IHOb - Marketing Stunt or Marketing Genius_

IHOb – Marketing Stunt or Marketing Genius?

In the past month, the media has been in a frenzy over something so simple… IHOP (International House of Pancakes) is changing their name to IHOb (International House of Burgers… Burgers?)

 

Before they revealed the inspiration behind their new name the company offered up a guessing game to see if people would guess what the new letter stood for. One of the most common answers was International House of Breakfast, which makes much more sense than burgers, and people were shocked to hear what the new letter stands for.

 

As a ridiculously brilliant marketing strategy, IHOP (or IHob…) took the media world by storm. Even other food chains are commenting on the name change, therefore bringing even more attention and press to IHOb.

 

 

All of these tweets and changes also made a huge break in the media therefore giving IHOb even more publicity.

 

Before anyone actually thinks this name change is happening, Forbes revealed that “shockingly, once we got the official word, it turned out to be merely a publicity stunt designed to highlight the chain’s new focus on meals other than breakfast.” As absurd as the internet is taking this name change, it is doing EXACTLY what it is supposed to be doing… generating buzz. Some people find the name chance comedic genius while one site even deemed this marketing strategy “a new wrinkle in the dystopian hellscape of viral marketing”. Ouch. But, just like all media, in about a weeks time nobody will even be talking about it anymore.

 

Forbes brings to attention to the essential concept of branding – a name is not the same thing as a brand. A name is what we call something. A brand is something different entirely—and far more meaningful.

 

“In an era when brands are spending millions or tens of millions of dollars to stand out from the crowd, what you’ve seen IHOP do is take a moment in time — a small event, the addition of a menu item — and made it a pop-culture event, that’s PR at its finest.”

– Carreen Winters, chairman of reputation and chief strategy officer at the public-relations agency MWWPR

 

Louise Pritchard of Pritchard Volk Consulting offers a more in-depth differentiation as she and her business partner discusses your brand story – your brand or brand story is not a marketing stunt or marketing materials, it is the essence of who your business is.

 

As far as marketing is concerned, IHOP’s recent name change is generating vast amounts of buzz. While the “burger” reveal left a lot of people confused, IHOP accomplished exactly what they were after: drawing attention to an increasingly popular non-breakfast item that’s always been on their menu.  says that “time will tell is the stunt will actually translate to sales, but there is absolutely no denying that, in theory, the campaign was incredibly successful. Consumer conversations show that IHOP popularity has skyrocketed since the announcement, turning the brand into a trending topic.” IHOP posted the announcement of the name change on Twitter, and even went further to include a quiz prompting users to guess “what could it b?” Various interpretations were presented, and IHOP even bantered with celebritiespro sports teams and news outlets, saying things like, “the blot thickens.”

 

While yes, IHOP will not actually be changing their name to IHOb and it was all simply a marketing troll – it was clever, it generated a lot of buzz for the company, and judging by the influx of IHOP being mentioned in media, it worked.

 

Why Not Everyone Succeeds in Social Media Marketing

Why Not Everyone Succeeds in Social Media Marketing

Social media (and digital) marketers are a dime a dozen.

 

They’re everywhere and many people think they can aptly manage a business’ social media accounts with no prior marketing experience whatsoever.

 

About 75% of the social marketers I got to know when I started my business seven years ago are no longer doing social media/digital marketing. Some were given other opportunities, and some just couldn’t cut it.

 

I hate to see businesses fail and people give up. I know how much time, energy, love and money go into running a business. However, there are some who just are not cut out to be business owners in any arena.

 

Harsh, but true.

 

But let’s circle back to area of social media marketing. This is an area of marketing that takes a lot of time – you have to dedicate time to always staying up-to-date with the latest changes (and there have been TONS in 2018 alone), what platforms people are using, and various ways to integrate into the overall business plan.

 

Some are good at it and some are just trying to keep their head above water. So, why is that? Here are five reasons social media marketers do not succeed – hopefully we can take these reasons and use them to show us how to succeed.

They do not take the time to educate themselves and fall behind.

Social media is ALWAYS changing (think Facebook this year alone!) and it is a lot to keep up with. If you are not dedicated to staying up on the latest trends, TOS (Terms of Service) changes and new features, you can bet your competitor is and they will take advantage of that. If you follow any of the big names in social media, you will see how they keep up with everything. Now, they may have a team that does it for them, but they do know what is going on.

 

Here are some great resources I use to make sure you stay on top of it:

 

They have no marketing or sales background/experience.

Okay, I know I’ll take some heat with that statement, but not everyone is a born marketer. I know people who have decided to start handling social media for businesses because they REALLY love to post on Facebook or Instagram. Next thing you know, they hit the streets running with no idea what they are doing or any sense of what marketing really is. Their graphics and captions are full of misspellings and grammatical errors. Out there in the world, I’m sure there are successful people in this industry with no marketing experience, but let’s admit it, that’s not common. Who I’m referring to are people who have no idea what to do in a sales call or that social media marketing is more than just posting to social accounts.

 

They could never figure out who their target market was.

This is something a lot of business owners struggle within this industry. Do you want to serve everyone or one particular niche? Many just float along until they just give up or get fed up. This is why you need to have a social media strategy and define your ‘why’ and ‘how’. Doing just those two simple things will set you on the track to success.

 

Something better came along.

This is the scenario that fits most. A better job offer came along and they completely abandoned what they were doing (including leaving clients high and dry). Who can argue with more money and a stable paycheck because, let’s face it, when you own your own business, there is no such thing as a steady paycheck.

 

Poor client management/relationship skills.

This, unfortunately, I’ve seen first hand from clients coming to me because they were unhappy with who they were currently working with. I can guarantee just about everyone working in the social media marketing world has had this happen to them – you get an inquiry from someone who is unhappy with their current social media marketing company – or marketing company handling this as a part of an overall marketing package. Communication skills are VERY important in this field. No communication skills = no clients.

 

To avoid this, stay in constant contact with your clients. Ask them what you could be doing better. Getting continual feedback from your clients will not only strengthen your relationship with them, but you will be killing it in the customer service area.

 

There are many reasons and circumstances that would keep someone from making it in this field. The five reasons listed above can actually be applied to more than just the social media marketing industry. I do truly wish all business owners the best and want everyone to succeed.

 

Why do you think people either don’t make it in marketing – or simply give up? I’d love to get your feedback!

 

Why You Need to be Vigilant About Social Media and Your Kids

Why You Need to be Vigilant About Social Media and Your Kids

What would you do if you knew your teenage son or daughter was sending nude photos of themselves to teens of the opposite sex? What if those photos were posted to Snapchat or Instagram?

 

If you’re like me, you would be absolutely furious and enraged.

 

But this is happening each and every day in small towns, large cities, public schools, private schools, and yes, even Christian schools.

 

You think you raise your children right, teaching them right from wrong, but once they get a smartphone and social media in their hands… well, sometimes what you teach them fades into the background in favor of acceptance and validation.

 

Four years ago I wrote an article about how withholding social media from your children does not make you a bad parent. I thought it was time to revisit the topic of children/teens and social media.

 

My oldest daughter is 13. She has Snapchat and Instagram. However, we set the passwords and she has to leave her phone available for us to check it spontaneously whenever we want. That was the deal. I can log in to her social accounts on my phone and see what’s going on. So far, so good.

 

However not all parents are vigilant like that. They give their kids smartphones and let them open social media accounts and never take a second look. Many of the girls in my daughter’s seventh grade class have ‘Finstas’. Not familiar with Finstas? They are fake Instagram accounts where they hide their identities and post horrible, derogatory things about their classmates – or posts that are inappropriate for their public-facing accounts. They are selective in who they let follow them because of what they post. And their parents have no clue.

 

Snapchat isn’t any better. I will say the majority of what they do is send daily streak snaps to keep days-long streaks going with their friends. Many of these are a blank screen with the word ‘streaks’. However, what gets sent via group snaps and individual snaps cannot be seen by the general public. That is where a lot of this takes place.

 

Why is all of this happening? Why are kids acting like wild college kids on social media? To put it simply – they have parents that are not checking behind them. They are not being held accountable to their actions. Parents want them to fit in so badly, that they let them do what they want on social media with no recourse.

 

Do they realize that some of things they post can get them suspended from school? Or hurt their chances of getting into college? Or even a job?

 

No.

 

Why is that? Parents are not educating themselves and their kids about the dangers of social media. My daughters are out of luck there. With a mom who owns a digital marketing company and a dad that is a Prosecuting Attorney for the state… let’s just say their every move is watched.

 

According an article from the New York Times last year titled The Secret Social Media Lives of Teenagers, “Even though 86 percent of teens say they’ve received general advice around online use from their parents, researchers at Common Sense Media found that 30 percent of teens who are online believe their parents know “a little” or “nothing” about what social media apps and sites they use. And yet, teens still say that their parents have the biggest influence on determining what is appropriate and inappropriate online.”

 

If parents would take the time to educate themselves on social media and the potential danger it can bring, most of what’s going on with children and teens on social media wouldn’t be happening. Parents are not being vigilant enough. These are our precious children and we should protect – and educate – them as long as we can.

 

Being vigilant may look like we are being nosy or being a helicopter parent, but if we are not monitoring their social actions, no one is. Here are five reasons you need to vigilant:

 

  1. You are protecting them from strangers and others who are out there to prey on our sons and daughters. Even with all the internet-nanny programs and account restrictions, that still wouldn’t stop a predator from seeking out your child. If you want to know if this really happens, I can let you talk to my husband. He’s prosecuted many cases over the years where the under-age victim was lured via social media. Just because that Instagram account says they are a 15 year-old from a high school in the next town over, it doesn’t mean they really are.

 

  1. You are protecting them from cyber-bullying. Being a teenager is hard enough without the technology, they don’t need the burden of the online bullying to hurt their still-building self-esteem. Our kids need to find their self-esteem and validation from their parents, their church, and healthy friendships. Not social media.

 

  1. They post content without thinking. Some of this content may hurt them (or haunt them) on down the road and/or hurt a friend’s feelings. Children and teens (and even some 20-somethings) are not mature enough to understand the long-term ramifications of posting hurtful content and inappropriate pictures.

 

  1. Social media can wait – it’s not going away anytime soon. Kids are only kids for so long. Let them be that. Let 9 year-olds ride around on bikes. Let 12 year-old boys play baseball or football. Encourage your kids to be active and social – without an electronic device. Remember back to when you were their age.

 

  1. Not using social media to communicate at this age allows them to be taught the proper way to carry a conversation with others. I know teens (and college kids) who could use a lesson in that. With a generation that is texting the person next to them instead of talking or Snapchatting pictures instead of enjoying an event, the lesson of how to hold a proper conversation is being lost. Not to mention their writing. I cannot count the number of times I have told my daughter that “k” or “ik” (that’s “okay” and “I know”) is never an acceptable way to respond to a text message from me or anyone else.

 

A study from Common Sense Media found teenagers (ages 13-18) use an average of nine hours of entertainment media per day and that tweens (ages 8-12) use an average of six hours a day, not including time spent using media for school or homework.

 

The world is a scarier place now than when we were all kids in the 70’s, 80’s, or even the early 90’s. The amount of information and the immediacy of communication at their fingertips is outright frightening.

 

But if we as parents are vigilant about our children and their technology – checking their text messages, checking their social accounts (that means logging in, not looking at what’s public), we can help our children navigate this and make it a more positive experience.

 

What are your thoughts/experience with this?

 

Adapt Your Social Media Marketing or Fail

Adapt Your Social Media Marketing or Fail

Social media marketing is changing.

 

The way you post, what you post, who you target – the who, what, when, wheres – it’s all changing. If you’re not adapting how you use social media to market your business, you’re going to fail. And fail bad.

 

In the past year, here’s what we’ve seen:

 

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg folks.

 

In the beginning – way back in the early 2000’s – you could just post whatever you wanted on social media and people would see. Much like the movie Field of Dreams, where the main character was told, “if you build it, he will come.” And he built it, and he came. Now that was dealing with a baseball diamond, the Black Sox, and a dad, but the theory is the same. You could post on social media and people would see it, and theoretically, come to your page/store/website. There was no algorithm dictating who saw what.

 

Fast forward to 2018 and the landscape is vastly different. Everything is methodical. Everything is done purposefully. There is a science and a psychology behind social media marketing – and it’s changing.

 

People do not want to see sales pitches. They want to see content that matters and relates to them.

 

People do not want to see fluff (think of all of those stupid videos and gag-tastic memes/quotes/graphics in your feed). They want to see meat – content with substance.

 

People do not want to have their time wasted by a business posting meaningless “Share this to win a $25 gift card!” posts and their feed cluttered by 25 friends sharing it – which, by the way, is AGAINST FACEBOOK RULES TO DO. People want to see authentic content.

 

What are you posting online? What’s on your Facebook page right now? Instagram? Twitter? LinkedIn?

 

Put yourself in your follower’s shoes. Are you posting something that would make you stop and read it, or just scroll on by. Think about that for awhile and think about that when you post next.

 

Social media marketing is going through an evolution right now. It came on the scene, people exploited it, everyone became an “expert” on using it as a marketing tool (when very few are legitimately versed in it), and now as the tide is changing, everything is being sifted out. The fluff content is getting penalized on Facebook. The fake experts are being called out. Social media marketing is changing.

 

But how?

 

It’s all coming back to the nuts and bolts of what I call marketing 101. Relationship-building. And it’s not a one-way street. You have to be active and respond to everyone. Let me type that again – you have to be active and respond to everyone.

