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You see them every time you open a social media app. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and a slew of others are all hoping to get the attention of the user. For several months advertisers have been testing various ad formats measuring their effectiveness. These range from standard (static) ads, animated gifs to videos. Without reading further, which format would you guess has the most impact and effectiveness? Before you read further, take a guess. Ok, let’s explore the results and see if your guess is in line with the survey.

A recent survey conducted by KARGO and MediaScience tested the three formats–standard, animated (gifs) and video to learn how consumers reacted to these different formats by gauging the fixation times and follow-up looks. At first you might not be surprised that videos do have a high “user look”, but in reality, animated ranked higher in all categories surveyed. The categories were: Users Looked At, Seconds Looked, Fixations, and Follow-Up Looks.

My guess is the animated gifs, or short animations are pleasing (most of the time) and do not take long to view. On the other hand, while videos were gaining popularity last year, and they still are a powerful way to tell a story, they become too long taking away our precious time to see other social media posts, etc. Like all survey’s, it will depend on the subject matter. For example if you are into auto racing, or fashion design, food preparation/recipes you might watch an entire video because of your interests. But then again, if you are in a hurry, you might say to yourself “I’ll go back and watch it later”…well that usually doesn’t happen.

But don’t discount the standard or video formats. The reason, all three formats when tested in the survey were close in percentages in the different categories. For example, when users were asked to “recall” the brands they saw, 42% remembered the animated format while 33% remembered the videos and 32% the standard. Even in the “Users Looked At” category this is how they ranked.

• Standard 64%
• Animated 74%
• Video 54%

And to make this more interesting, 18% of those surveyed thought videos were annoying, yet felt (37%) it was entertaining, compared to animated with 9% saying annoying and 14% said it was entertaining. As we get deeper into the study we see videos ranked higher in “creative” 54% vs 27% for animated. So who gets the “Golden Award”? Ask a creative and they say they do, ask a marketer and they want to take the credit. No matter what you do, the bottom line is to use some form of movement in your format. Why? Because it will get the attention of the user and if your creative is good, it just might get them to enjoy what they see and click on that link to learn more about your product or service.

When your company is serious about getting results, give George Carson a call. He knows how to #MakeGreatThingsHappen.

Yes, even the “big” dominant media like Google recognize when it’s time to let go.
Hard to believe that it was only 7 years ago when Google decided to challenge all the social networking sites by launching its Google+.

If you are still active with Google+ you will have a few months to make your last postings before the social network is closed down. Google claims it will close in August 2019, but to be safe, I recommend quitting sooner than later.

So why did this giant company decide to call it quits? Several reasons. For one, Google+ had issues with its privacy bug. Hundreds of thousands of users had their data exposed to third-party developers back in March. But like Facebook, Google would not report the problem immediately because they didn’t want to bring attention to any regulatory scrutiny that could damage their reputation.

If you want to believe Google’s reason, they saw a big drop in usage and engagement, saying, and I quote “90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds”. Yeah, that’s another good reason!

From various sources I’ve read, it is safe to say that Google+ and +1 buttons will have no impact on rankings going forward. I hope that means Google Search will no longer look to see if your business was an active user and we can finally be ranked by our social networking, postings, podcasts, backlinks, etc.

Another reason you should feel ok, Google has admitted that today they do not use personalization in search. What that says is Google+ would show your personal assets, photos, emails, etc. that were based on your Google+ account directly in the search results. If you recall, Google suggested that searchers take their social conversations to Google+. It was a way Google was trying to drive more conversations to their social network.

With all the pressure Google put on social network users to post on their network, the more people rejected being told they had to do this or their rankings could be affected. Some businesses caved in, others chose to not be bullied. Another example you might remember. Google My Business. That name was replaced by Google Places, which later was replaced by Google+. Do you see how Google was trying to manipulate us?

Maybe this should be a lesson that all businesses can learn from. Don’t force something to work when the market isn’t buying your product or service. Look around and see how to better serve customers than make them want what you offer.

