An interesting infographic from the folks at HighQ was featured on Social Media Today recently so I thought I’d share it. Some people have called 2015 the year of video marketing and as predicted, video has started to play a vital role in social marketing. Email blasts featuring videos, the rise of apps like SnapChat, Vine and Periscope and the fact that major social players like Facebook and Twitter are making it easier to integrate video into their platforms speaks volumes.
The question everyone wants to see answered: Are people actually watching?
What about you? Do you prefer to interact with a video over a photo or text post?
2012 has been a crazy year for social media! The London Olympics, war and conflict around the world, a record-breaking IPO, the introduction and growth of Pinterest, a presidential election and multiple natural disasters gave social media users plenty of opportunities to share their perspectives this year.
Believe it or not, the first day of 2013 is quickly approaching. As January looms ahead, we’ve started to think about the new year and some social media resolutions moving forward. We’re all about being realistic and setting ourselves up for success. Keeping that in mind, we’ve listed three resolutions that will help any business kickstart their social media strategy in 2013.
1. Go Mobile
Smartphones, tablets and e-readers will likely once again be the hottest holiday gifts. Whether you’re developing social media campaigns through mobile applications or adding social media integration to mobile sites, a social media strategy is incomplete if you’re ignoring mobile users. If you’ve never viewed your website on a tablet or smartphone, you’re in for a real surprise so get it over with at the beginning of the year so you can spend the rest of your time making the necessary changes. It has been predicted that 2013 is the year that mobile web browsing will likely surpass desktop browsing so don’t get left behind!
2. Explore Video
Producing and sharing more videos will open you up to a whole new world of viewers. There are more than 3 billion videos viewed each day on YouTube alone so take the time to really explore your options. If you can, hire a professional to write your copy, shoot the video and edit the final product. Just because video is a fun way of communicating doesn’t mean it deserves to look any less cohesive and polished than your other forms of branding. You can start by looking into your options with podcasts or creating a valuable video series for your customers and potential customers.
3. Get Your Learn On
Staying up to date and current with all things happening in the world of social media is essential for success and growth. In the same respect, improving your technical knowledge, equipment and software will also be greatly beneficial. There are plenty of ways you can expand your knowledge; subscribe to new RSS feeds, explore HTML coding, or sign up for Google alerts.
Jessica was immediately addicted. She spent hours pouring over recipes and ogling adorable pet photos. It took some convincing, but she finally encouraged me to check out the social bookmarking site for myself and since joining I haven’t looked back.
Pinterest prides itself on connecting people all over the world through things they find interesting. It’s a social bookmarking site focused entirely on visuals. Users create a profile with as many custom “boards” as they want. These boards help them organize their interests (pins). To simplify things, your profile is essentially like a bunch of bulletin boards and whenever you come across something of interest online, you can “pin it” to the board of your choice and keep all your favourite things organized. After using the service I can honestly say that bookmarking based on visuals is a lot more appealing and fun than simply dropping a link on your toolbar or in your online folders and finding it months later buried in the clutter.
As a marketing tool Pinterest offers value for a variety of reasons. When users join and create a profile, they are given the option to add a “Pin-It” bookmarklet to their toolbar which allows them to add pins to their boards without even browsing the Pinterest site. This bookmark allows users to grab any photo from any site and attach it to a board on their profile. Anytime someone “pins” something from your site, you can gain thousands of potential new site visitors depending on the size of the users Pinterest network. It all comes back to positive word of mouth!
Local Windsor business Intimate Weddings has found some serious value in Pinterest. The husband and wife duo maintain an abundant source of all things wedding related on their website and are extremely impressed with Pinterest as a marketing tool. The platform allows them to share photos and wedding inspiration with hundreds of women online. It’s a place for them, as a business, to interact with brides-to-be and it promotes transparency. People like knowing that a business is made up of real people with real opinions and Pinterest helps Intimate Weddings connect with women on that personal level.
Just as Facebook offers “like it” buttons and Google+ offers “+1” buttons, Pinterest offers a “Pin-It” button that can be placed on any website so visitors can pin the content and share it with their network on Pinterest. Naturally the site can’t come close to Facebook or Google in terms of the number of users, but it’s a growing trend that will take the web by storm sometime soon. The site has already garnered interest from industry professionals and is sure to make a big splash in 2012. Check out the site for yourself and see what all the hype is about but don’t forget you’ll need an invite from a current user in order to join!
Social Media played a prominent role in 2011 – not only proving its worth from a business and marketing prospective, but also emerging as a driving force in worldwide social and political movements. Social Media promises exciting new changes and even more success in 2012!
5. Social Goes Mobile
Nearly 50% of consumers now equipped with Smartphones, making it impossible to deny that these devices will prove to be the next phase of social networking activities. The power behind the mobile social movement lies in the capacity for smartphones to track where consumers are, who their friends with, and what’s nearby. Social mobile efforts in 2012 will focus on tracking what and where consumers are purchasing.
4. Twitter Supports Brand Marketing
Twitter’s release of business-friendly features will continue to drive this medium as a pivotal tool for brand advertising. Twitter continues to prove its ability to spark viral movements, increase word-of-mouth, and promote link sharing, making it a highly effective platform for spreading brand messages to consumers. Simplicity and effectiveness are the key strengths driving the increased integration of Twitter into traditional advertising campaigns. In 2012, brand advertising methods such as television commercials, will begin to integrate Twitter tags to push consumers to the site.
3. Television Programming Integrates Social Networking
Television viewing has naturally adopted social media activities, with many viewers already tweeting, texting, or calling their friends to discuss the shows they are watching.
In 2012, expect more shows that ask viewers to vote and interactive through their social networks, adding a whole new layer of content to traditional media. The launch of the new network, Get Glue, the TV equivalent of Foursquare, allows users to “Check In” to their favorite shows in order to collect stickers that tell the world what programs they like. Social media integration into our TV viewing habits will continue to gain popularity as the ratings for fully integrated programing becomes available.
2. Social Feedback Sparks Global Change
The Occupy Wall Street movement shed significant light on social media’s capacity for rallying the masses. Consumer reactions to political, social, environmental, and economic challenges are felt in real-time through the social feedback and link-sharing ability of site such as YouTube.
Be prepared for the major political campaigns of 2012 to depend heavily on social networks and the power of social feedback. Political candidates will turn their attention towards building their political platform from their social platforms, meaning we’ll be forced to sit through less annoying television commercials, while our personal opinions will be considered more valuable than ever before.
1. Google+ Gains Clout
Although most people still aren’t sure if Google+ resembles the social structure of Facebook or the idea-driven architecture of Twitter, the New Year promises to see a rise in popularity of this particular form of social media.
More users are already signing up for Google+ and the term is officially the second-fastest rising search term of 2011, proving that the future is bright for this part-social network and part-social search initiative. Get ready to watch Google continue to blend the Plus platform into its other offerings, particularly through Gmail and toolbars, in the effort to help users incorporate Google+ into their daily social networking habit.
Social media platforms will be a major source of information and persuasion for this year’s holiday shoppers, and many consumers will turn to their social networks to help them navigate through the online crowds. Online shopping is the key retail trend to follow, as more are turning to their devices in order to help them make informed purchase decisions. With the stress, time-constraints, and strict budgets associated with the holidays, it’s no surprise that social media will play a huge role in businesses hoping to maximize their profits during the last quarter of the 2011 fiscal year.
Whether they’re comparing prices, reading reviews, or actively making purchases, the average holiday shopper plans to do 46% of their holiday shopping online, according to the latest research conducted by the National Retail Institute.
The same survey also found that 29.2% of consumers (that’s nearly 3 in 10) will check out a company’s Facebook page for more information about products, consumer reviews, or holiday promotions, while 65.1% plan on reading customer reviews on a company’s website. A similar survey conducted by the marketing research firm, SymphonyIRI, breaks down exactly how consumers plan on using the Internet during the 2011 holiday season. 61% of consumers will use more coupons from group couponing websites (as opposed to only 33% in 2010), 48% will take advantage of promotions learned online, and 43% plan on comparing products online via blogs, forums, and other social platforms.
According to Deloitte’s 2011 Holiday Survey, 44% of consumers will use social media as part of their holiday shopping process. Below is a breakdown of how consumers plan on using social media:
As a business, how can you use social media to help you maximize your success during the 2011 holiday season?
Update Is The New “Up Sell”
It is extremely important to keep consumers up to date on all the latest promotions, discounts, one-time deals, and exciting new product linesas holiday shoppers are in hot pursuit of deals, reviews and coupons. By continuously pushing new updates across your social platforms you can easily increase your business’ presence by staying relevant with key search words. In addition, a frenzy of updates will filter through the viral tunnel which will ultimately send more people in your business’ direction.
Integrate your social posts with your other online advertising communications (such as emails, banners etc). This allows for instant feedback and analytics that can help optimize conversation and response rates by responding to your customer’s needs and preferences in real time.
Don’t Just Entice Customers With Your Promotions, Engage Them
Spread the news about your unique promotions (Clickz suggests activities such as: gift registries, holiday countdowns, and price altering) through your social networks. By adding opt-in and registration opportunities, like Facebook tabs, you can easily drive value and add engagement while at the same time growing your databases for more effective conversations even after the holidays.
