Category Archives: Mandi Frishman

Three Things to Keep in Mind When Investing in New Ideas

As a specialized agency, we often find ourselves integrated into client teams in an advisory role. We live and breathe technology and communications; consuming information, creating experiences, and collaborating with vendors. We help clients and partners ask the questions that get them the solutions that they need.

If you want to advocate on behalf of your company, here are three things to keep in mind the next time that you’re looking to invest in new technology:

  1. Everyone is selling the next big idea. It’s important to understand your needs and be able to make those needs the focal point of any discussion.
  2. When you’re relying on the person pitching you for an education, the information that you’re given is most likely going to be delivered in a way that supports their agenda. Do your own research.
  3. Know what questions to ask.

The most important question that you can ask yourself when dealing with companies and vendors in the communications and technology space is:

Do I know enough about this to make an educated decision?

If the answer is no, find a trusted partner who can sit in and advocate on behalf of your brand. Investing in good advice upfront can you save you from a bad investment down the road.

Seem simple? The best advice usually is.

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When she’s not working as a marketing manager for Make Me Social, Mandi Frishman enjoys the simple things in life. During her time studying at The University of Florida, Mandi became convinced in the power of learning through play. She has since committed herself to playing (and learning) all day, every day.

Built to Scale: Social Media Symbiosis

Wendy K Emerson of SIGMA Marketing Group writes, Many businesses are still fighting with a lack of strategy and pushing content out through social networks with no real way to measure, and no effort to really engage with consumers and prospects. This comes up quite often when companies start looking to agencies for help managing their social media efforts.

Most social media plans were built with little thought to what the workflow process would look like if a consumer or client tweets their frustration with a nameless employee. With communication now moving at the speed of “like” many companies struggle to manage the two way flow of communication that comes with social media in a way that respects their organizational structure and allows them to continue moving to reach their goals.

In large organizations the issue is compounded by the many different layers and levels of content being pushed out, much of it unapproved and potentially at odds with the overall brand message of the organization. To help illustrate the importance of having an integrated social media strategy, a visual inspired by the glorious 80’s:

Integrated Social Media Strategy

The black arrows represent companies, each working to move forward to meet their goals. Each arrow within the black arrows represents a department or office. Every arrow, big or small, is a part of the larger organization. The actions that each arrow takes will have an impact on the larger arrow.

Even in organizations that have traditionally been full of “aligned arrows” introducing social media without any plans for managing it at scale can cause each arrow to run screaming in a new direction.

When working with a company, regardless of the size, you need to establish a symbiotic relationship between the social media efforts and the organization’s goals. Integration delivers efficiency and increased returns. It lets you scale – build global, implement local.

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When she’s not working as a marketing manager for Make Me Social, Mandi Frishman enjoys lining up arrows to see how far they can go. During her time studying at The University of Florida, Mandi became convinced in the power of learning through play. She has since committed herself to playing (and learning) all day, every day.

The Power of Social Media Storytelling: Facebook Timeline and True Corporate Communication

Author Reynolds Price once said of stories, “Millions survive without love or home, almost none in silence; the opposite of silence leads quickly to narrative, and the sound of story is the dominant sound of our lives,”

In cultures across the globe values are shared through allegories, pictures are painted with narratives, and emotional bonds are created through stories. This is as true online as it is offline, in life as well as in business; after all, aren’t the two woven together for at least 8 hours a day Monday through Friday?

If you ever doubt the power of a good story, look at the view count on Invisible Children’s Kony 2012 video. Whether you agree with the organization or not, over 79 million views speak to the power of using storytelling to drive people to action. If you were one of the 79 million views you probably noticed that they used Facebook Timeline to tell that story.

Visual: How Facebook Timeline Enables Storytelling

This is not a coincidence – Facebook Timeline is designed for storytelling.  While many assumed that the switch to Timeline was about aesthetics, it’s about a larger change that we’ve been watching happen since Make Me Social was founded in 2009. It’s the end of corporate doublespeak and the beginning of true corporate communication – where the audience talks back.

In a world where stories are written in 140 characters and the only walls that exist between nations are ones made of code, companies must learn to become storytellers…and the really good ones will learn how to make their audience a part of their story.

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When she’s not working as a marketing manager for Make Me Social, Mandi Frishman enjoys listening to books on tape and pretending that the words are coming from the storyteller doll that she made in 3rd grade. During her time studying at The University of Florida, Mandi became convinced in the power of learning through play. She has since committed herself to playing (and learning) all day, every day.

Can You Automate Success? Just Ask Glen.

Is using platforms and plugins to schedule and automate your social media feeds effective? Imagine for a moment that you run a Financial Advisory firm. You hire someone to work for your company. His name is Glen, and you want Glen to generate leads for your business, build relationships, and get people to follow him back to the office for appointments. On Glen’s first day of work, he goes to a busy street corner and places a tape recorder on top of a bench. He then walks into a coffee shop where he can keep an eye on the tape recorder while he reads a book.

People walk down the street, some chatting with friends, some staring down at cell phones, while others rush by silently.  When the clock strikes 9, Glen’s voice suddenly comes out of the tape recorder, “When was the last time you spoke to your Financial Advisor? We’ve got people standing by to talk to you!”

Some of the people walking past pause when they hear the pre-recorded message but none of them stop to look for him.

This is the real life equivalent of setting up an automated social media feed. Scheduled messages come off as impersonal, perhaps even disruptive. They come off as robotic. Technology has yet to take the place of human interaction and nowhere is that more clear than on the Tweet corner (Twitter equivalent of a street corner) with Glen.

Social media is about having conversations and building relationships. It’s about community management and one to one engagement. It’s about having conversations. It’s about getting results and meeting objectives. While companies who promote the technology to automate social media feeds may call it “convenient” or even “a time saver”, what they can’t call it is effective.

And that’s the truth. Just ask Glen.

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When she’s not working as a marketing manager for Make Me Social, Mandi Frishman finds inspiration in old episodes of The Twilight Zone. During her time studying at The University of Florida, Mandi became convinced in the power of learning through play. She has since committed herself to playing (and learning) all day, every day.

GOOOAAAL! Why Your Social Media Marketing Strategy Should Be More Like Soccer

Soccer is about goals. In order for a team to win, they must score more goals than the competition. Their strategy is set in order to help them score more goals, and each member of the team knows what they need to do in order to help their team score more goals. And then when they score a goal the announcers yell, “GOOOAAAAAL!” and everyone cheers.

In business instead of scoring goals, we seek to reach goals. Each employee works to help their team reach more goals. Each department works to meet goals that support overall business objectives. And then companies meet a goal, and everyone cheers. Especially this guy:

At Make Me Social we have come across companies at all stages of the social media cycle – from those who are just learning what a tweet is, to those who have an established presence and are trying to figure out what to do with it. No matter where they are in the cycle, we always start with the same approach. We ask them what their goals are. 

And no, we don’t mean goals like “get fans” or “get lots of retweets”. We want to know what their business goals are.

The right social media goals should support overall business goals. Defining those goals from the start ensures that all initiatives support each other; unifying teams and making goals more attainable. Your social media solution provider should be an extension of your team, and you should all be working together to reach the same goals.

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When she’s not working as a marketing manager for Make Me Social, Mandi Frishman enjoys running around the office yelling, “GOOOAAAAAL!” to celebrate reaching client goals. During her time studying at The University of Florida, Mandi became convinced in the power of learning through play. She has since committed herself to playing (and learning) all day, every day.

The Unfocused Focus Group: The Power of Social Media Monitoring

When I was in high school I participated in a focus group about deodorant. I sat in a room with a bunch of girls that I had never met and was asked to share my memories of deodorant and give feedback on the smells that I enjoyed. The most memorable part of the experience was a girl who shared that she began using deodorant after her mother told her that she smelled like, “A meatpacking plant.” Her delivery was excellent – completely straight faced with no hint of emotion. It was the highlight of the focus group, although I’m pretty confident that the company who paid for that focus group did not enjoy it as much as I did.

Now this was “back in the day” (within the past 10 years) but not so far back that I don’t remember how much I was paid. For less than two hours of my time I made $60 and they gave me cookies. There were probably 5-7 girls in the room with me, each of whom were given $60. We were not the only focus group and I can only hope that they got something more than “girls will use deodorant when shamed by their mothers” out of it. But why all of this talk about how much we were paid? ROI, my friends.

Let’s fast forward to the glorious present, where teens tweet, brands want you to like them, and public content is indexed for your searching pleasure. How could that company get better information today? How could they expand their focus group while refining their data, and without paying for every bit of feedback? Two words: social media.

Your focus group is out there, tweeting, posting, and blogging about their deepest darkest desires, offhand thoughts, likes, and dislikes. They’re talking about your industry, your brand, your products, and even your employees. The social media listening tools that are available are incredibly powerful and allow brands to monitor whatever keywords they desire. For the first time, you have an opportunity to get unfiltered feedback, offered up in real time and without prompting.

If you’re reading this with a questioning mind, and I hope you are, you’re probably thinking: “What happens if that deodorant brand wanted to know what got young women between the ages of 13 and 18 to wear deodorant for the first time? Is it possible to move from monitoring to engaging in order to ask specific questions of specific audiences?” (I love it when you ask questions.)

Let’s respond to your questions by asking three questions:

  • Does this brand have a Facebook Page?
  • Does this brand have the ability to purchase Facebook Ads targeting females between the ages of 13 and 18?
  • Does this brand have the ability to build a campaign soliciting stories through a branded landing page?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, the brand can take their focus group from 5-7 girls uncomfortably answering questions for money, to thousands of girls answering questions for fun. People will contribute to your market research without expecting payment if you position the ask properly. Less cost, more quality – and high quantities of – information. ROI, my friends.

It’s time to unfocus your focus group.

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When she’s not working as a marketing manager for Make Me Social, Mandi Frishman enjoys perusing the internet for mentions of her dog, Emma. During her time studying at The University of Florida, Mandi became convinced in the power of learning through play. She has since committed herself to playing (and learning) all day, every day.

Filters Are Not Just For Coffee

Are the only filters at your company for the coffee pot?

As any Pinteresting person knows, filters are not just for coffee. (Exhibits A – Z.) Filters are a necessary part of most people’s days. You filter yourself in business settings and when you’re around children. You may avoid certain subjects (see: politics, religion) and choose your words more carefully. While it’s become second nature for people in face to face interactions, many people have yet to apply real world communications best practices to online social networks.

There’s a lot made public that shouldn’t be. Whether it’s someone complaining about a client or talking about an internal initiative that was never meant to be released publicly, information is leaking out that could harm your brand. If you aren’t convinced, read this article about how a single comment from a Grooveshark employee led to an investigation that ended with Grooveshark being sued for over $17 billion.

The responsibility sits within the organization to set expectations and show employees and company representatives how to filter themselves on social media.

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When she’s not working as a marketing manager for Make Me Social, Mandi Frishman enjoys finding new uses for yarn on Pinterest. During her time studying at The University of Florida, Mandi became convinced in the power of learning through play. She has since committed herself to playing (and learning) all day, every day.

The Limit Does Not Exist: The End Of “Social Media”

If you sit a child down with wooden blocks, how long does it take for the blocks to be transformed into a castle, a circus or a cat? The blocks themselves remain unchanged, and what they can become will only be limited by the imagination of the young architect.

At some point in the child’s life, someone may tell them that a wooden block can’t be a cat, because cats aren’t made up of harsh angles and fixed lines. The child could accept that as true or they could pick up some tools and smooth the block into the shape of a cat.

Social media is the wooden block and we are the child.

wooden block

We have been handed one of the most powerful tools for expression in recent history, the building blocks of community and communication, and it is up to us to decide what we want to build. The only limits that exist are self-imposed – or in some cases, imposed at the corporate level.

So how does your business use social media internally? That’s right, internally. As in, to speed up and improve internal communications and collaboration, and build a more vibrant, engaged, community of employees.

The idea itself is not new but many businesses seem hesitant to use existing social media technologies internally. It doesn’t mesh with some preconceived notion of what social media is. Here’s an idea: forget everything that you know about social media. Forget the term “social media”. This is communication, supported by technology. This is creativity, supported by collaboration.

This is Enterprise 2.0 and it is a wooden block. What will you build?

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When she’s not working as a marketing manager for Make Me Social, Mandi Frishman enjoys hiding Mean Girls quotes in blog titles. During her time studying at The University of Florida, Mandi became convinced in the power of learning through play. She has since committed herself to playing (and learning) all day, every day.

An Army of Flones: Halloween in the Digital Age

Trick or Treat, Give Me Something Good to Tweet

I went out for a walk last night and found myself surrounded by brands. To my left was Tony the Tiger, to my right was a Facebook Profile, and just ahead of me was an iPhone being carried by Flo from Progressive and the Geico Caveman. Welcome to Halloweentown, USA, where the candy coating exists only to protect the crunchy core of consumerism. (Note to self: must #OccupyHalloween!)

Now as much as Halloween is an opportunity for people to break out of the mold and express themselves by dressing up in ridiculous costumes, decorating their homes by sticking candles in rotting fruits, and purchasing large amounts of dry ice, it is also fantastic for the economy. The National Retail Federation estimates that Americans will spend $6.86 billion dollars this year on Halloween, which comes out to about $72.31 per person.

So how does a marketer get a piece of those dolla dolla bills for their brand?

Progressive launched an all-out campaign to build an army of Flo clones (Flones) and they then armed them to take over the internet. The website was set up, the Google Ad campaign was built, the community manager was active, and the army of Flones grew.

Radio Shack aka “The Shack” has been on a quest to bring back their DIY customers – what better time to reach out to them than Halloween? With a step by step DIY guide to building a robot costume with eyes that light up, their blog made the case for a little holiday shopping trip to The Shack. I would have loved to see them take this a step further, and build out an entire campaign around Halloween, promoted on more niche channels in order to really reach their target market.

Halloween is something that gets people excited, and many will spend weeks planning their costumes. If you can get people excited about your brand, using your brand as a resource for a costume, and tagging your brand online, you win. Your brand will forever be tied to a story in their life and will always be a part of their memories – especially the digital, easily shareable ones.

So next Halloween, remember the song of the season:trick or treat, give me something good to tweet!

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When she’s not working as a marketing manager for Make Me Social, Mandi Frishman enjoys dressing up in “Pageant Casual Couture” and smiling with her eyes. During her time studying at The University of Florida, Mandi became convinced in the power of learning through play. She has since committed herself to playing (and learning) all day, every day.

New Facebook Overview, Explanation, & What it Means to Brands

While most people were at lunch last Thursday, we were glued to our computer screens watching f8 Live. We furiously scribbled notes while Mark Zuckerberg announced major changes to personal Profiles, the addition of new Apps and a new interface, and the expansion of the Open Graph. When “Zuck” as we lovingly call him, wrapped up the presentation and left the stage, everyone at the office spent the rest of the day discussing the implications of the changes to brand Pages.

As you read this, there are likely people at Facebook coding furiously to prepare the network for the next round of changes. The platform has now grown to 800 million members, and Facebook is preparing for an IPO. This will be the first of many changes, and as such, this will be the first of many blogs guiding you through.

New Facebook Vocabulary
Ticker
A real-time snapshot of what your friends are doing, whether it’s commenting on a photo, liking a status update, or listening to a song on Spotify. The ticker is constantly updating itself and any “lightweight” updates that Facebook does not believe have a place in the Recent Stories section of the profile, will be found in the Ticker. Updates made through the Open Graph will appear in the ticker. It is not yet clear how Facebook is weighing other types of content to decide what is worthy of appearing as a Story rather than appearing momentarily in the Ticker.

Timeline
The new profile, currently in beta testing mode for those who have opted-in to test it. It is a moving mosaic of the photos, videos, places and status updates that make up not just your Facebook profile, but in a way, your personality. Facebook wants to be a living scrapbook of your life, a collection of the places that you’ve been, the friends that you’ve made, and the pictures that you’ve posted – from birth to present. You can go back through the Timeline and add photos and information about your life BF (Before Facebook) so don’t worry if you were born prior to 2004, the year that Facebook was started.

Once installed, the current default settings for the Timeline are “Public” or “Private”. Some initial criticism has been voiced about how visible the Timeline makes all of your information, and many beta testers have expressed a desire to control who can see the timeline, in the same way that you can control who can see your status updates.

Open Graph
This is where developers build Apps that integrate into Facebook. The Open Graph allows users to share their activity without physically pressing a button, or pausing their activity to update a status. This means that a new Facebook permissions screen will appear when you first activate an app, making you aware of how they will share through your profile. Once the initial decision to opt-in has been made, Apps will no longer have to ask for permission to post content to your Facebook.

New Facebook and Privacy
Facebook is taking a pretty bold step here in assuming that people are open to sharing every aspect of their online lives with the world. While this may be a “generational thing” many in the tech community are starting to raise their eyebrows and clear their throats. The new, more flexible rules around collecting information through Apps is great news for marketers …but the benefits likely do not extend to the average user. By introducing the new sharing feature baked in to media Apps like Spotify and Hulu, Facebook has done an excellent job of introducing their new brand of medicine to users with the proverbial “spoon full of sugar.” Facebook is clearly moving full steam ahead with this new lax take on personal privacy and information, and it likely take some sort of intervention by the Federal Government to stop it.

It is vital to point out here that it’s not just Facebook – Google does it too.

New Facebook and Brands
Although the bulk of the changes to brand Pages have yet to come, there are a handful of significant changes that will impact the way that Pages need to be managed. Users no longer have to “Like” a Page to comment on the Page’s activity. This means that it is no longer necessary to be a fan of a Page in order to Like a photo in a photo contest, or write on the Wall. Monitoring a Page will become increasingly important, as will creating compelling content and building community to keep the Page lively.

When the new profile Ticker initially launched, Brand Pages saw an immediate drop in engagement that at some points appeared to be as high as 70% across the network. Engagement has begun to rebound but is still down about 20% network wide. While the aesthetic and functional changes that were implemented across the board for all Personal Profiles have yet to hit the brand Pages, they are coming. Without a set date from Facebook it is difficult to build out a timeline, but we are constantly monitoring the network for any hint of testing that could indicate long term changes.

Key Takeaways:
Content and Community

Until the average user adapts to the new interface and takes advantage of the available filtering tools, such as Lists, the network is going to appear very noisy. It will be harder for people to see your content. When it’s harder for people to see you, it is more important than ever that you give them a reason to seek you out. Community and Content, the basis of every strategy that we put together, are now more important than ever.

Mixed Media for Maximum Benefits

In the past filling your page with multiple different types of media was important. Now, it’s crucial. Facebook has declared “Media” as one of the four types of Apps that can be created with the Open Graph – the other three being Games, Communication, and Lifestyle. They are partnering with multiple media companies like Spotify, Hulu, and Color, in order to make the network the center of the media world. Photos are going to show up differently than status updates, and users are going to be trained to respond differently to a photo than they would to words.

Brand Actions and Behaviors

Now that users can engage with content on a page without first Liking the page, the content will need to be more focused on driving action. The platform is now optimized for sharing and storytelling, not broadcasting. The New Facebook is about giving people something that they’re truly interested in to engage with. It’s about providing people with something to read, something to interact with, and something to belong to.

All About Advertising

You don’t create a website and expect people to find it serendipitously – you advertise it. And now Facebook wants you to apply that same mode of thinking to your Page. If you want to be seen, they want you to advertise on their platform. In fact, it appears from our analysis that Facebook is now including Facebook Ads in their EdgeRank formula, which is used to decide how often your content shows up on the network. That means that by purchasing Facebook Ads, your content will have a better chance of appearing in the Recent Stories stream, increasing brand awareness and visibility.

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Keep in mind, it’s going to take some testing to fully understand the impact to Brands and how to adapt to the New Facebook. We are currently testing out some new strategies to take advantage of the new interface – and we may even share some secret sauce with you in future blogs!

Now I’m going to go listen to Hanson on Spotify so that all of my Facebook friends know how awesome I am.

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When she’s not working as a marketing manager for Make Me Social, Mandi Frishman enjoys guessing what music Facebook employees will come out to during f8. During her time studying at The University of Florida, Mandi became convinced in the power of learning through play. She has since committed herself to playing (and learning) all day, every day.