10 Brands That Tweet Right

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149070164Brands that Tweet Right

Does the whole Twitter-for-business thing scare you? Could your current Twitter marketing plan use a little extra oomph? We can help! In the hopes of inspiring you to tweet like a rock star, we’ve rounded up ten of our favorite brands, in no particular order, currently killing it on Twitter. Watch and learn, young grasshopper.

Skittles: “Tast(ing) the Rainbow” in 140 characters or less might be a tall order for another candy company, but Skittles is certainly up to the task. The brand’s Twitter marketing is as random, hilarious and good-natured as the rest of its digital marketing, making Skittles an excellent example of consistency.

Netflix: Having recently moved into marketing original programming, Netflix wisely uses Twitter to promote its new shows while keeping in touch with its customers, who often use Twitter to ask the brand questions, file complaints or  to talk back to the company.

Starbucks: A longtime Twitter marketing leader, Starbucks shows us how special offers and follower engagement is done by providing branded tweets that are also a pleasure to read.

Google: The world’s most visited site turns its Twitterfeed into a newsfeed with the latest headlines and updates on all things Google.

Adidas: Think Twitter marketing can’t be cool? One gander at the Adidas Twitter page will have you thinking again. Fashionable, hip and informative, Adidas elevates the platform into something stylish.

The Home Depot: Twitter is great for conversations about your brand and products. Home Depot does this with ease, asking the kinds of questions that get do-it-yourselfers talking back.

Subway: Great brands on Twitter know to vary the discussion, so they post lots of dynamic content like photos and videos. Sandwich king Subway fills its Twitterfeed with everything from nutritional information to Subway celebrity sightings.

Bissell:  Even those of us who dread vacuuming can respect the friendly and diligent customer service displayed on Bissell’s Twitter page. No question goes unanswered, no follower gets ignored — and we’re happy to report that doesn’t suck.

Amazon: Still haven’t mastered how to be chatty on Twitter? Amazon has, and a gander at its Twitterfeed is like a master class in Twitter marketing.

Kia: Kia, like many car companies, proactively uses its Twitter account for PR purposes, launching new campaigns and linking to videos of its latest commercials.

 



What’s the Secret to Blockbuster Viral Videos?

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Blockbuster Viral Videos

Original, memorable online video creation at times feels impossible. With the sea of new branded video content making waves on YouTube everyday, even getting views is an uphill battle, right? Perhaps, but we believe there are some easy things brands of all sizes can do to get noticed in the viral video battle. So how does a normal video made by a small company achieve YouTube greatness?

While there isn’t a straightforward secret formula when it comes to online videos, including humor is one way to insure a good number of views. The fact is, we the people love to laugh. Therefore, video content that can make us laugh is the kind of thing we forward to friends, post to Facebook and watch over and over again. It’s pure gold. Check out this commercial for Dove men’s shampoo for further proof of how funny works.

It doesn’t matter that this Brazilian commercial isn’t in English or that it’s directed at the tough market of men’s hair care. The fact is it’s funny and memorable. In one minute and eight seconds, Dove has done more for this product than any social media campaign could ever do, and it’s all because the video is hilarious and a little weird. Appealing to your followers’ sense of humor doesn’t take boatloads of cash or a fancy agency, it just takes some great writing and creativity. Creativity when paired with online videos can help consumer change their minds or think of new ways to use your products or services. This ad for Salvation Army is a terrific example of that.

But videos can also be helpful for giving your brand a new narrative. No other platform can express who your company is and what you’re all about faster than video. This is incredibly helpful for brands trying to reintroduce themselves to new customers like childhood favorite Kool-Aid recently did.

There may be no secret formula to creating the next viral hit, but we do know that humor, a strong narrative and creativity certainly help. Also, good video campaigns require a lot of help and fresh ideas (something we can certainly help you with). And if all else fails, go for juvenile and ridiculous. This Kmart ad, posted last week and already boasting over 9 million views, proves that our inner 12-year-old is alive and well and ready to watch videos online.

Simplify Your Social Media Marketing

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Simplify Your Social Media MarketingSuffering from Twitter marketing ADD? Having a Facebook management meltdown? Is the once fun task of updating all of your corporate social media accounts more annoying than scrubbing a toilet? Sounds like it might be time to simplify your social media marketing practices. In the spirit of simplification, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite tools and tricks to make social media marketing easier.

Budget your time: Great social media campaigns start with great organization. In addition, a well-thought-out plan saves you time later on down the road. Set a time where you’ll handle your company’s social media (every morning, three times a week, etc.) and stick with it. Without the panic of trying to squeeze it into your schedule, you’ll be able to get creative and have more fun doing it.

Analyze and Reorganize: Analytics tools on Facebook and on dashboards like Hootsuite are incredibly helpful for brands trying to figure out which posts are working and which ones are duds. Use these tools regularly to get insight on your failures and successes and you’ll be able to better direct your future campaigns.

Google Alerts: These have been around for years, but if you’re not using Google alerts, you are missing out. Google Alerts notifies you by email every time your brand, topic or desired keyword shows up in Google searches and in the news. This super-easy tool helps you track your company’s SEO without spending hours manually sifting through pages of searches.

Social Oomph: Companies that are Twitter happy can really get a lot out of this service, which automates the entire tweet scheduling process, provides easy tracking of keywords and instantly purges your direct message inbox. Unlike other Twitter dashboards, this one also lets you save drafts, schedule social media distribution for blog posts and dozens of other nifty time-saving tricks for a few bucks a month. For serious tweeters, Social Oomph is a must.

Blog Like the Big Brands: Urban Outfitters

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Urban outfitters 2
I’ll say it: Managing blog content day after day can be a difficult task. Coming up with engaging and dynamic content on a regular basis takes a lot of creativity, persistence and stamina. The very thought of having to create new blog posts every day is enough to scare many companies away. But we’re here to tell you it can be done. More than that, company blogs can be terrific reads and incredibly fun to create. Just look at the blog of hipster clothing emporium Urban Outfitters. This entertaining and sassy blog is chock full of great ideas that just might inspire your own blog.

From pot culture and music festivals to the latest 20 something-marketed films and fashion trends, the Urban Outfitters blog looks like a Tumblr and reads like Nylon magazine. Urban Outfitters isn’t just selling skinny jeans and overpriced hand painted sneakers, it’s also selling a lifestyle, so the blog is designed as such. Too cool for school? Sure. Too snarky and self-aware? Perhaps. But it doesn’t matter what we think. The blog succeeds because of its great content, strong brand messaging and wise editing. This blog knows its demographics and writes only for them.

The photos, blog design and videos are pitch perfect for Urban Outfitters customers. The blog also features interviews with celebs and Urban Outfitter employees alike. Interviews make for great blog fodder and are something any brand (regardless of how cool you are) can add to your blog.

Video chats with employees, email Q&As with product designers and interviews with favorite customers are just the tip of the iceberg. Why not interview conference attendees, local celebrities and artists who shop at your business and fellow leaders in your industry? The best blog interviews are short and easy to read, which means interview questions can be emailed days in advance and published to your blog whenever. Just make sure your questions are interesting and give your interview subject a lot to talk about. A few well-placed interview posts can help turn your blog into something all the cool kids want to read.

 

Brand Journalism: What it is and How You’re Probably Already Doing it

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149151335Brand_Journalism_What_it_is_and_How_You're_Probably_Already_Doing_itFor the last year or so, content marketing specialists have been buzzing about brand journalism. Forbes proclaimed that brand journalism is “one of the most quietly talked about areas in the media industry today, ultimately destined to shake up 100 years of journalism.” Social Media Examiner recently predicted that “brand journalism will be the biggest thing in blogging over the next few years. The basic idea is simple: A percentage of your blog content should be created with an eye toward being reusable and repurposed across multiple media platforms.” From Fortune 500 companies to mom and pop shops, every business is clamoring for brand journalism. But what is it exactly?

Think of brand journalism as a way to generate articles and press coverage for your business — but instead of using traditional media channels, your company blog or online magazine does all the work. By covering your industry like a reporter and generating posts that read like news stories instead of commercials, you have elevated your blog into a real source and a legitimate media outlet. Sure, brand journalism blurs the lines of advertising and journalism, but let’s be honest… those lines have been blurry for a long time. Brand journalism, if anything, makes sponsored news stories more transparent. What brand journalism does is empower companies to break stories happening inside of their industries instead of waiting to be picked up by big media platforms. Used in conjunction with social media marketing like Facebook and Twitter, brand journalism becomes a powerful tool to instantly promote stories.

If, by chance, you are already blog writing for your company on a regular basis, congratulations! You are ahead of the curve and are already practicing brand journalism. The advantages of brand journalism are vast as Lisa Ostrikoff pointed out in The Globe and Mail:

“There are huge benefits to providing content that educates and informs, and it’s easy to measure the return on investment,” Ostrikoff writes. “How many hits did it get? Was it shared? Did it spark conversation? As the public and businesses become increasingly ‘social,’ brand journalism can make communicating with consumers more interesting, while setting a company apart from outdated ‘push’ marketing approaches.”

Twitter Marketing Made Even Easier

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155682282Twitter_Marketing_Made_Even_EasierGood news, Twitter marketing virgins! Now is the perfect time to get started using the social media platform to reach even more consumers, followers and contemporaries. Twitter recently relaunched its Twitter for Business program to help educate marketers and advertisers on all things Twitter.

Twitter for Business has made it incredibly easy for newbies to the site to get started with its three resource guides: Twitter 101, Marketing with Twitter and AdTools. Twitter 101 is exactly what it sounds like. This guide gives blue bird newbies the basics on the benefits of social media marketing with Twitter, along with a glossary of terms, advice on building your brand on Twitter, a simple how-to using the platform — even a tutorial on how to write great tweets. Marketing with Twitter takes things a step further, giving users more in-depth information. Understanding analytics, how to target tweets and how to use Twitter to improve your brand’s reach are just a few of the topics covered here for the budding marketing genius. Finally, AdTools is the one-stop-shop for brands who want to advertise on Twitter. How do ads on Twitter work? What’s a promoted tweet? How much does it cost? These and all other Twitter ad-related questions are covered in this easy, do-it-yourself advertising guide. Twitter for Business also has specific information for small businesses, dozens of success stories from companies currently marketing on Twitter and tips on community building.

Twitter’s commitment to education and to helping businesses understand the platform is inspiring. Instead of just pushing brands into buying ads, Twitter is explaining how its services work and how to best use them for your company’s individual needs. It’s also refreshing to see a brand demystify its marketing products and make them feel more accessible.

So, readers, will you use the new Twitter for Business programs or are you totally over tweeting? Chirp at us in the comments section below!