Instagram: Contests that Work

Instagram, the ever popular mobile app allows brands, influencers, and consumers to share and unveil their visual stories. Brands tease products, show insider stories on the development of campaigns. Influencers are tapped to help unveil new releases, do giveaways, and/or help promote the brand in unique and fun ways. Consumers – well consumers are doing whatever they want. They show their daily lives, a sneak peek into what makes them who they are, and the brands they choose to connect with.
And one thing, consumers seem to love on Instagram are contests. But here’s the thing, contests need to be simple, easy to complete via mobile, and not time consuming in order for consumers to participate.

A few simple contest methods that work:

1. Upload Photo and Tag with hashtag
2. Like and Comment on Post
3. Repost Image with Hashtag
4. Like and Tag Others

Make it cooler by:

1. Incorporating both brand, influencer and UGC elements. For example, allow an influencer the reins to your instagram handle for a day. Especially when it’s someone attractive (yes, really) people flock to the handle to check out what they have to say and what they post.
2. Giving a fan the chance to be featured is always fun for the consumer
3. Doing the contest around a special time of year, event, and/or tv show to boast the type

One contest that consumers could do without:

The Loop giveaway – This contests typically involves several steps including but not limited to:
1. Liking the photo of an influencer.
2. Answered a question in the comments.
3. Clicking on the next influencer tagged in the photo.
4. Repeating Steps 1 – 3 with that said influencer.
5. Repeating this several times (potentially up 25 or 30 times) until you are brought back to the original influencer you started with.
Who has time for that? I was dismayed the first time I attempted this because I thought the giveaway was cool. After going through 3-4 rounds of the above, I gave up and walked away. If it takes more than 90 seconds to enter a contest, I’m out. There are two things that work when it comes to contest on Instagram – simple and creative/fun. If it’s not that, then don’t waste your time brands!

Cool vendor to consider:

Offerpop is a great partner that helps brands have a contest across social channels and site experiences. It allows the contests to go beyond the instagram interface. For example, people can enter a contest simply by uploading a photo through instagram (or channel of choice) and tagging appropriately with a particular hashtag and they’re entered. Then those entries can but thrown together in one place for all consumers to see and/or vote on for a second layer to the contest. I particularly like the example offerpop did with the Colts here because it involves puppies. Puppies always win. We know this.
Photo Sources: Firebellymarketing; scottgombar
This post was originally written for Socialnomics. 

How to Avoid: The Pitfalls of Influencer Marketing

Note: This post was originally written for iMedia Connection.

In many ways, influencer marketing is still a shiny object for brands and marketers. It can mean more eyeballs on your content, more engagement with your brand, and ideally, the conversion of viewers/readers into advocates and loyal customers. But that’s only if it’s done right.

You could score the best brand fit out there, and the most renowned name for your particular campaign. You could check off every box on your targeting and distribution strategy. But there’s one crucial, mistaken assumption that much of our industry is still making: your influencer may be great at his or her day job — but do they know how to tell a story with your brand’s product or service?

Not necessarily. For all the planning that brands and agencies do, the true checklist involves one main asset: relevant stories.

Influencers should be contextual marketers

Let’s say that your influencer of choice is an actress. She has a large audience who follows her from every step on the street to each post on Instagram. Her fans are excited to see and live through her experiences. They’re enchanted by her vacations, the outfits she wears — how she is the way she is. Then one Tuesday, the audiences check their Instagram feeds to find a random product snapshot of some everyday item. It has no context, no rhyme or reason to be in her feed. And it’s a blatant advertisement rather than being relevant to her regular content, persona, and audience.

Our job as marketers is to ensure that the talent that we work with understands how to be contextual marketers. The products that they promote should become a part of their experiences — not just a snapshot of soap or orange juice on a counter. Ultimately, no matter how popular your influencer is otherwise, when fans feel like they’re just being fed ads in their feeds, they lash out — both against the talent and the brand. Both sides risk alienating fans and losing credibility. It’s a lose-lose situation.

Instead, brands should work with these partners to dig deeper; to help create a relevant storyline around their products and services. One of my favorite examples is when Aimee Song, also known as Song of Style to the fashion obsessed, partnered with 7 for All Mankind. The brand sent her on a trip to Catalina Island, where she blogged about styling the brand’s denim through her adventures, and shared pictures across her social channels. It was authentic because she showed why she paired certain outfits together, and during what occasions. The product(s) were a part of her experiences, not just a random post, or promotional tweet.

