Reaching Your Audience is Harder Than Ever

audience

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With increased content, advertising and garbage on the internet it is becoming hard and harder not only to reach your audience, but to engage them.

I have noticed over the past few months a number of companies that have amazing followings on Facebook, but have terrible engagement. Why is this happening? How can they have so many fans but such little engagement?

One of the main reasons is Facebook’s new rules, but that’s not the entire problem. Before I address those problem let’s look at two examples of what I mean when I say these companies have low engagement on Facebook.

Numbers Don’t Lie

Let’s start with the most liked Facebook page, Coca-Cola. They have 92,477,063 likes. Their most recent post received around 43,000 likes.

Math time: If Coca-Cola engaged 43,000 fans that is roughly .46% of their entire audience. When you look at that number it doesn’t seem like they are engaging that many fans. Their Christmas day post had 70,000 likes, which is around .76% of their entire audience. Once again, that number doesn’t pop off the page, but compared to other brands that is amazing!

The other companies that I am talking about have around 100,000 fans and only have around 10 to 15 likes for organic posts. Their boosted posts receive around 1,000 to 1,200 likes.

Math time: If they engaged only 10 fans that is .01% of their entire audience. Even if they had 1,000 fans like the post that is only a measly 1%.

Where are the other fans and consumers? Are they not being reached or are they simply not engaging with the content? It’s a little bit of both!

If I was a business owner and I saw those numbers, I would be alarmed. After writing this part of the blog I found an article on Twitter that backs up my math!

There are two reasons for this: Facebook’s algorithm changed and many of those likes aren’t even real people, they are bots or were bought from a farm-click company.

My main point is that it is hard to reach your audience, and Facebook isn’t making it any easier!

Main Changes to Facebook’s Algorithm

Last month’s announce of Facebook’s algorithm change will affect small business more than any other business. The changes will now make it harder for business to reach the fans they have already accrued over the years. So if you have 100,000 fans, it might only organically reach about 1% (1,000) of those fans. In worst cases it won’t even reach 1%.

Businesses will now have to pay to reach the fans who have already liked their page. This is ridiculous, that is why people like Facebook pages, so they can see their posts! Companies have already spent money boosting posts to reach people to obtain likes. Now Facebook is making them pay to reach those fans that they already paid to gain. It’s a scam!

Facebook is making it an advertising game and everyone is going to have to play along or get off. Facebook doesn’t care because they are going to bring in millions regardless. Some business will drop off, but the majority will increase their budget.

Facebook of course is trying to put a positive spin on the change by trying to say that they are “cleaning up” people’s news feeds. Let’s not forget that if a person doesn’t like a brand’s content, they can simply unlike the page. It’s the same thing as unsubscribing from a spammy newsletter that you receive in your inbox. If you don’t like it you can hit the unsubscribe button.

As of January 2015 no promotional posts will be allowed! Facebook defines any of the following as being promotional:

  1. Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
  2. Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
  3. Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads

In a recent article from the Wall Street Journal, Chrisy Bossie built a $100,000-a-year gemstone e-commerce business by sharing information about her products on her company’s Facebook page several times a week.

With the new changes Bossie said in the article that she has already had to double her budget to keep sales the same! This change is going to destroy small businesses. OK that might be an exaggeration, but it’s not going to help.

Likes Don’t Equal Profit

I work at an ad agency in the Public Relations department and I sit very close to the Digital Marketing team and we talk often about this problem.

There is a client who wants to reach a certain amount of likes on their Facebook page and each month they are paying a crazy amount of money to do so. Has engagement increased? No!

Owners are worried about “likes” it as if it were a popularity contest; engagement rates aren’t even on their radar. What is more important?

Remember that all likes are not created equal! Smaller businesses are promoting product to a smaller audience, an audience that could directly purchase a product online. Their engagement is much more important than a Coca-Cola post.

I would not directly click on a Coca-Cola post and buy a Coke online. This may be different for the aforementioned Chrisy Bossie, who may have her audience click on the link and bring them to an online store. I hope you can see how this is going to affect small businesses.

Takeaways

If your company is spending thousands of dollars to increase likes on your page, that doesn’t mean that you will be able to reach them in the future, unless you want to pay…again.

You will no longer be able to post promotional content and if you do the organic reach will be around 0%. This will be effect as of January 2015, but some businesses are already seeing changes.

Do you think that these changes are positive? How will they affect small and large businesses?

Advertisements

NYPD Twitter Fail

nypd

Here is another lesson on Twitter and hashtags, just because you create it doesn’t mean that you own it. The New York City Police Department learned that the hard way.The New York Police Department on Tuesday asked people to post photos with its officers using the hashtag #myNYPD. They thought they had a cool way to show police and praise the police of New York – it backfired.

They got a lot of responses and they were mostly negative.

The posts mostly showed police brutality or misconduct. This was not the result that the police department was looking for.

When a company creates a hashtag it is important to think of the consequences and potential outcomes. This was a great idea in theory, but they didn’t plan it out that well.

Not only did this create a problem for the NYPD, but people in other cities starting posting negative pictures with #myLAPD and #myCPD.

According to a CNN article Deputy Chief Kim Y. Royster said that the posts weren’t all bad.

This isn’t the first time that a hashtag has been highjacked, so you think that businesses would have learned by now.

When you are about to name your child you have to put their name through the “Tease Test.” For example: If you are going to name you kid Brady. Kids might call him Tom Brady or they might call him Brady Bunch or something negative.

Matt Markiewicz @MattMarkiewicz

I feel like at least one person at @NYPDnews should’ve seen this whole #MyNYPD thing backfiring. Like, seriously guys. It’s the internet.

I totally agree with you Matt!

Recently, celebrities have been using Twitter as a question and answer forum. It usually backfires.

One that I saw recently involved James Neal and hockey player for the Pittsburg Penguins. The hashtag was #askneal. Just some background for all you non-hockey folks. James Neal has been know for some cheap shots and dirt plays. Here are some of the tweets:

Steph ‏@myregularface  Mar 24

If you could have any super power, how would you use it to hit opponents in the head? #askneal

Sarah Connors ‏@sarah_connors  Mar 24

Do you make rocket noises when you launch yourself at peoples’ heads? if not, why? #AskNeal

#BeatDetroit ‏@Marchant_63  Mar 24

#askneal what’s your favorite strategy when facing an opponent? Elbowing? High hitting? Cross checking? Knee to knees?

Two Olympic marketing campaigns for McDonalds and Coke got highjacked by gay rights activists. They spent millions on those campaigns and they were ruined within days of launching.

Not too long ago J.P Morgan tried the same thing on Twitter.

J.P. Morgan announced a Q&A on Twitter this past Nov. after they were fined $920 million over its “London Whale” trading loss. They wanted people to ask questions so they could clear the air on Twitter. Their goal was to interact with customers and it was a complete fail.

Instead of receiving real questions about the allegations they received a whole bunch of hate texts.

Here are just a few:

Did you always want to be part of a vast, corrupt criminal enterprise or did you “break bad”?”

Did you have a specific number of people’s lives you needed to ruin before you considered your business model a success?”

What section of the poor & disenfranchised have you yet to exploit for profit, & how are you working to address that?”

Why aren’t you in jail for sending a literal ton of gold bullion to Iran in violation of sanctions?

Definitely not the interaction they were looking for.

Lessons to learn:

  1. Make sure you have a plan
  2. Thing of all possible negative outcomes
  3. Test before launching and get feedback

Super Bowl Advertising or Super Bowl Public Relations?

superbowl

If you had the chance to watch the commercials during the Super Bowl you might have noticed a couple of things.

One, is that the advertising wasn’t really advertising it was more public relations.

How many times did you actually see the company mention price or tell consumers to buy the product?

I don’t think I saw one dollar sign in any commercial.

Think about it. What ad stuck out the most?

One commercial that stuck out to be more PR than advertising was Coca-Cola. It wasn’t meant to be funny, it was meant to share a message and bring people together.

In case you missed it here it is.

