Tag Archives: Social Networking

New York, New York: Recap From The 4A’s Data Summit

The 4A’s hosted their first ever Data Summit in New York on Wednesday Oct 16th with a jam packed agenda corresponding to the growing trend in big data and how it is evolving the advertising industry.

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I was skeptical at first that the conference would dive so deep into the numbers that the strategy side of data would be lost.  To my surprise, I spent a wonderful day listening to numerous industry leaders, technology companies, and even a data scientist who impressed me with his knowledge on the wide world of data.  Here’s a brief look at my top 5 takeaways from the day:

  1.  Data and Privacy – there was a lively debate about privacy issues as it relates to data collecting and who is really being harmed in the process.  I think as long as we give the consumer a choice we can stay in front of strict regulations.  Clients want to build trust with their consumer, even more so today than ever, so if we are transparent with them we can make their ad experience better and more relevant.
  2. Programmatic Buying – the panel started out with a real time media trade and ended with a lively panel discussing this hot topic.  Data is allowing us to shift our thoughts from media buying to audience buying in a way we could never do before.  Real time trading allows machines to do the work faster than a human could and with a new resurgence of this concept higher quality placements and reach are at your fingertips.  I feel in an area where inventory can be limitless such as the web the trading desk can succeed but in an area where inventory is so limited such as TV and cable it will be hard to move to this model in the near future.
  3.  Facebook as a solutions provider – Facebook is committed to moving their advertising offerings to the next step and provide clients with real ROI on their business outcomes.  They are focused on providing advertising solutions for the mobile space since people are checking their phone on average 100 x a day.  It will be interesting to watch this next progression with Facebook since up until now it has been more focused on engagement metrics.
  4. Creativity comes from everywhere – media, data, creative, and technologist all need to come together to find solutions for clients to reach their audience.  We need to look to transform our own business to break down any silos that prohibit creative thinking.  The customer has to be in the center and we need to follow them on how they interact with a brand and what technology they use to do that.  We need to consider how a consumer connects with their multiple screens and devise a creative strategy for the context of that device.
  5. Future trends to keep an eye on – a representative from Goldman Sachs presented an enlightening snapshot at how Wall Street values big data.  They believe ad dollars will continue to shift online and that programmatic buying will continue to grow.  They predict a time when their will be frictionless buying across traditional and digital platforms.  (Can we say hallelujah!)  They believe the visualization of the web will continue as well as growth with companies leveraging first party data (Facebook, Amazon, LinkedIn).

In the end the trip was a HUGE success and we learned so much. Thanks to the 4A’s for putting this conference together. We can’t wait to come back up next year.

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6 Tips to Getting Started in Social Media: A Recap from This Week’s Webinar

This past week my colleague and I attended a  webinar on social media strategy put together by Media Life Magazine. As a media agency whose digital department continues to grow, we’re always looking to expand our knowledge within the social media space. While most of the information presented was focused on businesses just getting started in social media, the presenter had some excellent tips even for the seasoned social marketer. Here are six of the key takeaways we took from the presentation.

  1. Having traditional AND social presence- if you only use one strategy you will lose market share. Make sure you remain flexible in developing your online strategies. Just because you want to be online doesn’t mean you have to abandon your other strategies. Understanding your existing marketing initiatives and how you can leverage them with your new social strategy with help you become successful.
  2. Use social icons across all mediums – be sure to let people know you are available on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. Make sure business cards include how they can contact you via social media.
  3. Defining your audience and goals upfront so that you are not wasting time and money. Making sure you know who you’re trying to reach and not posting blindly. Understanding what goal you’re reaching towards. Whether it’s making money or expanding our audience, your goal needs to be defined in the beginning. If you are trying to reach:
    1. Broad targeted audience – Facebook
    2. Women/Selling products – Pinterest
    3. B2B – LinkedIn
  4. Figure out how much time your company can afford to spend on social media. Do you need to outsource it? Can you afford managing internally? Defining how much time you can invest internally to managing a Facebook presence may save you time in the long run. If you don’t have time, don’t create 10 different profiles.  Social media takes time so don’t expect it to happen overnight. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t expect quick results when working with social media.
  5. Build relationships in order to earn trust.  Don’t always talk about yourself and your company’s offerings. Talking about yourself too much will turn off your audience. Create compelling content – don’t post statements; ask questions, be engaging, interact and make it interesting by staggering posts across all social media outlets.
  6. Define your goals – Be sure to establish immediate, long-term and monthly goals. You can always measure the results of the campaign to tell what works and what doesn’t. Where is the traffic coming from? How are people engaging? This is the type of information you should look for when analyzing your social presence. No matter what your goal, you should always run analytics to measure the success of your campaigns and to make adjustments.

