How Your Brand Can Win at Facebook Live

Video content is like a hurricane running over anything in its path. “People watch more than 100 million hours of video each day” – sites Simple Measured. Facebook Live has jumped into the arena of video contenders, and it is not taking the fight lightly. But before we weigh the brand benefits of Live video, let’s remember the difference.

Facebook Live is a live broadcast that brands and advertisers can make available from anywhere at anytime to their audience (assuming there is a good connection – Wi-Fi is recommended). It is an opportunity to engage in real time like any live news broadcast or show. And the benefits (partially) include:

  • The Live functionality is all within the Facebook App. Nowadays when it is hard enough to get a consumer to download yet another app, this is a huge win.
  • Brands can broadcast the live session, save it to their channel, and also share it directly to their feed for a recap for those who missed it.
  • Unlike Snapchat or Stories, Live sessions do not disappear.

And of course there are some brands really kicking butt at it lately. Here are two to learn from in regards to creativity and launching new products.

TasteMade- Creativity

A brand known well for its cooking recipes and how-to content on food and drink – took it one step further. Instead of the regular “lets make XYZ” Tastemade made their content fun and creative with a new twist. All their food was miniature (1/12 the size of its regular formats). Sounds silly, but the content is unique and engaging and has given TasteMade a new way to resonate with their audience that goes beyond the regular how-to.

Dunkin Donuts – New Products

Dunkin Donuts, is already a beloved brand where people will really do “run on Dunkin” with their devotion. So what did Dunkin do to create even more ways to promote engagement and loyalty? It allowed a vehicle through Live video for their biggest (and newest) fans to see how they come up with new products, and demonstrate it live. For example, they put together a “donut-themed wedding cake” during a live session. This was unique and a way for their audience members to engage with them in a way that is behind the scenes, and not their norm. According to Melanie Cohn (Social media manager, Dunkin Donuts) on Marketingland – “Our first video provided fans with a behind-the-scenes look into our kitchen for Valentine’s Day, featuring our culinary team preparing a cake made from heart-shaped donuts, and introduced a special February Dunkin’ Hearts Love contest, offering engaged couples a chance to win $10,000 for sharing their story of how their sweetheart proposed.” So in addition to being unique and showing another side to the brand, there was an incentive to watch and the audience will be even more excited to see what will happen next.

 

Before you go, here are a few more nuggets of wisdom to understand why Live is the new video platform.

Video is not going anywhere. According to eMarketer “Facebook…recently reporting that video was a big reason for a strong quarter. The site said it saw eight billion video views a day from 500 million users. Taking queues from YouTube, the company has started to slip in ads to these videos, thus the strong results.” So what does that mean? Video is the wave of digital future. And if you are not sure, just take a look at your Facebook newsfeed and see how many of the posts you see are videos.

When it comes to Live video, specifically according to to Simply Measured: Even Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg believes Facebook will be mostly composed of videos by 2020. Considering that, check out these incredible Facebook Live statistics:

  • Facebook Live videos are watched3 times longer than regular videos
  • Native Facebook videoshave a 13% organic reach and 6.3% engagement rate (much higher than the 1-3% you get on other platforms)

Now it is your brand team’s turn. Ready, set, Live.

 Note: This was originally written for Socialnomics. 
Image source: Pixabay

Instagram Stories Ads Are Here…Are you on Board?

It was inevitable…once Instagram introduced Instagram Stories (expiring content as in Snapchat), it was only time before they would allow an Ad

opportunity for brands in this venue as well.

But are Stories really getting enough traction to matter? Yes.

According to Instagram: In the five months since it launched, stories has grown considerably. Now, more than 150 million Instagrammers use it daily. And stories is contributing to more content and engagement. 

A great example from Instagram is one of AirBnB – Global leader in accommodations, Airbnb, is using Instagram Stories to help build awareness and buzz around its largest product launch to date—Trips on Airbnb. Through a series of 15-second videos, Airbnb highlights the ability to access unique experiences by connecting travelers with local experts who share the same interests, from art collectors to avid hikers. Using broad (25-44) targeting of men and women in the US, Airbnb is gaining awareness of its new product by using Instagram’s new immersive, sound-on storytelling format. Airbnb is excited to tap into interest targeting for future campaigns to drive their message home among their most relevant users.

