What makes stories sticky? #contentmarketing

This is a question that I think resonates all content marketers. From my days in broadcast television news, we spent hours and hours discussion whether a story would generate enough interest to drive viewership. Now in the digital/social communication world, it is even more of a legitimate discussion.

In-order for organizations to take ownership of their brand message, they have to become their own content marketers. They have to create home bases for audiences to navigate and social strategies to generate conversation portals ultimately for content discovery.

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Facebook Auto-Play – Game Changer in Content Delivery for Video???

Facebook just released the newest app in both iOS and Android which bows allow you to see video content in auto-play mode. What does this mean?

As you scroll down your news feed (via your iPhone, iPad, iPod, Android, and other mobile devices), video that was uploaded directly to Facebook will now auto play in the news feed. This means, when you scroll down the news feed to check out all the stories…you will notice a video might start playing. But, you will notice it does this in silently.

Many people have voiced both positive and negative reviews surrounding videos auto-playing when clicking onto a website. Lots of the feedback, mainly negative, specifically addressing the sound during the auto-play.

Other groups are experimenting with auto-play of video like Vimeo with their mobile apps. The Vimeo app on the iPad would auto-play your feed videos when scrolling, catching your attention with the motion of the video. This is the idea I think Facebook is trying to capture.

The Benefit:
Here is what makes this awesome…allowing people to explore rich media that they normally would not if the video was paused. By auto-playing the video, consumers see the motion as they scroll through the feed…potentially stopping to watch the whole video. This will be huge for communicators/marketers/digital strategist.

Compatibility:
This only works when you upload video directly to Facebook…hence another reason they are trying to encourage individuals to use Facebook as a video distribution channel. This will not work with any video links posted from outlets like YouTube, Vimeo, Vine…etc.

With the competition between Instagram, Vine, and YouTube trying to leverage people with their video distribution capabilities…Facebook recognizes they are the ones how hold the key to the mass audience. So…why not jump into the game.

TechCrunch writes:

“If Facebook can make auto-play video feel like a natural part of the feed, it could unlock a new level of proficiency in consuming the world.

Auto-play could give us quick windows into our friends lives that are almost as easy to skim as photos but much more evocative. News outlets could serve up footage from major events happening around the world or recent sports highlights. Imagine watching an epic interception returned for a touchdown silently filling you feed with a remarkable athletic achievement that you might not have clicked and waited to load, but you’re happy to see. And if you want to hear the hits and announcer’s commentary, one click and it’s like you’re watching television.

And that might be the goal of Facebook video. To combine the vividness of TV with the efficiency of reading.”

The Challenge:
Here is the one area Facebook really needs to get their act together…offering analytics for video inside their branded pages. If you can combine the opportunity for exploration of rich video via auto play along with an analytics package for communicators/marketers/digital strategist, their will be big play with big brands.

The Final Challenge:
As content marketers…are we pushing too much stuff from our branded pages onto Facebook? We are seeing a shift in demographics, shift in privacy, shift in closeness of this community, and a shift in the Facebook algorithms. Are people wanting less or more rich content? Or do they want rich content from people and brands they trust?

Facebook “Star” Rating System Released –> GHS Life Center

Have you noticed the new five star Facebook rating system? It popped up on one of GHS’s Facebook pages  this week (GHS Life Center’s Page).

It looks like Facebook just released this new system and they are testing it out on certain pages. TechCrunch reported this new deal on November 7, 2013:

“Using a star system for place and page ratings isn’t entirely new; Facebook has been collecting star ratings from users on the desktop and via local search for quite a while now, and also seeking star ratings on content and apps via Timeline. What is new is making this information explicitly displayed on the social network itself, in a prominent place on a business or place Page.

This shift, if it moves from the testing phase to general adoption, has a couple major implications for Facebook users. First, for general members, it provides an increased degree of sentiment information surrounding places and content that goes well beyond the simple off/on attribute of the Like. “

For businesses, it’s not clear yet whether displaying this rating will be optional or mandatory, but if Facebook is making a play to compete with the Yelps, Foursquares and Angie’s Lists of the world when it comes to local discovery and service recommendations, it would make sense that they are required by default. That could mean a considerable shift in how businesses use FB, with more emphasis placed on customer service versus just maintaining a presence on the network. Likes are easy, after all, but getting users to fill up that star bar will require a lot more effort and interaction.”

