Social Media

Facebook Marketing: Buy or ‘Boost’?

fbimageI was recently on a conference call with a Surrey-based business, when my colleagues and I were asked our opinion on buying ‘likes’ for their Facebook page. The client in question had been approached by a supplier who claimed to guarantee a large number of Facebook ‘likes’ for £50.

If you don’t work in the field of social media marketing, this looks like an attractive deal at face value, particularly if you want your business to appear popular.

But it’s not necessarily, and here are three very quick reasons why:

1. ‘Social’ is all about engagement. Whether you are targeting customers, prospects, partners, community members or anyone else, successful marketing using social media channels such as Facebook should be all about engaging with your network. Simply having lots of ‘likes’ rarely does anything dramatic, meaningful or measurable to a business’ bottom line. And simply pumping out self-serving messages in isolation is also less effective. Building an interaction or relationship with your visitors is way more powerful.

2. Buying likes doesn’t guarantee quality. Our experience with clients who have taken the £50 option of buying ‘likes’ is that the quality of those followers was highly questionable. The analysis showed that a high volume of those likes came from overseas, largely from countries such as China, Russia and Taiwan. If your business doesn’t operate in those locations then they’re pretty useless as a metric of success.

3. ‘Boosting’. Given the choice, our advice would be to spend that £50 with Facebook itself. If you are running promotions, campaigns or competitions on your page, then you can ‘boost’ them. You’ll see this option when you’re logged is as the Facebook page admin. It’s a form of advertising that basically extends your reach to take your business beyond your network and into your network’s network.

As example of this in practice, Creased Cards’ first store was opened in Brighton just prior to Christmas 2013. It sells a diverse, unique and fun range of cards and gifts and my colleagues at communications agency, Gasp! created a Facebook caption competition concept for the retailer.

It was ‘boosted’ which gave the campaign a reach of 34,700 people, of which 2,200 engaged with Creased Cards. This is a very focused marketing penetration that would have been near impossible to achieve through other marketing channels – not for the same modest budget anyway.

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Facebook accounts for 41% of social ad budgets vs. 18% on LinkedIn

Cracked-Facebook-LogoSocial media is a complicated landscape with several established and emerging social networks vying for our attention.

Yet the one constant in recent years has been that Facebook remains the undisputed king of social in terms of active users and time spent on-site – for the time being at least.

And this is reflected in the fact that on average businesses spend 41% of their social advertising budget on Facebook, compared to 18% on LinkedIn and 17% on Twitter.

But the split is even more extreme when looking at responses from agency staff, who claim that Facebook accounts for more than half (53%) of their clients’ budgets.

The findings come from the new Econsultancy/Adobe Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing, entitled Optimising Paid Media, which is based on a survey of more than 600 Econsultancy and Adobe subscribers.

The report explores the topic of media optimisation and how companies can ensure the most effective use of their budgets in helping them to meet their business goals.

How is your / your clients’ social advertising budget split between the following properties?

Types of social advertising

The report also drills down into the specific types of ad units in which businesses and agencies are investing.

Facebook newsfeed ads proved to be the most popular channel among business respondents (66%), followed by Facebook marketplace ads (45%) and Promoted Tweets (40%).

The agency perspective is even more favourable, with the majority (84%) of respondents saying that newsfeed ads are most popular among their clients.

With business and agencies so willing to spend their budgets on Facebook ads it’s hardly surprising that the social network’s total ad revenue for the second quarter of 2013 reached $1.6 billion, which represents an increase of 61% from the same quarter last year.

Which types of social advertising do you (or your clients) invest in?

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Five Tips for Engaging Sales People for PR Generated Leads

salesOur PR and social media programme produced a direct lead for a client last week. Now, whilst we’re used to working as a the engine that drives content marketing and lead generation, this particular instance actually relates to direct engagement with sales people, prospects and influencers. It is not the first time this has happened. But, it is a story worth telling because it’s a good excuse to remind ourselves that all PR and marketing spend in the world, won’t overcome a fundamental gap in effort and communications with the sales teams.

