At the Webby Awards, we are constantly monitoring social networking platforms to bring our fans our unique view into the ever-changing landscape of what’s happening online, in order to provoke and inspire by highlighting some of the most innovative work and trends on the Internet. One such trend that we’ve come across is what we call the “Golden Age of Complaining.” In this culture of dissatisfaction, everyone is an instant critic. Consumers are taking to platforms, such as Twitter, to air their disappointment with brands that have done a disservice to them.
Brands and companies have understood the importance of communication with their customers. Traditionally, in a somewhat antiquated means of communication, chagrined customers would call a 1-800 number or write (if you were even less technologically inclined) to express their displeasure with a company. With platforms such as Twitter and Facebook that allow for instant response and timely interaction, good brands and companies have created accounts on these sites that are staffed full-time by a customer service representative.
1. Responding requires a high-touch and thoughtful approach
Some great examples of brands that have taken to Twitter are:
- Cable providers:
- Motor companies:
Engaging customers about their complaints is one of the best ways to retain brand loyalty and encourage their continued use. That being said, there is a right way and a wrong way of communicating with customers. There are two basic categories in which complaints fall: 1.“[brand] sucks” and 2.“[brand] help” – and knowing which to respond to is important. If a Twitter user merely tweets, “@Delta, you truly suck”, how is a brand supposed to respond? There is nothing in which to engage them with. However, if a Twitter user posts “@DeltaAssist traveling with an infant and had a confirmed seat on window but got moved to aisle”, it is Delta’s duty to respond to this customer.
However, one to three tweets should be the maximum for exchanges online; after that, the conversation should be taken offline by exchanging contact information. Sometimes, the problem can be resolved in just one tweet – for example: “@DeltaAssist: I’m sorry about your seat, please DM your confirmation # so we can check your next flight for you.” This takes care of the situation head on without going back and forth.
We’ve also noticed three great ways brands are responding to their fans on Twitter:
1. Take advantage of over-share
If you’re in NYC, you’ve probably eaten at a food truck or three. The great thing about many food trucks is their ability to be mobile – they are restaurants on wheels! Brands such as the Souvlaki Truck have created Twitter accounts to monitor what they’re fans are saying about them. We recently tweeted to the @SouvlakiTruck recently about missing their food – they used to be right around the corner from us – once they saw our tweet, they responded by offering a care package to be sent to our office. The following week we were all dining on their delicious Greek food. And because they were tuned in, the Souvlaki Truck was able to be proactive and garner 60,000 impressions from our tweeting our appreciation.
2. Reveal the human side of brand
Recently, one of our interns tweeted to his colleague that we were out of sweet potato chips and hummus. Another great brand @PretzelCrisps, took it upon themselves to offer their snack as a viable alternative that goes great with hummus. They engaged him and asked for mailing address. Sure enough, that afternoon, bags upon bags of Pretzel Crisps were dropped off at our office. By revealing themselves as real people behind the social media platform and not just an automated bot that responds, the Pretzel Crisp brand was able to create a relationship with a new customer.
3. Create personal interactions
One particular brand that has an interesting campaign on Twitter is Jell-o, which launched their “Pudding Face Mood Meter” in an effort to gauge America’s current mood. Jell-o is tracking tweets that contain smiling and frowning faces and are taking the opportunity to tweet to those users that tweeted frowning. While they are cued in to the collective American feelings at a current time, they are not making the interaction personal. It seems more insincere to tweet to someone who is having a bad day: “here, have a coupon for a free Jell-o pudding” as opposed to engaging the user if it’s appropriate to your brand message. This misguided effort to connect with new fans and the connection between the brand and the message they wish to convey is not obvious.
The few things we’ve learned from the culture of dissatisfaction are:
1. That even though consumers are increasingly venting on Twitter and Facebook, certain brands are proactively transform complaints into praise.
2. Brands can strengthen their existing customer relationships and create new ones by engaging the right way.
3. As long as you make it a good story – the word will spread itself.
Guest author David-Michel Davies (DMD) is Executive Director of The Webby Awards & the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. He also serves as Chairman & Co-Founder of Internet Week New York. DMD has appeared on CNN, Fox News Channel, and Good Morning America to discuss Internet trends and news, and he has lectured to audiences at a diverse mix of conferences and companies including Interbrand, Microsoft and the Institute for the future.
Fast food establishments have been locked in a grueling social media war for several years now. A quick look at fan counts would suggest that McDonalds, thus far, is the victor. But the truth is others are catching up quickly (several competitors like Taco Bell and In-N-Out Burger are already beating McDonalds in fans per location) and McDonalds is constantly being forced to adapt and brainstorm new ways to keep customers engaged and coming back.