In turn, Stories Ads are going to get traction too. They are going to be less invasive as they are skippable, so the Instagram user decides which ones they watch or don’t watch. The brands have a choice of using an “unclickable” 5-second photo

or a 15-second video.  The videos are sold in auction at a CPM (vs. Facebook where’s a 3 second CPV). Best part? You can ensure your ads are right for the audience through targeting, of course.

4 ways your brand can test Instagram Story Ads:

  1. Show an experience through a series – Since stories are meant to show a consecutive flow (i.e. a story), it provides an opportunity to let your brand share an experience from beginning to end. Perhaps it’s the entrance to an event, or how an influencer is engaging with your product in 2-3 creative ways. For example if your brand is a beauty brand, it could show the influencer examining the product, using it, and speaking to how the experience was.
  2. Product launch – Since Stories are considered new, of the moment content, it’s a great way to show a sneak peak to a new release. Some brands provide influencers and loyal consumers with exclusive releases. Perhaps it’s a way to share this product with a larger potential group of fans with exclusive access before it’s open to the public.
  3. Provide never before seen content – Imagine your brand is about to release a new video series, but you want to test out a smaller version through Instagram to understand the traction for the content. Or perhaps it’s a smaller piece, that will then allow consumers to go to the larger format, on your site.
  4. Give your loyal fan base a chance to feel the love through exclusive features. Perhaps you pick the best fans, and show new potential fans how much these people already love your brand, and why.

How is it different than Snapchat? It’s a self service skippable video format. And although Snapchat isn’t going anywhere, Instagram is definitely on the verge of taking a chunk out of Snapchat’s game.

Is your brand ready?

image source – pixabay 

This post was originally written for Socialnomics. 

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

The Top Ten Reasons We Love Social Media

As brands, social media has been a way to reach and interact with consumers on a level that resonates with their behaviors on a day to day basis. They’re already there. They’re using channels they way they prefer. For example on Pinterest they’re planning and dreaming for their future; while on Periscope they’re getting an inside look; and on Instagram they’re building and sharing their own stories.
And as brands that is pretty great. It allows us to understand our target audience and provide content that will truly matter to them, where and when they prefer it. So instead of the 2016 lists we’re all about to read, let’s remember why social media is important to our brands, and why it still will be in 2016.
So as digital marketers we love social media. We love it simply because:
  1. You can get content out fast
  2. You are able to respond to consumers faster
  3. You know what your competition is doing on the same channels
  4. You can curate content
  5. You can see what themes are trending to create new content
  6. You can be involved within cultural phenomena
  7. You are able to create a dialogue
  8. You are able to see what content works right away
  9. You will know what content to put paid media behind
  10. Your brand can stand out
And that’s just part of the story. Your brand can also choose the channels that work best for success. Choose the content that will resonate deeper with your audience. And of course, finding the right paths to purchase, and helping consumers become loyal advocates through driving their followings to your brand as well.
Why does your brand, as a digital marketer, prefer to budget, spend, and invest in social media as a way to reach consumers?
Image sources:
Priority Media Plus
Business2community
 
This post was originally written for Socialnomics. 

Digital Marketers Rejoice: Instagram Multi-user Testing and What it Means

Since brands began their “invasion” (we all know consumers felt this way at times) of Instagram, digital marketers have been feeling the pain. There is no way to post seamlessly through the Instagram platform for multiple accounts. It’s led many down the path of testing third party apps, and many particularly into frustration. And typically both.

Now with the announcement of android multi-user beta testing in play, it could be a whole new playing field. What does this mean?

