Julie Perry, Director of Social Media at StrataBlue, discusses ways to amplify your content through social media and paid advertising at April’s Smartups meeting. Listen to the discussion or read it below. If you haven’t joined Smartups sign up at SmartupsIndy.com and come out every third Tuesday to the Speak Easy to grow your marketing knowledge and connections.
Note in this transcript that Julie often refers to our featured startup that presented before her, which was BookACoach.com. Julie ties several points in her presentation to actual advice for BookACoach to apply.
The full transcript is after the jump.
I just wanted to introduce Julie. So Julie is the Director of Social Media at StrataBlue a local – Julie, do you guys consider yourself an ad agency or do you have a specific term that you use? Okay, a digital marketing agency. But she started her career cruising the world and then even wrote a book about it: “The Insiders’ Guide to Becoming a Yacht Stewardess: Confessions from My Years Afloat with the Rich and Famous.”
From that she went on to work in PR and work in digital media developing and co-creator of “YouTube Secret Weapon 2.0.” She is also a contributing author – what’s the name of the book that you’re a contributing author in (“Success Secrets of the Social Media Marketing Superstars”) – and has great experience in basically amplifying earned media, and that’s what we’re going to talk about tonight. So let’s give a round of applause for Julie Perry. [Applause]
I’m going to apologize in advance for two things, one, my ugly slides. I did not give this to my great graphic designers at StrataBlue to fix up and over the years – I don’t have many graphic design skills – so I built these PowerPoints. So it’s going to be ugly, and I’m also going to be moving very fast because I have a lot of content and I’m going to try to get through it in half an hour, after Myles gets his beer – oops, you saw that coming – or anyone gets their beer.
But, yes. I am with StrataBlue, and like I said we’re somewhat of a startup because we are the merger between two companies, the previous Dream Systems Solutions – some of you may know Slava Vidomanets, and he just merged with it was called Binary Tree. It’s a cloud solutions company. They assist businesses in taking their business into the cloud, essentially.
So we can talk about that at the end of the presentation though, because for now, I want to talk about YOUR businesses. And I should also say that I have worked for several startups. From 2005 to 2008 I was a freelancer and did a lot of internet marketing, copywriting, SEO work for a number of startups. So I can always, when we’re taking questions at the end, address that.
So to begin, we’re talking about marketing, the marketing mix. I was previously at BLASTmedia for those of you who know BLAST. I created their social media program. I started there in 2010, and we had the mini startup inside of a big PR agency. I worked there for three-and-a-half years and built them up from being just a PR agency to being what they are now, which is a digital media marketing agency.
And I talk to CMOs all the time, and they’re looking at this equation (Slide 2) and they’re going, “okay, there’s so many different things now that the marketing department must do. It has to touch so many different elements of an overall integrated marketing program…” (Slide 3) And the thing I love about social media is that I really feel that, in the age of the customer, which is what they’re now calling it, (also the age of engagement), we have technology empowered buyers. And social media is touching all of these different elements of the marketing mix.
So really, as a startup, there’s never been a better time to be in marketing because social media is the front-facing part of your brand. (Slide 4) Social media touches all of these other elements, and it’s something that, at least in the first few years, was not all that pricey or expensive to get involved with…But that’s what we’re going to talk about today is that, when you are having to put money and dollars towards advertising, how you can combine it with other styles of marketing and integrate things more so that you’re kind of weaving things in and out.
So I know that sounds a little confusing, but as I move forward you’ll get more of my point. But, first, it’s what I always have to talk about with these big high-up CMOs and senior vice-presidents of marketing at big companies that are all of the sudden going, “Whoa, the marketing that I learned and then practiced for 30 years suddenly changed what felt like overnight.” (Slide 5) And so they are realizing that “it’s not the strongest of the species that survives, as Charles Darwin said in On the Origin of the Species, “nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.” And things are changing fast.
And those of us even in social media can’t believe it that things that we were doing – platforms that we were using – like Myspace back in 2005 (I helped several businesses really build themselves up over there, and then it went away), and then Facebook took its place. But then you find that suddenly things change on Facebook where your free marketing that you had going on your company page now takes money to make anything happen.
So adapting to change is something that we’re all doing. So one of the things I want to talk about tonight first, in this first 15 minutes, is I really want to start talking about more of an overarching, 30,000 foot view of marketing so that we can all be on the same page with, sort of, there’s the reality and there’s the perception of what marketing is today. And I want everybody to change their perspective to look at social media as not just this annoying thing that they’re now supposed to be doing, but finding ways that it can integrate into things that you may have already done in past jobs as a marketer or things that somebody who’s working for you with a lot of experience in traditional marketing can start looking at as to how to integrate that in.
(Slide 5 More): Then after we talk about the social media marketing sales funnel, we’ll talk about inbound versus outbound marketing and converged media, which is really kind of changing that thought process and getting you to see a bigger picture. We will then narrow down into some more specifics, the first being content marketing – a really hot topic buzzword in digital media today. And then we’ll talk about specific channels, Facebook and Facebook ad possibilities. We’ll talk a little bit about some tips for Twitter, YouTube and YouTube ad possibilities, Google+ and then I’m also going to touch on just LinkedIn ads.
But one of the first things – this is the daunting slide – the overwhelming number of platforms. (Slide 6) When someone says social media, are you on x? Are you on z? There are so many of them out there.
And I think that one of the problems is – and this is what I get a lot of times from startups – is, “I don’t have much time and I don’t have much money. Where should I focus? How many tweets?”… And then they get into numbers: How many tweets should I send out a day? How many Facebook posts do I need? How many platforms do I need to be on? How many pins should I do?” And they want this formula.
Well, of all these different – and by the way, I’m going to send these slides out maybe on SlideShare, so don’t feel like you have to be scribbling this down – but, yes, at the top we have blogs, which I like to think of as the hub of any social media campaign because it lives on your domain and is where you can publish your content.
