In this post, I discuss some highlights of an interview I had with the fantabulous, highly popular and gorgeously talented singer/songwriter Kina Grannis. What does this have to do with social media, you say? Actually, it has everything to do with grassroots marketing, with social media and being… well, “real.”
You may have only just recently been introduced to the beautiful talented Kina Grannis. Perhaps you’ve seen her YouTube video In Your Arms, which is rapidly approaching 4 million views! Recently, Kina appeared on The Ellen Degeneres Show and was featured in In Touch Weekly. She’s won numerous awards including MTV O Music Award for Best Web-Born Artist & Doritos Crash the SuperBowl contest.
Here is my social media discussion with Kina:
KBJ: Kina, thanks so much for joining us. Let’s start at the beginning. What made you decide to get online in the first place?
Kina: I had MySpace, but to be honest, I don’t think any growth ever came out of having the MySpace. But, the first really useful one I started was my YouTube channel. At the time, I didn’t know it was going to be such a powerful tool. I just started it because I was in that contest (the Doritos Crash the Super Bowl contest), and I wanted to give people a reason to come back every day to vote. I decided… to put up a video every day. Then… [the audience] can come back and watch a new video each day. I kind of got started like that.
I was doing probably half originals – half covers. Pretty quickly, I realized that somehow people were getting to my music that I did not know. So, YouTube is where the most organic growth came from, because people can accidentally find you if you’re doing cover songs.
Then there is a very human aspect to YouTube… when you are talking, being yourself and explaining your story. People really connect to that and feel like they know you as a person and they’re with you and working on your side. I found that the people that were coming from the YouTube to my website were really involved and really believed in me, not just a fan of music. Facebook came around later and [I] could actually use it to help keep people’s attention. I think it’s a good way to collect, but Twitter…I think between Twitter and YouTube, those are the two most powerful ones for me.
Like you were saying in our conversation earlier, talking with people is incredibly important but you can’t just start talking to people and make people appear. You have to find the people and I found them on YouTube. I can talk to them via Twitter. That’s where I can have discussions and have people vote or do Q&A sessions and things like that to really connect with them. I think those two are definitely the strongest for me.
KBJ: Okay. So where do you think your Facebook page comes into play? Do you just have it because you’re supposed to?
Kina: Well, I would say it’s really important. I guess Facebook and Twitter are kind of similar in that some people will be on Facebook all the time. Some people are tracking their Twitter all the time, so when I update people I update on both. A lot of people respond on Twitter, and a whole bunch of other people respond on Facebook… that’s a job, I guess. My part is a little harder because it’s more difficult to respond to each person individually. You can send a private message but it’s not…
KBJ: Yeah, it’s hard to interject into the comments, right? They’re set. Most people like that. Most typical users on Facebook like the fact that it’s threaded so they can see the conversation in one place, but to individually respond to people, it doesn’t make sense the way Twitter does.
Kina: Exactly. I’ll attempt to sometimes. I’ll post a comment and I’ll be like: @Megan: Thanks. @Timmy: Cool. I’ll be there in August. But it’s kind of crazy looking.
KBJ: You mentioned covers so I want to ask: You said it’s a really powerful thing to do covers. If somebody was getting started and they’re just starting a YouTube channel and trying to get their music out there, would you think it’s a good idea for them to do covers? Can you explain more about why you do covers on your YouTube videos?
Kina: I definitely think it’s very important to do covers. A couple of reasons from my perspective: Number one, it’s a great way to keep challenging yourself. Whenever I do a cover it’s: ‘Okay, here’s a song that has nothing to do with me and it’s produced with whatever crazy production it has… how can I make this mine?’ It’s a good challenge and I’m trying to find more sound and trying to make other things sound like that original song and connect to the audience like that song did. It’s a good challenge musically.
