TAG | profiles
Posted by Tina on June 24, 2011
Social Media moves at a remarkably fast pace, meaning that just one month in social media time can lead to stunning new developments, including new tools that allow you to save both time and money. Let’s take a look at some of this month and last month’s newest tools:
Panabee: This site is truly a one-stop shop; search for available web domains by desired address or via associated keywords, browse related terms, the Google definition, and more. A simple entry like “safety pin” in the search box immediately yielded suggestions for available domains (safetypinn.com and gosafetypin.com) since our first choice (safetypin.com) was already taken. Panabee also pulled up to-the-minute twitter feeds relating to safety pins, as well as the top Google searches related to the product. Consider us hooked.
AppMakr: This free ‘drag and drop’ tool allows you to create your own mobile apps on iPhone, Windows and Android. It might signal the full arrival of mass mobile media and allows you to see the thousands of apps that have already been created using the site, by people just like you!
IconSeeker: This site solves the difficult problem of finding social media icons to suit your site. While Google Image search can leave you with hundreds of options as far as site icons, IconSeeker narrows the results down to only the best. Example: We searched “fire” on both IconSeeker and Google Images. The results speak for themselves: and
Facebook Vanity: Check out the availability of Facebook URLs in a matter of seconds, and grab yours if its available- it makes for a professional addition to your business card to have your profile listed as facebook.com/john.smith, versus facebook.com/skjdwi13.
PeerIndex: Use it to get an initial feel of key conversation drivers in a particular field.
What social media tools do you use on a daily basis? Tell us some of your new favorites in the comments.
Posted by Tina on June 2, 2011
This week, we take a look at a few more cool social media case studies and the success certain brands have seen from their efforts. While in the past, social media campaigns were best used by marketing giants like Coca-Cola and Burberry, today social media is present in many industries, including healthcare, real estate and even credit card companies. Here are a few of our favorites unexpected uses of social media:
Mall of America: Lisa Grimm, digital public relations specialist for the Mall of America in Minnesota, recently shared the success of one of the Mall’s most triumphant campaigns. Since the most difficult time to park at the mall is during Christmas week, the Mall of America team decided to take advantage of this increase in activity to boost their social media following. The team decided to actually auction off parking spaces in the front row of the mall’s lot, but only to their social media followers. By using the parking event’s hashtag on Twitter, followers were entered into the auction. The campaign was a success: The Mall’s Twitter following increased by 11% and the campaign was covered by Forbes, among other news outlets. This campaign is just one example of the far-reaching grasp of social media.
Century 21 Real Estate: Century 21, a leader in real estate, recently revealed that QR codes will be available on Century 21 signs. These custom bar codes can be scanned on a smartphone and will direct you to specific information, such as a real estate listing.
American Express: American Express has been heavily targeting small business in the US for the past few months. One feature of their campaign is the American Express OPEN and Facebook collaboration called Big Break for Small Business. The national contest was designed to help transform the way small businesses use Facebook, and of course, to publicize American Express as the leader for small business use. Business owners could enter to win an all-expense paid trip to Facebook headquarters for a two-day “boot camp” and a US $20,000 cash prize by submitting responses to a short questionnaire. Over 10,000 businesses entered to win their “big break,” and on July 5th the five finalists will be subject to a public vote. Read an interview with Rosa Alfonso of of the American Express Open program here.
The No Kids Hungry Pledge: Share our Strength, a non-profit organization, is working through their Facebook page to help end childhood hunger. On their custom welcome page, they ask you to take a pledge and help end childhood hunger by 2015. Once you sign up by providing your email and zip code, you receive an email asking you to help spread the word by way of social status updates (templated Facebook and Twitter posts) or via email. Note, they don’t ask for money or for you to volunteer your time. In doing so, Share our Strength is building their email database while gaining trust from their new fans.
Have you seen any cool uses of social media in the past few months? Share with us in the comments section!
Posted by Carolyn Horwitz on April 27, 2011
I’ve been asked to write a blog post.
A blog? Me? But I get PAID to write and to whip other people’s meandering brain-farts into glorious prose! Well, that is, I did until two weeks ago, when I was laid off from my job as editor at a book publisher. You know, moldy old books. Like, paper and ink and four-color printing and stuff.
I’ve been in print publishing for nearly 20 years, writing for and editing magazines and books on everything from international business news to music to architecture. Why should I stoop to a medium that’s attainable to any idiot with an iBook? I mean (to paraphrase the old joke about awards), blogs are like hemorrhoids: sooner or later, every asshole gets one.
The truth is, publishing now really is for everyone, from bloggers to tweeters to the right-place-at-the-right-time bystander who manages to capture breaking news with a cellphone camera.
This may be bad news for the professionals, that endlessly growing pool of talented, out-of-work journalists who are duking it out for the few available jobs at established publications. For everyone else, though, it means access to a wealth of opinions, points of view, and, yes, insane ramblings, which may inform, infuriate, call to act, or simply amuse.
The Web, with its accessibility and immediacy, lends itself intrinsically to writing of an egocentric nature. My own writings have never been personal; my professional duties have always been as a reporter or as an editor of other people’s work. I find it incredibly embarrassing to talk about myself; can’t we discuss that fascinating individual over there?
But clearly I need to get with the program. My profession has changed; hell, even the language we use to discuss it has changed. While I won’t stop looking for a job at a “legitimate” media outlet, in the meantime, I will begrudgingly learn to write snappy, snarky, first-person Web-speak, and to embrace the blogs and Twitters and Diggs and Wikis, and, yeah, I still don’t know what Foursquare is.
So, here’s my blog entry. Maybe some people will happen upon it. But for now, until I get used to the idea, one thing you can count on is that I won’t be posting a link for all of my friends on Facebook. Just give me a few weeks.
Posted by Tina on March 9, 2011
In our last blog, we discussed social media success stories and what it takes to run a successful social media campaign. For every great social media campaign, however, there are multiple failures. Whether this is due to poor use of assets, a marketing screw up, misuse of celebrity or a lack of fan interaction, we can learn as much from these disappointments as we can from the well-executed promotions.
This year’s Academy Awards made well documented use of social media; specifically, host James Franco joined Twitter in early February and was a pro-tweeter by the time the show went live. He live-tweeted behind-the-scenes moments that let viewers feel like celebrities, and he took a video while walking out on stage and then streamed it to his fans. Twitter peaked just after the Oscars’ open with approximately 10,000 tweets/minute— 1.8 million overall. This was social media at its best.
At its worst? This is 2011, and the only way the actual awards show integrated social media was through James Franco. Most of the effort was made by him, and while his tweets and backstage glimpses were fun and successful, imagine the difference that would have been made if this had been incorporated by the Academy itself.
Another social media flop: Fashion brand Cheap Monday has a plethora of social media assets, but only a few of them appear to be functioning. Tip: If you’re going to offer your fans social media outlets to explore, make sure they work. No one wants to check out pre-written tweets that consist of only a URL, or blindly search for a Facebook page that is named something different than your brand (in this case, the brand is “Cheap Monday” and the page is under “Cheap Mondays.” This difference may seem negligible, but under a Facebook search, this could be detrimental).
Although dated, Ad Age described a classic social media fail: The Chevy Tahoe campaign of 2006, run by GM. The campaign was meant to tie in to the television show The Apprentice, and it allowed regular folks at home to create their own Chevy Tahoe ads. The higher-ups at the company failed to anticipate the negative reaction they’d receive to their gas-guzzling car at a time of climbing oil prices and the war in Iraq. They were met with harsh language and unbridled anger, and while GM denied their social media fail, the company went into bankruptcy a few years later.
Among some of last year’s losing social media moves were: Starbucks’ social media nightmare in Hungary, Dr. Pepper’s status-takeover campaign on Facebook , Kenneth Cole’s off-color remarks about Egypt , and CVS_Cares’ locked twitter account More snafus here.
In the world of social media, especially since internet users are more savvy and aware than ever before, every move is noticed and scrutinized. Here are some ways to avoid making some of these gaffes:
- Adapt to your social media environment: Take Twitter for example. Don’t over-intellectualize; you have 140 characters, so get to the point with short words and great content.
- Understand ROI: The more you pay, the better the…payoff will be. Yes, you will have to pay for marketing even in social media; get rid of the mindset that all social media marketing is free marketing.
- Engage with your audience: These are the people who will make your campaign a success or a failure, and you have the chance to interact with them, to answer their questions, to ask them for feedback. Make use of that.
