Detroit UX Presentation: Slideshow and Links

If you saw my short talk at the August Detroit UX meetup, thanks for giving me an opportunity to talk about a topic I am passionate about!

As promised, here are some important supporting links, and the Slideshare of my presentation. If you’d like to talk more, don’t hesitate to reach out to me on Twitter or LinkedIn. I will respond.

Clay Christensen explains the Job to Be Done with milkshakes.

Jobs to Be Done Blog

Great example interview on JTBD.org



Facebook Offers: A How-To You Should Do!

The act of running an offer is very simple, but making it an effective sales funnel is more involved. There are three critical bits I want to squawk about. If you get these right, then you’re going to really like what is going to happen.

If my previous post made you want to try Facebook Offers, this will tell you how to do it.

In my other mini series on promoting Facebook posts, I explained that laying the right groundwork makes all the difference. The following builds on that:

1. Your offer should be genuinely good

Generally that means no 10% discounts (unless it’s a truly big-ticket item). 20-50% discounts are what people expect, and thanks to sites like Groupon and Living Social, even the 20% discounts are going out of style. But maybe you actually can’t afford more than a 10% discount. Then make the coupon save actual dollars. A 10% discount on $100 sounds meh, but a $10 discount sounds maybe worthwhile.

Whatever it is, ask a few trusted friends or even a loyal customer what would motivate them to follow through. It may not be realistic but it never hurts to do a little informal research first.

2. Make your offer catchy

Believe it or not, even a dramatic offer can fall flat if its hook is uninteresting (yes, I know this the hard way). That means a clear, simple title, and an interesting, high-contrast image that has a single focal point. For example:

[highlight type=”light”]Get amazing discounts on all our brands[/highlight]

That was lame. Try this:

[highlight type=”light”]Huge discounts on your favorite brands![/highlight]

See the difference? In the first example the subject is brands. Blah. In the second example the subject is you. Everyone likes themselves, and they certainly like their favorite things.

What if your offer is more modest? The same approach applies.

[highlight type=”light”]Save $10 on any purchase with this code.[/highlight]

Lame sauce. Lets add some awesome:

[highlight type=”light”]$10 off your purchase. Limited quantity.[/highlight]

That puts the money first. Again we made “you” the subject. Limiting the quantity makes them perceived as more valuable.

3. Target your audience well

If you only want to reach people who have already liked your page, then you can forego all targeting and promotion and simply publish your offer for free. If you are fortunate, it may even get shared around.

But most of the time you’re trying to reach beyond your little cadre of likes. In that case you want to promote it. There is no need to pay for people who are not interested. At this point you could just post the offer on your page, with no promotion at all, and it’s free.

Tragically, Facebook has steeply increased it’s price to promote. I’m not happy about that. I will say, however, that it is good at putting your offer out there, in front of people. So at $60 this is not the cheapest ad experiment you have ever run. As always you need to know how many responses will put you into profit. If you stand to make $20 per redemption then you need three just to break even. But maybe you get 12, which puts $180 in your pocket. It depends on your business.

There is an alternative way to promote your offer. That is to pin it on your page and run it as an ad. This enables to to work with the ad budget and increased targeting options. I’ll cover Facebook ads in the future.

So how do you do it?

First write your message. You get up to 90 characters (including spaces) which comes to roughly 16 words. Shorter is better.

Then make an image, in the odd dimension of 1200×627 pixels or basically a 1.9:1 ratio. As I said, make it something that grabs attention. A photo that is too busy, or has muddy coloring will not be noticed. Most people will see it less than 400px wide so think small. Of course keep it as relevant to your message as possible.

