Facebook Marketing 101- Where do you Begin

Facebook Marketing 101: Where Do You Begin?

For all the bad press Facebook has gotten recently in regards to fake news, Russia, and the removal of advertising options, it’s still one of the first places you need to go to start your social media strategy.

 

So why use Facebook?

 

  • 79% of American adult internet users are using Facebook (Pew Research Center)
  • 76% of Facebook users log in daily (Pew Research Center)
  • As of July 2016, there were over 2 billion searches per day on Facebook (TechCrunch)
  • For my local readers – approximately 68,000 people in Bulloch County alone, ages 18+ on Facebook (which also translates into approximately 51,680 Bulloch County residents logging in each day to Facebook).

 

Of course, you do not need statistics to tell you why you need to use Facebook to market your business. I could list over 100 statistics to show you why you need to be on there. Simply ask people how they stay in touch with people and how they find out what’s going on. I guarantee you more than half of your answers will be ‘Facebook’.

 

That being said, I’ve put together a short and sweet primer below on Facebook Marketing 101, which originated from a Facebook Marketing class I taught at and for my local Chamber of Commerce. Let’s get started.

 

If you are going to use Facebook (and you should), where do you start?

 

Start with your “WHY”. Why are you using Facebook in the first place? Like anything you do on social media, everything you do on Facebook should come from your “why” and every goal you set should help you achieve it. If your actions to not attribute back to your “why”, start over.

 

If you are using Facebook, who am I going to target?

 

When thinking about who you are targeting, think about your “why” from above. Ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Why are you targeting them?
  2. Will targeting this group help you reach your goal in using Facebook?
  3. Is this group someone you want to actually spend money with you? (Remember, not everyone is your client/customer)

 

Like I mentioned above, if these groups do not help you achieve the goal of your ‘why’ statement, start over.

 

Now that I’ve decided to market on Facebook, what do I post and how often?

 

Think about your target audience – their likes, interests, etc. – and craft your content strategy around that. What is your online voice? Your Facebook presence is the digital extension of your brand. When establishing your voice – are you fun or serious? Sarcastic or punny? Are there common phrases your business uses? Take all of this into consideration.

 

Facebook did research this year into what people are looking for in their Facebook content. First, they found that people on Facebook want and value meaning, informative stories.

 

In their algorithm, Facebook looks at a user’s personal signals, such as “how close someone is to the person or page posting, stories they’d want to talk to their friends and family about, spend time reading, and videos they’d spend time watching.” Also taken into account is the post’s overall engagement.

 

People value content that is informative as well. Think about what you take time to read or share, or even comment on. It is content you find meaningful and informative. You should put yourself in the your audience’s shoes and post the type of content they will spend time on, much like you would.

 

Watch out for promotional messaging. 46% of Facebook users will unfollow a brand on social for posting too many promotional messages (Sprout Social). A good ratio to keep is 80% educational/20% promotional. For every self-promotional messages you put out, you need 8 that are not. You can share articles relating to your industry, tips, behind the scenes of your business, etc. Just do NOT publish sales pitch after sales pitch.

 

Second, Facebook found that people on Facebook value accurate, authentic content. Facebook users have told Facebook that authentic stories are the ones that resonate with them the most, so Facebook ranks those types of posts higher in the News Feed. Some tips from Facebook include:

  • Clear headlines – do not mislead the person viewing the headline.
  • Spam – “do not deliberately try and game the News Feed to get more distribution.”
  • Accurate Information – make sure what you are posting is true.

 

Be friendly and helpful in your posts, not snarky and sarcastic. Emotional connections drive Facebook shares. The science behind a viral post rests on our knee-jerk emotional reactions to it. The more extreme our emotional reaction to it, the more likely you’ll share it. In psychologist Robert Plutchik’s wheel of emotions concept, he identified the emotions that drive our sharing behavior. The inner circle denotes the eight emotions to think about when creating content.

