Trends on Trends on Twitter

As you’re thumbing down your Twitter stream do you find yourself asking, “what is this random hashtag that keeps popping up”? Or do you look down at the trending topics on Twitter and ask “Why on earth would that hashtag possibly be trending?”

We do too.

That’s why we’ve taken some of the trending hashtags and topics of last week and given context behind the hype to help you understand what’s trending and give insights to tactics that may be helpful in getting your own hashtag trending.

#OnTheRoadAgainTour

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One Direction Fan? Then you already know about this hashtag and it’s promise to give you a chance to win tickets to see them in concert. Official rules found here. With 21 Million followers and sponsorship from Live Nation, this young boys band has no problem in getting a hashtag to trend.

Why was it trending? With 21 million followers, it’s no surprise that with the announcement of their 2015 lineup, this London-based pop band gets a lot of traction, quickly.

#RetireReady

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Handle @WiseBread offers a weekly TweetChat covering various personal finance topics. To help entice participation, each week a handle is selected out of the group that RSVP’d for the chat and given an Amazon gift card.

This week’s topic that trended: retirement. Hence the hashtag name.

Why was it trending? When you get a large group of people together to talk about one topic with a specified hashtag, it tends to gain attention. To gain a large following, it helped to have giveaways to participants.

Gold Glove

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Baseball fan? Great, then you were probably tweeting about the Gold Glove nominations of 2014.

Not a fan? Well, it’s an annual award presented by Rawlings, a sports equipment manufacturing company. Each year Rawlings gives out an award to each position on the Baseball field for both the American and National league. Winners are chosen for their “defensive excellence.” Want to know the winners of 1957? Check it out here.

Why was it trending? A timely announcement in the heat of the World Series.

#DudeTime

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A socially acceptable time everyday for dudes to post selfies. No dude is judged during this time for being a little vain. Born from a joke about “girltime” it’s been trending for months.

Why was it trending? Simply because it’s hilarious. Comedy always helps in getting a message, video or image out.

3 Ways to Improve Your Restaurant’s Social Media Marketing

Think about the last time you went out to eat. Did you wander down the street and go into the first place that looked good? Maybe you did… but more likely, you probably already had a place in mind you read about on a foodie blog or in the paper. Or, you asked your friends and family for a recommendation. Or maybe you loaded up Urbanspoon and let a shake of your phone seal your dining fate. Nowadays, people are increasingly conducting research to make more informed decisions on everything from buying a house to eating dinner.

So if diners are paying close attention to restaurant’s online presences and social media marketing efforts, what happens if you aren’t using social media to its fullest potential? Here are 3 easy ways to make sure you’re getting the most out of your efforts:

1. Make Connections

Sure, social media marketing is a great tool for restaurants to reach their audience. It’s easy to tweet your daily specials, list them on your Facebook page, and talk about your upcoming events – but that’s not all people want to hear. One of the best ways to use social platforms to your advantage and get the most long-term ROI is to make lasting connections with your fans and followers. Don’t just tell them about your specials, ask if they enjoyed them—or what deals they’d like to see. Social platforms are also a great way to manage customer service and take the pulse of how people feel about your restaurant and service, to make sure it’s the best it can be.

2. Make It Visual

The web, social and mobile platforms have begun to put serious importance on visuals. Content consumption is fast paced and to the point – the saying a picture is worth a thousand words has never been truer. Brands are seeing a severe decrease in engagement with text-based posts. Luckily, eating is a sensory-focused activity, and food is one of the most photo-worthy subjects in existence. Take your restaurant’s social media marketing plan and make it visually intriguing by showcasing the vibrant colors of your seasonal salad, or even a behind-the-scenes look at how your signature dish is prepared. And don’t forget to consider lighting and color: natural light works better than a flash, and warmer hues make food look more appetizing than cool ones.

3. Make Their Experience

Okay, you’ve got great visuals, lots of conversation and reviews are climbing. While these are signs of success, you don’t eat dinner on the Internet. Make sure to encourage customers to get off their computers and come into your restaurant. You can incentivize them to make the online-offline connection by offering online only, in-store redeemable coupons. Or you can invite them to participate in a contest, and stop by to enter. Whatever you do, make sure to highlight the experience of what your restaurant has to offer.

These are just a few keys to successfully marketing your restaurant on social media. Want more insight? Contact us for ways to help you stand out on social. In the meantime, what do you think is the most important factor to online reputation success for restaurants?

Photo Contests: Why They are Great for Web Traffic

Photo contests run through social media can be an effective way to create social engagement and web traffic for a brand. Earlier in 2013, we worked with CMK Companies, an established real estate development company in Chicago, to implement a photo sharing contest for the residents of their Chicago loop building, 235 Van Buren. We have been working with CMK Companies since July 2012 on social media for the company as well as for each of their developments.

The goal was to create a contest that benefited both the residents of the building as well as anyone looking to purchase a condo in the downtown Chicago area. We decided on a strategy that would engage both groups of stakeholders-residents would submit pictures of their units for a chance to be named the “the coolest pad” and win an iPad, and the community at large could view and vote on the submissions to determine the winner.

It worked really well-residents were excited about the opportunity, and everyone else loved looking at beautiful Chicago condos on Facebook. We promoted online through Facebook and Twitter, and offline through signs in the buildings. During the contest we saw a large amount of sharing (Facebook), retweeting (Twitter), and web traffic. This sharing introduced entirely new audiences to the building and to CMK Companies.

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To recap, photo contests can be a powerful way to drive traffic to a brand when developed and implemented correctly. Below are 5 tips to keep in mind when designing a photo contest for your brand.

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1. When designing a contest, create a strategy that engages all important stakeholder groups.
2. Promote the contest heavily online and offline.
3. Give the power to your social media audience to decide the winner of the contest-this will encourage viral sharing of images, which is great for your brand.
4. Communicate openly with your social audience throughout the contest period to provide a transparent view of the process.
5. Last, and most important, make sure to familiarize yourself with and incorporate Facebook contest rules into your contest!

Thanks to CMK Companies for giving us the opportunity to work with you. Please share other tips for effective contests. Would love to hear your thoughts!

Customer Acquisition Cost: Is Your Business Off Balance?

Picture this: You are a start-up and have an amazing idea that is going to disrupt the way the world currently works. Maybe you are a small business, or just looking to make a quick buck. Maybe you’re a seasoned entrepreneur, a businessman or woman who worked in an industry for a decade, a developer, or maybe you are just getting out of college and looking to tackle start-up life. You assemble a great team and find the best market to create a product/market balance and then you execute on your business model.

A few months pass and you have some traction but not an extravagant amount. Your funding is running out, and you are eating ramen noodles for every meal and working a few side jobs to make ends meet. You are probably wondering what happened or maybe discovering that something feels wrong. You might ask yourself if you’re on a sinking ship. You start looking for ways to increase you conversions through marketing. “Should I create a Facebook Page? Twitter? Maybe a Linkedin Profile? Should I start cold calling, sign up for conventions, or network a crazy amount to find referrals?”

No matter what path you take, you might already have a case of the Silent Killer: Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC). David Skok explains CAC as the “second biggest cause of startup failure” preceded only by product/market fit. If you are a CMO, or an agency you should be tracking CAC for you and your clients if you want to stay afloat.

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Why?

If you are looking for what metrics to track in a campaign, don’t fool yourself into thinking that vanity metrics—such as number of likes, follows, retweets, and favorites—are the most important thing. The truth is they don’t have a great correlation with what everyone wants: a great ROI. When you focus on CAC as your main metric for marketing, it can mean a world of difference in measuring impact on your customer segments. Why? Because it gives you a holistic view of your marketing efforts in terms of cost, impact, and conversions. It dictates and forces you to think about things such as:

*Am I optimizing my sales/marketing models to meet the needs of my customer?
*Cost per lead
*Conversion rates at each stage of your sales process
*Lowest level of touch needed

CAC is the cost of your efforts in Sales and Marketing. As human touch increases, usually so will your CAC. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand that if your CAC is larger than the LTV (Lifetime value of customer) you are probably sinking.

How?

The next step is to ask yourself “How do I figure out my CAC?” The way that HubSpot suggests to calculate CAC is quite simple:

Total Sales and Marketing Cost
Number of New Customers

These costs are, but not limited to, advertising, salary/commissions/bonuses, and overhead. You might be shocked at how high your current CAC is, but that is fine because you can begin to rebuild your process to lower it. Remember that “fear makes you focus.”

What?

After doing the calculation, analyze your results, don’t ignore that number despite the thoughts that you are having (ex: “This can’t be right”). CAC is meant to be more of a “ballpark“ figure, and may vary depending on your business model. If your CAC is not lower than your LTV, here are a few tips to getting back on track:

Revisit your sales/marketing model

The crux of the matter is that you are probably not optimizing your business in sales/marketing funnels well enough. Map out the processes that your customer segments go through to purchase (or not purchase) your services/products. This means going out there and conducting interviews. “GET OUT OF THE BUILDING”

Implement some Inbound Marketing

Some of your pain points probably exist because you aren’t taking advantage of tools to increase you online presence. Establish your brand through a blog, social channels, and optimize your website to gather leads. Yes, it takes time and money to do this, but the pain and effort you put in now will create better growth for the future.

Measure

Keep track of both how and how many leads you generate , and obviously track how your new strategy is impacting your CAC.

The most important takeaway: DON’T IGNORE YOUR CAC. Hopefully through reading this post, the process of analyzing your decisions in sales/marketing will become a habit which will lead you to research better marketing practices. Now go out and build, build, build!

Content Marketing-What is it?

Every so often a new buzz phrase pops up in our industry. Right now, it’s “Content Marketing.” People ask us all the time if we do content marketing. It’s not a new concept-marketers have been using content marketing strategies for a long time. So what is it? Trusty Wikipedia gives a quick and easy definition:

Content marketing is any marketing format that involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire customers.”

Content marketing is basically smart marketing, and it’s perfect for social media. No one wants to log into Facebook and be told what to buy-they want to make those decisions on their own. How do you as a business steer potential customers to your product? By becoming a resource to them. Provide them with useful information that is relevant to your brand that makes them trust you with their purchasing decisions. It works and your customers will thank you.

Six Steps to Analyzing Your Social Media Strategy

It can be daunting to think about coming up with creative strategies that push your brand forward without pushing advertisements in people’s faces. But as you dive in, it becomes the fun part of the marketing process. Think about it-your business, or the business you work for, has a story, and is passionate about something. Let this vision permeate your content marketing strategies.

If you need inspiration, check out this great presentation from SlideRocket (love these guys). Don’t be afraid to get started-2013 is your year!

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