We’ve all heard about the big brand bloopers of social media: hashtags hijacked by angry consumers trying to mock the brand, and pushy brand tweets attempting to tie product into occasions they probably should not. There have even been sites created like Condescending Corporate Brand Page and Real-time Marketing Sucks that highlight the funniest and most ridiculous of them all. It is clear that many brands still need guidance to build policies and protocols for their social media marketing. That is why I wrote You Get What You Give.
These mishaps happen for two reasons:
1. Brands are treating social media like other advertising or marketing mediums.
2. Brands are forgetting that their audience is made up of people.
An excerpt from the “The Community Experience Strategy” chapter of the book speaks to these issues well.
Your community is made up of people. Real people. As people, they have needs, which can be described by Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: food, shelter, friends, esteem and recognition. You can be safe in the assumption that if they are buying your brand, you will not need to provide food or shelter, but you will need to give a sense of esteem and in some cases even fulfill the need for belonging. This is where using a conversational voice and behaving like a friend becomes very important and effective for your brand.
As your brand leads the community of fans and advocates, it must constantly remind them why they are there. In the “you get what you give” ecosystem, to gain more love, you must give more. Over time, your audience will become accustomed to your day-to-day content. Unless they are engaged creatively or have a reason to come back regularly, they will fade away over time. This is inevitable. As a brand on social media, part of your mission is to perpetuate the affinity for your brand by getting new people to join your audience and by creating stories that attract your fans’ friends. “Likes” and praising comments can be effective and tactful, but you must also create actions that can support the business goals of your brand. You are a business and must run like a business, so it’s understandable that entertaining your consumers and making them feel involved can be difficult to justify when you still need to make ends meet.
You Get What You Give has principles for marketing on social media. These simple rules will help your brand avoid the major pitfalls you have heard about, and most importantly, stay out of the news for the wrong reasons. The book covers building social media policies for your internal teams and social media guidelines for your fans and followers. It also dives into the differences between “health metrics” and business metrics, why they matter, and how to tie them to your social media activates.
The book revolves around the idea that brands must first give value to their audience before getting anything in return. This is a core principle in social media that Renegade abides by. The Internet is not a push-and-take environment—it is a give-and-get environment. What you get is not always tied directly to the bottom line, either. Depending on your strategy (Branding, Customers Service, Community Experience, Innovation or Sales) what you get may be tied to an operational business metric, like churn, lifetime value of a customer, or customer service tickets. These are the outcomes businesses need to start considering when measuring their social media impact and striving to connect in their everyday processes.
At Renegade, we want your brand to make headlines for the right reasons. Do something profound for your audience, make them feel special, and give them reason to spread the word around your brand. A little product pushing every now and then is okay, but remember that you’re building a group of customers for the long term.
This is the scenario: Your company does everything it’s supposed to do when it comes to social. You sign up for all the major social networks, create visually appealing content and a content calendar, but then something weird happens.
You’ll start posting and only receive a few Likes and not much other engagement. What’s wrong with your social media strategy? Right now you probably have your head in your hands, trying to figure it out. It’s OK, we’ve got three reasons to explain why your social media strategy isn’t working; here’s the first of them:
Your research wasn’t strong enough.
The purpose of research is to make sure every piece of forthcoming content that is created, carries your brand’s message and resonates with your audience. To do this, exhaustive levels of research are needed. When conducting research, the most important things to consider are; what words your audience is using (keywords), what they’re saying about your brand, how they interact with each other and their voice. This will allow you to create content that drives engagement amongst your target audience.
Below are a couple of examples of brands that are creating great content on social because they really got to know their audience:
Can you see typical Coke drinkers asking themselves this? Even though this image is simple, it says that Coke is listening to how their customers are interacting with their product. This shows that Coke is paying attention to what online users are saying about their brand and doing so in a way that encourages interaction. And it doesn’t directly push the product—Coca-Cola knows users don’t like being directly marketed to on social media. It’s not hard to imagine that someone posted the question about how many sips a can contains on Coke’s wall, and the question then became inspiration for content. It’s a question that most users of this product ask themselves and is proven by the large number of engagement they received for this post.
In GOOD’s bio, it simply states that it is a “…platform for its members to share what’s good to learn and do in pursuit of individual and collective progress.” That’s a defining statement. By taking the word “learn,” GOOD expresses it knows that most of its fans practice that behavior through reading. They’ve coupled that with content tailored for their bookworm audience, such as pictures of well-designed furniture for reading, knowing that this type of content will drive engagement. They also know that by simply asking for shares they’ll get them, which is why this piece of content received the highest amount of shares in that week.
