Six Tags of Separation

from hashbrowns to hashtags

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People who complain frequently on social media are more likely to suffer from stress, anxiety and some form of depression.

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Is Your Brand Meaningful?

What makes a meaningful brand?

Brands that make a positive impact on the world and its consumers, and as a result, make the quality of life of its audience better are those that are considered to be meaningful. 

Unfortunately, approximately only a fourth of the world’s roster of brands fall under those that are considered to be “meaningful”.

Such measure of brands has been conducted by Havas Media in the UK where head of strategy, Kate Cox describes meaningful brands as those who “re-connecting business with real human needs. We want businesses to step up and fight this perception issue by delivering goods and services that drive human wellbeing - for customers, share-holders and employees.”

The goal of the index is to measure the effect such brands bring to the quality of life of consumers by measuring their impact on 12 areas: health, happiness, financial, relationships and community well-being. While consumer products in food and beverage are considered to be those top performing, particularly because of their direct interaction with consumers, environmental, and technology companies are also ranked up with them.

As such, meaningful brands correlate to their longevity, how long they will remain in business - because there’s no one else that will make them stay than the audience that they affect. 

Filed under brand Branding brand story havas meaningful brand strategy consumers index

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How to Properly Brand Yourself Online

Social media and all things digital have perforated our lives for quite sometime now. And it’s a good thing that it’s been fairly easy to manage. However, while managing it has been pretty straightforward, care and responsibility in doing so must be given utmost importance. 

Parents, articles, colleagues have always warned us about posting - sharing too much can lead to many untoward consequences pertaining to privacy and security.  

That being said, while we should properly think about our individual posts in our various social networks, we must also think through our strategy when it comes to building your personal brand in order to convey to the public your interests and what you do. This is especially helpful if your are looking for a job, building a network, or simply maintaining a certain personal brand online. 

Platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Tumblr are especially helpful in building a credible, solid personal brand. 

First, you must be able to answer through the information you input into these profiles with the all important question: How do I want to be seen by others? A photograph and a detailed profile on LinkedIn, thoughts and shares on Twitter and perhaps your very own article on Tumblr can get you started. Make sure to keep such platforms on a professional voice and properly depicting that image you want to portray. 

Networking would most likely be your next best step in getting yourself out there. By following influencers on social media, connecting with companies on Twitter and LinkedIn, you will be able to benefit with their own contacts and posts and perhaps even gain further insight into what they do and their specific industries. A personal business card with your contact information and other social media profiles will also be most helpful when attending offline events. You never know who you bump into. 

Building your own personal brand doesn’t stop with just following and connecting. Interacting with these brands and influencers in order for them to get to know you better, promoting yourself by posting on topics that match your interests, responding to their tweets and  possibly even aspiring to be mentioned by such personalities will help you get introduced to their  own networks. 

With the whole world moving into digital, it takes time to be noticed and to build a network. Thus, optimizing the tools made available to you is essential in order to get this done. A brand is not built overnight. Turn it into a daily habit of interacting, conversing and engaging with new people and making a good impression out there. 

image c/o Steve Fisher

Filed under personal branding social media digital marketing digital strategy branding social media optimization services tumblr twitter influencer brands linkedin steve fisher

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Necessary Ingredients to a Long Term Digital Strategy

image c/o George van Atwerp’s article.

In the first place, without the possibility of longevity, your digital strategy can never be considered a real digital strategy. 

With that said, understand that a short term plan or strategy is merely a tactic. While these have short term effect on your brand, in order to sustain your business, it is necessary to have a holistic and longer term result to your business.  

Make sure that your strategies are consistent throughout all your brand’s assets. Inconsistency merely confuses your audience and that is not good for the brand.

Measure. Measure. Measure. I cannot stress on how much measurement and analytics is important to any business. be it financial or a measure of your effectivity and productivity, an effort made must have a positive effect on your business as a whole. 

Content Management is a necessary ingredient in a successful digital strategy. Perform some research as to which content resonates with your audience, what they are looking for - what they consider valuable. A successful marketer knows his audience inside and out. AB Tests, tracking of efforts make all these possible. 

Tell your brand’s story - there’s nothing more authentic that tying your brand with your audience’s interests. It makes for a unique relationship that results in customer loyalty and excitement. 