So as we get into content marketing we’re going to be thinking about that as the hub. But then we have these social networks – Facebook, Google+, and niche networks (which is something that Myles of BookACoach, I would definitely say to look into some of these forums and things where parents are discussing their children’s athletic ventures).
Then we have professional networking sites, document sharing sites, video and content sharing sites, and it’s not just YouTube. There’s Brightcove. There’s iTunes, Vimeo, even Instagram, Facebook, and Vine now, with Instagram and Facebook allowing for advertising with video or just sharing video. Then we have our microblogs: Twitter and Tumblr. There are image sharing sites, such as Instagram. Of course we all remember Flickr, not as used as much anymore, but it should be on there. Then there’s Pinterest. We have social bookmarking sites – StumbleUpon, Reddit. Location-based services. Consumer rating sites.
And then other digital objects, so things like infographics, emails, podcasts. This is all sort of part of the digital marketing mix. So maybe not talking social but more digital, but really at the end of the day because content is going on on all these and you’re sharing it as the media (everyday people as the media), it is very much social media.
So here’s what I tell those people that want to know the numbers: Yes, numbers are important. I’m analytics trained and certified, and I’m always looking at the numbers and drilling everything down to ask is this working, is this not by looking at the numbers. (Slide 7) But I’m going to tell you: social media marketing is not a science. It is an art.
And I truly feel that if you use the numbers to decide when you are painting the perception of your business through social media, then all those social platforms I just showed you, they are like paintbrushes. They are like colors of paint.
And once you get out there and you start talking and engaging with your target audience that you may not have even envisioned was your target audience…You have this vision that you were building this company or this service for this one particular customer, and once you get out and start talking with people and engaging, you realize, wow, I think I had it wrong. THIS is actually my customer. So you need a different paintbrush. You need some different paint. Use the numbers to guide what you paint. But it’s an art. And unfortunately, as much as we are now using social media to be these artists of the brand, we’re not the artistic directors. I really think that that is more our customers. Customers brand companies today.
So tonight I’m going to focus on (slide 8) blogs, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter, because ideally, if you’re really worried about where you should spend your time, then yes, that can fluctuate. In fact, I just talked to a startup that’s a fine linens company and they’re going to go big with Pinterest. With fashion companies I get as clients, I’ll usually make more a play on Instagram and Pinterest – visual platforms. But tonight, these other main platforms are what we’re going to cover.
So, first of all, we need to adjust our thinking. Where your targets are online – and I know Myles from BookACoach said you’re doing great with SEO – that’s wonderful. And back in 2005, ’06, ’07, I worked for a company called StomperNet. They were a SEO training company out of Atlanta, and we were helping business owners learn how to get number one in Google. And that was the Holy Grail back then, right? Be number one in Google, and your problems were solved.
But anymore, and these are the search engine traffic stats ending the week of March 8. (Slide 9) What we see here is that the great days of random search exploration are over. People now typically know what they are looking for when they go over to a search engine. A lot of times they’re just using a search engine for navigation. They already know what website they want to go to. They are just too lazy to type it into the address bar. So for example, they are looking for a specific person’s LinkedIn profile, so they just go to Google and enter in the name + “LinkedIn.”
And this could be Bing. It could be Yahoo!, but essentially, while we are still using the big search engines, those days of doing broad searches where we’re looking for something completely random are kind of over. Because I know, me, I’ll go to Facebook and send it out to my own network, “Hey, what do you guys think, what’s the best Italian restaurant in Indianapolis?” And I’ll get that answer from my friends, and then I’ll go look it up. So when I go Google it, I’m actually navigating to what I already know I’m looking for.
So these search engine traffic statistics on Slide 9 are, I think, interesting because it’s also showing us that the grand days of social interaction are here. When you look at the numbers: there were 2.6 billion visits the week of March 8th to Google, and you see Binghoo, which I like to combine Bing and Yahoo!, both still staying in there. But Facebook is actually catching up with Google in terms of the number of visits that week, not to mention YouTube, Twitter, Google+, Yahoo!. These sites are still getting so many visits. But startups will always come to me and say, “We’re going to start with paying this SEO firm to do some keyword research and then we’re going to pay them to get us to number one.”
Well, guess what? It’s a waste of money because a lot of SEO firms, and I saw several businesses that I worked for back in 2005 through 2009 doing SEO stuff, and all the tricks that we were using, all the tricks we were teaching – borderline, sort of gray hat stuff even some of it – it was a lot of the reason that when the Google search algorithm changed in 2011 a lot of those companies fell out of the SERPs all together (that’s the search engine result pages, SERPs). It actually hurt them that they were using a lot of the practices that they had been using to build backlinks and such, because Google said, “Hang on. Wait a minute. We are in the business of giving our customers what they want.”
When I go to search something, if Google gives me a spammy crap site, I’m not going back to Google. I’m going to Bing. So search engines are in the service business of wanting to give you good results. And they finally realized that it was just a bunch of SEOs fabricating what was the most important thing online because they were able to build a bunch of backlinks. A lot of times, they were just farming their backlinking out overseas to get somebody to sit and enter things in online directories all day. It was just a mess. So Google said, “That’s it. We’re changing everything.”
First of all (slide 10), they started blending the search engine result pages. As we know when we go to search something now, we’ll often see images, videos, news, shopping, all kinds of results. And now they even put it going across (horizontal, sub-navigation) because people know when they want images or news. They know when they want just video results. They know when there are other genres of results that they can search.
So there has been a lot of change in the search engine interface. What they’re also now doing is they’re putting emphasis on social signals. Google has said, okay, we can’t necessarily prove that these links coming from these certain sites are valid anymore. It could be just a bunch of SEOs in the background kind of fabricating this universe. So instead (Google says), we’re going to go to the social sites and look and see what people are really talking about. We’re going to see how many links are coming from – for anyone that knows SEO and they’ll talk no-follow links, follow links – well, forget all that. If there are links coming, Google is paying attention. And when there’s buzz going on over on Facebook, or on LinkedIn, on Twitter, on SlideShare, well, the search engines are picking up on that.