Quick Tips For The Conference Amateur

Football fans have the Super Bowl. College basketball fans have March Madness. Advertising agencies have the 4A’s conference. Once a year, agencies both large and small, come together for the American Association of Advertising Agencies national conference, and lucky for us this year’s conference will be held in sunny Los Angeles. Media Works is ecstatic to be going, but more importantly we’re prepared.

As a young professional starting my career, I recently attended my first industry conference. I’ll admit it was a little overwhelming. There were industry leaders there from all across the country, many of who were like online celebrities in the social media world. When all was said and done I learned valuable lessons that have prepared us for the big show next week.

1) Preparation Is Key.

Remember when you were a kid and your mother would stop you at the door and ask “Do you have everything?” You’d shrug and continue on your way and then when you got to school you’d remember that you left your inhaler on the kitchen table? Well folks, that lesson still applies today. Before you travel to any event make sure you prepare a quick packing list. Be sure to include necessary items like phone chargers, business cards, and your special Hulk Hogan plush pillow. As silly as it sounds, we wouldn’t want a repeat of your 5th grade sleepover disaster.

Aside from bringing your vital necessities, you should also remember to prepare for your trip socially. To prime ourselves for the trip out West we’ve made a point to follow and connect with many speakers BEFORE the event. This is done to help with research as well as giving us something to talk about when we eventually meet. Just make sure your Twitter and Facebook are in shape to be viewed by your cohorts. You wouldn’t want the president of a big television network to see your Spring Break pictures would you?

2) Don’t Network Like A Mad Man

Of course we’ve all heard the mantra before, network network network. The question is, how do you know if you’re doing it right? Social media has made it easier to connect and remain “Linked” to individuals but the skills for face-to-face networking opportunities, like those that are available to you at a conference, may take some practice.

Luke Harlan published an insightful guide called “Ultimate Networking Strategies” in which he outlined key strategies for making the most out of your opportunity. The idea is that you want to go in to an event with a clear objective, as well as a strategy to get it done. One of his best points was that you should be looking for Links, NOT prospects. This means going in and finding that one person who can connect you to a greater audience. No sense in wasting your time chatting with the intern about your global sales initiatives, unless of course his dad is the president of a big television network.

So before you leave for that trip, be sure to write down your goals, the key links who will be there, and a couple of questions to ask them when you meet. Trust me, in the end your preparation will show your enthusiasm and increase the chance of reconnecting after the event.

3) Utilize The Tools You Have

Having a smartphone these days can often be the single most effective tool when visiting a conference. Forgot your business cards? Use the app Bump to exchange contact information. Don’t know where to grab dinner? Download Yelp or Aloqa to locate interesting restaurants or events close to your hotel. Need a way to remember the names of the people you meet? Try out #hashable, the new app for keeping track of the social profiles of other attendees.

In the end, the idea is that you want to pre plan as much of your trip as possible. There’s nothing like being stuck on a flight with a screaming two-year-old, struggling to find a cab at the airport, realizing your hotel bed sheets are still dirty, just to remember you forgot your business cards for the next morning. Walking into that room with all of your materials and your list of potential connections, you’ll have the needed confidence to get you through your very first conference.

A Social Commerce Role Model

Written by our March guest blogger Chris Richards of Fanpagetoolkit, a Philadelphia-based start-up pioneering a Facebook commerce and marketing platform for businesses, brands, and individuals.

While some groups have been busy preemptively criticizing social commerce and any new ventures into Facebook commerce, others have taken a creative lead and elevated the industry to a new level.

Heinz, we thank you. With the creation of a “pop-up” limited time store on Facebook, you’ve become a prime example for those looking for a role model of successful Facebook commerce.

As a big business, Heinz demonstrated the core principles of successful social commerce by offering a limited time promotion allowing Facebook fans to create and buy customized “Get Well” cans of soup for friends or family. Was the promotion incredibly profitable? No. In fact, that wasn’t the point.

