Foursquare, a data machine

Foursquare, originally a mobile check in app for getting brand discounts and perks for consumers, was founded back in 2009. Seven years later, the app has decoupled into two apps (Swarm and foursquare) and is still allowing similar functionality, but for brands, this app is a whole new treasure chest of opportunity. It is a data machine.

Why should your brand care? Four reasons.
All the data
As stated in Wired – [Foursquare offers] massive amounts of location data that other companies collect. Lots of apps can access your GPS coordinates, but matching those coordinates to an actual place—such as a restaurant, a gym or a home—is more difficult, [and Foursquare helps with this]. Imagine, knowing where your consumer frequents on a daily basis. When they go to the gym versus when they run errands and where. What types of food and designers they prefer. It’s a goldmine of data for brands to uncover and relate to their own consumer and brand goals.
The accuracy
Not sure how accurate an app like this could be? Well according to Business Insider and Foursquare, it predicted the drop in sales of Chipotle in advance of its actual drop.

On April 12, Jeff Glueck, the CEO of Foursquare, published a post on Medium predicting that Chipotle’s first-quarter sales would be down nearly 30%. That was based on foot-traffic stats built from explicit check-ins and implicit visits from Foursquare and Swarm app users who enable background location.

Some call it alternative data. It’s not like the norm we’re used to in marketing statistics and data collection, in the past, but with our smart phones in our pockets, our smart watches on our wrists, and soon our smart earbuds in our ears, the data companies will have on where we are and what we’re doing will be unfathomable. Marketers rejoice.

Note – Currently this data is more accurate especially in cities versus suburbs/rural areas where it may have less usage.

You know what your target consumers are actually doing (before/during/after).

It’s based on their interests and what matters to them. You aren’t checking into something unless you have a purpose or interest behind it.

According to Fast Company – The company’s 35 million users have helped created a database of more than 50 million points of interest, from bars to restaurants to ice cream shops. While many companies have powerful location databases—Yelp, Yext, the Yellow Pages—Foursquare’s database is unique in that it’s inherently social: It was built on the 4 billion check-ins that users uploaded via the app.

It’s one thing to write a review, or state what you think on Facebook, it’s another thing to actually go somewhere and spend time there on a regular basis. Your habits and where you go, are a part of who you are as a person. Ask yourself, what did you do today? You’re likely to mention where you went, right? There you go. Foursquare has a timeline of where you went and in turn your target consumers. They know the % of consumers who are likely to go a nail salon after the gym or perhaps the grocery store. These trends and accurate points are helpful in knowing when they’ll visit your brand because it’s not just about being near the store/location, but when they actually step foot inside (which Foursquare can tell you).

You can create content and opportunities that really matter to your consumer and target them accordingly

Brands (along with their internal teams and agencies) can also work with Foursquare to determine the right content and approach for your specific audience based off the data collected. For example, your brand could consider targeted offers, or partnering with a retailer to provide a more exclusive opportunity. And with Foursquare’s offering pinpoint your brand can provide targeted content specifically based off of the data, where consumers actually go, utilizing their ecosystem of apps (including publishers/advertisers), audience segments (creating custom audiences based on the data and interests), and lastly working with partners (examples include but are not limited to AT&T, Samsung, and more).

Bonus:

And as a fun little scoop, most recently Foursquare determine who the audience was to visit comic con most and their related habits – as seen here.

Hello  “search and discovery” and “alternative data” – the new Foursquare. The Foursquare that most brands are thirsty after.

This post was originally written for socialnomics.  
Revision: Foursquare currently has 50 million monthly active users, over 100 million venues worldwide, over 10 billion all-time check-ins

Know Your Brand Audience and Give Them What They Want

Knowing your brand audience isn’t just an option, it’s a necessity when it comes to marketing well. It allows you to provide value to the audience that matters most, and ensure you can target directly to them.
Three ways to learn a little more about them include:

  1. See what they’re reading – sounds unexpected, but it’s true. Think about the content your brand would put out and see who else is writing similarly. It could be a competitor, or it could be an influencer, or it could be an author. Consider checking out blogs related to yours and see who is leaving comments. What do they have to say. What do they have questions on? What do they feel is most important? What relates to their needs and interests?
  2. Understand their needs – That leads us here. Listen to what they’re saying. Listen to them in social media. Keep listening to what they tweet, post, and comment. Make a list of what it is that they struggle with. What obstacles they’re trying to overcome. How can your brand help? What can your brand offer to fulfill those needs? For example, can your brand offer content or a product to help? If not, canyour brand partner with someone else who can to share the value given?
  3. Learn their interests – By learning what else they like outside of what your product and service, you can potentially offer more value. You can also target them better. For example, Amex learned their audience loved music, and wanted special access to events. What did they do? They gave it to them. They offered them exclusive offers to events, and an ability to have access that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.

Once your brand has a grasp of what they’re doing outside of your brand. What their needs and interests are…then what?

  1. Create the content – Create content that can be geared towards your audience. It can be an email campaign, blog posts, and/or social media content. For example if your brand wants to start simple, perhaps it’s through Instagram and Pinterest first. Allowing your brand to be discovered through hashtags and search. Providing short, visual content, that allows your consumer to receive small snippets of value, while building out your arsenal by learning what works and what doesn’t.
  2. Repurpose It – When you create a great piece of content, leverage it further. For example if you have a blog post that is awesome, use some of it in an email. Take  a quote and post it on Pinterest and link back. Share a valuable point through Twitter with a relevant hashtag. Syndicate it on another medium.
  3. Target it – Use the interest targeting and demographics data and target it to the audience you want. If you want awareness, broaden your target a bit, to get more fish.

In the end, your audience is always a moving target. Like any individual they grow, change, and evolve. Their interests and needs change with them. Keep listening, and learning, and in turn test and see what works.

This post was originally written for Socialnomics.
Image source: 98togo

Battle of the Animated Content: Rise of the GIFs

 


According to Twitter’s blog – “last year, people on Twitter shared over 100 million GIFs…”- no big deal right? Perhaps that’s why Twitter has also allowed brands and consumers to discover, consume, and share GIFs even more easily through GIF search on Twitter. And if that’s not enough you can search more on tumblr. And even dating apps like Bumble allow you to respond via GIF. It’s a whole new world…

Have the GIFs taken over? Are emojis in trouble? Game of the “Animated Content” to show us who will take the Throne?

So what does that mean for brands?

Brands should consider how GIFs can play into their content strategy, especially within social media and blogs. GIFs are shareable content and allow consumers to relate and get a feeling or emotion a lot faster than reading through a bunch of text. Especially when consumers are going to pass through your content in seconds, through their newsfeed, a GIF can catch their attention. It may have actual stopping power if it’s engaging and creative enough (fun, funny, and relatable). And stopping power is a hard thing to do, especially when social media is so cluttered, through both paid content and organic. Both curated and original. Both visual and not. GIFs are a way to grab attention, and then your brand has to remember to take it from there, because a GIF can only do so much.

And if your brand is unsure, there are other visual animations that you can consider. For example, emojis are still at play. Some brands use them in subjects line in email marketing in order to get a consumer’s attention in their inbox. We all know the inbox is a mind field of clutter, and getting a consumer to get past the subject line and preview, to actually open the email is no small feat. Others use emojis in their social media text to represent a certain emotion or feeling, that can be relatable to consumers.

Remember, your brand has to evaluate and consider whether it’s worth curating existing GIFs (or emojis, etc) or creating your own. The key here again is relevance to the consumer. GIFs alone don’t mean anything, but within context and surrounded by key messaging related to the brand, they can provide an opportunity to engage with the user on a different level. For example, consumers enjoy content that allows them to share it with their own friends and audience. If your content can get to that level, then you’ve reached true engagement with your consumer. Because nowadays it’s not about the eyeballs you get on your GIF (and content), it’s about the action the consumer takes when they see it. Will they like it (ok, cool), will they share it (better), will they comment positively (also, cool), and/or will they start following your brand to get more content (even better).

Still unsure? Just look at the new Apple iOS for the iPhone. It allows consumers to share GIFs built into their keyboard. In addition, consumers have had the ability to add and use different emoji keyboards, as well as create their own Bitmoji to communicate with. There are some consumers who only communicate through imagery now (hello, Snapchat). This is a white space for brands to enter. Imagine your brand (example Top Shop) having created your own imagery (emojis, gifs) for consumers to have access to and use as part of their communication. It becomes organic use of branded content or related content. Your consumers are now sharing a piece of your brand, a story through their eyes. A whole new form of UGC.

Always do your research and only enter this universe, if GIFs/Emojis are relevant to your brand. It has to be authentic to work well. For example is the brand voice/tone humorous, entertaining and/or human. We hope so (at least with the third). If so, your brand can find GIFs that are able to be shared within the brand tone, without going against the grain of the brand. For example, an athletic brand could find humor in training, and/or provide a quick tip on how to do something. A financial brand, could find irony in finances, that allow consumers to relate. While a fashion brand could find something fun and entertaining to share. Something that consumers are like, wow that’s cool – I must share this now.

In the end, GIFs are here people. Embrace them at your own risk (i.e. at your own fun). And when you’ve had enough, they’ll be something new and shiny around the corner, of course.

Brand Checklist: Working with Social Influencers

Grow Your fashion brand influencers

Influencers is a word that seems to be used all too often. At it’s most basic, it is a word that defines a celebrity, journalist, advocate, social media “star”, or anyone who’s thoughts and opinions have a strong impact on the people who follow them.Working with influencers to grow awareness of your fashion brand can be a great strategy. But first, you have to identify them.

The biggest thing to remember is that it isn’t just the number of followers a person has that characterizes them as an influencer. It’s typically that they are an expert in a subject matter in some capacity.

Whether you’re a startup or an established brand, it’s important to have some set parameters when working with influencers for a program. This helps to avoid issues when it comes to relevance and authenticity of content and ensuring the brand and influencer will work well together.

Here’s Your Checklist for Working with Influencers to Grow Your Fashion Brand

  1. Start with a lot of research: Check their background, check their current posts. What are they saying, how are they saying it? Do they engage with their following or do they delete comments they don’t like? Do they have an email signup on their website– then sign up. Are they on the platforms that you have seen the most traction for your brand? How often do they post? You cannot do too much research.
  2. Make sure they are on-brand: Do they have the same vibe as your brand? Is their tone complementary to yours? How do they communicate?
  3. They are still using their voice: While it’s important that their tone is complementary to yours, you also want to make sure that they still have their own voice. You want to make sure that don’t ever compromise their own brand in order to make money.
  4. Who are they working with already: Check to see that the influencer isn’t working with your direct competitors recently (at least in the last year).
  5. Are they too obvious: Meaning, often, once an influencer becomes more famous he/she may start saturating their content creation with sponsored stuff. When this happens, they often lose the respect of their following. So it’s good to check if they are still doing original content and sponsored posts are not their primary source of content.
  6. Give ideas: Some influencers (especially celebrities) may be great at what they do, but not so great at coming up with ideas for sponsored content. Don’t be afraid to give them a nudge towards what they could do, so when they create an Instagram post, it doesn’t seem like a blatant ad.
  7. Lay out the terms: Be sure you have stated everything that you want done in the collaboration upfront, including the number of social media posts per channel. How many blog posts you get, whether you’re included in any emails, etc. Also make sure that your brand can utilize their name and the content they create throughout owned, earned, and paid media. Don’t make any assumptions.

The last thing your brand wants is to be associated with sponsored content that isn’t original and valuable. So take the time and follow the list.

This post was originally written for startup fashion. 

 

Social Strategy Checklist for your Brand

 

social strategy fashion business

It’s important to remember that great social media content is the key to being successful on any platform. It sounds obvious but a lot of brands (especially those with minimal resources), post things on social, just to post. There’s not a thoughtful approach. Furthermore, social media is more than a channel. It’s not just Facebook and Twitter. It’s a behavior that people have daily. And in order to reach them, brands need content that truly connects with their target audience.

So how do we build a social strategy that will be successful for your brand? Let’s consider this formula:

First: Do the Research

  • Identify your target based psychographics (what they value and care about)
  • See where they spend time online (are they on Instagram 10 times a day or do they tweet every last thought that pops into their heads?)
  • Compare how your competition fairs on these channels (what are brands that are similar to your doing?)

Second: Put Together Your Plan

  • Identify your overall purpose or goal for each platform (think more creatively than “making more sales”- mailing list sign ups is a good one)
  • Choose a few different kinds of content that you think will resonate with your audience (be specific- if you want to post inspirational quotes, what kind? About what topic? Around what sentiment?)
  • Identify the platforms you’ll use and their purpose for your brand and reaching your customer (i.e. customers use Pinterest to dream/plan – let them dream about their upcoming Fall wardrobe made by your brand)
  • Consider content formats and frequency per channel (i.e. Twitter will have a larger frequency than Facebook)
  • Identify content sources for creation/curation/co-creation (how will you make these graphics? Where will you find these interesting articles? etc)
  • Create success metrics to measure by (video views, website visits, social shares)

Third: Get Moving

  • Create the content!
  • Test your content
  • Measure your content against the goals you created
  • Review and assess, then make changes as you learn what’s working and what’s not

Tools You Need:

  • An editorial calendar to keep track of your monthly content per channel, and allows you to plan ahead for upcoming cultural events
  • A scheduling tool such as Buffer or Hootsuite
  • A budget to boost and target posts that are successful and important for an upcoming campaign or product launch

Finally:

  • Create a crisis and response management plan for when things go wrong – because eventually something usually does
  • Determine how you will mix in customer service or separate it from your posts within each channel

Your content is part of your brand’s identity and it should be created with similar thought and care as your collections.

