Force Multipliers, Facebook and PR – How to influence everything

2200 words, 8 minute read.

A hammer, a machine gun, social media – using force multipliers for good and bad

The below is a Facebook Ad I ran to a subset of Irish TDs. It cost me €1.65 for 39 of them to see it. €0.04 per TD. I would think most didn’t even know it was an ad.

Irish TDs Facebook Ad

(When Facebook advertising started it was for the U.S. only so I created a U.S. account and this is why my prices are in dollars)

Wikipedia definition of Force Multipliers

factor or a combination of factors that dramatically increases (hence “multiplies”) the effectiveness of an item or group, giving a given number of troops (or other personnel) or weapons (or other hardware) the ability to accomplish greater things than without it

Using digital tools for PR tactics, common enough

Years and years ago a client’s friend had a communications crisis with their firm and asked me how they could solve it. Sadly their board took the advice of a traditional PR company who said shut everything down, say nothing and it will blow over. When you Googled about this issue, the first two pages were mostly negative news articles about it and their website was at the bottom of Page 1. When you Googled their name you got their website and the next 8 results were negative results. You mostly can’t get articles with bad coverage removed from Google. Instead you have to make positive or neutral articles to rank higher than these. Working with bloggers and pumping out PR over the next few months was the solution that worked in this case.

Using Wikipedia to push an agenda

Nowadays if you google that issue, the first result for it is a Wikipedia article of the company with a section about that crisis. Page 2 has some of the original bad news articles but nobody reads Page 2 of Google. That Wikipedia article was created by someone not connected to the company but who did it to aid the company. The article had some basic company history and a section on the crisis. Wikipedia articles always rank well. The Wiki article has been slowly changed over time to add more company facts so the crisis section is one of many sections on the Wiki article. The facts on the Wiki are all true verified facts but the narrative is positive towards them. Years back I did a talk on Crisis Communications that covered some of these areas, I need to update this as I’ve learned so much since.

With media people being under huge pressure to produce quantity over quality and despite media articles shitting on Wikipedia so much, the media copies and pastes from Wikipedia the whole time. Now look at the start of this article … who came up with that definition of Force Multipliers? I didn’t check, how many check where their Wikipedia information came from?

Influencing the influencers with digital

For another gig I researched how teens decided what colleges to apply for. For Leaving Cert students, one factor that actually influenced them moving away from home to college was their mothers. Mammy Power. Mammy could veto a move to some college based on her perception. So to keep Mammy happy we sent Facebook ads to Mammy. The kids don’t use Facebook but their parents and Grannies do (and those that think they can market to Leaving Cert students on Facebook). We also boosted articles about how great the college was to those Mammies. “Don’t take our word for it, look at what the Irish Times have said.” Was there a PR pitch to that paper with that Mammy angle you ask? Hmmm.

A State body a while back asked me to research how an American startup built up their media profile so quickly. At that stage they had been in the Wall Street Journal, Techcrunch and all over “the blogs”. Lots of research later and we had a plan on how Irish companies could build up their media profile like they did. What was lovely about what they did was that they started building relationships with specific bloggers that wrote about that industry area. The startup was small but they gave advanced access to the smaller bloggers who never get exclusives and spend most of their time reporting what was already covered and rewriting Mashable type sites. Uncritical coverage in fairness. Then the company started doing PR with larger blogs, who when they Googled their name (as media always do) and they saw positive coverage and also “seemed” to copy and paste these opinions. And then the company went up higher again to the big media sites and eventually to “traditional” media types. All iterations. Influencing the influencers who influence the Influencers. Boy does this work well. See Mark Ecko on “swag bombs”.

(Aside: In the Digital Strategy Workshops I do, we always find the satellites of influence of your clients, same idea, not at all new to marketing people and PR people have done this since they did a great PR job of getting propaganda changed to PR post World War I)

Ryan Holiday talks about this in Trust Me I’m Lying where he had Wikipedia articles created that referenced facts he seeded on smaller blogs that then got copied into articles from bigger media orgs. Then he edited the Wikipedia pages to reference the new media coverage. Wiki article says “according to Xblog Company Z made 10 million dollars”. Later the New York Times copies this fact in an article. Then changed Wiki article to “according to New York Times Company Z made 10 million dollars” and removed the old blog reference.

So far this is slight use of digital for what are traditional PR tactics…

Along Comes Facebook

Facebook is a political tool or a political weapon, mostly a weapon

One of the biggest protests ever in State history was the water charges protest and the Irish Times didn’t even assign someone to cover it as it wasn’t in their bubble. FF, Sinn Fein, FG, Labour all misjudged this issue yet everyone on Facebook saw the updates before, during and after. Millions on Facebook saw the size of the crowd and the videos.

