SOCIAL MEDIA SPOTLIGHT
Why Marketers Get Social Media Wrong
By Jason Falls, Founder and Chief Instigator, Social Media Explorer
Most marketers get social media wrong. Especially those that have been around the block a few times and know a thing or two about marketing.
It’s not that they don’t understand what social media is about. It’s not that they don’t “get” social. They all have the Facebooks and the Tweeters and they post and follow and like and +1. Many seem to be finally understanding that the content you provide on social channels needs to be audience centric rather than brand centric. In fact, there’s not a lot you need to explain to today’s marketers about social media anymore.
But they still get it wrong.
Why? Because they don’t understand why the audience is there.
Think about it this way: You know ranking well in search, or even purchasing search engine ads, will work in driving traffic to your website. Why? Because the audience for search engine results is actively looking for an answer to a problem. If your organic or paid search engine result seems to answer that problem, they’ll click. If you’ve done a good job of providing that answer, they’ll convert.
A searcher is in buying mode. They are actively seeking the solution you provide. They are searching.
Now think about the social audience. They aren’t looking for an answer to a problem. They aren’t searching. They aren’t even hoping to encounter a brand or company in their time spent on whatever social network they’re on.
The social media audience is there to be social … with friends, family or other like-minded people. They are not in buying mode. They are not seeking the solution you provide. Read rest of the article and subscribe here to social media explorer.
How to Make a Facebook Fan Page go “POP!”
By Rodger Johnson
Does your fan page pop? What I mean is, does the content on your fan page go viral because it makes people happy? Since December, I have been managing a fan page for Carl Reiner. Yes, that Carl Reiner. The one famous for creating The Dick Van Dyke Show. His fan page is a good study of viral content and making people happy. But this won’t be your typical post on viral content.
There are plenty of blog posts that teach us how to make content go viral, so what’s different about this one. Well, a lot actually. Most other posts are full of buzz words, such as remarkable content, engaging content — whatever the “content” is. So, I take a different angle and introduce the idea of decisive moments. I also look at this topic from a photojournalist’s point of view, not a marketing view. Marketers want to sell things, photojournalists want to tell compelling stories you will remember. Finally, we look at the overall fan page not as a primary sales channel, but as a storytelling channel.
One last thing. Marketers have been long winded in their pontifications that brands are experiences. But I’m here to say they are stories, legacies that can take on a life of their own. An experience happens in the heat of the moment, while a legacy is more rich and long lasting. So when we think of fan pages popping, we need to think about that over time and plan for it, because an enduring brand has enduring followers. And those followers are the brand.
So let’s look at one moment in time of Reiner’s fan page that will show us what decisive moments are, and how you can use them to build a legacy brand, not just a popular brand.
First up. The Decisive Moment
Find or create images that pull at the heart strings of your fans. In photojournalism, we call these images decisive moments — instances in time that capture the essence of what it means to be human. “This moment occurs when the visual and psychological elements of people in a real life scene spontaneously and briefly come together in perfect resonance to express the essence of that situation,” says John Suler in The Psychology of the Decisive Moment.
In this picture the photographer caught Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks in an intimate embrace of friendship. This is touching on a number of levels — the notions of contentment, happiness, and peace — all very much apart of ideal friendships are evident. Seth Godin and other marketing communication smart men call images like this remarkable content.
LESSON: Create remarkable images that captures humanity in a decisive moment.
Say Something Worth Saying
To make your fan page pop, you need to think and write to enhance the experience people have with the image you choose. Read rest of the article and subscribe here to Rodger Johnson’s blog.
Vine: Six seconds of fame?
by Kate Franzman, Editorial Director, Pivot Marketing
By now we know that Vine, Twitter’s new(ish) video app, sometimes referred to as “Instagram for video,” is a great storytelling tool. And like any other tool there’s a right and wrong way to use it. But you may be wondering, like we are, is Vine just a flash in the pan? Perhaps not.
Here’s a Vine video by Gap. They do a great job of summing up their brand from their first pair of jeans to today in six seconds.
