The Marketing Companion (social media marketing)

I used to be a big shot.

  • In my corporate marketing days, I was among the top 1 percent on the company organizational chart.
  • I was awarded seven patents and I earned two masters degrees.
  • I closed the biggest deal in the company's history, worth more than $5 billion in sales.
  • I earned a big salary and managed a highly-visible team of global all-stars.
  • I had received two Chairman’s Awards for outstanding achievement, a stock award that was the highest recognition in my company. As far as I know, I was the only employee who had earned this twice.
  • In my position as Global Director of eBusiness, I was the company’s go-to guy for anything Internet.

My corporate life was a frenzy of activity. I was getting hundreds of emails a day, conference calls at all times of day and night, and lots of new opportunities and recognition. But I had also been dabbling in some entrepreneurial side businesses and, once I my kid’s college tuition was paid for, I decided it was time to re-invent myself and venture out on my own as a business owner, consultant, and college educator. I will never forget the eerie thing that happened the morning of my first day out on my own. The frenzy was over. No emails. No calls. No meetings in Paris. No communication of any kind. I was experiencing the Veil Of Silence!

A new equity of online influence

In my company, I was well-known and respected. But now that I was starting over, nobody knew me. Nobody knew -- or cared -- that I was a big deal just 24 hours ago. On my first day as an entrepreneur, I was the go-to guy for nothing. True story. When I started my new consulting business, my first two customers were a college kid trying to start a local catering business and a real estate agent. My first professional speaking gig was before the Lions Club in Farragut, Tennessee. The fried chicken served at lunch was delicious by the way. I had gone from being a person who was wined and dined atop skyscrapers in Shanghai to a fumbling entrepreneur building an entirely new reputation, and an entirely new brand, from scratch. Talk about a humbling experience. But in less than five years, I built a brand reputation that opened up consulting assignments with some of the biggest companies in the world, including Cisco, Johnson & Johnson, and The U.K. government. I wrote best-selling (really) business books. I was in a position to give speeches at convention halls filled with thousands of people. I’ve lectured at some of the world’s top universities and was even a guest speaker at a European “think tank” that had attracted famous authors and diplomats like Nelson Mandela.

The new path to power

My path to re-invention was filled with mistakes and bad habits that I carried over from the old corporate world. And this is what I had to learn the hard way: There is an entirely new paradigm of power in the online world … or what I call the new “equity of influence.” Here’s what I mean. In the carbon-based world of a traditional corporate office job, these are some of the things that help create power and influence:

  • Job title
  • Salary
  • Achievements
  • Number of direct reports
  • Control of scarce resources
  • Where you went to college
  • Executive relationships/sponsorship
  • Awards and certificates
  • Size of office

… there have even been studies that show how tall you are, how good-looking you are, and how you dress contribute to personal power in the “real world!” But on the Internet, none of this matters. Nobody cares what your title is. Have you ever tried to tell somebody on the Internet what to do? Nobody can really tell how tall you are, how rich you are, or what family you married into. It just doesn’t matter any more. In fact, there is only one thing that counts today, only one source of power and influence when it comes to the online world. And it is this. To be known.

The imperative of being known

I was recently invited to be a speaker at the next Social Media Marketing World. I've collaborated with Phil Mershon from SME for five years now and I count him as a friend. Yet, in our conversation he admitted that he had no idea where I had worked for most of my life, what I did, or what I had achieved before I was a blogger. When you get down to it, the only reason I am a speaker at this event, or any event, is because I am known. And, if I ever faded away for awhile, I probably would not be invited again. So where am I going with this? Being known has everything to do with your success, too. Where do you want to go with your career and your life? What’s next? Do you want to ...

  • Write a book
  • Establish a speaking career
  • Become a consultant
  • Be named to a prestigious board
  • Stay relevant in your field for many years
  • Build a helpful personal network
  • Be recognized by your industry peers
  • Obtain a teaching position at a university some day
  • Be seen as a leader in my industry
  • Put yourself in a position for a promotion outside your current company

I often have people ask me how they get to this next level in their career and in the process of helping these people, I kept finding myself providing the same advice over and over: “Well, to achieve that, you have to be ... known.” One of the favorite quotes that I used in my book The Content Code was from the international pop star Taylor Swift: “Today, artists get record deals because they have fans – not the other way around.” You may not think of yourself as the type of person who needs to attract “fans,” but I think the general idea here is relevant to nearly any career path today. Nobody is going to hold your hand and help you up that ladder any more. You need to be accountable for your own success, recognition, and brand. Your dream “record deal” might be a promotion, a contract to write a book, or an invitation to speak at an industry event. It is very unlikely that will happen unless you’re known, unless you have built up your very best Digital Self. This is a fascinating topic and the primary discussion point of our new Marketing Companion podcast episode. Tom Webster and I start with a humorous bit about the Marketing Olympics and proceed to a spellbinding account of what it takes to be known today. You won't want to miss this.

