How To Strengthen Your Social Media Marketing Approach With Duncan Alney of Firebelly Marketing

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Duncan Alney 2:37

Yeah, that’s a great question, David. And one, one that, you know, I love talking about. So I am a longtime brand guy, brand marketing guy, and worked in the agency world, you know, for most of my career, but at the client side a couple of times in most of my career on the agency side, I’ve done all the jobs, you know, from creative to account management to business development. So it made sense for me to start my own thing. And then after being kind of a solopreneur, and outsourcing before outsourcing to school, I was starting to get very frustrated with with the website and SEO world. And just keeping up with the learning curve was very difficult. And so I just hired a couple of employees. And one of my colleagues said me, wouldn’t it be fun to get into something completely new? And how about social media, and funnily enough, for that time, I had resisted MySpace, because that was all that was out at the time. And I had resisted it. And so we did, we jumped into it and use my space. My Space actually had geo targeting back in the day, and we use my space to geo target people that were likely to, like, a certain kind of restaurant that was opening. And so we I did the PR on one side, and then we did the MySpace targeting, and the PR got them a couple of stories, you know, on Fox affiliate in the CBS affiliate affiliate, or whatever. And there were 200 people waiting in line, when they opened their doors, and the kitchen was swamped, and they couldn’t keep up. And so it just kind of solidified to me that that was a great that was in, you know, 2000 in early 2007. Yeah, and then later on Facebook opened up and yeah, the whole world change, but we have always focused on doing solid work and actually doing solid work that is profitable, which then became the crux, which we’ve now solved, so it’s a journey.

David Melamed 4:28

So you’ve been there since the beginning. It sounds like on the social media side I don’t know if you if you know this by saw a very interesting stat. It’s been about a year since I’ve looked it up, but I’m sure it’s still around there. Did you know that MySpace dot com still gets around 5 million visitors a month?

Duncan Alney 4:45

That is amazing. I didn’t know that it was still popular. I believe it’s still very popular with with people looking for emerging music. And I believe Justin Timberlake is one of the owners. So you know, they went from Being one of the highest highest value valued social properties when Facebook was still emerging to being I think, you know, it’s still a solid, solid place. I mean, 5 million users a month, you know? Is it nothing to joke about?

David Melamed 5:15

Yeah, I don’t know much about why I might even just be like a new site or something. I’m not sure. I just know that. I was looking it up. And I was fascinated by that number. It’s really interesting. I yeah, I MySpace was like a Swiss Army knife, you could do anything with your pain. So that was always like people, you know, I almost think of it like the the back of laptops. Sometimes people have their bumper stickers and stuff like that, you could just like, you could express yourself any way you want. So that was really cool. So, you know, this has been a challenge for me, I’m curious if you faced this challenge. Um, you know, emerging platforms, you know, clubhouse, I feel like, shot up. And then I don’t know if it’s still popular or not, I actually think it still is, even though I don’t really use it. But then, you know, TikTok, a year and a half ago, two years ago, started advertising aggressively on Facebook. And it was clear that they had legs. And you know, obviously, a lot of that was built off of what vine did really well, back in the day. And so a lot of platforms come and go, and some obviously have staying power. But I’m curious, do you find it a challenge to, you know, stay ahead of the curve? with whatever is emerging tomorrow? Or today? Or has your specialty because it’s been so driven by the business metrics and really driving revenue? Has it really been kind of fundamental that we just we go to where our audiences?

