Facebook has won social media and we can all go home now

It’s been a while since I’ve done some social media strategy work on a big, mainstream FMCG grocery brand. 

I had a real Big Daddy to work on last week and, as I sat down to pull together my data for the reverse brief I was hit by just how much Facebook has won. 

Facebook is the social web. 

The target demographic for the product I was working on was families, economical blue collar working types and then older, empty nesters. Mainstream, high volume value brand stuff. 

The supermarket goldmine demographics that every large supplier wants to hit because they do huge revenues. Facebook was an obvious choice because the brand page had around 35 million page likes already but I’ve got so used to doing multichannel plans my instinct was to look around for other ways to reach consumers. 

I tried to liven things up with a bit of Instagram but then I saw this stat “people between 18-34 make up 70% of total users in Australia -females are 60% of users”. This is not my blue collar, mainstream user. 

Twitter only got a brief look in as part of the PR strategy to identify possible influencers. We could have put our video content on YouTube as a secondary channel but again, it skews younger and why would we do that when we have the reach of Facebook video and the ability to target and retarget?

All roads led to Facebook for both organic and paid conversations. As I dug deeper, and thought about Facebook’s unashamed push for, and favouring of video content, I realised this was the strategy for my brand: Facebook video with around 50% organic and 50% paid conversations

Mark Zuckerberg's dog Beast

Social media strategy and platform use can get very subjective but if you stick to the user data and keep your own, and your client’s own preferences to the side, all you can do is Like the photo of Mark Zuckerberg’s dog on your Facebook feed and congratulate them on winning the social web. 

Marketing software to self-educating customers

Users are getting a bit more clever and they want to research and try things for themselves before they commit to the full assault of your sales team. 

"Cisco’s customers were beginning to purchase and use technology in new ways. Increasingly, tech-savvy business managers, instead of just IT professionals, were making buying decisions; user-generated applications were being added on top of the basic technology; cloud computing was becoming prominent; and digital media was becoming a key influence in deciding which technologies to purchase. Customers were self-educating and researching buying decisions in new ways – not just with a sales person." http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/10/help-your-team-spend-time-on-the-right-things/

Self-educating customers, the horror. I'm always moaning that enterprise software companies make you sit through half day demos and then you get to the end and you can't have a play around. Two things I came across today that are good. Splunk. See these guys are smart enough to create a sandpit for you to have go with. Very good, everyone do this please

grab your dataz and have a go
product info and play area

Number two is this launch campaign from Adobe for Premier Clip. It’s a free mobile movie making app that aims to make video more accessible and useable for those that don't want to go hard out with Final Cut Pro. 

#madewithclip Purrrmiere -get it hahaa 

I really like the video with the marketing team explaining their products and the simple walk throughs that encourage users to download straight away and try for themselves.  

Content is all tagged up and optimised nicely. Personal and useful and makes everything look easy and fun while still maintaining the product quality of Adobe Creative Cloud. Most excellent blog links through to themed user content 

Think about products and tools that you use regularly and how you originally came across them. Self education is getting more crucial for marketers so always think how you can get your products into the hands of your users ASAP before their little minds wander off to the land of cat gifs --ooo look it's Maru (=^‥^=)

no1 best cat on the internet Maru

Why are company YouTube accounts so boring?

I’m very grateful to the great #BeamishEra vlogger Lewis Bostock for enlightening me about why companies get it so wrong on YouTube: ‘they think it’s TV’

If you want your YouTube account to get way less boring, the first thing you need to figure out is that it’s not TV. Most companies will get a videographer to go and produce a little customer story, edit it all up in FinalCut Pro, put it through some sign offs, and then publish the final result to YouTube. The content is usually stale (weeks or months old), scripted and broadcast. There is no interaction and the features of YouTube that make it so powerful for audience building aren’t used. All you’re doing is dropping a TV ad on a video site. 

Compare that to some of the current masters of YouTube audience building like Tyler Oakley, Zoella, or one of of my current favourites, Sprinkle of Glitter Louise. 

I recently introduced my Mum to Louise and Zoe.  She’s 65, doesn’t use YouTube and has no idea what a ‘social media’ is. I gave her the laptop and hit the Play button.  Half an hour later, I came back and she was still sitting there chattering out loud like a budgie to Louise and Zoe about their clothes and makeup purchases as the playlist ran through.  She had figured out how to press the ‘Skip Ad’ button for the very nicely crafted 30 second Beiersdorf AG Nivea Body Wash pre-roll ads-she didn’t want to watch those-but was more than happy to sit for 30 minutes and hear two young British women talk about health and beauty products. 


They were talking to her. In most of the videos, Louise and Zoe had purchased some products (clothes, shoes, makeup) from mainstream retail stores and they had come home and were showing what they had bought. It’s a very common social routine and my Mum immediately understood what was going on and joined in accordingly with ‘oh that nail polish is a nice colour’ and ‘yes I like the handbags with small inside pockets too’ and ‘I never know whether to get dark brown or black mascara either’.  The content was relatable and because they were having fun digging through their shopping bags and commenting on everything, my Mum wanted to join in and have a comment too. 

The second thing the new generation of bloggers are doing very well which we didn’t see so much in the #beamishera of vloggers and we don’t see at all on company YouTube accounts is the unashamed use of call to actions. 

As I mentioned, my Mum doesn’t use social media so she doesn’t really get what comments and shares and subscribes are. So she couldn’t work out why they kept asking her to press things at the end of the videos. I explained to her that it helps Louise and Zoe make money- they do this stuff for a job. That was bit mind blowing for my Mum so  I had to give her a crash course in the online content eco-system but the point is, she was more than happy to do what she was told and click the buttons to help them-she liked Louise and Zoe. 

Companies serve up client story videos and everyone smiles at the end and it fades to black, or worse still, a screen jumps up with a  URL to go back to the company’s main homepage. Boring plus. 

Watch what people like Tyler Oakley do. He asks/tells you to subscribe and like his videos ‘so that I can keep doing this’ and invites you to watch another video of his, reply to a question he asked in the comments, come and see him at a live event: he’s very blatant about what he wants you to do. Companies can do the same. Blatantly ask your audience to like your videos. Ask them to support your software by signing up for a free trial account ‘so you can keep doing this’. Ask them to add their YouTube channels in the comments so you can subscribe and support their projects. Make playlists so people like my Mum will sit there and keep watching your videos. 

It’s easy to get intimidated looking at the views and subscribes of some of the successful YouTubers. Don’t let that put you off but do look at the tactics they use and step away from boring, TV-centric videos by simply talking to people and inviting them into your channel.  A handful of authentic customer interactions is worth a lot more than a hipster-crafted brand extravaganza that nobody cares about. YouTube isn't TV so try and break that mindset and you'll get far more engagement with your content. 

Photos from the #BeamishEra New Zealand YouTube Gathering 2009