It’s not the first mini-video sharing service. Tout, which allows users to post 15-second videos, launched in 2010. There’s also Cinemagram, which creates animated gifs out of photos. But the impact of Vine, with the powerful backing of Twitter, has been almost immediate. Like Twitter, Vine benefits from inherent constraints. Twitter won’t let you transmit more than 140 characters of your brilliance at a time. Vine makes you shoot your video in six seconds or less. Those six seconds don’t have to be consecutive — you just start and stop recording by tapping on the screen. A recent video by Cadbury UK tickled everyone’s sweet tooth by using Vine to show off their new confectionary creation and then invited fans to win a sample.
“And here’s a good rule of thumb: if you can describe what makes a service different in three easy words — “filtered square photos,” perhaps, or “140 character updates,” or “six-second videos” — it has a good shot at taking off,” reports Mashable.
Even the Tribeca Film Festival is hopping on the Vine bandwagon with the launch of the #6SecFilms Competition. Vine users can submit their super short films in the hopes of winning $600 and a shout out on TFF’s website. This is part of Tribeca’s initiative to put more of its festival content online. Read rest of the article or subscribe to Pivot Marketing’s here.
The Essential Cheat Sheet for Social Media Cover Photo Dimensions
by Anum Hussain, Inbound Content Strategist at HubSpot
The rapidly growing user base of photo-centric sites like Instagram and Pinterest , and the recent image-focused redesign of Facebook’s News Feed are two of many indicators that visual content is a force to be reckoned with in marketing.
According to 3M Corporation, 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual. And on Facebook alone, our own research shows that photos generate 53% more likes than the average post. Read rest of the article or subscribe to HubSpot’s blog here.March 2013 Blog Writing: For Best Results, Use Real English by Whitney Lee, Search Media Editor, Slingshot SEO
Picture it: You, at your desk, writing the Next Great Blog Post. You’re on a roll. You’ve used every adverb you know, connected every prepositional phrase you can find, and you’ve barely reached the end of your first paragraph. The burden of a writer is so heavy, but so glorious. Except—chances are good that about 97 percent of what you’ve just written is crap. You might’ve managed to stick a thesis in there, but you’ve yet to get around to supporting it.
If you’re trying to be a writer (pinky finger extended from the handle of your 19th century teacup), you’re trying too hard. It’s only going to end with muddled writing that fails to get your point across. You can self-diagnose as a writer by your insistence on using at least five metaphors in each blog, your love of fancy writing and your hatred of Hemingway. Think what you will of Ernest Hemingway as a person, but the man always had a point, and he made it without any of Shakespeare’s ado.
Take a page—or a paragraph—from Hemingway’s book, and tighten up your blogging. Your readers will appreciate being able to quickly gather information from your posts without wading through confusing verbiage.
Make Your Point, Quickly
You know you have a point—so go ahead and tell your readers! Don’t do the lame 5-point essay format, but also don’t hide your message under layers of obscure language. Your meaning should be clear by the end of your first couple paragraphs if they’re short, and your first paragraph if they’re chunkier.
Ignore Your Insecurities
Don’t worry about sounding like the smartest person in the room. My favorite Einstein quote talks about how you can either explain something simply, or you don’t understand what you’re talking about at all. Your readers don’t need to know that you have a Word-of-the-Day calendar on your desk. They do need to know whatever industry knowledge you’re trying to pass on.
Go Light on Prepositional Phrases
Prepositional phrases are so tricky. They’re fun, they add a lot of meaning to your writing and they’re effective when they’re used properly. But they can so easily be abused. If you’re mentally diagramming your sentence to make sure you’ve closed all your phrases—don’t. Just don’t. Rewrite your sentence with clarity as a main goal.
Write Toward a Goal
Stream of consciousness writing is hella fun. In my nerdy opinion, it’s the best way to spend 15 minutes. But it has no place on your corporate or industry-based blog. Free-writing exercises are a great place to get a start for a post, but long, winding narratives that end on a weak point aren’t substitutes for actual blog posts. Stop wasting your readers’ time and give your posts some structure. If all else fails, do outlines before you sit down to write. Read rest of the article or subscribe to Slingshot SEO’s blog here.