Get a “Tune-Up” of your social networks to see how they can be more effective for your business. Give George Carson a call.

instagram

Instagram

Social media has become complex and not easy to attract customers. In just a few short years we have over a dozen ways to communicate online. And just like any media, you need to know the audience and why they are using that form of communication. Your PR Marketing Strategy should outline the different social media and how they function.

Instagram is one of the more popular social media. So businesses are trying to lure customers through Instagram, but many are finding it is not working. Why? Because what works for one media isn’t the same for all. You run a different campaign for Facebook than you would for LinkedIn, or Twitter. You need to understand why consumers use a particular social media, and then after you figure that out can you create a successful campaign.

Ok, so let’s discuss why your campaign in Instagram is a flop and how to correct the problem.

I came across an article by Blaise Lacey, senior content strategist at Bitly, who explains his 7 reasons why your ads aren’t working in Instagram. To read his complete article click here. This is a short summary of what he explained.

1- The ad looks too professional. He makes a great point saying that Instagram is like YouTube, it consists of user-generated content. Businesses, and ad agencies try to create clean, white looking ads that turn off Instagram users.
2. Your ad doesn’t tell a story. Most ads have a flashy logo, a brand name, or catchy tagline and a picture. These give the impression of a “banner ad.”
3. Loud call-outs & banners. People go to these social media apps for entertainment, to connect with friends and learn. Keep in mind, mobile screens are smaller than a monitor, so your ad could look like a big banner, or pop-up ad.
4. You feature shadowy and/or generic people. If you are trying to create compelling images, don’t use “stock photos” or something that could look like a stock photo.
5. Your product is just sitting there. Show your product in use, put it in context of what your product relates to.
6. Too much text. This is one I strongly agree with Blaise. He says “Text is a natural enemy of the mobile user.”
7- You’re not trying video. You are limited to 60-seconds, make it entertaining and show your product in use.

As you can see, Instagram is not like the other social media, and neither should you treat all the other social media the same. Learn why your customers use them and then create the campaign for each. That’s how to be successful.

If your PR Marketing Strategy campaign needs help, give George Carson a call for a FREE non-nonsense review of your campaign. 949-477-9400.

 

Many of the social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook are still useful media. And business networks like LinkedIn are very powerful, if you know how to use the tools effectively. Are you experiencing “APP Overload?” Confused what is the best platform to use in your pr marketing strategies campaign? You’re not alone.

Vine App

Vine App

It hasn’t been 2 years since marketers and advertisers were finally understanding how to use them in social media marketing, and now we need to learn all over again how to reach targeted customers. Let me explain. These social media platforms I mentioned are continually expanding their capabilities to be more productive. One in particular is Twitter. Two years ago they created a new app called Vine. The purpose of Vine was to give marketers, like Coco Cola, Dunkin’ Donuts, Target and publicity firms a way to post short videos (6 seconds in length). It was great for the first 18 months. Then competition from other platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube created their versions of short video formats marketers could use. But not all is lost. Still today, Vine has about 4% of all videos posted. This can be an effective platform for PR Clients when combined with others.

Allison Stern, founder at Tubular Labs commented about the decline-using Vine saying, “I assume that brands are having this platform fatigue”. I think that best describes what is currently happening with this app overload.

If you want to post something that is happening now, then you need to look at Periscope. That’s another Twitter app, which has become popular because it is a live video streaming app. They have a few cool features. When you tap the video (screen) it sends little “hearts” across the screen. It is their way of acknowledging, “likes” to compete with Facebook. Originally Periscope was developed in 2014 by another company and named it Bounty. Then in February 2015 Twitter saw the value and purchased the app, renamed it Periscope. To understand how fast this app became a hit, in less than 6 months of its release, Periscope had 10 million accounts.

So before you abandon any of your social media apps, just keep posting videos on all platforms, and write short Tweets, blogs and keep your brand in front of customers through all the different social media platforms, today and whatever develops tomorrow. Need help getting your social media campaign going, if so, call George Carson at 949-477-9400.

