Social Media Trends For 2018

Any marketer knows how important social media is. With smartphones seemingly becoming an extension of our lives, we’re quickly melting our real presence with our social media presence. Whether you’re recruiting, marketing, or consuming products, social media will continue to play a vital role in your marketing campaign. With 2018 well underway, it’s important to take a look at the latest trends in the social media world. Below you’ll find some of the top social media trends for 2018.

Social Media Trends For 2018

Live Streaming

When it comes to social media trends for 2018, this is one that might not come to mind right away. When we think of live streaming, we usually think of people playing a popular video game, or a celebrity detailing a daily makeup routine. However, many marketers are figuring out that they can use live streaming as a way to increase brand awareness.

Live streaming is a medium or implementation of social technology that’s uniquely positioned to take advantage of hardware improvements for the next several years. The resolution of an image the size of a phone screen can only get so good before you have to zoom in to see a difference. We could also begin to see “live commercials” which will take advantage of the immediate feedback that can be provided by viewers.

social media trends for 2018

AR and VR

Augmented and virtual reality initially seemed like a gimmick. It was something that looked cool in the movies, but would never live up to expectations when put to practical use. However, when it comes to social media trends for 2018, AR and VR will play a major role in the marketing industry. After a handful of highly successful AR apps, rising sales of VR headsets, and greater technological sophistication (including faster internet speeds and better visual rendering), 2018 could finally be the year that AR takes off.

More users will be using VR and AR, which mean that social media will quickly become the link to connect these people. How soon will it be until we can virtually sit across from our loved ones who are across the globe? You’ll want to keep an eye on this technology and think about how you can implement it within your marketing initiative.

Generation Z

Another one of the social media trends for 2018 to be aware of is the importance of generation Z. A recent study conducted by Goldman Sachs concluded that Generation Z was more valuable to most organizations than millennials. Today, the oldest Gen Zers are 22 years old. They are just beginning to enter the labor force and will have increased buying power for some time. While it’s easy to discount them as just a generation of youngsters, they’re easily the savviest when it comes to social media, which is why it’ll be so important to market accordingly.

This young generation could be the key to your brand’s success, so make sure to do your market research to figure out whom exactly you should be marketing to on social media.

Social Call-Out and Accountability

Another major shift in social media is the growing necessity of social accountability when it comes to your brand. Previously, there were only a few places that a customer could voice his or her opinion. However, with the rise of social media, millions with just a few clicks can see a customer experience. According to the Sprout Social Index, 81% of consumers agreed social media increased accountability for businesses. But what causes consumers to voice their opinions online? The same index found 3 in 5 consumers said dishonesty from brands causes their social call out.

However, you can use this to your advantage. Transparency and honesty will increase your reputation as a brand and ensure that they’ll continue working with you.

We hope we’ve provided some stellar tips for enhancing your brand. These social media trends for 2018 should ensure that your marketing initiative is successful. If you’d like to provide some other trends, feel free to comment below!

Choosing a Hashtag for Marketing | Tips and Tricks

Social media marketing is a constantly evolving landscape, although hashtags have stayed mostly the same. Every day on Twitter and other hashtag-friendly platforms like Instagram, new hashtag campaigns emerge and dissipate with varying success. Honestly, if you’re not directly analyzing how well these campaigns performed it’s hard to tell what makes a good hashtag. There are many factors that go into designing a social media campaign and choosing a hashtag for marketing the whole thing is integral!

Read More Social Marketing Blogs

Wonder how choosing a hashtag for marketing is done

Choosing a Hashtag For Marketing Campaigns and More:


Starting off as something relatively light-hearted, hashtags have grown into a powerful marketing tool that nearly all brands take advantage of. It’s a mind-blowingly simple concept even though the recipe for success is nuanced. When brands utilize hashtags in their marketing campaigns, they’re mainly looking to accomplish any number of things such as:

  • Creating brand awareness
  • Increasing their content’s visibility
  • Making it easier to track content
  • Boosting followers and retweets
  • Getting their audience involved
  • Promoting upcoming events
  • Running a contest
  • Launching a new product

Obviously, all of these things can be included in a single campaign! At the same time, you may want to find a hashtag that can accomplish only one of these goals more succinctly. Choosing a hashtag for marketing campaigns isn’t impossible, but it takes specific considerations.

