Behind-the-Scenes Content a Big Win for NYFW

Whether or not you’re a New Yorker — and whether you care about fashion or not — it’s hard to ignore the glitz and glamour that surrounds the global event that is New York Fashion Week.

Selfie before leaving ! Oscar night ! May the best win! Love Diane

A photo posted by DVF (@dvf) on

The world watches as designers, models, celebrities, bloggers, socialites and more descend upon an already crowded city, all competing for the biggest PR splash. This year, more so than in years past, the folks behind the official NYFW social assets, as well as major publications like Vogue, have put their digital efforts into overdrive, creating visually compelling content with a strong point of view. And all of the photos and videos have a common theme: snag a behind-the-scenes look at the Super Bowl of fashion.

Here are a few examples:

Snapchat

On Facebook and Twitter, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week has been encouraging their followers to join them on Snapchat with snippets like this one:  

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If you ever wanted to feel like you were there IRL, this is a great way to do it.  

GoPro

Vogue went rogue and handed supermodel and Taylor Swift’s BFF Karlie Kloss a GoPro to chronicle her adventures throughout the day — from Good Morning America to backstage before the Carolina Herrera show, it’s just a typical Monday for Kloss.

Twitter

The up-close-and-personal photos from the official Twitter are about as close as most people will ever get to the intricate beadwork and luxurious furs that have defined this year’s event. You feel like you could practically reach out & touch them.

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Speechless, indeed.

Vine

Whether it’s a super slow motion clip of a particularly mesmerizing runway dress or a hyperlapse of an entire collection, Vine packs a lot of punch in a short amount of time — the perfect solution for short attention spans. And unless you’re BFFs with Anna Wintour, you probably won’t ever find yourself in this front-row seat.

What We’ve Learned

We’re past the days of trivializing Snapchat and Vine, and brushing them off as simply child’s play. A willingness to experiment with social platforms other than the big three (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) will help brands that are already naturally visual extend their reach even further. And no matter who you are, behind-the-scenes content will always make your fans and followers feel like they’re more connected to your story.

Erica Moss is the community manager for Communications@Syracuse, an online Master of Science in Communications program, offered from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. In her free time, she enjoys all things pop culture and connecting with people on Twitter @ericajmoss.

Sources:

https://vine.co/MBFashionWeek

The DOs and DON’Ts of LinkedIn

For all of the particulars involved with the many different social media sites out there, there is probably not a more particular social media site than LinkedIn. Because it is a business social networking site, there is a certain decorum that its users expect everyone to follow.

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The pictures of your nephew’s birthday party you’d post on Facebook, the clever one-liner you came up with to Tweet, the photo of that delicious desert you can’t wait to Instagram—none of those are things your followers on LinkedIn are expecting—or wanting–to see in their feed. This is a site for networking business professionals; post something out of the bounds of accepted norms and someone will surely let you know it.

LinkedIn is probably most often used by job-seekers and potential employers, which is something you as a small business owner can surely take advantage of as you search for that missing piece of your team. But there are also many other uses for LinkedIn.

As a small business owner, you can use LinkedIn to grow your professional network and introduce yourself to potential sponsors, customers, and business partners. And don’t be shy about introducing yourself to people ‘cold’. Joining LinkedIn comes with a certain set of expectations that include being approached about business opportunities.

However, be strategic and purposeful with the people you connect with. LinkedIn is not like Twitter where you want as big an audience as you can get. It’s about meaningful connections. People can see through accounts seeking to boost their numbers.

When using LinkedIn, it’s critical to remember that this is not your typical social media site. The levity and candor that sites like Facebook and Twitter thrive on do not translate to the professional networking site. We’re not saying to come across as stiff, cold, and unfriendly, but rather pleasant and professional, direct and purposeful.

Using Pinterest for Business

Its users are more active, its content stays visible longer, and it’s the most used social media network you’re not taking advantage of. Pinterest doesn’t get talked about like Facebook or Twitter but that’s just fine by its users. They’re a passionate group, one that actively share and engage with content. And it’s content that is shared and re-shared; as high as 80% of all Pinterest content is curated.

