Earlier this month, Twitter began rolling out its new “Buy Now” button, which allows users to buy products from selected retailers without having to leave their Twitter feed. It should come as no surprise that Twitter is looking for ways to increase the revenue its platform generates post-IPO – and as far as social media monetization strategies go, this one does a great job providing value for both brands and individuals using the platform. Taking a cut of sales generated through the platform seems like a much better way to make money on social media than Facebook’s post-IPO strategy, which mostly consists of decimating organic reach in the hopes that brands will pay them to reach their own fans.
That said, these are still early days for the initiative, and there are a lot of ways it can go right or wrong. Here’s a breakdown of the good, the bad and the ugly ways that brands could end up using this new strategy.
Early last month Facebook announced that, starting November 5, it will ban like-gating – the practice of offering users a reward for liking a business’ page. For businesses that rely on like-gated apps to build follower counts, this sounds like awful news. However, there are actually a lot of good reasons why like-gating should no longer be a best practice. Let’s check out why.
Likes May Not Be as Valuable as You Think
Imagine you were offered the choice between 10 highly qualified leads and 100 mostly unqualified ones: which would you choose? Read more…
Earlier this week, Amazon made the largest acquisition in the company’s history when it purchased video game streaming website Twitch for $970 million. Because video game streaming has yet to go fully mainstream, the deal has left a lot of people scratching their heads – and, in response, almost every news outlet has decided to offer their own explanation.
We wanted to jump in and offer our two cents on what the acquisition means from a digital marketing perspective. For the completely unfamiliar, here’s a crash course on what Twitch is, where the acquisition could take it and how this new form of high-engagement user-generated content will matter for the future of digital marketing.
From 2008 to 2012, the number of Americans using social sites daily grew from 12 million to 58 million. As the use of social media continues to expand, companies are increasingly looking to these mobile and web-based technologies as a way to connect with new and existing customers. While many of today’s brands have a presence on popular social sites, simply sharing information about a product or service does not necessarily lead to sales or customer loyalty. Here are a few tips for taking social media engagement to the next level:
“Good evening ladies and gentlemen, we’d like to remind you that we don’t applaud here at this old place where we’re working, so, restrain your applause, and if you must applaud wait till the end of the set – and it won’t even matter then. The reason is that we are interrupted by your noise. In fact, don’t even take any drinks, or no cash register ringing, et cetera.”
Don’t worry – despite the title of the article, this isn’t going to be like that one presentation at the last conference you went to that had all the depth and insight of an inspirational poster. I’m not going to tell you that social media management is like jazz because “you need to make every note count” or because you need to “improvise if you want to innovate.” No, this post isn’t about what social media managers and jazz musicians both do right – it’s about something they do wrong.
No one is happy about the government shutdown, but, like any bad situation, there are lessons we can learn from it. At Greenough, we spend a lot of time managing social media for our clients, so we’ve been closely watching the effects of the shutdown on government agencies’ social accounts. Here are a few things we’ve learned:
1. Social media never shuts down. Despite knowing full well that no one will respond, numerous tweets continue to mention the U.S. Department of Labor’s Twitter handle @USDOL. The government may be shut down, but the public continues to interact with agencies’ Facebook and Twitter feeds.
This provides an important lesson for all organizations. Whether you’re prepared to respond or not, people are going to send you messages via social media. By regularly interacting with your community and addressing their messages quickly, you’ll build a much stronger relationship with your clients and customers
2. Do something interesting. On October 1, @MarsCuriosity, the Twitter account of the Mars rover, tweeted “Sorry I won’t be tweeting/responding to replies during the government shutdown. Back as soon as possible.” This tweet was popular, receiving more than 2,700 retweets, 250-plus favorites and numerous replies. During the same period, @EPA received hardly any engagement. What makes @MarsCuriosity so popular?
Rather than posting news about the rover as a NASA employee, @MarsCuriosity writes as if the rover itself is reporting in. This fun and creative spin on NASA brings in followers and, by extension, public support. The lesson for businesses? To gain a stronger social media following, adopt a unique perspective or style. Some customers may actually find your ideas more engaging if they come from your mascot instead of your CEO.
3. Crisis situations require increased social media presence. A great paradox of the shutdown is that while the government is in crisis and effectively shut down, the public actually wants more social communication, not less. During a crisis situation, be it a product recall, a restructuring of the company or a bad quarter, it is important to increase your communication, not decrease it. Doing so reassures them that you are working to solve the issue, avoiding the panic that often comes with silence.
These are just a few things that we’ve noticed during the government shutdown. If you’ve noticed anything, please let us know in the comments – we’d love to hear them!
Contributed by Account Executive Michael Glen
Social media has become a vital component to brand marketing strategy, but in order to truly unlock its potential value, brands must pay as much attention to marketing their content as they do creating it. So what is it exactly that leads people to share content socially? It’s all about creating a connection. You will increase the chances of your content getting shared if what you put out there gives people the opportunity to feel connected to others. Here are three tips for creating shareable content, including examples of how brands are successfully implementing these tips:
1) Trigger Positive Emotions: By adding positive emotions to your content, such as humor, intelligence, inspiration, etc., you give your brand a personality that an audience can easily connect with. When a user enjoys your content, a connection is made. In turn, users will pass it along faster within their own network with the hopes that others will enjoy it as much as they did.
Dollar Shave Club: Video: The Dollar Shave Club’s promo video is extremely funny. Not only has it been shared socially across multiple social media channels but it does a great job convincing viewers to actually sign up.
2) Create Simple Content: The faster your audience can make a connection with your content, the greater the chances your content will get shared. Simple content, including images, quotes and tweets, is the best way to get your message across. Strive to create content that is to the point, easy to understand and, therefore, easy to share!
Twecipes: Tweet Recipes: A “twecipe” is a recipe in 140-characters or less posted on Twitter, including everything from starters to main meals to drinks and desserts. They became so popular that all of the twecipe’s were crowdsourced from Twitter and turned into a book, called Tweet Pie.
3) Tell a story: Here at Greenough, we’ve proven that brand storytelling allows companies to engage with customers and prospects on a deeper, more personal level. Good stories fuel conversation and foster engagement. By developing strategic storylines and then weaving them through your social media content, your audience will easily make a connection and go on to share that story.
Mercedes Benz: Choose Your Own Adventure: Mercedes Benz created a story to reel its audience in and then went as far as allowing the audience to choose the ending. They ran a three-part commercial and gave Twitter users the chance to control the outcome of the third commercial. The story followed the main character, musician Kane Robinson, as he makes his way to a secret music gig that’s causing pandemonium on the streets. He’s chased the entire way in a silver Mercedes by police and screaming fans. The exciting story created an immediate connection with its viewers.
Creating a connection with your audience is essential if you want your content to be shared socially. A stronger connection also builds loyalty to your brand among consumers, which, in turn, grows your audience and your company.
Emma Kieckhafer is an Account Executive at Greenough. Send her an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Words of Wisdom from Greenough’s Summer Interns
The ubiquity of social media has made it difficult to imagine networking any other way. But leading up to, and throughout our internship with Greenough, we’ve learned that there’s a lot more to effective networking than a ‘Tweet’ or a ‘Like.’ Let us put this into perspective. I (Jillian) once went to a career fair with the determination to find myself a great internship. I was dressed to impress, I had researched the companies in advance and I had printed out several resumes. I talked to a recruiter, we hit it off and we exchanged contact information. I was off to a great start! That night I emailed the recruiter to thank her for talking with me, added her on LinkedIn, liked the company’s Facebook page, and Tweeted at them. I used every form of virtual follow up that I could……and got zero response. I thought I had done everything right.
In the age of technology, connecting to potential employers should be simpler than ever before – after all, nearly every company solicits contact through its social media. But as we’ve found out, connecting online is not always enough. So what’s a job-seeking college intern to do? The bottom line is traditional methods of networking such as phone calls and written letters are still essential for creating strong connections in today’s professional environment. The trick is combining both the traditional school of thought with today’s digital media-rich environment.
Based on our past experiences, successes and failures, we’ve compiled a list of do’s and don’ts for students looking to land an internship or just network in general.
- Call to follow up with a contact
- Meet people in person
- Follow up with thank yous: letters, notes, emails, social media
- Connect on Linkedin, Twitter, and Facebook before and after networking events
- Find common ground (personal and professional)
- Make moves: Don’t sit back and wait for people to come to you
- Network everywhere!!
- Make sure your social networks are professional and “clean” (don’t post unprofessional statuses, untag Facebook photos etc.)
- Invest time to enhance your LinkedIn profile
- Text/leave your phone on when at a networking event or meeting with a contact
- Limit your circle to contacts within your career (you never know who could help you)
- Skip an event because you are not as knowledgeable in the subject as others at the event. Attending is a great way to make new connections
- Be impersonal, try to make a connection with most, and say hello to all!
