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Writing – How to Write Hot-Button Sales Copy in a Recession : MarketingProfs Article

Writing – How to Write Hot-Button Sales Copy in a Recession : MarketingProfs Article.

The 10 Laws Of Facebook Advertising No Marketer Can Afford To Ignore

Every week I speak to countless businesses and no matter what they are selling, most businesses want to accomplish one thing: sell more. While they know that Facebook advertising can help their business, most don’t know where to get started. Another large percentage of businesses may have dabbled in advertising on the site but they haven’t been able to obtain the conversion ratios they are looking for. In this guide, I’ll walk you through 10 of the most important laws for businesses when advertising on Facebook.

Not all of the laws are strategies that should be implemented. Instead these are laws that define how Facebook advertisements function and general perspectives that you should keep in mind when creating your advertisements. Some laws will describe immediate actions you can take while others are more broad. All of these laws should help you improve your overall Facebook advertising experience.

1. Facebook Is Least Effective At Direct Sales


If you’ve come to Facebook looking for instantaneous sales than you’ve come to the wrong place. Facebook presents businesses with the opportunity to reach their target market throughout the entire marketing cycle. While a small percentage of users are ready to purchase while they’re browsing Facebook, a much larger percentage of users are going to make a purchase in the future if not now.

Fortunately you have the opportunity to build an ongoing relationship with your customer and that’s what Facebook is most useful for: building relationships. It’s a platform to build ongoing relationships and “remarket” to your customers, as Facebook says in some of their own marketing copy. Understanding that these users are not ready to purchase is key to success on Facebook.

As I outlined in the 5 phases of the Facebook sales funnel, Facebook is about relationship marketing. AsWikipedia describes, “Relationship marketing differs from other forms of marketing in that it recognizes the long term value to the firm of keeping customers, as opposed to direct or ‘Intrusion’ marketing, which focuses upon acquisition of new clients by targeting majority demographics based upon prospective client lists.”

2. Create A Greater Volume Of Ads That Target Less People

-Target Market Icon-Often times on Google, advertisers will create an ad which targets every person in a single country and then split test two ad versions against each other. On Facebook this model will do nothing but cost you money. Placing a generic ad that’s targeted at an entire country, without any additional targeting, will do nothing but get you a lot of clicks and waste a lot of money for the most part.

Facebook provides 11 targeting factors for advertisers (with three new factors announced yesterday). Below is an outline of each of those factors:

  1. Location – Facebook enables advertisers to target by country, state/provice, city, and metropolitan areas. All advertisements are required to have a location selected. This should be pretty straight-forward as to which location you’d like to select.
  2. Age – Age is a standard demographic factor. Most marketers that have a well defined target-market will be able to select their age.
  3. Birthday – This is one of Facebook’s latest advertising targeting filters. It should be pretty obvious what types of ads should be presented to people who’s birthday it is. Try wishin the user a happy birthday and offer them a gift for higher conversion rates.
  4. Sex – Gender is another typical targeting filter for Facebook.
  5. Keywords – Keywords will are based on a user’s profile information including Activities, Favorite Books, TV Shows, Movies, and more. I believe job titles are included in this field and I typically spend the most time trying to brainstorm effective keywords. What types of products do your customers like? What’s their job position within an organization? Spend time on this field and you’ll be rewarded.
  6. Education – While you can target based on their level of education, this is most effective for targeting ads based on the schools that people went to. Want to announce a reunion for the University of Illinois class of 1996? This is a great way to promote it.
  7. Workplaces – This is another great targeting filter. Often times you will know the companies that your target market works at. If you are looking to get new clients or looking to spread awareness within specific organizations, this filter can be priceless.
  8. Relationship – Want to target people that are about to get married? This is a great tool for that. If you are a bar or club, you most likely want to go after those people that are single. While this filter can be useful, you also need to keep in mind that selecting any of these settings will remove all users that haven’t selected a relationship status in their profile.
  9. Interested In – This factor is useful if a user’s sexual preferences are relevant to whatever you are advertising. I tend to skip this field for most of my ads.
  10. Languages – If your ad is in English but the user speaks Chinese, it’s probably not a good idea to be displaying ads to them.
  11. Connections – The connections fields were launched yesterday by Facebook and they enable you to include and exclude users based on pages, events, and applications that the users have joined and you happen to be the administrator of. If you’ve created a Page and don’t want the ads to display to people who have already joined, this is a great way to avoid duplicate clicks.

If you aren’t taking advantage of the numerous targeting factors then you aren’t using Facebook advertising effectively. In order to have an increased conversion rate on your advertisements, increase the targeting in order to make the advertisement more relevant for the users. Relevance will get people to respond to your ad.