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Signing up your business for Pinterest is not unlike most social media sites. Businesses will want a strong profile picture, a clear bio that defines who you are and what you do, and visual branding that is consistent across all websites and social media accounts.

In Pinterest, users ‘pin’ images and videos to their boards, visible to their followers. Boards are arranged by themes, like recipes, design tips, or cars. People even make their own Christmas list boards, sharing their shopping ideas with friends and family. Because of this, Pinterest affords businesses great opportunities to connect with an audience through images that are associated with their brand. Posting a well-taken photo of your restaurant’s newest desert could blow up on Pinterest, as one person after another re-pins that picture.

You’ll want to make your own content as share-able as possible, which means installing ‘pin it’ widgets on your website. This way when people who are visiting your website see something they connect with, they can easily share it to their Pinterest. When posting directly to your Pinterest account, consider adding a ‘watermark’ to an image (if you own rights to that image), that way when your pin starts getting re-pinned, it will forever be associated with your brand.

Another good tip for getting started in Pinterest for business is to be as active and as social as your followers are. Engage with people and become part of the community and not just a figure lurking in the back, trying to sell product. Pinterest is supposed to be fun and that’s what people will respond to.

How Brands Use Social Media to Enhance the Customer Experience

Social media is no longer optional for businesses wishing to grow and compete in their industry. A survey published by eMarketer last October found that 88 percent of companies with 100-plus employees currently utilize social media for marketing purposes. Despite 52 percent of companies saying it’s nearly impossible to measure ROI on social media marketing, a majority will increase spending on mediums in 2015, according to a study by Gigaom.

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Instead of measuring returns by profits, companies are utilizing social media to enhance the overall customer experience. A good customer experience means positive word-of-mouth advertising and retention of brand loyalists. The 2011 Customer Experience Impact Report by RightNow Technologies found that 86 percent of customers were willing to pay more for similar products to a company that provides exceptional customer service.

Social media is a very public forum, so both positive and negative customer experiences voiced online can impact your bottom line. The following companies have provided blueprints on how to effectively use social media to improve customer relations.

JetBlue Rapid Response

Twitter and Facebook provide customers a real-time way to complain about your product or service in front of a large audience. Airlines are particularly vulnerable to online venting since flight delays are a common occurrence. Social media gives companies the opportunity to show they care.

JetBlue passenger Jennifer Kennedy tweeted her frustration about a 40 minute flight delay with no updates being given on January 14. A few minutes later, the company responded directly to her, offering both empathy and an update on the flight. Kennedy responded with appreciation for the fast response, along with her flight number. The plane was in the air a few minutes later.

The most impressive part of this exchange was the fact Kennedy’s original message was not addressed directly to @JetBlue. The airline’s social media administrators obviously follow all activity on Twitter mentioning its name. JetBlue ultimately retained a customer and showed others how the company does its best to address all concerns.

LifeLock Cares

Facebook user and Lifelock customer Mindy Lacey allegedly had a payday loan approved in her name that she never applied for. She posted her frustrations on Lifelock’s Facebook timeline, telling the company she should be canceling her account.

Despite the post being published after midnight, a company representative responded within an hour. They apologized for the inconvenience and reminded the customer of their $1 Million Total Service Guarantee which covers these types of instances. The response concluded with another apology and the company’s toll free number so the customer could call and start the process of remedying the issue.

Granted there are a lot of people who complain just to complain. But LifeLock makes it point to address these matters publicly. A Twitter user posted a complaint about someone stealing his identity. Once again, LifeLock quickly apologized and offered the 24 hour customer service number. These instances may seem trivial on the surface. But the footprint left behind for others to see makes it worth the trouble.

Pinterest Personality

Though rarely mentioned in the same breathe as Twitter and Facebook, Pinterest is actually the second-most powerful social network available. Pinterest directs more traffic to company websites than Twitter, Reddit, LinkedIn and Google Plus combined, according to a 2013 analysis by social plugin developer Shareaholic.

Pinterest provides a platform for companies to convey a friendly and fun public image. Taco Bell pins photos of corporate ugly sweater days, jalapeno eating contests and in-store birthday parties for employees. UGallery, an online art exhibit, uses Pinterest to feature individual client’s work. Girl Scouts of America pin pictures of community service projects, including their members making care packages for homeless people and children suffering from cancer.

Regular engagement on social media gives companies instant feedback and opportunities to provide good customer experiences. The returns will ultimately be in the form of better loyalty and higher retention rates.

Measurement Basics for Facebook Pages

For all the work you put into running your Facebook page—updating statuses, responding to comments, updating information, creating events, answering messages, posting pictures, interacting with others’ posts—sometimes you might wonder just what it is you’re doing on your computer when there are so many other aspects of your business to worry about. Hey, we get it. But the power of Facebook and its humungous audience is not to be ignored. Fortunately, there are ways you can track how effective your Facebook campaign actually is.

There’s the immediate, of course. Just monitoring what type of posts garner the most likes and comments from your community can go a long way in determining what works and what doesn’t in the content that you share. Did attaching a photo to that update on your holiday hours generate more engagement than last year’s post with no photo? Bingo. That’s an easy one.

But Facebook has a bevy of tools that allow its page administrators to get deep in analytics. Monitoring how many likes a photo receives is just scratching the surface. We call them metrics and what they allow us to do is track nearly every aspect of the Facebook experience.

There are three main metrics that are the basics of Facebook’s Page Insights tool, easily accessible through your page admin tab. These are Page Likes, Post Reach, and Engagement.

In Page Likes, Facebook shows you not only how many likes you have in total but how many you received this week vs. last week.

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With Post Reach, the metric allows you to monitor both the total reach of your posts throughout the week—just how many people saw your post in their news feed—and also the number of people per post.

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In Engagement, you can analyze the action-related results of your posts. Engagement numbers are the metrics that show how many people clicked on a post, liked it, shared it, or left a comment.

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In utilizing the Page Insights tool, Facebook users are better equipped to view and analyze the effectiveness of their posts, enabling them to make any changes necessary for fostering a more engaged community. It should give you a better idea of just how much you’re getting in return for all that work you’ve been putting in.

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How to Know if Social Media Efforts are Paying Off

Maybe because it’s still relatively new or maybe it’s because it’s intangible, but for whatever the reason, many businesses are still skeptical of the positive affects of running a strong social media campaign. The fact is that many people just don’t understand how to figure out how their social media efforts are paying off.

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For the biggest of social media skeptics, throwing around phrases like ‘community engagement’ is just not that impressive. While plenty of people understand the benefits of establishing a community online to where you can directly share your content, some bottom-line business owners just aren’t going to care how many ‘likes’ a photo receives. If you’re one of these types, there are other ways to observe the impact of your social media campaign and even ones that provide hard numbers to analyze and use to affect changes in your business.

Some social media websites, like Facebook, include analytics functions built into the user experience. As page admin, you can track your impact to see what your followers respond to. Both Facebook and Twitter allow you to purchase ads that will make your posts more visible, the impact of which are also easily trackable.

Still, tracking Facebook and Twitters just don’t mean that much to some. Skeptics may want to turn to a numbers analysis program like Google Analytics. Like many of the services it offers, Google’s analytics program is free. It can be of enormous help to a business person and especially so when they’re trying to better understand their social media numbers. For example, a business owner can use Google Analytics to track how many customers visit their online store by way of a Facebook ad. That’s just not possible with a hard copy advertisement in the Sunday paper.

Of course, one way to measure the impact of a hard copy advertisement is the coupon. Count how many coupons are collected and you have numbers to analyze and use to modify future actions. Coupons are equally effective via social media. Post a coupon or special deal, your customers will print them out and bring them to the store, and you can see first hand the impact of a social media campaign when done right.

Getting Started with Twitter for Business

Like most entrepreneurs, chances are you didn’t start your own business so you could run a Twitter page. But this deep into the 21st century and the impact of a social media campaign is undeniable. Unless you’ve completely written off technology, it’s likely that you’re either already on the Twitter train or you keep thinking, “You know, I should really look into this Twitter thing. I’ll do it tomorrow.” The problem with tomorrow is that it isn’t today. In Twitter, as with most things, there’s no time like the present.

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Here are some quick and easy tips to get you started with running a Twitter page for your business.

Set up your Twitter profile.

A complete and consistent profile is essential to making an immediate impact on Twitter. The branding—profile picture, graphics, Twitter handle, bio—should be consistent with the rest of your branding, be it on your website, other social media accounts, or physical products. Choose a profile picture that is bold and easily identifiable. Your Twitter name should be your company’s name, ideally.

Build your Twitter community.

When you start out with Twitter, you start out at zero. It’s up to you to build your community of influencers and followers. Twitter will always suggest people to follow—who, in turn, may very well follow back. But take the initiative to identify who are the key influencers in your industry, follow them, and begin to interact with them. Also important is to spread the word among your customers that you are now on Twitter. Cross post to other social media accounts, include information in advertisements, and always include links to your social media accounts on your main website. Make it easy for people to find your page.

Establish your Twitter voice.

Now that you’ve set up your profile and begun to build your followers, it’s time to begin posting and making connections. Be consistent in your posting. Make it so that people can come to expect and look forward to seeing your Tweets. Post regularly and often, but not so much that you’re a pest. If you’re unsure of your posting technique, check other accounts that are in the same industry as you. What are they doing right? Levity and visuals are two major ways to catch people’s attention. Staying current and local can also quickly build a sense of community.

Though it may seem daunting at first, Twitter can be a gamechanger for your business. It’s free and—though this may be hard for some people to accept—easy to use. A complete and consistent profile, relevant community, and a strong voice are the building blocks of an effective Twitter account for business.

Three Actionable Insights from Google Analytics

Analytics are amazing tools that allow you to gather valuable insights about nearly every aspect of your business’s website. For example, you can look up the language, country, and city of every visitor to your homepage. This can be a very influential bit of data, one that may determine where you spend your advertising dollars.

What’s even more amazing is that Google offers web analytics for free. While there are other analytics services—some that even offer more data—there might not be a better bang for your buck than Google. Because, you know, it’s free. But also really useful. Here are three actionable insights found with Google Analytics.

Bounce rates: These are especially handy bits of data. Bounce rates allow you to observe how many visitors view your website without ever interacting with it. This may mean that the information they were looking for was found immediately on the homepage but it could also mean that there are design and usability issues with your site. Design and usability issues are fast ways to lose a customer. By analyzing what doesn’t work about your website, you can then take the steps necessary for fixing it, hopefully increasing visitor interaction—and, eventually, sales.

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Conversions by device: Another analytic that we like ’round these parts is the ability to see conversion rates by device, i.e., desktops and tablets. Curious how your website holds up on someone’s smart phone? In observing this data, you’ll be able to glean valuable insights from data points like number of visits and conversion rates made by people visiting your website through their mobile device. Is one device not making numbers like other devices are? Maybe you need to go and re-design that mobile site.

404 alerts: Of today’s three actionable insights, this is the easiest to fix. A 404 Not Found error is when a webpage cannot be found. Google Analytics allows users to set up a 404 alert, sending a message to you if your website crashes. It’s a proactive approach to your site, eliminating the need for you to rely on good samaritan visitors who email you when a page is down.

Photo by cambodia4kidsorg

Photo by olarte.ollie

Avoid Sites That Sell Followers

It’s a practice as old as business but when it comes to the social media game, paying to play just doesn’t cut it. Buying followers from “businesses” outside of Facebook, Twitter, et al. will not get you the results you desire. At best, you can hope for a superficial list of friends and followers, one that’s inflated like a balloon—big and hollow. It may seem like a quick, easy way to boost your follower count so let’s take a look at why paying for likes just doesn’t cut the mustard.

FallFest Crowd

So you’re new to a social media site and you see that low follower count. If only there was a way to quickly gain a bunch of followers so it doesn’t feel like you’re tossing pebbles in the ocean . . . Well if you give in to one of those users who promise 10,000 likes or followers you’ll be tossing your money down the drain. First, it’s highly unlikely that they’ll be able to deliver so many followers. And even if they do? It’s nearly certain that these followers aren’t your target demographic. Heck, they might not even be real people at all.

Companies that promise new followers often deliver with people from different countries who have no realistic chance to ever visit your business. Another tactic is to deliver ‘bots’, fake accounts run by computer programs. What good is that? The whole point of running social media communities is to commune with your customers. All the work you put into delivering interesting and engaging content through your social media sites will go ignored if not delivered to the people its designed for.

Paying for followers is a cheap way to boost your audience and the results are just as cheap. It’s quality over quantity when it comes to running a healthy social media community. Want more followers? Targeted ads through the sites themselves help, allowing you to aim your site to the people you wish to reach. Be sure to include links to your social media accounts on your official website. Cross post between accounts by posting an Instagram photo to your Facebook page. Put up notices in your store. In the end, there are plenty of ways to increase your follower count without “paying to play.”

3 Brand Publishers You Should Copy

Does your company create content that does not have a direct sales pitch? Do you weave SEO strategies into that content so that search engines take notice? And, do you actively use social media to amplify the reach of your content? Congratulations, you are a brand publisher—or at the very least, you’re heading in that direction.

Brand Concept

Brand publishing is an emerging aspect of digital marketing where content is created to capture consumers at various stages of the buying cycle. Brand design consultants Mark-making define brand publishing as “a marketing strategy where brands treat themselves not as advertisers, but as content publishers.” Often used interchangeably with content marketing, brand publishing is taking hold because of consumers’ natural aversion to traditional, in-your-face advertising.

So, in order to more deeply understand the concept, let’s look at how these three brands are leveraging brand publishing to grow their audiences.

Urban Outfitters: The Retailers of Good Cheer

A multinational clothing retailer, Urban Outfitters sells more than apparel and accessories to the hipster generation—they sell a vibe. They promote their vibe through a mix of blog content and social media, which speaks directly to their youthful, urban audience. Heck, even if you’re not a fan of the clothing, who can resist a recipe for glitter-rimmed eggnog shooters? And that’s exactly the point. Eggnog shooters have nothing to do with what Urban Outfitters actually sells, but their 2 million Facebook followers seem to be just fine with pretty pictures of clothing interspersed with do-it-yourself crafts and tiny cocktails. They use brand publishing to keep their brand top of mind with a steady stream of good vibes.

DriveTime: The Friendly Used Car Guys

DriveTime, a used car dealership, helps people with credit challenges find and finance a car. Along with this core part of their business, they’re also accessible to consumers at every stage of the car-buying game. The visually inviting DriveTime blog covers everything from how to save money during holiday travels to two rescue dogs with a hidden driving talent. Not only does the blog offer a balance between actionablae advice and heartwarming entertainment, they carry a friendly, approachable voice through all of their social media channels.

And, specifically on their Twitter page, there are humorous posts and photos sprinkled between the helpful blog content. Through their strategic approach to brand publishing, DriveTime has created a friendly, informative place for people to land whether they’re in the car-buying market or not.

Red Bull: The Content Behind the Can

Anybody with a pulse knows that Red Bull is an energy drink; however, visit their website and you might have a memory lapse. Red Bull takes brand publishing to a distinctively gutsy level with a dynamic website alive with content featuring high-energy people doing highly exciting things. Topping the high-octane site is a separate digital magazine, The Red Bulletin, that profiles everything from new hip-hop artists, to motorcycle legends, to hot cities you should visit—anything cool, and they’re on it. And, they don’t shove a can of product in your face. Ever. Red Bull uses brand publishing to establish a super-charged lifestyle mood fueled by culture and coolness.