This partnership also felt natural because there seemed to be a clear understanding of Aimee’s audience. Marketers can’t help influencers create truly relevant stories unless they understand their community. Does their audience engage more with experience storylines? Would they be responsive to instructional content (i.e., showing them how to use a specific product or service, and the benefits of it)? And hopefully you’ll have done your homework on this question before signing any contracts, but will exposure to their audience benefit your brand? If it’s a community that’s not in your target market and won’t help any of your marketing goals, find someone else who will.

Ultimately, when done well, influencer marketing has the power to yield timely, compelling content to a fandom that’s eager to engage. Take the time and do the work upfront with your talent to ensure a great experience for them, your brand, and the audience. With the exception of some seasoned pros, simply asking them to tweet or post about your product will get you nowhere — and even with the former, you still need to make sure that you’re in alignment. If done correctly, not only will the audience respond, but you may just turn said influencer into a long-term brand champion.

Image source: Instagram 

FTW: When Brands & Consumers Connect

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Working in digital marketing on a day-to-day basis, it makes me stoked to see when brands and consumers truly connect. When a brand takes a beat and steps back to reflect and understand what their consumers really want. Even cooler, when a brand reinvents part of itself to be with the times. One such brand is Banana Republic. Perhaps I’m biased, because they now sell so many leather oriented clothing, but so what? Here’s what we can learn from BR as of late:

1. They Hired a Kickass Creative Director – one to help reinvent BR and shape it into a new, cooler, fresher brand. Marissa Webb. I salute you. You took BR from being a stuffy, conservative office brand to one that women are excited to wear. The brand now exudes confidence, sex appeal, and best of all, amazing clothes that fit just right.

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2. The advertising fits the new brand – The new ads are edgy and they standout. Best part, Marissa herself touts the clothes, makes personal ads through her instagram (without being an ad), and allows people to connect with the brand in a way people never could before. In a way, (sorry Tory), she’s the new Tory Burch. She is a visionary for the brand. Is that a bold statement? Perhaps.

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3. They are human – By far my favorite characteristic. The brands replies, comments, and favorites posts by its fans. They thank people for purchasing their clothes. Reward them with fun loyalty gifts. And best of all, are just kind and nice. Not to mention, Marissa herself “favorited” my last tweet about the brand. That is huge in my book!

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What brands stand out to you? Which brands make you say – yes, I love this brand?

Note: 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!

 

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.

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.

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.  

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/

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

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!

 

Five Easy to Use Tips to Optimize your Brand’s YouTube Channel

 

StartUp FASHION Business Optimizing YouTube Channel

Nowadays with so many video content options from Instagram and Vine — it’s easy to forget about YouTube. However, it is still one of the largest search engines on the web and can be perfect for enabling your video content to be discovered, consumed, and shared across channels.

We’ve spoken before about the value of video content for your fashion brand, but how about optimizing your video content so people can find it?

Before jumping in or even if you already have, make sure you are optimizing your brand’s YouTube channel…

  1. Channel Title and Description – Having an easy to remember channel name is best, especially when people are using the search bar to find it. The description is helpful for SEO purposes, and it is key to remember that the first few sentences are seen most often (as the rest gets cut off unless you click for a full description). So make sure that the beginning is helpful in understanding the objective of your YouTube channel.
  2. Video Title and Description – Similar to the channel title and description, not only is it important to utilize keywords for SEO purposes, but it’s helpful to make it easy for people to know what the video is. If it’s too obscure, less people may click on it when searching; and in turn less people may share.
  3. Video Transcript – This may seem like a silly tiresome thing you have to do, but remember YouTube is a search engine. Capitalize on those keywords and SEO value of being able to use them in the transcript as well.

To read the rest of my tips, check out original and full post on Startup Fashion.

 

Five tips for Producing Vine Videos for your Brand

Vine videos are not just any video content; they require specific expertise and care when producing them in order to cater to the vine audience as well as the mainstream audience. Some brands like Burberry have taken specific note to the “stop motion” feature and succeeded in doing it well. Others could probably use a little more “finesse” as you would put it. But enough about the brands who do it well and those who may not…here are a few things to consider when making your brand’s Vine videos (aside from ensuring you hold your camera horizontal and not vertical, of course):

1. Create storyboards: Like any other brand content, for example blog content, your team should plan ahead on the what the message will be, whether it’s part of a series,  how it folds into the larger marketing effort, etc. Once you have the strategy behind the Vine videos you want to create, storyboards help the producers create the content in a consistent and efficient manner. It also helps to keep the story aligned across several vine videos that may be in a series including the look, feel, tone, and voice.

