Yesterday, I ran across Wendy’s Baconator fan page on Facebook. Although Wendy’s had done this before with its widely acclaimed Frosty, it’s not often that one product from a fast food chain gets its own official Facebook page, so I had to check it out. The social media enthusiast in me started scrolling down and checking off items on my mental list of things I look for when I am analyzing a brand’s page:
- Specific tone of voice appealing to targeted community—check
- Frequent and engaging posts—check
- Decent amount of fans (for such a niche interest and relatively new page)—check
- Fans’ posts on the wall—check
- Frequent brand responding to fans’ posts—check
- Brand/product telling fans to leave the page if they don’t like what they see—check. Wait…
- Openly flirting with those expressing their devotion for the product—check. Ok. What??
Despite the Baconator’s sarcastic and sometimes even brash tone, fans show their love for him by constantly posting on the wall and anxiously waiting for a response from the Baconator himself.
With audience fragmentation being one of the main concerns, many would question having a Facebook page entirely dedicated to a brand’s product—especially in the fast food restaurant industry. Typically, fragmenting a fan base for a brand is considered social suicide. However, I find this a very smart strategic decision on Wendy’s behalf.
Here they are, with a product that contains something that many Americans are infatuated with—bacon, and suddenly, it’s crystal clear who their target consumer is. Wendy’s can’t speak to their Baconator fans the same way they would to their fresh salad lovers or Frosty enthusiasts.
Now that the Baconator has his own page, he is able to develop a personality that is not only very human-like and genuine, but also widely accepted by his fans. It’s always easier to attack a lifeless object or product than it would be a human being. By personifying an inanimate object like the Baconator, fans are able to connect with it at a much deeper level. Fans are coming to the Baconator’s page and interacting with it multiple times and in a playful manner, just like they would with a friend’s page and these type of relationships are invaluable.
There you have it, a sassy Baconator who can turn negative fan comments into laughter and appreciation—so, what do you say, was the risk of audience fragmentation worth it?
I have always been told that an internship is the best thing you can do for your future, but I had no idea how true that was until a month ago when I began my internship at 22squared.
Prior to graduating in May, I had spent endless hours researching internship programs and was consistently overwhelmed by how many “exceptional” programs were available. Not to mention the millions of other applicants I would be competing with to obtain one of these prized positions. One program in particular stuck out to me, which was 22squared’s Route 22 internship. It was only a matter of time before I was sitting on a sofa in the Atlanta office talking to my soon-to-be co-workers at 22squared. We discussed the internship and they reassured me that it would be a “hands-on” experience and I would be considered part of the team. However, I still had my doubts because, let’s be honest, it sounded way too good to be true. But after taking a tour of the agency and meeting some of the people who work here, I told myself that I would take on the stereotypical coffee-grabbing, copy-making intern role, if that’s what it took.
Looking back on the thoughts I had coming into the internship, it seems crazy that I ever doubted the experience I would get from interning at such an incredible agency. In a little over a month I have already learned more about the industry than I did during my four years of college. I am interning in the Social Media department and have had the opportunity to work on accounts including Just My Size, Jackson Hewitt and Baskin-Robbins. With these clients I have been able to experience community management, brainstorming and planning, copywriting and even client meetings. Some of the most valuable lessons I have had came from sitting in on meetings and listening to the team discuss how to move forward and create innovative “Work That Talks.”
When I started the internship I was handed a sheet of “intern expectations” and things to learn, which included reporting and analytics, content creation and competitive overviews. I remember thinking to myself as I read through the list, “There is no way I can handle all of this, and I am in way over my head.” However, from day one I was treated as an equal and an actual member of the team. I was taught step-by-step how to accomplish every task on the list in the most efficient way possible. It’s amazing what I have learned thus far, and I can’t wait to see what I can master during the final month.
While I have learned an unbelievable amount about social media, I have also been able to take away what I consider the top three “real-world” lessons. These lessons are:
1. Never doubt yourself
2. Be confident in your ideas
3. Make connections
It is amazing what you can accomplish if you are fully confident in yourself and your work. I feel more prepared than ever to enter the real world and conquer whatever is thrown my way. I am so grateful for the invaluable connections I have made that will only benefit me as I begin my career in social media.
On the first day of the internship we were given each a shirt that said “Route 22: Put Yourself on the Map.” With the guidance from a very patient and helpful mentor, I can confidently say I’ve put myself on the map and I’m prepared for whichever direction I’m led in.
I am so glad that I have been presented with all of these opportunities this summer. And even though he would never ask, I would gladly go get some coffee for Richard Ward.
It’s a buzzword that’s been floating around digital marketing for quite some time. It’s probably made its way into a few of your own discussions – on topics ranging from search optimization to brand credibility.
So what exactly is it? In an age of information overload and increasing multi-channel consumers, it seems the more appropriate question is, what isn’t it?
Content marketing isn’t neatly defined within the industry. By nature, it has to evolve just as quickly as the the delivery channels do. Take a read of Kristy Woolbright’s Social Media Downloads for proof of just how quickly.
But you may immediately think content = blog, like where you are right now.
The truth is that everything on your website (or mobile site, tablet site or app) is content: copy, video, links, photos, metadata, interactive features, user comments. Content marketing = user experience.
Content can be product reviews within your inventory. Viral videos posted on YouTube. Even a quirky online game. It’s the language of how you lure and lead consumers into your brand experiences. It’s giving them the content that makes them stay, play and buy what you have to sell.
So what should effective content do?
Meet customers’ needs. Customers care about their needs. Whether that need is to research a new car or be entertained on their smartphone waiting for the bus, we want to make sure we give customers what they need, at the right time on their journey through the brand eco-system. When you put the consumers’ needs first, you’ll reach a whole lot more of them.
Boost search rankings and conversions. Content marketing isn’t just about chasing SEO. Sure, posting fresh content with the right keywords and metadata will help your rankings in search…today. But search algorithms don’t purchase products. Once you’ve successfully brought a visitor to your site, how’s the experience? If you’re getting your customers to the right content on the right page, you will be handsomely rewarded.
Offer variety. Content is the combination of words on page with photos, videos, slideshows, interactive tools…the list is endless. Combinations make your content much more interesting, and should always be part of your content strategy. We want to help customers and search engines identify all content easily, and let customers engage how they choose.
To me, digital “content” seems too dry a word to explain what it is, and the role it can play in your marketing strategy. It’s fun work. It’s creative. It causes sparks to fly between your brand and your customers. And what could be more fun than seeing real results from that great content?
eMarketer predicts US online ad spending will grow 23.3% in 2012 to reach $39.5 billion by year’s end. A recent study found US marketers flat in their spending on traditional, offline direct marketing tactics such as direct mail and direct response broadcast for TV and radio. Spending on gaming was also flat, perhaps signaling a cautious approach to this newer format.
Technology changes quickly, but human behavior does not. Paul Adams explains why marketers should always be thinking about brand interaction from a human-centric framework.
Ford is introducing a web application that works much like their KeyFree technology for cars that allows drivers to enter and exit their vehicle without worry about keys. The KeyFree mobile app provides similar functionality for users by providing a seamless way to lock and unlock all the digital profiles of a user, including Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, Skype, and more. After installing the app, users are able to have the accounts on their computers lock and unlock depending on proximity.
BEV is the world’s first Tweet activated sampling machine. Simply tweet a unique hashtag when standing in front of the machine, and enjoy an ice cold BOS Ice Tea on the house.
In anticipation of the expected extra traffic and congestion during the 2012 Olympic Games–and to give Brits an extra incentive to walk to work, Recyclebank and Transport for London have partnered to release an iPhone app that gives users rewards when they opt out of public transportation and choose to walk or cycle to get around instead.
This past weekend, Twitter took NASCAR fans onto the track and into the pit at the Pocono 400 with twitter.com/#NASCAR. Twitter and NASCAR partnered to use a combination of algorithms and curation to surface the most interesting tweets to bring fans closer to all of the action happening around the track. In a single timeline, fans could discover the best tweets, photos and perspectives from NASCAR drivers, crews and fans.
Corresponding with this new experience, Twitter ran its first TV ad during the Pocono 400 race showing driver Brad Keselowski snapping a picture with his iPhone and ending with a call to action to go to Twitter.com/hashtag/nascar page. Beyond getting attention from NASCAR Twitter followers, they caught the attention of social marketers who are seeing for the first time a revamped page displaying search results for a typical keyword, a hashtag.
This feature is Twitter’s brand-new ad product, Hashtag Pages, which are brand pages based on hashtags. Twitter will likely be offering these customized pages to brands willing to pay for a more intensive, tailored experience for fans. It gives marketers greater control over the volume and type of content that is shared, allowing fans to bypass the noise that often comes with a normal hashtag. Rather than simply purchasing sponsored hashtags or tweets, advertisers can now curate the experience around what people are saying. Twitter’s NASCAR campaign shows what can be done with a single keyword term.