It might sound like I’m stating the obvious, but we come across too many organisations that fail to co-ordinate a) between international teams and b) between departments such as marketing, PR and sales. Worse still, some organisations think they’ve got it covered, but in reality, don’t!

We recently drafted and issued an Australian customer win press release on behalf of a Europe-based client. As is part of the process which was designed and managed by us at Proud PR, we shared that update in selected areas of LinkedIn. I won’t go into the dos and don’ts of that process here, as we’ve covered it in other blogs. We then sent that update to our local sales teams, who in turn posted it to their own updates, in order to share it with their networks.

As you might expect, a sales person’s network of contacts, if nurtured and maintained well, is a highly valuable audience. They particularly value insights into the activity of, and learnings from, their peers. On this occasion, a prospect saw the update and contacted our client UK sales person. We were then able to connect them with the account manager and customer in Australia, and also advise him of a similar announcement pending with another customer in the same vertical in the USA. All he needs to do now, is close the deal!

Like I say, it sounds obvious, but it only takes one stage of the process of  to break for things to get missed. Here are five tips for engaging the sales teams in the PR and social media programme.

  1. Objectives and Measurement. Set clear objectives for not only the PR and social media programme, but the team delivering it. And, measure it regularly. Understand where and how it fits into the rest of the marketing mix and work it appropriately. Review it from time-to-time to a) make sure that it’s still working b) to reveal any areas that need fine tuning and c) to highlight any training gaps.
  2. Focus. Keep it simple and focused – sales people like it that way. They already have a full-time job to do, so don’t over burden them with admin. It’s very easy to get swept up into needing to work every social network with everything all the time. If in doubt, stop and review the strategy as it relates to the sales teams. And, if resource is finite, focus on the top tier networks according to your prospect audience.
  3. Audience and Influencers. Know your audience(s), who influences them and how to reach them. Get feedback from the sales teams in that research process and demonstrate the strategy back to them to ensure that they feel their input is valued.
  4. Best Practice. There are some basic dos and don’ts for engaging in social networks. Make sure everyone adheres to them where possible to avoid audience ‘turn off’.
  5. Train and Explain. Sales people, account managers and marketing folk in an organisation come and go. Make sure best practice is maintained by regularly training new people, refreshing existing skills and reminding the team of your success.

Do you have any other tips? Call us on +44(0)1276 679570.

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A Lesson from My Personal Trainer on Knowing Your Audience

I was intrigued and surprised by some of my own behaviours this week, and decided there was a small but valuable lesson to be learned about knowing your audience(s).

Like many working mums I’m sure, I was catching up on some household admin one evening in front of the TV – laptop to one side. Notably, I was reading the monthly ‘Newsline’ from my son’s senior school to check on all the important items I had probably missed! As I flicked through the final pages, my eye was drawn to a couple of ads at the back; one for the school’s beauty salon, one for a local personal trainer.

The beauty salon I’ve visited before. The ad for the personal trainer was very short, but gave his Facebook page for further information. Weird, I thought. Being a B2B communicator, I guess I was wondering why I couldn’t just go to his web site for more information? Yet, I quickly found myself looking him up on Facebook, which was already open on my laptop. There I could see his previous clients, testimonials, photos etc. Minutes later I was messaging him.

It wasn’t until I had reflected on the whole short episode, that it occurred to me what had happened from a communications and lead generation point of view. This trainer had not only understood his target audiences, but where they hang out. In this case, Facebook.

Kudos young man, kudos.


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Making Social Media Pay

Here at Proud Towers we’ve been fortunate enough to work on some really great campaigns this year. I don’t say that in order to blow our trumpet (!) rather, I mean that we’ve been involved with some well-informed clients, that embrace content-driven marketing, social media and experimental ideas.

We’ve created more than one heavy-weight industry report on behalf of clients in 2012. I’ve enjoyed tracking how well received they are by press and influencers, but more importantly I just LOVE being able to measure their success in the lead generation process.

I received an internal report this week from one of our clients tracking the web downloads and leads derived from one of our survey-based campaigns. We had publicised it with all of the usual PR tools, but also created an infographic and leveraged the social networks.

In the first month alone, the report had received more than 500 visitors and over 300 registrations. Roughly a third of those came directly from LinkedIn. An additional 200 visitors downloaded the infographic that had been promoted via social media and blogs. Not bad for pure PR – the proactive lead generation campaign hadn’t even started yet! And, they were quality leads, with at least five major brands ‘hot to trot’.

Not only is this feedback extremely useful for us a marketing team to take forward to future campaigns, but it serves as a useful example for conversations with other clients and prospects.

There seems to be a misperception about social media in the marketing and comms mix. Too many organisations continue to use the likes of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn as another channel to talk about themselves. Tut tut.

Those companies that take the time to step back, understand whom their audiences and/or prospects are, can specify the content that those targets are GENUINELY interested in and work it within a broader marketing strategy are far better placed to make money from social media.

To learn more, contact info[at]

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Just 38% of companies have a content marketing strategy: report

While the importance of content marketing is beyond dispute, with 90% of respondents believing that it will become more important over the next 12 months, just 38% currently have a defined strategy in place. 

Econsultancy’s first Content Marketing Survey Report, produced in association with Outbrain, is based on a survey of more than 1,300 digital marketing professionals working for brands, publishers and agencies.

Here are a few highlights from the survey report…

The importance of content marketing

The increasing amount of time that people are spending online and searching for information has placed more emphasis on the importance of content marketing, especially as search engines look to provide their users with the highest quality results.

According to James Keady, Digital Marketing Manager, McLaren Automotive:

Content is the voice of your brand and it is therefore important to allocate the respect, investment and focus it requires. Creating great content is difficult and delivering great content consistently through established processes is complex. However this is what is required if you want to take your brand from good to great in today’s communication environment.

Companies have responded by paying more attention to how their content can help them achieve their marketing goals.

More than 90% of survey respondents believe that content marketing will become more important over the next 12 months. In addition, nearly three quarters (73%) of digital marketers agree that ‘brands are becoming publishers’.

Rather than treating these areas as separate functions, content marketing brings knowledge and skills together to achieve business goals relevant to the whole organisation.

As a result, content marketing is now seen as an emerging discipline it its own right by a majority of marketers. Indeed, 64% of in-house marketers agree that content marketing ‘is becoming its own discipline’.

Content marketing strategy

Despite the growth in interest around content marketing, the majority of both brands and agency clients are yet to create a defined content marketing strategy, with only 38% of in-house marketers and 13% of agencies stating that this is in place within the companies they work for (or for their clients).

According to Thomas Messett, Global Editor in Chief, Social Media at Nokia:

I find it quite surprising that the vast majority of respondents use content marketing and see it as becoming more important in the next 12 months but only a minority already have a strategy in place for this area. Maybe that is a sign that the majority of users are simply ‘playing’ in this space or testing the waters.

However, plans are afoot, with 55% of in-house respondents and 58% of agency respondents saying that they (or their clients) are working on a content marketing strategy. 

Content marketing objectives

We also asked survey respondents about the aims of their content marketing efforts. Increased enagagement (52%) was the most common objective, followed by driving traffic (42%) and brand awareness (35%).

According to Kevin Gibbons, Managing Director and Founder, Quaturo:

I find these results very interesting. The fact that SEO is only fifth on this list is great to see – you shouldn’t be doing content marketing with SEO as the primary goal, as links/organic traffic should be a by-product of great content. So it’s refreshing to see that engagement, brand awareness and sales generation are valued more highly here.

There are differences in aims between B2B and B2B marketers though. B2C marketers place a greater emphasis on improving brand perception (+16% compared to B2B), improved SEO (+15%) and increasing traffic to site (+15%).

For B2B marketers, the emphasis is more significant in the areas of generating leads (+26% compared to B2C), thought leadership (+22%) and nurturing leads (+10%).


