Monthly Archives: June 2014

Retweeting a Tweet

By Karleigh Creighton

While scrolling through your Twitter timeline, have you ever come across a tweet that really strikes a chord with you and you’d like to do more than simply retweet it? You would like to share the words of this stroke of genius and add your own thoughts to it as well.  

Twitter has the solution. The company is currently testing a new feature that will allow users to “Retweet with Comment.” “Retweet with Comment” makes the post you are retweeting an image, therefore using less characters and allowing users to add their own comments to the retweeted material. The standard Twitter picture is about 25 characters, which leaves users with approximately 115 characters to express personal thoughts along with the original tweet to their followers.

This is not the first time twitter has attempted to help users personalize a retweet. The site previously offered a “Quote Tweet” option where the original tweet would be fully quoted within a users’ post and then personal thoughts could be conveyed at the end in however many characters happened to be left. This option, however, did not leave users with a lot of room to state their own opinion. Depending on the length of the original tweet, there was sometimes no room for any additional comments.

There is much more room to express yourself with Twitter’s new “Retweet with Comment.” Currently, this feature is in an experimental phase on mobile devices only and is not yet available to all users. What do you think? Will this new feature be useful in your tweeting endeavors? Personally, I know I will use it. I can recall many times when I attempted to use the “Quote Tweet” feature on Twitter, but couldn’t, because the amount of characters the original post took up left me with no room to say what I wanted to say. After realizing I couldn’t quote the tweet and add my own thoughts, sometimes I would retweet the post anyways but most of the time I decided to simply scroll on to something else.

Whenever I want to quote someone else’s tweet, I usually like to do so because I want to tag a friend to make sure they see it. Previously, “Quote Tweet” rarely allowed for me to include the original tweet, make my own comments and tag a friend.

With the new “Retweet with Comment” I am confident that I will be able to share a post, add my opinion and tag a friend or two all within Twitter’s 140 character limit. In addition to its new “Retweet with Comment” feature, Twitter is attempting to further enhance its visual appeal by placing pictures above the text in tweets. Assuming “Retweet with Comment” is a feature that sticks and generates positive testing; I believe that Twitter’s move to place images above text is a great idea. Combining these two new features will allow users to preview the retweet first and then read any comments made about the post. It’s an order that makes sense.

What do you think about Twitter’s constant experimentation? Do the visual enhancements appeal to you or do you prefer a traditional style retweet?  As always, I welcome your feedback and if you like what you read, be social a    

Crowd Social Marketing

By: MJ Pedone

We’ve always trusted family and friends to give us recommendations. Now, marketers are finding ways to combine this age-old referral process with social media. It’s also called crowd-sourced marketing. This is where the social media “crowd” shares your content and conversations for free on a global web. According to a report by Nielsen, 77 percent of consumers are more likely to buy a new product when learning about it from friends or family as those are their trusted resources.

Use these social media tactics to reach prospects through digital “world of mouth”. This will amplify your leads, prospects and sales by tapping into the power of the online crowd.

  1. Go above and beyond realistic expectations

Exceeding expectations will always be the best way to earn referrals. Focus on establishing clear expectations and blowing them away before you dive into social media. Don’t promise anything that’s out of your scope or processes. A dedicated customer support staff is one way to communicate expectations. A personal connection is the best way to earn trust that will last after the buying process. Getting to the point where you discuss interests or even spend time together is the goal. This type of connection will make them feel comfortable with referring your service to others.

  1. Add Rich Pins on Pinterest

Tap into Pinterest’s 70 million users to increase referrals. Target added Rich Pins to their strategy and within the first six weeks, they had a 70 percent Pinterest referral increase, according to the Word of Mouth Marketing Association. Rich Pins allow additional information to be included with a pin. The most effective Rich Pin for businesses is the product pin, which includes real time pricing and availability information, interested pinners get notified if a price drops. Follow the 80/20 rule, 20 percent of pins should be products. The other material should be inspiring and useful information for your audience. These pins will be shared at a higher rate and increase word of mouth marketing.

  1. Implement a Facebook referral promotion

Facebook has implemented changes to increase referrals with the popularity of mobile usage. The changes have been effective, a report from Shareaholic revealed referrals from Facebook have grown 48.85 percent since September and represented 17.41 percent of all website referrals in November.

A Facebook referral promotion is a strategy leveraged by companies to earn referrals. A referral promotion is created by offering a base reward, like a coupon, for any user who completes a sign-up process. The user then earns credits toward a greater reward, like a gift card, as he refers more people to enter the promotion. This earns word-of-mouth referrals as people discuss the prize at hand.

