5 Takeaways From the Social Scientist, Dan Zarrella

Image courtesy of heidicohen.com
Image courtesy of heidicohen.com

Having recently attended a HubSpot User Group event, we have been inspired to share the most interesting takeaways. HubSpot is an online marketing tool that facilitates inbound marketing, helps convert leads to sales, and provides website and Social analytics. But, in order to fully utilize this tool, you need to determine your goals first. This is where the marketing fundamentals come into play, and where the interesting views of speaker Dan Zarrella can help guide you on the right path.

The focus of Dan Zarrella’s presentation was on social media and how to best utilize the platforms for the benefit of your brand.


Takeaway 1: Ideas spread because they are good at spreading, not because they are good ideas.
We have all seen Internet memes. Whether they are Philosoraptor or Bad Luck Brian, there is a smorgasbord of memes inundating the Internet. The proliferation of memes supports this idea that content that becomes viral on the Internet does not become popular because it is “good” content, but rather because it is good at spreading. For example, a Facebook post that gets 1000 Shares, does not necessarily indicate that the information in that post was necessarily “good” for a company or product, but it was good at spreading. The latest goal for Social is to design posts that are good at spreading and also good for your brand.

Takeaway 2: Create content that combines unique interests with general interests.
People want to feel like one-of-a-kind snowflakes. We are all different, right? So when a brand presents a product or service that seems specially made for someone’s particular taste, they have to have it or their friends will tell them that they have to have it. For example, a tech master who loves Dr. Who can find a variety of products that appear to have been made specifically for Tech master-Dr.Who-Loving-Types – like the Dr. Who Tardis Projection Alarm Clock. And because these products seem less mainstream, and more niche, the tech/Dr. Who lover will be more inclined to purchase said products. Or, you can bet that any gift he receives is going to be of the tech and Dr. Who variety.

Takeaway 3: Use platform appropriate hashtag etiquette.
Not all social media platforms are as hashtag tolerant as Instagram. Instagram is the only platform that can have a description completely comprised of hashtags because it is the socially acceptable means of categorizing your posted content. Instagram is also the most successful form of hashtag use from a viewer standpoint in terms of search functionality. However, it is recommended to keep your Twitter and Facebook posts to a one to two hashtag limit. Over-use of hashtags on Twitter and Facebook degrade the appeal of your content to the casual reader and makes your post appear “spammy.”

Takeaway 4: Link location within a post makes a difference.
One of the most surprising takeaways from the HubSpot event, was that the location of a link within your Twitter post can make a significant difference in click-thru rate. Dan Zarrella’s data showed that the most successful location for your links are 25% into your post, contrary to the standard, at the very end. So, you may be thinking to yourself, “Oh, so I should put two links in my post now?” Answer: no, you need to choose – one link near the top or one at the bottom. It was proposed that links 25% of the way into the post are successful because they are unexpected. Anything different is going to capture someone’s attention. It is how humans have evolved, we see something out of the ordinary and we cannot help but notice.

Takeaway 5: Don’t be afraid to ask for Social boosting.
Among the marketing world, it has always been seen as a no-no to ask your viewer to Like your post, or to explicitly encourage Sharing the post with their friends. But, Dan’s data unequivocally supports the idea that asking Social viewers to Like the post or Share with friends, does in fact equate to more Likes and Shares. The call to action could be as simple as mentioning “Sharing is caring” at the end of the post, or just saying, “Please Like this post.” Dan’s data shows that it does not hurt to ask, in fact, it helps.

We hope you learned as much from Dan Zarella’s takeaways as we did. But remember, Social is an ever-evolving beast. When in doubt, perform experiments. Social provides a plethora of data to analyze the success of your marketing efforts, so use it! Whenever implementing something new, test the waters first, find the data that proves or disproves your efforts, and find what works for your company and your viewers. Who knows? You may even surprise yourself.

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