Author: mes67370

The Cost of Social Media

I often hear it said that social media is the best, FREE marketing tool around. This is pretty awesome… except for the fact that it’s blatantly false.

It’s interesting how many people are led astray concerning this bit of information. According to Mac Collier in his article about social media expenses, even launching a Facebook page from the ground up with limited on-going training costs anywhere from $1,500-7,500 a month for 3-6 months.

Holy guacamole. But wait… It gets better.

Social media strategy creation by a professional can cost anywhere from $3,000-$20,000…. A MONTH. A lot of this cost is shed through training and hiring of employees.

According to our book, on average, even beginner companies that are engaging in social media marketing for the first time have a team of three people. That’s three hourly/monthly salaries and three benefit packaging. The cost of employees to maintain social media isn’t weighted as significantly as it should be. However, as social media sites begin to dominate our communication spectrum, a company can’t afford to hire just any Joe-Shmo to take care of its online image. We’re talking professionals, people with degrees and extensive background in using, maintaining and analyzing social media on the web.

The cost of employment isn’t the only thing to be considered either. Training workshops, consulting, advertising, design, analytics—all of these things will end up costing the company. It’s important to be away of these expenses, and how to understand how each expenditure contributes to an overarching objective.

Just for fun, here is a nifty infographic to help you understand some of the nitty gritty details:


In the long run, understanding and expecting the expenses that social media encompasses with help the company, and help you portray how they contribute to the growth and development of the company.

By: Mariah Suddarth

Social Media Crisis

Telegraph, telephone, tell a twitter account… And it’s all downhill from there.

Okay. What am I talking about? Well. It’s simple: Social Media Crises.

We live in a day and age where social media reigns. While our Facebook and Twitter accounts are perfect for spreading message and building brand equity, they are also renowned for breaking them down as well. So, what’s the kicker? Well, the impacts are almost instantaneous. There are, however, some steps that you can follow to save face for your company during a crisis..

Buffer, an online application company, relays their tips on how they handled their social media crisis:

Do it the RIGHT way:

1.) Own the mistake

2.) Frequent, transparent update

3.) All hands-on

What NOT to do:

1.)    Going dark during a crisis

2.) Rogue employees

3.)    Keeping your cards too close

4.)    Take things personally

5.)    Let problems fester


By: Mariah Suddarth

KPIs, Quantitative and Qualitative Measurements for Social Media

Arguably one of the most powerful skills a PR practitioner can develop is his/her ability to measure or determine the volume of content and the sentiment toward a brand or topic on the social web.

In other words:  social media measurement.

This can be done in one of two different ways:

1.)    Quantitatively: a determination of the volume of content; i.e. the number of posts, comments, tweets, retweets, likes, and follows one receives.

2.)    Qualitatively: a determination of the sentiment of content; i.e. metrics, while mentions, comments, conversations, and feedback about a specific brand.

According to Barker, Barker, Bormann, and Neher in “Social Media Marketing: A Strategic Approach,” both of these methods are measured by a nifty little metric called Key Performance Indicators. These are a social media metric that indicates the progress of strategies in achieving goals.


However, before choosing the right social media KPI, you must have a good understanding of the social media goals that are important to your organization. As with any other marketing goal, this needs to be measurable. Next, choose a mixture of qualitative and quantitative KPIs that could accurately measure progress in achieving your goals. It is then necessary to set a baseline or benchmark to create a standard against which all social media KPIs are measured. Essentially, benchmarks/baselines establish a starting point. The last step is comparing an organization’s social media KPIs to its benchmarks over a person of time. This measures the pace and degree of progress.


It is important to remember that these steps will be applied differently per each social media outlet. For example, this article from Avinash Kaushik offers some great advice for quantitatively monitoring one of today’s most popular social media mediums: Twitter.
1.)    Don’t just utilize generic, data-puking analytics. You must make sure you create a goal, find your metric, and analyze the “what does this data mean” and “what can I do with it?”

2.)    Klout is a wonderful tool, but don’t just use it as a compound measurement to seek “influence.” Break it down into four categories: Reach, Demand, Engagement, and Velocity.

3.)    Invesitigate the analytic sites you’re using. For example, GraphEdge actually weans out the spam accounts and calculates your influence and information from more accurate, initial data.

