Questionable Stock Photos: Waterproof Cat Man

I can haz rain slicker?

As a digital marketer, I spend a fair amount of time on stock photo sites.  And this is how I regularly find photos that have, somehow, gone terribly wrong.

The most interesting thing about stock photography going terribly wrong is that it’s not the execution of such photography that’s in question, but rather the creative conception.  These babies were ugly long before birth.

This will be the first in our Questionable Stock Photos series, put out there so that the rest of you digital marketers may rest assured that no, it’s not just you, there is really an alarming amount of stock photography questionable not only for any useful marketing application, but for any conceivable application.  This includes the highly questionable stock photo at left, which wins extra questionability merit after one examines the tags, the first of which reads “Adult Content.”  ???

And yet we are marketers.  And darnit, no stock photo is too obscure or poorly-conceived to thwart the perfect marketing use case!


1.  These new kevlar ponchos will repel rain, bullets and the assault of an angry feline being clutched by someone who doesn’t have enough sense to keep a cat away from the first two projectiles!

2.  We don’t test on animals, unless it’s the test of love.

3.  Please adopt this cat.  PLEASE.

4.  Is your mental health a see-through slicker and a cat shy of normal?  Call us.  We can help.

5.   Yes, you can potty-train your cat!  (Training manual interior photo)

If you’ve run across a questionable stock photo and would like us to think of marketing use cases, or would like to share your own, please tweet a link to the pic @meltwater with the hashtag #stockpic and we’ll be sure to give it a gander.  If its questionability isn’t in question, we’ll enthusiastically feature it here on the blog.


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How Baked Beans Can Get You 15,000 Shares on Facebook

Hmmm baked beans. We Brits love them. On toast, with cheese, between our fishfingers and chips.  But how would these small, pale pulses in tomato sauce impact shares on Facebook for the second largest grocer in the UK?  Dom Burch, Head of Social Media at British supermarket, ASDA recently explained at The Drum Live event in London. The Drum is a marketing multichannel magazine based in the UK, and recently pulled together a full edition of the publication in the space of a single day, in front of an audience of more than 100 delegates.


Talk About What Interests Your Audience

Burch spoke about the importance of being relevant to the audience: “We are a grocer. We sell baked beans and we have to be true to who we are and what we do.” With the majority of ASDA customers in the demographic target mums aged 25-35 years old, Burch explained that to ask the social media audience to do something for you, you need to have “credit in the bank.” “We have to think about what is important to our customers and initiate conversations around these topics. Our mums are interested in buying groceries and they love chocolate, so we initiate questions such as ‘cheese on beans on toast – nom or wrong?’ As a result, we have encouraged our consumers to engage and as a result increased the shares on Facebook and Twitter.”

ASDA got more than 24,000 likes, 5,000 comments, and hundreds of shares from this one conversation, driving the engagement needed to get 15,000 shares on their nappy competition later.


Where is the ROI in Getting Shares on Facebook?

In social media marketing, when the Board is screaming for ROI, it can be hard to imagine why anyone would focus on getting shares on Facebook. You’d be right to question whether it’s a worthy business goal; it’s not! It’s a marketing tactic. Every marketing campaign should have a business goal, like to increase sales. A marketing goal might be to attract new customers and a marketing tactic might be to start a dialogue on Facebook to gain fans among a target group who could become new customers. You’d be forgiven for wondering whether initiating conversations about baked beans is the best use of a brand’s time on social until you saw it as part of a larger marketing strategy. Gaining shares on Facebook is but a marketing tactic, that can lead to the marketing goal of increasing fans who become customers, whose purchases deliver the business goal of increased sales delivering the ROI the Board wants. Get it?

Burch quickly justifies these types of social conversations. “We recently ran a competition on both TV and Facebook where the prize was to win a 12-month supply of nappies. Interestingly, zero people entered the competition from the TV campaign and 45,000 entered on Facebook. Out of this, we received 15,000 shares on Facebook from fans to those they knew would like to know about the competition – our key target audience.” Burch continues, “brands can’t pay for this level of endorsement, and you can’t achieve this unless you start the ball rolling with ten conversations about beans on toast.”