How to Choose a Hashtag

While these following tips can be modified as needed, there are some best practices that we’ve seen succeed time and time again.

1. Keep it Original

You can’t differentiate any of your marketing efforts if your hashtag resembles another brand’s attempts. There will almost always be some overlap. Before settling on a hashtag for your whole campaign, search for variations or even similar campaigns to yours. On the flip side, avoid ripping off someone else’s hashtag in a similar industry — it’s much more likely to hurt your campaign than help it!

2. Keep it Concise

Generally, you’ll want to keep your hashtag between 2 and 4 words. Choosing a hashtag for marketing campaigns means instantly communicating something about your brand and efforts overall. If the average person can’t immediately read and recognize your unique tag, it’s best to think of something else. Also, consider using Title case to make it easier to read:

—> #travelnursejobfair vs. #TravelNurseJobFair

This is a particularly pertinent point when it comes to misreadings of a hashtag:

3. Keep it Broad… Enough

Even though you’re running the campaign, it’s more about getting reach than anything else. Your audience needs to relate and use your hashtag, so it shouldn’t be completely about your brand and nothing else. Choosing a hashtag for marketing campaigns comes down to who can apply the tag and what value it provides an audience. Is it easily applied to their life or product experience? If not, keep brainstorming!

4. Focus Your Intentions

Not to be confusing, but while you’re creating a hashtag for a broad reach you also want to narrow your message. It’s a delicate balance between finding a broadly relatable hashtag and something that still communicates your campaign goals. Think of all the ways a hashtag might be misconstrued by an ever satirical and “trolling” internet. Even the most well-meaning of hashtags can be hijacked by neigh sayers…

5. Incorporate National Celebrations

One of the best ways to find a great campaign hashtag by finding other trending topics or national celebrations. A great example is KFC’s social posts from July 2017. When the fast-food chain noticed that #NationalFriedChickenDay was trending on Twitter, they immediately jumped aboard:

While this is a great example, there are also plenty of “epic hashtag fails.” The number one rule? Don’t exploit the misfortune of others to sell your product. Not now, not ever. Here’s what I mean:

Gap thought it would be appropriate to market their products during Hurricane Sandy… A storm that caused some serious damage and human casualties!

Gap failed when choosing a hashtag for marketing

Same thing here with American Apparel…

American Apparel fails when choosing a hashtag for marketing

These brands suffered major criticism that ultimately led to public relations nightmares that would last for months!

Overall, keep your hashtags focused, relatable, goal-oriented, and immune to hijacking. Proof-reading and Title case are your best friends when choosing a hashtag for marketing, along with some creativity and luck!

Got any hashtag horror stories or triumphs? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Stream it Up! 5 Tips for Facebook Live

Often in the world of social media, people and brands avoid real connections. Rather than actually being social, profiles and company pages become façades to the public. With scheduled posts and branded images, it’s sometimes hard to tell what’s “real.” Even though Facebook has grown into an incredibly diverse platform for many viewpoints, organizations, and businesses the directness of social media remains to be desired. That’s part of the thinking with Facebook Live! Here we’ll discuss tips for Facebook Live and ways your brand can prepare to use this feature:

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tips for facebook live

5 Tips for Facebook Live

Now that so many people have smartphones with high-speed connections, streaming live video from just about anywhere is a huge opportunity for brands. Honestly, there’s nothing more banal than flat, non-personal ads or posts just wasting away on your timeline. Given the opportunity to reach fans or customers directly is something few would pass up! But with that said, it’s important to understand the best techniques for utilizing Facebook Live:

1. Tell People When You’ll Be Live

Although you can easily start a live video at any time, one of our key tips for Facebook Live is to let your audience know ahead of time. At the time of the broadcast, followers usually receive a notification indicating the stream as started, but that’s not always enough. For those who really want to join in, it’s best to create a Facebook event that will remind people of the live stream.

At the same time, starting impromptu live video streams can be just as effective — if not more so! The element of surprise can certainly work to entice viewers who weren’t expecting a live stream. It all just depends on your goals for the broadcast and how much audience participation is required.

