First Friday: Making social media work for your business

Christine Merser came to the First Friday Breakfast meeting to reassure us that Facebook is not dead. As managing partner of Blue Shoe Strategy, a marketing firm specializing in social media and marketing through nontraditional methods, she should know. Blue Shoe Strategy has teams in New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles, and has worked on political campaigns for both Obama in 2012, and Jeb Bush in 2016). Christine gave us myriad examples of things that have worked for them on social media.

She offered two rules. The first is to be authentic. No matter how great your idea is, it will fall flat if it’s not your own.

The second rule is to Engage, Educate, and/or Entertain. “Do one of the three Es and your post will do better,” she said. “Do all three and you win.” When you post on a social media account, make a note about which area it hits to make sure you are always keeping the three Es in mind. When you engage, educate and entertin in marketing, she said, you create a loyal customer.


One of her clients, Lit Lovers, posted this meme on their facebook page – where it was shared over a thousand times. “I don’t care how many followers you have, or how many likes you have,” she said. “I’ll take a share over a like any day.” To estimate the reach, take a share and multiply it by 7 twice. So, a post that’s shared 1,000 times is reaches approximately 49,000 people.

She said to focus on putting content up that people engage with – and get over the need to post all the time. She suggests finding entertaining memes that relate to your topic. They don’t always have to do with your topic, but their success will tell you who is reading your material (in this case, moms).

One company that does events posted an article about some of the largest gatherings in history. It was educational, and there was a tie-in that subliminally connected those huge turn-outs with the company that posted the article. Post things that teach people how your product is used – and earn bonus points for doing it in an entertaining or engaging way.

The people who engage with your content are the ones who make your post great. Hotel Beacon NYC posted “We want to know, where are our guest from?” and received 137 comments. They then looked at where the most people said they lived, and boosted the post in those markets.

If a post is not generating conversation, get people to start commenting and sharing. Like shilling in Vegas, sometimes you need to prime the pump. Facebook ranks business pages very simply: 1-3. 1 is an influencer. If Facebook determines you are a 3, they don’t promote it at all.

How do you get to be a 1? Boost your posts (but don’t spend more than $3).

The New Demographics
Christine also talked about brand definition. “Don’t talk about what you are,” she said. “Talk about how you change a life.” Show that what you’re selling is for the betterment of mankind – or the betterment of a Sunday afternoon. Look at your brand differently before you start posting on social media.

Demographics used to be about age, geography, income. Now demographics are based on interests – like moms who love books, in the Lit Lovers example. Rethink the demographics of your company. What are they interested in? What do they care about? If you have a brick and mortar business, Christine suggested taking a quick survey at check-out.

She reminded us that content sells our products. Our products do not sell themselves. Tell stories to create content, and when you tell those stories, don’t tell about what you do, tell about how what you’ve done is is at work in the world. Instead of selling tickets to a fundraiser, sell people on what you’re raising funds for. Tell stories that mirror your readers’ own experience, or give them a window into something they now care about.

And finally, push out and pull in. Participate in other people’s pages – that’s what makes it social media.

Social media is more important than your website, she said. Think about it this way: If your website is a planet, you have to pay them to get there (through email, ads, etc.). People are already populating Facebook. So move your content to where people already are. Your Facebook page should include everything you do, and should have video. She said video on facebook is promoted 17 times more than an image, and you can do it as quickly as a picture. Here’s an example she gave:

Think about what platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) are right for your demographic – and remember that demographics are common interests. “We call them buckets,” she said of those interests, “and people can be in more than one bucket.”

She said podcasting is now more popular than video because people can multi-task while they listen. Yes, media has gone from print, to image, to video, and now back to audio.

Socially responsible social media
“Responsibility is not the government’s, or facebook’s. It’s ours,” she said. Recently, she was shocked at how many smart friends shared a request for donations without due diligence. “We are all responsible for making sure what we share is news, or reality. We decide what content gets pushed out there. If you want the country to be what you want it to be, you have to be proactive with what you put on your Facebook page.”

“We have to start putting out information that educates. The media will do what you tell them to. Stop doing diversionary explosions of things that aren’t doing anything at all.”

She stressed the importance of keeping personal opinions off business pages, and keeping personal pages private. She reminded us that if you are the head of a business and your personal page is visible, it can damage your business. Stop posting professional things on your personal page, and drive friends to your professional page.

But before you do that? Remember her Three Es, and post content that’s entertaining, educational, and engaging.

Christine’s slide deck

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