What Does Facebook’s “Watch” Video Tab Mean for Your Brand?

Yesterday, Facebook announced the upcoming launch of its new video tab feature “Watch”. The video feature doesn’t have an exact launch date yet, but the Facebook team said it will be here “soon”. The new tab on the mobile app will showcase original scripted shows from partners like BuzzFeed, Tastemade, and ATTN. Facebook sees this as a new strategy to retain users from platforms such as Snapchat that already create similar content with the same partners. “We hope Watch will be home to a wide range of shows — from reality to comedy to live sports,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post. “Some will be made by professional creators, and others from regular people in our community.”

Watch will have a lot of competition from titans in the content community like YouTube, Hulu, Netflix and even Snapchat. Only time will tell if Facebook users are seeking this type of content from the social media platform. Facebook released its story feature a few months ago and usage has been low compared to that of Instagram stories and Snapchat. Is Facebook trying to be everything to everyone? And the real question is can they and more importantly should they?

Every new feature that Facebook releases has an impact to your brand and your social media strategy. So, what does Facebook “Watch” mean for your brand? It means more competition for your content on that platform. You are already compete for consumers’ attention against their friends’ posts along with other brands’ posts. Now, there will be more on the platform to distract them from your brand’s message. This new feature doesn’t mean all bad news. There are a few things your team should do to prepare for the arrival of Watch.

  1. Create More Video Content

Video content is king! Static images still are relevant depending on your brand. But gifs, short and long form videos are what consumers are watching and interacting with the most. You can distribute this on Facebook, IG and Snapchat. To drive the most views, be sure to also send it out through your own platforms such as email.

  1. Study the Watch Content

Culturally relevant content will always attract the most views and engagement. Once the Watch content is launched, see what consumers are engaging with the most. What is sparking the most conversations? Can your brand tap into those conversations? There may be hashtags that come out of the content that your brand can utilize. Studying the content and the reactions to it will give you a better understand of what consumers do and do not like.

Facebook is keeping hush on the full evolution of Watch. It’s possible more advertising opportunities will arise for brands. This may provide a cheaper alternative to TV commercials for smaller brands. How do you feel about the launch of Watch? Do you think it will be successful? Let us know in the comments section below.

Heat Up Your Summer Social Media

Summer 2017 is officially in full swing. We are just a few short days away from 4th of July. While many Americans will be planning to go to the lake, barbecue or tan by the pool, social media mangers everywhere will be preparing their yearly red, white and blue themed post. Consumers’ timelines will be oversaturated with those posts and thus will likely be overlooked. On 4th of July and other summer holidays, people are online to see what their friends are doing and where they should be going. They’re also online to snag a good summer deal. Red, white and blue isn’t enough to breakthrough, be noticed and be remembered. There are a few things you can do this summer to heat up your social media posts this summer and make an impression.

  1. Don’t Be Bound By One Day

The problem with focusing on summer holidays like July 4th and Memorial Day is they are one day. If you put money behind a post just for that day, you’re bound to consumers that are online during that time. To overcome this, you need to create an execution that allows you to activate longer. An example would be a contest where you ask consumers to post their best throwback summer picnic picture and you announce the winner on 4th of July. Think beyond a singular post to create a campaign that allows deeper consumer engagement.

 

  1. Don’t Be Generic

Anyone and any brand can stick an American flag in a photo and post it. Be more creative by using your products or services in the photo. Also, do not be beyond to still images. Video content is now king and you can create a short engaging video for the day. Also, try to integrate something that is currently relevant in pop-culture. Be sure to create a few pieces of content.

 

  1. Be Where They Are and Be Helpful

Its summer and some might say Americans are even busier taking their kids to camp, going to the water park and preparing for long road trips. With that in mind, think what social media channel your audience is going to be using the most during that time. Look into the analytics of your social channels to see if engagement is higher on one during the summer months and be sure to place your spend there.

