Greatest Hits – Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting Tue, 21 Aug 2018 14:17:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Greatest Hits – Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting 32 32 7 Ways to Use Social Media to Create Buzz-Worthy Events Tue, 10 Apr 2018 15:00:07 +0000 Are you events generating enough buzz? Add breadth and depth to your events by implementing these essential social media strategies.

The post 7 Ways to Use Social Media to Create Buzz-Worthy Events appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.

7 Ways to Use Social Media to Create Buzz-Worthy Events

It used to be you spent five minutes registering for an event and then showed up on the big day, went to a few workshops, drank two free Coronas, and went home.

Social media changes all of that, enabling events and their planners to have long-term, nuanced, shifting interactions with attendees.

I gave a speech in suburban Cincinnati to the Mid-American chapter of Meeting Planners International, titled “7 Ways to Use Social Media to Create Buzz-Worthy Events.” My recommendations are based on my work with MarketingProfs and Salesforce to add social frosting to their already fabulous events, and my experiences speaking at several dozen conferences annually. There’s a total of 39 specific suggestions in the slides, but here are the highlights.

1. Engage

Get your potential attendees interacting with you early on by enabling some measure of feedback or crowdsourcing on the conference programming. South by Southwest has always led in this area, with its “panel picker” process that turns over 30 percent of the programming selection to potential attendees.

Another way you could simplify getting feedback from your audience is use tools like Twtpoll or PollDaddy (as I did when I asked you for feedback on potential new designs for this blog back in the day).

2. Intrigue

Almost all events have an official website. But very few (except for the geek events) take full advantage of all the free event listing and event management opportunities. At a minimum, you should create event pages on:

  • Facebook Events
  • Eventbrite (where you can also sell tickets if you’re so inclined)
  • Linkedin (if it’s a business event)

Make sure to select the platform or registration software that fits with your audience.

Sure, its a bit of a hassle to oversee all of these event pages, but your attendees swim in different ponds. Plus, every conference has the same MVP attendee: some guy named Google. Why would you pass up a chance to double, triple, or quadruple your search engine listings?

These tools also serve as a way to message your attendees leading up to the event reminding them to invite their friends or what they can look forward to.

3. Invigorate

As the event draws closer, you have to pull potential attendees off of the fence with content hors-d’oeuvres.

Social Media Examiner does this well by consistently sharing what attendees can expect at their annual Social Media Marketing World conference leading up to the event. They share what speakers will be presenting and fun events to look forward to.

Collaborate with your speakers to produce teaser content. Most speakers are already creating short videos and content they are promoting to their audience. This can be a great opportunity to partner with them to align promotional calendars

Actively promote the event hashtag and invite users to share their content on Twitter and Instagram. Begin interacting with attendees before the event begins to build buzz and personal relationships with attendees. Social Media Marketing World has a healthy mix of attendees and speakers consistently adding content before and during their event using the hashtag #SMMW.

Use Pitchengine to create multi-media enabled press releases, and send the URL for the release to any and all “maybes” on your list. You should also gather social information from all registrants. Create a Twitter list of all attendees, and update it each time a new person registers.

4. Integrate

Now we’re talking about the on-site experience, which is where social media can really add impact and get people talking.

Pick a hashtag for your event, so attendees and remote watchers can monitor the event on Twitter. The shorter the better, please! Depending on the size of the event, host multiple meetups for attendees to gather for dinner and hold meet-and-greets.

When attendees register for the event, ask them specific questions about their industry or job title. This information can help pair them in a meetup group that is beneficial to them.

I’m not a big fan of the geek conference staple of having a live streaming Twitter wall behind speakers while they speak. It’s too distracting. But I love having a big Twitter wall in a central conference location. This requires very little effort now, using something like Tweetwally.

Create an event within the event by running contests on Twitter during the conference. You can use metricool to show how many people are using the event hashtag and identify top contributors during the event. Share the leaderboard throughout the event and award prizes to top contributors.

metricool for live events

5. Inform

During the event, invite attendees to share their feedback about the sessions for real-time insights. You can use an app called Yapp, which allows attendees to take a poll in the app for the event. This is also a great tool for informing attendees about updates and contests throughout the event.

This is a far better approach than sending a survey a few days after the event asking them what they thought about the session. This way, attendees can vote right after their session ends right on their phone.

6. Propagate

Create your own media during the event. Use Facebook Live and Periscope to capture key moments during the event to engage people who couldn’t make it and create content you can repurpose later to promote future events.

As attendees create and share content using the event hashtag, compile their content and share it later to re-engage attendees after the event.

7. Aggregate

Take the conference content and spread it as widely as possible. Your goal is to get the doubters that didn’t come this year to view that content and decide to go the next year.

Take every conference presentation, and instead of just putting them on your website or emailing links to attendees, release them on SlideShare (one per day for maximum impact). Create content from key moments that happened during the event to share small pieces of content on social.

Reward good content. Invite attendees to share their best quote or photo from the conference for a chance to win a software subscription from a sponsor or free registration to the next event. This also is a great way to promote sponsors and encourage them to partner in upcoming events.

Here’s an example of Social Media Examiner awarding a year’s subscription to a sponsor’s service.

SMMW event contest

Why couldn’t you do that? Why can’t you do all of this?

The post 7 Ways to Use Social Media to Create Buzz-Worthy Events appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.

]]> 1056
10 Creative Ways Companies Are Using Snapchat Tue, 16 Jan 2018 14:00:00 +0000 As Snapchat continues to grow and evolve, so does its userbase of brands. Here are five creative examples of how companies are using Snapchat.

The post 10 Creative Ways Companies Are Using Snapchat appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.

10 Creative Ways Companies Are Using Snapchat

Founded in September 2011, Snapchat continues to evolve and innovate in a way that keeps the industry on its toes. From impressive uses of augmented reality to clever lenses and filters, the company logged over one trillion snaps in 2017. That’s more than all the pictures taken by smartphones in the world.

Snapchat does not consider itself to be a social network, but in fact, a camera company. Its audience is passionate about communicating through photos and videos in a lighthearted way. Companies that thrive on the platform need to think visually and take their brand a little less seriously. Here are ten companies and campaigns creatively using the platform to reach and delight customers.

To thrive on Snapchat: 1) Think visually 2) Take your brand a little less seriously
Click To Tweet

1. Casper’s Late Night Snap Hacks Gives Homebodies the Social Life of Their Dreams

Want your friends to think your social life is lit, even if you would rather cozy up at home? Casper’s late night snap hacks have you covered. To help eliminate the pressure of going out on the weekend, Casper created a microsite called filled with snappable videos.

Scenes include everything from a disco ball to people dancing at a club to driving through the streets of New York City. Just film the scene on Snapchat to create the illusion of a rockin’ night out. The result perfectly aligns with Casper’s quirky brand personality while adding value to its customer base.

Casper Snap Hacks

2. Netflix’s Immersive Experience for Stranger Things Redefines What’s Possible on the Platform

Arguably one of the most innovative Snapchat campaigns this year came from Netflix’s Stranger Things. With the first-ever 3D World Lens, Netflix created a virtual portal transporting fans into Joyce Byers’ eerie living room. Once inside the living room, fans could tap on different parts of the room, from the couch to wallpaper and colored lights. While the ad was only live for one day, it inspired fans of the show and marketers alike with the types of immersive experiences possible on Snapchat.

Snapchat continues to lead in terms of what’s possible with augmented reality. As we look to 2018 and beyond, expect to see more companies leverage the platform to create these types of immersive experiences.

3. WOW Airlines Contest Offers Snapchat Enthusiasts a Chance to Travel the World

Taking a page from the “Best job in the world” campaign from Tourism Australia, WOW Airlines offered its Snapchat-savvy fans a chance to win the ultimate summer trip to some of the airline’s 28 destinations. Dubbed the world’s first-ever SnapTraveler program, the campaign asked applicants to create a Snapchat story in English under two minutes, save the video file, and upload it to the company’s contest microsite for a chance to win. WOW selected four winners from around the world, who spent the summer creating content for the company’s social media channels, including Snapchat.

The results? In addition to generating 10 million views across the brand’s social media channels, the contest also became WOW Air’s most shared news story with a total of 1.4 million social media shares. In addition to being a dream competition to win for fans, the contest is a great example of how a campaign can originate on Snapchat but also be re-purposed across multiple social media channels.

4. Dunkin’ Donuts Turns Fans Into Sprinkle-Inhaling Donuts for National Donut Day

Snapchat lenses provide incredibly creative opportunities for brands to showcase their personality and give fans a fun visual experience worth sharing. While countless other companies have tried their hand at clever lenses, Dunkin’ Donuts’ National Donut Day lens made this writer (and former employee) smile.

National Donut Day is an important annual holiday for the company and a humorous lens that turns your head into a gigantic pink donut inhaling sprinkles just makes you smile. When coupled with Dunkin’s other activations, which included an influencer takeover of the brand’s story, plus custom geofilters which could only be accessed in-stores or via the “Snap to Unlock” feature, the company gained ten times more Snapchat followers on National Donut Day than their average monthly followers. It remains the highest Snapchat story for the brand viewed to date.

5. #WeAreCisco Snapchat Takeover Showcases Company Culture in a Fresh Way

While there are many great Snapchat marketing case studies, the #WeAreCisco campaign provides one of the best examples of using the platform to highlight your company culture. Through social listening and sourcing stories for the company’s Life at Cisco blog, the company identified a core team of employee brand evangelists to launch the brand’s Snapchat channel in 2016. While the account is run by the company’s Talent Brand Social Team, employees volunteer to manage the channel on specific days and share unique Snapchat stories from their perspective.

Since its launch, the company has had millions of minutes of Snapchat stories viewed with an average Snapchat story completion rate of between 60 to 70 percent. The company’s efforts have also inspired collabs with NASDAQ and the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women conference.

6. The UK’s Department of Transport Taps Snapchat Geofilters to Fight Unsafe Drug Use

Snapchat geofilters are also an excellent tool for raising awareness of important causes. The UK government’s Department for Transport is using geofilters to warn a younger audience against the dangers of driving under the influence. The initiative is part of a larger campaign from the UK’s Department of Transport called “Think! Drug Driving Campaign.” The Snapchat geofilters feature imagery of prison bars, with the copy, “Drive High? The roadside swab will catch you. Think!”

The campaign generated some controversy in the UK news media surrounding the government agency’s decision to spend money to advertise on Snapchat. Nevertheless, the geofilter generated more than 700,000 uses and 13.2 million views in one day, helping the UK Department of Transport reach their target male audience between 18 and 34.

Drug Driving Snapchat campaign

7. Call Me Maybe? Why Birchbox Encourages Fans to Call Them on Snapchat

What if, for one hour, you could call the social media team of a company you admired—all via Snapchat? To test out Snapchat’s video chat and voice call features, Birchbox offered fans a chance to call them at a set date and time via a Snapchat story. After one hour, the Birchbox’s team had fielded around 30 calls and received requests to host them again, prompting the company to start hosting video and voice calls through Snapchat on a weekly basis.

