Tag Archives: Advertising

Social Media Strategy

On to day two of my social media rampage…

Last post I wrote about deciding whether or not your company should engage on social media. Now assuming the decision has been made to have your brand on social media, the question is what should you be posting about? While some may subscribe to the “no press is bad press” mentality and post everything they can, I don’t think they’re doing themselves any favours.

Like all marketing and communications, anything posted online should be:

  • On brand
  • Relavent
  • Timely
  • Meaningful

Because of this, there is a certain amount of planning that should go into the process. Determining the brand’s tone and personality will go a long way to helping coming up with appropriate content that is going to enhance your customers’ view of your company, rather than just be noise that is lost in the sea of other worthless posts.

Below are my favourite types of posts:

  • The fun update. If your company, some employees, one of your clients, etc. has something fun and exciting going on, post about it. It’s the most “human” interaction you’re going to get with your followers, because it isn’t usually driven by an agenda and it will be relate-able.
  • Industry news. Posting information related to your industry which your clients would find relevent. This shows that you care about keeping them informed and positions your company as an expert in the field, without having to create any content on your own.
  • Event reminders (sparingly). If you have a big event coming up (holding a conference, Boxing Day Sale, etc.) then using social media to promote is a natural. Just don’t be using it too much, because you could end up burning out your list and having people unsubscribe from your updates.
  • Brand-enhancing randomness. This one is a little tricky, but could be a good filler post. Depending on what your brand is and stands for, some random internet posts could be a good thing. If your a pet groomer and see a funny cat video, why not post it? If your a financial services firm, maybe not. Up to you, but be careful.
  • Created content. I (as a blogger) would rank this as one of the most powerful. If you are able to generate content about your industry internally or through the use of a ghost writer, this is the best kind of post. Drives people to your website, shows you know what you’re talking about, all those good things.

There are also some things on social media that I can’t stand. This is obviously just my opinion, but I can’t really see this doing anything for the companies that put it out:

  • Share / like / retweet contests. This is bad for at least two reasons.
    1. If you think you’re “tricking” people into following you, they’re not the right people. They will unfollow you as soon as you’re not offering anything and won’t have meaningful engagement with your brand. If they don’t like you in real life, it doesn’t really matter if they like you on Facebook. They’re not going to buy.
    2. This is the equivalent of couponing. You’re going to attract price sensitive consumers who are only loyal to who is giving the best deal. I always think of my mom, who only has a Facebook account to enter contests. Hasn’t even friended me yet and never goes on for any other reason.
  • Constant product profiles. If all you’re doing is showcasing your product, people will get annoyed and not pay attention to any of your ads. The occasional product profile is ok, but there needs to be meaningful content along with it.
  • Nothing. If you’re not doing anything, for the love of all is good, close down the page. I would say if you’re not posting something at least once a month, there is little to no use for you to be on social media, so get off.

When coming up with your strategy, just remember it isn’t about posting the most or having the highest number of followers. It’s about meaningfully engaging those who want to be associated with your brand and strengthening your image with them. If you are doing that, then you will continue to attract and engage the right audience.


Scary Social Media

Mainstream social media has been around for a few years and it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere any time soon. Like all new communication mediums, there is both excitement and anxiety about your company marketing along this new channel. It’s best to step back, take a breath and tell yourself it’s all going to be ok.

First, although it is something new and different, the basic principles of selecting advertising mediums still apply. Every time there is a revolution in information consumption, there are marketing opportunities close behind. In that sense, the recent boom of social media can be likened to the first online advertising, television, radio and even print media. Social media is just the latest in a long line of innovations, but it’s not likely to be the last.

While there may be “marketers” out there using scare tactics to try and make business owners and marketing managers believe that if their company is not on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest, etc. they are dead in the water, in many (or even most) cases that simply isn’t true. It all comes down to whether or not your customers are using the medium or not.

To put it another way, if the customers you are targeting aren’t going to engage with your company on social media, it doesn’t really matter if you are on it or not. The same way a company doesn’t have to advertise on tv, or in the newspaper, or on the radio, and on and on. It’s that simple.

The thing that sucks people into thinking they need social media, if I were to take a guess, is two things:

  1. The fact it’s free, and;
  2. The fact your customers have the chance to interact with you.

Neither or those are particularly true, nor are they necessarily appealing as they seem.

First, posting online may be free in terms of dollars (though Facebook is trying hard to change this), but there is always a time cost associated with everything that you do as a business owner. If you’re taking the time to come up with meaningful posts, that is time taken away from other tasks, usually in the middle of the day. This time adds up and if none of your clients are on social media, it’s spinning your creative wheels while getting nowhere.

The second fallacy is customer interaction. While it may be true, unfortunately the interaction is usually negative. Few people will take the time to say something positive on a company’s Facebook page, but everyone will post a complaint. This is a public venue and you will want to deal with it quickly, taking up more time in your day.

At the end of they day you need to decide if social media is right for your brand. If you truly thing you will win loyal customers from it, then all the power to you. If you doubt that your market is even paying attention, focus on other efforts and don’t let some marketer bully you into it.

Be Adaptable

Apparently I’m on a bit of a roll this week with the posts that can be applicable to one or more of my categories. I don’t know if that means I’m thinking holistic or being lazy…

First, I have a confession: I’m terrified every time I go to a booking with the booth. The most anxious I’ll ever get, in fact. I used to think it was because I worried whether people would like it, but after doing close to a hundred events, I realized that isn’t the reason.

What it is, I now recognize, is that the setup is never the same twice. Even if I’m going to a repeat venue, or even a repeat event, there’s something that I different that I have to do and I just have to roll with the punches.

This can be said about any aspect of business ownership. Never mind stressing about how set up will go, I don’t even want to get into the non-event related mini heart-attacks I’ve had, but it all comes with the territory. If I can say so myself, I’m getting better at dealing with these, and dare say able to have some fun. It’s important to remember that no one is going to die. Maybe business pain is like physical pain; we don’t have the ability to actively recreate it in our minds.

This bleeds into the need for individuals to be flexible. Things come up at work and in every day life. Nothing’s worse than when you realize the person you’re needing to solve a problem is a “freaker outer” or even worse, the person who lashes out when they get stressed. Every time this happens I want to remind them that they’re not important enough to be freaking out as much as they are, but usually resist the urge.

And now the bit of a reach, but I think it’s applicable: marketing. Especially with the reduction of advertising lead time and venues like social media, being able to adapt is moving from a smart tactic to crucial.

The example I like about this is how Oreo handled the Super Bowl blackout. While a number of companies reacted on social media, I think Oreo took advantage in the best way.

The short version of the story is that when the the blackout occurred Oreo sent out a tweet saying, “Power out? No problem.” The following picture was sent as well:

Oreo Ad

The reason I love this ad is that it is not trying taking a jab at the competition, not is it making a cheap joke at the expense of the Super Bowl. It is making a simple statement, which is obviously true, based on real time events and it wasn’t a hard sell. If someone had Oreos in the house, I would have to think it made people think about going to grab some.

By Oreo, a small business or an individual showing that they are adaptable inspires confidence and respect. It is the thought that if they are able to handle this, then of course they can handle something else. That’s why I’m going to keep trying to be as much as possible in as many aspects of my life.

There’s a First For Everything

This post is going to be a bit wide-reaching. I considered breaking into a few more specific posts, but came to the conclusion they would all read the same anyway, so I might as well keep it all together. The theory is the same no matter what: people, products and strategies need to be given a chance.

I’ll start with marketing, because that’s what I live every day. The number of business owners who describe their business as “a word-of-mouth business” always amazes me. While it may be true for their business at the time, that can be said about any business that refuses to market itself in any other way, because word of mouth is all it has going for it!

In this case, it is a classic example of taking the effect and making it the cause. Your business relies on word-of-mouth, because you don’t market. It is illogical to take the outcome (only being promoted through word-of-mouth) and use that as the reason not to take action (promoting the business in other ways). It should be no surprise that the business won’t grow at a very quick pace after a point.

The other examples are more catch-22’s: giving a business or individual a chance at something new.

For people it mostly has to do with job postings. Not that I’m constantly on the hunt, but I like checking them out of pure interest. The number of times a posting states it’s for an “entry-level position” and the next line states “2-3 years of experience required” is astounding. To me the two shouldn’t be allowed to be in the same description. Do you want someone entry-level or with experience?

Unless you’re moving within industries, between very similar companies, it is unlikely that an individual is going to possess every bit of knowledge in order to do the job to their fullest potential. Businesses need to hire with the expectation that there is a learning curve and give the person a chance. Otherwise there will never be any skill development in the workforce.

The last example I wanted to give is very similar to the above, but it relates to businesses. Every business has a first customer. I know that it feels much safer to buy from a place with a proven track record, but they all start somewhere. What’s more, if you are looking for a specialized product, you may have to take this chance.

I guess the moral is that there always needs to be a first, so when it is up to you to make that leap, don’t be scared. Do as much research and prep as you can, but at a point you just have to trust others.

Super Bowl Sunday

I love the Super Bowl. It’s the biggest annual sporting event in North America and as a fan of sports and football I’m always excited to watch it.

Aside from the football game the Super Bowl is also one of the pinnacles of marketing. It’s not secret that in recent years TV has been falling from its once lofty heights in marketing’s good graces. The way we are viewing TV is changing, which is troubling to advertisers.

You don’t have to think too hard to know what is happening. With the popularity of the DVR, programs are being recorded and the commercials are skipped over. There’s also the issue of online subscription-based services that offer a selection of TV shows and movies, at the fraction of the price of traditional cable. You are also able to watch the shows on demand, meaning you keep your own schedule.

While it’s not like everyone is running out “cable cutting” and there will be no cable in a few years, the fact that young people (once the sought after high-spending demographic TV could reach) are choosing to forgo cable service is shifting the status quo. I have Netflix and probably watch that more than I use my cable service, and I’m not alone in that.

The exception to this trend is, of course, sporting events. People are still watching them live and with no solid service which you can view sporting events online, fans are keeping their cable. An engaged audience who are not skipping the commercials is a marketers dream.

The Super Bowl is the mack-daddy of all North American sporting events. Consistently over 100 million people watch the game and the commercials have become more of a spectacle than the half-time show, for some. People want to see what advertisements are being debuted.

The NFL and networks, of course, know this. This year a Super Bowl ad is costing upwards of $4 million for 30 seconds. Take into account the cost of making the commercial and you have some serious cheddar being dropped for a one-time spot.

This raises the question of whether or not the cost is worth it. This year in particular a Kate Upton Mercedes ad has been getting some attention. There have been some commentators wondering whether Super Bowl watchers are the primary audience of Mercedes and if the ad is worth the cost (i.e. are they going to sell 5,000 more cars than they would of without the ad).

There are arguments for whether or not the ad was worth it and I won’t go into it. At the end of the day I believe that if you have the money (Mercedes does), the ad is interesting (the close to 7 million Youtube views in about two weeks proves it is), and you’re not selling a product that the average Super Bowl watcher doesn’t want (plenty of football fans want a new car), then buying the ad isn’t a bad play.

This form of advertising is brand building. I doubt that the marketers over at Mercedes expect a huge rise in sales over the next few weeks, all on the heels of the ad. It’s a longer term investment, where the car company gets the attention of millions of people and tries to leave an impression. Not to mention with the internet these days, all the fallout traffic they can get with the ad (especially with people like yours truly linking people to it).

To me, the ultimate example of this strategy is Apple’s 1984 Super Bowl ad. When viewing this ad it is important to remember that home computing wasn’t even a thing yet. That ad basically tells you nothing about a new product, which is in a category you didn’t know existed, and you don’t know why you’re supposed to care. And the rest is history.