This morning upon logging into Facebook, I was greeted with the following status at the top of my news feed:
I’m used to seeing statuses about my friends’ dogs urinating, not urinating, wearing sunglasses, and getting dog-shamed. I don’t mind it – in fact I usually find it at the very least amusing. What I’m not used to seeing is a MySpace infiltration of emoticons in my feed. That’s cool, I guess, but couldn’t I just do that with the standard emoticons on Facebook? I was doing just fine with happy, sad, really happy and the heart. Now I can be… great? Wonderful? Better? I’m riding a roller coaster of emotion, but Facebook only allows me to use one at once.
The fun doesn’t stop there, folks! You can also tell the world what you’re watching, listening to, drinking and eating (see what I did there?) – but only one at a time. So you can tell the world that you’re drinking an Old Speckled Hen, but you can’t simultaneously tell the world you’re happy about it. Unless, of course, you do it the old-fashioned way:
I even got an emoticon in there! I have to imagine that everything Facebook lets me tag gets sold to countless companies and will allow for even more targeted advertising. You’re eating ice cream, you say? Check out these new Ben & Jerry’s flavors! Reading Game of Thrones? Check out the HBO series! While many of us say what we “like” in our profiles, that information can get stale. For instance, if you joined Facebook as a college freshman in 2005 and said you love frat parties, it’s possible that you’ve lost interest in them since then. If you don’t update your likes regularly, however, it’s outdated information for advertisers. What you said you were listening to five minutes ago is an entirely different story.
Some folks get defensive about social networks selling their data to advertisers. While I don’t like the idea, I doubt much of my information is private any more. And as far as advertising is concerned, I’d much rather see ads for goods and services that I actually find interesting as opposed to, say, mail-order brides. Whether I actually use the feature is yet to be determined.
Racepoint Group is very excited to present to you another episode of RPG Live, where a group of Racepoint Group employees discuss the latest culturally relevant issues and trends we’re seeing in the news and pop culture, hosted by our own Evan Siff. This week’s guests include Ashley Crutchfield, Colleen McCarthy and Lori Niquette. Please have a listen as we discuss:
1. Netflix, Hulu Plus, Original Content
Do you subscribe? How do you feel about their original content and which devices do you watch on?
2. iPhone vs. Android
Have you recently made a switch? What features would you like to see on the Galaxy S4 or iPhone 5S? Are phones now becoming too big?
3. March Madness
Who do you have winning the NCAA men’s basketball tournament? Have you been following via an app on your smartphone? (Note: this recording is from yesterday, 3/28 – Miami was crushed last night by Marquette 71-61, once again destroying Evan’s bracket hopes and dreams…)
4. Spring has Sprung
What are you looking forward to most about Spring?
Please feel free to give us a shout out with questions or comments via Twitter!
As we all know, SxSW has become more of an event than a conference, and a place where new, cool start-ups have a chance to break out on the social media scene. Now that the dust has settled from the 2012 show, it’s time to take a look at what’s happened to some of the most successful companies to take over SxSW (i.e. Twitter, foursquare), and which companies are trying to follow in their footpath. The following infographic from PromotionalCodes.net.
This is a guest post by Evan Siff. Follow him on Twitter@Stairway2Evan.
While everyone is drooling over the recently released Hunger Games, I really couldn’t care less, as I have already seen it many years ago when it was called the Running Man (Katniss would never have made it past Subzero).
However, being a huge fan of Ridley Scott and the original Alien series, I absolutely can’t wait to see Prometheus on the big screen. I have watched the trailer close to 25 times and wouldn’t be surprised to find myself with the rest of the geekdom, camped out for tickets with a plush, Alien “Facehugger” pillow.
