Social Media Case Studies – Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting Tue, 21 Aug 2018 14:17:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Social Media Case Studies – Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting 32 32 Yes, There Is Power in Your Marketing Humor Thu, 08 Feb 2018 14:30:35 +0000 Plenty of brands are jokes-averse, worried they'll risk audience trust if humor creeps into their brand voice. But marketing humor may hold the key to more memorable engagements.

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Yes, There Is Power in Your Marketing Humor

When given a choice, I choose to laugh, no matter the situation, as long as kindness prevails. With that said, I have been told that my professional voice is memorably unprofessional—perceived as advantageous or dangerous, depending on the recipient’s sense of humor. I am not alone.

For all marketers struggling to convince others that humor, does, indeed, garner trust ergo sales, let me employ the words of some distinguished old man:

“Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh.”

— George Bernard Shaw

Truer words have been spoken, but never words so relevant to this particular argument. Shaw said this at the turn of the nineteenth century, yet brands still struggle to embrace humor.

Very, very important and serious brands worry, “If we are funny, will we be trusted?” Absolutely—humorous brands are trusted. I am not alone in believing so:

“Advice is sometimes transmitted more successfully through a joke than grave teaching.”

— Baltasar Gracián

Circa 1600, long before modern advertising came to be, Gracián wrote these ever-relevant words. True then and now, humor garners trust. If your brand is running a solid 400 years behind the times, don’t worry: It’s never is too late to add humor to your content marketing.

Especially in 2018, when influencer marketing is arguably the most powerful tactic your brand will implement this year, comedy is powerful and available. Choose funny, light-hearted, trustworthy influencers; watch as their jokes have you laughing all the way to the bank.

Because the archaic advice of old men is rarely enough to influence a nation (lol the irony), please enjoy these three modern examples of humor closing the sale. ABC.

It’s never is too late to add humor to your content marketing.
Click To Tweet

A: Visa Dispatches a Flock of Dancing Olympic Influencers

In truth, not all brands are innately funny, nor can they be, no matter which celebrities star in their commercials. That said, influencers help brands cheat the system. Brands need not be hilarious; they need only piggyback on the personality of their influencers.

For example, Olympians are seemingly happy people—blame the endorphins from all those workouts. They’re a natural fit for brands hoping to earn trust. Audiences happily accept that these athletes need sponsorships to pursue their passions. In this way, no one begrudges athletes dancing for the sponsors that, very honestly, make athletes’ dreams a reality.

While no one is rolling on the ground after watching this clip of Canadian Olympians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, one would expect them to smile (lest you have no heart). The Olympians’ joy is authentic and their gratitude apparent. This small execution is certainly more effective in stirring warm emotions than a lame joke about five percent cashback.

US Olympian Jamie Anderson, believer in “good vibes and gratitude,” exudes warmth in many of her sponsored posts, happy dancing her way into the Olympics. Visa was smart to sponsor another athlete known for her joy, goofiness, and talent.

B: Two Words (or One Word?), Poo~Pourri

“You would not believe the motherload I just dropped.” Can anyone forget this ingenious video sponsored in 2013? Originally served to me as pre-roll ad, it may still be the only YouTube ad I’ve watched to the end, then shared with my friends. An innately funny product, Poo~Pourri found some brilliant copywriter that keenly exercises every hilarious poop analogy known to man, and then some.

Poop jokes made intelligent? Poo~Pourri is a product that lives up to its promise. This potent combination is likely never to be repeated again, though others may try.

C: British Airways Produced a Laugh-and-Learn

If you are seeing this video, chances are your tush is already in a seat, and the sale has already been made. However, marketers are learning more and more about the importance of nurturing current audiences with rewarding and memorable content, hence the ever-trendy humorous airline safety video.

While there are many to choose from, I especially like this video from British Airways for the sole reason that appreciating dry British humor says good things about my character. (A necessity after I snuck in a few good poop jokes in the previous example.)

Not by accident, all examples shown here are videos of one sort or another. As my brilliant colleague Anthony Helmstetter has discussed, video marketing is on the rise in 2018. For that reason, among many others, Anthony’s 3-Part Secret to Video Marketing in 2018 is well worth the read.

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5 Digital Marketing Predictions for the 2018 Olympic Games Thu, 01 Feb 2018 15:27:38 +0000 The rise of social media has turned coverage of the Olympic Games into a complex, all-hands-on-deck affair. Expect these five trends to shape the 2018 Games.

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5 Digital Marketing Predictions for the 2018 Olympic Games

Beginning February ninth, the neglected cable boxes that occupy our living rooms will get some much-needed attention. All month, Americans will switch on the tube to ignite dormant dreams of snow-dusted Olympic fame.

Or, if you’re like me, with no cable to speak of, you’ll frantically search the world wide web for Olympic coverage. Thankfully, sports networks are leaders in the global adaptation to digital.

With the rise of social media, coverage of the Winter Olympics has become a complicated, all-hands-on-deck kind of effort. Athletes, sponsors, reporters, publishers, and schools duke it out to earn a rare piece of the highly topical, keyword-specific pie. Therefore, Olympic content is everywhere, nearly impossible to avoid.

Thanks to my time at Indiana University, I got a peek into this media frenzy. The 2016 Summer Olympic Games presented an amazing opportunity for the school; we had over 15 student athletes competing. For weeks, everyone wanted a piece of the fame our students garnered.

One such athlete, Lilly King, became a particularly exciting target. King won two Olympic Gold Medals after wagging her finger at “Russian drug cheat Yulia Efimova,” confirming her title as an Olympic celebrity.

Consequently (and predictably), every one of IU’s social media posts about Lilly King saw exceptional engagement, such as the post below:

Congratulations to Lilly King. The IU Olympian won the gold medal for Team USA in the 100 breaststroke with an Olympic record time of 1:04.93!

Posted by Indiana University on Tuesday, August 9, 2016

While IU, a public university, could not comment about King’s famous finger wag, we undoubtedly benefited from the spunk, talent, and dignity of this record-holding athlete. In short, King helped Indiana University to a healthy slice of the Olympic pie. That’s a lot of responsibility for a 19-year-old student, right?

With insider access into the inner workings of NCAA-regulated collegiate sports coverage, I’m happy to report that King received social media training—to protect her privacy, her reputation, and the reputation of the university she represents.

Social media training is imperative in situations like these. Social platforms enable athletes to share their unfiltered thoughts, publically, independent of traditional media coverage restrictions. During the 2016 Olympic Games, I watched as Lilly King’s Twitter following grow from a few hundred to tens of thousands. Now, any athlete can build their own fame, reputation, and influence through their social media platforms. Articles like the one below are widespread.

Olympics draw social media attention to athletes

As the 2018 Olympic Games quickly approach, I am nearly as excited for the Twitter arguments as the competitions. Tweets will fly; reputations will be built and broken; influencers will be born.

While sports networks are predicting athletes’ positions on the podium, I’d like to provide you with a forecast tailored to those of the digital marketing persuasion.

1. TV Viewership Will Be at an All-Time Low

The majority of young adults (under 30) are live-streamers. The funny thing about young people is that we get older, start families, and pass on media habits to said families. For sports coverage, millennials will turn to the web. How networks will adapt continues to baffle me.

2. Sponsors Will Get Wise

As I’ve said, athletes are now responsible for building their own following and reputations. No longer will sponsors look to simply the most talented athletes; they will look to socially engaging athletes.

Since the 2016 Olympic Games, I’ve kept a close eye on track athlete and social media influencer Sage Watson. Watson has grown and maintained an engaged audience through her strong voice and consistent storytelling. Through her Instagram account, fans can know her, trust her, and vicariously live through her. It is no wonder Nike was quick to sponsor her following her graduation from University of Arizona.

Sponsors no longer want simply the most talented Olympic athletes. They want socially engaging athletes.
Click To Tweet

3. Terrible Advertising Will Happen

The U.S. Olympic Committee is incredible at identifying and crushing any advertisements that unlawfully allude to the Olympic Games. That said, many businesses will make attempts to piggyback on the hoopla surrounding the Olympics, no matter how completely unrelated their products or offerings. Bad advertisers just can’t resist the potential rewards, whether the message is true to their brand identity or not.

4. Political Discourse Will Dominate

These Games will undoubtedly be highly political. Russia is banned. The Koreas continue to struggle. Will Americans athletes kneel during the anthem? Online conversation will surround many heated topics. Unfortunately, I predict this will be a rocky year, but hopefully an enlightening one.

5. Heart Will Be Ever-Appreciated

In my opinion, the most extraordinary outcome of athletes’ access to social media fame is the widespread sharing of gratitude, inspiration, and pride. Feel-good moments will be just a Tweet away. I personally can’t wait to see the outpouring of support and love the world will feel, and now voice, to athletes of all nations.

Let the games begin!

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10 Creative Ways Companies Are Using Snapchat Tue, 16 Jan 2018 14:00:00 +0000 As Snapchat continues to grow and evolve, so does its userbase of brands. Here are five creative examples of how companies are using Snapchat.

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10 Creative Ways Companies Are Using Snapchat

Founded in September 2011, Snapchat continues to evolve and innovate in a way that keeps the industry on its toes. From impressive uses of augmented reality to clever lenses and filters, the company logged over one trillion snaps in 2017. That’s more than all the pictures taken by smartphones in the world.

Snapchat does not consider itself to be a social network, but in fact, a camera company. Its audience is passionate about communicating through photos and videos in a lighthearted way. Companies that thrive on the platform need to think visually and take their brand a little less seriously. Here are ten companies and campaigns creatively using the platform to reach and delight customers.

To thrive on Snapchat: 1) Think visually 2) Take your brand a little less seriously
Click To Tweet

1. Casper’s Late Night Snap Hacks Gives Homebodies the Social Life of Their Dreams

Want your friends to think your social life is lit, even if you would rather cozy up at home? Casper’s late night snap hacks have you covered. To help eliminate the pressure of going out on the weekend, Casper created a microsite called filled with snappable videos.

Scenes include everything from a disco ball to people dancing at a club to driving through the streets of New York City. Just film the scene on Snapchat to create the illusion of a rockin’ night out. The result perfectly aligns with Casper’s quirky brand personality while adding value to its customer base.

Casper Snap Hacks

2. Netflix’s Immersive Experience for Stranger Things Redefines What’s Possible on the Platform

Arguably one of the most innovative Snapchat campaigns this year came from Netflix’s Stranger Things. With the first-ever 3D World Lens, Netflix created a virtual portal transporting fans into Joyce Byers’ eerie living room. Once inside the living room, fans could tap on different parts of the room, from the couch to wallpaper and colored lights. While the ad was only live for one day, it inspired fans of the show and marketers alike with the types of immersive experiences possible on Snapchat.

Snapchat continues to lead in terms of what’s possible with augmented reality. As we look to 2018 and beyond, expect to see more companies leverage the platform to create these types of immersive experiences.

3. WOW Airlines Contest Offers Snapchat Enthusiasts a Chance to Travel the World

Taking a page from the “Best job in the world” campaign from Tourism Australia, WOW Airlines offered its Snapchat-savvy fans a chance to win the ultimate summer trip to some of the airline’s 28 destinations. Dubbed the world’s first-ever SnapTraveler program, the campaign asked applicants to create a Snapchat story in English under two minutes, save the video file, and upload it to the company’s contest microsite for a chance to win. WOW selected four winners from around the world, who spent the summer creating content for the company’s social media channels, including Snapchat.

The results? In addition to generating 10 million views across the brand’s social media channels, the contest also became WOW Air’s most shared news story with a total of 1.4 million social media shares. In addition to being a dream competition to win for fans, the contest is a great example of how a campaign can originate on Snapchat but also be re-purposed across multiple social media channels.

4. Dunkin’ Donuts Turns Fans Into Sprinkle-Inhaling Donuts for National Donut Day

Snapchat lenses provide incredibly creative opportunities for brands to showcase their personality and give fans a fun visual experience worth sharing. While countless other companies have tried their hand at clever lenses, Dunkin’ Donuts’ National Donut Day lens made this writer (and former employee) smile.

National Donut Day is an important annual holiday for the company and a humorous lens that turns your head into a gigantic pink donut inhaling sprinkles just makes you smile. When coupled with Dunkin’s other activations, which included an influencer takeover of the brand’s story, plus custom geofilters which could only be accessed in-stores or via the “Snap to Unlock” feature, the company gained ten times more Snapchat followers on National Donut Day than their average monthly followers. It remains the highest Snapchat story for the brand viewed to date.

5. #WeAreCisco Snapchat Takeover Showcases Company Culture in a Fresh Way

While there are many great Snapchat marketing case studies, the #WeAreCisco campaign provides one of the best examples of using the platform to highlight your company culture. Through social listening and sourcing stories for the company’s Life at Cisco blog, the company identified a core team of employee brand evangelists to launch the brand’s Snapchat channel in 2016. While the account is run by the company’s Talent Brand Social Team, employees volunteer to manage the channel on specific days and share unique Snapchat stories from their perspective.

