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The Proven Ideal Length of Every Tweet, Facebook Post, and Headline Online

Headline and subheads imageIf you’re gonna trust anyone when it comes to how long your social media content and online headlines should be, trust Fast Company.

Their article is really helpful when you’re looking to increase engagement with your content. You only have a few seconds to captures people’s attention right? Learn what “short and sweet” really means here:

The Proven Ideal Length Of Every Tweet, Facebook Post, And Headline Online | Fast Company | Business + Innovation.

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Posted by on May 8, 2014 in New Media

 

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How to Use Social Media in Philanthropy: Run4Philippines.com Knows How

Run4PhilippinesIn the wake of the destruction caused by Typhoon Haiyan, Utah philanthropic organization Run4Philippines sprung up to help the people of the Philippines recover. By promoting their January 25th 5 and 10K Provo, Utah running event through social media, the organization hopes to generate enough funds to help with reconstruction and food donations.

You may be asking, “What does a 5K have to do with new media?” When it comes to humanitarian causes, Run4Philipines’ use of social media is exemplary. You philanthropist’s should take note.

Here’s the take away message in a nutshell: Run4Philippines uses social media how their potential donors would want them to use it. With three out of four young donors liking, retweeting, or sharing nonprofit content on social networks, listening to how millennials expect a non-profit to approach them through social media will increase their likelihood to interact with it. Interaction spurs donations.

As part of its 2013 Millennial Impact Report, Achieve asked 100 millennial donors to review a number of non-profit social media pages. Based on their honest feedback, I’ve listed four ways to improve your use of social media to effectively market your philanthropic cause.

Post Content That Builds Credibility

This is the age of content marketing. People want to see additional content on your social media pages that will give your cause and organization credibility. Try providing articles, educational blog posts, case studies, or content from humanitarian organizations that support your cause or have a similar cause.

The Run4Philippines Facebook page currently shows a blog post about the 5 and 10K run event written by the Mayor of Provo, Utah; the city where the run will be hosted. It also shows an article from the local newspaper about the event and its organizers.

Post Content that’s Sharable

If you can, try and kill two birds with one stone by making your credibility building content sharable. As we all know, people love sharing content online. This is because sharing content allows people to fulfill basic motivations, one of them being the desire to spread the word about causes—all the more reason to purposefully make your cause related content sharable.

Some of the most shared content on the Run4Philippines Facebook page includes video. One video is about the cause, made by Run4Philippines and the other shows Utah State Senator, Mike Lee promoting the January 25th event.

Video is a great medium to promote sharing. In fact it’s the 4th most shared content format behind pictures, links and quotes.

Provide Website Access

This might seem like a no brainer when setting up your organizations social media presence but donors who visit these pages know that the most information about the cause and its associated event is on your web page. Make sure the link is prominently placed so they can get all the info they want.

Run4Philippines has their URL as their Facebook page title (Run4Philippines.com) and has also placed it prominently in the “About” section.

Clearly Show What Your Organization is about

Just like a product on the shelf, your donors will make a split second decision as to whether they want to invest their time and money into supporting your cause. For this reason it’s important to concisely list what you’re offering (the cause to be supported and the event) in a prominent place on your social media sites.

The fact that so many 5 and 10K runs are organized to support causes and that the typhoon event is still fresh in people’s minds allows the Run4Philippines name to convey a lot of clear meaning as to what the organization does. It doesn’t hurt that they placed their name throughout the header of the site and that they provided their mission statement in the “About” section.

With so many people willing and wanting to interact with companies through social media these days, it’s crucial for philanthropically focused organizations to use social media to their advantage. Following these four donor suggested tactics will surely help your cause.

With nearly 6,000 people dead and over 4 million displaced, the Filipino nation needs your help. Register for the Run4Philippines 5 or 10K run up until event day, January 25th, 2014. Register at www.Run4Philippines.com. Enjoy a concert, hot air balloons, Polar Bear Plunge, food and many other fun activities.

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2014 in New Media

 

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Instagram – An Easy Tool for Building Brand Loyalty

Instagram_Icon_LargePoor Instagram; very few brands harness your power to build brand loyalty. Or should I say poor brands! Many of you are missing out! If your brand can produce plenty of visual content, which most can, using Instagram is an incredibly easy way to get it in front of your audience in order to build brand loyalty.

