TargetInternet.com aims to provide practical and easy to understand information on using Digital Marketing for businesses of all sizes. You’ll find a mix of blog posts and articles, the digital marketing podcast and audio training, video and more interactive e-learning all on the topic of digital marketing presented by Digital Marketing trainer Daniel Rowles.
Author Archive: Target Internet
Target Internet | January 15, 2013
For many brands, Facebook and Twitter are viewed as another platform for broadcasting corporate messages and rarely are they linked to any strategic goals or objectives.
I often hear brands declare they want to create a Facebook account or get their brand on Twitter, but very few can say why and what they hope to achieve with it. Inevitably many attempts result in failure or very low level rewards and it’s the platforms that are written off as a waste of time for the brand.
For most brands, social media is something they can chose to engage with or chose to abstain from. But the truth is your brand is already being talked about, you’re just not yet part of the conversation.
Understanding how social platforms work and how to get the best out of them is crucial to deciding if it’s worthwhile investing your time and resources. But what is also key is understanding the difference between them and have separate strategies for each one. Facebook and Twitter in particular tend to end up lumped together and are used in similar ways, you’ll often hear Twitter being referred to as Facebook Lite when in fact the two offer very different opportunities for engagement and insight for your brand.
While social media is supported by technology, thinking about them as technologies may mean brands end up missing the point. Social media is about people, a collection of individuals and as in ‘real life’ you need to be mindful of what those individuals want from you. Even brand pages are managed by individuals and they will engage with you if they like what you have to say.
Motivations for engagement
How individuals connect on Facebook is very different to Twitter. Facebook is all about relationships, I share with my family and friends and they share with me. It’s all about connections on Facebook and interconnecting behaviours. We share our lives, or how we’d like others to see them, within our social circle.
Twitter is about shared interests, I share my interests with my followers and I follow people who share things that interest me. Twitter provides a tool for amplification, one tweet can reach many people absent of any social connection as long as the post is of interest.
Immediate vs long term reach
With sharing tools such as TweetDeck, it’s tempting to share your posts with many profiles at once, believing that your Facebook fans will be just as interested as your Twitter followers. But as we have already identified the motivations for engagement are distinct, so will be the level of interest between the two groups.
Facebook followers engage with your brand on an emotional level. They can find your content fun, interesting, it can solve a problem, answer a question or just provide some light relief. When I consider my own social media profiles, there are very few brands or individuals whom cut across both networks. And, those that do, share very different information across the two platforms. When I visit a Facebook profile I’m much more likely to be browsing for good content, it could be videos of my favourite band, a lit of tour dates, a campaign that inspires me or links to articles I’m keen to read.
The images below shows the amount of time spent on social media platforms per user per month with Facebook taking up 4 times as much user time as Twitter.
While some of this exists on Twitter, it’s easy to miss a lot of what’s said because it’s so fast paced. What Twitter is great for is its ability to share and amplify ideas, you never know who is going interact with you and what their response is going to be. And the conversation moves far quicker than most of us can keep up with.
When you post something on Facebook it can remain a fixture for quite a while and can be reposted and promoted at key points. The comments remain fixed and it all works to build a resource of long term engaging content that you can continue to draw on.
When you post to Twitter, the response can be immediate and then can vanish just as quickly. But on the flip side, you can find success even if you haven’t developed a huge fan base yet. Your reach can be small while the effects can be significant.
Quality vs quantity
While all of your content should be of a good quality, your Facebook users will demand more of you than your Twitter followers. As most Facebook users don’t like to clutter up their news feeds with uninteresting content, you have to put in more effort to gain new Likes either on your page or your content. Users will very quickly unlike your page if they are being bombarded with content that doesn’t match their interests to a good level. For users to share your content, their interest in each piece of content needs to be significant.
With Twitter, much of what is shared or retweeted only needs to be of reasonable interest and can cover both personal and professional life. As much of what we share goes by so fast, we feel more comfortable sharing large quantities of information with our followers and so the relevance doesn’t need to be as high.
Twitter users are information seekers and is the platform most used by the press for breaking news. Facebook users want to be engaged, entertained or inspired not broadcast to.
