Sword and the Script

5 Takeaways from a Study on Social Media Sales



by Frank Strong

Social Media Sales

If you are influenced by social media to make purchases, please raise your hand!

Some 40% of social media users have made purchases online, or in stores after interacting with content on social networks. This according to a study by the Vancouver-headquartered Vision Critical titled: How Social Media Drives Your Customers’ Purchasing Decisions.

Vision Critical itself sells market research solutions and they used their own panels to interview about 6,000 people in the U.S., U.K. and Canada, over the course of roughly a year and a half.  The study looks at just three social networks in Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter, so it’s a narrow scope across networks, but it takes a fairly deep look at these networks.

The study has been on my reading list for several months and I’m glad I kept the link.  Here are five takeaways that jumped out at me:

1. Men make more social purchases.  There are more women on social media, but men make more purchases. Pinterest users for example are 83% female as are 57% of Facebook users. Twitter was stand out as a male-heavy platform, where 54% of users are men. However, overall men are more susceptible to the influence of social media in making a purchase. Fifty-six percent of social-related purchases are made by men.

2. Older user base; youthful purchasing power.  It’s easy to think of social media as appealing to a younger demographic, and while that might have been true a decade ago, this survey says that’s no longer true. We’re all getting older, no? The majority of social media users across Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter fall into the 35-54 age group.  However of social media users that made social-related purchases 51% fall into the 18-34 age bracket. Read More…

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Delta: How the World’s Worst Brand can also Be the Best



by Frank Strong

delta worst brand

Wait! Didn’t we just see a headline saying this was the worst brand?

The first thing I remember reading last Thursday morning was a passing headline about the most – and least – respected brands.  Delta Airlines was in the headline as being the least respected brand.

Delta even got nailed by their hometown paper. The world is just unkind sometimes.  On the upside, I haven’t seen Scott McCartney write or interview about it.

I scanned the article briefly and moved on; that an airline ranks so poorly isn’t exactly earth shattering news.  Flying today is simply a miserable experience from start to finish and surely the airline has earned its reputation.

The complex industrial confluence of catastrophes that started on 9/11 have been long over, but the airlines have never looked back. Customer service is not a competitive advantage.  Not in the airline industry.

Later that night as I fortuitously boarded a Delta flight, I couldn’t help but notice the giant sticker posted on the right hand side of the aircraft door (photo nearby) which read “most admired companies.” And this year no less.  That reignited my interest in the story I read earlier.

How can this possibly be?  How can Delta Airlines be the least respected brand on in one study, and among the 100 most admired companies on another? Read More…

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What IT Vendors are Giving Away at Trade Shows



by Frank Strong

ILTA, Caesars Palace

The ILTA Conference was held at Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas. I didn’t go outside for four days while there — and this photo demonstrates why.

For those that know me, I’ve held a post the last several years that was a PR position for software company that marketed products to other marketing and PR pros; marketing to marketers to say it succinctly.  More than once it’s occurred to me that might in fact make me abnormal — it is not the same — at least in marketing terms.

Fairly recently, I’ve taken a new gig within a software business at LexisNexis and they flew a bunch of us out to ILTA — the International Legal Technology Association — Conference in Las Vegas last week (Update:  38 Posts Summarizing The ILTA Conference).  So amid the hustle that is a PR pro at a conference, I took time to peruse the trade show floor to size up what other sorts of companies were present, talk shop with the other vendors exhibiting and also to see what their marketing looked like. In other words, what are the normal marketers doing?

Here’s what I found: Read More…

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Reading: Selling Love Objects and Other Communication Theories



by Frank Strong

Selling Love Objects and Other Communication Theories

Not only did I stop for this train during one commute this week, it stopped for me…blocking the road. The culmination of a commute one day that was so bad it was comical.

Is it Saturday morning or Sunday morning? Doesn’t matter…I got some great links below.  The second suggestion is a bit long, but sooo worth it.  Read that post, please, it’s very informative. And put your coffee down for the third one, otherwise you’ll wind up spitting it out while reading!

1. Selling love objects.  This is a hidden emotional need – and it’s well grounded in theory.  It has nothing to do with Adam or Eve, rather this is about positioning a product so that it’s associated with parental pride, for example. In this guest post on Spin Sucks, titled, The Shoulders of Giants: Three Essential Communications Theories, I’ve boiled down about 60 pages from peer-reviewed journals into a single blog post. It’s a guest post.  And Google, if you’re listening, I didn’t add the one link to my own blog in that post, the editor did, because she felt it was relevant (thank you Lindsay).  She also linked out to a whole bunch of other sites – which is a practice I find useful and leads me to the next post on this reading list. Read More…

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The Single Most Valuable Attribute of Content Marketing



by Frank Strong

The Single Most Valuable Attribute of Content Marketing

Consistency is the single most important attribute of content marketing

Years ago I had a mentor that was ruthless about meetings and time.  The deal was this:  If you want me to mentor you (me), then you commit to a time every week without excuse. Don’t be late.  Not even a minute late. I’ll do the same.

He was uncompromisingly rigid about this rule because he felt it was simply about priorities: We make time for the things that are important.

That philosophy has always occupied a corner of my mind through my successes and my failures, both personal and professional. We do make time for what’s important.

