Tag Archives: Jenifer Wetterau

Customers as Content Co-Creators

By: Jenifer W.

Content is currency in the digital age and a great way for brands to keep content fresh and relevant is with crowdsourcing and user-generated content (UGC). User-generated content stems from the basic principle behind word-of-mouth marketing: Peer recommendations are incredibly influential and provide enhanced credibility. It makes the brand feel more personable and approachable, its campaigns more authentic and builds loyalty among its fans. Brands should welcome customers’ excitement to be co-creators, co-innovators and even evangelists by launching new campaigns on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. As per Nielsen, 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations, while only 33% trust ads.

In order to achieve a deeper level of customer engagement and brand loyalty, brands need to humanize by connecting with customers on a personal level. UGC campaigns are an excellent way to collect creative material for marketing purposes, get photos of your products in use organically and drive engagement and sales.

Here are three great examples to get ideas flowing and start taking advantage of interactive social media to engage customers directly in developing more impactful and personal brand stories.

Celebrate Your Customer and Let Them Help You Tell Your Story
Consumers are already talking about you and your products online; you need to be leveraging that content. The value returned is often that people associate good things with and return to engage with the brand.

Recently, Starbucks harnessed the power of UGC to boost engagement with their “Meet Me At Starbucks” campaign, capturing real stories from real people and weaving them into their marketing campaigns. It chronicled a day in the life of a Starbucks through a mini-documentary, shot in 59 different stores in 28 countries. Starbucks said the campaign aims to show the “beautiful moments of connection between our customers around the world.” Anyone can participate by telling their story and sharing it on social media, turning the campaign into an interactive, multi-dimensional experience.

Crowd Source Creativity
All brands can benefit from added visuals in their marketing efforts. Why not run contests for your fans to show off their artistic skills? Not only will the opportunity create major buzz, but it also will inspire more brand loyalty. Personally, I really love what Creative Allies does for musicians and artists.

Creative Allies is a community of designers who enter contests to create artwork and merchandise for bands, films and festivals. A fan creates artwork based on criteria determined by the brand for posters, t-shirts, hats, lithographs or other merchandise items. They submit their design to the site, then get their friends to vote on their submissions for the chance to win prizes, sell their stuff and get their work noticed. For each contest, at least one grand prize winner is selected by the contest holder and awarded a cash prize and other goodies like tickets, merchandise and/or VIP perks. Additional submissions are selected to be sold in the Creative Allies Store even if they didn’t win a design contest. These items become official merchandise and profits are shared between the designer and the contest holder (the band, film or festival).

Inspire to Aspire
An active loyal community is very influential. Putting the spotlight on customers who live your brand, creates a “me too” response in others in their peer group. Just think of all the times you’ve seen a celebrity in an amazing outfit and feel that you need to own that dress immediately. When you find it online, it’s already sold out because your peers felt the exact same way. Smart brands are finding ways to utilize this phenomenon in inspirational ways.

Lululemon is all about living well, and to its consumers, wearing Lululemon is akin to a badge of honor, practically saying, “my body is a temple, and it can do amazing things.” They turned the positive feeling associated with the brand into a campaign, #TheSweatLife. Customers were asked to tweet or Instagram photos of themselves getting their sweat on and exploring the world while decked out in the company’s products. The images which were collected via the hashtag and posted to the Lululemon website, where they are a permanent inspirational fixture.

User-generated content is flourishing with the rise of mobile, emerging technologies, and social platforms. Building a campaign around crowd-sourced content serves as a genuine way for brands to engage with their audience and is a refreshing departure from traditional one-way messaging.

Have you run successful UGC campaigns for your brand? As always, I welcome your feedback and if you like what you read, be social and share.

Four Great Ways to Generate Publicity

By: Jenifer Wetterau

One of the big challenges in PR is making your client’s brand perpetually relevant. It can be quite tough to come up with fresh ideas to pitch and post at those inevitable times the company finds itself in a newsworthy content drought. Touting the same product or service day after day will only serve to turn customers off – exactly what you DON’T want to happen. So what do power publicists do to earn media mentions? Here are a few ideas:

Make the most of every event</strong
Many brands are great at building buzz before events, but the most successful ones continue to generate publicity during, and long after the guests go home. Make the most of all the hard work you put into the event by live-streaming it with a top-tier broadcaster, allowing online viewers to act as voyeurs. Create a unique hashtag and tease it out a few weeks prior to, and during, the event. You should also record footage for multiple follow up posts and to tease your next event. Great, sharable visuals will always boost your brand image. The last thing you may want during a stressful event is to give yourself more work, but this will pay off infinitely. Offer your audience multiple ways to interact with the event and they will generate news for you. Keep the conversation going and the content from your event will continue to spread throughout the interwebs.