 

Some of the best brand posts over the summer are the ones that give helpful tips. How does your brand fit into summer vacations, cookouts and swim parties? Find the answer and provide tips to make those experiences better, easier and more enjoyable. If you’re a local business you have a great opportunity to get personal and really stand out to consumers. For example, let them know the best vantage points to watch the 4th of July fireworks in the city and what they should bring with them.

Remember that you’re not only competing against different brands this summer, but also against your consumers’ friends’ vacation pictures. Think creatively to stand out on your consumers’ timelines and have them engage with your content. Do you have any suggestions to add to the list? Put your best tips in comments section below. Also, be sure to let us know the best and worst brand holiday executions you see this summer. Tag us on Twitter @SocialPRWorld.

Four Lesson’s from This Week’s PR Blunders

The last 10 days have been filled with some of the biggest PR blunders of 2017…thus far. Pepsi began with what was sure to be the biggest ad campaign mistake of the year and then was promptly followed by and possibly outdone by United Airlines. Pepsi released what many called a “tone deaf” ad featuring Kendall Jenner that made light of recent protests resembling Black Lives Matters and Women’s marches across the country. The ad was pulled from airwaves in less than 24 hours. Jenner removed all traces of Pepsi from her social media feeds in the same time. Pepsi apologized and despite a few memes across Facebook and Instagram, the uproar died down.

On Monday, video appeared on Twitter of a man being dragged off a United Airlines flight. The CEO released a poorly worded statement blaming the victim for the incident which only made the situation worse. Twitter users quickly decided to edit the response. It took 2 days, thousands of video shares, memes, and their stock plummeting almost 1 billion dollars for the airline to release a proper apology accepting blame for the situation that occurred.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s hard to believe that any brand could have a bigger disaster than Pepsi and United, but it’s still early in the year. Here are 4 lessons that can be learned from Pepsi and United.

  1. Having a Diverse Creative Team is Critical to Success

Pepsi’s horrible attempt to be culturally relevant reminds us that it is critical to have a diverse creative team. Diversity on creative teams should show up through age, ethnicity, race, gender, education and experience. Diverse teams have been proven to produce better creative and better solutions to business problems. Make sure a diverse group is represented throughout the entire creative process from concept development until final review. A diverse team would have been able to catch the many problematic images of the Pepsi ad.

  1. Carefully Vet What Social Issues to Speak On Before You Do

There are a thousand and one social issues that companies can choose to get involved in. Companies can speak out on social issues as simple as education or as complicated as global warming and gay marriage. The key is to vet what social issue to speak on. This is done by evaluating your audience and evaluating the proper way to get involved. When it comes to more complicated social issues, your team should ensure your response and involvement is genuine and will be viewed that way by consumers. You should also know that getting involved in social issues is not a one off thing for profits. You have to show commitment to the cause and consumers will take notice.

  1. The Customer is Always Right….Always! 

Yes, sometimes the customer is wrong, but you never tell them that. Your business policy should be that the customer is always right because you want to keep their business. The cost of fixing a small issue is less than the cost of losing one or more customers over an issue. Customers want to know they’re valued beyond their dollar. Companies can show this by not bashing customers publicly and always putting people before profits. Companies that do that have the greatest loyalty and high revenues.

  1. Simply Apologize and Make It Better!

When your customers are upset, the easiest thing to do is simply apologize and promise to make it right. Take the blame and list steps on how you will improve. That seems simple correct? United didn’t think so. Corporations have to be human sometimes and the most important time is when a big mistake has been made. Be vulnerable and admit and accept fault. Your customers will stand by you if you do this. If you finger point and don’t own up, they will turn against you. Just ask United how many people cut up their loyalty cards this week.

We will see what the rest of 2017 has in store for us. Hopefully, companies are on watch for possible mistakes. Let us know what other lessons you learned from the blunders this week. Post in the comments section below.

Integrating Instagram Stories into Your Social Media Plan

By now, you’ve heard or have experienced the Earth shattering news of the new Instagram Stories. With the rollout, there is one question on every marketer’s mind, “How am I going to integrate Instagram Stories into my overall social media plan?” You probably already have an Instagram strategy for your business or clients. But Instagram Stories is going to be a bit trickier.

