Is Social Media Marketing “The Answer?”

Friday - 28 November 2014


social media marketing disadvantages

Businesses must understand the pitfalls of social media marketing. Photo credit: Automotive Social

Most everyone in marketing and public relations recognizes the advantages of social media. It’s less costly than other marketing methods; it’s more cost efficient because it has greater reach, often into untapped markets; it’s relatively easy to implement; it improves brand recognition; it drives customers to the company’s website; it provides outlets for the company’s PR and content marketing campaigns; it fosters customer relationships; it builds search engine optimization; it provides customer feedback. With all these advantages, social media has evolved into a necessary component of most marketing programs. A few companies market exclusively on social media.

What’s not to like?  Plenty it turns out.

Like traditional media, social media platforms “own” the space and set the editorial and advertising rules. The platforms control what their users see and do and can change the rules at any time. Continue reading


Why Many Content Marketing Campaigns Fail

Wednesday - 26 November 2014


content marketing strategies fail

Some businesses take the wrong approach to content marketing. Photo credit stockmonkeys

Content marketing has become pervasive. Businesses have embraced content marketing, not just because it’s the latest, hottest marketing trend, but because it works and is more cost effective than traditional marketing methods such as online banner ads. 

Consider these statistics cited by The average click-through rate for display ads is 0.11 percent. Most people (70 percent) prefer to learn about a company from an article than an ad, and 60 percent feel better about a company after reading brand content. In addition, most marketers (72 percent) believe branded content is more effective than advertising in a magazine, 62 percent say it is more effective than advertising on TV, and 69 percent say it is more effective than direct mail.

Yet while almost all companies are pursuing content marketing, few businesses believe it’s a great strategy. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 93 percent of B2B businesses utilize content marketing, yet just 9 percent of B2B markets call their content marketing efforts “very effective.” Continue reading


The Power of Podcasts for Public Relations & Marketing

Wednesday - 26 November 2014


podcasts for public relations

Podcasts can be an effective public relations and marketing tool. Photo credit: Patrick Breitenbach

If you’ve doubted the power of podcasting as a public relations and marketing tool, take note.

Southland Christian Church has produced podcasts to distribute and broadcast its “Weekend Message Series,” garnering a following worldwide. The tales of who listens are fascinating.

Derrick Purvis, the church’s communications director, said leaders have been e-mailed by a fan who lives in a remote village in Africa. The person walks into a more populated town once a week for supplies and, while there, uses the Internet to download Southland’s podcast. Message in hand, the person then heads back to the village and shares the teaching that was produced on the other side of the world. That kind of customer accessibility and devotion is what many businesses hope for with any level of communications. Continue reading


Optimizing the Value of Social Media Monitoring

Wednesday - 26 November 2014


social media monitoring for public relations

Businesses can improve customer service by taking advantage of social media monitoring.

Businesses must do more to take advantage of social media monitoring, recent surveys conclude.

Although many PR departments monitor social media to some extent, the business benefits are not always clear, indicates a survey by PR News and Business Wire.

“PR people are good at generating action [on social channels], but not yet understanding what the data can provide internally,” said Serena Ehrlich, director of social media at Business Wire, at PR News’ recent Measurement Conference. “They need to monitor actionable data for the company to put to use.” Continue reading


PR Tactics Journalists Really Hate

Tuesday - 25 November 2014
PR tactics angering reporters

Avoid these bad PR practices that anger journalists.

While public relations professionals are under pressure to place their company’s news in media outlets, journalists feel more harangued than ever since fewer reporters are targets of pitches from more PR people.

Using quotes from Twitter and personal interviews, HubSpot compiled its second annual list of “S#*t PR people do that journalists hate,” PR practices that especially rile reporters.

Here are some key points.

Continue reading


Follow Facebook’s Policies — Or Else

Tuesday - 25 November 2014


facebook polices

Be careful to comply with Facebook’s rules for apps and content. Photo credit: Dimitris Kalogeropoylos

If you want to make your brand’s content sharable and searchable on Facebook, you need to follow Facebook’s rules on content and behavior.

If you don’t follow the rules, Facebook can disable your apps, leaving you with nothing but a pretty page, warns marketing automation software company Act-On Software. In the worst case, Facebook can shut down a brand’s page altogether.