Since its launch, the company has had millions of minutes of Snapchat stories viewed with an average Snapchat story completion rate of between 60 to 70 percent. The company’s efforts have also inspired collabs with NASDAQ and the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women conference.

6. The UK’s Department of Transport Taps Snapchat Geofilters to Fight Unsafe Drug Use

Snapchat geofilters are also an excellent tool for raising awareness of important causes. The UK government’s Department for Transport is using geofilters to warn a younger audience against the dangers of driving under the influence. The initiative is part of a larger campaign from the UK’s Department of Transport called “Think! Drug Driving Campaign.” The Snapchat geofilters feature imagery of prison bars, with the copy, “Drive High? The roadside swab will catch you. Think!”

The campaign generated some controversy in the UK news media surrounding the government agency’s decision to spend money to advertise on Snapchat. Nevertheless, the geofilter generated more than 700,000 uses and 13.2 million views in one day, helping the UK Department of Transport reach their target male audience between 18 and 34.

Drug Driving Snapchat campaign

7. Call Me Maybe? Why Birchbox Encourages Fans to Call Them on Snapchat

What if, for one hour, you could call the social media team of a company you admired—all via Snapchat? To test out Snapchat’s video chat and voice call features, Birchbox offered fans a chance to call them at a set date and time via a Snapchat story. After one hour, the Birchbox’s team had fielded around 30 calls and received requests to host them again, prompting the company to start hosting video and voice calls through Snapchat on a weekly basis.

While this seems like a simple idea, it’s incredibly valuable for a few reasons. First, it puts a human face on the brand to facilitate new levels of connection with the company. Second, it’s valuable to customers looking for more personalized questions or recommendations. One-on-one advice from experts in the company is a great way to help convert more customers into subscription boxes or recommend à la carte skincare and beauty items to purchase.

Birchbox Snapchat calls

8. McDonald’s Snaplications Could Transform the Face of Recruitment

Want to hire a millennial or perhaps someone from Gen Z? Take a page from McDonalds’ playbook and recruit them on a platform where they spend most of their time: Snapchat. The campaign originated in Australia, where McDonald’s launched the initiative. The Snapchat lens mimicked the employee uniform and asked interested applications to snap a 10-second video detailing their enthusiasm for the job opportunity.

Not only was the initiative successful, but it generated global interest and attention, prompting McDonald’s to launch Snaplications in the United States. During the summer hiring period in the United States, McDonald’s saw a 35 percent increase in application flow and a 30 percent traffic increase to the careers page due to the combined efforts of Snaplications and the larger marketing campaign. Only three percent of U.S. recruiters use Snapchat, but could this be the beginning of a larger trend?

9. Grubhub Snapchat Taps Games to Reward Fans Hungry for Discounts

Grubhub, an early adopter of Snapchat, actively uses the platform to target its college student demographic with content, ads, contests, and even scavenger hunts. In its most recent campaign, the company has launched a retro-styled game called “Food’s Here,” where fans can play for a chance to win discounts. Users can access the game through an ad in Snapchat stories. If a player wins all three levels, they will score $10 off their first order of $15 or more when they download the Grubhub app. The ad will run for 30 days. Grubhub is measuring success across the length of gameplay, the swipe-up rate, offer redemptions, plus other actions taken after the game.

GrubHub on Snapchat

10. Sprite Offers Fans and Influencers Premium Snapcode Real Estate

In Brazil, Sprite offered Snapchat influencers and fans an incredibly unique opportunity: a chance to have their Snapcode featured on cans sold across the country. Called “RFRSH Na Lata,” or “refresh on the can,” fans could enter by registering their Snapcode on a microsite. To raise awareness for the campaign, Sprite partnered with 15 influential Brazilian Snapchat stars to print their Snapcodes on cans, an effort which tripled many of the influencer’s fanbases over a two-week period.

Featuring celebrities or fans on packaging or advertisements isn’t anything new (Wheaties box, anyone?). However, Sprite’s campaign shows that Snapcodes have made it cool—and actionable—again. The campaign generated over two million views in days and gave the company’s millennial audience another reason to enjoy a can of Sprite.

Sprite Snapchat campaign

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Cisco’s Year of Live Video Thu, 04 Jan 2018 14:00:13 +0000 Carmen Collins, manager of Cisco’s talent brand social media team globally, shares strategies that can guide you in planning your own live video strategy.

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Cisco's Year of Live Video

Carmen Collins, manager of Cisco’s talent brand social media team globally, says 2018 will be the year of live video for the many @WeAreCisco social media accounts she leads, specifically live video employee takeovers, a ballsy move for a brand manager (if I do say so myself). However, over the last year, employee takeovers have not only entered Carmen’s wheelhouse but her comfort zone.

Before we dive right into Carmen’s seemingly effortless employee takeovers across multiple channels, let’s get a little background on @WeAreCisco.

Who Is Cisco?

Originally Cisco Jobs, then Cisco Careers, We Are Cisco was created to boost recruitment. Armed with the knowledge that employee voices are still more credible than those of CEOs, Carmen sought to boost Cisco’s workplace reputation by telling the uplifting stories Cisco’s employees readily and enthusiastically share.

Despite the numerous employee stories shared, this is not an employee channel. Yes, some of the audience may be current Cisco employees, but KPIs (key performance indicators) for the accounts include the number of qualified candidates who find Cisco positions through engagement with their social media channels. Currently, Carmen estimates that 10-15% of their audience is employees and the rest are people who want to work at Cisco.

Through Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat, We Are Cisco encourages employees to “be you, with us.” Takeovers are carefully chosen from a group of employee advocates hand-selected by Carmen and her team.

How to Find Employee Brand Advocates

How does an organization of nearly 75,000 employees find their advocates? Perhaps surprisingly, without a tool. The grassroots process relies heavily on the team keying into Cisco’s engagement campaigns, which use the hashtags #wearecisco and #lovewhereyouwork abundantly.

Social listening enables the team to discover highly-engaged employees. An introduction and a request to use the employee’s UGC (user-generated content) opens communication. With an outlet to be heard, employees eagerly share stories that often lead to compelling blogs.

This process has been so fruitful for the talent team that blogs are scheduled months in advance, up to four months in advance. However, Carmen explains that they remain flexible enough to stay on-demand, able to tackle relevant current topics.

Through their manual discovery process, Carmen and her team have built up their global Snapchat ambassador group to nearly 70 people. Weekly, Carmen invites a member of this group to take over the WeAreCisco Snapchat account. By sharing 3 to 10 Snaps from their day, the ambassadors share their passion for their careers with prospective employees.

Additionally, as Cisco gives employees days off specifically for volunteer opportunities, their social media channels have been key in covering their employees’ acts of service. Through Snapchat, Instagram Stories, and soon Facebook Live takeovers, Cisco employees stay true-to-brand all while showing tons of heart.

Employee-Created Content Doesn’t Have to Be Scary

Brand managers everywhere are wary to give advocates the “keys to the kingdom” by way of social media takeovers but We Are Cisco proves how valuable this type of content can be. The team has earned Cisco numerous awards and earned media, such as KRT Media’s “10 Companies Slaying the Social Media Recruitment Game,” Potentialpark’s “Top 25 Talent Brands in the US,” and “LinkedIn Top Companies 2017: Where the world wants to work now.”

As we all know, the content has to come before the awards roll in, so how did Carmen earn C-Suite support in the first place? Metrics help, however, Carmen will tell you she simply has amazing leadership. By trusting Carmen’s intuition and recommendations, leadership empowered Carmen to get the ball rolling.

Assigning a trustworthy leader to own the employee-generated content team means upper management can feel comfortable giving the keys to the kingdom.
Click To Tweet

With the support of upper management and the success We Are Cisco has seen in the last year, it’s no surprise the team is bravely leaping into Live video takeovers. Employee takeovers through Facebook Live, Instagram Live, and perhaps YouTube Live will be served up in the following months. Keep a close eye on We Are Cisco social Media accounts for some live video inspiration.

What award-winning social media strategies will you be implementing in 2018 (or already have implemented, you over-achiever, you)? Hit me up in the comments—I’d love to hear, and potentially write, about what plans you have in have brewing this new year.

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12 Instagram Accounts You Must Follow Thu, 21 Dec 2017 17:10:11 +0000 Stay current (and keep yourself entertained, you hard-working social media marketer) with these must-follow Instagram accounts.

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12 Instagram Accounts You Must Follow

Here’s the deal: If you’re like me, you are mere hours from a much-needed week of freedom. Right now, all you want is too much food, too much wine, and far too many naps (if there is such a thing). With that in mind, I wrote a list of sheer entertainment, just for you. Please enjoy this early vacation for your brain.

time off

As content marketing people, we know the importance of staying up with the times, especially in terms of technology, topics, and trends. As we roll into the new year, I’m sure you’re going to see about 100 lists of tools you should use, technology you should invest in, and trends you should watch.

That said, here is the most important list to drop in the world of content marketing: 12 ridiculously entertaining Instagram accounts you should follow to stay current, fam.

As marketers struggle to create relatable and engaging content, the ability to see through the lens of their audiences has never been more important. Thankfully, as Americans become more active online, we can learn a lot about audience preference through the relatable and inspiring posts of these top Instagram accounts.

Without further ado, in honor of the 12 days of Christmas, I give you 12 Instagram accounts that you must follow as we roll into 2018—partridge in a pear tree not included.

Marketers can learn a lot about audience preference from the world's top Instagram accounts.
Click To Tweet

1. Follow @tank.sinatra for “Dank Memes”

You will laugh; you will cry. You will likely share a couple memes with your friends.

A post shared by Tank.Sinatra (@tank.sinatra) on

Tank’s meme’s are famously relatable because of how honest they are. Time and time again, he hits the nail on the head with many current issues. Additionally, in his rise to fame, he has started sharing memes created by other accounts, always careful to give credit where credit is due. In doing so, he has positioned himself as a leader in the world of respectful meme sharing.

Guaranteed (don’t follow me if you don’t get 80’s references)

A post shared by Tank.Sinatra (@tank.sinatra) on

Finally, Tank wins my gold star of approval for starting @tanksgoodnews this year, an account dedicated to positive stories—the type of content too often in short supply.


A post shared by Good News Only (@tanksgoodnews) on

I’m not crying, you’re crying!

2. Follow @buzzfeedtasty to Activate Your Salivary Glands

With each video racking in over a million views, the power of this cooking account is nothing to underestimate.

Turn your potato from spud to stud by making Buffalo Chicken Potatoes 🥔

A post shared by Tasty (@buzzfeedtasty) on

Gone are the days of Paula Dean, Giada, and all those fancy and famous chefs who forced us to tune in for a 30-minute segment in order to better our cooking skills. In about a minute, Tasty will deliver tantalizing tutorials.

While I highly recommend watching at least 10 videos a visit, each video is satisfying enough to inspire at least an ounce of self-confidence. Today, you learned! How extremely productive of you. You won’t feel a teaspoon of guilt when you pass up grocery lines for Taco Bell, yet again. You might, however, feel a little FOMO.

The diet starts Monday 🤔

A post shared by Tasty (@buzzfeedtasty) on

3. Follow @pumpkintheraccoon to Feel Something (Anything) Again

Sometimes all you need in life is the love of an uncommon furry companion. At least that’s what over a million fans think of the rescued Bahamian raccoon named Pumpkin.

#flashbackfriday to when Pumps was oh so proud of her nails!

A post shared by Pumpkin The Raccoon (@pumpkintheraccoon) on

Yes, cute animal accounts are nothing new, but accounts of rescued wild animals such as @pumpkintheraccoon and @juniperfoxx have a special, hipster flair.

While @iamlilbub and @realgrumpycat are still where it’s at, @pumpkintheraccon and @juniperfoxx are worth a follow. Take one look at their faces and tell me you’re not regretting every time you coveted a fox fur coat or cursed your neighborhood trash pandas.

3. Follow @cosmopolitan to Regret Following @cosmopolitan

Why follow the Kardashians when you could follow an account that feeds you all important Kardashian news plus that of Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, and Beyoncé? Cosmopolitan will provide excellent Instagram Stories to keep you informed on all the celebrity gossip.

Yeah, I’m cringing a little, too. But, no matter what, you have to give Cosmo credit for engaging young women over many generations. And, of late, Cosmo has become a leading voice for young female empowerment. Hurrah to that!


A post shared by Cosmopolitan (@cosmopolitan) on

5. Follow @nytimes to Feel Worldly (and to Avoid the Subscription Fees)

If you are currently a New York Times subscriber, you probably don’t read as many of their articles as you wish you did. If so, your subscription inspires more guilt than anything else. Their Instagram account, however, will just leave you inspired.

