Sword and the Script

Dark Social Enlightens Marketing Vanity Metrics



Dark Social Enlightens Vanity Metrics

The blog posts weren’t especially compelling, in fact these were a little heavy with sales messages; case studies that had been re-purposed.

However instead of the classic problem-solution-format, they featured little vignettes showcasing minor customer victories. The posts were accented with liberal subheads, short paragraphs, and spotted with lots of bulleted lists – classic web writing if such a thing exists.

These were however, solid blog posts, but just not of the epic variety…or so we thought.  While the social share counts were quite low the web analytics were displaying sizable volume of traffic.  It caused us to ask – where was the interest coming from? Read More…

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13 Statistics from an Inc. 500 Social Media Study



by Frank Strong

social-media-study-Inc500
UMASS Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research is out with new research as part of its long standing study of business and its relationship with social media. The Center has been publishing research focused on either the Inc. 500 or the Fortune 500 since 2006.

I’m partial to the Center’s research because it includes some academic rigor – that is more or less absent an agenda. The current study focuses on the Inc. 500 and is a two-step methodology of reviewing use-cases and later conducting surveys by random sampling.

Key findings from the UMASS study Read More…

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Survey Says on Twitter, Small Business is Likeable



by Frank Strong
Survey Says on Twitter Small Business is Likeable

Conventional social media wisdom says people don’t like brands on Twitter – which in part explains the movement for humanization. Contrast that with “personal branding” and we indeed live in strange times where brands strive to be human, and people strive to be brands.  

Whether it’s the humanity or branding, there’s something inherently likeable about small business. Clearly there’s a lot to like – according to the Small Business Administration, small business makes up more than 99% of employer firms in the U.S. and provide for nearly half of all private sector jobs.  A new survey by Twitter – Small Business Customer Insights – says small business socially likable too. Read More…

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Infographic: Millennials and Social Commerce



by Frank Strong

social commerce

The Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth is out with their latest social media report.  Though I’ve followed this series regularly, I haven’t read the full report yet, but spent some time perusing the highlights as presented in this infographic. I’m struck by the inverse relationship between some fans and followers on some social networks and the influence on purchasing.

For example, 62% of millennials follow brands on Facebook, but only 38% say they’ve made a purchase after liking a post.  Contrast that with just 11% of millennials on Pinterest, but 47% say they have made a purchase.  Is Pinterest comprised of early adopters more likely to make a purchase?  Does the visual nature of what some have called a “visual search engine” have a greater influence on purchase decisions?  Are people becoming immune to ads on Facebook? Read More…

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Off Script #6: Ignite’s Jim Tobin: Fans as a Metric are Fool’s Gold



by Frank Strong

Jim Tobin Twitter
Jim Tobin of Ignite Social Media recently made headlines with this post about Facebook: Facebook Brand Pages Suffer 44% Decline in Reach Since December 1.

With offices near Raleigh, NC and Detroit, MI, Jim’s company manages social media marketing for a range of large brands.  This provides the firm with unique insights into the results large corporations are finding in the social space.  His commentary certainly has credibility:

Ignite analysts reviewed 689 posts across 21 brand pages (all of significant size, across a variety of industries) and found that, in the week since December 1, organic reach and organic reach percentage have each declined by 44% on average, with some pages seeing declines as high as 88%. Only one page in the analysis had improved reach, which came in at 5.6%.

I’d jokingly point out that Jim may be partly to blame for coining the idea that Social Media is a Cocktail Party, as it’s the title of his first book co-authored with Lisa Braziel.  Last year he published his second book:  Earn It. Don’t Buy It.

While I’d have to confess I haven’t read either of his books, I do read his blog regularly and his other writing on the web.  After reading one of his posts that was referenced by the Triangle Business Journal, I asked him if he’d be interested in answering some questions for this Off Script series and he agreed.   Read More…

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Prediction 2014: The Year of Social Media Advertising



by Frank Strong

ROI of social ads

Ready or not, here come social ads…and lots of them.

eMarketer says 90% of marketers will use social media marketing in 2014.  In this case marketing increasingly means paid social media advertising.

In summary the publication writes:

Call 2014 the year of “social acceptance.” More marketers are committing budget to paid social media advertising. And social media companies are providing advertisers better targeting than ever, and more ways to see the return on investment, according to a new eMarketer report, “Social Media Advertising: Seven Trends for 2014.” Read More…

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Fear: Why Smart People Avoid Social Media



by Frank Strong

Fear  Why Smart People Avoid Social Media

Smart people don’t avoid social media because they don’t have time; they avoid it over fear.

Why is it smart and savvy business people – especially marketers – have no social media presence?

Think the reason is time?  I suggest it’s not time at all but fear.  Why fear?  Because especially in large organizations, we’ve been classically conditioned, to avoid speaking our minds.

If we speak our mind…

  • What will our boss say?
  • What will our peers say?
  • What will our customers say?
  • What will the competition say?
  • What might the media say?
  • What will the analysts say?
  • What will the investors say?
  • What will Wall Street say?

Fear is a powerful emotion.  Which is why marketers play on it, ugly as that tactic might be.  To be clear, a little bit of fear is good — healthy even — as it keeps us safe.  Too much fear is debilitating; it clouds our judgement and in fact re-routes judgement to a primitive part of our brains.   Read More…

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Future of Social Media Marketing is a Path Paved in Payment



by Frank Strong

Future of Social Media Marketing is a Path Paved in Payment

What do you get in social ads for two dollars?

Successful social media marketing, if not now, then in the near future will require an investment.  Marketers are going to have to pay to play.

It’s an idea that’s been in the corner of my mind for a while and was crystalized last week when reading a post by Edelman’s Dave Armano titled: What Comes After Social?  In the post, Armano takes a brief look at five predictions for the future of marketing, but there’s one that truly compelling:

Social media increasingly becomes a paid game. Read More…

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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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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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