Author: ThinkMoveGo

About ThinkMoveGo

ThinkMoveGo - passionate about the world of marketing, consumer research, data, metrics, insights, personal development, and creativity.

Marketing with Instagram?

taking photo snow

Instagram. Many people’s first impression of it involve cats, coffee, skies, all confined to little squares.

But to the marketer, Instagram is marked by its ability to foster strong brand communities – and well-managed communities grow quickly, too. Indeed, Instagram was found to be the fastest-growing social site globally, according to Techcrunch in early 2014.

But what are the secrets to a well-managed Instagram community?

Inc reviewed some Instagram powerhouses and asked what their strategies were.

One of the more interesting insights is  to be authentic. ‘Authenticity’ is a pertinent advice to almost all social media marketing. Consumers are increasingly cynical of companies and marketing, they shun corporate presence and demand ‘conversations’ with brands.. Authenticity is therefore a good starting point with Instagram marketing.

Another important factor is engaging influencers.  This is not exactly a new idea, according to the ‘diffusion of innovations‘ model (virtually a must-read for academic marketing). Early adopters, if satisfied, can be powerful evangelists for your brand. But gaining their support can be tricky, because they actively engage in social conversations- which means they may not be sparing in their criticisms.

Instagram marketing in Australia?

To achieve authenticity, the marketer is well advised to avoid solely presenting their client’s work. Consumers these days are not impressed by overt ‘marketing campaigns’. They want to be part of a conversation, and consume information that is relatable to their lives.

Thankfully Australia is an incredibly photogenic country. Stunning natural sights, interesting urban scenes, and culturally diverse.

There is never a shortage of interesting visual stories to tell, whether in your town, your city, or events that appeal to your target demographics.

Of course, there are times when you would like to showcase your client’s (or your own) brand. Traditional billboard-style advertisements on Instagram simply will not appeal; you gain a far better chance from presenting your brand in more relatable ways, such as:

* Events;

* Behind the scene quirks;

* Competitions

We have a fledgling Instagram community, showcasing the best of our local community in Sydney. We do hope you join our conversation some time!

(Image: Flickr/MunKuvia)

CIA, and being witty on Twitter

CIA floor 2

CIA made its foray into Twitter on June 7 with this maiden tweet:

Both mainstream and tech media went abuzz, not only at having the US’s top spy agency joining social media, but at what was widely perceived as an attempt to be un-CIA-ly witty. In the ensuring month, CIA continued to surprise and bemuse commentators with tweets that you won’t expect from men in black:

And a shout-out to US goalkeeper Tim Howard ahead of their World Cup clash with Belgium:

And when talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres asked them to follow, they even invoked a celebrity moment:

Not everyone’s impressed. Business Insider Australia thinks CIA is being ‘too cute’ on Twitter. Slate thinks CIA’s experiment has ‘gone downhill fast’.

Horses for Courses

I wouldn’t be so harsh. Sure, CIA is a serious organisation – if its Twitter account is a person, it probably should be impeccably dressed, black tie and sunnies. But the humour is not entirely irrelevant. They attempted to interact with influencers (well, at least Ellen). They addressed questions (pertinent ones such as whether CIA could retrieve your Twitter password). I think the CIA has made an admirable attempt to be human, especially given its profile as a super-serious, secretive organisation.

But will wit work for every organisation?

The better question is, will ‘wit’ help or hinder your attempt to be build authentic relationships on social media?

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution (surprise surprise). Which reinforces the need for individual organisations to truly understand its audience, and engage with them in a suitable manner.

(Image: The Telegraph)

How to write faster?

medieval writing desk

‘How do I write faster?’ – a question that plagues academics, writers, bloggers, and planners. I have asked myself that many times both in academic and commercial settings.

Writing is pervasive. Successful businesses, start-ups, and community organisations have clear and readable plans. Academics say ‘publish or perish’. It’s not just about self-promotion or ticking bureaucratic boxes – writing is important to having a clear organisational vision.

Why is writing faster important?

OK, let me get one thing straight: I’m not advocating careless writing. Nathaniel Hawthorne proclaimed ‘Easy reading is damn hard writing‘ – care should be taken not just to ensure accuracy but also readability,

But as anyone with some experience in writing would know, many many MANY things happen in your life that takes your energy away from writing. You know writing that proposal/ grant application/ book chapter is important, but there’s always the feel that ‘my writing can wait, my client can’t’.

