YouTube Search: Untapped Potential for Brands

Brands often approach their YouTube strategy the same way they approach their other social media strategy, but they may be missing out on an untapped audience. Unless you stumble upon viral video gold like Old Spice, people on YouTube are not here to watch videos about your brand. If you really want to engage with the YouTube audience, create videos that will actually benefit the user in some way. The key here is to research what people in your target demographic are searching for on YouTube, the world’s second largest search engine behind Google. Let me give you an example. Say you’re a food brand. Instead of just uploading commercials and promotional videos that are brand-specific, you need to create new content based on what you think your target market would search for on YouTube. For example, the top videos for “how to grill chicken” can net you fifty to one hundred thousand views. “How to bake a cake” can potentially earn a million plus views. You can work your brand into the video, but the key here is to inform the viewer, not push your product or service. When you create your videos, make sure you title, describe and tag your videos appropriately so users can find them organically through YouTube’s search feature. I run a personal YouTube channel with just over 300 subscribers, but I have a couple of videos that have received over 10,000 views, with most of the views attributed to organic search or related video suggestions. No matter what your brand is, there are bound

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to be ways for you to provide information that your target audience is actively searching for. Create the right videos to address these searches and you will find yourself attracting a larger audience without any additional advertising budget!

Social Media: Breaking Through the Traditional News Barrier

As of 2012, printed newspaper has been surpassed big time by online news revenue. Networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are becoming the new “Sunday’s paper” causing traditional news outlets to be a thing of the past.

At least three times a week, about 46% of people read the news online. This number will continue to increase. Already, over 50% of people find out about breaking news through social media. You can find out about anything and everything via social media.

As far as online news sources go, Facebook dominates how people are finding out about things. With 59% of consumers getting their information from Facebook, the social media site blow Google out of the water with their news consumers reaching 11.6%. Even huge breaking news stories have been reported first on social media sites including; the death of Osama bin Laden and Whitney Houston (which were both reported on Twitter before anywhere else), the Hudson River plane crash and the first announcement of the royal wedding.

Although about 50% of news consumers get their breaking news from social media, there are times where some of the information reported can be inaccurate and erroneous. Many reporters rush to be the first to send out a big story across the Internet, which can cause stories to be missing important facts and accurate details.

Social media is a revelation and a great place to read up on trending topics, but my advice would be to check your resources and make sure what you’re reading is entirely correct before you share it out or believe it to be true.

Ramblings of an Adman: Guinness Pint Glass QR Code makes the Bar Scene a Little More Social

It seems that BBDO New York has come up with another way for bars to become a different kind of “social”.  As I opened Mashable today and saw one of my favorite things, a pint of Guinness, intertwined with a symbol of the digital age, the QR code.

We all know that people flock to the local watering hole to relieve stress from work or meet up with friends to talk about what’s new in their lives.  The type of social scene at a bar can often determine its patrons and vice versa but either way, people go to certain bars because they either want to socialize with their friends or meet new people.

The capabilities of the QR code printed on the pint glass lets you Tweet, Post to Facebook, check in and download promotion codes all by scanning the code with your iPhone.  The code lets you get back to drinking faster, the main objective of the evening, without wasting too much time updating your friends with where you are and what you’re doing.

As pointed out in Tim Nudd’s article in Adweek  in the QR code is only effective with the signature dark Guinness liquid in the glass.  Since this glass leaves out opportunities for other beverage brands to hop on board, will they start to develop their own glasses with QR codes specific to their brands?  This doesn’t seem like too big of a problem since some brands already have signature glasses to go along with their beverages; Stella Artois, Palm, etc.  Bars could even try to jump on the band wagon and develop branded glasses with QR codes giving promotions specific to the bar itself.

So next time you’re in the pub asking for a pint of Guinness and shooting the breeze with the locals, see if they have the new QR code pint glass. See how social your life is after scanning this frosty pint.

Is Pinterest Worth $1.5 Billion?

A recent article from Reuters states that Pinterest is valued around $1.5 billion, after raising around $100 million in financing. Pinterest is in the long line of dot com companies that have received massive valuations (and been able to receive massive amounts of funding) without turning a profit. This trend has been occurring in the tech industry for decades, and some say that it is actually beneficial for the growth of new startups – they have the ability to focus on creating a product or service that people use instead of worrying about how whether or not they can afford to keep the business afloat. The ultimate goal is to start making revenue, bet acquired, or go public.

