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.

Because Periscope is Worth Checking Out

fashion business periscope

Recently we talked about the live streaming app, Meerkat…but have you heard of Periscope? It is the latest in the live streaming trend that has appeared and it’s taking the brand marketing world by storm.

The questions we wonder as we evaluate Periscope:

  • Is it a meerkat “killer” ?
  • Is it better than meerkat?
  • Which one should I, as a brand marketer – invest my time in?
  • Do people care?

Is Periscope a Meerkat Killer: Maybe.

Periscope is a direct competitor and it was put out by Twitter. It allows for seamless integration with the popular social channel and way more brands and marketers have taken advantage. Currently you have  big name early adopters such as Mountain Dew and DKNY and also emerging brand users like Nearly Naked Jewelry, who showed us a Behind the Scenes of a collaborative photo shoot they did with several other brands.

Is it Better? Yes. Why?

First, you can integrate your Twitter list automatically. In addition, Periscope has the ability to save and view videos later. They don’t disappear in that “snapchat” sense as in Meerkat. This allows for viewers who may not have been able to tune in directly during your event to watch a few minutes or hours later (up to 24 hours).

Which one should you invest in?

If you are geeky like some of us and want to know more on investing and why do people care… Check out the full post on Startup Fashion!

Live streaming App Meerkat and Why it’s Cool

 

meerkat app

Just what you’re looking for, another platform for you to share your brand’s content. I know, it’s exhausting and thinking about adding more is is just- no.

But this one is too cool not to tell you about.

The latest buzz is around Meerkat – a somewhat new mobile app, which has hit the streets of SXSW with a storm.

What’s so cool about it? Meerkat allows you to tweet live video in actual real time. This live stream option is super cool, especially for brands who may not have the ability to partner with the big publishers to do so.

Let’s break down the advantages:

  • It’s a free app to download and use
  • You can stream live or schedule your video
  • You can see what people you follow are sharing within the app or on Twitter (or wherever else they have embedded their Twitter feed)
  • In your dashboard you can see live feeds of folks using the app
  • You can see who is watching the live stream
  • You can comment, retweet, and “like” while watching

Why it’s a tool to keep in your social content toolbox:

Read more on the full post on Startup Fashion!

 

Five CTAs to Consider for your Brand’s Content Marketing

 

CTAs for branding and marketing content

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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.

FTW: When Brands & Consumers Connect

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

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

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

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

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

Note: This post was originally written for Marketing on the Rocks. 

How to: Stay on Top of your Social Media Game

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image Source: Techcrunch

This post was originally written for Marketing on the Rocks.

The Second Screen Battle Field Shows a Clear Winner

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

Tips to Invest in Visual Content for the Digital Space

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How to use your new awesome visual content wisely:

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

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

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

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

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

This post was originally written for Marketing on the Rocks.  

Social Media: Understanding how your Consumers Use it

customers social media

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

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

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

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

Why this matters to your brand:

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

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

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

Nordstrom: A social media case example for any consumer brand

Nordstrom's social media approach

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

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

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

Twitter and Facebook

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

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

Email Marketing

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

Pinterest and Instagram

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

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

Takeaways and Lessons to Apply to Your Brand

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

How to: Use Hashtags Across Social Media Channels

Hashtags.

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

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

Twitter:

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

Instagram:

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

Tumblr:

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

Facebook:

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

Questions? Comments?

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

Image by Maria Elena.

Futher Reading:

Three Tips to Reach your Brand Influencers on Twitter

 

Twitter Influencers

Twitter is not only a great channel to consumer news and publish content, but a tool in our marketing arsenal, and most of all a great way to connect with our brand’s audience and influencers in the space.

Being a brand in today’s marketing world – it’s not just about “buying fans” or hoping they’ll swing on by your website. Today we need to strategize about how to develop and cultivate relationships with those that care about our brands and those that will voice those positive opinions to their audiences as well.

Follow and Connect

First and foremost, it’s great if you can follow back those who follow you, mention you, favorite your tweets, and RT your tweets. Those are the people who care enough to be a part of your community without you asking. Follow them back and show them the “love.” Take it a step further and thank them for mentioning you or liking your brand. Those little moments of brand love can go a long way, especially when the audience members don’t expect it.

Be Proactive

Take it a step further and join the conversations that these influencers are already conversing in. Are they asking questions? Answer them with information your brand may be able to help with – and of course don’t forget to use the hashtag being used so other people can follow the conversation too.

Tip: But be careful with this.  Use discretion about which conversations to just join.  If it’s a convo between only two people, it can seem weird and stalker-y to just voice your opinion. Look for conversations that involve several people and offer information without pushing any kind of sales.

To read the last tip on how to reach your influencers, check out my full post on Startup Fashion !

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.

How To: Use Hashtags in Your Social Media Efforts the Right Way

hashtags

Hashtags continue to grow in popularity, and not just on Twitter. People use them even in common phrases when they speak to one another too!

But what’s the right way to effectively use hashtags in social media for your brand’s campaigns? Let’s take a deeper look:

Why do brands use hashtags

  • To corral conversation around a topic such as a fashion line, an event, or a product/service
  • To continue the conversation online such as from a video, article, or event
  • To join a conversation with a pre-existing hashtag and contribute the valuable content your brand has
  • To bring awareness to the brand/topic/tweet
  • To bring engagement around a topic such as a new fashion line
  • To utilize the second screen / socialize TV such as around an event like the oscars
  • Cross promote content across social channels – ex. email and twitter
  • To corral conversation in Twitter chats and be able to respond and follow more easily

Quick tips on creating tweets with hashtags

  • Use 1 to 2 hashtags in a Tweet (not more or people get lost in all the ###s)
  • CamelCap the hashtag: #dontdothis #DoThis
  • Be sure to keep your hashtag short and easy to remember. By keeping the hashtag brief, you’ll save your audience some room to include more commentary about your content in their RT.

