Category Archives: social media

Examining Slacktivism on the Anniversary of #BringBackOurGirls

This post was written by Dr. Brian Kinghorn, who teaches the Psychology of Social Media at BYU Hawaii. He examines digital activism and traditional outreach.  Unfortunately, the hashtag and social media campaign he references has not brought back the girls. 

#bringbackourgirls facts

This week, (April 14, 2015), is the one year anniversary of 273 school girls being kidnapped from the Chibok Government Secondary School by Boko Haram terrorists in Nigeria. Today approximately 230 of them are still missing. Sadly, in a moment of self-reflection, I have to admit that I hadn’t really been thinking about the #BringBackOurGirls campaign until I sat down to write this article about slacktivism (a pejorative term for digital activism). I hurriedly searched Google because I honestly wasn’t sure if they’d been found or not. In a way I guess that makes me guilty of many of the inherent shortcomings of slacktivism. Perhaps guilty is too strong of a word. I guess that makes me complicit in many of the inherent shortcomings of slacktivism.

As an educated and concerned world citizen, it somewhat distresses me that I could be sucked into the false senses of security, purpose, and benefit to society that many people suggest slacktivism engenders. On the other hand, though, without social media and the slacktivism of others I may never have been made aware of the plight of these girls and their families halfway across the planet. And what I don’t know I can’t really care about or support, right? Yes, I jumped on the bandwagon with my index finger last spring (along with Michelle Obama and countless others) and rallied to the cause of these young girls and those desperate to bring them home. But even though my involvement was minimal and short-lived, was it at least better than doing nothing? Is slacktivism (in all its potential lacktivism) just a panacea for the masses so we can all feel better about not getting off our butts and doing something that is actually useful or helpful? Or can slacktivism be beneficial in its own right? Can slacktivism potentially lead people to engage in traditional activism? To take it a step further, can slacktivism actually improve traditional activism?

I must immediately concede that many of the perceived shortcomings of slacktivism can’t really be refuted at face value. But we must also recognize that perceptions are in the eyes of the beholder. Yes, slacktivism can be limited, short-term, and relatively effortless with a sometimes false sense of warm fuzzies at making a difference in the world with a mouse click or tap of a screen. But it can and should be so much more than that. In fact, in many instances it has become so much more than that.

In the wake of the Nigerian girls’ abductions and the subsequent #BringBackOurGirls campaign, Kay Solo defended slacktivism and #BringBackOurGirls in an article published by Allvoices. Although she acknowledged some “valid points” in the criticisms of slacktivism, she also pointed out that this particular digital campaign raised awareness that led to organized real-world protests in Nigeria and other locations. Although she acknowledged that “raising awareness of an issue doesn’t do much good if everyone is aware but no one is doing anything,” she also highlighted the positive power of slacktivism when that widespread awareness does lead to additional action. As she put it, “Viral campaigns and share-heavy activism… [are] far from useless. At the very least, it is often a better option than doing nothing…” She added, “The first step towards accomplishing something big is to spread the news and gain support. However little you feel clicking a share button may accomplish, the fact is that this issue has gained world-wide attention.”

I echo her sentiments. Digital activism (slacktivism) has immense power for getting the word out and organizing calls to action.  Although people in other parts of the world couldn’t join their Nigerians brothers and sisters on the streets of Abuja, they could show their support and solidarity through their online activism. The campaign also informed world leaders (especially the Nigerian government) that millions of people would not stand by and watch this atrocity swept under the rug. The world had come together in a call to action, even if the required action could only be carried out by a select few individuals in the world. In the coming weeks, that call to action will gain revitalized momentum as we approach the anniversary of the abductions. Even if it has not yet (and may never) yield all of the desired results, there is no doubt that the #BringBackOurGirls campaign was not a waste of time or energy. There is great power in people organized in support of a worthy cause.

But the question still remains: When is slacktivism good and when is it just plain lazy? I suggest that the scale of potential effectiveness for online activism is different for each individual and situation and correlates with that person’s realistic ability to facilitate change beyond their index finger. As Kay Solo put it “Not everyone can afford to have a direct impact such as volunteering or contributing financially, in which case sharing information is still valuable.” Additionally, not every situation lends itself to massive on-the-ground support. Not everyone can or should be on location to help after a natural disaster. If they did, chaos would most certainly increase rather than being alleviated. Instead, the general masses can show their support through providing information and motivation to established organizations that are in a position to provide effective relief. They may also donate money to support and facilitate those relief efforts.

#BringBackOurGirls has similar limitations. As noted above, there are only a select handful of individuals on the planet with the power and influence to negotiate with the Boko Haram terrorists or attempt to retrieve the girls by force, but there is a world full of concerned individuals who can continue to pressure them to keep trying until they succeed. Sometimes simply sharing on social media is enough to accomplish the purposes of the cause.

In contrast, if you live down the street from a homeless shelter and you are physically and/or financially able to provide assistance through participation in grassroots humanitarian activism, but choose instead to post a meme about fighting homelessness and call it good, you probably fall into the lacking part of slacktivism. Digital activism shouldn’t make you feel better about yourself for taking the altruistic path of least resistance when you could (and should) have done much more. Digital activism also shouldn’t be our excuse (like Bill Waterson’s Calvin) to make our lives easier by lowering everyone’s expectations of us. When the most we can do is promote a legitimate cause through sharing via social media, doing so is sufficient digital activism. At other times, when you are in a position to be a part of the change you are promoting, clicking the share button and collaborating online is only a first good step which then has great potential to facilitate traditional activism.

