LinkedIn To Acquire Job Search Startup Bright

Selena Larson February 6, 2014 Social


LinkedIn will acquire job search company Bright for $120 million, the company announced Thursday.

Bright uses big data and machine learning algorithms to match prospective candidates with companies that are hiring. Bright has posted almost 63 million job applications since launching in February 2011.

“What LinkedIn does best is connect talent with opportunity at massive scale,” said Deep Nishar, LinkedIn’s SVP of Products and User Experience. “By leveraging Bright’s data-driven matching technology, machine-learning algorithms and domain expertise, we can accelerate our efforts and build out the Economic Graph.”

LinkedIn will acquire several members of Bright’s team, including those from the company’s engineering and product departments. Bright’s users and customers will be able to access their existing personal data on its website through February 28.

LinkedIn’s VP of product for Talent Solutions Parker Barrile formally welcomed Eduardo Vivas and the Bright team on the LinkedIn blog.

The Human Organization

Most businesses are anti-social. This is nothing new. When it comes to any interaction with a customer or prospect it’s only natural to want to control as much as possible. The simple formula of feeding customers through highly structured channels with carefully spun marketing communications has worked for decades. I’ve been guilty of it too — who doesn’t want to keep only the good news front and center?

Not surprisingly, social media has changed all of this.

Customers now turn to social media first

The traditional and often stiff approach is clearly at odds with the speed and more casual medium of social media. We’ve seen a shift toward customers that expect to be quickly heard, because of the often frustrating experiences of all other channels. 42% of consumers who complain on social media expect a response in under sixty minutes. Reviews, ratings and recommendations among peers — good and bad — can make or break a brand. 95% of consumers share bad experiences and 87% share good experiences with others. Ironically, brands have inadvertently trained the consumer to turn to social media first — because everywhere else they turn they face bad service and a feeling of being “blown off”.

Yet companies are slowly (hard to believe in 2014) being dragged into fully embracing social. Sure there are internal teams that are dedicated to social media, but even for the largest companies the number of people actively engaged is a tiny fraction of the overall total number of employees. On average organizations with 100,000 or more employees have 50 people officially dedicated to social media — that’s only 0.005 percent. The vast majority of organizations have one to three people dedicated full time.

Trust is highest with “regular” employees

Annually survey’s like Edelman’s Trust Barometer show a significant gap between trusting “a person like yourself” and “a regular employee” vs. CEOs or a media spokesperson. If you’ve spent your career in either of these roles it is tough to hear. When it comes to credibility, all of the carefully honed content from marketing or PR/Corporate communications that dominate corporate feeds and blogs isn’t really trusted. Rank and file employees are.

Those same employees were likely issued codes of conduct to guide their use of social media inside and outside of the office. According to Altimeter Group, only 18% of businesses have trained their employees adequately. With or without company guidance and support, most employees interpret these policy documents in one way: stay off Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook or you might get fired.

Let’s recap:

  • Customers go to social media first
  • Social media is understaffed at most companies
  • Customer trust is highest with rank and file employees
  • Most employees are discouraged from using social media at work

Houston, we have a problem.

Your biggest asset is sitting on the sidelines

Why? Fear.

Fear of what they’ll say

Fear of wasting time

Fear of losing control

It’s time to embrace the human organization

When we founded Cloze we had a simple motto that has guided us since day one: people come first, everything else is secondary. This human centric view should be no different for businesses.

There are simply too many interactions and opportunities on social media to not involve the rest of the organization.

People relate better to people, not faceless brands. As an organization you need to act and behave like a human, not a sterile robot. No one wants to talk with a robot.

This means involving more than just the corporate social media mavens. The goal, in the long term should be to engage everyone but, initially, start with employees that are already engaged with customers: sales, senior executives, product experts — anyone that likely should have their own voice on social media.

Think about all of the interactions you have as a customer, from interest to purchase, to customer service. During the “customer journey” you will interact with many different employees along the way, but each touchpoint provides an opportunity to reinforce the brand promise. Let’s take a B2B example where you have narrowed your product choice down to two companies: One company has salespeople with no recent shares on LinkedIn or Twitter relating to the industry they serve and the other is highly active with relevent and interesting shares — who would you think knows more? Which would you take advice from? Who would you have more confidence in?

