Interview: Brian Carter - 2.part

Irena Šovčíková   10. 9. 2012


As was promised, here comes second part of interview with Brian Carter, respected online marketing expert, author of three very intresting books, stand-up comedian and contributor to Mashable, Search Engine Journal, just to name few. What does Brian in his free time and what inspires him? Or what is his opinion on Facebook Ads and Open Graph Apps? Read this and more in this interview!

What are the biggest Facebook marketing mistakes of 2012 so far?

I think a lot of businesses make the same ones. I’ve created this graphic on Pinterest -it’s a sales funnel, ‚cause you are trying to get people to buy from you. So if you don’t reach right people from the beginning, they won’t become good customers for you. And even if you do reach them, you might have a problem with reaching them enough. Maybe Facebook shows your posts only to 5-10% of your fans and you won’t have that many sales. Then you have to persuade people, because the sales cycle is longer on Facebook (sales cycle is how long it takes people to decide to buy from the first time they see your offerings).
Only way to shorten this cycle is to persuade them more, make them want what you have.
And maybe you want to reach people repeatedly, because the sales cycle is longer.

If we speak about Facebook advertising, what is your general opinion on it? There’s a lot of articles and case studies, which speak about Facebook being much less profitable than Google Adwords, still many people say the opposite.

I wouldn’t argue with that opinion, but I think most businesses need a mix of these things. I would suggest to do some Adwords, Facebook or Linkedin and then decide what has better ROI and put money there. The reason Google is more profitable is because the people are already saying, that they want what you have with the keywords they searched on. These people are ready to buy from you, but that’s just small percentage of your potential buyers.
Some businesses get to the point, where they like the big ROI from Google Adwords, but still they want more sales, more customers. That´ s where Facebook comes in, where it’s possible to find people, who could buy from you in future. I think companies should divide the money for online advertising.

Are there any business fields/products for which Facebook won’t ever work?

I think it’s less about product, and more about the ads. Facebook Ads are very different from any other type of online ads. Yes, they are Display Ads, but with much better targeting. So I think, if someone runs campaigns on Facebook for a month and then says it doesn’t work, it just wasn’t done well enough. Facebook has 15 targeting options and you need to test them. You need to find out, how to target your audience. Is it by age? By gender? Or by they location, interests or workplace, what is it? First you test the targeting, then pictures, headlines and finally the texts. It’s same like with Google Adwords- at first there’s a lot of waste, before you realize which keywords work and which aren’t that profitable. It’s the same with Facebook.

Do you have any tips how to lower price per fan? And is this metric the one people should care about?

For a short period of time it’s great metric, but in long-term you should care about the profitability of your fans. You might have thousands of fans, but if they won’t buy, it’s useless.
I could explain it on an example- let’s say you sell mountain bikes. People, who are going to buy something from you have probably in interests mountain bikes, outdoor sports etc. Maybe you will find 1,000 people, who like Trek brand bikes, 5,000 with mountain bikes in their interests and 100,000 with outdoor activities as hobby. The last group is less interesting, because just a small percentage of them will actually buy a bike.
Best way to lower your CPF is to get very high CTR. Targeting and the ad has to match together, really. You can write something like „Hey, do you like mountain bikes? Click right here!“ And you will get people who care about this topic and you are showing them content, which can persuade them. With broader targeting it’s little bit more complicated, because only small percentage of outdoor sports will like to bike, but I still think that everyone needs some kind of mix of these groups.

What do you think about the Open Graph apps, successfully used by Washington Post or Guardian, do you see any danger in them?

I mean, everyone should just make sure they know what kind of information they share with those companies. But even then, those companies don’t get information attached to specific people, just generalities. I’m not really worried about it. But I think, maybe it’s just me, but if there’s something like that, I usually chose not to opt-in and I still read the article online. Maybe that’s the obstacle that many Facebook Apps face-there’s this scary, creepy thing that pops-up and asks if you want to share your information, that’s driving them away. I’m just not sure that it’s going to play such big role in people’s regular experiences, as they thought it might.

Do you think Facebook will try to make these apps paid?

I don’t know, if they’ll try to do this, because even normal newspapers all across the world have trouble, because people get the information elsewhere for free. So if you want to get money, you need really unique content and even that will be stolen, like how musicians’ content is often stolen. It makes more sense for Facebook to make money from advertising, newspapers do it same way, so they should keep anything else free.

When we asked our fans for questions for you, one of them was this one: As such expert on Facebook and social media, do you get information about planned changes and upgrades before anyone else directly from Facebook?

Sometimes yes. In my position, I don’t have direct contact with Facebook, but I know many people that do have contact with Facebook. So sometimes I know about these things and usually it’s a secret. But what I noticed Facebook does more is they try the new things first at small percentage of users.

Sources of inspiration are valuable informations for. Could you share with us, what inspires you?

I’m addicted to novelty. I like to do and watch stand-up comedy. One of the reason why I do that is because when you laugh it’s probably because of you’ve put together two things you wouldn’t normally in your brain, that’s similar to content marketing. And I like to go to section Popular on Pinterest as well as Infinigraph for Facebook and Twitter, both shows posts with most recent interactions.

We are almost at the end, so it’s time for a little experiment. Could you name 5 thing, which should every social media marketer know?

Every social media marketer should know how to use different ad formats, they have to understand content marketing, know how to interact with people online professionally – definitely not to enter fights and let trolls distract them. It’s good to have good writing skills, not only in field of content marketing, and creativity is very important, because if needed you have to come up with some images, texts that will make people react.

19th August was published your newest book, LinkedIn for Business. Except this book, what would you recommend us to read?

Interesting book is Starting Your Career As Social Media Manager from author named Mark Story. Even if some books are really great, I still think blogs are more up to date. Some blogs could be too fragmented, just little pieces of informations, you don’t see the whole bunch of information together as it is in books.
Some book are just strategy and they don’t give you any specific how-to tactics. I was trying to cover that in my books.Very good book is Killer Facebook Ads from Marty Weintraub.

We know that you work a lot, but what do you do in your free time?

I try to find a balance between work and free time. I don’t have a kids, just small zoo of dogs and cats and me and my wife have a small frog. Not far from us is very good improv and stand-up comedy theater, so while I’m doing my business stuff I’m also writing jokes and I go there to try these jokes out, I visit practice group for improv-comedy every week and we have a show once a month. The most interesting thing for me is how to get a little bit of that humor into my content marketing. I think I’ve done pretty good job lately on my Facebook profile, cause I get pretty big number of interactions.

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