Sword and the Script

Examining the Rage of a Social Media Rant



by Frank Strong

Examining-the-rage-of-a-social-media-rant

Ranting has become cool. You can earn a reputation by tearing down someone, something or some brand.

For the believers in that notion called “personal branding” the rant has become something of a logo, a tagline or a calling card.  However, rants are a lazy writer’s crutch:  they are usually heavy on emotion and light on facts or research. Usually, a rant is a gamble that snark and sarcasm will be mistaken for intellect and insight.

Didn’t get what we want? Post a flurry of angry tweets. We’ll crush you on Yelp.  We’ll write a negative review on Amazon.  We’ll create a social media crisis.  You’ll see. “Do you know who I think I am?

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Conflict, confusion and finding your own damn social media advice



by Frank Strong

Some say a Facebook fan is worth $10.  Others say a fan is worth $0.  Still other say the value of a fan is falling.  It’s harder to get smaller than zero, but perhaps a better method of valuation is what an organization would pay for a fan.

In any case, any or all of these options are likely to leave the less daring more confused and conflicted over likes, shares, and soon perhaps wants.

What many want is sound advice, or perhaps an easy answer.  Preferably in the form of an iPhone app we can download and absorb through osmosis while sleeping with our phones under our pillows.  It’s a long winded way of saying, that at least in the short term, proven advice, is an unlikely social share.

“Not a day goes by that I don’t see conflicting information about the value of Facebook ‘Likes,’ the correlation between online conversations and buying behavior,” wrote Mark Schaefer in a post titled, Social Media, Conflicting Data, and the Search for Truth.  And so it is with social media advice.

He wrote that months ago, but a week or so ago, I watched another prominent speaker trash Klout at a conference – it’s worthless she said.  Really worthless?  There are more diplomatic word choices especially for PR professionals.  A few hours later, Mark took the stage an offered some pretty compelling examples of where Klout has been effective.  In fact I’d credit Mark and his writing with changing my view point on the platform:  it may not be a measure of influence, but it’s certainly an interesting marketing tool. Read More…

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Does social media marketing get more scrutiny?



by Frank Strong

Social media seems to withstand more scrutiny than other marketing channels.  That was a great question I heard today at the PR News Social Media Measurement conference.

Is it true?  Yes, I think it is.

General Motors spent $4.2 billion on advertising last year.  They spent $10 million on Facebook ads, which they later pulled for lack of effectiveness.  Sure Facebook is social, but paid media is still paid media, and millions barely earn a hash mark on billion dollar budget graph.  So what do they spend on earned or shared media?  I’d bet my paycheck it’s not even close to their previous spend on Facebook ads.

It’s one example, but it’s an illustrative example, and I’ve seen enough anecdotal evidence to make a not-so-bold assertion that earned and shared spending pale in comparison.  Yet these mediums get more scrutiny when it comes to budgets. Read More…

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Differentiation: Tipping, gratuity and the new age of corporate tax



by Frank Strong

“Tipping is not just a city in China,” many in the hospitality industry, like bartenders, are quick to proclaim.  But a recent vacation demonstrated it’s no longer a gratuity either.

At resort I signed up for a deep tissue massage on day one – what better way to begin unwinding?   I met the concierge, scheduled a spa time and she promptly asked me for a credit card, ran up the bill and presented it to me:   a $29 “gratuity” was “conveniently” placed on the bill for me; there was no option to remove it.  First world problem?  Maybe.

“Seems a little out of order to include a gratuity before the service is provided,” I said with a half-statement and half-question surprise.

“That’s just the way we have always done it,” replied the concierge.

“Well, I just think that’s dirty,” I was thinking to myself.  But I didn’t argue; after all I came here to decompress, not get all riled up.  Read More…

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Six take-a-ways from Marketing in the Round



by Frank Strong

Integrated marketing has been the Holy Grail for marketing since I started working in the industry.  It was popular a decade ago, and even a decade before that.  For some reason, the concept ebbs and flows like the fashion of bell bottom jeans.

Why hasn’t the concept stuck?  It’s logical, practical, and more importantly effective.  The term “integrated marketing” may not be sexy but for me, it brings a sense of nostalgia, yet the overlap in marketing functions we’ve seen as companies increasingly adopt social media, causes me to believe that maybe this time…this time it’s real.

