Where Social Marketers Get Inspired Mon, 17 Jul 2017 13:55:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Mon, 17 Jul 2017 00:38:15 +0000

How Sheryl Sandberg’s Leadership Allows Facebook to Keep Innovating

sheryl sandberg


“Sandberg’s bold leadership and willingness to experiment with creative solutions definitely cultivates innovation at Facebook,” says Nicole D’Alonzo, creator of the 19 Minute Yoga app and one of the organizers of Innovation Congress, when I was interviewing her recently.

It got me thinking:  Sheryl Sandberg’s leadership at Facebook has guided the company through quite a few years of growth, and during that time, the leading social platform has been committed to innovation.

Arguably, though, Sandberg doesn’t get as much of the credit for that as one would think. Does her leadership allow Mark Zuckerberg to continue their commitment to innovation?

That’s what I asked a few of the speakers at this week’s Innovation Congress in NYC, and this is what they had to say:

The “W” Word

“While Sheryl Sandberg wasn’t the first person to address the unique pressures and challenges that women face in their journey to the head of the boardroom table, she brought that conversation to the forefront in an undeniably meaningful way.” So says Melanie Deziel, noted brand strategist and speaker.

Deziel believes Sandberg has made it easier for women to address these issues within their social circles, their families and their workplace. “It shouldn’t be surprising that having someone like Sheryl at the helm would create a company culture that empowers women to speak up, rise up, and move up,” says Deziel.

Leslie Bradshaw of Bionic agrees with Deziel’s sentiments about Sandberg, calling her “a strong female leader in a critically important position, which signals internally and externally – we respect, laud, and empower women at the top of our organization.”

Bradshaw explains that organizations are more likely to attract and retain women and minorities when you send this signal. “And with more diversity comes the ability to innovate in new ways for new audiences.”

The Uber Comparison

Jason Keath, founder of Social Fresh and Innovation Congress, finds it interesting to compare Sheryl Sandberg’s leadership at Facebook to Uber’s leadership, which has been in the news quite a bit recently.

“You have Sheryl fighting for equality, empowering women to move in, and helping small businesses grow, while Uber does pretty much the opposite,” says Keath. According to Keath, Sandberg is the backbone of Facebook’s “revenue miracle,” focusing the company on a self-serve ad platform, cracking the mobile ad code, and bringing in 2 million small business advertisers.

Her innovations have been incremental, yet crucial moves that bring Facebook giant revenue.

Money & Communication Matter

Tyler Riewer, the brand content lead for noted nonprofit charity: water, believes that Sandberg’s character and values alone have been influential – both inside and outside of Facebook – and not only that, she’s made the  company quite profitable. “With money comes the chance to create ways to make more money,” says Riewer. And, of course, to foster more innovation.

“Innovation doesn’t happen in a vacuum,” says D’Alonzo. “Sandberg’s uniquely positioned to innovate because she’s a master communicator.” As D’Alonzo points out, early in Sandberg’s career, she turned down an exciting job opportunity for personal reasons. Instead of simply declining, she was transparent about why should couldn’t take the role.

Because she was honest, the obstacle was demystified and the employer ultimately offered her another role later in her career.

“These micro-decisions, and choices, to share a moment of vulnerability are the things that make a great leader,” says D’Alonzo. “Sandberg’s innovative style includes risk, but her strategy is rooted in values and core beliefs.”


As a leader, Sandberg walks the walk with respect to diversity and inclusion. Bradshaw of Bionic points out that Sandberg “has used her position of privilege and power to crack open the conversation about why there are not more women at the top of every industry.”

In fact, as Bradshaw points out, after writing Lean In, Sandberg was even self aware enough to realize that her initial argument needed to be refined after she tragically lost her husband, and penned Plan B as a result. “Her high EQ and empathy is demonstrated on a global scale,” says Bradshaw, “and is exactly what is needed to enable Facebook for to deliver on its mission to ‘bring the world closer together.’”


While there’s little debate about Sandberg’s merits, there’s sure to be plenty of lively conversations at Innovation Congress as we tackle topics like AI, chatbots, sound technologies, digital advertising, and plenty more. I’m certainly hoping to see you there.

]]> 0 Thu, 29 Jun 2017 17:44:29 +0000

Win a free ticket to Innovation Congress 2017

When you’re asked to launch an Alexa skill or build a chatbot, you want to have a plan already in place and network of resources. The right resources.

You know how important it is to connect with fellow early adopters and stay up-to-date on new innovations like AI, virtual reality, and Alexa.

If you’re serious about keeping your company ahead of the curve, Innovation Congress is for you.

At Innovation Congress, you’ll hear directly from thought leaders executing innovative programs at some of the biggest brands in the world, including Coca-Cola, Charity Water, Instagram, Casper, Patrón, Goldman Sachs, and more.