3. Friend Users Before You Sell To Them

-Handshake Icon-Facebook is about relationship marketing, not direct sales (as I described in the first law). That means it’s more important to build a relationship with a potential client or an existing customer rather than closing a sale right away. So how does this law show up in practice? The most obvious form is through the Facebook Ads for pages and events.

Through these advertisements, users can become a fan or RSVP to an event directly from an ad. At that point, you have the opportunity to interact directly with that individual and build a relationship. If you had directed a user to your website, you would have been forced to have them enter a form or make a purchase right away. The odds of getting a user to fill out a form or make a purchase immediately is far less than getting them to become a fan of a Page or RSVPing to an event.

In addition to having an increased conversion, you are also now able to reach out to individuals directly if you wish. For example if someone RSVPs to an event, but you don’t know who they are, you can send them a message welcoming them to the event and inquiring about more information. This form of relationship building is used to build lasting customers, not one time purchases, and it is core to Facebook marketing.

4. Understand Your Market

On Google, a shoe retailer will develop an advertisement that targets people who are “looking to purchase shoes”. These advertisers will look for people who are carelessly misspelling a word while searching for something in order to convert them into a customer. It’s a great model for generating one-time sales but unfortunately these advertisers don’t always understand their market.

In order to become an effective Facebook advertiser, you need to have effectively defined your market. This will help you to take advantage of the 11 targeting factors that Facebook currently provides. To help define your market, you can go through the market segmentation process. This involves defining the need your company satisfies and then more thoroughly defining who your customer is.

After exhaustively defining who your customer is, you’ll be more effective at defining the targeting factors to be used in Facebook advertisements.

5. Set Advertising Budgets With A Goal In Mind

It’s extremely easy to spend a lot of money on Facebook advertisements by “experimenting”. I can’t tell you how many people I know that have aimlessly spent thousands of dollars on Facebook advertisements but couldn’t point to tangible goals that they had accomplished. If you set a budget on a campaign for $20 a day you should know what you would like to receive for that money.

Yes, we all want customers, but as I’ve continuously emphasized: Facebook marketing is not about instant sales. With that in mind, below are two practices that are good to keep in mind when setting your goals.

Think Long-Term

In terms of sales, the payoff will be further down the line so be prepared to spend over weeks and months, don’t blow your budget in a day. Unless you are an affiliate marketer (who has distinctly different goals), you should be invested in the advertising for the long haul. A one-week campaign is not going to bring you riches, but a long-term investment in advertising can produce measurable results.

This means don’t spend beyond your means for one week and have no money left at the end. Instead, set reasonable budgets that you’ll be able to handle for longer periods of time.

Measure Initial Conversions As Fans, Comments, and Likes

Since most users will not make a purchase right away, you need to make sure that you are at least engaging them. Would you go out on a first date with someone and then wait two weeks to call them back? If you want to see them again I hope you don’t wait two weeks to follow-up. The same goes for your fans. Follow-up with your fans often and consistently.

6. Monitor Your Ad Performance And Adjust Accordingly

Now that you’ve defined your goals, it’s time to track whether or not you’ve achieved them. Throughout each Facebook advertising campaign, you should be tracking how well the advertisements perform. Are you on track to reach the goals that you’ve set? Are your advertisements achieving a reasonable click-through level?

Facebook provides advertisers with a number of monitoring tools including their basic ad manager area as well as downloadable data about each campaign you are running. If you visit the ad reports area you can download three types of reports to determine how your campaigns and ads are performing: advertising performance, responder demographics, responder profiles.

The primary things to monitor are clicks, click through rates (CTR), actions, action rates, and CPC. Each of these variables will differ depending on what type of campaign that you’re running but in theory, the more targeted your ad, the higher click through rate you should have. Additionally, your click through rate will tend to go down over time as your entire target population views your ad and decides whether or not they want to respond.

-Ad Reports Screenshot-

7. Test Landing Pages Versus Facebook Pages

In traditional online advertising, users are directed to a landing page from which they are prompted to fill in information in a form. This information is then typically used to send marketing literature. On Facebook, you want to build relationships but if the relationships you are building aren’t generating any revenue, you may want to diversify your advertising strategy by including some landing pages.

Yes, building relationships are extremely valuable and despite those users never making a purchase, they can become effective brand advocates that ultimately drive new customers to your business. For smaller businesses, investing in brand advocates is often considered to be a costly proposition which is why investing in some direct sales is always useful.