Sharing visual content is a great way to build brand loyalty for two main reasons:

“A picture’s worth a thousand words” – This phrase still rings true today; more than ever I’d say. Visuals can convey more to people than most text which makes this sort of content valuable and worth seeking out.

Pictures get more interaction – People interact with pictures far more than any other type of content on social media sites. They’re more willing to comment on and share pictures and other imagery than text content only. Visuals are just more fun and provide more talking points.

Essentially, because of the popularity of visual content these days, if a brand can post this sort of media on a consistent basis, its audience will continue to come back for more. As they come back for more, they begin to recognize the vast number of like-minded brand supporters that they’re a part of. As they recognize this, they become comfortable with the idea of commenting on the brands content and interacting with other brand followers. This interaction fosters a deepened support and love for the brand.

This like-minded, mutually supportive group is called a “brand community.” The brand community is where much of a brands strength and equity comes from. Just think of Apple Computers and their loyal community. Apple wouldn’t be what it is today without its loyal brand community.

Now back to Instagram. Why am I specifically pushing Instagram as a means to influence brand loyalty? Because not only is it the fastest growing social media site today but because it’s all about visual content, nothing more. Unlike Facebook or Twitter, Instagram only allows image posts with captions. There are no text-only posts.

Thus, the increasing throng of Instagram visitors, whether on their phones or online, are purposefully seeking visual content. They want to seek you out and see what you can show them. They want content they can comment on and share with friends.

So, how do you use Instagram to build brand loyalty? Five fundamental tactics are below.

Post pictures that show your brands human side – I know I’ve said this a lot but, the more human you can be, the more relatable your brand will be. People relate best to humans rather than logos and packaging alone.

Post pictures of employees at internal office events or of consumer’s and employees at tradeshows, conferences or promotional events.

Post pictures of your product or service – Show your community ways your product or service can be used. Essentially, you can inspire them to interact with your brand in ways they may not have realized, endearing them to your brand further.

Ask your community members to post pictures of your brand – It’s extremely common for people to define themselves based on the brands they buy (picture Apple customers again). You audience will indeed be willing to post pictures of themselves using your product or service because it means something to them personally.

Ask community members to tag their branded photos with your hashtag (# + whatever your brands Instagram screen name is).

Advertise additional content – Post the image you used on your other content to increase traffic to it. Almost all your content such as blog posts, white papers, case studies, etc. should have imagery associated with it. You have ready-made Instagram posts awaiting you.

Participate in Instagram weekly events – Every Thursday is #throwbackthursday and every Friday is #flashbackfriday. Use these events to post images from quality content from the past such as blog posts or white papers that could be helpful today.

Not every post needs to have a heavy marketing angle though. Maybe use these weekly posting events just for fun. If you’re an Ethernet cable company for example I can see you posting a picture of some telephone lines with a caption that reads, “Remember dial-up? Medieval huh? How long ago did you make the switch?”

So you can get an idea of the type of content that works on Instagram, here are a few brands that use Instagram extremely well. Fire up the Instagram app or website and type in the words in quotes to find them.

starbucks” (Starbucks brand coffee shops)

nhlbruins” (Boston Bruins hockey team)

puma” (Puma brand athletic shoes)

sharpie” (Sharpie brand permanent markers)

We’re all trying to build a loyal following for our company’s. Loyalty requires giving our audience members what they want. And these days, it takes more than just a quality product or service. They want visual content that’s sharable. Instagram is a great way to give them what they want.

 

 
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Posted by on October 7, 2013 in New Media

 

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How Do You Measure the Effectiveness of New Media? – As Best as You Can

Media Measuring Tape

Written for Pacific Bridge Marketing; Washington D.C.

New media” or “emerging media” consists of any newer or newly emerging media formats that can be used in marketing.  These include social networks such as Facebook and Twitter; social media sites such as Pinterest and YouTube; websites; apps; widgets; podcasts; RSS feeds; banner ads; blogs; in-game advertisements, Bluetooth marketing and much more. These formats are notorious for being difficult to measure and evaluate.

New media is called such because it’s simply newer than traditional marketing formats such as TV, radio, and print advertising.  It’s the newness and evolving nature of these media that makes measuring their effectiveness harder (think of Facebook’s ever changing advertising rules, privacy policies and user interface).

Todd Watson, eRelationship Manager for IBM said in an interview with Google that there is such a “land rush” of new and emerging media that if we really want to figure out how to measure these new media well enough, we would have to wait until the land rush stops and for standardized measurement metrics to be developed.   He and we both know that the land rush will not be stopping anytime soon.  He goes on to say that because these new media aren’t standardized and because new media formats are developed constantly, we need to use whatever we can to measure their effectiveness.