The search engine spiders are a lot smarter these days. They understand semantics. They know what people are talking about. They know when English is written or not written properly, and all of those tactics that SEOs used to use are out the door. You will do far better in SEO rankings by putting emphasis on your social media than you will paying somebody to build you a bunch of crappy backlinks.
And then a lot of people just now go directly to these social platforms to search: they go to Quora to look for an answer to a question. I go directly to Twitter to search – if I hear there’s an earthquake, I’m over on Twitter searching it because I know its results are in real time. It’s the same thing with people who go to Yahoo! Answers to find things, or to Craigslist, or YouTube (the number two search engine in the world)… And that’s how a lot of people are now searching. They say even in the search bar of what people visiting Google are typing in, a lot of times the secondary word is “Facebook” or “YouTube” – in other words, they know they want to watch a video. They’re just too lazy to go directly to YouTube.
So let’s think about this though, too (slide 11): the social media sales funnel. This is where I want everyone to be thinking about the old way of looking at it, and then I’m going to show you that, as startups, why you’re at an advantage. Traditionally with marketing, we think of exposure and brand awareness at the top of the sales funnel. The idea with social media is that then you tack on some influence (the next rung down on the social sales funnel). You try to get the influential people with big followings talking about you to help you gain that exposure or awareness.
And then it’s about engagement, which is the next step down in the funnel. If we can get people interacting with us, retweeting us, and entering our contests, if we can get them to take an action, whoa, then we’re really far into the sales funnel. We are nurturing that lead at this point. I got their email, and now I’m able to email them more one-to-one direct.
Eventually we hope to move them to a conversion, where they’ve actually bought something from us. But let’s not forget, the other two important parts of social media and something to always be thinking about: how to retain that customer (retention), how to give good quality service so that customer goes out and becomes your siren and begins telling people what a great brand you are and what a great service you have (advocacy).
So interestingly, last summer I spoke at the ReelSEO Video Marketing Summit out in San Francisco, and the keynote speaker was I think it’s Sally, Cindy, Cindy Reider [Suzie Reider]. She’s the Senior Vice-President of Media Solutions at YouTube, and she made the comment that – and this is what I think is even more important for startups – she says this is for everybody to be thinking about, but for startups this is most important. We flip this funnel. (Slide 12)
So what’s that show, Flip that House? (Slide 13) Flip this funnel so that actually – forgive the graphics – your advocates are the people that you want to find FIRST. They are now the top of the funnel. You want to go into the heart of forums where your specific targets are talking and hanging out. You want to let them know about your product or service. You want to ask them for their feedback. You want to get them involved in the development process. What do they think about your product? What would they change? What would they do different? Get them feeling like they’re actually a part of the creation of this so that, then, when it works for them and it’s great they’re going to be one of your biggest advocates.
They’re going to be your sirens, I like to call them, and they, if you can find those people that have really strong influence, are going to be a very valuable advocate for your brand. And then you worry about them getting you the right kind of exposure, the right kind of awareness, and then start working and then engaging with the people that they brought to you because they were out talking about you in such a positive, great way. And then you worry about the retention, the loyalty, and of course, that just keeps going back around. So go for the influencers and the advocates first, and work the other direction through the funnel.
Here’s something I want everyone to think about, and I am taking way too much time so it’s going to start going really fast, I want everyone to start thinking about outbound vs. inbound marketing. (Slide 14) We hear these buzzwords all of the time and this is where I want to make sure everyone’s head is at before I get into content marketing.
Outbound marketing, what Brian Halligan of HubSpot refers to as anytime you have “to buy, beg or bug your way in.” It’s pushing. It’s interruption marketing. All the traditional ways – cold calling, direct mail, email blasts (sometimes you have permission to send emails but a lot of times people just get lists and just start sending emails), trade shows too. Outbound is anytime you’re having to interrupt to get your message out. You’re pushing. Ads obviously, and we’re looking at traditional ads, even social media ads and search engine ads, but I’m going to show you why in a second those are showing up as both outbound and inbound.
Next, when we talk about inbound marketing, this is the concept of pulling people in. It’s being discovered, being findable, being out online with valuable content that leads people right into your back pocket, your wallet that is. So we’re, in this instance, talking about permission marketing. It’s pulling people in. Take SEO: I search. I find your result. You’ve earned your way up to the top of that ranking and then I come over to your site.
But it’s also blogging and content marketing. It’s providing that valuable content that your sirens and your brand advocates can go out and share for you and share with their people that pulls more of the right audience to you. It’s RSS, when people subscribe to your feed for your blog. It’s social media. They’ve followed you on Twitter and they liked your Facebook page. Or they followed your Pinterest board. These are inbound channels.
Next up: social media ads, and this is why I say these can be considered inbound, because even though you’re pushing something out with money behind it, these social ads are so contextual anymore that sometimes you’ll hardly know you’re being advertised to. Facebook ads anymore are so sly in terms of allowing you to show up at the right times. And even display ads, when you remarket to people.
Yes, remarketing can get creepy, but it also is so effective and that’s where we’re kind of looking at that almost as an inbound tactic. If someone’s already been to your website once and then you remarket to them with a display ad, in some ways, they’ve kind of asked to see that. Nordstrom is always reminding me what I left in my shopping cart that I need to go and pay for. Thank you, Nordstrom.
And finally, with viral videos, it’s the same thing. Inbound. You’re earning from other people pushing you out, which pulls other people in.
So, the way to start thinking about this is that these tactics have to weave in and out. (Slide 15) The outbound and the inbound tactics weave. You don’t look at social media as a silo. “Well, we have to tweet so many times a day. We have to post so many times a day.” No, you look at how it can weave in and out with your other side of the marketing, the push. Push. Pull. Push. Pull.
