Effect of the Election on Social Media Marketing

It’s down to the final days before the election, and no matter what side of the political spectrum you fall to, we all are anxious for a conclusion. The election seems to be everywhere you turn, and unsurprisingly, that includes social media.

Elections provide their own set of challenges for marketers, even if your brand has nothing to do with the election. Here are three key takeaways for social media that we’ve identified that are particularly important during election season.

Increase in Political Noise

From billboards, to TV ads, to social media, it’s hard to avoid the election. Candidates both cause and experience a huge increase in digital activity as the big day gets closer.  While your brand may have nothing to do with such content, it is still taking up space that could otherwise be filled with your brand. Some of this content is candidate promotion, news stories, or simply conversations about the candidates. Social platform algorithms will favor this content, not just because people want political content, but because it’s the hot topic that everyone is talking about.

Decrease in Organic Performance

Along with this increase in political content comes a corresponding decrease in your brand’s social media performance. Not only are you competing with huge volumes of political content, but other brands are increasing their advertising budgets to rise above the noise. It’s going to be tough to compete in this crowded arena, but polls from the Pew Research Center suggest that 46% of social media users were already feeling exhausted by political posts on social media. And that was a year ago! If users are taking breaks from social media, whether for days, weeks, or months at a time, you can expect to see a dip in organic metrics (reach, engagement and followers).

Increase in Ad Cost

It’s the simple law of supply and demand; as demand for political ad space increases, the cost of those ad placements will increase. Combine this with some users taking a break from social media, and you are going to get much less for your ad dollars.

Home Stretch

The good news for all of us is that the end of the latest political season is coming to a close. In the meantime, you are going to want to level-set your expectations for social performance for the next couple of weeks. And take heart, once this is over, there will be an increased appetite for new and different content. That’s when your brand can make a statement. To learn more about improving your social media and metrics, connect with one of our experts.

Digital Marketing Taboos You Should Break

Jocelyn shares 3 digital marketing taboos you need to break.

Digital marketing is an ever-evolving and essential component of a businesses’ overall marketing and PR plan. Internet culture, search and social media algorithms, and what is considered a social custom are continuously changing, and because of this, your digital marketing approach should, too. What used to be regarded as an acceptable digital marketing approach even a few years ago may not translate in the current digital environment.

Not outlining a digital marketing ad budget

The year is 2007. The vampire fanatics are rampant, and you are super excited to post a sick new Mac Photo Booth photo as your Facebook profile pic. And speaking of Facebook, they had just launched Facebook Ads, giving your business the ability to connect to your target audience. Other social media platforms followed, MySpace offered ads around the same time and Twitter launched its Ads platform in 2010. From then on, marketers have encouraged clients and colleagues to invest money in social media.

However, some may still have a hard time understanding the value of social media ads and not setting aside a budget. Today, social media algorithms are, for the most part, a mystery and social platforms are drifting away from a chronological feed. Boosting social media posts or launching a social media ad campaign is a helpful way to break through the clutter on social media.

Forcing an inauthentic persona

Within the past three years or so, businesses have gotten attention for “roasting” users online, also known as “clapping-back” for the folks out there who need a little vocab help. And this has worked for some businesses, notably Wendy’s. Other food and beverage businesses and restaurants – who shall not be named – tried and failed to emulate this snarky attitude. But why was this approach successful for Wendy’s and not for others? One word: Authenticity.

Not everyone can be or should be Wendy’s. That seems to work for them, but it probably doesn’t work for you – and that’s okay. To build long-term success on social media, focus on the values of your business, and make sure what you post is true to those values. In other words, be authentic.

Stressing out about having new content

I’m not 100% certain how the expectation of only sharing new content came about, but I’d guess that marketers’ personal use of social media had an influence. Social media users used to share details about their lives through the day, valuing what’s happening right now over anything else. But, within the past couple of years, it is rare to see someone post everything they are doing at all times on social media. The constant flow of posts from who you follow has become unbelievably annoying to users – and will cause me to unfollow someone.

While it is important to keep your business’ social media feed updated with timely information, don’t be afraid to recycle content. Thankfully, the popularity of #ThrowBackThursday, and my personal favorite ICYMI (in case you missed it) became more popular, allowing your business to share “old” social posts and remind your audience of something cool you did.

Ready to break some digital marketing taboos with us? Let’s work together!

If Buzzfeed Wrote a Digital Content Guide

We all know Buzzfeed. But what if Buzzfeed wrote a digital content guide? Jocelyn digs into what makes the viral content producer so successful.

Let’s Get Engaged

I think it is safe to assume that we all know what Buzzfeed content looks like. If you have been on Facebook in the past 10 years, you have likely seen a family member, friend or distant acquaintance – who is technically your Facebook “Friend” – share a piece Buzzfeed content. But what would a digital content guide created by Buzzfeed look like?

Buzzfeed creates content to make it viral – meaning they want it to become as popular among the broadest audience possible. And whether you are a fan of its content or not, you can admit they know how to make their blogs, videos and posts sharable across a mass audience.

But how can you apply this to your business’s social media content or blogs? We’ve pulled together three tricks you can steal from Buzzfeed for this digital content guide.

Lots of visuals

Law of life: People like to look at stuff. So, make sure the content you are sharing has quality and engaging stuff to look at. When sharing a post on social media, adding a photo can increase Engagement Rate by 2.3X when compared to a post without a photo – and Engagement Rate increases even more when paired with a video.

digital content guide

What’s going on now

Buzzfeed creates topical content that relates to mass audiences. To increase engagement on your social media posts or blogs, make sure you tie your content in with a current event. The current event could be events in pop culture, in the news cycle or recent happenings in your company. If it is recent news, your audience will be excited to hear it!

