The Timeline: The Facebook Timeline

Whether you love it or hate it, the Facebook timeline is here, and it is soon coming for brands. I manage the Facebook pages for a few clients as well as the page of my employer, Roop & Co, and  as I logged in this week I received a notice that brand pages would be changing on March 30, 2012. While I think this is an exciting change, I’m actually one of those weird people that likes change, it does scare me a bit. What will we include on the timeline? How do we determine corporate milestones? What will be our main picture?

While I have reached out to both my clients and co-workers for ideas, I am still searching for what is best for a brand in the new look of Facebook. We will need to be creative, informative and compelling. In fact, it is as if we are re-inventing the entire Facebook strategy. The page is changing, so maybe this is a great way to start re-thinking what we are doing right when it comes to Facebook and what are the areas in which we need to improve.

As I have been thinking about the new Facebook strategy, I found this article from Mashable extremely helpful. This article provides tips and guidelines one can use when looking at the new Facebook timeline for a brand. Maybe it isn’t such a dauting task? And, still looking for some inspiration? Here are some creative brand pages currently on the site.

Mobile Advertising: Is It The New Trend?

One of the few constants with emerging media is the fact that with each given year there will be a new trend. And according to some, 2012 will be the year of mobile advertising.

In a recent article from Mashable, one of the reasons 2012 is being deemed the year of mobile advertising is the fact mobile is coming of age. And, it truly is. Think about when mobile first came into play. They were text messages. Today, they are videos that are interactive. Consumers want to engage with the brand. But technology isn’t the only thing that is changing the focus of consumers. Consumers are looking for more and more ways to go mobile.

Today, we cannot live without our phones. How many times do you feel lost without it? Now, think about how many times you have used an app to make a reservation, check in for a flight and then watch a movie. Probably too many to count on one hand. Consumers are crazy for mobile, and in our constantly on-the-go society mobile advertising is a great way for marketers to reach consumers.

Yet, will there be resistance to mobile by consumers? It seems like this is just another way for marketers to reach us. And, yes, from a marketing perspective I love this idea, but as a consumer, do I need to be connected to advertising 24/7 as well?

In a study conducted by Park Associates they found that nearly 40% of those interviewed were not receptive to receiving advertisements via their mobile phone. Granted, the study was conducted three years ago, but it does show that people are going to be resistant to this change. Just because more and more people are having smartphones, does not necessarily mean they are receptive to advertisements. The bright spot: in the same survey those in the younger generation were open to online advertisements.

With such a large investment being made in mobile, do you think marketers’ efforts are futile since people are still resistance, or is this a great way to reach a younger audience?

Super Sunday: Twitter and its Social Media Strength

By now, we have all recovered from Super Bowl Sunday festivities, and we have gone about our normal daily routines. Well, unless you are still sulking in the Patriots loss and celebrating the Giants victory.

According to NBC News, this Super Bowl was the most watched event in American history, but the Super Bowl didn’t only set records on the airwaves, it also set them on Twitter. In fact, according to an article in the Washington Post, there were 12,233 tweets per second at the end of the game. This demonstrates one thing: the power of social media, and in particular, Twitter.

I knew this week’s blog post would have to center on the Super Bowl, but I wasn’t quite sure as to how. Would I focus on Madonna’s halftime performance, or would I focus on the fact that Peyton Manning was never shown during the telecast? Or could I talk about how Gieselle Bunchen’s comments about New England’s receivers went viral? The options were endless, but when I saw the statistic on how many tweets were sent, I knew I had my topic.

While many have questioned the power of Twitter (how can you fully express yourself in 140 characters?), the microblogging site is experiencing tremendous growth with more and more people flocking to it. One of the reasons to explain the site’s growth is word of mouth. Simply put, people are talking about the site and wanting to see what it has to offer. A study conducted by MIT found that early adopters of Twitter were young techies in cities such as Boston and San Francisco. When these individuals started to talk about the site, buzz grew and more and more people found the power that is Twitter.

One of the most powerful components of Twitter is that it allows individuals to engage with both individuals and brands. Twitter places a wide variety of information on a vast amount of topics at your fingertips. In fact, according to Twitter’s Adam Bain, 80% of Twitter users click on a link to find out more information. The other 20% either retweet or tweet. These statistics provide strong insight into what Twitter brings to the table for companies and individuals. Twitter affords people the opportunity to share information – articles, surveys, videos, pictures and more.

Twitter celebrated Super Sunday with a super strong showing, and this momentum should carry it through the kickoff to next football season and beyond. But, what do you think? Is Twitter going to maintain its strong position? Or, is it even the strongest social medium out there?

Content is King

You have a brand website. You have a blog. You have social media networks. You have banner ads. And, yes the list of tools and resources you utilize on a daily basis to extend your brand’s awareness and educate consumers goes on and on and on. But, how do you make sure that you have fresh and interesting content to keep consumers coming back for more? 

Content is key to the success of your emerging media efforts. Even back in 1996, Bill Gates commented that content would be king of the internet kingdom and drive its overall success. But as Gates points out, the word “content” takes on an even broader meaning now that marketing has shifted to an online presence.  No longer is content simply just newsletter stories. It is videos, podcasts, tweets and Facebook posts. It is the lifeblood of the brand, and it must be interesting enough for people to share with others, and it must encourage people to interact with the brand. If it does not accomplish these two objectives, then you may have to rethink your content…and overall emerging media strategy.

Ask questions. Be creative. Provide thought leadership on trends. Check out this recent article from USA Today for more tips. And while it may be geared toward small business owners, it provides valuable ideas that any brand can use – regardless of size.

Yet, how do you plan for great content? Yes, sometimes inspiration just comes to you, but let’s face it, even the greatest marketer hits creative roadblocks. I tend to either brainstorm or walk away from the task and work on a completely different project. Yes, I know these are two very different approaches, but each has proven beneficial to me. Maybe those suggestions will help you, maybe they will not. This list also provides some great ideas to get those creative content juices flowing. Are there any creative content approaches that are missing?

Questions Weighing on a PR Person’s Mind

As a PR pro, there are two questions that seem to constantly come up in conversations with clients as well as in the IMC program at WVU: how do you measure success, and what is the next big thing?

It has been argued time-and-time again that impressions and ad equivalencies are a thing of the past. Yes, it is finally time to say goodbye to the cost per column inch (I hear old school PR pros rejoicing throughout the country). Yet, as we say goodbye to one form of success measurement, we are about to welcome a new way to measure, especially in this emerging media world in which we live.

I found this recent blog post from measurement guru Katie Paine especially interesting. Paine details her 10 predictions for measurement in 2012. I agree with her on many points. For example, we will be competing for media coverage over the Olympics and the presidential elections. Note to self: start thinking of my media hooks right now for my clients.

I also concur that mobile will be even more predominant in our market and measurement will be a must. In fact, a recent study conducted by InMobi demonstrates that smartphone and tablet use will continue to grow in 2012 meaning that mobile needs to be on the radar screen of every marketing communications professional. And, as such, it will be critical to develop different ways to measure mobile success. I foresee us measuring success through not only engagement, but also through how people are reaching a site. For example, are people using a standard PC to reach your website, but are they using a smartphone to access it? If so, it is critical that your website has a mobile version. Too, make sure your site can easily be read on a tablet.  By determing the device on which your audience is reading your site, you will be better able to tailor not only your site, but other marketing outreach initiatives as well. 

One of the areas in which I don’t agree with Paine is that there will not be a new Twitter or Facebook. Yes, Twitter and Facebook have had explosive growth, but after reading this article in The Washington Post, I began to think whether or not is it possible for the next big thing in social media to happen this year. Has she heard of Pinterest?

As more and more people turn to other methods to search for news and information, could the next social media phenomenon appear this year? It could, and it may. In emerging media, the one thing I have learned is that you cannot make absolute statements because it is definitely a world of the unknown, and the next big thing can come to the forefront tomorrow.

What do you think?