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Eight out of 10 PR Professionals Work with Bloggers to Gain Coverage

More than eight out of 10 (82%) PR professionals work with bloggers to provide coverage for clients, while 98% find bloggers useful or invaluable, according to new research from DWPub.

Results of the survey of 252 PR professionals conducted in March 2012 accompany a new whitepaper called ‘The smart PR’s guide to blogger outreach’. The whitepaper, which assesses the importance of working with bloggers and offers practical tips, is written by freelance writer and blogger Sally Whittle.

Of the 18% of PRs who don’t work with bloggers, 54% find it difficult to evaluate the usefulness of a blogger, indicating the industry needs to develop measurement skills.

“The relationship between bloggers and PRs continues to provoke debate, so we decided to get the PR industry’s perspective on working with bloggers,” said Daryl Willcox, chairman and founder of DWPub. “Our survey results show an overwhelmingly positive response. Bloggers are here to stay and the PR industry is beginning to embrace them. Bloggers need to be approached in a different way to journalists – our research and whitepaper reflect this view.”

The survey looked at how PRs deal with bloggers compared to journalists – just over two thirds (67%) of respondents stated they have a dedicated approach for bloggers, with 75% of these citing they communicate with bloggers in a more informal tone.

Interaction with bloggers is on the rise – 74% said their communication is gradually increasing or has become commonplace, indicating that bloggers play a significant role in the PR industry’s daily routine.

When asked about their relationships with bloggers, 26% of PR professionals said they consider theirs to be strong. 54% said they have built a rapport with bloggers, while 20% don’t have strong relationships.

The PR industry was also asked about how they measure the importance of a blog. Interaction with readers came top, with 48% of respondents citing number of comments, followers and presence on social media sites as key factors.

Number of views on posts that feature clients is the primary way to measure results from interacting with bloggers, with 33% stating this is their main measuring tool. Clicks through to clients’ websites came a close second (31%). Just 9% believe number of comments on a post featuring a client is the best way to measure results.

“Bloggers are still relatively new when it comes to the press mix and not everybody understands the etiquette when dealing with them,” said Sally Whittle, freelance writer, blogger and founder of the Tots100. “The whitepaper shows how PR professionals can effectively work with bloggers to create successful campaigns for clients and build strong relationships.”

The whitepaper can be downloaded here.

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I Need More Likes

Caroline Weaver

So, you’ve set up your Facebook business page and now you are waiting for people to come and ‘like’ it.

Do you think they will? Yes! But, you need to tell people – just setting up a page and waiting will not work. You need to tell people wherever and whenever you can and there are more places where you can display your Facebook name than you think.

Have you got your page name on your business cards? I am amazed at the amount of business owners who do not have their social platforms listed on their business cards; this is now one of the first things that people look for when they are handed a card. On a recent survey that I conducted I found that 65% found it easier to communicate using Facebook and Twitter, so this is a must.

Have you got a link to the page on your email signature? Add your social platforms to your email signature, activate the links so that the person receiving your email can click straight through. Make it easy for them.

Have you put the Facebook icon on your website with a clickable link?
Make sure your Facebook icon is on every page of your website, the reader may not want to buy from you now but they have opportunity to follow you and join your community. You can then keep the contact warm until they are ready to buy.

Don’t forget all your other online places and profiles:

  • LinkedIn/Google+ – advertise your page regularly; tell people why they would benefit from liking your page. You can link your LinkedIn and Google+ profile through to your Facebook page.
  • Twitter – again, advertise your page regularly, tell people why they would benefit from liking your page. Don’t be afraid to ask for a cheeky RT.
  • YouTube Channel – they give you the opportunity to enter all your external links so include your Facebook link here.
  • Pinterest – if you are on it (every business should be) advertise your Facebook page.

What about all the things that you produce?

  • Your blog
  • Your on-line newsletter
  • Your ‘thank you for registering’ emails
  • Your on-line/printed brochures
  • Your leaflets
  • Your pop-up event stands
  • Your event signage
  • Your business presentations
  • Your menus
  • Your shop window
  • Your vehicle
  • Your letterhead
  • Your compliment slips
  • Your invoices

… and the list goes on.

