Deeper Political Divides in Social Media in 2017

18 Jan

facebook dislike

 

You think 2016 was rough? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Trump. Clinton. Bernie. Obamacare. Make America Great Again. Black Lives Matter. Email servers. Putin. Benghazi. Wikileaks. Fox News. CNN. Trumpists. Snowflakes.

If you’re paying attention on Facebook, you know your friends’ opinions on many of the above subjects.

Some may think that with the election behind us and the inauguration happening this week that the heated debates are done. I think it’s just warming up.

 

The New (Ab)Normal

Just a few years ago, the public sharing of so much political nastiness was simply not done. At least it was not done by adults and professionals. But after the past year of raw political argument, we have lost all filters.

The incoming President of the United States has forsaken all filters including media editors and his own spokespeople in favor of instant Facebook posts and real-time Tweets. Love him or hate him, we’re now all doing the same thing.

 

Swapping Positions 2009 to 2017

An interesting change between those on opposite ends of the political spectrum is happening in 2017, and I don’t mean the residents of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. There’s a role reversal happening in the poli-social space.

In the US and much of Europe, Liberals are now taking over the role of opposition to the Conservative’s new position as the establishment.

For the past 8 years, Conservatives have played the role of the rebel alliance fighting the big-government empire. Think of that timeframe: for most of the lifespan of social media, or at least the lifespan of marketing and massive use on Facebook, Republicans have been on the offense in social media messages while Democrats have had to play defense. When President Barack Obama took office in January of 2009, the Democrats also had control of the US House and the US Senate. The Republicans used social media to attack that establishment. Eventually the tide turned back in their favor.

Now with the GOP in the White House, retaining the Senate, holding the House, and growing their lead across most state governments, it’s the Democrats’ turn to go on offense. This may lead to a great frenzy of counter-culture activity on social. We could be seeing the dawn of a new of 1960s style protest movement, although it’s a sterilized digital version where you don’t actually have to leave your phone to participate.

 

More #FakeNews

How do some respond to news that they just don’t like? Call it Fake News. Be prepared to see about half of the content shared on social media to be called fake news by someone. Caution: the more that label is used, the less of an impact it has.

I personally plan to save the fake news moniker for so-called established news sources that publish false news and ignoring the phony sources that pop up.

 

More Unfriending = An Opportunity for Marketers

On my own personal Facebook account was unfriended by just one friend, but unfollowed or hidden by an untold many due during the 2016 election. Once some people start trimming their friend lists, it’s easy to continue. This could be the start for many Facebook users to scale down their list of friends to their real friends, or more likely, those who share many beliefs.

Here’s where my marketing friends (the real and the Facebook kind!) can find an opportunity in this mess —

Friends’ posts in the newsfeed rank higher than anything from brands or publishers since a June 2016 Facebook update. More unfriending means more prime real estate for your brand’s content on a fan’s newsfeed! Don’t give up on organic Facebook posts quite yet. After a divisive year, there may be a lot of holes to fill!

For more discussion on social media trends we’re spotting for 2017, check out this recent episode of Social Geek Radio with my co-host Deb Evans and special guest, my Qiigo colleague Liane Caruso!

 

 

#TBT #Vinyl Pearl Jam, Alive 1991

12 Jan

Pearl Jam Alive Vinyl

Pearl Jam
Alive (45 rpm single)
From the album TenEpic Records
1991

 

This rare 45 of Pearl Jam’s first release was a promo-only single with “Jeremy” on the flip-side.

Pearl Jam Jeremy vinyl

#TBT #Vinyl Chess Records Sampler, 1982

5 Jan

Chess Records

 

Chess Is Back
Various Artists
Chess Records / Sugar Hill Records
Compiled 1982

 

This promo-only LP for in-store play compiled 50’s and 60’s tracks from Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Chuck Berry, and other Chess artists.

 

Chess Records

Chess Records

Chess Records

Looks like it I got this in the used bin at Record Rev in DeKalb, IL!

Just Facebook and Nothing Else?

3 Jan

Facebook on iphone

 

In the distant future … like 18 months from now … we may look back fondly on this year as the time when we went to places on the internet other than Facebook.

We may also get a sense of nostalgia about other apps on our phones that are not Facebook or owned by Facebook.

Will we need anything else? Maybe not. And perhaps we’re already closer than you may think to a Just Facebook world:

Facebook Entity:                                           What It’s Replaced / Replacing:

Facebook Messenger                                  Texting

Facebook’s What’s App                              Texting

Facebook Ads                                                   Advertising anywhere else

Facebook’s Instagram                                 Snapchat

Facebook’s Workplace                                Slack, Instant Messaging, Your intranet

Facebook Marketplace                                eBay

Facebook Live                                                   Periscope, YouTube

and most importantly:

Posts from your Business Page                Website for your brand

Posts from your Locations’ Pages             All web pages for your entire organization

 

Website? What’s a Website?

If you serve up the right content to your customers in their own Facebook newsfeed, the need for them to click through to your website is minimized.

Are you trying to build traffic to your website or traffic into your business? Too many marketers have focused on web traffic for the sake of web traffic and sidestepped the obvious need to also make the cash register ring.

Some people will still click through to your site or landing page to confirm, but that’s fine. They are going to call / order / stop in / purchase anyway, so let them do so in the manner which makes them most comfortable.

 

The One Page That Will Still Matter: Google SERP

A similar argument may be made to grab those potential customers who search for the services you offer. If your phone number, hours, food menu, and map to your storefront are all on the Google search engine results page, do they really need to go to your website?
 
I’m not at all suggesting that you pull the plug on your website or ignore the need to keep it relevant. I suggest the opposite; good, fresh content on your site is more essential than ever to ensure that you show up on Google in the first place and have a full online experience for those who want more than Just Facebook.

 

 

 

#TBT #Vinyl The Kinks, Give The People What They Want, 1981

29 Dec

Kinks Give the people what they want

The Kinks
Give The People What They Want
Arista Records
1981

Ray Davies’ best stuff was not from the 60s, but from 1981.

 

 

 

Kinks Give the people what they want

Kinks Give the people what they want

Christmas Songs of the 80s and 90s

17 Dec

Waitresses Christmas Wrapping

Any pop band from the 80s or 90s could have achieved immortality by doing one thing that most of the others didn’t:

Write and record a Christmas song.

30 years after a one-hit-wonder’s success faded, their one-hit would be relegated to some lunar rotation on a niche genre satellite radio station. It will rarely, if ever, get downloaded, streamed, or even remembered fondly.

But their holiday song will still be a staple for 6 weeks per year for all eternity. It will have people who didn’t even like the band back in the day singing along. And more importantly, people who weren’t even born yet will make this part of their annual must-hear oldies.

Case in point: The Waitresses

The Waitresses hit the New Wave scene in 1980 and eeked-out a minor hit, “I Know What Boys Like,” upon its re-release in 1982. Though it was in heavy rotation on MTV in ’82, it only reached #62 on the Billboard charts.

square pegs johnny slashThey also recorded the TV theme to Square Pegs thought it wasn’t a hit at all. (“It was a totally different head. Totally.”)

But how often are either of these songs heard? Not much compared to The Waitresses’ one holiday tune, “Christmas Wrapping.”  It was not a hit record, never even entering the charts in the US. But 35 years later, the song has somehow scored a top spot in everyone’s holiday song rotation. In the first week of this year’s Sirius XM’s annual Holly station, I heard it 3 times in 3 days. Or at least the first 30 seconds of it, which is usually juuuuuust enough for me.

Look at the one-hit download wonders of today. Who will still be heard 30 years from now? The ones with a Christmas song…

Making Twitter Great Again

13 Dec

trump twitter

 

Who has made Twitter great again? Or at least relevant?

Answer: @realDonaldTrump aka Donald J. Trump aka soon-to-be @POTUS

 

Just when Twitter was falling to 5th or 6th place on the list of social media channels most cherished by Americans, along came a massive disruption that put Twitter back in the spotlight in 2016. That disruption is called Trump.