A post shared by The New York Times (@nytimes) on

Celebrity and/or US news is still @nytimes’s most engaging post topic, but the abundance of world news and slice of foreign life images are powerful beyond words.

6. Follow @photoshop to Dream Again

If a picture is worth a thousand words, these pictures are worth one million. Inexplicably gorgeous, these photos depict waking dreams, as noted by their current #ps_dreams campaign.

Photoshop takes advantage of user-generated content in the best way—these posts are submitted by independent designers and artists. On Photoshop’s Story, you can often see the artist’s process for creating these otherworldly images.

7. Follow @simonegiertz to Wonder Why You Never Thought of That

Originally a YouTube star, Simone Giertz is a darling in the world of DIY tech. Famous for her “sh*tty robots,” one could (and should) say that this self-taught inventor started a movement.

Since appearing on primetime television shows like Mythbusters and The Colbert Show, Giertz has picked up considerable fame. Follow her to embrace your inner nerd, empathizing as she openly begs NASA to make her an astronaut, all the while laughing at her own expense.

8. Follow (the Nearly Secret) @sifullframe for Captivating Sports Photography

Their following is small, but their photos are mighty. Even non-sports lovers will appreciate the brilliance of these images.

In an effort to portray “sports and the human spirit,” these images from Sports Illustrated photographers aim to give you the feels—independent of your team affiliation.

After scrolling through their profile for a couple minutes, you’ll probably think to yourself, “Hmm . . . People are pretty dang cool.”

9. Follow @betches for Hilarious #GRLPWR

No teeny-bopper high school content here—this nearly 100 percent NSFW account is for us strong, independent, powerful, slightly passive-aggressive women.

A post shared by BETCHES (@betches) on

The posts in @betches are the kinds of posts you’ll want to send to all your friends and co-workers alike. Although, in my experience, aren’t “friends” and “co-workers” the same thing?

A post shared by BETCHES (@betches) on

As noted above, I’m especially fond of their posts that focus on the hilarious themes of laziness, boredom, and defeat.

10. Follow @9gag to Hang Out with the Internet’s Army of Teenage Nerds

Enter a world where cynicism rules (as long as puppies aren’t involved), to the tune of one million likes. Inexplicably, posts from @9gag reach the engagement and popularity seen only in international celebrity accounts.

A post shared by 9GAG: Go Fun The World (@9gag) on

The audience, however, is as young as you’d assume. Posts about studying, parents, and unrequited love are especially popular in their audience that runs 43 million deep.

A post shared by 9GAG: Go Fun The World (@9gag) on

11. Follow @barstoolsports to Fear for Society

You will dislike yourself and the whole world with this one, but influence is influence. Prepare yourself for many puke, fart, or beer jokes with this account. Some gems, such as the video below, do exist.

Pursuing @barstoolsports beyond the example provided is not recommended—because standards.

12. Follow @myhotelcarpet to Renew Your Faith in Society

After Barstool Sports, we all need a little something to cleanse the palate and the soul. This account was created by a man with a passion for carpets. When the following tweet from his daughter went viral, magic happened.

Now hundreds of thousands of people follow Bill just to like his posts and comment about their appreciation for the pattern he’s captured. Thousands of people cheer him on daily—a giant happy inside joke in which everyone’s invited.

I found this #hotelcarpet in a lovely back ballroom on the 49th floor of the @nagoyamarriott in Japan. This one speaks to me in a language not of words, but of structure, tone, and pattern. Like I imagine the color beige would taste, the way I see this carpet is more of a feeling than a concise, crisp statement. Ok, I admit it kind of looks like a cross between an Ewok and a Dodge Ram’s hood – the more I stare I see other layers. What do you see? #HadtolookuphowtospellEwok #lotsofbrownsgoingonthere #littlesantaclausvibetoo #ifSantawasevil #ifitweresmilingitwouldntbesocreepy #unlessitwasaclown #theeyesarekindthough #imhungrynow #wantsomepeaches #peachesarenteviltheymakemehappy #peachescomeinacan #lovethishotel #greatstaff @marriotthotels @marriottrewards #loveallyall @jillisyoung

A post shared by Bill Young (@myhotelcarpet) on

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Why Are Instagram Influencers Reluctant to Disclose Endorsements? Thu, 14 Dec 2017 14:00:14 +0000 Despite increasingly strict FTC guidelines on where and how to disclose endorsements, many social media influencers continue to push their luck.

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Why Are Instagram Influencers Reluctant to Disclose Endorsements

In April, the Federal Trade Council (FTC) gave influencers and marketers a big slap on the wrist by way of more than 90 cease and desists. Apparently, after protecting consumers from deceptive business practices for over 100 years, the FTC didn’t like these modern social media celebrities and their failure to disclose endorsements.

This past year, the good ol’ FTC cracked down on social media platforms for perpetuating secret brand/influencer relationships. Consequently, Instagram launched sponsor tags. Now, influencers must list “Paid sponsorship with brand-name” under their username, ensuring a well-meaning audience member won’t miss a sponsorship (as shown below).

Instagram paid sponsorship

Surprisingly, Instagram’s guidelines for branded content are even stricter than the FTC’s expectations. While the FTC considers posts with captions that contain #ad sufficient in disclosing an endorsement, Instagram requires influencers to disclose commercial relationships through their business partnership tag. In other words, posts that contain #ad but no partnership tag violate the policies set by both Facebook and Instagram.

As Instagram continues building technology that supports e-commerce, you’d expect paid partnership tags to become increasingly prevalent. However, influencers continue to underutilize Instagram’s branded content tool. Take this example, published December 12, 2017:

Instagram branded content

Following the Social Media Transparency Movement of 2017 (coining the phrase now), why are influencers still reluctant to disclose endorsement deals? I have a few theories—please don’t hesitate to provide your own!

  • Influencers are not aware of their moral responsibility to inform consumers. (Maybe.)
  • They are not sure how to enable the branded content tool. (Meh.)
  • They fear that endorsement transparency will hurt their engagement. (Likely.)
  • They worry partnership tags will make them seem like money-grabbing sell-outs. (LOL.)

Most likely, influencers’ misguided efforts to preserve audience trust fuel their reluctance to utilize Instagram’s branded content tool. Campaign success is largely contingent on the relationship influencers have built with their audiences. With sponsorship comes a shift in this relationship—for the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The Bad

With paid partnership tags, influencer marketing may not be as effective as it once was.

Non-business-minded consumers don’t always recognize a sponsorship when they see one. Without the correct labels, consumers mistake their trusted influencers’ sponsorships for positive reviews.

In a world where “90 percent of purchasing decisions are influenced by online reviews,” your audience’s ability to recognize the difference between paid endorsements and reviews is of the utmost importance. With the addition of paid partnership tags, audiences know if their beloved Instagram stars are delivering reviews from the heart or from the bank. The latter could be less valuable in terms of building brand trust.

Instagram endorsement disclosure

Unfortunately, when it comes to business, advertising and authenticity rarely coexist. With the addition of brand tags on Instagram, influencer marketing just became more honest but much less authentic.

The Ugly

Influencers have surprisingly delicate relationships with their audience. They walk the line between friend and brand. The higher their audience count, the more invincible influencers appear, making them a beacon to all kinds of trolls and haters.

Like celebrities, influencers with huge followings are expected to voice opinions and support causes that reflect the values of their audience. A misstep can result in an irreversible loss of trust and a verbal thrashing. When it becomes apparent that the influencer is turning a profit from their efforts, the scrutiny increases ten-fold.

With sponsorships can come a shift in the influencer’s brand identity. No longer are these famous folks just friends. Now they are opportunists who exploit the trust they’ve built for financial gain. If that sounds dramatic, it is.

Take Facebook influencer imomsohard. With millions of followers, this hilarious duo spotlights humor, friendship, and forgiveness in the long journey of motherhood. Imomsohard’s audience ate up every video they produced—until they sponsored JCPenney.

“I’m bummin’ on this obvious JCPenney commercial. I feel so manipulated and since you guys have to follow a script your obviously not being your true selves,” said one of their audience members. The rest of their audience—a very loyal one—jumped to their defense, but the backlash endured.

Smart brands choose influencers carefully, focusing on the influencers whose audience profiles best match their intended customers. Still, these audiences, who may even be loyal to the sponsor brand, feel betrayed because their trust has been exploited by the influencers. As they say, never mix business and pleasure.

In short, with paid partner tags, marketers can expect decreased engagement because, unfortunately, people still hate ads.

To accumulate the same engagement and reach of authentic posts, marketers will need to put more money into social media ads. Sponsored posts will become more expensive for marketers, as the cost per paid engagement will likely increase. Additionally, to maintain high organic engagement from a trusting audience, influencers may want to limit their promotions and charge brands higher rates.

Brands can combat “the ugly” by focusing on authenticity. When choosing influencers, determine if their audience is your audience, their messaging seamlessly aligns with your brand values, and their content receives appropriate engagement. Choose influencers carefully and produce content thoughtfully. Set aside budget funds to build a healthy paid promotion, earning the reach and engagement your branded content needs.

Audience scrutiny skyrockets once they learn their favorite influencers profit from endorsements.
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The Good

I mean, yeah, it’s all doom and gloom for us lowly marketers, but with paid partnership tags, we’ll likely see brand recall increase. Additionally, as consumers become more aware, they will recognize endorsements readily, partnership tag or not. In this way, brand/influencer partnership transparency will do nothing more than build trust, in the way that honesty usually does.

My only questions are these: When will influencers become brave (and/or noble) enough to embrace endorsement transparency? When will customers begin demanding it?

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What to Do When Your Brand Attracts Earned Media Attention Thu, 07 Dec 2017 14:00:00 +0000 So your brand made a splash on social media and garnered earned media attention because of it. Here's what you, as a marketer, should do next.

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What to Do When Your Brand Attracts Earned Media Attention

I graduated from Indiana University’s School of Journalism in December 2013. However, here I am, electively featuring Purdue University, arguably my alma mater’s arch-rival. While in school, my fellow Hoosiers and I would joke, “Friends don’t let friends go to Lafayette alone.”

That said, what kind of human being would I be if I didn’t momentarily relinquish my Boilermaker disdain to recognize the beauty of their basketball team’s most recent uniform adjustments? No, this is not a matter of fashion. This is a matter of unity.

Purdue Men's Basketball uniforms

Across their warmup shirts will now be words that “stand for everything we need in this world right now,” senior forward Vincent Edwards said, such as: Compassion. Empathy. Equality. Forgiveness. Friendship. Humility. Justice. Love. Loyalty. Peace. Respect. Togetherness. Tolerance. Unity.

At risk of sounding cynical, let me say: This is brilliant storytelling that makes for brilliant marketing. Purdue even earned attention from ESPN—the global sports channel featured a story about the team’s reason and inspiration for the shirts.

As a human, I am moved and proud to be neighbors with this team. As a marketer, I am on the edge of my seat. What is Purdue going to do next? How will they make good use of this earned media on their social media channels?

I trolled Purdue’s accounts to discover only one instance in which they directly shared the ESPN article. This post, on the Purdue Men’s Basketball Facebook page, may well have been one of their most popular posts of all time. The content touched the hearts of fans and non-fans (me) alike.

The popularity of the content and the credibility of the news source are not the only reasons to share this story. On their website, Purdue guarantees their commitment “to creating and sustaining a welcoming campus for all . . . to [building] a more inclusive community.” In other words, the message their basketball players are sending perfectly aligns with Purdue’s mission.

This is influencer marketing played out in real life and supported by earned media. University marketers must know that student athletes’ statements about the university influence prospective students, current students, alumni, and donors. In this case, the story is uniquely relevant and positive.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity, Purdue. Promote, promote, promote! Share the story on Twitter, more than once. Post it on Instagram. Share the story with Purdue accounts that have more to do with student life than basketball. After all, this story is “more than basketball”—this story supports a major university initiative.

My hope is that Purdue will spin these uniforms and the story behind them into a much bigger piece of content. I hope they capture plenty of video and student features around the topics written across the players’ chests. In a couple weeks, I hope to see Purdue university shops roll out matching shirts so everyone on campus can jump aboard the movement.

It’s not every day that your basketball team invents a way to support a campus initiative so loudly. Take advantage.

This team's statement is real-life influencer marketing, supported by earned media.
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A Lesson to Marketers

Earned media still has a strong position in the world of digital marketing. Whether your brand reaches the tops of lists or the front of newsstands, when credible sources recognize the value of your brand, the message is more powerful than if you say it yourself.

To make the most out of any media you may be so lucky to earn, keep the following tips in your pocket:

  1. Social media listening is key in catching trending topics surrounding your brand. With a whole host of free and affordable options available to you, in 2017, all brand managers should be keyed into conversations surrounding their brands and industries. In addition to social media listening, set up Google Alerts—you’ll get top stories about whatever topic you choose conveniently in your mailbox.
  2. When a positive story about your brand trends, engage with those who share the story. Like posts across all channels and share when appropriate. During these powerful, trending moments, don’t miss the opportunity to grow your engagement and your audience.
  3. Don’t hesitate to create blog content on the topic, especially multimedia content such as video. Then, tailor your content to fit multiple channels and promote, promote, promote!