4.)     Keep in mind that your reach is primarily dependent on “unique” names. This means that if you have ten followers and they all follow each other, your network is encapsulated within that number. 


By: Mariah Suddarth

“Tinder” Lovin’ and Marketing: Location-Based Social Networks

First comes love. Then comes Marriage. Then comes… Tinder? And a marketing strategy… carriage… thing.

…Hold the phone!

But it’s true. With the evolution of location based marketing, more and more mobile applications are being used by marketers to engage with their public.  While Foursquare and Facebook are generally at the forefront of this strategy, there have been some new social media applications showin’ some love in the marketing arena.

Puns. Ten points for me.

So. Traditionally, location-based marketing is used by businesses to offer discounts or different promotions by asking publics to engage in the company’s social media. This can be done through checking in or liking a photo. In comes modern day, social media generation gurus who are apparently lookin’ for love in all the cyber places…

…That sounded worse than I had intended.

I digress. Ahem! With this emergence of this love-sick-sappy crew comes the application Tinder.

Basically, Tinder allows for you to create a profile that has up to five photos, your first name, your age, and a tiny tagline. Most importantly: It uses your location to connect you with others in that same area.

I would tie this all together for you, but my good friend Ankur Nagpal does a mighty fine job of doing it already in this article.

@Teedubya’s Social News Site Story

A social news site is a website that gives the power of content to its users. While these sites act primarily as places where one can go and share opinions, they also provide a bit of exposure to those expressing them.

One of the most popular social news sites in the status quo is Reddit. Reddit allows its users to post links to web content on its site, and allows for users to network unique ideas and opinions in doing so.

While Reddit is important for simply sharing opinions, Reddit , like other social news sites, can have a large impact on the nature of the opinions posted as well. Take for example, Travis Wright, a social media analyst that utilized Reddit and was able to change how the Chiefs football publicist handled the team’s social media.

After being blocked from the Chief’s twitter page for posting a comment about his unhappiness with the team’s financial issue, Wright turned to Reddit to express his opinion. Shortly after, his opinion was picked up by major media outlets, and his distaste for the Chief’s poor communication tactic was heavily broadcast throughout the entirety of the web.

His story begins here….

Mariah Suddarth

Social Media is a Cocktail Party, and microblogging is the conversation

Social Media is a cocktail party…

Or so David Meerman Scott states in his new book, “The New Rules of Marketing and PR.”


He discusses the analogy a bit further by discussing the web as a city; a big, boisterous city filled with all sorts of life, interaction, and culture. Within that city, there are individual niches where people gather to network, interact and have fun. If we follow the analogy, those niches come in the form of social media. Social media is the cocktail party of our imagined, inter-web city… and twitter is the hot conversation.

Twitter is especially important because it keeps people engaged and makes that interaction memorable. It’s the “gossip” and “juicy conversation” that occurs at the cocktail party. Scott contends that twitter (also known as microblogging) actually has some really macro impacts.

Twitter is a “real-time communication” medium where individuals interact and gain credibility through their own following. It’s immediate and conversational. It’s real. It’s simple.

The text, “Social Media Marketing, A Strategic Approach” discusses ways in which we may capitalize on crafting a twitter channel:

1.) Self-Promote Cautiously
2.) Choose Optimal Tweet Times
3.) Respond to Questions
4.) Gather Feedback
5.) Provide Unique Value

While all of these provide a unique advantage to your twitter page, we are going to focus on the second one: Choose Optimal Tweet Times.

Scott discusses that when we fly with the birds, the best thing we can strive to do is, well… Keep Up.


We can look specifically to the fast-food chain, Arby’s, as an example of a company that really utilized optimal tweet time in USA Today’s article, “Pharrell sells Grammys hate to Arby’s for $44,000.”

By: Mariah Suddarth

I see your photograph, and I raise you a video: Applying Ford’s Vine channel to Gillin’s AEIOU rule of video content

We live in time where media rules the world. The good ole Illinois Bell Tower is less real than Santa Claus, and when someone says “VCR” we find ourselves contemplating the same things as David After the Dentist: “Is this real life!?”

This is because the media is rapidly evolving, and it has revolutionized how we take in information. Web 2.0 has made things SO easy the generation of entitlement (hooray, Generation X!). We want information, and we want it now. And while Facebook and Twitter provide us with easy access to this sort of fast-paced web-browsing, the rising trend shines popularity on a more visual side of the media: video sharing.

