Time, the future of social mediaA recent Nielsen report shows how consumers are dividing their time between traditional TV, video on the internet and even AM/FM radio, truly opportunities for marketers to reach a segmented audience. The future of social media marketing lends itself to the uprising of audiences who speak the language of that particular social network. Pinterest and Instagram are perfect examples of how marketers will need to adjust their messages in order to engage with customers there.  Instagram is photo oriented, while Pinterest has collectors or virtual scrapbookers, the way a marketer sends a message to these two very different audiences will result in ignored content or engaged content.

Make Socialable talks about, “It will become more important to research where your target audience is spending their time and then tailor your social media marketing strategy to go where the customers are.”

Another future implication of where social media marketing is headed will be an increase in community development around specific topics.  Custom content is gaining momentum as marketing professionals realize that one size does not fit all.  Mobile marketing will show itself as a greater force as brands will make the connection between mobile and email marketing.  Marketing Sherpa reports “46% of marketers in the manufacturing or packaged goods industry, 65% of marketing agencies and consultancies, and 59% of retail or e-commerce marketers indicated mobile would impact their email.”  The use of tablets and smartphones will continue to grow and as new ways to use these gadgets increase, brands need to adopt a strategy to keep up with the trend.  A friend of mine recently told me her sons had reinvented the children’s game hide-n-seek by using their iPads to locate one another within the house on a snowy day.  Mobile is not only for making phone calls and checking the weather, there are other uses for it, and consumers are already steps ahead of anything brands could imagine.

Inkling Media explains the reasoning behind mobile adoption as a marketing strategy:

smartphone use up“Smartphone adoption continues to increase, and more of us are using our smartphones to access the web. We are searching and looking for information about businesses. This means that you need to be thinking about how people are experiencing your business and your website on smaller, mobile screens. Is your site optimized for mobile? Do you have a responsive theme? Are customers interacting with you via mobile, or are they frustrated by the experience?”

These are questions brands must address if a social media initiative is to be all-inclusive and effective reaching multiple audience segments.

Finally, monetizing the social media experience will reveal itself as not only the holy grail reasoning behind the formation of a social initiative, but the method, the how revelation will go off like a high wattage light bulb.  That annoying piece of content known as “Sponsored Content” on social news feeds will grow up and disguise itself as formidable news content and finally delivering customers to the water for a sales conversion. In this case it will be the Hennessy brand that has jumped first and most daring as the New York Times shares: “monetizing social content through the use of sponsored content; for example, digital pitches styled to look like the editorial content is becoming a hot trend. These ads carry a byline like an actual article. Vanity Fair has a six week effort running on the website “Sponsor Content” will carry the headline “Hennessy Fuels Our Chase for the Wild Rabbit … But What Does It All Mean?” Embedded in that ad will be a 90-second version of a commercial about Malcolm Campbell, the British race driver once called “the fastest man on earth,” that is also part of the Hennessy campaign. Additional native ads will include a look behind the scenes at the making of the commercial.”

This attempt at a direct monetization of social media is bold and certainly has its detractors, however, when it comes to social media, marketers are sometimes at a loss to understanding the human dimension and how to relate to those people who are on the other side of the computer screen. As brands continue in their quest to get to know us, the consumer, we can expect similar attempts to go awry, but some may actually hit the target. The future implications of social media is bright, however some brands still won’t be able to see.

Advertisements

viral marketing initiativesUnderstanding that relationships fuel social media success, and that when there is a human connection to a marketing message, that message is more liable to be conveyed to many. In order for a marketing initiative to go viral there must be a human connection, or an emotional bond that is forged when this message is conveyed.  If marketers focus on the end result of deriving an emotion from the message, then the marketing funnel is likely to be filled with interested, loyal consumers.

While reading Berger and Milkman (2011,) there is a strong belief that when a marketing message touches upon human emotion there is a relationship between “emotion and social transmission.”  Also that positive content will become more viral than negative content according to the results of their study.  Basically, controversial content can go viral, however, people want to feel good, they want to smile, they want to say “ahh.”  When a positive content goes viral brands can expect that “59% of people report that they frequently share online content with others (Allsop, Bassett, and Hoskins 2007), and someone tweets a link to a New York Times story once every four seconds (Harris 2010,) (Berger and Milkman, 2011.) Think of a a positive message as a seed that is planted and the result of that seed is a blooming flower.  This leads to one of the characteristics of the most successful marketing messages according to the Global Good Group: “A viral campaign will only spread if people are interested in sharing it. One of the best ways of accomplishing this is to get influential members of a social group to endorse the message. For example, if you are making a viral campaign targeted to football fans, then having it endorsed by a big football personality can get the ball rolling.”  Seeds are necessary to making a marketing campaign go viral.