- Get Formal: Social media is less formal than traditional media in some aspects, but that does not mean this isn’t still business. Treat your social media assets professionally.
- Get Exciting: Bland social media is the worst; you will depress your audience and lose them. Plan ahead, hire a dynamic community manager and make an effort.
More moves to avoid here. And remember, without failure, success wouldn’t shine so brightly.
Posted by Tina on March 1, 2011
The most successful social media campaigns have had certain characteristics in common. Whether the campaign has been centered on the launch of a big brand’s newest product, or simply consists of the revival of a decades-old favorite, success cannot be attained if all the brand has to offer is… its product. Durability comes from other factors, including personalization, discussion, novelty and buzz.
Personalization: Facebook capitalizes on the fact that its users are impulsive and restless. It’s just as easy to click on a link, a page, or a group as it is to close out of that tab and move on the next one. Therefore, in order for a brand to capture the attention of these most fickle of internet users, it must offer a personalized experience. The main difference between a traditional campaign and a social media campaign is the level of interaction the latter can offer users. Take, for example, IKEA’s wildly successful Facebook campaign in 2009. The campaign used one of Facebook’s most popular features, tagging, to encourage people to tag themselves in photos of IKEA showrooms. The company offered users the chance to win tagged items for free, and as word of the campaign spread, photos were tagged within seconds of being uploaded. Without the store rolling out a costly campaign, their products were personally promoted by their audience. People also felt a personal connection to the brand, picking and choosing pieces of furniture they would want in their own homes.
Discussion: Encouraging discussion on Facebook, or any other social network, is tricky, especially when the discussion is initially based on a single product. For the Wrigley’s Extra Facebook campaign, the Wrigley’s team took a different approach. Instead of focusing solely on the product at hand (gum), the page capitalized on the current “foodie” trend and prompted discussions about good food and eating. The page was created with the premise that strongly flavored food and drink, while one of life’s pleasures, are not necessarily things we wish to carry with us for the rest of the day on our breath. The message, then, doesn’t directly rely on the product itself, and is designed to continue conversation for as long as people eat and drink. Discussions on the Facebook page, which has more than 150,000 “Likes,” range from favorite Valentine’s Day food to the best pie flavor. Asking questions like, “Do real men eat quiche?” and “What do you reckon’s your CPM (chews per minute) rate?” provoke interesting, lively and continuous conversation that shouldn’t die down when buzz about the new gum does.
Novelty: Creating a social media campaign that draws a broad audience is tough when your product is a standard household item, like the toothbrush. It becomes even tougher when you’re trying to generate buzz for a new mini disposable toothbrush called The Wisp. In designing their social media campaign for this product, Colgate knew they’d have to think out of the box to generate any kind of attention. Hence, the brand took a fresh approach and came up with the “Be More Kissable” creative platform, which rerouted the issue at hand from dental hygiene to a topic that was more fun, social and sexy. At the heart of the campaign strategy were online videos, and a series of online videos were released that cinched into the comedy and how-to market. The brand also ran a photo contest, looking for “The Most Kissable Person in America,” and created a Facebook app called Spin the Wisp. Once the app was installed, it had the names of the consumer’s Facebook friends and provided them with an experience similar to Spin the Bottle. Ultimately, there were more than 100,000 engagements and 40,000 + installations of the widget and more than 1 million unique impressions of the widget. Overall, as of May, 2010, Big Fuel reported 6 million+ total engagements with the Wisp campaign (widget installs, video views, game plays, pass-alongs). The campaign succeeded not because it was led by a big brand, but because it took a fresh and new approach to something as stale as toothbrushes.
Buzz: Even with all of the components above, a social media campaign cannot be successful without buzz. Word-of-mouth gears social media; as an example, let’s discuss the buzz that the Red Cross accidentally generated a few weeks ago with an unintentional tweet. An employee with access to the @RedCross Twitter account had accidentally posted about their night of drinking Dogfish Head Midas Touch and tagged the message #gettngslizzerd. Within moments of the tweet going out, it was like a social media avalanche. While The Red Cross has about 270,000 followers subscribing to that account, hundreds of re-tweets and tweets about the post put that number well into the millions. Although the Red Cross later deleted the tweet and replaced it with one that read,“We’ve deleted the rogue tweet but rest assured the Red Cross is sober and we’ve confiscated the keys,” it didn’t stop this non-campaign from generating buzz. In fact, the Red Cross reports that the incident actually resulted in slight raise in donations and interest in giving blood. Everyone, including Beer brand Dogfish, has now blogged about the incident and it just goes to show- if an accidental tweet can generate this much buzz, how much attention can an intentional, well-played tweet get?