Creating a video can be quite easy. I mean, it’s not uncommon for a 12 year old to have a smart phone that records and captures images, so just about anyone can do it. The trick with creating a video is to capture content that is appealing to your audience.

Barker, Bormann and Neher provide four tips from accomplished video creator Paul Gillin that will help your company create appealing video content. They are known as the AEIOU rules:

1.) Authentic
We like to be able to relate to the content. Use real people in actual locations so that your viewer believes the content. I personally believe that a video that is done with a bit of improve is far better than one with a script.
2.) Entertaining
People like to laugh. If it brings a smile to your face, it’s probably content worth watching
3.) Intimate
Part of being human is being able to relate to other peoples triumphs, sadness and all-around spectrum of emotion. Use material that creates that connection!
4.) Offbeat and Unusual
Make it distinct and unique! It’s okay, and even praised in some cases, to follow the road less travelled. It’s okay to take a stance and challenge an idea. Things that are unusual leave a lasting impression!

Now that we know a few tips about how to make our content appealing, we can see how it applies in a real situation. In her article, “Inside Ford’s Approach to Vine”  Haniya Rae discusses Ford’s strategy behind video sharing.

Ford joined the video-sharing outlet, Vine, less than a month ago… But that hasn’t stopped them from creating some very appealing content for their videos. The most interesting part about their strategy, however, is that they use outside sources to post Vine’s for them. This makes the Vines appear more like product placement videos than promotional videos. They then re-Vine the video from the outside influencers account. Thus, they increase the viewership while maintaining a personable, light-hearted image of the company.

This video was published by Jerome Jarre in light of Valentine’s Day:

It encompasses the AEOU of Gillin’s tips. It’s definitely authentic. I mean, they snatched a woman off the street for Pete’s sake! The camera is a bit unsteady and there is a small amount of white noise in the background. It makes it seem real and relatable.

I’m not sure I even have to explain the entertainment factor, this is definitely hilarious. I mean, who wouldn’t want to marry a stranger if they’re lonely on Valentine’s Day (cue Crosby Stills Nash’s “Love the One You’re With”)?!

But, most importantly, it’s offbeat. I mean, the only thing Ford about the commercial is the Ford vehicle in the background, yet it was still linked to Ford’s Vine. They don’t come off as a cash-guzzling, manipulative company with that sales man smile. They seem lighthearted and personable. The content is appealing and relatable. And that’s what it’s all about!

Mariah Suddarth

Planning A Podcast

I’ve always enjoyed a good Facebook creeping session or dedicating an hour or so of my life to fly with the birds on Twitter. I am an avid user of social media, and I embrace it. However, there are still a few forms of social media that even I have trouble planning and publishing. When it comes to video blogs, webinars, and podcasts, I know very little. But according to our text, it is important to remember a few things:
1.) Choose an articulate moderator

2.) Create talking points, not scripts

3.) Brevity

4.) Avoid over-editing

5.) Include music

And while all of these things have their benefits, I believe the basic lesson to be learned is the importance of planning your podcast. Freelance writer, Byron Hicks, explains this significance further at

Technographics: The unexpected acquisition

I say social media, you say Twitter: Social media!

…and I’m getting carried away already. As a stereotypical member of Generation Y, that shouldn’t be surprising. But it’s true. When I think of social media, my first thought is Twitter. Similarly, some of us may think of Facebook or Instagram when we delve into the idea of various social mediums. What is not so common, however, is to think of the technology behind our 140 character tweet-chats and our over-edited, Instagram “selfie.”

Before we can use social media to attract an audience, it is important to understand the technology that made it socially possible for us to fly with the birds.

Introducing: Technographics!

The idea here is simple: Technographics survey individuals using similar data found in demographics and psychographics, but based the information solely on technological behaviors.


According to Social Media Marketing, A Strategic Approach by Barker, Bormann, and Neher, this data can be used to create a social technographic profile in which specific personas are analyzed. Specifically mentioned are creators, conversationalists, critics, collectors, joiners, spectators, and inactives. Each group is analyzed through a different lens depending on how the interact with social media and the types of action (or inaction) they take.