Twitter may be slower to grow compared to Facebook, but they have been smarter in building a way to curate and repurpose content that is being created by people. It’s the act of curation rather than creation, which is why Twitter’s strategy has legs. There’s nothing better than getting your biggest fans to promote your brand for you.
(Image Source: www.twitter.com/#NASCAR)
At 11 years old, Carly Fleischmann had never been able to communicate with the world in any way because of her autism—not even her family had been able to get to know her; and for a long time, they thought she had nothing to say and wasn’t aware of her surroundings.
Carly’s life changed drastically five years ago on the day she had her first encounter with a computer. It took a keyboard, long hours, and a lot of patience for Carly to begin revealing herself to the outside world. However, once she did, there was no turning back—little by little, this young spirit let people into her mind by writing out her thoughts, complaints, desires, and even detailed descriptions of how she felt. Carly’s therapists and family were amazed by her breakthrough when she was exposed to this technology.
Today, Carly is 16 and she has become a quasi-celebrity amongst social media platforms—she sends out updates and tweets regularly to her 34,063 Facebook fans and 23,667 Twitter followers. Carly was successful in finding a way to amplify her new found voice and send her message out to the masses. Thanks to these new ways of communication, she is able to spread the knowledge about her condition and receive kind words of encouragement from all her receptive fans/followers.
Like Carly, brands too can utilize these new mediums as ways of communication with those who care about them or simply want to find out more. These platforms provide the perfect opportunity for anyone to re-identify him or herself and establish the presence they want the world to see. These new channels open the doors into anybody’s world so that others can see their goals, motives, and the character that defines them at their core.
For example, if a brand is traditionally perceived as reserved or closed to its consumers, it now has the ability to open up and interact in a meaningful way. A brand can find its voice and reinforce a “personality” through the use of social media platforms. This also applies to special situations when something goes wrong—now brands can address sensitive issues immediately and communicate any clarifications straight to their audiences.
Communication is no longer a one-way street for brands, and social media is a vehicle for people as well as brands clarify any wrongful assumptions and speculations about who they are—it provides a board where ideas, comments, statements, and questions can be addressed. More importantly, social media allows people and brands who didn’t have a voice interact with others in a very intimate way for the first time.
If you would like to know more about Carly’s story, click here.
House Beautiful is letting users post photos from its print edition directly to Pinterest using smartphone apps, the latest effort by a magazine to make print more interactive.
Silicon Valley startup Pinterest raised $100 million from a group led by Japanese online retailer Rakuten Inc, valuing the company at about $1.5 billion and underscoring the huge investor appetite for social-networking companies.
Guinness has managed to make pouring beer a social. Introducing the new QR Code Glass. Pour the stout into the glass, and the QR code is visible. Use a lighter color beer, and it doesn’t work.
Penguin Books recently unveiled a surprising partnership with Zappar App, an augmented reality entertainment channel, to bring four novels from the English Library to life. Augmented reality, known as “AR,” is type of virtual reality that overlays objects and scenes in the real world with digital information.
Attention Farmville farmers, Spotify junkies, and Draw Something artists: you’re about to get a lot more company in your world of social apps – courtesy of your friends at Facebook. Last week, Facebook announced their plans of an App Center roll-out, a central hub accessible on the social network’s platform to locate all social apps.
Now, if you’re asking yourself, “Isn’t this already available on my Apple App Store or Google Android Play store?” the answer is, yes… and no. Big names like Words with Friends, Draw Something and Bubble Witch Saga prove that social apps have major mass appeal. And while Apple and Google stores are great for locating and purchasing apps, finding those that have inherent social features can be daunting. This move by Facebook allows users to skip these stores all together and use one central place to find it all, that is: mobile, desktop and web apps with social compatibilities. Is it competition for Google and Apple? Definitely. However, Facebook has stated that native mobile apps listed in the center will still direct users to Apple or Google stores. But no matter where you download, the intention is clear: Facebook wants to make all apps social apps. And since Facebook is 900 million users strong, I think it’s safe to assume that developers will want their product featured in this new marketplace.
So what’s the implication for the Facebook user experience? Facebook is measuring the success of an app listed in the App Center by its quality. They’ll be using a variety of signals to measure eligibility, including user engagement and user ratings. This means if your app isn’t performing, it won’t be listed. It’s also an excellent way to cut back on those “spammy” apps that can clutter the user interface and interfere with user experience.
