Thursday, 26 September 2013

Connecting with Customers One Video at a Time

Funny cats, laughing babies, epic fails and “oopsie daisies” - this is how we know and love one of the most popular social networking platforms, YouTube! Since its creation in 2005 YouTube has had an amazing success story.

Although we love our hilarious videos, in recent years YouTube has taken on another role - that of a marketing tool. Personal brands, small businesses and corporations alike are using the power of YouTube in a number of different ways in order to satisfy, engage and empower customers.

There are three key ways to make a successful YouTube account for you or your business. The first and most crucial part of having a successful YouTube channel is selecting a username that correlates with the brand (if not the brand name itself). It may seem like a simple concept, but consumers are generally mistrustful. If you have already done the work to build trust with your consumers at a product level, choosing the right username should fluidly transfer that trust.

Secondly, brands must arrange a channel that resonates with the company’s strategy. Mirroring the brand’s colour scheme, core values and persona allows the business to appear tech-savvy and also helps to enhance the overall brand cohesiveness.

Content is third on the list, and arguably the most important. From a business perspective this is where most of the confusion takes place. What to post, when to post it and content value is often challenging for a new YouTube user. After looking at other successful YouTube accounts, there is a clear trend in the content. It is most important to compose imaginative and interesting content relating to your products. Videos could include anything from product advantages and functionality to happy customers giving rave reviews. Second is honestly and openly discussing common product or service problems. Similar to an FAQ, this will open a line of communication with your consumers and reinforce the trust they have already handed to you. Lastly I would suggest uploading videos of people in the company speaking in seminars, volunteer events or presentations. This will emphasize the pride you have in the people that work for you as well as demonstrate authority and community spirit. Any chance you have to pat yourselves on the back – Go for it!

Simply put, YouTube is a great way to develop a “voice” for a business. In my field I hear that word-of-mouth is the most powerful form of advertising and YouTube takes that saying to a whole new level. Now instead of telling my ten friends about how much I love a product, I can make a video and share it with 10,000 people. If those numbers aren’t convincing enough to convince you to use YouTube as a marketing tool, I don’t know what is!

Now after all that reading you deserve a reward! Here is one of my favourite YouTube Videos!

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Simple Term or Valuable Knowledge?

This week in class I was challenged to define and understand one of the many SEO terms we that are going to learn about next week. Me, being a busy student and having no extra time tried to take the easy way out and choose the word “Play Rate”. To me the concept seemed relatively simple. The play rate was the rate at which your video or ad is played. But upon doing some actual research I found that this term has a lot more value than my simple definition.

Play Rate can be defined as “how often your ad’s video was played compared to how often the ad was shown.” That basically means that the play rate is a ratio that calculates the number of plays verses its total impressions. These numbers can and will have a huge effect on the overall marketing campaign on platforms like YouTube. If your ad has a low play rate then we as advertisers know we need to enhance the ad or the experience the ad is giving in order to engage our customers more. This can be done a number of different ways. You could have a stronger call to action or even something as simple as having a more graphically appealing opening image.  
With this knowledge we cannot only better understand our consumer but we can focus our marketing techniques for the future. The play rate gives us clear data that we can use to support our AB testing methods or to solely show the success of our work. Search Engine Watch believes that video has the perfect balance between creativity and data - with information like this we need to ensure that we are taking advantage of tools like play rate in order to give ourselves the best chance of success.
I think its safe to say that this basic term holds a lot of value in the strategies and technique I will be using in the future. This just once again goes to show “do not judge a book by its cover” or a term for its value in this situation. 

Friday, 20 September 2013

Pinterest - A Marketing Tool?

Originally, Pinterest was a website designed for users where they could create themed boards and pin interesting/ creative ideas to share with others. Who would have ever imagined that soon after its creation, Pinterest would become a major social media marketing tool? Personal branding and business marketing alike, Pinterest has set itself apart from other social marketing platforms by using images as its main focus on content sharing. Simply put, the concept makes sense. As consumers living in a fast-paced world, we are stimulated by images. Pinterest gives users an outlet to consume a lot of bite-sized information pieces, while keeping our attention.  

