Archive for the ‘Video’ Category

5 Ways to Legitimately Increase Your Twitter Followers

May 1st, 2013

By John Foley, Jr., Chief Executive/Marketing Officer at Grow Socially

Twitter can be a mighty tool in your social media arsenal. You can reach a specialized audience with carefully constructed tweets, relevant links, and engaging material. Of course, you can maximize the effect of those efforts by having a solid number of followers.

Here are five quick ways you can legitimately increase your Twitter following:

  1. Follow other people. Unless you’re a celebrity, there may not be hordes of people taking the time to find and follow you on Twitter each day. Thus, you need to engage other people by following them. Find users with a similar industry background who would be interested in the content that you’re sharing.
  2. Retweet. Another way to get attention on Twitter is to put in the time and effort to retweet great content. Retweeting can increase engagement and awareness. Also, it may even flatter the original tweeter! Making someone feel important is normally a good thing.
  3. Be interesting. People see thousands of marketing messages each day. How can you make yours stand out? One way to do this is to provide a variety of content. This applies to the topics you tweet about and the format as well. Don’t be afraid to share some personal items (favorite bands, sports news, etc.) Also, don’t simply post links to articles in every tweet! By sprinkling in photos, videos, and conversations, your Twitter profile will become more attractive to others.
  4. Participate in hashtags. When it comes to Twitter, hashtags can be a great way to group people around a certain event or topic. Find ones that are relevant to your industry and take the time to participate in them.
  5. Fill out your bio. Make sure your biography is filled with pertinent information that your prospects and customers may be searching for. And as things in your industry change, make sure your bio adjusts with them.

Bridging the Digital Gap with SnapTags

February 27th, 2013

By Jeffrey Hayzlett, author of Running the Gauntlet: Essential Business Lessons to Lead, Drive Change, and Grow Profits

If you are a marketer, I can almost guarantee that one of your goals for 2012 is to figure out your mobile strategy. You’re not alone. Everyone is talking mobile, but very few have figured out how to integrate a mobile strategy into an existing marketing plan. I found an answer to this dilemma, and it’s called “SnapTags.”

SnapTags are similar to QR codes but way sexier, offering more options for the user and a wider reach (SnapTags have capabilities on 88% of mobile phones, compared to 13% with QR codes). I’m encouraging marketers to integrate SnapTags into all their existing marketing campaigns. It’s a low-cost solution that bridges the gap between your physical marketing campaigns and your mobile and digital marketing goals.

In my case, I’m using SnapTags in my new book, Running the Gauntlet: Essential Business Lessons to Lead, Drive Change, and Grow Profits. Readers can “snap” a SnapTag at the beginning of each of the 37 chapters to view the video that accompanies each section of the book. This creates a more personal connection with my readers, as they get to see and hear me introduce each chapter on their mobile phones! Plus—and this is the best part—the reader is provided with links to my Facebook and Twitter pages each time they “snap.” I’m bridging the gap between the physical book and the digital relationship I’m building with my readers through social media.

The advantage of this strategy is that your brand can create more than a simple piece of print media. SnapTags enhance simple print media to:

  • Forge a digital connection across social networks
  • Drive new customers through your digital sales funnel
  • Create a point of purchase through virtually any placement

Some of the largest brands in the world are already using SnapTags, like Bud Light and Coca-Cola. Most recently, SnapTags were deployed in the September issue of Glamour magazine, being featured on the cover and across both editorial and advertising pages. This campaign netted Glamour more than 100,000 consumer activations and more than 500,000 consumer interactions (includes scanning the codes with an app, texting a picture message, taking subsequent actions such as agreeing to “like” an advertiser or article, signing up for the deal or sweepstakes being offered, or sharing the offer with friends).

Mark my words—in 2012, mobile integration will play a critical role in your overall marketing plan. The key to bridging the gap between your traditional and digital marketing campaigns is the mobile device. SnapTags Founder and CEO, Nicole Skogg says, “In 2012, you will see shopping SnapTags create a new way for consumers to buy whenever and wherever they encounter a brand message. Anticipate seeing SnapTags in some transformative brand marketing campaigns.”

