Why the new standalone app Layout by Instagram is worth downloading

Instagram app Layout

Layout, the latest standalone Instagram app (since Hyperlapse), has hit iOS. The app allows for users to easily collage your photos in unique and simple ways and then instantly share on Instagram and/or Facebook.

Instagram claims that it isn’t trying to create yet another collage app, but to create one that makes collages easier to make and more user friendly.

So what does this mean?

In short, it’s a new feature app that allows Instagram users (and photo takers) to have another tool in their “artistic” toolbox. The collages have some set parameters, but from there you can fiddle around and make your collage your own.

Having played around with it, appears to take some of the best features of other free apps such as PicStitch and combine them with ease of use, and a much friendlier user interface.

The Layout features to consider when creating your next collage:

  • Ease of sorting through photos on your phone
  • Adding multiple pictures at once to the collage
  • Taking pictures for the collage instantly (in multiple succession)
  • Unique grid options that aren’t just one size or shape
  • Unique ability to shift and mirror the images for different viewpoints

Why it matters to consumers:

The app allows consumers to have more fun when taking photos to post. It allows them to post more photos at once and in turn create/make a story out of the moment they are sharing.

Why it matters to brands:

As consumers can share a more detailed story of their moments, so can brands. When it comes to events, product shots, new releases, and behind the scenes – Layout is a new tool to keep in mind. It will allow your brand to show different views of the same product at once versus sifting through multiple photos.

Read more on why it matters to brands on the full post at Startup Fashion.

How Social Media Can Increase Traffic to your Brand’s Site

 

website trafficSocial media can be daunting at times, especially when you’re just starting to grow your business and most of the work is on your shoulders. Sometimes, social feels like too much time and you just can’t see how it’s helping your startup grow.

One word: patience.

Great social content takes effort, a great social community takes times to grow. The ROI, such as an increase in web traffic, also takes time.

I sometimes like to equate social media to exercising and being fit. If you want a body that is strong, healthy, and long lasting, you have to put in effort for the long haul. Not just for the day or week or month.

Here are a few tips to get your brand on the right track for that healthy social living:

  • The small tactics: the best practices and simple tactics like ensuring your site URL is associated with all your social accounts is crucial. Make sure it’s in your bio, clickable, and above the fold.
  • Schedule your content: It’s OK to publish content more than once, actually it will help. For example, on Twitter since the life of a tweet is so short, it behooves a brand to publish at least twice (at minimum). Of course, it’s good to spread out your content and publish on multiple days rather than the same day.
  • Link back through posts: When posting on social, ensure that a % of your content links back to your site. Although it’s important to have a good content mix, if a major goal is to drive traffic back to your site, that should take the larger chunk of your posting.
Read more on bloggers and a paid media budget, on our full post on Startup Fashion

For more questions on how to best increase website traffic through social media, reach out in the comments.

 

Spring is still here: Clean your Marketing and Get it Ready for Summer

 

fashion marketingSpring cleaning isn’t just for your shoes and clothes each year. It’s for your fashion marketing objectives and goals too.

Spring, or second quarter, is a great time to take a look at all the new year initiatives you put into play and see what’s working and what’s not. Time to shed some weight, and not waste money on budget items that aren’t giving back enough on your investment.

But how do you decide what to ditch and what to hold on to? That’s always the tough part.

Here are a few things to consider this spring and your “ditch pile”:

  1. What’s sucking your budget: There are a lot of overhead and unexpected costs that go into a yearly marketing budget. This may include (but isn’t limited to): website hosting, graphic designers, and PR agencies. Take a look at where your money is going and whether or not these costs can be lowered. Do you pay a graphic designer to make new new several times a month?  What about seeing if they can create a template for you instead.  That way, you can make the updates for new contests or announcements yourself.
  2. What’s just not working: Sometimes we invest in tools that end up being more of a hassle than anything. For example, some tools may have seemed cool and great for CRM or social media management, and instead waste too much of our time and give us little data and information. If it’s not saving time, it’s just costing money. Ditch it. Change it. Move on.
Read about team evaluations and tactical executions for spring cleaning in our full post on Startup Fashion. 