Please support our extraordinary sponsors. Our content is free because of their generosity.

Many thanks to our friend Scott Monty for the awesome show intro. Be sure to check out his amazing newsletter The Full Monty and his new podcast available here: fullmontyshow.com,

BuzzSumo is the world’s best way to discover, analyze and amplify your content. Run over to BuzzSumo today for a 14 day free trial. Beyond data, BuzzSumo offers priceless insights into content discovery, monitoring, influencers and outreach, content research and planning, and competitor research. Find out why so many Marketing Companion fans are now hooked on Buzzsumo. Check out BuzzSumo’s powerful technology to look at the hottest content trends down to the hour!

Affinio is now offering a FREE eBook co-authored with Mark Schaefer called How to Identify, Understand and Grow Your Ideal Content Audience. Check it out, as well as their new free audience Discovery tool. Affinio is an advanced marketing intelligence platform that leverages the interest graph to understand today’s consumers. Affinio believes that if we can understand individuals at a deeper and richer level, then we can fundamentally change the way people relate to one another. By understanding the interests and cultural DNA of key audience segments, marketers are empowered to take an audience-first approach to making meaningful connections with ideal consumers. Find out how at Affinio.com.

Direct download: The_importance_of_being_known.mp3
Category:Social Media Marketing -- posted at: 7:16am EDT

If you read between the lines, Facebook just told us it’s going to become a lot more expensive to be in marketing soon. In their recent blockbuster earnings announcement, CFO Dave Wehner said something interesting: Facebook’s ad load, or the total number of ads the company can show to each user, will be a "relative non-factor for predicting Facebook’s future revenue growth starting this time next year."

Translation: Facebook is about to max out on the number of ads it can show users inside its platform, which means it will need to find other ways to grow the company’s ad business in the future. Simply increasing the number of ads it shows people will not be an option.

The optimal ad load is really a mix of art and science,” Wehner said. “We also want to be thoughtful about making sure each person’s overall feed experience has the right balance of organic and ad content.”

This was surprising to analysts, as evidenced by the fact that many of them then asked Facebook’s executives to elaborate on what this means.

So what does it mean?

Monetization options

It means that Facebook will need to do three possible things: 1) add more users, 2) create better-performing ads that it can sell for more money, or 3) find creative new ways to monetize our personal information.

Facebook’s user base is already growing — it added 60 million new users last quarter alone — but the “create better ads” part seems more difficult.

Facebook will either need to do a better job proving its ads lead to sales, which it’s already trying to do, or offer more premium ads, like the commercials you might see on TV.

A few years ago, I wrote a post called Content Shock: Why Content Marketing is not Sustainable which predicted this eventuality. As companies compete for limited attention span, the cost of marketing will have to go up as the channels “fill up" with content. In essence, this is what social media platforms WANT to do. The more Content Shock they can create, the higher the prices they can charge for ads. Let’s look at what’s happening over at Snapchat, the newest marketing darling. To monetize its popular platform, Snapchat recently began inserting ads between customer stories. Customers are pushing back. They piled on to Snapchat to get away from ads! But here they come. How many ads can Snapchat display? There is a limited ad inventory, and as that gets sucked up by eager marketers the price will go up and up. Eventually some companies aren’t going to be able to hang in that environment for long. It will be just too expensive. For some companies, it already is. As content popularity increases, it costs more to promote and compete. It's a great discussion topic for our new podcast episode and in this edition of The Marketing Companion, Tom Webster and I break this down for you. We also get into some other interesting topics:

  • Why Silicon Valley firms need to move to Dayton, Ohio. Seriously.
  • Twitter's new branding effort -- Is it finally getting on track?
  • Is there anything unique about Twitter's content offering? Tom and I disagree on this one.
  • Plus, Tom introduces some ... unusual ... new applications from the Marketing Companion Labs. Absolutely hilarious!

Ready for this? Let's go. Resources mentioned in this podcast The book Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble by Dan Lyons Who is Nipsey Russell any way? New certificate program -- Rutgers University Online Content Marketing Course

Please support our extraordinary sponsors. Our content is free because of their generosity.