A classic example of this is chronicled in Wael Ghonim’s memoir Revolution 2.0  which highlights the role of digital activism via social media as an influencer, catalyzer, and facilitator of positive social change building up to and during Egypt’s 2011 revolution against “injustice, unemployment, corruption and torture.” In like manner, altruistic digital activism (or digital altruism) in the forms of crowdsourcing, crowdfunding, and cyberheroism can have similar (albeit less dramatic) influential, catalyzing, positive effects on social change.  For example, crowdsourcing via Twitter was influential in bringing the Boston Marathon bombers to justice; scores of adoptees have been reunited with their birth families as a result of photos shared on social media sites; and crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe.com allow people to donate money to causes they deem worthy. One of my favorite examples of what Dana Klisanin calls cyberheroism was the combined efforts of social media users (including President Obama) to help the Make-a-Wish Foundation grant young cancer survivor Miles Scott’s wish to become #Batkid for a day and “save” the city of San Francisco. Like Egypt’s revolution, this story is a classic example of the confluence of digital and traditional activism for the greater good.

In my Psychology of Social Media Course I emphasize that social media is a tool that can significantly magnify already existing prosocial or antisocial behaviors like altruism or the bystander effect, but the platform doesn’t cause these social behaviors. When used effectively and efficiently as a tool rather than a destination, slacktivism has great power and potential to magnify the prosocial behavior of altruism. If nothing else, we no longer have to waste precious time and resources “pounding the pavement” to rally support for social causes. Additionally, although there is evidence that an initial public show of token support for a cause is less likely to lead to additional meaningful support to a cause than an initial private show of token support, sometimes an initial public show of support is all a person can really do to promote a cause like #BringBackOurGirls. Plus, in most cases, doing something is usually better than doing nothing, even if that something is simply caring enough about an issue to forward a photo, tweet, post, article, or hashtag to our friends.

Whether you want to alleviate hunger, help the homeless, clean up a local park, or tackle a bigger issue like World peace, don’t limit yourself to either digital or traditional outlets for your altruistic yearnings. Find ways to use them both! If you are trying to increase awareness of social injustices, gather support for social change,  or persuade World leaders and policy makers to champion and facilitate your cause, millions shares and signatures from millions of people via sites like SumOfUs or change.org can potentially accomplish that goal quite effectively.

If you’re trying to organize a community service project (or want to know what kinds of service opportunities are already available in your community) you can gather support and establish a plan of action via sites like GetInvolved or JustServe. You could even join the Cyberhero League and work with others to tackle real global challenges with digital technology and your social networks.  And when it comes to opportunities to engage in what many would call pure slacktivism, click away! But also be open to the new opportunities for altruism that may be illuminated along the way. 

Austin Craig’s Tips for Going Viral on YouTube

Sometimes there’s a myth that if you produce incredible content (including video), it will spread naturally, on it’s own. I wish, because that would be easier. The reality is a video won’t go viral by itself. It takes work:

I did a ton of marketing, and it started long before the video was released. Going viral was not an accident—it was work. -Karen Chen

I asked my friend Austin Craig for a few tips. Austin is an expert in YouTube marketing and is super-connected in the YouTube world. It started with a tongue scraper called Orabrush (links to video about the story).

Here’s what Austin shared:
Austin Craig
If the question is about getting content to “go viral” specifically, there are a few pointers I’d pass along.

Get an Emotional Response

If people are going to share a video, they need to feel something. They can be amazed, brought to tears, humbled, or maybe the most commonly used, bowled over with laughter. If they feel nothing, then they aren’t likely to share it.

If you and your friends watch it, and nobody says “Wow”, you probably don’t have something people will share.

Be Original

If it’s an old trick, people won’t be impressed. Show me something new. Maybe this is just repeating my first point, but it’s important to note that one of the surest ways to get a “WOW!” out of somebody is to show them something they’ve never seen before.

Janet: You can do something that’s been done before but find a new angle or story line for it to make it unique. Example: Karen Cheng’s dance video. It show her incredible dance moves. That’s not all it is though. That’s been done before. Instead, she shows herself learning to dance in a year. She wasn’t very good at it at first. She let’s people see that it’s ok to be bad at something when you’re a beginner. Today the video has almost 6 million view and has inspired so many people to learn what they want to get better at.

Make a SHORT Video

People don’t often share things that are very long, simply because it takes a bigger investment (time) to consume it. Maybe 150 years ago, with a more literate society, longer media would go viral. It doesn’t happen much these days. From a few seconds to just a few minutes, keep content short. You’ll see in the link below from Karen, she kept shaving off seconds to get her video under 2 minutes.

Make Something People Can Identify With

When people are posting, pinning, or tweeting, they’re making a statement about themselves. Is this something that people want to personally identify with? Is this a banner they’re proud to wave? Just like walls in our homes or offices, we post things on our “wall” that tell people about us, who we are, where we’re from, what’s valuable to us, what we care about.

To be perfectly honest, a lot of my thinking has been around making videos anti-viral, or in other words, trying to make content that does well over a long period of time, and builds a sustained audience. 