While this seems like a simple idea, it’s incredibly valuable for a few reasons. First, it puts a human face on the brand to facilitate new levels of connection with the company. Second, it’s valuable to customers looking for more personalized questions or recommendations. One-on-one advice from experts in the company is a great way to help convert more customers into subscription boxes or recommend à la carte skincare and beauty items to purchase.

Birchbox Snapchat calls

8. McDonald’s Snaplications Could Transform the Face of Recruitment

Want to hire a millennial or perhaps someone from Gen Z? Take a page from McDonalds’ playbook and recruit them on a platform where they spend most of their time: Snapchat. The campaign originated in Australia, where McDonald’s launched the initiative. The Snapchat lens mimicked the employee uniform and asked interested applications to snap a 10-second video detailing their enthusiasm for the job opportunity.

Not only was the initiative successful, but it generated global interest and attention, prompting McDonald’s to launch Snaplications in the United States. During the summer hiring period in the United States, McDonald’s saw a 35 percent increase in application flow and a 30 percent traffic increase to the careers page due to the combined efforts of Snaplications and the larger marketing campaign. Only three percent of U.S. recruiters use Snapchat, but could this be the beginning of a larger trend?

9. Grubhub Snapchat Taps Games to Reward Fans Hungry for Discounts

Grubhub, an early adopter of Snapchat, actively uses the platform to target its college student demographic with content, ads, contests, and even scavenger hunts. In its most recent campaign, the company has launched a retro-styled game called “Food’s Here,” where fans can play for a chance to win discounts. Users can access the game through an ad in Snapchat stories. If a player wins all three levels, they will score $10 off their first order of $15 or more when they download the Grubhub app. The ad will run for 30 days. Grubhub is measuring success across the length of gameplay, the swipe-up rate, offer redemptions, plus other actions taken after the game.

GrubHub on Snapchat

10. Sprite Offers Fans and Influencers Premium Snapcode Real Estate

In Brazil, Sprite offered Snapchat influencers and fans an incredibly unique opportunity: a chance to have their Snapcode featured on cans sold across the country. Called “RFRSH Na Lata,” or “refresh on the can,” fans could enter by registering their Snapcode on a microsite. To raise awareness for the campaign, Sprite partnered with 15 influential Brazilian Snapchat stars to print their Snapcodes on cans, an effort which tripled many of the influencer’s fanbases over a two-week period.

Featuring celebrities or fans on packaging or advertisements isn’t anything new (Wheaties box, anyone?). However, Sprite’s campaign shows that Snapcodes have made it cool—and actionable—again. The campaign generated over two million views in days and gave the company’s millennial audience another reason to enjoy a can of Sprite.

Sprite Snapchat campaign

The post 10 Creative Ways Companies Are Using Snapchat appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.

]]> 2
How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy Sat, 18 Oct 2014 16:22:58 +0000 How to create a content marketing strategy your customers will love, in seven steps.

The post How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.

How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing strategy isn’t a “nice to have”—it’s a requirement. Recent research from the Content Marketing Institute found that more than 80% of B2B marketers say they have a content marketing strategy, but only a third have documented that very same content marketing strategy. Let’s fix that.

This presentation is drawn from our work here at Convince & Convert, where we create content marketing strategy for some of the best-known brands in the world. (if we can help you, please let us know). In practice, of course, creating a fully functional content marketing plan requires meaningful time and effort (usually 60 days or so for us), but I sincerely hope that this presentation and the seven steps it outlines for how to do this kind of work, will help you take your own content marketing plan to the next level of success.

Content Marketing Strategy in 7 Steps

Here’s a summary of each of the seven steps in creating content marketing strategy your customers will LOVE:

content marketing strategy - the 7 steps

Create a content marketing strategy in 7 steps

1. Determine Objectives for Content Marketing

Why are you doing this at all? What is content going to do for your organization? Create awareness? Generate leads? Improve loyalty and retention?

Remember: the goal isn’t to be good at content marketing. the goal is to be good at business because of content marketing. (click to tweet)

2. What’s Your One Thing?

What will you create in your content marketing program that sets you apart? There is an enormous glut of content (and more on the way). Will you be disproportionately useful? Will you create Youtility (I say YES!). Will you be disproportionately motivational, inspirational, or otherwise? What is the heart and soul of your content program?

Remember: give yourself permission to make the story BIGGER.

3. Measure Your Content Marketing

Your objectives dictate your metrics. If you’re trying to generate awareness, measure that. Use the 4 categories of content marketing metrics to create a measurement framework that matters.

Remember: if you want to track behavior, you must do something trackable (click to tweet)

4. Define Your Audiences

Your objectives also dictate your audiences. Use personas to model the audiences for your content marketing. Understand them like you understand your family.

Remember: you are not your audience

5. Research Audience Needs

What do your audiences need to know from you? Use search and social media, plus conversations with customers and your internal personnel (sales and customer service, especially) to better understand the information and persuasive requirements of your customers. Then, organize those needs by persona and funnel stage to create a map of necessary content.

Remember: don’t settle for data, get real insights (this requires customer conversations, not just spreadsheet mining)

6. Create a Content Execution Plan

Use personas and customer conversations to determine optimal content modalities. Where and how do your audiences consume information? Understand that, depending upon the funnel stage, customers will need different types of content. Build a plan that shows what content you’ll create daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly (free content calendar tool)

Remember: always define calls-to-action. What do you want your content consumers to do NEXT?

7. Create a Content Amplification Plan

The reality is that just creating content isn’t enough. In many cases, you need to amplify it. You need to market your marketing. This is where social media can help a great deal. Also recognize the many places (and many people: customers, employees, influencers) that can help you amplify your content marketing. (bonus: presentation on the difference between influencers and advocates)

Remember: content is fire: social media is gasoline (click to tweet)

I hope you benefit from this presentation and framework for developing a content marketing strategy. If you liked this one, you might like our free ebook on the 4 types of content marketing metrics, or my recent presentation on why it might be time to completely change your social media strategy.

Get a weekly dose of the trends and insights you need to keep you ON top, from the strategy team at Convince & Convert. Sign up for the Convince & Convert ON email newsletter.

The post How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.

]]> 9
15 New Facebook Advertising Statistics Mon, 22 Sep 2014 11:00:00 +0000 15 new Facebook advertising statistics and what they mean, from Jay Baer's interpretation of the latest Facebook advertising report.

The post 15 New Facebook Advertising Statistics appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.

15 New Facebook Advertising Statistics

Our friends at Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud (a sponsor of this blog) recently released their boffo Social Advertising Benchmark Report, where they dug deep into the actual results stemming from more than one trillion (TRILLION!) advertising impressions on Facebook, purchased through their platform.

It’s a fascinating report, and I suggest you download it (for free), as there are a lot more statistics (including breakout for EU, Australia, et al) and many more nifty charts and graphs.

Here are my summary observations, and 15 new Facebook advertising statistics I pulled out of the report, and some of my comments in parentheses:

Facebook Dominates Attention (and thus Advertising)

In an average month, 1.28 billion users are active on Facebook

In an average month, more than 1 billion people use Facebook on a mobile device

One in five minutes spent on a mobile device are spent in Facebook’s app (no wonder they’ve essentially abandoned building a Facebook phone…why bother when EVERY phone is a Facebook phone by default?)

Facebook Advertising Results on the Upswing

Globally, average click-through rate (CTR) for Facebook advertising increased from .18% to .36% in 2013 (Advertisers became wiser and employed better targeting and creative)

In the United States, average click-through rate (CTR) for Facebook advertising increased by better than 50%, from .09% to .14%. (USA has some of the lowest CTR world-wide on Facebook. Consumer fatigue, perhaps?)

In the United States, the Entertainment industry enjoyed the best CTR for Facebook ads in 2013. First quarter CTR for entertainment advertisers was .45%. Fourth quarter CTR was .87% (4th quarter movie promos, perhaps?)

Thanks for the image Scott Stratten

Thanks for the image Scott Stratten

In the United States, the Gaming industry suffered from the worst CTR for Facebook ads in 2013. First quarter CTR for gaming advertisers was .06%. Fourth quarter CTR was down to .05%, the only industry that saw a CTR decline in 2013. (Candy Crush fatigue, perhaps?)

CPG companies in the United States experienced the greatest increase (by percentage) in CTR in 2013, with first quarter results averaging just .07% CTR, but 4th quarter showing .20%.

In the U.K. average click-through rate (CTR) for Facebook advertising increased in 2013 from .13% in the first quarter, to .27% in the fourth quarter of the year.

Facebook Advertising Costs Also on the Upswing

Globally, Facebook ads cost 21 cents per click in the fourth quarter of 2013 when purchased on a cost-per-click basis.

The average cost-per-click for Facebook ads (when purchased on a per-click basis) increased 24% in 2013, world-wide. (this is not a surprise. Popularity always increases costs. The same thing happened with Google and Yahoo! PPC ads, back in the day)

The average cost-per-click for Facebook ads increased 24% in 2013 (click to tweet)

Globally, Facebook ads cost 75 cents per thousand impressions in the fourth quarter of 2013 when purchased on a CPM (impressions) basis. (As a 20-year veteran of digital marketing, it is wild to consider that we’re now at 75 CENTS per thousand ads, when it was 75 DOLLARS not all that long ago)

The average cost-per-thousand for Facebook ads (when purchased on an impressions basis) increased 140% in 2013, world-wide. (some of this is explained by brands chasing eyeballs due to the big drop in organic reach for Facebook posts)

Costs to advertise to mobile audiences on Facebook are quite a bit higher than the norm, with costs per click at 35 cents in fourth quarter of 2013, and costs per 1,000 impressions (CPM) at $5.41.

But, mobile ad performance may justify the higher costs, as mobile CTR in Q4 of 2014 was a whopping 1.56%, nearly 500% better than Facebook ads on the whole. (it costs more on mobile, but the results stack up, especially if your call-to-action is simple and can be easily completed on a phone)

Which of these new Facebook advertising statistics is most surprising to you? For me, it’s the mobile CTR. You?

Grab the full report from Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud.

Get a weekly dose of the trends and insights you need to keep you ON top, from the strategy team at Convince & Convert. Sign up for the Convince & Convert ON email newsletter.

The post 15 New Facebook Advertising Statistics appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.

]]> 1
How to Make a Successful YouTube Channel Wed, 03 Sep 2014 16:00:00 +0000 YouTube is playing an increasingly important role in social media, especially if you're targeting young consumers.

The post How to Make a Successful YouTube Channel appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.

How to Make a Successful YouTube Channel

There is no doubt that the Internet overall and social media specifically have made the world a smaller place.

We can go on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and other networks to see firsthand global events in real time–not minutes or days later like in traditional media – whether it’s the Arab Spring protests or the Pope giving mass or concerts of our favorite artists.

Videos and YouTube Play a Huge Role in Social Media Marketing

Underneath this uber trend of social media as a global news and community force is a sub-trend of how visuals, and not just words, are taking over the digitalsphere. Especially videos.

