At CBC, we deliver more than just coverage; we drive measurable business results through our strategic, data-driven approach to  public relations (PR). Our Research & Insights team recently conducted original research on correlations between earned media coverage with website KPIs like traffic & conversions. The goal? Quantify the ripple effect of a PR campaign’s success to our clients’ bottom line. 

How to Measure PR Value

We track the long-term benefits of PR through four main techniques. Through implementation of these techniques, we’ve found that PR adds a long-lasting value to other marketing initiatives, and we’ve cracked the code on how to measure it. The four main areas for added value are:

 

  • Spike Detection – When a publication includes a backlink to your site, we can directly measure the impact of coverage by the volume of traffic referred to your site. We also track users who come in through organic search or direct traffic after seeing coverage.
  • Organic Search Lift – PR raises brand awareness, making users more likely to type your brand name into Google. We look for spikes in organic traffic, as well as the lasting organic search power that comes from authoritative backlinks.  
  • Engagement/Content Consumption Increase – Users who come in from PR efforts generally consume more content and stay on a website for a longer period of time. 
  • Revenue – Exceptional PR has a direct impact on revenue. It can be measured through sales partner links, affiliate links, retail sales, or by tracking leads through a CRM. 


Spike Detection: Correlating PR Hits with Website Wins

Spike detection is a proven technique for tracking user traffic following a PR hit. If you’re lucky enough to get a backlink in your coverage, we can measure direct clickthrough from the article to your site. 

Otherwise, we know that PR drives both organic search and direct traffic. Sometimes the reader isn’t ready to take action when they first read coverage, but if they remember your brand name, they will look you up later. More often than not, they turn to Google search or directly type your website URL into their browser to find more info on you. When users actively seek you out, you know your PR coverage was memorable!

Spike detection is a simple but effective way to prove that PR works. Across CBC clients, 70% of all top traffic days correspond with PR coverage. 

 

 A graph showing organic search traffic lift from users to the homepage as a result of PR coverage.

 

A chart showcasing correlation between PR efforts and revenue

 

If your PR team can secure hits in the right publications, reach the right audience, and with the right message, you too can expect to see an increase in web traffic.

Organic Search Lift: Long-Lasting Impact from Earned Media

In some cases, coverage is significant enough to provide lasting organic search power. As PR earns authoritative links that point to your site, your domain authority increases. Domain authority measures the overall quality of your site, and backlinks from trustworthy sites are one of the biggest ranking factors. A higher authority score means search engines view your site as a trustworthy resource and are more likely to rank your website higher in search results, which ultimately translates to increased organic search traffic.

In the case of one CBC client, organic search increased by a factor of 4 when comparing pre- and post- coverage. In April 2020, CBC secured authoritative coverage for a clean skincare brand. The pieces included coverage revolving around hand sanitizer, a highly in-demand product, and was featured in major publications like Allure, NY Mag, and Buzzfeed. The links in these articles generated significant traffic and link equity. As a result of this, organic search increased from an average of 50-100 clicks a day to 200-400 clicks a day. We estimate that the lasting impact of the links drove over $80K in organic revenue.

 

A graph showing how organic search traffic increased by a factor of 4 after PR coverage.

Engagement and Content Consumption from PR Users

We have seen that users who come in from PR efforts are generally more engaged users. They consume more content and stay on the websites for a longer period of time. In most cases, they are nearly 100% new users, showing that PR is effective at reaching new audiences who don’t already know about your brand.

Across CBC’s PR clients, we’ve seen that PR-referred users view 15-25% more content and stay on the site 25-50% longer than the standard website user. Not only does PR bring a higher volume of traffic to the site, but it also brings high-quality audiences.

 

PR-referred users are more engaged and consume more content on a website.

The example above shows traffic from users who were referred to a clean beauty brand’s website from earned media coverage. These users viewed 16% more pages per session than the standard website user. CBC sent almost 2,000 users to the website via referral sources. 

Show Me the Money: Attributing Revenue to PR

Marketing is a team sport. At CBC, we believe that PR is, generally, most effective at the top of the funnel, but we can also measure the lower funnel impact of users who were first exposed through PR efforts. Ultimately, it’s about conversion: either sending the user down to the next step in the user journey or generating direct conversions, such as a purchase or scheduling a demo.  

In the B2B space, we have tracked leads directly from coverage to lead generation forms. We can also track sales by monitoring activities within a CRM. For example, one of our B2B clients was able to connect the dots from a user who came to their site via a press release, filled out a lead capture form, and ultimately signed on for a $70K project. The lifetime value of that single lead will likely even be higher, as the team builds a strong customer relationship and foundation for future projects. 

Our B2B PR team has also secured earned coverage for a pharma marketing and medical affairs agency in key industry publications like FiercePharma. From data in their CRM, we have been able to directly attribute new business inquiries to the FiercePharma piece, with leads requesting demos of the service featured in the article. This shows that the coverage was in the right target publication and brought in qualified marketing leads that were ready to be handed off to the sales team. 

On the consumer side, we know that coverage generates traffic to e-commerce sites, which in turn creates revenue. We track PR-attributable revenue in the same way that we track coverage, using methods like spike detection and measurement of organic search lift. Not all consumer brands are DTC, so we also leverage affiliate links and affiliate content to drive revenue through multiple sources, including Amazon, Target, Walgreens, etc.

The Bottom Line: PR Works & We Can Prove It

Securing fantastic coverage has always been a priority at CBC for our clients, and we don’t stop at traditional PR metrics to measure our success. We’ve proven that PR can truly provide business value that your CFO can’t argue with.

We also know that coverage is just one piece of the puzzle – building relationships with media is another crucial element of a successful PR program. At CBC’s award-winning experiential House programs, we connect brands with top-tier media through immersive brand activations. PR pros from all over the country come to us for this invaluable opportunity to build relationships.

Reach out to CBC for a PR audit! If our clients’ success stories piqued your interest, let us dig into your PR data and assess the value you’re getting from your current PR program. We believe in the power of PR, so if you’re not yet seeing the business results you need, our expert media relations team can help. 

Social media is full of noise. There are millions of brands every day attempting to make themselves heard and leave a message that resonates with their audience – it’s important that your brand can break through the babble. Stopping the scroll relies on strong creative and compelling copy; If you have aspirations of attracting a large and loyal brand following, enhancing your team’s copywriting skills should be a top priority.

At CerconeBrownCompany, we’ve helped brands of all industries and sizes enhance their social presence and pull off trendsetting campaigns that have not only grown their online following but have strengthened their relationships with customers as well (aka more sales!) Below, we’ve shared our top tips for ensuring that your social media copy will grab the attention of users quickly and easily.

1. Create FOMO

Have you ever been scrolling through Instagram and stopped to look at a group of people on a beach vacation and thought, “I would do anything to be there right now?”

FOMO, or the fear of missing out, is a psychological phenomenon that can be described as the worry that you are missing out on an amazing experience or product. According to TrustPulse, 60% of people make purchases because of FOMO, mostly within 24 hours.

To infuse FOMO into your social media copy, quite simply show your audience what they are missing out on! An easy way to do this is by collecting testimonials about other customers’ experiences, but you can also do so by creating a sense of urgency with words and phrases like “for a limited time”,  “save your spot”, or “time is running out!”

Take the below post from clothing brand Anthropologie for example – they create a sense of urgency by emphasizing that time is running out to make holiday orders, while also highlighting that there is something for everyone at their site. This makes readers realize they are missing out on some amazing gifts for their loved ones…so time to act fast!

Anthropologie social post

Whether you choose to elicit FOMO through peer experiences, exclusive offers, or something else, the key is to make a user feel like your product or service will solve a problem better than any other company can.

2. Simplicity is KEY

You don’t want your audience to struggle trying to understand your copy. In fact, if your copy is too long, uses too much jargon, or doesn’t communicate the value right away – they won’t try. They’ll keep scrolling!

According to Boomerang, messages that are written at a third-grade reading level receive 36% more responses. Social media is something that encourages instant gratification and understanding, so most users don’t have the attention span to read long or wordy social posts. The fewer words you use, the better!