It remains to be seen whether Prometheus will be one of the best films of 2012, but in terms of marketing it has already demonstrated a great deal of media savvy with its website, teaser and viral video campaign, including:
Stunning stills from the film are being unlocked one by one via ProjectPrometheus.com, which was unveiled last weekend, and you can follow them on Twitter here. With three more months until its release (June 8), we can expect some serious hysteria among fans. Will you be going to see Prometheus this summer? What is your favorite viral marketing campaign?
This is a guest post by Nate Towne. Follow him on Twitter @Fancy_Lad.
You came back (By the gods, you need a hobby.)! But I’m glad you did return, because here’s where the rubber really meets the road when it comes to using Pinterest for business. Got a great product? A smashing storefront? The world’s biggest/largest/bestest thing ever, yet nobody seems to know or care about your brand? Pinterest to the rescue! Your brand can use the power of Pinterest to see and be seen, here are a few tips to get your Pinterest juices flowing…
Crowdsourcing! Creating a new logo? Designing a new package? Frosting a cupcake? Share your designs with the world and ask your fellow Pinheads to pick ‘em apart. By providing a range of options, you can see which designs get the most love. It’s just one more way to milk the feedback machine for all it’s worth. And oh, it’s worth it, believe you me. It’s like harnessing the commenting power of Facebook, but it’s interesting and not about a stupid farming game. Yes, THAT game. Ugh.
Give Props: Do you have a customer or client you just love? Pin their stuff and show them the love. They’ll see that you’re pimping them and will likely pimp you in return. You already do this in the real world (it’s called a “referral”) but I swear it’s much more fun on Pinterest. (User tip: if you add a “@” in front of a Pinhead’s name, the user will receive a notification of your love. Now that’s special!)
Play Well With Others: You can lighten the load on yourself by adding contributors to your pinboards. It’s the perfect way to showcase your intern’s quirkiness or highlight one of your favorite business partners. It’s super easy to collaborate on Pinterest, far easier than Facebook.
Recon: What the heck is that florist down the street doing that you’re not? How come THAT cupcake shop has crazy sales? Follow the boards of your competitors and others your brand aspires to become and “borrow” the best of the best – and leave the rest.
Okay, that’s enough for you to get started I think. But before you do, you need to ask yourself:
It’s cool, but is it appropriate for my business?
It’s cool, but is there a return on investment for all my hard work?
It’s cool (sense a theme?), but do I have the time?
If you answered “Yes! YES! OMG YES!” to questions #1 and #2, you’re ready to jump in (You’re also way too excited, so settle down.). If you’re on the fence with #3, you can still dip a toe in the water by creating a personal account first, and see what all the fuss is about. Then after you’re hooked, you can do a deeper dive. If you “set it and forget it” it’s probably not for you. Which is sad. ‘cause it’s REALLY cool. That is all – carry on.
This is a guest post by Nate Towne. Follow him on Twitter @Fancy_Lad.
So you’re considering Pinterest for your business are you? Well you’re not alone! As my last Pinterest post propounded, Pinterest has more than four million users and is growing each and every day. It’s the “hot new shiny toy” of the social media sites – which doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right for your brand. After all, thousands of people get their naughty bits pierced each year – that doesn’t mean you should, too (Or does it?). So if you are considering jumping on the Pinterest bandwagon for business, here are some insights to help you make an informed decision.
We can all agree Pinterest is pretty darn cool, but as responsible marketers, we must ask: is it right for your brand? If you’ve got some awesome visuals or products to share with the world, the answer is: yes. Whole Foods, Martha Stewart Living (R.I.P!), Better Homes & Gardens, Bergdorf Goodman – they all have Pinterest accounts, and more brands are joining each day. While the wedding , fashion and design industries appear to be leading the charge, there are many uses for any business – provided it sells something that is visually compelling, provided you want people to share your stuff online and provided you have the time to handle building and maintaining a Pinterest account (That’s a post for another time my dears.).
