Brand Broadcasting: How Startups Can Make the Most of Facebook Live

As both a social media and digital marketing authority, Facebook is a major driver of the “next big thing.”

From branded pages and social reader apps to an emphasis on visuals and in-feed videos, Facebook has a stranglehold on the way public figures, celebrities and brands present themselves on its adaptive social network.

The latest groundbreaking installment? Live-streaming, real-time video—known as Facebook Live. With the addition of Facebook Live, however, the rich, famous and popular aren’t the only ones who stand to benefit—so too do up-and-coming startups. How, exactly? Facebook Live makes it possible for startups to broadcast videos of just about anything to a huge, ever-expanding audience.

Photo credit:
Photo credit:

In recent years, smartphone apps like Meerkat and Periscope have taken to the mobile market, placing live-streaming video capabilities into the pockets and purses of people everywhere. Facebook Live is different, though, because of its reach. With one out of every five people on earth having an active Facebook account, the potential for brand building and consumer reach is bigger than it’s ever been before.

Facebook Live Is for Startups

Startups stand to benefit from Facebook Live’s low barrier to entry. To begin broadcasting, the process is simple. At the top of the iOS or Android Facebook app, hit is the “New Status” button. After that, select the live broadcast option—it’s a head with small waves coming out of it. Write a short, engaging description, then select “Go Live.”

That’s it! You’re now live on the newsfeeds of all of your Facebook friends, though you can modify your audience, limiting it to members of certain groups or events. They can watch and comment as you continue with your broadcast for up to 30 minutes. Needless to say, with this kind of platform, high-growth startups have the potential to see big reward by getting involved earlier than competitors, rather than waiting for Facebook Live to solidify itself as a must-have of digital marketing.

Photo credit:
Photo credit:

While much of the Facebook Live footage you’ll see in its first few months of use will come from individual users, there are many ways your startup should consider using the innovative tool. Here are five suggestions to get you started en route to building a large, loyal following:

1) Provide an Insider’s Glimpse

Take a look at any successful Instagram for business account and you’ll notice that the brand does an excellent job of giving its fans a behind-the-scenes look at what goes on at the company. To help generate inspiration, imagine that you’ve been asked to give a tour of your business to friends and family members—the same things you’d show them are those that could be presented while on Facebook Live.

Photo credit:
Photo credit:

Don’t just limit yourself to the office, either! Take viewers out into the field, connecting them with customers, warehouse workers, conventions and retreats. The possibilities for this kind of branding are limitless. Remember, what might seem mundane to you could very well be of interest to incoming fans of your startup.

2) Live Q&A Sessions

When it comes to Q&A sessions, planning is of the utmost importance. Using your startup’s social networks and email list, tell people the specific day and time you’ll be using Facebook Live to answer questions. As you start to see success from these Q&A segments, feel free to make them a weekly or monthly occurrence.

Additionally, this is an excellent way to conduct free market research for your startup. Take the most frequent questions, comments and concerns you hear and build blogs posts, infographics and video tutorials around them. By so doing, you use your social media savvy to improve your other content marketing efforts, as well.

3) How-To Videos

The trick here is to find the right balance between a subject that both pertains to your startup’s area of expertise and the interests of those who plan to tune in. For example, if your startup were to specialize in iOS app development, it might be interesting to host a Facebook Live session on the basics of Objective-C.

Photo credit:
Photo credit:

Don’t choose subjects that are too confusing or complex—stay sweet, short and to the point. When you approach Facebook Live as a means of providing real, genuine value to your brand fans, they’re more likely to come back to you when they’re in need of your products or services. You are passionate about what you do. Use how-to videos to spread this passion through Facebook Live.

4) Product and Service Demonstrations

According to KissMetrics, those who watch a product or service video are 64% – 85% more likely to make a purchase. In addition to placing a demo video on your landing page or website, make one in real-time using Facebook Live.

This how-to can be more authentic and allow you to present the more personal side of your products and services. You could even combine this method with a Q&A session for optimum audience engagement and impact. By putting your customer’s understanding first, you’ll begin to build a solid brand reputation.