One of their latest attempts to capture their fans attention is a game on their Facebook page called “The Quest for the Golden McRib.” The Quest is no simple or cheap flash game but a highly interactive set of challenges that incorporates Google Maps and real world McDonalds stores. The game has loads of content and the mix of challenges will appeal to hardcore gamers as well as casual ones. When the gamer successfully completes a challenge they receive a collectable badge that they can either keep tucked away or post it to their wall to brag to their friends.
The social aspect of this has huge potential to revolutionize the way we Facebook. Gamification has begun, and you’ll probably be seeing a lot more of it over the next few years as others seek to diminish or negate the marketing edge of their competitors. Although The Quest is ultimately a rather silly game; (elves with butterfly wings and pirate hats, rapping eagles, etc.), games on Facebook are still in their infancy. You can see that advertisers are contemplating new and unique ways to keep their brands fresh in consumers’ minds. Ultimately, this is a win-win for everyone: the advertiser gets to speak directly to the consumer who is being entertained, as opposed to being forced to watch a commercial. As gamification is further utilized and perfected, expect games to become even more compelling, common, and social.
Blake Beier is an Analyst with BlitzLocal, and a big fan of games.
Didn’t get a chance to check out the Trada Webinar on making Facebook ads work for you? No worries! Here at BlitzLocal, we watched and learned, and took some notes for you. They started with an educational slideshow about the different types of Facebook ads, and finished by answering questions from the chat window. Here are our notes, and some additional article links for extra information.
The Bottom Line: Facebook Ads are the most versatile, targeted way to advertise online, and they have incredible reach.
Challenges with Facebook Advertising
- Banner Blindness
- You have to hire a graphic artist to make all the ad creatives
- Connections: The number of individuals who liked your Facebook page, RSVP’d to your event, or installed your app within 24 hours of seeing your ad or sponsored story. Basically, a connection is a conversion.
- Unique Reach: The number of individual people who saw your sponsored stories or ads.
- Social Reach: The number of people who saw your sponsored stories or ads because their friends liked your page, RSVP’d to your event, or used your app.
- Frequency: The average number of times each person saw your campaign’s sponsored story or ad. This is helpful for measuring ad fatigue.
Basic Ad Formats
- Basic Ads
- “Like” ad: Links to tab on Facebook page
- Event ad: Links to event
- Application ad: Links to application
- Standard ad: Links to specific URL
- Sponsored Stories
- Page “Like” Story: Mary-Jane likes your page, Page “like” Story lets Mary-Jane’s friends know about the like
- Page Post Story: You published a post to your page’s fans. Page Post Story allows this post to show up in fans’ news feeds
- Pages Post “Like” Story; Alex liked one of your page posts in the last 7 days. Page Post “like” Story lets Alex’s friends know about the post like
- App Used and Game Played Story: Lauren played/used your game or app. App Used/Game Played Story tells her friends about this action
- App Share Story: Hayes shared a story from your app in the last 7 Days. App Share Story lets Hayes’ friends know about the share
- Check-in Story: Lisa checked in or claimed a deal using Facebook Places. Check-in Story lets Lisa’s friends know about it.
- Domain Story: Mike liked/shared content from your website or pasted a link from your site to his wall. Domain Story lets Mike’s friends know about this action.
The complexity and potential of targeting on Facebook
- There are so many ways of targeting that it can be confusing
- Age, likes, interests, birthday, apps, education, timeline content, friends, event RSVPs, fans
- When choosing targets, focus on two things:
- Narrowing your audience
- Demo and Geo Targeting
- Geography: Country, State, Province, City or Zip targeting
- Demographics: Gender, Age, Birthday, Relationship Status, Language
- Workplace and Education Targeting
- Workplace, Education, Preferred Language
- Likes and Interests Targeting
- Favorite TV Shows, Movies, Books, Music, Hobbies, Religion, Political Views
- Thinking outside the box – Let’s say you want to sell golf clubs
- Nick (who plays golf) is an obvious target
- Barbara doesn’t like golf – but she likes the Palm Beach Country Club
- Chaz doesn’t have the word golf anywhere on his profile, but he plays golf for a living: he’s a sales guy!
- Try the obvious targets, but Facebook’s best advertisers use non-linear thinking to target ads.
Campaign Organization Tips
- An “Account” in Facebook is similar to a “Campaign” in Paid Search
- A “Campaign” in Facebook is similar to “Ad Group” in Paid Search
- Warning: Don’t create campaigns with many different targets and ads. Keep your campaigns small.
- Do not put all segmented target groups in one campaign – as your ads are competing within the campaign.
- Prevent ad fatigue, or banner blindness by changing ads frequently
- As soon as CTR trends down, submit new content!
What is a good CTR?
What images work best?
- Logos traditionally don’t work well
- Images of people are effective
- Format design keeping small size in account
What is a preferred or optimal frequency?
- Keep it small!
- 6,7,8 is bad
Any issues with click fraud?
- There is a department at Facebook dedicated to click fraud with a sophisticated monitoring team.
- More difficult to produce in Facebook than in search where you can just search to make a specific ad appear.
How will timeline affect ads/business pages?
Fans much more likely to take some type of action than non-fans.
Targeting workplaces is a great tool for B2B marketing.
What sort of company uses page post story? How breaking should the news be? What types of posts work best?
- Entertainment, news businesses using these most effectively
- Have emotional connection so people will click
Is there advertising on Facebook mobile?
- In testing, not released to general public yet.
Notes taken by BlitzLocal Analyst Matt Prater
Graphics obtained from: http://www.slideshare.net/TradaPaidSearch/facebook-ads-you-can-make-them-work and www.facebook.com.
Knowing and understanding the following, “6 Biggest Business Mistakes On Facebook,” will help any business tackle Facebook with a proper footing towards achieving tremendous marketing results.
6) Making The Wrong Type Of Facebook Page
*RcFishingWorld would be much better off on Facebook with a business page instead of a personal profile.
Personal profiles are the only pages most Facebook users will ever be familiar with, however, they lack many essential resources which business profiles otherwise would include. For example business pages give page administrators access to insights about your pages’ audience through statistical insights such as; page views, demographic views, traffic sources, and other key statistics otherwise absent in a personal profile. Even though business pages do not allow you to actually “friend request” your target market, they still give you access to your audiences news feed via the “like” button. Bottom line: make sure you make the right type of profile!
5) Not Posting Frequently Enough On The Wall
*Mortgage Advice is not engaging their 2,000 fans.
Take this business page as an example, “Mortgage Advice.” This page has over 2,000 fans, but they are not reaching out to any of their fan’s news feeds, because Mortgage Advice is not posting anything. By simply posting, “Check out Mortgage Advice… For such and such reason,” they would easily generate a couple hundred impressions and draw a small piece of internet traffic to their business, but they are not utilizing this potential. If Mortgage Advice added a few nice graphics and than reinforced their more professional look with some interesting wall posts, which were than updated and maintained, than even this business could generate some revenue on Facebook! Instead their simply letting their fans waste away.
4) Not Engaging Your Audience, or Worse Yet; Acquiring Fake Fans!
By neglecting fans, business pages are essentially shooting themselves in the proverbial foot. Edgerank and Post Quality Score are metrics of Facebook’s content management filters. Unlike the past, everything users post does NOT appear in your audience’s news feeds; information which users do not engage, is subsequently filtered out to save users time, relieving content which may be perceived as spam or unimportant to the user.
This also means fake fans will do more harm than good to your page because they bring down your engagement rates. Companies which entice clicks and engage people through interesting posts, will maintain contact, pages which do not engage their audience will be filtered out of their audiences’ news feeds all together!
Some tips for increasing your engagement;
- Make sure to respond to comments, and don’t worry about commenting on your own material.
- Never leave a fan hanging and always respond to whatever questions fans may post, positively enforcing fan engagement.
- Also feel free to “like” your own material, as this does not harm your Edgerank or P.Q.S. scores.
- There are many techniques to raise your engagement for example try to ask your audience questions, instigating engagement. Using these simple guidelines, can quickly garner huge results and massively improve your pages marketing on Facebook
*See how each post only makes impressions on 10% of CiviliansNews.com‘s audience?
3) Not Running Sponsored Stories
Sponsored story advertisements are displayed for current fans and friends of current fans, in order to spur re-engagement. Re-engagement is for fans who at one time “liked” your page, yet lost interest over time. After a fan becomes un-engaged, ignoring your page for some time, their news feeds will start filtering out your pages posts, losing contact to your audience member’s news feed. In order to regain contact with these fans you SHOULD run a sponsored story Facebook advertisement, if un-engaged fans click the advertisement than just like that, your page will start making impressions again on that user’s news feed.
A tip for sponsored story advertisements: try to focus on third party articles which positively endorse your organization. This makes the sponsored story appear as if it may have been run by a 3rd party, so you don’t look like you’re tooting your own horn.
