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

Social Media: Blessing or a Curse?

free-flat-social-media-icons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just for starters I don’t think that social media is a curse at all, but for some companies these days it seems to be that way.

What I am referring to is companies posting inaccurate, offensive and misleading posts. I am mainly talking about Twitter.

The most recent mishap was Delta. They were trying to be newsworthy and tweet about the World Cup, but it ended up just bringing negative attention.

Personally when I saw this I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. Statue of Liberty represents the USA and the giraffe represents Ghana. People had a problem with this because giraffes are only indigenous to southern and eastern Africa.

A lot of people are poking fun at Delta because they are an airline company and should know geography. This isn’t a huge problem for me. It was an honest mistake. However, social media in this case harmed their image.

If someone had researched a little more or taken a little more time there wouldn’t have been a problem. However, let’s look at Delta’s side. Delta’s social media team wanted to get an image up fast so people would interact them them. Tweets on a Twitter feed don’t last long, so you have to get your content up fast.

It was their follow up tweet trying to apologize that dug them a deeper hole.

They meant to say previous, but put the word precious instead! Ouch!

What’s worse, the fact that they misspelled a word or that 35 people retweeted it and didn’t notice?

Let’s me honest it could have have been much worse.

U.S Airways was responding to a complaint on Twitter and someone from U.S. Airways tweeted a pornographic picture of a lady. Don’t look it up! I know by saying that you are now going to look it up, just don’t.

@Chinmay_Vaidya– I would HATE to be in PR for US Airways right now
I agree, that is a tough situation. How do you accidentally tweet out a pornographic picture?
Businesses have the blessing or curse of having social media. It can either boost their impressions or just create PR nightmares.
It is just amazing to see the difference between companies that get in PR problem and companies like Taco Bell who are masters of Twitter. For Taco Bell a four-word tweet can get thousands and thousands of favorites and retweets.
Companies and individuals need to think before posting! You may delete it, but you don’t know has seen it and the consequences that might come.
P.S. Proof reading also helps!

#L2E – Learn 2 Earn Highlights

20140228_170134

Last Thursday night I made the long drive down from BYU-Idaho to Salt Lake City for the L2E Conference that LDS Business College hosted. I heard about it from a classmate whose sisters go to LDS BC. From the second I saw the video I knew that I needed to go.

I am grateful to the people who took the time and effort to organize and plan the event. I can’t even imagine what a logistical nightmare it must have been trying to get all the speakers lined up and everything organized.

It was worth the time and energy driving down because as the host Spencer Taggart said about a thousand times it was mind blowing. I was opened to new ideas and concept that I need to implement in my personal career to be the best person I can.

I have been telling everyone at BYU-Idaho that they missed out and I have been anxious to share what I have learned.

Chris Smith

Chris Smith from K Cross branding came and talked about branding ourselves, how to become free and how to find our strengths.

One of my favorite quotes from his speech was, “You don’t need to ask permission for anything, just tell them that you are coming.”

What a bold statement, if we want something than we have to go out there and get it. He talked about how the opposite of fear is freedom. If we put ourselves out there and fight fear we will become free.

“Strengths aren’t always things that you are good at, they are things that strengthen you,” Smith said. “Weaknesses aren’t things that you are bad at, it is something that weakens you.”

I had never thought of it like that. It is an amazing concept. Chris played out a scenario that I think happens a lot and discourages people from their facing fears and becoming free.

He said then when we are not good at something people tell us to stop, even if we really love it. If we are good at something people say to keep going it even if we don’t love what we are doing. Just because we aren’t good at something, doesn’t mean that we have to stop doing it if we truly love it.

Smith encouraged student to tell their story. He said that content is key. Content is better than PR and advertising. Stories raise our personal brand and what we have to offer.

We need authentic stories. Every great story starts with Once upon a time….suddenly….luckily and happily ever after.

You brand is what you stand for! What do you want to be known as?

He gave keys on building your brand are: DISCOVER, ALIGN, SERVE.

We truly are a brand and if we brand ourselves we will be more marketable. After his speech we got to dance. I was able to jump on stage and get my dance on. I have no shame! That song has been stuck in my head all week!

IMG_20140228_170800

Stephanie Hatch Leishman

Stephanie came all the way from Boston. Represent! I was born in Boston!

She talked about the jobs that are available in social media, but that part of her speech that caught my eye was once again about personal branding.

She instructed us to have a number 1, 2 and 3 written down on our paper. She then had us write down the top three things that we want people to think about when they hear our names. It was hard for me. What do I want people to think of when they hear my name? PR? Advertising? Journalism?

After you write down what you want people to remember you then have to brainstorm underneath and think of ways to be noticed. It can be through hashtags or various ways.

“Social media has changed me, I see the world in a new perspective, I helps me focus on the details of life,” Leishman said.

There are plenty of jobs out there, we just have to build our brand so THEY can find us.

Judy Robinett

Judy Robinett gave a great speech on networking. Most speakers on networking say just go out and talk to people, but she gave some great advice.

Network = Net work. What a powerful statement.

The reason that people are afraid to network is because of fear.

Here’s what to do:

1. Confront Fears

2. Challenge Assumption

3. Change Beliefs

4. Create Political Capital

She encouraged us to focus on a group of 50 connections and build strong relationships. The money and jobs are in the weak connections, the friends of friends.

What you need to ask: What other ideas do you have for me? Who else do you know that I should talk to?

We need to build a network before we need it. Plan for the future.

There were many other speakers that came to L2E. I wish I could write about all of them.

Tom Dickson who invented the Blendtec came and talked to us about how social media changed his life. He is famous for his YouTube channel Will It Blend?

1393624152605

Alex Houg and Dennis Yu came from Blitz Metrics to talk about the importance of analytics. They offered a free course, which I just barely signed up for. Thank you for that opportunity.

Thanks you again to all those who put this conference on. My mind was truly blown.

If you went, what were you favorite parts?

Social Media PR: Two Way Communication

twoway1

Lots of company’s know that they need a social media accounts to push products, interact with customers and increase awareness.

The reason it’s called social media is because there should be interaction between the customer and the business. The social media platform that I am most referring is Twitter.

It is an easy way for customers to interact with the brand and feel a connection. However, sometimes there seems to be a disconnect and communication is only going one way, consumer to business.

I understand that there are businesses on Twitter that get thousands of mentions each day. However, to keep the customers happy you must please them by interacting with them.

HubSpot:

One business that is really good at doing this is HubSpot. I am currently completing their marketing classes and they always talk about pleasing the consumer. HubSpot always encourages people to interact with them on Twitter.

After each lesson I tweet out thanks to HUbSpot and the individual who taught the lesson. Whenever I tweet the instructor the tweet is always favorited and then they follow me. Every time I mention @hubspot in my tweet they always favorite it.

It’s a simple click of a button for them to favorite my tweet, but it honestly makes me feel special and make me feel that they are listening to me. Whether they read the tweet or not I now have a favorable image of them. Isn’t that what PR is all about? Consequently, I have told a lot of students about HubSpot because of my experience.

Taco Bell has been trending on Twitter the last few days because of their new breakfast menu. When they announced this Monday morning on Twitter they said that they would be answering question for the next 30 minutes. I tweeted them right after I saw that, which was in the first ten minutes of them sending out the tweet.

I asked a question and never got a response. I know that a lot of people were probably asking questions, but I wanted them to respond to me because it would have been cool. I don’t have an unfavorable image of me, but if they would have responded my attitudes and perceptions would certainly be different.

J.P Morgan Fail:

However, don’t set yourself up for a disaster. 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.

Sbarro:

Another good example of this was Sbarro. On Feb. 20 they announced that they would be closing 155 locations, most of them in mall food courts. Approximately 1,400 people will lose their jobs.

Former employees got on Twitter and started to complain that they lost their jobs and they had no prior warning.

Sbarro was on Twitter and responded to a lot of the complaints and told them to send a direct message on Twitter or call a Sbarro hotline.

Twink.I.E @MistaZero2Sixty I got laid off… Wtf. I just found out this morning that Sbarros closed all stores in San Antonio.

Sbarro’s response: @MistaZero2Sixty We are sorry your store closed, please DM us if you want to talk more.

Although I believe that they should have given their employees prior warning that the stores were closing, they did do a good job responding to the people on Twitter. The people were probably still mad that they lost their jobs, but at least they felt heard.

That is the whole point of the word social in social media. The consumer just wants to be heard. Responding to them on Twitter may not fix the problem, but at least they know that their voice was heard.

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