions I Hope (NOT) To See in 2014 [from Metrics Man; written by Don Bartholomew]

“‘I don’t measure ‘social media’, I measure what you are trying to accomplish with social media’. . .the distinction is very important. Measurement is fundamentally about performance against objectives. So, we measure our performance against the objectives established in the social media plan. A lot of what passes for measurement in social media is really data collection – tracking Followers or Likes, blog traffic or consumer engagement on Facebook. Unless you have measurable objectives and targets in each of these areas, you are collecting data not measuring. What do you want to happen as a result of your social media campaign or initiative? Measure that.”

Social Media Update 2013 [from Pew Internet; written by Maeve Duggan & Aaron Smith]

“Some 73% of online adults now use a social networking site of some kind. Facebook is the dominant social networking platform in the number of users, but a striking number of users are now diversifying onto other platforms. Some 42% of online adults now use multiple social networking sites. In addition, Instagram users are nearly as likely as Facebook users to check in to the site on a daily basis.”

3 Social Media Trends You Should Know About [from Mashable; written by Alex Honeysett]

“If you haven’t mastered Vine or Instagram’s video feature yet, now is the time to get comfortable. If the prediction is correct, making compelling short videos will be as important as writing in 140 characters. The earlier you can master the trend, the better.”

2014 Marketing Measurement Predictions [from Social Media Explorer; written by Nichole Kelly]

“This is a fundamental shift in how we’ve thought about measuring marketing for decades. It’s not about the campaign, it’s not about the channel, it’s not about the content, it’s about how all of those efforts combined to create revenue.”

Anatomy of a Tumblr [from Medium; written by Daniel Dalton]

“8 Tips for making a successful Tumblr:

1. Do one thing. Do it well. Be consistent. Find your niche and own it.
2. Think different. There are millions of blogs. Find a way to be unique.
3. Make it visual. 60% of shares on Tumblr are images. Show, don’t tell.
4. Get good help. If you can’t write or design, find someone who can.
5. Be a part of the community. Ask for suggestions, take requests. Listen.
6. Fail hard. This isn’t my first dance at the Tumblr party. It’s trial & error.
7. Be excellent to each other. Seriously. This.
8. Tumblr. Because Tumblr.”

Emphasis original.

A Nice Collection of B2B Marketing Stats and Videos [from Paul Gillin]

“Here’s its latest collection of recent trends and statistics: This is the year that was in B2B Marketing crunched. Be sure to check out the links to some of the year’s best B2B videos on slide 37.”

Written by Sarah

January 3rd, 2014 at 10:12 am

How to market like the movies (without the studio budget)

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Did you miss co-founder Jenn Deering Davis’ talk at SXSW V2V last month? You’re in luck; the video is now available!

“Social media has had a dramatic impact on how we watch TV and movies. The past few years have seen big changes in how TV shows and movies are created, delivered and consumed. These forms of entertainment have been able to adapt to a rapidly changing media environment. How can you use Hollywood’s strategies to market your startup? This panel will focus on examples and lessons learned in the entertainment industry and help you apply them to your startup or small business.”

Let us know what you thought in the comments.

 

Written by Sarah

September 25th, 2013 at 12:07 pm

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This Week in Social Media Analytics #67

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It’s Friday, so that means it’s time for This Week in Social Analytics and our favorite posts of the past week in the world of measurement, analytics, and social media. See a great piece we missed? Link to it in the comments, or tell us about it on Twitter or Facebook.

It’s a woman’s (social media) world [from Pew Research; written by Maeve Duggan]

“Historically, women have been especially avid users [of social media]. Between December 2009 and December 2012, women were significantly more likely than men to use social networking sites in nine out of ten surveys we conducted. During this period, the proportion of women who used social media sites was 10 percentage points higher than men on average. When we include earlier surveys and our latest reading (spanning May 2008 through May 2013), the average difference [in social use between genders] falls slightly to 8%. Currently, three-quarters (74%) of online women use social networking sites.”