 

How to: Market to the Instant Generation (Gen Z)

fashion brands marketing instant generation

Gone are the days of waiting for a catalog and thumbing through it casually. Today and tomorrow are the days of instant consumption. From brands like Instacart who allow purchases to be delivered within hours; to Snapchat which allows for people to share messages and then they “disappear” instantly.

It’s become a consumer world where things are not just desired instantly, but expected instantly. It’s a user behavior that impacts brand marketing from content strategy to content distribution to purchase behavior. Let’s break down what that means and how fashion brands can be on top of your game.

Content Strategy: consumers want their content in easy, consumable formats.

  • Short, visually-aesthetic content. The quality of the picture can grab a user’s attention more than any title will.
  • Think buzzfeed type lists, 10 – 30 second videos, and photo slideshows. Content that can be consumed within minutes is more likely to have less bounce rates.
  • Blogs posts with headlines that demonstrate the main points with a couple glances. When people are in a rush, give them the gist. They’ll dig in if they are interested in reading more.

Content Distribution: consumers want their content on the go, and within seconds.

  • Content should be formatted for any device – computer, tablet, mobile, and nowadays even a smart TV.
  • It should be within the channels they prefer to frequent (not only where the brand wants to be). For example, if your consumer is planning their wedding – they are searching on Pinterest. While someone who is in a discovery mode, may be perusing tumblr as they stroll.
  • Ensure load time is quick. Your website needs to be able to load before they get distracted by the next puppy walking down the street.

Purchase Behavior: consumers want to be able to purchase from anywhere, at anytime.

  • It goes without saying that your site should be developed to be device-agnostic. It’s not just mobile first – it’s however the consumer will see it, it needs to be a good experience.
  • Some brands have gone beyond the mobile website and developed apps for purchases. Take Nordstrom for example – consumers can go on their site, but their app allows for easier viewing and filtering of products due to its formatting. This is not to say every brand needs an app; the main point is your customers want an easy experience to purchase at their fingertips.
  • Determine your largest sites for referral traffic. As a consumer brand it may likely be Pinterest or Instagram. If so, use those social channels to allow for purchasing too. Leave the purchase link in the bio for Instagram. For Pinterest, ensure that the referral link goes directly to the purchase link. Quick easy ways to allow consumers to purchase without having to pay for sponsored opportunities within those social channels.

And in the end, remember to ask yourself one thing. As a consumer, is your brand’s experience what you would hope for?

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion.

The startup 2015 marketing checklist

fashion business marketing plan

Marketing your business in the new year is most likely something you’ve been thinking a lot about. So let’s take a look at what to include in 2015 that’s different than 2014.

Let’s break it down into an actionable checklist. You can refer back often to make sure you’re hitting your goals each quarter or mid-year and make adjustments as needed.

Your 2015 Fashion Business Marketing Plan Checklist

Evaluate 2014

  • Where did your website referral traffic come from?
  • Which pages were the most trafficked?
  • Which pages had the largest bounce rates?
  • Did people sign up for your newsletter? From where?
  • Do people share your blog posts?
  • Which channels lead consumers to purchase most?
  • Is your social community growing?
  • What content is your social community engaging with most? least?
  • Do you have a good social content mix?

Improve on the Basics

  • Review your marketing budget and decide how much money you can dedicate to digital marketing and where you’d like to focus based on your 2014 marketing review
  • Make more use of the keywords that people use to search for your website content, products, and landing pages
  • Make sure to use those same keywords in your social copy – especially on channels like Pinterest where those words are used to help discover pins
  • Focus more on the channels that provide referral traffic and/or purchases
  • Cross promote your content and let followers know about the existence of your other channels
  • Invest in channels where you don’t have to spend as much money to get content out to your audience (ex. Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, tumblr)

Test Something New

  • Instead of just posting photos on Instagram, try some of the video features such as Hyperlapse. Some tips here!
  • Work with influencers who are willing to trade goods for content (or a small stipend). Not all influencers need lots of money to create great social content for your brand.
  • Invest in a tool that will help you schedule and plan your social content. Hootsuite has affordable options with simple scheduling for small brands and startups. It allows more time for the important things like strategy, blogging, and experimentation.

Be excited for the new year — embrace growth and allow your brand to kick some marketing butt!

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion. 

Digital Marketing Myth: Content Must be Visual

As digital marketers, many of us realize the need for visual content. There are more visually appealing social channels then we can count – but of course you have the usual suspects such as Facebook, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, YouTube, Pinterest and more. Should you have visual content? Yes. Should it be your only content? Not necessarily.

We’ve probably all heard of it by now, but Serial – the podcast – is a great example of this non-visual content trend. An old medium, but great engaging content. Why did it work? A few reasons:

  • Great content – It didn’t have to be visual to be great content. The key was the story. The story was engaging, suspenseful, and it got people talking.
  • Word of mouth – It got people talking to their colleagues, their family members, and their friends – in person and on social.
  • Suspense – It was told in a manner that left the listener excited for the next episode release.
  • Short – It was long enough to feel like something you’re investing in, but short enough that you could listen to an episode on a train ride, a gym workout, or while you’re cooking dinner.
  • It was real – The people and the content were real. The history and storyline were true. It made you invest in what was going on because you wanted to know more.
Great podcast, and now the people want more. The next season will come in 2015, and the masses are waiting. Why? Again – content doesn’t have to be visual to be great and shareable. As you can see from the Topsy screenshot below, the topic is still being talked about (for many of the reasons outlined above).
The reason this podcast (and many others) work is because they allow people another way to consume content on the go. It’s an easy way for busy people to learn more, delve into subject they don’t normally have time for, and/or just be entertained. As mentioned above, podcasts can be 5 min, 30 min, 1 hour (etc). The lengths allow for someone who consume the content while they’re completing other tasks – which is not always the case with watching a video, reading an eBook, etc. No need to flip a page, or scroll through a blog post when all you have to do is change the volume to level you prefer. This also reigns true for audible books – just check out Audible and the fact that you can subscribe to the service like Hulu or Netflix.
Podcasts  may be an old content format, but old doesn’t mean bad content. It just means you need to put in the effort to make it engaging and great (like all content).
Image sources: Serial Podcast, Topsy
This post was originally written for Socialnomics

What NOT to do for your 2015 digital marketing plan

There are many lists. I’ve written a couple of them myself.  But how about the things not to do in 2015? Granted, some of these are items we should have avoided as brands in 2014 too, but let’s try again…
Don’t Be Selfish
Instead of posting only about your brand, its accomplishments, and awesomeness – consider posting about others – post about your audience, partners, charities, and those who are putting out great content such as thought leadership in your industry and marketplace.

Avoid Conversations Where You Have No Right

We’ve seen it. We’ve done it. We want to hop on a trend to be a part of a conversation. But not everyone is Oreo during the Super bowl. Not everyone can be Arby’s during the Grammy’s with Pharrell. Find your time. Find the right opportunity. Be true to your brand’s voice and image.

Don’t Be Stale

It’s easy to stick to what’s safe, comfortable, and what seems to work. But instead, how about setting aside part of your marketing budget to experiment. Try a new social channel. Find a new content partnership. Invest in influencers who can help your brand draw in new audiences. Be willing to try something new.

Don’t put quantity over quality

Because of the nature of social media, it’s hard to be noticed unless you’re putting our content on a regular basis. However, some brands make the mistake of putting out tons of content, and only a couple pieces being actually share-worthy. Take the time to put together quality content that will resonate with your audience rather than churning and burning…crap.

Avoid trying too much at once

And although it’s awesome to try new things, experiment, dive into new social channels because your audience is there and it would be a great place for your brand to play — wait. If you invest in too much you’ll spread your budget thin and won’t be able to invest properly and as above – with quality content. Take a minute and decide on the 3-5 things that seem valuable for your brand and leave the rest for later.

And last but not least, don’t be lame. Have some fun with your content!