One last tip: be sure to tell people what to do, include a call-to-action:

  • Subscribe to my YouTube Channel
  • Go to my website
  • Buy
  • Share
  • Like
  • Comment

This advice honestly applies across social media, not just video.

Note: more recently Austin produced, directed, and co-wrote a video for this Kickstarter, which in just 2.5 hours raised $140K. At last count it rasied over $500,000. Yes, video can sell!

Thank you Austin for sharing your pointers with us!

If you want to learn more about promoting your video on blogs and Reddit, including the title and other insider secrets, check out this post about making a viral video by Karen Chen. Her method for writing a title for your video also applies across social media.

If you have more examples or tips for producing or marketing a YouTube video, please share them in the comments.

How Utah Car Dealership Ken Garff Excels at Content Marketing

Utah’s Ken Garff Auto Group is showing how content marketing can work in any niche. The premise of their campaign called #ProjectListen is the ways that listening helps you win. That extends to listening to your customer and providing excellent customer service. Both content marketing and customer service are trendy and it looks like Ken Garff is driving both trends home effectively.

Ken Garff Content Marketing Campaign

I’ve seen their TV commercials and billboards, now they’re moving into online PR by going digital. They created a series of videos related to listening, and posted them on YouTube and on a microsite at ProjectListen.com. In addition, they’re working with bloggers like me (this post is sponsored by them) and other bloggers who promoted their videos on Facebook.

It’s working. In just two weeks, they’ve reached over 2 million views across different platforms. In a story in Utah Pulse, the numbers were broken down: “The grassroots effort, which featured real stories about how listening can improve the quality of life, resulted in close to 1 million impressions on Facebook and Twitter combined, and nearly 1 million impressions on YouTube.”

Website traffic is trending up since last year too:

Ken-Garff-traffic

On a personal note, buying a car is not usually a pleasant experience so this industry, along with homebuilders really need to focus on customer service. I don’t mean a nice show room with free popcorn either. The process of buying a car takes forever and you get the full court press the whole time. I bought my first new car last year from a competitor to Ken Garff. Let me tell you, I didn’t feel like I was listened to. I felt like, ok I was, talked at.

The salesman essentially started by saying I fit the typically customer profile for someone who would buy a Honda CR-V. It was sort of like, hello, you are our ideal customer, buy a car. The next few hours were a bit overwhelming. I’m happy with my new car but I especially appreciate when I feel like someone listens and responds to my needs rather than focusing on selling me. As he figured out, I was sold on the actual car, this was just a confirmation of that and talk about the numbers. Today’s customer is usually like me, visiting a dealership only after doing considerable research online.

I like Ken Garffs unique take on listening in their campaign – like in this video about snowboarding. I never thought about how much listening matters if you’re racing, but it makes sense:

on .

All this would be impressive but I’m a marketer and that means I’m skeptical. I remember what my sister says: the more a business touts something, the worse they probably are at it. In this case, Ken Garff appears to be walking their talk. I just saw a press release today that the Salt Lake dealership won the Honda President’s Award (for the 8th time).

They also won the Five Star Dealer Award from Edmunds.com.

“The dealership is one of 10 in Utah to be recognized by Edmunds.com for earning an average customer review rating of five stars on the site, with a minimum of 20 reviews, for the past two years.”

And on their Facebook page (I can especially appreciate that they washed and vacuumed the car):

Big SHOUT OUT to Ken Garff Honda in Orem, and their service manager, Scott. They drove all the way out to Mapleton this morning to deliver a loaner car to me–a very nice new Honda SUV–while they took care of some recall issue. My part was on back-order for quite awhile, and you know what they did? They took it out of another car, and put it into mine, so I could be done faster. Have you ever even heard of such a thing? Then they had a guy DELIVER my car to my house, and drive back the loaner SUV. Not only that–they washed and vacuumed MY car!!! Who DOES that these days? Ken Garff. They really DO listen to customers.
-Kjirstin Youngberg
This testimonial reminds me of Discount Tires’ TV commercials about how they impact their customer’s lives. I love them. Both Discount Tires and Ken Garff get that telling stories across media is the best way to be heard by your potential customers and that this kind of word of mouth isn’t bought, it’s earned.

April Fools: 5 Social Media Campaigns That Failed

For my April’s Fools post I’m not going to play a joke on you. I won’t tell you the name of my business has been changed or make up new products for a laugh. Instead I’m going to point out the real fools who thought it would be a good idea to launch a social media campaign.

My favorite is when someone responds to a misguided social media campaign in a way that overtakes the original purpose of the campaign.

Here are my top 5 Fools of 2015. These are the social media campaigns that backfired this year so far:

1. Starbucks: for the #RaceTogether campaign.
The one-week campaign asked employees to write “Race Together” on coffee cups and try to engage people in a dialogue about race. I’m not sure why they didn’t try to hold dialogue between customers by bringing leaders to stores for informal discussion groups about local issues.

Why were they fools? For thinking their customers would be interested in launching into politically loaded conversations while getting a cup of coffee.

2. Hamas: for their #AskHamas campaign 
This was also a week long campaign and it was international (but in English). Hamas is the largest Palestinian militant Islamist groups. It has a PR problem and decided to encourage people to ask questions on social media. Just news of the campaign invited mockery.

Why were they fools? For blowing people up to reach ideological and religious differences then ask the world what they think (and expect it to turn out well).

3. Mall of America: for the#itsmymall campaign

If you have something that you’d rather not be exposed, go ahead and trumpet something that others criticize. The Mall of America asked people to share stories about the mall on Twitter for a chance to win $500 gift cards. I don’t think the tweets about racism won the cash. The hashtag #itsmymall trended on Twitter and there wasn’t a lot of brand love.

Why were they fools? For acting “confused” about the backlash that happened and being out of touch with how their customers are treated.

4. SeaWorld: for their#AskSeaWorld Twitter campaign

SeaWorld has been criticized about their treatment of killer whales after a documentary criticizing them came out in 2013. Feeling maligned, they hoped to educate the public about they are doing to protect whales. They touted some good and then asked people to join in by asking questions using the hashtage #AskSeaWorld. That’s like asking environmentalists what they think about fracking (don’t expect to get any love).

PETA took the bait, asking:

peta-tweet

Why they were fools: For thinking you can reverse years of bad PR by putting out some positive messages and asking what everyone thinks.

#5 Budweiser: for not thinking through their #UpForWhatever campaign.

Bud Light tweeted a picture of five smiling young women on St. Patrick’s Day. It said: “On #StPatricksDay you can pinch people who don’t wear green. You can also pinch people who aren’t #UpForWhatever.”

Why were they fools? The tweet was taken as giving an OK to sexual assault and was later deleted.

Lessons learned: when your brand is in trouble it’s probably a bad time to have public dialogue with the public. It’s too little too late. You can successfully address politically-loaded topics with advertising, but it’s more along the lines of rallying the troops than convincing naysayers.  One reason it’s probably a bad idea is because they expose just how out of touch the company is with public opinion.

Next up: a social media strategy (rather than a campaign) that is paying off well for a California doughnut shop I recently visited.

How to Retain Customers through Building Community

Every Sunday I read the newspaper I learn about the community and something I want to blog about. I rarely actually blog though. Life moves on and I forget with all of the other things I do.

Today I read in the Salt Lake Tribune, about a project that is headed by a Utah woman I know, Crystal Young-Otterstrom. Her job is an audience development specialist (which is kind of like what I do with social media, right?) with the Utah Symphony and Utah Opera and she is amazing at it. I’ve seen her work mostly from a distance for many years.

I don’t usually write about the arts, but I love them. My husband and I volunteer at the Symphony at Deer Valley every summer since we’ve been married, with me taking time off to watch our daughter. It’s a highlight of our summer.

First, Crystal started Vivace, a group for professionals that meets at local restaurants after concerts.  She is continually educating the group about music and developing loyal fans. Today I learned that she also founded Cadenza , a group for older men and women to go to dinner and attend the symphony together. They also get a discount on tickets. Both support local businesses and are building community.

If you’re new in town and don’t have a date or someone to go to the symphony or opera with, you might decide not to go. Same if you’re older and live alone or just don’t have friends who can go to these events with you. Crystal noticed that “every year we lose some subscribers because their partner or spouse died and they have no one to go with.” With these two groups they’re reaching two key audiences: people who have money for the arts, (professionals) and those who are retired. Vivace will be the future Candeza.

If your business mainly reaches an older crowd, think about how you can replace and retain your most devoted customers. You must continue to find ways to engage with your best customers or you risk becoming forgotten or shrinking. Religions must do this. Businesses must too.

Are you Building (2)

Building community is also brilliant marketing.  One of the most rewarding things I’ve done for my career is to build a Facebook group of Utah bloggers. With just over 800 members, we teach and learn from each other. We see each other at events. The loyalty and community have have been hugely beneficial and enabled me to do so much more than I could’ve without them.

Facebook groups of all types have really made my life better, sometimes acting as my newspaper and connecting me with people. I don’t complain about Facebook, because of all that Facebook does for my business and for me personally, without charging. It makes buying ads or working harder for reach worth it.

My friend Mariel at Or So She Says told me she recently started to reward community by randomly sending gift certificates to her readers who leave comments and who respond to her content. It has greatly increased the loyalty of her fans, who comment and otherwise participate enthusiastically even after winning.

Sometimes I miss the comments and community I used to have on this blog when I blogged regularly. After my blog got deleted and I lost so many comments and I lost momentum. At around that time I switched more from writing about business to learning and applying it.

Encouraging or facilitating a community around your product or service can pay off. Sharpie has done it so well. Who would guess that a pen company would be so sharp at community building? They are long-time favorites.

When people find a sense of belonging with you they are less likely to look elsewhere. It makes being a part of something meaningful. As marketers I feel we do our job best when we appeal to people’s emotions, or heart. Community brings that into a business. You should look for ways to bring it into yours.

What other examples have you seen of brands building a loyal community?

How can you add more community into your business or cause? 

What MARKETERS want for Christmas this year

What marketers want (1)I asked my marketing friends what they wanted for Christmas this year. I specified that it had to be something you could buy, not something like peace on earth (ahem, Joshua). It’s not too late (almost) to gift them some of these wishes!

When I was assembling this list I felt how much respect and friendship is in this group. There is my good friend Paul who started a lot of what I do, as well as some I don’t know as well and all in between. What great people! They are my friends who when I asked, responded. Isn’t that what social media is all about? When you do ask and there is trust, people respond.

