Tag Archives: social media

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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Romney in a Landslide: Using Facebook Data for Predictive Analysis

Election coverage is filled with plenty of subjectivity, so here’s a little more:

Based on Facebook data, Mitt Romney is set to win in a landslide over Barack Obama, claiming 391 of the 538 votes from the Electoral College. That’s not exactly matching what the media or polls are saying … so how did I get there?

The Inspiration

Facebook’s EdgeRank Algorithm says that a Like is worth less than a Comment because a Like is a more passive form of engagement, while taking the time to type something out is seen as more active engagement.

I believe that the same can be said for people who Like a Facebook Page versus those who actively join groups or type something out in the interests section of their personal Page.

Following this logic, if we use Facebook Advertising to determine the relative size of an audience in the network based not solely on likes but on interests and groups as well, we should be able to identify the number of people actively engaged on behalf of a candidate.

It stands to reason that those who care enough to actively engage on Facebook are more likely to actively engage by voting.

Additional Details

Total “Popular Votes” counted through Facebook: 25,527,910

“Popular Votes” For Obama: 12,250,120

“Popular Votes” For Romney: 13,277,790

My Electoral College Results

“Votes” For Romney: 391

“Votes” For Obama: 147

Here is a comparison of my data when examined alongside three Electoral College Maps, CNN, Rasmussen and Karl Rove.

So how do these results stand up to “traditional” thinking?

  • In 2008, young voters went against election trends by showing up and voting (see: Young voters feel less engaged this year). The Facebook numbers I’ve pulled this time around seem to indicate a return to the traditional model with older voters driving the outcome of the election. While my projections show Obama carrying the popular vote in the 18-20, 21-24 and 25-34 age categories, they do not outnumber voters aged 35 and up who favor Romney.
  • The South votes Republican and the Northeast votes Democrat.
  • California is weird. Nothing new here, but perhaps the biggest anomaly in the numbers shows Romney carrying California because of a large number of 45-64 year olds “voting” for him. In addition to California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Washington project for Romney.

The Process

I used the Facebook Ad Manager to gather data on the number of people on the Facebook network that have either Obama, or Romney listed in their Timeline using the Precise Targeting tool.

I segmented the search information by Keyword and broke results out by State and Age Range. To be as accurate as possible, I also used the Exact Age Match feature.

Precise Targeting looks at a person’s interests, activities, education, job titles, pages they like and groups they belong to, and Exact Age Match eliminates overlap between age groups. For example if you search 25-34 year olds without Exact Age Match, the targeting engine may include 24 and 35 year olds in the audience. I used these features with the goal of creating a comparison to how we would typically look at any other brand’s audience when taking a high level pass at their potential audience for a Facebook Ad buy.

I also used the hashtag feature in front of the candidate name to collect all possible interest categories, and get the broadest base of support.

The age ranges used were based on Voter Data as measured by the US Census, 18-20, 21-24, 25-34, 35-44, 45- 64 and over 65.

I then used an Electoral College calculator to allocate votes in the Electoral College based on the number of “active voters” for each candidate.

Takeaways

The data set is limited and only shows what it shows based on the Facebook definition of Precise Targeting and Exact Age matching. There are a lot of outside factors that influence the data. For instance, younger audiences may be engaging more actively on other platforms, like Tumblr or Twitter.

User activity by age range is a big takeaway. People in the older demographic groups are actively using Facebook when they encounter something that fits their needs, or interests. While a younger person may update their Status or Like a Page, an older person seems more likely to join a Group or update their Profile information to reflect their voting behaviors.

The 45 and up categories generate more targetable activity than the younger demos and are ripe for smart marketing.

For a closer look at the data pulled, I’ve made it available here as a spreadsheet: https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B6O00up2QT8RQ2NGSlhJZVJEMTA

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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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Content, Meet Community – 3 LOFTy Lessons in Social Media

Why are our Community Managers involved in every step of the content development process? Why do they participate in brainstorming campaign ideas and check in daily with insights and information about their brands? Why are they required to use data to back up their feelings and not rely solely on instincts? Because we never want our clients to get into situations like this:

Lesson #1: When you ask someone what they think, they’re going to tell you. 

The comments on the picture started rolling in immediately and the bulk of them were negative. The fans focused on their distaste for the dress but were quite polite and complimentary about the women pictured. Now while you can never completely predict how people will respond to content, a strong Community Manager should have a good feel for their community and be able to anticipate potential responses, and plan accordingly for them. 

That’s why I was so surprised by the brand’s response:

Lesson #2: Respond appropriately to situations and anticipate how your comments will be perceived by the community and audience at large.

Now this could have been an attempt to redirect the conversation and get people to say nice things about the dress…but it didn’t work. Some of the fans got upset that LOFT assumed they were being unkind to the women pictured and responded to the brand, and some fans began discussing how “rude” others were being. Fans then began to move from expressing their distaste for the dress, to expressing their distaste for the brand.

One comment turned members of their community against each other and unleashed a firestorm of negativity towards the brand.

Lesson #3: Every experience comes with opportunities.

So what could LOFT have done to truly redirect the conversation and create a win for their brand?

Here’s one idea: Give Facebook fans a coupon specifically for that dress and ask them to upload a picture of themselves in it – let them style it, DIY it, mod it up. The fans can vote on whose take they like the best and the top 3 would get a chance to meet with the LOFT design team and be a part of the creative process. The winners can report back and the experience can be turned into a video where the fans highlight all of the great styles the team’s coming up with. Win back some positive sentiment, get the fans personally involved in the brand, give them a reason to believe in the future of the brand and remind people how much LOFT values them.

Community Managed.

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When she’s not working as a marketing manager for Make Me Social, Mandi Frishman enjoys analyzing brand pages on social media (seriously). 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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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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Call for Interns: Answered

You may remember our blog post a few months back, announcing a call for interns at Make Me Social. That call was answered, and today we are pleased to introduce you to our new intern, Chance Mattox:

That sparkle in his eye? That’s determination.

We sat down with Chance and asked him a few questions so that we could properly introduce him before he starts blogging. Enjoy!

Name:  Chance Nathanael Boyce Mattox
University: 
Florida State College of Jacksonville
Year in school:
Junior in Fall ‘12
Major: 
Business Marketing
Role: 
Marketing Intern: Assist in Analysis, Assist in Coffee making. (Editor’s note: we never did get that coffee…)
Hobbies:
Golf, Soccer, Basketball, Football, Cricket, Open Wheel Racing.
What inspired you to apply for this internship? The desire to learn and grow in a new field of Marketing and Marketing Analysis.
What are you looking forward to learning/working on? How to market web-based companies and increase their social media traffic.
What do you do in your spare time? Write, play sports, listen to music, instagram/tweet.
Favorite YouTube video? Oh-Oh-Oh Music video by The Golf Boys. Or the full 10 Hour Epic Sax Guy video.
Favorite website? When it’s December 25th: isitchristmas.com. When it’s not December 25th: Spotify/Pandora/Last.fm.
Favorite magazine? Time or Rolling Stone.
Least favorite food? Rutabaga, the way it looks, smells, tastes. Just, no.

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