What was the message that they were trying to send? Everyone is American even though they aren’t from America. At least that’s what I got from it.

Budweiser won the USA Today voting with their PR commercial Puppy Love. It has nothing to do with Budweiser. It has a puppy in it, of course people are going to love it.

Now after watching that don’t you have a better feeling about Budweiser even if you don’t enjoy their beer? It has gotten 43.5 millions views in 6 days.

The commercial that generated the most publicity and buzz before the Super Bowl were the Bud light commercials. They were genius in their planning.

Bud Light released short 30 second commercials showing bits and pieces of the commercial that would air during the Super Bowl. When I saw the ad I immediately looked it up on Google to find what it was about.

They used two spots in the first quarter to tell the whole story. It had people on the edge of their seats. It had a lot of hype leading up to it and has generated earned media after the fact. ABC did an interview with the unsuspecting person in the commercial (Ian Rappaport).

The examples can go on, but the point is Public Relations is on the rise and advertising is dying.

Here are some stats to prove my point:

*2001:

GM spent $819,000,00 advertising its Chevrolet

Ford spent 39% LESS and Ford outsells Chevrolet by 39%

“Just because you out-advertise your competition doesn’t mean you are going to outsell them.”

*Stats and quote from book, “Fall of Advertising & the Rise of PR” by Al Ries and Laura Ries. I highly recommend it.

Sponsoring 2014 Olympics worth the risk?

coke

Usually sponsoring the Olympic Games gets brand names lots of publicity and great recognition. However, this year sponsors are facing lots of adversity.

According to the Huffington Post, sponsors were warned in August about the possible complications that could arise. The 2014 Olympics in Sochi have generated more negative based articles than I have seen for any other Olympics.

It is detracting from the real purposes of the Games.

However, my point is to not talk politics, it is to talk about Public Relations. McDonald’s and Coca-Cola are facing real problems on social media that isn’t giving their brand the excepted recognition that comes from sponsoring the Games.

Coca-Cola’s social media campaign “Share a Coke” had to be shut down. Activists were using it to persuade people to use social media to highlight the anti-gay brutality and laws in Russia.

What was a great PR idea by Coca-Cola was ruined by the activists. It was an interactive site where participants could type there name in and then share the coke online. People tried typing the word “gay” in, but the site would not except it. Activist were outraged.

This was Coca-Cola’s statement.

The name and message auto-generator on our South Africa “Share A Coke” website would not accept the word “Gay”, but did accept the word “Straight”. This isn’t how the program was supposed to work, and we’ve pulled the site down until we can fix the problem.

We apologize for this mistake. As one of the world’s most inclusive brands, we value and celebrate diversity. We have long been a strong supporter of the LGBT community and have advocated for inclusion, equality and diversity through both our policies and practices.”

They weren’t the only ones being affected by the social media hijacking.

McDonald’s hashtag #CheertoSochi was meant to cheer on the athletes, but was again used by LGBT activists to promote their ideals. Two great campaigns foiled because of politics.

Twitter users were outraged by the hashtag. One user @MSignorile tweeted:

Shame on @McDonalds sending #CheersToSochi while gay activists are attacked by Olympic officials. Outrageous!

mcdonalds

McDonalds also had a response.

The real question here is did McDonalds and Coca-Cola really think of the repercussions of sponsoring these Games? They were well aware that there would be come complications.

However, I don’t think that they thought it would get this bad and this politically heated. Right now their names are taking a hit, but I don’t think that it will affect them overall.

They are not getting good publicity now, but this will all blow over just like the Kony 2012 campaign and many other protests. People are bored and they want something to complain about so that’s why they are pouring Coke down drains.

Was it worth it for them?

According to CNN’s Money Web page Corporations pay an estimated $100 million to become a major Olympic sponsor. On top of this, they pump massive investment into related marketing campaigns.

Here are some links for more information:

http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/16016.aspx

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michelangelo-signorile/olympic-sponsors-were-war_b_4679919.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/scott-wooledge/mcdonalds-cheerstosochi-c_b_4640514.html