I feel the best way to standardize the measurement of new media is to use both web metrics and online consumer surveys simultaneously.  Using web metrics can quantify the success of a new media format by counting click through rates (number of people arriving on your webpage, RSS feed, YouTube channel etc.), conversion rates (number of online purchases), bounce rates (how many leave soon after they get there) etc. Yet clicks and traffic don’t tell you everything you want to know.

Using consumer surveys on top of web metrics can help qualify the reasons behind the click through rate, conversion rate and bounce rate.  A survey can discover why the consumer clicked or why they made a purchase or why they spent so much time on the site.  It’s good to know that a company’s app is attracting more click throughs and conversions than the company’s website but knowing why is important.  Knowing why would lead to an improved website experience for the consumer and an improved brand experience overall which can lead to numerous things – purchase, repurchase, word-of-mouth etc.

These two measurement tactics can standardize the measurement of a new media formats  effectiveness because 1) web metrics are already standardized – a click is a click whether it’s on a website or a podcast and 2) once survey questions are formulated properly, they can be asked at different times during the life of the company’s use of a new media format and still be applicable – a question about how confusing a website is when it’s first launched will still be applicable if asked 1, 5 or 10 years later.

These two measurement tactics will not only standardize the measurement of new media formats but also provide actionable measurements to benefit the company.  Is there any other reason a company would go through the trouble to measure effectiveness of their marketing program than to take action based on the results?  Attempting to standardize measurements will provide more consistent results over time and help to prove that any action taken as a result was merited.

How do you measure the effectiveness of your new media marketing? We’d love to hear from you.

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2013 in New Media

 

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Building Personal Brand Equity on LinkedIn: What Today’s Digital Networkers Should Avoid

Building Personal Brand Equity on LinkedIn: What Today’s Digital Networkers Should Avoid

I recently wrote a blog post for Pacific Bridge Marketing out of the Washington, D.C. area in which I discussed 10 things that people using LinkedIn to build their own personal brand equity should avoid doing.

What we do and say online can impact what others think of us.  If we as professionals don’t conduct ourselves correctly online, especially on social media sites, we could miss out on job opportunities and promotions or in the worst case scenario, lose our job.  Building our personal brand equity is a process and requires that we know how to use online tools like LinkedIn correctly.

Below are a handful of the things we should avoid doing on LinkedIn specifically in order to correctly build our personal brand equity:

  • Inappropriate Connection Requests
  • Being a Spammer
  • Posting Uneducated Updates or Comments
  • Having Generic Recommendations
  • Making Last-Minute Connections

Read the full article here to learn more.

More on personal branding and building personal brand equity here.

Happy Linking!

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2013 in New Media

 

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How to Find a Job Through LinkedIn

LinkedIn logoI recently wrote a blog post for Pacific Bridge Marketing out of Washington, D.C..  In it, I explained how to find a job through LinkedIn, one of the most powerful career networking sites available to date.  I listed over 20 ways that the site can be used for this purpose, making it what seems to be the most comprehensive resource for this specific endeavor through this particular site.

The post is broken down into 4 sections, each of which is a different way to make the site help you find a job.  They are:

  • Making Your Profile Searchable
  • Making Your Profile Engaging
  • Making the Site Work for You
  • Putting in Your Time

You can choose how much you want LinkedIn to help you in your search by how many or how few of the techniques in each section you apply.

Check it out here.

Good luck on the job hunt!

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2012 in New Media

 

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Marketing by Word of Mouth? – Finding the Right People to Spread the Word is Crucial

Online word-of-mouthWhat’s the main reason we as marketers use social media platforms?  To get people to talk about our brands right?  We want them to talk about our brands because word-of-mouth is such a powerful source of influence on purchase decisions.  In fact, word-of-mouth is the number 1 source of information that influences purchase decisions; more so than websites and customer reviews according to a report from Experian.

With word-of-mouth being such an important marketing tool, it’s important to know who will be the most likely to provide the most influential word-of-mouth through social channels.  According to Josh Bernoff, vice president of Forrester Research, people use social media differently, and therefore some will be more likely to spread the word about your brand than others.  The labeling of different classes of social media users Bernoff calls “Social Technographics” which relates to ones demographics and psychographics.

