Category Archives: Media trends

Bring home the bacon – make your social media work for you

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If you’re looking for an example of how to use social media to enhance your brand’s presence online, look no further than J & D’s Bacon Salt. The makers of this incredibly popular product have been able to successfully use social media in a way that fits in with their brand message, their company’s personality and their audience’s behavior.

Let’s start with their great website. The “Our Story” page introduces you to the company’s creators, Justin and Dave, and how Bacon Salt came about. The story is told in a friendly, off-the-cuff tone, and it is taken to an even more personal level with a YouTube video of one of the creator’s toddler, which that won them $5,000 on America’s Funniest Home Videos, an amount they refer to as their “first round of funding”.

Since their product is in the spice/condiment family, J & D’s Bacon Salt website smartly offers a recipes page, which are perfect for sharing but would be even better if each recipe had its own “share” button (although you can share the website with the bookmarking links at the bottom). The reviews page has another a YouTube video that shows a bunch of people, women and men, young and old  (and really young), professing their love of Bacon Salt. Plus, the merchandise page makes use of an e-commerce widget from Zazzle.

But although it does contain social media elements, the website is reserved for communicating their brand message and their company’s personality. So Justin and Dave created a blog to help document their quest to make “everything taste like bacon” and created a MySpace page and a Facebook group so they can interact with their customers more directly. Both are very active, with customers proclaiming their love for bacon and Bacon Salt, sharing ideas, videos, asking for recipes and more.

So follow Justin and Dave’s lead and find out how social media can work best to enhance your brand and messaging.

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Link Roundup for 1.25.2008

Hyplet.com
A very cool, simple app that lets you create embedable flyers and business cards to put on blogs, social networks, websites and emails. Via: TechCrunch

Best Internet Marketing Blog Posts of 2007 – Techipedia
A VERY extensive list of the best and timeless articles of 2007 about internet marketing, broken up into categories like specific social networks, blogging, content generation, etc.  Via: Greg Verdino

Using Social Media to Create Social Media Training
A wiki for social media training. Via: Social Media Marketing

The Interactive Media Mix Series: Part 2 – Banner Ads

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This post is part 2 of The Interactive Media Mix Series. In the series we plan to go over the basics on each of the tools that marketers can use in interactive campaigns, such as microsites, banner ads, streaming audio, online video, mobile marketing, podcasts, email marketing, search engine marketing and social media.

Dear Interactive Marketers,

When banner ads (AKA display ads) were first introduced, they were hailed as one of the greatest advances in advertising, because unlike billboards or TV ads, they could interact with the audience AND their effectiveness could be measured by way of click-throughs with a great degree of accuracy. But then, the advent of flash animation created an unfortunate side effect: “hit the monkey”, “shoot the spaceship”, “trap the mouse”, and “the dancing baby” banners became too annoying and ubiquitous to be effective at all. And so, the banner ad fell from grace.

It finally appears that the age of the dancing baby is over. Today, studies are showing that various campaigns become more effective when display ads are added to the mix and new design technologies like rich media and video are allowing banner ads to become increasingly more interesting and usefullevis-banner-ad.jpg

Lets hear from the experts:

  • Tessa Wegert, from ClickZ says that banner ads allow marketers to visually imprint their image on the minds of consumers in a way other forms of online media don’t.
  • Jason Fittipaldi, from iMedia thinks that expandable banners—which use a new technology that allows the banner to expand when the user rolls over them—are fresh, exciting, compelling, highly interactive and rewarding to the viewer, and they provide an effective foundation for viral marketing and brand extension.
  • Lydia Estrada, also from iMedia, claims that the interactive space provides the capability to reach consumers on multiple levels (rational, emotional) and it is important to take advantage of that as often as possible.
  • And finally, examples cited in both Media Post Publications, by David L. Smith, and in BusinessWeek, by David C. Churbuck, show that banner ads used in conjunction with other channels increase the overall effectiveness of the campaign.

So What?
Banner ads have made a comeback and have become the centerpiece of the interactive media mix. Used wisely, they can be helpful and entertaining for your customers and an entryway into your company or brand’s web presence.

Interested?

Internet Advertising Bureau UK – Display Ads

DoubleClick – Best Practices for Optimizing Web Advertising Effectiveness, May 2006 (Available for download)

BizReport – Europeans Click with Video Ads, Kristina Knight, May 2007

BizReport – Large Ad Formats Popular with European Marketers, Helen Leggat, May 2007

Media Post Publications – TV and Web, Working Together, David L. Smith, Aug. 2007

BusinessWeek – Google and the Rebirth of Banner Ads, David C. Churbuck, April 2007

ClickZ – Do you buy Banners? Tessa Wegert, Nov. 2006

ClickZ – Interactivity with a Mission, Tessa Wegert, July 2006

iMedia – The Seven Principles of Effective Online Ads, Lydia Estrada, Sept. 2005

iMedia – Three Ways to Improve Banner Ads, Jamie Roche, Nov. 2006

iMedia – 5 Targeting Success Stories, Robert Moskowitz, Oct. 2006

ClickZ – Making Video Advertising Accountable to Consumers, Jeremy Lockhorn, Sept. 2006

iMedia – Extreme Makeover: Banner ads Redux, Jayson Fittipaldi, April 2007

BusinessWeek – Levi’s Fits its Ads to the Web, Steve Rosenbush Oct. 2006

iMedia – How better display ad targeting is changing internet advertising, Tim Brown, Aug. 2007

Marketwire – Marketers can Buy Blog “Buzz”, Nielsen Reports, July 2007

Yukonbiz (blog), Do banner ads still work? Geoff Harries, Oct. 2006

GigaOM (blog), Why Google bought DoubleClick, Om Malik, April 2007

ClickZ – Mobile advertising goes graphic, Rebecca Lieb, Jan. 2007

WJS.com – Brand Marketers Return to the Web, David Kesmodel, May 2006

And here are a couple of examples of great video banners

The Google/Saturn banner video

A “Get a Mac” campaign banner

(knife image: ©iStockphoto.com/s_white, Levi’s banner ad courtesy of Avenue A | Razorfish. See all of them here.)

It pays to be social

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Dear Traditional Media Marketer,

Social Media is a very profitable and effective tool for tradit

ional media, and in addition to innumerable companies and brands, radio, television and print companies have also started to take advantage of it.

Minnesota Public Radio, for instance, considers its Minnewiki, which is launched in the fall of 2005 as a local music scene encyclopedia, to be one of its most successful social media projects. On April 13, 2007, the site had already been accessed 48,264 times. (Source)

Meanwhile, WBEZ prominently features daily photos of Chicago scenes on its home page, either found on Flickr or submitted by the station staff. The Photo of the Day functioned, for Daniel Ash of WBEZ, as a powerful tool of localism, countering what he sees as a public radio weakness. (Source)

Other stations like Q101 and Hot97 incorporate blogs, podcasts, and profiles on MySpace, and even channels on YouTube.

In television, ABC Family has launched a promotion on twitter around the new show Gr

eek, a comedy-drama about frat and sorority life, and the title character in NBC’s show Chuck, a computer geek who becomes a secret agent, also will twitter to fans. (Click here for the article)

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And CBS has disclosed that social media has brought an additional 200,000 viewers in just one month and that, “YouTube has brought a significant new audience of viewers to each broadcast.” (Link)

Print journalism is also jumping in. In June of this year, the BBC conducted a “social media experiment”, where journalist Ben Hammersley “will file to his personal blog, he will upload photos to Flickr, video

to YouTube, post snippets of text to the microblogging site Twitter, bookmark research on the social bookmarking site del.icio.us and network with people through Facebook” while covering the run-up to the July elections in Turkey for two weeks. Check out his social media content here.

Even the The New York Times Co. last year started offering on its Web site buttons for posting articles on Digg, Facebook, and Newsvine.com, an indication that the venerable news organization is embracing online social news sharing, while Steve Rubel explains how USA Today offers reader comments on every story, the ability to create a profile page that can be shared with others, citizen journalist photos, story tagging and digg-like recommendation buttons.

So What?
Your audience is social. Are you?

Interested? Here’s more:

Mathew Ingram – Can a newspaper be a social network?

GigaOm – Can social tools save plan ole’ radio? 

New York Times – Is radio still radio if there’s video? 

Billboard – Clear Channel launches social networking sites 

Hyper-Local is Hyper Relevant

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Dear Interactive Content Team,

Hyper local content is what affects a small town or community, or the individual neighbors of a big city. It’s little league sports scores. School closings. The best barber shops and the location of a free flu shot. It’s the every dstreet-sign.jpgay stories that impact our life.

How can big brands target their messages at the hyper local level? Should they produce separate advertising for every town? Is this feasible? Can new technology like RSS and content aggregation automate this process for them? Hyper local content makes for great websites. It separates the sites whose primary content is Associated Press stories from those who offer a unique value to their audience with information that is local and relevant.

Websites like Wicked Local (a collection of 158 local Massachusetts community sites), NeighborsGo (for the Dallas-Fort Worth area), and 9 Neighbors (for the Boston area) all focus on specific communities, or a number of communities. They let the people who live there communicate with each other and share ideas and information. Other sites, like Neighborrow , CitySearch, Going and Yelp are national sites that have templates for each local market. They are excellent examples of how local content scales nationally.

Here are 25 ideas for hyper-local content (click on the link to be taken to an example):

1. Interactive Weather updates
2. Traffic reports
3. Restaurant and local business reviews
4. “Best of” lists
5. Community pictures
6. Guides to local resources
7. Local sales and coupons
8. Polls and votes on issues of interest to the community
9. Local wedding and party planning vendors
10. Local job openings
11. Car buying tips and dealership information
12. Local news
13. Local classifieds
14. Community blogs
15. Community forums and discussion
16. Reports of interest to the community. E.g. school tests and demographic data, payments made by pharmaceutical companies to local doctors, county jail bookings
17. Newcomer’s resources 18. “Ask the expert” with local professionals
19. Community meetings, school events, local shows
20. Featured articles about local successful athletes (high school, college professional), entrepreneurs, businesses, exceptional community service contributors, local heroes, writers, artists, historical timelines, small business tips and examples of local success etc. 21. Personals 22. Local hotel and accommodations information, trip advisors 23. Wikis compiling information about local bands, events, restaurants, etc. 24. Local contests and prizes
25. Local professional resources (lawyers, doctors, contractors)
So What?

Making your content hyper local makes it hyper relevant.

(images courtesy of ReapFoodGroup.org and CultureToGo)

Community Rewards

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Dear Online Community Manager,

Want to get your audience to participate? Reward them. There’s more than one way to do it. According to Jakob Nielsen, the usability guru:

Reward — but don’t over-reward — participants. Rewarding people for contributing will help motivate users who have lives outside the Internet, and thus will broaden your participant base. Although money is always good, you can also give contributors preferential treatment (such as discounts or advance notice of new stuff), or even just put gold stars on their profiles. But don’t give too much to the most active participants, or you’ll simply encourage them to dominate the system even more.

Reputation management is also a great example of community rewards. Sites like eBay and Slashdot illustrate how it works. On eBay, a seller’s reputation allows a buyer to decide whether or not to trust them to conduct business fairly. On Slashdot, a discussion board, users assign a rating to comments based on their usefulness, and regular users are also rewarded with “karma” points.

On Wikipedia, the reward system is less obvious, but there nonetheless. The most active editors are granted “administrator” status, which gives them many more editing powers than the regular “editors”.

picture-13.pngFor a stellar example of community rewards, check out Virgin Radio’s VIP Awards. Virgin’s registered members are called VIP’s (already a nice psychological reward), but the more they participate and contribute, the more rewards they are likely to get. Virgin uses “Kudos” to reward its users with a number of different badges including “VIP of the Day”, “Number 1 VIP”, “Outstanding Contributor” and inclusion in the “Top 400 VIP’s” list, among others.

For an example of how to use monetary rewards, check out EksoMusic.com. Users earn EksoBucks for every contribution that they make to the site that they can redeem for concert tickets, CD’s DVD’s, music downloads and other prizes.

A reward system is also used on Fool.com, a site that advises people on stocks, investing and personal finance. The most frequent contributors to the site’s discussion boards are awarded free subscriptions to the newsletters of their choice and can eventually even be given a small stipend and the responsibility to monitor and patrol the boards or be recruited as a Motley Fool staffer.

And finally, Duke’s Chowder House also makes great use of incentives by offering 2 free dinners to anyone that signs up for their email list and a free cup of chowder for every friend they refer to the list!

So What?
Reward your users for their participation. They will be encouraged to contribute more often and with better content. Rewards will also motivate less active users to participate more.

Want to learn more?
Participation Inequality: Encouraging More Users to Contribute – Jakob Nielsen

Reputation Managers are Happening – Jakob Nielsen

Online Communities Need Currency – leelefever for Common Craft

Community Rewards and Identity – Jon Nix and Pam Thomas, CommunityAnswers.com

(image: ©iStockphoto.com/Kuklev)

FRESH SQUEEZED DIGITAL INSIGHT

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These are the articles and campaigns that rocked our world this week.

“Non-Traditional Revenue” is dead. Long live “New-Traditional Revenue”
Mark Ramsey argues that we must focus less on business which matters only at the margin and more on business that will constitute the center of radio industry revenue in years to come.

Philips Electronics Simplifies Shopping With Another Non-Intrusive Campaign

NBC Universal to offer interactive ads via TiVo
NBC is the first major broadcaster to make a deal with TiVo to receive their detailed ratings data and to offer an interactive feature on ads, where viewers can click on an icon to get more info on a product.

Hear Voices? It May Be an Ad
An ad for “Paranormal State,” a ghost-themed series premiering on A&E is using a technology to transmit audio from a billboard that you hear inside your head.
The Basilica of Saint Mary’s in Minnesota used a similar tactic to promote its block party in October.

Greg Verdino’s Marketing Blog: 7 Trends that Defined 2007

Virgin America – Experience Marketing

(image: ©iStockphoto.com/Kameleon007)