Why Social Media? …And How Do I Know I’m Doing It Right?

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If you have ever asked yourself either of these questions, let me start by telling you I completely understand.  Social media can seem like a self-perpetuating society of sorts where rather than actually connecting and interacting with people in real life, we are actually just interacting with our computer and smartphone screens.  The truth is however, as one article pointed out in the readings this week, that social media is actually bringing us closer together and in a world of busy calendars and commutes to work, social media allows us to connect with people we may not have any other opportunity to connect with.  Just because our family is now miles away as a result of a new job, doesn’t mean we can no longer have meaningful connections with them.  In fact, because of social media, we can have interactions on an in depth level despite the fact that they are miles away.  Social media brings out the humanity in us all as well as we discussed various charity campaigns that have had a presence exclusively on social media.  Hopefully, by now you are also starting to make the connections of how this could be exponentially beneficial to business, other than for the common reason of “everyone else is doing it.”

            Social media allows businesses to interact with their clients without having to be limited to them “walking in the door” first.  Often times, social media will lead to a new visit to a website simply because a friend of a friend made a comment on our page.  Further, social media allows us to understand our clientele and appreciate their feedback as we build marketing campaigns.  Finally, social media allows us to be “in the moment” with our clients.  Want to know what your client’s favorite part about their experience with your company has been?  Ask the question in a status.  But, how do we know when we areImage successful on social media?  Without the ability to count a return on investment, it can be difficult to know if we are being successful in our social media efforts.  The problem, as an article points out is when we try to connect social media to a defined financial return.  Social media should have its own pre-determined goals, and those goals cannot always be measured in how much money is being made.  In order to be successful on social media, we have to be willing to look at our overall mission and decide how social media is going to better help us communicate that mission to our viewers. 

Is there a social media charity campaign that you have thought was particularly effective?

Is social media REALLY bringing us closer together?

How do you know when you are “doing it right” on social?

A Review of the Social Media Efforts for the International SPA Association Conference

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            This week, the International Spa Association (ISA) held their annual Conference and Expo titled, “Grow.”  Like many other companies,   ISA took to their social channels in order to promote the event as well as provide live coverage for attendees or others who were unable to make the event.  Overall, ISA took an effective approach to social media and with the use of a strong IMC, they were able to have an engaging presentation both at the conference and in the social media world.

The first thing to note about ISA and their marketing efforts is the consistency in branding and overall “feel” associated with their channels and website (IMC).  The backdrop to the website features wood that reminds the user of a steam room or sauna and the juxtaposition of this with the flowers and bright colors adorning the website really give the brand that spa “look.”  I was happy to also see some of these color pallets represented on the Twitter and Facebook profile pages as well.  The conference and expo catchphrase “grow” is featured across the channels as well, and the consistent lower-case, subtle font contributes to the success of the IMC and spa branding.  Also featured on the Twitter profile page isImage one of my favorite forms of marketing and that is use of the background image to relay information.  On the background of the Twitter profile, the dates and location for the upcoming expo can be seen in the same earthy tones as the rest of the marketing efforts.  As another effective way of promoting the event before it started, ISA took to their Facebook page to allow the viewers to “participate” in the set up page by sharing a picture of one of the presentation rooms being set up accompanied by the #ispa2013 hashtag (which was also used throughout the promotion efforts).

