Friday, July 22, 2016

Earned vs. Owned vs. Paid Channels

What scares me about earned vs. owned vs. paid media? A few things. Let me break it down by channel for you, where I’ll also list off a few positives for the channels as well, but lately I feel I’ve seen a shift and it’s only about to get WORSE. 

This channel terrifies & excites me in a few ways. This is obviously a very effective channel for many brands, as word of mouth is a powerful thing, and the more shares your company gets, the better, but the amount of content being churned out on blogs, youtube, facebook, infographics is beginning to get overwhelming and create a sea of good/bad content to sift through. The face books of the world want to help you sift, which I guess I appreciate, but then again I don’t, when THEY get to tell you what content brands are churning out they want you to see RE: how they’ve started pushing videos SO HARD IT HURTS, when not every brand is there yet, so I feel the ones who aren’t sharing videos are about to get left in the dust… just when they started learning how to share a great photo. 

This channel makes me (and others I’m sure) happiest because it’s everything YOU can control, you set the rules/guidelines/experience for and it’s unique to your brand alone. I suppose social media can be owned, but not in my eyes, since big social players can change the game at any second and your content becomes worthless. Basically, the rule of thumb is while you’re busy trying to create ‘cool’ content on instagram, you need to find ways to drive people back to your website, and make sure your user experiences match what you’re pitching on the channels you’re using to attract people in. 

Paid is obviously a great (and almost the only way) to get your content on social channels seen, as well as a great way to drive additional traffic back to the mothership, your website. What scares me about paid is how much every brand who thinks they get it is about to pour into it, while Facebook and Twitter can change their own game and make it more expensive to reach your audience, yes, your owned audience, which isn’t really owned if not everyone has a chance to see what you’re selling/pushing/promoting!? I find retargeting and PPC to at least be a bit more straight-forward about the process, but that too is about to get overused by so many companies due to the ease of use, targeting capabilities and relatively lower cost. 

Anyone else have strong thoughts on the various channels? Clearly my fear of these social media channels that are gaining huge traction (and dollars) who I feel could make the playing field harder at any second are a heavy weight on my mind. 

Sunday, April 3, 2016

The Instagram Algorithm Debacle

Anyone who is an instagram user (or instagram marketer) realized last week the channel went a bit crazy. Instagram's algorithm was announced, and just like that bloggers, whose livelihood felt threatened, and brands, who just started investing in the channel, start uploading images asking 'fans' to turn on notifications for their brands. Everyone needs to SLOW down and take a breather, because this is NOT a catastrophe... it's life when you are playing on an earned, not owned channel. 

I'm not sure why so many people freaked out exactly, because once Facebook officially purchased Instagram, everyone saw this coming from miles away... and it's not necessarily a bad thing. Yes, you will have to pay to play, but what's new in social media these days? STOP asking your followers to turn on notifications, personally, I stopped following a few for that, and had to get off instagram for a few days to keep from getting too angry about it. 

If you're THAT worried about your instagram content, you either have the wrong audience or you're playing on the wrong channel. For my hotels, I'm not worried, because we get great engagement, we share relevant like-worthy content, and I don't think the instagram is going to decrease any of that. 

"Worry about your CONTENT, not your followers... as you should on any channel. "

Focus on the content you're creating, really make sure you're posting quality over quantity now that the algorithm is in play, and support your incredible content with ads, which is easily and conveniently integrated into Facebook's ad tool. 

Saturday, March 5, 2016

The Reasons I Finally Joined (And Enjoy) Snapchat

I don't know about you, but I'm big into social media, but have been wary about Snapchat until now. Why, you ask? Because of course, at first, you hear the negative connotations associated with it, you don't understand the point, you have zero friends when you first join and you don't understand why your much younger sibling/nieces/nephews/cousins are in the know and YOU are not... let alone how a business could be on this! 

Why did I join snapchat? 
  1. My much younger, cooler brother has been on it for a long time
  2. I kept hearing about how it's the fastest-growing social network and I needed to know more
  3. Many of my friends made the switch / addition and I was curious
  4. There's a few colleagues of mine who've continued to inquire about how companies can create an account and if there's any best practices 
  5. I feel like since my career does involve digital & ecommerce & social, it was time... 
Why do I actually like snapchat now? 
  1. It's a much 'realer' social channel than say instagram (heavily-staged) or facebook (flooded by engagements, weddings, babies, monumental moments... politics) 
  2. It's such a quick visualization tool, where you can send your friends photos while you're out, without having to waste the space on your texts or photo albums (photos speak 1,000 words)
  3. It's a fun way to stay in touch with friends, via videos of their day, funny photos, filters, especially now that I have a decent amount of friends living afar 
  4. It's actually a VERY creative app and fun to see how friends use it 
How do I see businesses using it? 
  1. Providing access to unique, live events
  2. Contests or perks for those who share your product via snaps
  3. Snapchat takeovers 
  4. Share daily behind-the-scenes at work

What are your thoughts on snapchat? I like to see businesses who do it well, but I'll be honestly, I only currently follow friends and then discover businesses whose major brand is on there, doing a killer job. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Why Social Media Is A Great Tool For Travel

