What your PR firm isn’t telling you

Here is my question to the PR world: if you haven’t hired a social media marketing/video production company – what are you really offering your clients?

Reporters are overworked covering the daily news cycle and are bombarded with press releases from PR firms that have nothing to do with what their boss will make them cover anyway. Speaking from experience, they don’t have time for lunch or often bathroom breaks, let alone 10 minutes to read a novel of what amounts to a sales pitch. 

Reporters don’t go to press conferences, let alone shoot them, unless it will turn into “clicks” on the web. A sad but true fact.    

Newspapers are on the media equivalent of hospice if they’re still in circulation, and TV news stations, outside of the 24 hour news channels, are on life support. Moreover, few people, if any, in your target audience, are engaging with the three seconds of “earned” media coverage you’ve captured IF your PR company successfully got you on a televised program in the first place.  

Thanks to social media, you can reach any reporter, booking producer, and news executive worth contacting to pitch your story on your own. 

It has never been easier for the average consumer to avoid advertisements on nearly every platform they use. Unless you’re spending five-million dollars for 30 seconds of air time on the Super Bowl, be prepared to still spend big with traditional media without the analytics to justify the expense.   

If you want to truly expand your client tent in 2021 you need to be creating content, especially video, designed to deliver value and engage with your target audience.  

If your public relations/marketing firm doesn’t offer video designed to succeed on social media as part of your package, and can’t prove to you they have the algorithmic expertise to get the job done, you’re being robbed.

FACT: VIDEO CONTENT IS KING

This blog article was written by Five Seasons Media’s Chief Creative Officer, Josh Scheinblum. For questions about how Five Seasons Media can help your organization, please contact Josh via email at Josh@5SeasonsMedia.com.

Top Five best Super Bowl ads

Let’s be honest, no one likes watching ads and the average consumer will go to great lengths to avoid engaging with them. For one magical night a year, however, that all changes.  

The Super Bowl is like Thanksgiving in winter: filled with lots of food, a cooked bird (but this time with hot sauce), and loud arguments with close family members. This time though, the arguments aren’t centered around politics or allegations about who ate the drumstick (it wasn’t me Uncle Carl!) as they surround the best and worst Super Bowl ads

If you’re still debating amongst your family since Tom Brady was anointed GOAT for the seventh time, let us step forward and say, “may you argue no longer”. We at Five Seasons Media have compiled the top five most impactful Super Bowl ads to settle this issue once and for all.  

5). ‘Wow wow no cow’ by Oatly 

The Oatly Super Bowl ad is terrible in the best possible way and highlights well the rapidly evolving media and advertising landscape. In the commercial, the company, which makes a product called “oat milk”, features their CEO, Toni Peterson, singing, some may say irritatingly, “wow wow no cow” to describe their non-dairy drink. The ad stands out because love it or hate, it is different, and leaves a lasting impression. In a world where everyone has a smartphone, social media account, and an opinion, the ad shows production value isn’t always everything to make sure you’re heard loud and clear.  

4). ‘As One’ by the NFL 

While the NFL has angered fans on both sides of the social justice debate surrounding how to handle instances of police brutality and myriad allegations around the county of examples of systemic racism, a series of ads aired on Super Bowl Sunday that attempted to bring all fans together. Most, fell flat, and likely did not change any hearts and minds. That said, one of the ads, featuring a hologram of the late football coaching great Vince Lombardi, stood well above the rest. The ad, which used actual lines from speeches Lombardi once gave, were weaved together to deliver a message designed to resonate in today’s tumultuous political climate. Regardless of how one may feel surrounding recent NFL decisions to address societal concerns, the ad achieved its goal of finding, however small, a piece of common ground that viewers have found worth sharing beyond their television screens.   

3). ‘The Middle’ by Jeep 

As we’ve said in previous blog posts, storytelling centered advertising delivers value, which in turn compels prospective clients to engage with your message. Jeep’s ad, entitled The Middle, shows how with an engaging story, a product can be plugged effectively if not explicitly. The ad, which features music legend Bruce Springsteen, takes consumers on a journey, in you guess it, a Jeep, that starts in America’s literally heartland and ends in the nation’s metaphorical heart. While there is some controversy surrounding whether Springsteen, a known critic of Republicans, was the right person to best deliver a unifying message, where there is no debate is that the ad is continuing to make its mark in the digital world long after it aired on television.     

2). ‘Jessica Long’s Story’ by Toyota 

Although there were many ads that attempted to deliver a unifying message, arguably no Super Bowl commercial did this better than the one created by Toyota featuring Jessica Long, a paralympic champion. Using the power of strong, character centered storytelling, Toyota used Long to show how one can triumph through adversity to reach the pinnacle of success. While most are unable to directly relate to Long’s inspirational life journey, Toyota effectively used universal themes, like love and the value of hard work, that for most will emotionally resonate with. Creating an emotional connection, and telling a story worth sharing on social media and online, was a smart move by Toyota that will undoubtedly keep their vehicles at the forefront of prospective customers for many years to come. 