And because we want to share access to this critical business information, we’re launching the Innovation Congress Sweepstakes! We’ll be awarding 5 FREE tickets to Innovation Congress. Good luck and hope to see you there!


Innovation Congress 2017 by Social Fresh is in New York, NY on July 18-19.

Enter to win the grand prize, a full access ticket for our workshop day (July 18) and mainstage day (July 19).

To enter the sweepstakes, submit your email using the widget below.

If you want to increase your chances of winning, you can tweet out the sweepstakes using the same widget below.

Entering your email address gets you one entry, and Tweeting it out gets you 5 more entries.

Contest entries accepted until July 7rd, at 11:59 pm ET.

CONTEST CLOSED — Winners To Be Announced Shortly

Grand Prize: Full Access Ticket

The Grand Prize includes:

  • 1 Free Full Access Ticket, including reserved front section seating, workshop ticket, general session ticket, and access to the Patrón Closing Reception ($1,190.00 value)

Bonus Prizes

  • 4 General Session Tickets, We are also awarding runner up prizes to 4 lucky participants! The runner up prize is one free General Session ticket to attend the July 19 mainstage presentations ($790.00 value).

If you don’t snag the Grand Prize this year, you can still win a General Session ticket to Innovation Congress 2017.

About Innovation Congress 2017 by Social Fresh

We are thrilled to host innovative and accomplished presenters and we’re proud to feature the most advanced content around.

Check out the full conference info, speaker lineup, and agenda here.

Sweepstakes Rules

No purchase necessary. Prizes may not be transferred or resold.

Sweepstakes entries will be accepted from 06/28/2017 at 12am ET until 07/07/2017 12 am ET.

This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, YouTube or any other organization besides Social Fresh LLC. We hereby release Facebook of any liability.

Prizes will be null and void if Innovation Congress 2017 does not take place for any reason.

Winners will be contacted by email 48 hours after the giveaway ends. Winners must respond within 48 hours after notification to avoid forfeiting their prize. If winners are non-responsive and do not respond within the 48 hour timeframe, the prize(s) will be awarded to another participant. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send us an email!

]]> Tue, 30 May 2017 10:04:14 +0000

Business has 2 functions: Marketing and Innovation

I’m launching a new conference on July 18-19 and I want to tell you why.

I’ve produced 18 Social Fresh Conferences over the last 8 years. And don’t worry, Social Fresh isn’t going anywhere. We will host our 19th Social Fresh at the end of 2017, more info announcing in June.

But, a significant number of the questions we are starting to see from the Social Fresh community fall outside of the scope of our existing conference.

We get questions about AI and augmented reality and Alexa, and a ton of other innovation topics that don’t start with an A.

I love these questions.

Companies do not just need to be good at marketing, they need to be good at innovating. At building new stuff. At challenging and disrupting their own assumptions.

French writer Milan Kundera summed this up by saying, “Business has only two functions – marketing and innovation.”

This may feel counterintuitive, but what Milan means is that these are the two sight lines that drive progress. When you look to a horizon and point the way for your business to grow, you need to find a place in the market and you need to find a way to differentiate.

Marketing helps you find your place in the market. Innovation helps you differentiate.

Each is important and each deserves special attention. Their own conversation.

That is why we are introducing Innovation Congress by Social Fresh. Innovation Congress will be July 18-19 in NYC at The New School.

About the Event

Innovation Congress by Social Fresh, in special partnership with Firebrand Group, is July 18-19 at The New School in NYC. Content will focus on helping businesses stay competitive in the next 3-5 years, within the categories of digital trends, technology innovations, and societal shifts.

Innovation touches the marketing, technology, operations and product teams equally. It’s a large conversation to have in a conference format.

We surveyed executives at leading Fortune 500 and INC 5000 companies to zero in on what topics they need help with to stay competitive in the next 3-5 years. We also reached out to the people in charge of building these technologies.

Sessions will include: Augmented Reality, Audio Content Trends and Technology, Virtual Reality, Influencer Marketing, Automation and Chatbots, The Evolution of Ideation, The Future of Talent, 360 Video, The Future of Media + Content, Artificial Intelligence, Live Video, App Marketplaces, Video Ads, Understanding the Social “Story” Trend, Crowd Technologies and the Sharing Economy, and more.

We’re producing Innovation Congress to help you bring substance to these discussions and help you decide which technologies to adopt and at what speed.

Speakers include:

  • Coca-Cola
  • Charity Water
  • BuzzFeed
  • NY Times
  • Patron Tequila
  • Instagram
  • Indiegogo
  • Casper
  • Away
  • Washington Post
  • X.AI
  • Refinery29
  • Breather
  • WNYC
  • DraftKings
  • Bionic
  • Goldman Sachs
  • Cheddar
  • BaubleBar

I’m also really excited to host the conference at The New School’s Tishman Auditorium. The space is aesthetically and technologically impressive. And I can’t wait to fill their stage with amazing content.

