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


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


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 .



Individuals Are Brands

I immediately forwarded this Outside Magazine article to some Darden students who have an avid Brotherhood of the Traveling Pants following on Instagram.  The imagery of the platform is made for adventure.  BOTTP has over 9K followers and they post photos of guys doing wacky, exciting stuff outside, sometimes in funny colored trousers.   But individuals have become brands on Instagram, some with hundreds of thousands of followers, many as paid influencers.  This Outside article does a great job summarizing the rise and influence of the Instagram platform.

The Big Business of Adventure on Instagram

One drizzly day last March in the Canadian Rockies, a group of adventure photographers clustered together around the icy Mistaya River as it flowed through a polished gorge of fluted granite just off Alberta’s Icefields Parkway. Kalen Thorien, 27, a Salt Lake City–based skier, stood on a large boulder upstream, her blond ponytail highlighted against an orange jacket three octaves brighter than a prison jumpsuit. In the foreground, Mistaya Canyon. In the background, jagged mountains swirling in the fog. If there’s a recipe to make Instagram, the mobile photo-sharing social network, rain down likes, this was it.

“Little person, big landscape!” said Jimmy Chin, chuckling. This was the phrase we’d begun using to describe the setup that Instagram’s animal spirits seem to crave most. Chin is a well-known adventurer, filmmaker, and National Geographic contract photographer. His Instagram account, @jimmy_chin, has an audience of 947,000 (947K in Instagram shorthand), a number that places him at the forefront of a seismic shift in the media world: the rise of individuals as brands unto themselves.

Chin was in Canada on behalf of Travel Alberta, engaging in what has lately eclipsed the commercial catalog shoot, at least among adventure photographers: the well-funded Instagram road trip. Thorien and I had arrived three days earlier and found him in downtown Canmore, soaking wet, at the wheel of a Jeep with a pop-up tent mounted to the roof. He looked exhausted. “How many cameras did you bring?” he asked. He’d spent the morning climbing a melting waterfall with Canmore alpinist Will Gadd, and his only DSLR had soaked through until it fizzled out. We decided to grab beers at the Grizzly Paw Brewing Company and wait for the camera to revive.

Chin is a bit new to the idea of this trip. Rather than the hardcore Himalayan expeditions he’s made his name on, he was supposed to round up a gang of friends and do whatever he’d normally do for fun. Travel Alberta would cover everyone’s expenses, and Jimmy and the others would each post a photo or so a day, tagging the account @travelalberta, with the hashtag #explorealberta. Which is how we ended up in Mistaya Canyon, Jimmy’s Canon magically dried out and working again. With us behind their respective lenses were Callum Snape (@calsnape, 293K), a British national who’d worked at Friends of Banff National Park before discovering his talent for travel photography; Tatum Monod (@tatummonod, 40K), a scion of Banff’s oldest skiing family and a top ski-film freeskier; and Chris Jerard, a formerFreeskier magazine editor who started Inkwell Media, a digital-marketing company that represents Chin and dozens of other individuals with huge online followings, including snowboarder Travis Rice (209K) and photographer Chris Burkard (1M).

Inkwell’s clients have a collective audience that is larger than any publication in any of their respective disciplines. That fact is not lost on companies and tourism organizations, many of which have begun pulling money out of traditional agency campaigns and paying Instagrammers to serve as photographer, model, copywriter, and media outlet all in one.

Some companies pay Instagram “influencers,” as they are known, to feature their products in photos. Some pay to have their Instagram accounts tagged in photos that promote a certain adventurous lifestyle. For all of them, Instagram represents a guaranteed and verifiable reach for every post—something that Facebook, Twitter, and most websites can’t offer. That’s because Instagram, unlike other social-media sites, still shows your posts to all your followers. (Facebook shows them to only a small subset, and Twitter’s pace is so frenetic that people miss many posts.) Nothing delivers more likes than Instagram. “Our brand awareness seems to be growing by 15 to 25 percent per month since we started using Instagram as our primary form of advertising,” says Alan Yiu, creative director of Westcomb, an outdoor-apparel brand in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The biggest names in adventure sports, stars like Kelly Slater (1.2M) and Lindsey Vonn(471K), use their social-media reach to negotiate contracts with sponsors. Others use their channels on a prorated basis. Pro surfer Anastasia Ashley (1M) says she enters into short-term partnerships to put together shoots with production costs running to five figures. “I can make a video of my foot that 100,000 people will watch,” says the 28-year-old Californian, “or I can produce something high-end.” (Full disclosure: I’ve gotten swept up in it, too. In April, I partnered with Ryan Heffernan, a longtime friend and commercial photographer in Santa Fe, to start a small agency called Talweg Creative that services the New Mexico Tourism Department.)

