Know your Brand’s Audience With These Tips

Profile. Whether you’re a small business or a global business, knowing your audience is the backbone of selling your products and services. Without this knowledge, you’re basically throwing stuff at a wall and seeing if it sticks through your content marketing, social media engagement, and product marketing strategies. Does that sound effective? I didn’t think so. Here are tips your brand should consider to properly assess your audience:
1. Demographic Data – Take time to research genders, ages, geographical data, marital status, and household incomes. Even better is psychographic data including interests, attitudinal behaviors, lifestyle, including how connected they are (e.g. tablet users or desktop users). All of this data will help your brand carve your customer profiles with a larger picture to whom you are marketing.
2. Channels – Is your audience more apt to be on Flipboard vs. Pulse, or Twitter over Facebook, or perhaps they’re more into Tumblr and Instagram? Whatever the case, it’s important to understand consumption and sharing habits in order to know what content to put (so it’s right for the channel) and what channels to experiment with and dedicate time and money to in the long run.
3. Outreach Methods  Begin with your website analytics and discern the keywords used by visitors, which pages time was spent on the most, and where the bounce rates occurred. It is also helpful to gauge referral traffic and which pages led visitors to your website. For example, perhaps it was your Facebook ad or your fan page; or a Pictela unit that caused engagement to content on your site. It’s helpful to understand your audience patterns in order to get rid of the things that aren’t working, and/or fix things that you may not be doing great yet. Tweaking, in my opinion, is a part of brand management. Without constantly learning and tweaking, you’re not reaching the full potential of your audience.
4. Content Topics – This is where the lofty “editorial” calendar” is helpful in order to stay on top of the key holidays, industry events, and consumer mindsets, e.g. When your customer is more likely to be thinking of energy savings due to the cold temperatures where they live. With this calendar you can ensure that you’re focusing on the topics that are relevant to planned events you’ve thought ahead for, and also allowing your brand to be nimble to respond to things that pop up and are trending (and I don’t mean Beiber being arrested). As you look back on the past quarter you’ll assess which ones worked vs. could have done better – allowing your brand to “tweak” and focus on the topics that resonate best with your audience.
To read more on Content Formats and how to be nimble as a brand, check out my full post on Social Media Club !

 

iBeacon Technology: Why it’s Awesome for Marketers

So we’ve had QR codes and location based services for some time now in the tech and social industry – and since Apple introduced their iBeacon (although this tech has been around for a while too) – we’re entering new territories as marketers and customers.

What are iBeacons you ask?
iBeacon’ is an Apple marketing term for a specific type of Bluetooth Low Energy (also known as BLE). According to Apple Insider – “Essentially, rather than using satellite signals to locate a device anywhere on Earth as GPS does, BLE can enable a mobile user to navigate and interact with specific regions geofenced by low cost signal emitters that can be placed anywhere, including indoors, and even on moving targets.”
Why this is awesome for marketers:
  • Imagine being able to send messages to consumers more contextually. For example, if your brand is trying to target consumers at a venue for an event; you’ll be able to know they’re there and send a message through your brand app to them automatically. Not only is this awesome, but it’s convenient for the consumer too.
  • Why is location so important? It creates the contextual relevance for advertising that otherwise isn’t already there. For example, being at a concert when you get an advertisement for a discount on food located at the venue is way more useful then getting that advertisement on a random day. It is then useful, easy to use, and actually relevant to that person.
  • Imagine your target consumer is parking at a large mall. You already know they have an intent to purchase, and now you can target them accordingly right through the device that is already at their fingertips. They’re probably already thinking what deals can I snag while I’m here – the mindset is there; the location is there; and the context is there.
  • What I think is even cooler? Sending messages or showing different visuals to a person as they walk by a display due to the iBeacon. For example, if someone sees a product they may like, perhaps they get a real-time demonstration of it right then and there.
Things we need to consider:
  • What if Blue Tooth is not enabled?
  • Unless the consumer is an early adopter and really into tech like this (as marketers like myself are); adoption will be slow.
  • Privacy is still a rampant issue that many consumers face and tech like this make some uncomfortable.
What do I envision?
I see this technology growing rapidly and taking shape in many apps and devices. However, I see mainstream adoption not truly occurring until 2015, when more people grow comfortable with this type of location and contextual detection within apps and devices.
Tip to marketers:
Be patient, but be bold too. Take into consideration the age old saying, “test and learn.”
Image source: google images

How to: Treat Your Social Media Fans Like Individuals

social media fans feel special

It’s easy to get lost in the numbers of followers, fans, and subscribers we have on our brands’ social media platforms. The numbers do matter; they help us communicate with more of our audience, and reach their friends and family too. But one thing you need to remember, despite how many fans you have – is not to forget the individual fan.

Each fan counts.

Here are a few ways your brand can help your social media fans feel special, and not just another number on your analytics page…

Respond to comments and questions in real time – This is the number one thing I look for in brands when I communicate with them, mention them in a post, or ask a question on a social channel. I look for some sort of validation that they’re listening to me as their fan.

For example, when I mention Nordstrom or Athleta on instagram, tumblr or twitter – I receive a mention back within hours. It’s usually a “thanks so much” and sometimes has a clever response and commenting on how great I am. What fan doesn’t love a little appreciation? In short, take time each day to appreciate your fans and respond back – even if it’s just to say “Thanks.”

Be yourself- Let your brand’s personality come through.  Don’t be afraid to show who you are as a brand.  This makes makes your ans feel that they know you, like they’re your friend.

To check out my third and bonus tip on how to treat your fans special and as unique individuals, check out my original post on Startup Fashion

Five Visual Tips for your Brand’s Blog Presence

Branding |RedBalloon Advertisers |www.redballoon.in

Starting and maintaing a blog for your brand is a a crucial step when it comes to publishing content for your audience to discover, consume and share.

However, before pumping out all that awesome content, your team needs to determine how that blog will “look and feel” — how it will ladder up to the brand’s image on other owned sites, how the tone and voice will take shape, and how the blog will look visually to the consumer.

This shouldn’t’ be daunting, but it does take time to consider, plan, and strategize appropriately so your blog is a part of your marketing strategy and brand’s arsenal of content publishing.

1. To Theme or Not to Theme

Many blogs, whether it’s WordPress or tumblr offer a variety of custom themes that allow you to work within a set template.

The template allows for color changes, a preferred way to display content whether it’s the new Pinterest pinboard layout, or the gallery look, or keeping it simple with having it article style.

Whatever you choose, you can then add on widgets to allow for further customization such as social feeds, pulling in content from other sites, and even promoting products and services for people to purchase or subscribe to. In the end the theme helps those brands that don’t want to start from scratch, but would rather work from an easier starting place for a “look and feel” that fits the brand.

2. To Brand 

 Even before choosing the theme and the domain, it’s important to determine whether or not the blog will have branding specific to the brand/product/service. For example, some brands have a blog to offer fun entertaining content that has little to no branding; while others completely brand the blog with their name, logo, and more in order to show they are the authority of the blog and/or thought leader on the subject matter they are offering.

There is no right way to go about this, it depends upon the purpose of the blog and the goals of the brand. Both can serve great purposes.

3. To Be Social

If your brand has a large social presence or is trying to build on, it helps to cross promote social content. For example a fashion brand may want to pull in an instagram feed, while another brand may want to pull in a hashtag stream on a campaign they’re running.