At Rival IQ, we see tens of thousands of companies come through our system, and a year ago, nearly 100% of those set up their accounts with a traditional Website URL. Over the past year, however, we’ve seen an increasing number of “entities” use YouTube channels as their “homepage” or main URL.

Clearly, YouTube (and other visual channels like Instagram) is playing an increasingly important role in social media, especially if you are targeting consumers. And frankly, it should be an automatic part of your marketing strategy as you are targeting consumers aged 15 to 35.

The Most Engaging YouTube Videos are Global, Funny, and Heartwarming

We queried our database to find the 50 most engaging YouTube videos in Rival IQ (which means that a user has created a landscape that includes this YouTube channel).

The results validated two things: One is that the millennial generation rules the airwaves. The second is that it really is a small world after all.

The social video content that is winning the hearts and minds of people around the globe is personal, not corporate or political, and usually funny, but sometimes, heartwarming.

The winning videos came from YouTube channels that garner tens of millions of views, including a young Swedish gamer and comedian, an Aussie boy band, a gaming company, a man who calls himself a magician, a company who helps you learn foreign languages, a 3-day music festival featuring European electronic music, and a video series that combines rap and history.

The Top 5 Most Engaging YouTube Videos on Rival IQ

Let’s dig into the most engaging YouTube videos and then look beyond the videos to what these people and organizations are doing to build a strong following and community on social media.

1. Tomorrowland 2012 Official Aftermovie: With over 116 Million views, this video is still taking the globe by storm. Tomorrowland 2012 is part of an amazing musical festival series.

Videos for TomorrowWorld 2014, to be held in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, are already garnering hundreds of thousands of views.  This Belgian-based company saw a market opportunity to bring European electronic dance music (EDM) to the U.S.  But rather than just doing a concert, they created this incredible experience over three days that draws tens of thousands of people and brought Atlanta $70 million in 2013.

2. PewDiePie A Funny Montage:  With more than 56 million views and nearly a million likes, this is just one of literally dozens of PewDiePie videos that are winning the YouTube viewer battle.

Who is PewDiePie? From his YouTube channel: “I’m just a guy from Sweden who likes to laugh and make other people laugh. Sharing gaming moments on YouTube with my bros!”

You can subscribe to his channel to “become a Bro”. And the Bros are clearly enjoying this.

Overall, this Swedish YouTube star has over 30 million subscribers to his channel and has had more than 5 billion views of his videos. PewDiePie has risen to YouTube conqueror through his video game commentary, silly antics, and by clearly knowing his audience.

Wikipedia calls him a “YouTube Celebrity” – showing the rise of a new genre of celebrity. He’s also won multiple accolades, including 2013 Most Popular Social Show and the Teen Choice Awards for Web Star in the Gaming category.

3. Epic Rap Battles of History:  Barack Obama vs Mitt Romney: Okay, I have to admit that this is my personal favorite. Yes, I love rap, and these guys are brilliant in the way they tell a story and weave in actual history with hysterical rhymes. While this video is not G-rated, they have figured out how to bring history to the people. This specific video has nearly 95 million views and 700,000 Likes.

Like PewDiePie, this is just one of many videos this ERB channel has achieved tens of millions of views and likes. The group creates rapper face-offs between business people, like Gates vs Jobs; civil rights leaders, such as Gandhi vs Martin Luther King; bizarre combinations, like Mario Bros vs. the Wright Bros or Marilyn Monroe vs. Cleopatra; and athletes, like Michael Jordan vs. Muhammad Ali (featuring funny men Key & Peele – who have their own most engaging video with Substitute Teacher).

I’ll warn you, once you start watching these, it’s hard to stop.

4. Five Seconds of Summer:  She Looks So Perfect: I’ll admit that I’m having trouble distinguishing one boy band from the next. However, give these four Australian young men credit, as their video and debut album, “She Looks So Perfect” is owning YouTube.

With over 72 million views and nearly 700,000 likes, this video rose to the top ranks is just the past six months. While their channel, 5SOSVEVO, has under 2 million subscribers, their videos are getting the views and likes around the world.

YouTube also rocked this foursome to stardom, as they were YouTube celebrities from posting videos doing cover songs starting in 2011. A fellow boy band, One Direction, took their fame from the Internet to the stage when they invited them to join one of their tours.

5. Homeless Man Gets a Home by MagicofRahat: This is a wonderful tearjerker. Magic of Rahat found surprising social fame by posting what seemed to be an innocuous video about giving a homeless man a “winning” lottery ticket. The video went viral on YouTube, Reddit, and online news media. This latest video shows the Magic of Rahat, who calls himself the Magician Prankster, doing the absolute opposite of a prank, by going back to the same homeless man to show him his new house, which was paid for by the thousands of dollars that were donated by people who watched the first video.

This is a great example of how the world can come together to make one person’s life a little better, thereby making us all just a little bit better.

Now, let’s take a look at the YouTube channels behind these videos and see what we can learn about engagement and social media best practices.

Best Practice #1: Take a Multi-Channel Social Approach

These YouTube celebrities are not using YouTube alone to reach their fans and build a strong community. As we can see below, every one of these channels also has a presence on at least four other social networks. At Rival IQ, we track six networks, and the only place the YouTube stars don’t have a profile is LinkedIn.

It’s important to note that if you are a business-to-business (B2B) company then LinkedIn is a must-have.

YouTube Social Channel Matrix

Best Practice #2: Prioritize the Social Networks Based on Your Target Community

While these users may have a presence on all five of these networks, they most likely do not have an equal presence or activity level on them all. The reality is it’s hard to do 5 or 6 social networks all well. Prioritize the channels based on where your competitors and your community is engaging already.

To get a sense of emphasis for these different networks, I reviewed a chart showing an aggregate social audience. Here, you can see two things: One, PewDiePie is killing it compared to the other profiles in this landscape. Two, as part of our multi-channel evaluation, we can see that Facebook is also an important channels for most of these, followed by Twitter and Instagram.

YouTube Social Audience multi channel

When we dig down by channel, we can also see that popularity contests vary. On Facebook, TomorrowLand actually leads with the most Likes, followed closely the 5SOS.

YouTube Facebook likes

These YouTube stars and their teams have figured out how to extend their YouTube presence to obtain a following and engagement across several social channels. A good lesson for us all, as we need to take a multi-channel yet integrated marketing approach to our social media marketing. 

Best Practice #3: Post Consistently on Your Top Priority Channels

It’s not enough to just “show up” on these social networks, you need to make sure you are posting content consistently. As we can see in this Social Activity chart for the past 30 days, these personalities are posting frequently on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

YouTube Social Activity

In this case, while PewDiePie has the largest social audience, 5 Seconds of Summer is the most active, especially on Twitter and Facebook.

Let’s look at both of those networks a bit more closely to see specifically how frequently 5 Seconds of Summer and others are posting. We can see that 5 Seconds of Summer is really active on Twitter, with 14 tweets on average per day. This compares to the average number of tweets I see on a regular basis for other brands, which is somewhere between 5 and 10.

This group must know they have a strong target audience on Twitter.

Youtube Tweets per day

On Facebook, the activity is even more skewed by 5SOS, with the band posting nearly 7 updates a day on Facebook. Most pages achieve about 1 or .5 posts on Facebook a day, which is exactly what we see with the other profiles.

YouTube Facebook Posts

My guess is we may see a big increase in activity by TomorrowLand during the actual festival, so it would be interesting to check back in from September 26 to 28 and see what their activity looks like.

Best Practice #4: Create and Post Engaging Content

Clearly, these five profiles have learned how to create amazingly engaging content on YouTube, but what are they doing on the other social networks to gain engagement with their communities?

We saw from the above metrics that PewDiePie is winning in overall audience numbers, and 5 Seconds of Summer is doing the most overall activity. But who is winning in engagement outside of YouTube and what kind of content are they posting?

5SOS is winning the engagement battle on Facebook. We evaluated the top 50 posts over the past 30 days, and the boy band scored 48 out of 50, with PewDiePie grabbing two of the top 50 posts.

YouTube top Facebook social content

As we dig into those top 50 posts, we can see each one gets amazing engagement numbers – more than 200,000 Likes, Shares, and comments. Both play to their respective communities, with 5SOS posting photos of the band members, while PewDiePie’s updates are simple and speak to the “Bros”.

YouTube Facebook content

Best Practice #5: Leverage Content While Adapting it to Each Social Channel

One of the basic mistakes many companies or personalities make is not leveraging content across different social channels while also making that content relevant and appropriate for each network.

For example, we already know these channels have obtained awesome engagement on YouTube for their video content. To gain that engagement on YouTube, they promote those videos on other channels. But they also create unique content that is relevant to each network.

For example, we saw above that 5SOS posts photos of the band members and simple updates multiple times a day on Facebook, really drawing in their fans. PewDiePie, in contrast, has found simple updates without photos works best for his audience.

While topics may be similar and build on each other, the specific content needs to vary based on what works on each channel. You can figure out what works best by comparing content your competitors or other companies in your market successfully use to draw engagement on each channel.

For example, you can see here that while some of the photos and tweets are similar to what 5SOS put on Facebook, they have also created unique content relevant to Twitter, such as the retweet engagement strategy, “RT for a follow”.

YouTube Twitter top content

Your Turn to Be a YouTube Celebrity

Okay, maybe not.

But you and your organizations can learn how to not only create awesome video content that gets the attention of your audience, but also extend that engagement to other social networks. It doesn’t take a ton of money to make a splash on social media. However, I’m sure all of these profiles would tell you it does take hard work, consistency, and constant outreach to your fan base.

All of these channels started with just one video and one post. So, stop putting it off. Do your competitive and market research, establish your social strategy, create some strong initial content, and launch! 

Then, learn from what you and others do in order to maintain and build your social presence and community engagement.

Get a weekly dose of the trends and insights you need to keep you ON top, from the strategy team at Convince & Convert. Sign up for the Convince & Convert ON email newsletter.

The post How to Make a Successful YouTube Channel appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.

]]> 3
How to Identify Relevant Hashtags for Your Business Mon, 10 Mar 2014 10:00:00 +0000 Identifying the right hashtags is critical when it comes to social monitoring and engagement.

The post How to Identify Relevant Hashtags for Your Business appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.

How to Identify Relevant Hashtags for Your Business

Identifying the right hashtags is critical when it comes to social monitoring and engagement. This allows us to find the conversations where our target audience hangs out.

By adding value to the conversation, we can start to build up a relationship that could possibly leads to a business transaction (or at the very least awareness).

I have developed this three-step method using a few favorite Twitter tools – Twitonomy,, and RiteTag.

1. Identify the Hashtags of Influencers

Assuming I am brand new to the niche, I may not have any idea what the hashtags might look like. However, I might know who are the key players within that niche (aka influencers).

Let’s take my account for example. After entering my Twitter handle intoTwitonomy, I get an analysis of the hashtags I’m using. Repeat this with other accounts to get a bigger starter list of hashtags.


