How to Begin Evaluating Social Marketing Efforts

7 Jun

How can we better evaluate our social marketing efforts and find ROI for our organization?

It’s the question that always comes up, social media ROI and how can it be measured? Nowadays when I hear this it just means something different to me, it’s a marketer asking in a roundabout way where do I begin to measure my social media marketing initiatives?

Let’s establish a baseline so we can build a foundation that takes a look at multiple areas of your business.  This way we can begin to look for metrics that give us a complete picture of what is going on instead of just narrowly focusing in on a small subset of metrics.

A few years ago Forrester Research had identified four perspectives for you to consider when evaluating your social efforts, these four values still ring true today.

Social Media ROI

Four social media ROI factors

1. Financial Perspective – Has revenue or profit increased or costs decreased?

 As social media budgets increase we are afforded opportunities to invest in social advertising in addition to social media tools that are designed to make a digital marketers job more efficient and measurable. With all the dollars going out what factors should we take into consideration for measurement? 

Ask yourself:

  • What is the current goal or objective to achieve through social marketing?
  • Are you allocating dollars towards social ads?
  • If so are the available ad metrics supporting your marketing goals?
  • Can you directly attribute social posts or ads to revenue?
  • Do the social media management tools you currently use or are looking to use specifically make your teams more effective in social marketing?
  • How many people do you have dedicated to working on social?

Investing in the right social relationship platform can make your team more efficient and allow for you to measure those efforts. Look for a solution that is flexible and can be customized for each user to fit their specific role. Does your vendor offer services? If so, it’s likely that the platform lacks certain things that need to be made up for with professional services. Always be sure to test platforms out in pilot environments that mimic your working situations. 

2. Brand Perspective – Have the consumer attitudes of the brand improved?

Listening across the web is the ultimate focus group. At your fingertips you have the ability to understand how visible your brand is in comparison to your competitors. Look for gaps in the market with what your consumers are wanting that isn’t being delivered, identify what your customers like about your brand/products, and what certain types of people (teenagers, mothers, etc.) think about specific products/topics/brands.

Ask yourself:

  • Are you actively or passively listening across the web to see the context in which people are discussing your brand?
  • Does your listening platform give your entire team an easy way to set up  keyword based campaigns and easy to understand data?
  • What is the sentiment behind how people are discussing your brand or products?
  • How are you stacking up socially against your competition? Think growth and engagement in addition to listening to how their audience is talking about them.
  • Are there specific topics that your audience is passionate about and are you closely watching those discussions?

Invest in the right social listening platform not just the most powerful. Make sure that not only can your team easily set up keyword campaigns but filter out the junk that comes with listening.  Quality of data over quantity of data is what matters here. 

3. Risk Management Perspective – Is your brand prepared to note and respond to attacks or problems that cast you in a negative light?

Sometimes people go to great lengths to attack and troll your brand and you must be prepared with a strategy that your team can follow on how to properly handle these sometimes very emotional situations. Mistakes also happen, ensure that your community managers have the proper tools in place to prevent the accidental posting of a piece of content that was meant for another account. 

Red Cross Tweet

The Red Cross mistakenly published this tweet

Ask yourself:

  • Do you have a social crisis management plan in place?
  • Does the plan include an approach for the handling of social media content in times of a national tragedy or crisis?
  • Are all employees aware of such a plan in the event of a PR crisis?
  • Is there a general social media policy for employees to follow as a representative of the brand on their personal social channels?
  • What does employee access to your brands social networks look like? Can it easily be revoked? 

Ensure that your tools have the proper failsafes in place to prevent these types of of situations. Make sure there is an easy to use workflow approval system that reviews content by another user prior to it being made live. Also be sure to review how an employees access can be revoked if needed. 

HMV Twitter

Fired workers hijack the HMV Twitter feed

4. Digital Perspective – Has the brand enhanced its owned and earned digital assets?

With an abundance of existing and new social networks popping up it is important to understand where your consumers are spending their time. Focus on engaging and growing those networks and stay away from creating a presence on a network for the sake of “being there” to avoid having a dormant social channel that rarely gets updated. Invest in the channels where your customers are today but be prepared to make a shift if your customers find the next Pinterest. 