5) Breaking News Features

Depending on your startup’s niche, this one can be more difficult. That said, regardless of the industry in which you work, there’s news that’s taking place. By taking to Facebook Live to either break or talk about these kinds of updates, you position your startup as the go-to outlet for up-to-date information.

To help with this, set up an RSS feed on your laptop or desktop. As larger, more authoritative sites publish industry-specific stories, take to Facebook Live to talk about what this means for your startup, fanbase and industry as a whole. Though a startup, you’re the authority. When people need information, they should first come to you.

  • Note: Regardless of the method you use to build rapport with your Facebook followers through Facebook Live, always keep in mind that the videos you create should never be solely focused on your brand. Yes, you directly represent your startup, but it’s important to peel back the layers a bit and present your true self. Be personal; people will appreciate it.

Repurposing Facebook Live Videos

For startups looking to use Facebook Live, it’s not enough to use the video publishing tool by itself. Instead, make certain that you’re also repurposing your video content as much as possible.

Photo credit:
Photo credit:

With a lack of funds sometimes being an obstacle for startups, save yourself some video production fees and use your Facebook Live videos for social posts on other channels or as cornerstone content for future blog posts. Look to stretch the value of each Facebook Live video.


Today, it’s Facebook Live; tomorrow, it will probably be something else. Whatever happens, with social media marketing now solidly a mainstay of the digital marketing world, it’s key for your startup’s success that you pay close attention to what Facebook is doing. Currently, this means tapping into the game-changing powers of Facebook Live.

What do you think about the new live-streaming outlet? Do you plan to use it for your business? If so, in what way? If not, what’s your reasoning? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook.


Brand Authenticity: Your Ultimate Marketing Tool

To put it simply, brand authenticity is the stick to which all companies must eventually measure up.

Yes, sales are incredibly important, but putting the proverbial cart before the horse has never worked for anyone.

The thing is, brand authenticity doesn’t magically emerge from an impressive sales season; rather, it stems from a deliberate, mindful commitment that’s formed right from the get-go. As you establish an authentic brand identity, you build a lasting platform on which to build relationships with your customers—and as hard as it might be to believe, there are a number of booming brands that have made this the cornerstone of all that they do.

These businesses don’t cut corners in presenting a true-to-life version of who they are, and because of it, their brand sincerity has brought them continual levels of tremendous success. It’s a fact—brand authenticity is very much possible and beneficial for your brand. Still not convinced? The following should help change your mind:

Authenticity is Appealing and Easily Recognized

The thing is, just about anyone can build a great-looking website and develop a few social channels to go along with it. You could even take things a step further and produce a host of different content types to be featured both on and off of your site, but here’s the thing: consumers are smart.

It’s surprisingly easy for them to recognize what is brand authenticity and what isn’t. They’ve been online for years now and know the difference between what’s worth their time and what’s built on little more than a sorry sales pitch. This is why the best marketing agencies now focus on helping their clients build meaningful relationships with their customers, rather than simply trying to find new ways to word an ad.

What will undoubtedly set you apart from the masses is an ability to build an emotional connection with your target demographic. Remember, the vast majority of buying decisions are emotional, not logical. As such, when you make a conscious effort to stay true to what your business values most (i.e. Chick-fil-A’s ethical commitment to avoiding work on Sundays), publicly perceived authenticity skyrockets.

Photo Credit:

It’s not just big brands who benefit from authenticity. In fact, the brand authenticity a smaller company emanates could very well be key to its ability to connect with consumers and grow its business.

Now, armed with a better understanding of the why behind brand authenticity, it’s time to dig deeper to find solutions to your company’s issues with approachability and image. As such, the sooner you can put the following three tips into practice, the better.

1) Choose Your Brand Attributes Wisely

In today’s day and age, far too many businesses don’t put nearly enough time and effort into building a list of core values to which they’re wholeheartedly committed. Even worse, when they do, terms like, “authentic,” “plugged-in” and “straight-talking” are freely tossed around to try to humanize their brand. It’s not that these kinds of descriptors are innately bad or untrue, it’s just that they come off as overly authoritative, domineering and sales-driven.