A hammer is a tool, is a weapon, is a negotiating tactic, is a precise instrument. She who holds it, decides what it is. Back to that Facebook Ad to TDs.

Irish TDs Facebook Ad

For €0.04 each I got a positive news story about Ireland into their timelines. And one clicked it.

I did the same with a bunch of Cork politicians with a ‘local kid does well” story into their timelines:

Cork Councillors Facebook Ad

What was great about that is while I paid next to nothing for them to see it (€1.55) just €0.036 each, some of them shared the story to their connections and so I got an extra 178 free views from this. (you only see the paid views above)

Cork Councillor Ad Stats

So the cost per view was actually €0.007 – 0.7 of 1 cent! This is what makes Facebook so utterly scary. The ads to reach people are cheap but when they interact with your ad you get a lot more people to see it and the politician or whoever it is spreads the story on your behalf.

Changing election results with your pocket money?

I have also run tests where some of the Advisors to TDs and Ministers saw an ad from a Facebook Page of mine that shared a news article. This was a much smaller list but we are getting “news” into the timeline of people that have strong influence over Ministers and TDs.

Facebook Ad Government Advisors

And yeah I ran some tests where I got news stories into the timelines of political correspondents. These tests as you can see are single digit euro budgets.

So basically you can get stories into the face of a large number of national politicians, local politicians, their advisors and those who write about these people and who these people read, for mere pennies. Fucking! pennies! get! you! this! influence! Now, consider multiple Facebook Pages with slightly different takes on things going into timelines of this bubble = “oh my God everyone is talking about this, what are we doing about this?”

What it really means is = Look at all the ads in my bubble who are targeting me. Again, none of this is new for people that work in PR and marketing. Just like you run ads in the Farmers Journal if you sell to farmers.

This is what some of the Brexit campaigners did. Business People for Brexit, Muslims for Brexit, Catholics for Brexit, Racists pretending to be Patriots for Brexit, Doctors for Brexit. Each one of these groups had a set of talking points specific to them and for their audience and off they jaunted with them. Decentralized but with the talking points decided by 1 person.

Read “All Out War” to understand the not-rocket-science stuff that the Leave Campaigns did. We’re seeing this in Ireland around Repeal the 8th. 10 people or less seem to represent 20 different groups but all seem to have the same mailing list. And they always get into the media.

Targeting a constituency
€67 – the cost to me if I want 16,000 people in a constituency to see a news story in the next 24 hours about their TD who barely got in at the last election.

Target a TD's Constituency

Force multiply that article about your local FF TD who voted against the Repeal Referendum, for example. If 500 less people gave them their number 1 and left them off the ballot paper or put them way down the line, would that be enough to lose their seat? €67 spent by someone else could cost you €90k a year, outside of expenses. 0.07% of your salary. That’s a force multiplier.

(Light entertainment break)
And this is a force multiplier:

Force Multipliers for Media Coverage

Just like you can use Facebook to send updates into timelines of politicians and political media you can do the same for many different media types. A client recently got themselves on television. A follow up press release was sent out to the media “as seen on T.V.) which got them a little more coverage, here the media came to them after the release with new angles for their publication. Great! Then a promoted update from them was also sent out on Facebook to media types and that got them more media coverage too. Being in the media can get you into more of the media and doing this with a proper strategy can get you into it on a regular basis.

Using all this media coverage, you then do a promoted update to the type of client they wanted with a “As seen on T.V. and in the Times and Indo”. The Sunday Times got crap recently for boosting Facebook posts. I like this idea. Up to now I’ve only seen media boosting posts that are editorial so they can hoodwink sponsors and say “10,000 people on Facebook saw our editorial about you”. Getting into the media is not the end of that PR cycle, it can just be the start.

Force Multipliers for stakeholders

Getting companies into the Irish Times or Sunday Business Post despite their potential clients not being readers still makes sense if you look at who their stakeholders are. Potential investors, existing investors, business partners and media types will be reading it. Investors seeing coverage of their investment will appeased them and give them golf course bragging rights. It’s amazing that you may be burning through cash but an investor seeing their name in a paper can keep them at bay for another while. A positive side-effect is that traditional media coverage gets you nice Google results too as media orgs have really good Google rankings. So when your name is Google, a front page of positive views.

