Category Archives: Social Media

CEOs and Social Media

Posted on: September 18th, 2014 by Kerry McClenahan No Comments

PR Daily posted an article today about the scant presence of CEOs on social media. According to the article, which cites research conducted by CEO.com and Domo, 68 percent of CEOs are not active on social media. Of those who are active, the overwhelming majority are active on one platform only.

As a CEO myself, I get it. The job is demanding and there are never enough hours in the day to do everything I know I should and could be doing to help drive growth, profitability and success for my firm and my team.

To say I’m active on social media would be an overstatement. I tweet once in a blue moon, engage with LinkedIn a few times a month and use Instagram mainly to keep up with my kids. And yes, I completely understand the value of an active social media presence. I don’t need more data to tell me how well it could impact my business. I just need more hours in the day.

I know I’m not alone in that because McBru does a brisk business in persona building. Essentially, we help executives develop and maintain their online personas and establish them as thought leaders via blogs and consistent, personality-driven, and subject-matter-focused social media presence.  We regularly see dramatic increases in Klout scores, followers, fans, engagement of all kinds, plus we hear anecdotally from our clients about new or deepened business relationships that spawn from our work.

Clearly, I need to hire McBru for my own persona building!

An Ice-Cold Marketing Phenomenon with Lessons for Your Next Campaign

Posted on: August 29th, 2014 by Bill McRae No Comments

It’s been the social media sensation of Summer 2014. It’s also a brilliant viral marketing campaign for consciousness raising.

I’m talking about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, of course, where a camera captures your reaction as a bucket of icy cold water is dumped on your head, and is then shared on your favorite social media channel with a challenge to friends or family to do the same—all as a way to increase awareness of ALS.

The Ice Bucket Challenge has been great for expanding knowledge of ALS and boosting charitable donations for the ALS Association (ALSA, www.alsa.org). But I’m not the only professional marketer who has wondered what we can learn from this social media and pop culture phenomenon: In her blog post, Melanie Taylor—a social media strategist at Ogilvy—discusses Five Learnings from the #ALSIceBucketChallenge.

The challenge has gone viral in a remarkably short amount of time—one of the first recorded versions was broadcast on June 30, 2014, on the Golf Channel, according to Wikipedia. In less than two months, the phenomena has circled to globe and earned the participation of celebrities and commoners alike, from Oprah Winfrey to Sarah Palin to the teachers at St. John’s Lutheran School in Lansing, Michigan.

Here at McBru, we even played host to one of our clients as he responded to his own ice bucket challenge.

Ogilvy’s Taylor makes a number of points about how the Ice Bucket Challenge is different from a commercial marketing or branding campaign, but also notes several take-aways that apply “to any brand trying to create a movement.” Several key points:

  • The specific cause matters. The Ice Bucket Challenge didn’t really take off until participants used a call to action, specifically putting the ALS awareness and donation appeal front-and-center of their videos. In fact, there has been intense push-back on social media when ice bucket participants have neglected to mention ALS or ask for donations during their videos.
  • Emotional connection matters. Taylor reminds us that “social media is about storytelling and sharing,” and with a narrative arc that blends a debilitating disease plus friends and celebrities doused in cold water, you have a combo that makes you care and eagerly anticipate your turn to be challenged. Because then you’re part of the story, too. “It’s challenging for brands to reproduce such an emotional experience, but to get this kind of traction, it is essential,” says Taylor.
  • Stunts need time to ramp up. On the one hand, the Ice Bucket Challenge managed to circle the earth in just six weeks. On the other hand, it took six weeks—which would be an eternity if you were a brand marketer and had promised a faster viral timeline to a client. “Most brands don’t employ that level of patience with a program. Instead, they invest in a huge push at launch; and if it doesn’t catch on immediately, it is often deemed a failure,” says Taylor. “True social movements, however, take some time.”
  • When you do the right thing, it resonates. Most of us know someone with ALS, and realize what a devastating disease it is. The Ice Bucket Challenge has taken off because giving money and calling attention to the need for research is, as Taylor notes, “simply the right thing to do. Let’s not forget about it when we move on to the next social media craze.”

