Archive for ‘Social Media Marketing’

January 15, 2015

Think twice about using the #MLKday hashtag to promote your brand – remember last year?

MLKday

The day this blog post was published, January 15, 2015, would have been Martin Luther King Jr.’s 86th birthday. Each year, Americans observe a national holiday on the third Monday of January to recognize Dr. King and the American Civil Rights Movement.

Marketers, PR folks, and advertisers are always looking for ways to get their message in front of as many eyeballs as possible. Often, this means trying to piggyback on an existing major event, celebration, or holiday. A great example of this was Oreo’s famous “You can still dunk in the dark” tweet sent during the power outage at Super Bowl 47. It was clever, timely, and a bit funny as it made light of an awkward situation. The Super Bowl blackout had nothing to do with cookies, but after this tweet, it did.

MarCom professionals can run into challenges when they apply this strategy to events with a very serious nature: Remembrance Day (Common Wealth Nations), Veterans Day (US), Martin Luther King Jr. Day, etc. Brands run the risk of looking too opportunistic as they try to cash in on the importance and sacrifice of others.

Last January, several public figures and brands made questionable (to put it nicely) social media posts trying to cash-in on the popularity of the #MLKday hashtag used to recognize Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Reviewing a few of these missteps from last year has led me to three key thoughts on the subject.

The tone of your message should match the spirit of the observance

As a brand, you should seek to create and share content that serves to match and even enhance, the serious nature of the holiday. A few examples from last year that missed the mark:

1. Book a party bus for MLK Day?

2. The infamous “Freedom to Twerk” event that was planned for the good folks in Flint, Michigan drew attention to itself after the promoters Photoshopped Dr. King’s head onto a body of a Man wearing a gold watch, chain, and medallion while making what appears to be a “west side” hand gesture. After this poster gained notoriety, the party was eventually cancelled. Several people weighed in on the issue, including MLK’s daughter, Dr. Bernice King, who was appalled by the poster.

FreedomtoTwerk

3. Sarah Palin’s tasteless political grandstanding starts with quoting Dr. King’s “I have a dream” speech, and concludes with her telling President Obama “no more playing the race card.” Yikes.

You may not be as funny as you think

Humour is tough. Attempts at humour during otherwise serious situations may be interpreted as your brand’s attempt to make fun of, or devalue the purpose of, the event.

1. This misguided tweet from Nyquil reads like a joke that didn’t quite hit the mark.

2 & 3. Two other notable attempts at humour came from the Chive, and a pornographic website. In both instances they used humour in a way that some would consider distasteful, but considering that the source of these jokes were the Chive and a pornographic website, they pretty much lived up to expectations. Instead of posting these attempts at humour on davidhallsocialmedia.com, I’ll let you google those two tweets yourself.

Don’t make a big stretch to connect your brand with the event

This is obvious self-promotion. It looks insensitive, self-interested, and opportunistic. If you are going to run an MLK Day promotion, make sure it makes sense within the context of the observance. Be aware of the nuanced difference between an event designed to celebrate as opposed to one dedicated to recognize something. What the heck do potato stamps, cereal,  apples, diapers, or a day at the salon getting pampered have to do with the civil rights movement?

PamperesMLKday

This Pampers Facebook promotion is particularly cringe-worthy because (as a current diaper customer) I can tell you that 10 rewards points is what you get for buying about $5 worth of baby bum wipes. They almost couldn’t have offered less.

For any organization thinking about joining the #MLKday trending topic this weekend, I encourage you to focus on respect, not referrals; honour, not sales; legacy, not leads; person to person, not business to business; and to make sure your content reflects the nature and tone of the observance. Without question, Dr. King serves as a hero to millions of people around the globe, and is absolutely a hero of mine.

December 12, 2013

Infographic: Consumers are 64% more likely to purchase a product after watching an online video

YouTubeFormulaWe all know that content is king on the Internet; and when it comes to types of content, it looks like video is at the top of the food chain. Video is everywhere online, from feature-length films, to sales pitches, to amateur videos of people at the zoo. Year over year, YouTube comes out with statistics showing staggering growth in videos uploaded and viewed.

The good folks at MultiVisionDigital published the infographic below to put into perspective how the omnipresent video is affecting consumer decision-making and behaviour. If you are trying to sell products or services, you may want to add video to your online strategy (if it isn’t there already) as consumers are 64% more likely to purchase a product after watching an online video.

