Is Obnoxious the New Black?

At this point in the evolution of social media marketing, I would hope that companies now realize the correct balance between annoying promotions of their products and valuable, usable content that will benefit us, as the consumer. Some do, some don’t. You have those, such as American Eagle’s Aerie and Earth Fare, who correctly balance usable consumer content and their promotions. But with every good child, you have the screw up- particularly the annoying, in your face, never shutting up about themselves kind. We won’t point fingers but we all are thinking of a few of these brands in our heads.

So, where is the line drawn between balanced content/promotions and being down right obnoxious? Lets look at different social media marketing habits and you tell me, awesome or annoying.

 

1. Forever 21’s Facebook page: Known to post over 4 times a day, AWESOME OR ANNOYING?

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**Hint: ANNOYING. Though it is important to be constantly present on social media, you don’t want to spam your consumer. A brand has to remember just how much of these kinds of posts, no matter what content the hold, are coming at us, consumers, from 100 different places all hours of the day. Being too spammy by overly posting will put your company straight at the top of our pest list and we will automatically start tuning you out no matter what your content is, if we don’t stop following you all together. Though it’s great to be engaged at all times, don’t be too chatty, sometimes we’d like you to just shut up all together so don’t push us too much.

 

2. Sprint’s Twitter feed: Attempts at being funny, AWESOME OR ANNOYING?

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**Hint: ANNOYING. Yes, humor has it’s home in the valuable content category. Bring laughter, smiles, and joy to your consumer is always a positive technique to capture the interest of your consumer on social media. However, if you are not funny- don’t try to be funny. Failed attempts at humor is one of the most annoying posts a brand can make. Especially when that failed attempt is secretly (yet totally obviously) a push for their product. Be funny to be funny and bring enjoyment to your consumer- THAT is valuable content. Trying to be funny but really just bringing it back to your company and products is a miserable excuse for engaging content. Makes your consumer feel super awkward and judgmental- trust me.

3. The Voice Twitter: Displaying their hashtag on the show as it airs, AWESOME OR ANNOYING?

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**Hint: AWESOME. This is an excellent way to drive your consumer towards engaging with you on your social media platforms. Though it is important to know when to blatantly display your hashtag so as not to interfere with the consumers enjoyment of the show- something that would irritate them and therefore drive them away from the purpose of engagement. However, strategically placed trending hashtags that drive your consumer back to your platform and therefore create discussion and buzz about your brand is an excellent idea. Something, I wonder, that could be explored in commercials. Make your media advertisements coincide with your social media platforms to create consistency, awareness, and consumer engagement and activity.

4. Snickers Facebook page: Posting only promotions and about their products, AWESOME OR ANNOYING?

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**Hint: Doubt you even need this hint. By know I think you’ve got the point. This is SUPER ANNOYING. Self centered people are looked at negatively in this world. So are self centered brands. Making it all about you is a huge turn off for your consumers. They want to feel you are authentic as a brand and are invested in them as consumers. How can you show you are invested when you never shut up about yourself? That doesn’t sound very kind of you- and people want kind. People gravitate towards kind. Help make it easier for followers to gravitate toward your brand by showing you care. Post about things other than yourself- invest in what the consumer needs/wants to know and see.

Remember, no one likes the annoying guy. Don’t be that guy.

For ever several posts you make about your company, your product, your sales and deals, make a post about your consumer, your sponsors, the world- anything but you. Your deals might induce brand loyalty on social platforms, but I’m here to tell you it will not maintain it. It’s fine if you don’t want to believe me from a marketing standpoint- then believe me from a personal experience standpoint as a consumer. Brands that don’t add value to my social media scrolling get passed up real quick. It is only when something peaks my interest about MY (the consumers) real life that I take the time to stop my scrolling and initial on your brand post. The more of these kinds of posts I click, the more I’m inclined to pay closer attention to your brand’s social media presence. Which, ta-dah, means that through my new found focus on your brand, I will also be seeing the deals and products that you are so itching to get in front of my face. But it is that initial valuable, non obnoxious content that gets me there in the first place.

This is what many companies are forgetting. Its one thing to see your annoying product promotion post, it’s another thing to look at it. I SEE a blur of it as I’m quickly scrolling past your tweet, I LOOK at it as I click on it to read what valuable message it has to say. Don’t make your consumers cry out of frustration

ImageMake them want to follow you. Make them want to be apart of your brand. Better yet, make them want to be advocates for your brand by sharing your content with their friends. That is the point of social media, after all, to build a following that will spread your brand faster and cheaper than you ever could by yourself.

