The Perfect Promotion: According to 1,200 Facebook Users

Sync Digital Solutions - 2018 Survey

Every year around this time we complete a poll of roughly 1,200 users on a social media platform. For 2016 - 17, we set out to learn what makes a user click on an ad. For 2015 - 16, we learned that while video may get more views, if you want to make a point that can be digested and remembered, then you want to produce a winning graphic. For 2017 - 18, we set out to determine what the perfect promotion looks like.

Here's who we polled:

  • 1,200 Facebook users.
  • 50% Male, 50% Female.
  • 20% 18 - 28, 20% 29 - 40, 18% 41 - 50, 7% 51+, 45% Unknown
  • 1,000 users were consumers.
  • 200 users were marketers, promoters, agency leads, and business owners.

The questions that we asked of consumers:

  1. What drives you to make a purchase for an event online? Service? Product?
  2. What is the optimal amount of time you need to know about the event, service, or product in order to make a purchase?
  3. What mediums influence your purchases most?
  4. How much does peer visibility matter in your purchasing decision?
  5. What kind of content will drive you to make a purchasing decision?

The questions that we asked of marketers, promoters, agency leads, and business owners:

  1. How much do you spend on average each month for a single event, product, or service campaign?
  2. What do you consider good total online ROI?
  3. Rank these online platforms by effectiveness for your single campaigns; Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.
  4. How much time do you usually give a promotion online?
  5. When marketing an event, service, or product, what content do you typically use?

Consumer Answers

What drives you to make a purchase for an event online? Service? Product?

The top 3 answers to this question covered 97% of responses; attached to celebrity or meaning, peers getting involved, and a creative approach. When asked about celebrity or meaning the respondents said that celebrity culture is alive and well, so having a celebrity as a part of the experience is key to getting their attention. Short of celebrity, meaning is important. Meaning is defined in this case as the event, service, or product providing a unique entertainment or educational experience that triggers curiosity or fills a need. Regarding creativity; text posts won't do, using the same graphics over and over won't do, and not having a unique hook is detrimental to success.

What is the optimal amount of time you need to know about the event, service, or product in order to make a purchase?

Interestingly, the responses for our 3 classes of purchases were very different. For an event, respondents said they would like to hear about an event a few months out and then get reminders that probe them to finally buy. For many the decision to go out is quite involved; time off work, organizing people to attend with, perhaps finding an outfit, planning more around the event to maximize time out, and deciding on logistics. This applies to large events such as an arena concert or big play. For smaller events, the optimal time for promotion is 7-weeks. Consumers felt that this was enough time to hear about, be reminded about, and plan for a small event. However, consumers did state that with smaller events such as club shows or small productions, those in charge of marketing must be aggressive because they don't care as much about attendance, and will likely make a purchasing decision at the last minute.

A stat that shocked us was the lead time for a product or service purchase. Of those that responded, well over 80% said their purchasing decisions in this case are generally within an hour of seeing the product or service online or identifying the need for the purchase. This speaks to the power of the internet. Many said they are online looking for something to do, so when they see a product or service that interests them, they will do the research on the spot and make a decision. Large purchases though, are a different story. Anything over $150 requires thought and consultation. This is why remarketing is so important, because each respondent said that without a reminder to investigate the potential purchase they will likely forget and move on to something else.

What mediums influence your purchases most?

By order of importance:

  • Facebook
  • Word of mouth
  • Google
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest

How much does peer visibility matter in your purchasing decision?

Through this poll we have identified peer visibility as the #1 factor to drive a purchasing decision when it comes to events, products, and services. You only need look at the previous answers to see why. In the vast majority of decisions, a purchase can fall flat if a peer is disengaged. Think about it; if your go to friend isn't interested in the event you want to attend, you'll likely plan something else. If trusted sources tell you a product fell short of expectations, you're likely to find an alternative. If a service isn't as advertised, and the word of mouth gets out, you're likely sunk.

