I jumped onto the #followateen bandwagon last week. Founded by writer David Thorpe in December 2011 and resurrected in April 2013, #followateen encourages adult Twitter users to pick a “random teenager” to follow on the platform and report back their findings. Some of my favorite tweets from my #followateen:
Unfortunately, my experiment came to an abrupt halt when my #followateen started following me back. I became a victim of #followanadult, causing me to shy away from reporting back the findings of my #followateen. It was a rude reminder that transparency in social media is a double-edged sword (for the voyeuristic). Sometimes, we have too good a connection with our social peers.
People love this cartoon. I love this cartoon. It’s a great reminder that consumers don’t appreciate being talked to as if they’re walking, talking moneybags. Instead, they gravitate toward brands that are honest and real—brands that try to connect with them on a more personal level (sometimes, anyway).
Recently, market trends have supported this idea, pushing brands to be more personable and transparent. Have a personality, the experts say. Be authentic. Make relationships with your customers. As a result, consumers are seeing some pretty cool brand communications, as well as some that, quite frankly, fall a little flat.
Let’s take two (semi) recent events that required advertisers to respond quickly on social media and decide just how authentic they were.
First, the 2013 Super Bowl. Oreo’s “Dunk in the Dark” tweet was not only a relevant message coming from that brand, but a true expression of their quirky personality. I’d say it was received quite well—the brand got more than 15,000 retweets within 24 hours. And then there’s the Buffalo Wild Wings tweet, which absolutely earned high praise, as sports make up the very core of the brand.
Some brands didn’t get quite as much love. Jim Beam forced a connection to the power outage, and cars.com simply used the excuse to put the spotlight back on their commercial. Not exactly authentic; not exactly likeable.
Now let’s look at an entirely different kind of event: the recent Boston Marathon bombing. In the midst of news updates, opinions from friends, and updates from family members, I found myself reading brands’ expressions of grief on social media. And I wondered, is it okay for brands to play a role here? The Super Bowl has brands all over it, but a national tragedy? Definitely a grey area.
Brands like Southwest Airlines shared pertinent information that helped those affected maneuver the days that followed, and brands with no relevant ties simply stated “our hearts go out to Boston.” And then there were some brands, who just couldn’t help but shamelessly promote themselves.
So back to my question: Is it fair for brands to insert themselves in situations like these? Are they being authentic and real? Do people want to punch them in the face?
Like most things, I believe it’s best done in moderation, so I’ll paraphrase a great Disney learning: If you don’t have anything relevant to say, don’t say anything at all.
For good or bad, people are influenced by their friends. Think of the last time you made a big purchase, like a car, a TV, or maybe your new smartphone. What factors contributed to your purchase decision? Did you get advice from friends and family or read reviews online? According to a recent Nielsen study and WOMMA member Keller Fay, 92% of consumers around the world say they trust earned media sources, such as word of mouth recommendations from peers, friends, and family, above all other forms of advertising. Online consumer reviews are the second most trusted source of brand information and messaging, with 70% of global consumers interviewed saying they trust messages on this platform.
While social media can help brands achieve word of mouth on a large scale, it comes with its own set of challenges. Customers expect the same quality of care on your social platforms as they receive on your website or in your store.
Here are some best practices to help generate positive word of mouth for your brand in the social space.
Having a social presence isn’t a guarantee that fans will talk. But if you invest in your community and focus on providing value and excellent service, they’ll have something to talk about.
Following the March 7th announcement from Facebook around the News Feed update, 22squared prepared a collaborative 5-point POV document analyzing the brand implications. The biggest note is that Facebook is taking a user-first approach to its update, and 22squared’s POV reflects this.
While our team has considered user implications as well, our POV specifically focuses on brands. This POV is intended to provide our clients and colleagues digestible and insightful context around the changes. The outline shows how we plan to proactive about the News Feed changes, so our clients and agency will create the best social executions and digital content, with a user-first viewpoint.
Despite the rapid changes seen within social and digital marketing, 22squared is prepared to interpret the changes with the most valuable insight for education and strategy. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about 22squared Social Marketing practice, please contact Juliana Bowman at 404-347-8895 or via email for more information.
Whenever I travel, I’m always in a pinch to check in before everyone snatches up the good seats. No, I don’t want to be a hero and sit near the emergency exit, that’s terrifying. For whatever reason, traveling seems to evoke this sense of panic in me, and I often wish there was someone to tell me not to forget anything throughout my trip. Enter: Delta Airlines. The airline recently launched a new app for both the iPad and iPhone that is a hyper-personalized guide to users’ entire trips. The app works in tandem with a revamp of Delta’s online marketing strategy, bringing a more digitally integrated experience to its customers. From helping you choose between flights to the moment you land at your destination, the app is intended to be tied to every detail of your trip.
In conjunction with the app, the new delta.com redesign includes a personalized sectio
n with features like My Wallet, which stores payment information and travel receipts in a digital wallet. The iPad app uses a feature called “Glass Bottom Jet,” which gives fliers a look at the route below them as they are traveling on a flight, and even pinpoints connections to your social networks as you’re flying above. That feature alone is cool enough for me, but the app also lets you download suggested content for the flight, see what your social network is saying about the destination, and find things to do while there.
With the rapid adoption of mobile devices, I think Delta hit the mark on finding a relevant, cross-platform approach to being with customers throughout their trip. By making it easy for users to plan, share, and connect their experience through social context, Delta added value to users’ entire journey, rather than strictly the beginning and end of their trip.
Fact: the latest thing in your news feed is not always the best thing in your news feed. That may sound obvious, but consumers (and marketers) don’t act like it.
“Yeah, I saw that yesterday.”
“This will be the best thing you see all day.”
“First.” (to comment)
Refresh. Refresh. Refresh your news feed. Show me what’s going on right now that will beat the last thing I just saw.
As a social media culture, we are suffering from acute Recency Bias.
Recency bias: a cognitive bias that results from disproportionate salience attributed to recent stimuli or observations; the tendency to weigh recent events more than earlier events (see also peak-end rule, recency effect).
We are enamored with the current moment, addicted to that dose of dopamine that hits when something mildly interesting appears, as long as it’s new. We compulsively scan our Instagram feeds way more than necessary. It’s beyond boredom: it’s addiction. Show me what’s happening now. How about now? Now? Now? Now? It’s a perspective that unwittingly governs our values and interests. Seeing and sharing the most recent posts, no matter how trivial, now creates our worth among friends. At least, that’s how we act.
Perhaps there’s a critical question we haven’t asked in a while: instead of how new is it, let’s ask honestly, how good is it. Sure that picture of a pulled pork sandwich just hit me this second, and has delighted me a bit, but does that make it better? How does it stack up in the hundreds of neat things that have come through this week/month/year? Is it good? Is it important? Does it have any value beyond being here now? How good is that cat meme, really?
Speaking of cats, take a look at the yearly recap of the big memes of 2012. Every single one of them had us smiling, but do any have lasting value, importance, or depth? Maybe it’s not fair to judge memes, because their purpose is not to last or do anything more than entertain. However, a grumpy cat picture has more people buzzing than content of much greater value. Recency bias. (With a little humor bias thrown in, I admit.)
We’re chasing shiny objects. Obsessed with the past sixty seconds, and the next sixty. Beating each other to click and grin. We laugh and laugh, and share with friends. Meanwhile, what are we missing? Perhaps a little distance from our news feeds to step back and say, “Sure those things made me smile, but this one thing was truly remarkable.” Even tidbits in Wired magazine (under the burden of a slower print cycle) feature products and ideas that are merely blips, and will likely not stand the test of time or change things too fundamentally.
There are antidotes (thank God). Big idea curators like The Creators Project, and Brain Pickings. People and programs that have their radar tuned to more fundamental ideas that last – and still blow our minds.
Let’s never stop laughing at stuff. But let’s not assume that new content is meaningful content. Let’s not assume what’s new is what’s right. Let’s understand the ideas that last, because that understanding will add layers to the joy of the new and now. A child laughs at Bugs Bunny’s pratfalls in the moment, but an adult laughs at Bugs for other reasons – better reasons. If you understand foundational ideas, stories and constructs that last, you’ll enjoy the other crap so much more. And if you’re a creator of content, your jokes will be funnier, your stories much better.
The latest thing in our news feed is not always the best. Get over the bias. Be more like McKayla – not easily impressed.
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the implications of transmedia storytelling, and what that term truly means in today’s ad climate. Are we really at a point where we still have to label things transmedia? Isn’t it a given that all campaigns need to be thought through with a definitive story leading the channel strategy?
I think that transmedia is a buzzword that gets tossed around incorrectly a lot. The definition from Henry Jenkins (author of the book “Convergence Culture,” and widely considered to be the godfather of transmedia) is: “Transmedia stories are those which unfold across multiple media platforms with each new text making a distinctive and valuable contribution to the whole.” The emphasis is mine; it seems that many brands overlook the “distinctive and valuable” when it comes to trying a new platform. It’s tempting: we all want to be early adopters, to be able to say we recommended Facebook before it was part of most campaigns, Instagram when it was still just a small community of people who liked photography…the list goes on and on. But in jumping onto the “new thing now” bandwagon, it’s easy to lose sight of how each platform can add distinctive and valuable aspects to a brand’s story.
So what is transmedia storytelling in the social age? It’s having an innate understanding of what stories are best told using each social platform. It’s knowing what your target consumers are looking for in their experience on any given platform, and what their motivation is for going there. The story needs to be tailored to the mindset of the social behavior, and needs to be mindful of what the consumer is trying to accomplish in that space. The story needs to remind consumers why they love your brand, without being intrusive. To inspire participation and engagement, simply. To provide a storyline that’s memorable enough to leave a mark even if the consumer isn’t fully engaged.
It’s giving branded content contextual significance, giving every piece of social content (from a wall post to a branded Tumblr to a tweet to a…you get the point) the “distinctive and valuable” litmus test. Transmedia isn’t always the answer, but thinking though the story you’re trying to tell, and making sure your content is distinctive and valuable part of that story is a good place to start.
Around the world October has become well known as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Today, in a world that is more connected than ever through social media, it would seem like an easy task to reach people by using platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. However, during this pink-filled month, it takes innovative thinking for brands to be seen. Many brands are accomplishing this by reaching women on multiple platforms through creative campaigns, which invite users to share personal stories. Social media allows information to be shared instantaneously, which provides a huge opportunity for brands to join the fight against breast cancer.
Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest have made it so much easier for individuals to raise awareness for breast cancer, and each year we see an increase in brand participation to find a cure. Through different social initiatives, brands have created various ways for their communities to share personal stories and connect with those fighting the same battle. There are many brands that have joined the fight for a cure, but there are a few that stood out to me this year.
These three campaigns are just a few of the many from brands that are using their social media platforms to raise awareness about breast cancer. Social media has made communities more connected than ever before through the sharing of stories and pictures, so people don’t have to fight this battle alone.
What brands have you seen using social media to raise awareness for breast cancer?
22squared, as evidenced by the success of many social campaigns, is one of the first full-service agencies to integrate a social department into the traditional agency model—an integration that entails creatives, social strategists, producers, media, client performance, brand planning and client leadership working intimately at every level of the process.
The result of this approach is work that is not only innovative, but also strategic, amplifying natural user behavior across social channels. But what makes a campaign effective in the social space? Below are just a few of the learnings we’ve derived from some of our successful social campaigns like Costa Rica’s Gift of Happiness or Buffalo Wild Wings’ WOMMY winning, Flavor Fanatics campaign.
Social insights driving strategy: Understanding how fans are organically engaging with a brand gives clear direction on how to build out the campaign. Traditionally, planners have depended on focus groups or surveys in order to understand these behaviors, but why miss an opportunity to listen in on the online conversations or amplify the interactions that are already going on? For example, Baskin Robbins fans were checking in through Facebook Places by the droves. We built out a local tab that aggregated that behavior, thereby also providing real-time insights about markets where consumers were highly active and could be targeted for local promotions and deals.
Takeaway: It behooves any brand to take advantage of the incredible focus group that is their Facebook community—you have a captive audience that is actively providing their opinions about your brand so pay attention to how they are naturally engaging with your brand and amplify it. Also, your community can give you a real-time pulse on overall brand sentiment—a crucial lifeline that can help alleviate or divert potential brand crises or catastrophes.
Make the user experience enjoyable and simple: We never build something that would confuse our fans or force them to engage in a user experience that would be unfamiliar. Let’s be honest, the average user is too impatient to figure out a complicated app, and with simple, intuitive design becoming the industry standard, they shouldn’t have to. Look at native behaviors inherent to the space and piggyback on them— Facebook, along with many social platforms, have an open API that is ripe for a developer’s picking. Just check out our Tampa Bay Lightning Seat Seeker that leveraged the Twitter API.
Takeaway: Want to build engagement? Don’t reinvent the wheel—the most successful apps and executions are the ones that supplement natural user behavior rather than augment that behavior. To do this right takes not only an understanding of the space, but also an understanding of the predilections of your consumer.
Integration across digital and social: Where most traditional agencies miss the mark is keeping these departments in separate silos when they should be working in tangent. Of course, what kind of media you buy and the digital destinations depend on the overall campaign goal, but there are opportunities to run content across several platforms or to make your placements more sharable and social. Most publishers are accommodating for these digital/social integrations and leveraging the technology available with the right partnerships can create some truly unique creative. A Break media partnership for our Flavor Fanatics campaign for Buffalo Wild Wings created custom brand content that was used on Facebook, YouTube and a branded break channel.
Takeaway: No matter what your budget is, integrated campaigns are more efficient and more impactful. Find opportunities to maximize your relationships and strategies to create a cohesive brand experience, regardless of the user entry point (whether it’s a banner or social channel). Additionally, with the ability to share across social channels, ensure that the brand message showing up on user’s Twitter feeds, News Feeds or emails drives to the appropriate platform for where its being shared (i.e: Facebook updates should drive to the page, NOT to a website).
Overview: Klout, recently announced some major changes which include a complete interface overhaul, new features, and a more accurate calculation of Klout scores. The old Klout score looked at less than 100 “signals” while the new score will look at more than 400 “signals” from seven different networks.
The new Klout aims to serve as more of a social resume. New profiles will look more similar profiles on other social networks. Part of this is the new “moments” feature which puts emphasis on individual moments and updates highlighting activity that generates action from people in your networks. When you look at your own profile, you will see a timeline of your social network updates and whether they’re influencing other users. When you look at someone else’s profile, you see their most influential moments.
The new design also includes measures of real-world influence including your Wikipedia page (if you have one) and your job title on LinkedIn. This acts as a bit of a safety net that helps keep and important user’s score up even if they stop creating online content.
The changes started rolling out August 14 and will slowly be rolled out to all users over the course of several weeks.
Thoughts: Unless you’re Klout-obsessed, you don’t really have a reason to visit the current version of Klout on a daily basis. With the new design, users will have a reason to return. They can check on yesterday’s content to see what their network is responding to and use that information to create more relevant content. Additonally, the updates increase transparency so users know exactly what is causing their scores to change.
Overview: In a race against Square, a mobile payment start-up, and other similar technology companies, PayPal is testing mobile payments at 30 McDonald’s locations in France. The test in France lets McDonald’s customers order food on smart phones through a McDonald’s mobile application, or online, and pay with PayPal. There is a separate line in the test locations to pick up the meals. Rolling out a service like this may help McDonald’s cut lines at restaurants, which is a key factor in maintaining and growing same-store sales.
PayPal has already signed on several retailers including Home Depot and Office Depot. Since McDonald’s has a network of more than 30,000 restaurants, a permanent deal with the company would be an huge victory for PayPal especially after news of Square signing a deal with Starbucks.
Thoughts: For consumers, it will be a lot easier to make payments with mobile devices, but the landscape is becoming increasingly fragmented. If every other store uses a different payment system, customers will switch between payment apps – multiplying the security risks of linked accounts.
Merchants may get a lot of choices for online payment systems, but customers could get the raw end of the deal.
Overview: Facebook and CNN have teamed up to create an app that allows Facebook users to share their stances on candidates and campaign issues leveraging the power of Facebook’s Open Graph. Unlike traditional Facebook apps, app analytics won’t be used strictly as social action based data, but rather as a social focus group. CNN plans to treat the opt-in data acquired as a “second screen” experience for political coverage, essentially contributing to CNN’s understanding of people’s opinions across the social space; segmenting user opinion by state, the app could help predict election outcomes and provide insightful voter data that can be utilized for future elections.
Thoughts: While user participation in the app is low so far, some numbers have already started coming in. It’s safe to assume that as the election heats up, user participation will increase and CNN can leverage the Facebook user base to offer poll questions and get well-sampled responses relatively quickly.