Tell everyone you meet. Ask them to stop by and like your page. It’s a proven lead generation tool that I can guarantee will get you new business if used correctly.

So, come and like our Facebook page, tag your business name and I’ll like you back…that’s a guaranteed like for you!

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10 Tips for Improving your LinkedIn Ranking

LinkedIn can be a highly focused way of reaching key audiences, and an effective way to boost SEO too. We did some LinkedIn training with a client last week. Once they got started updating their profiles, they asked us why their company ranking was so low. Here’s some of the advice we shared.

Professional and company profiles are ranked via an algorithm that produces different results for different searchers based on data from a variety of sources. Sources include search keywords and phrases, searcher profile information, activity and connections, and profile information, activity and connections of all users who have searchable public profiles. To increase your search rank, you must improve your profile and perform actions that connect you to more people on the site.

  1. Make a list of keywords and phrases you feel best match your industry, skills and expertise. For example, if you’re a PR company, you might consider “PR,” “public relations” and “media.”

  3. Review profiles of highly connected professionals from your industry on LinkedIn for additional keywords and phrases that apply to your business, and add these to your profile where applicable.

  5. Fill out all of the sections available in your profile so the “Profile  Completeness” bar on the right side of the page is 100 percent blue, as a complete profile ranks higher in searches than one that’s incomplete.

  7. Update your profile photo with one that you use on other websites so that people who see your profile on LinkedIn, or via an Internet search engine such as Bing, Google or Yahoo, can immediately recognise you and your business.

  9. Check that your improved public profile is visible. Roll your cursor over your account name, click “Settings,” and then click “Edit Your Public Profile >”. Check that you have the “Make My Public Profile Visible to Everyone” box and all boxes for the individual profile sections selected.

  11. Make sure you have as many genuine connections as possible, as profiles with many connections rank higher than those that have few. Take time to update your network.

  13. Ask your connections for recommendations or to follow your company.

  15. Join groups related to your industry. Go to “Groups” on the navigation bar, select “Groups You May Like” and click the “Join” button whenever you see a group that looks like a good match. In addition, join industry-related groups that people in your network have joined.

  17. Update your status and activity frequently with any news about you or your business such as new accomplishments, projects, products and services, as profiles that have regular updates rank higher in searches.

  19. Answer questions on LinkedIn, as building your reputation by proving yourself an authoritative source of information can increase your rank. Go to “More” on the navigation bar, select “Answers,” browse by categories, and then select and answer questions.

Perhaps you have some tips to share? Let us know. If you need any quick guidance, don’t hesitate to get in touch on +44 (0) 1276 679570.

photo credit: smi23le via photo pin cc

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10 Social Media Mistakes

We were lucky enough to be in Germany recently running a social media workshop with a client – auditing the current comms plan. Client already has a number of tactics in play, and we wanted to review the strategic rationale behind them to ensure all activity was still relevant and deserving of the time and effort being ploughed into it.

A little pressed for time in a busy day, we managed to chunk the discussion down to just three key questions. Actually very simple stuff, yet still too many companies are approaching their social media activity with a tick-box mentality.


  1. Who are your audiences?
  2. What content is of genuine interest to them?
  3. And, therefore what are the best channels to reach them?
Without understanding these things, it’s really easy to make some fundamental mistakes. Here are five of the biggest mistakes being made:-
  1. Failing to talk to a specific target group
  2. Lacking a specific goal
  3. Using the wrong channel
  4. Companies talking about themselves
  5. Not listening or following up

And five good guidelines that are all too often broken:-

  1. Prepare the user for major changes
  2. Don’t fight user behaviour
  3. Be upfront about mistakes
  4. Understand your audience
  5. Keep emotions in check

In order to leave this blog on a positive note, here are five tips to get you on the right tracks:-

  1. Find the interested people
  2. Deliver quality content
  3. Capture information
  4. Stay in touch
  5. Measure and adopt

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