Conversation vs Interaction
Building conversations on Facebook is one of its key selling points. Once you have engaged fans with your content you can continue to talk to them, gaining invaluable insight into their expectations from your brand. You can use Facebook to support your customer service performance, answering queries or complaints about your brand which otherwise might have gone unresolved. You can also add value to your product or service development process by getting feedback from your customers directly before you launch. For the most part you know who your audience is, while you hope many will share your content, as your fan base grows you can talk to them directly and build loyalty and advocacy for your brand.
Twitter on the other is more about interactions. With the limited characters it’s often difficult to hold a conversation with your followers so the number of interactions you have with your followers is the main indicator. How often your posts are retweeted, your brand is mentioned or follow ups are made is how your interactions are measured. It’s also a great tool for listening to how your brand is discussed online as you can find any mentions that go beyond your followers and fans, this gives you the ability to respond to comments where a user hasn’t directly contacted you.
This infographic gives some really good statistics about how Twitter is used and why people share content.
Cross platform marketing
While I don’t advocate sharing the same updates across both platforms, you can utilise Facebook and Twitter for cross platform marketing by directing customers to alternative profiles. Tweeting a link to a Facebook post is more than ok and is a great way to offer your followers more detailed information about your brand as well as a richer experience.
Facebook engagement is at its highest when fans can interact with rich media; videos and images gain a far better response rate than text only updates. Twitter often requires you to send the user away from the platform to view this type of content, so make sure it’s to another of your profiles if you can. And in the same way, Twitter is great for making announcements so suggest your Facebook fans also follow you on Twitter for specific campaign activity.
Understanding how your customers use these different tools and the types of content that suit the technology gives you a great starting point to build a tactical plan to engage with your audiences.
Each platform has its strengths and weaknesses so understanding how to make them work for your objectives will give your communications activity a much higher chance of success.
Written by Felice Ayling
Target Internet | January 9, 2013
Getting to grips with social media can be a daunting task if you’re unfamiliar and it’s easy to slip up if you don’t have a framework in place.
Developing your social media strategy doesn’t need to be taxing, and as a responsive medium there needs to be flexibility. Getting the basics right and having a plan in place will give you a great starting point from which to create fun, interesting and relevant content that will keep your audience coming back for more.
Know your audience
It’s easy to get carried away with a fun concept for your brand that may appear good on paper but fails to engage. Knowing your audience is your first step to creating a social media strategy that delivers. Take the time to study your followers, why do they follow you, who else do they follow, what content do they already engage with? Knowing what your audience expects from you and what will interest them gives you the steer you need to create content they will love.
Editor: This also helps avoid the “social media for the sake of it” approach. Know your audience, what social channels they use, what content they are interested in and keep on learning.
What’s your brand personality
Authenticity is key when using social media, if your content doesn’t reflect your audience’s expectations of your brand it will appear insincere. Make sure the tone of voice and type of content matches your brand values, or if you’re attempting to alter your brand perceptions, make sure all of your external communications is consistent with the new ‘voice’.
If you haven’t done so already, map out your brand personality before you start developing your strategy. It will keep your content consistent and strengthen your brand online.
Editor: This applies to B2B brands as well as quirky consumer brands. The personality will clearly be very different but thought leadership, fo example, needs a particular tone.
Skittles is a great example of a brand that knows their voice and their audience. A typical post on their Facebook page receives hundreds of comments. Most of the questions are fairly simple in nature but the brand understands their audience and what works for them.
Plan your content
Managing social media profiles can be time consuming especially if you’re just starting out so make the most of the resources available to you by developing a content plan. Take a look at what’s coming up across your organisation and utilise opportunities so that you’re not duplicating content. Plan activity around product launches, updates, public holidays etc and consider how you can make external trends relevant to your brand.
Using a planning tool such as a dedicated calendar or even just a spreadsheet will help you keep on track and within budget. This will be a great help if there is more than one person writing content as they will be able to plan time in advance. Being organised with your planned content means you’ll have a better handle on when to develop responsive content so you’re not constantly chasing your tail or delivering content driven by internal stakeholders.
Editor: And don’t underestimate ho much resource social media can require. Content planning, creation and moderation are all very time consuming and need resourcing appropriately.