The announcement of the Facebook App Center is excellent news for both marketers and developers who are invested in the space. Facebook further expanding their interest in the booming apps and gaming industry allows users to easily discover, play, and share within the Facebook environment, ensuring they won’t have to leave the platform to play in another. This new development also speaks to the platforms commitment to expand and monetize their mobile capabilities. Furthermore, Facebook’s App Center guidelines indicate that the user experience will be prioritized, creating high engagement for repeat use, meaning even more regular traffic to the already popular social network.
So what do you think? Do you want search for your new apps using Facebook’s forthcoming App Center? Do you think we’ve found the be-all, end-all of app stores? Or is this just another Apple App Store/Google Android Play wanna-be in the making?
Now just about anyone with a Facebook account can save lives with a simple click of a mouse. This week, Facebook announced a life-saving addition to its Timeline feature, giving its members in the U.S. and the U.K. the option to share their organ donor status with friends. Through the tool, users can sign up as organ, eye and tissue donors, find quick access to their state’s donor registry and post videos related to the cause.
Facebook’s effort to publicize and unite possible donors and recipients through member statuses is just the latest example of how the company is leveraging its fan-base to create social change. It seems that Facebook has broadened its initial purpose of simply connecting people, moreover giving them the freedom to become catalysts for solving important issues, with the ability to spread information at light speed.
Facebook has become one of the greatest tools for the mobilization of friends and group organizations to spark conversations and take action towards issues they feel strongly about. It’s a vehicle to get people talking about or uniting on things they may had never known or spoken about otherwise.
The whole idea comes down to 3 simple steps:
“We never could have anticipated that what started as a small network would evolve into such a powerful tool for communication and problem solving,” said Zuckerberg and Sandberg in a joint statement.” As this happens, we hope to build tools that help people transform the way we all solve worldwide social problems.
With bullying being such a huge issue today, the company recently issued online prevention tools, such as Safety Center upgrades, downloadable and sharable content, videos and community resources to prevent cyber bullying. Additionally, back in December, the company launched the Lifeline feature, which allows people to alert Facebook if they feel one of their friends has expressed thoughts of suicide or self harm. From there, the company will issue an email with information including a telephone hotline and a link to a confidential online chat resource.
With adoptions of these programs still in the early stages, it remains to be seen what the overall success rate of each will be. It’s possible that a significant impact could be seen over the next couple of years; at least we can hope for this. One thing is for certain; that the possibilities as to what other types of issues Facebook could begin to help solve are endless.
When it comes to our business, work with non-profit organizations comes to mind. Imagine all the ways we could begin to help. Maybe Facebook too.
I get my hair cut for free at my aunt’s salon, so every month or so, I go there to get my ears lowered. My favorite part of this routine is that I get to talk to my little cousin Jae. Usually, Jae and I horse around or chat about really important things (such as our mutual aspirations of becoming intergalactic space rangers). This time, however, I noticed that his attention was entirely devoted to the computer screen as he played an online game called Poptropica.
For the next 9 minutes, I interviewed little Jae on various topics such as UX, gamification, hacking, advertising, YouTube, and more. Below is a collection of various responses to some of my questions. Throughout this informal interview, I couldn’t help but be amazed at how natural certain concepts are to Jae. What we might consider as new and/or emerging media are simply the norm for his generation.
Particularly interesting are Jae’s repulsive disposition toward the interruptive nature of banner ads. At just 8 years old, he has already developed a hatred for these digital units and even shamelessly vocalizes his contempt toward them. He explains that the only time he clicks on them are by accident, and it’s easy to see why he gets angry when his gaming experience is interrupted. Initially, this would seem to imply a gloomy outlook for digital advertisers. However, when I ask Jae about his likelihood of clicking an ad if it was incentivized with some sort of in-game integration (E.g. a really cool sword item in Poptropica), his attitude changes. Jae’s shift in attitude may signify the role of contextual incentives in users’ propensity to click on digital ads. This further supports importance of proficiency in UX—that is, understanding users’ motivations and behaviors—when it comes to creating digital drivers and experiences.
Reflecting on our conversation, I’m further convinced that we are not in the middle of a marketing paradigm shift. Rather, the paradigm has already shifted, the game has already changed, and the space has already been disrupted. Indeed, I regard my 8 year-old cousin Jae’s natural aversion towards interruptive advertising, nonchalance towards finding solutions by hacking, and intuitive understanding of game mechanics as a final notice to marketers: Evolve or die.
On gamification and happiness:
On banner ads: