Archive | April 2018

Quote of the Day!

“The most useful virtue is patience.”


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How to identify the perfect social influencer for your business

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perfect social influencer

Social influencer marketing is rapidly on the rise. It’s quickly becoming the preferred marketing strategy and with good reason. A recent study showed that influencer marketing is twice as fast as conventional approaches in finding customers, and up to ten times more effective. With everyone jumping on the ‘Social Influencer Marketing’ bandwagon, how will you use this marketing strategy to your brand’s advantage?

In social media marketing, you have to be smart. If people sense an advertisement, they’ll head in the opposite direction. You have to find ways of promoting your brand in a subtle way. The new influencers are now social media users with loyal followers. These people often know more about influencer marketing than even advertising agencies. The fact that these people concentrate on a specific niche makes them that much more powerful because a more targeted audience is reached.

The key to successful influencer marketing is finding the right social influencer that will promote your brand efficiently. Follow these tips to find the best-suited influencer for you:

1. Influencer’s reach

Although not considered the most important factor, ensuring that your social influencer reaches the target market of your brand is vital, else you’re wasting time and money reaching people who aren’t interested in your brand.

An influencer with a small reach in your brand’s market is more effective than one with a huge reach in a market not related to your brand at all. Rather opt for reaching a small audience who has a good chance of being interested in your brand.

2. Influencer authenticity

A social media influencer with less sponsored content is usually more trusted and seen as more authentic. An influencer with personal, compelling stories will be accepted more than one who writes long product reviews. It’s tempting to ask an influencer to write a nice review about your brand, but it won’t be as striking as the influencer telling a real story and working your brand into it. People want to relate to what they see and hear.

Also, consider using additional tools to evaluate your influencer and make the most of it. There are tools available that look closely at all your influencer’s audience to measure their demography, authenticity, engagement rate, and reachability to mention only a few of their services.

An influencer with a large follower count seems promising, but what if 70 percent of those followers consist of fake and inactive profiles. And what if the followers are real, but they follow thousands of other Instagram accounts so they will most likely not even notice a post about your product. Working with an influencer with poor audience quality is a waste of time and money.

3. Quality engagement is a must

How much the influencer’s audience engage with the content is essential. If they engage, often it means they will return to the influencer’s platform and grow a relationship. Look closely at the quality of the engagement. Is the engagement of the audience and the influencer natural? Does the audience react favorably to the influencer? These factors will affect how the audience will respond to your brand’s promotion by the influencer.

4. Relevancy matters

You have to be sure that the social influencer’s content is relevant to your brand. Using a social influencer that focuses on healthy foods won’t likely be an effective strategy for chocolate or fast food brand.

5. Consider mutual interests

You should compare the influencer’s personality with your brand’s demographic. If they are similar, you have a higher chance of successfully reaching your target market. Your target market is more likely to trust an influencer who has like-minded beliefs and ideas to them.

6. Choosing the right platform

Using the right social influencer also depends on using the right social media platform to create awareness of your brand. The heavyweights like Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube, are some of the best options to choose from.

Facebook is believed to be the most influential of the bunch. It’s not hard to believe, seeing as Facebook has more than 2 billion users and is ever-growing.

YouTube has a significant influence on teenagers, with 70 percent of them being influenced by YouTube celebrities rather than ‘normal’ celebrities. Using information like that to choose your influencer would be a wise decision.

Over the last few years, Instagram’s social influence has exploded. Up to 80 percent of micro-influencers uses Instagram to post and share new content. Instagram has more than 50 percent influence on people’s shopping habits. More than $2 billion is spent annually on Instagram as a marketing platform.


By incorporating these rather simple yet highly effective ideas into your marketing strategies, you are bound to find your brand awareness growing more rapidly and steadily. Using social influencers is a much more transparent and accepted way of reaching your target market than conventional advertising strategies.

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How to Use Facebook Lookalike Audiences With Custom Audiences

 Want to expand your ad reach on Facebook?

Looking for new ways to target potential customers?

To explore creative ways to combine Facebook lookalike audiences with custom ad audiences, I interview Rick Mulready.

More About This Show

The Social Media Marketing podcast is an on-demand talk radio show from Social Media Examiner. It’s designed to help busy marketers, business owners, and creators discover what works with social media marketing.

In this episode, I interview Rick Mulready. Rick is a Facebook ads expert and host of the podcast, The Art of Paid Traffic. He’s also a regular speaker at Social Media Marketing World. His new membership site, The ROI Club, is focused on Facebook ads.

Rick explains custom and lookalike audience options that help you make the most of your customer list.

You’ll also discover how to use website visitor data, engagements, and lead ads to find new potential customers.


Facebook Lookalike Audiences

What Is a Facebook Lookalike Audience?

A lookalike audience is a targeting audience based on a custom audience. Examples of custom audiences include people on your email list, website visitors, and Facebook users who engage with your video or Facebook page. When you create a lookalike audience of a custom audience, Facebook finds users who have similar attributes to the people who are in that base custom audience.

For example, say you have an email list custom audience. To create that audience, you uploaded a list of 10,000 people and Facebook has matched those emails to 6,000 Facebook users. For a lookalike audience based on this custom audience, Facebook will look for Facebook users with similar attributes to those people on your email list.

Facebook knows a lot about its users. Although the data is anonymized, Facebook makes that data available to advertisers to help them reach their ideal target audience.

Listen to the show to hear Rick’s and my thoughts about all of the things Facebook and Google know about users.

Why Use a Lookalike Audience?

Lookalike audiences give you a way to reach a cold audience beyond interest or behavior targeting. For example, say you’re showing targeted ads to warm traffic, such as people on your email list, website visitors, or Facebook fans. Lookalike audiences give you a way to reach cold audiences that are like those warm audiences but much bigger.

Depending on how closely you want to match your base audience, you can set up a lookalike audience size that’s anywhere from 1% to 10%, where the 1% includes only those people who most closely match your base audience. In the U.S., that 1% audience is about 2 million people. As you move toward 10%, the audience size increases but the matching becomes more generic.

Set Facebook lookalike audience size. You can control the size with a slider that appears when you create the audience.

You can control the size with a slider that appears when you create the audience. In Facebook Ads Manager, open the Audiences tool and click the Create Audience button. Select the option to create a lookalike audience, and then a box pops up where you select a source, a location, and then the audience size.

The source is the custom audience on which you want to base the lookalike audience. The location is the country or regions on which you want to base the lookalike audience. The audience size has the slider that lets you choose 1%, 2%, 3%, and so on. You also see an advanced option to create multiple versions of that lookalike audience size.

Although a lookalike audience is a cold audience, it’s not super-cold (compared to interest or behavior targeting) because Facebook is using the algorithm to match attributes from your warm audience to create this new lookalike audience. To reach new people who aren’t already in your warm audiences on Facebook, you definitely want to use and test lookalike audiences.

Lookalike audiences are not only a great way to reach new people, but also tend to be less expensive than audiences based on interest or behavior targeting. However, to confirm that the cost for lookalikes will be lower for you, you have to test and compare the different audiences.

The most powerful reason to target a lookalike audience is to find people who are similar to your existing buyers. If you have a customer list, you can upload that list to Facebook and create a custom audience of your buyers. From there, you can create a lookalike audience based on your buyers, which targets people with similar attributes to those who made a purchase.

Create a lookalike audience based on your buyers.

I ask if Rick recommends creating a bunch of different lookalike audiences. For example, if your email system does tagging, I wonder if you should create different lookalike audiences based on email subscribers who visit the website frequently versus those who don’t.

Rick suggests that you do break out lookalike audiences in this way. Ideally, he adds, you want to think through your lookalike audiences strategically. However, if you’re not sure what that strategy is yet, go ahead and create the audiences so that at least you have them. Later, when you understand your strategy a little better, you’ll have the audiences so you can start using them to target your ads.

Listen to the show to hear how the audience percentage option is like a pyramid.

Location and Size Options for Lookalike Audiences

Rick and I then discuss how to select the location and size options for a lookalike audience. For location, Rick recommends selecting an option at the country level. Rick’s recommendation for how to select the audience size percentage has changed over the past year.

Before, he would not go above 1% to keep the lookalike audience as specific as possible. Now, however, the algorithm seems to work better with larger audience sizes. The larger size gives the algorithm more data for finding people who are most likely to watch a video, convert, or otherwise opt in.

For that reason, Rick suggests testing those larger lookalike audience sizes of 2%, on up to maybe 5%. Depending on what type of business you have and who your customer is, you might test audience sizes with an even larger percentage. You can even split test a 1% versus a 5% audience.

The Facebook Create a Lookalike Audience dialog box has an Audience Size slider.

However, the results depend on your business. After you test a few different sizes, you may find that you get the best results with 1% audiences. Similarly, increasing the audience size to 4% or 5% might not make sense for a lot of businesses because their customers just aren’t that broad in nature. The important thing is to test different sizes to figure out what works for you.

For some perspective, I ask Rick how big audiences with these different size options are. Rick says a 1% lookalike audience based on an email custom audience with 10,000 addresses is about 2 million people. As you go up a percent, the audience size roughly doubles to about 4 million.

Listen to the show to hear Rick’s thoughts on targeting a smaller location like San Diego, California.

Creative Ideas for Lookalike Audience Sources

For your lookalike audience source, which is a custom audience, you can think creatively to reach different segments of your audience based on the actions they’re taking in your business.

As mentioned earlier, you can segment your email list to target customers based on a specific product or service they’ve bought. If you host an event, think about how you can leverage that audience. You also have people who visited your website.

Customer List: For your customer list, although most people instruct Facebook to match users based on email address, you can enter 15 different matching points such as date of birth or phone number.

The Facebook Create a Custom Audience dialog box has 15 different matching points for your customer data, and those points appear in gray boxes in the dialog box.

Also, if you happen to know your lifetime customer value, when you’re uploading your list, you can include that number. Then Facebook lets you create a lookalike audience based on people who have high lifetime customer value. This option is powerful because you’re asking Facebook to find people like customers who have an actual monetary value to your business.

With your customer list, the one thing you can’t do is target people who have unsubscribed. The first time you create a custom audience, you have to agree to the terms and conditions. If someone opts out and says they don’t wish to be contacted by you, you’re supposed to remove them and not target them.

However, you might use a list of people who have unsubscribed to create a segment of people you want to exclude from your targeted ads. You can export that list from your CRM. By excluding these people, you can avoid negative feedback (although Facebook is doing away with ad feedback in favor of relevance score).

Website Visitors: For website visitors, the obvious idea is to create a custom audience of anybody who visited your website. You can limit that audience to people who visited between 1 and 180 days ago. The number of days you specify makes the audience ever-changing.

For example, if you create a 30-day audience, the audience updates constantly to target only people who visited the site in the previous 30 days. Even after you have this audience set up for a while, it updates every day so it only includes people from the past 30 days.

The Facebook Create a Custom Audience dialog box has an option for targeting ads to all website visitors within a certain number of days.

You can also create a custom audience of people who visit specific web pages. For example, you can set up an audience of people who visited the information page for your event. You can create another audience of people who visited the event page but didn’t buy a ticket.

By creating the custom audience, you can build the audience of people visiting, and then the lookalike audience can find other people on Facebook who aren’t part of your audience now but hopefully have the same interests as the people who are visiting your site.

Of course, you want your lookalike audience to be based on people who visit your website and take the desired action. For example, a custom audience of people who visited a sales page but didn’t buy might be useful for other types of ads, but not ads targeted to a lookalike audience. The powerful lookalike audience is based on people who make a purchase or otherwise take action.

I ask if it’s wise to combine email and website visitors into a super group of people who are both on an email list and visit the website. Rick likes this strategy but adds that it has pros and cons. One con is that this group will overlap somewhat. On the pro side, combining warm audiences increases your audience size, which provides the lookalike algorithm with more data for finding people.

Another option for website visitors is a custom audience of people based on how long they’re spending on your website. This option is called Visitors by Time Spent. For the lookalike audience, you can choose the top 5%, top 10%, and top 25%, where the top 5% is the people who spend the most time on your site.

The Facebook Create a Custom Audience dialog box has options for targeting ads to the customers who spent the most amount of time on your website.

If you’re using Facebook standard events so the Facebook pixel tracks events such as a registration or purchase, you can create a lookalike audience out of those actions as well.

Although email and website traffic are super-powerful, Facebook engagement audiences have been evolving recently and include some fun options.

Video Engagement: If you’re sharing video on Facebook (whether it’s uploading video or hosting Facebook Live videos), you can then create engagement audiences of people based on how long they watch your video.

For example, an audience of people who watched 75% of your video is a very powerful audience from which you can create a lookalike audience because you can assume that custom audience finds whatever you’re talking about pretty engaging.

The Facebook Create a Custom Audience dialog box has options for targeting ads to people who watched a certain percentage of your video.

Depending on the size of your video audience, that custom audience can be a small group. Just know that you can create a lookalike audience of people based on how long people are watching your video. You could then target the lookalike audience based on a custom audience of video views with the video. In this way, you can try to get more video views.

Lead Ads: Lead ads allow users to populate a form with whatever information you’ve requested from their Facebook profiles. If you use lead ads, you can create a custom audience based on the action users take within the lead form, such as opening or submitting the form.

A custom audience based on lead ad actions is like creating an audience of people who have converted on your landing page. However, the form is on Facebook. From that custom audience, you can then create a lookalike audience.

Facebook Page Engagement: This option rolled out in 2017. You can create a custom audience based on people’s engagement with your Facebook page. The option is called Everybody Who Engaged With Your Page, which includes people who have engaged with your posts or ads in the news feed, who have messaged you, or who have engaged in some other way.

The Facebook Create a Custom Audience dialog box allows you to target ads to people who engaged with your website within a certain timeframe.

After you build a custom audience of those people, you can then create lookalike audiences based on that engaged audience. Although you don’t currently have the option to narrow down the targeting to the way people engage (such as like versus love, comments, shares, etc.), Rick wouldn’t be surprised if Facebook offers options like that in the future.

Instagram Engagement: If you have a business profile on Instagram, you can build a custom audience of people who are engaging with that profile and then also create a lookalike audience based on that custom audience as well. As with Facebook page engagement, you can specify the type of engagement, such as engaging with stories versus a post in the main Instagram feed or your profile.

Listen to the show to hear Rick and I discuss creating custom audiences of people who watch live video.


Rick uses these different custom and lookalike audiences in his business. The first example Rick shares focuses on starting to build relationships with cold audiences for his podcast. If he is getting a lot of traffic to the podcast pages on his website, he can use that traffic to create a custom audience of people who are interested in the podcast.

Then, to scale his campaign and reach new people, Rick could create a lookalike audience based on that custom audience. The ads he would show to the lookalike audience would feature the podcast so he can see who in the lookalike audience is interested in the podcast as well.

Because lookalike audiences are cold audiences who don’t necessarily know who you are, your ads need to build trust and move people further down your sales funnel. You want people from this cold audience to become part of your warm audience. So in your ad content, you need to be careful not to overtly sell to your cold audiences.

Lookalike audiences build trust at the top of the funnel and help you move potential customers down the funnel, as depicted in the image of a funnel with turquoise, green, and maroon areas representing different stages of moving through the funnel from cold to warm audiences.

You want content that adds value or teaches your audience something. This content is what establishes trust, builds a relationship, and creates a perception in your audience’s mind that you’re a value provider. Those things allow your audience to buy from you down the road. In addition to content from a podcast, your ads might include a valuable link to an article or a video.

Rick and I then talk about adding interest targeting to a lookalike audience. For example, say you’re targeting a 1% lookalike audience, and you add people who are interested in Social Media Examiner to the targeting. By further refining your lookalike audience, you’re reaching a cold audience with attributes similar to your base audience, which adds an element of warmth to the audience.

Rick generally doesn’t start by adding interest targeting to a lookalike. Instead, he tends to see how the lookalike audience does. If it’s doing well, Rick leaves the lookalike audience as it is. If not, then he’ll test adding interest targeting to the lookalike.

Rick also shares a strategy for combining lookalike audiences into one ad set. When he’s testing different lookalikes, he might have a lookalike audience of his email list, a lookalike of people who are engaging with his Facebook page, and a lookalike of people who are visiting his website. If all of these lookalikes are performing pretty well, he combines them into one ad set.

By combining the lookalike audiences into one ad set, Rick is expanding the audience size so that Facebook’s algorithm has more data to work with for scaling his ads. For example, if the lookalikes use the 1% option for size, combining them into one ad set increases the audience from 2 million people to about 6 million people.

The text, one ad set, appears on a dark green field, and three light green boxes appear below the text. each box contains the text email, page engagement, and website visitors, respectively.

I ask if lookalike audiences are certain to be cold audiences or if you need to exclude fans and website visitors to reach true cold audiences. Rick says he uses exclusions to avoid overlap because he can make sure he’s reaching new people while avoiding driving up prices.

