Jan 20, 2012

Why education is a key part of digital marketing

Early cell phone commercials had to explain the features and benefits of cell phones.

These days, everyone and their mom and their three-year-old cousin has a cell phone. We know how the features work. We know what the benefits are. We take our free nights and weekends for granted.

But technology is moving faster than a lot of people can keep up with. Believe it or not, the worlds of social media and mobile technology are still foreign to a lot of people.

There are still a lot of people out there who don’t get social media. And mobile technology like augmented reality or QR codes? Forget about it. A recent study found that most college students have no idea what to do with QR codes. And college students are often early adopters of new tools and technologies.

So what does this mean for digital marketers? It means that education is key.

If we’re going to use technology to distribute messages and share content, we need to educate people and empower them to use these new tools and technologies so they’ll be able to access and interact with our content on their own terms.

Jan 18, 2012

A History of Disruptions in B2B Marketing [Infographic]

Disruption inspires innovation. Social and technological changes have led to major shifts in the way we live, work and communicate.

This infographic, A History of Disruptive Innovations in B2B Marketing, looks at breakthrough technologies and processes that have changed the landscapes of business and marketing.

Looking back on this history of marketing innovations, think: how can you leverage disruption to create positive changes for yourself, your business, or your community?

A History of Disruptive Innovations in B2B Marketing

Thanks to Eloqua and JESS3 for sharing the infographic!

Jan 13, 2012

100 Things to watch in 2012 via JWT

JWT Intelligence recently released their list of 100 trends to watch in 2012 and beyond. The list includes a variety of social, cultural and digital shifts that are influencing the way people interact with the world – and with each other. As the rate of change continues to move at an accelerated pace both online and off, how can we take advantage of cultural shifts to create new opportunities? How do we leverage change to create value?

The video below highlights 10 trends in two minutes.

For a more in-depth over view of 100 trends to watch this year, check out the presentation below.

Dec 21, 2011

These are the moments of our lives

An old friend of mine recently proposed to his girlfriend with a magic routine. He spent weeks designing and practicing the routine and had a custom deck of cards created for the proposal. And he shared his routine with the world via Facebook and YouTube.

That’s one thing I love about social media – these tools enable us to broadcast the moments of our lives. The new Facebook Timeline highlights life events and Twitter is all about sharing what’s going on in real time. These days, our lives are content. Social media allows us to share our stories and to broadcast the ordinary or revolutionary events that are happening on a personal, national or global level.

Curious about the magical proposal? Check out the video below.

P.S. – In case you’re wondering, she said yes!

Dec 2, 2011

Angry Birds Launches “The Hunt for the Golden Pistachio”

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, my seven-year-old cousin could not get enough of playing Angry Birds on my iPhone. Over the past few months, Angry Birds have been popping up everywhere — and on everything — from plush dolls to pajamas.

Now Angry Birds and Wonderful Pistachios have teamed up to take their relationship to a new level with the recent launch of The Hunt for the Golden Pistachio, the first fully branded Angry Birds game.

According to Mashable: “The game, which rolled out Thursday morning on GetCrackin.com, requires a Chrome browser and functions much like the standard Angry Birds games except that the birds are used to crack open pistachios as well as destroy pigs. Though Rovio partnered with 20th Century Fox for Angry Birds Rio in January, a Rovio rep says that in the case of Rio, characters from the movie were integrated into the game. In contrast, Golden Pistachio is the first game conceived from inception with the advertiser in mind. Users will also get the chance to win a total of $300,000 in prizes, which range from free pistachios and Angry Birds plush toys to $25,000 cash. Those prizes will be offered through Dec. 31.”

This is the second collaboration between Angry Birds and Wonderful Pistachios. The first collaboration between the two brands was featured in a September ad for Wonderful Pistachio’s “Get Crackin’” campaign (see video below).

Dec 1, 2011

Wonderful Pistachios leverages digital memes and trends to create marketing content

There’s a powerful feedback loop between traditional media and social media. These days, savvy marketers are tapping into social media memes and trends to create marketing content with a built-in audience and an automatic hook. The great thing about leveraging popular social content for mainstream marketing ads? It’s like leveraging the power of an inside joke – and millions of people are in on it.

Wonderful Pistachios is a strong example of a brand that leverages popular digital content to create marketing content for multiple channels. They’ve tapped into everything from Honey Badgers to Angry Birds to add new twists to their Get Crackin campaign.

After spotting a viral trend, the Wonderful team partners with the original content creators to develop Pistachio-themed marketing videos. The videos are then shared on YouTube and on TV. In addition to partnering with digital stars, Wonderful Pistachios has collaborated with traditional staples like Kermit the Frog and the Peanuts gang.

To check out the original Honey Badger video and the Wonderful Pistachios version, check out the videos below.

Nov 8, 2011

Google launches Google+ Business Pages

Google just introduced Google+ Your Business, a collection of tools and products that will help business owners and brands get closer to their customers. As part of this new suite of features, Google is finally launching Google+ Pages for businesses and brands. Google+ Pages will cater to all kinds of groups and organizations, including: local businesses, nonprofits, media properties, bands, and global brands.

How can brands use the new Google+ Pages?

  1. – Start face-to-face conversations with your audience using Hangouts
  2. – Segment your audience into Circles to share the right message with the right audience
  3. – Make it easier for people recommend you on Google Search and ads with the +1 button

As Google+ continues to evolve, there’s a strong chance that Pages will integrate with other Google properties (like Google Analytics and Google AdWords) to give you a more holistic way of tracking Web activity and conversions to better understand how your social media initiatives impact the bottom line.

A handful of Pages are already available. Check out the following Google+ Pages for inspiration, then head over to Google+ to create your own page:

Note: After the launch of Google+, I co-wrote an article about Google+ implications for brands. A lot of my predictions still seem to be right on track. Visit the Nurun corporate blog to check it out.

Nov 7, 2011

Facebook Timeline

In late September, Facebook announced major changes to the traditional profile. Soon (very soon) the revamped Facebook Timeline will roll out across the network and redefine the concept and scope of social profiles.

So what’s the big deal about Timeline?

Timeline will turn every profile into a visually immersive virtual scrapbook. It will better enable you to continually define, refine and update your life story as represented on Facebook. It will also allow you to highlight the content that matters most to you and celebrate your special moments, memories, and accomplishments by featuring status updates, wall posts, images, videos and more.

Facebook Timeline - Lauren Thomas

Timeline will also allow you to edit your profile all the way back through childhood to the day you were born. So those awkward pictures from middle school can stay where they belong – in the past. And the new Timeline is fun. I’ve been on Facebook for over 7 years now but the new design has me exploring — and thinking about — the social network in a new way.

Facebook Timeline - Lauren Thomas Born On...

What’s the big deal for brands?

The new Facebook updates place an emphasis on content, engagement and experiences. In order to stay relevant to Facebook users, and earn real estate on profiles, brands will have to offer content and experiences that resonate with people – or their content will be relegated to Timeline updates that are hidden from view or Ticker updates that fly by in the blink of an eye.

When the new Timeline features roll out to brand pages, it will dramatically change the look and feel of Facebook Pages by putting content front and center. Brands will have to find fresh new ways to engage by sharing and spotlighting great content and by leveraging the power of branded social apps.

Facebook also announced a slew of other changes. We’ll be seeing updates in everything from the news feed and Insights to an increase in the development of branded social apps.

There’s a good chance that the new Timeline will roll out across the network soon, so keep an eye out for those changes.

What do you think of the new Facebook? Are you looking forward to Timeline or dreading more changes?

Nov 4, 2011

Three steps to leveraging social timing

Last week Jay Baer and Argyle Social teamed up to present a great webinar about the science of timing and its impact on social media marketing performance. The webinar explored post volume (content published to Twitter or Facebook), timing, and engagement (clicks per post per follower). Check out the slideshow above for insights and best practices on social timing for B2B and B2C brands. Then take it to the next level to make social timing work for you.

How can you leverage social timing for your organization?

  1. Experiment and optimize. Use the scientific method to find the social timing that works best for your organization and your audience. Start with a hypothesis, design and execute an experiment and then analyze your results to develop a conclusion. In other words, create a hypothesis (or in plain English, make a guess). Do you suspect your audience might be more receptive to content on Sunday at 4pm? If so,that may be your hypothesis. Once you’re hypothesis is in place, create your experiment and do some A/B testing. They key here is only to change one variable at a time. So if you’re testing the 4pm time on the weekends, share content at the same time during the week (for at least 2 – 4 weeks) and gather enough data to prove (or disprove) your guess. Once you have your data, figure out what works best and use your new knowledge to optimize your timing.
  2. Use a link tracker. Tracking is a key part of analyzing and optimizing. You’ll definitely want to track the number of clicks you receive and where those clicks come from. Ideally you also want to gain an understanding of the user behaviors after the click to find out how your audience is engaging with the content you share and to improve the conversion rates of your social media marketing initiatives. To do this, look into creating campaign tracking codes to use in conjunction with your web analytics tool(s) and/or look into other tracking options or tools like Argyle Social.
  3. Leverage a third-party tool to schedule posts in advance. Scheduling (some of) your content to post in advance will save you time and energy. If you’re on a tight budget, you’ll want a basic scheduling tool and an Excel spreadsheet to help you plan updates and monitor results. If you have a larger budget, look into tools like Argyle Social, Buddy Mediaemailvision or Shoutlet to help you with creating and managing  social marketing campaigns.
Oct 31, 2011

Digital Atlanta 2011

Presenting at Digital Atlanta 2011

If you’re planning to be in Atlanta between November 7 – 11, mark your calendars for Digital Atlanta, an all-volunteer conference for people who use and appreciate social media, the digital universe, and consumer technology.

Attendees of the conference will get together at dozens of events all over town. There will be plenty of opportunities to learn from great speakers, meet new people, and have some fun. Best of all, it’s a great reason to sneak out of the office and explore Atlanta.

Last year this event was called Social Media Atlanta, and I had the opportunity to co-host #DigitiniATL and to guide a round-table discussion during Non-Profit Day. This year, I’ll be presenting at the Nonprofit Digital Strategy Forum. I’m thrilled to have Blake Canterbury (Founder and C.E.O. of BeRemedy) and Dantes Rameau (Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Atlanta Music Project) joining my discussion table.

BeRemedy uses  social media to connect those in need with those in their community who can help. The Atlanta Music Project, is a 5-day-a-week, after-school, youth orchestra and choir program targeting underserved communities in metropolitan Atlanta. Blake and Dantes have both used social media in innovative ways  to raise funds, build communities and create change. We’ll be sharing tips and tools for using social media for social good.

For more information about Digital Atlanta, visit the website and follow @DigitalATL on Twitter for regular updates. And be sure to grab your tickets!

Jul 27, 2011

Old Spice Guy vs. Fabio: Internet duel of the century?

Just when you thought Old Spice was done with the social media stunts, they’ve done it again!  Last week the news broke that there was a new Old Spice Guy on the interwebs. Turns out that Fabio (yes, that Fabio) was merely throwing down the gauntlet. The Old Spice Guy accepted the challenge for what may actually be the greatest Internet duel of the century. The Mano a Mano In El Baño challenge kicked off yesterday afternoon and now Old Spice Guy and Fabio are facing off on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

You can cast your vote by liking, sharing, commenting, tweeting, posting or throwing in your two cents with any other display of social media savvy.

I’m rooting for #TeamOldSpice. May the best Old Spice Guy win.