Here’s an example: You go to a trade show. You decide to go on Twitter, make a list of people at the show ahead of time. While there, you end up holding a contest that says, “Come to our booth to enter something to win.” To enter, you get their email address. Now you can start sending them an email newsletter that’s actually sending them to your blog content each month where you’ve got great articles that help them solve a problem and show them how your service might solve their problem. Then they subscribe to the RSS, so now they’re getting those blog alerts on a constant basis. And then you maybe use the fact that they’ve been to your website to do some social display ad re-targeting, which can, again, lead them back. It’s just back and forth, back and forth. Inbound, outbound. Push, pull.
Now, think of it this way (Slide 16): I just took all of those different inbound and outbound elements and I put them in different buckets. It was integrated marketing all through 2011, 2012. Now, ever since last year, the buzzword is converged media or converging media. So I took those same inbound and outbound concepts and this is how I want you to start thinking about your social media and for the rest of this presentation… They are now in three siloes: owned, earned, and paid. Converging together. You need to be playing in all three.
In other words, with converged media, you need to be creating the content that you own that lives on your website and that has value, that people want to read, that teaches them about your product, that kind of probes the problems that they might have that your product solves. You want to put that same content out through your social media profiles that you own, you control. All of this is owned media. You want the same thing with your email, email newsletters, even the press releases that you put out. All of that is also owned media.
And if your owned media is valuable and shareable, it is going to earn you media – not only from the mainstream media you might get in the form of online media coverage – but also from the “we the people” media. Today, we (you and me) are the media. So you’re going to be earning retweets, and shares, and people are going to be, as media, sharing your message, spreading your word. So in many ways social media is earned media. Earned media is social media buzz. It’s viral videos. Even still, it’s search engine rankings (social buzz helps your SEO if your content is linked back to your site, your hub).
Remember when I mentioned that all those social search signals are going to be what pushes you up the search rankings? Well, that’s earned media. You’re earning your way up the search results. You’re not paying some SEO guy to build a bunch of spammy links.
But now, this is where it’s all changing and just in the last two years it has gotten so crucial: the paid part. Paid media. You need to amplify your earned and your owned media to get – well actually, use your owned media to get the earned to continue – to keep going. So let’s see how this plays outs. I’m going to start showing you some examples of this, but basically if you’re putting out great content you have to boost it (paid media) to get it above the noise, to get people discovering it so that you can begin to earn more to get people sharing it. Content marketing is where it starts. This is the hub. (Slide 17)
So we go back to the blog. It’s the content that you’re putting together. I like to think of content as currency. Here’s why: If you give valuable content you will earn valuable customers. (Slide 18) You will also earn those sirens, those advocates, those people that are out sharing the information. But you’ve got to – almost like threading a needle – go to those influencers first. Get to those people who you can tap into to say, “Hey, you’ve got a story. You could use my product. Here it is. Help me develop it.”
[Using BookACoach as an example]: Then you get the case study of the parent that was so happy because they came through Bookacoach.com and got this great coach. And we do a video where we show the kid in before or after mode, or whatever it was. We tell the kid’s story. We tug on the heartstrings. We get that information out, and suddenly parents everywhere are like, “Oh, what a neat, amazing video.” They start sharing it with their fellow parent friends that have a kid who is in a similar situation. This is sharing the wealth.
I remember a guy said to me once, “Everyone says I give good Facebook.” And what he meant was he shares valuable content. Everyone thinks he is the most fun person to follow on Facebook because everything he shares is always something they want to share with their friends. For that person, that’s his social currency; it is the content he shares that earns him that influence. So you must create good content for your valuable sirens to go out and share.
So here are some ways to get that content. (Slide 19) As I know, we’re startups. We don’t have all day. We don’t have all this money to go and pay people to create content for us. You, as the creator or idea person behind your company, know your product and service better than anyone else. You need to get all of that information out of your head and into some media format. What’s the best way to do it? Hold a webinar, a Google hangout. Talk it out. Do interviews. Get content into a podcast form or a webinar form.
Then, take that webinar, upload the PowerPoint that you used to SlideShare. Add some PowerPoints to an audio recording and put it on YouTube… And then repurpose it by putting the same video on Vimeo and Instagram and Facebook. Get it everywhere. My former business partner, when we did YouTube Secret Weapon which was our product where we taught thousands of students YouTube video marketing back in ’08 and we took it off the market in 2012. His name is Paul Colligan; he wrote a couple books on podcasting…
Anyway, Paul calls it the ISYOT Effect, which stands for “I’ve seen you out there.” And that means if you’ve got great information to share, get it out there in all these different formats. Be everywhere. Repurpose it. You can even then transcribe something that you did and make it into a whitepaper or a downloadable transcript. People will sometimes say, “I don’t have time to sit and listen to this. I just want to read it and see if it’s got what I need.” Give them the content in the way they want to consume it. Meet your customer on his or her own terms.
Then break that larger content up into pieces and go into forums where people are talking and then just put little answers in that are broken up from the words that have actually come out of your mouth. And next thing you know, you’re everywhere. You’re in forums. People are sharing your content everywhere in all its different formats and lengths. And then people come up to you and will say, “Bookacoach.com, I know I’ve heard of it. I’ve seen you out there.” That’s the ISYOT Effect.
So repurpose your content. (Slide 20) Start with a blog post a week if you can as just one thing that you promise yourself that you’re going to get out there. If you need to hire someone to help you create it, that’s fine. One thing we do at StrataBlue is I get CMOs and busy executives on the phone and I say, “Just talk to me. Answer all these questions,” and then we go and we record and transcribe it. Then we give it to one of our bloggers and we have them do all the doctoring up with the keywords and linking and figuring out how to make it readable.
We then get some images to go with it. Images and photos are what grab attention. People share those. Your audience then doesn’t even have to go to your blog. You can just take some great ideas and make a little mini infographic and post it on Twitter and watch as it gets shared. (Just make sure you have your web URL and/or logo down at the bottom corner.) And be sure to talk about not just your solution but about the problem. Probe that problem a bit. (Unless you have a good case study; I’m telling you people love case studies.)
