We’re a Vancouver social media marketing agency full of great ideas.
You probably already know that social media strengthens any communications program.
But it takes messaging discipline and a creative strategy to make an impact. But you can make an impact.
Businesses of all sizes can make an impact with social media. Combine Twitter with Instagram and you’re set to dominate.
Social media platforms have varying characteristics. Twitter has terrific organic reach. Instagram has tremendous creative potential. LinkedIn has the ability to tap into a powerful corporate community.
When social media networks are used together, brands can stand out in a hurry.
It’s the reason you see fund managers and venture capital brands with hundreds of thousands of followers.
We’re the social media marketing agency Vancouver loves. Reach out.
Q&A with Steve Yanor of Sky Alphabet
Sky Alphabet is a Weird Name. What Gives?
It was supposed to be a strange name to reflect the strange world of social media. But you know what’s really strange? After we registered the domain Google changed their name to Alphabet! And then someone from Saudi Arabia else registered skyalphabet with a .net extension to copy us! If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery I am very flattered.
The name Sky Alphabet was originally based on the concepts of alpha and beta. But alphabeta sounded too much like alphaghetti.
I figured alpha and beta would make sense to the people who hire us: IROs, CEOs, and CFOs. And then I stuck my initials on the front. But AlphaBeta sounded too much like alphagetti so I shortened it to Alphabet.
There are thousands of companies listed in Canada and the US, but only a small sliver receive the majority of the attention. With attention comes capital.
For 20 years I worked with investment banks and corporate issuers. I can tell you issuing press releases doesn’t work like it used to. The largest segment of investors are now millennials. They’re not reading press releases from a SEDAR database. No. They’re reading news from a Twitter feed.
When you see a massive audience move from one platform to another, you’re going to be in great shape if you can take advantage of it.
Any trader will tell you that news flow is critically important to public companies. But you can’t issue a press release every day! So a much better alternative is to tell a constant non-linear story usig social media networks. Social media is a great storytelling medium. The possibilities are endless.
Traders and investors are hungry for discrete pieces of information. Incremental context gives small public companies the advantage they need.
Why Start a Social Media Marketing Agency?
I was freelancing for ad agencies and I could see that many of them were successful with digital, but nobody was doing social the way social needs to be done. You can’t do social “on the side.” It’s too much work.
How do you know if your agency does social on the side? check how many Twitter followers they have.
In Vancouver we’re the only agency to stick by Twitter. Everybody fled! We made a long-term bet that is only now starting to pay off. For us it was pretty clear that Twitter is the superior social platform for a bunch of different reasons. Organic reach being reason number one. Number two is that more and more people are using Twitter to check news. And the typical Twitter user also uses every other social platform, so you can combine Twitter with LinkedIn and Instagram to achieve a lot more than you could if you used a single platform.
When you use multiple social media networks together you can solve just about any communications problem or capitalize on any opportunity.
Our business plan is full of compelling data showing trends such as the fact that SEO budgets and digital ad spend are shifting into social media. Even more recently, Forrester reported that social media is “the channel that best suits engaging digital-first buyers.” Obviously that’s a big deal.
— GANG (@gangsocial) September 11, 2017
What’s a Typical Day at Sky Alphabet?
Busy! 6:30 am start and typically the last post is 9:30 pm. We have clients across the country so we adjust for the different time zones which is why start so early. There’s always a lot that happens on social media overnight. When you consider that venture capital firms and startups are among the most active on Twitter, we’re really lucky to be a Twitter agency.
I’m working on making the shift to a 24/7 operation so that we can take advantage of the immediate nature of social. There are so many opportunities everywhere, especially since we have expanded from Twitter to 11 other platforms. But we still believe Twitter should be the cornerstone for any brand serious about becoming fully valued.
Twitter delivers the holy grail of what modern audiences want: real-time search, up-to-the-second news and as many people as you want to connect with. Let’s face it: 360 million people are enough for any brand to be successful.
What’s so Great About Twitter?
Both Twitter and LinkedIn have the most desirable audiences: college educated, wealthy, loyal. In short, these are audiences that buy stock, drink wine and own a house. All the things that brands clamour for.
The investment in developing an audience on both Twitter and LinkedIn is worth it. Twitter has exceptionally low CPMs and hopefully it will stay that way. When I refer to CMPs I am talking about “cost per thousands” in an organic sense. Which is the reason why no agency specializes in Twitter because the audience development side of the business is brutal. It’s difficult. It takes time. We developed our own software to help us find and develop audiences. MAGnet really takes the grind out of attracting audiences.
Having a good Twitter account sends a signal that a brand knows what it’s doing.
Especially in the small business space — lawyers, dentists and all the occupations and startup categories where there is loads of competition — mortgage brokers, investment advisors, accountants, decorators, real estate agents, home security firms, plumbers — for all of these everyday categories Twitter is perfect. Perfect.
Twitter is unrivaled for its access to institutions and VCs. There’s a lot of money on Twitter.
The thing that most people don’t know is that a platform like Twitter gives you direct access to anyone that follows you through a secure email channel. What a great feature. So you can rely on that when you’re ready.
