Five Things You Might Have Missed

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What do Honey Boo Boo, a Facebook marketing faux pas and some really dumb toys have in common? They’re all part of this week’s five things you might have missed list, silly! Sit back and get ready to be edumacated on new and notorious stories from the online marketing universe that may have passed you by.

1.) The Year in Bing: ‘Tis the season for the onslaught of year-end lists, and it’s actually impossible to read them all. But if you missed it, we highly recommend glancing at the top searches for 2012. Search engine marketers love this sort of thing — it help predict trends — but the list itself is predictable. Honey Boo Boo, the election, the 2012 Olympics and Kim Kardashian all topped the list. Still, it’s worth a gander for the most searched social networks. Facebook topped the list, with retro-surprise MySpace holding at No. 3. 2012’s social media darling Pinterest didn’t even crack the top five.

2.) Twitter Tangle: Absolutely no one missed the hilarious copyright infringement hoax on Facebook but you might have missed the very real proprietary battle brewing over at Twitter. A courtroom tussle between Twitter and PeopleBrowser could very well define who actually owns your tweets… do you or does Twitter? We’re sure to find out more; the case heads to court this winter.

3.) Scary or Snoozy: Here in the U.S., zombies are so 2011. Even most advertisers have moved on. But in Norway, the undead can still scare up major headlines. In fact, a recent viral ad had parents organizations screaming for a boycott. But you tell us, you marketing geniuses, is this spot scary or a little sleepy? Discuss!

4.) Speaking of Boycotts: By now, we know that when it comes to Facebook, Australia does not mess around. The country does not put up with branded post that are offensive, sexist or spammy. So it’s not shocking to learn that this sophomoric photo from men’s magazine ZOO weekly got banned. While the photo is forgettable, the controversy around it brings to the surface enough interesting social media marketing conundrums like censorship and misogyny to make marketers anywhere in the world think.

5.) Trashy Toys: For some major branding fails, look no further than the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood’s list of nominees for Toys Oppressive and Destructive to Young Children Award. Pastel-colored Legos that set women back about 50 years, a shamelessly sugary Slurpee machine and scary stuffed monkey with an iPad on its stomach are among this year’s nominees. We’d prefer coal.

A Hard ‘Hobbit’ To Break: Social Media Marketing from the Shire

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Some of the best social media marketing lessons and trends come from Hollywood. While we may not always remember the last movie we saw, nearly all of us online marketing junkies can recall a memorable YouTube trailer, effective Twitter marketing campaign or Facebook contest pushed out by the biggest movie studios in hopes of scoring a box office hit. The holiday season is big business for movies, and this year all eyes are on one movie with a little hero.

The Hobbit: The Unexpected Journey is the first of three new films which take movie fans back to Middle-Earth, the setting of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings saga. A lot has happened in the world of marketing since the last film, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, came out in 2003. Since then, Hollywood has relied increasingly heavily on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook to help drum up interest in the latest big-budget films. Judging by Facebook, though, it looks like The Hobbit will have no trouble finding an audience.

With way over 800,000 “likes,” The Hobbit’s Facebook page is a regular Shirepalooza. From photos of die-hard fans decked out in Hobbit couture and the latest in ticket information to sneak peeks of posters and extended clips, Facebook is a one-stop-shop for fantasy junkies. This week, the page featured live coverage from the film’s premiere in New Zealand. Opening stateside on December 14, the movie has yet to generate the much-coveted Twitter buzz that new movies drool after. Excitement from Twitterland is a must for pop culture products like movies and television shows, but thus far the response to The Hobbit has been a little “meh.” 37,285 followers on Twitter is nothing to sneeze at, but pales in comparison to the nearly 2 million Twilight followers and the close to 40K followers for Les Miserables, which opens on Christmas day. Tweets from the Shire are less dynamic and more commercial than the Facebook posts, suggesting that the team maybe doesn’t quite have its footing when it comes to connecting with Twitter users.

Despite being a global brand with an iconic following, The Hobbit might have a bit of an uphill battle when it comes to get social media users excited. Marketers for the movie essentially have to reintroduce the world of Tolkien to new fantasy fans and filmgoers while trying to reignite the core audience. This could be a tall order in a notoriously slumpish box office year — not to mention during this packed holiday season filled with players who really know how to play the social media marketing game.

The Ninja-style Advertising of Tumblr

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For image-rich blog marketing that reaches a younger demographic, it’s hard to beat Tumblr. Terrific to look at, easy to set up and filled with users in the magic 18-24 demographic, Tumblr is a blog content management for the meme generation. Making it even more attractive is that it’s free to use and not filled with advertising.

Or is it? Tumblr’s consultant on marketing and revenue Rick Webb raised more than a few eyebrows yesterday when he claimed that Tumblr is rolling in advertiser dollars. We just haven’t noticed — and that’s totally the point.

Unlike traditionally-monetized social media accounts like those found on Twitter and Facebook, Tumblr, according to Webb, is doing it all on the down-low. Massive brands like Coke and Nike are using Tumblr to pimp products, but not in the flashing “click this ad” type of way. Webb claims that Tumblr began selling ads this spring.

“We have people say ‘don’t ever advertise,'” Webb said at the Business Insider’s IGNITION conference, adding “(but) we already are.”