Listen to the show to hear more of Rick’s thoughts about whether lookalike audiences are true cold audiences.

Cost Management

To start testing custom audiences and lookalike audiences, your costs are generally low. Custom audiences of website visitors and your email list are much smaller than an interest-targeting audience. Lookalike audiences based on these custom audiences will be larger audiences but you can manage your costs by testing lookalikes with smaller budgets.

Testing also helps ensure your lookalikes are likely to be profitable before you spend lots of money on them. These audiences have been very successful for Rick overall, but not every audience is profitable. Testing with a smaller budget to see how your custom and lookalike audiences work helps you proceed with caution. Then, you can scale accordingly based on the results.

Listen to the show to hear Rick and I discuss what percentage of your ads budget is needed to start testing these audiences.

Discovery of the Week

Standuply is a Slack plugin that allows you to quickly and easily send video messages within Slack.

On Slack, people mostly use text, images, and GIFs. You can also do an audio call. Slack users with a paid plan can also make video calls, like a conference video call. With Standuply, you can add video to this mix because sometimes video conveys your message better than text.

After you give the plugin access to your Slack channel or setup, you can just type “/video” and click the little button that appears, which opens your browser. Then you can stand in front of your webcam and add a video explanation or something similar.

Note that you can add only a limited number of extensions to your Slack install.

You can try Standuply for free and continue using the free version with up to three respondents. To share video messages with more respondents, you’ll need to pay for the next tier of service, which is $5 per month.

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How to Find and Reuse Your Best Content [Tools]

find-reuse-best-content-toolsLike all content marketers, you want readers to get the most out of your content. But creating and distributing high-quality content across the increasing number of channels you’re expected to manage takes a lot of time and resources.

Reusing content assets that have yielded good results is a powerful way to expand your content library and to promote the same content across different media channels and in different content formats. After all, what one person would enjoy as a stunning infographic, another would prefer as an expert advice e-book.

This list of practical tools can help you give your existing content a new life.

Reuse high-quality #content across channels and formats to give it new life, says @irinaweber048. #productivity Click To Tweet

1. Airtable (free and paid versions)

I love using Airtable to create an organized content database. You can use the tool, which has been described as a spreadsheet on steroids, to track brainstormed content ideas and plans for turning large assets into smaller pieces of content.

The tool is flexible enough to handle the entire content reuse process. Use it to manage lists of keywords to help you optimize content for search engines, build a content calendar to keep track of deadlines and assignments, and measure the metrics and audience feedback for your repurposed posts.


2. MeetEdgar (paid version only)

To schedule, manage, and republish your social media content, try MeetEdgar. This social media scheduling tool lets you create a “library” of social media posts that it automatically reposts for you over time. You fill the library with text, images, links, and graphics, group them by category, and indicate the platforms you want to share them on.

MeetEdgar publishes the scheduled posts in each category; when the content runs out, the tool starts reposting it automatically.

You can check when a piece is scheduled to post by looking at the queue. MeetEdgar lets you customize, reschedule, and adjust your posts as often as you want.


3. BuzzSumo (paid version only)

BuzzSumo is one of my favorite tools for monitoring content success and for getting a clear picture of what kind of content gets shared the most on social media. Most-shared and most popular content pieces make good candidates for repurposing.

.@BuzzSumo is one of my favorite tools for monitoring content success, says @irinaweber048. #tools Click To TweetBuzzSumo helps you also discover and filter results by content type (infographics, giveaways, interviews, videos, and guest posts) so you can see what’s been published about a given topic as you plan your content update. When you want to add new points of view to an existing article, BuzzSumo can help you find influencers and experts on your topic.



4. SE Ranking (paid version only)

Another way to decide which content makes sense to repurpose is to look at your search rankings and the search terms that drive the most traffic to your site. You can use SE Ranking (full disclosure, I work for the company) to track your ranking history and identify your most popular search terms. Use it to see which content achieved your goals in a certain period of time.

You can also use it to monitor the performance of your posts and those of your competitors on the major social networks. These insights help you fine-tune your content reuse plans.


5. Repurpose (paid version only)

Livestreaming videos are one of the fastest growing and most-shared content types, in part because they let you engage with live audiences directly. If you’re going to spend the time to hang out with your audience, why not repurpose the content across platforms for broader reach?

Repurpose is a great live video broadcaster and podcaster that lets me easily push all my Facebook Live videos to YouTube, make an audio file on SoundCloud, deliver a file to Dropbox, and so on. All it takes is to connect your accounts to the Repurpose tool.

Use the tool to push live or prerecorded videos from your business page and personal pages to any of the platforms I mentioned. The best thing about Repurpose is that it simplifies your video and audio repurposing workflows, so you can extend your content’s reach with minimal effort.



HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT: Ready to Go Live? All You Need to Know Now

6. Google Tools (free and paid versions)

Google Analytics shows you how users interact with your content, including total page views over time, overall social engagement, and time spent on the site. Use these parameters to help you decide which content is best suited for repurposing.


Google Search Console helps you see which pages attract the most links. Keep in mind that some content might attract links even if it doesn’t generate much traffic.


7. Airstory (free and paid versions)

Writing platform Airstory lets you keep drafts, notes, and related content together as you work on a repurposing project. Use this drag-and-drop document builder to gather pieces of content you want to repurpose and collaborate with other content creators working on the same piece. The flexible tool lets you set up projects with deadlines, establish word-count goals, and upload templates.

Writing platform @AirstorySupport lets you keep drafts, notes, & related content together. @irinaweber048 Click To Tweetairstory-tool

Wrapping up

Repurposing content is a smart marketing strategy that can help you improve your search engine rankings, get more traffic to your site, and offer valuable information in different formats.