 

Consistency is the single most important attribute of content marketing

In my experience, on a corporate level and on a personal level, there’s one single overarching factor to successful content marketing: consistency. Read More…

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Social Sharing Study: Likes, Beget More Likes



by Frank Strong

Social Sharing Study

Herd mentality: likes beget likes.

Have you heard about the herd?

A scientific study out of MIT proves that the more likes, votes or shares a piece of given content receives, the more likely it is to get more. In social media, people will follow the boss cow.

The study doesn’t appear account for Facebook’s algorithm — the algorithm formerly known as EdgeRank.  The algorithm formerly known as EdgeRank means Facebook filters content based on what it thinks it’s users are interested in, based on preferences and history.  Therefore the more people that “like” an update, the more people that are likely to even have a chance of seeing an update, let alone the opportunity to like it.

In other words, if you manage a fan page, not everyone sees your status updates.

In a study published in the journal Science, titled: Social Influence Bias: A Randomized Experiment, the authors

…examined the effect of collective information via a randomized experiment, which involved collaboration with a social news aggregation Web site on which readers could vote and comment on posted comments. Data were collected and analyzed after the Web site administrators arbitrarily voted positively or negatively (or not at all) as the first comment on more than 100,000 posts. False positive entries led to inflated subsequent scores, whereas false negative initial votes had small long-term effects. Read More…

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Reading: Understand Google’s War on SEO in 1.5 Minutes



by Frank Strong

Tractor pulling a helicopter

Nothing to see here! Just a lawnmower pulling a helicopter. This happens every Saturday.

It’s a monkey suit weekend for me, so I’m out and about.  Here are four reads from the week, with a little sauce added in for a weekend morning:

1. Google’s War on SEO.  Some SEOs say Google’s on the wrong war path, and point out the inconsistencies in the company’s approach or even entertain conspiracy theories (player please!).  These claims are not without merit and certainly have had examples to prove it.  On the other hand, Google is trying to fix the index of the web.  Think about what a massively huge challenge that is for a moment and then add in the fact it involves rooting out the cyberjunk some of these players published.  “Joel” sums this up in a really brilliant post:  90 Seconds or Less: How SEO Got Into This Mess (And How It’ll Get Out).  Someone with a creative flare will turn that post into an infographic; I’d call that link-bait.   Read More…

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Off Script #3: Ian Lipner and Quiet Professionalism in PR



by Frank Strong

Ian Lipner, Lewis PR

Ian lipner is a vice president with LEWIS PR and leads the firm’s Washington, DC office

We have to listen carefully to find them, but they are out there.

The silent but brilliant minds.  These people don’t pen PR or marketing blogs, fire off dissenting opinions in comments and aren’t streaming a feed of hot content.  We won’t find them on the speaking circuit, or quoted in the trades, or promoting their latest book. They are discreet, reserved and generally getting it done for their clients with a quiet professionalism.

Ian Lipner, in my view, fits in this category. He’s a throwback of sorts, to the time when PR wasn’t the headline, quote or the story. You won’t find him online championing what’s hot now, but if you’re lucky enough to grab a quiet lunch with him in an undiscovered DC restaurant, listen carefully, because he’s been pretty darn good, by my accounting, at forecasting what’s next, and often, long before its cool.

Ian has both opened and led the DC offices of LEWIS PR, which is a sizable and growing independently owned PR firm. LEWIS PR ranked #39 and #40 in 2011 and 2012 respectively, on Paul Holmes’ list of the 250 firms, which ranks firms by revenue.

Within agency circles, and certainly in Washington, DC, Ian is a familiar name, perhaps even a frenemy of sorts to many.  For corporate PR types, I’m betting he’s the smartest PR pro you’ve never heard about.  He’s genuinely humble, polite and generally, a really decent guy.

I’ve been fortunate to have known Ian since the last time America saw a sock-puppet in a Super Bowl commercial.  In this way, I’ve seen him in multiple roles as a competitor, friend, peer, and twice the lead for my PR agency of record. Read More…

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Words: Goldman has Clients; Wells Fargo has Customers



by Frank Strong

Goldman has Clients; Wells Fargo has Customers

Are you bullish on word choice?

Somewhere between my junior and senior year of college, money grew real tight and I needed to pick up a full-time job to finish my degree.  I started working full-time, while carrying a full course load, in a secure juvenile detention facility for felonious youthful offenders.

Don’t let the youth part mislead you, some of these “kids” were pretty tough, either pending trial (so still innocent until proven guilty, but where a judge decided to remove them from the home environment), or in some cases, booted from other programs for misconduct. While they had no more freedom than their adult counterparts in the county jail, the former were called “prisoners” while the latter, the kids in our facility were “clients.”

When I started the word client struck me as an odd description for kids wrapped up in some, way, shape or form with the likes of gang violence or domestic abuse.  Over time though, I began to understand how a simple word can shape an organizational attitude, which becomes pretty important when dealing with the fragility of youth, including those accused, guilty or innocent. Read More…

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Reading: Indie PR CEOs Frown on Omnicom-Publicis Merger



by Frank Strong

Ben Franklin is attributed as saying, “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”  Here are some great reads (and one view) for this weekend.

1. Caturday Catvertising.  By 2015, 90 percent of the content on the internet will be about cats. You might laugh, but somehow that is nearly believable. If you work in marketing, you must watch the video nearby. If its Saturday morning and you are drinking coffee – you’ve been warned: wear a bib. Read More…

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