In the Office

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.

Weekly Wrap Up # 3

1. Twitter tracking unveiled

Twitter is constantly expanding and improving to accommodate their 100 million active monthly users. In the past, it’s been difficult for companies to accurately measure the amount of activity Twitter is securing for their websites. Tuesday, Sept. 13, Twitter announced their new web analytics tool. This new product will show users how effective their Twitter use really is in a very streamlined fashion.  For a preview of the tool, check out the rest of the announcement.

2. The hidden benefits of negative online reviews

Former Dell chief marketing officer, Erin Mulligan Nelson, knows the satisfaction a company feels when they receive positive reviews and real-life testimonials from customers using their products. She also acknowledges the fact that all products can have negative feedback and companies who are looking to improve their products should embrace that. Nelson states that these negative comments have been proven to build credibility and improve sales as well as open the lines of communication between the manufactures and their customers. Read the full Ad Age article to see how some global brands are using these techniques.

3. Billboard, bacteria or both?

When Warner Bros. Pictures decided to make a living billboard in honor of their Contagion movie release, a thriller centered around the outbreak of a deadly disease, getting the attention of their audience was the easy part. The growth of this billboard included two giant Petri dishes and a great amount of innovation. Let us know what you think, tweet us about it at @hmandp.

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4. Groupon could be bad news for some businesses

Groupon and Living Social have proven to benefit from word-of-mouth referrals, but research from a recent Boston University and Harvard University study show that those methods might not be as beneficial for the businesses. The study states that overall rating scores on Yelp for businesses running daily deals are on average 10% lower than companies who avoid sites like Groupon and Living Social. The data is in, but it’s important to remember all of the factors that could be affecting this trend such as brand awareness and even company location. Read the results in this Web Pro News article to get the full story.

5. Hospitals are starting to focus on building brands

Hospitals, clinics and medical centers probably aren’t the first things that come to mind for most people when thinking about the future of advertising, but throughout 2011, advertising by health care facilities has increased by more than 20%. According to the Kantar Media unit of WPP, advertisements have grown to reach a total of $717.2 million, that’s up from $595.5 million within the same period in 2010. Hospitals are looking to implement new messaging and bring innovation to an area of the industry that is typically overlooked. Check out some recent health care inspired advertising campaigns in this New York Times article.

Safety and the Check-In Feature on Social Media




Don’t get me wrong; I play my part in the social media check-in craze. I enjoy the occasional restaurant or venue display linked to my Facebook and Twitter accounts, even more so when I score a deal or promotion. However, when you become a serial “check-in” user, not only are you bombarding our mini-feeds, you’re broadcasting your every move via Foursquare or Facebook Places [Ed. Note - Facebook recently changed their location-based tagging.] for the entire social networking world to see. Not only are these social media overloads exhausting to watch, they are extremely unsafe for those participating.

Checking in and out of places allows a large audience of people – some you may or may not know – to not only figure out your physical location, but also learn your every day routine. Patterns can allow for an easy crime target. Since the launch of these types of networks, there have been a number of reported burglaries associated with the information victims projected into the social media atmosphere.

For instance, John tweeting about his upcoming vacation and then checking in at his local airport, allows every follower he has to know exactly when he has left his home. Those checking into other people’s houses could also put their friends and family at risk. A simple click on your Foursquare app sends out a detailed map of exactly where “Mom’s House” is, allowing her to potentially fall victim as well.

So, the next time you’re mentioning your next moves, keep in mind the risks associated. Privacy settings can only restrict so much – do you really know those 1,423 friends? For information on Foursquare privacy loopholes, check out an article from ZDNet.com.

 

 

Weekly Wrapup #2

JESS3-Brian Solis Brandsphere1. Twitter reaches 100 million active monthly users

Twitter CEO, Dick Costolo, announced on Thursday that the platform is broadening its user base. According to Mr. Costolo, there are now 100 million worldwide active Twitter users monthly — up 82 percent since Jan. 1 — and half of them log in every day (with some 55 percent of them being mobile users). What constitutes “using”? Apparently 40 percent of them don’t tweet, or haven’t tweeted in the last month. He also noted that Twitter is on pace to add another 26 million active users in the next four months, equaling the total added in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 combined. What are your thoughts on the micro-blogging platform’s future? Read the full article at Ad Age and tweet us @hmandp.