For brands and digital marketers:

  • Ease of handling multiple accounts. This doesn’t just mean personal and professional (but it does for many of us). It also means for agency and multi-brand folks, the ability to jump from one product line to the next without having to log out.
  • Assuming this allows for multi-login alerts at the same time, it would provide marketers with easier listening and in turn engagement with the target market.
  • Saving hashtags, because when you logout, you lose the ability to auto-fill your most recently used hashtags.
  • Less money spent on third party tools for something a native tool should allow for
For consumers:
  • Faster response by brands for questions, contests, and engagement with UGC content
  • Potential to be “seen” by a brand as a significant / loyal consumer sooner
  • More content they want to see
But for now we wait. We wait for the beta test to expand to iPhone and to all Instagram users (rather than just beta testers). We wait for Instagram to give us what we’ve been hoping for … for far too long.
Until then.
This post was originally written for Socialnomics. 

Tinder for Brands Today

The mobile dating app launched it’s first ads a couple months ago  and since then has expanded into testing more video ads. Since Budweiser, the app has also included ads such as movie trailers for Trainwreck, which allows the mobile app users to:
  1. View the trailer
  2. See movie times nearby
  3. Purchase tickets
  4. Share
The ad experience has increased over time, where in the beginning brands had to create a profile and only a link was provided out if the user swiped right. This time the user doesn’t even have to swipe (or doesn’t have a chance to), before the video starts to auto-play. This allows the brand more viewers and an increased opportunity to get in front of the app’s users.
When a user signs up they reveal they typically reveal their age, location, and may also connect to Facebook to see which friends they have in common. One of the biggest assets that Tinder has about its users is their location. In turn allowing for opportunities for location based advertising and in app purchase.
So in the case of the movie trailer, the opportunity to show movie times within hours and miles of that user is optimal. It increases the drive to purchase, especially since you can purchase from within the app. The seamless experience being offered is clutch and will result in less drop off than previous, because the content delivered is within the same experience (as Facebook does with its ads, content publishing, etc).
Some may be dismayed because Tinder was first known as a “sketchy” dating app. But having been around for a while,  it’s not just another dating app. The app has gained a tremendous userbase of over 50M active users per month. So the key isn’t whether people are there (they are), it’s whether your brand is right for the app. The recent advertisers – the Trainwreck trailer makes sense because it could be a potential date event, and Budweiser is a beverage you may have on your date. So, ensure your brand is contextually relevant to the Tinder app and audience behaviors who are:
  • mobile savvy
  • want instant consumption
  • to meet and discover new people and experiences

Still have questions or not sure if your brand is the right fit? Ask us more in the comments below.

See this original full post on Socialnomics.

Invest in Great Content

Content takes many shapes and forms these days. It can exist in as small as a tweet, to a Snapchat video, to website copy, to a whitepaper. Every brand has different formats and types that work best for them and their audiences in order to reach their marketing and business objectives. However, does a brand always have to invest in creating content themselves? Not necessarily.

Content sourcing for supplemental content is smart and it’s to a brand’s advantage when done well. But what type of supplemental content is right for your brand? That’s the answer you need to determine based on the following criteria:

Gain new audiences

Rather than using paid social or paid media to target new audiences, it helps to find different ways to reach those audiences. For example, partner with other brands/publishers or influencers in the categorical space to create content.

  • Partner with a Brand/Publisher – These days there are so many content houses ruling the content space. They are creating content every minute of every hour in every category – from NY Times to Mashable to Techcrunch to Refinery29 to Vogue. And they have the eyeballs already. These publishing houses are partnering with brands to create content in order to allow access to their audiences – for a cost of course. The difference is, it’s more natural to read an article in Refinery29 that was done through a partnership than check out a banner ad. People are more willing to share this article with their friends and family, too.
  • Partner with Influencers – From the bloggers like Cupcakes and Cashmere to the YouTube stars like Jacklyn Hill to many more…influencers are all around us. They can be bloggers, video stars, journalists, food Instagrammers, or a reputable advocate who has a large voice on Twitter. They aren’t one size fits all, and it takes time to find the right one for your brand (or the right ones). The key is to work with the influencer from discovery through execution. You want to ensure they understand your brand, your product/service, and what your objective is. But be sure that you don’t keep the reigns too tight. Let the influencer keep their voice and allow them to create the content in a way that is going to resonate with their audiences.

