March 19, 2012

#SXSWi 2012: The Five Major Themes

Filed under: Digital Strategy,Social Media,SXSW — Emily Reeves @ 5:15 pm

I keep getting asked about the one coolest thing I learned about at SXSW. The problem is: I didn’t walk away with one cool thing that I can hold up as THE find of SXSW 2012. Instead, I heard several themes woven throughout the many, many sessions I attended over the five day conference that we can apply to our clients’ digital presences and make us all better communicators with more engaging content in those digital spaces. Here are the five major themes that I heard:

Theme #1: Content and/or Content Curation

Brands and agencies are looking more like publishers every day. This is because in digital spaces, we need to pull consumers to our messages rather than pushing our messages out as we can with the more traditional media channels. We need to generate content or be excellent content curators to give our consumers a reason to engage with us in those digital spaces.

Theme #2: Storytelling

Stories can be told with words, photography, video or data. And they can be told and shared across many different channels, giving the audience a different way of experiencing and engaging with the stories. Narrative is what helps people remember the message. Narrative gives them an opportunity to experience a product or service before they buy. As we are crafting our narratives and writing our stories, we need to also think about how these can be shared across a variety of platforms; we should create in a way that is super flexible so that the content can be molded to go anywhere.

Theme #3: Discovery, Exploration, Customization

Given the amount of data that we are sharing with our mobile apps, our social networks and our web browsing, these services can now start customizing the content they share with us, making relevant recommendations based on our profiles, habits and location. Google+ is socially annotating our search results with friends’ activities and recommendations and garnering an uptick in click-through rates of 5-10% as a result. Foursquare is making recommendations for places we should visit based on our check-in histories and where we are standing at that moment. New location apps are popping up left and right to connect us with people with similar interests that are nearby, to inform us about locations that are nearby or to help us control our environments with approach to geo-fenced locations. It is fascinating and only serves to improve our experiences, save us time and help us find things we might not otherwise have discovered.

Theme #4: Using the Right Tools

No, you should not use Pinterest just because it is the latest, greatest social media tool out there. It seems like obvious that communicators should be (1) setting objectives for digital and social, (2) then measuring all decisions and messages up against those objectives before releasing tactics into the marketplace, (3) considering who the target audience is and where they tend to congregate, and (4) looking carefully at the competition and setting out to do something different. However, with as much conversation as there was around this topic and these steps, it is instead obvious that many communicators are not following this process and instead jumping into channels with little thought, other than just to be there to be there.

Theme #5: Observation

One presenter put it this way: “Look at what others are doing and riff off what they are doing well.” Another panelist described creativity as being made of three elements: copying, transforming, and/or combining what has already been created. Both get to the same point: nothing is new, but we can make it better and differentiate. Pay attention to what is happening around you in the digital spaces and learn from it.

March 16, 2012

Facebook Content Tips

Filed under: Social Media,Tips — Emily Reeves @ 9:23 am

We get a lot of requests for “quick tips” for Facebook. This is such a general question that it is difficult to answer; it depends on the business and what the business is trying to achieve through use of Facebook. Though the best approach is to think through (1) the brand message, (2) the target audience, (3) the competitive landscape and (4) how success will be measured, and then craft a custom approach to strategic messaging and execution that is truly on-brand and differentiating, for those that need some very general “quick tips” for engaging content/posts on Facebook, here you go:

  • Conduct quick testimonial interviews with your clients/customers with audio, video or written words and share these on Facebook. Be sure to embed the link to that person’s profile with the @name so that their networks are also exposed to the story. Set a schedule for doing this (i.e., once a month) so that followers start to look for the content on a regular basis.
  • Use a lot of photography, especially “behind-the-scenes”-type images and personal perspective photos; anything that followers couldn’t experience on their own. Photos tend to generate a lot of interest. Set goals for the number of photos you want to post on a weekly/monthly basis.
  • Engage your fans/followers by regularly using the Facebook “ask a question” tool to poll them about your business, their preferences or a timely event.
  • Create custom messages that mention key Facebook users/pages in the posts (be sure to embed the link to that page/person profile with the @name) that are relevant to them in an effort to start a conversation with them. These posts will automatically notify them of your post and they are therefore likely click through to investigate and ultimately respond to you, exposing you to their followers/networks as well.
  • Profile of employees and customers. People love to learn about other people. And social channels are all about sharing personal information. The profiles can take a multimedia approach: video, audio, photography, text. Profiles should call out the local efforts and outreach of employees and customers. Using customers will also help drive the social channel follower/fan base as they will reach out to their friends and families to share the profile.
  • Pay attention to what is getting shared, liked and commented on. Do more of those things.
  • Respond to comments.
  • Learn the ins-and-outs of the new Facebook Timeline for pages. Here are a few: select a great cover photo, “pin” a different post each week that you feel is the best story/post for that week and star great posts, hide those that are not garnering as much interaction.

Always ask yourself: would I be interested in this content and want it to show up in my Facebook news feed? If not, don’t post it.

March 15, 2012

15 Favorite Random Quotes & Facts From #SXSWi

Filed under: SXSW — Emily Reeves @ 2:31 pm

In no particular order:

  • There is such a thing as internet addiction. It is a defined clinical disorder.
  • If a Google search ad is socially annotated, there is a 5-10% click through uptick.
  • Presenters love to use the word “magical” to describe technology.
  • “Keep your head on a swivel.”
  • Most popular power song on Nike+: “Eye of the Tiger.”
  • “Our phones are like Mary Poppins’ bag: bigger on the inside than on the outside.”
  • Presenters referring to those outside SXSW as “muggles.”
  • “I can’t sail around the world in a broken tea cup.”
  • The average academic article is only read by seven people.
  • There are 250 million photos uploaded every day to Facebook.
  • “Geek plus storyteller = relevant data analysis.”
  • “‘Place’ is a layer cake of qualities about that place.”
  • “I thought Highlight was a prank. It blows privacy concerns wide open. I thought they were trolling SXSW. But it is real and there is something is liberating about just letting it all out.”
  • No-mo-phobia = fear of losing mobile phone.
  • Women speak 7,000 words a day while men speak 2,000 words a day.