 

Make sure to respond. People want you to respond to them. 68% of consumers want brands to participate in conversations they’re mentioned in, and 83% want brands to respond to them (Sprout Social). And the percentage of posts that go unresponded to? 86%.

 

Create your own graphics and if you do not, know where you are getting them from. Make sure any graphics you use are on-brand and most importantly, make sure you own the rights to them! You can create your own at Canva (a personal favorite!) or download free graphics at Pixabay, UnSplash, or Pexels.

 

Let’s briefly take a look at the six main post types on Facebook:

  • Status – simple updates, seen more commonly from your friends than pages.

  • Links – Trick: Post the status you want, then the link, remove the link preview altogether and add a picture to the post. This will get more reach than simply inserting a link and having the link preview on. Keep in mind, you can no longer edit the link preview!

  • Video

  • Photos and Photo Albums

  • Products. If you have a Facebook Store, you can add products into your posts.

  • Take action: Sign Up, Get Messages.
    • CTA posts to encourage your fan to take action immediately. Use sparingly.

 

Your post frequency depends on your business – it’s not a one size fits all, so be weary of every “Best Time to Post” article you read online. My recommendation? Post minimum 3-5 times per week, no more than twice per day, unless you’re at an event. To find out the best times for your business, look at your Facebook Insights to see when your fans are online and schedule/post around those peak times. (see example below).

 

What about Facebook Advertising?

 

Everyone is doing Facebook ads, you honestly, you may as well too. With Facebook’s algorithm, it’s almost a requirement to boost some posts in order for your content to be seen. But don’t worry – it will not bust your marketing budget.

 

On Facebook, desktop ads have 8.1x higher click-through rates and mobile ads have 9.1x higher click-through rates than normal web ads. Social media advertising is the most cost-effective way to advertise in this day and time, with Facebook leading the way with the various, and amazing, options available to businesses.

 

Here are some easy steps to setting up a Facebook Ad –

 

  • Step 1: Figure out what you are promoting and select an ad type. When running a Facebook ad, you need to know what you are promoting and why you are promoting it (much like your overall social media and/or Facebook strategy).
    • There are three decisions to make –

What are you promoting?

Will your ad run via auction or reach & frequency?

What type of ad will you choose? (Hint: Awareness ads are best for small budgets)

 

  • Step 2: Select an audience. Selecting your audience is the most important part – more important than the ad itself. When selecting your audience, you are narrowing in to target the ideal customer/client.
    • Your choices are to either –

Create an audience from the options you are given (which can make unlimited combinations).

Use a custom audience.

Use a lookalike audience.

 

  • Step 3: Ad Placement
    • Your choices for placement are:

Desktop

Desktop Right Side

Mobile

Instagram

Audience Network (this lets you extend your ad campaigns beyond Facebook to reach your audiences on mobile apps, mobile websites and videos. We use the same Facebook targeting, measurement and delivery to make sure each ad on Audience Network helps you reach your campaign goals at the most cost-effective price.)

Instant Articles (See more here: https://www.facebook.com/business/help/825186870955247 )

In-stream Video

If you’re not sure, Facebook will recommend using the default placements for your objective:

Brand awareness (including Reach & Frequency buying): Facebook and Instagram

Engagement (including Reach & Frequency buying): Facebook and Instagram

Video views (including Reach & Frequency buying): Facebook, Instagram and Audience Network

App installs: Facebook, Instagram and Audience Network

Traffic (for website clicks and app engagement): Facebook and Audience Network

Product catalog sales: Facebook and Audience Network

Conversions: Facebook and Audience Network

For more information on ad placements, visit: https://www.facebook.com/business/help/175741192481247?helpref=related

 

