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 Consultant dot ie

SocialMediaConsultant.ie was dropped as a domain the other day so I went and grabbed it. Also of late I nabbed ItCourses.ie and a few like that.

Right now I’m sticking a holding page up there to see what kind of traffic it gets from a little optimisation but I may eventually use it as a guide for people/businesses on how to figure out how to hire a social media consultant that is good at their job.

Maybe Michele and I can start some kind of TV detective show with him owning the Social Media Expert domain.

May 26th 2014 – Getting a handle on Facebook for Business

Facebook Training – Dublin – May 26th 2014 – 2 places left

We’re going to make your Facebook Business Page give you a return on your investment.

The average Facebook update now gets seen by about 8% of your fans. Do you know what your Page Reach is? Do you know who actually sees your updates? Do you know who they are? Do you want to increase this reach, do you want to get your Fans to do something for you?

This Facebook for Business training course is for those that already have a Facebook Page and is ranked at an Intermediate level. It starts from the assumption you are comfortable with using Facebook.

Book here.

What’s covered:

  • Metrics: Let’s see how you’re doing now, what to look at and what we can improve.
  • Grow your Numbers – More Likes, More Reach, More Clicks, More Comments.
  • Edgerank – The silent killer on Facebook. Get to know this algorithm and future-proof your Page.
  • Spreadable media – What content will get you the right attention.
  • Updates – Targeted updates to get better reactions, promoted updates, timed updates.

Your trainer is Damien Mulley.

Date and Time:
1.45pm until 5.15pm on May 26th in Dublin City Centre

Pricing:
€127 for the half day workshop if paid before May 16th.
Or €167 for payment on the day.

(We take EFT, cheque or we can take credit card over the phone.)
A 50% cancelation fee applies if you cancel less than three days before the workshop.

Book here.

Location
Dublin City Centre

Google Analytics Training Course – Dublin July 8th 2014


Google Analytics Training Course in Dublin

The next Google Analytics training course will be in Dublin on July 8th, this will be the last analytics course until September.

Only 3 places are left on this course.

After attending this Google Analytics workshop you’ll have:

  • A clear understanding of the important metrics to look for in a Google Analytics account
  • A demonstration of how you can set-up and use goals and funnels in your own account to assess visitor quality
  • Tips on how to produce better reports that contain actionable insights which you can use to power your business.

Pricing:
€147 if you pay by June 27th, €167 for payment after that. Payment required in advance for all training courses.
Book this course now to start putting your website data to good use.

Google Analytics Training Course Detail

Are you swimming in a sea of data? This course will leave you with a clear understanding of how to get the most out of your Google Analytics account.

It will start with walk through the interface, this includes showing you how you can remove your own traffic from your Google Analytics reports before an overview of the account metrics- so right from the start you’ll know your bounce rate from your conversion rate. Before going into individual reports we’ll concentrate on the one factor that is commonly cited as the reason why most companies fail at web analytics: goal setting.

This course will walk you through step-by-step how to identify, set-up and manage website goals in your Google Analytics account so each participant walks away with goals (and possibly funnels) injected into their account and ready to use.

What does this mean? It will help you identify the good quality traffic from the poor quality traffic so you can use the reports to get more quality traffic back to your website.

After goal setting you will be given a deep-dive into the main Google Analytics reports and learn how to look for and use actionable insights over vanity metrics through better customer segmentation.

Your trainer is Joanne Casey who has many years of experience in Google Analytics.

Date and Time:
1.45pm until 5pm on July 8th

Location
Dublin City Centre

Book this course now so you know more about your website visitors.

Your Digital NCT

Mulley Communications does training courses and consultancy around strategy. Sign up to the courses list or our mailing list.

If you want to start being serious about digital in 2014 and it’s a good idea to be so, then you need to up your game. Digital is going to get harder and harder in 2014, the easy days are gone, so you need to be more efficient and strategic about what you do.

So here’s a checklist on what you ought to be aware of. Pick one area to concentrate on or all. This is not a definitive list. (That gets me out of getting into trouble)

Overall Digital:
Are you mobile first in all things digital?

Website:

  • Is your website mobile first?
  • Make your website responsive by re-designing it or adding some responsive plugins to it.
  • If you can’t make it responsive, then have elements that allow the site to perform while being viewed on a mobile e.g. your number in text on the front page, same with email. No crappy contact forms.
  • Do you have a content and search optimisation plan?
  • Do you have Google Analytics or something better installed?

Facebook:

  • Learn about Edgerank.
  • Forget Page likes, the most important thing is your reach. How many people actually see any update of yours? It is less and sometimes WAY less than the number of likes.
  • What is your post engagement rate? How many people click on your post or Like it or share it or comment on it? The more people that engage with your updates, the more signals Facebook gets to keep sending your updates to your fans on the Page. Engagements are very low? Your reach is going to go down and down over time.
  • Are you updates short to be seen on mobiles?
  • Are you images using up as much of the timeline as possible?
  • What is your content plan?
  • Are you timing updates?

Simply put: Good content = good reactions = over time you retain or grow the reach of your page. Good content timed = reaching the best possible numbers each time.

Twitter:

  • Who are the people you are following?
  • Who are the people that follow you?
  • How many RTs would you get on a Tweet that’s business related?
  • How many new follows do you get a week?
  • Are your images the right size to be displayed nicely in the timeline?
  • Do you have a growth plan for Twitter?
  • Do you have a content plan for Twitter?
  • Are you timing updates?
  • How many clicks on average do you Tweets get? Are they going to your website?

Instagram, Vine, Snapchat

  • Are your audiences on Instagram? Find out.
  • Should you be using Vine? Will quick 6 second videos get you customers? They could.
  • Are many of your demographic under 20? Yes? So why are you not on Snapchat?

And you’ll never guess who does this stuff for companies? Yeah.

Contact us if you want a full evaluation or an evaluation of on one of your channels.

Mulley Communications does training courses and consultancy around strategy. Sign up to the courses list or our mailing list.

Businesses: Time to get your Vine on

Mulley Communications does training courses and consultancy around strategy. Sign up to the courses list or our mailing list.

Main takeaways:

  1. If you are on Twitter already, get a Vine account
  2. Practice by making lots of quick videos
  3. Vine videos should be instructional not promotional and fun not boring
  4. Make your Vine titles obvious/informative
  5. Share them on Twitter
  6. Get your public URL

Vine is an app from a company Twitter bought a while back. Vine lets you make 6 second videos. Just 6 seconds. All in one go or you can make them in smaller bits and put them together. They have to be done via your Vine mobile app. Another mobile first company. You can get the app for iPhone, Android and Windows.

Back in August about 3% of people in Ireland had a Vine account and this is growing, not rapidly but steadily. The value of Vine is that the video you record can be shared into the Twitter feed of everyone that follows your Twitter account and can be played on desktop or mobile instantly. No clicking and it popping out into a browser or anything like that. As Twitter grows and it is already massive in Ireland, your Vine videos can, in a way, be seen by more people.

Now in addition, your Vine videos can be seen on a public profile page. Which means lots of Google traffic to your videos so you don’t need just Vine traffic and Twitter traffic. So if you were dithering about Vine, now is the time to decide. All the elements are there now to use it for marketing.

And they can also be embedded, like this from Pendelton:

6 seconds can add a hell of a lot of context
Images can give more context than text only. animated images even more context, video with audio way more. The issues with video have always been the production that goes in to getting them right, even if they’re just two minutes long.

Now while you don’t need 10,000 hours to get them right, you do need some practice so playing with making really short videos means you can get your experience level up quite quickly.

A nice example is Essential French in Cork sharing 6 second French lessons.

Some guides on how to use Vine. From Convert with Content. Beginners Guide from Mashable.

Mulley Communications does training courses and consultancy around strategy. Sign up to the courses list or our mailing list.