Local Social Media Series from Mindstream Media Group

What is this series all about? Our Local Social Media Series will help multi-location and franchise brands improve their social media presence by engaging consumers at the local level.

Who should read this series? Multi-location and franchise brand marketers looking to boost their brand’s local presence on social media.

Part One: How Multi-Location Brands Can Engage Local Consumers on Social Media

Part Two: How to Create Social Media Content That Engages Local Audiences

Part Three: How to Create Engaging Local Social Media Content at the Local Level

Part Four: How to Manage Online Reviews at the Local Level (and Why You Need to)

Part Five: How to Use Facebook Boosted Posts to Increase Local Social Media Engagement

[Infographic]: 4 Reasons Why Multi-Location Brands Need a Local Social Media Presence

[E-book]: The Ultimate Guide to Local Social Media Marketing

 

Make sure to catch other helpful content pieces on local social marketing by subscribing to our blog.

Advertising and Amazon Prime Day 2019

Prime Day is here! This 48-hour sales event of summer is primed (see what I did there?) to eclipse past years’ sales and outshine Black Friday. As a consumer and marketer, I’m eager to explore both sides of the coin, and of course, add everything to my Amazon cart.

Let’s dive in.

Prime Day for Consumers

Some experts caution shoppers to jot down their needs (and wants) prior so you avoid impulse shopping, but know those coveted lightning sales and general sales may not be the best bang for your buck.

Consumers still value shopping around to find the best deals possible. While 68 percent of Adlucent survey respondents are planning to shop Prime Day, they’ll still comparison shop to find the best deal. Companies like Target, Walmart and eBay are eating up this opportunity to not only compete but take advantage of this shopping holiday. Walmart – the biggest Amazon competitor – claimed nearly 50 percent of online sales outside of Amazon, according to Marketing Land.

Prime Day for Advertisers

It’s easy to get caught up in the 48-hour window media planning frenzy by spending high dollars in paid search and social, but long-term ecommerce media planning is key. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Advertisers should examine their product listings to maximize Prime Day shoppers, but set themselves up for later back-to-school and holiday shopping. A Profitero study of more than 1,600 products on Prime Day 2018 found increases in sales were dependent on the sales discount.

Discounts of less than 20 percent delivered a two-time increase in sales, while not severely impacting profit margins – sales of 21-30 percent delivered sales gains of 493 percent, while 31-40 percent discounts generated a boost of 767 percent, according to eMarketer.  Some of this revenue and product movement comes from Lightning Deals, which is limited-quantity, limited-time offers that can give products a broader reach/exposure. Lightning Deal prep is a perfect opportunity for companies to gear up presence – both organically and paid – to participate in these coveted deals since they’ve since closed entry in May.

Joe Kaziukenas, CEO and Founder of Marketplace Pulse says, “The lift in sales you’re going to have by doing a Lightning Deal is obviously going to be multiple times greater than if you just expected an organic lift off a Prime Day. If you want a big increase in sales, and thus a big increase in popularity on Amazon, then a Lightning Deal is probably the best way to do it. Ultimately, you kind of give up the market for it.”

The Prime Day Halo Effect

Profitero conducted an analysis of “more than 13,000 products that grew traffic at least 50 percent on Prime Day 2018 vs. two weeks preceding the event to examine how the products performed post-event. The results found a strong halo effect where 66 percent of products analyzed had elevated sales levels two weeks after. And of those products experiencing a halo effect, there was an average traffic increase of 37 percent during the two-week, post-event period as compared with the two-week, pre-event period. Conversion rates declined from 24 percent to 22 percent during those times, but given the significantly higher traffic levels, brands still came out way ahead in driving post-event sales.”

Prevailing Beyond Prime Days

Prime Day is just two days in a long season, so what’s the big deal for your media plan? The estimated $5 billion in sales over the next two days should pique your interest, but your presence in the Amazon powerhouse can show long-term growth for your brand. (Learn more in our previous Amazon ad blogs.) An estimated 57 percent of brands utilize paid advertising on Amazon, and of those, 69 percent saw revenue growth over time. When talking dollars and sense when looking at Prime Day advertising cost on sales versus an annual (total) Amazon cost on sales, you’ll end up with the better deal long term.

You’ll see an incredibly high advertising cost on Prime Day, but simultaneously kickstart a flywheel effect that drives reviews and future organic sales. And everyone wins when my Prime packages arrive, and our clients see leaps and jumps when adding Amazon to their cart.

