The Dark Side of Social: How to Respond When Things Go Wrong

At CCC, we’re big believers in the power of social media and the value that it can provide to your brand. However, you need to understand the darker side of social so you’re prepared for anything that could go wrong or reflect your brand in a negative light.

Velvet Heart Promoted Tweet

Velvet Heart was trying to promote its new arrivals for spring, not trend with a mass shooting.

Recently I was on Twitter and noticed the name of a nearby town trending (regionally). I clicked on the link to see why it was trending and discovered a mass shooting had occurred at a retirement village. (My thoughts and prayers are with this community during this difficult time.)

While scrolling through the feed, I saw a promoted tweet advertising a retailer’s new spring arrivals. I was included in the audience targeted in this campaign, so the tweet showed up in my feed — no matter what I was viewing at the time. The advertiser had no say where its targeted audience members saw its tweet. (For more on Promoted Tweets, click here.)

Last week, I saw a news story about a guy who blew his lower leg off while shooting a lawn mower packed with explosives. As usual, an ad played prior to the video on the news site where I watched it. AT&T didn’t ask for its ad to play prior to a graphic video, but that’s when I saw the ad and its brand.

“A brand can’t control the message in the way it once did but it can still have influence.” –Jeff Barrett, CEO, Status Creative

These examples both point to why some brands and companies are so afraid of getting social — loss of control. On social media, it’s impossible to control every aspect of the message about your brand.

I’m not trying to discourage you from joining the conversation — just the opposite, in fact. If you’re a part of the conversation, you can help guide its direction and speak directly to your online community.

What if I hadn’t known that advertisers don’t control where Promoted Tweets show up? A user may have tweeted the advertiser expressing her dissatisfaction that the company would try to profit off a tragedy. That’s why you need to be aware of all the possibilities before jumping into something like Promoted Tweets. You can respond to say that you only chose to promote a tweet to a targeted audience, and did not use a trending hashtag or phrase inappropriately. If you’re not active on a social platform where a discussion breaks out about your brand, you can’t help set the record straight.

“While you can’t control the conversation,  you can participate and give fans a firsthand account of what’s going on at your company.”

Don’t worry about controlling every aspect of the conversation about your brand. Be prepared and know what you’re doing before jumping into social media in general, or a specific area, such as Facebook advertising or Promoted Tweets. Have a plan, but be prepared to adjust it as necessary.

Social media may not be easy for brands, but it’s worth it. Getting social can start a conversation that takes your business to new heights!

Are you struggling with your social media strategy, goals or execution? Let’s talk. We’d love to help you join the conversation and shine the spotlight on your brand.

Getting social (day or night),
Jaime

Let’s chat (about social media, your marketing needs or otherwise):
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Share the Luck of the Irish with Your Clients & Employees

Whatever your background, we’re all Irish on St. Patrick’s Day!

St. Patrick's Day revelers enjoy the celebration

St. Patrick’s Day by Courtney Collison via CC BY-SA 2.0 http://bit.ly/1QVmT1J

Here’s how to share the spirit of this holiday with your business family:

  • Throw an Irish potluck — Ask employees to bring their favorite Irish-themed foods for a festive event in the office. If you’re throwing a last-minute shindig, order in from your favorite Irish restaurant. Hand out fun promotional items, such as four leaf clover-printed sunglasses, green hats or four leaf clover beads. Remind everyone to wear green and punctuate the event with some fun Irish music (or March Madness)!
  • Enjoy March Madness during a St. Patrick’s Day Happy Hour — Invite your employees and/or clients to Happy Hour at your favorite local pub. Cheer on your favorite men’s college basketball teams (or the ones you picked on your bracket) with an ice cold Guinness in hand. If you’re feeling lucky, pick up the first round of drinks along with some hors d’oeuvres. Enjoy the camaraderie as you survive the roller coaster ride of the NCAA Tournament!
  • Hold a Luck of the Irish Contest — Invite your clients to participate in a themed contest celebrating this popular holiday. Anyone who places an order receives a mystery discount or gift. You can hold the contest digitally with a well-designed landing page, email marketing and social media promotion. Take the contest offline with direct mail, scratch off tickets and in-person visits. Don’t forget to create a hashtag and encourage clients to post their winning tickets on social!
  • Bring the Irish Spirit into Your Office — Encourage employees to wear green along with festive accessories. Reward the most festive, creative and other categories of your choice with gift certificates to your local pub, lunch delivered in the office or a day (or afternoon) off. Throughout the day, highlight your festivities on social media so fans can get to know the faces behind the scenes and see your fun culture.

