Here’s Why Your Facebook Strategy Is Obsolete

Facebook’s goal is to make it impossible for brands to not include paid posts in their content strategy. That’s not breaking news. You would have had to be living under a rock not to notice this trend with their two algorithm updates last year. Many strategists, including myself, have written posts on how to update strategy to combat this. In general the advice has been to increase the number of posts as well as the confusing debate over whether it’s better to post photo memes or links to photos. The overall message is to keep doing what you’ve been doing as long as you incorporate several additional tips and tricks.

No more.

According to a report released this week by Simply Measured, the top 10 Brands on Facebook are seeing their total monthly engagement fall by 40% since last year despite increasing their posts by 20.1% during the same period. This image taken from the SimplyMeasured report says it all:

credit: SimplyMeasured

credit: simplymeasured

Let’s think about what this means.

Accordingly to SimplyMeasured, these top 10 brands have a collective audience of almost 358 million. The list includes some of the social media superstar brands:

  • Disney
  • MTV*
  • Mercedes-Benz
  • Starbucks
  • Harley-Davidson*
  • Intel
  • BMW
  • Ferrari
  • Tiffany & Co.
  • Audi USA

All of these brands have dedicated social media teams and spend millions of dollars in campaigns.

Moreover, all have received accolades at various times for their work in social media. In March of this year, Mercedes-Benz received the AM 2014 award for Best Social Media Campaign. Starbucks and Disney are consistently touted as cutting edge in social media adoption and Intel, as always, leads the way on employee advocacy via social. MTV and Harley-Davidson are outliers in these results as their level of engagement increased over the past year. Although when the report focused on per-post engagement MTV joined the rest of the brands with a significant drop (38.05%) For such  social media juggernaut that’s a huge number.

The fact that the results are so uniform (with the exception of Harley-Davidson) tells us that this is more than a blip. Something on the foundational level has shifted and we need to call every one of our assumptions about Facebook Strategy into question.

In many ways this shouldn’t be too surprising. Facebook strategy has always been simpler to craft than Twitter and it’s been around far longer than Pinterest, Instagram, and Vine. So a lot of the discussion out there centers on best practices such as when to post rather than an underlying discussion of the nature of the social network. The focus has been on content rather than interaction. The prettier the better. That’s one reason 4 of the 10 brands are automotive companies.

But thanks to the algorithm changes no matter how pretty your content brand page reach for unprompted posts is now often under 3% according to a report last December by Ignite Social Media Agency.

It’s time for a reboot. We need to start thinking about Facebook in terms of a social network as opposed to a broadcasting platform.

Facebook was built around individual interaction and as much as they punish brands for posting content, when an individual posts or shares a page’s content the game changes. According to a Stanford Study published last year, on average 35% of your Facebook Friends see your posts. Of course debate immediately ensued over these results and I have no desire to open it here. Simply consider this- the number of people who see posts when they come from an individual is dramatically higher than when a Brand’s Page posts it.

There are additional benefits to tapping into the social network side of Facebook. A recent report from Kentico found that “69% of the consumers surveyed say a company’s educational information is more credible when discovered through a friend or family member”. So by building relationships with customers and encouraging them to share content from your Facebook Page a brand not only gains exponential increase in reach, it also knows that that content has a higher degree of credibility.

Bottomline: The changes to Facebook’s algorithm necessitates a fundamental reboot of Brand Page Strategy. As strategists we must move strategy away from using Pages to broadcast content and instead use them to build relationships with the audience, encouraging them to share and interact with the content.

The MASN AT&T Fan Photo Flop or How NOT to Run a Social Media Campaign

Social media has revolutionized the broadcast media industry. In the current age of DVR and Instawatch subscriptions, it allows shows to provide incentives to their fans to watch in realtime. It gives them the opportunity to use the energy of “super fans” as champions of the show. Bravo famously started the model but it’s spreading across the industry. In 2013 for the first time Nielson included social rankings in their end of the year top telecasts lists. Capitalizing on your viewership via social media is absolutely the way forward and every network is scrambling to figure out how to get a piece of this incredibly valuable pie. There are all sorts of opportunities for sponsors to get involved as well. And it’s not like it’s that difficult- at this point the trail has been pretty clearly blazed.

This is why I am so incredibly frustrated by the current “AT&T Fan Photo” flop on MASN.