Not so long ago, the pathway to success for athletes was built around winning contests, planning big expeditions, and cultivating years-long relationships with a single brand. Now all that’s been swept away by a new form of self-promotion, one that displays a highly curated and idealized version of our everyday lives.

Among our little crew, it was mostly just fun. The plan was to ski at the Lake Louise Ski Resort and in the sprawling, glaciated back-country beyond. But it hadn’t snowed much of late, and the winter was unusually warm.

So while our guides worked hard to sniff out cold snow in secret stashes, we headed north toward Jasper, with all that landscape spilling by. Inside the corridor of mountains that straddles British Columbia and Alberta, an hour west of Calgary, there are five national parks. Along Icefields Parkway alone, there are dozens of scenic roadside vistas—mountains, waterfalls, elk herds, and the Athabasca Glacier, billed as “one of the world’s most accessible.”

A half-mile from the parking lot, where a fleet of tour buses with monster-truck tires drive out onto the glacier, we found a Fortress of Solitude–style ice cave in translucent blue that could perfectly frame a small figure. It wasn’t really a destination so much as a backdrop. But that’s what people are into.

Instagram culture is actually changing the way people travel and plan their trips. Instead of thinking about the experiences they want to have, people are thinking about what the photos they want to post. It’s like that old joke: Did you have fun on your vacation? I don’t know, I haven’t developed the film yet.

“It’s becoming a problem,” joked Jessica Harcombe Fleming, the representative from Travel Alberta who organized the trip. “People will call us and ask whether there are hotels or restaurants here, because all they see is these little figures and big mountains.”

Paul Zizka (55K), another photographer based in Banff, worries about what the trend does to creativity. “Why is everybody coming here and shooting the exact same trophy shots?” he asked when we spoke by phone. “Ninety-nine percent of the images come from the same ten locations.”

On one hand, Instagram democratizes the photographic business, allowing talented people to find clients based on their skills rather than which editors they know. Snape’s career, for instance, was jump-started when an image of two elk crossing some railway tracks was picked up on National Geographic’s Your Shot website. But it has also created a culture in which photographers and athletes are valued by the number of followers they have rather than their aesthetic or skill. In fact, Instagram can reinforce your worst habits as a shooter by rewarding you—sometimes handsomely—for producing treacle. Instagram loves sunsets, the Milky Way, and the stuff of inspirational posters.

About a two-hour ski into the mountains, the husband-and-wife guiding team of Craig McGee and Lindsay Andersen found several northeast-facing couloirs that had blown in deep. We wallowed up a narrow slot off Surprise Pass, above the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. Craig and Lindsay liked what they saw of the snowpack—locked in and unlikely to slide—so they gave us the green light. Boot-packing up a fresh couloir can feel as awkward as swimming in mashed potatoes. But we were rewarded with beautiful turns down a 45-degree hallway of rock and snow.

On our second day, we headed out Icefields Parkway in search of a classic big-mountain line off Mount Chephren. We changed into ski boots as Chin hopped around capturing the action, experimenting with extreme angles and shooting portraits. (A note to amateurs: Very few serious Instagrammers actually shoot their pictures on a phone. The best use DSLRs, carefully retouch, and then transfer the files to their phones and upload them.)

The snow had rotted in the approach to the mountain. McGee postholed among the firs and spruces to see if he could find a crossing over the Mistaya River. On Lindsay’s radio, we could hear Craig grunting and working, trying to find a snowbridge that hadn’t yet melted. “I just don’t think it’s going to happen today,” he said.

We discussed some other ski objectives, but it was rainy and nasty, and ultimately the plan that won out didn’t involve a mountain at all. We backtracked to Bow Lake, a scenic spot surrounded by jagged peaks, and built a campfire on the ice to sit around while eating our bag lunches—checking the box for another classic shot. A group of climbers guided by legendary Canadian alpinist Barry Blanchard, 56, happened to be setting out on skis across the lake in hopes of climbing Mount Baker, on the Wapta Icefield. Waves of clouds came and went, occluding and revealing Crowfoot Mountain, which sits at the bend that gives Bow Lake its name. We shot all of it, a scene that’s painfully beautiful and yet constantly at risk of becoming a simulacrum.

