December 9, 2013

Book Review: Epic Content Marketing

Filed under: Book Review,Digital Strategy,Marketing — Emily Reeves @ 6:37 pm

Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less, by Joe Pulizzi is a comprehensive guide to content marketing. Pulizzi covers an overview of content marketing, why businesses should be doing it and how — very specifically — to use it. This was a great book that I am going to recommend to any online marketer. And it is one that I am sure I will reference several times in the near future.

For a business book, this is a dense read at 300 pages, however, Pulizzi has broken the book into process and parts, making it easy to digest and understand.  On the first page of the book, Pulizzi powerfully states:

“Advertising is not dead, but content marketing is the driver that leading companies now use to capture the hearts and minds of their customers.”

While content marketing has been around for a long time, the term “content marketing” just started to trend with in the last 12 months. What exactly is content marketing and what is the difference between it and “content?”

“What makes content marketing different from simple content is that content marking must do something for the business. It must inform, engage, or amuse with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”

Do your customers really want content from you?

“Eighty percent of buyers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus ad advertisement. Seventy percent say content marketing makes them feel closer to the sponsoring company, and 60 percent say that company content helps them make better product decisions.”

“Millennials, now between the ages of 19 to 34, actually expect brands to develop content for them, with 80 percent wanting to be directly entertained through content marketing.”

Throughout the book, Pulizzi provides example after example of brands that have had success with content marketing and exactly how they have done it. And the examples include big brands with big budgets and small companies with few employees.

The bottom line is that brands are now publishers. They have to be in order to pull in audiences and build relationships with them to influence their buying behaviors. This book provides that introduction and steps to becoming a content marketer. I highly recommend this book.

March 9, 2013

#SXSW 2013: Brainstorming Technology First

Filed under: Business,Digital Strategy,Marketing,SXSW — Emily Reeves @ 8:49 pm

One of my favorite SXSW sessions today was “Brainstorming Technology First.” It was presented by an agency and they provided real examples with actionable steps for implementing a technology-first approach to brainstorming projects. R/GA created this process to counter the consistent problem they were encountering where an idea was generated then the question “is this possible” was asked to the technologist. Their desired outcome was to know that something was possible and that it was possible to do well as the idea was generated.

Tech First Brainstorming Framework

  • Still start with creative brief. But choose a technology that is relevant to the audience and hardcode it into the brief. It should be a technology that is specific to your audience. The more granular you can be, the better. For example, not “mobile apps,” but “Passbook for iOS.”
  • Time box brainstorm session at one hour. Get everyone on the team at the same time in the room. Present the brief. Then give them 5-8 people to silently write their own answers to the questions in the brief. It is really important to let them work silently first.
  • Spend next 45 minutes sharing their ideas and encourage creative riffing.
  • Then the senior leadership team should take the ideas and distill them and craft them into something presentable.
  • This is an efficient process because 90% of ideas that come out are feasible because we have embraced the constraints on the front end and we don’t have to ask if this is possible.

Examples of Approaches

  • Fill in the blanks: give people a grammar and a framework to tell stories.
  • Magnetic poetry: provide a list of descriptors and a list of technology, then mix and match to get creative.
  • Branded magnetic poetry: same as above, but brand specific.
  • Social media API roulette: pick two very specific API points from two different networks and ask what can be created by combining the two.
An example of the "magnetic poetry" approach to tech-first brainstorming sessions.

An example of the “magnetic poetry” approach to tech-first brainstorming sessions.

As technology is integrated more and more each day in our activities and communications, thinking about how an idea can be executed as part of the technology rather than being retrofitted into the technology is increasingly important. This approach to brainstorming can help agencies and brands make the transition in their thinking about technological communications.

 

July 11, 2012

Foursquare Connected Apps

Filed under: Digital Strategy,Marketing,Social Media — Emily Reeves @ 3:07 pm

“Foursquare is setting itself up as mobile users’ go-to app for socializing around a location.” - TechCrunch

Discovery, serendipity and exploration are all words that Foursquare has been using to describe the promised evolution of their location-based check-in app to a tool that gives you more. Foursquare has delivered on that promise with the introduction of Connected Apps.