  1. Share industry insights on LinkedIn

Social Sharing Platform Buffer experienced a 4000 percent increase in blog referral traffic from Linkedin over the past year. This is credited to Linkedin being the third-fastest growing social network and Buffer’s update and sharing strategy. Linkedin reported 6 out of 10 users are interested in industry insights. Offering original research and industry wisdom will get people talking about your content. This conversation drives people to your website and locks in loyal readers. A customer is much more likely to use a service if they get value from the company’s blog and social pages.

  1. Create and promote giveaways and contests

Ask customers to provide leads in exchange for raffle tickets for a gadget, tablet or industry tool. This leads to referrals from customers familiar with your service and product. A Facebook contest is another great way to create buzz and bring in leads. Dove created the Real Beauty Should Be Shared contest where entrants shared stories of people who represent real beauty. User-generated contests take away the cost of a prize item and get people talking about your brand in a positive light.

  1. Create an internal sharing network

According to Jack Morton Worldwide, 49 percent of U.S. consumers say friends and family are their top sources of brand awareness. Employees often have more robust and active social accounts than employers. Encourage employees to share company content with their personal network. This comes back to that 80/20 rule, don’t expect employees to share content if it’s constant promotion. An organized system for internal sharing is the social tool Addvocate. This makes content sharing user friendly and more effective with analytics.

  1. Update in time of crisis

The social media platform Buffer, faced a social-media crisis when their system was hacked in October. The company had to put their own social media advice to use. Users began tweeting and posting about spam and other issues. Buffer responded with a support tweet 16 minutes after the initial complaint. The reaction from customers was overwhelmingly positive and earned Buffer some positive press. When mistakes happen, be prepared to update customers of exactly what happened and what you’re doing to correct the situation. This creates a positive memory despite a negative circumstance.

  1. Ask for referrals on social media and return the favor

It’s essential to consistently ask for referrals. This seems obvious but 72 percent of marketers still don’t recognize and leverage the value of customer referrals, according to research by Loyalty 360.

Asking over social media takes little time and clients will feel more obligated to respond to keep their account looking fresh. A referral request can be attached to any email or built into a PPC ad. However, offering an incentive will increase the conversion rate. Similar to a Facebook referral promotion, offer discounts or rewards for referral traffic. Think about colleagues and friends that could benefit from your client’s services. This quid pro quo effect increases the chance of a referral. 85 percent of fans of brands on Facebook recommend brands to others. Use Facebook as a medium to promote your clients to others and the same will happen in return.

  1. Follow and engage in social conversations

You should already be engaging with the social media audience. Positive feedback is easy to handle, but responding to negative comments is warranted if validity is there. Companies like Zappos and LifeLock make a point to promptly respond to users on their Facebook pages. This strategy provides consistent customer service while increasing the brand’s buzz.

Fans recommending brands on Facebook do so because of either the quality of the product or based on the customer experience. 

   10. Identify influencers

Reaching out to the influential figures in your customer circles is the best free promotion available. Tools like Topsy and Followerwonk show the most-shared tweets and bloggers or executives with the largest social following. Make a connection with these influencers and show how your product provides value for their followers. This will provide target audience exposure that can’t be duplicated by another method. Pinbooster allows marketers to analyze their Pinterest campaign, identifying the most shared pins and highly influential pinners.

What have you found works for you to date? Have you been researching other social strategies? As always, I welcome all feedback and if you like what you read, be social and share.


Wearable Technology: Part 1 – World Cup

By Jenifer Wetterau

Wish you were in Brazil experiencing all the World Cup madness? Thanks to innovative wearable technologies it is now possible to feel and breathe the atmosphere as if you were right there!

Wearable technology is undoubtedly the future of consumer electronics, with limitless creative options. While fitness bands have become very popular, other items have been slow to adopt. I believe this will change in a big way very soon.

An exciting new product created for Australian soccer fans is Foxtel’s “Alert Shirt,” a fan jersey that uses wearable technology to take the emotional experience of watching a game into the physical world, allowing fans to feel what the players feel as it happens during the game.

Hardware, software and apparel design merge together for a unique integrated experience. Real-time sports data gets transmitted via a smartphone app to the electronics within the jersey, then converted into sensations that simulate live sports action. The effects aren’t only felt when a player gets tackled. The shirt also flutters to simulate a player’s nerves before an important kick, and amps up to imitate the euphoria after scoring. Imagine being able to practically embody your favorite athlete in real-time simply by changing your shirt!

This could be a huge inspiration to many different fields besides athletics:

Medical: hands-on training for surgeons

Science: feel what it’s like to experience zero gravity or walk on the moon

Video games: actually become your avatar!

The Alert Shirt is not the only soccer related wearable in play. For the first time, referees are using Goal Control-4D technology at every venue this year to make sure everything runs smoothly. Goal Control is a German company that aims to put an end to blown calls. The Goal Control-4D system works with 14 high-speed cameras on the stadium roof that are connected to a computer system which tracks the movement of all objects on the field and filters out everything except the ball. The system knows its three dimensional x-, y- and z-position with a precision of a few millimeters. When the ball passes the goal line, the system sends a vibration and optical signal to the officials´ smartwatches.

Do you think wearable technology will vastly change spectator sports as we know them, or is this a passing fad?

As always we welcome your comments and if you like what you read, please be social and share.


Branding During the World Cup

By: Eliza Borish

For the first time in my life, I am actually interested in watching the World Cup. Maybe it’s because I am older, more passionate about sports or it’s just the idea of patriotism and supporting my country for the red, white and blue. Whatever it is, the World Cup has me hooked. I am not alone in this either; it seems that World Cup fever is hitting America. More than ever before, people in the USA are gathering together in parks, bars and in offices to watch soccer and support our Men’s National Team. Soccer, a sport that is popular in every other region and country of the world is finally reaching America. This doesn’t mean that soccer is now America’s pastime and people in every nook and cranny are joining in to watch. However, what it does mean is that slowly, yet surely, soccer is obtaining a presence here. When we think of top athletes in this country, we are consistently going to think of LeBron James, Derek Jeter, Tom Brady and Jonathan Quick, which is not going to change anytime soon. But maybe, just maybe, after qualifying for the round of 16, people will start recognizing Clint Dempsey, Jermaine Jones and Tim Howard a little more.

Tangent aside, the World Cup is an excellent time for companies to demonstrate their branding skills and not just with predesigned commercials and stories, but also with quick, witty and real-time marketing. A perfect example of this was when multiple brands such as McDonalds, Snickers, Trident Gum and JCPenny to name a few, speedily reacted to the news that Luis Suarez of Uruguay had bitten his Italian opponent, Giorgio Chiellini. Within no time, these companies took advantage of such news and used Suarez as the butt of their jokes, allowing the brands to stay relevant even in the influx of tweets that occur throughout the World Cup.

For example, McDonalds Uruguay chimed in tweeting “Hola ‪@luis16suarez, si te quedaste con hambre vení a darle un mordisco a una BigMac ;)” (Translation: Hi, Luis Suarez, if you are still hungry, come take a bite out of a Big Mac). Following suit were Trident Gum with “Chew Trident. Not soccer players #ITAvsURU” and JCPenny, “Fangs for the memories, Uruguay #URU” with a picture of a little boy dressed in a vampire costume. The brands allowed the World Cup to help promote their products with a simple tweet. My personal favorite, though, had to be Snicker’s take on the biting scandal. Snickers tweeted, “Hey ‪@luis16suarez. Next time you’re hungry just grab a Snickers. ‪#worldcup ‪#luissuarez ‪#EatASNICKERS” with a photo that read ‘More satisfying than Italian’ #Luissuarez”. Why is this my favorite, you may ask? This is because the Snickers slogan has consistently been “Hungry? Grab A Snickers” and utilizing that traditional slogan to embrace the Suarez controversy is brilliant. While other companies cracked jokes and promoted their brand just using Suarez, Snickers was able to crack a joke, promote its brand and do it in a way that was uniquely “Snickers”. While Suarez did set snickers up by actually biting his opponent, Snickers took advantage of that and incorporated it into their already recognizable slogan propelling their brand (and tweet) further than other brands.

Kudos to the Snickers marketing and branding people who thought on their feet and allowed the tension on the field and in the game to successfully roll over to the Internet and to your brand. While Luis Suarez now has a 4-month ban from FIFA, you, on the other hand, Snickers, have stayed relevant. People aren’t just talking about Luis anymore; people are now talking your delicious chocolaty peanut candy bars and how your tweet was both funny and current.

So while soccer hastily catches on in America, real-time marketing during sporting events, beauty pageants, TV shows and even global news is spreading like wildfire. To stay on top in business, you need to stay relevant and that requires knowing what is trending, like the Game of Thrones finale or the NBA draft. Once you know these things, you can post tweets that are in accordance with live programs and events and capture the large audience that is also watching along with you. Viewers and clients don’t have to be the only ones with opinions tweeting during and after shows. Brands have the same opportunity! And if they market that opportunity correctly by posting a witty or clever tweet in real-time, they can garner attention for their brands and ultimately, revenue.

Don’t let talk be cheap. Take advantage of real time marketing and live interactions. Gain traction for your brand now, just as Snickers did. Hey, while you’re at it, turn on the World Cup to start. If you don’t find anything usable or relevant, watch it for fun and spread it to America. What’s that cheer? I believe that we will win…and now, I believe that we will tweet!

As always, I welcome your thoughts and comments and if you like what you read, be social and share.




Does social media affect your mood?

By Karleigh Creighton

Our mood and emotions change often. They are affected not only by the big things in life, but also by small incidences like the weather, a surprise text, a meeting with friends and even by social media. Have you ever thought about how social media affects your mood and emotions? Facebook recently released research on its “contagion effect.” An effect they say that results in posting like your friends post.

Evidence from this study of 689,003 random Facebook users showed that after their newsfeeds were manipulated to have either a more positive or negative vibe, their own timelines reflected that same feeling. Those who were exposed to more positive news increased the use of positive words in their own posts, while those receiving less positive news in their newsfeed began to use more negative words. The same trend was also seen in the type of post. Individuals with newsfeeds consistent with long, revealing, emotional posts generally reciprocated that type of post, while those who constantly saw less expressive updates were likely to do the same.

Due to Facebook’s data-use policy the actual content of the posts of the individuals studied could not be seen and the study was conducted by counting the number of positive and negative words within the posts.

Personally, my mood is not seriously affected by what I see on my timeline. I don’t like to see negative posts so I just keep scrolling through them without paying much attention to the naysayers. If I see too many negative posts in a row I might get slightly annoyed and think about blocking the user to safely avoid negative energy, but nothing more than that. My emotions, on the other hand, are affected by posts I see from family and friends. Happy posts from people about getting a new job, having a baby, getting a puppy, or something else special will put a smile on my face, while posts about a loss trigger sadness because I can feel how much someone is hurting through their words.

However, regardless of the mood and emotions present in my newsfeed, I post my own thoughts and feelings. What do you think about the information provided by the study? Does it hold true in your life?

In addition to piggy backing off of the atmosphere in your timeline, social media can have other ways of affecting your mood. After posting a picture and getting 50 “Likes,” chances are you are feeling pretty happy that your selfie scored big with followers.

But what about the days when your post doesn’t generate any reach, especially one you thought was extra creative and fun, it’s discouraging. I believe it’s all just mental. Post what you want to post because it’s how you feel. Don’t let the attitude of another infiltrate your mind and therefore the tone of your own posts. The only way your social media will be influenced by others is if you let it.

How big of an impact do you let social media have on your life? I welcome your comments and if you like what you read, be social and share.

Who will win the 2014 World Cup: Coke or Pepsi?

By: Jenifer Wetterau

Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo are always battling for consumer attention surrounding big events and the World Cup is no exception. What’s exciting this time? The soft drink giants are battling it out for PR headlines and video content with real-time, interactive branded experiences.

Coca-Cola Company

This year, FIFA sponsor Coca-Cola launched its first global real-time marketing campaign around the World Cup. They will generate insight from social data to analyze and respond to real-time feedback from fans across 14 platforms during the matches.

In April, Coke released a digital “One World, One Game” documentary telling the story of how four football teams from different parts of the world overcame difficulties through their love of the sport. They are backing this with their third “Trophy Tour” which is a 221-day tour that will take the Jules Rimet Prize to every country that has won the World Cup.  People in every city the tour stops in will be able to take a picture with the trophy. Additionally, Coke will be giving out 1 million free samples of soda and branded footballs “to encourage people to take part in more physical activity.” A series of short “Where Will Happiness Strike Next” films will also be captured during the tour further supporting the content drive with real-time marketing activity.

Joseph Tripodi, chief marketing and commercial officer at the Coca-Cola Company, says: “Through ‘The World’s Cup’ campaign, Coca-Cola wants to celebrate real people playing football, demonstrating how the game is a force for a more inclusive and connected world.”


Pepsi is looking to steal Coke’s spotlight with their own World Cup campaign, #FutbolNow with FC Barcelona player, Lionel Messi fronting it. The campaign includes nearly 100 companies and promotes brand ambassador Janelle Monae’s remix of David Bowie’s “Heroes.” The song is used in a TV ad, “Now Is What You Make It” featuring Messi and other World Cup hopefuls and following Icelandic rapper Stony in Rio playing the song on Pepsi bottles and other everyday objects. While watching the ad fans can unlock original content at various points.

Pepsi also created a documentary, “The Art of Football” that explores their art collection of street art, photography and football.

Where I think where Pepsi trumps Coke is by giving fans a unique and immersive experience with their #FutbolNow skills challenge featured on 20 interactive vending machines around the world. A large video screen on the front of the machines allows users to play a motion-sensor football game with free drinks as a reward if you can keep a virtual ball in the air for 30 seconds while doing all the moves prompted on the screen. They are directly getting people who are engaging with Pepsi to simultaneously engage in physical activity.

When you add in a game component you will attract far more people than if you didn’t use something interactive with a competitive component to it. This should prove to be a big winner with hype spreading through word of mouth, rather than direct advertising.

Kristin Patrick, global chief marketing officer for beverages at PepsiCo, says the campaign aims to build on its “long-history” of working with the world’s best football talent. “Our content plan to capture this spirit celebrates the creative passion of footballers with music and how both of these awesome forces inspire us to Live For Now.”

Both of these marketing campaigns are well thought out and will be successful and by connecting people around their favorite soda with fun, interactive content each company is strengthening the perception of their brand. Although I am a diehard Cherry Coke Zero loyalist, I give the trophy to Pepsi this year. In both you get a free soda but nothing beats the sweet satisfaction from showing off your skills in front of friends and strangers to earn the reward and bragging rights!

What do you think of these multi-layered campaigns? Are you more enticed by Coke’s connected world theme or Pepsi’s focus on physical activity? As always we welcome your comments and if you like what you read, please be social and share.


Volkswagen: Eyes on the Road

By: Eliza Borish

Recently, the car company, Volkswagen, released an interactive PSA called “Eyes on the Road” in a Hong Kong movie theatre to show moviegoers the consequences of texting and driving. Using a first-person perspective of driving a car with only the arms of the driver being visible, the Volkswagen ad uses a location-based service to send a text message to each of the unsuspecting audience members while the video (and the car) continues forward. While the audience digs into their pockets to check the text message they just received, the vehicle on screen crashes, shattering the windows to the car and jolting everyone out of their seats. When the audience finally realizes that the person behind the wheel on screen is representative of them, it becomes clear that their wrongdoing—of texting while driving—causes the car crash. Immediately, in black writing the words “mobile use is now the leading cause of death behind the wheel” appears on a white background bringing forth the significance of the interactive ad that just occurred and the need for changing standards when it comes to mobile use within vehicles.

I’ve watched the video a few times now and every time the audience reaches to see their phone, I brace myself for what’s coming: I know there is about to be a car crash, yet I feel equally as unprepared and shaken when the car crash does in fact occur. So what does this mean for Volkswagen, the company behind the commercial?

Personally, it seems like a brilliant move if you ask me. With this commercial, Volkswagen is essentially killing two birds with one stone. From a marketing standpoint, the ad is an effective and strategic tool. Because of its original view point and its interactive ability, the commercial shows the importance of and highlights Volkswagen’s strong commitment to safe driving while also generating traffic and buzz to the Volkswagen brand itself. From a safety standpoint and using a clever PSA for the specific audience in the video and essentially all viewers of this video, it hones in on the point that texting and driving is plain stupid. Often people believe that bad things won’t happen to them and that they are indestructible and while I pray that no one gets into an accident due to a mobile distraction, the reality is, is that these things do happen. So to put the audience in the scene of the accident (and crime) sends a successful, yet chilling message: if you text and use mobile devices while driving, the person in that car on the screen next time could be you.

Down to the core of it, this commercial is relaying the visual that it is better to be jolted out of your seat in a movie theatre from an unsuspecting car ad than jolted out of the drivers seat from an incoming car or tree or anything that could become a target when your eyes (and mind) wander to a screen instead of focusing on the road. When you are on the road, a simple text message can wait and that’s what Volkswagen is emphasizing in this new commercial.

At the end of the day, this PSA is just an ad and the line between PSA and ad merges. For Volkswagen, however; it is a smart marketing tactic that accomplishes multiple things. Between the audience and the brand, there is a sense of trust and reliability created; it feels as if Volkswagen has the audience and future drivers’ backs by wanting to promote safe driving. Additionally, Volkswagen is evoking brand awareness and promotion by creating a viral, effective and highly regarded ad. Lastly, Volkswagen uses a new feature interaction to accentuate the overall ad experience for both themselves as a brand and their target, the audience. Overall, whether you think this commercial is for the audience or for the brand or you think it’s a PSA alone or an ad alone, there is one thing you can’t deny: it is very effective in all senses and to me, that is a win-win.

What do you think about Volkswagen’s “Eyes on the Road” PSA? Do you think its effective as a marketing ad? What about as a PSA? As always, I welcome your comments and spread the word.