Are you a person or company that does a lot of postings? Are you aware that there are best times and worst times to post content? If not, read on. Why, because your pr marketing strategy can be a success or failure if you don’t know when your followers are interested in their social media. So make sure your followers/readers are seeing your posts, otherwise you are wasting your time.

I came across this great article and graphics from Richard Brownell, so thanks to Richard for making this simple to understand. Ok, lets start with the more staple social media. That would be Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. These are the more popular and better know social media for businesses. Below is a chart that illustrates what days of the week and times of the day that you should be posting, and when not to.

Social media do's and don'ts

When to post on social media

On Facebook, which is one of the most frequented social media sites, you should be active between 1pm- 4pm and the best day/time of the week is Wednesdays at 3 pm. Avoid weekends before 8 am and after 8 pm. I would stay away for weekends if you are a business, unless you have a retail store that is open on weekends. Twitter has a great readership Mondays-Thursdays from 1 pm – 3 pm. Almost the same time as Facebook followers. The peak time is Monday-Thursday from 9 am til 3 pm. Twitter readers move on to other things after 8 pm everyday and on Friday, so avoid any tweets after 3 pm. Probably they’re off to a party or fun weekend stuff. Now let’s look at LinkedIn. Seems Tuesdays-Thursdays are popular and the best times for the day are noon and again at 5 pm-6 pm. Most business people are not active Monday and Friday from 10pm-6am. Hey you gotta sleep sometime!

Other social media like Pinterest, Tumblr and Google+ have a different schedule that people use. For example Pinterest has heavy viewing on Saturday mornings (well, that does make sense) and the worst time is during work hours. Now Google+ is different with their community of followers. Everyday between 9 am-10 am (short window isn’t it) is the best time and Wednesdays at 9 am is peak times. But then again, similar to Twitter, Google+ is for short messages. You want to know quickly what’s happening and move on.

So there you have it. A quick insight on when to post and not post on your social media accounts. If you are developing a pr marketing strategy for the next season, keep these times and days handy so your social media campaign will have a greater impact. If you want more insights, give George Carson a call at 949-477-9400. He’s probably writing a post right now, but I’m sure he’ll take your call.

There are a lot of conversations (noise) in social media. If you just try to follow only a few like Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Facebook, you will get drowned in all the conversations. So if this is overwhelming to you, then lets look at how to make people listen.

bigstock-Businesswoman-With-Big-Ears-10623491First of all, building a social media network is very important for pr clients. Before starting any social dialogue, these are some of the questions you need to ask when doing your conversations. Does it stimulate your customers to do the action you desire? Is it building brand loyalty? Are you creating any dialogue for people to interact with your conversation?

Major brands are using “conversations” to further build their pr visibility and brand. Companies like Coke, Pepsi, Microsoft, Apple among many others are aggressively “talking” to their consumers. But are their customers really listening? Some of these brands use Facebook and Twitter to get people to participate in contests, or engage them into a discussion. These pr marketing strategies are good, if understood. Sometimes the results are very small when you look at the overall numbers these social media have in comparison to those people responding. Does this mean they should not continue their publicity campaign? Of course not. You need to have a plan, just like a marketing plan, or media plan, you need to develop a publicity strategy of where, when and the topics you want to start. Just because the immediate followers or those responding might be small, you are developing a massive exposure about you and your brand. And the same is true when you ran a print or TV campaign. The exposure is always greater than those directly involved in your message. This is part of building a brand.

I read a recent article by Barry Levine that sums it up  “ Social media conversations are a whisper not a shout.”

That means you need to know who are your customers, know what they like on social media, what they enjoy Social meida-penguinsdoing and how often do they engage in the social media that you want to connect with them. Seems like a lot of research, and it is. But once you have learned this about your customer, then you can begin the “conversation.” With that said, it is important to have a true conversation, not a sales pitch, nor how great your company or brand is. Just like you would discuss a topic with a friend, keep your conversations friendly, and point out the good and bad about something. Get people to interact. That’s why so many brands use contests. Unfortunately, that is now getting overused and should be done on a limited basis, not become your main reason to have the conversations.

In summary, are conversations being heard? They can be if you are active in conversation with your customers and start topics that they would like to discuss. Remember, postings are good in social media, but that isn’t building a brand unless you get people involved in conversations. Then the word will spread beyond the social platforms, that’s how to create the buzz in the industry.

If you are ready to continue the conversation, give George Carson a call at 949-477-9400.

Maybe the question should be: If you are not actively involved with your customers (whether they are B2B or B2C) on a daily basis, do you know if they will continue to buy your product or service next year? 

Social networking is powerful

Face it; social media isn’t a fad that will go away anytime soon. You can only ignore progress for a certain amount of time. Then you need to either accept the realities of how to make social media be your partner to succeed, or you wake up one morning wondering how your business suddenly is loosing sales. If you have a solid PR Marketing Strategy, it should include social media.

I’m sure you heard this lecture before, but now is the time for PR Clients to become very active with this media. Before you jump up and down saying, “show me the secret to social media success!” first lets look at some current statistics.

Over 30% of US adults get their news updates from social media. Of those people, 66% use their smartphone or tablet to access the news. If your target audience is 18 – 29 year olds, 71% of them use the Internet as their main source for information. To put this into perspective, a consumer will talk to others (using various social media like Twitter, Facebook, personal blogs, Instagram, yelp, etc.) about their experiences. Over 90% will use some sort of social media while 27% will talk to an actual person, usually on the phone about their experience. Also, social media is a quick and instant method of making people aware of what they like, or hate. This is another reason why your PR Marketing Strategies need to be current with today’s forms of communication.

Email is an early form of social media. Today businesses cannot think of how to communicate without using email. Savvy PR Clients know that Twitter, Instagram, and Linkedin are quickly

Publicity is part of social media

becoming the choice for businesses to stay in touch with their customers and end users. You get immediate feedback on your products and services when using social media. This allows a company to make the adjustments needed to maintain a good position in the market. No longer do we need to do a focus group, only to then wait about a month to get all the data and then act accordingly. That process is too time-consuming, and becomes “old news” very quickly.  If you rely on that form of testing, then you might go out of business before you know it.

With the upcoming holiday shopping season, retailers are pushing hard with their social media to get customers to buy from them. Case in point, Walmart uses Twitter to talk about how their competitors are not stocking certain items, and they publish (re-Tweet) complaints by people about other retailers. Some refer to this as Twitter hijacking. It isn’t. It’s just smart marketing and knowing how to use social media to your business advantage. Facebook is another social media that Walmart has profited from. Other retailers are using this strategy to cut through all the clutter this season.

As you can see, social media can improve sales, create positive awareness, build your brand, and all this can be done quickly (as compared to a print media campaign). Don’t spend valuable time learning how to use this powerful media, instead interview companies that specialize in this media and hire the one that best fits your needs. If you are open minded and willing to embrace social media correctly, then what are you waiting for, your competitors to jump ahead of you?

Better yet, get the jump on your competitors, call George Carson today at 949-477-9400.

Is email part of you PR Marketing Strategy, or do you only use Social Media?

There have been a lot of discussions about the future and what role email will be playing. Some people, even the COO of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, thinks email is on its way out and people will rely on social media to communicate. This could be possible, but not in any near future. I doubt in my lifetime this will happen. As some writers said, like Chris Crum at WebPro News, all (most of them) social media requires an email to subscribe, or become a member. So that doesn’t sound like the system of social networks has or is ready to abolish email as the means to communicate.email and social networking

We can only wait and see what new methods of communication develop over the next decade. Who knows, we may soon just think our thoughts and send them through brain waves. “Beam me up Scotty!”