ImageAnd no, this is not me. But it is what your followers will look like if you stay away from the obnoxious habits that so many companies fall victim to. So, go brand, go be a better you- someone that is AWESOME and not annoying.

 

 

 

Peeking Around the Corner

What is your favorite show? Think about it, I know you have one. Are you slightly obsessed with it? And if you are, you try to learn as much about it as you can, it interests you that much. Am I right?

I guarantee you that if you took a strong fan of a show and scrolled through their twitter, you’d find they are following the real life actors of that show, perhaps even the producer, writer, and director. And if you are not a TV watcher, think of your favorite brand. Do you follow the president, CEO, founder, or even anyone who publically supports the brand? I bet you are.

No, you’re not a stalker, you’re not creepy. You’re normal. It is our human nature to want to be as connected to our interests as we can be. And therefore, being connected to those that influence that interest in a prominent way.

Which is what leads me to today’s topic: focusing on the personal to make the broader brand succeed in the digital world.

The content and engagement that a brand shares with the digital world over their multitude of platforms is the main focus of most social media or digital marketing conversations, as it should be. But I want to take a minute to step back from that, look around the corner of the brand’s digital marketing plan to the individuals that are running the brand and influencing the brand on a day to day basis (i.e. the writer of a show, the CEO of a company, or company representative). I want to discuss how the personal social platforms of these types of individuals are important in building and continuing the brand’s awareness and interest in the digital world.

When a consumer has exhausted the company Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram, they are going to move on to these individual’s private Facebook, Twitter, and Instagrams. And for the company’s sake, these personal platforms need to be just as engaging and interesting as the company’s platforms. This will keep a positive perception of the brand in the minds of consumers when the brand’s platforms aren’t even coming into play.

Personal example, I follow the writer and the producer of a show that I am highly interested in. That show is a theoretically a brand in itself and has it’s own digital platforms. But when nothing new comes on those platforms as I’m scrolling through twitter, I then go to the producer and writer’s twitter and take a look at what they are up to. Over the months, I have formed an attachment with them and their social media content and therefore have unofficially joined a fan base of these individuals. Being a fan of these people automatically makes me feel loyal towards their work, a.k.a. the show.  So not even seeing the platforms of the show itself but instead the platforms of those connected to the show behind the scenes keeps the brand of the show and network relevant and positive in my head.

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So, what the heck am I suggesting? As a consumer, I am suggesting to take a look into your key influencers of the company and check into their personal digital platforms. Are they relevant, engaging, and content filled? If not, I suggest a platform workshop for your executive team. You can believe they are being watched by your consumers. I understand the fears of many inlcude saying the wrong thing or looking like a fool, but they need to put that behind them. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. In other words, you loose 100% of the consumers that your don’t engage. More and more brands are starting to understand the importance of having key individuals represented on social media and engaging with consumers, I’m trying to reach those that have not yet caught on. These key people having a strong digital presence provide great opportunities for the brand off the scenes. Acting as postivite representatives of the brand, offering consumers a more interesting and personal connection with  behind-the-scenes type feel will only increase brand loyalty and advocacy in the long run- which is every brands dream.

#TweetsFromTheTop

Millennial Generation to the Rescue

The point that I hope to get across to you is not be afraid to get your hands dirty, ruffle some feathers, and make the changes that you’re too afraid to make when it comes to implementing social media marketing. But to get there, I first need to touch on the millennial generation.

The millennial generation has been the focus of unfair and condescending remarks, predictions, and assumptions. I’m not about to get into detail in regards to those, but I would like to point out that those comments would be withheld and kept in your head if you truly understand where the future is heading. So, all this talk about not trusting the millennial generation. Matt Boor does a fabulous job depicting this feeling of not trusting in a comical piece featured on CNN.

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As I said, I’m not here to hash out your thoughts about the millennial generation and how awful and lazy you may think they are. What I am going to point out, however, are the small little icons to the right of the boy in the comic. Yep, you see them. The Facebook, Instagram and Twitter icons. I want you to take a closer look at that comic. If your attention is drawn to the trophies and the tattoos and the word bubbles- then having fun watching your business crumble. But if you look at that comic and you focus on those little pictorial icons, then you are likely to see great business success in your future, because that means you notice the untapped potential of the millennial generation. Where one person sees this generation “always with the phone” as a lazy, uncaring and negative characteristic, a true marketing genius sees this as the opportunity to get a foothold in the marketing revolution that is already taking place.

And to those- congratulations. I applaud you for understanding our modern world and seeing technology, social media, and the experts at social media platforms (a.k.a the millennial generation) as an advantageous tool to be used in order to reach new levels of success. You can stop reading now. But as for the rest of you that don’t see that quite as clearly- the rest of todays writing is directed towards you.

