Five Things You Might Have Missed!

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We here at Brandsplat comb the web for the best stories around from Facebook, mobile marketing, online video creation and beyond. If it happened in content marketing this week, we have it on our Five Things You Might Have Missed List!

1.) Facebook is Still Watching You: The upside? Facebook might have finally found a way to make money off of ads while making brands happy. In case you missed it, CNET reports that “Facebook announced Tuesday that it had started a small test to let advertisers and agencies use Facebook Exchange (FBX) to serve re-targeted ads — specifically called “Page post link ads” — to your News Feed, which, of course, is Facebook’s prime real estate. These ads take into account people’s browsing behavior outside Facebook, as captured through cookies, with the aim of offering up messages about products they’ve already shown interest in.” The downside? Facebook is now tracking users outrightly and never lets them forget their being watched.

2.) Where an App Can be an App: Think your old pal Chuck E. Cheese is content just playing skee-ball and not joining the mobile marketing revolution? Think again! Everybody’s favorite pizza-loving mouse has come out with a nifty photo-sharing smartphone app which incorporates easy sharing functionality to post snapshots to Facebook and Twitter or to send via email. Users also can use the app to “submit photos to the Chuck E. Cheese’s website for a chance to see their images on the site, as well as on Chuck E. Cheese’s Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest pages,” according to ClickZNews.

3.) Long Live the ’90s: If you missed the ’90s celebration that is the most recent Internet Explorer ad, you might be the only one. The spot — filled with snap bracelets, Hungry Hippos and old school modems — has garnered an impressive 26 million views on YouTube since its debut back in January. Yet it makes our list here in March for being a viral ad that tips its hat to the past while selling the future.

4.) Equality Memes: This week saw no shortage of equality memes on social networks. The logo — adorned with everything from bacon and Paula Deen to Bert and Ernie — was everywhere. It’s hard to say how effective this kind of thing is from a social media standpoint, but there’s no question the Human Rights Campaign logo done up in red and pink is now an undisputed icon of the brand and the movement.

5.) The Return of the Twitter Rant: Looks like we still haven’t learned the Twitter marketing lesson of “a bad tweet never dies.” From the racist rant of Robert Zimmerman to the angry words of Argentina’s president, folks still are tweeting dumb stuff and then having to apologize later. Here’s a revolutionary thought: Why not think before you tweet and avoid this whole mess altogether?

Blog Marketing Basics: Social Media Synergy

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There comes time in every blog content management strategy when it mixes with our social media management strategy. Not to worry; this a totally natural merging of two separate but similar worlds. Social media is a perfect channel to promote our blogging-for-business efforts. Posting links to our latest posts on Facebook and Twitter is something your brand should be doing already (if you’re not, please start — now!). But maybe social media marketing can help our blogs even more? Our final look at Blog Marketing Basics involves putting social media in the spotlight to find new ways to put these popular platforms to work for you.

Believe it or not, there is social media life beyond Twitter and Facebook. Posting your blogs on these sites is incredibly simple and takes just minutes. Thanks to dashboards like Hootsuite and TweetDeck, your blog posts can get scheduled out days in advance to reach your Facebook and Twitter followings with very little stress or effort. But why stop at Twitter and Facebook? Study after recent study shows that consumers are interacting with brands of all sizes on different social networks. Promoting your company blog on Tumblr, for example, takes just a few minutes. Being a unique mix of social media, image sharing and blogging platform gives Tumblr extra oomph for promoting blog posts. Embedding existing blog posts onto your Tumblr takes a little finagling, but is a breeze once you get the hang of it. This post by Social Media Examiner gives a great tutorial on how to do it.

If, perchance, your business’s blog is filled with awesome photos or nifty ideas, then Pinterest is a natural place to pimp out your posts. We talked about Pinterest last week, but it’s worth another look for your blog, especially if your company is all about visual marketing. Posts with eye-catching photos should be pinned right away. Pinterest users love passing it on and can really keep links alive a lot longer than most social media sites. Google+, LinkedIn and social blogging platforms like WordPress and Blogger are more great channels for blog posting, depending on your consumers and followers.

