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7 Lessons Dogs Taught Me About Social Media & Internet Marketing

briconeI don’t think people are dogs. But we do share some similar cognitive patterns. So, yes you can learn to be a better marketer from your dog. And hey, maybe just maybe if your business relationships are crazy, you should get a dog and learn something!

1. Watch & Adjust

Dogs have a ten-second long memory. To train them, you have to watch constantly so you can respond to what they do right away- or they have no idea what you’re talking about. Similarly, you need to keep an eye on your analytics.

  • What does your heat map look like?
  • What parts of your website are working?
  • What are people doing after hitting various landing pages?

And you can’t just post in social and then forget about those posts. Tweets are available in the average stream for maybe five minutes max. Most Facebook post interaction happens within 30 minutes. So you can look almost immediately and find out whether it’s working or not. That how we do it when we create Facebook posts for companies.

  • What social posts do they like and share?
  • Which ones do they dislike and ignore?

Pay attention and change course as needed. Do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.

This guy figured out how to cuddle with lions by watching and adjusting!

2. Do Something Exciting

enhanced-29522-1403890053-13I used to be super shy and boring. I grew up speaking monotone. I identified with my basset hound and Eeyore was my spirit animal. But learning improv, you have to sometimes pretend to be more excited than you actually are. Turns out, people respond to that whether it’s fake or not! Sometimes I would practice my stand up comedy bits around my dogs, and when I was more enthusiastic, they got into it, getting up, wagging their tails, jumping on me. And they don’t understand that many words, so it wasn’t my wit. Happy tone of voice, high volume, and positive emotion stimulate us on an unconscious level. Facebook is positive because there’s no dislike button. You should be positive, too! People pay for solutions not problems. Sometimes they pay for hope. Also, EVENTS are exciting- even online- event trumps evergreen. More people will give you their email for a webinar they might not attend than for an ebook they might not read. Think about it! If your business needs more leads or an ebook- check us out.

3. Watch What You Do In Their Eyes

dog-watching-tv-o1Dogs are always watching. They try to follow a command because you moved your arms a certain way that goes with that command- even though you weren’t thinking about it. They do the thing they think you wanted and get no reward and that leads to “extinction”- they stop doing it. People may stop doing what you’ve trained them to do if the reward disappears. People always see what you’re doing. That time you ranted political on Facebook? That affected their perception of you. The time you make that off-color joke? That may have turned a bunch of people off. In social media you are always on stage. You may want to think about your persona- if it’s not effective, it might not be intentional and consistent enough.

4. Give And Receive Affection

10557344_10203376617311037_214472521835534640_nI work upstairs. The dogs live downstairs. I go downstairs several times a day, and every time I go down, it’s like Christmas for them. They want to lick my face. They want to jump on me. Dang, I’m a pretty awesome dude then, huh? Especially in social media, telling people you like them is powerful. Show them that you see them by reflecting their interests and values. We all want to be seen and to be loved. Be genuine, be grateful, and express it.

5. Always Reward Them

XlEBLgwYou have to give dogs treats to reward their behavior- then they do those things more often. When we’re inside the house, a piece of dog food is enough, but when we’re outside walking, there are too many distractions and we have to give them the tastier treats. Similarly, when there are more distractions online, you have to be more compelling. Where might that happen? Say in the… Facebook newsfeed? What are some rewards we give people online?

  • Useful, clear, succinct info that helps them achieve a goal – You give them value by telling them how to achieve something
  • Likes on comments – Why do I often like every comment on my posts? I’m happy that they’re participating. I don’t want to play favorites.
  • Favorites on retweets of my tweets – that’s a way to say thanks!

Once customers have already opted into your email or social, they’ll respond okay to weak positive feedback- but to get attention or opt-in initially, you have to give higher value rewards. For example:

  • 10Strangers need high value rewards: People who don’t really know you- they’re distracted, like dogs outside- to get their Facebook page like or their email, promise them something valuable for free, like a useful blog post or a free lead magnet
  • List members and fans will like for a lower value reward: People who follow you in social media- a like doesn’t cost them much, so you can get that by just creating a post that echos their values or beliefs.
  • Fans and followers need high value items if you want a share: Shares are more expensive, because it has to fit their sense of identity and make them look good and be valuable to their friends or followers.
  • To get people to buy, you have to give them something worth at least as much as the cost of the item. In business, it helps if the value seems to be 10-20 times the cost. For example, if I sell you something you really believe could make you or your business $10,000 in revenue, you are more likely to pay $500 to $1,000 for it. Don’t forget too that what they have to do (e.g. installing a CRM or learning and executing your teaching) is also a cost to them which will affect their perception of whether the buy looks like a deal.
  • Buyers need bonuses and they need you to over-deliver if you want to be sure they’re satisfied and will be loyal. Social media itself can serve as a bonus to your customers if you’re giving them value for free.

A lot of what we do for clients, whether with Facebook or Google ads, is make sure the action point is there, and sometimes create more reasons for prospects to contact you and buy.

6. Ask For What You Want

21I was very tentative when learning to command our last set of dogs- “Hey, Brad, listen buddy, hey, if you want to maybe think about coming over here, then that might be really cool…” Obviously they don’t respond well to that. Dogs need short, clear and consistent commands. And people like that kind of clarity, too. In online marketing, you should always know what you want people to do at every step. Ask them to do one thing. Be clear. This is called a “call to action”. Ask for only one thing, because the more things you ask for, the more likely it is they’ll do nothing. That’s why we use “squeeze pages” for lead generation. There is only one option on a squeeze page, and we’re trying to “squeeze” most of its visitors through that action into the next segment in the marketing funnel. You get more results when you ask for just one specific thing. What happens when you don’t squeeze them? Let’s say you send them to your website’s contact page and there are 20 other thing they could click on. Chances are fewer people will do what you want. Cost per lead goes up. That’s bad. Our goal is always to lower clients’ cost per sale and cost per lead.

7. Have Clear Boundaries

Some of your dog’s behaviors are ok and some aren’t. Most likely, you want to potty train them- but other behaviors (like should they be allowed on the couches or to sleep in your bed) are personal decisions. Whatever you decide, be consistent- encourage what you like and discourage the rest. We train people how to treat us, whether we intend to or not. For example, a lot of new consultants will complain that people don’t value their time. When someone asks them to lunch to “pick their brain”, they say yes. Then, for free 29(or for a meal that’s nowhere near expensive as their fee), they answer questions they should be paid to answer. By doing that, you’re training people not to value your feedback very much. Say no. Set a boundary. Here’s how I do it: I don’t phone with any prospective client for more than 15 minutes for free. After that, they’ve seen our services and fees, and they either pay for consulting time or invest in one of our services. Those are the only options. If they don’t like that, they can go try to pick another consultant’s brain for free :-)

Finally…

7Never forget: I don’t think it’s cool to teach dogs to shake hands… because they have no idea what they’re agreeing to. Like, my dog’s car payment is RIDICULOUS.

Why Your Dog Can Teach You Marketing

briconeI don’t think people are dogs. But we do share some similar cognitive patterns. So, yes you can learn to be a better marketer from your dog. And hey, maybe just maybe if your business relationships are crazy, you should get a dog and learn something!

1. Watch & Adjust

Dogs have a ten-second long memory. To train them, you have to watch constantly so you can respond to what they do right away- or they have no idea what you’re talking about. Similarly, you need to keep an eye on your analytics.

  • What does your heat map look like?
  • What parts of your website are working?
  • What are people doing after hitting various landing pages?

And you can’t just post in social and then forget about those posts. Tweets are available in the average stream for maybe five minutes max. Most Facebook post interaction happens within 30 minutes. So you can look almost immediately and find out whether it’s working or not. That how we do it when we create Facebook posts for companies.

  • What social posts do they like and share?
  • Which ones do they dislike and ignore?

Pay attention and change course as needed. Do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.

This guy figured out how to cuddle with lions by watching and adjusting!

2. Do Something Exciting

enhanced-29522-1403890053-13I used to be super shy and boring. I grew up speaking monotone. I identified with my basset hound and Eeyore was my spirit animal. But learning improv, you have to sometimes pretend to be more excited than you actually are. Turns out, people respond to that whether it’s fake or not! Sometimes I would practice my stand up comedy bits around my dogs, and when I was more enthusiastic, they got into it, getting up, wagging their tails, jumping on me. And they don’t understand that many words, so it wasn’t my wit. Happy tone of voice, high volume, and positive emotion stimulate us on an unconscious level. Facebook is positive because there’s no dislike button. You should be positive, too! People pay for solutions not problems. Sometimes they pay for hope. Also, EVENTS are exciting- even online- event trumps evergreen. More people will give you their email for a webinar they might not attend than for an ebook they might not read. Think about it! If your business needs more leads or an ebook- check us out.

3. Watch What You Do In Their Eyes

dog-watching-tv-o1Dogs are always watching. They try to follow a command because you moved your arms a certain way that goes with that command- even though you weren’t thinking about it. They do the thing they think you wanted and get no reward and that leads to “extinction”- they stop doing it. People may stop doing what you’ve trained them to do if the reward disappears. People always see what you’re doing. That time you ranted political on Facebook? That affected their perception of you. The time you make that off-color joke? That may have turned a bunch of people off. In social media you are always on stage. You may want to think about your persona- if it’s not effective, it might not be intentional and consistent enough.

4. Give And Receive Affection

10557344_10203376617311037_214472521835534640_nI work upstairs. The dogs live downstairs. I go downstairs several times a day, and every time I go down, it’s like Christmas for them. They want to lick my face. They want to jump on me. Dang, I’m a pretty awesome dude then, huh? Especially in social media, telling people you like them is powerful. Show them that you see them by reflecting their interests and values. We all want to be seen and to be loved. Be genuine, be grateful, and express it.

5. Always Reward Them

XlEBLgwYou have to give dogs treats to reward their behavior- then they do those things more often. When we’re inside the house, a piece of dog food is enough, but when we’re outside walking, there are too many distractions and we have to give them the tastier treats. Similarly, when there are more distractions online, you have to be more compelling. Where might that happen? Say in the… Facebook newsfeed? What are some rewards we give people online?

  • Useful, clear, succinct info that helps them achieve a goal – You give them value by telling them how to achieve something
  • Likes on comments – Why do I often like every comment on my posts? I’m happy that they’re participating. I don’t want to play favorites.
  • Favorites on retweets of my tweets – that’s a way to say thanks!

Once customers have already opted into your email or social, they’ll respond okay to weak positive feedback- but to get attention or opt-in initially, you have to give higher value rewards. For example:

  • 10Strangers need high value rewards: People who don’t really know you- they’re distracted, like dogs outside- to get their Facebook page like or their email, promise them something valuable for free, like a useful blog post or a free lead magnet
  • List members and fans will like for a lower value reward: People who follow you in social media- a like doesn’t cost them much, so you can get that by just creating a post that echos their values or beliefs.
  • Fans and followers need high value items if you want a share: Shares are more expensive, because it has to fit their sense of identity and make them look good and be valuable to their friends or followers.
  • To get people to buy, you have to give them something worth at least as much as the cost of the item. In business, it helps if the value seems to be 10-20 times the cost. For example, if I sell you something you really believe could make you or your business $10,000 in revenue, you are more likely to pay $500 to $1,000 for it. Don’t forget too that what they have to do (e.g. installing a CRM or learning and executing your teaching) is also a cost to them which will affect their perception of whether the buy looks like a deal.
  • Buyers need bonuses and they need you to over-deliver if you want to be sure they’re satisfied and will be loyal. Social media itself can serve as a bonus to your customers if you’re giving them value for free.

A lot of what we do for clients, whether with Facebook or Google ads, is make sure the action point is there, and sometimes create more reasons for prospects to contact you and buy.

6. Ask For What You Want

21I was very tentative when learning to command our last set of dogs- “Hey, Brad, listen buddy, hey, if you want to maybe think about coming over here, then that might be really cool…” Obviously they don’t respond well to that. Dogs need short, clear and consistent commands. And people like that kind of clarity, too. In online marketing, you should always know what you want people to do at every step. Ask them to do one thing. Be clear. This is called a “call to action”. Ask for only one thing, because the more things you ask for, the more likely it is they’ll do nothing. That’s why we use “squeeze pages” for lead generation. There is only one option on a squeeze page, and we’re trying to “squeeze” most of its visitors through that action into the next segment in the marketing funnel. You get more results when you ask for just one specific thing. What happens when you don’t squeeze them? Let’s say you send them to your website’s contact page and there are 20 other thing they could click on. Chances are fewer people will do what you want. Cost per lead goes up. That’s bad. Our goal is always to lower clients’ cost per sale and cost per lead.

7. Have Clear Boundaries

Some of your dog’s behaviors are ok and some aren’t. Most likely, you want to potty train them- but other behaviors (like should they be allowed on the couches or to sleep in your bed) are personal decisions. Whatever you decide, be consistent- encourage what you like and discourage the rest. We train people how to treat us, whether we intend to or not. For example, a lot of new consultants will complain that people don’t value their time. When someone asks them to lunch to “pick their brain”, they say yes. Then, for free 29(or for a meal that’s nowhere near expensive as their fee), they answer questions they should be paid to answer. By doing that, you’re training people not to value your feedback very much. Say no. Set a boundary. Here’s how I do it: I don’t phone with any prospective client for more than 15 minutes for free. After that, they’ve seen our services and fees, and they either pay for consulting time or invest in one of our services. Those are the only options. If they don’t like that, they can go try to pick another consultant’s brain for free :-)

Finally…

7Never forget: I don’t think it’s cool to teach dogs to shake hands… because they have no idea what they’re agreeing to. Like, my dog’s car payment is RIDICULOUS.

The 12 Good, Bad and Ugly Things About
Facebook Marketing in 2016

UPDATED FOR 2016! More tips added… and one of the BAD things is now a GOOD thing!

goodbaduglyfacebook

I had an email subscriber reply to my latest post about Facebook reply to me, “As much as I’m a fan, and have been for a long time, I’m starting to wonder if I can trust you. You never say anything negative about Facebook… I’m a fan of factual and logical articles, as opposed to the Avinash Kaushik cheerleader approach.

I admit, I am not a headline-grubbing attack-writer… that’s how some writers get attention. And I know that it’s popular to attack Facebook right now. But I’ve never been a trend follower, unless it makes sense to me.

I do not say everything about Facebook is good. I never have. I am more likely to disparage (without naming names) gurus and companies that recommend Facebook strategies that don’t work as well as others. I was never big on Facebook tabs, while some companies based their monetization strategies around them. I wasn’t surprised when Facebook diminished their role in the ecosystem. I’ve always recommended advertising as part of your Facebook strategy… so I feel like I’ve been ahead of the curve and balanced in my assessment of Facebook and its options for about four years now. To be fair, you would have had to read all my articles everywhere and my books and ebooks to get that.

Facebook is transformative for all of us- it teaches you that the positive, constructive approach (which can sound like cheerleading, I suppose?) works better than the negative one. It’s an interesting topic- I am about to go present to NBC Affiliate TV station Creative Directors, and they are on the front lines of the news vs. social media struggle… which, if we want to be reductive, is negativity vs. positivity… exemplified by Local man mug shots vs. cats, dogs and bacon.

Also, my focus is exclusively about how to get results from Facebook as a marketing platform. You’ll never see me talk about a Facebook Security issue, because that’s more of a user issue, if it really is an issue.

I think the real problem is that Facebook is easy to do poorly- and many businesses don’t put enough time and training into it. So they feel like they’ve wasted their money. They probably have, because the companies that don’t succeed with Facebook marketing are lukewarm about it and go with half-measures. They don’t allocate enough time or money to it. They shut their brains off when they hear anything too complicated about how to get results. I’m still trying to make Facebook marketing more simple and more certain than it is- but there’s only so far you can go. There’s only so much of the learning curve we can short-cut.

The information about how to get results with Facebook is out there- if you haven’t found it or learned it, don’t blame Facebook for your lack of results. BOOM! :-)

So here’s a list for you… the good, the bad and the ugly. And let’s do that in reverse order, since in order to be credible I have to attack one of the platforms I recommend? Yep, that was sarcasm :-D

Facebook: The Ugly

  • No customer support for companies they haven’t identified as strategically important.
  • Some companies sunk a ton of money into fans, assuming (even though it has never been the case and Facebook never promised this) that they would always be able to reach those fans for free. Emails are more valuable than Facebook fans.
  • If you don’t know what you’re doing, you can waste a ton of advertising money and not get any profits. This is also true about Twitter, and to a lesser extent AdWords and Bing. (LinkedIn is just hard to even get a lot of clicks from.)
  • Facebook traffic won’t show accurately in Google Analytics without URL parameters, and you have to do custom javascript to track conversions if you’re using Facebook Connect to get leads.

