Sue Grabowski joins me again as we discuss how to approach social media.

With all of the negative press about social media, trends and attitudes are changing quickly. How can businesses react and approach this dynamic, yet volatile channel?

Facebook’s changes have exposed social media for what they are – ad platforms!  Because they have to make money, their product is people. Of course, people’s data is a significant means to target – and that level of targeting is both amazing and frightening.

So, how do you create a content strategy that incorporates these dynamic changes, but yet provides valuable information to your customers? 

Finally, Sue and Matt explore practical business uses of social media and challenges to agencies providing social media services.

Transcript:

Sue: Let’s take it back old school. If you’re going to direct mail something, right, you’re setting it to an audience at a particular address with certain demographics and you’re expecting them to react to that content and do something with it, go somewhere, attend an event, call somewhere, go online, whatever it is. Businesses don’t treat Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram in the same way. They’re like sending it out to the masses instead of understanding there is an audience to which you’re sending that message and you’re wanting them to take particular actions. And with these kind of platforms, we actually have the ability to be more granular than we were in direct mail and you’re ignoring—you’re ignoring that when you’re saying it’s Tuesday afternoon, I don’t think we posted in a while. 

IntroductionWelcome to the Endless Coffee Cup, a regular discussion of marketing news, culture and media for our complex digital lifestyle. Join Matt Bailey as he engages in conversation to find insights beyond the latest headlines and deeper understanding for those involved in marketing. Grab a cup of coffee, have a seat and thanks for joining. 

MattHello everyone, welcome to another podcast, the Endless Coffee Cup. Thanks for joining us and I hope you got a good cup of coffee because we got a great discussion today and Sue Grabowski is back with us again. 

SueHi, Matt. 

MattIn the studio. Hi, Sue. Glad you could make it. 

SueI’m glad I could be here. 

MattReunited.  

SueI’m not going to go into that song like, you know. 

MattI know. Yeah, we’ve had enough of those this morning. But Sue is back to talk a little bit about social media and especially from a business to business standpoint. With all the recent changes of algorithms, advertising, as well as some of the negative press especially for Facebook. Where does social media stand with business to business marketing. So, I think it’s a great topic for today and I think a lot of other people have the same question that getting into social media is something from a corporate standpoint, someone needs to handle. 

SueSomebody really should, unfortunately, many of our clients, I find don’t handle it. They handle is haphazardly so they’ve got a presence but they don’t maintain it and then as they look at all of their strategies, they go, “Well, we need to do something about that.” 

MattRight, yeah. 

SueBut they really don’t know what or who to assign and they don’t have resources, they also don’t want to necessarily pony up the dough for outside resources. 

MattYup. 

SueAnd yet with all of the hits that Facebook has taken, it’s still is this platform that’s checked daily by people and then you have LinkedIn and Instagram and— 

MattWell the revenue continues to go up. 

SueIt does. 

MattI mean despite all of this, I mean if the advertising didn’t work, people wouldn’t be spending it there. 

SueExactly it. And Facebook’s real angle is data and knowing who’s on it. 

MattSorry. That coffee is still really hot. 

SueBig swig. That needs to, yeah, cool a little bit. 

MattIt is Endless Coffee Cup. 

SueIt’s really tasty.  

MattYes, thank you. It’s—yeah, oh yeah, as I said, it is Endless Coffee Cup and this is a Colombian blend. I wish I remember the name of it. But yeah, doing a French Press today. 

SueIt’s tasty. 

MattThank you. And it’s hot. It just— 

SueIt burned his mouth out. 

MattBurned my mouth out. Okay, on social media, yeah, it’s—I always tell people, if it’s a Tuesday afternoon at 3:00 and all of a sudden, somebody realizes, “Oh, we haven’t updated Facebook.” 

SueRight. 

MattThat means you don’t have a strategy. 

SueThat’s correct.  

MattAnd it also means you need to get it together because if that is your approach, “Oh, we just need to update.” 

SueRight. 

MattThen you’re thinking about it completely wrong. It should be a complete package of your communications. 

SueRight. It is a component and there’s subcomponents within that. So if you’re just posting, to your point, especially with the algorithm changes where business content is being relegated secondarily to personal content. 

MattRight 

SueYou’re not going to get seen anyway. So if you’re just feeding the beast, just to feed the beast, it’s going to fall flat and at some point when some power that be says, “What’s going on, on our Facebook page,” and or “Why are we not getting any more engagement,” or “Why, you know,” that’s—that mentality will get you into a bad spot.  

[05:00] 

MattAbsolutely. It’s—and part of that I think is, you know, Facebook’s seen as a consumer platform, a free platform. People have been conditioned lately I think to think about the boosting of the post but again, handling it organically and just putting information out there. Again, you’re not thinking it as part of the whole. 

SueThe whole strategy. 

MattLike what else are you doing online? 

SueRight. 

MattWhat other types of marketing are you doing online. It’s not just that you have to have a primarily Facebook strategy. 

SueRight, right.  

MattIf I’m doing webinars for lead generation, I use Facebook to drive people to that webinar. But I have to have that, what am I going to use as bait to get them there. 

SueRight. Then after the webinar, you want to drive them back to Facebook— 

MattRight. 

SueTo stay engaged with you, I mean, hopefully they left your webinar feeling energized and really interested in what is it you’re talking about, whether it’s a product or service or whatever and they want to find out more. So, there is a frontend aspect and a backend aspect to that and really a lot of our clients are really just treating it as, “We just need to have some content out there.”  

MattYeah. 

SueAnd they’re not understanding there is an audience to reach, like you would send—let’s take it back old school. If you’re going to direct mail something, right, which still has viability, it really does if it’s done well.  