Have you taken part in the Ice Bucket Challenge? How did it feel to become personally involved and help propel the cause forward? If you’re a marketer, what lessons have you learned from the campaign? Whether or not you have been doused, donated or are cheering for others, it’s an interesting case study in how to stir interest through a grassroots, organic effort that benefits a worthy cause. And don’t forget to donate to the ALSA!

Can You Beat the Algorithm? Take the Retweet Quiz and Find Out

Posted on: July 14th, 2014 by Bill McRae No Comments

Three computer scientists decided to find out. They created an algorithm that sorts through flows of social media data to determine which of paired tweets (i.e., “two tweets about the same link sent by the same person”) is more likely to be retweeted. The scientists wanted to find out if certain word patterns, phrase lengths, vocabulary choices and other content variables were predictive for which of two tweets on the same subject by the same writer would be retweeted more often.

After running through some 11,000 pairs of tweets, the algorithm got pretty good at predicting which tweet is more retweetable. Pretty good, but not outstanding. According to the New York Times, the algorithm “can guess which tweet gets retweeted about 67 percent of the time, beating humans, who on average get it right only 61 percent of the time.”
The Times developed a 25-question quiz Can You Tell What Makes a Good Tweet? to measure whether humans can beat big data analytics when it comes to guessing which tweets get retweeted. Take the quiz and see how you perform against the algorithm.

Tweet this: [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”@McBru” suffix=””]Can you beat an algorithm at picking top retweets? nyti.ms/1pXx7zK via @m_sendhil Take the quiz and find out[/inlinetweet]

So, if an algorithm can predict retweeting patterns, can we use its insights to write better tweets (assuming that retweeted tweets were better, more engagingly written)? Well, not so much.

The study found that asking for what you want is a good strategy: People are very suggestible. Using the words “retweet” and “please” in tweets resulted in more retweets. Using unusual or novel words or phrases also seemed to be predictive of retweeting. However, once you start reusing attention-grabbing language, it quickly becomes less so: “Once an algorithm finds those things that draw attention and starts exploiting them, their value erodes. When few people do something, it catches the eye; when everyone does it, it is ho-hum.”

It seems that longer tweets are more likely to be retweeted than shorter tweets. Of course, given that this is Twitter, you can push length only so far. And don’t start maximizing tweet lengths with the expectation that you’ll automatically get retweeted more often. The upshot is that longer tweets have more content, and more content is more interesting than less content, so content-rich tweets will get retweeted more often. “So the lesson is not ‘make your tweets longer’ but ‘have more content,’ which is far harder to do.”

Turns out that there’s no secret formula for writing tweets that succeed in getting retweeted. Instead, write creatively about interesting content and you’ll get retweeted more often. That may seem apparent, but writing good tweets takes time, wit, and attention to detail to get right. If you want to win at the retweeting game, then you need to bring your A-game.

Let us know how you did on the quiz – and tell us if you have advice on writing tweets that get retweeted.

Six Myths of Social Sharing: Infographic

Posted on: June 13th, 2014 by Bill McRae No Comments

For a form of communication barely a decade old, social media has already spun up a remarkable number of myths. Many of these sprang from the channel’s early days, when marketers began to use social media to reach audiences through syndication and amplification of content and brand messages. At the time, few analytics-based best practices existed to guide marketers on the basics, such as what time of day—or day of the week—was best for engaging communities with social media content. Or, which age group is most likely to engage with brand content over social media.

This is how the myths began.

RadiumOne, an enterprise advertising platform, produced a study that focused on online and social media sharing behavior. RadiumOne operates the Po.st social sharing and URL-shortening platform—which generates a lot of data on what people share, how they share, and what kind of sharing is the most effective.

“RadiumOne’s sharing and link shortening platform, Po.st, sees millions of content shares and clicks on branded content each and every day,” writes Rebecca Watson on the RadiumOne blog. “By studying sharing data and trends, we know what works and what doesn’t when it comes to brands and publishers maximizing exposure and referral traffic. Our data team has dug into the sharing trends to dispel some common, but inaccurate, assumptions about how consumers share information on the Internet.”

Tweet this: [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”@McBru” suffix=””]6 myths of social media sharing http://bit.ly/ThTV2T via @RadiumOne & @VentureBeat Facts may change how you market[/inlinetweet]

RadiumOne’s findings are presented in a feature article and infographic at VentureBeat. Have a look and discover if your received wisdom about social media sharing is a myth!