Need help writing more concisely? One exercise social media marketers can practice when faced with long-winded social copy is to delete parts of your post and ask yourself: does it still make sense? Does it still capture the essence of your message? If so, leave it out!

If that exercise doesn’t help you cut down on words, work with your creative team. Remember that you can also use your creative – whether it be a photo, video, GIF, or other type of imagery – help illustrate your message. In fact, your copy and creative should always work together.

Check out the above example from Hismile, a company that sells a variety of teeth whitening products.

This copy is simple and straight to the point – the image shows somebody who is very happy with the Hismile product, and the accompanying copy explains how being like her is easy, it can happen in just ten minutes! It quickly gets to the point and persuades readers to learn more.

3. Be Conversational

Your audience wants to feel like you are talking to them, not at them. When you are writing social media copy, try to use a conversational tone. To do so, avoid using too much jargon but feel free to add in emojis, pop culture references, and other expressions that you’d use in conversation with a friend.

Of course, if your brand’s tone of voice is more serious or if your social media posts require regulatory approval, as if often the case for B2B brands,  then you may have to work to find a compromise. However, that doesn’t stop you from creating conversations by asking your audience questions or engaging with them in the comments.

Glossier social post

A great example of this is the above Instagram post by beauty brand Glossier. With the introduction of their fourth moisturizer, they knew that some customers would have questions as to which would work best for them. They created an easy-to-understand graphic and addressed in their copy the confusion that can come from their wide array of products.

4. Nail Down Your CTA

Arguably, the CTA, or call to action, is the most important part of your social media copy. A CTA is a brief phrase – written or visual – that asks your audience to perform a specific action.

Nailing down your CTA is essential because attention spans are short – you want to make it obvious to users what you want them to do.

The value of a CTA can be statistically proven – according to SocialPilot, adding a CTA can increase conversion rates by 83%. In general, the most effective way to convert your readers into customers is to simply ask. Like many things in life, “if you don’t ask, the answer is always no!”

Keep in mind, you’ll need to motivate consumers to oblige to your call to action. For example, a tweet that reads “Go to our website to buy our new product” directs user to a next step, but it doesn’t present the value in following through. When drafting calls to actions, ask yourself: “what’s in it for them?”

Take the below example from Fenty Beauty – offering a discount or deal isn’t always necessary, but it is a great example of motivating your users to take the next step. In both their graphic and caption, Fenty Beauty is offering customers 30% off of their mini foundation with the CTA “Throw it in ya bag!” – simple, easy, and direct.

Fenty Beauty social post

 

To learn more about writing CTAs that convert, check out our blog.

Differences and Examples for each Social Channel

 Something important to note is that your social media copywriting shouldn’t take a “one size fits all” approach; each social platform has unique quirks that call for different practices. Below we share our expertise and tips for optimizing your copy for each platform:

Facebook

  • Make sure your copy directs users to share. Facebook prioritizes content from friends and family over brands; an easy way to increase your reach is to have users share your post to their personal profile. Be inspiring or entertaining in your copy and be sure to include “share” in your CTA.
  • Focus on people. Facebook is a place for connecting with friends and family, so posts featuring other people and your community will perform well. We’re not just talking about the photos you collect – incorporate testimonials and use brand ambassadors to help your post stand out.

Instagram

  • Instagram users love a story – incorporate storytelling into your copy to grab their interest. It’s OK to share a longer post on Instagram….as long as your story is a good one!
  • On that note, if you’re going to write a long Instagram caption, begin with a strong hook before beginning a long paragraph. Only the first few words of your caption will appear in a user’s feed – think through what will intrigue a user to learn more!
  • Include hashtags – they’ll help get more eyes on your post. BUT don’t go overboard. Choose hashtags that are relevant to your post but aren’t so oversaturated with content that yours gets lost in the mix. We recommend looking at hashtags with less than half a million posts.

LinkedIn

  • Make sure your tone is professional – but not too While LinkedIn is a thought leadership and business-centered platform, we’ve seen a shift in the last few years and, today, LinkedIn’s viral content is conversational, authentic, and inspires dialogue. Find the right balance for your brand!
  • Incorporate numbers or statistics – these stand out in a body of text and can quickly grab a reader’s attention.

Twitter

  • The most important aspect of Twitter to keep in mind is the short character count – you only have 280 characters to get your point across.
  • Twitter is primarily a platform to find news, so think of your tweet as a news headline or billboard! Get your main point across first in a few words.

TikTok

  • Keep it short! TikTok is a video platform, so your audience isn’t going to be reading a long caption, they’re going to be watching the video. The character limit for TikTok is 300 characters, so make sure you only include any important supplementary information.
  • TikTok captions are a great place to instruct viewers to do anything that you didn’t mention in the video (this could be something like “watch until the end” or “click the link in our bio to learn more”).

 

Social media offers brands a great opportunity to connect with their audience and share updates in real-time – but it’s what you make of it. By implementing these tips for your next social media post, you’re sure to see more reach, engagement, and conversions with your content.

Looking for a partner that can help you nail down your copywriting strategy? We’d love to chat.

My name is Gwynn Vaiciulis and I have been an intern at CBC since August 2021. I am also a senior at Boston University and am studying  advertising and journalism. I’m a creative person who loves to express myself and I am also a huge foodie, constantly cooking or trying new restaurants! 

 

Graduation is  rapidly approaching and I’m so excited to start my professional life.  When I first began my undergraduate studies,  I wanted to pursue pre-med before realizing that STEM isn’t exactly the best place to channel my creative energy. After deciding on pursuing a degree in the marketing and communications realm, I applied for an internship at CBC hoping to gain insight into the creative world and to learn different skills and softwares that will help give me a leg up in the industry.

 

After 8 months, I’ve gotten a lot out of my time here! CBC has taught me different skills, from the art of social media marketing to the editorial review process,  along with helping me find what parts of the PR and digital marketing industry I am most passionate about. Following my graduation at BU, I’d love to continue working in a creative agency setting.

 

For aspiring marketers and publicists, here’s a day in my life as a CBC intern:

 A photo of me

8:00 a.m. – I work at CBC on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with full days on Monday and Friday and a half day on Wednesday. I start at 9 a.m. and try to wake up with plenty of time to prepare for the day ahead.  One thing I do that has drastically changed my day is clean my workspace at the beginning of the day. Currently at CBC, all employees are remote so keeping my room clean helps me feel productive and avoid distractions.

 

My workspace

9:00 a.m. – The first thing I do on Wednesdays and Fridays is the CBC Coffee Talk email. This is  a company wide email that includes fun topics like ‘National Day’ holidays and marketing memes  along with tips, social media news, and new media contacts for public relations pitches. To write the email, I conduct research and check in on social media to find the latest trends and industry updates our team should know about. I also use our PR database to scour for new media contacts and publications to pitch. 

 

The Coffee Talk is usually sent to my supervisors for review and, once they approve, I send the newsletter out to the rest of the company. It’s a great way for us to discuss headlines, get to know each other, and connect in the often disconnected remote world. One of my favorite ‘National Days’ was about animals – everyone replied back with photos of their pets! The coffee talk has also allowed me to keep up with industry wide trends and contribute to a positive (and fun!) work environment!

 

11:00 a.m. –  I manage  all of the CBC social media channels, so I spend a lot of time drafting content calendars. This includes drafting social copy, making graphics, selecting relevant photos, and doing research on hashtags using a program called Loomly. I also schedule everything to be posted on the correct day and time using a software called Hootsuite. Drafting content along with scheduling posts has allowed me to exercise my creativity and learn many different software platforms at the same time!

 

Following the Coffee Talk, I check to make sure that all of my posts for the day are correctly scheduled for the CBC social media channels. I also post any stories or add any hashtags that need to be done manually. In addition, I  use this time to make a list of all the other tasks I need to complete throughout the day and try to make a brief schedule of when I will work on each task .