71% of respondents said they are more likely to interact with an advertisement if a friend has interacted or if a friend brings it to their attention. This is why likes, comments, and shares are so important in this modern world of marketing. It also helps identify why TV, print, and radio are no longer effective sole means of advertising. There is very little peer interaction.

What kind of content will drive you to make a purchasing decision?

These answers may surprise you:

  1. An Appealing Graphic: Appealing is defined as having a beautiful design with easy to read text, that is straight to the point. This tells us that marketers should be making text pop from the background, following design trends that work with branding instead of sticking to staunch branding, and say it in as few words as possible while being very direct.
  2. Photos of Peer or Celebrity Interaction: Putting those that people identify with in your ads will drive sales.
  3. Video: There is a caveat here; the video has to be under 1m 30s. Through the poll and analyzing data we have found a nearly 80% view rate drop off on videos over 1m 30s unless the content is news. Some other notes: the video must be funny, emotional, or dramatic, it must contain b-roll, and you'll get more views if a man is speaking about serious subjects or a if a woman is presenting something emotionally or comically driven.
  4. Quality Google Listing: A Google listing with qualifiers, catchy text, and call to action (CTA).
  5. Good Reviews: Reviews matter, although we did a poll in 2015 that shows data which suggest reviews matter less in 2018. Many are aware that trolls exist online and have a problem with everything, so they don't trust a lot of negative reviews. On the flip side, they're aware companies do bolster positive reviews as well. The key to trusted reviews is when the reviewer presents detail, seeing names of staff, and genuine language.

Marketer's Answers

How much do you spend on average each month for a single event, product, or service campaign?

For an event, the spend was far less than what would be required to capture the attention of the audience based on current ad numbers. Marketers said they spend on average about $300 on events, while aggressive budgets are closer to $2000. Remember, consumers said that marketers must be aggressive to capture their attention.

Interestingly enough, 62% of respondents said they don't get the reaction online they are looking for with their events. That's not to say that spending more money will solve the problem but there is a clear divide in the numbers.

For products and services, on average, marketers spend about $30/day online. These are great small to mid sized local market budgets, but if you're relying on advertising to get the word out to large local markets or outside of targeted borders then the spend would need to increase.

What do you consider good total online ROI?

Respondents had to think about this question for quite some time. Online ROI breaks down to interaction, response, and action. Marketers are looking for about 10 likes (interaction), 5 comments or shares (response), and 1 message or sale (action) per $20 spend. The majority of respondents were also aware that marketing is about awareness. That said, they look at 35% of their spend as being put towards awareness. So for every $100 spent the expectation (with the right messaging) is 50 likes, 25 comments and shares, 3 sales or messages.

Rank these online platforms by effectiveness for your single campaigns; Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

  1. Facebook
  2. Instagram
  3. LinkedIn
  4. Twitter
  5. Pinterest

It is important to note that the platforms marketers consider most important in order of relevance do not match those stated by consumers.

How much time do you usually give a promotion online?

In general, for events marketers give roughly 3 months for large events and 3 weeks for smaller events. For products and services, they will market these on an ongoing basis. This also does not line up with the consumer data.

When marketing an event, service, or product, what content do you typically use?

Marketers say they try to use video but creating consistent content can be taxing, and their video campaigns are usually not strong. Graphics are the go to, but many say they don't adapt their designs to the platform and weren't even aware this was needed. In general, it would appear that content is not the focus of most online marketing strategies, but is central to success.

Need help with online marketing? Contact SYNC, and let's talk about how we can get you on track.

Written by Jay Hall, Chief Strategist

2018 Focus Spotlight: Email Lists

Email Marketing - SyncDS

Let's face it; most of what you own online you don't actually own. At any point social media services can change without notice. Just look at Mark Zuckerberg's latest announcements:

  • Suppressing pages on the newsfeed.
  • Contests are now seen as negatives.
  • Ads are getting more expensive.

So what is a business owner or marketing professional to do in the face of the ever decompressing social landscape? It's time to rethink email lists. Why, you might ask? Well, email lists are all your own. Your CRM might fluctuate in cost but ultimately email is the most reliable form of communication online.

With that, I present to you the 4 reasons you should start growing your email list (as if you need more convincing).

1 - No Social Ownership

You might think that you own your Facebook fans, Twitter or Instagram followers, or your LinkedIn connections, but it's actually those networks that own the digital presence of those people. Think about it this way:

Let's say you have 10,000 Facebook fans, and you attempt a promotion that you don't see as a violation of Facebook's TOS, but they do. Facebook comes in and bans your page. What happens to all of those fans you spent thousands of dollars collecting? They're gone, and all of that work is for not. Or, let's say in a more extreme case, Facebook dies ... say goodbye to all of your fans. Even a glitch could cost you thousands of dollars.

With email you acquire those names, you are in control of how often you contact them, you can keep useable backups, and the list can be used in multiple ways at your own discretion. Starting to see why email is so important?

2 - The Costs Rarely Increase

Facebook Ads have increased by 11,000% since inception in 2004. The cost to reach people via email has increased roughly 45% since that same time period according to the rates at MailChimp. Think about what might have happened had you focused on both this entire time.

The more emails you collect, the more you pay, but that payment structure doesn't fluctuate wildly with increased competition. Take a look at MailChimp's rates here.

3 - Speak Directly to Those Who Care

When someone "opts in" to your email list they are shaking your hand, introducing themselves, and welcoming a conversation. You have their attention until they "opt out", but unlike social media marketing the only barrier to reaching your email list is the person checking their email and clicking on your message.

Since the average internet user checks their email 1 to 3 times per day, that means your reach is a powerhouse method of marketing through your list, and best of all, it won't be hindered by increased costs by the platform you are running your campaigns on.

4 - People Crave Personal Attention

A Facebook ad is general, whereas email is more personal. You can use merge tags to greet your list by name, and the message is something that psychologically feels more intimate than an ad. The trick is to balance sales with usefulness. Don't always sell! At times it is better to provide entertainment or education, showing that you care about your audience.

Whoomp! There it is. If you're not convinced that email is just as important in 2018 as it was in 2008, well then, let me feed this fact to you. If a power apocalypse were to hit us today one of the first communication platforms the government would work on revitalizing is email. So, start building those lists, nurturing, and backing them up onto external hard drives. You won't regret it.

As a side note, this article shouldn't take away from the power of social media. The fact that this article goes out to many different social media networks proves its power. However, social cannot be the only eggs you carry around in your marketing basket.

Need help with email lists and marketing? Contact SYNC, and let's talk about how we can get your email campaigning on track.

Written by Jay Hall, Chief Strategist

How I Found More Work-Life Balance

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I'm not going to say that I've found the perfect balance between work and life, but I will say that I've gotten much better at the art over time. With technology has come more taking our jobs home with us, and more of us burning out—physically, mentally, the patience of our loved one's ... the list goes on and on.

I think a big problem is that we exercise such passion in our work, and find it hard to do so in our personal life as a result. That leads to working longer hours to get that dopamine fix. It became apparent to me that was my problem at least, and here's what I did about it.

