Tag Archives: social media marketing

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Instagram vs. Snapchat – Story Links

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As you may know, Instagram has been attempting to compete with, and potentially replace, Snapchat for a while now. With competitive features such as a questions function, polling, and Spotify linking abilities, Instagram seems to be winning this competition. However, one way in which Snapchat still seems to be ahead is in its ability for users to link directly from snap stories to other pages, accounts, videos, etc.

Yes, Instagram does have this feature, BUT you have to have over 10,000 followers or become a verified account, which is not an easy thing to do. Instagram decides who receives this status via their own elusive guidelines and only gives out the verification to “some public figures, celebrities and brands.”

What the Story-Linking Feature Looks Like for the “Instagram Elite”

So, why limit this feature to the select, successful few?

One argument may be that allowing anyone and everyone to link to their stories would overload the site with ads and spam. Another argument from a strategic business standpoint would be that this feature would eliminate the need for businesses to purchase as many (if any) Instagram ads, as they could simply tag a link to their site or product page directly to their account’s story for free.

Whatever the reason may be, poor follower-deficient users such as myself are unable to link things to our stories on Instagram, at least for the time being. So, if you want to send out links to your following all at once, your best bet is still via Snapchat, unless you already have 10,000+ followers, are Insta-verified, or you decide to buy more followers online to unlock the linking feature.

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IHOb Marketing Troll

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Remember when IHOP tricked everyone over the summer by changing their name to IHOb? IHOP partnered with Droga5, an agency in New York, to implement this marketing strategy on Twitter not only to promote their burgers, but to draw attention to their brand as well. Due to the trend of individuals and companies using Twitter for entertaining and humorous content, it was certainly the best platform to reach their audience with a marketing tactic that involves “trolling” users. While this post mainly focuses on IHOP’s use of Twitter for their marketing campaign, they did go further than Twitter to fully convince people of the name change. For example, they even changed the signage at a few locations.

IHOb restaurant

On June 4th, IHOP announced their new name in a tweet, but left people guessing what the b stood for.

The news about IHOb spread rapidly; I remember seeing it all over Twitter. From people complaining about the new name to making jokes about what the b stood for, IHOP consumed my timeline. After a week of hyping people up about what the b might represent, IHOP finally released a video promoting their burgers on June 11th. That day, they earned the 1st, 2nd, and 4th trending spots on Twitter. The single tweet announcing their steak burgers received over 21K replies, 16K retweets/shares, and 44K likes. In the first 10 days of the campaign, there were over 1.2M tweets about the burgers and over 2.1M social media conversations about IHOb. IHOP earned 41B impressions… talk about going viral!

IHOP’s twitter page responded to users, which allowed them to interact with followers and customers. They even received feedback from celebrities, like this tweet from Chrissy Teigen. (Did you catch the hint about a ‘new legend’ in reference to Teigen’s husband, John Legend? Clever, IHOP. Very clever.)

The IHOb marketing campaign didn’t just break the internet. It exceeded IHOP’s expectations for burger sales. In the first 3 weeks after the announcement, IHOP quadrupled burger sales and saw a 0.7% increase in same-restaurant sales for Q2. Since the campaign ended, burger sales have remained steady.

Whether you thought IHOP’s latest marketing campaign was annoying or brilliant, they certainly accomplished their overall business objective of getting more customers in for lunch and dinner. They were able to remind consumers of what they liked about IHOP to begin with (pancakes, of course) while also promoting a new product line.

IHOP has since announced that they will always be the International House of Pancakes, but wanted people to know they were just as serious about their burgers. What are your thoughts on IHOP’s disruptive marketing campaign?

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Targeted Advertising: Creepy or Convenient?

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We all know that companies use information gathered from our habits and interests to better target consumers and show us products we actually want to buy… But how far is too far? Have you ever searched for something online on your phone or computer, then a few minutes later you see an ad on Facebook for the product you were looking at? Or an even creepier example that has happened to me personally on multiple occasions: I’ll talk out loud to a friend about an object or store, then soon enough I’ll see a Facebook ad about it. Are they really listening to what users say and using that data to target consumers? And if they are, is this form of advertising acceptable or is it an invasion of our privacy?

These tweets are further evidence of how users feel about this ‘creepy’ targeted advertising.


In 2016, Facebook released a statement denying the rumors. They claim they “do not use your phone’s microphone to inform ads” and that they “show ads based on people’s interests and other profile information.” (Read the full statement here: https://newsroom.fb.com/news/h/facebook-does-not-use-your-phones-microphone-for-ads-or-news-feed-stories/) However, your online search, purchase history, and other information regarding your purchase behavior is used for targeted ads. The extent to which Facebook and other platforms know how you think and what you’re interested in is insanely accurate. In my opinion, this form of advertising is complex enough and has the ability to be even more precise, but this could terrify users.