1). ‘Tom Brady & Rob Gronkowski Big Game Ad’ by T-Mobile 

It may be hard to remember but when Tom Brady announced he was leaving New England for Tampa Bay many sports fans were left scratching their heads asking, “why?”. The idea that his former tight end, Rob Gronkrowski, would join him there, seemed, again, at the time, an unlikely possibility too. Thanks to T-Mobile, we now have an answer about how this perfect storm of football excellence came together: poor cell phone signal (allegedly). The best part of this ad, it shows clearly the power of social media as despite it never actually aired during the Big Game after having been rejected by the NFL, it has nevertheless gone viral. As this ad unambiguously shows, a social first strategy is the only true way to make a lasting impact on prospective consumers. 

This blog article was written by Five Seasons Media’s Chief Creative Officer, Josh Scheinblum. For questions about how Five Seasons Media can help your organization, please contact Josh via email at Josh@5SeasonsMedia.com.

The top five best ‘Bernie Sanders mittens’ memes

Regardless of one’s political affiliation, one fact most Americans can agree on is President Joe Biden has begun his term in office overseeing a nation that is deeply divided. Thankfully, even when reconciliation between opposing factions appears out of reach, a social media meme showing Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders sitting in winter clothing, complete with a warm pair of mittens, has gone viral. The image, which has been shared in various forms hundreds of thousands of times, is bringing people of all political stripes, if even for a moment, together for a laugh. Here are our top five favorite “Bernie Sanders mittens” memes we have seen on social media thus far.

5). ‘Bernie Sanders the MMA champion’

4). ‘Bernie Sanders the Sopranos’ family captain’

3). ‘Bernie Sanders the Jedi’

2). ‘Bernie Sanders the spot stealer’

1). ‘Bernie Sanders getting ready for 2024 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa’

This blog article was written by Five Seasons Media’s Chief Creative Officer, Josh Scheinblum. For questions about how Five Seasons Media can help your organization, please contact Josh via email at Josh@5SeasonsMedia.com.

Five ways to create more engaging social media content

To be taken seriously as a modern-day business, you must have a social media presence. But to leverage your social media following into a sales generating engine, it is vital to create consistently engaging content on your platforms of choice. There are myriad reasons for why this is, which we’ve discussed in previous blog posts, but one area where businesses both large and small often struggle is that which involves creating consistently engaging content.

While creating great content may seem like a daunting task which takes up time and resources, and let’s be clear, it can be, the good news is this can be done and it’s not just important you do it, it’s vital for the long-term survival of any serious business.

Here is a checklist to keep in mind before you ever press “post” on your company’s professional pages:   

1). Deliver value.

If you want prospective customers to interact with your page and brand you need to give them a reason to interact with you in the first place. Are you telling a joke worth sharing? Are you giving away a piece of information that will enhance someone’s life which will compel them to like it? Are you being entertaining to the point that it’s worth commenting on what you wrote? You don’t need to answer yes, obviously, to all these questions but when you ask yourself, “does this post deliver value?”, you’re answer always needs to be “yes.”

2). Don’t ignore trending content.

While uncovering and/or predicting trending content that will deliver return on investment will likely take a professional, there are still steps you can take to insert your company’s voice into a global conversation. Using specific and commonly used hashtags, that are also being used by your perspective clients, is one way to do this. For example, on Thursday, try posting a photo that shows something memorable which happened in your company’s past with the hashtag #ThrowbackThursday. The hashtag has been used millions of times over the years and will allow a new network of users who click on it to see the content you have created. There are myriad other hashtags like this which can also be used.

3). Make sure your content stands out.

Social media is filled with content that looks the same, even though being different is what will truly lead to increased engagement. While online content tools, like Canva, are user-friendly programs, avoid using their most popular designs and templates. While your information or call to action may be different than what is being offered by another company that used the same template, and don’t get us wrong, Canva specifically is a great free tool, you’ll risk being lost in the shuffle.  

4). Don’t look like you’re advertising.

This tip truly warrants its own blog article, but in short, the average consumer has become desensitized to blatant advertising and will go to great lengths to avoid interacting with ads (can you blame them?). While at its core, social media marketing is advertising, you need to take a step back and ask yourself, “does what I am about to post look like an ad?” If that answer is yes, go back to the drawing board.

5). Take part in the conversation.   

While your business page should have a clear voice and personality all its own, at the end of the day it is a faceless entity. As social media is all about connection and interaction, don’t be afraid to take part in the conversation yourself. If you see folks commenting on your post, thank them for their words and offer your own take. This shows your perspective customers you care about what they have to say and will also likely help increase your engagement rate, putting your post in front of even more eyeballs.  