St. Patrick’s Day 2016: How the World Will Celebrate From Dublin to Tokyo

However you decide to celebrate, have fun! May the Luck of the Irish be with you and your business always.

Cheers,
Jaime

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How Search Engines Work: An Infographic to Improve Your SEO

How do you find information today? Chances are, you Google it. That’s the same way that potential customers find information on your products and services. Will they be able to find you?

This handy infographic by the UAB Collat School of Business explains the science behind Google, as well as other search engines.

  • How do search engines work?
  • How can I improve my site’s rankings?
  • What differentiates Google from Bing and Yahoo?
  • Who’s Archie?!
The Science Behind Google (and Other Search Engines)

For more information on UAB’s Master’s Degree in Management Information Systems, please visit http://businessdegrees.uab.edu/mis-degree/masters/.

Are you interested in improving your SEO? Check out our other posts on search engine optimization, including 5 SEO Techniques That Will Boost Your Web Presence, or contact us to discuss driving more targeted traffic to your website or blog.

What’s your favorite search engine?

What’s a product or service that your searched for online?

How did you find the CCC blog?

Thanks for visiting!
Jaime

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The Best Social Media Sites For Business Marketing

"A Conversation" by Khalid Albaih via CC BY 2.0

Social media is one of the best marketing tools for businesses. In fact, it’s not just great for businesses; it’s great for individuals looking to market a blog too.

I could go on and on about the advantages and strengths of social media marketing. Instead, I’m going to talk about some of the best social media sites for business marketing.

Facebook image via CC0 Public Domain

Is your business on the largest social networking site on the planet?

Facebook

Facebook has been around for 11 years now and few would have predicted its success. When it started out, there were a few users who accessed the platform to stay in touch with family and friends. Facebook is currently the most used social networking site of all time and shows no sign of slowing down. Millions of people use Facebook every day for a variety of reasons, and this is why it’s perfect for marketing. In addition to the vast amount of potential customers, the social giant offers resources for businesses to help with your marketing efforts. You can pay to have your Facebook page advertised on people’s News Feeds who fall into your target audience(s). There’s also a local element; you can advertise directly to potential customers in your area and promote your location via check-ins, a map and your profile. It’s a tremendous site for businesses to use and continues to add new features and resources on a regular basis.

Twitter image via CC0 Public Domain

Has your business joined the conversation on Twitter?

Twitter

When I think of Twitter, two words pop into my head: real-time and community. Twitter is the social networking site that people go to for instant updates. With its 140-character limit (for now), the micro-blogging platform encourages a higher volume of posting than other social platforms. Many people now go on Twitter to find out about news stories and learn what’s going on in the world. If you’re a Twitter veteran, you’ve probably noticed that online communities are easily formed there by utilizing lists, hashtags and tagging other users. In a business sense, it’s ideal for marketing. You can zone in on Twitter audiences that are most relevant to your business. Twitter also presents you the opportunity to engage with a lot of people. Some of the best social media marketing strategies include using Twitter to engage with users. Using hashtags gives you the chance to promote your business to people all over the world.

Image via CC0 Public Domain

Is your business utilizing the power of video?

YouTube

Many people forget about YouTube when the discussion turns to social media. It is considered a social networking site because you can create a profile and interact with others. YouTube was purchased by Google in 2006, only a year after its arrival, and is now a serious player in the entertainment business, with billions of people watching videos every day. This is fantastic news from a business marketing perspective. It gives you a chance to upload videos promoting your business, which can be viewed by potential customers around town or around the world. There’s also a chance that your video could go viral, resulting in a significant increase in traffic, attention and customers to your business. If a picture’s worth a thousand words, than a video is worth even more.

While social media is a conversation, what you want to achieve from this game-changing addition to your marketing mix is all about you.

While these three social platforms can be great options for businesses, remember that your business has unique objectives and needs. That’s why it’s crucial to put together a strategy before getting social. If you’d like help putting together your targeted strategy (or just have some questions on the subject), let us know. We love to help brands get social with their targeted audience(s)!

Let’s do social well (and social good),
Jaime

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5 Digital Marketing Trends To Develop Your Marketing Strategy

A strong online presence is essential in today’s market. Without the help of digital marketing, your business is already one step behind. It’s that simple. To make sure that you never fall behind the curve, here are five marketing trends to keep you current. These are relevant right now, so prepare to adjust and adapt in the coming months.

'Digital Marketing Trends' by Automotive Social via CC BY 2.0

Is your digital marketing strategy up-to-date?


Don’t Rely On Google (Now a Subsidiary of Alphabet)

Whisper it quietly so no one can hear you, because you might start a riot. Google, the king of the Internet’s search engines, might be on the decline (and is certainly going through massive changes). That doesn’t mean that the search giant isn’t still relevant. Google holds the largest market share and is one of the biggest brands on the planet. However, consumers are starting to want more from their search engine. Some just want a change because Google has been around for too long. SEO is too important to put all of your eggs in the same basket. 


Mobile All The Time

One platform that you have to rely on is mobile. Unlike Google, mobile technology is at the peak of its powers. More than ever, consumers around the globe are using mobile technology to make purchases. Right now, there is an obsession with everything mobile that does not look like it is going to subside anytime soon. Remember that mobile technology is the technology of choice for over half of the world’s purchases, so it’s crucial to incorporate mobile technology into your digital marketing strategy. 


Payment Methods Are Becoming More Popular

A Magento developer has never been more important for e-commerce and online payment websites. With the rise of the Europay, MasterCard and Visa card, or EMV for short, a new age of online purchases is here. Today, you need more from your developer than ever before. They have to be able to install and input these new techniques into your site because the world is quickly embracing the technology. EMVs are supposed to reduce the risk of fraud and data breaches, so you can see why they are becoming more popular.


Time To Start A Conversation

Unless you have been living ‘off the grid’ for the past several years, you know all about the benefits of social media for business. However, one tactic that is often left is the ability to start a conversation. Yes, social platforms are a great source of inexpensive advertising, but they also allow you to connect to your customer base. By connecting with your customers, you have the ability to improve your conversion rates. Sometimes, a simple conversation is all it takes to get to know someone and create a sense of loyalty.

Get Social: 4 Easy Ways to Join the Conversation


Paid Advertising Is Key

The trend of paying for advertising is not a popular one, but it is here for the long-term. As a result, paying for online advertising will provide a boost to your marketing strategy if done correctly. 

Digital Marketing Trends: Your Feedback

What do you see as the biggest digital marketing trend right now?

What will be the biggest digital marketing trend in 2016?

Which social network do you prefer for your brand?

If you need help with your digital marketing strategy or have any questions, let’s talk.

Let’s get social,
Jaime

Let’s chat (about digital marketing, social media or otherwise):
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Inbound: Not Your Father’s Marketing

CCC is Inbound Certified!

Sometimes you have to slow down to get ahead. You may have noticed that the CCC blog went dark between September 4th and September 18th, missing three posting days. We were busy getting certified — in Inbound methodology. I’m proud to announce that CCC is now Inbound Certified, and we’d love to help your business achieve success.


What is Inbound?
Inbound marketing is a different way of thinking. Here’s two scenarios; let me know which one you find more enticing.
You walk down the street toward a bar. People on the sidewalk are aggressively approaching bypassers, shouting at them through megaphones to come into the bar. The aggressive bar promoters have interrupted your conversation and made you want to vacate the area as fast as possible. Your happy mood has soured, and you have no interest in going in the bar. 
You walk down the street toward a bar. Jazz music spills out into the street punctuated by a saxophone solo that makes you break into a smile. Your stomach rumbles as you breathe in the enticing aromas. As you approach the door, you notice a sign promoting a free drink tonight with dinner. You’ve never been to this bar before, but you decide to go in, have dinner and enjoy the atmosphere, while texting some friends to join you.

Which scenario is more appealing to you? If you said the second, you were drawn in by Inbound marketing, a process that uses compelling content to pull people toward your company and product, where they naturally want to be.

How Inbound Works

The Inbound Methodology: Attract, Convert, Close & Delight

  1. Attract strangers to visit with compelling content that aligns to your customer’s interests.
  2. Convert visitors into leads with attractive calls-to-action that resonate with your customer’s interests.
  3. Close leads into customers by providing value with compelling content, offers and solutions.
  4. Delight customers with products (and services) that solve their problems, outstanding customer service and an excellent relationship. In doing so, they’ll be happy to promote your business for you.


How can Inbound help me?

No matter what you do for a living, you’re probably looking for customers. That’s where Inbound comes in. It helps you attract the right customers, not more empty leads. As with any marketing, Inbound isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme and probably won’t shower you with qualified leads overnight. It’s a process, one that takes time but produces results. It’s what happens when you publish the right content in the right place at the right time.

