Get Social

Archive for the ‘mobile marketing’ Category

So, we’ve established that Instagram is a fun photo-sharing tool in use by some killer brands (recently, Pitchfork, Matador, Moo, and my brand-crush the Level Up), and now I’m thinking I haven’t seen Soundtracking used this way (peep the official page here), and it may deserve its fifteen minutes. The interface is similar enough to Instagram, with basic menu functions allowing one to follow a user, change his/her profile photo, and scan a recent feed of “soundtracked” songs. Obviously, the app pushes to Facebook and Twitter, too. So, you key in the song you’re listening to or have the program identify it (think Shazam or my preferred Soundhound), and can soundtrack your life, along with your location and a relevant photo. Nifty? Yeah, I can dig this.

I use the app occasionally, when I’m out and about or driving (oops) and want to capture a nifty song. It’s helped me ID new music and also allows me to share with the internet collective that I think, at this exact moment, everyone damn well ought to be grooving along to ‘Everyday is like Sunday.’But the huge differentiator I’m highlighting between Soundtracking and Instagram is I’ve yet to see brands use it.

Why not? Well, it’s going to mean you’re sharing (and endorsing, to some extent) third party content. You may be building a fan base skewed to certain musical tastes, which may not be ideal. But I have to say, there has to be a brand or 100 out there that could benefit from this kinda of network. Maybe it’s that chic Newbury Street boutique, soundtracking their dressing room sounds, or, hell, even the Gap could fall into this kind of sharing to build a network. I haven’t done the necessary focus groups, but I think people like music and will link it with images, and that could even lead to songs or artists triggering a customer’s subconscious consideration of the brand that posts it.

I’m not handling marketing efforts for any clients in-house, so I can’t pick up on the office or team vibe and put this idea to the test. My day job, constantly plugged into Pandora and various XM radio, would be an awesome guinea pig; what if we soundtrack employees’ daily favorites?

Somebody, try it before I get the chance. Or let me know if it’s happening. As Madonna would say, music makes the people come together. Yeah. So can it cause them to rally around the right brands? I think so.

As I worked with a potential client today on social strategies for high-end designer clothing and accessories, I starting listing the merits of Instagram. I love it for personal shots around town, and it’s even inspired me to make a purchase from a brand I follow. I described the site as a photo-sharing tool to engage a community between brands and their customers, and threw out names of a few brands I follow. (Also noteworthy are accounts from giants in their own rights, Starbucks, NPR, and the Boston Celtics.) Anyway, here’s a quick case study of three fashion brands using Instagram to build and grow a mobile community, and why each rocks in its own way.

Kate Spade

new literature-inspired clutches, seen first on the Instagram feed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been a customer of Kate Spade over 10 years; my first “adult” wallet was a little nylon number that cost a whopping $110 but lasted me 6 years. I’ve followed the brand on twitter for the past 8 months or so and have eaten up the links to product shots and playful banter between customers and the brand avatar. They’re on their game with bi-weekly emails as well, highlighting a “color of the month,” sample sales (!), and free shipping offers. But how do they use Instagram? Their savvy social media maven started sharing product shots (including brand new pieces, which I could view before they even hit the website), behind-the-scenes grabs from window sets, and cutesy finds from around town. Branded as the hip, happy-go-lucky girl in the big city (think, what Carrie Bradshaw would share if she were snapping photos with her iPhone), there’s been an interesting shift in the past 6 weeks or so from these distanced posts to more personal content. Fans see where this mystery gal is grabbing a gelato on the Upper West Side, what music festival she went to last weekend, and who she’s meeting with at industry parties. But we’ve never seen her. She’s the anonymous fun girl everyone wants to be. She’s also keeping her Instagram feed relatively separate from Facebook and Twitter marketing(the service easily posts to these networks from inside the app)– so here’s a more isolated, VIP look inside the brand.

Current Follow Count: 28,285.

so this is what it looks like inside a fashion house, huh?

