Secrets from the Field: 10 Questions to Ask on Facebook to Boost Social Engagement

conversation

Facebook is still king of social media. With 1.35 billion monthly active users, its just too big to ignore. Two-thirds of online US adults are Facebook users and the average user spends 21 minutes per day on Facebook.

To make the most of your time investment in your Facebook page, you’ve got to grow your followers and generate lots of engagement (comments, shares, clicks to your website) amongst them. And there are ways to accomplish this that are guaranteed to boost your numbers. I know, because I’ve done it.

Just like in a social situation, you are much more likely to be the center of attention if you engage in a two-way conversation, i.e., ask interesting questions of those around you, rather than talking about yourself ad nauseam. Right? The same thing holds true on Facebook.

So, if most of your organization’s posts are all about your business (for example, using Facebook only for sale announcements), you won’t gain a large following, and those followers won’t become engaged evangelizers of your brand because they won’t feel emotionally engaged with your brand.

Therefore, mixed in with the sale announcements, try a few truly conversational posts where you pose interesting questions of your followers. (When you start out, you may have to “plant” a few answers to get people responding – sometimes no one likes to be the first one to speak up).

Here are ten of the questions/conversation starters I’ve used with success on Facebook (you’ll want to customize them for your own business). Note, they are in random order.

  1. If you had your own personal theme song, what would it be?
  2. If you had an hour for yourself, what’s the one thing you would do?
  3. What book inspired you the most? And why?
  4. What’s your word for the day?
  5. If you had your own tagline, what would it be?
  6. What are your 3 top goals for this year?
  7. What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?
  8. What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to ______ ?
  9. What was a turning point in your life?
  10. If you could run a workshop for a day, what would you teach?

And don’t, don’t, don’t forget to post your question with an image or photo! If you haven’t heard the news by now, Facebook posts that include imagery garner 3 to 5 times the amount of engagement as posts without an image. That can add up to a lot of shares and clicks to your website.

If you are too busy actually running your business to think about social media, 3to5 Marketing can help. Contact me today for advice, implementation, post-writing, social media graphic design, or all of the above!

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Write Great Taglines: Get Rid of the Double-talk and Really Turn Heads

Writing great taglines

Although they are sometimes the last thing on everyone’s list, taglines are one of the most important aspects of your brand. Especially when you are lesser-known or new brand, your tagline is responsible for creating a theme and value system that shapes customers’ perception of your brand, as well as frankly, explaining what you do at a glance (assuming your company name isn’t “Healthy Dog Biscuit Company”).

Some of the most memorable corporate headlines include:

There are some things money can’t buy (MasterCard)
Just Do It (Nike)
Think Different (Apple)

These taglines are so ubiquitous, they’ve practically entered our daily lexicon. So, what makes these taglines so effective and memorable? They are:

– Understandable
– Simple
– Clear
– Focused
– Customer-centric
– Double-talk & buzzword free
– Evoke an emotion
– Describe a tribe to which you want to belong
– Tell a story

If you (or your copywriter) can write your tagline with these elements in mind, it will make your business much more memorable and help it stand out from the competition.

For inspiration, below are some of my favorite taglines. Some are from well-known brands; others are small businesses. Some are clever double entendres, some make you want to belong to the tribe, and some are simple and self-explanatory.

Great taglines Great taglines
Great taglines Great taglines
Great taglines Great taglines
Great taglines Great taglines
Great taglines Screen Shot 2015-01-31 at 1.29.57 PM
Great taglines Great taglines

Need help copywriting your tagline? Contact 3to5 Marketing for professional inspiration.

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Advertising Your Brand: How Many Times Do Consumers Need to See/Hear It Before They Buy?

burmashave

Mad Men-era advertising wiz, Herbert Krugman (Ted Bates, Inc., GE, and Raymond Loewy), took a special interest in consumer behavior. In order to plan efficient TV media buys, he did research in the late 1960s, on how many times consumers needed to see an ad for the same product or brand, before taking an action (i.e., buying). This is how he came up with his famous Theory of Effective Frequency for advertising.

Intuitively we know that repetition (frequency) is the basis of any learning process, and it’s no different for consumers learning about a product. However, since cost optimization is an important consideration in media planning, the issue for advertisers is to limit the frequency to the point where diminishing returns occur.

After some research, Krugman initially concluded that the magic number was three. In other words, after seeing or hearing about a product or brand three times, consumers would take an action. As he explained it,

  • “The first time someone is exposed to your ad, you attract their attention, but nothing is really taken in, thus “What is it?”.
  • The second time is when the consumer begins to engage with the relevance of the ad, and asks “So what?”
  • And the third exposure to the ad is when the viewer decides whether “This is for me”, or whether they will choose to forget it.”

Of course, a number of factors impact this ad frequency theory, for example: how well known the product or brand is already, the audience category, the complexity of the product or message, the cost structure of the product, the saturation level of the market, and more.

brain, advertising, theory of effective frequencyLater research (including some done by Krugman) suggested the number was more than 3 . For example, Canadian Grant Hicks  decided it was five touches, based on his research on financial advisors and their clients. Nielsen media guru Erwin Ephron’s work lead him to conclude it was three to five touches. More recently, a Nielsen study claims ten social media touches are needed to effect a behavior change.

Whether the number is 3 or 5 or more, the point here is that you’ve got to get your product in front of your customers multiple times in order for them to take the action you want.

Surprisingly, this isn’t always obvious to all businesses – I worked with a CEO once who wondered why the ONE direct mail campaign he approved didn’t bring in the results he wanted. And his product was fairly complex and new to the market – it would have benefitted from multiple advertising touches. Instead, he concluded that marketing wasn’t working for his product.

The great thing about digital marketing today is that there are many cost-effective ways to achieve your multiple marketing touches: email, social media, display advertising, websites, microsites, sponsorships, content marketing, etc. And you can test each channel in order to find the right combination for your customers and brand, with much less cost and effort than Herb Krugman could back in 1969 when TV, radio, and print were the primary advertising channels.

Sources for more information:

  • Herbert E. Krugman. “The Impact of Television Advertising: Learning Without Involvement” Public Opinion Quarterly, volume 29, page 349, 1965.
  • Herbert E. Krugman. “Why Three Exposures May Be Enough.” Journal of Advertising Research 12, 6 (1972): 11-14
  • Batra, Rajeev, Donald R. Lehmann, Joanne Burke, and Jae Pae. “When Advertising Have An Impact? A Study of Tracking Data.” Journal of Advertising Research 35, 5 (1995): 19-32

Image Attribution: 

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The Only Content Map You’ll Ever Need | Content Strategy

Content Mapping, Content Strategy

One of the things I frequently do for clients is to create content for their website, for social media, for PR, or for other marketing pieces.

When I start a new project, I often hear statements like “we already have most of the content”, or “just write a few quick blog and social media posts and that’ll be our content”, or “our intern is handling the blog and social media”, or “our CEO wrote the copy for the homepage”. Aaargh.

The ROI on that type of “content marketing” is pretty darn low.

Real content creation and marketing needs an upfront strategy, in order to:

  • Ensure the content achieves business goals, like conversions or activation,
  • Keep it flowing and current,
  • Make certain it’s SEO-optimized, and
  • Meet customer needs.

I use a CONTENT MAP to develop a successful upfront content strategy. I map the content types to user emotion and intent. This way, the content follows a typical sales funnel to ensure it is set up to deliver the goals of the business.

Once the content map and strategy is complete, content creation and delivery flows efficiently and effectively.

content strategy, content map, content marketing templateI’m sharing my Content Strategy Map template for you to use for your next content marketing project or website design. I developed it based on lots years of learnings in digital marketing! You’ll find it captures most, if not all, of the kinds of content you’ll need. As you can see, its filled in with placeholder copy so you get the idea behind the different parts of the map.

Feel free to download the Content Strategy Map now (it’s in PDF form). I’m confident it will be the only content map you’ll ever need!

[Of course, if you want help with content creation for your website, blog, or social media, just fill out the form on the left to contact me, and I’ll be happy to get your content flowing!]

NOTE: I can’t claim to have invented the business of content strategy, and these smart marketers were great resources for this post: Kristina Halvorson’s Content Strategy for the Web, Kane Jamison of Content Harmony, and the folks over at Wordstream.

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Why Images Are So Important for Social Media Engagement

Why Images Are So Important for Social Media Engagement

You know the old saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words”? The other day, I wondered two things about it:

  1. Where did the saying came from? and,
  2. Is there real research behind it?

A little Google-ing got me the answer to the first. It turns out that its ‘introduction’ is  attributed to Frederick R. Barnard, who published an article touting the effectiveness of graphics over just copy with the title “One Look is Worth a Thousand Words“, in the Dec. 8, 1921 edition of the advertising  journal, Printer’s Ink.

Fred was clearly on to something.

I found the answer to the second question in scads of consumer market research, backed up by my own experience helping businesses get more results through social networking and blogging.

Here’s what the research says:

  • According to Kissmetrics, images on Facebook receive 53% more Likes, 104% more comments, and 84% more click-throughs on links. 53%! 104%! 84%! That made you sit up, huh?
  • In addition, the most recent Facebook redesign makes images even more important for newsfeed visibility.
  • Research from Buffer shows that using images on Twitter increases retweets by 150% and click-throughs by 18%.
  • PRNewswire found that images included in a press release expand the release’s audience up to 180%.
  • Brain research shows that almost half of our brain is involved in visual processing – and we can make sense of a visual in less than 1/10 of a second! Conversely, on average, we only read 28% of words on any given web page. Ouch.

I’ll say it again. Fred was clearly on to something.

Images used in your social media (and by definition, your blog content) are far more attention-grabbing than text or plain old links, more likely to be shared, evoke emotional reactions in viewers (and emotion SELLS), and can portray a lot of information quickly and more efficiently than text.

Google’s Abigail Posner explains why engaging with an image feels so compelling to us humans:

“When we see or create an image that enlivens us, we send it to others to give them a bit of energy and effervescence. Every gift holds the spirit of the gifter. Also, every image reminds us and others that we’re alive, happy and full of energy (even if we may not always feel that way). And when we ‘like’ or comment on a picture or video sent to us, we’re sending a gift of sorts back to the sender… this ‘gift’ of sharing contributes to an energy exchange that amplifies our own pleasure.”

Convinced? Good. Now, here are a few suggestions on how to execute:

  • Include at least one image in every blog post. Don’t skip this step.
  • I recommend sizing the image(s) to 1/2 the width of your blog post.
  • Make sure your images are high quality and relevant.
  • Edit images using visual design that attracts eyeballs, e.g., the right color, contrast, texture, shape, balance, proportion – here’s a good summary guide from Curalate.
  • Consider adding text to your images and photos – quotes are highly shareable.
  • Even better, use infographics.
  • Use images with personality!
  • If it’s right for your business, collect and post user-generated images.

As to sources for your images, you can 1) create your own – I’ll have more on this in an upcoming blog post – or 2) you can source them online:

  • Creative Commons Images (images that are legal to use in your marketing) – Try Flickr’s Advanced Search. Be sure to check the box to Only search within Creative Commons-licensed content and include a photo credit with images you use.
  • Royalty-Free Stock Photos – Try stock photo sites like Stock.xchng or iStockphoto that have a fair amount of free or low-cost stock imagery to license.

Lastly, to optimize your images for the various social media platforms, try the Social Image Resizing Tool, which has preset image sizing (!) for all the primary social media sites.

And remember Fred. Even back in 1921, he was on to something.

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