5 Things You Might Have Missed!

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Not a whole heck of a lot happening in online marketing land this week as most of us struggled to get back into the groove after the holidays. But we still managed to scoop up a quintet of interesting, funny and innovative stories from the world of online and social media marketing. Here now is our weekly list of five things you might have missed!

1.) Say it with a frog: One little French restaurant in Moscow cooked up a tasty idea to get Russians to change their minds about French food. No press releases were sent out and there wasn’t a big social media launch — all they needed were some frogs. Vatel was looking to smash stereotypes about French cuisine, so it wisely sent tiny, live frogs with invitations to members of the media and local food bloggers. Vatel says 100 percent of the frog recipents responded and now the joint is, ahem, hopping.

2.) Written in cheese: Domino’s relased a funny app to celebrate the cheesy goodness of its New Stuffed Cheesy Bread with a font made entirely out of cheese. Fromage fanatics can compose a message with the gooey font and send it to their friends. Cheesetacular!

3.) Apple is thinking about your face: iPhone announced plans to dump the annoying number passcode system in favor of facial recognition software. According to a recently-filed patent, iPhone users soon will be able to simply look at their phone to unlock it. The feature is already available on “jailbroken” phones as well as on some Androids with Ice Cream Sandwich but we’re sure it’ll be Apple that takes facial recognition tech to the next level.

4.) A slippery social media slope (literally): Vail Resort has bought back its incredibly popular EpicMix app for the 2011/2012 ski season. The new version for IOS/Android allows skiers to use their smartphones as lift tickets, chat with friends on the slopes and see live stats from the mountain as well as photos taken by the resorts photographers.

5.) Amazon gets social, too: Social isn’t just for ski bunnies; top online retailer Amazon is looking to be the premier social shopping destination. New regime changes that brought in staffers from Quora signals a push forward on the social shopping frontier and, as always with Amazon, we can’t wait to see what the company does next.

Grandma Loves Facebook… But Does She Like it?

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In the world of Facebook marketing, trends and new groups are being periodically targeted as “the next demographic to explode on Facebook.” Two years ago, everyone talked endlessly about the upcoming wave of senior citizens who were taking to Facebook like a fish to water. Naturally, the next question on everyone’s mind was: Will older people interact with brands on Facebook?

In a word, yes. Two years following the senior social media boom (as well as the Betty White-ification of the Internet), Facebook is still a senior’s playground. A study from SocialCode that came out over the summer found that Facebook users over the age of 50 are 28 percent more likely to click an ad within Facebook than younger people. A recent giveaway from Wal-Mart awarded a senior center a new technology suite specifically designed so clients of the center could use email and Facebook. And many senior organizations are even offering classes on how to use social media.

Yet this explosion hasn’t translated to page “likes.” The same study from SocialCode notes that Facebook users who are 50 years old or older are nine times less likely to like a brand… even after they’ve clicked on its ad. Even the Betty White-endorsed AARP has only rung in a little over 80,000 likes on its Facebook page, while its actual membership is estimated to be in the 40 million-plus neighborhood.

So what gives? If this is one of the most powerful age groups on Facebook, why don’t they interact with brands?

Perhaps we overestimated the senior social media boom and what they use Facebook for. While we hate to stereotype, we think the 410,000 monthly users of Bingo on Facebook is more indicative of what older people really do online. All kidding aside, seniors admit to using the site to share photos, keep in touch with family and play games. Connecting with brands doesn’t even make their top five.

So does that mean we marketers should leave grandma alone with her Angry Birds and forget trying to get her to like our brands? Tell us, readers, in the comments section below!

Two Realistic Blogging Resolutions for 2012

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Shoulda. Woulda. Coulda. That’s how many of us feel at the end of a year. And nothing in online marketing brings out regret like blogging for business. We wish would have posted more. We wish our blog marketing strategy was better. We wish we had any kind of blog strategy, period. Well, that was then and this is now; in 2012 there are a few simple things you can do to lift your blog up to brilliant and regret-free heights.

If you want your company blog to be read, forwarded and liked, the first thing you have to do is write the damn thing. In order for a blog campaign to be a success, there has to be an actual blog for people to read. (I know… This is a groundbreaking idea!) Yet seriously, it is that simple and that hard. Blogs take creativity and inspiration and time. But mostly they need to be written — so your first blogging resolution is to write your blog (or get someone to write it for you). This is a resolution you should make and keep at least five days a week. After a few months of this schedule, you’ll notice your hard work paying off.

The second resolution is an easy one that you can practice all year long. Get people to read the darn thing. “But how?” you ask. Shamelessly promote your company blog with social media marketing. This solves two problems: fresh content for your social media pages and traffic for your blog. Link your blog in emails. Guest blog on other sites relevant to your industry. And have your co-workers and employees forward and post your brilliant blog, too. Blogs should get people talking about you and your brand and get them to your website. So the best way to grab readers is to blog about events, topics and people that folks want to read about.

If you’re new to blogging for business, there’s never a better time to start than right now. You won’t be a blogging sensation overnight, so take your time, have fun and blog fearlessly without regret.

Five Things You Might Have Missed!

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As you hop head first into the holidays, let us fill your stocking with the latest in online marketing oddities, social media gems and video content delights. Our gift to you is our weekly list of Five Things You Might Have Missed! So enjoy — and whatever it is you’re celebrating, we here at Brandsplat hope it’s merry!

1.) Santa Puts Siri in His Sleigh: Here’s a rare Christmas-themed ad from Apple that has been the subject of oodles and oodles of blogs this week. Why? Because depending on how you feel about Apple products, the commercial is either a warm, holiday message or the perpetuation of the iPhone cult. Still, no matter how you slice it, showing Santa using Siri to find houses and keep track of his Christmas list is clever and perfect for the season.

2.) Unhappy Tweets: Despite its chipper demeanor, researchers at the University of Vermont have found that Twitter is not a happy place. The study reports that based on frequently used words, folks on Twitter are less happy than they used to be. Researchers note that a newsworthy event like a death or a natural disaster can affect the general mood of Twitter and the sour content of the tweets. This makes the list for reminding us to tweet positive or educational messages that make Twitter a happier place.

3.) Watch This Top Ten: Here’s a year-end list you’ll wanna watch — the ten most watched ads on YouTube. You might have seen all of them already, but the list deserves a gander to get a glimpse into the trends and viral content from the year that was.

4.) But the Google is So Delightful: Of the online holiday-themed time killers from last week, Google’s “Let it Snow” Easter egg was certainly one of the most entertaining. The snow-globe effect dusted upon the search engine when the words “let it snow” were entered brought smiles to even the crustiest tech and marketing snobs.

5.) Slip Sliding Away: Finally, this helpful and kind of hilarious video from TomTom rounds out our list for having a great song, a timeless message and priceless footage of drivers acting the fool in the snow.

Will Facebook’s Timeline Turn Out to Be a Goldmine for Marketers?

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Like the unpredictable weather or the follies of a local sports team, Facebook updates have become one of humanity’s favorite things to complain about. Generally speaking, people aren’t big fans of change, so when your cozy social media blanket looks and feels different, all hell breaks loose. Last week, Facebook unveiled its much-discussed and prematurely hated for no good reason Timeline. While regular folks are bemoaning the look and usability of Timeline, marketers are wondering what impact, if any, will the change have on social media marketing?

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has touted Timeline as a tool to share life experiences, while haters have labeled Timeline as the final death to online privacy. But what the heck is it, really? Timeline, according to ReadWriteWeb, “turns the profile into an illustrated browsable history of a user’s entire life, with major milestones and little moments smartly chosen by Facebook’s algorithm.” The look of Timeline is more graphic and less cluttered with Facebook’s blue and white branding. And that’s the good news. Facebook has need a facelift for some time and this new one will entice folks to spend even more time on the site. Also great is the user-controlled history that can be shared. Users have the ultimate say on what information is put on their timeline and when.

And that is also the bad news. Some Timeline critics claim that the app has the potential to take over-sharing of user information to new heights. There has been some concern that marketers will now have access to even more details on Facebook users lives, likes and loyalties.

The biggest negative we can see with Timeline, however, is that brand pages won’t have access to the new look. Social media marketing clients are now stuck using Facebook Pages and its ever-constrictive confines. Pages are become less about small businesses being able to spread the word about their companies and more about solicitation to advertise on Facebook.

But readers, you tell us what you think. Is Timeline a hit or a total miss? Let’s dish about it in the comments section below!