In the end, when it comes to blog marketing on social media, it really is about throwing everything against the wall and seeing what sticks. Religiously and thoughtfully posting your recent blog brilliance on social media will, in time, bring readers to your blog. You just have to put it out there.

Readers, now it’s your turn: Tell us what blog marketing techniques work for you in the comments section below!

Blog Marketing Basics: Bloggers Helping Bloggers

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Our special three-part series on Blog Marketing Basics continues today as we look to our counterparts and contemporaries to help us out. That’s right — we’re talking about other bloggers and blogs. The truth is that other bloggers and blogs are a terrific place to market our own blogs. Bloggers who discuss similar topics to our own blog also have readers who are interested in what we’re talking about, too. By reaching out to other blogs, we also open the door for invaluable blogger cross-promotion. To tap into all of this blogger love, we’ve come up with three easy ways to practice blog marketing with the folks who speak your language.

To successfully market to other blogs, erase the idea of competition. There are plenty of readers to go around, and by getting to know other bloggers, you are opening your blog up for exactly that. Instead, think of other bloggers as your co-workers — and the best way to communicate with them is through comments. Commenting on blogs similar to your own is an immediate way to say “hello” to your fellow bloggers while promoting your own blog each time you leave your thoughts. Now, like any form of communication, comments should be engaging, thoughtful and courteous. Fellow bloggers and commenters are more likely to visit your own blog if they sense you are really invested in the discussion and not just there to sell your website. Comment often, and soon enough, your blog will be the one getting comments.

Guest blogging on popular blogs or inviting bloggers to blog on your site is another easy blog marketing technique. Reach out via email to bloggers who write in a style that your readers and brand can relate to and invite them to share their wisdom on your pages while offering your services to do the same for them. Get a list of a dozen or so potential blogs and email all of them. The more bloggers you reach out to, the better your chances of striking guest blogger gold.

Lastly, don’t forget to also include bloggers on your press list. Be sure to let highly-read bloggers know about your new product launches, events and website updates. Bloggers are often looking for new stories to break before traditional media to gets ahold of them, and your press release or blog post could provide them with juicy, untapped content.

Tomorrow, we’re discussing cool new ways to melt your social media marketing and blog marketing into one big, delicious treat.

 

 

Blog Marketing Basics: Why Good Writing Isn’t Enough

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Snappy blog creation with memorable images and terrific writing are the kind of things blogging-for-business campaigns are built on. Yet just having a well-written blog is only the beginning. This week, our new three-part series Blog Marketing Basics takes a look at a few simple ways to get more readers, more comments and more followers for your company’s amazing blog. Today, we’re talking about why blog marketing is so important — and a surprisingly simple way to get started.

We’ve heard many a client moan when we’ve asked them what their blog marketing plans were. Most of them assume that taking the time in creating a blog and publishing it is the end of the work. Oh, if it were only that easy. True, just having a great website and carefully constructed blog is more than most companies have, but it is only a start. The point of blogs (and all content marketing, for that matter) is to drive followers to your business. Here is the catch: This can only work if they know about your blog.

Just assuming people will find your amazing blog in the sea of billions of blogs is, well, ridiculous. The competition is too stiff and SEO too cutthroat to just assume anyone will ever blindly find you online. Instead, blog marketing helps you come up with a plan to get your blog in front the right eyes. The best thing about blog marketing is that it can be done along alongside a lot of your other marketing efforts, most of which you are probably already doing.

A great place to get started is in your own backyard. It always shocks us when clients admit they haven’t told their closest friends, valued employees and favorite customers to visit their blogs. The people closest to you and your business (and not close in a social media way, although we’ll talk about that later this week) should be the first ones to read, forward and champion your blogging efforts. Get your employees, your family and most cherished clients on board first and more readers will come.If you need to bribe them with contests, discounts or silly videos during the early days, fine. If they love your brand, they’ll be back. The whole point of blog marketing is letting folks know your blog is out there… and your inner circle is an excellent place to start.

Tomorrow, we’ll talk a little about marketing your blog to other bloggers!

