Instagram. Maybe you (and 700 million others) have heard of it? Once its launch in 2010, Instagram has debuted new features and functions to keep users engaged and experimenting on the platform. The challenge for brands is often finding out how to put these features to use in ways that drive results. That's certainly the case with Instagram stories. Fortunately, there are things social strategists can keep in mind to make their stories successful.
Changes to social media platforms seem constant. Barely a day goes by without an algorithmic tweak, a new ad offering, or a new product to be tested. For most of us involved in digital marketing, the impact of these changes is negligible, affecting only the content creators and community managers working directly on social media. However, there are three big trends and changes that will impact every business owner, regardless of vertical. Read on to explore live-streaming, vertical video, and social search!
On June 28, I joined #ConvenePHL to help lead a discussion about leveraging the energy and conversation of an event into ongoing audience engagement. With Technical.ly Philly Lead Reporter Roberto Torres and Buffer Community Champion Arielle Tannenbaum, we chatted at Pipeline Philly about the challenges and best practices in maximizing event potential by creating connection points (online and off) to engage audiences and attendees post-event and in between events. I was proud to be part of the conversation and to represent CreativeMornings Philadelphia, the city's monthly breakfast lecture series for creative types.
Philly Tech Week's Entrepreneur Boot Camp brought together Philadelphia area experts to help teach early-stage entrepreneurs the basics of starting a business. I was fortunate enough to be chosen as one of those experts in 2015. Things have changed quite a bit in the digital age, so I walked through five best practices to help entrepreneurs connect and convert customers using social media. Check out the recap below and scroll through the slides on SlideShare.
The sharp and spiraling decline of writing ability has been well-documented, blamed all too frequently on the rise of text messaging, emoji, SnapChat, and spellcheck. In a world in which social media platforms prize updates that are pithy and to-the-point, it’s no wonder we’ve come to communicate in visual, hashtagged, and often grammatically-incorrect ways. Still, the proliferation of social media has also created a new breed of writers. These artists are (at their best) masters of brevity and cultural connoisseurs. But what does it take to really write effectively in social media?
Unsurprisingly, the best social media writers are natural communicators. Embracing Strunk and White’s “Elements of Style” is not a prerequisite, but it’s certainly helpful to those looking to learn the tried-and-true tips to writing well. After all, as every English teacher on earth has said, we need to understand the rules before we break them. (#protip: For a more modern and enjoyable take on writing style, skip Strunk and White and pick up Spunk and Bite and maybe listen to Vampire Weekend’s “Oxford Comma.”) But regardless of whether or not great social media writers are fanatical about the grammatical, they’re individuals who embrace three critical elements of effective communication.
- Understanding the Platform. It’s no secret: it’s impossible to write well without understanding the channel, its challenges and opportunities, the rules of the road and how they’ve changed. In the era BT (Before Twitter), the # symbol had merely designated numbers. Thanks to social media, that tiny number sign has been completely redefined. Now, this little guy’s corralling conversations on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, and more. But it’s not just having a handle on hashtags and how to use them; it’s also understanding the necessities for keeping posts relevant and interesting for users. Context counts, especially when social media streams clutter conversations. Simpler posts that focus on essential information are best for ensuring that content resonates with users – no matter what kind of content surrounds it. Whether it’s Facebook’s EdgeRank (the algorithm that determines what pieces of content a user sees and when), Twitter’s 140-character limit, or reddit’s casual and quirky community-centric style, social platforms parameters require education, experimentation, and enthusiasm for their constant evolution.
- Understanding the Audience. What kind of people comprise the audiences for each brand, campaign, channel, and experience? What do they care about, want, and need? Whether they’re male or female, affluent or aspiring, old or young, active or passive, understanding the groups of people who make up the audience for a brand is crucial to writing effectively. But more important than just having demographic and psychographic information is understanding where the sweet spot, in which brand audiences and platform audiences intersect, lies. At PR News’ 2013 Digital PR Summit, reddit’s Marta Gossage (community operations manager) and Victoria Taylor (director of communications) divided social media audiences into two groups: those looking to show off “frontstage behavior” (the way users want to portray themselves to the world, which is possible on platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn), and those looking to embrace “backstage behavior” (the way people think and feel when they’re being their true selves, which is more possible on platforms like reddit and Whisper). Which audience is more closely aligned with a particular brand? Keep in mind that understanding that the audiences for a brand and a social media platform do not overlap is as important as identifying the fact that they do.
