Orange Pants to 10K Instagram Followers: vineyard vines

My Washington Post piece.  Excellent work by I.S. Dunklin [Darden ’17] and Matt Loftus [Darden ’16] on this case.

‘Brotherhood of the Traveling Pants’ gives Vineyard Vines a social-media boost

The big idea: Shep and Ian Murray started selling neckties out of their Jeep on Martha’s Vineyard in 1998. After selling 800 ties in one weekend, the brothers knew they had an idea worth pursuing. By 2014, their company, Vineyard Vines, had 55 clothing stores in the United States and had partnered with more than 600 licensed retailers. Traditional preppy brands such as L.L. Bean were struggling to remain relevant in comparison. Since its inception, Vineyard Vines had featured consumer-generated content in its catalogues and on its website, showing the authenticity of the brand and the people who wore it and reinforcing its “Every day should feel this good” slogan. The rise of social media further enabled customers and fans to submit content, and the Murray brothers wanted to leverage this in a meaningful way.

The scenario: Vineyard Vines had built a strong online presence, but reaching younger consumers required cutting edge digital marketing. If done well, social media could catapult the Vineyard Vines brand — and its revenue — higher. The question: How?

The resolution: In the spring of 2014, some Davidson College buddies attended a horse race, and one wore “alarmingly” bright orange pants. The pants were then borrowed without permission and traded among many friends. Each pursued increasingly adventurous activities while wearing them and sent photos to the owner. They called themselves “The Brotherhood of the Traveling Pants,” a reference to the popular teen novel and movie “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.” To prolong the joke, they created a dedicated Instagram account to chronicle the journey.

The Brotherhood contacted Vineyard Vines, the maker of the pants, to see whether the company would trade additional pairs for marketing material posted on its Instagram account.

The social-media team loved the idea and asked the Brotherhood to be part of its marketing campaign for the summer of 2014. The Brotherhood agreed under the condition that Vineyard Vines assist them in completing the last leg of the John Frankel Memorial Scholarship, established in honor of a friend from Davidson. The friends needed $23,000 more to endow the $250,000 scholarship.

The Brotherhood continued to post pictures to the @brotherhoodofthetravelingpants Instagram account that showed the friends wearing Vineyard Vines pants while water skiing, golfing, fishing and surfing. The social-media team featured its favorite pictures on Vineyard Vines’ Instagram account, tagging @brotherhoodofthetravelingpants in the pictures and comments. By the end of the summer, Vineyard Vines saw increased Instagram traction and a 300 percent boost in men’s pants sales year-over-year. Vineyard Vines donated custom ties for the Brotherhood to sell for $85 apiece, which closed the scholarship funding gap.

The lesson: Many social-media platforms represent relatively low-cost ways to build a community with customers. This Instagram effort allowed Vineyard Vines to associate the brand in customers’ minds with areas of interest tangentially related to the pair of critter pants or bluefish tie that a customer might buy. Customers experienced relatable content through the Brotherhood’s Instagram account. And the association with a memorial scholarship endeavor kept the brand authentic.

This valuable partnership also benefited the Brotherhood. In one summer, @brotherhoodofthetravelingpants gained “influencer” status, at 10,000 followers. Sometimes it’s hard to ignore a guy in bright blue pants barefoot water-skiing. One member of the Brotherhood, when asked whether there had been any downside to the project, replied, “Well, sometimes it would be nice to wear shorts.”

— Meghan R. Murray

Murray, who is not related to the founders of Vineyard Vines, is a digital marketing consultant and an adjunct instructor at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business.

See at the Washington Post, part of the Case in Point series December 3, 2016



Authenticity and Crowdsourced News Have Made Snap a Dominant Player

Great NYT piece about Snapchat’s dominance.

While We Weren’t Looking, Snapchat Revolutionized Social Networks

Snap Inc., the parent company of the popular photo-messaging and storytelling app Snapchat, is having a productive autumn.

A couple of weeks ago, Snap filed confidential documents for a coming stock offering that could value the firm at $30 billion, which would make it one of the largest initial public offerings in recent years. Around the same time, it began selling Spectacles, sunglasses that can record video clips, which have become one of the most sought-after gadgets of the season.

And yet, even when it’s grabbing headlines, it often seems as if Snap gets little respect.

Though Snapchat has overtaken Twitter in terms of daily users to become one of the most popular social networks in the world, it has not attracted the media attention that the 140-character platform earns, perhaps because journalists and presidential candidates don’t use it very much. Snapchat’s news division has become a popular and innovative source of information for young people, but it is rarely mentioned in the hand-wringing over how social media affected the presidential election.

This is all wrong. If you secretly harbor the idea that Snapchat is frivolous or somehow a fad, it’s time to re-examine your certainties. In fact, in various large and small ways, Snap has quietly become one of the world’s most innovative and influential consumer technology companies.

Snap, which is based far outside the Silicon Valley bubble, in the Venice neighborhood of Los Angeles, is pushing radically new ideas about how humans should interact with computers. It is pioneering a model of social networking that feels more intimate and authentic than the Facebook-led ideas that now dominate the online world. Snap’s software and hardware designs, as well as its marketing strategies, are more daring than much of what we’ve seen from tech giants, including Apple.