The integration is designed to be used like Snapchat. Instagram’s CEO was not shy about copy catting the growing platform that its parent company, Facebook, tried to purchase for $3 billion a few years ago. The appeal of Snapchat is that it was real time, in the moment, unpolished video and photographic content. It is the antithesis of Instagram which is used for beautiful, polished (sometimes Photoshopped) photos and videos of food, landscapes, clothes, and travel.  That is probably what your marketing content looks like on that platform. It’s all about visual appeal.

Back to the pressing question on everyone’s minds. So far a few brands have tested out the Instagram stories by asking their users what they want to see, if anything from them via Stories. The brands that have done it amazingly well so far are brands like Taco Bell that already had a strong Snapchat strategy and following. They simply shifted that strategy to Instagram stories. For those that didn’t have Snapchat for their brands before, there are a few things you can test.

  1. Showcase Behind the Scenes Footage

Are you a food or fashion brand that typically posts stylized photos? Show your consumers and followers how you get to those final images. Give them a sneak peak of what’s to come and then post the final photo or video a few days later. The good thing about Instagram Stories is they disappear after 24 hours. So the final content will be like a new experience a few days later.

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  1. Decide Your Mix of Videos vs. Pictures

A few brands have been sticking to their regular Instagram strategy and uploading photos into their Stories feed. I suggest testing this. Once again, Instagram Stories was designed to be like Snapchat and users are likely looking for a different experience in Stories than their regular feeds. A good way to gauge which you should do more of is to look at how your regular video and photo content performs against each other. Video content is great for brands that have a personality or a spokesperson. Run your Instagram video Stories like a guided tour where someone is showing your viewer around.

  1. Alert Users About Flash Discounts

With Instagram Stories disappearing in 24 hours, it gives users an incentive to view and be in the know of what’s going on. Use this to your advantage and give special codes and discounts to users that view that can later be used on your website or other ecommerce platforms. People are more likely to purchase when they don’t believe they are going to get a better deal than the one they currently see.

With any new feature on a social platform, the smartest thing to do is to test and learn. If you mess up, it’s erased and you can start over. You can see from views whether followers are interacting with your Story and regular content. Be sure to compare the numbers to adjust where to spend the most dollars and time for your brand.

Only time will tell how users truly feel about the new feature. It’s shiny and new right now and a lot of people are loving it. However, it was not why they came to the platform in the beginning so they may lose interest. For now, Snapchat has animated and geo-targeted filters that are absent from the Instagram platform. That difference may not last long and it will be an all-out battle between the two platforms. Do you have any other tips for creating an Instagram Stories strategy? If so, put them in the comments section below

How Your Business Can Benefit from the Pokemon Go Craze

Pokémon Go is a mobile app created by Nintendo and The Pokémon Company that was released on July 1, 2016 in the US. You already knew that I’m sure. How could you not? It is the number one app in the world and in less than a week, Nintendo stocked has increased by $9 billion dollars. Let me repeat that. $9 billion dollars in less than a week! It’s more popular now than established platforms like Twitter and users are spending more time on the app than other popular platforms.

The app is a modern take on the classic card game that took teens attention in the 1990s. The app uses augmented reality technology to allow users to catch Pokémon creatures in real life. The game presents a map powered by GPS, using real-world locations to spot Pokémon and collect valuable supplies. When you find a character, the game opens your camera, showing a Pokémon in the real world. Along with collecting Pokémon, there are Poké Stops pinned to real locations where players can grab items. These stops are everything from popular landmarks including museums, to public parks, and even private grocery stores and homes. Once Pokémon are trained, players take them to gyms to battle other Pokémon. Gyms are public arenas.

Your business can benefit from this widely popular international gaming sensation. There are a few simple things you can do. First, embrace the game evening though it’s a bit annoying.

