Image Courtesy of Vine
In case you missed it, Vine has just pushed a rather interesting update that introduces a new feature – Vine Messages – to their platform.
In a nutshell, Vine Messages (or VMs) enables video conversations – one-to-one or one-to-many – with other Vine users. The option can be found in the app’s navigation menu: to send a VM, simply go to the “Messages” screen or tap the “Message” button on a user profile – it’s that simple.
Now here’s where it gets interesting…
VMs aren’t limited to one’s Vine contacts: anyone can send a VM to anyone via email or SMS, even if they’re not part of the Vine community. Seems like an interesting way to engage our followers, crowdsource feedback, invite non-Vine users to connect, etc.
On the flip-side, having the service “open to all” could have darker implications… something to keep an eye on for sure.
Based on a recent study conducted by comScore, we can add Social Media to the list of activities that are moving from our desktops to our devices.
More than two-thirds of the time users spend on the Facebook can be attributed to mobile devices, according to the survey. For Twitter, more than 85%. Activity on image-heavy platforms (like Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr) is also happening on mobile, while LinkedIn is largely “desktop.”
Some great data points to keep in mind.
With Women’s History Month almost over, we’ve been reflecting on contributions made by women of the world. A couple of observations stand out:
- Remarkable women challenge the status-quo, make a ruckus and stop at nothing to incite change when needed.
- Today, women are better equipped than ever to make an impact, thanks to the digital tools at our disposal.
Here are a few examples of extraordinary women who have employed key communication skills when re-shaping their world:
- Eleanor Roosevelt – the Former First Lady had an international mindset. A prolific and outspoken activist, Eleanor held more than 340 press conferences, and penned her own daily newspaper column. She lobbied heavily for her husband during his 12 years in office, and publicly challenged his policies if she disagreed with them. Just imagine what she could have done with Twitter!
- Princess Diana – the People’s Princess masterfully worked the media, bringing global attention to causes of her choice, always with intent of giving voice to the sick, the poor and the forgotten.
- Margaret Thatcher – the Iron Lady took media relations into the modern age, using rhetoric and persuasive communication to re-shape attitudes and actuality. She also knew how to leverage a photo opportunity to show her own will aligned with the country’s.
- Hillary Clinton – the glass ceiling cracker, former Secretary of State and the only First Lady ever to run for public office, embraced the digital world joining Twitter last year after the Texts From Hillary meme went viral. Hillary’s Twitter handle now has 1.25MM followers. She shares updates on world issues, cause work and The Super Bowl.
- Malala Yousafzai – the teenage education activist embodies the power of storytelling. First in writing an undercover blog, then in recounting her story of surviving a Taliban assassination attempt to inspire girls all over the world to push for education. Her compelling story brings a face to the issue, and helps people connect with the cause.
You have to wonder what might these women have achieved if they had all been armed with social media? Today we don’t have to rely on the media to voice our opinions, we have the tools to instantaneously go directly to the world. As we press on re-shaping the status-quo, may we utilize all the digital tools in our arsenal and continue to make a fuss.
Image Courtesy of Google
Image Courtesy of Digital Roots
According to Tom Zellman and Jacki Halas, both of Digital Roots, there are eight steps to building the kinds of campaigns that can turn occasional consumers into lifelong customers.
During their session at SXSW 2014, How to Build Ultimate Surprise and Delight Campaigns, the pair (whose Detroit-based company offers custom-built software for Social CRM, monitoring and engagement) presented an approach that all begins with listening. If one can cut through the clutter and isolate the “1 to 2% of brand-relevant data” that consumers generate, the insights gleaned can be very powerful, shared Zellman. But first, you have to “find the conversation.”
It’s no secret that the proliferation of Social Media tools has not only impacted consumer behaviors, but the ways companies provide customer support. “90% of customers would rather search online for an answer to a question before dialing into a call center,” said Halas. The immediacy of response has given rise to a new trend: customer crowd-sourcing. Customers are often turning to their networks first for answers, so it’s easy to see that helpful on-demand content and good customer service go hand in hand.