If you’re a B2B organisation then marketing on Facebook at first doesn’t make sense. There are better places to do marketing but if you want to build your reputation then targeted ads to the decision makers in organisations can work. Be nice if a CEO came in on a Monday and said “I keep hearing about this CRM company, look in to whether we should be using them.”

Whoever your stakeholders are, you can get into their Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter timelines directly or indirectly. You can use Facebook, LinkedIn, Google and Twitter to influence people even when they are not using these places because those who do influence them are in these spaces. You’re really only two hops away from both online and offline people on social media.

And all of this within “the rules”.

And you don’t need the liars in Cambridge Analytica to do this (like they had the brains to do it)

And all of this is adhering to data protection and is legal. You don’t need to hack Facebook and download data to do this and that is not how they won the election in America or how Brexit was won. However a be-bubbled media really want to unlose the Vietnam War of their generation – Trump and Brexit.

Social Media and Videos – Text and Graphics are Weapons of Choice

TLDR;
Just copy Viceland. Until everyone copies Viceland. Then copy someone else.

via GIPHY

With so many videos on social media watched with the sound off, the audiotrack is a bonus feature these days and most people won’t bother turning the sound on. For me I’m seeing about 85% have the sound off when watching videos on social media. – Cos they’re at work or in school so shouldn’t be watching. And in the evening they’re probably watching TV at home but also on their phones.

I like the way Viceland and others are creating content at the moment.

via GIPHY

The Trixie and Katya Show is really fun and the multimedia aspects of it reinforce what is happening as you watch it with sound on. It helps commit more of the show to memory too.

Pop-up video

This stuff isn’t new though but it is having a new use. Remember Pop-up Video on Vh1? Course you don’t, you’re not that old. Adding facts via pop up bubbles to music videos. Great idea to keep you engaged with the content.

via GIPHY

Dare you to play the below and not be engaged.

From Pop Up Video: The New Historicism by Gary Burns & Timothy E. Scheurer:

Pop Up Video is a postmodern recapitulation of music video, television, sound film, and silent film, including almost all of the techniques and conventions ever used to combine music with moving images. Moreover, the oval graphics reassert the conventions of silent film intertitling more strongly than at any time since the 1920s.

Blind Dates USA used to add snarky comments or give you information the person wasn’t diclosing, letting the audience in to some gossip.
Social Media Video Guide - Blind Dates USA 1

Social Media and Video - Blind Dates USA 2

The visual manifestation of the director’s commentary. Sometimes telling you exactly what you are seeing, sometimes letting only you into a secret, sometimes changing your perspective.

Asia and TVmojis

These days we ought to look at South Asia to see what is happening with text and image overlays on content. Shows in China, Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea add context via text and images that pop up and around. In Deconstructing overhearing viewers: TVmojis as story retellers, Xi Cui gives examples of a few shows that are doing this. Also he introduces us to the term TVmojis. This is kind of like what the Trixie and Katya show are doing.

The author argues that by playing various roles, TVmojis help construct the viewer’s sense of being a bystander while concealing the producers’ manipulations of the media’s interactive roles vis-à-vis the viewers.

via GIPHY

via GIPHY

Hit the Diff on Videos

Why do all of this? On social media you start off at 0% interest unless you have a fanbase of super-engaged people. For purposes of this article, we’ll pretend that this is factual. So you are pitching to get interest and retain interest. The fascinating thing with this is: the longer someone watches, the longer they keep watching. This also means that it is very hard to keep people watching even past 1 second but once you get them past 3 seconds, 5 seconds and 10 seconds they want to skip past the video less. Also, as more timelines are watched over by a sometimes benevolent algorithm, those that have their videos watched longer than 10 seconds will be gifted by having their next pieces of content seen too. These pop up texts/emojis/visual elements are ways to get people more engaged with your content and can almost work like bridges if there are lulls in some of your content.

Your Digital/Social Media Scorecard – Your Wellbeing Performance

For workshops and client consultancies I’ve been using checklists for years. I redesigned the checklists recently to turn them into scorecards that strongly nod at the scorecards that they use in hospitals. The lower the score the better. The higher the score the more attention is paid to a patient. From increased checks, to senior staff having to examine you within x minutes to calling a crash team. You can download the scorecard here. Please do give me credit if you use it for others.

Some companies worry too much about how they’re doing and some others pay attention to the wrong thing. Hopefull this scorecard is simple enough to do a 5 minute evaluation of your social media.

