Category Archives: Brand

100% Year Over Year Sales Growth Exclusively Through Social Media – You Can Too!

Is it possible for a small startup company with little funding to succeed exclusively through social media marketing?

Can social media really achieve ROI (return on investment) no matter how crowded their industry space is?

The question of ROI, huge sales and revenue growth for an organization built exclusively on social media marketing as its one and only marketing channel is constantly a topic of discussion online. Many are now writing articles that suggest a change of focus toward less measurable things like branding, exposure or some other old school marketing lingo that simply replaces real results with a lot of flashy terminology.

100 percent sales, revenue and user growth The answer is a definitive YES!  You can get ROI and more than 100% sales and revenue growth each year. How do we know? We’ve done it. We would like to make it official.

Today Bundle Post is announcing that it has achieved over 100% sales, revenue and user base growth in less than 12 months!

Do you think we are a little excited? Of course we are. shouldn’t we be? We have not even done a single social or online ad whatsoever.

You can do this too!

So the question becomes, how does a social media technology startup that is self-funded and in one of the most crowded spaces online compete with companies that have millions in venture funding?

Below you will find six keys to an effective social media program. We also include links to more detail on specific items within each section. So let’s take a peek under the hood…

1) Start Early -

You can’t wait to start your social media marketing when you have your site, product or ducks all nicely in a row. You need to have built a community well before you launch your actual product or service if you are going to be effective launching it in social media. So you have to start early and build a community that knows you BEFORE you are ready to go to market.

Already launched, now what?

If you have already launched your company or service, you’ve GOT to work over time. Growing your community size is every bit important as anything else in social media. This has to be a constant and active part of what you are doing.

WHY?

You have to have a large enough audience to make social media effective. Think of radio or TV advertising. Although it is mass market, direct advertising and anything but social, it’s about the numbers. Social media marketing is about the numbers too, but not only the numbers. It’s also social. You must find your target audience and connect with them. In essence you need to take an active role in growing your audience on a daily basis and not just building your profiles and hoping they will come.

But this alone doesn’t make social media effective. It’s just a single spoke in the wheel.

2) Stay Consistent - In social media, there is nothing more important than consistency. Just like in sports, if a team is really good at something, but not consistently, they struggle to win. You need to be consistent will all of your social media components if you expect to see results.

Here are a few things to be consistent at:

  • Selfless Value – Share enough relevant, valuable content every day, all day that is interesting to your target audience.
  • Be Grateful – Thank people who share your posts. Do it always and do it quickly.

3) Strategy – You need to know exactly where you are going and how you indeed on getting there. Get this wrong and you’ll be in trouble. You need to get it right and stick to it! In social, we call that strategy.

Know these 5 things:

  • What is the specific and realistic objective of your social media program.
  • Who exactly are you trying to reach. (no time to be general. Think geographic, psychographic and demographic)
  • What are they interested in? (that’s what you need to post content about)
  • What brands/people have already built a following of your intended audience? (Follow their following)
  • How often do I plan to proactively engage with my intended audience DAILY?

4) Always Respond -

One of the biggest mistakes we see being made in social media is slow or no response from accounts. When you are mentioned, tagged or your posts are shared, you not only need to respond, but you need to do it rapidly. When someone engages with your brand or content you posted, they are there, right at that moment. Missing the opportunity to have a conversation is limited by the length of time you take to respond.

Ignoring connections that engage with your brand is a death sentence. Over time, they stop. Do this at your own peril.

5) Be Known For Something -

You don’t just DO social media and magically get results. Having an effective social media program involves really understanding your audience, the topics that interest them and the challenges they have that you help with. If you truly understand these things about your potential and current customers, you will know the topics you need to be known for posting about. This is called “thought leadership” in social media.

Beyond subject matters, be known for your engagement, gratitude and response. Better yet, follow our lead and also be known for your Customer Support. We are constantly and publicly acknowledged for our support response, willingness to help and hands on approach. Mimic this and make it not only a priority, but part of your company culture. You will thank me later.

6) Earn Relationships -

Before you start posting your marketing stuff in your feeds, be sure you have real, selfless value in them. A small percentage of what you post on a daily basis should be about you and what you do. The largest number of posts should be what we discussed in number 2 above. Curate content that is valuable to your audience and earn the right to pitch your wares by first doing that and responding to the conversations that result.

Building relationships is a process. Providing selfless value is the method. ~ @fondalo

Does this seem like a lot? Well, it is. There’s an enormous amount involved in running an effective social media marketing program. Your social media management, tools and workflow are the essential components that must work together effortlessly. For us and many other social media marketers, brands and agencies, Bundle Post is the glue that makes them all converge.

If you’d like a live demo of Bundle Post in action and a one on one social media marketing consultation, hit us up on Twitter @BundlePost

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Filed under Agency, Brand, Bundle Post, Content, Curation, Marketing, Relationship, Results, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Social Media ROI, social media tool, Social Selling, Strategy, Tools, Twitter

America The Movie, Google And Political Agendas? Or Just How Google Works

Last week much of the internet was abuzz about Dinesh D’Souza’s new movie, “America” and particularly how Google was presumably The buzz about Google's search results for the movie "America"manipulating search results to somehow harm the movies success. The situation escalated when attorneys for the movie sent a legal letter to Google demanding that search results for the new movie be properly enacted and an explanation of whether the issue was human or algorithm related.

We don’t do political here at Bundle Post, so no reference to the details of the movie and/or our personal beliefs will be included in this post, however this situation begs a different viewpoint that is not currently being defined.

There are two prominent points of view being put forward on this situation, so I think we should first outline them, then open a differing discussion about what might be really going on here.

1) Google Purposeful Manipulation – The insinuation that has driven most of the buzz on this story is that Google has some political agenda that opposes the movie and that is the reason for the search result failure.

2) A “Problem” With The Google Search Algorithm – In a statement from Google to The Hollywood Reporter they said “that it has implemented a fix for the problem, caused by confusion — Google says — with “America” being a common term. But it will still take “some time” before the fix rolls out in order to make showtimes appear.”

Are you sure about that Google?

Putting those two points aside, I think having a proper perspective here makes a lot of sense. Google is an ad platform. All of it’s sites, products and services are focused on achieving two things:

1) Data gathering of user profiles, habits and interests.

2) Delivering more targeted advertisements.

Whether you are using gmail, Google Plus, an Android device or any other Google owned product or site, the entire focus of the company is to improve these two things. It’s how Google makes money. Advertisers pay to improve their exposure on Google search, ad platforms and other owned sites.

The hard facts are this – Google has no interest in showing you the latest, relevant content for your searches. They want to show you the most popular PAGES associated with your search, which forces brands, agencies and marketers to pay to compete for the exposure of those most popular pages.

Knowing Google’s real agenda and business model, it seems that what occurred here is simply how it works for any search topic. Popular pages will get the highest SEO results and therefore the top search results. Google is a business that derives revenue from Pay Per Click advertisements on their search engine as well as on other sites and platforms. They want movie producers, venues and studios to pay to promote their wares, just as any local restaurant or national retail chain does.

I don’t believe that Google is dumb enough to put forth a blatant discriminatory political agenda that could harm their business or future revenue. However, they certainly seemed to have opened Pandora’s box with the statement provided to The Hollywood Reporter.

Did they open the door for other media companies, brands and marketers to create news and bad press for Google? Did Google offer legal grounds for others to also demand that their search results be modified or improved? I’m not sure about all that, but they are interesting questions to consider.

At the end of the day, America the movie seems to have received a lot of additional press and Google might have come off looking a little poorly. Social media has a powerful impact on these situations and this example shows just that.

What say you?

*PS – A search on Bing for “America Movie” returned the proper search results at first position. #interesting

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Filed under Brand, Content, Google, Google Plus, Marketing, Results, SEO, Social Media

14 Things I’ve Learned About Content Curation In Social Media

We recently published a post called “50 Random Things I Have Learned About Social Media Marketing” that quickly became one of our most viewed posts of all time. It was obvious that many people appreciate a clear and concise post that lists actionable items and truths about effective social media marketing. We decided to apply the same principle to a post about content curation.

14 things I've learned about content curation in social mediaContent curation is something that has been written about quite extensively, however most people still don’t seem to understand what it is and how to be effective with it in social media. In fact many brands even ignore the importance of curation in their streams and instead continually talk about themselves.

