This is Episode 28 of the Social Pros Podcast : Real People Doing Real Work in Social Media. This episode features Katie Richman of espnW. Read on for insights from Jay Baer plus Eric Boggs‘s Social Media Stat of the Week (This week: interesting Facebook contest engagement stats from Wildfire.)
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Huge thanks to data-driven social media management software company Argyle Social for their presenting sponsorship, as well as Infusionsoft, Janrain, and Jim Kukral at DigitalBookLaunch. We use Argyle Social for our social engagement; we use Infusionsoft for our email; Janrain is our crackerjack social integration company, and Jim is our guest host for the podcast (and a smart guy).
Social Pros Transcript For Your Reading Enjoyment, Thanks to Speechpad for the Transcription
Jay: We are back with episode number 27 of Social Pros, the podcast about social media professionals. I am Jay Baer joined as always by my pal, the CEO of social media management software empire Argyle Social, Mr. Eric Boggs. Eric, how are you, sir?
Eric: Doing just fine, Jay. Empire is very generous, thank you.
Jay: Well, everything is an empire in social media.
Eric: There are definitely a number of empire builders in social media. I will give you that.
Jay: Indeed. What have you been doing? Have you been watching the Olympics? What’s going on with you?
Eric: A little bit of the Olympics. My wife, interestingly, did a girls’ weekend at the beach, so it was me and my one-year-old by myself all weekend. It’s pretty cool.
Jay: Is that the first time you’ve flown solo with the baby?
Eric: Well, I had a little bit of help from grandma and grandpa, but I did have a lot of solo time. Not the first time, but this was by far the biggest chunk.
Jay: Nice. You have survived obviously?
Eric: Oh, man, piece of cake, piece of cake.
Jay: Don’t say that too loudly, because grandma and grandpa will be like, “Well, if he doesn’t need us, we’re just going to stay here.”
Eric: I doubt that they’re Social Pros listeners.
Jay: See, you can’t even get your grandparents to listen. I guess it would be your parents, your child’s grandparents.
Eric: Yeah, it would be really embarrassing if they listened.
Jay: Yeah, probably so. Well, you could maybe make them a DVD collection of the show at some point. We have a very good show today, a very good show. Speaking of women and sports and things along those lines, we have the the Director of Social Media Strategy for espnW. Ms. Katie Richman is going to be joining us on the program today.
Eric: Yeah. Jill from Argyle bumped into Katie at an event not too long ago. We made the intro, really happy to bring her in to the conversation in a bit.
Jay: As we are discussing this, the U.S. women are playing the Canadian women in the big soccer semi-final. I don’t know if that game is over yet. It was in overtime last time I checked.
Eric: Yeah, well some of the sales guys at Argyle got really excited a few minutes ago. I was like, “Oh, good.” Turns out the USA women scored a goal.
Jay: You thought it was a giant sale?
Eric: Yeah. I was like, “Oh, we got that one we’ve been waiting on,” but no, it was a goal, whatever. That’s good too.
Jay: End-to-end Olympic streaming coverage is the death of American productivity, even more so than Twitter and Facebook. Let’s take a second before we jump into today’s topics to thank our other sponsors beyond Argyle Social; our good friends at Infusionsoft, email and CRM guys that we use at Convince & Convert and for Social Pros; our friends at Janrain, amazing social sign-in and social appending service out of beautiful Portland, Oregon; and our buddy Jim Kukral from digitalbooklaunch.com, who helps authors launch their books in the digital space and is also our guest host here on the program.
Jay’s Thought of the Week
Jay: So, speaking about productivity and paying attention and all those kind of things, here’s my topic du jour, there was an interesting article in Ad Age a couple of weeks ago. It’s about this prospective new social media firm that’s going to open in Chicago.
It’s going to be run by Brian Mandelbaum, who has been around the block a couple of times in the advertising space, was also on season 4 of the Apprentice, and worked for a bunch of other startups mostly in the video space. His, I think, most recent sort of legitimate agency job was the VP of Digital at Cramer-Krasselt, who actually has a big Phoenix office that I’m real familiar with from my days in Arizona.