Like many in the DC, Maryland, Virginia region, I’m a major fan of the Washington Nationals. The Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, or MASN as it’s commonly known is the official provider of TV coverage. The Nationals have a pretty active fan base on twitter and have done a fairly good job capitalizing on it over the years. MASN, on the other hand, has left it pretty much to their anchors prerogative. Their color commentator, FP Santangelo is a constant presence on twitter, interacting with fans and in particular the numerous parody accounts such as Jayson Werth’s Beard (don’t ask…). But I’ve always felt that they could be doing way more.

So this year when the introduced the “AT&T Fan Photo” feature the strategist in me got a bit excited. It’s fairly simple— fans are encouraged to tweet in a photo of themselves using #masnNationals for the chance to get it shown during the live broadcast. Definitely not an original or even that exciting feature, BUT, at least seemed to demonstrate that they were adding some social components to their overall strategy. And, I thought, it’s probably a good idea to start off with a super simple well trodden approach- I mean it’s not like they can screw up fans sending in photos.

Boy was I wrong. It’s absolutely ridiculous how badly they’ve missed the mark on this.

In the second half of the game the photo gets displayed on the screen with the AT&T logo above it. But it’s just a photo- there’s no caption to it. AND the announcers aren’t given any background on the photo- like zilch, nada. So each and every time there’s an awkward pause while they try to think of something interesting to say about it. Also the photos aren’t even that great. Nats fans are often decked out in their gear and the photos are across twitter to prove it, yet somehow MASN manages to get the most boring photos. Last night hit a new low- which is why I finally decided to put together this post. The photo was of a couple sitting in their backyard and one of them had a nats hat on. THAT WAS IT! And to make it worse- the commentators made poked a bit of fun at them- not in a nasty way but I know that if I were those fans I probably wouldn’t be tweeting in my photo anytime soon.

So the realtime featuring of the photo is clearly a flop. But certainly they must be taking advantage of this content on their social media streams and website right?

Wrong. They don’t even tweet it out on their official account. And looking through the website I couldn’t find any mention of the contest. This Fan was really excited about having her photo up but she had to resort to taking a photo of her TV screen to tweet it out! And MASN didn’t even RT her tweet!
Screenshot 2014-04-25 12.50.23

If I were AT&T I would be royally pissed off at the way this social strategy- if you can call it that- has crashed and burned.

MASN has a great opportunity to interact with fans- and they’re getting paid for it! Yet apparently they can’t be bothered.

Here’s what they should be doing- and I can’t believe I even have to write this list:

  • Up the quality of the photos- say you’re looking for the biggest fan of the game and give a wacky photo like the one below as an example:

Screenshot 2014-04-25 12.10.54

  • Tweet out the photo from the @masnNationals account, feature it on the Facebook Page , and (duh) the Instagram Account
  • Put the photos up somewhere easily accessible on the website. It’s a surefire way to increase the web traffic to the MASN site since, if you’re a diehard fan, you’re sure to send the link to everyone you know that you’re up on the site! Think of how crazy fans go when they’re on camera at the park.

Yes I realize that I’ve spent an entire post ranting about one regional sports network. But I have a feeling that MASN is not the only broadcaster attempting to get in on the social media side of TV and totally missing the mark. The frustrating thing to me in this case is that it would take so very little for them to turn this into a decent campaign. All they needed was to invest a bit of time in talking with a social strategist and planning out the execution.

How to Craft A Facebook Strategy that Works

Building a social strategy for Facebook is getting more and more difficult thanks to their “quality control” features. Ignite Social Media estimates that with the latest rollout of changes on average 3% of your fan base will see unprompted posts. That’s it. To make it worse, there’s little information as to how that 3% is decided. Of course you can pay to promote posts which is some companies are now saying is essential to do. I was at the Brand Innovators Social Summit this past February at which Addie Connor, Chief Innovation Officer at SocialCode gave a keynote. Her basic point was that there is no reason to have a Facebook Page if you aren’t promoting your posts.

Really? I’m not so sure. A key with all social media platforms is to start with understanding how your target customer interacts with them. Where do they go? How do they get their information? What makes them “like” or “share” a post? We’ve become so obsessed with getting “likes” on Facebook Pages that we’ve forgotten the central mechanism behind Facebook use. An underlying assumption behind this doom and gloom view of Facebook Page posts is that people consume Facebook primarily through their home feed. It’s true that Facebook is pushing this model as much as possible. But the fact of the matter is that Facebook is not Twitter. It’s about community. For this reason no matter how much Zuckerberg & co. attempt to modify it, the reason we use Facebook will never be the same as the reason we use Twitter.

For Twitter it would be absolutely disastrous if only 3% of your followers saw your posts. This is because on Twitter our chief way of consuming posts is through our timelines as opposed to visiting an individual’s Twitter page. We might do targeted listening via hashtags but as long as you know which hashtag to include to reach your targeted community that’s easily included in a social strategy.

Contrast this with how you approach Facebook. In particular think of how you see Page posts. Page posts hardly ever pop up on my home feed. And to be honest when they do I tend to ignore them. My reason for consuming Facebook is to keep in touch with my friends and family. I want to see what they post and share. So when they share something from a Facebook Page THAT’S when I pay attention.

See the difference? This is a different metric at play. Now of course there is also a percentage used to calculate whether I’ll see my friend’s post share on my home feed assuming I’m not tagged or they don’t share it to my wall. But that’s something that we can work with as social strategists. We know how to harness influencers and advocates. We know how to organize communities and create content that gets shared.

1. Harness Power Users
Facebook revolves around the social network. Pew and others have identified the prevalence of “power users” on Facebook who make up the vast majority of content that gets shared. These are the people who you want to engage on your Facebook Page. You want them to share your content with their friends. You want your page to be the one that they check out for the latest on “x”. A great way to get them to return to your page is to engage them in conversation. Did they make a humorous comment on a post? Respond in kind.

2. Mobilize internal Influencers
We do this on Twitter and LinkedIn but not Facebook. Who are the thought-leaders in your organization? Get them to interact with your Facebook Posts. You might even think of sending you an email to alert your thought-leaders to an interesting thread on the Page that they should enter into. Encourage them to share your content.

3. Engage with like-minded Pages
Every Page is looking for engagement. So set up a mutually beneficial relationship. If a Page has an audience that you would like to reach or that is similar to yours getting them to share a link to your Page is a great way to increase your content views. Facebook is a concrete social network. The power of sharing means that your post can very easily go viral and THAT is the way that Facebook Pages become useful.

Here’s a practical example: Craft-beers have very loyal followings and some have done a great job building a social media presence but they are always looking to get converts. Pubs and bars have a community presence but are always looking to get more customers in, particularly on weekdays. They also tend to have a weaker social media presence. But by supporting each other through their Facebook Pages each can exponentially increase their fan base. Also, going a step further, there is a high probability that at the intersection between the Craft Beer Community and Pub Community you’ll find some strong advocates.

Bottom-line? 

Changes to the Facebook algorithm do not herald the end of brand presence on Facebook. Rather they signal the need (which has been long in the making) of moving away from a broadcast model to a social network model of social marketing. Pulling out of Facebook is the absolute LAST thing brands should do. Rather, they should renew their focus on their Facebook campaign via the creation of a targeted social strategy.

A Social Strategist’s Guide to Free Social Analytics Platforms

It seems that I’m constantly searching for a good list of free analytic tools. As a freelance social strategist I’m often dependent on the “lite” versions of fancy platforms. In some ways I think this is a bit of a boon. Social media analytics are still quite fuzzy. Be honest- do you actually know what “reach” means? Using the free versions of tools means that I have to access multiple platforms to get the full picture as opposed to relying on a one-stop platform. It’s always useful to compare and contrast what the different visualizations show. It makes you think through what the numbers actually mean as opposed to getting swept away by the pretty pictures. Or at least that’s how I justify this to myself!

There are some great products out there. The paid versions are incredibly powerful and most will act as one stop shops for your analytics.  Many of these platforms have corresponding free version that often specializes in a certain type of analytic. By using several of these tools together you can create your own powerful analytic platform without spending a dime.

Tweetreach

This tool allows you to search for a url, twitter handle, phrase, or hashtag to get an over all picture of user interaction with it. I like to use this tool to gauge the influencer level. The free version provides only a general snapshot but I find it to be a good jumping off point. It also generates some easy to explain analytics which are great for basic presentations. I find the url, phrase, and hashtag search features to be less useful. In the free version tweet reach plays around with the sample size in a way that can be misleading and if you’re looking to do some in-depth analytics you might as well look elsewhere.

Tweetreach

Hashtagify

This is a very simple yet very cool hashtag research tool. Tools like sees.aw allow you to track hashtags but you first need to know what you’re looking for and that’s what hashtagify.me provides. It also provides you a list of the top 5 influencers in that given hashtag as well as an overall look at the hashtag’s popularity (be careful of sample size for this analytic).

In this example I’m searching for hashtags related to #cognitivecomputing. I can also see the most recent tweets using this hashtag. That’s a great way to double-check the reliability sing With hashtag trackers there’s always the danger that spambots have taken over.

Hashtagify

Tweepi 

A great tool for account acceleration both for yourself and your clients. The free version is really all you will need. The only feature of the paid version that’s nice is the ability to keep track of when you followed or unfollower a user. But you can get a general idea of this by going chronologically through your “following” list. Followers who have similar interests to you are much more likely to follow-back. Tweepi also allows you to see the likelihood that a persona will actually follow you back. This can be very helpful particularly when you’re getting an account started. A high level influencer will probably not follow someone who only has 60 followers.

Tweepi 1

Tweepi 2

SumAll

A very powerful tool to track the overall health of your social media presence. You can get one stop stats for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google +, WordPress, and many many more. But be forewarned, this is one of those platforms where the free version is meant to tantalize you towards the paid version. I’ve found this incredibly useful for tracking the results of account acceleration.

sumall

Simply Measured

This is a great example of a free version of a powerful analytics platform that can absolutely stand alone. In particular it’s useful to analyze your twitter audience. It generates great charts that you can export directly to powerpoint. You can also download the entire dataset to an excel spreadsheet. A note of caution– the analysis is based on a sampling of 1,000 of your followers to make sure you treat the data accordingly.

simply measured

Spider by oneQube

This is a forerunner of the next generation of social listening tools. Their goal is to harmonize listening with interaction. You can put together a detailed project based on link-targeting, hashtags, keywords, mentions, geolocating, influencer status, gender, biography, number of followers, basically you name it and they’ve got it.
All tweets matching your criteria will be put together in your report. You can even have Spider email you whenever a tweet is added to your project so you can immediately respond. They’ve added a new feature allowing you to export the matching profiles into a twitter list.

Spider combines realtime listening with realtime response. For fun I put together a report looking for mentions of the IBM Food Truck at SXSW. I added a geographical filter to only give me results coming from Austin. Just take a minute to think of all that can be done with that type of tailored info generated immediately in realtime. Very very cool. Spider is available for  a  7 day trial.

Spider

What are your go-to free social media analytic tools? Comment below or tweet them to me @suzimcc

Why A Social Strategist Should Be Your Next Hire

“Social (insert job title here)” has been a huge fad whose time is up. Just like “Tech” was big in the 1990s, “Social” took over in the late 2000s. In the mid-1990s, if you could set up a website for an organization you were a Big Deal- a tech guru. But by the early 2000s as webpages became easier to create and software companies began to standardize their programs, the “Tech-“ jobs began to dry up. Computer skills were assumed, and while setting up the wireless network still generates a fair amount of cursing by and large the IT person can handle it- no all knowing tech guru needed.

The same thing is happening with social media. There was a glut of positions incorporating the term “social”. Companies created social media accounts seemingly along the logic that more is always better. “Facebook”, “Twitter”, and “Hootsuite” were included on resumes where Microsoft Word and Excel has previously been.

Now in 2013, the hype over social media jobs has died down. Indeed, within many quarters, managing social media channels is the duty of the intern. A large part of this is because no one was able to figure out the ROI (Return of Investment) for a Facebook Page or Twitter account. So they downsized to an infrequently updated account with posts consisting of “We are excited to announce the rollout of [insert product here]”. And for most Twitter is just a mystery. Brands now have social channels because they know that are supposed to have them in the same way that you’re supposed to have a website. The direction is “keep things updated” in the same way that the front page of a website is updated. Investment is spent instead in integrated marketing campaigns- things that have a specific ROI tied to marketing. This is not to knock these types of campaigns- indeed they work very well. My point is that integrated marketing is just the tip of the iceberg of the potential of social media. It’s right to move away from the hyphenated job titles- the hype is over. But this does not mean that social strategy should stop.

A social strategist is empowered with the mandate to implement and execute strategy. A social strategist knows what social media can and can’t do. They are simultaneously big picture and detail oriented.

Several Brands have chosen to take the leap and invest in social strategy. By doing so they have generated a powerful network of advocates and influencers and also made a name for themselves within the social media community as innovators in their own right.