Blog Like the Big Brands: Bloomingdales

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If your content marketing plan includes blog creation, one of things you should be considering is who your ideal audience is. But figuring out who you are creating all this content for is a monumental first step. How old are your readers? What other blogs do they read? Why are you targeting this group of consumers and blog readers? And even though these are good answers to have, sometimes a blog’s audience can change. We’ve seen huge companies switch the focus and demographic of blog campaigns on a moment’s notice. This week, for example, we’re looking at the chic and surprisingly young blogging efforts of Bloomingdale’s. Judging by its Tumblr blog, we can safely say that this ain’t your mama’s Bloomingdales.

Just try to look at Bloomingdale’s blog without using those already overused advertising buzzwords of “hip,” “young” and “fresh.” We don’t think it can be done — and this a good thing. Clearly the 153-year-old department store is focusing its marketing on a whole new audience. While still a luxury-based, high-end department store, Bloomies is now blogging about things like music festivals, young brands like Theory and designer sneakers. The blog also wisely features posts which profile new products, launch parties and live coverage from runway shows around the globe. For a very visual brand which hopes to inspire readers to go shopping, Tumblr is a great choice for Bloomingdale’s. Every fashion photo shoot looks fabulous and the platform’s design lends itself to this kind of thing with ease.

But great blogs, even the photo-heavy Tumblr variety, have to include well-written and dynamic copy. Fashion posts can veer dangerously into a vapid and boring territory if devoid of good writing. Luckily, Bloomingdale’s blog is written with an ease and sense of style that is at once aspirational and approachable.

Non-fashiony blogs of the smaller business variety can pick up a thing or two from Bloomingdale’s blog. For one, the department store really knows who it’s blogging for. Blogging-for-business efforts of all sizes can really benefit from taking the time to discover their own audience. Another great takeaway from Blooingdale’s is well-rounded content. For every terrific photo, there’s also product information or a discussion on style. The site keeps the conversation and topics varied, ensuring that readers will always have something new to read and chat about. Lastly, Bloomingdale’s proves that it doesn’t matter how old your business is — blogging is an easy and dynamic platform for reaching new audiences.

Five Things You Might Have Missed!

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What do you get yourself when your favorite social media site has a birthday? How do you avoid turning into your dad? Is a cyborg attack inevitable? The answers to these and other titillating questions from the online marketing universe can be found right here in our list of Five Things You Might Have Missed.

1.) Appy Birthday: Did you miss Twitter’s 7th birthday this week? Don’t feel too bad about it. Something tells us the little bird got plenty of gifts. But it’s never too late to celebrate the wonder that is Twitter marketing by getting yourself a few goodies. The Wall Street Journal came up with an excellent list of must-have-apps for Twitter marketers, many of which are free!

2.) Google Glass Backlash: Oh, boy. Nothing ushers in a full-fledged attack of consumer haterade than a new and confusing bit of technology, and the much-ballyhooed Google Glass is elbows-deep in precisely that. Online campaigns wanting to “Stop the Cyborgs” and the moniker of “glasshole” have picked up press. But you can’t deny our collected interest in this yet-to-be-released piece of eye-level connected screen and camera technology. A video demonstrating Google Glass released in February has already racked up nearly 19 million YouTube views.

3.) Viva Corporate Blogging: As champions of the powerful platform that is blogging, we were thrilled to see this article from Canada’s Globe and Mail. The entry profiled how companies of all sizes can use blogging to fix PR problems, educate consumers and help spread the word about “company culture.”

4.) Find the Lookalikes: Thanks to Cynthia Boris over at Marketing Pilgrim for pointing out a nifty new Facebook marketing tool called “lookalike audiences.” The “Custom Audience” tool “lets you carve out a subset of current customers based on certain criteria. You can choose only people who live in a particular city, a certain age range, a particular gender or by interests,” writes Boris. Is this another miss from Facebook marketing or a tool worth our time? According to Boris, “What really makes this work is Facebook’s ability to scoop up and sort all types of personal data. Having a person’s zip code and age is nice, but knowing who loves dancing and who loves hockey goes a lot further in the ad world.”

5.) Dad Issues: We haven’t had a good, goofy ad campaign from Mentos in quiet sometime. So hooray for its new series of ads which begs consumers “Don’t Become Your Dad.” It’s a funny, good time that covers dad’s responses to hot tubs, riding in cars with strangers and technology.

