Content Marketing Lessons from 4 Holiday Ad Fails

Making a great holiday ad should be simple. Start with a heartwarming message about love, peace, and goodwill. Add twinkling lights and evergreen trees and families getting warm by a fire. Then add your brand’s logo discreetly toward the bottom right. There you have it – a holiday ad that won’t offend, creep out, or annoy anyone.

It’s an easy formula, but one that a surprising number of brands mess up every year. Fortunately for us, they mess up in entertaining and educational ways. It’s almost easier to learn from a cautionary tale than a role model, so reveling in bad marketing can make you a better marketer.

These four holiday ads are certified disastrous, each in their own special way. And each has a lesson – or two – that marketers can use all year round. So prepare yourself for blasphemous meat products and yodeling cats: It’s time for some festive marketing fails.

1. Sour Sentiment from KFC

Last year, KFC created this music video, which is inexplicably three minutes long:

If you have better things to do with three minutes, the song is about how awful the holidays are, how people are annoying, how children are the absolute worst…but we can all come together because KFC is delicious.

KFC’s a notoriously “edgy” brand on social media, so it makes sense they would launch a sourball right at the heart of the holiday season. But this video leaves a worse aftertaste than their potato wedges do.

I believe comedy is great for marketing. But there are so many layers of irony and misanthropy here that it’s hard for the joke to breathe – by the time the gospel choir comes in, it’s impossible not to roll your eyes. And even if it made you chuckle all the way through, did it make you hungry for KFC?

My Content Marketing Takeaway: Humor is great for marketing. Irony less so. Snarkiness infinitely less so. Stick with humor that invites your audience into your tribe and makes them feel good.

2. Sainsbury’s Turns a War Story into a Commercial

On the complete opposite side of the irony spectrum, we have the absolute deadly earnestness of Sainsbury’s Christmas ad from 2016. After you watch the video, you’re invited to watch two different behind-the-scenes videos – they’re that proud:

The ad tells the true story of American and German troops in 1914 that called a cease-fire on Christmas Day. They sang songs together, celebrated the holiday, and then returned to trying to kill each other the next day (the video stops short of that last bit).

There’s nothing wrong with telling this story, and even nothing wrong with a brand telling it. But it’s still cringe-inducing to have that ad tagline and Sainsbury’s logo pop up at the end. It makes me feel manipulated by a brand, rather than entertained by a story.

My Content Marketing Takeaway: If your brand is approaching sensitive subject matter, keep the branding subtle. Let the content take center stage, and don’t turn a beautiful moment into a commercial.

3. Gregg Bakery’s Sausage Savior

British bakery chain Greggs stirred up controversy this year with their advent calendar announcement. The ad featured a nativity scene with a sausage roll in place of the baby Jesus. Not surprisingly, some Christians objected to the imagery. And some people thought it was hilarious. And the bakery apologized while not really apologizing.

Greggs picked up some free publicity from the stunt, of course. But none of that publicity had to do with their delicious pastries. And they’re getting eyerolls from folks who are tired of edgy brands courting controversy during the holidays. It’s a tired move.

My Content Marketing Takeaway: I’m all for drawing in your tribe, even to the extent of repelling those who aren’t your target audience, by leading with your brand’s values. Stirring up pointless controversy doesn’t tell anyone about your brand, and doesn’t make a meaningful distinction to your target audience.

4. Whatever This Is that Walmart Did

My words are my livelihood. My words are my only weapon against the world. But for this… I have no words. Just watch.

So. Yodeling cat in a Santa hat for 51 seconds: Walmart! Right?

The thing is, this ad made some kind of sense back in 2011, when it came out. It fits in with an animation trend from the late ‘00s. Today, it’s just ugly and off-putting. And, of course, even back in the day it didn’t have anything to do with Wal-Mart.

My Content Marketing Lesson: Make your marketing timeless rather than trendy, useful rather than “viral,” sensible instead of utter screaming nonsense.

Happy Holidays and Beyond

When holiday advertising works, it’s a fine example of what content marketing can be: Uplifting, entertaining, empathetic, even valuable. When too much snark, aggressive branding, pointless controversy, or cat-yodeling gets in the way – well – at least it can serve as a warning to the rest of us.

Are you already looking past the holidays to the New Year? Explore four emerging marketing channels for 2018.


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. |
Content Marketing Lessons from 4 Holiday Ad Fails | http://www.toprankblog.com

Content Marketing Lessons from 4 Holiday Ad Fails was posted via Internet Marketing

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Back to Basics: the Do’s and Don’ts of Contacting Journalists

I’m what’s affectionately known (hopefully) at Distilled as a ‘boomerang’. That is I worked here many moons ago as Head of PR and now in the immortal words of, well a million people in a million movies, “I’m back baby”.

One of the things I’ve learned over the years, working with smart people in hard-working teams is the tendency to try and run before you can walk. So, with the benefit of new experiences and hindsight, I’m gonna take you all back to the basics of PR and outreach (specifically contacting journalists) with a list of do’s and don’ts.

Do

Be human

When you’re in ‘getting shit done’ mode it can be easy to turn into a mega methodical machine – ticking through that to-do list and hammering out hacks to make you as efficient as can be. But treat bloggers and journalists as a mass group at your peril. A little personalisation goes a long way. This applies to tone too. They’re just people at the end of the day – don’t bamboozle them with corporate speak, or worse, marketing jargon. They don’t want to ‘touch base’, they just want a blimmin’ good story!

Don’t be mistaken for a robot in your emails.

Golden rule: Read your email out loud. How does it sound? If you wouldn’t say it (er, hello ‘kind regards’) then why write it?

Find the story

To continue in the same vein, for journalists content isn’t king, stories are. You can have the best graphic, game, quiz or visualisation in the world but if you can’t find a relevant hook or peg – journalists won’t be interested. Put the groundwork in and find a relevant way to pitch your piece. Is there a fitting (and well known) anniversary coming up? Can it be tied to something topical that’s already being reported on? Or perhaps you have an influencer you can use to make it more newsworthy? Whatever is it, find a way to hook your content to the news or prepare to be ignored.

Golden rule: This one’s quite simple really – read the news! The more you read, the more you know. Plus, using a news aggregator like Google News, you’ll be able to learn about the stories from different angles, allowing you to tailor your pitch to suit individual publications.

Write well

We all have pet peeves. What may seem pedantic to many will really piss off a few. For most writers this peeve is as obvious as it sounds; writing! If you email them with sloppy grammar and spelling, don’t expect to be taken seriously. We’re all guilty of making the odd typo or two but now is not the time. Take care with your pitch emails. Avoid evil cliches and jargon, be careful with capitalisation, proofread, proofread, proofread and – most importantly, make sure you get their name right.