Snap’s business model, which depends on TV-style advertising that (so far) offers marketers fewer of the data-targeted options pioneered by web giants like Google, feels refreshingly novel. And perhaps most important, its model for entertainment and journalism values human editing and curation over stories selected by personalization algorithms — and thus represents a departure from the filtered, viral feeds that dominate much of the rest of the online news environment.

Snap is still relatively small; its 150 million daily user base pales in comparison to Facebook’s 1.2 billion, and its success is far from assured. In its novelty, it can sometimes veer toward the bizarre and inscrutable. And it’s not obvious that all of its advances are positive. (For instance, I’m not sure that it’s always better for our relationships to lose a record of our chats with friends.)

Yet it’s no wonder that Facebook and its subsidiaries appear obsessed with imitating Snap. As a font of ideas that many in the tech industry hadn’t considered before, Snap isn’t just popular, but also increasingly important.

“Regardless of what happens, they’ve reshaped the social media landscape,” said Joseph B. Bayer, a communications professor at Ohio State University who has studied Snapchat’s impact on how people communicate. “They’re making risky moves, trying to rethink what people want online as opposed to taking what’s already been done and adding a new flash.”

Techies value disruption, and it’s difficult to think of another online company that has shuffled the status quo as consistently as Snap has over the past few years.

Before Snapchat, the industry took for granted that everything users posted to the internet should remain there by default. Saving people’s data — and then constantly re-examining it to create new products and advertising — is the engine that supports behemoths like Google and Facebook.

At its founding in 2011, Snap pushed a new way: By default, the pictures posted through Snapchat are viewable for only a short time. At the time, it was a head-scratching idea, one that many assumed was good only for sexting. To the tech industry’s surprise, disappearing messages captivated users who had been afraid that their momentary digital actions might follow them around forever.

Snapchat’s “ephemeral” internet — which has since been imitated by lots of other companies, including, most recently, Instagram — did not just usher in a new idea for online privacy. It also altered what had once been considered a sacred law of online interaction: virality.

Every medium that has ever been popular online — from email to the web to social networks like Facebook — has been pervaded by things that are passed along from one user to another. This is not the case on Snapchat. Though Snapchat has introduced some limited means of forwarding people’s snaps, the short life of every snap means there is no obvious means for any single piece of content to become a viral hit within the app. There are no ice bucket challenges or Chewbacca moms or Macedonian teenagers pushing fake news on Shap.

There is, instead, a practiced authenticity. The biggest stars — even Kylie Jenner — get ahead by giving you deep access to their real lives. As a result, much of what you see on Snapchat feels less like a performance than on other networks. People aren’t fishing for likes and follows and reshares. For better or worse, they’re trying to be real.

The diminution of personalization algorithms and virality also plays into how Snapchat treats news. Snapchat’s primary format is called a Story, a slide show of a user’s video clips that are played in chronological order. This, too, is an innovation; before Snapchat, much online content, from blogs to tweets, was consumed in reverse chronological order, from the most recent to the oldest. Snapchat’s Stories, which have since been widely copied, ushered in a more natural order — start at the beginning and go from there.

A few years ago, insiders at Snapchat noticed that Stories were an ideal vehicle for relaying news. They could be crowdsourced: If a lot of people were at a concert or sporting event or somewhere that breaking news was occurring, a lot of them were likely to be snapping what was happening. If Snapchat offered them a way to submit their clips, it could spot the best ones and add them to a narrative compilation of the event.

While Silicon Valley was shunning editing and curation done by humans, and instead relying on computers to spot and disseminate news, Snapchat began hiring producers and reporters to assemble clips into in-depth pieces.

The company calls these Live Stories, and they have been transformative, unlike any other news presentation you can find online. Every day, Snapchat offers one or several stories about big and small events happening in the world, including football games, awards shows and serious news.

For instance, this summer, while the rest of the media were engulfed by Hurricane Trump, Snapchat’s news team spent days following the devastating floods in Louisiana. That in itself was unusual, but Snap’s presentation was also groundbreaking: Rather than showing the overhead shots or anchor stand-ups that are conventional on TV news, Snapchat offered video from inside people’s houses, from shelters, from schools. It mixed the macrostory of an impending natural disaster and the government’s response to it with the microtragedies of personal loss, and even the lighter moments of humor and boredom in between.

When a knife-wielding attacker went on a rampage at Ohio State University this week, Snapchat’s news story was similarly remarkable. Between scenes of government officials and students describing the attack, there were clips captured by students holed up in classrooms, expressing their fear and sense of bewilderment over what was going on. It wasn’t just an informative story, but it engendered a sense of empathy for its subjects that is rare in the news.

Snapchat has said that it thinks of itself as a camera company rather than a social network. This sounds like marketing puffery (after all, it only just started making its first actual camera, Spectacles), but I think its determination to set itself apart from the rest of the tech industry is important to note.

Snap can free itself from Silicon Valley’s accepted norms because it doesn’t think of itself as just another Silicon Valley tech company. It’s time we all started to see it that way, too.

see original article at NYT.com


They Believe Content Shared by Someone They Trust

Straightforward and practical B2B + social media article by AJ Agarwal in Forbes:

The Real Truth About B2B Marketing And Social Media

Marketing in B2B requires an understanding of social media. Social media marketing and selling are constants for any business looking to grow themselves further. This is no different in a B2B design. You want to make sure your time is going to be dedicated to the right social network as a B2B. Here are some of the real truths behind which social media accounts you should be maintaining for your marketing strategy.

