Instagram could be a shopper’s paradise

Good news brand marketers! Instagram has launched ads with “Shop Instagram social media strategy tipsNow,” “Sign Up” and “Install Now” buttons that link outside the app.

It has always been clear that Instagram could be a shopper’s paradise. Users are already sharing product photos with friends, making comments, liking and getting opinions from their network.

Unlike Facebook users, whose primary concern is connecting with family and friends, Instagram has more of a shopping drive. In Iconosquare’s 2015 study, 70% of respondents reported that they have already looked for a brand on Instagram.

To garner engagement and increase awareness, marketers have traditionally used contests and giveaways on social channels. When it comes to Instagram, 62% of users follow the brand simply because they “love” it. Only 41% follow or would follow to take advantage of perks and giveaways.

If you are worried about intruding on a user’s social experience or garnering engagement, don’t! Sixty-five percent of Instagram users report that they feel flattered when a brand likes their post.

So how does it work? Users can easily take action and come back to Instagram after they’ve finished their transaction. Before, brands were forced to use third-party services to take users outside the app to buy the products in the pictures.

In addition to the new buttons, the ad platform has enhanced its abilities and will allow marketers to reach people based on demographics and interests and customer information. On the consumer end, Instagram is improving the feedback mechanisms within Instagram to give people control over the ads they see.

Check out this article on Adweek for examples of what brands are doing on Instagram with this new shopping feature.

Develop Content That Brings Consumers to You

What online content do you read? Not just the stuff you glance at, what do you actually make time to sit and take in?

We asked our team that very question. What online content do you consistently read (whether it’s enewsletters, blogs, websites, etc.)? We got a ton of different answers from Adweek to Refinery29 to Disney. What was the common thread? Quality content. No matter the topic, if the content is worthwhile, we take the time to read, watch, browse, shop and even share.

We are particularly loving branded blogs like Williams-Sonoma’s Taste. They produce on brand content that is relevant to their consumers as well as interesting to read. Content Marketing

Marketers have a huge opportunity to capture and hold the attention of consumer audiences simply by creating valuable, high quality content. It takes a big of extra effort to understand what type of content your target audience wants, and more importantly, how they want it. But it’s well worth the extra effort. Find out the topics your current and potential customers want to know, in what they’re interested. Test and learn whether they want to see pictures with short captions or brief but frequent blog posts. Once you do that, you don’t have to break through the advertising clutter to get to them, they’ll come to you.


Social Spotlight: Denny’s Grand Slam

Social Media and Denny's Grand Slam

This week’s social spotlight is for all you college fans out there. Last Monday night, Florida State beat out Auburn in the Rose Bowl. Auburn fans were left defeated, frowny faces and declarations of disappointment were trending all over social media. Denny’s offered this piece of consolation to all the devastated fans:Social Media and Denny's Grand Slam

The image depicts Denny’s locations between California and Alabama, because what better to heal a broken heart then some Eggs Over My Hammy? We always love a well-executed real time marketing strategy. Well played, Denny’s. We consider this a social media Grand Slam!

A Social Media Campaign That Will Leave You “Satisfried”

Satisfried Campaign

Burger King recently launched their new product, Satisfries and they are hitting the nail on the head with every aspect of their marketing campaign. Burger King is behind its competitors in terms of sales and customer satisfaction. Their new Satisfries are meant to revamp their image as well increase their credibility.

The great thing about the Satisfries campaign is that although it is fully integrated into social media, it continues to project its USP, which is; “fries that look and taste the same as regular fries, but with 40% less fat”. It is refreshing to see a social media campaign that is grounded in strategy and not just doing something because it is cool.

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Take for instance, Burger King’s recent sponsored post through Buzzfeed. Content marketing is all the rage right now, but more often then not, it lacks strategy. Burger King was able to be funny and entertaining as well as stay within strategy. This clever post will attract the everyday Buzzfeed reader, and put Burger King at top of mind without pushing a hard sell. Personally after seeing that picture of Goldie Hawn and Kate Hudson -I wanted to make sure my fries had 40% less fat!Screen Shot 2013-10-18 at 4.42.53 PM

If this campaign teaches us anything, it is that all good marketing needs to be grounded in strategy. It is so easy to get off track when you’re working with social media. If you want to do something cool (IE Buzzfeed marketing), go back to your original strategy and goals to see if you can make it work. In marketing, it is not enough to be cool, you have to be strategic and goal oriented.