Getting your app cleared from the Facebook spam list is an arduous process, best avoided if at all possible. Social media managers have been known to spend hours requesting Facebook to remove their page from its spam list and re-active their apps.

Rules cover custom apps as well as third-party social apps, including photo upload contests, share-to-win contests, trivia, quizzes, and polls. Act-On explains the most important rules in its ebook “The Rules of Engagement on Facebook.”

The Facebook’ Platform Policy explains its guidelines in detail. The company notes that it can analyze your app, content, and data for any purpose. “We can audit your app to ensure it is safe and does not violate our Terms. If requested, you must provide us with proof that your app complies with our terms.”

Here are the key rules:

Build a Quality Product

Build a quality product, in other words, a clear interface with immediately apparent functionality. Shun broken links, unrelated text, and “click to continue” buttons.  Don’t mislead or confuse people when offering merchandise, running contests, or using apps. If too many people report your post as spam, delete your posts from their feed, or hide your posts in their feed, Facebook’s spam detection algorithm will shut down your apps, leaving your page incapable of interaction.

One bad practice is posting a link that promises a too-good-to-be-true deal like free merchandise and then requires the viewer  to enter extensive personal information.

Give Users Control

Always give people control of the content they are sharing, and always obtain consent before posting on their behalf. An example of a violation of that rule is a video app that automatically posts to the user’s wall without their consent.

If you are tracking a person’s activity, provide an opt-out from that tracking. Don’t send direct messages from your app. Make sure users can edit content in your share messages, and include a publicly accessible privacy policy. Surprisingly, most companies do not have social media privacy policies.

Protect Data

Don’t sell or purchase any data obtained from a Facebook app. Don’t transfer any data you receive from Facebook to an outside ad network, or data broker type service. Basically, don’t try to monetize the data you collect.

If your app requires Facebook friend data to connect people, obtain permission from friends before opting them in and obtaining their personal data.

Don’t try to get personal data of the friends of customer’s using your Facebook app.

Encourage Proper Use

Don’t alter Facebook’s logos or icons. Encourage people to accurately tag and share content.

Don’t build an app whose primary purpose is to redirect people off Facebook. Although that’s violates Facebook’s polices, companies do it all the time. Facebook has rarely enforced the rule, at least so far.

Follow the Law

Companies that don’t follow the law in social media marketing may be targeted by law enforcement and face large fines in addition suffering Facebook’s penalties.

Do not knowingly share or collect information from children less than 13 years old.

Make sure your content meets laws and regulations in your users’ geographic areas. Make sure you have the rights to use content in your apps. Images, for instance, may be licensed. Just because someone else used an image doesn’t mean it’s properly licensed.

If you’re running a UGC (User Generated Content) contest, implement a takedown process in case of copyright infringement or an inappropriate content upload.

Keep up with the laws in the countries where you are providing interactive Facebook content, an especially complicated endeavor for global companies. Plus, financial and medical sectors have additional social media restrictions.

Bottom Line: Understand Facebook’s policies to ensure that your apps and content meet the company’s rules or it may disable your interactive content, a situation that should be avoided at all costs.



16 Tips for Writing Better Tweets and Improving Engagement

Monday - 24 November 2014


twitter tips, ideas for tweets

Consider these ideas for writing tweets and increasing engagement. Photo credit: mkhmarketing

Social media marketers naturally want to attract lots of Twitter followers and to do it quickly. Success in growing Twitter followers requires producing content that potential customers find helpful, thought-provoking or entertaining…and that can be challenging.

Top social media authorities at Social Media Examiner and Klout offer these tips for writing tweets and increasing engagement.

Tips. Offer tips on how to use your product, its little known features and problems it solves. Regularly posting tips can establish you as a valued resource, not just on your products or services but on other problems that your customers may need solved.

Trending hashtags. Watch for trending hashtags in your industry or area, listed to the left of your Twitter profile. Include the trending hashtags in your tweets, a tactic known as hashjacking or trendjacking. Warning: To avoid potential embarrassment, research the hashtag and the conversation surrounding it to make sure it matches your brand image. Continue reading