This post was originally written for: http://marketingontherocks.com

Five CTAs to Consider for your Brand’s Content Marketing

 

CTAs for branding and marketing content

When it comes to your website, email marketing, and social media, your content needs a call to action (cta). What is it that you want your reader to do? The CTA usually drives your audience to have an interaction with the content and engage (click, like, share) or potentially go somewhere else (such as your product page to purchase).

A great CTA can create responses from the audience and potentially convert them from a prospective customer to an actual customer (or a current one to a loyal one).

Here’s the thing though, not all CTA’s have to drive to a product or service.

Sometimes a CTA that leads to entertainment, valued content, or helpful tips is enough to make your audience excited for your product or service in the long run.

Here are 5 Alternative Calls to Action for Your  Branding and Marketing Content:

Email: Cross promotion between social and email is a great way to get awareness of your content. Perhaps include some of your Instagram favorites in your email newsletter and allow your readers to “share” their favorite with specific hashtag. Allow them to be a part of your community and potentially be highlighted in your email next time.

Website: Have them “subscribe now” to your newsletter for information on events or entertaining videos, not necessarily sales and promos.

YouTube: Instead of leading them back to the site to purchase a product from your videos, perhaps have a simple annotation to go to the next video. Let them enjoy more awesome content, because they’re obviously watching the video for a reason. They’re interested!

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion – to read the full list of CTAs including Facebook and tumblr, check out my full post here. 

 

Do Cats Really Rule the Interwebs?

Screen Shot 2014-11-02 at 11.13.06 AM

If you haven’t seen the collab between Friskies and Buzzfeed, you must be hiding under a rock (or actually doing your work).

 But, just in case you did miss it – watch right now!
The first two videos in the playlist are the two in the series (so far).  I have a soft heart for the sequel about the Dog. Especially the line about dogs being excellent marketers – “man’s best friend.” So true.

So as I was saying…Cats.

They have been kind of kicking marketing butt lately – from Grumpy Cat to other cute felines that have been making regular appearances in movies (Jinxie in Meet the Parents) to Taylor Swift carrying around her white furball on the street of NYC. And if you see a youtube clip of a kitten chasing that damn red dot, can you really not help but laugh? Or say aww? (Or perhaps you’re just not human).

The collab was a pivotal step.

Buzzfeed has been in the collaboration business for a while now and this branded content series with Friskies is a great testament to that. They made an advertisement, that is something people actually want to watch (over and over), and share out with others to do the same. I just played it at the dinner table with my family. When would you have done that about an advertisement in the past?
Visible Measures did a great job of capturing why these video content series are a success and how Buzzfeed is on top of its game when it comes to producing such shareable content. It’s not about the cat food or even the fact that the cats do eat Friskies in the commercial. It’s about the heartfelt emotion and connection that people can feel while watching the video content. Aka it’s content. I give credit to both Friskies for taking that leap and for Buzzfeed who has taken brands from thinking past the 30 second ad to creating content that is social gold.
Can you say that?
I can honestly say, I cannot wait for the next installment (please say there is another?) … and when did you say that about an advertisement? I repeat. Social Gold.
This post was originally written for Marketing on the Rocks.

How to: Keep Blogging a Top Marketing Priority

Screen Shot 2014-09-13 at 11.51.21 AM

I’ve been asked a multitude of times…”How do you find time to blog?” It took me a while to realize how I did find time. And then I realized the answer was quite simple: “I find time.” Blogging, like other marketing objectives, just needs to become a priority that you make time for. Whether it’s your personal blog, a brand you are starting, or a well-established brand that is trying to demonstrate it’s expertise in a particular vertical. We all know the general benefits of blogging – SEO, thought leadership, partnered content, awareness, engagement, etc. And the value to the blogger? Promotion of their personal brand, subject matter expert, social promotion, so on and so forth.