Pumpkin Spice Latte: It’s not a craze, it’s a lifestyle.

1347109851224_4697955Ahhhhh Fall. The season of brisk walks, sweaters, Halloween and of course, the Pumpkin Spice craze.  This relatively simple blend of nutmeg, ginger and allspice has completely taken the food industry by a storm. This seasonal delight is one of the most influential food trends of the century, but has it gotten out on control? PSL is on our shelves, in our coffee and all over our social media.

I write this while drinking my extra hot #PSL and munching on my limited edition Pumpkin Spice M&Ms (exclusively at Target!). This morning I started my day with a lovely Pumpkin Spice Pop Tart with a side of Pumpkin Spice soy milk, and I will probably end my day at a local bar drinking a deliciously smooth Pumpkinhead. This is a little overboard, but you get the idea. This fall flavor has completely saturated the food market. However, just 10 years ago Pumpkin Spice didn’t even exist.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Pumpkin Spice Latte, and Starbucks says that they weren’t originally on board with the flavor. According to Peter Dukes, espresso brand manager “It wasn’t the natural winner, but there was something there.” Well, it is a good thing they decided to go with it as they have sold 200 million Pumpkin Spice Lattes in 10 years. It’s no wonder why brands like Stonewall Kitchen, Dunkin Donuts, and even McDonald’s have hopped on the #PSL bandwagon.

Not only has Pumpkin Spice taken over the food world, it has also infiltrated the social media world as well. Brands are capitalizing on the #PSL hashtag, using its incredible reach to promote their own products. I’ve gotta say it’s pretty brilliant considering there are dozens of tweets every few minutes.

In closing, I leave you with some thoughts on the #PSL.

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3 CPG Social Media Campaigns That Are Doing Something Right

CPG Brands that are doing marketing right

The Consumer Packaged Goods or CPG market is a booming one. Valued at approximately 2 Trillion dollars, as a marketer it can be a bit overwhelming. Although the CPG market is somewhat saturated, some companies have gone above and beyond to make their product stand out using social media. Here are three brands that we believe are using social media to their advantage.

  1. Skittles: The Skittles Facebook account is unlike anything I have every seen before. They have really tapped into their particular audience and it is working. They currently have more than 25 million people on their page, and 90k+ people talking about them. How did they do this? They engaged their consumer by making 5822_10152475790858475_474397604_ntheir page fun.  For the Skittles social accounts its not about the sale- it’s about the experience. They currently have an ongoing campaign called My BFF (best fan forever). This campaign allows fans to post a picture of themselves with Skittles on the wall to have the chance to be featured as the BFF for the week. This is a simple, and cost effective way to get consumers actively engaged and talking about the brand. Not only do they upload a photo of themselves, but they take the time to pose with the product-brilliant.
  2. Dove: By now, most people have seen Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches on Youtube, if you haven’t you should really check it out.  The premise was to ask women to describe themselves to a sketch artist, and then to have a stranger describe that same person. The outcome was that most women described themselves in a less attractive light.  Dove is a brand that represents real women, and strives to make women all over the world recognize their own beauty- the real beauty sketches campaign really exemplified this. The real beauty here lies within in the reach of this campaign. Not only did the video itself get 55,201,018 views, but Dove also cross promoted the campaign with the hashtag #WeAreBeautiful starting multiple conversations on Twitter. This campaign worked because it started an honest conversation, and gained the trust of the target audience.
  3. Murphy’s Oil Soap: I know,I know Murphy’s Oil is what your Grandmother uses to clean her floors- they certainly cannot be well versed in social media. I’ve  gotta4f3d9d23f09808f93f44ce9f497578a1 say  they have surprised us all. This past April, Murphy’s Oil teamed up with the Arbor Day Foundation to host a really cool Pinterest fundraising campaign. Murphy’s Oil created this Pinterest page with the intention of donating $1 (up to $20,000) to the Arbor Day Foundation for every repin. Not only did this campaign helpraise money for a worthy cause, it also created brand awareness and loyalty.

Although the CPG market can be difficult to navigate, many companies are beginning to see the value in a well organized social media campaign. If nothing else, social media and word of mouth marketing help to get your brand’s name out there. If you’re lucky enough to be as successful as these three campaigns, you will surely stand out.


So, Your Franchisees Have Social Media Accounts; What Now?

imagesHaving your franchisees manage their own social media accounts can be both beneficial, and challenging.  If managed well, they can drive sales and spread your messaging. If managed poorly, they can cause an avalanche of damages ranging from brand disconnect, to full on PR crisis.