But other than that, if you’re just putting up original after original after original, even if you brilliant, people are still not going to find it. It’s unfortunate but people aren’t searching on YouTube for random song names to see who’s out there or up and coming artists. They’re searching what they’re hearing on the radio and if they come across you, it’s because of that original song. But then, they like you for you and then they go and listen to your originals and they like your originals. That’s how you really find people.
KBJ: I think that’s brilliant because I work in an industry where we’re always telling people to be relatable and to think like the customer even if we’re trying to sell a YouTube video or something besides music. For me this is a hard and fast example of you thinking like myself and the other people that buy your music. It just proves a point that is hard for people to understand. Say you’re trying to sell bandanas or you’re Joe’s Coffee Shop–How can Joe’s Coffee Shop be successful on YouTube? It really is to ‘think like your customer’. But how do you actually do that? This is a perfect example. I’m just kind of geeking out on that from a strategy perspective.
Kina: (laughs) Yeah, it’s definitely a cool thing. It’s unfortunate because you do eventually get some flak for it. People will comment: You’re selling out. You did this cover. Why do you need covers? You should just do originals…blah, blah, blah. The thing is the people who have supported me for two or three years will now comment back and say: ‘I love Kina’s originals. That’s why I support her, but I would never have known about her if I didn’t find her Regina Spektor cover.’ So, it’s definitely powerful…
KBJ: If you know how “search” works on YouTube, it’s a fairly easy thing to understand why that would be so powerful. Considering the way both “search” works and the way “related videos” work, it makes a huge difference.
I don’t know if you even have a comment on it or not, but a lot of what we’re seeing right now is this exact process as a result of the Rebecca Black video. People started creating covers of her video to try to get subscribers, basically capitalizing on this exact process that we’re talking about.
Kina: Yeah. I’ve definitely noticed that. It’s in the same way that any huge song on the radio can get people views on YouTube for doing covers and whatever is going on socially whether it’s the double rainbow or socially viral videos, right? This is my world so it kind of takes over everything, but it’s like the Rebecca Black thing exactly. It becomes a huge Internet thing and everyone says: Okay, need to make a video [on this topic] if I want to get views.
KBJ: Maybe if I was a musician I might really want to do a cover or if I was a videographer I might really want to do a cover just because it’s funny, but I think it’s more about the strategy of trying to get attention than it has to do with trying to making a parody of somebody.
Oh and here’s just kind of a fun question…have you ever been Rickrolled? Speaking of Internet memes?
Kina: I actually haven’t. Is that still going on?
KBJ: It’s happening with QR codes now. Do you know about QR codes?
Kina: Oh. That’s hilarious.
KBJ: My friend, Ori, was doing that the other day and I’ve seen some other people doing it: Scan the code! Everyone is so excited about scanning codes now. Ohhh, where is it going to take me? It’s the perfect little thing to go Rickroll people.
Kina: That’s so funny.
KBJ: It’s funny that no one’s ever Rickrolled you. I’m going to have to remember that and see what I can do about it.. So what would you tell a new musician, a new artist, or a new songwriter that wants to do their own thing? Let’s just assert that you felt strongly that they had talent or that they needed to get their music out there. What would you tell them?
Kina: I guess the first thing would be to cover all your bases and get a YouTube, get a Facebook, get a Twitter, and a MySpace account…and whatever other ones you want to get, but those are the main four for me….just so that anyone that could be looking for you can find you. Then I would say to get on YouTube and start posting originals and covers as often as possible. Make sure that the songs are ‘yours’ and be as genuine as possible. I think it’s really powerful to talk in your videos so that people know that you’re a real person and you’re willing to share what’s going on with them as a part of the conversation. So be real. Be genuine and then utilize that on all the other networks. On the updates keep the conversation going whether that’s letting them know about new videos you put up or just engaging them in what you’re doing and asking them how they’re doing. I think it’s a get out there and give as much content as possible. Be genuine and connect.
KBJ: That’s awesome. Thank you. Now that you’ve gained so much popularity, do you have an issue with volume in that you can’t reply personally to everything? How do you handle that?
Kina: Yes, that’s been one of the harder things. On Twitter, I try to respond to everyone. Some days it will be four days late. But when you get into all the Facebook messages and all my accounts and MySpace and emails, it gets to a point where I can’t get to everyone. It does really bother me because one message is as important as another, but if I did answer everything I would have to stop being a musician. I wouldn’t have time to write and do videos.
KBJ: Yeah, and that’s the reason that they’re writing you. Well, it is a testament to the power that you have moved people with your music. You are a real person so they feel like they’re going to get a response. That’s what I thought when I emailed you. Oh, probably her publicist or somebody else is going to get this. But then I actually got a response from you and it was really awesome. So you just deal with it as best you can, or do you have people that help you with that kind of stuff?
Kina: I have some sorting going on. I have my inquiries at my Kina Grannis email so that goes to me and my manager to address business-related people asking about a show or a CD or whatever. As far
as all the other messages, I do my best. I have my iPhone on me at all times. I can scan them really easily on the go. I’m constantly looking through them and marking them as unread in hopes that later I’ll be able to go back and respond. But if it’s something really pressing or really moving, I’ve seen it and I try to respond to it first.
KBJ: Correct me if I’m wrong,but the whole Justin Bieber effect…that’s what everybody is looking for now…that they’re going to get on YouTube, build a following, and then they’re going to get signed by a major label. I think you have chosen a different path with it. What you are doing is so real.
I thought it was really cute in one of your videos where you’re: “Oh, so go buy the CD.” I also love the video where you’re unwrapping all of your presents that people have sent to you because that’s one more way of making people feel like they’re part of the conversation. It’s as if we’re there with you on Christmas while you’re opening your gifts, which is not something we really get to do but we have the virtual experience of it.
One of the things I’m always harping on people on is in social media we say: Don’t sell stuff; just be you. But when people love you and your music, it would be natural for them to want to go buy your CD or download it. Do you think you’ve been able to grow organically because you have such a solid fan base and because you’ve so well connected with your fans?
Kina: I don’t think the end goal ever needs to be a label nowadays. There are many ways that labels can be extremely helpful and for the right person a major label could be great. For another person it could be the worst thing ever. I don’t think the label should be the goal. I think the goal is just to have the tools and use them to find your own following organically and not about hoping some day to get this big giant company to shove you down people’s throats. It’s going to be something that lasts because people know you, care about you, and want to support you.
KBJ: Perfect. That is a perfect note to end on. It’s not about the big payout at the end. It’s literally just about being you, connecting with people and creating relationships. Whatever the end goal is, positive things will come from it if you’re just a real person and you simply engage with people. Yes, you have a message to share. Thanks so much for sharing it with us.
Kina: You’re welcome.
The 4 P’s of marketing, also known as the “marketing mix.” Have you heard of them? Marketers use this term to describe a blending of ingredients that are typically mixed and matched in an effort to tailor marketing efforts toward various target market segment(s).
Whether you’re a business owner, newbie marketer or a social media manager, creating your marketing mix can help you identify several parameters within the business environment that will aid in getting the right message out to the right audience.
Marketing Mix 101
Advertising, sales, and social media all have their place and importance, but they are only a cog in a big wheel of decisions in which you have control. Your ability to get people to stand up, pay attention, buy and tell others about you is dependent on many other factors besides a cool video, headline or slick salesmanship.
A typical textbook marketing mix consists of the following framework:
• Place (Distribution)
(We’ll add a fifth P later)
Underneath each P reside several controllable factors that can play into a consumer’s decision to make a purchase or to go looking somewhere else.
For example, under the “product” framework, everything from your brand name, to the colors you choose for your business to how you package your products will influence how your business is perceived.
Let’s just say you’re in the process of choosing name for a new product. Will your customers remember a name with a whole bunch words, or one that doesn’t accurately describe what your product is about?
What does your product look like? Is it bland?