“It wasn’t a revenue-driving activity, but more of a creative campaign to engage with consumers,” explained Nigel Dickie, director of corporate and government affairs for Heinz UK and Ireland.

Was it successful? Yes. Considering Facebook’s inherently social and familial nature, the brand aimed to tap into the more personal side of their customers. This connection would have otherwise been impossible on a traditional brand website, and Facebook’s sharing features ended up elevating the promotion to something remarkable. Generating over 32,000 “likes” and 40,000 interactions with the Facebook shop, eMarketer reports that the campaign was in fact very successful in a truly “social” way.

Looking at the promotion in more detail, what can we learn from Heinz and their “Get Well” soup Facebook store?

1. Creativity is king. Heinz made an attractive looking campaign. Using snappy, pre-like page graphics, and clear calls to action, this promotion left the creativity up to users as they composed their customized soup can messages. In this case, the creative element was also the most “buzz-worthy,” as Heinz allowed fans to share their own customized messages with Facebook friends. The idea, in the first place, was highly creative and demonstrated a higher level of thinking about a rather basic product. By thinking outside of the traditional mindset of “we must sell soup to customers,” Heinz proved that creativity is king in social commerce promotions. Users don’t want the same experience they could get by going to a traditional e-commerce store. They want something unique, creative, and worth mentioning.

2. Money isn’t everything. As mentioned earlier, Heinz should be commended for realizing that not all promotions, or “shops” for that matter, are best measured in terms of sales numbers. In this case, they found that one in eight fans would buy something from the Facebook shop, but how can you put a price on the 32,000+ fans gained during the promotion? The countless shares and word of mouth recognition? All these factors contribute to “brand value,” a metric that leaves profit completely out of the equation. Finally, when the focus goes from money to genuine engagement, people and media take notice.

3. Limited availability drives action. Heinz Soup UK made their store available for a limited time, during the colder winter months, when many fans probably had sick friends and family. Then, only lasting for four weeks, the promotion conveyed a sense of urgency to sign-up and share soup. As opposed to leaving the store open for business constantly, Heinz made the strategic decision to make it a limited-time offering. The result? Increased word of mouth buzz and comments regarding availability. Looking on the Heinz Soup UK Facebook wall today, there are still comments asking for more customized soup! As a result, if and when it comes back online next time, the promotion will be even bigger and more popular, don’t you think?

4. Personal connections drive social commerce. Clearly, the biggest take away from this example is the fact that it highlights just how effective a truly “social” store-front can be. The feeling and phrase “Get well soon” is an age-old part of our society, and a warm bowl of soup is still sometimes seen as the best cold medicine. What Heinz capitalized on with its store was nothing more than human emotion at play. People like to share and make other feel better. In this case, a customized can of Heinz soup from Facebook was just what the doctor ordered.

Again, thank you Heinz for stepping up and reporting F-commerce results. The industry needs more shining examples such as yours. When the tools are readily available, there is no excuse for companies large and small to step up to the precedent set by Heinz, and create memorable, engaging Facebook commerce store fronts. Get creative!

Lastly, many thanks to Dr. Paul Marsden for again providing great food for thought with his article on Social Commerce Today.

For more information I can be reached on Twitter at @seerichards

Crowdfunding 101: Financial Backing For Modern Entrepreneurs

In a time when banks are skeptical about lending money, entrepreneurs are faced with a hefty challenge when it comes to finding capital to back startups. Instead of selling off ideas or stock in the company, entrepreneurs can now find backing through crowdfunding sites such as Fundageek.com or Kickstarter.com

Crowdfunding is a relatively new strategy for startups, but the concept comes from fundraising techniques common with charities and nonprofit organizations. The way it works is the entrepreneur creates a profile on the crowdfunding site explaining the business concept, financial goal, and why the funds are needed. The concept is to ask a large amount of people for a small contribution that doesn’t have to be repaid, versus asking a bank for a loan that does.