Ask yourself

  • What social networks are you actively using and have a relevant audience? 
  • Has the content shared on social channels evolved your brands voice into a genuine and authentic persona?
  • Do you have the tools to measure metrics by week over week, month over month, etc?  
  • Have you built any apps that your fans/followers actively use or engage with?
  • Have you collected data on fans through the use of apps or any other method?

Investing in the channels where your customers are just makes sense.  Fun contests, promotions, games, apps can all be things that cost money in the short term but if done properly the relationship and trust you build with your fans will be invaluable. 

While there is still no one magic bullet answer for social ROI you can still build a good foundation combined with strategy and the right social tools  so you can be confident that you are protecting your brand while pulling in the right data that you need to to extrapolate your the data that matters to you the most. .  

By – Adam Lazzara

The Problem with Social Media Coverage of the Boston Marathon Tragedy

24 Apr

Boston Marathon Police Scanner

I listened, shared and watched the details of the Boston Marathon bombing unfold via social media. It captivated a nation and through the power of social media we collectively stood together in unity seeing through every detail leading to the capture of the remaining bombing suspect which I will intentionally not make mention of by name. 

Amateur journalism was in full effect in 140 characters or less. Internet detectives used photos and videos that were shared across the web to piece together what they thought happened and who the suspects were. Mind you this all went down before the FBI officially released photos and video evidence of the real suspects.  People wrongfully were called out and immediately subject to scrutiny from these amateur web detectives, this is an unfortunate by-product of the digital social news age.  People now have access to a treasure trove of information in which they can formulate their own opinions and use social media to broadcast their thoughts to the world, good or bad. 

Reddit, a social news and entertainment website where registered users submit content in the form of a link or text post, struggled to keep up with the traffic even taking steps to turn off commenting on its live feed threads. These Reddit feeds where based off of an interpretation of what was heard on the Boston police scanner. People follow along and they share what they think is going down and naturally this leads to inaccuracies as that message spreads across social channels.  

There was even a UStream channel that was set up that focused in on a Boston Police scanner which UStream confirms that at its peak 265,000 users were tuned in at the time of capture. Over the course of the day a total of 2.4 million people followed along at some point.  

It has never been more apparent through the inaccuracies of reported information by countless “reputable” news sources how desperate these news outlets where to keep pace with the “breaking news”.  News sources such as Fox News and CNN need to realize that the breaking news business has changed and they shouldn’t be so quick to take this shared social media content and present it as fact.

People knock social media and say that this is the problem with using Twitter or Facebook as a viable news source. To a degree they are correct but isn’t the bigger problem turning on CNN and seeing coverage of a story that is factually incorrect? I count on CNN to get it right and I count on social channels to get it information to me quickly. 

After the FBI released their photos and videos of the suspect almost immediately the social media community on Reddit had discovered another photo of one of the suspects leaving the scene. This photo clearly showed the suspect in higher clarity then what the FBI had released to us. Now that is the power of social media. 



Are Publishing Tools Harming Facebooks Edgerank or is it Smoke & Mirrors?

5 Sep


Often I am asked that if by using a 3rd party publishing tool to schedule and publish posts to Facebook will it decrease the overall reach of the published post? Some users are saying that they have data that suggests that they get better reach and engagement by publishing directly from the Facebook platform and that the edgerank (Facebooks newsfeed algorithm for displaying content) is harmed if using an outside tool.  In other words, is Facebook punishing me for using something other than Facebook for publishing my posts? 

Lets dive into what the magical Facebook “edgerank” means to you.  

When we speak of edgerank we are really referring to the newsfeed algorithm that Facebook uses in determining what content appears in their users news feeds. Your news feed is prime real estate for brands wishing to share their message with you and the newsfeed algorithm is what determines what content makes it to your feed. The key takeaway here is that this algorithm helps determine what you are most likely to find useful and relevant specifically to you. If this algorithm didn’t exist then your news feed would consist of nothing but marketing noise from all those pages you haphazardly liked.

There are three factors that play into how edgerank is determined but first lets identify what is considered an “edge”.

Every status update, like, share, comment, tagging of a post, uploading an image and basically any type of content or interaction is considered an “edge”.  Facebook looks at all of these edges in a users news feed and uses the algorithm to determine which edges are the most important to you. 

This newsfeed algorithm uses a combination of three magical items in determining what content is of utmost importance to you.  

  1. Affinity – The score between the viewing user and edge creator, in other words the relationship between you and the creator of a piece of content.
  2. Edge Weight – The types of edges have varying weights to them or importance. For instance all photos, videos and links seem to garner the most engagement and therefore carry a greater weight in determining an edgerank score. Simply put these published items are more likely to be interacted when compared to a basic status update.  Edge weight also seems to have a snowball effect, meaning that as a post grows in comments, likes and shares it becomes more weighted and more likely to appear higher in the news feed.
  3. Time Decay  – Time decay factor is based on how long ago the edge was created. Basically, something newer is more likely to appear in a newsfeed then something older.

Something to remember is that while we do our best to analyze and identify the governing factors regarding this newsfeed algorithm the simple fact is that this is proprietary to Facebook and they really keep all of this behind the curtain. Facebook can choose to push something higher in a users newsfeeds for no other reason then them wanting to do so.  I warned you that this stuff was magical.

Smoke and Mirrors

So on to the question at hand, are the posts you make via a 3rd party publishing tool being punished by Facebook? The answer is, well, magical as well.

 These publishing tools are designed to help streamline publishing efforts within your organization across a multitude of social networks. Many of these tools allow you to creating engaging fan content such as custom tab design and contests, allow for better scheduling and publishing of updates, uploading content in bulk, repurposing older content and even measuring your social analytics beyond what the network offers you natively.

Looking at the following scenario you are using a publishing tool to schedule and publish status updates to your Facebook page(s) about a special event that you are having in roughly a months time. Thankfully you have purchased a tool that allows you to easily create a post and schedule it to go out on every Friday at 2pm leading up to your big event. 

Week 1 – You find that your post is successful you have great fan engagement and your post reach is very high.

Week 2 – You have some engagement but not nearly as much reach as the previous week. 

Week 3 – The results are pathetic you have no engagement or reach from your post. This causes you to take to Facebook and create another post about your event and like magic, your reach is better then what you received from weeks two and three combined. You immediately call your vendor and exclaim that the tool sucks and Facebook penalizes posts from it.

Week 4 – You forget you have this one scheduled and it goes out further diminishing how the newsfeed algorithm sees posts from this particular 3rd party tool.

So What Gives?

The edgerank algorithm over time saw your posts becoming less engaging to fans so it learned that when it sees a post that has been published via (insert any 3rd party publisher) to your Facebook page it figures that the content isn’t going to be very engaging to fans so it shows it to a lesser audience. Reach is diminished.

This is just one of many scenarios that could be effecting how Facebook is seeing your posts. We are quick to blame the technology when something goes awry but often it is the short cuts that technology affords us that causes us to be careless and lazy with our content.

 Features such as scheduling content in bulk, publishing to many pages and networks at once and repurposing old posts are all features that can be helpful when utilized properly but harmful if your not taking the time to craft your messages appropriately.  

 The moral of the story, technology tools allow you to move quickly and be more efficient with your social marketing efforts but you might just shoot yourself in the foot if your not careful. Create original, genuine and helpful content for your fans to engage with each and every time. Learn how to use these tools effectively and do not just look for the shortcuts that some may provide within their feature set. It may take you a bit longer to plan your content but the benefits will far outweigh the negatives in the long run. 

By – Adam Lazzara

Social Media Technology Acquisitions – Superpowers Unite

6 Jun Social Media Acquisition

Social Media Acquisition

The companies available for acquisition in the social CRM space just got a whole bunch smaller.

Corporate giants Salesforce, Adobe and Oracle are building a monster. Acquiring social media management systems Virtue, Buddy Media, and Context Optional these companies are poised to make a move to dominate the social marketing, listening and CRM space. With these recent acquisitions the space has been officially validated and now the real showdown begins. How quickly these giants can move to provide a simplified and effective social media tool for enterprise level brands to deploy across their organizations will be paramount to their success.

What do these tools do?

Enterprise level tools enable brands to create custom content, publish to social channels, provide moderation and allow for the measurement of performance from these social properties. Some of that custom content that is created can be anything from building contests to designing custom Facebook tabs and applications. In fact it’s these custom pieces that help drive fan engagement, which is what brands crave and easily creating them is key. Creating custom content that fans can interact with is what enables data capture, which is the holy grail of marketing.

The marriage of CRM and social marketing begins

Publishing, analytics and creation are necessary to have but the money is in the data, hence the common theme with all the acquisitions. These big CRM companies are trying to create the one stop social media nucleolus tool for enterprise brands. By doing so they will empower brands to not only publish content but also to create a CRM of social fan data that ties and tracks a specific fan to any actions they engage with on any of the brands social profiles. Knowing who your fans are and how that fan is engaging with you will allow the ability to better target your fan demographic through ads and other digital marketing mediums.

True enterprise level products are being built and a leader will emerge if usability and simplicity don’t come as an afterthought of the tools design. Many of these platforms are very complex in nature requiring advanced CSS skills to create many of the web app designs that drive the engagement and capture data.  The people who are using these tools on a daily basis need something that allows them to create content and publish that content quickly, this doesn’t look as “simplistic” as some of these platforms try to bill themselves as, does it?

Where do we go from here?

If the past several months are any indicator about what is about going to go down in the social media technology space we are in for one hell of a showdown between some major powerhouse companies.  It’s going to be the first company that can take a Steve Jobs like vision of simplicity and elegance and apply that experience to their platform. That company will lead this race and my bet is that its not going to come from any of these corporate giants listed above but instead from a company that can be nimble and move quickly with the nature of the industry to deliver an experience that is fluid, elegant and powerful to suit their needs.  

By – Adam Lazzara

How Does Your Company Handle Change in Social Media?

11 May

Cross Roads of Social Media

The concept of social media remains the same; leverage your networks to introduce content that creates engagement and encourages sharing of that content. It’s a basic premise but often gets complicated due to the changes that happen in this fast paced and ever changing landscape of social media.

How does your company handle and react to change?

At the crossroads where business and social media intersect, change happens fast. Technology changes, social networks change and new platforms emerge that all change how fans interact with their favorite brands online.

How quickly a company can adapt and integrate these changes are paramount to their long-term social media marketing success. Companies both large and small who are actively engaging in social media must find a way keep pace with this change curve.  

As companies navigate these social media waters industry leaders emerge but it’s often the companies who can quickly adapt and integrate with new changes that allow them to stay nimble and keep pace with change.

Here are some examples of change:

Established and existing platforms will change.

Facebook recently made changes to the entire way businesses present themselves and how they interact with their fans via the new timeline functionality.  

New and emerging platforms emerge, quickly. 

Platforms like Pinterest and Instagram are such a huge success that companies must now incorporate new ideas using these platforms into their current social media strategy.

The technology you use change

As social networks change so do the technology vendors that empower you to get the most out of all your social channels.  These social media management systems often have to quickly adapt to these changes and implement new and innovative ways for brands to utilize these system and leverage these social media networks to their advantage.

Its human nature to become comfortable in a routine and any change that gets introduced immediately is viewed as a negative. Instead of viewing these as a negative, learn and try to understand what these new changes bring to the table. By embracing change, your company can adapt quickly and learn to use any changes to your advantage. 

By – Adam Lazzara

The Upside to the New Timeline Changes to Facebook Pages

20 Apr

April 1st 2012 was the day the entire landscape of how Facebook pages were presented to fans changed.  Several months prior personal profile pages switched to what is called a timeline view allowing users to create milestones or life events for things such as engagements, weddings and even those little additions to the family.  Many speculated for some time that this change was coming to business pages but what they didn’t see coming was Facebook removing the ability to send a potential new fan to a default landing tab that often prompted the user to click the “like” button to access some sort of exclusive content. Such a small sacrifice for huge benefits.

We can now build and engage a true and genuine fan base

How many likes could you get was the name of the game but seemingly nobody paid attention to the type of fan that was clicking “like”. Let’s go old school for a moment, you wouldn’t send a piece of mail that was meant for athletes to folks over the age of 60 would you? Yet, brands grabbed as many likes as they could regardless of the demographic resulting with lots of fans but no engagement.

To further this think of this example:

Congrats you just got a new fan but that new fan just happens to be my mom and you happen to be an outdoor sporting goods company. Trust me when I tell you that this is not the demographic you are looking for, she never has nor ever will buy any sort of sporting good item but she found your fan page and clicked “like” because you said if she did she might win an iPad.

You may not realize it yet but Facebook has done us all the favor of eliminating the gimmicky landing tab used to gain fans. The type of fan you are looking for is an honest and genuine fan that is using or could potentially be using your product or service.