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Why Emotion Is So Essential to Effective Video Marketing Thu, 30 Nov 2017 13:32:01 +0000 As much as we might like to think of ourselves as purely rational consumers, emotion converts, particularly when it comes to video marketing.

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Why Emotion Is So Essential to Effective Video Marketing

In every household, every day, commercials receive two honors held above all others. No matter your chosen screen—laptop, desktop, or technicolor television—you (yes, you) have bestowed the following honors, assuming you know how to work the DVR:

  1. Honorable Rewind: Awarded to a commercial that you electively watch twice.
  2. Principled Pre-Roll: Awarded to a YouTube pre-roll ad that you electively watch past the five-second skip option.

(Yes, I made up these honors for the purpose of this blog.)

Once upon a Wednesday evening, my family and I awarded a Bose commercial the Honorable Rewind. We were watching an SNL holiday special, laughing at some segments, flinching at most. During commercial breaks, we snapped to our iPhones, as modern folks are wont to do. Except this time, I didn’t. To the benefit of all, my phone remained between the couch cushions.

Upon the screen flashed the most heartwarming TV moment I’d ever seen—at least, since This Is Us the night before.

Bose’s Masterful, Emotional Video Marketing

This instant of commercial bliss is so preternatural that I fell over myself to notify the house.

“Leah!” I shouted urgently to the almighty remote bearer. “Leah, Leah, Leah! Turn it back! Everyone needs to see this Bose commercial. Please!”

The commercial, simple and sweet, delighted all present.

The next night, in an effort to show another video enthusiast Bose’s brilliant commercial, I pulled up Bose’s channel on Youtube. I learned that Bose has been a busy producing video content for years.

The sheer volume of professionally produced videos on Bose’s channel is impressive. Videos feature celebrities, athletes, and actors while targeting multiple audiences across different countries, languages, and interests. Of all the videos, my favorites are the QuietComfort headphone 30-second segments.

The genius of Bose’s fleet of QuietComfort headphone commercials is the elegance of the production and the emotional power of the content. Marketers have long discussed the influence emotions have on a customer’s purchase decisions. Again and again, marketers hear and see that emotion converts.

The emotional power of their Bose’s videos not only converts but captures. I highly recommend bookmarking these videos to use as examples when convincing clients or partners the importance of simplicity in conveying and inspiring emotion.

Emotion converts—especially when it comes to video marketing.
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The Risks and Rewards of Emotional Video Content

In the example above, a man gently cries as he watches fireworks over water. Maybe the holiday season has me sentimental, or maybe the soundtrack (composed by Oscar-nominated Dustin O’Halloran) would give any scrooge the feels. Bose reminds us that life-altering events and torrid love affairs are not all that inspire emotions—small moving moments make life a little sweeter, a little more.

My only complaint with these videos is the cringe-worthy copy accompanying them. The video descriptions scream “trendy ad agency speak.” But hey, if you watch these videos in full screen, you’ll never find yourself tripping over their relentless punctuation:

“Languid. Energized. Alive. No matter how you’re feeling, sometimes you just need to feel it—with nothing in the way . . . So, however the music makes you feel, flip the switch. Get the feeling. And really feel it.”

Shiver. Cringe. Face-palm.

4 Rules for Relatable Video Content

Say you want to replicate these amazing videos but could never afford the production costs. First of all, join the club. Adopting video content without blowing marketing budgets was the conundrum of 2017 for many, many marketers.

Secondly, remember that excellence is achieved through one part content and one part strategy. In working towards highly relatable and consumed commercials, stay true to the following.

  1. In a world saturated with marketing content, embrace paid advertising. Whether on television, YouTube, or Facebook, put aside enough budget to promote your quality content—as much as twice the production cost. The last thing you want is an expensive video that has no place to go and no audience.
  2. Tailor the video for the promotion platform. A 20-second YouTube pre-roll ad will often be skipped at five seconds (unless a non-skippable in-stream ad was purchased). Aim for heavy branding, product highlights, or calls to action in those first few seconds. Remember those hilarious GEICO ads?
  3. You have between 15 and 30 seconds; keep the story simple and the idea conveyed succinct.
  4. Run everything through an extensive approval process. You want your powerful video to inspire the intended powerful emotions. In other words, don’t be Pepsi.

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When Breaking Social Media Rules Leads to Better Engagement Thu, 16 Nov 2017 20:01:00 +0000 Social media rules say to limit your Instagram posts to one per day for optimal engagement. This case study suggests otherwise.

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When Breaking Social Media Rules Leads to Better Engagement

It’s that time of year: when we’re tricked into longing for the dark, cold, grey reality that is winter. Seasonal ads inspire nostalgic glee through the promise of cozy moments in which we enjoy sweet, milky, caffeinated concoctions while wearing heavy knit caps and sporty puffer jackets, surrounded by all that glitters and smells of cinnamon. Meanwhile, the leaves are so beautiful and colorful they almost make you forget that everything is dying.

IU Bloomington autumn leaves Instagram post

In other words, it’s an amazing time of year to be a brand who boasts any of the aforementioned attributes of the season. Brands, lean into the nostalgia-inspiring lies. After all, this gold and glittery season feels shorter and shorter every year, despite beginning earlier.

How shall one “lean in,” you ask? By breaking all the social media rules, of course.

Study after study will tell you to post once per day on Instagram. Sometimes, brands can post more, but generally, it’s best to keep the average at about 1.5 times a day. I strongly disagree (with data to back it up).

Breaking the Rules of Instagram: A Case Study

Once upon a time, about six months ago, I managed the campus accounts for Indiana University. If you’ve never visited IU, you might not understand the influence scenery can have on admission, retention, and donation rates. Let’s put it this way: The beauty of the campus is continually ranked as a top reason prospective students choose Bloomington.

Indiana University autumn leaves Instagram post

That said, the love of the campus is exceptionally seasonal. The golden leaves of fall? The blooming trees of spring? These blink-of-an-eye seasons are times in which all rules should be broken for the sake of engagement.

Last April, perhaps as a final hurrah, I broke such rules to the tune of 13 posts in three days. Engagement on those three days alone equaled two weeks’ worth of engagement during April the previous year. With over 41,000 likes and comments, we attracted five times the engagement of our closest competitor, Ohio State University (see chart below, provided by Rival IQ).

IU Bloomington Instagram engagement

We attracted 5X the engagement of our competitor by posting to Instagram 13 times in 3 days.
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What was I posting, you ask? The following pictures of flowers on campus.

IU Bloomington spring flowers Instagram post

Of course, you are thinking, “Yeah, duh, Christina. If you’re going to post 13 times in three days, you’re going to see more engagements.”

Not to brag, but, on average, we saw over 30 percent more engagement on each post than the competition. In other words, not only were we posting more often, but we were receiving more engagement on each of those posts than the competition as well.

IU Bloomington Instagram engagement 2

You might be thinking that this sounds like the worst content creation issue in history. What did I do all day? Just take pictures of campus? Absolutely not! During these beautiful seasons, when the campus has no bad angles, we would receive tens of tagged photos every day. Consequently, more than 90 percent of our brand account’s shared photos were user-generated content—content that gives your brand human appeal and extra engagement.

Two weeks prior, I used the same strategy of pulling and posting user-generated photos of rainbows.

IU Bloomington rainbows Instagram posts

The engagement was astounding: The five photos posted over two days received over 25,000 engagements at over 5,000 likes and comments per post, beating our average post engagement rate by more than 40 percent.

Yes, it’s all good and fun to have tons of engagement. Still, everyone should continue to question, “What does this engagement mean?” Judging by the comments from Instagrammers (like those below), high engagement, in this regard, betters recruitment and retention. Here are a few recruitment-related comments:

ted__hy@kieraaaaaaaa_ Don’t forget to bring me to your campus 😎

kieraaaaaaaa_@ted__hy One of the reasons why I’ve always wanted to take you to Bloomington

Cbootyking can’t wait to be on campus next school year 😫

And a few retention-related comments:


Mschreiber99 this is the most beautiful school in the world

Lambhazeleyed The flowers on campus are so gorgeous makes you want to skip class and just enjoy being out on campus 😂😉 @iubloomington

5 Tips for Breaking Social Media Rules the Smart Way

Say you want to do the same and join my troupe of happy rulebreakers. Good news: All are welcome! In fact, invite your friends. I offer up the following tips to help you break the rules as you never have before:

  1. Set a threshold. This threshold does not need to equal your average engagement rate per post, but instead be an estimate of how much engagement you expect within a time period. For example, I needed only 1,000 likes on a post in an hour to post again, even though 1,000 likes was well below our average. Remember that engagements will continue to roll in on past posts even if you do post again.
  2. Keep an eye on those engagement rates to catch opportunities to go into a posting frenzy. The longer you manage a brand, the better you know the power periods. When you see that engagement uptick through one such power period, make your move, and post away.
  3. Keep your other eye on your tagged photos. If you see your audience tagging you (location, hashtag or account tag) in ample photos surrounding a particular subject (such as golden trees), pull one of those user-generated photos and post on your brand’s account. If it resonates, consider yourself in an impromptu power period.
  4. The algorithm will deliver these posts to your audience out of order. Therefore, reiterating a point on all posts within a power period is not a bad idea. For example, I was sure to include a callout for students to tag IU in their flower photos each time I posted, up to six times a day.
  5. Finally, expect to make mistakes. If at first you sneak out, get lost on the way to the party, and ended up grounded, try, try again.

We jolly rulebreakers are here for good. We shall push the boundaries of social media management until death, whether our own or the platform’s (RIP Vine).

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How Shopping on Instagram Will Dominate This Holiday Season Thu, 09 Nov 2017 14:08:36 +0000 Just in time for the holidays, Instagram has partnered with Shopify to bring their Shopping on Instagram feature to thousands of retailers.

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How Shopping on Instagram Will Dominate This Holiday Season

The holiday season is officially here. Let the e-commerce games begin!

As we have seen over the past few years, e-commerce sales are on the rise. This 2017 holiday season, online sales are projected, yet again, to increase as much as 18 percent from last year. What’s more, up to 25 percent of those sales will come from mobile.

Remember when I said Instagram was the new catalog? Let the following stand as proof.

This year, Instagram (partnering with Shopify) delivered that KO punch to social platform competitors by opening up their Shopping on Instagram feature to thousands of retailers. Given that 80 percent of Instagram’s 600 million users follow at least one business account, retailers are hard-pressed to find a reason to bypass Shopping on Instagram.

This feature allows retailers to tag up to five products in Instagram posts. These tags link directly to product pages on retailers’ websites. In marketer lingo, Shopping on Instagram decreases the clicks to conversion by about a million clicks, roughly speaking.

If you are currently on mobile, play with the embedded post below for a live, interactive example.

Hello, blue suede shoes! #loefflerrandall #shoegame

A post shared by Nordstrom (@nordstrom) on

If not on mobile, email this link to a friend, open this post on your phone, play, and possibly purchase—for educational purposes, of course.

Predictably, Amazon will dominate the e-commerce world this holiday season, accounting for over 30 percent of all digital sales. That said, the brand doesn’t have Shopping on Instagram enabled for their @Amazon Instagram account. Even worse, Amazon is still placing product links in post captions.

Amazon, buddy, what’s happening? Do you need a consult? Call me up, brother. I am here for you.

Many other e-commerce brands are taking advantage of Instagram in the way that Amazon clearly isn’t (tsk, tsk). Pier 1, holiday decor darling, is an example of exemplary Instagram utilization through:

  • Crystal clear conversions
  • Excellent content supporting excellent strategy
  • Innate remarketing efforts

Crystal Clear Conversions

You know that pesky question all social media managers groan over? That “why” question? Well, Shopping on Instagram answers that question in five words: “So people buy our stuff.”

With Instagram’s shopping feature, users are four (very intuitive) clicks away from placing Pier 1 products in a shopping cart from their Instagram feed.

Pier 1 Shopping on Instagram

Let’s count together.

  1. Tap image to reveal product tags.
  2. Tap product tag.
  3. Tap “Shop now.”
  4. Tap “Add to basket.”

Thanks to Instagram’s relationship with Shopify, clicks are intuitive for customers and neatly tracked with Google Analytics for marketers, making for a beautiful user experience for everyone.

Excellent Content Supports Excellent Strategy

Lucky for Pier 1 (or, necessary for Pier 1), their products are extremely photogenic. For their Instagram catalog, a team of designers and photographers capture decorative scenes which inspire. Better yet, photo captions include helpful tips and tricks.