The agency is as yet unnamed, but their premise is that they will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They are going to become the 7-Eleven/Taco Bell of social media monitoring and management. Because as we know, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, maybe LinkedIn, Instagram, and Foursquare do not keep nine to five hours.
Many times there are mentions of the brand at nights and weekends, and then people at the brand don’t necessarily work nights and weekends, and “Oh, what do we do?” and etc., etc. We’ve talked about those issues here on Social Pros in the past.
This is, to my knowledge, the first time an agency has come out and said, “Yeah, we’re going to play that game. We will be the 3:00 am guys. We will be the Sunday at 11:00 am guys.” I ask you, Mr. Eric Boggs, being a company that supplies the kind of software that an agency like that would use to enable this type of round the clock service, is this the first shot across the bow of something that will be at some point just a no-brainer for companies, or is this the beginning of the end? Is this the nadir, if you will, of social media monitoring?
Eric: I don’t know. I’m trying to process this. Our software runs 24 hours a day, and we don’t have engineers sitting by the screen watching logs around the clock. It seems a little unnecessary to me actually, the more I think about it because there’s an awful lot you can do with notifications via email, via text.
Being on call is one thing, but humans sitting by a phone in an office with a desk 24/7 – I don’t know. The market will bear that out, right? If they land ten huge accounts in the first 12 months, then awesome. I say go for it. But I don’t know. I don’t know, that it seems necessary.
Jay: I certainly don’t see the upside during regular business hours, because there are many other social media agencies who can perform that service. Of course as we’ve talked about in the past, it’s probably best for the brand itself to be doing their monitoring during the regular day.
I can see a circumstance where brands may have a disproportionate amount of chatter at night or weekends, and therefore you want to staff it. But if you’re a brand that has a disproportionate amount of chatter nights and weekends, let’s say an airline, a movie theater, Taco Bell, then wouldn’t you think to staff that yourselves round the clock, and then put a couple people on that?
Eric: Yeah. You would either have support people, or if it’s kind of moving with time zones you have an office in London and an office in Melbourne that’s kind of addressing the off-hours. I don’t know. We’ll see. What’s their positioning? Is it really just, “We’re the guys that are going to be on the clock nonstop”? Or is there kind of something a little more to it than that?
Jay: All I have to go on is the Ad Age coverage of it. I looked for some other coverage, and I didn’t see anything else really, and that was pretty much it. It was billed as the first 24/7 social media agency, so that seems to be their stock and trade. It certainly worked in terms of getting pretty significant coverage for an agency that doesn’t even have a name yet.
Jay: Props on the news jacking angle. But yeah, I wonder. Certainly if you’re going to trust your 3:00 a.m. tweets to an agency, the best characteristic of that agency can’t be they’re open.
Jay: There needs to be some other level of skill and aplomb there that I suspect will be table stakes. But you don’t know.
Eric: Yeah, that’s curious. We should make a note to follow up on this.
Jay: Yeah. Well, I was thinking it’d be a great person to have on the show, once they get a little further along.
Eric: Yeah, bring them on.
Jay: Yeah. That’s what I was thinking
Eric: Yeah, interesting.
Jay: Speaking of things that are interesting, Mr. Boggs, do you have for the Social Pros listeners a social media stat of the week?
Eric’s Social Media Stat of the Week: For Every 1 Person Who Joins a Campaign on Facebook, 1.3 New People Engage With That Campaign
Eric: I do, indeed. This stat comes from Wildfire, which I guess is now Google Wildfire in some surprising news. A social media marketing software provider analyzed 10,000 campaigns from top 10% performing brands, which probably means the top 10% of their customers, to understand some stuff about social campaigns. There are a couple data points that jumped out that I thought might warrant a brief discussion on Social Pros.
One, for every one brand advocate who joins a social campaign on Facebook via a Wildfire campaign, which is typically sweepstakes and contests and that sort of thing, for every one person who joins a campaign, 1.3 new people engage with that campaign. I don’t know if that means join the campaign or like that someone joined the campaign or what.
Another nugget that warrants discussion is for every share that someone makes advocating one of these contests it generates 14 new media impressions. So, presumably 14 people see it, or it shows up in 14 people’s news feed. These numbers jumped out to me as low. I don’t know what your thoughts are, Jay, but the numbers seemed less earth-shattering than I would have thought for allegedly the top performing brands.