  1. To Do Lists: I started creating to do lists for my week on Monday morning, and for the following day the night before. This applied only to week days. I've left weekends open for whatever comes my way. Some times I work, some times I play on Saturdays and Sundays ... it really depends on how I feel. When I'm done my list for the day, I'm done. Sure, I could keep going but I made that list for a reason so I stick to it.
  2. Passion: I stopped trivializing the relationships I was in. That's not to say I was ever disrespectful to my partners, but I didn't date women that I could feel truly passionate about for fear they would get in the way of my work. I also stuck around when the writing was on the wall regarding said relationships. Now, I'm with someone whom I can go on adventures with, and those adventures fill me with as much pride as accomplishing something in my work.
  3. Breaks: There was a point in time when I worked 12 hours straight. I decided never to do that in 2017. Instead, I take meditation breaks, work out, watch a show when my brain is slowing, or just talk on the phone. The breaks re-energize me and give me a boost that has me getting my work done faster.
  4. Vacations: We all know when we're burning out, we just don't admit it. As soon as I feel it coming on, I take a trip. After working relentlessly for 2 months on a project, I took 4 days off recently. It was a small vacation, but an impactful one. Oh, and by vacation I mean I didn't work ... at all.
  5. Identifying Emergencies: These days, we think everything is an emergency. One must look objectively at what is truly important in the grand scheme of things. Answering an email often does not require us to drop everything. In 99% of cases, a bit of wait time is fine.
  6. Remembering Death: It can happen to us at any minute; a pulmonary aneurysm, a heart attack, getting hit by a car, shot at a convenience store. Seriously, it's a scary world out there. So why do we work all the time? What is the point of all this life if we spend it working and not enjoying the world, people, and adventures in front of us? Take a break, and create your own balance because it might all end in a flash and no one wants to have their final thought be, "I wish I had enjoyed life more."

So there you have it; my work-life balance. What's your magical formula?

Written by Jay Hall, Chief Strategist

Facebook Forgets The "Social" in Social Media

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I am a huge fan of Mark Zuckerberg's work. Facebook has changed the world, and I believe that he is trying to do good in this world. However, every so often the site makes a decision that boggles my mind to the point where I am left to wonder if the boy wonder even pays attention anymore.

Case in point: yesterday's announcement that Facebook will be clamping down on page posts that shamelessly beg for engagement.

An excerpt from the Tech Crunch article:

The social network giant said today that it will penalize Page owners and people who resort to “engagement bait,” which means posts that encourage users to like, comment or tag people in the comments section in order to gain wider visibility of their content.
The incentives — such as “Share with friends to win a free trip” or “Like if you’re an Aries” — gets content shared through engagement, ultimately helping the post, and the Page owner/author, grow its reach as users interact and it shows up on their friends’ Newsfeeds.

This decision is right up there with 20% text on graphics. It's simply ridiculous that the higher up's at the Palo Alto campus think all businesses fit into their regimented idea of what a business should and should not do.

Facebook, the Dictator

The 20% rule has ultimately led us at Sync to forget Facebook on several occasions and give ad dollars to other platforms. To tell us that one more line of text is inexcusable is to tell us that they don't care about the ad dollars. All told, in 2016, it's probably cost them about $100,000 in revenue, and this year that number is likely double (if not more).

That's not to say I don't understand why they made the rule in the first place; there are some awful graphics out there with far too much text. But, Facebook could simply drop the offenders in the feed because ugly graphics get little interaction, and that is a great benchmark to set as a point where businesses would lose engagement. However, sometimes businesses with ugly graphics get fantastic engagement, so why not let the people have their craptastic poster images?

Shamelessly out of Touch?

The same could be said for this new rule. Facebook hates when we hold tag or share contests. Okay, why? Because it's shameless? If those who make Facebook social are engaging then it only makes sense to let them engage.

Facebook says they're rolling out this feature now, but we've seen the hit a page can take already. What cost $5 with a tag contest in 2016 became a cost of $1500 for the same contest in 2017. This wasn't due to lack of interest; just lack of visibility on Facebook. People love the event and looked forward to it, but because we said, "Tag the friends you're coming with," the post was nearly impossible to get in front of the people whom are interested.

Bottom line, Facebook thinks that it is shameless to solicit a response and get ROI out of an ad. They're just plain wrong about that. Without the ability to create virility, marketers are going to stop spending. Perhaps what they should be measuring is the level of interaction a page has, and then penalizing based on actual faux pas like bashing competitors, soliciting lies, or ignoring their customer base.

What do you think?

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Have questions about social media, website development, SEO, content, or digital business management? Sync can help. Just shoot us a message, and we'll connect with you.

Is Facebook the New Big Brother?

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Facebook has once again publicly denied that they are the new big brother. Now, I'll assume that you're not a huge conspiracy theorist and try to explain why you—yes you—might actually believe they.

I'm sure you've questioned whether Facebook is listening to your real world conversations. Otherwise, how might one explain talking to your friends about organic soy tea and then seeing an ad for that very obscure product on Facebook within days, sometimes hours?

You quickly consider whether you've ever spoken on Facebook about the liquid deliciousness ... nope. Have you commented on someone's status about it? Probably not. So then, the natural conclusion is that Mark Zuckerberg has a secret facility somewhere in the mountains of Russia live recording all Facebook user's conversations through their phone's microphone, right? Oh, so terribly wrong.

In theory, it is possible. iPhone apps can turn on the microphone at any time without informing you, as a researcher pointed out last week. However, it can only do this when the app is open, and this would also break App Store guidelines. Given that Facebook is the biggest app in the world, it probably receives plenty of scrutiny from Apple and Google.

 Why does Facebook Want Access to my the Microphone?

On both Android and iOS, Facebook and Instagram do use the phone's microphone—like any other app, however the user must explicitly opt in to give the apps permission.

The main reason it does this is so it can record videos, such as Facebook Live or Instagram Stories. However, this is only activated when a person (ie: you or me) has the Facebook app open and deliberately typing a status update. Facebook has denied it is used for listening to conversations and that it does not "tag" your profile with the data, only using it to build up a chart of the most listened to songs.

So, you understand the theoretically it's possible that Zucks and his crew might be evil because as I'm sure you're aware, tapping into conversations to make ad revenue but not stopping the many attacks that have been planned over Facebook is pretty damn sinister.

But, enough stalling. Let's assume that Facebook isn't listening.

What on earth is going on with Facebooks Ads?

You're imagining things, and so many people do it that there's a name for your condition. It's called the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, also known as the frequency illusion, and it's a concept that existed long before Facebook came around. If you've ever noticed that you learn a new word or cultural reference, only to then see it used constantly, it's the same feeling. It's a form of cognitive bias—our tendency to assign more importance to things than they deserve. Have you ever bought a new car then noticed so many others driving it? Same shite different pile.

There is another possibility. Online advertisements are targeted based on many different factors: your browsing history, your Facebook interests and so on. Even if you don't feel that you've given Facebook enough data to target an ad about renal failure without it eavesdropping on you, its algorithms may well be sophisticated enough, based on a number of data points, to suggest that you might be the kind of person that's worried about your kidneys.

In layman's terms, you see a thousands ads per day in all likelihood, and you search for all kinds of associative data; of course there will be a link from time-to-time. But, just think of all the times that there weren't a link. You can take your tinfoil hat off now.

2018 Social Media Statements

Sync Digital Solutions 2018

2017 was an astonishingly interesting year in social media. Think about what happened: the new POTUS communicated policy over Twitter, Snapchat was stopped in their tracks when Facebook's Instagram launched a similar service, and LinkedIn proved to many that changing a product when nobody asked for it is a sure fire way to piss off your customer base.

But here's the thing ... social media is just getting started. Evolution is inevitable, and we're about to see a big leap forward. Here are the top 9 trends we're looking at here within the walls of Sync Digital Solutions.

1 - Instagram Takeover

Here's some perspective for you: Super Bowl XLIX is the most watched television event in history with 114 million viewers. Michael Jackson's Thriller is the most sold album in history with 70 million doing that dance in their living rooms to tape, CD, or record.

Over 200 million people use Instagram Stories each month, crushing Snapchat's use by 50 million. By the end of 2018, half of all Instagram users will be posting InstaStories, meaning half of the users are active (which is unheard of).

2 - The Rise of Augmented Reality (AR)

Augmented Reality places you into a fantasy world. While gaming is the central platform for AR, social media is not too far behind. Soon, you'll be able to project brands into people's homes and hands with filters, your mom will be seemingly standing next to Hugh Jackman in photos, and shopping will be changed forever.

With the release of the iPhone X and 8, Apple has added a chip that allows the future to intersect with the now. Augmented Reality is going to be a part of our daily lives soon enough.

