7 Facebook Ad Conversion Tips to Increase Your Profits

Disclosure: We sometimes use affiliate links which means that, at zero cost to you, we may earn a commission if you buy something through our links.

For many years, Facebook had a reputation for being a branding tool more than a channel you can use to convert leads. However, thanks to a string of new targeting and ad features – plus some savvy marketing skills – Facebook has matured into a powerful selling tool for bands in every industry.

If you know how to get the best out of these features, you’ll be using Facebook to generate qualified leads and guiding them to the final purchase. Don’t take my word for it, though – try out these seven Facebook ad conversion tips to increase your profits today.

#1: Target soft conversions on the News Feed

Unlike the people you target with AdWords ads, Facebook users aren’t actively looking for products. They’re browsing through their friends’ holiday snaps and watching videos of dogs wearing ridiculous outfits, which means buying intent on the News Feed starts at zero.

So don’t go right for the product sale with all of your ads. Start by target soft conversions (website traffic, email subscriptions, etc.) on the News Feed that you can nurture along the buying process with email marketing, remarketing and the other tactics we’ll be looking at today.

To capture this kind of lead you’ll want to use relatively broad targeting options and messages. Go for visually striking, branded ads with minimal text that play on the basic desires: hunger, lust, escapism, making money, saving money, respect from peers, etc. These are generic but powerful themes that get your brand message across instantly. And this couldn’t be more important when people are quickly scrolling their News Feeds.

In the ad above, Nature Box plays on the most basic of all guilty pleasures: snacking. The message is simple: you know you’re going to do it, so wise up and try out our free trial. It’s a difficult prospect to resist and the image packs a punch with tempting snacks and that “free trial” icon that instantly grabs your attention. The end result is an ad that’s hard to ignore and a message that’s equally difficult to resist, no matter how low buying intent may be.

#2: Layer targeting options to pinpoint buying intent

Facebook’s targeting options are immense, allowing you to pinpoint highly specific audiences that are likely to buy into your brand. Unlike the kind of campaign I was talking about above, which is designed to generate large volumes of soft conversions, these campaigns are going right for the sale.

To make this happen, you’re going to layer targeting options to reach highly focused audiences and create ads specific to them.

Let’s say you’re a travel brand, for the sake of example. Your broad campaigns (like the one I described above) will play on the basic desire everyone has to travel, escape their job and taste luxury. You’ll also be targeting soft conversions with those campaigns – something like signing up for price updates when the hottest deals are available.

However, with this campaign, you’re going to get people booking holidays right now.

By targeting Life Events on Facebook you can reach people who have a wedding coming up; people in the market for a honeymoon. So, instead of generic holiday ads, you target these people with offers for the ultimate honeymoon. Then, you can layer some demographic targeting on top of that to target men who are about to get married, offering them the perfect honeymoon for her.

You’re not done yet, either. You can use interest targeting to pinpoint couples who’ve shown an interest in cruises or other holiday types. The list of targeting options goes on and there’s almost no limit to how specific you can be. The trick is to find that sweet spot where your ads are being seen by enough people to maximise leads, but guarantee they’re qualified with a high possibility of converting.

This is just one example of how you can tailor your products to a highly specific audience and create ads they can’t resist. Mastering Facebook ad targeting is key to everything you do on this network.

#3: Make the most of Facebook advertising objectives

Facebook optimises its ads for a wide range of campaign objectives and you’ll be asked what your advertising goal is as soon as you go to create an ad. This includes a Conversions objective which allows you to target new and previous visitors based on actions they take on your site, in a similar way to AdWords remarketing.

The great thing about the Conversion objective is it allows you to track a wide range of actions users take on your site and use this to place where they are on your sales funnel. With this attribution you can create ads designed to nudge them along the buying process and I’ll be talking about how to do this in more detail shortly.

#4: Optimise your site for conversions

Once a user clicks your ad, that’s traffic you’ve paid for and every lead that slips away hits you in the pocket. This is where your website needs to be optimised for conversions or you’ll be spending your budget on traffic for nothing.

This starts with landing pages that inspire people to take action and you can check out some of our recent posts on landing page best practices for tips on that. Don’t forget most of your Facebook leads will be coming from mobile so having fast, mobile-optimised pages is a must. Pay close attention to your web forms, too, to make sure they’re not getting in the way of conversions. Use a good form optimisation tool to highlight any problems your forms are causing and put them right to minimise the number leads you lose.

#5: Maximise conversions with Facebook Pixel

Facebook Pixel is a tracking code (similar to AdWords cookies) that allows you to track users and target them with remarketing ads. This is how you track user actions through your conversion objectives, wich I mentioned earlier. Facebook Pixel essentially means you can do the following:

  • Conversion tracking: See how successful your ads are by tracking the actions users take after clicking through to your site.
  • Optimise bids for conversions: Automatically adjust your bids so ads show to people who are more likely to convert.
  • Remarketing: Target previous visitors who didn’t convert the first time with remarketing ads.
  • Reach a wider audience: Use Lookalike Audiences to reach people with similar interests as your existing customers and leads.

So the first thing you can do with Facebook Pixel is target previous visitors with remarketing ads – either all of your visitors or people who visit specific pages. You can also target people based on specific actions they take on your site: when they search on your site, add something to their basket, complete a form or buy a product, for example.

This allows you to create highly targeted remarketing ads based on the actions visitors have taken on your site.

Once again, you can take this even further. Using Facebook Pixel and Lookalike Audiences you can target people who have things in common with the people already interacting with your brand. You create an ad for this audience, choose how large you want your Lookalike Audience to be and Facebook takes care of the rest.

#6: Create segmented Custom Audiences

To create a Custom Audience you upload email lists and Facebook finds the accounts of those people, allowing you to target them with ads on Facebook. So you can upload your email marketing lists and target your existing customers and leads, whether they initially came from Facebook or not.

You can then use your Custom Audiences to create more relevant Lookalike Audiences. Instead of simply uploading your entire email list and create a single Custom Audience, upload segmented lists based on the actions people took when they first signed up.

Let’s say you’re in the SaaS business and three of your most important email segments are newsletter subscribers, free trial users and existing customers. By creating three different custom audiences with these email segments you can target subscribers on one list with ads tempting them to sign up for your free trial. Using another list you can target those already signed up by offering discounts for buying the paid version. And, using your third list, you can target existing customers with offers for upgrading to a more expensive package.

So whatever stage of the buying process people on your email list may be, you can use segmented Custom Audiences to nudge them on to the next.

Your Custom Audiences are merely the start of it as well. Once Facebook links your email lists to real-life accounts you can apply all the targeting options you like. So now you’re able to filter out your ideal prospect and create highly specific buying personas. Then you get Facebook to create Lookalike Audiences based on these profiles and the network will find new leads that fit the bill.

#7: Use targeted ads to nudge people along the buying process

All of the tips I’ve covered so far will help you increase your profits but they’re also building up to the big finale. The whole point of targeting soft conversions, using Facebook Pixel and everything else I’ve covered today is so you have the resources in place to move prospects from one audience list on to the next.

What you’re now ready to do is tell Facebook “when user-x does this, move them onto this list and target them with this ad.”

Which means, by creating relevant ads for each stage of the sales funnel, you can target prospects with different ads as they move along the sales process. Best of all, you can effectively automate this process with audience lists so Facebook takes care of the lead nurturing for you. As soon as a user completes the desired action, they’ll be moved onto the next list targeted with your ads to move them on once again.

Putting it all together

Each of the Facebook ad conversion tips in this article will help you increase profits in their own right. But, by putting them all together, you’ll have a solid Facebook strategy that grabs leads at the earliest stage of the buying process and moves them along each step with targeted ads. This is where Facebook comes into its own as an advertising platform and, if you can get your head around the extensive targeting options available, you’ll pretty much be running the show.

5 Best B2B Lead Generation Strategies (That Work in 2017)

Disclosure: We sometimes use affiliate links which means that, at zero cost to you, we may earn a commission if you buy something through our links.

When it comes to B2B lead generation, what really impacts the bottom line?

In this post, we’re going to talk about how one health-tech company generated a 5,100% ROI from a $1 million integrated online marketing campaign. We’ll also look at how a major accounting firm generated $1.3 billion in pipeline revenue from content marketing.

