Five More Lessons From SXSW 2013

1. Trust Is The New Social Glue

  • As social media marketers, we often ask how we can draw clients to our products and help them complete a purchase. This weekend at SXSWi, I found the answer: trust. The power of social media is that it connects people with your company and allows people to get to know you. People trust their friends more than a stranger because they know them. Social media is now the medium that lets you build that connection and level of trust.

 Bottom line: If you allow consumers to know what you value, they will trust you.

                                                                                                                        

2. Mobile is the Hub Of Brand Experience

  • The last five years have seen an explosion in smartphone use. With this explosion there has been a shift in brand experience. Today, consumers experience your company on their phones more than anywhere else. Did you know that 65% shopping starts on a smartphone? When your consumer is on the go it’s important to make sure you are with them because loyalty now lives in their pocket. We’ve seen this first-hand with the app we helped develop for our client, D&M Leasing.

Bottom line: Finding your way into a potential customers pocket will give you new opportunities for business.

                                                                                                                         

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The Uncertain Future of Facebook Graph Search

The much buzzed-about Facebook Graph Search is getting closer to its wide release. And although its development is progressing, there are plenty of questions still to be answered about how successful it can be.

For those that don’t know, Facebook Graph Search is a search engine within Facebook that allows users to “cross-reference” people with places, interests, likes, activities, etc. The goal, as Facebook puts it, is to “discover fun connections between people, places and things.” For marketers, this means defining a target market even further in order to find their ideal consumers and cater to them.

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All of That Sounds Great – But Will it Work?

Last week, a panel of experts at SXSW Interactive discussed Graph Search and its future. The most pressing concern was that as of now, its usability is way off. At the moment, it’s too difficult to navigate and find what you’re looking for. The full version won’t be released to everyone for another 6-12 months. At that point, it should be easier conduct searches. Then we will see a wider implementation of the service.

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There are a lot of questions that need to be asked since Graph Search is still young in its development. 

  • Will it become pervasive?
  • Will the masses use it?
  • Is there a real need for it?
  • How will it work with the new News Feed?
  • Is there an interest from consumers to see brand conversations?
  • Will the fact that people aren’t completely honest online affect its usability?
  • How will graph search sort content that is in image form?

 

What We Know Today

These questions, and many more, will ultimately be answered when Graph Search is fully functional. But from early testing, a few things have become clear.

  1.  This feature will be most useful in its mobile functionality. Targeting users based on their current location will be the easiest information to find  consumers. Catering to customers based on their current location will promote moment-by-moment targeting. Marketers can also use this information to study consumer’ habits and tailor their campaigns to meet those needs.
  2.  Graph Search should help to increase engagement. Once marketers have learned more about their consumers, users should be given more accurate and relevant content. In turn, this should encourage engagement and place a stronger emphasis on communicating with consumers. These increased conversations should then drives sales. 

Going Forward

Tell us what you think! Will you try Graph Search for your own personal use and benefit? Would you use it to connect with people who have similar interests?

The 5 Reasons You Need Video

Did you know that product videos make consumers 85% more likely to buy (Internet Retailer)? As technology advances, the use of video on company websites has shifted from an added bonus to an expected component. Your potential clients spend their entire day reading text online, on their phones, and at work. Communicating through video is a great way to provide them with a break from all of the reading they do. 

The advantages of video are best seen in the form of video testimonials. Five advantages are:

 1.     Emotional Connection

  • Think about the last time you heard someone speak about an experience with a lot of emotion. It likely made you feel passionate about their story and helped you relate to it. Video testimonials allow the viewer to learn about your company from someone else’s experience. Listening to someone else speak helps them understand the impact you can have and can be the factor that leads them to choose your business.

 2.     They Brag For You

  • We all know someone who talks about how great they are all the time. Our first reaction usually is to tune them out or assume they’re exaggerating. As a business, it’s hard to talk about yourself without sounding too arrogant. Using video to share client testimonials is a great way to have someone else do the talking for you.  This way people will still know how great you are, and they’ll know that it’s genuine. 