2. Consider a freelancer: The majority of brands may not have “professional viners” in-house or those who deem themselves to be proficient at making these short form videos. That’s ok! If your budget allows it, consider finding these professionals and having them help your brand out with their expertise. It may be worthwhile not only to get started, but also to learn from them on stop motion. camera moves, and even simple things like the correct lighting.

3. Make your Vine Searchable: Like on Twitter, hashtags help your content be found easier within Vine and outside it. Using branded and common hashtags are important so that your content doesn’t get lose in the void of hashtags that no one uses. And in turn linking them with your own hashtags helps to build momentum around your brand.

4. Categorize it: The new feature (if you’ve updated your app recently) allows individuals and brands to categorize their Vine content in categories like Comedy, Art & Entertainment, Cats, Dogs, Beauty & Fashion, Food, Health & Fitness, Music, Nature, News & Politics, Sports, Urban and even the occasional “weird.” When publishing your Vine videos within the app it’s important to keep these categories under consideration, because like hashtags it’ll help your audiences see your Vine, share them, and get even more eyeballs upon your awesome content.

5. Cross-promote your content: Aside from your audience sharing your content directly from the app, it’s important your brand does too. But before you throw it across every social platform you have, consider which of your audiences would like this content in this format and this succinct of a message. It might be great for Twitter and your blog, but perhaps not Facebook and LinkedIn. Test and learn and see what works best for your brand.

Last but not least, don’t make it a one and done adventure into Vine. If your brand is really interested in this short video content, plan ahead and be sure i’s the right place for your brand because once you’re there, you should make an investment into creating and sharing more than just one video. And most of all, have some fun with it!

Note: This post was originally written for Socialnomics.

Nordstrom: A social media case example for any consumer brand

Nordstrom's social media approach

The well known retailer Nordstrom is proving itself to be an expert at engaging with its audience across multiple social channels, as well as connecting both online and offline for continued engagement.

On thing that Nordstrom ensures is that its visual content is available on whichever channel its audience prefers — providing insight into the latest styles available in the store, upcoming sales, and much more.

Let’s take a look at Nordstrom’s Social Media Approach

Twitter and Facebook

Nordstrom uses Facebook and Twitter to provide updates on daily specials and tips through their committed community managers. The community managers are helpful, quick to respond, and always give nice, sweet comments when consumers share their latest Nordstrom finds.

Going the extra mile: When customers have a question for the store, they often use Twitter to ask it.  Nordstrom, unlike a lot of major retailers out there, do actually respond within minutes including direct messages for direct answers needed.

Email Marketing

Frequent (but not too frequent) emails allow consumers to be alerted to the new trends available in store and online, as well as sales occurring at that moment so their customers don’t miss out on a great deal.

Pinterest and Instagram

Nordstrom’s Pinterest and Instagram accounts are always up to date with their latest trends.  They include highlights of bloggers and their best customers wearing styles from the store. When customers tag their latest purchases with Nordstrom handles or hashtags, they are automatically considered for a highlight.

tumblr

Nordstrom’s blog is especially unique because it isn’t just about the products but also gives consumers an inside look at Nordstrom’s take on fashion. This includes street style pictures from the week, which is great for a quick daily inspiration and feels almost like a service that the retailer is offering its customers.

Takeaways and Lessons to Apply to Your Brand

  • Use visual content that highlights your products in a way that the consumer can see the value, be excited to share it, and potentially purchase it.
  • Provide a path to purchase on appropriate channels.
  • The same content doesn’t live on every channel; allow diversity.
  • Allow the audience to be a part of the content; User Generated Content can allow your fans to feel special.
This post was originally written for Startup fashion – for the full list of takeaways and lessons for your brand check out my full post here
 

How to: Use Hashtags Across Social Media Channels

Hashtags.

Hashtags, which began on our phones, ok but really on Twitter for aggregating conversations in one stream related to topics, events, brands, and more. They’ve since become utilized across other channels like Instagram, tumblr, Facebook and more.

