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Social media marketing is broken... ...

Social media marketing is broken...

Social ad spend is up and engagement is down. Correlation? You bet. Marketers have mistakenly equated social media advertising with social media marketing, despite research that proves earned social engagement drives far better business results than paid social exposure.

Facebook continues to maintain impressive user growth and rack up advertising revenue, but at what cost? The social media giant faces near-term systemic problems and shifting demographics that will completely alter the face of social media marketing over the next few years. Are you ready?

Jim Tobin’s Earn It. Don’t Buy It. The CMO's Guide To Social Media Marketing in a Post Facebook World provides unique insight into the changing social media marketing landscape and offers actionable strategies that will help modern CMOs and brand managers design social media marketing programs that earn engagement and drive business results.

You can't buy respect, trust, friends, or community -- you’ve got to earn it. The same goes for social media marketing success.

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Earn It. Don't Buy It. Free Chapter Presentation Transcript

  • 1. BY JIM TOBIN
  • 2. Contents Foreword …………………………………………………….................................................................. 3 Chapter 1, Not a Lazy, Rich Man’s Game …………………………………………………………….. 6 Chapter 2, A Post-Facebook World? …………………………………………………………………… 14 Chapter 3, Organic Impressions Drive Better Business Results …………………………… 21 Chapter 4, The Deal Funnel ………………………………………………………………………………… 36 Chapter 5, Does Social Sell Product? ………………………………………………………………….. 44 Chapter 6, The ROI of Social Media Marketing …………………………………………………… 56 Chapter 7, The Rise of Mobile ……………………………………………………………………………. 76 Chapter 8, Interplay of Social and Search …………………………………………………………… 85 Chapter 9, The Role of Paid Ads …………………………………………………………………........ 93 Chapter 10, How to Do It …………………………………………………………………………………… 103 Chapter 11, Community Management: More than Just Fans ……………………………… 114 Chapter 12, How to Work with Influencers ………………………………………………………… 120 Chapter 13, Promotions That Drive Business Results ……………………………............... 132 Chapter 14, Measuring Success …………………………………………………………………………. 142 Chapter 15, Staffing ……………………………………………………………………………………………. 151 Chapter 16, Moving Forward ……………………………………………………............................ 159 Acknowledgements ……………………………………………………................................................. 162
  • 3. Free Chapter: Not a Lazy, Rich Man’s Game Social media marketing is broken. Don’t get me wrong. In some ways, it’s a victim of its own success. Social media has proven itself a driver of business results. It’s proven itself a powerful loyalty tool. It’s proven itself a way to amplify brand advocacy. But it proved it for those brands that worked it, the brands that found the “who cares” and leveraged it, the brands that understood their voice and conveyed that socially. As well as the brands who became facilitators, not just content producers. With case study after case study showing results in excess of the investment, more and more brands followed. And many didn’t do the hard work of figuring out what they had to say. If “Social Media is a Cocktail Party,” as the title of my 2008 book suggests, brands today are bribing the door man to get in only to bore the rest of us once they’re inside. When I started working in social media marketing in 2007, there were very few paid opportunities for brands. We began community management for clients before Facebook even had brand pages, never mind paid ads. The absence of the paid shortcut meant we had to earn our participation. Today, too many marketers confuse social media advertising with social media marketing. Social media marketing is the larger discipline that includes the “holy trinity” of paid, earned and owned. Social media advertising is simply the paid portion of that trinity. It’s the easiest, if you have a budget, and not surprisingly, it’s the least effective. Book Excerpt | Page 1 of 8
  • 4. Free Chapter: Not a Lazy, Rich Man’s Game And too many marketers have gotten loose with the checkbook and lazy with the “idea,” resulting in a deluge of nonsensical Facebook ads and millions of purchased “fans” with no interest in engaging with your brand. Remember the great promise of social media advertising? Years ago, the premise was that Facebook would be able to show a consumer messages that, based on all the things they and their friends like and do, would always be incredibly relevant to them. How’s that working out? At this moment my Facebook page displays an ad for a slot machine app and Zumba fitness DVDs. Yeah. That’s not me. The premise of Facebook ads was aligned with this failed promise. But despite the failure, brands keep dropping billions into the abyss for click through rates below 0.1%. Facebook advertising has failed in part because Facebook doesn’t mean to you as much as Facebook thinks it does, or would like it to. What shows up on Facebook isn’t our unfiltered, unvarnished view on life. It’s the filtered face we choose to present to the world. Because of that, and because of the inherent complexity of our personalities, matching ads with what we care about has proven too difficult. In fact, Facebook is backing off their promise to deliver this Holy Grail of social advertising. They no longer talk about their advertising in a fundamentally different way. The idea that users will welcome the ad content they are served, regardless of quality, isn’t working. What happened is related to the failed promise of the “like”. Social media sites can’t seem to fully understand the affinity you reflect when you click the “like” button, in part because “likes” mean different things to different people at different times. Book Excerpt | Page 2 of 8
  • 5. Free Chapter: Not a Lazy, Rich Man’s Game Multifactorial cognitive filtering is harder than anyone realized, and it’s nearly impossible to qualify with any accuracy or consistency. So you like a movie; that doesn’t necessarily denote what you really care about in real life. You liked a particular book, but what algorithm needs to be applied to that information to enable us to determine what shampoo you might buy? The inputs required to make social advertising live up to its initial promise are incredibly complex, if not impossible. As a result, Facebook has largely walked away from this grand promise. Today, they talk more about end user retargeting: if I visit a website, the advertiser will show me ads for that website on my Facebook page. This marketing strategy is logical, but not at all uniquely social. At the same time, Facebook’s partner programs let advertisers target individuals based on other actions they take around the web. This isn’t materially different than what we can do with other kinds of digital advertising. But Facebook today is very much a company responding to the short-term pressures of the stock market. As a result, they are working furiously to develop ad packages that advertisers will buy, so they can report the next “strong quarter.” And the ads end up being as irrelevant and ineffective as anywhere else. Marketers with more budget than message are also responsible for taking the bait. They inflict irrelevant ads on users for products they’re unlikely to buy. The Zumba and the slot machine advertisements placed by marketers on my page failed because they employed some clumsy targeting that led erroneously to me. The increasing array of meaningless ads, displayed in the news feed on both desktop and phone, is frustrating to the end user. I believe it’s at least a partial explanation for the declining usage we’re beginning to see on Facebook overall. I’ll provide more detail on this in subsequent chapters. Book Excerpt | Page 3 of 8
  • 6. Free Chapter: Not a Lazy, Rich Man’s Game When Facebook ads were only in the right rail, we didn’t look at them. That’s why their click through rate was even lower than the click through rate of banner ads. Banner ads on the web routinely average a .1% click through rate1, and Facebook manages to be about half as good2 as that, even with their newer formats. So you’re talking about 99.96% of people not clicking on those ads. When the glass is only .04% full, you should start looking for a new container. Because of that, it will be even harder (and less fruitful) for marketers to buy success for you; you’re going to have to earn it. There is a role for advertising, and I’ll discuss it in future chapters. Paid impressions have some value, but they do not work nearly as well as the organic impressions driven by good social media marketing. Your social budget has to be re-balanced to acknowledge the power of organic change, with a shift towards more earned exposure. As I’m telling you that organic is more effective than paid, you might be thinking, “Sure, but paid is still effective, plus it’s much quicker and easier for me to do. So why not?” Many brands think that a fan acquired through advertising increases their fan base with no real harm. Sure, they may engage a little less, but they’re a positive in terms of fan base and a neutral in terms of driving engagement. In actuality, this isn’t true. Fans acquired through advertising are a net negative to the long-term health of the page. Let me show you data from one of my clients who ran a large paid fan acquisition program. As a result of buying those fans, the performance of the entire page suffered immensely. Reach was dramatically reduced and the interaction rate plunged nearly 66%. Fixing the damage from this buy, if even possible, will take months. Book Excerpt | Page 4 of 8
  • 7. Free Chapter: Not a Lazy, Rich Man’s Game This type of fan buying and “reach buying” is rampant. That’s why social media marketing is broken. That’s why I’m telling you, my CMO friend, that after all this work you’ve done on Facebook, after all this time spent building a fan base – and you’ve got 10 million fans to brag about, it’s time to switch it up. It’s time to reduce your reliance on that hefty ad budget and time to tell the Facebook reps that you can’t take their meeting right now. When’s the last time they offered help that wasn’t aligned with increased ad spending anyway? It’s time to focus on organic exposure and on understanding the power of discovery, as well as the momentum effect, because Facebook is temporary. Particular ad units are temporary. But word of mouth is forever. And always has been more powerful than any advertising ever invented. Organic Interaction Rate Month Organic Reach Percent Month 1 11.84% 0.21% Month 2 12.52% 0.24% Month 3 8.26% 0.18% Month 4 13.41% 0.41% (likes + comments + shares with no ad support) ---------------- PAID FAN ACQUISITION BUY ---------------Month 5 5.97% 0.17% Month 6 3.61% 0.08% Month 7 4.84% 0.08% Month 8 3.83% 0.05% Month 9 4.37% 0.08% Month 10 5.59% 0.10% Book Excerpt | Page 5 of 8