Oscar de La Renta

She’s gorgeous (from what we can see of her), she’s powerful, and she wears designer dresses like it’s her job– ’cause it is. Meet oscarprgirl, “reporting from inside one of the world’s most prestigious fashion houses.” Holy product beauty shots, batman! We meet the designer’s collections firsthand through shots of this lovely lady rocking the duds, as well as ambient shots of the sweet locations work sends her to, behind-the-scenes shots at fashion shoots, and other shots from her worldly adventures. Always with a cute and descriptive caption, I love feeling in the know about these impossibly unaffordable garments– like reading Vogue at the hair dresser, but better.

Current followers: 4,231.

Free People

I love following Free People on Twitter because they’re constantly sharing fun office culture tidbits (like who brought their dog in today) and linking to new products. You can also comment on and rate products on their website using a nice interface that actually looks useful, which I learned about thanks to Twitter.

Since Instagram allows you to mark your location alongside a photo, many of this brand’s shots come from the Home Office. They’re mostly photos of various team members (this company has a lotof accessory buyers, let me tell you!), all decked out in Free People gear. Oh, and they hit up the Pitchfork Music Fest last weekend, so fans got a glimpse of some performing acts via this feed as well. I love Free People’s bright and breezy style, and am I influenced on a daily basis to shop their collections by seeing funky people outfitted in them? You betcha.

Current Follow Count: 3,947.

adorable dress, as per usual on Free People's feed

The adoption by the Boston Red Sox to twitter contests to score new followers has gotten me thinking about real time, location-based instaoffers. (Yup, just made up a term and a word).The latest by the Boston sports franchise is #tweetmyseat, offering the first tweeter to share his/her location along with a photo of the batter a gift basket. Cool concept, and I’m all over this when I hit Fenway on Sunday (ssh, don’t tell Mom)..but I’m curious if these schemes will offer long-term follower loyalty.

In a similar vein, @BostonTweet offers “find it” contests, sharing a picture of a gift certificate at a location and offering it up to his 20,000+ followers. They’re infrequent and random. Local Social‘s followed suit and used the planted gift card concept to drive followers of UBurger, G’vanni’s, and others to their locations to hunt down freebies.

Are these brands seeing loyalty as a result of these giveaways? Or is this more a viable strategy to drum up new interest rapidly?

We’re seeing a closer-knit brand network as a result of these promotions, and a quick surge in (inter)activity on their online feeds. But to really drive awareness and spread the word about our brands, we’re going to need to leverage some kind of cross-network promotional strategy. We’re working on it. Stay tuned.

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As a way to strengthen our business and value add to clients, we’ve been mulling over what exactly makes us quality social media marketers; what skills, traits, and experience do we possess that make us successful? As we consider expansion and to provide you with some helpful tips on how to break into social successfully, here are a few competencies this mythical Social Media “Consultant” or “Expert” (note I didn’t say “Guru” or “Ninja”– enough of that already!) should possess:

  • A good writer.  Seems like everybody’s start up blog is championing the merits of those who can write, and therefore, communicate. My recent read, Rework, even goes so far as to say it makes sense to hire people who possess basic competencies such as the ability to write well over bringing on individuals to fit an “inside the box” job description. Why does your social expert need to write well? No brainer, right? Words are his/her ammo to post content to blogs, Facebook, Twitter, forums, wherever, and it’s certainly embarrassing to get a tweet like this. More than someone who can contract words properly, your social media marketer is first and foremost a writer who can 1) maintain a consistent brand voice while still adding personality, 2)modify content to fit various character limits in a sensible way, 3)be comfortable writing in longer form (i.e. blogs) but understand the demand for “one stop shop” quick posts à la Twitter’s  micro blog.
  • Organized. I was that girl in high school who made solid plans for the upcoming weekend on Monday to lock in my calendar, and completed first drafts of English papers ahead of the due date. I’m still that girl who booked a B&B in Newport(have a look-see! looks delightful, doesn’t it) for the end of July. I’m also now the girl who balances multiple clients’ social media channels and has set times to check in for each client, receives and reviews daily brand Google Alerts, and checks in at the end of each week with clients for weekly summary reports.  Find someone who’s constantly meeting (and exceeding!) deadlines, since managing social is a round-the-clock responsibility and requires someone who can schedule this time and balance it among other duties.
  • Passionate about your brand. A couple points here. I’m looking for a full-time gig, and I do not apply to brands hiring in my area of interest (social media) but whose brand doesn’t excite me(sorry, Carbonite). Nothing against this brand, or any other that wouldn’t prompt me to leap out of bed to get to work every morning, but I’m so much more productive for my clients because I’ve selected ones that speak to my interests– dining out, fitness, and pets, for example. I believe in their missions, and can work well with the owners and management teams involved. Marketing is, after all, a collaborative effort. That entry-level receptionist who sends you random emails about industry events, that barista who’s in the know about other locally owned spots, or the account coordinator who’s sharing articles on the competition to stay up to speed? Those are the individuals to seek out and work in some extra responsibility making your brand known.
  • A quick (and thoughtful!) decision maker. Social is a job that doesn’t keep business hours, and any good employee or consultant is aware of this fact and is plugged in to your brand during off hours. When your store is closed or the executives have taken off for the long weekend, this person is still monitoring brand mentions and responding to inquiries. Find someone with whom you trust decisions and can think for him/herself. Surrendering complete control of your branding can be a scary thing, but the right individual will answer those tough questions and think on the fly.

