Posts Tagged ‘Social Media’
This week, one of our team members, Philip Mastroianni shared with the IMI team some insight into Reddit.com, a highly effective social news and entertainment website. Reddit, familiar to many of us already, has a bulletin board system where users submit content, can vote up or down a post, and comment on many different subtopics.
So why is Reddit still a worthwhile social site? As of 2012, Reddit has about 37 billion page views, 400 million unique visits, 30 million posts, and 4.4 million page views. The site got up to 1.6 million unique visits in one day. In 2011, Reddit received a Quantcast US rank of 66 (out of all the sites on the web), and an Alexa US rank of 43.
Popular Reddit Terms
Despite its plain interface, Reddit is a sophisticated site with its own lingo. Some commonly used Reddit terms are listed below:
OP: Original Poster
“According to the OP, the image was taken from The New York Times“.
TIL: Today I learned…
“TIL that taxonomically, modern-day birds aren’t just descended from dinosaurs, but are considered to BE dinosaurs“.
DAE: Does anyone else…
“DAE think that Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street should have their own full-length sitcom?”
IAmA: I am a….
“IAmA Police Officer in Arizona, AMA”
AMA: Ask me anything.
“I have had 2 ACL reconstructions. AMA.“
TL;DR: Too Long; Didn’t Read
“[After a long, detailed story] TL;DR I went to Vegas, found a monkey in my hotel room, and lived ‘The Hangover’ in real life.“
FTFY: Fixed that for you.
Term used when someone makes a change to another user’s post or image, often with humorous results.
Famous People Who Use Ask Me Anything on Reddit
- President Barack Obama
- Larry King
- Molly Ringwald
- Bill Gates
- Arnold Schwarzenegger
(Who also happens to answer questions
in r/fitness from time to time)
- Zach Braff
- Jimmy Kimmel
- Ron Paul
- Stephen Colbert
- Bear Grylls
- Firefox UX Design Team
- Mars Curiosity Rover engineers and scientists
Ask Me Anything – Upcoming Chats
- 98 Degrees (Band)
- Charlie Rose (Talk show host)
Before posting something on Reddit, you want to make sure that you post it in the right category. The more people that “upvote” your post, the better chance it has at reaching more viewers. Some of the most popular and active categories are listed below:
What is Karma on Reddit?
Karma reflects how much good the user has done for the Reddit community. The best way to gain karma is to submit links that other people like and vote for, though you won’t get karma for self promoted posts. So, what can you do with the Karma you receive on Reddit? Nothing, but with more Karma, you gain some credibility with other users.
Top tips to get Karma:
- Cat pics … and more cat pics
- Random Wikipedia article and /r/TIL
- Random famous person and random quote
- Post to /r/atheism
- Funny GIF files (nostalgia can work)
- Original meme content
- Bad Parking Job Pictures
- Reposts (wait 2-4 weeks)
The Reddit site categorizes topics very effectively and prioritizes stories by how many upvotes they receive. This distinguishes them from Facebook or Twitter. For internet marketing news, for example, you may want to check out these subreddits:
- /r/gmarketing (guerilla marketing)
Content Promotion on Reddit
With so many people using Reddit every day, it is a great way to promote interesting content. For example, let’s say you have an infographic you want to share. There is an infographic category that you can share it in. We recommend interacting with a community and commenting and voting up other members’ posts besides just sharing your own. Like anything, the better the content is, the more it will get shared. For example, pictures with funny text on them, or memes, do really well on Reddit.
As Philip explained in his presentation, Reddit is a great site and when used regularly, can be an effective source for content promotion. What has been your experience using Reddit? Leave a comment below.
With so many ads bombarding us online, it is refreshing to see an ad that makes us smile and resonates with us personally. Today, brands are challenged with figuring out how to make money from their online community. Most of the time we don’t want to be interrupted while we are trying to get our social groove on, so how do you wiggle your way into your customers’ browsing experience in a way that doesn’t make them annoyed? You can start by creating tailor made content that your fans will naturally like. Just ask the online strategists from some social savvy brands that figured out how to do this – Gatorade, Whole Foods, Samsung, Oreo, and Coke.
1. Gatorade – Gatorade is a brand that has a lot of sport and celebrity relationships and lots of opportunity in the social space. So how did they take advantage of this to create content that their users will like and share? They had PR, media, and brand managers listening and learning from their followers online. They didn’t just look at the number of fan increases every month, but instead really listened to what their fans were saying. They also analyzed their web traffic to see how their consumers were finding the website.
One of the things they learned was that people were mentioning on Twitter that Gatorade was a hangover cure. They then created campaigns that identify with this and engaged with their consumers. They also started a #winfromwithin campaign that encouraged followers to share how they emit strength using that hashtag. They created images that inspire that included their logo. Their fans associate Gatorade as a drink for the workout warriors and a brand that implies through imagery – Drink Gatorade and you can be like Dwyane Wade! In this case, they didn’t ask fans to sign up for something for “a chance” to win free product. They created content that people wanted to share – without being asked to.
2. Whole Foods
At this year’s Online Marketing Summit, I heard an innovative case study from Michael Aaron Bepko, the community manager for Whole Foods. He explained how important it is to really listen to your fans and give them what they want. By doing this, they decided instead of just having 1 Facebook and 1 Twitter account that they needed to segment out different topics and create more brand accounts by topic.
For example, they noticed a lot of site traffic came from Pinterest based on people searching for recipes. So not only did that encourage more pins, but also a Whole Foods Twitter account just for recipes. They also segmented out their meat posts into a whole new Whole Foods meat account – to please their vegetarian fans who were complaining on the main brand’s feed. They also started a Twitter account just about cheese. I would even suggest doing a Google Plus hangout with their cheese enthusiasts and talk about their cheese selection and how to cook with them.
They also noticed that users in different parts of the country have different needs and topics that concern them. So, different Whole Foods stores’ around the country made their own Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter accounts. This created a sense of community for the followers and also sparked competition between the different stores to get the most amount of likes and engagement. For this strategy to work well, they closely monitor and regulate who is posting on behalf of the brand and what is being posted.
By extracting data from the social space and segmenting out their user activity to figure out what people are actually saying, Whole Foods discovers what their followers are passionate about, and learns more about what is important to them. They then create engaging content that their users enjoy. This creates an emotional bond and relationship with their customers, one that might make them loyal to Whole Foods instead of another grocery chain. Again, here they are not creating sweepstakes or giving away free products, but ultimately getting to know their fans.
3. Samsung – “The Next Big Thing is Already Here”
Samsung did something out of the box and it resulted in a huge profit and growth for the brand. Instead of wasting millions of dollars on a boring and flashy TV commercial, they paid attention to what consumers were saying online before even releasing their product.
They closely monitored what people were saying in real-time about their competitor’s product, the Apple iPhone5 on Twitter. Then, they shared that feedback with their product development team. The result was The Samsung Galaxy S III, a product that fixed some of the issues that people complained the iPhone 5 didn’t have. In this case – taking the time to listen to people online and give them what they wanted had a massive impact on their success. Samsung then translated this into a TV commercial that showcased what they learned from listening to people on Twitter and Facebook. Below is a commercial that not only did great on TV, but also went viral on the web – with over 17 million YouTube views.
Notice the actors in this commercial are mimicking what people were saying online about the iPhone5. This contextual advertising is the direction more brands need to take to reach their customers. If you are creative enough to come up with a great TV commercial, people will share it and talk about you online.
However, they won’t necessarily buy your product unless it is a great product that does what they need. For example – would you buy a Dodge Ram based off on an entertaining commercial they made about farmers? See the engaging Superbowl commercial – So God Made A Farmer. This commercial has over 14 million views on YouTube and many rip off videos – but not many that are associating the Dodge brand and truck with the content.
Speaking of Superbowl advertising, a highly engaging and relevant ad was done in the spur of the moment that fans went wild for online. Marketers were sitting in a room watching the Superbowl during the black out and came up with: “You can still dunk in the dark”.
This was a simple yet effective way to engage with people as they waited around for the lights to come back on. They were able to do this because they got approvals quickly and thought on their feet. As the web changes, marketers need to change how they reach their audiences. In this case, Oreo seized the day and capitalized on an opportunity that their competitors did not, and got over 16,000 re-tweets from it.
Coke has been around the block for awhile –so engaging with their audience is not their first rodeo. From creating the image of the modern day Santa, to dancing polar bears – they are masters of creating great content. So what are they doing online? They have content that is created by full time employees, over 40 freelance writers and photographers, many people throughout the Coke system, marketing, and public relations teams coming up with engaging content.
This is a collaborative internet marketing strategy that all brands can learn from. Don’t just have one stressed out person come up with all your advertising collateral. Instead, utilize the minds of different people to get ideas of what will work. As one of the fastest growing agencies in the country, we have access to diverse teams and the best tools that strategize for you. We also work with you to create engaging content.
An example of a great Tweet by Coke was done by a creative writer: “When you open a Coke, 12,352 bubbles are born. Happy Birthday bubbles.” Another great piece of content I found was a video they made for Valentine’s Day and posted on Twitter saying, “Our #Valentine to you. Love, @CocaCola”. The video below called, “Love is in the Air – a Coca-Cola Valentine” creates an emotional bond with viewers. It shows happy couples getting a balloon magically at their feet arriving with a fresh can of Coke.
So how should you spend your marketing dollars online? Start by really getting to know your audience and building relationships with them. Figure out your organic brand advocates and utilize them for ideas, product development, and content. Reward your online customers for their loyalty by letting them be the first to know about new products. Whether you are promoting your Instagram pictures on Twitter or sharing your TV commercials on YouTube, being contextual, collaborative, and creative is the path to success. We know you might not have the mega marketing budgets that these 5 brands do, but we can help you grow with our integrated SEO and social media marketing campaigns.
As social media continues to be a big influence on consumers as to whether they decide to purchase with your brand versus a brand not on social media, some of us may be asking, what happened to SEO? Although I’m still a firm believer in professional search engine optimization services, we internet marketers need to be cognoscente on where an audience is searching for information about your brand. According to a study by HubSpot, if 85% of Internet users have a Facebook account and 80% of social media users prefer to connect with brands via Facebook , then your brand should definitely not only have a brand page on Facebook, but one that is fully optimized and engaging. When creating social pages for a product or service, be sure to follow these steps to create a fully optimized social network.
Before I begin breaking down each channel you’ll want to gather a keyword list from your online marketing company’s SEO department. Narrow down the list to your top 3-5 keyword phrases which will be included in all descriptions across your social networks. Now let’s begin:
With the ever-changing world of Facebook, it’s important to stay up to date with all of the new updates within the platform (i.e. editing your brand page to Timeline view). The about section is your chance to give a short description of what your brand does, while also including a keyword and link back to your site for Google to index. It is also a best practice to include links in the description section to all other social networks that your brand is active on.
For even more SEO value within Facebook, consider placing a keyword at the beginning of your status update; especially updates that include a link back to your site. Click on the timestamp of each update and you will be brought to a separate page specific for that update. The first 18 characters, sometimes a bit less, of your update will be the SEO Title for that post.
With only 140 characters or less, there’s not much SEO opportunity on this platform, but still some SEO benefit.
What you write in your bio information is very important not only just for SEO, but also for other tools that gather Twitter users based on a search query (like FollowerWonk). Don’t forget to insert a keyword in your bio and also include a link to your site. Design a custom skin for your Twitter page that includes more information about your company and calls to action.
A social network result from the search engine giant itself, we have Google+ and its land of opportunity for SEO.
Before creating a profile for your brand on Google+, decide whether you want to create a local page (for a specific address like a hotel or restaurant) or a brand page (for products/services). A Google+ local page now integrates with Zagat reviews. Once your page is created, edit your descriptions to be keyword-rich. Google+ allows you to link those keywords within your introduction, creating the dofollow links that Google loves. Having a profile that is linked to a website will also help your credibility; it’s a simple snippet of code provided by Google that is to be inserted on your sites homepage. Learn more about profile and page verification badges on Google+ here. Once this is done, your Google+ page will show up on the right hand side of the Google search page for relevant queries, thus making your Google+ page more discoverable. Lastly, don’t forget to include links to all of your company’s other social networks in the links section.
Another social network result of Google is the video sharing platform YouTube.
Although there is no option for anchor text links in the about section of your channel, be sure to include your keywords as “tags” in the channel settings. Link to all other social networks and also take advantage of designing a customizable YouTube skin for more information about your product or service and calls to action. As you begin to make a presence on this platform, keep in mind that your video title doubles as a SEO title and the video description doubles as your Meta description. This is a great place to add keywords as your “tags” for each video uploaded if it doesn’t sound right in the description.
According to my research, there isn’t much SEO value so far from LinkedIn brand pages. Therefore my recommendation would be to include keywords in the about section, specifically in the specialties box which will help your company appear in search within LinkedIn. A link to your website is also not to be forgotten.
Who would’ve guessed that a virtual pin-board would create so much buzz so quickly? Getting verified on Pinterest is much like getting verified on Google+. All you need to do is download the verification file from your settings and host it on your sites homepage. Don’t forget to include keywords in the description of your Pinterest page, and if possible, title your boards with a keyword. Boards also have SEO opportunity within their descriptions, so be sure to have a keyword there as well.
Now that you have properly optimized six social media channels for SEO value, watch as the referral traffic from social increases over time. With the ability to reach over 50% of Americans, according to We Are Social, social media networks should not only be created, but optimized to ensure you are building relationships while also ranking in the search engines. Have other social SEO service recommendations? I’d love to hear in the comment section below!
Social media is the new public relations of the marketing industry. Enthusiastic newcomers think it’s the “exciting” marketing discipline. It is a great field, but it’s more than tweeting and Instagraming around the clock.
Saying that you want to work in social media so you can play on Facebook all day is like saying you want to work in PR because you like people. Good for you, but that’s just not what we do.
These are the necessary traits for success in social media. It’s not as easy as it looks. You must be:
Social media is the fastest-changing and continuously evolving industry ever. You have to religiously monitor the environment and adapt quickly to change.
You have to be committed to reading constantly about social media and measurement, and searching aggressively for the latest trends and best practices.
There is little to no off time in social media. It happens 24×7, so you have to be ready to respond at any time. If someone posts something negative on your Twitter stream and you don’t respond for 24 hours, good luck finding another job in social media.
Social media enthusiasts are quick and clever. You need to be, too, or you will come off looking like your grandma or, worse, like a corporate mouthpiece.
Social media doesn’t exist in a universe by itself. It’s part of a larger, strategic marketing mix. You must see and understand the overall goals, strategies, and objectives before you can implement social media tactics.
6. Meticulously Organized
You have to write, post, monitor, respond and measure for countless social media channels. You have to be organized, but not such a perfectionist that you can’t move quickly, and it’s so important to have great monitoring systems in place.
Some of the most successful social media folks are funny, lighthearted and don’t takes themselves too seriously. Hello, “NOT COOL, COOKIE!”
Yep, that’s right. We don’t just sit around and tweet all day. We have to measure our results just like anyone else. Having science and math skills is a big plus.
Though it’s important to be an expert in this category, it’s not good to be too focused on one skill. To truly be a valuable contributor, you need to understand the big picture of marketing.
Yeah, that’s right, I said it. You need to be social to work in social media. Get out from behind the computer and have a few face-to-face conversations. Enjoy the life that you’re posting about.
Yes, social media is a 24×7 job. However, to keep fresh (and sane), you need to set a clear work/life balance and remember to unplug regularly to recharge your own batteries.