The most unexpected finding was that video has a lifespan of 4 years. That’s an eternity. Considering that the average lifespan of a Facebook post is 3 hours and 7 minutes, a four-year shelf-life for a video is astounding. To put it in perspective, exactly 4 years ago, on the date this post was published, Taylor Lautner was hosting Saturday Night Live making jokes about Kanye’s stage crash of Taylor Swift at the 2009 VMAs…but you know what, I still like that Kanye video so the 4 year lifespan checks out.

The infographic also shows that video is not just used for traditional B2C decision-making, but executives are using videos to inform their B2B purchasing choices.

  • The average user spends 88% more time on a website with video
  • 60% of consumers will spend at least 2 minutes watching a video that educates them about a product they plan on purchasing.
  • 96% of IT decision makers and tech buyers watch videos for business
  • 75% of executives watch work-related videos on business websites once a week

VideoSalesFigures

What do you think? Do online videos impact your decision-making? When was the last time you made a medium-sized or large purchase without checking out YouTube to see the product in action? Leave a comment and let me know.

November 11, 2013

You are what you tweet: Researchers predict users’ gender with 92% accuracy

How often do you think about what you are telling the world about yourself when you post an update to your social media profiles? Well, it turns out that you are being studied, whether you know it or not. Earlier this fall, PLOSone published a study that aimed to link the vocabulary netizens use with their age, gender, and select personality traits. The unique twist on this study was the methodology. Instead of using known word correlations to base their analysis on, they adopted an open vocabulary approach in an attempt to “find connections that are not captured with traditional closed-vocabulary word-category analyses”.

The use of the open vocabulary approach yielded some interesting results:

1. Men are much more likely to use profanity and talk about gaming while women seem to be much more positive and upbeat. *The size of the word in the word clouds below indicates the strength of the correlation; color indicates relative frequency of usage. Underscores (_) connect words of multi-word phrases.

MenvsWomen

 

2. Your age can be determined based on whether you talk about school, work or family.

Age

 

3. Extroverts like to party, introverts like the internet, neurotics use angry and depressed language, and the emotional stable like….basketball?

PersonalityTraits

 

4. Finally, the people in your social media networks who’s updates are negative, profanity-filled, and often tiresome, may rank low on the agreeableness, openness, and conscientiousness scale.

Agreeable

Beyond simply being “interesting”, these correlations will further help communicators and marketers get their message in front of the right audience – You need to know where your audience “lives” before you can influence them. Be sure to check out the full study “Personality, Gender, and Age in the Language of Social Media: The Open-Vocabulary Approach” for the complete methodology and findings.

November 21, 2012

The social side of Black Friday: Where will you be checking-in? [Infographic]

It’s almost upon us again. That’s right, Black Friday. When our American friends line up for some great holiday deals on the day following turkey and football day. And it’s a big deal. Some wait in line all night for the stores to open to get one-day-deals of around 60%-80% off, even on big ticket items.

If it’s a big deal in real life, it’s a big deal online. Just take a look at the #BlackFriday hashtag. It is filled with tweets of excitement and plenty of businesses trying to get the word out about their great deals. And the tweets keep mounting up. When I took the screenshot below from hashtags.org on November 21, 2012, it clearly showed the sheer amount of Black Friday related tweets going through the roof.

Twitter will be a great source of information this weekend, but the one social network I’m most interested in for Black Friday is Foursquare. Will a Black Friday badge be available? Who will be the most popular retailers? Who’s offering discounts and sales to people who check-in at their store? I couldn’t find many answers online, or through my own Foursquare app (perhaps because I’m in Canada). To be quite honest, the lack of Foursquare specials in my city has led me to stray away from that social network altogether.

But Foursquare has been very popular in the past. Check out the infographic below released by Foursquare that outlines last year’s activity on the network. It shows that Black Friday is the day that sees the greatest number of check-ins at retail outlets. It also suggests that people start arriving at their shopping destinations around midnight of the day before to either stake out their spot in line or to participate in Black Friday Midnight Madness events.

I would like to ask my American readers if they can add some first-person accounts from the Black Friday social media front. Will you be looking for deals using apps or social media sites? Is Foursquare part of your game plan? What hashtags do you find the most value in? If you are a business owner or retailer, will you be offering any incentives to your social media audience? Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving!

November 17, 2012

Talknowledgy Podcast #107: BB10, Ron Swanson’s Movember video, talking trash with athletes on Twitter, and more

Right off the top of the show we discuss BlackBerry 10, Pinterest brand pages, and Facebook’s rumoured job board.