There is no debate that social media is a beast that must be fed, a reality that won’t be going away. However, creating content that no one is engaging with is a waste of time, resources, and may reflect negatively on your brand. We also know, for even stellar content to consistently take off, it takes algorithmic and marketing expertise, like that which Five Seasons Media offers. That said, regardless of where your company is at in their social media game, this checklist will help begin to move your efforts in the right direction and help maximize your digital reach.  

This blog article was written by Five Seasons Media’s Chief Creative Officer, Josh Scheinblum. For questions about how Five Seasons Media can help your organization, please contact Josh via email at Josh@5SeasonsMedia.com.

Five politicians (and wannabes) changing the social media game

No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, if you want to win a seat to elected office in modern times you best have a strong social media game. In 2016, now President Donald Trump went so far as to credit his savvy use of social media with having helped his campaign defeat Hillary Clinton. Clinton, whom despite having a long career in politics and having outraised the then billionaire from New York, lost the race. Her social media game was also not as strong as Trump’s.  

Fast forward to 2020, and the social media landscape has continued to evolve and become a crucial element for any campaign hoping to win in November. In turn, many of those seeking office, on both sides of the aisle, are working overtime to use social media as a tool to give them an edge during or heading into an election.

We’ve put together a list of the top five politicians, and those who want to be one, who we think are using social media in new and innovative ways that are worth paying attention to. In short, they’re changing the political social media game so don’t be surprised if you see others attempting to replicate what they’re doing.

To be clear, this list is not an endorsement of any candidate or member of elected office. If you don’t have the emotional capacity to see the names of people you don’t like and/or agree with in writing, it’s probably best you stop reading here, this list is not for you.

Still with me? Enjoy!

5. Andrew Yang

Picture of former presidential candidate Andrew Yang’s Twitter page.

Who they are: Former Democratic candidate for President.

Why they’re on the list: Andrew Yang dropped out of the presidential race shortly after the New Hampshire primary. And while he clearly didn’t make it to the finish line, his impressive fundraising and following, affectionately known as the “Yang gang”, was all made possible due to the power of social media.

It’s also worth noting Yang follows our Chief Creative Officer Josh Scheinblum on Twitter which is always a sign of a social media genius.   

How they’re changing the game: Despite being a political newcomer, Yang quickly saw his political stock rise after appearing on Joe Rogan’s podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience. The podcast has a cult following and is heard by millions on social media.

While Rogan is seen as a political influencer now – having received attention for strongly insinuating he would support Bernie Sanders and subsequently Donald Trump in their presidential bids – Yang was among the first to use the podcast to propel himself to political stardom. The interview Yang did with Rogan put his message in front of millions of folks who had never heard of him before.

And while it has been months since Yang suspended his campaign, he has not let up in his efforts to increase his social media engagement. Most notably, Yang has started a podcast of his own, called “Yang Speaks”, which has produced content the former presidential candidate has used across a wide range of social media platforms. Don’t be surprised if Yang uses his newfound social media strategy to launch himself once again into a shot at a political career.   

Content example:

A video clip of former presidential candidate Andrew Yang’s podcast from his Facebook page.

4. Lauren Boebert

Picture of Congressional candidate Lauren Boebert’s Facebook page.

Who they are: Republican candidate running for Colorado’s 3rd congressional district.

Why they’re on the list: Lauren Boebert challenged and defeated five term incumbent Representative Scott Tipton in the Republican primary. She used social media to rally supporters launching her campaign to victory.  

How they’re changing the game: Boebert is a perfect case study which demonstrates content is king and if social media analytics are any indication, she’s on the path to win her second race this election cycle. For example, a Five Seasons Media social media audit going back the last several weeks reveals on Twitter alone, Boebert has posted nearly eight times a day – racking up nearly 4,000 engagements per tweet. Compare that to her opponent who has tweeted around three times a day and has only received around 130 engagements per tweet.   

Boebert’s content is a mix of right-wing, but often witty, trolling, Trump support, and commentary on trending digital material. Whether you love her message, or hate it, she’s successfully been able to drive engagement and grow her following to a level that has surpassed even Colorado’s own governor, Jerod Polis. Boebert’s dominance on social media in Colorado’s 3rd congressional district race is an example to behold.   

Content example:  

Video posted to Congressional candidate Lauren Boebert’s Instagram page that received more than 8,000 views.

3. Auditor Rob Sand

Picture of Iowa state Auditor Rob Sand’s Twitter page.

Who they are: Iowa’s Democratic state Auditor.

Why they’re on the list: Unless you closely follow Iowa politics, there is a good chance the following is news to you:

1). Iowa is in fact a state that has more than just corn (come visit us, you’ll love it here).

2). Iowa has a position in government called the “state Auditor”.   

For a little background, the Auditor’s office in Iowa acts as the taxpayers’ watchdog. If there is a case of financial impropriety involving taxpayer money, the Auditor’s office has the authority to investigate and release their findings. While this position is arguably one of the most important in the state, it is traditionally a low-profile gig. Thanks to social media however, Rob Sand has changed that.

It’s also worth noting Sand follows our Chief Creative Officer Josh Scheinblum on Twitter which is always a sign of a social media genius.

How they’re changing the game: As any good social media manager should know, among the ways to drive engagement to a given account involves creating a clear voice for your brand. Whether he’s done it intentionally or not, Sand has created a social media persona all his own – funny, smart, and entertaining. While many politicians mistakenly use social media simply to attempt to amplify their own voice, Sand engages directly and thoughtfully with those who interact with him, even trolls and strong critics.  

Where Sand really excels is in his ability to use trending content to bring further attention to himself. While I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the content he’s produced finds itself in a TV attack ad put out by a future opponent accusing him of not taking his position seriously, the good news for Sand is no one watches TV ads.  

A prediction: Sand isn’t making new inroads into the social media world because he has a passion for social media marketing. Likely, he has higher political aspirations than state Auditor. Whether you agree with Sand and his approach or not, we’re confident his unique social media methodology is building him a larger base of supporters that will give him a leg up in any future election.

Content example:  

A tweet from Iowa state Auditor Rob Sand that used a trending meme to forward his message.

2. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Picture of Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Facebook page.

Who they are: Democratic member of Congressrepresenting New York’s 14th district.

Why they’re on the list: Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whose nickname is “AOC”, is a lightning rod of controversy or a hero depending on who you ask. That said, regardless of how one may feel about this ringleader of “the squad” – she’s a force on social media who is growing her voice through it in unique ways mostly not seen by her fellow colleagues on Capitol Hill.  

How they’re changing the game: AOC and President Donald Trump may be polar opposites on the political spectrum but one quality they both have: if they’re being used in social media content it likely will explode if put forward by the right account. For example, within six hours of C-SPAN tweeting out a video of AOC addressing offensive remarks that were made against her by a fellow member of Congress, it became the most retweeted post ever put out by the television network, CNN reports.

AOC sets a high standard when it comes creating content people want to interact with in her own right. Whether she’s doing a Facebook LIVE, Tweeting out commentary, or, is LIVE streaming herself playing video games on Twitch, one goal is always clear – she’s looking to find new ways to drive more social media engagement. The landscape of social media is continuing to evolve but AOC’s actions have made it clear she is not only along for the ride but she is at the forefront of where it is going.    

Content example:  

YouTube video that shows a LIVE stream on Twitch featuring Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

1. President Donald J. Trump

Picture of President Donald Trump’s Twitter page.

Who they are: Republican President of the United States.

Why they’re on the list: There is arguably no person, politician or otherwise, who has become more synonymous with a social media platform, that had no part in creating it, than President Donald Trump is with Twitter.  

How they’re changing the game: There are often many so-called White House communications experts that have a heavy hand in releasing statements made by the President of the United States. At least, that was the case before President Trump was elected to office.

Whether you’re on board the Trump train or not, President Trump has used social media in a way never seen before by any other leader of the free world and it is unlikely most of the content he creates has gone through any other filter than his own brain. If the President sends out a tweet, you’ll find a journalist somewhere writing about it, thousands online complaining about what he wrote, and thousands also praising his every word.

Whether President Trump’s social media practices make for a good political strategy or not, we’ll let you decide, but what is not up for debate: President Trump has a voice all his own on social media that impactfully stands out, he is one that regardless of what he posts at any hour of the day or night will drive viral levels of engagement, and he is a content creating machine.

President Trump is the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world when it comes to politicians on social media which is why he comes in at #1 on our list.

Content example: 

A tweet from President Donald Trump on November 2, 2020.

This blog article was written by Five Seasons Media’s Chief Creative Officer, Josh Scheinblum. For questions about how Five Seasons Media can help your organization, please contact Josh via email at Josh@5SeasonsMedia.com.

Five ways to make your social media videos not suck

A question – why is it so many major brands have cinematic quality social media videos, yet their rate of engagement is low? We know they have the budget and the resources to produce top tier content, yet all too often the videos they make still suck. It almost always comes down to one major reason: storytelling.

We all can give examples of good stories. Movies like those in the Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Indiana Jones series (yes, I know, I’m nerd) all tell drastically different tales but are each engaging because at their core they follow the basic tenants of compelling storytelling.

At Five Seasons Media, we’re using our skillset via a web series to show you don’t need to be a Fortune 500 company to make great video content, all while allowing us to help support local businesses in our area. Check it out:

At the risk of oversimplifying, what is needed to tell a good visual story is:

1). A character or characters

As human beings, we easily identify with those who are experiencing aspects of the human condition. That is the case even if the character, or characters, aren’t human, but instead a hobbit (I did it again… sorry, I’ll try to hold my nerdiness back moving forward) or someone living in a place and time we’ll never experience, like that of a spaceship pilot living a long time ago in a galaxy far far away (okay, I’m sorry, again, I have a problem).

