Tag Archives: social media

Exploiting #Sandy In Poor Taste

We all know by now that Hurricane Sandy was a social media phenomenon. I’m sure in the days and weeks to come we’ll read all about record-breaking statistics that helped keep us all from going too stir-crazy while cooped up in our apartments. It’s only natural – when things get rough, we rally to vent our collective frustrations and fears. Social media is obviously a  great way for us as a culture to experience a current event.

But when marketers try to use current events to stay relevant, it can sometimes backfire. In fact, it can come off as inauthentic and downright desperate.

Take this email below that I received from a gym I’m considering joining. The subject line was “Sandy Equals Savings in November!” I rolled my eyes and brushed it off but it left me feeling uneasy.

THEN, I saw this gem from American Apparel. Wow, gee thanks dudes. I’m so glad there’s a sale on overpriced clothes for size 0 hipsters!!! Thanks for providing me something to keep me busy in case I was “bored” during the storm. I’m sure people who lost power really enjoyed seeing this pop up on their iPhones when they had only 10% battery life left.

I mean, we need to remember that this hurricane  left at least 38 dead and millions without power in the U.S. And we can’t forget the additional 69 lives it took in the Caribbean before it made its way to us. This is not something companies should be using to score a jump in profits.

Perhaps if brands want to leverage a current event, they should first consider the situations that their customers may be in. Consider strategic timing. Consider holding your tongue for a few more days. Or maybe consider a creative way to market to your customers while helping hurricane victims.

My heart goes out to those who lost a loved one during the storm. I also hope that those who lost their homes or property can find the strength and support to move on and rebuild. And in the coming weeks, I hope to see more brands getting involved in relief efforts.

 

 

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A Slightly Less Self-Indulgent Use of Social Media

During the last week or so, my social media channels have been abuzz with news about the Starbucks fundraising initiative with FourSquare to help raise money for (RED), an AIDS-battling organization.

In case you live under a rock (read: not spitting distance from at least 3 Starbucks locations), you probably have already heard or read about the campaign. If not, I’ll fill you in:  For every FourSquare check-in at Starbucks (during June 1-10, 2012), the coffee giant will donate $1 to The Global Fund, an organization that works closely with (RED). The donation cap is $250,000, which I’m sure they reached within the first couple of days, considering so many people check into Starbucks on the regular, regardless of special campaigns.

Thought this was a cool example of a company leveraging social media and digital influencers to drive awareness rather than simply writing a check.

Today is the last day of the campaign so if you haven’t had your afternoon caffeine fix yet, head on over to Starbucks and check in.

 

 

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Google+ Still Not Sticking

Poor Google+.

For a company that’s SO good at almost everything it does (at least email and search engine domination), Google is seriously struggling in the social networking space. According to comScore, Google+ users only spent an average of 3 minutes on the site in January.

Three minutes may not seem that abysmal at first glance, but let’s compare it to average time spent on other social networking sites for the same month:

Facebook: 405 minutes (that’s almost seven hours – we all need to get out more you guys)

Pinterest: 89 minutes

Tumblr: 89 minutes

LinkedIn: 17 minutes

MySpace: 8 minutes (seriously people are spending more time on MYSPACE than Google+?! Come on!)

Twitter: 21 minutes

I have to wonder what it is exactly about Google+ that’s not sticking. Is it that we’re already so invested in Facebook and Twitter so we don’t have more time to spare for Google+? Or is it that Google missed the mark when it comes to building an engaging user interface? Maybe we’re just sharing everyone directly on gchat and skipping Google+ altogether!

I’ll admit that like most people I know, I have a Google+ page, but I haven’t checked it in ages.

Do you use Google+? What do you like about it?

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Coming Soon: Facebook Timeline for Brands

ImageLots of people are getting excited about the fact that Facebook Timeline will soon be rolled out to brand pages. Though Facebook’s Timeline format launched to the site’s 800 million users at the end of last year, its brand pages have remained in the old format, without the redesigned scrapbook template that many users have grown to love (or maybe hate).

Many brands have invested lots of time, money and resources in designing their current Facebook pages and may now have to adapt or modify their content to fit the new format and stay relevant. Some may be frustrated about having to keep pace on the nonstop social media treadmill, but for others, it’s an opportunity to reach more eyeballs. People are spending more of their time poking, posting and tagging. With a captive audience, brands should be putting their best foot forward on the site, just as they would on their own company home page or blog. It’ll be interesting to see the creative ways that companies will try to use the tool in the coming months.

I predict that much like Pinterest, the majority of brands on Facebook (even the social media-savvy ones) will be slow to do anything mind-blowing right away. But time will tell. More details are expected at a Facebook marketing event on Feb. 29.

Do you think brands being able to use Facebook Timeline will have major implications on the way we interact with them on the site?

*Image courtesy of Mashable.com

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5 Ways Brands Can Use Pinterest

Though the site has been around for a year, Pinterest, the latest social networking site to take the world by storm, seemed to blow up overnight at the end of last year. The site, a combination of a virtual bulletin board and a blog-sharing platform, has been consistently growing and marketing and PR strategists are likely scrambling to find ways to incorporate the latest craze into their clients’ campaign plans, but it seems that many big brands aren’t quite hitting the mark yet, which is surprising. Sure, there are a handful of companies that are doing it right but the majority of usual suspects are absent from the site.

Mediabistro.com recently published an article about the five ways journalists can Pinterest. These insightful yet simple tips can be easily repurposed for brands or personalities looking to take advantage of the site’s contagious, social nature. So look no further – here are five turnkey ways that brands can easily integrate Pinterest into their social media strategies.

Share News

With millions of users and growing, Pinterest is quickly becoming a top social networking destination. What better place to share news than where your fans are already spending time?  Think of a Pinterest dashboard as a wider, more visual Facebook news feed, with vast opportunities for brand storytelling.

Reward Fans with Sneak Peeks

Have an upcoming product launch that you want to tease? Pin it! Early adopters love being rewarded with special access to things that mainstream audiences don’t get. The Today Show teased Jennifer Hudson’s appearance to promote her new book on the show’s Pinterest page.

Showcase Photo Galleries of Products, Campaigns, Etc.

The whole point of Pinterest is to share images and ideas and aggregate them into neat categorized boxes. The more active users that Pinterest has, the bigger the pool of content that’s available for sharing. Real Simple is excellent at doing this, with lists ranging from “Super Bowl Party Snacks” to “Organization Inspiration.”

Show Off Your Staff (or your Customers)

Pinterest is a great platform to supplement a thought leadership campaign. It can also help to brand executives or spokespeople and adds another dimension to corporate personalities, making them much more relatable to end users. Brands should be using Pinterest as an opportunity to share something that might not otherwise come up in your day-to-day job description. For example, Katie Couric has a board called “My Style” and another called “Places I Want to Go.”

On the other hand, Pinterest could be a great way for brands to highlight super-fans by featuring a weekly or monthly customer spotlight. Harness the power of word-of-mouth. People love human interest stories, right?

Spark Fan Engagement

Sure, your brand probably already has a strategy in place to get more “likes” on that other big social networking site but why not inspire fans to be creative on a site dedicated to sharing visuals?

Lands’ End did this in a big way with their “Pin It to Win It” contest this past holiday season. Fans were encouraged to create virtual outfits using Pinterest pin boards for the chance to win a $250 Lands’ End gift card. The contest was a hit and got write-ups all over the place.

What are some of your favorite Pinterest tips? What other brands are making an impact on the site?

*Image courtesy of Pinterest.com

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Are we addicted to social media?

So many of us claim to be “addicted” to things like Pop Chips, texting, yoga, or playing games like Angry Birds or Words with Friends, but is addiction to social media becoming a real problem?

A new study in the journal Psychological Science indicates that social media may be even more addictive than alcohol or tobacco. The reasoning behind this conclusion is that alcohol and tobacco have measurable, detrimental effects on health, which deters some people because they can mentally weigh the risks. On the contrary, we are only just beginning to study the effects of Twitter and Facebook on our psyche. When asked to abstain from social media for a day, study subjects showed feelings of stress and fatigue, which are some of the same symptoms that those addicted to drugs and alcohol experience when they are going through withdrawal.

I’m sure we all know someone who has to “quit” Facebook or Twitter cold turkey after spending a little too much time stalking old high school rivals. Or perhaps you’re one of the many who contribute to YouTube’s 4 billion views per day and you’ve had to cut yourself off.

Regardless, this surely isn’t the first time that we’ve seen media coverage about the psychological effects of social media and it won’t be the last. Who knows, maybe one day we’ll see warning signs listing the possible side effects of too much social media the same way we do on cigarette packs and alcohol bottles.

What about you? Are you a self-confessed social media addict? Have you ever tried to “quit” a social network?

Image courtesy of NewMediaCreative.com 

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