At the end of the day, this is advertising in 2018. We can regulate it, but we can’t regress. Technology continues to become more advanced every day and there’s no telling what will be possible 5 years from now. While some people are skeptical of targeted advertising, I believe my generation and younger people embrace it. Essentially, consumers give up privacy in order to have a convenient shopping experience.

What is your opinion on targeted advertising? Creepy or convenient? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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The Myth of a “Golden Hour” – Time & Social Media Engagement

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Have you ever had a friend tell you that you shouldn’t post something on social media because it’s “too early” or “too late” and therefore that you won’t get any likes? I know that when I post on social outlets, specifically Instagram, I wait until around 10 pm to post. I even tell my boyfriend that he can’t post a picture in the middle of the day – it won’t get any likes, no one will comment.

The time I tell people to wait for, the time people tell me to wait for, is supposedly the Golden Hour. However, this “Golden Hour” to post something isn’t necessarily just an hour, and everyone has their own opinion on what the best time to post on social media is. Due to a recent report I did on social media engagement, I started to wonder whether or not this “golden hour” even exists.

If you look at it from a research standpoint, there are more opportune times for both people and marketers to post on different social media outlets. In fact Sprout Social just came out with some industry research on the best times to post on social media for the year 2018. Looking at the data, it seems simple. If you’re posting about a Non-profit on Facebook, the best times to post are on Wednesdays and Fridays at 2 pm. It seems simple enough right?

Although these separate “Golden Hours” exist for multiple subsets of marketing on different platforms, there is a lot to be said about the changes that outlets are undergoing.

The best time to post for your company may in fact be on a Friday at 2 pm, but Facebook’s algorithm may bury your post. Your marketing doesn’t reach its intended audience at the intended time.

Golden Hours don’t take social media platform’s algorithms into deep consideration anymore. Two weeks ago when I posted on Instagram at 10 pm, my own personal Golden Hour, my content got buried. Instagram was a madhouse no less than a month ago because they got rid of posting content in chronological order. Due to consumer outrage, if you looked today Instagram has switched back to chronological posting.  However, the same can’t be said for Facebook. The algorithms of other outlets are still burying content, placing community over ads.

So, this all makes me question whether or not a Golden Hour exists now, but also if it can in tomorrow’s digital marketing.


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5 Ways to Better Utilize Instagram Stories to Your Advantage

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Since the story feature first arrived on Instagram, it has continued to rise in popularity and functionality. If utilized correctly, Instagram stories can act as free advertising for you and your brand. Implementing these five simple tricks to your social media strategy can largely increase the traffic to your page and your overall brand visibility:

  1. Location Tagging
  • Instagram offers the opportunity to tag story posts to any geographic location you choose. Your story then appears on that location tag’s public story for anyone to see. Strategically picking a location to tag can increase your visibility and target your desired audience. Additionally, you can manipulate the size and location of the tag on the image you’re posting so as to hide the tag from the visible eye and preserve the professional quality of the image.
  1. Hashtags
  • Similar to the location feature, hashtags also have their own public, collective stories. First, you add as many hashtags that are relevant to your image and/or business. Next, you change the text color to blend it in with your image. This will make the hashtags invisible to the public eye, while still appearing on the public story for every tag added. This can increase your consumer reach and the overall visibility of your brand across Instagram.
  1. Account Tagging
  • The ability to tag other Instagram accounts to your story can be extremely beneficial in the instance of partnerships, sponsorships, etc. When you tag another account to your post, that account is then notified of your story tag and is given the option to easily repost to their accounts own story. If this feature is used successfully, you can reach your own social audience while extending that reach to other companies’ audiences as well. If not through partnerships, you may also use this feature simply to gain the attention of potential partners or important influencers. This feature may also be camouflaged within the post so as not to take away from the overall quality of your image.
  1. Interactive Elements
  • Interactive elements can be added onto your story to allow your followers to connect and become more familiar with your brand. Features such as the questions and polling functions create the opportunity for you to start a conversation with your consumers, learn how you can improve your brand, and potentially generate leads. Try asking your followers what you can do better, ask them which products or services they prefer, post an image with the heart slider feature to gauge consumer interest, etc. The possibilities are endless. At the end of the day, your consumers will grow fonder towards your brand if they feel like they can be heard and that they have a personal relationship with you via your social media account.
  1. Story Highlights
  • Due to the nature of the story feature, posts naturally disappear after a mere 24 hours. However, Instagram developed an option to save chosen posts into categorized highlights onto your account’s page. Depending on your brand and what you wish to showcase, you can highlight any category you want. Simply create the highlight, name it according to the type of stories you will be including, and then you add any story you have saved or that you post in the future that fits in your selected categories. Example categories for a clothing brand could include seasonal fashion posts (i.e. “fall”, “spring”, “summer”, and “winter” categories), sale or promotional posts, campaign posts, etc. This feature will increase the longevity of your posts and allow all current and future consumers keep up with your brand.