Deepen the Facebook experience for our fans with technology

Timeline allows you to turn your fans experience on your page from something that was very one dimensional and narrow to an engaging multifaceted experience. To pull it all together it is going to take bit of technology, a proper communication strategy and some paid Facebook ads.

Now that the size of “web apps” (formally known as tabs) moved from the narrow canvas of 520 to the extended canvas of 810, brands can now truly develop a micro site for fans to interact with that will function very much like a regular website.

Social media management systems (SMMS) can provide the technology to make this an easy experience for your social media teams. Gone are the painstaking days of needing a development team to custom code pages by hand. These SMMS technology platforms will now allow a brand manager to create engaging content easily through a drag and drop experience to quickly publish content to their Facebook pages.  By creating web apps for fans to interact with they will be able to capture valuable information on the type of fan that is engaging with their page. Capturing such data will allow them to create specific fan segments for them to re-market to later.

Have a proper communication strategy

Facebook has now created a “link to this tab” URL for us to use to direct fans to this custom content.

Utilizing this URL in your communication strategy across all of your social channels and not just Facebook will be key in driving people to that custom content you have created. Proper communication will play a much larger role now in getting fans and potential fans to these pieces of content for them to engage in.

Capture fan data and use it effectively with technology

Some social media management systems will allow you to collect and retain data on your fans through social CRM. Brands will now be able to organize fans and create “segments” based upon the specific data that is collected.  Data collection can be gathered through building web apps and having fans engage with them.

Example of a custom sign up web app:

Looking at a simple example of using data like this, picture an automobile dealership that sold both Toyota and Honda cars and they used a social media management system that allowed them to create a web app asking their fans what kind of car they preferred, Honda or Toyota.

By collecting this data, the dealership would now be able to create a fan segment that separated the Honda drivers from the Toyota drivers complete with all of their contact information. Having this segmented data they can now remarket to these fans via Facebook ads and even through specific web apps that cater specifically to each segment. It would make sense to display Honda related content to the Honda fans wouldn’t it?

Embrace change

Facebook continues to evolve and it made a natural progression with timeline for business pages and gave brand managers even more tools for building and developing relationships with fans and potential customers.  Collectively we have moved far beyond simply getting a “Like” from a fan and have moved into a world of data, engagement and customer service through social media.

By – Adam Lazzara



DISH Network Charges us $14,898 for Monthly Service

18 Jan

Dish Network RIP OFF

DISH Network charges us $14,898 and tells us it’s our fault. 

To DISH it’s no big deal. Two charges for $7,499 dollars within a week of each other certainly has to be a mistake right? 

To Dish Network, it’s not a big deal they are just another multi million-dollar company that doesn’t care about their customers. They have overdrawn my girlfriends bank account twice now leaving her with zero dollars. That’s zero dollars, for gas, food, and paying your right. In this case, you can also include moving expenses and buying a new car as that was what we were trying to do before Dish Network continued with their fraudulent charges against our account.

So what happened? A week ago we entered an online payment for a monthly services of $74.49 and DISH Network accepted this as $7,449. Realizing that we did not want to pay DISH over 7 Grand for their already terrible monthly television services we picked up the phone and called them to cancel the charge and pay the correct amount. This is where things get interesting.

Shockingly the first rep told us that it wasn’t their fault and there was nothing to do, call our bank. Ok, so we called the bank, they were equally as shocked to hear what DISH Network told us to do. So we called back in hopes to get another rep that would be more helpful to us instead we got further explanation as to why they could not cancel this pending charge and that we needed to wait the 3+ days for them to reverse the charges.

After going for several days and having several hours of phone calls between the bank and DISH Network the fees were finally reversed. Whew, it was rough having zero dollars in a bank account.

This morning at 6am the bank called, DISH Network has charged our bank account again for $7,499 and now we were overdrawn with a down payment on a new car pending. Not to mention the upcoming moving expenses we have, being overdrawn, everything is bouncing.

Immediately we call DISH Network, the rep reduced my girlfriend to tears as he said that it was not their fault because we messed up in paying them.

So here we are, roughly 7 thousand dollars overdrawn and DISH Network is laughing at us telling us it is our fault.

Please share this story with everyone you can at the very least it will give us peace of mind that their fraudulent actions are being exposed while we wait to legally get our money back. 

PS – On a somewhat laughable note, the DISH rep told us today that we would be required to pay a $10 fee since the funds where not available. Sure ,why not just tack it on our bill whats another ten bucks…


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