Of course they aren’t used the same across all channel and there are distinct differences for each channel and best practices for each. Below is a quick hit list on how to approach hashtags on some of the most popular social channels:

Twitter:

  1. Try not to use more than 2 to 3 hashtags (preferably 1 or 2) in a tweet
  2. Keep characters to less than 120 when placing a hashtag at the end of a tweet so when someone ReTweets, it’s not cut off
  3. Listen to the conversation on a hashtag before jumping in to ensure it’s appropriate for the brand and the tweet
  4. Monitor your branded hashtag conversations daily
  5. Having too many brand hashtags can cause confusion on when to use which – keep it simple

Instagram:

  1. Listen to see which hashtags are being used for your topics so you can hop into relevant conversations with your photos
  2. Try not to have a billion hashtags on each photo – people get lost in the clutter
  3. Do use some of the same hashtags often to create consistent viewership and loyal followers on certain categories

Tumblr:

  1. Hashtags are like metatags on tumblr so you can use more than you would on other channels to hop into more search streams – allowing more people to discover your content
  2. Monitor to see which tags are searched for on tumblr and tag your content appropriately
  3. Don’t mis-tag your content

Facebook:

  1. Less hashtags do better
  2. Try cultural terms rather than branded terms to reach audiences
  3. Monitor and have fun with it

Questions? Comments?

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

Image by Maria Elena.

Futher Reading:

Video Content – Is it part of your content strategy?

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

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

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

Short Form Video Content

The 6 second Vine

Benefits:

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

Disadvantages:

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

The 15 second Instagram Video

Benefits:

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

Disadvantages:

Longer Form Video Content

YouTube

Benefits:

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

Disadvantages:

  • Not as simple as shoot and share

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

Additional Reading:

 

 

The Habits of Teens on Social Media

When it comes to social media there are tons of flavors ranging from the “generic” Facebook to the eclectic Vine and Snapchat. Teenagers are notorious for being experimental and checking out new things, and not just following the norm. When it comes to social media, it’s not much different.

1. My Mom’s on Facebook: Nowadays with the influx of individuals in their 30s, 40s, 50s and older joining and becoming more active on Facebook, teenagers are becoming less active or less willing to share as much on the platform. They feel it’s “less cool” and also don’t want their parents to see everything they share. Although there are privacy settings, it’s not the same when it’s not a place they can share so freely as they did before their parents joined.

2. Photos, Photos, and more Photos: We all know that photos are some of the most shared pieces of content across social media and when it comes to teenagers it’s not much different. Teens love to take and share photos, especially on apps like Instagram where you can play around with the filters and make them look unique and fun. Additionally, teens feel they can have just as good of a conversation on Instagram as they had on Facebook through the comments under pictures.

3. Privacy? - Teens although caring about not having their parents see their content, are sometimes more carefree with what they share. Some pictures show more than they should; they share contact information; and connect with as many friends and celebrities as possible – because they can.

4. tumblr - A quick and easy location for teens to blog about their daily lives, passions, and follow brands they love. It’s a way for them to expand on their careers during high school and college and get noticed sooner. Your resume only says so much, your blog can say so much more nowadays.

5. Try it and Move on - As the shiny object syndrome proves, there are so many social media channels that teens try new ones, get bored, and find a new one the following week. Some last longer, but they need real traction to do so including being easy to use, share, and have their friends join too.

What does this all mean you ask? If brands want to reach this target audience, they need to keep an eye on what’s hot for teens, and where they are interacting the most. It may be not facebook, but instagram, tumblr, twitter, and other easy to use and share platforms (especially visual) seem to be great venues to find and engage these teens.

Note: Some of this information was obtained through speaking with high school graduates and college freshmen and what they prefer on a daily basis and why.

Note: This post was originally written for socialnomics, and my post can also be found here.

Further Reading:

http://socialmediatoday.com/leaderswest/1494041/infographic-teenage-social-media-behavior-2013

http://www.edsocialmedia.com/2013/05/teens-social-media-5-highlights-of-pew-study/

Five Competitors and Add-Ons to Instagram Photo App

Instagram has been “downloaded like hotcakes” since it became available in late 2010 (now for both iphone and android interfaces). The perfect mix of a photo sharing app and social network for those visual fanatics. Currently with over 80 million users, it is still showing Facebook (who purchased it earlier this year) that the purchase was worthwhile and fans are not tinkering off anytime soon.
New in Instagram: The photo map which allows users to “opt-in” and then add their photos to the visual mpa where photos are geo-tagged.