You can download the scorecard here

29 short lectures on Digital Marketing

January 13th 2015, 2pm, Dublin

To kickstart 2015 I’m going to give a seminar in Dublin, possibly 90 minutes to 120 minutes long. What will it cover? Keep reading. It’s “almost” free to those that are clients or came along to the various Mulley Events in 2014. Spaces are limited. That last line was marketing bullshit making you think a resource is limited so you’ll want it more. They are though.

The seminar is called “29 short lectures on digital marketing” which is a total ripoff of the amazing “28 short lectures” given by Mary Reufle. There won’t be 29 lectures but they will be short.

This seminar is going to be on January 13th in Dublin City Centre (not booked venue yet, usually near Temple Bar) from 2pm to 4pm or a little beyond. Bring your own teas and coffees.

If you want to sign up, you can use this Eventbrite link. It’s €5 to book a place which won’t cover operating costs but ensures you might turn up. In Ireland, free events have a 50% no-show rate. 50% don’t bother turning up or letting you know.

And I’ll talk about:

  • Various elements on making Facebook work: Edgerank and all that, what updates are best, why if you ignore it for B2C you’re a dope.
  • Twitter: Growing, automating, lead generation, Twitter cards.
  • LinkedIn: This is B2B and it works a charm. How to use it to build an amazingly rich address book.
  • Google+: Haha, just kidding.
  • Mailchimp: Some quick tips from a non-expert.

Why am I doing this? Testing out new material and to gauge interest in the paid courses I’ll be running in January/February – Lead Generation, Digital Strategy, Advanced Twitter. And because I’m sound.

Barbie joins LinkedIn – Other Barbies on LinkedIn get lots of visits

So it was announced by Mattel that Barbie is going to be “hashtag unapologetic” about being an entrepreneur. iPad, business attire and a LinkedIn profile! You can buy the doll right here now.

Barbie Linked - Fake Plastic Barbie

Plastic ceilings
From the PR blurb:

This year Barbie is once again breaking through plastic ceilings and inspiring girls to follow their dreams. The 2014 career of the year doll is Entrepreneur Barbie. To celebrate her newest career, Barbie is honoring special women entrepreneurs to help start a conversation for girls everywhere, reminding them that — “If they can dream it, they can be it – anything is possible!

Barbie on LinkedIn - #unapologetic

So with that, if you go on to LinkedIn now and look for Barbie, hello Barbie!

BarbieLinkedIn1

LinkedIn.com/in/Barbie

Even when you Google for “Barbie LinkedIn” you get:
BarbieLinkedIn2

This guy is going to be getting a lot of views and I’m sure some weird connection requests too.

Link Roundup – June 16th 2014

So then.

Very interesting case study around mobile networks, Facebook and geofencing. There ads to people on Facebook based on their current location as supplied by their mobile network. It will drive more footfall to your store. And with Apple now doing things to prevent stores from logging your phone‘s hardware address, this becomes even more attractive for retailers.

Pinterest now doing self service ads. Good to see.

Twitter now doing remarketing too. So you can run ads on Twitter to people who came to your website.

AKA Fuck you, pay me. Facebook plainly explaining organic reach and Edgerank. The free ride is over for those that produced shit updates on Facebook. If you have updates that appeal to your subscribers, you have a lot less to worry about.

Social signals. So Google says that they don’t take social into account when ranking pages BUT the pre-ranking/discovery of your content seems very reliant on these social signals. Lots of people sharing/tweeting your link? Seems Google will see this as having importance.

These new changes with iOS 8.0, yeah, Android probably can do this but Apple makes it way better. Apps calling apps inside their own app and showing you just the relevant bits. Great for the usual devices but also tiny screens like, oh, hmm. watches?

Now put your café and restaurant menus on Facebook

Facebook made a nice small change for restaurant and café Pages. Now you can now upload your menus once they’re less than 1Mb in size. These can easily be viewed on desktop or mobile.

On your Page go into Settings > Page Info and there should be a Menu option available. Click on that and upload your Menu.
Facebook Pages Menu Setting - Mulley Comms

This is what it looks like on a mobile:

Facebook Restaurant Menu Mobile

Hat tip to someone on Twitter for this, sorry forgot who.

Your Digital Content Strategy – Today it’s SEO and Social not one OR the other

Well it’s even more than those two but for this post, we’ll look at both.

More work but more rewards for digital marketing these days. 50% of the visitors to this website are now coming here because of Twitter. 50%. So each month a few hundred visitors are coming here just from Tweets about our various courses. Twitter indirectly sells most of the training courses Mulley Comms does and Google searches do the rest.

