I jumped onto the #followateen bandwagon last week. Founded by writer David Thorpe in December 2011 and resurrected in April 2013, #followateen encourages adult Twitter users to pick a “random teenager” to follow on the platform and report back their findings. Some of my favorite tweets from my #followateen:
Unfortunately, my experiment came to an abrupt halt when my #followateen started following me back. I became a victim of #followanadult, causing me to shy away from reporting back the findings of my #followateen. It was a rude reminder that transparency in social media is a double-edged sword (for the voyeuristic). Sometimes, we have too good a connection with our social peers.
For good or bad, people are influenced by their friends. Think of the last time you made a big purchase, like a car, a TV, or maybe your new smartphone. What factors contributed to your purchase decision? Did you get advice from friends and family or read reviews online? According to a recent Nielsen study and WOMMA member Keller Fay, 92% of consumers around the world say they trust earned media sources, such as word of mouth recommendations from peers, friends, and family, above all other forms of advertising. Online consumer reviews are the second most trusted source of brand information and messaging, with 70% of global consumers interviewed saying they trust messages on this platform.
While social media can help brands achieve word of mouth on a large scale, it comes with its own set of challenges. Customers expect the same quality of care on your social platforms as they receive on your website or in your store.
Here are some best practices to help generate positive word of mouth for your brand in the social space.
Having a social presence isn’t a guarantee that fans will talk. But if you invest in your community and focus on providing value and excellent service, they’ll have something to talk about.
A long way we have come from only the top executives at the largest companies holding access to personal assistants. Much envied were these folks for having the equivalent of an extra set of hands to help manage their professional and personal lives.
Free tools like Google Calendar and Todoist have grown in popularity, digitizing the analog organization systems we had in place. As email became a topic of dissatisfaction, savvy professionals adopted the use of advanced email management tools to administer their cluttered inboxes. Beyond that, short of hiring a virtual assistant through Zirtual or outsourcing tasks and errands, professionals have had few options for help managing their increasingly complex business days. But with the sophistication of mobile applications and smarter utilization of data, this has all changed.
Apps like Tempo and Thread essentially fulfill many duties of a personal assistant. Tempo, the calendar app from SRI International, is powered by much of the artificial intelligence technology that was incorporated into Apple iOS’s Siri. Tempo powers the “smart calendar” by parsing through your contacts, emails and documents, then surfacing them in time for your calendar appointments – merely using the information in the calendar invite! (I liken this to an admin printing out all your relevant documents and handing them to you as you step into your meeting, quickly whispering any important details in your ear about the people in the room.) Additional features of the app include driving directions, flight tracking, and Foursquare and Yelp integration, which are again provided to suit the needs of the modern professional, and Tempo’s learning mechanism ensures that your experience with the app improves over time.
How many times have you pulled up an email in the middle of a call, perhaps with a client? Even outside of the office, when I receive a call from an old friend, I jump on my tablet to quickly scroll through her Facebook as we chat, reminding myself of her latest happenings before I ask a silly question. Thread, an Android app that rethinks caller ID, serves up the caller’s latest Facebook and Twitter posts, as well as you and the caller’s latest email and text exchanges, when you receive a call. The richer caller ID experience provides more context for the call.
While neither of these tools accomplishes anything beyond our individual capabilities, they do inject a welcome layer of efficiency into our daily routines. One brand currently doing this well is CARFAX. With their new myCARFAX app, they give consumers piece of mind by maintaining the health of their cars and, in the end, increasing their cars’ retail value. This strengthens the relationship between the CARFAX brand and their customer, and increases the value of their core product. As marketers, we need to start thinking about how we can apply this kind of utility to customer experience.
On Monday, March 25, Facebook launched a new feature that claims to improve the quality of conversation on brand pages. Much like YouTube’s current commenting system, the comments with the most interactions will be pushed to the top of every conversation thread. It will also be easier to reply to specific comments and therefore have smaller conversations within a broader post without having to tag the user to indicate the response is for him/her.
This “Replies” feature will help community managers stay on top of comments that are getting a lot of buzz and attention by other fans, and will highlight the most relevant conversations.
Currently, all users will be able to reply directly to comments on Pages that have opted in. Although this new feature is only available on desktop now, it’s rumored to be implemented on mobile in the future.
Here’s how to opt in:
1. At the top of your Page, click Edit page
2. Go to Manage Permissions
3. Select Turn On Replies
You can opt in to Replies through the Page admin panel. Once you opt in, you can still opt out, but all Pages will have Replies enabled on July 10, 2013.
If you don’t want to opt in yet but would like to check it out live, here are a few examples:
Have you turned on your Replies feature yet? Tell us what you think!
Do you remember when Facebook launched what some would argue to be the most valuable addition to its platform, News Feed? For the first time, in one place, a person could easily access real-time updates from friends. This meant way less time clicking to a ton of pages to stalk, er, I mean keep up to speed on connections. Nearly seven years later, it’s now the place where 1 billion people engage with their friends on the internet, and people, like me, spend hours upon hours each day.
News Feed has been through several changes since launch. Each time, ironically a plethora of people take to Facebook to voice how they’ll quit the platform altogether if it doesn’t change back. On Thursday, with the announcement of the new News Feed, Facebook rumbled our world again.
Except this time, I think people aren’t going to complain so much.
The changes aren’t going to drastically alter the functionality of people’s beloved News Feed, they’re going to make it better. Facebook’s enhancements will give users a reason to keep coming back. Among these main players are larger images, multiple feeds for things like photos, and a unified user experience across mobile and tablet devices.
Unlike its stock, Facebook’s space on News Feed is a commodity, with limited impressions for brands, friends and apps to compete. Thursday’s announcement of filter changes may help with this quandary. This additional layer of personalization with larger, more beautiful photos will be a welcome change, one that I think will keep people coming back for more.
Sign-up here to be one of the first to experience the new News Feed.
Whenever I travel, I’m always in a pinch to check in before everyone snatches up the good seats. No, I don’t want to be a hero and sit near the emergency exit, that’s terrifying. For whatever reason, traveling seems to evoke this sense of panic in me, and I often wish there was someone to tell me not to forget anything throughout my trip. Enter: Delta Airlines. The airline recently launched a new app for both the iPad and iPhone that is a hyper-personalized guide to users’ entire trips. The app works in tandem with a revamp of Delta’s online marketing strategy, bringing a more digitally integrated experience to its customers. From helping you choose between flights to the moment you land at your destination, the app is intended to be tied to every detail of your trip.
In conjunction with the app, the new delta.com redesign includes a personalized sectio
n with features like My Wallet, which stores payment information and travel receipts in a digital wallet. The iPad app uses a feature called “Glass Bottom Jet,” which gives fliers a look at the route below them as they are traveling on a flight, and even pinpoints connections to your social networks as you’re flying above. That feature alone is cool enough for me, but the app also lets you download suggested content for the flight, see what your social network is saying about the destination, and find things to do while there.
With the rapid adoption of mobile devices, I think Delta hit the mark on finding a relevant, cross-platform approach to being with customers throughout their trip. By making it easy for users to plan, share, and connect their experience through social context, Delta added value to users’ entire journey, rather than strictly the beginning and end of their trip.
“Lightweight interactions” has been a buzzword lately: everybody is preaching them but few are practicing them. Brands continue to invest big money in heavyweight Facebook applications that lead users to a less than satisfying experience. Where brands are missing the mark is within the news feed story.
Looking at the average Facebook user flow, users spend a majority of their time within the news feed and will engage with content that is of interest to them, through a like, comment or share. If the content is compelling enough to further explore, the user will have a deeper engagement, such as clicking on a link. After exploring, the user will then return to the news feed to discover more content of interest. The average post from a brand page only reaches 16% of fans. This is why it’s important to provide the most engaging content, connecting with human behavior; this way fans will share with their friends and extend the reach of the post.
It’s a simple strategy that marketers often overlook. Lightweight interactions open up for storytelling and opportunities to make small content elements that are part of a bigger story. We need to avoid heavily branded content, hard hitting sales messages, product pushes, tag lines and icons. We can sprinkle these assets into the overarching story but they should not be the daily experience. iends and extend the reach of the post.
Once we build a relationship with our fans and gain their trust, we can begin to provide a few heavyweight interactions over time, such as a product push or a beneficial Facebook application. Fans want to feel rewarded for participating in brand experiences. Whether it’s a chance to win a prize or exclusive content, fans are looking for a pay-off. A new approach marketers should consider while concepting their next big Facebook application is to start by designing the news feed story first and use the application to break through. It’s important to remember, the news feed story is one of the primary discovery points to drive to the Facebook application.
