How People Are Creating Social Media Sales & Profits

Are you ready to get more from your social media than just awareness and engagement?

Are you dissatisfied with not knowing social media’s impact on your organization’s bottom line?

Do you want to join the organizations and marketers who are developing business with social media marketing?

Then you’ll love this article, which covers how top marketers are driving and tracking sales and profits with social media marketing in 2018.

The State of Social Media Results

Recent surveys of marketers and CMO’s tell us that many companies have not yet solved many basic social media marketing problems:

  • Marketing executives rate their integration of social media with their marketing strategy just 4.1 on a scale of 7 (CMO Survey, 2018, page 48). How can you expect great social marketing results, if your social strategy is out of alignment with your marketing strategy?
  • 56% of 5,700 social marketers surveyed by Social Media Examiner in 2018 are uncertain about their social media profits or were unable to measure it. Only 10% (570 social marketers) strongly agreed they were able to measure their social media profits. 
    These are the professional social marketers- the top of their field. Imagine how difficult and uncertain it is for small business owners who aren’t caught up on the latest tactics and who have to wear seven hats in their businesses. And consider that there are over 2 million small businesses in the U.S., 500 Fortune 500 companies, 5,000 companies in the Inc 5000…. If only 570 social marketers have strong confidence in their ROI measurement, then most companies don’t have someone who’s confident about it.
  • Although marketing executives’ #1 overall goal was customer acquisition, their #1 use of social media was not customer acquisition- it was brand awareness and brand building. Customer acquisition was their #2 purpose for social media (CMO Survey 2018, page 51). This odd priority echoes the above misalignment with their overall marketing strategy. It may be due to a misunderstanding or underestimation of the capabilities of social media marketing, or it may be reflective of the social media freelancers, agencies or employees they’ve had up to this point. When you work with social media personnel whose background is only in PR or branding, their orientation can affect your approach.
  • When marketing executives were asked to what degree social media contributed to their company’s performance (a vague question to be sure, but corporate performance typically is heavily based on revenue and profits), they answered with an average of 3.3 on a scale of 7. That’s not an overwhelming vote.
  • There are older surveys and stats that talk about the challenges of measuring social media, but I’ll stick to recent ones.

Does it surprise to you that marketers are having trouble improving social media profits if they aren’t measuring it well?

It shouldn’t, because as Peter Drucker said, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.”

In digital and social marketing, you can’t improve what you can’t measure.

And when your social marketing strategies are not aligned with your overall marketing priorities, you have a recipe for social mediocrity.

The solutions to the problems that marketers and executives are surfacing are:

  1. Prioritize the use of social media for business development: customer acquisition, sales and profits. Ask for more from your social marketing. It’s capable of it.
  2. Hold social media accountable for achieving these goals.
  3. Make it a priority to measure social media accurately. Choose KPI’s, sales goals and start to measure profitability tied to your resources, labor, time and costs.
  4. Budget for social advertising, because it’s the most certain way to drive these results in social media.
  5. Get the people, resources, talent, training and tools you need to make this happen.

Easier said than done, right?

But you can do it. Many companies have.

So, let’s dive in!

How Today’s Marketers Are Making Social Media Profitable

How do leading marketers prove the impact of social on their bottom line?

The best marketers have social sales and profits analytics at their fingertips.

Many companies don’t realize their analytics are set up wrong and are inaccurate.

Do you have the tracking, the data and the insights you need to prove how social is driving customer and profits for your business? And to measure and improve it?

What does that look like? In our experience, these are the kinds of things you need:

  • Expertise, or at least competence, at understanding, exporting and analyzing data from the social platforms: Facebook Page Insights, Facebook Ad Manager, Facebook Audience Insights, Twitter Ads, Twitter Insights, Instagram Ads, LinkedIn Ads, etc.
  • Professional implementation of social ad tracking pixels: If you are using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn or similar ads that use conversion code, make sure you either have a professional install and check the code, or hire one to check it. Not only is that code critical and indispensable for tracking, it also it essential to how the ads run. You need it for retargeting and in some networks, it also affects how well or poorly the ads are targeted within your targeting selections. It’s not optional. We’ve heard many IT and programming people who were not professional digital marketers assume that these pixels were only for tracking and that web analytics or a CRM would be enough. They are not. The tracking from the ad platforms must be installed also. If your web or ecommerce platforms are not compatible with the common ad platforms, they need to “get with it”, you need to switch to another platform that is compatible, or you will have to hire programmers to fix it. Or you will be seriously hampered against your competitors in the marketplace. We’ve worked with clients who had to stop marketing socially for 4 months while they had programmers white-label and make their third party scheduling software compatible with Facebook ads. It’s a problem of ignorance in the SaaS industry that will eventually fix itself, but it may take another five years.
  • Google Analytics (or the like) with UTM parameters: you must manually help GA track the source/medium of all website traffic from social, or some will be undercounted. For example, without this, Facebook traffic will be undercounted by as much as 40% and will be placed in the “Direct” category.
  • Google Analytics conversion assist reports: you need to consider both first click and last click, because once you graduate from the search marketing last-click only mentality, you will drive a greater volume of traffic and sales, but without first-click reports, you may cut out some of the first-click sources that ultimately drive your sales. Often, retargeting ads from various networks, and search sources close the sale with a last-click, but they may never have happened without the first click. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn ads can increase your organic search volume dramatically, but you’ll never have evidence of this and you’ll spend in the wrong places without these reports.
  • Professional CRM, and any additional add-ons required to track accurately: You need something like Salesforce, Hubspot, Infusionsoft, Zoho or the like if you are driving leads for salespeople. Your email account isn’t good enough. You need to track the leads in a professional system, and you need marketing attribution. Also, beware of conflicts in attribution reporting. Just as GA can misattribute social traffic, so can CRM’s. For example, if you use Hubspot free, or even paid without buying the Ads Add-on, Hubspot will not track Facebook ad traffic accurately. They admit this in their help screens.

Branding Alone Doesn’t Drive Sales

How do top marketers do social branding in a way that drives new customers?

Savvy marketers drive engagement, sales and profits while leading their categories.

The painful truth many companies discover is that branding alone doesn’t create sales. Just putting your brand out there doesn’t create sales. Just creating engaging posts doesn’t get you new customers. It might drive a few, but not enough to sustain a business. Not enough to call social media a viable business development channel that you’d want to dump more cash into and scale.

Do you have the tracking, ads, posts and optimization strategies in place to cash in on social?

First I’ll give you a list of the things that don’t drive customer growth and sales in social media- and then I’ll give you a list of the things that do drive them:

What doesn’t drive social media many sales and profits, if any:

  • Tweetchats: they’re usually measure in terms of reach, which is not unique reach, so it’s deceptively high. There often aren’t a lot of links included in the chat’s tweets, so you may not even get much website traffic, let alone sales.
  • Facebook posting without ads: Most pages don’t reach very many people when they post, unless they advertise to promote that post. Without reach, you have very little chance of anything else happening… like traffic, leads or sales.
  • Facebook posts boosted on the page: This is the poor cousin of the engagement ad you can create in the Ad Manager, and it doesn’t work as well. It’s often created by someone who’s not really a Facebook ad professional, the targeting isn’t good, and the post itself may not have a high engagement rate. If it doesn’t have a link in it, there’s little chance of traffic, leads or sales. Even with a link, this is one of the worst ad types to try to try traffic, leads or sales with. You’ll probably just gets some engagement, and that’s it. But your costs will be high and your money won’t go as far as with an engagement ad in the Ad Manager.
  • Instagram posts: you can’t add a link- they have to go to your bio link, and you only get one- it’s an extra step, and you may not have that many followers… so you probably won’t get very much traffic, if any… and even less leads or sales. You can promote these posts within the app, but again, these are not as good as creating Instagram as from within the Facebook ad manager.

What drives more social media sales and profits? Let’s move to the next section…

Social Ads Help Drive and Measure Sales & Profits

Why are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn ads the most effective and trackable form of social media marketing?