Shopping tags aside, Pier 1 makes for an engaging experience. It is no wonder they have earned and engaged over half a million followers.

Pier 1 on Instagram

See all those shopping bag icons at the top right of the photos? In each of these posts, Pier 1 deployed Shopping on InstagramIn this case, especially, too much of a good thing is a myth. By tagging product pages, Pier 1 is guaranteeing that nearly every post is not only engaging but profitable as well.

Innate Remarketing Efforts

And you thought they’d let you abandon that cart, didn’t you? Silly you. As mentioned, clicking on a product page triggers Google Analytics. In this way, Pier 1 captures and tracks all who engage through Instagram, in a variety of ways. For the purposes of this blog, I will focus on one: remarketing through Instagram.

By placing a Facebook pixel on their website, Pier 1 can set up remarketing audiences through Facebook Business Manager. Then they can run ads through Instagram, targeting those users who have already landed on specific pages. Such an execution takes time—therefore, I’d save this execution for large ticket items, such as bedroom sets.

Pier 1 tracking through Facebook Pixel

Pier 1 can also find interested users as West Elm has (above), through interest-based targeting. Apparently, searching and engaging with multiple home goods retailers set me up to be a prime target for West Elm’s shop now ads. Well played.

In conclusion, with brands such as Pier 1 leading the way, I am bursting with joy just imaging the moment Instagram opens up Shopping on Instagram to all users. Etsy businesspeople everywhere will throw all efforts toward Instagram.

See ya, Pinterest. May you rest in peace.

Thanks to Shopping on Instagram, Etsy sellers will soon be throwing their efforts toward Insta.
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P.S. Pier 1, I commend your social media managers. Add me on LinkedIn, you geniuses. I want to be your friend in a real way. Virtual Happy Hour? 🍾

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Why Even Boomer Brands Must Make the Transition to Digital Thu, 02 Nov 2017 14:00:00 +0000 Even brands with Boomer-dominated audience bases can make a seamless transition from traditional to digital marketing, as this case study proves.

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Why Even Boomer Brands Must Make the Transition to Digital

According to my mother, I work in the “mystical world of social media”—something, she says, very few in her generation understand.

I remind her that her Boomer friends from high school are incredibly adept at Facebook. In fact, every time I want more likes on a picture of my quadruplet sisters, I tag my mom. Her army of Permian Panthers spring into action, commenting and liking up a storm.

Despite the thundering approval her generation generously bestows upon my Facebook profile, this is not the first time I’ve heard that social media remains a mystery to a staggering percentage of the wealthiest population (important for brands, of course).

Nevertheless, many of the traditional-native apparel brands my mother has long adored have made the seamless transition from catalog to web. One such brand is Seinfeld darling J. Peterman Company.

Holiday sneak peek going on at today.

Posted by The J. Peterman Company on Monday, October 23, 2017

What the Age of Instagram Means for Apparel Brands

A brand’s success in the modern age is undoubtedly contingent on its ability to adapt to digital. As the holiday season approaches, we see the repercussions of this fact ever more intensely.

Instagram is the new catalog, as they say (or, at least, I am saying right now). Now that brands can tag products in their images as easily as tagging other accounts, this statement is all the more realistic. That said, when it becomes apparent that a brand’s audience prefers a different platform, i.e. Facebook, the brand will likely find little success on Instagram, no matter how talented Instagram has become in supporting e-commerce.

As expected for a brand with a Boomer audience, J. Peterman Company experiences much less success on Instagram.

The lack of Instagram success could be due to a lack of quality strategy, photography, or storytelling. However, their lack of success is most likely a result of limited audience preference for the app.

A lack of success on Instagram is no matter to J. Peterman Company, whose Facebook presence is an emblem of excellent customer engagement, relationships, and advocacy. Just look at this prompting of D.C. fans to meet some “JPCo longtimers.”

Ok, here's a wild idea. Who's in the DC area that would like to come chat with a couple of JPCo longtimers (no… JP is…

Posted by The J. Peterman Company on Friday, October 20, 2017

Reading through the comments, I’d never seen a brand chat so comfortably with its fans. A person is behind the account—better yet, a person who is allowed by management to talk like a person.

Truthfully, what are brands doing on social if not building personable relationships with their customers? Time and time again, J. Peterman Company does just that.

One of us was in Savannah yesterday searching for more good stuff. Snapped a photo of the back of this beautiful home….

Posted by The J. Peterman Company on Thursday, September 7, 2017

A change in social platform does not always necessitate a change in voice or brand story.
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Taking the Leap from Traditional to Digital

While staying true to brand identity, J. Peterman Company proves that brands can make the transition from traditional to digital, seamlessly. To make this leap to digital, brands must do the following:

  1. Find out who your audience is, demographically speaking. What social platforms are they using? Let these statistics guide you in determining where efforts are best spent.
  2. A change in platform does not necessitate a change in voice or brand story. J. Peterman Company is so successful on Facebook because they have stayed true to brand. Posts are written in the iconic voice fans enjoy when perusing their traditional catalog.
  3. Adopt best practices.
  4. Respond to your audience. J. Peterman Company does an amazing job of responding to nearly every comment, no matter how trivial. In doing so, they build relationships with customers that later become brand advocates.
  5. Trust in the process. Building an audience takes time. By adding social icons to your websites and catalogs, promoting social activity through email, and publishing consistently quality content, your audience will find their way to you. Have patience.

Now, no more excuses, Boomers! Get that digital train moving!

The post Why Even Boomer Brands Must Make the Transition to Digital appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.

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Red Bull’s Event Coverage Is an Essential Lesson for Marketers Thu, 26 Oct 2017 14:00:00 +0000 When it comes to building brand awareness, Red Bull knocks it out of the park with their cliff jumping event coverage and branding strategy.

The post Red Bull’s Event Coverage Is an Essential Lesson for Marketers appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.

Red Bull's Event Coverage Is an Essential Lesson for Marketers

Red Bull is not a drink; Red Bull is a lifestyle. “Red Bull gives you wings,” and apparently, it also gives you a tendency to enjoy skydiving, BMX, snowboarding, and cliff jumping.

First of all, I don’t consume this B12-infused, carbonated energy drink. I would rather yawn my way into my late 80’s than live fast and die hyper-caffeinated. That doesn’t stop me from admiring all my fellow Red Bull enthusiasts that meet many more generational expectations than me.

What do I mean? While I’m staring at my laptop screen in Panera Bread, these 20-somethings are probably carelessly dangling their tanned legs off some hundred-foot cliff halfway across the globe.

A post shared by Gary Hunt (@garydiver) on

Sigh. They are going to kick me out of their millennial squad.

As much as I want to resent Red Bull, I begrudgingly like the brand’s social media presence much more than I like the taste or side effects of their beverage, particularly the brand’s cliff diving account.

Red Bull hosts a variety of events for extreme athletes across the world, including skydivers, skiers, snowboarders, cyclists, and climbers. However, unique to the brand are its cliff diving competitions. The event’s Instagram account, which boasts over 100k followers, is dedicated to reposted content from Red Bull athletes and original coverage of competitions. Each post receives thousands of views and likes.

When analyzing the success of Red Bull’s cliff jumping campaign, one can’t ignore the virality of the athlete’s posts on their own professional accounts. Just one video from Red Bull sponsored athlete Rhiannan Iffland has received over 95 thousand views (below).

While I could wrap up this blog with few hundred gushing words about Red Bull’s excellent utilization of influencer and advocate networks, instead, I would like to focus on their excellent branding and coverage of events.

How Red Bull’s Marketing Makes the Most of Live Events

Just look at the excellently branded merchandise! Anyone with eyes can see who is sponsoring this incredible athlete. That said, branding of Red Bull content does not begin or end with spiffy outfits. Check out all the branded content in this video, both digital and physical:

Let’s count the branding elements together, shall we? Be sure to tell me if I’ve missed something:

  1. Diving platform, both top and side
  2. Diver’s swimsuit
  3. Safety buoy
  4. Convenient product placement
  5. Signage on rock face
  6. Hats—always hats
  7. Winners’ platforms
  8. Digital outro

Does every frame have a branded element, or is it just me? I can guarantee no one will be elbowing her friend, asking what awesome brand would sponsor such an insane event.

When the majority of brand awareness is built from the coverage of sponsored events, these plentiful brand elements are especially important. The coverage itself is a thing of beauty. Each video that has been mixed down for Instagram contains many perspectives, meaning the sheer volume of camera equipment they have available at events is impressive. Additionally, videos are of the highest quality, utilizing slow motion effectively but not excessively.

The higher the quality of your event coverage, the longer the lifetime of your campaign.
Click To Tweet

What Marketers Can Learn from Red Bull’s Social Media Savvy

If nothing else, Red Bull proves to marketers everywhere that events continue to convert. In other words, digital marketers everywhere might stop heckling their PR peeps. Turns out, IRL (in real life) events are not dead.

When large events are sponsored by brands (i.e. expensive events), branding elements are of utmost importance. Events are created to increase brand awareness—to further a brand’s story. For attendees to make the connection, branding must be prominent.

Finally, give your events legs by providing adequate coverage. This often means live coverage during the event (tweeting, video, etc.) as well as photography and videography to utilize once the event has concluded. Never forget: The higher the quality of your coverage, the longer the lifetime of your campaign.

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What Your Grandma Knows About Good Customer Service Thu, 19 Oct 2017 14:00:00 +0000 ModCloth's founder's social media screw-up following the company's recent acquisition offers a cautionary tale for brands.

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What Your Grandma Knows About Good Customer Service

I am an unbiased professional (wink), meaning I can’t tell you how unhappy I am that Walmart acquired ModCloth back in March. Therefore, I won’t tell you. You’ll have to come to your own conclusions.

(My outfit, brought to you by ModCloth, pre-acquisition.)

Apparently, I’m not alone in my unconfirmed sentiments. When the acquisition was announced, first through Jezebel, then through ModCloth’s own social media, an overwhelmingly negative response resulted. Check out the comments on ModCloth’s Instagram announcement post:

ModCloth Walmart acquisition announcement response

One might guess that the earth shook under ModCloth’s founder from the sheer volume of negative DMs falling into her various inboxes. Unfortunately, Koger didn’t handle all the negative attention well. She replied angrily and defensively to disgruntled fans (as seen in a post to Koger’s public Instagram profile).

ModCloth founder response

Not great, right?

That said, we are all human; we make mistakes. I’ve come to understand that, when avoiding customer service blunders as marketers, many of our grandmothers’ favorite idioms apply. The purpose of this post is, therefore, to explore two very significant gems:

  1. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
  2. Show me your friends, and I’ll show you who you are.

When You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say

Say you receive an extremely negative review (been there). Yes, customers expect a response in less than an hour. However, if your response carries a whiff of bitterness, take a deep breath and step away from your technology. In fact, take a walk. Take all the time you need to respond with heart.

In these hateful cases, brands or public figures (or, frankly, any other sentient being) should dig deep to respond as graciously as possible. If someone hurts your feelings or insults your character, never respond in hate or anger. Instead, confide.

If I were Susan Koger, I would respond to the angry Facebook former-customer in this way:

Thank you, [name], for reaching out to me. I hear you. Thank you for speaking of your disappointment, for in truth, you are not alone.

I am undeniably grateful for your loyalty to ModCloth over the years. While I have made no money in this sale, I am grateful that, through this necessary acquisition, our staff can remain employed and ModCloth, my brainchild, can remain in the world.

Moving forward, we will stay diligent in upholding our values and integrity. In my perfect world, you will join me on this journey. I will rely on you and others to keep us on our toes in staying true to our brand, customers, and employees.

Thank you, again, [name]. I am feeling your disappointment as well, but have hope that the future of ModCloth will be bright. 

Additionally, if I were Koger, I would not belittle my customers by posting their legitimate concerns on my public social media accounts. Even though Koger was justified in feeling hurt (I would feel hurt, too), I believe she has the responsibility to act in kindness.

If a customer hurts your feelings, never respond in hate or anger. Instead, confide.
Click To Tweet

Show Me Your Friends, and I’ll Show You Who You Are

ModCloth now sounds like every teenager who’s ever tried to convince their mother they don’t smoke pot, even though their friends are the notorious neighborhood stoners.

In joining forces with Walmart, ModCloth should have expected significant backlash. Walmart, after all, has faced a battery of negative press surrounding the treatment of employees, among other criticisms. I am surprised that ModCloth hadn’t prepared excessive resources to communicate, again and again, who they have been as a brand, who they will continue to be, and the promises they mean to keep, to customers and employees.

To give ModCloth co-founder Susan Koger some credit, a few priceless nuggets of realness can be found on her blog about the acquisition. However, the blog still comes off as a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down. The hostility from fans worldwide could only have been soothed by continuous, generous communication, along with an assertion that ModCloth is not the company they keep (Walmart)—undoubtedly an impossible feat, as this would entail biting the hand that feeds them.

