In the Office

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.

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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.

The Ag Angle – #AgChat

Agriculture is much more than just sows, cows and plows; it encompasses all components of the food, fuel, fiber and feed industries. The AgChat Foundation, who introduced us to the term agvocate (agriculture advocate), works to connect farmers and ranchers with consumers through various social media platforms. It’s an exciting chance for the advertising and public relations industries to be at the forefront of this agvocacy movement.

 

To see some of the results social media has had on the agriculture industry, you can watch this AgChat YouTube video.

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@AgChat is a moderated Twitter conversation that takes place every Tuesday night from 8-10 p.m. EDT. The discussions allow participants to voice their viewpoints and ideas on hot topics within the agriculture industry. Chats begin with 15 minutes of introductions and networking followed by questions agvocates have submitted to the moderator throughout the previous week. The last five minutes are reserved for pitching new ideas for the next #agchat conversation and promoting your own agvocacy efforts.

Recent #AgChat topics include:

  • Parenting on the farm
  • Harvest
  • Farm disaster preparedness
  • Mobile devices
  • Family and business relationships

If this sounds like something you may be interested in check out the AgChat Foundation’s website and follow @AgChat on Twitter to join in the weekly conversations!

Check back soon for more ag and social media news!

 

Spotify In The Battle Of The Music Service

All too often I find myself turning to Pandora for a brief mood elevator during my mid-day work crunch. I find what seems to be the perfect channel to suit my exact state of mind at that time, a collection of similar artists ready to be my personal stress- fighting support system. Then, it happens. I’m deep in my music zone when Pandora throws in that one random song you just so happen to despise. No Pandora, if I enjoyed Rhianna’s new drinking anthem, I would have just turned on my radio.

Many users share the same complaint; Pandora’s Music Genome Project – the brain behind deciding what music suits your taste – is often far off. And worse, the same tracks have a tendency to repeat at an obnoxiously high rate. Where is the lover of music and free streaming to turn?

Enter Spotify. An increasingly popular alternative to music sites like Pandora, the downloadable program is made up of a 15 million track database. The free version allows users to listen to any song in their database for up to 20 hours per month for the first six months. Additionally, users can connect to Spotify using Facebook, allowing for easy music sharing between friends. Teaming up with Spotify, Facebook now offers a “Music” tab that enables account holders to see playlists created using Spotify on their profile pages. The music program also lets users post what they are listening to at that exact moment via Facebook ticker. Friends who post their songs to Facebook enable others to open the same song in their Spotify application by simply quickly clicking “play” on any friends’ post.

Twitter also serves as a venue for Spotify music sharing. Right-clicking the track you are listening to opens up a list of options. You can copy the track URL, allowing you to insert it to your twitter feed, or send it to other users. Spotify also gives you the option to directly insert it to your Twitter feed along with a personal comment.

With other sites like Grooveshark, Rdio, and Rhapsody becoming contenders, which free music-streaming site do you go to for your daily escape? Will this open the door for more music sharing via social media outlets? Only time will tell.