From Feline to Digital Microchips to Track What’s Important to You

In honor of #NationalDogDay, it got me thinking about chips. No, not chocolate chips (yum!), but microchips. We are encouraged to insert these latest technology chips into our feline friends so that God forbid they get lost, we are able to find them. It’s a mini GPS for our pets, and now there are even mini GPSs for our stuff, like StickNFind. I’m sure you can relate to not remembering phone numbers anymore because they are already plugged into your phone. Now, you don’t even have to remember where you put your stuff. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could apply the same technology to social media so we never lose track of our content?

Well you’re in luck because the technology already exists. When it comes to social media, search engine optimization and tags are like digital microchips for your content so you can track its performance on the native social platform or on sites like Google Analytics, Hootsuite, Bitly, Radian6, etc.

The challenge, however, is getting your target audience to be sure to tag you when they share your content. What if an online media publication or hot shot journalist decided to repost your content without sharing from your page or tagging your brand? How would you be able to truly track the reach and impressions? Queue social listening tools. Invest in social listening tools that scan the web for your branded content such as TweetReach, and Sysomos. The platforms are so advanced now, that they make it easy to gain insight into your content. The trick is to make sure you are familiar with the dashboards and also tagging your content appropriately.


Street Lamps Say When It’s Time to Turn in for the Night

Mom used to always say that when the street lamps came on, it was time to turn in for the night. Time for relaxation to unwind, rest and get ready for the next day. Although, in a house full of six growing up, relaxation wouldn’t be the first word that comes to mind (but we loved each other anyway). Where did those days go? Life gets so much busier as you get older, especially when you love what you do, so you become so enthralled that you lose track of time. Do you ever have those super busy days when the “street lamp” comes on way too soon and you have so much left to do? Why is it that we struggle to find balance between work and relaxation?

And for that matter, when is there a sign that tells you when to stop when it comes to social media? First off, let this blog post be a sign slap in the face that if you’re incessantly posting pictures of yourself in a bathroom, in front of the mirror at the gym or of disgusting insects, please STOP. For all other posts, just like life, social media must be balanced. Just because you want to share a bunch of content doesn’t mean you should do it all at once. If you flood the newsfeed, people will start to tune out or unfollow you altogether. Your social media strategy is a marathon that requires pacing. Set goals and use metrics to track your progress. And remember that there is always that time of day when it’s time to turn in for the night.

Measure 110% to Reach the 1% of Audience That Matters

Social media is changing the way businesses can, and must, engage with their consumers” (Powell, Dimos, Groves, 2011, p. 39). The audience is the most important aspect of developing a social media program and they can be categorized into three levels: influencers, individuals and consumers. Objectives must be set to attract these audiences by understanding what appeals to them, when and where. They should be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely) such as “Shift brand perceptions to a more youthful image to drive product consideration and lead generation on the brand website 5% by the end of the program”.

Once social media program objectives are set, key performance indicators should be attached to each one to monitor level of success. Measurement is essential to the overall marketing effort and determines what is worth the investment. Metrics such as overall sentiment, impressions, reach, likes, shares, video clicks, retention rate, engagement rate, website traffic, @mentions, hashtag use and even attendance rates at events or stores should be tracked. Online vendors such as Radian6, Adobe Social, Hootsuite, Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, etc. can assist in monitoring and tracking total engagement. Davis (2012) indicates that different campaign metrics should be used to match objectives:

  • If you want to measure awareness, use metrics such as volume and reach.
  • If you want to measure engagement, use metrics such as retweets and comments.
  • If you want to drive website traffic, use metrics such as clicks and conversations.


For monitoring of an ongoing campaign, there needs to be constant checkpoints. I’d recommend tracking activity weekly and comparing it week-over-week. Davis (2012) states, “Depending on your schedule, monthly or quarterly reporting may work best, but weekly reporting may work well for others. No matter the schedule, make sure you’re checking in regularly on your metrics”. Weekly frequency will easily allow the company to modify posts accordingly so as to have a better impact moving forward increasing the likelihood of campaign success. For example, if your campaign is a concert series with messaging driving ticket sales, and the tickets sell out sooner than expected, the messaging strategy must now change to drive awareness and excitement. When reporting, it’s important to compare the numbers to what you expected to achieve by this point in the campaign and how they relate to competitors or benchmarks. The top line question should ask how the campaign is moving the needle for the company.

Some longer-term metrics that can impact major shifts in future strategy include amplification rate (number of times a piece of content is shared) and conversion rate. The amplification rate long-term will tell a company what content works best. With the right demographic data collected it can also indicate which groups are most likely to share to better utilize virality for the future. Conversion metrics categorized by lead generation or sales is a long-term signifier if the social strategy is gaining enough ROI for future investment. Warren (2015) states, “Metrics are not just a tool for observing what is, but for exploring what could be”.  What could be is that social media campaigns drive more sales than any other media spend. The trick is to figure out how based on tracked and monitors online behavior over time.

Social media metrics is a dream come true for marketers and managers because it allows the customer to tell you exactly what like want and what they like. No more money wasted on guess work. A key rule of thumb to note is the “90-9-1” ratio which indicates that 90% of visitors will consumer content, 9% will engage periodically and only 1% will drive the conversation. The challenge will be in converting more of the 90% to that 1% as brand advocates. As Powell et al. (2011) states, “the ability to get their [audience] attention of a particular brand is only going to get harder and harder” (p. 36).

