How to Take Advatantage of the Instagram Hyperlapse App for your Brand

 

instagram hyperlapse app

The Instagram Hyperlapse app is a pretty fun new tool for your short video content arsenal. You’ve probably seen a few awesome examples as you’ve scrolled your way through your feed.

So what’s it all about? In short it allows you to:

  • make a long story into a short story by speeding up your video up to 12 times!
  • auto-adjust the videos’s brightness; tap the screen to adjust the exposure while filming the video
  • make the video smoother by cropping it into what you want

Sounds simple? Sure, it can be. But before you jump right on in, here are a few tips and tricks to being more efficient and creative with your new shiny toy:

  • Instagram only allows for 3 to 15 seconds of video to be shared on its app. So think about how long you are shooting for before you start. For example: 3 minutes of video footage sped up 12x will represent 15 seconds in the final video.
  • Stick to only a couple angles or directions to turn the camera so it doesn’t get too discombobulated in the final video (aka making people a tad dizzy).
  • Since the app crops the video, it’s best to keep your phone centered on the key items in the shot.

Brands are already embracing hyperlapse; some without realizing how to properly use it. Others have definitely created some fun visual content they’ve shared across Instagram and other channels.

To check out my fave brand examples (so far), see my full post on Startup Fashion!

 

Seven Things Your Brand Should Avoid in Social Media

 

fashion brands not use social media

Using social media for your brand is a marathon, not a sprint. It requires patience, time invested before launching, and constant effort. Of course there are always some rookie mistakes, especially from those hoping to gain multiple quick wins, and massive amounts of users following them in seconds.

So instead of falling into those pitfalls and alienating partner brands, influencers, and your consumers, let’s try to avoid a few of those by identifying them here…

7 Ways Fashion Brands Should NOT Use Social Media

Social Media Posting No-No’s:

  • Posting and not listening. It’s important to monitor the comments that come through and respond, especially when you’re still building an audience and trying to score some loyal fans who will stick by you throughout your brand’s lifetime.
  • Posting a piece of content and then tagging every fashion-related editor, blog, retailer, and influencer that you can think of. Do they know you? Do they care? Probably not. How about putting out content that is relevant to them and consider letting them decide if they want to check it out. Consider using #s instead.
  • Speaking of #s … just because it’s a popular hashtag (#traveltuesday, #savingssunday) doesn’t mean it relates to your post. Don’t use hashtags just to get more awareness if it doesn’t fit. It will only turn off your current fans, and score you some temporary ones who will walk away later.

Social Media Tagging No-No’s:

  • Tweeting “@blogger or @editor, check out our new website!” — this won’t work very well when they have no idea who your brand is, especially with no prior interaction. Consider reacting to their pieces or interacting with them on their content first.
  • Same goes with tagging multiple people in the same tweet or post. They will feel like just another handle. Nothing special there.

Social Media Self-Promotion No-No’s

To read more about Self-promotion and measurement “no-no’s” check out my full post on startup fashion.

Three Ways to Use Instagram to Tell your Brand Story

 

tell your brand story

Startups are everywhere. Seriously, everywhere. As a startup founder (and marketer) you need to find ways to distinguish yourself from the masses and show why your brand is the best brand for your customer. There are a few ways you can do this that are awesome and fun at the same time.

Actually Tell a Kick-Ass Story

Your story matters. But a story is just a story until it becomes a piece of your brand, inspires and motivates others, is unforgettable, and gets repeated. Just remember that your customers care about your story but they also care about what your story means for their own happiness.

Brand Examples:

Toms – Demonstrating the ethics and value behind each product and purchase
Bonobos – Live a ninja lifestyle

Share Something Every Day

Share a piece of the brand story and journey every day. Take pictures and videos every day, even when it seems silly. For example: at a co-workers birthday; when a product is being conceptualized, when you’re sketching the new collection; when shoes are being selected for the Fall line, during a strategy session, when you’re cooling off with a couple glasses of wine. Share the journey that makes your brand – your brand. Let your audience be a part of that journey that gets you to the next step. Let them share in your joys and crazy adventures along the way.

Brand Examples:

Sole Society passion and adventure
Zady honesty and love

Check out my last and absolutely vital section on being “personal” and “connecting” with your Instagram audience when reading my full post on Startup Fashion.

Wanelo vs. Pinterest for your Brand

Pinterest and wanelo for business

Pinterest isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. It’s been rocking the visual content scene since its closed beta in 2010. It has over 70 million users (as of July 2013), with average of 14 minutes per session.

  • In fashion and retail, 18 percent of content engagement on Pinterest is driven by brands, 82 percentby community
  • 70 percent of brand engagement on Pinterest is generated by users, not brands
  • Pinterest pins that include prices receive 36 percent more likes than those that do not
  • Pinterest accounts for 25 percent of retail referral traffic

Then came, Wanelo, (also known as Want Need Love), in 2010.

  • Over 7 million products are saved 8 million times a day
  • Over 10 million users, up from 1 million in November 2012
  • Wanelo users spend an average of 50 minutes per day on the site
  • Products from over 200,000 stores, including major retailers to small independent shops

Yes, neither of these two channels are new per say. But they are still hot – for both brands and consumers. And if you’re still unsure, just check out how Nordstrom has expanded it’s use as of the past couple months – especially on Wanelo.

Wanelo, known for being a channel for younger females, has expanded the social commerce territory. It allows for brands to have another way to cross promote their products, and allow for direct purchase. Why is this better?

Let’s say I find the pair of black booties that I want for this Fall. However, there’s no link to the product, or if there is, it’s just going to a blog post. That’s not very helpful. Nor do I want to go to your site and search through pages of shoes to find the pair, and see that it’s already sold out. Make it easier for the consumer by being able to discover, fall in love, and purchase within a few clicks or swipes of a finger.

So let’s break it down further…

Pinterest Fashion Consumer Habits:

  • Search easier
  • Find what your friends love
  • Discover and plan your dream style and fashion wardrobe
  • Admire others, and follow influencers and brands

To learn more about Wanelo consumer habits and where your brand should focus, check out my full post on Startup Fashion

How to: Get Ahead and Starting Marketing to Generation Z

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Generation Z – a generation not born just on the web, but born into social media at their fingertips. They use iPhones and iPads before they begin preschool. They are the generation who has already begun to dictate how we as brands market ourselves across social.