Consistency is key

Say it with me now, consistency. Buzzfeed is a powerhouse of content and continuously churns out videos, blogs and images. If your business does not have the time to produce content consistently- don’t worry, that’s okay! If your business does not happen to be a digital media corporation, and only has the capacity to develop one blog every two weeks, don’t be discouraged. Start there and begin developing relationships with your audience.

By taking these three tips into account when planning your next content calendar or getting your fledgling content strategy off the ground, hopefully you too can enjoy the success and increased visibility of a piece of your content going viral.

Want some help with your digital content strategy? We can help!

Online Influencer or Joe Camel?

The parallels of cringe advertising and bad influencer marketing.

One of the best ways to promote a product or service is through emotional appeal. Emotional appeal can come from a personality or advocate of a brand in the form of a mascot, an influencer or customer review. We, as marketers, know that having a personality serve as an endorsement for a brand elevates brand messaging by making it more interesting and believable to customers.

Okay, my Marketing 101 spiel is over.

In the past, there have been cringe personality endorsement tactics, namely Joe Camel. We all know Old Joe, the cool cartoon camel from R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company’s Camel cigarettes, which served as the face of the brand from 1988 until 1997

Joe wore hip wayfarer sunglasses with a sleek blazer, and drove a sporty car with a hot babe in the passenger seat. Essentially, Joe Camel was the James Bond of the cartoon animal kingdom – a real Smooth Character.

It kind of hit the fan for Joe Camel when a study was released in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study showed that 91.3% of the 6-year-old children observed were able to connect Joe Camel to a photo of a cigarette.

For good reason, these findings were worrisome to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). So they jumped in, too, bringing a complaint against R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company for, “unfair practice under Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act.”

Ultimately, the pressure from these players caused Joe Camel to be replaced with a featureless and less-cool camel.

Hindsight is 20/20, so it is easy to look back on Joe Camel and use it as an example of irresponsible advertising. However, people are not recognizing similar – if not the same – tactics are being used in the digital realm.

Focusing on some recent examples on YouTube for the sake of your time – and for the health of my typing fingers – it’s pretty troubling how close some YouTube influencers’ promotional tactics come to Joe Camel.

Some YouTube influencers portray a fun, relatable and cool vibe to their young audiences, and use that vibe as an emotional appeal advertising tactic to promote sponsors of videos. While the “I’m cool, I’m doing this. Be more like me.” emotional appeal is similar to that of Joe Camel, it’s not inherently bad.

I’m not saying that these YouTubers shouldn’t promote products, or brands should not have partnerships with influencers. Influencers/brands have every right to make and spend money.

The problem comes in when it is not executed responsibly.

YouTube communities have come under fire for not disclosing advertising in their videos. From the beauty community’s biased affiliate codes and perks, which typically lead to blatantly biased and misleading advertisements, to the vlogging community constantly bombarding young audience members to “Buy Dat Merch”… #LinkInBio.

Irresponsible execution of these advertisements can leave a bad taste in the consumer’s mouth, harming both the reputation of the brand and the influencer. Or, in severe cases, misleading advertisements can be seen as an unfair practice under Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act. The same violation as Joe Camel – we have officially come full circle.

It is important to realize that the internet isn’t the wild west, where anything goes. There is an obligation for brands and influencers to work together to develop a responsible promotional plan and to have everything on the table for the consumer to see.

Take a lesson from 1997: make sure your influencer marketing plan isn’t a Joe Camel.

 

Meet Jocelyn Summers

Hi everyone! My name is Jocelyn Summers, and I am the newest member of O’Keeffe PR. I love storytelling and exploring the impact of the written word on people’s attitudes. I am a fanatic of all things digital but have a love-hate relationship with HTML. I have experience in corporate communications and have developed public relations strategies for local non-profits. I approach every day as an opportunity to learn a new skill.

What drew me to O’Keeffe was their culture. From the moment I stepped through the door, I knew they were passionate about their team and equally passionate about their clients. I am excited to be a part of the tribe!

Why did you choose this industry? 

I have a passion for writing. When I was a kid, I convinced myself that I was going to be the next J.K. Rowling. But through the years I learned that you don’t need to write a novel to tell a story. So, here I am!

What advice would you give to someone trying to break into the industry?

Be tenacious. I know that this is easier said than done, but if you fall, get right back up, take a lesson from it and try again. If you listen to feedback and constructive criticism, you will be amazed at the skills you develop.

If you could tell our clients one thing, what would it be?

We do care about each of our clients. The passion I sensed my first time meeting the team has only grown since I’ve joined O’Keeffe.

What was the last book you read?

A friend of mine gave me “You are a Badass,” by Jen Sincero for my birthday and I have read half way through it. It’s a fact I already knew, but I appreciated the reminder.

Favorite word?

Cattywampus. Say it out loud; you’ll love it too…

Least favorite word?

Definitely. I spelled it wrong in the 3rd-grade spelling bee, and I have second guessed myself on it ever since.

What profession other than marketing would you like to attempt?

As you may have guessed from other information in this post, an author. Move over J.K. Rowling, J. Summers is the new kid in town!

What is the best thing from your line of work?

I love that I don’t know exactly what my day is going to look like when I walk into the office. I thrive off of the energy and fast pace of being a part of an agency.

Tell me two truths and a lie.

I have a great sense of direction. I am allergic to cats. I am a vegetarian.