The expo seems to be the most engaged on Facebook and Instagram as the stats for these two platforms are much Imagehigher than that of Twitter and their LinkedIn (it should be noted however that LinkedIn does not really feature the expo as much as the other channels which is good practice for the platform in my opinion). Photos on Facebook and Instagram are often liked by 10+ people where posts on Twitter only receive about 1 or 2 ReTweets or Favorites each.  Some of the better photos are taken right at the expo and of the presenters giving the viewer a good understanding for the atmosphere of the event as well.  Sponsors for the event are displayed on the website and their logo often accompanies some of the posts on the social channels in a way that does not seem to distract from the content.  Further, because the logos for many of these sponsors are rather “soft” as well, they match nicely with the rest of the IMC efforts of ISA.  Overall, what stood out to me about the efforts of social media by ISA the most was their ability to display the diversity of events and experiences happening at the expo.  The images shared made it seem as though at the expo you could be involved in a presentation by someone in the field one minute and then trying a new service or exercise routine the next.  The posts also encouraged the engagement of the viewers and encouraged them to submit to the conversation and experiences, helping them grow.  Finally, I guess if I had to make a suggestion to the social media efforts of the spa event, I would say that they are missing that one “big” picture.  Often, when I think of big events, I think of the arena or huge hotel that they have to be housed in.  While there are some great pictures that relay the size of some of the discussions and presentations, there are not any “bigger” pictures that let the viewer appreciate the size of the event.  There is a picture of Mandalay Bay, Imagebut it is missing the branding/personality touch that lets the viewer know that Mandalay Bay has been “transformed” into International Spa Association territory.

Google Analytics: Check Yourself before you Search Yourself!

           Martin-Dec-2010

           This week we read about search engine optimization and the ways you can use Google to work for you.  As we discussed earlier in the term, authorship is an important way of making yourself “official” on Google searches, but there are many other things you can do to improve your search engine optimization.  Having a good SEO allows your articles to be read more often as some of the readings discussed.  In fact, one of the articles said that the first link on a Google search receives 33% of the traffic and that number drops to 18% for the second position.  As you can see, this drop off illustrates the point that it is very important to be as highly ranked in a search as possible.

One way to do this is through the use of a Google index or sitemap. I was not previously aware of this before, but in my readings this week, I came to the conclusion that this is a lot like a table of contents for a book.  I can see how this might be helpful for Google in that if your sight is more organized, Google can feel confident giving out your links because they know that they are pointing the user in the right direction.  Further, a sitemap allows you to host videos directly from your site and have Google link the video from your site rather than from YouTube or wherever you got the information.  In fact, many of the skills from this reading discuss the need to make sure that your site is “neat and clean.”  This could be through the use of better titles or resolving any issues that Google finds with your content.  Speaking of titles, they can also be very important and should contain the appropriate keywords that are found using Google analytics before or during the content creation process.

We discussed a few other ways to optimize your search including the way that you label photos on your blog.  This one was particularly interesting to me because I did not think much about the potential traffic associated with a Google image search.  Everyone has made an image search at least once in their lives and what I didn’t realize was how much this could help with engagement to your site.  As one of the articles pointed out, this is definitely an effective tool for creating engagement.  Finally, having an overall understanding of Google analytics can be one of the most basic ways for increasing your SEO.

What keywords would you like to be at the top of the list for?

Have you done anything different to your blog since the readings this week?

What will you try differently going forward?

A Month of Content for Disney’s Animal Kingdom

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            This month, the goal for the Animal Kingdom (AK) social media platforms will be to increase engagement with our current followers, add new followers, and increase traffic to the park through events that promote the park and its attractions.  Finally, we will use social media to encourage our visitors to share their experiences of their time at AK through promotions that encourage content submissions.

  • Sunday, December 1

Sundays our animals will take a day of rest from social media and we will post two photos of a different animal sleeping each Sunday.

FB: 2 Sleeping Animal Photos at different times throughout the day.

Twitter: 2 Sleeping Animal Photos at different times throughout the day.

  • Monday, December 2

FB: Monkey Monday! Submit your best selfie with a monkey in the background and tag it with the #MonkeyMondayAK for a chance to win 1 of 100 free guest passes good anytime in the year 2014

Twitter: “Have you booked your backstage safari for your trip to #AK?  Go to this link for details: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/events-tours/animal-kingdom/backstage-safari/

  • Tuesday, December 3

FB: Photo or video of one of the attractions or animals on the park. (repeat twice throughout the day)

Twitter:  “Tomorrow at #AK: tell your parking attendant you were sent by ‘Jake Sully’ for half off parking! #AKAvatar”

  • Wednesday, December 4

FB: “Happy Hippo Hump Day from AK.”