Oh and I want a new blog design and an elliptical for Christmas.

Thank you so much to everyone who responded. Merry Christmas everyone and I hope you get your wishes!

ryan-avila Ryan Avila – marketing/personal training/photography.Websites: http://healthyryan.com & http://facesintheworld.comGoPro http://shop.gopro.com/hero4/hero4-silver/CHDHY-401.html
GoPro
scott Scott Cowley, Marketing Instructor at Arizona State University & Internet Marketer.Website: http://www.giftso.meFor Christmas, I want “Trendologytrendology
 Russ Russ Page, COO at an Interactive Agency (web, apps, digital marketing)
Website: www.fiftystudio.comWants: http://www.patagonia.com/us/product/mens-nano-puff-jacket?p=84211-0-COCRjacket
danrmorris Dan R. Morris, I help bloggers focus on what makes their blog successful.
Website: Blogging ConcentratedI want a more specialized camera:camera
michael Michael Jensen, Sr. Content Marketing Manager at BlendtecI’m not going to lie and this is not a shameless plug: http://www.blendtec.com/blenders/professional-800.I want the Pro 800 or Stealth so I can make smoothies for my kids in the morning without waking up my wife. Or looking at getting the new iPhone.blender
 adam Adam Riemer http://www.adamriemer.me and President of Adam Riemer Marketing, LLC. I help small and large companies scale as well as bloggers and affiliate grow and succeed.An all inclusive trip to Rio for Carnival and then to relax in Mexico on a beach in Puerto Vallarta to recover.
 mitchell Mitchell Levy, Thought Leader Architect & Chief Aha Instigator.I’d like to see the Aha Amplifier get another 750 users, doubling the user base. The gift is awareness: could be advertising, could be being introduced to the “right” partner, open to ideas.
 michelle Michelle McCullough, I’m a speaker and marketing strategist, www.startupprincess.com and www.michelleontheair.comI want a new MacBook and an in-home video studio + a video intern that will edit all of my videos. A girl can dream, right?
 jesse Jesse Stay – Social Media Strategy and Advertising and Futurist. http://jessestay.com, http://staynalive.com I like anything LEGOs, or home automation devices like the Schlage Connect Camelot Touchscreen Deadbolt or things they sell on SmartThings.com, or camera lenses for Canon DSLRs. Or, just anything off my Amazon wishlist: http://amzn.com/w/WNBKSU3QBQDU
 lee Lee Gientke I’m the managing partner of Webmix Marketing (www.webmixmarketing.com). We do online marketing for service businesses.Maybe a some credit at Fiverr or a Surface2 if it has to be marketing related.
 cheryl Cheryl Snapp Conner, www.snappconner.com, owner, PR agency.I’m buying the book Flow – and Cision. Wish I’d bought it a long time ago.
 Mat Mat Siltala I grow a pretty decent beard. Avalaunch Media is my company.I want a trip to Fiji, but there really is no link to that?
 Rachel Rachel Brenchley – Founder of http://modifyink.com/ a startup in the maker space. We deliver an online platform for art-customization. Select art, then change the colors and patterns of each element to match yourdécor or event. We are getting ready to launch custom party and card suites in the next few weeks.

What i really want for Christmas is a team bloggers to help me launch my new company. I’m looking for perfect-fit, dynamic and creative DIY, ART, PARTY and HOME DÉCOR bloggers to join my team! I’m more of the “brand” looking for marketing partners! Marketing is a big job!

 Barett Barett Christensen, Director of the Social Media Marketing Degree Program at LDS Business College.

Always looking for great adjunct…though I am good on those for christmas and this next winter semester. I would be excited if Santa left me a Garmin Vector Power Meter. Yeah, I know it has nothing to do with marketing, but it would be awesome to get one.

garmin

http://sites.garmin.com/en-US/vector/

 

 cory Cory Huff. I run theabundantartist.com, where I teach artists how to sell art.

I just signed a book deal, so I’d love a European writing retreat for Christmas. Also, I’d love someone to set up Infusionsoft for me.

 cary Cary Snowden, I develop online marketing platforms for business marketers.
http://steptap.com

All I want for Christmas is a Makerbot Replicator Mini so I can print a few of my ideas to test. http://store.makerbot.com/replicator-mini
I am currently looking through the cushions to see if I can help Santa justify the big ticket.

 Paul Wilson Paul Wilson Profession: Marketer/Owner/University Teacher
Websites: PinAlerts.com, BeautifulPearls.net, RPCO.com

I believe mastering the art of video should be on every marketer’s Christmas list. The raw emotional power that comes from video is not to be underestimated and can be an effective and persuasive marketing tool. I state this because my list is thousands of dollars of pure video equipment.Iwas asked by the university to think of marketing tools that will best benefit the students. IMHO video gadgetry that tells and enhances your business story is worth the investment.

MY SANTA LIST Ü

Panasonic GH4 Camera
- Panasonic dmw
-ms2 shotgun mic
- Field Recorder
- 2 Lavalier mics
- Tripod
- Camera Slider
- Camera rig, shoulder rig, follow focus
- Steadicam
- Wide Native Lens (12mm)
- Narrow Native Telephoto Lens
- GoPro HERO4 SILVER

DJI Phantom 2 Quadcopter V2.0 Bundle with 3

-Axis Zenmuse H3-3D Gimbal for GoPro

Go Pro Accessory Kit 

 Joshua Joshua Steimle, CEO, MWI www.mwi.com

I want a 36 hour day, a creative director, another front end dev, a CRO expert, a few more SEOs, a few more content marketers, and world peace so we can get on with more marketing!