There are 6 different technographic classes; going from those who are the most active users of social media at the top of the list to those who are the least active on the bottom:

  • Creators – They publish their own blogs and web pages; upload their own video and audio content; write their own articles etc.
  • Critics – They post product reviews and ratings; comment on others blogs; contribute on forum’s etc.
  • Collectors – They vote, “share,” “retweet,” “like” or “favorite;” they use RSS feeds; they tag web pages etc.
  • Joiners – They have joined social networks and social media sites and maintain their profile and visit them often.
  • Spectators – They read, watch and listen, but don’t contribute to the conversation.
  • Inactives – They have social profiles but don’t do any of the above.

Targeting the “creators,” critics” and “collectors” is usually your best bet for spreading word-of-mouth about your brand.  But how do you know who they are?  Forrester Research was kind enough to make the tool below to help you find out.  First click the image to go to the tools web page, then simply select the age range, country and gender of your target audience and the tool will show you what percentage of them are “creators,” critics,” “collectors” etc.  You’ll be able to see which technographic profiles should be targeted in order to use them to reach that specific age group and gender.

Forrester's Social Technographics Tool

This tool gives you a high level view of who your influentials are based on their technographic profile.  Now all you have to do is figure out which social media platforms to engage them through to get them talking.  This is a different topic in and of its self though.  (I’ll give you a clue; a good place to start is Quantcast.com).

Word of mouth is powerful if you can find those who are willing to talk.  This tool is a great place to start looking.

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2012 in New Media

 

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Making Powerful Connections with Consumers Online

Connecting-customersThe bottom line mission of any brand is to build lasting relationships with their customers.  Is there really anything else a company wants than to have repeat business from loyal customers?  There are 2 reasons for building lasting relationships: 1) A lasting relationship is more profitable than beginning a new one and 2) a lasting relationship is how brand equity is built.  Brand equity is the intangible value that a brand holds in the mind of the consumer.  A brands equity depends on 2 things: 1) how aware the consumer is of the brand and 2) how positive the consumer is about what they know about the brand as perceived by its image, identity etc.  If a brand is able to build a lasting relationship with a customer, the customer will end up being very aware of the brand and will usually hold a positive perception of the brand.  The more relationships of this nature the higher the brand equity.

Building a lasting relationship requires the brand to offer a message and a product or service that the consumer identifies with; a message and product that inspires or reflects their lifestyle.  In order to inspire or reflect the lifestyle of the consumer, the brand itself has to live the same lifestyle.  Conveying a brands lifestyle is primarily done through its voice and corresponding visuals.  A brands voice and visuals work to convey a brands character, image and identity, which are the outward expression of a brands lifestyle.

What is voice and how is it established?  Brand voice is exactly as it seems.  It’s what the brand sounds like in written form and even spoken form.  To establish a brands voice 4 things need to be considered:

  1. What is the character or persona of the brand?  Is the brand friendly, warm, playful, professional, or…?
  2. What is the tone that the brand should have in its written and verbal communications?  Should the tone be personal, honest, scientific, humble, or…?
  3. What type of language should the brand use in its communications?  Is its language complex, serious, simple, fun, whimsical, or…?
  4. What is the purpose of your brands communications?  Is the purpose of the brands communications to engage, entertain, inform, educate, or…?

Visuals, like voice are a powerful means to conveying a brands lifestyle to the consumer.  Visuals can be even more powerful than voice though because they are an embodiment of the brands voice; they show what the voice wants to say.  It can be very effective to show what the brand wants to say even before the consumer reads what it wants to say.  This is why some ads that employ the right visual content are more effective than those that rely more so or solely on verbal content.

Take for example Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy’s hamburger restaurants.  There is a reason he starred in nearly every Wendy’s commercial up until his passing.  Dave Thomas was a visual representation of the voice of Wendy’s.  He was a friendly character (character) that was honest and personal (tone), who spoke simply (language) to educate (purpose) the consumer about Wendy’s.  Below is a Wendy’s commercial with Dave Thomas to illustrate the point.

 

The most effective way to demonstrate a brands lifestyle to its target audience in an attempt to build a lasting relationship with them is to place ads that use both the brands voice and visuals in the places the target audience spends its time.  What types of media does the average consumer consume these days? According to a 2011 study, 56.5% of the media used by 5 different generations (Baby Boomers, Generation X, Adult Millennials, Teen Millennials and iGen) is offline media.  This includes radio, movies on a TV, TV, console games, personal media players, newspapers, magazines, books and music that is not on a radio.  The other 43.5% of media used is online media.  This includes news and information, Facebook, entertainment, videos, games and shopping.  This information concludes that using offline media would be the most effective for getting a brands message across because of reach, but which type of media is more involving in order to draw the consumer in and have them spend more time with the brand in order to be more influenced by its message, offline or online media?