Quick tips on choosing and introducing a new hashtag

  • Jumping Into Conversations: Introduce your hashtag by piggy-backing on trending or relevant hashtags when applicable to the content and/or conversation.
  • Use your social real estate – add your main hashtag in your Twitter Bio and cross promote across social media and other marketing
To read more tips and learn what to avoid when using hashtags and monitoring your conversation – check out my full post on Startup Fashion

Mobile Strategy for your Small Business

 Small Businesses are realizing that mobile is meant for “today”, not “tomorrow” – and it’s time to get on board before falling behind. Mobile isn’t just about having an app (but it is one option). Being mobile can mean having a mobile site (or responsive design), an app that allows the consumer to interact with the brand, mobile payment options, and/or mobile advertisements. Where should your small business jump in? My advice – ensure you have a mobile site before anything else. Not sure? Consider how many of your target market use smart phones and how often they access your site through their mobile device over their laptop. If your site isn’t optimized for mobile, you are falling short.

Easier than you Think: Building a mobile site can be as simple as converting your site to a mobile one – which allows your consumers to choose which one they use to view your site when they search for it via mobile. If your brand has a little more resources to commit – my vote is the responsive design. It conforms to whatever device your on immediately.

Ready to take the next step: A mobile app is not for every brand. An app should solve a need. One example would be a utility app or one that allows to shop the store through an app (ex. Amazon) rather than having to go to the site each time with your account.

Mobile Payment: Allowing consumers to pay with a mobile app is a great way to simplify things for a brand and for the consumer. The Small business and charity –Charity Water – does this well. They use Square in order to allow easy credit card payment on iPads, and also allowing consumers to feel secure about their transactions. Charity Water has been doing great things around the world, and being mobile friendly is key for them. They use mobile devices, mobile payment transactions, and social media such as Twitter which is imperative to their awareness and engagement.

Can’t forget Social: As seen by Charity Water, social networks like Twitter which are mainly done via mobile are key to not just awareness, but also promotion, content distribution, and engagement with a brand. Yes it takes resources, effort, strategy, and money – but it is essential to almost any small business.

Ads, Ads, and More Ads: Mobile ads are a whole other ball game and take a large amount of resources. It’s not a few hundred dollars a week like some google adword campaigns, but can cost at minimum 10s of thousands on a monthly basis. It takes a larger commitment, and is usually best after a small business is lucrative or has the backing to do so.

Small business – does not mean small mobile strategy. Small businesses can play like the big boys too.

Image source: http://www.toowaybroadband.co.uk/newsReach/Prepare-mobile-and-tablet-versions-of-websites,-firms-advised_ID_801329603/

Note: this post was originally written for socialnomics and my post can be found here.

How to: Take Advantage of Vine Video App for your Fashion Brand

vine video app

Have you encountered Vine yet? This short video app is already being utilized by brands and consumers alike due to its many advantages, two of which are simplicity and ease of use.

As a brand owner, you should think about how Vine could possibly work with your current social media strategy.

Here are 5 advantages Vine has for brand content across the fashion industry:

Short, Digestible Content

Vine takes quick snippets of video content and stitches them together to create a quick 6 second snapshot of video.

The fact that you don’t need continues footage but instead can use 3 snippets stitched together is very cool. It allows a brand to take 3 different views of its new fashion line or fashion show, rather than just one at time. It also allows the consumer to get more than just one view of a product or event.

Utilizing Your Twitter Audience

Since you can sign up through Twitter, it makes it simple to follow any of your twitter followers who are also on vine.

In addition, a brand can easily share Vine content on Twitter once it’s been recorded. It can also be shared on Facebook. The ease of integration is key for content in order to release it just as quickly as it’s recorded.

Ease of Use

The steps to setting up an account, shooting your first video, and sharing are as simple as one, two, three. The process has that same easy flow as Instagram, but makes it possible to share content on other channels.

There are also other Vine tools like VineIt that are being released (not necessarily connected with the Vine team) that help find and view videos, as well as integrate with Tumblr. Since so many fashion brands utilize Tumblr, it’s awesome that Vine can be uploaded or embedded in there too.

To read about key tactics fashion brands can utilize for their Vine videos alongside their digital strategy, read my full post on Startup Fashion. Hint – there are some great examples!

How to: Use Twitter to Market Your Fashion Brand

 

 

The top ten things your brand should always consider when starting, strategizing and optimizing your channel strategy for Twitter:

  • Listen: First and foremost your brand should set up a listening station to listen each day to what’s going on the Twittersphere. It’s important to listen not only to what your followers are saying, but also regarding brand mentions industry news, competitive insights, and more.
  • Pick the right Tool: Before a brand can listen properly, it’s helpful to have the right tool to listen simply yet efficiently. A couple quick tools which are free to utilize for listening to one handle areTweetdeck and Hootsuite. Best part about Hootsuite are the analytics if you are willing to spend a little more than free.
  • Utilize Lists; Making and following lists are helpful in listening more easily on Twitter too. For example it may help to have a list made of all your competitions’ handles, the influencers in your category, loyal followers, and industry experts.
  • Capitalize on Hashtags: Hashtags are not only another great listening tool, but they are a great way to interject in a conversation with valuable content. First you can listen to key hashtags in your industry, event hashtags, so on and so forth. Then, you can interject with valuable advice, product info, and/or lead the conversation to your website (if and only if it’s valuable to the conversation at hand).
  • Utilize your Twitter Real Estate: Don’t underestimate the power of your Twitter real estate. It allows for a cool background which can be picturesque and/or should other brand traits such as links to other social channels, websites, etc. Don’t forget the ability to pin tweets in order to have a specific Tweet take priority over others on your Twitter brand page.

Great Example Below:

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion, and you can read the other 5  Twitter Tips on my original post here!

 

Keep your New Year’s Resolution: 5 Ways to Find a New Job with Social Media

So many New Year’s resolutions, so little time. The New Year is already flying by, and it’s no time for slacking off. Many individuals have
the desire and resolution to find a new job that will make them happy and put them in the right path for their desired career aspirations. Need some help?