Make sure your writing is bulletproof.

Golden rule: Even the biggest grammar pedants among us (oh hai!) make mistakes. Use an extension like Grammarly to be super confident you haven’t made any errors.

Don’t

Be a salesperson

You know when you go to a department store to buy something… You’re busy, you know where you need to be. You’re focused on getting to the right-hand corner of floor three, grabbing the thing and getting the hell out of there. Now picture this, you accidentally look the sales guy in the eye and he’s onto you. There’s no getting away now – you’re forced to listen to some scripted sales patter about some shit you’ll never want, or need. You die a little inside as you wonder how to politely tell him to ‘do one’.

And that’s how journalists feel when you try to convince them your content will work for them. If you’ve made a decent piece and found a decent angle all you need to do is present it to them alongside the facts. Don’t pepper your pitch with adjectives or tell them how great the content is. If it really is great, it’ll speak for itself – and journalists (they’re human, remember) are smart enough to make that judgement for themselves.

Golden rule: Do the work up front and the content will sell itself.

Over complicate

Just as it can be tempting to try to ‘sell’ your piece, it can be tempting to over complicate too. Made an irreverent game loosely hinged on politics? “Hey! Let’s peg it on the next election and write a press release on the pros and cons of each UK political party.” Hmm, or not. Why not peg it to the latest gaffe by whatever politician has most recently made an arse of themselves, and pitch it for what it is – a bit of lighthearted fun. Tell it how it is, it’s much easier for people to understand that way.

This applies to pitch emails too. Don’t write reams and reams of explanation – just send a brief synopsis and tell the journalists why you think it’s relevant to them and their publication.

Golden rule: If in doubt, KISS (keep it short and simple).

Pester

Journalists are inundated with calls and emails and their workloads are insane, so it’s fair to say the odd email or two may slip through the net. To this end, being chased by PRs is par for the course so they expect the odd follow up or two and it’s totally fine to check in and see if they’re interested. But there’s a line. Following up is fine but pestering is not cool. Not cool at all. If you’ve emailed and called a few times, give up the ghost, they’re not interested. Don’t demand feedback and don’t burn bridges. Maybe they’ll be interested next time.

Golden rule: Don’t assume just because a journalist covered your last piece, they’ll cover your next. Relevance is key. And if you make this assumption you’re at serious risk of pissing them off.

In conclusion

So there you have it, a back to basics guide that you’ll do well to remind yourself of. We’re all guilty of picking up the odd bad habit or two along the course of our careers but, if you start at the beginning, and get the fundamentals right, you’ll stand a much better chance of success.

Back to Basics: the Do’s and Don’ts of Contacting Journalists was posted via Internet Marketing

12 Industry-Specific Opportunities for Boosting Social Media Engagement

In the ever-changing social media landscape, we marketers are often on the prowl for meaningful data and insights to understand what works, what doesn’t and where our opportunities may lie. As a result, we often turn to industry research and studies, which often feature benchmarks that help us better internalize our own metrics and understand how we stack up to the competition.

While most studies offer incredibly insightful and useful information, one component may be missing: industry context.

Earlier this year, Rival IQ released its 2017 Social Media Industry Benchmark Report, featuring unique benchmark data for six different industries: Media, Higher Education, Non-profits, Food & Beverage, Fashion and Health & Beauty.

Why is context so important? As Rival IQ so eloquently said:

Key performance indicators like engagement rate, the number of clicks on a social post, or hashtag engagement rates tells a lot about what is happening as a result of activities. But it says nothing regarding whether the efforts are successful, failing, or where to focus on closing those gaps. Why? Because benchmarks are relative. … It’s easy to compare against the best, we all know those brands. That comparison often proves worthless. Comparing yourself to only the best and biggest brands is a disservice to the work your team has invested in social media.

As we near the end of the year, you’re undoubtedly preparing your 2018 social media marketing strategy. Below I share some of the report’s industry-specific opportunities for upping social engagement that deserve your consideration.

Media

Opportunity #1: Use more video on Facebook and Twitter.

According to the study, media companies boast the highest number of posts per day on Facebook and Twitter, but also the lowest engagement rates at .12% and .015%, respectively.

Social Engagement for Media Companies

Coming from a journalism background, this certainly didn’t surprise me. As the news happens, media organizations use social media to spread the word—and even a slow news day produces plenty of shareable fodder. But most of that shared content are links to on-site content, which requires the user to take another step to consume the content.

As a result, media companies have the opportunity to not only draw more eyeballs in, but keep them there longer by incorporating more video into their social media strategy.  

Opportunity #2: Invest in Instagram.

This finding is pretty straight forward. According to the report, Instagram gets the least amount of love on a daily basis, with the average post per day being just .8. However, the engagement rate on Instagram is exponentially higher at 1.25%, signaling that Instagram audiences are ripe for more content.

Non-profits

Opportunity #1: Repurpose Facebook videos for Twitter.

According to the report, non-profits are “owning” native video, but they may not be utilizing it effectively across all its social channels. But as you can see from the graphs below, video is much more prevalent on Facebook than on Twitter, but engagement in that type of content is high on both platforms.

Facebook Engagement Metrics Nonprofits

Twitter Engagement Metrics for Nonprofits

Based on the findings, Rival IQ suggested repurposing Facebook video content (or perhaps going native) for Twitter to help up engagement rates.

Opportunity #2: Leverage high-performing hashtags.

Like the media industry, non-profits have some opportunity with Instagram. According to the report, by just increasing posts per day by .2 (one more post every five days) non-profits could see a lift in engagement. Furthermore, using trending and high-performing hashtags (and related subject matter) such as #VeteransDay in their posts could lend a boost, too.

Higher Education

Opportunity #1: Up the number of status updates on Facebook.

According to the report, colleges and universities boast some of the highest engagement rates compared to the other industries in the study.

Social Engagement for Media Companies

But what’s most interesting is that simple status updates do almost as well as video and photos. As a result, Rival IQ suggests that higher education organizations could up the number of status updates on Facebook and still receive great engagement.

Opportunity #2: Add visual elements to tweets.

While visuals aren’t necessarily an essential for higher education Facebook audiences, they’re a big opportunity for Twitter audiences. As you can see in the graph below, tweets with videos or photos have a significantly higher engagement rate.

INSERT GRAPH

Fashion

Opportunity #1: Incorporate more video across social channels.

Social posts featuring images are the most common type of posts among fashion brands, and while they get the most engagement, video is a close second—but less posts contain videos.

As the power of video becomes increasingly evident, fashion brands may want to incorporate more into their social strategy to drive more overall engagement.

