Monday Mashups: Snapchat for your Business?

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We’re really mashing it up this week with articles about Snapchat, research commissioned by twitter, guest blogging and effective responses on social media.

Does Snapchat Have Potential with Small Businesses?

Snapchat is a photo messaging app where you can send pictures to your contacts that can only be viewed once for a limited time. Mostly reserved for impromptu snaps of ridiculousness among friends but a yogurt shop in New York creatively used it for a coupon promotion. To say the least I’m inspired by it but the article doesn’t mention how well the promotion performed. Do you think Snapchat could work for your brand?

Does Twitter Really Drive Sales?

Twitter ran a study to see if promotional tweets actually increase sales. They did this by correlating exposure to promoted tweets to purchase data taken from loyalty card programs. You can see Twitter’s release of the results here. Their conclusion is that exposure to promoted tweets does improve sales and enagagement improves sales even more. There are quite a few limitations to the study that the Social Media Today article mentions. Such as the extension of the results beyond loyaty card holders and to other types of brands.

This study brings up a metric related question I’ve had for a while. When it comes to getting followers, is it about quality over quantity? Assuming the target market is aligned, more followers, means more exposure, means more sales. Another view is that quality (likes, conversation, engagement) means a deeper connection, stronger brand image and that will bring followers itself.

dennis-iconDennis: I will always stress quality over quantity when it comes to social media. While it’s great for a business to have a large following, if that’s the only metric that matters to them, then their social media goals are quite one-dimensional. Rather than just focusing on number of followers, a better measurement of success is the number of engaged users, and number of mentions and interactions on their accounts. It’s way more valuable to have a small, but highly engaged audience than to have a large, but unengaged audience. That being said, having a larger audience means that your message will have a greater reach, so ideally there needs to be a balance of both quality and quantity. Building quantity through organic means may take some time, however you can bet that there’s a good chance that those following you are high value or potential customers. Remember, social media is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Take time to build a highly engaged community and a quality follower base, and nurture that relationship by providing value to your followers.

Guide to Guest Blogging Tactics

Thinking about increasing readership with a guest blogger? Remember to consider all the angles. From acquiring the right one, to content development, to keeping the momentum after the post, this article will help you make the most of it.

By the way two of our kernels have blogs themselves! You may know Dee from Gastrofork and Dennis from Pangcouver.

Infographic Pick of the Week: Flow Chart of Responding to Tweets

Do you agree with this illustrator’s approach? Is your internal decision making process for community management like this?

nick-iconNick: That’s actually a fabulous flow-chart. Obviously each situation is going to have its own nuances, but that approach is a solid point of reference – especially for people just starting to try their hand at community management. In particular, I like the point about adding relevant people to your network (I especially recommend creating lists on Twitter for this purpose).

Friday 5: The Secret Life of a Kernel

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Just like that, 6 months have come and gone. Interning at Popcorn has definitely been an experience. I got to witness the good, the bad and the ugly. With that being said, for my last Friday 5 I’m sharing the inside scoop about being a Kernel.

1) Always be on your social media A-game. From knowing each social platform, to strategy and analytics – it’s status quo to understand the trends in the world of social media. My research routine consisted of social media blogs, twitter streams, scrolling through feedly and more. It was sure time consuming.

2) Every other team meeting consisted of delicious meals & weeknight drinks. New clients = more food. It was exhausting. I was always eating – it felt like “Freshman 15″.  Although, I guess that’s expected when you work for a boutique agency specializing in the food industry.

3) Research research research. I took on a lot of different research tasks. One in particular though made me realize just how much you can learn about people by creeping their social media channels. It wasn’t stalking… it was all for an awesome marketing strategy, of course!

4) My boss would always encourage me to add more bacon to my diet.  Kernel Tip: Don’t admit you like fruits & vegetables.

5) I developed the habit of food-photography. It’s all about the perfect angles, which filters are best, and the most effective hashtags. I now definitely feel more confident on how to optimize my Instagram photos.