The Inbound Methodology: Publishing the right content in the right place at the right time
At CCC, we make marketing that people love. Coincidentally, that’s what Inbound is all about. If we can help you, let us know. Because the only thing we love more than espresso is helping people.

p.s. Interested in becoming Inbound Certified? Learn more about the course, certification and who it can help.

Officially Certified,
Jaime

Let’s chat (about Inbound, your marketing needs or otherwise):
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Marketers: Don’t Forget About Desktop

Mobile offices, mobile apps, Mobilegeddon: The age of mobile has arrived. We can tap into Wi-Fi at 35,000 feet and conduct business from almost anywhere in the world.

Desktops (and laptops) are still worth paying attention to, marketers.

Desktop access to the Internet has risen 37% over the past four years. Source: comScore

But don’t forget about desktop, marketers. It hasn’t gone the way of 8 tracks and parachute pants just yet — and is still worth your attention.

While browsing trends in social media marketing for 2015, one in particular caught our eye. While mobile access to the Internet has quadrupled over the past four years, desktop access has also risen 37%.^

“Mobile’s new domination of social media activity did not sap numbers and minutes from desktop digital time, however. Instead, digital time seeped into Americans’ off-hours, as they brought their smartphones and tablets to television time, waiting rooms, Starbucks’ lines and bed.”  –Social Media Examiner

Despite its impressive growth, mobile is still not the primary device used to access the top digital properties either, including Facebook.

Furthermore, Instagram recently released web profiles, making it easier to browse and share images on the Web. Despite being the fastest growing social network in 2014*, Instagram still heard loud and clear from users who wanted a better desktop experience. So the popular platform, launched in 2010 as a mobile app, expanded its web presence to make its users happy.

So yes, we live in the age of mobile but the desktop era hasn’t gone the way of dinosaurs just yet. Keep your customers happy (and prospects interested) by spreading your presence across the mobile/desktop divide.

(Irony: We just realized that we’re writing this as a movie about dinosaurs is breaking box office records around the world!)

Mobile/Desktop Feedback

Have you cut into your desktop/laptop time with mobile? Or cut into other activities with mobile?

How do you access social media (approx. mobile/desktop %)?

Are you surprised that mobile is not cutting into desktop’s overall numbers yet?

Sources: ^comScore | *Pew Research Center | Social Media Examiner

Blogging on a desktop,
Jaime

Let’s chat (on mobile, desktop or otherwise): 
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5 Ways To Showcase Services (& Boring Products) on Instagram

You’ve probably heard that visual marketing is all the rage these days, driving more interaction and traffic than text alone. Pair that trend with Instagram being the fastest-growing major social network in 2014*, and you’ve got a love affair — or so we thought. However, we were surprised at the lack of marketers, especially B2B, on Instagram.

5 Ways To Showcase Services (& Boring Products) on Instagram

Report Findings

Statistics on the popular visual social platform in Social Media Examiner’s recently released Social Media Marketing Industry Report were underwhelming, at least to CCC.

Instagram was the 7th most popular social platform for marketers in 2014, with 36% utilizing the site. Platform use did rise significantly from the previous year, with an eight percent increase. However, the disparity came to light when we looked at business-to-consumer (B2C) use vs. business-to-business (B2B) use, as the following chart indicates.

B2C vs. B2B social platform use chart

Social platform use differs significantly between B2C and B2B marketers, especially on LinkedIn.
Source: Social Media Marketing Industry Report

OK, so B2B marketers are a little slow to adapt to this platform. That might make sense until you look at future plans. Again, B2C marketers outpace their B2B counterparts with 60% likely to increase Instagram activities (compared to 40% of B2B marketers). What’s making B2B marketers hesitant to devote resources to Instagram?

Two Reasons Why B2B Marketers Aren’t on Instagram

We can think of two reasons to start. One, some B2B marketers feel like a platform or vehicle isn’t worth their time until they can advertise on it. With Instagram opening up advertising to all companies, that should draw more B2B companies to the platform. New ad formats, including a buy button, and enhanced targeting should help as well.

Two, several B2B companies sell services, and they may be having trouble understanding how to utilize the platform to promote what they do. (Even if they sell products, they may be considered ‘boring’ products, such as ink cartridges, paper, industrial cleaners, etc.)

Five Ways To Showcase Services (and Boring Products) on Instagram 

How do you showcase services (or ‘boring’ products) on Instagram?

  • Sell benefits, not features. Show how your products or services impact people or companies. For example, a picture of a sales letter may not be enticing, but a picture of my client’s happiness after making a sale using that letter conveys human emotion.