However the “instagrams” of the world are popping up all over the place…Now there are new apps which connect to instagram to make filtering more fun, frames for your pictures, ability to combine photos in one one frame, and more. Here are a few of the newbies out there in the mobile space:

1) Hipstamatic:

Still an iphone solo app – but has the Instagram feel of an old Kodak camera, down to the viewfinder and all. Although it’s not free, it does allow you to upload pictures to instagram and integrates easily. In my opinion it’s fun for the older camera feel even when you’re doing it via iPhone.

2) Pic You

Known as the Instagram alternative, is very similar to Instagram in the look, feel, and filter appeal. Also lets you share with friends on Facebook and Twitter instantly. Although it doesn’t appear to have instant shares to Tumblr (as far as I’ve seen and read so far) it does have a web interface which is easy to use for those who like to upload via their computers.

3) InstaAlbum

An app which integrates with instagram to help users sort and share photos with ease via album, map, etc. The item that I saw that was intriguing about this one is that you can easily upload to Dropbox for saving. Back that pic up!

4) PicFrame

Combine your photos from your photo album from your Instagram album or others – combine them fun frames, and then automatically share to your social networks. Including Tumblr (win!) I love how easy it is to use and upload in minutes…

5) Camera+

An app that has more camera features to make you feel like you’re using a real camera with a touch exposure and focus. It even includes a stabilizer to steady your iPhone from your shaky hands. Although I still managed to feel inferior because I’m still an amateur photographer – it was fun to play with.

Personally I switch around on my apps and like to play with different ones, but in the end I am more faithful to Instagram. Which Photo app do you use? And why?

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

5 ways to use social media apps to capture your summer vacation

Summer brings many enjoyable times each season including beach trips, family time, bbq’s, and much more. The tough part is remembering to capture all these great times so you can recall and reminisce later on. Luckily there are many creative ways to do so effectively, quickly, and easily with the touch of a smartphone app.

Make it Fun

1. Instagram 
Capturing photos and making it easy for your loved ones to access, comment, and share has been made simpler through social networks like Facebook. However, there are other networks and applications, which allow one to be more creative with images such as Instagram. Instagram offers cool filters to allow pictures to be more vivid and unique. Best part it integrates smoothly with Facebook and Twitter for easy sharing to your normal channels.

2. Tumblr
Want another place to share your adventures throughout the summer? Consider a simple to use Tumblr Blog. It’s easy to set up, maintain, and integrate with your other channels. My favorite part is that you can take a quick picture from Instagram, share it to your Tumblr blog, and then share directly to Facebook or Twitter. What could be easier for sharing all those images from your road trip to the beach?

Share it with your inner circle

3. Path
Sometimes Facebook and Twitter means sharing with too many people, even those we may have “friended” or allowed to ‘follow” us can seem a bit much at times. Why not keep it simpler and more private with Path? Path allows a maximum of 150 friends, cool photo filters, location sharing, and more. And when you want to share to your larger circles, you can with integrating with your Facebook and Twitter too.

4. GroupMe
Taking a trip with your friends or want to share instantaneously your thoughts on what’s going on? Images from your hike, the great sunset, or the food and drinks you’re indulging on? Share with your inner circle via groupme and have a conversation right then and there. Not sure what dress to wear to the summer wedding? Ask your friends all at once via this easy messaging app.

Stay Organized

5. Evernote
Being organized isnt’ just for the office. Evernote allows easy integration with saving notes, images, and more so you can stay organized with packing lists, things to do on your trip, itineraries, hotel and direction information, and more. Why worry about that address you need when you can access from Evernote from your laptop, tablet, and/or smartphone. Could it get simpler? I think not.

Although these five apps are well known and many people use them already, they are sometimes overlooked when it comes to trips, great times, and sharing adventures with friends and family. Next time you set off on your next summer trip, don’t forget to capture it so you can look back on it later. All from your smartphone…

Ready, Set, Click.

Note: This post was originally written for Social Media Club, and my original post can also be found here. 


Image Credits:
http://www.cc-chapman.com/2012/why-i-love-path/
http://evernote.com/evernote/
http://demopit.com/2011/01/21/groupme-lets-you-effortlessly-group-text-with-friends/
http://ralphvelasco.tumblr.com/post/24299130196/ill-be-in-this-city-tomorrow-can-you-guess-where
http://pamsahota.tumblr.com/page/2

Three areas in Facebook’s Business Model to Question

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

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

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

Facebook Ad Reach is Minimal

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

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

Mobile: Who Will Dominate?