ModCloth will continue to fight an uphill battle. My only wish is that they begin to face the concerns of their fans head on, as magnanimously as possible.

Do you think we should send them a copy of Hug Your Haters?

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This Video from Universal Showcases Irresistible Video Storytelling Thu, 12 Oct 2017 14:00:59 +0000 Rather than designing video content to exploit Facebook's algorithms, Universal focused on creating a video they knew fans would love.

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This Video from Universal Showcases Irresistible Video Storytelling

Social media presents a complex world for content. No longer is the value of a video, article, photo, or idea measured by the judgment of professionals, but by the engagement of the people; the value of content is determined by its ability to perform.

A video featuring exemplary storytelling, quality, and passion is not guaranteed to perform. To be favorable to the all-powerful algorithms, posts must instantly resonate and engage audiences. Who owns the formula for this perfect post could rule the world—for a week only, as the algorithm seems to be changing at an ever-increasing rate.

Warning: The post I am about to feature is in no way Universal’s best-performing Facebook video (obviously, because it contains no reference to Harry Potter, the park’s wonder child). However, it is best-performing in my heart—so loved, in fact, that I have bookmarked it to watch any time I am feeling particularly blue.

For the record, I have not been to a theme park of any kind in 10 years at least. So don’t go thinking I love this video just because I am a roller coaster connoisseur. I am not. I am, however, a lover of videos that have impact—impactful sound, impactful messaging, and impactful visuals.

To understand my undying love for this 47-second possessor of my heart, let’s go through my favorite clips, shall we?

What Works About Universal’s Video Storytelling

Universal's This Is So You

“This is so you.”

Universal's This Is So Me

“This is so me.”

To the victorious notes of Offenbach’s “Infernal Gallop,” the video opens with some of the most engaging messages of our self-obsessed times: “This is so you,” and, “This is so me.” The psychology is not advanced, but the message is impactful. In truth, I want to be the woman in purple. I want to be that happy, that full of life. When the screen flipped to the man in the hoodie, I laughed out loud.

A quick scan through the comments will show you the power of these two statements. Audience members were tagging their friends all over the place.

Universal's This Is So Lit

“This is so lit.”

Lit, man. What a word. You want to engage young people, you’ve got to use your language. Even if you come off sounding like a well-meaning dad, à la Jimmy Fallon’s Stepdad Gary, your efforts will be at least acknowledged.

The One Who Thought This Was How to Make Friends

“The one who thought this was how to make friends.”

I’m going to be honest. I don’t get this caption, but who cares? His rolling eyes and gaping mouth are something we can all relate to. It’s also very, very memorable.

The One Who Had Churros

“The one who had churros for breakfast.”

Yes, it is the second time we see this character, but I couldn’t get enough. The genius of this caption is more than its hilarity—it’s Universal’s choice to name churros as the breakfast item. A traditional Spanish dessert, Universal gave a nod to a large segment of their audience. The proof, again, is in the comments. To the delight of many Spanish-speaking commenters, Universal replied enthusiastically, also in Spanish.

The One We Had to Censor

“The one who we had to censor.”

The One Who Just Learned a New Word

“The one who just learned a new word.”

This man is me. I know I said I want to be the happy woman in purple, but this one is me. I wouldn’t be able to hold my favorite four-letter words back if on this roller coaster, nor would I want to, frankly.

I love this segment because it introduces the togetherness of riding a roller coaster. Part of the joy of coasters is being strapped into this seemingly dangerous machine with a few dozen of your nearest and dearest strangers. It’s a bonding experience. It’s a sharing experience. For the young man in the stripes, it was a learning experience.

The One Who Was Told This Was the Line

“The one who was told this was the line for the bathroom.”

The One Who Told Him That

“The one who told him that.”

Rarely do people go brave crowds, wait in lines, and strap themselves into steel-reinforced death rockets, by themselves. They go with friends and family. They go with those with whom they can laugh and play. This segment is powerful because it hilariously captures a story played out among friends, a memorable experience made possible by the park.

Don’t seek the perfect post. Seek content that best connects with your audience.
Click To Tweet

What Marketers Can Learn from Universal’s Video

There is no formula for creating a post that will beat all algorithms. Don’t seek the perfect post. Seek content that best connects with your audience and communicates your brand story. This ad is impactful because it features joy, comedy, diversity, community, and togetherness—all we need in life, and certainly all we need in an amusement park.

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What’s Behind the Pumpkin Spice Latte’s Social Media Stardom? Thu, 05 Oct 2017 13:00:12 +0000 There's a strategy behind why Starbucks' dedicated social accounts for its famous Pumpkin Spice Latte drive unparalleled engagement.

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What's Behind the Pumpkin Spice Latte's Social Media Stardom

Fall is here in Indiana!

The leaves are falling, the air is brisk, and lattes are spiced—pumpkin spiced. In truth, nothing marks the beginning of Fall (or the beginning of the end, if you are cold-averse like me) like the swarm of students that now venture to my local Starbucks in search of their beloved pumpkin spice lattes. Never a fan of Starbuck’s orange, milky concoctions, I prefer my pumpkin spice in the form of pie, for breakfast, with plenty of whipped cream.

That said, even I can get into a festive spirit when I hear my favorite barista yell, “Pumpkin Spice Latte for Kayla!”

Starbucks TheRealPSL Instagram account

You know your product has made it big when a stigma is built around its consumption. In the case of Pumpkin Spice Lattes, we’re talking the unkind title of “basic.” Hate them or love them, no one can deny the influence of Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte, inspiring imitators, even from big players such as McDonald’s. Let’s dive into the strategy that has kept this festive fall favorite thriving for near 15 years.

The PSL Drives Record-Breaking Social Media Engagement

Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte was introduced in 2003. The pumpkin spice craze that followed made the “PSL” Starbucks’ most popular seasonal beverage, with over 200 million lattes served since its introduction. Now, Starbucks’ menu has expanded to include pumpkin spice scones and pumpkin spice chai, pleasing coffee-lovers and coffee-haters alike.

Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte announcement tweet

If you think this craze is likely to die, think again. This year’s announcement on Starbucks’ official Twitter account garnered over 15,000 retweets and 41,000 likes—engagement they haven’t seen since last year’s tweet. Yes, this means even their unicorn frappuccino didn’t out-perform this year’s PSL announcement on Twitter. (Although, on Instagram, there is no competition; the unicorn frappuccino killed it.)

After all this time, how do they keep the craze going? Well, for one, the Pumpkin Spice Latte has become tradition, like candy corn, Peeps, and conversation hearts (I love all three). Secondly, they work at it, in a real way. Did you know that Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte has its own Twitter and Instagram account? Sure does!

Both accounts are verified. @TheRealPSL has over 36,000 followers on Instagram and over 115,000 followers on Twitter. Knowing how hard it is to build audiences, social media managers everywhere are crying. Is everything Starbucks does gold? No. In this case, it is orange—mysteriously orange, if you ask me.

The Pumpkin Spice Latte has become tradition, like candy corn, Peeps, and conversation hearts.
Click To Tweet

What Starbucks Gets Right About Social Media Promotion

My reason for featuring Starbucks’ promotion of their seasonal Pumpkin Spice Latte is not because I am one of the many fans—I am not. I have never even had one, although I have stolen a few sips from friends. However, I am a fan of their tight, exacting promotion of this infamous product.

With no more than 15 tweets and 10 Instagram posts per season, Starbucks wastes no effort in engaging audiences through their @TheRealPSL. Furthermore, they have successfully built a minimal-effort, product-centric character of the drink, complete with orange shades and whipped cream for hair.

Pumpkin Spice Latte character

Many times in the span of my career have I heard creatives say, “You know what would be awesome? If we started a social media account for ___” (insert name of current star character of web series, TV commercial, and/or brand mascot). Please, no! This idea, while seemingly easy, exciting, and advantageous, requires a whopper of an execution. So many questions go unaddressed, such as:

  • Why?
  • Who is our audience?
  • Is this character widely recognized within that audience?
  • Do we have the time and resources to build and manage another channel?
  • Will these efforts dilute the brand?
  • What is the ROI?

The beauty of @TheRealPSL is that Starbucks had every answer to the previous questions before launching the accounts after PSL adoration was solidified through millions of pumpkin spice lattes sold (Twitter in 2014 and Instagram in 2015).

In conclusion, Starbucks is an exceptional exception to the rule. Brands should understand that creating additional character accounts amounts to a whole world of content creation, management, and branding issues. What seems so tight to a brand never seems so complete for audiences who will never know the brand, or the brand’s characters, as well as brand managers.

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How One Ridiculous, Faux Kardashian Engages Thousands on Instagram Thu, 28 Sep 2017 09:00:53 +0000 Meet Kirby Jenner, the fake Kardashian who commands an Instagram following of thousands thanks to his hilarious posts and playful jabs at celebrity culture.

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How One Ridiculous, Faux Kardashian Engages Thousands on Instagram

Meet Kirby Jenner, the unofficial brother of the Kardashian clan.

faux Kardashian Kirby Jenner

Self-proclaimed twin to Kendall Jenner (Kim Kardashian’s supermodel little sister), Kirby has been Photoshopping himself into photos of Kendall for over two years. He takes what would be high fashion, trendy photos and adds hilarious surprises. Inspiration for Kirby’s Photoshopped photos comes from paparazzi snapshots, fashion shoots, or Kendall’s own Instagram account (as shown below).

Kirby Jenner Photoshopped into Kendall Jenner Instagram post

The success of Kirby Jenner relies on the clout of the Kardashian clan. Surprisingly, the family’s social media stardom is lost on far too many people. In case you need convincing, let’s go through the numbers: The most-followed Kardashian is Kim with over 100 million followers. Let me repeat: Over 100 million followers. That means nearly 15 percent of the world’s 700 million Instagram users follow Kim, making her the seventh most-followed Instagram user in the world. Additionally, each of Kim’s posts earn an average of 1.5 million likes.

The family (of seven, not counting Kirby) have a combined following of over 436 million followers, with each of their posts garnering a combined average of 8.8 million likes. If that’s not influence, I don’t know what is.

The Secret to Kirby’s Success on Instagram

While Kirby Jenner piggybacks on the Kardashians’ stardom, the genius of Kirby is his introduction of this sincere, ridiculous character into the retouched, self-important world of celebrity and fashion. Often, social media materializes a star rather than humanizes them; Kirby’s account does quite the opposite. He has created possibly the only Kardashian to whom we can all relate, while still appearing to live the outrageously expensive life millions of Instagrammers worship.

Kirby Jenner with Kardashian family

Kirby Jenner has created possibly the only Kardashian to whom we can all relate.
Click To Tweet

Every move the Kardashians make is in an effort to elevate their lifestyle. After a few hours in Photoshop, Kirby employs expertly-crafted, hilarious imagery to knock their lifestyle down a few pegs, to a more human level, earning him the adoration of a respectable following. Each of Kirby’s posts receives an average of 35,000 likes from his 652,000 followers, ironically earning him the highest engagement rate of all the Kardashian clan at over five percent.

With engagement like that, brands may be tempted to offer him endorsement deals. But brands can’t, because who can afford the Kardashians’ improbable endorsement prices? Think about it: Kirby certainly can’t use Kendall’s likeness in his endorsements for brands. Lucky for some, namely Subway, Kirby does plenty of brand promotions for free.

A running joke for Kirby is to introduce Subway sandwiches into inappropriate scenarios. Sandwiches have accompanied him through many red carpets events, runway shows, and photoshoots. His audience eats it up (pun intended). Seriously, though, what is funnier than a well-placed sandwich?

Kirby Jenner with Subway sandwich

Is this a sponsorship opportunity for Subway? No, ma’am—not without paying the featured Kardashians a very steep price. These free promos are, however, a wonderful opportunity for Subway to engage. Donatella Versace makes a perfect example of excellent brand engagement in Kirby’s spoof of Kendall’s Versace commercial.

Kirby Jenner in Versace Instagram spoof

When Instagram users have large, active followings, such as Donatella Versace, their comments are featured below posts in which they have engaged. While brands may not wish to sponsor Kirby, they can show their support of the free endorsement by way of a comment. If the brands’ audiences are large, that supportive comment will be featured front and center.

Because Kirby’s character inspires such positivity and goodwill, his brand is one in which Subway would be wise to support through thoughtful comments on sandwich-featured posts. In doing so, Subway can build rapport with Kirby’s adoring audience.

A Takeaway for Brands

If you are lucky enough to have influencers like Kirby Jenner endorse your brand, take it seriously, even if their content is anything but serious. Through goofy captions and unbelievable imagery, he has created a character that inspires adoration in a world that harbors plenty of skepticism. In the end, he is successfully doing what all brands are attempting to do on social: garner trust.