And remember: Be sure to pay attention to all the stages of that social sales funnel so that you’re not just talking about and introducing who you are. You should also be talking to your current customers: How do they use your service? [With regard to our features start-up this week, BookACoach.com]: What’s going to make it easier for them? What if they don’t find the coach that they want, what can they do? What if they have a recommendation for a coach? Hey, put it in a video. It makes it so much easier for people.
And, again, taking the time to go into communities where influencers are talking and where you can narrow down your exact people who need your product or service; let them beta test it. Let them be the first to try it. Those people will ultimately end up being your sirens, which is so valuable for you. [With regard to our features start-up this week, BookACoach.com]: Find some coaches. Do some interviews with some of the coaches, video interviews, and then find maybe some celebrity endorsements. There are YouTube celebrities all over the place now. Get one of the guys on the YouTube sporting shows and have him interview you… And then, when you share content you created about or with someone and you’re tagging them on Twitter, what do they do? They retweet it. They share it to their people because they have been interviewed. (Influence.)
Jay Baer spoke here a couple of weeks ago and he made a comment that he gets more business out of his podcast than he does his website. Jay Baer runs Convince & Convert and he gets hundreds of thousands of people coming to his blog each week. But he said his podcast is where he’ll go out and find business leaders to interview, and ultimately, he ends up getting a lot of those people that he’s interviewed as business (customers). But then also, all those big industry thought leaders are then sharing the interview. And of course then people are learning about Jay that are already following those leaders. So see how this works? Tap into the influencers and the advocates and make sure that you’re tagging them when you’re sharing your/their content.
Another thing (Slide 21): Establish credibility ahead of time by starting in niche forums, but not as an, “Oh, look at my product. Look at my…” No, start months in advance just kind of listening, giving advice, watching how people behave before you start jumping in; otherwise people are going to say, “Get out of here. You’re just pushing your product.”
In these niche forums, find people who are early adopters so you can take advantage of their input. When we had TheBoaters.com, which was a startup I was a part of down in Miami in 2007, we went in and talked to boaters on Myspace because we were creating a Myspace for boaters and we wanted to say, “If we had a Myspace just for boaters what would you want on your profile?” And they’d say, “I win fishing competitions all that time.” “Okay. We’ll make that a badge on the site.” And we listened to them. So we created the site that they wanted.
Make sure you’re collecting emails. (Slide 21) Also, when you have some content on your site (I’m bringing this up here because it’s a pet peeve): When I click to share something on your site and it posts just as the link, no, no, no, no. That’s not how you want to do it. You want to do it with a little message behind it and a hashtag, or something that, when people click to share everything that not only they want people to know about what the content is is there, but everything YOU want to be shared about the content. So you want a hashtag, that then, ready, set, push, boom – there it is. A lot of you know what I’m talking about. It’s all done through plugins.
And then here’s the big part (Slide 22): No matter how successful your content is, it’s going nowhere if you don’t put a little money behind it. Amplify. Boost. This is just the nature of the game. Even just in the last two weeks the changes on Facebook are phenomenal. I run my own Facebook page for my book, The Insiders’ Guide to Becoming a Yacht Stewardess, and posts are getting 50 people organically to see them, when they used to get hundreds. So you’ve got to push it before you pull.
There are all kinds of social ads that you can do. YouTube ads for video. You can do the YouTube pre-roll ads. I’ll talk about that in a minute. Facebook ads, obviously. Twitter ads are something that you can do now, and it’s so amazing how you can target these now based on keywords. BookACoach, if someone is talking about their kid’s soccer lesson, you can now show up suddenly on Twitter. They also have Twitter cards that contain special offers and coupons. LinkedIn ads, for anybody in a B2B arena, holy cow, LinkedIn ads are just absolutely insane because the site is treated like Facebook now. We’ll talk about LinkedIn ads right at the end of this presentation.
(Slide 23). Next up: Facebook. No, not everybody is on there, but guess what? The people who are on Facebook, they’re creating the buzz on the Internet. They’re the ones that are word of mouth spreaders, talking about things and starting to create the trends that are then being talked about in other places online (and off). So this is where you want to plant your seeds of content, and to do that – here, actually we’re going to talk about this. Two kinds of ads really that I recommend on Facebook. There’s the display ads which is sort of the original thing people were doing in the right-hand column.
Here’s an example of one I did for my book when there was a TV show out last summer called “Below Deck.” (Slide 25) It was a show about people who worked below deck as crew on these luxury yachts. Well I have a book about how to do that. I wrote it seven years ago. Who knew that there would end up being a reality show about it? So I put out a 2nd edition in 2013. I knew that audience is who I was marketing to, and I’m telling you, these Facebook ads – this is the place to be right now for online marketing bar none… I find that Facebook ads perform two to three times better in terms of a return than PPC AdWords and search engine marketing.
I have an example of I was targeting 4,800 people (see slide 25). Look at that targeting. If Facebook ads aren’t working for you, you’re just not doing it right because you’re not digging in deep enough to find your target audience. Or you’re not delivering them the right message. And reaching them with content is now the powerful part. Not just a display ad, but lead them to your valuable content. Bait them.
There’s a book called Killer Facebook Ads by Marty Weintraub. It was written in 2011 and everything in the Facebook Ads Manager interface has since changed, so you’ll read it and only 60 percent of the book is still accurate, but that 60 percent is amazing. I’m telling you. Killer Facebook Ads, get it on Amazon. Marty walks you through the science and art of Facebook ads and lets you know all the amazing opportunities that are out there to target people.
So in this example (see slide 25), I was targeting young girls coming out of college – between 19 and 31 –who watched Below Deck, the TV show, and liked the show’s Facebook page, who were single or in a relationship or didn’t specify, and who were not already connected to my page. And you don’t just want to use this for like acquisition, which is getting people to like your page, but you also want to use it to get them to click over to your website. You can use these ads for targeted traffic generation.
What’s working the best now though are promoted posts, and here we go back to your content. Your currency, it’s your owned media. You put it in there as a post. So here’s an example from The Insiders’ Guide to Becoming a Yacht Stewardess’s page (Slide 26): I used a quote from that night’s episode of Below Deck. This girl says, “I thought I knew what yachting was before I applied.” (Everyone was saying she didn’t know it was going to be such hard work. So this was very much in context.)
So then I put, “Well, for those curious about the work involved being a yacht stewardess, check out this job description. Not gonna lie. It’s work.” So I took this post, which over on my website is about the most thorough job description of a superyacht stewardess you could ever find, and I put $21 behind it. It got me 185 website clicks, at $0.11 per click. It’s a 12% clickthrough, almost 12.1% clickthrough rate, and that only cost me about $0.10-$0.11. And then it got shared and then it kept going.
And that did so well for that post that the SEO value on that post now is great, because I paid to drive that little bit of traffic in the beginning. I pushed, and now the post pulls (from the search engines). So if you can take out of your budget maybe $5 or $10 and amplify maybe every other post. And don’t just boost. Go in and actually do it properly like what Marty Winetraub talks about in his book. You will find using your Facebook ads, that there is gold in Facebook. You can go and find the exact person you’re looking for through compound interests, and keep digging deeper and deeper.
Look at these targeting parameter (Slide 27): You can look at their broad likes and interest. You can look at their behaviors. You can target, let’s say, parents. But then they’ve even got options to target parents with young children between 0 and 3, between 4 and 7, expecting parents. You can target things like people on vacation or people planning travel to Australia. There are options now when you’re building a Facebook ad that let you drill down that deep.
Phone number and/or email address, that’s another one. You can upload your entire email database to Facebook through Power Editor and it will go out and find everyone that matches with that email address and let you show promoted post ads to people for whom you already have an email address. It’s brilliant.
Next let’s look at Twitter. (Slide 28) Here’s what you have to have in place – a content strategy, an acquisition strategy, and an engagement strategy… But you don’t have to break your back doing it. Again, you’re looking for the influencer. You’re looking for the person with the problem. Listen first. Monitor conversations. Follow topics. Find parents talking about their kids’ needs of a coach and then start following them. Start engaging with them.
Here are some quick ways to do that on Twitter: Favorite a tweet. (Slide 29) I did this last summer while I was watching “Below Deck.” (By the way, reality shows when they’re on, if you have a niche that somehow crosses over into, let’s say Top Chef, you’re selling something with cooking… Well, watch those shows and when they’re on go monitor Twitter conversations in real time because people go to social media to talk about reality shows like you wouldn’t believe because it’s almost like they picture themselves in the shoes of the person… Or any TV show for that matter. But for some reason reality shows, people really get into talking about them; you can listen in and find people.)
(Slide 30) So while watching “Below Deck,” I found all these girls on Twitter saying, “Oh, I want to work on a boat. That’d be cool. I love this show. It’s my favorite show.” And I thought everyone one of those girls could be a potential reader of my book. I favorited their tweets.
(Slide 31) Then those girls got a little note that came back that said, “So-and-so favored your tweet” – now this is just an example of my own – “so-and-so favorited your tweet.” And then they probably went, “@WorkOnAYacht? WorkOnAYacht favorited my tweet? Wait. Didn’t I just say I wanted to work on a yacht? Oh my God.” And they come over and they saw that I had a book on that subject, and copies of my book went flying off the shelves at Amazon during every week during that hour on Bravo TV.
Next up (Slide 32): Twitter lists, another way to get people’s attention. Don’t just favorite their tweets. Create a list. Add them to that list, and you get on their radar. Here’s an example of where you do that (see slide). Here I added the U.S. Superyacht Society to a list. (Slide 33) These are example of all the lists that I have on Twitter. (Slide 34) When I would go to events I’d put people on these lists. I have groups just on analytics, one on Indy nonprofits, one of personal friends.
Here’s another Twitter list example (Slide 35): You can make a private list. So you can spy on people. I would always do this before we went to the Consumer Electronic Show (CES): all the media that were going to be there or anyone that was talking about going to the show, we’d add them to a private list so when we were at the Consumer Electronic Show we could just open up that list and watch all that chatter of those people that we knew were there. And we’d stalk tech writers. Yeah, you can follow hashtags, but not everyone uses a hashtag when they’re there at the show. Instead, make privates lists.
Here’s another Twitter list example. I always say make a list with a name that compliments the people I add to it. So we used to call a list “awesome tech media” and then we would go through and add all the tech influencers that were going to be at CES. (Slide 36) I told this to one of my colleagues at BLASTmedia and so she did smart folks and she put me on and I just laughed because that was her way of saying I listened to you so here you go.
And then you can take your lists and then when you’re using a Twitter client like TweetDeck (Slide 37), you plug it in here. Everyone’s always like Twitter is so overwhelming. Don’t let it be overwhelming. Get on TweetDeck or HootSuite and use your lists. Segment people. I watch people in columns – (see slide 37) this was from 2011, but I had my BLASTmedia team list. I had people that were social media influencers. I had a list for people that lived in Indianapolis. You can spy on people, build lists, and that’s how you can manage Twitter.
Now here is my Golden Rule on Twitter. (Slide 38) This all you need to know on Twitter (Slide 39): “Make someone feel important and they, in turn, make you important.” Think about it. You do that through retweeting, favoriting, adding them to lists, and just interacting with them. People reciprocate because they think, “That person made me feel special. So I’m going to watch for them to put out some valuable currency that then I can share because I owe them one… I’m going to wait for some good, valuable currency.”
Next Twitter tip (Slide 40): Never retweet without a comment in front, even if it’s as simple as saying something like “useful post,” because otherwise, yeah, great they saw that you retweeted them, but why don’t you say something about it? (Slide 41) Then you’re adding value to even your followers.
Now we’re going to quickly talk about YouTube. Why YouMust YouTube. (Slide 42) Well, there are over 1 billion users on YouTube each month and over 4 billion page views a day adding up to over 1 trillion views a year. Mobile access of YouTube is now 40 percent. People can watch YouTube on their phones. What a great time to get to them because when they’re on their phones it’s not like a TV commercial where we’re all watching the same Super Bowl ad at the same time. When it’s on a mobile device or tablet, it’s you and them. It’s the screen right in their hand talking to them. And there’s Home TV access even with YouTube now. Yes, it’s the number two search engine in the world. It’s also a social network; people are actively engaging and commenting on YouTube. You can find prospects right there on YouTube.