Ultimately, social media case studies allow us to look back and move forward more successfully. We can see the numbers and the views and decide for ourselves which brands were triumphant in what they did.
Posted by Tina on February 21, 2011
It’s February, and that means that most (if not all) social media experts have already released their predictions for the social media landscape of 2011. Social media is an interesting field in that the rapidly changing dynamic is truly what defines it; without the quick turnover and fast-paced edits we’ve grown accustomed to, social media would become stagnant.
True to form, 2011 is expected to feature some big changes and some powerful emerging trends. Since almost everyone in the blogosphere has released their version of 2011’s Emerging Trends, we thought we’d make it easy and act as a filter, picking the best ones and summing them up.
Expansion: This is a given, but the companies that pioneered corporate use of social media are bound to integrate social media further into their business plans. It’s not exactly breaking news, but expect to see large companies like Starbucks taking social media to the forefront of their business plans, especially in terms of global marketing.
Location-Based Services: Foursquare’s major appeal in 2010 was based on its ability to produce interactions with people and places on the go. In 2011, Facebook is positioned to take location-based services one step further, with advanced data and planning that will make the application not only fun, but business-savvy. Expect Facebook to surpass other social networks, including Foursquare, when it comes to location-based services.
Social Media Overload: Social media experts, who use their networks for work-related activity and on a constant, daily basis, are already used to the overload that comes with owning and using multiple profiles. 2011 may bring this phenomenon onto “regular” social media users, who will feel overwhelmed by the availability of so many networks. To tweet or to Facebook or to maintain your gchat contacts or build a Foursquare profile? Incidentally, this excess should bring about a positive change: More platforms like Hootsuite will be developed, in order to provide users with an integrated and simplified social graph. 2011 will be the year of social media organization.
Google Returns to the Top: Okay, so Google wasn’t really able to succeed in creating their own network- take a look at Buzz, for example . Google’s skill lays in indexing, and already, Google’s algorithm has become smarter about Twitter data than…Twitter itself. Search for old tweets in Google just by typing in a few words, and you’ll be able to locate old gems. Ultimately, Google should be able to take advantage of the social web by indexing any and all social data they can get their hands on.
The Informed Consumer: Mobile devices and social networks are joining together to make the consumer more powerful than ever. With access to discounts, coupons and targeted offers at all hours of the day, consumers can make more informed decisions. The ability to compare and contrast different brands even at the point of purchase, whether during online shopping or even at the cashier in the store, will force retailers to step it up. Expect to see more instant mobile coupons, online group discounts, and flash sales.
Integration: In 2011, technologies like mobile, geo-location, RFID, tablets, and Internet-enabled appliances will allow for sharper communication and a merging of experiences. Already, GoogleTV and Samsung are bringing internet apps to television. Department stores are experimenting with the virtual shopping experience; recently, Macy’s launched a dressing room experience that lets shoppers find clothes on an iPad and then try them on virtually. The shopper can even ask for feedback from their friends and family in real-time and check out the view using an augmented-reality mirror. By texting, e-mailing, and using other social networks, the consumer will be able to experience what mimics, and even surpasses, an in-store shopping experience. TMI meets virtual shopping- what could go wrong?
Ultimately, 2011’s success will be determined by just how far these emerging trends are developed, and just how these developments flourish. It comes down to usability, which is what social media is based on anyway. It will be an exciting year in the world of social media, for sure.
Posted by Tina on December 28, 2010
With 2011 fast approaching, it is time for a social media recap of 2010, global-style. This was the year that Facebook took over the globe, and we end the year with almost 600 million users around the world. While Facebook might be the most popular social network, however, it certainly isn’t the only one with worldwide appeal.
Italian blogger Vincenzo Cosenza has, for the second time, published a visual map that portrays the most popular social networks around the world. The map is based on the most recent traffic data (December 2010) as measured by Alexa & Google Trends for Websites.