Let’s start off by assigning a definition to content curation that is easily understood. Content Curation is the act of discovering, aggregating and posting online content that was produced by others, not yourself. Curation is typically focused on a specific topic or small number of topics that are considered relevant to the audience you’re trying to reach. Though it is often misunderstood, to actually curate relevant content is to also add context, editorial comment or attribution to posts that you are sharing, content curation has become synonymous with aggregating and sharing relevant content whether or not context is added to the post.

As the founder and CEO of Bundle Post, an experienced social media marketer and previously a social media agency founder, I have a lot of time and effort invested in understanding and effectively using social content curation. Here are just a few of the things I have learned over the years that I believe you will find eye-opening and helpful.

14 (of the hundreds of things) I’ve learned about curating content in social media:

1) Knowing your audience and what they’re interested in is imperative.

2) Curating content from the same popular sources everyone else is, is not effective.

3) Curating content that is suggested from sites based on what others are already sharing is not effective. (see number 2)

4) Curating unique, recent and relevant content that is targeted toward your audience’s interest, will initiate engagement by your audience.

5) Retweeting on Twitter and Sharing posts on Facebook is not curating with a strategy, it’s executing someone else’s strategy. You need to RT and share other people’s posts, but not as your entire posting strategy.

6) Hashtagging curated posts with a strategy will grow your target audience if you do it properly.

7) Important reasons you must curate quality content posts:

  1. Provide relevant, selfless value to your community
  2. Build thought leadership on topics important to your strategy
  3. To stay top of mind with your audience
  4. To spark conversations
  5. To earn the right to share and promote your stuff

8) Developing a specific curation strategy is an important part of an overall social media strategy.

9) People are not logged in watching their streams all day, every day. Having enough relevant posts all day long is important.

10) Being consistent with your curation posting makes a huge difference in your results.

11) Proper content curation sparks conversations with your audience and that leads to relationships and ROI.

12) When a curated post receives a lot shares, likes and engagement, it is resonating with your audience. Schedule it several more times over the next week to maximize the effectiveness of that single post.

13) There is no choice between quantity and quality with content curation. It’s always BOTH.

14) Curated social media posts that often get the most shares and engagement are the ones that are by relatively unknown sources!

As you can see, effective social media curation is anything but mindless sharing. It is conscious and active and based on a deep understanding of your audience. There is a substantial difference between the end results of sharing content suggested by some algorithm, a tribe you belong to or content that is really popular as opposed to curation of unique, recent and relevant content your audience finds interesting and valuable. The thoughtful execution of a well thought out strategy is what makes content curation massively effective in the long run.

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Filed under Brand, Content, content creation, Curation, Facebook, Marketing, Relationship, Results, Retweet, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Strategy, Tools, Twitter

Social Media Conversations That Become Leads

Conversations within social media is what builds relationships. Those resulting relationships are what lay the foundations for real results like sales, revenue and customer acquisition. But the question I hear most often is “How do you get into conversations that become leads?”

Social media conversations that become leadsOne way to get into conversations is to simply start them with others. For brands this is an infinitely more difficult task given the resources required, the restrictions of certain social networks and simply time. This doesn’t scale well and therefore is often only a small part of a social strategy long-term. Starting conversations with your target audience is effective, but requires massive resources to pull it off with anything resembling return on investment (ROI).

Another and more frequently used approach to starting conversations is something I call luring.

I frequently use analogies to correlate social media marketing to things that most people already understand. I find that many comprehend some of the complexities of social media much better this way. So let’s look at social media engagement or social selling as fishing.

Lure, luring, fishing. Get it?

If you agree that “Content leads to conversations, conversations build relationships and relationships result in ROI“, then we can equate content to a fishing lure and getting a bite on the line as a conversation. The reason for a fishing lure is to attract and catch fish. Different sizes and types of lures are designed to attract different types and sizes of fish. Therefore the right content, created and curated (the lure) in your streams will attract a certain type of prospect and therefore increase the chances that they share, comment or like the content you post (the bite).

Furthering our analogy, if you don’t cast enough times on the day you are fishing, you greatly reduce your chances of getting any bites. Casting your lure into the lake only a few times will likely result in no fish being attracted to your lure. You have to keep casting, reeling in and casting again in order to increase the odds that a fish will even see your lure, let alone be attracted to it. This is why having enough consistent, relevant, valuable content in your streams is so important.

This gets even complex when there are numerous types of fish in the lake, but you’re only interested in catching a specific kind. Now you have to consider WHICH lures (content subject matter) are best to attract that specific type of fish and also how many times you need to be casting and reeling in your lure each and every day in order to get a bite. If you want to attract fish that have a higher propensity to engage with you from the content you post, focus on curating content that highlights the challenges that your product and service solves for your target audience.

5 Social Media Ways To Foster Conversations With The Right Audience -

  1. Enough Posts (Casting) – social network users are logging on and off, and switching from desktop to mobile all day long. If you do not have enough posts all day, every day, you’re likely to be seen less.
  2. Content Type (The Lure) – Whether you are curating or creating content, you need to ensure that what you are posting is relevant and interesting to your target audience. Know what THEY are interested in and post about those topics. This is what will get them to engage YOU.
  3. Crowded Waters – Just because an article is popular or comes from a popular site, doesn’t mean you should post it in your streams. In fact, I would say that in most cases the opposite it true. Sharing content that everyone has already seen, read and shared themselves is hardly an effective strategy. If your peers and competitors are fishing in the same cove of the lake, grab your fishing pole and fish somewhere else where this fish see less of the same lures.
  4. Create Lures – Along with posting curated content, you should also be creating content. Think of this as the experienced fly fisherman that ties their own flies. Know your intended audience (fish) and what they’re interested in and create content that connects their needs, challenges and interests with what you do, without overtly pitching your product or service.
  5. Leads – When you have a “fish on” (conversation started) don’t reel it in as fast as humanly possible. Take the time to expand the conversation around your contact without immediately moving to what you do. Building relationships over time is what gets results. Getting a bite and immediately attempting to land the fish is a great way to rip the hook out and lose the fish altogether.

At the end of the day, social media marketing lead generation is not dissimilar to the real world. Relationships take time and often require many conversations to build trust. Taking the time to earn that trust will open doors to discuss what you do with your connections and turn relationships into leads.

If you’re having the right conversations with the right connections, your conversations will become leads.

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Filed under Brand, Community, Content, content creation, Curation, Engagement, Marketing, Relationship, Results, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Social Selling, Uncategorized

The How To’s of Customer Targeting, Acquisition And Retention In Social Media

In a report released earlier this month, “Over 85% of US marketing executives cited acquiring new customers and increasing retention as the top two 2014 marketing priorities.” After reading this, I asked myself when isn’t that the top two priorities of most executives? Isn’t that why a business is marketing to begin with? But I digress…

Customer Targeting Retention & Acquisition in Social MediaThe report further outlined that Executives said that “getting or holding target customers’ attention, as well as finding their target audience online, were the top two major challenges.

I find it interesting how larger brands and agencies find these things so challenging. They have the biggest budgets, the most resources and yet still navigate the online marketing world as if it is print or television. In today’s social networking world, finding your target audience couldn’t be more simple. Holding the attention of target customers is really just as easy, if in fact you are doing it properly.

What small, local and medium businesses lack in the form of resources and budgets, they more than make up for in common sense, nimbleness and the ability to effectively execute quickly. If and only if you understand one simple truth about digital marketing in today’s world…

It’s NOT about YOU!

The reason most of the big brands see the issues outlined in this report and challenging is because most have yet to recognize this fact. Big brands often solely self promote their wares and create a persona of “too good to engage” to their audience. A quick scan of most brands social media feeds and mentions will uncover huge communities that are attempting to engage with their favorite brands and those same brands ignoring the comments, mentions and engagement by the very target customers they say they are trying to find and hold attention with. Is it really this difficult to understand?

Acquire and Retain Customers:

If your priority is to acquire and retain customers, engage them. Make them feel wanted beyond their pocketbook. If you ignore your audience, they’ll not be your audience for very long.

Get Attention:

If you want to get the attention of your target customer, create and curate content that they are interested in. It might not have anything to do with your industry, product or brand. Meet them where their interests are and make your feeds be about them, not you.