Jimmy ended up posting about a dozen shots from our trip on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, reaching, Inkwell calculated, a potential ten million people. The rest of us posted 39 photos, reaching maybe one million. The afternoon before we departed, we arrived back in Lake Louise to find Chris Burkard, the photographer, and a crew from an adventure-clothing maker planning a shoot at the Assiniboine Lodge, a backcountry inn beneath its namesake mountain, which bears a passing resemblance to the Matterhorn.

One thing they wanted to know: Was Thorien available to model for the week? She’d injured her knee in a car accident in January and had been unable to ski for most of the winter. So she needed the work.

“How much do you think I should charge?” she asked me. For the past few years, she’d been pulling espressos in Salt Lake City and fighting wildfires for $11.40 an hour.

Maybe a grand? I said.

She more than doubled it. The company agreed. And just like that, another flourishing Instagram career was born.


Analytics Drives Content

I constantly recommend Google Analytics to my students and clients, whether they’re starting research for their SEO campaign or starting an email effort.  The below article from Entreprenuer.com has some great tips on using GA for social media.

5 Ways Google Analytics Finds You Relevant Topics for Your Social-Media Campaign

Social media are communications channels that many of us think about in whimsical ways. But these channels are also something marketing experts take dead seriously, for the opportunities they present to post content that is sharable, interesting — and potentially crucial for marketing a business.

All of that is great to know, of course, as long as you’re not a content writer.

The reason is those times in every content writer’s career when coming up with the constant stream of interesting topics social media requires doesn’t happen so easily. If this is an issue for you, here are a few tips that will give you the fastest, easiest way to find those new content topics that are exactly what your target audience is interested in.

Google Analytics for content topics

Google’s free reporting platform, Analytics, provides a wealth of data and information pertaining to your website and website visitors. Using this tool is as simple as creating an account, inserting the code to your website pages and letting the data come flowing through. Business owners and webmasters use this data to determine how to make their websites better, improve user experience and, more importantly, gain insights.

Here’s what to check out on, and use Google Analytics data for, to determine content topics you can include in your social media content strategy.

  1. Interest categories

Interest categories are based on users who visit your website. Google categorizes them by interest, lifestyle and product purchases. Interests may be found under the “Audience” tab in Analytics. Using this information, you can craft content based on categories such as: movies, music, business, news, travel and other categories that your website visitors or target audience may like.

  1. Keywords

Another great way to find out the interests of your target audience members, specifically related to your products or services, is to learn what key-word terms they themselves used to find your website.

When a number of people use the same keywords, these are great potential areas of audience interest for your audience that can be used to craft your content topics. Keywords or search terms may be found under “Acquisition,” and then “All Traffic,” with an assortment of keywords offered.

  1. Search feature on your website

The search feature on your website is one of the most overlooked features. But by looking at what website visitors are searching for, you can gain direct insights into what their interests are. You can find these search terms by visiting the “Behavior” tab in Google Analytics, then opening up the “Site Search” tab and reviewing “Search Terms.”

Not only can you find the search terms people are interested in, you can also gauge the importance or relevance to your target audience, based on how many visitors have searched with similar terms. You can then compile a list of content topics based on these customer search terms.

  1. Comments on blogs

Comments that visitors leave indicate a level of engagement with your content. The more comments there are, and the more different types of comments and information they’re focused on, could indicate further needs in those areas, and become great content to use to refine your social media content strategy.

For example, a long debate or discussion might relate to a specific article you could expand on in your next content piece and share socially, to drive more people back for further discussion. Comments will likely be found in the blog of your website or on your CMS.

  1. Pages visitors frequent the most

A final area in Google Analytics where you can gather indications of what types of content or topics interest your target audience and website visitors is your website pages.

Looking at Analytics, you can determine which pages or blog posts your visitors have viewed the most. You can also determine how much time they spent there. Using this information, you can then generate more content about those areas you know your audience already has an interest in. You can also look at your site’s popular content from a different angle: Find a direction that those topics haven’t addressed before, or give customers a behind-the-scenes sneak peak at your product or service.

However you find your topics or creative ideas for content, the most important thing to keep in mind revolves around your target audience. What needs or concerns are you addressing for them? What information can you share that will draw them into what you have to offer?

Now, you’ve got the great content. What do you do next?

Now that you have a long list of content topics to write about, the next step is obvious: You will want to write your own content. Once it’s drafted and posted, on your website or blog, share it on social media with a link and an image.

Make sure that that content is something enticing and important enough for customers to share and feel compelled to comment on. That is the true test to determine that you’ve found the right content topics for your social media audience.