[FEBRUARY 2019] SMX Recap: Emerging Local Search Trends You Need to Know

The 2019 Search Marketing Expo (SMX) West was held in San Jose, CA at the end of January. The conference is known for touching on some of the hottest topics in search engine marketing (SEM), search engine optimization (SEO) and local search.

This year, some of the top minds in local search gave presentations to help multi-location brands and local businesses understand what it takes to improve their online presence. If you couldn’t make the conference, here’s a recap of a few of the biggest takeaways to guide marketers’ local search strategies for 2019 and beyond.

The most important local search ranking factor

The New Realities of Local Search session was particularly interesting as it broke down the main factors digital marketers need to consider in 2019 and how these have evolved over the years.

According to the most recent release of Moz’s Local Search Ranking Factors, Google My Business (GMB) signals are the most important ranking factor in local pack results (the map results that typically display toward the top of local search results). The significance of GMB signals increased to 25 percent in Moz’s latest survey, nine points ahead of the second most important factor.

Top 5 Local Search Ranking Factors - Local Map Pack and Organic Results

New ways to optimize GMB signals

GMB signals include several factors local businesses can control – like proper category association and including keywords in your business title – as well as some you can’t – like proximity to the searcher. Google has spent the last year adding more GMB features that local business can control as part of an aggressive growth strategy for the product.

As we mentioned last year, Google does not want GMB to be a static product. Google’s goal for GMB is to drive user engagement, and they’ve released or improved several features to help brands engage with local consumers. Here’s a look at a few features to help enhance your local search presence.

Google Posts

Recently, many in the industry have been skeptical about the reduced visibility of brands’ Google Posts. And many local businesses don’t even know about posts. If you’re still unclear, here’s how Google describes Posts:

Posting through Google My Business lets you publish your events, products, and services directly to Google Search and Maps. By creating posts, you can place your timely text, video or photo content in front of customers when they find your business listing on Google.

SMX West Recap - Google Posts

The main purpose of Google Posts isn’t necessarily to drive clicks, it’s more about gaining visibility in the local pack from consistent posting (although driving consumer engagement is a nice added benefit).

Google Q&A

Many brands are failing at monitoring and responding to questions in the Q&A section of their GMB profile, which is a big missed opportunity. At SMX West, Dana DiTomaso suggested possibly adding your own questions and answers that will offer useful information to the consumer. If you’re not sure what types of questions to add to this section, I suggest exporting a search query report from Google Ads and look for the most common questions consumers ask about your business.

Reviews

The importance of review signals is on the rise – increasing almost 18 percent since Moz’s 2017 local search rankings. Mentions of specific services or products help promote your business and assist consumers looking at your reviews to make buying decisions. While I don’t recommend aggressively soliciting reviews, any business with a local presence should have a program in place that helps you encourage, monitor and respond to feedback from consumers.

Paid Local

For a comprehensive local presence, brands should consider paid search ads. Implementing a paid search strategy allows your brand to conquer more real estate in search results and appear in local, organic and paid results.

There are plenty of advertising features that are perfect for local businesses and multi-location brands. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Use every possible Google Ads extension like location extensions, callout extensions and call extensions to encourage online and off-line conversions
  • Use location-based (geographic) keywords in your ad copy
  • Implement pilots, or small tests, to identify which advertising campaigns work best for your brand before making a meaningful ad buy
  • Leverage “pin ads” on competitor locations for awareness and conquesting

Fighting local search spam

In another SMX West session, Conrad Saam discussed several ways businesses try to trick Google with tactics like photoshopped images, keyword-stuffed business names and fake reviews. For example, because data shows that consumers favor attorneys with offices near them, attorneys without physical locations provide spoofed information to Google to have their listing show as a physical location.

It’s crucial for brands with a local presence to fight back hard against these spamming techniques. If you experience local search spamming, there are a few ways to address the issue (Saam cautions to do so as anonymously as possible):

  • Report false addresses as spam on Google Maps
  • Suggest an edit to keyword-stuffed business names
  • Flag fake reviews on Google

Local search is as important as ever

Organic marketing efforts like local search optimization often take a back seat to paid media efforts. Local SEO is, however, a foundational component of any digital marketing strategy for multi-location brands and local businesses. If your brand needs help getting started, contact Mindstream Media Group today to learn how we crush the local search game for tens of thousands of locations across the country.

Traditional Media Group Adstaff Merges with Digital Agency Mindstream Media

Mindstream Media, a national marketing agency, announced its merger with Memphis-based sister agency, AdStaff Media, to create a full-service agency doubling the size of the two organizations.