  1. Capitalize on the Hashtag

Many businesses are showing Pokemon in their stores and near their signs on social media channels like Instagram.  The hashtag is quickly growing and already has over 1 million mentions and counting.  This is a great way to get your message out in front of millions of users. You can find a way to authentically engage and get into the conversation.

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  1. Open Your Space to Users

Nintendo hasn’t announced when sponsored locations will be ready yet. However, you can still welcome users into your space. The beauty of the game is integrating technology into real life. It’s making people more social. Maybe you can do something as simple as put a sign out front telling people to come in for real life supplies or stop in for a break from hunting.

How else do you think you can benefit from the current craze before it dies down? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

Start Thinking About Influencers Differently

A few years ago, bloggers were the most influential people on the internet. They were experts on food, parenting, fashion and tech. You had to have a blog hosted on WordPress or Tumblr to even be considered an influencer. Now, some of the most influential “influencers” aren’t writing long posts. Some of them don’t even have official websites.

These new influencers have become famous for posting 6 second Vine videos, Instagram selfies, or funny Snapchat stories. What are they experts in? Today’s influencers are simply experts in entertaining people.  If you go to their social media channels you may not see a common theme. They are aspiring actors and actresses that take on various personas and scenarios in their videos. People don’t follow them for the latest product review, but notice what they eat, wear, and are listening to in their videos. Teens and Millennials adore these influencers as if they were celebrities. Based on their followings, recognizable faces, and influence, they are indeed celebrities.

This new wave of celebrity opens up a new wave of marketing for you and your business. Unlike bloggers, these influencers are not boxed into one category of endorsements. They are storytellers that can weave any product into a storyline and make it a supporting or main character. Some of these influencers are just famous for being attractive and might be willing to be the next face of your marketing campaign. What else is great about these new influencers? They aren’t writing long form, outdated content. They are creating short, shareable, branded content that can cross platforms and channels. Instead of a 500 word product review on a blog, these influencers are snapping a selfie with products and just posting one short hashtag. That’s all it takes.

Each influencer is well known for a particular platform, but usually is willing to post on multiple platforms. All of that is for the right price of course. There are two ways to get an influencer to post about your brand. The first is a guaranteed post through a paid agreement. Given the demand for influencers now it can be expensive. The second is a surprise and delight of some kind. The second is not guaranteed and it is up to the influencer whether they post or not and what they say.

With the second method, you have to ensure you do your research. Are the influencers you’re targeting interested in your industry and thus would they be interested in your product and consider posting about it. Surprise and delights work best with new products. Influencers want to feel they are the first to review or receive a sneak peek. Here are a few tips to help you start thinking about your influencer surprise and delights differently and how you outreach to them.

  1. Do Your Research

You have to do your research on each influencer you intend to work with. Ensure they are not working with competitors and they are interested in your industry and would like your product. Show the influencer you have done your research when outreaching. Influencers know when they’re part of a mass mailing instead of being hand-picked by the end. Influencers are more likely to open and engage with your product if they feel they were sent the surprise for a reason.

  1. Offer More Than Your Product

Create a branded experience for the influencer. Don’t just throw your new product in a box. Give them an experience when they open the package. Make sure everything is branded and ties to the new product somehow. This is more compelling and will help the chances they snap a photo and post on social media.

  1. Choose Your Quantity Wisely

Depending on your budget you can go after a few big fish and hope they bite. You can also pick a few differential influential people with nice followings that will still help you reach your impressions goal. Sometimes, it’s better to place a few small bets rather than one or two large ones. In the end, if the impressions are the same it’s okay.

Remember, influencers are modern day celebrities. While some are expensive, they are still less expensive and just and influential as Oscar winning actress. The investment is worth it as consumers trust recommendations from other consumers more than the brand itself. We are moving into an age where influencer marketing will be a core part of the overall marketing campaign. Given the pay to play model on Facebook and other social platforms, you’re not going to be able to reach your consumers without influencers. We have to start thinking about influencers differently to stay in the game.