It’s About Audience in FB vs YouTube

The below piece is primarily opinion, not based on fact, which I shy away from.  It’s practical but does overlook the delivery (e.g. auto-play, preroll) which largely impacts consumption and also advertisers’ willingness to pay.

Facebook – Why Is It Performing Better Than YouTube On Video Ads?

Facebook has made a serious impact on online marketing and industry experts believe that it is not going anywhere but is here to stay.

Recently, market reports indicate that Facebook is doing better than YouTube where video ads are concerned. Several factors are responsible for this upturn in fortune on the part of Facebook where online marketing through video ads is concerned. These factors are discussed below.


Facebook is the Preferred Choice in reaching larger audiences

Whenever a large company or organization wants to produce video ads that reach a much wider audience, they do not hesitate to use Facebook. This is also possible because the largest social media platform in the world four times more traction or traffic than all of its competitors. A large percentage of social referrals come from Facebook compared to what is obtainable through other sites such as YouTube and Pinterest.

Facebook’s understanding of Consumer Behavior

Facebook has a much deeper appreciation of the evolution that has taken place when it comes to communication among humans. This explains why Facebook employs social media wizards with the ability and expertise to make ads that are not only lively but also more efficient, attractive and relevant. The fact that more content creators upload 50 percent more videos on Facebook than they do on other sites speaks volumes.

Facebook’s Increased Popularity on Mobile

A survey conducted in May 2014 showed that consuming online content through mobile devices had overtaken desktop. In fact, tablets and Smartphone devices account for more than 60 percent of gadgets used in consuming online content. The majority of the individuals who access their social media accounts through a mobile focus on Facebook. Consequently, it is much easier to understand why Facebook has overtaken YouTube on video ads for online marketing.

Videos remain the fastest growing format for online advertising. In the next couple of years, the popularity and rise of videos in online advertising will increase by as much as 29 percent per year. Facebook has introduced new features through which online marketers can identify demographic and psychography information from their targeted audience. Incorporation of ads onto the feed on Facebook ensures that users can view or watch whatever they want.

A recent study indicates that most advertisers, about 87 percent of them would prefer running their respective video ads on Facebook. On the other hand, about 81.5 percent of the same advertisers would have no problem running their video ads through YouTube. The gap might appear small, but in the world of online marketing, the figure translates to millions of users, which could be the difference between success and failure.

For that reason, a close examination of the available data indicates that Facebook is doing much better than YouTube concerning video ads for online marketing. By the end of 2015, estimates indicate that the money spent on ads will be close to $531 billion, and Facebook will play a huge role in terms of being the preferred platform for online marketers to post their video ads. In addition to this, the global acceptability that Facebook already enjoys will help greatly.


see original NeuroGadget article from Aug 2015


Entertainment in Snippets


When Vine first launched in May 2013, its cofounder Dom Hofmann introduced it this way:

With Vine, capturing life in motion is fun and easy. . . . They’re little windows into the people, settings, ideas and objects that make up your life.

Having been acquired by Twitter three months before its launch, the video app, which asks users to share six-second looping videos, had adopted the same social media paradigm as its owner. Like Twitter, Vine lowered the bar for an average Internet user to publish content. Like Facebook or Instagram, the expectation was that you would post about your life. “Each interaction, feature and design element should help you share the moments of your lives,” one of Hofmann’s cofounders, Rus Yusupov, wrote shortly after launch in a blog post about Vine’s design philosophy. Ben Sheats, then Vine’s iOS director (now director of engineering), repeated the mantra in another update, writing that “Vine was built for one purpose: to make it easy for people to capture life in motion and share it with the world.”

In The Loop:
Vine Videos? Try Vine Music Remixes Made By Collaborating Users Around The World

That was then. Two short years later, a lot has changed for the company. Hoffman and another of Vine’s cofounders, Colin Kroll, have both left day-to-day roles at the company.  And Vine is not anything like the “Instagram of video” it was widely interpreted to be at launch. “It’s more like the entertainment industry,” Jason Mante, Vine’s head of UX, told Fast Company in a recent interview. “We have a more heavy concentration of people who are creating stuff for lots and lots of people.”

The product’s focus has also changed, he says, to support content creators who intend to entertain rather than share, and viewers who participate by interacting with content rather than necessarily posting it themselves. “We didn’t really know what it was going to be,” Mante says of Vine’s early days. “So it was kind of a ‘wait and see what happens’ thing. Clearly, the more entertaining focus, when it comes to creating content, took the lead, and that’s something we responded to.”