AdStaff brings nearly 20 years of traditional media strategy and placement in television, radio, newspaper, out of home, magazines and sporting events for brands such as Subway, Ultimate Software, Blue Plate Mayonnaise, Fantastic Sams, Bellin Health Systems and Glenfiddich Scotch. These traditional services complement Mindstream Media’s paid search, social, display and video, content marketing and other digital capabilities, as well as yellow pages advertising.

Last year, Mindstream Media was named Trailblazing Agency of the Year and holds Google Premier Partner status for their impressive work in the search industry. This level of expertise, in addition to Mindstream Media’s solutions and client base, including brands like ServiceMaster, Samsung, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Bank of America, Roto-Rooter and The UPS Store, will only bolster the combined organization’s success.

“Mindstream Media’s expanded capabilities support the agency mission of connecting brands with consumers whenever and wherever they are in the buying journey,” said Terry Tanner, newly appointed president of Mindstream Media. “Across every medium, Mindstream amplifies results for our advertisers, whether their goal is increased brand awareness, reach, lead conversions or a long list of other KPIs.”

Billings for the combined agency ring in at $150 million.

All previous AdStaff locations, including but not limited to Memphis; Nashville; Ft. Wayne, Ind.; Columbus, Ohio; and Birmingham, Ala., will operate under the Mindstream Media brand. Mindstream Media locations in San Diego; New York; Milwaukee; St. Louis; Peoria; and Cedar Falls, Iowa will continue to operate as before.

Mindstream Media, along with 16 other agencies spanning media, marketing and public relations, is owned by Eastport Holdings, based in Memphis.


About Mindstream Media

Mindstream Media, a full-service media agency, designs and executes sophisticated traditional and digital marketing strategies that deliver sales for national brands by growing brand awareness and generating qualified local leads.

Learn More about Mindstream's Digital Media Solutions

How Brands can Combat the Drop in Facebook Organic Reach

Earlier this year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg put out a statement that caused quite a bit of concern among businesses hoping to use his platform to reach consumers. Zuckerberg updated the mandate of Facebook’s product team to focus less on helping users find relevant content and more on providing meaningful social interactions.

Translation: Facebook users will see less content from businesses and publishers, and more posts from friends and family.

“The first changes you’ll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook Post. “As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands and media.”

It’s a continuation of a years-long trend of declining reach and engagement for organic posts from business pages. Way back in 2014, Social@Ogilvy highlighted this drop by analyzing more than 100 brand pages on Facebook. The company offered a dire prediction for Facebook page owners.

Organic reach of the content brands publish in Facebook is destined to hit zero. It’s only a matter of time. In 2012, Facebook famously restricted organic reach of content published from brand pages to about 16 percent. In December 2013, another round of changes reduced it even more. By February 2014, organic reach hovered at 6 percent, a decline of 49 percent from peak levels in October.

The average organic reach of content published on brand Facebook pages

Average organic reach of content published on brand Facebook pages

Facebook hasn’t exactly been hiding the fact that organic reach has been dropping since then either.

“As we make these updates, pages may see their reach, video watch time and referral traffic decrease,” Adam Mosseri, Head of News Feed, said in a blog post. “Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in distribution. Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect.”

What business pages can do about the decline in Facebook organic reach

In 2018, almost 170 million people in the United States will use Facebook, according to eMarketer. Publishers, brands and local businesses are all trying to figure out how to reach the massive number of consumers who visit Facebook every day.

But, with the updated mandate for Facebook’s product teams, the algorithm that decides which posts users see on Facebook has changed which means businesses need to modify their strategy to reach consumers.

Screenshots from an internal Facebook webinar in January help shed some light on the updates. The screenshot below shows the interactions Facebook deems meaningful with the most important actions highlighted in blue .

Meaningful Interactions for Facebook Posts

Using this slide and other clues Facebook has dropped on their blog and in public statements, we’ve pieced together a few tips to help you learn what your business needs to do to reach consumers on the most popular social platform in the country.

No. 1: Understand your audience

Facebook has said it’s now prioritizing “posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions.” To create these types of posts, gain a better understanding of what types of content your Facebook followers want to see.

Review your Facebook Page’s history and find the posts that have performed best. Start by asking:

  • What topics did the post cover?
  • How have promotional posts for your products and services performed?
  • What types of conversation did the post spark?
No. 2: Focus on quality over quantity

If your brand is posting a lot without racking up much activity, try spending your time developing high-quality posts that are more likely to engage your audience, even if it means a drop in frequency. Keep the posts short and to the point, a sentence or two should be enough.

Also, don’t risk your brand’s reputation with clickbait (i.e., engagement bait). Clickbait is that content you see online exploiting users’ curiosity gap by providing just enough information to make users click a link without revealing too much about the substance of the article.

Clickbait posts usually follow a simple formula:

[a surprising act] + [generic teaser like “you won’t believe what happened next”] + [attention-grabbing photo]

Clickbait example

Facebook explicitly warned against this type of behavior in their internal webinar saying engagement bait is not a meaningful interaction and can result in the demotion of page posts.

No. 3: Use plenty of images and videos

A great way to authentically grab users’ attention is with engaging, relevant visuals that make them stop scrolling for a second and check out the rest of the post. Try using high-quality images and videos to attract users and inspire them to engage with each post. Facebook Live videos can be especially effective.

“Live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook – in fact, live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos,” according to Mosseri.

No. 4: Encourage your audience to engage

An important ingredient to any successful marketing effort is an effective call-to-action. Make sure your Facebook posts follow this recipe by encouraging your followers to share your content, let you know what they think in the comments and like your page.

Other ways to encourage engagement include adding polls to get your followers’ opinions on a topic or test their knowledge, or creating event invites to foster a community environment on your page.

No. 5: Encourage your followers to adjust their defaults

This one might be tougher to accomplish, but you can also try to encourage followers to change the default setting for your page so they always see your latest content.

The easiest way to do this is:Change Facebook News Feed default settings

  1. Go to the business page
  2. Hit the Following button
  3. Under IN YOUR NEWS FEED change the setting from Default to See First

To have them receive notifications when you post:Change Facebook News Feed notification settings

  1. Select “Edit Notifications Settings”
  2. Select either the “Standard” or “Highlights” options

 

How to use paid ads to reach Facebook audiences

Even if you improve your organic posts, it may not be enough to overcome Facebook’s non-page friendly algorithms, especially if your follower base is still relatively low. In this case, it may be time to turn to paid ads on Facebook.

No. 1: Boost posts

If you regularly publish content on your Facebook page, you may have noticed a blue “Boost Post” button after publishing. This is basically a shortcut to create a Facebook ad based on the post. Boosted posts allow you to reach people who might be interested in your content but don’t follow your page.

Features of Boosted Posts:

  • Audience targeting: choose who sees your post based on location, interests and other targeting tactics.
  • Placement selection: choose where to serve your post between Desktop NewsFeed, Mobile NewsFeed and Instagram (for Boosted Posts that use video, you can also select the Audience Network).
  • Budget customization: select the budget that fits your needs (minimum spend is just $1 a day).
  • Scheduling: decide when and for how long to run your Boosted Post.
  • Reporting access: view the performance of each Boosted Post in the Promotions tab.
No. 2: Create visually impactful ads

Similar to our No. 3 tip in the organic section, make sure your ad creative captures your audiences’ attention. Here are a few visually-engaging ad options from Facebook:

Video ads

Capture users’ attention and get them to stop scrolling with in-feed video ads. Short videos (15 seconds or less) can help remind people of your brand and introduce new products.

Carousel ads

Showcase up to 10 images or videos within a single ad, each with its own link. The additional creative space allows you to:

  • Highlight different products.
  • Showcase specific details about a product, service or promotion.
  • Tell a story about your brand that develops across each carousel card.
Slideshow ads

Deliver a video experience without the time and expense. Facebook slideshow ads are video-like ads that use motion, sound and text to tell your story beautifully across devices and on every connection speed.

No. 3: Retarget site visitors on Facebook

By placing a Facebook pixel on your website, you can start targeting site visitors as they browse Facebook. That way, when someone visits your site and browses your product and services then leaves without converting, you can keep your brand top of mind. Facebook’s dynamic ad format can even help you show website visitors the products they viewed on your website – or related ones.

No. 4: Experiment with other social platforms

Thinking outside the box of this guide, your brand may also find success in reaching social audiences on other platforms. While Facebook is by far the most popular social media site, other platforms like Twitter, Instagram (which is owned by Facebook), LinkedIn, Snapchat and Pinterest all have large user bases with different types of consumers to match your brand’s target audiences.

Audience type by social media platform


Contact us to learn how Mindstream Media Group can amplify your brand’s presence on Facebook.