Are long forms killing your landing page conversions?

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Listen, I know you want a lot of information on prospects that download your gated content. But some brands need a reality check on the value of their offer compared to the information requested. I saw an offer today on LinkedIn. The asset offer was for a research paper so I understand that it took time to create it. Analysis and conclusions take work to develop. But I’d be very curious to know what their bounce rate is for this landing page. I’m going to guess it’s high because these are the things they request on the form:

  • First and last name
  • Company name
  • Email
  • Phone
  • Number of employees
  • State
  • Country
  • Currently use their products

These are all required fields! If I had to put this piece of content in a buyer’s journey stage (haven’t read it, just inferring from the little information provided), I would say it’s either awareness or consideration. I lean a bit more toward awareness because the “value” of the research paper is to prove that doing X leads to Y. And Y is something a prospect would be happy about. In the awareness stage, it makes more sense to ask for less information. It’s the getting to know you phase. I recommend asking for name and email only. With a prospect opting into email, you have a channel to communicate and nurture the relationship by providing more content and eventually a decision stage offer of a consultation, price quote or demo.

I checked other platforms. The same offer is on Twitter and FaceBook; no distinction at all between the three posts (not even a hashtag on Twitter). I also know this is a global company with thousands of employees, and I would assume a healthy marketing department and budget.

I’m sure this is a very valuable asset, but the execution and promotion are off. Here is how I’d fix it:

Does the landing page practice good conversion-centered design? I’d say no. Here are some areas of improvement.

Context: Have they considered the context of where someone might be landing from? No. By posting on social media, it can be shared with people that don’t follow their brand. And those people have no context about who the brand is. Read more on context here.

Clarity: The posts for the asset say it’s a research paper and provide a name of someone who worked on it, but none of that is on the landing page. Also, if they are going to use someone’s name then they should tag the person so that people understand he or she is a credible source.

Congruence: This is big fail. Every element of the landing page should align with the goal. The goal is to get users to download the asset. Yet on the actual landing page there is one sentence and eight fields.

Closing: This principle focuses on getting the click. There are many elements on the page that influence conversions. This landing page has little context and requests a lot of information. Its call to action is simply “submit,” which is a negative word, at least subconsciously. There are many other positive words and phrases to use that can propel a user to convert.

In addition to the improvements need to align with conversion-centered design, their promotion strategy seems to be nonexistent. They should post it on social media based on the platform: FaceBook (visual), Twitter (use a hastag and tag the writer) and LinkedIn (longer post and tag writer).

So I guess you could say I’m silently critiquing your landing pages. If you’d like me to do it out loud, send me a note and let’s chat.

 

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Twitter Experiment: How will brands respond?

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In the past week, I ran a little experiment. I didn’t necessarily intend to, but it seemed like a good opportunity. I tried to engage three brands on Twitter. Only one responded, although late. So what does this say about all the consensus out there in social media marketing that Twitter is a great place to serve customers? Well, first, I think there are many brands out there that do a great job of engaging followers on Twitter. Hubspot wrote a great blog with some examples. The examples were wide ranging from consumer goods to a university to a research company.

My tweets to these brands were not negative or combative. I was trying to start a conversation. Maybe these brands don’t have a plan to respond or are too afraid. Here’s a look at my experiment.

Southwest Airlines

I wrote a blog recently about a trip on Southwest that turned into a nightmare. I wanted them to read it. I posted it with a call out of their handle on January 9.

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No response so I retweeted on January 12, calling them out for not using Twitter as a customer service channel. They replied, and we had a conversation via DM. I can report that I did receive a refund for the canceled flight, which was approximately what the rental car cost. But they did not make any attempt to further compensate me. They did apologize. I still am not overly impressed with their Twitter responsiveness, but it was better than the other two!

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L’Oreal

I don’t follow L’Oreal on Twitter, but I do use their products. Not really makeup, but shampoo, conditioner and hair styling products. A promoted tweet came up on my feed. Promoted means well they paid for it, and they must have the goal to increase followers. I didn’t think the tweet really answered what the value is for me to follow them, so I let them know this.