Monitoring your content
Social media is a responsive engagement channel and as such you will need to be reviewing your profiles regularly so you can respond quickly to any queries or comments you receive. If you’re sharing good quality content then you will get feedback so make sure you keep the conversation going by responding as soon as possible and definitely within a couple of days even if it’s just a thank you. Never ignore comments, someone has taken the trouble to engage with you, make it worth their while by showing them they are important to you.
Keeping an eye on your engagement levels will give you insight into what’s working and what’s not and you can use this data to tweak and amend your content plan. You can plan regular review periods into your content plan and there are a variety of free and paid tools available to help you do this.
This post from Business2Community offers a quick comparison of a variety of tools voted for by marketers.
What happens when it goes wrong
Everyone gets negative feedback sometimes, don’t be afraid of it. Carefully managed responses can turn your biggest critic into a worthy advocate. Customers more and more are turning to social media to air their grievances, complain about poor service or a bad experience. Nobody is perfect so don’t worry about problems being aired publicly, it gives you a great opportunity to demonstrate how much you value your customers and the lengths you will go to to put things right.
If you know of a problem in advance, don’t brush it under the carpet. Social media can be a great tool for delivering customer service and information. Let people know there’s a problem and keep them updated, it will lessen the burden on your customer service team as you can answer common questions upfront. Lots of well known brands experience minor disasters, or major ones, Blackberry’s outage ring any bells? While customers weren’t happy, the biggest complaint was the lack of communication. Handled properly, even a crisis can be utilised to showcase your brand’s commitment to customer care.
A shining examples of great customer service has to be GoDaddy who were plunged into a PR nightmare when thousands of their customers’ websites went down. As well as trying to fix the problem, they kept customers up to date with the progress and offered credits as a good will gesture. Because they were so proactive, the lack of negative comments on their social media profiles is staggering given this must have caused their customers some real problems. Instead the comments looked more like this:
You can’t buy this kind of advocacy.
Editor: I’ll be following with a series of posts on Social Moderation, Social Policy and Social Measurement over the coming weeks.
Written be Felice Ayling
Target Internet | January 8, 2013
While we love to poke fun at those who get it wrong, it’s a lot more inspiring to take our lead from those who got it right. I’ve pulled together my top 5 success stories of 2012 who, for a variety of reasons, have stood out for me this year.
Editor: We’re always keen to hear about your successful campaigns and we may even feature them in the blog if they are of interest to our readers (We’ll even give you a link back to your site which is a great SEO benefit).
If you read my previous post ‘Top 10 #socialmediafails of 2012 you may be surprised to find the same company taking the top spot for success stories too. But I think McDonalds deserves the win, not just for launching a successful and well thought out campaign, but for not shying away after such an epic fail on their earlier attempt.
Bouncing back is always tough but McDonalds earned its stripes later in the year with their ‘Our Food. Your Questions’ campaign. Quite simply it was a way for the public to ask anything they liked and have it answered in an honest and frank way. The questions of course were many and varied and a lot were negative which was no different to the response to their #McDStories campaign. This time however, instead of opening the campaign up through social media, they created a very simple platform which allowed them a little more control and were able to respond in a structured way to each question.
This in itself is a well run piece of work and no doubt dispelled some myths about the company’s products and processes. But then McDonalds hit upon the genius idea of responding to some of the most popular questions with video content; shared through youtube most of the short films have been viewed by a staggering number of people. One video boasts viewing figures over of 7.5 million with many others in hot pursuit.
Using video has guaranteed a far larger audience than those currently reading responses on the website and the content will continue to be relevant for a long time. McDonalds has utilised social media in the campaign but in a much more engaging way, sharing their own responses, rich media content and encouraging users back to their forum thus avoiding the chaos it dealt with following their earlier efforts.
As far as marketing goes, I take my hat off to McDonalds for bouncing back and learning from their mistakes. Whether you’re a fan of them or not, social media wise it’s a great example.
As far as I’m concerned, this campaign is a stroke of genius and the kind of stunt most of us working in PR dream of coming up with (and being allowed to create).
Telenet is a Belgium provider of TV/Internet services and the campaign aimed to raise the profile of TNT, their drama channel.
The campaign involved erecting a large red button in the square of a local town with a sign inviting members of the public to ‘Push to add drama’. When the button was activated a live drama scene unfolded in front of the public audience with an ambulance roaring in, someone being knocked off a bike, a gun fight, kidnapping and a half naked woman randomly riding around on a motorbike.
The scene was loud, chaotic and elicited exactly the desired response from the audience. Clearly the intention was to create something a bit different that would go viral once online. And that’s exactly what it did. In its first day the video attracted over 4m views and the current count is almost 42m with nearly 2,000 comments on youtube.
What works is the element of surprise, the reactions from the crowd and the fact that its universal so has mass appeal far and beyond its target audience. I made me smile when I saw it and I think it’s a stroke of genius from Telenet.
There’s no doubt the Olympics dominated social media chatter throughout 2012 turning the world’s spotlight on the UK and heralding it as the first ever ‘Social Games’.
It’s easy to forget how recent our surge into digital media really is when you consider the lack of social media usage in the last games only 4 years ago.
But were the 2012 Olympics a social media success? They certainly were for the brands involved, with McDonalds, Coca Cola, Visa and Nike doing particularly well for brand engagement.
The opening ceremony saw the biggest peak in conversation with almost 3m mentions on Twitter. But then again the games are social media gold with almost every aspect offering great shareable content. Plenty of rich media, opportunities for fans to engage with their favourite Olympians and stats coming out of your ears. On the surface I’d agree with the majority that for the UK at least, the games were a social media success. But as these are the first games to involve the use of social media, it will be interesting to see how it compares with the next ones.
This particular confectioner came under some fire in pervious years for its off the wall campaigns and lack of social media engagement.
They finally seemed to have woken up to their social media failings and this year has made a real push to engage fans online through Facebook in particular. While they have used the page to promote specific products, the brand realised that although they have a large number of fans, only around 16% were actually engaging with its content.
As they had reached the 1m ‘Likes’ landmark, they decided to thank their supporters with a rather lovely video campaign that saw their engagement rates rise to over 30% and gained them an additional 40,000 fans.
Although the campaign was short term, it has kickstarted their engagement and gives them a great base from which to build future campaigns. It has also demonstrated the opportunities social media offers to those who were fairly skeptical.
Never one to shy away from pushing the boundaries with their stunts, this year saw Felix Baumgartner, a skydiving expert from Austria, freefall from over 128,000 ft above the earth falling at a rate of 833.9 mph and breaking the sound barrier.
The video of the stunt is amazing and terrifying and has been viewed by almost 3m users. The campaign had its own Facebook and Twitter profiles, a dedicated website and Felix and the team have been nominated for numerous awards.
This really is one for the record books and since the stunt took place, Red Bull has been valued at a staggering 5bn which is amazing when you consider its product.
Obviously this kind of success won’t be seen by everyone and is hard to replicate, but one thing they all have in common is coming up with something original that not only appeals to their audience but also fits with the product and embodies the personality of the brand.
Written be Felice Ayling
Target Internet | January 3, 2013
2012 saw many brands engaging with their audiences using social media for the first time. And, as with most communication channels, there are risks as well as opportunities which need to be kept in mind if you are to avoid some of the pitfalls experienced by this bunch. I’ve pulled together my favourite #socialmediafails from 2012, from the tactless to the downright idiotic. It just goes to show that big PR budgets and years of experience don’t always give you an advantage.
McDonalds comes out top of this year’s fails after it attempted to alter the perception of its brand by encouraging customers to share their stories using the hashtag #McDStories. No prizes for guessing how it went so wrong for them. Unfortunately for McDonalds, not enough thought went into this campaign before it launched, a little more and they quickly would have realised this hashtag would be immediately hijacked by the brand’s critics (of which there are many).
And that’s exactly what happened. From slamming individual outlets, the quality of the service and health implications of their products to the controversial environmental impact of their production process, McDonalds came under fire for all of it. If there were any positive stories generated from the campaign they were lost amongst the onslaught of negative public option. Once the stories died down, the hashtag is still going strong, although now it features in numerous links to articles discussing the disastrous campaign.
Earlier this year FemFresh launched a campaign which got them into trouble with not only women but health experts the world over. The campaign asked individuals to come up with a fun euphemism for their vaginas and sported the strapline for its feminine hygiene product ‘A woo-hoo for your froo-froo’. Needless to say it didn’t go down well.
At a time where feminist issues are at their height of awareness, anyone with access to google would have spotted this as a dangerous approach. However FemFresh compounded the issue and secured their rightful place in the top ten #socialmediafails by completely ignoring the backlash they received. Instead they decided the best thing to do would be to suspend their Facebook account and pretend nothing was happening. Obviously this did nothing to quiet the mob and they are still taking a beating.
Urban Outfitters has a reputation for being a bit controversial in their campaigns, but many felt they had gone too far when they tweeted during hurricane Sandy ‘This storm blows (but free shipping doesn’t)!’ Using natural disasters as a marketing tool is very risky and while UO weren’t the only ones, this was certainly one of the most tasteless.
You have to feel a bit sorry for KitchenAid for this one as many have fallen foul of posting tweets to the wrong account. For most, the offending item usually turns out to be something innocuous and is quickly deleted before anyone notices. However, every now and then a little gem turns up and for KitchenAid it couldn’t have been worse. During the presidential debate in October, Barack Obama made reference to his Grandmother who had passed away a few days before. Immediately after this, the following tweet went out from KitchenAid’s official Twitter account.
Not only did the tweet go out to all of KitchenAids’ substantial following, but the hashtag also made it part of NBC’s online conversation which is seen by millions. While it was deleted almost immediately, the damage was already done and a formal apology was issued by KitchenAid. The apology claimed the tweet was ‘carelessly sent in error by a member of our Twitter team who, needless to say, won’t be tweeting for us anymore.’ Someone is in trouble.
Ryanair’s approach to customer service has provided much amusement over the past few years so when a disgruntled customer took to social media in disgust following an encounter with the budget airline, the response was only ever going to go one way.
Suzy McLeod was a Ryanair passenger earlier this year and, upon arriving at the airport to board her flight, she realised she had forgotten to print off her family’s boarding passes as per the instructions. She mistakenly believed they would be printed off for her by a kind member of the team and so she was very surprised to be charged €300 by Ryanair for duplicates to be provided.
While it’s always a gamble to complain about a company enforcing rules they had previously made you aware of, many expect a level of customer service slightly above Ryanair’s base level offering. Mistakenly so in this case however as Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary responded to the complaint in his usual unapologetic style.
This, I feel, was a fail for Suzy McLeod rather than Ryanair.
Sometimes the little gems just come out of nowhere and Celeb Boutique gave us all that little cringy feeling when they unwittingly stumbled into a PR nightmare.
Following the Aurora cinema massacre in the US, UK based fashion site Celeb Boutique saw the term trending and mistakenly assumed it was down to an article they had posted referring to Kim Kardashian wearing an ‘Aurora inspired dress’.
The response was inevitable and Celeb Boutique were forced to issue an official apology stating it ‘was not aware of the situation in the USA at the time’. However, if anyone at the company had bothered to undertake even the most basic of search they would have found they were not the reason it was was trending and saved themselves a lot of aggravation and the widespread offense their tweet quite rightly caused.
This one is just borderline ridiculous and it’s still unclear as to whether this was a deliberate attempt to increase popularity but even if this is the case it’s worth a mention for entertainment value. To celebrate Susan Boyle’s new album, the management company used the following hashtag.
Yes it is juvenile and immature but still funny.
I know i’ve mentioned it before but Volkswagon must go down in history for the longest running #socialmediafail! What started out as an unwise New Year message to their followers on Facebook quickly turned into a hammering for the car giant’s lack of environmental consideration. And a quick check has shown that it is still going. After more than 12 months and over 2,200 comments, VW have still yet to respond.
I’ve included Waitrose as they have taken a bit of a beating from industry critics about their campaign earlier this year which asked customers to say why they like the store using the hashtag #waitrosereasons. However I don’t believe this one belongs in the hall of shame, and in fact I think the comments made by those who hijacked the campaign only served to reinforce the brand identity. Among the more comic #waitrosereasons were the stocking of unicorn food, and a dislike of being surrounded by poor people.
But can a high end brand ever be damaged by an onslaught of comments pertaining to its extreme ‘poshness’? Waitrose didn’t seem to think so and appeared very relaxed about the whole thing.
We can be very quick to judge the success of a campaign based on its assumed aims, but just because they didn’t get what they set out to doesn’t mean it wasn’t a massive success.
At the time of writing, this campaign is actually in the process of being hijacked. XBox have been asking people to describe their favourite experiences on gaming using the hashtag #xboxmoments. Given the gaming industry’s reputation for being misogynistic and hostile toward women (not all but enough to make it an issue), its no surprise that this is playing out in the responses.
Women are highlighting insults hurled at them for being female and are receiving non too flattering responses. Added to the usual trash talk you’d expect to go along with such a competitive world, i’m not sure what this camapign is doing for the reputation of XBox. I’ll be keeping an eye on this one over the next few hours but it could well find its way into the #socialmediafails hall of shame 2013!
Written by Felice Ayling
Target Internet | December 29, 2012
Daniel walks us through some of the recent exciting additions to Google Analytics that give you greater visibility on what visitors to your website are up to. We look at improvements to in page analytics, AB tests in analytics and Daniels favourite hangout in GA- Multi Channel Funnels. We also discuss the exciting attribution modeling feature which is gradually being moved from the premium version of GA into the free version and gives you far greater control over how you attribute credit to different digital channel campaigns. We also give a quick insight into up and coming shows so don’t miss this episode or you won’t know what you have to look forward to over the next couple of weeks!
How to get in Touch:
Target Internet | December 19, 2012
We are back after a short pause for breath in the late autumn and have squeezed in some recording time before Christmas to bring you some updates from our digital marketing world. Ciaran and Daniel climb back into their podcasting saddles with some more tips and tools for you. This time we focus on Analytic alternatives to Google’s offering, plus we look at some realtime and social analytics systems and take a look at some of the great website benchmarking tools available. Do make sure you try out the QR code driven Chrome experiments site ( and yes after playing with it ciaran did need to go have a lay down)
How to get in Touch:
Target Internet | December 18, 2012
As a self confessed Christmas addict, I thought i’d share some of my favourite Christmas websites and apps, some funny, some useful and some just downright amazing.
If you’ve yet to grab your tree this year check out the Forestry Commission site for a list of their sales centres. If you’re planning on a real tree, turn it into an experience with many centres offering extras like sleigh rides and the chance to select your tree from those growing in the forest. And as it’s Forestry Commission, you know it’s sustainable so more trees are planted for every one cut down.
Rather than sending a boring card to your friends, why not make them the star of their own video! This clever little app allows you to superimpose your friend’s faces onto a variety of dancing elves and then share the video with whoever you want. The effect is very amusing for all concerned.
An oldie but still a great site. Track Santa’s progress as he travels the world on Christmas Eve delivering presents to all the children (young and old!)
This one will amaze you. The clever people at Moving Brands have come up with a lovely approach to personalising their Christmas messages this year. They created 500 Joules which are 3D papercraft oranements, laser cut with a printed circuit using conductive ink. When the ornaments were assembled and hooked up to a tiny LED and battery the glow and are really quite beautiful. Unless you have all of these items at home it’s tricky to replicate but the tool on their website allows you to design your own to enter into the gallery or print and out assemble at home.
Boring but necessary. Royal Mail helpfully lets us know when the last posting days are to guarantee delivery before Christmas. Very helpful for people like me who leave everything to the last minute. To make it a little more fun though, they also have an app that allows you to create your own postage stamps.
The usual speculation about the chances of a white christmas have been rife for weeks now. But if you are still hoping for flakes on the 25th, the Met Office has a section regularly updated which gives you a prediction for snow as well as what officially classes as a white christmas (for all you betting people out there)
Hopefully most of us can work this out from this point without the need for an app, but this one is a personal favourite of mine. It counts down the number of sleeps, or the number of days, hours, minutes and seconds till the big day with the help of your choice of characters and a selection of Christmas songs. I usually start tracking it from the 1st September but for anyone extra keen, the countdown resets on Christmas day so you can begin tracking sleeps till Christmas 2013 right away.
Great for anyone stuck in the office over Christmas. The app has 17 different games and plays more than 25 different Christmas songs. Guaranteed to have you addicted. The app costs £1.49 but is worth every penny.
For those super savvy shoppers already planning your January sales hunt, the lovely people at myfamilyclub have compiled a list of the major High Street sales kick off dates. The page will be updated over the coming week to list all of the main retailers both online and off.