Tishman Auditorium, The New School


We’re partnering with a group of amazing folks in NYC for Innovation Congress. From Firebrand Group and their expertise at Future Proofing companies to an incredible speaker lineup and some incredible sponsors.

Head over the event page today and reserve your seat. I can’t wait to see you in New York.

]]> 3 Mon, 30 Jan 2017 02:28:24 +0000

Trend to watch: the marriage of fandom and entertainment marketing

Aaron Reese with Stan Lee in 2016

Aaron Reese with Stan Lee in 2016

When researching the top trends brands need to be on the lookout for in 2017, one of the more interesting ones (to me, at least) was the marriage of fandom and entertainment marketing.

I spoke to my Firebrand Group colleague Aaron Reese about the topic, given was perfect, given that he’s a freelance comics writer and an expert on geek culture.

Comic Book Movies Are Pure Fandom

Fandom has made a major impact on entertainment. If you look at the stats, it’s hard to argue that the clear monolith of the cinematic world is the superhero movie.

Once considered a risk by film studios, the public is consuming superhero films at a voracious pace unseen by studios before. Not only that, but consumers are also influencing these films.

Studios like Fox have heeded fan suggestions and input, resulting in the global blockbusters such as Deadpool. And now more than ever, studios are vying for repeat customer business.

Entire franchises are being built to retain viewer loyalty. Sites like Tumblr and Reddit are fertile grounds for various fandoms; viewers are expressing their desires through memes, gifs and shareable content.

Brands like My Little Pony are reblogging these pieces of content, honing in on what consumers are saying and implementing that feedback into shows, movies and product lines.

What Can You Learn From This Fandom?

Now, you might say, what do Deadpool and My Little Pony have to do with your brand?

Well, there are lessons there that just about any brand can benefit from. Expectations have changed; today’s brands will be forced to do more than pay lip service to fans.

In an age where micro-influencers are being brought more into the fold of various digital campaigns, it’s clear that their voice matters.

“Fans are no different from regular consumers,” says Reese. “But fans are also the biggest advocates for brands, evangelizing them across the web. They share more, buy more and and engage more. When brands pay attention to their fandom, they reap the rewards.”

Best in Class in Fandom

It’s important to note which entertainment brands are doing the best job harnessing the power of fandom. Marvel, as one of the biggest inspirations for cosplay, developed a product line of cosplay pieces for their fans. They also created various covers for their comics that showed famous cosplayers as noteworthy Marvel comics characters.

If nothing else, this showed their support to a community oftentimes unacknowledged by mass-marketing efforts.

Additionally, clothing brands such as Welovefine, TeeFury and HerUniverse were built out of fandom. All three brands take niche creator designs, usually based on some aspect of comics, sci-fi, or fantasy, and sell them in mass quantities.

These lines have appealed to fans due to their products’ obscure fan references and occasional crossing-over of multiple fandoms.

TeeFury design

One of many TeeFury designs appealing to fandom

Non-Entertainment Brands Take Note

Remember: if you’re working on a brand outside of entertainment, you can still learn plenty from entertainment’s cultivation of fan communities.

Some brands already have high levels of engagement, particularly in the fashion and beauty space. One thing that retailers such as H&M have been really good at doing is generating brand awareness and engagement through their collaborations with luxury brands. Luxury brands have their own fans, fans who can be just as enthusiastic about new collections as Marvel fans are about new movie releases.

By pairing up with these companies, H&M is attracting those enthusiastic fans and generating brand awareness, thus cultivating a community that is fashion-forward, label-conscious, and likely to shop H&M’s next collaboration.

Other Big Ideas for 2017

Access the entire 2017 Trends Ebook here. And here’s wishing you lots of success with truly owning your owned media in the year ahead.

]]> 2 Sun, 08 Jan 2017 16:47:07 +0000

Brands Could Be The Next Target of Fake News in 2017

This past presidential election saw a major outbreak of fake news.

Buzzfeed News analyzed the final three months of the US presidential election and discovered that fake, clickbait-y headlines were more likely to hook visitors more frequently than headlines for real news. But what, if anything, does this mean for brands?

That’s one of the topics I looked to research in 20.17 Big Ideas for 2017, a new ebook from Firebrand Group, where I asked a number of my favorite award-winning marketing experts, authors, and other thought leaders to recommend one “Big Idea” that companies can take advantage of to get ahead in 2017.

Laura PevehouseTo really dive into the topic of fake news, we spoke to Laura Pevehouse, Chief Blogger at Dell.

