22squared, as evidenced by the success of many social campaigns, is one of the first full-service agencies to integrate a social department into the traditional agency model—an integration that entails creatives, social strategists, producers, media, client performance, brand planning and client leadership working intimately at every level of the process.
The result of this approach is work that is not only innovative, but also strategic, amplifying natural user behavior across social channels. But what makes a campaign effective in the social space? Below are just a few of the learnings we’ve derived from some of our successful social campaigns like Costa Rica’s Gift of Happiness or Buffalo Wild Wings’ WOMMY winning, Flavor Fanatics campaign.
Social insights driving strategy: Understanding how fans are organically engaging with a brand gives clear direction on how to build out the campaign. Traditionally, planners have depended on focus groups or surveys in order to understand these behaviors, but why miss an opportunity to listen in on the online conversations or amplify the interactions that are already going on? For example, Baskin Robbins fans were checking in through Facebook Places by the droves. We built out a local tab that aggregated that behavior, thereby also providing real-time insights about markets where consumers were highly active and could be targeted for local promotions and deals.
Takeaway: It behooves any brand to take advantage of the incredible focus group that is their Facebook community—you have a captive audience that is actively providing their opinions about your brand so pay attention to how they are naturally engaging with your brand and amplify it. Also, your community can give you a real-time pulse on overall brand sentiment—a crucial lifeline that can help alleviate or divert potential brand crises or catastrophes.
Make the user experience enjoyable and simple: We never build something that would confuse our fans or force them to engage in a user experience that would be unfamiliar. Let’s be honest, the average user is too impatient to figure out a complicated app, and with simple, intuitive design becoming the industry standard, they shouldn’t have to. Look at native behaviors inherent to the space and piggyback on them— Facebook, along with many social platforms, have an open API that is ripe for a developer’s picking. Just check out our Tampa Bay Lightning Seat Seeker that leveraged the Twitter API.
Takeaway: Want to build engagement? Don’t reinvent the wheel—the most successful apps and executions are the ones that supplement natural user behavior rather than augment that behavior. To do this right takes not only an understanding of the space, but also an understanding of the predilections of your consumer.
Integration across digital and social: Where most traditional agencies miss the mark is keeping these departments in separate silos when they should be working in tangent. Of course, what kind of media you buy and the digital destinations depend on the overall campaign goal, but there are opportunities to run content across several platforms or to make your placements more sharable and social. Most publishers are accommodating for these digital/social integrations and leveraging the technology available with the right partnerships can create some truly unique creative. A Break media partnership for our Flavor Fanatics campaign for Buffalo Wild Wings created custom brand content that was used on Facebook, YouTube and a branded break channel.
Takeaway: No matter what your budget is, integrated campaigns are more efficient and more impactful. Find opportunities to maximize your relationships and strategies to create a cohesive brand experience, regardless of the user entry point (whether it’s a banner or social channel). Additionally, with the ability to share across social channels, ensure that the brand message showing up on user’s Twitter feeds, News Feeds or emails drives to the appropriate platform for where its being shared (i.e: Facebook updates should drive to the page, NOT to a website).
Overview: Klout, recently announced some major changes which include a complete interface overhaul, new features, and a more accurate calculation of Klout scores. The old Klout score looked at less than 100 “signals” while the new score will look at more than 400 “signals” from seven different networks.
The new Klout aims to serve as more of a social resume. New profiles will look more similar profiles on other social networks. Part of this is the new “moments” feature which puts emphasis on individual moments and updates highlighting activity that generates action from people in your networks. When you look at your own profile, you will see a timeline of your social network updates and whether they’re influencing other users. When you look at someone else’s profile, you see their most influential moments.
The new design also includes measures of real-world influence including your Wikipedia page (if you have one) and your job title on LinkedIn. This acts as a bit of a safety net that helps keep and important user’s score up even if they stop creating online content.
The changes started rolling out August 14 and will slowly be rolled out to all users over the course of several weeks.
Thoughts: Unless you’re Klout-obsessed, you don’t really have a reason to visit the current version of Klout on a daily basis. With the new design, users will have a reason to return. They can check on yesterday’s content to see what their network is responding to and use that information to create more relevant content. Additonally, the updates increase transparency so users know exactly what is causing their scores to change.
Overview: In a race against Square, a mobile payment start-up, and other similar technology companies, PayPal is testing mobile payments at 30 McDonald’s locations in France. The test in France lets McDonald’s customers order food on smart phones through a McDonald’s mobile application, or online, and pay with PayPal. There is a separate line in the test locations to pick up the meals. Rolling out a service like this may help McDonald’s cut lines at restaurants, which is a key factor in maintaining and growing same-store sales.
PayPal has already signed on several retailers including Home Depot and Office Depot. Since McDonald’s has a network of more than 30,000 restaurants, a permanent deal with the company would be an huge victory for PayPal especially after news of Square signing a deal with Starbucks.
Thoughts: For consumers, it will be a lot easier to make payments with mobile devices, but the landscape is becoming increasingly fragmented. If every other store uses a different payment system, customers will switch between payment apps – multiplying the security risks of linked accounts.
Merchants may get a lot of choices for online payment systems, but customers could get the raw end of the deal.
Overview: Facebook and CNN have teamed up to create an app that allows Facebook users to share their stances on candidates and campaign issues leveraging the power of Facebook’s Open Graph. Unlike traditional Facebook apps, app analytics won’t be used strictly as social action based data, but rather as a social focus group. CNN plans to treat the opt-in data acquired as a “second screen” experience for political coverage, essentially contributing to CNN’s understanding of people’s opinions across the social space; segmenting user opinion by state, the app could help predict election outcomes and provide insightful voter data that can be utilized for future elections.
Thoughts: While user participation in the app is low so far, some numbers have already started coming in. It’s safe to assume that as the election heats up, user participation will increase and CNN can leverage the Facebook user base to offer poll questions and get well-sampled responses relatively quickly.
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?