Does Snark = Sales? What Consumers REALLY Want from Brands on Social Media

Social media marketers, do you feel a brief pang of envy when a brand gets sassy on Twitter or Facebook? Do you wish you had the brand identity and/or corporate backing to smack down a troll, a la Wendy’s?

Me too. It’s only natural. Even in a profession as inherently creative as marketing, some of us can fly our freak flags higher than others. If you’re working in financial services, or healthcare, or any number of staid verticals, odds are you have to keep your sarcasm in check.

We may never get the sweet satisfaction of seeing a tweet full of biting wit go viral. But we have to keep perspective. Are we here to get featured on Buzzfeed, or to generate revenue? Does the snark really translate to sales?

The good folks at Sprout Social just released their Q2 2017 Sprout Social Index, and they’re taking aim at precisely that question. People like brands with “personality,” sure. But what do consumers really want from brands on social media? And how should those preferences inform your social media marketing strategy? Let’s run the numbers.

#1: Funny Is Good, But It Isn’t Everything  

Infusing a little humor into a brand is a good way to express personality. It lets people know that there are actual human beings behind the brand, seeking to entertain just as much as they inform.

As a once and future comedy writer, I’m an advocate for humor in marketing. But we should make sure the humor is not all that we’re bringing to the table.

Sprout Social found that while 3 in 4 consumers appreciate humor from brands, being funny was 4th on the list of what consumers really want from brands on social media:

Social Media Marketing Consumer Preferences

The far-and-away winners are honest, friendly, and helpful. If you have these three covered, then you can add in the humor. On the other hand, if you’re not honest, friendly, or helpful, no level of funniness will make up for the lack.

It’s also worth noting how far down the list “trendy” and “snarky” are. There’s no shortage of brands trying to be edgy and au courant. But it looks like less than half of consumers want their brand to be the quip-slinging cool kid from a 90’s sitcom.

The bottom line: Humor is a welcome trait for a brand, but mean-spirited or edgy humor is likely to turn customers off (even if it lands you an AdWeek shoutout). And if you’re not being honest and helping people, no amount of humor can save you.

#2: Consider the Platform

Just as your brand has its own identity, every social network has a unique identity. Facebook is a casual place to post cute pictures and start political arguments. Twitter is an even more casual place to start extremely character-limited political arguments. LinkedIn is more buttoned-down and professional, with only occasional political arguments.

Your audience on each platform has a unique set of expectations, based not just on your brand, but on the platform itself.

How Platform Changes Social Media Marketing Preferences

People like personality on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, but not so much on LinkedIn. So it’s important to adjust your messaging for each.

Most of us are scheduling social media messages with a tool like Hootsuite or Buffer, and it’s easy to blast a single message across platforms. But don’t do that. Take a few minutes to craft unique messages for each channel, keeping audience expectation in mind. That bit of extra effort will help make your posts more engaging, and keep your most dedicated audience from seeing the same message multiple times.

#3: Know Your Audience

Social media is not a homogenous audience that’s the same for every brand. It’s a platform for connecting with your particular most-valued consumers. How your brand approaches social media, then, should be a byproduct of how your audience wants to interact with your brand. These preferences can vary widely across demographics.

For example, 74% of Gen X and Baby Boomers said they found it annoying when a brand uses slang. But only 59% of Millennials shared that sentiment. Millennials are also far more tolerant of brands making fun of competing brands:

What Consumers Find Annoying on Social Media

How your brand should express personality on social media is dependent on your target audience. If your demographic still uses words like “hip” and “groovy,” it’s probably not hip or groovy for your brand to use them. However, if your target audience thinks things are “totes adorbs” and “can’t even,” you stand a better chance of connecting with slang.

It’s vital to find the intersection of your brand personality with your audience preferences, and let that drive how you present the brand on social.

#4: Bring Value to Drive Sales

To quote my personal hero, Captain Obvious, “the purpose of social media marketing is ultimately to drive sales.” If going viral with a funny tweet contributes to the bottom line, that’s a tactic worth pursuing. The research shows, though, that most people aren’t following brands just for laughs:

Brand Actions that Prompt Social Media Sales

When it comes to driving sales, humor is 5th on the list. Being responsive, offering promotions, and providing educational content are all more likely to inspire a purchase decision.

