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Posts from the ‘Branding’ Category

MarketingProfs – What Brands Need to Know About Visual Social Media [Infographic]




August 25, 2015

By Verónica Maria Jarski

Today’s fastest-growing social media channels are visually based, according to the following WebDAM infographic. Here’s the scoop for engaging your visuals-loving customers.

Consider your brand across all visual touchpoints, suggests WebDAM. Include logos, typography, press kit, photography, and icons.

Also, post images often. “Posts that include images product 650% higher engagement than regular text posts,” WebDAM claims.

Don’t forget to use video. A whopping 79% of Internet traffic will be video content by 2018. “Viewers are 86% more likely to purchase a product after watching a product video,” according to WebDAM. “And posts with videos attract 3X more inbound links than plain text posts.”

To find out more about visual social media, tap or click on the infographic.

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Contently – What Facebook’s Algorithm Change Means for Brands, Publishers & Future of Media





May 1, 2015

By Dillon Baker

Image by Deb Wenof

Mark Zuckerberg


In case you missed it, the algorithmic apocalypse hit this week. The sun exploded, nuclear bombs rained from the heavens, and plagues ravaged the globe. At least, that’s what it feels like in the media/advertising/marketing world.

First, Google rolled out its mobile-first algorithm update, which came with ample warning but left many marketers in a state of panic. But while Google’s change was dubbed with the ominous moniker of “Mobilegeddon,” another much more unexpected algorithm change might prove far more painful for brands and publishers alike.

That’s right: Facebook is changing its News Feed algorithm, and it might be time to freak out, even though the three-fold alteration sounds fairly innocuous on the surface. Here’s what’s in store:

1. If your News Feed doesn’t have much on it (i.e., you don’t have many virtual friends or like many pages), Facebook is now allowing for “multiple posts from the same source in a row.”

2. After receiving feedback from users that they’re concerned about missing important updates from friends they care about, Facebook is giving content posted by those friends greater priority: “Content posted directly by the friends you care about, such as photos, videos, status updates or links, will be higher up in News Feed so you are less likely to miss it,” Facebook wrote. On the other hand, if you use Facebook more to read news and updates from pages, you’ll still see those updates. Basically, after expanding the reach of publisher pages for a while now, they appear to be prioritizing friends again in the feed.

3. You’ll see a lot less of “Suzy liked this post” or “Jimmy made a really weird comment on a post from a page that you couldn’t care less about”-style updates. Instead, you’ll see more updates from friends and pages you follow directly.

Don’t be fooled: These changes could have a big impact on brands and publishers, decreasing organic reach and forcing them to pay to play in more ways than one. Let’s dive in.

What it means for brands

Late last year, Facebook delivered a big blow to brands when they limited what little organic reach they had left. Now, they seem to be threatening to limit reach even more.

Loyal followers that interact with your content will continue to be served posts; unfortunately, that group is very small for most brands, and this change may decrease their odds of growing it at all. After all, second-hand referrals through likes or comments will be marginalized, and besides paid posts and advertising, this was pretty much only way users who didn’t already “like” your page could organically discover a brand’s content.

The move pretty much formalizes what we’ve seen coming for a while now: that Facebook is primarily an advertising platform for brands, and they need to think of it as thus. The good news is that it can be a fantastically effective ad platform when used correctly—especially when you consider this morning’s announcement that they’re starting to track conversions that result from ads.

What it means for publishers

Unlike brands, publishers have seen huge traffic boosts on Facebook in recent years. In fact, Facebook’s post announcing the algorithm change opens with a prologue pointing out that “referral traffic to media publishers from Facebook has more than doubled in the past 18 months,” and reiterating their commitment to “helping publishers find the right audience for their content”—seemingly to soften the blow of deprioritizing pages in the feed.

As Facebook juiced their algorithm to increase referral traffic to publisher sites over the past few years (see chart below), publishers have become extremely reliant on the social giant. And they have to be worried that this means the party is now over, and they’ll feel the same debilitating squeeze that brands did a year ago.


So why might Facebook be doing this, besides their justification of improving user experience? I have some ideas, and I don’t seem to be alone in thinking them.

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Small Business Trends – Don’t Make These 5 Social Media Branding Mistakes

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January 8, 2015

By Marie Alonso


Now more than ever, social media is providing businesses with the platform, exposure and increasingly visual opportunity to create, promote and validate branding. Social media for B2B and B2C enterprises of all sizes, markets and disciplines is ripe for brand engagement — but tweet carefully! The most creative social media branding campaigns can crumble with one poorly timed post.