Here are five great ways that social media applications can help you search better and also stay organized in your job search…

LinkedIn: In short, if you aren’t on LinkedIn, you’re already way behind on your job search. Job recruiters post on this networking social site, look through your profile for keywords related to their requirements, and filter through profiles in order to see who may be a good match. So here are some ways you can take advantage of this perfect social site for finding that perfect job you want this New Year.

Profile Picture. Make sure you use a single head shot for your profile picture so people can clearly see who you are. Preferably this wouldn’t be the same picture you have on Facebook where you may be friends at a party or bar. Think more professional.

Fill it out. Your profile should be filled out at least 90% to show your education, previous employment, and details of what skill sets you possess and could bring to the table.

Links. Take advantage of the social real estate. Use those link spaces and promote yourself. Have a blog? Show it off! Active on Twitter? Share your handle.

Recommendations. I could not speak more highly about having some recommendations…even if only a handful. Other people’s praise is not only golden, but a hot commodity when it comes to scoring a new job.

Job Search Tool. The best part of the LinkedIn search tool is that when you find a job match via your keyword search (which can be customized by location, etc) is you can see who in your network has a connection to that job prospect. The personal connection could just be your ticket to a new job. Use it!

Twitter: the micro-blogging site is an essential search tool that many overlook. Although it may seem intimidating to some and useless to others, it can be a rich resource to many, especially those searching for a new job. Key tips:

Follow the right people. Find the people in your territory who are prominent companies you want to follow, people from those companies, and those who post about jobs often.

Set up search feed for key words. Set up different search feeds for keywords you want to monitor for jobs you’d like.

Monitor. Don’t just set it and forget it. Monitor well and monitor often. You could also use Topsy in order to monitor keywords and have them sent to your Google Reader for convenience sake.

Blog: Having a blog and searching industry blogs can be essential to the job searching process. Here’s why…

Have it. Having a blog is like an investment. It can only help you in the long run. The key is to build one which is on a good domain (preferably one related to your topic or name), has a key focus, and shows you are an expert in that area – in turn showing your future boss you know your stuff.  

Search away. Many blog posts also offer job postings on the topics they focus upon and in the areas they are in. For example, Mashable is frequently posting open jobs. Subscribe via your Google Reader, Email, or check out their Twitter feed on a regular basis. Can’t hurt!

Google Plus: Just because it’s a new social network doesn’t mean it isn’t important and useful for a job-searching tool. Google is well known for its great SEO capabilities and is key when it comes to search. Build your profile, start following key people, and place them in the appropriate “circles.” It can only help to be more visible as long as you are following the right people, providing valuable content, and networking your butt off.

Google Alerts: As mentioned above, having searches set up is key. Google Alerts are essential in saving time and not going back and forth all the time. You can easily set up key search terms and then have them sent to you via email or via a RSS feed to your Google Reader (or Feedly) in order to check it at your convenience.  

Bonus: You are searching through job search sites, social networks, and Google-ing away, but so are recruiters. At the very same time they are also searching for “you.” So why not make it easier for them to find and reach out to you? Make your social sites job viewer friendly. 3 tips:

Headlines: Describe what you’ve done, what you want to do, and what you are good at.

Photo: Have a clear photo that is just you and preferably more of a headshot.

Share your expertise: Demonstrate what experience you’ve gained in each position you’ve held, accomplishments you’ve achieved, how you’ve assisted your companies to ascertain revenue goals, and more.

Still unsure about social networks and how much they can help? See below for a clear-cut example that companies use social networks just as much for recruiting too.

To check out more, visit: http://mashable.com/2011/08/28/social-media-recruiting-infographic/

Please note: this post was originally written for Social Media Club and you can find the original post I wrote here.

[Above Image Credit: http://mbahighway.com/2011/10/top-10-mba-job-search-websites/]

Sources:

http://laurenkgray.com/2011/03/02/job-hunting-via-social-media-using-linkedin/

http://pamsahota.com/social-media-at-work/how-to-find-a-job-using-social-media/

http://mashable.com/2009/01/05/job-search-secrets/

http://www.margieclayman.com/30-tips-on-how-to-find-a-job-using-social-media

http://mashable.com/2011/07/24/google-plus-jobs/

http://mashable.com/2011/08/28/social-media-recruiting-infographic/

 

5 Simple Tips for Using Tumblr

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

1. Find your niche

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

2. Share or not to share

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

3. Comments and Questions

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

4. SEO it up

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

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

5. Have fun – use instagram

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

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

Facebook shares are 6x stronger than Tweets

Eventbrite demonstrates Social Commerce in action; specifically the Facebook “Like” and the “Tweet”  increase ticket purchases, especially when shared after the point of purchase. Between the social networks, Facebook shares led the pack, generating an average of $2.52 while Linkedin shares were worth $0.90, and Tweets just $.0.43.  The impact of sharing via email was still strong at $2.34.

People are more likely to post to Facebook after they have purchased a ticket to an event, in order to share with their friends and family what awesome conference, party, or networking event they are planning to attend. In turn, when friends and family see this post shared, they may also purchase a ticket to the same event because if that person is attending, it must be worth checking out.

As seen below: Over the last six months, 40% of sharing through Facebook occurred on the event page (pre-purchase) vs. 60% of sharing which occurred on the order confirmation page (post-purchase).

As seen in the stats above, unfortunately for Twitter, Facebook still overshadows it in reach for sharing by almost four times the amount. Facebook to this day is still a more “social” platform where people show who they are, what they do, and where they like to go. It “mirrors” their real life. Twitter, although enormous as well and still growing, has not been adopted by as many people, just yet. Will this change with the new quirks that are coming out with “liking” something on Facebook? Will people want to “like” something when it will be shown as a “share” versus a harmless “like?” Perhaps. Perhaps not. But for now, Facebook still takes the cake on ROI on event sales and promotion via social media.

This post was originally written by me for Socialnomics

4 Social Media Tools to Monitor Efficiently With Google Reader

I don’t know about you, but I don’t know what I’d do without Google Reader and Feedly when it comes to monitoring my own brand as well as my company’s brand. These readers are super helpful for consuming news regarding mentions, news, and competition regarding your brand and your brand category. But these readers aren’t going to set themselves up…first you need to “build” your reader so you can be “fed” by it on a regular basis in order to increase efficiency and reduce time spent.

