In the Office

Weekly Wrap-Up #91

It’s been another busy week in the social media and technology worlds. From LinkedIn’s announcement to expand its platform on two fronts, to Facebook and Google’s respective initiatives to increase global Internet access – you don’t want to fall behind on these newsworthy highlights. Enjoy, and have a great weekend!

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Are Tradeshows Paying You Back?

Tradeshows. Most marketers have a love-hate relationship with them. Often times a company needs to participate to show industry engagement and support. On the other hand they are expensive and a true time suck.

If you are required to attend a show, how can you take advantage of the opportunity beyond “working the show floor”?  Tradeshows have the potential to offer huge payoffs – in a variety of ways. Here’s a few ideas to get you thinking about maximizing your next tradeshow experience:

1. Attend Seminars
Take the opportunity to scan the program offerings and identify those that could help your brand. Take notes and share your insights with your teams. Find a key point and use your own knowledge to develop a company blog post or tweet. Connect with the presenter to build new relationships. There is everything to be gained from building your industry knowledge and contact list.

2. Be Personable
Tradeshows are all about making connections—with the partners, with media, with customers—know your audience and reach out to them. If someone you want to meet with is too busy to stop by, offer to come to them. Even if it’s just 5 minutes, every chance you get to put a face behind your brand is worth the time investment and will pay dividends for future opportunities.

3. Be Critical
Take a look around. How are visitors interacting with your company’s booth; what catches their attention? Are visitors or media greeted? Take notes on how things can be improved. Notice how other companies are presenting themselves and get ideas from their approaches. For example: giveways. Is a company providing a promotional item just to get people to stop by or are they using the giveaway to further their customer or knowledge base? One booth I recently visited at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market required each person to fill out a short questionnaire about their purchasing behavior on an iPad before collecting a high-end pair of socks. And it worked—there was a line to fill out the survey!

 

If You Build It, They May Not Come

Wondering why customers aren’t flocking to your company’s blog, Facebook page or Twitter profile? Why should they? What are you giving them?

Social EngagmentAs Stanford Smith points out in his blog post What the $200 Million Tweet Can Teach You About Personal Influence, if we have a social media presence, we have influence. But, we must understand our influence – no matter how large or small – and harness it by being relevant.

This means all of your company’s on-and-offline efforts must be strategic and consistent – reaching your potential customers with smart, diverse and interesting messages.  This is a basic branding concept, and it strongly applies to social engagement, because every person connected to your organization is part of your brand – whether you like it or not.

If you’re working to grow your company’s influence online, here are some important steps to building a loyal and engaging audience:

  • Seek & Find – Do your due diligence and know where your audience engages online. To manage a profile on any platform takes time and resources. Don’t waste them by going down an empty rabbit hole. If you sell a technology product and your customers are men ages 28 – 50 in IT, then Pinterest
    probably isn’t the place for you. And, be sure to look outside the top five social networks – many organizations are creating their own communities. While they may be small, if that’s where your audience is you should be there too.
  • Content Is King – Think quality, not quantity. Delivering educational and engaging content is key. And, it should all connect via a hub – much like a web. Maybe this is your website, a blog, or online community.  Write blog posts. Tweet about them. Post them to Facebook and reference them on forums and in blog comments. Be transparent. And don’t just promote your own musings. Rather, offer a mix of your own content and content created by other experts. Make it fun and keep it quick.
  • Listen – Your customers have something to say. It’s likely relevant to your business. Listen to them. Glean relevant insights from them, then interact. Remember, social media is a two-way communication vehicle its important to engage with your users with a human touch.
  • Bring Old School to The New School – Don’t forget traditional advertising and communications tactics. They can deliver your message to a broader audience and help build your company’s relevance.

How is your company building influence online? Is this part of your 2013 planning? Share your thoughts with us below. 

 

Looking Ahead to 2013

As each year draws to a close, we as communicators naturally start to reflect on the news we saw unfold, the trends that came to fruition and how these all impact our daily lives. More importantly, we try to look ahead, identify emerging trends and brace ourselves for change and evolution.