Jay: I would say it depends on the data point. The first one, and if I’m understanding you correctly, if I enter a contest, then because of my entry, or on average because of my entry, 1.3 other people will also enter the contest. I think that’s what they were getting at there. That doesn’t bother me too much, because you essentially have a multiple of two.
You have a viral effect of 1.3 to one, and when you’re talking about actually participating in a contest – therefore you’ve got to authenticate the app, you have to provide data, you might have to upload something – I think that’s an adequate level of participation. That doesn’t surprise me. It doesn’t dishearten me.
Eric: Well, it says “engage with the campaign”. It doesn’t say “join the campaign”.
Jay: Okay, got it. So maybe that is a different data point. We’ll link up the report in the transcript notes. The other one I thought was a little bit interesting, that if you share or advocate on the behalf of a contest. So, I say, “Hey people who are connected to me on Facebook, this contest sure is great. I just entered,” and a lot of times that “I just entered” part is built into the contest itself. Then only 14 people see that. Only 14 people actually consume that content in their news feed.
That seems to me to say one of two things, or parts of two things. One, that on average people have a lot fewer Facebook connections than you and I do, and I know that to be true from other research, but 14 is still pretty low.
Jay: The last I saw, I thought the average was 120, or 100, or something like that, somewhere in that ballpark. Then the second part is that it feels to me like Facebook is pushing down EdgeRank for contest-shared notifications like that. Because even if your average is 120, if only 14 of your 120 see that, that feels to me like a not a very strong ratio.
Jay: Does that make sense?
Eric: Yep. I think so. We’ve been kind of goofing around with some promoted posts on Facebook, and it’s pretty fascinating how the game is really starting to take shape. That the organic content, it’s becoming tougher and tougher to play that game. Data like this, related to contests, I think kind of bears that out a little bit.
Even six or 12 months ago, when you would log into Facebook it was nothing but FarmVille and Word Smash and whatever else, right? That stuff just doesn’t seem to be there as much anymore and I see a ton more promoted content.
Jay: Yep, and either they’re pushing it out just because of the way they’re handling EdgeRank, or we’re pushing it out ourselves just based on our own customization of the stream, or both.
Jay: What does work though, I think, is when you get a bunch of people participating all at once. There’s no question that on Facebook, at the individual piece of content level, the rich get richer. Things that are successful become very successful, and things that are unsuccessful are not successful in any way, shape, or form.
I think in that way Facebook is successfully replicating sort of Google results in the news feed. The things that get a lot of links, things that get a lot of shares, things that get a lot of traffic are ranked highly, and therefore it’s a self-fulfilling prophesy, and things that don’t, don’t.
So, I certainly prefer today’s Facebook environment that is somewhat devoid of FarmVille and Mafia Wars updates. But as a consultant to brands it makes it difficult, and you’ve got to really get creative.
Jay: That’s why I think Katie Richman is a particularly fantastic guest on the show today.
Eric: Nice segue.
Special Guest: Katie Richman, espnW
Jay: Thank you. For espnW, because Katie and her team have done some really interesting programs with Title IX and other viral successes on Facebook and beyond, where they’ve reached that tipping point and have lots, and lots, and lots, and lots of people participating. Katie, thank you for being on Social Pros. Tell us your secret sauce.
Katie: Hey, guys. Spoiler alert, the USA just basically took Canada there in the women’s game, so Alex Morgan is America’s new sweetheart.
Jay: USA number one.
Katie: Yeah. Women’s soccer, honestly, I just saw this tweet, and it’s one of the most interesting things about espnW. A dude just wrote, “Honestly never thought I’d see the day my dad and I were watching women’s soccer together.”
Jay: Very cool.
Katie: That’s one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen. It’s been really interesting. What you guys are talking about, I love, and it’s totally true. EdgeRank is something that will kill you, I think. I mean, it kills you. Links are great for the one…
Jay: That would be the headline for today’s show, “EdgeRank will kill you” says espnW.
Katie: Absolutely. Well, it’s the double-edged sword, and it’s something that we talk about all the time, where we talk about a lot within the walls of ESPN. It’s do you want the quick hit link, because you can get that once? Or do you want the piece of content that’s the branding piece?
It’s something actually that sort of the images and some of the stuff that we’ve done with images was something that I couched a lot from Disney and working with Disney. Because, looking through the Disney feed, they work a ton with their images and text, and kind of just work with that and getting people to share their images.
Jay: Well, the stuff that Oreo has been doing lately is brilliant.
Katie: I don’t know what Oreo has been doing. What have they been doing?
Jay: They’ve been taking just little moments in time, like today they had one, and it was just an open-faced Oreo with red cream on it, and it had the little tracks across it, and it was “Congratulations, Mars Rover.”
Jay: They’re doing it every couple days.
Eric: That’s cool.
Jay: They’re doing something really, really interesting, and it’s just taken off. Just boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, share, share, share.
Katie: I’m looking at my feed right now, because it was interesting as you guys talk about that, because as you notice, I notice a ton brands are disappearing from my feed more and more every day. I’m like, “What brands are even in my feed?” For whatever reason, Disney is in my feed, because I actually look at this stuff. I cut some of this from work. But Disney is in my feed, and for whatever reason, don’t judge me, Victoria’s Secret is in my feed, so these things are next to me.
Jay: I’m not judging. I’m actually kind of stoked.
Eric: Exactly, yeah.
Katie: These two things are side by side right now, and one of them is Winnie the Pooh, and it’s Pooh and whatever the kid is looking over the side of…
Jay: One with the Winnie the Pooh bra, which is a really unexpected cross- promotion.
Katie: I don’t even want to know what that is. That’s disgusting.
Eric: Facebook is so creepy. How did they know that I have on my Winnie the Pooh jammies?
Jay: Aren’t you occupationally required to have Disney in your feed though? Isn’t that the mother ship for you?
Katie: Yeah. It may not be exactly in my target demographic, but it’s cool. I would have it in there. I may just not have found it, but it’s this huge image, and it says, “And Pooh, promise you won’t forget me.” Oh my, gosh, they’ve got over 50,000 likes. But more importantly they’ve got 6,000 shares, and that’s just in this one image.
Katie: Then I go down to this Victoria’s Secret thing, and it’s, and this is no knock on Victoria’s Secret, but it’s just a big bottle of perfume. It says, “We hear peeps love the super fresh scent of the new Body. What do you love about it? Shop now,” and a link, and it’s got 120 shares and 4,000 likes.
Katie: Yeah, yeah. Just studying, right? But those two things both have images in them, but they are totally different.
Jay: It’s certainly the images that can stand alone. That’s what I loved what you were doing with Lexus and U.S. soccer, where you didn’t even need copy around the image. That the image itself…
Katie: Stands alone.
Jay: …is the content. That I think is really interesting, where if you have to say, “Here’s a picture of perfume, and then let me give you a two sentence description…”
Katie: To explain it.
Jay: “…and a link,” then I think you have an image that is not fully optimized for modern virility.
Jay: Pinterest is driving this, right? It’s funny to see how much we don’t talk about this enough. Maybe we should do a show on it. That Pinterest is driving user experience on Facebook, which is the ultimate cart before the horse mathematically. But that’s how people want to consume content now. It’s the visualification of content marketing, and it’s I think a really fascinating trend.
Katie: I agree with what you’re saying, but I think it’s a little different. Sort of like the psychology of women that Pinterest has captured in a bottle. Because it’s really interesting, I actually helped ESPN High School, their high school girl’s side. When we were first talking about how to capture that voice, we were sitting around talking about what we did in high school.
A bunch of us were saying – well, you guys can’t relate to this – remember when we would have sleepovers, we would sit around with magazines and rip pictures out of magazines, and they were words? They were like “hot” or “awesome” and it would be of a sunset, and it was this collagey thing that girls do. They somehow, all the words and pictures together, represent something about you, and there is this sort of just this need to do that all the time.
Jay: It still happens. I have a 14-year-old daughter.
Jay: Here’s the exact tipping point in my life. So, she used to have a collage just like the one you describe in her room.
Jay: She got an iPad. The collage came down.
Katie: It’s digital.
Jay: In three weeks she pins everything.
