Author Archives: jordioni

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New Social Media Channels: How Can Your Brand Use Them?

Just when you think the world has enough social networks, another emerges that changes the entire landscape: Facebook supplanted MySpace. Google launched Google Plus. Foursquare became more like Yelp. And visual sharing evolved from Instagram to Pinterest to Snapchat.

More social channels are on the horizon. While they all aim to be fun and useful, they’re not all appropriate for brands to use for marketing or recruiting. I’ve researched the latest technologies coming out of tech conferences around the world and found a few start-ups you’ll want to keep your eye on in 2014.

Thumb Pro

Thumb Pro

Thumb
What it does: Thumb allows user to poll their social network for answers to questions such as what to cook, what to wear, and what movies to see. On Facebook, I often see friends asking questions like “Where can I get great sushi in Chelsea?” Thumb gives those queries a dedicated home and is aimed at getting instant answers and sparking conversations. 

How your brand can use it: Thumb Pro allows brands to “get hundreds of authentic responses from real people in seconds.” It allows your organization to ask a question to a specific audience segment, get instant responses, and then follow up privately with anyone who responded. The website gives examples such as “Would you pay an extra 25 cents a can of Coca-Cola with real sugar?” and “Would you buy a reuseable Starbucks coffee sleeve?” You can conduct market research on logos, pricing, advertising, and even product design. You can use it for recruiting with questions like “Do you want to be challenged in IT every day?” or “What are some questions you have about working for a non-profit?”

Nextdoor
What it does: Nextdoor is a social network for communities and neighborhoods. And the company means it — a physical address is required to join. Nextdoor allows neighbors to discuss local issues such as crime, garage sales, lost dogs, nearby bargains, and community events. The goal is to “build happier, safer places to call home.” 

How your brand can use it: This social network is perfect for local businesses. It allows shop owners and their employees to participate in the community and build goodwill. Your business can be one of those “nearby bargains” or it can sponsor one of those community events. It puts a face and a name to your company. It’s also great for hiring locally and reinforcing that community connection. And if you’re the one who finds a lost dog, you’ll be a hero to dozens of people!

Impossible

Impossible

What it does: User post “wishes” for the public to see, usually based on tasks or knowledge, like “I wish someone could teach me how to make chocolate” or “I wish someone could change the oil on a snowblower.” Other users then contact the “wishers” and fulfill the task — for free.

How your brand can use it: Since you can’t sell anything on Impossible, you have to embrace the site’s generous spirit. In much the same way brands give away information through blogs or social media, your organization can answer questions and give recommendations, building a foundation of customer service. If you’re a tax preparer, you can answer tax questions; if you’re a landscaper, you can answer gardening questions.  Many brands don’t know about Impossible, so your company can be one of the first to stake a claim in your area of expertise.

Pinterest clones
Finally, while Pinterest continues to grow, a number of similar sites have appeared that target a specific category. Depending on your industry, you may find these niche sites useful. Examples include Trippy (travel), I Wanna Nom (food), Dwelling Gawker (interior design), All I Really Want (gifts), and PolyVore (fashion). You can use these sites just as you would use Pinterest: posting images, liking others’ images, and making comments on posts that are relevant to your business. You create a selfless image for your company and brand it as an expert.

As you can see, social media is always evolving and it can be hard to keep up. At Brandemix, we follow the latest trends and investigate all the research to stay ahead of the game. If you’re ready to move beyond Facebook and Twitter for your marketing, branding, or recruiting, contact us. We’ll be happy to connect. 

How Augmented Reality Will Change Mobile Marketing and Recruiting

I’ve written a lot about the future of marketing and recruiting, from gamification to short-form videos. But there’s one development that I think will truly revolutionize communication: augmented reality.

Many mobile devices now have apps, made by various third parties, that “augment” reality by superimposing images, animations, or data on top of a “normal” view. For example, Yelp has an app, Yelp Monocle, that uses your phone’s GPS to display ratings and reviews over any restaurant you point it at. It looks like this:

So instead of looking at an overhead view of a map, you see information that matches your actual line of sight. And since you’re holding your phone directly in front of you, you’re less likely to bump into people!

Augmented reality completely changes your interaction with your mobile device. 

Right now, most companies are only using for it special events and promotions — Christmas being the biggest one. Recently, Chanel, Bratz, and Macy’s offered augmented reality experiences for the holidays. In 2012, DreamWorks created posters for their animated film Rise of the Guardians that included an augmented reality element: people used their mobile device to scan a poster that featured one of film’s characters, which then became animated on their screen.

For several years, Starbucks has offered a free app called Cup Magic. When customers pointed their phones at their coffee cups, the characters on the cups came to life and acted out short holiday scenes like sledding and ice skating. There were five different character cups, so customers had to return multiple times to get the full experience.