The point of this law is that Facebook advertising combined with relationship marketing cannot be your only strategy. You need to generate sales and sometimes that means being direct and converting a customer. If you want another phrase to summarize this law: “diversify, diversify, diversify”.

8. Split Test Ads By Demographic

An advertiser once told me that women tend to react more often to advertisements that have the color pink in them. While I doubt this is consistent across all women, this could be true for a large portion of them. The only way to find out if it is true is to split test different ads within that specific demographic. I’ll use an example to illustrate this rule.

Let’s say that you’ve created an advertisement that’s targeted at CEOs of companies in the Northeast region of the United States. You can create two advertisements and compare which version of the ad results in a larger response. An example lesson learned would be that “CEOs in the Northeast region tend to respond better to ads with the word ‘influence’ over the word ‘power’”.

As you narrow your targeting, you can begin to adjust your advertisements even further. For example, as a second step you can now create separate ads for CEOs in the Boston area and CEOs in the New York metropolitan area. Each step along the way you should be refining your advertising copy while incorporating some of the lessons learned from the previous steps.

As you increase your targeting, you can incorporate some of the lessons learned from previous steps.

9. Develop Creative Ad Copy

-Advertising Headlines-This honestly has to be one of the most important laws. Conversion is primarily about two things: your ad copy and the landing page. If your advertisement doesn’t provide a call to action, there is a good chance that the user won’t respond. Facebook ads for pages and events already provide a call to action but generic advertisements don’t. If you offer the user something for clicking, there’s an increased chance they will click.

The best way to determine effective ad copy is to take a look at the existing sites around the web. Which are the ones that you see most often? Even if the ads appear to be annoying, if you continuously see them, there’s a good chance that they are doing something right. Click on ads and see what types of products are being offered and what the pitch is.

The best way to improve your advertising is through research and other advertisers provide you with plenty of free information. While copywriting books can assist with writing effective headlines as well as how to structure landing pages, your best information will come from other ads. Also check out magazine racks at book stores and see what headlines are being used. Often times you will find great headline ideas there.

10. Don’t Over Target

In the eighth law I outlined how the more that you target, the more you can begin to hone your ad copy. While increased targeting can increase click through rates, determining how to most effectively target sub-segments of your customer population can be costly both in time and in money. While you should most definitely take advantage of Facebook’s targeting features, it’s more important that you get your company’s name out there and then build the relationships.

Everything in marketing is a balance and the last thing you want to do is spend all of your time increasing ad relevance while not interacting with the users who are clicking through on the ads. Spend time tracking your ads’ performance but also make sure that you spend time connecting with all the people that respond to your ad.

If you aren’t following through with the marketing process then you aren’t going to generate new customers.


Improving your advertising is something that takes time and patience. On Facebook, marketing is about relationships, not immediate sales, so set your budgets and advertising plans with that in mind. Facebook advertising is still a relatively new offering and marketers are just beginning to understand how to use these advertisements most effectively. With these 10 initial laws, all marketers should have a great starting point.

‘Like’ Means Different Things to Different People

Though more than nine in ten Facebook users (93%) click on a Facebook “like” button at least once a month, their motivations for doing so vary considerably by age and context, according to a new study by ExactTarget and CoTweet.

Nearly two-thirds of Facebook users surveyed say they “like” at least one brand on Facebook; among them, the top like-related activities performed at least monthly include the following:

  • Like an item posted by a friend on Facebook: 74%
  • Social bookmarking (clicking the “like” button from an external website): 52%
  • Like a brand’s Facebook page: 45%
  • Like an item posted by a brand on Facebook: 44%

Below, additional findings from the titled “The Meaning of Like,” the latest in ExactTarget’s Subscribers, Fans and Followers research series.

“Like” Does Not Necessarily Mean “Permission

Nearly two in five Facebook users who like brands (39%) say the act of “liking” a brand should never be interpreted as permission to post marketing messages that appear in a user’s news feed, whereas 15% say “liking” a company’s Facebook page should “always” be interpreted as permission to do so.

Similarly, 48% of Facebook fans say the act of bookmarking a brand via the “like” button from another site (e.g., news site, blogs, brand website, etc.) should never be interpreted as permission to post marketing messages in a user’s news feed; 42% say that action can sometimes be interpreted as permission and 10% say it should never be interpreted as such.

What Consumers Expect in Return

When liking a brand, most Facebook users expect to receive access to excusive offers and content (58%) and discounts and deals (58%), while 47% expect to receive updates about the brand in their newsfeed.

