6 insights into the social media paradox 0

Posted on March 15, 2015 by Rob Petersen

 

 

 

  • 50% of business owners have increased their time on social media
  • 55% state they use Facebook, Twitter and the other major platforms for customer acquisition and sales leads
  • 60% say they see no results (source: Forbes)

Why do so many companies put so much time into activities that don’t produce results?

A paradox is an absurd or seemingly self-contradictory statement that, when investigated, is well-founded and true. These facts say there is a paradox (or paradoxes) about the way businesses use social media. Because spending so much time and seeing no results makes no sense.

Some social media paradoxes to explain these paradoxes are:

  • Social media is perceived to be an end when it is a means to an end
  • Social media is so attractive because it is the least social form of communication
  • There is no such thing as a strategy for social media; there is only a business strategy in which social media fits

The Socio-media-logy chart above illustrates a social media paradox. Although to “run” is the fastest way to get someplace, the paradox is companies would see better results with social media if they took the time to “crawl” and “walk” first.

Here are 6 insights into the social media paradox.

  • BUILD IT AND THEY DON’T COME: On average, there are 1,500 stories that can appear in a person’s Facebook News Feed each time they log onto Facebook. Even Facebook says their organic reach is declining. Over 2,000,000 blog posts are written and 864,000 hours of YouTube videos are uploaded every day. Your business may expect if you build, your audience will come, but the numbers say they don’t.
  • TARGETING INVOLVES KNOWING WHERE TO AIM: It doesn’t matter how many social networks your business uses if you don’t where your target customers are most likely to be So, before you began, a little research goes a long way. Look at the social presence and growth of your competitors on their social networks. See what thy post; what is commented on and shared. Listen using keywords about your industry or brand using a social search engine like Topsy or HootSuite. Profile what social networks are used most often on Social Searcher; what days of the week, what time of day and when content is most shared on BuzzSumo.
  • INFLUENCE COMES FROM KNOWLEDGE OF WHAT IS PERSUASIVE: 15,100,000 consumers go to social media before making purchase decisions. 81% said friends social media posts influenced their decisions; 79% like a company Facebook page because it offers discounts and incentives; 44% of women trust their favorite blogger. Do you know what’s likely to influence purchase decisions for your brand? Are you doing it?
  • PERSUASIVE CONTENT TEACHES SOMETHING NEW: Social media is the least social channel if it is used to broadcast information that is put out on non-social channels. That’s why it’s most effective use is usually for a purpose not meet by other marketing channels. One that is socially oriented. Customer service, product in use demonstrates, new usages, crowd sourcing new ideas and customer feedback are just a few of the ways social media can be used to teach something new and amplify your selling proposition.
  • TRUST IS BUILD WITH CONSISTENCY: Research shows that 42% of consumers who complain on social media expect a response within 60 minutes. 57% expect the same response time at night and on weekend, even if it’s not during normal business hours.Being reliable, honest, timely and showing integrity and qualities that build trust. They happen not in a single occurrence but by showing up authentically day after day, week after week and month after month. They pay dividends in good times and in bad.
  • IF YOU CAN’T MEASURE IT, YOU CAN’T MANAGE IT: You can’t determine what is successful until success is defined. Success doesn’t have to involve a whole new nomenclature either. For example, it can be done with: 1) Reach = a measurement of the size of audience you are communicating with; 2) Engagement = the total number of likes, shares, and comments on a post; 3) Conversions = he number of people who achieved a desired result and 4) Sales = did your business make any money? It can also be done with just a couple of analytic tools like Google Analytics and Buffer.

Does this explain the social media paradox? Did it teach you something new? Does your business need help with the social media paradox?

Strategy or tactic? 21 ways to tell the difference 1

Posted on March 07, 2015 by Rob Petersen

 

 

Strategy or TactcIn 500 B.C., Sun Tzu, the Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher who wrote The Art of War said you can’t win a war without a strategy and tactics. Why? Great tactics win battles but great strategies win wars.

That wisdom is just as applicable today. Whether it’s war, marketing, sales, research, business intelligence or personal, both are inextricably linked and co-dependent.

Sometimes, when people are creating a plan, there is confusion about whether something is a strategy or tactic. It’s important to know. As Sun Tzu states, the wrong application can influence the outcome.

Strategy or tactic? Here are 21 ways to tell the difference.