Pinterest is easy to use, which is yet another reason it’s great for businesses (Why, even my mother could figure it out, if she could put down her glass of wine.). It’s a website, it’s a search engine browser button, it’s an app – it’s everything you want it to be and everywhere your customers like to hang. You can login using Facebook or Twitter, you can take pictures and upload them to your pinboards – which can be customized according to your tastes. Yes Virginia, you can have a pinboard dedicated to burnt toast art. Whatever floats your boat!
So to make a long blog even longer, let’s cut to the chase. How can brands use Pinterest to boost the bottom line? Here are some thoughts to discuss amongst yourselves at the water cooler:
Share Your Look for Less: Creating virtual “Look Books” or reference boards to share with other Pinheads. Launching a new line of toiletries? Create a board! Pitching a big landscaping project to your local bank? Show them exactly the types of plants and materials you’d use – paint them a picture, that’s what Pinterest is all about. And if they share your boards, all the better!
Sell Product: While you can’t BUY anything on Pinterest, if you pin your products and link to the website within your Pin, your fellow Pinheads can easily jump to your ecommerce site. An added bonus: if you add a “$” to your Pins description, Pinterest will automatically add a price banner to the photo AND your Pin will appear in the Pinterest “Gifts” category. Sweeeet.
Demonstrate Subject Matter Expertise: You’re SMART and creative, damn it, so showcase your awesome sauce with pinboards! If you’re a company that sells shoes – own it. Create a board for your products, but also create boards for other shoe-related visuals. Like great places to hike or jog if you’re in the sports apparel game. Or pictures of celebrities who wear your shoes – or who should wear your shoes. Best dressed? Worst dressed? World’s most unappealing cankles? Pin it and become a SME superstar!
Next up in this hopelessly-devoted-to-Pinterest series: how Pinterest can help your business get more business through caring and sharing. Because just like the Hokey Pokey, that’s what it’s all about!
This is a guest post by Geri Butner. Follow her on Twitter at @geributner.
Last night, I had the opportunity to attend the Millennial Branding Speaker Spotlight Series at Back Bay Social Club, featuring Rue La La executives Stacey Santo and Colin Hynes. One glass of cabernet and a few business card exchanges into the event, I crowded to the center of the room to listen to Stacey and Colin address important questions about their invite-only marketing, social media and business strategy. In between eyeing all of the stylish outfits the ladies (who made up about 93% of attendees) were wearing, I managed to take away a few interesting points from their talk.
I really liked how Stacey and Colin framed the reasoning behind their invite-only marketing technique. Rue La La doesn’t require a paid membership, but you do have to be invited by a friend to shop their site, which has been interpreted by some as being too exclusive. The whole point of this strategy, however, isn’t to exclude anyone, but to provide free access in a way that mirrors the real world – through who you know.
One reason why Rue La La is so successful as a shopping destination is that they understand their consumers enough to be able to simplify their consumer decisions, and in order to do this well, it’s important to maintain a “friend-of-a-friend” network. Imagine you’re throwing an event that you really want the attendees to enjoy. Do you invite every one of your Facebook friends, or do you invite the people you know and ask them to bring a friend? It makes sense to choose the latter.
Stacey and Colin pointed out that social media isn’t an add-on for their business, it is their business. While they use Twitter and Facebook, the company itself is social media by way of social shopping. They understand that in order to stay on top of their business, they have to engage and respond to customers as quickly as possible. After all, if a company isn’t being transparent and authentic in a timely manner, then someone else will be for them. “Social media is as authentic as it gets.”
One person from the audience asked about ROI for social media, and they responded that when you have clear, defined objectives, the measurement is easy to evaluate. Ultimately, though, you just have to have faith and experiment with what works for your business. It’s important not to turn social media into a popularity contest, because the quality of followers and fans is more important than the quantity.
Something that really resonated with me during Stacey and Colin’s speech was that their business is based on trust. Every day at 11 a.m., they tell hundreds of thousands of shoppers not that they need a little black dress, but exactly which little black dress to consider. Rue La La has the power to simplify our decisions and steer our choices. As long as Rue La La continues to build trust in people through social media and friend-of-a-friend networking, people will happily continue to allow it.