February 2013Keep Your Blog Content Organized in 2013 with an Editorial Calendar By Rodger Johnson
It’s not armchair content creators that get off track sometimes, even the pros do. Marketing communications professional and blogger at Grow, Mark Schaefer, admits he screwed up his blogging strategy. Already! And we aren’t too far into the new year.
Like any pro, however, he knows how to recover fast, get back on track before the rails cool and keep chugging. He writes, “During my dry spell, I realized that I had swerved away from my system. For some reason, I was either too busy, too lazy, or both and ignored my discipline of recording ideas.”
In not so many words, Schaefer tells us that keeping our content ideas rolling and producing blog posts from our reserve, we must be intentional — intentional about our environment, intentional about media we consume, intentional about ideas that spring up in our mind, through conversations, and intentional about capturing as well as recording them for the future.
I use several tools to keep my ideas in pseudo order. While you may choose different tools, the idea is to use a set of organizational tools that do several things:
- An easy way to catalog ideas quickly.
- An easy way to organize your ideas.
- An easy way to set those ideas into motion.
That’s what the remainder of this posit is about — the tools to help you quickly and easily catalog and organize, as well as tools to help you put those ideas into motion.
Three Tools to Capture Your Thoughts
I don’t know if this statistic is true or not, but it’s good for illustration. Studies show our attention span is less than a goldfish. So, if we don’t capture ideas quickly, very quickly, we are liable to lose them. When I was a reporter, my favorite tool to capture story ideas was the Moleskine. While that’s still a good standby, here are others:
- Google Docs
Productivity Tools that Keep You Writing
One of my new found productivity tools is Action Method by the folks of 99u. I included them in my recent post on blogs and communities you should be following. I’ve also employed the Action Method methodology to my life with astounding results, which I’ll share in a later post. The idea, however, and I believe the secret to productivity is realizing and accepting our predisposition to passivity. Once we realize, accept, then reject passivity and live by a method that drives us toward action, we get things done. This is true for writing blog posts, engaging in more meaningful projects at work — it even means keeping one’s life in order. It bring a sense of fulfillment, which boosts self-esteem and worth.
Tools to Set Your Ideas in Motion
Since this post is about keeping your content organized and churning it out for the good of the people you serve, I want to share with you a free resource. But first let me explain what I’m about to give you. An editorial calendar is a tool that helps you keep content organized and get to publishing deadlines. In other words, it takes the ideas you have and imposes on them form and function.
This editorial calendar will help keep your ideas, keywords and other important information organized. It will help you set deadlines, but it will be your responsibility to meet those deadlines.
Should My Company Be On Instagram or Pinterest?
By Tom Martin
Should we be on [insert name of new or hot social network here]?
This is easily the most common question our digital strategy clients pose to us. Unfortunately, the answer is always the same — it depends.
In the case of popular photo sites Instagram versus Pinterest, the data is pretty clear around which social network is right for certain brands based on the brands’ target audience.
How Do You Know If You Need To Be On a New Social Network?
That’s a great question. But before we walk through a quick data analysis comparing Instagram and Pinterest user bases, let’s first look at three reasons you definitely should NOT use as a basis for entering a social network:
- Everyone else is doing it.
- I’m seeing it all over the news, in magazines, and online – everyone is talking about how New Social Network is going to be the next Facebook.
and my personal favorite …..
- Our competitors are on it.
Let’s take the last one first. Unless your competitor has shown a long history of ALWAYS being right about new technology, consumer adoption of that technology and has lots of case studies showing how they turned early mover advantage into sales, revenue and market share advantage, then it’s safe to say following the herd ISN’T a valid reason to enter any social network.
Remember, these networks are free to use (well technically Facebook still falls into that category…. for now) but they do take an enormous amount of time to do well and see results. This is especially true of Instagram and Pinterest which require the capture or curation of lots of photographic content.
The quickest way to lose credibility and possibly employment is to make key marketing decisions because others are doing it. And frankly, it should be grounds for immediate termination because it’s just plain lazy and there is no room for lazy marketing in today’s fast-paced, digitally centric world. Read the rest of the article or subscribe to Tom Martin’s blog here.
View past social media spotlight columns here.