- Turn down chances for lunch or coffee with colleagues in higher positions or other interns. Let others get to know you on a personal level
- Pass up any opportunity to learn new skills, no matter how complicated they may seem
- Be afraid to ask questions, even the ones that seem simple
From a current intern to a future intern, stitching together traditional and online methods of engagement not only makes connections stronger, but also bridges the gap between more experienced professionals and the new tech-savvy workers of today.
Contributed by Greenough interns Jillian Rosa, Caitlin Cimino, Becca Giller, and Charles Hoang
Written by: Paul on Tuesday, July 30, 2013 | Leave a Comment
I hope you’re ready to get a little bit meta, because I’m about to discuss corporate blogging… in a corporate blog post. Though they’ve been around longer than almost any other form of social media, blogs continue to be an important channel for companies that want to become a resource to their current and future customers. No other outlet enables a brand to engage through in-depth thought leadership without becoming sales-y – other social channels are geared towards short, snappy posts and responses.
The ideal blog becomes a trusted resource that customers and prospects visit over and over until the blog’s brand becomes synonymous with valuable information. One of the best ways to accomplish this goal is to publish posts that offer commentary on the latest trends, but we all know the reality – long corporate approval processes can make staying current almost impossible. How can you discuss news when the blog post won’t go up for a month? How engaged will my customers really be if I put up a blog post about Game of Thrones or George Zimmerman in August?
As difficult as it may seem to achieve, tying into the latest trends remains important, and there are a few ways around the roadblocks. At Greenough we’ve worked with some clients to establish a “fast track” for topical posts, with a parallel (but slower) approval processes for “evergreen” posts. For example, if your blog publishes three times per week, you might put up a best practices post (written last month) on Monday, a customer case study (written several weeks ago) on Wednesday and a KOL’s commentary on a breaking news story (written and approved that same week) on Thursday. By prioritizing a select few posts, you may be able to keep the blog fresh even if the approval process for most pieces takes months.
Another option is to build posts around a news placeholder. Ninety percent of the post can traverse the approval process, then, the blog editor can go back and fill in a piece of news the day before publishing. These won’t sound as natural – you won’t be tying all aspects of the post back to the news story – but at least you’ll be relevant enough to potentially spark a conversation in the comments section. In these cases, it’s also a good idea to build a placeholder into the title of the post so you can grab readers’ attention with something newsworthy.
Corporate policies usually exist for great reasons, but as every PR person knows, they can be a serious impediment to engagement in today’s fast-paced social media landscape. There’s almost always a workaround to these issues – sometimes it just takes a little creativity to find it!
Jake Navarro is an account supervisor for Greenough. Send him an email at email@example.com
We finally know that Facebook will add videos to Instagram. While moving from photos to videos may seem like a logical step, I can’t help but wonder if this move simply reflects the pressure that Facebook now feels from Twitter’s Vine app. Pressure or not, “short sociability” is here to stay.
An instant sensation, Vine launched in January of 2013 and already boasts 13 million iPhone users. Only one day after it released an Android version of the app, Vine passed Instagram in total Twitter shares, and it is currently the number-one downloaded app for Android, placing Instagram in second.
There’s no question about the popularity of short sociability. Just look at GIFs (graphic interchange format). First created in 1987, these animated pictures are now more popular than ever. Vine’s six second videos are based on the same idea as Twitter’s 140 character limit. By imposing a limit on social interactions, users are forced to be more concise and more creative. While it may seem easy to shoot a video in six seconds, it actually takes a great deal of thought and creativity to tell a story in that amount of time.
As Vine’s popularity soars, brands are beginning to tap into its potential, including brands in the retail and food & beverage sectors. Lowe’s posts home improvement tips in six-second Vine videos while Bacardi uses Vine to demonstrate how to make a variety of cocktails in six seconds or less. The Gap, Urban Outfitters and Doritos are among many brands also using this platform to engage with consumers. Even General Electric, a 121-year-old company, is using Vine to market to a much younger brand with its #6secondscience clips.
Besides engaging with consumers through uploading short videos of new products, upcoming events, company contests, etc., Vine gives brand marketers the ability to tell a story. The time-limit fosters creativity, forcing brands to make their upload matter, keeping audiences engaged. With Instagram’s new video feature, it is clear that short sociability isn’t going anywhere. Do you plan on introducing short sociability into your marketing strategy? How?
Emma Kieckhafer is an Account Executive at Greenough. Send her an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.