Ok, enough said. This now brings me to the second part of this blog. How involved are your PR Clients with social media? Do you have a plan? Do you have a campaign in place? Writing one blog, or using twitter once or twice a week is not getting involved in social media. Social media can become a powerful marketing tool for any pr marketing strategy. If and when done correctly, results can be very positive. If you need to refresher course, just refer to some of my blogs that discuss “How to Use Linkedin to Increase Traffic“, or “Learn How to Use Social Media for PR Clients“. Or just click on the archive files to see many other related topics.

When you are ready to begin and implement a campaign, then give George Carson a call at 949-477-9400. It’s the social thing to do!

Social media has become a staple in the world of communication. The proof is the new battle between Bing, and Google who both recently announced deals withsearch engines bing and google Twitter and Facebook. So how does this affect your web site? A lot, and in a positive way! This shows that SEO and social media are partners in your pr marketing strategies success. Be sure your public relations campaign includes these updates.

Since both SEO’s like content, and a lot of it, then your Twitter and Facebook can become major sources to be recognized by these SEO’s. But remember as I mentioned in my recent posts about Twitter, you need to have good content in those limited words. Don’t make sales pitches, give content.

Use keywords in your tweets and Facebook sites. And important are the links you use in the content. One tip, don’t have your feeds cross back and forth from your tweets and Facebook, turn it off, if the messages are the same on both. This may affect Bing from picking up your feeds if the are the same. Make them each unique, and you are good to go.

This is just another change in the war of search engines struggling to become the choice of consumers. Keeping informed of these types of changes is a full time job. So keep following this blog and we will do our best to help you be current so that your public relations campaign and pr marketing strategy is a success

Unlike a couple of years ago, today there are dozens of different social networks to choose from. So how do you know which ones will work for your business? Do you create a Facebook page, or a MySpace page, or do you jump on the Twitter circuit? What about all those other social networks like Friendster, Flickr, or del.icio.us and many others?social networking

Before you begin to use social networking for business, you need to answer these questions. First, do you have a pr marketing strategy? If not, do you have a pr marketing plan? Ok, if these are not in your business plan, then it’s time to develop a pr marketing strategy that includes social networking. It would also be an excellent pr marketing strategy to start a blog site for your company. All successful PR Clients have a solid pr marketing strategy that has social networking as part of their plan.

I have written about using of MySpace and Facebook as a means to market your business. And I wrote a lot on blogging, which in all should be a continued program with all companies and PR Clients looking to be successful in the next 12 to 16 months. Now let’s look at how you can use Twitter as a business tool.

What makes Twitter so exciting? When used properly, Twitter is a great way to reach out to new prospects and keep a trusted connection with existing clients.

Some important issues to know: Unlike the many other social networks, Twitter followers do not like in-your-face marketing. And unlike MySpace and Facebook, Twitter has “followers”. These are usually friends, and other people that you may not know directly.

The rules for using Twitter:

1- Don’t add people you don’t know. This new social group gets annoyed if you just add people who follow others you know. Start slowly, add people you know, and then let it build. The main reason people like Twitter, they can leave if they don’t want to follow you because of your content.

2- Look for people that are in your industry. If you find people that are recognized in your industry, or are smart, then getting them to re-follow you is easier. That’s provided you offer something they want to follow, or know more about. Remember, no one like spam, so don’t start the hard sell with followers.

3- Be genuine about your business. When you begin to tell about your business, tell it from the heart. Not like a sales pitch. Twitter followers will respond if they see you have a passion for what you do.

4- Be active. If you choose to use Twitter, you need to invest at least an hour or two during the week. Just like other social sites, keeping it fresh is important. But with Twitter, people follow because they feel they are getting up-to-the minute info about you.

Still want to Twitter? If not, at least build a social network that includes the blog site and the traditional Facebook site to keep your business alive. Need help with social networking? Then give Carson Marketing, Inc. a call at 949-477-9400. Ask for George Carson, he will personally assist you with your social networking needs.