Tag Archives: advertising

Social Media Strategy Optimisation Intensive Workshop Session 1

After receiving the highest rating for content and delivery of any presenter for this subject by Pacific Conferences I decided that it might be good to share some of presentation and and what I learned from the participants. I will start with a Case Study and then share two discussion points. The blog is based on this slide presentation:

http://www.slideshare.net/PRDA/social-media-in-2015-and-beyond-prda-douglas-white-july-2015

Organic reach is decreasing as changes to algorithms that determine what is seen in your newsfeed is adjusted to “advertise” the social media business model. Therefore, it is critical for success to fully leverage the most out of our social media strategy and the tools available. Approximately 9 out of every 10 companies that ask me to measure their social performance score below 20% effectiveness. With salaries of skilled employees rising along with advertising rates, more companies are starting to ask the right question: Where has the other 80% effectiveness gone?

Case Study: Star Trek

The original series was delivered by Desilu Studios to NBC from 1966 – 1969. At that time TV was using demographic tracking and market share to measure success. Despite high quality demographics, it lacked market share and so was cut. In syndication it continued to be driven by loyal demographically targeted fans and is still a major hit 40 years later.
star trek combined small.

Morale to the story is to focus on your correct demographic and deliver quality content and they will deliver ROI!

Discussion Point 1:

Communications is changing less than it appears. Even though it seems that there has been a dramatic shift in the way we communicate it has really changed little. It is more that the bits have shifted about than the fundamentals have changed. We used to read on paper and talk over the phone and share stories at cocktail parties. Now we read our news online, talk using messaging apps and share our stories on social media. What decided what originally made it to print, phone or cocktail party are still the same factors that drive online, messaging apps and social media. The only way to get talked about is to either pay for it or earn it. To earn it you need to popular, trustworthy, scandalous or another factor that basically involves getting sufficient enough interest from others to get tongues wagging. And depending on how you managed this you ended up on the Washington Post/ Huffington Post, Phone/ Whatsapp or cocktail parties and social media.

Morale of the story is that the fundamentals of communication remain constant. Technology shifts how we use and execute communications, but when approaching a new app, don’t look at it is was completely foreign. Remember the basics and learn the enhancements. It is easier to move forward with confidence if you don’t forget where you have been.

Discussion Point 2:

Effective communications is not a matter of either quantity or quality (usually interpreted as creative). PRDA has conducted research for the better part of a decade and found what determines how well received a brand’s content is depends more about science and process than either quantity or quality (creative). As algorithms become more refined to better process the trillions of posts made daily on social media it is necessary for social media applications and those that look to source and share content to use more refined search techniques. Example: a few years back if you posted a picture of a cat the algorithm that chose what would appear in your news feed let most everyone see it. But now that we all have 1000+ Friends and Page Likes on several apps with businesses posting 1000’s of posts a day that in February of 2014 it was estimated that there were 3.8 million cat pictures posted each day. Clearly the algorithms can’t put 3.8 million pictures of cats in your news feed each day. The algorithms became more sophisticated taking in to account other Social Media Optimisation factors such as keywords, length of message, quality of image, performance of person posting, engagement levels, time of day and more.

Morale to the story is that to be successfully seen in Organic results (real people) quality needs to be interpreted beyond creative to include Social Media Optimization (SMO). By using this strategy you can publish more messages across more platforms and achieve greater engagement and with further refinement by monitoring results data you can start to achieve customer segmentation and much more.

Much success,

Doug

The real and dangerous consequences; Has Calvin Klein gone too far?

calvin-klein-brooke-shields

Calvin Klein (CK) has always built their campaigns around positive moments in our sexual cultural history and exploited them in the most negative of ways. But with rising HIV rates is it correct to promote high risk sexual behaviour? CK’s proven formula is simple but effective. Take a point in cultural history that can be supported and then twisted into something scandalous and usually sexual and plead naive innocence. There has been one exception when CK forgot to start with a culturally relevant premise. CK  used underage models scantily clothed and in highly erotic poses then realized their was no “naive” statement they could fall back too; “Oops you mean pedophilia is bad? We didn’t know.” Just didn’t cut it . But others of more lasting fame followed the same pattern of “We are just simple people making some nice pictures . . . ” This latest “same sex” campaign follows this pattern and I will explain later why it is most dangerous but first a little history.

In 1980 Brooke Shields was a very big film star and at age 15 she appeared in what seemed like an innocent enough ad for Calvin Klein jeans (see photo) but the tag line set the world ablaze. “Nothing gets between me and my Calvin’s”.  CK’s response was, more or less, “she appears on screen with less on so what exactly is wrong with the pictures?” True enough, but having Brooke tell the world that someone would, or would not get in her pants may have been naive for a 15 year old child, but was very well understood by the adult who wrote the line.

This was followed a few years later by Marky Mark’s (who at the time was a Pop star looking to move into movies as Mark Wahlberg) underwear ads which featured fresh faced Marky Mark in one of the first male underwear ads. It was again just innocent, but the effect was full on. The gay world could not buy enough boxer briefs and if it was left at that it would have been fine. However, Marky Mark (Mark Wahlberg) at the time was strongly homophobic and that created, again, huge media scandal. Mr. Wahlberg went on record for using the “F” word in a response to a congratulations letter for his success from Elton John. Again we can say that at his young age Mark was naive, but the creators of the campaign new exactly the response to expect.

We now move to the latest campaign by CK where they are featuring the first same-sex advertisement ever. This seems like a very tame premise considering we have been witness to years of CK ads seeing gender blending in so many ways. I guess those were just orgies which is more pedestrian than the more progressive same sex ads they are now featuring. But again an innocent pretext with an scandalous hook. (Video) we see that it has little to do with same-sex rights making history and more about anonymous sex and hook up apps. As a gay man I have no issue with anonymous sex in fact I am on record as saying it is how we say hello. My issue is that under the thin veil of supporting same sex rights is the much more troubling consequence of HIV rates rising at a terrifying rate and the many other issues that come from high risk behaviour.

If CK is going to use this premise they should take responsibility and acknowledge early all that goes with it. The health, physical and emotional risks that come with random anonymous sex. This is no longer about mental imagery that comes from Brooke’s jeans or Marky’s boxer briefs. This is encouraging real world high risk behaviour and that has very real and immediate consequences. And as I stated in the beginning, whereas Brooke and Marky and myself at the time where too young to fully “get it” the creators of the campaigns understand very well, and now I am old enough to care.

Much success,

Doug

Slaying the Giant: How to Beat Facebook’s Algorithm

D and G

Facebook has done it again. Two months ago they stated that they would cut off Organic Reach for business pages. Then last month they announced that Facebook would change on March 12, 2015 the way Likes, Comments and Shares were tracked and that there would be less of them. It is unclear how you can count a physical action and come up with two different answers, but apparently Facebook can and they decided the number is going to be less. But never fear there are always opportunities for smart people that are willing to do the work. Facebook wants us all to take the easy route, the paid advert route, but that is a slippery slope with no possible chance of return.

Defying gravity:

March 12 the big Doomsday for Likes, Comments and Shares which are the primary factor that influences Reach came and went with little fanfare or scary happenings. In fact a local client of PRDA showed significant gains before and after, actually defying what was assumed to be the inevitable

Post Reach

EA FB  Post Reach March 2015

Total Reach

EA FB Total Reach March 2015

So how do you accomplish this?

Social media has become more science than social over the years and this has never been truer than now. To filter through the enormous amount of content the algorithms in social apps are becoming ever more complex to select what you might like to see best. There is also the issue of money and the increasing focus on paid advertising for revenue. Between these two forces it is almost impossible to achieve good views anymore.

But it can be done!!

SEO tricks of keyword optimisation, formatting and proper publishing at the right time of day can trigger the algorithms. PRDA works hard to determine what these triggers are and how to make them work for our clients. But if you are not an expert at SEO and social message optimisation then I recommend using advertising in a limited way. Putting small amounts of money behind a variety of your posts will help you achieve your reach goals and it will start to tell you what performs the best. Here is an example:

This client had a reach of 100 or less for each post. This was disappointing as it has 100,000 Fans. Something was not right. We started writing a range of different message and image combinations and put a small advertising budget behind them. Four different posts US$1.50 per day and this is what we achieved.

With an amount of about US$0.80 per day and optimised messages we increased the reach to 18,000 with the majority coming from Organic. The combination of good Organic methods and a small money boost made it shoot up. Facebook liked the fact we spend money, their algorithm like the content and between the two we got huge bonus value.

CND organic and paid reach FB post March 2015

Summary:

Over dependence on any one strategy is not always good. Trying to beat the system by tricking algorithms is time consuming and risky if you are not experienced. Sticking to paid advertising is a one way path to endless payments. Try balancing strategies to see if the sum of the parts is greater than the whole.

Much success,

Doug

http://www.PRDA.Asia

PRDA Asia

http://www.PRDA.Asia is a leading social media management agency

Demographic targeting: Ditch your friends and kick out anyone that can’t pay the rent!

Fan quality has been a topic long avoided until now. Engagement rates plunging and advert rates skyrocketing and self proclaimed  “social media experts” clueless how to respond.

Doug's Blog Feb 10 Demographics

The second biggest request I get from new clients is “How do we fix this sh**!”. What they are referring to is the 10’s or 100’s of thousands of Fans that clog their social profile and deliver no results. With Engagement rates crashing and adverts cost skyrocketing it is now a big concern to have dead weight on profiles. There was a time that companies paid agencies big dollars to treat social media like it was a huge party with hosted bar and everyone was invited. Come to my page, drink big, play big, no worries. But now that the proverbial chickens are coming home to roost and the companies are being handed a bar tab that looks like the debt of a third world nation and the only people left at the party are the dregs. They’re not thinking “did I invite them?” they’re thinking “who the hell let them in!” and then it becomes WTF! time.

My dad used to tell me the best way to get out of trouble is not to get into trouble to start with. Well he and I were never good on taking advice, but the message still holds true. Here are several ways to look at demographics to make sure you are getting the right audience and then followed by a case example.

  • Do NOT invite your friends! Most people the first thing they do is invite everyone they know to Like their page. Do NOT do this! Your friends already know what you do they don’t need to be cutting into your limited Reach provided by Facebook, Twitter and other social sites. A message only gets seen by small % of your Fans, make sure it is Fans that really should see it. Besides friends are famous for saying things like “stop posting so much, I already know what you do and I am getting tired of seeing your messages”. What!? you are in business to make money, not entertain your friends. Get them off your page and go buy them beer and pizza instead.
  • Contests and Freebies are bad for your page. There are 2 kinds of people in the world. Those with no time and lots of money and those with no money and lots of time. Which do you want your customers to be? If you picked the first then you have already answered this question. If you have a big giveaway where anybody can have a chance to win by running around town taking Instagram photos, tagging them and posting to your Facebook page. Which kind of people do you think will participate the most? Yes, the second type. The first type “your choice” is motivated by quality content, good service, consistent posting. Go ahead and have a big promotional event on social media. It is great for brand building and launching events and products. Just don’t have people Like your page as part of it. Trust me you want them to flit away after because I guarantee when you offer then next free thing, they will return. No sense having them camped out on your page just waiting.
  • Know  your demographic, you may think you know your customer, but do you really? I find all too often that clients want to prejudge who is their target market. And as a starting point that is o.k. but without ongoing review of the data and continually looking for new avenues to existing customers or create new opportunities (growth hacking) you will not be making the most of your effort and money. Case study:

The graphs below represented different views of a Hong Kong Pub’s demographic. The top graph looks like a Pub might. Heavy on on males skewing upward toward a nice pint of lager.

TGT FB Demo Jan 2015

This second graph shows who saw the posts most and it is clear that the women are far more represented than the Fan demographics would suggest.

TGT FB Reached Jan 2015

The third graph show the Fans that engaged with the posts (Like, Comment or Share) and the women population still shows strong gains over men.

TGT FB Engaged Jan 2015

Lastly we see the most impressive. Checkins are the holy grail of Facebook and Women are champs.

TGT FB Checkins Dec 2014

Summary:

Quality of Fans is more important than ever. The cost of marketing makes targeting the correct demographic critical. Social media for business has never been about any Fan for any reason, unfortunately too many poorly skilled or unscrupulous “social media experts” managed to convince many it was. Now is the time to focus and this is a good thing. Your Fans/ customers deserve your attention and in return will reward you.

Much success,

Doug

Incubator 2.0: Social Cooperation for SME and Start up Marketing

A new way of doing business is here. Most don’t even recognise it yet, but they take part in it daily. It is collaborative or cooperative marketing. Whereas there is still flexibility in the definition, it is based on the  simple common sense ideas as strength in numbers and the sum of the parts are greater than the whole. But it is also based in sound results data which makes it undeniable.cooperate definition

Jeremiah Owyang (@JOwyang) has recently released some powerful financial data on the “collaborative” economy reaching back to 2002.  His definition is about technology that allows for efficient sharing of services such as UBER and AirBNB. This definition has popularity as it is the basis for most current start up models.

Small Business Saturday takes social cooperation to the streets. Started by American Express to coordinate marketing efforts of SME’s to promote sales for the Saturday following Thanksgiving in the U.S., it has proven hugely successful. As reported in an article by CNN in 2012 SME’s reported that Black Friday and Cyber Monday had little effect on their sales, but the coordinated marketing effort for Small Business Saturday delivered US$5.5 billion in sales for the day. Note Black Friday, which favours large retail outlets, saw only US$1 billion in sales in 2012.

Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk) is developing the extended incubator. Having seen the success of other incubators such as Y-Combinator has envisioned extending beyond development to product launch. In the incubator model, resources and knowledge are brought together to provide a heightened environment for success. However, there does not exist an “incubator” for after the product is developed. How do you go from not known to a necessity?

In these three examples I touched on three key points of Incubator 2.0 or as I like to call it the Social Media Cooperative. And the there is the fourth which differentiates  from the common aggregator model which collects and lists businesses under a single brand (e.g. Uber, Expedia, Yelp). The key points are:

  • Having a platform and interface that allows SME’s to join, contribute and participate
  • SME’s power the world, they generate more revenue and employ more people than the multinationals could even dream about. SME’s ROCK!
  • There needs to be an effective model where SME”s can tap into an existing collective of resources and knowledge
  • Rather than aggregate the model needs to propagate

Unlocking the secrets of social media:

Fundamental to all social media and including search is Like, Comment and Share. The more you do, the better the results. This model suggests that instead of creating an app that aggregates businesses such as Groupon mobile app which may have 100,000 businesses represented, we advocate establishing digital footprints for each brand. This would mean 100,000 Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, Instagram streams, Blogs etc. and the good search that results from this optimised content. But more importantly you have 100,000 healthy communities built of Fans/ customers that have joined these brands because they chose to. Consider this, which do you think is more valuable to a business for ROI?

  • Having 10,000 Fans on your page that chose to be there and are actively engaged
  • Paying Facebook to push your ad to 10,000 random people

Next Step:

Now that we have these 100,000 businesses how do we get it to work? Technology and expertise play a large role. Social media is all about understanding algorithms and online consumer behaviour. By leveraging knowledge of these along with a proven process and a technology backend driven by a crowdsourcing model, science becomes magic. By effectively posting on these 100,000 businesses profiles using optimised content and then systematically cross promoting through Share, Like and Comment we have proven to increase Organic reach by 20 times! And in addition to an increase in organic reach, each brand that cross promotes using Likes, Comments and Shares gets exposed to a new and wider range of Fans/ customers. This works the same way as when we share a post from a friend and in doing so all our friends get to see this post and they also get to see who it originally came from.

Cooperation:

This can only work with cooperation. SME’s must recognise the value in sharing promotion. What we have found odd is that a brand will not hesitate having their advertisement on the same website, newspaper page or bus stop as other businesses, but they hesitate when asked to cross promote. This is where successful activities like Small Business Saturday are proving that by sharing and cooperating a business does not jeopardise their brand and market share, but in fact, increases it.

Better understanding:

The technology and process is too detailed to go into here. PRDA has been proving this concept for 6 years and it has remained successful despite changes to algorithms or popular apps. Fundamentals change more slowly and the concept of cooperation being good for outcome likely to not change anytime soon.

Immediate benefits:

  • Access to a large pool of engaged Fans/ customers through shared communities
  • Highly effective organic results and search through optimised content
  • Efficiency of process, technology and scale:
    • Reduced cost
    • Increased performance
    • Reduced risk
    • Increased services
  • Big Data

 

Much success,

Doug

PRDA Asia

http://www.PRDA.Asia is a leading social media management agency

When Fishing for Fans remember the post is the bait, NOT the whole meal

This is Facebook Advertising 3! We have covered simple steps on how to maximize your budget for success and how to use the many options available to accurately target your messages. Now that you have mastered that, it is time to start creating the best advert posts possible.

You are going to need an image and a message and here is the easiest way to get them.  Go to Facebook Insights and select the posts that performed best for organic engagement. On Facebook Insights using the “posts” it becomes clear which posts performed best. Hint: they have the bigger lines! it is important to note that if you do use paid promotion the “Reach” line will show as a combination of light and dark orange. The dark orange is the paid result. It should be ignored for this exercise. By clicking on the header row you can sort by column giving different views of the information. Fun to play with but not necessary. You only need posts from the most recent period. As you can see the last post in this example performed much better than the others – pick that one. You don’t need to worry about it already have been posted as by promoting it will be offered to a new audience of people. However, you should take care about promoting posts for events that have passed.

Don’t use Boost Post! You already know that! Use the advert manager!

Facebook top performing posts nov 2014

Now that you have found the best performing postthe next question that comes to your mind is, “Why is the best performing post”? I can share some techniques to improve post performance, but others I can not. Much of what you view in social media is controlled by elaborate programs called Algorithms that select certain posts to appear more frequently than others. However, since these algorithms are written and maintained by the app owner, we do not know exactly how they work. But we can make some assumptions and watch performance. Here are some easy to manage variables to increase post performance.

Content type – posts seldom have one type of content. It is usually a mix of image or video, text and links that create a post

  • Text – Keep it short. Latest statistics show that messages about 70 characters work best. People DO NOT READ, they scan. High value keyword and critical details are all you use.
  • Link – all links that are left in the post should be shortened and, unless with a good reason, direct to your website or other sale point.
  • Images – For Facebook use 1 big, shape is horizontal or square. If you are still using portrait format like flyers or leaflets, STOP IT! Never post a flyer. If you want to post a flyer first create a Facebook Note and post it there and then post to your timeline.
  • Video – Video in place of image? Performance is different with more plays and shares than images. ALWAYS upload the video. Just adding the link diminishes appearance and greatly decreases the effectiveness of the video. Images get the most likes and comments.

Doug's Blog compare video

Summary:

The biggest requirement for creating effective posts is restraint. Force yourself to write short succinct messages, use only on image and make sure you have include the correct link and it looks nice — shorten it!

There are many more tips I can share with you, but these will get you going in the right direction. Remember your post is the bait on the hook, not the whole meal!


Much success,

Doug

http://www.PRDA.Asia

PRDA Asia

http://www.PRDA.Asia is a leading social media management agency

Success in China starts in Hong Kong

I hope this blog will serve as a guideline for businesses thinking of entering Hong Kong and China. I am taking note of some significant events that have transpired recently in Hong Kong and China with regard to my understanding of business and how this experience will guide my future decisions. This blog is not political, but it is a learning essay based on the political actions in Hong Kong recently which did much to create my best understanding to date of business in Hong Kong and China.

cash-cow

Two significant events have happened in the last month. The first is the Occupy Central and the other is a conference on the future of business in China held in Shanghai which I was a speaker. I will present my views by detailing what the experience was like in Hong Kong and Shanghai during these events.

Hong Kong during Occupy Central was inconvenienced slightly. My flat is so close to Central that  if it had faced East rather than North I might have been able to see the happening from my front window. Nothing in Hong Kong shut down and despite what I saw in the overseas press other than an inconvenience to get to Central little changed. The protests were peaceful and contained and for us that live in Hong Kong and know it to be the most walkable city nothing was really effected. Those that were troubled depended on motorized travel (tour buses, private cars and delivery trucks) into Central and with all the public transportation and walkability it has long been questioned why cars even need to be allowed in Central. Aside from the unfortunate actions by the Hong Kong police, the worse that happened was the air was cleaner.

 

China during Occupy Central and the trip to Shanghai was much different. My agency manages social media in China for a number of companies. During the Occupy Central so many restrictions were put in place in China such as aggressive censorship, shutting down of business and personal profiles on social sites, disrupting internet and VPN channels, banning Instagram (note Instagram was the first non-China app to have a native interface to both Facebook and Sina Weibo which was revolutionary. That is now gone). This along with the Golden Week holiday crippled the ability in China to conduct normal business for social media and digital agencies. We had to move our operation to Hong Kong and support our China work solely from Hong Kong because, even though the “trouble” was in Hong Kong a small city of 7 million, it was unphased and the the giant nation of 1.3 billion was brought to its knees. The conference in Shanghai started with a series of speakers that were or are currently significant in the Central Party planning for business development, SoE’s and financial reforms. What they said shocked me. I was not expecting such bold statements criticizing China. But what they said explained a lot and sadly confirmed some of my prejudices based on my experiences of business in China. The three speakers described a sense of chaos where decisions are arbitrary, rules and guidelines non-existent and the atmosphere of frustration, confusion and unwillingness to make mistakes in the absence of guidance common. One example summed it up well. He stated that the current crackdown on corruption was hurting business in China. This was because government officials do not have guidelines to manage tenders or allocation of resources and funds. In the absence of guidelines, bribes were the most efficient method of managing decisions. Take that one method away without a replacement and things go tits up fast.

Summary:

The takeaway from  these recent experiences are several. Basically it is now and always has been unclear on the benefits of doing business in China. What was not discussed in this blog was the high cost of doing business and that most Western companies, though showing great results, fail to turn an adequate profit. Also is the issue of work environment. During my stay in Shanghai I did not leave the hotel because the pollution was so bad and coming from and going to the airport I witnessed 4 car wrecks. Additionally employees lack adequate international exposure to be effective in dealings outside China and the concept of customer service is almost non-existent. From Hong Kong I have always been able to deliver a better, more stable and less expensive solution to China than I ever could from within China. So when thinking about doing business in China because it is a “cash cow”, maybe you might want to consider that it is not necessary to sleep with the cow. Hong Kong is what China can never be, an oasis of order and stability with full access to the cow.

Much success,

Doug