Talk about what people are talking about, when they are talking. To practice real time marketing communication, identify a hot, trending topic and jump on it. Give your opinion on something that’s relevant to the brand and adds value to the story. Very easy, and since both Twitter and Facebook’s display real time trending topics, it’s a no-brainer when you’re in a pinch. The key is time is of the utmost essence. You don’t want to be late to the party, posting content on a topic that’s been long-exhausted.

Tap into tastemakers
Not every brand has a large budget to hire a celebrity to endorse their products. The next best thing? Your customers. They are appealing because they speak authentically and offer credible, unbiased reviews. People are more likely to believe a peer more than polished marketing and PR content. How do you tap into this resource? Give influential members a sneak peek into your service, offer a demo to select people, or send your product to key influencers. Your brand ambassadors will do the rest! Everyone loves to be asked for their opinion. Make sure to monitor and engage with their feedback.

Get involved with a charity
Tying your brand to a charitable organization not only demonstrates the altruistic nature of your company, but also offers additional media opportunities. Whenever the charity is in the news, you will most likely be mentioned as well. Give your time, product, and use your staff and resources to do something exciting and different to help the charity.

Your turn. What are your favorite strategies to hold the media and public’s attention for your clients? I’m interested in what has worked for you.

As always, if you like what you read, be social and share.

Social Media Bad Habits Brands Need To Abandon

By: Jenifer Wetterau

Social media: when brands do it well, they do it really well. A great recent example is “Alex from Target.” So simple, seemingly effortlessly non self-promotional. Admit it, even if you don’t shop there you were intrigued.

Then again, there are those brands that continuously make mistakes that turn people off, and they don’t realize it. Here are four of my pet peeves that turn me off a brand:

Hashtag Overload
By using hashtags correctly, you can get maximum exposure for your brand’s message and deliver your content to the intended audience. But brands that abuse hashtags are hurting their image and driving customers away. More is not better.

Companies should ask themselves three things before tweeting with hashtags:
-Is it relevant to my post?
For example, using #socialmedia when your tweet is about sports to try to get maximum engagement will result in the opposite. Your customers will be turned off when they see you trying to cheat the system and engagement will decrease.

-Do my tweets exceed two hashtags?
Although studies show that tweets with one or two hashtags see twice the engagement compared to those without, that doesn’t mean you should cram in as many as you can. In fact, that same study showed that tweets with three or more hashtags resulted in a 17 percent drop in engagement. Keep hashtags to a minimum and your brand will not look spammy.

-Will my audience actually search for this hashtag?
You must do your research. Find out what hashtags your customers, and target customers, use with specific topics. Build your community around the hashtag by actively engaging with it consistently. You can’t use it one day and expect the results. You must promote it and promote it well. If you use them correctly, your content is going to get found by those who care about it.

Quantity over Quality
Social media is not a numbers game so don’t treat it that way. It’s essential to give your posts some thought before sending them out. Offer quality content that your customers will appreciate. When planning your updates, think about what you personally like to see in your timeline, and what makes you engage with a brand. I doubt it’s the number of times they tweet in a day! Show that you are value on social media and the followers will come. Everything you do should be strategic, follow best practices, align with your goals and image and provide value for your audience.

It’s All About Me
In terms of customer loyalty, it is important for brands to recognize that sometimes it is better to listen more and talk less. To be liked, you have to be honest, helpful, compassionate, willing to listen, genuinely interested in others and what their needs are and not dominate the conversation. Of course, one of the goals of social media is to promote your business, products, services and overall company brand. But what you should not do is be overly self-promotional, constantly pumping out updates and pushing your products. People don’t browse Twitter or Facebook to be sold to. Bombarding them with products and offers repeatedly will turn them off, and you may lose a few customers. Rather, let the information you share, the expertise you demonstrate and the brand personality you portray do the talking for you. Ask questions and address concerns to give your customers a voice. The more helpful and interesting you are, the more likely people will keep coming back for more.