Pevehouse has a big job, to say the least: she’s responsible for the development, coordination and execution of strategy and content for Direct2Dell, Dell’s corporate blog.

While presidential elections were the fake news story of 2017, Pevehouse thinks that brands could actually be next the next target of fake news.

“While fake information being shared as news is not really a new thing – think of the Pepsi syringe hoax of the early 90s – the speed and distance that it can travel now has never been seen before,” says Pevehouse.

“The legitimate news cycle has sped up, but the fake one has put on jet packs.”

The reason for this change is, upon reflection, obvious: by the time journalists are able to do research and conduct interviews to determine if your company is actually doing something scandalous, or has “really poor numbers,” the audience has read the initial tweets, absorbed them as truth, and moved on to the next story.

That’s a downer for a lot of us brand marketers, but there’s an upside: the growth of fake news make owned media even more important than ever, so a strategic investment in owned media could set your brand apart from the pack.

Brands Need to Own Their Owned Media in 2017

Owned media is your brand’s first line of defense against fake news, Pevehouse believes, since it provides the ability to present your point of view without waiting for the media to call or a letter to the editor to be printed.

An unvarnished, well-written and timely post on your company blog can become one of the sources news media reference in their stories and that creates long-tail benefit for your brand.

By the way, by “timely” Pevehouse means within hours, not days – so if you’re not set up for that type of speed, you’ve got to improve your processes on that front.

Blog Your Way Out of Fake News

Direct2Dell Dell Corporate Blog

Why will it be such a boon to you to blog your way out of fake news?

Not only do you have the opportunity to say more than will make the typical New York Times piece, but you increase traffic to your owned media and improve future search results with credible backlinks, says Pevehouse. “That’s important to reach individuals who do actually try to fact-check news before they share it.”

Thanks in part to Pevehouse’s leadership, Dell does what it can to take the concept of owned media seriously. When Dell’s acquisition of EMC completed just a little over three months ago, for example, it began a transformation that gives it the opportunity to leverage the strengths both companies posses with respect to owned media.

Pevehouse’s focus for 2017 involves consolidating both Dell and EMC’s corporate blogs and ensuring that the combined entity delivers content through them that meets their audience’s interests, “rather than simply reflecting our organizational structure.”

The goal remains the same – to build ongoing readership by providing interesting and useful information prior to any need for direct communication during a crisis like being the target of fake news.

Look To Dell and REI As Strong Case Studies

REI Co-op journal blog

While Pevehouse is biased towards Dell’s social media brand, she’s the first to admit that other brands have done a great job developing their own owned media. Her favorite stories to write are those of how our customers are using our technology to drive transformation, and she believes REI does a great job telling customer stories on its Co-Op Journal blog.

“Their focus on the situations, like camping or hiking, in which the items they sell can be used keeps it from feeling like they’re just pushing product,” she says.

That’s also the type of activity that builds trust. While brands have always needed audience trust, they’ll need it even more on the day they’re targeted by fake news or mean tweets from an influencer.

Looking for more Big Ideas for 2017? 
Access the entire ebook here. And here’s wishing you lots of success with truly owning your owned media in the year ahead.

]]> 3 Thu, 05 May 2016 18:11:11 +0000

5 Unpublished Stats on the Future of Social Media Marketing

social media software ROI 19 of 20

19 out of 20 social media software users report a positive ROI

Hello data geeks. We’ve got some new stats for you. You may feel an urge to immediately add them to your next powerpoint. Don’t fight it.

At Social Fresh we wanted to know more about where digital marketers like you are seeing success. Which social networks, content types, and social ad platforms are providing the best ROI? And, equally important, how are social media marketers investing their time and budget?

We just published the first annual Future of Social Media Marketing Report, with report partners Firebrand Group and Simply Measured,  to help answer these questions and many others.

Below are a few sample stats from the report. Download the report here for more awesomely geeky data points and insights.

1. More social marketers are choosing Instagram over Twitter for future investment

social network investment instagram 2016

42% of social marketers plan to invest significantly in Instagram over the next year.

Facebook is still the #1 social network for marketers when it comes to investing money and resources. 76% of digital marketers we surveyed have earmarked a majority of their budget for Facebook.

However, Instagram came in second, with 42% of digital marketers surveyed selecting the mobile-first image network.

We also asked which social networks are giving social marketers are the biggest ROI today. Facebook was more dominate here (96%), Twitter was second (64%) and Instagram third (40%).


I love comparing these two questions. It’s clear that while Twitter is a strong option for many social marketers today, others are now looking to Instagram over the next year as a big opportunity (even more so than Twitter).

2. Social Marketers will continue to increase the time and resources they spend on creating content

content development time spent social marketers

Creating content is the most time-intensive task for social media teams, taking up 18.5% of the day.

When we asked social teams what percentage of their day is spent on social marketing tasks, content development was the number one answer, taking up 18.5% of social media teams’ time and resources. This 18.5% is only indicative of time spent on creating the content. This stat does not include the time a team invests in strategy, publishing, and promotion of that content.

Marketing pro and analyst Rebecca Lieb summed it up well when she said, “Content is the atomic particle of all marketing.” (source)

Content is becoming increasingly important for digital marketing, especially for social media teams. Take a close look at how you are spending time and resources on content. It will be the biggest opportunity for improving your digital marketing efforts moving forward.

BONUS STAT: Amongst the social media teams who plan to hire new roles over the next year, 70% plan to hire content-focused roles (content marketing or content development), while only 61% are planning to hire a social media manager.

3. Out of all the tasks (content creation, publishing, strategy etc.), social marketers are most likely to outsource their social advertising

social advertising outsourced stat

33% of social media teams are outsourcing all or part of their social advertising.

The vast majority of social marketers are doing some type of social advertising, 90% according to our survey. This is across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Snapchat.

However, that task is the most likely to be outsourced, compared to all the social media tasks we surveyed. Only 57% of social marketers, at brands, are doing all their social advertising in house.

social media team tasks outsourcing

17% are outsourcing their social ads completely, while 33% are getting at least some agency support for the task.

Social advertising gets outsourced for a few reasons. What works in social advertising and what doesn’t can change rapidly. Many social media teams are also small and likely do not do enough social advertising to hire a full time person for this role. And because social advertising is such a specialty task, it requires an expert to get the best results.

Social advertising will become an increasingly essential part of any social media or content marketing program. Many teams are aware of this already.

4. Video content continues to become more and more important for social marketing teams

video content by social media teams stat

46% of social media teams are creating video content at least once a month.

46% of social media marketing teams are creating video content at least once a month. It was the third most popular answer when we asked social marketers what content they were creating at least once a month. Creating images was #1 (79%) and creating blog posts was #2 (58%).

That’s bigger than I would have guessed before this report. Snapchat and Livestreaming apps may be contributing to that number. Additionally, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are all placing a higher focus on video content. That doesn’t hurt either.

“Invest in video because the top 3 social networks for ROI [Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram] are all favoring videos in their feeds.” — Sue Funke, TV Land

BONUS STAT: Video was the second most popular answer when we asked which single content type provided the best ROI, with 20% singling out video. The most popular answer for content ROI were image posts at 40%.

5. The biggest social media software need for social marketers is monitoring and analytics software

social media intelligence software

52% of social marketers looking for new software are in the market for social listening or analytics software.

Amongst social marketers actively looking for new software, the two most popular types included monitoring/listening solutions (28%) and analytics solutions (24%).

Together I would label these as social intelligence solutions. And they account for over half of those seeking out new social software, or 52%.

social media software actively looking

“Social media is changing so quickly and it is important to constantly be having conversations about what the overall strategy for the brand is. Listen more. The beauty of social media is that you have direct access to your customers/audience and not enough brands take advantage of this.” — Rachel Sacks-Hoppenfeld, Anheuser-Busch Inbev

Get The Report

Check out more stats like this by downloading the Future of Social Media Marketing Report. It also includes tons of analysis and bonus insights from industry experts. You can download a FREE version of the report here or you can grab a copy of the full premium report here.

]]> 19 Thu, 21 Apr 2016 15:00:48 +0000

What’s a better social media goal: customer loyalty or brand awareness?

Every business should measure the conversion of their social media marketing. Even if it is not your primary social media goal, thinking in terms of conversion sets the stage for better strategy.

Some businesses have a barrier to measuring conversion because they are not an ecommerce business or they do not own the stores where their products are sold, but there is always a way.

new coverIn our new report, The Future of Social Marketing, we learned a lot about how brands think about their top social media goals, along with a ton of other data, including where marketers are investing their time and resources, where they are seeing the best ROI, their hiring process, and more.

The report (just released today) features high level insights from our survey of 551 social media marketing professionals and includes research support from our partners, Firebrand Group and Simply Measured. Download your free copy of the report here.

The data shows that many brands (3 out of 4) consider awareness their top social media goal. As part of the expert analysis in the report, we discussed the benefits of investing in other areas—specifically customer service—and shifting away from only prioritizing awareness in your social media goals.

How much does it cost you to engage a new customer? As Jay Baer states in the report, customer service and customer loyalty are much bigger opportunity areas for brands.


Even if your primary social media goal is not a sale, but focuses on awareness or loyalty or customer service, there are metrics you can put in place that help you define a conversion of that goal. You just might have to spend a little more time and creativity on the strategy side to put that measurement system in place.

