Posts tagged as: Social Media
Have you shared a Facebook post lately? Where did we first learn to share? Kindergarten! Have you sent or accepted a friend request? Kindergarten is where we all started to develop friendships. Kindergarden was also a time for learning self control, and what celebrity or pro athlete didn’t wish they could rescind a social post that was controversial. Since kindergarten is where we learned our social skills it made sense to use a set of “Kindergarten Classroom Rules” as a basis for social media best practices. Check them out:
1. Listening Bodies (I will listen and follow directions)
Social media listening, or monitoring, is an important part of any strategy. Monitor a brand name for any conversations pertaining to the brand — good or bad. Discover trending themes to determine whether you should join in the conversation or not. Speaking is an important part of communicating, but listening is just as important and it takes both to be truly social.
2. Raised Hands (I will raise my hand to share ideas)
Engagement is likely the second most popular goal behind increasing fans/followers. Striving for Shares, Re-tweets, Pins, Comments and Favorites. According to an article by Search Engine Watch, “asking questions or having “fill in the blank” style posts increases comments on Facebook”. Every teacher wants to ask a question and see every student’s hand raised, but just like a social media professional they need to structure the content in an interesting way.
3. Quiet Mouths (I will use a soft voice)
Whether it’s a soft voice, a loud voice, a funny voice, or a serious one it’s important to develop a brand’s voice. A brand’s voice is a consistent personality that is even more important in large corporations where several employees may have access to posting on the company’s behalf. Taco Bell is witty, adidas is inspirational, and Tiffany & Co. is refined but they all speak in a consistent voice which gives them these perceived personalities.
4. Caring Hearts (I will use kind words)
I could have also replaced “use kind words” with “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”. An employer’s social media account is not a place to voice your personal views on politics and religion. Tragedies are also not an opportunity to gain exposure, there are too many examples to list of companies who’s poor judgement landed them in hot water. It’s inevitable that someone will Comment, Tweet, or Post an unpleasant message to your company’s social network and as tough as it may be it’s important to remember to “use kind words” and keep in the brand’s voice when replying.
There’s nothing quite like getting out of town for a weekend to reset the mind and refresh the body. So when August rolled around I decided I needed to hit the road. After tossing around a few ideas with my girlfriend, we decided that Wilmington, N.C. would be a solid destination. We invited a few close friends, booked an awesome duplex downtown and packed up for a weekend at the coast. My bag included all the must-haves, toiletries, linens, clothes, but I decided for this trip I was going to leave my camera at home. I’ve been shooting for a long time — graduated from college with a background in photography — and my camera often feels like an extension of my own body, but I had an urge to break away from it for a weekend to just focus on the memories being made.
Unfortunately for me, no one else in our group shared my sentiment.
I’m not much for tourist attractions. I prefer to search a town for it’s underground culture and hidden gems, but most in our group had a few must-see locations on their list, including the N.C. Battleship and the Aquarium. To avoid raining on their parades, I decided I might as well go with the flow and indulge in some kitschy fun.
Keeping an open mind, I entered the aquarium with an optimistic outlook on the experience, after all, tropical fish are always fun to watch, and who doesn’t like petting stingrays? It was a rainy friday, so the place was crawling with children and adults looking for an escape out of the house. The max occupancy sign at the entranceway read “960.” Squeezing through to get to the first atrium, I questioned whether a fire marshall would have been ok with the crowd, it seemed like there were at least that many people in the front lobby alone.
To my surprise, the screaming and yelling didn’t seem to bother me much. Neither did being packed into tiny corridors, or employees trying to sell me stuffed sharks around every corner. The 30-minute wait to see the jellyfish didn’t really phase me, and the fact that we were 20 minutes late to the diving show wasn’t really a big problem. No, amongst all this chaos and disorder, there was only one thing that irked me. No one was actually looking at the fish, not one person. Instead, virtually everyone had their arsm stretched out with a phone in their hand. Aimed at the fish tanks, they all hoped to capture a unique image to upload to the social media site of their choice.