Three essential notes to take:

1. What is Google Reader?

Google Reader is basically an app where you can monitor happenings of your brand, your brand category, products, keywords, blogs, competitors, as well as any other news feeds that interests you. It’s great for keeping up with industry related blogs, and specific keywords related to your brand. Best part all you need is to import an RSS feed into your Google Reader (which almost everything has nowadays as seen below) and “wah-la!” you have a news station ready and waiting right on your browser. Bonus: you can organize your searches, news, etc via categories as you see fit.

2. How to set up Google Alerts

Google Alerts are awesome for key word and brand monitoring. You can have a Google Alert set up for any time your brand is mentioned somewhere across the web. And you can have it ping you immediately via email or just sit and wait for you in your Reader. Whatever suits your fancy!

3. The search terms you should set up

Not sure what type of search terms to use? Well, let’s take an example. Let’s say your brand is a cell phone provider. Five possible keywords may include the types of phones available, specific competition, as well as complementary products:

- cellphone
- iPhone
- Android
- smartphone
- smartphone apps

 

Takeaway: Google Reader: Simple and intuitive like most Google products; Feedly a nicer more appealing magazine type layout, which imports via your Google Reader.

Monitoring your brand with Google Reader and Feedly

The following are tools you can hook into your Google Reader or Feedly to be more productive and efficient with keeping up with your brand:

1.  Topsy

Topsy is a search engine powered by Tweets. It’s a great for a quick and easy social search of your brand and what’s being said, where it’s being said, and more. Topsy‘s take on the web is that it’s a stream of conversations, and therefore provides the conversation taking place, as it happens. You can have these updates emailed to your inbox, or my preference, through a RSS feed into your preferred Reader.

Topsy is a great way to save time constantly checking what’s being said about your brand, and who’s saying it in order to stay on top of it in real time. Instead, it comes to you, and you can read or check it as you please. Time saver!

2. Twitter

Twitter as we all know is a great micro-blogging tool in order to share news, information, build awareness and more regarding your brand. But Twitter is also a great way to keep up on your brand and brand category.

For example, you can search keywords related to your brand and have that search fed into your Google Reader in order to keep up efficiently. When you have time to take a look — whether it’s with your morning coffee, your dedicated social media time, or whatever suits your fancy. Either way, Twitter makes your life easier, especially when integrated into your Reader.

 

3. Social mention

Social Mention is a social media search engine that searches for information regarding your key words from across the web. It searches a myriad of social media platforms and allows you to see what people are saying about your brand, product, conference, trade show, competitors, and more with the simplicity of entering your search terms and then using the RSS feed to send into your Reader. My only word of caution is thatSocial Mention can have some issues with search errors when first loading your search terms in order to utilize the RSS feed. But overall it’s definitely helpful for searching the social sphere for keywords regarding your brand and being more efficient in that search.

4. Postrank

Postrank is not just about your brand’s influence, but about the influence of those mentioning your brand, your product, and/or spreading news regarding something related to your brand or product category. When curating content and using a Reader to do so, Postrank is a great integration to allow you to see how worthy and influential that content truly is and whether you should use it or not. Saves you time from reading content that is not so valued by others. Why waste your time, right?

 

BONUS:

Traackr

No time to do your reading, consuming, and keeping up with your brand category yourself? Too many brands to keep up with? Why not buy a service that can help you out and save you the hassle? I’ve met with Traackr once, and they have a great service which allows you to track influencers in your category as well as keep track of mentions on your brand and product on a regular and real-time basis. Easy, simple, and super awesome.

And don’t forget to remember it’s also important to “stick out” in other people’s news feeds in order to increase your brand awareness. It helps to have tools such as those above to help you find what’s important, what’s being said, and where it’s being said and by who — next it’s up to you and your brand!

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

Four New Apps and Why You Should Check Them Out!

Ever wish you could be more organized with your social media efforts in re: to Facebook and Twitter? Be more efficient with your time? Get help with your strategy and campaign? And Have some cool analytics to show your success in your social media marketing efforts? Here are four tools to help you do just that!

1. TwitSprout

TwitSprout Perks:

a) A one-page Twitter dashboard: convenient, simple, and informative

b) Can track frequently – even hourly

c) Manage multiple accounts

d) Export analytics and data as a PDF or CSV

e) Brand report specially for your clients

 

Note: Takes a little time to generate as it’s still in Beta.

2. Roost

Roost Perks:

a) Can focus on Facebook and Twitter campaigns specifically

b) Can plan ahead for Tweets in order to save time and focus on other marketing efforts

c) Can produce reports to see effects of Facebook efforts, reach, and demographics/traits of those you are focusing upon

 

d) Helps you manage your networks

e) Suggests types of content to post and provides easy access to articles, blogs and other original content based on your industry and interests.

 

3. Crowdbooster

Crowdbooster Perks:

a) Already offered Twitter insights and now offers Facebook page analytics too!

b) Insights into “who” your audience is via their impressions (aka ReTweets, etc) on your brand.

c) Make reports on your analytics: Excel or PDF

 

d) Recommendations for your marketing strategy

 

Note: They will get back to you re: your invitation.

4. Sprout Social

Sprout Social Perks:

a) Cool easy to use dashboard to have all your social goodness in one place.

b) Search for targeted prospective customers, local target market, and related conversation occurring in real-time.

c) Twitter and Facebook analytics for clicks, mentions, responses, and more.

d) PDF reports

e) And now offering google analytics integration!

f) Schedule posts ahead of time

g) Keep track of check-ins, especially of particular/loyal consumers.

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

5 Helpful Social Media Tools That Integrate With Salesforce

Hooked on your social media apps? Need your Salesforce? What if they were integrated to make your brand management easier and your day a little saner? We all know that it isn’t always easy to be efficient as a social media manager so I believe an integration sounds awesome, especially for lead generation, tracking, and deeper analysis.