 

After all of our social content is posted, I compile analytics and metrics to see what posts performed well  in order to improve our social media strategy for the next month

 

Example of a Content Calendar Spreadsheet in Google Sheets

12:00 p.m. – Most days, I have meetings in the early afternoon. On Monday’s I meet with my supervisors and the Digital Account Coordinators at CBC, Sydney and Riley, to plan out the week and touch base on ongoing projects. I also attend internal meetings to discuss and learn about client projects. At CBC we work with a variety of clients – from vitamin and supplement brands  to Freemasonry! 

 

1:00 p.m. – At the end of my meetings I make notes about what was discussed or anything I need to complete moving forward. I then spend a few hours working on any ongoing tasks or projects. 

 

Another area I’ve spent a lot of time on in my internship at CBC is content marketing. I  write blogs on topics like social media and PR industry trends  for the CBC website to help with the agency’s website goals, but I also help our with client content and contribute to seasonal biographies on famous Freemasons for our Freemasonry accounts. 

 

When I write blogs I research the topic extensively and draft an outline to ensure I am as educated on the topic as possible.  It’s been really cool to be able to get real world practice with things I’ve learned through my university classes! Creating blog posts for some of our clients has also given me the opportunity to contribute to account work and write in a way that encapsulates different brands.

 

Aside from my weekly meetings, I’ve also attended company wide culture-building meetings. On Employee Appreciation day, we gathered to share stories along with showing our appreciation towards one another through kudos. Kudos are compliments that we submit and read out to other CBC employees during the meeting. We also do fun activities like March Madness brackets, trivia, and happy hours.

 

2:00 p.m. – When I find my focus starting to waver, I know it’s time for lunch. I’ll usually just make something quick like a sandwich or smoothie and enjoy it outside on my balcony (weather permitting). After my lunch break, I buckle down for another work session to further complete my projects. However, on Wednesday’s I only work a half day because I have class in the afternoon. 

 

4:30 p.m. – Before I log off each day, I check my list of tasks from the morning and use it to create another list of both tasks I completed and a to-do list for my next work day. Once I’ve logged off for the day around 5 p.m., I make or go out to dinner and then relax before starting on my homework or going to a meeting for my classes.

 

Juggling being a full-time student and intern is definitely a busy life but my time at CBC has been so rewarding. Everyone has been so supportive and,  although we are remote, I truly feel a community here. I have also learned so much about PR and marketing.; I’ve learned how to use content creation software, research influencers, and record analytics as well as how to adapt and find my place in a fast-paced agency setting. If you’re interested in joining the CBC team, check out their LinkedIn for  job openings!

Table of Contents

1. Why use influencers to promote virtual events?
2. What type of influencer should you work with to promote your virtual event?
3. Influencer marketing basics
4. 4 Ways to Incorporate Influencers into your Virtual Event Strategy

 

While some aspects of “normal” life are starting to return, virtual events are likely here to stay.  In fact, ResearchandMarkets estimates the virtual events category to grow at a combined annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23.7% between 2021 and 2028. For brands, virtual events can serve not just as an alternative to traditional brand experiences, but can also help reach and engage new audiences.  With the opportunity to reach a fresh and expanded audience, as well as capture critical audience data and save on costs, virtual events are well on their way to becoming a staple in brand marketers’ toolbox.

According to Influencer Orchestration Network, 41% of marketers claim experiential as their top channel, and close to 75% of US marketers will use influencers for campaigns in 2022. With both tactics top-of-mind for brands this year, why not combine the two efforts and create a cohesive, omnichannel experience for consumers?

Why use influencers to promote virtual events?

Consumers most often follow influencers that they find relatable and trustworthy. As such, followers often have a lot of respect for the brands and products an influencer supports. In fact, about 61% of internet users look to influencer recommendations when making purchase choices. As a result, influencers are effective at persuading audiences to purchase or learn more about the brands they promote.

 

Influencer marketing data from VOE
July 14, 2019 by VELOCE – Statistics on Influencer Marketing

 

With those facts in mind, why wouldn’t brands leverage influencers to raise awareness of or promote attendance of a virtual event? Some of the biggest brands in the world are already doing so, such as Hermes, Chanel, and Fendi for Paris Fashion Week.

Fendi influencer marketing for events example

Hermes influencer marketing for events exampleChanel influencer marketing for events example




















What Type of Influencer Should You Work With to Promote Your Virtual Event?

Don’t just reach out to anyone – there are many different types of influencers that you could work with. Influencers vary not just by the focus of their content, but also by the size of their audience. At large, there are four types of influencers:

  • Nano Influencers: less than 1k followers
  • Micro Influencers: 10K to 100K followers
  • Macro Influencers: 100K to 1M followers
  • Mega Influencers: more than 1M followers

The type of influencer you choose should be based on your goals.

For example, Mega and Macro influencers are best for raising brand awareness on a global scale as their following is larger and typically more diverse. On the other hand, nano and micro influencers have fewer followers, but often have a tight-knit, more engaged community. These types of influencers are best for brands who want to generate engagement or speak to a highly-targeted audience.

Before you dive in…the Basics Still Apply

Your influencer marketing strategy must meet the needs of your brand. Prior to engaging with influencers, make sure to:

  1.  Establish the objective you wish to achieve by working with an influencer – whether it be to raise awareness, increase attendance, etc.
  2. Define how you wish to work with the influencer. Do your research and look at the type of content they share and where their followers are most engaged. For example, you may have more success driving awareness with an in-feed Instagram post from an influencer whereas, with others, you’ll find better ROI by having an influencer speak about your brand in Instagram Stories.
  3. Outline how your brand will measure the success of the campaign. Will you use affiliate links or codes? Measure by number of impressions? Like any partnership, It’s important to be clear on how an influencer’s efforts will be evaluated.

Lastly, look for influencers that you can envision a long-term partnership with. Stable brand-influencer relationships helps build familiarity and trust with the influencer’s followers and allows your brand to become part of their community.

4 Ways to Incorporate Influencers into your Virtual Event Strategy

1. Use Reels

Instagram Reels are a great way to rapidly increase reach as they are (currently) favored by the Instagram algorithm and often come off as less promotional. When it comes to deciding upon a Reels strategy for your event and influencer, keep in mind your brand’s personality, as well as the influencer’s. If the influencer in question typically posts straight-forward, educational content, working with them to create a silly, dancing reel is less likely to generate the results you’re looking for. With a little bit of creativity, you can find a happy medium – content that achieves your brand’s objectives while staying true to an influencer’s core.

In the example below, travel influencer @coriefay promotes The Yacht Week by sharing a few clips from her experience the year prior.

INFLUENCER MARKETING EVENT EXAMPLE USING REELSinfluencer marketing for events example featuring instagram reelsinfluencer marketing example using reelsinfluencer marketing for events example featuring instagram reels














2. Post in real-time

For brands hosting a regular series of experiential, online events, allowing an influencer to post live event coverage is a great way to gain exposure and create conversation with their followers. This can be done by posting Instagram stories, tweeting event updates, or through an Instagram, Facebook, or Twitch livestream. Furthermore, live coverage is trending right now with over 80% of poll respondents favoring a livestream over a blog or social media post.

3. Use Polls and Engagement Options

Another way to drive awareness and traffic to your virtual event? Use influencers to poll their followers ahead of the event. Instagram stories provide poll and question box stickers that allow followers to share their thoughts directly. This can benefit brands not just with overall traffic, but can also provide valuable insights about this demographic and how to make the event, and future events, more appealing.

example of instagram engagement sticker

4. Keep the Event Alive with Recaps

After the event, enlist influencers to talk about the event and mention specific highlights on their channels. Brands can also leverage influencers for branded content on their site or social channels through guest blogs, videos, or other creative content that will extend the life of the event and its engagement.

For example, CBC client MegaFood worked with food influencer Kanchan Koya (@chiefspicemama) during our “What Matters” virtual campaign. After the campaign had ended, we enlisted Kanchan to share an on-brand healthy recipe to the MegaFood blog to continue driving traffic and engagement with the campaign following its conclusion.

megafood influencer marketing example post-event

 

Virtual events are here to stay, and using influencers to promote such events can give your brand a larger reach and – if done right – a greater event turnout.

Influencer marketing is constantly evolving – if you need help optimizing your influencer marketing strategy, we’d love to chat.

Twice a year, a group of researchers release the CMO Survey. The report unveils findings from top marketers at for-profit US companies with a mission “to predict the future of markets, track marketing excellence, and improve the value of marketing in organizations and society.”

It’s a valuable, albeit hefty, body of work that uncovers what are – or are soon to be – key trends for brands and marketers. Fortunately, we’ve done the heavy reading so you don’t have to; below are our 5 top insights from The CMO Survey that we think every brand should pay attention to.

1. It’s Time to Rethink Traditional Advertising

The study found that not only are marketing budgets universally on the rise – breaking 10% growth for the first time in a decade! – but marketers are also looking to spend more on traditional advertising in 2022 with an expected 2.9% increase over the next 12 months.

Advertising spend insights from the 2022 CMO Survey

Credit: The CMO Survey

With the lift of lockdown orders ushering people away from their devices, combined with increasingly stringent data privacy policies, now is the right time to go back to our marketing roots and test the effectiveness of radio, print, TV, outdoor, and direct mail advertising.

If you’re looking for inspiration, consider combining modern marketing tactics (influencers, user-generated content, etc.) or global causes with traditional mediums. 

Ubereats billboard ad example

UberEats is one of the few brands that has remained regularly active in the traditional advertising sphere and can serve as a model for other brands to aspire to. Combining modern marketing tactics, like influencer marketing, with traditional mediums, such as a billboard, they’ve been able to capture the attention and wallets of cord cutter generations.

2. Brands Are Taking a Harder Look at Influencers

Although marketers still predict growth in the influencer space, they are not nearly as bullish as they used to be, according to The CMO Survey. Influencers currently account for 5.6% of budgets, although marketers predict that will rise to 10.9% three years from now. For comparison, in 2020, influencer marketing spend was 7.5% of budgets, and marketers predicted it would rise to 12.7%.

Influencer marketing insights from the CMO Survey

Credit: The CMO Survey

The “less bullish” predictions for influencers suggest marketers are taking a harder look at these programs. At CBC, we’re seeing a higher demand for influencer marketing measurement and the ability to prove the value of influencer programs beyond vanity metrics. Moving forward, it’s going to be important that brands set up influencer programs in a way that directly ties back to business results. 

3. Significant Resources are Being Poured into Data Analytics

As an agency with an entire team dedicated to data analytics, this is news we can get behind. While investments in digital marketing have increased across the board, data-related activities experienced the largest reported growth, increasing almost 40%.

Data investment insights from the CMO survey

Credit: CMO Survey

Of particular interest among marketers is investment into capabilities that will allow brands to analyze, store, manage, and automate their data. As data collection and purchasing becomes more complex, MarTech stacks are also becoming more complex and companies need the proper technology to keep up.

These Martech investments also signal a need for marketers to upskill. With an increased investment in analytics, there will be more pressure on marketers to communicate results to the C-suite. Marketing teams need to be able to interpret the data and prove to the CFO that their marketing campaigns are worth the investment.

4. Lead Generation and Inbound Marketing are Top of Mind

Beyond MarTech, brands are becoming hyper-aware of the importance of data. The CMO Survey found that 58% of marketers are creating stronger data strategies to capture better information, and 50% are investing in innovations to engage with customers directly in the wake of changes to third-party data.

At CBC, we’re seeing this trend as well. We’ve been working with clients to help them build a strong library of first-party data as we anticipate the loss of third-party cookies (thanks, Apple and Google!) We suggest marketers devote resources into building creative lead-generation campaigns to collect customer information, allowing them to then engage with them on owned channels like website, email, and SMS.

Remember: asking for personal information is a tall order. The most effective lead generation campaigns will offer something of value in return, such an ebook, discount, or other form of a “freebie.” 

For example, for CBC client Scottish Rite Freemasonry, we created a printable Scottish Rite degrees poster to attract Freemasons to our campaign and to share their email address with us. These audience members are super fans of Freemasonry, eager to share and sport their Masonic affiliation, making it an attractive trade-off.

 

facebook ad example for scottish rite freemasonry

Example of lead generation campaign for Scottish Rite Freemasonry

5. Start Bragging About What Makes Your Product Better

B2C brands – listen up! 31% of marketers ranked “superior product quality” as the top customer priority – an increase from 0.0% in February 2020 to 39.3% for consumer packaged goods (CPG) specifically.

Product attributes ranked in order of importance by consumers from the CMO Survey

Credit: The CMO Survey

This trend aligns with the fact that consumers leaned into tried-and-true brand name products during their stress-induced pandemic shopping, pushing companies to shift funding away from innovation and into their core product lines.

If your organization isn’t necessarily a “tried-and-true” brand, consider refining your product quality messaging. In addition, it may be worth testing influencer campaigns that highlight product quality as a key selling point. 

Especially as we think about the rising inflation in the U.S., it’s likely brands will soon have to go above and beyond to prove their product is worth every cent.

To read the full CMO Survey report, click here. Like an idea shared here? Send us a note – we’d love to discuss further with you!

If you weren’t on a serendipitous sailing adventure or living under a rock, you might have noticed that Facebook and its entire suite of apps were down for more than 14 hours on October 4th. The global outage is a major reminder to brands that you don’t own your data, followers, or content on social media.

With millions of companies relying on social media to fuel their marketing funnel, this may scare many marketers. And it should. Even without an outage, there’s little protection of your assets and following if your account were to be deleted, banned, or hacked. That’s why at CBC, we’re big proponents of going all-in on email marketing and first-party data collection. With third-party cookies going away, it’s more important than ever for brands to collect their own data from customers who willingly opt in to sharing it.

Whether you’re a B2B or B2C brand, you’d benefit from doubling down on your email marketing strategy. But sending one-off emails or promotional offers alone isn’t enough; here’s three tactics to follow to convert your “likes” to email subscribers:

1. Offer Exclusive Content

We hear from brands often that they don’t devote many resources to email because users don’t open them. Which brings us to ask: what are you offering in your emails? Is it something you personally would click on?

Consumers are protective of their inboxes. For decades, brands have misused this communication channel to spam subscribers with incessant marketing, touting the same messages and content over and over. The simple fix? Provide content they can’t find anywhere else.

Entice users to subscribe by offering something of value – exclusive discounts, products, or early access to new launches. Alternatively, provide rich, useful information in your emails that you don’t share on social media. Offer a deeper dive into topics your audience cares about, exclusive tips, and the like to signal to users that your emails are more than just marketing – it’s a community.

For example, Verb Energy retains a strong subscriber base by always offering their list a first look at new flavors, exclusive discounts, and even offers subscribers an opportunity to share what they want to see next.

2. Make It Personal

One of the features of Facebook and Instagram that makes it so successful is that it is highly curated. Users elect to follow brands and engage with posts that speak to their interests. If your audience is diverse and you don’t acknowledge those differences in demographics, behavior, and interests, you’ll fail to increase your email open rate and retain subscribers. Your email marketing messages need to be tailored to unique audiences.

You can start by using a merge tag to include their name in your emails, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. To really offer a personalized experience, make sure you’re segmenting your list. How you segment your subscribers will largely depend on your business, but consider the following criteria to split your list:

  • Past purchases
  • Amount spent
  • Age, gender, location
  • Email engagement (did they click to read your blog in your last email? That could indicate interest in a certain topic.)
  • Website behavior
  • Quiz results
  • Position in sales funnel (new subscriber or long-time customer?)
  • Personal interests (add some boxes to your sign-up form to allow users to indicate what content they’re interested in receiving.)

From there, build out email sequences that speak directly to these unique audiences.

For example, if you find that there was a large group of users who clicked to read a whitepaper on your website, you could assume that this group was interested in more in-depth and scholarly content. Now that you know who these users are and what they prefer, you can send them similar content they’re likely to engage with and/or frame your messaging to speak to them more personally.

