Browsing articles in "Featured"
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.

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?

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.

Jul 9, 2011

#Welcome193 South Sudan

Today South Sudan became the world’s newest country and the 193rd nation to join the United Nations.

South Sudan commemorated it’s first-ever independence day with flag-waving, celebrations and an official live blog. Social media is being used as a platform to share the story of South Sudan and to raise awareness and support for the new nation.

People around the world are coming together to to send a global wave of welcome to South Sudan. #Welcome193 is a social media campaign to raise awareness and support for South Sudan. You can get involved by doing one, or all, of the following:

  1. “Like” the Welcome193 South Sudan Facebook page and leave a message of welcome.
  2. If you’re on Twitter, send a welcome message using the hashtag “#Welcome193!
  3. Visit the Welcome 193 website to learn more.

Photo by sidelife on Flickr

Jul 2, 2011

SEE Conference in Chicago

Last weekend I had the opportunity to visit the Windy City to present at the State Education Editors (SEE) Conference. I shared some tools and tricks for using social media to tell stories and connect with audiences. I also shared some tips and best-practices for adding a virtual element to real world events. It was a pleasure and a privilege to connect with such a smart and passionate group of people.

We stayed at the super-swanky Sofitel Water Tower Hotel and I even had some time to explore Chicago (and get lost on the subway).

A million thanks to SEE for the opportunity! And thanks to Christi Broadway for reaching out and inviting me to speak.

Here’s a fabulous TwitPic that one of the attendees snapped and shared:

Jul 1, 2011

The social media landscape in China [Infographic]

The Social Media Landscape in China [Infographic]

A recent CIC white paper, From Social Media to Social Business, explored the context for China’s unique internet culture and environment. The Social Media Landscape in China, was the first of two infographics released in support white paper. A few details to note:
  • 23.2% of the world’s 2.08 billion netizens live in China
  • There are more people on the internet in China than there are Americans on the planet
  • China’s internet user base increased by 312% from 2004 – 2010
  • 44% of Chinese netizens are online content creators

As marketers and communicators, it’s important to be aware of how culture and context influence the adoption, creation, and consumption of digital media around the world.

Jun 15, 2011

What’s the point of social media marketing?

This week E-Consultancy shared a report that 25% of hotels are still ignoring social media. This is despite the fact that social media is a significant traffic source for 78% of travel sites. In addition, people are using social media as a resource when researching travel destinations online. Why are so many organizations that could benefit from using social media still ignoring these tools?

As another example, I stopped by a local restaurant the other day. The manager asked my friends and I to post positive reviews on Yelp to counter-balance their negative ratings. The manager must have realized that people are using social media to learn about local business and events. They’re also using customer-generated rating and reviews to make decisions about where they’ll dine and what they’ll buy. But this restaurant still doesn’t have a presence on any social network because the manager didn’t “see the point.”

The point is this – your customers are already talking about your brand, product or industry online. This is especially true if you’re a B2C brand or a small business. If you’re not leveraging social media, you’re missing opportunities to engage with your customers and to influence the conversation about your brand.

Don’t focus on the tools. Focus on the trends. Social media is here to stay. Mobile is here to stay. Learn how to use capitalize on the trends and leverage the tools to reach your audiences.

Don’t focus on the numbers. Focus on building and nurturing relationships with your target audiences. Sure the numbers can be one way to measure success. But those numbers are only one output of the work you need to input. You need to invest time, thought and money into creating strategic (and integrated) social media marketing programs, offering a great experience online and offline, developing content, and engaging with your audiences. You need to develop social marketing strategies that support your business goals.

A wide variety of brands and organizations are already using social media to generate brand awareness, increase sales, launch products, provide customer service, raise money, and crowd-source innovative ideas or product suggestions. When used effectively, social media is a powerful tool that can impact every facet of your business in a powerful way.

The point is this: if you’re not effectively leveraging these tools, you’re leaving money on the table.

Image by music2work2 on Flickr

Jun 13, 2011

Storytelling for business: create a compelling call to action

These days, thanks to technology and the rise of social media, there are millions of opportunities for people to connect with the stories that matter to them. Any medium can be used to tell a story, as long as the message is carefully crafted and developed with the medium(s) in mind.

Last month I shared four steps for leveraging the power of storytelling for business. Today  let’s dive a little deeper into storytelling for change.

When entertainers tell stories, the goal is to move people to feel emotion. When organizations tell stories, the goal is to move people to take action. That desired action may be to buy a product, attend an event, or get involved with a cause. That clearly defined call to action is one defining element of effective storytelling for brands and organizations. According to a white paper from NCM Fathom Business Events:

Traditional stories include a beginning, middle and end. Compelling business stories are also constructed linearly. But, unlike purely entertaining or informative stories, these stories add one more element to the structure – a call to action. This is what is unique to storytelling in business. Business communications also follow what is called a “dramatic curve,” a four-act structure which leads to resolution and ultimately to a call to action.

Crafting your brand story begins by considering how you want it to end. What is the desired outcome? How do you want your audience to feel about you? What do you want them to do? What are the specific next steps that you want them to take (act, interact or change)? And how are you going to measure the results?

So how do you create stories that compel your audience to act? Begin with the end in mind. Decide on your desired outcome and then incorporate these four elements into your message to engage your audience and encourage them to get involved:

Continue reading »

Jun 8, 2011

Social Media in Asia [Infographic]

I’ve been (even more) fascinated by Asia ever since my incredible trip to China last year. The team at Edelman released a great infographic on social media use and trends in Asia and I wanted to share it with y’all. Check it out and hop over to the Edelman Digital blog for their take on the trends.

Jun 6, 2011

The Real Cost of Social Media [Infographic]

Focus released a great infographic on The Real Cost of Social Media. The infographic illustrates the point that while some social networks may be “free,” social media marketing is not. Successful social media programs require an investment in time, tools, talent and advertising. In addition, the strongest social media marketing initiatives are almost always integrated into multi-platform campaigns that leverage a combination of paid, owned, and earned media. And strategic campaigns cost money to develop and execute.

Check out the infographic below to get a better idea of the costs — and benefits — of social media.

May 11, 2011

Four steps for leveraging the power of storytelling for business

Storytelling here

Earlier this week, I shared an infographic that provides an overview of storytelling for business. There’s a huge opportunity for organizations and individuals to develop stories that connect with their audiences and to leverage new media to share those stories and encourage audience engagement. There are examples of storytelling in action all around us.

Individuals use storytelling to reinvent themselves, promote themselves, and connect with their communities.  Non-profits use storytelling to generate awareness, inspire action, and raise money. Politicians use storytelling to win votes and make change. Brands use storytelling to connect with “passionistas” and drive revenue.

So how do you leverage the power of storytelling to reach your goals? According to the white paper by NCM:

Crafting your brand story begins by considering how you want it to end. What is the desired outcome? How do you want your audience to feel about you? What do you want them to do? What are the specific next steps that you want them to take (act, interact or change)? And how are you going to measure the results?

The first step is to begin with the end in mind. Then follow this advice to create engaging stories that will connect and resonate with your audience: Continue reading »