The Tropicana brand tried restyling the packaging of its orange juice products and met an unanticipated backlash from consumers. This is a great example of how one simple piece of the marketing mix can have a tremendous affect on business.
How about your “price” structure? Pricing products and services can be challenging. Would you consider bundling your offers? What about discounts or seasonal pricing decisions? Consumers perceive price in many different ways. Trying to stimulate demand by lowballing competitors may result in your product being perceived as cheap. Some customers balk at a monthly recurring charge. Others would prefer monthly over a one-time fee.
Is the distribution (“place”) of your products and services seamless for the customer? Are channel partners and affiliates easily able to get the information they need to help you sell? How quickly can you deliver?
How do you “promote” your products or services? Will you focus on using a website? How about face-to-face networking? What does your sales copy and marketing materials say? Are they consistent with your brand image?
The great thing about being able to adjust the marketing mix is that sometimes you can emphasize various aspects and minimize non-desirables in your communications.
The 5th P of Marketing
A fifth “P” or “people” has been proposed many times as an addition to the overall marketing mix, yet hasn’t been adopted traditionally by marketing textbooks. While this fifth P may be considered a part of the promotional aspects of the mix, it could be safe to say that promotion isn’t always a decision factoring in with today’s world of marketing.
Social media likely has a heavy hand in considering the people aspect of the marketing mix and it doesn’t always emphasize advertising and sales, but rather conversation and genuine connection.
In some cases, the “people” your company connects with may never buy from you. This can happen for many reasons related to product, price, place and promotion; however, that very same person or persons may end up being a conduit that leads them to recommend you to someone else who will buy.
What does it all mean? It means that the fifth P is a highly important component in today’s digitally connected world. From the story you tell, to the way you connect, people -your audience plays an important role in your marketing. Each aspect of the marketing mix becomes another part of your story. These components are like a recipe that you control. A pinch of this and a dash of that.
Creating Your Mix
The marketing mix is often times incorporated into either a business or marketing plan and it may be ok to stand alone if you haven’t designed either one. Yet, if you want to get an easier grasp on organizing your marketing efforts and the way you connect with target markets; consider setting up your marketing mix and maybe add a fifth P.
Have you implemented a documented marketing mix into your business? Did it help? Why or why not?
Alas, when it comes to social media and the subject of marketing, what are they but tools and methods for communication attempting to reach out, connect and engage with an audience (and maybe get someone to buy, depending on your goals). While there are many methods for conveying information such as video and images on the Internet,much of the way we correspond on the today is through writing. Today, I interview esteemed writer Dave Kravets about the importance of writing in how we bond, relate and engage on the Web, particularly with social media. Dave writes for the infamous Wired Magazine and writes his own wildly satirical and journalistic blend of untruths and tall tales on his website, TheYellowDailyNews.
You can also follow Dave’s adventures on Twitter @dmkravets
Frankie: Dave, you’re a Senior Writer at the famous publication, Wired Magazine. Can you tell us a little bit about your history in the field of journalism? How did you ended up at Wired?
DK: I’ve been a journalist for about 25 years. I was the legal writer for The Associated Press in San Francisco, when Jerry Brown, the attorney general, hit me up to become his press secretary. I took the job. Lasted just a few months. I wasn’t cut out for politics. I then got a job at Wired.
Frankie: 25 years is a lot of writing. I remember seeing some of your AP articles in the San Francisco Chronicle. You are also the creator of TheYellowDailyNews, (www.theyellowdailynews.com) which I’m sure readers get a pretty good laugh. It seems as if you take current events and make them a play on politics, technology, media and religion. Can you tell us what that’s about?
DK: TYDN is basically my version of the Onion. It’s basically a site of commentary under the guise of fake news.
Frankie: TYDN is great! I can’t wait to see some of your new stuff. What is your take on the impact social media has on writers? Has it saturated the medium with everyone writing articles and blogging these days?