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Again, not I’m not trying to drag them in any way. Just trying to start a conversation. Tell me why I should follow you, and be more specific than news and updates. They could have responded and shown how powerful social media can be but instead just crickets.

Luzianne

I love iced tea. It’s the most southern thing about me. I don’t have a brand preference for tea bags, buying typically what is on sale or what I have a coupon for, so I go back and forth between Lipton and Luzianne.

So I came to the end of a 24 count box of Luzianne, only to be left with only three tea bags instead of four. It takes four tea bags to make a gallon, thus I should be able to make six gallons. Yet, for the third time, I seem to have been missing a tea bag. So I though Luzianne should know.

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Luzianne did not respond at all. I am thinking maybe this is something they should look into – I could’ve provided where I purchased the boxes because obviously, they are only putting 23 in there! No response to me means they either don’t care, aren’t aware or don’t know how to respond – which are all extremely concerning. So Luzianne, I can’t buy your teabags anymore.

I’d love to hear what you think about these Twitter fails. Tweet me, and let’s have a conversation!

 

Conflict and Kindness

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Conflict is a part of life. No matter how much we’d like to avoid it, it’s inescapable. After all, we are all different and unique. We can’t all agree on everything. Nor should we because that would probably be a very boring world.

But when we disagree, does that mean we have to be enemies? Does that mean we have to be hateful? It seems pretty simple to say of course not, yet that doesn’t seem to be where we are as a society.

Before the advent of social media, we probably kept our opinions and our beliefs a bit more to ourselves. Now everyone has a platform. And everyone has an opinion, which is fine because you are entitled to your opinion. Just remember it’s yours. That’s right, it’s your opinion. You can’t make it be someone else’s. Opinions aren’t facts. They are what we believe about a certain situation, which could include a lot of different things, including bias.

I have lots of opinions and beliefs. And I have plenty of people in my life who have polar opposite opinions and beliefs. This includes in my own home. Justin and I have a great love for one another and also respect. But we are different. We came from different environments and have experienced different things. On the core, non-negotiables, we are pretty aligned. Other things not so much, including politics. I loathe politics. I feel like we have a very dysfunctional system. So does he. We just have different thoughts on how to fix it. Yet, we can live together and be happy. With the current state of the country, it’s hard to miss all the hate and rage being supplied by both parties. We try to keep our differences on these matters out of sight. Although sometimes, I can’t help myself. I will honestly admit that I threw a dog treat at him a few weeks ago. I apologized. Not my finest moment.

So here we are cohabitating, not arguing. Because I know what matters is that he’s a good man who treats me well, is a great father and is respectful of everyone; not who he votes for. Although, I’ll be honest, it’s sometimes been hard to separate the two.

Apparently, we are the only ones that seem to be able to get along. People are spending hours on social media being vicious and disgusting to one another. Why? What will this solve? I don’t post anything on social media about my political beliefs. This is private. The only thing I will publicly speak out on is the discriminatory and unconstitutional passage of HB2. If you want to attack me because of this or no longer be my friend, I’m okay with this. I stand proudly with all those in the LGBT community and their allies. I will never support anything that chews away at the basic human rights of any citizen. Not to mention the financial ruin it has caused this state and how it makes us look to the world.

Other than this, I’m going to keep my thoughts to myself. It’s funny how people will just assume you are on their side about something and begin spewing away. Don’t ever make assumptions about how others feel. You’ll be wrong. I am reminded of a dinner I was at many years ago with friends and acquaintances. A controversial topic came up with many at the table saying some terrible things about anyone who was on the other side. I did not join the conversation. I simply got up and went outside. I came back later. The conversation had moved on, but it changed the way I felt about some of those people that day. It made me realize that if I didn’t want to get attacked, I should probably keep a lot to myself.