I recommend ensuring there are social share buttons for content – more eyeballs, more consumption, more awareness of one’s content and brand.

4. To Provide Tone & Voice

One’s tone and voice is a part of the visual feel of the blog as well.

The tone can be fun and vibrant which goes along with a casual blog visually. Voice may be more instructional which may go along with a more conservative looking blog. Just remember to keep in consideration all the elements of your blog before putting it together.

5. To Provide Imagery

Imagery is essential to getting people to consume the content and share it. For example if it has fun visuals like a short video, comic strip, infographic – people are more likely to move towards it and in turn share with people they think would find it fun or informative.

Note: This post was originally written for social media club and my original post can be found here

 

Three Tips to Reach your Brand Influencers on Twitter

 

Twitter Influencers

Twitter is not only a great channel to consumer news and publish content, but a tool in our marketing arsenal, and most of all a great way to connect with our brand’s audience and influencers in the space.

Being a brand in today’s marketing world – it’s not just about “buying fans” or hoping they’ll swing on by your website. Today we need to strategize about how to develop and cultivate relationships with those that care about our brands and those that will voice those positive opinions to their audiences as well.

Follow and Connect

First and foremost, it’s great if you can follow back those who follow you, mention you, favorite your tweets, and RT your tweets. Those are the people who care enough to be a part of your community without you asking. Follow them back and show them the “love.” Take it a step further and thank them for mentioning you or liking your brand. Those little moments of brand love can go a long way, especially when the audience members don’t expect it.

Be Proactive

Take it a step further and join the conversations that these influencers are already conversing in. Are they asking questions? Answer them with information your brand may be able to help with – and of course don’t forget to use the hashtag being used so other people can follow the conversation too.

Tip: But be careful with this.  Use discretion about which conversations to just join.  If it’s a convo between only two people, it can seem weird and stalker-y to just voice your opinion. Look for conversations that involve several people and offer information without pushing any kind of sales.

To read the last tip on how to reach your influencers, check out my full post on Startup Fashion !

Video Content – Is it part of your content strategy?

Note: this post was originally written in June for SMC so some items may have changed since then in regards to Vine and Instagram Video. 

The best video camera – the one you have with you. Whether it’s the video function on your phone, Vine, or the latest, Instagram video – video is a form of content that both consumers and brands alike are having not just fun with, but utilizing to express themselves.  Is video right for your brand, and if so – which one?

Once your brand has decided to add visual content to its toolbox, specifically video content, it’s time to figure out how it will amplify the content you already have and fit into your overall content strategy. First step is to determine if it will involve short form video content or long form?  Once you have that figured out, you can delve deeper into the benefits of the popular choices to choose from.

Short Form Video Content

The 6 second Vine

Benefits:

  • Shoot and Share in minutes
  • Embed capability for your website
  • New ability to have drafts rather than publish automatically
  • Save to camera roll to publish later (or store)
  • A for effort when it comes to telling a story in such bite size form

Disadvantages:

  • Need to be quick with the functionality and patient when shooting
  • Shaky hands make the video lesser quality

The 15 second Instagram Video

Benefits:

  • Filters for making the videos have that “instagram” feel
  • Ability to decrease the shake of the camera
  • Can do 15 seconds or less (more time to tell your story)
  • Easily integrates with multiple social networks including tumblr

Disadvantages:

Longer Form Video Content

YouTube

Benefits:

  • The length of content can be longer than 15 seconds
  • You can annotate the content to have CTAs
  • You can create SEO opportunities to lead to the content
  • You can create playlists for series of content
  • Largest location to search for video content

Disadvantages:

  • Not as simple as shoot and share

Questions on how to start your first video account for your brand? Reach out below and well do our best to answer.

Additional Reading:

 

 

3 Small Businesses who Kick a Little Butt in Mobile

Most businesses understand the importance of having marketing goals, a content strategy, and even a social media strategy. Unfortunately some forget that mobile needs to be considered along with each of these, whether it’s to amplify marketing goals, extend content legs onto mobile, and/or leverage social where people are (everywhere they are). Small businesses are not at a disadvantage; they have the same tools in their toolbox. Let’s take a look at a few examples of how small businesses are utilizing mobile to their retail and sales advantage.

Mobile Payment: Rebecca’s Cafe: Rebecca’s Cafe, a small little cafe at the bottom of my office building (with other locations too) has made it simpler for me to get my morning coffee, especially when I’m in a rush. Why scrounge to the bottom of my bag for my wallet, when I can whip out my Level Up app, since my cell is always in hand, and just click to pay within seconds. Rebecca’s Cafe has made it convenient for their customers to keep track of their payments, earn points for that free coffee, and spend less time hassling with their wallets.

Mobile Payment: Lori Magno: Lori Magno, a friend and jewelry artist, was quick to hop on the mobile payment wagon. She realized it was simpler to use Square on her iPad to make quick and easy credit card transactions when selling her amazing jewelry. It not only avoids the pesky “oh I don’t have any cash on me, ” or “I only have a credit” to “no problem, just swipe here,” to ensure she achieves her sales and doesn’t lose customers.

Responsive Design and Click to Call: Goldberg Law: Lane Goldberg of Goldberg Lawsaw the need of a mobile friendly website since most individuals are on the go and doing their research from their phones or tablets. It makes it easier for people to quickly look into what his law practice offers, hours of service, how to reach him easily and even dig deeper into his blog content. In addition, Lane made it even easier for people to contact him, by adding a “click to call” action button. Such a simple thing, but so many people forget that not allowing your phone number to clickable can be a hinderance to a phone call…and even more so, a potential customer.

These three businesses are three of many who are doing a great job at adapting to the mobile landscape.

A pro tip I advise when considering to enter mobile is that your business doesn’t need to do everything, but should prioritize what is most important to reach your audience, and for your audience to reach you.

 

Note this post was originally written for Socialnomics and my original post can be found here. 

Further Reading:

http://www.experiencedmg.com/4-examples-stellar-small-business-mobile-websites/

http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/06/savvy-businesses-say-yes-to-mobile.html

http://blogs.citrix.com/2013/06/20/5-ways-small-businesses-can-succeed-in-the-mobile-era/

Facebook Part III: Facebook Graph Search

 

facebook graph search

So, some of us were “cool” enough to be selected into Facebook’s Beta of their Graph Search a few months back. Lucky us. We played around with the options of searching broader topics, friends of friends, images, and other such info. Now the Facebook Graph Search is opening to all users and has even more search options. What does this mean for your fashion business? Let’s break it down…

Consumers Can Now

  • Be connected to a larger network of people for business and pleasure
  • Find more of what friends like and recommend in the categories of music, brands, products, restaurants, places to visit, etc.
  • Find visual content that friends share specific to what users want to see (ex. Photos from a specific event or place)

Brands Care Because

  • Users can find your business on Facebook through their searches
  • Users can find when friends talk about your business
  • Users can find your services or products when searching for a specific want or need

What To Do

  • Ensure your Facebook page is kept up to date including your about section (location, contact info, etc)
  • Ensure your page is fresh with new and consistent content
  • Be visual with your content
  • Keep your images tagged appropriately
  • Ensure your content has search friendly keywords
  • Make it shareable and easy to find

Read more on what your brand should be doing and our prediction for how this affects you in the future on my full post at Startup Fashion

5 Ways to Enhance Your Brand’s Search Marketing

Search marketing is fairly complex. It goes beyond the organization of a simple keyword list that would be effective to optimize one’s content. However, each marketer needs to know the basics and how to enhance their search marketing. Let’s dig a little deeper into some of the basics:

1.     Fresh Content: Each site and/or blog needs fresh content to survive – whether it is paid search marketing or organic content. Content allows for keywords to be utilized throughout the site. Meta data can be implemented. Images and videos with alt tags and descriptions add to the value of the content as well. It is also imperative to remember that fresh content should be consistently updated, and posted on a regular, frequent basis. Once a month won’t cut it. Once a week may not even do the trick when starting out. Think, daily when creating fresh content.

Pro Example: Amex Open Forum. This brand with a team of content writers and outside influencers is able to update their content not just daily, but even hourly.

2.     Links, Links, and More Links: Linking back to your own content is always helpful. For example, if you are writing a post on search engine marketing, perhaps link back to a post on content strategy that extends the conversation.

Tip: Ensure that your anchor text is keywords that help build further SEO. For example, use keywords that help readers know where the link will lead (ensuring they do actually work). Additionally the text will help the search engines possibly rank the sites higher due to search and relevancy.

3.     Social Media is a Search booster: There are many ways to distribute your content based upon the type of content and your audience. For example, if your audience is highly digital and found on most social channels, then you can consider the following:

  • Distribute your content across your social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter (assuming your brand has a presence there and your audience engages on these channels).
  • Ask influencers to share with their audience. Note – it will take time and research to find influencers who are a good representation of the brand, have a decent social following, and are willing and excited to talk on the brand’s behalf.
  • Ask your guest bloggers to post and share with their audiences. They are normally happy to do so.
  • If your policy allows guest bloggers to repost- have them link back to your site.

In the end, the more places people can find your SEO friendly URL and content, the better.

4.     Mobile: It starts with making sure your site and content is mobile friendly. Although you can have a mobile site, a responsive design is usually better as it adapts to your device rather than sending you to another version of your sight. Check to see how much of your audience views your content via mobile. (Are they using tablets? smart phones? or just desktop? or all of the above). Then see what you can do to boost that SEO whether it’s by amplifying with mobile ads or increasing content spread on both desktop and mobile. Mobile ads can get expensive, but if your brand has the budget and is willing to experiment, it may be worth the effort to try distribution across mobile via search and ads. Cross screen is the new ‘black’!

5.     Test & Learn: Tried and true, you cannot forget to test keywords to see which ones work for you. Test content; see what your audience likes most. Test your social network distribution and see which content works best where. And most of all just don’t be afraid to test.

Note to remember: There’s not one thing you can do to amplify SEO for search. It’s about testing and learning of course – but all of the pieces above (and more) are apart of the algorithm to help search rankings and referral traffic to one’s site. Remember to utilize to each piece.

Sources:

Note: this post was originally written for Social Media Club and can also be found here.

5 Items to Test in your Brand’s Email Marketing Campaign

Most brands realize that when it comes to marketing, it’s vital to “test and learn, test and learn, and a  test and learn some more.” Split testing, or A/B testing, your marketing efforts is helpful for determining what practices are the most effective in reaching your goals.

Let’s take one marketing example to  apply how this would work: email marketing.

Five items to consider testing when investing in email marketing efforts:

  1. Subject Lines: If your email has an offer, or a newsletter, or a blog post – consider testing different subject lines to see which ones get more open rates. For example consider tweaking the subject lines for personalization, region, or just persuasive verbage. TIP: keep it under 50 characters.
  2. Images: Consider two different images in the email body to which ones may help persuade the reader to click through to the content. For example is it an individual in the image or the product that helps persuade the reader to click through or perform your call to action.
  3. Opening Paragraphs: Most individuals preview emails in their inbox before opening which includes the first couple sentences of the opening paragraph of the email. Focus on making these two sentences the most appealing and reiterating the subject line in some shape or form to reinforce why they looked in the first place.

To read my other 3 items to test which include opening paragraphs, CTAs, and the day and times to send out the emails, read my full post on Startup Fashion.

Image Source: http://tweakyourbiz.com/marketing/2012/03/23/10-reasons-your-business-should-use-email-marketing/

Mobile Strategy for your Small Business

 Small Businesses are realizing that mobile is meant for “today”, not “tomorrow” – and it’s time to get on board before falling behind. Mobile isn’t just about having an app (but it is one option). Being mobile can mean having a mobile site (or responsive design), an app that allows the consumer to interact with the brand, mobile payment options, and/or mobile advertisements. Where should your small business jump in? My advice – ensure you have a mobile site before anything else. Not sure? Consider how many of your target market use smart phones and how often they access your site through their mobile device over their laptop. If your site isn’t optimized for mobile, you are falling short.

Easier than you Think: Building a mobile site can be as simple as converting your site to a mobile one – which allows your consumers to choose which one they use to view your site when they search for it via mobile. If your brand has a little more resources to commit – my vote is the responsive design. It conforms to whatever device your on immediately.

Ready to take the next step: A mobile app is not for every brand. An app should solve a need. One example would be a utility app or one that allows to shop the store through an app (ex. Amazon) rather than having to go to the site each time with your account.

Mobile Payment: Allowing consumers to pay with a mobile app is a great way to simplify things for a brand and for the consumer. The Small business and charity –Charity Water – does this well. They use Square in order to allow easy credit card payment on iPads, and also allowing consumers to feel secure about their transactions. Charity Water has been doing great things around the world, and being mobile friendly is key for them. They use mobile devices, mobile payment transactions, and social media such as Twitter which is imperative to their awareness and engagement.

Can’t forget Social: As seen by Charity Water, social networks like Twitter which are mainly done via mobile are key to not just awareness, but also promotion, content distribution, and engagement with a brand. Yes it takes resources, effort, strategy, and money – but it is essential to almost any small business.

Ads, Ads, and More Ads: Mobile ads are a whole other ball game and take a large amount of resources. It’s not a few hundred dollars a week like some google adword campaigns, but can cost at minimum 10s of thousands on a monthly basis. It takes a larger commitment, and is usually best after a small business is lucrative or has the backing to do so.

Small business – does not mean small mobile strategy. Small businesses can play like the big boys too.

Image source: http://www.toowaybroadband.co.uk/newsReach/Prepare-mobile-and-tablet-versions-of-websites,-firms-advised_ID_801329603/

Note: this post was originally written for socialnomics and my post can be found here.

Building Community through Storytelling Apps Like Cowbird, YouTube and Tumblr

Many brands today are still figuring out how to tell their story, show the human side of the brand, and connect with their audience on a deeper level than just their products and services. If that isn’t hard enough, there are a myriad of avenues by which to do so…should your brand use Facebook, a blog, YouTube,  Pinterest, none, or all of the above? It’s important for each brand to see where their audience is first, and use the tools that most resonate with their audience and engages them where they prefer to be engaged. However, it doesn’t hurt to try new tools and see if they “fit” the brand’s identity as well as the audience. Test and Learn – great motto.

3 Tools to consider and see if they “fit” and why:

(1) Cowbird - Use photos, text, and/or sound to tell the story of a moment in time, a brand, a product, a service, a person who works there, a consumer, or what have you. Video isn’t available (as of yet), and it’s only a web service (although apparently mobile friendly), but it appears to have a growing community as photos are so easily uploaded and shared. People love to tell “their story” and brands can collaborate with cowbird to tell a “saga” or something more. However there is currently no advertising as they are trying to keep it pure to contributors. Benefit for brands? A community of people who are engrossed in stories and visual content – and ones who will share, and engage with it via “likes” or “re-telling” a story (basically like a re-blog on twitter, which is a high value action on this platform). Also the potential opportunity to partner with Cowbird for feature content.

(2) YouTube: The Archive and the storytelling vehicle that has lasted the test of time. Video like photos are a great tool to tell a brand’s story. It can be used to tell a six second snippet (the “vine” rage) or it can be longer and tell a consumer’s journey, a sneak peek on a product line, the inside scoop on an event, or how and why an employee loves every moment of working for a particular brand. Whatever the video may be – it is a piece of the brand – and it’s story. Not sure how to break into video content? Not sure if you can afford it? Start small; start simple but start with a content strategy on how that video will amplify your current brand’s story and/or revive it from the dead. Did I mention it’s only one of the largest search engine’s on the web? Cough Cough – SEO (huge perk).

Great Example: The Lego Story [Watch The Video]

(3) tumblr - a blogging platform and so much more for brands and consumer alike. From fashion brands like Nordstrom to finance brands like American Express, tumblr has become a place to not just tell a story but allow the consumer to see a different side of the brand; and of course explore and engage with fun, digestible content – from posts to photos to videos and more.

ProTip: when using a platform like tumblr (or your blogging place of choice) always consider the amount of time and amount of content your brand has for both quality and frequency. Your audience will expect fresh, new, engaging content on a consistent basis.

note: this post was originally written for Social Media Club and my original post can be found here.

LinkedIn & How Fashion Brands can take Advantage

So you know about Facebook and Twitter, but there’s more to social then those two players. Some brands forget that LinkedIn is not just a great resource for individuals and their “online resumes” – but also a great network for you to showcase your brand, boast product offerings, highlight team members, initiate collaboration, and more!

Here are 5 Ways Fashion Brands Can Leverage LinkedIn

  • Products and services tab: the perfect place to show off the great things your brand offers. For example: if your brand has 3 to 5 specific offerings, a new offer, or updates – the tab is a great way to link directly, give teasers, and provide a place for consumers to comment. Tip - consider video content on this tab to make your products more engaging and shareable.

  • Cross Promote:  LinkedIn allows brands to cross promote their other social networks such as Twitter feeds but also their blog rss feeds. Fashion brands that have a great content source such as a rich blog with visuals should always find ways to create awareness for their content and in turn engagement with it – whether it’s through the blog itself or through distribution on social networks.

  • Company Updates: LinkedIn offers a great location to update on what’s happening with the company. Does your company have a new CMO or Intern? Give them the spotlight and show how much you appreciate your team.

    To learn about the other 2 helpful ways fashion brands can leverage LinkedIn (or most brands for that matter) – check out my full post on startup fashion.

    Photo source: http://blog.amsterdamprinting.com/2013/03/07/10-excellent-examples-of-linkedin-cover-images-for-brands/030413_apl_blog_images_post2/

The Importance of Mobile for Brands Today

Brands realize (or are realizing) the importance of mobile considerations as our society is no longer just consuming content via a desktop of the television or newspaper. In the age of smart phones, tablets, and constantly being “on the go,” brands need to constantly consider how best to distribute content – where, when, and how. Distributing content on a blog, on a website, on Facebook is one thing – but is it mobile friendly? Can someone view easily? Share easily? All things to consider when considering a distribution strategy for content and content consumption by the target audience.

Content varies from blog posts to tweets to video to infographics to…so much more. In the case of video, mobile consumption is growing each year. Currently according to YouTube:

  • 25% of global YouTube views come from mobile devices
  • People watch one billion views a day on YouTube mobile
  • YouTube is available on 400 million devices
  • Traffic from mobile devices tripled in 2011

Video content tells the brand’s story – whether it’s on YouTube or a quick snippet on vine – and of course they’re both shared across social. Both are meant for mobile so it’s important to ensure mobile friendliness when you are embedding on your sites –  check to see that your site is either a mobile site or a responsive web design which adjusts to screens accordingly.

If you aren’t considering mobile – you’re losing audience members, you’re losing engagement, you’re losing the value ofy our content. In one word – Fail.

Rather than losing out – when it comes to video content and focusing on mobile consumption consider the following when strategizing: (1) short and digestible content; (2) uploading 2 hours before the optimal viewing time for your audience; (3) second screen opportunities for engaging your audience when watching TV (ex. extended content or behind the scenes); and of course (4) ensuring your content is easily shareable across your audiences’ preferred social networks.

Questions or Comments on how your brand strategizes for mobile? Let us know in the comments section below.

NOTE: this post was originally written for socialnomics and can also be found here.

Image sources: http://readwrite.com/2012/08/22/youtube-finally-offers-mobile-ads; http://www.midbeam.com/articles/play-youtube-video-streaming-on-mobile-with-2g-slow-speed/

Why your Fashion Brand Should Consider Video Content to Add Value

Burberry Video Content

Video content isn’t a new trend, but it’s definitely being adopted more often by brands as the value and engagement has increased with social media and blog content — especially fashion brands, in order to tell their story.

The value of video content is growing exponentially in this visual world of social media and content.

Hot Example: Just look at Burberry and how they utilize YouTube videos and streaming videos throughout their Facebook page. They give their Facebook fans the chance to have insider content on their campaigns and runway shows, as well as be there live and “front row.”

Or if you want to get really tech-sexy: Add video to your in-store experience like Burberry did below.

 

Why should your fashion brand embrace video content?

Drive Commerce

YouTube videos are great for driving action if used properly. If your budget doesn’t allow for youtube annotations (driving to products and services) then embedding video content on social sites or a blog is a great alternative. It’s easier to drive to commerce and doesn’t cost a pretty penny to do so. Note – Videos are great for sharing a sneak peek into a new product line; how a line was made; a runway show; and of course enticing the viewer/customer to “want” – no, “need” your product.

Engage

Fans, especially loyal fans of fashion brands, want the inside scoop of the latest and greatest coming down the pike. And when there’s a sale – they want to be the first to know.

Gap on Facebook does a great job of letting friends know when something is new, when there’s a sale coming up, and when there’s an online exclusive.

Read more on how you can engage with video content; and my third tip on how to take advantage of video for your fashion brand on my original full post on Startup Fashion.

Photo Sources: Fast Company

How to: Take Advantage of Vine Video App for your Fashion Brand

vine video app

Have you encountered Vine yet? This short video app is already being utilized by brands and consumers alike due to its many advantages, two of which are simplicity and ease of use.

As a brand owner, you should think about how Vine could possibly work with your current social media strategy.

Here are 5 advantages Vine has for brand content across the fashion industry:

Short, Digestible Content

Vine takes quick snippets of video content and stitches them together to create a quick 6 second snapshot of video.

The fact that you don’t need continues footage but instead can use 3 snippets stitched together is very cool. It allows a brand to take 3 different views of its new fashion line or fashion show, rather than just one at time. It also allows the consumer to get more than just one view of a product or event.

Utilizing Your Twitter Audience

Since you can sign up through Twitter, it makes it simple to follow any of your twitter followers who are also on vine.

In addition, a brand can easily share Vine content on Twitter once it’s been recorded. It can also be shared on Facebook. The ease of integration is key for content in order to release it just as quickly as it’s recorded.

Ease of Use

The steps to setting up an account, shooting your first video, and sharing are as simple as one, two, three. The process has that same easy flow as Instagram, but makes it possible to share content on other channels.

There are also other Vine tools like VineIt that are being released (not necessarily connected with the Vine team) that help find and view videos, as well as integrate with Tumblr. Since so many fashion brands utilize Tumblr, it’s awesome that Vine can be uploaded or embedded in there too.

To read about key tactics fashion brands can utilize for their Vine videos alongside their digital strategy, read my full post on Startup Fashion. Hint – there are some great examples!

How to: Start Fresh with 2013 Social Media Goals

This post on starting fresh for the new year in social media was originally written for Social Media Club and my original post can also be found here

Now that you have your social media resolutions on your checklist, why not consider some other social media goals to accomplish this year as you “start fresh.”

As we stated in resolution #5 it is important to set reachable goals, such as a greater focus on content. Many consider brands as publishers nowadays, is your brand one of those? Content has been deemed “king” by many, but how does your audience perceive your brand’s content? Do they find it valuable? Useful to their everyday life? Helpful for their needs specific to your brand? Or is it just fun and helps build awareness and create engagement?

Whatever the purpose for your content, it is helpful to create goals around your content strategy for your social media networks.

Here are a few to consider…

1. B.L.O.G.

If your brand doesn’t already have a blog or a part on the website to drive audience to for content, then it may be something to consider in order to demonstrate your brand is the expert voice in a specific arena. For example, if your brand sells fitness apparel, perhaps a blog on fitness, health, and matching apparel to fitness/health could be beneficial to your target audience. Link the content to the needs and wants of your audience through what they search for and consume on a regular basis.

2. Get VisualUnless your marketing team has been living under a rock, it must be pretty obvious that visual content has become more and more prevalent among consumers and brands.

Adding videos and photos to blogs, being on Pinterest (if your brand has fun visual photos), and/or sharing on Facebook can make your brand stand out.

Just look at Oreo - they rock this with fun, shareable nuggets of visual content.

3. Cross Promote

If you have a blog, and visual content – cross promote that amazing goodness. Depending upon where your audience consumes your content, you may want to share your blog posts on Facebook or on Twitter. If your brand is more suited on LinkedIn – share it there. If your brand utilizes the SEO perks of Google Plus – share it there. Just make sure you choose the social networks that work for your audience and your brand type.

Tip: Don’t forget you can cross promote in emails and newsletters too.

4. Personalize and Target It

Some of your audience may want to hear about tips and tricks, while others may want to learn deeper knowledge, and others may want on the surface fun with visual photos and videos that entertain. When you realize which types of content work best on a social network (through testing and learning), target your content to specific social networks more specifically. And to take it a step deeper – target your posts to different regions based on location and weather and events occurring. Another level deeper? In newsletters and emails, you can target your audience down to what they prefer. Personalize it! Make them feel like you are giving them exactly what they want and when they want it – and where they want it!.

5. Unite Offline and Online

Offline experiences have been washed away due to online engagement so we recommend you marry the two when possible for larger impact. For example, a brand likeLululemon uses localized Facebook pages for particular retail locations to promote clothing they have as well as in store events they will be hosting (like Yoga). You get the customer in the store to buy a top, you get them to fan you on Facebook to keep up with the latest news and updates, and then they come back to check out Yoga with their girlfriends and engage with the brand in a more personalized way…then perhaps they buy more clothes? And so do their friends? Awesome.

These are just a few of the goals your brand can consider to amplify your marketing and business goals. Determine the goals that fit your 2013 vision and will help build your brand’s presence and create deeper and more high level involvement with your fans.

How to: Be Successful in Social Media in 2013

Warning – this is not the usual social media success post. Keep reading to get to the root…

So you’ve read about what your brand resolutions should be, what social media goals you should consider, and what to do and not do over and over again…but do you really know what your brand needs to be successful in social media this upcoming year? I have three specific items your brand should have on its checklist (if it’s not on there already)…

1) Hire Well

It’s not just about what you do on Facebook and Twitter and the content you produce, it’s the people helping to strategize said content and how it’s utilized across channels. When hiring your team, consider your culture, your goals, and where you want that team to go. Do these new potential employees fit your brand needs and especially the culture your brand has been developing?

2) Hire Native

I cannot emphasize this enough – hire native, hire native, and hire native. By native I mean – digitally native. Do you want to teach your employees social media and blogging or do you want them to crash through the door with their own ideas, know it like the back of their hands, and challenge your team to think more creatively, think more personally, and bring it to another level? Enough said.

3) Do What You Preach

Unfortunately there are one too many brands who offer advice and preach to be social media savvy and then they don’t hold their own. Eat the dog food and show your brands you are an expert through your actions, and not just your blog posts. Your audience will trust you more, come to your brand for your content, and believe in your brand if you prove it. Just look at Amex who isn’t a social media expert per say, but they started rocking it across social media channels, using guest bloggers to bring in expertise, and offering their small businesses the content they need to be successful in their markets. Now that’s the ticket.

 

 

Three Tips for your Blog Content Strategy

Blogging Content

Image via janefriedman.com

Publishing is no longer just in the hands of magazines and newspapers; brands have the opportunity (as many have realized) to provide the value of content to consumers through video, blogs, infographics, and much more.

Today the brand is the publisher. When brands start creating and curating content it is normally through a blog or landing page that consumers are directed through to other channels.

Does your brand have a blog? Is it ready to make the investment in writers and quality content to keep loyal fans and accrue new ones?

3 things to consider for your blog content strategy…

Content Buckets
Your blog strategy is dependent on your marketing/business goals so it is important to ensure your content strategy for your blog is in line with those goals. Then, whether you have a 3 person team or a 500 person team you need to do a few things to put out valuable content:

  • Evaluate what your competition is putting out for content and what content buckets they are focused on (is it lifestyle content, industry content, sales content, and what mix?)
  • Evaluate what your audience is clicking on; spending most of their time consuming, and what keywords drive them to your website.
  • Where are the gaps…fill them in.
  • Determine the 2 to 4 buckets your brand can focus on and  test and learn and optimize the content accordingly.
  • Note: your strategy will change with time and so will your content buckets. Be ready and willing to adapt.

To read my other 2 imperative tips for a blog content strategy, please check out my full post on Startup Fashion! Thanks!

 

Optimize your Email Marketing Campaign with 5 Tips

 

Email marketing is an essential part of marketing programs for brands. It allows brands to communicate personally and directly with their audience.

There are the basics that all brands should be implementing into their marketing plans, but then there are those few extras that brands can do to further optimize their email campaigns for increased open rates, engagement with the content, and in turn conversion to a customer (or loyal customer).

Here are 5 tips for optimizing email marketing:

Add Clear CTAs

Adding a call to action (CTA) is common, but not all brands do it properly. Unfortunately some brands forget to make it stand out.  Or they add too many, making the call to action (the intent from the brand) less likely to occur.

Our tip – make the one, specific CTA, stand out. Use a button or a different color…either way ensure it calls out to the reader. In addition ensure the wording on the CTA is relevant and a next step that makes sense.

For example, if you have an excerpt on one of your products, add a CTA that allows the reader to continue reading on the topic elsewhere (online, social media, or via download).

Socialize your Content

This step is crucial to any brand whether they are just starting out or not. Utilize social presence and allow the audience to continue the conversation online with brand specific hashtags ,which apply to the content.

Additionally, allow readers to share your content easily with their friends.  Let them tweet it (have a shortened link already available for them to use), let them share on Facebook, let them pin it on Pinterest, let them +1 it or whatever they may choose as their preference.

The key is, the more shareable the content, the further the content and conversation will go. Hence – more eyeballs on your brand!

email marketing

 

To read my 3 other tips on email marketing, please read my original blog post for Startup Fashion. Thanks!

Five Reasons to Have a Blog for your Brand

Tory Burch blog

The importance of starting a blog as an independent fashion designer is based around a solid way to tell your story, drive traffic to your website, and allow your brand to grow a loyal fan base while allowing for a deeper look into the brand.

Lets take a closer look on why your brand should have a blog…

Create Awareness

Creating regular and consistent content and publishing out to your social channels can create awareness for your brand. The key is to have content that is valuable to your audience whether it be “how-to”, tips, expert advice, highlighting your products through lifestyle content, or a blend of content types.

That awareness will then lead to sharing of content on your fans’ channels for greater awareness, and in turn can drive traffic to your site for your products.

Drive Traffic

Your content, which will be engaging through multi-media such as photos and videos of your lines, can drive traffic through SEO (taking advantage of keywords and tags) as well as from referrals, influencers, and your loyal audience. Your blog can easily become the vehicle that leads traffic right to your products – whether it be your current or future fashion line.

To read the other 3 reasons why your brand should consider a blog, please read my full post on Startup Fashion. Thanks!

5 Features to Consider with Facebook Global Brand Pages

Facebook gone Global or should we say local? Global brands can now reach a  larger audience  with these pages in the Facebook users’ own language. Great for brands and consumers. Here’s why:

1. Go local – Although targeting is available now for Facebook posts, it is a nice luxury to be able to have a whole page targeted to a particular area rather than just posts. Unfortunately small business are unable to do so (just yet).

2. Automatic referral to the right page – Consumers (aka Facebook users) don’t have to hunt for the global page they want; instead they’ll be directed automatically (although a person can choose another through a drop down menu if desired).

3. Combined Insights - We marketers all realize how important and invaluable measuring is in order to optimize our strategies. Luckily with Facebook Global Pages – brands can combine “likes” and “people talking about this” across countries. That helps in order to measure across pages, rather than going one by one.

4. Ability to communicate to global fan base already formed - Why is global valuable? Because most global brands already have a global fan base. Now it’s become even easier to communicate to each global fan. But what does this mean for content strategies – they are going global too (not just targeting one by one post). Get set…ready…crap…go!

5. Migration – one issue some brands may be concerned with is the migration or combination of multiple Facebook Pages they already have. Facebook appears to allow the migration of these multiple pages into one. How simple and easy that is – time will tell.

Want some real life examples – check out the movie Facebook Page forFrankenWeenie below….(when clicking on the carrot, you can switch “region” easily and simply if desired. It was already targeted to the U.S. for me).

 

NOTE: This post was originally written for Socialnomics and my original blog post can also be found here.

Questions? Comments? Let me know how you feel about Facebook Brand Pages in the comments below.

Ten Tumblr Tips to Optimize your Fashion Blog

Tumblra microblogging site and social networking platform has over 60 million blogs running on it currently — including individual blogs to blogs by brands. Brands have come to utilize this platform as a simple-easy-to-use tool for their content needs. Blogs range from informative, technical, financial, news-worthy, lifestyles, and more. The blogs that do the best are those with unique and fresh visuals such as instagram pictures and the like. No wonder it’s a perfect place for a fashion blog.

The following are ten quick Tumblr tips to get started on one of the top platforms for distributing and sharing content..

  • The Right Domain: start with a domain that either represents your brand or the niche area of which your fashion brand will focus upon. My tip: either keep it to one specific niche or a couple unique ones that are related yet will emotionally connect to a few different target markets.
  • Pick a theme: Choose a Tumblr theme that is not the same as everyone else’s. My Tip: Pay for one or customize it in-house. Tumblr’s API is very user-friendly.

Kate Spade Tumblr Page

  • Follow: Tumblr is a community with a built in audience – make sure you play nice and follow people and follow back – regularly.

To read the other 7 tips I offer, check out my original post on the Startup Fashion blog here! And let me know what else you would want to learn about Tumblr in order to optimize your content and blog in the comments below.

How Top Boston Colleges Are Integrating Social Media

My eighteen year old sister types papers on an iPad, has a Tumblr blog, Tweets everyday, and knows the latest music and fashion via Pinterest and blogs before most. A newbie freshman about to enter a college in Boston – she expects her college to keep up and be ahead of the curve when it comes to social media. She’s only one of many who expects such.

Luckily for her – and many other students, colleges have realized the stretch of road ahead of them and have hopped on by effectively using social and integrating it into their campus and curriculum at a fast pace. Boston being a central hub of college students has led the way with 4 of its colleges in the Top 25 of the Top 100 social media colleges in the United States.

Of those colleges include: Harvard University, Emerson College, Berklee College of Music, and MIT. A few things to note on why they shine when it comes to social media:

Harvard: The Harvard Social Media Dashboard gives a taste of all the University’s efforts in social including up to date videos, tweets, and more from each of its accounts. Each of its different channels and different accounts – whether it’s for alumni, research, a grad program, or the undergrad — have different strategies involved regarding the social output and the content generated for sharing with their audience. Harvard demonstrates that even if there are multiple channels and accounts, social media can be optimized effectively if the effort is put forth correctly.

Emerson College: Their social media classes are one to note of, as there are local guest speakers from the industry, social media strategy projects for local places, and other hands-on applications for students to learn, apply, and utilize as assets.

Berklee College of Music: The Berklee Music Network allows students the opportunity to collaborate, share, and find music, jobs, influencers, and friends all in real time. Music isn’t just about performances on a stage when social media can help lead the way through posting music online and sharing through different channels.

MIT: The Sociable Media Group demonstrates the mix of social and technology at the fringe of discovering what’s next. MIT known for being techy and savvy, demonstrates this even in the socialsphere.

Although Suffolk University was not in the Top 25, it must still be given recognition for its curriculum and conferences. Suffolk put on its first annual social media conference which was about bridging the gap between education and the workforce. It brought the likes of many influencers from around the nation demonstrating that the University was pushing ahead in social media and adapting to what’s new, at a fast pace. Along with its social media classes for undergrad and MBA program, Suffolk is also well on its way.

In short – it’s about ensuring that the students are continuously challenged through the school environment and through a curriculum that is ever-changing — since social media never stands still.

NOTE: This post was originally written for Social Media Club. My original post can be found here. 

Further Reading:

http://boston.cbslocal.com/2012/05/02/local-colleges-ranked-in-top-25-for-social-media/

http://www.studentadvisor.com/top-100-social-media-colleges

http://www.boston.com/yourtown/news/downtown/2012/07/emerson_bu_harvard_among_top_

How to: be a Fashion & Digital Marketing Expert (Interview: Michelle McCormack)

I had the pleasure of interviewing friend, fellow fashion lover, and digital marketing expert, Michelle McCormackCMO of Fashion Project in Boston, MALet’s take an inside look into what brought her to where she is today…

StUF: What brought you to Fashion Project and FNO?

Michelle: It’s been an organic process of just ‘showing up’ and working every day. I left Hill Holliday in 07 > started LoveTheCool, a digital strategy company back when social media was learning to walk (still is) > early Twitter adopter > started Secret Boston and built a pretty passionate local community > decided to bring FNO to Boston w/ my old Vogue friend and colleague Rich Villani who I worked with in NYC > leveraged Secret Boston and the skills I learned living on the social web for a few years > did agency level work with no money > got noticed by press and have been asked to speak at various conferences > got on the radar of lots of people offering me jobs with Fashion Project being the best fit.

StUF:  What marketing goals and strategies helped you take FNO from an idea to an event, which was so great, it’ll be taking place again this year?

Michelle: I leveraged Facebook like crazy. I started the FNO Boston Facebook page and leveraged Secret Boston to begin building the community. Within a week – one week! – Rue La La called me and asked to sponsor. I then hammered the FNO Boston stream with editorial content – stuff people who are into fashion love. Within that I had little predictable updates that users could look forward to: “Yay or No Way”, “I have a crush on”… etc. There’s so much noise on the web, giving predictable content to users is a relief and gets you noticed. Within all that editorial content I’d slip in FNO promotions, like retailer updates… where I’d post what retailers were planning and tag them. Retailers came to depend on us.

To read the rest of my interview with Michelle and her insightful tips on digital marketing, check out my full interview on the startup fashion blog here

 

Three areas in Facebook’s Business Model to Question

A social network born out of a dorm room has come a long way over the past 8 years. Here are just a few stats to show its immense growth:

  • 901 million monthly active users (March, 2012)
  • On average more than 300 million photos uploaded to Facebook per day (March, 2012)
  • An average of 3.2 billion Likes and Comments generated by Facebook users per day (March, 2012)

Despite its growth and ability to integrate in many aspects of our lives, Facebook has some areas us marketers question. Is it really a social network or an ad network? If it’s for marketers, then where are the advantages for marketers?

Facebook Ad Reach is Minimal

Although most brands have planted themselves on Facebook by adding Fan Pages, switching to Timeline, and perhaps even gone down the road of paid advertising, it isn’t always so simple to reach fans. Facebook doesn’t make it simple, nor do they give the reach once thought or expected. Most brands unless they truly engage with their consumers (shares, comments, likes, etc) will most likely reach 17% or less. In short, to get to fans not only must your brand have mouth watering, tantalizing content – but you need to fork up the big bucks and pay to reach your audience as well. The content is one thing, the money is another.

It has become more evident as even some brands have decided to put less effort into this ad network instead of putting all their ducks on board. “In mid-May, just ahead of Facebook’s IPO, GM’s marketing executives said they would pull $10 million in advertising from the social network after judging the efforts had “little impact” in reaching consumers.” Are they just the first of many?

Mobile: Who Will Dominate?

“Analysts also think Facebook will face difficulties deriving revenue from the growing n
number of Facebook users who access the site using mobile devices, through which Facebook derives much less advertising revenue than through a desktop PC. Facebook rivals Google and Apple currently dominate the mobile arena.”  Although it’s key to have content mobile optimized, I know that I am even less likely to look or participate in ad content while I am on the go. As long as brands are not putting all their eggs in Facebook ads and Facebook content then the brands are marketing and strategizing correctly. There are so many other ways to get your content to where your audience wants it and where it wants it. Depending upon your brand platforms like Tumblr and YouTube may be better assets and drive more search traffic to that content. Mobile is great, but only if your content actually reaches your audience when they want it and where they want it.

Instagram Acquitision

Was this acquisition about being a “friend or foe?” Some wonder as now Facebook is looking into their own photo app for consumers – which looks quite similar to that of Instagram. I was initially impressed that Facebook had purchased such a great asset as Instagram – a photo app which so many upload to, view, and share on a consistent basis. Photos have such rich content that words cannot match at times – and Facebook realized the opportunity when they purchased the app. However, will they keep Instagram running and giving its audience what they want or will they use it as ammunition for their own photo app?

Facebook isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, but there are definitely pitfalls for marketers and consumers alike. Which platform will your brand turn to next? My 18 year old sister (the new generation) said it best…”Why would I spend time on Facebook, when there’s Twitter, Instagram and so many others…”

Note: This post was originally written for socialnomics and my original post can be found here.
 
Additional Reading:
http://marketday.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/06/05/12069407-facebooks-problem-ads-arent-grabbing-users-analysts-say?lite 
Image Credit:
http://www.laferle.com/tag/quitting-facebook/
http://softsupplier.com/tag/facebook/

How to: Establish a Guest Blogging Policy

Content is significant to every brand and their marketing strategy — but content creation takes time, effort, planning, and well-equipped writers. Some brands have the staff to write and whip out content continuously, while others seek outside sources. And some prefer both. When hiring guest bloggers to write for your brand, there are a few things to keep in mind when pulling together a guest blogging policy… 

1. Have a go-to person internally: When you have a blogging staff, there should be a marketing manager (of one form or another) who can manage them, assign content topics, review and edit the posts, and publish accordingly. Most of all they should be there to answer questions and make sure the content is staying on strategy.

2. Set the bar / expectations: The marketing manager should set the expectations from the start regarding content quality expected for the blog on a consistent basis. Perhaps have the guest blogger do the first post as a test post to see if it fits the requirements and meets the bar.

3. Topics: Some content managers may prefer to have a content bank of ideas for writers to choose from or even specific titles per week/month that must be written. While others may prefer to have broader outlines of topics and have the writers choose as long as they are within a certain spectrum. This level of content strictness depends upon the content strategy implemented within the brand and how the relationship between the writers and manager work.

4. Deadlines: As with any marketing and content calendar, an editorial calendar is key in order to set deadlines for each writer. A deadline should be set with plenty of time for review in order to make edits if and when necessary prior to publishing.  

5. Sources: Ensure that each writer sources their content in order to avoid issues of plagiarism and/or questioning of validity. Protecting the brand name is important and any writer would protect their own writing as well through sources. 

6. Photos: All photos should be credited as well in order to ensure credit is given where credit is due — especially if it is not purchased. 

7. Formats: Each blog has their own type of formatting – whether it is subheadings, a thumbnail image, a certain font, or whatever it may be. Ensure you give proper style guide instructions prior to the writer starting so they are aware of all requirements beforehand. 

8. Republication: Determine if you want to allow your bloggers to be allowed to republish their posts. If so – determine if it’s an excerpt, whether they have to link back, and/or if they have to wait a certain amount of time prior to doing so (ex. 14 days or 30 days).

9. Payment: Determine prior to the test post whether and how much you will pay each guest blogger. Payments are normally done per hour or per post (ex. 50/hour vs. 150/post).

10. Disclaimer: What if a blogger goes rogue? What is he/she writes something that becomes questionable? Protect your brand’s “behind” and ensure that each post has a disclaimer that it was authored by a guest blogger. It may still be backed by the brand, but it was not written by the brand.  