 

People have said they want meaningful, accurate, authentic, and informative content. Adapt your content as such. Stop the fluff. Post the content that will draw them in, make them act. Reach out like the human being you are and build a relationship through social media with your community. Use social media as the communication tool, like the telephone.

 

People want more personalized experiences, especially in retail (read more about it here). Use social media to tailor the experience they have with you to them. Feature customers. Congratulate customers.

 

AT&T way back in the day had an advertising phrase – “Reach out and touch someone.” Apply that to your social media marketing. Reach out to your followers and touch them. Create an emotional connection that will turn them into life-long customers. It’s all about the relationship.

 

Social media marketing is going to be like Darwin’s theory of evolution – the strongest will survive and those who adapt with outlive the rest.

 

So how are you going to adapt?

How to Determine Success in Your Social Media Marketing Efforts

How to Determine Success in Your Social Media Marketing Efforts

I’m going start with a statement you may not agreement with – your success when using social media for your business is not always going to translate into dollars and cents.

 

Yes, your return on your social media marketing will not always be money.

 

Let that sink in. If you think you are going to make thousands of dollars for your business by using social media to market it, you are wrong. The chances are very high that you won’t make anything – in terms of dollars and cents.

 

What you determine your return for using social media to market your business is is determined by what you define your ultimate end goal as being when you write your social media strategy. Your social media strategy should include WHY you are using social media for your business and WHAT YOUR END GOAL IS of those efforts.

 

Your end goal in using social media could be any of the following:

  • Increased brand awareness (this is the most popular reason businesses are using social media, BTW)
  • Building an online community
  • Generate Leads
  • Sales

 

Your success on social media will be determined on what that end goal is, compared to the results of your social media marketing efforts.

 

However, businesses are sorely lacking in actually measuring their social media marketing efforts. Many will post and never look back to analyze what worked and what didn’t, and what they can do better or different.

 

Measuring your social media efforts is different than measuring ROI on something tangible, say an expo event or a speaking engagement. When you look at ROI, you are looking at a return on your investment, and that almost always relates to money. Measuring success in social media marketing takes looking at many different factors and bringing them together like pieces of a puzzle. Some are easy to track, some are a bit harder.

 

Mark Schaefer wrote the book Social Media Explained a few years ago and in Chapter 6 he goes into explaining why you have to measure your social marketing efforts and activities. There were 4 points he made:

 

  • There is an implied value to everything.
  • If we are expending human effort, it should be justified.
  • If you’re not measuring, how do you know you are making progress?
  • There is no excuse not to measure.

 

I’d like to call your attention to numbers 3 & 4. First of all, I want to say AMEN to number 3. Seriously, if you’re not measuring what you are doing, how do you know if it is working at all? As for number 4, if you are given an excuse as to why you can’t measure what you are doing, well, that’s just a cop out.

 

Mark also points out in the book that not all ROI (success) is quantitative – some is qualitative. There are some elements you can measure but you can’t put a dollar value on it.

 

Let me share with you what I consider to be measures of success in social media marketing (and these are in no particular order).

 

Social Media Marketing Effort Benchmarks

  • Community Growth
    • Did you see an increase in the number of people in your community? Was there a decline? Why?
  • Engagement Levels
    • Did you provide quality content that inspired likes, comments, shares, retweets, pins, etc.? If so, you would measure that a positive, if not, figure out what didn’t work and try again.
  • Offer Redemptions
    • Did you post an offer for our community? How many people redeemed it? Did you receive any leads from it?
  • Contest Entries
    • Did your contest entries provide you with any leads or sales? Did it attribute to any community growth?
  • Clicks
    • How many people clicked through your content? It could have been a picture, link, ad, contest, etc. Did you see an increase in your click-thru rate over last month? NOTE: Make sure to check your Google Analytics as well on this one!
  • Overall Sales
    • How did you overall sales look compared to the amount of time you spent on social media marketing? Can you attribute any sales increases or decreases to your efforts?
  • Conversions (tracking pixels for ads)
    • Did you track any website conversions from LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook ads? If so, was there an increase or decrease over the past month. NOTE: Check your Google Analytics too.
  • Subscribers
    • Did you see an increase or decrease in your email or app subscriber base? Was any of that a result of your social media marketing efforts?

 

As you can see, more than just how much money you made can go into figuring out if your social media efforts were successful. What you want to look for are positive increases each month, no matter how small those increases are.

 

Using social media to market your business is ultimately about relationship-building, building that trust and loyalty with your fanbase. The sales will come from that, sometimes sooner rather than later. But remember, you have to have a purpose in every action you take on social media – and remember your end goal at the same time.

 

So please share with me, how do you measure success in your or your clients’ social media marketing efforts?

 

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