Then go to your page, and as you would write a post, click on the Offer, Event + button, select Offer, and upload your chosen image and write your headline, then click next.
start_offers

Now you can set an expiration date, and you have the options for terms and conditions as well as advanced options. I strongly recommend doing both. Write your terms, trying to think of anything that could potentially go wrong.
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Then expand the Advanced Options box, and there you have the option of entering a web site, which you may or may not need. You can also set a limit on claims, which may be a good idea, especially if you are using the limited supply as a selling point, but also if too many claims would put you in a bad position. There is also the very cool feature of being able to add a redemption code, or all manner of UPC or QR code. That is great if the offer integrates with your point of sale system! When that is all set, click next again.

Finally you select your target audience and budget. At this point it only selects by city, gender, and age. You can add multiple cities if you need to, particularly when suburbs are involved.
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Every time you make a change here it changes the potential reach and the budget. Be careful to make sure your budget is set before you publish, because Facebook keeps changing it to the recommended budget every time you change the parameters.

If you are ready to spend $60 or more then you are ready to publish! Facebook handles it from here on out. Like Google, Facebook wants you to be a repeat customer so they will do the best they can on their end to make your ad a success.

You can see how many claims there were, and how many people were exposed right at the bottom of your post. You will also find the added benefit of more people liking your page, which is nice.

“But wait!” you say, “You mentioned a free option.” Yes I did; and there is, but you can’t make it from your page. You have to go into your ads manager to create the offer. You do that by clicking on the gear cog on the very top right of Facebook and choose “Advertise on Facebook” or “Create Ads” depending on the type of profile you are in.

It will then ask you what you want to do. You need to click “more options” to see offers. From there the process is very simple and intuitive, and you can post for free and promote later.
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I strongly encourage you to give offers a try, even if you must go the free route. These things are designed to work, and if you do your part well, you could find the results very rewarding.

Good luck!


So you ran your first Facebook promotion; Now what?

You did it. Following the strategy we set out last week, you managed to release $7 from your white-knuckled hands, now fully acknowledging the uncomfortable fact that you have paid money into what has hitherto been a free service to you (Facebook).

But it wasn’t really so bad, was it? So what do we do now?

2013-10-04_11-37-50First lets see what Facebook says. I promoted the post promoting my post about promoting posts. According to Facebook 31% of the views were regular views. These are views people would have seen anyways without paying to promote it. Inversely 69% of the views are paid views, meaning people who would not have seen it had you or I not paid to promote it. Thus they boast a grand total of a 3.2x improvement.

Now here is a dirty little secret: They are using percentages because the numbers are low. When I promote a post for a client that gets 10,001 extra views, you’d better believe Facebook is saying “Hey look, you got 10,001 extra views!” Saying they more than doubled my exposure sounds better than saying “Hey, ten extra people saw your post.”

I wish they did though, because if the potential revenue from each of those ten people were $1,000 and my post turned over one conversion, I would be pretty happy to pay the $7! That’s why I said in my previous post you need to put a value on conversions (people that turn into customers). We could look at the exact same numbers but what may be inadequate for me may be excellent for you depending on your market.

2013-10-04_11-40-57Since Facebook won’t actually tell me, that is why we use services like Bit.ly or Google Analytics. In this case I used the latter, clicking on Traffic Sources/Social Media, to see that in the previous day I got x number of visits from Facebook. It’s crude, but I can safely assume that 60% of those clicks were the result of the money I paid.

There is a lot of other things we can do to measure success. For instance if you linked to your business page you can look at the page insignts, and it will show you how many new “likes” were the result of what you paid. You could even do fancy things like set up goals in Google Analytics to track if Facebook resulted in actual sales (if that is your goal).

Later we’re going to run an actual ad and an offer on Facebook, and that will provide you with massive amounts of information. Post promotion is a simple creature. It’s up to you to decide if it’s is worthwhile, but regardless $7 is a very tame amount of investment to experiment with. It’s then up to each of us to decide if it’s worth it.
If you have any specific questions on how to apply this to your own situation, feel free to comment. I’ll do my best to answer.


How to plot your first Facebook Promotion

In my last post I talked you into it. You have your $7 in your hot little hand and you want to know what it can do for you. Maybe you’re flicking the bills at the screen, only to see them listlessly fall to your desk. It’s okay, that’s normal.