  • Step 4: Set an ad budget and schedule
    • Ah, the budget. Here’s where you determine how much you are going spend for your ad. You have two choices: daily budget (how much you spend per day) or lifetime budget (how much you want to spend for the entire campaign). Yes, you can run an ad for as little as $1/day but not every ad will let you do that. Here are the spend minimums:
      • If the ad set gets charged for impressions, its daily budget must be at least $1 a day
      • If the ad set gets charged for clicks, Likes, video views, or post engagement, its daily budget must be at least $5 a day
      • If the ad set gets charged for low frequency events like offer claims or app installs, its budget must be at least $40 a day
      • For more information on ad spend minimums, visit: https://www.facebook.com/business/help/203183363050448

 

  • Step 5: The ad. Now the second-most important part of the whole process – creating your ad. You can choose an existing post as your ad or you can create one from scratch. If you are creating an ad from scratch, you have 5 formats to choose from –

Note: Formats will vary based on the ad objective you have chosen.

 

  • Step 6: Track your ad. How do you know if you Facebook advertising is working (or did work)?
    • You can view the results of your ads in the Campaign Dashboard and view each ad (as shown above). You can customize your reports through Columns and Breakdown.

 

If you’d like a more detailed guide to Facebook Advertising, you can download my Facebook Advertising 101 Guide here.

 

Of course, how do I know if my Facebook efforts are working?

 

Welcome to Facebook Analytics!

 

There are many programs on the web that can pull detailed information for you about your Facebook page and your Facebook content (Sprout Social, Simply Measured, etc.), but Facebook Insights work just as well.

 

Here are some main metrics to track:

  • Engagement
    • Clicking a link, sharing your post, making a reaction, or leaving a comment
    • The more people interact with your content, the more they will see it and the more it will show up in Facebook’s algorithm because it signals to Facebook it’s popular.
  • Reach
    • The number of people your content is seen by by either paid or organic efforts.
  • Impressions
    • How many times your posts were seen (does include multiple views by a single person).
  • On your website – how much traffic Facebook is referring to your site. You can view this in Google Analytics.
  • Page Likes & Follows
    • Look for growth each month. Give yourself a goal of 5-10% growth each month.
  • Video Metrics to track:
    • Video retention – how long people are watching
    • Video engagement
  • Advertising Metrics to track:
    • CTR (click-thru-rate). Average across all industries is 0.9%. When Facebook sees your ads are getting impressions but no clicks, it logically assumes your audience doesn’t find the ad relevant. This can result in paying more per click and overall poor performance.
    • CPC (cost per click) & CPM (cost per thousand impressions). Average CPC across all industries is $1.72.
    • CPA (cost per action). Average cost per action across all industries is $18.68.
    • Ad frequency

 

That was A LOT of information thrown at your about Facebook Marketing. But it’s not all that hard and it’s easy to manage. Here are some tips:

 

  • Schedule Posts on the Page or through a program such as Hootsuite or Sprout Social.
  • Check analytics at least once per week.
  • Have a Facebook advertising budget.
  • Do not be afraid to go out of the box and try something new!

 

Facebook can be a great place for your business to see success in the social sphere. If this still seems daunting to you, don’t worry – we offer Facebook management in our social media management services and would be happy to talk with you about it!

 

Did I leave anything out? If you have questions about your Facebook strategy, contact me or comment below!

13 Social Media Tools to Make Your Life Easier

Tools to Make Managing Your Social Media Easier

TRUE STORY: A few months ago I attended a conference (no surprise there). Throughout many of the sessions, many, and I mean MANY social media tools and programs were mentioned. I saw people feverishly jotting down the names, looking up the apps on their iPhones and such. People were all over these programs like they had never heard of them before. Owning the business that I do, I have tried just about every single one that was mentioned.

There are SO many programs out there that anyone could spend a month trying them all out and still not know which one to use or what direction to go. Trust me, I’ve been there. After five years in the social media business, I’ve seen so many programs come and go, you have to look for ones that have staying power.