Katie: But it goes further than this I think. That was a locker thing, and this is pre-Pinterest, this is a few years ago, and we said, “Why don’t we start doing this on Facebook with images and words for high schoolers?” So, we started doing phrases, and those were getting shared like crazy. We weren’t even putting branding on them at the time.
But then we learned pretty quickly, “Let’s put some subtle branding on this stuff.” We started putting ESPN Rise on it, and then when we started espnW we said, “Well, secretly guys, we still like this stuff.” So, we classed it up design-wise and made it older. But we kept doing sort of that same thing. It’s saying something about who you are, and you have a need to share it. But because by sharing, it you’re saying something about yourself, if that makes sense?
Eric: Oh yeah.
Katie: It’s the same thing as Someecards, but people think it’s a girl thing. I just think nobody’s done it right for guys yet. But I totally think there’s an opportunity for this. The same psychology for men exists. It just hasn’t been done.
Jay: Yeah. I think Gentlemint is the probably the closest in that dynamic. But it’s a little too much of a straight knock-off. But I agree. The desire to express yourself through saying, “This is what I would like to be true,” I think is gender agnostic.
Katie: I think a brand can capture that in a bottle and just kind of ride it out. That’s what we’ve tried to do with espnW, is kind of capture something psychologically and let the brand just ride the coattails of that.
Jay: Let me ask you about that psychology. You’ve had a lot of successes, like your Title IX project, where you had – how many women submitted photos to be a part of that?
Katie: We had between 4,000 and 5,000 at the end of the day.
Jay: Yeah. 4,000 or 5,000 people uploaded photos to become part of this giant integrated mosaic, and we’ll link it up. It’s really amazing. So, do you think the tipping point for those kinds of successes is the power of being asked, or the power of being asked by a brand that you inherently support, like espnW? Or is it the power of other people already participating?
You look at this, you’re like, “Well jeez, 300 or 1,000 or 2,000 or 2,900 people have already done this, so maybe I should do it too. It is worthy in my estimation.” Or do they do it just because it makes them feel good, right?
Jay: So, I guess how much do you put social proof into that equation?
Katie: Yes. That’s a really interesting question. When we were first thinking about doing this, it was a little bit… All this stuff is clipped, little pieces from other people’s great work, but we thought a little bit about kind of the mashable wall that they put together, their Facebook wall up in their office, and a little bit about that YouTube project where they took that one day and everybody did a minute.
But I think it was the idea. Our call to action was, “Be a part of history. Be a part of the largest collection of female athlete photos ever assembled.” It’s sort of this call to action that this is a chance to do something right now that’s bigger than yourself.
We purposefully didn’t put a prize attached to it. It was interesting listening to you guys talk about the contest, because we looked at some of the other mosaic type of Facebook tabs and things people have done. I was sort of envious, because other brands have done these projects and had more uploads when you attach a new car to it or something like that.
I had to hold myself back, because I partially wanted the more uploads, but more importantly I wanted this to mean something a little bit more than that. I felt like it would almost cheapen it, if that makes sense? I wanted this to be part of history, so now all of these women are.
Jay: But I think it’s great that espnW in particular and your group specifically, has the ability and has the license within the organization to do something like that. To say, “You know what? We’re not going to track the success of this via some sort of short term ROI or social mentions, ad equivalent value metric. We’re going to take a longer term view of the success of this.”
Do you think that’s because espnW is still somewhat nascent and so you don’t have that sort of day-to-day, week-to-week metrics pressure?
Katie: Yeah. There’s a combination of factors, but it initially goes back to having just, first of all, an extremely supportive… The lead on espnW, Laura Gentile, is pretty visionary with this stuff. She hired me when she started espnW. I was within the first couple hires that she made. If you think about that, what you need when you start up, whether internally or externally, I think that was pretty brave.
But even within the digital media organization at ESPN, it’s been an interesting mix to kind of work in a startup organization, but with the resources of ESPN and some of the navigating the waters working in a larger organization. We have had a lot of support, as long as we kind of prove out the why of what we’re doing.
I think that I have a little social team. I have one woman that works with me, and as long as we stay ahead of that why, and we say, “Here’s why we’re doing it this way, guys,” and “Here’s the value of what this is,” and we did a ton of work on the back end of this and said, “Here’s the value of it.”
At the end of this mosaic, we set out with this and said, “We’re not after the upload,” and, “We’re not after tying this to one specific brand.” What we’re after is A) what we were talking about before. Tying our brand to something a little bit bigger in a very subtle and classy way, so saying, be a part of history around the significance of 40 years of Title IX.
Then everyone was talking about Title IX during that day or that week, and it was a lot of chatter about the same stuff. We wanted something that spoke out a little differently. We ended up putting this on the side of the museum in D.C. and doing an animation that was gorgeous. You get organic press then, because it’s interesting and different. It actually worked out that way.
Jay: It’s an amazing sort of combination of elements. You had a lot of pieces in that program, so that’s probably the most complicated one that you’ve done.
Katie: It was.
Jay: Then we talked about the other ones that are much more simple, where it’s just the individual photo with some branding on it that becomes more of a Facebook-centric program that doesn’t require form fill-out and uploading photos, and all those kind of things. Do you think that it is the best practice then for brands to do some of all of that? That is needs to be a mixture of asks on the part of the audience?
Katie: Yeah, absolutely.
Jay: Because I feel like we beat the dead horse, or we killed the golden goose. It’s like, “Oh, this worked, so let’s do this 1,000 times in a row until it doesn’t work anymore.” I feel like if it works, that’s great, but give it some air. I think we tend to pile on what works today, and ultimately it becomes ineffective.
Katie: It can’t be a conceit. It’s got to be part of, and this sounds over the top, but part of a system, like a beautiful system that works together. So, you’ve got this visual that can be subtly tied to a link on the back end. Maybe it ties to Pinterest, and that leads you subtly to a back end of some site. So, then it can be espnW/whatever, or your site/vanity URL, where in that environment people can get even more.
But when they get to your site, then you need to have your beautiful plugins that take them back out to the social web, so they can share those back out. If then, say your model is ad sales partnerships you’re able to offer to your partners then more than just one silly contest on Facebook. You’re able to offer them a complete system, this really organic system that flows from your site through Facebook and Pinterest. You can link it from Twitter, but it’s none of those things just unto themselves. It’s not a stunt.
Eric: Katie, are you guys mapping your social campaigns outside of these core platforms? Are you guys running banner ads, TV spots, email campaigns to kind of support these ongoing efforts?
Katie: That’s our next phase. Well, that’s my next kind of goal, is to get to that point. So far I just honestly haven’t had the resources to do that, but that’s where I want to get.
Jay: Great. Well, I should mention that Katie is participating in Social Pros live from a yacht or something in Rhode Island on vacation.
Katie: Stop it. No, I’m at a cottage.
Jay: This is her only vacation activity this week, was joining us on Social Pros, which is very nice of her. You are a terrific guest.
Katie: It is. I’m off now.
Jay: She’s got a lobster in one hand and a crab in the other or something like that.
Katie: I’m having lobster tonight.
Jay: See? Do you have a Social Pros shout out for us, Katie?
Social Pros Shoutout
Katie: Yeah. I’m going to switch it up on you guys right now. I’m giving it out to Alex Morgan, because she just won it for the U.S. team, and she’s taking us on to the next level, so for Team USA in the Olympics. On Twitter she’s alexmorgan13. Follow her.
Jay: All right, alexmorgan13. We will link it up on the show. Thanks so much for being here, Katie. You were fantastic. We very much appreciate it.
Katie: Absolutely, guys.
Jay: Next week on the show, more fun from the team here at Social Pros. Who do we have on the show next week, Eric?
Eric: Opening the spreadsheet now.
Jay: You can see the amazing level of pre-planning we have on this show.
Jay: It’s extraordinary.
Eric: We run a tight ship here, folks.
Jay: We do. We do run a ship.
Eric: Lauren Vargas.
Jay: Oh, of course. I knew that. I should have remembered that. Lauren Vargas, who is the social media strategist for Aetna and a fabulous lady and super smart, is going to join us and talk a little bit about the complexities of healthcare in social media, so that should be really interesting.
Thanks as always to Eric and his company, Argyle Social, who I will be using to acknowledge alexmogan13 forthwith, also our good friends at Janrain, Infusionsoft and Jim Kukral at Digital Book Launch. Bye, everybody.