Once those organic conversations are located, it’s okay to “stalk a bit,” added Zellman. Responding to customer issues in Social Media, in real-time, can be tricky, particularly when the individual behind a grievance hasn’t engaged a brand directly. “There’s a tough line to toe,” he explained. “You want to respect their privacy [but] you want to demonstrate you are listening and provide the highest level of service possible,” and that means you have to make it personal.
The fourth step shared by the duo focused on the need for clear objectives: “surprise and delight efforts typically take one of two forms,” offered Zellman. They appear as “part of a marketing campaign that’s designed to showcase customer stories” or as “search and rescue efforts that help answer questions or quell complaints.” Whichever path one takes, it’s critical that goals be defined before diving in. It’s also important to decide how to surprise and delight. Is your reward a product sample? A free cup of coffee? An at-home visit from a famous popstar? What matters is that you choose something that fits with your brand AND has value to your customers.
Sixth in the process was collaboration. Whether you’re attempting to build advocacy or responding to a crisis, working with others across your organization is key. Understanding desired outcomes will help to “give your campaign flavor,” said Halas. From there, you can “launch and optimize as needed.”
Delivering in a meaningful way came next, with a nod toward immediacy and personalization as the “biggest factors in driving brand loyalty.” The best surprise and delight campaigns are those that take these factors into account and use data and analytics to provide solutions that are both timely and relevant.
With each of the aforementioned observed, you’re well on your way to turning that occasional consumer into a lifelong customer. While certainly not surprised, we were delighted to learn that 33% of the companies polled by Digital Roots are on board with “service marketing,” and we look forward to seeing this trend brought to life in the months ahead.
Image courtesy of imagethink.net
The star of this year’s SXSW Interactive was neither app nor gadget. Sure, the event had its fair share of new services and trendy wearables, but 2014′s real hero was content. Even on panels where topics ranged from data to devices, content managed to steal the stage, with much of the conversation focusing on the role marketers play in the processes of creation and distribution.
Whether it bore the label “storytelling” or “native advertising,” the goal of content marketing was never under dispute: it’s all about engagement. Brands want to create content that’s sticky and fosters a sense of love and loyalty; consumers, on the other hand, are looking for anything that brings utility and value into their lives. It’s a tension that few brands have been able to resolve.
According to Shane Snow, co-founder of Contently, the days of self-centered branded content are over: “they’re ads, and ads don’t work in a world ruled by the Social Media-empowered masses.” No surprise there: it’s always been the relationship that matters. The quality of a brand’s content will determine the degree to which consumers and influencers invest, whether they will care or share. And all of that leads to – you guessed it! – engagement.
The role audiences play in distributing content was among the many topics covered during a Q&A between “House of Cards” producer Dana Brunetti and entrepreneur Randi Zuckerberg. Extolling the “power of the Social Graph,” the pair discussed a device-agnostic future where streaming content would live and thrive, where actors and actresses with “massive Social Media followings” would be sought and hired.
It’s a paradigm that worked well for Netflix, but can it be applied to channels where influencers and brand coexist?
Only time will tell.
Image Courtesy of Social Media Week
Recently staffers from the Digital Leadership Team attended sessions at the Social Media Week in New York City. One of the sessions, 5 Ways Millennials’ Habits are Changing: How Content is Made and Shared, was a panel discussion with Megan Berry from RebelMouse, Markham Nolan from Vocativ, Adam Ostrow from Mashable, Rich Antoniello from Complex Media, Chris Altcheck from PolicyMic and Samantha Skey from SheKnows. It drove some interesting discussions and we’d love to share our top takeaways.
Official Hashtag: #SMWMillennials
1) Ditch ads and think branded content
Millennials are used to being bombarded by new content and they’ve gotten really good at ignoring ads. They don’t click them and they don’t remember them. The solve? Try branded content – it appears in-stream, which is critical, and it can work just as well on desktop as it does on mobile. Just make sure that consumers know the content is branded (or sponsored) and keep it authentic.