Photos with faces get 38% more likes and 32% more comments on Instagram.^

  • Utilize picture editing tools. Tools such as Pic Monkey and Square InstaPic, among others, allow you to create professional images to showcase your work. A picture of my blog post on a modern marketer’s tools may not generate much interest, but this picture of the items mentioned in the post was a hit.


  • Share behind the scenes videos. Instagram’s the perfect place to ease into video production due to the 15-second maximum timeframe and built-in editing tools. Introduce employees, share an office tradition (bean bag toss break on Fridays!) or record brief tips on what you do. For example, share a marketing tip every Monday or a social media tidbit on Saturdays.

Seventy two percent of marketers plan to increase their use of video in the future.`

  • Be creative with built-in filters and editing tools. We’re not telling you to filter every picture you post, but the built-in editing tools that Instagram provides do appeal to users if used appropriately.

Organic Instagram-style photos can increase click-through rates from 2.35% to 8% and drive conversion rates by 25% over traditional photos.^^

  • Encourage followers, customers and other users to join your campaign by tagging their photos with a unique hashtag (i.e. #CCCgetssocial) and tagging your account in order to enter a contest or showcase how they use your products or services. User-generated content is powerful because other people are telling your story for you. Plus, Instagram stores photos that tag you in your profile so others can easily see them.

Top brands’ Instagram posts generated 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook and 120 times more engagement per follower than Twitter.**

So what’s a B2B marketer to do? Get visual on Instagram! But remember to put together a strategy first, just like you would with any other marketing initiative. Your customers (and potential customers) will like what they see.

What’s your favorite Instagram account to follow?

Where does Instagram rank in your favorite social platforms?

Do you utilize the Instagram website at all or only the mobile app?

Intimidated by Instagram? Have no fear! We’d love to answer your questions or help you put together an approach to put your best face forward on this popular visual platform. Contact us or leave a comment below to join the conversation!

Sources:
*Pew Research Internet Project | ^Georgia Institute of Technology & Yahoo Labs
`Social Media Marketing Industry Report | ^^Laundry Service | **Forrester

Have an Instagram-worthy weekend!
Jaime

Let’s chat (on Instagram, the SMM Industry Report or otherwise): 
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Facebook Is An Enigma To Marketers But Its Still #1 (Most of the Time)

Social Media Examiner recently released its highly anticipated Social Media Marketing Industry Report. If you want to know how 3,700 fellow marketers are using social media to grow their businesses, then you’re in the right place. We’ll discuss a few key findings and surprises over the next few weeks that you can incorporate into your own plans.

Planet Facebook or Planet Earth?

“Planet Facebook or Planet Earth? by Paul Butler” via Duncan Hill via CC BY 2.0

Key Findings, Facebook Edition

Facebook, the ultimate enigma, at least for marketers. “While 93% of marketers are using Facebook, 68% want to learn more about it and 62% plan on increasing Facebook activities. Only 45% of marketers think that their Facebook efforts are effective,” however 52% would stick with the social behemoth if only allowed to utilize one platform. So you use it and are planning on increasing efforts but aren’t confident your current efforts are effective. Got it.

These conflicting findings aren’t surprising given the overall size of the platform and marketers’ struggles with connecting to their audiences on it. You realize the potential in Facebook but have yet to see your substantial efforts pay off. It is interesting to see that marketers are planning on increasing their activities despite the number of “I’m quitting Facebook” articles making the rounds.

If you’re frustrated with Facebook (which we all are from time to time), take a step back and look at the big picture. What are you trying to accomplish? What type of content is your audience most receptive to in this environment? While general tips are helpful to get started, you need to utilize Insights or 3rd party analytics to build your own knowledge base. Your audience is unique, so what works best for another page may not be music to your audience’s ears.

Check out these new resources for Facebook marketers and get ready for some exciting updates coming in the near future, such as Facebook Messenger now being its own platform — and open for business. This is a game-changer for small businesses, especially the upcoming payment feature. If you haven’t heard, Facebook is adding a feature to Messenger that will allow you to send payments to other users, including businesses, for free.

Discover more helpful tips and tricks for succeeding on Facebook by checking out our blog posts on the subject. Or message us (here or on Facebook), so we can discuss your current status and how to get where you want to go.

SMM Industry Report: Facebook Edition Feedback

What’s your favorite way to use Facebook for business?

What feature is it missing?

What’s one tip that you would share with others using Facebook for business?

p.s. You can download a free copy of the Social Media Marketing Industry Report here.

Facebook fan and foe,
Jaime

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