Facebook Is More Relevant To B2B Marketing Than Most Realize

One of the truths about B2B marketing is that Facebook is a staple no matter what niche you’re in. Much of the content out there will suggest that Twitter and LinkedIn are more relevant, but studies recently done showed otherwise.

The research asked people what channel they would turn to regarding a purchase. 24% of people answered that their decision would be used from looking at Facebook first. That means one in four people sought out Facebook specifically.

Furthermore, studies show that the average decision-maker uses Facebook around 18 days per month versus the 13 days per month using LinkedIn and Twitter. When making any decision, most people are more prone to go to their most-visited channels for the information first before heading elsewhere.

If Content Is Shared By Someone They Trust — They Believe It

Making yourself relevant on social media is imperative for a B2B looking to improve their marketing strategy. If you focus on getting content up on social media websites and can get the connections to help get exposure to that piece, then you will show as a more reputable company.

It’s important for a B2B to get to bloggers on LinkedIn and professionals on Facebook to help with promoting their products and writing quality content on it. A person is more likely to believe that they should select your company over another vendor based on the credibility of the information they find on all social media channels.

Research What Your Competitors Are Doing

It’s important to find the top performing brands in your niche and analyze their methods. See what they are doing to be successful and which platforms they are using to do this.

While Facebook might be the most-used of social media, this doesn’t mean that you won’t have a need to use marketing on other social media channels like LinkedIn and Twitter. Every social media has a different end-game that can help with improving your sales. Learning how they work specifically for your niche and how active those professionals are for your B2B decision will be imperative.

The successful vendors in your niche have already laid out a platform of success. Research it, learn it, and use it to your advantage to succeed. Look at where these vendors are going wrong and find ways to implement slight improvements to make your vendor more qualified and reputable.

Paid Advertisement On Social Media

Social media has also become a huge hit for paid advertisements. This is how many of these social media websites are able to stay running. This is an opportunity for any B2B looking to enhance their marketing strategy.

Knowing your audience is important for paid advertisement because it will maximize your conversions and bring in a better profit margin by lowering costs. You may not find it effective for your B2B marketing strategy to include paid advertisement for every social media connection. You may want to limit it to the one or two most successful for your niche that can really pull in more interest.

Keep Your Social Media Accounts Updated

In B2B marketing, social media has become a crucial part of the success. With the internet being a top source for most professionals to look into vendors, you want your internet presence to grow and flourish. Have some professionals share your work to build credibility for you and to help with gaining relevance to your own content on it.


see the original article by  AJ Agrawal, Forbes Contributor 10.3.16



Hamilton Won More Than Twitter

My piece from the Washington Post 9.17.2016, based on a case I wrote for Darden.

Hamilton Won More Than Twitter

The big idea: Lin-Manuel Miranda has become a household name, thanks to his musical “Hamilton,” which has grossed more than $75 million and won 11 Tony Awards. But before it moved to Broadway, Miranda and his backers needed to figure out how to promote the show and engage the audience online. It seemed only fitting to dominate social media as no previous show had, considering “Hamilton” was a mix of modernity and history, gaining acclaim for featuring a cast that represented the racial diversity of 2016 America, with characters who pushed boundaries by retelling history via hip-hop. They needed to make its story accessible to more than those who could afford a Broadway show.

The scenario: Stacey Mindich, the producer, organized an “Influencer Night” during the show’s preview performances. She invited executives from Silicon Valley and digital media experts to the show and asked them for feedback and online strategy tips. This interactive media board of advisers ranged from Mashable COO Mike Kriak to Amazon’s head of online advertising Jason Nickel. But her greatest influencer turned out to be Miranda himself.

The resolution: A strategy was developed to leverage Twitter as the most widely available way for followers to touch the secret world of “Hamilton” and feel included. Miranda used Twitter to connect a broad cross-section of people who love rap, history and theater by soliciting fan art and poetry. He responded to questions one on one and treated his followers like pals. Using 140 characters at a time, he created a special digital club that kept fans engaged.

Hundreds of celebrities from Oprah Winfrey to Jennifer Lopez took to social media to declare their adoration for the musical and for Miranda. Comedian Jimmy Fallon simply stated, “HAMILTON is a game changer.” Musician Alicia Keys flamboyantly used emojis and hashtags, “#wearelimitless!! #unboxable #canyoutelli’mintoit?” Backstage selfies of celebrities began to dominate social media.

They also successfully created buzz around “Hamilton’s” lottery for 21 10-dollar seats. The impromptu #Ham4Ham live performances were engaging thousands of people on social media with each release.

By the numbers, the “Hamilton” YouTube channel has more than 100,000 followers, and “Hamilton” has more than 250,000 followers. Miranda personally has more than 500,000 Twitter followers.

He engaged directly with fans on 65 percent of Twitter posts, via tools such as retweeting and commenting, so fans came to love him even more. Miranda’s Twitter feed is brimming with insight, connection and interaction with the online world. He tweets about celebrities, but he also makes personal comments about everything from his hair to his lunch.