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

Instagram Acquitision

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

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

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

Five Simple Ways Marketers can take Advantage of Pinterest

So in case you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon, just have, or are wondering what all the hype is about, Pinterest is still sizzling. It’s a fun and useful tool that brands can use to their advantage in order to show a more visual side to its consumer market.

Now here’s what’s really important…how to truly capitalize on Pinterest and all it’s glory:

1. Integrate with other social networks: Allow your target market to see you on all the places they play. Share your new pins on your Facebook page or Tweet them out. Consumers don’t always know you are present on the latest social networks, so the more you promote your presence, the more traffic you may receive, even if just for mere curiousity.

2. Show a more visual side to your brand: Take the time to prepare aesthetically pleasing visual content to share. For example if your brand produces blog posts, such as tech, then make sure the pictures which will direct back to those posts are eye-catching. If your brand has consumer products to share, then ensure the photography behind it is something your target market will want to like, comment on, re-pin, and/or follow.

3. Use instagram: Be creative and use fun photography such as instragram to highlight certain boards. Pinterest focuses on visual beauty; the more you can make your pictures exciting to view, the more engagement you may receive from consumers as well as other brands.

4. Ensure the pins are items people will want to re-pin: When you are pinning your items to the different boards, ensure the link goes to something on your website, blog or other social network. It should help drive traffic to your other brand sites, and additionally be something your consumers will want to share their own followers on Pinterest by re-pinning your content.

5. Marketing Campaigns with Pinterest. Brands can utilize Pinterest  (along with Facebook and Twitter) to do creative campaigns which may include…

  • contests: For example, allowing consumers to create images to be featured on the pinterest page
  •  voting: For example, allowing consumers to vote on their favorite item on a specific board, or picking what other boards they would  like featured.
  • how-to: Feature how-to demos, videos, posts, and other items in order to let consumers get better insight into your service or           product.
  • audience-specific: For example having different boards with content specific to different audience groups. This will allow for more targeting rather than just focusing on one consumer group at a time.

Last but not least, make sure your brand doesn’t forget to let the public know you’re there. Use the Pinterest widgets for your website and other channels.

Wish List

Although Pinterest has taken off and many brands have already established their presence…there are always improvements that could be made. In my opinion Pinterest would be even more valuable if it had analytics within it for brands to monitor in order to improve their boards and pins. In the mean time brands can focus on the referral traffic through google analytics, which is helpful to know which pins are really of interest to their consumers.

Sources:

http://sproutsocial.com/insights/2012/02/pinterest-marketing/

http://www.socialnomics.net/2012/01/22/five-brands-engaging-like-pros-on-pinterest/

http://www.inc.com/john-brandon/9-tips-boost-your-business-pinterest.html

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204792404577227542820850590.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

 

5 Simple Tips for Using Tumblr

Recently I started utilizing my tumblr blog for unique, fun, and classic fashion I love, why I love it, and why it’s more unique through a digital scope. I love the simplicity of the platform and how it’s so convenient to post, even via the iPhone from my beloved instagram app. Lets just say, it’s my new love affair along with Instagram, of course.

1. Find your niche

As with any blog one starts, a focus point is key in order to not have a hodge podge of random topics and items. If you have a specific focus, then people will come to expect your post to be a source for information on that topic and hopefully one day come to trust it as an expert source or one just for fun to peruse. For example, Bergdorf Goodman started a tumblr for a few focus points, which include location, inspiration, visual and the team. It’s a great source to get to know the brand on a more personal level and dive deeper into what Bergdorf has to offer, aside from a retail establishment. It’s a source of iconic fashion, fun design ideas, and more. I especially love the “on location” segment which allows for an inside look into the brand, the models, and what it takes to get things “just right.”

2. Share or not to share

One of the best features (in my opinion) is the fact that you can so easily share your Tumblr blog on your social channels. It’s so smoothly integrated with platforms like Facebook and Twitter. For example, if you are on the go but want to share a quick post, do it from your phone, post, and poof: it’s immediately posted on your Twitter stream and Facebook Timeline. How much simpler could it get? And if you’re into (1) efficiency as well as (2) sharing your cool posts … tumblr makes it that much simpler for you.