If you’re handling many social media accounts at once, including your personal accounts, don’t get them mixed up or you could be tweeting about unemployment.
Social conversations evolve quickly. Take an extra minute to think about your response. Say it out loud first; that helps make it real.
No one is the “end all, be all” social media expert. We can learn from each other and collectively take social media to the next level. Just look at this post. It’s a collection of your thoughts. We make each other better.
Instead of always catching up to your competitors, be a trendsetter.
We all want to see our social media posts explode, but it doesn’t always happen. Take the time to listen to your audience, learn from them, and engage in ways that provide value to your followers.
17. Well informed
Know more about your industry than your followers. You don’t want to be a social media manager who can’t talk the talk.
Know your audience and what hits their funny bones. Let your guard down (appropriately), and show that you are a living, breathing person behind the brand.
Be ready to combat negative press or circumstances at all times. Have a crisis plan in place on how to respond on social media if things go south.
Use social channels to educate your fans and customers on the basic principles and capabilities of social media. As the channels evolve and push out new updates, be the authority they turn to when learning how to navigate the latest social platform.
Carrie Peterson is our social media director here at IMI. Follow her on Twitter @CarrieSavvy to let her know which traits you feel are most important to work in social media.
Batter up! It’s the bottom of the ninth and the San Francisco Giants are about to win the World Series. Game over! Black and orange floods the field as the game draws to a close, Tigers fans paralyzed by the epic sweep and the loss on their home turf.
As the World Series caps are distributed amongst Giants players, sports networks capture the moment, and Twitter and Facebook explode in celebration. During the course of the World Series #SFGiants #Tigers and #WorldSeries hashtags flooded Twitter, with over 701,289 total Tweets. Orange October took over the Twitter landscape, as fans engaged in the online social media marketing world to showcase their Giants pride. The World Series has officially won on Twitter.
Elsewhere in San Francisco: Athletes take to the Online World
Forty years ago before Twitter took the center stage in Major League Baseball marketing, players interacted with fans in a far different fashion. The trading card industry flourished, with young boys hammering at their chance at cards of the Big Red Machine players of Cincinnati, home run hitting Hank Aaron, or Mr. October himself, Reggie Jackson. Elsewhere in San Francisco a new Virtual Fan Network has emerged, providing a new avenue for fans and athletes to connect in the online space, creating the first social media channel for athletes.
Fans now have the opportunity to get closer to their favorite athletes than ever before, with moments captured and made into downloadable virtual baseball cards. The digital sports platform connects fans, athletes, advertisers, and publishers, creating the first ever opportunity for players to control their own digital brand and engage with their fan following.
The Crowning Moment
A big strike out, a crucial touchdown pass, a blocked punt! These are moments in the ESPN highlight reel; moments fans embrace. Now the fan-to-athlete experience has just gotten that much better. Fans are granted exclusive access to professional athletes, getting real-time stats, players’ social feeds, videos, athlete online stores, and more. Athletes themselves are granted an opportunity to connect directly with their fans.
Thus far, over 1,200 athletes have become involved with Virtual Fan Network, including Barry Zito, Hunter Pence, all members of the San Francisco Giants, and Virtual Fan Network’s NFL Ambassador, Brett Favre. The business world is taking notice, with players capitalizing on the opportunity, fans reaching out to connect, advertisers flocking to the platform, and the company itself embracing the opportunity to “deliver a really engaging and cool experience that allows people to engage with a sports hero” (Forbes).
Forty years ago the crowning moments were photographed and epitomized in print, trading cards serving as a platform by which the young sports fan could collect and idolize their sports hero. With the evolution of social media and the introduction of the online world this past time has traversed to digital. An athlete has the opportunity to connect, to capture that moment, and engage with the fan after they do so. Keep an eye on the prize, get that camera ready, and head over to Twitter and the Virtual Fan Network. Ready, set, go!