  1. Strategy is an idea; tactics are actions
  2. Strategy fulfills your predetermined goals and objectives; tactics and the things that make it happen
  3. Strategy is a plan for reaching a specific goal, while a tactic is the means you use to reach the goal
  4. Strategy does not depend on brilliant tactics for success; but even the best tactics can’t compensate for a lousy strategy
  5. Strategy identifies clear broader goals that advance the overall organization and organize resources; a tactic utilize specific resources to achieve sub-goals that support the defined mission
  6. Strategy is long term and changes infrequently; a tactic is short term and flexible to market conditions
  7. Strategy uses experience, research, analysis, thinking, then communication; a tactic uses experiences, best practices, plans, processes, and teams
  8. Strategy produces clear organizational goals, plans, maps, guideposts, and key performance measurements; a tactic produces clear deliverables and outputs using people, tools, time
  9. Srategy is the thinking aspect of planning a change; tactics are the things that get the job done
  10. Strategy requires a deliberate allocation of resources in a given direction; tactics are the choices one makes when executing a strategy – they are the means to an end
  11. Strategy answers the question: “Who are we?” Or, more specifically, what is it that we stand for. A tactic answers the question, “What do we do?”
  12. Strategy is done above the shoulder; tactics are done below the shoulders
  13. Strategy helps you understand outcomes and helps predict future outcomes; tactics are steps you take
  14. Strategies are a broad look at how a company will achieve its objectives; tactics are very detailed plans which must take into account the specifics of a tactical environment
  15. Strategy addresses the “why” of an operation and tactics address the “how”
  16. Strategy focuses on the big picture, the highest level scope of a particular unit in a given mission; tactics focus again on the small scale for a given unit
  17. Strategy is a matter of figuring out what we need to achieve, determining the best way to use the resources at our disposal to achieve it, and then executing the plan; tactics are the art and science of winning engagements and battles
  18. Strategy  is proactive, and looks for the future. It focuses on the long term; tactics are any movement done in order to achieve a momentary goal
  19. Strategy and tactics are different, related, and intertwined.  You won’t succeed with one and not the other
  20. Strategy is a general plan before the encounter and tactics is the way the strategy is played out
  21. Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory.  Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat

Did this explain the differences between strategy or tactic to you? Does it help you with your plans? Are you applying them in the right way?

How to build a strategy for social influence in 8 steps 0

Posted on January 18, 2015 by Rob Petersen

 

 

social influence

  • 78% of people say companies’ social media posts impact their purchase decisions
  • 71% are more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals
  • 25% of social media users have purchased a product after sharing it or marking it as a Favorite on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest (source: Digital Information World; an infographic from invesp is below)

These facts show social influence plays an important role in our purchase decisions.

Social influence is a reason companies turn to social media. But, to get desired results, there has to be a strategy: A roadmap with guiding principles that defines a plan, actions and measurements to achieve success.

Is social influence a reason your business is in social media? Do you have a strategy?

Here’s how to build a business strategy for social influence in 8 steps.

  1. DO RESEARCH TO IDENTIFY INFLUENCERS: Find out who is talking about your brand, industry or key topics. Start with social listening tools like HootSuite, or Topsy using keywords. Look at their website rank, audience and links through Alexa: influence with Klout; measure the size of the social network followings. Assemble a list of dozen or more potential influencers to begin building key influencer relationships.
  2. ESTABLISH RELATIONSHIPS BASED ON SHARED VALUES: Whether you pay influencers or rewards them with your own products and services, the basis of the relationship has to begin with shared values. Kim Kardashian is reported to get $25,000 a tweet for Armani. I guest post on websites of colleagues like Mark Schaefer’s {Grow} and Mike Moran’s, Biznology blogs to increase outreach. There’s a big difference in the currency but, in both cases, there is a similarity in that the relationships are based on shared values.
  3. DON’T USE INFLUENCERS TO SELL BUT TO TEACH SOMETHING NEW: Influencers are deeply involved in their community, whether it’s a school district or friends who share similar interests in cooking or working on their cars. Influencers arrange their lives to collect information about things they’re passionate about. Their community relies on them to be the first to find out about the things in which they’re most interested.
  4. PUBLISH OR PERISH: Relevant content is the key ingredient to any social influence program. Your audience expects it on a regular basis. Don’t disappoint them. Publish regularly behind a schedule with sufficient resources. Create a Content Calendar to guide, direct and manage this key task. As examples, HubSpot has a good template and CoShedule is a more recent service that prolific bloggers recommend.
  5. CONTRIBUTE A MIX OF CONTENT TO THE CONVERSATION: Content is anything but a singular asset. It can cover a range from: blog posts, images, videos, reviews, testimonials, surveys, newsletters, case studies, how-to-tips, ebooks, product in use or demonstrations to you get the idea. If you need more ideas, here are 101 different types of content.
  6. BE THERE WITH CUSTOMER CARE AND SERVICE: If your social influence program is working, your product or service may not for some of your customers. They will use your community to talk about a product that malfunctioned or didn’t work properly for them; or maybe just to sound off. You have to be prepared for these events and have guidelines for managing unruly conversations. Here are some tips to deal with angry customers in social media.
  7. MEASURE PROGRESS AND BE FLEXIBLE TO CHANGE: Every strategy requires a measurement plan with Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to guide success. A social influence program is both within and without your control so there is always going to be an element of the unexpected. If you listen for it and are flexible to change, it’s likely to work to your advantage.
  8. DON’T EXPECT ANY SHORT CUTS: Social influence is a good use of social media, especially in an integrated marketing mix where specific channels have focused business requirements. A key benefit to a social influence initiative is that your business is earning audience trust. When something is earned, it tends to last longer. But there is rarely a shortcut to earning anything.