Create different content formats

Sometimes your brand doesn’t have the resources or talent to create a type of content – such as Vine videos. Why waste the effort when you can outsource to an expert who can do it much faster…and better. There are three ways to go about this.

1) Have the expert use their name as the creator and let it be in their voice/tone/way. That way you can also gain new audiences and a new format for your brand.

2) Let them ghost-create the content for your brand in your brand’s voice/tone so you have more content in your arsenal.

3) Co-create it so you have it in your tone/voice but also in a way that allows the creator’s name/voice to be shown. And in this case you both can distribute/promote it.

Content…is costly. But it shouldn’t always have to be done by your brand in-house. The best part is when you do co-create and/or create supplemental content through third party resources you create an advantage for your brand.  An advantage of being cutting edge and innovative.

This post was originally written for Socialnomics.

Three brands who understand content marketing

It’s easy to focus on the negative, especially when it comes to the news, how we feel about brands who have mistreated us, the person who didn’t hold the door, etc. It’s especially true in the digital world, where marketers are competing for the next big campaign, and looking to see what another brand did wrong. It’s unfortunately too easy to be negative.
Then there are brands who try to bring out the positive, through their campaigns, their messaging, and their spirit. Those are the brands that are tough to talk badly about – mainly because they pull it off so well.
A few I’ve noticed (big and small) of all time and as of late are:
1. Equinox - Yes, a gym, but so much more than that. Their content game includes (but is not limited to) quality image content that is easy to consume on the go, and also highly shareable. Their hashtag, #equinoxmademedoit is enough to make you want to see what they’re about. Their gyms are not just welcoming from a comfort and active level, but their digital content encourages you to give a little more. The brand is making a name (even if it’s smaller than some) to kick your own butt, and keep kicking it. To encourage yourself to be a better fit, healthy you. And I see no problem with that.
2. The Tig - A content site by Meghan Markle, has inspired many females (including myself) to look at myself with a new lens. The content motivates one to appreciate oneself,  love who you are, and what you like in life. In addition, the brand encourages people to be ok with where they are in life – whether it’s married, engaged, having a baby, and/or single, such as in their latest Valentine’s Day post.
3. Dove - Known for it’s encouragement for inner beauty as well as loving your body (whatever shape), has a new campaign called#SpeakBeautiful. Instead of reading “mean tweets” or festering on the negative beauty comments that people are saying about themselves…Dove is helping change the story. The brand wants to inspire others to help “change their story” too.
These three do seem to have something in common. It’s inspiration and owning who you are, and focusing on being a better you. As marketers, we sometimes promote items that aren’t always about “the good,” but when they can be, it’s pretty great. Applauding those who have help put forth such great campaigns who inspire the rest of us to kick it up a knotch.
This post was originally written for socialnomics. 

Digital Marketing Myth: Content Must be Visual

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

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

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

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. 

Seven Paid Social Media Tips for Brand Awareness

First thing’s first, you need your goals (as with any marketing plan). Decide if your paid social media strategy will help for awareness of your brand being on that channel or perhaps help create engagement with a new campaign. Let’s assume for this post that you’re trying to gain awareness for your brand as you enter some new social channels. Different channels allow for different interactions with consumers as well as unique ways to target and reach them.

Some quick tips for each channel:

  • Facebook: A tough place to navigate without a budget these days. Ensure your facebook ads and sponsored posts have bold visual photos and videos. Within the feed a status update with just text will easily be skipped over. But a visual that can capture someone’s eye may allow a second glance, and hopefully a click for your CTA.
  • Twitter: Promoted Accounts and Tweets are the easy way in for awareness. Note, you only need promoted account tweet copy for the mobile ads, not desktop.
  • Instagram: Thankfully the budget has come down for brands, but the price tag isn’t cheap. If you want the extra boost go for it. But if you can manage to gain your audience through organic tactics such as cross promotion, hashtags, and influencers – stick to that.
  • Pinterest: Same as with Instagram. There are some great opportunities with Pinterest, but with the latest guided search opportunities, there are great ways to be found without needing paid promotion.
  • tumblr: The cool part about tumblr is that you rarely realize you’re looking at a sponsored post. The brands who have done it well, are sticking to the tumblr community ways of big images that captivate, and intriguing stories to keep you intrigued and hopefully follow the account for more. The cool paid opportunities include but are not limited to in stream sponsored posts for desktop and mobile. But one of the best places to really get your audience is through the spotlight ad. It allows full access to new members, as as tumblr continues to grow, so do the brand opportunities.
  • LinkedIn: I can’t say more about the targeting capabilities. You can reach your audience down to their job title. Need I say more?
  • YouTube: There are many ways to get your videos out there to your audience, but the preferred way is through Trueview in stream, in search and/or in display. The key with these ads  (especially in stream) is to have the most enticing part in the first 5 seconds. Otherwise your audience normally has the opportunity to skip after that time period.

Remember, the key for social media ads is not to just spend away all of your social media budget. But to test what posts are doing well and how you can gain more traction on those channels. For example, if you have a tweet that is doing well organically, boost it. Make it a promoted tweet to gain even more. Once you and your team learns which posts do better on particular channels, you can plan to boost certain ones ahead of time. For instance, if you are planning a Halloween promotion, you may want to ensure you have your spend ready for that week and have some posts to a/b test for the best copy, image/video, and link. And it doesn’t hurt to see what your competition is doing too.

Bonus tip – don’t skimp on the visuals. They work on every channel. Make sure they’re quality photos or videos and not just simple stock photography.

Image Sources: Instagram – lexus, michael kors

This post was originally written for Socialnomics.

The Second Screen Battle Field Shows a Clear Winner

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

Monetizing your Brand through Storytelling App Instagram

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

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

3 ways to monetize your brand through Instagram:

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Photo Creds:

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

Five Tips to Building your Band of Brand Loyalists

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Influencer Marketing: Avoid These 5 Brand Mistakes

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

Avoid these pitfalls along the way:

1. Not understanding the definition of an Influencer

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

2. Forgetting to put together an Influencer Strategy

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

3. Missing the brand fit

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

4. Only using tools to find an influencer

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

5. Lack of authenticity

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

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

This post was originally written for Socialnomics

iBeacon Technology: Why it’s Awesome for Marketers

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

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

How to: Determine if you Should Develop a Mobile App for your Brand

The mobile app question is becoming an all too frequent one with brands these days. A better question is…”why do you want a mobile app?” Or how about “what will it achieve?” And also, “Is it better than a responsive website?” Yes, it’s true mobile apps are plentiful and more brands are hopping on board, from the useful app to the content distribution app to the game app to the “i am completely useless please don’t bother downloading me” app. What will your mobile app provide to your consumer? Is it worth the download? Let’s break it down with the questions you need to answer before you get started:

1. What is the purpose of the app? It is important to determine if the app will be useful or at minimum entertaining for the audience to use. For example, if it solves a pain point and brings forward a solution, that is great.

2. Will a RWD site be easier and more effective? This doesn’t mean RWD is a shortcut or a simpler solution. RWD may be a better solution for your audience depending upon their habits and your reasoning for wanting an app.

3. Can your brand build the app in-house? If not, it is important to determine if there are additional costs your brand may accrue due to outsourcing the project.

4. Where are your developers located? If they are located abroad, time zone issues may cause delays in efficiency (not always, but sometimes).

5. What platforms will your app be available on? It is valuable to understand where your audience plays – are they iphone or android users? If they lean more one way than another it may help to launch one one first, and then the other. Test and Learn.

6. How will you promote the availability of your app? No one will know your app exists unless there is some budget set aside to promote the existence of the app, not just on your owned sites, but potentially across social, newsletters, and paid search to drive traffic for downloads.

7. Can your team update regularly for bugs and fixes? This is important to ensure people don’t get frustrated and delete your app after a couple tries.

8. Will your app be an investment or accrue revenue? Having a revenue model in place is helpful, but not necessarily the primary reasoning behind an app. It may be to increase engagement and provide another way for consumers to interact with the brand.