Duncan Alney 6:41

Yeah, that’s a that’s a? That’s a very good question, a deep question. And, yeah, you do go where the audience is. And I think the challenge that when it comes to new platforms, the challenge that brands face, is, you know, based on kind of where they are, with their, you know, approach to market leadership, you know, are they first in a place? Are they a follower? Are they late to the space, and any of those is fine, but Tick Tock is, is kind of uniquely challenging, because it is, it is sort of like, a very layered deep version of Twitter in a way, because it’s in the moment, it’s hyper relevant. And the audience is very engaged, and the audience is growing, it’s skewing older now. And for example, you know, my partner, Jeremy King, spends hours and hours and hours on, on Tick tock, you know, he’s 47. And so, you know, the, the question becomes, how do you get into a hyper relevant platform? And how do you? How do you monetize it, not just from a sales standpoint, but also from an awareness and engagement standpoint, and the biggest challenge with that basis, because it’s so hyper relevant? And it because it needs video content? It’s a very heavy lift for brands, you know, who are typically strapped? I mean, even big brands are strapped with infrastructure process protocol, and especially the people right, like, how do you produce stuff that’s still relevant? And how do you not feel the same? completely out of stuff? And like, you know, irrelevant? I think that’s the challenge. I mean, there are ways around it. I mean, you can work with it, creators who work on behalf of your brand, you can work with brand ambassadors or influencers, or you know, you can make, you can, you know, I know, we were just looking at a major restaurant chain that’s doing some really interesting stuff in the kitchen. So they’re actually going behind the scenes and showing what’s happening at the dish level in the kitchen. And they’re, they’re actually not complicated videos. It’s just very transparent. And they’re talking about, here’s how we do it. Here’s what gives it the cake, you know, so putting it all out there. But, I mean, I mean, this is the same thing we dealt with in 2007 and 2008 2009, even even 2010, where the question was, you know, what is social media? It wasn’t like, how can I use it? And why should I use it? If they What is it? And the question now is why, you know, why, why do you want to be on there? And what should you be doing? And my answer, our answer, you know, my vice president of our company, Saad Richards wrote this, an admission for us years ago, which is, you know, we’re on there to be that we were there to help brands be more likable and be more profitable, and what a concept, right? That I mean, it’s a play on words, obviously, because people like things on on in terms of their interactions, but, you know, brands that are likable tend to do better. And, you know, the IRS is never going to be likable. But the IRS is credible. So you don’t have to be likable. You could be you could be credible, I mean, if you’re likable and credible It’s great. But I feel like the two reasons to be on social media are because you want to manage your image and you want to generate revenue. And so it’s interesting how you can use organic and ads to do both of those things, you know, using a funnel approach, but you can use, you can use ads there, the tracking is really good, this new technologies that are now overcoming, you know, iOS and Facebook’s limitations with attribution. And so, no, I think you have with search, with paid search. And with social and paid social, you have an Of course, but the influencers that are using all the stuff, you have an interesting

kind of set of, you know, ingredients at your disposal, you know, if you think of marketing, like cooking, it’s like, if I want to get a dish that’s going to be delicious, and healthy, and is going to be loved by the people that eat it, you know, what do I use, you know, I can cook it, I’m gonna buy it and serve it in my, in my, on my plate, I’m gonna start it from scratch. Regardless, it’s like you’re doing the same thing, right? You’re focused on the result. But I think what we as marketers, and I know that you’re big on this is you want, you know, you want to present with accountability. And so when you’re able to tell you know what, even if it’s not with complete certainty, like, here’s what I did in terms of getting in front of the right people, here’s what I did in terms of engaging with the right people, here’s what I did in terms of driving traffic to your website, or driving traffic to location. And then here’s the associated revenue, the revenue tracking, of course, is the Golden Fleece, right? It’s the, it’s the, well, dude, you’re smarter than me, what is it the, the Grail? Grail, right? And it’s always elusive to us. And so I always say, like, some cracking is better than no cracking. So if I can, you know, if you if you’re, if you’re in a physical location, there’s ways to crack it, you know, it doesn’t always work. But you can ask questions when people come in for you, I guess you could also just stand at the edge of the ocean and know the waves coming in without understanding wave mechanics. So you know, that revenue is up, and these are the things you’re doing. So yeah, I think that that’s basically I know, that’s a really long answer. But I think to sum it up, it’s like, you know, it’s like you do social to be, you know, likable, or credible, both and to generate revenue.

David Melamed 12:25

Yeah, I mean, the truth is, I’m noticing now, only recently, that the really smart brands are starting to move away from Channel attribution. In terms of effectiveness of their budgets, I, my feeling in general is attribution is a good comparison tool, if you have limited resources, you need to decide where to allocate it. But it really should never be in the context of like, Is this working? Or is it not? Because, you know, relationships are dynamic things and relationships with customers are dynamic, and brands are almost living organisms. So what you up, what ends up happening is when you, when you force yourself to have the tracking in order to rely on it, you end up missing part of that human element. And you you can’t measure the other side of it. You know, the example I give, and I, it’s a little personal but, um, so yeah, I’m married for 11 years without kids. So you know, fertility issues, as a topic are familiar with. It’s a very, very deep, painful thing. My younger brother had a kid that a daughter a couple years ago, and like, the next day, Amazon was targeting me with baby get that. And now I, I’m not connected to my brother in any way on Amazon, even though he’s not on social media at all. So they I don’t know how they did that. Maybe it was luck of the draw. Maybe it’s, you know, there’s some of that’s everybody and I just happen to be, it’s that confirmation bias. Because it’s on my mind, I see it. But for about a month and a half, I refused to buy anything from Amazon, because that cut the cause, like, you know, it’s really bittersweet when you struggle with infertility, and a brother is 10 years younger than you as his first kid. Mm. Like they have this like, ad just like invading your privacy saying, like, Hey, why don’t you buy a gift? And I’m just like, why don’t you go jump in the lake Amazon? So yeah, like, you can’t measure the other side of all, like, all the interactions, all the people that didn’t convert all the impressions that didn’t convert, you can’t really measure that. So I feel like when you’re dealing with like becoming likable, you really have to follow the golden rule. First and foremost, right? You really just have to, you know, walk a mile in the customer’s shoes and ask, like, if I was the customer, would I appreciate this interaction? And then what did I do? Yeah, no, I think the tracking is better is just kind of like a directional signal of like, you know, either relative to itself is improving or not, or things like that. But there’s also ways to measure it. You know, I did a brand study for a brand new So with with some YouTube ads, I don’t know if you’ve run big grand studies for some of your clients. But you know, there’s some interesting data there. You know, there’s definitely, I feel almost like tracking that they want isn’t because they even want it, it’s because they need something to tell their boss to make their boss feel like they’re doing a good job.

Duncan Alney 15:23

Yeah, yeah, I often think of my friend, Steve, Steve Hershberger said to me that most marketing, people don’t want to do great things, they just don’t want to get fired. And, you know, it’s interesting, because you use, you use the data points. And you can make all kinds of decisions based on data. But if the other is using a super overgeneralize example, if we went by data points alone, we would never have had an airplane, we would never have had a record player would never have had an iPhone, there’s so many things. I mean, your instinct, and belief are playing. I don’t know how you measure that. But you know, it’s like, I don’t know, who said, but you got to tell the customer what they want. Right. So I think it’s interesting, because I could The other challenge with attribution and tracking is that it can be very inaccurate to and so you know, depending on your methodology for for attribution, you know, you if it’s not multi-touch, and if it’s not assigning percentage values in an old waiting, let’s say, you think that Okay, so it came off of Google ad was the last touch. And so let’s spend more money on Google. But really, they saw the reviews. And they went to your Facebook page, and they went to your website, and was the video on the website that really convinced them that the Google Ad retargeted them so Google Ad gets all the credit, right? If that’s not accurate, so

David Melamed 16:48

I’m laughing because I just read in the book for someone in the PPC industry, how he only takes clients that are already spending a ton of money on social media marketing, paid search, because he says search is really about demand capture, not demand generation. And so that’s

Duncan Alney 17:06

really great. I love that I mean, it’s inclusive, right, as opposed to search, which is intentional. I mean, I should say disruptive, like socialist disruptive. So when you’re thinking about demand generation, that you can find all the people that know you or that know what they’re looking for. But all those bastards out there that don’t know what that you exist, it’s like how you going to get in front of them. And so social becomes now, you know, I never considered that, you know, you could have a super negative impact on someone based on subjective factors that you don’t know about and you’re targeting. Right. So that’s something I had never really thought about. That’s really interesting, because I always thought about that. The flip side, which is a synchronicity, you know, which is a play both negatively and positively here, but the positive synchronicity is like, hey, Oh, my gosh, I didn’t know that I needed, you know, a charger for my new Apple airpod. Rose and how great if you just send that to me, I’m gonna buy it immediately. But on the other hand, the fertility piece is deeply personal subject, it really pisses you off and really like what Amazon, whatever your monthly value is down. Amazon was just shattered by one bad. Yeah, but it’s really interesting. It’s a great question.

David Melamed 18:17

I want to be mindful of your time and I want to make sure people can find you. So it’s, I know Firebelly Marketing dot com

Duncan Alney 18:27

is Firebelly Marketing dot com. Yeah. And I’m Firebelly man on Instagram. I’m Firebelly on Twitter, Duncan Alney on LinkedIn, I’m not super active on Twitter, and I’m active on LinkedIn, and Instagram. Yeah, so you know, we have the company really focuses on helping brands be more likable and profitable. And we work a lot with food and beverage companies. We work with other passionate clients.

David Melamed 18:53

Thanks so much for being here. Duncan, I really appreciate your time and everybody, you should really have you if you have a serious brand and food and beverage and you want to be more likable and more profitable. definitely reach out to Duncan and, you know, follow him across the social channels, or visit Firebelly Marketing dot com. Thanks so much. Thanks for listening to the Fixing Incentives Podcast.

Outro 19:17

Thanks for listening to the Fixing Incentives Podcast. We’ll see you again next time and be sure to click subscribe to get future episodes.

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About David Melamed

David Melamed is the Founder of Tenfold Traffic, a search and content marketing agency with over $50,000,000 of paid search experience and battle tested results in content development, premium content promotion and distribution, Link Profile Analysis, Multinational/Multilingual PPC and SEO, and Direct Response Copywriting.

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