Opportunity #2: Re-evaluate hashtags to make sure they are relevant to the audience.

According to the report, the top hashtags that fashion brands are currently using only provide slightly higher engagement compared to the other industries studied. Some of those top hashtags include a mix of holiday, lifestyle and fashion-related hashtags.

Top Hashtags for Fashion Brands

As a result, it may be worth it to go more industry-specific and focus on those fashion-related hashtags to be more relevant and boost engagement.

Health & Beauty

Opportunity #1: Focus on photos.

Video is undoubtedly an engagement driver and opportunity for most industries, but according to the report, that’s where the health and beauty industry differs. In fact, photos trump video in engagement on Facebook and Twitter for health and beauty companies.

Facebook Engagement Rates for Health and Beauty Brands

Twitter Engagement Rates for Health & Beauty

This signals that health and beauty brands should double-down on the creation of quality, compelling photos for use across their social channels.

Opportunity #2: Use industry-related hashtags.

When it comes to Instagram, Rival IQ’s study found that industry-related hashtags such as #moisturizer or #healthyskin—rather than just top-performing or trending hashtags like #ValentinesDay—get high engagement rates.

Food & Beverage

Opportunity #1: Invest in compelling imagery for use across channels.

Photos are the most common type of social posts for food and beverage companies—and for good reason as they drive high engagement. As a result, food and beverage brands should absolutely be investing in high-quality, compelling imagery that will resonate with their audience.

Food & Beverage Industry Social Engagement Rates

Opportunity #2: Get on the Twitter bandwagon.

According to the report, food and beverage companies are rocking it on Twitter, significantly outperforming other industries. So, if you’ve been wondering whether Twitter is worth the investment, it may be a good time to incorporate Twitter into your strategy.

Read the full Rival IQ report here.

The Bottom-Line

Simply put, there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for fostering engagement on social media. While many industries have the same high-level opportunities for adding video, producing quality images and refining hashtagging strategies, there are nuances and caveats that are industry-unique.

So, as you work to refine your strategy today, tomorrow and beyond, do so with your unique industry and audience at the forefront of your mind. However, don’t neglect the great things happening outside your industry bubble. After all, a little inspiration can go a long way.

Looking for a little of that inspiration? Check out our post What All Marketers Can Learn from Fast Food Giants Crushing Twitter.

Have some insight to lend on this subject? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. |
12 Industry-Specific Opportunities for Boosting Social Media Engagement | http://www.toprankblog.com

12 Industry-Specific Opportunities for Boosting Social Media Engagement was posted via Internet Marketing

4 Emerging Marketing Channels You Should Adopt in 2018

Regardless of whether you’re a B2B or B2C marketer, your audience is always on the move. With changing devices, interests, and behaviors it’s increasingly difficult to stay in front of your target audience. As the saying goes, ‘a moving target is harder to hit.’

To increase our chances of hitting our targets, we often weave several channels into our marketing strategy, putting our brand in front of more potential leads. However, in today’s digital landscape, it can feel like new platforms and social networks pop up daily leaving you to wonder if you need to change up your strategy.

Below, we gathered our top five emerging digital marketing channels to help you decide which channels are worth focusing on and stay top of mind with your target audience. Read on to learn how you can adopt them into your 2018 marketing plan.

1. Messaging Apps

Messaging apps are now 20% bigger than social networks, creating new pathways where you can target your audience. This includes messaging apps like WhatsApp, Slack, WeChat, and Facebook Messenger. Facebook Messenger alone is on the phones of over 1.2 billion people and with mobile now accounting for 57% of internet traffic, it’s important for your brand to be visible on the mobile apps your audience uses.

Through strategic advertising and integrated chatbots, your brand can attract and support more customers through messaging apps. For example, you can send sponsored, personalized messages to people who have messaged your brand in the past to start a dialogue. Then, with well-designed and thoughtful bot, you can automate the conversations and interactions your brand has with your audience to draw them closer to converting.

2. Medium

With 91% of B2B marketers stating that they use content marketing, odds are you already create noteworthy content for your brand. Medium, a publishing platform where people “read and write things that matter,” allows you to distribute that content with an engaged and thoughtful audience. And through Medium’s priority on quality content, the size of your audience doesn’t affect the virality of what you have to say, which differs from how other publishing sites and networks work.

As a platform for individuals and their opinions, Medium is a place for your brand’s thought leaders to share their progressive ideas. Instead of publishing content as a business, ask your brand’s top minds to post content that is thought provoking, yet relevant to your industry or business. With over 126 million website visits to date and growing, Medium’s active users will highlight and interact with your content, increasing the visibility of your content on the platform.

3. Reddit

Boasted as “The Front Page of the Internet”, Reddit provides another unique opportunity for brands to engage new, active audiences. With over 250 million users to date, Reddit allows users to create, share, and discuss online content and vote on their submissions. This has resulted in an active, loyal, and engaged community full of user-generated content. In fact, after 1.69 billion website visitors to date, Reddit has an average site visit duration of over 10 minutes.

Get started with Reddit by selecting a few subreddits (i.e. threads dedicated to specific topics) that are appropriate for you to share your content in. You can also try out Reddit’s advertising features which allow you to sponsor a post to the front page of a subreddit. And if you’re feeling extra brave, you can host an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit, which allows you to have a Q&A session with Reddit’s community. Be warned, however: posting on Reddit can be a bit like walking through a minefield—you never know what you’re going to get.

4. YouTube

Video accounts for 74% of all internet traffic, meaning your audience spends a majority of their time online watching a video. While YouTube has been around for over a decade, it still hasn’t made it into many marketing strategies with only 30% of B2B marketers believing video will be critical to their content marketing. Today, YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine and second most visited site, making it a prime place to distribute video content and engage audiences.

While producing your own video may seem daunting, video creation has never been more accessible through new SaaS offerings and sophisticated phone cameras. Plus, your videos don’t need to be overly complicated. Showcase your company’s thought leaders through one on one interviews, live streamed Q&A’s, or webinars. In addition, you can create in-depth tutorials that walk your audience through difficult problems, highlighting your expertise and educating your audience. For more ideas on the types of videos you can create, see how seven brands are using long-form video content to connect with audiences.

Mix Up Your Content Marketing Game

Finding the right content marketing mix that successfully engages the right people isn’t an exact science. For more tips and ideas on how to find that perfect balance, check out these content marketing mix tips.


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. |
4 Emerging Marketing Channels You Should Adopt in 2018 | http://www.toprankblog.com

4 Emerging Marketing Channels You Should Adopt in 2018 was posted via Internet Marketing

Digital Marketing News: Tech & ABM, Top Search Ranking Factors and 2017 Consumer Trends

How New Tech Trends Can Amplify Your Marketing Strategy [Animated Infographic]
How can technology help your account based marketing be more efficient and more personal? This infographic answers that question and more about marketing technology trends, AI and machine learning. MarketingProfs

Top 17 Organic Search Ranking Factors [STUDY]
A new study from SEMRush shows the top search ranking factors for 2017. These factors heavily favor engagement and quality of content – with factors like bounce rate, time on page and direct visits dominating the top of the list. Having the appropriate keywords in the title, meta description and page content were near the bottom. Search Engine Journal

No One Trusts Social Media, but They’ll Keep Using It Anyway [New Data]
Distrust for social media is on the rise, with close to half of survey respondents saying that Google, Facebook and Twitter are ‘untrustworthy.’ However, despite the distrust, few plan to stop using social networks and Google. HubSpot

Study Finds Sharp Drop in Time Spent on Facebook
eMarketer reports: “Facebook users in the US spent more time with the platform than users of any other social network, 18 hours, 24 minutes. But that was a significant drop from the 32 hours, 43 minutes recorded by Verto Analytics a year ago.” eMarketer

2017 Consumer Trends Report
What do US consumers care about in 2017? In this new study, social media data shines some light onto what topics of conversation are most prevalent and what conversations are emerging. Crimson Hexagon

The State of E-Commerce in Fast-Moving Consumer Goods [Infographic]
According to MarketingProfs, this infographic “offers insights into the current state of e-commerce in FMCG, also known as CPG (consumer packaged goods), as well as why e-commerce is no longer just an option for FMCG (it’s a must-have) and which verticals have seen the most growth.”  MarketingProfs

Facebook debuts web-based VR experiences within standard News Feed
Facebook has recently released examples of brands who have developed VR apps with which users can interact in the Facebook News Feed and mobile app. Facebook is calling them “360 experiences”. MarketingLand

Google AdWords Editor updates to support budget type option for video ads & more
Google has announced even more updates to their AdWords Editor program. These updates will support new features like Gmail asset-based ads, video extensions and a new budget type option for video ads. Search Engine Land

What were your top digital marketing news stories this week?

We’ll be back next week with more digital marketing news. Have something to share? Tweet to @toprank!

Digital Marketing News: Tech & ABM, Top Search Ranking Factors and 2017 Consumer Trends was posted via Internet Marketing

The TopRank Marketing Team Reflects & Gives Thanks

Today is a day that has become a cornerstone of American tradition and many of you are preparing for a day of fun and feasting with your love ones.

Every family has their own Thanksgiving traditions. For many families, you spend the day cooking, eating, conversing and eating some more. Others (like myself) take a more non-traditional approach and host a Friendsgiving with no turkey (don’t worry, there is prime rib).

The team at TopRank Marketing has our own Thanksgiving tradition which includes asking our team members to share thanks on a specific topic each year. Last year we shared why we were thankful for our clients and the year before we focused on why we were thankful for our team members.

This year, we decided to focus on what we are most thankful for in our career and what we’ve learned in our time at TopRank Marketing.

So sit back, put on your stretchy pants and take a moment to digest what some of our team members are most thankful for this year.

Steve Slater
Digital Advertising Manager

I’m thankful to have a career that is constantly changing and challenging me to change with it. I’m thankful to be at TopRank Marketing because it’s a company where open feedback and communication is valued. It’s also a company where personal growth and collaboration is baked into the culture.

Lee Odden
CEO

I am incredibly thankful to work in an industry where curiosity, passion, creativity and a focus on marketing results can be rewarded in so many ways. Not only do I have the opportunity to gain digital marketing knowledge working with first class clients and an amazing team at our agency, but I get to share their success stories at marketing conferences all over the world.

Josh Nite
Content Marketing Manager

TopRank Marketing has been a career rebirth for me. In two years I learned more than I did in a decade at my old job. I’m so thankful for leadership that cares about nurturing talent, and for the incredibly smart team I work with. Everyone is so generous with their knowledge, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

Myrle Croasdale
Copywriter

I am thankful to be part of a team that is leading in the digital marketing arena. The TopRank Marketing team intentionally works to stay ahead of emerging trends to deliver concrete results for clients. It great to be part of such a dynamic team.

Mike Odden
Research Analyst

As working at TopRank Marketing is my second career ( I taught in public schools for 31 years ) I feel very  blessed to have the opportunity. To see TopRank  Marketing grow and to be part of this team of super professionals is fantastic!

Caitlin Burgess
Senior Content Marketing Manager

I’m incredibly thankful for the opportunity to work and grow with so many amazing, talented people. Thanks to the support and nurturing I’ve received, I’ve cultivated great friendships and had the opportunity to grow and refine many areas of my marketing skillset. So, a big thank you to every TopRank Marketing team member. I couldn’t do what I do without you.

Debbie Friez
Social Media Lead

I am thankful for the opportunity to learn from the great minds at TopRank Marketing every day. When you work with creative intelligent people you can’t help but cultivate new ideas and push to do better work. I’m really looking forward to the new opportunities 2018 will bring!

Elizabeth Williams
Account Manager

I feel so wonderfully blessed to have the opportunity to work at TopRank Marketing. I am thankful to be surrounded by such outstanding, industry-leading digital marketing professionals. I love to learn alongside and from the expertise of my team as we take on big challenges and drive results for our clients. I can’t wait to see how we can continue to grow and improve in 2018.

Ashley Zeckman (That’s Me!)
Director of Agency Marketing

Where do I start? I am incredibly thankful for the various mentors and teammates that I have had throughout the years. Without these people who have helped guide me, I would know far less than I do today.

My time at TopRank Marketing especially has been filled with opportunities that I feel incredibly lucky to have. Lee our CEO has been a fantastic mentor and has bestowed an incredible amount of knowledge on me related to all things digital marketing, but especially around the topics of content marketing and influencers. The team members that I have the opportunity to work with every day are some of the top in their field and I am fortunate to learn something new each day. I would also like to thank the amazing people who have given me a chance and helped me step outside of my comfort zone to get up in front of audiences and speak on topics relating to content and influencers including Ann Handley and Nick Westergaard (you guys are amazing!).

Rachel Miller
Influencer Marketing Manager

I am thankful for the opportunity to meet and learn from so many top minds. I am truly grateful that my role allows me to build relationships and learn new skills on an almost a daily basis.

Amy Higgins
Account Manager

I’m thankful for the relationships that I have built with my clients. 

Together, we have launched amazing, thought provoking campaigns — ones that exceed audience expectations and engage interesting conversations with a ton of thought leaders in the market.

Nick Nelson
Content Strategist

I know this response will sound cliché, but it is amazing to do work that you genuinely enjoy, and are passionate about.

I’ve been writing relentlessly since the days when I’d print out a neighborhood newspaper as a 9-year-old and deliver it to doorsteps around the block (“The Daily Mouse,” we named it). I’m beyond grateful to now have a career in which I get to write creatively on a regular basis, helping clients articulate their brand narratives and reach people in unique new ways.

I know from my own past experience, and from conversations with many others, that it’s not exactly common to have a job you wake up and look forward to each day. That isn’t lost on me, and never will be as long as I’m lucky enough to be doing what I do.

Anne Leuman
Copywriter

I am thankful for all of my awesome TopRank Marketing coworkers who afford me the opportunity to learn from them each and every day. They truly put the “top” in TopRank (for the record, they also put the “prank” in TopRank).

Katie Uphus
Vice President of Operations

I am thankful for the opportunity to join the TopRank Marketing team and help set them up for growth and greater success!

Have a Safe, Happy & (Somewhat)Healthy Thanksgiving

Thank you to our amazing clients, influencers and followers for everything that you do. Without all of you, we literally wouldn’t be here.

Whatever your plans are for the long weekend, we hope that you set aside some time to relax and unwind. You’ve earned it.

Happy Thanksgiving!
The Team at TopRank Marketing


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. |
The TopRank Marketing Team Reflects & Gives Thanks | http://www.toprankblog.com

The TopRank Marketing Team Reflects & Gives Thanks was posted via Internet Marketing

3 Awesome Things You can do with LinkedIn’s New Website Demographics

Recently, LinkedIn rolled out its new Website Demographics feature which allows any business that has a LinkedIn Ads account to better identify who exactly is coming to their site. While Google Analytics has for years shown us aggregate data with sessions, pageviews, and more, we actually don’t know who makes up these metrics. What LinkedIn aspires to do here is provide granular information about your website’s visitors such as:

  1. Job title

  2. Company industry

  3. Job seniority

  4. Job function

  5. Company size

  6. Location

  7. Country

  8. Company

What’s really cool about this is that you’re able to actually break this down at the domain, subfolder or page level, so you can see exactly who is visiting a certain sections or pages of your site. But there’s so much more. Data isn’t intrinsically valuable by itself, one needs to know what they’re going to do with that data in order to make it valuable. Because all of you are busy, I’ve taken the liberty of hashing out a couple of the best ways to use this data for good with your company.

Getting started with Website Demographics

As I mentioned before, to get access to Website Demographics, you’re going to need to have an Ads account, so you if you don’t already have one, go ahead and set one up or at least get access to one. If you do not have a LinkedIn Ads account set up and would like to have one, click here for information on how to do so.

I’m going to assume for now that you either already have an Ads account or have just set one up, so we’re going to get into the implementation stage. Once in your account, you’ll need to click on account assets and then “Insight Tag”, as shown in the screenshot below:

What is the Insight Tag you ask? The kind experts at LinkedIn describe it as “a piece of lightweight JavaScript code that you can add to your website to enable in-depth campaign reporting and unlock valuable insights about your website visitors. As a LinkedIn Marketing Solutions customer, you can use the LinkedIn Insight Tag to track conversions, retarget website visitors, and unlock additional insights about members interacting with your ads.” If you have more questions about how the tag will affect your site, you can check out this page, but in a nutshell, it’s pretty much all benefit and little negative as the tag is unlikely to slow down your site in any significant way, but you would be providing LinkedIn more information about your site’s visitors.

After you click on the Insight Tag button, you’ll be brought to the following screen:

You’ll need to verify it for your domain, but then you’ll be able to place it on all of the pages of your website. My favorite way to do this is via Google Tag Manager which makes it very simple. The Insight tag can be handled as either custom HTML tag (just copy and paste the code above) or within the pre-made option (seen below) that just requires your partner ID, which can be found in the second line of the JavaScript of the image above. Though some people may disagree with me, I find it easier to just copy and paste the entire script and add it as custom HTML.

After you have your Insight Tag on all of your pages, you can click on Website Demographics and begin to create an audience. I like to segment out by visitors to different pages to get an idea of who is visiting what pages on the site in question.

Examples of your audiences could be visitors to:

  • the homepage

  • a sales page

  • a services page

  • the entire blog section

  • literally anything else

Save your audience and then you’ll need to let your audience build. Once a minimum of 300 LinkedIn members visit the page or pages, you’ll start to have data and it will be visible under Website Demographics, but until that threshold is reached, it’ll say your audience is still building and you need to wait. This could take days to weeks depending on how much traffic your site gets, so plan accordingly. Eventually, you’ll get your visitors, the data will populate, and you’ll be able to explore around and glean some pretty cool insights. Don’t know where to start once you have this data? That’s ok. That’s the point of this post.

Use case #1: Better LinkedIn ad targeting

Let’s call a spade a spade, LinkedIn developed and released Website Demographics because it anticipates that with this new information, companies will be more likely to spend on their platform. Without a doubt, the information provided best dovetails with LinkedIn advertising. Why? Well, all of the information it provides such as job title, location, job function, seniority level, company size, etc. all happen to be targeting functions on LinkedIn.

In the event you have landing pages and/or forms that require a person to fill in their job title, it’s quite likely that your CRM will eventually contain examples like this:

  • Vice President

  • Vice President, Finance

  • VP Finance

  • VP

  • VP, Finance

  • Vice Pres

  • Executive VP

The problem with this is that if you try to collate this data with a pivot table, each one of these titles will be calculated as a separate entity, which makes calculations difficult, especially if just about every single one of the job titles collected has 8 or so variants. With Website Demographics, all of this data is easily processed and streamlined because LinkedIn will bucket the job titles into groups that it allows you to target via ads. No more guessing if certain titles can be targeted by LinkedIn.

Beyond this, there are also bits of business intelligence such as company size, company industry, job function and seniority level that other analytics sources such as Google Analytics, Webmaster Tools, Facebook, or Twitter likely won’t be able to provide. This allows you to take your segmentation to the next level by analyzing exactly who is landing on what pages and providing you the opportunity (though you’ll have to seize it) to target to an incredibly specific audience and serve them content that is highly targeted and relevant to their interests.

Sponsored InMails might be a great tool here as you’ll be able to tailor your messages specifically and be able to use your credits wisely. As a reminder, sponsored InMail messages are those that get sent to your message inbox as opposed to appearing in your news feed or in a module on the right-hand side where LinkedIn text ads are found. They allow you to contact anyone on LinkedIn without an introduction or contact information. InMail messages can have up to 200 characters in the subject line and up to 2,000 characters in the body, so there’s plenty of space to get your message across. LinkedIn does not let you send Inmails without a subject line.

Use case #2: Business intelligence for content creation (organic search/paid social)

Yes, Website Demographics can be immensely helpful if you want to run LinkedIn ads, but it does, in fact, have other use cases besides helping to fill LinkedIn’s coffers. Once we have the valuable business intelligence about who is visiting our website, we need to ask ourselves, are we currently providing these audiences with the content that they’d find useful? In the digital marketing industry, I tend to view anything that comes with a guarantee skeptically. However, I can nearly guarantee that by adding more exceptionally high-quality content to your website that specifically addresses the problems and pain points of your newly identified (or confirmed) audience, your business will only benefit. I’ve never had a single client who has said, “No thanks, we don’t want anymore qualified organic traffic than we already have.”

For example, think about the seniority and job functions of the people who are visiting your site. Is it possible that the junior-level account manager would likely respond best to different ad copy than a senior-level partner? Do they have different needs? As Tom Critchlow, recently wrote, “there’s too much mediocre content written for no-one and spread to everyone.” Tailor your content to be as relevant as possible to the audience that searches for and reads it and you’ll give your organization in a much better chance to achieve more conversions (and probably higher rankings too, which doesn’t suck).

If your business doesn’t already have personas, this very well could be the time to create them, comparing the data from LinkedIn with the data you have from your CRM on who your best (and worst) clients are. Match the data from LinkedIn and interview similar profiles from your actual customers asking:

  1. What value do they receive from using your company?

  2. Do they perceive your company to be an industry expert in the field?

  3. Do they turn to your company for updates within the industry?

  4. How does your company make their job easier?

  5. What benefits do they get from working with your company over a competitor?

  6. What information would they like to see that you currently don’t produce?

  7. What information does your company have that would make their lives easier if they had access to it?

  8. On what channels/sources do they get their industry news from?

  9. On what channels do they share industry news?

Ideally, you find out what matters to your segmented audiences and those topics also have significant organic search volume. This post is not on keyword research, but if you’d like to read some good posts on how you can quickly and effectively do keyword research in your nice, you can check out:

  • Paul Shapiro’s Searchlove Boston 2016 presentation

  • Geoff Kenyon on how to use SEMrush

  • Me on how to  do keyword research in 90 minutes

But not all content that you create needs to have great search volume, another option is to create content that is likely to be engaged with because it provides value, often when your target audience doesn’t know they need it. A few companies that I think do this really well are DeepCrawl, Botify and Onnit, which send out periodic emails and well-timed articles on social media that I open strictly because they make my life easier both in my professional life (DeepCrawl and Botify) and my personal life (Onnit). The key takeaway here is not to create and send emails just because you think you should or your boss says to, but to actually deliver relevant content that provides value. Just look at the screenshot of my inbox when I do a search for Botify:

As an SEO, all of these headlines appeal to me. If you’re only sending me updates about your company or speaking about how I can learn more about your company, you’ll lose me. Targeted emails and social media posts need to make my life easier or better in order for me to open or engage with them and Linkedin’s Website Demographics provide great information about who your audience is. Now you just need to give them what they want, minimizing the guesswork.

Use case #3: Engage with visitors to specific pages

This last part use case may seem a bit creepy, but I’d ask, isn’t nearly all marketing creepy these days because of the level of granularity we have? If your marketing isn’t specific or targeting a highly relevant audience, aren’t you just wasting money and not properly leveraging the tools at your disposal? Ethics aside, let’s get to the targeting.

This use case may be most helpful if you work in the B2B space and have a Contact Us or a Services type of page. If you’re responsible for business development or closing leads, you might have CRM that tracks your leads or just your email to know with whom you’re engaging. If you see a particular company is visiting your conversion pages and they’re demonstrating interest, but you also know that that company had emailed you a few days or weeks earlier, maybe it’s time to send a follow-up.

This can be used exactly like LinkedIn’s feature for showing you who is visiting your profile, but in this case, you know they’ve accessed specific pages. Of course, you could, in theory, employ this use case for any page on your website and there certainly might be a reason to do that, but putting the finishing touches on a warm lead and sending a friendly reminder just as that person is visiting a specific page on your site might be enough to close the deal. Feel free to modify this to best meet your exact needs, but the main takeaway here is that in some cases, you might be able to tie the data back from who is a lead in your system to who is visiting your site. Engaging with that person at the right moment could be the difference between money in your pocket or money in your competitor’s.

Rounding it all up

LinkedIn’s new Website Demographics tools is super easy to use and requires very little effort to deploy. I’m of the belief that it’s always better to have more information rather than less and even if you don’t know what to do with all that data now, you could always use it later.

Without a doubt, the best use case for Website Demographics information is to plow it back into LinkedIn for highly effective targeting, but the knowledge can be used off of the platform if you have the ability to leverage the insights for content creation or following up with leads. This is a new tool so I personally don’t have all that much experience with it yet, so if you come up with other cool use cases for this data, I’d be excited to see it.

Happy marketing!

3 Awesome Things You can do with LinkedIn’s New Website Demographics was posted via Internet Marketing

Values in Marketing: How Taking a Stand Boosts Your Business

What do Home Depot, Ikea, Dillard’s and REI have in common?

They all will be closed for Thanksgiving this year, joined by dozens more major retailers. REI in particular will remain closed through Black Friday as well. On some of the biggest shopping days in the U.S., these retail giants are encouraging potential customers to stay home.

On the surface, it seems like a risky move. At worst, these brands risk losing customers to competitors, and at best they’re out a substantial chunk of sales revenue.

But major players in the industry don’t get that way by giving away money. They know that leading with their values is good for business. They saw Black Friday slowly encroach into Thanksgiving, and chose to support the idea that the holiday should be a day of rest, not a marathon of bargain-hunting.

As an early adopter, REI serves as a case study to the business power of leading with your values. The sporting goods retailer stayed closed on Thanksgiving and Black Friday in 2015, branding the initiative the Opt Outside campaign. The message was simple: Instead of shopping, go out and get in touch with nature. It was a potent idea, perfectly consistent with the brand’s core values. And the gamble paid off: REI saw a 9.3% increase in revenue, a 7% increase in store sales, and a 23% increase in digital sales for 2015.

It’s not just about choosing to close your business on a particular day, of course. It’s about broadcasting your brand’s values, and showing the courage of your convictions by following through on them. Consumers tend to favor that kind of boldness.

Here’s why leading with your brand’s values can be a boost to your marketing.