Click through and check out the report.

]]> 7 Wed, 16 Mar 2016 10:43:52 +0000

15 Tips For Creating Video Content That Converts


Video content is a major trend in 2016. Your business should be investing in video content marketing if it’s not already.

Why video? And why now?

First, internet bandwidth finally allows us to watch video from any device without much hastle. Thanks Netflix.

Second. Mobile technology, both hardware and software, is driving innovation in video. Our smartphones are now very high quality and easy to use video cameras and even editing suites. We also see more and more apps from Instagram to Snapchat to Periscope and beyond, making it easier to create, share and view video.

Lastly — content saturation is driving many businesses to invest more in video content. With so many Tweets and images and blog posts out there it’s getting harder to stand out, to make a splash. There is less competition with video content, and thus more opportunity.

We hosted a webinar last week with Cision and video content expert Jeff Barrett about video content that converts. It was the most engaging topic we’ve seen.

Here are some of the top video marketing tips from Jeff and I during the webinar.

1. Don’t try to create a moment

Instead of creating videos you want to go viral or start a trend, try creating video content that taps into existing conversation on the web or in your industry.

2. Video works best when it is something you have not seen before

Create something truly original is difficult if not impossible. But knowing what your audience is use to seeing or what your competitors create can help you. Do videos from your parking lot. From your car. From the warehouse or the rooftop (please consult legal before creating any rooftop videos).

3. Don’t stress about video quality

People connect with things that feel more real. Interviews, iPhone video, and shaky selfie videos are authentic to our daily lives. You want to create a video that is visually easy to understand and does not make me nauseous because your moving the camera too much, but don’t be afraid to drop the tripod and lighting kit for a different feel. 

4. Stick to a schedule

No matter the platform or video type you want to create, look for opportunities to create consistency. If you are able to convert your viewers to a routine, it greatly helps your long term success. 

5. Influencers are uniquely important to video distribution

Build a base of influencers to help share your video content. This might include employees, customers, industry leaders, content creators, and the media. And likely all of the above. Cultivate this audience before you need it. Include them early in the process, give them special access. Video is a very snackable and shareable medium — plan for that. 

6. Create pre-packaged video

Create video and animations in advance that can be used to respond to as a specific emotion or respond to a common questions/topics your business engages in conversations about online. This is especially useful for customer service, frequently asked questions, and events. 

7. Don’t stress about posting daily to Snapchat

On Snapchat, you do not have to post every day to be successful. CyreneQ is a Snapchat influencer that can earn $10k per branded story, or more. She posts once or twice a week and still has a very engaged audience with a 90% or higher response rate to her stories. If it has been 8 days since you last posted on Snapchat, that’s fine.

8. Promote your Snapchat stories every time you post them

Your Snapchat content is a silo. Not everyone in your audience tunes in every day.  When you do have something to say on Snapchat, plan for that and use your full resources to let your audience know.

9. Use video on your landing pages

Video can increase your landing page conversions by 80% or more. Keep these videos shorter, at around 30 to 60 seconds, and make sure to give one clear call to action.

10. Facebook video generates higher engagement

Video is still being heavily emphasized by Facebook in their newsfeed. Combined with the fact that video content is more emotionally engaging to start, and it’s no surprise that video creates more response on Facebook than other content.

11. Ideal video length is 60 seconds

Jeff recommends 60 seconds for the length of most of your video. At Social Fresh most of the expert recommendations we have curated land between 30 seconds and 3 minutes. The reason is simple, your total engagement drops the longer your video gets.

12. Use a better mic when possible

Audio quality is more important than visual quality. 

13. Edit out background noise when it is distracting

Free software like Audacity can help you reduce or eliminate distracting background noise in your videos. You can keep background noises in when it helps tell your story and not distracting. 

14. For Facebook video, test video without audio

Autoplay videos do well on Facebook, but autoplay does not work as well if the audience NEEDS to hear the audio. For various reasons on Facebook and other video channels, audio is not an option for your viewer, or is a barrier. Subtitles and videos that focus on engaging visuals improve results. Focus on visuals that hook the viewer in the first few seconds.

15. Measure your video content success in 3 ways

A. Keep track of the time and resources needed to create a video. Video content success depends on how much it costs you to create each video. B. Define platform specific engagement metrics. C. Always have a conversion point. This can just be sharing your video or making it to the next video in a series. Or it can be a traditional lead gen or sales conversion.

]]> 3 Fri, 04 Mar 2016 11:17:10 +0000

Many companies agree: it’s not easy to hug your haters. But doing so makes business sense.

Businesses that answer every complaint, in every channel, every time are businesses that consistently exceed customer expectations. They create advocacy gains that translate into real revenue.