And then the advertising opportunities on YouTube are just insane. I’m going to show you two great examples. If you want to see a startup success story go check out Orabrush and Orapup. Orabrush is what it started as, and then they did Orapup, which is like a toothbrush but for the tongue of a dog. These guys, through their YouTube campaigns – they built their entire brand on YouTube. They started with an Indiegogo campaign to get the initial funding, and then they researched the product and got it out there.
You can go and read all kinds of case studies on Orabrush/Orapup. I saw these guys present at the ReelSEO Video Marketing Summit last August and it just blew my mind. Some tips that I can even take directly from them (Slide 43), and in all my years of working on YouTube, I can tell you to pay attention to length. Only one to three minutes. People have short, short attention spans these days.
Also with YouTube, encourage channel subscribers. (Slide 43) Right now the number one thing that affects your YouTube search rankings (mind you, on the number two search engine in the world) is how long people spend on your video. That’s very different than back when I used to teach video SEO back in ’08, ’09, even 2010. It’s changed that much. So you’ve got to keep your stuff short and then you’ve got to ask for subscribers. Why? Because subscribers tend to watch longer than other people because they’re already used to your content. They’re used to your voice.
Don’t allow ads on your YouTube videos because that won’t let you run your own ads on your videos which is what Orapup is doing right here (see slide). Create a variety of clips, 31 to 40 seconds for the TrueView pre-roll ads which run as skippable, and I’m going to show you those in a second, but that’s what these Orabrush guys did. I forget how much they ended up spending, but they did it slowly once they realized that they were getting a return. They ended up spending some amount, $1 million on YouTube ads or something like that, but the profit was double what they spent.
So it was totally worth it to push the video with paid ads first, and then the brand’s videos took off on their own. It was that push that got them the pull. So there again, content marketing plus social amplification whether it’s Facebook ads, promoted posts of great content, or it’s video and then doing YouTube video ads which I’ll show you how that works. It’s a pre-roll. (See slide.)
YouTube Pre-Roll (Slide 44): This thing comes right up and you get a little banner ad off to the side. They’re called TrueView in-stream ads. You set them up through Google AdWords for Video. You’re not charged until somebody has watched 30 seconds of your ad. So imagine how many impressions you can get if you make a 32-second video and you kind of at about 28 seconds sort of cut off and it’s dead. Then they’re going to hit the skip. You didn’t pay. They saw most of your video – if anything, you just come out of the gates with as much information as you can upfront. If they want to watch, they’ll watch. If you come out of the gates right, they’ll stick around. So you can gain thousands of impressions without spending a dime.
And with YouTube TrueView Pre-Roll ads (Slide 45), you can target people based on their past video watch history, what they have watched, and also the content that they’re currently watching. This was something we did for Classic Rock Society of America. They were my client and I helped them launch last summer. Well, they’re still actually not technically launched. They were in prelaunch. The site’s just taking too long, but they had this (see slide) – this gal had the coolest British accent and she was talking about YES, YES Festival. Yes, the band, was coming. The Yestival was coming to Camden, New Jersey.
We ran this video ad in front of YES (the band) video content, people who had a history of watching classic rock videos, and also in front of other classic rock videos. And in the ad, she was basically telling them to come to the show. And we also, sorry, we also targeted by geographic region. We did it within a 100-mile radius of Camden, New Jersey. So we were talking directly to people who could go to this concert. It worked like a charm. We got the banner ad. So that kind of stuck around.
Final thing, Google+. (Slide 46) Use it. It’s easy. Use it just like you do Facebook. If you have your valuable content, you put it on Facebook, go over and post it on Google+. I know you feel like nobody’s over there, but right now when you create a Gmail account you automatically get a YouTube channel and you get a Google+ account. My mother is suddenly now on Google+ and I’m like, “Why’d you do this?” She’s like, “I don’t know. It just appears. So now whenever I’m on there I go and read what people…” So she’s following people. (I always use my mom as the gauge as if something has actually reached mass.) And if you get people to +1 your stuff you, again, are sending social signals to Google that it’s important and that there’s buzz about this content.
Use hashtags on Google+. That’s going to help for you to rank with certain keywords. And also register for Google Authorship. If you don’t know what that – this is just an example of a company page for StrataBlue (Slide 47). When I say get plus ones (+1s), have people that you know go over and give your page a plus one. It’s going to help anything that stems from your page do better in the SERPs.
These are the hashtags on Google+ (Slide 48). These are just some examples from my WorkOnAYacht.com Google+ page, where I hashtag yacht crew, superyacht, and superyachtstewardess. And the authorship is this (Slide 48). This is that same page. You can sign up for Google Authorship. It’s not as valuable as it was six months ago, and I don’t know what Google’s problem is. I guess they figured that there were too many authors writing crap content, but typically with long tail search terms it still pulls in the author profile. So funny enough I searched “superyachts for sale” here (see slide 49) and one of my blog posts came up about a calendar that was for sale that had superyachts on it.
And in this example, I was not logged in (to Google) at the time. I say that because, sometimes when you’re logged into Google and you’re searching things it will pull content that you’ve already watched before because Google now is personalizing or customizing your results. But to sign up for authorship (see slide), go over to – you’ll need a Google+ profile obviously and a recognizable headshot. Verify your authorship by placing a little snippet of text on your website or having an email address with the URL, but if you write for a blog or a company blog you can make it so that your Google Authorship shows up and it really is going to help you a lot in the search results.