2) Non-traditional sources and new news
One of the misconceptions brought up during the panel was that Millennials don’t care about traditional news sources. The truth is that they do — they just don’t turn to traditional media as a primary source because they want news before it reaches mainstream media. They’ve adopted social network streams as their main news source.
3) Know your platforms and choose your battle
Millennials are native experts on every social platform and they’ve been conditioned to expect a wealth of options online. They adapt quickly, which means brands need to be nimble. Since the barrier to entry is so low in social it’s harder to stay on top. While you shouldn’t be on every platform, don’t depend on just one either, or your business would suffer if it went away. Be willing to reinvent yourself.
4) Know how to package content
When producing content, always keep in mind the device the content will be viewed on and what the user experience is. The type of media people consume on the go via mobile can be quite different from what they would at home on a desktop. Think of mobile as “lean in” and desktop and “lean back.” For example, watching video on a mobile is not the best user experience, so unless the content is super timely content, many prefer to watch on a desktop. Also, be mindful when pushing consumers to apps, as this barrier might interrupt their experience and turn them off.
Image Courtesy of Social Media Week
At the recent NYC Social Media Week conference, I was lucky enough to land a seat in one of the most popular sessions of the week, a keynote speech and discussion by the CEOs of Upworthy, a site dedicated to bringing to light issues and topics that matter. In 2013, more than 286 million unique visitors visited Upworthy. The socially conscious site has shed light on global problems, curating content from across the Internet and delivering it in a streamlined, user-friendly site. They have inspired a community to both care about and act to solve these problems.
Getting people to care and act is no easy feat and there is much we can learn from Co-CEOs Eli Pariser and Peter Koechly of Upworthy on how brands can drive meaningful conversation. “It’s simple,” Pariser maintains, somewhat tongue in cheek. “It only takes 5 steps.”
1. What’s Trending Isn’t Always What’s Important: Brands trying to push through the clutter to reach fans should use caution when jumping on trends that aren’t necessarily important to their readership. Instead, stick with trends that are aligned to your mission.
2. Metrics for Success: Upworthy boasts more than 5 million attention minutes per day. If you’re more comfortable with clicks, page views, and unique views, Pariser suggests you reconsider your metrics. Brands often focus on getting eyeballs on a page, but it’s more important to hold attention once they’re there.
3. Get Out Your Checklist: Pariser shared that in a study, only four percent of a million-person sample had read 10 substantial news articles over three months. That number isn’t necessarily shocking. Think about it. Often news is presented in such a displeasing way it’s easier to turn off the TV, close the newspaper, exit out of the browser and ignore it all. The antidote according to Pariser? Make sure your content is compelling, hopeful, emotional, and important. Everything needs to have an energy, Koechly adds, and while content can incite anger or passion it can not be dispirited, directionless, or confusing, or a brand risks consumers turning away.
4. Data Support What Creativity Drives: Once you’ve garnered attention, the next steps are gathering data and moving forward with a creative strategy that continues the momentum. The heart of everything is editorial judgment and creativity, Koechly stresses, but a brand needs data to effectively guide that creative intuition.
5. Don’t Simply Look, Ask: Finally, don’t overlook your audience as a resource. Pariser announced that in 2014 he wants his Upworthy community to have more of a voice in directing the editorial calendar for the site. Brands should follow suit, by asking consumers what they would like to see and subsequently giving them more of what they want to help ensure a stronger, more meaningful relationship between the brand and the consumer.
Upworthy’s meteoric rise reflects a changing tide in social media where the headline, “Girls Don’t Run the World. But They Should” is just as captivating and matters just as much to consumers as “What Downton Abbey character are you?” Brands that follow Upworthy’s strategy will be well-suited for the changing landscape of social media, hopefully achieving Upworthy’s goals of inspiring consumers not just to care but to act.