Social Media Marketing



Why Word-of-Mouth is Still the Best

When I think of what influences how and where I shop I’m constantly surprised how much I rely on recommendations from friends and family.  One of strongest influencers of whether I go see a particular movie is what my friends are saying about it on social media.  Even though I don’t always want to admit that my choice to go see a move or eat at a particular restaurant is influenced by those around me, it truly is.

Word-of-mouth marketing is and will probably always be the most valuable source of new business for almost any industry.  I am regularly in contact with business owners great and small and hands-down they all say the same thing, my current customers are my main source of new business from their referrals.

Many businesses are stuck between a rock and hard place when they’re trying to move the needle for sales.  They’re either doing business in a market that’s not well known, have a location that’s not super visible or are competing in a crowded space.  For each of these situations, the low hanging fruit for expanding market share and increased sales is turning to your ambassadors (i.e. current customers).

Last year I was invited to join Huupr, a start up which has word-of-mouth running through it’s veins!  The idea of Huupr is simple, why not reward your current customers with cash for referrals?  Instead of spending a couple dollars on advertising for each new customer put those couple dollars in the hands of a loyal customer who has a friend, family member or colleague who would wholeheartedly visit your business because of the referral?  At Huupr we say “huup” a business to your friend.  It’s a old idea taken to the next level, all from the palm of your hand with your mobile phone.  There’s nothing more trusting than a huup (or recommendation) from a friend or family member.

If you haven’t become a huupster yet, you must check it out.  Join the movement today and start huuping your favorite businesses, or even suggest a business and earn a cash reward!

Frankly Speaking:  With Huupr, businesses pay zero dollars to sign up and nothing until a purchase is made.  It’s literally a risk free opportunity for any business, who wouldn’t do it!?


Facebook Ad Tips

Facebook has truly become a valuable resource for brand awareness and marketing.  With more than 1 billion active users, Facebook is basically it’s own mini internet.  I thought it might be valuable to share some Facebook ad experience I’ve gained over the years.

First off, if you’re not on Facebook and you know you have customers or competitors on there please come up with a game plan and create a page.  It’s fast to do and Facebook makes it pretty easy.

Second, once you have a page, you’ll obviously start with zero to very few followers.  You can start increasing your reach by inviting your friends and contacts to like the page but you can also run a like campaign where you promote your page on Facebook.  This feature usually pops up as a blue button notification on your page stating: “Promote page” or “Promote website”.  You can set the budget to something as low as $1/day and start growing your audience.  This is one strategy to grow your page but it’s not the only strategy.  Obviously by doing this your growth won’t be completely organic and you’ll probably have a higher drop off rate of fans unliking your page; however it’s a quick way to start increasing your reach.

Thirdly, another option for Facebook ads is “Promote Local Business”, you’ll find this blue button also to the left of your page.  Facebook gives you the option to geo-target nearby Facebook users for your local business.  You can choose interests to target, a geographic radius from your business and even fan demographics, like age range and male/female.

Lastly, my favorite Facebook ad option is the carousal ad.  This ad is an option under the ad manager which you can reach by selecting the small drop down arrow on the top right of your screen and then clicking “Create Ad”.  Here you can select what type of ad, anything from promoting a website, app installations, event promotion, etc.  You can choose the locale, demographics, interests etc just like the other ads.  However this option allows you to upload up to five photos, each with space for call to action and description text.  These ads are pretty dynamic and tend to get more engagement because users can scroll through your pictures.  Once they click it they’ll be redirected to your website wherever they click on the ad.

Frankly Speaking: I recommend starting small and learning from baby steps when giving Facebook ads a try.  Regardless of what you think, your customers are engaging with businesses and contacts on Facebook so take the time to utilize this tool for the growth of your business!

Lead With the Customer and Not With Tactics

It’s easy to start planning various social media activities before you’ve determined a strategy and objective for your latest campaign or promotion.  So instead of coming up with a bunch of Facebook posts, Tweets, and Instagram photos, first ask yourself what the goal is for this marketing campaign.

  1. Do I want more people to see my content?
  2. Do I want to drive new people to my website?
  3. Do I want additional sign ups for a newsletter or webinar?

All these questions will help you determine which tactics make the most sense.  From one social media marketer to another, we’ve all been in a situation where a client or coworker asks: “Can’t we just create a Facebook page for this latest product?” or “If we post this event on Facebook we should get more registrations, right?”  Our strategies shouldn’t be filling our days with activities, but determining what makes the most sense for the target audience and bottom line business growth.