Time constraints are real. Writing won’t get any less important. So might as well know how to do it fast.

So how do I write faster?

This article from Hootsuite helpfully provided some starting points:

1. Skip the introduction – leave it till last – after all, it ‘hooks’ your reader; why not leave this important component till last?

2. Don’t get caught up in wording – yes, careful writing is important; but you can always come back to it. Don’t let your idea be stuck over a single word.

3. Keep your research in your document – don’t allow yourself to navigate away from your writing page, because you’ll never get back to it. I’ll just add: at least don’t move away from your writing page until your key ideas are written down in prose form.

4. Just write what you got – why do you *have* to write ‘Four tips to do XYZ’ if you can only think of two? Why not stick with two? – On top of all, don’t be locked into an idea/concept before you start writing.

Writing faster – the bottom line

Ultimately, I only have one major view on speedy writing: just let it flow. Don’t stop until your major ideas are out there. You can ALWAYS go back and fix wordings.

Every time you stop, your head either grows a seed of doubt, or a speedbump in your narrative. And your readers will feel the jags and bumps in your thoughts.

Good luck and keep getting your ideas out there!

(Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons)

 

Twitter now supports GIF – and what does that mean?

catpunch

Twitter – our favourite 140-character micro-blogging device (yes, using some old-school descriptions here) - now show GIF’s.

Hold up – what do all these mean?

GIF”s (Graphics Interchange Format) refers to a specific type of graphic file. These are unique because they are not necessarily static images – you can create simple, small animations from them.

Today, the mere mention of ‘GIF’s’ is taken to mean animated GIF’s.

Why should the marketer care about animation?

1. It helps with explaining complex concepts that are hard to visualise – as this study in Medical Education shows.

2. Animations are easy to consume, especially in this age of information overload.

3. They foster engagement because human emotions can be displayed better.

Looking for inspiration? MarketingLand has compiled the best brand GIF’s that’s already gone on Twitter.

And a very helpful overview on using animated GIF’s in your marketing via Hubspot.

Of course, GIF’s benefits extend beyond Twitter, or even social media. And certainly is more than just about cute cats. But the fact that a major social media platform now supports it is a significant step.

*PS: If you really want to get technical, Twitter doesn’t technically ‘support’ GIF’s – details can be seen here.

(Image: likegif.com)

Why is Facebook ‘engagement’ important?

3470183543_43264ae294_z

‘Engagement’. A term bandied about sufficiently often in social media marketing and research. But exactly what is it?

There are many ways users can engage with Facebook, some of them include:

* Commenting on a post;

* Liking a photo;

* Sharing a page to friends.

There are almost as many ways that ‘engagement’ can be defined as there are ways to interact with Facebook. The issue is further muddled by the fact that Facebook defines engagement at both ‘post’ and ‘page’ level - that is, users’ interaction with your page’s posts are measured separately from their interaction with your page itself; but those two metrics are interconnected – for instance, a user can like a post on your page, but may also like it through his/her own timeline (without ever accessing your page).

Engagement became even more contentious after a recent study by Simply Measured, showing that Facebook engagement has dropped alarmingly for some of the United States’ biggest brands, some by a staggering 90%. Much of this decrease was due to Facebook’s recent algorithm change, which was said to have lowered brands’ organic reach (that is, reach achieved by fans sharing and liking your contents, rather than through paid promotions).

For social media marketers on low budget who want to maximise organic reach, understanding of ‘engagement’ becomes even more crucial.

Social Media Today provided a handy ‘engagement’ metric:

In simple terms, engagement rate on Facebook can be calculated as the number of “People Talking about this” divided by the total number of likes.

Simply Measured also argued that marketers should encourage more sharing, rather than more liking:

A customer … posted a photo meme that received 123 shares, 419 likes and 6 comments… She posted a link the next day with a photo as a thumbnail (which Facebook now enlarges) and received only 27 shares, and 2 comment threads.

The meme photo with 18 times higher engagement had a Reach of 11,256 – only 1/3rd the amount of the link post, which Reached 26,288 unique users…

Even the solution to the organic reach drop problem varies between analysts. The same Simply Measured article also argued that you should post more often (so your posts get seen by more unique viewers); but another analyst contends that more posting doesn’t reach more unique viewers – a little paid promotion does.

Ultimately, your online media manager have a number of options:

1. Expend budget on paid promotion (to reach unique viewers), or

2. Develop contents that encourage your audience to share (which may involve some good old fashioned consumer insight).

All depends on your goal really – and your bottom line.

(Photo credit: Flickr/InTheRough)

Strategic Thinking – And its myths

unicorn origami

‘Think strategically’. A term that lives on the lips of many executives. But what exactly does it mean?

There must be as many explanations as there are people trying to explain them. Amidst the confusion, ‘strategic thinking’ may even become a byword for inaction.

This article by Inc, quoting from Harvard Business Review, doesn’t try to – but does a good job debunking some myths about strategic thinking and may make the term meaningful again.

The myths are:

1. Being productive is strategic.

2. Your job is to label what’s important.

3. Strategic thinking is about thinking.

The main take-home for me? ‘strategic thinking is about managing what to do and what not to do.’

(Photo: Flickr/Yosuke Muroya)

So a quantitative researcher and casino executives walk into a bar…

chalkboard numbers

 

The casino is MGM, one of Las Vegas’ giants. The researcher is Harikesh Nair, Associate Professor at Stanford.

The article neatly sums up some of the insights gained from the analytic work:

For example, if a customer visited MGM only once and spent little on the trip, the model looks at the long-run spending of others similar to that customer. If the others spent little on the first visit but dropped a bundle on subsequent trips, the system will target the customer in question even though he or she spent little the first time around.

Typically, a business that sees a low-spending customer (if data is collected in the first place) would probably neglect to place emphasis on them. But by examining the data on a more long-term (life-time?) perspective, it’s clear that something can be done to encourage further customer loyalty.

Casinos collect THAT much information from their patrons it’s beyond belief. Yet the challenge often lies in what to do with them. And if you think about it a little, isn’t that what’s facing many major organisations today? Vast data, enormous input, but they are not exploited, either due to poor data organisation or insufficient know-how?

The term ‘big data’ is bandied about these days enthusiastically by many analysts, without many firm definitions or framework. But this sentence sums it up as eloquently as anyone has:

“Good analytics, combined with great data, complements smart management. This is the real promise of the ‘Big Data’ revolution.”

(Photo: Flickr/WorldBank)

These brands changed their logos…and turned themselves into marketing lessons

There’s this product, with a widely-recognised logo, but the top brass thinks is no longer (pick any of the following) connecting with its audience/stands for its core value/fresh in appearance. So they call in your creative agency and wants a change.

Don’t we all just love* the dilemma? Established brand, strong visuals, but the board wants a new message…

Ad Age looks at a few examples of where things didn’t go…umm…quite as well as hoped.

Lesson for mine? – yes, a corporate logo (or any visual communication) may have a thousand research-driven rationales. But consumers like what’s familiar. Just ask Old Coke.

*  Sarcasm noted.

M&M: How to create a product spokesperson that you want to murder

You know that animated red (and yellow) M&M character? Goes on ads, does things, says things. But does it get in your mind that he (along with his yellow fellow) is basically imploring you, their consumers, to murder them?

Creepy thought, isn’t it?

Some advertising agencies get it right, as in the case of M&M. So much so that its agency head declared:

I’ve always said you want to push storytelling to a place people didn’t expect it would go. And that requires taking some chance. One misstep is not going to hurt your brand.

Don’t we all wish for the panacea whereby taking that one chance won’t ruin your client’s account?

Is there more to online marketing than click-rate?

counting

I’d like to think so – that marketing is about connection to the consumer, rather than gaming a system, presenting tangible numbers merely to impress clients.

And here’s an enlightening discussion on Forbes about the ‘Attention Web’ on social media:

So a share in itself is not a terrific sign of value, unless you really mean that you want other people to read what you actually read. That, actually reading it, he calls this shift the Attention Web. And he says it’s about being awesome.

 

What I’d like to know, actually, is how ‘awesome’ is measured, never mind quantified.

Is that a more youth-savvy way to mean ‘genuine consumer connection’?

Or is that code for ‘things that worked for me, but not for you, therefore I’m awesome’?

(Photo: Flickr/Martin Fisch)