Find Your Audience:

If you want to find your target customer, simply search for the people that are your target, connect with them and show interest in who they are. There’s no place this is done any easier than Twitter. I have said many times that Twitter is the hub of social media marketing.

The Wrap Up:

In an age where Facebook organic reach is declining to ultimate zero and the need for real results from social media marketing and other online channels are increasing, marketers need to adjust their “we’ve always done it this way” mentality. SMB’s need to better recognize the opportunities readily available and gain the knowledge and executional capabilities required to capitalize on them.

Twitter is your friend, learn it and execute it well to grow your targeted community. It is one of the only social networks that enables you to easily find and connect with your target audience easily.

Facebook now requires you to pay to reach the audience you already invested heavily to grow. Recognize this and either establish a budget to do that or maintain your presence there, but get better elsewhere.

Above all, look at your social media connections as more of an intimate one-on-one relationship, rather than an audience for your advertisements. If you stop ignoring your community and respond to their mentions, seek to converse with them about what they’re doing and curate recent relevance based on their interests, you will earn their respect and gain their interest in what you do.

 

 

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Filed under Brand, Community, Content, Curation, Engagement, Facebook, Marketing, Results, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Twitter

Social Media Risk Management, Lawyers and Fear – Just Stop!

I am constantly seeing blog posts about the “risks” of social media marketing for brands. Are there risks? Of course there are risks and you need to manage them appropriately. But are there risks to waxing /buffing the floors at your restaurant, selling bikes that Understanding the real social media riskspeople will use for extreme sports and baking treats that contain peanuts? Am I being silly? Yes, I am trying to make the point that no matter what you do in today’s lack of common sense lawsuit business environment, there are risks. There will always be that one person looking for their “gettin’ paid” easy money opportunity to extort money from a business because they spilled coffee (that by the way is always hot and requires you to be careful) in their lap in a drive-through. Let’s get real shall we?

When my Twitter friend @maxnrgmike approached me about the topic and asked me to write a post about this, I had to consider it. It all started when I shared post about CEO’s and social media marketing. Mike jumped in and the thread began. Since I always try to keep my word, here we are. I am not going to get into deep statistics and “legalese”, but I am going to draw some business similarities that should get you to think and also attempt to insert some common sense into the discussion surrounding risk management and fear issues we often see in this space.

A discussion on risk management in social mediaNow, if you’re McDonald’s or Starbucks, you may have a more realistic risk management requirement for social media. You are a much bigger target, are known to many more people around the country and inherently become a “brand of opportunity” for some less than scrupulous people to go after.

But if you’re a small or medium business attending social media legal seminars and getting scared out of your pants about the “massive risks” some attorney is hammering about, can we all just chill out? Is social media marketing a bigger risk than the inherent business risk of being a medical device manufacturer, an insurance company or even a construction contractor? I think not…

Like any other business, industry or marketing effort a company uses, it comes with certain risks. The average SMB needs to put a little common sense into their social media equation, rather than listen to Lawyers that have a vested interest in being seen as educated on the topic.  By the very nature of their view on social media, an attorney dissuading you from social media marketing using fear is not going to be a very active or experienced social media user. Further more, that attorney probably doesn’t have a level of understanding of social media marketing to make them a qualified or trusted source to outline the risks for a small business beyond the completely legal aspects anyway. Just as I am biased toward social, they are going to be so against it. My knowledge of the industry easily outweighs their knowledge of only the legal side.

If that is the perspective, I have already outlined many more risky business scenarios you should be focused on instead of social media marketing.

So rather than have a discussion about legal risks, living in fear and making excuses as to why your business should not be active and effective in social media, let’s outline the compelling REAL risks you have at stake if you don’t.

Important And Real Social Media Risks:

1) Absent – Let’s be clear. You’re customers and prospects are all on social media, whether you think so or not, they are. Everyone is at some level. What’s worse is so are your competitors. Social media marketing is a marathon and your target audience is on the sidelines of the race cheering. Unfortunately for you, you’re not even running in the race, let alone own shoes or even bothered to stretch. To top it all off, your competitors ARE in the race, own running shoes and are making decent time. Your customers and prospects are connecting with your competitors, eating at their restaurants, buying their bikes and hiring them to do their remodels and you don’t even know it’s happening!