Characters appeal to our most primitive emotions, and in turn, serve as a vehicle to explain complex situations through feelings we can all empathize with. The three movie series I mentioned earlier have complex global or out of this world political structures around them, ones that had they been laid out in a textbook would be nearly impossible for the average person to comprehend. Yet, when these situations are seen through the eyes of a character, most can easily follow what is going on.    

To be clear, a product is not a character. A service is not a character. A deal or “act now” promotion is not a character. An explanation about why your company is better than your competition is not a character. Characters are people, just people like you and me, and are not simply nice things to have in a social media video, they’re vital.  

To tell a good story, it must be character centered.  

2). A beginning, middle, and end

The key to good video engagement is to give people are reason to watch the whole thing. In turn, there should be a storyline to follow that incentivizes the viewer to keep watching.

Your video should always be revealing something new and interesting that is as engaging in the beginning as it is the middle and end.

It doesn’t matter how much you pay Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc. to “boost” your ad. If you don’t give people a reason to keep watching, they won’t.

3). A “Why?”

Are you creating a video for your benefit or for those of your prospective clients? At Five Seasons Media, we have a mantra we live by, “don’t create an ad, tell a story.” If your “why” is simply to increase your bottom line and not offer something of value to the viewer, there is no reason for anyone to engage with the content you’re putting out there.

In 2020, people don’t watch ads, they do however watch stories. If your “why” is to tell a story that rewards your audience with value, you will have digital success.

4). Good audio

Picture yourself scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed and you come across a video that immediately grabs your attention. You click on it but quickly keep on scrolling onto the next piece of content because the audio is hard to understand. I am always amazed when I see videos that a company clearly spent tens of thousands of dollars on yet there apparently wasn’t enough room in the budget for a microphone that captures clear sound. If your viewers can’t understand what your saying, your message will not resonate.

5). Production value

You’ll notice I put this last on the list. Let me be clear, when we make a social media video, production value is of paramount importance, but we never allow it to come at the expense of the story. This is where many major brands have their priorities backwards. That said, for a video, you should have strong visuals that help showcase the other storytelling necessities previously mentioned, not the other way around.

A little advice, production companies are a dime a dozen, but good storytellers are a rare find. If you can find a company, like Five Seasons Media, that can do both, you’re in a strong position to succeed. If not, you’re in good company and as such won’t be standing out from the crowd.

The bottom line: tell a good story or find someone like us who can do it for you, and you’ll see your social media game take a major step up. You may even just create one page in your industry “to rule them all” (I had to, and no, I’m not sorry this time).

This blog article was written by Five Seasons Media’s Chief Creative Officer, Josh Scheinblum. For questions about how Five Seasons Media can help your organization, please contact Josh via email at Josh@5SeasonsMedia.com.

Five Facebook pages you need to follow today

As TV viewership declines, newspapers shut down, and other forms of so-called “traditional advertising” continue to fail to put their clients’ message in front of new eyeballs – social media remains a constant reminder why a strong digital game is vital for the survival of any business that hopes to prosper for the foreseeable future.    

In 2020, with 2.6 billion users, Facebook is still the juggernaut of social media. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of five Facebook pages everyone should follow. Each of the five pages has been evaluated by the social media marketing experts at Five Seasons Media and given a grade between an F- and A+ based on five categories (we like the number five). To be clear, these pages aren’t perfect, and we’re not saying they’re the best of all time, but for a business looking to take the first steps at improving their Facebook page, there are lessons that can be learned by regularly monitoring each one.  

5). Vineyard Vines

Layout: B

The homepage for Vineyard Vines is among the best that’s out there. The profile photo is of high resolution and is on brand. The cover photo is bright, evokes feelings that connect the consumer to the brand, and is also of high resolution. The page appears welcoming and even has a shop at the top where consumers are immediately introduced to their products and given an easy way to purchase them. We did however find some issues with other sections outside the home page. For example, we know Vineyard Vines has a great backstory (Ian and Shep, we know who are!) but that is not something easily accessible on their page. There also was no anchor video, more on that later.

Post frequency: B

Around six posts in the last 10 days.

Originality: C+

Of the last six posts or so that were made, all but one appears to have been created internally. Most posts were created with the clear intent of engagement but nevertheless often do not emotionally resonate. When you’ve created a post that’s generated lots of one type of engagement (likes, comments, views, shares, etc.) but have nearly none of the others, that’s a red flag that tweaks need to be made.  

Engagement level: D

For a page their size, a couple hundred engagements per post is a sign there is still much room for Vineyard Vines to grow when it comes to their digital footprint. We noticed most public comments to their recent posts are not responded to by administrators. We even found one account that was repeatedly asking for assistance but from what we could see was never responded to by an administrator. Not a good look.

Video content: C

The good news, Vineyard Vines creates video content. The bad news, most of it’s nothing to write home about. As we said earlier, there is no anchor video. They should create one immediately. Vineyard Vines has a great story, they should create more video content that surrounds this.

Also of note, while the video that is created is often well produced and employs myriad editing tricks – there is no strong storytelling, the production quality is inconsistent from video to video, and most can easily be identified as ads.

That said, while their videos may be under performing, they are still helping grow their social media footprint.

Overall grade: C+

4). John Deere

Layout: B

The homepage of the John Deere Facebook page is certainly above average. The profile photo of their iconic logo is perfectly positioned (but could be of higher resolution). Their cover photo is eye-catching, emotionally resonates, and shows one of their products in action. As was the case with Vineyard Vines, we also found some areas that should be completed to better tell the compelling story behind the all-American brand that is John Deere. An anchor video would have also been nice to see.

Post frequency: D-

Two posts in the last ten days.

Originality: A

While we wish John Deere would post more often to Facebook, the posts they do produce are almost always out of the box in the best possible way. For example, to mark the return of professional baseball, they posted a short video of a man mowing a baseball field with one of their mowers with the caption, “Play ball!” The post was perfect for the time and positively inserted their brand into a topic that was trending. A scroll through there Facebook wall shows creative ideas like this are well within their wheelhouse.

Engagement level: B

If John Deere posts something to their Facebook page it usually does well. Really well. So well in fact, while we’ve found areas where they can improve, their level of engagement is that which deserves high marks. That said, should their administrators interact more with the consumer questions and comments we saw on their wall, that looked mostly ignored, we’d happily change this grade from a B to an A.

Video content: C

The production value of John Deere’s Facebook videos are well above average, as should be expected with any publicly traded conglomerate. Their videos however are posted in a format that may cause them to under perform. We noticed even though their page has more than 4.6-million followers, the last six videos they’ve produced only has racked up an average of around 14,000 views, likes, comments, and shares per video. Not to brag but at Five Seasons Media, we constantly create videos for our clients with far less followers that perform significantly better on Facebook. John Deere can do better.

Overall grade: B-

3). Yankee Candle

Layout: B+

The Yankee Candle factory in Deerfield, Massachusetts is a must visit for anyone who finds themselves in western New England. The feeling you get when you walk through their main doors is like you have taken a step back into your warmest childhood Christmas memory. We’re not exaggerating, this place is awesome. The feeling you get when you visit Yankee Candle is hard to recreate online but credit needs to be given when its due – the essence of their homepage makes a solid effort to come close. The logo featured in their profile photo is of high resolution and their cover photo takes us right back to Deerfield. There is however no anchor video (really?! For a company as visual as yours?!) and we also found some sections that appear to have been neglected.

Post frequency: D+

Two posts in the last 10 days.

Originality: A-

Finding the right balance between creating engaging content and trying to sell your products is not an easy task but Yankee Candle largely does it well. Case in point, marketing a car diffuser may seem like it would be a challenge for most on social media, but Yankee Candle showcased the one they make in a unique, engaging, and visual way. When your business model consists of creating candles with scents that include “crisp campfire apples” and “a night under the stars” we think it’s safe to say being original is simply par for the course.

Engagement level: A

Make a public comment that raises an issue and Yankee Candle’s social media administrators will likely respond, showing that while you may just be one of more than a million of their followers, they care about the issues that matter to you. The content they produce also gets high marks for the level of consumer engagement they generate.

Video content: B

Yankee Candle has produced lots of video content over the years. Some of it is great, much of it is not. As with most videos, the key to success is strong storytelling. One video we really liked, but could have been improved upon, had employees of Yankee Candle giving their fathers personalized gifts the company makes. In short, the moments were there that were needed in order to create a bond between the brand and the viewer but the low production value we think really prevented this video from taking off. That said, we see what they were trying to do, and applaud them for the effort. We would recommend Yankee Candle follow their own example of immersive storytelling, like the kind one is enveloped in at their factory, and create additional video content with these considerations in mind.  

Overall grade: B

2). The Daily Wire

Layout: B+

As a conservative digital publication, the Daily Wire‘s layout is clean, on brand, and the images used in both their profile photo and cover photo are of high resolution.

There is no anchor video, which we’d strongly advise their team to create soon. Anchor videos are often your first impression as a brand, and while their page has already racked up millions of followers, there is always room to grow. Unless you’re already an avid Daily Wire consumer, their cover photo as is won’t make much sense to a new visitor without an anchor video designed to make the connection.

We also found some areas of their page that could be expanded upon allowing for increased engagement and a more friendly user experience.  

Post frequency: A+

32 posts in the last eight hours and counting.

Originality: A

There is a saying in the social media marketing industry, “content is king.” The volume of originally produced content by the Daily Wire is not only impressive but the consistent level at which their users interact with it makes an A for this category a well-deserved grade.

Engagement level: B+

While the content produced by the Daily Wire clearly gets a high level of engagement on most of their posts, we did not see the page’s administrators or the commentators featured in their cover photo interacting with their followers. If Ben Shapiro, Andrew Klavan, Michael Knowles, and Matt Walsh were to take this step, not only would it build a level of consumer loyalty, but it would help their social media game truly stand out from their competitors. Should they do this regularly, we’d be more than happy to increase this grade to an A+.

Video content: A

In the past 24 hours they’ve posted nearly 20 videos to their Facebook page, which their analytics show people are consistently engaging with. The production value is slick, but again, should there be more videos specifically surrounding the faces of their brand featured in the page’s cover photo, we really think this would take their level of video content over the top.  

Overall grade: A-

1). The NHL

Layout: A+

The National Hockey League (NHL) runs one of the best Facebook pages around at every level. The layout of their page is simply excellent. Everything is on brand and their current cover photo compels visitors to engage with them not just on the page but outside the platform too. They have a well-produced anchor video (but if we’re nitpicking could have been made with a better story). They also post regularly to their “story” (which can be accessed by clicking their profile photo) providing additional content and yet another way for followers to interact with them.

Post frequency: A+

11 posts in the past eight hours or so and counting.

Originality: A+

It should come as no surprise but the posts on the NHL’s Facebook page are heavily geared towards hockey fans. That said, whether you’re a fan or not, many of the posts appear to be designed to appeal to even the most lackluster of hockey aficionados. One of our favorites was a series of photos that showed a collage the Philadelphia Flyers put together for their players featuring their family members. Not only did this post share something that makes an emotional impact, but they also posted a link to an article in the post they created on the event back on their website. Brilliant move.  

Engagement level: B+

In short, if the NHL posts content, it will get engagement. Where we think the NHL can improve their engagement level however is when it comes to direct consumer interaction. We get it, the NHL is an organization that can feel faceless, but we think it doesn’t have to be. When a fan interacts with their content, especially in today’s world where folks are seeking a sense of normalcy, a comment back would go a long way.  

Video content: A+

From videos that feature a player’s stick-handling to long form videos that dig into the story behind the teams that make up their league, they’re nailing their video game at every level.

Overall grade: A

You don’t need to have millions of followers and a budget of hundreds of thousands of dollars in order to have a strong social media game. At Five Seasons Media, we pride ourselves at helping businesses of all sizes grow their social media footprint and in turn their bottom lines. While not all Facebook pages are created equal, what the pages we went through show is that there are steps everyone can take today to improve what they’re doing on Facebook.    

This blog article was written by Five Seasons Media’s Chief Creative Officer, Josh Scheinblum. For questions about how Five Seasons Media can help your organization, please contact Josh via email at Josh@5SeasonsMedia.com.

‘No f***head, you are not a storyteller’

If you’re running an advertising campaign, especially online, you need a storyteller to take your message and tell it in a way that compels people to engage with it.

There is a simple test to know whether you are working with someone who is a storyteller. Just answer this question: do they tell stories in any conventional sense of the word? No? Then they’re not a storyteller.

Blog article over. Thanks for reading. JUST KIDDING!

What a storyteller is may seem obvious, but it is a buzzword that is liberally, and incorrectly used all too often. Across nearly every industry there are folks who use the word to describe what makes them uniquely qualified to do the job they do.

The practice is especially prevalent, in my experience, among my colleagues in the marketing and public relations space. As an actual storyteller, who before launching Five Seasons Media, spent more than a decade perfecting the art of disseminating information in a memorable way as an on-air journalist, I can assure you the vast majority of folks calling themselves storytellers are not.

Several years ago, a collaborator of mine, a TV photographer and actual storyteller, shared with me this video. In short, it features Stefan Sagmeister, who is also an actual storyteller. In the video, Sagmeister explains his own frustrations with people calling themselves storytellers who, while may be talented at their respective professions, are still not. At one point he discusses a roller coaster designer who allegedly referred to themselves as a, you guessed it, storyteller. Sagmeister’s response: “No F***head. You are not a storyteller. You’re a roller coaster designer.”

When most scroll through their Facebook, TikTok, or Instagram feeds and see an advertisement, they move on to the next piece of content. There’s a reason for that: In 2020, people don’t watch ads that feel like ads. People are busy and have chosen to use their spare time to engage on social media to connect with friends, family, and compelling content.

The challenge for social media marketers and public relations experts is creating content, like an ad, people want to interact with. Despite this, most ads you’ll see on your favorite social media platforms have a low level of engagement. At Five Seasons Media, we think among the largest reasons for this is because there is no storytelling involved. Bottom line, when there is no story, people have no reason to engage. Our philosophy, which we think every marketer should embrace, is to not “create an ad. Tell a story.”    

There is one positive sign from my perspective of folks erroneously using the word storyteller – it proves there is immense value in being one and should you plan to step up your social media or public relations game you need one.

This blog article was written by Five Seasons Media’s Chief Creative Officer, Josh Scheinblum. For questions about how Five Seasons Media can help your organization, please contact Josh via email at Josh@5SeasonsMedia.com.

Five ways to improve your Facebook page

Ignorance is not an excuse to have a poor social media game.

During my time as the owner of a premier social media marketing firm, Five Seasons Media, I’ve heard lots of excuses about why some businesses have actively chosen to rarely update, or neglect entirely, their Facebook page. Of all of them, “I don’t understand it” or “I don’t have the time” rank at the top.

Fortunately, all of the clients we work worth (hence why they hired us) recognize you can’t know everything, see the value in what we do as a firm, and know the relationship between Facebook and driving sales grows ever closer with each passing day. This article is not for those folks who have the maturity and business acumen to recognize sometimes it’s best to hire the professionals – wassup?   

If you’re serious about dominating on Facebook, I can’t recommend enough hiring a professional company with a track record of doing it. That said, there is no reason to have to pay someone to consult you on steps you can take on your own today to better position you for digital success down the road.  

Here are five things every business can do to put themselves on a path to a brighter Facebook future:  

1). Use high resolution images

Look at your profile photo. Is it grainy? Was it posted years ago? Shot on an old cell phone, perhaps? For prospective customers who seek you out as a business by typing in your name into their Facebook search bar, this may be their first impression of your company. While you may be a business ready to perform at the top of your game for prospective clients, a photo that looks like you’re not ready for the modern world can be a turn off. Updating your profile photo with a higher resolution image is an easy way to entice people to not just seek you out but to engage with you too.   

2). Strive to make Facebook apart of your business model  

When you’re running your own business, social media can admittedly be time consuming and feel like it is taking you away from what your primary purpose is. The good news, however, in the words of commentator Ben Shapiro, “facts don’t care about your feelings”. If you’re running a business and hope to be successful for many years to come, Facebook needs to be apart of your evolving business model. There are 2.6-billion users on Facebook, and of those, the average age of an account holder is between 25 and 35 years old, according to data from Statista. For most of these users, they grew up using Facebook, and will likely continue to use the platform for the foreseeable future. Fail to appeal to this demographic now where they’re at, on Facebook, and you may not be on the sunny side of the free market for much longer.    

3). Engage with those who engage with you

Facebook, like other social media platforms, is all about connecting people. As a business, it allows you to hear directly from customers and those considering working with you in a setting where all feel equal. If someone messages you on Facebook with a comment or concern, take the time to message them back. This will allow you to either to start building a relationship, or, build a stronger one.  

4). Put effort into your “about” section  

Your “about” section allows people to learn more about your business and the other ways in which they can connect with you. If you see a blank section on your about page, fill it in.

5). Don’t go dark. Ever.

I have nothing else to add to this suggestion. In short, imagine you’re Wilford Brimley caring for his diabetes, check your Facebook page and check it often.

Like so many problems that emerge in business, leaders need to be humble, and instead of resisting waves of change, one needs to embrace them and ride them into the future. Facebook is the future.

This blog article was written by Five Seasons Media’s Chief Creative Officer, Josh Scheinblum. For questions about how Five Seasons Media can help your organization, please contact Josh via email at Josh@5SeasonsMedia.com.

TikTok, the new frontier or sinister device?

Some free social media marketing advice: pay attention to TikTok.

The controversial Chinese digital import is making waves in the industry and international relations space that is worthy of our attention. The reason for this is two-fold:

  1. TikTok has grown into a social media force that presents itself with myriad opportunities for monetization.
  2. TikTok may be a tool of the Chinese government designed to spy on its users.

In business, two ideas are not always mutually exclusive. In this case, however, they might be. The question before businesses and consumers considering adding TikTok to their social media portfolio is whether the platform is an asset or a liability in disguise.

With Facebook closing in on 20 years of existence, Instagram 10, and Twitter around 16, TikTok is the new kid on the block. And as younger demographics continue to opt to engage more on TikTok and less with older platforms, they are a threat to the status-quo.  

Like any new form of technology, there have been those sounding the alarm with their concerns about TikTok from the beginning. What is different with TikTok’s origin story though is it didn’t take off in Silicon Valley or New England, rather in communist China.

The latest headlines making the rounds concerning TikTok is that the U.S. government may opt to “ban” the app over national security concerns. Will this happen? Who knows. That said, there is a real possibility that TikTok and other apps with questionable ties to the Chinese government may become an online relic of the past, as has happened in India.

While TikTok’s future in the United States may be ambiguous, what is clear: with hundreds of millions of downloads, and with major brands like Wal-Mart, the NBA, and Calvin Klein signing on, social media marketers must be able to provide clients advice on how to increase their engagement for who choose to use it.

This blog article was written by Five Seasons Media’s Chief Creative Officer, Josh Scheinblum. For questions about how Five Seasons Media can help your organization, please contact Josh via email at Josh@5SeasonsMedia.com.