3. Convert Followers to Subscribers with a Content Upgrade

You’ve promoted your email list and have provided truly valuable and exclusive content that’s personalized to their unique persona – but your followers aren’t biting. What’s next? Give them more value. One of the best ways to do this is through a content upgrade, sometimes also called a lead magnet.

Content upgrades or lead magnets are typically a piece of content that can only be accessed once they’ve signed up for your email subscription. They can come in many forms, from e-books and PDFs to quizzes, videos and webinars, but the most important aspect is that it’s content your audience really wants.

For example, at CBC, one of our core offerings is our experiential House programs. To entice users to subscribe to our email list, we’ve offered a PDF checklist for successful experiential marketing campaigns on our website. Once users complete the form and sign up, we email them the checklist. It’s likely many users wouldn’t be willing to provide their personal or company information without this offer, making it an effective tactic for growing your subscriber base.

Just as you would personalize your email list, you should personalize your content upgrades too. This will allow you to capture a wider array of users by tailoring your offers to what piques their interest. To illustrate this point, visit HubSpot’s blog. You’ll see that in almost every blog post, they have a content upgrade tailored specifically to the blog in question – making the offer relevant and valuable to the website visitor.

It’s worth repeating, you do not own your social media followers. If social media were to dissolve overnight, you’d lose arguably some of your most loyal customers and prospects. Converting your social media followers to email subscribers is critical in protecting your brand’s most valuable assets and setting your company up for longevity in the digital space.

Need help building effective email marketing campaigns? Let us do the heavy lifting – contact us.

We don’t need to tell you that every brand needs to be on social media. Now more than ever, consumers are turning towards digital outlets like Facebook and Instagram for new products, inspiration, and information. What many brands forget is that social media is just that – social. Engagement should be at the forefront of your social media strategy.

An effective way to drive engagement is to include a call-to-action (CTA) in your social media post. A call-to-action is a brief phrase – written or visual – that asks your audience to perform a specific action.

The effectiveness of CTAs can be statistically proven. According to QuickSprout, adding a CTA to your Facebook page can increase click-through rate by 285%. In general, research has found time and time again that if you want something, you must ask for it.

 

Source: TrackMaven

CTAs are an important piece of social media copywriting because attention spans are short; you need to quickly make it obvious what action you want a user to take if you expect to see a potential customer follow through. More importantly, they need to be motivated to do so as well. That’s why nailing down the art of creating compelling CTAs are essential. Read on to hear out five tips for drafting CTAs that convert.

Understand Your Goals

The very first step in optimizing your CTA is making sure you understand your goals. Do you want to drive users to your website? Is increasing your visibility through comments and shares most important? Your CTA should be laser-focused.

What does this look like? Check out the below post from Lonely Planet, a travel guide company. To boost brand awareness and engagement, they run a user-generated content (UGC) campaign where customers share their product and tag the brand online. This post works well in driving towards their goal – shares – because they keep the caption simple, show what a successful share looks like, incentivize users with a repost, and clearly outline the next steps they want a user to take.

In another example, retail brand 12th Tribe calls for users to shop with a simple, one-sentence CTA. Why does this work? It’s short while coupling clear directions (“tap”) with an enticing offer (“best selling jeans”).

Only Include One CTA

When writing social media copy, you should avoid including more than one CTA. Having multiple CTAs in a single post can lead to confusion and less engagement – if you give your audience too many choices, they won’t know which one to take. By having one distinct and clear CTA, you can increase the likelihood of a user taking action.

For example, say you’re drafting a post to promote an event and you want to lead users to a blog post to learn more but, at the same time, you also want them to go to the registration page to sign up. Rather than point to both webpages, consider which action most aligns with your goals and build a compelling case for users to click towards that action. You can always create follow-up posts with more information or to register!

Make it Easy, Make it Urgent

Social media is a fast-paced environment. Users are constantly scrolling through their feeds and only stopping to read things that are engaging and that they care about. When drafting a CTA, make sure that the action you’re asking your audience to take is straight-forward and simple to understand. Take the below example from Dove- it’s backed up by context that highlights its importance and clearly outlines what action the reader should take.

Not only should the CTA be easy to understand but, for best results, there should be some sense of urgency. Limiting the time an action is eligible, even if it just appears to be time-constrained, can entice a user to engage. For example, “Sign up today” suggests immediacy more so than “Sign up.”

Some tips to keep in mind when incorporating these elements:

  • Choose strong action words: compel the user to click. Phrases like “Download your free guide” or “Shop trending sweaters” is more intriguing than “Download” or “Shop”.
  • Be concise: Can you say the same thing in fewer words?
  • Ask a colleague to proofread: does it make sense to them?

Make the Value Clear

Does you CTA encourage users to take action on something they actually care about? Like most aspects of copywriting, every CTA should pass the “so what?” test. In the words of The Godfather, when framing an action, you’re proposing a user to take, give them “an offer they can’t refuse.”

Take this example from underwear brand MeUndies. In their effort to collect email subscribers, they clearly announce the benefit to users in doing so – a discount.

Value doesn’t just have to be monetary, emotional appeals can be highly successful as well. Another way to think about the value you’re providing is to use the phrase “So that…”. For example, instead of saying “Download our whitepaper,” you can write “Download our whitepaper so that you can stay informed of the latest industry developments.”

Consider the following questions when describing your offer:

  • What will they learn?
  • How will the offer impact their career, relationships, health, life?
  • How will this offer make them feel?
  • What do others value about this offer?

Don’t Bury the CTA

An important note to remember is that simplicity is key. You want to make engagement easy for your audience so that they won’t just ignore what you’re saying. To ensure this, you want to make sure that your CTA is “above the fold”, meaning that they don’t have to click to read more or expand the post. If your CTA isn’t up front and can be immediately seen, you might miss out on potential conversions.

For example, take a look at the below tweet from Shaw Academy, an online education platform. They make the CTA immediately known and don’t include so much copy that the post would have to be expanded. The use of strong action words and an emoji emphasize the action that readers should take.

There is nothing more rewarding than seeing great results from a social strategy you put so much time, energy, and thought into. With these tips, you’re sure to see your social audiences covert to customers.

Looking for a partner that can help bring your social media engagement and success to the next level? We’d love to chat.

 

Social media has come a long way from its early days of MySpace and “Top 10” friends. Today, there are dozens of social platforms to engage with and nearly 4 billion active social media users worldwide. No platform has made as drastic of a transformation as Facebook, which has evolved from a public diary for friends and family to one of the largest online advertising platforms and home to 50 million company pages.

Today, we share some of the latest and greatest Facebook and Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) features in 2021 that no marketer can afford to miss out on. 

Facebook Bulletin

Example of Facebook’s new feature, Facebook Bulletin

Example of Facebook’s new feature, Facebook Bulletin

Announced in June 2021, Facebook Bulletin is a new app from Facebook that allows creators to publish and share original content – and monetize said exclusive content to paying Facebook subscribers. With an elevated look and feel, Facebook Bulletin is meant to provide creators the opportunity to build a close-knit community and share their thoughts and expertise candidly. Bulletin content will be shared throughout the Facebook site, but each Creator page will live on a separate Bulletin app.

Not only will creators be able to write and share newsletters, articles, and other exclusive content, but they’ll have premier community capabilities through Bulletin as well. Using a combination of free or subscriber-only groups, livestreams, and live audio rooms, Facebook is looking to become the one-stop shop for building a brand.

Who can use Facebook Bulletin? Facebook defines creators as “individual journalists or subject matter experts not contractually bound to write exclusively for a platform or publisher.”

With the creation of Facebook Bulletin comes a host of opportunities for artists, writers, and influencers, but brands should still begin investigating business use cases as well. While you may not be able to own a branded company Bulletin, this new feature presents new avenues to explore in influencer marketing. Consider enlisting a creator as a brand ambassador for inclusion of your brand in their work. You can also begin to build relationships with creators to be one of the first to secure advertising or sponsorship opportunities in their content.

Alternatively, look internally for subject matter experts with interesting ideas to share. Bulletin could be the “next big thing” to send your thought leadership program to the next level.

