Paid Social Media Myths

According to eMarketer, advertisers worldwide will spend $23.68 billion on paid social media ads, which is a 33.5% increase from 2014. Advertisers in the U.S. and Canada will surpass $10 billion this year; that is 15.9% of all digital ad spend dollars in North America.

When launching your paid social media strategy, please keep these five social media myths in mind:

Myth One: Choose one social media network and buy advertising. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest all have their own ad platforms and audiences. You need to evaluate which network(s) reach your audience and create a cohesive strategy. There are many, many other niche social networks, especially for Business-to-Business (B2B), so look into where your audience is heavily active.

Myth Two: My audience is not on Facebook. I know that I just mentioned in the paragraph above that you should look into a combination of social media networks; however, Facebook is the exception to the rule. Nearly every audience uses Facebook; even the elderly are using this social media network. In 2012, U.S. Census data recorded 41.5 million adults age 65+ on Facebook. Today, you can reach approximately 15 million members (or nearly 33%) of the 65+ audience with just Facebook alone. When used in combination with other forms of media, you can strengthen a media buy to this audience further.

AN1As you might expect, younger demos are even easier to reach. The 2012 U.S. Census data calculated 98.5 million adults ages 21-44 in the U.S., while in the same year, Facebook estimated that you can reach 105 million adults. This meant that you could reach more adults ages 21-44 on Facebook than the census data could track. The discrepancy could be attributed to multiple accounts for one person, spam accounts, and other factors. By using Facebook audience targeting, however, we can remove these false accounts from our target audience.

Myth Three: Paid social media advertising is only for consumer brands. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “well, social media works best for consumer brands.” Let me set the record straight: social media can work for any brand, regardless of industry, audience (as noted above), and goals. For example, the Facebook Ads Manager platform allows you to use your current following, pixels, interests, behaviors, and even third-party data sources, including Experian, Acxion, Epsilon, DLX, to specifically target your audience. Twitter allows you to use @handles, hashtags, keywords, TV shows, and more to help you with your social media campaign goals.

Myth Four: I should only reach my top-performing consumers. Just because you can reach the recently married 20-35-year-old female homeowner with no children and a household income of $50,000+ does not mean you should ONLY target this profile. This may be the top customer for a baby brand, but if you only focus on this audience, you are staying too deep in your funnel. Keep in mind not to always target too specifically, and remember awareness posts. Facebook’s ad units are very prominent and great for branding to a more general audience that may be in market now, or in the near future.

Myth Five: “Boosting” a post is enough. For the purpose of a simple explanation, I am only going to use Facebook as the example. Simply boosting a post limits audience targeting and duration of post significantly. Opening up the Ads Manager will allow you to choose an objective that will accomplish your brand/product/service goals. This is where you can properly target the recently married 20-35-year-old female homeowner with no children and a household income of $50,000+ and save this audience for future use.

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Social media advertising can be complex. It is constantly changing and not going away. The tools may change, but the strategy and goals can be shifted to each new platform. If you need help with planning, launching or maintaining your paid social media strategy, just send us an email at info@martinoflynn.com.

Grabbing the Media Spotlight at Your Next B2B Trade Show

Do you know what keeps me up at night? No, it’s not my upcoming wedding plans or the running Excel sheet of costs that once resembled a budget. All jokes aside–it’s the fact that many Business-to-Business (B2B) companies are failing to realize the Public Relations (PR) value of an industry trade show.

B2B industry trade shows, to put it plainly, are a PR professional’s dream.

Industry trade shows provide a unique opportunity for a brand to connect directly with its target audience, showcase its products and services, and, yes, join the news cycle. Consumer brands understand all too well the power of a good trade show presence, yet many of today’s B2B brands still hesitate to jump on the PR trade show bandwagon. Trust me, it’ll be worth your investment when you see your company spotlighted in your industry’s top trade publication. Talk about brand visibility!

There’s just so much more to a trade show than having an eye-catching booth display or hands-on product demonstration; there’s the opportunity to allow your products and services to become the news. We recommend that our clients join the conversation early and focus their PR initiatives (and in many cases, marketing efforts) on capturing the attention of the media right from the get-go. Here are three tips to help grab the media spotlight.

  1. Create Conversations

My colleague, Chelsea Metzger, recently blogged about the importance of integrating PR tactics into the trade show marketing mix and I couldn’t agree with her points more. Distributing press releases, pitching media interviews, and participating in speaker sessions will no doubt increase buzz on the trade show floor–and within the media community. Competition is fierce at a B2B trade show and every company will be fighting to drive both booth traffic and news coverage. You need to be strategic and create chatter among the trades. The news cycle for a B2B trade show often starts weeks before the show and—you guessed it—ends weeks after. By creating a regular cadence of news and pitching trade journalists often, you’ll help keep your company top of mind.

Distribute a sponsorship or booth overview release a few days before the show to give trade journalists and attendees a better idea of what to expect when they get there. Focus on giving your biggest announcements, especially product announcements, on the first day of the trade show. Then on the following days, consider announcing contests, demos, and/or speaker sessions. Don’t forget to submit your best news to the trade show daily newspaper and if you have budget support, enter your products into the product showcases. On the final day, announce your new business wins or recap your company’s performance at the show—or you can even look to make this announcement a few days after the show to extend the news cycle a bit further.

  1. Showcase Your Customers

Who’s better to speak to your products and services than someone who actually uses them? When it comes to B2B, “hero” customers are the real moneymakers. Whether it’s a notable new business win or a long-term, happy customer who’s willing to share some thoughts on his or her experience with your company, the voice of the customer is always an influential component of a well-developed news story. With the right story, you can increase your chances of media pick-up and showcase your abilities as a business partner, which often supports lead generation goals. Find a customer and draft a press release, write a case study, film a customer testimonial, and, most importantly, include all of these materials in your press kit. You could even invite those customers to stop by your booth to tell their stories “live” for additional trade show buzz.

  1. Mingle with the Press

Media interviews are alluring, but you can’t downplay the importance of relationship building. While I typically applaud aggressive pitch efforts, remember that trade journalists are humans, too! Sometimes, they want to put their computers down and relax. Consider holding a company-sponsored media breakfast or host an after hours event to give them the opportunity to interact with your company and its Subject-Matter Experts (SMEs) on a more informal level. Keep talking points to a minimum and rely more on basic human interaction. For extra attendee draw, you can consider bringing in industry influencers to speak on vendor-neutral topics or simply offer fun incentives such as networking opportunities, phone charging stations, and, yes, free food!

Are you ready to create some buzz at your next B2B trade show? To learn more about Martino Flynn’s PR capabilities, please email Jenny Lesczinski at jlesczinski@martinoflynn.com or call 585.421.0100.

Identifying The Right Cross-Promotion And Product Bundling Strategy

Beanie_BabiesWho knew that when I begged my mother for a Happy Meal as a child, I was really asking her to take advantage of McDonald’s product bundling strategy? And though at the time I didn’t know the correct terminology, I was thrilled to learn of the fast food chain’s cross-promotion strategy that began in 1997 when McDonald’s teamed up with Ty Inc. to include “Teenie Beanie Babies” in its Happy Meals. I was ecstatic to enjoy my small value meal and then play with my tiny plush toy, while my mother was glad that she didn’t have to buy me a full-size Beanie Baby, and cook dinner that evening.

Product bundling is pervasive in a variety of markets today. Industries such as telecommunications, financial services, information, health care and many others all engage in the practice to sell more items to more customers. Consumers appreciate the ability to purchase goods in bundles for less money than the products would cost if sold separately. Furthermore, companies like McDonald’s and Ty Inc. can benefit from simultaneous promotion at a reduced cost. In the ‘90’s McDonald’s and Ty Inc. leveraged children’s love of salty, fatty foods with the Beanie Babies craze that was sweeping the nation. According to Time Magazine, McDonald’s sold more than 100 million Happy Meals in 1997 alone.

Professors Vineet Kumar (Harvard Business School) and Timothy Derdenger (Carnegie Mellon University) recently produced research The Dyanamic Effects of Bundling as a Product Strategy, which discusses why it makes sense to sell products in bundles. By studying the sale of Nintendo consoles and games, Kumar and Derdenger conclude that bundles can entice consumers to buy consoles earlier, especially when they are offered the choice of buying the bundle or just the console. According to Forbes, Kumar and Derdenger’s research found that consumers value a bundle less when they cannot compare the price of the products sold separately and in the bundle.

Ways to Increase Sales Through Bundling:

  • Identify Opportunities to Cross-Sell Your Products: The products bundled should complement one another to create positive synergy. Consider the following:
    • Which products do consumers often use together?
    • Which products do consumers typically purchase together?
    • Which low-cost products could be included in a package to increase the overall value?

Martino Flynn’s client, Hada Labo Tokyo, for example, offers an Introductory Kit, which includes products that consumers can use together to cleanse and moisturize: the Hydrating Facial Cleanser, the Skin Plumping Gel Cream, and the Ultimate Anti-Aging Facial Mask.

  • Keep It Simple: Though it is crucial to allow for flexibility, too many choices can overwhelm consumers and drive them away.
  • Offer Products Individually: Consumers will typically find motivation to purchase if there is the perception of a discount. Offering products separately is key if shoppers are going to compare prices.
  • Price Bundles at a Discount: There should be a clear discount in purchasing the bundle as opposed to purchasing the products individually.

Product bundling and cross-promoting products allow companies to create unique selling propositions at reduced costs. Bundled items should complement entire product lines at prices that help consumers recognize their value. McDonald’s Happy Meals remain a brilliant example of product bundling and cross-promotion. While Beanie Babies might have gone out of style, the fast food chain still understands a child’s love of toys and includes one in 20% of all sales today. Each year, McDonald’s distributes 1.5 billion toys worldwide, more than toy-making companies Hasbro and Mattel.

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