Evolve CommunicationsArticles by: Daniel

Posts By: Daniel

Burberry Gets Social. Do You?

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“To any CEO who’s skeptical at all: You have to. You have to create a social enterprise today. You have to be totally connected to everyone who touches your brand. If you don’t do that, I don’t know what your business model is in five years.”

–Angela Ahrendts, CEO, Burberry

It’s great to hear a quote like this coming from the CEO of a top fashion brand–and not just a social media evangelist. It was a key highlight of this video put together by Burberry and Salesforce.com, highlighting what the 100-year-old brand is doing to connect with customers online.

If a brand this old take these bold steps to declare itself a social enterprise, why do so many other companies still grapple with social media? Granted, most know that they need to be social, but they fall down when it comes to actually being social. This begs the question: If Burberry says they get it, can they prove it?

The answer is: Yes. And No. Here’s some fun things they’ve done on social in just the past few days:

  • Livestream a live fashion show on Facebook (livestreaming is one of our favorite things to do, by the way)
  • Ask people about the weather where they live on Twitter (sounds banal, but not when you consider their trench coats are wildly popular)
  • Crowdsource a collection of customers pics at artofthetrench.com

The one thing that really bugged us, however, is the main Burberry website. There’s lots of social integration throughout, including “Like” and Share buttons on each individual piece of clothing showcased, but there’s no way to find where they are on various social networks. You might argue that with a brand with such a strong following doesn’t need this. But there’s no way to know if Burberry is on other networks besides Twitter and Facebook.

The question businesses need to ask themselves is this: If a brand that’s as old as Burberry can get social, why can’t I?

PR for Ad Agencies

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One of things that our agency clients often ask us to do, in addition to providing services to their clients, is to help them with their own PR. Sometimes they have a great story to tell. Other times we need to help them figure it out.

Agencies present their own unique challenges in terms of earning coverage. Because, let’s be honest, the day-to-day life of an agency is not as glamorous as it seems on shows like Mad Men. (Sidenote: We really dig the day-to-day of agency life, but those living outside our own gilded halls may not get the poetic nuances of the environment.)

In truth, there are only a handful of approaches to earn coverage for an agency. For the most part, they are:

  • Do amazing work
  • Win awards for said amazing work
  • Do amazing work for charity

We should clarify: by coverage, we’re talking about feature stories. We’re not talking about the new client or new hire announcements, or the random quote in the local business journal about some trend. Those are the blocking and tackling efforts that have to be done in order to get those one-line mentions that are needed to help keep your agency top-of-mind.

In short, like any client, the agency has to have something interesting to say–either about itself or the work it’s doing. If the work isn’t interesting, unusual or significant in any way, no one’s going to care. Least of all the media.


Who Says You Can’t Buy Friends?

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Recently, more than a few people have taken up the position that it’s a bad idea to “buy friends” on Facebook. And by “buy friends,” we mean to advertise to get people to “Like” your business page. Sure, it sounds icky, and seems to fly in the face of everything social media stands for: engagement, interaction, dialogue, etc.

Some reasons cited for not buying friends include:

  • Companies that help you buy friends are all spammy
  • Having fans that don’t interact can hurt your Edgerank
  • It’s better to earn fans than buy them
  • People you buy will never be as engaged with your page as people who find you organically

Are there companies out there who are “doing it wrong,” by buying friends? Sure. Are there some less-than-credible companies who are providing less-than-reliable Facebook advertising services? You bet!

Does that mean it’s a completely worthless medium? Absolutely not. In fact, when wielded properly, buying ads on Facebook can give a page a much-needed boost faster and more efficiently than simply growing connections with people organically.

Take, for example, American Estate Jewelry (full disclosure: AEJ is a former Evolve client). When we started working with this company, they had about 35 fans. Through a highly targeted campaign, we proudly boosted this to just over 1,000 in about two months for a relatively low investment. Today, well after the advertising campaigns ended, the fan page has more than 1,300 fans–the last 250 or so being won organically.

More importantly, engagement during the campaigns grew very rapidly, and keeps growing. We went from virtually no interaction, to several likes and comments per post every day (on average). This is clearly a case of advertising driving the initial introduction, with engagement produced through–you guessed it–relevant content.

The point here is that engagement levels change over time, which also means that Edgerank (Facebook’s method for determining what makes it to users’ individual walls), shifts over time. Like Google search engine results pages, Edgerank is not static! In terms of “buying friends,” having individual fans who are not closely connected to your brand might result in fewer Facebook feed impressions in the short run. But in the long run, as the business provides more relevant content on a more frequent basis, the more likely it is that those “bought” fans will see it.

For example, check out Nutella (not a client, but still one of our favorites!). Nutella has more than 11 million fans. In terms of engagement, though, roughly 2,000 – 10,000 individuals respond to any given post (likes and comments). Even if 20,000 people engage, that’s still only .18 percent of the total fanbase.

In case you couldn’t tell, we’re big believers in social media advertising. Why? Well, as Erik Qualman put it, “In the future we will no longer search for products and services; rather they will find us via social media.” There is no other medium currently available that allows marketers to target individuals the way Facebook does.

Our job as marketers is to help the products and services we represent find the right customers. The future of advertising, in many ways, is Facebook. As marketers, we need to be objective about our recommendations–but also recognize opportunities (for ourselves and our clients) to experiment a little.

We also need to recognize that buying fans (or any form of advertising for that matter) isn’t the be-all end-all of Facebook marketing. Instead, we should look at it as a small push down what could be a very steep hill.

 
Photo credit: Yes!Online