Why are these ads the main drivers in social media sales and profits?

Because social ads drive not just engagement but also traffic, sales and profits… from 300% to 700% and higher.

Here are a few very short results from some case studies using social ads:

Lead Generation Case Studies

  • HOME GOODS: We helped a home goods company lowered their cost per lead by 84%, getting them 7x the leads. We also more than doubled their new customer acquisition speed across their entire company. They were using an omnichannel approach, and the social ads, used as a swiss army knife for awareness, engagement and lead generation also directly drove some sales. We commissioned a third-party impact study and discovered that the social campaigns had stimulated an increase in organic searches in Google for their brand name. It was a shot in the arm for their entire company. Most of these effects happened within 4 months. The first month wasn’t brilliant, but soon after our measurement abilities enabled us to drop costs and drive performance.
  • IT/CLOUD: We worked with a number of Microsoft’s partners in the cloud hosting business. For one, we created a new whitepaper. They wanted to experiment with Facebook ads rather than LinkedIn ads. We targeted CIO’s, sys admins and IT people. The most affordable leads were $29 each. According to industry stats, average lead in IT costs $370. Our cost was 92% more affordable than that. Facebook’s ad costs are quite low, and its ability to target job titles makes it both powerful and affordable. Sometimes LinkedIn is better, but LinkedIn can also be expensive and lower volume, since people spend an average of 2 minutes a day on LinkedIn and 35 minutes a day on Facebook. This, of course, varies with the audience.
  • RECRUITING/STAFFING: We’ve worked with a number of companies to fill staffing and recruiting gaps applicants. We’ve been able to drive job applicants at 75% lower costs than CareerBuilder. Our social advertising for job candidates drives more traffic for these companies than any other source including Indeed.com.
  • MARKETING: We created a lead-quiz for a marketing agency and drove thousands of leads for just $1.74 each. The average lead cost in this industry is $173. Our cost was 99% more affordable.
  • SAAS: A SaaS company wanted to reach only people who worked at Fortune 1000 companies. We drove traffic to their whitepaper and got them new demos for $26 each. Again, the standard here is $370, and this was similarly about 93% more affordable than average.
  • EDUCATION: We teamed up with an educational bookstore to run multiple lead gen contests. The average email acquisition cost has been around $0.60 apiece. The average lead cost in the Education industry is $60. Our leads were roughly 99% more affordable than average.

Why is the average lead cost so high and were ours so affordable? In part, the average costs are high because they include many traditional offline lead gen sources, which are more expensive. They also may include mark-ups for retail selling of leads. And we always see drastic reduction in costs when we do a lot of testing and discovery online. In traditional marketing, you can’t test a lot of things to find the most effective, compelling offer, wording, video or picture. Online we discover huge advantages through testing, and it saves companies lots of money and increases profits dramatically.

Again, when you can measure it, you can improve it. And we can measure a lot more things a lot more finely online.

When you explore the best in each of these categories, your improvements multiply:

  • Targeting and customer psychology
  • Creative, video, ads, copywriting and persuasion tactics
  • Landing Pages and conversion optimization
  • Lead Magnets, ebooks, whitepapers, quizzes, etc.

Make sure you aren’t lazy about your creative and testing/discovery processes. If you are, you’ll pay more than you need to, and you won’t get the kind of results we’re talking about here.

Ecommerce Case Studies

  • HOME GOODS: With the home goods client above, we achieved a 60% reduction in cost per new customer. We saw over 900% ROI on the social video ad campaigns. 1,000% ROI on post engagement. And overall a 274% ROI on customer acquisition.
  • TRAVEL: We’ve worked for years with a specialty cruise company drive customer bookings for as low as $30 apiece.
  • FOOD & BEV: We drove 22x in revenue for a small pizza chain in Scotland of all places. I’ve been told not to talk about this one because the ROI sounds so high that it’s unbelievable. Oh well… those were the real numbers. Believe what you want. It’s true!
  • HEALTH: We opened up a new revenue channel for a health products business. It was 700% ROI and the first year we drove 6 figures in revenue monthly.
  • FITNESS: We helped a franchise personal training business open up a new marketing channel. Their goal was $700 per customer. We drove new customers at $415 apiece.

Social media driven ecommerce is the most challenging thing we’ve seen in digital marketing, but with enough time, investment and the right people and tools, profits can be found.

Sometimes it’s easy. Sometimes it’s difficult, and there are technical, branding and budget challenges. Every situation is different.

How Do Businesses Make This Happen?

These kinds of successes don’t happen instantly. There’s no magical CASH button in digital marketing. There are plenty of people trying to sell short-lived or fantastic tricks and short-cuts. As in many areas of life, those who can only tolerate easy answers tend to fall for get-rich-quick schemes and lose their shirts.

If you’re smart, responsible and realistic, you have much better chances of success.

Creating profitable social marketing is a process that takes 3-6-12 months. Businesses need to commit $5k in ad spend or more per month. It’s an investment. You’ll see a return on it, but not instantly.

  • Month one is all about set-up. Ads may start running, but you have to get all the pixels and analytics in place, have the right targeting, all the right creative, etc.
  • The first three months tells you what’s going to be profitable and what isn’t. You should have some really effective targeting and ads by the end of month three. That means affordable, high-quality leads if lead-gen, or profitable ads if ecommerce.
  • By the six month mark your entire social campaign should reliably drive efficient results to the extent that it has made up for the costs of the first three months.
  • By 12 months you should have learned so much and be getting such great results that you won’t even recognize your social program. It may have revolutionized your entire marketing program with the insights you’ve gathered.

Who Can Help You Accomplish All This?

We’re not born with kinds of skills you need to do the social advertising and analytics that drive social media profits. Digital natives don’t have them just because they know how to use Snapchat. Experts need business skills, copywriting skills, technical ad platform experience, analytics talents, and marketing experience.

You’re going to need:

  • Social ad expertise: Facebook ads, Instagram ads, Twitter ads, LinkedIn ads. Do you want to have all those options? Do you already have someone who does Google ads for you? You may get some social strategy expertise when you get someone who can do the social ads, but you probably want to ask them about it.
  • Analytics expertise: Website analytics like Google Analytics or Adobe Omniture expertise, CRM analysis, marketing automation analytics if you use Infusionsoft or Marketo or the like.

So how do you add that to your company? These are your real-life choices:

  1. If you’re a small business owner, you may want to do it yourself… sacrifice your own hobbies, free time and families to spend 20-40 hours a week learning for 3 years (why do you think all the job listings for this stuff ask for a minimum amount of experience?)
  2. Hire someone with no experience and wait 3 years for them to have significant experience and expertise. Are they taking online courses to learn? Are you paying for that?
  3. Outsource to someone freelance and part-time via a platform like Upwork. They’ll cost anywhere from $30-$60 per hour.
  4. Hire expert employees, experienced at ad platforms or analytics: $50-80K per year each – you’re going to need several to cover all the areas of expertise you need.
  5. Hire an expert agency: $30-60K per year (we find that the costs our agency are lower than in-house employees because we have multiple experts on staff who can more efficiently cover our various clients)
  6. Do nothing. Keep your social media status quo. Risk falling behind the competition.

Notice- what is not an option is: Do a whole bunch of random things you read on social media blogs… with no experience, no analytics, no skills… You CAN do that, if you don’t want to create any real impact. But if you want to drive new customers, sales and profits, you need expertise.

Conclusion

So, if you want your social to be as profitable as it is for these businesses:

  • Make a commitment to build the program for 6-12 months.
  • Set your goals.
  • Create a budget.
  • Hire the people or the agency.
  • Start using social ads and all the analytics I talked about above.

Once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to measure your social media results.

Now go improve them!

How to Go Viral and Sell More with Memes

[Originally posted on Amazing.com]

Many companies go after engagement in social media. Others go directly for sales. If you can get both engagement and sales at the same time, that’s the holy grail. In this post, we’ll talk about both, using a type of post that not everyone has already worn out.