March 14, 2012

Online Advertising Can Be Good

Filed under: Advertising,Digital Strategy,Online Advertising — Emily Reeves @ 3:38 pm

Too frequently our online advertising is thought of as an add-on to the campaign and is simply a hastily executed version of the television or print with little thought as to how it will be experienced differently online. Google has set out to show us that great “traditional” advertising can be great online when approached still with the same overall message and brand objectives, but with specific thought about the way a user can experience and interact with that message in the digital space. With Project Re:Brief, Google found iconic advertising and its creators, then worked with them to develop online versions of the advertising that are truly amazing.

So far, Google has released the Coca-Cola and Volvo ads, complete with a video documentary of the process and step-by-step descriptions of how the ads work through the technology. It is inspirational and educational. Check out the full site: Project Re:Brief.

(Thumbs up to Mr. Stone for sending this my way.)

#SXSWi: The Word Cloud

Filed under: SXSW — Emily Reeves @ 1:44 pm

Want to see at-a-glance what I blogged about during SXSW 2012? Here is a word cloud from all my SXSW blog posts this year:

Games as Practice For the Real World #SXSWi

Filed under: SXSW — Emily Reeves @ 1:26 pm

There is a misperception that spending vast amounts of time staring at a screen means that a person is withdrawn, antisocial and perhaps socially awkward. At SXSW this week, this topic came up a few times.

In a session with Nike and EA Sports, the representative from EA Sports said that video game players learn strategy and skills from playing the video game version of a sport and that this actually makes them better on the field or on the court. He noted that many professional sports players are creating “moves” on video games as a test before using them on the field or on the court. And soccer coaches are actually requiring that their players play Fifa video games to learn the strategy of the sport.

In a session about Digital Divas, the presenters talked about the average age of social gamer is 43 years old, and she’s a woman. And these are not reclusive, lonely and sad women. These women are more social offline too:

“Female online gamers are more social than their non-gaming counterparts. Forty-one percent socialize at least once each day in person compared to 31% of non-gamers. They’re also more active on social networks, with 88% of gamers socializing online at least once each day compared to 71% of non-gamers.” ~ Mashable

If games are practice for the real world and help to educate and help to develop a certain level of comfort with a topic to the participants, there are many opportunities for us a marketers to help consumers learn about our products and services through gaming that we are not yet leveraging.

Women Online: Facts & Figures #SXSWi

Filed under: Social Media,SXSW — Emily Reeves @ 1:17 pm

Here are some random facts and figures about women and their online behaviors. Interesting stuff.

Digital Divas are about 25% of the female population. A Digital Diva is defined as:

  • More social
  • Competency with technology
  • Buy more technology (they own 7.8 digital devices, average woman owns 5.6)
  • Spend more time online (intensity)
  • Moms represent a disproportionate amount of Digital Divas
  • Skew younger

Women are more likely than men to buy three out of the top four consumer electronics. They also spend more time engaging with the technology than men.

Women are more likely to experience no-mo-phobia: a fear of losing the mobile phone. The most likely reason they worry about this is they worry about losing the photos stored on the phone.

Adult women play more games than than all of men (55% compared to 45%). Average age of social gamer is 43 years old, and she’s a woman.

Women speak 7,000 words a day vs. men who speak 2,000 words a day.

Men connect online to hunt. Women connect online to gather. Women’s number one reason to log on is to connect to others, men’s number reason is to research how to do things.

Men congregate online. Women communicate online.

Women are driving 62% of all Facebook activity.

Women turn to Facebook first to recommend products and services. Moms in particular are very active on Facebook with brands.

When women are looking for a product recommendation, this is where they go and in the order they go there:

  1. Facebook
  2. Retail site
  3. Blogs

Men want to talk about brands. Women want to talk with brands. A man’s instinct is to inform and impart knowledge. A woman wants to engage. This is basic human nature and true all the time about how the genders engage in the world.

Men want brands to give them knowledge, to be informers and teach them something. Women want the brands to connect them with people.

Where do women start their online purchase journeys? Google. 58% of women start navigating towards a purchase through a search engine. Where do they go from there? 67% of the 58% then go directly to a social network, specifically the brand’s Facebook page. Then half of those go to the retail page. What are they doing on Facebook? Getting smart before the cart, learning about new products, researching what others say about the brand, confirming what they thought about the brand, and crossing brands off their consideration list.

What drives women to like a brand on Facebook?

  1. Deals and steals/discounts
  2. 55% for customer service
  3. 29% for the opportunity to contribute ideas for new products and services.

Facebook “likes” create evangelism and foster loyalty. These are the people that will fight back against the critics online.

Women like an average of 8.1 brands on Facebook and are becoming more selective about the brands they like, but we don’t know why.

Internet Addiction #SXSWi

Filed under: SXSW — Emily Reeves @ 1:06 pm

The following are facts learned at SXSW this year, during a session entitled Digital Divas.

There is such a thing as internet addiction. It is a defined clinical disorder. And women are more likely to internet addicts than men. Two-thirds of women claim to be addicted to the internet, while only half of men claim this. Signs of internet addiction include:

  • Checking your smart phone before getting out of bed (34% of women do this).
  • Sleeping with your smart phone and waking up to check Facebook in the middle of the night (21% of women do this)
  • Checking Facebook while on the toilet (27% of women do this).

It is this last fact that has spurred the following internet sensation: