Give Your Next Post a Visual Boost

social_networkingWhile we could debate on whether or not a picture is really worth a thousand words, when it comes to social media, a picture CAN give your post a visual boost resulting in more likes, shares and reach.

All the latest studies and statistics suggest that images on social media commend more attention than text alone… so multimedia becomes a key element in successful online communication.

How many ways can you make a photo or video part of your next post? Let’s think about it.

The Product Shot
Every business and brand has a product to display, so don’t just talk about the benefits and features – show it off in pictures. The more, the better.

The Team Picture
Take pictures of your colleagues on a regular basis – at work, with clients, at a trade show, on the next ad campaign shoot –  and share them with your audience. It humanizes your business/brand behind a real face and something your audience can relate with.  People like to do business with people, so the more they feel like they’re part of your business, the stronger the connection to your brand.

The Spotlight on Your Fans
Everybody wants their 15 minutes of fame – why not give it to them! By highlighting fans and followers, it shows you care about them being part of your brand and ambassadors for it. Give them a bigger stage, Retweet them, Tag them, Make it all about them – you’ll get more loyalty in return.

The Peek Behind the Scenes
Provide your audiences with the occasional exclusive experience, something they can’t get anywhere else, like a big reveal or look into what goes on behind closed door meetings (this would work for B2B audiences too). Take them backstage or show them how your products are built.

The Action Shot
While a team picture may be posed, your action shots are of you and your fellow team members actually doing what you do best. It doesn’t matter where you are – speaking at podium, swinging a bat, or in front of the computer – capture your people in the act of doing their jobs.

The Graphic
Creating your own visuals from scratch is a unique way to add variety and call more attention to your posts. Use PowerPoint, Photoshop PicMonkey and other tools to add special effects and text to the image you share. Or, if you have real data to share – make your own infographic!

The Spontaneous Shot
Capitalize on social media’s ability to connect with customers in real time. Share impromptu, candid shots of you and your team in the  moment. What’s happening now is far more credible and commanding on social media than old news.

The Collage
Twitter’s new mobile feature let you upload four photos in a single tweet or you can always rely on the aforementioned photo tools to edit your pics into a collage for sharing.

The Selfie
Of course, the Hollywood favorite, because we can’t get enough of ourselves doing what we do, the Selfie.

The Moving Picture
Yeah, remember when I mentioned multimedia – that means VIDEO  too! Right before you snap that group shot or selfie, take some video or just make a video to answer your customers FAQ. Not every video will be a viral hit, but if it educates and/or entertains your customers then you have something worth sharing.

Now that we’ve covered the essentials, snap away and give your next posts some extra boost.


A Lesson in On-Demand Marketing

This really great article on LinkedIn by David Edelman, focuses on what businesses should learn from Apple. Not only has Apple lead major changes in how to brand a product or service, but now its entering the digital marketing arena and shifting to On-Demand Marketing.

So what is On-demand Marketing? It’s all about being actively responsive to your customers (and potential customers) based on four trends in consumer expectations:

1. NOW: Interacting anywhere at any time.

2. CAN I: Doing things they’ve never been able to do before.

3. FOR ME: Having truly personalized experiences.

4. SIMPLY: Having all interactions to be easy.

This world of marketing is about moving from “always-on” to “always-relevant,” from “marketing at customers” to “marketing as a service.” So for marketing to become relevant and a real service that means having a very clear sense of the consumer decision journey…

Consider these three levels of analysis:

Telescope – A clear view of the broad and long-term trends in the market, category, and brand. Digital tracking provides constant feedback on consumer habits, needs and wants. Betting understanding consumer challenges and improving them could help design better experiences.

Binoculars – A complete, integrated picture of where they spend their money, which interactions actually happen and what these outcomes are. These types of analytic data would help connect brands with customers and allow brands to make personal suggestions, share educational material or create crowd-sourced suggestion contests. All ways to strengthen the emotional engagement from brand fans.

Microscope – Technology and analytics to create services, messages and offering that are relevant to the individual. research shows that this level of personalization can deliver five to eight times the ROI on marketing spending and lift sales 10% or more.