But before we jump into the case studies and discuss specific strategies, it’s important that you get the foundations right and ensure that you’re able to capture and convert a large percentage of leads from your campaigns.

Avoiding the leaky bucket effect

Many B2B marketers spend a lot of time, metaphorically, pouring water into leaky buckets. Rather than fixing the bucket (the marketing funnel), they pour more water (traffic) into the bucket to keep it full.

This is a recipe for inflated acquisition costs and below-average results.

The biggest culprit here are landing pages and, in particular, your forms. Forms separate your leads from non-leads, and have a huge impact on your conversion rates and overall lead generation results. If you haven’t already, I’d recommend optimising your forms – or using a tool like Leadformly to ensure that you’re not leaving leads behind from your marketing campaigns.

Let’s say you send 1,000 visits to your landing page at a cost of $3 per visit. If your form converts at 1% you’ll get 10 leads at a cost per lead of $300. If, on the other hand, your form converted at 3%, you’d receive 30 leads at a cost per lead of $100.

That’s 3X more leads for one third of the cost per leads without spending a penny extra – just by improving your lead generation form.

Leadformly

Once your funnel is well-optimised and you’re confident that there’s no more opportunity to improve your landing pages / funnels, it’s time to acquire traffic – but which channels or lead generation strategies should you use?

Which B2B lead generation strategies work?

The answer to this question depends on who you ask.

If we were to go by Hubspot’s study of the best B2B lead sources, we’d conclude that SEO is the best (identifiable) lead generation channel.

B2B lead sources

If, on the other hand, we used Chief Marketer’s data on the same question, we’d conclude that email marketing is the most effective channel for B2B lead generation. Needless to say, there are similar surveys reporting that social media and content marketing are also the most effective forms of B2B lead generation.

B2B chief marketer stats

Why so much variation?

The likely answer is to do with audience biases. A survey conducted by an email marketing provider is almost certainly going to have different results to one conducted by PPC management tool, as their audiences have different skillsets and biases, skewing the results of their sample. As such, we should take the specific ranking of different strategies in these studies with a pinch of salt.

Inconsistencies aside, the online strategies that consistently come out at the top are:

  • Email marketing
  • Search marketing
  • Social marketing
  • Content marketing

 
We’ll look at each these in more depth in a moment, but bear in mind that how you use a lead generation channel is more important than what lead channel you choose.

Twitter can be used to close a $250,000 lead for a B2B business, or it can be used to spam potential leads and tarnish a brand. So, while the channel/strategy you choose will play a large role in how effective your lead generation is, how you execute your campaign will play an even bigger role.

With this caveat out the way, let’s look at some of the ways that B2B companies are using the four strategies listed above to generate impressive results.

5 Ways to Generate B2B Leads Online

In this section, we’ll cover the four strategies outlined above, as well as a strategy that hasn’t been mentioned in any of the studies, yet it enabled one B2B company to generate a 5,100% ROI from a $1 million investment.

First though, let’s talk about one of the oldest strategies in online marketing: email marketing.

1. Email Marketing

Email marketing is one of the few online marketing channels that has stood the test of time. In fact, email is 23 years old this year, and it still trumps the top spot on many B2B marketer’s lists of B2B lead generation strategies.

One of the biggest trends in email marketing at the moment, that has generated great results for many B2B businesses, is marketing automation.

Not sure what the fuss about marketing automation is? Read this. In short, marketing automation tools are effectively hybrid email marketing tools that connect with your CRM to enable you to automatically send highly targeted emails to leads that are personalised specifically to them.

When Thomson Reuters upgraded to a marketing automation solution, their revenue increased by 172%. Another company increased their revenue by 832% (going from $80,000 in debt to $2 million in revenue) in just three years.

While traditional newsletters and email marketing are still important, the ability to capture more data on users and use behavioural-triggers has enabled B2B marketers to get a lot smarter with how they target users in the inbox.

2. Content Marketing: From Blogging to Microsites

By creating a total of 48 infographics, videos, and Q&A blog posts targeting C-level prospects of large market cap financial institutions, the public accounting firm Crowe Horwath generated $250,000 in revenue attributed to content marketing.

If 6-figure growth doesn’t get you excited, perhaps 10-figures (a billion) will.

In 2012, Xerox created a microsite offering relevant tips to business owners. The result? 70% of the companies targeted interacted with the microsite, adding 20,000 new contacts to their pipeline, 1,000+ of which scheduled appointments. The value of those appointments exceeded $1.3 billion in pipeline revenue.

Given the broad scope of content marketing, a good question to ask is what type of content should B2B companies be focusing on to generate leads?

Well, you could go by which tactics are most commonly used by other B2B companies (displayed below). The risk of this approach is that, by definition, you’ll be doing what everyone else is doing.

B2B content marketing

While there is some wisdom in following trends, there’s a good argument to do exactly the opposite of what other marketers are focusing on.

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” – Mark Twain

Whether you’re a contrarian marketer or prefer to stick to what’s working for others, a good content marketing strategy requires a degree of diversity and experimentation to understand where the biggest growth opportunities are for your business.

So, by all means, experiment with the common and uncommon tactics. Whether you use microsites, blogging, research reports, or infographics, the important thing is to test what does and doesn’t work so that you can gradually refine your lead generation over time.

3. Search Marketing

Organic search marketing is arguably one of the most valuable long-term strategies for generating B2B leads.

About 5-6 years ago, I was working on the SEO campaign for a major business stationery brand. It was one of my first ‘big campaigns’ that I was allowed to manage in my previous job.

While I can’t take the credit (their in-house SEO team and previous agencies had laid a great foundation for us), I watched the site’s revenue from SEO increase by over £4 million, just from a handful of keywords reaching #1 on Google.

Getting to #1 in Google is a lot harder today than it was five or ten years ago, and it can barely be summarised in a few sentences.

If I were to attempt it, though, I’d probably say that good SEO in 2015 is largely a bi-product of doing things well in other areas e.g. design, conversion rate optimisation, content marketing, and social. While there are exceptions, this is increasingly looking like the rule.

4. Social Media

Calling social media an effective B2B lead generation strategy is a controversial discussion to be starting.

While social media scored very well on both of the aforementioned ‘studies’, we can just as easily find reports where social media channels are regarded as the least effective lead generation strategies.

B2B lead generation

The bottom line is, social media isn’t inherently a poor channel for B2B lead generation. The reason social media is sometimes rated poorly on these aggregate studies is because most B2B companies have an ill-fitting social media strategy, to put it politely.

While tens of thousands of companies blast out self-promotional drivel, a minority of businesses use it generate and nurture millions of dollars worth of leads. In this instance, it’s best to learn from the minority rather than the majority.

One of the most obvious ways to generate B2B leads from social media is using LinkedIn. An commodity risk management company managed to generate over $2 million in pipeline value through their lead generation strategy.

Another consideration is that social media is an integral part of content marketing, and to some extent, search marketing. How successful will your blogging or infographics be if no one’s following your company’s updates on social media?

5. Integrating it all together

It’s said that success leaves clues. Well, when a $37 billion company generates a 5,100% return on investment on a million-dollar marketing campaign, it might be a pretty good clue.

From a $1 million investment in an integrated marketing campaign that included display ads, email marketing, campaign websites and content marketing, the healthcare technology company Optum generated $52 million in new business.

So, what’s the clue?

I believe it’s this: exceptional lead generation results come from a relentless willingness to experiment with different tactics, and to combine tactics across multiple channels.

Only by experimenting, can you truly know what does and doesn’t work, and when you know this, you can use your time and budget more effectively to generate higher returns on your investment, and better lead generation results overall.

I hope this post has given you some inspiration on what’s possible with B2B lead generation, and which areas are best to focus on. As always if you have any questions, or are interested in getting touch, feel free to comment below or drop me an email here.

How to Get More Twitter Followers: 30 Tips for 30 Days

Disclosure: We sometimes use affiliate links which means that, at zero cost to you, we may earn a commission if you buy something through our links.

Getting more Twitter followers is simple; It’s a matter of knowing which methods work, and which ones don’t. That, however, isn’t always the simplest of tasks.