            NOTE: Include a photo of one of the on site hippos

Twitter: “Happy Hippo Hump Day from AK.”

            NOTE: Include a photo of one of the on site hippos

  • Thursday, December 5

FB: Throwback Thursday! (#TBT, Throwback Thursday on the Facebook side will feature a different story about the development of AK from the perspective of one of the people involved)

Twitter: Throwback Thursday! (#TBT, Throwback Thursday on the Twitter side will feature a photo of a former animal resident of our park.  Included on the photo will be a brief write up on the biography of the animal i.e. infographic.)

  • Friday, December 6

FB: Hope to see you this weekend at Animal Kingdom!  Let us know how your trip was in the comments section below!

Twitter: Follow Friday! (#FF) “#FF @AKPanda.  Follow this account for a daily selfie from Guiseppe, our newest Panda at AK”

  • Saturday, December, 7

FB: “Roll Call!  Let us know you are at AK today by replying to this post for a chance to be direct messaged from one of our friends with a special deal for you!”  (Direct message some of the commenters with a 10% off refreshments coupon)

Twitter: “Roll Call!  RT this to let us know you are at AK today for a chance to be DM’d with a special deal just for you” (DM some of the ReTweeters with a special coupon code for 10% off refreshments at the park)

  • Sunday, December 8

FB:2 Sleeping Animal Photos at different times throughout the day.

Twitter: 2 Sleeping Animal Photos at different times throughout the day.

  • Monday, December 9

FB: Monkey Monday! Submit your best selfie with a monkey in the background and tag it with the #MonkeyMondayAK for a chance to win 1 of 100 free guest passes good anytime in the year 2014

Twitter: “RT this if you had a great weekend at AK this weekend!”

  • Tuesday, December 10

FB: Photo or video of one of the attractions or animals on the park. (repeat twice throughout the day)

Twitter: “Tomorrow at #AK: take an additional 20% off all Avatar merchandise purchased in park! #AKAvatar”

  • Wednesday, December 11

FB: “Happy Hippo Hump Day from AK.”

            NOTE: Include a photo of one of the on site hippos

Twitter: “Happy Hippo Hump Day from AK.”

            NOTE: Include a photo of one of the on site hippos

  • Thursday, December 12

FB: Throwback Thursday! (#TBT) Throwback Thursday on the Facebook side will feature a different story about the development of AK from the perspective of one of the people involved.

Twitter: Throwback Thursday! (#TBT) Throwback Thursday on the Twitter side will feature a photo of a former animal resident of our park.  Included on the photo will be a brief write up on the biography of the animal.

  • Friday, December 13

FB: Hope to see you this weekend at Animal Kingdom!  Let us know how your trip was in the comments section below!

Twitter: #FF “This #FF @AKEventPlannner.  Follow this account for an exclusive look at #AKEvents before they are revealed. #AKAvatar”

  • Saturday, December, 14

FB: “Roll Call!  Let us know you are at AK today by replying to this post for a chance to be direct messaged from one of our friends with a special deal for you!”  (Direct message some of the commenters with a 10% off refreshments coupon)

Twitter: “Roll Call!  RT this to let us know you are at AK today for a chance to be DM’d with a special deal just for you” (DM some of the ReTweeters with a special coupon code for 10% off refreshments at the park)

  • Sunday, December 15

FB: 2 Sleeping Animal Photos at different times throughout the day.

Twitter: 2 Sleeping Animal Photos at different times throughout the day.

  • Monday, December 16

FB: Monkey Monday! Submit your best selfie with a monkey in the background and tag it with the #MonkeyMondayAK for a chance to win 1 of 100 free guest passes good anytime in the year 2014

Twitter: “RT this if you had a great weekend at AK this weekend!”

  • Tuesday, December 17

FB: Photo or video of one of the attractions or animals on the park. (repeat twice throughout the day)

Twitter: “Tomorrow at #AK: everyone in a solid blue shirt will be given 25% off their admission to the park! #AKAvatar”

  • Wednesday, December 18

FB: “Happy Hippo Hump Day from AK.”