Respond With Rewards
Incorporate incentives such as exclusive offers and loyalty events for social community members. Make a reward available for those consumers who engage with your holiday campaigns and who help to spread the word.
Integrate The Ability To Make Purchases
46.7% of holiday shoppers will buy online this year, so why not use those online purchases to leverage your social media platforms? Use your Facebook page to offer purchasing opportunities (this is known as F-commerce). Clickz also suggests using your social platforms to create social events around big commerce events, like “Chat With The Designer”.
So, get to where your consumers are this holiday season. Respond to the latest trends and shifts in holiday shopping behaviors, and leverage your social media presence in order to maximize your profits in the fourth quarter and beyond. Remember, you need to keep your consumers up-to-date with fresh, exciting content, and compelling, unique promotions, as this year’s holiday shoppers are all about price discounts, product reviews, and comparative shopping. There are also a number of many creative ways to extend your success and capitalize on conversions by incorporating your existing social platforms. If you’re overwhelmed by these tasks, or are in unsure of how your business fits in with this new holiday shopping model, turn to the experts here at Blab! For suggestions, strategies and executions.
At some point in our lives, chances are, we’ve all used the services provided by a URL shortener. They’re a great tool to utilize, especially when posting content to a micro-blogging platform like Twitter where every single character counts! Now it may seem that a URL shortener can’t really get much better, but a new startup called Bre.ad is seeking to change that mindset.
Bre.ad is, as expected, a URL shortener. It shortens links, has the ability to sync to Twitter and Facebook and it provides link analytics. What makes this new startup so unique is that it helps users promote brands, interests and charities through a full-page interface. The difference becomes apparent when you click on the Bre.ad link. You aren’t taken directly to the content, but instead, are re-directed to a webpage that was created by the person who originally shortened the link. These pages display messages left by the person who created them as well as 720 pixel by 300 pixel billboards. The user stays on the page for five seconds before being re-directed to the link he/she originally clicked on.
These pages are delightfully referred to as “Toasts” and they can be used to promote anything from a personal Twitter account, to a charity that you support. As a user, you can upload multiple “Toasts” and when you generate Bre.ad links, they will be chosen from at random.
Bre.ad founder Alan Chan believes that people are always willing to promote causes whether they’re personal or business related so his goal was to find a simple, classy way for them to display their passion. While Bre.ad hasn’t gone public yet, its Beta version will be launched in the next few weeks. In the meantime, Lady Gaga, North Face and many other brands already have Toast pages. The site even features an explore option that lets you see which brands, causes and profiles are the most popular.
It’s difficult to judge public reaction to Bre.ad as it’s yet to be released. The service was designed not to feel like advertising but users could avoid clicking on Bre.ad links because they know they’ll be forced to watch an ad. It’ll be interesting to see if people adopt the technology with open arms and if users can find creative ways to convey their messages through “Toasts”. Who knew URL shorteners had so much to offer?!
A few months ago we posted an article about new entertainment check-in applications like Miso and Get Glue that allow users to check into television shows, music, movies, video games and more. The rewards are mostly stickers unlocked by watching special shoes or networks with the occasional discount for Get Glue users on the network’s website merchandise. IntoNow operates on the same basis except the app rewards users for checking into commercials instead of actual programming. The best part is that the rewards are a lot more valuable than a sticker! The app just launched in January and has partnered with PepsiCo to offer a delicious reward to users.
Here’s how the app works; consumers download the iPhone check-in app IntoNow and hit it while the commercial plays on TV. Audio-fingerprinting technology then recognizes the ad and a coupon gets downloaded to your phone for a free 20-ounce bottle of Pepsi Max. The best part for PepsiCo is that once a coupon has been received users have the option to send out a notification to all their friends on Facebook and Twitter as well as on the app itself. There’s no doubt that this is an experimental move for Pepsi Max but they’ve agreed to honour 50,000 of those coupons while getting a better idea of the potential of interactive ads.
The Pepsi Max television commercial revolves around the theme “Field of Dreams” and features many baseball players from the past and the present. The ad is already available on Youtube and is posted below. It will air during MLB games and through the end of the year. The deal is the first major brand implementation for IntoNow but if consumers catch on, it definitely won’t be the last!
IntoNow uses advanced fingerprinting technology so they not only know what consumers are watching, but also if they’re watching it live, recorded on a DVR or on some other recordable device which is very important information to advertisers. It even works if you check-in using the Youtube video! The technology, created by Auditude earlier this year, was initially intended to recognize shows and insert ads online. It takes the technology only four to twelve seconds to recognize a given clip. They have a catalogue built up of ads that have run in the last five years or so, which means chances are, whatever your watching, is recognizable.