3. Word of Mouth Marketing

  • Videos are easy to send to friends and post on social media networks. Word of mouth is the most effective form of marketing, so having a video to share makes it easy for your audience to pass your message along. Forrester Research found that people are 75% more likely to watch video than read print. Video is a great tool that should be used the same way movies use trailers; give your viewer a taste of what’s to come and build their interest in what you can offer.

4. Easy To Find, Easy To Watch

  • Video hosting sites like YouTube have sharing buttons that make it easy for you to post your video anywhere and everywhere. You can embed it on your website, post it on your Facebook, tweet it, pin it and email it. The last thing you’d want is for a client to share their experience and have no one see it. It doesn’t hurt that 85% of people choose to watch a video about a company online rather than read the rest of the website according to Forrester Research. Video is easy to find and easy to watch. 

5.  Videos Are Sticky

  • According to DigiDay, people stay on websites 5.33 times longer with video. Websites can become mundane or redundant when the only thing you have is text. Your visitors will quickly get bored and click away from your site. Adding a video will not only help draw people to your site but it will also help keep them there. Now that you have them hooked, you can be confident they’ll see parts of your site they would have missed if they had just clicked away.

Check out some the testimonials we’ve created below! Let us know, have you used video testimonials for your company? 

                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                        

                                                                                                                                        

                                                                                                                                         

 

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Four Things We Learned About Social Media From The Election

The 2012 Presidential Election is being dubbed “The First Digital Election” by Forbes. Here are a few things we learned from it:

1.  Social Media Influences Decisions

If there was ever any doubt before, there isn’t now. Social media is a major influence on the decision making process for most people. This year, President Obama added to a strong following from the last four years to accumulate 33 million “likes” on Facebook, while Mitt Romney was way behind with 12.2 million. This allowed Obama to use the platform to advertise more and spend less.  His strong presence on Facebook and Twitter made a huge impact on the election. KSL-TV, an NBC affiliate, estimates 58 percent of Americans obtain their political news via social networks, while 88 percent are registered voters. Obama’s strong presence on social media gave him a direct line to voters and his influence was clearly felt. His agressive social media strategy helped him to edge out Romney and win the election.

 2.  Social Media is an Integral Part of the Conversation

Using social media to comment on current events has become so natural to consumers that they can’t imagine it any other way. While TV used to be the frontrunner in news consumption and conversation, more consumers are now focused on social media as their preliminary source of news because of its real-time and viral capabilities. Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, says “social media is deeply embedded in the rhythms of people’s lives.” Consumers now form opinions as events are happening, instead of watching them on TV later or reading about them the next day.

Social media is not only here to stay, it’s here to take the lead.

3.  Facebook is alive and well

Record numbers of users flocked to Facebook to check for updates on the election and post their opinions on the developments as they occurred.  Facebook reports, “The 2012 election received the highest score on the Facebook Talk Meter that we’ve measured this year among U.S. users, weighing in at a 9.27 on a 10-point scale that measures Facebook buzz around a specific event and related terms.” In 2008, the number was 8.95.

This election showed that people will still run to Facebook, use it as a platform, share their opinions and stay connected.

4. The New Peer Pressure

On Tuesday night, you saw multiple Facebook posts, tweets, and Instagram photos from most of your friends. So it’s not surprising that there were 71.7 million election-related Facebook mentions in posts and comments in the U.S. on election day alone. On Twitter, there were 31 million tweets relating to the election, with over 325,000 a minute!

While the direct impact on votes is unclear, there’s no questioning that opinions are being shared more consistently and easily than ever before. The general public talks about more than just politics on social media. When they have an opinion about your business, you can be sure you’ll hear it from them – and so will their friends.

 

Summary:

What we’ve learned about social media from this election is that consumers are willing and ready to share big news with their friends. The question now is, how will you get them excited about your business?

The election provided a lot of insight for the use of social media on a major scale and it’s crucial for business owners to take these facts and implement them into smaller social campaigns.

How did you use social media during the 2012 election?