DK: Social media has had a few impacts in my view. Many of the young writers have taken it and made themselves part of the story, and have become more about “look at me” instead of “look at what I’m writing about.” That galls me. On the other side, social media has some benefits, if used in a tactful way, such as having a dialogue with your readers.
Frankie: Right. Dialogue let’s you know you’ve connected with your readership and didn’t bore them into drooling on themselves. How did you learn to become adept at the craft of written communication? Does it matter whether someone has a formal English and writing education, or can an OK writer become a good writer with a sort of learn-as-you-go experience?
DK: I have a degree in journalism, philosophy and a MA in political science. The best writing experience is via writing. However, in my business, I view the writing aspect as less important than the actual news-gathering process.
Frankie: That is interesting. Though, not necessarily journalism, I can see how the “news-gathering process” is important for anyone who writes blogs and articles. Well-researched written guts mean the writer actually made credible strides in creating content, rather than spouting off without anything to support their writing.
It was recently reported that most mainstream media outlets use social media as a one-way a broadcast tool for people to consumer and do not engage readers. In a way, this makes sense, since journalists are tasked with reporting the news as opposed to acting as opinion columnists soliciting feedback. Yet, do you see a change in the future in how media outlets will respond to and even interact with their audience through social media? Or, will mainstream media seemingly always continue to use these platforms as sort of a glorified RSS feed?
DK: I think the mainstream media will continue to use social media as an RSS feed. That said, there’s tons of other new media out there, that are now becoming the traditional media and are engaged with their readers.
Frankie: We know that marketing with social marketing consists of various types of multimedia such as photos and video, but mostly it’s about the written word with posts, blogs and articles that communicate to audiences. For those that manage social networks for organizations, or even small businesses handling their own social presence, how important do think it is to have a grasp on the art of writing?
DK: I think the art of writing is not as important as engaging with your audience. If you have their respect and ear, they won’t care as much about any physical writing shortfalls. People love to engage on social media, that’s the whole point of it.
Frankie: With our short attention spans and gluttony of information flying by on Twitter, Facebook and other social networks, how important do you think it is for the writer to create headlines and articles/blogs that stand out?
DK: Obviously, if you don’t have anything to say, there cannot be any engagement because nobody will come to you to engage. Clearly, one must draw in people for such engagement. Depending on your business model, crafty headlines and stories are needed. The stories don’t have to be written masterfully as much as they must be interesting or entertaining to draw the reader to you, so you can engage with them.
Frankie: That’s something I wholeheartedly agree with. As you say, find an angle. Are there any authors or journalists, even other writers that inspire you or give you inspiration with their writing?
DK: Hunter S. Thompson has been my most influential writer. He’s crazy and deep down, I am too.
Frankie: HST was an amazing writer. I’m just now getting into how wildly he crafted words together in such strange ways, but allows the audience to make the connection.
Gonzo! What advice would you give to those starting a business or who are managing a client in the world of digital marketing where the written word is a major player in the success or failure of that operation?
DK: Don’t try to fool your readers or clients. They’re not dumb. Cater to their needs and engage with them. No hyperbole.
Frankie: Dave, thank you for your time. I look forward to seeing more of your articles in Wired and especially on TheYellowDailyNews.
DK: Thank you Frankie!
I had the opportunity to interview John Morgan, author of Brand Against the Machine: How to Build Your Brand, Cut Through the Marketing Noise, and Stand Out from the Competition (affil link) and get his candid opinion on some of the most popular questions I get asked from Social Media Managers on branding.
A bit about John: John Morgan is known as the Chuck Norris of branding. With his popular blog (www.JohnMichaelMorgan.com) and being an in-demand public speaker and consultant, he is a globally recognized authority on branding and digital marketing.
I hope you have as much fun listening to the interview as we did recording it! That being said, we have a couple of disclaimers before you click play:
- This video is not yet rated. If you are challenged in the sense of humor department, don’t like the term WTF or are easily offended, this may not be the video for you. Just don’t say I didn’t warn ya!