Through these channels, the show created platforms not only to promote the play but also to create a visceral connection to thousands who will never set foot in the Richard Rogers theater.

The lesson: However, social-media buzz is only worth so much. The real winners in “Hamilton’s” financial equation have been ticket resellers. Before the show launched, they were charging a 42 percent premium over face value. As it turns out, boosts in ticket resale price correspond directly to the musical’s promotion on mainstream channels such as a feature on the CBS news program “60 Minutes” and a Grammy performance. The show’s 16 Tony nominations resulted in 11 Tony Awards on June 12, 2016. By the end of June, both StubHub and Ticketmaster were selling second-row orchestra seats for Miranda’s final show, July 9, 2016, for almost $10,000 each.

There was no direct correlation between specific social-media activities and ticket price sales. But mass-market exposure such as awards shows and guest appearances drove up prices.

No doubt, social media helped the traditional exposure of things such as TV appearances. But without television, the ticket resellers would not be netting $240,000 a week.


See the original at the WP site


Influencers Try Video

Interesting piece below on LinkedIn.  The company’s push to have ‘influencers’ publish content has been moderately successful, this is an argument for adding video to the repertoire.  Goals for LinkedIn: (a) increase average users’ time on their site, (b) provide new opportunities for ad revenue.

Why Videos Can Increase User Engagement on LinkedIn?

Facebook and Twitter have been going all out in the digital video space acquiring streaming rights and looking to create interesting video content. On the other hand, LinkedIn finally seems to be trying to catch up with this new trend. The company recently added new features to its platform where viewers can watch 30 second videos posted by “influencers”. These videos are expected to be crisp and to the point, while addressing a specific question or issue. The company has reached out to a small group of “influencers” who will post these videos. Consumption of videos online has increased significantly in the past few years, with YouTube reporting 50% year on year increase in videos watched on its platform. As LinkedIn finally jumps onto this bandwagon, the new feature should help the company to increase user engagement on its platform. Marketers are shifting their ad spending towards digital videos and LinkedIn should be able to grab a share in this growing video advertising market, driving revenues in the long term.

Growth In Digital Content Revenues To Be Driven By Video Services

According to a new study from Juniper Research, consumer spending on digital content will reach $180 million by 2017, 30% higher than last year’s figure of $130 million. This growth will primarily be driven by migration into streamed video services, as broadcasters look at original content to build a competitive edge. LinkedIn is working towards positioning itself as the “go to” place for professional networking and updates. As such, video streaming on its platform that contains expert views on trending issues can drive higher user engagement. According to a 2015 eMarketer study, digital video viewing (outside of television) among U.S. adults grew at a CAGR (compounded annual growth rate) of nearly 40% between 2011 and 2015, from 21 minutes in 2011 to nearly 1 hr and 16 minutes in 2015. This indicates the high level of engagement of users while watching videos online. For the last three years, growth in watch time on YouTube has increased 50% year on year and the number of people watching YouTube per day is up 40% since March 2014. These numbers clearly indicate that videos are engaging users on the internet much more than textual posts. LinkedIn can tap into this trend through this new feature.

Ads and Marketing is a significant segment for Linked (according to our estimates), accounting for nearly 20% of its current valuation. Two key drivers of this segment are LinkedIn’s average monthly unique visitors and monthly page views per LinkedIn visitor. We expect both these drivers to increase steadily over our forecast period as the company adds new features on its platform.

As LinkedIn moves towards becoming a Microsoft company, an enhanced platform with new features is being expected by its users with the combined expertise of both companies. While the professional networking platform is behind its competitors in introducing video content, this beginning will help the company retain users and increase the time they spend on its platform.


check out the original article for Trefis graphics


Warm Leads + Awareness

Social media: the future of video advertising

By 2019, Cisco predicts video will account for 80% of global traffic. That’s nearly 1 million minutes of video shared every second. And YouTube captures an estimated 20% of that US video advertising spend.

Meanwhile advertisers are turning to social media to drive user engagement and increase brand awareness. Brands like Sephora, Wendy’s, and Toyota know the value in sharing their video ads on social platforms like Facebook. After all, that’s where consumers are: on mobile and social.

So, it’s no surprise video ads on social media are on the rise. The future of video advertising is social. Advertisers would be remiss not to go where the cash (and the views) lie.

Why video is worth it

According to Forrester, “If a picture paints a 1000 words, then one minute of video is worth 1.8-million words.”

Video builds an emotional connection by bringing your brand to life. In fact, Axonn Research found seven in ten people view brands in a more positive light after watching interesting video content from them.

By sequencing your video ads on social media, you can slowly introduce your customers to your brand, gently walking them down the sales funnel. Retailer Kate Spade shares their #missadventure video ads on Twitter.

Each video ad builds off the other, taking the consumer on an adventure with familiar (and some new) characters. Each of the characters sports a Kate Spade product that the viewer can purchase upon completion of the video. Pretty savvy.

For advertisers, there are other benefits to video, too. Video can:

Build Brand Awareness. Visibility in social media channels will expose your brand to new audiences.

Retarget Audience. Advertisers can retarget across multiple channels, especially mobile.

