Tag Archives: content

Strength in Humans – The Power of People in Social Media Marketing

When we tell brands to be “more human” it’s rare that they immediately understand how it translates on social media. Tim Howell set the stage for this blog when he asked businesses to ask themselves why it was important to “be human” on social media. In this blog, I’ll look at how businesses can effectively be “more human” while still meeting their social media goals.

I believe that part of the answer can be found by looking to Humans of New York (HONY).

HONY is social media.

More specifically, HONY is a website that gives people everywhere “daily glimpses into the lives of strangers in New York City”.

These people aren’t famous. They are normal, everyday people walking the streets of New York. And their photos and stories have transformed into something almost magical – creating news, inspiring imitators, and serving as great platforms for calls to action.

It is visual. It is storytelling. It is measurable. And at its core, it is undeniably human.

So how can companies use the magic of HONY’s humanness to inspire their brand’s social media content?

Step 1. Highlight the Human Side.

Every business has a story to tell. There may be a single person who embodies the spirit of your brand, or an entire department that spends everyday living up to your brand promise. You are a company made up of people. Embrace it – your audience will.

Step 2. Write Well. Write Often.

You are as strong as your content. If you go to a party and tell the same story over and over, eventually people will stop paying attention to you. Social media is the same way. Part of the appeal of HONY is the stories behind the photos, told through short, platform appropriate captions. New content is posted daily to multiple platforms, which brings me to the next point…

Step 3. Know Your Platforms.

You wouldn’t use YouTube to post photos and you wouldn’t ask someone on Tumblr to “Like this post!” Great content will go nowhere if it was posted to the wrong platform. The visual nature of Tumblr and the ease of sharing across the network made it ideal for HONY. Adding in the virality and reach of Facebook enhanced the reach and awareness of the brand. Before you post, ask yourself: are the capabilities of the platform aligned with the needs of my brand?

Remember: the “Robot Revolution” hasn’t happened yet. If you want to successfully communicate with humans, you need to be human. 

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When she’s not working as a marketing manager for Make Me Social, Mandi Frishman drinks a lot of tea. During her time studying at The University of Florida, Mandi became convinced in the power of learning through play. She has since committed herself to playing (and learning) all day, every day.

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Headlines Can Change the World

My wife says I don’t read enough and she’s right. I’m not sure anyone really does.  Even her; book, or Kindle in hand every evening as Storage Wars and Duck Dynasty provide the soundtrack for whatever world she’s been transported to.

[Before I continue, I would just like to take a moment to thank A&E for making my evenings just that much better.]

Then I start to count the number of headlines I consume in a day. It’s startling.

From Fierce feeds to Smart Briefs to the magic of Flipboard [again a pause to say thanks for reinventing my world news experience], the total headlines in a day can top 1,000 easy – discounting for the breaking story that hits me 8 – 10 times depending on the category.

So let’s consider the impact those headlines have on decision-making – not just mine, but anyone’s.

For example, a prospect we’ve been working with in the Financial Services industry is trying to empower their advisors with more education and control of information to best support their end clients.

Consider an advisor that needs to read and understand and interpret financial data, trends, risk tolerances, past, present and future performance of multiple markets and client portfolios, squaring off with a client that just got finished reading their 1,000 headlines, some several times, most likely leaving a stronger impression on them.

Put yourself in the advisor’s seat and think about the questions you could get. Ever hear the phrase “out of left field?”

And, by the way, we’re fighting our own brains when we’re trying to interpret what we’ve just read:

This scenario applies to anyone in an advisory position, whether you’re developing products, helping to bring them to market or closing the sale at the end of the chain.

You can even remove the business aspect of this overload and apply it to parenting, dieting, socializing. We are creating our own disadvantages by generating too much information and ways to consume it.

How do we solve for this?

1) Don’t write to confuse

I’ve had a number of conversations lately where people will listen to me speak and ask, “what does that mean?”

The question isn’t driven from a lack of clarity in words used to express my ideas. It’s because they are looking for  hidden meanings and motivations.

We’re all interpreting instead of being plain. Let’s be plain and let the complexity unfold in dialogue and exchange of ideas.