So to make it easy for you, or aynone who stumbles upon this post, here’s my list of social media tools you can use to make YOUR life and your business run MUCH easier…

Social Media Management/Post Scheduling 

Being able to schedule out posts will make your life A LOT easier. However, you still have to be available to engage in real time with people – respond to questions, take care of issues that pop up – you can’t brush it under a rug. Here are four programs you can’t go wrong with. I do suggest you take the time to explore each of them on your own, rather than me list out the pros and cons of each 🙂

  • Hootsuite – With both free and paid options, this program has both mobile and desktop versions.
  • Sprout Social – This program starts out at $59/month but does allow you to try 30 days free. This is the program I have been using since I started so I would say I am biased towards it 😉
  • Buffer – A lot like Hootsuite, with the capabilities, Buffer offers a free option all the way to Enterprise levels based on your needs.
  • Facebook – Every Facebook page has the ability to schedule posts itself. This I love. For all of the Facebook pages I manage, we do this no matter if we manage their other social accounts as well.

Instagram

  • Schedugram – Even though Buffer and Hootsuite can schedule and post to Instagram, if you just need to only schedule to Instagram, this would be the program for you. It’s not free though – the cost is $20/profile.
  • Iconosquare – This one provide analytics and more marketing choices for your Instagram account and starts off at $49/per Instagram account.

Pinterest

  • TailWind – If you are seeking a program just for Pinterest scheduling, this would the one for you. They’ve just added some Instagram abilities, but I haven’t played around with that year. For annual cost of $120/account, this is the way to go for Pinterest, in my opinion. They have larger plans, but unless you want mack daddy analytics, which is what you would be paying for (and you can get the majority from Pinterest for free), go with the cheaper version.

Twitter

  • Tweetchat – Tweetchats are a great way to expand your brand online and increase your community. If you are going to hold or participate in a Tweetchat, then this program is the way to do it. You won’t keep up otherwise. Oh, and this is free.
  • TribeBoost – This program is based out of Brunswick, Georgia and does a marvelous job of helping you grow your Twitter following.

Analytics

When it comes to analytics, each platform has their own and they typically provide the best. Google Analytics provide THE best website analytics I have come across. Of course, when it comes to comparing your social accounts to your competitors, well, that could be another blog post all in itself since there are another set of sites and programs you could use. We’ll stick to this list for now:

 

I’m not going to get into photo editing and such – that’s another post for another day. These tools are here to make your business’ social media run easier so you can get back to running your business.

If you have questions about these programs, just tweet me at @memktgservices or drop me an email at mandy@memarketingservices.com!

 

 

(Disclosure: Sprout Social link is my referral link as a part of their Sprout All-Star Elite program)

How To Interview (And Hire!) A Social Media Agency

How To Interview (And Hire!) A Social Media Agency

Looking for a social media agency to ensure you’ve constantly got something smart to say online?

Congratulations! Outsourcing your social media to someone else is often a shrewd move.

However, I can tell you from experience that unless you do your homework when interviewing and hiring a social media agency, you might end up with a giant horror story on your hands.

Lucky for you, we’ve got the hard-hitting questions needed to hire the RIGHT social media agency for your business.

Social Media Horror Stories

Pathetic Posts

One client who came to us reluctantly said that their previous social media agency published posts that were “pretty out there” and didn’t relate to what they did (luxury travel with a purpose).

This client was also unimpressed by the graphics paired with their posts since the social media agency they were using at the time didn’t bother to use the company’s Style Guide to incorporate brand colors, text, and other elements.

 

Actionable Advice

Another client came to us specifically asking about reporting because the social media agency they had recently fired only sent reports sporadically!

And when reports were delivered? There was no explanation or actionable advice about why the numbers had increased or decreased — they just sat there, meaningless.

 

Ghost Town

Several clients have complained that their previous social media agencies are just plain bad at communication.

While their pages are getting posts, if they (the client) send an email requiring input, they aren’t likely to get a response until a week or later.