  Sterling Sterling R. Morris  Marketing,Intermountain Healthcare.

A page-turner on non-intuitive findings in my field.

 Joan Stewart I’m Joan Stewart, aka The Publicity Hound. I show small business owners how to promote their expertise and businesses using free publicity.

I want a simple video studio in my basement with a few decent backdrops so I can record more video for YouTube. I’ve tried creating this myself and just can’t make it work as well as I’d like. While we’re at it, how about a high school kid to edit all those videos I’d be cranking out?

There you have it. If you are a marketer with Christmas wishes, please add yours in the comments!

How to Make Money Blogging: An eBook Review

Thanks to food bloggers Pinch of Yum’s income reports I’ve become very interested in how to make money blogging. Their reports are one of my favorite things to read and I learn so much from each one. I’ve made money because of my blog but rarely on my blog directly. In September I started working at The Blogger Network and now I have ads on my site, which is a foundation for making money blogging.

I recently found Chelsea’s Messy Apron and her ebook, How I Made $40k My First Year Blogging. It’s become one of my favorites. I realize that both of my examples are from food bloggers, which means their content is skewed towards that niche, but I think any blogger could learn from them. First, I have to say that I respect anyone who can make that kind of cash from blogging in just one year. It’s very impressive!

how to make money blogging ebook

Advertising Income
$14k of her first year’s blog income was from ads. The great thing about ads is that is once you set them up you make money passively (esp. if someone else manages the adsfor you). I see a lot of blogs apply to join The Blogger Network and most are too small to meet our minimum pageviews of 90k. She reached that threshold in just 3 months and I have deep respect for that accomplishment. I don’t usually see a lot of detailed information about ads so I appreciated her straightforward explanations. She uses several different ad providers as well as networks that connect bloggers to sponsored post opportunities.

The Importance of Mindset
One of the foundations of success is mindset and Chelsea talks about how this. She had another blog that didn’t take off. She took what she learned about creating compelling content, headlines and images. It worked. I like how she started off with the intention of success and thinking like a business.

When I first started blogging, I immediately started with the mindset that people would be reading my blog. This mindset is very important. If you only think that your mom is going to read your blog, your content will reflect accordingly. ..I am a strong believer in the power of our thoughts. Right off the bat, it is important to imagine your blog being successful and your skills improving. .. If you think you won’t ever get followers (or make money, improve your photography, etc.) you are right—you won’t! On the other hand if you are positive and confident you will gain followers (or however you measure success), you will!

Investing in your Blog Pays Off
Another lesson that Chelsea learned is that you need to invest in your blog. She spent 40 hours a week on it as well as investing money into it. She regrets going DIY in her site design at first and you can see how she gradually realized that didn’t pay off.

If you are serious about making an income off of your blog, you are going to have to invest.”

One thing I would’ve included is investing in blog conferences but being a review of her first year, she may not have attended any. I know bloggers have brainstorming sessions and other free ways of learning from each other, but it’s not the same as attending a blogging conference. They are on a much larger scale than a group getting together to chat. That means they can bring the best speakers, accommodate a larger crowd (more potential partners), and bring brands on as sponsors. You get to look for people to collaborate with in your niche for future giveaways and projects. There’s nothing like getting a group together in person to plan. Face to face meeting can be so much more efficient. Attending a conference is also how you meet brands that you can work with. You can go direct and pitch your services and skill set. In other words, conferences represent OPPORTUNITY.

I really like how Chelsea divided her book into months so you could see the progress she made. You get to live the experience with her. She shares information about the hashtags she uses that are effective for her, the sites that bring her the most traffic, and the tools she uses in her business. There is a lot of information about photography including props, lighting, cameras and lenses.

Group Boards on Pinterest
In addition to a lot of spot on advice, she has short tutorials on everything from setting up a WordPress site to creating a cover image for Facebook and other social media sites. I particularly liked the walk through of Ahalogy for scheduling pins on Pinterest. She also included a section on group boards on Pinterest but not as much detail about how to find group boards to join. There are sites like PinGroupie that are directories to help you find group boards by topic.

Facebook Groups for Bloggers
While she did talk about a Facebook group she belongs to, Chelsea didn’t link to it or go into much more detail. As part of The Blogger Network you can join our private Facebook group and network with the some of the biggest names in blogging (esp. in the lifestyle niche). I’m the admin of Utah Bloggers on Facebook. There are so many opportunities and friendships that are a result of these kinds of groups! Before I go to a blogging conference I make sure to join their Facebook group if they have one.

After reading this book I realize I need to do more planning and goal setting. I want to check out her taxes spreadsheet. I really like how she shows you exactly how to do a giveaway with up to 15 people with the spreadsheets and sample emails you can use as an example of how it’s done. I’m inspired to look for more trending content to base my posts on. I know some just from Twitter and people I follow on Facebook but keeping up with what’s new but I could do even better at. However, I don’t envision my blog getting a lot bigger. I make more money other ways and it’s tough to keep up with posting. It’s not worth the investment to me any more. This blog has led to years of business, my book, and it helped build my reputation. Everything else is a bonus. I don’t miss the comments and interaction that I used to have because I’m in a different phase now. A lot of that interaction happens on Facebook and some on Twitter.

