Outsourced vs. In-house Marketing

Posted by Albers Communications on April 17, 2018

You know those job alerts that LinkedIn and Indeed send every morning? All of us at Albers Communications get them, too. None of us are looking, but even if we were, they wouldn’t be a fit.

Often, they’re for jobs that we’re well-qualified to do, but the pay is not commensurate with our years of experience and expertise. Other times, we know we’d be great for one half of the job, and someone else on our team would nail the other half. And then there are the organizations that post the same job every six months or so. Clearly, they’re struggling to find a unicorn.

Perhaps that unicorn does exist, but it doesn’t take the form of an in-house employee. And that’s not what every organization needs – or can afford – in the first place.

Hiring an in-house person means budgeting for each of the following:

  • Salary: this can be anywhere from entry-level for someone just out of college to six figures for an experienced and well-rounded marketer
  • Benefits: according to the S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employers can expect to pay the employee’s salary plus an additional 31.7 percent in health insurance, vacation time, etc.
  • Payroll taxes: including Social Security which is 6.2 percent and Medicare, which is 1.45 percent
  • Training costs: including initial and ongoing job training as well as compliance training for things such as Federal EEO Laws
  • Overhead: including office space, equipment, software and office supplies
  • Turnover: for employees earning a median salary of $45,000, the turnover cost is $15,000 per worker, according to Work Institute’s 2017 Retention Report

By comparison, when you work with an agency, they’re responsible for all of the above, and you only pay for deliverables.

Another concern with hiring in-house is finding someone with the skill set you need. A PR person is not necessarily a writer is not necessarily someone with video production experience is not necessarily a strategist or project manager. A full-service agency will have experienced professionals in each of these roles, and more.

For businesses who are wary of making the leap to outsourcing some or all of their marketing, it often comes down to relationship. They want to be sure the agency understands their history and company culture, is responsive and can handle any situation that arises.

Just as organizations vet potential employees for these qualities – and as they enhance them over time — they can look for an agency with a proven track record of building a trusted and valued partnership with their clients. When this happens, an agency can provide the best of all possible worlds.

What Zucked this Week, and What Didn’t

Posted by Albers Communications on April 13, 2018


It’s Friday! And, no matter how intense your work week was, we’re willing to bet that Mark Zuckerberg had it harder.

Over the course of two days this week, Zuckerberg testified for 10 hours before the House and the Senate, answering 600 questions about whether there should be more regulations on his company (which would set the tone for social media in general), whether Facebook censors some content and how much damage to the American democratic process was done via Russia’s use of the social network.

Our team did a water cooler analysis of Zuckerberg’s testimony and, from a PR perspective, we thought he did pretty well.

  • He led with an apology and accepted accountability
  • He was well-prepared
  • He stuck to his talking points
  • He dressed the part (For some, the biggest shocker of the entire two days was that he abandoned his trademark hoodie for what NYT fashion critic Vanessa Friedman calls an “I’m sorry” suit).

Zuckerberg did one other thing from the crisis communications playbook that had more mixed results. He said that he would have to get back to the lawmakers on more than 20 different questions.

This is a million times better than a “no comment” response, and it’s something we advise our clients to do if they are unable to satisfactorily respond to a reporter’s question in the moment. But in the case of Zuckerberg, it’s unlikely (and irresponsible) that he’d be unable to answer such questions as the number of fake accounts that the social network has removed, or whether any of his employees ever worked with Cambridge Analytica to assist the Trump campaign in the 2016 presidential election.

As the founder and CEO of Facebook, the buck stops with Zuckerberg, and we believe it was a tactical error for an executive whose integrity is already generally perceived as a bit…flexible to appear disingenuous in front of a Congressional hearing.

Zuckerberg probably won’t be significantly damaged by this (after all, he handled a lot of it well). And, although the company’s stock has dipped about 15 percent since the Cambridge Analytica bombshell, Facebook isn’t going anywhere soon either. But it is a good reminder that Zuckerberg is no longer a whiz kid but a powerful CEO that must be held accountable for his company, and that social media companies also need to enter a new phase of accountability and good digital citizenship.

Video For All

Posted by Albers Communications on March 13, 2018

If you post content to social media in the forest and it doesn’t get any Likes, was it really worth posting in the first place?

This is a question that many businesses have been asking themselves lately as Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms are constantly tweaking their algorithms, causing organizations to see a reduction in their organic reach.

In response to the sweeping algorithm shift that Facebook announced earlier this year, we published a lengthy post on how businesses can continue to engage with their audience online. One thing that we know for sure is that utilizing video is key – and will probably continue to grow in importance. In fact, Facebook’s 2.07 billion monthly active users watch more than 100 million hours of video every day.

This can be an overwhelming statistic for businesses used to thinking that video means spending several thousand dollars to create slick, three-to-five-minute scripted productions, but there are many broadly accessible ways to use video to engage your audience online. In fact, since most people’s attention starts to wane after 60 seconds – and 85 percent of videos are watched without the volume on – in most cases, short and simple is the way to go.

For Facebook, it’s important to make sure the video has text or self-explanatory icons or visuals to help get your message across quickly and clearly – often in as little as eight seconds. On Instagram, you can do a lot with hashtags. In fact, even just including one hashtag can increase a video’s engagement up to 12 percent.