Marketing in the Round is about integrated marketing in a digital media age and it’s a straight forward, no-nonsense read, perhaps the result of two pragmatic marketers teaming to write the book. If you are new to marketing or PR, you should put this on your reading list; if you are a veteran, its chance to step back and re-think marketing strategy.  Gini Dietrich and Geoff Livingston launch the book earlier this year, and though it took me a while to sit down and focus on reading, I finally got it done on a plane ride to vacation – and wrote this on the plane ride back.

Here are my six take-a-ways: Read More…

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Social media: you get what you give



by Frank Strong

It never ceases to amaze me: people that say social media isn’t working for them also put very little effort into it.

That’s my opinion, because I’ve seen this over and over anecdotally,  but there’s also data behind it.  The proof can be found in the results of a scientific survey, which shows, companies that hardly try social media, get frustrated with the results and quit easily. 

People give up on Twitter because they don’t see a lot of retweets or followers.  They give up on Facebook because there’s few fans and fewer likes. They’ve opted not to experiment with Pinterest or Google+ — after all if the first two sites didn’t work why would these?  But it’s not the sites, it’s the user.

If someone asks, “How come I don’t have more followers?” Answer this question with a question: “Well, when you first walk into a party are people lining up to chat with you?” If they aren’t then you’ll probably have to work a little harder at Twitter.  Read More…

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Marketing Persona: profile of a social SMB



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by Frank Strong

What does the persona of an SMB that’s engaged in social media look like?  It falls generally into these characteristics:

  • The SMB earns $20-30 million in annual sales
  • It has 1-3 people in it’s marketing shop
  • Spends $10,oo0 a year on social media
  • Uses about 3 different tools to manage social media
  • Added social media to the list of existing duties of a marketing person

That’s pretty darn precise, no?  How do I know this? There’s a new survey out by my employer, Vocus and Duct Tape Marketing, which I had a role in analyzing the data. The study Path to Influence: An Industry Study of SMBs and Social Media, which is freely available is unique among surveys in that it’s scientific; it’s statistically valid and has a confidence interval. In other words, the data is rock solid — and so too is the marketing persona.  Read More…

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The best time to tweet about strategy



by Frank Strong

A short while ago I wrote a post that said social media strategists will be gone in 2 years.  The general thesis is that there must be a core strategy that drives what we as marketers do — otherwise we are just building the plane while trying to fly it at the same time.

My perception is that the idea was well received by most — but sharply criticized by others.  As one person commented, “Social media is a TACTIC that you build a STRATEGY around.”

I believe that’s deeply misguided point of view but it’s symptomatic of overexposure to the current state of blogging:  Mind-numbing regurgitation in a world where words have become disposable.  The conversation around marketing strategy has largely dwindled to the blog post about 10 tips for this and 5 tips for that; it’s tactical and nothing more.

Such posts are easy to write…and easier to read.  Many bloggers will attest — tips get clicks — but I worry sometimes we’re doing it at the expense of deeper thinking.  To be clear, I’m guilty of it too, though deep down inside, I loathe writing them, but there’s a self-indictment here. Read More…

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Web round up: principles, community, PR tips and small biz



by Frank Strong

It’s been about six weeks since my last round up of posts from other sites on the web; so here’s to a handful you might have missed with some outbound links to other good reads.

1.  It’s about principles. Ragan.com picked up this post 7 principles of successful PR pros earlier this month, which was originally posted on this blog under the title 7 essential principles to succeed in PR  — though the title difference is subtle.  I’m always flattered when one of Ragan.com’s finest thinks a post I’ve written merits a run in a trade publication that is a staple of our industry — and I find it the polish of those edits both humbling and educational.

In a private conversation with an editor, I shared that this post was really a secret rant — a way for me to organize my thoughts in reaction to an industry problem that a day or two later was rendered in the form of an original post in the same publication: Lying to journalists is not a genius PR stunt.  If you want to know more, read this post, or this one, or this one, or this one  (which has great data, that I went and double checked).  And here’s one journalist’s reaction. Read More…

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Social media is NOT that important



by Frank Strong

Social media never sleeps; therefore PR is a lifestyle not a profession.  This pushes responsiveness to the top of the priority list.

In my heart of hearts, I believe this is true, but I’ve also come to believe that social media is entering a period of normalization.  It’s something akin to Gartner’s Hype Cycle, where expectations were exceedingly high — beyond possible — but are now starting to normalize.  And normalization is sorely needed.

The compulsion to respond immediately with top of mind thoughts is slowly ceding to responding in a timely fashion, but with greater consideration.  Social media can wait.

Last week, I just left traffic court (unfortunately, I have a heavy foot, one of my many faults).  I’m stopped at red light that is malfunctioning and traffic is backed up in a serious way.

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