Stay tuned for reason number 2 why your social media strategy isn’t working.
A new feature you may have seen on Facebook caught our eye this week. A friend posts an article on Facebook and you comment, then… BAM! “Like Page” pops up. Good news for brands!
The image above shows a post that appeared in my newsfeed linking to a SearchEngineLand.com article.
As soon a I commented on this post, the “Like Page” pop-up appears below the article preview. The same thing happens when I Like posts.
This is different from the Page post ads that brands can buy to appear on timelines, which have been the target of some controversy after disappearing in November 2012. Unlike these ads, the Like Button appears on users posts that they have opted to share themselves.
So far Renegade has only seen this on posts of articles by publications that have Facebook Pages. It’s a seamless integration of the like button for anyone who engages with the post, friend or not. However, given the coming changes with the News Feed, it’s likely this feature will be integrated into all shared page posts and website links (as long as the website has a FB page). In this way it would work much like Google Authorship and search results. It’s the perfect way to keep page engagement rising, so make sure you’re creating content that people will share.
YouTube announced Monday that they are making what we believe to be EPIC changes to the channel options. Other than an overall layout change, there are two new features that we at Renegade are excited about.
1) Channel Trailer
On the new channel, you can put up a special trailer video that appears only to users who are not subscribed to your channel. This is a great opportunity to engage browsing visitors and capture them! Plus it is a chance to set the expectations for what your channel is all about!
2) Channel Art
Finally! The coveted header banner will be available to all users. Channel art is branding that goes beyond just the background image and it is seen on mobile phones, tablets, and in the hovercard anywhere on the site! Here is a template and guidelines on how to start creating channel art.
While we’re really excited about this, not everyone seems to be. The comments on the announcement are littered with foul-mouthed trolls. As an agency we’ve been trying for a year to figure out how to give our clients sexier YouTube channels without having to pay the big advertising sums. Interesting how the users themselves seem to be against this change.
Is this just a case of fear of the unknown and social network change backlash? How do you feel about the changes?
Graph Search is officially here! That is, it’s available for individual users, but we know that won’t stop you, the savvy marketer, from thinking about how you can use it. We know you’re ready to take advantage of the next biggest thing since the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button.
It’s important to note that because Graph Search is connected to a your personal profile, results are ordered by the connections closest to you or by the number of fans of the pages.
Facebook created the dynamic, long-tail, natural language search tool so that users can find people and pages with nearly infinite combinations of variables. For example, you could use Graph Search to find oxymoronic results like “People who like Beer and joined Alcoholics Anonymous” or “Christian Males who like Fifty Shades of Grey,” but that’s probably only good for a few laughs (or if you’re a troll, a few weeks worth of amusement). Putting self-amusement aside, Graph Search has serious implications for your brand.
Now that Graph Search has launched, consider cleaning up your social media policy as soon as possible. The last thing you want anyone to find is that your brand is listed under “Places where people who like Racism work.” But how far you go as an employer to tell your employees what they can and cannot like is an ethical issue you’ll need to work out in your own company.
The real value of Graph Search lies in its ability to support your marketing research. The easiest and most obvious way to use this functionality is to find out who likes the brand and what their interests are. Search for “People who like [your brand]” and click on “More pages they like” on the right column of the screen to learn more about your fans. After figuring out their common interests in brand page, combine multiple brand pages in your long-tail search to find which brands are similar to both. This can have great insight to complementary brands. Now try selecting “Activities they like” in the right column and you may find a few sponsorship opportunities.
By going through these steps you can find a broad pool of people you can potentially convert into fans based on the brand correlations you found above. You may even include geographical constraints to see where in the world you should concentrate marketing efforts.
Finally, another way to use Graph Search is to research your competitors using the same steps. Where are their fans located? What do they like? Which activities do they do? See, we knew you weren’t going to be deterred by the fact that Graph Search is only open to individuals, not brands. You savvy marketer, you!
Though the big game is days away, major corporations like Coke, Mercedes, Audi, and Carl’s Jr. have already begun playing the field for the hearts of the 111 million viewers. Aside from the earned media potential of blogs and publications picking up the story, what advantages does pre-releasing your ad have?