Get more Twitter Followers

I’ve created this 30 day guide to give you a range of different tactics and strategies for boosting your Twitter following. Eachh day has its own task to perform taking anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. Follow this guide, and I assure you that your Twitter tribe will multiply several times over.

Day 1: Define your Twitter goals.

No, it isn’t the most exciting task in the world, but it’s nevertheless something that you need to do. Define your Twitter goals: what do you want to get out of your Twitter marketing campaign? More traffic? More revenue/sales/customers?

Make sure that your goals are measurable and time-sensitive. E.g. I want to drive 1000 visitors to my website via Twitter in 3 months. 

Day 2: Make your Twitter profile compelling

How you setup your Twitter account is crucial to your success on the platform. Your Twitter profile picture, cover & background images, and description say a lot about your brand. Make sure you go for a profile picture that stands out so that your tweets will be easily visible in your followers’ news feed.

Your cover & background images should define what you do: your work in the industry, your value proposition, etc.

Day 3: Find & follow 100+ active, popular accounts in your niche.

Most social media gurus are fully against following people just so that they’ll follow you back, and I entirely agree. The result of that technique is a bunch of followers who are just “paying” you back and really aren’t interested in your tweets.

However, you need to have valuable content to retweet to your followers. To find that sort of content, you need to follow people who tweet it.

Day 4: Create a Twitter landing page.

A Twitter landing page is basically a webpage you direct your Twitter followers to. Landing pages custom-made just for your Twitter profile is a beneficial, yet often overlooked tactic to grow your following.

Setup a page that talks specifically about your brand with relevance to your Twitter profile. It should say why people should follow you, what you tweet about, etc. And remember to keep it short & punchy — people used to digesting info in 140 characters or less won’t take too kindly to 1500 words of boring self-promotion.

Day 5: Find out the best time to tweet to your followers with Social Bro.

Just like with blogging, your timing is in important factor in the exposure and reach of your content. You need to make sure you’re getting the biggest bank for your content — for that, use Social Bro.

Social Bro is a premium Twitter management tool, and one of its many impressive features is its ability to research your audience and gauge the perfect time for you to send out your tweets. This feature comes integrated with both HootSuite and Buffer.

Day 6: Setup Buffer and Swayy and start scheduling tweets.

Buffer & Swayy are my two favourite auto-tweeting tools. Buffer is pretty much a standard tweet scheduling service (as already mentioned, it comes integrated with Social Bro’s best time to tweet feature).

Swayy is a Tweet curation platform: based on your followers and who you follow, Swayy researches your industry to find trending content on the web that you can then schedule and share to your followers (like Buffer, it isn’t limited to just Twitter either).

Day 7: Research trending hashtags with Hashtagify.

Hashtag-ResearchThe hashtag phenomenon that revolutionised Twitter way back in ’09 can be a great visibility booster when exploited correctly.

When you add hashtags to your tweets, you need to make sure that they are relevant to your audience, up-to-date, and trending. In short, you need to do some serious research.

Hashtagify.me is one tool that takes most of legwork out of that process. You can search one popular hashtag in your industry (e.g. #seo), and Hashtagify will display a number of relevant popular tags.

Day 8: Use Social Crawlytics to find your competitors’ most popular content.

Social Crawlytics is a neat tool that will analyse a website’s most popular content (social media wise) and show it to you. It’s a great way to find content that is currently trending in your niche — content that will resonate well with your followers when you tweet it out.

Analyze 2-3 of your top competitors, create a list of their most popular content, and steal their ideas to create similar content.

Day 9: Create the content.

Use the information you gathered in day 8 and build your content around similar topics. Create the content and schedule it for publishing.

Once it’s live on the Internet, share it to your Twitter account. But hold on — don’t put it away, because we’re not done with it yet by any means.

Day 10: Ask 10 people to share the content.

Go back to your Social Crawlytics report of your competitors’ most shared content (that you “stole”). Next, find the people who shared that blog post, then reach out to them and ask them to share it with their audience.

Here’s how: Google the following keyword: site:twitter.com [insert-url-of-competitor-content-here]

Twitter Follower ResearchIf you did it correctly, you should have a listing of tweets people sent out containing that link. Reach out to 10 tweeps in that selection with the largest audiences, tell them about your new, up-to-date content (preferably via email or another private medium), and ask them to share it.

This process is way too tedious and will be counter productive if you try to reach out to every single profile that tweeted the link, so make sure you’re only concentrating on the big fish and you’ve got a template email to use.

Lastly, remember to make sure that they include a “via @yourhandle” in their tweet. Otherwise, your actual profile won’t increase in follower count, although your posts will in social signal count.

Day 11: Ask your allies to share the content.

Email friends in the industry, or people who’ve posted on a similar topic to you and tell them and ask them if they’d like to share your content.

Often, since they’re likely to be on the lookout for quality content to tweet, they’ll share it without thinking twice, which increases your Twitter profile’s visibility. Again, make sure you’re using a template email.

Day 12: Get other popular bloggers to share it.

Same story – we’re still sharing the same content.

After reaching out to your allies and their followers, it’s time to reach out to other popular bloggers about your (soon-to-be) popular content. Tell them that you’ve got content on XYZ topicc that’s relevant to their audience, and ask them if they’d like to share it. Email at least 20 bloggers in your niche (use templates), and watch your follower count increase.

Hint: It never hurts to namedrop. If you’ve already got one big-name brand/blog to share it, include that in your email as social proof.

Day 13: Gather a list of 20 current events to tweet about.

One of the ways you stay on top of the Twitter game is by being current and up to date. If you’re sharing content from 2007 all the time, you’re doing something wrong. Very wrong.

Gather 20 pieces of current content in your industry, and schedule them (preferably spaced out to 1-2 per day) for tweeting.

Day 14: Hold a contest.

There’s nothing like an incentive to get more people to do something. Up till now, you’ve been asking people to do something for you … but there’s really very little in it for them.

Hold a contest, and that will change.

Give people a chance to win something valuable in exchange for a tweet, and you could easily be watching your Twitter account go viral.

Day 15: Personally thank everybody who has so far retweeted you.

You won’t have enough time for this once you have hundreds of thousands of followers and numerous retweets per tweet, but for now, this is a great technique to build relationships with your followers.

Just tweet a “thank you for sharing” back to their retweet. Not only does it make them feel warm and fuzzy inside, but it also makes them more likely to retweet your content again, increasing your profile’s exposure to their audience.

Day 16: Setup automated direct messaging.

Are direct messages sometimes annoying? Yes, they are.

Does that mean you should rule them out completely as a Twitter marketing strategy? Of course not.

Automatic Direct Messaging TwitterSignup to Twitter DMer (100% free), and setup an automatic direct message that links to your squeeze page. You’ve only got 140 characters, so make it count: don’t make it over salesy. Try to be a little personal.

Day 17: Find 10 popular blogs with huge Twitter accounts and regularly favorite/retweet their tweets.

Get together a list of popular blogs in your industry (preferably solo-owned) with very active, very popular Twitter accounts. Favorite or retweet their tweets regularly — you should be retweeting or favoriting at least one of their tweets daily.

This gets them thinking about you — they notice you because you stand out of the crowd because of your consistency (and besides — you’re flattering them immensely). When you create a tweet, there’s a chance that they’ll retweet it out to their followers.

And then magic happens.

Day 18: Use Trendsmap to find real-time local Twitter trends.

Trendsmap

Another fantastically useful Twitter marketing tool, Trendsmap helps you find trends on Twitter according to your location — quite a helpful tool if you run a brick-and-mortar business and you’re looking to stay on top of things in your location.

Unfortunately, Trendsmap doesn’t dig too deep location-wise (as of right now), so you’ll have to settle for trends according to state or major city.

Day 19: Embed your Twitter handle & profile link in company email signatures.

When you email someone (or when someone emails you), that means that you two know each other. You might not be besties, but you are acquainted.

Trust me — converting acquaintances into Twitter followers is a whole lot easier than converting those who had no idea that you existed until three seconds ago.

Embed a link to your Twitter profile in each of your company’s email signatures. Those annoying support tickets are now finally good for something. :)

Day 20: Create and/or curate images for tweeting.