2. Use Starter List of Hashtags to Identify Related Hashtags

Next, I head over to After entering the hashtags I got from my starter list, I can locate related hashtags.

It’s important to note that the size of the circle shows how popular the hashtags are, while the distance between inquired and related hashtags shows the extent of correlation.

At this stage, do not be too concerned about these two factors. As long as it the hashtag is logically related to your niche, include it in your latest hashtag list.

3. Gauge the Relevance of Your Hashtags

Finally, I visit Rite Tag created by Saul Fleischman. Under “Associated Hashtags”, I enter the hashtags that I had collected earlier.

The result will show the related hashtags, along with color coding. The different colors represent the tweet density. Blue means ‘Poor’, Green means ‘Good’, and Red means ‘Overused’.

Using the screenshot below: #Linkedin is an appropriate hashtag to use as it would give my tweets good exposure. On the other hand, #SocialMedia is overused as the tweet density is too high. This would result in my tweets getting lost in a tsunami of other #SocialMedia tweets.

Another great feature about RiteTag is that it compares the hashtag to other hashtags, the tweets that the hashtags are used and the influencers who use that particular hashtag – very handy!

Now, What Do I Do With a List of Hashtags?

You might be thinking “It’s nice to have a list of relevant hashtags, but what do I do next?”

Create some streams on Hootsuite that include hashtags. Remember that each stream can include a maximum of three keywords.

By monitoring the stream, I can start to see who are the frequent users of that particular hashtag and start to build a connection. This could be through favoriting their tweets, retweeting them, or even having a chat about the niche topic. These can also help establish a meaningful follower-ship.

I hope these Twitter tools allow you to identify and build engaging relationships within your online community. It is critical to select appropriate keywords as some Twitter accounts may spam a particular hashtag with irrelevant content.

Do you have other methods of locating Twitter hashtags that matter? Let me know in the comments!

Editor’s Note: A version of this post originally appeared on

Get a weekly dose of the trends and insights you need to keep you ON top, from the strategy team at Convince & Convert. Sign up for the Convince & Convert ON email newsletter.

The post How to Identify Relevant Hashtags for Your Business appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.

]]> 6
How to Build a Content Calendar (Plus a Free Template) Tue, 07 Jan 2014 11:00:07 +0000 Use this free content calendar template to learn how to build calendar for your content marketing success.

The post How to Build a Content Calendar (Plus a Free Template) appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.

How to Build a Content Calendar (Plus a Free Template)
Creating a content calendar for your company from scratch is one of those tasks that seems ridiculously complicated at the outset but which, with a systematic approach and no scruples about stealing other people’s methods, can actually be fairly straightforward.

We have no problems with other people borrowing our methods we wanted to offer a content marketer’s guide to building a content calendar along with a free template for the year.

The Goal of a Content Calendar

A content calendar is a shareable resource that marketing teams can use to plan all content marketing activity. The benefit of using the calendar format, rather than just a long list of content to be published, is that you can visualize how your content is distributed throughout the year. This allows you to:

  • plan content around key events in your industry or important dates;
  • see where you have gaps in your content plan, with plenty of warning to line up more content;
  • and make sure you have your content ready in plenty of time to publish.

In general the further ahead you plan your digital content publishing the better placed you are to produce a consistent flow of content that builds your brand’s perceived expertise in your chosen subject areas. Looking at the year ahead, you might see several industry or world events that you want to plan content around – the content calendar is a place to store and manage this information.

You might plan content on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis depending on how quickly your industry moves. You might need to be reactive or adapt your plans frequently – or how changeable your content production resources are.

Building a Content Calendar in Three Easy Steps

Step 1: Identify your topics/audiences

A brand will rarely be publishing content to only a single audience. Most businesses and organizations have several groups of stakeholders or customer types, each of which are interested in different kinds of content.

For example, a digital agency like my company, Manifesto, not only wants to produce great content for potential customers interested in, say, content management systems but also for potential new employees who want to know how good a company we are to work for.

Defining your different audience types is not the job of one person alone but should be the result of a conversation between all the externally facing departments of your organization: sales, marketing, customer services, HR, etc.

Though it’s likely that the main focus of your content strategy will be developing new business (i.e. generating leads), you’re missing a trick – and doing your colleagues a disservice – if you don’t consider other types of audience.

The other aim of this inter-departmental meeting – beside identifying your different audience types – should be to decide the weighting of content distribution between them. For example: 75% buyers of product A, 10% buyers of product B, 10% existing customers, 5% potential new employees.

You should already know how much content you’re capable of putting out each month/quarter/year. You could divide this up into person-hours or put a monetary value to it. Weighing content production this way will then help you determine exactly how much content you should be aiming to produce for each audience.

Step 2: Take stock of your content assets

It’s usually not necessary to produce all your content from nothing. Most businesses and organizations will have valuable and previously unexploited stocks of content assets just lying around waiting for an ingenious marketer to dust them off.

These content assets might take the form of:

  • slide decks from training sessions that can be re-purposed as videos, blog posts, or online slide decks;
  • data from your CRM system, surveys, or even finance department that can be turned into infographics or news stories;
  • expertise of your colleagues that can be tapped for video, audio, or transcribed interviews;
  • whitepapers that can be rewritten as a series of blog posts;
  • old blog posts that can be updated with fresh information or, if they’re all on the same topic, combined into an uber-post or whitepaper.

Re-purposing content assets really takes away some of the strain of having to come up with a bazillion new content ideas and helps you efficiently fill gaps in your content schedule. A single content asset can also often give rise to several pieces of content. For example, an infographic can support a blog post which analyzes the integrity of the data it was based on. You could also include a video which explains the wider ramifications of its findings.

In the worksheet named “Content Repository” in our downloadable template (right-click and “Save As” if you are a PC user) you have space to enter all your content ideas and assign authors before transferring them to the content calendar proper. You can then track each piece of content here as it develops, adding notes about related social activities and events, as well as keeping track of those ideas that never make it to press but which might inspire other ideas further down the line.

You can adjust the dates and re-use this calendar as needed.

Step 3: Schedule, publish, promote, track, and tweak your content

Regular editorial planning meetings between all those involved in content creation should be scheduled well before the next publishing period – be it monthly or quarterly. This meetings can be used to schedule the publishing content from your repository with realistic time frames and to support social media activity, email newsletter inclusions, etc.

Your planning meetings can also be used to review the visit, engagement, and revenue (if available) stats from previous periods to assess which types of content are most successful (and perhaps need to be replicated) and which are less successful (and perhaps need to be rethought).

Analytics (both web and social) and revenue data can also be used to make tweaks to already published content e.g. titles, introductions, outbound links etc to optimize visits and engagement.

Content Repository

Using Your Content Calendar Template

Rather than first fill up the content repository with great content ideas, and then use it to populate the calendar, use the two together. Important events will determine what pieces of content you want to produce and the changing availability of resources will determine when you’re able to publish certain pieces. Here are some guidelines for using your calendar:

  • The first column of the calendar sheets marks date periods in weeks (though you can make this more granular for organizations with daily content publishing activity).
  • The second provides space to fill in important calendar events which may affect your publishing schedule (e.g. for retailers, Christmas, or for accountants, the end of the Tax Year).
  • The third, fourth, and fifth are for marking important dates for each of your content topics. Such events might include trade shows, conferences, product launches, or other updates. You might need more or less of these columns depending on how many audience types you need to cover.
  • The sixth column lets you mark important company events which you might want to publish content on e.g. price changes, product launches, potential award wins, and campaign launches.
  • The seventh, eighth, and ninth columns are for scheduling pieces of content – color coded by topic/audience – and the tenth, eleventh and twelfth for scheduling supporting social media activity. Again, you might need more or fewer of these columns depending on how many pieces of content you have the resources to publish in each period.

Great content is at the heart of a good online marketing strategy. The content calendar (right click and “Save As”) provides a bird’s eye view so you can see what’s coming up, when is the best time to publish and your window of opportunity for pre- and post-publication content promotion.

We find working in this way really helps us stay on top of our content strategy – we hope you find it helpful too. Please do let us know by leaving a comment.

Get a weekly dose of the trends and insights you need to keep you ON top, from the strategy team at Convince & Convert. Sign up for the Convince & Convert ON email newsletter.

The post How to Build a Content Calendar (Plus a Free Template) appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.

]]> 38
6 Skills You Need to Be a Social Media Professional Sun, 05 Jan 2014 16:00:00 +0000 When Amber Naslund and I wrote The NOW Revolution in 2010, we created this graphic to describe the characteristics of the ideal community manager/social media practitioner. Since then, social media – and the skills needed to succeed in it – has changed substantially. Certainly, some of the characteristics we noted remain very much a requirement. […]

The post 6 Skills You Need to Be a Social Media Professional appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.

6 Skills You Need to Be a Social Media Professional

When Amber Naslund and I wrote The NOW Revolution in 2010, we created this graphic to describe the characteristics of the ideal community manager/social media practitioner. Since then, social media – and the skills needed to succeed in it – has changed substantially.

socila_media_skillsCertainly, some of the characteristics we noted remain very much a requirement. But the manifest shifts in social best practices, speed (foretold in The NOW Revolution) and technology have spawned a new list of ingredients that social pros ideally should possess.

6 Skills You Need to Be a Social Media Professional

This one is still very much true, and perhaps even more so. The best social media pros listen the most actively and most aggressively.

Pattern Recognition
This is getting more and more critical as the data and complexity of social continues to ratchet up. Are these posts on our Facebook page a crisis in the making, or just noise? Where are the real-time marketing opportunities? Instantly identifying patterns and being able to capitalize upon them are some of the skills that separate good social practitioners from great ones.

Visual Thinking
This is perhaps the biggest change in the past year or two. Being a great writer was formerly a key characteristic of many social pros, as being able to coherently write in 140 characters isn’t as easy as it appears. Today, with every social network embracing visuals and multi-media, being able to represent the brand visually is absolutely critical. This is a real challenge for many community managers who come from the PR/communications side of things, and all of a sudden need to be quasi graphic designers. I’m a big believer in social media pros taking photography classes in 2014.

Statistical Analysis

Social success is now about optimization, not colonization (click to tweet).

Understanding what works, what might work, why it might work, and under what circumstances is a major differentiator within the social media professionals ranks. Those that are constantly thinking about data and metrics, tying social outcomes to company outcomes are those that will ultimately succeed as social becomes integrated into larger business functions. If you’re not comfortable with math, data and Excel, you need to get good at that side of the business RIGHT NOW.

Understanding how to handle a wide variety of situations with aplomb, humor and empathy is a huge part of the business now, especially for front line community managers. My friend Jeff Rohrs – co-host of our popular weekly podcast, Social Pros – is a big proponent of social professionals taking improv comedy classes to burnish their in-the-moment chops. I concur.

Public Speaking
You may be thinking, “wait, I got into social media so I wouldn’t have to do stuff like public speaking, and could confine my awesomeness to a keyboard.” Well, here’s the deal. If you really want to make a run in this business, you are going to have to merchandise your success internally and externally. You have to make the execs in your organization understand why and how social works to either make the company money, save it money, or both. And if you can’t walk into that conference room and knock their socks off with a focused 10-minute presentation, you are realistically impeding your own success path.

