Archive for June 2016

10 Globally Renowned Digital and Social Media Experts to Follow

Digital Marketing and Social Media are fast evolving topics. It’s hard to keep track of things for many people, so we always look up to some kind of an ‘expert’ or a ‘go to person’ to get the latest knowledge we need.

The question most Sri Lankan marketers face is that they don’t have too many trusted ‘go to people’ in Sri Lanka to learn what they want. When you are totally clueless about whom to follow to get latest knowledge about Digital Marketing and Social Media , you can easily get misguided by some self-proclaimed “world-class expert” who have no much of recognition even in their own home country. 

Let me make your job easy. I am going to list 10 truly globally renowned Digital Marketing and Social Media experts who pioneered this field. They have proven their expertise in the field over many years by helping brands all over the world succeed in the digital age. They have written books with substance (anybody can write a book without substance and claim to be a published author), and sold millions of copies of their books. They have spoken at big global events like SXSWTEDSMMW, and many more. Above all, you can find enough knowledge about Digital Marketing, Social Media Marketing, and about converging digital tools with traditional marketing by only reading the freely available blogs written by these people or by watching some of the videos of speeches they have delivered. Best thing is, you can learn all of these things without having to pay a cent. They write blogs, and they do podcasts!

Here’s the trick. Appoint a junior executive (or a management trainee) from your marketing team and assign them the responsibility of following these 10 people on a weekly basis. And then ask them to circulate a summary of what they have learned. Maybe they can do one hour training session every month, to pass the knowledge he gathered to rest of your team. This way, you can save hundreds of thousands of money you would otherwise waste on workshops and training programs which covers nothing more than what is available free of charge on the internet.

Here goes the list in no particular order.

I first started following Rohit’s ‘Influential Marketing Blog’ back in 2006 during my early career. For last 10 years, Rohit had been really consistent with his blog, and has published a large number of valuable articles about ‘digital influence’ and social media. He has written many books about digital influence and social economy, including bestsellers like Personality Not Included and Likeonomics. For anyone interested in hearing the latest digital trends from a person who had been truly consistent in predicting future digital trends, Rohit surely is the go to person. Read his blog here.

Ann is another digital age marketer I followed for nearly 10 years. I first discovered Ann’s writings through, a community website for marketing professionals around the world. Today, Anne is one of the most influential authority figures in the field of Content Marketing. If you need to learn more about what’s the big buzz about Content Marketing, then Ann is the person you need to follow closely.

Mari is one of the best go to persons on everything about Facebook pages. For tips of getting more organic likes for your fan page, to get your fans deeply engaged with your content, Mari will teach you a great deal of social media engagement strategies for Facebook. Of course her expertise doesn’t limit to Facebook, but I have bookmarked Mari as my number 1 source of knowledge about Facebook fan pages.

He sounds a little drunk in his podcast (err… pubcast!) but that doesn’t hinder the quality of content he has to share with you about anything related to Facebook ads. Just as I look up to Mari Smith for Facebook pages related knowledge, I totally rely on Jon for everything about Facebook ads. Jon Loomer is a true master of the Facebook ads platform!

“After mediating a crocodile family dispute, look at what Micheal Stelzner has found!”. That’s one of my favorite lines from his Social Media Podcast Micheal is the best resource composer I’ve seen in the field of Social Media Marketing. His podcasts features the best minds in the world of Social Media and Digital Marketing. In my bucket list, I hope to attend his Social Media Marketing World conference in San Diego someday (let’s hope the long distance air travel costs will come down very soon).

Author of the books ‘Engage’ and ‘Seven Success Factors of Social Business Strategy’, Brian Solis is a Social Media professional having roots in traditional PR. If you are someone who ended up in Social Media from a marketing background, here is a person who will bring a totally different perspective to your worldview about Social Media. I highly recommend you to check out Brian’s personal website and read some of his books.

The man who inspired millions of digital marketers around the world! I first started following Seth in 2005, and his book ‘Permission Marketing’ is the first ever book I’ve ordered on As a young marketer 11 years ago, I was fascinated by his philosophy of ‘Permission Marketing’. I remember I was talking about Permission Marketing with some Sri Lankan marketers in 2008/9, and most of them said “that will never happen in Sri Lanka!”. 10 years since I read his book, I teach the concept of Permission Marketing in every Digital Marketing class I teach at the University of Sri Jayawardenepura.

Think Analytics, think Kaushik. He is the #1 Analytics guru on the internet (at least according to my ratings). I am someone who started following Avinash from his very first blog post on Occam's Razor, a long time before he became an ambassador for Google Analytics. Today, Avinash has evolved into a Data marketer; an evolution of being an analytics guy for a very long time period I guess. So, if you need to be in touch with what’s happening in topics such as big data driven programmatic marketing etc., here is the guy to follow!

OMG! How can I ever forget the friendly Australian who helps hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of bloggers around the world to do ProBlogging! When I started my blog nearly 8 years ago, I followed Darren closely to learn tips on how make a successful blog. Well, my blog never made a global list of top 10 of something but I have had some remarkable achievements in my life thanks to the blog I started using Darren’s tips. Darren still is one of the most influential authority figures on the internet about Blogging, and content marketing.