It’s been said that online media, specifically new media such as websites, social networks, blogs, microblogging platforms, and mobile apps allow both the brand and the consumer a literal voice in a media cluttered world.  These tactics allow a brand to more fully demonstrate their voice and employ the use of strategic visuals as well as converse about the brand with the consumer directly, all of which allows the brand to become more live, personal and human in the eyes of the consumer.  By being more human the brand is more relatable and relevant to the consumer.  Being more relatable and relevant gives the consumer a reason to spend more time with the brand online and be affected by its message more frequently, likely leading to action on their part.  In essence, the brand can more easily convey the lifestyle it’s trying to create or reflect through online media.

A company that excels in the use of new media to create lasting relationships with its customers is Threadless.comThreadless is an innovator in t-shirt marketing and sales.  The company mainly makes trendy and quirky t-shirts whose designs are 100% crowdsourced from a large group of loyal designers who are also their loyal customers.  All of the designs are submitted by the consumer and all of the shirts sold on Threadless.com are there because the consumer voted to have them there.

Threadless is essentially a maker of makers; a creator of creators.  It’s a company that wants to consistently offer something new and unique and its patrons are the same in that they want to create what’s new and unique.  Both the designers and the voters end up creating the new and unique stuff that Threadless ends up selling.  This 100% crowdsourcing model is what helps perpetuate the Threadless lifestyle and the corresponding lifestyle of the consumer.

How does new media come into play in selling the Threadless lifestyle?  The only physical presence Threadless has is a single storefront in Chicago.  The company solely uses new media to spread its voice and associated visuals (the visuals are mainly pictures of the newest trendy and quirky shirt designs).  They have an online forum for designers and fans alike to connect; a blog that covers news and happenings at Threadless, a YouTube channel featuring news and funny employee and designer videos and social networking site such as Google+, Twitter and of course Facebook, all of which are used to promote the opportunity to submit designs and vote on them.  Most of these tactics are the best available for conveying a brands voice and including appropriate visual content which as mentioned previously helps in conveying a brands lifestyle.

For Threadless, the lifestyle they sell, sells the products more than the products sell the lifestyle.  This is because the consumer gets to have a say in what Threadless creates.  By being part of the creating of Threadless’s inventory, Threadless can almost be sure that the consumers who made the designs or voted on them will also buy the t-shirt they voted on or designed.  The creation process created the consumption.

Although the products themselves could in fact sell the Threadless lifestyle, it’s probably less likely because it’s less likely that a person who doesn’t know how to design will end up designing a shirt after they buy one from Threadless (becoming a maker or creator because of the product they bought).

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2012 in New Media

 

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5 Things You Shouldn’t Post On Your Social Media Sites

Social Media No No Man

5 Things You Shouldn’t Post On Your Social Media Sites.

This SoshiTech.com article provides great insight into common ways we as social marketers can turn off our current followers and limit the accrual of new ones.  Below are some highlights of the article:

“Spamming someone’s Facebook wall or Twitter timeline is another massive annoying habit. This includes posting links to someone’s wall or tagging them in pictures they have nothing to do with. Just throwing things like that in people’s faces is not a good way to build a relationship or network via social media.”

“Sending out mass messages could perhaps be one of the most annoying of them all.”

We as marketers may do some of the things mentioned in this article unknowingly.  In essence, social media should be used to build sustainable relationships with customers; one’s that are as personal as possible.  Ask yourself, “Would I do these things to my closest personal friends?”  If the answer is no, which it should be, then don’t do them to your Facebook fans or Twitter followers.

Social media is the best way to make friends for your brand.  To do so, basically do the opposite of the 5 no-no’s mentioned in the article and you will do well.

 
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Posted by on February 29, 2012 in New Media

 

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The Science of Social Timing

This infographic provides some great insight as to when to post on Facebook and tweet on Twitter.  Timing is everything.  Post or tweet too soon or too late in the day or on the wrong days of the week and no one will be ready to read what you have to say.  Don’t waste your time and money; post when appropriate.

science of social timing part 1

Original article: The Science of Social Timing

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2012 in New Media

 

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