But again…when? how? Let’s lay out some quick wins for tackling your blogging woes:

Your Calendar is your friend

We all know that each week is different and new commitments come up all the time. But that’s no excuse. My way around that is planning ahead. I plan out the posts I need to do a month in advance. That allows me to see what is going on each week and each weekend and when is best to tackle the posts I have in my pipeline. Typically I have on average 8 posts a month. Sounds like a lot, and it can be if you aren’t managing your time. I usually block off one day a week where I can polish off 2 – 3 posts in a morning. Now I will admit, that I have it down to a science and usually have prepared what I’m going to write in advance (see divide and conquer below). And for when life gets in the way? Find a new day that works, but don’t push it to the next week unless absolutely necessary.

 

Divide and conquer

Yes it’s nice if you have a team to divide and conquer your posts, but even when you have a team, you still need to find time for yours. Rather than leaving the ideation, research, creation, and review all in one sitting – split it up! For example when I look at my week ahead on Sunday evening, I usually look to see what blog posts I have to tackle that week. Sometime between Mon – Thurs I tackle a quick topic ideation by surveying what’s popping in culture, any new social media trends that have risen to the top, and/or pain points that people are discussing. Then I find some quick sources that support my thinking and leave it be. I let that stew a little and when I get to the day I plan to write (normally Saturday or Sunday morning before/after the gym) I am primed to just hit the keyboard. Additionally, it helps if you’re not the only editor reviewing your post. And if you don’t have an editor ask a darling friend to take a glance over for any glaring issues that you may have missed.

 

Be Passionate

This is probably the most important. The reason I am less stressed about writing posts each week or month, is because I’m typically passionate about it. Yes not every post is riveting, and I may procrastinate at times, or pour a glass of wine as I debate it. But at least 85% of the time I am excited to write (or will be when I finish) because it’s about something I’m proud to be writing about. I am proud to spread more knowledge into the digital marketing space as well as provide my inspirational rantings around style and confidence (my other blogging adventures). So, please, before you pick up that “pen” think if you’re actually excited about your blogging.

And speaking of that glass of wine…sometimes that helps write a little more creatively too!

Image source: Kikolani

This post was originally written for Marketing on the Rocks. 

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.

The Go-to: Pinterest Checklist for Converting Pins to Sales

 

Pinterest Fashion

For the fashion industry, Pinterest is practically gold.

As a predominately female social media platform, Pinterest is the place where women go for style inspiration from brands, friends, bloggers, celebrities, and other individuals who have great style to share.

These women are not there just to look at a dress and walk away – they spend hours looking, liking, re-pinning, and sharing their coveted finds throughout their own Pinterest account, as well as on their other social channels such as Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter.

In short, our fashion brands need to make sure that they are being noticed and that their pins are coveted by these Pinterest-loving women.

Here is a Pinterest tips checklist to help convert those pins to sales.

The Basics of Setting Up Your Pinterest Boards

  • Make sure your bio is beyond awesome.
  • Ensure that your profile photo is attractive, inviting, and easy to understand.
  • Include your website or blog link.
  • Make sure that your cover photo for each board is attention-grabbing.
  • Remember that each pin should have a referral link.

How to Be Found on Pinterest

  • Use words a regular person would use to find and discover your pins. Instead of “iconic dress,” try something simpler like “cocktail dress” or “summer dress.”
  • Encourage your friends and influencers to help support by re-pinning your items on their boards, too.
  • Follow relevant people and brands in your industry.
  • Like, re-pin, and comment on others’ pins on a regular basis.
  • Reply back to those who comment.
  • Cross-promote on your other social channels and blog.
  • Promote, promote, and promote some more.

Read more on how to go beyond the regular outfit pin, by checking out my full post on Startup Fashion!

Mobile First – Is your Brand There Yet?

 

mobile first fashion business strategy

In the not so distant past, it was OK to be “mobile friendly.” As long as your site and content had a way to look good on mobile and tablet devices, then you were good to go. Unfortunately…or should we say fortunately, mobile friendly is no longer enough.

Mobile is a priority for consumers, and they are dictating what brands need to do in order to stay on top of their marketplace. Still unsure? Just check out these stats and then tell me you don’t believe me.

  • 65% of tablet owners report using their tablet while watching TV at least once per day
  • 76% of users agree that location sharing provides more meaningful content,
  • 84% made a purchase from a brand’s email
  • The top reason that consumers opt into push notifications is for coupons and deals (52%)
  • 52% of searches are done on mobile devices
  • 82% of mobile media time is from apps
(Stats Sources: Visual.ly and Exact Target)

Mobile first is a behavior, which consumers are continuing to adopt and grow with. They like their content to be at their fingertips, when they want it – and where they want it.

There are things you need consider in this mobile first world.

  1. Your website should be built in Responsive Web Design in order to ensure it fits any device. In turn, the content within that site should be easily consumable and not device dependent. For example, if you have a form on your site, and someone is accessing it via mobile, don’t make it a chore to fill out. Keep it simple so they don’t mind doing it while they’re on the go.
  2. Not everyone needs a mobile app. Sometimes it’s easier to integrate within existing app experiences to gain exposure in the marketplace. For example, for fashion brands – apps like Polyvore, Pinterest, and Wanelo allow for search-ability, sharing, and purchasing. Since apps like these are already within fashion consumer behaviors, it would behoove most brands to consider these on top of their existing app as well (if you already have one).
To learn more around mobile direct messaging and email, check out my full post on Startup Fashion

 

Image via Just Ard

 

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

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: Be on Top of your Instagram Game

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Instagram has become a playground for consumers, influencers, and brands alike. It’s a perfect storyboard for visualizing your brand, your daily life, and the passion points individuals have. It allows one to engage with others through a visual digital scope – and I for one love it myself. Sometimes it’s easier to capture a picture that tells more than words could describe. And it doesn’t hurt that people are more likely to share an image that grasps their attention than an article they just skim. So your brand has decided to join the land of images, but now what?

Instead of me continuing to tell you how awesome it is, and how it can benefit your brand, let’s break it down into an actionable checklist you can take away and reference as you move forward…

What you need to get started:

  • A strategy that folds up under your social content strategy overall and works with your other social channels
  • About a dozen or so photos to get started with with a cadence on how you’ll distribute
  • A profile photo and quick summary bio (including a link to where you’d like to drive your instagram audience – is your website? blog?)
  • Cross promotion across your other social channels, so people know your brand exists on instagram

Quick tactics that help your brand get embraced by the instagram community:

  • Research hashtags being used by your audience, competitive brands, and those with the passion points you are trying to reach
  • Unlike Twitter where hashtags are kept at a minimum, it’s ok to use a few more here (especially in the beginning when you’re still trying to gain traction)
  • Keep note of daily and weekly hashtags that occur that are connected to your brand and campaigns (ex. #throwbackthursday, #traveltuesday, #fashionfriday)
  • Like and comment on consumer / influencer photos
  • Reply to comments on your photos
  • Avoid filters and make your photos professional and appealing (photos that include the color blue, are more likely to be looked at and liked).

The ways you can use instagram:

  • Give sneaks peeks into new product lines
  • Show event photos
  • Behind the scenes action
  • Tell a story around a campaign
  • Allow an influencer to take over your instagram account for a day
  • Have a contest and do a fun giveaway
  • Integrate within your website and blog for more exposure of the content

The things you may not know, but should:

  • The ultimate compliment on instagram is a regram of another’s photo
  • As a brand you may want to ask permission first and you can through direct message if you prefer to do it privately
  • Links in comments are not clickable, so make sure to put the most important one you’re driving to in your bio
  • If you’re trying to sell retail through your instagram, consider style tools that help youmonetize your brand on instagram

Bonus:

  • My number one tip for almost all social channels – be human. Have fun. And see where the community takes you.

Note – I focused mostly on images here, but videos are a great way to use your Instagram account too. Sprinkle them in, but don’t make them every post, as Instagram is definitely more of a photo channel first and foremost. Have questions on how to get started or optimize your instagram as you move forward? Reach out in the comments below!

p.s. I instagram everyday because I’m a bit of an #instageek.

Image source: Nordstrom Instagram

 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 

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

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

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

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

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