            NOTE: Include a photo of one of the on site hippos

Twitter: “Happy Hippo Hump Day from AK.”

            NOTE: Include a photo of one of the on site hippos

  • Thursday, December 19

FB: Throwback Thursday! (#TBT) Throwback Thursday on the Facebook side will feature a different story about the development of AK from the perspective of one of the people involved.

Twitter: Throwback Thursday! (#TBT) Throwback Thursday on the Twitter side will feature a photo of a former animal resident of our park.  Included on the photo will be a brief write up on the biography of the animal.

  • Friday, December 20

FB: Hope to see you this weekend at Animal Kingdom!  Let us know how your trip was in the comments section below!

Twitter: #FF “This #FF @DisneyParks.  Follow them for an exclusive look at the other parks in the Orlando area.”

  • Saturday, December, 21

FB: “Roll Call!  Let us know you are at AK today by replying to this post for a chance to be direct messaged from one of our friends with a special deal for you!”  (Direct message some of the commenters with a 10% off refreshments coupon)

Twitter: “Roll Call!  RT this to let us know you are at AK today for a chance to be DM’d with a special deal just for you” (DM some of the ReTweeters with a special coupon code for 10% off refreshments at the park)

  • Sunday, December 22

FB: 2 Sleeping Animal Photos at different times throughout the day.

Twitter: 2 Sleeping Animal Photos at different times throughout the day.

  • Monday, December 23

FB: Monkey Monday! Submit your best selfie with a monkey in the background and tag it with the #MonkeyMondayAK for a chance to win 1 of 100 free guest passes good anytime in the year 2014

Twitter: “RT this if you had a great weekend at AK this weekend!”

  • Tuesday, December 24

FB: Photo or video of one of the attractions or animals on the park. (repeat twice throughout the day)

Twitter: “Preparing for Christmas on Pandora! #AKAvatar” 

            NOTE: Include a photo of one of the trees from Avatar with edited in Christmas decorations on it.

  • Wednesday, December 25

FB: Merry Christmas from your friends and the many families at AK! 

            NOTE: Include photo of elephant family marching and edit a Santa hat on their heads.

Twitter: “Merry Christmas from your friends at AK!  Come back to see us for a special #FF gift this week!”

  • Thursday, December 26

FB: Throwback Thursday! (#TBT) Throwback Thursday on the Facebook side will feature a different story about the development of AK from the perspective of one of the people involved.

Twitter: Throwback Thursday! (#TBT) Throwback Thursday on the Twitter side will feature a photo of a former animal resident of our park.  Included on the photo will be a brief write up on the biography of the animal.  Also, make a second post sometime during the day reminding about the special #FF tomorrow.

  • Friday, December 27

FB: Hope to see you this weekend and in 2014 at Animal Kingdom!  Let us know how your trip was in the comments section below!

Twitter: “#FF @AK2014Deals Hope you had a great Christmas!  Follow this account for exclusive in-park specials the entire year of 2014!”  

  • Saturday, December, 28

FB: “Roll Call!  Let us know you are at AK today by replying to this post for a chance to be direct messaged from one of our friends with a special deal for you!”  (Direct message some of the commenters with a 10% off refreshments coupon)

Twitter: “Roll Call!  RT this to let us know you are at AK today for a chance to be DM’d with a special deal just for you” (DM some of the ReTweeters with a special coupon code for 10% off refreshments at the park)

  • Sunday, December 29

FB: 2 Sleeping Animal Photos at different times throughout the day.

Twitter: 2 Sleeping Animal Photos at different times throughout the day.

  • Monday, December 30

FB: Monkey Monday! Last chance! Submit your best selfie with a monkey in the background and tag it with the #MonkeyMondayAK for a chance to win 1 of 100 free guest passes good anytime in the year 2014.  Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for our special countdown to the winners!

