5 Videos for August 30: Hyundai, Twitter and, Yes, Twerking

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Since the Labor Day holiday is fast approaching, let’s get things kicked off with the best online video creations from the week that you might have missed. Whether you’re looking for inspiration for your own online videos or just wanting to kill some time, these five should do the trick. And the best part?  No work required on your end. 

1.) Morgan Freeman Twerks it Out: We here at Brandsplat try to be 100% Miley Free, but given this week’s onslaught on Cyrus-related news, it’s a difficult task… especially when it comes to twerking. We’ve already had ABC News do a much-maligned report on the twerk (which coincidentally spawned #ABCReports, one of the funniest uses of hashtags of all time). Thank goodness for Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman. Freeman sorts out all of this twerking silliness by reading the definition to Headline News with his Voice of God inflection in an already viral hit. 

2.) Tech Commercial Clichés Exposed: Looking to promote your tech brand with online videos? CollegeHumor.com has come up with a phony ad that brilliantly skewers tech ads while playfully listing the clichés to avoid. Perfectly titled “Every Tech Commercial,” the spot features lots of bakers, people talking at the same time, hollow concerns about speed and convenience and other hilariously omnipresent crutches marketers use to peddle products.

3.) Keeping Up with the Conversation: Twitter, on the other hand, avoids those tired clichés. The social network has cooked up a great video which explains how its new update makes following conversations on Twitter even easier. On the official Twitter blog, the brand explains, “As you can see, tweets that are part of a conversation are shown in chronological order so it’s easier for you to follow along. You’ll see up to three tweets in sequence in your home timeline; if you want to see more, you can tap a tweet to see all the replies, including those from people you don’t follow.” A great feature, and a great use of online video, too.

4.) 0 to 60 in 6 Seconds: Hooray for Hyundai for beating other carmakers to the punch with this ultra-clever Vine video. To illustrate a car’s speed and handling capabilities, Vine is an unlikely but brilliant choice for Hyundai. 

5.) Sweet Karma: We wrap up this week’s video roundup with a lovely little campaign from European chocolate company Milka. The brand produced chocolate bars with missing squares and gave consumers a choice: reclaim their chocolate square or send it to someone else. Sweet!

The Lazy Person's Guide to Making an Editorial Calendar for Your Blog

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We’ve all heard the benefits of setting up an editorial calendar for organized and well-planned blog creation. But how many of us have actually done it? *crickets* Yeah. That’s what we kind of figured. And we get it: Planning out a month’s or even a few weeks’ worth of blogs seems like a drag and terribly time-consuming. But it doesn’t have to be! We boiled down your blog editorial calendar to some simple basics so you can get back to the important things in life (like searching for cricket noises on the Internet).

Any old calendar, whether printed or online, serves just fine as an editorial calendar. We like Google Calendar for this kind of thing, given its awesome sharing capabilities. When glancing at the month coming up, we ask ourselves what we want to write about, what we haven’t written about before and what topics are worth revisiting. Also, we take into account what time of year it is and see if the month’s holidays or events can inspire posts. Answering these questions alone often inspires a week’s worth of posts. And when it doesn’t, just dig a little deeper. See if the blogs and articles you read can fire up your creative engines for several days’ worth of posts. Devoting an entire week to one topic, product or service is another easy way to bust out some content. Ditto with days of the week; this blog, for example, publishes a Top 5 list and Blog Like the Big Brands every week on Fridays and Mondays, respectively. But make sure the calendar serves just as a flexible guide to provide direction for your posts. You’re the boss, so if you want to deviate from the calendar, no biggie. No one will scream at you. It is here to make blog creation easier, not more stressful.

If you have multiple bloggers contributing, an editorial calendar can help serve as a schedule as to who’s posting what on which day. Assigning posts or type of posts to a group of bloggers will help eliminate writer’s block and confusion. Plus it gives your readers a variety of voices on different days, which is always a good thing. Interviews, video posts and other non-traditional blog posts can also be put on the calendar. Does your company have any upcoming events, promotions, contests or conferences you’re attending? Put those on the calendar, too, as that stuff makes for excellent blog posts.

If this looks like it could provide you with a lot of potential content, good. That is a good thing. You want your calendar to be full. In order for content marketing to really work, you must have lots of content. Go figure. But this mountain of content can all add up to less work. All of this planning takes about 30 minutes once a month, maximum.

Readers, do you use an editorial calendar for your blog? If so, please enlighten us to your organized and insightful ways in the comments section below! 

 

Twitter: Part of a Balanced Breakfast

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They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. For some of the world’s biggest breakfast brands, the meal comes with a side of aggressive and clever Twitter marketing. The assortment of food items represented on Twitter would rival the menu of your favorite waffle house. Pancakes, toast, coffee, donuts, cereal and beyond all are sold on Twitter to thousands of followers. Grab yourself a toaster pastry, a strong cup of Joe and see how the super brands are rocking out Twitter long before you’ve even wiped the sleep out of your eyes. 

The American Egg Board has used traditional advertising and digital marketing for years to push the idea that eggs are still our favorite breakfast food. Therefore, it makes sense that its Twitter account, @IncredibleEggs, does the same thing. Tweets with nutritional facts, links to recipes and light-hearted responses to followers’ tweets help the brand stay on top of that mission statement — all while being more approachable than ever.

New to Twitter but already getting major engagement and press coverage, Pillsbury Toaster Strudel has taken Twitter marketing to delicious new heights. According to Mashable, “Pillsbury’s Strudel Düdeler, a machine powered by tweets, makes icing art on your Toaster Strudel. Starting on Tuesday, Twitter users who tweet details about what they to do get their morning going (along with the hashtag #StrudelArt) will receive a picture of a Strudel with personalized icing art.”

Now an old-timer at social media, Cap’n Crunch delivers funny and self-effacing tweets clearly aimed more at parents than kids. “One must Crunch something to be alive. #capnsquotes” is an example of the brand giving the iconic character a voice via Twitter. And it works. The attitude is consistent to the branding and a throwback for folks who now buy the sugary goodness for their own children. (Sadly, the Cap’n’s dull, robotic pal Aunt Jemima could use a similar hip, Twitter makeover.)

Greek Yogurt is the breakfast choice for people of all ages. @YopliatGreek realizes this and lures its Twitter followers in with sumptuous and descriptive tweets of its yogurt. The brand loves to use Twitter to chat with followers, respond to customer feedback and retweet comments from  adoring fans.

Lastly, it wouldn’t be breakfast — or the Internet — without bacon! The greasy pork treat has become the culinary equivalent of Justin Bieber (which is to say it’s ginormous). There are literally hundreds of Twitter accounts devoted to bacon, but our favorite has got to be the United Church of Bacon. Tweeting from @praisebacon (of course) the UCB is a crazy organization that sells bacon-themed goodies and performs baconcentric wedding ceremonies. Naturally, the UCB is based out of Las Vegas. With 597 followers, the UCB is just getting started, but thanks to witty tweets and well-placed social media plugs, we predict it will be sizzling in no time.

Praise Twitter, and pass the bacon!

Getting Your Party Started Using Facebook Event Pages

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Anybody who uses Facebook for business is undoubtedly familiar with Facebook events. This handy tool lets you invite all of your page’s followers to your openings, new product release parties and company functions. If your brand has hundreds of “likes” and you have a very active page, all you need to do is create an event page and all of your adoring fans will show up, making your event a smashing success. Right? Um, no. We hate to break it to you but, having pulled off several successful Facebook-driven events, we can say with confidence that creating the event page is only the beginning. 

When your brand’s major method for communication is Facebook, an event page is a must. They are incredibly effective and easy tools. In fact, thanks to new targeting which allows admins to promote events to certain demographics, it’s gotten even easier. Invitees can now be chosen by gender, relationship status, age and interests. To begin, make sure your event page has all of the correct information and important things like start time and dates. Sounds silly that we’d even mention this, but you’d be surprised how many event pages leave off the vitals. Next, constantly update the content on that page to hype the event. Stagnant pages with no updates get fewer confirmed guests than ones with a steady flow of action. Add videos, photos and the latest news your guests need to know before attending.  

Yet even a well-chosen guest list and an oft-updated event page does not necessarily mean that your event will be well attended. The event and the event page both need further promotion outside of Facebook. Other social media sites like Twitter and Instagram are worth a shot but make localization key if you’re looking for real-life bodies in attendance. We’d say a great resource for your event page is your local media. Those papers they shove in your mailbox, the calendar sections in the hip neighborhood journals and even your city’s television stations are worth hitting up with information on your event. That way folks in your own backyard are hearing about your event from multiple channels. Since your Facebook event page has all of the details already, we think directing members of the media and followers on other social media platforms is an easy way to spread the information while promoting the page. 

In the end, we think that Facebook event pages are a fantastic way to promote a brand’s events as long as other forms of promotion happen alongside it. Readers, do you go to the things people invite you to on Facebook and have you had success using events for your own shindigs? Tell us in the comments section!

Blog Like the Big Brands: Fandango

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This week for BLTBB, we’re going to the movies! You know, those places with the big screens and the crazy-priced popcorn? Even if you haven’t caught a film on the big screen in a while, there’s no denying that people love the movies — so much so that there are dozens of popular sites that help moviegoers get everything from reviews and tickets to showtimes and directions. We took a look at Freshly Popped, Fandango’s movie blog to see how one of the first online movie ticket sites uses blogging.

And what did we learn (besides the fact that Ben Affleck will be playing Batman in a new movie)? Beyond covering top movie news, tickets and showtimes, Fandango is also an entertainment brand. Therefore using a blog to report all of the biggest news stories from Hollywood is a wise move. In addition to movie news, the blog features the sort of witty and trivia-filled posts and polls about film that movie lovers can’t get enough of. “What’s the Scariest Horror-Movie Mask of All Time?”, “Hollywood Reacts to the Passing of Elmore Leonard” and videos of the latest movie trailers are the sort of posts you’ll find on the Fandango blog. Wisely, the blog has ample coverage of movies opening soon (a good idea for site that sells tickets to movies). Considering what a crowded market movie blogging is, Fandango does a good job of having its own voice and not ripping off hipper, younger blogs. Freshly Popped sets out to excite readers and casual ticket buyers with more information about the movies they’re considering seeing, and we think it succeeds.

As long as you can find interesting content, we think using your blog, like Fandango does, to report on the latest news from your industry is a great idea. It makes sense that the folks who visit your blog would also be interested in other happenings in a related field. Relaying news is an old blogging trick you also can use to help fill the void when original posts aren’t exactly flowing. Just make sure to not overdo it and to always credit your sources. To elevate your blog’s news sharing ideas even more, try posting interviews and exclusive stories not carried anywhere else. Lastly, when reporting business news, make sure you’re still keeping the focus on your brand and what makes your company a blockbuster.  

 

5 Things for August 23: Smelling Swift, Fancy Facebook Ads and Masculine Mascara

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Nine out of 10 online marketing geniuses and social media experts agree: Our weekly list of five things you might have missed has the best stories from the digital newsroom. Why don’t you read for yourself and see if they’re right? 

1.) Adtractive Facebook: Facebook announced this week a partnership with Shutterstock that will give advertisers access to Shutterstock’s massive visual library. “Not every business has a team of designers to help communicate their message, and so the Shutterstock integration allows Facebook advertisers of all sizes to search and choose from millions of high-quality images at the point of ad creation,” David Fraga of Facebook told Business Insider. This could help companies of all sizes make better-looking, more professional Facebook ads.

2.) Better Business Blogging: If you missed Daniel Newman’s post entitled “Demystifying Small Business Blogging,” please read it now (well, after you finish reading this post, of course). Newman helps his readers find easy ways to stop making excuses and start blogging. “In order to see results from blogging for your small business, you have to commit to doing it like any other sales, marketing or operational effort,” he writes. Preach.

3.) Surprise Package: We’ll go ahead and say that 2013 is the year of the double-entendre dude-filled viral commercial. This one for Benefit mascara is also star-studded. Vinny Guadagnino of Jersey Shore, Simon Rex and some comedian from Vine all take part in this sexy, silly viral hit which plays on mascara wands hidden in guy’s crotches. We promise it’s not as NSFW as it sounds.

4.) Smells Like Taylor Swift: #HiFromTaylor is a Twitter campaign, an interactive online video experience and social media marketing blitz — all in the name of promoting Taylor Swift’s new perfume, Taylor. The spot integrates fan’s photos and status updates to an ad with the pop star “shot from the perspective of the user to create a sense of them starring in the video with Taylor herself,” an agency rep says. As long as there’s no Kanye cameo, we’re cool.

5.) Food Photos for Thought: Lastly, big kudos to chef Mario Batali for spearheading Feedie, an app that both helps the hungry while celebrating our insatiable desire for food photos. According to Mashable, “Each time you take a picture of your food at a participating restaurant using Feedie, the restaurant makes an instant donation equivalent to one meal to The Lunchbox Fund. The non-profit provides daily meals for at-risk South African schoolchildren, many of whom have been orphaned because of HIV/AIDS.” Bravo!

Is What We Read More Important Than Who We Are?

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For a brief minute, social media marketing seemed to be a golden ticket into giving marketers a better look at who consumers really were and what they really liked. Facebook pages filled with “likes” for favorite brands, tweets mentioning interests and Pinterest boards chock full of lusted-after items give the illusion of really getting to know a consumer. Yet many think when it comes to content marketing, we should really be asking consumers what they’re reading instead of analyzing their status updates.

The webpages we visit, the blogs we read and the things we search for say far more than social media ever could, says the Guardian’s Jonny Rose.

“By tracking consumer interactions as they browse and engage with content, brands can begin to reveal current and evolving interests, inclinations and needs — sometimes before the individual knows themselves,” Rose says.

Technology referred to by Rose as “content analytics” gives brands access to invaluable insights — but how?

“Content analytics technology analyses pieces of text and makes it understandable and readable for computers. It allows computers to understand the topics, people, places, companies and concepts in the content, sentiment towards aspects of the content, and the language of that content,” Rose says. “This, in turn, means computers can track an individual’s interaction with a piece of content and collect and draw trends about that individual’s tastes and interests.”

If this sounds Big Brother-ish or a little creepy to you, you’re not alone. A lot of folks are startled by the amount of information that advertisers have access to. But others would argue that content marketing analytics helps companies get a more truthful look at the person they are trying to reach. These analytics have also been a long time coming; by now, most people know that when they’re online, they are communicating with brands, whether they want to or not.

Regardless of opinion, these kind of analytics are unavoidable.

“Whether you are browsing to kill time, entertain yourself or researching for a friend, what you are reading right now is incredibly indicative of who you are as a person — and this is immensely useful for brands,” Rose concludes. 

But what do you think, readers? Are content marketing analytics helpful or a borderline invasion of privacy? Tell us in the comments section below.

 

Vine Marketing: Nailing the 6-second Commerical

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Tired of hearing social media experts go on and on about Vine? Well, get used it. The mobile app, launched in 2012 and acquired by Twitter shortly thereafter, has just begun to generate the kind of buzz it deserves, and brands are finding all kinds of ways to make it work for them. But what is Vine exactly, and how can small businesses use it in online marketing?

Love it, loathe or fail to understand it, Vine isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Vine is a smartphone app that lets users create and post short videos — short as in a max of six seconds — which then can be shared or embedded on social networking. These tiny videos are easier to share and download given their size. Like YouTube’s early days, initial content has ranged from grating to nonsensical. Skateboarding, cats, skateboarding cats, weird old people making faces — you know, the kind of things that are the cornerstones of online video creation. Yet the longer Vine grows, the more brands are finding ways to creatively use the micro-video format. Oreo, Urban Outfitters and Lowe’s, for instance, are a few companies with the budget and talent to make effective and memorable videos on Vine.

“The good news is that almost any business can find a way to use Vine, but those that are great at storytelling are the most likely to be successful,” writes Yael Grauer for Business2Community.com. “Communicating via video works best for brands that have already identified how their story connects with customers. And as always with video or images, visually-appealing products or storylines win the day: The challenge is to fit a story into six seconds, say marketing experts, so some creativity is required.”

In other words, when it comes to standing out in the already crowded Vine jungle, creativity and an already high visibility are key ingredients.

Readers, what’s your take on Vine? Is it the next YouTube? Or the decline the of online video innovation as we know it? Sound off below!