2012 was packed with events and advancements that will add color to marketing history: the U.S. Presidential election, the Lance Armstrong scandal, the continued growth of mobile apps, Facebook’s IPO and subsequent stock plummeting  — just to name a few. Mainstream media had its hands full covering all of the above. But 2012 was really no different than any other year. No year will ever be dull when it comes to news and technological advancements with far-reaching implications.

What will 2013 bring? We’ll see many of the same trends that emerged in 2012 really take shape in the New Year. I think it’s safe to say that we’ll see an increase in the use of visuals to communicate with one another. Even with all the existing technology that makes work and life more efficient, we still long for the human touch. Visual images draw us in and force us to feel a deeper connection. For this reason, we’ll start to see more business applications of Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube and infographics to reach a broader audience. These new visual communications tools are enabling modern society to more easily digest, interpret and act on information.

In 2013, mobile will continue to impact the way marketers think about messaging and consumption. The concept of “social, local, mobile” (SoLoMo) has demonstrated how consumers want to consume content. As marketers continue to take their websites and apps mobile, their content must address all three dimensions in order to meet users’ needs and desires.

In 2011, eMarketer predicted that U.S. online video ad spend would grow 52.1 percent to $2.16 billion in 2011, before reaching $7.11 billion in 2015. Without a doubt, YouTube and other video channels will play a major role in brand communications. Often underestimated, video – when used properly – can be highly engaging, drive brand loyalty and keep customers coming back for more. Marketers should explore ways to leverage video, even with limited budgets.

What other trends do you expect to emerge? How will your company use new social media, mobile or video applications to reach existing and new audiences? We’d love to hear!

Weekly Wrap-Up #44

The fall chill is finally starting to set in and we are all busting out the long-sleeves. It’s definitely been a colder week… take some time, curl-up with a blanket and read the five must-read stories from this past week!

1. Facebook Advertisers Give Ads Lots of Likes

Adweek reports that many advertisers are raving about their success with Facebook Offers. 1-800-Flowers is just one of the many brands that cannot get enough of using the method to connect with their customers. It is good to remember that sometimes the best method of advertising is giving the deals where the customers are and not making them do all the work.

2. Apple Passbook is Already Hitting It Big

Apple just recently released Passbook, their new coupon and customer loyalty app, but it is already gaining traction with the brands. Several top brands like Target and Gap are offering coupons and discounts, proving that sometimes it’s good to be cutting edge and jumping on new apps – after all, the early bird gets the worm! Check out more about the new Apple app and how you can get it at Mashable.

3. New Campaign Temporarily Erases Facebook

Facebook is missing?!? An article posted by Adweek, to promote World Alzheimer’s Day, Alzheimer’s Disease International created a Facebook app that erased all of your posts when used and displayed the message: “Imagine your life without memories. For 36 million people living with Alzheimer’s disease, this is reality.” The app and article teach us all one thing: there’s nothing like shock value to draw attention to a campaign.

4. Fancy Tries to One-Up Pinterest Again

Pinterest competitor, the Fancy, has been striving for new ways to try to take over the pinning space. Their new strategy, as reported by Mashable, is to offer a subscription service that sends out a box of goods to subscribers of the service, a tactic that reminds us an awful lot of other companies who have been doing this same thing for some time now. What can you take away from this? Sometimes, if the customers don’t come to you, you have to go to the customers.

5. iPhone 5

The frenzy has started. One man reported sitting outside of an apple store for 8 days straight. So here, courtesy of PR Daily, are 10 amusing tweets about iPhone 5.

 

Weekly Wrap Up #34

The weekend is just around the corner and the weatherman is predicting a balmy few days full of sunshine. However, if you need a break in between enjoying the gorgeous weather and soaking up some sun I highly recommend you take a minute to look over these little gems from inside the industry.

1.The 10 commandments of Pinterest for business

Pinterest is like the New York City of the Internet, a melting pot of everything wonderful ready to be pulled together for easy reference. For any company with a product to sell being the latest and greatest ingredient added to this pot can be a huge asset, but it’s also easy to get lost in the mix. For some tips on how to take the Pinterest world by storm try checking out the 10 Commandments of Pinterest for business.

