Putting The “Social” Back in Social Media

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when the trend started, but too often businesses become singularly focused when considering Social Media content.  That focus is usually on driving sales.  While that seems like a good plan in theory, the results often lead to the consumer eventually ignoring a company’s ads or turning their backs on opportunities to engage with the company.        

The fatal flaw comes from not following the 80/20 rule of Social Media.  Simply put, the rule encourages 80% of content be a mix of outside information and your own highlights (articles, tools, resources, humor) with NO sales objective.  There is value in engaging a consumer and building that relationship.  You want to create content that makes a person think, learn or laugh.  You can then spend the remaining 20% of your time asking for the sale or lead.  

Every business has a different goal for Social Media.  Generate fans, create brand awareness, improve customer service or sell a product… whatever the objective, Ad Spark can help. 

If you need further assistance, Ad Spark is available.  We offer Social Media Management, Content Creation and Ad Placement.      


Emotional Money

Having recently completed our summer vacation, I’m a self-proclaimed expert about emotional money. What I’m referring to is the effect being on a “vacation” has on your pocket book and what are the factors in our mind that make us spend more freely.

Let me give an example. When I’m at home I don’t go out to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner on the same day while also buying snacks, taking a harbor cruise on a whim or buy $40 worth of ponchos you use once to take a ride that may get you wet. Maybe that’s an extreme example, but it’s things that happened while I was on vacation.

So, what changed in my mind to make the guy that cringes on buying a new shirt so footloose and fancy-free? Best I can figure is, and I’m not a psychiatrist, but it’s the “emotions”.

I wanted everyone to be happy and feel satisfied that we had the best trip we could have. I wanted to provide experiences for my kids that they would remember the rest of their lives. I really wanted for my son to get the Darth Vader hat, my daughter to get the Mickey Mouse earrings, and of course, everyone needs ice cream and Dole whips. And you know what…we had a great time and have the pictures to prove it and remember it by.

Have you ever watched Say Yes to the Dress? My wife watches it all time, so therefore I do too. Women drop thousands of dollars on a dress they wear once. The dress shop builds a buying experience around these high dollar dresses that families and friends come to so that they can hear her say yes…to the dress. They have changing rooms and then another room for the families and friends to pick apart the dress as the bride stands on a pedestal for everyone to see.

Sure, they could go look at the dress racks themselves, but they want to describe their perfect dress to a professional and have them search. They want a seamstress to place darts and provide a custom experience. And for this entire experience, they are willing to pay more.

Ever had the mission to find your child the perfect gift or gifts for Christmas? Do they need it? Not necessarily. But you want the jaw dropping experience of surprising your child with a something that maybe they didn’t expect or even something that even makes your kids cry in appreciation. You’d spend more to provide that wouldn’t you?

I give all of these examples to ask the question: How does your business capture your customer’s emotions to give them warm feelings about your product?

Yours doesn’t even have to be a large purchase. I spent $4 on a cup of coffee today and it was worth it. I was greeted warmly, provided a product that met my specification in a timely manner, and then provided a location with free wifi to work in. The smells and ambiance I have found are conducive for writing and working plus I feel really cool working out of a Starbucks every once in awhile.

Think about the environment you create around your products.

  • Is it a fun experience looking at your products?
  • What are things that you can change to make it fun or to increase the perceived value?
  • How do you greet customers online, on social media, in person?
  • How does your physical location look?
  • Would you want to be there if you didn’t work there?

This is the point where I always like to say we can help…but truthfully, all we can do is guide you. And we’ll be happy to do that. But in the end, to increase your customer’s perceived value of your products and develop a positive emotion purchasing experience – there must be a culture shift that starts at the top.

It can start right now, today – contact us and let’s get it started.

When Social Media Attacks

I was asked recently considering several social media storms that have taken place, what are some best practices to put in place if it were to happen to you. Let’s look at these examples from the Monday Morning Quarterback chair:

Cracker Barrel

After a local Cracker Barrel store in Indiana fired an 11-year employee, her husband took to Facebook to ask why. Several hashtags appeared as the internet took up this cause and Cracker Barrels social media was torn to shreds.

