SOCIAL MEDIA SURVIVAL GUIDE
YOUR WHAT, WHY & HOW TO SUCCEED THIS YEAR
Our prediction that social media will become more and more critical
in 2016 shouldn’t come as a big surprise. Our company is called
But marketing is changing faster than Taylor Swift changed her outfits
between songs on the #1989WorldTour.
New technology is popping up around every corner.
New platforms are exploding. Audiences are becoming more and
more fragmented, and their attention spans are simultaneously
becoming shorter and more demanding.
People are accessing media on multiple devices. They’re choosing
with their wallets and their hearts. Data is more robust than ever, but
it’s all for naught if you can’t find the insightful needle in the haystack
that moves… the other, more important needle that your boss always
So many things. So many questions. Here is our what, why and how
for 2016. You’re welcome. Call us, maybe.
Data is the underpinning of virtually everything we do as social
marketers. From audience insights to content optimization to
understanding the competitive landscape to targeting and retargeting
the right people at the right time…data is everything.
& MORE DATA
BIG DATA VS
While the big data potential
on social is limitless, brands
are becoming more and more
frustrated with the mountains
of meaningless spreadsheets
being thrust upon them.
Business decisions don’t make
themselves, and marketers need
to extract very specific nuggets
of data insights that shed light
on cause and effect, and more
people are talking about you.
Did you know 15% mention your
Or that 48% love hockey?
Or that 28% love R Rated
BIG data is only as useful as
the numerical learnings it can
Make this the year you look for
“AHA” moments in your data.
How are you using your first party data? Your e-mail lists, fans/
followers and website visitors are a goldmine and consistently
outperform all other targeting groups. For example, we have found:
• First party data to be 31% more effective than all other targeting
groups in building awareness.
• Fan lookalikes are 28% more effective.
• Fans convert 3.5x better than interest targeting for direct response
POWER OF 1 st
FIRST PARTY DATA + THIRD PARTY DATA
= PSYCHOGRAPHIC, DEMOGRAPHIC,
(In other words...lightning in a bottle)
Source: Socialtyze and Agora Social
Your voice in social begins and
ends with your archetypes.
Access to first party data and
social listening now make it
possible to truly get inside a
person’s psyche and the various
“headsets” they experience
along the customer journey.
Understanding who your
customers are allows you to set
a very specific tone and content
strategy that will truly resonate.
day, do they benefit from being
your customer. For example, say
you sell arthritis medication. You
don’t tell your story by saying
“it will make your pain go away.”
WHY do they want their pain to
go away? So they can pick up
their grandbaby and play in the
snow. Why does someone want
to save money? Why do they
want to eat better? Why do they
want to wear certain clothing?
The most important thing to ask
is always WHY, at the end of the
Make a list of all the reasons and
then tell those stories.
The creative side of what we do is arguably the most fun (at least that’s
what our creative team says). But it’s also meaningless without a datadriven
strategy, supported by white glove community management
and amplification (that’s also data-driven). By now, you’re probably
starting to sense a theme here…
The average person sees a
staggering number of brand
posts per scroll in their newsfeed.
2016 will be the year you need
to come to the party with some
Pretty photos are great (and
super important), but this year,
you will be competing with
the likes of Facebook 360, an
immersive virtual reality video
experience that will take your
lunch money at recess if you
don’t come with your game face
on. Facebook 360 racks up a
ton of views because Facebook
prioritizes it in the newsfeed
(because Facebook does what it
wants, basically). It also requires
repeat viewings so that fans can
catch all of the hidden Easter
eggs in the video.
Also watch for more (and better):
• Live Streaming (Facebook
Live, Periscope, Meerkat)
Use social listening to determine
what your audience cares and
talks about. And, please, for the
love of Amy Schumer and all that
is holy, optimize your content for
the platform on which it will live.
And be seen. By all. Forever. For
a crash course you can view our
social media-sizing guide.
While we will continue to see
all kinds of hot new content,
Community Management is,
and always will be, the most
important thing you do as a
social media marketer.
We did a little experiment
recently asking 10 different
brands very simple product
related questions and we waited
to see which got back to us…and
• Brand 1: 15 minutes
• Brands 2 and 3: Two hours
• The Rest: On vacation in Hawaii
According to a survey by The
Social Habit, 32% of respondents
who have ever attempted to
contact a brand through social
media for customer support
expect a response within 30
minutes. And 42% expect a
response within 60 minutes.
Bottom line is you have to be
more of a person and friend –
tone and voice are critical but
that also means being reliable,
genuine and relatable, especially
when someone needs you most.