The future of marketing is digital. It is on social media. It can be accessed at any time, in a plethora of ways and styles, on a magnitude of platforms and reaches. I had the wonderful opportunity of getting to hear from and speak with CNN’s VP of digital communications and he held a great discussion about the hardships of transferring your traditional roles and tasks into a social media marketing strategy.

He described his journey at CNN when they hadn’t yet had a digital marketing strategy and he, along with some others, had the opportunity to implement a digital marketing strategy for CNN. He mentioned how in doing so, a lot of people’s daily responsibilities and roles got shifted and changed. How different divisions of CNN were inexplicably in charge of certain social media platforms and one of their tasks was to bring all those platforms together and have them all controlled by one team for consistent and efficient utilization. By doing this, it caused a lot of anger and upset that these aspects of the job were being taken away from people, since they’d come to have an ownership effect over what they did everyday. But they had to realized that bringing all those platforms together and giving them up to a devoted team was for the greater good of the company and was a necessity if CNN ever wanted to successfully tap into the potential that is held within social media and digital marketing.

So my message to those that haven’t taken the plunge that CNN did long ago, is: it is time. Social media and digital marketing is not only the future, it is the now. And you can’t be concerned with the upset and ruffled feathers that will be messed up along the way of getting a digital marketing plan set and into action. It is okay to ruffle feathers. It is for the betterment of your company and those that don’t understand that shouldn’t be poising your company anyway. And most importantly, don’t be lazy! Here, it is the millennia’s turn to call YOU lazy. Most businesses that do not have a digital marketing footprint have not done so because of 1) lack of experience/knowledge and 2) anticipate too much rift and don’t want to deal with it. A.K.A, are lazy. They anticipate these ruffled feathers and therefore don’t feel like changing their traditional ways and taking the step necessary to implement a digital marketing strategy.

And to make this point come full circle, those lazy, world-destructing millennial that you all love to hate so much- might be your only saving grace to this successful marketing future. They could be your answer to that number one reason above, because of lack of experience/knowledge. The millennia’s are the guys that know these platforms and techniques of social media inside out. They were born and raised with it. So, like I said, it’s time to tap into their potential and use them for the skills that now come as second nature to them. Don’t hate them, join them. How amazing this potential opportunity is- two generations that despise each other, brought together by social media and digital marketing. Marketing’s very own Disney movie fairytale story- too bad I already titled another piece “Piece of the fairytale.”

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#millennialandproudofit

Humor is the New Black

Humor is the new black.

Marketers have been drilled with the criticism of providing good content on their social media platforms so to stay clear of being that annoying pest and entice the consumer to engage in the brand name. Being a consumer on this side of the fence, I can safely tell you that companies have gone to great lengths to engage their audiences, trying out everything from inspirational clips, sex related avenues, engaging quizzes and more. But one of the simplest and most effective ways to capture your audience’s attention and keep it is through humor.

Being funny is one of the best traits a brand can have on social media. Funny, sticks. Funny, spreads.  Funny grabs the attention of the consumer on the social media platform far more successfully than a random contented post that can easily be scrolled over. And if funny is done successfully by the brand, funny has a way of being passed from one to another in the blink of an eye. Our society consumes humor. And if done often enough, the society will come to expect humor from your brand. Which is good- because to expect it means they are watching out for it. And to watch out for it means they are “liking,” and “following” your pages, creating more traffic on your sites.

Take Old Spice, for instance. They have a fan base on their social media platforms who actually enjoy following them to keep tabs on their ridiculous posts. It comes as an enjoyment for them. Which is huge, because they increase their likeliness to be brand ambassadors and brand loyalty out in the market. By simply bringing humor to your audience, you are shaping a free branding army who is ready to go out and market your brand for you without even knowing they are doing so.

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Another reason humor is so important on social media is because humor makes an impact on the brain. Consumers are scientifically more likely to remember something funny then just a regular, boring, old post. So whether your humorous post has anything to do with your products or not, your brand will stay in their working memory longer, making it more prominent in their minds when the need for your products does come up. Just think how well you remember the best super bowl ads from a couple Sundays ago? Guarantee those “best” ads you remember are all based around humor.

All in all, if you are going to post something on social media as a brand marketer, make it worthwhile. Make it worthwhile for the consumer to read and worthwhile for you as a marketer to further spread your brand without even looking like you are doing so. And remember, no one likes a fake or awkward brand on social media.  So what better way do we as a society know to break the ice than through humor? Go get em’ you comedians, you!

The Power of Speed

I have a point to this post, I promise. Bear with me for a little bit and you’ll understand where I’m going.

A girl was scrolling down her newsfeed on Facebook and she came across a post someone had put on her sister’s wall. The post was from a family friend sending her condolences about the death of her father. Shocked and confused, the girl called her mom to see if this post was real. It was. Social media informed this poor girl about her father’s death faster than the girls own mother could contact her.

So what’s my point with this? My point is social media is now faster than day-to-day communication, on an extreme level. It doesn’t wait for anyone. And if you are a company using social media for marketing purposes, you need to be on your game. If you want to be the company people are talking about, you need to be first. And to be first, you need to be fast. Really fast. If you fall behind, you will never catch up. You will be buried by the noise of other brands and have extreme difficulty in getting your company’s voice heard.

Social media waits for no one, in both a positive and negative way. Blogger Jay Baer posts

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I agree with him completely. If you are first, you have more power to influence the consumer than the 3 or 4 companies’ that follow you up. The speed of social media can be a powerful tool in positioning yourself in the forefront of the consumer’s mind.

But like I said, there are negatives to the speed of social media, as well. Like in the story of that poor girl and her father, social media can be too fast for our own good. From a marketing standpoint, an example is clicking that post button too fast. We all know the importance of first impressions. Marketing can often be the first impression of a company to a consumer. And if you mess up a first impression with the consumer, you may have just bombed any chance you had on acquiring that consumer. So you need to get it right. And we all know that speed and getting things right don’t always go hand in hand. In their race to keep up with the speed of social media, many companies have kicked themselves in the butt. For example, in his race to be puny and comical on the present state of our country possibly sending our military into Syria, Kenneth Cole tweeted

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He didn’t stop a second to think of the negative perception his followers would have on him after so rudely and coldly using our nation’s men in uniform as a marketing vantage point. He realized his mistake of heartlessness soon after, when he received an incoming of negative remarks and reprimands from consumers about his distastefulness. But it was too late. He had already pressed the post button and the damage was done. He brought on a negative and tarnishing light on his brand. He was too quick to the draw and the speed of social media punished him greatly for it.

Getting the balance right between saying things in a fast enough manner and not being too fast where you put your foot in your mouth is a meticulous and important task. If done correctly, you can harness the power of a speedy social media environment but if you aren’t careful, you could also suffer the damages that the speed of social media can so easily bring.

The clock is ticking. Ready, set, post.

A Piece of the Fairytale

I may be speaking more to the females out there, but I don’t think many would disagree with me when I say, “I wish my life was like the movies.”

The movies and TV shows that consume our leisure time are filled with the thrill, passion, love, danger and excitement that we crave in our lives. I think that’s partly why our culture is so drawn to movies and TV, we want to escape our reality for that 90 minutes to live in someone else’s shoes and experiences things that we might not have the means or time to experience. Especially for our fantasy fans out there- how many girls would love to play a Bella or Elena? (Twilight and Vampire Diaries fans will understand that one). But obviously that will never happen. The movies and TV shows we watch give us a chance to live a life we only wish we could have.

And for this reason, the marketing projects for these entertainment type products open a whole new and enticing door to the social media world. This door allows the audience to engage with these entertainment products and momentarily insert themselves into these fictional worlds. What in the world am I talking about, you ask? I’m talking about quizzes.

When scrolling down your Facebook news feed, how many quizzes do you come across on average? I guarantee at least one. That’s an old trick that have become revamped and brought back into the limelight. These quizzes engage the audience by connecting them to the movies and shows on a more personal level, and in turn, wanting to share the results with the world to prove they have a place in that fictional world. “Take the quiz to find out which Hogwarts house you would be in!” “Take the quiz to find out which Walking Dead character you would be?” Take the quiz, take the quiz, take the quiz!

The beautiful thing about this social media marketing attack is that it benefits both parties. The consumer gets their chance to insert themselves into their favorite fictional worlds. The descriptive personal questions make them feel cared about as if the company really wants to get to know them. It brings another form of entertainment to the consumer and makes them feel giddy of the life they can more easily see as their own now. From the perspective of the company, it is an amazing way of getting these entertainment type products such as movies or shows in the front row stage of consumers across the globe. These quizzes spread like wildfire on social media platforms. Once the consumer takes the quiz, the want nothing more than to share their results and let the world know exactly how they would fit into the movie and TV world. It is very easy to make a quiz go viral and spread the image and word of the company and product, keeping it relevant and interesting to consumers.

At the end of the day, it is a win-win for both consumer and marketer. I get to find out that I would be in Gryffindor Hogwarts House and the world that is all Harry Potter stays relevant and interesting even after ten years since the initial sale of the series. That’s a strong marketing tactic if I’ve ever seen one.