As a kid, I remember being lost in a good book for hours. Rainy Saturday mornings were never wasted, thanks to so many unread chapters. On weeknights, I would head to bed an hour early to crack open the latest Harry Potter, only to be forced to close the book once I realized I was only a few hours away from my alarm clock sounding.
Today, I cannot go an entire chapter without wanting to check my phone for the latest tweet or updates in my newsfeed. Call it “fear of missing out,” a mainstream ADD, or whatever you’d like, but I have unwillingly fallen victim to the habits I’ve consciously tried to avoid. I want to get lost in the writings of Kerouac or read The Atlantic’s latest feature in its entirety, but my hand subconsciously reaches to my right and I’m back on Twitter again.
My brain is learning to jump back and forth, taking in little bits of a lot of different things. I’m intermixing John Hamm’s ESPY monologue with Paul Krugman’s latest blog post and soon telling my colleagues Dwight Howard left the LA Lakers because they couldn’t fund his pension.
Some may argue our generation is more informed than ever. Access to breaking news and stories in the palm of our hands – from worldwide stories on hostility in foreign countries to what your favorite singer ate for breakfast. If you’re interested, you probably have instant access to it.
Call it content overload. Tweets, articles, blog posts, advertisements, television programs on cable or network or streaming online – the list is endless. It is certainly content, and a lot of it.
We know more about a lot of topics, but not a lot of any one topic. Ask someone at the water cooler tomorrow about Detroit going bankrupt, and the likely answer will sound like a headline:
“Yeah, I saw that … Largest US city to ever file for bankruptcy … Crazy. Have you caught up on Game of Thrones yet?”
Our conversations feel like a newsfeed. Headlines and one-liners, and voices proud to just add a single line of input. Missing: in-depth conversation.
This week, I’m putting my phone in the other room while I read more of one piece of content. I know I will not be up to speed on the gossip leading up to an actual story, but the Times will have the complete news before my morning commute.
And, hours before I hit the water cooler.
Do you remember Drew Barrymore’s line in He’s Just Not That Into You? Allow me to refresh your memory: “I had this guy leave me a voicemail at work, so I called him at home, and then he emailed me to my Blackberry, and so I texted to his cell, and now you just have to go around checking all these different portals just to get rejected by seven different technologies. It’s exhausting.”
Fast-forward four years and include messaging on Facebook, tweeting on Twitter, posting to Instagram, Vining and sending numerous SnapChats, to name a few. Now introducing the latest social media platform to add to that list – Pheed.
This new free platform allows users to share text, photos, videos and audio files, and it is growing rapidly among a much younger demographic, 14-25 year olds. Released in the Apple iTunes store in late 2012, Pheed quickly hit one million users by Q1 2013, and the growth doesn’t seem to be slowing.
Who would’ve thought that another social media platform would try to emerge in today’s cluttered social media market, but Pheed offers something quite different from the others. Here are a few of the key differences.
Starting in June 2013, Pheed launched the pay-per-view real-time broadcast feature to the mobile platform. This has musicians itching to launch their channels and live stream a special recording, concert, practice, etc. Pheed lends itself nicely as another outlet of expression, but one that can create revenue as well.
What does this mean for brands? Yet another account to add to the repertoire of social media networks to manage; but the possibilities to engage with your audience, especially this hard to reach younger audience, are endless. Brian Honigman writes that brands can stand out on Pheed and utilize the platform to define brand voice, share user generated content or brand content, and show their personality. Some brands are already on Pheed doing just this, such as HuffPost Teen!, MTV and Taco Bell.
With all new shiny things, only time will tell whether or not they keep their shine or become lackluster. I personally am excited to have yet another outlet of expression, most importantly another social media network to watch which brands will get it and which brands won’t.
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?