Choosing the Right Social Networks for Your Brand

This article is adapted from a talk I gave recently at the B2B Corporate Social Media Summit. Did you know that McDonalds views their partnership with Wal-Mart as an opportunity to train new store managers? If you want to be a store manager or a franchise owner, chances are you will spend some of your time stationed at a McDonalds inside Wal-Mart.

Why? Simple. There are fewer moving parts.

  • A Wal-Mart McDonalds does not have a drive through. That's one less thing to worry about.
  • A Wal-Mart McDonalds does not have a parking lot for which it is responsible. One less thing to worry about.
  • A Wal-Mart McDonalds does not have an exterior building facade for which it is responsible. One less thing to worry about.

A Tree, The Forest, And Why Social Media Marketers Should Care…

We have all heard the hypothetical question, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”  Well, the answer to that question probably depends on your perspective.  What’s curious to me about this mental exercise is how close of a parallel you can draw to Facebook. The Facebook EdgeRank algorithm determines who sees your posts in the newsfeed.  There is simply too much information flowing through Facebook for the average account to see all updates from all connections (be it people or Brand connections).  So, the challenge for a social media marketer is to determine how best to cut through the noise so that the maximum number of posts are seen by the most people.

In other words: If you post to Facebook and nobody sees it, did you really post to Facebook?

Twitter is "Interested" in You...

Some time ago, Twitter announced their “interest targeting” tool for advertisers.  This new advertising mechanism allows advertisers to target more than 350 interest-related categories.  These categories are determined based on what Twitter has been able to deduce about you from your historical tweets/interactions (who you follow, etc) on their platform.  It’s an interesting move for Twitter primarily because their sign up process is so basic.  To create a new Twitter account you need a name and an email address.  That’s it.

A Social Media Lesson from College Football...

We are a few weeks into college football season and this fact has been repeatedly bashed into my brain.  Why?  I live in the southeastern United States.  In the past it’s been difficult to ignore college football in the South (and I wouldn’t recommend it if you want to have a conversation with….well, anyone).  Today, it’s impossible to ignore if you spend time on a social network (this might not be interesting to 35% of you).  Beyond the fans having conversations on Facebook and Twitter, the teams themselves are also well-versed in the social space.  Here are a few data points.

Does a Facebook Like equal an opt-in?

Facebook Like

Facebook Like

I read a post from Brian Solis (author of Engage and principal at Altimeter Group) over the weekend in which he accurately described the typical tactics used by social media marketers to grow an audience on Facebook.  From the post:

“So, to keep the [Facebook] numbers up, our team posts more often, asks questions, runs polls, curates content, introduces more and more contests, and asks for your help to submit your pics and videos as part of our ‘user-generated’ content campaigns. We measure success by the Likes, comments, shares, the number of conversations, and reach.”

I was nodding my head in agreement as I read through this.  Yes, most organizations that have focused some of their social media marketing effort on Facebook have tried some or all of these tactics.  They make sense because they work.  These are the types of tactics that drive Likes on the platform.  But then…he threw this at me:

“While the Likes are rising, we’re starting to recognize the pattern…I guess we never really defined why you should ‘Like’ us beyond the initial click. We just took for granted that a Like equated to an opt-in.”

I don’t interpret this as a negative but it is certainly something that deserves more attention.  Once a brand has acquired the Like should this be interpreted as equivalent to an opt-in for general information?

I don’t believe so.

I arrived at this conclusion by thinking about my personal habits on Facebook.  Here is a quick sampling of some of the brands I Like and why:

  • We Are Social: They provide useful, relevant information about social media marketing.  Yes, they are an agency but I do not have a business relationship with them.
  • Kashi: Coupons.
  • Facebook Marketing: This is the team at Facebook responsible for reaching out to the Marketing community.  They provide useful, relevant information about social media marketing as it relates to the Facebook platform.
  • ShortStack: I currently use this product and the team does a good job educating me about quick tips and other useful information regarding how to use ShortStack more efficiently.
  • George Takei: He’s funny.
  • Ignite Social Media: Much like We Are Social, Ignite provides useful, relevant information about social media marketing.

So, there is a mix of business and personal.  That’s common.  On the business side, I am looking to educate myself.  In all instances (regardless of my relationship with the company) I am seeking information to help me either learn or be more efficient.  This is why I do not believe the Like should be interpreted as an opt-in for general information.  I’m seeking information, not vendor relationships.  Those relationships will ultimately form.  As long as the content is valuable I will continue to return to the source.

To bring this back around to Brian’s post, as social media marketers we should all ask the question: Are we posting information that is useful to the audience we have acquired on Facebook?