Connected Apps are apps that function within Foursquare and are triggered by check-ins. The examples provided by Foursquare:

“For instance, Eat This, Not That can suggest healthy dishes the moment someone checks in at a restaurant. Or The Weather Channel can tell people the forecast when they check in to a new city.”

These kind of apps expand and enhance the user experience, providing them with information, suggestions and revelations they might not otherwise have encountered. The information delivered is customized for that user’s location and delivered exactly when it is relevant to them to make a decision about how to interact in and with that location.

This addition gives users a new reason to check-in and could drive increased use of the app. With these check-ins, Foursquare continues to grow its database of user preferences to further power its recommendations for new business, products and services nearby, making it a more valuable tool for businesses and brands to engage with consistently.

“Foursquare is setting itself up for an interesting niche in the future of the mobile/local/social web. Facebook is the network of people, but Foursquare’s Connected App platform could see itself turning into the network around places. For a service that’s struggling to remain relevant as the lure of gamification wears off and the local offers plan fizzles, becoming the go-to app for the location-based social web is not a bad position to take.” - TechCrunch

It will be interested to see how brands and marketers take advantage of this opportunity to communicate messages within the Foursquare app about new products, services and surrounding opportunities to the location where the user has checked in. I see brands partnering with the third party apps, not Foursquare to create their own apps. For example, restaurants might partner with a travel app to negotiate recommendations for their restaurants in cities where a user checks in. Or gyms might partner with the healthy eating app to push messages about nearby workout facilities. The possibilities are many.



May 8, 2012

Facebook Sneakily Sharing Brand Comments by Friends

Filed under: Digital Strategy,Marketing,Social Media — Emily Reeves @ 1:01 pm

While doing some research today for a client planning session, I was searching the client’s competitors on Facebook. I noticed something I hadn’t previously noticed on brand pages under the new Timeline structure: friends’ posts that mention that brand are showing up on the brand page when I view it, without the friend having officially “tagged” the brand and without having posted the message directly to that brand’s page. These posts were mostly several months old and all were negative. As a marketer and manager for brand pages, I definitely don’t like this. As a user, I think it is pretty relevant, however.

As a marketer, I don’t like this because the brand managers don’t even know these comments exist. Since the comment wasn’t tagged with the brand or posted on the brand’s page, the brand manager has no way of knowing that the comment exists. So he or she can’t respond to it and he or she can’t control what a user sees on the brand Facebook page. Facebook acknowledges this as user privacy:

“Posts about a Page respect the privacy settings of the people who create them. Page admins won’t see posts about their Page that people haven’t shared publicly even though people visiting the Page might see them if they’re part of the audience the post was shared with. Pages themselves are public spaces, and posts added to a Page’s timeline will be visible publicly and are eligible to appear in the Recent Posts by Others box. “

If the comment is positive, this doesn’t matter to the marketer one way or another (other than it would be nice to have those to report back). But the problem is the negative comments, which were what I saw today on all the brands that I was visiting for my research. Facebook is basically amplifying negative word-of-mouth. As a user, I might not have noticed my friends’ posts several months ago, or paid little attention to it in my stream. But it suddenly becomes relevant as I am on the brand page and it sticks out like a flashing beacon.

As a user, when I land on a brand page and see a friend’s comment immediately, it gives me a new perspective on the brand. If it is one that I was considering engaging with in some way and I saw a negative comment from a friend, I believe this would impact my engagement with that brand or I would reach out to that friend to learn more. I love this as a user because it helps me make decisions, helps me learn more and is extremely relevant.

We’ve been hearing and talking a lot about socially annotated search and banner advertising the last few months. The stats say socially annotated search gets a 5-10% better click-through rate. Having just experienced a version of socially annotated brand commentary, I see why it works so well.