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6 Brands Crushing It with Instagram Stories Mon, 21 Aug 2017 14:39:16 +0000 Rather than rehash existing social content from other channels, these six brands are getting creative and making a splash with Instagram Stories.

The post 6 Brands Crushing It with Instagram Stories appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.

  • 6 Brands Crushing It with Instagram Stories
  • You know what I like more than just about anything in the whole wide world? Seeing profitable social media. It’s right up there with running in the rain, drinking a cold beer after yard work, and sleeping in on a Sunday. Profitable social media is the stuff of life. It smells like freshly mowed grass and tastes like fine champagne.

    Through organic social media efforts, brands can’t make a profit unless they are building the trust and respect of their audiences. I love seeing profitable social because that means both the brand and the customers win. Who doesn’t love a win-win?

    Recently, many brands have been knocking it out of the park on social, namely with Instagram Stories. Instagram Stories create an interesting dynamic for brands because, from the outside, no one can numerically judge the success of their efforts—there is no view count or like count. That said, there is no denying that the following six brands are winning in their Instagram Stories.

    Brands can’t make a profit without building the trust and respect of their audiences.
    Click To Tweet

    1. Converse

    Have you noticed how hard Converse works to be “alternative,” especially lately? Unabashed effort goes into missing the mark on “cool” and falling into whiskey tango foxtrot—thus, they are earning the respect of many youths, as is customary for Converse.

    Creative aside, marketers should take notice of their Instagram Story strategy. In announcing the roll out of a new shoe collaboration, Converse seamlessly connects their Instagram post content with their Instagram Story content.

    Their Instagram feed and Instagram Story work in perfect harmony.

    I’m all for obvious, somewhat repetitive social—wash, rinse, and repeat. If brands want their audience to know something, they should wrap exciting, memorable content around that something and repeat, repeat, repeat, just as Converse has done—so nicely “it will make you puke.”

    2. Twitter

    Twitter, you dog, you! Twitter shamelessly shares highlights from the channel on Instagram Stories. Swipe up, and users will land on Twitter. If they haven’t downloaded the app or created an account, they will be prompted to do so.

    Twitter knows what Tweeters love to Tweet about. Their Instagram Stories are full of social causes, news, sports and celebrities. Each video prompts users to swipe up to learn more, i.e., swipe up to go to Twitter, where the “real” conversations are happening. When they post content of such engaging quality, who can fault Twitter for stealing a little Instagram love for themselves?

    3. Nordstrom Rack

    The managers of the Nordstrom Rack account went behind-the-scenes on their holiday shoot. While the models joyfully bounced around, teenage shoppers ran to their parents, begging for an advance on their monthly allowances.

    Everyone knows Nordstrom stands for quality, but seeing the clothes in action takes them beyond #goals to #mustbemine. By the time the professional photos from this BTS shoot hit stores/catalogs (and the clothes hit the racks), shoppers will feel a kinship to the models, excitement for the new season and, most importantly, trust in the brand.

    4. Game of Thrones

    Game of Thrones fans love their merch, and the managers of the Game of Thrones Instagram account plan to take that fact straight to the bank.

    The Game of Thrones audience, ruled by forever-nerds, will leap at any piece of merchandise that may raise them above the hoards of wine-drinkers-who-know-things. By sharing links to merchandise clearly made by small-fry super-fans, the brand shows a ton of heart. This Instagram Story is another great example of a brand profiting from knowing and serving their audience. They even have the clever hashtag #reptherealm.

    5. Crossfit

    Crossfit is attempting to serve an international audience from one account, and that’s no easy feat. Yes, a lot of brands do it, but Crossfit isn’t promoting a product; they are promoting a lifestyle. Going international, covering all those lifestyles (which include a variety of cultures and traditions) is tough.

    I won’t congratulate Crossfit on the quality of their photography/videography because, frankly, I think they can do better. However, I do commend the brand on staying so true to brand and utilizing their resources.

    The brand made use of Instagram Live (later shared to their Instagram Story), user-generated content, and influencer marketing, all in one story, which is pretty incredible. Their Instagram content also covers their brand pillars of food, fitness, community, and jockish humor.

    6. Taco Bell

    Say you are dating a nice boy and want him to remember you even when he is chillin’ on the porcelain throne. What do you do? Take a super cute selfie, and make it his phone’s background photo without his permission. Duh. Unforgettable.

    That’s all Taco Bell is asking: to be unforgettable, by way of phone backgrounds everywhere.

    This sort of engagement is pretty common. Many brands prompt users to capture the perfectly proportioned Instagram Story images to later use as extraordinary phone display images (and Snapchat Stories). With a phone background like this, friends of the Taco Bell fan will likely see a tenfold increase in instances of, “Want to go to Taco Bell?”

    Thanks to Instagram Stories’ many features, from live video to links, there is more than one way to skin a cat. As a marketer, you must experiment to learn how to best skin your particular cat (ew). In other words, when brands really kill it on Instagram Stories, it’s a result of understanding and serving the needs and wants of their audiences, as with any other social platform. Often brands simply optimize their already finely-tuned Instagram content to fit the new medium. Other times, they use the on-the-go temporary publisher to give the audience a look behind-the-scenes, into the soul of the brand.

    In short, if you are confident your team produces content that captivates, engages, and serves your audience, begin testing out that content on Instagram Stories. You’ll be happy you did.

    Get a weekly dose of the trends and insights you need to keep you ON top, from Jay Baer at Convince & Convert. Sign up for the Convince & Convert ON email newsletter.

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    What #BlackFriday Taught Us About Social Listening Fri, 20 Jan 2017 14:00:34 +0000 This case study on Twitter's #BlackFriday hashtag reveals how misleading social listening can be when analyzed without proper context.

    The post What #BlackFriday Taught Us About Social Listening appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.

    What BlackFriday Taught Us About Social Listening

    The existence of social media has gifted market researchers and insights professionals with a vast pool of data from which to pull information and insights. The emergence and progression of social listening has given us the ability to learn a lot about what an audience is discussing. Beyond what people are saying, what else can we learn about the people engaging in the conversation?

    Listening lets us understand what people say about our companies, provide customer service, build brand communities, conduct competitive analysis, identify brand ambassadors, etc. It has also allowed us to gauge social visibility, brand sentiment, measure engagement and reach, understand the gender and location of those mentioning our name, and other social marketing measurements. This information can be leveraged in a lot of different ways to enhance the performance of your various marketing efforts.

    A gap exists, however, in understanding who exactly is discussing the subject. As we are well aware, someone’s reasons for mentioning a brand, celebrity, or subject can be very different from the next person.

    For instance, in the recent Presidential election, we saw that during the debates, the hashtag #TrumpWon started trending. Upon first glance, you might assume that it was mainly Trump supporters tweeting about this, with further analysis, it was discovered that it was mainly Hillary Clinton supporters using the hashtag satirically. This example highlights the need to understand the context of the conversation.

    If you are listening to what people are saying without understanding the context, you may be receiving misleading data and insights. David Boyle, EVP Insight at BBC Worldwide, shared the following on the subject:

    “A couple of years ago I was arguing that Twitter data was misleading and dangerous. I was speaking at market research conferences about how people using Twitter data to make business decisions are misleading their businesses. They are basing decisions off a tiny and unrepresentative subset of users that tweet about a given topic.”

    Unfortunately, this same line of thinking has lead many market researchers and insights professionals to undervalue social data, specifically the insights that can be derived from social networks like Twitter. With such a rich pool of data and insights, it’s a waste to stop at what people are saying. The next level of insight innovation derived from social comes from understanding individuals in the context of their interests through the interest graph, following audience patterns.

    What You’re Missing in Your Audience Analysis

    If you head over to my Twitter feed, you’ll see tweets that align with my career. Aside from a few words in my bio, you would have no clue who I am or what I’m interested in outside of my career. However, if you look at who I follow, you’ll start to gain an understanding of who I am, what I’m passionate about, and what I value most. We only follow people, celebrities, and brands that we are interested in.

    The key to incredibly powerful, naturally occurring, unbiased consumer insights is studying how people are connected by leveraging the interest graph. This adjustment in approach changes the game. As David said:

    “I don’t think Twitter has changed. What’s changed is how we look at that data. We used to only be able to look at people who tweeted about, in the old days, music, which is an incredibly biased subset of people, leading to bad decision-making. Now, we can look at people who are interested in music (even if they never tweet about it), and we understand who those people are in much richer, more useful way, and it is incredibly powerful. All of this from data that was worse than junk—it was dangerous just three years ago. That’s an amazing opportunity. That’s an amazing turnaround.”

    By analyzing and understanding audiences through their connections, we can gain powerful insights about an audience’s interests and what they care about most. This enables us to understand 100 percent of an audience, not just the vocal minority. As an example of intelligence-augmented listening, let’s look at the recent conversations around Black Friday.

    What Social Listening Tells Us About #BlackFriday

    Black Friday is going through an identity crisis. It’s no longer just Friday; it’s not even just Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It is major deals that appear after Halloween and continue into December. This change is mainly driven by large online retailers, such as Amazon, and it’s causing panic for the brick and mortar stores who rely on this annual event to kick off the holiday shopping season.

    There have been several studies published to understand how Black Friday shoppers are changing and to see if there may be a “greying” effect to this once explosive annual sale. One of these reports, published by Brandwatch, presented information about people discussing Black Friday to reveal consumer preferences and product trends based on associated keywords. The study includes Twitter conversation around the Thanksgiving holiday shopping season, including Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, the general discussion around the intent to shop or purchase, and opinion-based conversations discussing some of the biggest brands and retailers in the market.

    In their study, they reveal the top hashtags by volume of tweets, top hashtags by impressions, the volume of brand-related tweets, and the share of voice for brands and retailers, and they demonstrate the spike in conversation on Black Friday.

    This type of information is useful for understanding engagement, reach, and share of voice for your brand. However, it doesn’t give us a clear idea of who’s discussing the subject. The only information it offers is gender and location breakdown. In today’s world, demographics and mention-based insights aren’t nearly enough to understand and relate to our audiences. We need to go beyond these basic metrics to understand what makes them tick.

    What Interest Graph Analysis Tells Us About #BlackFriday

    To augment the data and insights you can pull from social listening, let’s define an audience as anyone in the US who mentioned #BlackFriday in the month of November. During this period, there were 28,458 accounts that mentioned #BlackFriday at least once. By running an interest-based segmentation analysis on this audience using Affinio, we can see the breakdown of the audience based on shared interests.

    #BlackFriday Mentions - Affinio Audience Visualization

    People who mentioned #BlackFriday – Affinio Audience Visualization

    Moving beyond knowing how many people mentioned #BlackFriday, you now know who they are in the context of their interests. We can see that Fashion + Entertainment Fans, Millennials, Trump Fans, Marketers, Gamers, and more participated in the conversation.

    It is notable that two of the clusters are bots. These are automated accounts that artificially inflate the conversation around the subject. Bots have been seen in many trending topics and events throughout 2016.

    To understand which interest-based communities were most active in the conversation, we can see mentions of #BlackFriday by cluster.

    Since the Fashion + Entertainment and Marketing Technology clusters were most vocal, let’s dive further into these communities to understand their interest in #BlackFriday.



    When segmenting by following patterns, we’re able to determine what each segment (or cluster) is most interested in. Here are the most relevant accounts to the Fashion + Entertainment and Marketing Technologies clusters. This is what each cluster is most likely to be interested in.


    As you can see, these two interest-based clusters differ quite a bit in their interests. While the Fashion + Entertainment cluster is most interested in celebrities like Ellen Degeneres, Jimmy Fallon, and Oprah, the Marketing Technology cluster is most interested in Elon Musk, Walt Mossberg, and Ann Handley. For media sources, the Fashion + Entertainment cluster look to InStyle, People, and ENews first, while the Marketing Technology cluster chooses TechCrunch, Fast Company, and Mashable first.

    The way that you would relate to an individual in the Fashion + Entertainment cluster is much different than how you might relate to someone in the Marketing Technology cluster. While there are many differences among these communities, it’s important to know, as marketers and researchers, what brings them together.

    Differences and Similarities

    To understand the people in our audience further, we need to understand what makes them unique and what makes them similar. The following shows us the metrics that are unique to these clusters, and what brings them together.


    As you can see, not surprisingly, the Fashion + Entertainment cluster’s unique traits center around fashion, shopping, and entertainment, while the Marketing Technology cluster’s unique traits center around marketing, business, and innovation. Their interest in celebrities, conversations around Thanksgiving, the recent election, Veterans Day, and of course the Cyber Monday and Black Friday sales is where they share commonalities.

    These augmented insights provide context to the “who” when understanding the market interested in #BlackFriday. Through their interest and passions, and an understanding of what makes these communities both unique and similar, we’re able to get a strong understanding of the culture of the communities within an audience. While understanding the impact of your marketing through engagement and impression metrics can give you an idea of reach, the most important metric is understanding who you reached—who is part of an audience.