The conversation that everyone is having with Pinterest is the same one that people have been having with other “hot” dot com and tech businesses like Facebook (which is now a public company and must rely on Facebook ads for most of their revenue), Instagram (which was acquired by Facebook for $1 billion) and YouTube (which was acquired by Google for $1.65 billion). Large companies are always willing to pay a premium to acquire startups, which is why I think it’s possible that someone out there is willing to pay $1.5 billion for it. However, is it worth that much?

From a literal standpoint, no, it probably is not. However, take into account more than just the monetary income that Pinterest could ever hope to generate and that price might be worth it. Take Instagram and YouTube for example. Facebook and Google did not purchase those companies because they thought they would be able to make back the money that was spent to purchase them in the short run. However, there are synergies between Facebook and Instagram, and Google and YouTube that do not appear on a balance sheet but are vital to each company. If a company does decide to purchase Pinterest, it will be for that reason, not because they expect it to turn a profit.


Using Facebook to Find Deals on Coffee Might Help You Live Longer

In the news, there was a recent study providing evidence that drinking coffee may help you live longer. The study was carried out by the National Institutes of Health and AARP. However, researchers urge you to remember that this doesn’t necessarily prove that coffee makes people live longer; it just shows that coffee and living longer are related. Even so, this contradicts earlier studies that had said coffee can increase risks of heart disease.

This study included 400,000 individuals, making it the largest study ever done on this issue, so the results should be reassuring for those of you who enjoy drinking coffee. The results of the study are as follows: men who drank 2 or 3 cups of coffee per day were 10% less likely to die at any age and for women it was 13%. Even having 1 cup of coffee per day lowered your risk of dying at any age. The strongest effect was a 16% lower risk of death which occurred in women who drank 4 or 5 cups of coffee per day.

So, how can you use this information to better your health? Well, if you’re not already an avid coffee drinker, take a look on Facebook to find a coffee shop near you. This social media outlet isn’t just for communicating with friends. Some of the big chains of coffee shops like Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks have a Facebook page that they update with special offers. You might even find some random deals and discounts if you become a fan of these pages.

One great deal that is always advertised on Facebook is Starbucks’ half priced Frappuccino happy hour. This is a week that recently passed and all the Starbuck coffee shops offer half priced Frappuccinos from 3pm to 5pm. Also, once per year, Dunkin Donuts has its free iced coffee day and you will often find reminders of this day on Facebook.

Now that we know coffee can help you live longer, it’s time to use technology to make the most of this opportunity. Use Facebook to find a coffee shop near you and score the best deals. Maybe you’ll find yourself living longer and healthier!

Facebook Apps: I Know What Videos You Watched Last Summer

Facebook’s open graph API has ushered in a new phase of social sharing. This feature is incredible for developers, but not necessarily for users. Instead of opting into a share, you have to opt out. This new breed of apps blocks users from accessing content unless they “allow” the app on their profile. For some of the less Facebook-savvy crowd, this means getting suckered into allowing an app to access their personal information and posting on their behalf. The most popular forms of this are the “social” reader or viewer apps, like the Huffington Post and Socialcam.

If you are active on Facebook, you have most likely seen one of your friends using these kinds of apps (or you use them yourself). The most common issue that users run into is that they are not aware that each object they view through the app created a news feed story. There are stories abound from people who have seen their friends reading or viewing questionable content. Most of these instances can be laughed off, but imagine a guy reading an article about how to propose to his girlfriend and it shows up on her news feed.

Most people don’t want to share everything they do online, just the things that matter to them. News came out earlier this month that social sharing apps have been leaking users. As more and more people realize how social sharing apps operate, I predict usage will stagnate.

Will the Facebook IPO Bonanza Affect Brands?