I've been meaning to write the post for awhile & will add on Instagram for that matter. Why are these tools so great when traveling? Let me tell you several great reasons. 
  1. Pre-travel research has been made much more interactive. When googling certain places, you can also check out their social media feeds to find non-stock photos and (if they're smart) real images from recent guests! 
  2. Geo-tags are phenomenal to find inspiration for activities, locations & trips as well. 
  3. Hotels & airlines are embracing these as customer service channels and instead of sitting on a phone call angrily for 30 minutes, you can simply tweet them for assistance! A real life-saver. 
  4. Finding great deals on social media! Many hospitality industry social channels are still figuring out how to prove these channels are worth monitoring constantly, so the offer deals only found via these channels -why not take advantage! 
  5. Tips, tips,  tips. I frequently follow not only hotel & airlines I'm using, but their convention bureaus to find out about new activities & events

What other reasons do you use social media when traveling for? 

Monday, December 28, 2015

2016 Digital & Social Media Predictions

It's time for my yearly digital predictions, and 2016 is no exception. I've loved seeing the digital marketing field continue to advance & make big moves the past few years and appreciate how many people have embraced digital channels over traditional ones. 
  1. Out with SEO & PPC, in with Digital Assistant Optimization
    • I'm not saying search engine optimization & paid ads aren't important, but optimizing ONLY for Google is. The rise of Siri & google's new predictive questions is going to force us all to stop simply writing content we think Google will find acceptable, but to write answers to simple questions our consumers may be asking about us to make it easier for us to be found by the Siri users of the world. 
  2. Mobile growth 
    • Mobile will continue to grow & I predict by the end of 2016 for many industries it will be outpacing desktop views, clicks & purchases. Look around you on your commute home & tell me you don't see everyone glued to their phones... 
  3. Shifts in Social Media Channels 
    • Facebook isn't out & won't likely be for awhile, but with it's pay-to-play stance on unlocking views & engagement for all users, it's getting to costly & those searching to target millennials aren't there anyways. Snapchat will continue to emerge as a newer gamechanger because fewer brands can figure out how to use it will - filters are fine, but can you really craft enough content to maintain a profile? Instagram will continue to be a star as well, but brands need to figure out the right type of content & how to measure engagement on the platform properly. 
  4. The downfall of old-school brands
    • I guarantee there will be yet another older brand (cough: Weight Watchers) who will be outdone by the fact that they can't keep up with the times. If you're not shifting your content to make way for better website experiences, better social media story-telling, great-functioning mobile apps, and keeping up with your demographics' trends, you will be obsolete. 
  5. Personalized PPC 
    • I must say Facebook is doing a fair job, but it and others could do MUCH better. As a customer it's frustrating to see ads that don't matter to you, and by now everyone's been tracking your every move on every site you've ever been on, they know ALL your likes/dislikes/friends/social media engagements, etc etc, so use that! 
I'm excited to step into another year of digital advancements & can't wait to see what's in store. Last year's predictions were mostly on point! 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

How To Use Visual Content To Your Advantage

For those of you who've followed my blog over the past few years, you'll know that not only have I grown up in the digital era, but I've been working in it since before I started this blog. I've seen social media channels come and go, I've seen email marketing lose major faith from bosses & coworkers, and I've seen the digital front change before my very eyes faster than anything! 

One thing that's continued to ring true as social media, websites, email marketing, retargeting, digital advertising, etc,etc, overtakes the marketing front, is that great visual content MATTERS. Not only does it matter, it can make or BREAK your engagement numbers, ROI, CTR, and then some. 

Not only do you need to hire marketers who can spot great photography, it's probably key that they can take great photography from an iPhone as well, because that's what consumers (at least in the travel industry) want. They want you to tell a story with your imagery, don't worry so much about the text content that you have to draft up alongside it - a picture speaks 1,000 words, so don't waste those extra characters if you don't need to. 

By now, thanks to social media, you should know what types of images your consumers are interested in. Do they love food shots? Do they care more about a behind-the-scenes type feel? Do like they to see you do good? Even personally, you know before you post that instagram shot what is going to do well (and what time it does best) vs. what doesn't. 

So, don't overthink it, but use your head. Don't post that blurry shot, don't forget to fix the lighting and post a photo JUST to upload an image, not text - and DON'T feel like you can't hire a great photographer above all when you don't know where else to turn. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

2015 Digital Predictions Update

Earlier in the year I wrote a post about the most important digital trends I see shaping multiple industries. I followed that up mid-year with some thoughts on my Linkedin Page about what predictions are taking shape, how much they are controlling many industries, re-shaping our marketing departments and changing our lives, and which ones have stood out so far this year most. 

The biggest players in 2015 that have shifted marketing agencies plans have been: 
  1. Personalization in marketing content 
  2. Pay - to - play on social media channels
  3. New & emerging social media channels 
  4. VIDEO 
I didn't mention all of these earlier in the year, only about half, but these are what I've seen taking 2015 digital media resources by storm. What have you seen so far this year?