I’ve already integrated SnapTags into my big marketing campaign for 2012. Have you?

6 Reasons Social Media Campaigns Should Include Flickr

February 13th, 2013

By Emily Johnson, Media Relations Specialist at Walker Sands Communications

The photo-sharing site Flickr is a valuable but often overlooked social media platform. Here are six reasons why marketers and communications professionals should add Flickr to their campaigns:

  1. People are visual. With Flickr, you’re able to tell a story in a way you can’t through other mediums. Let’s face it—people like to look at pictures. Plus, the change of scenery images offer is nice. We stare at text all day; mix it up to create more ways to engage with and inform your audience.
  2. You can share your photo stream. The Flickr community is not the only place where people can see the photos you post to the site. Flickr makes it easy to share photos across all social media platforms.
  3. It’s good for searches. The tags you assign to your photos are used in search, allowing people with your interests to more easily find you, enabling your audience to grow beyond those who already know about your brand.
  4. Higher picture quality is important. Photo quality is much higher on Flickr than any other social media platform. On Flickr, you will have fewer grainy images, and your presentations will be much sharper.
  5. Creative commons provides protection. Flickr offers a safe platform for images via creative commons, which means you pick the stringency of your copyright. This feature can give you peace of mind that others aren’t using (or misusing) photos without your permission, which is something you don’t always get with other social media platforms.
  6. You can start discussions. Flickr allows you to create groups and comments, just like all other social platforms. Although the focus is photographs and videos, people are still interacting with each other and could be interacting around images and videos of your brand or client.

So the next time you plan a social media marketing campaign, don’t forget the value that Flickr can bring!

Wow, What a Story!

September 26th, 2012

By Adam Karwoski, Founder of Social Brand U

Isn’t social media cool? Since I graduated college in 1992, I’ve been involved with two of the biggest fundamental shifts in communications in our history: mobile phones and social media. I started selling cellular phones in 1994 for BellSouth Mobility and just left that industry last summer. I started dabbling in social media since that time, and I’ve uncovered a new-found passion. Long story short, six months later, I’ve started my own social media consulting company. (I think that’s kind of cool, too. Owning your own business is part of the American dream, right?)

I began to put pen to paper to find out what really jazzed me about social media. What’s the catch? In my last blog post, I talked about a friend of mine who in 2009 asked me if I was on Facebook, and I said, “No, I’m not 16 years old.” Little does he know that I remember that comment to this day.

Here are the reasons why I think social media is cool and why people love it, companies love it, and our culture loves it:

  • I love technology, and I think we all do. Social media is a new kind of technology. In a lot of ways, it’s a lot like cellular technology back in the day. You couldn’t see the voice transmissions of a cell call, but making a call on a Motorola flip phone was just “cool.” Social media is real-time communication on a speakerphone with the world, where everyone or just a few loved ones can see talk, write, send videos, share photos, write articles, find jobs, get advice, or listen to what their favorite movie star or football player has to say. Technology is awesome, and social media has taken it to a new level.
  • Our entire existence is based on relationships. No matter where we are or what we’re doing, chances are we’re communicating constantly and building relationships. A hundred years ago, it was around a campfire in the wilderness. Fifty years ago, it was in a mother’s home over tea and Tupperware. Today, it’s online and on our smartphones almost every hour of every day. There are plenty of downsides to social media, but that’s for someone else to write about. I love people, I love building relationships with people, and I love to learn from other people. Social media allows me to do all three all the time—and that’s cool.
  • The best parts of social media are the stories; e.g., your story. Everyone has a story to tell. And I would argue that almost everyone has a compelling story to tell. If the volume of books, articles, and blogs are any indication of how many of us have a story to tell, then it makes complete sense to me why social media has exploded in recent years and will continue to evolve, expand, and become even more popular. Small business owners are learning that social media allows them to listen to their customers’ “stories” while allowing them to share their own. That conversation is taking place every day on social media.
  • Stories draw people in. There’s power in telling stories. Look no further than Hollywood (Mark Zuckerberg has a cool story to tell). And social media success stories are everywhere, especially in business. Many small businesses understand social media and use it quite effectively because they haven’t forgotten how to tell their stories, which helps build relationships with their customers. But it requires you to be transparent and genuine. That builds trust. Trust with your customers builds your business. And whether it’s an idea, a product, or a vision, people buy from who they know, like, and trust.