2) Not Keeping An Eye On Your Competition
Later this year Blitzmetrics.com is going to be bringing FREE social media analytic dashboards to all businesses who sign up on their website. These dashboards will be full of information about your competitors’ social networks as well as your own fans’ engagement. However, this free product is still not scheduled for release until later this year. Until then let’s talk about keeping an eye on your competition manually.
It’s really as simple as “liking” your competitors’ pages, than following their activity in your business page’s news feed. When logged in as a business page, the business will maintain a news feed consisting of things the business page “liked.” This is useful because, by liking your competitors, you can personally monitor their actions on Facebook everyday. Commenting on your competitors’ pages is also allowed as well. Spamming a competitor’s page is an easy way to violate Facebook rules and policies, however, it is still not completely disallowed. Often times, large companies will even disregard this type of engagement because even if you’re shouting out your own page on your competitors’ walls, it raises your competitors’ engagement rates, making this tactic a double edged sword.
Ignoring your competition is a massive mistake: make sure to keep a close eye on what your biggest competitors are doing everyday. Check out how they are utilizing social networking and employ techniques that they have used successfully for yourself!
1) Being Overly “Business-ey”
Have fun! When utilizing the social networks for business, it is always important to remember what you’re doing and where you’re doing it. The social networks are still a taboo, unknown realm of marketing. Most users are young people, and most of their time on the sites are spent concerned with high school friends and ex-girlfriends, which will often take precedence over corporate marketing campaigns.
As far as posting content, remember that users are unlikely to engage with the same monotonous business messages. Try adding a bit of provocation to your posts. A sense of professionalism is always inherently mandatory, however, don’t be afraid to dive into a funny joke, funny topic, or peculiar interest. Stirring up, or aggravating fans increases engagement and inevitably will increase the volume for which your material is shared.
Hopefully these basic guidelines help you run a successful business or fan page on Facebook. Good luck!
-William Larsen, BlitzLocal Analyst
This is an article from one of our analysts, who we encourage to share opinions. It may or may not reflect the views of BlitzLocal.
Let’s say you run a business making websites for dentists. You might buy the keywords “dentist”, “dental marketing” and “dental websites” on Google. In between the consumers who are looking to get some cosmetic dentistry, teeth cleaning, or other procedures done, there is a sprinkling of dentists who are looking for marketing help.
Depending on the term, it could be 90%+ of these searches not being relevant, and at $5-10 a click, that’s a lot of irrelevant clicks to pay for to find a winner, even if that winner will pay you $10,000 for a new website.
The biggest problem with B2B is that when someone types in “dentist”, you don’t know if they are a dentist or if they are looking for a dentist.
The die-hard PPC folks will argue that you’re just not choosing the right keywords (go for more specific terms), don’t have enough negative keywords (exclude anyone searching with city terms—since these are likely consumers), or you’re not writing specific enough ad copy (supposedly, consumer won’t click on your ad if your title is “Hey Dentists!”) While these comebacks are true, they are missing the big point.
In B2B marketing, you must target WHO the user is, not WHAT they are searching on.
In search, you don’t know who the user is, but you have a clue by the nature of their search terms. In social, you know WHO the user is and you’re catching them before they search.
STEP 1: Isolate the Target
So while you can get a ton of consumer traffic by targeting “dentist” in Google, when you interest target “dentist” on Facebook, you’re targeting by job title and profession. Try it. In fact, try a number of job titles and see just how many chiropractors, teachers, plumbers, administrative assistants, and marketing managers there are out there.
Voila! Now you’ve pinpointed all the dentists, dental assistants, students studying to be dentists, retired dentists, and folks who have a dentist fetish—all of them on Facebook. Now narrow down to the specific target you want by age, location or even specialty—maybe you want to talk to just cosmetic dentists in California.
Add in lateral targets—magazines they read, associations they’re a part of, and so forth. You can read more about micro-targeting here.
STEP 2: Get Your Testimonials and Trust Signals
You probably thought I’d next talk about ads, which is what most people do. Nope, in social people don’t search—they are interrupted with banner ads. You can focus on ad copy in Google PPC because people are actively looking. In Facebook, you have to gently nudge people to take a look at you and momentarily distract them from spying on their friends, or whatever they happen to be doing on Facebook.
So you need distraction-worthy content, which comes in the form of what their friends are doing. If that potential dentist client of yours is perusing through what her friends did yesterday, she might be persuaded to click on news where those very friends are talking about your business—maybe how they used your software to get more traffic to their website, streamline billing operations, etc.
When you have a TON of testimonials (across Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and so on), paired with content that you’ve published in major outlets, paired with positive things that other reputable organizations have said about you—then it’s more likely they are coming to you versus you coming to them. Some people call this “inbound” or “pull” marketing because you’re leveraging that prospective friends to do the selling for you. Because, despite your Harvard MBA and years of business experience; sorry Charlie, they trust what their friends have to say more.
Ideally, get this content to live on your website or Facebook page, although this is not completely necessary. Let’s say that you wrote some compelling article in an industry journal. Send ad traffic directly to that site so you can leverage their trust. If you wrote your article correctly, the by-line (about the author piece at the end) will have a line or two about what you do. And if you did a good job creating real value in that article, as opposed to selling, they’ll contact you. No need to scream at them or place popup windows in their path—they’ll find you.
Step 3: Turn Your Ads On
You wouldn’t have a grand opening party without first making sure your place has plenty of food and drinks, right? In the same way, make sure you have the compelling content from Step 2 before you start advertising. Otherwise, you’re just wasting money.
Take the interest targets that you set up in Step 1 and pair it against the content you have in Step 2. Think about WHO you are talking to, not WHAT they might be searching on. For example, if they are a dental hygienist, what content is most compelling to them? What if they are a receptionist—what might they find interesting? You’ll find that you might not have super relevant content for everyone. That’s okay—you’re just testing at this stage. Later you can mix and match what combinations work best.
Note that this is NOT landing page optimization, which is more superficially about elements that comprise the landing page—the image, the size of the button, the headline, and so forth. We’re talking about the whole lead gen. lifecycle—creating a clear path between the targets, what we say to them, and what we want them to do. That last piece is the landing page—to get them to call the phone number, fill out the form, watch the video, etc.
Step 4: Run the Math
Set your Facebook campaign budgets low, perhaps $10 a day. Use the default CPC bids, since you don’t need to get into the nuances of how bidding works—this is not Google. What you care about is your Cost Per Click and conversion rates. CPC divided by conversion rate is your cost per lead, by the way. We created a calculator for your use, in case you are rusty on first semester statistics:
This is B2B, so your cost per lead could be over $100. Maybe you’re at $2 a click and 1 in 50 clicks results in a phone call. Maybe it’s a lot more because you’re selling something that costs thousands, so that a hundred dollars is an acceptable price. Or maybe you’re competing in New York City, where the price is exorbitant from all the advertisers that overlap one another from poor targeting.
Whatever the case, if you’re doing this on Facebook, you have to be prepared for seemingly negative ROI for the first few months. Why? Because we are catching people well before they are searching, so it could be months before they want that new website, CEREC machine, billing system, or whatever it is you’re advertising. With Google, the conversion timeframe might be that same visit. This is unlikely in your case, unless your product is an impulse buy and also under $100.
Some final thoughts:
We are often asked a common set of questions, so let’s address some of them here:
How big should my interest target be? You don’t need a thousand ads—just a handful that target just the people that you want to hit. If your interest target is over 10,000 people, then either you’re doing something wrong or your audience is nationwide.
Do I need new landing pages for Facebook? Probably. Video is what converts nowadays, so you probably need to fix your other landing pages while you’re at it. Camera shy? They aren’t choosing you for your good looks, so get your Flip video, some good lighting, and film a 2 minute intro. Say what you’d say if that dentist was sitting right in your office—don’t be “fake” or talk like a newscaster.
Will BlitzLocal do this for me? Sure, if you have at least $10k to spend in fees, not counting advertising budget. If you’re a dentist, we require only $2k a month in total (labor plus ad spend), since we’re targeting just one region and because our dental campaigns can be replicated. If we have to build something that is not reusable across many clients, then we have to charge more for it. We are not the cheapest game in town.
Do you offer free articles and training? I would love to use your service, but cannot afford it. Sure. Send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll send you some of our internal training materials. You can also post a question at facebook.com/blitzlocal, where others can see and benefit from what you ask.
About the Author:
Dennis Yu is Chief Executive Officer of BlitzLocal, a Webtrends partner that builds social media dashboards to measure brand engagement and ROI, specializing in the intersection of Facebook and local advertising. You can reach him on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, his blog, or good old-fashioned email at email@example.com. BlitzLocal is a leader in social and local advertising and analytics, creating mass micro-targeted campaigns. Mr. Yu is an internationally sought-after speaker and author on all things Facebook, and has been featured in National Public Radio, TechCrunch, Entrepreneur Magazine, CBS Evening News, and other venues.