2. Brandology – what’s in the mix?

With the vast assortment of online media opportunities, a brand has the opportunity to pick and choose where it decides to operate. Among so many assets there are five different types of media according to Brian Solis and JESS3 – paid, owned, earned, promoted and shared. By combining these types of media each brand’s “Brandsphere” can allow the brand to drive online experiences, conversation, and create new opportunities for the company. Find out more at Pop-ology.

3. Duke Study reveals social media marketing spending is on the rise

Social media is proving its worth to marketers. In fact, according to a new Duke University survey, marketing exec’s are planning to increase spending in social media in their overall marketing strategies, from the current level of 7.1 percent of their overall marketing budget to 10.1 percent during the next year. They also expect to see this percentage increase to 17.5 percent in the next five years. Despite the data, many U.S. companies still have not integrated social media into their overall marketing strategies. I think it’s safe to say that social media is not just trend, it’s a tool and for many a necessity. Check out the Triangle Business Journal for details.

4. Public Relations proves valuable in pharmaceutical brand growth

 

While pharmaceutical marketers have long used public relations to support their brands, recent field research from Best Practices, LLC suggests few companies have utilized the full potential of PR campaigns across the entire product lifecycle – preparing, launching, growing and extending the commercial life – of a brand.

According to the study, the phases that showed the most effective and active use of PR tactics are the pre-launch, launch and brand-building years. Indeed, nearly two-thirds of all research participants assessed many PR tools – both new and traditional – to be effective during launch and brand-building years.

5. Google works to ensure clean SEO business practices prevail

In the past, it’s been difficult for honest companies to rank well against some businesses using questionable SEO tactics to move their pages to the top. But that’s all changing as Google works feverishly to ensure that users get the most relevant results, eliminating scandalous SEO practices and rewarding innovative and engaging online marketing. Since Google’s 2011 Panda update, “black hatters” are suffering the repercussions of years of questionable practices, and ethical marketers are seeing their sites moving into the places they deserve. There are still important technical SEO principles to keep in mind, but since Panda, transparency, authenticity and creativity are more important than they’ve ever been.  Three cheers for the SEO good guys!

Image by – JESS3 & Brian Solis Brandsphere

Birthday celebrations, the social media way

It’s your Birthday! You should get what you want, right? At HM&P, we agree that this special day should be well recognized.  We recently celebrated social media marketing manager, Jeff Cohen’s, birthday with what we would call a “Super Tweet”. More »

The Twitter Audit

During my new daily routine of scanning Google Reader (big thanks to my supervisor, Sarah Findle, for introducing me to this fabulous tool), I came across a great and rather helpful blog post by Chris BroganTake a Twitter Audit.

Have you ever wondered how you or your company is being perceived on Twitter? I’m sure many of you have. But, just to be sure, open your Twitter account and take this quick Twitter Audit. Brogan has comprised a list of 10 questions to ask yourself concerning your activity on Twitter. It’s a great, quick tool to use to determine just how effective you or your business’s online presence is.

Here are a few of the questions that particularly caught my eye:

  • How often are you tweeting? Is less more? Is more, more? Are you burying your good stuff?
  • How are you feeding Twitter? What are you giving your audience to consume? Do you share interesting articles? Do you point out your lunch du jour? What’s the plan?
  • Have you checked the click-through stats on your short links? For instance, if you use bit.ly, take the URL of anything you’ve posted, copy it to a browser bar, and add a +, like this: “http://bit.ly/iOGhJ2+”, and you’ll see the stats. How are you doing?

The last question listed above was entirely new to me, but definitely something I will start to utilize in the future. Knowing how many people are clicking on your short links is the perfect way to gauge what your followers are interested in and allows you to weed out any unpopular subjects.

Be sure to check out the rest of Brogan’s Twitter Audit and give your account a quick test!

Show some love, it’s #FollowFriday!

How do you determine who to follow on Twitter? What are the unwritten rules of following and who writes the book on social media etiquette anyway? Should we follow our friends? Should we follow everyone with interests relevant to our own? Maybe we should ask our friends who to follow? OK, now we’re onto something… More »