This week’s “Creepy or Awesome?!” is centred on the recent Twitter outrage when big man Pau Gasol from the NBA Lakers missed the last shot of the game handing the historic club yet another early season loss.

Our YouTube Hero this week is Ron Swanson’s pro-Movember video encouraging men to keep growing their “mos” and raise money for men’s health. It also has some guest appearances from cast members from “The Office”.

Finally, a military sex scandal gets our #Hashtag Fail of the Week. That’s right, the sloppy use of email clients may have lead to the infidelity bust in the David Petraeus scandal.

If you liked the show, feel free to subscribe to this blog or our RSS feed to make sure you’re always up-to-date with Talknowledgy.

February 15, 2012

4 conclusions on Social Media ROI [Video]

This week, I was invited to participate in a unique event put on by VIA Rail and the Fairmont Royal York on the opening day of Social Media Week: Toronto 2012. The event spanned the entire first day of the conference and was focused on discussing the business case for social media:  in other words, the “social media return on investment” (ROI). Social media bloggers from Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, and Kingston gathered on VIA’s recently restored Glen Fraser Lounge car to debate topics centred around social media, community management, client relationship management, mobile marketing, customer service, and of course ROI.

The “pre-conference” aboard @VIA_Rail ended with a great 2-hour speaker panel and Q&A session at the @FairmontRYH. The speakers included academics, entrepreneurs, C-level executives that were seasoned media, PR, and marketing leaders from both the public and private sectors (learn more about the speakers). Some tried to explain ROI with mathematical formulas, some took the “trust me it works” approach (then asked for the ROI on a toilet), but all of them provided examples of where they saw ROI for their particular brand(s).

After 8 hours of constant talking about social media ROI, I came to a few conclusions (for now) about calculating social media return on investment:

1. Social media ROI is difficult to do properly, but it’s completely doable. There’s no magic formula, or straight-forward way, to calculate social media ROI that applies to each case. The first thing you really need to understand is how social media is used in your industry, then figure out what you want social media to do for you. If your goal is to have  a Facebook page for your business, you have already failed. If you plan to use a Facebook awareness and acquisition campaign to drive traffic to the eCommerce section of your website because you know that customers referred from Facebook are more likely to make a purchase than those referred from Twitter, you’re off to a great start. Those are the outcomes you are looking for.

2. You don’t need to measure EVERYTHING. Once you know what you want to do, you now have to measure your efforts to see if you are working towards achieving those goals. It’s important to find the “right metrics” to demonstrate the effectiveness of your tactics, and, as importantly, to help you make decisions. If you measure everything, and draw no insight, then you wasted time measuring for the sake of measuring.

3. Measuring social media ROI requires a tailored solution. After reading my first two points, you’re probably thinking, “OK, what do I do now?” Well, it’s time for the hard work, so start thinking about your goals. Start answering some of the tough questions. What do I want to achieve? How can social media help me deliver on my business plan? What business function can social media assist with? What are the costs if I don’t engage? What are the costs if I do engage? Do I work for a social organization? What are my competitors doing? If we implemented social media, what would it look like? What is our content creation strategy? How far do we go with content curation vs. creation? How can social media be tied into the DNA of your organization and to your existing business practices? Etc. etc. etc.

The good news is that there are people out there to help us do this. Academics, business leaders, strategists, and entrepreneurs lose sleep about this each night, and many of them are for hire to help organizations thrive using social media. And don’t be shy, most organizations need some level of specialized help with this. One thing that is certain, measuring YOUR social media ROI is not easy, and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution.

4. It’s all about influence. At the end of the day, we as social media participants (including brands) want to be influential. We want to be able to drive consumer behaviour, influence legislation, promote our personal brand, make connections, etc. You can’t do them all, so you need to pick what your want to have influence over, and tailor your social media strategy to achieve that.

The video clip below is just one of the presentations at the Social Media ROI: Myth or Reality evening event at the Royal York. This clip features Dr. James Norrie, who presents his quadratic equation for measuring ROI that revolves around leveraging the power of your “captive community.”

Social Media week is where social media becomes even more social. It is a 5-day conference that takes place in 21 cities around the globe.  Each year, Social Media Week attracts more than 60,000 attendees across thousands of individually organized, and mostly free, events. It’s a great collection of minds, from the casual social media user looking for more information on their newly forming passion, to business and academic leaders who share their latest insights on the future of communication and ROI for business. And, of course, there are a lot of us nerdy bloggers.

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