Content that consumers can share that adds value to their lives (good restaurants, coupons with financial savings) provide benefits that make a person feel as if they have obtained information that will enhance their lives. From this perspective, on a psychological level emotion shapes vitality and videos like ‘Gangnam Style” or “The Harlem Shake” offer a high level of participation as well (the feeling of being a part of something bigger and more fun than themselves.)

These videos went viral because “they are relatively simple videos and dance moves that can be easily recreated and uploaded by thousands of people,” (Mastro, 2013.)

A viral message should be funny, cute, participatory or controversial (however, keep in mind negative messages have less chance of going viral than a positive one.)  Another  characteristic of a successful viral marketing campaign is “action.”  Notice these characteristics all have the underlying root to a human emotion.  Emotions are powerful, yet difficult to capture.  However, if a brand has the goal of making a person laugh, cry, or do something, as opposed to that goal being to sell a product, then something amazing happens. That marketing campaign will take on another life, develop a different path and while on its journey to virality, millions of people will experience it or want to experience it and search the internet to find out what others are talking about.  That’s what a good viral marketing initiative does; it causes others to want to know what everyone else is so interested in.  It’s like being on the outside of a large crowd, you want to get to the front of the crowd to see what all the excitement is about. Viral marketing success is at the center of what others are looking at.

Coke vs Pepsi, which is best?

Which one uses social media best?

 

What makes Coke so different from Pepsi on social media?  It’s not so much as they are different, or that their strategic goals differ that much, but really how much alike they are in getting the message out to their customers about who they are. And I’m not talking about who the brands are, but who the customers are who drink their products. Coke and Pepsi use social media to help users of their particular brands define themselves in society not so much as a means to selling more product, but as a method to create what the perfect Coke or Pepsi drinker looks like.

Coke-vs-Pepsi

 

Coca-Cola fits the definition of a social media rock star. With over 73 million likes on Facebook, and over 1.9 million Twitter followers, Coca-Cola seems to have found the jizz in social media.  Ironically, the Coca-Cola Facebook presence did not begin by the brand; instead it was a started by loyal users of the product actors and screenwriters Dusty and Michael who amassed a “few hundred thousand fans” to the page.  Instead of wrestling control over the brands’ social media image from the creators of the Facebook page, the company decided in the interest of good business sense “to join them and build on the existing audience.”  It’s easy to quote numbers of followers, and likes, but behind those numbers who are the users of the product,and how does Coke gets them to believe they belong in a Coca-Cola world drinking this product.

Over on Facebook, Coke uses its page “to promote its community- and family-oriented message.”  While on Twitter, Coke uses it as a means to respond to customer inquiries, a virtual customer service outlet.  Theoretically, you could say Coke uses Twitter for meeting customer service metrics, and Facebook to expand on existing corporate social responsibility initiatives.  The dichotomy is interesting as Coke has discovered how to use social media aligning it with corporate objectives.

coca cola vs pepsi

In 2010 Pepsi created a social media responsibility campaign entitled “Refresh Everything” campaign in which it asked its “fans” to come up with ideas to “refresh the world” in the categories of health, the planet, art and culture, food and shelter, neighborhoods, and education. Fans submit descriptions of their ideas. Pepsi screens and posts them on the website. Visitors vote on them. Then, after considering the votes, Pepsi selects which ones to fund.  In a nutshell, Pepsi chose to promote corporate social responsibility initiative through the use of social media. Quite a crafty move, as this initiative appeared to survive in a socially comfortable place after suffering from a damaged public image from the 1997-1998 incidental support of the junta regime in Burma. If you notice any of PepsiCo’s ads, they are seasoned with lifestyle, fun and living to the fullest if you use their products. These marketing slices are integrated into the perception of what Pepsi wants us to believe about the brand. Creating messages of this sort embeds the idea of ‘what a good company Pepsi must be’ because they do thus and thus.  Not to say this is some sort of trickery, not in the least bit. Pepsi is simply using social media in a customer friendly kind of way as to maintain a positive image of the brand. And it works. Pepsi drinkers believe in the product and will tell you they don’t drink Coke because it “does not have that burn” when they drink it (Quote from Chantal Ford, youthful friend and Pepsi drinker.) “Pepsi’s energy and whimsy shines through,”  on social media.  Then there is this year’s “Fan Enough” promotion that is tied into the NFL.  This type of thought process lends to the belief that Pepsi customers trust the brand immensely; that “the trust bank,” is large. Social media success has the solid foundation of trust, just like real life relationships. In order for social media to work, to advance strategic goals for a brand, a relationship between the brand and the customer must exist.  By the time a relationship is established, trust has already been formed. The key is to maintain and grow the trust, that’s where true social media success reigns. Note: It’s just been announced that Bruno Mars will be appearing at halftime at next year’s Super Bowl Halftime Show. This year it is Beyonce; Pepsi knows what their audience likes.