Technology, relationships, and stories. Those are the reasons why social media has exploded. What’s your story? Whatever it is, share it and start a conversation. You will build relationships with others that will inspire, teach, encourage, and “wow” you.

The Sexiest Ain’t Always the Best

August 1st, 2012

By Wayne Breitbarth, CEO of Power Formula and author of The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success: Kick-Start Your Business, Brand, and Job Search

Facebook is the bikini of the social media wardrobe. Some people choose to bare all, sharing intimate personal details, shocking photographs, and other information that is sure to make your mother blush.

Then there’s Twitter—short bursts of engaging verbiage that informs or moves others to action. Consider it the wardrobe accessories or the flashy, eye-catching addition to every outfit.

Now where does that leave LinkedIn? In the social media wardrobe, I would consider it the practical navy blue suit—a necessity in any professional’s wardrobe.

LinkedIn currently has more than 100 million members, with a new person being added every minute. As reported on the LinkedIn website, the average user’s household income is $91,566, 63.2% of users hold a college or postgraduate degree, and 20.6% are middle management or above. I don’t know about you, but those sound like the kind of people I’d like to add to my network.

Facebook and Twitter may be more fun—and I’m not questioning the value they can provide—but in my opinion, LinkedIn is where the real work gets done, especially if you are in the B2B space. Perhaps it is the less-than-sexy nature of LinkedIn that causes many people to include only the basics in their LinkedIn profile. If your profile is in need of a makeover, here are a few suggestions to glam it up:

  • Summary: I find this to be the most consistently underutilized section of the profile. I like to think of it as your cover letter. Some people may not read beyond this point, so take full advantage of the 2,000 available characters. There is a tendency to treat the Summary as a resume and focus on the past. I suggest you treat it as a presentation of your business plan. Briefly summarize specific, quantifiable accomplishments and direct the reader to a few of the most important parts of your profile. But then focus on what you are doing now, how you can help the reader of your profile, and what you plan to be doing in the future. Regurgitating your resume is unnecessary because those facts will be outlined in other sections of your profile. Ask yourself: If I have only a few minutes to share my professional story with a potential customer, client, or business partner, what would I want to say? Then use the Summary to tell your story in a friendly, conversational way.
  • Box.net files: The key to networking, whether face to face or online, is freely sharing your knowledge and expertise with others. This builds trust. Once they know and trust you, they will want to do business with you. Box.net enables you to post PDF, Excel, and Word files to your profile. These files can be downloaded by visitors. This is a great place to post white papers, articles, company brochures, photos of your projects or products, customer testimonials, and other documents that increase your credibility and helpfulness.
  • Google presentation/SlideShare: Let’s face it—most people would rather watch TV than read a book. These two applications allow you to post slide shows that showcase your personal expertise, presentations about your company, and/or photos of projects you have done. Video is becoming an increasingly important part of many companies’ branding efforts, and if video is part of your slide show, you can post those files here.
  • Other applications: LinkedIn has an extensive list of applications to enhance your profile. Some are industry specific (e.g., real estate pro, legal updates, etc.), and others can be valuable to most LinkedIn users. Connect your blog to your LinkedIn profile, use Events to find interesting professional events, or share your favorite books with your network through Reading List by Amazon. Whatever your LinkedIn strategy, there is a plethora of applications to help you achieve your goals.

These additions are fun, easy, and will certainly make your profile more appealing to viewers, but don’t overlook the blue-suit basics. Include a descriptive headline and professional-quality photograph, and thoroughly outline your educational background and employment history. And don’t neglect to seek out those all-important recommendations. They provide essential outside verification of the information you have provided in your profile.

While wearing the bikini and the glamorous accessories can be fun—the lasting impact and real productivity are products of the professional garb!

Social Media and the News

July 18th, 2012

By John Foley, Jr., Chief Executive/Marketing Officer at Grow Socially

Just 140 characters—140 strikes on the keyboard by thousands of people in a few-hour span was the culmination of one of the biggest news stories of this generation. When Osama bin Laden was killed, Twitter, among other social media sites, became the catalyst for a national frenzy.

“Twitter says bin Laden’s death generated the highest sustained rate of tweets ever,” according to an NPR release. “From 10:45 p.m. on Sunday to 2:20 a.m. on Monday, users pecked out an average of 3,000 tweets per second, according to Twitter. The traffic peaked at 11:00 p.m. on Sunday, minutes before the President’s televised briefing, with 5,106 tweets per second.”

“Twitter users are being credited with breaking the news,” said NPR, “thanks in part to a man in Abbottabad, Pakistan, who tweeted the details of the U.S. raid on bin Laden’s compound as they unfolded near his home (he was prompted by the sound of helicopters and gunfire but hadn’t known the reason for the commotion). Within moments, the man gained 14,000 followers.”

“If anyone isn’t a believer in Twitter as an amazingly powerful news vehicle, last night should convert you,” tweeted Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post’s political website, “The Fix,” the day after bin Laden’s death.

Also consider the recent tragedy in Joplin, Missouri. The tornado-torn town has been a hotbed for social media coverage. There have been videos uploaded to YouTube chronicling the destruction. And Flickr has seen an influx of photos from the natural disaster.

Facebook has also been a critical forum in Missouri. Jen Lee Reeves of KOMU radio wrote on MediaShift about the impact her station’s Facebook page has been having in the tornado’s wake. “My newsroom’s normally local-focused Facebook page quickly became a clearinghouse for updates about how mid-Missouri could help the tornado-ravaged community,” said Reeves. “Fans are using the page now to share news, photos, videos, information on relief efforts, and in general to connect with each other in a time of crisis.”

The tornadoes in Western Massachusetts also were chronicled in social media. Photos and videos were uploaded simultaneously as the area was hit with the unfamiliar and unforgiving weather.

Social media is tremendously successful when used as a reactive tool to breaking news stories. It has also become a consistent political podium, always open for announcements for anyone who feels like they have something to say. For example, Newt Gingrich announced his candidacy for the 2012 Presidential race on Facebook and Twitter, and he also released a web video. Even more recently, Mitt Romney released a YouTube video explaining his intentions to run for President, one week after tweeting a desire to run again.

Social media’s legitimacy is skyrocketing. Internationally relevant political news has been broken by social media, and one can’t help but take notice.

The gravity of these stories is immense. We condense them into a Facebook status or a 140-character tweet. This does not diminish the importance of the events; rather it amplifies it. We have taken our social networks and made them the fastest possible avenue for our news.

The Online Newsroom: The Factory that Runs a Brand’s Content Engine

August 31st, 2011

By Ed Lallo, Principal at Newsroom Ink

Google your company’s name and see what comes up. Do the stories at the top of the search results reflect the business you’re running? If not, why not? Maybe it’s because your company has a better story to tell than is currently being told.

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google have changed the playing field for integrated marketing communications. What has not changed is the need for companies, organizations, and even politicians to communicate their stories from a unique perspective that only they can offer.

Social-integrated marketing communications offers an ever-increasing amount of tools to connect with targeted markets, but what has been lacking is a centralized content engine that drives conversation and integrates the elements of the promotional mix of advertising, public relations, direct marketing, and sales.

The online newsroom is the factory that runs a brand’s content engine. It’s the place to address brand issues, public relations, crisis management, marketing, and communications—all aligned with the CEO’s agenda. It’s the one place that consumers, vendors, and employees—as well as local, national, and international media—can obtain stories, photos, and videos told from your unique perspective, 24 hours per day.