- Understanding the Brand. Corporate and individual social media participants have one thing in common, no matter their follower:following ratio – each is at a unique stage in its lifecycle. Understanding whether a brand is aiming to attract potential clients, convert leads to customers, or build a loyal community of brand advocates is essential to determining brand and platform goals, optimizing content, and (of course) writing well.
There are a lot of naysayers out there, but sometimes it’s important to go the Candy Mountain route circa ‘07 and shun the non-believers, you know? Social media is, in a lot of ways, making us better, more thoughtful writers and more interested, more interesting consumers of content. And in a social landscape that’s constantly being recreated and reevaluated, that’s those are the best things we can be.
This post originally appeared on the Advertising Week Social Club here and is based on a guest lecture I gave at the University of the Arts.
In an effort to make the Instagram user experience more personalized, the photo-sharing platform has updated the algorithm for its Explore tab. Previously, a quick tap on the Explore tab would summon the platform’s most popular posts (usually the supermodel-esque selfies and adorable cat photos that had racked up the greatest number of likes) for all Instagrammers. As of last week, however, the tables have turned.
The app’s Explore tab now offers personalized recommendations for each user. These recommendations are based on the photos and videos their friends have most recently liked, plus the Instagram community’s most popular photos. While the customization is new, the basics are not – the Explore tab still shows 21 photos and videos from public users only (sorry, private users!) and is updated regularly, based on the trends within the Instagram community. And, of course, users are still able to find for new content and new users to follow by searching by username and hashtag. These changes have only been made to the Explore tab and won’t affect the app’s home feed, which still displays photos and videos from users in the order in which they were posted.
What does this mean for you? Whether you’re an individual Instagrammer or representing a brand on the platform, it seems to be a good thing, at least according to some folks.
The algorithm change could make your content easier to find. If you’re using the app to share personal photos and videos, your friends and their friends could find your content because you fall within their social graph. If you’re more of a photojournalist, this shift could attract new followers by sharing your photos (even those with a smaller number of likes) with users who are interested in your subject matter, based on their social network and interests. And for brands, this is a much improved way to connect and share branded content with followers and extend that reach to their friends.
Plus, with just 20 other photos with which to “compete,” each photo (and user) instantly becomes easier to digest, appreciate, and explore further on Instagram’s Explore tab. It’s unclear how many people are using the tab currently, but this will hopefully make it more user-friendly, whether those users are individuals or brands. What do you think of the algorithm change? Will this make you more or less likely to tap over to the Explore tab in the future?
This post originally appeared on the Advertising Week Social Club here.
As you've probably already noticed, Facebook has updated the News Feed for users. As they announced last week, the changes in the look and feel will help to provide a more consistent experience across desktop and mobile platforms. For the most part, it's just a new look, but here's a run-down of what's new (and what's not).
- Larger images
- Bookmark icons
- Stories housed within "cards" in the feed
- Timestamps under the Page or user's name
- Same sizing for organic stories and ads
- Multi-photo Page posts (all multi-photo stories will honor the orientation of the first photo in the series and will not be distinguished from the format of a photo album)
What's Not New:
- General layout
- News Feed's algorithm that determines what you see and when
- Creative specs and image aspect ratios for Facebook Ads or Promoted Posts (including the 20% text rule)
Check out the changes and let me know what you think in the comments.
After Facebook’s latest algorithm change gave preference to personal status updates over brand status updates, the social network is throwing brands a bone: more reach for their most relevant posts. Starting this week, brand posts that tag other brands may be shown to followers of both brand pages. Much like a user’s friends will see that they’ve been tagged in posts by other (non-mutual) friends, Facebook followers of brand pages may see posts that the brand has been tagged in by other brands, including press outlets, sponsors, strategic partners, competitors, and more. For example, Facebook followers of Advertising Week will naturally see the Page’s posts, plus posts from other brands that tag Advertising Week – even if they do not follow the other brand on the platform.
As Facebook Product Manager Andrew Song explained in a Facebook Newsroom post,
“We look at many factors to make sure the most relevant stories appear in News Feed, including which posts are getting the most engagement (such as likes, comments, shares and clicks) across all of Facebook. We also consider which posts are getting the most engagement from people who like both the Page that posted and the Page that was tagged.”
This new algorithmic update comes after users expressed that they liked seeing this kind of relevant content in their News Feeds when Facebook tested the feature for Pages, Song said. It’s an interesting move for Facebook, given that this feature could easily be abused by brands that want a little extra reach by leveraging a big, but irrelevant name. But more than that, it’s a great opportunity for brands to make their posts more relevant to their current and future audiences. Here’s how:
- Brands that leverage existing partnerships on local, national, and global levels can connect with the audiences that they most want to reach. This means that brands small and large will more clearly benefit from sponsorship, partnership, and overall collaboration in the social media world.