While few of us are thinking about being healthy over the Christmas period but nobody wants to get sick from an undercooked turkey or a nasty hangover. Milton Keynes NHS have put together a few little videos to help you stay healthy and of course there are links to pharmacy opening times and advice on which service to use if you’re feeling poorly.
From everyone at Target Internet we’d like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and thank you for all your support this year. We are gearing up for a very exciting 2013 so keep checking back for more updates.
Written by Felice Ayling
Target Internet | December 11, 2012
If you own a Facebook page then you’ll understand the need to drive ‘Likes’ on your page. It’s a quick and dirty way to get feedback on your brand and page content from your users. The more Likes you have, the more popular your page is right? Apparently not always, especially if you’re using Facebook’s own advertising to promote your page.
In a recent BBC article, one of their investigators set up a fake page, Virtual Bagel, and used Facebook’s targeted advertising programme to attract more than 1,600 Likes. However as the page did not contain any actual products or interesting content, this raised a huge question mark about whether using Facebook had been a complete waste of time and money.
Facebook hasn’t commented directly on this example but it released a post in August stating that it would be clamping down on pages that appeared to be gaining Likes through questionable means. This means it would remove Likes that it didn’t believe came from real people or brands. While it claimed that only 1% of Likes would be affected for the most part, some pages saw a massive drop overnight, Lady Gaga lost over 34,000 Likes while Texas Hold Em saw a drop of almost 100,000. Not exactly a small number even for pages with a large following.
So what does this mean for everyone else? First off, try tapping Facebook Likes into Google and you will be inundated with links to sites that offer thousands of Likes in exchange for a ‘small fee’. Herein lies part of the problem. Too many brands are utilising these kinds of offers to boost their pages and make them appear more popular. Facebook offers additional tools once you have reached specific levels of interest, and of course when searching for products or brands within Facebook, the number of Likes is viewed as a vote of confidence for new visitors.
But as we’ve seen with recent Google changes, buying in fans instead of earning them is a risky business and Facebook is fighting back against these dubious tactics. And it’s understandable given the amount of revenue Facebook receives from its advertising programme. If proved to be ineffective, this could be a huge blow for the company who have already seen a significant drop in share values since it went public earlier this year.
So what’s the answer? First off, get rid of the idea that Facebook Likes are the holy grail. Building true engagement with your audience is about more than just counting numbers, it’s about listening to your audience and delivering the content that makes them want to interact with your brand.
A recent survey conducted by Social Bakers lists the top 10 Facebook pages in the UK by both number of fans and engagement rates. Surprisingly (or perhaps not) those listed in the top 10 for fan numbers do not rank anywhere in the top 10 for engagement. So while they may have a lot of expressions of interest, those users aren’t necessarily coming back to the page past their initial visit or interacting with posted content.
If you have a Facebook account, one thing you can’t have failed to miss is the number of brands offering special offers or competitions for users that share specific posts. In principle this can be a good way to boost your profile and get people talking about your content. BUT it has to be relevant. Offering prizes that may be popular but aren’t relevant to your brand can boost numbers initially but these fans won’t necessarily be interested in building a relationship with you. And there’s always the danger that other users may find this tactic annoying when they see the same post being shared again and again in their news feeds.
Building engagement with your audience is a long game, it won’t happen overnight and it’s impossible to buy quality customers who will remain loyal and be advocates for your business. Investing time and energy into developing great content is the only way to build sustainability into your communication activity and Facebook’s recent crackdown shows they are serious about this too.
Just as Google knows that the power behind their bespoke advertising only comes from matching users with quality content, Facebook knows it can’t sell its products unless the results are worth paying for.
Take a look at some of our other articles for advice and tips about getting the most out of your Facebook page. Or better yet, subscribe to the online training programme and get access to the Facebook module which has a whole heap of useful information for you.
Written by Felice Ayling
Podcast aren’t the sexiest bit of digital marketing, but I’ve found them to massively effective in building an audience, awareness, driving website traffic and essentially being an importnat part of the sales process. In this post I’l show you how I’ve built my podcasts and go them into the top positions in the iTunes chart, the key place to build a podcast audience.
I started recording a podcast a number of years ago with no budget and no idea about podcasting. After much trial and error, the podcast became one of the world’s most popular digital marketing podcast (according to iTunes). Once I left the company I started my original podcast with, I went on to start the Digital Marketing Podcast, which is now a top 20 iTunes podcast worlwide.
So what made these Podcasts so successful and lead to so many thousands of downloads and subscribers? It boiled down to a few pretty simple things which I’ll outline for below.
Focus - we were very focused on what the podcast was supposed to achieve and its target audience. The idea is the podcast educates you on Digital Marketing in a practical and straight forward way. You can then go away and use this knowledge to either start doing some online marketing yourself or know enough to brief somebody else to do it for you.
Sound Quality – Something I quickly realised was that recording with high quality sound was essential. From my own listening experience I knew that I would very quickly stop listening to anything that was echoey, tinny or generally sounded cheaply and poorly recorded. The problem with this idea, is that creating good quality recorded audio is very difficult. Luckily I’ve been through the trial and error and pain of working out what works and what doesn’t. Firstly, it doesn’t need to be expensive. There are plenty of microphone that will do the job perfectly well, what’s actually important is the environment you record in.
I have sound proofed rooms with foam tiles, tried different mics, I have even recorded on the Isle of Wight with a towel over my head to stop echo (it’s a long story). What I have actually found to make all the difference are these 2 things:
1 – An audio reflector that sit just behind your mic and suck up all of the echo. This means you need to speak very close to your mic, but it will get you great audio in most terrible recording environments.
2 – a -5dB switch on my mic (you can often achieve the same from software settings). This meant that all of the background noise and most of the echo is filtered out. This switch has been the difference between the sound of recording in a big aircraft hangar and sounding like I’m in an audio booth.
Ideally you need a professional sound engineered room like an audio booth. Failing that get a reflector and a -5dB switch mic.
Audience - We had a clear image of who the target audience was and recorded things aimed at them. We wanted to speak to small business owners and marketing managers/directors that had responsibility for getting online marketing done within their business. We discuss issues I come across everyday as both a consultant and as a client and try to keep things practical.
Length - we never record an episode longer than about 40 mins, with 20 mins being the average. The logic is that people listen to the podcast when they are travelling, quite often commuting by car or train. Anything longer wouldn’t be convenient for the audience.
Style - The style is pretty relaxed and conversational. The co-host generally plays dumb on a topic (he knows most of the stuff we discuss already) and we have a conversation on the topic of choice. The fact that the co-host really does know what he’s talking about means he asks the right questions and gets to the heart of things pretty quickly. We don’t pre-script and we feel our way through 95% of the recording – a few bullet points is all that is really needed to make sure I don’t ramble off on a tangent. The conversational style means that it’s fairly easy listening and it feels ‘real’. This has lead to a lot of feedback from listeners as they feel we are approachable people. Feedback is really important so you can shape future recordings and make sure you’re getting things right.
Regularity - we publish the podcast regularly. It started monthly and is now every 2 weeks. It’s not a strict regime but we do try and get some new content out at least that regularly. This means you can maintain a flow of conversation and one recording can follow on from the previous one. It also keeps people interested and engaged enough to continue subscribing and not forget why they clicked that subscribe button in the first place. Realistically I think we could record a lot more regularly as long as we had enough original content. Feedback through Twitter has generally been that weekly would be the listeners preference, but it’s a matter of content.
Content and format development - The podcast is now quite different to how it started. Originally it was one podcast one topic. We now cover a couple of news items and often have an interview with somebody from the Digital Marketing world. This was a reaction to the whole world of podcasting developing and learning from our competitors. News moves fast in the world of online marketing, and an online discussion of these top news stories and giving an informed opinion can go down very well. We’ll continue to try new things, develop the format and continue reacting to listener input. I am now also recording more in depth single topic podcasts but I see these more as audio training. I think the combination suits people’s different requirements at different types.
These are just a few of the things we have found that have really helped make our podcast work. The key thing, like anything on the web, is create content that will be valuable to somebody.
Subscribe to the Podcast
The following slides are from my CIM London presentation on using Google+ in practice. Thanks to all of you that attended, and if you didn’t I hope you find the slides useful anyway!