But an online newsroom can be much more than just a newsroom. It can become the “landing site” for the social media efforts of companies, organizations, and political campaigns. The online newsroom translates your corporate agenda into a compelling story that the press, your customers, employees, vendors, and stakeholders want to read, learn more about, believe in, and contribute to on a regular basis. Using a proven model that delivers timely and influential news, the newsroom becomes an indispensable tool for a brand’s communications program.

A recent study of online newsrooms by the Corporate Executive Board—a member network of the world’s leading executives that spans more than 50 countries and represents more than 85% of Fortune 500 corporations—showed online newsrooms to be the top channel for disseminating information and effectively telling a company’s story.

Dynamic online newsrooms are not about pushing the company agenda from the top down, but instead letting the voices of others tell your story in a way that increases the credibility of your company’s brand. This “corporate journalism” style adds balance and influence and gives your brand a unique distinction.

With cutbacks in budgets, staff, and resources, print, broadcast, and digital media have turned to online newsrooms to obtain information and story ideas. According to the 2009 Journalist Survey on Media Relations Practices conducted by online public relations site Bulldog Reporter, “Public relations practitioners should shift their energies to online newsrooms, blogs, and social media,” and “journalists’ usage of these technologies continues to increase.”

Most importantly, online newsroom results are measurable. A recent study for the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board by Cision, a leading media tracking firm, found that for a three-month period, media exposure of Louisiana had reached an estimated audience of more than 3.4 billion in the United States. The Board used the online newsroom as the content engine, supported by traditional PR, Twitter, and Facebook.

Turning the online newsroom into a landing site for social media creates a centralized place to openly engage audiences, tell your brand’s many stories, and paint a picture of the uniqueness of your organization. It is like inviting someone into your house so they can see everything at a glance, and at the same time, putting the CEO’s agenda in the middle of the news.

Embracing Social Media Measurement

February 23rd, 2011

By Deirdre Breakenridge, Co-Author of Cyberbranding: Brand Building in the Digital Economy

If there’s one area of marketing strategy that deserves significant attention, it’s measurement. Back in the days of traditional communications, marketers were always held accountable for the results of their campaigns. We had to know if the marketing efforts raised awareness, created consumer loyalty, and moved products off the shelves or if our initiatives helped the brand’s reputation. However, much of our measurement was based on eyeballs or impressions. How much did that advertisement cost and how many people actually saw it in their favorite magazines or heard it on the radio during their morning drive to work?

Then we morphed into digital communications and were able to target our campaigns to capture activity and sales from clicks to conversations. And we became no strangers to the terms PPC and CPM. Today, as a result of social media marketing, we are focused on conversations and participation in the social sphere. Consumers are becoming more active in their Web communities and trusting the advice and word of their peers over the brand’s messages. As a result, marketers know they need to create opportunities for brands to engage with their consumers through high levels of interaction. Of course, social media engagement can lead to any of the following: awareness, perception, reputation, education, conversations, authority, leads/sales, etc.

With so much listening, monitoring, and measuring that needs to be done, how do you select the right tools to capture the metrics that show value to the brand? How can you tell the difference between the high-level/high-value interactions versus the Facebook “like” or follower on Twitter that never leads to a product sale? I’ve found a couple of different measurement techniques that show good value for any brand that takes the time to invest in these types of measurement. They are “share of voice” and “social influence marketing (SIM) score.”

If you are unfamiliar with these two metrics, here’s a brief overview:

Share of Voice

A brand’s share of voice includes any type of brand mention, which could appear in social networks, blogs, microblogs, message boards and forums, video and photo sharing sites, wikis, etc. Share of voice lets you hear what people are saying and where they are saying it, how they perceive your brand, and what they think about it. You can compare your brand’s share of voice to that of your competitors. You can also capture those communities that have a greater share of voice, allowing you to capitalize on any brand champions speaking on your behalf by building better relationships with them as they continue to be your advocates. It’s also a good practice to evaluate any weak areas where you can create stronger ties with your stakeholders and engage in more meaningful interactions.

Social Influence Marketing (SIM) Score

The SIM developed by Razorfish supports a brand’s attempts to track, analyze, and improve net sentiment by setting benchmarks against itself and also by comparing the SIM scores to that of its competitors. The SIM score is calculated by looking at the brand’s positive, neutral, and negative mentions in relation to total conversations, both for the brand and the brand’s industry. For example, net sentiment for a brand (which is calculated by positive mentions plus neutral mentions minus negative mentions) is divided by total conversations (positive plus neutral plus negative) to get a brand sentiment score. The same calculation is used to obtain the net industry sentiment score, calculating the positive plus neutral minus negative mentions, and then dividing by total industry conversations. The SIM score is equal to the total net sentiment divided by total industry sentiment.

These are only a couple of the metrics that can be used to measure the results of social media marketing. With so many conversations to capture from our consumers and other stakeholders in Web communities, we must embrace social media measurement. Whether you are using free tools (such as Social Mention and Alterian) or automated services (including Radian6 and Sysomos), it’s critical to turn up the volume on our listening/monitoring and measurement practices and show our executives that no matter where we market, there are results, and we are accountable.

Three Questions the Savvy Executive Asks about Online Marketing Strategy

January 12th, 2011

By Stephanie Diamond, Author of Web Marketing for Small Businesses: Seven Steps to Explosive Business Growth

If you’re a leader whose business has an online component, you’d probably like to find some guidelines that make it easier to develop and sustain an online marketing strategy. There are lots of conflicting ideas swirling out there about what to do online. If you followed many of them, you’d be spinning your wheels with no revenue in sight.

As someone whose has worked online since 1994, I’ve watched the marketing “shiny object” change from Web site to newsletter to blog to social media network. And on it goes. I know that getting locked into a tactic with no clear strategy in sight is a common mistake.

If you’re uneasy around the topic of social media strategies, you’re not alone. Because you’re not down in the trenches tweeting and posting, you probably don’t have the “hands-on” feel you have for other areas of marketing.

If you attempt to delegate, employees suggest all manner of tactics to engage customers. You’ve heard that you need to engage with Twitter and Facebook, study ongoing analytics, present sparkling content, and co-develop with customers. Great advice. But without the strategy behind it, your campaigns are destined to fail. Like every other area of business, you need to create the strategy first and make sure it flows down to everyone in your organization.

In formulating an online strategy, here are three questions to consider:

  1. Value. Do your employees know the real value consumers place on your products and services? If you don’t develop and constantly hone that message, your employees can’t communicate it in their social media efforts. In turn, all the ratings and comments that show up about your company will not engender the “word of mouth” referral power they could. If your customers aren’t selling for you, you’re missing out on one of the most powerful weapons you have today.
  2. Intellectual property (IP). Are you encouraging your employees to mine the intellectual property hidden inside your business to create information products and services? I’m not referring to the patents or formulas your company owns. The IP in companies today can be found in their vast stores of information. The key is to evaluate that information based on enhancement of the customer’s life. Think broadly. Consumers today are hungry for quality information that solves problems. Can your staff take that information and create videos, e-books, and other downloadable properties with that in mind?
  3. Competitive advantage. Do your employees understand who your real competitors are? I’m often surprised when I work on competitive strategies with my clients that they overlook several real online competitors. It’s a mistake to focus on only those who sell your exact product/service in exactly the way you do. The Web provides the opportunity for your customers to pick and choose from a variety of options. For example, if you sell sales training courses, your competitors are online video portals, coaches (both in-person and online), downloadable audio courses, etc. Make sure your staff has looked at all the possibilities.

One more note—there are many visual thinking tools (like mind mapping) that your team can use right now to gather ideas from all internal disciplines. Consider using these techniques to get ideas from programmers and marketers alike. In today’s marketplace, you can’t afford to overlook a great idea.