- Brands can create better brand associations based on the relevant interests of their audience. For example, if a brand like Stonyfield Farms posts about its corporate stance on GMO labeling, tagging the Environmental Working Group that created a guide to help shoppers avoid genetically engineered foods will help to create a stronger connection between the two brands and their values.
- Brands can demonstrate differences between themselves and their competition by tagging their competitors in posts that compare them. Prego’s latest campaign to differentiate themselves from Ragu through taste testing could easily extend to social channels. By leveraging Facebook tagging to show the results of their taste test to the followers of both brands, they could more clearly show that one brand is superior to the other and even drive conversions of sales.
It will be interesting to see the creative ways that brand strategists and community managers leverage this newest algorithm change to benefit their brands.
Originally posted on the Advertising Week Social Club here.
For the second year in a row, I made the trek from the City of Brotherly Love to the Big Apple for Social Media Week NYC. In two days of SMW sessions, expert panelists from socially savvy agencies and brands discussed continuously changing social media platforms, revolutionary content strategies, and evolving analytics. Check out the key takeaways from select sessions below and, if you were in attendance at #SMWNYC, let me know what findings you found most valuable in the comments!
The Language of Social Media is Visual
The internet was built on text. From search engine algorithms and queries to website and application coding, words have defined and shaped the digital experience. But, as JWT Trends Strategist Will Palley pointed out in a session on Thursday called Reading is No Longer Fundamental: The Shift to Visual Vocabulary, “new social platforms force people to learn new languages.” Increasingly, those languages are not always (or only) verbal. With the rise of platforms like Pinterest and Instagram, the language of social media is evolving from words (and even limited characters) to images. DigitasLBi SVP and North American Mobile Practice Lead Chia Chen said in The Changing Face of News Consumption, Hosted by WSJ, “The currency of social media is imagery.” As users increasingly turn to animated stickers and emoji to communicate, brands need to evolve to learn from, understand, and embrace these languages – to “listen visually,” said Palley. But how?
“We need to restore context to content,” said Curalate CEO and Co-Founder Apu Gupta. That context can come from comments, emoji, metadata, and more. While users may be pinning your brand’s products or posting photos of your signage on Instagram, it’s important to understand the users, read their posts, and know that they could be sharing the content because they love it or because they hate it. Brands have the opportunity to create that context by inviting consumers to participate in the content creation process. Rather than simply taking and repurposing user-generated content, Craig Hepburn, global head of digital & social at Nokia, recommends that brands start building relationships with (but not paying for the involvement of) key influencers. Curalate's Gupta cited a really amazing example of work with Urban Outfitters, which leveraged user-generated content to create a digital experience based on the real style of its customers on its homepage. But the best part wasn't the "influence" of the customers featured on UO's website – it was their enthusiasm. "We talk so much about influencer marketing, but that's to the detriment of loyalists," Gupta explained. The success of the efforts to incorporate visual user-generated content depends largely on the type of brand and the type of consumer, but one thing is for sure: the visual language of social media is still in its infancy and it will only continue to grow and change.
The Evolution of Content Creation and Sharing
Propelled by changes in consumption habits and platform preferences, storytelling has changed forever. Still, there are great opportunities and challenges for community managers and content creators of all kinds, but they've evolved with the times and with us. "Most people have thought of stories as having a beginning, middle and end," said Jim Roberts, executive editor and chief content officer of Mashable. "For the consumer who has time to consume it, it's a really rewarding experience, but most people don't have time to do that anymore." Now, brands and media companies are being forced to tailor their content to evolving consumer preferences.
Liz Heron, emerging media editor at The Wall Street Journal, explained that content, especially content targeted to millennials, needs to be characterized by three things: presence and share-ability on social and mobile platforms, rich visuals, and emotional relevance and resonance. And really, in a sea of content that is constantly fighting for our attention and our love, that couldn't be more accurate. Without content that tugs at the heartstrings and engages with imagery on the social and mobile channels at our fingertips, media companies and brands cannot hope to connect with modern consumers. "The pace of change that we experienced... in the '90s was nothing compared to the pace of change in recent years," said Roberts. Clearly social media trends are leading the way forward and show no sign of slowing down.
Facebook's at it again – changing up the News Feed algorithm that controls what users see and when they see it. In this case, it means more text status updates from friends and fewer from Pages. In the latest post from Facebook Newsroom, the social media giant explains:
Through testing, we have found that when people see more text status updates on Facebook they write more status updates themselves. In fact, in our initial test when we showed more status updates from friends it led to on average 9 million more status updates written each day...