To Gain More Shares on Facebook, Go Mobile!

Earlier this year at the Social Media World Forum event in London, Burch made the sensational statement “websites are dead.” Last week, he explained his reasoning to the Drum audience; that mobile is fast becoming the consumer channel of choice. Indeed, as Facebook’s own publicly filed SEC documents reveal, one in six people access Facebook only from their smartphone. Burch argued that by focusing on a desktop strategy (like a website), companies would be left behind.

According to Burch, marketers should prioritse mobile first, then move towards the website, rather than the other way around. “Websites are simply a comfort blanket,” he argued, “I feel I am having the same conversation now about websites that I did about hard press advertising five years ago.”

So, how do brands manage to build a community of die-hard fans who will circulate all their offers and catapult shares on Facebook? According to Burch the answer is simple – get to know your audience and to stay true to what you do. If you combine those two elements, you’ll build credit in the bank and soon be the brand that got the beans (or an expression that rhymes with that).

Want more Facebook marketing tips? Like us on Facebook!

Social Listening for Prince George: Social Media Got it Right!

Social listening for the royal baby was done with social monitoring and social media marketing software Meltwater Buzz. Social listening illustrated that the #1 guess for royal baby names was George. Well done, internet denizens!

Pop the champagne: it’s a boy!  And his name is George Alexander Louis!  And who’d have thought it?

Well, actually, we know the answer to that question: only 42% of you guessed “boy,” according to the social listening that we did with our social monitoring tool, Meltwater Buzz.

But insofar as the great naming debate, social media got it right.  George was the #1 guess on boy names, with Alexander not too terribly far behind.  Good show, Twitterati.

What’s in a name?  Social listening across the world.

The UK led the way on the most buzz on the Great Naming Debate, followed closely by the US (the Americans being very keen on a Diana tribute if the baby had been a girl).

Across social media, there were some pretty interesting guesses.  One popular mention was the tongue in cheek “Tyler” (referencing the recent comments on This Morning by Kate Hopkins), and folks were also quick to suggest “South” as a response to Kayne West and Kim Kardashian’s baby name choice “North.”  Most of the buzz, however, still favours the traditional British moniker: George, James and Spencer were the winners for the boys, the last being the Diana tribute vote.

“Kong” was also mentioned, but sadly, King Kong is not to be.

David Beckham managed to create a stir suggesting the baby should be named after him, which actually has generated enough support to push “David” to the number 3 choice on social.  Apparently he can bend social media to his will as though it were a football.  Well done, sir.

One of the most amusing trends that we found in social listening was the prevalence of  “Weasley,” referencing the Harry Potter quote “Weasley for king,” seeing as how the royals have their fair share of redheads in the bunch.  Whether the fuzzy-headed heir will take after his Uncle Harry has yet to be determined, but with wagers moving from naming to who’s publishing the first photos, it’s fair to assume that we’ll know soon enough.

Social listening for the royal baby was done with social monitoring and social media marketing software Meltwater Buzz. Social listening illustrated that the #1 guess for royal baby names was George. Well done, internet denizens!

The 5 Most Common Facebook Marketing Mistakes

Facebook marketing is a new discipline for many companies that represents a great opportunity and also a challenge. Any social media marketing, Facebook marketing included, requires a fundamental shift in how you think about your campaigns. Unlike more traditional, one-way marketing, social media is all about the two-way conversation between a company and its community. Social media marketing and Facebook marketing are dialogue marketing.

As you start executing Facebook marketing campaigns, mistakes can happen easily… but don’t worry! I’ve put together a list of the five most common mistakes companies make when doing business on Facebook, and tips on how to use the Meltwater Buzz social media marketing platform. Learning to avoid these mistakes and adopting good Facebook marketing habits will help boost your company’s online presence and foster brand loyalty.

1. Violation of Facebook Pages Terms

Don’t let your Facebook Marketing campaign violate Facebook Pages Terms.

Social media promotions are a valuable tool for businesses hoping to increase brand loyalty and grow their online community. However, when companies run promotions, they often make the mistake of violating Facebook’s promotion guidelines, a part of the same Pages Terms they accepted when they created their company’s Facebook page.

When you create a Facebook page you agree not to place any competitions on your timeline and not to use any “Facebook features or functionality as a promotion’s registration or entry mechanism.” In practical terms, this means that you’re not allowed to post “Like this post in order to win x,” or something of the like. All promotions on Facebook, including sweepstakes and contests, must be administered within apps.

In the four years since I started focusing on Facebook marketing, I’ve learned that these “like our post” competitions are not worth the time. Most importantly, they violate Facebook’s terms, which could lead Facebook to remove your page (many companies with successful Facebook pages have been shut down). These competitions also tend to attract one-time buyers who are not otherwise interested in the brand. This leads to a rush of page “likes,” low engagement and often “unlikes.” In short: Don’t do it!

The Meltwater Buzz promotions module helps you build contests and sweepstakes that comply with Facebook’s terms. You have the flexibility to post your promotion on a Facebook tab, on a mobile-friendly canvas app, as a standalone microsite or as an iframe on any webpage. When done correctly, a Facebook marketing promotion can gather important information about participants, encourage competition that spreads brand awareness via viral sharing, and drive more traffic to your webpage. And because it complies with Facebook’s terms, you won’t get your Facebook page shut down!

2. Monologue Marketing, Not Dialogue Marketing

Don’t engage in monologue marketing! Facebook marketing is dialogue marketing.

It’s called social media for a reason: you have to be social with your community!  Don’t treat your Facebook page like your company’s website and just promote your products, services or pricing. Good Facebook marketing sparks a dialogue within your community with relevant, personal or entertaining posts.

When users ask questions, answer them and do it quickly. Be grateful for any comments you receive, care for your fans and make sure that you are engaging them in dialogue. The best you can do is be sincere and helpful.

Once you’ve developed a large community, it’s important to keep track of conversations as they happen. Using the Meltwater Buzz engage module it’s easy to engage your communities across all of your company’s Facebook pages and Twitter handles from one interface. Next, measure the success of your engagement to look for important trends that can help you refine your Facebook marketing to better achieve your business goals.

3. Posting Rubbish

Many companies insist on posting information about their prices and links to their products on Facebook, even though these posts often don’t create any activity or engagement. It’s okay to publish information about your prices or your products once in a while, but keep in mind that users log in to Facebook to interact with their friends. So be friendly and engaging!

Include variety in what you post:

  • Creative images
  • Personal and entertaining content
  • Behind-the-scenes views of your business
  • Varied calls to action
  • Questions

In order for your sales-focused posts to generate traffic (and hopefully sales) you need to have an engaging Facebook page with a lot of variety. Don’t forget to publish new posts frequently. The most successful company pages on Facebook offer interesting, engaging, entertaining and informative posts at least daily.

4. Incorrect Measurement

Correctly measuring the success of your Facebook marketing campaigns is key.

Fans. Likes. Followers. No matter what you call the members of your community, it’s a very large task to engage successfully with thousands of people. It can be an even harder task to measure effectively how well you’ve been engaging so you can improve. Although tracking the number of followers you have on Facebook is important, there are many other metrics that can help inform your Facebook marketing strategy.

I recommend you benchmark your activity using the following metrics:

  • People Talking About This (PTA) – How many of your followers are active on your page?
  • Response time / Response rate – How fast are you answering inquiries from your followers? Do you respond to all messages?
  • Posts – Which posts do your followers like and dislike?
  • Reach – How many followers see your posts?
  • Fans – When does your page receive new fans or lose fans? What was the posting activity during that time?
  • Traffic – How much traffic does your website receive thanks to your activity on Facebook?
  • Sales/Conversions – Do your followers visit your webpage or store? Do they buy anything?