Differentiate Your Business

In the always-on digital world, a lot of the key differentiators brands used to rely on cease to matter. The hardware store downtown is open an hour later, so you shop there. The bank down the street always has extra tellers and shorter lines, so you choose to bank there. The local supermarket has the best deals on produce, so get your apples and bananas there.

Price and convenience are getting harder to compete on. One of the few remaining differentiators is what a brand stands for. TOMS shoes, Dove, Always and adidas are just a few brands using culture as a content marketing strategy. And the strategy is paying off – a recent study from Cone Communications found that 87% of consumers use values as a guide for making purchase decisions.

Define Your Audience

Some brands focus on pulling in the largest audience possible. To avoid turning off any potential customers, they avoid making controversial statements – and eventually statements of any kind. The problem is, “inoffensive” can quickly turn into “bland.” Sure, no one hates a bland brand. But no one loves them, either. And the worst part is, the majority of people that might be turned off by a brand’s values were likely never going to be customers in the first place.

When you lead with your values, you may turn away some people. But the trade-off is energizing the people who share your values, inspiring brand loyalty and ambassadorship. Starbucks is a perfect example of this phenomenon. When they announced they would hire 10,000 refugees, some people boycotted the brand. But a far larger group became more loyal, resulting in a net win for the company.

Inspire Your Employees

The people who work for your organization are the single largest underutilized marketing force you have. On average, employees tend to have ten times the connections on social media than the brand they work for. And people are more likely to trust messaging that comes from other people rather than a brand’s social accounts.

If you can inspire your employees to be brand ambassadors, you can be more credible to your existing audience and reach vast untapped audiences as well. Leading with your values is one way to give employees that inspiration. Communicate your brand values internally to make sure everyone shares the vision, then encourage employees to post on social media when they see those values in action.

Go Against the Flow

When some retailers started opening earlier and earlier on Black Friday – eventually cutting into Thanksgiving itself – most businesses followed suit. But a special few had the courage to lead with their values, buck the trend, and start a counter-movement, and their efforts have paid off. That kind of values-based marketing has proven to be a powerful differentiator, helping businesses find new audiences and inspire their employees to be brand ambassadors.

Whether you spend your weekend shopping or relaxing with family, come back to work Monday ready to put your brand’s values in action. Because values-driven, purpose-led marketing is something we all can be thankful for.

What’s your favorite story of a brand taking a values-driven stand? Let me know in the comments.


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Values in Marketing: How Taking a Stand Boosts Your Business | http://www.toprankblog.com

Values in Marketing: How Taking a Stand Boosts Your Business was posted via Internet Marketing

Content Conversations: Top Content Marketing Lessons Learned in 2017

One of the best ways to improve your skills as a content marketer is to learn from the successes and failures of other marketers. And as we near the end of 2017, many marketers are reflecting on what has (and hasn’t) worked in the past year and looking to what this means for content goals and plans for the coming year.

It doesn’t matter if you are a team of one or a team of one hundred, outside insights can be incredibly valuable for improving your approach to content marketing.

Since we know you’re likely busy working, wrapping up 2017 and planning for 2018, we’re here to help. Recently we had the chance to sit down (or stand up?) for some great content conversations with some of today’s top marketers.

Below you’ll find their top content lessons learned in 2017 as well as how you can apply these insights to your own content marketing approach.

Don’t Be Afraid to Take Risks

In a profession with so many moving parts and fast-paced changes, it can be easy to become risk averse. The problem is, if you don’t take risks to create great, more impactful content, your competition will, and your audience will follow.

Content risks don’t have to mean completely changing your approach. It can be slight tweaks and tests along the way to improve performance and innovate.


Ann Handley
Chief Content Officer, MarketingProfs

“More marketers are getting comfortable taking risks because sometimes our very best work comes out of us taking a risk.” @annhandley tweet this

Ask Yourself:

  • What are some small risks that you can begin taking today to improve your approach to content marketing?
  • How can you work testing new content approaches into your routine?
  • What can you learn from other marketers that are having success with innovation?

Make Owned Content a Cornerstone

It’s no secret that social networks and content on 3rd party websites are a great way to attract your audience. Ultimately though, these approaches should be used as a means to draw people to owned content on your website.

Social algorithms change constantly and you’ll find that if you put the majority of your efforts into building relationships on those platforms, you can lose that audience faster than you gained it.


Joe Pulizzi
Author & Keynote Speaker

“Use social media platforms to get your audience to your own content so you create a direct connection.” @joepulizzi tweet this

Ask Yourself:

  • Which platforms are currently the biggest drivers of audience members to your owned content?
  • How can social networks and other credible websites become part of your strategy for driving visitors to your website?

Focus on Quality Content

As more and more brands become publishers, that means that a huge influx of content has been hitting the search results and inboxes of your target customers. Unfortunately, a lot of what is out there is not at the level of quality that it needs to be to provide value.

That means, customers are becoming overwhelmed by crappy content and are in dire need of quality content created for them by marketers who understand their top needs.


Chris Brogan
CEO, Owner Media Group

“There should be a big, wide-open playing field for marketers that are passionate and make real business happen.” @chrisbrogan tweet this

Ask Yourself:

  • What would it take to create high-quality content on a consistent basis?
  • Should content quantity be reduced in order to focus on impact?
  • Can your team truly identify the difference between low and high-quality content?

Pay Attention to Distribution

All too often, content distribution and amplification are either ignored, or treated as an afterthought when creating content. At the end of the day, we are marketers that are responsible for the performance of the content that we creates which means giving distribution the time and attention it deserves.


Alexandra Rynne
Content Marketing Manager – Marketing Solutions, LinkedIn

“Give your content room to breathe and focus on what works and what doesn’t so you can approach it better next time.” @amrynnie tweet this

Ask Yourself:

  • Are you creating content for content’s sake or is your content tied to business objectives?
  • How can you give content distribution and amplification the same attention as creation?
  • Are you documenting which forms of content distribution are effective? And which ones aren’t?

Eliminate Marketing Buzzwords

It doesn’t matter if you create content for a B2C or B2B audience, the key is connecting with people. When marketers focus on creating product, solutions or services based content, they’re ignoring the true needs of their audience.

Buying audiences don’t care about marketing buzzwords, they want to know what problems you can help them solve. This requires creating a true connection and providing honest and helpful content based on what their top needs are.


Tim Washer
Writer & Producer, Cisco

“Instead of trying to change what people say, we need to change how people think.” @timwasher tweet this

Ask Yourself:

  • Is our content focused on the message we want to send or the true needs of our customers?
  • How much do we actually know about what our target audience wants and needs?  