Casestudy 1: General Electric

GE wanted to communicate that they do more than create light bulbs. So they embarked upon the “innovation” campaign and included social strategy as a key component. A social media strategist knows that the power of social media comes from tapping into the pre-existing social media communities in a way that is keeping with the reason that individuals interact with these communities.
GE Facebook
GE utilizes Pinterest, Facebook, and Tumblr in their campaign but, and this is where the social strategy comes in, each has a specific type of content designed to maximize the outreach to the target communities in a way that will spark conversation. But all content revolves around the concept of “innovation”. Coming away from these pages that’s the word that you come away with. That’s why it matters and that’s the ROI. A social strategist will insist that you clearly define your goals and then create a strategy to match that.

Casestudy 2: Maesrk

Maersk decided that they wanted to be more than a shadowy shipping line. They’re a fascinating case because they are purely B2B. The average person is never going to give them money. But they recognized that in the age of faceless corporations there was considerable utility in generating a positive brand image. Other brands will want to work with you. The wisdom of this was borne out when one of their ships accidentally killed a whale. Of course the outcry occurred on social media. Since they already had defined social channels and had built up a community, they were able to genuinely respond to the situation with concern. They even created a Pinterest board in memory of the whale.
Maersk Norwich Whale Pinterest Page
Maersk specifically decided to “unmask” themselves and create a community. Every piece of content they create, every social channel that they use, works towards this goal.

If you do not have a clear strategy behind using your social channels you are missing a huge opportunity. As far as ROI is concerned, it’s best to think of it in terms of measurable projects with set goals just as you would for an ad campaign. Demanding a per-tweet or per-post ROI while the campaign is on-going is just like demanding a per-billboard ROI.

Hire a good social strategist, clearly communicate your goal, give a set budget, and watch them go. Your brand is already present on social. Even if, like Maersk, you are far removed from the B2C scene, you are only one accident or blunder away from becoming a trending hashtag.

social-media-strategist

Tea & Twitter: The Importance of Brand Personality

On Monday a hilarious conversation unfolded on Twitter. What differentiates this from other convos, however, is that the key participants were official Brand twitter handles. The conversation unfolded between @tescomobile and another user. It’s pretty weird but that’s actually keeping with their image as a customer service account full of witty banter.

Here’s a recent exchange (the conversation starts at the bottom):

Screenshot 2013-11-21 15.35.37

This past Monday their banter ignited a full on British tea party joined by Yorkshire Tea, Jaffa Cakes, Walkers Crisps, Phileas Fogg and others.

Screenshot 2013-11-21 15.52.35

Conversation ranged from what they’d be bringing to this party to whether Jaffa Cakes were really cakes or biscuits.

Screenshot 2013-11-21 15.50.28

The conversation got picked up by Buzzfeed under the catchy title: “This Is The Best Twitter Conversation You Will Read Today” and, at the time of this blog post has been shared on Facebook 31K times and Tweeted 15.5K times. The Buzzfeed article ends with “Well done Social Media Managers” and a  pretty awesome gif (it isn’t often we get such a great shout-out!).

Several articles have been written about this conversation and no doubt other brands will try to copy the banter to varying levels of success just like the Oreo tweet generated a wave of funny and not-so-funny realtime campaigns. (I think we can all agree that #royalbaby was a bit fat fail) But this got me thinking about brand personas in general on twitter. Like it or not, every brand has one. Wonder why you don’t get RTs and can’t get followers? Well it’s probably because you have a really dull personality.

But it’s a mistake to think that the only personality option is to banter and be humorous. Humor is tricky- you always need to think about your audience and be aware of which lines you cannot in any circumstances cross. But being paralyzed and simply broadcasting snippets of your most recent press releases is a big yawn. So how do you figure out what works for you?

I always advocate thinking about strategy like this in terms of offline actions. So let’s imagine what happens when you go to that annual work Christmas party. I like the analogy because it’s a time when we’re all hyper conscious about our personalities and that’s a good analogue to tweeting on behalf of a Brand- you always want to make sure you think through what you’re saying before you say it. Also, taking the analogy a step further, the Christmas party is a time when it’s easy to get giddy (with help from the spiced mead) and say things that you’ll regret the moment you wake up the next morning. Success at the office Christmas party comes from being likable for who you are and not forgetting who you are in the height of the moment. Remember-being dull is usually just as bad as being over the top.

tumblr_lsehhjOevC1ql141xo1_250

So who do you want to be?

