Month: October 2013

A Student’s Perspective on Social Media Ads for Businesses

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Everyone who knows anything about social media marketing or even marketing knows that every company should be on social platforms and they should be using those platforms. Yet, there are still some companies, people, students, professionals, whoever, who don’t seem to get that.

I have posted before about companies that get social and why it’s important, however I wanted to really think about what I think about social media and try to take out everything that I have read and learned and solely think about my perspective as a student and how I view it without thinking about academia or social media “best practices.”

I think social media gets a bad wrap because it’s called “social media.” Think about it- social has a connotation that depicts gatherings, mindless conversations, and friendly talks about random topics. Social networks were meant to connect people and give people the ability to share their thoughts, whether those thoughts are mindless or insightful. When I think of media, I think about TV networks, technology, entertainment news on the latest celebrities and political happenings. Combine them and you get a bunch of people giving their opinions and sharing pictures of their dinners at the local sushi establishment. I get it; sometimes there may not be apparent value in social media. However, those random thoughts could be the next great business idea or may be the thoughts of all customers about a brand and the saving grace of a dying company.

I am a student at the University of Georgia. I am on every social network and I have seen an immense amount of information and uses of every different platform. When I see promoted posts, I must say that yes, I do get annoyed, but only when it has nothing to do with my likes and preferences. Getting a post about the latest deals at Delta does not seem relevant to be because I am in school and do not have time to go travel to Tahiti or Paris. When I see ads on Facebook, I don’t even notice them. Through evolution of social networks, I have conditioned my mind to ignore promoted posts, ads, sponsored ads, what have you. Of course, since I have a passion for all things marketing and social, I have reconditioned myself to be cognizant of those things, however I still have my initial reactions.

I understand the need for ads and promoted posts, however, I believe that I am nowhere near alone in my reactions. My generation has grown up on social media platforms- beginning from Xanga and MySpace. We know the platforms inside and out and have seen the evolution of the platforms over time and the increased business relevance on the platforms. It’s incredible how much we don’t notice the ads or the latest suggested post, because our brains have been conditioned to recognize content that we are not interested in and literally just skip over it without consciously knowing it.  

This is an important thought to keep in mind for businesses, social media and marketing agencies- younger people don’t notice most ads. What’s more important is that when we do notice ads and they are completely irrelevant to our lives, rather than ignore it, we get a little bit mad or frustrated, just a little bit. It has decreased our sense of “flow” and our social media experience.

So, next time you are helping a client or you want to advertise on social media, take a second look at what you are posting and think about what students/younger demographics think. Even if we are not your target market, social media is our generations’ differentiating factor. We grew up with it, we understand it, and we are a goldmine for succeeding at social. Personalize ads and use all of the capabilities available through social media tools; don’t take the easy road and just send mass ads out to anyone and everyone on Facebook. Many may not agree, but in social, you have to be careful- spamming people with paid ads may not just yield a negative return, but may also lead to some negative externalities down the road. Take your time and spend the extra dollar to truly understand your target market and only place ads where they are wanted. 

What are your thoughts on promoted posts/ads? Have you ever been on the other side as an executive and not had as much success with promoted ads?

Let me know, I would love to hear about it. 

#CBSSuperSocial Saturday- Lessons Learned

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Sports and social media are converging more and more every season. Networks such as CBS Sports Network and Fox Sports Network are capitalizing on increasing engagement with viewers through the use of social media. Sports networks have a great opportunity to maximize their engagement and viewership because of the nature of the passionate community of loyal fans that are more than ready to talk about their favorite teams. This past weekend as I was watching college football, I noticed the use of hashtags and social media mentions even more than usual.

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On Saturday, CBS Sports Network created a social media initiative entitled “Super Social Saturday” with the goal of encouraging fans watching at home or in the stadium to interact and engage with the team and network. The initiative incorporated fan tweets, pictures and interactions throughout the day from the games and studio programming. Viewers were encouraged to use the hashtag #CBSSuperSocial for all social activity related to the games.

Incorporating social media into the viewing experience increases and maintains interest in the games and network for the viewers throughout the day. What made this social media initiative stand out for me was that CBS was consistent and semi-obnoxious by constantly bringing up the hashtag throughout of all the programming. In order to get people to buy into using the hashtag and staying engaged, you have to consistently state what the handles are and which platforms to use, and CBS did this.

Another reason that this social initiative was successful was that CBS Sports Network’s game announcers and studio team interacted with fans all-day on Twitter in order to keep the conversations going. They answered questions on-air and provided commentary from the official handle, @CBSSportsNet. Another aspect that made CBS shine yesterday was empowering notable alumni and giving them the opportunity to take over the official Twitter account to answer questions and tweet during the games. This gave viewers and fans an incentive for following along all day- getting to tweet to alumni and receiving real-time answers to their questions. This was a great move by CBS because it provided value to all parties involved and increased the overall excitement and engagement with the games all day long.

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The integration between sports, TV programming, and social networks are only going to increase and become commonplace in order to obtain successful viewership. CBS did a great job of rallying fans behind Social Saturday and creating conversations around the content that they were already watching. It’s great to see sports networks using social media the right way and reaping the benefits from it every single weekend.

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Social Media Marketing is a Marathon, Not a Race

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We live in a society that yearns for instant gratification- faster internet, drive-thru fast food, multi-tasking in an attempt to conquer as much as possible with the few hours that we have each day. This is the 21st century, the age of Google where any one can get an answer within a few seconds (depending on how fast you can type, of course). There are some advantages to this and yes, it’s nice having the ability to satisfy our needs so quickly, however it is crippling the very essence of social media marketing.

 Social media marketing is not a race, it’s not about instant gratification or seeing those results when you walk into the office on Monday morning. Social media is more precious, it is like a diamond- it takes a lot of time and effort but in the end, it proves to be more valuable than anything else. I find so many people, including myself, who get so frustrated when they can’t see results from the latest blog posted or a follower/customer increase, however I strongly believe that success in social media starts with patience. It’s not about creating instant engagement and developing a quick list of potential clients , no, it’s about starting from the bottom and developing credibility with people through your content. 

Do you meet someone and instantly become best friends? No, usually it doesn’t work that way. Usually, it takes time. With a slow release of information and “memories,” you begin to form a genuine relationship through trust. That is what social media marketing is about- creating a genuine relationship by providing content that people need and people trust. So how can you possibly expect to get a million followers and everyone talking about you just like that? Start small and every day nurture those social media channels and care about every person that comes across those mediums and slowly, you will begin to reap the benefits of careful and consistent social media marketing. Patience is the key to success and every post and interaction that you have with someone is a step closer to becoming a successful social brand. So next time you are frustrated with the slow growth of your social media efforts, just remember that over time, the people will come and organic growth will prove to be more valuable than any quick advertising campaign. 

Keep on Tweetin’!