When the president-elect has something to say, there’s no need to go through the filters and hurdles of reporters, editors, anchors, and deadlines. He Tweets it directly to the American people.

Whether it’s his pick for Secretary of State, his defense of a policy, or his rant about how much he doesn’t like SNL, there’s no need to go through reporters and hope they get the message right and don’t ask follow-up questions. Social media was the perfect tool for a populist candidate to speak directly to the people.

Obama pioneered politics in the social media space; Trump has settled the territory.

Traditional journalists and the old media for which they work are sinking faster than ever. Trump’s greatest victory in 2016 wasn’t over 16 Republicans and Hillary Clinton; it was over The Media. Or, in his words, The Dishonest Media. The panic is newsrooms isn’t only because most journalists disagree with his policy positions, but also because they are the middle-men that Trump is cutting out.

His campaign had very little paid advertising and a vast amount of negative earned media. Traditional media pundits said this was a recipe for a landslide loss. They were wrong. Trump had Facebook and Twitter.

My favorite lazy journalism moments, pioneered by CNN but now seen on all TV news channels, is when they just air a graphic of Trump’s latest Tweet. Wow, groundbreaking work, guys. Thanks for showing us what’s on Twitter. Perhaps it’s time to pull the plug on cable news!

 

The New Twitter

I’ve worked with several hundred brands regarding social media over ten years and the interest in Twitter has dropped dramatically for most of those brands. Facebook is the focus, with a still-growing interest in Instagram, Snapchat, and whatever else is on the horizon. Recently I’ve considered Twitter less of a communications channel and more of a library of searchable links.

But Candidate Trump saw an opportunity to reach the masses using the only non-filtered means available to him. All brands and organizations should take note: traditional media relations and PR may still have occasional value, but unfiltered messaging on social is a necessity every day.

 

Trump Is Broadcasting, Trump Is Not Engaging

Some political pundits had questioned the president-elect’s intentions of giving up Twitter upon taking the Oath of Office.  Are you kidding?!? That idea must have started with TV or newspaper hacks who know they are becoming less relevant every day. Even Trump’s harshest critics should want him to keep Tweeting – it’s an easy target for them to attack.

Don’t get me wrong – Mr. Trump is not engaging on Twitter at all in the way that we in the social marketing arena have been advising for the better part of a decade. He is broadcasting. If you consider communications to be a two-way street as I do, then he’s not even really communicating.

But his broadcast – or live billboard or balcony speech or whatever you consider it –  is working.

 

What Should YOU Promote on Instagram or Snapchat?

15 Nov

instagram

 

Just when brands got their arms wrapped around posting good content on Facebook and Twitter, some of their audience emigrated to Instagram and Snapchat. If your customer base fits the demographic of either of these channels, ignoring them is as irresponsible as not moving your brand into Facebook five years ago.

Although Instagram is looking more and more like Facebook, and Facebook is looking more and more like Snapchat, these channels are used very differently by consumers than Facebook.

 

Earned & Organic

Depending on your brand and strategy, you should explore spending on some Instagram ads. I’m less bullish on paid opportunities in Snapchat for most brands so far. So, let’s focus organic / earned content.

The good news is that 60% of 13 to 34 year-olds in the US use Snapchat. That’s approximately 50 million consumers.

The better news is they are not passive; they’re engaged!

The bad news is they’re engaged only with their friends and probably don’t want to engage with your brand.

So, let’s build on that. Get your current customers to post for you – in other words, be Snapworthy!

 

Be Snapworthy

Even the most prolific and obnoxious social sharers only have so many snaps or posts they can do in an hour. You have a limited opportunity for them to take a picture of something in your store or say something about your brand.

This goes well beyond social media marketing. This is a challenge for all store managers, franchisees / owners, and especially local staff. You must do something to make that customer feel compelled to pull out their phone and tell a story. This won’t be due to an offer, a discount, or a coupon. It will be due to the way you made them feel.