Imagine this scene: tick, tick, tick…and the clock strikes 12. The men at Sterling Cooper advertising in New York City huddle around a boardroom table; scotch in hand, cigarette smoke fresh in the air. Crafting the latest ad campaign, their matching black freshly ironed suits flood the room. But what appears to be a scene from the popular AMC show, Mad Men, is also the world of advertising on Madison Avenue, long before the online world, and long before Twitter released its first tweet.
Twitter users have turned the tables on Madison Avenue. With user-generated content taking over the web, and social media particularly gaining more popularity every day, big brands are paying close attention to what their customers are saying online.
Overnight Ad Success-How Samsung Succeeded By Listening
For instance, Samsung’s latest television ad, which mocks Apple Inc.’s new iPhone, got over 32 million views in just 2 weeks. Samsung credits the success of the ad to their team tuning in to comments made by consumers on Twitter. The lines from the script were pulled directly from “hundreds of thousands” of tweets making fun of features of the iPhone5. Samsung is “pulling conversations that are happening in [their] category and reflecting them in ads,” as noted by the company’s Vice President of strategic marketing, Brian Wallace. Social media has not only provided massive visibility to the 30 second ad, but created strategic direction for Samsung in the first place. They are not only tuning in to conversations on their own brand, but their competitors, and capitalizing on the opportunities leveraged from listening in.
Procter & Gamble – Ad Proves They Listen To Their Followers
Procter & Gamble has leveraged social conversation to devise new TV ads for its Duracell Powermat, a device that allows smartphone charging on the go. Duracell decided to use the little red and green battery signals in its ad after reviewing social media analytics. Data indicated that “70,000 people had commented that their battery was red while over 55,000 talked about their battery being green” (Networked Insights Inc.). Social analytics and tweets like “that moment when your phone battery is red and dying and you still use it like it’s on green” have helped the marketing giant integrate social data in to their ad creation process. Scenarios creating frustration for users create conversation on social networks, and brands and their advertising agencies are listening in. Ads that take into account what people are saying online showcases an ability to react positively to consumer requests and complaints. Companies like Procter & Gamble push user-generated content front and center, becoming more relevant, sharable, and socially savvy in the process.
Madison Avenue ad execs have long relied on gut instinct. With social media always changing, brands will have to learn to evolve with the trends, pay attention to conversations, and shift strategy to stay relevant. While filming the Samsung ad, dialogue was being changed on the spot! Stakeholders have found their footing on Twitter and although some Madison Avenue insiders are still skeptical of how influential Twitter comments truly are, more brands are using social media data in their ad planning. Another example is Revlon, who eliminated words like “hypoallergenic” from their ads, which has not been a major conversation online. The word will play a lesser role in 2013 (Wall Street Journal).
Advertising has long been built on the customer always being right, and in the age of digital these customers are turning to Twitter to voice their opinions and connect with brands. As the doors close to the board room, Madison Avenue will need to take a look at user-generated content online to stay ahead and stay in line with the long recognized slogan, the customer is always right. Let’s hope their gut instinct leads to Twitter.
We know you saw Bodyform’s video response to a “negative” Facebook rant recently, and we know you loved it. How could you not? The sanitary napkin company did just about everything right in its response and now is basking in the rays of positive comments and increased brand exposure. (See images below.)
But just in case you have somehow managed to avoid hearing about this delightful Facebook banter, we’ll sum it up for you. A British man posted on Bodyform’s Facebook page claiming tongue-in-cheek that the company’s advertisements, which portray menstruation as “a wonderful time of the month… [when] the female gets to enjoy so many things”, are all a lie. The post went viral almost immediately and within 40 hours had nearly 20,000 “likes”. A week later, the post vaunts nearly 90,000 “likes”, 4,000 comments and has been picked up all over the internet! Now do you get why we’re surprised that you missed this? Below is the original rant and the video response:
Turn the Tables with these Four Tips to Energize Your Social Media Rebuttal
So when a company gets a post like this, what is one supposed to do? Well, we recommend to follow Bodyform’s example and stick to these steps:
1.) Have a Sense of Humor!