Longer videos, when appropriate, can be posted in their entirety to YouTube and then embedded on the brand’s website (with a snippet posted on social platforms, directing viewers to visit the website to see the rest). Since Google owns YouTube, this has the added benefit of increasing your company’s search ranking on that particular topic by up to 50 percent.

As legendary data scientist (and FB alum) Jeffrey Hammerbacher once bemusedly observed, “The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads.” The answer they’ve come up with (for now at least) is video, so we’d love to help you find a way to work it in to your marketing strategy.

Chipping Away at Your Brand’s Goodwill

Posted by Albers Communications on February 8, 2018

By now you’ve surely heard the chatter surrounding Doritos’ “Lady Chips,” which was all over the news earlier this week after an interview the CEO of PepsiCo (which owns Frito-Lay, the manufacturer of Doritos), Indra Nooyi, gave to the Freakonomics podcast. In it, she said that the brand is getting ready to launch snacks that will be marketed toward women, taking into account such factors as “low-crunch, the full taste profile, not have so much of the flavor stick on the fingers, and how can you put it in a purse? Because women love to carry a snack in their purse.”

Following Nooyi’s remarks, British tabloid The Sun published their own interpretation of the interview. That story spread far and wide. By Monday, nearly 500 Facebook posts by media outlets mentioned the Lady Chips. So, even if people hadn’t heard the original Freakonomics interview, in all likelihood they read about it in their Facebook feeds on Monday morning.

Now, we’re not here today to debate the idea of Lady Chips (as this tweet perfectly sums up, lady-specific anything is probably a bad idea right now). What’s really troubling from a PR perspective is the lack of clarity in Nooyi’s message, and the fallout from being so unclear. The CEO of a global brand shouldn’t be in a position where they have to backpedal on their comments. Preventing this from happening comes in two forms: 1) proper media training, message point development, and a thorough analysis of what your interviewer might ask; and 2) asking the interviewer if you can clarify your point if it comes out sounding unclear. When we media train our clients, we advise them to clarify a point with the journalist if it wasn’t worded clearly in the initial response.

While I don’t think any real, long-term damage is likely to result from Lady Chips-gate (other than the collective giggle and eye-roll of the entire country), it goes to show that even the big brands aren’t immune to media interview missteps.

Making the New Facebook Algorithm Work For You

Posted by Albers Communications on January 30, 2018

Facebook’s latest algorithm change has struck fear in the hearts of marketers everywhere. While the social media giant is billing the rollout as a way to strengthen personal connections and make the time people spend on Facebook more meaningful, organizations that have used the network to engage with their target audience are concerned they will be cut off from the relationships they’ve worked so hard to build.

While the changes indicate that the old way of doing things is no longer going to cut it, they do not signal that it’s time to jump ship. Businesses are an important source of revenue for Facebook – which means that Facebook will continue to make itself indispensable to businesses.

At Albers, here are the things we are doing for our own Facebook feed, and recommending to our clients, to stay ahead of the curve.

  • All content posted should be meaningful. In the past, the algorithm rewarded users who posted daily. This is still the case, but only if the content is meaningful and will get some engagement. Posting just for the sake of posting will probably cost you more than it helps.
  • Don’t be shy about asking your audience to keep seeing you. Folks can choose to keep you in their news feed by selecting “See First” in their news feed preferences. It’s a good idea to remind them now, and periodically over time. They will probably be happy to do so (after all, if you’ve Liked a business in the first place, you probably want to see their content. Who are a bunch of coders in Menlo Park to say that you can’t?).
  • Engagement is key. Likes are okay, but comments and shares are way better. And it’s important to always acknowledge and write back to any comments on your posts. One bit of good news to come out of all of this is that those engagement-baiting “Like if you agree, comment if you disagree,” type posts will all but disappear.
  • Content should be about real people or shared experiences whenever possible. If you can tag individuals in your post, or post about a shared experience (e.g. a 10-second video of your office after a snowstorm that has impacted the whole town) you have a better chance of getting engagement.
  • Encourage team members and friends of the company to engage with your page. Most people probably won’t engage with all of your company’s posts, but you can encourage them to Like and comment occasionally, and share positive company news in their own feed. (Of course, it’s important to have a social media policy in place to ensure everyone is representing your company in an appropriate light!).
  • Pay to Play. There’s been no announcement that the algorithm changes are going to impact boosted or sponsored post, or ads, so it’s key to work these in to your social media budget.
  • Utilize Facebook Live. Mark Zuckerberg has stated that live videos get six times as many interactions as regular videos on Facebook and that these videos will perform well under the new algorithm.
  • Spend time in Facebook groups. Groups are all about engagement so they may be an even more effective way to get your message across than your page. Your organization can even start their own.
  • Avoid third-party scheduling software. The almighty algorithm will not look favorably upon it. You can, however, use Facebook’s native scheduling software.
  • Use multiple channels, but beware. If your social media strategy doesn’t include Instagram, YouTube, SnapChat, etc., now may be the time to explore whether they’re a good complement to your Facebook efforts. Just know that as Facebook goes, so goes the rest of social media. These channels are also constantly changing their algorithms so it’s always important to keep up.

We know it’s a lot to absorb, but we honestly believe that the move away from a sheer numbers game and toward engagement will allow organizations that are able to effectively navigate the new system to develop better relationships than ever with their audiences. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if we can help.


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