Facebook: The Bad

  • There is a sharp learning curve for Facebook marketing, even if you already know how to do other types of digital marketing well. Facebook is a different medium, so you will have to market and communicate differently on it than other platforms. The ad platform is quite different from AdWords and Bing. One way I address that is with my Social Marketing Profits course.
  • Facebook marketing requires even a professional at least 5-10 hours a week of work, if you’re doing best practices. That includes time for advertising, posting and customer analysis.
  • Not every business gets satisfying results from marketing on Facebook. (But this is also true of AdWords, Bing, Twitter, LinkedIn- and every marketing option…)

Facebook: The Good

  • Biggest social media platform in the Western world- over 1.5 billion potential customers for you to reach. TV-sized reach. In many countries, more than 50% of the population uses Facebook.
  • Advertising with the most sophisticated targeting we’ve ever seen (infinitely better ad targeting than TV or radio). Even B2B targeting like job titles are available. In the U.S. you can also target people by income, net worth, home value, lines of credit and more.
  • Costs are 32x more affordable than TV or radio, and you can start for just $1 a day. Super-smart for businesses who can’t afford the huge TV ad campaigns. And Facebook is the ONLY ad platform that rewards you financially for finding your customer’s passions. When you find the right targeting, images and ad messaging your costs plummet and your profits skyrocket. This is a major reason Facebook gets the lion’s share of companies’ social advertising budgets.
  • Facebook is fundamentally positive, with no dislike button, so major PR problems are less likely to happen on Facebook than any other social platform. You can block people who prove they are troublemakers and aren’t good prospects. When you develop a passionate following, your fans will jump to your defense against online critics.
  • Facebook gives you the ability to learn more about your customers than you’ve ever known, which means you’ll be able to do all your marketing in all channels, even traditional ones, better than you could before. Audience Insights gives you over $10k in market research info for free.
  • I MOVED THIS FROM THE BAD CATEGORY TO GOOD. Facebook changes its features frequently. Any programmer can push things live. They’re trying to be agile and improve performance based on data, but users hate change and unhappy people sometimes are more vocal than happy ones. Still, one reason Facebook has succeeded more than other social platforms is that they try a lot of new features and offerings to help businesses win, and keep what works. That means the Swiss Army knife of marketing that is Facebook occasionally gets some new cool tools. If you’re already there, if you’ve invested the time and money to get it to work for your business, it’s easy to use the new things too.

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 Facebook Marketing Is So Freaking Hard For Small Businesses

vincesuccessyellowI think Facebook is the most amazing marketing platform in history.

Google is pretty good too. And better for getting the low hanging fruit… sales in the door. But Google doesn’t work for everything and is too expensive for a lot of things.

You may have already read my post on the Moz blog “Why Every Business Should Spend at Least $1 per Day on Facebook Ads” – it got around the Internet quite a bit.

The essence of that argument was – $1 will help you reach 4,000 people.

Any business can be helped by that kind of exposure.

And if you don’t have $1/day to spend on it, you shouldn’t be in business.

Recently I was looking at a post Facebook has “promoted” (are they really charging themselves money?) with their Facebook For Business page… and it has a lot of comments from naysayers about ads.

I thought it was a little bit ironic- because some Facebook pages would delete or hide comments like that- either they’re not monitoring the comments, or they are tolerating them while trying to continue to educate.

A lot of people are still very unhappy that they spent money to grow fan bases and now need to boost their posts to reach them. 

I can’t completely agree with those people, because we warned people this was an issue back in June of 2011.

This isn’t news. Not even remotely.

You’re way behind the times.

businesscatstaylateBut it’s a sign of a much larger problem in digital marketing: most businesses, especially small businesses, are at least two years behind the times.

In the old days (the 1990’s), it was ok to be 3-5 years behind.

But online, two years is like 20 years.

The real problem with Facebook marketing is that it’s too complicated for the average business to do well.

Maybe that will change.

Maybe small businesses will get better at understanding their fans. And using analytics. And testing tons of ads.

This is nothing new either. Small businesses struggled for a decade to get profits out of Google AdWords. Not because it was impossible. Because it was hard. And complicated.

Google ads are complicated, and have gotten more so.

Facebook ads are three times as complicated as Google ads.

Because there are some serious paradigm shifts required. I don’t even feel like I can list them in brief here. That’s how complicated.

Everything in The Like Economy is still good strategy. Read it to learn how to profit with Facebook.

But if you’re a small business, I would be very cautious at spending MORE than $1/day on Facebook ads. 

marilynfailsmBe prepared to spend an hour or two every other day on Facebook ads if you want to do them well.

Yes, even for a small account.

Because so much stuff doesn’t work, and you have to keep checking back.

That’s the reality.

It’s a shame there aren’t better answers for small businesses. You have the advantage of agility, but you need to be able to conquer tech learning curves, too.

Depressing, isn’t it?

The only thing I can think of is a weekly Q&A video hangout for small businesses– if you’re interested in paying for something like that, use the contact form to reach out to me. If we get enough interest, I’ll put it together!