Empower Your Brand! Mastering the Art of Facebook Strategy at #SMX Social

Posted in SMX, Social Media Marketing

Welcome back to aimClear’s coverage of SMX Social, the “social” conference of Search Marketing Expo! We made it to the beautiful Aria Resort & Casino just in time to catch a session on Winning Fans & Boosting Facebook Engagement, featuring Karianne Stinson, Director at Mediabrands Publishing and Shelly Kramer, Founder and Chief Imagination Officer at V3 Integrated Marketing and Social Media Agency, moderated by one of our all-time faves and former aimClearian, Lauren Litwinka.

First up, Karianne explores data driven Facebook – how to optimize content and improve your Facebook strategy. Karianne has worked in the marketing, PR and social space in a handful of different roles for over a decade now, and no doubt she knows her stuff!

So let’s talk about how Facebook used to be (ah, the good ol’ days!)

In the early days, you often talked (or typed) in third person. It was all about the person and what YOU were doing. In the beginning, businesses didn’t have the ability to have a page like they do now, in fact it had to be a profile like a person. It is kind of awkward to be friends with the bar down the street, Karianne jokes. The point is, Facebook has come a long way and brands have had to adjust to that. It’s not enough to just have a presence, you need to think about the goals, strategy and what you want to accomplish as a company.

There are three common mistakes businesses marketers make on Facebook:

  1. Not tailoring your strategy to your particular audience
  2. Once your strategy is written, believing it is done and final
  3. Not paying attention to the data

Pay attention to your audience and not generic industry recommendations. For example, the infographics for the best time to post on Facebook? C’mon. What if your audience is in the west coast or the east coast? What if your brand is global? If you have people in Asia, are they going to see something you post at 8AM EST? THINK about those time zones, they are important. Look at those infographics as a whole. 9AM where? That doesn’t apply when you have a global brand. You need to know where your audience is and when they are online.

Karianne adds, it is good to know what the industry is saying, but make sure you tailor it for your audience. Facebook changes quickly and your strategy should keep up! You need to pay attention to what is happening so you can be aware of, well, uh, what is happening. You don’t want to change everything. Pay attention to what your audience wants to see.

Pay attention to the data and what it says about your audience. Just because YOU love it, doesn’t mean it is right for your audience. Pay attention to what your audience wants and have analytics set up for that, to know what is working.

Facebook Insights – use it!

According to Karianne, Facebook Insights has gotten a lot better and is actually, (pause) giving insight. WHAT an amazing concept.

So, what should you do now?

  • Audit your page to get a baseline – where is your page right now? Followers, likes, activity, engagement, etc., look at it now and see what is working. Take a look at the last 6 months; find a couple good months to gather intel. Pull from Insights!
  • Test your content type, content topic and time. Do images work best? Links? Status updates?
  • Modify your strategy based on your results. Try and incorporate into your strategy.

So let’s dive into a Facebook Insights overview, like Karianne mentioned earlier, this platform changed greatly recently.

The biggest change was phasing out PTAT (People Talking About This).

Overall likes – check out the trends of likes. Look at the peaks and valleys – ask yourself, what is causing likes? Click into the places where the likes are coming from and review the content. Check out reach, visits –what are the goals? Make sure the strategy and tactics match. Take a look at the posts – types of posts and how they are doing on reach and engagement. The new Insights allows you to more easily see statistics on each post – how many people saw it, liked it and negative feedback which is helpful for you to know. Ask yourself why is this not resonating with the audience? If thousands loved it and ten didn’t – don’t sweat. Pay more attention to the ratio.


Another great thing, the POST tab. This shows you when your fans are online by day and the time. Click into it and it will show you overall trends and specific details. Figure out when the best time to reach your audience is. Make sure you are doing it at a time when your fans are more likely to see it and engage. Build your posting and schedule around that. This is important!


Fans and demographic of fans (people tab) shows your fans, people reached and demographic. Pay attention – are you really trying to target who is engaging or do you need to have more of a balance? Pay attention to content that is engaging.

Test for content type, content topic and posting time.

  • Have a data driven Facebook strategy.
  • All of these elements need to come together to be part of the strategy.
  • Take into consideration your goals and what you are trying to accomplish. Consider these elements so you are reaching the people you want to.
  • Test with a client.

So let’s go beyond Facebook Insights

It is hard to see how you measure against competitors to get a competitive view. Karianne recommends checking out other tools –  Simply Measured and Shareablee are some of Karianne’s faves.

Shareablee is a social loyalty platform where you can compare your brand to the category, where on the other hand Simple Measured is a competitive report to see how your content is doing against competitors.

So what to do next…

  • Optimize
  • Collect
  • Measure
  • Test
  • Analyze what you get and put it back into your plan.

Pay attention to your audience! Do those things, then you will be successful.

Thanks, Karianne, for a great presentation. So much good information to take home with us!

Up next, Shelly, is ready to talk about the B2B side of things and the importance of location pages in your Facebook strategy.

So what’s going on? There are 4.75 billion pieces of content shared daily. It is interesting how things have changed in such little time. Reason is…these devices. Shelly holds up her phone. It’s our lifeline. No barrier to information.

Google’s Moment of Truth Research surveyed tens of thousands of consumers across many categories.  In just one year, they needed twice as much information before buying the same stuff. Why? Mobile devices.

No barrier to knowledge. No friction to learning. If you make a bad decision, you are just lazy, because all the information to make a good one is in your pocket.

How are decisions made?

In the B2B space, buyers contact sales reps only after 70 percent of the buying decision has been made (Sirius Decisions, 2012). Relationships are created with information, not just with people.

Shelly’s B2B clients like to talk about how awesome they are. They aren’t interested in sharing content that serves their audience. “We are awesome, buy our product.” This is not going to work! If we do that, we will fail. When Shelly talks to clients, this is the stuff she hammers home for them. Being useful makes you the differentiator and gets you in front of the competition.

You don’t want to just take the call. We want to vet you. Do your homework! We do not want to talk to you until we are there. Take that into consideration. Relationships with your clients are created with information.

In the B2B space, you don’t start with social or content. If you do, you will lose. Simple as that. Start with data.

Start with a competitive analysis

  • What are we doing?
  • What are our competitors doing?
  • What kind of content are they creating?
  • Where do we have opportunities?
  • Where do we suck?
  • What can we realistically handle?

If most of the competitors are doing a horrible job, this allows you to be innovative!

Prospects + social

  • Who are your prospects?
  • What are they doing?
  • Where do they hang out?
  • What do they talk about?
  • What language do they use?
  • What do they need?
  • How can we serve them?

Marketers today are terrible about thinking about their customers. Instead, they are focused on telling you to buy this or that and not stopping long enough to ask what do our customers need. Key to success!

What do high growth companies do differently?

They focus on…

  • Creating content
  • Smart SEO
  • Connecting social media to business initiatives and utilizing them
  • Email marketing (building and using their list)
  • And the fact that Data Drives Strategy

What do high growth companies find most effective?

  • SEO
  • Creating content (blogging)
  • Focus on data
  • Email marketing
  • Creating more content (whitepapers, eBooks, newsletters, case studies)
  • Social media channels

When your clients say they have to be on Facebook and no attention is given to content to feed those channels to lead buyers back to a sale, you are wasting your time. It happens all the time. Being on Facebook, to be on Facebook, is not a strategy.

Wake Up Call!

Successful B2B businesses realize that effectively selling their products or services requires them to go beyond traditional marketing and face-to-face selling or interacting. They need to adapt. Adapting means utilizing the web, content and social media.

Marketers have to understand face-to-face selling is gone.

So why Facebook?

Let’s talk about SMBs and what they need. Greatest challenge for anyone, really – find customers and serve them.

SMBs concerns…

  • Finding customers
  • Dealing with the competition
  • Managing costs
  • Developing new products + services

Ask your customers what they need – brilliant idea!

SMBs + Social

To learn first about new products and services, here is where they go:

  • 28% turn to Google+
  • 27%  turn to Twitter/YouTube
  • 26% turn to LinkedIn
  • 30% turn to Facebook

What that says to marketers is if you are relying on one of those channels alone, 75 percent of your audience is somewhere else. The key to success? Be everywhere.

SMBs Preferences

  • 68% use the web to find information on products and services
  • 58% look for business management advice
  • 59% of SMBs are more likely to visit a vendor website and explore
  • 55% are more likely to buy if a website offers business management advice (and the same is true of what your Facebook content delivers for them.)

If your content is all about how great you are, then you are not giving your audience what they need.

Where to start? Develop a Facebook content strategy.

  • Figure out your tone and audience
  • Analyze your existing assets
  • Figure out what kinds of content you think will work
  • Engineer a content plan
  • Develop a content calendar (not what you will write, instead, which content fits into the plan you’ve engineered)
  • Make a plan to create content to serve customers and prospects
  • Figure out how you will measure success

Engineering a plan is very important – think about who your customers are, when they are online, etc. but also test it. Speak to different places in their buying strategy.

Remember, if you are ever not sure if what you are doing is the right thing – ask yourself, is it good for people? If it is, then you are on the right path. If what you do is for you and for you alone, then good luck.

Social is mobile. Know this. Live this.

  • Facebook 70%
  • Tweetdeck 80%
  • Google+ 30%
  • YouTube 30%
  • Pinterest 35%
  • LinkedIn 35%
  • Twitter 45%
  • Foursquare 100%
  • Instagram 100%


Keep these statistics in mind when developing your overall strategy. If content is not optimized for mobile then you will piss off your audience. Facebook in particular and Twitter – huge mobile audiences!

Facebook is visual!

  • Use high quality images
  • Avoid large file sizes
  • Right-size your images, use rectangles not squares
  • Only post links that are mobile-friendly. You stand to lose over half your social audience over time if you don’t.
  • Link directly to the action that a social post implies. Don’t make your users endure multiple clicks.

Wow, so much fantastic information! But don’t worry, the fun doesn’t stop there. Shelly asks, “Want some case studies?” Um, yes please!

Case Study #1 – Challenge: New Product Rollout


First example, the future of the soda machine. Have you seen one? If so, have you thought, “Holy crap, how does this work”? Shelly adds, “If no one is raising your hand, then you are a bunch of liars.”

The client had to educate storeowners on this new machine. Right there, that’s B2B. What did they do? They created a Facebook presence for these new soda machines where people could come and talk about them, an info-sharing group if you will.

  • Monitor channels for feedback and mentions, identify problems, issues.
  • Teach equipment owners how to operate and maintain equipment and how to teach customers to use them.
  • Make something new, fun!

And the strategy worked out very well.

Case study #2 – Challenge: Don’t Be a Buggy Whip

A company owns bookstores all over the country. Its core customers are students, and there are  900+ campus stores with no brand-specific identity. The company has 2.7B in annual revenue. Social media was a HUGE business challenge. What they needed to do?  Develop a way they could have local Facebook pages for each bookstore with the face of their brand in that market. Get students intrigued, engaged, etc. What did they do?

Well, they created local pages, streamlined communication, learned from one another and created libraries of “top posts.”

Use your data so you can see content that resonated most and create a library that can be shared so that others can reach it and use it. The way this particular system was set up made for less lost assets. They were not relying on one or two people.

Case Study #3 – Corporate vs. Franchise

Applebees discovered rogue Facebook pages in local markets. Instead of running out and putting the kibosh on them, they watched to see what happened. What came from it? Local pages that streamlined communication were able to learn from one another and capitalize on assets in mass.

Here’s what they learned…

  • Corporate brand page plus 1,550 local pages and 5K+ local users leads to a very rich database (customer service, menu offerings, etc.)
  • 3.8M fans on brand level and 800K connections to fans across local pages, with less than 10% fan overlap.
  • Better targeting, more personalization, better maximization of marketing spend.

Shelly gives a shout out to Expion for the data from the case studies. “They don’t pay me, I swear. Really valuable, multi-location data.”

“Every bit of focus in 2014 should be local, local, local and not just with Facebook,” she stressed.

Even if you aren’t utilizing a local page yet, design it, create it, and build it because people are checking in and what you might not know is Facebook could have already created a page for you. If you have multi-unit locations, get local pages set up NOW.

Let’s talk #Hashtags…on Facebook.

If you are doing research/competitive analysis, check out hashtags as it relates to your business because there may be data there that you want to use or talk about. If you are doing homework to develop your strategies, doesn’t it make sense to check out what is going on in your market? 

B2B or Local? Advertising pays. Facebook advertising in B2B space is a great way to spend a tiny bit of money to find a targeted audience.

Want to know if it’s working?

Track your success:

  • Most popular content
  • Google Analytics social
  • Newsletter signups
  • Landing page campaigns, email campaigns
  • Integrate social into your CRM
  • Facebook can lead to opportunities, but it doesn’t do you any good if you don’t track them

Putting all your eggs in the Facebook basket is not the way to go. Data drives everything – you should look at it everyday!

Your data is powerful. Make reports that are easy for your clients to read and understand. Google analytics is good. Even for Shelly, data drives strategy. Look at data and see what worked best in certain months. Develop a roadmap for moving forward.

Success with FB? Be Useful

  • Don’t sell. Don’t be an egomaniac. Don’t bore.
  • Act like a person, not a faceless corporate entity.
  • Stalk + emulate
  • Create content for your page that’s worth reading – focus on delivering value.
  • Curate content that further serves your audience.
  • Never underestimate the power of a smile.
  • Understand the importance of connecting social to business initiatives.

For some clients, Facebook is a place for their employees to go talk about things. It is an important internal tool, too.

Get Ahead of the B2B Pack

  • “Feed” your pages with great content – content that is useful.
  • If you have multiple locations, build out location-specific Facebook pages and start using them.
  • Start optimizing your content. Use #hashtags.
  • Treat content + social as part of your lead gen (track it).
  • Experiment with targeted Facebook advertising A/B test. Often.
  • Never stop building your list. You own that.

Community Management

They call it “community management” for a reason. Posting is advertising. Community building takes more than a schedule-it-and-forget-it mentality.

Use Facebook as the brand and go through the stream, have conversations with people, share other content.

Engineer Your Content

  • Support your internal teams with content. Spoon feed them if you have to.
  • Find adopters, make them heroes and they will be your success stories.
  • Never quit asking to be at the table.
  • Track your progress, show results.
  • Try not to say, “I told you so.”
  • Buckle up.

Everybody thinks they are a Facebook expert. It takes a human to master it.

You have to know how to tell a great story, genuinely like people (or act like it), pay attention to them, and regularly deliver content that keeps them coming back for more. Technology can help, but it can’t do it all. Now translate that to a brand.

Shelly, excellent job!

Thank you, ladies for two energetic, informative, stellar presentations. Great session at SMX Social!

Stay tuned for more SMX Social coverage!

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  • Karianne Stinson

    Thank you so much for the comprehensive recap of my presentation. I’m glad you found the information useful!