Your employees are your most powerful sales tool

Now is the time to mobilize your employees on social media. Facebook is now 10 years old. Linkedin is 11 year old. Twitter is 8 years old. 73% of online adults now use a social networking site of some kind. At this point, it’s highly likely that all of your employees use some form of social networking — and are comfortable doing so.

Your employees are your brand

At a high-level each business is the sum of all of their employees. With social media we have moved into a new era where each employee is their own brand — a brand that is highly portable. Employees bring their own network of relationships, their own perspective and their own personality to the organization. They are free agents — renting their brand to the organization. For marketers this has a big implication as your company brand is now in many ways derived from all of these individual people brands. Your brand has become your coworkers.

Mobilize your organization on social media

Like anything, to get it right this evolution needs to be nurtured. Some employees will already have their own voice while others will be just getting started, but what is clear — a business cannot be human without all of these personal brands.

Here are some tips to get you started.

  • Feed them relevant content — Seed your employees with interesting and relevant content so they don’t have to spend the time finding it themselves. This will get them involved while the conversation is still fresh.
  • Have fun — Don’t just push your own content on employees. As a rule of thumb keep company related media to less than a third of all content shared. Find something fun? Share it. It keeps the conversation fresh and employees more engaged if they aren’t just “parrotting”.
  • Start at the top — If you want employees on social media you need to do so yourself. It will help set the tone and educate them along the way as to what is appropriate and how to let their own personalities shine through.
  • Make it dirt simple — Don’t over complicate it for them. Some training and tips are always recommended, but complex certifications and software is death to any program. In fact — it shouldn’t feel like a “program” or campaign at all. Remember the average employee likely hasn’t used any kind of social media management software.
  • Be authentic — this means giving employees room to find and create their own voice, their own personal brand and their own point of view. If you lock down and force only company approved tweets, customers will see through this pretty quickly. Help them with content to share, hashtags, copy ideas, but let them put their own spin on it.

Social business is here to stay. Now is the time to embrace and support your many personal brands. Your customers will engage with you at deeper level and ultimately become more loyal. Let the human in your organization shine through.

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Contests Are King

In 2014 Contests Will Drive Social Media Marketing Campaigns — Heres Some Ways To Optimise

Working for a big advertising agency network allowed me to work with some huge clients, but before that I worked independently and had a pretty strong client base with global performing brands and businesses.

Contests are familiar to marketing directors and managers, from FMCG through to B2B, they understand them, “Do This Action To Win” is easy to get your head around and buy as a client. However, sometimes the mechanic is actually neglected around social media — share to win, like to win, create a HD video of yourself talking about how you love the brand to win, have been popular with brand pages to get initial growth.

January 2014 has seen a lot of blogs, reports and predictions into 2014 trends, digital predictions and such like. My predictions have been quite good — in 2011 I predicted usage for 16-24yr old facebook users to decline over the next five years, so i’m still on course for that! Anyway, I digress, back to contests — in 2014, I see the trend continuing (yes, one of my easier predictions to make) but there are some key components to remember when you are constructing your incentive initiatives.

The Prize.

The simplest piece of advice, but the most important. Give away something no other brand or business can offer. Think about it, you’re not the only business offering a prize, 100’s or 1000’s of brand pages are doing it every day. Offering X for Y (Y is usually data, or a social interaction — like sharing, or something that can be measured) is simple enough, but thats not really enough anymore. The thought that goes into the prize needs to be as thorough as the mechanic itself.

Occasionally this breaks — I remember back in 2009, Moonfruit did a competition on Twitter giving away Macbooks in return for a tweeting with #Moonfruit (you can see the Mashable case study here). But there are reasons why this got so much attention. 1) Twitter was new & shiny. 2) Macbooks were hot with the community, because Twitter was full of early adopters. 3) It felt like an easily achievable win as it was so early for the platform and the users.

There is not another Twitter out there, so we’re going to go ahead understanding that social is much more widely used now, with brand pages, branded content and people much more used to (over the past 3-4yrs) interacting with brands and businesses across social channels.

If you spend a week working out a user journey for consumers, getting into the specifics of the mechanics of your competition, thinking about how they’re going to engage with your brand, share with others, incentivise further activity and social actions — then you need to spend another few days thinking about what you can offer as a brand that nobody else can.

Think about: Whats the budget?, What real estate do we own (physical or digital)?, What does our community want?, What is right for them?, How can we reward them with the prize and continue the story? — What happens next?

So, getting to the actual prize itself — this will often come down to 3 core principles.

  1. Fame. Can you make the winner (or winners) famous?
  2. Put Them Somewhere Nobody Else can (including themselves). An example could be meeting a famous celebrity or designer behind the scenes at London Fashion Show.
  3. Allow them to participate in part of the business. This could be a tour of a factory, a studio, something your business is involved with. Perhaps even creating a panel of influencers that can help with your future marketing efforts.

Each one of these areas has huge scope to develop, but its important to remember the principles behind each one. Unique experiences.

But lets go back to those 3 points above. When thinking about the prizes you have to first think about the audience. Your audience. The type of data you’re presented with every day can tell you something new about your customers. How long they spend on your website, how much they buy, their average order value, where they are referred from, return rate etc etc etc.

If you’re not taking all of the data into account how can you come up with the right kind of prize?

The barrier to entry has to be as low as possible based on your audience. To find out, ask questions! — Use your social media communities to ask the questions about the prizes they’d like to win. You might be surprised how easy it is to give them what they want!

Don’t be lazy. Analyse the data, find insights and reward the audience/community/customer base with something they will really cherish. Something they’ll genuinely want to talk about for weeks. Something they’ll share and something that will be memorable.

It’s just too easy to think about gift cards and money off vouchers — those work in the right context. Often good runner up prizes. Just don’t lose sight of why you’re doing a contest in the first place — X in exchange for Y — Y is the data and that can help you understand your audience even further so you can keep giving them memorable experiences.

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  • Hi. Hi. I’m A Freelance Marketing Consultant & StartUp Mentor. Medium Is Where I Talk About Digital Marketing.

    Published January 20, 2014

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Sure-Fire Strategy to Win Your Next Job Interview


Even though you may have relationships that can connect you with your potential next job, it’s ultimately your interview with one or more of the players at the new company that will make or break the possibility of your being hired. So it’s essential to have a well thought out strategy that will ensure your best interview performance. Most people don’t and that gives you a significant edge.

Why Is The Job Open?

The first point to consider is why the job is open. If the job is a good one why hasn’t it been filled? Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the job must not offer much because it’s open. Find out.

Check out the job description so you know what’s expected when you talk to them. And aside from the description find out what’s the significance of the job and its position within the company now and into the future. This will help you frame your approach much more effectively than just knowing the description.

What does the position imply about the future of the job to the company? Where is the job going and where will it take you? Answers to these questions will demonstrate your ability to connect the dots and present your vision for the role. Show your strategic side.

Attention to Detail

Searching deeply into the position will demonstrate your ability to focus on the details. This is an opportunity to show your implementation side—knowing the details points to your willingness and ability to execute. In fact you will be executing during the interview itself: not literally with respect to the job itself but literally with respect to the interview. Show your tactical side.


The big mistake most people make is they go into the interview prepared to talk about their skills and experience, which, in itself, is important but this approach can lead to you talking mostly about yourself. Think about it, if you were the interviewer what would you want to hear about—a candidate that says mostly me, me, me, me, or would you prefer to hear about what the candidate can do for the role and the company?

In your preparation be sure to think through the benefits you will bring to the job—the advantage(s) the company will gain by hiring you. An advantage is any circumstance you offer, or what opportunities you bring to set the job up for success that you can paint for the interviewer. You may bring a gain for the company that may extend as far as increased profit if the role has that kind of reach.

If this is your very first interview, say you just graduated from school, that only reduces the scope of what you have to offer. So you must consider what you bring that would be different from others. You can determine your benefits by comparing yourself to those you know from your class.

Your Values

What do you believe in? How do you prefer to live? How do you measure your own performance? How do you determine what makes a good outcome, what benefits others, what is useful, what is beautiful, what is constructive or destructive? Your set of values generates your behaviors.

How clear are you with respect to your values? The clearer you are the more your values will guide your behavior during the interview and will show who you are so that the person interviewing you will get as good an idea of what you offer as an interview can yield. Be sure you can articulate your values re: work, commitment, focus, collaboration, company first, and personal values like integrity, loyalty, perseverance, etc. Your values are all about your mind and character.