Starbucks brilliantly added a social element to the app; customers could easily share the animations through Facebook or email. That spread the word of the experience even better than traditional advertising, since Starbucks was letting its customers do the marketing. Even smarter is that the animations have no dialogue, so they transcend age, gender, and even language.

Based on their success at Christmas, Starbucks brought Cup Magic to Valentine’s Day. These promotional cups feature a heart instead of characters; using the app to view the heart launches a short video of heart-shaped flower petals flying off the cup. As before, you can then send the video via Facebook or email. Starbucks calls this campaign “Celebrating Everylove,” which they stress is “not just the romantic kind.” And they’ve upped the urgency, since Valentine’s Day “season” is much shorter than Christmas.

Just to be clear: Virtually every one of these augmented reality apps is free. They don’t require a code or a password. Companies want to make it as easy as possible to get the enhanced experience and to be able to show it to their friends.

You can see how this could apply to recruiting. Imagine pointing a Monocle-type app at a building and seeing which companies are hiring. Or which companies are rated “best workplaces.” Or which companies will be at the next career fair.

What about Google Glass, you ask? While incredibly cool, that device isn’t made for augmented reality; instead of overlaying information on top of your normal view, Glass’ images are confined to a tiny screen in the corner of your vision. Still, some companies are trying workarounds


Now that you know what augmented reality is and how exciting it can be, how will you use it in your branding, marketing, or recruiting campaigns? Brandemix can help. Contact me and we’ll discuss all the possibilities.

Social Recruiting: Too Important for Interns

Earlier this month, I advised organizations on adding social media to their 2014 talent acquisition efforts. Since then, I’ve heard from many organizations who told me, “We’ve assigned our intern to handle that.”

I think that’s a mistake. Here’s why.

Social media is “social” because of the interaction between the poster and the audience. In talent acquisition, the conversation centers on job openings, the application process, and the company itself. Job-seekers expect a company’s social channels to have the information they want, almost instantly.

So why would this crucial position — charged with attracting the best talent out there — left to unpaid interns?

I recently did a search on Indeed.com for the term “social media intern.” Hundreds of results came back — all posted in the last few weeks. Some of them were specifically for recruiting while others included both marketing and recruiting, as if the two were basically the same.


This contradiction extends to the financial value that companies place on social recruiting. According to the latest Jobvite survey, 43% of companies spend less than $12,000 a year on social recruiting…even though 65% of recruiters believe its value is greater than $20,000 a year! 20% of recruiters even place its value at $90,00 a year!

As we’ve all seen recently, one social media misstep can lead to days of bad press, loss of income, and (worst of all) the re-evaluation of job-seekers who were considering your organization. Whether it’s a single angry tweet at a fan or a complete meltdown on Facebook, errors in judgment can mean terrible damage to your brand. Interns, who are often young and inexperienced, may not understand what they’re doing wrong until it’s too late — or, if they’re unpaid, they might not really care.

And you don’t even have to look to major disasters to see how social affects recruiting. A study by CareerBuilder found that 70% of job-seekers said the experience during the application process had an impact on their decision to accept a position at a company. A lot of that “experience” comes through social media, from job postings on Facebook to employee videos on YouTube to company pages on LinkedIn.

A few years ago, interns were given the social media reins because they were young, and social media was used primarily by young people. That’s not true anymore. And social media is no longer an afterthought to talent acquisition; it’s now front and center, as 94% of organizations use social media for recruiting, according to Jobvite. 33% of recruiters say social decreases time to hire, while 49% say it increases quality of hire.

I understand there are other reasons to rely on interns for social recruiting. Some organizations don’t have the headcount or the bandwidth to manage a successful social recruiting campaign that takes place in real time. That’s when you can bring in a cross-functional team of marketing, internal communications, publicity, and any other relevant stakeholders to help you in your efforts. Just make sure you implement guidelines to ensure they’re adhering to your brand voice and are aware of your hiring needs.

The better the talent supporting your social recruiting, the higher return on your efforts.

For more information, download Brandemix free Social Media Strategy Guide for Talent Acquisition.

Or find out more about how we can do it for you.

Winning the Competition for Content Marketing

According to a study by KPCB, the amount of content that people are sharing globally is around two trillion gigabytes. So, whether you’re a content marketer or a social media recruiter, you’re up against a lot of competition.

What sort of content should you create? And where should you post it to have the best chance of being shared?

I recently went to an expert in the field, ShareThis. They’re the ones who created that little button you see on so many blogs and websites (including this one), letting you easily share a post on more than 120 social channels. Their most recent study has some eye-opening findings.

First, the five leading channels for sharing are Facebook, followed by Twitter, which together make up 75% of all internet sharing. Email comes in third, followed by Pinterest and LinkedIn.

But that’s only one part of the story. A second study by ShareThis found that Pinterest content is five times more popular for sharing content than Twitter is — though Twitter itself is a more popular channel. In other words, fewer people visit Pinterest, but those who do share a lot of content. So if you have photos, cartoons, or infographics, you should post them on Pinterest along with Twitter for a one-two punch.

I was also surprised by the latest information on video sharing. 66% of video shares happen through Facebook. 13% are shared on Twitter, with sites like Reddit and Tumblr making up most of the remaining 21%. Once again, it seems that Twitter isn’t always the best venue for sharing content. Video creators, take heed.

The findings of both ShareThis and venture capital firm KPCB convinced me that mobile is the future of sharing. Right now, mobile sharing is twice as social as the desktop, and I expect that number will increase. The typical user checks social media on their phone nine times a day, but checks the web on their computer only three times.

50 sharing options from buttons like ShareThis and AddThis.
50 sharing options from buttons like ShareThis and AddThis.

As always, it seems the only constant is change. 2012 became the year of Instagram, but now it gets fewer photos uploaded per day than Snapchat does. If you want to be seen as a cutting-edge brand, you may need to add Snapchat to your marketing strategy. 

What are other strategic ways of sharing content? Video gets all the attention, but don’t forget about audio; 11 hours of sound are uploaded to SoundCloud every minute. So consider creating songs, speeches, and podcasts along with YouTube videos.

It’s also time to re-evaluate Facebook likes. They’re not the same as shares. Scott Monty, social media director at Ford, recently called likes the “digital grunts” of Facebook: “The like, as far as I’m concerned, is the minimum commitment you can ask from a fan. Likes, comments, shares — it goes in that order of importance.” Keep that hierarchy in mind when analyzing your metrics.

There’s real value to a share. EventBrite came up with this breakdown for buying an event ticket: A share on LinkedIn is worth 92 cents; a retweet is worth $1.85; and a Facebook share is worth $4.15. This may mean the era of “clickbait” articles is over, since content that gets clicks and views simply isn’t as attractive as that which gets shared (I’m looking in your direction, UpWorthy.)

As for the type of content to produce, Likeable Local’s CEO Dave Kerpen recently delineated seven important qualities. The more of these your content has, the more shareable it becomes:

Consistent — Post regularly so readers know when to expect your content.

Useful — Find a way to help, educate, or entertain your readers.

Authentic  — Be honest and real instead of writing press releases for your company.

Emotional — The most shareable content often tugs our heartstrings.

Where the audience is — Find the right channels using the statistics given above.

Paid for — Use sponsored posts on Facebook and promoted tweets on Twitter.

Storytelling — Tell the true stories behind your company, its leadership, and its employees.

Need help determining what content to create and where to post it? Brandemix has a long history of using shareable content to support marketing, branding, and recruiting campaigns. Contact me if you’d like to know more.

And don’t forget to share this article!

What the Viral Ads of 2013 Tell Us About Video Marketing

Several publications and websites have released what they calculate to be the most shared video ads of 2013. I’ve watched them all — some for the 20th time — and I’ve discovered some factors that may be useful when you’re creating your own video content.

Fool Me Once…
Two successful 2013 ads featured pranks. MGM, which released a new version of Carrie this year, set up an elaborate illusion in a coffeehouse that made it appear that a young woman had Carrie-like magical powers — which terrified the unknowing customers. Meanwhile, Pepsi Max disguised NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon and had him take an unsuspecting car salesman on a high-speed test drive that left the salesman breathless.

Playwrights call audiences knowing something the characters don’t “dramatic irony” and it’s worked since Shakespeare’s time. But be careful: Ads like this can come off as mean-spirited tricks. Lucikily, these two ads stay on the right side of the line.

Tug the Heartstrings
Some of the most viral ads of 2013 tried to make us cry. Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches” ads illustrated that women often aren’t aware of their own beauty: A forensic sketch artist, hidden from his subjects, drew a sketch of a woman as she described herself. He then drew a sketch of the same woman, this time described by a stranger. Each time, the stranger’s sketch was more beautiful than the woman’s description of herself. The message was very powerful, making it the most viewed ad of all time.

Extra Gum’s “Origami” ad had another touching premise. It told the story of a father who makes origami cranes out of gum wrappers for his daughter over her entire childhood. As he packs her things for college, he finds a box full of the cranes; unknown to him, she had kept all of them through the years.

Many of us remember the most funny or shocking or raunchy ads, but pure, unironic emotion can also be very effective. Especially when combined with…

Animals
Two of the most viral ads of 2013 touched us by featuring adorable animals. GoPro’s “Be a Hero” ad showed a firefighter, wearing the company’s new camera on his helmet, as he found and revived an unconscious kitten after a house fire. Budweiser’s “Brotherhood” spot, which aired during the Super Bowl, showcased the bond between a horse trainer as he raises a foal to become one of the brewer’s famous Clydesdales — and who remembers the trainer after years apart.

People love stories about animals, and about the connection between humans and their pets, so it’s no surprised that these ads were shared so widely.

Make ‘Em Laugh
Of course, comedy still sells. AT&T showed that with its series of “It’s Not Complicated” ads featuring children saying the darnedest things. Kmart delivered some clever wordplay with “Ship My Pants.” Ron Burgundy presented his usual clueless arrogance for a dozen Dodge Durango ads. And Doritos even got a joke across without any dialogue in its Super Bowl ad “Goat 4 Sale.” Humor, in all its forms, is the most shared content across the entire internet, so don’t be afraid to show your silly side.

Ads That Defy Description
Not every popular ad of 2013 falls neatly into one of these categories, of course. Did Geico’s “Hump Day” ad go viral because it starred a camel, or simply because it was funny? Was Evian’s “Baby & Me” so popular because it featured babies, or dancing, or dancing babies? And no other company staged a stunt this year like Volvo Truck’s “Epic Split,” in which Jean-Claude Van Damme does the splits between two 18-wheelers while they’re moving.

Length doesn’t seem to be a factor in creating shareable content. For example, Dove released a six-minute version of its “Real Beauty Sketches” that was almost as popular as the three-minute version. While the longer version never aired on TV, availability doesn’t seem to be factor in viral ads; But Geico’s “Hump Day” was on TV all the time — yet it was the second most-viewed internet ad of the year.

Ready to create some video content with a good chance of going viral? Whether you want to be emotional, feature an animal, or pull a prank, Brandemix can help.
Contact us and we’ll talk.

New Year’s Resolutions for HR and Talent Acquisition Professionals

Welcome to 2014. The economic outlook predicts that competition for talent will increase, making this one of the most challenging years for recruiting in recent
memory. How can your company stand out and attract the most talented
workers?

For friends of Brandemix in talent acquisition, I’ve analyzed some recent
trends and found there are three pressing issues for recruiters in the
coming year. Make one, two, or all three of these your New Year’s
resolutions and watch your company make better hires.

Invest in employer branding
An employer brand is the promise your company makes to employees. It
communicates your vision as an organization and the employees’ role in
realizing it. A strong, compelling employer brand attracts top talent,
retains them, and helps them perform to their best abilities. It
also increases referrals, decreases turnover, and drives profits


The best employer brands come from research. Communications audits and anonymous surveys make a good start; employee focus groups and executive interviews are even better. From these findings, you’ll discover why employees choose to work for your company, why they stay, and even why they leave. You’ll learn the C-suite’s long-term goals. And you’ll see the company’s values clearly emerge. None of t
his has to cost a lot of money: a basic research plan’s price is around $10,000. This can be the year you make a bold statement to job-seekers and take a unique position in the job market. Download a FREE copy of our Employer Branding Strategy Guide.

Add social media to your recruiting
78% of recruiters have made a hire through social media, and 29% of job-seekers found their favorite job through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Social media is a great way to communicate your employer brand, keep your company top of mind, and engage with the most attractive job-seekers — even passive ones. Make 2014 the year you put a significant effort into social recruiting.

Already on Facebook? Add Twitter. Already on Twitter? Take the next step to
Pinterest or Instagram. Mastered those? Get on YouTube and start creating videos. Reach out to job-seekers by showing and telling how your employer brand differentiates you and you’ll create a unique connection with your desired audience.
Download a FREE copy of our Social Media Strategy Guide for Talent Acquisition.

Make your careers site mobile-friendly
Here are some amazing facts: 31% of searches for “jobs” come from mobile devices. But many careers sites aren’t optimized for mobile — and 65% of
job-seekers will simply leave a site if it’s hard to use on their mobile device; 40% will even have a negative opinion of that company. This doesn’t just apply to entry-level positions, either, as 65% of applicants to executive positions use tablets.

As phone, tablets, and “phablets” become more popular, this demographic is
only going to increase. If your site isn’t optimized for mobile (also
known as “responsive design”), you’re conceding a large pool of talent
to your competition. This year, it’s time to not only to match your
competitors but to leave them behind, with a mobile site that’s clear,
easy, and even fun to use.

Ready to rock 2014?
If you’d like to learn more about how Brandemix can help with your employer branding, social recruiting, or mobile websites, contact us, and one of our experts will be in touch.

I hope you and your entire recruiting team have a great year.