Here are a few things to determine before you start working on tactics for your next campaign:

  1. Find out where the majority of inbound website traffic is coming from.
  2. Determine which posts (fans, photos, stories, news, etc) resonate best with your fans across channels, (i.e. look this up under Facebook Insights or*).
  3. Survey your customers and ask where they consume information on your particular product or industry (i.e. try a survey with your mailing list).

Frankly Speaking:  Go back to basics and make sure you understand your customer sales funnel before you invest in potential resource-draining tactics.

*To access for your Twitter handle you need to set up a billing account by entering a credit card (you don’t have to spend ad dollars to activate this).

Segmenting Social Media Content by Language or Region

Did you know social media content can be targeted by language or region?  Both Facebook and Twitter allow you to target your content to specific audiences.  If you use a publishing tool like SproutSocial the targeting is even easier!  Since tools like Sprout have access to Twitter and Facebook’s APIs, it allows for solid integration of publishing options.

Let’s say your company has recently started planning to market a new product that’s only going to be available in a particular country.  That’s ok!  You can target your content by a specific country on Twitter and Facebook.  In SproutSocial all you have to do is select the “Publishing” tab, click “Compose” and click on the social profiles you want to post to and then select the small globe in the bottom left hand corner of the “Compose” box.  Type in the country and schedule your post!  Facebook ads even lets you target by country, language or down to the State or geographic area.

If you have content in a specific language you can target that way as well.  On Facebook specifically, you can choose which language you want to post.  When typing the language into the search field when using SproutSocial, some languages even give you a “global” option, like Global English or Global Spanish.  Having access to posting options likes language and geography allow you to reach many audiences with a single page or account.

So if you’ve been considering having numerous social media accounts for a particular product or audience, try investigating the possibility of targeting by language or country first.  This will save you time and resources and allow you to work more efficiently, with segmented messaging or audiences.

Frankly Speaking:  Use targeting for a more tactical way to communicate with your audiences.

Trying to Understand the FDA and Social Media

Last summer (2014) the FDA released its latest Internet and Social Media guidance for Pharma and med-tech companies.  If you haven’t read it yet, have a look here:

With the rise and use of social media across all industries, med-tech was destined to adopt its use.  I believe this is mostly due to social media’s prevalence for customer engagement and relatively cheap way for reaching audiences.

The FDA guidance explains it was published to illustrate the agency’s thinking on the communication of benefit and risk information on mediums such as social and online media.  The overall suggestions and illustration of what the FDA shares is food for thought for any health care organization or marketing professional working in health care.  Below is my attempt at summarizing the guidance for anyone interested.

In the U.S. the FDA generally recognizes two types of labeling; that which is required labeling (think labeling for product approvals) and promotional labeling (subsequent marketing materials/labeling).  When promoting products online the agency recommends the following:  1) Be truthful and non-misleading, 2) When making a claim about a product, indicate the use and risk of the specific product. 3)  Make labeling easily available when discussed. 4) Include risk information and intended use when advertising a drug.  If the name of the product is mentioned as a “reminder” promotional, instead of how the product is used, it’s then excluded from this rule. 5)  Fairly present benefits and risk information of drug advertisements. 6) Prominently reference risk information of suggested uses.

The FDA asks firms to consider carefully whether or not they can accurately meet the guidelines when promoting products and making product claims on social media.  The document then subsequently goes through each of the guidelines mentioned above with generic samples of how to disclose risk information within brackets [ ], which includes how to incorporate URLs for additional product information.  The main takeaway here is to be succinct, truthful and informational with your product promotions where a claim is being marketed.

For social media professionals working in the medical space it’s always important to inform your customers to consult their medical practitioner for medical related inquiries and not social media!   Furthermore, clearly state your right to remove abusive language or information not pertaining to the community.  This helps keep the conversations relevant to those visiting your communities.  Lastly, include fellow employees and emphasize the need to act truthfully when on social media, especially when engaging customers, fellow colleagues, clients, business partners, and the public.

I personally believe med-tech companies should not be intimidated by social media.  We should all view it as an opportunity to shine with whatever specialty your organization brings to the table.  Empower employees to embrace change and new tools for the growth of your brand and the evolution of your customers’ experiences.

Frankly Speaking:  Implement a checks and balances with key stakeholders so your content is vetted through appropriate processes.

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