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Business

Social media is easy: Don’t be boring

By Jason Lesley
Coastal Observer

When Lauren Cobb, Georgetown County tourism marketing director, shot a picture of a heron in Pawleys Island and put it on Facebook, she sent ripples through the new world of advertising.

Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce president Brian Tucker “liked” the post and added “Why did the heron cross the road?” That picture started a journey around cyberspace, promoting Pawleys Island as a tourism destination. It was simple and effective.

Facebook, with its billion subscribers, is overtaking Google’s advantage in online advertising, said Brian Carter, who spoke at the first of a series of “Food for Thought” luncheons sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. An author, consultant and marketing agency director, he spoke on the topic “Social Media — Why Bother?” to a group of about 100 after a luncheon Wednesday.

Here’s the difference between Google and Facebook, according to Carter: Google helps people who are ready to buy a new bicycle; Facebook convinces them that their old bike isn’t good enough any more.

Cobb introduced Carter, explaining they met on Twitter when they were both working at Myrtle Beach advertising agencies. They only met face to face when they were at a convention in Seattle.

Carter said there is one rule in Facebook marketing: Don’t be boring.

“People spend a ridiculous amount of time on Facebook, about 25 minutes a day on average,” he said. “Some take advantage of new marketing opportunities right away. Facebook’s cost is not that bad, pretty affordable.”

Carter said an advertiser can reach 1,000 people for about 25 cents each on Facebook, the cheapest way to contact a large number of potential customers.

They still have to cut through a lot of digital clutter to get noticed. “People don’t care about your business,” Carter said. “They care about what they are going to get. People want to escape, relax, feel good. A commercial for Corona beer makes you feel like you’re going on vacation for five minutes.”

Actor George Takei, who played Mr. Sulu on “Star Trek” is on Facebook. “His page is full of compelling, funny stuff,” Carter said. “He gets three times as many ‘likes’ as Coca-Cola. David beats Goliath. The Old Spice ‘Smell Like A Man, Man’ promotion improved sales 55 percent. There’s a guy who makes roses from the covers of baseballs and softballs. His return on investment is 473 percent.”

Carter said he worked on a campaign for Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s to gather 150,000 Facebook fans for each brand. The campaign cost $200,000. Sometimes Goliath wins.

“I never want to be one of those guys who refuse to use new technology,” Carter said. “Don’t get too old to keep up — in your mind.

He listed some principles for social media advertising.

• Can you maintain loyalty? Show value.

• Life is hard. Inspire your customers.

• Rationalization is powerful. Overcome objections.

• Overcome burnout. Coach persistence.

• Don’t be negative. There is no “dislike” button on Facebook. It’s 100 percent positive.

As an example of how negativity can hurt a brand, Carter used the Nestle Co. “They hired the wrong people,” he said. “It was worse than doing nothing. Responses to customer posts were argumentative, and bloggers picked up on it. That was in 2010. If you Google Nestle now, those blogs are still there.”

Quality content is the key to growing a Facebook audience, Carter said.

“The people you are trying to reach do all sorts of things, and they are assaulted with images and videos and TV shows,” he said. “Is your Facebook post more interesting than all those other things?”

Carter said a site called InfiniGraph is a place to find additional content for a Facebook page. “When you post quality content,” he said, “your interest grows.”

Put images in your posts, he advised.

And ideally a heron crossing the road will become a “meme”. That’s a picture or idea that a whole lot of people use.

Other business news: Chamber of Commerce starts education series


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