    How Interest-Based Segmentation Metrics Can Help You

    As we’ve seen, interest-based analysis can give you a much better idea of who is in your audience. This understanding is critical, and it is just the beginning of what you can do with these insights.

    Interest-based analysis takes social data beyond just social media. All of a sudden, by changing your approach to understanding the big data associated with social, you have insightful and actionable consumer insights. As Davis Boyle said, “That’s an amazing turnaround.”

    To learn more about how you can pull augmented intelligence from your audience, check out this free eBook: Enhance Your Marketing Strategies with Enriched Cultural Data

    Get more content like this, plus the very BEST marketing education, totally free. Get our Definitive email newsletter.

    The post What #BlackFriday Taught Us About Social Listening appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.

    What We Learned from the Southwest Airlines Social Media Crisis Tue, 27 Dec 2016 14:00:00 +0000 What Southwest did right and wrong during their massive outage and subsequent social media crisis, with letter grades from Jay Baer.

    The post What We Learned from the Southwest Airlines Social Media Crisis appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.

    Editor’s Note: This post is one of Convince & Convert’s Top 10 Posts of 2016.

    What We Learned from the Southwest Airlines Social Media Crisis

    Listen to this blog as a podcast:

    Last week featured the nightmare that every social media manager, community manager, and social media customer service professional fears.

    Southwest Airlines experienced a massive technology failure, rendering huge portions of their computer systems inoperable for more than 12 hours. To get back on track, the airline cancelled nearly 2,000 flights causing a four-day tsunami of customer frustration.

    The magnitude of the issues were nearly unprecedented in American aviation, and the computer outages left airport personnel able to receive only minimal communication from corporate, causing huge inconsistencies in what passengers were told, and how they were treated. Some passengers got hotel vouchers, others did not. Some passengers were kept informed, others were left to fend for themselves.

    It was BAD.

    Southwest’s customer service, social media, and operations teams were besieged by the red hot anger of some 250,000 irate passengers.

    How did they do, and what can we learn from how they handled this extraordinary social media crisis? I’ve been watching their moves closely, and I’ve identified 6 social media crisis lessons.

    1. Offer a Sincere Apology

    From the very beginning, the Southwest online representatives took complete ownership of the crisis, and apologized (with evident sincerity) to customers at every turn, both in social media and in explanatory content.

    This may seem self-evident and trivial, but it’s not. Many companies forbid their social media customer care teams from apologizing for anything in a public forum, believing it opens the company to legal liability down the line. There is no factual basis for this, as I uncovered in my book, Hug Your Haters. Yet, it’s not at all uncommon for companies to dance around the issue, even when they are clearly in the wrong, and refuse to apologize.

    Not in this case.

    Grade – A

    2. In a Social Media Crisis, Live Video Is Your Friend

    In any customer service scenario, humanity is key. It is much harder to be mad at a person – any person – than it is to be made at a company or brand.

    Southwest took an innovative and effective approach to humanization through the use of Facebook Live video to keep customers informed and to underscore apologies.

    The star of these videos was Brooks Thomas, who I interviewed on my Social Pros podcast in happier times. (It was a great episode, and I encourage you to listen to it).

    But it wasn’t just Brooks (who pulled all-nighters with his team trying to keep up with customer complaints) on Facebook Live. In the example above, the company’s Chief Operating Officer explained the current status, adding significant credibility to the video.

    The videos worked, at least as measured by emoji sentiment. The live broadcast above was watched 803,000 times (Wow!); was liked more than 5,500 times; was loved more than 1,100 times; and solicited a comparatively paltry 650 angry emojis.

    This may go down in the social media text books as the first big-scale use of live video in a social media crisis. We will see more – a lot more – of this in the future.

    Grade – A

    3. Don’t Use Your Website as Your Crisis Headquarters

    In my first book, The Now Revolution, Amber Naslund and I wrote that the best way to handle a social media crisis is to create an online hub that contains all information and company responses about the situation, and to link to that hub in social media responses.

    This strategy was employed as recently as 90 days ago when Starbucks created a massive kerfuffle by changing how points are accrued using their popular rewards card. In that crisis, Starbucks launched a dedicated microsite and FAQ about the changes, and referred unhappy customers to it, following The Now Revolution playbook almost exactly.

    But Southwest Airlines has shown this approach is no longer sufficient. Customer attention is too fragmented and online channel proliferation is too real.

    Southwest did post its written apology to its own discussion forum, but also posted the same content directly to Facebook as a note, and also on Linkedin.

    This is wise and on-trend, as Southwest realized that customers on Facebook are there for a reason, and neither want (nor need, via the use of Notes) to click over to the Southwest website to read an apology and explanation.

    I predict this type of multi-channel crisis communications will also become the norm.

    Grade – A

    4. Don’t Forget to Hug Your Haters

    As set forth in my book, the Hug Your Haters approach dictates that you answer every complaint, in every channel, every time.

    Whether it was a strategic decision, or perhaps more likely a situation where the volume and speed of complaints was simply too enormous, Southwest did not answer them all. They answered many, on Facebook and Twitter in particular, but many custom complaints and pleas for information were not addressed.

    The inconsistency of response compounded hurt feelings in some cases, and also created some channel shifting among customers seeking a place where they could be answered.

    Echoing Lesson 3 above about channel proliferation and customer preference, it is fascinating that Southwest’s Facebook page received thousands of customer complaints. The discussion board thread about the outage on Southwest’s website received a total of 39 replies.

    (My online training course on how to be great at online (and offline) customer service, and how customer service is the new marketing is now live. Visit for details)

    Grade – C

    5. Speed Is Everything

    While Southwest wasn’t able – or willing – to answer every customer complaint, those they did address were handled with stunning swiftness, given the circumstances.

    Twitter complaints that received a reply were mostly handled in three to 12 minutes, and Facebook responses within 45 minutes.

    This is also on trend, as my study with Tom Webster and Edison Research found that 40% of the social media complainers who expect a response from brands expect that response within 60 minutes. It’s safe to say that just about every customer expected a response in this case, so doing so within an hour is quite a feat for Southwest, given the deluge.

    Slideshare How Fast is Fast EnoughIt would have been better to answer them all, but answering fast at least helps placate the customers they could respond to during the crisis.

    (For more on this point, download my new ebook “How Fast is Fast Enough?” It’s all about speed in social media customer service responses.)

    Grade – B

    6. Consider Every Channel a Customer Service Channel

    As noted above, Southwest took an overt, multi-channel approach to handling this social media crisis.

    The crisis was never mentioned on Instagram, however.

    The brand is active on Instagram, with nearly 250,000 followers on that channel. Perhaps because they believe Instagram is a platform for feel good, behind-the-scenes storytelling (according to Brooks in his podcast interview), the airline chose to not apologize or make any reference whatsoever on Instagram.

    This was a mistake.

    Southwest Social Media Crisis Instagram

    Southwest’s most recent Instagram post has received 322 angry comments, with zero response or acknowledgement from the company. Ouch.

    Remember that it doesn’t matter if the company thinks of a channel as a “customer service channel.” If the organization has a presence in an online venue – even it it’s usually just marketing and communications content – customers will expect to be able to communicate with the company on that venue in a crisis scenario.

    With messaging apps and Snapchat coming online as potential customer service outlets too, the channel proliferation problem is going to get even more acute for businesses. You can no longer assume that ANY channel is non-viable as a customer contact avenue.

    Grade – F

    I’m a fan of Southwest. They’re good to me when I fly, and I’ve enjoyed working with the brand on the business side as well. I’m truly sorry this crisis occurred – for the many, many affected passengers, and for the company. All-in-all they did a commendable job of handling it in social media, and I hope you never forget these lessons, which are applicable in almost every social media crisis scenario.

    The post What We Learned from the Southwest Airlines Social Media Crisis appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.

    7 Can’t-Miss Summer Travel Social Campaigns Fri, 11 Nov 2016 14:00:35 +0000 Who best inspired our wanderlust this summer? Here’s a round-up of seven can’t-miss travel and hospitality campaigns from Summer 2016.

    The post 7 Can’t-Miss Summer Travel Social Campaigns appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.


    Image via Unsplash

    The summer travel season may have come and gone this year, but if travel marketers have anything to do with it, those memories—and clever campaigns—will linger well into other seasons. So who best inspired our wanderlust this summer? Here’s a round-up of seven can’t-miss travel and hospitality campaigns from Summer 2016.

    WOW Airlines Offers Snapchat Enthusiasts a Chance to Travel the World

    Taking a page from the “Best job in the world” campaign from Tourism Australia, WOW Airlines offered its Snapchat-savvy fans a chance to win the ultimate summer trip to some of the airline’s 28 destinations between June and August. Dubbed the world’s first-ever SnapTraveler program, the campaign asked applicants to create a Snapchat story in English under two minutes in length, save the video file, and upload it to the company’s contest microsite for a chance to win. Four winners were selected from around the world and spent the summer creating content for the company’s social media channels, including Snapchat. The results? Personalized and unique to each winner in the best possible way.

    Can’t Make It to Minnesota This Summer? Minnesota in a Box Will Come to You

    To combat negative or inaccurate perceptions that prevent travelers from visiting Minnesota, the state cleverly fought back with its “Minnesota in a Box” campaign. Led by Explore Minnesota Tourism, the tourism board created installations in steel shipping containers showcasing the state’s best assets. The best part? People could step inside the containers, touch, feel, sit on objects, and were encouraged to snap photos of themselves doing so. Dubbed  “MNstagram booths,” these boxes generated 1.25 million impressions following visits to Chicago, Denver and Kansas City.

    Basel Tourismus Capitalizes on Pokémon Go With Pikachu Revenge Prank Video

    Basel Tourismus became an unexpected star of the summer travel season when it generated 8.6 million views on YouTube and over 65 million views on Facebook with its quirky yet comical video featuring mischievous Pikachus hunting down Trainers with Monster-Pokéballs—the reverse experience of the popular Pokémon Go game. In this completely unexpected yet exceptionally well-timed campaign, Basel Tourismus also created a dedicated Pokémon section on its website, highlighting the best spots to watch and play. In an interview with Adweek, Christine Waelti (Manager of Marketing and Communications at Basel Tourismus) said, “By showing wonderful spots in the city to such a broad audience, we’re confident that Basel will get a lot of attention as a destination.”

    Great Britain’s Post Office Infuses Currency Conversions With Magic

    Getting foreign currency for you vacation typically is an uninspiring task—until now. In a clever video, Great Britain’s Post Office swapped its employees with actual magicians and then filmed the consumer reactions live, making an otherwise mundane task a magical moment. While not all Post Office employees are actual magicians, the video is a nice visual storytelling example showcasing just how easy the Post Office’s money conversion services are to use.

    Visit Faroe Islands Enlists Its Sheep to Show Travelers Its Natural Beauty

    Frustrated by the lack of Google Street View coverage for the Faroe Islands, the tourism board decided to take matters into their own hands—and hooves—by attaching solar-powered 360-degree cameras on several of the islands’ 80,000 sheep. By cleverly showcasing the country’s ruggedly beautiful terrain, Visit Faroe Islands has generated significant publicity and interest from travelers (including this writer!) to see this remote part of the world. The bonus? All of the publicity from the campaign caught Google Street View’s attention. As Google cleverly blogged, “Where there’s a wool there’s a way.” Turns #WingIt Summer Travel Moments Into Super Cool GIFs

    In celebration of summer’s spontaneous travel moments, encouraged its Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram fans to submit their best photos with #WingIt for a chance to have their images turned into super cool GIFs. In order to give fans the best GIFs possible, the company hired four well-known GIF artists: James Kerr, Cari vander Yacht, Chris Timmons, and Justin Gammon. All images and GIF winners are hosted on a dedicated microsite and across’s social media channels. The campaign offers a good reminder of how a company can take a UGC contest to the next level.

    Norwegian Airlines’ ‘Aura Reader’ Personalizes Travel Recommendations

    Sometimes inspiring a summer holiday calls for a higher power. As a way to raise awareness for its flights between the U.S. and Europe, Norwegian Airlines developed a high-tech “Aura Reader” installation at Santa Monica Place in Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale’s Aventura Mall. The Aura Reader registered a person’s temperature and pulse and printed a ticket with a personalized recommendation of where the person should travel to based on their aura color. For travelers unable to get their aura read in L.A. or Fort Lauderdale, Norwegian Airlines also developed a web aura reader with a sweet incentive: Travelers could visit the site and take a photo (or upload their own) and get their aura read for a chance to win two non-stop, economy round-trip tickets from any US gateway airport serviced by Norwegian Air to any Norwegian Air destination in Europe. Talk about potential karma points!

    norwegian airlines aura thedrumm

    What were your favorite summer travel campaigns? Share them in a comment or on Twitter!

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    The post 7 Can’t-Miss Summer Travel Social Campaigns appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.