As with all Human Resource issues, there’s not much Cracker Barrel can say. There is absolutely no win with this.

Should they have addressed it? Yes, I think they should have, but not directly. This was an opportunity to say a lot without addressing the main issue.

  • Highlight long term employees and why they are there.
  • Highlight employee programs that you offer as incentives.
  • Highlight your company’s community activities and all the good you do.

People are going to hate, but the smart ones are going to read between the lines. No one who loves and takes care of their employees is going to fire an 11-year employee without cause, even in an at-will state.

Your only win is protecting the ability to hire future employees while also protecting your stockholders’ dividends.

United Airlines

After a man was filmed being dragged off a flight by security services so an employee could be flown, social media went rightfully crazy.

Adding fuel to the flame was when their CEO apologized for “having to re-accommodate…customers” versus apologizing immediately for what was obviously, a terrible incident. Later a full apology was sent, but too late.

The lesson here is recognizing immediately that they made a terrible mistake and own it. Even if the guys that drug him out weren’t employees, they were working on United’s behalf.

  • Make it right.
  • Tell everyone what you are doing quickly and publically as possible.

Comments and Banning

I’m a little tougher on commenting and banning than most on Facebook, especially for non-profits or religious uses.

My thoughts are this: You’ve built the community. You want to be social but there have to be reasonable expectations for behavior. This is even more evident when it comes to attacking core values.

First offense, I’ll normally hide the post. Second offense, ban them from the page. 


There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to social media. The key is being prepared, enacting policies and talking out loud about how you will handle scenarios. When stuff happens – call on experts you trust to help. An outside opinion can help to bring clarity in a tough situation.

Grammar – How Thou Doest Confuse Thee

When it comes to grammar, I cheat.

But can you really call it cheating when I use a tool that’s available to everyone? And it’s free!

Grammarly fills the gaps and gives me confidence that what I’m writing is mostly correct…more correct than before at least.

Here’s how it works. It literally checks your writing for the correct use of grammar to ensure that everything you type is easy to read, effective, and mistake-free. As I type, there is a small green G in the bottom right of my screen. I see it spinning and checking my sentence structure and grammar. If it finds a mistake, it will underline the error and help me to fix it on the fly.

In writing this article it came up with at least 5 mistakes in my grammar! I even get weekly reports to let me know how many words I write, what percentage were correct, and how I compare to the rest of the world (I’m not too shabby most weeks).

Key items it looks for are:

  • Missing comma in compound sentence
  • Confused prepositions
  • Wordy sentences
  • Overuse of passive voice

I’m a repeat offender of all of these, but hopefully, you will never know it!

I have the plugin installed for chrome which is useful when writing emails in a browser, or even this blog. I also have it installed on OSX to check basically everywhere else. You can use their web browser if you wanted to copy and paste something in for the app to check out too.

There are also paid plans that you can purchase monthly or at a discounted rate for yearly plans that will provide a deeper analysis of your grammar content.

The plugin was built by linguist and language lovers…you know people smarter than me. One thing I’ve learned, take advantage of smart people when they are giving out free tools.

If you are already a user, I would love to hear about your experiences. If you aren’t, go download it today at Grammarly.com and check it out.

Facebook Job Posting Platform

Advertise your open positions on the new Facebook job posting platform

Facebook rolled out a new feature quietly in their quest to dominate social media last week – a Facebook job posting platform built into your Facebook page. It’s simply known as “Jobs on Facebook”.

Generally, when it has some to looking for jobs, LinkedIn has been the platform. With Facebook’s new addition, they’ve made it easier for companies to now advertise their positions on their Facebook page.

Not only will the positions that are posted appear on your page, but they will also be seen on a larger “Jobs on Facebook” platform that allows users to filter their searches. Users will also be able to use the information contained in their profile to apply for positions according to MarketingLand.com.