Over time, we noticed that this effect wasn't true for text status updates from Pages. As a result, the latest update to News Feed ranking treats text status updates from Pages as a different category to text status updates from friends.
This makes sense, given that Facebook users certainly interact differently with their friends than they do with the brand and interest Pages they like and follow. This algorithm change will cater to that difference and show more text updates from friends and more visual content from Pages. But what does this mean for community managers, social media strategists, and brand managers?
- Expect to see a drop in reach (and therefore, engagement) for text-only status updates from Pages. Armed with this knowledge, community managers and social strategists can help to educate clients and partners about the best kinds of content to post to ensure that overall reach and engagement metrics are not affected.
- Use link-shares to add value to traditional status updates. According to Facebook, "The best way to share a link after this update will be to use a link-share.... We've found that, as compared to sharing links by embedding in status updates, these posts get more engagement (more likes, comments, shares and clicks) and they provide a more visual and compelling experience for people seeing them in their feeds."
- Focus on delivering visual, valuable content. Whether it's a photo, video, or link, the content posted to Facebook should be attractive, relevant, and timely. Use Facebook Insights to determine the best kinds of posts for your Pages (historically) and consider adjusting future content to fit the timing, focus, and type of your best-performing posts.
Ultimately, the text-only status update will not go away for Pages – but it's clear that other types of posts must be a key part of the content strategy in order for brand content to stand out from user content in Facebook's News Feed.
Let’s be honest: in the advertising industry, there are some who proudly wear the number of hours they’ve worked on their sleeves. I have friends and colleagues in agencies around the world who all seem to be having the same conversations:
Ugh, I’m so tired. I was here until 9:30 last night.
Oh, that’s nothing. I was here until 10pm, then I went home and worked some more.
These conversations happen every single day by the coffee machines, via Gchat, in Snapchat selfies that says “Still at work… lolz.” And though the reasons are different from person to person, from agency to agency, and from culture to culture, there’s still a conscious, continuous effort to rationalize why we’re killing ourselves – sometimes literally – to get the work done.
For some, it’s a staffing issue. If you don’t have the proper distribution of manpower to achieve your clients’ goals, it’s all too easy to find yourself at work long after the sun has gone down. For others, it’s a byproduct of being part of a culture of busy-ness. It can easily transform from “Look at how effectively I can do my job” to “Look at how busy I am.” Apparently, somewhere along the way, “busy” became synonymous with “important.” In the New York Times’ Opinionator, Tim Kreider calls this “The Busy Trap.” And in agencies, it’s all too common. In his commentary, Kreider writes that:
Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day. …[And yet,] if your job wasn’t performed by a cat or a boa constrictor in a Richard Scarry book I’m not sure I believe it’s necessary.
I’m pretty sure there wouldn’t be any Social Media Manager cats even in the most modern Busy World of Richard Scarry, but the fact is that we’re all part of this larger, flawed (but well-meaning) culture that considers overtime hours some kind of badge of honor. The advertising industry’s heart beats for brilliant relevancy and meaningful creativity and added-value, but its heartbeat is too often timed to the frantic tapping of keyboards and touchscreens.
The way to change this, however, is not through establishing clearer business hours. In the social media world, I can assure you that no one who wants to interact with your brand cares about your business hours. It’s one of many contributing factors to our “always-on” mentalities. The path forward is actually a shift from work-life balance to work-life integration. In her Huffington Post piece on her integrated life, Susan Sobbott explains that “Rather than a work life and a personal life, two separate entities, the goal should be to have one very full life and work consciously to integrate all of the things that make it meaningful.”
At first glance, this looks a lot like working at the dinner table. But the reality is that technology frees us from the confines of our offices, cubicles, tubicles, and workstations. And that freedom means doing meaningful work when and where we’re most prepared, contributing more value when we’re in the office, and still making time for our friends, families, significant others, and ourselves. That means that part of the transformation – the cultural part – has already begun.
Still, another part of this shift is on us, as individuals. Our responsibility is to choose a career that we love. Before we get too far, though, a disclaimer is absolutely essential: loving what you do does not and never will mean that you will never need to perform the most tedious of tasks, work with demanding clients, or fail in ways big or small. However, passion makes the mindless tasks, overbearing clients, slip-ups, and gargantuan errors a little more bearable. The tedious work can offer a time-out, a reset period to prepare your brain for the more mentally-stimulating tasks ahead. The tough clients can challenge you to conceptualize and create work that thrills them and you. The failures can be learning opportunities to make your future projects that much better.