Now I’m not poking fun at Instagram or Google+ or 500px or Flickr or any of the other photo sharing sites. I think sharing photos is great, and it’s revoloutionized the way we interact and communicate. But shouldn’t we take a few moments to enjoy the scenery around us, to really connect with our surroundings, instead of battling for likes through redundent and often poorly taken photos.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t guilty of this myself. All too often I find myself reaching for my phone in an impulsive whirl, desperately trying to capture a moment that is most likely insignificant and uninteresting. But I’m trying to get better, I’m working hard to focus back in on reality.
How you ask?
By asking myself these simple questions before snapping a photo:
1. Will I ever go back and look at this image? We all create tons of data on a daily basis. If the image is just going to junk up my phone or waste space in my catalogue, I don’t take the photo.
2. Is this moment unique? Is it special? People are constantly uploading pictures of food they order, their desk at work, their backyard. If it isn’t a unique moment that will never again be duplicated, I don’t take the photo.
3. Am I only taking this picture so that I can brag about it later on social media? Arrogance doesn’t look good on anyone. If it makes me feel like a jerk, I don’t take the photo.
4. Will pulling out my phone interrupt the activity I want to photograph? Whether it’s an intimate family dinner or trivia night at the tavern, I will never jeopardize a real experience in exchange for a few pixels. If it distracts me or my current company, I don’t take the photo.
5. Does the image contain people I love doing meaningful things? People are worthwhile, and are often the most interesting subjects. If the photo is significant because of the people in the composition, then I’ll take the photo.
Photography is an amazing form of expression, and there’s a bright future for the medium, especially now that there over a billion tiny lenses in pockets worldwide. Just be sure to shoot responsibly! Ask yourself these simple questions before pushing the trigger, and you’ll find that the pictures you do take will become a whole lot more meaningful.
Image source: Amanda Rose Photo
Why are email newsletters still used in today? The reason is that they are relatively cheap compared to traditional methods of marketing and have a high ROI for the group or company sending them out. That’s good for the company, but how does the end user feel about being “spammed” with content that may or may not be relavant to them?
First off, the main purpose of a email newsletter should be to enhance or encourage customer loyalty. This is achieved by giving them up-to-date news or specials on the topic they signed up for. The big key is to give your user something useful or educational about your brand to enhance or educate their lives.
Another big component to a good newsletter is keeping it simple and to the point. Treat your audience as if they are busy and sifting through their emails is not always a priority.By keeping an email newsletters short and to the point is more effective. Titles and content should be conversational and short (users can click on the link to see full articles if they want more). Images should only be used to supplement the content of the newsletter, because most email clients turn off images by default.
Lastly, making sure your newsletter is viewable on most devices is critical Let’s face it, the number of smart phone users grows each day and emails without a text-only version will make the email inaccesible to some users. In addition to have a text only version, having a link to a HTML version of the newsletter is a must.
Keep your newsletters simply, clean and to the point. If you are interested in more best practices, I would suggest starting with Mailchimp’s Resource section.
Image source: Mailchimp.com
In may seem harsh, but in our era of digital piracy, video game console makers are taking up swords to defend themselves. Consider the announcement of the new Xbox One, a lesser gaming marvel than your supped up PC, but still stocked with motion control and voice commands to name a few new features. That announcement a few weeks back has gamers in uproar for its used game fee and required internet connectivity. What it means is that gamers can no longer play online without purchasing a new title or paying an additional fee — more money for the video game makers from the pockets of people like us. Forcing users to connect with Xbox’s online service every 24-hours or so also means that pirated or “flashed” games will brick your Xbox no matter how hard you try to keep it alive and under-the-radar from Microsoft’s eyes.
Let’s face it. “Flashing” your Xbox to play pirated games is in fact taking a game from the Internet without paying for it. However, putting an additional cost on a used game you buy is seen as a greedy act over which fans are ready to battle. Digital rights management (DRM) strategies for the world’s biggest console makers — Microsoft and Sony — could also see only a few select retailers with the liberty of reselling games. All this, increases the frustration of its fans before the launch or even the reveal of the next generation of consoles. PlayStation aficionados have taken to social media to voice their detest and concerns over rumors of PlayStation 4’s used game policy.