MattAbsolutely. Yes. 

SueBut you’re setting it to an audience at a particular address with certain demographics and you’re expecting them to or wanting them to react to that content and do something with it. You know, go somewhere, attend an event, call somewhere, go online whatever it is. And you would go through that exercise. Businesses don’t treat Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, in the same way. They’re like sending it out to the masses instead of understanding there is an audience to which you’re sending that message. 

MattRight. 

SueAnd you’re wanting them to take particular actions. And with these kind of platforms, we actually have the ability to be more granular than we were in direct mail and you’re ignoring—you’re ignoring that when you’re just saying it’s Tuesday afternoon. I don’t think we posted in a while. 

MattYeah. Well in that’s where I’m glad Facebook has made the changes that it has in the algorithm to reduce the amount of free visibility because now Facebook essentially has become what it is. It is an advertising platform.  

SueIt is an advertising platform. 

MattIf you are using the free component and relying upon that free component to get engagements, customers, leads, sorry. You know, now, you’ve got to pay to play. And if you’re going to pay to play, take a few moments and educate yourself about what’s available because I have to tell you, what’s available paid on Facebook is a hundred times better than just making a post and boosting it. 

SueOh, it is. It kind of curls my toes, it does. 

MattAbsolutely. 

SueBecause— 

MattOh, I tell people all the time as a marketer, I love this depth of data. As a private citizen, a parent, it kind of freaks me out. 

SueIt’s kind of scary how truly how microscopic you can get on who you’re targeting down to a street, down to a household, down to, I mean the preferences, it’s unbelievable. But what also is great, you can create audiences with all these different factors, you can try things out with them and if it’s not flying, you can nimbly switch over to something else. Either change demographics or change your whole add campaign or change the purpose of your ad campaign. Facebook has different purposes for its ad campaigns. So everything from engagement to lead generation, to just awareness and exposure. So you can tailor, but you really got to look in, I mean there is some deep, deep dive that goes on there and it’s one of the things we invested in our firm is having Facebook certified ad buyers who understand the data munchop that happens, that’s a technical term, the munchop. And our clients, because anybody can buy Facebook ads. If you have a business on there, really anybody can buy a Facebook ad. But knowing what you’re doing with that ad and making it really generate what it is you’re trying to achieve, that requires some insight, some knowledge and time. 

MattAbsolutely. That’s one thing that fascinates me and really just to get to the level of what you can do on Facebook, and I told Sue about this earlier, so if I wanted to target a Hispanic audience that was young, 20s, maybe a recent college graduate, they own a car and they just moved to a new neighborhood and entered into a relationship, I can target to that level— 

[10:00] 

SueThat person. 

MattAnd that person 

SueThat person. 

MattWhoever fits that, you know, it’s like a menu that I want that, I want that, I want that, I want that. That’s the type of person. Then, you have to think about the psychology of that person. Obviously, if you’re targeting that deeply, you’ve got an idea. 

SueRight. 

MattYou think about the psychology of that person, what you’re trying to position to them and now you have to develop the creative to focus on that person to get their attention and so yeah, it’s not, I’m just going to buy ads. 

SueNo. 

MattIt’s no, who are you—it comes back to what we’ve talked about before. Who’s your audience, what’s the message. 

SueWhat’s the message. That’s—it’s the foundation for everything. 

MattRight. 

SueBut how that message then gets conveyed to that audience. Right now we know that video plays better. Even in the ads space, you can create emotion in your ads. We like things that move because we have no attention span.  

MattYes. 

SueSo, if it’s moving, I might stop on it. But, so there’s the time spent trying to narrow down the audience and targeting that Then there’s the time spent building the creative. Which can be done, it can be done economically and quickly but there’s still time involve there and you have to almost like A, B, C, D testing. 

MattRight. 

SueBecause you put out this ad and you go, you can almost instantly as it’s being served up if people are jiving to it. If they’re not, you want to switch to platform B so the creation of that and the management of that, once you get into the groove, it’s great. But there is expertise that’s required to do it well.  

MattAnd like you said, once you get the experience, then you can, you can eliminate a lot of the testing after you have the experience. 

SueRight. 

MattBecause you can read the data and know how to respond. With these digital campaigns, this whole concept of doing a campaign and now it’s executed and we’ll see how it runs. Know with the speed of digital marketing right now, like you said, you know in a day. You’ve got certain benchmarks that you can measure and hit. And part of this I think is understanding how KPI’s, like impressions— 

SueRight. Reading the dashboard seem to know that’s— 

MattYeah.. So if you’re reporting impressions. 

SueBig whoop. 

MattOkay. Now, let’s look at click through rate. And then, but can you tell me how impressions relates to click through rate. That’s where the experience is if I see, compared to past campaigns, I have too low of impressions, what am I supposed to do with that? If I have too many impressions and not enough click throughs, what can I do? And I think that’s where people forget. It’s a performance indicator. What is it indicating? 

SueRight. Then there’s the conversion factor. 

MattAbsolutely. 

SueSo there’s, you know, you could, if you’re setting up something where there is supposed to be a conversion, and again, you got to be able to follow that conversion through. So if you’re selling a product or service whereby they’re going to go to a different site, leave Facebook to go buy something or do something. One of the things that people do not—our businesses don’t know is there are ways to track what happens from the Facebook engagement, all the way through the sale. But that involves some coding that needs to be embedded on whatever site it is that you’re sending them to. And so often times we’ve had clients that have bought their own ads, they have some data metrics like you’re talking about and then they go, but we didn’t get any conversions. If they don’t even know whether they hopped over. They don’t know they clicked through but they don’t know if that produced a sale. And so you have to think holistically. Again, before, during and after the sale and after the ad. And again, what is your target there? Is it a conversion, is it an  actual product sale or is it that we do need to get some more likes to our page because we are just starting out or we’ve been stagnant for a while so that we can build up some traffic so that our post could be seen more often. So there’s a building approach to all of it as well. You can’t just—well you can, that’s the whole thing, you can do any of this. But it doesn’t mean you’re going to do it well. 