Twitter:

  • Tuesday, December 31

FB:  Monkey Monday winner reveal day!  “At AK, we are having a 2014 countdown of our own.  Starting at 2:00 PM EST we will share one of the top 10 #MonkeyMondayAK photo submissions every hour until Midnight when all 100 winners will be revealed in a massive Monkey Monday collage”

            NOTE: Set up Hootsuite to handle this and use a photo editing service to edit all 100 winning photos together and announce the winners’ names under the post.

Twitter:  “See you in 2014 at Animal Kingdom!”

Social Media Analytics are NOT Just Assessment!

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           Before today, I assumed that if I ever used analytics for social media, it would exclusively be to track the success of content that I put out.  I assumed that if I tweeted a link to an article, I might one day go back and use analytics to see if that article was actually read, and then make adjustments to my content creation in order to try and create more engagement.  Today, I realize that analytics are much more important than that and could be used throughout the entire marketing process on social media.  In addition to being a means for assessing the success of our data, analytics also allows us to define our goals and impact location on social media before we even get started. 

            As one of the readings pointed out, analytics gives you the opportunity to learn more about your potential clients and what they are talking about on social as it relates to your product.  The fiberglass company example was given in the readings and although the social media consultants didn’t know anything about fiberglass before meeting with a company, using analytics they were able to learn what people were talking about within the fiberglass market and actually teach something to the company that they had not known before.  This is a great example of the way social media analytics can be helpful even before content is created. 

            Once we are ready to create content, analytics and other software allows us to schedule posts and track their engagement from one platform.  We read about many different platforms and the benefits they have, in addition to the important effect that they will have on your budget.  Other ways that we can use analytics were discussed and it was quite impressive to see how in depth these analytic services can really get as it relates to tracking engagement with your content. 

            However, my favorite article of the week pointed out the fact that we must not lose sight of our customers; and we need to remember that if we are meeting their needs, they will eventually be worth our investment.  With social media analytics, it can become very easy to remain focused on the results and tracking how many clicks, or likes, or comments that we receive.  While this is certainly valuable data and noteworthy because of its precision, we must not lose sight of our customers and their needs and remember that we are creating content for them.  Analytics can help us through many different aspects of social media and content and we should be mindful of where they can benefit us most now in addition to the future.    

How do you currently use analytics (if at all) to help your social media efforts?

What new opportunities for using analytics have you discovered?.

 

What about Tout?

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(tl;dr: Tout is a video sharing service that was started in 2010 and allows users to share short videos from their Tout profile as well as link to other social media profiles.  Today, Tout seems to face tough competition in the social media world through the likes of Vine and Instagram, but does so by allowing users to share in the revenue stream of advertisements)

History

Tout is a social content community that was created in April 2010 by Silicon Valley veteran Michael Downing from the Stanford Research Institute (Malone, 2011).  Tout really took off however on Wednesday, June 1, 2011 when former NBAImage basketball player Shaquille O’Neal used the platform to announce his retirement from the sport.  In the first three hours of his announcement, Tout got over a half a million page views as a result (Barol, 2011).  Today, Tout is utilized by over 200 leading media companies and celebrities, in addition to social users that put Tout’s user base at around 19 million people who use the service in order to publish video and quickly share videos to various social media platforms (Kantrowitz, 2013).

Features

            The stand out feature for Tout is the ability to edit and post videos directly from the free iphone-6bd265ec8e2f7f5bc83afcd9430c9746app associated with the platform.  Essentially, this app allows the user’s smartphone to become the television studio and 15 second videos can be uploaded almost immediately directly from the app.  The videos are limited to only 15 seconds, but as we have seen from services such as Vine and Instagram, this limitation may not always be such a problem and encourages users to come up with creative content that is quick and to the point.  From a journalism perspective, the benefits of this video upload service are obvious and this fact was apparent in browsing some of the “featured videos” on the website, which included live Touts from a protest in Egypt.  Tout also plugs in to many of the social media platforms and allows companies to post Touts directly on their website.