- This video has been edited to fit your attention span. (Trust me, I like to hear myself talk. It was loooonnnng… so please excuse the rough cuts.)
STEP 1: Buy the book
STEP 2: Email your receipt to email@example.com to get access to all the goodies!
STEP 3: Go enter our Twitter contest by heckling someone and use the hashtag #batm (You should probably mention me in your tweet @katebuckjr so I know you were entering our heckling contest!) I’m picking a winner on Wednesday afternoon!
This is part 1! I later added:
- My Bio
- Contact Information
- My photos – I used the same one’s I had made for my KBJOnline Facebook Page – but they don’t fit just exactly right.
Are you in love with your product or service? You should be! And your customers should be too! But too often, a poor, bland or uninteresting use of words will have an audience leaving your website, email blast, blog or social network faster than the girl who just heard the world’s lamest pickup line at the local bar. If you happen to be the jilted suitor vying for a little attention, try giving the written copy some creative TLC.
Content is King…But Imagination is Everything!
Why do some people read novels? (Then again, why do people watch Twilight movies over and over? I’m perplexed!) They’re imaginative, creative and paint a picture. One method for attracting attention and keeping audience interest is to become an artist with words, using both metaphor and similes. You might say to yourself right now that you are not the linguistic version of Picasso. Yet, even the most mind-numbing products and services have characteristics that are able to create a mental picture with words. Does ice get jealous? Can food clown around? Of course not! However, by giving seemingly disconnected and sometimes-inanimate objects, human characteristics – even a glass-chiller product for a bar or nothing-special restaurant food, can come alive. Try it yourself. Does your product stick like glue? Do your services get attention like the roar of a lion?
What Do You Mean?
For some of you, getting a little “out there” with your writing won’t suit the professional nature necessary for your web, blog or social media content. But, you still want your audience to find meaning in your writing. One simple method for explaining complex information in an entertaining way is to use analogy. By using comparative concepts, you can relate to your audience and connect complex ideas they won’t understand with simple notions they already know well. In my case, if I were to explain the ’marketing experience’ concept to an audience where I live – particularly San Francisco Giants fans – I might say the marketing experience is about communicating the feeling you get going to the AT&T park, with the sights, sounds and smells of the game of baseball. It conjures the imagery and helps explain the concept without being “over-the-top.”
Summon Your Inner Steve Jobs
Watch any keynote by Steve Jobs and you’ll understand why thousands travel from afar to the “City by the Bay” and hundreds of thousands more watch online, just to see him speak. Steve knows how to arouse an audience. It helps that Apple has generated a cult following around its products that rival entire world religions. Yet, Steve Jobs presents Apple products, not in terms of Gigahertz, RAM and boring features. You can find those if you want to. No, Steve Jobs focuses keynote presentations by setting the tone with emphasis, using a vocabulary of incredible zeal and just plain…“cool.” You can turn your written copy, even videos and webinars “Jobsian” with just a little research and a thesaurus.
There is quite a bit more to good copywriting techniques that sell product and get attention; but a little creativity can go a long way in attracting an audience who cares.
And remember boys and girls, if you happen to use a cheesy pickup line, at least make ‘em laugh with you, not at you.
Q: I’m getting a lot of pushback recently regarding ROI and the amount of time it takes to see it. What do you normally say to that? The client we discussed has and issue with that, too.
kbj: We’re talking about relationship building here. Has the client ever asked someone to marry them on the first date? Their date would think that’s ridiculous! They also probably don’t appreciate people on the street passing out flyers, right? You have a split-second of meeting them and already, they are selling to you!
It’s the same thing with social media. You have be smarter and think longer term. If the client can’t wait, then they shouldn’t be in business at all – in my opinion.