These metrics combined with additional listening and engagement metrics within the Meltwater Buzz social media marketing platform give you a 360-degree view of your Facebook engagement. There are enough interesting metrics here to inform your overall Facebook strategy and keep you busy half the night!

5. No Facebook Marketing Strategy

By now, companies know that they have to have a presence on social media and that they need to hire a social media manager or community manager to manage those channels. However, one of the most surprising things that I’ve found is that there’s often a lack of strategy driving engagement and that ad hoc campaigns are the standard.

Companies must have a business goal for their presence on Facebook and other social channels. If your company isn’t sure what it’s doing or what the goals should be, the best place to start is your overall marketing strategy. Think of your Facebook marketing strategy as an offshoot of your broader marketing strategy: set channel-specific goals that align with business goals, devise strategies and tactics to drive engagement and reach those goals, measure effectively, and optimize your presence (learn more about social media strategy in the recent post You Don’t Need a Twitter Strategy, You Need a Marketing Strategy). It doesn’t have to be complicated!

There you have it. Five mistakes that I often see companies make on Facebook. I hope that these tips are helpful and that your company is well on its way to a successful Facebook presence.

If you like this post, join the conversation! Social media is about dialogue, so please share, forward, comment and submit any questions.

Does Good PR Strategy Include Social Media or Is It The Other Way Around?

It’s a popular question and one that was recently discussed in depth at the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Digital Impact conference held in New York City June 27th-28th.  How can public relations professionals better leverage social media to be more effective? We at Meltwater have been actively discussing this very question for years so we were excited to join the conversation. We had a great time meeting our peers and continuing the dialogue together.

If you’re not familiar with it, PRSA is the world’s largest organization of PR and communications professionals.  One objective of the conference was to explore how to succeed in PR given the ever-changing social media environment. With that, our goal was to provide concrete examples of how PR strategy and social media strategy have begun to blend and explore tangible tactics that PR professionals could use straight away.

How is Social Media Affecting PR Strategy?

Meltwater was honored to lead a session titled “Is PR Social or is Social PR?” Introduced by Joel York, Meltwater’s Executive Director of Marketing and Product, the presentation began with a discussion of the four PR disruptions of social media.  The consistency of the communication, the target audience, the reach of the channel, and the credibility of the source all vary between social media and PR and affect PR strategy.  Taken together, the media and the message are becoming mixed.

With a base knowledge of disrupters the discussion naturally turns to the convergence of PR and social media. Given the scale and influence of social media, should PR be considered a part of a broader social media marketing strategy, or should social media be considered a channel for PR strategy?  Our head of global PR, Marc Cowlin, and our head of social media content marketing, Leslie Nuccio, joined Joel to lead a tongue-in-cheek debate about the convergence of PR and social media. Marc and Leslie, longtime friends and co-workers, have been discussing this very subject for many years so they were ready for PRSA!

They discussed real-life examples of how PR and social media have worked together and where the lines between the two blur. They tackled crisis management, grassroots campaigns, and blogger outreach bringing up examples of integrated marketing campaigns and mainstream campaigns they ran together that blended PR strategy and social media marketing with success.

One Man’s PR Strategy is Another Man’s Social Media Tactic

When it’s time to act, who takes the lead: a PR professional or a social media manager? As the audience agreed, the best campaigns are the ones that blend social media and public relations together. The good news for PR professionals looking to leverage social media better is that many of the kinds of PR strategy that work for traditional media also work for social media.

Our team enjoyed the debate at PRSA Digital Impact so much that we’re going to go deeper into the topic in an upcoming blog series and at the PRSA International Conference this October 26th-29th in Philadelphia. Anyone else excited for Round 2 of the PR vs. Social ‘Rumble in the Jungle?’  Stay tuned!