So how do we so this?

At the broadest level, the trick is to marry a noun with a verb. You want a someone to do a something. If you want more “likes” on your page, that is the something. The someone is your target audience. Facebook has lots of targeting options for ads and offers, but no options for promotions. Basically your promotion will target friends and friends-of-friends by giving your post much better news feed ranking than it would have naturally. For our purposes it is just as well, because friends and FoF’s are the most statistically likely to respond anyways.

But what shall we use as bait?

Preparation

In my previous post I said “one simple step”, and if you have already done the prep work then it is as easy as clicking “Promote” on your post and adding your payment information. But if you haven’t done the other things then you need to do a few extra steps. In that case keep reading.

I suggest a one-two punch. Get them to your page, then show them something genuinely exciting on your page. I referred to Game Theory before, and by that I mean the method is to set up several moves in a row. You design each action for your prospect with the next step being obvious.

To get them to your page you could create an ad or promote a post. A post is simpler so lets do that for now. So what do we post? Ask yourself; what gets you to click on a post in your news feed? Usually bait of some kind… something you want or need that resonates with you in the moment. So what do you have that people want or need or makes them feel clever for seeing?

Going with the example of Photographer from my previous post, people want pictures of themselves or family. Good, flattering, fun, brilliant pictures. They want to believe they are smart for choosing you, and that you’ll make them look their best.

An obvious answer would be to post one of your best pictures, but don’t do that without careful thought. Are your pictures better than what other photographers in your circles are posting? Honestly? If not, do you really want to play a losing game?

So what will distinguish you from the twenty-some-odd friends who offer a similar thing? Be off-balance. Stage a crazy photo for your promotion. Maybe a picture of you hanging upside-down on monkey bars to take a picture of a kid also on the monkey bars. Do something fun and outlandish. The point is to capture attention and get them to click. So with your outlandish pic, put in a simple, and I mean dead simple call to action, like “Fall Photo Deals Now”.

So the bait is good. That is what we’re going to spend the $7 on. But before you clicky-clicky, lets make sure they actually want to like your page and (better yet) hire you. So you are going to have another clever picture as your cover photo, something both showing off your skill, and encouraging them to like your page. Then, set as a feature post, you’ll have an image (or video!) about your actual offer. Something that will be the real call to action.

So let’s review. You write a catchy post and promote it for $7. Friends of your friends notice it, because it’s catchy, and Facebook kindly notes that their friend is a fan. Now interested and disarmed they click on it, landing on your business page. The first thing they see is the canvas, and glance at the “Like” button, but don’t click it, because they’re not sure they need to yet.

Then they of course notice your offer. It looks good. And your description says to “like” to see future offers and discounts. Okay then “click”. They liked your page, and they may even message or call you.

Tracking

Digital marketing is the most accountable kind of marketing ever invented. We have the ability to track all kinds of information about how our various efforts perform. However, choosing, tracking, and interpreting that data in a way that truly informs good decisions is not simple at all. That’s why companies hire people like me.

But you can do it yourself, at least well enough to make some progress.

If you’re promoting a page, use Facebook insights to track your effectiveness. If your promoting something outside of Facebook, use a tracking link like bitly.com or a more expansive service such as Google Analytics.

Do it!

If you are promoting a page, go into that page, write your post (be sure to include your catchy image), post, then click “promote”. Add your payment info, and that’s it! If you are promoting something outside of facebook, write your own personal post and promote it in the exact same way. Over the next 24 hours Facebook will let you know how it is going. It may not result in miracles, but I highly suspect you’ll conclude it was $7 well spent, and will find yourself plotting your next moves. We’ll talk about those moves later. Right now, get out there and do baby step 1.


Make Facebook more effective for your small business with one simple step

No doubt if you’ve played around with Facebook company pages for your little photography side-hustle, or even your big business, you’ve wondered why it is so stagnant. I mean, you had your little honeymoon period when you first announced it, and all your friends who felt obligated to like it did their duty. But now one “like” a week isn’t cutting it. What to do?