Since it’s launch in January 2011, IntoNow already boasts 600,000 downloads and 3 million tags. It was purchased by Yahoo at the end of April for $17 million.
Surprisingly, IntoNow isn’t the first to give consumers a reason to check-in to TV commercials. Mobile music app Shazam partnered with Old Navy to offer the first 1000 users that tagged an original song during an Old Navy commercial a free pair of jeans. The main difference between this mini promotion and IntoNow’s entire foundation is that they offer the ability to check into any and every TV commercial. For advertisers it shows them who is watching their ad and it allows them to reward that attention ultimately driving offline behaviour.
Lately it seems like QR codes are everywhere, even in Windsor! We’ve seen Bozii Restaurant use one as a window decal in the front of their shop to share information with passers-by, we’ve seen Workforce Windsor-Essex use them on their business cards and even we’ve used them, attached to pumpkins to promote our launch last fall. There’s no doubt that QR codes are changing the way we share information. They are a great asset to businesses and are fun for consumers with smart phones but what about all the QR code stories that never seem to make it into mainstream news? If you’re looking for some inspiration, look no further!
QR Code Tattoo
So you’ve gone out to the bar with your friends. You start talking to a few people and suddenly you’re being asked for your phone number. Not to worry! Just hike up your shirt and have them scan your personal QR code tattoo.
QR Code Made Of Sand
There are some decent beaches in this area and once the weather warms up it’s not uncommon to find many people out exploring areas such as Point Pelee. But when’s the last time you walked along the water and stumbled across a QR code made of sand?! Apparently in Tokyo, its no big deal.
QR Codes On Shoes
North American shoe retailer John Fluevog, has taken QR codes to mainstream retail and they’ve done a great job! They’ve placed QR codes on the insoles of their new shoes and when you scan them, they link directly to a video which shows consumers how the shoe was made! Talk about providing real value with a QR code!
QR Code Hotel
In Dubai, Project Code, a hotel that will look like a massive QR code, is well underway. The photo below will show you what the hotel will look like when it’s complete. Although it’s extremely impressive, the purpose is unclear and is most likely purely for design. Whether or not it will be scannable remains a mystery, but either way, you can’t ignore how cool it is!
QR Code T-shirts
Who doesn’t love meeting new people? Imagine talking a walk downtown in your customized QR code t-shirt and allowing strangers to scan your code and be added to your Facebook friend list. An interesting Facebook app/QR code mashup allows you to do just that!
Facebook is no stranger to Internet memes and with the introduction of the new Facebook profile, some users welcomed the change with open arms. Alexandre Oudin, a French artist, has been credited for starting the next big craze that has more and more people participating as each day passes. Since the creation of Facebook, users have always experimented with photos but the new profile redesign allows for seriously clever animations, typography and photographic magic.
By now there are tutorial videos floating around that teach users how to create some magic of their own and it seems like a Facebook banner application is also cashing in on the trend so it may only be a matter of time before this really catches on. In the meantime, we’ve searched the web and found the top 10 Facebook profile pic hacks. If you’ve been getting creative with your profile, we want to see it!
As more and more companies are turning to social media for a presence online, Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube are giving way to the next big trend for these established companies; the social sign-in. This new form of sharing information allows customers to login to a website using their social media login credentials rather than registering for that specific website separately. Because Facebook’s registration and platform provide so much user insight, retailers are excited to embrace the social sign-in as it will give them access to this detailed information that they wouldn’t normally be able to retrieve from a simple website log-in. Preferences and likes are very important to retailers because their strategy is simply increase orders, attract new customers, and minimize returns. Thanks to the social sign-in, they can begin using this data to learn more about their customers and to ensure they’re providing users with the best possible experience.
From a customer’s perspective, not having to memorize 26 different login passwords and usernames can mean a lot less time and frustration. But on the other end of the spectrum, people are becoming increasingly more protective and weary about their information online, and for good reason. For the time being, retailers are treading lightly with social sign-ins so customers don’t feel like their privacy is being violated.
Although the concept isn’t brand new, only a few ecommerce websites have implemented the social sign-in so far. A report from eMarketer states that 18% of online retailers have implemented this technology for their visitors as of August 2010. Another 18% reported that they were in the process of implementing it while 32% planned to roll it out sometime in the next 12-24 months.
With the world of social media ever-changing, it will be interesting to see if this new trend catches on with retailers and how the platform may change and evolve over time. Most importantly, will customers be willing to sacrifice their privacy for a convenience like the social sign-in and if so, will it be worth it in the end?
Infographic provided by Gigya