We live our lives making rapid assumptions about each other. One Twitter a brand is personified- which is one reason for crisis social strategy- whatever is said on Twitter is seen as the voice of the company. The Twitter account rivals a company’s spokesperson in importance so it’s essential to make sure that you’re communicating exactly what you want to communicate- and this goes beyond the text of the tweets. One thing is for certain- like it or not, you already have a personality on Twitter- so why not make it one of your choosing? A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself- “would I want to follow me?” If the answer is no then you have a problem and it’s time to go back to the drawing board.

Here’s the 411 on Crafting Social Strategy to Promote Events

It all sounds fairly simple, right? Just put up posts about the event on FB, tweets out the names of the speakers, make sure to do lots of blog posts, and hey presto it’s a social media campaign. Actually this couldn’t be further from the truth. In order to do any type of social media campaign you have to have a strong analytical framework to back you up. You need to know realtime conversions into registrations, who RT’d or re-posted what, and, most importantly, you need to be able to quickly identify advocates. This backend support needs to be up and running BEFORE you do any tweets or posts. Otherwise, and I speak from experience, you will be playing catch-up and wasting very valuable time.

Realtime Conversion Data  

I cannot emphasize enough how essential this is. When your marketing is in realtime, your results must be as well. It is no longer enough to get weekly or even bi-weekly reports.This may seem like a “duh” moment but the problem is that often this analytical side is simply a “well, it’s the best we can do for now” approach and takes an backseat to the actual campaign. This is backwards thinking that will soon get yourinto a world of hurt. Conversions using social media channels occur by creating buzz. But chances are a few viral memes, even if they are dead on, won’t bring you those conversions- at least no in and of themselves! Chances are what really happens is that your target saw that blog post from Monday, the Tweetchat with a speaker you did on Tuesday, the trailer video on Wednesday, the second blog post on Thursday, and then that very clever meme and finally decided that they were going to pull the trigger on registration.

Registration on the same day as the meme was created doesn’t meant that you should do more memes. Rather, it means that you are doing a good job of building up the buzz using different mediums. Of course as the weeks progress and you notice that it’s only when memes are posted that you finally get those registrations something’s probably up. The point is that there are many ways that people can end up registering. You need as much data as possible to reverse engineer those conversions. If you are getting a bi-weekly report the trail is going to be much colder and, if there are chances that you should be making (which- there always will be!) you’ll have lost several valuable days. 

Harnessing Your Existing Community 

Most companies are already using Twitter (if they aren’t then you need to check out my previous post on using Twitter for your organization ASAP). Twitter activity is very deceptive. It is the sad truth that many people do not actually read what they RT. This means that including a registration link in your tweet is really not as effective as you might think! Registration conversions in Twitter depend on listening and joining the conversation to begin a relationship. (BTW- the following is based on conversations I’ve had with Robert at IML- my total Twitter guru and go-to guy) Look for people who are already talking about your brand. Perhaps through RT’s but ideally those that contain a personal touch. Choose which ones you reach out to based on whether they fit the demographic that you want to attend the conference. Then begin a conversation with them-ideally from your personal account rather than brand account. It is here that the age-old logic of selling comes in. You don’t want to rush it-don’t push your event immediately. Exchange a few tweets about the content that they shared and look for a chance to drop event info. Sound overwhelming? Yes- but it’s absolutely worth it and it’s how you will lock in conversions.

Bottomline: Your hashtag metrics are great to see the type of buzz that you’re generating but don’t expect them to result in conversions!

Reaching Out to Advocates- Timing is EVERYTHING

 The Obama campaign had a hard and fast rule- anyone who reached out to the campaign would be contacted within 72 hours. No exceptions. The logic is pure marketing psychology. Something about your event excited these individuals enough for them to put the time into reaching out. They want to be involved and most importantly, they are excited. This is the message that you want to get out there. The Obama campaign recognized better than anyone else that when a call to action comes from a friend it is a hundred times more powerful than yet another email blast or FB post from the organizers.

But here’s another thing- you need to have something for these potential-advocates to do. Can they volunteer? Do you have content they can post? Can they host a tweet-up or participate in a tweetchat? Your initial contact with them must contain action that they can take to maximize the potential that they will become an advocate.

This is the 411 of social strategy for events. Notice that at no point did I talk about the type of content you should be sharing or how often you should be doing it. That’s what your backend metrics are for. They will give you that direction. Of course you need to also have a plan for the type of content that you’ll launch with but any seasoned social media strategist can do that with their eyes closed. Ultimately it’s your backend support staff that will get you that info you need to maximize your effectiveness and tell you your next steps. (tip: make sure they have plenty of orange soda and gummy bears. It’s the least you can do!)