I’ve also been sickened by the way people have taken down those in the public eye for having an opinion. If you are a celebrity or famous, you do have a platform. You can use it as you wish. My girl Sara Bareilles has been vocal about her vote. It’s her opinion. It in no way impacts her music or the amazing, talented person she is. But she’s got people almost threatening her for having a voice! Just unfollow her if it bothers you so much, but why hate her and tell her she’s scum because she has a different opinion than you.

So as we head into the final few weeks of this election, can I please persuade you all to be kind? It’s not too much to ask. I don’t have to agree with you or even like you to be kind. At the basis of human dignity is kindness. I am not your enemy because we disagree. I am not delusional, despicable or repulsive because of my opinions. I know they are mine. I don’t plan to force them on anyone. So take all that energy you are using to fuel your hate and do something wonderful with it. What kind of world could we really live in if we practiced kindness? It’s not a rhetorical question. It’s a possibility.

What I Learned from Getting Old

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From the What I Learned Series

I don’t really think I’m old. Except when everything hurts for no apparent reason or I realize I go to bed now at the time I used to arrive at the bar. We are a culture obsessed with youth. We will do anything to retain taut skin and banish fine lines. But it’s not just our appearance. Being young is a state of mind: it’s about being active, decoding technology and using the current lingo and diction of the kids.

In many ways I’m holding on fiercely to my youth. I’ve been able to dismiss any signs of crow’s feet, not only due to my healthy skin regime but also slightly because of my resting bitch face. I’m pretty tech savvy and for the most part, I’m active. But I refuse to adopt the vernacular of youth. I don’t use the terms fleek, bae or YOLO. Not going to happen!

Yet I do “feel” old sometimes. It seems not that long ago that I was 16 and desperately wanted to be older. Well here I am, “older” and with age of course comes maturity and wisdom. Sometimes it also comes with regret. Regret for all the things you didn’t do when you had the chance. Even though my responsibilities as an adult don’t include children, there are still a lot of reasons I can’t just go do what I want: dogs, work, lack of funds, etc. The one great thing is I’m well aware of all the things left on my list to do. I may have less time to do them, although we have no guarantees no matter our age. So regret is not something that bothers me or nags at me. I accept that I’m no longer young but to me that doesn’t mean my options are any less.

So I wanted to write this list of reasons why I think I’m old and probably unhip (exhibit one – using the word unhip). I don’t think of this as a negative. Sometimes it’s better to be old and unhip.

1.    I don’t wear heels every day. For most of my 20s and early 30s, I wore heels every day. I was actually known for wearing inappropriate shoes. I love heels. They still make up the majority of my shoes. But I just can’t do it anymore. My feet hurt. I have to walk a lot. I usually wear sneakers or flip flops to work then change to my pumps. I opt for my cowboy boots over stilettos. My feet thank me for it.

2.    It’s very rare now that I seek out a fashion trend. Trends are typically meant for teens and 20-somethings. Trends are not likely to be universally flattering. They aren’t usually going to be pieces you can keep in a wardrobe over time. If I do try a trend then I don’t spend much on it. My taste is classic with a modern twist. At this point, I know what looks good on my body type so I gravitate toward that. It doesn’t mean I don’t love the look, I just know it won’t be a good fit for me.

3.    Social media is actually not really my thing. I spend a lot of time on social media, but the majority of this time is for professional reasons. It’s important for me to understand social media and how it impacts marketing. I need to know how to optimize the social media presence of brands I work for and my own brand. I use it a lot to promote my blog. But personally, I’d rather spend time with people in person. I’m glad it’s allowed me to reconnect with people and keep up with them, especially if we live far apart. But I’m fine to go days without checking it. It’s not an impulse for me. I could appreciate it more if it was a place of mutual respect and sharing of perspectives. These days it just seems like a negative, trolling environment. I don’t want to be part of that.