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Companies such as Wall Street Journal and ESPN are featured channels on the platform and appear to use the service to supplement the content that is on their own websites.  Channels are also divided into categories and users are encouraged to subscribe to various channels which will eventually show up on their custom newsfeed.  Very similar to the newsfeeds associated with other social media platforms, the videos on a Tout user’s newsfeed will play from the beginning upon viewing the feed, and will continually run into each other, despite coming from various channels.  This is a really neat feature that makes Tout almost like a custom television channel as a user can log in and automatically see all the new videos posted by the channels they subscribe to in order of upload.  Tout is very mobile friendly and encourages its users to upload videos directly from their iOS devices as well as on Android.  Hashtags are also used on Tout and are designed to get users to become engaged with the content.  Touts can be liked and commented on by using Touts to make the comment.  Finally, content creators are able to share in the revenue stream by agreeing to have short advertisement videos accompany their content.  This is really the stand out feature of Tout and allows it to stand out from its competition.  By allowing users to share in the revenue stream, Tout gives a great incentive for using the platform and generating views from all around the internet.  Further, there is more of an incentive for creativity if users are able to share revenue.

Future

In my opinion, Tout is in trouble.  Unfortunately, it does not really have enough features that distinguish it from other Imageplatforms providing a similar service such as Vine and Instagram.  Even though Tout might have “been here first,” they are still ANOTHER platform that has to be changed over to in order to engage with, and may not be able to steal the customer base away from Instagram, which recently added the ability to upload videos.  However, also associated with Tout that does help it is the ability to share in the revenue stream.  This makes Tout a “one stop shop” of sorts for people who hope to one day make money off of their content.  The best thing for Tout to do going forward is to try and continue to get “big names” to support the service and perhaps use the service as a plug in of sorts to their own webpages.  This exposure will keep people coming back to the service, and the ability to share in the revenue may inspire some impressive content creators to use the service in the future.

Tout on Prezi

Malone, M. (2011, December 05). News chiefs ‘tout’ benefits of social video. Broadcasting and Cable, 20. Retrieved from https://app.box.com/s/v7jt8v2qkl6zynpmamlb

Barol, B. (2011). How shaq put tout on the social media map (in 15 seconds). Forbes, Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/billbarol/2011/06/02/how-shaq-put-tout-on-the-social-media-map-in-15-seconds/

Kantrowitz, A. (2013). Will vine destroy tout? hardly, says tout ceo. Forbes, Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexkantrowitz/2013/01/29/will-vine-destroy-tout-hardly-says-touts-ceo/

Teachers need to be on eduClipper!

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            eduClipper is an online social network where students and teachers meet to share resources and other materials in a Pinterest like format.  The platform is geared toward Kindergarten through 12th grade and was designed by Adam Bellow, a former high school English teacher.  The website looks and runs very similar to Pinterest, but because your profile and related content can be customized to the grade level that you teach, eduClipper allows for all the great features of Pinterest but with the added benefit of being more socially specific within the educational realm.  Teachers can even create groups for their classes and share specific content to a group of students by simply distributing an eduClipper-generated code associated with the content, therefore allowing the students to connect with the materials.  I think this platform is important because it maximizes the educational benefit of a social network such as Pinterest, and allows teachers and students to connect without the distractions associated with a larger social network. Image

            I have to say, before I discovered eduClipper, I was ready to make a post completely bashing the idea of industry specific social networks.  I felt like if social networks were doing their job correctly, they would always be the best place for people to connect within an industry because the audience was built in.  For an industry to have a successful social media platform, they would need to build an audience, and I just assumed that would be too difficult a task to justify the effort for a specific population.  I was actually going to suggest the idea of message boards as the only viable industry based solution to connecting and sharing ideas.  Now, because of eduClipper, I have changed my thoughts on these platforms and actually feel the beauty of the platform is that it is more specific to a certain population.  The best example of this is the fact that eduClipper allows you to define the grade you teach in your profile, assumingly as a content filter of sorts.  Further, eduClipper allows you to connect with your classroom by setting up “Clipboards” that you can share with a class simply by giving them the code eduClipper creates associated with that board. 