Spend a little money.

“But I’m on a low—like zero—budget!” you protest. Well, no. No one is on a zero budget. You pay for what has value to you; the electricity bill, gas in your car, that lovely latte with whipped cream.

When I say a little, let’s borrow from Dave Ramsey and call it Baby Step 1. But this is my Facebook promotion baby step 1: Spend $7 on Facebook promotion.

Do you have $7?

Assuming the answer is “yes” (if not, you don’t even have a side-business, you have a really cheap hobby), then lets use it, and get maximum value out of it. Using a little game theory, you can really put that $7 to work. I’ll give you a strategy…

…in my next post. Which is now available: How to plot your first Facebook Promotion

This is for Technorati: 6KE6KEY4TZUX


Who Really Has Time for Social Media in the Professional World?

Before you’ve tried it, it sounds easy. You just sit down, maybe even with a service like Hootsuite, configure your company Facebook page and schedule a couple posts. No sweat, right?

But then you notice, the posts kind of look alike and, a week later, they’re getting no attention.

So you up the game a little bit, do some googling, see what’s trending in cat pictures, and before you know it you spent an hour writing one post.

Out of a new sense of panic you find a Youtube video and a meme to fill out your schedule. Still, little or no interest generated in your audience.

But you are a professional: You have customers to keep happy. So Facebook takes a back seat while you do what puts food on the table. A month later you’re talking to another professional and Facebook comes up in the conversation. With the mental image of the whopping 3 likes on your company page (two being you and your spouse) you say, “Yeah I tried that, but it didn’t really work.”

From that moment on, if you see a local business with 3,000 likes or even a major company with over half a million likes, you feel a twinge of resentment. How can they do it? You think. It has to be their big budget. You console yourself. But then you read an article in a trade magazine and,  oh great, there is a sole-proprietor in your industry that has 30,000 likes and booming business. HOW?!?!?

If you want to be on a success trajectory in your social media. you have two perfectly legitimate choices:

1, you could take the time to educate yourself more on how to do your own successful social media, and carve out some time to organize yourself and establish a production rhythm.

Or 2, you could hire it out.

You may have just read number 1 and said ‘that’s time I don’t have.’ then read number 2 and said ‘…and that’s money I don’t have.’ I’m here to tell you you’re wrong on both points.

I can tell you you’re wrong because I’m not making a bent penny from this blog post.

First of all, you can do it yourself if it is really a priority. That means doing some reading, organizing some content sources, and preparing set time to write and schedule content and to reply to interaction. Also a must is a small budget for promotion. You would be amazed how far even $50 per month can take you.

Regarding contracting out to an agency, it will still require some of your time and attention. There is no getting away from the fact that your business is the topic of the content and that you will have to provide some information and maybe photos to an agency. However an agency is well trained and methodical, they have content curation, they have brand monitoring, they have fancy software, they have content specialists who are pretty fast at delivering quality content, and they know social  media really well and usually have the numbers to prove it.

Hiring out doesn’t eliminate the need for you to make some of your own posts, or respond to interaction, but it takes the heavy lifting off your shoulders and usually grows your following at an optimal rate.

How much it costs depends on your budget. There are definitely recommended budgets, and you will get more when you spend more, but often a service plan can be tailored to your budget. Think about $500 per month as a starting place. If you can commit $500-1000 additional for campaigns, it would be money well spent.*

*Obviously I can’t speak for any agency. Prices and quality may vary substantially. I know at least one agency that recommends $9,000 per month. Again it is money well spent but not many small businesses can afford that. Don’t be ashamed of a small budget. Agencies balance their time over several clients.

As a side note, if you are tempted to try an agency for just one month. They have heard that a hundred times, and they will tell you what they have told everyone else 100 times. You can do that, but social media is relationship building. A short run is more like 3-6 months. Social scales exponentially, so by using them for one month or two you are actually robbing yourself of the highest value months.