4.    My idea of a night out has changed dramatically. Social scenes were often awkward for me. Not really in high school, but college was hard. But I pushed myself to want to be part of the party. All through college and right after, I went out most every night: bars, clubs, house parties, whatever. From what I recall, I think I enjoyed it most of the time. After my divorce, I went through a party girl renaissance and lived it up in downtown Charlotte. I don’t know how much fun I had the second time around. But going out was just part of my life for many years. Now, I can’t imagine going to the club. We still go to bars or to see live music. My club days have long passed. Besides we have a rule, we won’t go anywhere that we could possibly run into Justin’s kids. What an embarrassment that would be. A great night out to me now is dinner with friends, possibly some live music or a nice walk. As long as home by 10.

5.    I don’t look forward or back as much as I did in my youth. In my youth, I was always waiting for something to happen or change so that my life could really start and I’d be happy. Or I’d look back at every little thing and wonder why I’d made such a mistake. Even though I had been through more than most at a young age, I still spend so much time second guessing everything. I still wonder what the heck I’m doing most of the time. I haven’t figured anything out completely. I just try really hard to stay in the present. Nothing needs to happen so I can be “happy.” I am some days; some days I’m not. I still look back but in a different way. Now I want to remember things as they were instead of trying to re-envision history. Time allows us lots of perspective. And that’s usually a good thing.

Youth is fleeting. We only get it for a little while, which is probably a good thing. When youth slips away, it leaves experience. Experience comes with a price; it will be written in wrinkles on our face but also in lessons on our hearts.

Thoughts on Charlotte, My City

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I’ve been struggling for days now to express my feelings about what has been going on in the world but more specifically in the city I live in, Charlotte. The eyes of the nation have been fixed on the Queen City since the officer involved shooting last week. The first few days seemed to be filled with anger and violence. And I saw the places I walk by on my way to work, places I’ve been many times and places that hold many memories being destroyed. I heard the helicopters and sounds of tear gas from my back porch. The reality of what I had been witnessing from afar for years had now landed literally in my backyard. I was shaken, confused and sad.

I wanted very much to write about what I was seeing and feeling. But I thought, who am I to have an opinion on this situation? I’m a white woman who grew up in an all white suburb and attended an all white elementary and high school. I’ve also never been arrested and had very few interactions with the police. I have never felt harassed or that my rights were violated in any police situation. So why should I have anything to say?

Although my experience with the police has been minimal and without incident, I do know what it’s like to lose a family member with police involved. 

Almost 20 years ago my brother was killed while being chased by police. He was on a motorcycle without a tag. The police attempted to pull him over, but he ran. He wrecked a few minutes later. His rib broke and punctured his heart. He died instantly. I could have spent the last 20 years blaming that police officer. I could have held onto a lot of anger and blame. Instead, I realize that my brother made a critical mistake; one that cost him his life. I certainly wish the officer hadn’t given chase, but that’s not what happened. I can’t change it. 

I also have something to say because I’m a writer, and this is how I make sense of the world. Finally, I think my voice has some place in this conversation because I live my life embracing differences. Your skin color or religion or gender will never be the reason I can’t tolerate you. I say tolerate because I’m not going to say hate or dislike because those aren’t feelings I feel toward really anyone. I will find you intolerable based on your actions and words. I care if you are honest, kind, accepting and empathetic. I care if you do what you say you’re going to do. I care if you base your words on facts rather than hearsay or opinion.

This is what I know. A man lost his life last week. The police seem resolute on their version; the family seems to be also resolute on their version. I have seen the evidence provided to the public. I am not a criminal justice expert nor an attorney so I don’t believe I’m qualified to make any judgments on what occurred in that parking lot. But I will say two things about the police (and these are my beliefs): 1. People of color are targeted more by the police than their white counterparts. There is a bias. 2. Most officers seem to be focused on doing what’s right and protecting their community.

I can make some assessments of the aftermath. Our constitution allows for the citizens of this country to protest and speak freely. We are very lucky to have this ability. In case you have forgotten, this freedom is not a given around the world. Peaceful protests can be a powerful way to spur change. Martin Luther King, someone I greatly admire, was a remarkable crusader for change through peaceful protest. He is the type of man we should aim to emulate when there is a time for protest.