Additional Tips: Give your bloggers some incentive and credit:
Allow each blogger to have a chance to be seen.

  • Link to their blog, website, twitter handle, etc.
  • Give them credit upfront through an introduction with their bio.
  • Consider including a photo.
  • Give them credit or recognition via Twitter when promotion the post (or whichever social channel your brand chooses to leverage).

Most of all don’t forget to update as needed – requirements, policies and guidelines change just as content and social media changes. Keep your writers posted of updates and consider asking them for their opinions on how things can be improved.

Note: This post was originally written and posted on Social Media Club. Find my original post here.  

Additional Reading:

http://www.ibm.com/blogs/zz/en/guidelines.htmlhttp://sportsprblog.com/blog/2009/07/19/tips-developing-a-blogger-policy/
http://menwithpens.ca/how-to-create-guest-post-guidelines/
http://pointblankseo.com/guest-blogging-guidelines
http://www.mediaemerging.com/2011/06/02/what-to-include-in-your-guest-blogger-guidelines/
http://blog.straightnorth.com/how-to-craft-editorial-guidelines-for-a-guest-blogger/

Image Credit: Bigstock Photo

What is the Future of Mobile Payments

First people feared giving your credit card number over internet versus giving it to an operator on the phone…now we are using the phone to swipe your credit card via an online app. Funny how things become so easily integrated. According to Pew Research, “Within the next decade, smart-device swiping will have gained mainstream acceptance as a method of payment and could largely replace cash and credit cards for most online and in-store purchases by smartphone and tablet owners, according to a new survey of technology experts and stakeholders.”

Are you one of the early adapters who has already explored mobile payment options such as Starbucks or Level Up?

The Benefits:
Starbucks: According to Venture Beat: “The coffee chain has processed more than 42 million m-payment transactions since its Mobile Pay platform was launched in January 2011, Van Grove tells us. Back in December, Starbucks reported that “there have been 26 million mobile transactions to date,” so evidently the growth rate is accelerating.” What can we learn from Starbucks? Consumers like what’s simple, easy, and not a big diversion from their regular habits. What makes life simpler? Using a cell phone app which is easy to access, program, and keep track of. Starbucks demonstrated this with finesse, which can be seen from the growth discussed.

The Issue:
Just at Starbucks? Multiple locations and uses would be nice – rather than having multiple apps. LevelUp tries to resolve this issue with their mobile payment app. Not only can you sync up any credit card, but it can be used at multiple places of business. My favorite part is that you earn money to spend at locations when you use the app. Why pay directly with a credit card when you earn rewards from a simple to use app? 

Perks / Rewards
Speaking of perks and rewards…most credit cards also have these when you spend a certain amount. Do mobile app rewards match up to loyalty rewards of say, an Amex card? I guess it depends how you view rewards and what rewards you prefer. I look forward to the day that Amex has a mobile payment app of their own which sync the rewards available — and can be used anywhere, anytime, with the touch of an app button or a request to Siri.

Apple – The New Warden?
And then we have Apple who may be coming out with the iWallet. According to Mashable, “If implemented, the system would allow parents to control how much their child is able to spend, where those purchases can take place and what types of transactions will be allowed.” In short there would images that could be shared and notify the parent on what the child is purchasing – from dvds to alcohol.

Heading to the start line…
Others aren’t far behind either: eBay has jumped in the ball game with PayPal, andMastercard is not far off with experiments in the lab with nifty QR Codes. Who will be first? Who will be best? Will 2020 be the year that Mobile Payments take over? Will it be sooner? There are lots of questions, and more answers come each day. Share your thoughts in the comments below.

NOTE: This Post was originally written for Social Media Club and my post can also be found here

Image Credit: Bigstockphoto.com
Additional Reading:
http://mashable.com/follow/topics/mobile-payments/
http://mashable.com/2012/04/17/mobile-payments-2020/
http://mashable.com/2012/03/09/iwallet-apple-patent-iphone/
http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/mastercard_shows_the_future_of_mobile_payments_is.php
http://www.forbes.com/sites/greatspeculations/2012/03/23/with-paypal-here-ebay-jumps-into-the-mobile-card-payments-fray/
https://squareup.com/

 

Three Examples Why LinkedIn is stronger than Facebook

Facebook may have over 910 million users, but it still has stealthy competitors such as LinkedIn. LinkedIn may not be where most individuals share their photos, check their newsfeed or share their daily status updates — but it is where businesses can flourish, B2B kicks butt through lead generation, and  ”likes” can have more weight.

Businesses Flourish

Facebook is a great place for businesses and fans to share content, but the types of content vary from all different spectrums: from Justin Beiber to brand news to business strategies to the Red Sox to pictures of  cat. In short, business content that is relevant to marketing, B2B, finance, etc may get lost in the clutter that is the Facebook news feed. On the other hand, the content on LinkedIn is largely related to marketing and business, and has a higher chance of being seen on the channel. It is purposefully designed for business-minded folk who want to share relevant content. In addition, it is a great platform for brands to distribute similar content and where many followers will look to find information on a brand, what they offer for a product/service, and the content related to it.

B2B and Lead Generation

So it is evident that LinkedIn is great for business content and businesses. But what else? “David Meerman Scott stated that LinkedIn’s conversion rate is now 2.60 per cent, less than what it was back in January, but this is far greater than its nearest rivals Twitter and Facebook, which has 0.67 per cent and 0.39 per cent respectively.” So what, you ask? In short, LinkedIn has competitive percentages when it comes to B2B lead gen due to the ability to target content, optimize for SEO, focus CTAs and utilize both company page and groups.  In addition, those who are visiting LinkedIn are visiting in order to post, read and/or comment on business content. The leads are prime for the picking.

“Likes” Have More Weight

On LinkedIn, people are more careful on what they post on their site, who they “link” to, and what they like, comment on and/or share. It is a site where people are judged for who they are career-wise. In short, if someone “likes” your post or comments on it or shares it — it holds greater value than it would on Facebook and Twitter where Likes and ReTweets are a dime a dozen normally. A recognition on LinkedIn = how many Likes or ReTweets? That’s still up for debate, but in my opinion, LinkedIn has a bit of a lead.

Last piece of Advice

LinkedIn may be a great place to invest in for businesses and those that are business-minded; but it is also easy to goof up if relevant content is not posted appropriately. Invest time to research first, target your content appropriately and grow your page within the channel over time. It is not an overnight success, but the trick is to maintain quality versus quantity.

Note: I originally wrote this post for Socialnomics – my original post can be found here

Additional Reading

http://thenextweb.com/asia/2012/02/21/growing-faster-than-facebook-linkedin-passes-1-million-members-in-indonesia/

http://writingontheweb.com/2012/02/21/the-pros-of-linkedin-vs-facebook-for-professionals/

http://www.simplyzesty.com/social-media/linkedin-4-times-better-than-facebook-twitter-for-b2b-leads/

http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/30030/LinkedIn-277-More-Effective-for-Lead-Generation-Than-Facebook-Twitter-New-Data.aspx

http://www.forbes.com/sites/ciocentral/2011/02/16/why-linkedin-is-more-valuable-than-facebook/

http://www.donhalbert.com/10-reasons-why-linkedin-is-better-than-facebook-and-twitter/