Advertise on Instagram Reels

In late June 2021, Instagram announced that brands can now advertise on Instagram Reels. In case you missed it, Reels are Instagram’s attempt to compete for TikTok’s audience, allowing users to create short videos with a variety of fun add-ons such as transitions, sounds, and effects. Instagram has seen great success with Reels to date and is making a concerted effort to grow its Reels content and viewership, making advertising a natural extension.

Example of an Instagram Reel advertisement featuring a static image of model wearing jewelry

Example of an Instagram Reel advertisement featuring a jewelry brand

Example of an Instagram Reel advertisement for a cleaning and organization business

Example of an Instagram Reel advertisement for a service oriented business

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The great news is that creating Instagram Reels advertisements is attainable for any brand, of any size, in any industry thanks to its short length and flexibility. You can create Reel advertisements that are as simple as a static image. Brands can also repurpose existing materials, such as promoting content garnered from an influencer partnership, showing how a user might use your product in real life.

Why should marketers pay attention to Reels advertising? It has the potential to greatly influence your reach. Not only will these ads appear in the Explore page (similar to other ads on Instagram), but also when viewing Reels in the Reels tab or a user’s feed. With Reels being one of the most popular forms of content on Instagram currently, marketers would be remiss to not experiment with advertising on Reels.

Building Your Facebook Community – Now Easier

Screenshots detailing Facebook’s new Facebook Groups features for admins

Screenshots detailing Facebook’s new Facebook Groups features for admins

Facebook Groups are one of the few original Facebook features that has stood the test of time. And for good reason, it’s a great way to build and nurture a community on a highly saturated platform. Many brands can benefit from creating Facebook Groups to help build their community by offering more intimate discussions and sharing exclusive content such as articles, promotional offers, and livestreams. While Facebook Groups has the power to create brand super fans, the management of said communities is time intensive and difficult.

But now, Facebook has just introduced a new suite of tools to make Facebook Group management easier. Today, admins and moderators will have access to:

  • A full dashboard for an overview of your group and all the tools available
  • An “Admin Assist” tool that can automatically moderate conversations based on set rules, such as users who have had a Facebook account less than 6 months or any comments that contain explicit language.
  • A Conflict Alerts system, powered by machine learning, that notifies admins of potentially contentious or unhealthy conversations taking place.
  • A tool to slow down conversations, allowing admins to set time parameters on how often users can comment. The idea with this feature is to encourage users to think before they “speak”.
  • Member Summaries so that admins and moderators can track each user’s activity in the group, allowing you to identify both brand superfans and trouble makers.

Social media is constantly evolving, with new features, tools and trends emerging every day. If you need help staying up to date on what’s working in social media or are looking for fresh, creative social media strategy and execution, contact us.

Reporting is one of the most essential stages of any campaign — but only if you’re asking the right questions. Too often, we see reports that focus solely on “what happened?” without answering the questions “so what?” or “what’s next?” 

The goal of reporting is to use the data you’ve collected to make decisions

Data-driven reports should:

  • Focus on KPIs. Use secondary metrics to support your narrative, but don’t lose sight of your most important goals.
  • Help you understand the multichannel customer experience. Customers are using multiple channels to interact with your business, so your reports should help you parse out the impact of each channel.
  • Include insights and recommendations. If something is performing well, how can you double down on that tactic? If you’re not hitting your KPIs, what do you need to change? Stakeholders should walk away from the report ready to make decisions.

At CBC, we create actionable, data-driven marketing and PR reports for our clients using one of our favorite tools, Google Data Studio. 

What is Google Data Studio? 

Google Data Studio is a free web-based software program that allows users to create customizable reports and dashboards. Users can pull data from a wide variety of data sources with little to no coding skills required. Visualization of the data is made easy through tables, graphs, and scorecards that can be filtered and customized to fit your specific needs.

Monthly web analytics report in Google Data Studio

Monthly web analytics report in Google Data Studio

Why use Google Data Studio?

  • Easily connect to your data

One of the top benefits of Google Data Studio is that it automatically pulls in data from your connected data sources. You can spend less time entering data and taking screenshots of dashboards, and more time analyzing the data. 

  • Merge data sources

Google Data Studio allows you to take data sources and combine them to create cross-platform reporting. This is a powerful ability that allows you to take data from multiple systems to tell a story.  

For example, you can take data from Google Search Console + data from Google Analytics + data from a CRM and connect those with URL as the merge key (as they all have URL in their data sets):

  • Google Search Console – URL associated with search queries and search volume
  • Google Analytics – Traffic associated with a URL
  • CRM – Acquisition and sales data from a source URL

The merger of these 3 sources can tell you what terms generated traffic that ultimately drove sales.

  • Reusable templates

Create a template and use the date range controls to automatically populate your report with data from the timeframe you need. You can also easily duplicate the report, swap out data sources, and create new reports for other campaigns or clients.

  • Wide range of data sources

Google Data Studio integrates with a wealth of connectors, allowing you to centralize reports on various campaigns all in one place. Data Studio is highly compatible with Google data, so it’s easy to report on what users are doing on your website (Google Analytics), what users are searching for (Google Search Console), how your paid search campaigns are performing (Google Ads), and so on.

Data sources and connectors available in Google Data Studio

Data sources and connectors available in Google Data Studio

There are also a number of third-party connectors, as well as the option to build out your own data set in Google Sheets. This opens up the ability to bring in data from social media channels, marketing automation software, customer or membership management tools, PR coverage, or any other data set you have access to!

Caption/Alt text: Social media data source using Google Sheets connector in Google Data Studio

Social media data source using Google Sheets connector in Google Data Studio.

 

Bottom line: Google Data Studio streamlines the reporting process, moving the focus away from merely compiling data to using that data to tell a story. Done right, data-driven reports are a tool for proactively finding opportunities to improve performance and drive higher ROI.

Boston, Massachusetts — July 8, 2021 — Cercone Brown has been recognized as one of the top digital marketing companies in 2021 by DesignRush.

DesignRush is a B2B marketplace that connects brands with professional full-service agencies, web design companies, digital marketing firms, and top technology companies.  Their platform lists over 9,300 agencies from over 50 different countries and is consulted by thousands of decision-makers looking to start a project.

Cercone Brown is a PR and Digital Marketing agency in Boston and New York. Our strength is creating experiences that bring brands to life, and drive consumers to action. Our heritage is in public relations and brand positioning, but today our programs are an integrated mix of social media and influencer marketing, content development and distribution, media relations and very smart, succinct paid media. Check out our HOUSE Programs, which bring the country’s top media together to experience brands in natural, beautiful settings.

screenshot depicting new Facebook advertising settings for marketers

What are Apple’s new privacy changes?

Apple is launching a new privacy feature that requires all apps to ask for explicit permission to track users. This feature, called App Tracking Transparency, will be included in an iOS 14 update in spring 2021.

From an iPhone user’s perspective, this means you’ll receive a pop-up notification in every app asking if you want to allow tracking. If you opt in, then the app can track you and use the collected data to deliver personalized ads.

What is Apple IDFA?

IDFA, or Identifier for Advertisers, is the system that Apple uses to track and identify iOS users across apps and websites, all without revealing personal information. IDFAs are critical for marketers, because they allow us to accurately track users and use data to deliver relevant ads.

Currently, iOS users can opt out of IDFA by turning on a privacy setting called Limit Ad Tracking (LAT). This setting does not stop users from receiving ads, but the ads will no longer be personalized. As of 2020, 31.5% of American iOS users have enabled LAT. With the upcoming shift to an opt-in model, marketers are concerned that even more iPhone users will opt out of tracking.

screenshot example of LAT tracking

How will the iOS 14 update affect Facebook?

If users do not opt in to tracking, the effectiveness of Facebook’s tracking pixel will decrease. What does this mean for your Facebook ads?

  1. Targeting options will be hindered. You will not be able to target users as accurately or with the same level of hyper-personalization.
  2. Conversion reporting will be less accurate, since you cannot track the user’s behavior after viewing your ad.
  3. Remarketing campaigns will be less effective, since you cannot remarket based on the user’s previous behavior.
  4. Lookalike audiences will be less accurate, since these audiences are generated based on user behavior.