It’s about building relationships and that takes time, online or off just plain and simple…
This isn’t everything I have to say about this conversation, but it is my most immediate reaction (read: rant). There is so much more to social media than ROI, not that there shouldn’t be any… but you have to focus on the other parts FIRST to actually get the ROI.
What are your thoughts? What is your response to this kind of push back?
More on Facebook Fan pages
By Frankie Frederick, Guest Writer
Published April 1, 2011
Reality check! Kindergartners are better at marketing than you or I might ever be. How can that be? You’ve studied, taken the tests, got the certifications.
Never mind the pint sized cuteness and rambunctious energy that makes the Energizer Bunny look…well more like the tortoise than the hare.
Forget that a five year old can get massive amounts of attention at the mere mention of poop, walking up to the front door covered head to toe in mud, or have an entire mall looking with a simple fall on the floor tantrum.
No, if you want to truly learn how to market your brand. If you want to really find out how to create an experience, ask a kindergartner. Here’s why:
1. Wild Imagination
A five year old can tell the best stories. They don’t have to be true, but they can suck almost anyone in with vivid, wild imagination. No stone is left unturned and childlike details create an experience.
Need a superhero to represent your brand? Ask a kindergartner. They’ll have the best ones. Want to create a video about cute? Ask a kindergartner. They know cute beyond our jaded, seen it all eyes. Need to write a sequence of blogs in storyline format? Ask a kindergartner. You’re sure to get a great story idea.
See, most of us are limited in our imaginations. We are realists, logical, rational, always thinking about the perceptions of our ideas and the results of our efforts. We think to ourselves, “that won’t work”. Yet, a five year old has almost no concept of these things and thus runs wild with creative imagination.
2. Won’t Bore You
Have you every seen a boring child? I’ll bet you haven’t seen too many, if at all. Yet, I know we’ve all seen a ton of boring adults and well…boring brands.
We want to be “safe”, “informative” and “thought leaders”. (YAWN! SNORE!).
“The housing market is down and here is what you can do to get this house quick!”
The five year old says, “Housing Market? I wanna slide down that bannister! I want to do flips into the pool. This is a cool house!”
The idea is, while we worry about making people laugh or cry, the five year old doesn’t care and he/she provides the great experience that isn’t well…boring.
Children get so excited to attempt things without thought or fear of failure. Sometimes they fall down. But, often times, they get back up and try it again until they get it right.
As marketers, we on the other hand fear attempting something new or different. We fear backlash at our ideas, we fear failure.
Kids like to push boundaries. That’s how they discover what works and what doesn’t. That lack of fear leads to an amazing amount of knowledge in a short time. We, on the other hand don’t push boundaries, don’t discover as much as we could and therefore don’t get the attention and recognition our brands deserve.
Next time you’re trying to figure out how to develop your marketing campaign, go ask a kindergartner.
Imagine this scenario with me for one moment. You wake up to check on your client’s social media account and find that fans and followers have increased by 500 seemingly overnight. That bright glowing orb in the sky is shining on this glorious day and your ready to get to work thinking how excited you are for the day to end so you can enjoy the evening at that fancy new sushi restaurant down the street. But then, your client calls and says, “We need to talk!”
You stroll into the office and see the CEO, CFO and the marketing manager in deep discussion. You close the door and are subsequently told they are stopping all of their social media initiatives. Dumbfounded, you start babbling like Charlie Sheen, spouting off something about 500 new ‘droopy eyed one armed children.’ You tell them you and their fans are WINNING!
You ask for an explanation and receive puzzling answers. Something about costs, shifting budgets to advertisements and other mumbo jumbo. Confused, you leave dizzy and wondering what happened. Then the sad realization hits you…It’s the numbers, stupid!
What you lean very quickly is that the numbers matter. I’m not talking numbers of fans, followers, re-tweets and mentions, although those soft metrics are very important. I’m talking numbers in conversions and sales. Im talking new leads. I’m talking ROI. In most cases, those are the numbers equaling the holy grail for marketing departments, CEO’s, CFO’s and owners of small and medium sized organizations. Community building, PR, engagement, they get it, but not as much as justifying expenditures that lead to revenue.