More than one-third of Facebook fans (37%) expect the brand’s name to appear in their profile, while an equal proportion (37%) expects nothing whatsoever.

Expectations Vary by Age

Among Facebook fans, expectations for brand interaction tend to vary by age:

  • Facebook users age 18-26 have the lowest expectations of receiving something in exchange for their “like” endorsement. Such younger consumers tend to use like for self-expression and public endorsement of a brand.
  • Those age 27-34 are more likely to expect something of value in exchange for their like—most commonly, the opportunity to receive updates on new products, promotions, and savings.
  • Those age 35-51 have the highest expectations. Such fans want something in return for liking a company and something relevant and valuable (e.g., information or discounts).
  • Those age 35-51 are most likely to “unlike” a brand when it doesn’t meet expectations.

Sharing Public Profile Information 

Overall, 56% of Facebook users say marketers should not access even their public profile information after they like a brand Facebook.

However, age plays a role how people view the sharing of their profile information:

  • Facebook users age 25-34 are most comfortable with allowing marketers access to public profile information. Even so, such consumers are largely against the practice, with only 24% saying marketers should access their information, compared with 47% who think marketers should not; the remaining 29% are undecided.
  • Facebook users age 45+ are strenuously opposed, with 70% saying marketers should not access their public profile information, and only 10% raising no objection.

Other key findings:

  • Facebook users in the US say they like 14 companies or brands, on average.
  • People who like more brands (11+) are more likely to be motivated by rewards such as coupons or exclusive deals in exchange for their “like” endorsement.
  • Among Facebook users who have liked at least one brand, 31% have avoided liking more brands in order to avoid pushing content into their friends’ newsfeeds.

About the data: Findings are based on a series of focus groups, interviews and surveys among roughly 1,000 users of Facebook, conducted in May and June 2011. “The Meaning of Like” is the tenth report in ExactTarget’s Subscribers, Fans & Followers research series.

Read more:

Social Media – Life After ‘Like’: How to Mobilize Your Loyal Audience Into an Army of Active Influencers

In this article, you’ll learn…

  • Five steps to turning your audience into brand advocates
  • How to entice and encourage influencers to spread the word about you

Online marketers have a dirty little secret. They’ve got no idea what to do once they’ve hit their initial quantitative social media goals. Sure, they’ve got (a million) Facebook “likes,” they’ve engaged their legions of Twitter followers, and they’ve created more custom content than Wikipedia. But now what?

No matter your marketing objectives—increasing sales, gathering leads, gaining word-of-mouth exposure, boosting brand awareness, or otherwise—social media provides a breeding ground for authentic, real-world advocates.

But although brands and customers are engaging on a more intimate and frequent level than ever, relative bottom-line results are still up for debate. Converting “good feelings” into real-world recommendations and sales—whether online or offline–requires being able to influence action. That ultimately leads to the question, Once you have an engaged and loyal audience, how do you mobilize it into an active army of influencers?

The following five steps will not only give marketers what they need to convert their loyal audiences into active brand advocates but also help them answer the nagging question, Now what?

  1. Distinguish between passive fans and active advocatesTo mobilize loyal influencers into a brand army, you first need to isolate your strongest soldiers. Those are going to be your active hand-raisers, your social butterflies, and those who are willing to go the extra mile to show their dedication. The good news is that they’re easy to spot thanks to their active participation in your conversations and their tendency to spread the word to their own audiences.

    Though passive fans legitimately like your brand, their affection simply doesn’t translate into much more than following you on Twitter, “liking” your Facebook page, and clicking on your links every now and then. Those great endorsements are by no means to be undervalued, because they allow you to get to know your audience and generate awareness; but they’re just the beginning of what active advocates will do on your brand’s behalf.

  2. Identify key online influencers by creating meaningful tasks

    If your influencers aren’t as easy to spot as you’d hoped they’d be, you can bring them out of the woodwork by offering some type of reward initiative, such as a prize giveaway or other exclusive opportunity.Ask your audience to pursue rewards by creating and sharing relevant videos, photos, blog entries, or other types of user-generated content. The true influencers will easily rise to the top of your priority list for segmentation purposes, and you’ll gain a wealth of social media- and brand-friendly content in the process.
  3. Segment influencers by relevance to your efforts

    Once you identify your key online influencers, it’s time to get down to business and segment them according to your ultimate audience goals.Are you targeting specific regions? Personality types? Demographics? People with specific interests? Or just anyone with a big audience? That’s up to you to decide, but once you do you’ll be able to easily determine which of your influencers are influencing the right people.
  4. Create a memorable in-person experience

    The goal of creating a fond memory isn’t to merely produce basic positive associations; it’s to create nostalgia. And doing that requires an engaging real-life experience.Print ads, TV commercials, and other traditional types of advertising have always tried to create lasting mental imprints via tactics such as comedy and shock. Though they are often successful in doing so, those channels won’t create memories that have the active, visceral effect of an in-person experience.