When used correctly, these simple story features can monumentally change the level of influence your brand has on your followers and the social community around you. Through the utilization of Instagram stories, you can begin to reach new audiences, better communicate with your consumers, and advertise your brand freely.

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A College Student’s View on the Newspaper Industry

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As a 21 year old college student, I have little interest in reading the paper. When I have access to any news I could possibly want right at my fingertips for free, why would I go out of my way to buy a paper? Generally, the audience for newspapers consists of an older demographic. While the newspaper industry has been an integral part of our country’s media for hundreds of years now, I truly do not see it surviving a decade from now. We live in a society run by technology and digital media. And if we can’t adapt, we simply won’t survive.

Over the summer, I was a Digital Marketing Intern for Navarre Press, which is a local newspaper based in Navarre, FL. The majority of Navarre residents are either middle aged parents or retired. So for now, the newspaper remains a crucial source of information to the locals. Before I started the internship, the company had developed on online edition of the paper and was working on a marketing plan to increase social media marketing. However, it is a small business with very busy employees who were struggling to take on another task. My job: create and implement a marketing plan for the next year to increase awareness of the E-Edition, utilize social media outlets regularly, and grow overall subscription numbers.

Navarre Press was good about posting to Facebook regularly but they weren’t on any other form of social media. To me, it was a no brainer: they need to get on at least Instagram and Twitter ASAP. We spent a good bit of time researching Instagram and Twitter analytics to ensure we are posting the right content at the right time in order to reach our followers.

Navarre Press now posts on Instagram regularly to engage followers and increase brand awareness.

Since Navarre Press is a weekly paper, we started using Love Text Marketing and social media to reach consumers with breaking news updates. Through these outlets that are free to customers, we were able to gain followers that do not necessarily want a paid subscription. Everyone in my generation knows how successful social media influencers can be for a company’s brand awareness; in order to reach a younger audience, we began a teen column in the paper that would also be posted weekly on our social media accounts.

Another goal Navarre Press tasked me with was generating content to help them connect with readers and followers. The easiest way to do this was to simply share their posts and tag them in posts when they are featured in our articles. We created a Submissions tab on the website for readers to submit editorials, stories, and photos. Additionally, we invested in a platform called Second Street Media in order to post contests, giveaways, and polls. This platform was very intriguing because it allowed us to not only interact with our followers, but also to obtain useful data on the market.

Overall, I had an amazing experience in my internship and I believe Navarre Press will see a year of success due to the marketing plan I created and digital marketing strategies I helped implement. However, I do not see the industry thriving long term. To my classmates, I would love to hear your thoughts, opinions, and suggestions!

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Hashtag to Hottest Novel of the Year: Social Media and Publishing

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If there is one piece of advice aspiring authors should take, it’s this:

Get a Twitter.

Yes, a Twitter. A piece of the  same technology that caused a near-implosion of the publishing industry, not so long ago (remember when the Kindle murdered Borders? I’m still traumatized).

Despite its infamously slow adaption to this digital age, publishing has at long last caught up with the rest of the crowd, and in the realm of social media, Twitter is king.

Why Twitter you ask? Two words:

Free. Marketing.

Agents are always on the prowl for the next great book, and these days hashtags not only get you noticed—they can get you published. Just ask Tomi Adeyemi.

In 2016, the writer participated in a Twitter contest known as #PitchWars, and today she’s a New York Times best-selling author of the soon-to-be film Children of Blood and Bones, with a seven-figure publishing deal, to boot.

While Tomi’s story is one in a million, the tactics she utilized to get her novel the attention it needed are quite common, and if used correctly, can work for other aspiring authors as well. Simply put, Adeyemi tweeted her novel pitch using the tag #PitchWars and let Twitter do the rest. The hashtag made her tweet visible to agents and editors who were scanning their feeds for potential novels, and through likes and comments they were able to request her manuscript. After that, the brilliance of her writing got her the publishing deal.