With all of these factors combined, advertisers may begin to see weaker results on their Facebook ad campaigns. Note that this will disproportionately affect Audience Network ads (ie. ads in third-party mobile apps), rather than ads delivered on Facebook itself.

Facebook is fiercely contesting Apple’s new iOS policy, but they will still be required to display Apple’s pop-up consent prompt, or else the Facebook app would be blocked from the App Store. 

What does this mean for digital marketers?

The increasing focus on privacy puts users’ interests at heart, but will cause a major shake-up in the digital advertising world. 

Marketers have come to rely on tracking data to deliver highly personalized, targeted ads to users. As access to this type of data becomes more limited, marketers will need to start using other strategies to ensure ads find the right audiences. 

  1. Track conversions with UTMs. The Facebook algorithm will not be able to optimize for conversion goals as effectively if iOS users don’t opt in to tracking. To get the most out of Facebook’s built-in optimization, try running campaigns with other objectives (ie. website traffic) and rely on your own tracking to measure conversions. If you use campaign URLs and Google Analytics, your UTMs will help you understand which ads drove conversions.

    screenshot showing what a UTM url looks like

  2. Cast a wider net. Focus on ad creative with wide, general appeal, rather than a hyper-specific message that would only appeal to a narrow audience. In some cases, advertisers may find broad targeting more effective because it helps you expand beyond your core audience.

  3. Use context-based ad placements. In our increasingly privacy-conscious world, context may start to be a better bet than audience targeting, and Facebook may no longer be the best place for your ads. Consider doing a digital ad buy where you can control which sites display your ad. For example, a health food brand might choose to advertise on health and wellness sites, where they can expect to reach like-minded consumers.

Privacy has become a top concern for consumers and marketers alike. Apple’s privacy updates are not the first to impact digital marketers (hello, GDPR!) and they won’t be the last, so it’s on us as marketers to adapt.

 

If you have questions about how to get the most out of your marketing budget amidst this changing landscape, let’s talk.

In a digital world where influencers often hold more trust, authority, and followers than the average brand, it’s critical that senior leaders and executives work to build their own personal brand and position themselves as a thought leader in their field.

What is a Thought Leader? 

Thought leaders are trusted experts, the “go-to” people, in their field of expertise. They are authorities in their realm that regularly inspire, motivate, teach, and share their prowess with others, helping fans and followers increase their knowledge and enhance their skill set. Thought leaders can be anyone from an Instagram fashion icon to a business CEO, or even your average marketing enthusiast. What separates a thought leader from an expert is trust, influence, and a following.

Some business thought leaders you might already know of include Mark Cuban, Neil Patel, Arianna Huffington, Gary Vaynerchuk, Brené Brown and Amy Porterfield.

Why Become a Thought Leader?

A 2018 survey by Edelman and LinkedIn found that 55% of respondents use thought leadership to vet organizations they may hire. Additionally, a study by Marketing Insider Group found similar results with 81% of respondents saying their trust increases after engaging with thought leadership content. In a world where everything and everyone is “Google-able,” creating a personal brand is paramount to building trust with potential clients.

Furthermore, influencer marketing is a highly profitable and growing industry estimated to be worth $13.8 billion in 2021. Influencers are successful in promoting and selling products because of the high trust they have with consumers. For many companies, the CEO is often the personification of the brand. Rather than spend thousands paying other influencers to promote your product or service, why not build your own “influencer” internally and save your marketing budget while building trust with customers?

How to Become a Thought Leader

If you’ve never given much thought to your personal brand as a professional, it can feel overwhelming to start – especially when you think about how saturated the online space already is. However, as big as the digital thought leadership space is, the internet is even bigger. There is room for everyone willing to make the effort to grow, stand out, and bring in business using their personal brand. Here are five tips for getting started:

1. Identify Your Niche

Niche market. Concept of selecting specific target instead of mass all segment in marketing strategy.

Before you share anything, understand what you want to be known for and who you’re trying to reach. What are your strengths? What makes you unique? Make a list of topics you are most passionate about and have expertise on, then make a separate list of qualities that differentiate you from your peers.

These topics and qualities are the foundation of your thought leadership strategy and should inform everything you do in building your brand as a thought leader, from the content you share to the tone in which you write.

Remember, the online space is crowded. It doesn’t mean there isn’t room for you, but it does mean you need focus and clarity on what “space” you want to own. Identifying a niche focus area will also benefit you and your organization from an SEO perspective, where Google will be able to more easily identify and link together the topics you provide commentary for.

  1. Consistently Provide Value on Social Media

A graphic showing a pale watering social media tree

If you want to be seen as an expert, or a thought leader, you need to demonstrate your expertise. Look back to the list you made in step one (identify your niche,) and start building a steady stream of content related to those topics, weaving your unique differentiators into each post.

Your posts could be anything from your response to an industry trend, a checklist, blog (like this one!), video tutorial, or even a discussion starter. Get creative! The key is to provide value. Give users a reason to follow you, subscribe to your emails, and read your articles. Your content should be informative, useful, and different from what is traditionally shared.

It’s worth underlining again that the content you share must provide exceptional value. At CBC, we encourage clients to give it all away. Don’t be afraid to share your expertise for fear of copycats or worry that prospective clients may not “need” your services. People can rip off your work, but they’ll never be able to execute quite like you. Clients may read your content, but they’ll pay you to do the work for them or to tell your advice to them. The more you give, the more trust and loyalty you build.

Which channel should you be focusing your efforts on? We recommend all clients establish a presence on LinkedIn but, depending on your industry and niche, other platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and the rising Clubhouse app may be appropriate too.

  1. Bring Your Expertise to the Media

A screenshot of Leonard Cercone's thought leader profile on Forbes

A large part of building your personal brand as a thought leader includes building authority and credibility amongst your peers. You can, of course, accomplish this by sharing your expertise on your owned channels (social media, email, website.) However, you can expedite the brand-building process by sharing your expertise with the media.

How can you start working with the media? There’s a plethora of ways:

  • Write and publish bylines for trade publications
  • Provide commentary to journalists on your niche topics
  • Apply for exclusive panels, such as the Forbes Council
  • Partner with publications to host webinars
  • Submit yourself for awards (and win!)
  • Speak at conferences and events

Start pitching your brand and expertise to the media, focusing on adding value and building meaningful relationships. Or, work with an agency like CBC to help get you in front of the press.

  1. Network, Network, Network

Attaining followers is all about providing value and trust. An easy and impactful way you can do this is by highlighting other great thought leaders in your network. If you see a fellow thought leader share content that would be valuable to your audience, it would be wise to share it amongst your connections as well. Trust and transparency breed loyalty, prove that you’re here to serve – not gain notoriety – and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a true authority in your realm.

This means that networking with fellow leaders in your industry is crucial. Reach out to those you feel are providing valuable content or have unique expertise and build bridges. Plus, you would both be served well by sharing each other’s content and networks with each other.

When you have a strong niche and consistently provide value-add content, there is no need to worry about “competition.”

  1. Peel Back the Curtain and Be Human

illustration of pratfall effect

Ever hear the phrase “Nobody likes a know-it-all”? It’s true; even as you’re trying to position yourself as a thought leader, it’s important to share the things that make you a human, too.

To become a thought leader that’s in demand, users have to not only know that you’re smart, but they have to like, know, and trust you, too. Who wouldn’t want to work with someone they know, like, and trust?

This concept is known as the Pratfall Effect, and it’s been used by sales and marketing teams for decades to create relationships and generate business. The Pratfall Effect, in short, explains that people held in high esteem are even more likeable when they make a mistake and/or show their imperfections. A common story about the Pratfall Effect that demonstrates the impact of this strategy is:

A Sales Executive gives the same presentation to two different groups. In the first group, he is articulate, smart, and friendly as he shares his pitch. In the second group, he is still articulate, smart, and friendly…but he also has a coffee stain on his shirt. For the second group, he opens up the presentation by talking about how he spilled coffee on himself on his way to work. Researchers measured the likeability of the Sales Executive after each presentation and found the Pratfall Effect to be true: the second group, even though it was the exact same presentation, found him to be more likeable.