This post was originally written for startup fashion. 

Your Brands Needs a Social Strategy

fashion business social media marketing

Social media still seems new to some brands, but it’s not a new part of marketing. There are people hired for brands to run global social departments in order to stay competitive within the space and stay fresh and engaging with their customer base.

With startups, a social media strategy is an important piece to the overall marketing strategy.Sometimes with little time and little resources, we jump on social channels and run with haste, rather than with quality and thought-through content. Let’s change that.

Social media is:

  • Visual- Important for fashion brands to be able to show off their assets.
  • Fast- You can get sneak peeks and new off the shelf products in front of them right away.
  • A connective tissue- It allows you to connect to consumers in a way that no paper magazine ad could.

Great things for a startup who needs to make its presence known, and fast. But with the right strategy, there’s so much more you can do.

  • Gain Customer knowledge- You’ll get to see what your customers like and don’t like, what types of content they prefer, and where they prefer to engage with you.
  • Have faster customer service- It allows you to respond faster to their concerns and excitement.
  • Be competitive- It allows you to stay on top of your most fierce competition by listening and keeping a close eye.
  • Make it personal- It allows your startup and brand to connect to consumers on a personal level through responding in real time, answering questions, praising them for being awesome.
  • Build Relationships- And in turn allows you to build an army of advocates who will speak on your behalf.

These are just some of the reasons why you need to think strategically about your social content and not just post and be on social media because you know you should be.

You need to think through your target market, where they play on social, and what content is right for them (and your brand). We’ll talk about that in detail in our next article.

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion. 

Mobile: Search and Ease for Consumers and How Brands need to Adapt

 

We’ve seen the importance of convenience transforming our tech, digital, and social media experiences over the past months and years. Consumers, as we know, want things at their fingertips – when they want it, where they want it, and how they want it. They don’t want disruption from what they choose to view, and don’t want inconveniences such as leaving the mobile app they’re in in order to continue a content experience.
Brands are adapting. Advertisers (brands) are adapting. And they have to.
The upcoming ios9  is going to go even further.
The preview supposedly boasts some of the following:
  • the ability to block ads;
  • search within spotlight for finding something within any app or doc on your device versus having to search multiple apps for what you want to
Why does this matter?
Brands will have to work harder. Content needs to work harder. 
Right now it’s hard to tell how this will affect native ad experiences, but as we are seeing with Hulu (letting consumers opt out of ads completely for a higher price point), consumers will have more choices on what they want to view. So your brand’s content needs to be on point. It needs to be valuable and interesting. It needs to entertain or educate. It needs to be something your consumer target deems worth their time as they run from grabbing their latte to their next meeting.
Is this a bad thing for brands?
Not necessarily. It will weed out those who don’t put in as much effort into their content and other will rise.
This post was originally written for Socialnomics. 

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

3 Small Businesses who Kick a Little Butt in Mobile

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Further Reading:

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

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

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

5 Ways to Enhance Your Brand’s Search Marketing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sources:

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

The Importance of Mobile for Brands Today

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your Smart Phone & Your Productivity: Pros and Cons

Many of us tech obsessed, gadget oriented, app-using, smart phone addicted individuals breathe, eat and sleep with our favorite devices. Can you imagine what that does to our daily productivity? To most of us that means we can:

  • answer emails quicker,
  • respond to phone calls and texts faster,
  • pay with our smart phones rather than needing our wallets,
  • pay our bills
  • track our schedule
  • take notes
  • find where we’re going,
  • listen to our music,
  • track our fitness routines,
  • go shopping on the go
  • and/or ask Siri to just do it for us.

But what about when it causes us to sleep less and in turn be less productive the next day?

This infographic on the affects of gadgets on your sleep demonstrated that there are unfortunate consequences…

Are the side effects of less sleep, less in person socializing, and less alertness worth the balance of being more efficient and being more connected?  Let me know in the comments below how you feel about your smart phone activity. How many devices do you use in a day? Has it made you less or more productive in your daily life?

Source: http://www.onlinepsychologydegree.net/2012/11/12/sleeping-with-gadgets/

Note: this post was originally written for Socialnomics.

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/