It’s official: tweets with images get way more retweets than tweets without. Often twice as many (Scion Social).

Get your graphics team to create a few images for some of the tweets you send out. Obviously, if you create an image for every tweet, this can get pretty expensive pretty quickly, so the alternative is to curate images … which can also get a bit finicky with the various image licenses.

Debra Eckerling at Social Media Examiner has a great post on 15 resources that talk about finding images for social media posts.

Day 21: Hang up promotional banners in your office.

That’s right. Twitter marketing doesn’t just have to be online you know — you can even take it to your company office and see some pretty decent results.

Hang up posters/banners for example in waiting rooms, offices, etc. that showcase your Twitter handle (include your profile URL as well).

Day 22: Promote your Twitter account at speaking conferences.

Snagged a speaking gig at Tedx (or anywhere else, for that matter)? Use it to your Twitter advantage!

When you close your speech, drop in a line about your Twitter account. You might be able to get some leaders in your industry to follow and eventually retweet you.

Day 23: Leverage your existing relationships.

Everybody knows somebody. Ever chatted on Skype with someone who has a popular Twitter account in your niche? Maybe exchanged a few emails, or even a phone call?

Leverage that existing relationship, and get them to share your content to their audience. This technique is grounded in the principle we discussed about how people who know you are more likely to be interactive with you on Twitter.

Day 24: Repost your most popular tweets.

Thus far, you should have been able to send a hundred plus tweets out, and you should have been able to see at least some interaction.

Find the tweets that were most popular with your audience — highest retweets & favs — and then retweet them to your Twitter account word for word.

Make sure you post them at a different time than when your original tweet was sent out so that those who saw it the first time aren’t very likely to see it again.

Day 25: Promote your Twitter account on your blog.

Hopefully by now, you have several hundred (or even a thousand if you’ve been hard ad it) followers. Nothing big, but at least there are some there.

Now that you have a start of a Twitter tribe, you can safely promote your Twitter account on your blog without getting ridiculed for having only 7 followers. Try dedicating an entire blog post to “hey, we’re on social media, come follow us!”, and list all your active social profiles, not necessarily just your Twitter.

In your post, give readers a reason to follow you on social media; an incentive. “Staying up-to-date on current events in <insert niche>” is a good incentive, just like “curation of the best blog posts on <insert niche>”.

Day 26: Use SumoMe to create tweetable tips in blog posts.

The brainchild of Noah Kagan, SumoMe is a free suite of Internet marketing tools. One such tool is Highlighter (formerly called Twilighter), and it’s a great way to increase your share count on blog posts and, therefore, your Twitter account’s exposure.

Basically, what the tool does is highlight a specific sentence/phrase in your blog post and show a little icon next to it than when clicked by a reader opens a new tab in their browser where they can tweet the exact phrase (with a link back to the post). Neat, huh?

Here’s what it looks like:

TwiLighterIncidentally, Noah was employee #30 at Facebook, and is responsible for a lot of cool stuff that’s on there; including the revolutionary status update.

Day 27: Auto tweet old blog posts with Tweet Old Post.

Tweet-Old-PostTweet Old Post is a nifty free WordPress plugin that (no prizes for guessing) automatically tweets your old blog posts.

Normally, when you publish a blog post, there’s a buzz around it for a couple days (or even a couple weeks, depending on how often you publish posts). But once a couple others have been published after it, the post can be forgotten. People just don’t see it any more.

Tweet Old Post will change that, ensuring that your evergreen posts get the visibility they deserve.

Day 28: Reply to tweets about your competition.

People often let off steam on Twitter — particularly about certain companies/businesses that they didn’t enjoy dealing with.

Find people who are unhappy with your competition and have tweeted about it, then reply to that those tweets as a helpful Good Samaritan, offering your advice (for free) on anything that went wrong during their experience as a customer with your competition.

Not only is it a great way to gain a few loyal Twitter followers, but the tweep you replied to might even end up becoming a valuable customer of yours.

Day 29: Reply to popular tweets from the biggest Twitter accounts in your industry.

Try to find 10-20 of the biggest Twitter accounts in your niche — ones that command millions of followers and hundreds of favourites & retweets with each tweet they send out.

Then, reply to one tweet from each account. Since each tweet is so popular and viewed by thousands of people, your profile too gets an incredible amount of exposure … for absolutely free!

Day 30: Survey your followers.

The final step in this 30-day serious is to survey your followers. By now, you should enough followers to be able to generate a bit of interest around a survey.

Create a survey that asks your Twitter followers a few simple questions like:

  1. What times are you active on Twitter?
  2. What content topics do you like to retweet?
  3. Which Twitter profiles do you think tweet the most interesting content?

You can use answers from the survey to tailor your Twitter account to make it as appealing to your target audience as possible. To get people to take it, you might have to popularize it on your blog or even offer a small incentive for completing it.

Wrapping Up

Getting more Twitter followers really isn’t an incredibly different puzzle to solve. When you boil it down, the most important things to remember is that you have to tweet content people are actually interested in and you have to do your best to build relationships and really connect with them.

Now go out there, implement this guide in your Twitter marketing campaign, and start getting more followers!

*Featured image courtesy Rosaura Ochoa via Flickr.

Facebook Contest & Promotions Apps – Which One is the Best?

Disclosure: We sometimes use affiliate links which means that, at zero cost to you, we may earn a commission if you buy something through our links.

A couple of months ago, I ran a Facebook contest for a client of ours called FanDistro. In 7 days, we had driven 618 competition entries, and just over 500 people who entered the competition shared it with their friends (thanks to a sharing incentive we added).

All in all, we collected 618 email addresses of artists who might use their service, as well as driving about ~75 extra signups that month. The total cost? $37.

WooBox

When setup correctly, Facebook contests are one of the fastest and most cost effective ways I’ve come across to grow your email list and Facebook engagement.

In this post, I’ll explain some pointers on how to get a good social contest setup, but let’s start off by looking at which Facebook contest app to use.

Out of a pool of maybe 50+ different social contest app services, there are five that I’d recommend considering; Heyo (my favourite), Shortstack, AgoraPulse, Wishpond, and WooBox. I’ll explain the pro’s and con’s of each in more detail below.

Heyo

I’d heard good things about Heyo from a friend who uses them quite extensively to run group deals from his company’s Facebook page. Heyo excels as a social contest platform for a few reasons.

Firstly, their contests look beautiful. Using flat design techniques, their contests are some of the best looking that I’ve seen. For example, this contest by cosmetics company “Trind” highlights the the clean and professional design offered by Heyo.

Trind Screenshot

According to the Heyo Blog, this campaign by Trind received over 2,800 impressions and collected 930 new email leads at a 33% conversion rate.

Secondly, their platform is really simple and intuitive to use. The impression I get is that Heyo’s geared towards business owners who don’t want to be swamped with a lot of process, but want to get a contest page set up and published quickly. Whereas other providers will have you filling out pages of forms to set up your contest page, Heyo’s editor is very visual, which also makes the process of creating your campaign more enjoyable.

Heyo Screenshot

Finally, Heyo also has very simple pricing. They offer a 7-day, full featured free trial (you can keep building contests after 7 days, but you can’t publish). After that it’s just $30/month or $300/year. Their plans don’t have limits on things like Facebook fans or page traffic either, so you won’t have to worry about Heyo raising prices on you as you get more successful. Also, given that Heyo is more focused around building your email list, the magnitude of ROI from this tool is likely to be a fair bit larger (or faster) than some of the other tools.

Wishpond

I first discovered Wishpond when I entered a video contest on the AwesomenessFest Facebook Page to speak at their conference. I was impressed by the app’s setup; the contest app asked for everything at the right moment, and made it incredibly easy to capture my data and make me share.

Awesomeness Fest Wishpond

Impressed by their campaign’s results and Wishpond’s “keep it simple, stupid” approach, I decided to have a play around with their app.

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My first impressions were good. Creating a campaign was really easy, and they had a decent (but not overwhelming) selection of different types of contest to choose from.

Different contest & promotions

One aspect that I really like is that Wishpond give you a selection of well-designed templates to choose from for your Facebook contest. Previously, when I’ve used other platforms I’ve had to get my designer to whip something up in PhotoShop, so the visual editor made that step redundant.

Another pretty unique feature is that you can create Facebook, Google, and retargeting ads from within Wishpond to promote your Facebook contest.

Advertising Wishpond

Finally, as my motivation for running a Facebook contest is often lead generation based, I wanted to have a quick look at their reporting and analytics. This is where some of the social contest services I’ve previously used have fallen down, so I had my fingers crossed that Wishpond had this one nailed as well.

They had. Their reporting is a beautiful combination of simple yet powerful. I could import and export from Aweber, filter entrants by age, gender, location, and even see the top interests of people who’d entered my contest. Most importantly, I could easily segment and download the email addresses of all those who entered my contest.

Wishpond reporting and analytics

So how much does it cost to run a Facebook contest with Wishpond? Like most of the services featured here, they offer a 14-day free trial on all of their plans, which start at $19/month.

Wishpond’s pricing tiers are featured-based i.e. as you pay more, you unlock premium features, such as the ability to use email automation and white-labelling.

Wishpond pricing

While you get all of the important features at whatever price you pay, the thing that stands out for me is that the lead database is only unlocked when you pay for their Pro plan ($44/month). For me, the lead database would be an absolute necessity, so it’s a bit of a shame that I’d have to pay a higher rate just for this feature. That said, at $44/month it’s still an absolute steal when you consider the ROI that a tool like this can have on your mailing list growth and online engagement.

After trying all of the services in this post, Wishpond are the one that stands out the most for me. They’re who we now use for virtually all of our client’s social contests.

If you want to give Wishpond a try, they offer a 14-day free trial here.

Shortstack

Before I came across Wishpond, ShortStack was my go-to tool for running Facebook contests.

Shortstack is one of the most comprehensive Facebook app creators, with a huge variety of features to choose form. There’s a bit of a learning curve when it comes to creating apps on their platform, but once you’ve got the hang of their interface you have a lot of control over how your contest functions.

Shortstack

So let’s start off with creating a contest. Like Wishpond, they do have a selection of templates to use, but unless you want to create something that looks like it was designed in Microsoft Frontpage in 1999, you’ll probably want to design your own.

Once you’ve got your designs ready to go, creating and launching your contest app is relatively simple. While they do have a drag and drop visual editor, I find myself ducking into the CSS/Html quite a lot with ShortStack which is a handy feature if you prefer to design with code.

Shortstack contest designer

So why would you use Shortstack over Wishpond?

Well, in general Shortstack have more features. I like Wishpond due to their simplicity, but if you need to run a contest with maximum flexibility, or for whatever reason, you want to promote your contest with QR codes, or run campaigns that show different content to users in different countries, then Shortstack will most likely give you more control over your campaign.

Depending on the size of your Facebook audience, Shortstack may also work out a little bit cheaper for you.

Unlike Wishpond, Shortstack’s pricing is based on a (somewhat confusing) combination of features and audience size. For example, if you have 30,000 Facebook fans, you are not eligible for their $30/month package. You’d have to go for their $75/month ‘Full stack’ package.

Shortstack pricing

In general, I was happy with Shortstack and they are a very good option for social contests, but their design and processes are just not quite as polished as Wishpond, in my opinion.

AgoraPulse

Admittedly, I had never heard of AgoraPulse until I began researching this post. Most of the spin-offs of services like Wishpond and Shortstack are just copycat platforms aiming to slightly undercut the competition, but not AgoraPulse.

AgoraPulse

While I’d love to hear from some of their users in the comments, the thing that strikes me as unique about AgoraPulse is the depth and intelligence of their reporting system.

As an avid Facebook advertiser, I’ve used plenty of Facebook analytics and management tools in the past, but none quite as intuitive and clever as AgoraPulse.

AgoraPulse ROI

Their reporting seems to be focused around answering two of the most important questions that marketers need to ask; what is/isn’t working, and what’s profitable?

They have an ROI calculation dashboard, as well as deep insights into identifying the best times to post, the best mediums, and best subjects. In some ways this is not the most like-for-like comparison, as AgoraPulse is really a lot more than just a social contest app (they’re a full blown Facebook apps, CRM, and analytics suite), but the reporting looked too good not to feature here.

While I can’t say I’ve built a live app with them, their contest application builder is nice and intuitive, and has most of the options offered by the services above and below.

If you already have a Facebook management and analytics sorted, and are just looking for a solution that does Facebook contests really well, I’d go for Wishpond or Shortstack. However, if you want a central dashboard that brings everything into one place and enables you to setup Facebook contests, then AgoraPulse is worth taking a look at.

Pricing wise, AgoraPulse are very competitive. All of their packages are full-featured, and the different tiers are based on how many pages you want to manage / the size of your Facebook audience.

AgoraPulse pricing

Considering you’re getting awesome reporting, moderation, CRM, and applications to run contests, you can’t really argue with $39/month for two pages and up to 50k fans.

WooBox

Finally, we have WooBox. Despite being quite a popular option for running Facebook app contests, I’ve had mixed experiences with their platform. While the front-end (what you see on their website) is very slick, the backend feels half-done.

Woobox sweepstakes

As far as I can see, there’s no way to change the date parameters in the reporting dashboard (making it impossible to see historical data beyond 30 days), entrant data is really limited, and creating an app is not particularly intuitive. In themselves, these are minor issues, but the cumulation of lots of minor issues is what’s deterred me from using them after the trial campaign I ran with them.

Of course, my experience is only one – and they couldn’t have reached two million users without doing something right, but the overall impression I get from them is that they’ve become a bit complacent with their position in the market.

So why am I including them here? Well, they get a lot of positive reviews and I want to give them the benefit of the doubt in case my experience was a one off. They have a good selection of different promotion types and like Wishpond you can create Facebook ads directly from within your WooBox account.

Woobox pricing

Pricing wise, they have the most complicated system which combines features, number of promotions you can run per month, Facebook audience size, and number of pages.

In summary

To answer the question posed by this article’s headline, I would say Wishpond are the best service for creating Facebook contest apps.

However, it’s clear that we will all have varying requirements and outcomes in mind when it comes to choosing a platform, which is why I think I don’t think there’s such a thing as a complete overall winner.

If you’ve used any other services that you highly recommend for running promotions on Facebook, I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments. Also, if you have any more views on the ones mentioned above I’d be equally interested in hearing about your results, thoughts, and which one you ended up using.

17 Film Marketing Strategies & Ideas to Promote Your Movie or TV Show

Disclosure: We sometimes use affiliate links which means that, at zero cost to you, we may earn a commission if you buy something through our links.

Over the past few weeks I’ve had a number of conversations with people involved in film & TV marketing about how best to use social media to virally promote movies and TV series online.

There are a few things unique about marketing films and TV shows. Timing is incredibly important – you must build up as much hype in the short space of time leading up to and around the launch as possible. Another unique factor is that films and TV shows, by their very nature, are content gold mines – a huge privilege when it comes to crafting a powerful content marketing strategy for an upcoming film or TV show launch.

lionsgate

Unfortunately, movie marketing is not a science, but there are a lot of lessons we can learn from those who have successfully (or unsuccessfully) marketed films & shows before us. Below are 17 strategies, tactics, case studies & ideas for creating an exceptional online marketing campaign for your next movie or TV show.

#1 Do Something Remarkable – The Publicity Stunt

Seth Godin, one of the brightest minds in the marketing world, summed it up perfectly when he said: “by definition, remarkable things get remarked upon”. I am a strong believer that word of mouth is the most powerful form of marketing. If you want to leverage viral marketing of any sorts, you must begin by doing something worth talking about.

When Game of Thrones marketed their latest series in the UK, they erected a bus-sized dragon’s head, appearing to have been washed up on a Dorset beach.

Dragon head

When these guys launched Chronicle, they flew remote controlled humans through New York City, scoring free publicity from hundreds of media outlets. Do something remarkable.

#2 Pre-Roll Video Advertising

Pre-roll video ads are an incredibly effective tool for drumming up interest and seeding your trailer online. They’re relatively inexpensive, and you aren’t charged if the viewer clicks ‘skip’ within the first five seconds. Using a service like TubeMogul you can easily have your trailer appearing before related videos on YouTube, as well as sites like IMDB, 4oD, Vimeo, and many other sites.

