Why Agorapulse is Testing Social Marketing Experiments For You

Lisa Kalner Williams, Product Marketing Manager at Agorapulse, joins the Social Pros Podcast to discuss using the scientific method to test social marketing experiments.

In This Episode:

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Full Episode Details

Experiments in Social Marketing

Start with a question, form a hypothesis, perform an experiment, analyze data, repeat. This is a basic summary of the scientific method. It probably brings to mind images of white lab coats, glass beakers, and Bunsen burners.

What if this was also how you described your day to day approach to social marketing? That’s exactly what Lisa Kalner Williams is doing at Agorapulse, and it’s all for your benefit! That’s certainly not to say you shouldn’t be performing your own experiments though!

When it comes to social, what is effective today will most likely be ineffective or out of style in less than a year. By consistently investigating and testing out new ideas, you can learn what’s working, what isn’t, and why, so you can stay on top of the trends and keep your business winning.

In This Episode

  • Why anecdotes do not equal data
  • Why effective ideas can become ineffective and vice versa over time in social
  • Why captioning is so important with video
  • How Instagram stories have become the place for authenticity

Quotes From This Episode

“I encourage people to do their own research using the scientific method.” — @kalnerwilliams

To be a social media pro, try being a social media amateur first. Click To Tweet

Resources

See you next week!