Many thanks to our friend Scott Monty for the awesome show intro. Be sure to check out his amazing newsletter The Full Monty and his new podcast available here: fullmontyshow.com,

BuzzSumo is the world’s best way to discover, analyze and amplify your content. Run over to BuzzSumo today for a 14 day free trial. Beyond data, BuzzSumo offers priceless insights into content discovery, monitoring, influencers and outreach, content research and planning, and competitor research. Find out why so many Marketing Companion fans are now hooked on Buzzsumo. Check out BuzzSumo’s powerful technology to look at the hottest content trends down to the hour! Affinio is now offering a FREE eBook co-authored with Mark Schaefer called How to Identify, Understand and Grow Your Ideal Content Audience. Check it out, as well as their new free audience Discovery tool

Affinio is an advanced marketing intelligence platform that leverages the interest graph to understand today’s consumers. Affinio believes that if we can understand individuals at a deeper and richer level, then we can fundamentally change the way people relate to one another. By understanding the interests and cultural DNA of key audience segments, marketers are empowered to take an audience-first approach to making meaningful connections with ideal consumers. Find out how at Affinio.com.

Direct download: Why_Content_Shock_is_coming_to_an_ad_near_you.mp3
Category:Social Media Marketing -- posted at: 6:06pm EDT

Should children be exposed to graphic violence on Facebook without your knowledge and consent? Is it a widely-available broadcast channel like TV that should be regulated, or is it something different? The social web has created amazing opportunities to learn, discover, connect, and have fun. But with the advent of innovations like live streaming video, horrifying images of terror and violence are becoming a more common staple of our news feed. Facebook's "terror policy" is pretty weak. In fact, it has proclaimed boldly that any live stream -- no matter how controversial or ghastly -- is welcome on its live video platform unless the violent act is celebrated. So, for example, if a hostage is live-streaming a beheading, that's deemed appropriate content for a Facebook live stream. If a hostage live-streams a beheading and says, "The infidel got what he deserved," it would be deleted by Facebook because it glorifies or celebrates violence. The violent act itself is OK ... it's the intent of the person filming that determines whether it is appropriate for public consumption or not. Kind of a weird line, but that's the Facebook guideline right now. As of this moment, there is no way parents can absolutely guarantee that their children will not be exposed to horrific images on Facebook, not through Facebook or any third party app. Even if Facebook tweaks its algorithm to be age-sensitive, these videos could be seen through a share, by viewing another timeline, or by searching for the content. Shouldn't we have a right to NOT see horror?

Should Facebook be regulated?

In the United States, there are regulations in place to keep obscene, profane, and violent content away from children on radio and television. Cable channels and subscription radio are not covered under these regulations because they're considered "subscriptions." Since there is so much free "cable" video streaming around on apps these days, you might debate whether some of the regulations are dated or not, but clearly the government has a regulatory intent to protect citizens from content that is obscene or violent. There is no reliable filter in place to moderate violent content on Facebook -- wouldn't the government intent extend to this channel too? Facebook might argue that a person has to opt-in to its service, like subscription television channels (although it's free). So it is more like a cable channel than a network broadcaster. But isn't opting into Facebook similar to opting in to owning a radio or television? There are no ongoing subscription fees or commitments. The government recently ruled that the Internet is a "utility" like water or electricity. It is essential to modern life, not an optional subscription service. Should Facebook be regulated? It's a delicate issue, but make no mistake, this IS an issue. Or, is it?

Where is the debate?

What shocks me is that as I researched this topic, there is no discernible national debate on whether Facebook should be regulated like other broadcasting services. I found a few blog posts in 2010 on Facebook and regulation. A number of articles were written recently when it leaked that Facebook had a liberal bias and a very loose process to manage its trending news feed. But Zuckerberg addressed this bias issue through a meeting with conservative leaders and the topic has gone away. However, violence in our news streams is just beginning. Live streaming is a relatively new innovation. And there is no fool-proof safeguard to keep horrific content away from the eyes of children. Shouldn't this be a topic of national discussion? Can't we expect some option that gives parents the right to keep horrific content away from their children? This is important. Let the debate begin here, on The Marketing Companion podcast. In our latest episode, Tom Webster and I tackle this head-on. We also offer a different slant on the Pokemon craze and disclose new research that signals real trouble for the television industry. And, we reveal the 2016 edition of The World's Worst Apps that help you with everything from poop to passion. Ready for this?

Please support our extraordinary sponsors. Our content is free because of their generosity.

Many thanks to our friend Scott Monty for the awesome show intro. Be sure to check out his amazing newsletter The Full Monty and his new podcast available here: fullmontyshow.com,

BuzzSumo is the world’s best way to discover, analyze and amplify your content. Run over to BuzzSumo today for a 14 day free trial. Beyond data, BuzzSumo offers priceless insights into content discovery, monitoring, influencers and outreach, content research and planning, and competitor research. Find out why so many Marketing Companion fans are now hooked on Buzzsumo. Check out BuzzSumo’s powerful technology to look at the hottest content trends down to the hour!