Many social media experts have spent their time studying Pinterest and how it can be used as a business tool. Jayson DeMers, Founder and CEO of AudienceBloom, understands the power of Pinterest from a business perspective. After researching the benefits of Pinterest, he has shared these top 10 tips on how to be successful using this platform:

1. Be Selective
2. Use Teasers
3. Add Pin it Buttons
4. Use Lots of Images
5. Pin Often, Pin Variety
6. Pin Interests
7. Pin Vertically
8. Pin Mashups
9. Feature Customers
10. SecretBoards

If a business decides to implement these rules to their Pinterest platform, they are sure to be successful. Pinterest has potential that has yet to be discovered and there is power in potential.  I look forward to seeing this platform grow and watching how businesses in the future utilize its power to enhance their marketing strategies.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Has Apple Gone Sour?

News about the new IPhone 5 can hardly be ignored. What’s interesting this time around is that I feel let down - I was expecting more. The question is why? Are we holding Apple to a higher standard or are they truly not producing the innovative technology that we have grown to expect.

The IPhone 5C pleasantly surprises us with the new use of colours like green, yellow, blue and red.  This is like a breath of fresh air compared to the previous versions, which were available only in black or white. But this isn’t something new.  Historically Apple is known for “living in colour.” I find it odd that it’s taken so long to introduce this option for the IPhone. Ironically, Apple was producing coloured computers before their competitors but in recent years.  I’m struggling to understand if this was a tactic to keep consumers on their toes or just simply poor branding. Just adding colour to a phone is not enough to make me get ride of the current phone I have. It’s not “New” enough.

Now when it comes to the IPhone 5S, I can’t discount the obvious new finger scanning technology. This is what we all expect from Apple. Big, new, flashy innovation that makes us “need” the product. As consumers, we are willing to spend big money in order to have the latest technology as long as it’s innovative.  Well, innovative it is!

However even this does not feel like enough. Compared to updates like the front facing camera, FaceTime or icloud - which where revolutionary to what we expect from our smartphones – it feels lack luster. How is it that we have become so accustom to advance technology that even major break throes seem like a small bump in the road? 

The real question here is are we holding Apple to a higher standard than other smartphone creators? If another brand had come out with this idea would we be more excited or is it just truly not enough to keep us interested? Innovation in its definition is "the application of new solutions that meet new requirements, inarticulate needs, or existing market needs" and we as consumers need to decided if Apple is meeting this expectation.

My gut tells me that we do expect more from Apple.  It is fair to assume that with every new product Apple creates they are also creating a piece of art. But does that make it innovative? Does that make it new or fresh enough to rationalize spending the money buying a new phone? I believe if Apple went back to a time where the IPhone upgrades were less often, but more revolutionary, we would not be experiencing this feeling of disappointment. 

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Are We Tailored or too Tight?

Oh how the advertising world has changed! Long gone are the days of John Wanamaker spending his hard earned money on advertising only to quote, “Half the money I spend on advertising is lost, I just can’t figure out what half.” We are living in a much faster-paced and tailored world that changes the ad game dramatically.

With all of the changes in today’s society, the thought of using only mass marketing techniques is hard to imagine. As consumers, we beg for individuality, authenticity and want brands to reach us on a personal level. This has proven to be a daunting task for marketing and advertising experts.

With the switch from “Ad-Men” to “Math-Men,” businesses are spending their dollars more wisely and consumers are receiving ads targeted toward their own personal wants and needs. This fluid relationship between the buyers and sellers allows for true value for both parties.

This relationship can be more powerful than you think. Consumers are being put into a bubble of knowledge of things they are interested in at this moment. How are we expected to learn about anything new? Recipes, news, activities - all of these things are filtered out for us in hopes of giving us what we “want". This trend is not only affecting consumers but businesses as well. Search Engine Watch notes how this tailored marketing is affect businesses at an SEO level. Ideally ads need to be like a good pair of pants, comfortably tailored but not to tight just incase we want to expand.

I challenge you to reach outside of your comfort zone – try something new and different and not necessarily what is being fed to us by advertisements found on Facebook pages, Google searches or others. There is an infinite amount of information and many different perspectives that can help us to expand our horizons.  Many of us are far too complicated for that!