What did I leave out? Where do you disagree? I’m sure this list will change again by next year. Maybe I’ll do this annually, if it warrants it.

Get a weekly dose of the trends and insights you need to keep you ON top, from the strategy team at Convince & Convert. Sign up for the Convince & Convert ON email newsletter.

The post 6 Skills You Need to Be a Social Media Professional appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.

]]> 47
5 Ways to Develop a Unique Selling Proposition Tue, 03 Dec 2013 11:00:00 +0000 A unique selling proposition is an often overlooked but very important element of creating a business that customers love.

The post 5 Ways to Develop a Unique Selling Proposition appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.

5 Ways to Develop a Unique Selling Proposition

A unique selling proposition, which defines your company’s unique position in the marketplace, is an important part of creating pricing power and a business that customers genuinely love.

A strong unique selling proposition lets you to stand apart from competitors and actively focus your energy on creating things that cater to your ideal group of customers.

As Seth Godin put it:

Instead of working so hard to prove the skeptics wrong, it makes a lot more sense to delight the true believers. They deserve it, after all, and they’re the ones that are going to spread the word for you.”

Having a unique selling point—even one that ostracizes some prospective customers—is a competitive advantage that allows you to avoid the trap of trying to please everyone.

Why You Need a Unique Selling Proposition

It’s likely that many of your prospective customers have difficulty deciding which option in your industry is the one that deserves their time, money and trust.

This selection can be a daunting process for customers that don’t have the experience to know what separates one competitor from another.

That’s why it is your job to assist them by making your unique selling proposition obvious, different and memorable enough that they can see exactly what your business has to offer that the other guys do not.

As Theodore Levitt, author and professor at Harvard Business School, says:

Differentiation is one of the most important strategic and tactical activities in which companies must constantly engage.”

In order to be remembered in a crowded marketplace, it helps if your business has a trait that’s worth remembering.

While a superior product and outstanding service are the foundation for growing a company that goes the distance, there is an opportunity to use differentiation as a competitive advantage in order to stand out like a sore thumb.

Creating a Unique Selling Proposition that Works

When it comes to developing a unique point of difference for your business, it’s impossible to give one-size-fits-all advice.

That said, there are certainly some best practices that work across marketplaces and that any business owner can apply to make their unique selling proposition worthwhile.

Below are some of my favorite methods as well as examples of how certain companies put them into practice.

Unabashedly Appeal to an Ideal Customer

Finding your ideal customer often takes quite a bit of legwork. When you’ve finally identified the perfect person to sell to, it makes sense to appeal to them through every aspect of your business.

But would you consider going to the extreme of ostracizing non-customers to spur on brand loyalty? One famous retail chain has adopted this practice in an extreme fashion. Abercrombie & Fitch’s CEO Mike Jeffries identifies their ideal customers as “cool, good-looking people,” and has publicly said the brand refuses to market to anyone outside of that subgroup.

Is this crazy or tactical? In a recent article on A&F’s “perverse brilliance,” author Roger Dooley argues that the backlash from Jeffries’ comments on the brand’s practices may not be as financially detrimental as one would think.

While there’s no argument that Jeffries’ comments were insensitive, the wave of negative responses that followed came mostly from older consumers and it didn’t appear to affect the purchasing patterns of A&F’s younger customers. In fact, retail analyst Gabriella Santaniello points out that this long-term exclusionary strategy has generally worked out for A&F:

Their brand image has been the same from the beginning and they’ve been quite successful with it… And you can’t be everything to everyone—otherwise, you set yourself up to more risk.”

Would I recommend that you be as callous, rude and insensitive as Jeffries? Absolutely not. Your business can certainly find a far less reprehensible approach for identifying and exclusively selling to your ideal customer. My point here is that this narrow focus is such an effective strategy that even outrageous comments from a disillusioned CEO weren’t able to drastically decrease its impact.

Leverage Unique Personalities in Your Industry

It may seem strange to assess an industry on the basis of personality, but hear me out. Certain industries carry an undeserved reputation that distorts how outsiders view them, often for the worse.

For example, the search engine optimization (SEO) industry struggles with a lingering reputation for being nothing more than a group of spammers who pollute the web and ruin the search experience for others in favor of profits. Rand Fishkin, founder of Moz, knows that this perception is a disservice to the many technically skilled, hardworking and honest search engine marketers who don’t partake in these practices.

Fishkin has always branded Moz as a business that offers software and community for professional and aspiring SEOs. He’s put a great deal of effort into creating a welcoming brand that is open, accepting and transparent.

The use of Roger, Moz’s lovable robot mascot, is a great example of how the business is working to recreate a positive perception of the SEO industry. With Roger at the helm, the Moz team has sought to become the welcoming entry point for those interested in the SEO community that were skeptical of the “personality defect” characterizing it as a shady industry to get involved in.

moz mascot roger


Avoid the “Superstar Effect” Rat Race

MIT graduate, author and Georgetown professor Cal Newport has written about the“Superstar Effect” that pigeonholes many top applicants to prestigious colleges. Instead of trying to stand out, most simply try to be the “best;” but when you’re competing with the best, this often just puts you among the status quo, giving you no opportunity to stand out.

Entrepreneur and marketer Corbett Barr discussed how this way of thinking seeps into business. Companies often strive to be the best, but the first thing they should do is merely be different.

Think about how you would see this goal if you were a restaurant owner. Given the subjective tastes of an entire city of people, being the “Best Restaurant” in town would be a far less fruitful endeavor (and require far more effort) than becoming the place you must go for ______.

The idea is that the competition won’t be as much of a concern if you change the rules of the game. You should first seek to do something better by doing it uniquely (vehicles for hire via your smartphone—who would’ve thought?!) rather than trying to simply be the best in a vague, crowded category.

Customer loyalty advice is available on the Internet in spades, but it’s almost always anecdotal. What if instead the advice given was supported by consumer studiesacademic research and specific examples? In lieu of trying to be the best in a sea of other customer service blogs, why not try to be different by offering up content that you won’t find elsewhere?

Get Personal

Can a strong personality be incorporated into a company’s unique selling proposition? Absolutely! But proceed with caution.

Stealing from hip-hop mogul Jay Z’s insistence that he’s “not a businessman, he’s a business, man,” businesses (especially small businesses) should realize that a strong personality can go a long way—as long as it aligns with what is being sold.

Consider the case study of George Zimmer, founder of Men’s Wearhouse. When the company’s board recently fired Zimmer, many analysts were quick to point out that no matter what the dispute was, removing Zimmer from the company was a bad move. Why? He had become a recognizable personality and was beloved by many of the customers and company employees. Mary Buffett wrote in a Huffington Post article:

Firing George Zimmer from The Men’s Warehouse is like benching Warren Buffett over at Berkshire Hathaway. As the pitch-perfect spokesman, losing Zimmer will remove the soul from The Men’s Wearhouse brand. I guarantee it.

How can a single employee (even a founder) cause so many publications to proclaim that a brand will lose its soul when he is ousted? In the case of Zimmer, it’s because his deep, gravelly voice and down-to-earth personality were so often identified with the everyman that he positioned the business around.

Zimmer built a brand that sought to help Average Joes look great in a suit without feeling uncomfortable and without breaking the bank. But the real secret to his marketing success was his embodiment of the person he was selling to. In Zimmer’s 500 hours of recorded footage for Men’s Warehouse commercials, he made a promise that men young and old believed in: “You’re going to like the way you look. I guarantee it.”

This sort of personality, which so perfectly aligned with what was being sold, is something that is difficult if not impossible to buy. Zimmer himself showcased everything Men’s Warehouse purported to care about, making him an integral part of their unique selling proposition.

5 Exceptional Examples of Unique Content and Selling Propositions

Learning is often best done by example, so below I’ve highlighted a small selection of brands that use their unique selling proposition to stand out (and succeed) in some tough marketplaces.

1. Man Crates

In a stellar example of machismo made fun again, Man Crates is an online store that ships “stuff guys like” in wooden crates that have to be opened with a crowbar.

While the items themselves make for great gifts (e.g., customized beer mugs, grilling equipment and beef jerky), it’s the unique positioning that really sells this brand.

Man Crates is oozing with personality at every turn, and as a customer myself I had a hearty laugh at the company’s help page, which boldly shows you this:

man crates help page

Few companies could get away with a help section that tells you to try harder, but when it’s guys buying gifts for other guys, not following directions (and not asking for help!) is simply a rite of passage.

The bravado here is welcomed and doesn’t cross over into areas where it doesn’t belong; when I contacted Man Crate’s customer service about a wrong delivery, the representative was quick, helpful and friendly, showing that exceptional service takes priority over their brand’s image.

2. Everlane Apparel

As previously mentioned, the way you build your product and the values you stand for can be important parts of your unique selling proposition. Everlane apparel stands out from the crowd in this respect.

The company culture wholeheartedly promotes what they call radical transparency; they pride themselves on a diligent, upstanding process for the manufacture of their goods, with the motto, “Know your factories. Know your costs. Always ask why.”

Since Everlane sells what they call “luxury basics,” product differentiation isn’t achieved through flashiness, but through a sincere interest in how the company makes their goods, conducts business, and gives special attention to their craft… down to the last v-neck.

3. Ellusionist

Can a company really make a playing card deck interesting? Ellusionist can. Their whole business is built on selling things that are different—a must given that what they sell are 52-card decks! How do they make these interesting and profitable? By appealing to a highly specific customer: magicians.

One of the cardinal sins of selling physical products online is offering something that consumers can find at any ol’ store. Ellusionist countered this by offering flashy, unique decks of cards that you really can’t find anywhere else.

And since they cater to those interested in showmanship via card tricks (and the occasional extravagant poker player), they’ve cornered a niche market instead of just being another producer of cheap decks of playing cards.

4. Saddleback Leather

Saddleback Leather’s company tagline is, “They’ll fight over it when you’re dead.” Combine this with an “Our Story” webpage that includes a picture of a machine gun, and no one can accuse Saddleback of being a company lacking personality.

One of my favorite pages on the site is the “Our Rivals” page, where the owner invites customers to compare products with his biggest competitors:

I’m so confident that you’ll find our classic look and over-engineered durability so hard to resist that I want you to shop around.  Go ahead … the more you shop, the better we look.”

saddleback leather rivals

The positioning here isn’t done for fluff. The company sells expensive leather goods, and to justify these premium prices it makes sense to boldly call out your competitors. The owner wants you to see the difference in quality to showcase why that bag you covet costs $500.

Lastly, Saddleback isn’t all about testosterone-driven declarations; the owner also displays a very personal side with a webpage dedicated to his dog Blue. This serves as a great example of putting your personality into your business in a way thatwon’t lead to any Mike Jeffries comparisons.