Engagement itself is valuable because it:

  • Grabs Customer Attention: Many companies spend millions just on reach and exposure, but it’s hard these days to grab and hold attention, and the competition just for attention is fierce.
  • Starts a Conversation: Engagement proves you not only got customer attention, but interest, which is one level better. You can get valuable information from customer interaction that can help you sell better.
  • Creates an Emotional Relationship between your customer and your brand, which increases the chance you’ll get the sale and increases the chance they’ll become loyal to your brand and stay loyal to you. It’s not just about sales, but about long-term customer loyalty.

There are many types of Facebook posts that create engagement. But few companies have taken full advantage of memes, which is crazy because we want Facebook posts that get shares, and…

A meme (/?mi?m/ meem) is “an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture”.

You can take any of your own images and turn them into memes with this tool: https://makeameme.org/upload

For example:

Or use one of the standard memes: https://makeameme.org/. This is a much better way to go, because you’re going to hit things that people recognize and that are relatable. The dangerous of creating your own new meme is: if no one understands it, it won’t succeed.

So the blueprint is:

  1. Understand the formula of the meme.
    For “The Most Interesting Man in the World” it’s “I don’t always [do some action] but when I do, I choose [product].”
  2. Put your sales message into that meme’s format.
  3. Post it and advertise it!

Make sure you choose a meme that is either:

  • Well known to most people…
    – OR –
  • Easily understandable if they’ve never seen it before.

Some of the best memes to use are:

  1. “One Does Not Simply… [something complex]”
    This meme features the character Boromir from The Lord of the Rings… he originally said, “One does not simply WALK into Mordor…” to emphasize how serious and dangerous it is, and how you need a plan. And if you get that, and like Monty Python, you’ll love this.
  2. “That Would Be Great.”
    Manager Bill Lundbergh from OfficeSpace “If you could just [do whatever] that would be great…” If you don’t get this meme because haven’t seen this movie, you’re probably also not a real American.
  3. Skeptical Third World Kid:
    “So you’re telling me…[something unbelievable about America]”
    Now, this one could be a sensitive topic for some people. In my opinion, it’s ok because this joke usually makes the first world lady the victim (who we guess is some kind of missionary), but the whole issue of third world poverty may be too disturbing in certain contexts.
  4. First World Problems:
    Something she‘s crying about that isn’t a problem for people in the third world.
  5. Success Kid: all this cute kid needs is some statement of success.
  6. Dumbstruck Dog: this one is about something shocking or confusing.
  7. Annoyed Picard: This is for pretty much any kind of frustration or “what the heck?” kind of sentiment.
  8. Grumpy Cat: This could be used for any complaint you want to make, or pain point your customers have.
  9. Matrix “What If I Told You”: This can reveal any important insight, or for a humorous spin, something obvious.
  10. Condescending Willie Wonka: “Oh you… Tell me more about…” This one is best used for sarcasm. Anything you want to make fun of or belittle.

If any of the above memes don’t make sense to you, don’t use them! I’ve been looking at memes for about eight years, so if this is new to you, you”ll actually have a better idea which ones make sense to the general audience (who doesn’t know all the memes like I do).

Always put yourself in your audience’s shoes. Will they think any one particular meme is weird or great? For example: is your customer the type to watch Star Trek? If not, maybe don’t use the Annoyed Picard meme. But if they’re big nerds, Annoyed Picard could be perfect.

Here’s the That Would Be Great Meme, for example…

Do you see how you can use a character’s voice as the excuse to say something you wouldn’t normally be able to? Or in a way you wouldn’t be able to? It frees you to be able to sell better.

And don’t forget about the 20% text rule! Put your captions all on top or all on the bottom if you want to be sure you can advertise them.

Then combine your new meme image with a call-to-action and a link in your post (to a site where they can take action, like buy something or sign up for your emails)… then promote the post with ads to your best customers!

What Kind of Results Should You Get?

I’ve written elsewhere about Facebook Benchmarks, but the short version is:

  • Check your Facebook Page Insights, click over to Engagement Rate, and try to get your posts up to 3-5%, and then to 5-8%. Our best clients get 8-12% regularly.
  • Your cost per post engagement in the U.S. should be under $0.20, and under $0.05 is quite reasonable if you’re creating great memes. If you get down to $0.01, you’re a rock star!
  • Cost per link click can be higher when you’re running post promotion ads, but you can get them down to $0.10-0.20.
  • For leads and sales, make sure you’ve installed conversion tracking… lead gen costs depend on the niche, but we’ve seen B2C as low as $0.10-0.50 per lead and B2B $2.50-30.00 (again very niche- dependent). Cost per sale also varies a LOT but can be as low as $2-3 in B2C and $5-10 in B2B. It’s all over the map here- if you’re selling a $20,000 computer system, you might spend $3,000 on a sale and call it a success…

How to Get Great Meme Post Results Over Time

Try 5 or 10 of these over a few weeks. And it’s ok to try different versions of the same meme- it’s not like you can only use them once- I would rotate through them initially. But after a month or two you could go back and say something different with a meme you’ve used before.

As with all of Facebook, continuous testing to find the best creative is the name of the game.

Over time, you’ll see which of them get the best engagement rates and the lowest cost per engagement, and which ones get sales and which ones don’t, just like any posts or ads.

Keep creating and keep testing. That’s how the best Facebook marketers do it!

Facebookize: 7 Ways REALLY Adapting To Facebook Will Revolutionize Your Organization

Most companies have not fully adapted to Facebook. That’s one reason why it frustrates them so much. But also, they miss out on a lot of benefits. What can Facebook marketing teach you about more effective marketing, sales and product and service creation? A lot!

The Promise of This Post: I guarantee you that if you are thorough with the Facebookize process I describe below:

  • It will dramatically improve your Facebook marketing results (I’ve seen it triple post interactions and website clicks)
  • It will revolutionize how you think about your customers.
  • It will lead to improved ideas for products, services and marketing.
  • It will filter down to customer service and strengthen your customer loyalty.

I’ve been teaching my Facebookize process to companies for more than a year. It’s a fundamental part of how we help our clients get better results.

The Problem With Facebook: Facebook, like any marketing channel, is different. People use it differently than Twitter or LinkedIn or Email or TV. The specific goals and tactics that work best on Facebook are different.

The targeting and tactics we use may be completely new to your company. You may not yet have a complete enough picture of (or data) your customers to succeed with Facebook marketing.

360degreecustomer2

The Opportunity For Your Whole Business: What have to do just to get visibility on Facebook (like getting post interactions) are also powerful adaptations that help you get more results across all marketing platforms.

Why? Because if you can get likes or shares, now you know how to get an emotional response to your marketing.

People buy emotionally, so the value of learning this goes beyond Facebook.

Here’s the 7-Step Facebookize process:

1. What does your company sell?

2. Who buys it?

3. What’s unique about them?

4. What’s their lifestyle?

5. What else do these people like?

6. What dreams are you empowering?

7. Put all of that into images and copy.

Download a free PDF of the Facebookize Worksheet.

Let’s get into it.

1. What Do You Sell?

This should be the easiest one for you to answer- especially if you’ve already thought about this in terms of search engine keywords (via the Keyword Search tool in your Google Advertising account or by using a service such as SEMRush). You know what your category is and that people want it. You know what words they use to describe it.

If not, you may need a more basic article or my forthcoming book The Cowbell Principle.

2. Who Buys From You? Using Demographics and Psychographics to Understand Your Customer

demogoodreads

 Demographics for GoodReads from Quantcast

Who are your customers? Your perception may already be accurate if you spend a lot of time talking to them and that information been passed throughout your organization. Sometimes companies’ sales departments have a deeper understanding of the customers and prospects than marketing. Over time, your organization should understand and focus on what signals a good or bad customer (this is a big part of designing a content marketing system). You may or may not be able to flex to accommodate all the types of people who inquire of your brand.

Who is and is not a good customer for you? The most basic and traditional marketing terms for answering this are demographics: age, gender, location. If you don’t have demographics for your website, consider adding Quantcast’s tag and get specific data from them.