I really think this ebook is great for beginners and even more advanced bloggers alike. I wish I’d had it when I started blogging. Probably my biggest mistake of all was getting a WordPress hosted blog. You are at their mercy. My blog got deleted twice because of a link that was spammy (I still don’t know what link it was but I had no warning and no recourse). I lost a ton of traffic and never fully recovered when I switched my blog to self-hosted. I hope every new blogger learns to just pay for your domain and hosting from the start.

How I Made $40k My First Year Blogging: How to Start, Run and Monetize a Blog
Pages: 189 with full color pictures
Author: Chelsea Lords of Chelsea’s Messy Apron

Price $19.96

Have you read “How I Made $40k My First Year Blogging,” I’d love to hear what you think about it. What did you learn and was it the right level for you?

 

Bloggers: CyberMonday Special Includes 60+ Products for Just $27

All weekend after the fun, the food and spending time with weekend, I was on a mission. I stayed up all night one night because I just had to finish to be part of this.

Dan R Morris and Rachel Martin from Blogging Concentrated, along with top leaders in social media, podcasting, video and blogging have put together an incredible product stack for Cyber Monday! 

Blogging Concentrated Stack – 4 Days Only but Giveaway is Only Happening Today

Blogging Concentrated CyberMonday deal

My ebook, 13 Social Media Marketing Ideas that Rock! is part of the deal. I wrote over 30 pages with examples and graphics to give marketers simple yet effective ways to market on Facebook and other social media sites. This is the only way you can get this product.

ebook: 13 Christmas Social Media Marketing Ideas That Rock!

There are 60 social media marketing products in all, including:

A guide from Derral Eves who made the Piano Guys famous on YouTube, to teach you Video Marketing. If you’re from Utah like I am, you have seen their incredible videos and heard about these YouTube superstars!

How about the #1 Podcast on the planet?  John Lee Dumas is going to help you become a Podcaster
The guy Entrepreneur Magazine tapped to write their Ultimate Guide to LinkedIn: Ted Prodromou.
Super Affiliate Lynn Terry, an 18 year veteran and Super Affiliate will show you what Social Media Marketing is all about.

 Want to get better at Facebook? How about learning what Holly Homer on how she went from 50,000 fans to 1,000,000 in a year, without spending a cent on ads.
There are also products from Joel Comm, Leslie Samuel, Kelly McCausey, Nicole Dean, Missy Ward, and Tiffany North.

In addition, there are 4 specials TODAY ONLY Cyber Monday, including a giveaway where you could win:

  • 10 Tickets to the Type A Parent Parent Networking Conference
  • 15 Tickets to Affiliate Summit: the largest affiliate conference in the world.
  • Mike Schultz and Anthony Xiques of iMartisan are giving 5 people: 3 hours of tech time with professional IT dudes.
  • Blogging Concentrated is giving away 10 Tickets to use toward any of their international one-day blogging workshops. I highly recommend them! I went in Phoenix and was blown away. Basically it’s advanced training in thinking like a CEO to grow your blog.

But those are only until Cyber Monday ends, then they will randomly draw from the list at the end of the day to award those.

See the FULL LIST of what you’ll get in the Blogging Concentrated Stack.

You really can’t go wrong with this product. I can’t wait to dive into it myself! I’m sure that even one product would be worth the $27. Please let me know if you got it and your opinion – I’d love to hear from you!

 

Holiday Marketing Ideas: Instagram + Selfie Marketing

Selfie Christmas Marketing Ideas
Offerpop recently featured some holiday marketing ideas that almost any small business could do with a focus on Instagram. I love how Instagram is getting so much engagement and how you can use several hashtags without being spammy like it would be on Twitter, Pinterest or Facebook.

The first idea is to have your fans take photos of themselves (a selfie) with or using your product for a chance to win your product. To enter they post pictures on Instagram using contest hashtags that you specify. You should absolutely requie they use #selfie to capitalize on its popularity.

The great news is you can reuse the entries you get. You can feature the pictures on your other social media platforms, like tweet one a day, have an entry of the week on Facebook page and put the best ones or all of them on a Pinterest board.

This could work any time of the year but throw in some holiday touches and it’s a great way to engage with your community during the holidays.

If I were Nivea I’d include mistletoe and kissing. This zoo marketing campaign I wrote about could have visitors take Christmas photos with animals wearing or adding a Santa hat or with their own elf on a shelf.

The other idea are exclusive deals or offer codes that you promote on your social media accounts come from this list from OfferPop.

  • Aerosoles held a photo contest, inviting fans and customers to share photos of themselves in Aerosoles shoes for the chance to win a $500 shopping spree.
  • Keurig posted exclusive Cyber Monday deals to Facebook, specifying one-day offers.
  • Banana Republic asked fans and customers to take photos of themselves wearing Banana Republic clothing, hashtagging the photos #ThisIsGlam and #Selfie across Facebook and Instagram. Any photos using both hashtags were entered into a contest for a $500 shopping spree.