Asking For Shares or Retweets
You don’t walk up to strangers on the street, yelling “be my friend!” and expect them to give you a hug and invite you to dinner. Why would you do this online? When brands do this I feel that begging makes them look needy and even inauthentic. You want people to engage with your content because they genuinely like it, and think others will to. Along the same line, tagging people to get attention reflects poorly on your brand and will alienate followers.

Now it’s your turn: what social media habits make you log off? As always, I welcome any and all comments and if you like what you read, be social and share.

Who’s Filling Your Feed?

By Jenifer Wetterau

On Facebook, the News Feed is where you go to catch up on what’s happening with your friends and find the content you are most interested in. What you do in News Feed helps determine what you see in News Feed. You decide who you want to connect to, and what Pages and public figures you want to follow. But, more often than not, I find it clogged with annoying posts from friends and pages that I’m just not interested in. Are you tired of being bombarded by cat videos and “Which Real Housewife Are You” quizzes? Mark Zuckerberg feels our pain and Facebook has come to the rescue with a solution to give users more control over whose content fills their news feed.

We all have that friend who feels the need to tell the world she doesn’t like the weather or had a difficult commute. Instead of unfriending them, you can now elect to see less of their posts.

Before, you could click on the gray chevron in the upper-right corner of a post and choose “unfollow” and “I don’t want to see this.” Now Facebook offers more options, including “see less.”

How it works:
If you see a story you’re not interested in, you click the arrow in the top right of that story to hide it. When you hide a story you’ll have the option to ask to see less from that person or Page.

If you choose to see less, you are then given the option to unfollow them if you don’t want to see any of their stories in your News Feed. You can always visit News Feed settings to see everything you’ve unfollowed and have the option to re-follow them.

Facebook also launched a new settings page devoted to the News Feed. The update will also give users insights into why certain posts appear on their news feed and give them the choice to filter these posts.
Using this page, you can see who you’ve unfollowed in the last week and have the option to re-follow the person or page. You can also analyze which pages and people take up the most space on your News Feed and have the option to unfollow without unfriending them.

So what does this mean for brands? They need to be on point with their content, offering real value to their followers. When brands saw their organic reach on Facebook plummet last year, it was thought to be a result of people tagging their posts as spam. These new controls could have a similar consequence in the event of continuous uninteresting, irrelevant content or blatant product hawking.

According to Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s Product Management Director for News Feed, users can expect the news-feed settings page to include more options and customization in the future. Facebook is considering adding the ability to regulate posts on individual topics, such as science or breaking news. It might also show which posts came from specific types of friends, like “close friends” or members of a specific group.

What do you think of this customization option to “turn down” posts in your News Feed? Do you think many people will take advantage of it?

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

Get Amped Up For Exercise

By: Jenifer Wetterau

Does the thought of being disconnected give you chills? Hate dragging around clunky chargers? Do you take better care of your smartphone than you do yourself? Then this may be the gadget for you! Introducing AMPY, a new device that charges your smartphone with your own kinetic energy. Like a hamster spinning in a wheel, this cute little device charges your phone as you move.

AMPY works by storing and repurposing energy generated by motion. You can wear AMPY on any part of your body, but an up and down motion is most effective in maximizing the energy production. How fantastic is this? Clean, renewable energy for your gadgets, and all you have to do is get off the couch and move.

At approximately half the size of an iPhone, weighing about 5 ounces, AMPY is small and portable, fitting easily into your pocket or purse, if you prefer to keep it hidden.

What better way to inspire you to get moving? The more energy you expend the more power you get, so the more vigorous the exercise, the more power juice you will pump into AMY. For example, about 10,000 steps will generate three additional hours of battery life. All you marathon runners will never experience the frustration of dealing with a dead battery again!

How it works: simply pick your favorite activity (running, cycling, dancing, shopping, etc.), strap it on and exercise away to your heart’s content. Once you’re done, just connect your phone to AMPY with a USB cord and it’ll start charging automatically. Brilliant! AMPY is equipped with USBs for output and input, so you can also charge it from a wall outlet, if you prefer. It comes with its own app to tell you how much energy you generated, how many calories you burned, and the carbon footprint offset you got by using AMPY instead of regular electricity.

Although AMPY currently can’t provide enough power for a laptop or tablet, the developers are working toward that goal. Intrigued? Preorder AMPY on Kickstarter at a discounted price ($85) until November 10, 2014. The first batch is expected to ship in June 2015. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1071086547/ampy-power-your-devices-from-your-motion

Do you think this will be successful in getting the more sedentary among us to exercise more?

