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At the Natural Products Expo West six months ago, the marketing question on every up-and-coming food and beverage brand’s lips was, “what’s happened to my organic Facebook reach?” Every marketer wanted to know if their brand’s crashing social reach numbers were the result of something they were doing wrong, or if others were experiencing the same plummet.

Since then, we’ve all come to understand – if not appreciate – that the price of Facebook going public is that Facebook now has to show increasing ad revenues to shareholders.

What was an annoyance for Big CPG was near earth shattering for challenger brands who had come to rely on Facebook to make their largely organic and natural brands part of the hyperactive foodie buzz in social.

Now, CPG brand managers (at companies both large and small) have to ask themselves some tough questions when it comes to navigating the ever-evolving social space:

#1 – Am I prepared for zero? (Zero organic Facebook reach, that is).

In 2014, we finally had to face the music: The free ride of audience reach and engagement was over. Kaput. Kablooey.

On the bright side, you can enjoy the fact that you built an engaged and passionate fan base while the getting was good. And the getting is still good – you just have to do what you’ve always done: build a solid paid digital plan across multiple platforms to continue to build and engage your base.

Smarter, targeted marketing won’t be free, but it’s still the way to build your brand and get ahead of your competitors.

rwk-post#2 – How do I get people to pay attention to what I’m saying?

That’s easy: tell a great story. Embrace this new golden age of advertising when we have to create great brand stories that are welcomed, viewed and shared by consumers, rather than shoved down their throats.

Delivering emotional creative that resonates with your consumer is part art, part science (have you studied and optimized your past posts?). As always, great brand stories are founded on an insightful creative strategy and a distinctive brand voice.

Too often, in the rapid world of social posts, these keystones to great creative get short shrift.

#3 – How do I know if social media is moving the business?

Since when did any brand expect to advertise for free? We’re happy to spend if we can identify a positive ROI.

ROI on your social marketing can be assessed at virtually any budget level. And it’s now possible to determine a 1:1 measurement answering the question, “Did the person who saw my social post go to the store and buy my product?”

Worry less about free organic reach and appreciate the fact that you can actually target and measure these behaviors. The data is out there–it’s simply a matter of tying consumers’ social behaviors to the actions they complete in-store.

#4 – How do I produce content and get it in front of the right people quickly?

Producing consistently great, original content for social demands that you take your production process to new levels never before imagined in a “push” media world.

Across our roster of CPG clients, we currently churn out social posts at a rate of one every 21 minutes, while managing multiple platforms and interacting with target consumers an average of every 2.5 minutes.

Social was never really “free.” It has always demanded a team of content specialists armed with a proven process for developing high quality branded content, delivered at scale yet hyper-targeted, with incredibly responsive turnaround times.

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#5 – How much time should I devote to keeping up with the ever-changing world of digital marketing?

Wayne Gretzky once attributed his success to “skating to where the puck is going to be.” The digital marketing game is a fast-moving puck, and you must invest some time and resources into keeping smart on trends and emerging technologies.

Those who were skating to where the puck was going to be didn’t have all their eggs in the organic Facebook reach basket when that organic reach took the plunge.

Beating your competition in the ever-changing world of digital marketing requires some time and resources invested in getting smart and testing your way to better models.

Still trying to make sense of it all? Smith Brothers can help!

The way we see it, the end of the free social ride is really the beginning of great social advertising, and making that investment count in a way that can be tracked back to the recipient of your social post buying your brand at retail.

That requires the best of what great advertising has always demanded: endlessly curious creative folks searching for a powerful insight and expressing it in a fresh and compelling way.

We can improve the impact of your social media strategy with our 1-Day Workshop Series. Choose the workshop(s) that best meet your needs:

  • Digital Strategy – we’ll help you plan for the entire marketing ecosystem, starting with mapping out your brand’s digital strategy.
  • Creative – you’ll learn how a smart social publishing strategy (incorporating content pillars and storylines) can provide the foundation for all your social content moving forward.
  • ROI – designed to help you establish KPI benchmarks and understand the analytical tools at your disposal.
  • Social Media Management – we’ll teach you how to deliver social content efficiently and effectively (by planning for what you can, and reacting to what you can’t).
  • Trends – you’ll learn how to get smart (and stay smart) when it comes to following trending topics in social media.

Ready to get started? Call me at 412-359-7224 or email me at david.h@smithbrosagency.com.

(And if you sign up by December 1, 2014, we’ll knock 33% off the cost of your first session!)

David H
David H
Vice President of Engagement

David helps clients envision how the web can improve their business and then devises a plan to achieve that vision.

It all started at First Consulting Group, where David led numerous complex projects, ranging from large-scale network upgrades to first-generation web sites for NYU. Since then he has amassed over a dozen years experience in strategic planning, web development, online marketing, web 2.0 consulting, digital PR, mobile marketing and a bunch of other stuff most people don’t understand - engineering web successes for numerous clients.

Before joining Smith Brothers, David spent seven years at Ripple Effects Interactive managing the company’s largest and most complex accounts, ultimately becoming the EVP of Strategy and Marketing. He also oversaw both the user experience and online marketing departments. He maintains a depth of knowledge with regard to usability heuristics and industry best practices across the interactive spectrum (quite a mouthful, huh?).

Throughout his career, David has worked with major brands such as American Eagle Outfitters, Coke, National City Bank, GlaxoSmithKline, Carnegie Mellon University, Cornell University and the Pennsylvania Tourism Office.

He holds a BA in Geographic Information Systems from the University of Pittsburgh and a Masters in the same ultra-techie sounding major from Ohio University.