Here is the comment from Facebook:
“We’re extending star ratings on Facebook from mobile to desktop – to make it easier for people to discover great businesses around them. This is beneficial for both businesses and consumers. Star ratings encourage more people to rate a business, making it eligible to appear in News Feed and help others discover a business they didn’t know about previously. For businesses themselves, this also leads to greater brand awareness.

As you may recall, star ratings launched in early 2012 with the introduction of Nearby on mobile. Now we’re bringing the visibility of star ratings to a more prominent spot at the top of Pages’ timeline on desktop and to the preview in News Feed.”

Are people remembering then searching for your story?


Image credit: DailyGalaxy.com

I was looking around for the perfect billboard image and I thought this fit so well. I just read and article from SearchEngineLand.com surrounding the idea of attribution in the world of marketing.

What is attribution?
Attribution is the process of identifying a set of user actions (“events”) that contribute in some manner to a desired outcome, and then assigning a value to each of these events.Marketing attribution provides a level of understanding of what combination of events influence individuals to engage in a desired behavior, typically referred to as a conversion. (from wikipedia.com)

As I was thinking through this article, I began pondering some of my larger clients. I was thinking about how they spread their marketing mix (spend) across the spectrum and how it relates to the related online search.

One of the take aways: “The biggest conversion rate (90%) is the person that uses a single click or with the same keyword typed.”

So, how do I apply this to a large organization’s marketing/pr efforts…especially as it involves our social/digital efforts. Heck, let’s narrow the field to a large hospital system.

First…it is all about the search! On all media mixes, it is more important to make our searchable keywords (that drive traffic to our conversion rates) extremely apparent. From billboards, television, to digital ads; we have to consider visually displaying the keywords we want people to use to search Google/Yahoo/etc.

Basically, this is a typography/visual design exercise. When designing any media, the words that we want people to use to search for our final digital destinations must be most visible, most readable, and most apparent.

So this is a shift in thinking a bit, especially for me.

What is our digital keyword brand?
Think about a billboard on the interstate. As we drive by, which keywords do we remember from that billboard. Which keywords catch our attention? Are the keywords people remember the ones that match our branded message? Does our audience type those branded keywords correctly into the search engine to find our services.

Think about that television ad. Which keywords are used in the ad? Are the displayed words in the ad the same keywords we want people to use to search for that service? What will they remember?

Social Media/digital ads are different…we should be already giving links with updates as we point people to final destinations.

I would love to hear your thoughts as you read through this article. Maybe you are implementing this strategy, and I am wasting your time. But, I found this research interesting as it relates to large organizations (especially hospitals) that use a multi-channel media mix.

Facebook is loosing steam with the Millennials and Generation Z


Image Credit: Mashable.com

I just read an OPED on Mashable.com today, it’s title: “I’m 13 and None of My Friends Use Facebook”. Yep…things are changing. Let’s look at a few statements in the article that peaked my interest. This article is from the viewpoint of a 13 year old. Her name is Ruby Karp.

“Facebook is losing teens lately, and I think I know why.

Part of the reason Facebook is losing my generation’s attention is the fact that there are other networks now. When I was 10, I wasn’t old enough to have a Facebook. But a magical thing called Instagram had just come out … and our parents had no idea there was an age limit. Rapidly, all my friends got Instagrams.

Now, when we are old enough to get Facebook, we don’t want it. By the time we could have Facebooks, we were already obsessed with Instagram.”

Yes…and there are so many other reasons why teenagers are migrating away. None of their friends are using Facebook. Why? There is no community for this generation.

Ruby continues:  “This leads me into my next point: Although I do have a Facebook, none of my other friends do. My friends just thought it was a waste of time. I decided to get a Facebook just to see what it was all about. I soon discovered that Facebook is useless without friends. My only friend is, like, my grandma.”