Today, #PitchWars is still around, but when it comes to marketing a would-be novel, the opportunities are endless. Twitter is home to a vast and active network of writers, agents and editors, and joining the community will only stand to serve you. Hashtags can get you followers, fans and friends—but tweeting enables you to build your own personal brand as well. AND ALL OF THIS IS FREE. So what are you waiting for?

Start tweeting!

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How to pick the right influencer 101

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Investing in influencer marketing is a key factor with consumers being more skeptical of traditional advertising and marketing techniques. Also the fact that with technology the consumers have more and more control over what they see or hear.

From an article in a digital marketing from the AMA.

An influencer is defined in the dictionary as: Individuals who have the power to affect purchase decisions of others because of their (real or perceived) authority, knowledge, position, or relationship”; in other words they are social media “celebrities”, with power over others.

Influencers are a powerful marketing tool because they are authentic and trusted creators of content. It is a totally different approach than a direct advertisement, which is usually not welcomed by the audience in the first place. Through influencers the brand can get closer to the audience and actually be helpful to the viewers. Although followers don’t know the influencers it is shown that ordinary people trust their opinions quite a lot; some research say that is even as powerful as families´ and friends´ opinions.  This digital “celebrities” are ideal to target specific audiences that might not be reached any other way through social media.

There are 4 rules to identify an influencer:

  1. Popularity ≠ Influence
    1. Look at the number of followers they have on social media but it is also important to see how they are connected to your target market.
  2. To be influential a person has to be actively writing on topics that matter to your audience.
  3. To be influential a person must have authority.
    1. This means that a person is quoted by others in the industry.
  4. Influencers drive action.
    1. This means that when they recommend something it should directly boost sales.

Investment in influencer marketing is a growing trend, but it is still very complex; especially the process of finding the right influencer. There are millions of people, a variety of platforms, a selection of products, endless posts, so we find ourselves immersed in this whole new universe. The brand needs to choose the accurate influencer or else these marketing efforts will be worthless.

From an article in digital marketing from the AMA

A company can manage their influencers either in house or outsourcing it. When choosing in house a good option is a software package that is able to help the firm identify influencers and measure results. In house is usually used when the firm has only a low-to-moderate budget, since this saves money, however it is more time consuming and less expertise from part of the business. The other option is to work with a third party that is responsible for all the arrangements; they would have more expertise and frees the firm´s marketers to focus on other things, but it is more expensive.

Some tips when choosing influencers:

  1. Know your target audience and your influencer´s target audience.
    1. Know who the potential influencer for your brand targets too. The fact that is talking about products in your industry doesn’t necessarily mean they are reaching your segment. Therefore when defining the audience the firm needs to be as specific as possible. This tip would not only help the business to reach the right audience, but it gives the influencer authenticity.
  2. Find values that align with the company´s values
    1. In other words, the digital “celebrity” needs to match with your business. Influencers become a representative of the brand so they need to embody what the firm is; they need to be advocates of what the company stands for.
  3. Set a goal
    1. Understand that as with any other medium there needs to be a strategy behind the content you are pushing, it shouldn’t be there just to be there. This would not only help the focus, the execution and choosing the right influencer, but will also aid later in evaluating the effectiveness of the campaign.
  4. Create a long-term relationship with your influencers that drive sales to your company.
  5. Have a plan in case the influencer screws up.
    1. This should not happen but should be there in just in case.
  6. Analyze the influencer quantity and quality
    1. Understand how they build their networks, how they engage with their audience and what type of content they post
  7. Start with the few and invest with the best

Also take in to consideration:

  1. How regularly do they post
    1. It depends on the platform: in Facebook it is recommended it is about 1 post per day; in Instagram is good about 1-2 posts per day and on Twitter is around 15 tweets per day.
  2. Do their fans interact with their photos
    1. Understand the number of likes and the comments people make on their posts. Also evaluate if the influencer answers to them and engages with their audience.
  3. How would your business compensate the influencers

Local businesses are also able to use digital celebrities to boost their sales. Some of the tips above may apply to them, but they should try to look for micro-influencers which usually have 1,000 to 10,000 followers.

Some tips to find micro-influencers are:

  1. Use hashtags that are related to your product, business or industry
  2. Conduct research on social channels
    1. See who has a large number of followers and see if they tag brands in their photos.
    2. “Choosing an influencer who is already a fan of your product or service makes it easier to persuade them into promoting your brand” (Chris Ake, Forbes)
  3. Research on Google
    1. Be very specific and take a special look at bloggers.
  4. Find influencers that engage with their audience, this is especially important for local.