Click for Full Size

2.The 20 Most-Viral Ads of 2012 (So Far)

What do a dancing baby, an adorable animal, and an unsuspecting victim have in common? Easy, they’re all little nuggets of marketing gold. Nothing screams 21st century like a viral sensation, and nothing screams viral sensation quite like  dancing babies. This year has already racked up plenty of hits and the 20 most-viral ads of the year have already been conveniently combined. These ads are universal and truly genius. Don’t believe me? Check out #17. It turns out flash mob practical jokes are funny in every language.

3. 33 homophones that ensnare writers and speakers

All right don’t lie, we’ve all had those moments where we have to sneak over to Google and ask the inevitable is it sea or see…okay maybe not so much on that one, but nonetheless there are always those tricky homophones that seem to catch everyone now and then. Conveniently, ragan.com did a lovely thing and combined 33 homophones that could trip up anyone.

4. 12 Keys to Success on Twitter

Tackling any social giant is a daunting task, but when they’re raking in millions of visitors a day it becomes a necessary evil to any good marketing campaign.  Twitter is one such beast that has to be utilized effectively to have any chance at reaching a desired audience.  Luckily there are resources, like this article, detailing some of the keys to success on Twitter.

5. 5 updates in the 2012 AP Stylebook

The Bible by any religious interpretation may have been written thousands of years ago, but for anyone in the Advertising/PR/Marketing fields there’s another bible, the AP Stylebook. Like almost every other aspect of the marketing world the Stylebook is struggling to stay “hip,” “with it,” “down,” or whatever it is they’re saying these days, and this year is no different. So if you’re trying to stay down-hip-and-with-it check out the five major updates in the 2012 Stylebook.

 

 

Weekly Wrap Up #23

Between the birthday of Twitter, fun monster 3D drawings and the legality of employers asking for job applicants’ social media passwords, this week has been full of exciting and interesting media news. Read on and enjoy!

1. HAPPY 6TH BIRTHDAY TWITTER!

Happy 6th birthday Twitter! While I am not an avid Twitter user, there are 500 million users who stay connected through this social media craze. What started with its first few tweets back in 2006 has grown to over 6,000 tweets per second in a mere six years. Taking a look back at some Twitter firsts, no one can forget the first tweet in outer space and the all-to-recent NASCAR tweet during the race. On behalf of all 500+ million users, happy birthday Twitter!

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Weekly Wrap Up #20

Between Facebook announcements, high-speed car wrecks and America’s beloved Oreo gracefully approaching 100, this week has been full of media diversity. Read on to see what you may have missed! Hint – new Oreo variety, limited time only.

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Weekly Wrap Up #9

1. Purchasing funnel for the ‘New Social Consumer’

Social media has infiltrated the purchasing funnel, helping consumers make informed decisions, from what to have for lunch to where to go on vacation. Depending on the decision, sometimes you turn to your social graph, and sometimes you turn to Google. What online channels should you be targeting in order to reach the perfect audience for your product? M Booth and Beyond took a look inside the “new social consumer” to find out how they research products and services online. Check out the full infographic at Mashable.

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HM&P Speaks at NCTA Meeting

Our own Scott Piggott, Shavette Purvis and Mariana Pinner recently spoke at a North Carolina Technology Association luncheon. The audience was comprised of marketing professionals who work in the technology sector.

Scott opened up by talking about the marketing funnel – influence, engagement and transition – and how social media is apparent at every part of that funnel. Mariana provided a primer on social media, providing tips as well as real-life examples of companies using different social media techniques successfully. Shavette gave an overview of digital analytics, as well as how and when put tools in place to be able to properly measure online the activity and impact of online efforts. It is important not to forget to track the effectiveness of social media and other digital tactics.

It was a great session where everyone seemed to walk away learning something new about the ever-changing on-line world, which relies so heavily on social media and digital analytics.