As always, I welcome all comments and if you like what you said, be social and share.

Creating A Unified PR Strategy

By: Jenifer Wetterau

In order to deliver the most impactful campaigns, every part of your team should be on the same page, working in tandem under a unified strategy. Communication and transparency are key to ensuring success, since there’s no point creating a brand story that then exists in a vacuum.

To set the foundation for a cohesive approach, begin by defining the following:

A vision statement should outline what your company wants to be and should be clear to your entire team. If you were to meet one of them outside the office they would be prepared to deliver a concise elevator pitch.

Having a shared vision will motivate and empower your employees, as they are the face of your organization and key to engaging with and supporting your brand story.

Questions that should be answered by your company vision include:
What do we do – and for whom?
What makes us different?
How do we excel?
How do we measure our success?
What is our ideal future?
What values that we hold inspire our customers?

These can be broad at first, but make sure they are actionable and measurable. They may include:

-Share content relevant to your industry. Bonus points for informational that helps the reader out in some way.
-Reveal the unique personality behind your brand, inviting your customers to want to know more.
-Get the word out about new products to tastemakers and brand champions.
-Promote upcoming events and appearances.
-Demonstrate your company’s philanthropic side.
-Test out new product and marketing ideas on your core fanbase and get helpful feedback.
-Nurture your current relationships and build your audience.
-Drive traffic to your website, landing page, promotion, etc.

Once you figure out what is working you should experiment with narrower objectives.

Craft personas for your target audience (friendly, professional, educational, inspiring), to gain insight into who they are. This is not just age, location or income, but rather the psychology of your consumer. Understand what they need and want, their habits and personal views so your content can speak directly to them.

*Language: Fun, serious, insider, complex

*Tone: Direct, personal, scientific
*Purpose: Educate, entertain, sell, engage

-Develop an editorial calendar to be shared with your team and an action plan for who will deliver what, and when. Using a mix of content is essential to keep your readers interested and coming back for more. Tap into the strengths of each member of your team and have them deliver the type of content they do best, whether it be fun, informative or promotional.

-Decide on a tone and style and use it consistently. All messages should sound like they are coming from the same person, whether you have two, ten (or more!) employees creating content for the public. Make sure anyone writing for your brand (press releases, ads, social media posts, etc.) adopt and use it exclusively.

Mix it up! Try out images, photos, polls, interesting facts, social commentary, etc. Regularly evaluate your analytics to see which posts resonate the most – and least- with your audience. You may want to compile all team members’ posts for the week to be evaluated by a cross-functional team. This gives the rest of the company a chance to weigh in and catch any typos.

What do you find works best to unify your team? I welcome any thoughts and suggestions.

Hello, Ello?

By: Jenifer W.

Everyone is buzzing about Ello, the anti-Facebook social network. Why? It promises to never advertise to you or sell your data. If you value complete privacy, this may be the network for you. But what is it exactly and is it worth investing your time and energy into yet another social network?

Judge for yourself:

Selling Point: No Ads
The creators describe Ello as … “a simple, beautiful, and ad-free social network created by a small group of artists and designers.” If you’re tired of the persistent, invasive ads and weird algorithm of Facebook, an ad-free digital zone run by artists seems pretty fantastic.

Reality Check: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and other popular socials started out ad-free too.

Selling Point: No Data Mining
The company also states that it won’t sell data about you to third parties and calls the collecting and selling of your data “creepy.”

Reality Check: Again, Facebook, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and others also started out this way and now collect everything about you, {from the pages you visit to what…} so that advertisers can sell to you

Selling Point: Exclusivity
Ello is super-private, transparent and stripped down to basics. It may appeal to people seeking authentically attention-grabbing and share-worthy material in their industry.

Reality Check: Ello is currently invitation-only. To join Ello, you need to know someone that is already on the network.

How will Ello make money?
Users will be able to purchase small, specific features that will help people create their own customized version of Ello, such as adding a GIF as your profile image.

Do you think Ello is here to stay, and will it remain true to it’s manifesto? What, if any, opportunities do you see for marketers?

As always, if you like what you read be sociable and share.

Stat: Between fall 2014 and spring 2014, Facebook use among teenagers aged 13 to 19 plummeted from 72 percent to 45 percent. In other words, less than half of the teenagers surveyed said “yes” when asked if they use Facebook. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2014/10/08/teens-are-officially-over-facebook/]