Is it the End of the Chatty Facebook Page?

Follow Us

  • RSS Feed
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google+

2012 might just be the year brands decided to show more and tell less with Facebook marketing. Call it the Tumblr effect or the “Everybody Wants to be Oreo” syndrome — but whatever you call it, brands big and small are using images, not text, in Facebook-for-business posts. Suddenly, the neighborhood butcher and the multi-billion-dollar big box retailer alike are all hunting for the next meme-like image that will get followers talking. All these pretty product pictures got us wondering: Are the days of talkative brand-sponsored posts totally over or can great images and conversations peacefully coexist?

Domestic doyenne Martha Stewart has always stamped her brand with picture perfect visuals, and her Facebook page is no exception. Mama Martha has populated her posts with to-die-for photos of fall soup ideas, crafty things that look hard to make and all kinds of other Marthatypical images. Yet this doesn’t mean the talk has stopped. Far from it, in fact: Martha’s fans are feverishly chatting and want to know how she made this or that, whether you can substitute such and such and eager to share their own crafty creations. The same seems to be happening over at the photo-filled Facebook pages of Bath and Body Works, Target and Sports Illustrated.

Clearly, photo posts are becoming prompts for Facebook fans to launch conversations, arguments and discussions. Most branded posts are so rich with photos, illustrations and infographics that wordy offerings from businesses seem awkward and kind of exhausting. Yet a business’ Facebook page without any interesting text can come off vapid and shallow.

As Facebook management experts, we think there should be a healthy balance. After all, if you own an investment firm or a staffing agency, it isn’t exactly easy to find relevant images to stick in your posts. Memes, photos and illustrations should be used only if they make sense for your business and the overall tone of your Facebook page. Authors and booksellers, for example, still rely on the written word for sales and it would be beyond baffling to have only photos on such a page. Funny and opinionated author Anne Lamott has legions of Facebook fans (81,217 and counting) who follow and chat along specifically for her wordy and sometimes rambling posts. So to answer the question posed at the beginning of this post: No, pictures haven’t killed the chatty Facebook star. They’ve just made our followings even more likely to engage.

Better Blogging for Nonprofits

Follow Us

  • RSS Feed
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google+

Blogging for business is an essential online marketing idea for nonprofit organizations, charities and fundraising groups. After all, blog creation and blog marketing is a relatively inexpensive and extremely interactive way to build a brand’s presence online. Unlike building completely new websites, blogs can be created quickly and without breaking the bank. That doesn’t mean the blog for your nonprofit has to look cheap, be filled with out-of-date content or live out its existence with no readership and zero comments. Great-looking and dynamic blogs published by worthy nonprofits do exist and we found a handful that might help inspire your blog, too.

The American Red Cross blogs manage to do something many nonprofits have a problem with: produce informative content without being dry and boring. Red Cross wisely keeps the blog posts short, smart and light. Clearly, they know that the Red Cross has a better chance of getting volunteers and donations and spreading awareness if the blog is something people want to read, tweet and forward. This doesn’t mean the Red Cross skimps on useful information, either. A recent post had quick tips on how to be ready in case of a disaster. The post had great ideas while being a calm and empowered call to action.

Nonprofits don’t always have the easiest time keeping their names in the press, so blogs are a terrific avenue to publish stories generated by your organization. Americans for the Arts fights to keep the arts and arts in education alive, so its blog, simply entitled ARTSblog, is an online newspaper which publishes the latest news from that battle. From posts about public art to stories covering arts marketing, ARTSblog has a wealth of information about a cause that doesn’t always garner traditional headlines.

Finally, explaining what a nonprofit does and how the programs work can be a wordy and uninteresting task. But doing it in a blog suddenly makes it readable. The Boys and Girls Club uses its blog to cover its current events and longstanding mission statements alike. Posts that discuss fundraising galas, feature videos about new programs or contain interviews with volunteers make for a more enthralling read than bland, old press releases or information packets.

Being memorable and easy to find is what all brands — nonprofit or otherwise — struggle with online. Well-crafted and smartly-written blogs are one effective way for nonprofits to get noticed, get press and hopefully get donations and community involvement.

Tweet Memories: Twitter’s Archive is Coming Soon

Follow Us

  • RSS Feed
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google+

Twitter marketing has exploded in popularity over the last four years. Every brand, every celebrity and every Joe Schmoe has been happily chirping about current events of any size. So imagine the shock and horror that marketers and Twitter lovers alike experienced last week when it was reported that nearly 30 percent of recorded history on social media simply vanishes. Thankfully, Twitter has come up with a tweet-downloading archive that may help regular tweeters and marketers alike.

According to PCWorld, the new, super tweet archive is set to go live by the end of the year. As hinted during this year’s Online News Association conference in San Francisco, Twitter users will be able to mass-download everything they’ve sent to the platform. Currently, users can save their tweets using third-party software, but only up to 3,200 tweets. Twitter has come up with new virtual storage to help users hang onto endless amounts of 140-character musings.

“Twitter will also soon unveil a tool that will allow users to manually curate and display tweets related to breaking news or other current events — and, as part of these ‘Tweet Boxes,’ users will also be able to add in additional live-feed elements to supplement a site or piece of news,” PCWorld writes. “For example, one could use a Tweet Box to add a real-time live poll for a sporting event — like, say, having users Tweet their selection of MVP for a particular match-up, with Twitter using its platform to count down the seconds remaining in the popular voting process.”

What does the promise of better tweet archiving mean for marketers? Mainly, Twitter analysis will get a whole lot easier. Instead of combing a client’s account, all tweets will be stored in one place. Also, marketers now have the potential to curate Twitter portfolios for their clients. Old tweets and campaigns can be pulled up faster for reference. Lastly, a Twitter archive might in time become a helpful virtual “trend museum” of sorts. Marketers might have a chance to learn about which tweet trends worked, which ones failed and how to Tweet better in the future.

Blog Like the Big Brands: Dove

Follow Us

  • RSS Feed
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google+

Before jumping into a blog writing campaign, it’s a good idea to assess your goals and figure out what you want to say with your company’s blog. Are you writing a blog so readers can get to know more about your company and products? Are you blogging to comment on current events that relate to your industry in hopes of driving traffic to your site? Or does your blog exist to simply give your site more fresh, dynamic content? For a mega-brand like Dove, blogging helps drive home its message that beauty comes in all ages, shapes, colors and sizes.

Oftentimes, the brands we profile in this column have the massive capital and pull to transform blogs into online magazines. Dove certainly qualifies and delivers a beauty bible right to its consumers’ computers. The brand’s website is filled with dozens of blog posts, articles and videos to go along with its dozens of products. The content ranges from informative and fun to a bit scientific. Beauty myths, seasonal skincare tips and even posts about perspiration, Dove covers a wide arrange of topics but wisely stays within its wheelhouse. It would be out of left field to have gossipy posts about celebrities or dry news stories about the company’s profit growth, and Dove wisely avoids such matters. Instead, the blog sticks to talking about the products that put it on the map. Also, the company devotes a separate page to talking about its social mission, “building positive self-esteem and inspiring all women and girls to reach their full potential.” All of this could get incredibly jumbled and downright exhausting, but thanks to some great organization and thoughtful categories, Dove’s many articles and blog posts are easy to find and read.

Using categories like Dove does is a great idea to keep your blogs tidy and together. While blogging, you or your ghostwriting specialists should be tagging each post with categories making them easy to group. Yet if your company covers a lot of different topics in its blog, perhaps specific buttons designated for broad categories is something you and your web developer need to look into. Also, don’t be afraid to use your blog to champion your company’s pet projects or community mission statements. A blog is an effective channel to write about the things close to you and your business, so don’t waste the opportunity! Dove’s commitment to self-esteem has transformed the company’s image; by reinforcing this effort in its content, it only makes the message stronger.

Facebook Page Assault: When Apple Fans Attack

Follow Us

  • RSS Feed
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google+

Trekkies, Bronies and Claymates are quiet little kittens compared to Macheads. For a company that makes computers, phones and tablets, Apple sure does inspire a crazed groupie type of response. Members of The Church of Apple are one devoted bunch of computer-loving folks… and lord help the company that tries to slam Apple with Facebook marketing. Samsung took (yet) another cheap shot at Apple on its Facebook page this week and learned the hard way that hell hath no fury like a Machead scorned.

The most recent round of brand bitchery was launched by Samsung when it posted an ad for its Galaxy 3 smartphone on its Facebook page. According to the company, Galaxy 3 is the phone most people would want to be stranded on a desert island with. The spot was a slam-dunk for Facebook marketing engagement almost immediately. Posted on September 6, the video has over 45,000 likes and 15,000 comments. Yet according to the Huffington Post, much of the so-called Facebook love for Samsung is actually pretty ugly. Macheads used the post as an opportunity to sing the praises of the new iPhone 5, a chance to bash the results of the recent Samsung lawsuit and as a platform to mock Samsung users. Others skewered the commercial itself, saying they’d pass on having that smartphone in favor of a toothbrush or a satellite phone to call for rescue.

Given its worldwide sales, I’m sure Samsung cares very little if Apple trolls attack its Facebook ads. And that’s the right response for any size company. Haters, as the saying goes, are gonna hate and there is very little you can do about it. Getting upset or defending a campaign is a waste of marketing time.  It’s best to politely acknowledge the opinions of critics and move on. Facebook for business is a fickle game and there is no pleasing all your followers all of the time.

But you tell us, readers: Have you ever verbally spanked a brand’s Facebook page? And do you delete negative responses from your company’s Facebook page? And finally, just to keep things spicy, which brand do you like more — Apple or Samsung? Let the games begin in the comment section below!

 

Digital PR Lessons from Romney’s Really Bad Week

Follow Us

  • RSS Feed
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google+

Celebrities and big companies are some of our favorite teachers when it comes to learning about brand engagement. From old directors who talk to furniture to stage moms who show up wasted on talk shows, the last few weeks have been filled with tons of great “What Not to Do Lessons” in online PR. Yet nothing has been more powerful than those Romney videos — you know the ones — that have been making waves this week.

In case you slept through the last three days, a video from a fundraiser last spring made waves this week for featuring the Republican presidential nominee describing 47 percent of Americans as government-dependent, self-defined “victims.” This bitch-slap to the American population was explained in a stumbling, sweaty press conference. Romney didn’t really apologize in this clearing of the air and in fact sort of made things worse. Then another video featuring Romney’s thoughts on Israel and Palestine was leaked on Tuesday where he claimed that Palestinians are not interested in peace. He went from casually ticking off the people of the U.S. to basically spitting on the rest of the planet. If PR disasters were big-budget movies, Romney’s week would make Titanic look like an independent film.

The first thing we can never, ever do (that Romney has done repeatedly) is forget that everything will eventually go viral, especially if you’re on a national stage. What planet does he and his team live on where what we say doesn’t eventually end up in an online video? This baffling arrogance regarding the digital media has cost Romney dearly. As marketers and small business owners, we owe it to our brands to carefully watch our language, social media messages and appearances at events, regardless of how casual they seem.

The second lesson here is to skip the apology and explanation press conference if you’re not going to really do either. Press conferences and Twitter statements all have their place if the message is sincere and really talks about the issue at hand. In short, only apologize if you’re really sorry.

The final thing we can all learn from Romney is to have a good team around us. From day one, this campaign has suffered from sloppy marketing, confused social media strategies and weird public relations choices. Someone paid by that campaign should have told him what to say and how to say it and that, hey, everything’s gonna end up on the Internet.

Keeping knowledgeable people around us and listening to their advice is essential for great PR, online marketing and social media management. Obviously, Team Romney didn’t get that memo.