Let’s first define Generation Z and their preferences/behaviors:

  • Born in 1995 or later (although there are some sources that say after approximately 1990).
  • Dictate family purchases
  • Expect transparency and honesty from brands
  • Choose a product over a brand
  • Choose to turn off geo-targeting over privacy settings
  • Communicate in images over text
  • Prefer social channels such as Snapchat
  • Entrepreneur-minded
  • Want to change the world
  • Care how they spend their $ (more than their millennial counterparts)
  • Multi-task with up to 5 screens at once
  • Prefer curation over sharing
  • Want to be successful over discovered

Sounds great, but now what? Generation Z means we need to change, tweak, and focus our marketing in new ways once again. If Generation Z is your brands ultimate target (if not today, then maybe 5 years down the road), then you need to start adapting and evolving now. Be ready for when your brand is of their consideration.

Consider the following tips for today, as you move forward:

  • Focus on image based content
  • Use multiple social channels, especially channels which are more visually focused (i.e. Snapchat, Instagram)
  • Do not delete or ignore poor commentary by the audience; face them head on.
  • Allow your content to be curated across social platforms (i.e. Polyvore, Wanelo)
  • Give them a microphone for expressing their views and educated thoughts
  • Help them with their causes, or give them a new one

This is just the beginning. As Generation Z continues to grow, adapt and determine our new technology, and challenge brands by saying what they want as the best product ever…marketing will continue to evolve. We must continue to observe this generation’s consumer habits and everyday behaviors when it comes to content consumption, technology adoption, and of course how they prefer to engage with one another, and our brands.

Image Source: Business Insider

Further Reading:
http://www.businessinsider.com/generation-z-spending-habits-2014-6
http://mashable.com/2014/08/20/generation-z-marketing/
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/features/11002767/Gen-Z-Gen-Y-baby-boomers-a-guide-to-the-generations.html
 
This post was originally written for Marketing on the Rocks

How to: Stay on Top of your Social Media Game

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Our lives are busy. We get up, work out (if there’s time), run off to our office (wherever that may be), check our insane amount of email while we slug some caffeine, and hope to make it through the day without having to take most of our work “home” that evening as well. So when do we stay on top of what’s happening in the world, what the latest trend is, and what social media app is hot now? We have to make time. The key is to find efficient and enjoyable ways to do so.

Here are a few of those that may suit your digital fancy…

1. Twitter - This one is a no-brainer. Some may feel like Twitter moves too fast, or it’s hard to keep up with the latest news. However, if you make a Twitter list for different categories you’re interested in, then you can focus on the content you want, and when you want to consume it. For example, you could have a news list to read on your commute in the AM (or while you’re at the gym); an entertainment list when you’re kicking back after dinner or taking a breather while grabbing a coffee; a publication list for your favorite magazines and bloggers who you like to follow. Either way, Twitter makes it easy, and the closest you’ll get to some of the “real time” news you need to know. Whether it’s Vine’s new app additions, the latest iPhone update, or a sports score, Twitter will have it all.

2. Pulse - A simple, easy, and user-friendly way to aggregate your news and publication content in one place. And since it’s been “linked up” with LinkedIn, you can share easily, as well as sign in through your LinkedIn account.

3. CNN Breaking News - One of the few apps I make sure the notifications are always on. It’s the app that lets you know when crazy shit goes down, right then and there. Seriously.

4. Flipboard – Similar to Pulse in some ways, with the aggregation. The difference is mainly for brands. The ability to have mobile experiences for your content is more expansive on flipboard. There are also more ad opportunities for your branded content. From a consumer perspective, it’s more about your preference on what you prefer for your user experience. Swipe or Flip?

5. tumblr - You can make tumblr another news feed type source if you subscribe to the blogs of the brands and publishers you love to consume. For example, I follow brands who put out cool insider content that you can’t always get on any other site or channel. It’s not always the of the minute news, or mainstream announcements, which is why it’s awesome. For example, you can get first time releases, TV Show premieres, and behind the scenes type content.

So in the end it’s all about your preference. No time? Corral it one place. Prefer different apps, that’s ok too. For example, Mashable has a great app where you can swipe through their daily content with ease. And if you and your friends have a favorite app or tool, please share!

Image Source: Techcrunch

This post was originally written for Marketing on the Rocks.

Don’t Be Lazy with Your Social Media

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It’s easy to get a little lax during the summer, especially when the warm weather hits, and the patios are enticing you to come hang out. Just remember, your consumers are thinking the same thing. They’re excited for the summer, they want to drive to the beach, relax on their porches, have bbqs with their friends, and travel for the long weekends. So in-between your sunshine and beers, remember to be there for your consumers too.
Here are three approaches to consider as your brand engages with its audience across social:
1. It’s not about the social channels you have, it’s about what your audience is doing on those social channels this time of year. For example, they may be planning their summer adventure on Pinterest; capturing their new friendships on instagram, and/or tuning into the World Cup on Twitter. So what do you do about it? Engage with them in a way that’s conducive to their behaviors during this season and on that channel.
Tip: Don’t put out the exact same piece of content on every channel. #Lazy
2. Provide them with content that will help them get what they want and desire this summer. For example, if they’re looking for ways to enjoy their weekend, give them ideas and share your thoughts. No need to put your product/service on full display during that content messaging, but subtly demonstrate that your brand is more than just a product. It’s a brand that offers more and can be a daily (or regular) part of their lives — especially when the hot hazy summer days drop down upon us.  Be the brand they are excited to see content from as they’re on their long road trip killing time on their smartphone, swiping through instagram.
3. If you can’t do “real” time, plan ahead. Not every brand can monitor conversation 24 hours a day. Sometimes you have to plan for what’s going to be “popping” in social conversation. For example, we all know the World Cup is this month. Most brands have planned what types of conversations will occur, and will be ready to engage when that time comes. Another thing that happens every year is July 4th (oh yea, that awesome day with red, white and blue, and amazing patriotism, and yes bbqs too)…be ready for it in advance, but also allow for some day of changes to pop into conversation as news develops.
And while you’re sipping that beer, and laying on your hammock, just check in on your brand a few times here n’ there. You never know when that awesome opportunity to start a conversation (not just join) could be ripe for the picking.
Image Source: theprospect.net
This post was originally written for Marketing on the Rocks.

How to: Kick Butt with Reddit for your Brand

Reddit, an open-source community (which has been around since 2005), is not new in today’s social world. However, it is unique and quite powerful when it comes to content and the community that powers it. For example each user (redditor) can vote on which stories (content posted) and discussions are worthy (aka important) and the most voted upon stories rise to the top, while others stories will drop. Anyone can create a community (subreddit) which is independent but also moderated by a team of volunteers (similar to wikipedia in that way). When it comes to comments on posts, anyone can do so. These comments can be important as they can and usually add more color to the content posted,  and/or potentially some entertainment and humor.