Check out the piece for information on gender-specific use of different platforms as well. (Emphasis above added.)

How The 70/30 Rule Can Rocket Your Twitter Presence To The Top [from All Twitter; written by Lauren Dugan]

“70 percent of the time, you should tweet others’ content. 30 percent of the time, you should tweet your own, branded or promotional, content.

This means that the majority of the time, you’re looking for content to share with your followers that is not created by your brand. That could include things like interesting blog posts, news articles, photos, videos… content from around the web that’s produced by others.”

4 Things Small Businesses Must Understand About Social Marketing [from Social Media Today; written by Mark Cooper]

“Before you launch a Facebook campaign, or start tweeting incessantly, ask a simple question: What are the key objectives I want to accomplish?”

Is Little Data the Next Big Data? [from LinkedIn; written by Jonah Berger]

“Measurement is great. Without it we don’t know where we are, how we’re doing, or how to improve. But we need to be careful about how we use it. Because without realizing it, measurement determines rewards and motivation. It determines what people care about, what they work to achieve, and whether they cheat to get there. Tracking student test scores helps measure achievement, but it also encourages teachers to teach to the test.

So before you obsess over a particular metric, make sure it’s the right metric to obsess over. “

CA School District Announces It’s Doing Round-The-Clock Monitoring Of Its 13,000 Students’ Social Media Activities [from TechDirt; written by Tim Cushing]

A new precedent in security? Students can opt out by making their accounts private, but the company monitoring their activity thinks they won’t choose to. It’s unclear how they will locate all the students’ accounts in order to track them. An interesting read for sure.

Big Social Data: The Second Era Starts [from Social Media Explorer; written by Doug Kessler]

“There’s no structure. Context is buried or lost. The torrent never stops. And the sheer volumes are staggering. This kind of data challenge demands a new kind of analytics stack that doesn’t rely on neat little databases and tidy indexes.”

How To Plan And Manage A Social Marketing Strategy And Still Have Time For Dinner [from Web. Search. Social.; written by Carol Lynn Rivera]

“I’ll tell you exactly the trick I use to focus our social marketing efforts: I think of the one specific person that I’m posting something for.”

Americans More Likely to Share “Funny” Than “Important” Content on Social Media [from Marketing Charts; written by staff]

“In fact, American respondents were more likely than the average respondent across the 24 countries to typically share funny content (49% vs. 43%).”

The popularity of The Daily Show has been cracked.

Written by Sarah

September 13th, 2013 at 9:21 am

This Week in Social Media Analytics #63

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It’s Friday, so that means it’s time for This Week in Social Analytics and our favorite posts of the past week in the world of measurement, analytics, and social media. See a great piece we missed? Link to it in the comments, or tell us about it on Twitter or Facebook.

Simple Errors in Social Marketing Alienate UK Users [from eMarketer; written by staff]

“Basic errors like poor spelling or grammar in social media marketing messages are the best way to alienate UK consumers, according to July 2013 research from Disruptive Communications.”

Marketing Is Not A Bad Word In Social Business [from Business2Community; written by Michael Brito]

“Becoming a social business with no vision for where it’s going to take you is like investing thousands of dollars building your first dream home and never moving in to enjoy it. It’s a waste of time otherwise. I look at social business strategy as an enabler.”

New England Colleges With Biggest Social Media Reach [from GoLocalProv; written by staff]

“Colleges today are serving the most mobile and social customers in the world, many of whom are using multiple mobile devices to network and collaborate,” Afshar writes in the Huffington Post article accompanying his new ranking. “Today, social networking is the most popular use of the web. A 2012 study noted that students are choosing colleges with social media clout. A survey of 7,000 high school students revealed that university social media accounts influenced their selections.

Emphasis added.

Using Twitter To Predict (And Hopefully Avoid) Food Poisoning [from Social Times; written by Mary C. Long]

“After four months of stalking over 23,000 restaurant-going New Yorkers and gathering data on 480 likely cases of food-poisoning , the researchers behind nEmesis ranked the frequented restaurants based on the likelihood of getting sick after eating there.

When compared to inspection data provided by the New York City Department of Health, the guys behind nEmesis found their results showed an overlap of one third.

If a nEmesis app is developed, it could save us regular people from popping up in an episode of Kitchen Nightmares, as well as leaving food inspectors no excuse but to get tech-savvy. Fast.

Emphasis added. Fascinating application for the ongoing discussion of Twitter and health.

Twitter Is Testing Out A New ‘TV Trending’ Box At The Top Of Your Timeline [from TechCrunch; written by Ingrid Lunden]

“. . .the company appears to be is testing out a new feature where links to popular TV shows appear as Twitter cards at the top of your Timeline, complete with related Tweet data and show information.”

Marktr [written by Tumblr staff]

If you’re a business on Tumblr and not following the Marktr blog, we recommend you start. It’s fantastic insight from Tumblr’s Sales and Brand Strategy team.

Written by Sarah

August 16th, 2013 at 9:17 am

Market Like the Movies: A sneak peek of Jenn’s talk from SXSW V2V

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Notes from ImageThink!

Co-founder  Jenn Deering Davis’ session on Market Like the Movies (Without the Studio Budget), happened yesterday afternoon at SXSW’s new V2V conference, where she talked about how to market your startup using the social media strategies Hollywood has perfected to drum up excitement about TV and movies on social sites like Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook.

Want to know more? We’ll share her slides and notes from the talk when she gets back from Vegas! In the meantime, check out this awesome visualization of her session drawn up by Heather Willems from ImageThink (catch them on Twitter too).

Are you at V2V? Find us and say hello!

Written by Sarah

August 13th, 2013 at 1:58 pm

Posted in Events

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TakeFive with TweetReach: Steve Farnsworth

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Steve Farnsworth

Welcome back to TakeFive with TweetReach, our ongoing interview series with influential members of the Twitter measurement universe. This week, we’re excited to speak with Steve Farnsworth of Jolt Digital Marketing about the evolution of marketing and the accountability of metrics with the recent introduction of social media, and so much more!

(What follows is an edited transcript of the Google Hangout interview with Steve. To see the video recording in its entirety, visit my Union Metrics YouTube Channel.) 

TweetReach: We like to start everyone out with one question, because there are so many different paths into social media: how did you get started using social media? Can you describe your first “ah-ha” moment?

 Steve Farnsworth: You know, I’ve been in marketing for a a lot of years- I started off in MarComm and Lead Gen- back during the old, ugly days of direct mail, but it was really interesting to do because you could see what worked and what didn’t; you actually had real data. Marketing is still very much this kind of “We think we’re doing the right thing but we don’t really have any data to know”.

I got into communications because I loved the ability to have a conversation directly with an audience. Even when you’re working with the media- at that time, PR really was your main communications engine- it was earned media. So I love the ability to set the agenda for how your product was viewed and the space it was viewed [in], and by definition, your competitors. Intellectually, that was very challenging. With the contraction of media, a lot of the communication stuff really kind of became press releases and stuff like that.

And that wasn’t really interesting to me, I was actually really kind of bored with marketing in general, about five years ago. I’d been using social just for my personal interests because I love that social bookmarking; I love the discovery. I put out a lot of content that I realized, as a marketer, [reflected] my belief behind creating content that actually had a direct conversation with the audience. So here was a format where you’re actually communicating; when you wrote a [press] release, I always believe in writing it so human beings can understand it, as opposed to just the people who wrote them.

So I’ve seen this change and social was self-adapting [and] self-organizing communities around like-minded issues. As a marketer, I always thought we did a poor job supporting each other and being a [community], working with each other. . .that didn’t exist. Four or five years ago I’m starting to [see] a lot of the things I’d always wanted as a marketer come to fruition: accountability, organizing groups. Social is just- and for me, I saw how social played in with communications, with blogging and other kinds of communication- I was like, “This is what I’ve been wanting for so long”. And even more important things have happened in the last couple of years, as marketing automation has come down and now we can really track things.

The “ah-ha” moment was when all those things were coming together: all that communication, people were responding to it, I’m connecting with like-minded marketers, and it’s like, “Oh, wow, I can actually go back to all the things I’ve done all these years and all that stuff is applicable now and it really is integrated, and it’s exciting where it’s going”. And I got really reenergized as a marketer because of that. I think this is a golden time of marketing. We actually have data, we’re writing content that’s useful to people– nobody reads marketing-speak and people produced that for years. Now. . .if you don’t write stuff of value nobody’s going to read it. I love that because most people still don’t get that; marketers still don’t get that, or at least management. So for people like me, who are consultants, that pays my rent.

TweetReach: Exactly. If you don’t want to read it, who else is going to want to read it?

Steve Farnsworth: Absolutely. And I think that’s the thing: so many of the things we’ve created as marketers historically- and I was trained traditionally- [was] stuff that nobody would read other than the people who wrote it. Now that doesn’t fly; you can do it, but it just doesn’t get you eyeballs, doesn’t get people involved. You need to think, now, of yourself as being a producer, a managing editor. You need to think about content that’s going to be something someone wants to read on the airplane when they’re traveling. The accountability is awesome.

What I find most often when companies are “doing content” is that there’s a real misalignment of editorial focus with who their potential buyers may be. They don’t really think about the buying ecosystem; you need to think about who’s at sign-off? who’s going to do the demo? who’s going to be the influencer? who’s going to be using it every day? You need to understand that dynamic and then write content that’s usable to those people, that solves their problems from your expertise.

TweetReach: So this is related: Your blog focuses more on digital marketing strategies, yet many marketers are still treating social media as a bolt-on to their marketing mix. How can companies best integrate social media and measurement into their ongoing marketing efforts?

Steve Farnsworth: It all goes back to: social is a set of tools. So you have to [ask], what is it you’re trying to do? Any marketing goals need to dovetail into the larger business goal and on some level that’s going to be about moving product. There are different things that don’t necessarily move product directly that you want to influence, and those are relevant issues. [Overall] you think about what your goal is: you want to move that product and you want to use social. The measurement piece comes into, how does that translate into sales? You can track, “we find that when people download these digital assets, that tends to translate into x number of demos, and x number of demos translates into x number of closed sales. Now you actually have pieces that you can’t necessarily tie all together, but you can at least look at the data points and see if you’re driving traffic [where it translates into the most sales down the line].

TweetReach: Let’s dive in a little on some specific metrics and talk about the measurement of campaign reach. How do you weigh the importance of the quantity of a campaign’s reach (the overall size of the potential audience) vs. the quality of that reach? How does that play into upper-level planning and strategy?

Steve Farnsworth: I think that things like “Likes” and “shares”, fans and followers fall into. . .again, how does it track back? They can be interesting, and you should track that kind of data just to kind of see what’s happening so you can correlate it, but what you really want to do is focus specifically on metrics that have a behavior that connects to your final goal. When people share things is important, but you can get misled by things that are highly shareable but don’t translate into a behavior. So you need to find that mix and not get dedicated just to “Oh we got 250 shares on that!” Well, does that translate into a behavior that ended in a business result that you can measure?

TweetReach: That’s definitely part of the higher-level business strategy: tying everything back into business goals.

Steve Farnsworth: I think that campaigns are outdated in that sense; I know we still use that [term] in the conversations we have and the things that we do. I think the reality is that we’re beyond that. . .think agile marketing: responsive, iterative marketing that is constantly evolving, taking advantage of things. You have to have a combination of looking forward and planning, but you also have to have that responsiveness.

TweetReach: Let’s switch gears a little bit: What is something you’ve written that got the most surprising feedback?

Steve Farnsworth: What surprised me is [that] I wrote a blog post on using news releases as brand journalism. . .most companies do a news release and it goes [makes a vanishing sound]. Nobody reads it. Except customers, or their direct audience, or stakeholders or other people who are specifically interested in that company. But by and large it’s not a broadcast item.

So based on that, I said if it’s not going to get picked up or it’s not going to be a big news story, why not write it as a story? Why not write the story AP-style. Truly write an interesting story, maybe something with a narrative– write [it so people will] read it as a piece. A nice clean story [with] storytelling techniques; make it interesting, factual. It stills serves the purpose of communicating all of the relevant pieces to an audience, and a news person can still pick it up and read it. Unless it’s going to be big news, write to the people who are going to read it.

I got so much crap for that. I had even journalists who I respect. . .take me to task for that. And there’s all these old, traditional PR people going, “That is just OUTRAGEOUS!” and they were offended that I was suggesting something like that, because somehow it would break a tradition. And it’s like, so what you’re really arguing is this old, broken way of doing news releases that nobody reads, in a format that is absolutely barf-a-rific, somehow is better? And it’s not. I understand the need for certain organizations who are public and have disclosure obligations to write traditional news releases; I’m not saying you don’t do that. I’m just saying that most news can probably be done better as a story.

So that kind of stuff. . .gets a surprising level of passionate, kind of angry response. I’m all for that. I’m willing to have that discussion because I really believe what I’m suggesting is a legitimate alternative. Especially if companies really embrace Tom Foremski’s [saying] “Every company is a media company”. And I really believe that; most companies just fail to grasp that. So if they’re really media companies, why not become producers and managing editors of content that people want to really consume?

TweetReach: Okay, one last question: Any social media marketing pet peeves? What practices irritate you the most when you look at the state of the industry?

Steve Farnsworth: When people approach marketing with this “we can buy our way into it”– you can if you’ve got boatloads of cash, rock on, but no one ever does. What they do have [is] a limited budget, and they still want to try to buy their way in. You know: “Can we get this for $100?”. “No. We’re going to spend about $5k on this project and you’re going to be happy because it’s going to generate $100k for you”, or whatever the thing is.

People that think they can buy their way into social– if you’re not providing value on social, you can’t buy followers. You can buy bots. So that lack of understanding that this is a process and you have to earn people’s attention, and all of the bad decisions that blossom from that- [it's a] real fundamental misunderstanding and a lack of respect, I think, for consumers and for marketing- blows my mind. And it’s allowed to happen because unlike a product- when you show marketing- you don’t have a product that doesn’t work, you just have marketing that’s not effective.

I would love to see more people realize this is a long game; demand more from their marketing advisors. Ask about “How soon should we start it? [Let's establish] clarity on our goals: how are we going to measure those goals, what to do to achieve those goals, and how are we going to iterate, review and go to the next thing?” I would love to see that be the model. That’s not an ongoing cultural thing in most companies, unfortunately. And that makes me sad.

TweetReach: That’s a good pet peeve. That’s not just “I hate people who have a bicycle in their profile picture”. [Laughter] Well, thank you so much, again, for talking to us today! Anything else you want to add?

Steve Farnsworth: Come see me at @Steveology on Twitter, or my blog Steveology Blog and I’d love to have you guys leave comments and stuff like that.

 

Steve Farnsworth is the Chief Digital Strategist at Jolt Digital Marketing where he consults mid-to-large organizations on communication strategies to create product preference and build customer communities that foster brand loyalty. With over 13 years as a senior executive, Steve writes, blogs, and speaks about how smart companies can effectively integrate social media, PR 2.0, and content marketing into their marketing mix.

As a director with the Silicon Valley Brand Forum and an adviser to other professional organizations, Steve has moderated panels, spoken at or facilitated industry events at Intel, Yahoo!, HP, Sun Microsystems, Cisco, Adobe, Electronic Arts, Hewlett-Packard, and Stanford. In 2012, he was  appointed the Communications and Social Media Advisor to TEDxSanJoseCA.

Steve has been noted by Forbes magazine as one of the Top 50 Social Media Power Influencers, and by the magazines as being the #1 influential PR Tweeter with the highest percentage of “Good” (actual humans) Twitter followers.

As @Steveology on Twitter, he has over 80,000 followers and has been included in The Top 35 “Connectors” on Twitter, awarded as one of The 2011 Nifty 50 Top Twitter Men, and cited as one of the most influential people online by Fast Company‘s The Influence Project.

Written by Sarah

July 11th, 2013 at 1:32 pm

TakeFive with TweetReach: Brett Hartstein

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Welcome back to TakeFive with TweetReach, our ongoing interview series with influential members of the Twitter measurement universe. This week, we’re excited to speak with Brett Hartstein of LeadDog Marketing. Brett has been working as a member of LeadDog’s Brand Promotion department for the past five years, having previously gained experience across industries, from marketing for radio stations across the US to working as a promotions manager at the WWE. We took a look at what all of this varied experience has meant to his current approach to social media strategy, analytics and more!

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TweetReach: We’ve got one question we like to start everyone off with, to see all the different pathways people take into social media: how you got started with social media as a whole. Can you describe your first “ah-ha” moment?

Brett Hartstein: I got started in social media at my previous job as the promotions manager at WWE. We were doing a lot of actions on Facebook with the Superstars. It was amazing to see how quickly the fans were to adopt the new platform as a way to communicate with their favorite Superstars.

TweetReach: You’ve used our tools to track various sweepstakes and other hashtags and keywords for a variety of clients– what’s the most surprising outcome that you had (either from the results surprising you, or maybe a complete win-over of a skeptical client)?

Brett Hartstein: The biggest surprise to me using your tool is the wide demographic of users on Twitter. It is amazing to see an older demographic using this platform to enter sweepstakes or contests to win items from their favorite brands.

TweetReach: How do you work social into the rest of the strategy you plan out with your clients? Is it something that you build off of, or use to supplement other avenues?

Brett Hartstein: We use social media as a tool to spread the messaging of the promotions we run or as the platform to enter the promotion itself (e.g. tweet a photo of your favorite sneakers). The way we use it is dictated by the promotional concept.

TweetReach: How do you look at and think about the mix of different social media networks when designing your social media strategy? Are you trying different approaches with different networks? How important is measurement with each?

Brett Hartstein: The social platform that we use is determined by the nature of the promotion. Some platforms have certain limitations from a legal standpoint or a fulfillment standpoint. However, regardless of the platform we use measurement is crucial to us and our clients.

TweetReach: Let’s talk about consistency in measurement: agencies and marketers have had to use a variety of tools and metrics to analyze the performance of their social media efforts, resulting in inconsistent results. How important is the ability to measure and report on social media results in a consistent way to your agency and your clients?

Brett Hartstein: This is crucial as measurement in the social world is still relatively new, and you need to make sure that the programs you run are effective. Without a standard for measurement brands cannot accurately tell if a program was a success and if they should continue to use that particular social platform.

TweetReach: Thanks, Brett!

Brett’s 13 year career ranges from local sales/promotions at a radio station in NYC, to creating and executing various marketing plans for radio stations across the United States. He also has experience on the brand side working as the promotions manager at WWE. For the last 5 years he’s been  a member of the Brand Promotions department at LeadDog Marketing Group, helping to administer promotions for various clientele.   Brett has experience in everything from event planning/management experience, to marketing/promotions experience, along with  traditional/digital sales/marketing experience, and sweepstakes/contest administration experience. 

Written by Sarah

June 5th, 2013 at 7:34 am