He notes that ads on Tumblr are done in creative and engaging ways which speak the language of Tumblr so much so that they appear to be free posts.

“It’s not in your stream, not in display ads,” he says.

From what it sounds like, Tumblr is aiming to help brands create photo sharing blogs that sell products without beating users over the head.

“I think a lot of photo sharing sites never tried to monetize through advertising. I don’t think it will be impossible for us,” he said.

Tumblr’s new social media advertising model is one that could turn the platform on its head, if it’s successful. Marrying photo sharing, blog marketing and social media marketing with more dynamic and less spammy posts is brilliant. This shift is social media advertising could force marketers to up the creativity… and that’s something we’d love to see.

Blog Like the Big Brands: The NFL

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When it comes to an instantly recognizable global brand that masters content marketing, the National Football League crushes the competition. For years, the NFL has athletically handled the balance of tweeting, Facebooking, email marketing and yes, blogging. Almost as much they love watching football, fans are nuts for talking about football, so the NFL blog does just that. Stats, trades, passes, tackles and all the stuff that makes a non-football fan’s head explode is gleefully blogged here… and it’s a touchdown. Blog Like the Big Brands takes a pass at blogging with the NFL, a brand that scores by speaking their fans’ language.

Many blogs benefit from having tons of images and stylish layouts, yet the NFL isn’t one of them. Too cool for school memes and retro-flavored Instagram-type of photos, which would be oddly out-of-place in Football Town. The NFL passes on trendy graphics and uses its blog to be a news source for all things football. Easy to read and navigate, the design bells and whistles are few and that’s a choice which really works for this brand. Admittedly, this writer hasn’t a clue who Beanie Wells or JJ Watts is (and didn’t even know there was a team called the Ravens). But then again, the NFL blog wasn’t written for me. Each post covers real-time news happening in both the worlds of actual and fantasy football along with recapping recent games from both realms. With a massive worldwide fan base, the NFL’s blog needs to be updated regularly — and boy is it. On any given Sunday, the blog is packed with a minimum of ten new posts. The writing style here is a readable mixture of classic sports journalism mixed with a jokey, hip, self-referential lingo that sports bloggers from all platforms seem to use. Also great is the updated scoreboard on the top of the blog which covers every game in the league.

But hands down, the best take away from the NFL blog is the tone. We think it’s fantastic the NFL speaks the language of its fans and that is something any company can do. Tech companies, engineers, antique collector and sports fans all have a language their own and they shouldn’t be afraid to use it. The people who are interested in your brand and blog won’t need a road map to figure out what you’re talking about.

Blogs to be Thankful For

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Happy Thanksgiving! As you waddle back to work next week, you might be thinking about revamping your old blog marketing campaign. We think that is an excellent year-end idea! To help you along, we gathered up some blogs and bloggers to be truly thankful for to help serve as your inspiration.

We couldn’t be more thankful for stumbling upon Conversations by Nokia. This blog from the cellphone innovator is, as the title suggests, a chatty and smart collection of posts about Nokia products, apps and news. Conversations is stylish while also being informative. A recent diverse sampling of posts included both an interview with chic fashion designer L’Wren Scott and a techy roundup of travel and navigation apps. Conversations by Nokia isn’t just presenting products or dull company news. It’s showcasing a lifestyle and truly masters what a great branded blog can do.

When it comes to personalities who are also brands, we’re thankful for the, ahem, lessons of Twilight author Stephenie Meyer. Meyer built her teenage vampire novel empire by blogging and chatting with her fans back in 2005. She had a reputation for zingy back and forth with her readers and often used her blog to let her teen readers in on her process. Four books and five movies later, Meyer can’t be bothered to drop by her site. And that’s too bad. Dated, dusty and lacking of the personality that put her on the map, Meyer’s blog should be remembered for what it was and not what it is.

Doing the talkative fanboy-fangirl type of blogging perfectly, however, is DC Comics. In the comic book biz since forever, the company is using blog creation to keep its readers informed on the latest happenings from superhero central. Each post is written by folks at DC who clearly know what their readers want — exclusive artwork, dish on upcoming issues and insider info on comic conventions and merchandise. Plus the slick layout speaks directly to DC Comic’s core demographic.

When looking to do simple and low-tech done right, look no further than the Twitter blog. Turns out the blue bird has more to say than will fit in just 140 characters, and the official Twitter blog is the place to do it. Created on a basic Blogger template, Twitter uses blogging to help its users get the most of Twitter. We’re thankful that a social media powerhouse like Twitter has struck the perfect blogging balance of knowledgeable and approachable. True to the brand, Twitter keeps the posts direct, friendly and to the point. A quick perusing of the posts taught us a thing or two about Twitter and we’re impressed.

Also created on Blogger is the ASPCA Blog. Who among us isn’t grateful for the incredible work this non-profit does on behalf of animals? The blog is a great example for non-profits looking to create a platform that also serves as a call to action. The ASPCA’s blog effectively illustrates what the organization does while inspiring readers to get involved.

So when you’re done passing the mashed potatoes and standing in cray-cray Black Friday lines, great blogging for business inspirations and lessons are just begging to be used. You’ll be thankful that you did.