            Education is an industry that makes it difficult to include a proximity marketing plan and I’m not very sure that eduClipper could really benefit by allowing connections on a location based level any better than they already do.   I think the only way proximity marketing ideas could be incorporated within this model then would be a way of allowing administrators to perhaps connect with the school as a whole.  For example, the principal could decide to host some sort of reading contest for each classroom to pin reading responses to their classroom’s “Clipboard” and the class that collected the most book reviews would win.  Finally, I think Facebook could work well with this platform, but only in the sense that a 

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student can be a member of their eduClipper class on both platforms and maybe share content throughout.  I fear there are too many distractions on other social sites that are avoided through the use of eduClipper and trying to bring in too many other channels could be risky.  Overall, I was very pleased with my experience with eduClipper and actually may have already converted my Kindergarten teacher wife to the platform. 

 

Three Ways to Make “Viral” Content

             

              To me, there has always been an overwhelming sense of randomness when I look at content that has gone viral and compare it to content that has not.  Trying to figure out how something went viral would be like asking Kim Kardashian whatImage it takes to be famous.  While she has obviously done just that, I would imagine it would be difficult for her to explain what skills and strategies she used when becoming famous (other than the cliché “work really hard” and “follow your dreams” type stuff).  Further, just because someone has become famous, it doesn’t mean they can articulate the steps needed to emulate what they have done. Even if they could, how would we know those steps would work for someone else?  As you can tell, like Kim Kardashian’s celebrity status, trying to figure out how to make content go viral can often bring up more questions than answers.  After this week’s readings, I have compiled a short list of bullets that I feel help content go viral and would like to share them with you (Obviously in the hopes that you will share them with someone else! ….I mean in the interest of furthering your knowledge on the viral-ability of content).

Fully Cover the Topic

            According to one of the readings, longer content tends to be shared more often.  Personally, I think you just need to make sure that you have fully covered the topic.  Your content should have a beginning, middle, and an end and your viewers should sort of know where these are while reading (unlike the movie This is 40 that I just watched this weekend and was saddened by its lack of all three). Image As another reading pointed out, the end should also involve some sort of call to action so that our readers have something to do with the content they have just read.  This call could be a reflective question, or it could even be a direct request to share the content they have just read.  Overall, successful content lets the viewer know what they are viewing ahead of time, and comes to a distinctive conclusion. 

Provoke Emotion

            This was probably the most common theme in the readings this week and is probably the most difficult of my tips to actually succeed in.  Viral content often evokes strong emotion and as our reading pointed out, some emotions are actually better than others.  Understanding our content should include a grasp of the types of emotions it will bring out in our reader and we should seek to appeal to those emotions.  While we typically think of viral content being funny on the emotional scale, other emotions such as surprise can also be very effective at helping our content go viral.

Make it Shareable

            The easiest advice I took from the readings this week was to make your content shareable!  While this may seem like the most obvious, the readings discussed tips such as putting share buttons at both the top and bottom of articles and making it possible to share your content over as many platforms as possible.  You can ask your readers to share your contentImage as much as possible, but if it is not convenient for them to do so, they may never will. 

 

Wrapping up, it is pretty clear to me that there is not a specific formula or defined strategies for making content go viral. There is an aspect of randomness to it that if we could explain, then EVERYONE would have viral content all the time.  We know from experience that this is not always the case.  However, the readings pointed out some great strategies that can help and hopefully gave us some things to think about when creating new content.

 

 

What have you learned about content that you plan to use going forward to try to create more engagement with your content?

What emotions are associated with the content that resonates most with you?

