I have now served two years in Moldova as a small enterprise development volunteer with the Peace Corps. Social media has been the key instrument for marketing and advertisement of any of the institutions, programs, or projects I have worked on, but particularly Facebook. I utilize it to create pages and events; post videos, pictures, blog posts, and articles; and communicate with friends and customers through messaging, on walls, or in the comment boxes of any threads. Last winter, I read the book Likeable Social Media by Dave Kerpen, which was the best yet for Facebook in terms of how companies can generate immediate return on investment and how they can build a 21st century customer service hub for all followers, fans, and friends. Buy this book!
Below are the notes I took from the novel and how I applied the findings to multiple works, including Incubatorul de Afaceri Leova on Facebook and Odnoklassniki in the Romanian language, Global Entrepreneurship Week Moldova, Indiegogo basketball court project, aiding the TLC Language Center CEO, and as evidenced below, Diamond Challenge Moldova (DCM), which had two high school students take third place at the international entrepreneurship competition at the University of Delaware and win $2,500.
Enjoy the notes, subsections, and action items! Please feel free to leave me any comments or questions below or directly at email@example.com.
• Provide customer service for social media followers. Engage in users’ conversations by being empathetic, not a salesman, and identify yourself by providing a signature with each new message or comment.
• Write down five keywords that describe your audience for Facebook ad promotion. (Using Diamond Challenge Moldova example: moldova, high school entrepreneur, moldova entrepreneurship, diamond challenge, high school startup)
• Conduct Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube searches for your brand’s and competitors’ products and services. Take inventory of what people are saying. (Work & Travel, Moldova business competitions/small assistance grant programs, business planning methodology, Winrock, ODIMM, high schools, salaried jobs, college resource centers)
• How are you currently situated comparative to the competition?
• Develop a fixed schedule to formally and informally ‘listen’ to your audience’s commentary. Never stop listening!
Define Target Audience
• Hyper-targeting – Use Facebook search queries to narrow down your target markets. (Could be used to target Moldovan high school students, ages 16-‐19, business, English)
• Nano-targeting – Getting so specific you whittle your search down to one consumer. You can customize a Facebook ad to be sent to one very specific person to view. (Female, 17 years old, English, business-focused, highly sociable, posts between 3-6pm, lives in the capital Chișinău)
• Build an audience by listening and finding out their needs. Allow them to buy service or products using social media.
• Facebook: Utilize ads for specific groups and continue to dig deeper and deeper into search criteria. (Moldovan high school students -> business -> entrepreneurship -> business model generation -> lean canvas)
• At Likeable the brand grew significantly by targeting brand managers, CMOs, and marketing directors.
Write down: 1) age/gender, 2) marital status, 3) location, 4) interests, 5) job titles, 6) company, 7) demographic’s conversation items
Listen and brainstorm on all social media platforms. (Specifically Facebook, Odnoklassniki, LinkedIn, and potentially Twitter)
Look at your other marketing and customer development costs. Find ways to cut back on these expenses that target very broad audiences.
Think Like A Consumer
• Which marketing tools or methods do you enjoy or can at least tolerate as a consumer? Utilize these!
My personal list: Magazine ads, social media pages, corporate articles, corporate blogs, interviews with employees, and short films of company stories.
• Which ones can you not tolerate? Avoid placing these!
My personal list: Short film advertisements, pop-ups, commercials, magazine inserts, and podcast commercials.
• Post content that may be of interest to your target group even if it is not about your brand. (I have noticed that Moldovan audience members enjoy pictures of familiar cultural symbols and objects)
Write down a list of what your consumers like on Facebook. What type of content would make them click the like button? Write down ten examples of such likeable content. (Pictures, relevant infographics, short films, status updates with a mix of English and Romanian, event schedule, flyers of event, promotional deals, contest giveaways, business resources, and statuses with human tags)
Find marketing materials that were used in the past and make them more concise and valuable to a low attention-spanned audience.
Change all media, advertising, and communication forums to echo that of your social media.
Try to think like the consumer and not like the marketer. Be likeable, not disruptive.
How to Get Likes
• The like to your social media page is more important than the link to your firm’s website. Make it a priority!