Any other qualities we missed? What makes you successful as a social media marketer, or what are the traits that led you to hire someone for that role?

Last Friday night, I wrapped up work stuff and left my computer on my bedroom floor. Armed with an iPhone and a friend’s laptop for emergencies, I unplugged. I updated a client’s twitter feed and kept up with my responsibilities there using HootSuite for iPhone, and followed my own network periodically on Tweetdeck. I heard about Japan on public radio in the car on the way to beaches, trails, and dining destinations.

Great, right?

Well. I’m usually a pretty self-motivated person; I get up and go to work, I manage client work on the side, I drag myself to yoga nearly every day, I keep up with exercising my dog. This week, I didn’t have any motivation to practice yoga– despite a thumb drive full of AVIs and mp3s– or to crack open a laptop for more than uploading a video of dogs playing to facebook. So, I was bad and also didn’t contribute to this blog. Not to worry about the dog, though, he had plenty of off-leash walking time and runs on the beach.

I started to get antsy thinking about our little project and where it’s going. We (there are two of us) set milestones and mini-goals for ourselves, but sometimes we don’t hit them. (I, for example, was going to update this blog, at least twice a week.) Being semi-unplugged from the B2C world, I started wondering how useful what we’re doing really is. Sitting by a fire and listening to records (with iPhone in hand, don’t worry, I didn’t lose all touch with reality!), I wondered who really cares about facebook pages, twitter streams, and word press contests. I took a break from them, and I survived.

Luckily, I snapped back into reality, receiving an email newsletter from O2 Yoga on my phone. I actually saved reading it for an undetermined time in the future when I felt I’d be more desperate to connect back to ‘real’ life. I got a few twitter mentions. People commented on the photos I posted to Facebook. A former teacher and friend revealed some wonderful news and blogged about it, so I had some e-reading material for an evening.

I took a healthy, sort of break from social media, using it for what I needed (as opposed to checking in idly constantly during the workweek— we all do that, right?). What I found so reassuring was the connectivity social media gave me back to things that keep me grounded when I’m not away: yoga, friends, family.

Taking a few steps back from being so wrapped up in the the topics I want to write about and share insights on made me nervous at first. But all of my networks were here waiting when I got back.

This week, I’m jumping back into my routine and seeking out 3-4 new social tools per day– anything from a client like HootSuite to a metrics solution like Sprout Social (thanks Quora!). I’ll share some good tools when I’ve gotten my hands dirty and can comment on them.  Here we go, milestone to hit.

Thought I’d devote this post to a sort of long-form #FF to highlight a couple of freshly launched brands that we’re keeping our eyes on. Each parallels a start up I’m familiar with, so I’ll be curious to watch them grow.

Gigwalk

First, for anyone looking to make a quick(?) buck, I stumbled upon Gigwalk in Craigslist’s marketing jobs section. Their application is exclusively for the iPhone and uses your location to offer up nearby “gigs,” which involve visiting local businesses, taking photos, and answering basic questions on hours of operation, wheelchair accessibility, etc. So far, I’ve only seen gigs that pay $5 for what is estimated to be about 20 minutes of work.

Sounds like: Yelp, anyone? Looks like they’re trying to build a network of local shops rich in general information. The job post also refers to “review[ing] local businesses” and implies greater payment may be offered for that kind of contribution.