Did I mention this new function is FREE? (at least for now!)

Facebook Job Posting Platform Setup Directions:

  1. Go to settings in the top right of your page
  2. Click on Edit Page
  3. Scroll down to the bottom of the tabs section and click on add a tab. Jobs is one of the new choices.

Once you have added it to your page you will be given a shortcut link that you can use to help promote where to find your job openings now. It’s super easy to use too as you will only have to add /jobs after your Facebook pages address.

This new feature is available only for businesses in the United States and Canada according to Recode.

Is this a new function that you will use?

We work to stay on top of functions just like this on Facebook and with all other social media platforms so that you can focus on running your business. This is what we do which allows you to do what you specialize in! As always, if you need help and guidance with this function or anything else with managing your social media presence, call on us.

State of Social Media for 2016

In the investment world when looking at the future performance of a stock you are often labeled as either “bull” or “bear”. The bull outlook is optimistic. The bear outlook is the opposite and you don’t see future performance as profitable.

With any social media platform, you are making an investment of your time and/or your resources.

With that in mind – here is my current state on some of the major players and my stance on each one now:

Facebook – BULL

It’s the largest social media network and its tools for reaching a targeted audience are exceptional. Creating a community of loyal fans and developing a marketing plan for growth has resulted in an excellent return on investment in nearly 99% of all campaigns I have been involved with.

They continue to innovate also with new tools like Facebook live that came out this year and continuous tweaking to what will reach the most people.

Another example – events on Facebook worked well at one point, then they stopped working. Recent changes have made using these very profitable again.

For a social media company to remain relevant and growing, you have to see these subtle changes constantly occurring…and Facebook is doing it.

YouTube – BEAR

There are still great uses for YouTube, but the Facebook video platform will nearly always guarantee more views with your intended target audience. Cross post your videos here if you have the time, but focus on Facebook.

Twitter – BEAR

Twitter literally sucks the time away from your day and has been overrun with marketing messages which can make for a cluttered news feed. Their advertising tools are OK, but only on one occasion when running a campaign to target 25-45-year-old males have I found what I considered a positive return on investment.

LinkedIn – BEAR

Their niche is focused on the business community and for helping you find your next career. I would highly recommend keeping your personal resume tuned up here if seeking a new position or willing to listen to the recruiters that will undoubtedly call upon you. It’s also a great place to demonstrate and share knowledge to colleagues in your career field. It’s been immune to most efforts to include boosting posts…they’re available, but their effectiveness in this platform is questionable. For businesses, my recommendation – use this if seeking your next hire.

Pinterest – BEAR

I’ve never been a fan. I’ve used it with one client with zero results. Great place to find something to cook for dinner.

Google Plus – BEAR

Have a page for search engine purposes then walk away. Seriously.

Instagram – BULL

Instagram has grown wildly this year for many businesses we work with. The new business accounts that allow boosting posts, along with its integration into our Facebook marketing efforts has seen an increase of walk up customers and building buzz around products. The trick is researching relevant hashtags and taking advantage of trends to boost awareness.

There are several issues to overcome which I’ve come to appreciate: There must be an image. No links (unless you’ve boosted the post). Posts must be done manually, no scheduling allowed though there are tools that can save your images and text, then send you a reminder to post.

Snapchat – BULL

Is it easy to use for marketing, no. Do I love what it can do to bring brand awareness? Absolutely.

Building a geo fence around your event or location can be expensive, but building an awareness campaign of your special branded filter and using it to promote your business to a VERY young audience is priceless. How often can you get 18-24-year-olds to openly post their images with your brand associated where all their friends can see it? That’s what snapchat can do for you.


All this to say, and in keeping with my investment theme, I would like to add this disclaimer. Past performance does not guarantee future results! All the platforms must continuously evolve to remain relevant…if not, they will die…or just wither away like MySpace.