 

Using this tactic on Facebook too

If the customer posts a pic to Facebook, it’s even better. Even younger demos still have a much larger friend community there than anywhere else. And, with the algorithm changes Facebook made on June 30, a user’s friends’ posts now claim higher positions in his or her newsfeed than anything else — even from news publishers. That’s bad news for traditional media, but great news for you if your customers find you interesting enough to share something that includes you!

 

 

 

 

 

#TBT #Vinyl Leon Redbone, Branch to Branch, 1981

10 Nov

leon-1

Leon Redbone
From Branch to Branch
Emerald City Records / Atlantic
1981

I haven’t figured out Leon Redbone, but I like him. Here’s a great record of standards, jazz, ragtime, country, and other.

 

Leon Redbone

Leon Redbone

Reaching Franchise Candidates on LinkedIn

1 Nov

linkedin logo

 

More franchisors have asked me about using Social Media for franchise development in the past 6 weeks than in the previous 6 years.

At recent events including FranTech, Franchise Leadership and Development Conference, The Chicago Women’s Franchise Network, and Springboard, my conversations have focused on using Facebook for not only generating new leads from your consumer customer base, but also engaging with candidates further down your franchise development sales funnel using Facebook’s Custom Audience Targeting.

And often, the next question has been: “But what about LinkedIn?”

Franchisors at these events ask about improving their results in finding candidates on LinkedIn. Many tried LinkedIn early in their online marketing journey but got bad results and quickly moved on.

I suggest that LinkedIn may not be appropriate for engaging with some types of potential franchisees, just as Facebook or other channels may not work for other types of prospects.

Recommendation #1: Before jumping into any social media marketing for franchise development, look at who your candidates are and where they spend their time on social media.

 

Facebook LinkedIn Franchising

 

The Facebook Side

If your best franchise candidates are those folks who will be operating their own store or other franchise location day-to-day, Facebook is the best place to engage. They may be customers of a current franchisee who could visualize themselves running their own shop. They have an interest – and hopefully a passion – for your brand’s type of service, work, food, or culture!

At our FLDC panel discussion, Wild Birds Unlimited exemplified this type of brand. Chief Development Officer Paul Pickett shared how individuals on Facebook can engage with a brand that shares their passion and then picture themselves as owning their own store.  I would add that being a great storyteller and sharing appealing images and videos is key in developing these relationships! Facebook is the most important place to spend your development time as this is where such future owners are already spending their time.

 

The LinkedIn Side

If your best franchise candidates are looking for an investment or for their next franchise award, let’s look at LinkedIn. Those candidates are in “the business of business” and invest in a franchise based only on return. LinkedIn is an excellent place to share information about your franchise’s value.

On the same FLDC panel, LinkedIn success was represented by ZIPS Franchising. ZIPS Vice President Aaron Goldberg does a fantastic job communicating on LinkedIn with potential business partners who are multi-unit owners investing in franchises.

At my FranTech Roundtable on Social Media in October, many Franchisors shared with me that they burn through their LinkedIn ad budgets quickly. Unlike Facebook where your boosted posts are easy for the right prospects to consume, LinkedIn puts you in a very competitive position to get a franchise development ad viewed.

 

Recommendation #2: I’m currently recommending not initially buying ads on LinkedIn. Instead, use LinkedIn as the one-to-one communication tool that Twitter was meant to be. There’s no advertising cost to engage with a person as another person!

LinkedIn may not be a great place to generate a completely new lead, but it is the best place to communicate with potential business partners with whom you’re already engaged.

 

Recommendation #3: Use LinkedIn for franchise development via your personal profile, not your company LinkedIn page. People buy from people. The goldmine of LinkedIn for any brand is in its use by company representatives as individuals. Sure, your company page needs to be updated and appealing. But the heavy lifting needs to be done from you as a business leader.

 

Recommendation #4: Use these tactics every day to get to the next level with your franchise prospects on LinkedIn:

*Share relevant business articles and blog posts that would be of interest to your candidates.

*Reach out to them via LinkedIn messages and InMails. Both have a significantly higher response rate than emails.

And remember the most important thing when promoting a business to prospective buyers on social media: even when you’re not engaging with them, they’re watching you!

 

 

 

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