In other words, do what you say and say what you do.

2) Be more selective in what we write

I can’t fault anyone for trying to make a living. Your top 10 list might just be the next one to get chiseled out on stone and carried forward as commandments.

Just take care that what you’re writing is unique, delivers a different perspective, or adds value to an existing conversation. Parroting doesn’t add real value [leave it alone, search marketers]. Your audience will thank you for it.

3) Write everything like it’s The Pelican Brief

No, I didn’t read the book. Remember, I don’t read enough. But the movie has recently come to mind for me as a great approach to making sure what we get in our newsfeeds is the penultimate of thoughts and words.

Imagine if every headline you read was from an author being chased through New Orleans by trained assassins because their thoughts and words could shift the balance of power as we know it. How cool would that be? Seriously. Let’s say you do have that phenomenal top 10 list that we all need to read. Great. Own it. Shout it from the roof tops. Make sure your audience knows what you’ve uncovered and don’t let them leave until you’re sure they’ve understood it. And be prepared. That could take years. It doesn’t need to be new to be right.

Write like that and we’ll all be better for it.

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JOSH JORDAN is the Founder and President of Make Me Social. Josh has spent the majority of his career blending his passion for people, technology and community development to create real relationships for brands and their message. Josh and his wife Jennifer live in St. Augustine, FL where they volunteer their time and energy to support the local arts and children’s charities and spend endless hours keeping their 19 month old son, George, entertained.

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All Truly Great Thoughts Are Achieved on Twitter

When was the last time you stopped and really thought about social media? I’m not talking about strategy, or metrics, or the most efficient methods of raising the virality of your posts. Stop thinking like a marketer, or a business owner, and start thinking like a philosopher. In short, stop asking ‘how?’ and start asking ‘why.’ Why do consumers visit Facebook? Why do teenagers, industry influencers, and celebrities devote hours a day to watching text scroll by on Twitter? In most cases, we can safely say that they aren’t there to visit you.

Social media is supposed to be fun, funny, entertaining. America’s businessmen aren’t wasting their workday on Facebook reading about B2B sales opportunities. They’re tending virtual farms. They’re chuckling at the latest Memebase post, or making plans with buddies for after-work drinks.

I know, I know, these are things you’ve heard a thousand times before. “You need to be more conversational,” or “we should be altering our tone to match the audience.” Stop it. Stop thinking strategy. You don’t need to enter every social conversation with an agenda. When you enter every conversation as a brand, and not a person, you come off sounding like a machine. Sometimes, it may be OK to engage with your audience without worrying about how “it fits into the broader picture of your brand identity.”

Sometimes, isn’t it OK to talk like people? Isn’t it OK to drop the brand-speak and interact on a basic, human level? Obviously, I’m not suggesting you drop everything and abandon your brand. However, once in a great while, let some humanity slip in. This Media Minion blog says it perfectly:

“Humor in a big brand’s social media marketing has pretty much the same effect as seeing a teacher outside of school; “Woah, they’re real people?”

Ambrose Bierce once said “Wit- the salt with which the American humorist spoils his intellectual cookery by leaving it out.” Humor is the essential seasoning for an engagement casserole, so feel free to sprinkle a little bit onto your next post.”

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Tim Howell

Tim Howell is a community manager and data analyst for Make Me Social. He studied fine art, psychology, and international pop culture at Bowling Green State University. In his spare time, he is a novelist and social activist.

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As the Kings of Content Battled, The Digital Revolution Continued: Why Viacom and DIRECTV Fought the Wrong Battle, A Social Media and Marketplace Analysis

The recent battle between Viacom and DIRECTV captured a lot of attention this month. By focusing on the issues that Viacom and DIRECTV were addressing in their negotiations, it was easy to miss the larger issue: that winning this battle would not win them the war. We turned to social media analytics and market research to examine the big picture, and ask: can the Kings of Content survive the Digital Revolution?

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Recent Updates to Facebook’s EdgeRank Formula: Do You Know Your PTAT Score?