Because I just don’t get how destroying the city and making it unsafe for people to come to work or go out to eat helps anyone. This city has now lost critical dollars. And I don’t mean the city lost money, which they did. I mean the business owners who had to close lost money. The individuals who work for them lost money. These aren’t the big bad corporations. The people losing are real people with real bills to pay. Yes, the city has lost as well. The costs have probably been millions of dollars to bring in the National Guard and other resources. I’ve heard protestors say they want this to happen – they want the city to suffer – why?  I can’t understand this reasoning. Our city has already lost so much because of HB2, a law that has made me ashamed to say I live here (and if you think it’s about bathrooms, you’re wrong.).

I also want to point out the role of the media and social media has played in escalating this incident. Think about this – who profits when something horrible and tragic occurs? The media. Their ratings go up and so do their advertising dollars. We all know this, but we need to be reminded. The media will spin the story in a way that most increases ratings. Most of the coverage in the first few days centered on the violence then there seemed to be a shift to calling for unity and peace. I don’t believe that everyone in the media thinks this way, but business is business. The other culprit is social media. How many live feeds or phones in the air were seen? Thousands probably.

And do people act differently when the camera is on? Yes, I think so. I think many people out on the streets were looking for a chance for their 15 minutes of fame. They wanted to capture something on video that would go viral. While social media seems to connect us in many ways, it has also elevated our self-importance. We think we are the star of our own show. In a way we are, but it’s not a show. This is real life.

Social media has also allowed people on both sides to play armchair detective and spout off their opinions (not facts) on the matter. Social media allows people to make statements with little consequence. You don’t have to be brave to make a comment or post a tweet. You do have to be brave to really want to see change.

To me, there’s fault and causation on both sides of the issue. The chasm between the two seems to be getting larger. But how about we stop blaming and making excuses? Listen, really listen. Don’t just listen to have your retort ready. Change really can start with one person. Be the kind of person that you can be proud of every day when you look in the mirror. That’s a start.

I didn’t know if I could find the right words. Maybe I didn’t. Maybe they will just fall on deaf ears. I do believe in the power of words. They’ve helped me along the way more than you could know. However, words go both ways. They can never be erased. You can’t take them back. Use your words in a constructive manner; more people will want to hear them and embrace them. They can ease pain, heal wounds and close the gaps between us. Just give them a chance.

One final thought: We are all human. We are all mortal. We are all imperfect. We all have pain. We all want to have joy. If we keep these things in mind, maybe we can start from a place of “us” rather than “them.”

Marketing Chat: Insights & Best Practices

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I’ve had the pleasure of being part of many great conversations about marketing, both with those in the discipline and outside of it. I’m always happy to share my experiences, what I’ve learned, my opinions and what I think are the most critical strategies. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions or discussions I’ve been a part of recently.

1. What are the best ways to build an email list?

First, you have to do it legally. Anyone you email has to agree that you can email them, and they have the ability to unsubscribe at any time. Email is a currency. You get people to “pay” with their email address so you have to create value. Hubspot recently posted a blog on this that was spot on. This is what I think are the best strategies:

  • Landing pages with relevant offers – typically this would be high value content that is targeted to specific segments and is centered on education and information rather than a product
  • Social Media: connecting with followers in almost any platform provides you the opportunity to allow them to opt in
  • Website forms: include forms throughout your website for a variety of offers based on what pages they are landing on – subscribe to blog, download an asset, schedule a demo or any other CTA (call to action)
  • Webinars: these are low cost events that are virtual in nature and should again be educationally focused. If you have a great topic that can genuinely help someone with their challenges, they will sign up for webinars, and spend an hour with you.

But do not buy lists! These people don’t know you. Your unsubscribes and bounces will go up. Don’t spend your marketing dollars here. 

2. What should I post on social media?

I typically advise that the rule should be 50/30/20: 50% should be your content that is general, educational and informational; 30% should be content not authored by you but is relevant to your industry or audience (leading experts, SMEs) and 20% promotional, wherein you have a specific social media promotion, like a giveaway or offer, to generate leads.

3. Should we do direct mail campaigns?

In most circumstances, I’d say no. They are costly and have little response. It’s hard to track ROI on this unless there’s a promotional code. For B2B, I would advise it only if it’s clever and relevant. Do you have an actual product versus a service? When I worked in the large format printing industry, we had a laser cutter that was a really innovative piece of machinery. I often toted around small samples of what the machine could do. People could see the quality and intricacy of the finished product. To add relevance, I often brought them samples of their logo to keep. This would have been a neat direct mail campaign that could have generated interest from current and prospective customers. For any direct mail campaign to work, it’s got to be targeted and executed well.

4. Do I need a content strategy?

YES! Content strategy at its most fundamental is creating the right content for the right audience and posting it in the right place. It’s not something that’s best done off the cuff. It takes research and planning to learn how to cultivate and repurpose content and to ensure it has a clear voice while also changing tone where appropriate. Content strategy is a huge part of your overall marketing plan and shouldn’t be ignored.

5. Why inbound marketing?

I’m an inbound marketing enthusiast. I absolutely believe in its ability to connect with audiences and generate quality leads. It has the power to convert unlike outbound marketing or cold calling. It relies heavily on well-written, authentic content. It takes into consideration who your buyer is and where they are on the buyer’s journey. It integrates content, SEO, email and social media. I could write for days on the marvels of inbound marketing. If you are not currently embracing it, do your research. Understand its importance in elevating your brand to the next level. I recommend inbound.org as a starting point.

6. How can I increase my open rate on emails?

When considering open rate, think about these metrics:

  • How many people actually received the email (hard and soft bounces)
  • Is it optimized for mobile? We as a society now tend to open most email on phones.
  • Am I clearing spam filters?
  • Is my subject line intriguing? Is it short enough? Does it present the idea of value?

7. How do I determine what content I should require an email to view versus what do I give away?

This is subjective. But I’ve considered this when building websites and took on a scoring approach. The shorter the content the more likely I was to tag it as free. The content I felt was really for those at the beginning of the buyer’s journey I typically didn’t require an email. Whitepapers, which are longer and require more research, most likely required an email. The more work I had to put into producing it; the more valuable I believed it to be so I wanted an email for all my hard work! You can also look at trends to see how well content fared from a landing page or email campaign. It if it was popular that may mean people are willing to pay with their email address. Also more targeted content usually required an email address because it was for such a select industry or group.

8. What are the biggest obstacles to marketing success?

Speaking personally, the challenges I have faced in being successful were:

  • Lack of Tools: not having the right software or platforms to manage, measure and automate. If you have do most of this manually, it takes a long time, and you don’t have time to focus on more important things. Tools provide amazing insights and help you see trends so that you are aware of when a lead is sales ready.
  • Inability to Execute: Fear from the powers that be kept me from executing many planned out strategies. I developed websites, product launches and social media strategies that never went anywhere because the company didn’t really understand the value of marketing. They were so afraid to make any little mistake that fear kept them from doing anything. I’m not a status quo kind of person so it was pretty impossible to succeed in this type of environment. When you hire people that are experts in their industry, trust them! They really know what they’re talking about, and if it doesn’t work, then keep trying and learning.

These are a few highlights from recent conversations. I’d love to hear from you! Tweet me, or reply below. I’m glad to answer them or have a discussion. I’m always up for a marketing chat!

 

 

 

Are Big Brands Failing at Social Media?

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Big brands know how to execute on social media, right? They’ve got the top talent and lots of dollars. Yet, when really investigating how big brands use social media, they seem to have forgotten some of the basics of engagement.

I’ve read about rules of promotion versus information sharing and keeping the ratio balanced. For instance, promote three pieces of content, events or specific articles about your organization then share five pieces of content that are specific to your industry. Because it doesn’t have to always be about you.