5. ThinkGeek

Hobby stores for geeks are another example of an industry with a lingering reputation for personality defects; they are often characterized as weird and filled with snooty employees who look down on beginners.

ThinkGeek, in comparison, is all about community, with unique features like customer action shots and an emphasis on novel products that build on already existing communities. (As a guy who still owns a Super Nintendo, their retro gaming section is much appreciated.)

snes-classic - thinkgeek

Take a lesson from ThinkGeek’s playbook and closely examine the needs and wants of your ideal customer, asking yourself, “What often stops people from buying?” When you have your answer, you will find your unique selling proposition.

Remember That It’s Still about Selling

Just as relationship marketing is as much about the marketing as is it about the relationships, the same applies for creating a unique selling proposition; it’s a form of differentiation that needs to be built around selling more products and services, not just to make your business into a quirky brand that stands out but can’t get traction.

In the book Reality in Advertising, advertising executive Rosser Reeves lays down three rules that unique selling propositions should follow if they wish to be more than just creative branding:

  1. Each advertisement must make a proposition to the consumer—not just words, product puffery, or show-window advertising. Each advertisement must say to each reader: “Buy this product, for this specific benefit.”
  2. The proposition must be one the competition cannot or does not offer. It must be unique—either in the brand or in a claim the rest of that particular advertising area does not make.
  3. The proposition must be strong enough to move the masses, i.e., attract new customers.

Make sure you are standing out for the right reasons, and that your brand’s positioning in your marketplace is intended to move what you sell, not just to stand out.

Your Turn

With thousands of business owners, marketers, and social media mavens reading the Convince & Convert blog, my curiosity has gotten the best of me—I want to hear what your business does differently!

Share your story in the comments below. Or, tell us about a business you love that stands out among the competition.

Editor’s Note: A version of this article first appeared on the Help Scout blog.

Get a weekly dose of the trends and insights you need to keep you ON top, from the strategy team at Convince & Convert. Sign up for the Convince & Convert ON email newsletter.

The post 5 Ways to Develop a Unique Selling Proposition appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.

]]> 14
How to Create Customer Profiles to Reach Your Target Audience Mon, 17 Jun 2013 11:00:00 +0000 Creating customer profiles or personas of the people you are looking to sell to is critical to a successful marketing strategy.

The post How to Create Customer Profiles to Reach Your Target Audience appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.


How to Create Customer Profiles to Reach Your Target Audience

Customer profiling may sound like a mug shot lineup of your customers, but their purpose is far more innocent.

Instead, I want to offer three concrete steps for creating effective customer personas. It’s the process we used at Help Scout to figure out who was buying our software.

A useful customer profile — also known as a persona — is akin to a comprehensive how-to guide for reaching your ideal customers. It gives you a structured look at their goals in trying your product, the features and content that matter most to them, and the messaging that will appeal to them.

We are going to look at how you can easily create an informative and flexible customer persona template that you can use to paint a clear picture of who exactly is a fit for your product.

How Customer Profiling Can Increase Sales

Trying to sell products and services without understanding your ideal customers is like driving with your eyes closed.

Although making use of customer feedback is a great place to gather intelligence on your customers, what to do with that information is the next step that often eludes many business owners. This is where a simple customer profile template comes into play. You can create one this week by following three simple steps.

Step #1 – Create Broad Descriptions of Your Ideal Buyers

The first step you should take in assembling your customer persona is to create broad descriptions of each ideal customer. We’re not talking about demographic data or any sort of personal information, only a high-level view of what they do and what’s important to them in doing business with a company like yours.

As a firsthand example, at my company Help Scout we have three very different customer personas that our software caters to. This is how we describe two of them:

1. Growth Graham – Graham is the founder of a small business and he signs up for Help Scout because he’s curious. He cares most about scale, price and providing outstanding, personalized support for customers.

2. Help Desk Heidi – Heidi is the lead customer support manager for a larger company, and she has been given the task of finding a new company help desk. She wants a product that makes her a better manager, so she is most concerned about agent productivity, reporting and team collaboration.

While these two potential customers both benefit from our product, they have very different motives for signing up. Lumping them together as “people who need a help desk” would be doing them a disservice since it wouldn’t allow us to cater to their individual needs.

The outline of your ideal buyers will include elements about the customer and their attitude towards products in your industry.

Your “About” section should briefly describe where your product fits in with this customer’s search. Ask yourself what about this customer is a telltale sign that your product (or service) will benefit them and that your company values the same things they do.

Here’s a sample from our Growth Graham persona:
 Graham gets what it means to love customers. He’s held on to using email (Gmail, usually) for a long time because he loves how personal it is, but his business is growing fast and he needs something that scales better.

Even this basic portrait of Graham lets us know that he’s utilizing a free product and is at a crossroads; he doesn’t want to give up the personal touch of email, but his team is finding themselves crushed by the current workflow.

That’s a lot of key information, and we’ve only just begun!

When assembling information on your customer’s attitude, you need to look at how your customer typically feels towards the other offerings available in your industry.

For instance, Help Desk Heidi is quite knowledgeable about other available help desks and has most likely tried most of them. She needs very little coaching on the benefits of a help desk. Her concerns will center on the time and cost of switching from her company’s current solution to ours.

Heidi will also be interested in how our reporting tools compare with what she uses today; for the larger-size company Heidi works for, data-driven insights can greatly impact the bottom line.

Now that you’ve created basic identities for your ideal buyers, it’s time to build out these profiles by procuring more detailed information on what these buyers are looking to achieve with your product.

Step #2 – Identify Unique User Goals & Most Important Features

This is where you begin to enhance your customer persona with detailed insights that you can use to better appeal to each customer.

The most important information to identify in step two is the user goals for each customer type and the most important features that may affect their willingness to purchase from you.

When identifying user goals for a customer persona, make sure you come up with crystal-clear answers to the following questions:

  1. What language would this customer use to identify their current problem?
  2. What is their greatest hesitation in trying out your offering?
  3. What is the best way to engage with this customer?

When looking at a customer’s current problem, it’s important to pay attention to the language they use to describe the problem. Knowing their thought process will allow you to write the kind of copy that feels like mind-reading.

For instance, we know that Growth Graham is concerned with emails slipping through the cracks in his over-crowded Gmail account, so we wrote copy specifically around that choice phrasing on our email page.

The next important user goal to identify is why each of these customer types may be hesitant to try your product.

We know that Help Desk Heidi has concerns that the newest solution she finds will be as bloated as the one her company currently uses. We spend ample time addressing her concerns on our help desk page, which is the ideal place for her to land on our website.

Lastly, how can you best engage these different customer types? Heidi wants in-depth, data-driven customer service resources, whereas Graham cares more about what integrations are available and what features he can expect in the future.

Is this sort of information available on your site?

Step #3 – Locate and List Where Customers Will Find You

How are these ideal customers likely to find you?

If your ideal customers are as varied as Growth Graham and Help Desk Heidi, then the answers to this question differ greatly.

There are certain key elements that you must identify during this process:

  • What websites will this customer frequently visit? What blogs do they read?
  • What are likely search terms they will use?
  • What sort of content appeals to them the most?

To answer the first question, take a close look at the other information you’ve gathered on this customer and assemble a list of websites that they frequent regularly.

Professional products are going to be well-received on LinkedIn, entertainment products will find a great home on places like BuzzFeed, and a bootstrapped cologne company can find some interested buyers on AskMen.

As a B2B company, look at the sample metrics below and see if you can guess which two social networks are filled with Help Scout’s ideal customers.

This sort of information is incredibly useful for planning advertising strategies, crafting successful guest blog posts and collaborating with other businesses that may have a similar audience.

Next, you need to brainstorm what search terms are going to be commonly used by each of your customer personas.

For example:

Growth Graham is concerned about switching over from email, so we have a page all about email for him to find in a search.

Help Desk Heidi needs to find a new solution since she is already using something to handle support. She’s likely searching for other alternatives and would end up on our Zendesk comparison page.

Lastly, think about what sort of content will appeal to each customer type, and what sort of content could be useful for support.

To simplify this process, we split content on our blog into two distinct categories: “white bread” content and “wheat bread” content.

White bread is high-level data and advice, meant to appeal to the largest audience possible. Wheat bread is written for a more narrow audience, but the content is packed with healthful content that adds a lot of value.

An example of white bread content would be a large list post that was made for social media shares, such as our article “15 Customer Retention Strategies that Work.” This type of content appeals mostly to Growth Graham because he loves interesting bits of information that he can easily consume and share online.

Conversely, someone like Help Desk Heidi would be more interested in wheat bread content, which covers deeper topics within our industry. Something relevant to her interests would be along the lines of “How to Successfully Handle Customer Complaints.”

Identifying which types of content works best for each customer allows you to create meaningful content that converts on your company blog instead of firing off random blog posts that you hope will resonate with your potential customers.

Your Turn

Now I want to hand things over to you.

We’ve taken a detailed look at how to create smarter customer profiles, and I want to hear your thoughts on the following…

  • Would you add any sections to your particular template?
  • What are some ways that you cater to your ideal customers?

Start the discussion by leaving a comment below.

Editor’s Note: A version of this article originally appeared on

Get a weekly dose of the trends and insights you need to keep you ON top, from the strategy team at Convince & Convert. Sign up for the Convince & Convert ON email newsletter.

The post How to Create Customer Profiles to Reach Your Target Audience appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.

]]> 13
14 Steps to Hosting a Successful Webinar Tue, 07 May 2013 11:00:00 +0000 Learn how to host and promote a successful webinar with these 14 steps from Gini Dietrich, founder of Arment Dietrich and Spin Sucks.

The post 14 Steps to Hosting a Successful Webinar appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.

14 Steps to Hosting a Successful Webinar

Following is a step-by-step list of how to host a memorable, interesting, and useful webinar. Of course, this list may change, depending on your business and your industry, but it provides a good place to begin thinking about how to generate good, qualified leads from content.