Pepsi Truck brings coke machine

Pepsi Truck brings coke machine

 

 

Time to take off the glasses

My glasses on a coffee table in front of a lamp. Shot with a Canon 60D, 1/30s, f/5.6 ISO3200

Since these days anyone with a smartphone is a photographer, there are some really cool photoblogging platforms available. Particularly if your motivation is just to showcase your own photos there are some options for all budding photographers and experienced ones as well.

My friends call me the queen of free, that is, I can find ways to promote on the internet without paying for it. That’s why Google’s Blogger platform comes to mind when I think of free web-based blogging platforms. WordPress and Tumblr are also good platforms, with Tumblr being “ultra-social,” WordPress is “highly customizable” and Blogger “has a fast and painless set-up.”

Lemons

Some keys to successful photoblogging?

Post frequently.  To develop a following or fan base, you have to keep your content in front of eyes that are looking for you.  It’s nothing like visiting your favorite blog only to discover the last post was in 2012.  Also, resize photos to the same dimension if possible and “avoid posts of other media: video, text and audio. This not only changes the look and user experience, but can take away from your blog’s narrative.”

Be sociable!Chess ground level

You may want to consider making your comments easy to access and share. Some photobloggers integrate a Facebook style comment section that resembles Facebook (you can get the HTML for this widget from the Facebook developer section)

Reach out to fellow photobloggers and create a blog roll where the links to their blogs appear on your blog. Not only does this give an online shout out to the photoblogs you admire, if those blogs have good page ranking from Google, then the Google Gods will bless your blog with a thumbs up for relevancy and increase your Page Rank. Google Page Rank is a 1-10 with 10 being the highest and most credible (think CNN.com.)

Most importantly pay attention to how your content (photos) impact the traffic your blog receives. If you take photos of flowers and post them on your blog and suddenly those posts get lots of Retweets, shares, etc. take that into consideration that your audience loves flower pictures and you should go out and take as many flower photos as you can to keep your audience happy! Beautiful red flower

white swan at Disney

Photos by LaTease

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and in social media those thousand words can quickly become hundreds of thousands of viral shares.  That’s why photographers have to remain creative with their social media offerings.  Just like any good advertising jingle, your pictures need a “hook” or something that attracts the eye and the mind at the same time in a moment’s notice.  People love eye catching graphics, and oftentimes want a back story to go along with them.   It is our job as photographers to give the people what they want because social media now demands that of us.

tiger in a tree, at st louis zoo

Some photographers are very serious about their craft and refuse to ‘give in’ to the masses concerning their work, that is, photographers can be stubborn because creativity is an individual sport, never needing true acceptance from the rest of the world, however, if no one is paying attention to your ‘art’ it can be a lonely world.  That’s why it’s important that photographers learn how to use the various social media platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and even Blogging in order to go where the audience is.  If you offer good quality shots, no matter the genre, you will attract a niche following sometimes that will keep your work unique and appreciated.  Also, make sure you protect your intellectual property, ” “Watermarking photos is one option. If you use a professional photographer, include the right to publish the photos across digital, social media and print options in your contract.” And learn how to optimize your photos for search, take a look at Google’s recommendations according to the Social Media Examiner.

tiger coming out of water, at st louis zoo

Photos by LaTease

 

The work comes in not with the shooting and post production editing of an image, no that’s the fun stuff.  The work begins when you have to become a business person alongside being the creative director of your work.  In dealing with social media applications, make sure you have a clear understanding and operate within the Terms of Service (TOS) of the social media site(s) you are using.  You don’t want to have your account deleted because you failed to play by the rules.  In addition, make sure you monitor all activity concerning your product, particularly user generated content.  If there are concerns surrounding your work, like where you shot it, even if it is offensive to someone, address these matters with care and concern in an expeditious manner.  Don’t let your users control your brand because before you know it, your reputation will go down the tubes and it is a difficult to it.

Silverback Gorilla

Photos by LaTease

 

This brings me to the benefits and risks involved with going public and putting yourself on display before a global audience. It’s a daunting task and if you happen to be an introverted creative sort, then pay particular attention to this advice from Tech Republic: “The potential benefits of social media for businesses are clear: an ability to market and advertise in a direct, interactive and usually free way to a potentially massive global audience. But as social-media use increases, businesses are becoming aware of the risks.

The ability of users to post comments and opinions on social media networks provides a platform for criticism, whether or not justified, and the misuse of a business’s brand and content.”

Cockatiel bird

Photos by LaTease

 

One of the most important attributes from the above quote, that while having the ability to market and advertise in a direct, interactive and usually free manner to so many people is exciting, however, with that much potential power, risks lie therein.  Treat your social media activity the same way you would if you were running a brick and mortar business and advertising for clients in a newspaper, radio or television ad, with ethical behavior, good customer service, always serve your audience.

 

Image

Instagram, Flickr, Pinterest and Picassa Web Albums by Google are all apps available for use to photographers.  Picassa does not enjoy the same popularity and level of usage that the other three apps do because Google has not merged this platform with Google+ (if they do, with the level of photo editing a photographer can do, it would be fantastic!)  Because Google has not implemented such a function, there is currently no way to measure the success or popularity of photos posted on the site.  I discovered today that my Picassa Web Album photos do not all appear in Google+, which is unfortunate.  You must ‘share’ your photos to G+, and as of this writing, G+ is the only social media website you may share your Picassa photos on, this could be one reason many photographers do not use it as much.   However, I felt the need to add Picassa to this discussion because of the potential the app has and is not being used.

On the other hand, Instagram, Flickr and Pinterest all have analytics information that is accessible to photographers.  With Pinterest, there is a formula that helps determine if photos are popular.  That formula is:

PINTEREST M/M GROWTH = (THIS MONTH’S FOLLOWERS – LAST MONTH’S FOLLOWER’S)/LAST MONTH’S FOLLOWERS

(Where M/M = month over month)*

Hilton Head SC Disney Resort 026

“By visiting the analytics dashboard on your Pinterest account, you can learn the following information: The daily average of the number of pins from your website as well as the average number of people who pin. The daily average number of pins that are taken from your website and repinned on Pinterest as well as the average number of people that choose to repin these pinsThe daily average number of times that your business’s pins appear in Pinterest’s main feed. The daily average number of people that were exposed to your pins on PinterestThe average number of people that were directed to your website from clicking on a Pinterest pin,” (Digital Sherpa)

BEAUTIFUL ROCK FORMATIONS IN THE OCEAN.

Flickr is limited in its analytics because it does not show traffic outside of the Flickr community.  Even though I have a Flickr widget on my blog, that traffic does not register within the Flickr analytic measurement tool.  This app shows recent activity, such as who wants you to join a relevant photo group, or who liked your photos, however as I stated before it is limited to the Flickr community.  This is such a likable and golden gem of an app; however, it shoots itself in the foot by not ‘playing’ on a measurable analytic level with other social media platforms.  However, according to Thomas Hawk’s Digital Connection, “The single greatest tool for garnering attention on Flickr is to have your photos appear in the “Explore” section of Flickr’s interestingness stream. Interestingness is a secret sauce formula algorithm on Flickr whereby they post what their algorithm says are the 500 most interesting photos on Flickr each day to their Explore section. The higher the rank, the more people see it. Despite the top secretness formula of interestingness, it is really not that complicated to understand in broad terms. Your photos are deemed interesting when they have activity. When people tag your photos, comment on your photos, view your photos, leave notes on your photos, and especially when they favorite your photos you increase your interestingness rank.”

DIVA DOING TINA TURNER

Since Instagram seems to be the flavor of the moment, and everyone wants to use it, I’ve discovered that this app is about building relationships. It has an up close and personal feel, and you are able to view at any time the number of likes, shares and new followers.  Simply log in to your account and at the bottom of your page, look at the heart shaped icon and click on it. What is phenomenal about Instagram is you cannot add or upload photos from a desktop!  It is strictly mobile (tablet and smartphone.)  Most of my best photos are on my external hard drive, so many times if I want to share those, I have to email them to myself and download them to my memory card in my phone or tablet.

Hilton Head SC Disney Resort 049

As you can see, I’m active on all three of these social media apps because it is just another way to get my work in front of people. I have gotten assignments from my work on Flickr (my photos were seen on the Discovery Channel-Storm Chasers, CNN, and Schmap) because of my activity on this site.   Lately, I’ve been getting photo jobs from my Facebook posts as well.  As a result of a wedding I just shot, I will be shooting a retirement celebration of a pastor at a church (in video) this weekend.  Photography is a love of mine, I don’t just buy camera equipment because I can, I buy them based on need, and the potential for enhancing my skills.  I hope you enjoy my work!

I’m on Flickr:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/teasa/

Pinterest:  http://pinterest.com/latease/boards/

Instagram:  http://instagram.com/teasastips

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