What do people really want from brands on social? The same thing they want from brands everywhere else. First, people want to be heard, to engage in a productive dialog. Second, they want to be offered something of value, whether it’s a deal on your solution or simply valuable information. When people are looking for help, you have to bring more than jokes to the table.

Check out the full Q2 2017 Sprout Social Index for more insights.

Helping People Is the Top Priority

Giving your brand a winning personality is great. It makes creating and consuming your content more fun. But personality should be the seasoning for your social media marketing, not the main course. Start with being helpful, being honest, and providing something of value in exchange for your audience’s time. Then add a little sprinkle of personality on top, like so:

See? You can be helpful and funny at the same time.

Need help maintaining your social media presence? Let us handle your social media marketing.


Email Newsletter Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. | Does Snark = Sales? What Consumers REALLY Want from Brands on Social Media | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post Does Snark = Sales? What Consumers REALLY Want from Brands on Social Media appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®

Study of 4 million Google searches charts the CTR payoff that came from eliminating right-side ads

Click-through rates for ads at the top of desktop results have increased significantly in the year since Google got rid of text ads in the right rail, a new study shows. The post Study of 4 million Google searches charts the CTR payoff that came from eliminating right-side ads appeared first on…

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.


Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

Top European court to decide if Google needs to purge disputed links from global index

French regulators have argued that the “right to be forgotten” is not fully enforceable unless content is removed worldwide. The post Top European court to decide if Google needs to purge disputed links from global index appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.


Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

Study: How (and why) Google ranks videos differently from the way YouTube does

According to a new report from Stone Temple Consulting, when Google returns multiple YouTube videos in the results pages, the ranking order between Google and YouTube varies 56.8% of the time. The post Study: How (and why) Google ranks videos differently from the way YouTube does appeared first on…

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.


Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

What I learned from the Danny Sullivan/Gary Illyes keynote at SMX Advanced

Columnist Eric Enge breaks down the “AMA With Google Search” session at SMX Advanced, where Search Engine Land founding editor Danny Sullivan interviewed Webmaster Trends Analyst Gary Illyes from Google. The post What I learned from the Danny Sullivan/Gary Illyes keynote at SMX Advanced appeared…

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.


Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

4 Marketing Lessons I Learned from Building a Bustling Baseball Fan Community

[Editor’s Note: Please join me in welcoming another new author to TopRankBlog.com, Nick Nelson. Nick is a Content Strategist that has been with the TopRank Marketing team for a few months and spends his time creating great content for some of our enterprise B2B clients. Welcome Nick!]

If you build it, they will come.

Ah, if only it were that simple. But as any business proprietor knows, it is not. Even if you offer a great product or service, attracting customers takes time and effort. It requires creativity, dedication, and tenacity. That is where marketing comes in.

A fortuitous series of circumstances led to my involvement as a cofounder of Twins Daily, which now counts itself as one of the nation’s biggest completely independent fan sites covering a pro sports team. Through five years of ups and downs with this passion hobby and labor of love, I’ve gained some insights that prove indispensable in my day job as a content marketer.

Today, in my first entry here on the TopRank Marketing blog, I thought I would share some of those lessons, and how I apply them in serving our clients. In the spirit of a baseball diamond with its four corners, we’ll cover the bases before bringing it home.

But first…

What is Twins Daily?

It’s the brainchild of four fan bloggers who sought to end hunger. Not in any noble way, mind you, but there was an appetite for baseball coverage in the Twin Cities market that wasn’t quite being satiated by mainstream media.

In 2012, I teamed up with John Bonnes, Seth Stohs, and Parker Hageman to launch the site, envisioning a community where Twins fans could find exceptional daily content and then stick around for intelligent conversation with like-minded users.

Since then, Twins Daily has piled up 12.5 million visits and 45 million pageviews, generating traffic that surpasses many of the resource-rich professional outlets in town. In 2014, our site was the subject of a cover story in Twin Cities Business magazine. We continue to grow, and in mid-June set a new daily traffic record when Minnesota made the first overall selection in the MLB Draft.

This traction has been driven not by us, but by the community we’ve brought together. When you create energy and participation around your content, there is no telling where it can go. Whether the goal is generating engagement, selling a product, or simply establishing a corporate narrative, this is critical to remember.