For an extensive list of values go to


Being secure in the steps above will give you a solid internal platform you can trust and stand on. Yes there will be others who interview for the role, but that doesn’t matter when you go in secure in yourself because in the end there is no competition. You can only be who you are as you come across clearly, authentically, confidently, and passionately. You will either be a fit for what the company is looking for or not. As you organize and present the most definitive presence you can, that, in itself, is commanding. You will come across as an authority, and most often, that’s what interviewers are looking for—someone who can be counted on to join the company in the deepest and broadest sense of the word “join.” You will become one of the “family” so to speak and that will not only make you productive but trustworthy which itself is a quality worth its weight in gold.

I’d like to know your response to this post.

(Photo Credit: endrian-enri, Flickr )

Jim Sniechowski, PhD and his wife Judith Sherven, PhD have developed a penetrating perspective on people’s resistance to success, which they call The Fear of Being Fabulous. Recognizing the power of unconscious programming to always outweigh conscious desires, they assert that no one is ever failing. They are always succeeding. The question is, at what?

Currently working as consultants on retainer to LinkedIn providing executive coaching, leadership training and consulting as well as working with private clients around the world, they continually prove that when unconscious beliefs are brought to the surface, the barriers to greater success and leadership presence begin to fade away. They call it Overcoming the Fear of Being Fabulous.

This short, easy-to-read book 25 POWER SPEAKING TIPS Which Will Leave Your Audiences Wanting More! is a refreshing “how-to” collection of essentials that cuts to the chase and gives you the gold immediately. And it’s only $2.99 USD

How To Keep Your Team And Make Your Startup Acquisition Succeed

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Editor’s note: Tomio Geron is head of content at startup Exitround and was previously a staff reporter for Forbes and Dow Jones VentureWire. This is part of a series of posts on the tech M&A market. Follow him on Twitter @tomiogeron.

As a founder, Kristian Segerstrale has had two successful outcomes. An expert in gaming, he cofounded Macrospace, which merged with Sorrent then was renamed Glu Mobile. He also was cofounder and CEO of Playfish, which was acquired in 2009 by EA for $400 million. He is now a co-founder at Initial Capital, which led the seed round in Supercell among others.

I caught up with Segerstrale to get his thoughts on how to manage acquisitions and make them successful. There are many facets of an acquisition, but Segerstrale focuses on the individual people involved and the often-overlooked things that can keep a team from leaving after an acquisition.

First, when you combine your company with someone else’s, you are getting married in a very real sense. It pays to spend a lot of time courting first. “Spend as much time with the acquirer as possible, specifically the CEO,” Segerstrale says. “You should talk about the business, but more importantly about values and culture to understand whether the companies are likely to be successful working together.”

It’s worth it to invest this time before an acquisition. If you don’t, you could end up being acquired and spending a couple “miserable” years with a company watching your baby gradually wither to nothing as a result of a poor fit, he says. “I’ve seen it happen, and I know that’s a horrible place to be.”

Up Close And Personal

Getting to know all levels of the buying company is critical. Not just the senior level management but as many of the people in the company you’ll be interacting with as possible. This can help you stay in control after the acquisition and help you decide which departments you would work with more closely and which to avoid. If necessary, find a way to split the task with a co-founder so that one of you can run your company, leaving the other to explore how to best leverage people and resources within the company you’ll be joining.

Ultimately, what keeps founders and employees happy after they’re acquired is not just the financial considerations but other things like finding a meaningful way to contribute to a company’s direction and learning interesting things. “For entrepreneurs,” Segerstrale says, ”at least as important as the monetary dreams and aspirations of an acquisition is: does the buyer have similar approaches to company-building and long-term vision?”


Segerstrale also says that talent determines outcomes in rapidly changing marketplaces, which is where acquisitions most often occur. As CEO on either side of the transaction, you should look at everything through the lens of your key talent. Acquisitions often fail because the combined new management team fails to get the key talent engaged, he says.

“When you structure your deal, keep in mind your star coder, artist or architect. How can you set everything up, financially and otherwise, to keep your star talent as long as possible? How can you make life post-acquisition as exciting as it can be?”

Founders have to give employees something to believe in. Explain your new vision and how this is an exciting thing and make it real to your key talent. Star talent values the autonomy and impact they have at startups. Find a way to preserve that in the new set up and you will have the best chance at keeping them for as long as possible.