Here are five very useful tools, which all integrate in some capacity with Salesforce:

1. Radian6

Social media metrics are key in order to manage your brand online and make sure your social media efforts are matching up to your marketing goals and strategy. Radian6 is great for those metrics and see which content is generating buzz online and traffic to your website. With this integration with Salesforce now the two apps bring users the ability to see which content is from which consumers/clients/prospects, and allowing the ability to then add these new contacts and leads with just one click! Efficiency and lead management = pretty awesome.

 

2. Cotweet

When apps and tools make our lives simple it is just like taking candy from a baby.Cotweet is just this simplicity with its integration with Salesforce. Cotweet which allows one to engage with consumers/clients/prospects by expanding reach beyondTwitter to Facebook. And now with the integration,  brand managers can easily  do a “one-click exporting of tweets and Facebook posts to Salesforce.” This new upgrade will also allow for deeper analytics and reports, allowing for us awesome marketers to track ReTweets, and more and then export this data to Excel and track buzz and influence over a certain amount of time whether it be weeks, months, or years.

3. Seesmic

Seesmic is yet another great social media management tool for tracking, monitoring and engaging and has also integrated with the likes of Salesforce. One cool example of this integration is if someone tweets about your product/service category (asking a question or making a comment), this becomes an automatic potential opportunity and is captured directly into Salesforce. This automation is not only helpful but great for lead management as well as potential conversion from prospects to customers.

4. Zendesk

Zendesk now allows brand managers to view Salesforce CRM information in a customer profile directly in Zendesk. You can also view real-time Zendesk tickets fromSalesforce and view/categorize by status, priority, or type. Additionally there are reports on Salesforce cases and Zendesk ticket data that is consolidated for viewing and analysis ease and efficiency. Value prop: dig deeper into Salesforce‘s advanced analytics to make better marketing and business decisions.

 

 

5. COMING SOON: Hootsuite

Last but not least, Hootsuite will have an integration, SOON!

I must admit I regularly use Hootsuite and am looking forward to seeing how this upcoming integration benefits the brand I manage on a deeper level. From what I’ve learned thus far, the Salesforce integration will allows marketers to utilize the information passing through Twitter including: sift through tweets to find relevant conversation, capture and monitor conversation by creating a record of specific Tweets to track, and funnel relevant solutions from the Service Cloud knowledge base into a Twitter post. Two great tools working together for more efficient and relevant content management and engagement with consumers.

 

 

Five great tools, now even cooler due to the integration with Salesforce. You know you’re pumped….so what do you have to lose? Try it, have fun with it, and tell us what you think, like, dislike, and any questions you have.

This post was originally written for oneforty, which was acquired by Hubspot. 

 

Thirty Beginner Social Media Marketing Tips and Tricks

I love when I see friends and coworkers hopping onboard and starting to embrace social media as a regular part of their work or personal lives. But as many people are still learning, some insider tips are helpful and crucial to their effectiveness on their social media channels. So folks, here are some tips and a “cheat sheet” slideshare doc just for you below!

Facebook

1. A Fan Page is for your company Facebook Page and a Profile Page is for your personal Page. Remember the difference or Facebook will shut your page down, and that would be a major “fail!”

2. Use the real estate available to you: Put up a great profile pic; have a bio; add links to your other sites!

3. Add pictures! Pictures allow people to see what your brand is about and realize it’s more than just a “logo.” Add pictures from events, conferences, demos, and just the regular everyday awesomeness in your office.

4. Be human! Don’t just post, post, post. No one wants to hear all about you, all the time. Ask questions, reply, and converse like you would in every day life.

5. Share other people’s posts. Engage and demonstrate you value content and opinions by others too!

6. Connect your platforms! Did you do a blog post? Have it automatically post on your Facebook page so others can have access to it easily and quickly.

7. Have contests or other exciting giveaways or events which encourage both online and offline participation with your brand via Facebook.

8. Update regularly and not just once in a blue moon. Fans get used to the regularity of posts and fall off your loyal fan wagon if you don’t keep up.

9. Use your Facebook Insights to monitor your success with your Fans and see why/when your Fans activity increases or decreases. It’s helpful for future campaigns and promotions.

10. Be relevant. Post content that provides value to your target audience, but at the same time add some fun stuff too. The 80/20 rule is a great way to start out.

As seen below, Laughing Cow Cheese is always a great example of engagement, being human, and providing great relevant content on a consistent basis.

 

Twitter

1. Get a Twitter handle as simple and close to the name of you or your brand as possible. Refrain from names like Tommy93737434 because no one will remember it.

2. Use the real estate given to you! Have a relevant 140-character bio which catches the eye of your target audience; have a great picture (as with Facebook) for your profile, and because some people still use www.Twitter.com versus Hootsuite,Tweetdeck, etc — make sure your Twitter background is up to par as well!

3. Be polite! Don’t just Tweet Tweet Tweet! This party isn’t all about you and the sooner you learn that, the less Twitter mistakes you will make! It’s a place for all of us to share, listen, chat together, and engage with one another. And the words “please” and “thank you” are just as welcome in this space.

4. Listen First. Talk Second. Set up columns in apps like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite in order to listen to your target audience easier and better. For example, have a separate column for clients, prospects, competition, etc.

5. Use hashtags for events, conferences, products, etc in order to promote more, and listen better on what people are saying re: your brand/product/event/etc.

6. ReTweet other people’s Tweets. It’s not all about your own content and opinion.

7. Give credit where credit is due when curating other people’s content.

8. Use the link shortener, it’s there to help you say more in this 140 character world.

9. Share links, photos, videos and more. It’s not just about articles and blog posts.

10. Follow Back! Don’t be too cool to follow, because on Twitter, we’re all a little nerdy!

Lululemon is a great example of a brand who knows how to ReTweet, ask questions, engage, and truly show each follower they have that they care about each one and what they have to say.

 

Blogging

1. Strategize on the content that you would like to blog about first. Focus on your marketing strategy and what value you would like to provide your target audience in order to avoid many of the common blogging mistakes.