    The difference is that an in-person experience borrows from environmental stimuli and stimulates multi

  5. ple senses by making the customer a key component in the creation of the memorable event, rather than being a mere witnesses to it.A positive setting—such as being among family or friends or in a festive environment—is also crucial to creating a memory that will become the impetus for product recommendations, leaving your brand on the tip of customers’ tongues for months after engagement.

    According to metrics by House Party, my company, an effective branded event will result in 82% of attendees’ still talking about the brands and products positively six months later. On average, you can also expect the following lifts in brand metrics: 21% increase in familiarity, 35% increase in favorability, 34% in advocacy intent, and 31% in purchase intent.

  6. Continue to engage remaining fans 

    When offline campaigns are limited to include only a portion of your fans and influencers, you can (and should) still continue engaging all others online. You can always find a way to make them feel special, encourage engagement, and continue increasing loyalty.Offer positive public reinforcement to those who engage their own audiences with updates about your brand (perhaps by writing a blog post or posting relevant user-generated content to their social media profiles).

    Make a point of highlighting their efforts on your brand blog, website, or social media channels. That will let them and others know that you monitor and appreciate their efforts, and will therefore perpetuate similar activity. You can also create giveaways, contests, quizzes, and other opportunities for engagement that will drive otherwise passive influencers to action. Then, the next time you need to identify your key online influencers, you’ll have an even bigger pool to choose from.

* * *

Though these five steps are specific to mobilizing current audiences, it’s important to note that such activity will attract new followers and fans. That doesn’t just mean more “likes.” It means more database opt-ins, more viral activity, and more opportunity to drive the real-world results we’re all after: product recommendations and sales.


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Social Media – Ten Facebook Marketing Myths (and Realities)

Facebook marketing looks simple from the outside, but there are clear winners and losers. Some brands see success (IKEA), some don’t (Nestlé post-Greenpeace attack).

Clearly there are rules to follow when marketing on the king of socnets. The trick is separating the proven rules from myth.

To help you, here are some of Bulbstorm’s 10 Facebook promotion myths.

MYTH: Clicks on your “Like” button = brand engagement. REALITY: It’s not that easy. Make your brand worth spending time with and you’ll achieve real engagement: passion and loyalty. As social media blogger Jay Baer candidly quipped, “I have a deeper engagement with a can of beer than I do with the ‘Like’ button.”

MYTH: Trolls will take over my contest and fan page. REALITY: A clear, thought-out social plan and solid promotions will keep trolls on a short leash. People are people, online as in life, and they’ll share negative (and sometimes inappropriate) views as well as positive ones.

MYTH: Giving away an iPad is enough. REALITY: Making fans do stuff for prizes is ineffective; they know the odds of winning are low. Align prizing with your brand and ensure everyone walks away a true winner!

MYTH: I don’t need rules for my Facebook contest. REALITY: The legal ramifications of running a contest on any medium are complicated, especially when you’re doling out prizes. Seek legal counsel before your promotion, make the rules of the game very clear to players, and safeguard against abuse of those rules.

The Po!nt: Don’t be fooled by Facebook’s pretty face; it’s a jungle in there. Thankfully, that jungle has safe pathways. Take time to learn them, and you’ll produce a bunch of cool new inroads with happy, engaged fans.

Looking for great social media marketing data? MarketingProfs reviewed hundreds of research sources to create our most recent Social Media Marketing Factbook (May 2010). With 140 pages and 102 charts, it is full of relevant social media marketing stats and trends. The Social Media Marketing Factbook is Part 5 of the complete Digital Marketing Factbook (our 296-page full report).

Has Social Media Reached Its Peak?

There appears to be a shift in social media circles lately. Maybe the death of social media personality Trey Pennington was the catalyst, or maybe people are just plain tired of keeping up. Whatever the cause, some social media bloggers and experts are beginning to question the quantity of our connections versus the quality of them. Does that mean social media has reached its peak and is on the denouément?

In a recent blog post, MarketingProfs blogger and social media consultant and author Jay Baer said:

“The number of ‘inboxes’ we possess is staggering … That’s a lot of relationship bait in the water … How do we justify this? How do we convince ourselves that slicing our attention so thin the turkey becomes translucent is a good idea? We do it because we believe that more relationships provide more opportunity.

“All of these chestnuts are passed around like a flu strain because they make intuitive sense. But common among them is the underlying premise that interacting with more people is inherently better than interacting with fewer people. I have always believed this to be true and in fact have delivered the lines above in presentations and on this blog. But today, I’m no longer convinced.

“Instead I wonder, what if we have it ALL wrong? Social media forces upon us a feeling of intimacy and closeness that doesn’t actually exist.”

After attending the most recent MarketingProfs B2B Forum, Kyle Flaherty, director of marketing at BreakingPoint, blogged that:

“This shift makes obvious sense, and it will take a few more years for social media to exit the hype cycle, but doesn’t it seem like we’ve been here before? Remember eMarketing? Email marketing? Direct marketing? Eventually, they move from being a short-lived yet enthusiastic fad and into a function of a greater practice. In this instance, marketing. Social media, although extraordinarily useful outside of marketing, has now rightfully started to move from fad into fade.”

From blogger, author, and principal at Altimeter Group, Brian Solis:

“The reality is that the cost of social networking is great, and without checks and balances, engagement can cost us more capital than we have to spend. The net result is then social and emotional bankruptcy. And the most difficult part of this unfortunate state is that it is at first difficult to recognize and far more exacting to overcome.”

What’s happening today? Is there a shift taking place? Has social media reached its peak or is it taking on a new role in an integrated marketing strategy, as it should have been all along?

What do YOU say?

Brand Management – How Digital Customer Behavior Is Changing Brand Management

In this article, you’ll learn…

  • Four key elements of building and managing a brand online
  • How brands can build lasting customer relationships

This series explores how digital has changed the fundamentals of marketing (see list at the end of this article for previous and upcoming articles).

To say that the brand universe in 2011 is complicated… is a bit of a truism. The way people experience a brand today is far different from what has come before.

Traditionally, brand experiences were the result of messages conveyed via broadcast mediums; audiences could only form relatively vague impressions of what those brands represented.

Today, the brand experience is deeper, fragmented, and more complex and fragile. More than ever, a brand is shaped by experiences and not just perceptions. Perhaps delivering one bad experience with a customer service rep after five good digital or product experiences won’t kill your customer relationship, but three in a row might be enough to do it.

In other words, a “brand bank account” exists, and every experience—advertising, digital, customer service, social media, community—carries a positive or negative perception with it.

That has a significant impact on organizations that build brands without advertising. In those organizations, brand is built primarily via word-of-mouth—i.e., what customers, partners, media, and industry people say about working with that organization. Such companies that venture into the digital realm face risks, but they face much more potential benefits.

Consider the following four key elements to building and managing a brand online.

1. Laser Focus on Customer Behavior and Needs

Clients and prospects will find unexpected routes to your information and content. What are they really using Facebook for? What information are they sharing on Twitter, and why? How does that relate to your brand’s online properties?

As a marketer, you must understand the motivations, needs, and behaviors of your customers—not what you want or hope for them to do, but what they actually do. And by having a deep understanding of your audience’s information needs and digital behavior (and how they shift over time), you can create digital experiences that combine optimal content with the best channels.

2. Cross-Channel Customer Experience Planning

Use the insights gained from your digital behavior research to build customer narratives. Map out the most popular online paths customers take, and plan customer experiences across those channels. A tweet can lead customers to a blog post with more in-depth information, which could link to a buyer’s guide to help them research their purchase decision and prompt them to pick up the phone and talk to a rep.

Marketers should build content chains that align customer needs with the channels they use drawing from digital behavior insights from those channels when planning customer experiences. Marketers need to reach across the organization to bring Sales, Customer Service, Legal, and other departments into the customer experience plan.

3. Real, Meaningful Value in Your Content and Experiences

Don’t waste your digital visitors’ time being cute when they’re exhibiting a strong readiness to buy. Or don’t weigh them down with 17 questions on a form when they are in research mode. Understand the differing information needs at different stages of the buying narrative, and manage your brand properties to offer experiences that provide real value.

Many marketers focus on providing information about their brand’s products, but there are many opportunities before that point in a customer’s digital journey for the brand to serve up content that is purely educational, or even entertaining.

4. Program Measurement That Integrates Follow-Through

Measure your program results both qualitatively and quantitatively, and use those results to modify your marketing strategy and tactics. Ask your visitors for feedback and opinions, but only if you have a process for integrating that feedback. A brand that has structure and follow-through built into its feedback process assures its customers that it is paying attention—not giving lip service. Augment feedback with additional customer-insights research on a regular basis.