A lot of people make the mistake of sending these direct messages: thanks for following me and so on. Keep your powder dry. Wait for the right opportunity.
There are some pretty big traps out there. Social media is a public forum. But if you’re clear about your goals anything is possible.
Do you want to improve your search results? Use social. Do you want to improve your reputation? use social. Do you want to build the value of your company? Definitely use social. There is a long list of use cases that most people haven’t considered.
What’s Next in the World of Social Media?
Everything is unpredictable. If we follow the business plan we will be hiring people in data science, audience development, SEO, coding, content marketing, communications strategy and a bunch of creative generalists. Maybe a lawyer or two.
There’s a huge side of data with social. That’s the opportunity. And that’s where we’re going. We just finished coding our first audience development tool.
In many respects social media marketing is still in its infancy. But the process of tapping someone on the shoulder and relating to them is as old as the pyramids, probably older.
There are probably cave paintings of people tapping each other on the shoulder and saying ‘hey: there’s a hungry lion in that bush!’
The voice and awareness components are what social media boils down to: tapping the right people on the shoulder and having an ongoing conversation with them. If they feel like it.
You have to tread carefully.
Patience pays dividends.
What are Some of the Big Opportunities with Social Media?
If you think of social media as pre-marketing or “pre-sales”, you begin to see the possibilities. If you see it first as a sales channel then you are headed into the danger zone. Social media is a pre-sales channel. It’s a touchpoint. It’s where you rack up points for being a good brand and a good online citizen.
Social media a perfect place to be friendly and likeable. It’s one of the only places you can show off the finer points of your brand: your sense of humour. Your wisdom. All the lessons you’ve learned. It’s a soft sell but in the process there can be tremendous goodwill and respect established.
— Western Media Group (@westernmedia) September 8, 2017
Consumers are spending more time on social. They’re also spending time reading the news or chatting with people they’ve never met. People are really comfortable with that. But they are also spending a lot less time with Google.
People are searching on Twitter and Facebook now. Google search is too outdated. No one wants results that are a day old.
Search is Moving to Social Media. Is that an Opportunity?
Our slogan is “social media is smart media”. We say that social media is smart because it is natural. It is semantic. The rise of smart speakers is a natural fit for social media and we’re already seeing voice search grabbing headlines. As more people use Twitter for their primary source of news, Twitter is becoming a larger slice of search.
For brands that are already using search marketing or are active with social media, social search is a great opportunity. More so when it is incorporated into a broader search marketing strategy.
Any Obvious Recommendations?
We recommend a content calendar so that the big events throughout the year are well served. As the years pass you get better and better at really punching the big events and augmenting them with programmatic audio or something extra. Social works really well when there’s an additional component, like outdoor advertising.
It’s also a good idea to keep really good paperwork: KPIs, strategies, records of your postings. Experiments are a must.
Does Twitter Contribute to Thought Leadership?
Thought leadership is crucial for any business. I don’t care if you’re a winemaker, plastic surgeon or personal injury lawyer, people who are buying from you are making decisions based on 5 or more data points. Using Twitter and the other social channels is an absolute must if you intend to single yourself out as someone who is worth the extra money or time.
If you look at the Twitter metrics of an industry such as financial services, you see an unusually high number of venture capitalists and other players in the capital markets using Twitter as their primary channel of communications. Twitter works really well with investor-oriented businesses, more so if you can develop a respectable following.
I love the recent example of Tinhorn Creek which is a BC winery purchased by Andrew Peller. The CEO Sandra Oldfield is the #1 ranked CEO on Twitter in Canada with 16k followers. I asked her: “has Twitter made a difference to your business?” She said “absolutely.” Who knows if Tinhorn’s social media played a part in the acquisition but she definitely has the loudest voice of anyone in the BC wine world on Twitter. That can’t hurt.
Twitter is powerful. All the important people are on Twitter. It can be a difficult platform to master, but it’s the platform that can help brands get a distinct competitive advantage. Especially brands that trade publicly.
About Steve Yanor
Steve Yanor is the founder of Sky Alphabet Social Media Inc. With a background in investor relations and corporate communications, Steve has overseen $45 billion in Initial Public Offerings and wrote a book called Roadshow: the Marketing of Corporate Finance.
Steve started Sky Alphabet Social Media in the Summer of 2016 and incorporated the company in June 2017. He holds a marketing diploma from the Institute of Communication Agencies. He has been certified by Google, Hubspot and SEMRush for various digital marketing certificates.
From 2002-2007 Steve oversaw the investor roadshows of some of the largest IPOs in the world. Working alongside Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, UBS and other major investment banks in New York City, Steve was responsible for executing international investor marketing campaigns.
With more than two dozen roadshows to his credit, Steve’s ability to create investor content while managing the complexity of large group meetings around the world earned him top spots at some of the world’s most prestigious IR marketing firms, including Imagination (GIC USA) and The Global Consulting Group.
Prior to New York, Steve worked at prominent IR consulting firms in Toronto and Vancouver, and assisted Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. with their reverse IPO while employed as Lions Gate’s VP Marketing and Communications.
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