Lee Odden

20 Magicable Takeaways From 5 Social Media Marketing Case Studies at @smbmsp

Lee Odden     Social Media

Social Media Gnome

On Friday nearly a dozen members of the TopRank Online Marketing team had the privilege of attending a packed house at 514 Studies downtown Minneapolis for Social Media Breakfast aka #SMBMSP72.

The topic? Social Media Marketing case studies. And gnomes. And bacon. And made-up words like “magicable”.

Featuring case studies about local and national brands including Land O’ Lakes, Thomson Reuters, Axonom and two Fortune 100 technology companies, presentations were given by Jaclyn Grossfield @jaclynanng, Casey Hall @CaseyHall_ and myself.

While the Minneapolis / St. Paul Social Media Breakfast events are always well attended, this one was particularly so because of the insatiable interest in practical social media marketing insights. That and maybe the introduction of the “Social Media Gnome” pictured above. Instead of “Elf on a Shelf” think of him as a “Gnome in Your Zone” watching to make sure you’re following best practices. [Cue laugh track]

To help satisfy the broader interest in social media case studies and tactics, here are 22 takeaways, insights and tips from the presentations captured by the team at TopRank:

Alexis Hall TopRank
Alexis Hall – TopRank Account Manager

Tip 1: Use social media to encourage your audience to participate in and contribute content in a meaningful way. If the content connects with their own experience in a meaningful way, your audience will be more likely to engage with and amplify that content.

Tip 2: Activate subject matter experts within your organization in order to create content which goes beyond product marketing and provides helpful content which will resonate with an expert audience. Provide subject matter experts with quick and easy training on how to create content which works for a blog or social media up front and then empower them to write about the topics which they know most about.

Nick Ehrenberg TopRank
Nick Ehrenberg – TopRank Content Marketing Manager

Tip 3: There is a fine balance between promoting on-domain content and off-domain content. Without the balance, you risk missing potential revenue and/or engagement with the audience. Regardless of the content’s source, it must fulfill the primary goal: driving buyers through the purchasing cycle.

Tip 4: Product promotions belong on product pages — that’s what they are meant for. Your organization’s blog should be the venue for subject matter experts to dive deeper into audience concerns or trends. Make your blog a resource for all people in the target audience — not just your immediate customers.

And if I was able to grow a solid beard, I would totally join the Marketers With Beards Facebook Group. [From Lee: You can do it Nick!!!]

Joel Carlson TopRank
Joel Carlson – TopRank Social Media Lead

Tip 5: Using typography allowed an agency (Exponent) to override the Facebook restriction of 20% or less text for ad images used with Land O Lakes campaigns.

Tip 6: Create a company blog (hybrid site) that is a combination of internal and external content. It will increase interest in the site and make visitors more likely to return.

Tip 7: Products should not be the focus of a blog, but instead, it should provide information that help visitors gain success.

Tip 8: B2B audiences are well informed, so when it comes to blog content, provide expert and technical content for readers.

Evan Prokop TopRank
Evan Prokop – TopRank Digital Marketing Manager

Tip 9: You probably already have subject matter experts in your company who can be grown into public facing thought leaders – with a little guidance and motivation. As marketers, it’s our job to not only help them master content creation tactics such as blogging and social media, but to show them why it’s important.

Tip 10: Appeal to your audience’s emotions. Land O Lake’s Mothers Day Facebook giveaway campaign tapped into a topic most everyone has strong feelings about (and spends a lot of money on apparently), their mom.

Kate Heithoff
Kate Heithoff –  TopRank SEO Copywriter

Tip 11: Social media is a great way to spread brand awareness and grab your audience’s attention. Using visual pieces with an enticing calls to action can have substantial results. Know your audience, and use appropriate language to receive engagement on social networks, whether that be likes, shares, comments or retweets. Emotion-evoking visual content and language can go a long way with the appropriate audience.

Tip 12: Whether creating visual or written content, know your audience and who you’re writing for. Provide them with information that is new and relevant. Do not only talk about your company, but rather talk about your audience and target their wants and needs. In your content, let them know that you value their time, and are not there only to press products or sales upon them.

Katie Konrath TopRank
Katie Konrath – TopRank Content Marketing Lead

Tip 13: There is no one “magic formula” for success in content marketing. Every audience has different content and social preferences. To succeed, you need to pay attention to what is working for other marketers, and then run tests to find out what works best for your audience.

Tip 14: To build relationships with influencers on social, you need to first learn about them. Who is their audience? What are their goals for engaging online? What is in it for them when they help you? If you are able to clearly communicate how helping you benefits the influencer, you will have better results when you reach out to them.

Douglas Fehlen
Douglas Fehlen –  TopRank Copywriter

Tip 15: When it comes to social media marketing, self-promotion and helpfulness is a unique balance for every organization.

Tip 16: Provide content that customers will find valuable, even if they never buy anything.

Tip 17: Look for opportunities to inject storytelling into messaging through social media engagement – even if you’re in an industry not necessarily known for emotion-touched content.

Andy Thomson TopRank
Andy Thomson –  TopRank SEO Copywriter

Tip 18: People want meaningful connections, so give the people what they want in an opportunistic way using real-time monitoring and popular platforms.

Tip 19: Efficient training and leveraging subject matter experts for great content can win buy-in from executive leadership, especially when internal resources are scarce.

Tip 20: Don’t be afraid to find loopholes in social network posting rules. For example, Land-o-Lakes achieved this using clever typography in their Mother’s Day photo ads on Facebook to get around the 20% text rule.

Thank you again to Mykl Roventine from the Minneapolis / Saint Paul Social Media Breakfast for the invitation to present at this event and a big thanks to the TopRank team members that worked on the client engagements shared in my presentation: Alexis Hall, Kate Heithoff, Ben Brausen, Emily Bacheller and Renee Whisnant.

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. Thank you, Lee for the amazing post it is really helpful. But I think that tips number 10 and 11 about appealing audience’s emotions and spreading brand awareness and grab audience’s attention are very important and most affective tips from my point of view. I think what happened during 2014 World Cup, with Luis Suarez bite is illustrate exactly what said in those two points. Suarez bite becomes an easy and rich marketing material at that time for cleaver companies whose take an advantage of it in their companies’ side. As what McDonald’s did through Twitter, they creating big fuss between their followers and Suarez fans by providing an invitation to eat their Big Mac meal =) then many companies follow the McDonald’s tweet like Trident Gum, Snickers, Domino’s Pizza and much more.
    Also, tip number 14 is one of the most affective things I observed on social media world especially in Twitter and Instagram, in the Gulf countries there are few well known influencers on social media that the companies use them in marketing their products! It is very effective way that enable companies to easily persuade their target customers with their products or services they provide because the customers love those influencers and they trust what they said and try to follow their in every things those did.many thanks to you again Lee.