Word of Mouth is still one of the most powerful marketing tools. Online or off, endorsements from an influencer are second to none. 

Stay informed. Make sure you and your team are up to date on the latest trends, competitor efforts and other best practices. 

With all this, a truly effective digital strategy is necessary to keep a sustainable business. What other ingredients do you think a digital strategy must have in order to be truly called one?

Filed under digital marketing digital strategy social media word of mouth influencer trends loyalty audience Branding brand story tactic campaign marketing campaign

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Instagram vs. Vine

Two free loopable video sharing services have now hit social media by storm - first with Vine and more recently, Instagram. While the differences are limited to the length of video you’re allowed to post and the possibility of enhancing such videos with filters, it would be interesting to see which service would be sticking around for the long run. 

I’ve been a user of both services for quite sometime now and I have found that the user adoption of Vine is not quite as quick as that of Instagram. The video only service of Vine is not any help either. Instagram however has the luxury of being part of the Facebook family, still photo capability, and the user’s being able to artsify their takes before posting them. 

Instagram or Vine, whichever shutterbug poison you choose, make sure that the content you share is indeed worth sharing and not just a waste of precious bandwidth. 

Filed under internet Social media vine instagram twitter facebook content marketing bandwidth

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Content Marketing vs Social Media

To many, content marketing in the digital context might be a completely new thing. Brands and individuals tend to be more familiar with social media primarily because the platforms are free and convenient to use and requires very little effort to publish content on the various channels. This is the reason why many companies employ fresh graduates or perhaps attain free labor, in the form of interns, to manage these accounts. Social media is used to generate awareness and  maintain customer service – very rare that social media marketers are tasked to generate sales.

Content Marketing on the other hand needs strategic planning, and content creation skills that will ensure engagement and longer term audience retention on the chosen platforms. The key is consistency in all channels, but primarily in the brand’s own website. The primary focus is allowing the brand to get to know its consumers in a deeper level in the safety of its own site. It’s business side goal? To accompany the consumer in the purchase funnel – from awareness down to consideration and purchase up to his repeat purchase or recommendation. 

Simply put, content marketing is all about going the extra mile, moving further than just getting responses and likes and conversing with customers. It’s about planning ahead, creating content calendars and an overall strategy to make sure those consumers stick with you. 

Filed under marketing digitalmarketing socialmedia content marketing analytics digital strategy

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Instagram is a Truly Effective Social Media Platform

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I have been on Instagram for quite sometime now and have posted almost two thousand photos - from food photos which I link to my food blog, throwback photos, down to random interesting ones I manage to capture as I go about each day. 

I love Instagram for it is a truly social network. And I say that for the following reasons:

  • Its visual nature attracts both users and non users. With its numerous filters, and the third party developers linking to it, photographers, both amateur and professional can create and recreate their own one of a kind photographs.
  • The mobility factor of the app itself allows users to view photos on even the smallest of smart phones and on any mobile device. 
  • It attracts non-users to join in the bandwagon - it feeds on non-users’ curiosities of those posting on bigger social networks such as twitter and facebook and allows them to download the app as well.
  • My favorite reason: It is very interactive. Even those outside your network are able to react to your posts (assuming your account’s on public) and you can be assured that your interactions are not limited to your friends but those around the world who are actually interested in your photographs.

Being that, my favorite brands on Instagram are mostly limited to luxury brands - because they tell beautiful stories through their photos and don’t just encourage you to interact by posting random things. Worth noting is my favorite, Tiffany & Co., with its #timelesstruelove campaign and the Great Gatsby collection.

Filed under instagram social media marketing social networking tiffany tiffany and co branding brands

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Seriously, You Don’t Have to be on Social Media 24/7

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Unless you’re in the business of managing a brand, you don’t necessarily need to be online 24/7.  After all, we all need to be more efficient and effective in our respective business focuses - and social media has turned into a distraction for many.

Sure, everyone wants to, in one way or another build their digital footprints - but it doesn’t need to take a full day to actually do that. Also, with the growing number of social networks growing each day, you will still need to keep your sanity.

Pardot, an ExactTarget Company, has created an infographic on how to rock social media in just 30 minutes each day  - and stresses that “A winning social media strategy is all about working smarter, not harder.” Click here to find out how. 

Still overwhelmed? It’s not so bad, isn’t it? Now, depending on how deeply you feel the need to engage, that is where you will need to adjust. But 30 minutes a day is not so bad - and as with all things in life, if you’ve got a strategy planned out, you will be able to manage all this, easy peasy. 

Filed under socialmedia twitter facebook linkedin instagram vine pinterest infographic marketing digital strategy

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KLOUT Score over 60? Enjoy a Complimentary Day at American Airlines Lounges

Soon, it’s not just gift cards to Macy’s, free six packs of Red Bulls or even phones that social media influencers will have access to. For a Klout score of over 60, users can give AA access to their page in order to verify their scores and they are free to access the lounges (in select airports - list to follow) for a day. Well isn’t that nifty!

American Airlines is not the only travel brand that has partnered with Klout. The Palms in Vegas and Virgin America offers preferred, VIP treatment to social media influencers reaching a certain score. 

Exciting! So don’t forget to integrate your social media accounts with Klout. You never know what’s in store for you!

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Filed under klout Social media the palms virginamerica americanairlines aa vip admiralsclub

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Why in the world would you hide your twitter feed?

Quite frankly, I am a bit put off by Twitter users who ‘hide’ or keep their settings to a select few because for privacy purposes. I find it incredibly dubious, even downright seedy.

Twitter is by no means a chat platform. It is a very powerful social media tool that allows you to converse relevant issues, encourage ideas from others outside your network and could even result in follows from some very important influencers who share the same ideas as you.

Hashtags allow for searchable conversations on the same topic, allowing you to index and refer to in the future. Lists allow you to arrange your feed according to topics, interests or even which part of your life these contacts are a part of. In many cases, these tools allow you to be found for career and other opportunities, depending on what ideas or thoughts you put out there.

Save your chats to platforms that are specifically for that purpose. And for those who decide to still keep their twitter accounts hidden from the rest of the world - think about all that lost opportunity, that job you may be missing out on.

Filed under chat twitter career platform networking opportunity social media feed private message communication

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SKITTLES & its Digital Possibilities

The following post is an essay on Skittles that I turned in for my Digital Marketing class under Professor Camilo La Cruz Smith. I’m happy to say I received high marks for this essay which made it a no brainer to post on my social media blog.

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Skittles has been one of those brands that have been extremely successful in redefining and reenergizing their business and digital strategies. In the recent past, they were able to successfully define their problem, and address it by simply understanding their consumer. They recognized that their consumers embraced social networks and were responsive and interested in being engaged with their brand. As a result, they were able to reach out to them in ways that put them ahead of their competitors. By experiencing the rainbow instead of their old functional strategy of just tasting it, they were able to reach out to a wider scope of their consumer and saw what their brand can do and where else it can take them.

 

While their strategy is fantastic and is indeed sustainable, Skittles was constantly thinking ahead, keeping things new.  Skittles has been successful in stirring the Twitter community, spurred user generated content, engagement online and generated a lot of word-of-mouth-buzz. The difficulty I am seeing in Skittles maintaining their strategy is consumer fatigue from the pointless but entertaining activities that they constantly bombard their consumers with. This is the problem they will need to solve and should begin with.

 

To grow next year, Skittles must not only retain their current consumers but speed up this growth by expanding to other markets. In the consumer decision journey, they must target their consumers both in the loyalty and initial consideration stages. They must leverage the brand’s innate unpredictable personality, constantly be on their toes, watch the industry standard and then continuously disrupt it. Now we ask: Where to next after Facebook? In my opinion, Skittles should move towards 2012 by looking for ways to take their brand out onto the real world and investigate the potential of not only longer term content but of the possibility of touching the lives of those who also need it. Why not make use of free content from Skittles’ media channels to let the world experience the rainbow? In addition, curated content from consumers may also be used to create a more holistic platform where the brand and the consumer both participate in the conversation towards a social good.

 

The only barriers to entry that Skittles can face with is the likelihood of encountering people who aren’t interested in contributing to charity or Skittles choosing a cause that doesn’t strike a chord with the consumers. While that is farfetched, I think the consumers are willing to share the rainbow with other less fortunate people and would gladly participate in this highly engaging online activity.