We’ve laid out the pros and cons of allowing franchisees to have social accounts.  If you have decided that this works for your business, then the next step to having a successful campaign is creating social media guidelines for your employees and community managers.  Creating a social media marketing guide is incredibly useful, but developing it is no easy feat. (This goes back to our previous post that discusses 5 Reasons to Hire an Agency for Digital Management, but I digress.)

Here is a short glimpse into what developing a social media marketing guide would look like.

  • Develop a Consistent Image: Your image, be it your logo or any creative you have on your social media accounts (cover photos, backgrounds, etc.) represent who you are. If your brand image is not consistent across all of your social media platforms and accounts, the power of your message is lost.
    • Profile Picture: Make sure that your employees are aware of the approved profile picture for both Facebook and Twitter. This simple step will help the brand image resonate with your customers.
    • Cover Photos for Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube: Too many times have we seen community managers post their own cover-photos which are blown out, blurry images, that are completely off brand.  You can manage this by having standard cover-photos for your community members to choose from. Communicating this with your employees help ensure they will follow guidelines.
  • Set The Tone: Setting proper tone for your franchisee social accounts is just as important as having one for your corporate account. If your community managers are writing content that does not sound like your company, your message will be lost. You want to determine exactly what your community managers are allowed to post, how you want them to say it, and how much local vs. corporate content you want them to share. The tone of the accounts should sound like your brand, but have the flare of the local franchisee. It is a fine line to walk on.
  • Train Your Community Managers: One of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to managing franchisee social accounts is the idea that anyone can do it. Unfortunately, we see way too many businesses allowing their employees to run company social accounts like their own person accounts. Training your community managers will not only enlighten them on how important social media marketing is for the brand, it will also make them feel as if they have a bigger role in the company.

Having a cohesive social media marketing guideline will catapult your online marketing into success. So many companies have beautifully managed corporate accounts, but fall short on local franchisee accounts. The idea is to always stay on brand, but add individual content to create a unique, and personal experience for your local customer.

One Crazy Campaign + One Clever Contest = 11K Entries

Social Media Campaign for Better than Bouillon

Secret ingredient Social Media CampaignIf you haven’t noticed, we get a lot of gratification out of successful campaigns that are dead on strategically. So we just have to brag about the totally awesome Social Media campaign we just finished for one of our favorite clients, Better Than Bouillon. The campaign concept dramatized what our current fans have been telling us all along about Better Than Bouillon: it is their secret ingredient in their cooking arsenal for more than just soup and broth recipes. Using integrated implementation tactics engage fans, expand the audience and generate a ton of buzz for the brand. The creative campaign was able to really drive home the ad message but beyond that we had a ton of fun with our fans, giving away lots of really awesome prizes! Here is how the whole thing went down:

Social Media Infographic for Better than BouillonResearch: Consumer insights from research that was conducted profiled Better than Bouillon’s target audience as self-styled home chefs or casual cooks who think of Better Than Bouillon as their “secret ingredient.” To this audience it is almost a “badge of honor” to know about and use Better Than Bouillon and they are only willing to share their secret ingredient with those who they know will truely appreciate it and use it well. Comprehensive research showed that while brand awareness of Better Than Bouillon is low to moderate, when consumers try Better Than Bouillon, they genuinely enjoy the product and its many benefits and in turn become loyal customers.

Campaign Objective: 
To drive household penetration in an effort to increase trial stimulation, ultimately gaining new users and creating sales growth.

Strategy: Generate trail stimulation by encouraging social sharing and giving away product.

Creative Messaging: Better Than Bouillon is the secret ingredient that makes you a better cook because it adds flavor to any meal, not just soups/broths/gravies.

Implementation Tactics: Show consumers that they can achieve quality and taste of a gourmet meal without the gourmet time, using Better Than Bouillon as their flavor agent. Reintroduce the audience to the everyday uses, general values and most importantly original creative uses through the following tactics:

  1. Content – Included unique ways to use the product, new recipes, general cooking tips and sharing user generated secret tips submitted in giveaway
  2. Campaign Imagery – Infographic, Pinned Image, Profile Pictures – Creative executions that drive the campaign message
  3. Giveaway – Fans were encouraged to share their secrets for a chance to win samples, coupons and super secret prize packs. There was even a chance to taste a brand new flavor, not available in stores.
  4. Facebook Ads – Invited new fans to sign up for the giveaway for a chance to win, generating awareness and new fans.
  5. Blog Features – Encouraging bloggers to share their unique way of using Better Than Bouillon and hosting giveaways on their blogs for their fans.