 

via GIPHY

These three social media agency horror stories are all too common and scary. Click To Tweet

 

How To Properly Interview Your Social Media Agency

Ask all of these 20 questions (if relevant to your business/brand) when interviewing your next social media agency:

 

  1. Tell me about your experience. How is your team structured around ours and what roles can be expected to help us with success?
  2. What skills/qualities do you/your team possess that lend(s) to online marketing and social media?
  3. What types of businesses do you currently work with? (May we have referrals from current and past customers?)
  4. Which social media platforms do you service for your clients?
  5. What do you think of our social media efforts? What could we be doing better?
  6. How often do you deliver reports and which metrics are most important to measure?
  7. How often will our team and your team meet to discuss our social strategy and/or progress?
  8. Which social media channels do you think are most relevant to our business; should each channel be used differently?
  9. What tools do you use to manage your client accounts?
  10. Does your service include using social media as a tool for customer service?
  11. Do you guarantee followers or account growth percentages each day/week/month?
  12. How will you help us set goals and key performances indicators for success?
  13. How can you help us generate leads or sales through social media?
  14. Give me examples of social media experiments you have successfully conducted.
  15. How do you handle negative comments on social media; what happens during a social media crisis?
  16. What are some Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/etc. best practices we should know about?
  17. Tell me about your biggest failure.
  18. How do you/your team stay up-to-date since social media changes so often?
  19. What deliverables can we expect during our agreement period (and their frequency)?
  20. Do you perform outreach through social media for potential leads or for influencer marketing?
Use these 20 interview questions when hiring your next social media agency. Click To Tweet

 

Answers Cheat Sheet

It wouldn’t be fair to give you all of those questions with no insight into what the social media agency’s answers should sound like!

So here you go …

 

  1. A respectable social media agency should have been around for at least a couple of years and should easily be able to explain their team workflows and how each team member will service your account. We have several different team members who work on client accounts — no matter how big or small.
  2. Social media means knowing more than just social! Consider skills like marketing, copywriting, advertising, sales and lead generation, communications, and content curation or research (just to name a few!).
  3. A good social media agency will easily be able to list clients AND give you references for both past and present customers. 
  4. Know which platforms are serviced and how experienced the social media agency is with a particular platform. We don’t service Snapchat for our clients, for instance, because it’s new and too difficult for us to “be them” through video.
  5. A smart salesperson should have already reviewed your social media sites before your call! And a REALLY SMART salesperson will already have some feedback for you on how you’re doing. ?
  6. It’s my opinion that you should have reports delivered at least monthly on your social media efforts! As for metrics, those should be customized for YOU during your onboarding (because each company/client has different goals).
  7. We meet with our clients weekly. Maybe that’s a lot but it doesn’t make sense for us to “be you” (done-for-you social media marketing) without you being involved in making that happen. 
  8. Based on what you do, your goals, and your desired audience, a seasoned social media agency should easily be able to make suggestions on which platforms you should use.
  9. Again, a serious social media agency will have a plethora of tools they use to manage their client accounts. We have a tool suite of over $100,000 in marketing and online tools that help our clients with success!
  10. This answer should ALWAYS BE YES! Whether you use social media for customer service or not if your customers are you need to be ready to own that.
  11. It would greatly concern me if a social media agency guaranteed a specific number of followers each day/week/month because that may indicate that they’re buying followers (a huge no-no). You should experience growth each month, but that percentage will vary greatly on several factors.
  12. An experienced social media agency will guide you in choosing key performance indicators and tying social media success to business outcomes.
  13. While leads and sales may not be promised, an accomplished social media agency will have several campaign ideas and work with you to create a process for capturing leads through social.
  14. The experts will have examples for days!
  15. Your social media agency should be skilled in crisis management and have a workflow for handling any negative press/comments online.
  16. Helpful Hint: A really good social media agency will tell you that you need to create your OWN best practices, as some best practices simply aren’t
  17. If they can’t tell you about at least one failure, RUN! Social media is full of failures and requires lots of testing, trials, and tribulation.
  18. Team members should be required to take continuing education or be a part of an organization that provides updates. For Instance, as a Sprout Social Founding Agency Partner, we are updated on changes immediately (and privy to special reports!).
  19. Masters of their trade, social media agencies know that customers require a LOT of education, too. These masters will have plenty of deliverables they give to you. We do not advocate “holding your accounts hostage” — so we make sure you have access to all of the same documents and workflows we do!
  20. Our answer is yes (and we feel this should be the norm for any social media agency). 
Use this cheat sheet when interviewing your next social media agency! Click To Tweet