Her next point peaks my interest. She beings to examine the idea of  surveillance. She explains parents spend so much time on Facebook, some of which to monitor what their children are doing. As a communication consultant, I remember having a Facebook training session for a group of hospital marketing/pr staff members. The main reason they attended, to figure out how to watch what their children were doing, with who, and where.

“Let’s say I get invited to a party, and there’s underage drinking. I’m not drinking, but someone pulls out a camera. Even if I’m not carrying a red Solo cup, I could be photographed behind a girl doing shots. Later that week, the dumb-dumb decides to post photos from that “amazing” party. If my mom saw I was at a party with drinking, even if I wasn’t participating, I’d be dead. This isn’t Facebook’s fault, but it happens there.”

So who is the average user on Facebook? Buffer’s blog shares some demographics“According to the research, it’s a young, 25 year-old woman, living in a big city, with a college degree and a household income of more than $75k a year.”

Above are some interesting statistics from Pew Research Center surrounding the Landscape of Social Media Users. Once again, look at the breakdown of social users and their choice of social media outlets.

With all this said, I think there is a unique separation between the Generation Z (born after 2000) and the Millennials (Generation Y). The Millennials look like they might be last generation of Facebook diehards. But…these diehards, the supporters of this social network that brought them together are slowly departing. They are tired of the “drama” and being overly exposed to the world.

Here is an interesting commentary on YouTube between a group of young professionals. They fall into the Millennial generation.

At :37 seconds into the video, the young man says, “There is always going to be something new.” And this is point of this blog post. We as communicators have to understand that Facebook taught us to adapt from our “traditional” mode of marketing/pr communication. And once again, it is going to teach us that we have to continue to evolve and stay true our goals as practitioners. We are communication practitioners and not technicians.

The moment we put all our eggs into one communication basket, we will be taught once again that this communication paradigm is going to shift once again.

Sustainability of the #Hashtag – Who Is Making Fun Now?

It is here…it works…and it is not going anywhere. I just received my latest edition of Fast Company magazine and I was reminded why this community technology is continually transforming the way we converse.

Even this article #UNPLUG surrounds the conversation of turning off electronics so we can “power back up.” An oxymoron that is using the hashtag technology to connect people and conversations meant to fuel the need to disconnect digitally. The irony…using hashtags to fuel conversations about disconnecting from the mere technology fuels connectivity.

That is my point…the hashtag platform is beyond flexible…it is now integrated across multiple social technologies.

It was Spring 2011 and I was meeting with one of my clients as we were planning a series community events. A part of the strategy to aggregate and engage conversation, I recommended using a branded hashtag to engage regular Twitter chats.

I remember sitting across the room from another vendor who was coordinating this event. Their statement…no one uses hashtags and it will not work. They actually made small chat with comments under there breathe making fun of the idea. Then…they looked at me and asked about my contract with the client. I guess they had not been watching all the #TEDxGVL events. This Greenville community was engaging in conversations during these TEDx events…chatting from the event on Twitter along with those watching from the live stream.

That same year…that same month in 2011…regular chats from health care to blogging were powered by Hashtags connecting millions of people. From #BlogChat, #HealthCareChat, and even Major League Baseball’s #postseason chat…people were connecting, engaging, and sharing conversations.

Now...Google Plus is using Hashtags as a way to connect and engage conversations. Have you used Google Plus lately…well, I have and it is amazing the difference a few years has allowed this community platform to grow and innovate powerful conversations.

Take a look at Facebook’s announcement integrating hashtags into status updates, creating conversation portals.

Hashtracking.com has now moved out of beta and provides a powerful tool for monitoring and measuring the conversations during and after hashtag chats and conversations. They are placing metrics on the number of tweets, engagement, reach, most influential, and more.

I look at the hashtag as another technology connection people and providing a platform to record the documentary of the community conversation. We can now watch conversations evolve; see videos, pictures, and links shared based on a time stamp.

I wish I was back in that meeting from 2011…I would love to give the group of naysayers a simple lesson: don’t make fun of what you don’t understand.

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