In the case of Audi, probably nothing! Their pre-released YouTube tab “Big Game” seemingly gives away their entire spot, which costs around $2.5 million per 30 seconds. There is additional content around the same theme available for viewing, but unless Audi has a surprise up its sleeve for the big day, it has already run out of gas.
Mercedes and Carl’s Jr. haven’t quite shown it all. @CarlsJr has posted a few tweets with images from the ad shoot with swimsuit model @NinaAgdal as an appetizer. The full TV ad surely won’t be short of saucy. Mercedes, too, pre-released their ad spot with Kate Upton getting her shiny car washed, which alludes that there is more to bare.
Coke seems to be the most inventive, taking full advantage of social media for its big ad. Visit CokeChase.com and you can watch a pre-release video that sets the stage for the big day with cowboys, showgirls and badlanders racing to the land of sweet, bubble nirvana. Coke asks you, the user, to choose who will win the race and the final spot on the air—all you have to do is tweet your vote. The fun doesn’t stop there! Immediately in return, Coke sends you a tweet with the option to delay the contenders. This is a prime example of perfectly executed brand engagement that builds to the finale. When Coke’s ad finally rolls out on the big day, you can expect to see a hoard of tweets from enthusiasts rooting for their team.
Stay tuned to @Renegade_LLC for the Big Game Ads reviews, live as they happen on Feb 3rd.
Apple announced Wednesday that its co-founder, two-time CEO and face of the company, Steve Jobs, had passed away after a seven-year struggle with pancreatic cancer.
To detail each of Jobs’ game-changing creations would prove too lengthy for a single blog post. Suffice it to say that a number of articles, books and even a movie have already delved into the life of the college dropout who went on to become one of the most successful and recognizable tech whizzes of our time. The first authorized Jobs biography will hit shelves later this month, giving both the fanatics and the Mac-curious more to digest.
While a great deal of attention has been paid to the awesome (and I mean “awesome” in the truest sense of the word) gadgets conceived and created by Jobs, little has been said about his adeptness on the commercial side. Business 2.0 once called Jobs “easily the greatest marketer since P.T. Barnum.” Indeed his charisma, stage presence and signature style (black turtleneck and jeans) secured him the status as Apple’s most popular MC. Although his role as marketer and showman was secondary to the innovator mantle, it still supersedes other CEOs and digital gurus.
To honor Jobs, here’s a look back at some of his most memorable marketing moments:
1. “1984” Macintosh Ad, 1984: Directed by Ridley Scott, aired once during the Super bowl and named best commercial of the decade by Advertising Age. ‘Nuff said.
2. “Knick Knack,” 1989: The first animated feature created by Pixar, which Jobs purchased from LucasFilm and took to new heights. While not a reflection of his marketing prowess, the streamlined cinematography seemed to channel the crisp iMac ads that would run nearly a decade later.
3. “Think Different,” 1997: While Jobs might not have created the iconic slogan, family, friends and followers consider him the embodiment of the phrase.
4. Silhouette iPod ads, 2001: Watching those dark figures rock out against candy-colored backgrounds gave you the irresistible urge to buy an iPod and join their legions.
5. “Get a Mac” campaign, 2006 to 2009: Probably the funniest Apple ad series of all time. Laidback Mac (Justin Long) always outshined his hopelessly flawed counterpart, PC (John Hodgman).
6. “New Soul” MacBook Air commercial, 2008: Yael Naim’s feathery voice provided a nice backdrop to the introduction of the first laptop to fit in a manila folder. Everyone was humming the tune throughout the year.
7. iPad ads, 2010: Like its iPhone predecessor, the iPad commercials highlight a user-friendly interface and diverse functionality. A neutral voiceover and soft piano keys add a simplified touch.
Farewell, Steve Jobs. Thanks for the gizmos, the tech revoultion and the vision.
— Nicole Duncan
With Amazon unveiling its Kindle Fire tablet today and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab series garnering more than a few good reviews, the tablet is poised to become an established piece of tech rather than an Apple-only gizmo. While the iPad started the craze, the success of other (but not all) renditions hints at future price slashes and app-tastic innovations. Touch screens, intuitive layouts and petite proportions have the digital slates on their way to becoming a household item.
But what type of household device will it be? Will it be a work-home hybrid like computers and smartphones that serves both professional and personal purposes? Or will it lean more toward the unnecessary-but-fun luxury category where e-readers, mp3 players and gaming consoles reside? The jury is still out to lunch.
In June 57, percent of owners polled by Resolve Market Research reported that they used their tablets to supplant laptop applications, including work-related tasks. These findings might indicate a laptop-tablet battle for computing supremacy, but another study has come to a very different conclusion. A survey by Citigroup revealed that of 1,800 polled in the U.S. and U.K., 62 percent would purchase a tablet as a new toy or leisure gadget. Only 18 percent reported they would use the device for work.
Of course these surveys cannot be arranged into an apples-to-apples comparison— the most glaring distinction being that one polled tablet owners and the other asked would-be consumers. As more companies, like Amazon, enter the tablet club, the market dynamic will continue to evolve; only time will tell if and how the tablet will fit into the tech ecosystem.
In the meantime, marketers would be wise to keep an eye on the public’s sentiments. So far tablet ads have focused on versatility and ease of use, but should iPads, Kindle Fires and Galaxy Tabs become common office tools, those themes will need an upgrade.
On a lighter note, Disney’s upcoming Appmates for Cars points toward the toy (albeit awesome toy) category. Now all I need is an excuse to race Lightning McQueen at the office.
— Nicole Duncan
The business section of Sunday’s Washington Post speculated that corporate curation is becoming a popular marketing campaign for many brands. The article, which had appeared on newspaper’s website six days prior, asserted that companies (particularly fashion and luxury brands) are assembling their own collection of Internet snippets. These “advertorials” combine the affable voice of web editorials with the appeal of stylish ad campaigns.
The Post sited Louis Vuitton’s Nowness and the Harley Davidson Ridebook as two buzz-worthy examples of corporate curation. Here are a few other brands that are dabbling in advertorials and unorthodox content development.
What do you think of these editorial/advertising hybrids? If brands are open about the information they’re curating, can they become key influencers? Please leave comments below.
Free People – The whimsical design and joie de vivre photos echo the spirit of fun fashion bloggers— both stylish and accessible.
Cleanest Line – Patagonia’s blog reads like an adventurist’s journal with a bit of environmental activism sprinkled in the mix.
The IKEA Blog – With quirky comics, product demonstrations and even clips of “Futurama,” the furniture superstore curates creative and eclectic content.
Open Forum – American Express eschews the typical self-promotion of other credit card companies by including timely business news stories and tips.
Secret Life of a Benefit Gal – While this makeup brand spotlights its products, the down-to-earth demonstrators and nifty tricks are reader-friendly.
— Nicole Duncan
As a common word, “contagious” usually conjures memories of never-ending flues, Hollywood thrillers (Contagion, anyone?) and that guy the subway who sneezed on you this morning. But in the world of social media marketing, where viral videos, retweets and Facebook likes drive traffic, contagious is key.
Hubspot’s Dan Zarrella, author of the e-book, Zarrella’s Hierarchy of Contagiousness, recently hosted a Science of Social Media webinar to further explain and promote his research.
Eschewing the “unicorn and rainbow” marketing defaults that are guided by what feels right, Zarrella sought to analyze the efficacy of social media campaigns using quantifiable methods and data. Many of his findings can be compared to established scientific theories such as gene propagation and evolution.
Here are some of the highlights of his research. You can watch the webinar in its entirety here.
- Retweets are like fruit flies. Fruit flies reproduce quickly and in great numbers, but they have short life spans. Elephants, on the other hand, take longer and have fewer offspring, but the have increased longevity. With regard to campaigns, you have to decide if you want short-term virality or long-term loyalty.
- Engaging in conversation is not the most important part of a campaign. Zarrella’s data indicates that it’s far more important to share interesting content.
- Marketing and zombies are the peanut-butter and jelly of audience reach. A combined relevance exists wherein two seemingly unrelated topics (like marketing and the undead) are popular within a specific group. Uncovering and attending to both subjects makes you more relevant.
- Embrace the weekends. Zarrella maintains that posting content while social channels are quieter, like Fridays and weekends, can help you reach followers when they have more time and less information fighting for their attention.
- Kardashian is King… er, Queen. The New York Times has low clickthrough rates while the Kardashians’ rates are among the highest, making them the most influential users on Twitter. In 10 years, we’ll all be pledging allegiance to Kim, Khloe and Kourtney.
Perhaps the Marketing Zombies will save us.
— Nicole Duncan