TGIF – Thank Gosh I’m Free!

JOKES.

Monday Mashups: Marketing Lessons from Suicide Hotlines and Miley Cyrus

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The thing I love most about marketing is that you can see in everything and learn and apply concepts all the time. Even things like the Suicide Hotline and Miley Cyrus’ latest antics. The problem is, once you start seeing things like a marketer, don’t think that you can put your feet in the shoes of an average consumer ever again.

Onto this weeks articles and expert insight!

Marketing Lessons from Suicide Hotlines

A big rule in suicide hotline operating is “don’t give advice.” Why? Because it’s not about you and what you would do. The article serves as a vivid reminder that “we often focus on what we want out of a conversation” rather than what the other side wants. “It’s not about your product or service. It’s about what it means to the people who might use it; how it can make their lives better, or how other people are using it to improve their businesses.”

Lessons from Miley: Transitioning to a New Audience

Perhaps there was more to Miley Cyrus’ controversial performance at the VMAs than just getting attention. Maybe it was really about positioning herself to be more targeted for the older demographic. The article argues that by going so over the top now, any new positioning activities she does later will be less shocking and therefore more accepted. In my opinion, not all “brands” have to take such drastic measures. Justin Timberlake is a good example. He transitioned successfully from boy band heartthrob to a respected solo artist and actor by taking small strategic steps in the right directions. Nick Lachey didn’t.

Brand Personas on Social

Is your brand the helper, the insider, the confidante or none of the above? Stand out in the minds of your customers by being known as the brand that _____. The approach is rather than filling the blank with your competitive advantage, fill it with the social role you want to play. The article’s division of the personas can be a little controversial if you believe that brands should be filling the 3 roles to varying degrees.

What aspects do you look at when defining a brand’s persona? Do you agree with the article?

 nick-iconNick: People respond more positively to a more human voice than impersonal communication. After all, nobody wants to engage with a computer or faceless bureaucrat. The idea that people identify with specific enduring archetypes is gaining momentum as storytelling is a method of transmitting information we’re very familiar with (even from a young age). Tap into that power and make it easy for your audience to connect with your brand. Figure our what your brand represents and use that personality as a guide as you create content and converse with customers online.

Amy: It takes a bit of time to define a brand’s persona. It takes a bit of tweaking and trying out different things until you find something that just feels right. Consider what kind of energy you want to bring to your friends and fans and start creating content that encompasses that energy. Listening to your fans is also a great way to figure out what direction you should go in. When you post, see what they respond well too, and keep posting more of that!

Infographic Pick of the Week: Men vs. Women on Social Media

Which platforms are men and women using and how do we differ? What do women really think of their Facebook friends? Learn this and more in our infographic pick of the week!

I was pretty surprised that men are on YouTube almost double the length of women. Ignoring Pinterest, should brands consider these gender differences when choosing their channel? Or is it irrelevant as the content defines what channel is best?

amy-iconAmy: 100% DON’T BE EVERYWHERE unless it makes sense for you. This is obvious isn’t it? Pick one or two channels, do them really well. That’s it. Don’t stretch yourself too thin just because you feel like you should.

 

Friday 5: Sites You Should Be Visiting

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When you have the world at your fingertips, it’s difficult to sift through the noise of memes, the latest big Youtube video or an article that you know was made for link bait. Here are a couple suggestions of sites you should be visiting – which I frequent almost daily.

1. Stanford University’s Entrepreneurship Corner

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Forget TED talks, learn and get inspired by the best at Stanford University’s Entrepreneurship Corner. They have over 2000 free videos and podcasts that feature people like Marissa Mayer, Guy Kawasaki, Sheryl Sandberg, Jack Dorsey to name a few. There are so many topics to choose from, you’ll be listening to talks for hours.

2. Chineasy

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Been meaning to pick up a new language? Me too. Learn how to write and recognize basic Chinese symbols with Chineasy. The mixture of visual cues with the symbols makes it a snap to learn a new word every day.

3. Brit + Co

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If you’re looking for great ideas in the DIY department, new recipes and the latest tech, look no further than Brit + Co. Touted as the “Martha Stewart of Silicon Valley”, this clean, creative and bright website covers pretty much anything for your inner glamorous nerd.

4. Foodgawker

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What list by a food blogger would be complete without a recipe finder?! Foodgawker is my go-to for recipes. Every drool worthy photo leads you back to the recipe and it’s easy to search recipes by categories or even by ingredient.

5. 90s Button

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Finally, since it’s Friday – let’s hang loose. I recently came across the 90s Button and have indulged in my guilty 90s musical pleasures. Complete with a crazy background and MC Hammer gifs. Long live the 90s.

TGIF!

 

Monday Mashups: Infographic Edition

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Take it easy this labour day and check out these new infographics on social media. If you haven’t noticed, we usually do one infographic pick of the week but the long weekend calls for something special.

Why are Infographics So Popular?

Apparently, every day, infographic production increases 1%. Why? According to the infographic there are 9 great reasons for why businesses use them. Perhaps more interestingly, there are large cultural differences in how interest for the format is growing.

The Best Flowchart for How To Choose a Hashtag

It’s all you need to know. Not only does the flow chart give you a definitive answer, but goes further to tell you what you need to consider once you’ve chosen your hashtag.

Which Demographics Use Social Media?

You may already know that 18-29 year olds are the most engaged in social media. But did you know usage across income and education levels hardly differ? The status of social media can change so quickly so who knows how long these facts will hold true. In the meanwhile however, for a snapshot of  current online participation, check out the link above.

Pros and Cons of Facebook Timeline Contest versus Third Party App

Saving the best for last, regarding Facebook’s newest changes in their promotion policies, this infographic intelligently breaks down everything you need to know about the two options.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out our latest Quick News.

Happy Monday!

Friday 5: Acronyms From Marketing Class

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“Write what you know.” – Mark Twain. As an undergraduate student intern at Popcorn, what do I know best? It might be sad to say but, it’s school. So, from the depths of the vaults at business school, here are the 5 most used acronyms from my marketing classes.  4 of the 5 were used in every marketing class I have ever taken. Despite my “greenness” to the real world, I’d like to believe these concepts are pretty important to a business’s success.

1. SMART Goals – For All Goal Setting

Specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, timely. These should be the criteria of every goal or objective you set. “Increase sales” is not enough. By how much? In which areas? By when? What are you going to do to measure your success/failures? SMART goals are more likely to be understood, motivating, and therefore achieved.

2. STP – For Getting Your Customers to “Get” You

Segment, target, position. You can’t be everything to everyone. Most businesses have a good idea of who their target market is. Or do they? A restaurant in Downtown could say they are targeting young adults working in the area. But what about their time sensitivity? Price sensitivity? Their need for consistency versus change even. All these identifiers help your business cater to the right needs and helps you find the right methods of promotion.

Divide up your market into as detailed segments as you can and choose the ones with the most potential. Then figure out what they want, how you can give it to them and how you can show them that you have what they want. It’s easier to make what people want, than to make people want what you have. (I wonder if the same can be said about dating.)

3. AIDA – For Communications that Work

Attention, interest, desire, action. Get the most of your communications. Every message should activate your audience’s attention, interest and desire. Every message should also make the desired action as clear and as simple as possible. Think of the best movie trailers. It’s easy to see AIDA in them. Have you ever seen one with neither a title, release date nor website? I hope not.

4. SWOT Analysis – For Understanding Where You are At and Where You Can Go

SWOT is just a reminder to take a look at both the internal (strengths and weaknesses) and external (opportunities and threats) environment of your business. These should be considered in goal setting, evaluating the potential of market segments and a whole bunch of other decisions. Keep your eyes peeled.

5. 4 P’s of Marketing – For Making a Great and Desired Offering

Product, place, price, promotion. Of all the things that make up the consumer perception, these 4 factors are the only things that you can control. Marketing, getting people to support you, is more than just promotion, sales and advertising. If you’re ever wondering how you can sell more, look at how these 4 factors are meeting the needs of your consumers. Get creative too. “Product” isn’t just about the features and appearances. What is an appropriate assortment? With pricing, also think about relative pricing and how that may be influencing decisions and expectations.

How many of these acronyms actually apply to real life practice? I’m in the process of finding out. Marketing is part art and part science. Sometimes it’s about the statistics, the pilot tests or the frameworks made of acronyms. Others times, it’s just grasping empathy and one’s philosophies of doing business. My guess is that the answer is “it depends”.

Facebook Updates Promotions Policy


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WHAT HAPPENED

On Tuesday, Facebook announced in an official blog post that they updated their Pages Terms – they removed the requirement that Facebook promotions need to be administered through apps.

WHY YOU SHOULD CARE

This means it’s no longer necessary to implement Facebook promotions through 3rd party apps! Businesses can now host contest that collect entries by having users post on the Page or comment/like a Page post. Users messaging the Page can be a form of collecting entries, as well as have likes used as a voting mechanism.

However, Facebook did come out with stricter tagging guidelines. With the new update, Pages can’t tag or encourage people to tag themselves in content in exchange to win a prize.

WHAT TO DO

Businesses now have the choice to administer promotions on Page Timelines OR use apps on Facebook. As Facebook told Mashable, “[this new policy] makes it even easier for smaller businesses to help build awareness for a new product, promote the opening of a new location, sell inventory or advance other business objectives.”  With this change, small businesses that don’t have the funds to invest in apps can now manage their own promotions at no cost.

 

Monday Mashups: Complaints, Content Tips and a Creativity Workout

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Monday Mashups is about sharing interesting articles from the web in the past week and expanding on it with insights form the Popcorn team. I usually try to fit a theme around it but this week will be a true mashup of stuff to learn. Let’s begin!

How Do the Baltimore Ravens do Social?

It’s not everyday you get to hear from the VP of digital media for the Baltimore Ravens. The article and its podcast shows that there are alternative ways to manage complaints and integrate sponsors without damaging your brand.

What are other options for businesses that want to keep their complaints off Twitter? Should that be encouraged?

amy-iconAmy: Having others complain about you on either Facebook or twitter should be seen as an opportunity. Complaints give you or your brand a chance to show the customer (or “complaining party”) how you handle yourself under pressure. Use a complaint as your chance to connect with your followers, answer in a professional manner and encourage them to come back, on your dime the next time to make it up to them.

Dee: It’s hard to keep complaints off twitter, there really is no way to completely block complaints from happening. The easiest way is to apologize and answer in a timely manner.

5 Selling Techniques to Steal from Informercials (Without Trashing Your Reputation)

There is a lot to be learned from informercials. They use a range of tactics in getting consumers to engage. But honestly, who likes infomercials? The article above teaches you how to use the key persuasion techniques without the cheese.

The article touches on 2 of Robert Cialdini’s 6 key principles of influence (social proof, scarcity, reciprocity, commitment, authority, liking.) Is social media a place to be utilizing influence principles? Does it make social media too sales oriented?

nick-iconNick: Personally, I like to rely on instinct when it comes to content. That said, if you don’t experiment and learn (concepts like Cialdini’s 6 principles, for example) then your judgement won’t be as robust as it could be. Learn from the mountain of marketing research available freely online, be willing to take chances, and producing quality content will eventually become second nature to you.

Dee: Social media definitely is a place to be using influence principles. However, there’s a fine balance between promoting your business and creating genuine interaction with your followers. There is so much noise on social media channels nowadays, it’s easy to spot brands or companies that are just too salesy, and it’s so easy to tune them out. Nobody wants their customers to tune them out, so it’s best to make sure that you’re mixing your sales messages with some real conversation!

Quantity versus Quality on Facebook

A study that ranks 50 retail brands on the performance of their Facebook pages comes up with some interesting insights. How effective is a quality driven approach compared to a quantity driven one? Read the PDF report to find out.

Interestingly, Tiffany & Co., the brand with the highest engagement, has a 95% photo, 5% video breakdown for their Facebook content. Do you think other brands can succeed with Tiffany’s exclusively visual oriented strategy?

dee-iconDee: High end designer brands could do very well with extensively visual strategies – a lot of them are very well known on a visual level. There are certain brands that would be better dynamically (video) like sports teams or energy drinks for example.

 

Inspiration: Hot Dogs or Legs?

This entertaining Tumblr featured in the above link plays on a popular instagram selfie trend and asks the audience if they can tell the difference hot dogs and legs. It’s actually created by a French-Canadian cooking blogger, but what if a sausage company came up with this idea?

Here’s a creativity workout: If you worked for a sausage company and someone brought up this hot dog and leg similarity, could it be used in their marketing? How could it be integrated with a brand?

Dee: I think this could definitely be used in marketing a meat company, but it would have to work with their current branding efforts. You wouldn’t get an older brand like an Oscar Meyer for example, who have built a legacy on being family friendly. I would think it would work best for a relatively new meat company.

Nick: It’s too bad a company like Oscar Mayer didn’t think of this first. It really would have been a marketing home-run. Even though they’re a little late to the party (at least for heavy-to-moderate internet users), a hot dog company could still sponsor a compilation post on BuzzFeed or do a YouTube ad about it.

Amy: I think taking a chance and doing something fun online is always very risky to businesses. You have to be willing to make a few people mad sometimes and doing things that are a little risky are a good way to get attention, but you need to be ready for the good attention and then bad attention. I always encourage people to take risks instead of playing it safe.

Hope you enjoyed the marketing insights from our team, and I hope it got you thinking too! Happy Monday!

Friday 5: Ways to Get Creative With Popcorn

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Not enough popcorn in your life? Have some fun with today’s Friday 5!  Here are five creative things to do with popcorn.

1) Make a Meal - Try popcorn in your home cooked meals. Popcorn Crusted Macaronic & Cheese, Popcorn Pepperoni Pizza Dippers… Take a look at some  of the neat recipes here.

2) Decoration – You’ve most likely made the string of popcorn at some point growing up, and if you didn’t, well you could start a new Christmas tradition! Just grab string, a sewing needle and simply thread it through the popcorn – no need for tinsel. It can also double as a replacement for candy necklaces!

3) Edible Party Bowl – It’s popcorn in a bowl of popcorn! Definitely as cool as it sounds & looks.

4) Popcorn-Pops - Who wants a cake-pop when you can have popcorn on a stick? Be a little creative with the tasty caramel popcorn and make a different sweet treat. If you decide to make them a bit bigger, they can even work as great party pieces.

5) Make a Viral Video Using – Confused? That just means you haven’t watched this 2009 YouTube video of The Muppets featuring the “Popcorn Song” by Hot Butter. We won’t admit to it being a catchy tune.

 

Instagram Now Allows Pre-Shot Videos

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WHAT HAPPENED

Instagram now allows uploading of videos from your phone’s library.

THE RUNDOWN

Select the video you’d like to upload, trim it, crop it, even straighten it, filter it, (Bop It?) and upload.

WHY YOU SHOULD CARE

Rich quality content. Sound overlay instead of choppy background noises. You can pretty much do anything you want if it’s within 15 seconds. Save then upload = avoid losing your perfect shot.

WHAT TO DO

Update your Instagram to 4.1 and get rolling.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Synced sound and perfect shots are awesome but I think businesses may be tempted to make commercial-like videos. The key, as with all social media, is to keep it real and be SOCIAL.