Seeing is Believing: How YouTube Benefits Your Medical Practice

The Situation

After successfully launching a social media campaign for Dallas-Fort Worth bariatric and cosmetic plastic surgeon, Dr. Clayton Frenzel, dr2marketing decided to enhance his current marketing campaign by incorporating more videos into his social media channels.

We produced four spots that featured four former patients of Dr. Frenzel’s – three bariatric patients and one cosmetic plastic surgery patient. Video testimonials are a key addition to advertising for any practice because it allows individuals to connect with others in a personal and direct way, and also serves as a digital form of word-of-mouth-marketing. I interviewed each patient separately and had them tell me about what their life was like prior to surgery, what their experience with Dr. Frenzel was like, and how their life has changed since their procedure.

The Results

In the end, we produced four honest, insightful video testimonials from actual patients who were eager to share their story with others.

We then took the videos and uploaded them to YouTube to boost Dr. Frenzel’s SEO efforts. Every video we posted to his YouTube channel was tagged and indexed to increase the odds of his name appearing in organic Google searches for keywords associated with his practice and industry.

So, if you haven’t already scrolled down to the testimonials below, be sure to do it now and let us know what you think!

Bariatric Surgery Testimonials

Cosmetic Surgery Testimonial

Is Justin Timberlake bringing Myspace back? – Doubtful

This week Myspace teased a sleek, impressive, and flashy new look. They reconstructed their design with a heavy focus on music, photos and video. The new layout is clean and well-organized with the vision of a social network that encourages consuming and sharing content, especially music. To be honest, the new look is intriguing and it has me interested in giving it a try. But Myspace’s challenge won’t be getting people to give it a test-run, it will be convincing people to stick around. Unfortunately, there are three reasons the new Myspace could ultimately fail:

First, check out the preview here:

1. The Myspace Bland Brand

  • Is it possible to think of Myspace and take it seriously? Can you associate it with anything other than spam, dial-up internet, AOL, and everything else from 2003? The biggest obstacle in the relaunch is the fact that the brand may not have any value left. Most of us have moved on from MySpace and we remember it now as a joke or an old friend we’re glad moved away. The stigma behind it at this point is probably too negative and this presents a major challenge for them. It will likely prove to be too much to overcome.

2. Social Network Overload

  • At the end of the day, the question isn’t about whether Myspace will be good or not, it’s about whether or not it will be so good that it compels people to change networks completely. The problem is that there are too many social networks already established. The fun of social media is to be where your friends are. Myspace will have trouble convincing the masses to make a change, convincing a few people to switch isn’t good enough. Is a new look with cool pictures, a unique layout, and some Justin Timberlake songs going to do that? We’ll forward this question over to Google+.

3. Desktop Woes

  • The new Myspace design looks great, that’s for sure. But the layout is heavily dependent on pictures and panels that move horizontally. It seems unlikely that this will translate well to mobile devices, especially since phone screens are now more vertical and less horizontal. As social media grows it becomes more and more of a mobile-based experience. Take Twitter for example, 60% of users access the platform via mobile devices. This is a number that is only going to grow in the future. Myspace seems destined to fail (again) if they are banking on a new look that can only be experienced on a computer.

Of course, there’s the chance that MySpace will actually succeed. Perhaps the masses will flock back to their old friend and leave Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest in the dust. Perhaps people don’t really think of Myspace as old or washed up. And maybe Myspace can find a way to create a great App that makes the mobile experience even better than expected. These are big obstacles to overcome and it doesn’t seem likely to happen.

What do you think? Would you go back to Myspace?

The 5 Crimes of Tweeting

More and more companies are seeing the value of Twitter for business purposes and jumping on board the social media platform. Those doing it well are seeing real results, but many businesses – both new and experienced tweeters – are guilty of crucial errors that serve to damage their brand more than promote it. By tweeting recklessly, their strategies are often ineffective and can even be annoying, and while there aren’t any legal ramifications for committing  these crimes…there should be.

Maximize your brand’s success by avoiding these five crimes on Twitter.  