3 - Influencer Marketing Ramps Up

Letting the public know about your product or service is all that advertising and marketing is. Social media has opened up countless doors to make doing this a much more fluid process. The next level of the experience is influencer marketing though.

Often times, you can look to hospitality as a way of exploring what is coming in the world of marketing, and this industry has been using influencer marketing for years. 90 percent of marketers who actively use influencer marketing as a tool in their kit have reported success.

What is it? Simple, find the people online that have influence over others and try to get them to introduce their following to you.

4 - Generation Z Becomes the Focus

The oldest Gen Zers will be 23 in 2018. They are beginning to enter the labour force, more accepting of social marketing, and will have increased buying power for years to come. This is why they will become so important to strategy in 2018 and beyond. Invest heavily in the platforms they use, but invest properly (in most cases Snapchat advertising is a waste of time and money).

5 - Live Steaming

What was once a novel gimmick has become a mainstream part of social media. Today, brands big and small have started using live streaming to capture the attention of followers.

GORUCK, a backpack manufacturer and the organizer of extreme endurance events, is one example of a medium-sized brand that has grown its reach by live streaming compelling content on Facebook. Thousands of followers tuned in to watch 48-hour coverage of a recent endurance race.

In 2018, more brands will begin to realize the power of live streaming, and will incorporate it into their monthly content plans.

6 - Messaging

Over 2.5 billion people use messaging platforms globally, and yet brands are still primarily focused on connecting with consumers on pure social networks. In 2018, expect brands to invest more time and money in connecting with consumers on messaging platforms. Artificial intelligence, voice assistants and chatbots will enable brands to offer personalized shopping experiences on messaging platforms like Messenger, WhatsApp and Kik.

7 - Twitter 2.0

Here's a secret, as a brand Twitter is fairly useless for most. We at Sync have started to convert client over to other platforms. Even with 280 characters, there is little chance that Twitter will be able to compete in the brand market.

Instead, it's the personalities behind your brands that should be tweeting. Your CEO should be mixing it up, and your Director of Product Development should be active as well. Let's face it, outside of politics, trolling, and complaining, Twitter is pretty much dormant. However, with the right personality your brand can get great traction on the tweet machine.

8 - Facebook Spaces

Facebook isn’t just interested in live video streaming; they’ve been working on a project called Spaces that is designed to allow friends to connect in VR. Given that Facebook owns Oculus, a virtual reality hardware and software company, it is no surprise that the social media giant is developing a platform to make use of this new technology.

Facebook is poised to scale Spaces in 2018. When they do, it is likely that it will be the first successful VR social media product at scale.

9 - Govern Yourself Accordingly

After a series of controversial decisions during the 2016 presidential election, social media platforms have embraced a more hands-on approach to governing conduct on their platforms. Facebook recently turned over thousands of ads that seem to be connected to Russian meddling, and has invested in new AI and human forms of monitoring.

Given the wide criticism that Facebook and Twitter received during 2017, it is likely that these platforms will embrace codes of conduct and governance policies that protect the brands from future criticism.

Conclusion

Be ready. Employ current techniques, but start looking at those above. As always though, be sure to only activate social programs that make sense for your brand. You don't want to over-extend yourself.

This article contains excerpts from this article.

Written by Jay Hall, Chief Strategist

Free Online Marketing Advice from an Expert

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Let me start this by saying I hate the term expert, especially when used to describe one's self, but "Free Online Marketing Advice" is likely one of the most common headlines in the business world, and I wanted you to know that I have some experience under my belt. For our purposes, I'll define expert as a person who take their craft seriously, has a proven track record of success, and when engaged in a conversation about a topic, that person can always contribute positively. Now, for the free advice ...

I'm always hearing businesspeople say they can't get a good gauge or ROI from online marketing. My advice is to stop saying that, and just start putting in the work. Here's why.

  1. Online marketing and real world marketing function under the same logic. Reach is the number of people that picked up the magazine, drove past the billboard, or had the TV on. Views are the number of people that actually looked inside the magazine and saw your ad, looked at your billboard, or sat through the commercial. Interaction is the number of people that tore out that page in the magazine so they could take action, told Siri the website on the billboard, or showed appreciation in some way for the creativity in your commercial. Sales, are the people that bought as a result of the marketing and advertising above.
  2. Let's look at billboards. Reach is fairly easy to guesstimate, but never 100% accurate. Views are impossible to calculate without tracking eye contact. Interaction is also impossible to calculate, and there's a chance that the person will get the reminder from Siri to check out your product or service at an inopportune time, thus forgetting about you forever. Sales; this is the most trackable piece of the puzzle IF your customers learned of you from a single source, your staff always ask "How did you hear of us?", and if you actually record that information centrally. Online, that information is readily available and catalogued for life as long as you know what you're doing. Plus, you don't need a potential customer to remember anything, you just need them to click.
  3. The point of advertising and marketing is to reach as many people as possible within your customer base. In the real world, you can manipulate that data to a degree. In the online world, you can zero in on that data in deeper ways than ever in history.

So here's the second piece of my free tip—stop saying you can't get a good gauge on your online ROI because it's not the marketing principals that are flawed, it's the marketing itself.

One of the most important notes I give clients at Sync is to make sure they give their customers a reason to get excited. Now, this means different strokes for different blokes but ultimately if you're marketing doesn't rev up the potential customer in some way, then the marketing has failed. This is assuming you have a good product or service, of course. If not, there are larger problems than your marketing.

I've seen this time and again; a promotion goes out with very little thought, planning, creativity, and excitement, only to be a colossal waste of resources. The people behind it blame Facebook, or Google, or Cosmo. Then in more cases than not, a well thought out, thoroughly planned, creative, and energetic campaign hits to produce the desired ROI. Those behind the campaign pat themselves on the back for a job well done, but rarely thank Facebook, Google, or Cosmo.

It can take time to find the magic formula but the takeaway is that online marketing is never the problem—you will reach the people if you're doing it right because they're all online ... rather it's the idea that needs to be refined.

So, next time someone asks you if online marketing works, repeat after me, "If you're willing to do it right, then yes, it absolutely does."

Written by Jay Hall, Chief Strategist

It's Hard Being a Woman in Business. - Written by a Man Who is Not a Feminist

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We always hear how hard it can be to function as a woman in business. But, most men discount this idea because they just don't experience what a woman goes through. At Sync, we service and help optimize a lot of LinkedIn accounts and here's what I've noticed.

By and large, men suck as disconnecting personal and professional. I can't tell you how often men InMail or message the female LinkedIn profiles we assist with, starting the conversation by saying, "Hey gorgeous" or "Hello hunny". 

Meanwhile, not one woman has ever messaged a man on the profiles we assist on with similar greetings. They are professional and courteous. This is already an indication of how men choose to treat the females they do business with. But, there's more ...

You have guys asking the women in business out on dates, and frivolous questions like, "What's your favorite flower?" There's also guys who try to covertly get lunch meetings, however can't help themselves but to drop small indicators that they are treating this more like a date. Guys, you may think you're cunning but women are far more seasoned in the game of flirtation than we are.

Here's the thing; regardless of whether you agree that the wage gap is real, or if women have to work that much harder to get to the same position as a man, I am offering first hand perspective how just one aspect is so much harder for a woman in business. Of the women whom we help on LinkedIn, they are are all deeply frustrated by the messages they get.

You know it is possible to see a beautiful woman and not react like a horny comic book fan, right? Physical characteristics should never play into the decision to do business with someone. Now, if you do business together and an obvious connection is there, then perhaps it's worth exploring, BUT ...

"I hope when I go on my LinkedIn or into the office today, that a bunch guys hit on me," is something that's been said by no woman ever. 

Think before you message, and treat your female colleges with the same respect you treat the males.

Written by Jay Hall, Chief Strategist