 

Skittles must move beyond entertainment and take engagement to the next level In 2012, a trend is seen in digital efforts moving towards having a socially responsible purpose. Gamification with a motivation or incentive for the benefit of a cause that matters for example, hungry children or in support of relief goods to a disaster stricken area, Skittles can, with the help of its online community, help these people in need “Experience the Rainbow” too. Skittles should communicate this effort across all channels (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc), since a brand should be consistent in its communications. After all, we must realize the need of the consumer to “help” others. With this, I think that Skittles’ consumers will have even more respect for the brand if they know that their favorite brand’s campaigns do not end online.

 

Gamification of Skittles through the purchase of Skittles packs, entering a code found (or scanning a QR code) inside each pack onto an application on Facebook is an example. Consumers can keep track of how much they have contributed to the cause through a dashboard showing how much they’ve contributed as well as how much the entire Skittles online community has contributed to this cause to visualize the progress that they are making towards supporting the cause. This dashboard can be in a form of a pixelated photo of the earth and each skittles packet code that is entered into the app adds a pixel in the form of a Skittles candy. This way, Skittles can truly make a difference in the world by letting the whole world experience the joy they previously brought just online.

 

There is approximately a 10% untapped market out there from competitors that Skittles can address with this kind of activity. This comes from a large market that results in not only incremental unit sales but a lot of PR and awareness especially since the application encourages the users to input a code found in the Skittles’ bags. Through this, Skittles can prove that they are not just about silly entertainment. They are a brand with a purpose, a brand that realizes that there is more to just its online community that is interested in experiencing the rainbow.

Filed under skittles social media candy followers consumer decision journey design process unpredictability experience the rainbow camilo la cruz smith digitalmarketing

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Think You Know Everything There is to Know About Social Media?

As more and more people spend time online, socializing and researching about brands, yours is vulnerable by itself. In business school, we learn that the brand is the emotion evoked in people’s minds and hearts. And how can your brand evoke that positive feeling within your consumers? SOCIAL MEDIA. Brand Managers, CEOs, Corporate Communications professionals, Human Resources, Sales, Entrepreneurs, and you yourself have a brand to protect. 

While networking and investing in keeping the press busy with something to say about your brand or product, you too have a story to tell about your brand. Through different social networks, you are able to reach out to a number of people beyond your wildest dreams. 

There is no sure way to measure sales directly coming from social media apart from deals or coupons that you entice consumers with to “like” your brand page. However, research suggests that fans are 3x more likely to buy the brand they liked thank those who don’t. 

There are many reasons why people would follow a brand. Followers of luxury brands may not necessarily purchase those brands but they want to experience the lifestyle such brands exude. Some follow a brand they won’t normally buy only because they are conducting some kind of research. And others become fans because they want to share their experiences with the brand, good or bad, and need or expect some form of response. 

And that’s where you, as brand managers, as protectors of your brands, come in. I know there’s that undying question about how to actually convert your likes into buys. You must start the storytelling. Introduce the brand to your audience, add content relevant to your audience and keep them coming back for more by keeping things interesting.

Your duty doesn’t stop there. You need to network. Reach out to other users who would be interested in your brand. Converse with them and keep them engaged by responding to comments. Believe it or not, 95% of Facebook wall posts are not answered by brands. Do you talk to your consumers? Ignore them? Or are you one of those who delete negative comments from consumers that you don’t care to see on your walls? Your consumers are reaching out to you and want to be your real life brand ambassadors to their friends. Let them.

There are a lot of social media platforms that you can utilize to promote your brand. Social Media is more than just having a Facebook Brand Page or Twitter Feed. YouTube or Vimeo allow you to post videos related to your brand. You can upload ads, reviews, or tutorials on how to use your brand. Blogging platforms such as Tumblr allows you to talk about your products at length, at the same time enhancing the reading experience with photos. Slideshare and Delicious are great for individuals who want to promote their personal brands. 

There are so many things you can do with social media for your brand’s benefit and this article can never fully exhaust the full breadth of it. There are developments everyday and as long as you keep yourself updated on trends and best practices (visit my Facebook Page on Social Media), without a doubt, you can learn (almost) all you need to know about social media. 

Filed under social media brand twitter facebook brand management Youtube Vimeo Delicious Tumblr FLickr