2. Have an editorial calendar to keep track of topics, bloggers, and deadlines.

3. Have guest bloggers to add some spice to your regular content.

4. Post regularly, or people forget you have a blog.

5. Have share buttons easily visible so people can Tweet, Share and Like your posts.

6. Have subscribe buttons also easily visible so people can click and subscribe quickly and easily.

7. Allow people to comment on your posts. Monitor if you want to approve before they become public.

8. Having headings, subheadings, and list posts keep people’s attention more as they’re easier to read than prolific paragraph after paragraph.

9. Add visual stimulation with videos, embeds, pictures, graphs, and the like.

10. Have a voice that’s yours. Don’t be afraid to add a little pizzazz!

The Purse Blog is unique and quite visual with its pictures, and posts, which allow the reader to engage not only with the content they want of purses reviewed, but let them see first hand how awesome these purses truly are.

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

Networking goes beyond the cocktail party

 

Remember going to a cocktail networking event, getting a few business cards, inputting them into your contacts when you got home, and emailing them to stay in touch? The traditional networking is not so traditional anymore…nowadays there’s so much more you can do before, during and after with the use of social media. Here are some my tips, especially for those just getting into the “game”…

 

a) Before

1. Check out the Attendee List and see who you definitely want to talk to during the event.

2. Look up their Twitter handles and introduce yourself beforehand. Be friendly and express your excitement in meeting them (without being stalker-ish of course).

3. Find out the networking event hashtag for Twitter so you can Tweet when you checkin on Foursquare or Gowalla and what’s happening at the event when you get there. Being prepared is key.

4. Have business cards (even if you don’t have a job). Moo cards are my personal fave.

5. Have your social networks up-to-date because more than likely people are looking you up (if not before, then after).

 

b) During

1. Check in on Foursquare.

2. Use hashable to introduce and keep in touch with people you’ve met.

3. Tweet about awesome things happening during the event. Did someone give a good talk? Tweet about it! Give them praise and mention them in the Tweet. And don’t forget the hashtag for the event!

4. See when friends or people you want to meet get there via Foursquare checkins.

5.  Don’t be shy, it’s a networking event for a reason.

6. Like a single person, be approachable and easy to talk to. Don’t just eat food the whole time…tacky.

7. When asked what you do, don’t ramble on for five million years. Have a 20-30 second awesome blurb in your head to share when needed.

8. Don’t ask them for a job, or a favor, the second you meet them. Get to know the person first. No one wants to be hounded the second they meet you.

9. Beware of being a jerk networker. When talking to someone…be there. Don’t look around for someone better to talk to. Be short, sweet, polite, and move on with grace.

10 . Enjoy yourself, make friends, and remember networking should be fun and casual. Enjoy yourself!

 

c) After

1.Definitely recommend connecting on LinkedIn and on Twitter. Facebook is for those you feel you are actually friends with (in my opinion).

2. Depending on the “sphere” the people work in, rather than emailing the person to stay in touch, you might consider a note on LinkedIn or a friendly Tweet.

3. Don’t forget about them the day after. Like any relationship, networking and building those relationships takes time. Keep tweeting and stay in touch with those individuals.

4.  Not wanting to connect with everyone you met? Remember, it’s a small world. You never know when you might run into them again.

5. Check out the hashtag and see what other people have said. See who you missed and connect with them online and express your disappointment that you missed them and hope to connect on or offline soon. Can’t hurt!

 

In short, new media networking is not replacing traditional networking but is complementary to it. It helps stay in better touch and to build relationships further rather than just randomly emailing once in a blue moon for a favor. Instead you can see what content they share via their blogs, Twitter, LinkedIn and more. You can engage with them, and perhaps meet them for a coffee after the fact. In the end, talking in person is irreplaceable…new media is just another way to stay in touch and build relationships. Don’t be scared of it, embrace it!

And if you want to know more regarding personal branding tools, how to avoid social media mistakes, and more, check out the rest of my blog!

 

5 Reasons Why Twitter is Not a Fad

Even in 2011, there are many people who are hesitant or skeptical regarding the use and benefits of Twitter. I shake my head and “sigh” at these folks. Twitter, although simple to begin using (such as tweeting, retweeting, hashtags, etc), is not so simple to finesse and engage with. It takes time and effort to get the art and science balance ofTwitter and its benefits. But when used correctly, brands (whether personal or companies) can truly increase their marketing efforts. Thus, it is not an app that is going to go away anytime soon…face it folks, Twitter is still here and you should take the time to embrace it. And here’s why…

1. Customer Service: Like the idea of instant customer service in real-time? Who doesn’t? Well Twitter is the answer. You can tweet to a company who uses Twitter for their customer service and their community manager should respond within minutes to whatever question, grievance, or comment you may have. For example, I made a comment to Zipcar once via Twitter, and within seconds I had a response. Who wants to pick up the phone and sit on hold when you can Tweet it?

 

2. Targeted element: Rather than reaching out to the mass media and just Tweeting to no-man’s-land…Twitter helps people target who they’re talking to. For example you can make Twitter lists of people who are current customer, potential customers, etc. Then when you see them Tweet, you can respond with a targeted tweet whether it be a special promotion for first time customers or a discount for being a loyal consumer.Twitter allows your brand to show your consumers you care about each one, and are listening and catering to their needs. For example, Petco does promotional tweets, which allow you get discounts and/or win contests for freebies if you answer a trivia question. Great way to promote the brand and create conversation too. One note of caution though — be careful not to spam. You may scare away potential or current consumers. Think before you Tweet!

3. Open vs. closed: Certain platforms are good for some things and others are better for other things. But the way Twitter is set up, it’s very easy for businesses to have a conversation with customers but still drive traffic to their site and take the conversation and activity elsewhere. Whereas Facebook pages it’s like everything is locked up inFacebook (or so it seems). Thus, you’re taking it past Twitter and putting it where and when customers want it. For example, brands such as Johnny Cupcakes utilize Twitterto talk about new T-shirts that are being released, and allow consumers to click right then and there on a link to the page with the new item. Convenient and “tweet worthy!”