The important thing to remember with pre-roll advertising is to give the viewer a call to action i.e. something to do right now. This could be visiting the movie’s Facebook Page and engaging in a social game about the film, or entering a competition to win premiere tickets, or perhaps just going through to the movie’s official website to watch the full-length trailer. Of course, the more interesting you can make it for the viewer the better.

#3 Be Smart With Press Junkets

Press Junkets are one of the movie industry’s most powerful publicity tactics. Essentially, these events fly as many key journalists, critics, and reporters to a location where, over the course of a few days, the press can conduct interviews with all of the main actors and directors from the film.

Be smart with who you invite to your press junket. Don’t limit yourself to journalists – they’re not the only people who can create buzz around your film. While the main journalists and critics will be key, you may also want to experiment with inviting influential bloggers and fans to the event. One tactic may be to run a ‘mini press junket’ in all of the major cities that you’re planning to launch in. This will open up huge potential to run a social media competition for a number of fans in each city to attend their local press event and meet the cast.

#4 Let your viewers experience the story

The Hunger Games had one of the most forward-thinking digital marketing campaigns of the decade. I’ll touch on various aspects of their strategy throughout the post, but perhaps the most innovative aspect of their strategy was their ‘Virtual Hunger Games’, whereby users could join a district and compete against other districts, just like in the film.

This virtual game enabled viewers to experience what the characters in the film experienced while engaging with other fans of the film. What was incredibly smart, was how this game also tied in aspects of gamification and social integration to incentivise users to invite their friends, share updates, and ultimately spread the word about The Hunger Games virally.

#5 IMDB Listings & Advertising

They say that the hardest place to sell a book is in a bookstore, but with millions of people visiting IMDB on a daily basis in search of new films and TV shows to watch, it’d be ridiculous to ignore this site in your film or TV show’s digital marketing strategy.

There are some great posts explaining how to get your film listed on IMDB. My advice is to be as comprehensive as you possibly can when filling out the information required in the listing, and do whatever it takes to drive people to review the film. IMDB is a search engine, and much like Google or YouTube, their algorithm is driven largely by relevance and popularity, so you’ll want to make sure that your film page contains as much information as possible, and is well linked throughout the site.

IMDB also has an excellent range of advertising packages, which are worth looking into. Another tip is to leverage film lists. Try creating ‘top 10’ or ‘top 50’ lists for films of your genre, featuring your film or TV show somewhere in the list. It’s a bit sneaky, but providing your film is relevant and a valuable edition, no one’s getting hurt!

#6 Involve your audience in the making of the film

In the months leading up to the launch of The Dark Knight, Warner Brothers launched the award-winning “Why so Serious?” campaign, which brought Gotham City to life. The video below shows how the campaign encouraged over 10 million fans around the World to visit landmarks around the World in full Joker makeup, creating a huge amount of buzz for the film.

Involving your audience in the making of or promotion strategy of the film is a fantastic way to get some die-hard early fans. There are countless ways to do this, from running a competition to be featured as an extra, to crowdfunding your film or TV show using a platform like Kickstarter, where people are rewarded with exclusive gifts for helping to fund the making of the film.

#7 Go to Town With Your Video Marketing

We seldom buy things that we have not seen or tested in some capacity, which is why trailers are absolutely essential to marketing films & TV shows. In my experience, though, just ‘having’ a trailer is not enough. It must have a great seeding strategy, and be ultra shareable to produce great results. I’d advise that the lower your marketing budget, the more effort you put into the latter part.

For content to spread at a compound rate i.e. ‘go viral’, it must push the audience to experience an emotional extreme. This can be through humour, fear, sadness, enlightenment, anger, lust, or any other strong emotional trigger. Think about any video, meme, or infographic you know that went incredibly viral – what emotion did it heighten? If you can create your trailer in a way that genuinely alters the viewer’s emotional state, you’re onto a winner.

When you have a great video trailer, you need a seeding strategy. I recommend initially uploading your video onto your film’s landing page ONLY using something like Wistia. This will encourage people to share the URL of the film website, and not a YouTube link, for example. Because you control the design of your landing page, this gives you more control over the visual experience, while also raising awareness of your social competitions or other things you may want to promote on your official website. After a week or two, you can then seed your video trailer onto YouTube, promoting it further through pre-roll ads, YouTube playlists, AdWords etc.

#8 Create a visually compelling & functional sub-site

Despite being exceptionally well designed from a graphics perspective, most film landing pages tend to lack in functionality. Typically, film landing pages contain a countdown to the film’s premiere and a full-screen graphic from the film’s artwork. If you’re lucky, the film trailer may be embedded on there.

As mentioned before, I recommend initially seeding your video trailer via your official website, because you have the opportunity to make it visually exciting, while encouraging people to engage further with your social apps, competitions, virtual games, and other digital marketing initiatives.

If you’re not sure how to get a site up and running, I’d recommend reading our web hosting guide here, which explains how to get a website up and running for as little as $2.95.

#9 Make your Facebook Page Interactive

When you visit the Breaking Bad, Hunger Games, or World War Z Facebook Page, you’re presented with a huge variety of games, contests, and fun apps to use. On top of this, the updates are frequent and very engaging.

I could write a whole series of articles on Facebook Page marketing in itself, but I want to touch on three key areas: design, apps, and timeline marketing.

First of all, when it comes to designing your Facebook Page, make it visually compelling. So many films and TV show Facebook Pages don’t make use of the huge amount of space that Facebook offers you to brand your page and drive engagement. I’m a big fan of using the cover image in creative ways to attract attention to the app section of a page. Get creative with your design, but keep everything above the fold bold and in line with the film branding. When done well, it looks incredible.

In my opinion, Facebook Apps are what typically make or break a Facebook Page’s ability to prove significant ROI or not. Social apps are extremely powerful at driving engagement, as they can be hooked directly into the open graph to get users sharing and inviting their friends to the film’s page.

While I would advise developing a custom made app, If you’re on a budget there are plenty of affordable services out there, such as Heyo and WooBox, which enable you to run social contests on your Facebook Page for very little.

Finally, when it comes to posting timeline updates, keep it visual, balanced, and engaging. Photos and videos typically generate the most engagement on Facebook, so be sure to incorporate this into your strategy, while balancing the type of content you post. In terms of frequency, I usually find that a frequency of two posts per day works well on Facebook. If you’re struggling for time to keep posting updates, you can use a scheduling tool like Buffer or Hootsuite to manage this.

#10 Using Niche Social Networks – Vine, Instagram, Pinterest

While Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter will almost certainly be at the centre of your social media strategy, that doesn’t mean you should avoid the smaller platforms, such as Vine, Instagram, or Pinterest.

There have been some fantastically creative film marketing campaigns done using platforms like Vine. The trick is to understand these platforms and create a content strategy that fits the audience who use them. For example, Sundance Film Festival use Pinterest to highlight the best independent films. While they may only have 4,497 followers, many of these followers actively share Sundance’s pins on their own wall – enabling them to spread virally.

Similarly, Instagram is a photo-filtered image sharing platform. The Great Gatsby movie cleverly used Instagram filters to make photographs of the film, actors, and events have an old look, resonating both with the ‘Instagram style’ and the old theme of the movie.

Great Gatsby

#11 Auction props used in the film or TV show

This is perhaps one of my favourite examples of film companies utilising the content they already have in a creative way that markets the film.

I first heard about the Breaking Bad TV series through a friend who posted a link to this website on Facebook, saying that you could buy a teddy bear or pair of underpants used in the film for a five-figure sum. Auctioning these generated a huge amount of publicity for the TV series, gaining coverage on Mashable, The Verge, Gizmodo, CNN, and many others.

Breaking Bad Screen Bid

#12 Use social competitions & quizzes

It may not be the most innovative way of driving engagement online, but quizzes and competitions are a good balance of low risk and high reward. They virtually never fail to drum up buzz, and providing you get the reward or incentive right, they can work wonders in getting people to share your content with their friends.

Screen Shot 2013-10-21 at 19.06.14

When running competitions and incentivised quizzes, a trick that never seems to fail is offering a large incentive for people who invite more of their friends to join. An easy way of doing this is to set up a unique URL parameter system whereby they receive an extra 5 or 10 entries to the competition for every friend who enters via their unique link.

Here’s a list of some of the best social contest apps you can use to drum up some social virality for your film or TV show.

#13 Using Celebrity & Brand Partnerships

Whether you’re an independent film or a well-financed Hollywood movie, you will likely have some affiliation with various brands – be it through official partnerships, or unofficial endorsement of certain products. If the latter, make sure you contact the marketing directors of these brands and ask whether they’d be happy to help promote the film on social media – the worst they can do is say no, but as it’s in their best interest, they’ll probably say yes.

If you do have celebrity actors or major brand partnerships, make sure you’re utilising their audiences online. Coca Cola have 74.5m fans on Facebook and 2m on Twitter, which is 30x larger than the total audience of the 007 / James Bond social media accounts. When the two partnered on the launch of Skyfall, James Bond utilised Coke’s social media following to the max, enabling them to drive a huge amount of engagement in a short space of time.

#14 Persona Marketing

Your film or TV show will almost certainly have a character that the audience connect with in some way or another. Many film marketing campaigns have intelligently played on their audiences love (or hate) for certain characters by building a persona around those characters on social media.

The Ted character on Twitter is a fantastic example. With close to 700,000 followers, Ted continues to post funny comments that spread like wildfire. While this has obviously taken time to build up an audience of this size, it’s effectively free marketing for the film now – on any given day Ted can post a tweet reaching hundreds of thousands of people, and driving thousands of retweets.

Screen Shot 2013-10-25 at 08.18.07

Similarly, in the run up to the 2011 Muppets film, the marketing team behind the film decided to host Google+ Hangouts between fans and characters from The Muppets films. This campaign captured the attention of millions of people.

#15 Using Memes & Other Forms of UGC

Memes are becoming a great way of leveraging your audience’s creativity to build highly shareable content that subtly promotes your movie. The benefit of using memes are that they’re easily customisable, extremely shareable, and very quick to produce. To put their popularity into perspective, a search for “Breaking Bad Memes” in Google returns over 18 million results.

Using memes

Another similar tactic is to use caption contests, fan art, or other types of tongue-in-cheek user generated content to leverage the collective sharing power and creativity of your audience. The Muppets had a fantastic campaign in 2011 where fans could submit hilarious posters for other films with a Muppets twist – e.g. The Pig With the Froggy Tattoo, and Breaking Prawn.

#16 Using Google Adwords

Every day, there are millions of searches made in Google for film and TV show recommendations. One of the quickest ways of reaching this audience of potential viewers is through Google Adwords. It’s certainly not the most creative or cost effective way to market your film, but it is an option.

One option that could be particularly effective is using AdWords to bid on local cinema based terms e.g. when people search in Google for “Oxford cinema films”, you may want to run an advert promoting your film at that specific cinema. Alternatively, you could run ads on genre terms like “action film recommendations” or “good action films”.

#17 Facebook Advertising

Facebook Advertising can be very effective when done correctly. I’ve written about this topic extensively in a number of places, but the main point is that you must understand what does and doesn’t work on Facebook. First of all, Facebook Ads are a “one to many” form of advertising, where unlike Google Adwords (which is one-to-one), you can pay to show your advert in the timeline of one person, and their interaction with your ad can automatically drive free interaction from their friends. Basically, Facebook Ads are really effective if your adverts are genuinely shareable.

From a technical perspective, I’d recommend using predominantly page promoted posts targeted to appear in ‘news feed only’ on an oCPM for clicks or conversions setting. We’ve spent £10,000s on Facebook Ads and this combination of settings consistently outperform anything else.

Final Thoughts

Marketing films and TV shows is not an easy task. If you want to stand out from the crowd, do something remarkable, be ambitious with your marketing goals, work with experts, and don’t believe the myth that you need a large budget to achieve great results. Money helps, but creativity is the real currency in marketing.

If you have any questions, or would like to talk about your film / TV show’s digital marketing strategy, feel free to get in touch with me here.

The Importance of Social Media for SEO

Disclosure: We sometimes use affiliate links which means that, at zero cost to you, we may earn a commission if you buy something through our links.

It’s no secret that to convince Google that your site is worthy of being shown at the top of the search results – backlinks are one of your best friends.  In time gone by, this could be achieved quite easily and in a relatively short turnaround (though Marcus proved that Google’s new rules have almost obliterated these tactics.)

Social Media in SEO

SEO is becoming more complex by the day and the game is all about second-guessing Google.  The Mountain View based search giants are notoriously guarded about their algorithms – and it’s the job of digital marketing agencies and SEO teams to try and decipher the rules and regulations.  One thing we do know is that Social Media is becoming one of the most important factors in driving modern websites into 2013, 2014 and beyond.  As a testament to popularity, authority and reliability – the likes of Facebook and Twitter are responsible for some significant movement in the SERPs.

As a direct result of Google’s Penguin 2.0 update earlier this year, content has become the new Holy Grail in online marketing.  The strength in content and the method of identifying its value (and thus the value of the website behind the content) is through its popularity.  Shares, tweets, +1s, pins, likes – these are all the KPIs of content.  Social media simply can’t be ignored in marketing campaigns, SEO drives and brand engagement.  With more than a few investigations into the fake Facebook likes and other social metrics, it’s commonly accepted that ‘paid-for’ endorsements simply don’t work.

Social Media Signals

Dissecting the impact of social media on website performance – experts have unearthed 3 signals that govern the social identity of the website.  Far from being based simply on Likes, the landscape is a bit bumpier than one would expect.

VH

Social Engagement is the conventional mode, based on those the share and like format.  Engagement defines the quality of any given piece of content, based on the assumption that only content of merit will be shared and syndicated across the social channels.  Tied in with this are mentions which normally consist of links to a target website, but brand mentions are also cited to have an impact.  Linking helps to assign content to its author, important for the linkbait articles and images which share in their thousands across the web.  Google Authorship and the upcoming Author Rank plays a pivotal role here.

Incorporating a Social Strategy

Bringing social media into an existing marketing strategy is a simple and pain-free process, but pays dividends in the long run.  Some of the most straightforward (and crucial) actions to take when implementing this into your campaign can be;

  • Installing a social feed onto your website’s content page
  • Using social widgets on blog posts to encourage social sharing
  • Manually sharing all content through social channels as it goes live
  • Use a social scheduler to keep your brand’s social presence continuous
  • Include social links wherever naturally possible
  • Make sure your social pages are linked to your website and details
  • Using Calls-to-Action in tandem with social pages, not just sign-up pages

A Parting Thought

One of the most important things to keep in your mind when writing content for your website’s blog, knowledge-base or news section – is to ask yourself “is this shareable?”  If it’s not, then it could be a waste of time.

Embrace social media, bring it into your marketing campaign, enjoy success.  What’s not to love?

5 Ways to Improve How You Use Data for Social Marketing

Disclosure: We sometimes use affiliate links which means that, at zero cost to you, we may earn a commission if you buy something through our links.

William Edwards-Demming, the renowned American statistician, is famous for saying “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” What he’s less known for saying is that “the most important things cannot be measured.”

Data cables

When it comes to marketing your brand on social media, data certainly has the potential to make you more effective in how you spend your time and budget. But with an abundance of vanity metrics, and ‘data for the sake of data’, it also has the potential to waste time. Here are my five tips when it comes to using data to grow your social media audience as an artist.

1: Remove All Vanity Metrics

Below is a screenshot from Google Analytics, a popular web analytics tool used to collect data on how people interact with your website.

These are vanity metrics. While it may seem interesting to know that on average people spend 01:43 minutes searching for music contracts on MusicLawContracts.com, there’s nothing actionable about this data.

Is a 61% bounce rate good or bad? It could be either – perhaps 61% of people are visiting, finding what they came for and leaving. Or perhaps they get to the site, hate it, and disappear? We can guess, but if we’re guessing then what’s the point in collecting this data in the first place?

Now here’s an example of actionable data.

I know how much I paid to drive these sales from Facebook and Guitar World Magazine, so this data tells me “does it make sense to continue advertising on Facebook or Guitar World?”