Another way you could be absent is owning running shoes, but not actually being in this social media marathon by not being active and/or you are not responding to your customers and prospects that check in to your business or mention you. Imagine the people who have had a poor experience at/with your business and are posting about it on their blog, on Facebook and other social platforms. They can’t tag your business because you don’t have social profiles, so you remain unaware this is even happening.

It used to be that a happy customer told one person and an unhappy customer told 10. With social media those numbers become multiplied by thousands. Risk you say? You might want to know about these situations. If you’re absent, you just never will and you will be left wondering why your business is failing.

2) Ineffective – You’re trying to learn and be effective in social media marketing but don’t have the knowledge, experience, time or resources to do it properly. So you end up either making huge mistakes as in number three below, or you become Absent as in number one above. Either way, you risk your competitors taking advantage of not living in fear and out running you in this distance race. If your audience is in social media already, and I argue they are, then your biggest business risk with social media is being absent or ineffective.

That means you are risking your entire business on this whole social media thing going away and your company surviving because you are just awesome like that. Might want to reconsider the real risks here.

3) Stupidity – Another real risk is that you do something stupid that alienates your business in horrific ways. Let me show you an example of such a thing. Meet Amy’s Baking Company and see how poorly run social media marketing had ZERO legal implications, but incredibly negative business results. Causing or letting a situation spin out of control on social media without the knowledge and experience to not be “stupid” is a huge risk. If you don’t know what you are doing, hire an experienced social media agency to manage it for you.

What’s a bigger risk? Being in and effective with social media marketing or going out of business because your fear got in the way and your business crashed and burned because you ignored it? Only you can decide.

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Filed under Brand, Facebook, Marketing, Results, Risk Management, Social Media, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Twitter

How NOT To Do Facebook Ads

Over the weekend I was scrolling through my feed on Facebook and came across this Sponsored Post from the United States Postal Service, USPS. It caught my eye because it had Spider-Man prominently displayed with the caption “Always at your Facebook Ad Failservice” accompanying it. This immediately trigger some thoughts and emotions about the USPS that many Americans might have. The words “Always” and “Service” are not some of the words that we typically or positively feel about the sinking giant.

Nevertheless, I clicked on the link in the ad to view the website, then I clicked the comments of the sponsored post to see what people were saying. I don’t know why I was so shocked, but I was. There were over 350 comments on the post and the majority were highly critical, negative or at least asking questions about the responsibility of the USPS to run such an ad.

The Spider-Man Facebook ad is part of a larger media campaign that is coupled with the release of the new film. Here’s the television ad that is also part of the campaign.

Whoever inside the USPS leadership and/or their ad agency hired to create and executive this campaign that did not see a potential negative backlash, should receive at least 40 lashes with a wet noodle. The messaging surrounding the post flies in direct contrast with the average consumers view of the government agency. Furthermore, as many of the comments surrounding the campaign point out, the agency should not be spending massive sums of money to partner on such things with Hollywood, when they are in such financial trouble to begin with. Isn’t this just common sense? Epic Fail in my humble opinion.

What can the average marketer take away from this fail?

1) Know your audience and the potential negative perceptions they have about your industry, product, service or brand. Don’t set yourself up for failure by using the wrong messaging that may spark negative results.

2) Be careful what your ad claims. Ask yourself how your audience might react to the claims you are making in your ads. Instead, adjust the messaging to fill the needs that your target audience has or a provide a specific offer that is valuable to them. Do NOT make claims that your audience may readily disagree with and spark controversy.

3) Stay clear of controversy. Brands, industries, products and services should be extremely aware of their audiences sentiment and steer clear of controversial language. Advertising is hard enough, don’t make it more difficult by introducing potentially controversial things into your campaign.

The USPS situation teaches us to know our audience very well before we conduct a Facebook advertising campaign. Their fail is less to do with who they are as an agency or how well they actually perform what they do, but more about their failure to recognize their audiences perceptions, how it relates to their claims in the ad and most importantly the controversy that could arise from it. What’s more, they failed to recognize the social media marketing consequences that can result from missing on all these points.

 

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Filed under Agency, Brand, Community, Facebook, FAIL, Marketing, Social Media, Social Media Marketing