For those who are not sure about the power of this community. Just check out these stats (as of July 2014):

Unique Visitors: 114.5 M

Global Expanse: visitors from over 190 countries

Total Pages Viewed: Over 5B

Active communities: 7,800+

Active users: 3M+

Active voting: 22M+

Additional info useful to brands:

Roughly: 60% Male vs. 40% female

Mainly: desktop users

Time spent: 15 min per session time (approx 3 times a day)

So now what? Should your brand be a part of this community? Not necessarily.

The brands who step into Reddit, are daring, confident, and willing to be kicked in their content chops a few times. Reddit users are rabid, they care about their communities like they do their best friends. They don’t want sponsored content spamming their communities every day. However, if that content is worthy, fun, entertaining, and fits the voice and tone of that particular subreddit, the redditors may accept it.

Although there are particular rules for Reddit, here are some additional best practices to consider when your brand decides to break into the Reddit World:

  • Restating this from the rules, because it’s necessary: Don’t ask for votes. It’s tacky, seems desperate, and normally works in the opposite way.
  • It’s a community. It’s meant for true discussion and sharing.

If your brand wants to run a reddit-specific campaign or contest:

  • Partner with Reddit and target users within certain subreddits.
  • Use human speak. Don’t use marketing jargon.
  • Monitor and respond to questions and comments daily.
  • Entice the community to be active and engage with the content through the comments. Get them to be competitive with one another.
Most of all, just drink some of the reddit “juice” and have some fun. Challenge your brand to kick some butt.

And for those still hungry for more info  - here’s a cool Makers Mark Example on Redditand here are some best practices from Redditors.

This post was also written for Socialnomics, and can be found here

Nordstrom stays ahead of the Social Media Curve

Nordstrom, the brand that has been cutting edge in both mobile and social, has done it again. It’s kicking butt and taking names with another visual app. First, there wasPinterest, where they did a great job of integrating online and offline. The brand took loyal UGC content, and “pinned” their actual items within the store — showing what consumers preferred most. This allowed some consumers to feel special, and others to get intrigued and excited by their purchase. They were allowing consumers to tell their story, and become part of the Nordstrom story (and vice versa).

Linking online and offline, seems easy, but not always the case. It’s taking different sets of behaviors and figuring out how they work together. People have very unique mobile and social behaviors, and they not only by device, but also by channel. For example, a primary behavior on Pinterest is dreaming and planning. People plan their future homes, their weddings, the arrival of a new baby, or a summer vacation. Others dream about what that wedding will be like when they arrive their one day. And others are inspired by the dreams and planning of other Pinterest users and influencers. Those dreams and plans can become a reality when you walk into a store like Nordstrom and you see those sparkly heels for your Big Day. The bride-to-be is walking into the store to be inspired in person. She may also be on a mission and searching for something particular. And a store like Nordstrom, can help her search, and/or help her “discover” more than she had thought she could find or imagine. It connects her online inspiration, with her in person discovery.

Recently, Nordstrom helped their audience connect with the products they “want” and “need” from their mobile behaviors to their in-store behaviors through Wanelo. They are are integrating social TV displays within their physical stores. This will allow the younger audience (mostly female) to be inspired and discover along with other fellow fans – what is most loved and wanted by others. Along with Pinterest, and sites like Polyvore, Wanelo allows for unbelievable engagement with products as well as referral traffic to sites and points of purchase. And if Nordstrom’s 1.2 million followers on Wanelo, wasn’t enough proof, check out these stats:

  • Wanelo went from 1M to 10M users in 2013
  • With 200,000 product uploads, Nordstrom had 30 million product saves by consumers
  • There was an average of 343 saves per Nordstrom product

I am sure the in-store integration will  not only increase the awareness and engagement for Nordstrom, but bring the awareness of Wanelo itself for other brands through the offline audiences. Fashion brands, take note - social shopping apps like Wanelo are a gold mine for style trendsetters and fashionistas alike. And this isn’t to say that other brands can’t excel. When it comes to home decor, it’s a similar playing field (with a lot less players). Get after it.

Sources: Racked.com; Buzzfeed.com; Techcrunch.com

This post was originally written for socialnomics, and can also be found here 

The Second Screen Battle Field Shows a Clear Winner

The second screen experience, another battle field for brands to fight over one another for the largest voice, most engagement, and ability to reach their audience when they’re “tuned in.” There have been multiple second screen apps including but not limited to shazam, getglue and  intonow (which has been shut down by Yahoo as of this year). So not only is it a battle ground for brands, but it’s a battle ground for apps as well — regarding which one will provide the most reach and engagement for brands.  So who’s winning the battle? In my humble opinion, Twitter has been rocking the second screen stage since the beginning. Why? Let’s break it down.
  • The audience is there.
  • The brands are there.
  • Other apps (including instagram) integrate easily to distribute content to Twitter.
  • Hashtags make the conversations easily searchable and in turn joinable.
  • People “tune in” to Twitter the same time they tune in for tv shows. It’s become routine. It’s an innate behavior with the audience already.
Mediabistro provided some stats to back this up:
  • 90 percent of Twitter users who see a TV show-related tweet are likely to immediately watch the show, search for more information, or share tweet-based content about that show
  • TV-related tweets are most likely to be engaged with if they come from a cast member of the show (40 percent) rather than the user’s friends or family (26 percent) or the show’s official Twitter account (18 percent)
  • 54 percent of Twitter users who recall seeing brand-related tweets during a TV show have taken action (tweeting about, searching for or considering the brand)
  • 72 percent of Twitter users tweet during live broadcasts
These stats demonstrate the audience is going to use what’s convenient for them, what they already use day-to-day and where even cast members voice their thoughts and comments on a regular basis. Yes, some consumers may tap into new apps, but the chances of those apps being opened regularly, staying on the front screen of a phone/tablet and not being deleted over time are less likely than apps that are used daily by consumers.
Brands, take note. Why not use what’s already at your fingertips. And of course it doesn’t hurt that your content is already on Twitter (assumption) and you already have a base audience.
Next time, we’ll dive deeper into tips to strategize how to use second screen via Twitter to your benefit with tactical tips and action items.
This post was originally written for socialnomics, and can also be found here.