Affinio is now offering a FREE eBook co-authored with Mark Schaefer called How to Identify, Understand and Grow Your Ideal Content Audience. Check it out, as well as their new free audience Discovery tool. Affinio is an advanced marketing intelligence platform that leverages the interest graph to understand today’s consumers. Affinio believes that if we can understand individuals at a deeper and richer level, then we can fundamentally change the way people relate to one another. By understanding the interests and cultural DNA of key audience segments, marketers are empowered to take an audience-first approach to making meaningful connections with ideal consumers. Find out how at Affinio.com.

Direct download: Should_Facebook_be_regulated_.mp3
Category:Social Media Marketing -- posted at: 3:49pm EDT

Is the psychology of content consumption changing? That's the central idea behind an amazing new discussion featured on The Marketing Companion podcast. Have you tried our free Internet radio program yet?  You'll have to hear this podcast to believe it -- the first order of business is the introduction of the world's first audio emojis! But then we get serious. Tom Webster and I get into some discussions that are guaranteed to get you thinking about the nature of content and content consumption today. This 30-minute episode includes ... Why Snapchat may be the most important communication channel on earth right now and how the "cognitive costs" of this platform will keep it relevant even when grandma joins in. The dramatic behavioral shift in consumer content streaming behavior. It appears that a massive psychological change is underway and there is more widespread trust in the cloud. There are some trends here that will amaze you. Facebook's random acts of strategy. The company is introducing new concepts and then stopping them, experimenting with newsfeeds in weird ways, and promoting new functionality in a seemingly random way. Does the company really have any strategic plan, or are they demonstrating an enlightened model for innovation in the digital age? Does Facebook need to be regulated by the Federal Communications Commission like other broadcasting channels in the U.S.?  Is the rapid development of technology exceeding a government's ability to understand it and discern possible threats and opportunities? ... Pretty cool stuff, right? Now it's your turn to step right up and experience the fun and excitement of The Marketing Companion, the world's most entertaining business podcast.

Many thanks to our friend Scott Monty for the awesome show intro. Be sure to check out his amazing newsletter The Full Monty, the best weekly curation of digital news.

BuzzSumo is the world’s best way to discover, analyze and amplify your content. Run over to BuzzSumo today for a 14 day free trial. Beyond data, BuzzSumo offers priceless insights into content discovery, monitoring, influencers and outreach, content research and planning, and competitor research. Find out why so many Marketing Companion fans are now hooked on Buzzsumo. Check out BuzzSumo’s powerful technology to look at the hottest content trends down to the hour!

Affinio is now offering a FREE eBook co-authored with Mark Schaefer called How to Identify, Understand and Grow Your Ideal Content Audience. Check it out, as well as their new free audience Discovery tool. Affinio is an advanced marketing intelligence platform that leverages the interest graph to understand today's consumers. Affinio believes that if we can understand individuals at a deeper and richer level, then we can fundamentally change the way people relate to one another. By understanding the interests and cultural DNA of key audience segments, marketers are empowered to take an audience-first approach to making meaningful connections with ideal consumers. Find out how at Affinio.com.

Direct download: The_new_psychology_of_content_consumption.mp3
Category:Social Media Marketing -- posted at: 2:35pm EDT

Each year, Mary Meeker compiles a wide-ranging report on the top Internet trends on behalf of venture capitalist firm KPCB. The report goes on for 213 pages. And do you have time for that? No! That's why Tom Webster and I distilled the report into the profound marketing trends that will have the biggest impact on you. Some of the ideas we cover in our new podcast are:

  • Why "viral" is more is more viral that ever and how Facebook Live will become the ultimate in reality TV and a revolution in journalism.
  • Why self-driving cars will dramatically change our behaviors and unleash new personal productivity.
  • The economic battle for your business may get down to music, movies, books, and switching costs. Will Facebook need to get into the music business?
  • The game-changing technology of voice recognition accuracy.
  • The malignant complexity of data and the vulnerability of a "single-source" supply channel.

Pretty interesting stuff? If that wasn't enough, it's the third anniversary of The Marketing Companion and Tom and I have a traditional gift change to remember. Let's get to it! Resources mentioned in the podcast: Jeff Jarvis Blog post on self-driving cars and the future of content

Please support our extraordinary sponsors. Our content is free because of their generosity.

Many thanks to our friend Scott Monty for the awesome show intro. Be sure to check out his amazing newsletter The Full Monty, the best weekly curation of digital news.