According to Cosenza, since June of this year, Facebook has “stolen” important nations from previously strong competitors, so much so that 115 out of 132 countries analyzed name Facebook as their market leader. Notably, Hungary, Poland, and even Mongolia have switched over from local strongholds to the global site.
We’re also seeing a rise of interest in Twitter and not surprisingly, in LinkedIn. While Facebook spans generations, however, Twitter has previously been identified as a “younger” social networking tool. Its growth against MySpace in Australia, Germany, Italy and Canada, then, doesn’t do much to prove that Twitter has gained the all-ages following it needs to compete with Facebook in global market domination.
Twitter’s appeal is undeniable: The visibility of its most frequent users, celebrities, excites “normal” users. Then, even for non-celebrity tweeters, a sense of voyeurism continues to remain with the site. The site is more energetic and fast-paced than MySpace, and while “tweets” can give away crucial information about participants, the site isn’t as sleazy as Myspace was in its heyday.
LinkedIn’s rise was inevitable. Why wouldn’t other countries jump to embrace a site that provides free networking in a career-oriented atmosphere? LinkedIn gives employers the benefit of screening employees before they even request an interview and in this way, it tightens up the hiring process. It also gives employees the chance to present themselves in a professional manner online, and countries like Australia, Canada, and the UK have embraced this.
Ultimately, while Facebook, Twitter and MySpace continue to dominate most of the world’s social networking market, there is tremendous room for growth in the new media sector.
New Media expert Brian Solis breaks down social web involvement by country, and the results prove that each country has a unique dynamic within their social networks.
Posted by Tina on December 5, 2010
As Facebook continues to grow, businesses, both small and large, are also learning how to best use the site in terms of business growth. Despite public dissatisfaction regarding Facebook’s privacy controls and shared information, most users can ultimately find satisfaction with the site, because it is an essential addition to any web working toolbox. The Facebook social networking experience is customizable, so it can be exactly what you need it to be. For a college student, this might mean that Facebook becomes the easiest way to meet people in the dorm, but for a company like Gap or Starbucks, Facebook offers an inexpensive way to attract new customers and interact with old ones.
The first step to Facebook success, in terms of business usage, is to understand the difference between a Facebook Page and a Facebook Group.
Facebook Fan Pages, unlike groups, are visible to unregistered people and are thus indexed. Groups, however, allow the user to send out “bulk” invites, inviting all of your friends to join the group in one time-saving swoop. While many users have figured out ways to get around this feature by using a simple, google-able code to send mass invites on pages, this feature (or lack thereof) on pages often leads to complaints.
Both pages and groups lend themselves well to hosting discussions, messaging to all members, and video and photo exchange. In terms of social media, however, pages seem to be more useful. On a page, users can promote their business using social, targeted ads, and a page administrator also has access to “page insights,” which chart visitor statistics and prove useful to anyone looking to grow a larger Facebook following.
Read more on the difference between Facebook pages and groups.
Facebook users can promote a Facebook page in a variety of ways. Below, we suggest five tactics:
- Have Good Content: This should go unsaid, but it is surprising how many businesses try to promote Facebook Pages that are…lacking. No matter how many ads you buy, or how often you tweet special deals on your FB page and mention it on your LinkedIn account, if the content on your page is stale, no one will be interested. Look at it this way: You can find basic information about Starbucks on their main website, right? If you’re interested in the drinks they serve and how much they cost, or if you’re looking for a drive-thru location, look no further than the main site. The Starbucks Facebook Page, however, which is “Liked” by almost 19 million people, allows fans to virtually “check in” to Starbucks. It features photos of Starbucks fans from around the world, it allows fans of the coffee company to suggest their ideas, and it features oft-updated deals and specials. In other words, it has become a community that isn’t frequented by only die-hard fans. It’s a place that someone who may not even like coffee visits because of the fun material.
- Cross Promote: Once you have exciting material on your Page, don’t be afraid to cross promote. Whether you want to link to your Twitter account or your LinkedIn page, or you want to link to your YouTube account, take advantage of the multiple social networks you have access to. Some businesses will Tweet about special deals they have available only on their Facebook Page, leading Twitter followers to check out the page. In order to have access to the special deal, these users must then “Like” the page and viola, another follower is gained. Post YouTube videos on your Facebook as well, and you’ll be surprised at the new followers you’ll gain.