But even if repurposing saves time compared to creating a new piece from scratch, getting the best results still requires careful planning and execution. I hope the tools I’ve shared can help you to bring fresh life to your valuable content.

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Digital Marketing News: Gen Z’s Snapchat Love, LinkedIn’s GIFs, & Google Gets More Time

Lane Ellis   Online Marketing News

Digital Marketing News: Gen Z’s Snapchat Love, LinkedIn’s GIFs, & Google Gets More Time

Snapchat Remains Teens’ Favorite Social Platform, Instagram Their Top Marketing Channel
Snapchat has remained the top social platform among teens, who also see Instagram as the best way for brands to communication with them, according to Piper Jaffray’s latest semi-annual “Talking Stock with Teens” survey. MarketingCharts

LinkedIn Teamed Up With Tenor to Add GIFs to Its Messaging
A feature allowing the use of animated GIF images has begun rolling out to LinkedIn users, the latest in a series of changes to add more fun to the business-oriented social platform. AdWeek

Google, Others Cut Into Facebook Share Of Consumer Time
Google’s properties including YouTube have grown more popular among U.S. adults than Facebook, with both taking up a greater share of consumer time than the properties of Verizon, Amazon, Snapchat, and Twitter, according to recently-released January 2018 Nielsen ratings data. MediaPost

Native Advertising Growth Projected to Slow
Native advertising spending growth among U.S. marketers will continue at a slower rate, less than half of the 64 percent figure seen in 2016, according to new eMarketer report data on the ads, which imitate the look of surrounding content. Wall Street Journal

Only 3% Of Marketers Deem MRC Video ‘Viewability” A Reasonable Standard
Just three percent of brand marketers see the current Media Rating Council’s (MRC) video viewability standard — which determines what is counted as a viewable impression — to be reasonable, according to recently-released survey information. MediaPost

62% of B2B marketers see video as priority format, finds LinkedIn study
62 percent of B2B marketers polled by LinkedIn feel that content creators should favor video among all platforms, ahead of email, infographics, and traditional social media creative material. The Drum

PiperJaffray Spring 2018 Taking Stock With Teens Statistics Image

What marketers need to know about Facebook’s updated Business Tools Terms
Facebook’s decision to apply the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) standards worldwide means an update to a number of the firm’s business tool definitions and accompanying terminology for marketers. Marketing Land

Google launches Enterprise Dialogflow chatbot platform out of beta
Google has launched its smart chatbot platform for businesses — Dialogflow Enterprise Edition — offering the ability to build artificial intelligence-based processing systems for customer service agents, virtual assistants, and other AI-infused support capabilities. VentureBeat

Ad tech streams into audio
Streaming audio providers are increasingly turning to new marketing methods for audio advertising technology that take advantage of smart speakers and voice search, and with digital audio ad revenue topping $1.1 billion in 2016 and growing 42 percent during the first half of 2017, creative targeting is abundant. AdAge

AR Drawings Can Now Be Added to Videos in Facebook Stories
Facebook will roll out augmented reality (AR) drawing features for videos within its Facebook Camera offering, the company announced, a potential new promotional tool for marketers. AdWeek

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How to Create Unified Content That Works in Diverse Global Markets


create-unified-content-diverse-global-marketsIf you work as a marketer in a global company, this conundrum is all too familiar. On the one hand, your content must be unified: Everywhere in the world, the messaging must be consistent, and people must recognize the brand. On the other hand, rigid consistency across cultures can backfire or undercut your business goals.

When it comes to global content, one size does not fit all.

When it comes to global #content, one size does not fit all, says @marciarjohnston. Click To TweetRebecca Lieb gets it. She works as a strategic advisor and research analyst on digital marketing for many of the world’s leading brands. In her Content Marketing World talk, Global Content Marketing Strategy – Creating Content for Diverse Global Markets, she emphasized the need to approach global content from two directions at once: top-down and bottom-up.

While Rebecca’s top-down-bottom-up metaphor fits perfectly with the hierarchical nature of most org charts, we get more insight from her other bidirectional metaphor: a global content process as the body’s circulatory system:

  • Marketing headquarters pumps content, messaging, and brand guidelines to local offices the way the heart pumps blood.
  • The system works only when the heart uses what the extremities deliver back to inform new phases of content and new initiatives.

Global #content processes are a circulatory system, says @lieblink. Click To TweetHow does your global enterprise create a healthy content circulatory system?

Evangelize your content everywhere

To foster the kind of two-way communication required by a global content circulatory system, you need a content evangelist.

The evangelist may not have a title comparable to chief content officer. That person might be head of digital, head of marketing, or head of social media. What matters is that someone plays an evangelizing role, which includes two parts: conveying the importance of the centrally developed content and processes to people at all local offices AND listening to local concerns.

“Someone has to constantly go out there and beat the drum,” Rebecca says. “You have to evangelize and test department-specific initiatives to drive bottom-up support.”

Here’s a cautionary tale. Rebecca worked with one global tech company that didn’t evangelize, didn’t socialize. Its communication was not a circulatory system. It went one way. There was no give and take.

Their creative department built a new DAM, a digital asset management repository for content around the world. Everybody in the company suddenly got this email that said, basically, ‘Henceforth and furthermore this is the process: Put all your content here.’ Guess what happened? Everybody said, ‘Up yours! Nobody asked me about this! This doesn’t meet my department’s requirements. So just no.’

The content evangelist takes local requirements into account and considers the WIIFM (what’s in it for me?) factor. “One of the best ways to evangelize content is to show the other person, the other team, the other department why this is going to work for them. People want their jobs to be easier,” Rebecca says.

In addition, you must appoint people in the field to oversee things on regional or local levels to scale the training and evangelizing. Otherwise, she says, local teams “complain bitterly and often that they’re just handed content and expected to use it.”