Capture Warm Leads. Viewers who watch the video to completion are interested in your product and are warm leads.

Recycle Content. You can take any existing content and turn it into a video.

Video also isn’t just for big brands, small business can utilize it, too. Production costs have fallen and you no longer need to be a tech whiz with a generous budget thanks to apps like Vine.

Video format options on social are expanding

Video is no longer just video. Video ad formats are expanding beyond traditional video and pre-roll to adapt to user viewing habits and preferences, a key strategy in combating ad blockers. Advertisers realize video that integrates and is relevant will always be viewed more favorably (no pun intended).

Currently, native video is video’s rising star. By allowing viewers to stay within a social media platform instead of linking video to other sites, the odds of watching increase.

Meanwhile YouTube recently beat Facebook to the punch, delivering 360-degree live-streaming video. YouTube plans to allow content creators to stream virtual reality-style videos in real-time (e.g. think Coachella concerts).

At this time, they’re not sure how commercials will fit into the format, but it’s only a matter of time. Especially when Google is claiming YouTube adverts are more effective than TV ads. Stay tuned as this video format evolves.

Facebook is the number one video ad platform

Facebook is the number one platform for brands to post video ads. And Facebook isn’t just popular with Millennials, a coveted audience. In a recent survey (pdf) conducted by eZanga, ages 45 and older reported Facebook as their main platform for video consumption, with 27% stating they view most of their mobile video content on Facebook.

It’s expected that video ads will occupy 15% of the digital marketing space by 2017, earning Facebook US$3.8-billion from their video ad initiatives by that time. So how is Facebook appealing to all generations and crushing the competition?

Runs shorter video ads. When the average human attention span online is approximately 60 seconds, Facebook’s autoplay ensures viewers will have a longer attention span for your ad. The average length of a FB video ad is only 44 seconds.

Pauses ads. To ensure viewers are actually watching the video, some ads will actually pause when you leave the screen, giving you the option to resume the video.

Offers a way to check out the competition. For advertisers keeping tabs on the competition, Facebook’s Video Ad Creative Spotlight also shows how other brands across various industries (financial, consumer, restaurant) are using Facebook.

Here, Kleenex uses video to create an emotional, compelling ad for their product.

Allows publishers access to instant articles. Recently, Facebook announced they’ll allow publishers to place video ads at bottom of Instant Articles, with the goal of raising ad impressions. How it will work: one ad for every 350 words of content.

Twitter “First View”

Taking a cue from Facebook, Twitter is looking to help marketers place brand stories in front of audiences, too. The social media juggernaut launched “First View,” a video content only format.

First View allows advertisers to utilize Twitter’s most valuable advertising real estate — the top of the feed — for a 24-hour period.

Every time a user opens their app or logs onto Twitter’s website, your video ad will be the first thing they see.

Instagram offers 60-second video ads

Instagram’s double-digit growth continues. By 2017, it’s anticipated 51.8% of social network users will use Instagram. Taking advantage of more eyes, Instagram has upped their 30-second ad format to 60-seconds. The longer format gives marketers the chance to be more creative, which works well for product launches and movie premieres.

By making brands speak the language of the channel, and keeping the video ads relevant and entertaining, Instagram expects their users will have no problem with the longer format. And to help marketers see if the longer format is paying off, Instagram has started counting views on videos (e.g. three seconds equals a view).


Today’s consumers are highly visual and influenced by social media. Different social platforms attract different audiences, so it’s imperative that brands pick the right one for their target audience.

By choosing the right social media platform, having and maintaining a video strategy that provides consistent video ads, brands will have the tools to keep audiences engaged.


see original article By Melissa Duko on 10 June, 2016 eZangaMelissa :

at memeburn



Pinning 101

Helpful blog post by Adrienne Erin re: how to get started on Pinterest marketing.

Pinterest Marketing In 10 Minutes A Day

Pinterest is, even now, a fairly well-kept secret in the marketing world. That means the people who use it well are even more likely to stand out from the competition.

You might be worried that getting started with Pinterest is a huge time commitment, but that’s really not the case. You can get a world-class Pinterest campaign off the ground in just 10 minutes a day, five days a week. That’s under an hour a week! Here’s how to do it.

Repin Existing Content On Pinterest

To start with, remember that there’s no shame in recycling! Spend a couple minutes each day running keyword searches for your industry or your niche. You’re going to turn up a treasure trove of cool stuff that will fit right in with your brands identity.

The point in doing this is threefold. First, the most successful Pinners are prolific. They’re always looking for cool stuff to share, and doing so makes their page feel fresh, active and relevant. Second, it demonstrates you’re a thought leader in your industry since you’re taking a regular look at everything else that’s out there.

Finally, you’re going to be exposing yourself to a whole bunch of inspiration. Who knows how this will positively impact your company or your products!

Pin Content From Your Own Website

If artful re-appropriation is one of the keys to Pinterest greatness, then make sure you’re borrowing from the best yourself!

Don’t be afraid to pin your own products, but make sure you’re not overdoing it. A healthy ratio for this is 1:4. A bigger ratio will make you look overly self-promotional, while a smaller ratio will under-represent your own brand.

One thing to note. Your repurposed content will be even more effective on Pinterest if you take the time to create taller versions of your featured images. Firing up Photoshop or Pixlr might take a little bit of time, though, so budget this task beyond the 10 minutes you’ve set aside for actual pinning.

Schedule Pins

No matter how well you budget your pinning time throughout the week, there’s always that pesky weekend to take into account. The Internet doesn’t shut down on Saturday and Sunday, after all, so you want to make sure your feed doesn’t go silent while the rest of the world has their heads buried in their smartphones and tablets.

That’s where scheduled pins come in handy. Check out services like Buffer, Tailwind and Viralwoot to get started automating your weekend pinning. In fact, you can automate many of your social media accounts this way. Try preparing batches of pins, tweets and statuses throughout the week so they’re ready to go live over the weekend. You can also schedule them for times during the week when you wont be around to pin.

Speaking of which, if you have a smartphone, you can install the Pinterest app and easily spend a few minutes pinning whenever you have downtime. Sure, it is technically outside of your ten minutes a day, but who doesn’t have a little downtime in their day? It’s sure more productive than getting a few rounds of Angry Birds in. That’s part of how I grew my own audience of several thousand followers on Pinterest!

Interact with Group Boards

One of the very best things about Pinterest is its emphasis on collaboration. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest encourages groups of people with like minds to get together and work as one on a shared stream. Some of these groups have thousands of followers, while others have just a small handful. Take a look around on your own or make use of dedicated tools like PinGroupie to find boards that you could contribute something to.

There are a number of benefits to embracing Pinterest’s social tendencies. The first is to drive more organic traffic to your site. Taking part in group boards naturally exposes your work to a larger and more relevant audience.

The second benefit is that you’ll gain followers much more quickly than you could on your own. Anyone who follows the group board will see your stuff and, if you’ve piqued their curiosity, may start following you. To get the most out of these benefits, though, the usual advice applies: Pin early; pin often, and pin well.

Analyze Your Analytics

Finally, it pays to remember that all of this is for naught if you’re not following-up with the nitty-gritty of analytics. How is your content performing? What’s working, and what isn’t?

Thankfully, Pinterest makes this wonderfully easy with Pinterest Analytics. Naturally, there are also a bunch of quality third-party services if you want to get even more bang for your buck. The point is, turning your Pinterest activities into repeatable and scalable habits is only half the battle.

Commit a few minutes out of your budgeted 10 to study your analytics dashboard from the previous day. Make note of your top performers along with the pins that fell a bit flat. there’s a wealth of knowledge Here’s at your fingertips, including individual pin performance, repins and impressions. The best part is you don’t have to spend a bunch of time on this. Over time, you’ll get better and better at spotting trends and learning which approaches work the best.

By finding out what your followers like and what they don’t, taking part in group boards, tailoring your approach to your followers particular interests and demonstrating your brand is social by nature, you’ll find your voice as a marketer and as a pinner. that’s probably worth a few minutes out of your daily routine.

check out the original blog post here


Emotion Helps B2B Content

Emotional Content Marketing: Tapping Into the Psyche of B2B Buyers

When it comes to B2B buyers, you may think that a more calculated, technical approach to content marketing should be used.

Is that true?

In this post, we’ll check out why you need emotion in your B2B marketing, what types of emotional responses to elicit, and how to make your content more emotionally appealing.

Why B2B Buyers Need Emotional Content Marketing Techniques

The truth is, if ever there was an occasion to use emotion in content marketing, it’s with B2B buyers. Why?

Because the sales process for B2B buyers takes 22% longer than it did seven years ago.

Is this because today’s buyers are more indecisive? Not at all.

In fact, 82% of B2B buyers think that everyone is pretty much selling the same item. The competition is huge.

To not put too fine a point on it, all B2B suppliers look the same. At least that is the perception of buyers. To further complicate matters, buyers know that when they make a purchase decision it will be a long-term commitment.

What’s the best way to cut through the clutter so that your brand stands out? Appeal to emotion.

This is the ultimate dilemma for many B2B marketers:

How do you make an emotional connection with buyers so that they will become and stay brand loyal, all the while providing the technical factoids that are necessary to the sales process?

The best way to do this is by providing relevant, informational content that strikes an emotional cord with your audience.

We’ll examine the same four emotions she mentioned, but also add how you can use them in your content marketing.

  1. Happiness

Think of what happens when you see a baby let out a hearty laugh. Your immediate reaction is to smile and laugh, too.

Happiness is contagious. In marketing terms, happiness makes us want to share.

So, if your marketing goal is to increase shares and followers, think (and post) happy thoughts and images.

  1. Sadness

We can hardly say that there are any “bad” emotions in marketing. Although most of us don’t want to be sad, when we see something that makes us sad, empathy often wells up in us.

Not only that, but this kind of sadness results in an increase in a chemical called oxytocin, something that motivates us to be more trusting.

Therefore, if your goal is to create a positive, humanitarian persona for your company, create case studies that showcase how your brand has improved the lives (not the company as an entity) of your clients.

Did you help provide capital for a struggling business owner who is a single parent? Have you created a program to benefit the victims of poverty? Share this with your readers.

Of course, you always want your effort to be genuine, and not a publicity stunt. Tread carefully when trying to use sadness as a marketing emotion.

  1. Fear

Why does watching a horror movie when you’re all alone seem so much scarier than when you’re with a friend? The main reason is that we are hard-wired to look to each other for emotional support.

Some studies have shown that in the absence of an actual person, audiences will look to a brand or object to alleviate their fears.

How does this work in B2B content marketing? Well, certainly you don’t want to terrify your audience. However, you can present a fear-inducing problem your audience faces and show how you can help.

For example, are your prospects worried about their product becoming irrelevant? Share that fear and then show how you’ll alleviate their stress.

  1. Anger

While anger may not be the healthiest of emotions on which to bind a strong relationship, it does have its place.

For example, you may think that a blog post that presents an extreme view would alienate some of your audience. However, one study showed that comments in a blog post that were expressed as extreme and arrogant made readers dig in their heels to fight for what they already held to be true.

The point is that a piece of content that might seem strongly expressive is not necessarily bad. It may help to firm up relationships with those that share your view, as well as get a dialogue going, even with those who disagree.

Therefore, if your goal is to increase brand loyalty, go ahead and start a pointed discussion and see where it leads.

Best Platforms On Which to Create Emotional Connections

While new social platforms are born seemingly every other day, there are a few mainstays for B2B Marketers. Here are a few of my favorites (not in order of efficacy).

  1. Twitter

Twitter remains the go-to place for information sharing. Use this platform to direct the attention of your audience towards your owned content, as well as to inspire brand confidence by sharing industry-relevant content.

  1. Facebook

Although Facebook algorithms change frequently, this platform remains a front-runner, especially for engaging with industry leaders and customers alike.

Facebook is a great place to share emotional content, especially content that elicits compassion or humor.

  1. LinkedIn

LinkedIn is perhaps one of the most important platforms for B2B marketers, yet one of the most under-utilized.

According to Oktopost, 80% of B2B leads are generated through LinkedIn!

Want to get more leads? It starts with a stellar LinkedIn company page. If you’re not sure how to get one started, check out my recent ebook, How to Create the Perfect LinkedIn Company Page.

Inside, you’ll learn all about how to use images in the right place, how to write a killer description, and you’ll get some pro tips from the big dogs.



by Wendy Marx February 6, 2016



Social’s Push and Search’s Pull

I’m republishing the first in a series on cross-channel marketing by columnist Josh Dreller.  He discusses how paid search and paid social efforts can work together to improve overall marketing efforts in this post.

The State Of Cross-Channel Paid Search, Part 1: SEM & Social

In just about every survey ever conducted on the value of a cross-channel marketing approach, most marketers acknowledge that using coordinated marketing channels has the potential to be more valuable than operating siloed channels individually.

Of course, that’s an easy thing for marketers to theoretically agree with…

Meanwhile, in almost every survey conducted on the current state of cross-channel marketing, a minority of marketers feel that their organizations are armed and ready to coordinate multiple channels.

Paid search has historically been a very siloed channel with its own metrics, processes and tools. It’s almost become its own universe, where even the best-paid search marketers have little understanding of how other marketing channels work.

But when you think about the fact that so many other channels eventually drive consumers to search engines, wouldn’t it be better if search marketers took a stronger position on how and where paid search can play in the cross-channel world?

The truth, search pros, is that your leadership is needed.

What’s Your Cross-Channel Point Of View For SEM?

If you are a paid search marketer who is reading this, what level of understanding do you have of how paid search can drive value to the rest of the channels in the marketing plan?

Put yourself in this hypothetical solution: Your boss (or your client, if you’re at an agency) has called all of the channel managers together for a week-long internal summit to figure out how to better coordinate a holistic marketing plan.

You’re up first. What do you say?

  • What’s your point of view on how SEM impacts and influences other channels?
  • How do other channels impact and influence SEM?
  • If you could make changes to move SEM towards omnichannel nirvana, what would be your plan for the next 12 months?
  • What would be the action steps required by your team to accomplish this?
  • What would be your “asks” to the other channel managers?

Without question, marketing is headed towards a coordinated, cross-channel approach. There are simply too many dollars on the line, and today’s consumer path-to-purchase is just too complicated to expect siloed marketing channels to have the impact they once did.

What will your place be in the cross-channel world? Over the next several posts, I will outline paid search’s current relationship with the other major marketing channels in order to kick-start your own thinking process and be prepared for the next (inevitable) evolution of this industry.

In the first post of this series, we will explore the relationship between paid search and social advertising.

As consumer social media adoption began to rise in the mid- to late 2000s, the first marketing angle with social was leveraging the organic opportunities with Facebook, Twitter and other early social media sites.

PR firms (and then social agencies) were the first to claim this territory, as organic social falls more into the marcom category than the advertising category. It was around this time that “social gurus” and “social ninjas” began to spring up to set their leadership in this space. The popular social tools at that time were strictly focused on organic posting and management.

As Facebook and other social publishers began to release ad platforms, brands began allocating some rather significant budgets toward social advertising, and it became increasingly clear that the PR and social agencies’ organic search expertise wasn’t translating as well in the paid media space.

Thus, the eventual stewardship of social advertising was passed to search agencies, whose expertise in bid management, text ad generation and ad analytics proved them to be better equipped to succeed in the auction-based channel.