I am a big believer in the inbound marketing methodology, which focuses on using relevant, useful content to engage your audience and therefore turn them into qualified leads. And I’ve written a lot of content that aspired to do just that – except most of what I wrote was educational in nature and not self-promoting. Yes, you have to promote your services and products and how they bring value. But to me, it becomes a bit condescending and off putting to only share content on social media that masquerades as informational. I’m not saying the content doesn’t have value. Does it really need to always end with a pitch?

Here’s what I found looking at three major financial institutions and their social media accounts.

Institution One

LinkedIn – 486,000 followers

Content Shared:

  • Infographics and blogs of original content that leaned more toward education
  • Third party stories relating to industry
  • Promotional posts

Comments, shares and likes were steady. And the institution actually replied back to comments creating a conversation!

Twitter – 230,000 followers (main account; many additional sub accounts for targeted groups)

Twitter content is a bit more fun. They retweet many of their followers, look back at history and show tweets from employees. There is high engagement with likes and retweets as well as conversation. There are links to relevant content as well as links to third party content. This is really a great Twitter feed and evidence of a well executed social media plan.

FaceBook – 900,000 Likes

FaceBook content is pretty similar to other two platforms. If anything, it is even more consumer friendly and fun. Content includes videos, fun facts, flashbacks, promotions with incentives and updates on events. Employees and customers were featured. The videos were really nice and sharp and had large shares.

Institution Two

LinkedIn – 690,000 followers

Content Shared:

  • Blogs and resources with more of an educational slant
  • Third party stories relating to industry
  • Promotional posts

Comments, shares and likes were slightly higher than Institution One. No interaction from actual brand in comments.

Twitter – 440,000 followers (main account; man additional sub accounts for targeted groups)

Again, the Twitter posts are more fun and a combination of content: employees, customers, promotional and informational. The brand retweets when appropriate and responds. Engagement in retweets and likes is steady but not earth shattering.

Facebook – 2.3 M likes

This institution has the largest amount of users engaged with its brand on FaceBook. I found the content to be similar to LinkedIn and Twitter. The content was really relevant to what was going on both in the financial world and the corporation itself. There were a lot of likes and shares around the fun content. There were no content posts from third parties.

Institution Three

LinkedIn – 54,000 followers

Content Shared:

  • Promotional content (awards, executives honored or interviewed)
  • Links back to website or articles that are specific to the brand and its services

Comments, shares and likes are minimal. There were few interactions from brand in comments. This institution has sporadic posting and does not provide relevant, informational content or third party stories.

Twitter – 24,000 followers

Twitter content is more personal, highlighting specific stories from customers. However, this isn’t translating to more engagement. Likes and retweets tend to be in the single digits. There is interaction between brand and other tweeters.  They are trying to engage the audience by asking questions, but it isn’t catching. No third party content observed.

FaceBook – 56,000 likes

The content was really unchanged from what was on LinkedIn and Twitter. There were a few posts that attempted interaction by asking questions about the company’s history. In these posts, I did see interaction from users and the company. Many content shares were relevant to specific industries they serve. No third party content was posted.

Conclusions

There’s no real winner here. Each of these brands is doing some things right. I would just urge every brand to take more of an inbound approach to social media. It shouldn’t always be about your content or your promotions. There are lots of great third party content providers that have relevant things to say about your industry. Sharing other people’s content can make your social media pages seem more authentic rather than one long advertisement. I do love that most of these brands used stories from real customers and real employees, showing a very human side to corporate America.

Regardless of how big or small your brand is, social media is a great tool to increase awareness and convert. My biggest tips would always be:

  • What is the value of someone following you or liking you?
  • How can I use social media to create connections and relationships with current customers and prospects?

If you can answer these two questions, then you can build a strategy and determine your goals. If you can’t answer these questions then you probably won’t be able to legitimately use social media as a channel. It’s not impossible to answer these questions, and the answers can change. Social media isn’t something you set up one day and then never touch again. It’s a daily reexamination and measurement of what is effective.

My last word of advice is don’t be afraid to fail. Failure is a beautiful thing that teaches an important lesson. So go out there, and try something new. It’s better than just posting stuff that isn’t relevant or engaging!