• Top 10 Reasons Consumers Like Fan Pages on Facebook: 1) receive discounts and promos, 2) show support for friend’s brand, 3) get a freebie, 4) stay informed, 5) updates on future projects, 6) for updates on upcoming sales, 7) for fun, 8) access to exclusive content, 9) learn more about company, and 10) education about company topics
• Where to place call to action for social media: 1) website, 2) every email you send out as a company 3) on every staff person’s signature, 4) business cards, 5) brochure, 6) receipt, 7) snail mail, 8) every inbound phone call, 9) every outbound call, 10) packaging, and 11) in-location signage
• Gaining mobile likes, text like [page name] to FBOOK. Give consumers incentives to like your page (20% off next purchase).
Why should fans like our Facebook page? (Information/resources about competition, prizes, engagement in English, any rewards for partners/workers)
Come up with a 15 second elevator pitch for why people should like you on social media: information, customer service, prizes
Engage with Consumers
• In order to appear authentic, you must be authentic. Truly care about what your consumers are talking about on the social networking web and it will go noticed. (Practice your Romanian with guests: “Salut cf? … Bine, mă bucur. O să ies în oraș diseară să dansez! Vrei și tu?”)
• Always make good with griping consumers, show empathy. “United Breaks Guitars” on YouTube is an example of a dissatisfied customer who had a legit claim against United Airlines’ lack of care for its customers. The social media damage cost stakeholders $180 million. (Likeable Social Media)
Respond swiftly and publicly to social media complaints.
Actually fix the problems. Do not just say so.
Surprise and delight customers by going overboard.
If you receive a positive referral follow up with, “Do you have any friends who would be appropriate for me to talk to?”
Harness Brand Ambassadors
• Tweeters and followers could turn into valuable employees to consider from a marketing standpoint.
• Harness and gift “brand ambassadors” to spread positive awareness of your company. You must follow FTC regulations though if you give out prizes for write-ups.
Create a personality for your consumers. Fun? Serious? Personal? Professional?
Have a unique way of saying thanks. (I like to tag people in thank you notes and describe what they did so that these individuals’ Facebook friends can admire their accomplishments publicly)
Determine formal and informal ways of rewarding customers to promote word of mouth.
• Create 90-120 second videos of your team. Show these on Facebook once per month. It is good to humanize your brand as much as possible. (This one went a little over… whoops!)
• If multiple people are responding on behalf of your organization, make sure they sign their posts with initials. (This was especially useful when communicating with Diamond Challenge Moldova participants in the Facebook message box)
• If someone is being paid to say something, disclose it.
• Fix problems, avoid cover-ups or deletions.
• Always engage audience with questions.
• Be transparent. It is a sign of value, confidence, and trust.
• Write articles about your practices and insights. (I’m doing this right now… YES!)
• Create two-minute films: how‐to, top‐five tips, or converting something you have written into video. Share these videos everywhere. YouTube, Facebook, and TubeMogul, which allows you to share videos on a dozen different platforms. Have fun with the videos. (Excellent example by TLC)
• Never ask for anything in return.
• Applebee’s video recipes give value through sharing. What has happened is that viewers admire the restaurant, try out the recipes at home, and then dine at Applebee’s to see whether or not their recipes were comparable. (Likeable Social Media)
• Ultimately people will want to purchase your services and establish bonds with successful sharers, rather than attempt to steal ideas or mimic what the leader is doing.
Write down a list of the ways we can provide value. (Information and resources, business videos/articles, customer service, American culture, English lessons, personal videos)
What type of content to post? (Games, videos, blogs, articles, applications, share others work, and contests)
Share content with a friend to ask for second opinions.
• Write stories about: how you got started, tough times, failures, top customers, funny or interesting things that have taken place, employees, and charitable organizations (Here is one I wrote while working with youth at Innovation Weekend in Moldova)
• Create stories about your customers and the emotional experiences they have with your brand.
• It is not about you, but your customer.
• Post pictures of staff and fans showing appreciation.
• Video stories are the best tool for marketing.
Create a story about how the company was founded.
Research other stories within the company that can be used.
Share stories through blogs, posts, and videos.
Decide which social media networks to use: Facebook, Odnoklassniki, etc.
Decide how to create stories. Which charitable organizations can you contact?
Request that Others Share Stories
• Look at your fans and friends and determine who is most influential on Facebook. Those with many friends can help drive your message and help you gain new followers.
• “Fans of the Week”, reward contributors. Give coupons, prizes to people posting the best content.
• “A year’s supply of”… “A lifetime supply of” as gifts.
