Posts Categorized: Startups

Cut Fake Fans to Boost Facebook Page Engagement

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There’s a lot of talk online about how to boost engagement on Facebook. Most of it boils down to the non-descript, non-useful mantra: Create Great Content.

But because of how Facebook works to  serve content to users, creating  compelling content isn’t the only thing you need to do. Maintaining a healthy audience that cares about your content in the first place is key to boosting page engagement.

Because of the way Facebook’s Edgerank algorithm works, it’s important to focus not only on creating great content (really—who on Earth has a strategy that focuses on creating mediocre or crappy content?), but also curating your fan base. And that means cutting out fake fans.

While having the numbers might seem appealing, not every like is worth having. That’s why cutting fake fans from your Facebook page can actually have a positive effect.

Take Evolve Communication’s Facebook page, for example. We have about 400 likes. A few months ago, however, we had almost 500. In recent weeks, we’ve gone through the people who have liked our page and cut a number of them. Don’t worry, these weren’t real fans.

What we found was, over time, our page had attracted what seemed like a large number of fake Facebook accounts. These were accounts that were overseas, in such far flung places as Pakistan or Vietnam. We don’t doubt the possibility that people in these countries to have real users; it’s just hard to imagine why they’d be interested in a company like Evolve, which focuses on serving U.S. startups and tech companies.

That’s not the only clue. We looked through many of these individuals’ pages and found that they hadn’t posted in many months (sometimes over a year), and that most of their posts were not even relevant to the type of content we are producing. While it might be a jump to consider that these people have a genuine interest in public relations and marketing for startups, none of these people had ever interacted on our page.

So, we cut them.

The result: The reach for our Facebook posts is now generally about 20 percent, and quite often more than 50 percent of our fanbase. That means that at least half of the people liking the Evolve page see our posts. And we have also seen a boost in our page engagement, with about half of our posts in recent months breaking the 10 percent mark on engaged users.

To put that in perspective, prior to these cuts, our page was only reaching about 10 percent of our fanbase and very few people were engaging.

The bottom line here is that, in order to boost your page engagement you have to have the right people liking your page. Not just Joe Schmo from down the street; or some random person from the other side of the world. It’s counter-intuitive, but cut those people out if you want to boost your page.


Top 5 Questions Startups Ask about PR

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This last weekend, we led a workshop called BrandHack for Startups at the new Betamore in Baltimore. We invited a variety of speakers to come and give talks about their areas of marketing expertise, and of course, we gave a talk about PR. Rather than flip through a boring deck (does the world really need one more PowerPoint presentation?), we chose to have an open talk about what startups really need to know about PR. Here’s what we talked about.

What is PR??

First, it’s not advertising. A client once showed us a copy of an ad they ran in a magazine and said, “We’ve gotten great PR out of this.” (To this day, we’re still not sure what the client meant.) Instead, it’s a deep focus on building relationships, whether that’s directly through social media or, more traditionally, indirectly through media. It can also include other aspects such as government relations, investor relations, crisis management, and community relations. The common theme: Relations.

When should I launch my product?

The key thing to focus on here is to launch is when your product does exactly it promises to do. Don’t worry about all the bells and whistles. Don’t worry if some features aren’t ready to be implemented or are in the works. Focus on the one core feature and make sure it works. Then launch and build from there.

When do I need PR?

Here’s a pretty standard laundry list of times when you need to engage in public relations activities:

  • Launches
  • Establish/grow userbase
  • Attract investment
  • Earn credibility/recognition for a new technology
  • Enter a new market
  • Position company for purchase
  • Mergers & acquisitions
  • Mitigate negative perceptions

Do I need to be in TechCrunch?

500 Startups founder Dave McClure once Tweeted, “TechCrunch doesn’t pay the bills.” (Sorry, the tweet’s too old and isn’t publicly available any more.) The answer, of course, is NO! The bottom line is that you need to be in the media outlets that your audiences consume.

How do I get the media to pay attention to me? 

There are a lot of ways that a startup can get some media attention, but the first and most important one is to simply be awesome. Startups achieve that by focusing on what sets them apart, what differentiates them. That, and focusing on the problem that the company is trying to solve. Failing that, do something outrageous, like getting a pie thrown in your face.

Most importantly, always remember to answer the question: So What? If you’re not telling a journalist why what your company does matters, then you’ll never get the media attention you deserve!


What to look for in a CMO

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The other day, a prospective client asked us what they should look for in a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). This prospective client is a very early-stage startup, but one with very big and ambitious plans. They have a fairly detailed business plan, and the founder/CEO only recently pulled the trigger and quit a full-time gig to run his startup. They’re pre-revenue, only have a rudimentary version of their product, and they are on the hunt for investors to help get them off the ground.

This startup is clearly planning as much as they can, and working to move forward methodically. And at some point, they’re going to need a CMO, and the CEO asked what he should look for. Here’s how we suggest he- and other early-stage startups approach it:

  • Figure out when the time is truly right. You don’t necessarily need a CMO before you’ve developed a product that’s worth selling. You will DEFINITELY most need a CMO when it’s time to scale. Which means you need a solid product, not just an MVP. Hiring too soon might be a waste of precious resources, while hiring too late could be a grave misstep.
  • Look for someone who understands technology. Marketing has become as much about the technology we use as it is about the strategy and the creative. CMOs need to be able to talk to your company’s CTO; they need to understand how your customers are using technology, and then find ways to use those technologies to spread your company’s message. They also need to understand reporting technology. So much is trackable today–there’s so much data available. CMOs don’t necessarily need to know every aspect of every technology, but they do need to have enough understanding to know how to pull things together in order to master all of these facets.
  • Look for someone who’s not afraid to get their hands dirty. Marketing is a team sport. There’s no one person who can possibly do everything, nor are there enough hours in the day. The result is that it’s not uncommon for CMOs to be master delegators. There’s nothing wrong with that–when you’re in a larger organization and your CMO is commanding a large team. When you’re in a startup, though, everyone needs to pitch in and do their part. The CMO who knows how to get stuff done–either individually or through other people–is indeed a rare, valuable find.

NOTE: Even if you’re not ready to hire a CMO, you still need to promote your company! Check out our Rocket Packs for Startups to see how we can help.

Image above of the CMO T-shirt, available for purchase here