Photo Credit:
Photo Credit:

Instead, regardless of industry, companies would be wise to exercise a bit of creativity while crafting a series of brand attributes from which virtually all marketing materials are to be derived. For example, consider the brand attributes used during Skittles’ “Taste the Rainbow” campaign. The campaign may have been slightly irreverent and off-the-wall, but consumers responded positively to Skittles’ genuine marketing approach.

If you’re struggling to understand how to leverage your core values, there’s no shame in turning to a marketing agency for assistance. The best marketing professionals can help you come up with an effective strategy to display what makes your brand truly unique.

2) Build a Solid Base of Brand Advocates

The real beauty behind brand authenticity, though? After months of brand-specific patience, determination and hard work, you’ll start to notice that you’re not the only one pushing your company’s products and services; moreover, a loyal band of brand advocates will start to do some of the heavy lifting for you. Simply put, this is digital marketing efficiency at its finest.

Photo Credit:
Photo Credit:

Think about it—once you’ve managed to successfully drive traffic, engage a niche audience and then convert the bulk of said audience into paying customers, those who have had a positive experience with your company will happily bring family members and friends onboard, as well.

Even better, when you and your team release a new product or service, your army of advocates re-enters your sales funnel as yet another wave of hot leads. The exponential power is incredible. The catch, though? Brand advocates only vie for something they know is constant. Does this sound like your company? If not, yesterday was the time to make the necessary adjustments.


3) Look to Content Marketing for Answers

As opposed to force-feeding customers a wide variety of drab sales materials, content marketing seeks to provide something of legitimate value for its various audiences. Whether it be education, entertainment, breaking news or humor, content marketing focuses first on individual people and second on corporate branding messages.

Photo Credit:
Photo Credit:

Naturally, it will be your team’s job to ensure that the honest side of your business’ personality shines through when content is being brainstormed, created and published. Working with a marketing agency can help you find a way to personalize your brand experience for your customers so you can be a “people-first” company.

Take Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign as an ideal illustration of how this is to be done. Coke went well out of its way to make it known that the company isn’t just about sales—it’s about personalization. In this case, the content just so happens to be on the side of a can or bottle.

Your Turn to Comment

Having taken into consideration both why brand authenticity is important and how to use it to your company’s advantage, the time is now yours. Do you agree or disagree with the importance of brand authenticity? If so, what examples have you seen? If not, what’s your reasoning? Drop us a line on Facebook or Twitter and let us know.


We Only Develop for the Latest Browsers – Here’s Why

As part of our development process for web products (websites, landing pages, microsites, web applications), we focus on the two most recent browser versions.

Occasionally, a client will be concerned that their audience uses older technology, and want us to develop backwards several versions. While we are certainly open to accommodating our clients’ needs, there’s a reason we focus on the most recent two versions.

We are UpTrending, which means we are all about all things trending up (see what I did there?). We are committed to innovation and modernity, demonstrated by an enthusiastic, unwavering support of the latest and greatest digital technologies – but that’s not why we ignore IE8.

We don’t support these browser versions simply because they are “new” – we support them because of what they can do for our clients, and what they can do for our clients’ audience. Let me show you why we support the latest two versions of browsers.

Look Forward, Not Back

The main reason we support the latest browsers is because the latest browsers support the latest technology. Old browsers such as IE8 and IE9 don’t support a lot of the animation and CSS functionality that is desired by most clients and their users.

To be frank, nothing is quite as upsetting as developing a beautiful website that collapses on an outdated browser.

These technologies offer a holistic approach to website positioning; these technologies can only enhance your website, not hinder. Optimizing your website for modern browsers will directly influence user experience, and propel your website into the trendsetting realm of exciting modernity. By supporting the most up-to-date technologies, you’ll position your business as cutting edge and forward thinking. You’ll do more than just communicate with your users — you’ll invigorate them.

Follow the Numbers

When deciding on whether to upgrade to the latest technologies, numbers don’t lie. Take a look at your analytics. What are your users using as browsers?

It’s generally a good practice to build your website to accommodate the platforms that your target audience is already using. Google analytics no longer supports IE8 and IE9 because they are so outdated. In fact, they are also no longer supported by Microsoft.

Look at where your users are coming from and do a comparison. Stat Counter is a great resource for wide-scale comparative analytics. It supplies statistics, by country, all about browser use. Do an internal audit, and honestly weigh the cost of optimizing your website for these outdated browsers (and also consider the very low and decreasing percentage of users still using outdated browsers). Then, you can objectively determine whether or not it’s worth the investment.

Show Me the Money

Coding for outdated browsers that don’t support current technologies adds significant cost and time to development as well as design.

Alternative designs may need to be created to work with the lack of support with certain elements or animations. If you choose to optimize your website to support outdated browsers, any time you request a feature or change, you’ll need to be prepared for the additional investment in resources for accommodating those changes.

The Alternative

Our suggestion? Carpe diem. YOLO. Seize the “right now” of digital technology, and encourage your users to do the same.

You can display a message to users with outdated browsers that will prompt them to update. You can even provide them with direct links and resources for these upgrades.

Supporting the latest browser versions is the perfect way to balance budget efficiency with the benefits of the latest technologies. You’ve invested a lot of time, resources, and creativity into your website. Make sure your users can enjoy that full experience you’ve created, in the best, most modern way possible.


Making Instagram’s New Feed Click for Your Business

Picture this: It’s been a while since one of your customers has checked into their Instagram account.

They log in, expecting to see the latest updates from all of their favorite users. Instead, they find the top of their feed filled with photos and videos that Instagram thinks they wants to see, compiled from their user list, regardless of when those posts were originally shared.

Will your company’s latest posts be part of the mix? They will be if you keep reading.

Instagram: It’s Not Just for Keeping Tabs on Friends and Family Anymore

First things first. If your business isn’t using Instagram, you may want to ask yourself, “is Instagram right for my company?” The service is home to a community of more than 400 million regular visitors and is projected to bring in over $2 billion in ad revenue by 2017. It’s a global community as well, with more than 75 percent of users living outside of the U.S.

Studies show that while people don’t engage with branded social content very often, low-clutter, brand-friendly photo-sharing apps like Instagram are a noteworthy exception. Forrester recently named Instagram “the king of social engagement,” citing the fact that the top brands generated a per-follower engagement rate of 4.21 percent. That’s 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook, and 120 times more engagement per follower than Twitter!

Instagram isn’t just a tool for restaurants, retailers, or larger, established brand names like Ford Fiesta, General Electric, and Lululemon. Many startups and SMBs are turning to the partner in an effort to jump start sales, gain exposure, and increase online brand presence. While B2C marketers are slightly more likely to increase Instagram activity in comparison to their B2C counterparts, social media budgets among startups/SMBs range anywhere from a few thousand dollars a month to in excess of $100,000 annually, and rising, making Instagram’s per-follower engagement rate especially enticing.

Here’s What’s Happening : Algorithm Change

While there are a number of articles written about the complexity of the change, the fundamental idea is that Instagram is shifting away from the reverse chronological order that the service has used since its launch in 2010. The new algorithmic filtering system will rely on each user’s specific behaviors and interests to determine the images that appear at the top of their feed, as opposed to sorting content by the order in which it was posted. You can read more about the co-founders’ rationale for making the switch to an algorithm-based personalized feed in a recent New York Times article.

The change follows similar moves by Facebook in 2009, and by Twitter just a few months ago. It’s about giving users a simple, linear way to get the information they truly want, while adapting to the steady increase in volume flowing through parent company’s network. Instagram is betting that users would rather see updates that pertain to what they most recently “liked,” than whatever was posted five minutes ago.

Instagram co-founder and chief executive, Kevin Systrom, explains in the NY Times’ article, “On average, people miss about 70 percent of the posts in their Instagram feeds. What this [change] is about is making sure that the 30 percent you see is the best 30 percent possible.”

Making Sure “The Best 30 Percent” Includes Your Brand

If you want your Instagram presence to work for you, the first step is a practical one. You’ll need your followers to “turn on notifications” for their accounts, in order to allow Instagram to alert them every time you post new content.




Under the new system, consumer engagement is more important than ever. If a user rarely likes or comments on a newly posted photo, subsequent photos from the same account may be less likely to show up in that user’s feed. The more you’re able to motivate users to engage with your account, the more likely your branded content will make it into the top tier of their feeds. Strategies like being sure to cross-post your Instagram images to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Flickr will be equally critical.

Otherwise, the typical best practices related to any successful social media engagement campaign will still apply; strategically selecting how often to post, establishing a robust and relevant content calendar, and choosing appropriate content themes.

One major difference between Instagram and other forms of social media is that Instagram’s backbone is imagery. Considering the visual style you want to represent your brand will be vital. Apart from Instagram’s own built-in filter controls, mobile editing apps like VSCOcam and Whitagram can help you pinpoint the right “look” for your posts (consistency is key). You’ll also want to pay attention to the non-visual elements of your Instagram content, like caption formats, style language, and even your handle. It’s all part of your Instagram M.O., and should reflect your brand’s identity.

Don’t Panic! There’s Still Time to Figure All of this Out

“Despite the rumors, no feed changes are being implemented right now – we still have weeks, or even months, of testing to go,” said an Instagram spokesperson, in a carefully-worded statement, after news of the company’s plans sparked a backlash among its users.

That’s good news for marketers, who won’t be forced to scramble overnight to adapt to the company’s new personalized feed. But more broadly speaking, Instagram’s latest move should be a wake-up call impelling all of us to reflect on how responding to the consumer’s need to experience “the next best thing now,” is fast becoming one of the pillars of any successful marketing platform.

More than 80 percent of top global brands actively post on Twitter, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn and, yes, Instagram. Marketers seeking to develop a robust social engagement strategy of their own, or maximize the ROI on their existing investment, should talk to us.



Digital Marketing Metrics to Cut Through the Noise

Reports. Dashboards. Real-time data. Insights. There’s more online activity than ever before, and those of us in Digital Marketing are guilty of running around like Augustus Gloop in Willy Wonka’s amazing factory, gorging ourselves on reams of statistics and metrics of all kinds.

Shame on us.

We’ve allowed ourselves to become so enchanted by data that we’ve diluted the power of web analytics: deriving business value from data.

We’re better than this. It’s time we stepped up our game and started focusing on metrics that really matter; data that makes us (and our teams) smarter for noticing it.

Let’s go beyond Sessions and Page Views. Let’s measure more than Bounce Rate. Let’s stop talking about Impressions and Followers and Likes.

Let’s talk about these digital marketing metrics instead.

Time & Sessions to Outcome

How many visits does it take before a user completes your leadgen form? Or how many days from your first online interaction until a site visitor actually buys your product? This is crucial information!



If getting someone to your website 3 times in 30 days provides the best conversion rate, it’s your job to get them to come back, and then come back again. This means you need to consider driving new visitors towards channels that will let you re-engage with them, such as downloading gated content or subscribing to your emails.



On the other hand, if your best conversion rate actually comes from new visitors, then maybe retargeting shouldn’t be your top priority, but display advertising and paid social should be heavily involved.

Adjusted Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is a commonly reported metric for measuring visitor engagement – but the way this metric is deployed in Google Analytics can be fundamentally flawed, and give a false understanding of how users are engaging with the site.

There are some fantastic articles penned about this topic, but the short version is that if a user lands on the site and never looks at another page, or takes a tracked action before leaving, that’s a bounce. Do you see the issue?

Bounce rate doesn’t tell you if people are engaging with your content!

One solution is an amendment to Google Analytics code that fires after a certain amount of time (10, 15, 30 seconds). Once this snippet fires, the visit will no longer be considered a bounce, even if they only look at one page.