If You Can’t Find It, You Won’t Watch It

Video is a powerful tool for marketers. Giraudie (2014) states, “In the span of a few minutes, videos can transport audiences to the front lines of an organization to experience compelling stories by sight and sound”. However, this transportation through a compelling storyline only occurs if the content grabs the audience through emotional, educational or humorous appeal. The length of a video should also be bite size as our attention spans continue to decrease. In fact, the average attention span dropped to 8 seconds in 2013 with the average length of a single internet video being watched for 2.7 minutes. Once the video tells the right story at the proper length, it must be posted at the right time that is both relevant and memorable. It is critical for proper descriptions and tags to be implemented for search engine optimization. It is of no benefit to a company if the audience cannot find it. Lastly, the video should not just be posted in a “spray and pray” manner, but supported with call-to-action links across multiple social platforms served up to the proper target audiences.

YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google, which makes it the perfect platform to distribute video. Domino’s Pizza utilizes YouTube as part of their content distribution strategy. Domino’s Pizza currently has 4,833 YouTube subscribers since November 2007 and 1.8+ million views. To give a comparison, Pizza Hut has 14k submissions and 11+ million views and Papa John’s has over 4.7 million views in about the same time frame. Needless to say, Domino’s has some catching up and also some cleaning up. After a 2009 social media disaster of employees posting prank videos of unsanitary food-preparation practices, the brand needed to reinvent itself. Their solution was to listen and react. Their recent videos revolve around passionate employees and a positive work culture, new recipes with fresh ingredients, high-tech ordering solutions, leadership development and a couple of older campaign videos around Shark Week, March Madness and Super Bowl.

Measurement is just as important as the video content itself. Litt (2014) indicates that video is one of the most measurement mediums to add to social strategies. Fortunately, all their videos are under 4 minutes in length which is great for attention span; however 35% of their videos received fewer than 1,000 views. The top performing video was posted five years ago when Domino’s announced they were reinventing their recipe. Since then, their top performing videos are heavily focused on product, but they are few and far between. Key metrics to monitor include attention span/drop-off rate, views, likes, shares, and comment sentiment that can be accessed through YouTube Insights.

The pizza company’s YouTube channel consists of 45 videos, only one playlist and one channel subscriptions. First and foremost, subscribe to other channels. If you don’t follow others, they won’t follow you. This is a huge missed opportunity to interact and connect. Next, develop a more robust content strategy and produce videos that are more product-focused. Get customer testimonials, work with influencers in the space, and get creative. Rise above the noise by doing something different. Lastly, pay attention to community management and stand out by engaging in two-way communications (something that brands tend to forget about).

Video Storytelling is the Future of Content Marketing

If you want to grab people’s attention don’t kick and scream, just tell a story. A powerful and influential piece of content is memorable and has meaning. Farrell (2014) states that 65% of people are visual learners and 90% of the information processed by our brains is visual. He continues, “People love visual content, and the more enriching the content, the deeper and more impactful the impression that your content will make” (Farrell, 2014). The significance of these statistics is that social media strategies should make sure they are executing to visually appeal to the audience. One way of doing so is through the use of video content.

visual learners

Trimble (2014) indicates, “By 2017, video will account for 69% of all consumer internet traffic”. Nielsen adds “64% of markers expect for video to dominate their strategies in the near future”. Two primary examples of the power and virality of videos are Old Spice’s “This is the Man Your Man Could Smell Like” and Chipotle’s “The Scarecrow”.  The Old Spice video was viewed over 50 million times, increased its Twitter following by 2700%, Facebook interaction by 800% and its brand website traffic by 300% growing sales by 107% over the course of a month. Chipotle’s video was viewed over 14 million times on YouTube contributing to a 23.7% revenue increase. Why were both of these campaigns so effective? Because they told a compelling story, Old Spice in a humorous tone and Chipotle by eliciting emotion.

When Old Spice body wash was introduced in 2003, the product faced many competitors and was losing ground. So Old Spice did their homework and discovered that 50% of body wash purchases were made by women. Their creative agency produced a humorous monologue using attractive talent to persuade women that Old Spice was the brand for their men. They took a typical, low involvement purchase and made it something to talk about. The campaign positively impacted the brand by making it the #1 body wash to purchase and told a visual story that no matter what your man is doing, you want him to smell like Old Spice. It is the smell for any and every occasion.

Chipotle took a more emotional appeal with their campaign’s overarching message to “Cultivate a Better World”. The brand wanted to distinguish itself from fast food restaurants by taking a stand toward creating a sustainable, healthy food future. With a deep message as such, the brand needed to tell a story that had real impact and even though the video stirred up a little controversy amongst the food processing industry, the sentiment was positive overall. The campaign intended to impact the brand positively by positioning itself as the better food choice that cares not only about its customers, but also the environment.


Between the two, I think the more effective campaign was Old Spice. The brand took a creative approach to a not so creative product and I think the audience was more receptive to the humor as opposed to the emotion from Chipotle. In fact, my person opinion was that Chipotle’s somber tone was a little depressing and made me not want to eat anything produced from an animal. If Chipotle wants to stay in business, they should probably not dissuade people from eating.