Social Media Marketing

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Is What We Read More Important Than Who We Are?

Posted by Brandsplat

For a brief minute, social media marketing seemed to be a golden ticket into giving marketers a better look at who consumers really were and what they really liked. Facebook pages filled with “likes” for favorite brands, tweets mentioning interests and Pinterest boards chock full of lusted-after items give the illusion of really getting to know a consumer. Yet many think when it comes to content marketing, we should really be asking consumers what they’re reading instead of analyzing their status updates.

The webpages we visit, the blogs we read and the things we search for say far more than social media ever could, says the Guardian’s Jonny Rose.

“By tracking consumer interactions as they browse and engage with content, brands can begin to reveal current and evolving interests, inclinations and needs — sometimes before the individual knows themselves,” Rose says.

Technology referred to by Rose as “content analytics” gives brands access to invaluable insights — but how?

“Content analytics technology analyses pieces of text and makes it understandable and readable for computers. It allows computers to understand the topics, people, places, companies and concepts in the content, sentiment towards aspects of the content, and the language of that content,” Rose says. “This, in turn, means computers can track an individual’s interaction with a piece of content and collect and draw trends about that individual’s tastes and interests.”

If this sounds Big Brother-ish or a little creepy to you, you’re not alone. A lot of folks are startled by the amount of information that advertisers have access to. But others would argue that content marketing analytics helps companies get a more truthful look at the person they are trying to reach. These analytics have also been a long time coming; by now, most people know that when they’re online, they are communicating with brands, whether they want to or not.

Regardless of opinion, these kind of analytics are unavoidable.

“Whether you are browsing to kill time, entertain yourself or researching for a friend, what you are reading right now is incredibly indicative of who you are as a person — and this is immensely useful for brands,” Rose concludes. 

But what do you think, readers? Are content marketing analytics helpful or a borderline invasion of privacy? Tell us in the comments section below.

 

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Vine Marketing: Nailing the 6-second Commerical

Posted by Brandsplat

Tired of hearing social media experts go on and on about Vine? Well, get used it. The mobile app, launched in 2012 and acquired by Twitter shortly thereafter, has just begun to generate the kind of buzz it deserves, and brands are finding all kinds of ways to make it work for them. But what is Vine exactly, and how can small businesses use it in online marketing?

Love it, loathe or fail to understand it, Vine isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Vine is a smartphone app that lets users create and post short videos — short as in a max of six seconds — which then can be shared or embedded on social networking. These tiny videos are easier to share and download given their size. Like YouTube’s early days, initial content has ranged from grating to nonsensical. Skateboarding, cats, skateboarding cats, weird old people making faces — you know, the kind of things that are the cornerstones of online video creation. Yet the longer Vine grows, the more brands are finding ways to creatively use the micro-video format. Oreo, Urban Outfitters and Lowe’s, for instance, are a few companies with the budget and talent to make effective and memorable videos on Vine.

“The good news is that almost any business can find a way to use Vine, but those that are great at storytelling are the most likely to be successful,” writes Yael Grauer for Business2Community.com. “Communicating via video works best for brands that have already identified how their story connects with customers. And as always with video or images, visually-appealing products or storylines win the day: The challenge is to fit a story into six seconds, say marketing experts, so some creativity is required.”

In other words, when it comes to standing out in the already crowded Vine jungle, creativity and an already high visibility are key ingredients.

Readers, what’s your take on Vine? Is it the next YouTube? Or the decline the of online video innovation as we know it? Sound off below!

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5 Things for August 9: Blog Marketing, Watery Billboards and Applebees

Posted by Brandsplat

Need a longer lunch break? Want more people to read your blog? Can’t find your keys? Our weekly list of the best content marketing stories you might have missed can help! We have five stories that could very well answer your most puzzling questions when it comes to social media and online marketing. When it comes to things like finding your keys, however, you’re on your own.