Tips to Invest in Visual Content for the Digital Space

Content isn’t just about blog posts, whitepapers and only written content. Content can be anything from a Tweet to a TV Commercial. Unfortunately, some brands write a great article, and then just slap on a photo. The photo for that article is what will entice people on social channels to actually consume your content and potentially share to their audience. For example, when posting an article on Pinterest, unless your brand’s photo is visually appealing, the likeliness of someone clicking on it is slim to none. And who wants to Re-Pin an article with a blurry or unappealing photo? So before you choose any photo (or video), consider investing your money and resources to something that’s of higher quality and more engaging to your target audience.

Here are some quick tips to invest (and some ways that don’t break the bank):

1. Don’t just rely on your smartphone camera – It’s definitely easy and convenient, especially for apps like Instagram to shoot and share immediately through your phone. However, for better quality shots an investment on a good Canon or Nokia may be worth the few extra bucks. That way you can have more effective photo shoots of your products, services, influencers, and events with a little less stress.

2. Have a committed resource (or freelancer) – Taking photos isn’t a 5 minute job. It takes time to get the right shot. Additionally if your brand is committed to posting every day on channels like Instagram, Pinterest, and/or tumblr, you need the assets to do it. It’s ok to have multiple shots from one shoot, but it’s important to have variety.

3. Curate - Not only is this helpful to not put all the pressure on your brand, but it helps to highlight others in the community who also have great content. And if karma is real, it’ll definitely come back around.

4. UGC – Your consumers will like and maybe even love to be highlighted. I admit, when I posted a picture tagging Nordstrom Rack a couple weeks ago, and then the brand took notice not just by liking my photo, but regramming it to their feed – well I may have done a little dance or two. I was ecstatic. It was the ultimate compliment by a brand I admire. So not only is that a way to win over a consumer, but it’s more content for your arsenal!

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How to use your new awesome visual content wisely:

1. Facebook – Considering it’s almost impossible to get noticed organically on Facebook nowadays, the more you can do the better. Ensure that each post has a featured image that is bright colored (blue is always helpful), with the main product/service/person standing out clearly. It helps if it’s an image a consumer would be excited to share.

2. Twitter - Instagram will not show up in-feed anymore, so consumers have to click out to view the image. However if you post directly through Twitter than it will show up. It’s more likely that someone will click on your Tweet and the link in your Tweet if the image is enticing.

3. Instagram – My favorite as of late – can’t help it. It’s fun, easy to share, and addicting to follow others. Make sure your content stands out in the crowd. A helpful tip is to ensure you post regularly (daily) with pictures that are high quality – not blurry! The filters are fun, but most brands don’t use them because they take away from the photo and make them lower quality. Also if you want to feature your pop of color, don’t use a filter to take away from it.

4. Pinterest – Some people think you can only post images on Pinterest – not true! You can post articles, infographics, and more. However make sure that there is an image that goes along with said article that makes it pop and appealing to the crowd. Mashable does a great job of repurposing their blog content on this visual channel, which in turn leads to great referral traffic back to their blog.

And don’t forget to have some fun with it. Show off your brand with some behind the scene pics of your team, your product being made, your event being planned, or even let an influencer take over your instagram account one day to show their take on your event or brand.

This post was originally written for Marketing on the Rocks.  

Four ‘Critical’ Considerations for your Digital Channel Approach

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It’s easy to get lost in your brand channel planning process. Pins, Tweets, Vines, and Snapchats, Oh My! So instead of jumping all over the place, let’s think about how they all work together. Focus on one channel that will be where your content stems from to determine your approach across the others. For example: A blog!

Here are four [critical - sounds so extreme, but definitely helpful] things to consider when setting up your blog and distribution channels for success: 

  • A Hub, Not an Island: Your blog shouldn’t be the only place people can consume your content. It shouldn’t be all alone, like a deserted island. It’s part of your content and social ecosystem! For example, some people prefer to consume the majority of their professional content through LinkedIn, while others have a running stream through Lists on Twitter. While others may subscribe to blogs via email. Whatever the case, the blog can be a destination such as a “hub” which allows for inlets and outlets to lead to more interesting content. For example,Mashable Pins all of their infographics  from their site/blog on Pinterest boards, allowing people who prefer to enjoy their content on a fun visual app instead to consume it there.

Pro Tip - While infographics are hard to view on Twitter and Facebook, Pinterest allows for visual content to thrive, even long, complex infographics. Best part – great referral traffic back to their main content, demonstrating a way back to the “hub.”

  • Branding – Look & Feel: While your social channels lend themselves to being more “human” and “relaxed” in voice — the look and feel helps consumers to connect your channels. It can be as simple as having the same logo across channels. Having the same color scheme and background images can’t hurt – but those can alternate due to campaigns of course. For example, your Facebook cover image may change each week or month with your promotions, while your blog layout remains the same.
  • Creation vs. Curation vs. Co-Creation: Creating all your own content is a bear. Seriously. It helps to curate other content to supplement the content you are already kicking butt with. For example if your blog is on tumblr, it is as simple as discovering content in your topic category, finding influencers who write well, and reblogging them onto your blog. Then not only do they get credit, you have great content on your blog, but you have connected yourself with an influencer in the space who appreciates your support. And perhaps over time they’ll reciprocate the gesture and promote your content as well. Another benefit of reblogging and curating  is the increase of eyeballs on the content. Now who doesn’t want that?

Take it a step further: Consider hiring a guest blogger to take some of the work off of you. It benefits both you and the blogger! But what about your brand voice, look and feel when you hire guest bloggers? You’ll want to have a brand guidelines for your bloggers. Something simple for them to follow for tone and voice.

  • Be Consistent Across: It’s totally cool to be more relaxed on Twitter, and perhaps “sassy” on Instagram. However, if you have ten different voices, then people won’t really know what your brand stands for. Pick a direction your brand chooses to take – whether it’s chill and relaxed, the “give it to you straight” facts brands, the passionate advocate, or whatever suits your fancy. A takeaway for your brand team would be to remember that consumers will begin to build a relationship with your brand, and as in real life, you want to be true to who you are. Don’t fool them into thinking you are someone else. They’ll feel cheated and move on the next great thing. So instead, be honest, transparent, human, and and in a bit of entertainment and comedy when the time is right. Or all the time – if that’s your brand!

These directions may be broad, but I and we (our marketing on the rocks team) are happy to answer specific questions on branding, consistency, content creation, and curation, as well as specific channel approaches. Each channel is different, and in turn must be given different consideration. Additionally, what may work for a small startup, may not be what works for a large consumer brand. So let’s chat!

This post was originally written for Marketing on the Rocks and can also be found here.

