Monthly Q&Artful: Oct '21

Ask marketing questions, get marketing answers.

❓ What is one thing clients say to you that is like nails on a chalkboard?

“Our target is everyone.” I hate hearing this. Marketing is wholly about intention. Unless you have an unlimited marketing budget and no performance goals, you’ll always want to focus on the people you can impact the most. (See below)

What is the greatest advice someone has ever given you about marketing?

I can’t say that I’ve ever been gifted great marketing advice (not many have offered), but I’m happy to share this with you now: the digital landscape can ebb and flow, but if you know your people in and out, you’ll never sweat the tide. And it’s true: social media will always change but if you know what your customer wants, you won’t have to resort to gimmicks and “growth hacks.”

❓ One of my clients asked me to start including video in our monthly reports. Do you include videos in your engagement reporting, and what metrics define success?

Video engagement metrics help your client understand if their approach is resonating with people; it’s good to include video in your monthly report. Some social platforms love to put a three-second views metric front-and-center. Ignore it. I can’t recall a time I’ve spent five seconds on a video and remembered what it was for. Instead, make sure to note your video completions, and keep an eye on how your reach/completions changes over time.

You may also want to check out individual video drop-off to see where each video was abandoned. You might uncover a story that isn’t being told purely by numbers—here’s an example:

Your client is an anti-fungal cream manufacturer. They have three new videos they want you to deploy using Facebook Ads. You find that a high percentage of users stop watching at different timestamps for each video. You observe that each timestamp coincides with a scene of the product being used on a model’s foot. Your hypothesis is that a segment of the audience is repulsed by feet, and they’re disengaging. While reporting this finding, you offer a solution to test a new cut of the video without the model.

❓ What advice do you have for a mid-sized brand marketing team going through the RFI process for a media agency?

If you find an agency that you really like, pitch them the absolute worst idea you can think of to promote your brand. Gauge how they respond. If they ‘yes’ you to death, it’s probably not going to be a healthy business relationship. If they try to talk you out of it—they pass. If they give you a gut-check for even considering it, then you’ve found yourself a gem.

❓ Do you think moving my digital footprint to a commercial office or incubator space will make a significant difference in Google presence?

As long as your physical address is true, accurate, and verified by punching in the six-digit code they mail to your place of business, Google doesn’t discriminate between a commercial or residential address. If foot traffic isn’t a business driver, you can forego sharing a physical address and supply a P.O. Box instead—Google will treat it all the same.

❓ What are your must-have social/digital marketing platforms/tools?

Other than your noggin, an electronic device, and an internet connection, there are really no must-have tools or platforms. That said, there are services and technologies out there that will help you do work more efficiently. Understand your strengths and weaknesses as a marketing professional and build your marketing technology stack to compensate for any weak spots.

I know I need a social listening tool, a CMS, business email, and a creativity suite. Other people might need a scheduler, a CRM, an API connector, marketing email service, research analysis, et al.

❓ Not only am I the social media manager, but I’m what passes as customer support these days too… I wasn’t trained to be a punching bag for keyboard warriors. I’m anxious about going to work every day. I’m completely burned out, depressed, and I feel unsupported by my team. Is there anything I can do to not feel this way?

For starters, I would love for you to disconnect from your digital devices for a couple hours today, and then commit to setting aside you-time each day that doesn’t involve interfacing with people. Think about what that looks like: creating a reading nook and diving into some great books, baking in the kitchen, going for a walk outside or taking a free walking Peloton class, putting on a VR headset and blowing up some zombies—whatever it is, define it and do it.

It’s completely natural to feel burnt out, but you absolutely must not take the messages sent to the brand account personally. Those comments have literally nothing to do with you. When I was the sole social media manager for a real estate franchise, every so often we’d get a doozie (someone once DM’ed a photo of human feces and said I was literal trash for allowing the lawn to grow untended on a neighboring for-sale property for weeks).

People are granted pseudo-anonymity online, so they feel empowered to say and do what they want to whomever they want. Interpersonal empathic cues are almost nonexistent on social media—combine that with a sense of invincibility and the callous entitlement, and voila. Is there any wonder why toxicity is a problem? Social teams-of-one won’t have bosses who understand this phenomena.

Once you’ve internalized this, you need to take some additional steps:

  1. If this is truly affecting your mental and emotional fortitude, it is up to you to seek help for yourself. is a good place to start because a trained therapist will understand the link between social media and mental disorder. They can also direct you to other support resources based on your needs.

  2. Consider writing a proposal to bring on another hire to lighten the load. If that’s not an option, then write another proposal to split responsibility for customer support, and assign people to be on-deck throughout the day.

  3. Start putting your feelers out there for a new job. I’m not saying you should quit, but let’s be real: this is a candidate’s market right now. There could be opportunities to find a better fit or advance your career to the next step. At the very least, interviewing will help you make connections and will keep your skills sharp.

To summarize: schedule time for you, utilize a support structure, delegate work, and keep your options open. I truly hope this gives you some ideas on how to take action.

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