It will be interesting to see how Apple uses these methods to develop its marketing with a more digital, interactive and analytical approach while maintaining its creativity.

Newspaper Ads Continue Decline in 2013

Picture 3According to the Newspaper Association of America, total newspaper revenues including advertising and circulation, fell 2.5% from $38.6 billion in 2012 to $37.5 billion in 2013. Annual comparisons are now the only benchmark for measuring the newspaper industry’s performance, as the NAA stopped reporting quarterly figures at the end of 2014.

While is no surprise that newspaper advertising continues to decline, its interesting that all of the revenue change doesn’t go directly to digital. The losses were slightly offset by 1.5% increase to $3.42 billion in digital advertising and 2.4% increase to $1/4 billion in direct marketing.

The article on Media Post, also sites that Pure-play digital ad revenues increase 14% while mobile ad revenues rose 77% – yet mobile still contributes less than 1% of total ad revenues. Other sources including digital agency and marketing services also increased 5% to $3.5 billion.

In fact newspapers’ digital ad revenues are growing at a much slower rate than Internet advertising overall, which jumped 17% from 2012-2013.

Sadly, total newspaper ad revenues have declined every year since 2006 and with the adaptation of major city papers cutting back daily distribution and increasing digital ad opportunities, I expect more negative change in the future for traditional print media.


PR Trends to Adapt Today

1254520_teamwork__1The Public Relations atmosphere is constantly changing due to the Internet and businesses demanding results. To communicate effectively, we need to share brand messages to cultivate mutually beneficial relationships build on trust and understanding. Success in today’s challenging field is communicating your message across multiple platforms, and these trends are gaining momentum. In order to stay relevant, we as professionals need to adapt and use these methods in our communications programs.

From PR News, here are five trends for 2014.

  1. Continued Push for ROI
    In order to justify today’s public relations campaigns, you need to get over the fear of relying on data and numbers to judge results. Technology is growing closer to accurately measuring the impact of PR, providing tools for gauging customer engagement, brand sentiment and actions directly attributed to income revenue. This data provides insight to adjusting your message and optimizing campaigns.
  2. Erasing Traditional Boundaries
    PR teams need to embrace and collaborate with complementary departments, such as marketing and sales, but also social consumers who are helping to shape opinions and brands. Social media, content marketing and SEO have evolved with traditional departments into one cohesive marketing strategy. Connecting with online fans can create some of your most effective spokespersons.
  3. Advanced Brand Journalism
    Traditional media is undergoing massive decline, leaving PR departments searching for more sustainable ways to disseminate their messages across audiences. Some businesses are expanding brand journalism capabilities by contracting freelancers or seasoned journalists and publishers in-house to enhance their ability to develop winning content strategies. At the same time, PR practitioners need to recognize social media and digital publishing are new preferred outlets for accessing news – and strategically deliver content to their audiences through them.
  4. Renewed Emphasis on Trust
    Building trust with the public is a fundamental element of every effective PR campaign. And because the Internet allows every opinion a voice, it’s even more important to send a message that instills confidence and trust. Position your brand as a leader in dealing with emerging digital threats by relating in real terms the progressive actions being taken to harbor a secure online environment.
  5. The Social Mission
    The success of philanthropic businesses  – those dedicated to supporting important human and environmental changes instead of investors – gives every business a new reason to have a philanthropic mission statement. The concept of tying a brand to a social cause that resonates with your core consumers is age old, and publicly taking action can be a powerful tool for winning over socially conscious consumers to build trust and deeper emotional connections.

While PR tactics are changing, its core purpose and objectives remain the same. PR professionals that adapt to these digital changes and use them effectively to achieve (and show) results will have greater relevance for years to come.

Timeless Content Marketing Lessons

A very interesting blog caught my attention in which a little history turned into some timeless lessons we could learn from none other than Mr. Benjamin Franklin – one of the best marketers of his time. Not only did he have access to a printing press to share his ideas and educate early America, but he inspired revolution and stamped his brand in history.