2. Stream When You Have a Strong Connection

Getting all set up and prepped for your live stream only to have a shoddy connection is a marketing nightmare! Even the best cell phones are no match for cellular dead zones, so testing your wireless service ahead of time is key. Ideally, you’ll want to be connected to WiFi but 4G is the next best bet. If you have too weak of a signal, the “Go Live” button on Facebook won’t even be available. It’s one of the more obvious tips for Facebook Live, but it’s crucial to your live stream’s success!

Here’s Stephen Colbert’s recent stream of Puppy Madness:

The Late Show Puppy Madness

Not able to watch #MarchMadness at the moment? Don't worry, we have #PuppyMadness! These puppies from the North Shore Animal League America are in the big dance and will light up the scoreboard this afternoon! All puppies are up for adoption so reach out to North Shore Animal League America for more info.

Posted by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Thursday, March 16, 2017

3. Stay Focused and Maintain Context

The beauty of live streams on Facebook is that anyone can join in at any moment. However, this means that your full audience may not be present until after several minutes have passed. This makes it necessary to keep each viewer informed on the stream’s context. For instance, you’ll want to reintroduce yourself several times throughout the stream as new viewers join, and provide a brief description for “those just joining us.”

Even if you are relatively confident in the content of your live stream, having some notes doesn’t hurt! Once the camera lights up, it’s not uncommon for people to freeze up or go blank. If you are able to stay on track and remain focused, you’ll hold viewer’s attention much longer and generate better engagement overall!

4. Keep it Personal and Energetic

One of the best things about Facebook Live is that brands and influencers can connect with individuals. Each viewer’s name will be listed once they join, so greeting them personally is recommended! This creates that authentic connection and verifies that a stream is actually taking place in real time. Another great aspect of this is that comments can be read and addressed on the spot. This is something that your brand has to be ready for, especially if it’s regarding a product or facet or your service.

Here’s Michael Bublé during his first live chat:

My first live chat

Posted by Michael Bublé on Friday, August 7, 2015

Overall, keeping a stream energetic and captivating is the goal. Although it depends on the content and goal of your broadcast, having talking points will be one way to move seamlessly from one area to the next.

5. Remind Viewers of What You Want Them to Do

Unless you’re just live streaming for fun, one of the most important tips for Facebook Live we can give is keeping your goals in mind. If you want people to submit to a contest, like your page, or find a particular page on your site, build your stream around that. There are options for allowing people to follow your page provided during the stream, but giving people an imperative by your own speech or actions is the whole point!

Do you have any tips for Facebook Live yourself? Let us know in the comments below!

Mobile Video Ads on Facebook | New Report

As we run headfirst into 2018, there’s one aspect of marketing sure to keep everyone interested — mobile video marketing! In a recent company blog post published on Facebook’s business website, the social media giant discusses some findings that have gained lots of attention. Seeing how the introduction of mobile video changed the way people interact with social sites and ads, these new insights come as no surprise. Still, for marketers looking to make the most of their mobile video ads on Facebook and other sites, the info is invaluable. Let’s take a look!

mobile video ads on Facebook

As Facebook’s head of ads and business platform, Mark Rabkin writes, “there is no singular video ad experience on mobile. Instead, there is a variety of unique experiences, each requiring a different approach.”

Although marketers are painfully aware of this fact, the more granularly we can learn about ad consumption, the better! Luckily, Facebook’s report provides charts and an analysis detailing how much time people typically spend watching ads, in addition to how these watch times fluctuate with an environment. Ultimately some pretty useful stuff, if you know how to make sense of it…

A Broad Analysis

To start, these charts make suggestions rather than reaching conclusions. Although there are no actual numbers involved, we’ll just have to interpret the generality of these behaviors. Also, these charts are primarily based on unaudited internal data from Facebook in August 2017. Other data was pulled from YouTube during that same month, in addition to a commissioned TV viewer report from March 2017. Just note that while these charts include logos from Snap and Hulu, one can’t regard these representations as evidence of their video ads’ performance one way or the other.

So, what do these charts tell us then? Unlike usual reports showing the percentage a video was viewed, we’re getting the actual number of seconds that each viewing session lasted. For anyone tracking session data whether, for video, audio, or general platform interactions, you’ll know that it’s sometimes very difficult data to get. That’s particularly true for Facebook!

Essentially, what we see here is the length of time people watched mobile video ads on Facebook before losing attention. That could mean either skipping or scrolling ahead, closing the app, or putting their phone down altogether. The x-axis represents watch time, while the y-axis shows video sessions:

mobile video ads on facebook

Mobile Video Ads on Facebook | A Breakdown

Feeds

mobile video ads on Facebook

As one of the primary ways users interact with video on Facebook or Twitter, feeds have an unprecedented scale and reach. Even though the majority of users consume this content quickly, there is the potential to direct them to longer videos. Of course, this particular chart is showing the need for quick, attention-grabbing content that communicates very directly!

Non-skippable Mid-roll or Pre-roll

mobile video ads on Facebook

These ads most closely resemble the TV ad experience and exist before or in the middle of a piece of content. Understandably, people already in the mood to watch a video with the sound on continue watching these ads. It’s somewhat obvious that annoyance grows strongly with ad length, however, this format is slowly dying out. The rise of ad-blockers can now make quick work of these types of adverts despite their effectiveness.

Skippable Mid-Roll or Pre-Roll

mobile video ads on Facebook

As a striking combo of the first two graphs, these ads behave almost like two ads in one. Essentially what we see here is a 5-second ad that most viewers encounter, followed by a 15-30 second ad that reaches 10% of viewers. Consider the interesting creative opportunities of linking these ads to the same company or type of product!

Stories

mobile video ads on Facebook

With lots of social platforms now offering this type of format, stories are one of the fastest growing mobile video ads on Facebook. Although they are similar to feeds, stories feature full-screen, often sound-on snippets. Here all of the content is sequential, so the opportunity for narrative is much greater. Considering that these videos don’t require high production techniques, the potential for flashier adds is much higher. That said, the ability to skip ahead is almost inevitable as the graph shows…

Live TV

mobile video ads on Facebook

The immediate impression of this graph is that it resembles the non-skippable ads pretty closely. What we see here is that people actually have the tendency to “scroll away” in a sense when confronted with TV ads. Think about your own habits — when the commercials come, how great of an opportunity to check your phone is that? Apparently, most consumers agree! The takeaway may actually amount to retargeting smartphone users based on the television channels they watch for similar mobile video ads on Facebook…

 

Social Media Marketing Tips | How to Effectively Use Social Media

Whether you are a new brand or one that has been around for quite some time, there is no denying that social media is the new platform for building your reputation. In this day and age, social media marketing has taken over the world of advertising. Social media marketing is one of the keys to a successful marketing plan. Not only does social media provide you with the opportunity to engage with your audience, but it also helps your audience learn more about who you are. Social media marketing can be difficult because it is constantly changing, but keep reading to find out our 8 social media marketing tips to help you dominate the internet and become a social media superstar.

social media marketing tips

Social Media Marketing Tips | How to Effectively Use Social Media to Grow Your Brand

Why Use Social Media?

There are a lot of benefits to using social media as part of your marketing strategy. To start off, social media is a great platform for conducting research on your competitors. Because a good amount of today’s marketing is conducted online, social media platforms make research easier than ever. Research is one of the many advantages of implementing a social media marketing strategy. Therefore, many of our social media marketing tips will be based on the data that you have collected.

Another benefit of social media marketing is the ability to reach your audience and establish your presence. In the world of social media, followers and likes are everything. Utilizing social media provides you with easy access to data on what your audience wants. With social media platforms, your audience can easily provide you with feedback on what they like or don’t like. Likewise, since globalism has become a large part of today’s society, having an online presence will also help you reach an international audience, making it easy to build connections with both potential partnerships as well as connecting with customers all across the country. Are you ready to incorporate social media into your marketing strategy? Here are eight social media marketing tips to help you.

8 Social Media Marketing Tips

1. Choose the Right Platform For Your Brand: There are a variety of social media platforms and each one has its unique purpose. In order to create a successful social media marketing strategy, choose the right platform for your brand. To do this, think about your audience and your brand. Who is your targeted audience? What platform are they engaging in? What is your brand? What content do you produce?

Social Media Marketing Tips

Image courtesy of Marketing Insider Group

2. Know Your Audience: Social media marketing is all about showing your audience what your brand is about as well as engaging with them. However, before you can do that, you need to know who your audience is. Whether that means who you are trying to target or who are actually interested in your brand, make sure that you do research to understand how to best market to those demographics. For example, marketing to millennials will require producing a variety of content depending on what type of millennial you are marketing to. Does your audience like a specific style of photos? Are they more interested in seeing reviews of your products versus simply posting articles related to your industry? Understanding your audience is key to producing great content that will generate views and engagements.

3. Incorporate Media in Your Content: Incorporating media (e.g. photos, memes, gifs, and videos) into your content has been proven to generate engagements for your brand. In fact, Rendrfx reports that “75% of online video viewers have interacted with video content.” Media content has high engagement rates because it allows the audience to learn more about you. It adds personality and creativity into your content. Video marketing is a great marketing strategy to implement for your social media presence, so be sure to incorporate it into your social media marketing plan.

4. Take Advantage of Social Media Tools and Software: There are a variety of apps and software that will help make managing your social media platform easier. From helping you manage your engagements, to helping you schedule your content or even providing you with metrics, take advantage of social media tools and software to help make life easier.

5. Pay Attention to Your Analytics: Social media analytics and metrics are important components to boosting your social media marketing skills! Pay attention to your analytics to identify where your strengths and weaknesses lie.

6. Engage, Engage, Engage: In order to increase your engagement, you need to engage with your audience! Comment or like the posts that your audience provides you to show them that you acknowledge their presence. You should strive to attract active and loyal followers who will produce brand loyalty and conversions. Active followers are the best because they have the ability to help provide you with free marketing through shares. Some examples of how you can engage with your audience include hosting giveaways and creating custom hashtags or geofilters for your audience to use.

7. Connect With Influencers: Influencers such as bloggers and YouTubers are the new form of celebrity sponsorships. Connecting with these influencers serve as a great strategy for boosting your range of followers. Influencers are individuals in your industry who have a lot of power with the audience. Therefore, connecting with influencers will help promote your brand.

8. Consider Collaborations and Partnerships: Partner with companies and other brands that your audience is also interested in to extend your reach. For example, collaborations with influencers can provide your brand with PR that will help convert their followers into yours. Consider making influencers your brand ambassadors to increase your online presence.

Social media marketing is a great tool for establishing your presence as a brand. What are your tips for a successful social media marketing?

New Social Media Networks Are Lacking

There was a time only a few years ago when a new social media network took the world by storm every month. The playing field was thick with networks like Vine, Omegle, and even the once prominent MySpace. However, it seems like more and more of these networks are either throwing in the towel or being enveloped by bigger companies. So why has this once eclectic market dwindled down to five major social media networks, and are there any up-and-coming networks that could break through? 

social media outlets

The social media landscape has dried up over the last few years

The Big 5 Social Media Networks

Facebook

It’s no surprise that Facebook is, and most likely will stay the most popular of the social media networks. With over a quarter of the world using Facebook, it’s no surprise that many businesses heavily lean on this social network for recruitment, vetting, and marketing. Facebook even became public and hit the stock exchange, a first for a social media market this size. That big risk shows that owner Mark Zuckerburg could slowly try to become not just the best of the social media networks, but the only social media network. Acquiring competitors like Instagram and other apps have quickly put Facebook in sole possession of the social media title.

New Competitor – LinkedIn

Although they aren’t necessarily a new social media network, LinkedIn has slowly been carving out their own path in the industry. Focused more on the business and networking side of things, LinkedIn has continued to add new features to make the platform more appealing and easily accessible, and many companies are using the network to recruit and screen possible employees.

social media recruiting

More employers are looking towards social media for recruiting and screening

Twitter

Twitter has essentially cornered the market on short, sweet, and to the point. What was once thought to be a less-technical Facebook has quickly blossomed into a great news source and surprisingly a much-used outlet for our Nation’s President. With the addition of live streams of sporting events, it’s no surprise that Twitter gets 80% of its users from mobile devices, so it’s a great way to reach an audience that’s on the move.

New Competitor – GAB

One of the biggest controversies that Twitter will often be faced with is the issue of free speech. Twitter’s ability to ban accounts has brought into question whether or not social media should be censored. According to the creators of GAB, the 300-character social media app believes that freedom of speech is vitally important. Set up like the popular site Reddit, users can post messages without the fear of being banned or penalized. While Twitter continues to reign supreme, too much censorship could open the door for GAB.

Instagram

Instagram is known to have been the birthplace of the filter and the Instagram model. However, it’s become much more than that. The picture-sharing app has quickly become one of the best social networks for visual advertising. In fact, the network had become so popular that Facebook eventually bought it. This purchase had many industry experts wondering what they can expect. We’ve seen Facebook slowly integrate more and more features from Instagram, so it will be interesting to see just what Zuckerburg and company plan to do with the site.

New Competitor – Flickr

Flickr is still a viable alternative for those who are afraid that Instagram will become stale or too commercial. One of the best features about Flickr is that you can seamlessly upload and view images from a variety of different mobile devices. This will allow your audience to view your images on a tablet, smartphone, or computer.

Snapchat

Snapchat is a very interesting case. Out of the social networks listed above, this is probably the one that is in the most danger. With apps like Facebook and Instagram quickly adopting similar features, it will be up to Snapchat to figure out how to stay relevant in the social media market. With over 150 million active users, it will take a big effort from Facebook, Instagram, and other social networks to get rid of the GhostFace Chillah.

New Competitor – Wickr

Wickr has become a popular place for those who want to share photos while maintaining privacy. This encrypted messaging service has gained popularity after the various photo hacking scandals. Wickr could eventually become the ideal photo-sharing app for those who want to maintain a sense of privacy.

Social Update: A Story About Stories

If you’re an avid social media user, you may have recently noticed several new updates: Instagram added its most talked about social update yet, allowing users to post multiple pictures at once without using an app to create a photo collage. Before that, they jumped on the “story train,” an idea started by the creators of Snapchat. Most recently to add stories to their platform was Facebook, and consumers don’t really know how to feel about it. A new social update happens so often, users quickly become frustrated and hate the new additions before settling down after a few weeks. But will the frustration with the new story addition last a little longer?

The Social Update Story

With reports that Instagram and Facebook have been stealing Snapchat’s users, its hard to believe such a crossocial updatesover would occur. From a social standpoint, the three social platforms seem to be used for different reasons by different people. According to a study from the Pew Research Center, about 8 in 10 American adults use Facebook while nearly one-third of Americans use Instagram. Over the years, we’ve seen the number of teen Facebook users decline and the number of users 25+ increases – but why? Probably because no teens want the parents, or worse, their grandparents, to see what they’re up to! That is what makes Instagram and Snapchat stories usage more popular.

Showing their dislike of the added feature, users took to social media to put Facebook on blast for the stories update. Some went as far as editing photos of random objects and unlikely applications to feature stories giving their take on an overused feature.

Part of what makes the idea of Snapchat such an interesting platform for younger users is its ability to delete their messages. It’s one of the quickest means of distributing a message or photo to show what you’re up to before it disappears anywhere from 1 second to 24 hours later. Instagram now work in a similar way with its stories, but photos still remain on your feed and page until you manually delete them. The new feature on the Facebook social update, however, causing users to feel forced to use the stories.

New Form of Ghosting

A year or so ago, when you heard the term ghosting, you may have believed it to be when you simply just stop contacting another person and never hear from or see them again without any warning or reason. Now, it takes on a whole new meaning. When Facebook first introduced their stories update, unless your friends posted to their story, all that remained was your story “bubble” – a little circle you click on to add pictures or videos (basically Snapchats whole deal). Now, whether it was to fill the white space at the top of feeds or otherwise, Facebook created story bubbles for all of your friend too, even if they don’t post.

Now, where Facebook may be going wrong here, is using the ghost versions of your best pals. On Instagram, once you have completed viewing a story the bubble of your friends fades to an opaque shadow. But, nothing will show up unless those you follow post. On Snapchat, if one of your friends posts a story, nothing shows up at all until they do. And when the story is gone, so is the icon (or newly added Bitmoji).

What Facebook seems to be doing is forcing its users to look at the stories section like a “hey, check me out and use me!” instruction. The story bubbles appear with your friends profile picture, but slightly grayed out and “ghostlike.” Only after you tap on their bubble does Facebook tell you they haven’t added content “recently.”

Snapchat’s Stand

With the recent social update on what is still the most widely used social media platform, Snapchat didn’t respond right away. About a week after, however, the timed message sending application sent out a new filter making any picture posted look like an Instagram post. The filter was released on April 1st a joke. For now, jokes aside, whatever comes next, let’s hope each social media platform starts releasing some more original ideas instead of cloning each other’s creations.

Emoji Marketing | How You Can Join In

What may have seemed like a passing fad could actually be making the leap to a full-fledged marketing tool. What witchcraft is this you may ask? I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but we’re talking about emojis, emoticons, and those ubiquitous smileys permeating just about every inch of social media and online content. And while the library of emojis continues to grow and reflect our desire to communicate abstract concepts using…eggplants and disembodied hand gestures? It can all be very ambiguous at times, although most people probably feel that way while looking at Egyptian Hieroglyphics — the ‘original emoji.’ Here we’ll explore just how emoji marketing can work and things to consider.

emoji marketing

From Adweek.

As it turns out, emojis are not only here to stay, but they may actually represent a new tool for marketers to start taking advantage of. Certain reports have shown that including emojis in tweets can increase engagement by 25.4 percent versus their emoji-less counterparts. Not only that, but adding emojis to your Facebook posts can encourage a higher volume of ‘likes’ — 57% more in some instances! So with numbers like that, it’s no surprise that these micro-cartoons are getting the attention of digital marketers and similarly minded entrepreneurs. But how can emojis be implemented in your marketing efforts to produce greater social media success? Get your alternative keyboards ready, folks.

emoji marketing

Dominos at one point allowed people to actually order pizzas with emojis! Talk about real-time engagement!

First thing is first, what are these little pictures trying to communicate? I mean the emoticons (emojis depicting emotions) are relatively obvious, but then there are the more cryptic characters, things like spirals, raised hands, or goblins. But like any form of communication, the context that emojis are used in constitute most if not the entirety of their meaning. Knowing this becomes particularly important for companies using them in their branded tweets, posts, or any other place where emojis can be found.

Conceiving Your Emoji Marketing

Nothing says brand authority like using the wrong emoji at the wrong time — and believe me, it’s not THAT difficult to know when the situation warrants emojis or not. Still, what can start as a distasteful joke or a simple lack of attention to detail can blow up as a PR disaster for online presences.  For all intents and purposes, I present to you the Emojipedia — your guide to avoiding unsavory tweets and posts featuring the common emoji.

Real-Time Engagement with Emojis

Even while a thoroughly planned emoji-laden post can sometimes come up short, finding the right timing to take a more colorful and visual route can be just the kickstart your brand needs for the day. Some might even go so far as to design an entire emoji based post, save for a contextual hashtag:

emoji marketing

A mix of creativity and the proper messaging can make for a very effective post that will engage users here and now. Increasing your engagement with emojis means finding what people are responding to and coding fun messages without being too cryptic. Beyond tracking which posts contain emojis and which don’t throughout your marketing campaigns, you can see just how often people are using certain emojis via the Emoji Tracker.

Branded Emojis

That said, Twitter has been designing custom emojis that accompany specific hashtags as means of monetizing the platform. First to try such an emoji marketing feat was no other than Coca-cola — arguably more of a marketing company than a soft-drink company. Using #shareacoke will actually generate a pair of classic coke bottles to accompany your remaining characters in the tweet. Pretty nifty! Since then gigantic brands like Star Wars, Ikea, and others have taken advantage of the phenomenon.

emoji marketing

So it’s clear that emojis are becoming more useful in marketing and while attempting to engage your audiences. Just make sure you’re fully aware of what all of these wacky little characters mean and don’t over do it — emojis do only go so far!

Resist Fake News | Facebook Cracks Down

If you’ve been anywhere near media, it’s hard not to know about all of the recent fake news stories circulating throughout the internet. Apparently, we’re living in a world where erroneous news stories, things like “alternative facts,” and intentionally deceptive clickbait are the latest formats used to rebrand what otherwise would be known as propaganda. With over 1.7 billion users each month, Facebook is a site where enormous swathes of the population are exposed to both imaginary or ground-breaking stories at any given time. Now, the social media giant is rolling out new signals to identify authentic content in the feeds of users. This inauthentic content is dangerous to citizens, but it’s also dangerous to your business and we’ll explore why, as well as what the social media site is doing to resist fake news.

How Facebook is Helping Resist Fake News

Realistically, fake news has been around since people and the power structures of their societies became intertwined with written language, so it almost comes as no surprise that propaganda would find its way onto our social media sites. When accusations that Facebook may have actually helped Donald Trump seize the U.S. presidential election began surfacing, CEO Mark Zuckerberg originally called the idea “crazy.” The sway Facebook had in this election is still understudied from a variety of perspectives, yet on January 31st it was announced that the site would be doubling down on weeding out fake news stories and related content. In a Facebook Newsroom post, researchers wrote:

“With this update, we’re adding new universal signals to determine whether a post might be authentic. To do this, we categorized Pages to identify whether or not they were posting spam or trying to game feed by doing things like asking for likes, comments or shares. We then used posts from these Pages to train a model that continuously identifies whether posts from other Pages are likely to be authentic. For example, if Page posts are often being hidden by people reading them, that’s a signal that it might not be authentic.”

These signals will be adjusted in real-time in order to tell how actual people are responding to the content, rather than bots and other forms of manipulation. This improvement comes after Facebook added the name of a publisher beneath the headlines Trending topics, as well as the December announcement that the improved ability to flag hoaxes will make it easier to resist fake news alongside the work of human fact checkers.

The blog assures users that “most Pages won’t see any significant changes to their distribution in News Feed,” so long as your business doesn’t profit off of the promulgation of fake news. Otherwise, it really just comes down to understanding the context of any information you share, where it came from, and what facts can be verified, along with the potential motives behind creating such content in the first place.

It’s important to understand that “fake news” is not merely something you disagree with – it’s information that is intentionally deceptive and fraught with malign statements. Don’t let your blog or business share propaganda and do what you can to resist fake news – no one has a budget for lies unless it’s the core of your enterprise. You know who you are.

Video Marketing: The Rundown

We’ve come a long way from the traditional “viral videos” that would be passed along through email chains and Facebook shares. What was once a medium for showing cats doing typical cute cat things has now become one of the most important marketing platforms for many brands and companies. Video is the new newspaper, or magazine, or blog post. As our attention spans continue to shrink, many companies are leaning on video marketing to lead the way as they head into 2017. Here’s what you need to know about this rapidly emerging marketing initiative.

Video Marketing Should Be Authentic

One of the biggest things many brands will assume is that they have to spend tons of money on production costs and promotion to make their video go “viral.” The truth is, we can’t really predict what makes a video explode on the Internet. However, we do know that the amount of money spent on production and promotion has minimal effect.

Obviously, it’s good to have some editing and production skills, but you don’t need to be the next Michael Bay to produce a great video marketing campaign. Case and point…Furkids Kitty Commercial. In just a few weeks, this rudimentary video has garnered almost 5 million views. It’s combination of humor, and tongue-in-cheek production quality has become a viral hit and shows that timeliness and humor can go along the way during your video marketing campaign.

Go Platform to Platform

Another important thing to think about for video marketing is adjusting your video campaign to be successful across all platforms. Many assume that YouTube is the only outlet that should be focused on, which is not the case. Social media outlets like Facebook and Snapchat have become very important channels to consider during your marketing campaign. Marketers can no longer post a video on YouTube and expect it to perform well across all channels. Snapchat and Instagram videos will obviously need to be shorter, and hashtags are also an important way for consumers to find your video.

Another interesting finding is that many users of social media prefer to watch videos without sound. For instance, multiple publishers say about 85% of all videos on Facebook are watched without sound—making captions crucial and music less so. Whether it’s because many of us are hiding from the boss at work while watching videos, or just prefer silent media, it’s important that your video translates well even without sound.

Don’t Overdo It

It sounds simple enough, but many companies will be quick to try and copy whatever the viral video is that month. While it’s smart to follow the trends, your audience will easily know when you’re just trying to jump on the bandwagon. Like stated before, overproduction can also be another sign that a company is not taking into account into who their audience is. Most social media users, especially millennials care more about timeliness and speed, over production value, and intricacy. Don’t try to get hip with the times just because those around you are marketing in that area. Make sure your brand has a clear and distinct video marketing campaign that highlights your strengths in a clear and concise manner.