BuzzSumo is the world’s best way to discover, analyze and amplify your content. Run over to BuzzSumo today for a 14 day free trial. Beyond data, BuzzSumo offers priceless insights to take your marketing to the next level. Check out BuzzSumo’s powerful technology to look at the hottest content trends down to the hour!

Affinio is now offering a FREE eBook co-authored with Mark Schaefer called How to Identify, Understand and Grow Your Ideal Content Audience. Check it out, as well as their new free Discovery tool.  Affinio is an advanced audience intelligence platform that leverages the interest graph to understand today’s consumers. Using our deep learning and custom network engine, Affinio is able to analyze these connections to develop a social fingerprint for each user.  Affinio’s customers use this data to: Build in-depth data-driven personas; Understand their audience; Conduct competitive analysis; Identify ideal influencers and sponsorship opportunities; Build data-driven content strategies that resonate; Place highly targeted ads with data-backed creative.

Direct download: Marketing_mega-trends.mp3
Category:Social Media Marketing -- posted at: 11:43am EDT

In our new episode of The Marketing Companion, Tom Webster and I explore a theme of marketing challenges to rise above the increasing noise levels to connect to our customers. It's a difficult proposition and getting harder all the time. Some of the topics in this jam-packed 30 minutes of marvelous audio content include:

  • Rising losses from ad-blocking are pushing marketing dollars into new places.
  • An unlikely source of content innovation -- printed magazines and books.
  • Innovations to merge games with serious editorial content to drive page views and engagement.
  • Surprising insights on what almost every marketer is missing when it comes to creating effective video content.

And if this wasn't juicy enough, Tom and I introduce a star-studded new motion picture: "Chatbots: Revolution" starring Sean Connery, Marge Simpson, and Slurry the lovable Marketing Companion Chatbot. You are not going to miss this are you? Let's find our marketing signal. References for this podcast Ad blocking to cost $12 billion Kickstarter project for print-only tennis magazine Most people watch with the sound off Washington Post new story form and games  

Please support our extraordinary sponsors. Our content is free because of their generosity.

Many thanks to our friend Scott Monty for the awesome show intro. Be sure to check out his amazing newsletter The Full Monty, the best weekly curation of digital news.

BuzzSumo is the world’s best way to discover, analyze and amplify your content. Run over to BuzzSumo today for a 14 day free trial. Beyond data, BuzzSumo offers priceless insights to take your marketing to the next level. Check out BuzzSumo’s powerful technology to look at the hottest content trends down to the hour!

GoToWebinar – a leader in online events – is one of the easiest and most effective ways to connect and convert your target audience. You can generate qualified leads, establish thought leadership and build brand awareness for up to 1,000 attendees. Trusted by start-ups to global organizations worldwide, GoToWebinar helps businesses reach over 40 million people each year.

Affinio is now offering a FREE eBook co-authored with Mark Schaefer called How to Identify, Understand and Grow Your Ideal Content Audience. Check it out! Affinio is an advanced audience intelligence platform that leverages the interest graph to understand today’s consumers. Using our deep learning and custom network engine, Affinio is able to analyze these connections to develop a social fingerprint for each user.  Affinio’s customers use this data to: Build in-depth data-driven personas; Understand their audience; Conduct competitive analysis; Identify ideal influencers and sponsorship opportunities; Build data-driven content strategies that resonate; Place highly targeted ads with data-backed creative. "

Direct download: Cutting_through_the_marketing_noise.mp3
Category:Social Media Marketing -- posted at: 3:02am EDT

In the latest episode of The Marketing Companion podcast, Tom Webster and I reveal our wishlist of what we would like to see "more of" and "less of" on the web. Among the topics we explore: Brand skepticism and brand bullying -- It seems like any time a company authentically tries to be "human" on the web it attracts an attack. If we want brands to show up in a more human way, shouldn't we reward them? Evangelism -- This word is a red flag for me. When anybody describes themselves as an evangelist for ... (fill in the latest social technology) ... I immediately wonder about the credibility of the person. "Evangelism" suggests you have a specific agenda and your goal is to "convert" instead of "lead."  The web need more business leaders and fewer evangelists. Long-term thinking -- Why Uber needs to be more like Nike. A brand develops from a collection of small interactions over time. Do brands still have the patience to be great? Whining -- Let's stop whining and start taking care of each other. Want to make the world a better place? Think about how you're showing up in your little corner of the world. ... and there's much more. Also, I have been experiencing chatbot envy. Apparently this is the way to go now, according to Facebook. So Tom and I decided we needed to get ahead of this curve by introducing Slurry™, the new Marketing Companion chatbot. It's not quite ready for primetime, but it is rather entertaining! Ready for some fun? Here we go. Resources mentioned in this podcast:

Please support our extraordinary sponsors. Our content is free because of their generosity.