Crime #1: Undertweeting

The point of social media is to be social, if you’re not going to be social then why bother? Twitter is a great source for real-time news updates, so frequent and consistent updates are crucial as long as they’re not overbearing. Logging in every now and then to randomly tweet or retweet is a wasted effort on your part and is worthless to your followers (if they haven’t unfollowed at that point). In other words, if you’re not going to join the party, then please leave.

The Perpetrator: Amazon swung and missed during the holiday season and only tweeted six times between December 13 and January 25. Ouch.

The Resolution: Get that tweet count up. Post engaging and relevant content throughout the day and respond back to your mentions. This will give your followers a chance to interact, learn, and engage with your brand. Include Twitter in your company’s social media plan, or delete it. 

 

Crime #2: Overtweeting

If social media is socialthen follow social norms. We all have a friend that talks too much without ever saying anything of value. The point of tweeting is to deliver useful and engaging content to your consumers. Tweeting too much, or tweeting off-topic, will annoy your loyal followers.

The Perpetrator: HBO has a great brand and their content has a strong following, but having great content doesn’t grant you immunity from overtweeting. On June 10th they tweeted a whopping 48 times and that’s just way too much. We like you, HBO, but we don’t like you that much.

The Resolution: Find a balance and remember that it’s quality not quantity that matters most. Tweet enough to engage your followers, but don’t overburden them. Twitter can be a great way to connect with them to create a relationship that is more personal and interactive.

Crime #3: Ignoring Followers

You’re too busy promoting yourself in tweets that you fail to take the time to respond to the people who’ve reached out to you. No one likes to be ignored, especially when they’re upset.

Understanding how Twitter can transform customer relations for the better can be substantial for reducing costs and improving brand image. Good customer service is not just about quality of  your product or service, but also about listening to the needs of your customers and being accessible to them. Twitter is a lightning-fast platform that can help sift through and solve problems quickly, so be sure to take advantage. 

The Perpetrator: Time Warner Cable constantly tweets about themselves, but never takes the time to respond to complaints or inquiries from their customers. There are countless posts from their customers that have been left without a response, just like this one:

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The Resolution: Answer them. By using Twitter effectively, you can engage your customers, solve their problems, and build goodwill for your brand.

Crime #4: Overpromoting Yourself

Ever notice tweets in your feed from people you don’t follow? Those are promoted tweets. Some big brands have huge budgets and they want everyone to know they’re on Twitter, so they constantly ‘promote’ their own tweets. They show up in everyone’s newsfeed, all the time, and it’s annoying. Remember the kid in the neighborhood that always invited himself over? Don’t be that kid. 

The Perpetrator: Recently, Pepsi launched a “Live For Now” campaign. In order to promote it, they have been sponsoring tweets that encourage you to drink Pepsi and live for now and now we all have to read their tweets. Somehow, they believe that drinking Pepsi will allow you to make the most of your life. Flawed logic aside, it’s annoying to have tweets from someone you don’t even follow show up constantly. Pepsi, please stop, #NOW.
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The Resolution: It’s okay to sponsor your some of your tweets, but save them for when big events are coming up or for an occasional reminder that you’re active on Twitter. Do you have a huge summer sale coming up? Or a movie coming out? Sponsored tweets can be a great way to engage a new audience or target a specific time of year in which you are most relevant.

Crime #5: Hashtag Overload

Quite often, you’ll see tweets that are littered with hashtags. This defeats the purpose of hashtags and makes these tweets feel like spam. Instead of using a technique that makes you easier to find, you allowed yourself to blend in with the crowd.

The Perpetrator: Ohio State was really excited for their trip to the Final Four and in their excitement they hashtagged every topic in their tweet. A post that could have been useful and exciting now looks cluttered and feels like spam. 

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The Resolution: A hashtag is meant to label a tweet so that it’s easily searchable. They facilitate and encourage conversations and should be used to highlight current events or topics so that others can join the conversation that’s taking place across Twitter. Use one or two hashtags at the end of tweets so that people can join in, but don’t go crazy.

The moral of this story…

…is to stay away from what’s mentioned above so you won’t end up like this:

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Which of these crimes do you find to be the most annoying? Leave us a comment and let us know!