Are you in social media for social influence purposes? Do these steps help with your strategy? Do you need more help in developing your social influencer strategy?

Social media influence

35 data points show how content marketing works 0

Posted on January 12, 2015 by Rob Petersen

 

 

How Content Marketig Works

  • 90% of marketers use content marketing (source: e-Strategy Trends)
  • 44% have a documented content marketing strategy (Source: Flip Creator)
  • 42% of B2B marketers and 34% of B2C marketers believe they are effective at it (source: e-Strategy Trends)

These statistics indicate content marketing has come of age but there is still room for improvement.

What makes it work? How should your business use it?

Here is some guidance. 35 data points that show how content marketing work.

CONTENT IS KING

  • 78% of CMOs believe custom content is the future of marketing (source: Social Times)
  • 76% use articles (including internal and guest blog posts) (source: eMarketer)
  • 76% of B2B companies maintain blogs. (FlipCreator)
  • 70% of both B2B and B2C marketers plan to produce more content (source: e-Strategy Trends)
  • 62% use videos (source: eMarketer)
  • 60% of consumers feel more positive about a brand after consuming content from it. (source: iMedia Connection)

PEOPLE LIKE TO DO BUSINESS WITH PEOPLE THEY KNOW

  • 70%-90% of the “buying journey” for B2B buyers occurs before they reach out to a vendor (source: B2B Marketing)
  • 80% of the time spent researching is done online (source: B2B Marketing)
  • 54% of B2B buyers begin their buying process with informal research about business problems (source: B2B Marketing)
  • 46% of web users will look towards social media when making a purchase (source: Search Engine Journal)

KNOW WHO TO ATTRACT

  • 57% of discussion on Pinterest are about food (source: Search Engine Journal)
  • 56% of Americans have a profile on a social networking site (source: Edison Research)
  • The fastest-growing age cohort on Twitter is 55-to-64 year-olds, up 79% since 2012 (source: Fast Company)
  • 50% of marketers found customers on Facebook (source: Social Times)
  • 45-54 age bracket is the fastest-growing group on both Facebook and Google+ (source: Fast Company)
  • 40 percent of marketers found customers on LinkedIn (source: Social Times)
  • YouTube has over 1 billion unique visitors per month and reaches the coveted 18-34 year old demographic more than any cable network (source: Search Engine Journal)
  • The male vs. female ratio of social media users is as follows: Facebook – 60% female/40% male; Twitter – 60% female/40% male; Pinterest – 79% female/21% male; Google Plus – 29% female/71% male; LinkedIn – 55% female/45% male (source: Search Engine Journal)

HAVE A STRATEGY

  • 83% of B2B marketers invest in social media to increase brand exposure (source: (Social Media Today)
  • 69% to increase web traffic (source: Social Media Today)
  • 65% to gain market insights (source: Social Media Today)
  • 78 cents is the value in sales of a Pin on Pinterest (up 25% versus year ago) (source: TechCrunch)

MAKE YOUR CONTENT WORK AS HARD AS IT CAN

  • 4,300% is the ROI of email marketing (source: Search Engine Journal)
  • 80% of all Pinterest pins are actually Re-pins (source: Search Engine Journal)
  • 73% of reporters say that press releases should contain images. (Social Times)
  • 72% who complain on Twitter expect a response within 60 minutes (source: HubSpot)
  • 57% of U.S. online adults read blogs. And of that group, two-thirds “say a brand mention or promotion within context of the blog influences their purchasing decisions.” (source: New Media and Marketing)
  • 52% of people expect a response to an email within 12-24 hours (source: MediaPost)
  • 48% of consumers say email is their preferred form of communication with brands. (iMedia Connection)
  • 42% of people expect a response from brands on social media within 60 minutes; 32% within 30 minutes (source: Convince and Convert)
  • 23% of Facebook users check their account at least 5 times a day (source: Search Engine Journal)
  • YouTube has the highest engagement and lowest bounce of any social network (source: Shareaholic)