Of course, not all social advertising is run by former or current search practitioners, but a large portion of enterprise-level spending (i.e., $200K+/mo) in the social sphere is funneled through marketers primarily trained in paid search.

With search folks taking over social advertising, the channel has flourished, with double-digit growth in the US expected to continue through 2017.

I’m not going to make the case that social advertising’s meteoric rise is attributed to search marketers taking over the channel. However, every new marketing channel takes time to build best practices, determine the right KPIs and metrics and figure out how to optimize to increase performance.

Search marketers and agencies brought proven tactics and solid thinking from almost a decade of paid search experience to social advertising. This immediately brought a comfort level with social advertising that brands could bank on.

Although it would be hard to go back and quantify the effect that this “instant expertise” had on brand adoption of social advertising, it would be hard to ignore how important a role search marketers played in the channel’s rapid growth.

Cross-Channel Tools Still Nascent With Paid Search & Social Advertising

The evolution of digital marketing channels closely follows the evolution of the tools available. For example, no matter how badly a marketer might want to run Reach and Frequency targeting on Facebook, if Facebook had never opened up that option in Power Editor, then it would be impossible to utilize that tactic.

The cross-channel tools in the digital marketing industry are really few and far between, as most platforms are truly single-point solutions (even if they have some cross-channel features). There has been some significant innovation in cross-channel measurement over the years, but media buying platforms have been slow to react.

It’s not their fault. Marketers themselves haven’t demanded cross-channel tools, so technology providers continue to invest primarily in silos.

Some of the larger paid search tech vendors have built some integration between their search and social tools, but it would be a stretch to say that a true cross-channel platform exists for these channels — which is a surprise based on the fact that so many search marketers are now today’s social ad practitioners.

The biggest difference between search and social is also what makes them complement each other so well.

Paid search is a pull medium, meaning that it requires a consumer to query a search engine to deliver an ad. This is a fantastic marketing channel because it reaches consumers while they’re in research mode and puts relevant ads in front of them based on their intent.

Social advertising is a push medium, meaning that advertisers simply push ads to consumers. Although a pull medium like paid search has proven to be an incredibly powerful way to capture consumer intent, it is limited by the need for consumers to search. Without a query, paid search does not have a way to reach non-searching consumers.

Thus, social advertising is a great way to generate the interest and demand that search can fulfill. And the relationship between these two channels is even more complex than that. Social can generate awareness, which drives consumers to search. Once they convert, they may then broadcast your products or services to their friends and families on social channels, which then sparks more searches.

Truly understanding how your customer base is impacted by both channels working well together will build cross-channel synergy that has more power than each channel working independently.

Moving Forward…

What are some other ways you can benefit from coordinating paid search with social advertising?

What are some ways paid search can help social advertising?

Cross-channel marketing is not easy when each channel has evolved separately in its own bubble. Measurement solutions like attribution can bring an organization together to help put the puzzle together.

But it is going to require more than simply looking back on campaign performance. Advertisers need leaders to reach across the aisle to their counterparts and think outside the box about how to best work with each other.


First published by  Josh Dreller on January 27, 2016 at 9:08 am.  See the original with great graphics at SearchEngineLand .



Social Enhances Email

Visa doesn’t just use social media to see what customers are saying about its brand, but also as indicators for interests and habits.

Social Data Boosts Visa’s Email Marketing

Social media data can provide a wealth of customer data for email marketers, and has helped Visa significantly boost its marketing program, according to Jessica Williams, senior marketing insights and social media leader at Visa, who delivered the opening keynote at the MediaPost Email Insider Summit on Wednesday.

Email is a new marketing channel for Visa, per Williams. “In today’s world, one out of every three people has a social presence and are active on it globally,” Williams says. “People are sharing everything.”

Social media has traditionally been used by marketers for measurement purposes and evaluating how customers feel about a brand, often through social listening and keyword searches.

Williams suggests that email marketers should look to social before they send out emails as well.

“Word of mouth is more relevant than ever now with people recommending things on social,” Williams says. “Those recommendations are feeding your next movement. It’s an always-on data-feed. Global, all the time.”

Williams says that social data can provide a wealth of information on who a customer is, what they like, and what they’re going to do. It’s not just restricted to what someone posts online, either. Who a customer is following online, what they click on, what they share, and what influencers they look at can all provide more information that defines who an individual is.

Williams recommends that email marketers consider social media as a research tool to improve their email campaigns. Marketers should think about who they are trying to target on email, and then use social to learn more about their targeted audience and further define segmented campaigns.

Even the smallest things like language and what words customers expect to see can have a huge effect on email marketing, says Williams.

By leveraging social insights, Visa has been able to pinpoint what kind of deals customers might be interested in and educate readers about what types of products they might be having problems with.

Social data and customer research has also helped Visa further define its customer loyalty programs. One use-case scenario that Williams mentioned in her keynote address was how social helped Visa redefine what they considered an affluent audience to be. Williams’ social research produced the same results as a focus group, but was a fraction of the cost.

“The easiest way to start this is to go to your social media listening team,” Williams says in response to how email marketers can begin leveraging social data for insights into their marketing programs.

She says statisticians help with the number crunching but are not necessary.

“Just download the data and start running the numbers,” she says.


See original post by Jess Nelson, December 9, 2015