You don‘t have to hug haters faster, you have to hug them across more platforms. This is especially true in the “onstage” (public and social) venues where companies often refuse to participate.

With the help of Edison Research, I asked over 2,000 individuals, who had complained to a business in the prior 12 months, whether they expected a response when they complained, and if they did expect one, how quickly they anticipated the business to reply.

Our findings form the basis of The Hatrix: the expectation and corresponding advocacy impact for onstage and offstage haters. (The Hatrix is available as a free, downloadable poster – take a moment to grab it now, and keep The Hatrix in your office to remind you of these key points).

Do haters expect a response?

Just as onstage and offstage haters differ in their use of technology, they also diverge in their expectation of a response. When customers complain in a direct, offstage manner such as telephone or email, they anticipate that businesses will reply. Specifically, when complaints are made by telephone, customers expect a response 91 percent of the time.

Email expectations are virtually identical; 89 percent of complainers who use that channel first anticipate a reply.
Our research shows that, 84 percent of phone complainers and 78 percent of email complainers actually received a response.
The expectations for response among onstage haters is far different, however.

When complaining in social media, customers expect a response just 42 percent of the time, and 40 percent receive one. When complaining on a review site like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Amazon or similar, 53 percent of those onstage haters expect businesses to reply, and 53 percent of the time a reply is received.
In discussion boards and forums, 47 percent of complainers expect a reply and their complaints are addressed 49 percent of the time.

Businesses must manage expectations better

Remarkably, the legacy, offstage channels are where companies are failing to meet the desires of today‘s customers. How much goodwill is being squandered with the 11 percent gap between expectation and reality in the email channel?

There are significant differences between offstage haters who want a reply and an answer, and onstage haters who often want an audience, and don‘t even expect a reply half the time.


How Fast Do Haters Expect a Response?

When I first designed this study with Edison Research, I anticipated a far different set of findings. I fully expected to discover that in today‘s hyper-speed world, speed of response would have the greatest impact on customer advocacy; that being fast would be the currency of satisfaction. But it‘s not entirely true, at least not yet.

Speed of response has an impact on overall customer satisfaction, and the willingness of haters to embrace your business, post-complaint. But the impact isn‘t massive. This is partially because when complaints are addressed, companies are doing a satisfactory job at answering them without delay. The problem is that many complaints are never answered.

If you want to retain customers with great customer service and customer experience, it‘s not just about being fast, it‘s about being everywhere.

Sixty-seven percent of haters who complain by telephone are satisfied with response time, and 75 percent of today‘s telephone complaints are handled by business within 24 hours.

Email doesn‘t fare as well, with 61 percent of haters satisfied with response time on that channel. This is perhaps because just 52 percent of email complaints are addressed within 24 hours.

Onstage haters are different

Onstage haters’ expectations for speedy response are quite different. Just 32 percent of social media complainers are happy with how fast businesses respond in that channel. This is despite the fact that 63 percent of social media complaints that are addressed are handled within 24 hours. That‘s not fast enough.

Today, 39 percent of social media complainers expect a reply within 60 minutes, yet the average response time from business is 4.9 hours. Closing that expectation gap is a major element of the Hug Your Haters success formula.

Haters who complained on Twitter are the most satisfied with response time. Eighty-eight percent of complainers who received a reply there are happy with the speed of that reply. This may be because many businesses in the United States and around the world have come to view Twitter as a primary customer service vehicle, and have assigned significant resources to the channel accordingly.

But according to our study, this Twitter-centric model of social media customer service may be misplaced. 71 percent of all social media complaints in the United States are logged on Facebook, with Twitter a distant second at 17 percent. Google + represents six percent of complaints, and Instagram, another five percent.

Certainly, Facebook has far more users than Twitter, which may partially explain a difference in usage. But many customers also take to Facebook to sound off in ways that may not be directly actionable or solvable. Often, Facebook complaints are structured, negative feedback more than they are cries for help. These are viewed as “complaints” by consumers, but may not be viewed as such by businesses.

This discrepancy may cause companies to misjudge the scope and scale of customer service opportunities. They seem to favor Twitter, where the overall participation may be lower, but the use of the venue as a direct customer service channel is more obvious.

Being fast is not the currency of satisfaction, but you must respond in less than 24 hours. To create customer advocacy that translates into real revenue, companies must set up a system to exceed expectations.

hyh-book-1Drawn from Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers, about which Guy Kawasaki says: “This is a landmark book in the history of customer service.”

Written by Jay Baer, Hug Your Haters is the first customer service and customer experience book written for the modern, mobile era and is based on proprietary research and more than 70 exclusive interviews.

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In 2014, we passed the mobile tipping point. There are now more people who own a mobile device in the world than a desktop computer. And that gap is growing fast.

Americans spend more than 60% of their online time on a mobile device today (Comscore 2015). These numbers are important for your business.

Last week I was in Barcelona, Spain for Mobile World Congress (MWC), the largest event of it’s kind. IBM invited me to the conference to talk about mobile innovation, #IBMMobile, and how businesses are coping with an increasingly mobile first world.

Everyone who is anyone in mobile was there, from hardware and software companies to the top innovators of app design.

More and more of your business is being done on mobile. The way you communicate with your audience. The way your audience finds you. The way they use your product or service. The way they buy it.

The more people I talked to in Barcelona, the more I realized these innovations are making your business better. But there is still a lot we can all improve.

Are you ready for the NEXT big mobile trend?

The mobile tipping point was just the beginning. Your audience wants easy, convenient access to your business.

In fact, one rapidly growing audience is the newly “mobile only” consumer. 1 in 5 millennials no longer uses a desktop device to access the internet. They are mobile only.

The one thing I saw over and over at MWC, is that most businesses are nowhere close to being ready for that.

When your customer cannot get the same content or service through mobile that they get through desktop or as easily as they do on a desktop device, they get frustrated. This hurts your relationship with them.

Here’s my challenge for you. Review all the major mobile touch points you have with your audience.

The Mobile Only Checklist

This list is a starting point. Your specific digital presence is unique and your business is unique. But ask yourself these questions to help gauge where you stand today:

  1. Website: Is your main website mobile responsive?
  2. Email: Are your marketing and product emails easy to ready on mobile?
  3. Social: Does your social media strategy work for the mobile only consumer?
  4. Customer Service: Can your customer service process be easily managed on mobile?
  5. Lead Gen: Do your email lead gen forms work well on mobile?
  6. Shopping: Is your sales and checkout process easy to complete on mobile?
  7. Product: Can your customers access your product or service easily through mobile?
  8. Process: Can your employees do their jobs just as well (if not better) from mobile?

Most businesses do better on the items at the top of this list, with a few details missing here and there. As you go down the list, bigger holes emerge. It is still very difficult, for instance, to fill out many lead gen forms and complete a lot of shopping cart checkouts through a mobile device. Number 8, your employee process, is an especially difficult challenge.

As you move down the list, the benefit tends to increase as well.

At the MWC conference, I saw a demo from IBM on how they helped outfit repair specialists for Coca-Cola  with an app that makes their daily repairs much more efficient, saving them time and headache. On a basic level, this increases the happiness and success of your employees. And, equally important, it saves the company money in a significant way.

Think Loyalty

Most of the items on this checklist are a huge customer service and loyalty opportunity.

If your business can create a better mobile eco-system today, especially compared to your competitors, your customer will reward you.

Let’s call this the Dominos effect. Dominos has been ahead of their competitors for a while now with online ordering and more recently their app ordering experience. It is such a well designed experience for their customers, that they have seen huge sales increases from loyal app order customers.

I think this is easier for businesses that have a service element to their business. I think about the great experience I have when using smartphone apps from companies like Etrade, Hilton, JetBlue and others.

I’m more likely to do business with these companies because of how easy their mobile experiences are.

BONUS: Look for the holes in your mobile presence

One of the most annoying mobile experiences I see consistently is logging onto a wifi network at a hotel, conference center, airport, or restaurant. I’d wager that most of the people logging into hotel wifi today are doing it from a mobile device, and 99% of these landing pages are not setup well for mobile.

This is an examples of a small detail that slips through the cracks. If you take on the challenge of trying to interact with your business exclusively on mobile for a day or a week, you will find more of these.

This may seem like one small pain point for your customer, but it is one they will remember.

I took a small poll on Facebook to see what bad experiences others  have when trying to interact with businesses online and here were some of the more common responses:

  • Long load times: Internet speed is often slower on mobile. Consider reducing the amount of javascript and heavy tracking codes that could be slowing down your website on mobile.
  • Issues with video: Video is increasingly important for your business. But on mobile, video presents many problems. Load time, autoplay vides that interrupt a mobile screen by taking it over, long pre-roll video ads that mobile users hate, switching between a video and a browser page, etc.
  • Linking to apps: Whether someone wants to share your content on Twitter and Facebook, or click out from one of your links into an app, it is becoming more and more common to go from your website, email and social content directly to an app. But this experience is not always very fun if a business has not given it special attention.
  • Bad mobile UI: Many forms and pages where mobile users have to input information are painful on a mobile device. From a simple contact form or lead gen email field to pop-up promotions that take up the whole mobile screen, these experience can kill your customer interactions and conversions.

Fixing mobile pain points are usually things we will get to later. As more of your audience spends time with your business on mobile, “later” is quickly becoming today.

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Source: Social Fresh