 

4. Building Relationships: Unlike those who just Tweet stuff about themselves,Twitter can be a great vehicle to build relationships with both potential and current consumers. For example, when brands tweet back to people, respond to questions, and/or JUST to comment back with a laugh and appreciative banter…that’s where relationships form. The building blocks to successful relationships of course include time and effort, but it can start with a Tweet, which allows for that consumer (potential or loyal) to feel special and connected to a brand, especially when it’s a large one. Just take a look at Domino’s Twitter feed below…even a simple thanks can go a long way, whether it’s a consumer buying their pizza and/or sharing the customer experience with friends and so on and so forth.

 

5. All the cool kids are doing it: When a social media tool goes beyond brands and trendy people using it, that’s when it causes a real stir. For example, when it comes to national crisis events, Twitter has been used to get the word out faster and allow people to know what’s going on whether it’s regarding a national disaster or something else. In short, Twitter is a great — no, exceptional — vehicle for getting the word out, quickly, efficiently, and to the people you want to hear it when and where they want to listen to it.

 

So what are you waiting for? Hop on the bandwagon before it leaves you behind! Tweet it up!

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

How to: Manage Social Media and Online Distractions

Are you like me? Are you on your Facebook, Twitter, email, and more, and still trying to do your work efficiently and productively? Tough, right? Digital media is both the angel and devil on your shoulder at times. But it does not mean you can’t throw that lasso around it and control your time rather than it sucking time away from you. How? Below are my ideas on how to stop wasting time, and have more time to breathe, work, and kick some butt in productivity.

1. Set aside time limits: If you constantly check your Facebook page, Twitter Feed, personal email, and more — it might be time for you to put some “dietary restrictions” on your online habit. For example, check your social stuff on the way to work (if you use public transportation), or the first few minutes while you drink your coffee and settle in, during lunch time, and/or before/after work. If social media is part of your job, avoid checking your personal stuff constantly, and focus on the brand you are working for. Keep the two separate if needed. For example, do you have a personal Twitteraccount and one for your brand? Use Hootsuite for one, and the Twitter page for the other or whatever suits your fancy for Twitter platforms. That way you aren’t constantly looking at your own when you should be working.

 

2. Anti-Social: Is #1 too hard? No self-restraint? You keep bingeing on Facebook? Have no fear, “there’s an app for that!” Anti-Social is an app that allows you to shut off your social life online while you do some work. You will not be able to go on Facebookor Twitter (or whatever else you specify) for the time you have chosen to shut them down. One glitch in the matrix, it is only available for Mac users. So for all of you who reach for the Facebook when you shouldn’t, this app may be just the ticket.

 

3. Turn your alerts off on your smartphone: Did you think you could sneak in a look on your Twitter feed on your phone and I wouldn’t notice? Tsk tsk! Instead of having your phone alert you every time you have a mention on Twitter or if someone posted on your Facebook wall, shut off these alerts while you’re at work. Too hard? Start easier. Put your phone on silent so you are less likely to notice when it buzzes or an alert comes through. It may be hard to go “cold turkey,” so start out light and figure out the right balance for your cravings.

 

4. Make Twitter lists & Limit News Feed: When you do go on Twitter or Facebook do you feel like you are spending so much time trying to catch up on all that has happened while you were away? Make Twitter lists so you can pay attention to what you want to hear about, and cut through the clutter faster. Seeing too many people on your Facebook news feed that you normally don’t pay attention to? Block them from showing up on your news feed, so you have the people and brands you actually care to hear from and see what’s the latest and greatest is on their end.

 

5. Consolidate: Too many social media platforms to check? Do you subscribe to all the “new and shiny” ones that come out? Consolidate! Lucky for us, there are great tools like Hootsuite, Seesmic, and Tweetdeck that allow you to listen and comment in one place for your social media desires. Want to post your status, do it all at once from one place to all your pages. Simple, easy, and efficient. Gotta love it.

 

6. Google Reader: Too many articles, blog posts, and news to keep up with? UseGoogle Reader to have it sitting and waiting for you in one place. Organize your RSS feeds so you can decide what you feel like keeping up with. Read it on the go, at home, or wherever. Why waste the time going to each website when it can come to you, all consolidated and easy to access, just for you?

 

Now that you know how to be more productive without sacrificing your social media and Internet addictions, ready, set, work! And when having issues with your “diet” just remember to be honest with yourself and set goals. Are you on Facebook for fun or business? Be respectful and mindful of your time. Do you feel better when you are productive and kick butt at work or waste your time checking your friends status updates? Be honest. Set Goals. And be productive.

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

5 Small Busineses Who Do Facebook and Twitter Right

There are so many businesses throughout the country, often times the smaller ones are overshadowed by the larger ones. However, we cannot forget the little guys, the businesses who are kicking butt, but just aren’t all over our radar as Microsoft, Apple or Verizon may be. These small businesses are utilizing social media such asFacebook and Twitter to keep their target audiences well informed of their product/service and are showing it’s not about the deep pockets completely, it’s also  about the dedication and putting your all into a company/business you love and of course using the tools at your fingertips to reach your audience.

Here are five of my picks for small businesses utilizing Facebook and Twitter like they own it!

(1) Notch Session Beer: Founded by Chris Lohring of Salem, MA, Notch provides low ABV % beer for those who love a great tasting beer, without falling off their stool after drinking. Not only has Notch provided a killer tasting beer, but it has done a great job at going the extra mile with their social media resources. For example on Twitter, Notch does not just post about their beer constantly and ad nauseum. They provide fun facts, news, and invite their fans to in-person events to try the beer at local pubs (aka a “session”). Thus, Notch does a great job at utilizing Twitter to promote live events and engage audiences on and offline. In my opinion, Notch is just beginning, watch out folks, and don’t spill that beer!