Final thing. (Slide 50) LinkedIn ads, and I just wanted to show you an example. You can sponsor posts just like you do on Facebook. So from your company page – get a company page, first of all, on LinkedIn. Don’t just use it for your personal networking. And then from your company page, post content just like you do on Facebook or Twitter. (Slide 51) So, again, that piece of content, you’re spreading the wealth. Go share it on Facebook. Share it on Google+. Share it on LinkedIn. Share it on Twitter, and if you want, go submit it to StumbleUpon and Reddit. Just get it out there. Make people go, “I’ve seen you out there.” Repurpose that content and start getting it everywhere.
So here’s a way that you target people on LinkedIn (Slide 52): job title, industry, geography, and something to think about too, sometimes even personal things or an example, you (Bookacoach) could target coaches if you were trying to get the word out to coaches.
I was talking to someone with a startup having to do with fine, bespoke linens. We’re going to target boutique hotel managers and interior designers, and you can do that through LinkedIn. But don’t think that Facebook doesn’t work for B2B, because it does. Some of the best B2B brands are doing superb over on Facebook because, even though it’s sacred space, people still talk work. And they have their job titles listed on their page. So you can break it down and target people – I can target people that are vice-presidents at Fortune 500 companies. I can target people that work at Lilly. There are ways that you can hone in on people. You’ve just got to know your market and know the options.
So that’s all, and this is me (Slide 54) if you want to get in touch with me. This is StrataBlue (Slide 53). Again, as I mentioned, we’ll go ahead and call it a startup, but at StrataBlue, we do digital media marketing and social media management. We do website design. I highly recommend the website design. We’ve got an amazing developer and graphic designers on staff that are excellent – the price shocks me. I’ve been there a month-and-a-half. I’m like, “Really? This is what you guys charge for a website?”
And then we also do email marketing, custom analytics, and we’re working on some startup projects of our own in that department. We also do marketing automation. We are soon to be a Marketo-certified organization. You can find me on LinkedIn, Twitter. I apologize for talking so fast. It was obviously more content than I even expected. I timed it earlier today and I got through it in 30 minutes. If there are any questions I’m happy to answer them, and since I know it’s late and everybody is probably exhausted, I can stick around afterwards and just be here. I’ll make sure you get the presentation, but the last thing that I would just say is go create some valuable content and share the wealth. [Applause]
Question: Julie, on Facebook when you promote a post, they have an option for you to upload an image. I did that recently and I had more people that were just clicking on the photo than the links, the link itself.
To go over to said link. So you put a link that then pulled up the automated whatever image might have been over at that link if there was one, and then it said would you like to upload your own image?
Question: And so I uploaded my own image.
And you did. So when people click on it it’s not taking them over to the site. It should be – I’m trying to think – we just had this problem this morning. I had to put out a fire on this, and I’m trying to remember what – it ended up we were doing something wrong. Let me go and check on that, but it should be if you upload that image and there’s a link – you’ve got to make sure the link’s in there first.
Don’t upload the image first and then add the link. Add the link. Let Facebook pull from that content, and then just see what image comes up and then replace that image. And it should also upload the picture to your Facebook page, but it should also allow that when that goes into the feed, when people click on it, it should direct them straight over to the website. Because I know we had that problem this morning.
Unless of course they did this – there was a big rollout, by the way, on Facebook ads on the 9th, April 9th. So we’re all still getting used to it. All kinds of crazy stuff going on. I will look into that. I’ll email you tomorrow because something happened with that. A client of ours was saying something this morning. I’m like, “Well that shouldn’t be right.” Unless they changed it.
Question: I’ve messed around with Power Editor a little bit, but the book that you suggested I assume goes into that more in depth.
He talks a lot about Power Editor but that’s where the problem is because so much has changed in the interface that a lot of the stuff that he tells you is why Power Editor rocks, they’ve actually worked into the regular interface now with all the Facebook changes. But he still does address it. It’s trickier. It’s harder. There’s so many ins and outs of Power Editor.
I would recommend just going out and Googling questions as you have them and taking Facebook’s own training. They actually do a really good job of training if you just go and watch their videos. But use Power Editor to upload the email database.
And the other thing is you can upload an email database and then you can have Facebook go clone those people. I call it the doppelganger list. So I’ll upload an email list. For example, I had an email list from everyone who bought my book in 2006. I uploaded the list and I said clone those people, and Facebook went out and it found everyone that had similar demographic attributes. And it was my doppelganger list, and that list performed so well. For the Classic Rock Society of America, we did it with DJs around the country, like radio disk jockeys of classic rock stations, and it went out and found people that had similar demographics and that list outperformed our non-doppelganger list by I think it was 20 percent.
It was just insane, the conversion rate. So I highly recommend Power Editor at least for that. It also lets you drill down more based on – now the new format lets you do things. Do know, if you’re doing Facebook ads, always go in and see are people clicking more from mobile or are they clicking from desktop because you can then say, especially if you’re an app, a lot of startups are apps, if you only want to target people on iOS mobile devices you can do that in Power Editor. You can go in and say only show this in the newsfeed if somebody is accessing it on an iPad or an iPhone and then, boom, you can actually have them just land over in iTunes and download it. It’s great.
Question: What sources do you use to stay current, like reading, websites, or who do you follow just to keep current on social media issues?
I’m a member of a couple private mastermind groups from back in my Internet marketing days, people that just kind of stuck together after the SEO crash, but there’s a lot of groups like that I think that you can find, going into forums. But I always will check out Social Media Examiner and see what they’re talking about. I tend to like go and find people that I know know what they’re talking about.
John Loomer, I think his name is, L-O-O-M-E-R. He’s an amazing Facebook ads guy. Brian Carter is a good friend of mine and just a brilliant social media marketer – he does a lot of freelance for IBM. Jay Baer is always a good one. Love Jay Baer. Great content. His heart’s in it, and I’m trying to think if there are any other platforms where there’s a go-to guru. I would say with Facebook look for John Loomer or Brian Carter. Jay Baer is more overall. So Convince & Convert would be his blog.
So give a round of applause and thank you, Julie [Applause].
And feel free to follow me on Twitter. I’ll try to follow everyone back and then if you have any questions you can always direct message me. I’ve been a part of so many startups over the years, and I’m always willing to help somebody with a startup.