1.) On Trend: It feels like there has been a never-ending supply of new Facebook stories this summer, and here’s one more you might have missed. On the heels of its hashtag rollout two months ago, Facebook is trying out another Twitter-born application: trending topics. Facebook told Mashable on Wednesday, “Today we started running a small test that displays topics trending on Facebook. It is currently only available to a small percentage of U.S. users who use Facebook’s mobile web site (m.facebook.com) and is still in very early stages of development,” a rep for Facebook said. Good idea or just another Twitter knockoff? Tell us in the comments section.

2.) Blowup Dolls and Burgers: Applebees is back with more inflatable dolls in hopes of inspiring folks to take a longer lunch break by leaving a stand-in behind at the office. Sounds ridiculous, but two styles of the dolls, “The Overachiever” and the “Cubicle Queen,” have already sold out on Amazon. It’s a clever and successful stunt. Still, it’s hard to say if these blowup buddies actually inspire people to eat at Applebees.

3.) Get Your Blog Noticed: Forbes published a fantastic list of easy solutions to blog marketing earlier this week. The list is worth a read since it gives 14 blog marketing and content ideas that every business can put into practice immediately. 

4.) A ‘Pizza’ the Action: Domino’s is investing in startups while generating some huge buzz with Pizzavestments. The program, covered by tons of blogs this week, hands out $500 Dominos cards to 30 startups who probably spend a lot of late nights munching on pizza while working. #PoweredByPizza is the hashtag the company is using to inspire Twitter users to share their own tales of pizza-assisted genius. 

5.) We’ll Drink to That: We close out this week’s list with a billboard in Lima, Peru worth celebrating. UTEC, a tech and engineering school, looked to solve Lima’s drinking water problem by creating this billboard which captures humidity and converts it into drinking water. Since the billboard went up 3 months ago, this magical billboard has created a whopping 9,450 liters of drinking water.

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Social Media Marketing: The Sequel!

Posted by Brandsplat

Think back to that long ago and far away time when social media marketing simply meant doing a couple of Facebook posts a week or tweeting every now and again. If that was a long time ago for you, then congratulations! Your social media marketing has evolved. If, however, “thinking back” to those prehistoric times means recalling your feeble marketing efforts from earlier today… well, you might have a problem. See, the one thing we’ve learned about social media is that it’s ever-changing, and in order for marketing to be effective, we have to keep up with the trends. The question is this: How do we keep social media marketing fresh in order to avoid getting stuck in the past?

Think of 2013 as a whole new chapter for social media marketing. How big brands like Banana Republic, Virgin Airways and Diesel do Facebook and Twitter today vs. how they did it back in 2010 is truly night and day. For one thing, the old “blasting of the trumpet” approach to social media is over. Brands are now using the platforms to get feedback on product images, to chat about current events and to inspire followers to be more creative. Facebook marketing, for example, has moved from sales to informational. Last-minute schedule changes for airlines, restaurants posting the evening’s delectable dinner specials and non-profits uploading photos to illustrate how donations can help are but a few ways the channel has shifted for small businesses. The numbers didn’t lie; Facebook doesn’t translate into direct sales. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a powerful place for your following to keep up on the latest news from your brand.

For a new chapter in Twitter marketing, turn up the social factor. As a platform, Twitter has made it easier than ever to talk to folks with your exact interests, so take advantage of it and schmooze your heart out. Even mega companies are slowing down and using Twitter to playfully banter back and forth with followers — and you should do the same. Mentioning new followers, re-tweeting articles from a friend’s feed and tweeting fun or provocative discussion questions are a good way to get the conversation going. Naturally, you and your brand are on Twitter to pimp your brand’s awesomeness, but don’t forget to have fun.

Should your social media marketing sequel want to move into the trendy visual arena, choose wisely. While Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr have each respectively been the “next big things” in social media, nothing lasts forever. Carefully shop and browse visual social media platforms before committing and come armed with a solid campaign plan before you start posting. It’s easy to get swept away with how great your images look on these channels, but if you’re not committed to posting regularly and with a purpose, they should be avoided.