What are your thoughts on Rue La La’s business strategy?
It’s that time of year, again: where the SXSW Interactive 2012PanelPicker is open for public voting! For those of you who are already versed in the innovative, educational treasure trove that is SXSW, I don’t think I need to expound any further. For the rest of you, read on:
“The 19th annual SXSW® Interactive Festival challenges you to envision the future of innovative technology. Featuring five days of compelling presentations from the brightest minds in emerging media and scores of exciting networking events hosted by industry leaders, SXSW Interactive offers an unbeatable line up of special programs showcasing the best new websites, digital projects, wireless applications, video games and startup ideas the community has to offer. From hands-on training to big-picture analysis, SXSW Interactive has become the place to preview of what is unfolding in the world of creative technology.” – SXSWi’s “About” page
One of the really cool parts about SXSW (you know, aside from all that exposure to cutting edge media and tech mentioned above) is the crowd-sourced component of the event’s sessions via the site’s PanelPicker. Last week, public voting opened for over 3600 very strong speaking proposals. Public voting will factor into the selection of a privileged 500 or so for the show itself. That’s right: YOU have a say in who makes it to the agenda. What better incentive to attend is there? Voting ends 11:59 p.m. CDT on Friday, September 2, so hurry up and add your two cents.
Of note, your friends at Racepoint Group and Digital Influence Group have thrown a couple hats into the ring. Check out the sessions below and if you like them, feel free to vote (and encourage your friends to do so, too).
This is a guest post by Mandy Miller. Follow her on Twitter @amandammiller9.
In case you missed it, Big Brews (not as evil as Big Tobacco) may be trying to ‘buy out’ your area code. Anheuser-Busch has recently applied for 15 trademarks for the following area codes: 314 (St. Louis), 412 (Pittsburgh), 305 (Miami), 619 (San Diego), 202 (Washington, D.C.), 602 (Phoenix), 704 (Charlotte), 702 (Las Vegas), 214 (Dallas), 415 (San Francisco), 216 (Cleveland), 303 (Denver), 713 (Houston), and 215 (Philadelphia).
Why, you ask? Well, recently Anheuser-Busch InBev bought Chicago microbrewer Goose Island, maker of 312 (named for the Chicago area code). This very well could be a means to seize a market opportunity, or it could just be an adorable attempt at a brand extension. The supposed idea behind this is that Anheuser-Busch may try to extend this branding into other area codes, crafting specialty beer(s) for your city.
My thoughts? Smart – kind of. It’s cute, but at the same time, I like the ‘cozy’ and personalized touch that goes into smaller microbrewers. Maybe I just need to have more happy feelings with every Bud Light I have, but Goose Island was located in ‘the 312.’ How is Anhesuer-Busch going to position and craft these beers when they are a mega brewing giant? Shouldn’t a local brewer know best for crafting these? What if you’re in a suburb of Cleveland, Denver, etc. Are you going to feel left out because it just doesn’t taste like your area code?
What are your thoughts? Strategic move or cute attempt? Do you feel this takes away from the specialty crafts of microbrews?
I’ve done my best over the past several weeks to block out all of the royal wedding hoopla, and I think I’ve done a pretty good job. In fact, I didn’t even know the royal wedding was tomorrow until someone informed me they will be watching it tomorrow morning (EDT).
Regardless my my ignorance, this wedding is receiving a lot of attention, and businesses are trying to capitalize. While some attempts are a bit lame (i.e.: cardboard cutouts), T-Mobile did an absolutely brilliant job of capturing attention with a hilarious spoof of the popular JK Wedding Entrance Dance, which was also imitated on The Office.
This kind of marketing is so smart and creative, and reminds me of what Old Spice did last July. In case you haven’t seen the video, it’s embedded below.