Has the console entertainment industry irked its fans in an age where consoles appear to be well, but on its way out? If the battle over top console dog still remains, the company with a favorable DRM strategy could end up on top, because sales will depend on fans who may choose between the lesser of two costs.
I love sports. And competition. And Beyoncé. So naturally, I am pumped for Super Bowl XLVII. And as a member of the advertising industry, I look forward to the ads almost as much as the big game and half time show. And for good reason. Super Bowl ads are made to sell, but these days, it is imperative to entertain and engage as well.
We all know that Super Bowl commercials are big-time brand investments. Averaging at $4 million for 30 seconds or $7.5 for a full minute (a discount!), your commercials has to be a homerun. And while I may be mixing my sports metaphors, I’ll give it to you straight: one 30-second Super Bowl commercial doesn’t cut it anymore. You need a whole digital support network to really create buzz.
An example? Sure.
Chevy Sonic’s “LetsDoThis” campaign from last year’s big game is a wonderchild. From content to engagement to results, this was an amazing integrated campaign. It spanned YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, a microsite and the Super Bowl halftime commercial break. All without missing a beat. And it is not just me who was amazed. Google Creative Sandbox called it No. 2 in the top 10 integrated digital campaigns for auto brands.
The Challenge: Change the perception of Chevy from gas-guzzling, cowboy-hauling, dirt-road-riding truck to relevant, hip and new small car.
The Plan: Use a multi-faceted digital approach topped with a cherry that is a Super Bowl commercial focusing on 100-percent authentic Chevy Sonic “firsts.”
Leading Up: When I say integrated, I mean it. Lead creative agency Goodby, Silverstein and Partners hit every digital facet to support Super Bowl including 4 YouTube teasers in the weeks leading up to the big game. The night before kick off, the full 60-second commercial launched online.
The Big Game: The full-length commercial appeared during the half-time break and teased at its other online content, asking the viewer to participate by hopping on the interwebs to see more including a full-length music video and other crazy stunts.
The Results: This teasers and online content succeeded in driving strong interest on Game Day. Chevy Sonic Edmonds.com page views up 350-percent after ad; 200-percent for the rest of the game. No. 1 most viewed video on YouTube after the game? OK Go’s Chevy Sonic music video. A 680-percent increase in searches for Sonic on Google. And over 285,000 Facebook page likes. Looking for hard cold cash? Sonic’s share of the Small Car Segment shot up to over 6-percent a week after the Game – up 2.5-percent in 7 days.
So what did we see this year? Advertisers evolving in the digital age with Super Bowl commercials. We saw a surge in surrounding digital content for the content hungry consumer and a strong catering to the multi-screen viewer.
The CokeChase Campaign and the Volkswagen Get Happy campaign had opportunities to blossom. Both started as teasers with a myriad online content to accompany the shining Super Bowl moment. I can’t say that I focused on anything digital during the game. Outside of noticing a few Shazam icons and hashtags in commercials, I was more focused on the friends, conversation, and climatic game.
I do admit to a roomful of 20-somethings searching Twitter on their smart phones for news about the black out. The biggest winner this super bowl? Not the Ravens or Ray Lewis. The trophy clearly goes to Oreo.
Pulitzer Prize winner Gene Weingarten wasn’t the first journalist to notice the death of deadlines. As the Web expands like bacteria on a large, wet tablecloth, online news stories are constantly updated to satisfy the growing number of its users. But with constant content comes criticism.
No matter how irrelevant or ignorant, there may always be those online who voice unjust opinions just because they can. This is the New Journalist’s inheritance; the social media manager’s nightmare.
“It’s as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots,” Weingarten wrote in his Washington Post column.
Online, anything is criticized, no matter if it’s news, a Tweet or a Facebook post. And all evidence points that the only solution is a vigilante, proactive plan for when social media Hell breaks loose.
A horror story goes:
January 18, 2012 5:09 p.m. est.
A positive awareness campaign begins on Twitter in the late afternoon. But within three hours, the tweet and its hashtag are reported by the New York Observer for all the wrong reasons. What was meant to shed a limelight on McDonald’s hard working farmers quickly becomes a trending disaster. And thousands of brand detractors have something to say:
January 18, 2012 7:19 p.m. est.