Many thanks to our friend Scott Monty for the awesome show intro. Be sure to check out his amazing newsletter The Full Monty, the best weekly curation of digital news.

BuzzSumo is the world’s best way to discover, analyze and amplify your content. Run over to BuzzSumo today for a 14 day free trial. Beyond data, BuzzSumo offers priceless insights to take your marketing to the next level. Check out BuzzSumo’s powerful technology to look at the hottest content trends down to the hour!

GoToWebinar – a leader in online events – is one of the easiest and most effective ways to connect and convert your target audience. You can generate qualified leads, establish thought leadership and build brand awareness for up to 1,000 attendees. Trusted by start-ups to global organizations worldwide, GoToWebinar helps businesses reach over 40 million people each year.

Affinio is now offering a FREE eBook co-authored with Mark Schaefer called How to Identify, Understand and Grow Your Ideal Content Audience. Check it out! Affinio is an advanced audience intelligence platform that leverages the interest graph to understand today’s consumers. Using our deep learning and custom network engine, Affinio is able to analyze these connections to develop a social fingerprint for each user.  Affinio’s customers use this data to: Build in-depth data-driven personas; Understand their audience; Conduct competitive analysis; Identify ideal influencers and sponsorship opportunities; Build data-driven content strategies that resonate; Place highly targeted ads with data-backed creative.

Direct download: A_modern_marketing_wish_list.mp3
Category:Social Media Marketing -- posted at: 7:04pm EDT

Over the past few months I've seen a few trends coming together but I'm not sure I grasped the significance of what's happening until I heard a recent comment from my 16-year-old nephew. Here is what I have seen occurring:

  • WhatsApp has rapidly become the biggest messaging service in the world with more than a billion users.
  • Snapchat is a juggernaut with the 18-24 age group, now earning more daily check-ins than Facebook. The company founder insists it is “not a social network.”
  • Facebook is the social network for most of the world, yet their major investment is in the development of private Facebook Messenger, including bots that would help companies scale “human” interaction through the service. More than 900 million people use Messenger now.Instagram (owned by Facebook) started private DM in 2014 that focuses on the sharing of content with up to 15 people in a threaded approach. The artificial intelligence-powered messaging space that allows third parties to build and deploy chatbots is predicted to facilitate 40 percent of mobile interactions by 2020 as “smart agents” proliferate, according to Gartner.
  • After falling behind Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, Apple has become laser-focused on improving Messages.
  • Other private messaging services like Viber and Kik have established footholds with certain demographic groups and have attracted millions of users.

And here is the quote from my young nephew: "Oh Facebook is dead. My friend posted on Facebook and we made fun of him. We only use Snapchat now because who wants to put everything in public all the time? This just connects me with my real friends." Of course you can't pin a trend to the comment of one person but he helped articulate the idea I had been pondering: A seismic shift in how people connect to each other. People are more interested in actually communicating, instead of broadcasting. We don’t want personal and private lives merging any more and we want control over our different social circles within these messaging apps. Social media won't go away (Facebook isn't dead!), but it may become less important to certain groups as this trend toward more intimate conversation rises. It seems like we're going full circle. The first communication apps (ICQ and AOL Chat for example) were all private. What Facebook, Snapchat, and WhatsApp have realized for some time finally hit me, too. The world is transitioning from public social media to private media. For the foreseeable future, these intimate channels will present vast new opportunities, and perhaps perils, for marketers.

The rise of private media

The platforms have been responding to the rising trend of private media:

  • Instagram started private DM in 2014 that focuses on the sharing of content with up to 15 people in a threaded approach.
  • Twitter has experimented with Snapchat-stylized doodles and photo editing and in 2015 expanded the character limit via direct messaging.
  • Facebook Messenger will now support scannable codes, user names and links. This update allows the creation of a unique Messenger URL that will allow for greater discovery of users and businesses within the private sphere.
  • Facebook is already positioning pages and ad units with a “message the brand” option and analysts believe Facebook is positioning Messenger as its primary commerce hub of the future.
  • Business Insider reported that for the first time, combined usage of the top four messaging apps exceeded the combined usage of the top four social media apps. Falling data prices, cheaper devices, and improved features are helping propel their growth:

Screenshot 2016-04-30 17.12.10

Implications for marketing

I am beginning to think through some of the implications for this trend and I would be delighted to hear about your ideas in the comment section. "Open rate" -- The typical open rate for email is about 20 percent. Without the boost of ad support on Facebook, your organic reach for your content probably averages less than 1 percent (this varies widely by business). The open rate for a private message? 98 percent. Smartphone users are more likely to have push notifications turned on for a messaging app than for email, a branded app, or even Facebook. Protection against another wave of content shock -- I recently wrote that content shock isn't a trend, it's a wave. Every "quiet" channel becomes more difficult and expensive to maneuver in as the amount of noise rises. How do you keep the open rate at 98 percent as the popularity (and potential spam level) rises? What will be the rules of engagement? Conversational moments -- Today a brand goal on social media is mass relevance. We want that kitty picture to get as many likes, clicks, and shares as we can muster. But in this new world, the goal is engagement through private, meaningful, conversational moments. How do you scale? Through ... Bots -- Facebook is working on smart bots that can hold human-like conversations. This seems like the foundational technology that would make this work on a large scale. How do we insert ads and brand messages in conversations in a way that isn't disappointing ... or creepy? From content-orientation to person-orientation -- In our current "mass relevance" model, content is at the center of the experience. In the future, content will still be important, but an individual will be the focus of the experience. We will be using Big Data in sophisticated ways to craft personalized, timely, location-based content and offers. Brand communications will be more immediate, expressive, and intimate.

Permission-based -- The challenge of Snapchat is to get people to find you and follow you. Presumably brands will have to get people to find and follow them in these channels.

The purpose of Facebook -- It will be fascinating to see how Facebook morphs and shifts in this environment. This is the platform most brands have been married to, and this is where most of the marketing investment is still occurring. There is a comfort there. How does that relationship change moving forward?

Data capture -- Several years ago I suggested that Google should give away new smartphones every year in exchange for the ability to analyze the gold mine of data in text messaging. It appears that this trove of data could be migrating from texts and email to company-controlled messaging apps. What will happen to the lines of privacy? Will there be a new value exchange for this data?

And by the way ... Where IS Google in this whole development? As of yet, they don't seem to have a relevant entry.

This is a fascinating new development and there are many, many future conversations we will have together on this topic. Let's get the ball rolling with this new podcast episode. In the latest edition of The Marketing Companion, Tom Webster and I open up a discussion on private media and we also dissect new research on brand authenticity. And oh yes, we launch our latest product from the Marketing Companion Labs, Snapchat Silver, for those of you over 40 trying to figure out Snapchat. You won't want to miss this episode!

Please support our extraordinary sponsors. Our content is free because of their generosity.

Many thanks to our friend Scott Monty for the awesome show intro. Be sure to check out his amazing newsletter The Full Monty, the best weekly curation of digital news.

BuzzSumo is the world’s best way to discover, analyze and amplify your content. Run over to BuzzSumo today for a 14 day free trial. Beyond data, BuzzSumo offers priceless insights to take your marketing to the next level. Check out BuzzSumo’s powerful technology to look at the hottest content trends down to the hour!

GoToWebinar – a leader in online events – is one of the easiest and most effective ways to connect and convert your target audience. You can generate qualified leads, establish thought leadership and build brand awareness for up to 1,000 attendees. Trusted by start-ups to global organizations worldwide, GoToWebinar helps businesses reach over 40 million people each year.

Affinio is now offering a FREE eBook co-authored with Mark Schaefer called How to Identify, Understand and Grow Your Ideal Content Audience. Check it out! Affinio is an advanced audience intelligence platform that leverages the interest graph to understand today’s consumers. Using our deep learning and custom network engine, Affinio is able to analyze these connections to develop a social fingerprint for each user.  Affinio’s customers use this data to: Build in-depth data-driven personas; Understand their audience; Conduct competitive analysis; Identify ideal influencers and sponsorship opportunities; Build data-driven content strategies that resonate; Place highly targeted ads with data-backed creative.


So much going on today! So many changes to consider. Facebook and Snapchat and content wars. OH MY! In this new episode of The Marketing Companion Tom Webster and I consider some EPIZOODIC new ideas that will be affecting your marketing programs now and in the future. Listen in for some TREMENDIFIED new insights on:

  • Snapchat rejected Facebook's takeover bid last year. Mark Zuckerberg is taking revenge like a jilted lover. Watch out for this ZUCKERFICATION of Facebook Messenger. Facebook and Snapchat ... AT WAR?
  • The surprising new study that shows how people consume content in their cars. GOLLY GOSH this is unbelievable!
  • Audible is seeking WORLD DOMINATION on everything audio. The Netflix of audio? WOWZERS.
  • The epic battle for the content eco-system is heating up! Apple? Google? Amazon? TAKE COVER!
  • Twitter's new partnership with the National Football League. A multimedia SHOCKER! Is this the salvation of Twitter or is this FOURTH AND LONG for the company?

Also, don't miss this FREE eBook co-authored by Mark Schaefer and our sponsor Affinio called How to Identify, Understand and Grow Your Ideal Content Audience. Did I just say this is FREE? Why, yes I did. Well, you're probably ready to jump out of your seat by now. Please. Stay Calm. Your podcast awaits.

Please support our extraordinary sponsors. Our content is free because of their generosity.

Many thanks to our friend Scott Monty for the awesome show intro. Be sure to check out his amazing newsletter The Full Monty, the best weekly curation of digital news.

BuzzSumo is the world’s best way to discover, analyze and amplify your content. Run over to BuzzSumo today for a 14 day free trial. Beyond data, BuzzSumo offers priceless insights to take your marketing to the next level. Check out BuzzSumo's powerful technology to look at the hottest content trends down to the hour!

GoToWebinar – a leader in online events – is one of the easiest and most effective ways to connect and convert your target audience. You can generate qualified leads, establish thought leadership and build brand awareness for up to 1,000 attendees. Trusted by start-ups to global organizations worldwide, GoToWebinar helps businesses reach over 40 million people each year.

Affinio is now offering a FREE eBook co-authored with Mark Schaefer called How to Identify, Understand and Grow Your Ideal Content Audience. Check it out! Affinio is an advanced audience intelligence platform that leverages the interest graph to understand today’s consumers. Using our deep learning and custom network engine, Affinio is able to analyze these connections to develop a social fingerprint for each user.  Affinio’s customers use this data to: Build in-depth data-driven personas; Understand their audience; Conduct competitive analysis; Identify ideal influencers and sponsorship opportunities; Build data-driven content strategies that resonate; Place highly targeted ads with data-backed creative

Direct download: Facebook_chases_down_Snapchat.mp3
Category:Social Media Marketing -- posted at: 3:40pm EDT

First, let's establish something. Despite all the Wall Street belly-aching about Twitter, The Bird is a powerful force in our world. It is a place for innovation, conversation and collaboration. It is where news breaks and politicians rant. It is the place for real-time commentary on live events. But if Twitter has no paying customers, it will not be a platform forever. So there is the rub. Twitter has an enormous and passionate audience. It has a goldmine of real-time data. It is a primary method for getting news to spread. It is changing the world through Twitter chats. ... and yet nobody is paying for any of this. Twitter will never have the mainstream panache of Facebook or the dead-simple interface of Instagram. It needs to find a way to focus on being profitable with LOW user growth ... and you know, there are LOTS of companies that do that. But what Twitter lacks in growth it makes up for in high-octane relevance. When Kanye West and Wiz Khalifa cross swords over marriage and marijuana, they do so on Twitter. When Oprah single-handedly lifts a brand's stock price 23 percent, she does so on Twitter. And when a politician gaffes so hard it sparks a mocking hashtag, he or she (but probably he) does so on Twitter. Twitter has become part of the fabric of our lives. So as the stock for our beloved little channel continues to tumble, Tom Webster and I decided to take this on. How do you save Twitter? We cover a lot of ground in this 30 minute episode of The Marketing Companion and you're going to enjoy the debate! Here we go! How to save Twitter ...

Please support our extraordinary sponsors. Our content is free because of their generosity.

Many thanks to our friend Scott Monty for the awesome show intro. Be sure to check out his amazing newsletter The Full Monty, the best weekly curation of digital news.

BuzzSumo is the world’s best way to discover, analyze and amplify your content. Run over to BuzzSumo today for a 14 day free trial and use the coupon MARKETING-COMPANION to get 20% off BuzzSumo for the first six months. Beyond data, BuzzSumo offers priceless insights to take your marketing to the next level.

GoToWebinar – a leader in online events – is one of the easiest and most effective ways to connect and convert your target audience. You can generate qualified leads, establish thought leadership and build brand awareness for up to 1,000 attendees. Trusted by start-ups to global organizations worldwide, GoToWebinar helps businesses reach over 40 million people each year.

Affinio is an advanced audience intelligence platform that leverages the interest graph to understand today’s consumers. Using our deep learning and custom network engine, Affinio is able to analyze these connections to develop a social fingerprint for each user.  Affinio’s customers use this data to: Build in-depth data-driven personas; Understand their audience; Conduct competitive analysis; Identify ideal influencers and sponsorship opportunities; Build data-driven content strategies that resonate; Place highly targeted ads with data-backed creative.

Direct download: 73_Why_Twitter_matters.mp3
Category:Social Media Marketing -- posted at: 8:58am EDT