Tag Archives: engagement

ROI and Working with Social Media Influencers

amirandes-crete-minI have just read Skift’s latest which includes the use by tourism boards of social media influencers and my head is about to explode. In the piece the Tempe, Arizona tourism board is referenced as viewing the 2m social media impressions generated as a successful return on their investment for inviting 4 bloggers to be their guests. Let me express that I have more than a little experience, and many documented analytics to prove, that Tempe set the bar way too low.

As a first let’s understand that in 2016 tourism accounted for 10.2% of GDP and one of every eleven jobs globally, and despite our geo-political circumstances these figures are growing, not shrinking. In some markets, by example Croatia, tourism represents approximately 20% of their GDP. What’s more, because of globalization, machine learning and artificial intelligence employment for the average person will increasingly be found in the travel vertical; which makes customer care and attention-to-detail skills so important in your hiring decisions. A less than perfect cup of coffee in our social media connected world becomes an immediate, and widespread, negative review (Yvonne also shared her post on LinkedIn). So, before inviting anyone who is an influencer to visit, get your house in order (“Is your destination Instagram-worthy?”).

Next, there is an enormous disconnect between the possibilities which could be realised and the results generated largely because the right questions aren’t asked, nor have parameters been established around a visit from a journalist, blogger or social media influencer in advance. If you are the person responsible for coordinating ‘press visits’ allow me to suggest you embrace at least the following points before you decide to host anyone:

  1. The average global rate of engagement (on Twitter) is 1.6%. As influencers anyone you invite should be able to generate at least triple that (4.8%) and since they are in the very top tier of people on social media globally 6% is a very realistic objective. While previous performance does not guarantee future results you are engaging them, and their portfolio, on your behalf. It is entirely reasonable to ask to see examples of their previous work and the supporting 3rd party analytics (get as granular as you feel is necessary).
  2. Ask for references. No one has time for prima donnas (of either gender) no matter how large their following might be. It’s in your very best interest (mitigate stress levels for your organisation and those venues you will visit) to know how easy, or difficult, an influencer might be to work with as well as the satisfaction your peers had with their delivery of top quality content in real time and the subsequent results (again documented by analytics).
  3. The total number of impressions generated is a fragment of what should be part of your evaluation cycle. Unlike any other vertical, hospitality realises close to an 11% conversion rate on social media engagement (see point #1 above) making the quality of their content extremely important to your future revenues. Establish specific requirements about the content for the posts, what they need to post and how many times per day before, during and after their stay in exchange for your hospitality.
  4. Once you decide upon contracting a social media influencer to help you with your marketing efforts, it is entirely reasonable to me as I have done this for clients, to ask that they pre-market their trip to visit you. This can vary depending upon the scope of the package you have put together for the guest but a single Instagram and Twitter post each day for two weeks leading up to their visit is about right.

Transportation, accommodations, feeding (and providing beverages), spa treatments, and activities for a week can run into the tens of thousands per person and providing that hospitality needs to come with business objectives and metrics as part of your invitation. When I worked doing public relations in tech we used to use a CPI (columns per inch) metric to calculate the value of earned media against monies spent, anything above a 4:1 ROI was deemed a success. If you are spending 100,000 of whatever your local currency is (I think) at minimum you should realise a demonstrable 5:1 ROI (and yes, there are ways to measure this).

Finally, an entire portfolio of dreamy backlit views of your influencers pool or ocean-side are not going to fill your restaurants to eat your glorious gourmet food and drink the world-class wines in your cellar.  Whatever your budget might be for hosting please remember this point – their visit is not positioning them to expand their personal brands at your expense, it is about driving your incremental revenues by heightening the awareness of everything about your destination.

Post script. While the trade laws in every country will vary please be hyper-diligent about compliance issues related to in-kind and monetary payments to social media influencers. In the United States the “Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has rules in place requiring that “influencers” who share promotional materials “clearly and conspicuously disclose their relationships to brands”.”

If you enjoy my blog please consider ‘buying me a cup of tea’ in your currency via PayPal to livelikeadog@gmail.com and then, please do share the blog with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschiTo order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 

Sitting on the #socialmediamarketing sidelines

Every day I witness epic #fails related to the use of social media to market brands, failures to achieve increased sales, to shift perception, to communicate effectively and it is so very frustrating.

sidelines 2Right now I am sitting on the social media marketing sidelines, and to a larger extent the whole strategic planning for the brands involved. Efforts that, oh gosh I wish I was driving – and not being in the driver’s seat is giving me the same level of nausea I get whenever I am a passenger. And, mind you, this is not about my ego and or desiring to stand in the spotlight because every MarComm professional knows that our place is in the background making things happen. But still.

socrates-knowing-that-you-know-nothingOn more than one occasion in every professional communications person’s lifetime can be heard a refrain similar to ‘I’m sorry. “You don’t know what you don’t know.” I should have listened to you.’ Ultimately ‘decision makers’ who always seem to think they know best because, well, they are in charge, who undermine the expressed goals of their business strategies based solely upon ego rather than knowledge and there’s absolutely nothing to be done about it. Being right is no consolation. It doesn’t matter what the vertical is. It doesn’t matter who didn’t listen and whose advice was ignored. When the net result realises something far less than what could have been strategically planned for, and was tactically possible to deploy, the underlying reason for the shortfall is either about ego and/or competency.

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Photo credit: standard.co.uk

A short while ago London witnessed the most perfect deployment of advance marketing in my recent memory – and yes, it went viral. Funny how washboard abs on a man wearing leather briefs and gladiator sandals will attract attention, get people talking, ENGAGE with the brand. And that is the point of marketing, isn’t it?

Through a friend I heard recently that his point of contact (a marketing person) bemoaned the fact that the owner of her company held disdain for the expenditures associated with marketing and communications, he just couldn’t find value in these activities. As I listened I thought the same thing I have for 30 years, this isn’t ‘if you build it, he will come’. Today (as ever) word of mouth fostered by strategic communications is what drives revenue. Sometimes it’s subtle, sometimes it is an activity so in-your-face that people gasp out-loud, and often times it is (rather mundane) variations on thoughtfully developed core messaging – but it is always about positioning, brand alignment, and amplification which garners engagement. Simple? Right? Ah, not so much so. Because the other critical piece of this is while a marketing and communications professional knows that they are not an engineer or a doctor for some reason other professionals all think they can “do” our jobs as well as we do.

On another note my business partner Ken Herron and I are the #IstraKT team competing in the #ShareIstria campaign being run by the Istrian Tourist Board for a €10,000 prize (and yes, bragging rights). The only analytics that actually count for us (or any of the teams) are those generated during our respective week of the contest (in our case this is the last week of the campaign starting in Rovinj, Croatia 25 – 31 July). Of course we’d be delighted for you to follow our adventures under the hashtag #IstraKT (on Twitter, Instagram, G+, Facebook, Periscope and our blogs) on Twitter we are @kenherron @teresafritschi and our new business is @commarglo. We haven’t begun to deploy the various components of our plan. For now our efforts are only pre-marketing ones. That is not so say we haven’t netted results – we have, impressive results by anyone’s standards.

The following represents ONLY engagements realised to date (not actual Tweets, not delivery to accounts, not impressions, not blog posts read, Pinterest shared, no Facebook Shares or Likes – well you get the idea) from 24 April 2015, when we entered to qualify as contestants in the ShareIstria contest, to 11AM on 11 July 2015 and were pulled from analytics.twitter.com for each of our accounts.

9815 @KenHerron
4015 @TeresaFritschi
435   @commarglo  (after years of discussing it we finally decided to make our business relationship ‘formal’ and legally incorporate on 29 June)

It should be noted I am not the metrics geek of our team, but we have earned FourteenThousandTwoHundredSixtyFive engagements under the #ShareIstria hashtag for our three accounts on Twitter in SeventyEightDays.

Remember this ‘us’ not fully deployed, this is us sitting on the social media marketing sidelines, queued and waiting for our turn to engage. Let’s assume that the conversion rate of these ka-chingengagements is 2% – meaning that eventually 285.3 people (not factoring in traveling companions) will actually visit Istria, Croatia as a result of our pre-marketing efforts. There, according to Lonely Planet, they will spend on average €316.82 per day (sorry, our messages aren’t targeting the backpacker market segment) and let’s “just” consider our time as the average visit – 7 days – thus adding (at minimum) over €633,000.00 to Istria’s tourism revenues. I feel really good about that.

In the meantime pull your own numbers. Not close to these? Challenge your social media agency or internal team to do better for you and your business and 90 days to up their results. Not happy after that? You know how to find us – @commarglo.

If you enjoy my blog please consider ‘buying me a cup of tea’ in your currency via PayPal to livelikeadog@gmail.com and then, please do share the blog with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschiTo order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 

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#WOOT!

Okay, the truth is I have a vague sense that #WOOT! is an exclamation of supreme online happiness but its use in this instance is completely relevant. I am going to #shoutout a remarkable personal branding social media achievement today – pay attention dear readers as everything I write below has consequences for B2B and B2C engagement as well.

I met my never-laid-eyes-on friend Ken over a phone call two years ago. We had the distinction of having both served as the Chief Marketing Officer for start-up social SaaS firm (I inherited the role from him, he was a co-founder of the company).  We are marketing and communications professionals of very different ilk but have enormous respect for the others’ skills, experience and achievements. Last night, by any social media metrics or conventional communications standards, he hit a pretty remarkable milestone – 60,000 followers on Twitter. Let me repeat, Ken has SIXTY -THOUSAND followers on a global basis on Twitter! 
ImageImagine, no real ‘product’ to sell (though besides being a C-level executive he also writes a weekly tech column, shares the microphone on Wednesday afternoons for a widely listened to Internet radio program and is an expert contributor on emerging social media technologies in books and other media outlets) yet possessing global reach and numbers enviable to any corporate entity.  What is his ‘personal brand’ that attracts so many to include and engage with him during their own online presence? That is it – he is many things to many people, but he is always INCLUSIVE!

He sends out THANK YOU tweets to everyone who replies to him, mentions him, and retweets him EVERY SINGLE MORNING.  He tweets during social media ‘rush hours’ (tied to United States’ eastern time zone even though he makes his home in California). He actively follows other tweeps who post about marketing and communications (putting them in manageable lists to keep track of them and their tweets) and adds to their social media influence by re-tweeting their best content. (“Best” content being highly subjective here as he has tweeted pictures of my various home baked good treats with the hashtag #FoodPorn.) He also recognises that just because Twitter allows for 140 characters that, like any messaging that is going to resonate with its constituent audience(s), the shorter the better, so he stays UNDER 120 characters which also encourages retweets.   These are baseline best practices for Twitter but the ideas behind them are universal in their application in creating cohesive, engaging, successful communications. 

I mention this (at all) because far too many companies are stepping into the realm of social media in hiring dedicated staff assuming digital nativity (a.k.a., youth!) infers competence.  Familiarity with a technology platform does not make anyone a skilled user of it – in creating resonance and amplification communications will always require heightened craft and strategic vision; this also why outsourcing online engagement is a very bad idea if you are intent on protecting the integrity of corporate identity, employer branding and internal morale.

What’s more, regardless of how big your brand may be, remember former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill famous words “all politics is local” applies to all relationships.  If your brand is global, understand that localisation is still as important to embrace in social media as it (still) is in the creation of press releases, collateral material and websites.  “Just because” English is the dominant language for business does not mean that a brand can ignore their Asian, European, African or South American audiences. The flattening of our world demands more of the old adage ‘treat others as you would be treated’ so use their languages as part of your social media communications.

My TweetSo #WOOT! to Ken and all communicators everywhere whose responsibilities carry the weight of social media engagement and embrace Raymond Chandler’s words: “Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.”

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