Author Archives: Evelyn Starr

Should Your Brand Be on Facebook?

Facebook like thumbs up hand and thumbs down handWhen I woke up on April 3, 2009, I did not know that I would be joining Facebook that day.

Around 8pm I had just connected on LinkedIn with friends from my high school years when one of them wrote, “You need to get on Facebook! We have been posting some old group photos that you are in.”

Talk about an incentive to join.

So I did.

Happily none of the photos were embarrassing.

Since joining Facebook I’ve connected with 161 friends.  Though that is fewer than half the number of friends my teenage kids have, it has been worth it.

Facebook has helped me reconnect with high school and college classmates.  It helps me stay in touch with distant friends and family members.  It also keeps me posted on news from affinity groups I have joined.

Yet despite being on Facebook personally for 7 years, I have not made a Facebook page for my business.

A marketing consultant without a Facebook page?

Yep.

Why?

It’s not for lack of audience size.  One out of every seven humans is on Facebook daily. That’s one billion users in case you did not want to do the math.  Though about 170 million are reportedly fake users, that’s still a lot of real people on the platform.

New Hampshire Trip Facebook post April 2016My company does not have a Facebook page because there are marketing tools that bear greater return for my brand.

Like writing newsletters to you, my fabulous readers.  And building a presence on LinkedIn.  I’ve received referrals and gained clients from both marketing efforts.

Facebook isn’t worth it for my brand.  And by the time you finish reading this post, you’ll have a good idea of whether Facebook makes sense for yours.

Here are five key questions you need to ask to see whether you should put time and money into marketing on Facebook.

  1. Is your audience there? With a billion people there, chances are that the answer is yes, but it is worth asking them or searching for them to be sure.
  2. Do they want to hear from you on Facebook? This is the more telling question these days.  Many Facebook users view it as a purely social media and go there like they’d go to a cocktail party:  to chat with friends, to share stories, to have fun and to be entertained.
  3. Does Facebook marketing fit with your brand? Does your brand identity lend itself to the cocktail party atmosphere?  Can it be present authentically in an entertaining and story-sharing manner?
  4. What is the opportunity cost? Ah the Economics major in me comes out.  Considering Facebook marketing in a vacuum makes no sense.  Look at all of the marketing options for your brand.  Where does Facebook fall in the pecking order?  There may be marketing tools that offer better results.
  5. Do you have the resources to do Facebook well? Social media platforms evolve.  Facebook recently changed its algorithm so that many fewer people will see any individual post on your company Facebook page.  Doing Facebook well means not only posting regularly, but also promoting posts, running ads, and for some businesses, starting and managing a group.

Remember the cocktail party metaphor.  To do well on Facebook you want engaging content to show your brand understands your audience and to build an emotional connection with them.  And like a cocktail party, a hard sales pitch will cause people to distance themselves.

Engaging content is fun, entertaining and sometimes educational.  Think something that would delight your audience enough to share it.

Which brands do that well?  (You’ll need a Facebook account for these links to work for you.)

  • LL Bean posts beautiful images of scenery and commentary that resonate with their audience’s outdoorsy nature.
  • Nutella posts mouth-watering photos of the product used many different ways. They also ran a search for a Chief Nutella Ambassador among fans and had them vote for the winner, who was featured in videos on World Nutella Day.
  • Zappos posts photos of products with a soft sales pitch and some humor on occasion. Just before noon on April Fool’s Day they posted a video announcing that a software error had removed famed CEO Tony Hsieh from his position.  Three hours later they posted a video of other celebrities applying for the CEO job.
  • Easy Lunchboxes knows that their audience wants not only containers that make packing lunches easy but ideas for what to pack. They deliver in visuals daily.

Facebook is a media outlet that requires a steady stream of creative content and attention.

If after all this you think Facebook makes sense for your brand, go for it.

Bear in mind one final thought though:  your website should be your flagship online presence, not your Facebook page.

Why?

Because you own your website.  Whether or not you pay money, your Facebook page rents space from Facebook the organization, a.k.a. your landlord.  And as I mentioned above, the landlord can change the rules or even evict you if they desire.

So make all needed investments in your website your priority.  Use Facebook to engage your audience in a manner that motivates them to share your posts and drive more traffic to your website.

I’m off now to see if I can find a few more Facebook friends before my kids eclipse me exponentially!

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How New Customer Only Deals Burn Your Brand

light bulb burning bright unlike new customer only deals which hurt your brandIn addition to my roles as wife, mother, healer and finder of things in our household, I am also Chief Operations Officer.  Like any good COO, I seek to keep overhead costs down.

So when our electricity bill shot up this winter, I investigated. read more

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Vacation by Chocolate

Evelyn's Original Chocolate Wrapper from Hershey's Chocolate World brand experienceMy husband Dan has a particular knack when planning vacations.  I’m not talking about posh accommodations or exotic destinations or exclusive restaurants.

When he was helping to plan our trip to Paris to celebrate my 40th birthday, he discovered that a major chocolate exhibition was going to be there at the same time.  Besides sampling and purchase opportunities, there were multiple exhibits including a replica of a 17th century dress made of chocolate. read more

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Cases of List-taken Identity

Good list management means seeing the customer's point of view.For the past year I’ve been immersed in my son AJ’s college search.  We’ve visited 11 schools, some of them twice.  It’s been fun and one of the funny outcomes is that I have realized that I would be happy to go to college now. 

I’m not serious of course.  But there are some schools who think otherwise.  Three colleges have begun courting me. read more

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Getting Carded at 50

Over the course of Thanksgiving week I traveled about 600 miles.  From our house in Natick, Massachusetts to my parents’ house in Northern New Jersey, out to a college visit in Pennsylvania and then back to Natick again.

At the end of this odyssey I arrived home to find an unmarked envelope in my mail.  You know, the kind with no sender identified in the return address.

I thought it might be an updated credit card that the issuer did not want to call attention to in the mail.

But no, it was my AARP card. read more

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Will Zagat Fly or Fade?

Zagats Boston Guide Brand in Adolescence At Risk of Not MaturingBefore I started writing monthly newsletters four years ago, I wrote restaurant reviews.  Just one or two a year for Zagat’s Boston Restaurant Guide.  One contributed review was enough to score me a free copy of the next guide release and seemed well worth the effort.

When Zagat first launched its guide in the early 1980s it was unique. It provided succinct reviews and ratings from patrons instead of critics.  This was revolutionary in the 1980s.

Like many new products, the Zagat guide emerged from the recognition of an unmet market need.  read more

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Cheap Skate Marketing

Evelyn's black boot collection for brand storytellingI love autumn in New England, so I’m a happy camper up here right now.  And yes, autumn presages a long winter, but I have found ways to enjoy that too.

One of the benefits of New England’s long winters is that you can wear boots six months of the year.  I’ve gained an affinity for black boots and wear them almost every day once the cold sets in.

In a decidedly un-Imelda Marcos-move though, I’ve not amassed a huge collection.

Instead I have a few favorite pairs that I keep in good order with a yearly visit or two to my buddy Oleg, the cobbler in Natick Center. read more

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5 Mistakes That Hold Brands Back

Graph showing a plateau over time, no brand growth

Image source: workingequestrian.com

Has your brand hit a plateau?  Or is it growing erratically?  Does fostering growth seem harder than it should be?

Here are 5 common mistakes that could be holding your brand back.

  1. No clear brand definition.

Can you explain your brand clearly and concisely to a prospect?  If you struggle with its description, chances are you haven’t taken the time to define your brand. read more

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We Laughed, We Cried, It Was Better Than Cats

L'Oreal ad with Cybil Shepard Because I'm worth itOne endearing quality about my sister when we were growing up was that she sometimes cried at TV commercials.  There was one in particular where a large litter of puppies greeted children at their grandmother’s house that got her to well up.  I was not surprised when, as an adult, she got a dog.

I teared up at commercials too when I was a child, and felt funny about it until I noticed her doing it.

I still shed tears at TV ads once in a while.  And not just when they are maddeningly bad advertising. read more

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Whole Foods Frays Organically

Whole Foods Responsibly Grown LogoHave you ever wished for a personal chef?

Well for two months I had one.

In autumn 1999, after years of working as a chef on yachts, in restaurants and on catering gigs, my sister-in-law Rachael decided to transition to a new career:  web master.  Her transition involved relocating to the Boston area and earning Microsoft certifications.

Rachael moved to her parents’ house in Needham while she studied for her certifications and waited for her new Watertown condo to be ready.  Her parents decided to move to Cape Cod two months before her move-in date though.  So my husband Dan and I invited her to live with us. read more

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