Choosing a career that you love, of course, is easier said than done. After all, many of us are still just getting started in our careers, struggling to get our feet in the door, trying to find the right fit. But choosing a career for which you have a passion means a lot of things. It’s not only about having teammates that you lovingly high-five in the hallways or working with cool clients; it’s about doing work that inspires us and working with people who make us feel empowered, even (or especially) when it bleeds into our personal lives. This kind of active engagement means that when the line between our work and our personal lives blurs, we accept it because it’s meaningful to us.
Still, the most important element of this happy medium is forgetting about your “work self” and your “home self,” and forging ahead with one integrated self. This self combines the complexity of your character, variety of your professional and personal experience, and depth of your dynamic viewpoints to curate and create more meaning. Challenge yourself to be a unique, continuously evolving, personal-professional hybrid, whose adding true value in all elements of life.
Originally posted on the Advertising Week Social Club here
On an incredibly snowy December 10, I started my day with a little social media learning with a fellow LevLane-r, PR Account Manager Tracy Dabakis. Bundled up against the chilly precip, we trekked over to the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania to hit up the last sessions of the Social Media Leadership Awards' Best Practices Conference. There, we learned from some of the industry's best and most innovative about using social strategies for customer service and community creation/management. Check out the top takeaways from the morning below. If you were in attendance at #SMLA13, let me know what you found most valuable in the comments below!
The Integration (and Separation) of Social Media and PR
The moderator of the morning's customer service panel, The Wharton School's Sr. Director of New Media Stefan Frank, pointed out that 50-75% of social media managers are still part of larger PR and communications teams. From proactive blogger relations to crisis management, PR and social media teams work collaboratively as close partners, even if they are not one intertwined team. Those who work with or serve as part of social media teams will not be surprised by this, but the fact of the matter is that this can be both an asset and a detriment to social media strategies, if not managed properly. While many PR strategies focus on specifically-worded answers to customer inquiries or problems, the canned response is met with disdain in the social sphere.
Still, that doesn't mean that elements of traditional PR fall by the wayside in a technologically modern world. As Bianca Buckridee, VP of Social Media Operations for JPMorgan Chase, explained during the panel, it's crucial for PR teams to communicate with social media teams regarding buzzworthy events (from both a content strategy perspective and community management perspective), as well as anticipating and planning for positive and negative reactions across different media. This doesn't mean latching onto one canned response for the duration of an event, however. Brian Monk, AVP Social Media at Barclaycard US, said that his team often crafts several different ways to communicate the same message, so that customers don't lash out upon being served the same response repeatedly. It seems like a no-brainer, but you might be shocked to see how few brands actually utilize this simple tactic. In fact, those varied and personalized responses are the primary way in which social media and PR strategies diverge when it comes to customer service. Buckridee emphasized that at JPMorgan Chase, they have (and use) brand and conversation guidelines for customer service issues, but the most important thing is that their team members' personalities shine through. They, after all, are the voice of the brand for each customer – and that voice needs to have a human touch. Personalized responses may sometimes require a little background research (and almost-daily coaching and education to determine which responses work best), but the pay-off of having a happy customer is so worth it.
In fact, The Wharton School's Frank pointed out that, "You can delight people the most in a crisis because they expect to be let down." But what do social teams need to do before and during crises in order to delight, rather than dismay? As Dennis Stoutenburgh, Co-Founder of Social Strategy1, explains, it's about using social media tools to anticipate reactions or issues and to communicate with the larger team to proactively reach out or to provide valuable reactions to those issues. "Social care can be the early warning system that helps to create a good coordinated effort." Once an issue has reached crisis-level, American Airlines' Sr. Analyst, Social Communications Katy Phillips, emphasizes three things: honesty about the situation and what it means for customers, delivering timely updates, and (perhaps most surprisingly) knowing when to let the crisis go.
As David Berkowitz, CMO at MRY, put it in a later panel on content and communities, "Real-time marketing [or response, for that matter] is too late." That's exactly what the day's #SMLA13 sessions were all about: the need to anticipate, predict, and respond in strategic, delightful ways for customers and stakeholders, alike.
What was your favorite part of the day? Did anything surprise you? Share your comments below!
If you were on the interwebz this weekend, you probably saw Seth Adam Smith’s post entitled “Marriage Isn’t For You.” Ladies, if you haven’t read it, resist that shocked gasp. Go see what you’ve been missing; I’ll wait.
Okay, great – you’ve read it. So now you know that in that post, Smith discusses the talk many of us have with parents, friends, siblings, or counselors when we find the person with whom we want to spend our lives – the talk about whether or not we’re making the right choice and whether or not it’ll work out for us. Smith’s dad advises that “marriage isn’t for you; it’s for the person you choose to marry.” And much like marriage, your career isn’t for you, either.
When you choose a career during or shortly after college, it can be terrifying – especially in this economy. “Social Media Manager? My job didn’t exist 5 years ago. Does that mean it might not be around in 5 years from now? What does that mean for me?” These are totally reasonable fears and doubts, but ultimately they don’t matter. What matters is the other person or people with whom you choose to work: your bosses, coworkers, teammates, vendors, and clients. After all, anyone who’s out solely to make a name for themselves in advertising, marketing, social media, or PR will fail without thinking of their partners first.
Want to be the next great copywriter, designer, planner, or strategist? As Smith puts it, instead of asking “What’s in it for me?” ask yourself “What can I give?” Here’s how:
- How can you make your boss’s life easier? When your boss has less on his or her plate, they can focus on making your team better, stronger, and more strategic.
- What about your teammates? Lend a hand and ease the burden when your coworkers are under a mountain of work and a tight deadline; come up with better processes to make your team more effective and efficient.
- Focus on your clients. Know their goals and how you can help to reach them; be proactive; be responsive; be strategic and supportive.
It might not be as glamorous as you envisioned at first, but the position you have now and the efforts you make to put your team and clients first will help you learn and grow and gain perspective. The opportunities you get by helping out (on new business pitches, on client work, on different projects) will make you more strategic overall – not just within your particular discipline. And that is what will shape the great career you’re trying to build.
Originally posted on the Advertising Week Social Club here
On October 16, I joined two of my fellow LevLane-rs for a little learning about social media, reputation management, SEO, measurement, and leadership at PR News' Digital PR Summit in New York City. After searching the Grand Hyatt's digital agenda and map to find our conference location, we briefly considered trying to join the Super Bowl's planning meeting before grabbing a quick muffin and our seats in the ballroom. For the most part, the speakers had great experiences to share and insights from which we could all learn. The most important takeaways for me, as a Social Media Manager in an agency, can be found below, in both narrative and infographic. This conference recap is not exhaustive, obviously – I want to be "at the table, not on the menu," as American Traffic Solutions' SVP of Public Affairs and Marketing Communications Charlie Territo so eloquently put it. If you were in attendance for #digitalpr, I'd love to know what you found most valuable. Let me know in the comments!
How to Measure and Communicate Social Media ROI
In this session, EVP, BurrellesLuce Johna Burke cited a rather groundbreaking statistic from Nielsen: In the past, brands had to communicate messages 3-6 times in order for them to really sink in with consumers. Later, that number increased to 8 times. Today, with the message, platform, and product clutter that defines our lives, brands must reach millennials 23 times in order for brand messages to resonate. Whoa.
Get Your Messages in Front of the Right Followers on Twitter
One of my favorite quotes of the day came from Brooke Primero, SVP, PR & Marketing for the Academy of Country Music. She said, "The kiss of death in social media is being a 9-5, Monday-Friday brand." No matter what brand you're promoting, social activity doesn't sleep and it certainly doesn't stop because it's 6:30PM on a Tuesday. The Academy of Country Music's biggest push of the year is for a 3-hour awards event once a year. That's it. So they focused their efforts on building that brand during the rest of the year via social channels. In 2011, they announced their award nominees on TV, reaching 3 million people, according to CBS. In 2012, they took to Twitter to announce the nominees and reached 14.2 million people. Those are some pretty amazing statistics, but the Academy of Country Music didn't stop there. They engaged with key influencers to grow across Twitter and gave them behind the scenes access to content to take them from influencers to brand ambassadors.
How to Engage with the Internet's Passionate Communities
If there's one thing I learned during this session, it's this: some people just don't get reddit. Half of this session was spent listening to the great brand integration stories about reddit, and the other half of the session was spent trying to explain what reddit is. My life, in that moment, was r/reddit. Still, it was interesting to hear Marta Gossage, community operations manager, and Victoria Taylor, director of communications, distinguish reddit from other social platforms: Platforms like Facebook and Twitter show off your "frontstage behavior" (the way you want to portray yourself to the world), while platforms like reddit show off your "backstage behavior" (the way you think and feel when you're eating potato chips by the fistful in your sweatpants, reading the AMA with a guy who lost 300+ pounds through extreme starvation). reddit seems to be a much more authentic platform in that way – and redditors keep it that way. At the table we shared in the back, Gossage described reddit as having its own immune system. If there's a foreign body in there, the community reacts strongly to defend its territory (...er, place on the interwebz). Plus, if all else fails for you on reddit, you can always end a post with "...and here's a picture of my cat" to help you get your footing.