In addition to qualitative feedback, measure relationships by what actions digital consumers take with your digital properties and content. Focusing on the number of retweets or on sentiment analysis is not enough. Instead, consider what themes are most popular, and how long your brand’s content has value. Measure what generates the most conversions when you put a call to action on Twitter, Facebook, or your online community.

Filter and separate “talk” from “action,” and use that information to create more effective customer experiences.

Articles in this series:

  1. The first article explored how the role of long-ball big-idea marketing is shifting amid the rise of “small-movement” marketing—how marketers are starting to shift away from trying to hit only home runs and are instead trying to foster deeper brand and relationship interactions online at the beginning of the customer relationship process.
  2. The second article discussed the death of the so-called funnel and the birth of the measurable customer narrative.
  3. The third article focused on content versus messaging and what brands and marketers need to do with content to keep their customers’ attention.
  4. This article, the fourth in the series, looks at the shifting role of brand management in the new, fragmented environment.
  5. This five-part series will conclude with an article focusing on the interplay between content and community and the role of community within the sales and marketing cycle.

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Microblogging, Social Networking Still Growing Worldwide

Penetration levels of microblogging and social networking continue to grow worldwide, driven by increased adoption in emerging countries; but as the Web has evolved Internet users have moved toward consuming and transmitting content rather than producing it themselves, according to Wave 5 of the GlobalWebIndex by Trendstream.

Between 2009 and 2011, the number of people worldwide who publish a blog declined 4%, while the number of people writing an online news article increased slightly, up 6%. By contrast, the numbers of people using microblogs and social networks surged, up 62% and 40%, respectively, over the same period.

Much of the increased adoption of social networks worldwide has been driven by widespread use of mobile devices, according to the report.


Note: The chart (above) illustrates penetration levels across a range of online activities. For example, asked which online activities they’ve done in the previous month, nearly 70% of people cite watching an online video clip, 50% cite managing a social network profile and 36% say they’ve commented on a story; only 25% have written a blog post and even fewer people (18%) have written an article.

Below, additional findings from Wave 5 of the GlobalWebIndex, which surveyed the online behaviors of Internet users in 27 countries.

Emerging Markets Lead in Microblogging Penetration

Globally, 23.1 % of surveyed online adults worldwide used a microblogging platform (such as Twitter or other location-based services) in the previous month, as of June 2011.

But penetration levels across the 27 countries surveyed are uneven. In BRIC markets (Brazil, Russia, India, and China), microblogging penetration has reached roughly 40%, while it has stagnated at less than 10% among Internet users in the US (6.6%) and EU5 (UK, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy).

Microblogs: Update Frequency and Monthly Activities

The level of content creation has dropped as social platforms encourage sharing of others content, according to the study.

Active microbloggers are most likely to retransmit content created by others or by professional content producers:

· Users who are most active on microblogs—updating more than once a day—are most likely to be sharing links with other microblogs (65%), personal photos (63%), and links to videos (58%).

· Overall, less active micro-bloggers are less likely to perform most microblogging activities with the exception of posting about events and sharing links with other microblogs.


Social Networking

Globally, total active usage of all social networking sites has risen dramatically in all age segments. Among those age 16-24, penetration levels of social networking sites grew 26% from July 2009 to June 2011; 46% among those age 25-34, 35% among those age 35-44, and 52% among those age 45-54.

Facebook Fatigue?

Although Facebook use is on the rise overall, established markets (US, UK, and Canada) have recorded declines in the penetration of key activities on the site.

In the US, for example, activities such as messaging friends and joining a group (in the previous month) are down 15 percentage points (PPs) and 10 PPs, respectively since July 2009.


That trend is even-more pronounced among US college-educated adults under age 30, the original users of the platform. For example, the percentage of adults who search for a new contact on Facebook in the previous month fell more than 17PPs between 2009 and 2011.

However, some activities are on the rise. Joining a branded group (i.e., "liking" a Facebook business page) in the previous month increased nearly 6 PPs, and uploading videos to personal profiles increased nearly 8 PPS.

About the data: Wave 5 of the GlobalWebIndex is based on data collected in June 2011. The Index was initiated in July 2009 by Trendstream, and has since delivered five waves of research, surveying nearly 100,000 adult Internet users in 27 countries.

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4 Successful and Creative Facebook Contests

This post originally appeared on the American Express OPEN Forum, where Mashable regularly contributes articles about leveraging social media and technology in small business.

Years ago, if a marketer wanted to run a contest, he’d have to run print ads and hope that people would take the time to fill out an entry form and then mail it in. The Internet made things easier, but you still assumed that consumers would somehow find their way to your website.