While this still isn’t a perfect solution, improving Bounce Rate to Adjusted Bounce means you will get a better sense of when people are reading and engaging with your content as opposed to landing, scrolling, and leaving.

Economic Value of Content

Would you like to know which of your blog posts, landing pages, whitepapers, videos or case studies are bringing the most value to your business? Of course. Because then you could focus your time on creating more of it!

This metric is both amazingly easy to put in place, yet also very difficult for most businesses to define. But stay with me – in Google Analytics, all you need to do is add a value to a goal, and that value will be distributed among visited pages prior to goal completion. Simple, right?

The challenge that most companies face is not the implementation of goal value, but determining what that goal value should be. (Hint: if you can’t tie the action to conversions, don’t track it as a Goal. Leave it as an Event or a Pageview.)

Here are the basic steps you’ll need to take in order to assign a monetary value to goals:

    1. Know (or figure out) the lifetime value (LTV) of a customer to your business.
    2. Determine the conversion rate of the Google Analytics goal in terms of customers.
    3. Multiply the profit from LTV in step #2 by the conversion rate in step #3. This is your goal value.

Let’s take XYZ Software Company, who has a free trial form on their website that converts to paying customers of their SaaS product 50% of the time, as an example. Their product charges $60 per month, and the average customer stays subscribed for 5 years

In this scenario, to get LTV we would multiply $60 x 60 months to get $3,600. Then, multiplying the LTV by the conversion rate of the form leads ($3,600 x 0.50) would result in $1,800 as the value of a form completion. We would put $1,800 into Google Analytics as the value of the goal completion.

Oh, and if you run an e-commerce business with no lead generation component? E-commerce tracking handles all of this value tracking for you. Score!



Once you’ve put values in for all of your goals and given time for them to record and track, you’ll be able to identify the most valuable pieces of content on your site, and adjust your content strategy accordingly.

Assisted Conversions & Rate

Similar to how Bounce Rate doesn’t tell the entire story, out-of-the-box Conversion Tracking often doesn’t give full insight into campaign performance. The standard attribution model in web analytics is based on the last actions before goal completion. This can lead to judgments about the effectiveness of marketing efforts that inaccurate and misinformed.

Assisted Conversions occur when a Source, Medium or Channel is involved in the process of a conversion, but isn’t the very last touchpoint. For example, a visitor who discovers you on Twitter and comes to your site, then gets retargeted, comes back to the site, and finally searches for your brand on Google before making a purchase. In standard Last Click attribution, Organic Search would get 100% of the conversion credit – but Assisted Conversions would give credit to Social and Display Advertising.

Check out this conversion attribution chart. With this Last Click data as your only point of reference, you might assume that Paid Search isn’t pulling its weight, especially compared to Referral and Organic Search.



Now let’s include the entire picture, including Assisted Conversions. Pretty big difference, huh? Suddenly, Paid Search doesn’t look so bad.



As if that wasn’t enough (and it definitely is), this report offers yet another awesome feature.

Check out the final column in the Assisted Conversion report – it shows a ratio of Assisted Conversions to Last Click Conversions.



If that ratio is less than one, the channel is more likely to be the last step in the conversion funnel. If more than one, the channel tends to drive a lot of early-funnel visits that convert later via other channels.

This is huge! This single column in one report can give you massive insight into how you need to adjust your marketing campaigns to most effectively drive conversions by moving prospects through the purchase funnel. It can revolutionize your paid and organic content, your ad targeting, even your landing page design and experience.

Go Forth and Do Better Reporting

Reporting doesn’t have to be a morass of charts and graphs with no apparent end – we can take back web analytics. We can bring real value.

We must bring real value.

Your homework:

  • If you aren’t tracking website goals, set them up. Today.
  • Find out LTV for your company (there may be several, depending on the service/product you offer).
  • Use LTV and conversion rate to put real dollar values to your website goals.

And more importantly, start paying attention to what matters – data that drives actionable insights.

Need some help getting your web analytics up-to-code, or just want an outside eye to make sense of the data? One of our Digital Specialists can help, just drop us a line.