 

Social Media Agency Red Flags

social media red flags

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s a lot of homework that goes into hiring a social media agency.

A lot of research and understanding can be gained by asking the above questions. It’s also good to be aware of red flags.

Here are 3:

  1. The social media agency doesn’t use social media for themselves (or it looks awful).
  2. They don’t blog often. (Because original content is SO IMPORTANT!)
  3. You’re told that “good social media” will save/improve your failing product/service/company. So not true; social media only amplifies what you already have.
Watch out for these social media red flags when outsourcing your social to an agency. Click To Tweet

 

When It’s Time To Hire

When you’ve gotten past all of the interviewing and it’s time to hire, there are still some areas you need to be cognizant of.

For instance:

  • Make sure you carefully read your agreement before hiring an agency
  • Ask for extra language to be added if you’re unclear or wary of particular sections in your agreement
  • Be sure you understand any/all non-disclosure language or if your agency provides this for you
  • Know what the timeframe and process is for onboarding you as a customer
  • Ensure you have a meet and greet (in person or online) with your account manager or team liaison
  • Understand the protocol for ending, renewing, or pausing an agreement
  • Get extremely specific and clear about your goals and what you want to achieve
  • Be a good client and deliver your deliverables in a timely manner — and always make your meetings!
Hiring a social media agency? Check these items off your list first! Click To Tweet

 

Finding The Perfect Social Media Agency

Finding the “perfect” agency will not be an easy task. However, you can avoid plenty of heartaches just by asking the 20 interview questions we’ve provided you with.

If you’re serious about your social media success, you should be serious about the hybrid team you’re building by outsourcing to someone outside of your brand.

Do your homework and forego the horror and heartache. Trust us!

What are your tips for hiring a social media agency? Let us know in the comment section below!

 

 

digital marketing

Staying with the Times in Social Media & Digital Marketing

Working in social media marketing, there is something new to learn every day. A new algorithm to adjust your strategy to, a new platform to try, or even a new way to distribute your content.

 

It’s important for all business owners, or at least those who run your social media, to keep up with what is going on in the social media/digital marketing world. If not, you’ll be doing things that no longer work or using outdated strategies that could lead your efforts to produce little or no results.

 

There are marketing professionals who think they know it all and fail to keep up with the newest changes. I’ve seen examples on most platforms. Let me clarify, we’re not all perfect and sometimes it will take a few weeks to adjust things to the newest changes, but ignoring them outright is never the thing to do. Here are three examples I have seen in the past week:

  • Hashtags on Facebook. These are no longer relevant folks. Yes, use them as funny sidenotes – I do that all the time on my personal profile, but according to a report from BuzzSumo last year, which analyzed more than a billion Facebook posts from over 30 million brand Pages,  Facebook posts without hashtags generated more reach than those with tags added.
  • Share contests on Facebook. Facebook updated their contest rules a couple years ago, allowing pages to use likes and comments as means of entry, but not shares. I see “Like and Share” contests all.the.time. While you have a greater chance of winning the lottery than getting your page suspended or deleted by Facebook for this, ignoring the rules is never a good business practice. Do not trust any marketing professional that says it’s okay to do this. For examples of illegal and legal contests, click here.
  • Robo-commenting on Instagram. Yes, yes, yes I know there are programs that do this for you but some just do not make sense. Example – I post a Monday Marketing Tip every Monday on my business Instagram account. The most recent one had a comment that said “Cute pic!”. Totally random. I will get random comments that have nothing to do with the image all the time. I understand not having time to engage (if you don’t, then just don’t do it), but using robo-comments is the quickest way to having your account reported as spam.

 

I’m sure you are asking yourself just how you are supposed to keep up with it all – where do I find this information? When do I make the time? Here are my top four suggestions, and I do not suggest just anyone!

 

Top Resources to Stay in the Social Media/Digital Marketing Loop

 

Scott Monty’s Full Monty

Every week Scott Monty emails out an amazing round-up of top articles from marketing/pr-sphere. You can even check out his Flipboard for the links that didn’t make the cut. You can subscribe here.

 

Mark Schaefer’s {grow} blog

Full disclosure – Mark is a personal friend, business mentor, and I do some work for him. He is a wealth of knowledge and if you spend just 10 minutes with him you’ll walk away leagues smarter. His blog, published four times each week, will prompt you to think and give you actionable items you can use. Subscribe here.

 

Sprout Insights Blog

As a member of their All-Star Influencer program, I love to share this one! I’ve followed this blog since I began my business. It is full of social media 101’s, data and metrics, and great commentary and case studies to help your business.

 

Social Media Examiner

I feel like this one has to be here. It’s where I started reading when I started my social media marketing journey eons ago. This is great for those seeking basic to mid-level social media marketing knowledge. Subscribe here.

 

Top Business Publications to Read

 

Entrepreneur

Harvard Business Review (you are limited to 4 free articles/month without a subscription)

Inc.

 

All of these can be saved to your favorite reader on your tablet or smartphone to read later – just make sure to read them! If you have someone handling your social media/digital marketing for you, pass this list on to them to make sure they are using the latest strategies for your business. You do not want to be using 2015 strategies in 2017. Trust me, they’ve changed.

 

 

Bringing Creatives Together with Influencer Marketing

Bringing Creatives Together with Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is one of those buzzwords that has been floating around for a few years but has really gotten hot in the past 12-18 months.

 

Everyone has this innate craving to be known – to be considered an influencer in their industry, whether it be interior design, cooking, art, or even… social media marketing (yes, I’m calling myself out on that one). Being an influencer is one thing, working with influencers to help promote your business is another.

 

You don’t have to me some mega-company like Chanel or McDonald’s to use influencers, likewise you don’t have to use big celebrity names either. Find those who are passionate about your brand/company who have a good-sized following (it doesn’t have to be a million followers) and start there.

 

When I attended the 2017 Southern C Summit, James Nord of Fohr Card spoke on this topic, which is something his company specializes in – bringing creatives (read: influencers) together.

 

James talked about how traditional digital media is trending towards obsolescence. Consumers are expecting more. They want to be inspired.

 

Take a look at Instagram, for example. Think back and look at how the posts have changed over the past 2-3 years. You see more creative posts involving more people. Companies are sharing more user-generated content. Brands are featuring their most passionate fans, or as Mark Schaefer calls them, your alpha audience. You see accounts with Instagram take-overs from industry influencers.

 

Enlisting these influencers, or creatives, is often driven by passion, not profit. The influencers doing these campaigns and posts for these brands/companies, are not doing it for the money (well, maybe a few are) – they are doing it because they love that brand.

 

Example: me and Sprout Social. I have been a loyal Sprout Social customer since 2012. Actually, more like a raving, passionate fan/customer. I could go on and on about why I love and continue to use their program when, honestly, there are less expensive ones out there. Sprout saw my passion for their company and invited me to be a part of their inaugural All-Star Influencer Program. I do not get paid for it. Yes, I’m asked to post about them a few times a month, which I was doing anyway, but in return for being that passionate customer, I’ve been featured on their Sprout Insights blog, gotten some awesome swag, and even had one of my largest consulting clients referred to me. I do not have a million followers. I do not live in Los Angeles or New York. I’m just a passionate, committed customer who has a good-sized following.