Results: Social Media Campaign Results

  • Generated over 11K entries
  • Audience Growth over 12K fans
  • High quality user-generated content
  • Created high quality consumer interactions

Why blogger outreach is a great resource for food and CPG brands

We’ve already discussed how and why why blogger outreach is a great strategy in a social media marketing campaign. You can check out those posts here and here. It’s a great tool that enhances brand awareness, builds your audience and increases product exposure.

In our own experience, we’ve seen blogger outreach work particularly well for food brands and consumer packaged goods (CPG). Why is that? Well, for one thing, as a food or CPG brand, you’re selling a product. It’s not a service, organization or commodity. It’s something tangible that a blogger can taste, touch, smell, use and review. Food and CPG products also lend themselves more easily to giveaway campaigns. Whether they are full-sized products or miniature samples, people always love receiving free stuff (key word: FREE). Bloggers give an honest review of the product and the fans get free stuff. It’s a win for the blogger and a win for the brand.

For instance, with our client, Better than Bouillon, we conduct routine blogger outreach campaigns to place the food product in the hands of bloggers who enjoy and take pride in their cooking and an audience who is actively looking for new ideas and quick tips to make their meals tastier. The bloggers incorporate the flavor boosting product into their recipes, old and new, give an honest review of the product and then offer their fans a giveaway.

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We run a similar campaign for our client, CoralActives Acne Treatment System. It allows us the opportunity to put the acne products in the hands of well-respected beauty and skin care bloggers. The blog audience is typically comprised of fans looking for new beauty and skin care products. This strategy allows us to connect the product with an audience who is actively looking for new products. The blog fans get an honest review of the product and if they’re lucky, some free swag in the end.

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Approaching bloggers can be tricky. You don’t want to appear over-salesy but you don’t want to be lost in the shuffle of an overflowing email inbox either. Follow our five tips on how to pitch bloggers and you’re sure to land a successful blog placement. After that, it’s all about relationship building and making that blogger and the audience feel special and included in your brand. Blogger outreach is a pretty simple step you can take towards giving your brand more awareness. Just be sure you have a solid strategy to forge your way ahead and have some free swag to give away!

When Food Brands Go Social—Photo Sharing Platforms Become Your Best Friend

With photo sharing becoming all the rage, it is time for food brands to get serious about serving up delicious photos with social media.  It is no secret that on social networks, photos are all the hype.  There are even social platforms like Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr that are completely photocentric, and a multitude of sites and apps like Fiddme, and Foodspotting that are strictly food-based. Why then do some people overlook the value of these graphics and have what seems like endless amounts of text with no images in sight?  It’s time to feed the photo frenzy.

BTB1Photo sharing is powerful and sure to increase engagement on social outlets, especially when it comes to foodtography. There is no better way to market food than visually, so food brands should have a social content strategy that is very heavy with imagery. Food photos are captivating and among the most highly shared visual content, so surely this is an area where food brands can finish strong. For one of our food branded clients, Better Than Bouillon, we use photos on social to compliment the recipes we share. Often generating a huge buzz, we have audience members responding with comments, culinary success stories and recipes of their own.

Visual marketing can be a very influential tool within the Food and Beverage Industry; it fosters more engagement than your average textual post because you are showing and not just telling. People like to see what they are getting, not told. It gives followers a chance to see the end product and it gives viewers ideas about different ways they can enjoy the product.  Show off your product, include pictures with recipes, people enjoying your product or lifestyle photos that convey your brand’s personality. You’ll have viewers drooling over these photos and the best part is, photo sharing sites like Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr are fairly low maintenance.  Yes, it is important to keep your content fresh, but beyond the upload and minimal copy, users do most of the work by commenting, sharing, and repining. BTB2

It is likely that your food brand already has a presence on many of these photo sharing platforms, whether you like it or not, your brand has probably been hashtagged. Users upload millions of photos to social sites daily, if you search your brand on these sites you may be surprised as to what you find. If you are not using this to your advantage, then shame on you. It’s a chance for marketers to interact directly with users of their brand and many followers are often very clever; finding new ways to use your product, many you may have never even thought of yourself. It’s also a way of giving your brand a social presence by becoming part of the conversation and making your photos their delicious inspiration.  So foodies, get on board with this trend because it is officially The Age of Photo Sharing. It’s really a no brainer.