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Is Facebook still worth it?

The secret is well and truly out. The age of Pay-to-play social is very much upon us. Today’s guest post is by Adam Noakes at Switched on Media.

There’s no need to talk too much on the recent algorithm change by Facebook; a thousand blogs have covered that already. In short, Facebook recently made a significant change to how it determines how many people see content from brand pages. No longer can you rely on the fact that a fair portion of your ‘fans’ will see your content. In fact, brands have seen organic reach drop as low as 0.5% of their total fan base.

Mark Zuckerberg now answers to shareholders and making money sits atop his priority list, somewhere alongside connecting the world and user experience. Make no mistake, Facebook is now a juggernaut corporate entity in every sense. This means that brands are left with a few extra things to consider when thinking about their Facebook marketing efforts.

Pay-to-acquire and pay-to-reach is leaving marketing managers with a bitter taste in their mouths, and some would say rightfully so. Brands have invested significantly in social strategies, community management and acquiring fans through advertising, giveaways, campaigns and competitions. Now they have to invest even more to get their message in front of people.

In terms of audience and engagement from users, Facebook still leads the way by a considerable margin. Here are a few simple tips for maximising your Facebook marketing spend in light of the recent changes to the algorithm.

1. Using your own data will save you money

Time and time again I notice a significantly reduced cost-per-acquisition when uploading a custom data set for targeting purposes. Facebook allows you to upload email addresses from your database into the advertising module, which then locates those people based on the email address matching a registered Facebook account. Serving these users an ad this way is typically far more effective given they already know at least something of your brand.

2. Find look-a-likes based on your data

Once you’ve found users from your database, you can build out a look-a-like pool of similar users – based on demographics and interests, with the goal of attracting people similar to those you already attract – making the barrier to acquisition somewhat lower than that of less specific manual targeting.

2. Go hard or go home

Saying ‘Happy Friday’ and posting a cat meme is all well and good for business-as-usual content, and if your aspirations are to just be one of the pack – but if you want Facebook to work hard for the dollars you’re spending, equal investment in quality content production and planning is needed. Custom and branded images, content pillars and key themes should be developed and revised on a regular ongoing basis

3. Identify what purpose Facebook serves and build around that

Does your page act as an efficient alternative to in-house customer service methods? Did the recent offer you promoted give you a viable alternative to using Groupon or similar? Does the insights gained from interaction and engagement provide your sales team with a new target market to focus on? These are the type of questions you should be considering when figuring out exactly what purpose Facebook serves for your brand.

5. Consider what would happen if you stopped using Facebook

Look at your website analytics to measure Facebook referrals in the past 12-months, apply an attribution model to determine the effect Facebook has on brand term search and direct traffic. Measure your brand sentiment online, and determine the part Facebook plays in that. In most cases, brands taking Facebook seriously will see that it impacts many facets of the branding and marketing mix.

That’s just five essential points to consider right now. In an ever-changing social media landscape, using Facebook and other social channels to promote to consumer and prospects is only going to get more expensive. Making sure every dollar spent is spent with the confidence it’s working hard is essential.

Is Facebook still worth it? It’s only worth the dollars you spend, based on the effort you spend on making sure every dollar counts.


“I believe what we bring to a client relationship over time helps them be better at change.” An interview with the new MD (Australia) of Designworks.

by Nextness published September 16, 2013 posted in STW Group

Today’s post is a Q&A with Tim Riches, the recently-appointed Managing Director Australia at Designworks.

You have a long history in the branding and communications field.  Why choose Designworks?

What attracted me most was the breadth and depth of design capability put together with the ambition to be a partner to clients as they make transformational change. This combination positions Designworks uniquely in Australia, it seems to me – with the ability to define and deliver a whole experience in a user-centric way that builds a business.

Plus the culture is very engaging – both down to earth and demanding – two vital ingredients in doing great work. All together, I think there’s an opportunity to be part of a progressive firm to bring genuine design thinking to life in the Australian market.
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Doing less, better: our new weekly email.

by Nextness published March 14, 2013 posted in STW Group

If you subscribe to Nextness by email, you’ll notice something different this week. We’re no longer emailing every time we post. Instead, we’re emailing just once a week.

Why the change?

Before, we sent out the emails automatically through Google’s useful Feedburner service. It was an option for people who preferred email to RSS, or feared they’d miss a link to our posts on the @STWnextness Twitter. But now we’ve got nearly 1000 subscribers, we’re treating it less as an optional extra – and more as a serious feature in its own right.

Inspired by genuinely useful emails like Neil Perkin‘s Fish Food and Very Short List, we’ll do it once a week and we’ll do it well. That’s the plan, anyway!