MattRight, right. And I like how you said, holistically that it’s a process and it’s not just an ad. 

SueNo. 

MattAnd so the process is, I need visibility. Now I have creative. The creative has a call to action. Is that call to action strong enough? Is it worded correctly? Because I’m driving them to a landing page.  

[15:00] 

 Now is the landing page, is it worded correctly, is it displayed correctly? Am I getting people to follow the action there? After the landing page, your conversion or sale, then what do they see? Now how do I follow up? Do I follow up email, do I follow up, you know, back on Facebook? Both. Now if they don’t convert, but they come to my landing page, am I going to re-target them? You know, so it’s the entire holistic process of lead generation. It starts with that ad of getting the right audience. And so, yeah, like you said, I can buy an ad. But am I thinking long-term?  

 When I teach I tell my students, I don’t care if they convert that landing page because just by the fact that getting them to the landing page, now the fun starts. 

SueThey’ve demonstrated interest. 

MattYeah. Now I can re-target them anywhere I want because they have my cookie, I can do whatever what. Now the fun starts. Now we can see what it’s going to take for them to come back. What message, what offer. And you can try all kinds of things but you’ve got to be thinking in that longterm lead generation or that long-term process. 

SueIf anyone gets into the Facebook ad dashboard as a newbie, right. Come in as a newb and you start messing around. You get bedazzled very quickly. So you buy an ad and then they serve up to you how many impressions they had. That’s not wrong, you’re getting that many impressions but to your point about KPI’s. Does that get you what you want? 

MattRight. 

SueAnd it’s easy to go, I can buy this myself because look at all the impressions I got or look at all the views I got on this video or whatever it was. But if they don’t take any actions with it then it’s going to fall flat. But anybody can do this. I remember saying this for the record, go to it. It doesn’t mean you’re going to do it well and you may not think through all that you need to think through to have it generate what you need to actually report to your supervisor, your manager to the sea suite in particular because they’ll see that as an investment of your time and you need to be able to produce a return on that. 

MattAnd it’s the same for LinkedIn, you know, that I can filter through what time of professional audience I want. 

SueCorrect.

MattServe them an ad, what am I doing now. And I’ve talked to so any people that they do LinkedIn campaigns but they don’t do any re-targeting. You’ve drove them to a landing page. And the thing is, and this is really traditional with LinkedIn. You can get good impressions, good click throughs but when it comes to conversions on a LinkedIn campaign, notoriously low compared to any other campaign. Why do you give up there because you’ve defined the audience, they’re interested enough to click through and now you don’t follow-up with a retargeting campaign and I brought this up to a business and you would have thought I discovered gold in their conference room because I just, why don’t you re-target them. It just—it never occurred that can combine 2 different advertising technologies. 

SueAnd LinkedIn is kind of its own beast, you know. The users are different, the expectations are different. We’ve counseled our clients very differently on LinkedIn. In fact, we have a lot of clients who’d come to us said, We want a company LinkedIn page. We want to start posting from it and our advise to them is not to do that. Have the company page. People can see who worked with you and you can share things out of there. But have an expert from your company post blog post on LinkedIn. And then, they will automatically be associated with that company. But it’s about the people. On LinkedIn it’s about the knowledge base and the people. So from an organic perspective it’s way different obviously from Facebook but again, you can’t apply the same filters and techniques to each platform. Instagram’s a whole different story. And so when you say social media still to this day most of our clients just say that to Facebook. And we’re saying, “No, we need to think about it all the way around.” Especially if you’re b to b, you got to think about it and all those. And I also still have clients that are like what we don’t need to do it because we’re b to b and so we don’t need to be on Facebook. I’m like well, you’re on Facebook because I’m friends with you on Facebook and I know that you check it and you’re on it because I saw you fishing last weekend and they’re like, Well yeah. So you’re in the sea suite. There’s lots of other folks in the sea suite that are doing the same thing. I just—it’s just funny to me this far into it that we still are combating some of those kind of arguments.  

MattYeah, it’sI think it’s still perceived like this free service that lets me talk to people 

[20:00] 

And maybe a lot of people just are unaware of the power of the ads that they see in their newsfeed and why those ads—maybe because those ads are so highly targeted now. 

SueYeah. 

MattThat you don’t think anything of it. 

SueI think, yeah. I mean, people notice it especially the re-targeted stuff. They’d be like, wait a minute. I was just talking about that, you know, it’s a little scary. But really the narrow targeting, it’s working very well for us in the recruiting space for some of our clients that we’re not having as good a luck on some of the traditional recruiting sites because we can take their employee base and create look-alike audience based on the demographics on an ideal candidate for those positions and it’s very subtle and so you don’t really know why you’re suddenly getting an ad for from this company or for this kind of position. It’s pretty fascinating and I just—and for the price, the investment. It’s still huge bang for buck. 

MattYeah. Well the custom audience to explain that if you’re not familiar with the customer audience, you take your list, names and emails, you upload them to Facebook. You can also do this on Google.  

SueYes. 

MattAnd what Facebook will do is match the email addresses of your list to accounts that use the same email address. Now for a consumer-oriented list, you’re probably going to have about a 60 to 70% match on a business to business list you may be around a 40%. 