Information consumes attention
What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.

Your future digital/social content strategy – What you need to do

1. Build pages that are search friendly:
You need good titles, good descriptions, well structured pages, fantastic and inspiring content. Yeah, just that. totally easy right? But at least you have a plan. So this blog post has “digital, content, strategy” as keywords in the title and the description will mention digital marketing and social too. Here’s a preview of them:

MulleyPostDescription

The post should tell people what needs to be done and so gives readers content that they feel is valuable and they might share that value on Twitter or Facebook. Use Google Keyword planner or other keyword research tools so see what people are searching for and use some of those keywords in your post/page. Unless you are a website that updates non-stop and Google visits you non-stop too, then it will be days but more likely weeks before this page starts performing well in Google. Weeks is a generation in digital. So social is going to help.

2. Create Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook headlines that are must-click in nature.
Social Media traffic is the quick hit. It is surge in nature. Lots of clicks in a very short time and then traffic falls off a cliff until you Tweet/Facebook about it again. This is the traffic surge from a link that was Tweeted the other day.

BitlyClicksDrop

Social Media is the first line of attack nowadays with SEO the rear guard that comes in and finishes the job. For what’s on your website, you need to be strategic with the keywords so that over long periods of time, Google will bring you traffic. To get people in social media to click on links to this content though, you need to think like a PR person or a headline maker for a tabloid. The title of this post is useful to a degree, very findable in Google but what about social? What gets the clicks? Well what makes you click on things on Twitter or Facebook? What works for me are amazing stats and then a promise to reveal more. This post could be marketed/PR’d on Twitter as:

  • Well written Tweets are generating thousands in revenue for me yearly. Here’s how:
  • A single Facebook status update or Tweet can send 100s of visitors to my site. Some become clients. A guide for you:
  • Cheatsheet: Writing good website content and creating great social media headlines = How to get business in digital.

Here is a great guide form Upworthy on how to cook great social media headlines. Social Media is noisy though so you also need to be strategic here. Timing is everything. Various tools like Buffer will help you to find the best times to Tweet/Facebook out during the day/evening and time updates to go out then during those “social media prime times”. Once you get a handle on that, line up the most important tweets and Facebook updates for the week/month then it becomes a good deal easier to have your content seen, shared and clicked.

And here’s the sell.

A post with good content that you spent an hour writing has to have some kind of action item! I’m doing a course on Social Media Content Creation on May 28th in Dublin. Why not book a place?

Google Adwords (Advertising) Training Course

  • Date: 9.15am until 12.45pm, May 26th 2014
  • Location: Temple Bar Hotel.
  • Price: Book by May 16th for €147 or €167 after.
  • Ability Level: For those have Google Ads accounts but want to know how to use them efficiently.
  • You can book the course now.

Your trainer is Joanne Casey from Glowmetrics and she receives very high ratings on her courses.

After attending this course you’ll have

  • A clear understanding of the targeting options and settings available in Google Adwords
  • A view of the international search market if you are considering entering into markets outside Ireland
  • A demonstration of how you can conduct smart keyword research
  • Tips on how to write compelling ad copy that customers will want to click on
  • Guidelines on how to optimise landing pages
  • An overview of the Google Display Network
  • Strategies on how to best measure and enhance campaign performance.

This training session is more practical than theory so don’t forget to bring your laptop and get ready for plenty of brain food!

More detail

CPM, CPA, CTR, Maximum CPC, Actual CPC, CRO, Quality Score, VTC…the list goes on and if this is double Dutch to you then don’t worry, you aren’t alone. Running a Google Adwords campaign can sometimes feel like you’ve just walked into a minefield yet understanding and knowing how to improve these metrics is key to running a successful paid search campaign.
Maybe you have an Adwords Account but have a feeling you aren’t getting the most from it or maybe you want to drive more traffic to you website but don’t know where to start? In this training course we’ll be looking at how businesses can run an effective paid search campaign on Google to drive traffic and ultimately revenue.

We’ll start by having a quick look at the current state of the paid search marketplace before we log into the interface and begin to build well thought-out campaigns, taking into consideration keywords, ad copy, landing pages and Display Network opportunities. Once we’ve the campaigns set-up we’ll then finish with understanding how to best track and review performance so you can execute a range of optimisation tactics to boost ROI.

Date and location: May 26th 2014, Temple Bar Hotel, Dublin
Price: Book by May 16th for €147 or €167 after the 16th.
Book now.
Ability Level: For those have Google Ads accounts but want to know how to use them efficiently.