So now like any smart businessman you’re thinking, $500 per month for three months, plus one big campaign… $2,500. If you’re starting to think you could hire someone part time for minimum wage for the same money, abort thought! Remember that in hiring an agency they are trained, researched, practiced, have professional accountability and development, and are tooled up.

The time lost in finding your unqualified worker, setting them up on a computer, and them getting up to speed to the extent that your social media is on a positive trajectory (if that ever happens) will be to the tune of weeks if not months.

Agencies want to retain your business just as you want to retain your customers. They will do their level best to return value for your investment because they want to keep you as a customer.
It doesn’t matter which route you take, so long as your actions are substantial enough to yield real returns. Anything short of that is indeed “not working for you.”

Comments

comments!


When Did Social Media Become An Entire Department?

It’s a really funny Jack-in-the-Box commercial: A keyed up young woman bounces into an office copy room and rambles on to Jack about pictures and trends that culminates with her snapping a selfie of them. The Jack character says “Let me guess: the new social media intern?” and instructs her to make copies, which leads her to mistake the glass scanning surface of the copier for a touch screen.

jack_box_sm_intern

Tee hee. I laughed. I watched it again. I laughed again… hey It’s funny!

But I’m afraid that stereotype is becoming the impression a lot of experiences managers and executives have of social media experts. I could be very offended at the several implications the commercial made, but I guess I’m too lighthearted for that. If she was my social media intern she’d be way too busy to make copies. Also, the commercial has a modicum of truth. Five years ago social media was just on the major uptake with a lot of companies and a lot of the available pool of “experts” were just hipsters clinging to first-generation iPhones.

But the industry has matured a lot in a very short time. Just as we saw “webmasters” in the 90’s go from being one 40-somethings man who plays Dungeons and Dragons to a wide array of web specialists, we’re seeing the same phenomenon in web content (including in itself Social Media). A few years ago a company had the social media expert. But now, thing’s they’re-a changin. Let me give you a quick peek.

The overall trend is the Publishing companies of yore are now being replicated in social media agencies and companies with agency-sized social media departments.

But with this is a further realization that there is a union with web content, and that the latter has been largely neglected over the past decade. So now both are being brought into focus as the industry matures.

I’m going to take this from the bottom up because these teams exist by reason of the tasks they perform:

Content & Engagement is what we think of first when we think social media experts. These people sit around and think of everything fun, clever, juicy, informational, and sometimes promotional to publish. Under this general umbrella they perform three major tasks: 1. They find, collect, and monitor news sources and trends. 2, they schedule some content while rapidly producing timely content. 3, they respond to positive comments.

Then we have brand monitoring. These people are the bloodhounds of the internet. Their software is always looking for any mention of the company. But beyond that, they also monitor competitors and may be authorized to communicate to customers of those competitors on social media.

Customer service has a chair between brand monitoring and engagement. They field the complaints and escalate them accordingly, usually within the mechanisms of the conventional customer service department, though some companies are merging their entire customer service departments into social media.

Akin to brand monitoring are the lead gen agents. They scour the interwebs for people seeking the products/services offered, or those dissatisfied with the competition. They employ strategies to soften a prospect and develop them as a sales lead when appropriate.

Finally there is the gray-area position of web marketing. This isn’t strictly a function of social media (it’s part of e-commerce) but because of the many options for advertizing and various promotions on social media, there is a very real connection.

In a larger company or agency these roles are staffed by teams, each with layers of middle-management and possibly even one or two executives. It is easy now to imagine how a larger company or agency can keep 30 people busy, and why having one expert is as inadequate as having one webmaster would be now.

Companies like Delta Air Lines, Symantec (Norton), Dell, and Gatoraide have impressive “mission control” type arrays for their monitoring efforts alone. I gotta get me one of these!

dell-social-media-listening-command-center-3
Photo from cnn.com