How to Use Instagram, Pinterest, and Vine for Digital Storytelling
If you've been trying to figure out how to build a brand presence on one of the more visual social platforms, this was a great session for you. Amanda Junker, digital director for Shape Magazine, spelled out how to drive better results and greater brand relevancy through SEO on Pinterest. Her tips? Display the "Pin It" button prominently on your web properties, verify brand accounts, complete the "About" profile section, name all pinned graphics appropriately, and create boards that capture long-tail searches. She also recommended infogr.am, which I used to create the infographic below. After her part was over, Allison Robins, Director of Global Public Relations at Zumba Fitness, stepped up to discuss Instagram's power and limits. According to Robins, Instagram is not the best platforms for brands focused on ROI, conversions, and sales. Instead, it's better for brand and relationship building. And if you've been wondering how to upload pre-recorded videos to Vine, Doug Simon, President & CEO, D S Simon Productions, was your guy. Simply edit your video in a program like Final Cut and convert it to an H.264 mp4 file, compress it, email it to yourself, then upload it to Instagram or Vine. It's that easy!
Building, Motivating, and Managing Your Digital Dream Team
Hands-down, this was the most valuable part of the day for me. Gemma Craven, EVP, NY group director, Social@Ogilvy, explained exactly how the growth of digital and social has shaped the creation and make-up of agency and client teams. Some of these teams may be as large as 20 people, handling digital and social creative, strategy, community management, analytics and listening, production, and more. More than metrics, more than C-suite buy-in, this is what I feel is the most important piece of the digital and social puzzle for agencies and brands today.
Did anything surprise you?
In a move to help the largest social network compete with Twitter, Facebook announced an update to Graph Search that enables users to search status updates, comments, and posts shared with them by friends. While the new feature won't necessarily have people posting as feverishly about live events (like the Emmy's or the "Breaking Bad" finale) as they would on Twitter, this function will allow community managers to track posts by users about their brands, especially TV shows that people are talking about in real-time. Posts made by private users will not be available for non-friends or brands to review.
The functionality isn't live for all users at this time, so here's an example to make it a little clearer: if you wanted to know what your friends thought of the "Breaking Bad" finale, you could search for "Posts about Breaking Bad by my friends" within the last week. Then, all status updates, comments made on status updates, photos and photo comments posted mentioning "Breaking Bad" would show up in your Facebook search results.
It's a good move on Facebook's part, seeing as their hashtags seem to have fallen a little flat. We'll see if this update can help them compete with Twitter's recently-announced ad partnerships with CBS and the NFL, which will put real-time video into your Twitter feed.
Facebook just launched a new tool to help telecommunications companies (like mobile carriers and operators) measure success on their platform. It's been tough to track the correlation between ad impressions and mobile phone sales, as the transaction typically occurs in a store, rather than online. This, of course, is not unique to telecommunications brands, so Facebook may be rolling out similar metrics for other kinds of companies in the future. In their announcement, Facebook explains why they've created this new metric:
Though clicks can be an effective indicator of interaction with Facebook content, they are less useful for linking digital impressions to in-store sales. In fact, our measurement team found that in telecommunications campaigns, more than 90% of people who made a purchase after viewing an ad on Facebook had never clicked on that ad.
The new metric, called "Telco Outcome Measurement," relies on Facebook's mobile reach to correlate ad exposure to actual sales, and to provide more valuable insight into ROI for Facebook ads. It's an interesting metric and one that, if successful, could be applied or modified to provide better information to several other kinds of businesses – not just telecommunications.
We’ve all seen the lists: “25 Before 25,” “30 Before 30,” and (of course) “The Bucket List.” These infamous lists are itemized reminders of goals to accomplish, things to see, adventures to take before a certain deadline, so to speak. (Haven’t seen them? A quick Tumblr search reveals that they’re real and they’re kind of a big deal.) For many of us, it takes a major life event – graduation, birth, death, tragedy, victory) to get us to start thinking about what we really want to do with our lives. Whether your sights are set on something short-term or you’re foreseeing your feats far off in the future, having an achievement map is undeniably helpful. And when it comes to your career, having a “bucket list” is essential. Here’s why.
