Your Blog & Your Tweets Should be BFFs

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Much like Bert & Ernie, Paris & Nicole, Laverne & Shirley and Scooby & Shaggy, your blog and your Twitter account should be inseparable besties. There’s no reason your blogging efforts and tweets shouldn’t work together. So how do get our tweets and blogs to be the happy couple they were destined to be?

The easy answer is that each time we write a new blog, we send a new Tweet complete with a link to said genius blog. Sure, we all love spending time on Twitter telling the world about the life-changing butternut squash soup we just slurped down and we should continue to share these revelations. But in between these earth-shattering discoveries, why not infuse our tweets with links to get folks to come and check out our blog?

An elementary place to start with is teasing the title of your blog in your tweets. Simple stuff, right? Soon you can develop a pretty standard routine of updating your blog followed by a series of “hey, check this out!” tweets. But it doesn’t stop there. After you’ve tweeted about the latest news in your industry, you’ve essentially set yourself up with topics for your next round of blogs.

Twitter is a great friend for your blog to have for several reasons; the biggest is increasing your audience. Twitter daily opens the doors to blogs and websites that would have never been previously discovered. Through tweeting for clients and for ourselves, we’re constantly surprised at the amazing blogs and resources that can be found. Sure there are a billion “acai super diets” and “make a million dollars from your bathroom” links but there’s a great deal of legitimate bloggers with well-written blogs to be found, too. We recently heard the word “curating” applied in reference to blogs and social media and we like that. Think of the content on both your blog and Twitter account to be part of an exhibit of your brand and your story. With thoughtful curating and updating, your blog and tweets could have a beautiful friendship.

Why Hulu is a Difficult Brand to Love

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I’ll admit it. I’m in an unhealthy relationship with Hulu. I love it because it has everything I want to watch in one place. But I hate it because of the underhanded advertising techniques and the crappy stipulations that have become synonymous with the experience. Yet I keep coming back, only to bitch about how lame the quality was or that they didn’t have the next episode I wanted to watch. After the billionth time of saying I’ll never use Hulu again, I stared to think about why it has this stranglehold over Internet television watchers and why, as a brand, Hulu just rubs users the wrong way.

Sure, there’s plenty to love about Hulu. Yesterday Hulu launched The Confession, a new web series starring Kiefer Sutherland. Plus Hulu is now streaming live political events like last night’s speech from President Obama about Libya. Not to mention the crazy ass foreign shows they’ve added to the lineup.

Since it is the byproduct of big networks and studios, Hulu has access to nearly everything and herein lies part of the problem. Too many massive network egos have created some crazy ass video content rules and regulations found nowhere else on the web. Like Top Chef, Bravo’s hit cooking reality show, only dolls out random episodes that may or may not be in order because Bravo only updates its programming on Hulu twice a month. That means viewers rarely get to see episodes in order. It’s a very “let them eat poorly selected non-sequential episodes of addictive television shows” attitude. And then there’s Hulu Plus, the paid service which promises exclusive full runs of series and streaming to mobile devices. At $7.99 a month, the service sort of delivers on that promise — but has glitches and more nutty regulations.

Yet I believe of the technical screw ups and weird rules could be ignored if Hulu projected an image as a brand who cares about its viewers. Instead, it’s obvious the head honchos at Hulu aren’t losing sleep over the fact that my Celebrity Apprentice viewing experience was ruined by a spoiler-filled commercial which aired before the episode ended. By taking on the same arrogance that helped land network TV in its current state, Hulu isn’t doing itself any favors.

5 Things You Might Have Missed

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From flying chipmunks to feisty cats, this week’s list of five things you might have missed is a regular menagerie! Enjoy — but don’t feed the animals.

1.) Hipmunk Soars: Without a doubt, Hipmunk was the most-talked-about site at SXSWi, but somehow got lost in the post-festival shuffle. This cute little chipmunk mascot and the travel search site he represents makes tops our list not just for being a great product with fantastic marketing but because Hipmunk is an amazing business model. Hipmunk founders and former Reddit owners put the emphasis on a simple and reliable system and on their users rather than showy CEO personalities and flashy tech innovations. In the Zuckerberg/Jobs era, Hipmunk is downright revolutionary.

2.) Beauty, Pores and All: Talk about revolutionary: Makeup Forever’s latest campaign is turning the cosmetic industry on its flawlessly Photoshopped head. The company has said no to the industry standard of retouched photographs of its models in favor of natural shots. Will this rebellious take on beauty sell a billion blushes? Who knows… but it’s already made headlines and created a PR flurry.

3.) The Cat’s Meow: This great blog at Social Media Penguin looks at the dominance of felines in social media. From Icanhazchezzburger to the new smash viral hit by Cravendale, kitties get posted billions of times on Facebook walls and tweeted about all day long. Marketers know that if they’re desperate for hits, stick a cat in it.

4.) The Truth In Lying: This series of Comviq ads via Creativity-Online hilariously depicts the little white lies we tell our friends while using the phone. Funny and truthful, lying has never been so smartly executed.

5.) Take Me Down to Social Media City: Men’s Health made the blogs this week as it came out with a list of the country’s top social media towns. The list makes our list because it is inspiring to see towns like Salt Lake, Denver and Atlanta embracing the social media and social media marketing. It’s further proof that social media isn’t just for the big city folk anymore.

The Age of Artful Tweets is Upon Us

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Twitter turned five earlier this week. To celebrate, it released a celebrity-stuffed video praising the uses of the social network that seemingly overnight is more powerful than we could have ever imagined. The birthday, as The New York Times pointed out, happened to fall on World Poetry Day. With the age of twitterature upon us and the recognition of real life legitimacy for the platform, we’re wondering: How can we elevate our Twitter marketing messages to inspiring heights?

Look around your Twitter feed. Surely you’ll notice trends. The most prominent is a Twitter formula we like to call “Your Tweeting Heart” wherein Twitter users try desperately to display a soul by tweeting “deep” quotes, followed by a heartfelt reflection about a current event or charity, and then blasted with a final shot of self-promotion/optimism (dusted with exclamation points, natch). While there’s nothing wrong with this tweet routine, after about the billionth tweet it’s difficult to take the sincerity seriously. So what do we do instead?

First of all… instead of trying to be blunt or trying to be profound or trying to be a master of self-promotion, we think the more artful solution is to simply be ourselves. Tweeting about our lives and businesses and blogs with the genuine excitement or humor or whatever we actually feel for them reads authentic – wait for it – because it is. It’s difficult in marketing on Twitter to not fall into the robo-tweet trap, however. Pounding a bunch of meticulously planned messages designed to check off our demographic boxes, sticking them in Tweet Deck and never looking back is a tempting proposition, indeed. But retweets and bounce backs to your website happen with good content, not with good programming. We’ve seen a lot of brands lately really rise to the challenge of artistic tweeting. FedEx, for example, routinely uses the site to help tweeps find lost packages, while Ben & Jerry’s tweet poetically about the inner-workings of their company.

So, readers, what say you? Has Twitter evolved into a more thoughtful and literate marketing channel? Or is it still a silly fad that renders few results? Sound off below!

Can Swallowing T-Mobile Make AT&T Feel Better?

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Hey AT&T, why the long face? You’re still the country’s No. 1 spot for smartphones and you have a corner on worldwide wireless growth. So what if you’re consistently ranked at the bottom of customer service on the planet and many believe you don’t have a sufficient network to support the massive amount of AT&T customers. You just bought T-Mobile for a paltry $39 billion! That should make everything better, shouldn’t it?

AT&T’s announcement on Sunday that it purchased T-Mobile sent shock waves through the wireless Internet and mobile industry. On the surface, it seems like a win-win for both brands. AT&T gets carte blanche of T-Mobile’s wireless spectrum, helping partially solve that pesky crappy network problem plaguing the company. And T-Mobile, the undisputed champion here, gets $39 billion.

But as the deal is awaiting regulatory approval, many are wondering if it’s the customers of both companies who will lose out big time if the sale goes ahead as planned.

“For phone owners, tech lovers and American consumers, this is a total disaster,” Sascha Segan at PCMag.com said of the news. Segan, like many critics, points out that cell phone bills are likely to rise – as is the company’s already notoriously bad customer service. What’s more, T-Mobile users won’t even be able to get their hands on an iPhone for at least a year, making the overall benefits of the merger low or nonexistent for reportedly satisfied T-Mobile customers.

Others are hoping the regulatory commission will put the kibosh on the sale entirely.

“Don’t believe the hype: There is nothing about having less competition that will benefit wireless consumers,” S. Derek Turner, research director at media industry watchdog Free Press, said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times. “A market this concentrated – where the top four companies already control 90 percent of the business, and two of them want to merge – means nothing but higher prices and fewer choices, as the newly-engorged AT&T and Verizon exert even more control over the wireless Internet.”

As a brand, AT&T will see its subscriber number increase by another 33.7 million if all goes according to plan. With a prospective 130 million customers, the brand had better make ironing out the issues priority No. 1. AT&T will have to work via social media marketing and online marketing to overcome the “Evil Wireless Empire” image. While AT&T and T-Mobile might feel better, it remains to be seen how consumers will feel if and when the ink dries.