Image source: pinterest / mashable

Monetizing your Brand through Storytelling App Instagram

Instagram is a fun, visual, and engaging channel for brands, influencers, and consumers. People love posting photos of their meals, outfits, pets, vacations, so on and so forth.Brands can take advantage of Instagram by focusing on people’s passion points and what evokes emotion from them each day. For example fashion brands can easily upload photos of their upcoming lines, models wearing their latest and greatest, influencers wearing their exclusive garb on their vacations, etc.

So you get followers, got it. You get likes and comments. Awesome. But what about selling your products? You can do that too – really. Instagram has become another avenue for referral traffic to your brand site, consumer products, and direct purchase.

3 ways to monetize your brand through Instagram:

Keep it Simple: Sometimes it’s easier just to provide a link to your blog and/or product link for consumers to find the item they want with one action. Why make it harder through re-directing a few different times. Tip – you cannot actually “click” on the link. Someone will have to re-enter the link on their browser. But for now, it will do. Instagram, are you listening?

Brand Example: Nordstrom – They do a great job of giving you the item reference # so you can find the exact item on their site with less searching. Great way to get around the current roadblock.

 

Use Influencers: There is a plethora of instagram influencers who are probably already posting your products or like-minded photos. For example bloggers like Daniela Ramirez or better known as @nanysklozet on Instagram is constantly posting about what she wears, how she wears it, and what’s in her “klozet.” It gives her followers ideas on what brands are great to purchase from and why it rocks. She will post links to the items on her blog, so she’s creating referral traffic for the brands not only from her instagram account through branded hashtags, but also through her style blog. Double the score.

There’s an App for That: The tough thing  as mentioned above, is when you provide a link, no one can click through the app currently. However there are workarounds such asLike To Know It  which allows influencers to post a direct link for purchase of the item they’re promoting. Additionally, it allows consumers to find that specific item without hunting, and/or similar products to what they saw on the app. For example, perhaps that pair of shoes was a tad too pricey, maybe there’s a more attainable pair you can purchase with the same look. Why is an app like this important for both influencers and brands? Because it’s a direct path to purchase for consumers who want what the influencers have. They want it right then and there. So let them have it at their fingertips.

Infuencer Example: Aimee Song (@Songofstyle) uses Like to Know it!

Alternatively, if Like to Know It is too complicated with Reward Style (invite-only) registration, services like Soldsie and Chirpify allow for quick and instant transactions through the comments feed (utilizing action words and hashtags).

Bonus Tip – If you only post the photo and no way for them to find out about how to get it, they’ll lose interest in the brand (especially if the brand doesn’t respond). Provide a relevant brand hashtag, a link to the item they are coveting, and/or tease them until it’s available. Sneak peeks are a great way to entice a frenzy at launch. Just look at SJP Collection as an example with their exclusive launch through Nordstrom.

 

Questions on how to use instagram for your brand? Reach out in the comments below!

This post was originally written for Socialnomics and can also be found here.

Photo Creds:

http://instagram.com/nordstrom
http://instagram.com/nanysklozet
http://instagram.com/songofstyle
http://instagram.com/sjpcollection
http://liketoknow.it/

Five Must-Have Marketing Skills for a Startup Marketer

 

marketing skills

In the startup world, when you’re beginning your new business, everything is going really fast. You’re wearing twenty different hats a day. One minute you’re the marketing manager, the next you’re the project manager, and yet another you’re the production manager.

Unfortunately, with the speed of the startup scene, sometimes certain skill sets fall to the way-side. So instead of letting that happen, make time to ensure that certain marketing skills are kept polished; whether it’s through workshops once a month, webinars, or just diving in with a good old business book.

Here are five key marketing skills that every brand must have. 

Storytelling

This is a unique skill that any marketer needs in order to be successful. It allows a brand to be unified across channels, allow consumers to understand what the brand stands for, and believe in the brand. It allows for the human side to come out and connecting with consumers on a deeper level. In addition to online storytelling through images, video, and written content, storytelling transcends to in-person interactions with customers.

Thinking Mobile First

When it comes to marketing your content, realize that people are always on the go. The one device that is always on them is their phone (and most likely a smart phone). Therefore, when creating your content and social strategy, designing your website, and/or strategizing your e-commerce efforts, it’s valuable to understand how your content will live on mobile devices first, then tablet, then desktop.

Differentiating Social Media Channels

It’s important to understand how each channel works, what it’s used for, which audiences are on it, and how best to distribute content within those channels. For example, one brand may be better suited for YouTube with its variety of videos,  while another may consider creating a tumblr blog for aggregating their content in one place for a community that is hungry for discovering and sharing cool stuff. Each channel is different and provides different features, which may enhance your products or services. Being knowledgeable on the ones that best fit your brand and your competition is helpful in creating the best marketing plan to be successful now and in the future.

Understanding SEO

This is one of the underpinning of being successful organically. Although Google makes changes on how people will be successful with their SEO tactics, it’s important to keep up. Whether it’s tagging your content with the right keywords, getting more shares on social, or distributing on partner channels for a larger audience – make sure you take the time to understand how SEO can play to your benefit.

To check out my tips around Data and Why it’s important to Understand all of the above, check out my full post on Startup Fashion!

Image via colinlogan

Five Tips to Building your Band of Brand Loyalists

It’s easy to find someone to sponsor your brand and your brand content, but to find someone who will do it without a paycheck, now that’s when you’re in the loyalist category. Loyalists are excited about news from the brand, new content put out, they follow them on social channels, they are advocates on behalf of the brand, and they are current customers. They’re the ones you can count on when shit hits the fan, and some mishap happens, or the brand is being bashed for something that was misunderstood by others. Those loyalists will speak up, they will stand behind the brand, and they will continue to be a customer. In turn, those loyalists will inspire others to consider the brand. Or at minimum, create some awareness that “this brand” is worth checking out.

So how do you create brand loyalists? There is no “follow this checklist” and you’ll have a band of loyalists at your door. It takes time, and it takes effort, and it’s different for each brand. However, there are some things that are important for each brand to consider as they figure out what works best for them.

Here’s a quick list to have in your back pocket at all times (but please don’t be fooled by the word, quick):

1. Transparency - Be transparent and honest about your brand. Either way the consumers will find out the truth, so why not tell it yourself. Brands like Toms may have it easy as their stories inspire others to act, give back, and truly love the brand. Others have it harder, but it doesn’t mean it’s impossible to tell your story in a way that impacts and connects others.