Cool idea? Sure. But it seems one would need to patronize each establishment (or appear super sketchy!) to capture all information.

Suggestion? Push notifications to users when they’re close to or at specific spots that offer a gig. We tweeted this to them last week, and will accept royalties! (Just kidding.)

 

Level Up

Sweet! A product from super start up –I use this term referring to the major funding they’ve secured along with the support of Google– Scvngr that leverages the popularity of daily deals– with a fund raising component twist. The basic concept is this: buy a deal (a la Groupon, Buy with Me, CoupMe, KGB deals, you get it). Great. If you liked that spot(currently on offer are Boloco, Kickass Cupcakes, and the Middle East), you’ve just unlocked level 2, which is a more deeply discounted deal. Buy that, and you’re really rollin’ VIP and can buy yet an even better one.

With an iPhone app at launch(!), I’m stoked about the potential here. They’re currently in Boston and Philadelphia.

Sound like: Groupon? Sorta.  GoodTwo? Kinda. I like this fusion of the two models: The Level Up is robust, comes with an app, and has brand cred from parent company Scvngr. They’re less in your face about the fund raising aspect— it’s GoodTwo’s cornerstone, as they actually rely on those orgs to sell their deals— but it’s a nice tie-in.

The Level Up isn’t super clear about how the non-profit contribution piece works, but notes some portion of deal proceeds goes to the charity partner. Deals for Deeds maybe?

Suggestion: Will be interesting to follow these 3-tiered deals; I’m wondering how sustainable this model is and how far businesses will go with stellar deals. I see some kind of need for levels 2 and 3 to build on level 1 deals, rather than being unique vouchers.

Any other new launches worthy of a quick peek?

 

 

As a recent iPhone convert and avid Yelper, I typically check in at local businesses using Yelp’s mobile application. The app is free, and a nearly full-service version of the desktop site with some additional functionality– monocle anyone? Love how it commandeers your phone’s camera and local businesses and their ratings pop up to guide you to the nearest burrito joint, drugstore, etc. But that’s old news. What’s new that I’m seeing is a sub-community being built around the mobile application, specifically caused by check ins.

First, why check in? From a business perspective, managers can see their popularity in real time and can offer promotional offers, a la Foursquare. What I’ve been able to dig up on statistics are that Yelp claims check in use increases by 50% each month {source: Mashable’s Post here}. It’s a component of the “business owner package”– the company’s sales arm mails out window clings and encourages businesses to take control of their listing by including offers (now mobile) and responding to user reviews. Sure, being able to respond to a review complaining “Josie was rude” or lauding “Julie’s 6 am Abs and Butt Power Hour” is nice, but the real value for a business now is to connect with active Yelp users through the check in offer.

Think about it: Yelp offers a user experience directly tied to business reputation; avid users of the site have been writing “real” reviews– per Yelp.com’s official slogan– since 2005. 3 months ago, check ins roll out, and users with smart phones can now share their location/recent activity with the Yelp community, as well as push these updates to their Facebook friends and Twitter followers. Oh, they can also add ‘quick tips’ on the go. Users are rewarded with rankings: classifications as a regular after multiple visits, badges unlocked based on types of businesses frequented, Dukedoms (sounds a lot like Foursquare’s mayor title), and a numeric positioning for number of check ins and quick tips, refreshed on a weekly basis. So, cool. I’ve got a new sense of worth as a Yelp member because I use the check in feature. (Side note: I’m also getting fans– anonymous followers of my profile–  at a rate of 3-4 per week lately, which appears to correlate directly with my check in activity.)

my mobile Yelp profile shows my key check in stats

How does this new, ‘real time’ subset of the Yelp community really create significance for your business? Simple. Check in offers make customers happy. Happy customers write good reviews. Sure, Foursquare users can become the mayor of your location, and Scvngr users can post pictures of your product for points, but the most basic useful content a user can generate for your business is a positive review. And, PS, the website automatically prompts users to write reviews when they log in after check ins. Tap into a community of (mostly) articulate, (hopefully) satisfied, (definitely) tech-savvy and tuned-in to trends individuals in your demographic by embracing Yelp as a major player in the check in space.