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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A Social Media Campaign is More Than a Retweet

A smart social media campaign has a solid business goal

When I first started in social media way back in the dinosaur ages of 2008, we were pretty shy on good KPIs.  In the absence of widespread business intelligence and theory, and armed with the knowledge that we were really in the Wild West of this new marketing discipline, my first social media department initially stuck to efforts that would grow the metrics that the native apps would give us: followers & fans.

Here’s the problem with that approach: growing your Twitter followers list is not a business goal.  That’s not to say that it’s not a worthy endeavor or a worthy marketing goal, but measuring Twitter followers and Facebook fans is only as good as the business purpose behind the social effort.

A business goal is not just a desired end result: it is a filter that helps you evaluate whether your tactics will arrive at a measurable business result.  In my case, this meant that we had to take a hard look at what these fans and followers were doing for us and, more to the point, what we wanted to do with them.

Yikes.  Suddenly, this social media marketing sounded an awful lot like traditional marketing, goals and KPIs and ROI and all.  And so it is, once you consider the social media campaign point of view.

A coordinated social media marketing effort that integrates community, conversation and channel toward a measurable business goal is what makes up a social media campaign.  A good campaign is conceived with the discipline of mapping your tactic back to the business goal, and asking yourself whether your efforts smooths the pathway to that goal.  (For more on how to apply traditional marketing principles to the new social dialogue marketing model, download our social media how-to, The 4 C’s of Social Media Marketing.)

Your marketing goal should service the best business result

Of course, one man’s goal is another man’s tactic or objective.  Interim social marketing goals like “Earn 500+ retweets” are indeed benchmarks by which to measure the success of a social effort, but before you set them, you must ensure that you understand what that engagement is doing for you and how you’re going to capitalize on it.

If you don’t know what RT’s do for you, you haven’t set

the business goal for your social campaign. 

click to tweet


Are you looking for new users?  Customer advocacy?  Sales conversion?  In social media, achieving word-of-mouth marketing is your number one goal, but that brass ring needs to be providing some sort of measurable business result for you.

This might look like:

Get people to like my page —>  Expose these people to engaging content —>  These people share my content with their communities —>  Some of their community members become my fans —>  A percentage of these fans click on an offer —>  I have new customers —>  Some of these customers become my advocates —> (Yay!)

If you look at a typical customer path, this happy journey starts to look very familiar:

Awareness —> Consideration —> Preference —> Purchase —> Loyalty

Perhaps you’re setting up landing pages that have gated content for lead capture; perhaps you’re running a sale.  Whatever you’re doing, hold yourself accountable to understand what sort of action (typically a click) gives you the best business result, and understand what the next logical step for your target community is once they’ve acted.

Move through the 3 C’s to flesh out your social media campaign

So, you’ve decided that you need new customers, and you’re looking to find them through social channels.  Now what?

Use sound traditional marketing principles to focus your social media campaign goal.  

 click to tweet

Just like a traditional ad campaign, a good social media campaign has a target audience (community), message (conversation), and media outlet (channel).  The social media campaign is more than the aggregation of the other 3 C’s.  Aligning all three C’s around a focused business goal is what makes up a solid social media campaign, and it’s how you choose which metrics are best to measure progress.

A good dialogue marketing campaign starts with social media monitoring.  Find the social conversations that relate to your initiative, and think about your point of view and message.  Use social media monitoring tools to examine the social communities that you find, and consider building and cultivating your own.   Lastly, craft your social channel strategy across the social channels you’ve identified as valuable.

Try to choose KPIs that are as close to your effort as possible.  Metrics such as shares and followers are valid in that they measure your steps toward a larger business goal.  You should also understand how that earned engagement maps back to ROI.

Example: As part of an intiative designed to attract new T-shirt buyers and designers, I ran t-shirt giveaway contests on Twitter around a certain vampire-themed worldwide blockbuster movie.  With social listening we realized that our target community was on Twitter, and with historical sales and customer data we also knew that a good percentage of people who were afforded free T-shirts would become repeat buyers, designers, or both.  These business assumptions helped us target – and achieve – a CPA (Cost Per Acquisition) that, in the long run, was lower than that of paid search.  The added bonus was the social buzz that our winners created: follower and impression numbers were the cherry on our werewolf-vampire word-of-mouth sundae.

A social media campaign is only as good as its execution

Sometimes, being a social media marketer is like being at an all-you-can-eat buffet.  The possibilities are endless!  We can try loads of different things!  Every day, someone is doing something interesting!  Whee, a new technology!  At the end of the day, though, your resources are your resources.  Not every marketing initiative needs a full-blown, cross-channel social media campaign – and not every marketing department has the human bandwidth to manage one.  Good social media campaigns, like any other business initiative worth doing, are work to plan and execute.

The key to running a smooth campaign with seamless execution, engagement and reporting has a lot to do with your toolkit.  Your role as social media manager makes you an air traffic controller of content, and with the sheer volume of data out there your job becomes much more effective when you’re equipped with the instruments to make sense out of that data.  This is the Big Data challenge, and endeavors like social monitoring and social community management, for example, are much easier to undertake with good tools.  When you’re planning, take a look at your resources (both digital and human) to ensure that you have what you need to run your social media campaign as effectively as possible.

Remember, you are the catalyst that ignites your social media campaign.  So onward, brave social media soldiers, into a world of Big Data and small snippets of content.

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

Social media monitoring for the royal baby was done through social listening using Meltwater Buzz. Social media monitoring 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 media monitoring that we did with our social listening 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 media monitoring 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 Media Marketing Workshop: Hong Kong

Twelve of our valued clients joined us in Hong Kong for a Social Media Marketing Workshop on the 13th of June.  The workshop focused on the unique social media monitoring and marketing challenges companies face in China and Hong Kong—from strategy and planning to execution and measurement.

Our guest speaker for the event was Alan Cheung, the Web and Social Media Specialist for Médecins Sans Frontières. Alan talked about the unique flavor of Sina Weibo versus Twitter and best practices for social media marketing in Asia.

Alan Cheung presenting on social media marketing in China and Hong Kong.

Key takeaways from Alan’s presentation include the following:

  • Understand the differences between various social channels and their potential impact on your business
  • Research and test it out new social media channels before using them for your business
  • Stay up to date with technological developments that could affect social media engagement
  • Tailor your messaging for various social networks
  • Have realistic expectations of what social media can do to help you reach your business goals

Selecting the Best Channel for Effective Social Media Marketing

Ewan Ross, the Managing Director of Meltwater’s Hong Kong office, presented best practices for finding the social media channel that will have the biggest impact on your business. Ewan discussed how online social media monitoring tools can help identify where your target audience is and what they’re talking about, so that you can add to the conversation effectively. He also went through the latest updates to Facebook and how they impact social media marketing in Asia.

Meltwater clients discuss their unique social media marketing challenges.

Thank you to everyone who was able to attend the workshop! Subscribe to the Meltwater Success Blog on the right to receive more information on local events, as well as how-to guides and tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your Meltwater social media monitoring tool.

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 monitoring 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!

Meltwater’s social media monitoring tool 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 Meltwater’s social media monitoring tool 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 using a social media monitoring tool to 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 social listening and engagement metrics within the Meltwater’s social media monitoring tool gives 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.