Spring Social Media Strategy Sessions #3: Facebook

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All week long, we’ve been talking about using springtime, this season of renewal, as a time to make new social media marketing strategies. But when it comes to Facebook marketing, most brands already have a plan or have been using the channel for years. Yet who among us couldn’t use a shot in the arm or a refresher in our Facebook campaigns? Today’s final installment of the Spring Social Media Strategy Sessions looks at revamping our Facebook strategies with style, substance and ease.

Analyze: Spring is a terrific time to look at your Facebook efforts thus far. Use Facebook’s awesome analytic tools to get a clear idea of what works, what doesn’t and how to reach more folks. Do followers respond better to visual posts or text-heavy posts? Which links posted by your brand are the most popular? When did you experience bumps up in likes and, conversely, are there any events that caused you to lose likes? By honestly analyzing your Facebook campaigns with questions like these, you can get a solid feel for where your Facebook efforts should go in the future.

Visualize: Just like that fresh coat of paint in your bathroom, new images can really spruce up an old Facebook page. Changing a Like page’s cover photo or posting photos from your latest event are just the start. New data point to image-rich posts on Facebook being shared ten times more than posts without said images. To start, try photos of new products, photos of stellar employees and pictures of life around the office. Make a plan to include images in your status updates at least a few times a week.

Intellectualize: The more we market on Facebook, the more we learn that the channel is most effective for brands that don’t just sell, but that also participate in lively discussions. While avoiding controversy and drama, it’s possible to talk with followers about things in a lively and spirited manner. Jot down some ideas for discussion probing questions, topics and ideas that are sure to get your followers engaged.

Energize: If your Facebook feed is feeling flat and sort of blah, you are not alone. Most brands dump Facebook or let their pages sit for months because they feel uninspired. Luckily, there are tons of ideas and easy solutions to this problem. Have new employees create original videos, change the time of day you do social media updates, create weekly Facebook-based contests — basically, Google around for ideas to keep Facebook fascinating for you and your followers.

Spring Social Media Strategy Sessions #2: Pinterest

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Welcome to Part 2 of our Spring Social Media Strategy Sessions! Yesterday we talked Twitter marketing (if you missed it, read it right here!), and while the little blue bird is effective, it might not be for everyone. Let’s say you have a business that lends itself to visual marketing: Pinterest might be the perfect social media marketing waters to dip your toes in. Since the site’s launch in 2010, social media experts have helped brands large and small reach new audiences using Pinterest’s unique pin-board style of image-sharing. And the platform might be right for you, too — but before you go pinning all willy-nilly, here’s some quick strategy to put you on the right track.

Learn It: Pinterest is unlike any other social media platform out there, so before you get started, learn about the site and how brands are using it to reach consumers. This will help you determine if the site is right for you. This infographic is a good, basic 101 to show you how it works for other companies.

No Boring Boards: Before you start pinning, you’ll want to come up with boards that your followers will be interested in. Beyond Pinterest’s preset categories, you’ll find the more specific and unique your boards are, the more followers you’ll get. Keep boards fresh by regularly adding new pins and by creating new seasonal boards.

Pin Specific: Upon first entering the visual all-you-can-eat buffet that is Pinterest, the impulse might be to pin everything in sight. Well, don’t. Ideally, you should post enough of your images on your site to pin on specific boards first, and then you can use the neverending fountain of links on Pinterest. Pin items, videos and images that are relevant to your brand. Translation: Don’t just pin stuff cause it’s purty. Use the awesome visual format of Pinterest to sell your brand, your products or a lifestyle associated with your company.

Pass It On: We’ve heard clients complain that consumers don’t follow them as much on Pinterest as they do on other sites. We can’t give you a specific number, but we’d guess that most of these folks haven’t told their followers on other sites that their brand is on Pinterest. Make sure your blog posts are hooked up with widgets so readers can pin away — and also make sure your website is adorned with a Pinterest badge to direct followers.

Pinterest is the new kid on the block and is heavily influenced by trends, so if you’re going to play the Pinterest game, make sure you have the stamina to stay current.

Tomorrow, we kick it old school with the grandaddy of all social media sites and give you a Facebook marketing strategy that is easy and really works!