Episode Transcript

 
Jay Baer: Welcome everybody. This is a Social Pros Episode Number 307.
I'm Jay Baer, founder of Convince & Convert, joined by Adam Brown from Sales Force and Marketing Cloud, Executive Strategist, my special Texas friend.
Mr. Brown. How are you?
Adam Brown: Man, we're turning the horn here on the first 10 of the next 300. And it's exciting.
Jay Baer: Yeah. A great show today too. I'm really fascinated by what our friends at Agorapulse have decided to do with their new blog called the Social Media Lab. So each week they take a theory, a thesis, a hypothesis, a concept at FAQ in the social media world, and they put it to the test.
So one of the ones that they did recently was, "Hey! Let's say you boost a Facebook post. Does the next thing you publish do better if it's the ..." You know, "the next post after you've boosted a post," they actually put that to the test. And they found that, in that case, consistently, yes it does. It does do better. That your post after a boosted post performs better.
So all these kind of questions. I think they're doing the industry a real service.
Adam Brown: They really are. And Jay, I thought Lisa Kalner Williams was an incredible guest. And I really appreciated kind of what she spoke about, kind of at the macro and the micro level.
At the micro level, she gave us some really keen insights on some of these experiments and what's working and what's not, correlation versus causation. A lot of the things that we talk about. But at the macro level, I think what really fascinated me, and I don't know if I speak for you too, Jay, is sometimes I think we, as social pros, have gotten a little more risk averse than we were during the earlier days of social. You know, the idea of failing forward, of trying new things. I mean, I think a part of that is because it's now more expensive to do things in social. You can't test. We don't have as big discretionary funds to test things. And when things cost $10 instead of $1, it's a little bit harder.
But secondly, I think we need to be a little more brave in that particular space.
Jay Baer: Yeah, it think there's also a little bit more attention being paid to social in many larger corporations and so it does get a little scarier to fail on purpose. But Lisa and her team at Agorapulse and the Social Media Lab are helping us do just that with their really interesting blog and companion podcast. I had a great conversation with Lisa Kalner Williams, this week's guest on Social Pros.
Before we bring Lisa onto the show, just a quick reminder that the show is brought to you by Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Adam's organization, who have a fantastic ebook called, The Business Leader's Guide to Becoming a Social Business, all about how to assess the skills of your current social media team, track your missed opportunities, position social for real success in your organization, and analyze your results.
Help you make the most of your social media. Download it now at bitly/socialbusinessguide That's bitly/socialbusinessguide
Also, new sponsor this week on Social Pros. Our friends at Lightboard. Lightboard is a new kind of graphic design team dedicated to B2B marketing. Have you ever kind of struggled with like fluky freelancers or super-duper expensive agencies. Lightboard kind of fixes those problems. We use them at Convince & Convert all the time. We've been using them now for at least like two years, I think, or something like that. We love those guys.
So what we do is have Lightboard make ebooks, banner ads, logos. They even made our holiday card this year, which was kind of fun. They've got experienced designers, good account managers, project managers. They're quick, they're easy to work with, they're affordable. Really really reasonable. I highly recommend them. Go to lightboard.io/convince not .com lightboard.io/convince to check those guys out.
Without further ado, please welcome Lisa Kalner Williams from Agorapulse. This week's guest on Social Pros.
Lisa Kalner Williams, welcome to Social Pros. It is fantastic to speak with you, and really excited about the things that you're working on at Agorapulse. Tell us what your job entails as the Product Marketing Manager.
Lisa K. W.: Well, right now I'm making sure that everyone who learns about us, either through the blog, through any sort of material, understands the value that our social media management tool brings. Whether they're in a mid-size business or an agency, just finding out, "Well, there are a lot of social media tools out there. What is this Agorapulse thing? You know, how can it benefit me?" And I do that through any form necessary.
Jay Baer: Any? Wow! Exciting. Any form necessary through wrestling. Exactly. There's one option. There's through scratch-off lottery tickets. That'd be another option. Social media, of course, would be an option.
I should say that our team at Convince & Convert recently switched to Agorapulse for day-to-day kind of social media participation. Love it. Really really cool. Some interesting feature sets in there you don't often find like YouTube, Comment, Moderation, and a bunch of other stuff. So we are happy customers. Thank you very much for putting together a terrific product.
Lisa K. W.: Well, thank you. Yeah.
Jay Baer: Well, it's our pleasure. You mentioned that you will anything, literally anything, to get people to like the product. But one of the most noteworthy things that you and the team at Agorapulse are doing is publishing a blog. Now that's not, in and of itself, terribly interesting 'cause lots of people have blogs, including me, Adam, and you, and lots of other folks. But it's a very different type of blog, 'cause it's called the Social Media Lab. You can find it at agorapulse/social-media-lab It's agorapulse.com/social-media-lab and it is a series of experiments designed to answer some of the questions that social media practitioners ponder when they're, you know, two beers into it. Like, "I wonder what would happen if ..." and you have those same kind of thinking. You and I have known each other for a long long time, and you were always pondering what would work and what wouldn't work. And now you're actually putting it to the test using the scientific method in the Social Media Lab. What a cool project. And it's gotta be awesome to work on that.
Lisa K. W.: It is. I mean, for a long time we've been putting out our regular blog and talking about best practices, but we never really had the time to delve into it, say, "You know, I'm gonna put up some other projects. I'm gonna slow down what I'm doing to use like 10 sample sets and be statistically significant." And with this new venture, we're able to do that. We're able to have people who are dedicated to really getting their hands dirty with numbers and testing at all hours. You know, manual posting to Twitter to see if timing's right, and spending a decent amount of money on paid advertisement experiments. And we're excited that people are excited about it. You know, we thought it was a great idea and it was under wraps for almost a half a year, so when it went live, we just ... we're kind of waiting for a response and hoping that it was positive. And it's been nothing but that, so we're really ... we're just thrilled with the momentum of it, it's had so far.
Jay Baer: It's like incubating a child. And all of a sudden it's like, "Hey!"
Lisa K. W.: It must be really close. I'm sure there are-
Jay Baer: Now we have this child here.
Lisa K. W.: Yes, exactly.
Jay Baer: Yeah. It's amazing.
Lisa K. W.: Do they think it's as cute as we do? That kind of thing.
Jay Baer: Is weekly experiments? Is that approximately the cadence that you're trying to pursue?
Lisa K. W.: Yes, [inaudible 00:07:14] we try to do three to four organic experiments and like, organic ... social experiments. Not like a Petri dish. And one paid experiment. So usually Facebook ads, but sometimes ventures into things like Google Display Network, Instagram Story Ads, et cetera. So totalling about one per week.
Jay Baer: One of my favorite quotations in the world of digital marketing is from my buddy Tom Webster, who is the VP of Marketing at Edison Research. He is a market researcher by trade. And he is fond of saying that the plural of anecdote is not data. And I think it's a really great way of framing this up because so often, in digital marketing, and particularly I find in social media marketing, we are prone to use individual anecdotes, stories, and examples as proof that something works or doesn't work. "Well, this one time I knew a guy who did this thing with a Facebook Live, and he killed it. Therefore, Facebook Live works," or, "This one time we did an ad on Instagram that had two different pictures. Therefore, two pictures works." And that is both mysterious and frustrating to me, as somebody who comes from a direct response background, when social media marketing is perhaps the most measurable of all forms of marketing, but yet in many cases we're not using that measurement appropriately. That's why I love Social Media Lab. Because not only are you doing experiments, but you are using the scientific method to prove or disprove.
My favorite favorite favorite favorite thing about this whole blog is that in every single post you actually have a graphic that says the hypothesis is ... And you write down the hypothesis of the test. And then you prove or disprove the hypothesis, which of course, for the nerds out there, is how the scientific method is supposed to work. And I just ... I'm so enamored with you following the rigorous and, frankly, pain-in-the-ass-level process that is necessary to do the testing right. It's really really commendable.
Lisa K. W.: Thank you so much. And you know how a blog runs, and you try to keep to a schedule as much as possible. But by using the scientific method, we can't guarantee that we're gonna get decent results in a certain amount of time. You know, if you're going to assign someone a 700-word article and it has to include a certain amount of screen shots, that's easy. But when you're trying to say, you know, are you gonna get something statistically significant? Are you going to be able to accurately say yes or no to your hypothesis? It's tougher than you think and you really can't put time to it. So we've been very flexible. We have several writers. We call them our scientists at the ready in case something doesn't come on time. 'Cause we really want to stick to that method. It's quite important. It's interesting that you say, you know, anecdote versus data because we took the time, a lot of time, for two articles that were ... that dealt with things you're gonna be like, "Yeah, yeah."Yeah, this is a frequently asked question dealing with third-party apps. Do they affect reach on Facebook?" That's been a long-held FAQ.
And then we also decided to try that for Twitter because people don't talk about that quite as much. And we went into the data and we came up with our hypothesis and then we tested them and came up with our findings, again, using the scientific method. But then there would still be someone like, "That's not true! You know I tried this on my Facebook page of 600 fans once, and I got the total opposite reaction." And it's like, that's an anecdote. This is data. So we still stick with this and, in spite of some of the negative comments that we might get here and there because this indeed is more long-lasting, more sustainable, and it's hopefully something that people can refer to with confidence in the long term.
Adam Brown: What I really like about that process and that method, as Jay said, is that you go into it, and in some cases there may not be a conclusion. There may not be that correlation or causation. And I think sometimes we can learn just as much from that, because the world that we live in, as social media practitioners, is so much about being kind of at the ethereal level and then trying to kind of reverse-engineer or proof it.
My question for you, Lisa, is of all the experiments that you've done, have you had one experiment that has kind of failed, and failed miserably, but from that, because you weren't able to measure something or because something didn't happen, actually that provided some even more keen insights?
Lisa K. W.: Ah, yes, it did. A lot of it have happened with our paid experiments, and it was easy to say they failed because we could clearly see that they didn't lead to, say, click throughs or free trials or conversions, and we saw all the money we spent on the return when you get your Facebook ad results, and there's that kind of like, wanh wanh. Yeah. We had the same feeling.
So in that case, we've ... Sometimes we just get frustrated, to be honest, and hold off, and we don't have that like light bulb moment like, "Ah! We should try this!" But in other cases, we have, where we've taken a greater dataset. In the case of Facebook ads, sometimes doing a different type of targeting or a different kind of creative. It's all depended and we ... Sometimes if the writer ... Our pay writer's in Singapore. He might reach out to more people on our team at Agorapulse and get more ideas and more ... it becomes more of a collaborative process instead of just one writer doing his own thing. So that's what's happened a lot with the paid ads.
And then some of the other ones, I'm thinking of we've sent a Facebook ad. We wanted to know does sending one to a blog post or a landing page get more conversion? And the difference wasn't that significant. Maybe that's just what it is. You know, it's kind of either one will do okay, but it's also encouraged us to keep testing and a few of these, and this might be one in particular, might be one that we revisit every six months to see if it still holds true.
Jay Baer: Yeah, I was gonna ask you about that, that idea of retesting. One of the notions, hypothesis, that you ran through the Social Media Lab was whether or not using a carousel in Instagram, where you have multiple images, improves your likes accrued or has a negative impact on same. And you found that, on average, using an Instagram carousel decreased your number of likes by 25%, which is a significant and very interesting finding. Because I think some people feel like, "Well, hell! I got three photos that are pretty good. I might as well put all three of these photos up here, baby!" And your test indicates that that is actually a bad idea if, in fact, you're trying to get likes on your photos, and most people are.
My question would be do you feel like when you tested that, that one of the impacts might have been that carousels were relatively new at that point, and if you retested it down the road, say six months, at the interval you mentioned, you might have a different result only because people have become more accustomed to that kind of post? And, you know, it's not like testing some things in some types of marketing where the fundamentals don't change that much. The fundamentals and customer expectations change so much at social, that I almost feel like you have to retest stuff, because how people use social changes so quickly.
Lisa K. W.: Yes, I agree. I agree that there are instances like that like, "Oh, shiny new object! Let's test it!" And we get very excited about that. Lots of things happening with Instagram Story Ads that we're gonna have to continue to retest as more and more people use it, and as more and more users are used to seeing them.
Though in the example of Instagram carousels, I always thought it wasn't gonna do that great just because by swiping from left to right, it goes against the grain of swiping from up and down in your news feed. So that one, I'm not really sure if we're gonna see a big change going into the increase of likes. But certainly something new like Instagram carousels, as one example, we would have to retest it as it gains critical mass again, both from the business side and from the user experience side.
Jay Baer: I know you're looking to do more experiments with the video. Can you talk about some of the things you might have planned in that area?
Lisa K. W.: Yes. Yes, indeed. We've just started a weekly Facebook Live, which I'm really excited about. They happen every Friday. And we're going to do more experiments with those. You know, they're hard to do because you have to spend the time to actually create an ad, a video ad or a piece of video content. Sometimes it's an issue of time, money, who's gonna be the personality involved, et cetera. But the Facebook Lives have been great for us because they talk about our brand. They'll sometimes talk with influencers. Once a month we do talk about our lab findings. And so we're using that as raw content to test. One we're very interested in is the percentage of people who turn the sound on during a Facebook Live. It's a surprisingly low number right now. I don't know about you guys, but ours is only 18% so I ... People are watching it and eating breakfast? I'm not really sure.
So we're going to do, definitely things with sound or related to sound, or captions versus no captions, if indeed so many people are watching it without sound. We're gonna also investigate how long lives should be. People wanna do them but I think they want more parameters before they invest the time to do them. So we're going to use our own examples, again, that are standalone good pieces of content for our brand, but then also put them literally to the test.
Jay Baer: It really speaks to the importance of captioning then. If you've only got 18% of people turning the sound on, yeah?
Lisa K. W.: It's been week after week, so for the amount of time that it would take someone to caption, I think it would go a long way. But again, that's an anecdote so we really need to test it.
Jay Baer: Testable. Right. I will say, however, just because it makes perfect sense to say it right now that a new sponsor of the program actually will be officially on the show starting next week as rev.com one, of the leaders in captioning of social video and transcription, all those kind of things. We're delighted to have Rev come in aboard the podcast. I thought that would make sense.
I have one other question for you, then Adam's gonna jump in here real quick. Tell me the truth on this, Lisa. I know you and I know, and Rick, the founder of Agorapulse and several other people in the company. What I really care about is do you have some sort of bet on these tests inside the company? Because I feel like there needs to be some sort of, "Okay. I'm into this for $10, that I believe the people are gonna turn on audio 20% or less towards it," and I just feel like there needs to be some sort of money changing hands inside, and a prediction market inside the company. Are you-
Lisa K. W.: I wish it was dramatic as that, like a Superbowl grid, but-
Jay Baer: Yes! Like an office pool.
Lisa K. W.: I think that's one disadvantage of a remote team.
Adam Brown: Or cow bingo here in Texas.
Lisa K. W.: Yeah.
Jay Baer: Yeah. Cow bingo, exactly.
Lisa K. W.: Yeah, cow bingo. No, it's more just little barbs with winky faces, like, "Good luck with that hypothesis. Winky emoji." It's pretty informal. Yeah, we don't have ... I can't say that we have-
Jay Baer: Okay, well let's start doing this. Let's start figuring out what the tests are in advance, and then let's start getting predictions from the audience before the test runs. That's what we should do.
Lisa K. W.: That would be a lot of fun. And that's something we have an accompanying podcast, which I really don't wanna neglect mentioning. And they take the experiments to a different level. They add different insights that you don't see in the written word. And that's something we could definitely preview, literally, you know, be saying, you know, "Next week we're gonna launch this. What do you think the findings might be?" I think that would be a lot of fun. I think it would be more fun than the remote team bingo, but if there was chocolate involved as a prize, I might be interested.
Yeah, but because ... Yes. For example, going back to the posting the third-party apps for Facebook. Everyone who's been doing social for more than a year and a half has an opinion about that. So it would be fun to place your bets and see who comes up in the right. But yeah, no great story.
Jay Baer: Tell folks how to find the podcast then and Adam will jump in.
Lisa K. W.: We have a link right on agorapulse.com/social-media-lab We're also pretty much everywhere you find podcasts, so that would be Stitcher, iTunes, Google Play, and Spotify.
Adam Brown: That's all the big ones. Just like us!
Lisa K. W.: Yeah. Just look for Social Media Lab.
Adam Brown: And you will find it. I think the whole idea, Lisa, of what you're doing with Social Media Lab is commendable. And here's what I kind of mean by that. I think in the earlier days of social, you know, one of the mantras I always try to live by is this idea of failing forward. You know, one of the great things about social is we can try lots of new things and we kind of know and have managed our own expectations, and perhaps that of our leadership that some things are gonna work, some things are not.
One of the great positions I think you're in with Agorapulse and the Lab is that you're actually using Agorapulse media dollars to test new things. And, you know, obviously you recognize by those experiments that some are gonna fail, some are gonna do okay, and some are just gonna do amazingly well, that a four course not only informs the experiments, but informs and improves, at least when it's successful, your Agorapulse advertising.
My question for you is looking at that strategy, what would you recommend to our listeners, social media practitioners, and how they actually kind of get out of their comfort zone and begin to do their own experiments, to begin to fail forward on their own, and how they communicate that to their leadership that, "Hey! Not all these things are going to work, but we've gotta continue," just like you are with your experiments, "trying new things."
Lisa K. W.: Yeah, I always encourage people who even read our own experiments that, you know, "Don't just take our word for it," although we've spend the past two months doing it. I don't mean it with any sarcasm. I encourage people to do their own research and see what they find, using something very similar, if not identical, to the scientific method.
Now, a lot of social media practitioners don't have that kind of time to do that. I think one thing is that social media is always changing and if you just keep doing the same thing over and over again, you're going to be five steps behind, because what you did in ... We're in now ... I don't know when this is gonna air, if this is ... I'll just say March 2018. What you're doing there might not work that well in October 2018. So you need to try to be as flexible and to try as many new things as possible, that that's ... I mean, people who don't understand social should understand that whole notion of failing forward. If their leadership, whether it was in dev, R&D, business ops. If they didn't take a risk, they probably wouldn't be in the place that they are now. And the same applies to social. It's not magic. There's an art and a science, and there's a scientific process of trying things and seeing how they fair.
Adam Brown: As you look at your experiments, and as you look at the social media practitioners who are coming to your blog and those that you see at all the trade shows and industries and commerces that you're speaking with, are there any kind of actions that social media pros are doing, in your opinion, but they're doing better than they were doing maybe 12, 16 months ago? And are there any things that maybe practitioners are kind of forgetting about?
You know, one of the things that I wanna talk about here in a little bit is authenticity and genuineness. And I know ... I'll tease it here, but one of the phrases you had and the things we were talking about right before recording was the idea of beautiful brands on Instagram. I just love that phrase. And I don't wanna steal that thunder. I wanna come back to that. But any things that you look at and you go, "Gosh, you know, we seem to have forgotten, you know, how to do this. And you know what? We're actually doing this a lot better than we were." To your point, just back in October or September.
Lisa K. W.: I think people are getting wiser to the idea of having a global focus group at their disposal. That's something that I've always talked about with clients when I used to have my own social agency. Instead of having sentences and declarative statements, why don't you ask questions? And now that things are more visual in nature, you don't necessarily have to start with a capital letter and with a question mark, those kind of this versus that images. Certainly Instagram polls now, you can ask somebody, you know, which pie do you like better, the apple or the blueberry? And it can really inform everything from product design to menus to bigger businesses' initiatives. And I think people are really taking advantage of that. I mean I can't go probably six, seven hours on Instagram without seeing one of those polls that you could tell wasn't just cute and fun, but had some sort of business reasoning behind it.
So I'm really happy to see that. And that is often backed with data. Some numbers, but it's usually, you know, just one or two examples that they might have. But yes, I feel strongly that there is, especially with Instagram, which used to be my specialty, a loss of authenticity. I used to compare, back in the day, Pinterest to Instagram. You know, how are they different? 'Cause those were two visual social channels that came out more or less the same time. I know someone's gonna be very picky about that more or less the same time. And I used to say that Pinterest was the art gallery, like the beautiful art that you see that's somehow untouchable, but you love to look at it. And Instagram was your tour guide, giving you behind-the-scenes of those pictures saying, "Oh, you know, he did this, when ... this drawing when he was dating this person or when he was suffering from, or she was suffering, from pneumonia." Used to get the backstory.
But somehow, Instagram is now merged into a Pinterest type of category where now Instagram images are the pieces of art that you see in the gallery. You're no longer really getting the backstory. And that's something that I think is missing. I'm not necessarily saying I need a different type of ... I don't need two Pinterests. I'm not saying that, but if the whole idea is to be more authentic, and to be social, and to be human, and all those phrases that we hear at social media, speech after speech, having kind of those perfect idealized images and phrases isn't going to get us very far.
So I'm just noticing it more and more. It's actually easier to make inauthentic photos of great smoothies and the coffee on the table with the perfectly placed book and all of that, than it is to just take a picture of yourself in kind of a rough moment.
Adam Brown: Would you argue that Instagram's stories is where that authenticity lies now? That the curated gallery-worthy photo that may lack some of the grave authenticity in humanity is Instagram regular, and the more authentic kind of run-in gun, here's what we're really about, is stories? Or do you not see it playing out that way?
Lisa K. W.: Yeah. No, I do. And that's where I'm really excited that we're talking more about stories both on a regular blog and on the Social Media Lab, and that we're investing more time in ads. Even the ads tend to be slightly more authentic in nature. And so, but I know plenty of people who don't read stories. My hope is that more and more people read stories and that that vibe of stories, which is like a selfie, "Hey! Look at me! I'm rushing to the airport right now." That's usually not something that you would see in the regular feed. But you would see it in stories.
I hope that more and more people keep that, "Hey! This is really me. I'm sweating. I'm about to miss my flight," kind of feeling. Not that I want anyone to miss their flight.
Adam Brown: It's sort of a documentary film versus a produced film, right? Which is a script-
Lisa K. W.: Yes. Movie stills. Yes.
Jay Baer: How often do you run a test in the Lab and then you and the social media team at Agorapulse who are using social to sell software like, "Oh, man! We gotta totally change our strategy now because we've just tested something that we thought worked." I mean, are the results of the tests being fed back into your own social strategy? And are you making changes to what you're doing as a result of what you learn in the tests?
Lisa K. W.: Yes. And it was unintentional. We brought Scott Aires, who used to be at Post Planner On as our lead social media scientist, and only is that. But then we saw a great opportunity for him to also take over our social media management. And so he's definitely not only using the social to fuel some of our experiments, but also taking the findings, including hashtags, you know, which platforms does it work best on? How many should we use? I'm taking that data and making our social better.
So yeah, we're really excited to have that opportunity in our own marketing. But as a ... That's in our own marketing. And then, as far as our tools go, we've had a really interesting one happen where one of our first tests was saying ... It's an Instagram one as well. If you convert from a regular account to a business account, how does that impact your reach and engagement? And we found out that it has a negative impact on reach and engagement.
Well now that Instagram is allowing you to publish directly, schedule posts directly, you have to have a business account. So now, as a brand, we have to tell the ... "You must have a business account. That's the only way you can get this great feature." And then we're thinking in our heads, "Even though it doesn't give you great results because we tested it." So it's been interesting how our findings, and then the tool itself, how there might be some discrepancies.
Adam Brown: Obviously, none of us work for Instagram here. Jay? I'm gonna speak for you here, but I'm guessing you're not compensated by our friends there at Facebook and Instagram. But I'm curious. You know, one of the things that, Lisa, in the recent news, and as this hits in March. You know, we saw just a couple of weeks ago that Snapchat's continuing to have issues with kind of deprecation of their users. I think one of the Kardashians had said that she thought that Snapchat was dead. The stock dropped 20%. The UI issue is continuing to thwart them.
Do you believe ... First off, I'm curious how ... what you feel about Snapchat. I know you're more of an Instagram person, but how do you feel about Snapchat, and secondly, obviously LinkedIn is watching this. Ah, not LinkedIn. I'm sorry. Instagram is watching this very carefully in terms of how their positioning Instagram stories to the algorithms that you just spoke of.
What does this mean for personal pages versus brand pages on Instagram? What does this mean for paid actions and what do you think of, if we were sitting here 365 days from now, Lisa, how would we be looking at the social visual landscape?
Lisa K. W.: I don't think that we would be seeing Snapchat in that landscape any more. And I don't think it's because of a ... No, I can't remember if it was Kylie or the other Jenner. Whoever said, "Yes. I don't think anybody's on Snapchat any more," or however it went down. I think people didn't quite know as marketers how to measure it, and seeing the ROI, so I think some folks have already backed away from it. We're hearing that yes, more and more influencers are ... Well, first of all, influencers weren't courted in the way that they should have by Snapchat. And I think they went elsewhere. I think that's where Snapchat had its little special sauce, but also in its discovery. I think if more and more publishers that are in Snapchat find a way to be in Instagram or if Instagram allows more news, like from Buzzfeed, the Daily Show, all those fun sites that have kind of news, entertaining news. If they can somehow capture that without ruining their vibe, I think that would be kind of the death knoll of Snapchat.
Even for younger folks, and this is anecdotal, but you did ask for my opinion, so I feel a little comfortable saying it. I happen to have a tween at home and I'm very interested in what tweens are up to. Snapchat was popular but now there are so many other things that they're playing with, that even as personal users, if it went away, I don't think there would be a big like Disney-generation uprising. There's musically, and tons of people are on Instagram, and she's just asked me last week to be on Twitter, which just kind of blew me away.
So, yeah, I guess the short of it is I don't see them in the landscape six months, a year from now, and I don't think that Instagram necessarily even has to make that move about courting publishers. I think it just might happen by natural attrition and by their lack of really supporting influencers.
Adam Brown: One last question on Snapchat because I don't want this to be the death knell of Snapchat show. But I am curious, kind of, from your opinion, you know, how much of kind of where Snapchat is today is, you know, because of the issues with them completely re-changing their user interface in the way that Snapchat has worked on most people's devices.
Number two, and this is I think a challenge and it should be a wake-up call for all the social media platforms, the lack or kind of very murky space of APIs to allow tools and technologies and people to be able to get in and publish and exchange data.
And then the third is, as you said, kind of focusing on that younger demographic and making sure that you're not only creating new followers and getting interest from new followers, but rewarding and recognizing, and nurturing those top performers and top Snappers.
Lisa K. W.: So pardon me. So what would the question be related to those three?
Adam Brown: Which one do you think kind of make ... If you had to say, "Okay, here's the reason, from where I sit, Snapchat is having a little bit of trouble right now." Would you put it in one of those three buckets? Or would you say, "No, Adam! It's something entirely different."
Lisa K. W.: I do think it's different. I think that, you know, some of the big brands did Instagram well. You know, you'd be in downtown Manhattan and you would see like, you know, the huge ghost, and you would have to snap it to find out what ABC's up to, or Maelstrom's up to, but people who didn't have that kind of money to invest in Snapchat campaigns did not know what to do with it besides taking like funny pictures, or like enhancing their eyes, or adding bunny ears, or having rainbow vomit come out. I think for many mid-size businesses and agencies, which is our tool. We focus on them. They never knew what to do that would generate clicks that would start new orders or new trials. I think that is the biggest issue in terms of them reaching critical mass with a business audience.
Jay Baer: Although I think we should acknowledge that Snapchat, for the first time, released a profitable quarter just a couple of weeks ago when we're recording this. So while I think that the [inaudible 00:36:00] to be made that they're usage is becoming more selective, I don't know that that's necessarily, inherently, a prob. And I wrote about this a couple of years ago when they first started to sort of be knocked off by Facebook, and all the Instagram kind of features that were initially Snapchat innovations, got rolled into the platform stories, et cetera. What I wrote at that time, and I still believe this to be true, is that a smaller Snapchat, a more homogenous Snapchat is a more successful Snapchat from a business standpoint. That Snapchat which is the dominant playground of young people is a very viable commercial entity. A Snapchat that is kind of the second or third favorite from a bunch of people is not as viable of a commercial entity. So I don't know that in their case ... I wouldn't say this for all platforms, but in their case, I don't know that smaller is necessarily worse from a business perspective because if the audience is more homogenous, the audience is easier to buy from an advertising standpoint. So we'll see how that shakes out. It could have just been a lucky quarter. I'll be very interested to see what happens next quarter.
Also, just as I'm talking about profits, Twitter also had their very first ever profitable quarter at the same time. So the two things that we've been saying over the last year, "Boy, I don't know about Twitter. They're having some problems. And I don't know about Snapchat because they're having some problems." Both of those came out with their very first ever profitable quarters in the same quarter, which is fascinating, I think.
Adam Brown: What's gonna be interesting to see what happens with Facebook.
Jay Baer: Yes. I mean, obviously, the new results just came out to show that Facebook's usage has declined for the first time ever. That is research from Tom Webster at Edison, who I mentioned at the top of the show. First time ever in the history of Facebook that we're seeing a decline in usage, which is pretty interesting.
Now, that's decline in Facebook normal. If you take Facebook plus Instagram plus Whatsapp plus Facebook Messenger, of course overall usage for the entirety of the co-creation goes up, but Facebook in normal has gone down. At least in the US. So, you know, you gotta have that caveat as well.
Adam?
Adam Brown: No. I think one of the other things, Lisa, that I think is interesting and you harped upon this with the beautiful Instagram and I kind of wanna go back to that, 'cause I think it's a fascinating topic.
Do you believe that the level of authenticity is different on different platforms? In other words, if you had to kind of force rank, right now, as we sit here in March of 2018, the authenticity level of different platforms, where would you put ... And I'm gonna focus more on live, streaming live here, but what is it, is it? You know, Facebook Live versus YouTube Live versus Instagram Stories versus Snapchat? Where can brands really be themselves, and where do brands need to bring in the Photoshop and the airbrush proverbially here. 'Cause, you know, I've been noticing a trend, at least for YouTube and Facebook Live, of going away kind of from the authentic stuff to stuff that looks more like, you know, an anchor desk, where you've got two talking heads there and this looks like I produced a like 30-minute news program.
Is that true for all the platforms in your opinion? And is that the right thing or maybe not so right thing?
Lisa K. W.: Yeah. I've seen more and more, exactly as you described, where if you turn in one week versus another, you'll see the same exact set-up, like you would with any other news program. I would say, in advice to people who are looking for a platform, I often tell them to start with Facebook for the primary reason that, out of all of the platforms, they are probably used to seeing something similar on Facebook. They're used to pressing the buttons on Facebook and I think, for that reason, because it feels more natural to them, there will be a tendency to be more authentic.
Many brands aren't regular Instagram users and for them to go on Instagram Live, there just wouldn't be ... especially because it's just so mobile in nature. It could be out of the comfort zone for some people. So as a result, they might want something staged, where they're comfortable with a very discreet format that repeats time and time again. Yes.
So if you wanted to be authentic, I would say it's Facebook, but there is the issue there of, you know, what's the audience that you're trying to reach. Younger demographics we know have not been going there because their parents are there. So it is tougher and tougher to find that area that one, has your audience, and then two, gives you that leeway to be your authentic self and really show a genuine value proposition.
Jay Baer: Lisa Kalner Williams, the Product Marketing Manager at Agorapulse, and proprietor of the Social Media Lab blog agorapulse.com/social-media-lab and the companion podcast with the same name. Look for Social Media Lab.
Lisa, I wanna ask you the two questions that we've asked every single guest here on the Social Pros program here as we are talking to you on Episode 307 of the podcast, if you can believe that.
Question number one, Lisa. What one tip would you give somebody looking to become a social pro, other than reading the Social Media Lab blog, to learn what works and what doesn't work. What would be your other tip?
Lisa K. W.: To be a social media pro, just try being a social media amateur first.
Jay Baer: Aha! Well said!
Lisa K. W.: I mean, that's how I started. I told someone ... It was a local consignment store. I said, "I'll do your social free for three months, and if you like it, you can start paying me for it." And that's how I lit into my first client.
There's the Chamber of Commerce. There's your kid's daycare or piano school, or whatever it is, just to get your feet wet and that's certainly whatever, and when you're doing it for free, you can test more stuff because they're not saying, "We paid you X amount of dollars to get this right." So I definitely say get your feet wet without getting paid, and you'll have plenty of stories to tell the clients that will eventually pay you.
Jay Baer: I love it. Well said.
Last question for Lisa Kalner Williams, from Agorapulse. If you could do a Skype call with any living person who would it be and why?
Lisa K. W.: Rats. I know you ask that question, but neglected to think you would ask it to me. Okay. I might say President Jimmy Carter.
Jay Baer: I did not see that one coming. Did not see Jimmy Carter coming on this one. Great. Please, continue.
Lisa K. W.: I just remember the ... this dates, man, though it's still on. Saturday Night Live skit they had of Jimmy Carter being able to like answer nearly any question including like someone who was tripping on LSD. He like talked them down from an LSD trip, giving advice. I mean, he knows about peanuts. He knows about politics. He knows about poverty. He knows about Atlanta. I just ... And he seems very genuine. He speaks slowly, so I would understand what he's saying. I like his Georgian accent.
I know you said dead or alive. I'm just thinking if I would prefer alive and I'm not sure how many years-
Jay Baer: I think we said alive actually. I think it's only living people is the-
Lisa K. W.: Oh, alive? Well that's ... Oh, okay. Only living. Well, even more reason for me to see him, just because his time is, it's-
Jay Baer: It's perhaps short.
Lisa K. W.: Yes. So, yeah. James Earl Carter, please.
Jay Baer: I love it! That is a fascinating answer. Thank you for mentioning it. We'll put that into the archives of everybody who's ever asked and answered that question. It's fascinating to go back and look and see what people have said over the years, the seven plus years of the Social Pros Program.
Lisa, thank you so much for being on the show. It was fantastic to have you. Congratulations on all the great work at Social Media Lab.
Ladies and gentlemen, make sure that you are bookmarking or subscribing to the RSS feed, the email, newsletter, all those things. The podcast is called socialmedialab@agorapulse.com/social-media-lab
Lisa Kalner Williams. Thanks so much for being here.
Lisa K. W.: Thanks to you both.
Jay Baer: It was absolutely our pleasure.
Tune in next week for another whiz-bang episode of Social Pros, where I believe the schedule says that we're gonna be talking to Phil Mode, who is the Head of Market [inaudible 00:44:02] or Marketing for the Calgary Stampede, one of the largest and most crazy rodeos in the whole world. We're gonna talk to Phil about how he handles that in social.
So we're gonna be talking about bulls and bronc riding and all kinds of stuff, Adam.
Adam Brown: I'm wearing my boots and my cowboy hat in preparation.
Jay Baer: I love it. That's gonna be a good time.
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you so much for your time and your attention. Adam and I appreciate each and every one of you. We will see you next week, and this has been Social Pros.
 
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