All the 9 other people I’ve listed up to now are practical experts of Social Media and Digital Marketing. But Dr. Dave Chaffey is one great academic you should not miss to follow. The author if the book ‘Digital Marketing’, a recommended reading by CIM for all their student members, Dr. Chaffey is someone who made significant contributions the knowledge body on digital marketing.

 Now, these are truly globally renowned Social Media and Digital Marketing professionals to follow. If you get a chance to attend a conference or a workshop where these people are speaking at, never hesitate to throw your money and book a ticket. You can expect a lot more than a 5 star lunch such a conference or a workshop.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

Low Organic Engagement on Facebook for Your Brand? Here’s Why!

I recently saw a Sri Lankan Facebook community page with 50,000 fans reaching up to 600,000 people organically. Yes, I saw it right. Not a single cent was spent on boosting this post. Other than this post, the same page had many more posts with organic reach up to 20,000 people in some occasions (more than 40% of it's fan base). An average post on this page reaches up to 15% of its fan base.
But you heard, an average Facebook page post reaches up to 3% of the fan base, right? Can’t believe what I said? Here is a screenshot from the page I am talking about. I had to blur the exact content of the posts, as I am not permitted to reveal which community page this is.
Now, you want your brand page on Facebook to gain similar organic engagement, don’t you? Read on.
While community pages on Facebook attracts phenomenal rates of organic reach and organic engagement, most brand pages we manage for our clients struggle to attract more than 5% organic reach without a paid boosting. In fact, many Facebook marketing experts suggest the average organic reach of brand pages on Facebook has become less than 3% of the page’s fan base.
Many believe this is a gimmick by Facebook to compel the page admins to boost the post. I rather disagree with this belief. If Facebook wants to play such a low trick, why don’t they play the same trick on community pages?
I see the fundamental problem here as failure by brands to understand the Facebook ecosystem and newsfeed algorithm. Inability to understand Facebook as a social platform; not as another advertising medium is the first problem brands face on Social Media.
When planning content for a branded Facebook page, the brand’s social media manager must wear the hat of an editor of a newspaper, not as the advertising manager of the newspaper. And editor knows the importance of ads for a newspaper. Without ads, the editorial team won’t get their pay check at the end of the month. But, they know the primary focus of the newspaper has to be engaging content for its readers. Without engaging enough content, the paper will not attract enough readers. The advertising manager of a newspaper thinks different; they always focus on how much money the paper can make by selling ad space. In my experience, most Sri Lankan social media managers approach their Facebook pages as an advertising manager. They put too emphasis on pushing the brand’s marketing messages to the community, and pay less attention towards finding good quality content to keep the audience engaged. Facebook is a social platform, and it loves what the users love. If users are engaging less with too much of brand centric content, Facebook algorithm will automatically get adjusted to deliver lesser amount of your page’s content organically to its users. More you push your branded posts, and more it gets rejected, harder it will be for you to reach your audience organically. At one point, your page will get cornered into a ‘black hole’ in the Facebook universe. Nobody cares or notices your page…organically. This is the point where you have to keep boosting every single of your posts with enormous amounts of marketing dollars.
To overcome this vicious cycle, all you have to do is one simple trick. Dedicate 80% of your Facebook content for non-branded content, and use only 20% for your branded posts. Think of it as you create your own newspaper for your brand. 80% editorial, 20% advertising.
I know most brand managers get unhappy, the moment I mention ‘non-branded content’.
Typical question asked is, “Why should I post about what happened in Games of Thrones last week, if my brand can’t get a mileage out of it?”.
The answer is, if you want organic engagement for your page, you have to give social enough content for your fans. When your non-branded content gets more visibility organically, it creates a spiral effect on your branded posts too. Bottom-line is, not every single Facebook post on your brand page has to be branded or brand-centric.
What I mean by a “branded post” is, a Facebook post with a brand frame around it, or a clear promotional message. If you post about Game of Thrones and still use a branded frame around it with your logo on the lower right hand side, that post is still a branded post. The moment you put that frame, and your logo, your fan gets to know it’s an ad. The thing about ads on Facebook is, people don’t share ads on Facebook. People share socially interesting content. That’s why you have to make your posts look more like socially interesting content, not like a newspaper quarter page ad.
Take this example from Volvo Facebook page.
They haven’t put a corporate color frame around this post, and they haven’t pasted their logo in this. In fact, this is a picture taken by one of their fans. The car in the picture is a Volvo, but you can hardly see the logo. The social media marker here has clearly focused on what the fans want. Fans want car pics, not Volvo ads. Those who know will know that this is a Volvo. You don’t have to make it too obvious by pasting a big Volvo logo on one corner of the image.
To sum up, secret to attract more organic engagement for your brand’s Facebook page is to create more socially interesting content on your page. Make your content look less like advertisements, but be clever enough to retain your brand’s identity in the post. If you want to study the masters of this strategy, follow   Volvo, Oreo, Pringles, GoPro and Red Bull on Social Media.
Next time before you ask your Social Media manager “why is my page’s organic engagement so low?”, check whether you have given enough freedom to him or her, to experiment with the 80-20 rule of non-branded to branded content.
Friday, June 3, 2016
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

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