“Bucket lists” offer a sense of direction and a reason to stay motivated and engaged. We all get stuck – caught up in internship anxiety, struggle to find post-grad jobs, find ourselves in companies or on teams that don’t let us shine. It’s easy to feel frustrated about not being where you envisioned you’d be at this stage of your life and career. But the beauty of the bucket list lies in its ability to keep you focused on moving forward, no matter where you are now.
Challenge yourself to find opportunities to connect your present day reality to your dreams. What will it take to get you to the level to which you aspire? Knowing and documenting what it takes to succeed – whether it’s more formal education, real-world experience, a better understanding of the industries, technologies, and companies in which you’re working, or something completely different – gives you the rudder to steer your career in the right direction.
Create your career “bucket list” by identifying three goals (an education/learning goal, a skill-building goal, and an achievement goal) for the short-term and long-term of your career.
Educational goals expand your horizons and propel you to the next level through knowledge. Start with knowing your interests and what it takes to succeed and stand out, like an MBA or art degree, a thorough understanding of search engine optimization, or a knack for knowing what’s going on in the industry.
Skill-building goals challenge you to apply what you’ve learned through academics and work experience. Start with knowing what makes the top performers in your field the best: working with or managing people, writing compelling content, translating their expertise to non-experts at conferences and events, being certified in Google AdWords, or understanding Adobe’s Creative Cloud.
Achievement goals motivate you to reach farther to get to the next level. These goals often involve raises and promotions, but a job well done cannot always be measured in dollars and cents. For short-term goals, maybe you’re shooting for a positive year-end review or hoping to generate campaign results that make your client do a double-take. In the long-term, maybe you’re looking to establish yourself as a thought leader or land new client accounts. Professional accolades, CLIO Awards, new job titles, and bigger paychecks don’t show up overnight, but identifying achievement stepping stones on the way to the top can help you get there.
Career “bucket lists” don’t take long to create, but it’ll grow and evolve with you over time. New skills will become vital to success, as will new relationships, expertise, and accomplishments. When it comes to your career “bucket list,” start small, but start today.
Originally posted on the Advertising Week Social Club here
After three and a half years at Philadelphia’s largest advertising agency, Digitas Health, I’m joining another amazing Philadelphia agency, LevLane, as a Social Media Manager. As I transitioned projects to new owners and wrapped up loose ends, I realized that agency folk must have the strangest collections of desk accessories of any professional group. When I packed up my belongings from the past three years, I found the following:
12 notebooks, filled from spines to edges with checklists and notes and doodles
10 conference and event lanyards and name tags
6 No. 2 pencils emblazoned with Psych nicknames
4 gigantic tea cups, including one with brass knuckles for a handle
3 boxes of headphones (Skullcandy and UrbanEars)
2 neon sweatbands from the Razorfish Health (now Razorfish Healthware) launch party in March 2010
2 event t-shirts
2 NERF darts, shot lovingly my way by coworkers
1 copy of “The Rules of the Red Rubber Ball,” given to me by a great friend and creative director
1 flowchart on the criteria for the proper usage of “oh snap!”
1 Alaskan moose hat, given to me by another great friend and ACD, because antlers are the new black
1 sheet of Lisa Frank stickers
A candy collection that included Pop Rocks, Ring Pops, and Jolly Ranchers
Despite the fact that this list could also easily be a listing of what an emotional preteen girl might find in her locker at the end of 8th grade, I think it’s safe to say that I grew up more in my first job out of college than I did in school. I learned about working well with other people, writing for different audiences, collaborating to come up with the best ideas, managing projects, copywriting, content strategy, PR, social media, and a million other things. I found friends that made me laugh and smile and think further outside the box.
And the best part is, all of that learning and discovery (and accumulation of ridiculous desk knick-knacks) doesn’t stop now that I’ve packed up my desk; it keeps moving forward with me with each new step. My career – and yours, too – is a lot like a snowball rolling down a hill. As it moves on and picks up speed, it’ll grow bigger and better and more powerful because of all the great things I learn along the way.
Originally posted on the Advertising Week Social Club by yours truly here
On September 3, the next phase of my career begins at LevLane, where I'll be a Social Media Manager. After spending three and a half years in Corporate Communications at Digitas Health, it's time to take the next step and embrace the next challenge. When I joined Digitas Health, I expected to work with some of the most talented people in the industry and to do work that made me proud. I didn't expect to make a brain in a jar, paint beautiful murals at Philadelphia schools, work with brilliant people across the globe, fall in love, be truly inspired, or meet some of my favorite people in the whole world... but I did. Digitas Health is leaving big shoes to fill, but I can't wait to utilize the skills I honed there and to learn even more at LevLane. Challenge accepted – let's do this!