The key to social branding success in 2015 for businesses will be social ownership. What is social ownership? Social ownership is the responsibility every business has to appropriately and consistently nurture, maintain and share its unique philosophy, integrity and corporate purpose. Social ownership is the recognition by competitive businesses today of the communication and marketing power of their social media platforms — and the respect and care with which they must present their social content. Social ownership is the social media commitment a business makes toward its content, its target audience — and, most important, its reputation.

To ensure your social ownership is pristine, and your social branding is on target, don’t make these social media branding mistakes:

Failure To Blog

If you don’t realize your social identity includes blogging, then there is no help for you. Not only does blogging create a thought leadership persona for you, it also enriches your social media platforms — not to mention the SEO benefits that can be derived from well executed blog content. Your social branding is critically tied to your blogging performance. Generating timely blog posts that speak to the expectations, problems, goals and requirements of your target audience will benefit your branding greatly and enrich all traditional marketing, social media and even inbound marketing strategies. Failure to blog is failure to accept social ownership that your content is important. Shame on you!

Inconsistent Updates

Taking social ownership of your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube and various social media platforms means consistent content sharing. You must update your social media platforms every day — or at least Monday to Friday. You must update your Twitter more than once a day — no business will ever be brand defined by one lonely, lazy tweet and, if it is, it may not be positive. Pledge to social updating with consistency and energy throughout 2015. There exists a host of tools that can help in scheduling and publishing social updates, including but not limited to HootsuiteTweetdeck and Hubspot. With social media tracking and engagement tools in place, there is no reason for your social platforms to be silent in 2015.

Thoughtless Shares

It’s not enough to publish to your social media platforms. You must care about what you are publishing — and to the target audiences of your publishing efforts. Thoughtless content is directionless sharing. No real theme. No real purpose. Not even a hashtag!

You can create social media fans and experience the benefits of social engagement with followers if you take the time to get a little creative. If you own a car wash, create a #RedCarTuesday incentive and call for images of red cars or promote a discount for all red cars every Tuesday. If you own a bakery, have fun with #CupCakeFridays or #WeddingCakeMondays and feature your signature confections as you call out to social followers to share images of their favorites.

Take the time to give some thought to your social content stream. Design hashtags that fit your service areas — and use them appropriately. Engage your audience with incentives that present solutions, motivation or inspiration to them in some way. Your social shares can make you the most popular car wash — or bakery — in town! If only you gave your social updates a little thought.

Audience Persona, What?

You do realize your social ownership — and the very nature of your social media content — should speak directly to your buyer persona. Your buyer persona — or audience persona — is your target audience.

These are the people you want to connect to with every tweet, share and new post. Think about what interests them and what their professional and even personal demands may be. Speak to them with content that addresses the technologies, trends and news that impacts their businesses — and their personal lives.

Think about what their professional goals are and what common problems they may face in their careers or business segments. Take the time to build audience personas of the people you want to communicate with the most. It’s not difficult to categorize your audience persona — just take a look at your customers, vendors, colleagues and friends!

Poor Humor. Poor Timing. Or Both!

One of the most unfortunate social media failures of 2014 was DiGiorno’s inappropriate use of #WhyIStayed. Following Janay Palmer Rice’s decision to stay with NFL player Ray Rice after a domestic violence incident during 2014, the hashtag #WhyIStayed trended strong on Twitter. DiGiorno Pizza innocently tried to join the conversation, tweeting #WhyIStayed You had pizza. Within minutes, the inappropriate tweet was deleted and the company apologized, claiming it didn’t know what the hashtag was about before tweeting.

Another case in point: To celebrate July 4, American Apparel used its Tumblr to post an image of the ill-fated space shuttle Challenger — exploding. After receiving a load of negative social feedback, the company apologized, reporting that its social media manager was born after the Challenger disaster and didn’t realize the significance of the image.

And let’s not forget Dave & Buster’s promotion of its Taco Tuesday with the tweet:

I hate tacos’ said no Juan ever. #TacoTuesday #DaveandBusters’ 

The insensitive tweet incited complaints, and of course the company issued an apology for its perceived racist remark. What’s the lesson when it comes to humor and timing with social ownership? Never assume what you think is funny — actually is funny. And try to be mindful of seasonal, cultural, trending — and devastatingly tragic historic events.

Social Media Photo via Shutterstock


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MarketingProfs – Why Social Is the New Word-of-Mouth Marketing, and What That Means




January 7, 2015

By Brewster Stanislaw

Happy Young Executive Sitting With Smartphone

Word-of-mouth is the oldest, most powerful marketing channel in the history of mankind.

It’s so old that it was marketing before marketing even existed. And it’s so powerful that it’s the most trusted source of product, content, and experience information for nearly every consumer in the world. We’ll always trust the opinions of peers and like-minded individuals over marketing copy geared to make us purchase.

Word-of-mouth started with people interacting in person and sharing preferences, then people writing letters… Eventually, technology advances, such as the telephone, led to people expanding on this sharing of information. With the emergence of the Internet and the mass adoption of smartphones, social media has helped word-of-mouth become as powerful and pervasive as ever.

The difference today is that brands can now use word-of-mouth in ways they couldn’t before.

And if you think about it, social is word-of-mouth. Except now it’s digital, which means it has a whole new set of properties. It’s trackable, attributable, and optimizable.

Those properties offer marketers a tremendous opportunity to understand word-of-mouth today—what’s being said to drive sales, who’s saying it, and where it’s being said.

That has never been possible until now.

An Example

Let me explain what I mean. Imagine if a shoe salesperson at a department store could be privy to a conversation among a group of girls walking the retail floor. If the salesperson could know which girl influenced the purchasing behavior for the others or what the girls were really saying about the shoes they liked best (not the sanitized version they’d use in front of a salesperson), this salesperson could be far more effective in her sales approach.

Doing that isn’t possible offline because consumers keep these thoughts and feelings private. But in social, these thoughts and feelings suddenly become public (or at least trackable, to some extent). Social opens the door for brands, so they can understand the content, channels, and people that drive business results from word-of-mouth.

The Power of Conversation

More importantly, such understanding lets marketers get better results by harnessing and amplifying word-of-mouth through social.

Looking ahead, brands will pay to amplify existing word-of-mouth recommendations, ensuring that every consumer sees word-of-mouth endorsements relevant to him or her.

Brands will also pay to facilitate more of these organic interactions, rather than force their own, because word-of-mouth is so much more powerful than other mediums and because marketers finally have a way to understand and shape it.

Facebook, for example, already attempts to surface the organic content that it believes a user will find most interesting, but we often miss this content because of the sheer volume of shares from friends. We don’t miss ads because Facebook ensures their placement at the top of the feed each time we log in and also draws extra attention to them in the user interface.

In the future, those ads won’t be content created by the brand; instead, they’ll be shared content about, or related to, brands (which Facebook has algorithmically identified as most interesting to us).

In a practical sense, this means, for example, that Nike will have the ability to ensure that sneakerheads see all the consumer-generated shares about Nike footwear or the sneaker subculture associated with it by paying to give those shares premium placement in the newsfeed. This is a step beyond Facebook’s failed Sponsored Stories. And it uses behavioral data to understand the shares that are most interesting to customers, with the brand paying to make sure the content is seen.

Using Word-of-Mouth for Larger Marketing Campaigns 

Brands will increasingly make earned social (or word-of-mouth) a part of their larger campaigns, too.

Heineken’s Departure Roulette social follow-up (Departure Roulette En Route) is a good example of a brand brilliantly capitalizing on the natural social sharing of its content as part of a broader product launch. As we move forward with social, I believe that more and more holistic campaigns will feature social-sharing components derived from smarter social tracking and understanding.

Finally, there’s another major incentive for brands to promote word-of-mouth.

In a nutshell, the more brands can get people to talk, the more they can learn from them, and the more brands can engage and grow their relationship with their customers.

The Power of Sharing

Social allows consumers to communicate with a greater number of people than ever.

Social also gives people greater opportunity to share by removing the friction obstacle (just one click and users can send or receive a recommendation).

Lastly, social networks actively drive effective and influential sharing behavior by creating status around it.

People who frequently share high-quality reviews on Yelp are given Yelp Elite status, for example. And Twitter makes follower counts highly visible, increasing status as the number of followers grows.

All of that actively stimulates more, and more effective, sharing—and consumers have become publishers today, thanks to social, which provides a mass distribution network for each person. Moving forward, consumers will increasingly be encouraged and rewarded to put out more and higher quality content to receive some sort of status promotion.