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BBQ Bashes Blogger, Gets Burned

Posted by Brandsplat

Every so often, a tale of social media marketing gone wrong comes along that is just so ridiculous, we simply have to talk about it. And the twisted tale of Boners BBQ and its Yelp-fueled social media meltdown certainly falls into that category.

At the beginning of the month, Yelp reviewer Stephanie S. and her husband visited Atlanta’s Boners BBQ and ate what she described as a mediocre meal in her review. But the response she received from the owner of Boners was anything but mediocre. On the restaurant’s Facebook page as well as in a tweet, owner Andrew Capron fired off the following response: “NOT WANTED! (Stephanie S.) left a waitress 0.00 dollars on a $40.00 tab after she received a Scoutmob discount. If you see this women (sic) in your restaurant tell her to go outside and play hide and go f— yourself! Yelp that b—-.”

Whoa. Naturally, the web exploded with responses to Capron’s super negative reaction to what is described as only a “so-so” review. Stephanie S. told the Huffington Post that she did leave a tip “and my review was not scathing by any means. The response from Boners BBQ has just been astonishing to me, especially since it came from the owner of the business.”

Meanwhile, outraged Atlanta diners and Yelpers have come to Stephanie’s aid and verbally trashed the restaurant on its Yelp page. By Wednesday, Boners’ bad behavior was the subject of many a national news story and the company was forced to put out the raging fire. Capron once again took to social media to apologize. Capron posted “Dear, Stephanie S.- We are truly sorry, it was a boneheaded move on our part. But more importantly- it was rude to you and an inappropriate use of social media.” Capron goes on to say it was wrong to “abuse” her opinion and even offers to refund her money or give her a free meal.

The little Atlanta barbecue joint found out the hard way that playing with social media fire will get you burned. We’re guessing this “boneheaded” mistake is one that Boners won’t repeat anytime soon.

Now, about that name. Boners? Complete with the tagline “Put a Little South in Your Mouth”? Really?

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The Difference Between Social, Professional and Personal

Posted by Brandsplat

Business Insider ran an interesting piece last week about the “15 Most Detrimental Social Media Mistakes You’re Making.” The problem of social media marketers getting too personal was one that popped up several times on the list, which was compiled from tips submitted by some of the industry’s biggest social media hotshots. This issue is one that pollutes blogs, tweets and Facebook pages of companies big and small. We’ve seen brands go down in flames thanks to big-mouthed CEOs or Twitter-happy celebrity spokespeople. So, the question is: How do we infuse ourselves into our online marketing strategies while managing to keep it professional?

Consider the case of Bernardo Hees before you fire off that mouthy and opinionated blog. Hees is the CEO at Burger King – or at least for the next 20 minutes, anyway. The outspoken Hees caught hell this week when he dogged British women and the English cuisine while giving a lecture at the University of Chicago.

“The food is terrible and the women are not very attractive (in England). Here in Chicago the food is good, and you are known for good-looking women,” was quoted by the Chicago Maroon.

Putting aside the irony of someone from Burger King criticizing anybody’s food, Hees’ statement was caught fire and ticked off British customers. An off-the-cuff comment can be apologized for later (which Hees did later via spokesperson) but controversial statements often are caught on tape or captured on social media… Just ask John Galliano.

Yet this all seems very blurry. Social media, which is supposed to be, uhm, social, should be chatty and conversational, right? We should use to best parts of our personality to sell our brand. The key here is editing. Our thoughts about religions, politics or how ugly we think an entire group of people are should be kept mercifully to ourselves. Instead of talking about how amazing our thoughts are, we should use blogs and social media to interact with our clients. The dead end blathering about how great we are and what products we have isn’t only narcissistic – it’s beyond boring to read.

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