That’s how data should be used: to provide clear answers to clear questions.

If you use a tool like Google Analytics, Sprout Social, Socialytics or similar, strip your dashboard bare of all vanity metrics. Forget what looks pretty and focus on what will genuinely give you actionable insight.

This goes for most tools that deal with data reporting. At Venture Harbour, we use a range of data analysis tools including Radian6, Qwaya, Perfect Audience, Visual Website Optimizer, Linkdex, MajesticSEO, amongst others. In every case, it’s fundamental to ensure you’re working with actionable data rather than vanity metrics.

2: Segment your data to understand your audience

As we saw above, looking at ‘total fans’ or ‘total unique visitors’ isn’t particularly actionable. When you start to segment data and look at who your audience is by demographics, psychographics, where they came from etc. it starts to become a bit more useful, as you can better invest your time in reaching the right audience.

For example, if you segment your audience by device and find that <25-30% of your fans are looking at discovering you via mobile or tablet, it might make sense to start thinking about a mobile site/app. If you segment your download data and find that 90% of your paying fans are 18-22 year olds from Australia, you can optimize your efforts to reach more of that demographic.

3: Use data to optimise your budget & time

Time and money are both valuable commodities. Most of us have more of one than the other, and we often trade what we have in excess for more of the other. One of the most tactful uses of data is improving how we allocate our commodities to get more of the desired result.

Take this data from two recent Facebook Page Like ads we ran for a client as an example. Both ads were identical except for one small variable (the bid type).

Advert A:

Advert B:

Both ads cost $60 and ran for one week. However, one drove 50 page likes and the other drove 20. This data tells me that the bid type for advert B is a far better use of my advertising budget.

Where you’re spending ad dollars or investing valuable work hours, data can be useful for optimizing the allocation of your time and money.

4: You must set goals

Without a goal or a specific question in mind, data is relatively useless. Your data should complement your goal progress by helping you learn what does and doesn’t work – enabling you to get closer to your goals quicker.

5: The most important things can’t be measured

Finally, remember what William Edwards-Demming said – “The most important things can’t be measured”. When it comes to marketing your brand on social media, there are so many immeasurable things that are so important.

Don’t let the data fool you into thinking that an increase in Facebook Page Likes means your audience is growing. Your audience is a collective of real relationships with real people. Relationships are not determined by a click of a ‘Like’ button, but far more intangible qualities such as loyalty, desire, and happiness.

While there may generally be a correlation between a growing audience and an increase social activity, they’re not intrinsically linked.

Whenever you rely on quantitative data to support a decision, also consider the qualitative impacts of those decisions.

Image Credit: Dherholz

How We Increased Signups by 543% for Fandistro Using Facebook Ads

Disclosure: We sometimes use affiliate links which means that, at zero cost to you, we may earn a commission if you buy something through our links.

FanDistro is an innovative music promotion platform that rewards fans for sharing an artist’s music by making charitable donations in the fan’s name. The platform was already gaining traction, with many high profile artists using their service, and industry recognition, including being listed as a finalist at MidemLab’s Social Media & Marketing category.

Nevertheless, when Venture Harbour began working with FanDistro on increasing their user acquisition, we were able to increase the number of monthly artists signing up by 543% within the first three months of the project. It’s important to note that “we” refers to a team effort between Venture Harbour (with our digital marketing expertise) and FanDistro (with their solid product and ability to implement our recommendations at lightening speed).

FanDistro case study

Phase 1: Landing Page Optimisation

When we reviewed FanDistro’s user acquisition process, it was clear that the biggest leak in their signup funnel was right at the top: the artist landing page (shown below). This landing page contained too many distractions, had no clear call-to-action, and was very text-heavy – a huge opportunity for improvement.

fandistro-old-website

We designed and developed a new landing page for FanDistro that was visually more appealing, contained clear call-to-actions, and effectively communicated FanDistro’s value proposition. The results from the new landing page were encouraging: an increase in artists signing up from >1% to 9.9%!

fandistro-new-website

Phase 2: Launching the Facebook Ad Campaign

Now that we had a signup funnel that was converting well, we were ready to shift our focus towards bringing artists to the platform. We set up a broad Facebook Advertising campaign, including page promoted posts, page like ads, sponsored stories, retargeting ads, and standard sidebar ads. Our strategy was to start broad and refine week by week.

Finding The Perfect Ad Type
As we collected and analysed the data from our campaigns, we began to make some interesting observations. As we had expected, page promoted posts were the most effective ad type, with URL ads outperforming image and video ads in terms of driving conversions.

Finding The Perfect Bid Type
Interestingly, our ads were only effective when the bid type, targeting and ad placement were right. We tested CPM, CPC, and all of the oCPM variations for bid type and found that oCPM for conversions (with the conversion pixel installed on the signup page) was continually the most effective way to bid for ads.

Finding The Perfect Placement
A conversion on FanDistro.com requires an artist to upload audio files. Because of this, we decided not to target mobile users, as most artists are unlikely to upload audio from a mobile device. We tested the various ad placement options that Facebook offers and found that running ads exclusively in the timeline newsfeed was more effective than sidebar ads or a combination of both.

Finding The Perfect Targeting
Each of our ads was segmented 30+ times into micro demographic ‘buckets’, which enabled us to identify which locations, age groups, gender, and education level converted best on FanDistro. Interestingly, we found numerous instances where 19 year olds converted at <5%, but 18 year olds converted at >1%. By segmenting our ads very finely we were able to distribute our budget into the ‘demographic buckets’ that performed the best.

Phase 3: Optimising Our Facebook Ad Campaign

In the space of two months over 1,000,000 artists had been exposed to FanDistro’s ads on Facebook. On average, for every $100 we spent on Facebook Ads, we drove 57 signups – each worth $10/year. This meant that we achieved a 470% ROI on our advertising budget, presuming that all signups become active users.

facebook conversions

Much of the success of this campaign was to down to constantly refining what we were doing and testing everything. From incremental improvements in our targeting, bidding, or ad creative – to much larger changes, such as completely re-designing the signup landing page, we ultimately ended up with a sustainable user-acquisition campaign that continues to improve month-on-month.

 

Handy lessons learned

  • Start off with bold changes – There’s no point spending hours tweaking little things, when it’s the big things that need attention. By making major changes to FanDistro’s landing page in month 1-2, it meant that our efforts in the following months were ~10x as effective.
  • Use Facebook’s conversion pixel – it not only enables you to track the ROI of your Facebook marketing better, but also enables you to use ‘oCPM for conversions’ bidding, which algorithmically optimises your ads for conversions.
  • Segment your ads as much as possible – we found that in some cases 19 year olds converted 5x more than 18 year olds in the same country. Without segmentation we wouldn’t have spotted this, and thus wouldn’t have adjusted our budget.
  • Use a tool to manage your ads – Facebook’s Ad Platform is extremely limited in terms of functionality. Learn to use the Power Editor or invest in a tool like Qwaya – it’s worth it.

Some of the tools we used & recommend

  • Qwaya – our preferred Facebook Ad management tool
  • Olark – A handy live chat plugin that we installed on FanDistro’s signup pages to enable visitors to speak with us in real time.
  • Visual Website Optimizer – Used to test our landing pages
  • Perfect Audience – A great tool for running retargeting ads on Facebook Exchange

FanDistro’s thoughts on the project

Michael Penfield“Venture Harbour are highly knowledgeable in social media marketing and have been great to work with. We’re confident that we’ve launched a welltuned social media campaign thanks to their involvement.”

– Michael Penfield, CEO, Fandistro

Can this be replicated for my project?

Every project faces its own unique challenges, so it’s unlikely that replicating the specifics of this campaign would deliver the same results. That said, there is no Facebook ad campaign that can’t be improved by segmenting and testing variables like we did, so if you’re already advertising on Facebook, why not run some tests – or work on improving your landing page conversion rates. If you’re not already using Facebook Ads and are interested in trying them, we’d love to help you get started.

If you’d like to talk to us about improving your digital marketing strategy, feel free to get in touch and we’d be happy to discuss.

We hire for passion, positivity, and a desire to never stop learning