Earliest known content marketing examples are August Oetker’s cookbooks that were content marketing for his Backin baking powder (1891) or John Deere’s magazine The Furrow which served as content marketing for the company’s farm equipment (1895). BUT Mr. Franklin began publishing Poor Richard’s Almanack in 1732 (nearly 159 years earlier) and continued to  publish for 25 years, each time harnessing the power of print and influence of words.

So, what are these lessons?
First, Franklin’s focus was on creating the best content possible. If you publish just anything today, it blends into the sphere of endless information. However, if you create content that has personality, resonates with people and is entertaining… then you have their Attention and Interest.

Listen to Benjamin Franklin’s own explanation of the type of content he was determined to use:

In 1732 I first published my Almanack under the name of Richard Saunders; it was continued by me about twenty-five years, and commonly called Poor Richard’s Almanack. I endeavoured to make it both entertaining and useful, and it accordingly came to be in such demand, that I reaped considerable profit from it, vending annually near ten thousand.
(from article)

It wasn’t to self promote – it was to create entertaining and useful information.

Leading to the second lesson: produce content that our customers crave and value – especially if it isn’t focused on your business. Directly tied to generating GREAT content is generating DESIRED content.

The most powerful kind of content for you to create might actually be content that doesn’t focus on your business or industry at all. While he didn’t invent the concept of an almanac, he knew by popularity that his audience craved this type of content (best sellers second only to the Bible).

Discover the types of content your prospects and customers crave, and create it for them.

Third, Become an information connoisseur for your audience. Not only did Franklin include his own voice in the booklet, but he added the most basic elements of an almanac: calendar, weather info, poems and astrological info.

Even if you are recycling content or addressing the same topics of your competitor, you need to incorporate your Brand Voice.

Finally, don’t forget the power of serialization. One of the things that made Poor Richard’s Almanac valuable was it contained “news stories,” meaning that readers had to keep purchasing a new version to see what happened to the main news characters.

Even modern novelists and television show writers know that people love suspense and teasers. When you create content over a series of articles or blog posts and use teasers or cliff hangers at the end, your readers are compelled to find out more. It builds momentum as the story unfolds across article or posts.

It’s important we stay current with trends and tools that help reach our diverse audiences as technology advances, but don’t lose touch with the valued marketing lessons unchanged by time and across media.

What do you consider timeless marketing lessons?

Creating B2B Viral Video Success

How do you demonstrate a machine’s agility? Why playing a giant game of Jenga(R) of course… or so Caterpillar thought anyways and it has turned into a huge viral video success. While the details of most B2B ad messages are technical and not very innovative, Caterpillar shows us that any business can have a little fun in their marketing.

Wouldn’t it be fun to try this?!

And there’s a behind the scenes video bonus in this AdAge article.


Maximizing the Power of Employee Chatter

Many companies know that employees make the best advocates when building a company’s image – what they may know be doing is using that to their advantage online.

social_networkingNew digital ad technology and software is helping plug workers into marketing strategies according to top ad industry experts. For example, LinkedIn introduced a new metric that scores how well content performs on the site – the Content Marketing Score – among other recent changes for business profile pages. From an AdWeek article, employees are now key to increasing this score, the more they post the better the content fares because shared content has the best chance of being seen on the platform, and gauges how well their messaging is faring compared to rivals.

Other factors in the CMS include how often a brand posts and its reach and engagement. As LinkedIn moves beyond 200 million users, the company is making numerous changes for business that could also mean major changes in social media message strategy. Not only do businesses need to redesign their LinkedIn profiles into portfolio pages, but now they need to reconsider how to use their employees’ profiles to benefit the company bottom line as well.

“It’s just good to keep folks inside a company engaged with what the brand is producing,” Percolate CEO Noah Brier said. “Ideally, if the brand is producing interesting content, it is a point of pride and also keeps them informed.”

Do you agree with LinkedIn business changes? How do you think the Content Marketing Score will affect message strategy across social platforms?