While some crowdfunding sites simply provide the donor with the gratification of helping someone’s dream come true, other models reward donors based on the amount they contribute to the idea. Kickstarter.com caters strictly to creative ideas (films, music, fashion, and the arts). One of the featured projects was Paz that wants to record his first studio album, “Dubstep in Starbucks” and has a goal of $10,000 to fund this project. Some of his notable contribution reward levels include:

$10 – free digital download of his album once it’s recorded

$2,500 – will fly anywhere and personally perform at your event

$10,000 – will grant you appearances in music videos, opportunities to collaborate with, and lifetime backstage and on stage access at any DJ Paz concert.

While some projects prove to be very successful, more than doubling their goals, others fall short. By featuring a concept on a crowdfunding site, entrepreneurs are able to see the potential success of their idea. Crowdfunding sites collect anywhere from 5%-25% of total funds raised, so sites tend to feature projects that they find more popular. The funds are held in an escrow account until the goal is reached. For projects that “fail” or do not meet their goal, 100% of funds are returned to the donors. Therefore, the entrepreneur is able to abandon the project without the financial woes of bad credit.

Social Media Taking to the Skies

Years ago, getting in touch with customer service took a lot of effort. You had to type a letter, put a stamp on it and then mail it off to a large corporation. Most of the time, you didn’t even get a response.

In recent years you have been able to get online and find an online form or email to write your complaints (or praises). This usually gives you an automated email but still much easier than in the past. With the constant evolvement in social media with your brand, your consumers can now tweet or leave you a Facebook comment that you can keep up with to hear exactly what they have to say. Sometimes, this can be more hurtful than not. It takes a lot less effort to write a rude tweet to someone than it was to sit down and type a well thought-out letter or place a phone call.

This has put more pressure on brands to have a presence on all social media sites. Whether it’s “retweets”, Facebook comments, or contacting Yelp Reviewers. They’re listening. 

Now, airlines are proving to have more involvement with their “unhappy” customers via Twitter and Facebook rather than if you had called or emailed. Due to their well known reputation of having poor customer service, the airline industry has taken a real initiative to use their social media as their number one customer service tool.

AdWeek states that JetBlue recently stopped charging for folded bikes carried on to their planes. Why? A customer angrily tweeted about it and it quickly spread around the world. “We love to see happy customers,” said JetBlue’s Morgan Johnston, who’s part of a team of 27 that monitors the airline’s Twitter account and Facebook page, which were established in 2007 and 2009, respectively. “We also understand that we’re not always going to win. But we have to be transparent about that.”

Southwest jumped on the bandwagon early. Starting their social media sites in 2007. While Delta was very late to the game, only joining Facebook and Twitter in 2010. Delta now has 14 employees who monitor their sites.

Do you find that it is much easier in this day in age to contact large corporations via social media sites? Or do you still prefer filling out customer service reports on their website. It’s nice to see such reputable companies taking great action in improving their customer service.

Do you Shazam?

In previous posts, we’ve discussed the idea of TV viewers having “two screens.” We all seem to be attached to not only the television but also a mobile device, tablet, or computer. Some brands are starting to embrace this challenge and are creating ways to break through to TV viewers.

A recent trend in advertising, especially during Super Bowl commercials and upcoming Oscars, involved several brands integrating the Shazam mobile app. For those who are unaware, Shazam is a music recognition technology that enables anyone with a mobile phone to identify music that is playing – even under noisy conditions – wherever they are, simply by Shazaming it. In order to Shazam, users can open the app on the mobile device; tap the button, and Shazam! The title, artisit, and album are literally at your finger tips.

Within the last year, Shazam created a TV friendly Shazam. Shazam for TV enables customers to tag their favorite shows or commercials to access exclusive content, contests, and other information. For example, during a Chevy commercial, I saw the Shazam badge in the bottom corner of the screen. I Shazamed it and it instantly gave me three options: visit Chevy.com, learn more about the music in the commercial, or rate the commercial. I also had a fourth option to post to Twitter or Facebook that I was watching the commercial. This kind of connection with the audience provides a new level of interaction and feedback that will enable the companies to further enhance and cater their messaging, and it clearly caught my attention.

Continuing with this trend, Mashable  reports that this weekend during the Academy Awards, Tide will provide viewers using Shazam with a free download of the song playing during their commercial. Who doesn’t love a free song download?  Getting your audience’s attention and being able to adapt to the new ways of TV viewing are incredibly important. I am happy to see brands breaking through the clutter and embracing other means of providing their viewers with information or even entertainment.