SueYeah, it’s a lower match on the b to b side for sure. 

MattIt’s—they either have used their business address— 

SueRight. They have personal email. 

MattThen they’ll use a personal for Facebook or if they use the Gmail for everything then you’ve got a match, that type of thing. And then really what Facebook says is that now that’s your custom audience on Facebook which allows you then to—where I’ve seen it do really well is a multi-channel campaign where I’m going to send a direct mail piece, I’m also going to do display ads and you’re the only one who’s going to see those display ads because you’re in my list, you’re going to see these ads on Facebook and you’re going to get an email all on the same day or period of days, you’re going to get this multi-channel campaign because I can find you on all these areas and so I can inundate you with the sale or promotion. Something like that. The downside of it, I’m giving my list to Facebook. 

SueI know. It’s dicey. I know. It’s dicey particularly with—I mean it really is and so you know, often right now we’re just asking clients for common demographic information about target audiences. For some, we’re uploading lists but for others, you know, the other part of me goes, everybody’s  got your list anyway. Everybody’s got your number.  So we’re trying to be respectful of that. But the point is, you could create the demographics stuff, you can get down into the nitty-gritty in social media that you couldn’t. 

MattWell, and what Facebook does with this custom audience is then you can create this what’s called a loo-alike. You want to explain that a little more? 

SueWell just—it takes… So imagine matching up your list and then it then pulls demographic information from the matching list and then it can create look-alike audiences in geographies that match the demography of what you provided. And so then the list that the people that you’re served up to are more likely to fall into that category than others than just picking a region or a you know, an age group. It’s deeper dive because you can see their preferences 

MattIt’s even based on hat kind of sites they browse. 

SueRight. 

MattSo if your audience is typically more of a financially oriented, you know, this is what industry they’re in, this is what sites they go to… 

SuePages they like. 

MattYeah. You know, or types of videos they watch. 

SueYes. 

MattWell then Facebook’s going to go look for people who exhibit that same type of browsing behavior and again, it’s your audience, it targets a group of people who exhibit the same characteristics and behaviors as your current audience. 

SueSo the real question is, you know, is it ethical to upload a list. I mean you have to have permissions obviously but— 

MattNone of my clients in the EU can do this because this is a complete not even with GPR, before GDBR, any of my clients in the EU and some other countries absolutely prohibited to upload a customer’s list to a third party without permission 

[25:00] 

 And so it was just not done. So, in the US—and it’s funny because when I’m in Europe, I’m telling them, “Yeah, in the US. We could do anything. It’s the wild west still. When it comes to marketing, Europeans take a much more conservative measured approach, I wish we did it more here. It’s interesting, that government regulations in Europe are much more aggressive whereas the ad industry here in the US is saying, “Oh, let us regulate ourselves.” You know, the consumer is in the middle and never gets to choose. That’s what I think what the banal is. We as consumers, we have no control over our data, who’s using it, what they’re doing with it. GDPR is a step in that direction and Europe is aggressively going after it. But yeah, even if with that, I can’t upload my list to Facebook or Google and Europe because that’s a mismanagement of what I’ve been entrusted with. 

SuePrivate information. And here is where it comes down to, right, it’s what we said at the beginning. It’s not like, as a marketer, I would be remis to say, this is the only thing you should be doing. It has to be part of your marketing mix and you have to be nimble enough to know that those kinds of restrictions are going to come into play, they will. So you’ve got to think holistically about your entire marketing campaign to your point. Like email is so really powerful and so you can’t substitute one for the other, you know. You really have to—it’s part of the whole mix. And so that needs—you need to treat social media as one component in a strategic plan that includes email marketing, that includes trade shows or whatever association things you go to or business to business sales where you’re actually doing in-person things. Phone calls, I mean you not really  thinking through it, We need to be in social media.” You do need to be on social media and it’s an important component because it’s something all of us check. I also have to say, because you know this is me, if you’re not mobile, you’re out of your flipping mind because— 

MattI’m glad you went there. 

SueI have to because when we’re doing social media campaigns, and that means organic posts and ads. So that means a whole, you know, a spectrum of work on social media. 80-90% of the traffic that leaves social media is coming from mobile because we check social on mobile not on desktop. So if you drive a user from a mobile experience to a non-mobile experience— 

MattLanding pages. 

SueYou’re killing yourself. You got to get mobile and— 

MattI have—Yes, I’ve seen companies do this. Will create a wonderful campaign that’s targeted to mobile and then they drive into a landing page that really only makes sense on a desktop. 

SueOr even if it’s mobile responsive, sometimes you really need to take a look because if I get a scroll with my thumb, a bunch because your responsive site now stacks 50 things before I get to the Buy button. I mean that whole experience but mobile is huge when you’re talking about social because that’s where we check our social. We’re sitting at our kid’s baseball games, we’re sitting at our phones checking social that way. 

MattAnd Google just came out with some research about—So like you said, around 60% of people, mobile first and about 30% of them will then move to desktop. So it’s not even just one device of the 40% of people that start on desktop, most of them move to mobile. And so it’s this interchangeable device we have to think about not just mobile, not just laptop. It’s purely interchangeable that I’m going to look at, you know, how many times do you get an email in your mobile that you’re like, “You know what, I’m going to look at that later when I have time.” And that usually means, sitting in front of my desktop. And I do the same thing. But yeah, I think I delete more email on my mobile. 

SueOh I do. 

MattThan when I’m at the desktop. 

SueWhen I’m at the desktop. For sure. I think because you’re thumbing through it. And so you can more quickly go, no, no, no, no, no. More finnicky with our thumbs than we are sitting—we have, you know. And obviously, web stats play out to be that way you spend you know, longer time on things on desktop than you do on mobile. But our stats are probably higher. But in the ad campaigns that we’ve been running in the last six months, we’ve checked out how much traffic is mobile going from social over where we’re directing, if we’re not directing them back to a page on social. 

[30:00] 

 And it is in between 80 to 90% 

MattOh yeah. 

SueIt’s been nuts.  

MattWell in most of you campaigns right now what I’ve seen and I do this when I’m teaching, I have people they have both devices pulled up on Facebook. On your mobile and your desktop. And you’re going to see more ads on mobile because it’s more effective. That’s how it’s happening.  

SueAnd more impulsive. 

MattYes. 

SueI’m mobile. I’m definitely more impulsive and like my credit card bill will tell you that because I will, (inaudible) “Oh, I like that dress. I’ll buy that now.” 

MattSomeone was telling me, I was out in San Francisco last week and they were saying, more shoes are bought on Caltrain than probably anywhere else in the world. Because she said I’m sitting on a train and everyone around me is shopping for shoes. And she’s like, I think they buy shoes every day. It’s just that, they’re on social and of course, if I know you’re buying shoes from me— 

SueYou’re getting served up on shoes. 

MattI’m going to send you more ads, absolutely.  

SueI just impulsively bought like a swimsuit yesterday because—but I was shopping for them so I get re-target on it, you know and it keeps coming up my feed but it’s—but through my phone and the comfort with which people are buying things on their phone is like, press it on through right now and— 

MattInterfaces are getting better. 

SueYeah. 

MattNow you can do some more pre-filling of fields. That’s one thing every year I look for in the holidays is what we’ve seen the kind of the past 3 years is people will research on mobile but then they move to check out on desktop. And I think a lot of that was just, I need to type it in and I want to make sure I  see everything. 

SueRight. 

MattAnd year by year, little by little, conversions— 

SueGot a lot better 

MattAnd check-outs are increasing on mobile and that’s—it will be interesting to see this year. I’m really… because like I said, interfaces are getting better, processes are getting better. I noticed more autofill’s taking place. So it will be interesting to see when we start getting to a holiday season where 50% of sales are done on mobile and 50% on desktop, that’s going to be a very interesting time because the vast majority of your research and searching is done on mobile. I think it’s high as 70%. But then, the conversion rate would drop down to 30, 35%, around there. But it’s inching up there. It will be interesting to see what happens. 

SueYeah. And social’s going to play a huge part on that. 

MattAbsolutely.  

SueThat’s—we get… I mean Facebook is used as much as a search engine now as you know, as it is a social tool because people type in things there first. So I don’t—I think it will be interesting to see where things go with Facebook and you know, certainly there’ll be new platforms that pop-up. I mean Instagram has just hopped, leaps and bounced ahead of Twitter. We haven’t even mentioned Twitter. We haven’t mentioned it. We haven’t mentioned—do you realize we did not mention it because— 

MattI kind of feel good about that. 

SueI’m just saying it’s not—it is... That was the big thing. So there’s going to be trends but the ideas that we get are personal and news, sorry to say, from these sources, these types of sources is going to continue. So marketers, b to b and b to c need to not ignore them as communication vehicles. They need to be part of it, they need to invest in it. They need to nurture and feed them and understand them or they need to align with the firm that does.  

MattYes. 

SueBecause again, relegating it to the intern, and it still happens all the time, is not the way to treat this any more than you would, any letter going out from your CEO. You are—you’re conveying a brand voice there that needs to be tended.  

MattYeah, so. It’s interesting now because we got a whole new sort of field called content marketing 

SueYes. 

MattWhich I always laugh when I hear that because it’s no—it’s marketing. It’s—anytime you market.  

SueJust throw a moniker in front of it, it sounds more special. 

MattYeah, anytime you market, you—marketing content. I mean let’s be honest. You’re always marketing content. It’s just a matter of whether your content is good or not. And so yeah, I kind of laugh every time they’re like, “Content marketing.” We’ve been doing that for decades, you know. So, but one of the things when I—when we work with the company, it’s, okay let’s come up with what are you, you know, are you doing webinars? Are you creating white papers?  

[35:00] 

 

SueWhat are you doing in email? 

MattWhat are you building? 

SueYeah.  

MattAnd then, so… You know, example we came up with a user guide to, you know, this software, and, okay. If you’re going to put together a user guide, what do you need? We need images, we need—you know what, video. Video would be perfect. Great. Okay, what kinds of video do we need. And we start structuring out what are all the sort of the assets. Video assets, image assets. Now we’re— 

SueWords. 

MattWhat are the content assets we need. Who’s going to write them. And this—now you’re bringing in more technical people, you know, the marketing people are moving out, the technical people are coming in. And then, okay. Now how do we present this? Because we’ve got all these visual assets, we have our words, how do we present them? Well we can put it together  in a big pdf and just give it out to everybody. Great. Because it is a user guide but then how do we take these elements and structure them in  a way to feed them into our social, to feed them into our email, to feed them into LinkedIn, to drive people to download it or to buy. And so you’re creating this huge content asset. You’re using little pieces of it to feed which drive people to a conversion point or to an engagement and lead generation and you’re also using it, you can use the same information to people who are already existing customers in email campaigns. 

SueRight. 

MattYou just keep breaking it in little blocks and then plan. Get a calendar. 

SueIt’s a content strategy. It is.  

MattYeah. I’m amazed at how many people just don’t use a calendar of, you know, okay, so we’re going to put this on the blog and think about how many times a week do we need to add something on the blog? 

SueRight. 

MattWe’re going to do this on Facebook. How many times do we update Facebook in a week and what’s our voice, what should we be doing and I’m amazed at how many people, when I tell them, yeah, every time you’d post on Facebook, you use a link with tracking code. 

SueThat’s right. 

MattYou just don’t publish any link that doesn’t have a tracking code. Email. Facebook, LinkedIn, blog, I don’t care where. 

SueRight. 

MattOtherwise, it never gets tracked 

SueCorrect. 

MattIt never gets measured. It just—it’s this whole like you were talking about, it’s planning. 

SueIt is planning. 

MattHow do we use this? And how do we do it right? 

SueYeah.  

MattLike I said, I’m amazed how many companies don’t have a calendar on the wall. Blog posts goes out 10AM on Tuesdays. It’s about this, these are the assets we need, this is the link. 

SueDown to this month for talking about this thing. 

MattYeah. 

SueAnd we’re going to talk about it this way on each of these platforms. 

MattYeah. 

SueIn our blogs, we’re going to talk about it this way. On Facebook we’re talking about this way. In LinkedIn, you know. Go right down through it and we’re sending an email to clients it’s about this topic. 

MattYeah. 

SueWe’re creating that for clients. You also need a subject matter expert to give you really good— 

MattYes. 

SueLet’s talk about content. Give your really good content. We really need to do this whole thing on content.  

MattOh, yeah. 

SueBecause jeez Louise, I’m going to go off. But you’re right. There’s no calendar and there’s no—there’s no work flow to even—not just even but to check it off the box. And then the back end of that to say, did we—what were the measurements? What were the targets? Who’d we want to hit with this. How many people do we want to read our blog? Who do we want to read our blog?  

MattAnd the problem I think a lot of times is the people that are measuring the campaigns. They’re wishing for people to use these UTM codes, these tracking links. The people posting never think about it. And then they come and say, how did my campaign do? What campaign? No one is on the same page and especially the bigger the organization, the more difficult it is that you’re going to launch this campaign but you never check to see what tracking code to put on the links.  

SueRight. 

MattSo, sorry. You know, the bigger the organization, the more difficult that happens and so—and that’s where, you know, I love these plans that say, we’re going to make this blog post. We need this picture, we need this text, and where’s the tracking code, where’s the landing page. No, let’s define all of these things. 

SueAll the checklist items that are needed. 

MattLet’s have it a week before we need it. 

SueReally? That’s… Cut it out.  

MattWhere is your approval date? 

SueStop.  

MattIt’s, I know. Isn’t that—and you know. It’s funny because I’m sure someone’s listening to this, it’s going, that’s insane. You know, there’s no way that can happen. 

SueOh, no, no, no. 

MattThen continue doing what you’re doing.  

SueYes. 

MattBecause no, this—do you think— 

[40:00] 

Sue:                                Wait a minute. You would think that they’re saying you’re insane because they think that that’s— 

MattToo much work. That it would never happen that way.  

SueOkay because I was thinking that you were thinking, that’s crazy. Of course people have that.  

MattNo. 

SueBecause I was going to say, of course they don’t. 

MattI talked to an enterprise, multi-national company, did—I think it was… I think it was Facebook, drove people to a landing page and then the download was a zip file because what was sent out was in a zip file that should have been unzipped and used as the download. But instead, they put the zip—you know. It just—enterprise level company makes these mistakes. And honestly, the smaller you are, the easier it is to manage. The bigger you are, the more fingers, the more people but someone has to bring some level of accountability of planning, of  approvals that it doesn’t go out unless it meets all this checklist. 

SueYeah. 

MattAnd— 

SueWe’re also playing in this space with some clients that have some franchises.  

MattOh, oh. 

SueIt’s a good face, Matt. Because when you’re talking about putting together a content schedule or you’re trying to manage that, does corporate manage all of the franchise pages or does the franchisee because there’s a local presence there and so there’s a lot of considerations to be made. But ideally, all the franchises we’ll be talking about the same topic in any given month with some local flair. How do we teach them to do that, do we do it for them? It’s probably a whole other… 

MattDid you hear what happened with Burger King during the World Cup? 

SueNo. Oh wait a minute. Yes I did.  

MattBurger King Russia.  

SueYes, I did hear that. 

MattOffered money and I think free— 

SueFree whoppers? 

MattFree whoppers if you had a child of a soccer player? And so of course, Burger King, you know, comes in and like, no. But there’s an example of a franchisee kind of, “Oh let’s do this.” 

SueGoing off on their own. 

MattYeah. And so, yeah. That’s so hard. You want to allow some level of freedom 

SueBecause especially for some of these franchisees we’re talking to. They do have a local presence. They have—and their involvement in their communities is as much about their business as, you know, as other things. And yet going rogue and affecting—I mean whatever, just like that. They go right up the food chain, no pun—well, maybe a little pun intended to Burger King because it’s in the family. And so again, if you don’t think it needs to be tended or for you not to have policies and procedures and a really professional approach to what you’re doing, top down in any sized organization, you’re missing a huge opportunity which is what we started on. You’re also putting yourself at risk. 

MattYeah. Most times when I dealt with someone who has franchisees, it’s completely locked down. Everything is handled with corporate level. The problem is, it’s very rarely handled well and you miss the local flavor. You miss that local presence of allowing the personality to come out, community involvement, anything like that.  

SuePeople know the managers of those stores. People know—or if it’s a service industry, especially, they’re involved in say, chamber events or whatever it is. So the mix of something that’s coming down the pipe from corporate. But if corporate had, back to your point, if corporate had a content strategy. So let’s not talk about content marketing, let’s talk about content strategy which  basically is a calendar of content on how it’s getting leveraged across many platforms. Then they could glam on to that and there could be filters and rules in place for franchisees to say, “We want you to follow this, this month, this is what we’re posting.” But what’s your local—I mean it could be really cool to say, here’s a topic on, you know, that’s nationwide, but what does that mean in my hometown? 