But there’s more to it than that.

In Nathan Richter’s article, “Three Ways to Use Techographics to Deliver a Relevant Customer Service,” Richter explains that some of the best information is found by leveraging the less-obvious side of technographics. Because I’m so used to associating social media with the mediums themselves, these suggestions were enlightening and unexpected.

1.) Collect Device-Based Information

Understand whether your audience is visiting your website or social media site from a Mac or Widows operating system. Furthermore, collect data on if they’re using an iPhone or Android smartphone, or an iPad vs an Android-based tablet. What this



Because smartphones  account for a larger share of website visits, use what is known about the mobile user’s device to your advantage. For example, the iPhone user is typically paying higher monthly data rates, so one you could consider advertising or delivering a more relevant experience for your customer based on their presumed economic situation.

2.) The New Browser Wars

Similar to the email marketer paying attention to subscribers’ service providers, identifying the web browser a customer is using when she visits your website will tell you a lot about her level of technical sophistication.


This means analyzing whether your customer searches for your page through Google Chrome vs. Windows 6 (*making mental note to state using Chrome so I can be a interweb-intellect too!) Although this piece of data doesn’t provide a direct map to household income, it will give you strong insight into what type of consumer she is, which can impact the offers you present to her.

3.) Viewport: The New Screen Resolution

Finally, it is important to know what the experience your customer is engaging with looks like. If the area of the web browser where users can see actual content of the web page is too small or too large, then it will be less engaging for your publics.

Aesthetic, responsive web design will improve the user experience and yield more positive results..



So, my friends, next time I say social media, you should, instead, say technographics! And think specifically of those that pertain to information beyond just the social media site that’s being used or the persona that is engaging with it.

Until next time, my friends

-Mariah Suddarth


It’s… it’s… ALIVE! Blogging with personality

My grandfather always told me to do what I do, and then do it again “with gumption!” And even though he was half-deaf and more than a little senile… I think he may have been onto something.

I was reading through my regular plethora of fitness blogs this morning and I realized something: They were dull. While content was informative, the rhetoric lacked personal appeal. Obviously these people did not have an old man that planted aspirations of “gumption!” in their heads a small child.

After doing a little research, I came across several articles that discussed the importance of personality in writing. Your blog is a cyber-esque version of, well… you. Therefore, by extension, it’s a cyber-esque version of the company or brand for which you are writing as well.

Think of it this way: I blog… Therefore I am… (pause for dramatic effect)

Whoa now, Descartes! We’re getting way ahead of ourselves here! Why not start with the basics, shall we?

According to marketing strategist Heidi Cohen, there are several tips one should follow to create a blogging personality that relates back to the company.

1.)    Know your company’s personality and brand

Mind blowing, right? It may sound simple, but knowing your company’s history, background and stories will really bring your blog to life. For example, Crossroads in Kansas City operates under the phrase “Real. Communication.” The company’s brand is built off of honesty and ideas of integrity. This personality is depicted by many of the writers

2.)    Be real

Right from the get-go, there is a perceived difference between you, the blogger, and that vast network of information-hungry blog connoisseurs. People will be looking for a reason to connect themselves with your content, and the best way to retain readers is to show them that there is actually a relatable person on the other side of that screen. In other words, show your reader your life has its ups and downs as well. The increases similarity between you and your audience, and eliminates corporate speak. Remember, readers must trust the writer before they commit to the writer’s subject (your company).

3.)    Incorporate some level of emotion

Think about how you want your readers to feel when they read your blog. If you’re working for a non-profit animal shelter, chances are you want to evoke that same emotion into your writing. Excitement is contagious and emotional appeal is what retains an invested audience. The more emotion you can evoke, the more likely your audience is to interact with you and your company.

4.)    Define your behavior
In other words: How much do you engage with your readers beyond your initial blog post? It’s important that you interact with your readers through multiple outlets. It is even more important that you display the actions that you discuss in real life. For example, if you blog about raising money for a philanthropic cause, then you had better be out there raising money yourself. 

5.)    Pay attention to language

Incorporate how you speak into your blog. If you have a southern accent, include that in the phrasing you use in your blog. Similarly, if you work for a company with a funny, light-hearted brand, then you probably shouldn’t f-bomb or overuse sarcasm. Think of it as an actual conversation.