9. Do you have a mobile strategy in place? I cannot stress enough that a strategy is helpful before even reaching out to developers. Just like one needs a content strategy or a social media strategy, a mobile strategy is helpful in order to determine the right look/feel, content, promotion, audience, and how to differentiate amongst the competition.

10. Does your idea already exist? If so, how is yours unique? This is always a tough thing, but sometimes if your app is already there, don’t bother. That being said, sometimes there is a way to differentiate and make your app stand out with a feature others have not implemented or don’t have the ability to implement.

This list isn’t exhaustive so if you want to add to this list, feel free to do so in the comments below. And if you want more advice on how to start out on your first mobile app (or your 2nd or 3rd), feel free to reach out as well.

NOTE: This post was originally written for socialnomics. You can see my post here.  
Image Source: http://blog.farreachinc.com/2012/03/27/app-store-optimization-aso/

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.

Five Affordable Social Media Analytics Tools for your Brand

We all know that social media is not free especially when it comes to community management, creating content, and boosting posts to be promoted (ex.Twitter). Social media analytics are another cost that entails some investment when it comes to your marketing strategy and overall marketing goals. Of course there are always the free tools like Google Analytics and Facebook Insights. Google Analytics help you determine what social sites are helping to drive traffic to your site and what campaigns are working versus those that need to be dumped or optimized. Facebook Insights is constantly evolving but overall it allows you to see what content your fans engage with, when and how often.

Here are 5 more to consider for your social toolbox: 
1. Topsy- Simple, easy to use tool that comes in a free (or paid) version in order to let brands monitor Twitter. One of my favorite parts about it is that you can see what hashtags are being used – how often, by who, and what the conversation is around that hashtag. This is a crucial step to take before using hashtags in your tweets, in order to ensure it is the proper conversation for your brand, your tone/voice, and of course your audience.
2. Hootsuite- I think we all know Hootsuite, but it is sometimes overlooked. It’s a great community management tool (free or very cheap) that enables a community manager to monitor, schedule posts, and manage multiple channels from one location. And it comes with an analytics portion which allows you to customize reports for easy analysis and sharing with management.
3. Twitalyzer- Quick, easy to use tool that allows you to monitor your competition (specifically for Twitter). Obviously not the only tool to use, but a nice tool to add on to your arsenal when needed.
4. Bottlenose –  Great visual of conversation going on around your brand in real time. It helps you visualize what your brand is connected to or who the influencers are and what they are influential about. Great for monitoring, targeting, and being able to engage in real time and not losing out.
5. Social Flow – Not free, but gives your brands an edge up when scheduling posts and tweets, to see when is the best time for your brand to hop into a conversation for your particular audience. It helps to ensure that you are using the write phrasing, and taking advantage of the best time and day for that particular social engagement – whether it’s during a live event or otherwise.

Bonus: If you have the budget to spend a little more money

Radian6 - Great listening tool to see what is being said about your brand, the competition, what’s occurring in real time, and of course the ability to hop into conversations with your customers and be a part of the community. This tool is perfect for finding your influencers, and engaging with them organically as it streamlines the process for your brand and makes the process way less manual and less cumbersome.

Not sure which one you want to use? TIP: Many tools will allow a free trial before you jump in with the fee, so always see if you can test out the tools first.
Note: This post was originally written for socialnomics and my post can also be found here.

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/

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/

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/

How to: Be Successful in Social Media in 2013

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

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

1) Hire Well

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

2) Hire Native

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

3) Do What You Preach

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

 

 

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.

5 Features to Consider with Facebook Global Brand Pages

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Classrooms and How they Integrate the Latest Technology and Social Media into Teaching

Living in a city where there is a sea of college students, I see more technological gadgets on these young students than sometimes even on adults. They have iPads in the classroom to take notes on, read their books on, and more. However it’s not just technology that’s advancing in the classroom it’s also the acceptance and usage of social media. There are many colleges that demonstrate adaptation and skill in using social successfully to teach students. So what are the benefits of using new technology and social media? Here are three reasons why your classroom should consider the same…


1. Use the technology and Networks They Already Use and Know

Students are already posting on Facebook, reading blogs on Tumblr, tweeting their favorite things on Twitter, and pinning what they love on Pinterest. They know how to use the sites well, and they use it often. Make part of the class participation online participation. It helps those who are creative but perhaps shy in class. For example homework can include keeping a Tumblr blog about a topic which students can comment on and share ideas on. Or if it’s a photography class, how about utilizing Instagram or again Tumblr to host that content. Tip: find the networks that work best for your lesson content (and students).

2. Integrate With Lesson Plans and Learnings

The infographic demonstrates that professors and teachers are already adapting, andeven shows the networks where they can utilize to make their efforts more fruitful with their students. It’s not just about using Facebook and Twitter, but realizing that you can create a wiki for the class and online discussion, and/or pin daily findings on a Pinterest board. There are numerous ways to take advantage, it’s about creating the lesson plan that works for you and your students creativity and desire to engage with the content in places they love interacting. Some students may be hesitant to use their own profiles that already exist – so perhaps create new ones just for class or a location where they can all contribute.

3. Continue and Extend the Conversation Past the Classroom

It is a great opportunity to extend conversation past the classroom. Take the offline, online. For example creating a hashtag for the classroom to corral conversation and extend a topic that was discussed in class, after class has ended. It keeps the students thinking, searching, reading, and interacting with the content.

Last Tip: Remember to  keep content and tools fresh. As we all are well aware, tools and social networks, and apps change, update, and pop up daily. It is tough to keep up but we have to. Perhaps utilize students who work for the school to keep up on the research regarding what’s the latest to help keep lesson plans fresh.

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

Further Reading:
http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter/teachers-guide-social-media_b25989
http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/for-social-media-in-the-classroom-to-work-instructors-need-best-practices.php
http://www.zdnet.com/blog/igeneration/the-pros-and-cons-of-social-media-classrooms/15132
http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/story/2012-03-04/facebook-twitter-social-media-classroom/53358382/1

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 Companies Who Lead the Way in Social Media

Social Media…a not so new concept, yet one which can still allude many brands if they do not strategize their content appropriately for each channel in regards to how it fits their brand. But we’re not here to criticize, we’re here to learn from the ones who take advantage of social media and elevate their brand to another level.

Facebook
Victoria’s Secret converted to the new Timeline ahead of the curve and wow does that timeline grab your attention. With over 18 million fans and over 200 thousand people talking about the brand…you have to take a second glance (not just for the pictures). The brand took advantage of the picturesque platform, made it interactive for fans to engage with the contact, offer coupons, notify consumers of real-time sales, and more. It captivates not only the female audience but the male audience to imagine, dream, and bring to reality what could be. The story has been unfolded, and the brand fully utilized Facebook Timeline to do so.

Social Media Case Study: Victoria Secret was ahead of the curve with Facebook’s timelineTwitter
Zappos may be an obvious win here…but perhaps it’s because they really do take their brand marketing to heart. The brand has been humanized by their CEO, Tony Hsieh, who lets his own personality shine through the brand name. How many CEOs do you know who take the time to do such, especially through social media?

YouTube
Blendtec, demonstrates with 190 million views and 400 thousand subscribers, that even a blender can be entertaining. Who knew?! The brand took a brave yet awesome take with social content…they leveraged humor and experimentation to make their videos fun to watch and create a viral effect. I am impressed by their leverage of humor, as it is way easier said than done. Would you blend your iPhone? Watch them do it instead!

Early adopters

Burberry, a brand known for evoking desire and lust for fashion, transcends their fashion leadership to the social sphere. They adopt early, and adopt well. While doing research a while back for the Google Plus brand pages, I saw that Burberry was one of the first to take advantage of the channel and demonstrate it could bring style and allure even to a channel that was too new to be adopted by most at that time. My favorite part? The GIFs used for the images…catches your eye before you even get to the heart of the content.

Keeping it local

Four seasons known for its luxury and decadence, takes a simple and relaxed approach to its social endeavor. The brand chose to simplify and localize its Twitter and Facebook channels. There is a fan page and twitter account dedicated to individual hotel locations in order to optimize the care needed for local guests and the language in each region/city. Luxury care simplified for local effort.

Takeaway

It’s about a few things:

1. Listen for the latest greatest ‘shiny toys’

2. Don’t just jump in to all of the social channels; Gauge which channels are going to best fit your overall content strategy and help to amplify it

3. Use social media to augment your marketing efforts in a real-time, community driven effort

4. Humanize the brand

5. Show your consumers you are there for what they need; not what you need

6. Make it fun; see: Blendtec example

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

Additional Information:

http://mashable.com/2009/02/06/social-media-smartest-brands/
http://mashable.com/2009/01/21/best-twitter-brands/
http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/9-companies-doing-social-media-right-and-why/
http://thenextweb.com/socialmedia/2012/03/20/luxury-brands-using-social/
http://thenextweb.com/socialmedia/2011/07/04/meet-the-top-20-brands-on-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

 

Five Brands Who Rock it on Pinterest

Pinterest, a virtual pin board, is no longer just for individuals who pin what they love for potential home decorating, weddings, and recipes…it has become a mecca of fashion, design, consumer engagement, photo sharing, and more with brands and consumers alike. It’s a phenomenal platform for consumer brands to share what they have to offer in visually pleasing ways, as well as demonstrate appreciation for users who already talk about the brand, by re-pinning what those consumers already pinned. Whether it’s showing consumers taking part with the brand, introducing new products, campaigns, themes, or pictures iconic of the brand itself, Pinterest definitely has some legs to stick around when it comes to consumer-brand engagement.

Below are five brands, which have made other lists, and I believe are utilizing Pinterest for the value it can offer and showing their fans and consumers they aren’t just a brand name, but care to be involved with their consumers, offer cool content, and engage more personally…

1. Gap

The Gap on Pinterest has a few different boards including products they make, a focus on denim, but what sparked my interest was the board which was just about repins from other Pinterest users, “popular Gap images on Pinterest.” It’s a great way for the brand to engage with users as well as demonstrate the brand’s appreciation

2. Whole Foods

Whole Foods  takes it to a whole other level when it comes to sharing content via Pinterest. Not only do they talk about holiday preparations for food such as the not too long ago Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year, but they also provide other inspirational boards. They aren’t just talking about food they have and offer, but creative spins on food as well as forging there way into adjacent categories which would be of interest to people who care about food, cook often, and put real effort into the preparation that goes into it. Hat tip to Whole Foods for not just talking about their own products.

 

3. Nordstrom

Nordstrom has gone beyond the regular department store image and demonstrated to consumers they care to offer more than just being a brick and mortar retailer. On their Pinterest page, Nordstrom does categorize products they have now, but they keep it current, looking forward, and fresh. In addition they offer holiday gift ideas and even feature popular brands such as Ugg and Toms, both of which have demonstrated they are not a fleeting trend. However, I do think it would be cool if Nordstrom would take a step further and crowdsource some content for boards such as people wearing Toms or giving holiday gift tips from Nordstrom. Perhaps make it a contest in order to make even more contagious.

 

4. Travel Channel

The cool thing about the Travel Channel on Pinterst is that avid watchers of the channel will be pumped to see stuff categorized for their interests. Interested in street food or animals from around the world…search no more. Want to get to see a personal side of the channel and its people? Check out some behind the scenes pictures which they bucket away and pin on a board just for those special seekers. The pictures are vivid, personable, and fun. Perhaps another board could be one of people’s travels or food they’ve tried from around the world…engaging a step further with consumer generated content.

 

5. West Elm

The numbers I look at first when I go to a brand page on Pinterst is whether the brand just pins, or do they also “like” and “follow” others on the platform. West Elm has some of the most “likes” I’ve seen among brands. Not only do they show different interior design ideas, but they also have a board for fashion and interior design savvy, Etsy, as well as a board for a personal take – Smile Booth. This board allowed West Elm to show its employees during parties, as well as guests, consumers, and fans of the brand. I always believe in humanizing the brand, and having a board like this one is definitely a good example.

Note: This Post was originally written for Socialnomics, and my original post can be found here.