  • 8. Free Chapter: Not a Lazy, Rich Man’s Game Social media is not a fad. Facebook’s numbers (stock price, click through rates and otherwise) will continue to shift, but the field they spawned, social media marketing, is here to stay regardless of ‘the next big thing.’ Simply put, social media behaviors are the online manifestation of classic offline behaviors. The behavior of people telling people, “I know about that hotel, it’s great.” Or “I drive a Ford and it’s been in the shop six times.” Or “We found the best little Italian place.” Social media is a more natural way of selling than any other form of marketing. From the 1940s, through the “Mad Men” era of the 1960’s, marketers were distracted by an ad-centric world. But word-of-mouth is sincere and authentic. The trick is that word-of-mouth advertising is incredibly hard to manufacture, particularly off line. How do you get people talking, other than delivering a fabulous product experience? It’s very hard to do, but there are techniques that reputable companies with good products can use. On social media outlets, marketers really can manufacture word-of- mouth efforts. You can measure them, and you can see in many cases the responses they drive. But while the online conversation has returned to a more personal, informal style, our ability to track and measure it has advanced dramatically. Now that everyone is able to converse online, they talk about good products and they talk about bad products. They share insights and ask questions. They make smart comments and stupid remarks. The bottom line is that people have opinions and they like to talk. Five years after it was founded, Yelp had amassed over 22 million user reviews. Book Excerpt | Page 6 of 8
  • 9. Free Chapter: Not a Lazy, Rich Man’s Game Regardless of what happens to any social network, we are not going back to a point where individuals can’t write their own online content. Regular folks have taken over the domain once reserved for experts, pundits and publishers, and they won’t give it back. Given that, marketers would be smart to leverage this behavior. Where these conversations take place is becoming secondary. Friendster was a fad, Second Life was a fad, MySpace was a fad (despite Justin Timberlake’s current efforts). Facebook suddenly seems old-school, and here comes Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, and even your neighbor’s blog. Don’t connect the latest platform, which may be transient, with the larger phenomenon of digitally enabled social conversations. If you can figure out why people care about your industry, your brand and your products, you’ll have success regardless of the platform du jour. The wisdom of the crowd begins to mean more than the views of an expert. Yelp, for example, is very important for certain brands – hotels and restaurants, in particular – where their rating wins or loses business. The local newspaper critic (remember those?) may have liked the meal, but Aunt Sally, who hated the meatloaf, and her cronies now have more online weight than the expert reviewer. A one star rating increase on Yelp can boost revenues from 5 to 9%.4 Restaurants get a measurable business improvement based on star rating. These star ratings are based on, essentially, aggregated word-of-mouth online. Yelp is in good shape now, but who knows, it could fade away or get usurped by another cool, new thing. Google Maps now incorporates reviews, which could be a serious challenge to Yelp. What will never go away is the fact that people want to look at reviews. People like writing them, and love reading them even more. And companies can monetize, based upon the rating the word-of-mouth customers provide. Book Excerpt | Page 7 of 8
  • 10. Free Chapter: Not a Lazy, Rich Man’s Game The concept of online reviews was practically unheard of a decade ago when Amazon said, “We’re going to sell this product and we’re going to let customers come on our website and tell the world what they think of it, even if they say it’s a horrible product.” That was absolutely revolutionary at the time. Now, it’s a given that people talk, and companies talk back. People advocate for brands and they criticize brands. That won’t change, even as platforms do. So talking happens. But to get genuine interest, input, and dialogue regarding a brand, the marketer has to earn it. And it takes more than a budget or a funny photo to do it. There’s a lesson to be learned here. Be clear on who you are as a company and what you contribute to society at large, not necessarily in the corporate conscience sort of way, but what you contribute to the larger online conversation. That core message should be truly irrespective of the platform it’s transmitted through. Don’t get too focused on Facebook, and don’t start with a Tumblr strategy or a Pinterest strategy. Instead, aim to think more broadly about a range of social media outlets. Then worry about which platforms make sense for you. Yes, things are changing, and marketing is harder than ever. That’s unlikely to stop anytime soon. For the next five years at least, the pace of change is not going to slow down. Why? The online customer, it turns out, experiences tremendous pride when they feel they’ve “discovered” something, and they have a great desire to share those discoveries. We’ve got to find ways to engage these customers that are much more compelling than Zumba DVD ads on Facebook. Book Excerpt | Page 8 of 8
  • 11. Learn More and Buy Book Buy the Book on Amazon >> Buy the Kindle Version >> Watch the Official Book Trailer >> Visit EarnItDontBuyIt.com >>