If that scenario seems all too real, the following are 3 tips for justifying social media now and beyond:
1. Create Integration and Alignment with Business Goals
We like numbers, we like fans, followers, mentions. If you’re like me, you jump up and down when they grow and grow fast. Yet, those numbers, as exciting as they are, in the world of marketing are, “soft metrics”. Soft metrics do matter; however, soft metrics that lead to referrals, leads and sales are the “Holy Grail”. The problem stems from assumption, and you probably remember the old saying about “assume”. This means, that if we generate more views, more fans, more mentions, surely we think they’ll lead to more sales for the company. The quickest way to get a social media initiative killed is to guess or assume.
Therefore, justifying social media marketing often times comes down to the ability to integrate and capture results that align with measurable organizational goals. Not social media goals, business goals. For example, if the goal is to increase eCommerce sales by 30%, you might work with your client to set an objective using use social media marketing to drive 10% of that. Then you can work with your client to devise the tactics that will influence those numbers through social media marketing.
- Integrate and align business goals
- Set realistic objectives
- Create tactics that help achieve the objectives
2. Connect the Sales Funnel
I love the word “anecdotal”. Yet, anecdotal in most organizations doesn’t fly too well. Every organization has a sales funnel. That funnel likely starts with driving awareness, influencing current customers and getting new prospects to well….BUY. If your client, even your own company is pushing social media, eCommerce, or even brick and mortar as a way of driving business, usually everyone wants to know where sales are coming from. That doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to know every time that social media was the driving factor, but you’ll be able to justify its use that much better.
From coupon codes, to Google Analytics, finding ways to connect the customer path to the sale can help you find and uncover the numbers and evidence you might need to show that social media works. You may need to work with your clients marketing, sales or IT departments to gather the data, but it will likely be in your best interest.
Let me add that the numbers and data will tell you a great story that help in other ways too. For example, lets say there were 2000 new visits this month to the sales page directly from say a combination of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, yet there were only five purchases. A root cause analysis might suggest that social media efforts were highly successful, but there is a problem that resides with the sales page or other areas not social media.
- Determine the path through the sales funnel
- Create tactics that influence that path
- Measure each phase of the path from new leads to website visits and conversions
3. Document the Numbers
Want to really justify the worth of social media? Well now that you have connected conversions/sales to business goals and the sales funnel, now it’s time to document the numbers.
At a minimum, the formula you should calculate should include:
- Staff Time (or your time) in $
- Estimated Cost in $
- Cost of Outside Services (i.e. Design, Software, Writing, Etc)
- Media Buy (i.e. Facebook Ads, Google, Print, etc.
- **** Total the above and label “Marketing Investment”
- Revenue Per Sale
- Overall Revenue
ROI is typically expressed in a percentage. Now you’re talking numbers!
To calculate your ROI for social media, work this formula in Excel or other software:
(Net Revenues – Marketing Investment) / Marketing Investment X 100 = ROI%.
If you’re just starting a campaign, aligning with benchmarks (reasonable ones) can help you forecast and justify the costs of social media marketing.
A one off sale or promotion, especially through social media is often times shortsighted. What happens next month or next year? Again you may need some data from the sales, marketing or even accounting departments. Therefore, if you’re really ready to get tricky and really impress you might calculate:
- Lifetime value of a customer
- Acquisition cost of a customer
- Avg. price per purchase
We won’t get into the methods for driving sales, creating experiences and all the other integration that leads to referrals, sales and even customer retention; that’s for a whole other writing.
However, do not ever be surprised when caught of guard if you are ever asked, what is the value of a fan, follower, re-tweet or mention. When you can connect the dots of “soft metrics” to the numbers or Holy Grail…you likely won’t wonder as to why your social media initiative got killed…as in, “It’s the numbers….stupid.”