One area where social has yet to “crack the code,” however, is time—making sure that people get content when they are best suited to consume it. We’re much better at knowing the “what” (what will get people to convert) and the “how” (the channel) than the “when.” But time is a critical component when maximizing word-of-mouth, and we need to remember that fact.

The Power of Insight

Word-of-mouth is the most powerful channel of influence, and social will only further cement this reality—especially in a world of big data, where social’s trackable and attributable nature will give us insights into consumer behavior and its potential and current influence. Just as significantly, social’s trackable and attributable nature will also give us a more nuanced understanding of how people are influenced socially.

But the ultimate takeaway is that social is misunderstood in many quarters.

For me, social is a more potent version of something we already understand very well—word-of-mouth—and, when harnessed effectively, it can become the most important marketing channel for decades to come (just as word-of-mouth has been for century after century).

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Personal Branding Blog – 7 Steps to Create a Viral Marketing Campaign

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January 6, 2015

By Brian Horn


Creating a marketing campaign that “goes viral” is the goal of every marketer.

What is the secret to creating a campaign that is going to “go viral?”

The answer is complicated.

In fact, it’s almost impossible to predict what campaigns will go viral, and which ones will flounder. That said, there are some steps you can take to increase your chances of having your campaign go viral.

If you are striving to build a viral marketing campaign, here’s how you can give your campaign the best shot.

1.) Make It Visual

The things that go viral are the things that are visually appealing, in almost all instances. Adding video or images to your campaign is one of the first things you need to do to build a viral marketing campaign.

Even if the majority of your message is text-based, find a compelling image or create a compelling video to go along with it.

When choosing your visual, first make sure it matches your brand. Never make a video or include an image that compromises your brand in any way.

However, you also need to make sure that the visuals are viral-worthy. Make them humorous, informative or surprising. The more surprising, the more of a chance the item has of being shared.

2.) Plan the Message

While some viral campaigns are accidental, most are carefully planned.

You can’t plan enough to promise that your material will go viral, but you do need to plan to ensure that your message is clear. Make a careful script for your video or a careful plan for your infographic so that your ultimate message is clearly received by your audience.

Then, if the campaign does go viral like you are hoping, you will be able to share your message with more and more people.

3.) Work the Emotions

Viral campaigns are the ones that tug on people’s emotions. Often they are humorous, but they can also be sentimental. As you plan the campaign, make sure there is an emotional catch.

That’s not to say that informative posts or videos can’t go viral, but unfortunately, information alone is often not enough. You need to grab the person with something emotional. Play on their fears, hopes, dreams or sense of humor, and your campaign will be far more likely to go viral.

4.) Know Your Audience

As you consider the emotional triggers to tap, make sure you know the triggers that affect your audience.

What is it they want from you?

Are they hoping for some super secret information?

Are they looking to be entertained?

Are they wanting to appear informed and clever?

If you can identify these triggers and work them into your content, it will be far more effective.

Remember, your audience is not the same as another audience. A campaign with celebrities going without makeup and taking selfies may work well for a beauty care company, but it’s not going to reach executive level bankers. You must know your audience and its triggers for success.

5.) Keep the Campaign Simple

Your campaign cannot be complicated. If you are sending a novel to your target audience, they aren’t going to pass it on.

A short video, a simple infographic or a concise article are the most likely targets for something that goes viral. Stick to two or three main marketing messages, and nothing more, in your campaign.

Once you have grown your audience through your viral marketing campaign, you can give them additional information when they come to you directly.

6.) Launch the Campaign

Planning your viral marketing campaign is just the first step. Once it’s planned, you have to launch it properly to see it go viral.

To launch your viral marketing campaign, start by knowing your audience.

When are they most likely to be online, visiting social media sites?

This is the best time to launch your campaign. Spread it throughout your social marketing sites, and encourage your followers to share. If the video, article or image sparks something in your audience, you will be able to sit back and watch as it goes viral.

7.) Don’t Try to Force It

Don’t hit your audience too hard with your new campaign, though. If it’s going to go viral, it will. If it’s not, no amount of blasting is going to make it happen. Launch your campaign at a strategic time, remind your audience about it casually, and then see what happens.

Remember, the goal of a viral marketing campaign is two-fold. First, it is to increase exposure for your brand.

Second, it us to improve your relationship with your existing audience by giving them something of value. If you can keep these two goals in mind, you can create a successful campaign that has a strong likelihood of going viral.

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