Invest in Dedicated Content Marketing Staff

You wouldn’t hire a plumber to do your drywall or a professor to act as an electrician. The same can be said for your marketing team. While there are some marketers that can fulfill multiple roles, now more than ever it’s critical to work with a dedicated content marketing staff.

That can mean hiring full-time resources in-house and/or partnering with an agency that has expertise in your industry.


Dayna Rothman
VP of Marketing & Sales Development, BrightFunnel

“One of the most important things your team needs is a dedicated resource to run content.” @dayroth tweet this

Ask Yourself:

  • Who in my organization is truly responsible for content?
  • Are we setting content teams up for success?
  • Do we need outside help to scale our content marketing program?

Document Your Content Strategy

While we are seeing a 1-2% increase each year in marketers who have a documented content strategy, we are still nowhere near to 50%. Your content strategy should be your guide for all content you create and serve as an anchor point if your team ever starts to get off track.

Without a documented strategy, it is MUCH more difficult to meet business objectives and make a case for content’s place within your organization.


Chris Moody
Content Marketing Leader, GE Digital

“Your content strategy is the single most important document you’ll create. It’ll make you more productive and it’ll be used internally on a regular basis.” @cnmoody tweet this

What Content Lesson Did You Learn in 2017?

If we are going to move forward and improve content in 2018, it’s essential to reflect on what we’ve learned in 2017. Some lessons are easy and others are plagued with difficulty. As you reflect on the past year, think about your biggest content lesson learned. Feel free to share in the comments below!

Disclosure: BrightFunnel is a TopRank Marketing client.


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. |
Content Conversations: Top Content Marketing Lessons Learned in 2017 | http://www.toprankblog.com

Content Conversations: Top Content Marketing Lessons Learned in 2017 was posted via Internet Marketing

What All Marketers Can Learn from Fast Food Giants Crushing Twitter

There’s little doubt among marketers that social media is an important part of their strategic digital marketing mix. After all, social media is part of the fabric of our daily lives—and arguably our identities. In fact, it’s estimated that there are 1.96 billion social media users worldwide—with that number expected to grow to 2.5 billion by 2018.

But increasing adoption and content saturation, as well as changing algorithms and the rising tide of paid social advertising, means all brands are facing stiff competition for audience attention and engagement. So, what’s a marketer or brand to do?

The answers don’t lie in posting more frequently, adding more visuals or adding more channels to your mix. From my perspective, it’s all about developing your brand’s identity in a way that not only provides a real-time glimpse into what your company is all about, but also gives your audience a unique and tasty experience. And that’s where some of our favorite fast food brands such as Wendy’s, KFC and McDonald’s can provide us a little food for thought.

How? Read on to get a taste of what we can all learn from three recognizable fast food brands.

#1 – Acknowledging and engaging your competitors can actually help you stand out.

For some time now, Wendy’s—known for their motto of “fresh never frozen beef”—has been heralded as a leader in, well, roasting anybody and everyone on Twitter—including the trolling of its competition.

Most recently, Wendy’s was challenged to a duel with Wingstop, a chicken wing restaurant chain that grown to more than 1,000 locations around the world.

Wingstop put out a poetic, rap-style tweet in early October. Another user, @Fatlaz901, brought Wendy’s into the mix by challenging them to “step up” their game.

Wendy's Trolling on Twitter

And then the rap battle ensued over who had the better product ensued. Here’s one of my favorite excerpts—and the engagement metrics speak for themselves:

Wendy's & Wingstop Twitter Battle

The takeaway here is not to simply start trolling your competition. The point is that a little friendly competition can go a long way—and I think that can extend beyond your social channels, too.

#2 – Social customer care is an opportunity ripe for the taking.

Currently, McDonald’s is the world’s second largest restaurant chain, coming in behind Subway and boasting more than 36,000 outlets in 119 countries. For years, McDonald’s trademark “I’m lovin’ it” slogan has helped convey its desire to make quality food and deliver quality service that their customers will love—and that commitment is an intrinsic part of their social media strategy.

In addition to its official Twitter page for the USA, McDonald’s actually has another handle, @Reachout_mcd, dedicated to fielding customer gripes and answer questions. Most recently, McDonald’s announced that it would be bringing back its Szechuan Sauce in a “super-limited” fashion—aka releasing the sauce for just one day at select stores. Well, Szechuan Sauce lovers everywhere were not only miffed about the limited release, but also how quickly it “sold out” of participating locations.

Not only did McDonald’s openly address many of its customers public dismay on Twitter, it got to work to fix the problem.

McDonald's & Szechuan Sauce

What can marketers learn from this example? Marketers, particularly those managing social media, have to stop thinking customer service is not “someone else’s problem.” As social customer care expert and McDonald’s Senior Director of Global Social Media, Dan Gingiss, told me in his Behind the Marketing Curtain interview earlier this year:

“When we interrupt people’s social media feeds with marketing messages, we hope that they will engage with our fun and interesting marketing content. But sometimes, all we do is remind them that they had some other problem with our brand. Since social media is the first and only channel where customers can talk back, marketers need to listen and engage.”

#3 – Social media can be a vivid extension of your brand.

Finally, last month, the internet went bonkers after Twitter user Mike Edgette discovered that KFC’s official Twitter account followed just 11 people: All five members of 90s pop group the Spice Girls, as well as six random guys named Herb. Of course, this cleverness pays homage to the secret blend of 11 herbs and spices used in the making of KFC’s chicken. On the off chance you didn’t see this, here’s how Edgette broke the news to the world.

KFC 11 Twitter Followers

But, as you may already know, the story doesn’t stop there. KFC reportedly went above and beyond to recognize Edgette’s discovery, tracking him down and sending him an unbelievably awesome and hilarious gift:  A personalized letter from Colonel Sanders “himself,” a boat load of gift cards, and perhaps the most amazing of all, a painting featuring Edgette triumphantly receiving a piggy back ride from the Colonel.

Colonel Sanders & Mike Edgette Painting Tweet

For me—and I’m sure you may agree—this serves as an ultimate example of thinking outside the box, and intertwining your brand’s core messaging and mission across channels to bring it to life.

Find Your Unique Flavor

Every brand has a story to tell—and social media platforms can help you bring that story to life and season it with the voices of your community. If you’re looking to craft your recipe for success, check out our post 8 Important Questions Your Social Media Marketing Strategy Must Answer.

What other fast food restaurants have you grown to admire on social media? Tell us in the comments section below.


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. |
What All Marketers Can Learn from Fast Food Giants Crushing Twitter | http://www.toprankblog.com

What All Marketers Can Learn from Fast Food Giants Crushing Twitter was posted via Internet Marketing