There is a difference between an aggressive/hurtful rant and a consumer giving you a hard time in jest. When it’s the latter, take advantage of this opportunity to show that you are a human and have some fun! For goodness sake, don’t fail to respond and don’t take it too seriously. Social media is about being social (derrr) and people will connect with you better if you don’t act like a corporate machine.
2.) Don’t Shy Away from an Opportunity – Go Big or Go Home
Bodyform was handed an opportunity on a silver platter, so they went for it. It could have been easy for them to a.) Not respond, or b.) Do something that takes little effort, like comment on or “like” the post, but they didn’t. They recognized the opportunity, grabbed it by the horns and decided to take the time necessary to make a fantastic and quality video, which leads me to the next point…
3.) Present a Well-Crafted and Thought Out Response
It’s clear that Richard spent a little time dwelling on and drafting out his “rant”, and Bodyform responded on pointe with a video that clearly wasn’t just thrown together in 20 minutes. The filming was professional and quality, the faux CEO was a great actor, and the thought out script addresses Richard’s exact statements, includes a historical background to build the story (see 0:50 – 1:06), and even weaves in the feminine-product advertisement staple: blue water! Bodyform went above and beyond to create an amazing response.
4.) Respond in a Timely Manner
The time period between Richard’s Facebook post and Bodyform’s video response was just about one week. Any longer, and the response would have lost its steam. Any sooner, and it’s possible that the video might not have been as well made. (But, IF it was possible to turn the video around faster while still keeping its quality, that would be fantastic.) Just make sure that if you are responding to a consumer, do so within a time period that makes sense. Generally, the faster, the better.
Since Richard’s comment and Bodyform’s response, the page’s “people talking about this” numbers have soared to more than 85,000, and I expect we will hear more about this over time as this will likely go down in one of the best social media company responses in history.
The Exposed Golden Nuggets of Information
So what have we learned? Be a human and have a personable side, don’t be afraid to try something a little extraordinary when you have the chance, put in the effort, and be prompt in your response. As we have seen, the results can be priceless.
Target announced this week that the retail giant will be putting QR codes on toys this holiday season in an effort to battle Amazon and encourage online purchases (while in-store). They plan to showcase the season’s top 20 toys, each of which will sport a QR code that lets consumers buy them online and have them shipped direct to avoid the hassle of a product being sold out or not available in-store.
QR codes are becoming more and more mainstream as the use of smartphones and overall consumer competency continues to increase. Theses codes are prominent in print advertisements, billboards, television ads, and even t-shirts and many other mediums. Facebook recently announced that 40% of its active users, or 400 million people, currently use mobile devices to access the site; Twitter says that half of all usage of its site comes from smartphones. As more and more people are on the go and more connected to their mobile devices, how are you seeing the adaptation of QR codes being used with brands?
Below I will outline the Top Five Ways to QR Code the Right Way:
1. Make sure that utilizing a QR code makes sense
Before you hop on board the QR code craze, make sure that the addition of this technology to your marketing campaigns coincides with the marketing objectives.
2. Decide what medium to use
QR codes are not restricted to simply web-based content. You can utilize codes for text, email, contact information, videos, mobile-optimized landing pages, etc. Select which medium makes the most sense for your campaign, and provide an incentive for the user to scan the code. You must focus on creating a unique user experience that they can only get via the QR code.
3. Take users to a specialized location (that is mobile optimized)
Provide an incentive for users to scan the QR code by taking them to a (mobile optimized) location that they couldn’t normally access. We suggest a specified YouTube video that is only accessible from the link in the code, or a landing page. It is hugely important to make sure that customers have an easy and good experience with your content, and making it mobile friendly is the first step.
4. Make sure the link is traceable
Utilize a free service such as bit.ly, Google Analytics or a paid option like Omniture to create a unique link for the QR code so you are able to measure how many people scan and view the code.