What’s going to be in the email?

  • The best original and curated content from Nextness and @STWnextness. And it’s only ever once a week.

To sign up:

If you’ve already been receiving emails from us 2 -3 times a week, you’ll be switched over to the new list without having to do anything.

For southern hemisphere friends, you’ll hear from us on Friday morning. Northerners: Thursday night.

It starts this week! Please let us know what you think.


Women learning from women in STW Group: join our mentoring program.

by Nextness published February 17, 2013 posted in STW Group

Ask anyone who’s built a successful career, and they’ll tell you that having the right mentor is the difference between being good, and being great. That’s even more true for women, who can often find it challenging to realise their full potential in a business landscape traditionally dominated by men; there’s huge value in learning from those women who have gone before us.

With this in mind, STW’s Women in Leadership Committee has developed a world-class mentoring program exclusively for the women of STW Group.

So who is this mentoring program for?

The program’s focus is to provide support for emerging female leaders within the STW group as they manage key transitions in their careers. Perhaps it’s going for that big promotion, or delivering on it once you’ve got the gig. Maybe it’s stepping up into a leadership role for the first time, or getting back in the driver’s seat following maternity leave. Whatever the ‘leap’ you’re trying to make, this program will provide the resources, networks and support you need to do it fearlessly and brilliantly!

It doesn’t matter what role you have, how old you are, or what level you are at in your organisation – this program is open to all women across the STW Group.

What will you get out of the program?

In addition to the powerful relationship you’ll build with your mentor, you will get a lot more out of the experience, including:

  • Access to world-class personal development training and resources.
  • The opportunity to build strong, supportive relationships with your fellow mentees throughout the year – 19 other emerging leaders.
  • The chance to raise your profile across the STW Group, by your participation in the program.

Sounds great, what’s involved?

In order to ensure the quality and success of the program, we have limited the group to just 20 places per year. Each successful applicant will be matched with one of the top female leaders in the group, taking care to find the best possible fit in terms of capabilities, values and personality style.

The program will then kick off with a group event in March, followed by two further events (July and December). In between these group events, you’ll meet with your mentor for a one-hour session each month, as well as ad hoc conversations throughout the year.

There is a cost of $1,000 for each mentee to compete the program, which will be covered by the mentee’s company.

So, are you in?

If you’re up for it, please email the committee at WIL@stwgroup.com.au. They’ll send you some more information about what to do next.

We really hope you’ll get involved. We’re truly excited about the potential this group has to create the next generation of fearless women leaders.

Learn more about STW’s Women in Leadership Committee in this post: Having it all is having what you want. The creative powerhouse mentor and mentee illustrating this post are Tavi Gevinson of Rookie Mag and filmmaker, artist and writer Miranda July.


Running a happy workforce, the Ikon way.

by Nextness published February 11, 2013 posted in STW Group

STW Group media agency Ikon has hit on a magic formula when it comes to people and culture.

Their churn rate – that is, rate of staff turnover – is a third of the industry average. And last year they were ranked the 13th Best Place to Work in Australia by BRW.

What’s their secret?

We talked to Ikon’s National People and Culture Director Leonie Kerley about what she and her 6-person team get up to. Here’s what we found.

1. Dipping into the talent pool: recruitment.

Ikon rarely use recruitment agencies and prefer to hand pick staff themselves. As well as saving them nearly a million dollars in fees, it’s allowed them to choose exactly who joins the team and who best fits their culture. They use a mix of internal referrals (with a $1000 finder’s fee for staff!), the Ikon Talent Bank, a well-oiled machine tracking the industry’s top talent, and – of course – social media. They post jobs to TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn to tap into people who have already shown an affinity for the agency and its work by self-selecting to follow them.

2. No awkward loitering in the kitchen: welcoming new staff.

Even hardened extroverts find their first few weeks of a new job difficult to manage. Who do you eat lunch with on the first day? How can you learn so many new people’s names – and when are they going to bother to learn yours? Ikon gets it. They send round profiles of new staff to make their first conversations easier – and they often take new people to lunch on their first day. They get an induction day where they meet MDs and team leaders, and a mentor assigned from their own team to look after them over the next few weeks.  Then there’s the weekly “Cuppa,” or team meeting – and Friday night drinks every week. No one stays new for long at Ikon.

3. How to be on fire without burn out: retention.

The industry has a turnover rate of 30.4% – Ikon’s is a third of this. There’s the little things: no one has to work on their birthday, and the Friday before payday (always a personal finance low point) they run a BBQ for lunch; staff “lie in with their lover” on Valentine’s day and don’t have to come in til 10.30; there’s a free ski trip to Thredbo. But above and beyond the stuff that makes you smile, there’s a commitment to fairness and rewarding loyalty. Ikon parents are offered 12 weeks paid parental leave; after four year’s service staff are entitled to five weeks annual leave, not four.