The following takeaways are worth keeping in mind for a marketer looking to build and foster online communities with purpose, even if those communities are blog readerships, social media followings, or brand audiences. You don’t need a shared passion like baseball to propel your messaging – only a sound strategy from the ground up.

#1 – Hit the Ground Running

When kicking off our new venture, we had a built-in advantage that is awfully tough to replicate: an established audience. Each of our four disparate blogs had its own sizable readership, giving us an intrinsic head start. However, we weren’t prepared to rely solely upon regulars migrating to the new destination. We needed to generate momentum and excitement. We needed to re-earn their patronage.

So we spent weeks teasing the site, on our personal blogs and our social channels. We planned out a launch on the first day of spring training, with baseball fever hitting a high point. When the big day arrived, we each made announcements on our own sites, and made sure that visitors would find plenty of great content right away at the new hub.

As a result of these collective efforts, Day 1 traffic blew away our expectations, and many who stopped by came back, again and again.

On the flip side, a few years after Twins Daily came into existence, we tried to replicate the formula for other local sports teams, with sites dedicated to the Vikings and Wild. We came out of the gates flat, failed to get everyone on the same page, and never built much of an audience. The ventures fizzled out. It was a harsh learning experience.

When planning out content strategies, it is important to have everyone collectively focused on starting strong with each new campaign.

First Pitch: Initial impressions matter most, and you only get one. Don’t waste it.

#2 – Feed Your Audience What it Wants

It sounds obvious, right? But it really isn’t. Too often do content creators try to dictate what users wish to consume. Too rarely do they consult the analytics and deeper metrics to let the readers tell them what they want.

We wondered: there isn’t going to be a thirst for Twins baseball content every day, even in the middle of winter, right? There was. We wondered: people aren’t going to read about obscure minor-leaguers and trivial minutiae, right? They did.

On plenty of occasions, I have spent hours putting together a lengthy story that I figured would be a home run, only to end up with a swing and miss. I try to continually monitor the traffic trends for each individual piece and draw out correlations, so as to inform future content direction.

The leading mantra here at TopRank Marketing: Optimize! (Our CEO Lee Odden wrote a book on that very subject.) Those principles should be applied to any type of Web-based initiative here in age of ubiquitous metrics and measurement tools.

Read Your Scouting Reports: Content strategy should not comprise of guesswork.

#3 – Events Fuel Engagement

Before we ever conceived Twins Daily, we were already holding informal gatherings for the readers of our blogs. These would usually involve getting together at a local bar to watch a road game, drink beers, and bask in mutual nerdiness.

These events build real connections. In fact, the enthusiastic participation was one of the main things that convinced us we could make something more out of this. Now, we hold annual events like our Winter Meltdown, which takes place around Target Field after TwinsFest in January and features giveaways, photo opps, and Q&As with guests from the organization.

Shaking hands with readers, and affixing faces to usernames, has helped me and our other founders bond with community members in a meaningful way. I know the reverse is also true. These gatherings aren’t big money-makers, but that isn’t the intent.

It’s all about engagement. With a site like ours, which relies not just on people coming to read stories, but sticking around to converse in the comments or on the message board, that is the name of the game.

In the B2B world, summits and conferences are networking gold. You’ll catch plenty of the TopRank Marketing team members at Digital Summit in Minneapolis next month. Say hi!

Take Them Out to the Ballgame: The value of community events goes beyond financial gain.

#4 – Do What You Can With What You’ve Got

In the decade before we set sail with Twins Daily, the Minnesota Twins went to the playoffs six times and fielded a winning team almost every season. Naturally, we came along in Year 2 of an extended downswing that would see them scuffle along as one of baseball’s worst clubs. From 2011 through 2016, the Twins lost 90-plus games five times, erasing the boost of a new ballpark and dramatically reducing general fan interest.

To compensate, we shifted our focus. We searched for creative and entertaining ways to talk about a terrible team. We made it our goal to differentiate in other areas, like unparalleled coverage of the minors and the draft. We turned our forums into a support group of sorts, where disheartened fans could commiserate.

Most businesses aren’t at the mercy of a sports team’s win/loss record, but uncontrollable outside forces are almost always at play — be it the economy, market trends, PR hiccups, etc. In these cases, seek a different perspective or approach that might break through. In the immortal words of Don Draper: “If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.”

Play It As It Lies: Make the best out of situations you cannot control.

(Also, note to self: Don’t use golf metaphors in a baseball-themed article, doofus.)

Bringing It Home

Marketing guru Jay Baer once offered this advice: “Activate your fans, don’t just collect them like baseball cards.”

These four guiding principles have helped us activate our fans, and can serve as a blueprint for helping any content marketer do the same. When you reach a higher level of engagement with readers and community members, the connections become infinitely more profound and fruitful.

My experience with Twins Daily has certainly helped me, implanting valuable knowledge I’m able to bring to work each day as I try to knock it out of the park for our big-league clients.


Email Newsletter Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. | 4 Marketing Lessons I Learned from Building a Bustling Baseball Fan Community | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post 4 Marketing Lessons I Learned from Building a Bustling Baseball Fan Community appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®

How to Build Backlinks for Your Blog From Quality Sites

Do you want to improve the search rank of your blog? Wondering how to get influential people to link to your cornerstone blog content? Having multiple high-quality websites link to your blog content demonstrates to search engines that your blog offers valuable information. In this article, you’ll discover how to get high-quality, authoritative links back […]

This post How to Build Backlinks for Your Blog From Quality Sites first appeared on .
– Your Guide to the Social Media Jungle

Digital Marketing News: Content Is Still King, Purchases from Email, B2B Tech Influencer Marketing

Here Are 7 Reasons Why Content is Still King in 2017 [Infographic] The way content marketing draws attention and helps build genuine relationships with the audience is what sets it apart from other marketing tactics. Smart marketers are using content marketing to approach their target audience in a more subtle way to ensure the customer needs are met while building brand credibility and trust. (Social Media Today) What Influences Consumers to Purchase From Marketing Emails? A recent survey conducted of 1,004 consumers who have received marketing emails in the past year reports how the different generations are influenced in their purchase decisions. Consumers are most influenced to make purchases from marketing emails by sales/discounts and brand reputation. (MarketingProfs) The Rise of Influencer Marketing in B2B Technology B2B marketing has definitely shifted with new challenges when it comes to influencer marketing in enterprise technology. To better understand these shifts and get actionable solutions, 10 industry experts have weighed in about implementing and scaling influencer marketing. (Traackr) Click here for the Influence 2.0 study from today’s video! See How You Stack Up With Inline Competitive Metrics Six new metrics are available at the campaign, ad group and keyword levels in the main UI and Reports tab in Bing Ads. You can also access these reports via the Bing Ads API. Advertisers can now see how their campaigns, Ad groups and keywords stack up against the competition. (Bing Ads Blog) Google to Stop Using Information in Gmail to Target Personalized Ads Google announced that the enterprise version of Gmail and the consumer version will more closely align later this year. Both enterprise and consumer versions of Gmail will not be used to target personalized ads. The ads shown will be based on a user’s settings, including the option to disable personalized ads altogether. (Search Engine Journal) New Ways to Protect Your Pinterest Account Pinterest is rolling out a two-factor authentication to everyone in the next few weeks to add security by requiring a verification code every time you log in. You can receive the code via text message, or for added security, download Twilio’s Authy app. If the two-factor authentication is enabled, it works across your entire account on all devices. (Pinterest Blog) Adobe Is Launching AI-Powered Voice Analytics Adobe is adding voice analytics to the Adobe Analytics Cloud which will help people better understand how media is consumed via voice-enabled devices. You can track voice usage by intent and add specific parameters and a brand can measure top-of-funnel metrics, as well as trends and patterns at scale over time. (AdWeek) Messenger Just Added More Fun to Your Video Chats Facebook Messenger has added new features to video chats. You can now use animated reactions, filters, masks and effects. You can also take pictures of your one-on-one and group video chats and share them with your friends. (Facebook Newsroom) What were your top digital marketing news stories this week? We’ll be back next week with more top digital marketing news. For more news and expert insights, follow @toprank on Twitter!

The post Digital Marketing News: Content Is Still King, Purchases from Email, B2B Tech Influencer Marketing appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®