Have people in the field evangelize regional or local #content, says @lieblink. Click To Tweet

Build a culture of content

Rebecca urges you to start creating a culture of content before you start hiring. When you’re interviewing someone for the marketing department, you need to ask whether the person is willing to create content and identify stories.

You might want to look for a content identifier: someone who doesn’t necessarily create content but who can identify the kinds of content you need – someone with a nose for news.

You’ve got to get people talking. It’s shoe leather. It’s journalism 101.

Another smart way to build a culture of content, Rebecca says, is to create a center of excellence. (For more on this topic, see Content Is Bigger Than Marketing.)

To build a culture of content, you may need to get creative in making business cases for the resources you need.

To build a culture of #content, get creative in making business cases for resources you need. @lieblink Click To TweetFor example, Sony Europe found people were contacting its call center because they had trouble with a function on a TV. Every call cost Sony 7 Euros (about $8.65). When the head of community learned this, they created a couple of paragraphs of content about how to fix this issue, threw it up on the Sony website, and got 42,000 views in the first few days. Calculate each view as one less call and it translates to a return of 350,000 Euros (over $363,000) in the first week.

“That’s a metric you can take to the C-suite and say, ‘Look, we saved 350,000 this week, and next week, and the week after.’” That kind of thing can convince executives to give you more money, without which it’s tough to build a culture of content.

Balance the global and the local

Global strategy requires a bit and possibly a lot of localization. Centrally created content may not work for the regions. You might have to adapt text and localize images, for example.

Centrally created #content may not work for the regions, says @lieblink. Read more>> Click To Tweet“The local teams must have some authority and some self-determination to make content work on the local level,” Rebecca says.

Here’s an example. This a Save the Children landing page in the United States. It includes assets around every girl, an #EveryLastGirl hashtag, a call to action on the red button (“donate”), and an option to download a research report.


Here is how the United Kingdom team interpreted that content for its audience. While the main message is the same, the text and the image have been adapted for British readers.


This is the German adaptation:


“None of these share taglines or art, but each has a form of messaging that is going to resonate with those local audiences,” Rebecca says. “Local has autonomy. Local also informs global just as global informs local. You have to localize not just for language but also for culture.”

Here’s an example that tickles me. The Dunkin’ Donuts branding is unmistakable. Yet, if you look closely, you see that page shows a dried-pork-and-seaweed donut, a variation clearly intended for an Asian region. You might say that this ad hits that spot – that sweet spot, in this case – where global meets local.



The adage, “Think global, act local,” sums up the balance that each enterprise strives for in creating consistent worldwide content that works in each region.

Does your company try to create one-size-fits-all global content? Or do you aim for a global-local balance? What do you do to keep branding, messaging, and processes consistent around the world while adapting to cultures and regions? What’s your dried-pork-and-seaweed donut?

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The Best Advice for Agencies in 2018: 15 Experts Weigh In

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Running an agency is hard. There are daily growth challenges that need to be overcome. Luckily, you’re not the only one coming up against these problems. We spoke with agency thought leaders and experts about a number of these problems in our monthly webinar series.

The HubSpot Agency Expert Webinar Series is a great opportunity for agency owners to learn from thought leaders in the agency space. This monthly webinar series focuses on a variety of topics from agency growth to brand building to sourcing top talent and winning new clients.

To help start you off the on the right foot, we’ve compiled agency expert advice from 15 different thought leaders and agency experts. If you want to watch any of the webinars in full, you can find them all here.

Click here to register for the Agency Expert Webinar Series to learn more from leading agency experts

The Best Advice for Agencies in 2018

1. Michael Gass, Author of Fuel Lines, emphasizes on the fact that a clear plan and positioning strategy are good growth hacks for a successful agency business.

“Three things a new business director needs for success – Create a plan, develop a process and have a positioning strategy” (Click to Tweet)

2. Lee Frederiksen, Managing Partner at Hinge Marketing, talks about the importance of brand building, reputation and visibility in the market for getting referrals from top clients.


“8/10 of professional services buyers say they would refer their providers based on good experience and reputation but 81.5% of firms have received a referral from people they have not worked with” (Click to Tweet)

3. Aleyda Solis, International SEO Consultant, advises agency business owners to focus on using best SEO practices to stay on top of their game in the digital world.



“Always prioritize your topics/ terms/ keyword targets not only just based on volume, relevance, competition and seasonality but also their potential profitability towards the business.” (Click to Tweet)

4. David C. Baker, Principal at Recourses Inc., advises marketers to refrain from making business mistakes which can ruin the agency’s reputation in the market.

“Don’t chase growth without understanding the implications of it” (Click to Tweet)

5. Brian Regienczuk, CEO & Co-Founder of Agency Spotter, in this Marketing Trends Report 2018, talks about how agency owners should be aware of seasonal services and how agency selection and search has changed over the years.

“In 2018, the top 5 marketing trends are Direct Marketing, Email Marketing, Search SEO/PPC, Inbound Marketing, and Healthcare Marketing” (Click to Tweet)

6. Peter Levitan, President at Peter Levitan & Co., says that a smarter pitch is very powerful at fetching more clients.

“Pitching your agency is always good since it is an indication that your agency is healthy and exciting, your new business program is working well and makes more profits” (Click to Tweet)

7. Jody Sutter, Owner of The Sutter Company, emphasizes the power of storytelling for attracting more prospects.

“Always choose the right message, have an organising principle and create an emotional connection” (Click to Tweet)

8. Olivia F. Scott, President at Omerge Alliances, talks about best product positioning strategies for building the desired client base.

“The best way for agencies to position themselves in this digital age is to understand their brand, service offering, past client experience and deliverables” (Click to Tweet)

9. Sharon Toerek, Principal at Toerek Law, speaks about how new agency models can cause legal issues for business owners.