- Update Frequently: Say you start out with great content and cross promote, and you end up being “liked” by 20,000 people. That’s a great start, and although there isn’t a maximum number of pages a person can “like,” most businesses are surprised to find that Facebook users are fickle. They “unlike” pages (oh yes, they can do that) just as quickly as they like them, and while it is more difficult to gain followers than to lose them, disengaged users are the kiss of death. By updating frequently, you give people a reason not just to visit your site, but to look forward to new content, new images, maybe even new deals.
- Incentivize Your Page: You’ll be facing competition from mega-companies like Fusion Beauty, who can afford to offer the first 10,000 “likes” on their page a free tube of lip gloss. Not every incentive has to be a free product, however. Whether you’re offering ten percent off of a cup of coffee or access to a behind-the-scenes video, your followers want to feel like they are getting something exclusive.
- Personalize It: Facebook Fan Pages in the beauty sector, such as the page for MAC Cosmetics , often feature a section dedicated solely to user photo uploads. Now, this personalizes the MAC page in many ways; most effectively, it allows users to feel personally connected to the giant cosmetic company through the simple act of uploading their own photo. The page for Eat Pray Love doesn’t feature that perk, but it asks users, “What is one thing in life your friends said you could/would never do, but you did it anyway?” It starts conversations, and that is what makes it special to the people who “like” it.
And once you’re really comfortable using the Facebook Fan Page, post on other user’s walls AS the page, not as yourself.
Posted by Tina on November 28, 2010
This weekend, Black Friday shoppers spent an average of $365.34, up from last year’s average of $343.31 per customer. Total spending for Black Friday 2010: An estimated $45 billion. http://bit.ly/f5OWYe
In this age of the internet, however, retailers are expecting even more financial success on Cyber Monday, a more recent phenomenon. Since 2005, the Monday after Black Friday has been called the “Biggest Online Shopping Day of the Year,” with many consumers making their purchases from home or (more likely) from office computers.
The most trending topic on the web on Thanksgiving Day was “Black Friday Ads.” Not surprisingly, this year, retailers are taking advantage of social media to increase their sales. If you “like” certain retailers’ Facebook pages, you’ll have access to special deals.
If you like the Sears’ Facebook page, for example, you’ll also “have the power to unlock great deals.”
When you check into Sports Authority using Foursquare, you can win a $500 gift certificate.
Many small retailers have also been using Cyber Monday as a chance to connect with consumers using personalized tweets, moving past the assumption in earlier years that this online shopping day is for big businesses only.
In fact, this Cyber Monday is looking to be the perfect time for many under-the-radar businesses to launch themselves into a bigger market by using their social media savvy. Here, some tips for businesses on how to incorporate social media into their Black Monday advertising: http://www.fruitzoom.com/2010/11/cyber-monday-37-tips-to-leverage-social-media-zoom-monday-sales/ By leveraging social media and internet marketing for both online and offline traffic, businesses can up profits and internet presence.
This week, Best Buy has used Twitter to inform shoppers of bargains, but in a more resourceful use of social media, they are also using Twitter as an instant customer service solution. The company has their Twitter accounts staffed and ready to answer questions about problem purchases … all in 140 characters or less.
Check out the best deals, from electronics to sporting goods and apparel to gardening supplies, on http://www.cybermonday.com/
Posted by mdorman on November 10, 2009
One of the most interesting things we see happen time and time again – most recently with a film promotion – is the lack of basic digital assets. What are these? We’re talking a logo, a few banners, images, video, widgets, editorial content and whatever else you can provide your team and the public-at-large with to make their engagement with your brand or project more visually stimulating and relevant.
The more you have, the more they get used…and shared…and re-used on other sites whereby expanding your reach and awareness well beyond the narrow focus of your website and/or social media profiles. By the way, bloggers love to have assets to punctuate their posts. Most of the time, these items are quick and easy to develop. They can be created on an ongoing basis as other items are being prepared such as offline marketing materials, packaging or other online media. One quick side note while we are talking about creating – when you start designing, think about your social media profiles which, let’s face it, are de rigueur. Start building and skinning your Facebook or Twitter profiles while building everything else.
Oh and finally, if you want people to run with your brand (and remember, this is what happens with all successful brands anyway) you might as well make these assets easy to share. We love how Groupon kills two birds with one stone via their “e-schwag” widget-meets-banner.