4. Keeping sharp: training and developing.

At many communications companies, training is ad hoc. Ikon, on the other hand, is systematic. Every employee has their own CDP: Career Development Plan. Ikon College is a 14 week program covering trading, planning and digital skills; “Managing People” goes for 8 weeks and provides leaders with the skills they need to mentor effectively. Their Parallel Universe program links up Ikon staff with Google staff to swap roles and strengthen their knowledge of both businesses. And Ikon hosts the AdSchool Media Planning and Buying program, with the content sourced from their internal programs. All of this training resulted in 55 people being promoted nationally last year.

5. Beyond the open door policy: listening.

Ikon prides itself on having an open door policy, and there’s a range of ways staff can make their voices heard both formally and informally. But national CEO Dan Johns has taken that a step further by setting up a confidential email address for those times you want to send him an email and absolutely don’t want anyone, to read it.

And does this approach work?

Ikon were ranked 1st in Mumbrella’s Media Agency Review 2012. For the 5th consecutive year running they were ranked the No.1 worldwide media agency by RECMA. They’ve won lots of awards too: a Silver and 2 Bronze Lions, 3 Festival of Media Global Awards, Best Mobile advertising for AIMIA and IAB Awards, and Best Social Media Marketing Award for IAB in 2012 alone.

It’s clear that Ikon’s staff are something special. Wouldn’t you do anything to keep them happy, engaged and learning?

The company’s goal is now for Ikon to be the best employer in Australasia by 2014.

Visit Ikon’s website and follow them on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube.


The year’s most clicked posts.

by Nextness published December 19, 2012 posted in STW Group

At the risk of being the most boring person at the Christmas party, we just have to ask: can you believe how fast this year has gone?

To wrap up 2012, we’re sharing with you the year’s top five Nextness posts. The ones that got the most shares, mentions, buzz – in short, the most attention. In reverse order:

5. Customer experience is the new brand.

We are living out our careers on shifting sands. But from here, in our offices and behind our desks, it’s easy to lose sight of just how big these changes are. ‘Shifting’ doesn’t quite capture it.

With this post that’s still getting shared and quoted around the internet, DT Digital’s Phil Whitehouse took out the inaugural Nextness Prize

4. What is a copywriter? Should I be one?

Every 2-12 months, I get an email from an acquaintance or friend-of-friend’s sibling, enquiring about the day-to-day of being a copywriter (or, more broadly, an advertising creative). I’m not an industry genius or veteran. But, they don’t know that, so I pretend. Who else are they gonna email? Don Draper?

Guest poster James Ross-Edwards gave aspiring ad creatives “some unqualified answers.”

3. Left Brain versus Right Brain.

Every single person in every agency or every organisation must be as creative as they can be… and as farsighted and strategic. There’s no science in the world to support a belief that some people get to do the ‘fun’ jobs and some people don’t. Let’s not use crappy science to keep our agency colleagues in their place.

In this piece, we tackle one of the most persistent and pernicious pieces of pseudoscience in the communications industry.

2. #socialmediatheories.

Photoshopping your party/holiday pics is vain. But applying a filter to or Snapseeding your iPhone pics is creative. Instagram is like Twitter in that you can follow strangers without feeling like a creep. Everyone prefers to be the added not the adder on Facebook.

We shared observations of behaviour and norms on leading social networks in a post that was later republished on Daily Life.

So what was our top blog post? It was this one that struck that biggest chord with readers:

1. Introverts in ad agencies: a helpful guide.

Unlike extroverts, introverts are most stimulated and do their best thinking when they’re alone. But how often does that happen in an agency environment? Given our industry thrives on creative and original ideas, it pays to let introverts do their thing.

Introverts everywhere were pleased to have a light shone onto their untapped powers – and – to their credit – in embracing and sharing this post, extraverts proved themselves keen to understand their quieter colleagues.

We’ll be going a bit quiet on the blog over the holidays to give you all a well-deserved rest. (Though we’ll continue to curate Linkness and the @STWnextness Twitter; the internet never sleeps so why would we?)

But in the meantime: have a wonderful Christmas and thank you for reading.


STW blogs!

by Nextness published November 26, 2012 posted in STW Group

Are you up to date on all the STW Group blogs out there? Here are some to bookmark or add to your RSS reader of choice.

Even more importantly, are we up to date on all the STW blogs?! If you are an STW Group staff member, share your blog in the comments along with your company.

Or tweet us @STWnextness. We’d love to read what you have to say.

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