Define your ‘wow’ factor. What is truly worth talking about? (For DCM it was the opportunity for the winning team of our competition to compete in the United States for startup capital)
What can you do to build this wow factor? (Prizes, videos, updates)
Define customer base and which forums they are on most often. (Facebook and Odnoklassniki)
What incentives will inspire word of mouth? (Competitions for books and other prizes if they recruit friends)
Do you need a traditional website anymore?
• Many companies will just be using social media for websites: order forms, sales carts, secure data, or utilize any other web content or functionality. You can essentially fish where the fish are, as you will have 750 million “shoppers” just hanging out.
• Convince people to like your website’s content instead of buying products. You sacrifice sales at first but soon enough you will have website visitors who have seen that you have been validated by many people.
• Social media is the best way to bring your products to the client.
• It is important to be likeable across the board with sales, products, processes, and interaction with consumers. Always make them feel appreciated and heard. Answer their questions and engage.
• Many companies still do not allow employees to use Facebook on the job with computers. Silly for two reasons: 1) Employees can activate social media from their mobile phones, 2) Not allowing employees to speak with customers through social media is like telling all staff at a supermarket, “You’re not allowed to talk to customers walking around looking for help. Unless you’re in the marketing department, of course.”
Gain cross-department understanding and collaboration on social media. Everyone should know and embody its vision.
Integrate social media links onto everything: advertising, website, packaging, marketing materials, etc.
Insert like buttons on all online channels.
Use Social Network Ads for Greater Impact
• You can create Facebook ads to attract the friends of your current fans. An ad will appear on the friend’s window that states, “their friend(s) likes this”.
• Search criteria: Location – country, state, city, or town ; Demographics – age and gender ; Likes and Interests – for DCM: entrepreneurship, USA, money, English, business; Birthday – You can wish fans a Happy Birthday; Relationship Status – Targeting specific groups: mothers, singles, etc.; Language – 200 available; Education and work – High school/university and targeting professionals from certain fields
• Eight cool things you can do with Facebook ads: 1) Target people on their birthdays! 2) Personal messaging with cool events and promotion. 3) Target employees – congratulate them on achievements! Do this by using the “Companies” targeting feature, or use job titles and departments in search criteria to post to them. 4) Introduce yourself to a new company. 5) Target your significant other. 6) Build potential relationships with key partners. Insert “President” or “CEO” in the user’s job title to target these individuals. 7) Target linear media, connect yourselves to local media. 8) Use sponsored stories: it helps to improve “fan engagement” statistics on your page for all to read.
• Buy ads that are Pay-Per-Click over Pay-Per-Impression. Pay-Per-Click guarantees that people have entered the page before you are charged.
• If company has $25,000 budget you should purchase Facebook’s “Homepage Engagement Ads”. It adds greater interactivity and functionality to the targeting features. It allows companies to post video ads, distribute samples, and poll users through ads.
Lifetime Value of Likes
• Use targeting criteria and “friends of connections”.
• Likeable Media only uses Facebook ads and has spent $30 per day in doing so.
• You should not make a call to have fans call you or visit your website, simply join your Facebook community. Then, write and share valuable content to your target market. Possibly blogs, creative videos, contests, pictures, etc.
Increasing Sales on Social Media Mobile Applications
• It is smart to have an iPhone or android application to drive online sales on Facebook.
• Create a Facebook shopping cart.
• Five important applications to consider: 8thBridge, Payvment, Shop Tab, Shoutlet, and Show & Sell
Group Sales through Facebook
• Download Wildfire Interactive app at Wildfireapp.com to bypass having to contract out a company like Groupon to facilitate deals for your company. From there, build your audience!
• Create status updates that appeal to both engagement and sales such as: “What is the most common size of women’s shoes in the U.S.? Click here to find the answer and get an instant 50% your next purchase!”
Create an online sales cart.
Download and research apps to drive social media sales.
Create engagement and sales status updates.
Websites to Use in Order to Keep Up with Facebook’s Evolution
With a zero dollar marketing budget and shoddy Romanian over the course of two years, I feel that I have communicated effectively online to each Moldovan target audience I have pursued. Moldovans have become increasingly present and active on Facebook. This trend should grow as the social media platform is not yet mature in country. I notice new national friends, groups, and businesses popping up daily.
The time is ripe for all companies and individuals in Moldova to begin expressing their companies’ and personal brands to fit their consumer’s needs. Remember to think like them and as always, you have got to give the people… give the people what THEY want!