“The best legal tools that agencies can include in their work models are Non Disclosure Agreements, Agreements for Freelancers, Collective Participant Agreements, Client Service Agreements, Data Protection Policies, Software-use and originality policies for dealing with remote work issues” (Click to Tweet)

10. Don Beehler, Principal at ABC&D Communications, advises business owners on how to craft a PR strategy to drive new business.

“The quickest path to increasing awareness and credibility is to become a trusted source for the news media and bloggers” (Click to Tweet)

“Identifying the right PR tools to accelerate the process is very vital. Good examples are Help A Reporter Out(HARO),, and Google Alerts” (Click to Tweet)

11. John Gleason, Founder & President of A Better View Strategic Consulting, talks about best client practices and behaviors that agency must adapt to engage and win more clients.

“Clients rely on agencies to accelerate their scalability, provide innovative solutions, add value, solve complexities, speed up processes” (Click to Tweet)

12. Kyle Racki, CEO at Proposify, advises marketers on how to increase lead generation and close rates.

“The best working model for lead generation for agencies come via word-of-mouth, inbound marketing, outbound sales and partner referrals like HubSpot” (Click to Tweet)

13. Drew McLellan, CEO of Agency Management Institute, emphasizes on key mistakes which agency owners make which reduces profitability.

“Many agencies struggle with their pricing strategy, it’s not about the dollar amount put on the prices but how the pricing options are presented to the clients” (Click to Tweet)

14. Pete Sena, Founder & CCO of Digital Surgeons, discusses the importance of creating an internal culture of content for driving marketing and business development.

“An internal culture of content will drive awareness, increase revenue and level up teams in their learning process” (Click to Tweet)

15. Doug Kessler, Creative Director at Velocity Partners, talks about the unique concept of honest marketing and its benefits towards building a better brand.

“Total honesty surprises and delights customers, signals confidence, builds trust and attracts ideal prospects” (Click to Tweet)

In this digital age, running and growing your agency is a tricky business. The HubSpot Agency Expert Webinar Series gives business owners an opportunity to soak up fresh ideas from industry thought leaders and experts to identify new growth opportunities for achieving long-term business success.

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A Winning Formula For B2B Content Creation

Today you’d have to look hard to find a brand that doesn’t have a blog on its website and is not producing at least some content.

Oversaturation is a reality and more and more marketers are finding it harder to succeed with content marketing.

This year’s Content Marketing Institute B2B report found that 76 percent of brands say they have only limited or no success with content marketing.

Content Marketing Approach Success Rate Pie Chart

These results are startling when you consider the sheer amount of content being published by brands every day.

If only a little fraction of it achieves its goal, is it worth the time and money that goes into it?

Yet, for a small minority of brands, creating content is extremely successful and worthwhile.

So what is it that those brands are doing right, and how can you do that, too?

To understand what differentiates winners from losers, first, you need to understand where so many brands go wrong.

Here are a few reasons why so much of content marketing does not achieve any significant results, and what you can do differently.

Why Your Content Isn’t Working

Here are just some of the commonly cited reasons for B2B content marketing failure:

  • Lack of a refined strategy.
  • Bad content promotion.
  • Use of the wrong channels.
  • Inadequate SEO efforts.
  • Expectations are set too high.

All brands that are struggling with content marketing make one or more of these mistakes.

However, for 99 percent of cases none of these elements is the main reason why content isn’t working.

I believe success with content starts deeper.

Two elements of your content marketing program are crucial. They must change and adapt as the industry changes and develops if you want to run a successful content marketing program.

These two crucial elements are your:

  • Content ideation process.
  • Content creation formula.

These two concepts are the most important levers you have to make sure your content marketing program is successful.

Content Ideation (a.k.a. Clarifying Your Ideas)

The content ideation stage is one of the cornerstones of good content. Marketers often tend to rush the ideation stage in order to get plenty of content out.

The risk though is that by spending too little time on developing their ideas, they may end up having all their time wasted when their content fails to make a mark.

To perfect the production of good content ideas, adopt the following habits in your content creation process:

  • Write down your content ideas: As Mark Traphagan suggests in 4 Ways to Generate Fresh Ideas for Blog Posts, you must get in the habit of jotting notes: “…you need to develop the habit of jotting down anything and everything that might possibly stimulate a future blog post idea.”
  • Take your time with content ideation: As Julia McCoy notes in 5 Crucial Content Creation Tactics You Might be Missing Out On, there are many ways to generate ideas, “varying from consulting sites like Quora, to polling users, or scanning a content analysis service like BuzzSumo for the most-shared content in your industry. It’s important to have a large pool of topic ideas in order to organize an actual content plan down the road.”
  • Make sure you topics will be interesting to your audience: As Ben Wood suggests in Using Competitor Research for Your Content Ideation, a little competitor research can tell you a lot, including: which pieces of content are being shared the most in your industry; trending industry topics and themes; what types of content earn links for your competitors; who follows your competition and what they tend to share; and what types of content big brands in your industry are using.
  • Fine-tune your idea with tools: As Vikas Agrawal points out in Top 15 Tools That Will Help You Create Better Content, “content development is an art that requires mastery of the tools of the trade.” Use these tools to help create content that is better than anything on the topic currently available.

To offer really good and deep content, you have to spend more time on the ideation process through all of the above stages.

Your content ideation is also strongly tied to the content creation formula you choose.

Your Content Creation Formula

When we look at brands that use content successfully to market themselves, we’ll often notice that they follow a specific formula.

The elements of a content formula, according to Jimmy Daly, are:

  • Channel: Where you will engage your audience.
  • Cadence: The rate at which you can produce quality content.
  • Perspective: Your unique point of view regarding the topic.
  • Tone: The way you make people feel.
  • Execution: Whether you meet the expectations you’re setting.