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One of my new fav Instagram accounts is @embracingblackculture. I forget how I stumbled upon the page, but I really appreciate their content. They have 130K + followers and over 2000 posts, so this obviously isn’t something new… I’m just a little late to the game.

Basically, they post things related to black culture including news, comedy and inspirational messages. Their tag line is “to Educate, Empower and Entertain…” Most recently, many of their posts have been related to the Black Panther movie. I have yet to see the movie (shame on me), but their posts are making me want to see it even more. I’m just not the most avid movie-goer.

But honestly, I love this page. It has some great content, and it’s less drama-filled than @theshaderoom. Don’t get me wrong, I do love @theshaderoom, but I do appreciate the positivity and lighter humor from @embracingblackculture. They just have different intentions, and I understand that.

I always love finding new blogs/accounts to follow. Whether it be on Instagram, Tumblr, or Medium, I get inspired by what I read and see. And I think that’s the power of social media. I love the Internet and the platform it provides for people to express themselves quickly and effectively. We all know it can be used negatively, but the positives outweigh the negatives for me.

Also, if you aren’t familiar with Medium, please do check it out. It’s an app and website where people post articles related to a plethora of topics. I set my interests as business, marketing, self-improvement, entrepreneurship, productivity, etc. Each post has an estimated read time like 5 or 10 min, and I try to read a few things in the mornings before class or just throughout the day.

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Not just a social media influencer, but a business

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I have always wondered how hard it is to be a social media star. Having to be in your phone 24/7 and instead of promoting a brand or product, promoting yourself. One of the most popular social media influencers is Alexis Ren, she is an American model and internet celebrity. Her full name is Alexis René Glabach, she was born in Santa Monica, California in November 1996.

Alexis started her modeling career at 13 when she was hired by clothing company Brandy Melville. A year later she signed a contract with Nous Model Management. Nevertheless her internet fame didn’t start until she was 16 with a photoshoot with Lucas Passmore, in which the pictures were posted on Tumblr, one the most important microblogging sites. After that shoot she appeared in a variety of magazines and campaigns. A few years later she was hired by Calvin Klein for #mycalvins campaign.

The model gained a lot of fame in 2014 with Jay Alvarez, who at that time was her boyfriend. They promoted themselves together by posting pictures and videos of them on Instagram and Youtube. After she broke up with Jay in 2016, Alexis kept rising.

Most liked picture on Instagram +1.1 million likes

Ren battled an eating disorder, where she over-exercised as punishment. She has used her confessions as a form of authenticity and openness to promote herself. Is like a brand being transparent to their customers. She also does community and service activities and posts about it on social media, it is like a company trying to be socially responsible.

After Candice Swanepoel, Alexis is the 2nd most influential lingerie model on Instagram, due to all her followers and engagement. She earns a lot of money for every sexy snap posted, around $50 grand per post. She usually has over 700,000 likes on her posts taking into consideration she is only 21 years old. Being a model is a lucrative career, but being a model in 2018 means they need to promote themselves through social media if they want to be even more profitable, with a special emphasis on Instagram.

Alexis makes a variety of social media advertising, usually promoting clothing brands. Her last series of advertisement was for the mobile game: Final Fantasy XV: A new empire. She has also featured for several TV spots. Furthermore her modeling career has grown to be in a lot of magazines, including Sports Illustrated and Maxim.

The social media influencer has leveraged her name, her body and her portrayed exercising image, to launch an activewear line called Ren Active. The official page for her clothing line is renactive.co.

Within all the social media channels, Alexis uses Instagram and Twitter the most, as a way of marketing herself. In Instagram she has 11.8 million followers and more than 450 posts. She usually posts pictures of herself (clearly), showing her body and face. There is a pretty good amount of posts of her in bikini or lingerie. Alexis´ Instagram also has some advertising posts. She is very active on Instagram, making about 5 posts per month. On the other hand, on Twitter the model has 1.5 million followers and more than 6000 tweets. She is even more active in this site making it almost like her personal blog, her posts are frequently about what she is thinking. She has about 1200 photos and videos uploaded in this platform. Ren also has a Facebook page with 475,000 likes and followers. Her Facebook is not that active, posts once or twice a month, about pictures that are already on Instagram and uses it to promote her activewear. Finally on Youtube she has about 288,000 subscribers but only has 5 videos.

She has built a legion of 11.8 million loyal followers. Alexis is a breakout star, just as many social media influencers. Today, Alexis Ren is not just an influencer name, it is a brand, and it is a business.

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