“There are often a lot of empty words in acquisitions,” Segerstrale says. “Employees are going to look at you and try and figure out if you’re still calling the shots or not. Make sure you do. They’ll hear from the acquiring company CEO also so those messages have to match.”


No financial retention package can replace or replicate the intrinsic motivation of a hungry startup. Sometimes it can be hard to get the buyer to agree to some of these culture issues. But often it’s just as important as the financial terms. It can be worth reminding the acquiring CEO that retaining culture and “how things are done” is critical to the talent and the performance of the newly acquired entity.

“In the end, you set up your venture to change the world and likely to work with people you like in an environment and culture you enjoy,” he says. “Your employees likely joined you for the same reasons. Keep those things true and you have the best chance to succeed even post an acquisition.”


One example of how an acquisition can stumble on a seemingly simple issue is integrating two companies’ levels, titles and compensation systems. People often don’t care about this pre-acquisition where titles mean little, but once you integrate, people do care about how they compare to peers.

In other words: “Am I a director or senior director?” “Level 21 or Level 23?” Every ounce of energy spent worrying about that is lost from worrying about product or customers, Segerstrale says. He advises even keeping separate email addresses if possible. “Get a commitment not to touch those things. Or don’t integrate with the HR of the acquiring company until you are ready. The less you distract talent with a changing personnel situation the more likely you are to succeed.”

Too Much Or Too Little?

This is not to say you shouldn’t integrate on some level with the acquiring company. After all there was some business logic in the deal in the first place – some reason it makes sense for these two companies to be one. And sometimes the right answer is to integrate everything on the first day, but sometimes it’s not. “In one of my companies I was so worried about disruptions that I ended up missing many opportunities to grow the business,” he says.

Your level of integration needs to be consistent with your mission. For example, one reason for your integration may be to combine your startup’s tech expertise with a big brand buying you. But, Segerstrale says, delivery of that requires a certain level of integration that you will then simply have to execute on. Integrating too slowly will undermine your performance just as surely as integrating too rapidly will.


Keeping your staff informed is key throughout the process. You want to create an honest narrative about why this acquisition is exciting and why you’re doing this, he says. “Don’t pretend tomorrow is going to be the same. Be honest and say: this one adventure is ending and another is starting. Celebrate the journey this far and then start again from scratch and take nothing for granted. Cajole them, seduce them and explain to them that this new thing is just as exciting and interesting.”

The staff will look at you and implicitly think, “Is my CEO going to stick around?” and “Does what s/he says count?” So make promises you can keep, Segerstrale says. “The worst thing is to say that things are going to be just like they were before or to make a commitment you can’t keep.”

The small things can make a big difference, Segerstrale says. Say you had free fruit at your startup and you told employees they will still get it at the new company. But then the acquiring CEO says you can’t. “If you have to break a promise to staff, you’ve lost. If you break a promise about fruit, what does this mean about all the other future big things like company strategy?”

Investing Strategy

Segerstrale’s focus on talent also applies to his investments. With gaming companies, he looks primarily for the talent across the team. “In gaming you care more about the art director and the lead coder than the CEO. The CEO matters a lot once the company becomes successful, but before you have a product out the CEO only matters to the degree they can contribute to the first product and retain the key talent working on it.”

The likelihood of a gaming startup being successful is much higher if the team worked together before. Especially for game companies, the product is the soul of the team. “Looking at the product is like looking the team in the eye – you get an intuitive feel for who they are and what they care about,” he says.


Asked about how he deals with conflicts over selling a portfolio company, Segerstrale says his firm, which was recently involved in the $1.5 billion Supercell-SoftBank deal, always supports founders. “We are unequivocally supportive of what founders want to do. We try to be helpful. We give our thoughts on tactics and who’s worth talking to, and who’s not. But ultimately we’re entrepreneurs ourselves, so we think of ourselves as an adviser or helper to frame decisions. But ultimately it’s the founder’s call.”

Initial Capital only invests its own money and doesn’t take outside capital, Segerstrale says. “We think of ourselves more as co-founders of companies we invest in than financially motivated investors. We don’t have any fund logic to worry about because we’re investing our own money. We don’t have to worry about raising another fund. That gives us complete freedom.”

He’s still looking for gaming companies and believes you can still build massive businesses, pointing to examples like Supercell. But he says much of gaming is a mature market and requires a focused plan. “It’s no longer early in mobile. You can no longer raise a tiny amount of money and hope to get there.” Initial Capital also invests in the broader app ecosystem, including Internet of Things, consumer health and enabling technology-oriented companies.

Image: Modified from Shutterstock

The way twitter has changed my world

Over the years I have had the blessing of establishing great friendships through Twitter. Yes, Twitter, that social network that does nothing but let you express your thoughts in 140 characters.

But through those 140 characters, you discover what is important to a person. You discover whether someone is simply using their account for marketing purposes or if you are lucky like me, you discover people’s values, political inclinations, vulnerabilities, sudden morbid thoughts, wins, failures and so on — all through a series of 140 characters.

Right now, I cannot think of a better, more well-rounded way, with the least amount of friction to discover a personality through the internet. We used to do it through the blogs, but blogging is hard work. 140 characters? Almost anybody can do that.

However, just like any other relationship, investment is needed in exchange for value. You need to put in the time to find and follow the right people, to consume their tweets, to engage appropriately, and finally, to craft your own 140 characters.

I have such a serious relationship with Twitter, I scan my entire timeline as far back as it will allow me, as one of my daily morning routines. People can say all they want about the noise and how we should avoid social media to be truly productive, but my theory is, we have to accept the noise if we want to find the hidden gems. It is a personal choice and a tradeoff to make though. That hour I spend on Twitter in the morning could be used for something else, but do I want to? I weigh the value I derive against the effort and time invested.

To be fair, I am an introvert when it comes to most real-life social settings, so I do not experience as much serendipitous meetings offline as I do online. Thus the online social setting that twitter provides me with, is precious to me. When I follow someone, it creates a momentum that builds as I see as I see the world through his or her eyes. We develop a subtle connection through our tweets; it is amazing how much I can relate personally to so much of one person’s thoughts. There is an invisible camaraderie being woven — by the time we meet each other in real life, we are like old friends, once we bypass the initial awkwardness.

I have had several life-impacting friendships develop through Twitter. Some blossomed into real-life, some I will probably never get to meet, though they may understand me more intimately than friends elsewhere. Some have seen me through my growth and struggles; some faithfully read every single post I put out there. My emotions, thoughts and ideas matter to these people. They do not find me longwinded, nor do they roll their eyes because I care about politics and desire very much to make an impact on this world.

Because of this asynchronous community, I feel like I have a place in this world.

Through the bits of information flowing through Twitter to which I am like a conduit to, I share what is meaningful to me, in hope that someone else would find meaning in them too. Some part of my soul sings when I receive these in return.

I feel a sense of joy when people find what I share meaningful to them too — it is almost the earliest, tiniest hint I was given, with regards to my sense of purpose. You cannot put a price on what brings you joy. And while it may seem trivial to the outside world, I will take every single thing that brings me joy and clarity to my sense of purpose.

For me, Twitter is world-changing, because it has changed mine for the better, in a way that cannot be measured by tangible metrics we fuss too much about.

Further Reading

The power of Twitter

 — We have all heard of Twitter and probably have dozens upon dozens of friends with accounts, but what is it and why is it so popular?

How do you use Twitter?

 — Why other people love twitter.

I’m Thankful For Twitter

 — Dinnie’s very similar take on why she loves Twitter.

On Serendipity

 — How someone became a journalist at ReadWriteWeb through twitter.

What Twitter does

 — “Sometimes, the change technology brings is simple, intimate, and still significant.”

So Twitter is ruining journalism? Really?

 — “Here are some of the ways in which Twitter has contributed to journalism (both the profession and the act of it)”

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Are Super Bowl Sunday Commercials Mishandling Millions in Advertising Revenue?

How to get champagne engagement without the Bud Light budget

(Originally published in B2C — Business to Community)

TL;DR: Few digital strategists have Bud Light budgets, so how do you stretch your marketing dollar? Unique interests can yield more fruitful engagement than popular interests. Unique media, brands, and celebrities can be benchmarked against overall Twitter, other brands, or other segments for hyper-targeting.

This weekend’s big game is well-known for its millions-of-dollars-per-minute advertising time. Big-name brands with big-time audiences, like Bud Light, Dannon, and CarMax, all seem to invest that advertising revenue confidently…but could those marketing agencies be leaving millions on the table?

Unfortunately, yes — prime-time ad agencies tend to focus only on major trending topics, leaving unique interests unrepresented and full of untapped potential.

Unique interests are those surprising insights that take your advertising from “great” to “Grade-A.” A unique interest is a trending topic, celebrity, or TV show that a given segment of users favor over others and is not as obvious as the top five trends being covered. If your business isn’t identifying these unique interests and taking advantage of them, you might be mishandling your marketing budget, too.

Unique Interest, Unique ROI: Making Unique Interests Work for You

Unique interests require you to get to know your audience in a more personal way that will result in better conversions and a better ROI on your marketing investment. This strategy works across all markets and industries, from popular sports teams and television shows to particular actors and celebrities.

Unique Interests Inform Effective Social Content

Social content is a powerful tool for capitalizing on unique interests, whether you’re seeking celebrity endorsements or media outlet attention. Make the most of it by keeping an eye out for unique public figures: celebrities who have a particularly active set of brand fans that overlap with your market.

Take ESPN’s John Clayton, the second-most popular media celebrity with Seattle Seahawks fans. He has almost a million Twitter followers. But let’s look down the list a bit at Jenni Hogan, an Australian Social TV anchor who has 65,000 Twitter followers.

Brands trying to reach Seahawks fans would do better going for #10.

Here’s the interesting part: She ranks #10 among Seahawks fans and doesn’t even hit the top 1,000 for Denver Broncos fans. If your brand wanted to get the attention of thousands of Seahawks fans, which choice would make more sense: John Clayton or Jenni Hogan?

Using Unique Interests for Media Planning and Buying

Take a quick look at your brand’s under-engaged audience. You know they’re real people and not fake or dormant accounts. They’ve also shown some interest — they’re just not brand advocates yet. This is where unique interests really provide their value.

Instead of concentrating a large chunk of your advertising budget on major media outlets, like industry-leading TV and news broadcasters, a targeted effort to unique interest segments can be very effective.

Trying to connect with some Broncos fans? You might have better reach with Deadspin than CNNbrk.

For example, if you didn’t know Broncos fans loved Deadspin, you might be tempted to go with CNN Breaking News for its 15 million Twitter followers. But you’d be missing out on a huge opportunity. Although Deadspin holds claim to just under 600,000 Twitter followers, the media outlet ranks #16 in media for Broncos fans. For a major brand looking to reach a concentration of brand fans, which is the better bet: 600,000 users you know love the content, or the possibility of 15 million unqualified users from a major outlet?

Digging through your segmented target audience’s unique media interests can reveal high-quality second- and third-tier media outlets with lower investment costs and greater conversion rates.

Identify Your Segmented Audience’s Unique Interests and Reap the Rewards

Ready to cash in on your under-engaged fans? Get connected with a spreadsheet and a computer whiz, and get to work. For our purposes, we’ll use an example of @BudLight’s Twitter account:

#1 Extract a sample set of your followers

Seek a sample set of your followers, generally those with a lot of followers and influence. Look for the last 500 engagements between users and the brand, and include these users in a list or formula.

#2 Find the unique interest common denominators of this list

Twitter calls this list a user’s “friends list,” but every platform has a way to access a user’s group of recent engagements, be it an “interest” or a “circle.” Look into the common interests of the last five users who engaged with your brand.

#3 Calculate the percentage followed for each interest among your sample set

Use the sample set of numbers and the common interest numbers to analyze the sample set. Analyzing the @BudLight account, we calculated 10 percent interest for @BarackObama and 8 percent for @JManziel2 (Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel), meaning 10 percent of @BudLight’s fans follow Barack Obama, and 8 percent follow Johnny Manziel.

#4 Choose your benchmark to compare against

For this example, we’ll use overall number of monthly active Twitter users, which is about 240 million people. @BarackObama is followed by about 17 percent of Twitter’s monthly active users to your fictional 8 percent — a pretty good difference, right? But Johnny Manziel is followed by about .003 percent of all Twitter users and 8 percent of yours. Bingo: That’s a unique and underrepresented interest of @BudLight fans.

The unique interests of your segmented target audience represent an under-engaged market that wants your attention. And the brand that captures that attention (especially during highly publicized events, like the big game’s commercials) will have the reins on a new, active market. Once you determine the unique interests of your brand fans and the unique interests of your under-engaged fans, you can do the two things you’ve been entrusted to do: keep and nurture your brand fans and grow your reach within your under-engaged audience.

Further Reading

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