Often the formulas we follow are dominated by what we see others doing well and what is being shared by people on social media.

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Using an established formula may never lead us to recreate the success of those who came up with it in the first place, though.

Daly argues that all too often content across different brands within the same industry tends to follow the same formula. Usually those who come up with the formula are those who succeed with it because they have the time to perfect and exploit it.

Meanwhile, everyone else is just attempting to replicate their success endlessly, yet never quite making it.

The problem is not with using formulas in the first place but rather about properly assessing whether the situation we are in calls for following or creating a formula.

He suggest the following approach to thinking about content creation process:

“If a formulaic approach can work, do it. But if a formulaic approach turns your blog into a commodity, you need to differentiate.”

So when should you follow a formula and when should you differentiate?

When to Follow a Formula

According to Daly, following an established formula is best when your competitors are weak or the market you are in is new.

In this case, you can successfully capture your audience through content by improving an already established formula that’s not “owned” by anyone in your market.

The key is to outpace your competitors by improving on the formula. Your mastery should be so great that you are seen as owning the formula.

While this approach is not particularly provocative, it can build up to guarantee a strong stream of organic traffic for your website.  This is the approach AdEspresso used to become one of the leading sources on Facebook advertising.

When to Create a Formula

you vs. competition chart

When you are up against many strong opponents, it can be hard to improve on an already established formula. This is when you may need to consider taking a risk, and trying out something entirely different — a formula that breaks the mold.

By trying out new possibilities within these elements, you can find a voice and approach that will be unique to you, and make you stand out.

As Ginny Mineo puts it: in finding your own formula you may establish that only blogging is not enough or that you need to consider shifting your strategy toward different content channels.

While creating your own formula carries risk because you will be entering uncharted territory, it may prove to be more productive in the long run since you will not be competing with others who are doing the same thing.

It may take a while for you to establish your formula. It took Buffer a few years, yet by staying focused and building on their content over time, their approach is still delivering huge amounts of traffic on a monthly basis.


If it is increasingly becoming harder to achieve business goals through content marketing, then you need to rethink what you are doing.

Two central aspects of content marketing that are important in this process are the ideation stage and the content formula.

The former is the stage in which you develop, research, and refine your ideas, and the latter is the framework you use when putting those ideas onto paper.

Honing your content creation skills by working on all stages of the ideation process, and carefully choosing the formula to follow can help your content outshine your competition and meet the goals you are setting.

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Survey Shows Real Cost of Bad Local Data: Loss of Trust, Revenue

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Location pins map

One of the persistent questions in local is what happens when citation data is incorrect: is there a real-world cost to bad location data? Recent survey data points to lost trust and potential lost revenue.

Last month I wrote a post about a personal experience with Macy’s Furniture Store. Bad information in Google Maps directed me to the incorrect location and I didn’t buy a couch or chairs as a result:

I was fully prepared to buy multiple items, based on my earlier review of the catalog, provided I liked them in person. So this is a lost sale for Macy’s — probably worth at least $1,000. I was likely to have spent $500 (on one chair) and could easily have spent more than $1,500 on a couch and a chair.

A recent consumer survey from BrightLocal offers further evidence that bad location data frustrates consumers and may cause them to seek competitive alternatives. The survey found that:

  • Bad local data frustrates consumers (93%)
  • It causes people to lose trust in a business (80%)
  • A majority (68%) would be inclined to not use a local business in the event of bad information

What kinds of bad data? The following chart shows the most common problems people encountered.

BrightLocal survey

There are some age and gender differences in the survey results. For example, men are less forgiving of online errors and those in the 18 – 34 age cohort are least likely to pick up the phone and confirm business information if they suspect it’s incorrect online.

However, there are differences between what people report in a survey and what they actually do in the world. Reactions to bad data and the degree to which people make an effort to find the business are often dependent on the category/intended purchase and the degree of need. There will also be differences if people are seeking a specific business or doing a category search.

Behavior and follow-up effort will vary and the BrightLocal survey doesn’t reflect those differences. It largely captures abstract reactions, free of specific examples or context. Nonetheless, it does reflect that bad location data won’t go unpunished by consumers.

An online survey I conducted in early 2013 (n=2K+ consumers) included similar high-level questions; among them:

Has local information you found online later turned out to be incorrect?

  1. Never happened — 37.5%
  2. Happened to me once or twice — 35.2%
  3. Happens often — 15.6%
  4. Happened multiple times (up to 5) — 11.7%

What is your typical reaction if local business information you find online turns out later to be wrong?

  1. Try again to find the correct info — 23.3%
  2. I won’t trust that source again — 22.2%
  3. Look for another merchant — 14.4%
  4. I’m angry because I wasted my time — 10.8%
  5. I’m not upset, people make mistakes — 9.1%

Here’s what BrightLocal survey respondents said they would do in response to bad online information.

BrightLocal location data

In the chart above, 41% said they would either abandon the search for the specific business or find an alternative. In my 2013 survey, 14% said they would “look for another merchant.” My survey didn’t offer the same array of choices and had I, it might have yielded more “find an alternative” types of answers. The way questions are designed will impact findings.

But what you can probably say in comparing the results is that the “intensity” of responses to bad data seems to have increased in the five years between my survey and the BrightLocal survey, although we don’t have a direct “apples to apples” comparison.

At least in some meaningful number of cases, which again will be category and need dependent, people are reacting to bad data by seeking out alternative merchants or abandoning their search for the specific business entirely.

Rather than focusing on the SEO impact of inconsistent or incorrect data, what business owners and their vendors should be concerned about is negative real-world consquences: lost sales.

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