  1. Choose a topic and a headline that has great search potential. For instance, we did a webinar about Google analytics. Rather than call it “Advanced Analytics,” we called it, “The Lies and Truths of Google Analytics.” The difference is the second one is much more compelling to someone who doesn’t know what great content you offer.
  2. Set up the webinar with your provider (brightTALKGoToWebinar, Adobe Connect, and WebEx are some of the favorites) and grab the registration link they provide. You’ll include that in the email they get after they’ve registered.
  3. Create a landing page on your website or blog (you can use HubspotFormStackImpact, or Landerapp) that requires a name, company name, and email address to register and has all of the information about the webinar.
  4. Create a list of tactics you’re going to use to distribute information about the webinar: News release, social networks, email, blog, Facebook ad, Google ad, and postcard.
  5. Using the URL of the landing page (not the URL of the webinar software registration), create a different link for each of the tactics using the Google URL Builder. What this does is create a campaign in your analytics under traffic sources > sources > campaigns. When you open that tab, it’ll list the visitors per tactic. It will list in there, “March 28 Webinar from Newsletter,” “March 28 Webinar from Social Media,” “March 28 Webinar from News Release,” etc. This gives you data to use so you know which tactics work best for your audience.
  6. Shoot a one minute video to describe what people will learn in the webinar. You can house this on your website and/or blog, distribute it through the social networks, and use it in email marketing. Human beings are visual creatures. You’ll be amazed at how well this one thing works.
  7. One month before the webinar, distribute a news release (using your media relations URL in the body) on the wire (PR NewswirePR.comBusinessWire, or Pitch Engine, depending on your budget). Also upload the release to the newsroom on your website.
  8. If you have a newsletter, include the webinar in the email one month prior to its date.
  9. Now you want to think about email marketing, separate from the newsletter. If you have a newsletter, you’ll have three other emails. If you don’t, you’ll do four emails. Do one a month before, one three weeks before, one a week before, and one the day before. It will seem like a lot of emails to you, but most people get the information and sit on it and then register the day before the event. The URL you use in the emails will be different than what you use in the newsletter so you can track the effectiveness of each.
  10. A week before the webinar, you want to think about social media and about a blog post (if you have a blog). Because we have a crazy, fun community at Spin Sucks, it is our most effective marketing tool for webinars. But most of our clients find success in the email campaign. Test, test, test and measure, measure, measure.
  11. Using the social media URL you created, begin to post the webinar on your social networks. Ask your team to do the same. If you have a guest speaker for the webinar, have them share it. If you have a LinkedIn company page, share it there and ask people for recommendations so it rises in search results inside the social network. Fair warning: Most registrations do not come from the social networks so use this tactic with that expectation.
  12. If you have a blog, write a blog post about what people can expect to learn if they attend. This is not a sales pitch. It’s valuable and educational content that motivates people to register. When we did the Google analytics webinar I mentioned above, I wrote a blog post about what *I* learned by watching it ahead of time and why I was excited to share it with our community.
  13. If you want to test Facebook or Google ads, they’re both very inexpensive ways to see if you can attract new visitors who don’t already know about you and your business. Do this two weeks out.
  14. You can also go really old school and send a postcard to your database. Because that’s rarely done anymore, it can be pretty effective. Do this a month out and make sure your URL is specific to direct mail so you can track whether or not it works.

Now it’s time for the webinar. Make sure you record it because a good 50 percent of those who register will not show up. After the webinar (we like to do the next day, but many do it same day), send an email to everyone who registered with a link to the recording. Put the recording on your website so you can track who visits and downloads. You can also put it behind a landing page so anyone new has to enter their email address to download it.

For the most part, the people who register for your webinar are qualified leads. Some will be competitors because they want to see what you’re up to and will want to copy you, but most will be people who want to do business with you.

At this point, you can decide if you hand those leads over to your sales team or, if you have a lead nurturing program, if they go into your system for follow-up content to push them through the marketing funnel to a decision.

Get a weekly dose of the trends and insights you need to keep you ON top, from the strategy team at Convince & Convert. Sign up for the Convince & Convert ON email newsletter.

The post 14 Steps to Hosting a Successful Webinar appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.

]]> 13
Social Media Strategy in 8 Steps Sun, 27 Jan 2013 14:00:00 +0000 Social Media Strategy in 8 Steps is the process used by Jay Baer to create social media strategy for major companies, world-wide.

The post Social Media Strategy in 8 Steps appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.

Social Media Strategy in 8 Steps

You pick the categories, we deliver the content. The best content from around the web, on topics you care about and need to be an expert in.

Social Media Strategy 8 Steps
Jay Baer Blog PostOver the past four years at Convince & Convert, we’ve continued to refine our social media strategy process. Here’s one of the latest iterations, presented as a keynote speech to ESTO (Educational Seminar for Travel Organizations) last Fall. I’ve pasted the slides below, but also included a short summary of the 8 steps in our social media strategy process, as the slides are more visual than descriptive.

Social Media Strategy in 8 Steps (Summary)

One of the major theses we employ in our social media strategy process is this:

Companies should focus more on how to BE social, and less on how to DO social media. (tweet this)

With all the new tools and platforms constantly emerging, it’s very easy to fall into the trap of thinking about social media through a tactical prism instead of a strategic one. The best social media strategic plans are tools-agnostic, and set forth objectives and metrics that supersede any particular social venue.

Step 1: Build an Ark

Nobody should “own” social media strategy in your organization. Social impacts all corners of the company, and should be more like air (everywhere) than like water (you have to go get it). Thus, the first step in the process is to create a cross-functional team to help conceive and operate the rest of the strategy.

Step 2: Listen and Compare

It’s an old social media strategy chestnut by now, but “listen” is still good advice that’s often ignored. The reality is that your customers (and competitors) will give you a good guide to where and how you should be active in social media, if you broaden your social listening beyond your brand name.

Step 3: What’s the Point?

Yes, you can use social media to help accomplish several business objectives. But the best social media strategies are those that focus (at least initially) on a more narrow rationale for social. What do you primarily want to use social for? Awareness? Sales? Loyalty and retention? Pick one.

Step 4: Select Success Metrics

How are you going to determine whether this is actually making a difference in your business? What key measures will you use to evaluate social media strategy effectiveness? How will you transcend (hopefully) likes and engagement? Will you measure ROI?

Step 5: Analyze Your Audiences

With whom will you be interacting in social media? What are the demographic and psychographic characteristics of your current or prospective customers? How does that impact what you can and should attempt in social media?

Step 6: What’s Your One Thing?

Passion is the fuel of social media. (tweet this)

It doesn’t matter who you are, or what you sell, your product features and benefits aren’t enough to create a passion-worthy stir. How will your organization appeal to the heart of your audience, rather than the head? Disney isn’t about movies, it’s about magic. Apple isn’t about technology, it’s about innovation. What are you about?

Step 7: How Will You Be Human?

Social media is about people, not logos. (tweet this)

The mechanics of social force companies to compete for attention versus your customers’ friends and family members. Thus, your company has to (at least to some degree) act like a person, not an entity. How will you do that?

Step 8: Create a Channel Plan

Only after you know why you’re active in social at all, and how you’ll measure social media strategy success should you turn your attention to the “how” of Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and the rest. This channel plan should be distinct, in that you have a specific, defensible reason for participating in each (I covered this more in-depth in my post on 3 Rock Solid Questions to Guide Your 2013 Social Media Success).

When we’re working on social media strategy for major companies, the plan and the deliverable is quite a bit more comprehensive than what you see above, but it’s based on this scaffolding and thought process. I hope you’ll find it useful in your own endeavors.

Get a weekly dose of the trends and insights you need to keep you ON top, from the strategy team at Convince & Convert. Sign up for the Convince & Convert ON email newsletter.

The post Social Media Strategy in 8 Steps appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.

]]> 25
11 Shocking New Social Media Statistics in America Wed, 06 Jun 2012 10:00:00 +0000 Social media statistics from Edison's The Social Habit reveal surprising points about Facebook, Twitter, and beyond. Free download.

The post 11 Shocking New Social Media Statistics in America appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.

11 Shocking New Social Media Statistics in America

YJay Baer Blog Postou think social media is reaching maturity, and the whipsaw behavioral shifts that change like a Dwight Howard trade request are things of the past? Uhhh, no.

Released yesterday at Blogworld New York, findings from social media behavioral researcher Tom Webster and the team at Edison Research show some shocking changes in how Americans use and consume social media. You can access the entire presentation at The Social Habit microsite, but 11 social media statistics in particular stood out for me.

Two quick notes: This is not data dredging. This is real, random sample, tightly controlled research from the same company that is the exclusive provider of Presidential exit polls in the USA. This is the last time the entire research from Edison will be released for free. It’s just too valuable to be given away wholesale, considering it costs tens of thousands of dollars to produce. But you can get exclusive access to the Social Habit research when it’s refreshed and expanded in early Fall. Sign up now for a sneak peek.

And if you’re interested in including a question about your company or a category of social media usage of particular interest to your organization, that may be an option (click for details, fees apply). I’m partnering with Edison Research, Jason Falls, and Mark Schaefer.

Social Media Statistics Twitter Users Lean Towards teh Democratic Party

Click on chart to access entire Social Habit report

1. Twitter users are 33 percent more likely to be Democrats.

An interesting finding, and representative of the type of custom queries we can answer for you in the next round of the Social Habit, this edition found that 40 percent of Twitter users are Democrats, compared to 30 percent of the U.S. population overall.The percentage of Republications and Independents on Twitter mirrors the U.S. average almost precisely.

2. The “Check-in” is the phenomenon that never happened.

74 percent of Americans are unfamiliar with the concept of checking in to a location via mobile device, and only three percent have ever checked in. Even more damning, is that four percent had checked in when surveyed in 2011. This is a 25 percent decrease in check in behaviors in a single year. It’s not going to rebound, which is why Foursquare’s play is to be the new Yelp.

3. Only 33 percent of Americans have ever followed a brand in social media.

From 2010 to 2012 the percentage of Americans following any brand on a social network has gone from 16 percent to 33 percent. This is a sharp increase, but looked at from the opposite perspective, it’s shocking to me that two-thirds of Americans using social networks have never followed a brand.Companies still have substantial room for growth in connecting with customers and fans on social networks.

4. 56 percent of Americans have a profile on a social networking site.

This is up from 52 percent just last year, and 48 percent in 2010. How high can this climb? Certainly, there are sizable chunks of the populace that will never join a social networking site, but it’s amazing to consider that significantly more Americans (12 years old and up) have a social networking profile than do not.

Social Media Statistics 45 to 54 year old users

Click chart to download entire report

5. 55 percent of Americans 45 to 54 have a profile on a social networking site.

It’s not just for kids any more. The biggest growth of any age cohort from 2011 to 2012 was 45–54 year olds, who now exhibit participation matching the U.S. average. The only group that is below average are 55+ Americans, and even 3 out of 10 of them are in the social networking game.

6. 22 percent of Americans use social networking sites several times per day.

It really is a “Social Habit”. In the past year, 12 million more Americans are using social networking many times daily. How many other things do we do several times per day? It’s not a long list.

7. Huge uptick in Facebook’s influence on purchase.

Last year, 68 percent of Americans using social networks said that none of those networks had an influence on their buying decisions. This year, just 36 percent said that there was no influence. Now, 47 percent say Facebook has the greatest impact on purchase behavior (compared to just 24 percent in 2011). Incidentally, Twitter ranks below “other” at five percent. If you want to drive purchase behaviors within social networks, Facebook is the one and only game to play, statistically speaking.

8. Facebook via mobile continues to be a major factor.

54 percent of Facebook members have used the social network via a phone, and 33 percent use a phone as their primary way to access Facebook. This despite the fact that the Facebook mobile experience and mobile apps are mediocre, at best. Here’s hoping the Instagram guys can jump start it. If so, watch for these numbers to soar.

Social Media Statistics 22 percent of Americans have social habit

Click the chart to download entire report

9. Facebook is the most addicting of the social networks.

23 percent of Facebook’s users check their account five or more times every day. The mean number of daily look-ins by Facebook users is four. Are we really so interesting that we have to keep up with our friends’ inanities every 90 minutes? Evidently, yes.