2. Have the best customer service ever - Customer service can make or break many customer relationships. Brands like Amazon have impeccable customer service to a point that they don’t question when something is wrong, but aim to fix the problem swiftly and make up for it. I remember one time when an item I purchased was delivered to the wrong location, I was so disappointed. Within 12 hours, it was in my hands due to their customer service help. Impressive.

3. Create Connections that Make an Impact - Customers don’t want to be treated as “just another wallet to take from.” They want to be appreciated. It can be as small as remembering their name when they walk into a store, or reaching out to them via a Tweet to say thank you. Nordstrom does a great job at this, when they say thank you whenever their mentioned by their followers on Twitter. It’s a small token, but it’s appreciated nonetheless. Whatever the effort, the effort is worth it to make a connection with your customers.

4. Give Value through Content - Providing value is a key component for any brand. Content is one way to go about that. For example, IBM has over 5 unique tumblr blogs, where they pump out different content on a daily or weekly basis. They are keeping their customers hungry for more – through consistent, quality, and fun content. It’s educational and entertaining – which is no easy feat! Take pointers.

5. Always be there - Your customers aren’t going to go to your website to see what you’re up to (at least not regularly). So be where they are. Be where they with thoughtful value and appreciation for their time. Provide them with content they want, customer service they deserve, a please and a thank you. And having a sale on your products, doesn’t hurt either!

In short, relationships that brands have with consumers are much like regular relationships. They take time to build, and can end quickly. Take the time to build a trustworthy one with true honesty/transparency, keeping in touch, being emotional, and offering true value. With time, that relationship will blossom and become amazing. Some will last a lifetime, others will fade. In the end, it’s better to have build some that lasted a few months than none at all.

This post was originally written for Socialnomics and my full post can also be found here. Thanks!

My Current Brand Crush (Maybe Love): Sole Society

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We, as consumers (and definitely marketers) have our crushes, our flirtations, and sometimes we commit to a brand we truly love. I’m currently having a major brand crush on Sole Society. Why? A few simple reasons:

1. They have a great affordable fashion line

Sole Society is known for “affordable fashion” – making it attainable for most women who adore looking great, but not breaking their bank to do so. The brand offers up items that are both on trend, but also classic. They partner with style inspirations like Julianne Hough to design their lines. And as of late, obtained Andrea Wasserman as CEO. I knew I liked her when she replied to me on Instagram, but the fact that she came from Nordstrom (my other major crush), demonstrates her ability to choose working for brands that put the consumers first. And that brings me to my next two points…

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2. They market themselves with style

Sole Society can be found on most channels, which allow for visual content to be at the forefront. They’re avid posters on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. My favorite is when I am able to get an inside look into what shoes they have yet to even put on their website or in stores. Getting an inside peek at the new colors, designs, and lines for the upcoming season is a brand lover’s dream. We feel like we have been let in on a secret that others don’t know about. Marketers, take note – this is a great tactic to get your consumers to come back for more!

Additionally, Julianne Hough who has her line on Sole Society gives sneak peeks through her Instagram channel too. Although she can afford shoes much more expensive, it’s great to see a strong, stylish female partnering with a brand the average female can afford and feel like she’s wearing high class style. And tying an influencer with a fun-loving spirit like Julianne to a fun-loving brand like Sole Society is a perfect strategy to get consumers to turn their heads at the brand – creating both awareness and consideration.

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To read my 3rd reason for totally crushing on Sole Society (and it’s major) check out my full original post on Marketing on the Rocks!

5 Tips for Starting your Career in Digital Marketing

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It feels like a lifetime ago when I considered transitioning from law to marketing – yes you heard right, law to marketing. I had been watching my roommate Julia Roy, venturing into the twittersphere and launching her personal brand as a digital strategist, and saw first-hand how much more fun she was having. And at the same time, I wanted to throw my law books out the window. Long story short, I followed suit soon after, and realized that digital marketing was a much better fit for me personally and professionally. But how did I start, and what got me here today? Here are a few tips I learned along the way…

1. Read, Read, and Read Some More

Sign up for regular email newsletters from blogs and websites you will enjoy perusing daily or weekly. It’s important to stay up to date on the latest and greatest when it comes to new social media channels, new mergers between platforms, updates to channels and how it will affect marketing to audiences, so on and so forth. For example, I subscribe to MashableFast CompanyTechcrunch and others that are similar. Aside from blogs that are specific to marketing, I like to subscribe to more tech related blogs, because technology is constantly affecting how we market and how we reach out audiences (ex. iBeacons).

Yes, it’s not always easy to read everyday, but it’s important to try to set aside some regular time to at least skim the headlines. My tip: follow your faves on Twitter and set up a Twitter list so you can see what’s new, in real time.

2. Learn by Doing

One thing I learned right away is that you can read about marketing and the best strategies, but you can’t truly understand, implement, and teach others until you do it yourself. Jump in and just try it out. For example, when I see a new channel that could be interesting for my clients and their audiences, I immediately sign up and try it out for myself. I view it as a customer to see what type of content I would want on there, how I would engage with it myself, and would I want to engage with brands on it. In turn, I figure out what are the tactical items to consider. For example, Snapchat is about instant consumption, while Vine and Instagram can be viewed multiple times and shared whenever and wherever you want. These are just a few examples that brands and marketers need to put into consideration when determining where to play, the content to produce and distribute, and which audiences matter to them and why.

3. Take yourself offline

Sometimes you just need to log off. Attend a networking event in your city and talk (not on Twitter, but face to face) to other marketers in your industry. It’s a great way to exchange ideas, find a mentor, and just enjoy being among like minds. I also recommend doing it at minimum – monthly – in order to stay on top of what is happening within your city’s marketing industry.

You’ll want to know the 2 other tips around blogging and my bonus tip! This post was originally written for Marketing on the Rocks, so check out my full post here!

Image Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos; John Sutton

Influencer Marketing: Avoid These 5 Brand Mistakes

“Influencer Marketing” – the latest buzz phrase in the marketing sphere – but is your brand doing it right? There are multiple pitfalls, which are easy to miss even if they’re right in front of you. So instead of running towards the finish line, tread carefully and strategically for your brand’s benefit and ensure you have chosen the right influencer with the right tone, brand fit, and appropriate audience.

Avoid these pitfalls along the way:

1. Not understanding the definition of an Influencer

First and foremost, what is an influencer? The word means different things to different people and brands, and rightly so. There are different types of influencers, and your brand needs to decide which ones are right for their brand messaging, their target audience, and the unified effort. For example, celebrities are considered influencers due to their large following on social channels and otherwise. And then you have experts, journalists, personal branders, and topic authorities. So which one is right for your brand and your campaign – #2 should help with that.

2. Forgetting to put together an Influencer Strategy

An influencer strategy, like a social media strategy, channel strategy, and/or content strategy — is significant because it allows a brand to determine which influencers are right for the brand, how they will be reached out to, how they will be worked with, and what the goals and learnings will be from the program overall. Without this, you are just tweeting to random people and pulling at straws and may turn up with the short one. And no brand wants that.

3. Missing the brand fit

When you evaluate your list of influencers it’s important to ensure that the ones you’re considering are not opposed to the brand in any way. For example, it would be poor form to choose an influencer which may have spoken badly of the brand, a product of the brand, and/or some partnership/program that the brand was involved in. Additionally, it’s important that the influencer(s) fits the brand image in a way that isn’t too controversial (unless that’s what the brand is hoping for). For example, if the brand’s image is about being conservative, eco-friendly, and about local efforts, than it may help if the influencer has similarities in those areas or strengths that will help influence those areas as well.

4. Only using tools to find an influencer

This is a huge error that can cause the wrong influencer to be chosen. Although there are many tools out there that will help one get a list of influencers that may fit the brand/campaign, the human touch is still necessary. For example, 10 awesome influencers may be brought down from an initial list of 100 or more, which helps with efficiency and time to get down to the ones that mater and could have an impact for the brand. However, it’s important to look back into the person’s history (especially regarding #3 above), check to see the conversation that the person is having on their social channels, and ensure that the tool was accurate in its assessment. For instance, is the audience of that influencer one that matters to the brand? If not their influence is less likely to make an impact and bring awareness, engagement, and/or positive sentiment towards the brand as it had hoped.

5. Lack of authenticity

Since he or she is an influencer, they’re obviously authentic, right? Not, necessarily. For example, if an influencer is being poked by a brand a second, he or she may be writing sponsored content on a regular basis. Then where’s the original content, the content that matters to their audience. It’s important that the influencer has a balance of content that is still their own because without their own, personal, un-biased opinion, the authenticity is lost, and their influence is less valuable.

Looking for more input to ensure your influencer marketing starts off on the right foot? Reach out in the comments below!

This post was originally written for Socialnomics

Best Practices: Email Marketing for your Brand

 

Email Marketing Best Practices

Email marketing, a marketing method most brands use to reach out to their prospective and current customers, can easily become an annoyance customers runaway from. So how do we as brands enable our email marketing to work for us, and not against us?

Let’s look at some email marketing best practices that will help optimize your efforts…

Look and Feel; Think Mobile First

As with websites and social content, it’s important to consider mobile when deciding on your email content, the design, and your messaging. Responsive email design is helpful because it allows your email to be read on both desktop, mobile, and tablet.

However, to ensure that your design works for each device it’s important to test your content. For example, test to ensure your images show up correctly, your headline is able to be read clearly, and the primary messaging is easily scannable, consumable, and shareable.

Use an Editorial Calendar

Your team probably already has an editorial calendar, which allows your brand to schedule out your blog posts, tweets, FB posts, and pins. Adding your email content within this calendar will help see a large-scale view of the content you are putting out, the types of customers who receive it, and what channels are distributing it.

Overall it will keep you organized to know which topics are being published, and in turn which ones do the best. It’s even more helpful the following year when you look back to see what worked the previous year. For example if product sneak peeks were a hit, than the next time around you’ll want to make sure you do it again.

Personalize your Content; Start Simple

Personalizing content for email can go in many directions, especially if your audience is segmented in multiple ways. However, it’s often easier to start simple. Perhaps to do some a/b testing to see which content performs better for different regions of the country, gender, and/or age group for starters. That way you can ensure that Texas is not receiving the same winter content that Maine would get in January.

No customer wants to open up a generic email sent to the masses – it’s always nice to see one that is at least slightly catered to their interests, location, and who they are as a customer to your brand.

Pay Attention to the Details

The details, sometimes overlooked, are key when it comes to email marketing messaging. Your team needs to ensure that the email subject line, headline, first couple sentences (which are seen in a preview), and images are all put together in a way that not only entices the reader to read the email, but spend time with it, and potentially click your call to action – whether it leads them to your website, an offer, or your social media channels.

To read more on measuring results and cross-promotion on Social Media – Check out my Full Post on Startup Fashion!

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 !

 

Your Brand’s New Year Resolutions for 2014: Keep it Simple Stupid

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So if you’re anything like me, you may have a lofty list of things to achieve for 2014; perhaps forgetting how much time they’ll actually take. So bring yourself down to Earth for a minute, and think realistically. Instead of having 20 goals, consider 5 to 7 that you can span out within the first 6 months. Then in the second half of the year you can see what worked, what didn’t, and revise, optimize, and achieve more than you originally planned.

Where to start? Consider these tips while crafting your marketing and business goals.

1. Ensure all your goals are measurable – If you can’t measure it through things like engagement, referral traffic, etc – then you won’t know if it worked and/or what went wrong during your test phase.

2. Review your previous goals from 2013 – This is a great place to start, because it allows you to learn from previous successes and mistakes and see where there is room for growth. For example, if you started a video series in 2013, perhaps in 2014 there is room to grow it further with different genres or perhaps utilizing other social media channels to amplify engagement around the video content.

3. See how your departments can work together on resolutions – Since marketing doesn’t operate alone, it’s important to put your heads together and see how each department can help in crafting next year’s goals. For example, the tech team may have some great ideas on how to make your website “work for you” better. Tap their minds and figure out what is achievable. It may surprise you!

To read my other 2 important must-have goals for 2014 around budgeting and thinking outside the marketing box, check out my full post on Marketing on the Rocks

Image Source: http://www.business2community.com/marketing/

Social Good Commerce & Making Money for a Great Cause

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Of course there are brands like Toms who sell fun, casual shoes and eyewear for a cause. Brands like Toms are a fun and easy way for individuals, especially ones who would like to make a difference but don’t have to break the bank to do so. Additionally, it’s given this audience a way to not only give back, but also “show it off” in a way that’s fashionable and understated.

Then there are social commerce brands like Sevenly, who not only sell items for a cause, but have multiple items for sale and for different causes. Their business model is actually pretty cool, because each week (every seven days) there is a new cause, and seven dollars from each item sold goes towards the charity of the week.

Their marketing efforts help with each of their weekly charitable causes in order to spur awareness and in turn engagement with the products. Through their Facebook and Twitter audiences, Sevenly is able to spread the word and in turn have their fans and followers RT, post, and most importantly share their efforts with the cause that most resonates with them.

To read more on why this matters for your brand, and how you can influencer your audience through social causes, check out my full post on Marketing on the Rocks!

Image Source: Sevenly.org

Social Media: Understanding how your Consumers Use it

customers social media

Remember the days of using RSS Feeds? Seems like a long time ago; the shift into using social media as a primary source of information is something that has become very popular with a lot of people.  That’s why it’s important to have an understanding of how your customers use social media so that you can create your social media plan accordingly.

Here’s a quick look at how I use social media:

  • Twitter is my daily news feed from what’s happening locally to what’s happening globally. It’s my go-to for quick snippets, and long form content when I link out. Without Twitter I wouldn’t know half of what’s going on in my industry and the world sometimes.
  • Facebook is my brand go-to for the ones I’m passionate about. I won’t just “like” any brand and have them clutter my daily home page on Facebook – so if I like your page, that’s huge.
  • Pinterest is my guilty pleasure. It’s where I go to lust over things I want and pin away from friends or influencers who’ve done the same.
  • Instagram is my daily binge session with image content. I love following brands, influencers, and friends who share daily or moderately regular image content. It allows me to get a closer view into what makes that brand tick, what makes that influencer share such cool things, and what my friends really love.
  • tumblr is my go-to for quick consumable content from brands and bloggers I love. It’s where I read up on other fashion folks and why they do what they do, as well as lesser known folks who are just publishing their passions.
  • LinkedIn is where I read my thought leadership from people and brands I admire. It’s few and far between that I follow brands on LinkedIn, and even more selective on groups I join. The content and value has to be worth it.

See how each platform has a very different purpose for me?  I’m willing to bet that your customers are the same way.

Why this matters to your brand:

Understanding how your audience consumes content is half the battle. It allows your brand to shape your content strategically for each channel; in a voice that fits that place; in a way that is easily consumable, and in turn shareable by that specific audience.

The content you place on LinkedIn is not what you place on Pinterest.  Understand that while the topic may be the same (new collection, new event, new sale) the way in which the content is presented should be very different, based on how you see your customers responding.

To read more on how you can apply each of these channels to your brand and have a list of key takeaways, check out my full post on Startup Fashion

Recent Snapchat Updates & What it Means for Marketers

Snapchat, the mobile visual application that allows for instant consumption of videos and photos has come out with some recent updates.

Although there are fun little things like filters there are two things that stood out to me: (1) applying temperature through Weather Channel data and (2) allowing users to view one snapchat per day more than once (rather than letting it self-destruct).

What this means for consumers:

  • Like Instagram, consumers can now create more visually appealing content
  • Consumers can add more context to their snapchats
  • Consumers can re-watch snapchats that were too quick or too memorable not to watch again

What this means for marketers:

  • Snapchats that are about contests, hidden previews, product launches, or special events can be viewed more than once by consumers – allowing more interactivity and potential word of mouth
  • Brands can view snapchats submitted by consumers more than once, which allows for easier screenshots to view and assess for winners of contests
  • Weather.com has already gotten inside Snapchat as a potential partner – which has potentially opened doors for others with context that is fitting for snapchat users
  • There are more “tools” at consumer and brand disposal for making snapchat content more fun and relevant (filters, speed, temperature, location, etc)

What’s next in the photo and video app field?

Let’s see what Vine or Instagram come out with next…

 This post was originally written for Social Media Club and my post can be found here

Launch of: “Marketing on the Rocks” by Four Best Friends

So it all began a few years back when the four of us met through mutual friends and networking events around the city. We had social mentors in common, similar career inspirations, shopping habits, healthy living ideals, a love for boston, and most of all a quick love for one another.

Janet Aronica, Kristin Dziadul, Elisabeth Michaud and I are four best friends and four marketers in Boston. We each have a bit of geekiness when it comes to digital marketing, social media, and staying on top of what’s savvy and new. We tried GroupMe during SXSW, we’ve been on Path since before it became cool, we constantly tweet at one another in the midst of Gchatting, and support each other in all of our endeavors. I can’t say enough about how much I trust these girls personally and professionally. And that’s what brought us here today…

Over a couple adult beverages and some inspiration from fellow digital marketers in the space, we decided to work on a marketing project as a team. We brainstormed on what we could offer the Boston community and beyond as we each have diverse backgrounds from working with startups, individual consulting, agencies, big brands, and more. And then we realized – that’s exactly what we can offer. We are experienced in so many different areas and can offer unique advice and strategy because of it. And “Marketing on the Rocks” was born…

Want to learn more, and see what we’re cooking up? Check out the launch of our new site!

www.MarketingontheRocks.com

And feel free to reach out to us anytime for more info:

@pamsahota

@janetaronica

@kristindziadul

@emichaud

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

Fun and Creative Ways to Use Snapchat for Your Brand

Snapchat for fashion brands

Snapchat, known as an instant and temporary consumption app for photos and video, has been rampant among the millennial generation. They use it to share their food, their shopping adventures, their nights out with friends, and even the brands they love to wear and shop for.

As per the Guardian, this past October, the Pew research centre claimed that 9% of American mobile phone owners were using Snapchat, which would suggest 26million users in the US alone. Among 18 to 29-year-olds, the percentage rose to 26%.

And brands have taken notice – and they are finding creative ways to utilize the app to their advantage.

Here are 3 ways that could be effective for a brand who wants to reach the Snapchat audience:

  1. Instant Giveaways – This can be a quick and dirty way to gain some fans on Snapchat. For example, the first 50 fans to follow your brand on snapchat could win a free tote bag made just for those fans. Not only is that fun for the fans, but hopefully more fans will come your way through word of mouth after the fact too.
  2. Sneak Peeks for Upcoming Product Lines– Brand fans love to feel special and get sneak peeks of new items coming out before others know. Imagine knowing that a new shoe line is being introduced with a celebrity partnership before the mass audience knows? It’s exclusive, it’s cool, and it’s using fun technology.
  3. Giving an insider look into an event – This is one of my favorite uses because it allows people to feel a part of an event even if they can’t be there in person. And using Snapchat to do so with its instant and temporary consumption makes it seem even more special when a fan gets an inside look. This is something that Rebecca Minkoff did to make consumers feel like they were part of Fashion Week.

Excited to learn more? You haven’t gotten to the bonus section yet on how Snapchat is more than just another photo app. Check out my full and original post on Startup Fashion for more!

 

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 !

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.