3. Comments and Questions

Opt in and allow your blog posts to have comments and questions. Engagement is key when it comes to blog posts being visible and seen past your own computer screen. However, not only should you allow comments/questions, but you should respond in return as well as comment on other people’s blogs. It shows it’s not just about you and your own blog but also about the community of the platform and the people who appreciate the subject matter and people who contribute to it.

4. SEO it up

As with any blogger, you want your blogs to found, read, and shared by your audience. SEO plays a huge part in that, so optimize it to the best of your ability.

  • Keywords: Having rich keywords through your content, title, metadata, and URL are essential in order for those searching for that topic to come across your post. Not sure which keywords are the right ones? Check out Google Adwords keyword tool for some good starting points.
  • Meta Data: Google weights heavily on title tags so make sure your keywords are making it in there.
  • URLs: Your topic and keywords should also be in your URL in order for people to know easier that your post is about what they want to read up on, check out, and share.

5. Have fun – use instagram

I am a huge fan of integrating instagram along with my Tumblr. It makes for cool photography, great visuals, and a quick on the go post, such as me in my old office wearing my fave corduroy Toms shoes…

Check out mine – and tell me what you think. I am always looking for new insights, tips, and tricks. Share what you love about Tumblr in my comments below.

Keep your 2012 New Year Resolutions with these Five Helpful Mobile Apps

Have a list of New Year’s Resolutions? Need some help staying organized? Well there’s an App for that, of course. It may be easy thinking of resolutions to start in the upcoming new year, especially after the indulgent holidays…but not always as easy staying committed. Check out these Apps to tackle your resolutions a little more smoothly…

1. New Year’s Resolution List and To Do’s: An app called Resolutions 2012 allows one to record each resolution, identify what needs to be done in order to complete those resolutions (change of behavior, etc), and in turn track success by recording actions taken in the course of the new year. Cool features include being able to set custom motivations and rewards (recall Billy Madison preparing for an exam with his teacher) in order to stay motivated for noted resolutions. Customization is key and this app allows you to use your own photos, and more. For only .99 it may be worth the “splurge.”

2. Stay Organized with Notes: Ever take notes on one device, say your computer at work, but get home and realize you don’t have them on your laptop? It happens to the best of us, but with the help of Evernote, you can worry less and always have all your notes on any of your devices whether it be your multiple computers, tablet or smartphone! Best features include that you can even import emails, pictures from the web, and more. Save it to one device and it automatically saves to your other devices via the cloud. How much easier can it get? Being organized never seemed so sexy, than with Evernote.

3. Blog Easily and Frequently: So you have been slacking on your blogging but wish you could do it more easily and under those pesky time constraints. My new favorite way to blog, simply, yet effectively is through Tumblr. It allows you to share valuable content and even while you’re on-the-go. Imagine this…you have a great idea, but don’t want to wait until you get home to write about it. Write a quick post via your smartphone, have Tumblr post via the mobile app, and have it automatically share to your Facebook Friends/Fans and Twitter followers. Why wait, when it’s that easy?

4. Document more memories: Speaking of easy and awesome, Instagram allows photo enthusiasts to be unique through their mobile phones. So you’re walking through the city and take that perfect picture, add a cool twinge to the background (ex. toasted), then share to your Tumblr blog (See above), which then shares to your Facebook and Twitter. Geeky? Yes. Awesome? Definitely.

5. Run those calories off: So now you’re organized, on top of your resolution list, got some blogging and memories soaring through the cloud…but what about those pesky few pounds you gained over the holidays? With Runkeeper you can run, walk, bike or whatever suits your fancy. With this nifty GPS app, you can track your distance, calories, burned, and more. And did I mention you can connect it with your social apps so it keeps you accountable?

Next step? Download away. And get started! Although there are plenty more apps out there for your resolutions, these may get the inner geek in you started on some pretty nifty, helpful, and inspiring ones. Please feel to share other apps you love in the comments below!

Note: this post was originally written for Socialnomics. 

10 Great Community Manager Tools Worth Checking Out

Social Media simple and easy? Community Managers realize that is not the case. Social media takes a great time commitment and effort in order to manage efficiently and productively to assist a brand and accomplish marketing and business goals. So wouldn’t some cool tools be helpful in order to help a community manager manage his or her time better? I think so! Check out the tools I recommend for community managers and others implementing social media for their brands…

1) UberVu: known as the “social media platform that helps your team collaborate on listening, reporting and engaging in social media.” The team has been working hard on the upcoming release, which has two major goals: (1) making it easier for customers to get results from a few key use cases, like finding the right key people to engage with in social media and to do social media marketing; (2) make the service more small business friendly by making it both easier to use and focusing on solving some key problems that small businesses  are trying to address. As Dragos fromUberVu informed me, community managers will definitely want this because UberVuhas “simplified the service to an extent that most people can understand and get value from in minutes.” Aka – keep it simple stupid. Great motto, great product for community managers.

 

2) PostPost: For the upcoming release, there will be “faster results, more engaging results, faster new user onboarding, and reliable scaling.” Current users, which include Twitter users who value the people they follow and what they share, already love the tool and rave about it. Why should a community manager give it a shot?  In the words of Brad from PostPost, “We make engaging information more discoverable in the noisiest age of all-time.” Cutting through the clutter is huge, and a tool that can help is indispensable. In addition, as more and more information is shared on Twitter, Twitter becomes more valuable, but also more noisy. Which is to say that the value that’s there is harder to find. PostPost is uniquely designed to solve that problem. The search engine brings back Tweets, links and photos from the people you follow—the relevant content totally missing from real-time search.

3) Trunk.ly: Another cool service which has upgraded its already awesome offerings. In short, Trunk.ly is useful because it “automagically” collects the links you share online and then makes them searchable so you can find and retrieve them for later viewing or sharing. Tweet many links? Wish you had a easy way to “bookmark” them, save them, reference and utilize them later, but can’t find them anymore? Trunk.ly is perfect for just that. Simple, easy, and organized.

4) Viralheat: This nifty service “heats” up the social media monitoring and analysis process by doing half the work for you. It tracks mentions on the social platforms you use as well as mentions across the web including blog posts and articles. For example, if you’re working on a campaign, Viralheat will track when the campaign is being mentioned anywhere and everywhere, whether you’re at your computer or not. The tool that does the detailed analysis and lets you breathe a little easier.

5) Instagram: This tool may not organize your social media madness, but it is a creative way to utilize pictures in your campaigns as well as just helping with creating brand awareness and engagement with your target market. People don’t want to just see Tweets, posts, etc. They want to see fun visuals and things that allow them to see further into your brand — like the “human” side. So use instagram, snap a picture, make it cheesy and fun, and share on Twitter and/or Facebook for your brand lovers to see and comment on.

 

6) Twentyfeet: A tool that aggregates your stats in one place, which again decreases the time you spend on worrying about your social media – especially when it’s the weekend. Twentyfeet will let you know when there’s a stat you need to handle and manage right away. For example, it will give you an overview of your social platforms and let you know how your “key performance indicators develop over time,” and then “nudge you” when your metrics shift in a significant manner.

 

7) Formulists: Can’t remember who’s in what list on Twitter, who’s new, who’s removed? This nifty tool will help you to keep up with your newest followers, most recent tweeps you’ve chatted with, and more (which you can all adjust). Thus, you can worry less on keeping track of your tweeps and focus on keeping up with conversations that matter.

 8) Posterous: Tired of posting to each individual platform? Wish you could do it simply and efficiently all from one place with less worry and stress?Posterous allows you to post to multiple social media platforms via one simple medium. What? Your email! Photos, video, blog posts, even podcasts can all be distributed throughout your network just by sending an email. Convenience – yes, please!

9) Storify: No time to create content today? Curation is helpful in those instances. Storify helps community managers aggregate and curate content from around the social sphere and web. This tool is specifically helpful for when you are doing a specific campaign or event, in order to aggregate all the info simply and easily and then utilize for your marketing purposes.

 

 

10) Seesmic: Aside from the lovable mascot, Seesmic is an exceptional tool for being efficient and on top of all your social networks in one place, and at one time. Another great thing about Seesmic is that you can keep track of mentions, direct messages, and all your searches and more via one tool for your many platforms. It can also be used in any browser and on any smart phone. The “on the go” usage is key especially for real-time efficiency  – all great community managers know this. Don’t believe me? Check out their testimonials!

 

Next step? Check out the tools for yourself, tinker around, and comment below on what you think.

Note: this post was originally written for oneforty, which was acquired by Hubspot.