Now that Facebook has gone public something will need to be done to appease the investors. Facebook needs to show revenue growth and can no longer rely on an estimated worth. Money talks and Facebook will need to start collecting a lot of it. There’s no way Facebook will ever start charging its private users (unless they’re very dumb), this means that brand pages will be the ones to feel the effect of the IPO. Ads are already an important part of Facebook’s revenue and now an even bigger emphasis will be

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placed on getting brand’s to run ads. This means more ad formats are most likely on the way and sponsored stories will almost definitely begin to play a larger role in the Facebook advertising platform. This increased emphasis on ads may mean that smaller brand pages with less money to spend may start having a harder time generating new fans. Organic growth is never guaranteed so the smaller companies with less to spend may want to start cultivating amazing content now before the start to fall behind their larger competitors. The attention span of a Facebook user is short, you want to stay in your fans’ newsfeeds and get on the radar of those who don’t yet “like” your page. The IPO is a great thing for Facebook, and it will definitely be a good thing for brands with money to spend, but the smaller companies better be prepared. Changes are coming and you don’t want your page that you’ve worked so hard to build and manage to become irrelevant in the post-IPO Facebook world.

Transforming the Fashion Industry with Social Media

We all know it’s nearly impossible to avoid the cosmic powers that social media holds and even though that may be the case, many industries just don’t mesh well with the world of social media. One cooperate field, however, that has found the marketing and advertising transition into social media to be quite simple, is the fashion industry.

Networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr have all transformed the way we engage with each other as well as our favorite brands. From skincare brands to big brands like Victoria’s Secret, the fashion world can’t get enough of sharing the latest styles and trends using social media as their portal, connecting their world with ours.

Whatever type of fashion trend you follow, it is meant to be shared because it’s what people see when they get their first impression of you (or in this case, your brand). Do it the right way, you’ll have much success. But, use social media incorrectly and you’ll never live it down!

There have only been three major fashion brands to pass the 5 million “likes” mark on Facebook (according to WWD). These names are Burberry with 9 million likes, Dior with 5.4 million and Gucci with 5.5 million. Crazy right? Now, of course that doesn’t shut out all other top name brands that are racking in social media fans by the second with the networking and advertising they’re producing.

With so many ways to spread your brand – including Twitter which can be used by trend setters to converge or using blogger outreach as a means for collaborations and launching ad campaigns – social media as a whole has become a force to be reckoned with.


After The Recent Google Penguin Algorithm Change, Is There Any SEO Left BUT Social Media?

Remember the 90’s?  It was a glorious time when people could get any website on the top of Google with a bit of gumption and a whole lot of trickery.  Google has been making updates ever since in order to combat this.  Things got real with the Panda Update last year, when long-standing SEO strategies started to fail.  Now, with the Penguin Update, many companies that enjoyed top rankings for years are suddenly seeing themselves plummet.

I’ve been talking about the marriage of SEO and social media for a while now—and my colleagues are getting in the game—but, it would appear that this coming true in a way I never really imagined: social media is coming to dominate SEO because Google is giving more weight to search engine indicators, but because the all of the other tactics are dropping like flies.

And, trust me, everybody has noticed.  From articles discussing social media’s growing role in SEO to UC San Diego adding a social media component to their SEO classes.  Everywhere people are starting to figure out that you can’t ignore this union anymore.

So, what should you know as a social media or SEO specialist?  You need to know that you can no longer think of these as two separate animals.  If you’re in SEO, you need to be a master of social media to be effective.  If you’re in social media and you’re not doing SEO, you’re doing half your job.

How Facebook’s IPO May Change the Way It Operates

Not everyone is convinced that Facebook going public will benefit the organization in the long run. For some, going public is akin to an indie band “selling out” and joining a major recording label. Like all public companies, Facebook will have to report to its shareholders and always keep the bottom line front and center. Many tech companies can operate for years without making a profit due to private investors. Although Facebook is a profitable organization, its earnings will be scrutinized in a way that it has not experienced before.

Will this alter the way that Facebook develops new products and services? I believe it already is. As it stands, Facebook relies heavily on its ad platform for its revenues. The other large component is Zynga, which accounts for 12% of revenue. Facebook ads do not show on mobile platforms, which are becoming a larger part of the web browsing experience. Facebook has already committed to updating its mobile site/app. But hey, if it took the IPO for them to finally improve their mobile capabilities, then I guess it is actually a healthy thing. However, if the only improved feature that Facebook makes is displaying ads, then we would be having a different conversation.

A lot of people (and organizations) are going to become very rich as a result of the Facebook IPO. The company itself will receive a cash infusion, but it remains to be seen if the IPO will be a new beginning or the beginning of the end for Facebook.