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Snapchat. Yay or Nay?

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Surprise surprise. Another social media platform is gaining steam. But can you really call Snapchat a platform? I suppose you can but, for those looking to grow their own platform, can it really be of any use? In a recent Six Pixels of Separation podcast (which I highly recommend you check out), Mitch Joel discusses the permanent internet vs. the impermanent internet. Snapchat falls under the category of impermanence.

Here’s a quick rundown for those unfamiliar with Snapchat:
1. A user takes a picture (or short video) using the app (the user can’t use pictures that already exist in your camera roll as you can with Instagram).
2.  They can then add rough animated sketches or text to the pictures.
3. A time limit/expiry time is set for the picture – making it only available to be seen for that length of time while the viewer holds a finger on the screen.
4. If a viewer decides to take a screenshot of the picture, they can do so successfully but the viewer will be notified.
5. The picture is then deleted forever.

In a world where many of us work hard to create content that will help us find our voice online and give us permanent credibility, Snapchat seems to be much too fleeting to be instrumental. This skepticism is met with even more pessimism from those who scoff at the app, calling it “sleazy”, “controversial”, and “obviously only for racy photos”.

Let’s consider the good, the bad, and some possible uses.

The Good: Snapchat has continued to bring enjoyment (on somewhat of a surface level) to its users who enjoy giving people a glimpse into their daily lives without worrying as much about how they look or how the Toaster filter affects their like count. And of course, fuelling our dopamine-driven social media world, is the busy nature of a person’s Snapchat inbox due to the ability to mass send pictures. The fact that Snapchat connects people can’t be disputed. It can brighten a boring workday, enhance an event, and give you a laugh you otherwise wouldn’t have had (and who can put a value on that?). My initial concerns were that Snapchat would become everyone’s default photo app – limiting Instagram use and hindering the spread of video apps like Vine. I’m starting to become more optimistic about its effect on apps like Instagram which, in my opinion, are bombarded with those low-quality-look-at-me-now pictures. Now these pictures can be shot out into the Snapchat world and expire like they should – increasing the overall quality of pictures posted to the ‘Gram.

The Bad: As you’d expect, and as the naysayers will attest to, Snapchat does get used for pictures that would otherwise not be taken or sent. It’s almost like “don’t worry, i’ll just snapchat it” will begin justifying things that shouldn’t be justified. Also, the “humour” sometimes goes a bit too far and “fun” is had at the expense of a person being photographed by adding cartoon drawings of things I’m sure you’ve seen or could imagine before the picture’s sent. Here’s a controversy resulting from inappropriate use of the app: Teens’ Nude Photos From Snapchat Lead to Investigation Also in the category of “bad” falls the fact that Snapchat’s impermanence makes it more easily classified as a time-wasting app – increasing doubt as to whether a business could use it in a positive, meaningful way.

Possible Usefulness: On that note, here’s where I’ll make a quick argument regarding its usefulness for a business. I ran into the organizer for the Regina Folk Festival the other day. She was carrying a roll of posters of the 2013 summer festival’s lineup on them. The lineup was to be announced the following day and the group of us sitting near her did all we could to convince her to give us even a one second glimpse. And now I’m sure you can see where this is going. How easy is it for a major festival to encourage people to add them on Snapchat with the incentive of advanced lineup “glimpsing”? I’ve spent minutes looking at full lineups for festivals and failed to notice a band that later sparks conversation with a friend. The amount of conversation resulting from a multitude of people each getting a one second glance at a small picture of the lineup would be an interesting thing to attempt to measure. Even if someone manages to take a screenshot, the idea of a “leaked” schedule can create even more conversation. It’s these kinds of things, that actually add some value for viewers who give companies the permission to speak to them, that will endure as we become more selective about who we follow, like, and listen to.

Conclusion: Check it out for yourself and let me know what you think. Would love to hear your thoughts!

 

branding don't buy in

What You Need To Know About Branding

Brand Delusions BookI just finished what I think is one of the best books written on Branding I’ve ever read. It’s called Brand Delusions. It teaches you what branding is by telling a story of company in trouble and how they saved their brand. It’s an entertaining way to learn about branding and the counter-arguments you’re going to get when you try to adapt a new culture in your company.

Your Brand is a widely held set of beliefs and expectations about what you deliver and how you deliver it, validated by customers’ experiences.

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5 Tips for Effective LinkedIn Advertising

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1. Bid at the high end of the suggested bid range.
2. Continuously review and adjust your daily budget.
Make sure your daily budget supports your click goals.
ie) $10 per day at $2 per click = 5 clicks. $10 a day at $4 per click = 2 clicks.
Note: Wednesday is the highest traffic day on LinkedIn so adjust your budget and optimization accordingly.
3. Be leery of granular targeting.
Although it may seem counterintuitive, adding more criteria to a campaign severely limits your audience. Shoot for an audience size of 200,000 to 400,000.
a) Determine criteria
b) Create several campaigns with only one or two criteria
c) Carefully watch estimated audience numbers to see if they fall in the 200,000 to 400,000 range.
4. Pay attention to creative best practices.
a) Calls to action
b) Mention value-adds like white papers and free trials
c) Use legible images (50×50 is very small). If using words, make sure they can be read easily
5. Optimize
Shoot for CTR (click-through rates) of above .025%. LinkedIn rewards ads of this nature while a poor track record is difficult to bounce back from. If you develop a poor track record, start a brand new campaign. In order to hedge against the poor track record, create three or more ads, put two live, then swap the third one in for the poorest performing one at the end of the first week.
 

Darwinism of Business Strategy

Digital Darwinism

Your customers are changing. Your customers want more, they want different, they want new, the want fully-loaded, and the want minimalism. How will you adapt?

It’s easy to stay with the status quo. A wise person doesn’t rock the boat, the old adage goes. But that’s assuming the sea is calm of course. What if the sea has transformed into a turbulent hurricane and the only way to stay afloat is to rock the boat and embrace the waves?

Business isn’t getting less turbulent, you may think your organization is immune but when it comes time for layoffs, a horrible “I told you so” is going to be the last thing you remember from your obsolete job.

It’s survival of the fittest on a whole new level.

The only constant is change. You must adapt. You must cannibalize your own products. Steve Jobs said this. His rationale was that if you don’t cannibalize your own products your competitors will.

Your core ‘why’ may never change but you’re probably going to change everything else about your product/service offering. Why wait till the market forces you to change? Why not lead change?

Plan to innovate. Plan to get feedback on your innovation. Plan to measure what works and be willing to change the plan based on the feedback you receive.

The organizations that thrive in 2013 and beyond will have a determination to adapt. A willingness to change for the better. They will take calculated risks and understand that the riskiest place to be is standing still avoiding change.

(Photo Credit: Digital Darwinism: survival of the business)

4 Ways to Get Facebook Shares (Part 2 of 2)

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As an add-on to my last post entitled “Time to Reconsider What You’re Sharing on Facebook” , here are the four reasons people share Facebook content:

1. To Make Their Life Easier
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Here are two great examples of people posting with the intent of making some aspect of their life easier. Taron needs music for a soundtrack and Laura needs a goalie to play for her team. Each post also has an element of helping others *foreshadowing*…

2. To Build Relationships
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If a nice pic of three great friends doesn’t strengthen their relationship, I don’t know what does. Seriously, though.

3. To Help Others
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A nice music suggestion makes me happy. Thanks Danny.

4. To Craft Their Identity
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We’re constantly posting pictures of things we like (maybe more so on Pinterest and Instagram these days), talking about issues that concern us, and stating our opinions on the absurd amount of people complaining about the weather these days. Originally, Facebook was all about crafting your identity when it was focused around actually listing your favourite bands and movies. Now, the ability to craft your identity lies in individual posts and the pages you like.

Now these are examples of people posting content that achieves these goals. For a business, create and post content that makes people’s lives easier, helps people forge relationships with you and others, is extremely helpful, and helps people craft their identity while identifying with you. And, of course, as illustrated below, make sure these posts fall in line with what people love about you. Discover this and get posting 2-5 times a week!

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Back to Part 1 (Time to consider what you’re sharing on Facebook)…

 

Time to Reconsider What You’re Sharing on Facebook (Part 1 of 2)

SSHHFB

Sssshhhh! It’s time to acknowledge that the days of simply asking questions, sharing quips, and doing giveaways on your business’s Facebook page are over.

If you’ve continued to rely on these tactics, I’m sure you’ve noticed plateaus or stagnant engagement.
If you haven’t and things are still rolling smoothly, think of just how much more effective you could be with some smarter posting.
We all know it was Steve Jobs who said, “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.”
This is a case of staying hungry and looking for ways to constantly improve but staying intelligent while doing so.
Here’s how:

Screen Shot 2013-02-19 at 12.39.06 PM1. Discover what people love about you: Perhaps you already know exactly what people love about you. Perhaps you THINK you know what people love about you but it’s time to find out again. Even still, what people love about you in real life might not directly translate to what they like about you on Facebook. If there’s a disconnect, reel them back in to what’s truly great about your product or service by offering this info up in a way that adds value to them.

2. Recognize what people are likely to share: The average post is seen by 16% of those connected to your page. In order to increase this, you’re going to want to focus on the virality of your posts (shoot for 1-2% for post). Virality depends on people sharing your content. Pay close attention to what people have shared from your page in the past and focus on how your posts appear on the News Feed NOT on your own page. The News Feed is where people are most likely to see your post.

Part 2: The Four Main Reasons People Share and Like Facebook Content (via HooteSuite)

17 Lessons (Quotes) on Strategy, Leadership, and Advertising

These quotes were found in eight different, wonderful books.

Books-on-Strategy,-leadership-and-advertising

Killing Giants is a fascinating read especially if you like business strategy. I made more highlights in Killing Giants than any other book on my Kindle thus far.

The Big Leap is about taking on the habits of successful people and not self-destructing when finally achieving success. This book isn’t for everyone but a short read nonetheless.

Winning is a ridiculously smart book, Jack Welch is one badass CEO. You’ll get a lot out of this book, I use quotes from Winning in presentations all the time.

The Ad Contrarian is a breath of fresh air in our social media crazed world. Bob Hoffman is on a Podcast I listen regularly, he’s knows his %&$#. I like his point of view because you don’t always agree with it, but he makes you think about marketing in a different way. Read his stuff, he’ll make you smarter.

101 Contrarian Ideas About Advertising is similar to the Ad Contrarian in writing style and that’s about it. You’ll learn even more in this book. Bob is one of the influential voices on marketing of our present time.

The Impact Equation is by two of the smartest minds on online marketing and personal development. They give you a new formula to look at your social media strategy. I got a lot out of this book but I’d read Julien and Brogan’s first book Trust Agents first though.

Confession of a Madman is a hilarious journey through the life of George Parker, one of our fore fathers of advertising. He’s also on the Beancast (podcast) and swears his face off. He’s one of the ol’ boys. He doesn’t care about what anyone else says so you know he’s always being genuine. His book is entertaining with stories about his experience in the industry. Not a real heavy academic theory read at all.

A Whole New Mind by Dan Pink is a book you should read. It’s about how society is getting smarter and a different type of brain is helping us in the future. Full of stories and real life lessons you can apply. I highly recommend this book.

On Strategy…

1. It doesn’t matter how nice the packaging is if the product sucks.

 

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Regina city scape

6 Ways To Make Your Website More Trustworthy

Have you ever heard about a company and look up their website to find what looks like a Chimpanzee’s art project in MS Paint? Five years ago you could get by without a website and still do business just fine. Today very few companies can get by without having something resembling their brand online.

Today just having a website doesn’t suffice. If Google can’t find your website you’re not going to acquire search traffic. If you’re not putting anything worth while on your website no one’s going to care (no your newsletter doesn’t count as something people care about).

People buy from people and companies they know, like and trust. Here are six things you can do to make your website stand out and be more trustworthy.

1. Have your contact info (e-mail and phone number) very easy to find on every page. Make it easy for people to ask a question. If it’s difficult to find your contact info it feels like you don’t want me to contact you. Unless of course you in fact don’t want people to contact you ignore this one and move on to two.

Display phone number on your home page

2. Give your “About Us” page some love. Of the websites analytics I’ve seen, the About UsStrategy Lab Regina About Us Page page is by far the most popular page other than the home page. Your potential customers want to see who you are before they do business with you. The more the can find out about you before you meet the better. Lots of pictures and video if at all possible.

3. Have blog posts that get comments, Retweets, Likes, Shares, etc. The more social shares and comments a website has, the more you know people actually give a damn about what they’re writing about.

4. Have links to your company/personal Twitter accounts, Facebook Pages, Google+ Pages, Pinterest Pinboards, LinkedIn Pages. But only on the very important caveat of “if thou shall keep a link to a social network on thy website, be certain to stay active on thy social network”.

Social Media Icons

5. Display badges of associations, affiliated websites, and awards you have won. If you’re a home builder a link to the Home Builder’s Association google-analytics-qualified-individual-usermakes a lot of sense. Being on the AdAge Power 150 or completing a course in Google adds a lot of credibility to your company. As long as it doesn’t seem sleazy or to cheesy, include your Best Employer award, Your Customer Service Award, Your JD Power & Associates, heck if you win a Juno, put er up! If you’re winning awards you must be doing something right, right? If you’re associated with websites that add to your credibility ensure images and links to those sites are visible.

6. Include testimonials either on the home page or one click away. People often hide their testimonials or keep them on a page deep in their website. If you’re as good as you say you are, other people will say really nice things about you. Put what they say on your homepage. There’s no more powerful marketing than a recommendation from someone with authority.

 

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