Why do you think Kim Kardashian is famous? 🙂

Three Brands with a Strong Social Media Presence

social-media1-600x320Lowe’s

            Lowe’s is quickly becoming my favorite large company with a presence on social media.  They are present on all the major platforms and have an interesting strategy for each platform.  Through the use of consistent logo graphics and colors, the company maintains a strong IMC approach and pushes great content to its followers on a daily basis. The voice or message that Lowe’s seems to be trying to relay to its customers is the ability to do projects at home.  Their lowesPinterest profile is where this really shines and users are encouraged to submit photos of projects they have completed using Lowe’s products.  Using this technique, Lowe’s is able to sell its products without making it look like that is their primary objective.  Further, Lowe’s uses its Twitter to push promotions and coupons to its customers and even tells followers how to sign up for various “clinics” by Lowe’s (a service that I was not previously aware of before this assignment).  Lowe’s does use hashtags but this does seem to be an area that they struggle in because the relevance is not always evident.  The content outweighs this fact however because Lowe’s really does a great job of engaging its audience and encouraging them to go out and do projects of their own.  All of the various profiles feature content that encourages engagement both on and off the computer screen.  Overall, in my opinion, Lowe’s is doing one of the best jobs around at being present on social media without being obtrusive.

Zappos

Zappos is different from Lowe’s and my final example in that they have never been known for their physical presence or a brick and mortar location.  Zappos has always had to use the internet and social media in order to market its brand as seems to have done a pretty good thus far in their efforts.  From an IMC perspective, the one distinguishing aspect of marketing that seems to stand out for Zappos is their use of an exclamation point made in the shape of a shoe.  This logo in the light blue colorway seems to be at the center of its branding initiative and something I often found myself using when locating official Zappos pages.  From a social media perspective, Zappos seems to take a rather engaging approach and posts content to their Facebook and Instagram accounts on almost a daily basis.  Twitter on the other hand is not updated as often and hasn’t even had an update since March.  The Twitter profile page makes uptwitter for this short coming of content however in that it is very personable and features a photo of the founder of Zappos as well as contact information in place of a background picture (a practice I have grown quite fond of since seeing it from General Motors earlier in the semester).  Hashtags are used on the Instagram page which is nice because the hashtags are used to bring out the emotion associated with the photo rather than the product.  Hashtags are rather absent however on both the Facebook and Twitter account.  The Facebook account has good linkage back to the company’s Pinterest profile which is also rather impressive.  Different appealing board on featured on the company’s Pinterest profile and give viewers a lot of different options to explore.  Overal, Zappos does appear to be doing a good job on their social and marketing presence online but could use increased efforts in fresh content on some of their profiles.  For a company that does not have the benefit of a brick and mortar store, Zappos really needs to make sure they are fully utilizing all forms of relevant social media.

Ford

Finally, Ford has done a great job at making its company present on all forms of social media and really seems to do a good job of appreciating its audience on each platform and engaging them in a more appropriate way based on the platform.   The trademark blue associated with the Ford logo is present on all profiles and often worked in to the background of many of the pages associated.  Ford has done a particularly clever job of its profile image for fordTwitter which is the standard Ford logo, but inspection of the actual profile page reveals this logo is actually the center of a steering wheel that is the backdrop photo.  All of the profiles seem to maintain an appropriate level of personality which engages the user and again, reassures them that the overall interest in the social media presence is not necessarily about selling a product.  Content is regularly pushed to its users and can be in the form of announcing new dealership openings or retweeting pictures of people with their new Ford vehicle.  Where the company really shines is the Instagram profile and the fact that it seems to celebrate the history of Ford as well as the future.  Older vehicles are featured on the Instagram page and seem to often be submitted by users who love their vehicle and get to engage with other Ford lovers on the page.  Infographic and MEMEs are also featured on some of the company’s profile and make content that is able to be engaged.  Finally, Ford has a great presence on LinkedIn and does seem to appreciate the spirit of the platform as the profile image is of Ford’s main offices at the Henry Ford II World Center.   The posts on the page are often about various professional aspects of Ford including the occasional job posting.  Concept cars also seem to be featured and it is my opinion that this is more designed to bring in the types of creative thinkers and engineers that Ford would like to have working on its future products.  Overall, Ford seems to have done a great job at appreciating the importance of social media and having an appropriate presence on all of the major platforms.