Some of these changes have been subtle, like optimizing for high-quality video over quickly uploading video, and the introduction of a new camera, in 2014, that allowed users to use content that wasn’t shot in the app—thereby freeing them to use professional tools to shoot and produce their Vines. “Loops,” a metric Vine created last year that counts the number of times a video plays, allows users to impact the post by viewing it, and then watch the numbers tick upward.

Other investments in viewership have been more obvious. In November, Vine introduced a feature called “favorites” that sends users push notifications when accounts they’ve starred publish new Vines. It’s both a way to more easily follow a story—which on Vine tend to unfold as many short clips told from the perspective of a character or through references to other Vines—and a way to encourage users to open the app even if they aren’t posting content. “It was one of the early product releases we did that was really focused on the viewer,” Mante says. “It’s not the assumption that everybody creates.”


Vine has also revamped its search function so that instead of returning only accounts and hashtags, like Twitter, it also returns content, with Vines that viewers can play right on the page. In January, it launched a separate app for kids—a move from Netflix’s playbook, not Twitter’s.

Meanwhile, Vine has taken on a bigger role in programming its content. Earlier this month, for instance, Vine added a “suggested user” tab with recommendations from editors. And while in the beginning users could submit their content to Vine’s channels by adding a prescribed hashtag to their posts, now these channels look more like television channels. Vine’s editors, who will soon include Billboard‘s former chart manager, add content to a “featured” tab in each category, and they have collaborated with creators on special short-term channels for events like the 2014 World Cup, the Fourth of July, the VMA awards, and Coachella. Mante—who started in 2013 as Vine’s first editor—was promoted in March to oversee the editorial, marketing, and product design teams.

As the product has changed, so has the vocabulary around it. In 2013, Twitter had introduced Vine to the world as “a new way to share video.” But when the company launched its own video feature in January, Jinen Kamdar, the product director at Twitter, told Re/Code that “Vine is for short-form entertainment.” Mante, meanwhile, talks about Vine’s “audience,” not Vine’s “users.”

It’s not that the social aspect has been drained from Vine. The app added a messaging feature last year; for instance, you can still search for new friends on Vine through Twitter or your phone book, and there are “trending hashtags” on Vine just like on other social networks. It’s also not the case that all major social products have ignored the potential to be producers of entertainment. Facebook, for instance, iscourting music video licensing deals, and Twitter has made efforts to position itself as a television companion. “Imagine for a moment that social media and traditional entertainment are the only two options,” Mante says. “We’re this third category that exists in between them.”

Like YouTube and Netflix, Vine has produced its own stars whose followings have won them traditional movie, record, and sponsorship deals. Shawn Mendes, a 16-year-old musician who started his career on Vine, is now opening for Taylor Swift. A married couple who performs as “Us the Duo” signed with Universal Records after posting short songs to Vine, calling their success “a partial accident.” There are alsofamous viners who don’t quite fit into a traditional bucket, combing their own flavors of humor, riffing, and other talents into short bursts. Twitter recently acquired a startup called Niche that connects brands with influencers on platforms like Vine. But in addition to these stars, Vine has produced collaborative cultural ripples like memesand the phrase “on fleek.”

As an entertainment vehicle, Vine is in an odd space, where a story is told not in one six-second video, but through remixes, references to others’ work, and snippets of ongoing stories. Recently, Vine added two new channels based on a third type of Vine user—not a creator nor a producer, but one that remixes other people’s content—to its fairly standard lineup of channels, like “DIY,” “Animals,” and Music & Dance.” One is called “The Zone,” which features remixed sports clips. The other is called “OMG,” which features multimedia remixes dedicated to celebrities.

Vine’s challenge in optimizing its unique brand of entertainment is not unlike the challenge that Twitter once faced. Like Vine, Twitter has a large number of users who never produce content. Only 13% of accounts on Twitter have written at least 100 tweets, according to one estimate.

“There was this path of discovery with something like that, where over time you figure out what it is,” Twitter cofounder Ev Williams later explained in an interview. “Twitter actually changed from what we thought it was in the beginning, which we described as status updates and a social utility. It is that, in part, but the insight we eventually came to was Twitter was really more of an information network than it is a social network. That led to all kinds of design decisions, such as the inclusion of search and hashtags and the way retweets work.”

Vine’s new breed of entertainment is also shaping its product—one small tweak at a time.


Originally published by Fast Company 7/2015, written by Sarah Kessler