With these campaigns you are essentially crowdsourcing your advertising. It’s in your customer’s language and could even give you an idea for a future marketing campaign. KFC did this in the 70s in Japan. Thanks to the successful “Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii!” (Kentucky for Christmas!) marketing campaign in 1974, Japan is now obsessed and people will wait hours to get their KFC dinner.

It started with customers who decided to buy KFC chicken for their Christmas dinner. Bang the idea was born. Whoever saw this opportunity and ran with it is my marketing hero.

When a group of foreigners couldn’t find turkey on Christmas day and opted for fried chicken instead, the company saw this as a prime commercial opportunity and launched its first Christmas meal…

KFC turned this into a full blown marketing campaign that’s still going and expanding today. There are waiting lists for KFC every Christmas. They have Christmas countdowns and promotions. My only frustration is I don’t speak Japanese and can’t follow the campaign every year. Last year they added KFC dinners on certain flights around the holidays.

I really love the idea of a tradition – when you find a Christmas marketing campaign that works, do it again next year. Pretty soon people will start to look forward to it and expect it, which means more participation with less promotion.

What are you doing for the holidays this year? I love case studies and am looking for data or guest posts about Christmas social media marketing campaigns

When Curiosity Kills the Brand

This morning I read a case study from Neil Patel on Quick Sprout: What Spending $57,000 on Instagram Taught Me. In a nutshell Neil bought an Instagram account with over 100,000 followers and then switched the brand to promote his brand. He lost a lot of followers but he kept a lot too.

We bought an existing lifestyle account that had roughly 131,000 followers and changed its name to @whoisneilpatel.

A social media consultant came up with the idea and Neil went for it. The paid sexy women with large followings on Instagram to give away big ticket item prizes in exchange for following Neil on Instagram. Classic marketing to men (GoDaddy is/was king of and Carl’s Jr. is giving it a shot). It didn’t go over well with everyone though.

Right away on the top of the post you can see the apology of sorts:

Instagram-marketing-Neil-Patel

When I checked, all the images except one have been removed and I’m not going to post it. The comments are telling. Men and women who know Neil’s brand and follow him saw the campaign and couldn’t believe it came from him. It didn’t fit what they expect from him and many were very turned off by it.

Example:

lost-business

First, I get it. As a PR person I recommend that people ride a wave rather than create one (especially since my followers are mostly small businesses). In other words, when something is being talked about or successful, see how you can leverage the attention or take part of the conversation if it fits your brand. In this case, Neil noted the success of Dan Bilzerian – a man who built a following of over 5 million Instagram followers by showing off his wealth (he reminds me of the Rich Jerk). The problem is that Dan’s style doesn’t work for Neil’s audience. While Neil might get some followers from this, it cost him more than money. It broke trust.

I used to blog a lot about the porn industry because they are pioneers in online marketing.  I stopped when I realized it attracted people who cared about the porn industry to my blog. It’s not an industry I want to be associated with or like, so I stopped. It doesn’t matter how interesting the tactics, it’s just not what I want to be part of my brand. So I talk about ideas or think about them but don’t reference the industry. Lesson learned.

On Facebook I’m part of a social media masterminds group. I usually want to ask how someone is doing something that is working well. Sometimes what they are doing is spammy or won’t work for my brand, but I’m so curious. I want to know if there’s a way to learn from what they are doing. Sometimes the effect is that instead of people deconstructing with me, as I hope, they call me out on the ethics of what I’m asking. Both sides are frustrated and I wonder if it’s bad for my brand to ask questions like that, even in a private forum.

When I first started in online marketing, I was a single mom with $217 a month child support. Having been a stay-at-home mom I needed to find a way to make money and spend time with my son. I was looking for answers and direction. I met a friend who was making a huge amount of money who offered to teach me what he was doing. First, I quickly realized what he was doing was way above my tech skills. Second, I realized what he was doing was working well but wasn’t sustainable or ethical. This was confirmed when I read an article in Wired Magazine that called him out by name as one of the top sploggers in the nation. Since then he’s gone on to do things that are more sustainable.

My point is: I love to experiment and learn. However, if I experiment with my own brand I have to be really careful not to risk my brand. That post I made on Facebook about an essential oil deal, didn’t work and it diluted my brand. It didn’t serve them. I never talk about health or essential oils so it was not congruent. I listened to a friend who really wanted me to do it. I’ve seen so many friends do so well on doTerra that I felt like I had to try. Mistake.

Nothing I’ve ever tried that was tricky in the slightest has ever paid off long term. It’s sad how many times I have had to learn this lesson. I’ve steered clear of partners who use methods that are unethical or who don’t fit my brand. I even try to avoid clients who don’t. I need to avoid anything that doesn’t fit my brand and the trust I’ve worked so many years to build.

Experimenting is powerful because you learn what works. It was brave of Neil to share what he did and how it went and to include numbers. I love it when bloggers share their income and lessons from their journey. I respect and love when someone is willing to be vulnerable and open up about what they’re doing. I learn so much from it.

The problem is, spammers and sleezy marketers are prevalent in our industry. You’ve got to stay far away from them or you risk being seen as one of them. Trust takes so long to build but can be gone so quickly. In this case Neil risked being hated by his loyal followers. If you’re not careful you can be perceived as one of the spammers. As marketers we know perception is everything. So here’s my advice to myself, Neil, and other marketers. Keep the curiosity — just don’t let it kill your brand.