You can do all the fancy sh!t you
want when it comes to content,
but if you’re not a friend to your
fans, you’re missing the point
Believe it or not, the end of
Charlize Theron and Sean Penn’s
relationship wasn’t the most
prominent ghosting of 2015.
Snapchat ghosts, or “Snapcodes,”
have begun permeating every
corner of the internet and the
real world, as more brands,
publishers and celebrities flock to
the platform in hopes of reaching
its more than 100 million active
users, who are racking up more
than 6 billion video views per day.
History tells us that brands who
are early adapters to emerging
platforms end up head and
shoulders above latecomers
who sit a little too long on the
sidelines. As Snapchat becomes
more brand friendly and its most
influential users make it even
more mainstream, 2016 will be
the year that brands looking to
reach a 13-24 year old audience
will flock to it.
The best uses for Snapchat
for brands are product
announcements, contests, behind
the scenes access and special
offers, to name a few, though
tracking and measurement
are still a major challenge for
marketers. Snapchat still has a
ways to go for advertisers, but
as inventory grows, the platform
will become more sophisticated,
and you will want to be sitting at
Source: Wall Street Journal
We fell in # with the concept
of Story Starting this year. You
always hear people talk about
storytelling. But let’s face it, on
social, no one likes to be talked
The genius behind story starting
is that rather than shouting one
way messages to people who
are probably more interested
in watching videos of all the
people who almost died riding
their Hoverboards at Christmas,
you focus on starting a story
and let your people do the rest.
It’s no secret that people love
to talk about and take photos
of themselves. According to
data from Samsung, selfies
make up almost one-third of
all photos taken by people
aged 18-24. Give people an
incentive to become brand
advocates and you can increase
your reach exponentially – in
fact, an average of 1,000 more
impressions per UGC social
Amplify your message even
further by seeding Influencer
Source: Samsung, Crimson Hexagon. Socialtyze Analytics & J. Walter Thompson
A recent survey from Aflac found
that two-thirds of millennial
respondents are likely to invest
in a company well known for its
corporate social responsibility
program, compared with less
than half of adults over 34. And
according to a study by Horizon
Media’s Finger on the Pulse, 81%
of millennials expect companies
to make a public commitment to
What do you, as a brand, care
about? What do your fans care
about? Figure that out and
then weave that into your story,
consistently and authentically.
Are you about people
Education? 2016 is the year
we go beyond just “targeting
millennials.” Tell a story beyond
your product or service. Make me
care, make me believe, and then I
will be your friend forever.
So now you’ve got all this amazing, data-driven content. Now
what? Now…people need to see it. Doing media the right way on
social may seem like a daunting task, no matter how big or small
your budget is. There are so many platforms, so many calls to
action and so many, ahem, ways to use data, you don’t even know
where to start.
NOT TO WORRY. TURN THE PAGE
Not all platforms are created equal. Choose the ones that align with
your brand and the specific goal(s) of your campaign.
The first, most important step is to zero in on one specific goal,
whether it’s engagement, views, email sign-ups, app downloads,
trackable sales, or whatever else. Then you back into your campaign
strategy from there.
Select the social networks to run on for good reason and build creative
that is customized for the context of each platform. If budgets are
limited, stick with one or two networks. Spreading limited dollars
across several platforms may feel like you’re casting a wider net, but
it is sure to produce lackluster results.
CONTINUE TO SEE OUR BREAKDOWN
With 73% of the U.S. on
Twitter, on the other hand, has
We are currently having a love
Pinterest is 84% Women and
Vine is perfect for the teen and
Like Vine, Snapchat is ideal for
Facebook, it’s clearly the
NOT proven itself as a great
affair with Instagram for many
is one of the best spots on the
twenty something audience
a younger audience with 71% of
juggernaut and makes sense
direct response vehicle but
reasons. As the younger sibling
web to find people who are in
with a short attention span
the users under the age of 34.
for all non-teen brands. It’s
it is excellent at generating
to Facebook, it will inherit
the decision making process
and a love for humor and/or
In addition, it’s ideal to reach
excellent for longer-term
buzz and keeping your brand
many of the ad tools that have
of the customer journey.
creatively crafted videos.
college students. Seventy
storytelling, direct marketing
relevant and top of mind
been vetted and perfected
Seventy percent of Pinterest
seven percent of all female
and awareness building.
during real-time events.
over the past seven years.
users are on the platform to
college students and 50% of
We are particularly excited
get inspiration on what to
all male college students share
about Instagram as a direct
buy, make or do. Brands that
selfies on Snapchat.
response vehicle and have
perform the best here are ones
already seen great success
that can sell their products in
with its Reach & Frequency
an aspirational and visual way,
offering. It’s also ideal for the
such as fashion, home goods
under 35 crowd, which makes
up 90% of its audience.
Source: DMR, Statistica and Pew | 2015
If a company posts on Facebook
without paid media, does anyone
ever see it?
Good question, we’re so glad you
While brands need to buy media
to be relevant on Facebook,
we seem to have discovered a
silver lining. With paid media,
Facebook will amplify both
your “sponsored” and organic
reach, making your posts even
more valuable and allowing your
message to be more visible –
between 57% and 710% more to
In order to draw definitive
conclusions, more analysis needs
to be done, but the trending
correlation is pretty clear and the
benefits are tough to ignore.
Brands that are relying solely on
organic reach for their posts are
becoming less and less relevant
as the Facebook algorithm
favors paid customers. While this
is tough news for some, we see
an upside. The pairing of organic
and paid allows media buyers and
community managers to work
together to maximize results.
Digital advertising has gone a bit
bananas. Ads are everywhere. They
jack up load times. They make you
want to throw your phone across
the room. Intrusive, one-way
advertising has little value to 99.9%
of the people who see them.
According to a recent report by
PageFair, there are now 198 million
global active users of ad blocking
software, up 41 percent from
12 months ago. The report also
estimates that ad blocking will cost
publishers $22 billion in revenue
Like any market, when demand for
digital advertising remains constant
but a product’s availability dwindles,
there becomes a business need for
alternatives. Native advertising has
stepped nicely into that space. 2015
saw a 55% increase in budget over
2013 according to an ANA study
among marketing executives.
This year, focus more on developing
meaningful content placed in
context. Sponsorships, Social and
Influencer Marketing will be the
biggest winners from the shift away
from traditional digital display.
THE RISE OF
With ad blocking eating away
at digital display ads, publishers
and media companies will
be aggressively seeking new
revenue opportunities to replace
lost ad inventory in 2016.
Consider that MTV and Nat Geo
have 48 MM and 38 MM fans on
Facebook, respectively, but make
little to no ad revenue from this
or any other social platform.
The announcement of Facebook’s
Instant Articles has begun
to change this dichotomy by
creating a new social digital
publishing model that allows
content producers to publish
on Facebook with rich instantly
loading articles that can also
carry advertising. We predict that
other social platforms will follow
suit to allow their newsfeeds to
become more interesting and
sticky - and of course, keep
anyone from leaving. Ever.
We also see brands partnering
with publishers to create more
integrated content marketing
programs in the form of socially
enabled microsites and apps.
In 2016, look to partner with
relevant media companies on
social to leverage their talent,
marketing genius and vast reach.
And then hang on for the ride.
Rumors of the death of e-mail have
been greatly exaggerated. As brands
continue to localize, segment and
otherwise make email marketing
personal again, this channel is your
long lost friend when it comes to
connecting with customers.
This year, think less about demanding
immediate conversion with your ads
(after all, nobody proposes after the
first date) and more about committing
to a longer term, more effective
approach that allows customers to
get to know you via email and ad
Another more powerful method is
focused on Giving to Get.
Build engaging social experiences
efficiently via microsites and use
Facebook Authentication or email
submission forms as a requirement to
participate. Users can enjoy a branded
experience, become eligible to win
something and join your email list.
And, through email capture and
retargeting, you will develop an
ongoing connection that nurtures
“How do I collect more emails?” (You
ask such great questions.)
Run paid media acquisition
campaigns in social and measure
success by comparing your new lists
vs. your existing list based on cost
per acquisition, engagement, sales or
Warner Bros. partnered with a sponsor to create a Halloween
Quiz called “Trick or Trivia,” which collected 44,000 new
e-mails. After 4 e-mail drops, the new list performed as
• 35% open rate (nearly 2x their average)
• Converted 1,000 new e-commerce customers
• Unsubscribe rate well below 1%
Allow influencers to become your creative directors
Image by Julie Lee for Veggie Grill
Influencer marketing is word of
mouth at scale, and is poised for
fantastic (continued) growth in
2016 A few reasons why:
• In the first half of 2015,
marketers have achieved
$9.60 in Earned Media Value
for every $1 spent
• 81% of Marketers said their
influencer marketing efforts
have been effective
• 84% of brands expect to
launch at least one campaign
in the next 12 months
The single most important tip
we can offer in 2016 is Choose.
Make sure you use social
listening technology to query
the fan base of your influencers
before selecting them. You may
be surprised at what you find.
One influencer that we queried
for a health and fitness brand
seemed like a perfect match,
but the data showed that her
followers were largely 13-24 year
old male gamers. Probably not
the best audience for a fruit and
For more insight, see our 6Ws of
Influencer Marketing – the Why,
Who, Where, When, What &
Source: eMarketer and Schlesinger Associates
MEDIA? DO IT
So you fought alllll year to get a
media budget. And you got one
(high fives all around)! If you want
to continue with said budget – or
even get an increase down the
road – do yourself a favor and
make sure you’re doing media
the right way. Following is just a
taste of all the things you’ll want
to check off your list.
PLAN YOUR LANDSCAPE
Build a calendar of events that
you know will cater directly to
your demo such as movies, TV
shows, concerts, sports and/or
other pop culture events. This
will help you to stay relevant and
connect with your audience in
areas that they care about.
KNOW WHAT’S BEING TALKED
ABOUT BEFORE YOU GET TO
Use Social Listening tools like
Crimson Hexagon to see what
your target demo is talking about
and what other affinities define
them. Recently, we launched
a horror movie and saw that
American Horror Story was their
favorite show. We built an entire
strategy and devoted a significant
portion of our budget around the
show’s airing and its finale. Those
tweets were our top performer,
producing a 24% CTR, which
was 300% the entertainment
standard at the time.
TRACK AND ANALYZE YOUR
PHOTOS TO KNOW WHAT
Create a list of guidelines for the
best performing photos based
on a variety of characteristics.
For example, we’ve found close
up shots of groups perform
at half the CTR of couples
and singles; and solid dark
backgrounds represent a 12% lift
in effectiveness on Facebook,
because those ads pop against
the lighter environment. The
exact opposite is true for Twitter,
which has a darker design.
PERFECT PRACTICE MAKES
A/B testing across images and
video is critical before a big
spend. Results can improve by
up to 100%.
DON’T PULL IN TWO
DIRECTIONS - FOCUS ON ONE
Both Twitter and Facebook are
built around KPI-based bidding,
so if you have multiple goals
for a campaign (e.g. sales
vs. awareness) you’re setting
yourself up to fail.
Allocate the right funding for
images and copy to optimize
your creative and keep it fresh.
THE FIRST 3 SECONDS ARE KEY
For videos, make sure your first
3 seconds are thumbstopping.
For example, we edit out all green
screens and credits for movie
studios we work with. Also, be
sure to play your video on mute
when testing because that is how
your customers will see it unless
they click for sound.
Only 27% of marketing executives
claim that they can prove clear ROI
for their social media efforts. OUCH!
We can do better. We have to.
Here are 5 ways to measure social ROI
• If you have a sizable media
budget ($250K range), work with
Facebook and Datalogix to run
ads across exposed and controlled
groups with similar profiles. The
beauty of Facebook and Instagram
is that they are tracking walking,
talking people and not cookies.
Wait…did someone say cookies?
(Sorry, we looooove cookies.)
• Datalogix can measure sales lift
via credit card transactions. If you
don’t have a big budget but do have
a loyalty app, you can do the same
with a savvy data partner. Measure
sales lift from the people that saw
the ads vs. those that did not.
• If you have neither a large budget
nor a loyalty app, don’t panic, just
measure success through social
coupons or any type of in-store
We did a relatively small budget, special
offer campaign with Waze and sent nearly
10,000 people to the parking lots of our
client’s retail locations.
• Don’t like special offers? Then
zero in on one particular item and
measure the sales lift.
• Don’t like any of the above? Maybe
you need some more cookies in
The above simply scratches the
surface of social ROI. There is a lot
more that we can do today to measure
sales return, and there’s no doubt we’ll
learn more in 2016.
Just remember: you miss 100% of the
shots you don’t take.
Like bell bottom jeans or your cousin Bob at last
year’s Thanksgiving dinner, fragmented social marketing
is OUT. What’s required in this current digital landscape
is a 360-degree, holistic approach.
Social media is a complex creature. As such, you must
work with subject matter experts in each of the core
tenants of Data, Creative and Amplification. Having
a team oversee each of these disciplines under one roof
is ideal because their agility is positively unmatched.
And, they can leverage data in near real time to ensure
your brand is maximizing its ROI.
P.S. By “they” we mean “we.” So again, call us maybe?
CEO & Founder
2150 Park Place Suite 100
El Segundo, CA 90245