By nightfall, #McDStories is an open casket for customers to complain. The words “high” and “Type 2 diabetes” are retweeted. The Golden Arches need to find a way to control a social media crisis. But how?
Let’s go back.
In the beginning there was SixDegrees.com. The first recognized social media site, according to a study by the University of California-Berkeley and Michigan State, that launched in 1997 with a handful of users. Fast forward nearly two decades and there are more than 450 million social media users worldwide.
Fortunately, the Web is not a dirty tablecloth, its users have a voice and the right to say anything.
“One of the things that makes bad social media marketing or advertising worse than bad TV or bad print is you’re going into the consumer’s backyard. This is their place,” said Henry Copeland, CEO of Blogads.
So a good social media strategy may be a constant debate. A forum where it’s good to know who your up against. And you’ll need to gear up with a broad awareness of trending topics, a quick positive response to any barb and an understanding of what makes your users happy and what makes them tick.
After all, constant content gave way to constant criticism. It only makes sense that a consistent social media monitoring and engagement strategy is now a part of your brand.
In the end, it’s invaluable as past crisis have shown, once social media users start chirping some never stop:
Six months later; June 14, 2012 5:40 p.m. est.
The internet is responsible for many things: faster news, decreased social tact, midnight impulse shopping….
Add to the list: the international renaissance of collaborative consumption. First, let’s define these buzz words and make sure we are all on the same page.
Sharing Economy – An economic model where that focuses on getting maximal use out of a product or asset by allowing others access to use.
Remix Culture - A term based on Lawrence Lessig’s Remix to describe a society which allows and encourages derivative works.
Collaborative Consumption – An economic model based on sharing, swapping, bartering, trading or renting access to products as opposed to ownership.
Mesh Business - A business that participates in and facilitates the collaborative consumption model. They tend to have 4 common characteristics: sharing, advanced use of Web and mobile information networks, a focus on physical goods and materials, and engagement with customers through social networks.
So what does this have to do with your favorite Michael J. Fox flick? Collaborative consumption and the sharing economy is an old way of life that pre-dates the hyper-consumption of 20th century and goes all the way back to our ape-like ancestors. Humans are made to share; experiences, knowledge, and, yes, even material goods. And thanks to the world wide web, we are reverting to our collaborative roots.
There are tons of options. From AirBNB and ZipCar to ParkAtMyHouse and TaskRabbit, there are social sharing options for you for nearly every aspect of life. Rachel Botsman, author of What’s Mine is Yours, classifies three types of collaborative consumption: product-services systems that provide shared use material goods (Zilock), redistribution markets that find new homes for used products (ThredUp), and collaborative lifestyles that allow people with similar or complementing interests to connect and interact (Lending Club).
Now, don’t get me wrong. There are some things we don’t share and probably never will. Think small cost, personal items with shorter shelf lives: your toothbrush, underwear, or lipstick. Some things lend themselves much better to be shared: your bread maker, vacation rental, or video camera. These things are items that your are not using constantly, are cost-prohibitive to everyone having one of his or her own and tend to have a long shelf life.
But why now? Why is collaborative living taking off in this very moment? The answer is multifaceted. A true convergence of market factors.
- Trust in online identities: We live in a world where your reputation is only as good as your reviews on eBay. We believe our peers, we read reviews and put trust in star ranking systems. As we continue to grow our online reputations and conglomerate our internet identity into a single username, we are allowing trustworthiness to be built online and we are moving full-steam ahead.
- Better shipping options: Our shipping infrastructure is not perfect, but it is pretty darn impressive. Your dinner tonight will probably consist of a fruit from South America, a vegetable grown in California, beef raised in the American midwest, and a Greek olive in that Mad-Men-esque martini on plates from somewhere in Asia. This is amazing in and of itself. The fact that you can get a used book including shipping costs from half way across the world rather than new at your local Barnes & Noble is an amazing feat. And it is making distance in collaborative consumption a non-issue.
- Growing concern for the environment: Green lifestyles are on the rise, and sharing is caring. More sharing of products leads to less waste. Shared rides is less gas. You know the drill.
- Budget conscious minds of a global recession: As we recover (albeit slowly) from a rather rough economic patch, every cent, yen and euro counts for just about all of us. (I have heard it’s about 99%.) Collaborative consumption can help remove the burden of cost. Renting for a few days is way cheaper than buying. And few people would say no to a few extra dollars in the wallet.
Who’s a part of this movement? I bet you’re thinking it is just for hippies and hipsters. Well, friend, you’d be wrong. Have you ever bought a used book on Amazon? How about rented a fancy bike while backpacking across Europe? Ordered a Valentine’s gift on Etsy or snagged a deal for patio furniture on Craigslist? You guessed it. You’re already participating, so why not dive in?
Some staggering stats:
- Car sharing is forecasted to be worth 12.5 million dollars by 2015.
- Freecycle has over 7 million members.
- Couchsurfing is the most visited hospitality service on the internet.
- Currently, peer-to-peer rentals from video games to surf board is estimated at 36 billion dollars. Yes, that is billion. With a “B.” Still looking for more?
Watch the amazing TEDTalk with Rachel Botsman and hop on the sharing economy bandwagon.
Sources & Resources:
Beyond Zipcar: Collaborative Consumption
Etsy Raises $40 Million, Looks Beyond the Marketplace
The Rise of the Sharing Economy
The Sharing Economy: the next big business trend
Trust and Being Trusted in the Sharing Economy
Zipcar Wants to Make Your Car part of its Fleet
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but now that pretty much anyone and everyone engages in social media the world of social is louder, busier and more disorderly than ever. Which means people carefully choose who makes it into their newsfeed, and consumers have less patience for uninteresting and irrelevant content. While brands understand the importance of social media, many don’t understand its most defining feature. The fact that humans don’t act social to get something, we act social because we are social.
Marketers need to stop thinking up ways to lure consumers in with tactical social strategies and start focusing on whether or not their message is worth sharing. Recently a study found that forty-four percent of social shoppers said they stopped interacting with brands on Facebook due to a lack of relevant or valuable posts. Brands and marketers say they understand this notion, but for some reason it’s difficult for them to change gears and implement relationship-building into their social media executions. It’s pretty simple. Consumers aren’t conquests. The more you try to sell, the more you scare — or simply bore — them away.
For brands to have real and lasting relationships with consumers, they need to keep it simple and look to their roots to find their true voice. They need know who they are, what they stand for, and why they’re in business in the first place before they start socializing. Shockingly enough, a lot of companies struggle to answer these basic questions.
Another reason the human component of social media is so important is because social media actually effects us biologically. When we make those social connections through Facebook and Twitter, our social behavior triggers a chemical release of dopamine into our brains. No joke. Which explains why it can be so addictive and powerful.
In conclusion, it’s time to embrace relationship-building not as the latest social media fad, but as the new reality. Big picture: If your brand is going to succeed in the Digital Age and the Relationship Era, you have to tap into that human component. Period.
Saving money is all the craze these days. Sites like Soap.com offer manufacturer’s coupons with a click of a check box. Reality shows like Extreme Couponing on TLC idolize the new hobby. Email specials like GroupOn and LivingSocial continue to grow in popularity.
Gen X and the Millennials are officially smitten. So what’s the latest? Wrapp wants you to give low-value gift certificates for free as birthday presents. It’s no joke. The European-based coupon king is coming to America and bringing the social side of saving money.
Rather than another “Happy Birthday!! xoxo,” the Swedish company wants you to post a $5 gift card to H&M, Gap, Sephora or 7 other brick-and-mortar retailers… so long as your social media birthday buddy meets certain demographic criteria.
The idea? Brands offer $2-$5 gift certificates online to gain exposure. You endorse the brand by posting it on a friend’s wall. Your friend gets a barcode sent directly to a smart phone, ventures out of the virtual world into the store, and spends far more than the original value based on your advice. And the brands only pay Wrapp when the gift certificate is redeemed. It’s a win-win.
Wrapp forgoes Facebook ad costs by convincing users to post for free. A few thousand posts later, and brands show up in newsfeeds across the country without so much as a cent going to Zuckerburg.