5. Test, test, and re-test!
Once you use an application to generate a QR code, it is imperative to test the code through numerous apps and mobile platforms to make sure it is working correctly. Avoid making the most common mistake in using QR codes!
Last year, Heinz put QR codes on ketchup bottles in US restaurants to promote its new environmentally friendly packaging. When scanned, the code took users to a mobile site where users could win prizes by answering ”green” trivia questions.
Heinz reported that more than 1 million consumers scanned the codes.
How are you seeing QR code success stories from brands? Let me know if the comments section below. Also, please scan the QR code below to connect with me on LinkedIn so we can continue this conversation!
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then Instagram is the king in the social media palace. As the online and social worlds continue to evolve, so does user experience and expectations. Once accustomed to text-heavy articles and web pages as information portals, users are getting increasingly lazy when it comes to getting information and demand to get it quickly (and more importantly, visually). With the explosive growth of visual platforms like YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram over the past ten years, users are clearly attracted to visual content as it relates to getting information online, especially when it comes to brands.
Instagram has over 80 million users and was acquired by Facebook in April of this year for $1 billion (techcrunch.com). If your brand is avoiding hopping on the Instagram train, it’s time to jump. In order to be successful on the Instagram platform, brands need to embrace the power of visual content and all hail to the king using the below tactics.
Tell A Story
Due to the nature of the platform, Instagram gives brands the opportunity to tell the story of their company. Give users an incentive to follow you by providing a “behind the scenes” look into the culture and daily events of your brand. This picture below was taken at Couples Resorts at the very moment when endangered sea turtles were hatching and making their way into the ocean. This elicited a big response in followers, as they felt a personal connection to the resort that was providing a play-by-play of the rare occurrence.
Find Relevant Followers
In order to build your following, it is important to optimize your profile for search with a robust “about” section that includes your website and relevant keywords, as well as your logo as the thumbnail.
In addition to the profile settings, it is important to utilize prominent hashtags in your posts to maximize your overall reach and to get new followers who are interested in the same topics that you are sharing in your content. Think like a user when tagging your photos, and use hashtags that make sense and are relevant to the image. Websites like web.stagram.com are available that calculate the most popular hashtags at the moment, which is a great benchmark if you’re stumped and looking for hashtags with maximum reach.
Expand Your Reach
Generating a good photo that tells a story and elicits emotions in users is a great start, but it is important to not limit the photo to just Instagram, but to share it across other social networks as well. From within the Instagram platform, you can tie a Facebook (profile, not brand page) and a Twitter account. Once you publish an image on Instagram you have the ability to share across either of these channels. I don’t recommend sharing on Facebook directly, since the use of hashtags on the platform is not as relevant as they are on Twitter.
Using a platform like web.stagram.com, you are able to see the Instagram photos on your account and share them across a host of other social channels such as Pinterest, Facebook, Tumblr and Google+. See the screenshot below for a look at this interface.
Another positive of Instagram is the ability to utilize hashtags to create conversations around your brand. One way to do this is by hosting an Instagram photo contest, where users simply need to enter the contest by using a hashtag (ex: #CouplesPhotoContest) for a chance to enter to win. This is also a great way to be able to re-purpose the user-generated-content once the contest is over. Prior to launching, I recommend creating a terms and conditions page on your website that thoroughly explains the rules of the contest so you can point all inquiries back to the site for more information.
What are some of your favorite brands to follow on Instagram? What content are they creating that makes you think of them as the King?
Are you looking for another way to advertise on Facebook? Social media platforms such as Facebook have rapidly evolved into a valuable marketing platform for companies to not only gain a social media following but also allow for social media marketing campaigns towards those followers or users. Many of the best Internet marketing companies and businesses active on Facebook have recently become interested in a new advertising platform within Facebook, which is commonly known as “Sponsored Search” or “Sponsored Results.” This new marketing platform was released last week with much anticipation, yet the capabilities of this new platform may not be inline with what most advertisers or businesses expected.