10. Twitter will have an easier time making changes to its core service that Facebook does.

53 percent of Twitter users have been a member for less than a year, compared to just 19 percent for Facebook. This means that Twitter’s user base doesn’t have long-term, deep seated expectations for what Twitter is or should be. It will be interesting to see if Twitter doubles down on this advantage, and continues to hang ornaments on the functionality Christmas tree.

11. 76 percent of Twitter users now post status updates.

This is one of the biggest behavioral changes of the past two years. In 2010, the Social Habit research found that just 47 percent of Twitter users actually sent tweets, with more than half the user base in listen-only mode. The overwhelming majority of new Twitter users are active tweeters, driving the overall average to 76 percent.

In the next edition of The Social Habit, we’ll be looking at YouTube, social video, Pinterest, Instagram, and more. Plus, if you’ve got questions you’d like to ask thousands of Americans via the best social media research methodology available, let’s talk. Get on the list for The Social Habit now.

Which of these 11 is the most shocking social media statistic? I’ll go with #7 and #11. You?

Get a weekly dose of the trends and insights you need to keep you ON top, from the strategy team at Convince & Convert. Sign up for the Convince & Convert ON email newsletter.

The post 11 Shocking New Social Media Statistics in America appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.

]]> 55
Don’t Be Scared, Be Prepared – How to Manage a Social Media Crisis Mon, 28 May 2012 10:00:24 +0000 Social media crisis management isn't about winning, but rather about damage control. Use these 8 steps to find your footing amidst chaos.

The post Don’t Be Scared, Be Prepared – How to Manage a Social Media Crisis appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.

How to Manage a Social Media Crisis

This is probably the most important blog post you’ll never need. Drawn from a section of my book The NOW Revolution, I gave this presentation about social media crisis recovery recently as part of the Social Media Success Summit 2012.

One of the keys to successful social media crisis mitigation is pre-crisis planning. This is lifeguard mode, and there are four elements of it.

Buy Some Binoculars
It’s hard to deal with a crisis you can’t find. You need some sort of social media listening software in your organization. See this post on the 5 Categories of Social Media Software for some options.

Set a Listening Protocol
That software, however, is only good as its operator. You must have a listening protocol in your organization. Who is listening to the social Web? When are they listening? For what are they listening? Who is covering nights and weekends?

Know What Is and What Is Not a Crisis
Somebody sending a mean tweet about your company doesn’t constitute a crisis. There are three characteristics of a true social media crisis. If these three happen, you’re in crisis mode.

  • A social media crisis has information asymmetry. When the company does not know any more than the public about what’s going on. When your plane lands in the Hudson River, and you start seeing Twit Pics of it, that’s information asymmetry – the first sign of a social media crisis.
  • A social media crisis is a decisive change from the norm. Nike (and now Apple) are routinely criticized for labor practices. Social chatter about that is ongoing and expected, however. That’s not a crisis. When a markedly different line of criticism occurs, that’s the second sign of a social media crisis.
  • A social media crisis has a potentially material impact on the company overall. Somebody tweeting that Subway left mustard off their sandwich isn’t a crisis. A gunman at a Subway is. Scope and scale is the theirs sign of a social media crisis.

Social Media Crisis Management Response ProtocolUse an Internal Alert and Response Flowchart
Not all crises have the same response teams. The more acute the issue, the more senior the responder. Create a crisis flowchart that specifies who in your organization should be contacted in different scenarios. Make certain that your front lines social media and customer service personnel keep detailed, up-to-date contact information (including home phone) for all executives.

This is also where – depending on the size and complexity of your organization – you may want to work with legal to map out some processes and pre-approved messaging. Crisis role-playing and fire drills are exceptionally useful, too.

You’ve completed your lifeguard training. Now what happens when a crisis occurs?

In Case of Overwhelming Negativity, Break Glass

Here are the 8 steps to successfully managing a social media crisis.

1. Acknowledge
Your first response should always be “yes, we realize something has happened” even if you have ZERO answers. This will stem the tide of “hey company, did you know?” messages.

Kashi Social Media Crisis Management2. Fight Social Media Fire With Social Media Water
Once you have some information, you should respond first in the venue where the crisis first broke. If the crisis initiated on Facebook, respond first on Facebook. Then circle around and respond in other venue that have picked up on the crisis.

Kellogg’s failed on this point in April, 2012 during a Facebook-fueled crisis about the soy ingredients of their Kashi brand. Kashi responded to the crisis with a YouTube video, which got no traction whatsoever. A live, streaming video response on their Facebook page would have been a much better balm.

You never know where a crisis will break, however, so you must have presences in every social outpost, even if you’re not routinely participating there. For example, are you ready for a Pinterest crisis? It could happen.

It probably goes without saying, but speed matters. What we ask our clients at Convince & Convert is simple, yet difficult. “Can you get a video online from your CEO within 4 hours, any time of the day or night, from anywhere in the world?” If the answer is no, you aren’t fully prepared.

3. Be Sorry
America is the land of forgiveness. We’ve forgiven Mike Tyson, Bill Clinton, Exxon, Tylenol, and a rogue’s gallery of corporate and individual miscreants and near do wells. You’ll be forgiven too, if you say you’re sorry and mean it.

4. Create a Crisis FAQ
Create a Web page or microsite and put all the information about the crisis in one place. This allows you to respond to questions with a link instead of an answer. This saves times and prevents misinterpretation of your responses (especially on Twitter).

This Crisis FAQ should include:

  • Acknowledgement of the crisis
  • Details about the occurrence
  • Photos or videos, if available
  • How the company found out
  • Who was alerted, when, and how
  • Specific actions taken in response
  • Real or potential effects
  • Steps taken to prevent future occurrence
  • Contact information for real people at the company

5. Build a Pressure Relief Valve
This may be counterintuitive, but you WANT people to vent on a venue you control. Whether it’s your Facebook page, blog, forum, or comments section on your Crisis FAQ microsite, you want ire to accumulate on your turf. There are four benefits to this approach:

  • It allows you to keep more of the conversations about the crisis in a single venue, making them easier to track.
  • It’s an early warning detection system for new dimensions of the crisis.
  • It gives your customers an official place to come to your defense (sometimes).
  • When your turf is the conversational boxing ring, you set the rules.

If you do not proactively provide a pressure relief valve, complainants will create their own, giving you no recourse or control whatsoever.

Penn State Social Media CrisisTo their credit, Penn State University used their Facebook wall as a pressure relief valve during the height of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, allowing hundreds of angry comments to be posted. But, because it was on their Facebook page, they could see, find, moderate (as necessary), and answer back. Smart.

6. Know When to Take it Offline
Social media crisis management isn’t about winning, it’s about damage control. Some people will be angry enough that you’re not going to convince them of anything.

Do not get in an online tit for tat, ever (and certainly not in a crisis scenario). Keyboards embolden us all, and sometimes the best course of action is to offer your phone number or email address, and encourage the troll to contact you that way. Will it take the kettle off boil? Sometimes, but even if it doesn’t the rest of the community sees that you went the extra mile and provided an olive branch. That matters. Crisis management is a spectator sport.

Remember the rule of 3. Never send a third reply. A third reply is an argument, not an answer. On the third reply, you take it offline.

7. Arm Your Army
We know where everyone works, because it’s listed on their Facebook and Linkedin profiles. If you wanted more information about the Kashi crisis, would you call their corporate communications department and wait on hold, or would you go to Linkedin and find ANYONE at Kellogg’s to whom you had a connection. Bingo! Call centers and waiting on hold is for suckers, and every employee is a potential spokesperson.

That’s why it’s imperative that you keep ALL employees informed about the crisis.Whether it’s email, text message, internal blog, Yammer (or similar) you must keep your employees at least as knowledgeable as the public.

8. Learn Your Lessons
After the crisis subsides, and you’ve dried the tears off your laptop, reconstruct and deconstruct the crisis. Document every facet:

  • Make copies of all tweets, status updates, blog comments, etc.
  • Make copies of all emails
  • Analyze website traffic patterns
  • Analyze search volume patterns
  • Where did the crisis break, and when? Where did it spread, and how?
  • How did your internal notification work?
  • How did your response protocol work?
  • Did specific customers rise to your defense? (thank them!)
  • Were your employees informed?
  • How did the online crisis intersect with offline coverage (if any)

There you have it. The social media crisis management playbook than I hope you never need. If you’d like to put a customized crisis plan together for your company, let me know. We can help.

Get a weekly dose of the trends and insights you need to keep you ON top, from the strategy team at Convince & Convert. Sign up for the Convince & Convert ON email newsletter.

The post Don’t Be Scared, Be Prepared – How to Manage a Social Media Crisis appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.

]]> 10
15 Email Statistics That Are Shaping the Future Wed, 22 Oct 2008 14:21:03 +0000 A Marketing Profs panel to wade through the data that's impacting how the email marketing industry is evolving.

The post 15 Email Statistics That Are Shaping the Future appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.

15 Email Statistics That Are Shaping the Future

You pick the categories, we deliver the content. The best content from around the web, on topics you care about and need to be an expert in.

I just finished an invigorating panel discussion at the Marketing Profs Digital Marketing Mixer. Moderated by Aaron Kahlow from Online Marketing Summit, the session was titled “What Your Customers Really Think of Your Email Program.” (click here for the presentation at Slideshare)

I was joined on the panel by Katrina Anderson of iPost, and Annie Kinnaird of Emma. Stephanie Miller of ReturnPath was the brains behind the format.

The idea was to wade through the ton of email data being published seemingly every day, and focus on the really juicy stuff – subscriber studies – that’s impacting how the email marketing industry is evolving.

Which of These Email Marketing Stats Scare You Most?

1. 21% of email recipients report email as Spam, even if they know it isn’t

2. 43% of email recipients click the Spam button based on the email “from” name or email address

3. 69% of email recipients report email as Spam based solely on the subject line

4. 35% of email recipients open email based on the subject line alone

5. IP addresses appearing on just one of the 12 major blacklists had email deliverability 25 points below those not listed on any blacklists

6. Email lists with 10% or more unknown users get only 44% of their email delivered by ISPs

7. 17% of Americans create a new email address every 6 months

8. 30% of subscribers change email addresses annually

9. If marketers optimized their emails for image blocking, ROI would increase 9+%

10. 84% of people 18-34 use an email preview pane

11. People who buy products marketed through email spend 138% more than people that do not receive email offers

12. 44% of email recipients made at least one purchase last year based on a promotional email

13. Subscribers below age 25 prefer SMS to email

14. 35% of business professionals check email on a mobile device

15. 80% of social network members have received unsolicited email or invites

What do you think? Is the future of email one-to-one communication? Leave a comment, or read more illuminating posts about email marketing.

Get a weekly dose of the trends and insights you need to keep you ON top, from the strategy team at Convince & Convert. Sign up for the Convince & Convert ON email newsletter.

The post 15 Email Statistics That Are Shaping the Future appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.

]]> 43