Facebook adds another layer of ease to the process: Consumers are already there doing something else. If the promotion looks interesting enough, filling out an online form isn’t that big a deal. Rodney Mason, the chief marketing officer of promotions agency Moosylvania, says Facebook-only promotions have a lot of advantages. “One would be the ease of use,” he says. “You can also connect with people who’ve already opted in for past promotions, and everybody’s on there all the time.”

But Facebook didn’t just add ease of use to contests, it totally changed the motivation behind entering them. Nowadays, the prize seems secondary. The main appeal of Facebook contests is to communicate something about yourself.

These four highlighted contest campaigns illustrate this. In each case, users get more out the program than a gift certificate or whatever the nominal prize is: They also get a forum to define themselves to like-minded people. Maybe the best prize you can offer these days is bragging rights.

1. Contiki Vacations’ “Get on the Bus” Promotion





Travel companies have a natural advantage when it comes to promotions because, after all, planning a vacation is often half the fun. Planning a free vacation is even more fun. Contiki, a travel firm that caters to the 18-35 year-old demo, dropped a promotion in mid-February that let winter-weary web surfers imagine their perfect vacation. The winner got one of eight vacations worth around $25,000. The promotion harkened back to Contiki’s roots — in 1961, a young New Zealander named John Anderson arrived in London for a European journey. Lacking money and friends, he came up with a clever plan: He put a deposit on a minibus and found a group of people to travel with him. After the trip was over, Anderson tried to sell the minibus, but no one wanted to buy it, so he advertised the European trip again and Contiki Holidays was born.

Accordingly, the “Get on the Bus” promo challenged fans to get a crew with four friends together, choose a trip and then try to get as many votes as possible in order to win. Yes, that’s right, votes not Likes. Bob Troia, CEO of Affinitive, the agency that created the promo, says just as the program was launching, Facebook changed its policy about the use of Likes, which prompted the use of votes instead. Nevertheless, the effort, which ran from February 23 through March 31, garnered 8,000 Likes for Contiki and generated more than 10 million ad impressions through Facebook shares, Likes, tweets and blog coverage. One reason for the success was a feature that let users and their friends create a bus, which incorporated music, movies, Likes and interests that users had in common via their Facebook profiles. Says Troia: “We wanted to go beyond ‘enter and win’ and create an experience.”

2. Maybelline’s “Show Us Your Red Lips”





More proof that consumers are looking for experiences as well as prizes: Maybelline New York ran a promo for its Super Stay24h lipstick in Switzerland that offered the chance to be the face of the product on the Facebook Page in Switzerland. Despite that modest payoff, the promotion got 183 responses in three weeks. Part of the reason was that the contest was pretty easy to enter: All you had to do was take a picture of your lips. A lot more people — 9,000 — voted in the contest than entered it, leading to a dramatic jump in the product’s Facebook fans. Before the contest, the Page had 3,000 fans, but when it was over, there were 13,000. Perhaps you don’t need a huge prize to lure contestants, just the chance to strut one’s stuff before some peers.

3. Coca-Cola’s “The Recycling King”




For whatever reason, Israel seems to be on the cutting edge of location-based Facebook promotions. First there was the Coca-Cola Amusement Park promo in Israel last summer that let kids “like” park attractions bychecking in using RFID-enabled bracelets, and now there’s the Recycling King program. Give Coke and agencyPublicis E-Dologic an A for effort: The two tracked down every recycling bin in the country (there are 10,000 or so) and registered them on Facebook Places. Users them competed to see who was the “Recycling King,” by checking in to the most bins. The program proved to be popular. Users uploaded more than 26,000 pictures of themselves recycling, and there were more than 250,000 checkins.

4.’s “The Funniest Classified Ad on Blocket”





Let’s face it, Swedes aren’t known for their sense of humor. To Americans at least, the country summons images of black-and-white Ingmar Bergman films and disposable furniture. But apparently, the Swedish populace likes a joke as much as, say, the Finns. Realizing this,, the Craigslist of Sweden, ran a contest for “The funniest classified ad on Blocket.” The contest sought real ads, which users could submit by uploading an image. Blocket’s jury chose 20 finalists, and then Facebook users could vote for their favorite among the list and follow the results.

Thanks to the rib-tickling stunt, the site received 31,000 new fans in 18 days, and 34,000 people installed the Blocket app. The winner? An ad for a Volvo that had been driven into a ditch. The seller wanted the buyer to retrieve it from the ditch. Oh, those Swedes!

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