2) Naked Pizza: A “natural” pizza offering with 10 grains and probiotics and more. Who knew pizza didn’t have to be all bad for you? That’s a great excuse to indulge in my opinion. And aside from the fabulous pizza, Naked Pizza has shown that social media can spread news like wildfire and arouse the awareness of both potential and current consumers. For example, when Naked Pizza was looking to open up in Dubai (spreading its wings), they decided to actually “talk” to people (in person and via social media such as Twitter) and get their thoughts and opinions on food and health. The idea of consumer involvement is not new, but it’s essential to the success of companies and their products/services. Consumers love to be involved and share their opinions and they will find a way to do it, even if you don’t give them that avenue personally. So, why not (like Naked Pizza) immerse yourselves with the consumers and find out what they really want. In the mean time, check out this cool video of how Naked Pizza did it via Twitter.

3) Coffee Groundz: A coffee shop that understood the awesomeness of free Wi-Fi and embracing tech and social like Facebook and Twitter. The coffee shop quickly became for social-media-aholics and the like due to the atmosphere, the culture, and of course, the coffee. This coffee shop does not just provide a great venue for drinking coffee, doing work, and catching up with friends, it also allows you to keep posted on what’s going on with the shop via Facebook and Twitter. For example (as seen below) they post events such as musicians who will be at the coffee shop. Like the Facebook page? Love that musician? Attend the event? Buy some coffee (or other yummy item)? I think that sounds like some fabulous Facebook ROI.

 

4) Roger Smith Hotel: The Roger Smith Hotel in midtown NYC is known for its devotion to the arts and embracing social media, and as of late become a go-to hotel for many social media VIPs and geeks alike. Why wouldn’t you want to stay at a hotel which embraces social media, has a great roof deck and a staff which is not just polite, but inviting, gracious, and off the charts engaging with each and every person who walks into the hotel (either in person or via Twitter,  Facebook etc). Not only do they useTwitter to interact, but there are special Twitter rates available for rooms. Awesome ROI and perks! I have also had the personal pleasure of meeting Adam Wallace, Director of Digital Marketing at Roger Smith, and can say without a doubt, that Adam, along with others at RS are dedicated to how social media touches each potential and current consumer, as well as in person. Have questions, hit up @rshotel and ask away.

 

5) Krista Photography: Krista, a Boston wedding photographer is not only delightful in person, but her photography is thrilling to view. She captures the emotion of every wedding, child, and special event in each individual photo. Impressive and breath-taking at the same time. And as a smart businesswoman she realizes the potential of utilizing social networks to show her photography, engage further with current clients who like seeing their pictures online, and illustrate to potential consumers that she is the photographer they want, and the pictures tell all. When looking on her Facebook Fan Page, you can see some great visuals of weddings, head shots, and more. Krista realizes that Facebook is not just for chatting with friends anymore, but a great tool to for her consumers to view, discuss, and comment on her work.

 

After delving into these intelligent and great businesses above and how they have dedicated themselves to utilizing social media to further their awareness, engagement, and conversion of people to customers I am inspired and look forward to seeing how these businesses continue to grow via their social media efforts. Now I have a desire to pick up a camera, grab a pizza, a beer, coffee, and chill on the roof deck of a great hotel.

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


Graphedge Offers Detailed Twitter Analytics and Follower Analysis [Product Review]

The company to keep on your radar: Graphedge. Why? They went live a year and a half ago and are providing great analytical tools for marketing agencies and marketing departments for brands across the nation. They have two tools that are great to have in your back pocket (and another one coming out soon), which can assist with Twitterfollowers (Graphedge Followers) and Twitter campaigns (Graphedge Pro). Want to know more? I had the pleasure of getting the inside scoop when I spoke with one of the awesome Graphedge peeps, and now I’ll share the scoop on their two products and how they can help you and your brand marketing.

Graphedge Followers:

Fun Fact: Was developed because of pain points consumers had regarding tracking Twitter for clients. Agencies wanted it, Graphedge made it.

  • Quick and simple sign up – Pay and you have the product.
  • Unlike other products which may just identify a Tweet and how far that Tweet went, Graphedge goes beyond the individual Tweet because that they believe tracking each  individual Tweet is futile and time consuming. Instead, they help agencies and brands look for a pattern. Graphedge Followers does an aggregate of all the Tweeting that you or your competitor (or whoever) has done recently and measures the metrics in response to those aggregate averages. Thus, it measures the engagements and correlates those numbers to actions you are taking. Basically, it goes beyond most free tracking products available.
  • This product also has the ability to track the lifespan of every individual follower.
  • Great to see who’s following you, dropping you, and why they are dropping you. Thus, you can see when you were dropped and can correlate with what was going on during that particular time span and see what went right/wrong in order to revise any marketing strategy if necessary.
  • In short, it helps to build a clearer picture of what’s going on in Twitter for you or your client, your brand, etc.

Graphedge Pro:

  • Sign up and Graphedge also works with each agency/brand in order to assist with the campaign they are working on. Hands on assistance in order to guide and execute.
  • The campaign product (in comparison to the Follower product) is in greater granular detail.
  • It captures every single Tweet in order to look and process. Thus it is not just about counting up Tweets, but goes deeper into the sentiment analysis of each Tweet.
  • Great for finding the influencers in your market and using them in your campaign efforts.
  • Find out how your company/client Tweets are spreading and what impact each Tweet is having.
  • In short, this product gets to the root of the analytics behind your Tweets and how you can revise, expand, and/or improve your campaign.
  • In the words of Graphedge — “The Campaign Tracking tool captures every tweet for a series of keywords. From this set of data we create metrics about the tweets, the users who tweeted them, their sentiment, when they tweeted, etc. For select clients we generate a credible  ”Estimated Impressions” metric, which clients use to calculate ROI and/or CPM. Emphasis on “credible”… competitors’ methodologies for generating these numbers are frequently dubious and/or opaque.”

 

Try out Graphedge for yourself, if you are an agency and/or marketing department for a brand that is looking for a unique and in-depth analysis tool for your or your client’sTwitter handle. And if you have tried it, share your experience and how you feel the product benefited you or could be better.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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