April 18, 2012

My Favorite Quotes and Facts from the AdAge Digital Conference 2012

Filed under: Advertising,Digital Strategy,Marketing,Social Media — Emily Reeves @ 8:08 pm

Here is a round-up of things heard at the AdAge Digital Conference that resonated with me in some way, shape or form:

  • “Snow White” was the first full length feature animated film. It was also the most financially successful film when it came out. (“Gone With the Wind” beat it next year.)
  • Stop thinking about the technology and instead think about the purpose.
  • Go back to your startup mentality. What was it that excited you? Don’t think about digital as something you do to stay relevant; think instead about how to communicate your message.
  • Every marketer mines data. It is how you use the data that makes the difference.
  • People would rather give up their toothbrush than their mobile phone.
  • People look at their mobile phones an average of 40 times a day.
  • Over 50% of Facebook users are accessing the network via mobile device.
  • Social is not a what, it is a where things happen.
  • We have to scale platforms for two-way engagement with consumers.
  • Consumers now have the power of media and a consciousness of marketing. Consumers talk about how they know what a brand is doing with its marketing. Keep this in mind.
  • Don’t reduce the whole world of social networks to two or three social networks.
  • Consumers talk about brands as “they” rather than “it.” Brands have to figure out how to behave as people. Brands are positioned as people on social networks, so they should act like people.
  • 80% of consumers are using their phones to shop smarter, sometimes on the spot, at the shelf.
  • Learn what people are engaging with and build content to match.
  • People don’t change their TV very often, only every five to seven years. A tablet probably gets upgraded very 18 months.
  • Customers are lazy, stubborn and loyal. Don’t force them todo things they dont want to do.
  • 500 million people listen to music online illegally.
  • Viral ads are no longer a happy accident. Every campaign today needs to be interesting enough to be passed around and shared on digital networks.
  • The definition of content has changed. It used to take money and power to distribute content. Now the cost is practically none. Content distribution is happening in mass scale. It is about empowerment and democratization.
  • The challenge is now the curation of content. How do we find what is meaningful to us? We are increasingly using Facebook and other places like it: we turn to friends for what to read, listen to, watch, eat, buy, etc.
  • Social technologies change the way the stories are seen and shared.
  • Consumers are 50% more likely to remember an ad when they see a friend’s name associated with it (socially annotated ads).
  • Technology is enriching and enhancing our experiences.
  • Beer is the original social network.

Stay True To the Core Brand Idea

Filed under: Digital Strategy,Marketing,Online Advertising — Emily Reeves @ 6:52 pm

Today I had the opportunity, at the AdAge Digital Conference, to watch the premier of the Google Project Re:Brief documentary film. It was inspiring and I can’t wait for everyone I know in this business to watch it. But, the value of watching at the conference was the discussion with the people behind the movie after it showed.

{Again, the crux of the conversation was about finding an idea true to the brand and figuring out how best to execute that through channels that are best for the brand’s consumers.}

The stray away from this as a strategic approach to communications is apparently rampant given the frequency of the discussions among marketing professionals.

At a glance, here are some of the highlights from the post-film discussion:

“Technology is an enabler to the story. It is not the story itself.”

“It is the story. We all know this, we’ve just been ignoring it. We are all so distracted by the technology.”

“Digital is the layer that connects everything together. It is not a channel.” {my favorite}

The problem is that people are afraid to take risks on the web. They are being way too conservative. That is why Google did this experiment. To show it can be done.”

Note: The film was shown for the first time at our conference (they said they literally finished editing it late last night in LA and ran to the airport to make the flight to NYC for the showing at our conference; true or not, it makes for a good story and made us feel special). It is supposed to be available to the public in the next few months (they claim to have not this far in advance yet, so they are not sure how and where and when it will be available).

March 26, 2012

We Are Storytellers

Filed under: Marketing — Emily Reeves @ 3:38 pm

As marketers and communicators, at the heart of what we do is storytelling. We forget this sometimes, but regardless of channel–broadcast, print, digital, or across all of them–we have to engage our audiences in a brand message, or story, to build their interest in what we are selling.

In this recent TED video about storytelling, filmaker Andrew Stanton shares the elements of all good stories. Great food for thought.

March 22, 2012

Technology Is About Discovery

Filed under: Digital Strategy,Marketing,Social Media — Emily Reeves @ 11:23 am

I’ve been hearing that word a lot lately, “discovery,” as it relates to new technologies and how digital technology adds to our daily lives. We’ve been sharing online now for sometime, and we’ve talked a lot about engagement and creating opportunities for conversation. But “discovery” really is at the heart of all of this, we just haven’t talked about it that way. Until now. And companies are taking that idea of “discovery” to new levels by creating features and tools that explicitly embrace discovery.

Location

Location sharing is not going away, but it is evolving from the actual “check-in.” Rather than just announcing where we are, we want apps to help us discover new places, new things about places we already know and people we might want to know about us. One of the great quotes I heard at SXSW about location was:

“‘Place’ is a layer cake of qualities about that place.”

It is so true and that is just from a user standpoint. And the apps are starting to deliver that to us; as a recent article mentioned, Foursquare is evolving with its “Explore” and “Radar” features, and at SXSW we heard a lot about several new “ambient location” apps that run in the background of our phones to notify us when something or someone interesting is near.

From a marketer standpoint this is awesome because we can program the delivery of specific information about our businesses, track how locations are being used and learn more about those that are visiting so we can ultimately improve services and communications.

Shopping, Designing, Collecting

Pinterest is quickly becoming a top traffic driver to retail sites worldwide as people are discovering products they never knew existing and seeking out a way to find and buy them online. This quote from a recent article sums up the “discovery” aspect of Pinterest nicely :

“Essentially, Pinterest excels at something that’s very hard to do on the web — help people discover new things. If you can name what you want, after all, Amazon and Google are pretty good tools for helping you find it. But what if you don’t know what you want? Social-networking sites have helped businesses influence people, but they are imperfect. People use Facebook and Twitter to talk to each other, not necessarily to discuss things they might want to buy. In contrast, Pinterest users are more often in a shopping mindset when they are using the service. If you’re keeping a pinboard called ‘Spring handbags I’m considering,’ there’s a good chance you’ll click through and make a purchase.”

Again, from a marketing standpoint, this is awesome: “As more people spend more time pinning [they are] revealing to marketers the kinds of hobbies and objects they covet…”

How do we embrace and apply this trend in digital strategy and communications?

We must think beyond how and what to share and add a layer to our filter that asks: what can we help people discover through our communications?

March 21, 2012

Book Review: The Like Economy

Filed under: Book Review,Marketing,Social Media — Emily Reeves @ 7:08 am

The Like Economy, by Brian Carter is subtitled “How Businesses Make Money with Facebook.” The crux of the book is that if you build a relevant fan base of those who are open to your message, then craft your message appropriately for conversions, you can drive sales of your product or service.

While this book had a huge focus on Facebook advertising (I felt a bit like I was in a 250-page sales pitch to use Facebook advertising), the book did have some fascinating statistics on Facebook, great advice on analytics and measurement, interesting comparisons of Facebook to email and Twitter, several general marketing 101 pointers, and a lot of ideas and direction on content generation. And all of this stuff made the Facebook advertising selling parts of the book tolerable.

The bottom line: you can get as many fans as you want through advertising on Facebook, but they won’t see your posts if you don’t deliver engaging content from the first day they fan your page. And here is why:

  • If you don’t get your fans to like and comment on your posts, they’ll stop seeing them in their news feeds due to Facebook’s EdgeRank system.
  • Most fans never return to a page after they like it.
  • Most posts by pages are seen by less than 10% of their fans.
  • Many fans will never see your welcome tab.
  • When fans create new posts on your Facebook page, other fans don’t see them.
  • Posts from pages with 10,000 fans reach 30-40% of their fans.
  • Posts from pages with 100,000 fans reach 20-30% of their fans.
  • Posts from pages with 1,000,000 or more fans reach 10% of their fans.
  • The 1% Rule: only 1% of people will do what you ask them to do online.

I recommend picking up the book to learn more about how to use Facebook as a marketing tool, though I don’t necessarily agree that Facebook advertising is the only way to drive fan “likes” to your business pages.

March 10, 2012

Doing Transmedia Right #SXSWi

Filed under: Marketing,Social Media,SXSW — Emily Reeves @ 9:21 pm

Transmedia is about storytelling across multiple platforms, or basically, integrating online and offline experiences. “In transmedia, elements of a story are dispersed systematically across multiple media platforms, each making their own unique contribution to the whole.“ And when done right, transmedia puts a brand message on surround sound with the audience right in the middle.

At SXSW 2011, there was much talk about transmedia as an up-and-coming trend. But this year, there are brands that actually have transmedia case studies to share. I sat in on two sessions today where brands shared how they executed transmedia experiences successfully:

BBC

The standard audience for a BBC documentary is 55+ year-old males. They needed to broaden their audience and BBC decided to do that with a documentary called “The Code” by making it a transmedia experience. To pull this off, they partnered with a company that specializes in transmedia storytelling, Six to Start. Adrian Hon from Six to Start presented the story of “The Code” to the SXSW audience today.

Hon described how they took a traditional documentary (about seeing code and patterns in nature) and added the following elements to it to create the surround sound experience of transmedia:

  • A treasure hunt (overarching puzzle/game/theme)
  • Opt-in communication to tease the upcoming show/hunt with clues (direct mail, opt-in from existing Twitter audiences of Six to Start and BBC) (the direct mail pieces were numbered and recipients ended up forming a Facebook group to figure out how all their postcards fit together and what the clue was)
  • Hidden clues within the documentary (television)
  • Online videos with hidden clues (YouTube)
  • Online games with hidden clues (syndicated across the web)
  • Code breaker (Flash application for website)

BBC worked hard to keep the barrier to entry very low: it wasn’t hard to start playing the game or find the clues across the various channels. But, there were tiers to the reveal as BBC carefully considered the difficulty curve. Once a player put the first round of clues together, he or she unlocked an 86-page puzzle book. Solving the puzzle revealed more clues. On their own, players created a Facebook page and a wiki for helping each other piece together the clues.

Ultimately, the viewership of “The Code” documentary tripled viewership numbers of the traditional documentaries, tens of thousands of people participated in the wiki puzzle book conversations and a woman actually solved the puzzle first to win the “treasure” (a unique, 3D printed trophy made of varying medals).

Bravo

The panel from Bravo said they turned to transmedia out of desperation. They were basically using “Top Chef” leftovers online and gaining very little traction or engagement from fans. They needed something that could carry the show through fans’ lives more than the one time a week it aired on television. They set out with a transmedia plan hoping to generate about a million streams online.

The plan included:

  • A web video series called “Last Chance Kitchen” where eliminated chefs could compete to get back on the show. These online events impacted the final outcome of the on-air show.
  • Online fan voting for favorite chefs
  • Contestant social media activity, allowing fans to get to know their personalities
  • Game layer on the “Top Chef” website where fans accumulated points for activity on the site (reading the blog, voting for their favorite chef, watching webisodes, etc.)
  • Social media integration at all levels (moles, tweet battles, etc.)

Bravo executed this with one person dedicated to social media, but a full team of approximately 25 people helping to pull it all together. The web series got over eight million streams. It was the highest streamed series on NBCU ever and 26% of on-air show watched “Last Chance Kitchen.” They are still trying to understand the metrics for impact to their sole sponsor of the entire experience, Toyota, and are undergoing their most ambitious research effort ever to put together a full measurement report.

Because of the success with “Top Chef,” Bravo is looking across its other shows to determine how to create transmedia experiences for those audiences, as well. Up next: co-creation with and by fans with a social game for “Real Housewives of New York.”

Based on the level of complexity, the number of moving parts and the number of people that need to be involved to pull of a transmedia experience, embarking on a transmedia campaign can seem daunting. But, based on the results with the increased audience engagement, its seems an expense worth investing.

Read more about transmedia here:

July 7, 2011

We are hiring!

Filed under: Account Management Training,Current Events,Marketing — Emily Reeves @ 9:56 am

It probably goes without saying, but I love my job at Stone Ward. I must if I have been here for over 10 years, right? It is a great place to work, the culture is like family and creative work is what we do best. Who wouldn’t want to work here? Well, now is your opportunity. We are looking to hire an experienced account manager.  If you are interested, please contact me at ereeves@stoneward.com.  Here are the position details:

Stone Ward is seeking an Account Manager with 5+ years agency experience. Experience should include a demonstrated ability to think strategically about the client’s business and a demonstrated ability to direct and recognize results-oriented marketing communications that are on brand strategy.

The Account Manager will be required to provide business and marketing counsel to clients at an executive management level and oversee an associate account executive in the daily execution of client projects. The Account Manager will also oversee the client profitability and will be responsible for managing the client budget and agency revenue.  The Account Manager will report to the Director of Account Management.

Job responsibilities will include:

  • Serving as an agency leader across all disciplines to lead an integrative approach to all client marketing communications.
  • Acting as a leader for agency teams, creating a culture of team-level responsibility for achieving agency and client goals.
  • Developing strong relationships throughout the client organization, particularly at executive management level, maintaining thorough understanding of client satisfaction and ensuring client retention.
  • Maintaining a thorough understanding of client’s business, category, competitive landscape and customer base to ensure agency is proactive in delivering strategic marketing direction.
  • Recognizing and contribute to creative account planning that is excellent, results-oriented and strategic.
  • Providing strategic consultation about client’s business and marketing initiatives on a regular basis.
  • Supervising clients budgets and billing, as well as agency profitability by client.
  • Continuously seeking out education and information on communications tools, techniques and trends to apply to client’s communications initiatives.

Desired traits in an Account Manager include (in no particular order):

  • Flexible
  • Proactive
  • Organized
  • Innovative
  • Cheerleader
  • Collaborative
  • Numbers nerd
  • Detail-oriented
  • Not reactionary
  • Strong work ethic
  • No shrinking violets
  • Calm under pressure
  • Know when to say “no”
  • Ability deal with multiple personality styles
  • Willingness to learn new things
  • Willingness to take hit for team
  • Good written communications skills
  • Good verbal communications skills
  • Producer-type personality
  • Ability to defend creative
  • Good time management
  • Good creative instincts
  • Ability for forethought
  • Good negotiator
  • Problem-solver
  • Thought leader
  • People person
  • Open-minded
  • Good listener
  • Team player
  • Multi-tasker
  • Technophile
  • Self-starter
  • Passionate
  • Confident
  • Realistic
  • Creative
  • Diligent
  • Patient
  • Leader
  • Coach
  • Agent
  • Calm
  • Fair

About the Account Management department at Stone Ward:

The Account Management function at Stone Ward serves an extension of the client’s marketing department, with a specialization in creative communications and customer experience interactions. We are a partner in the client’s strategic communications planning, execution, budgeting and measurement.

June 6, 2011

The Opportunity for Transmedia Storytelling

Filed under: Marketing,Technology — Emily Reeves @ 7:26 am

One of the hot topics at South by Southwest this year was transmedia storytelling, the idea of using various channels to tell different aspects of your story. New research from the IPG Media Lab and YuMe lends further credence to the argument for use of transmedia storytelling:

“The study quantified some long-suspected but never quantified aspects of media behavior. Distraction media was ubiquitous, with 94% of TV and 73% of online video viewers using some type of companion/distraction media. While companion media included everything from laptops, video games and crossword puzzles to physical mail and musical instruments, the smartphone proved to be the true “disruptor” in regards to video attention levels. Of all of the companion media used, the smartphone accounted for 60% of TV and 46% of online video distractions.”

The article goes on to give statistics about the level of engagement with commercials and how viewers who fast forward through the DVR version actually pay more attention to the commercials than those that simply put their heads down to engage with their smart phones while the commercials continue playing. Think about the opportunities that exist for marketers using a transmedia strategy to drive the viewers to their smartphones purposely for the story and message continuation.

Photo Sharing Popularity Proliferates

Filed under: Culture,Marketing,Technology — Emily Reeves @ 6:58 am

Back in January, we outlined predictions for the 2011 technology year that included an increase in mobile photo sharing. Half-way through the year, and we are seeing that prediction come true.

Instagram is now up to five million users and is adding about a million users a month.  According to a New York Times article this weekend, “Those who study the way people socialize online say cellphone photos are becoming an integral part of sharing and communicating.”

“Professor Sundar said people once tended to take photos on special occasions, like birthdays and vacations, then post a big batch on services like Picasa and Flickr and share a link with friends. But with the introduction of smartphones with improved cameras, coupled with the rise of services like Facebook and Twitter, people are more accustomed to constantly documenting moments and sharing throughout the day.”

And brands are starting to experiment and use the tools available to engage their customers with photography.

“Brands like Oscar de la Renta, Brisk Iced Tea, Kate Spade, Starbucks and Red Bull are also on the service. Cecilia Liu, digital marketing manager at Kate Spade, said the company added Instagram to its social media lineup this year. She said it was appealing because the company could mix in a little more personality and behind-the-scenes glimpses than it would on Facebook and Twitter.”

Starbucks was one of the first brands to sign on to Instagram.  Now, when you search the Starbucks tag on Instagram, over 10,000 photo hits come up.

“We’ve been using Instagram for a couple of months and think it’s a fun, different way to share photos of what’s going on behind the scenes,” says Product Manager Brad Nelson. “We’ve also found a lot of people already sharing Starbucks photos, so it’s been a joy to look through those.”

As people are using mobile photography and sharing to these sites to document their lives, what are they taking the most photos of? Food, of course.

And, to find all of this great photography online, last week, Twitter introduced a new version of its search that incorporates photos and videos.


Brands that are figuring out how to incorporate photography sharing into their engagement strategies are connecting with their consumers on a more intimate level.

January 29, 2011

Foursquare Growth and the Future of Location Sharing

Filed under: Culture,Marketing,Social Media — Emily Reeves @ 11:13 am

Last year was one of significant growth for Foursquare: 3400% growth in 2010, according to the site.  Foursquare has released an infographic with some interesting facts.  Thinking about Foursquare from a branding and business-building perspective, these are a few of my favorite data points shared by Foursquare:

Knowing when a consumer is more or less likely to check-in and share their location with friends and followers can give a business the opportunity to offer special deals during slower time periods to try to drive traffic.

This graphic tells me when to stay home!

Clever.  Consumers love clever.  Brands should think about the unique qualities of their brands and leverage the data to make the consumer smile in appreciation.  Then, check-in because they want to be part of the inner circle offered by the brand.

The year 2010 proved that location sharing was relevant to the social consumer.  Foursquare has by far dominated that scene.  Some of the questions in 2011 will be:

  • Can Foursquare maintain its dominance or will Facebook’s massive user base switch to using Facebook Places?  There is something appealing about the game aspect of Foursquare that encourages participation more than Facebook Places; but being able to tag friends with you gives Facebook an edge.
  • Will brands figure out how to really use location sharing in ways that benefit consumers and get them talking?  Big brands like Starbucks have used it and small yet savvy independents have used it.  But what about those mid-size challenger brands that are trying to stand out?
  • Will we see the apps for location sharing get more robust?  Some allow photos, some don’t; some allow tagging friends, others don’t.  What about multiple photo uploads to one check-in?  Or user rankings or reviews for each location?  How about options to leave feedback for the business versus posting it publicly to the check-in?  Will we see video sharing options built in?  Might we see some personal analytics tools for “defining” the user type?  How about varied privacy settings a la Facebook so that family can see all posts, certain friends can see limited posts, others can see more, etc.?

January 9, 2011

Who is your social media audience?

Filed under: Marketing,Social Media — Emily Reeves @ 3:09 pm

During the last few weeks of 2010, there were several studies released that revealed social media use by demographics.  As businesses continue integrating social media more into their communications executions, this information is valuable looking toward 2011 plans.  Here is a recap of stats from across the web; look for some more detailed thoughts on leveraging these findings in communications strategies in the coming weeks.

Twitter

In 2010, Twitter increased by more than 100 million users, bringing the total users to 175 million.  Eight percent of the American adults who use the Internet are Twitter users.

And these users are influential, with 16%  having more than 100 followers.  Of those queried, 62% said they post updates related to their work life, activities or interests, with 12% doing so on a daily basis.  Twitter users are nearly equally divided between those who check the site on a daily basis (or multiple times per day) and those who check the site infrequently or never. Just over one-third of Twitter users (36%) check for material posted by others on a daily basis or multiple times per day — this is roughly comparable with the two in five (41%) who say they check the site less than every few weeks, or never do so at all. The remaining one-quarter of users say they check the site for updates a few days each week or every few weeks.

Some of the groups who are notable for their relatively high levels of Twitter use include:

  • Young adults: Internet users ages 18-29 are significantly more likely to use Twitter than are older adults.
  • African-Americans and Latinos: Minority internet users are more than twice as likely to use Twitter as are white internet users.
  • Urbanites: Urban residents are roughly twice as likely to use Twitter as rural dwellers.

Women and the college-educated are also slightly more likely than average to use the service.

Additionally, these new Twitter users are more comfortable sharing their personal information and show evidence of comfort with their online presence: were much more likely to provide a bio (69%), detailed name (73%), location (82%) and website URL (44%) as part of their public profiles. All of those percentages are more than double what they were in 2009. Also noteworthy is that 22.5% of users are responsible for 90% of all tweets.

Before getting too excited about Twitter stats, keep in mind that email use is still 38% greater than Twitter use.

Sources: Mashable, Pew Research

Facebook

Overall, 50% of all 500+ million Facebook users log on to Facebook in any given day.  Drilling down a bit, 81% of upscale Gen Yers (average age 27) use Facebook every day, nearly twice the number who watch TV or read newspaper content.

The average user has 130 friends and is connected to 80 pages, groups, and events.

Of the Gen Y users, 63% use social media to engage with brands and more than 50% say that Facebook, blogs and brand videos affect their opinions about products.  In fact, 44% of overall shares occurred through Facebook in 2010, up 33% from last year. That number does not include shares done via Facebook’s “Like” button, which means the actual, universal percentage of shares through Facebook is likely higher.  And, Facebook users are updating their status millions of times per day.

What are their sentiments when Facebook users are posting all those status updates?  Facebook did some analysis on their own users and Facebook’s data team found:

  • A positive correlation between friend count and second person pronouns, total word count, communication, religion, swear words and sex.
  • A negative correlation between friend count and past and present tense verbs, family and emotions.
  • The time of day impacts word choice. Not only do Facebook’s users tend to talk about sleeping the most at around 4 a.m. ET, but they tend to talk about their work right before they head into the office.
  • Positive and negative emotions are also affected by the time of day; Negative emotions tend to peak at around 1 a.m. ET, while positive emotions tend to peak at about 7 a.m. ET. More importantly, negative emotions tend to increase as the day progresses at the expense of positive emotions.

And, by the way, if Facebook was a country it would be the third-largest in the world.

Sources: Mashable, Mashable, Mashable, Problogger

Blogging

When it comes to blogging, as only half as many online teens blog compared to 2006, while users ages 18 to 33 also blog less than before. Blogging did see a slight uptick among older generations (ages 33 and up), but still accounts for a relatively small number of total users.  However, as of December, 2010 there are over 32 million WordPress publishers; someone is still blogging!

Sources: Mashable, Problogger

Online, in General

The Milliennials – those ages 18 to 33 – are more likely to engage in many online activities than older generations, namely social networking, using online classifieds, instant messaging, playing online games, listening to music, participating in virtual worlds and reading blogs.  Users ages 34 to 45, or the Gen X, however, are more likely than Millennials to visit government websites or get their financial information online.

Regardless of what they are doing there, Americans are increasingly spending more time on the Internet.  In fact, Americans are now spending as much time using the Internet as they are watching television, and the amount of time people spend on the Internet has increased 121 percent over the last five year.

Sources: Mashable, New York Times