ADMIT WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW

  • 79% of B2B marketing executives report noticeable skill gaps in the teams they manage. The top areas for skills gaps are:
    • Data analysis
    • Customer insight
    • Digital marketing techniques. (source: B2B Marketing)

Do these data point help you see what makes content marketing work? Could you be doing content marketing more effectivley?

47 facts about Christmas that will surprise you 0

Posted on December 21, 2014 by Rob Petersen

 

 

BarnRaisers ChristmasHappy Holidays from all of us at BarnRaisers. May the New Year unfold everything you hope it does.

The Christmas Spirit is about expressing extra tolerance, charitableness and giving, especially to those who have had a difficult year or are going through trying times. And to be focused on a bright future.

Perhaps, by learning a little more about Christmas, it will give us an appreciation to express this spirit now and in the New Year.

Here are 47 facts about Christmas that will surprise you.

    1. The Bible doesn’t mention when Jesus was actually born. Most historians believe it was the Spring because of shepherds herding animals.
    2. December 25 was probably chosen because it coincided with the ancient pagan festival Saturnalia, which celebrated the agricultural god Saturn with partying, gambling, and gift-giving.
    3. On Christmas Eve during World War I, Allied troops took a break from fighting to sing Christmas Carols. When German soldier emerged they all shook hands exchanging greetings and cigarettes. It was called the Christmas Truce of 1914.
    4. Every year since 1947, the people of Oslo, Norway have given a Christmas tree to the city of Westminster, England. The gift is an expression of good will and gratitude for Britain’s help to Norway during World War II.
    5. Since 1971, the Province of Nova Scotia has presented the Boston Christmas tree to the people of Boston, in gratitude for the relief supplies received from the citizens of Boston after a ship exploded in 1917 following a collision in the Halifax, Nova Scotia Harbor. Part of the city was leveled, killing and injuring thousands.
    6. Because of its roots in pagan festivals, Christmas was not immediately accepted by the religious. In fact, from 1659 to 1681, it was illegal to celebrate Christmas in Boston. You were fined if you were caught celebrating.
    7. Christmas in early America was inconsequential. After the Revolutionary War, Congress didn’t even bother taking the day off to celebrate the holiday, deciding instead to hold its first session on Christmas Day, 1789.
    8. In 1856 Franklin Pierce, the 14th President of the United States, was the first President to place a Christmas tree in the White House.
    9. Teddy Roosevelt banned the Christmas tree from the White House for environmental reasons.
    10. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer got his start as an advertising gimmick. A copywriter named Robert L. May first created the merry misfit in 1939 to lure shoppers into the Montgomery Ward department store.
    11. Rudolph almost didn’t have a red nose either: At the time, a red nose was a sign of chronic alcoholism and Montgomery Ward thought he would look like a drunkard.
    12. Though Santa Claus has worn blue and white and green in the past, his traditional red suit came from a 1930s ad by Coca Cola.
    13. Frosty the Snowman was made famous by a whiskeymaker in 1890 who used Frosty’s likeness to showcase an entirely different kind of holiday cheer. Once Prohibition ended, Frosty quickly became the go-to guy for alcohol ads, appearing in posters for Miller beer, Jack Daniel’s, Ballantine ale, Rheingold beer, Schlitz beer, Schenley, Oretel’s lager beer, Chivas Regal scotch, Fort Pitt pale ale, Mount Whitney beer and Four Roses.
    14. Mistletoe is magical according to Celtic legend. It can heal wounds, increase fertility, bring good luck and ward off evil spirits.
    15. The tradition of kissing under the mistletoe began the Victorian era, surprising (or maybe not) considering the stuffy and sexually repressive behavior of the time.
    16. The use of evergreen trees to celebrate the winter season occurred before the birth of Christ.
    17. Germans decorated evergreen trees to brighten the dark, gloomy days of the winter solstice. The first “Christmas trees” appeared in Strasbourg in the 17th century and spread to Pennsylvania in the 1820s with the arrival of German immigrants.
    18. The Germans made the first artificial Christmas trees out of dyed goose feathers.
    19. Approximately 30-35 million real (living) Christmas trees are sold each year in the U.S.
    20. 98 percent of all Christmas trees are grown on farms, while only 2% are cut from the wild.
    21. Most Christmas trees are cut weeks before they get to a retail outlet. It is important to keep them watered thoroughly when they reach your home. In the first week, a Christmas tree in your home will consume as much as a quart of water per day.
    22. The earliest known Christmas tree decorations were apples. At Christmastime, medieval actors would use apples to decorate paradise trees (usually fir trees) during “Paradise Plays,” which were plays depicting Adam and Eve’s creation and fall.
    23. Thomas Edison’s assistant, Edward Johnson, came up with the idea of electric lights for Christmas trees in 1882. Christmas tree lights were first mass-produced in 1890.
    24. In Finland, Finns visit saunas on Christmas Eve.
    25. In Portugal, Portuguese revelers hold a feast on Christmas Day for the living and the dead (extra places are set for the souls of the deceased).
    26. In Greece, some believe that goblins called kallikantzeri run wild during the 12 days of Christmas, and most Greeks don’t exchange presents until Jan. 1, St. Basil’s Day.
    27. In Australia and New Zealand, most Australians and New Zealanders enjoy Christmas on the beach or at barbecues.
    28. In Spain, the Spanish hold the World’s Largest Lottery on Christmas Day. It is called “El Gordo” or “The Fat One.”
    29. Each year more than 3 billion Christmas cards are sent in the U.S. alone.
    30. In Poland, spiders or spider webs are common Christmas trees decorations because according to legend, a spider wove a blanket for Baby Jesus. In fact, Polish people consider spiders to be symbols of goodness and prosperity at Christmas.
    31. Alabama was the first state in the United States to officially recognize Christmas in 1836.
    32. Christmas wasn’t declared an official holiday in the United States until June 26, 1870.
    33. Oklahoma was the last U.S. state to declare Christmas a legal holiday, in 1907.
    34. The poinsettia is native to Mexico and was cultivated by the Aztecs, who called the plant Cuetlaxochitl (“flower which wilts”). For the Aztecs, the plant’s brilliant red color symbolized purity, and they often used it medicinally to reduce fever.
    35. Contrary to popular belief, the poinsettia is not poisonous, but holly berries are.
    36. Santa Claus is based on a real person, St. Nikolas of Myra (also known as Nikolaos the Wonderworker, Bishop Saint Nicholas of Smyrna, and Nikolaos of Bari), who lived during the fourth century. Born in Patara (in modern-day Turkey), he is the world’s most popular non-Biblical saint, and artists have portrayed him more often than any other saint except Mary.
    37. Santa Claus is based on a real person, St. Nikolas of Myra (also known as Nikolaos the Wonderworker, Bishop Saint Nicholas of Smyrna, and Nikolaos of Bari), who lived during the fourth century. Born in Patara (in modern-day Turkey), he is the world’s most popular non-Biblical saint, and artists have portrayed him more often than any other saint except Mary.
    38. There are two competing claims as to which president was the first to place a Christmas tree in the White House. Some scholars say President Franklin Pierce did in 1856; others say President Benjamin Harrison brought in the first tree in 1889.
    39. President Coolidge started the White House lighting ceremony in 1923.
    40. President Teddy Roosevelt, an environmentalist, banned Christmas trees from the White House in 1912.
    41. There are approximately 21,000 Christmas tree farms in the United States. In 2008, nearly 45 million Christmas trees were planted, adding to the existing 400 million trees.
    42. Christmas is a contraction of “Christ’s Mass,” which is derived from the Old English Cristes mæsse (first recorded in 1038).
    43. The letter “X” in Greek is the first letter of Christ, and “Xmas” has been used as an abbreviation for Christmas since the mid 1500s.
    44. The first person to decorate a Christmas tree was reportedly the Protestant reformer Martin Luther (1483-1546). According to legend, he was so moved by the beauty of the stars shining between the branches of a fir tree, he brought home an evergreen tree and decorated it with candles to share the image with his children.
    45. Christmas purchases account for 1/6 of all retail sales in the U.S.
    46. he first batch of eggnog in America was crafted at Captain John Smith’s Jameston settlement in 1607, and the name eggnog comes from the word “grog,” which refers to any drink made with rum.
    47. “Jingle Bells” was originally supposed to be a Thanksgiving song.

These facts were curated from articles by Time,  Random History, Entertainment Tonight and University of Illinois Extension, with gratitude and appreciation for helping me gain a deeper understanding of Christmas and the Christmas Spirit.

Did they do the same for you?

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