Psychological tools help us try to understand who the customer is from a personal and emotional standpoint.

mbtiAn example is the Meyer Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), which distinguishes extroversion vs introversion, sensing vs. intuition, thinking vs. feeling and judging vs. perceiving. It’s a fascinating system- but the problem is that there are 16 different types- are you going to have 16 different websites or Facebook pages? The question is how to apply it practically. And how do you get your customers to take the test? Also, some of the 16 types are more common than others. Are you going to compare to the population baseline to figure out which types your customers are and aren’t? The complexities are overwhelming.

There are more obvious applications of the MBTI though. There’s a good chance that if you’re marketing to IT professionals, they’re more dominant in thinking than feeling. No offense!

Personas are another approach. This means you create several fictional customer personas. You name them, put a face to them, and you keep them in mind when marketing. It sounds completely reasonable, but it’s important that your personas come from your customer data or experiences your organization has had with customers. Another criticism is that you can become irrationally attached to the personas you’ve created so much that you ignore real customer interactions. And of course, if your internal team doesn’t believe the personas are accurate, acceptance hampers utility.

If you don’t like any of these approaches, just hang on until we get to #5!

3. What’s Unique About Your Customers?

It’s more profitable to reach only people likely to buy. That’s one reason many brands don’t use mass media like radio and TV (apart from the cost!).

Now Facebook advertising offers a way to reach that size of audience but with better targeting (and much more affordably). If you’re not sure about this, read Why Every Business Should Spend At Least $1 on Facebook Ads A Day.

You can target potential customers with Facebook ads with demographics AND psychographics. You can’t use the MBTI to target them, but you may be able to use aspects of your personas (and hopefully they’re accurate). Facebook ads offer tons more targeting options including workplace, job titles, consumer behavior, educational level and college attended.

unique

How are your customers different from other companies’ customers?

But do you know these things about your customers?

This is where Facebook requires us to go back and get new market research. How do we do that? We can, to a degree do it in Facebook itself.

Before we do that, we have to ask if your Facebook fan page is representative of your customer base? It may not be if you’ve bought fake fans or used other tactics to get a bunch of prospects you’re not sure will buy from you. Or your fanbase may be representative of your customer base if you had a strong email list and sent those people to your Facebook fan page to like it.

If your fans are representative of your customers, then you can use the Facebook ad interface to first target your fans, then subtarget it and watch how the numbers change. This will help you find out what is predominant among your customers.

targetfans

Let’s say you have 10,000 fans. You can select male and see how many are male. You can select age ranges to see what ages they are. You can select categories like “parents” to see how many are parents. Get it? Write down what you find.

interests

Now ask yourself, does what we know about our customers match this? Sometimes it doesn’t because the fans aren’t representative of your customers- but other times it’s because you had the wrong idea about your customers and didn’t realize it!

Now, back to the uniqueness of your customers- when you target potential customers with Facebook ads, you don’t want to spend money on bad prospects. So using the most unique targets is best.

Just an example: As you’ll see in #5, you may find that your customers prefer country music over rap- well, then, targeting people who like country music is going to get you more customers.

4. What’s Their Lifestyle?

There are tons of subcultures in every country. The best way to find this information is via graph search- so let’s move to #5!

5. What Else Do Your Customers Like on Facebook? Diving into Graph Search

We have to think about what our customers like on Facebook- and not just that they’ve liked our FB pages, but that they like other pages and interests.

Your customers will have other likes in common that they don’t have in common with the customers of another company- kind of a revolutionary concept- but before Facebook we never had access to this kind of information. Is your customer more of a Mac or a PC? Are they a CNN or Fox News watcher? Are they more into country music or something else?

You will certainly have variety across your customers- and you don’t want to alienate any of them- but you may find some powerful synergistic likes you can use in Facebook ad targeting and for post ideas.

Facebook lets you search for some really cool things.

They have all this data from what they call the Open Graph. That’s really just a way to visualize how all the people are connected to their friends and what they and their friends like. In a way, we are all in different tribes based on what we like. But we all have overlapping likes. And what’s funny is that often the people we are friends with only share two or three major likes with us. A lot of people like very particular things that they never really share in community with others.

catdogother

Graph search is a cool way to learn about your audience or your target market- you know, the people who you want to pay for what you offer.

Try this out- think of one of your favorite Facebook pages- and if you can’t think of one, let’s try CNN or Fox News.

Go to the facebook search box and type in “Pages liked by people who like” and then add the Facebook page.

It will return a whole bunch of other things that fans of that thing like.

For example, let’s compare what the Fox News fans like with what the CNN fans like.

  • Fox News fans like Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, Paul Ryan, CNN, George Strait, Jesus Christ, Brad Paisley, The Bible, Macy’s, The Hangover, Disney, Zac Brown Band, Jesus Loves You, Jeff Dunham, Blake Shelton, Mark Wahlberg – so country music is a pretty unique thing- and the Republican candidates aren’t a surprise.
  • CNN fans like App Center, Bill Gates, Facebook Security, Michael Phelps, Twitter, The Ellen Degeneres Show, Google, Facebook Studio, Steve Jobs, Snowboarding, Funny or Die, Breaking Bad, The Official Grumpy Cat- a lot more technology and comedy high in the list.
  • They both like The New York Times, BBC News, Barack Obama, Upworthy, George Takei, CNN, Fox News, Amazon.com, Target, Facebook, YouTube, NFL, ESPN, History Network, Photography, Will Ferrell, National Geographic, Camping, Subway, Music, Moody Blues, Cars (movie), Johnny Cash – these are things we can consider to be pretty popular with a lot of Americans on Facebook.

favpageswalmartInteresting, isn’t it?

What if we looked at what Apple fans like vs. what Microsoft fans like? Or cat people vs. dog people?

There’s a lot to be learned about your potential audience.

Here are a few guidelines to get the best results:

  • Graph search results aren’t returned in any special order. We can assume it’s by popularity.
  • Create a new Facebook account with no friends or likes, and you’ll get more objective search results. Otherwise, you’re more likely to see things that you and your friends like
  • It’s always best to compare two or three things at once so that you can find the things all three audiences like, and remove those. The ones that don’t overlap will teach you more about your audience.

You can search for other things with graph search. Here are some example searches, with a few example results (there are tons more results for each of these):

  • Interests liked by fans of George Takei – Burning Man is an interesting result
  • Pages liked by people who work at Walmart – lots of country music!
  • Interests liked by people who work at Sony – Star Wars & Soul Music??? Weird!
  • Pages liked by people who majored in Accounting – Cairo, Egypt? Weird.
  • Pages liked by people who majored in Accounting and live in United States – The Moody Blues, Fox New & Journey?
  • Pages liked by people who are my age (I’m 40) – Dave Ramsey & Lifehacker are some interesting results
  • Pages liked by people who are over 40 years old – Def Leppard & Journey!
  • Pages liked by people who are under 40 years old – Tough Mudder & Daily Show
  • Pages liked by people who are married – Tough Mudder & Gardening
  • Pages liked by people who are single – Tosh.0 and GoPro
  • Pages liked by people who have been to Lincoln Memorial – Maya Angelou & Oprah Winfrey
  • Pages liked by people who have been to Empire State Building – Moscow, Russia & Daily Show
  • Pages liked by people who were born in Dayton, Ohio (that’s me!) – Kevin Hart & Tyler Perry
  • Pages liked by people who live in Charleston, South Carolina (also me) – Trina & Gucci Mane

Don’t forget to narrow your search. In any search results, look to the right and you’ll see you can narrow the results with a variety of factors.

6. What Dreams Are You Empowering?

Here’s something I’ve been teaching since 2011.

Most marketers & sales people learn early on to talk about benefits rather than features. Benefits are how it will improve the buyer’s daily life- these have greater emotional impact. Features can be technical and have less impact.

But how boring would 50 Facebook posts about your product’s benefits be?

The kinds of posts that work better are inspirational and aspirational.

So we want to talk about your customers’ dreams: the bigger goals in their life or career.

What are the dreams they’re trying to fulfill with your product?

Example #1 – iPhone

  • FEATURE: “The iPhone can run some apps simultaneously.”
  • BENEFIT: “You can listen to music while responding to emails.”
  • DREAM: “Be productive and have great quality of life no matter where you are- even in a noisy airport.”

Example #2 – InfiniGraph

  • FEATURE: “InfiniGraph offers data, charts and content aggregation for social content marketing. You can put a widget hub on your own site.”
  • BENEFIT: “Surface your successful older content to increase its ROI.”
  • DREAM: “I want to be more profitable with my time and outsourcing so that I have more money and time for vacations.”

Example #3 – Brian Carter Group (two of our services)

  • FEATURE: “We offer Facebook ad creation and optimization.”
  • BENEFIT: “We’ll lower your ad costs and increase your ROI.”
  • DREAM: “We’ll rocket you past the competition so that you can stop worrying about competitors and start being a leading company in your niche.”

7. Put All of that into Images and Copy

Now, how can you create images and copy for Facebook posts and ads?

Exemplify your audience’s identity, concepts and dreams.

The two analogies I use for this are cheerleading and coaching.

You can cheer lead for their values, beliefs and likes:

cheerleading

You can coach them to inspire them to reach their dreams:

coaching

Give it a shot, and let me know what your results are like!

Why Women Are Critical To Every Social Media Campaign

It was interesting that even in the Facebook discussion of the Superbowl, the top three gender-age demographics were female.

The Facebook campaign with the least commenting we’ve ever seen was for an action-sports-oriented page with 95% male fans. We had focused on building a completely male fanbase, since the client’s experience was that few women purchased their product. But we found out that the result was no discussion at all!

Women converse more than men? It depends. Some guys are more chatty. Some guys act like that cliched “strong, silent type.”

Even when you’re marketing in a male-dominated niche, we recommend you also advertise to women. They can be like the “glue players” that hold the team together. Most of us would rather interact in a mixed group, anyway. Some guys don’t want to talk only to guys.

Much as marketers look at 25-55 year old women as the household and healthcare decision-makers, we may want to look at them as central to social media conversations.

There may be a few exceptions- do you want women in your “low T” discussion? Well, maybe you don’t want to discuss that publicly anyway!

And sure, conversation isn’t always critical to social media profits. Too much talk may even get in the way at times. But if it’s important to you, don’t exclude women.

Airport Revenue Digital Marketing & Social Media Keynote Interview with Brian Carter

In March, Brian will be speaking about how to drive more visits and revenue with digital marketing and social media to airport operators and concessionaires like Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks and TGI Friday’s at the annual Airport Revenue News conference in Orlando. Here’s an excerpt of his interview with ARN!

Ward: What are some key mistakes that you see companies making?

Carter: I think one of the biggest mistakes is opinion versus facts. We now have data – we can test whether the customer likes our branding. If you listen to the wrong information, or your information is out of date or you make decisions that are based on opinion rather than fact, eventually you’re headed for disaster. The companies that are winning today, that are disrupting categories and established companies, are using technology to make customers happier than they ever were before. When your opinion is wrong and out of whack with the facts, you’re not going to be able to make your customers happy.

Read more of Brian Carter’s interview on airports and digital marketing more here…

5 Things Your Startup Needs To Know Before Facebook Advertising

Nobody wants to learn the hard way.

You want to get customers and prospects. Facebook ads is a very affordable, targeted, powerful way to do that.

But you don’t want to waste your ad budget, right?

Here are 5 things I’ve learned that most start-ups don’t understand before they starting Facebook advertising… 5 things that can waste your money.

#1 Great Ad Performance Requires Testing. And Testing Costs Money

It takes money to test ads to find the profitable ads. You have to spend money to make money.

The simple fact of digital advertising is that there are a lot of ad settings and a ton of ways to write an ad. That’s true whether it’s AdWords or Facebook or whatever.

And only about 5% of the ad ideas you come up with will be profitable. That’s true even for advertising experts with a decade of experience. Research bears that out.

You must write 10-20 ads to find one outstanding ad. And outstanding ads are what we need to win this game.

Here are some of the decisions you have to make, and each variation costs money to test:

  • What image will you use? Positive or negative? People or objects? Problem or solution?
  • What will headline be? Calling out who they are? Asking a question? Making a bold statement?
  • What will the ad copy say? Gosh there are so many things we could say…
  • Who will you target and how? You can often target the same people with several different targeting options. We won’t know which targeting method is cheapest until we test it.

At the beginning of the testing process, we know the least. The more winning ads we find, the smarter our following tests are. But the first month is the worst. As we learn from those ad test results, profitability increases. But that learning process involves spending money on ads.

#2 Successful Companies INVEST in Their First Three Months with Facebook Ads

We’ve managed Facebook ads for dozens of clients- over $2 million spent on ads. They’ve spent anywhere from $33 a day to $1,000 a day; that’s from $1,000 a month to $30,000 a month.

That budget fuels testing and leads to profitability. We often find the first couple weeks is all learning. We start to see promising ads. By the end of month two, we should have some strong ads that reliably get leads or sales. By the end of month three, we’ve reached. Our goal is to cut the initial cost per lead or cost per sale by 50%.

How much does $1,000 spend in a month, for example, get you? Let’s do some math:

  • If you’re looking for leads, hopefully your opt-in page converts at 20%; if your cost per click is $0.50, then a lead is $2.50. If your lead gen page is not very effective and converts at 5%, that lead would cost $10. If the niche is competitive and the cost per click is more like $1.50, then that 5% conversion page makes your leads $30 each. That’s how the math works. We’ve seen lead gen costs as low as 12 cents and as high as $78. It depends on the niche, the competition, and how efficiently the lead gen page converts. That’s why we need to split-test landing pages and find out which one converts best.If you can split-test and take your conversion rate from 10% to 20%, you cut your lead gen cost in half. You double how many leads you can get from the same spend.At the same time, we’re testing ad creative and targeting to multiply that improvement.
    Doing a little math ahead of time helps you have more realistic expectations and be prepared to implement the strategies that work. Going in blind usually results in wasted money and unsatisfactory results.
  • If you’re doing e-commerce, the baseline is a site that converts at at least 1%. Sometimes a new site has problems and only converts at 0.5%. Amazing sites can do 2-4%, but that can take years of evolution to reach.If your cost per click is $0.50, a passable 1% converting ecommerce site has a cost per sale of $50.What is your profit margin? Is it more than that?Some products will kill your business, because their profit margin is too low for digital advertising.If your cost per click is $1 and you have a conversion problem and only get 0.5%, then each sale costs $200.

We’ve seen e-commerce cost per sales of $5 to $500. Again, it varies with the niche, competition, and your website’s conversion efficiency.

This is just the math of pay-per-click profitability.

#3 WHY Would People Want to Buy What You’re Selling? 

This is the most basic lesson of marketing.

And it’s critical to ask if no one ever has bought what you’re selling yet. Or if no one has ever bought it online.

If you have no marketing experience, 99% of the things you think are awesome about what you’re selling are likely features, not benefits:

  • Plush seats.
  • Moon roof.
  • 24-hour customer service.

Those are features.

The customer says, “Who cares? Why should I care? What’s in it for me?” So, yeah, really, you have to spell out what the benefit is to them.

  • Plush seats? “Experience luxury driving.” That’s a benefit. And, bonus: we get them to imagine having it, which makes them more likely to buy. But let’s be honest… plush seat luxury is only appealing to people who love 1984 IROC-Z Camaros. Look at this fine specimen:
  • Moon roof? Great for werewolves. Ability to look up when you should be looking at the road. Just kidding. “Your passenger can look out your moon roof and (s)he will be impressed. With YOU.” That’s a benefit that makes them visualize the experience of the solution. By the way, your 1985 Camaro is awesome. IROC you say? Yes, U really do ROC.
  • 24-hour customer service? “We’re there to help you fix it when everything goes wrong at 3:00AM. We’ll save the day, any time of day. If you have a huge everything-grinds-to-a-halt problem, you won’t have to wait. We’ll fix it now. Relax, you can rely on us.”  That’s a benefit that makes them visualize the experience of the solution.

Those are the benefits of your features. That’s the most BASIC level of copywriting you need to be able to do. They sell much more effectively than features.

Getting them to imagine experiencing the benefit will get you even bigger results. So do both.

#4 You need to know WHO would want to buy from you.

It’s easy to have the wrong idea of who your customers are, or a very vague idea. Some companies even achieve a level of success without an accurate picture of who their best customers are.

Digital marketing teaches you about them. Many of our clients find out their customers are only SORT OF who they thought. But there’s often something surprising…

  • “Oh, wow, people over 50 years old DO buy this. Interesting…”
  • “Our customers are mostly single? Weird!”
  • “Our customers like George Takei? Who the heck is is George Takei?”

That kind of stuff- which by the way, can dramatically lower your Facebook ad costs- can also be applied to all your other marketing. When you discover who they are, you may look at your email marketing or your print ads or radio or TV ads and realize you’ve pitched them to the wrong person. Changing that will improve your results. And since many types of offline marketing can’t be tracked- what worked or didn’t- this information from digital marketing is super valuable if you’re doing offline marketing.

And, by the way, there’s a ton of free market research inside the Facebook ad interface. Enough to put some market research companies out of business. It’s called Facebook Audience Insights.

#5 Your website has to be really efficient at converting your Facebook ad visitors.

You saw it in the math. If you can double your conversion rate, you cut your costs in half.

That sounds like a bonus. But if your conversion rate is sub-standard, your costs can be through the roof. So you might need to improve your website, or take the more modern approach of using squeeze page platforms that can split-test.

The most vulnerable people to mistakes here are web designers. Anyone who thinks they have a new way to design your website. A more aesthetic way. Lots of ideas about impressive designs.

If that gets in the way of usability, you’re done.

  • Sure, your web visitor may think it’s a beautiful website, but it’s so beautiful that they forget to buy.
  • Or can’t figure out how to buy because the navigation elements were too ugly for your web designer.

If you’re interviewing web designers, ask them what they do for split-testing and conversion optimization. The ones that trip over the answer? Move on  to another. The next evolution is using services like unbounce, clickfunnels, leadpages and optimizely.

If you want to run a profitable business, you need to strike a balance between form and function- between branding and conversion optimization.

That’s it- if you’ve grappled with these five issues, then relax- you can advertise on Facebook confidently, and look forward to great results!

If not, we can help with services or my online course, Social Marketing Profit System.

Your InfoProducts Empire: Copywriting and Infoproducts with Alyson Lex

A very pleasant and enlightening chat with Alyson Lex of Rock Your Marketing.

Alyson Lex got her start working for two of the highest-paid and most sought-after copywriters and strategists in the biz, Dan Kennedy and Bill Glazer. As the marketing manager for their company, Glazer-Kennedy Insider’s Circle, Alyson got a first-class education in all things direct response, marketing and copy.

Recently, Alyson began working with coaches, consultants, speakers, authors, podcasters, bloggers, experts and info-marketers to create programs and products that SELL… copy and funnels that CONVERT… and kick-ass strategy to bring it all together into one Info-Empire.

We talked about:

  • Her work at Glazer and Kennedy (Bill Glazer & Dan Kennedy)
  • Her biggest takeaways from working with them
  • It seems like there’s a huge need and desire for infoproducts
  • What people struggle with the most in copywriting and infoproduct creation
  • The biggest mistakes people make
  • The first thing someone should do when they think, “Oh, I need an infoproduct.”
  • Where to start your Info Empire

Robert Rose from Content Marketing Institute [Video Interview, StoryDNA] with Kathy Klotz-Guest

Kathy Klotz-Guest and I interview Robert Rose, the Chief Strategist for the Content Marketing Institute. He has a background in the entertainment biz, then the whole Silicon Valley startup thang… with an emphasis on great storytelling as a competitive advantage. AND… Robert is the author of The Seventh Era of Marketing.

The Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Meeting Planners

Do you work on meetings, conferences, conventions, trade shows and exhibitions? You could dramatically improve your event results and exceed your event goals by leveraging more effective social media strategies. If you want bigger results at your events, follow these tips!

In this post I’ll tell you how to use social media to:

  1. Get more people to register for your event
  2. Create more value for your sponsors and sell more sponsorship opportunities
  3. Boost attendance at sessions and mixers
  4. Get attendees more engaged during the event
  5. Get attendees to give you positive feedback you can use to tell a successful event story

Note that I’ve recommended ways for you to increase buzz with social media advertising. The fact is that unpaid social media reach can be limited. If you really want to be sure people see you in social media, the best way to do that is to advertise.

It doesn’t have to be expensive. And it’s 10x more effective than posting and tweeting without ads. You don’t need a huge social ad budget to make a big difference. Even if you only had only $500 to spend on social ads, you’d get at least 100,000 more views of your Facebook posts and tweets. And chances are you’re going to make your money back in registrations.

And you’ll see below that there are ways to get sponsors to pay for some of the social advertising. It’s a win-win when you team up on this.

Also, don’t just post and tweet to your event attendees. Email them during the event, too. One or two emails a day isn’t too much. Still, make sure they have an option at the bottom of each email to opt out of these emails.

Oh, by the way, here’s my speaking video, because you should hire me to keynote your event!

…but back to the article… 🙂

1. How to Boost Event Registrations

Identify influencers and engage them in the process.

  • Who in your industry has a lot of social media followers? Who has the most clout?
  • How influential are your speakers?
  • Are your speakers’ followers also your potential customers? Or not?

The answers to these questions may or may not affect how you select your speakers. Keep in mind that 100,000 followers may not be a big deal if that speaker’s followers are not your customers. In addition, know that some people buy fake followers.

Look for 5 or 6 different things that tell you the person really is an influencer. These include things like:

  • Total followers on Twitter and fans or followers on Facebook
  • Number of LinkedIn contacts
  • Published books in the last 2-3 years
  • Columns on popular websites like Inc, Forbes and Mashable
  • Columns on websites and in magazines in your industry
  • TV appearances in the last 2-3 years
  • Number of interviews they’ve done with media (Google their name + interview)
  • YouTube videos with thousands of views

You need to create an event hashtag early in the process. Twitter is the real-time social media platform of choice, and hashtags are required to organize all the event tweets, to display them in a stream, and to count the impact of those tweets after the event.

  • Keep your hashtag short… don’t try to put more than three words in it.
  • For the love of God, make sure it doesn’t also spell something unfortunate. For example, #SpeedOfArt also spells “Speedo Fart.” If you don’t tend to see those things, run your hashtag ideas past someone who does.
  • Capital letters don’t matter. I recommend you don’t use any. People will waste time on their mobile phone trying to get it right. Then they won’t be paying attention to the event.
  • Make sure no one else is using your hashtag idea. Search Twitter and hashtags.org to see if it’s in use.
  • If you do this event every year, put the year’s last two numbers at the end, e.g. #consumerbuzz15
  • Your hashtag is as important as the event name itself. Make sure it’s everywhere:
    • On the front and back of your event booklet
    • On attendee name tags
    • On pre-session slides,
    • At the bottom of every slide in your slide template

You can get great video testimonials from attendees for this year even if you didn’t collect them last year.

  • Do a Google live “Hangout on Air” with previous attendees who loved the event- you can have 5 or 10 show up at once if they’re willing to give you 30 minutes. You don’t have to invite an audience, and chances are almost 100% that no one will see it while you’re recording.
  • Give each attendee 30-60 seconds to talk about the positives of the event. How did it benefit them? What did they love about it? Why would they go again?
  • Keep it fast and positive.
  • Google hangouts get recorded to your YouTube channel right away. But you can make it unlisted if you want. You can download it with KeepVid.com, edit it and re-upload the final version. True story: I only use the Windows MovieMaker app for my videos, and it’s fine.
  • Your event needs a cool video intro- you can make some for free or cheap here with Flixpress.

Very important: tell them to use direct internet connection not wifi, and make sure they are dressed well and lit well.

Get the speakers to hype up potential attendees! Do a similar quick video hangout with those who will speak at the event, especially keynoters. Have them give a quick preview of their talk. Tell them to use 3 minutes max. Ask them to focus on the benefits of their talk to the audience: what will it empower attendees to do?

Excited potential attendees with a contest! You can boost your live event attendance dramatically with this Facebook contest technique. Create a post that offers two free tickets to the event, and ask them to like the post and tag the person they’d give the other ticket to if they won.

WIN ‪#‎FREETICKETS‬! We’re giving away 2 FREE TICKETS to the Consumer Buzz 2016 Conference in Las Vegas from November 11-15th, 2016. Come learn and grow with us! Here’s how to enter:
1. LIKE this post and
2. COMMENT with the name of the friend or peer you’d bring if you won
(Facebook TAG them- to do that, type the @ symbol, then their name, and when their name comes up in the drop down list, click on it!)
You need to do BOTH things in that order to be eligible. The ‪#‎winner‬ will be randomly selected on October 2nd at 6pm!

Also, SHARE and let everybody know!
* This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by or associated with Facebook.

http://www.consumerbuzz.com/2016/

You can easily get hundreds of responses to a post like this. The tagging pulls in more people. The contest gets people excited about going. It gets them to visualize going. If they don’t win, they feel like they wanted to go. That makes them more likely to buy.

Don’t forget to make the event sound attractive in your contest post:

  • Why should they come?
  • What will they get out of it?
  • How will it improve their life or business after the event?

Then you must promote your contest post with Facebook ads to accelerate the process.

  • Do it! Going without ads isn’t a viable option anymore. Facebook posts without ads only reach 10% or less of your fans. They’re just not effective enough.
  • Use Ad Manager. Don’t use the “boost” option, because it’s not powerful enough. Learn to use ad manager. And no matter what you hear elsewhere, you don’t have to use Power Editor for 99% of Facebook advertising.
  • Target. Target your fans, your email lists and other things like job titles.
  • Test. Create separate ads for each targeting option. You need to create at least 3-5 ads for each thing you promote, just because you never know which targeting will work best.
  • It’s worth it. It may cost you $50 to advertise this post, but you’ll get at least 100 people thinking seriously about how much they want to attend. You will reach thousands- maybe 10’s or 100’s of thousands, depending on how you target and how much you spend.

IMPORTANT: While the contest is ongoing, those people won’t buy because they’re waiting to see if they won. Make sure to end the contest at least a month or more before the event so that you’re not freaking out about attendance too close to event time. And don’t make people think you might do another contest later. If they still think they might win it free, they won’t buy.

When the contest is over, comment at the bottom of the post something like this. Facebook will notify all the entrants that you’ve commented:

We have a winner!  [winner’s name] contact us at [email] by 7pm on Oct 5th if you want your two free tickets! If you didn’t win, we’d still love to have you at the event! Come on out to the biggest consumer marketing conference in the world and learn how to improve your B2C business in every way! You can buy tickets here: [link] 

That message is the one that tells people, “Ok, you didn’t win. So buy a ticket!”

And THAT is a Facebook contest strategy that reliably boosts event attendance. 🙂

If your organization doesn’t already have an email list of more than 1,000 people, you need to start doing lead gen to grow your email list. You want to do this at least 6 months before your event, so you have time to email them several times about the event. We recommend:

  • Use squeeze pages: They’re called squeeze pages because they have few options and often little information. You should only write what’s needed to tease an email out of them. The more options they have and the more time it takes to understand your squeeze page, the lower your conversion rate will be, and the higher your lead gen costs will be. By making the page simple and clear, you lower your lead gen costs. These pages can be created easily with services like leadpages, clickfunnels or
  • Use conversion optimization- you should be testing at least 2 or 3 versions of your squeeze page. You often find that one page is 3-5x more effective than another. This will cut your lead gen costs by at least half.
  • Offer something free like an ebook, webinar, member poll research report, or instructional video series. You can use an influential thought leader to help you create that content. If that expert is going to speak at your event, even better! Most thought leaders will do content like this for anywhere from $1,000 – 15,000, depending on the content type and how in-demand they are.
  • Get traffic to your squeeze pages with Google, Facebook and Twitter ads for this:
    • Google is good for people who are already looking for events or organizations like yours.
    • Facebook ads can reach your ideal prospect who isn’t looking yet and get them involved quicker.
    • Similarly, Twitter ads help you reach the followers of your industry’s big influencers.

Email marketing is at least as important as social media. Do both!

2. How to Create More Value for Your Sponsors

The tweets, retweets, favorites, comments and shares will create more buzz and exposure for the event and the sponsors. With those numbers, you can tell sponsors a story like this one:

Our 700 event attendees tweeted 1,284 times during the event, for a total reach of 435,395 people. On our Facebook page, 3,347 people liked, commented on and shared event posts, for a total reach of 836,923 people.

That increases the value for sponsors. Exposure like that makes them feel more satisfied about having participated. And it makes them more likely to continue next year. It might attract new sponsors. It might allow you to raise the cost of your sponsorships.

Another smart thing to do is include in your sponsorship packages options like these:

  • Sponsor a session-specific prize worth $25-50.
  • Sponsor a content track with a sub-hashtag; for example if your event is #customerbuzz15, you might have a special HR track hashtag called #customerbuzz15-hr [note that the subtag includes the original tag so it’s still counted in hashtag searches]
  • Sponsor a Facebook post co-written by your organization and the sponsor that will be targeted to attendees during the event. Perhaps your sponsor wants to motivate more attendees to come to their booth or to a mixer they’re sponsoring, and you can create a Facebook post that will tell them why they need to come. Then you advertise that post to fans of your Facebook page, fans of their page, and both of your email lists (subtargeted to people who are presently in the city of your event).

Any sponsorship opportunity that leverages advertising will boost social media visibility. And results like that make it easier to sell sponsorships.

These options give your sponsors the opportunity to get more out of the event, and help you fund the prizes and advertising that will boost the buzz around your event.

3. How to Boost Meeting Session Attendance

Once people are at your event, how do you get them to come to specific sessions, keynotes or mixers? You can

  • Do another Facebook contest like the preceding. Announce via social media that they could win something at a specific session.
  • Post and tweet the speaker videos you got ahead of time. Tell them where and when that session is.
  • Ask your speakers and panelists to post and tweet about the session. They can do it several times:
    • The morning of
    • An hour before
    • 5 or 10 minutes before the session.
    • Make sure they always use the hashtag.

And if all else fails, candy is pretty irresistible. Post something like “A few lucky attendees of the 2pm Leadership session will find candy on their seats! Get them before someone else does!” with a picture of candy on a seat.

4. How to Create Engagement from Attendees

The way you start the event and sessions has a big effect on how attendees behave during them. What should they be thinking about? What do you want them to do? You get to choose some of this. But you have to tell them what it is.

In the intro to every session, encourage attendees attendees to tweet during and use the hashtag. This can be done with pre-session slides and by the panel or session leader. It can be as quick and simple as this:

Feel free to tweet your thoughts or quotes from speakers during this session and please use the hashtag #consumerbuzz15.

Another way to say it is:

We consider social media activity about the session content to be a great form of participation. Interact with us about this talk on Twitter and Facebook and use the hashtag #consumerbuzz15!

Put hashtag activity screens around the conference area. You can show this in session rooms between sessions, too. Seeing all those tweets makes people want to show up in the stream. That increases the number of tweets people do. Make sure people know they have to use the hashtag to show up in that stream. It’s ok if attendees use it to post links to their blog posts or social info- it’s all good engagement. And people have to get something out of interacting. Don’t deny them that, or you’ll discourage participation.

Why do people tweet or Facebook post? And why do they share or retweet? There are several key reasons, proven by research. Make use of these in thinking about what you’ll post or tweet:

  • Giving- something free
  • Teaching- how to information
  • Inspiring- great quotes from speakers
  • Motivating- positive thoughts or quotes
  • Funny- something funny that was said, or a cartoon that’s relevant to a session topic
  • Warnings- What pitfalls do people need to avoid? What mistakes do they make?

Speaker tweets: You might not require speakers to mention their twitter handle, but you can strongly recommend it, and remind them.

Having their twitter handle on every slide of a presentation is a smart way to go. You can issue a powerpoint template customized for your event that includes the hashtag on every slide.

Encourage speakers to monitor what attendees have tweeted to them and respond within an hour or two, max.

If you have a session that has Q&A, the panelist can ask for questions via Twitter. This is a great way to get questions submitted ahead of time AND control which ones get asked. If this isn’t your first rodeo, you know that there are bad questions, the worst of which can turn the room’s mood instantly negative.

The session leader can:

  1. Introduce the session and ask that they tweet questions during the session.
  2. Choose the best questions that come in during the talk.
  3. Ask the speaker those questions without having to give a mic to the audience.

Walk around your event with a video camera and ask attendees if they’d like to get into the social media posts for the event. Ask them to speak for 30 second about one thing:

  • What they’ve enjoyed most at the conference
  • Anything inspiring,
  • Something they learned

Walk around for 40 minutes, then review them, upload the best ones and post them immediately. Do this at least a couple times per day.

You may need at least one person dedicated to monitoring and replying to social feedback and questions. If that person has other event responsibilities, make sure they check the social activity at least once per the morning, afternoon and evening. Every hour is even better.

5. Create Positive Feedback From Attendees

Similar to the last one, walk around with a video camera. Find a happy attendee. Ask if they’d like to tell future attendees why they love the event. Give them 30-60 seconds. These videos will help you sell more registrations next year!

That’s it! As you can see, these ideas ask for more from you. You want more from speakers, more from the audience and more from the sponsors. That’s how you create an event people will never forget. And that’s how you succeed year after year.

The social advertising part can be difficult. There’s a big learning curve and most beginners make the same mistakes. For more info on how to do them, contact us!

How Social Networking Saved This Introvert’s Life

Hey.

Are you an introvert?

Me, too! Pleased to meet you. In our favorite way: digitally!

Does social networking make business easier for introverts? It’s made it easier for this introvert.

Growing up I was shy and bullied.

I’m sure one of you just said, “Awwwww.”

Thank you.

I never had those early confidence-building sports experiences. I was short. Even though I was pretty awesome at dodge-ball, I was always picked last.

I was the thoughtful, quiet, little blonde kid. Never smiling. What was there to smile about? Always knew when you were looking at me. Hated eye contact.

Didn’t know what to say when you said hi to me. Feared the worst from my peers because it happened so often.

One time I was riding my bike home from school when some of the cool kids yelled at me to come over. “Cool!” I thought to myself. “They want to hang out with me!” As I got closer, they sprayed shaving cream all over me. I pedaled home, the bespectacled snow-boy. Sponsored by Gillette. Trying to not to cry.

That was a typical school experience. I eventually developed full-blown social anxiety.

Is it any wonder I loved computers?

Here’s some of my nerd cred:

  • At age 11, I had the first model of Macintosh computer. I created my own font.
  • I played D&D. I was familiar with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in 1986. I paid $20.00 for G.I. Joe comic #1.
  • I was I a Rush fan. I wrote my 11th grade term paper on the band Yes. Like the 40-Year-Old Virgin, I thought Asia was an awesome group.
  • I didn’t kiss a girl or get my driver’s license until I was 17.

Heck, even at the age of 25, I began to woo my future wife through email. Nerdy and flirty and almost thirty. I was able to be me digitally, long before I was able to be me in person.

“Hi. My name Is Brian, and I’m an Introvert”

I began to overcome my social anxiety by joining Toastmasters at the age of 26. Toastmasters is a support group for public speaking. Its members build you up. You get a mentor. You do 10 basic speeches. You take leadership roles. You run meetings. It brought me out of my shell.

If you’re socially phobic, join Toastmasters. It’s a support group for public speaking. [click to tweet]

But I still didn’t feel like I was showing up to my life. A lack of imagination trapped my personality in my mind and heart.

Until one day, I watched the documentary for a Dane Cook comedy tour.

I thought, “I could do that. I might not be the funniest comedian ever. But I could be better than some of these guys!”

I read 12 books about stand up. I Googled local open mics. But I didn’t go. I wrote for six week. 100 pages of material .Then I realized if I didn’t go public with it soon, I never would.

I started doing stand-up comedy open mics at age 33. Open mics are the Navy Seal Boot Camp of public speaking. If you can survive them, any regular speaking gig becomes a piece of cake. If you get laughs, you have a new weapon in your communications arsenal.

The other lesson in there was:

If you’re an introvert, and want to try something new, read 5 books about it, write 5 pages about it, then do it! [click to tweet]

By the way, only about 90 seconds of my first 100 pages was funny, according to audiences.

How Stand-Up Open Mics Saved My NBC Gig

In June, 2014, I was in Las Vegas to do a keynote for NBC. We rehearsed the introduction and beginning of my speech with the PowerPoint the night before. The next morning they brought me up to much applause, and the PowerPoint promptly didn’t come up.

It was just me onstage staring at 200 TV professionals staring back at me.

I might have stammered or freaked out, but I didn’t. I’d been to boot camp.

I started doing my PG-13 rated stand up jokes. They laughed. I entertained them until the PowerPoint came on. They cheered and we all felt like winners.

It wasn’t just a momentary victory. The audience was on my side and loved me for prevailing over that cataclysm. The meeting planner who’d hired me apologized afterward. I said, “No, you don’t need to apologize. That was awesome!”

It was awesome because I handled it. Stand-up open mics saved my professional life.

How To Sell As An Introvert

But I’m still an introvert. I still produce my most valuable work alone. I sometimes don’t feel completely myself when I’m being social. I’m sure some of you understand that.

Having to be social for more than a couple hours tires me out. “Alone time” recharges me.

I have a small digital marketing agency and I’m the rainmaker. I have to sell. But I’m an introvert.

Most of my life, I felt like a misfit. And doing normal employee-type work was no different. At the average job, I felt like a pretender. Or the rebel high school kid who’s always trying to avoid the principal- in the form of the boss. It wasn’t the right situation for me.

I felt like I would die if I had to do that kind of work forever. I needed my own business to have the freedom in which I would thrive.

I wanted to work freelance. I tried to do that twice and failed. I kept having to get a job because I couldn’t get enough clients.

Then, at my last regular job, I built the inbound marketing department for an agency in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I finally developed the skills and connections to go out on my own.

In fact, they gently pushed me out with a severance. It was what I needed to launch.

The short version of the story is that it worked.

A review of our new clients over the last three years showed us that most of our business comes from people I’ve met at conferences. And much of that relationship-building begins in social media for me. I use digital tactics to sell our services as much as possible before I talk to anyone on the phone or in person.

I don’t like to “sell myself” in person, so it’s harder to meet new people if they don’t know anything about me. Even when it’s a peer conference I’m speaking at, it’s not as easy for me to mingle until after I’ve spoken.

After I’ve spoken, I feel seen and heard. Then I can mingle with confidence.

I use Twitter and Facebook to make contact and build a connection with people before we meet in person. I set up meetings and dinners ahead of time.

If you’re socially phobic and going to a social function, try to make connections with some of them via social networking first. Then show up. [click to tweet]

I’ve met people via mutual friends on Facebook, messaged with them, then chatted on the phone. The phone chat makes you real to them. It’s a solid start to your relationship. It’s much stronger than computer chats are.

I think this is getting better as the years go by. I’ve solidified my reputation through blogging, writing books, speaking, and networking at conferences. There’s less chance I’ll get anxious and retreat into my shell.

My struggle with this surprises people. That’s a testament to the people and organizations that have helped me.

If you’re an introvert and have to sell, use social networking to connect people who could refer business to you. [click to tweet]

And please, if you have any struggles with this, feel free to reach out to me.