You don’t need to share your deepest secrets or embarrassing stories, but you do need to show that you’re a flawed human like everyone else to garner more trust. Pull back the curtain and let your audience get to know the real you.

 

As the online marketplace becomes increasingly saturated, clients are looking to us more and more for help in maximizing the visibility of their team and company. Need help creating your thought leader brand? Contact us.

As brands continue to compete for users’ attention on social media, the space is getting more and more crowded, and social platforms have become increasingly selective as to what content they will serve up to their users.

One way to jump in front of the line is to go the route of paid social. In most platforms, there are multiple ways to get exposure. Today, we’re highlighting the differences of  “boosting” or “sponsoring” organic content versus a straight-up paid social ad.

What’s the difference between a “boosted post” and paid advertising?

The difference between boosted post and paid ads infographic

The term for “boosting” will vary by platform. For example, Facebook calls it “boosting” a post, whereas LinkedIn calls it “sponsoring” a post. There’s really no difference in how it works.  Simply put, “boosting” or “sponsoring” ensures more people will see the post by putting a little money behind it.  What many people don’t realize is that simply posting on your channels does not guarantee your followers will see it in their feed.  Boosting a post does.

Boosting takes an organic post (no money behind it) that you have created, hopefully with excellent, tailored content created by you or your team, and increases the chances that your audience (and the people you promote it to) see it by paying for that privilege.

Boosted posts are easier to manage than paid ads, as they are typically a one-off post and aren’t normally part of a larger campaign. Content you may boost include a timely blog post, press release or media mention.

The drawback? Your options for audience targeting, scheduling, budgeting, and ad formats are limited. For example, boosted posts only allow you to promote the post as it organically appears on your page, whereas advertisements allow you to use formats such as carousels, or collection ads for ecommerce.

Paid Social Advertising

Paid Advertising is a larger beast to tame.  As opposed to simply putting money behind a post already in your feed, these are ads created specifically for an ad objective.  As such, paid ads are part of a larger campaign with multiple copy and graphic/video variations for testing. Think of these as fractional print ads that at one point you may have run in a magazine (although, it’s important to note that paid ads can be much more than a static image with some copy.) 

Paid ads are best when pushing a set goal or objective. These have a strong call-to-action (CTA)  and are about getting an audience to click through to your website or landing page.  Paid ads are typically one of the first layers in an integrated sales funnel.

Some instances where you may want to consider running an ad campaign instead of a simple “boost” include: 

  • Highlighting a promotional offer or a direct eCommerce push.
  • Drive registrants, downloads or leads
  • Promoting a product or service with a long decision timeline (so that we can continue to nurture them by retargeting users through other ads)

Boosting Social Posts: Best Practices

A great boosted post should feel natural in users’ feeds. If they aren’t paying close attention, they won’t know it’s an ad. Here are a few tips for getting it right:

  • Start by boosting content that is already performing well organically. This is a good indicator of what will work well on a larger scale.
  • The content should focus on engagement or awareness to widen your social media following. Content where you’re calling for leads, sign-ups, or purchase are typically best served in a traditional ad campaign.
  • Don’t spend a fortune. Spend a small amount, like $10-25. See how it performs and scale from there.
  • Be careful! With most of these platforms, once you take an organic post and promote it, you cannot modify it. Double-check that the copy provided is suitable to push to the masses.

Social Media Advertising: Best Practices

Besides boosting organic content, most social platforms have multiple ways to advertise – everything from display ads and retargeting to direct messaging. These are generally more expensive and rely on an ROI-centric objective. 

With paid ads, you can run variations of a single ad and test each to see which copy, image, and call-to-action (or combination thereof) work best. Paid ads also allow for retargeting and offer the opportunity to experiment with multiple ad formats such as display, text, video, etc. On some platforms, an ad campaign provides more granular targeting options.

If you’re new to social media advertising, here are some of our best tips:

  • Keep the copy short and sweet. Users may not be familiar with your brand quite yet, making their attention span for your content even shorter.
  • Run multiple variations of your ads. Test different headlines, body copy, calls-to-action, graphics, images and videos.  Unlike print or TV, digital ad buys can be turned on, up or off in midstream. Once you’ve gotten some results, narrow your ad set down to the best performers and put money behind these.
  • Leverage both graphics and video for best results. While video is favored by many platforms and consumers, it’s still worth testing both.
  • Be thoughtful and clear on your objective. Social media platforms design their ad algorithms to place your content in front of users likely to take a specific action. Selecting the wrong objective, like selecting a video views objective when your end goal is really to get people to visit your site, will lead to disappointing results.
  • Install the social media platform’s pixel on your site, where applicable. Not only do these pixels provide you with conversion data, you can also use them to create remarketing lists to fine-tune your social marketing efforts.

Ultimately, whether you choose to boost a post or run an advertising campaign depends on your goals. If you are trying to build brand awareness or drive engagement on a particular post, sticking with boosted posts would be advised. If you’re looking to drive conversions, then paid ads are your best solution.

 Need help? Get in touch.

Google is in the process of launching Google Analytics 4 (or GA4), which is the largest leap in how Google is presenting website traffic in years.  

The old way of presenting data was very siloed. It looked at the Who / What / When / Where / and How of analytics. For example, here is the legacy hierarchy of how they categorized data:

  • Audience = Who are your users?
  • Acquisition = How did they find you?
  • Behavior = Where did they interact with you?
  • Conversion = What were the results?
  • Date Selector = When did they come to your site?

In the classic version of Google Analytics, you had to define the events and engagements. You also had to define your funnel, and you were restricted to the limitations of the technology.  

Ok, ok, what makes this nerd so excited about GA4?

The new way takes a look at the cross-section of Who / What / When / Where / and How and centers it on the WHAT (aka the conversion). The new navigation looks like this:

Life Cycle

GA4 takes the entire funnel and places it into the Life Cycle section. In this section, you see the Who / What / When / Where / and How of the users, but Google expands upon it. You get to see how those steps interact with each other. This allows the new Google Analytics platform to get straight to the point of analytic reporting.

User 

The User section of GA4 allows content creators to get an understanding of user demographics to inform the content creation process. It covers devices and locality to help you understand where your users are from and how they access your site.

Event 

GA4 Events are a new, semi-automated approach to providing deeper insights into how users interact with your site. Although at this time Google has not yet defined what events will be standard, we have seen the following events already pre-configured without the need for Google Tag Manager or custom code:

  • Clicks (Raw click counts)
  • First Visits (How many users are visiting for the first time)
  • Page Views (Raw page views)
  • Scroll (How many people scrolled)
  • Session Starts (How many times users began interacting with your site)

You can also mark events as conversions, allowing you to focus your reporting on the most important actions that users are taking on your site.

Explore 

Here you will find nerdy analysis tools to throw fuel into your marketing and PR efforts. The Explore section provides a level of research analyst depth unmatched by anything in the classic Google Analytics reports. It is a collection of some familiar tools such as Path Analysis and new tools such as Exploration and Funnel Analysis.  

Exploration is quickly becoming one of my most utilized tools, as it takes what I like about Google Analytics and merges it with the power of Google Data Studio. It effectively allows an analyst to build out custom tables on the fly to analyze data. No longer will we be stuck with stock reports and views.

What can GA4 mean for your business?

GA4 is the single largest evolution of Google Analytics. It will allow analysts easier access to the depth of data and allow business owners to quickly focus on the goals of their website with minimal configuration.

If you are interested in upgrading, you can follow the instructions provided by Google. Upgrading will not impact your current reports or data. Your new GA4 property will run in parallel to what you have now, so we recommend setting it up sooner rather than later so you can start collecting data and familiarizing yourself with the new user interface.

At CBC, we use GA4 to increase conversions as it provides us a more complete and integrated picture of how users interact with our clients’ websites. If you need a hand, contact us