Recent updates to Facebook’s EdgeRank formula, and the way they calculate your People Talking About This score, could be putting your social efforts in jeopardy. Why is a behind-the-scenes math formula so important? It’s a simple answer with a lot of data behind it, so we’ll start with the easy facts first.

EdgeRank determines your success on Facebook.

That’s it. It’s that cut and dry. If your brand page has a high EdgeRank, your page will almost definitely be successful – depending, of course, on your definition of success. If success, to you, means user engagement, brand awareness, and viral growth, then we are on the same page.

How does EdgeRank work?

EdgeRank is an algorithm, essentially a complex mathematical formula that weighs several different factors to determine how relevant your content is to any given Facebook user. The formula looks like this:

Facebook EdgeRank Formula

Facebook has been notoriously silent on the exact numbers in this equation, but Jeff Widman, operator of EdgeRank.net, has broken down the basics of the system.

Facebook looks at all possible stories and says “Which story has the highest EdgeRank score? Let’s show it at the top of the user’s newsfeed…If EdgeRank predicts a particular user will find your status update boring, then your status update will never even be shown to that particular user…The numbers on this are frightening. In 2007, a Facebook engineer said in an interview that only about 0.2% of eligible stories make it into a user’s newsfeed…

The simplest possible explanation is that Facebook considers the amount of Likes, Comments, and Shares your posts receive, how many of your fans are friends with each other, the type of content you are posting, and what every single Facebook user thinks about those types of content. All of that gets added up into a total score, which is tallied on every single post your page makes.

How can I improve my page’s EdgeRank?

Short answer: you can’t. Long answer: you can’t, and you’re asking the wrong question. EdgeRank is a constantly-evolving formula, which takes in thousands of points of data to make by-the-second updates. Combine that complexity with the fact that Facebook also filters results through at least one other formula before they make it to a newsfeed, and you are facing a hopeless challenge.

The point that we keep making to clients is that it is much easier to improve your content than it is to try to game the system.

So, what’s new?

A recent update to Facebook’s algorithms has changed the way your page’s People Talking About This, or PTAT, score. This score is a combination of several forms of engagement, including shares, likes, and comments. Until now, that number related only to first-level engagement on a post. The tracking stopped, once you got beyond the original posting.

With this new update, the PTAT score includes engagement a post receives at the second level and beyond. Now, if a user shares George Takei’s latest cat pun, his PTAT score includes all of the likes, shares, and comments that post receives from its entire viral lifespan, even from users that never saw the original post.

Facebook People Talking About This PTAT Score

This update has led to some drastic jumps in PTAT for many highly-engaging pages. Takei’s PTAT has jumped by nearly 110,000 since the change, with similar numbers coming from several of the top pages on the platform. As we discussed earlier, your PTAT score is the most important aspect of your content’s EdgeRank, so higher PTAT scores ensure that your content is being seen. This means that activity on a cat photo George Takei posted three weeks ago could be boosting the EdgeRank on a post he makes today.

In social media, content is king, and that has never been truer than it is now. It is time for companies to make sure that what they’re putting out is something that users actually want to see. As the EdgeRank formula continues to evolve, content that belongs in corporate board rooms will become quieter and quieter. Eventually, those pages will have to wake up and realize they’re speaking to an empty room.

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Tim Howell

Tim Howell is a content manager for Make Me Social. He studied fine art, psychology, and international pop culture at Bowling Green State University. In his spare time, he is a blogger and social activist with a passion for cooking. You can find him at gplus.to/TimHowell

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Sources and Content Creation

“Don’t think so hard. You might hurt yourself.”

I can’t remember the name of the teacher who interrupted me during an exam with that message, but I’ve never forgotten their words.

Each month we host an internal training for all members of our content team. This month we focused on ways to find inspiration for content curation and creation, and the presentation was heavily inspired by the sentiment behind those words.

In the interest of sharing and all that is social, we’ve decided to make portions of that training available to the public. Enjoy!

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When she’s not working as a marketing manager for Make Me Social, Mandi Frishman enjoys finding that her degree is relevant to her life. During her time studying at The University of Florida, Mandi became convinced in the power of learning through play. She has since committed herself to playing (and learning) all day, every day.

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