Around the world October has become well known as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Today, in a world that is more connected than ever through social media, it would seem like an easy task to reach people by using platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. However, during this pink-filled month, it takes innovative thinking for brands to be seen. Many brands are accomplishing this by reaching women on multiple platforms through creative campaigns, which invite users to share personal stories. Social media allows information to be shared instantaneously, which provides a huge opportunity for brands to join the fight against breast cancer.
Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest have made it so much easier for individuals to raise awareness for breast cancer, and each year we see an increase in brand participation to find a cure. Through different social initiatives, brands have created various ways for their communities to share personal stories and connect with those fighting the same battle. There are many brands that have joined the fight for a cure, but there are a few that stood out to me this year.
These three campaigns are just a few of the many from brands that are using their social media platforms to raise awareness about breast cancer. Social media has made communities more connected than ever before through the sharing of stories and pictures, so people don’t have to fight this battle alone.
What brands have you seen using social media to raise awareness for breast cancer?
Overview: As if anyone needed confirmation that America loves bacon as much as money, comedian Josh Sankey recently completed a trip across the country funded only by bacon. In an effort to promote their new Butcher Thick Cut Bacon, Oscar Mayer sponsored Sankey’s trip with 3,000 pounds of uncooked bacon.
Sankey made it from New York to California in just 14 days. Along the way he traded bacon for lodging, food, and entertainment. The most expensive trade he made was to convince the town of Cedar City, Utah to proclaim itself Sizzle City. The renaming cost him 300 pounds of bacon.
Thoughts: The key piece of this campaign was social media integration. Fans could follow Sankey’s trip on Facebook and Twitter, where many of the trades and communications were made. That, coupled with simplicity and a just plain fun idea, made this successful campaign.
Overview: As Instagram continues to take the world by storm, more and more brands are jumping in on the photo-sharing fun. Nitrogram provides an analytics platform for Instagram that lets users track useful metrics such as the numbers of photos taken, the number of likes and comments on photos, as well as the total reach for photos.
Thoughts: Nitrogram may be a useful tool for helping brands track key metrics, but do you think Instagram is the right platform for brands? I think many avid Instagram users would agree that they’re on Instagram to catch a quick glimpse into the daily lives of their friends (without sifting through all the brands and ambiguous cries for attention on Facebook) and won’t readily opt in to being marketed to on this more personal platform.
Overview: LinkedIn is adding more expert advice to its website and making it easier for its users to find their pearls of wisdom. The new feature allows users to follow thought leaders like President Obama, Arianna Huffington, and Richard Branson. In addition to seeing what influencers are saying, you will have the ability to like, comment and share directly on their posts as well as see longer form posts with videos, photos and Slideshare presentations.
Thoughts: The online professional networking site, typically used as an important resource when job hunting, is hoping to give users a reason to visit more frequently. Do you think the new feature will be enough to make LinkedIn a daily habit for the average user?
Remember that weird little gift shop Facebook used to have? With those clip-art images of things like birthday cakes and bananas? I’m pretty sure I doled out a few $1 slices of virtual pizza during that confusing time, but their newest product, Facebook Gifts, is aiming bigger.
More than 100 partners are taking the leap into Facebook Gifts, including big-thinker brands like Starbucks and Warby Parker. Users have the option to send digital or physical gifts, such as a $5 Starbucks gift card that can be loaded onto a user’s mobile device (what up Passbook?), or an actual shipment delivered straight to a friend’s doorstep. What’s convenient about this is that the gifters don’t have to actually know the shipment addresses for these deliveries – a common barrier to gift-giving. They simply choose the gift, based on recommendations from Facebook pulled by user data, and the recipient is immediately prompted to enter a shipping preference. Recipients even have the option to choose the color, size, or flavor they want, and can exchange it without anyone ever having to know how picky they actually are.
Procrastinators and last minute gifters might find the most value in Facebook Gifts, considering the number of people that rely solely on Facebook to remember friends’ birthdays. Users can pay for the gift right away, or enter the payment details later – tapping into those who are feeling truly spur-of-the-moment. The idea of gift-giving leverages Facebook’s mantra of living in a more open and connected place, and by making it social, Facebook makes each purchase a highly visible and easily shareable story.
As this is Facebook’s first major step in e-commerce, there are certainly caveats to the feature. The fact that users will have to provide a credit card number and home address is one potential downfall, given some Facebook users’ distrust of privacy protection on social networks. However, as a social marketer, I can certainly see the intrinsic value in leveraging the relationships and experiences that have been built through Facebook, and selling products that are an extension of those experiences. Also, as a Facebook user with an upcoming birthday, I think the value is pretty clear. November 3rd, folks.