Autospeak-Straight Talk contains articles covering digital and social media marketing social communities and events marketing

Enlist Consumers As Brand Ambassadors In 'Dark Social'

(Posted on Aug 20, 2014 at 06:31AM by William Cosgrove)
By Tyler Loechner a reporter for Media Post
Madison Avenue is swimming in “dark pools,” and consumers are turning the lights off themselves, at least in social.

Speaking at the Mobile Insider Summit on Monday, Richard Rabbat, Tango’s VP of platform, said consumers are moving toward what he calls “private social.” Instead of publishing the “latest selfie” and watching the “Likes” rack up, Rabbat said, consumers are having more social interactions in private -- or in the “dark.”

Things like private Pinterest boards, Facebook messages, or the ultimate ephemeral platform -- Snapchat -- can't be overlooked. “Dark social” represents 71% of all social sharing, according to recent data form 33Across.

Facebook doesn’t even let its app users message within the Facebook app -- they have to download an entirely new app. That's a clear separation of “public social” (the Facebook app) and “private social” (the messaging app). 

“Brands need to starting thinking not of how many likes they will get on their Facebook post,” Rabbat said, ”but how they will get their story distributed by their audience.”

The ultimate goal, he reckons, should be using your audience as ambassadors. Now that would give interesting new meaning to "audience-buying."

Reposted from MediaPost

"Audience targeting" image from Shutterstock.

The Social Animals We Humans Are

(Posted on Aug 12, 2014 at 03:52AM by William Cosgrove)
Human beings are social creatures whose lives depend on other humans. We are born unable to care for ourselves. We develop and learn about the world around us through social interaction. Our connections to others are key not only our survival, but also to our happiness and the success of our careers.

And with being social creatures comes the need to interact with others to reassure ourselves that we are liked, admired, respected and noticed.

Then on April, 30th, 1993, it was announced that the World Wide Web would be free to everyone and the rest is history. Since then, the introduction of social network sites such as Facebook, Twitter and even AOL in the beginning, to name a few, has transformed the way we communicate. Along with the internet social media will probably go down as one of the major influencers of every generation since the Baby Boom generation and take its place as one of the wonders of modern time.

Between 2000 and 2002 the number of users on the internet grew a staggering 566.4% Nowhere else nor at any time in history has there been a forum even close to the scale of the World Wide Web. According to Internet Live Stats  ( by 2014 it is estimated that there will be close to 3,000,000,000 internet users globally representing around 40% of our population.

With all this connectivity we are now being faced with the loss of our privacy being subjected to Government agencies and even Employers spying on us and collecting information. By putting it all out there for everyone to see one should expect and understand that they are relinquishing their right to privacy to a large extent.

We use all this technology to interact with friends and family, to get the latest news and entertainment, and to research things we want to know about. It was only a matter of time before business saw the opportunities that Social Media offered.

Business saw the opportunity that getting involved with social media would open up a huge potential resource. Social Media presented Business with ways to reach people in ways that were never possible with other forms of media. It allowed them to put a face to their business and to identify them in new ways. Today, social media and the need to understand it has become an essential part in the success of marketing for business.

But this new social medium also comes with risks that if they are not socially responsible in their advertising and communications or have any kind of misstep the consequences could be very costly.

It is all boils down how you use this knowledge to your advantage or disadvantage. We are influenced by, and we are able to influence people who we know as well as people we never met.  We can influence others and gain recognition by posting blogs, getting involved in discussions, participate in forums and even help people by informing and educating them on any of the many sites available on the World wide Web.

We need to look at what social networks hold our and our customers interests and the ones we will benefit from and decide if the people we are interacting with are the people we want to influence and want shaping our lives, careers and businesses.

Social interaction can open doors to job or other opportunities. You can meet like-minded people and have discussions with people who can give you new perspectives. The possibilities for whatever we are looking for or want to accomplish socially are limitless.

In the end, we need to gain the knowledge necessary and take responsibility for how we act and market socially on the internet and conduct our business because in the end the internet as a social whole will make the final judgment on how it reacts to, responds to and accepts what it is being disseminated.

William Cosgrove

The Biggest Mistakes Companies Make With their Customers

(Posted on Apr 17, 2014 at 05:30AM by William Cosgrove)
American consumers don’t feel that their relationships with businesses are improving, according to a new study [download page] from Among the intriguing study findings: one-quarter of customers would switch to a different provider on the basis of a single negative experience, and about 1 in 5 would never re-establish trust in a provider after a significant negative experience. Respondents to the study seem particularly irked by overbearing and irrelevant communications, as well as slow response times.  (Clik to Enlarge Image)

Indeed, some 45% would definitely or consider changing a provider as a result of receiving communications they consider an invasion of their privacy, while 30% share that sentiment about receiving information that is inaccurately targeted, 29% about receiving excessive volumes of communication, and 28% about being treated with a one-size-fits-all approach. Only 1 in 5 or fewer wouldn’t have some type of negative response to these mistakes.

Those results bring to mind findings from a Janrain study released earlier this year, in which almost all respondents claimed to have received information or promotions not relevant to them, with more than 9 in 10 developing an unfavorable attitude to the company or taking some kind of action to limit the messaging in response.

Meanwhile, more than 9 in 10 respondents to the study would have an unfavorable reaction to companies responding too slowly to their inquiries. They might want toconsider a platform other than Facebook if they’re looking for quick responses…

The results are the latest in a string of research pieces indicating that brands are failing to adequately engage consumers. A study by Responsys found about one-third of consumers claiming to have “broken up” with a brand due to receiving poor, disruptive or irrelevant marketing messages. And late last year, an Edelman study discovered that few consumers feel connected with brands.

Overall, just 41% of customers responding to the study feel that they even have a relationship with their suppliers, and only an additional 15% would like one. In order to foster better relationships with their customers, businesses should focus on better communications and offering more value, per the report. That’s because 84% of customers have a positive impression of businesses that communicate with customers in the channel of their preference, and 82% feel favorable towards information and deals presented to them at exactly the right time.

About the Data: The data is based on interviews conducted by Populus among 2,026 adults (18+) online in the USA between 11 and 18 September 2013. Results have been weighted to be representative of all US adults.

By MarketingCharts staff

Topics: Brand Loyalty & Purchase HabitsBrand-RelatedCustomer EngagementCustomer Service & ExperiencePrivacy & SecurityTraditional

Ground Zero Could be the Key to the Future of Marketing

(Posted on Mar 18, 2014 at 09:10AM by William Cosgrove)
Technology has shaped the way we market as a whole and the rapid advancement of technology is providing us with increasingly newer ways of collecting information and getting your message out consistently and effectively.

Knowing what is best for you can often be a difficult decision to make. One clear low cost way is to utilize data that already exists in your company database and an onsite community where you can collect additional data to help you maintain a clearer picture of what your existing customers want and need as individuals and project a customer centric image to potential customers
An onsite community acts as a core social tool that can be combined and used to enhance all your marketing initiatives.  Communities act as a stable platform on your site that you control on which you can build solid marketing initiatives regardless of what is trending on social channels and will act as a magnet for organic search to draw more people to your site.

From mobile marketing to social media to organic SEO your website should be ground zero from which all your marketing emanates.

This infographic created by the New Jersey Institute of Technology’s Online Masters in Business Administration program shows you more about how technology is impacting how we market.

Click to enlarge


NJIT New Jersey Institute of Technology – Online MBA

Social Media Measurement and The Only Metric That Matters

(Posted on Mar 12, 2014 at 06:24AM by William Cosgrove)

Regardless of the business, benchmarking, measuring and being able to analyze results is important. If you do not, how will you know if, and to what extent, you are succeeding, or, worse yet, what to change if you are not? The same is true with social media, but measuring social media results is difficult for a couple of reasons. First, the field is so new that there is no consensus on which data is important. Second, there is so much data and hundreds of companies inventing tools all claiming that there tool and the data it provides are the most important.

For my money, if you're only going to track one metric when it comes to using social media for your business, it should be engagement. Tracking page likes and followers is important too, but if your fans aren't interacting with you, what's the point?

When it comes down to it, social media isn't primarily about promoting your business or your content; it's about engaging with your community. If you don't consistently monitor and track engagement levels, you have no way of knowing whether your social media strategies are working.

Following are some of the simplest ways you can track your own social media engagement. We'll start by covering cross-channel engagement, and then move into how you can measure engagement, specifically on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Cross-Channel Engagement


Larger companies often rely on complicated calculations or expensive software to track their engagement levels across the various channels they use. However, smaller businesses have tools available to them that can be very effective as well.

One of the best ways we currently have to track engagement is Klout. When you connect your various social media properties to Klout, the platform will give you various data to help you determine how well your content is performing.

The platform uses engagement metrics such as likes, retweets, shares and "+1s" to determine your overall engagement levels; in other words, how well you and your content are connecting with your audience.

For more info about using Klout see my post, "What the Klout? 5 Tips for Practicing Great Engagement (and Possibly Increasing Your Influence)."

Facebook Engagement

Using Facebook Insights, you can quickly determine how many people are interacting with your posts. When you click on the "See Insights" tab, your default view will be data from the previous week, as shown in this screenshot:


This will be your total combined engagement number for all posts during that time period. If you'd like to view engagement for your individual posts, simply scroll down the page and you'll see data for your five most recent posts (you can of course see data for all your posts by clicking "See All Posts").

On Facebook, engagement is defined by the following equation:

Likes + Comments + Shares + Post Clicks = # of People Engaged*

*Keep in mind this is the number of unique people who interacted with your posts. So if someone clicked on a link twice, it would only count once towards your "people engaged" total.

Some people may find it helpful to define engagement as a ratio for benchmarking purposes. In this case, you would use the following equation:

People who liked, shared, commented or clicked on your posts _________________________________________________People who saw your posts ("reach")

Another popular tools you may want to try to supplement the data you get in Insights is Edgerank Checker.

Twitter Engagement

Screenshot from Twitalyzer

Apart from Twitter's built-in analytics dashboard, there are many free and inexpensive tools available to help you track your engagement. Some of the more popular tools include Twitalyzer, TweetLevel and, of course, Hootsuite.

There are various metrics that can be tracked on Twitter to determine engagement. Some platforms will track and display specific metrics such as most important followers, analytics for individual tweets, and the overall reach of your tweets.

However a basic calculation of your engagement levels on Twitter can be calculated by the following equation:

Replies + Retweets + Mentions = Engagement

Of course, this equation isn't weighted in any way, and treats all engagement as equally important (which we know isn't true). This is where using tools such as the ones I mentioned above can be helpful, as they often give a weighted measure expressed as a ratio or percentage.

Instagram Engagement

With recent research showing that Instagram beats out Facebook and Twitter in terms of brand engagement, measuring your interactions on this platform is paramount.

Instagram currently doesn't provide any built-in tools for measuring your engagement. However there are a number of free or cheap tools that can provide excellent data: Statigram, Followgram and Simply Measured to name a few.

These tools will track and provide data such as total number of likes, average likes and comments per photo, follower growth or decline and more.

A basic measure of Instagram engagement would look like this:

Likes + Comments = Engagement

If you're looking for a basic (and free!) measure of your Instagram engagement,Simply Measured offers an Instagram user report that provides information, such as performance trending and overall engagement levels.


Social media engagement metrics aren't just fluffy numbers meant to help you feel good about your social media efforts. They are the one and only way we can consistently measure how well we're actually connecting with our audience.

If you aren't currently tracking your engagement levels, I'd strongly encourage you to start today!

Looking to significantly boost your engagement levels? Check out my post "The #1 Way to Increase Engagement, Boost Conversions and Gain Repeat Customers for Life."

Do you use any of the tools above? Have you ever learned anything really surprising from tracking your engagement levels? Share below!

By Kim Garst


Follow Kim Garst on Twitter:

Experimental Marketing; Creative Ideas from Vanity Fair and Frito Lay

(Posted on Mar 5, 2014 at 04:55AM by William Cosgrove)
 Challenge: Customers want to be actively involved in their own brand experiences. To meet this demand companies are developing innovative experiential marketing campaigns utilizing the virtually limitless opportunities of multichannel engagement. These new strategies are giving both existing and new customers a reason to take action.

Though most viewers may have been focused on the dresses and the winners pulled from those closely guarded envelopes, Vanity Fair magazine saw the Oscar Awards as an opportunity to engage its readers through an experiential event known as “the Vanity Fair Social Club”. The virtual event was created to allow more than 120 bloggers and online reporters to connect with customers using the specific event hash tag. The magazine plans to use this type of experiential marketing strategy for other major events.

Vanity Fair is on the right track because today’s customers want more than traditional push marketing interactions, this according to a new report on Experiential Marketing from CrossMark and MarketingWerks.

• 88 percent of shoppers say that if they enjoy an experiential interaction with a product they’ll add it to their shopping list.

• Eighty percent said they prefer brands that “interact” with them over those that just “advertise” to them.

• Seven out of 10 shoppers say they’ll share a positive brand experience.

ERDM Voice of Customer (VoC) research has confirmed this finding. Across the last 12 months, there has been a consistent trend that has emerged from thousands of hours of research conducted for major Fortune brands;

• Today, the starting point for marketing campaigns should be to understand how your customers define high value Customer Experiences with your specific brand.

Last year when Frito Lays asked customers to “Do us a flavor” over 3.8 million people said yes in just 12 weeks with entry submissions. The goal of the campaign was to turn around a 6 year decline and connect with younger consumers. The campaign was based on insight that consumers wanted to create, share, and get recognized. So a contest was created to demonstrate to customers that their voice indeed mattered. An engagement tool from start to finish, the contest allowed customers to submit new flavors, share them on Facebook, vote on the finalists and then pick the ultimate winner by purchasing samples of the 3 finalist flavors in stores.

Through the Do Us a Flavor campaign the company achieved;

• A 1%+ increase in household penetration

• And, a 2%+ increase among millennials.

5 Takeaways:

Here are 5 strategies that Frito Lay used to keep customers engaged:

1. Understand how your customers want to structure their buying experience and the level of involvement they demand within that experience.

2. Be committed to doing the research necessary to identify engagement “unknowns” that may have been previously overlooked such as media avenues, social interaction, and in-store experiential marketing.

3. Realize that today’s multichannel consumer is in more places (often simultaneously) than ever before. Be accessible in cross media avenues.

4. Always look at what you are doing through the eyes of your customer. Let both existing customers and prospects identify with your brand. Make them feel understood.

5. Look at both your current and future audiences in order to connect with the audiences that will continue to support the brand down the road.

Author:Ernan Roman     Ernan Roman on the Web Ernan Roman RSS Feed

Ernan Roman is recognized as a Customer Experience innovator and was inducted into the Marketing Hall of Fame for creating three transformational methodologies: Voice of Customer Relationship Research, Integrated Direct Marketing, and Opt-in Marketing. He was also named by Crain’s B to B Magazine as one of the "100 most... View full profile

This article is an original contribution by Ernan Roman.

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