MattYeah. Localize it. 

SueAnd giving them guidelines and giving them—there’s so many organizations that don’t give folks that do have any control direction on the content that goes on social media. 

MattWell, and direct is one thing, ultimately they have to educate franchisees because not everyone is marketing minded. 

SueThey’re not marketing minded and they’re not communicators. Often not communicators, we have some franchises that are owned by folks that know how to do a specific skill, they were not—they bought the franchise not because they were great sales or marketing folks but they knew how to do that job. So I mean that’s probably again, a whole, separate podcast. 

MattAnd I… yeah. I don’t think there’s a good model.  

[45:00] 

You know maybe there is but it’s so hard to find a good model that worked for everybody. You really have to handle it separately but you know, to your point, yeah. These franchisees, they don’t care. They don’t—I’m not here to do your marketing—you know, I’ll do what I need to do but to be active on Facebook and do 5 posts a week or something like that—now there are others who want to do that. You know, and they got their kids doing all the updates and you know, so you’ve got extremes on both sides and you know, there’s some mix where I’ve seen where corporate does 70% of local franchisees, that’s 30% but then you got, like I said, the other extreme where you know, we’re going to us Facebook for everything.  

SueYou got to monitor 

MattYou got to watch, yeah. 

SueThere’s a lot involved in it but I mean just as what we said at the beginning, it is a necessary component of an entire marketing approach. Whether that’s very small businesses, I’ve seen small businesses just slay it.  

MattOh yeah, yeah. 

SueOn social media. There’s a local boutique that I frequent and what I love is, I mean their posts in the new stuff that’s coming in today and there are—I can admit that I have seen a shirt on Instagram and I either message them and say, “Hold that for me,” or I’ve gone over that same day because I want that shirt. And it’s very simple and it is for them I mean it is free. It’s awesome. So I’ve seen it from the very local to a very high-level, you know, multi-nationals that are using it well and it is a component of it but it needs nurture, it needs tended and it can’t be this haphazard thing.  

MattRight, right. Yeah I think locally, small businesses, owe them an advantage 

SueThey’re crazy not to use it. 

MattWhat Google has for free to promote your business, to you know, I follow a vintage furniture store and— 

SueYou got me hooked up on that vintage. I—Now I’m going to follow it now because of you. 

MattYeah. They post pictures of their new stuff or just, you know, this vintage furniture store is in an old factory so it’s 3 floors, I think it’s 50,000sqft. 

SueIt’s kind of fantastic. 

MattYou got to know where you’re going to get there. 

SueYeah.  

MattBecause it’s in an old— 

SueHidden— 

MattYeah. But once you get there, it’s amazing. So they’ll set up entire rooms that look like they’re straight out of the 50s. 

SueYeah, it’s really retro and very— 

MattBut the following 

SueYeah. 

MattIs nationwide, it’s unreal. People are ordering based off what they see online, getting it shipped to them. It’s just incredible but and all of that through Facebook. 

SueRight. 

MattYeah, there’s a lot of possibility here. I want to kind of end this with a question to you. From an agency standpoint, you  have mentioned getting people to pay for this because they perceive it as a free service, what is the—you know, why do companies have such an issue with paying for professional guidance and professional execution of a social media campaign or just social media presence. 

SueI think it’s because, nowadays, really I think that’s a challenge for agencies on all of the services we provide because in most cases, people really can do it themselves. They can create video themselves, they can create a lot themselves. On the social platforms, it is free and they have a little thing that’s popping saying, “Buy an ad.” And they know they can buy an ad. And so for us to say it’s going to be a couple of grand a month for us to post on your behalf, to tend your pages, so that means if somebody response because the response time of someone posting something favorable or negatively on your page, you need to be able to respond. Generally speaking, our clients (inaudible) because they don’t have the resources to do it. The people to do it. 

MattRight. So. Yes. 

SueBut then the ad buying process of deep diving on an audience creating those ABC testing platforms, executing, measuring, reporting back to them and distilling the dashboards. We just don’t turnover—it’s just like looking at Google analytics. I mean tons of information there but you give that to—no one wants to do that. And they go, “Oh my gosh, like 2 grand a month to have you do that. That’s, you know, that’s a lot of money.  

[50:00] 

 We could just do it ourselves. I can guarantee you in 6 months, they have not done it themselves because they can’t find—they might temporarily assign it to somebody, that person always and again, they’re doing it but not doing it well. So I think the barrier is that these platforms themselves are free and the you know, I’m trying to think of a more traditional means, let’s say they want to do a print ad, right. They may recognize the fact that they can’t layout the ad or design or write an ad like an agency would and they also don’t know kind of all the buying things and what the—what art is needed to be submitted and so they can kind of recognize, I don’t really know how to do that stuff, I need to pay somebody to do that stuff. But because they posted about fishing last weekend, they’re like, “Oh, this is so easy. Anybody can do this.” So I guess my point is, then go have anybody do it but I do find like—I am a little frustrated providing proposals to folks that are like, “I really need your help on this.” And then they get what I think is a very reasonable you know, price for what we are going to be doing for them and have them scoff at it, okay then. Call me when you’re ready, which sound snarky. It’s not. It’s just that I know that they need that help. I’ve seen what they posted before, not posted before. I see the lack of engagement they have and I know what they’re trying to achieve overall int their business. I’m trying to leverage it to that specific platform along other things. And it’s—I don’t know. So we’ll see how it goes but I do think that… 

MattAnd that’s what’s hard. It’s a professional service. 

SueIt is. 

MattWe understand how this works. And if you want to see results, we know what it takes to get them. Part of it, it’s a digital product. And it’s like a digital product that you said, everyone participates in so how hard can it be? A couple of shows ago, Ben and I talked about music and how as music has become more digital, more accessible. Your perception of value has dropped. 

SueWhen everybody can autotune, who needs to hear someone who can actually sing? 

MattAnd I can get Spotify for free. 

SueCorrect. 

MattI can get Pandora for free and listen to really what I want. And so, my story only got—I’m buying vinyl again. And I’m finding that, okay, someone wants $25 for this vinyl album. All of a sudden now, music costs money. But, what kind of quality. But it’s interesting how the more digital things have become, our perception of the value of that product has fallen as well or has dropped. And so that’s what we’re fighting against with this— 

SueThat’s a really good analogy. 

MattIt’s digital, it’s not tangible. I can do it, I can post. 

SueRight. 

MattYou know, so what are you doing, you know, that’s beyond me. There’s— 

SueThey feel that they’re getting like Facebook with Jazz hands, for real. No, I’m not making this sexier. But you’re right. That’s the value of it is gone down and I say this about all agency services. And that’s why agencies have got to be smart and have more comprehensive solutions to bring the clients that produce an actual return on their investment and align with their business goals. And agencies that are not, are going to suddenly going to lose. I’m telling you, it’s happening. Everywhere around me, I get all preachy about it. But I would be—it’s funny. I used to make a lot of end reports in my day and I would not recommend that to anybody now and that’s bad for me because I know how much money I can make on a manual report. But to them, I’m like, that’s not serving your audience well and what we could do with that 25grand and even social, I mean we’re staying in the social space, I mean we could slay it for you but getting them to go, “I’m going to invest that 25 grand in the social instead of into print. Making that leap is really tough. 

MattIt is. 

SueIt automatically drops. 

MattIt’s kind of that madmen era that when they made a client pitch, everything’s physical. Here’s the print, here’s what it will look like in a magazine.  

SueHere’s the ad in the board 

MattHere’s the product. You know, everything’s physical, tangible, and maybe that’s the, you know, an annual report printed. It’s something I can hold, it’s something I can see.  

[55:00] 

 Whereas, I’ve got to evaluate an ad, a landing page, it’s on a computer screen. When I see it, which means, does it really exist? 

SueIt means less. It does. 

MattIt can be changed at any time. It can—again, its that perception, what am I buying? 

SueTangibility.  

MattYeah.  

SueVideos are another good example. 

MattOh yeah, yeah. What we used to charge to make a video. I cant do that anymore. Both in good conscience and in I mean there are times for professional videographers, don’t get me wrong, I love my video friends, in case you’re listening, but I need to produce a video really, really fast and in fact, if it’s over produced, people don’t think it’s authentic. So it need to be grittier even on an high-end corporate level and it needs to be able to go out tomorrow or today and I can’t charge you what I used to charge you for that and yet it still takes time to produce it. It’s a really weird time and in social in particular, we know we need video, we need it fast and sometimes it’s not—when talking about brand voices, neither about that this video aligns with your brand, instead it’s making somebody stop their thumb. And so what’s the value of that over the sophistication of your brand? I mean it’s really, really dicey time in agency land. But I think that clients that have invested on us on the social front are benefiting because I got the data to prove it. And that’s ultimately what I’m able to bring to clients to say, “Do you want this? Do you want more applicants for your job? This is the applicants that we produce for this client.”  

MattAbsolutely 

SueSo I feel like I got stronger evidence so I got to fight for fewer dollars. 

MattYeah, I can see that. Even on lead generations campaigns, it’s, you know, for me it’s easy to think, you know, ad landing page, regarding campaign ad landing page, you know, to me it’s second nature. To the client, it’s blablablabla. 

SueYes, that’s correct. 

MattUntil I can say, “Okay, you trusted me with this budget. Here’s the—” Here’s these leads, these leads are worth as much. Now let’s do it again. 

SueYes. Correct.  

MattYou know it’s still that, what am I buying really and how did that work? 

SueIt feels conceptual to them. It doesn’t feel—I think you’re right on the tangible part. It’s not something that they can hold or that they can glam on to. Until they see the data points, right? 

MattAnd it’s a hundred words that they don’t recognize. 

SueRight. Exactly. Even when I say, social. Again, they mean Facebook. And, we have to educate the client, we need to speak in plain language and get out of jargon space and we need to be able to show ROI right away. 

MattMaybe we stop calling it social. I call it personal marketing, something like that. 

SueMaybe because— 

MattI think there is a perception to social.  

SueYeah. I think you’re right.  

MattThat works against us, yeah.  

SueSo we need to like offline brainstorm names of what we’re going to call 

MattYeah. Exactly. We got this new advertising. It’s so effective.  

SueSunday, Sunday, Sunday. It’s brand new.  

MattThere you go. I think it’s a good time to wrap up. Sue, thank you so much for being here. 

SueThanks, Matt. It’s nice to be back and I hope to be back more often.  

MattI hope so too. It’s always a great conversation. I love the perspective that you bring being in the trenches from an agency standpoint. It’s just—it’s really cool to hear that. 

SueThanks, Matt.  

MattThank you, Sue. Alright, thanks for joining us on Endless Coffee Cup. Thanks for listening, hope you subscribe. If you get a change, drop a review on iTunes. That’s how we’re able to get more listeners, get more coverage. So thanks again, look forward to seeing you again at Endless Coffee Cup.