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Focus on today. Focus on the marketing channels that work now, and get better at them, increasing your results and profits month afer month.

Brian Carter, internationally bestselling author of five books: The Like Economy, LinkedIn for Business and Facebook Marketing, The Cowbell Principle and Network Marketing For Facebook, is one of the best known names in digital marketing and social media and is respected as an international authority on how organizations can generate bigger business results.

The Brian Carter Group is one of the top digital optimization companies in the world, and has worked with numerous Fortune 500 and medium-sized clients since 2004, including Microsoft, NBC, PrideStaff, Citrix and Dramamine.

The Carter Group often can deliver significant improvements in advertising costs, for example 4-cent Facebook post engagements, 20 cent Facebook fans, a 40% reductions in advertising cost per click or cost per lead, and engagement improvements of 30-50%.

BusinessInterviews.com: What are some of the biggest mistakes you see companies make when it comes to Content Marketing?

Brian: The #1 content marketing mistake is being boring. Even if you’re in a humdrum industry where it makes no sense to feature ninjas or babies or bacon, you need to stand out somehow. The best way to do this in the drab niches is to use fear- 5 mistakes people like you make when thinking about hiring companies like mine. But boring companies that are scared will water even that down. You can’t only appeal to the logical mind with data tables and statistics. It’s just not compelling. I understand- it’s tough to know when standing out is appropriate or inappropriate- you need to have people on your team who know how to be interesting in an appropriate way, rather than only have people who are always appropriate because they’re boring or scared.

The #2 content marketing mistake is being interesting in a way that doesn’t get sales. It’s the reverse of #1. There are people out there who are great attention grabbers, but they never link that sizzle up to why the customer needs to buy from their company. To do well in content marketing, you have to be interesting AND persuasive.

BusinessInterviews.com: What advice would you pass onto someone launching their first advertising campaign on YouTube?

Brian: Make sure you have a video that’s going to accomplish your goals.Does it grab attention in the first 5-10 seconds, enough to get them to watch for 90 seconds? Is it too long? We’ve seen so many times when you aim for 90 seconds and end up with a 130 second video- often clients freak out near the end and think they have to include everything. Your video should be trying to do one really specific thing, like introduce your company and get them interested in reading your website- it doesn’t need to make people an expert on your company. Keep it simple because people don’t know if they should care yet. Test multiple ways to target your audience, although we’ve found interests to usually work better than topics, for example. Test multiple formats, although we think in-stream (pre-roll) is best.

BusinessInterviews.com: Why you think that Facebook is still a viable marketing platform? What advice would you give to someone who is waiting next big social media trend to jump on?

Brian: Facebook is, in my opinion, not too far from having just matured. We are still in the sweet spot where you should be highly committed to Facebook marketing. There’s little sign of the next thing, and none of the potential next things have what it takes to get more traffic or interest from the mainstream than Facebook. It could be another year or two at least before Facebook is over. And look at it this way- is Google over? No, people have been doing SEO and AdWords for more than a decade. It still works if you know what you’re doing. Facebook gives every sign of being a long slow burn as well. If you’re waiting for the next big trend, you’re just as bad as the people who are always late to the party- you aren’t committing, so you’re missing out. When the next big trend comes, are you going to wait for the next big trend after that? Internet marketing is a succession of opportunities, and there’s no way to only jump in right on time. You have to jump in somewhat early, or by the time conditions are ideal, you’ll still be on your learning curve.

BusinessInterviews.com: What’s the secret to creating content that could potentially go viral?

Brian: The only way to go viral is to be creative and try a lot of things. The campaigns we think of as viral successes are just 1% of all the campaigns that tried to be viral. The viral success rate is low, so you need a high volume of viral tests, and Facebook posts are ideal for that. It’s similar to starting businesses- most fail. Most entrepreneurs start multiple businesses before finding the one that succeeds. Some people try to build virality into their app. Others create videos or Facebook posts or other types of content they hope will go viral. What distinguishes them is that they give people and emotional reason to share. With videos it’s “you’ve never seen anything like this before” or “this makes me look good to share this” or “this made me feel good and I want you to feel good too.”

With Facebook posts, I did a research study to write an ebook for Marketo back in 2012 and learned a lot about what makes people share or not share Facebook posts. More than 60,000 people have read that ebook! The upshot is there are clear do’s and don’ts. What to POST if you want shares: Give, advise, warn, inspire, amuse, and amaze. Post things like discounts, deals, giveaways, tips, how to, profound or motivational quotes, amazing natural pictures, cute and funny picture, jokes, amazing facts and amazing stories. What NOT TO POST if you want shares: Don’t just talk about yourself or your company, don’t be too edgy or offensive and don’t be too obscure or nichey.

BusinessInterviews.com:  Can you share the basics on the best ways to engage both current and potential customers?

Brian: You have to get to know what they like. Who are they? What are their demographics? Look at Facebook Audience Insights and learn. Look at other Facebook pages they like and see what they interact with and what they don’t. Test a new post idea every day and keep track of what kinds of things they like and don’t. Keep trying to get a higher and higher % of people to like your posts. Start with 1-2% and go for 10-12%. When you get that good at engaging your customers, you’ll find that your cost per interaction with sponsored posts may be as low as one cent each. Most companies cut corners and don’t really pay attention to what their fans like and don’t like. They insist on posting what they like, and their results suffer for it.

BusinessInterviews.com: How do you think that social media will evolve over the next 5 years?

Brian: I have no idea. I don’t like predictions. Humans are really bad at it, for one thing, but mostly, it keeps us from doing a good job with what we know about what already works. The future is created today. Focus on today. Focus on the marketing channels that work now, and getting better at them, increasing your results and profits.

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