 

In his talk at the Summit, James Ford shared with us lessons learned from his Drink with James video series (which I highly recommend)…

15 Influencer Marketing Items to Consider

 

1. Why are people following you?

You or your client must be doing something right if you have a continual growth of your community. If people are following you, you have to deliver great content.

 

2. Have a business mindset.

If you are wanting to grow your following (or your client’s), you have to think about it everyday – it will be like a part-time job. It’s intentional, much like knowing why you are using social media in the first place.

 

3. Invest in your business.

Make sure you have the right products, equipment, education. Continually be growing as a leader in your industry.

 

4. Be consistent.

Your social feed is your landing page (think Instagram). People who visit your accounts need to know what to expect. This same principle applies to branding. All accounts need to flow across each other.

 

5. Differentiation

You have to be yourself, but you also have to be different. What makes you better than your competitor? What can you deliver that they cannot?

 

6. Build relationships

Influencers for your brand are not built overnight. They are cultivated through a relationship. This is very important. In fact, building a relationship with all of your followers (as a whole) is important. They are your reason why you have anyone looking at your social posts anyway.

 

7. Figure out what it’s worth

If you want to be an influencer, figure out what you should charge. If you are looking to use an influencer in a campaign, figure out what they charge and what you’re willing to pay (cash, trade, free product). A model James gave in his talk, for example with Instagram, take your following, divide it by 1,000 and then multiple it by 10. But also think about the niche. Real life example, @memarketingservices has 1,224 followers. Divide that by 1,000 and that equals 1.22, then multiply by 10 and I could charge $12.24 per post to a company who wanted me as an influencer. For Twitter, it’s the same formula, but you divide by 10,000.

 

8. Work the negotiation

Not all influencers want to be paid. Shocking, I know. Some actually do it simply for the exposure. And that can be big.

 

9. Cold emailing

The thought of cold-calling sends chills down my spine, but cold emailing isn’t as bad. If you are going to cold email a person or brand about an influencer campaign, do your homework first about them and have a great pitch.

 

10. Know how to have your photos taken

James suggested the subject have some alcohol first so they’ll relax, but I’m not going to advocate for that. You do what you think is best. However, whether you are the influencer or you are working on an influencer campaign, having the right photo is key. Work with a photographer – educate yourself – look at other posts for inspiration (but do NOT copy).

 

11. Know the FTC rules.

If you are an influencer for a company or you are working with one, you MUST disclose the relationship. If not, there could be legal ramifications for all parties involved. You can also use a hashtag to disclose such as #brandnamepartner.

 

12. Do NOT, and I repeat, DO NOT buy followers

Not only is this a Terms of Service violation on EVERY platform, Instagram is working on a ratings tool, much like the Twitter ones floating about.

 

13. Know your growth rates and what to look for

You want to make sure you are getting positive ROI (return on investment) on your influencer campaign. Below are some benchmarks to look for.

 

14. Speak outside your niche (go off-brand)

There are certain times and places to go off-brand. You want to stay consistent, but there will be times it’s okay to stray off the path for variety sake. Just make sure it’s relevant.

 

15. Look ahead

Once this campaign is done, where do you go next? Was this a good experience? Would you do it again? Constantly be planning for what’s coming.

 

Still considering influencer use? Here are some statistics to consider:

 

  • Influencer marketing content delivers 11X higher ROI than traditional forms of digital marketing. (source)
  • Twitter users now trust influencers as much as they trust their friends.
  • Influencer Marketing is more effective than advertising since 47% of online customers use ad block technology.
  • 73% of Millennials see it as their responsibility to guide friends, peers, and family toward smart purchase decisions. (source)

 

Have you thought about using influencers for your company/brand or have you been tapped as an influencer yourself for a company? We’d love to hear how that experience went. Share below in the comments!

 

 

 

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