MLB All-Stars on the Field and the Web

For 162 games a year, baseball is taken seriously by players. There is no fooling around in the dugout, no signing autographs during games, and definitely no playing with your phone or computer. However, there are two days every season where players are encouraged to use their phones and laptops. The Home Run Derby and All-Star Game are not only exhibitions to show the best talent in the majors, but also an interactive social experience.

During this year’s Home Run Derby, players visited a table setup by each team’s dugout with laptops setup on them. Players were able to live tweet using the hashtag #HRDerby, to allow up-to-the-minute coverage of the slugging exhibition. Players were also able to log into their social media accounts on these computers, or their own devices to answer questions from MLB fans and post their Home Run Derby predictions. Players also posted six-second videos from Fine for the world to see.

Players used to have to compete with fans for internet access and cell phone service, but this year Wi-Fi hotspots were setup for players, creating an easy portal for players to access their social media accounts.

The All-Star Game will also feature a social media component, but only players who were already removed from the game will be allowed to participate. According to Matt Bourne, a spokesperson for Major League Baseball, “Devices will only be allowed on the field for the Derby because it doesn’t have any implications for the league. The winner of the All-Star Game gets home field advantage during the World Series, so we don’t want phones to distract from the task at hand.”

MLB and MLB Advanced Media have been working hard since 2010 to make the Home Run Derby and All-Star Game into a blended television-online experience. Bourne also said that “networks will be showing Twitter handles for players and highlighting certain tweets,” which “helps to promote our online efforts on air.”

So what were players saying at the Home Run Derby?

Bryce Harper was feeling good about his performance after round one:

Bryce Harper

Mets ace and National League starting pitcher Matt Harvey was rooting for the 20-year-old slugger as well:

Matt Harvey

And Cincinnati Reds outfielder Jay Bruce predicted Harper would top eventual-winner Yoenis Cespedes in the final round:

Jay Bruce

But not everybody was talking about Harper – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim outfielder Mike Trout was clearly impressed by his All-Star Game teammate, Chris Davis:

Mike Trout

And Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw shared his feelings after seeing some of the hitters he’ll face launch home run after home run:

Clayton Kershaw

What do you think of integrating social media into the Midsummer Classic? Is it a good social media marketing strategy? Share your thoughts. Comment below!

New App Brings Likemind-ed People Together

A new iOS application is bringing people with common interests together through rather simple and traditional methods. The app Likemind allows users to tear off virtual tabs from virtual flyers that other users post.

While this is quite a few steps ahead of walking around the neighborhood with a stack of flyers and a staple gun, it really isn’t so different. Users post their flyer up, and the first six people that can get their hands on a tab can connect with that person. When the tabs are all gone, so is the flyer. This detail in particular makes Likemind unique, because it limits the number of interactions that a post can have. By limiting each flyer to only six responses, each flyer displays some degree of exclusiveness. Popular flyers cannot simply trump all others, because after six people respond, it disappears. Once the six tabs are gone, the user can either repost the flyer or post a new one. Users can also be blocked if they tear the same tab a second time, which takes away from other users.

Likemind

What sets Likemind apart from sites like Badoo and Highlight is that you don’t have to be within a certain proximity to someone to connect with them. Also, Likemind is not profile driven. Users don’t create their own profiles for others to see; they only post flyers to attempt interaction.

The app was co-founded by Jens-Philipp Klein, who now acts as the company’s CEO. Klein says that “Allowing each user to receive only six replies at a time helps to limit unwanted levels of attention around popular flyers and also distributes activity evenly across the community.”

So what kind of flyers can somebody post? Well, these aren’t your typical ‘LOST DOG’ or ‘JUNK YOUR CAR’ flyers. People post personal classified ads for whichever kind of person they are looking for. Whether it is looking for somebody to try a new restaurant with, a running partner, or somebody to go see a movie, people with common interests can connect via Likemind, start a chat, and meet in person. Of course, this can also lead to dating, but the app is focused on friendly interaction rather than intimate encounters.

Likemind App

Right now, the application is free, and only available on iOS with an Android version in production. There are add-ons available that cost ‘Likemind Points’ that need to be purchases with real money to enhance your experience, but the basic version gets the job done just the same.

Likemind was founded just last year and is supported by Christophe Maire as well as other private investors. While the company hasn’t released exactly how much they’ve raised, they have said that the profits are in the “six figures” – and that’s in euros! Clearly, this has proven to be a successful social media marketing strategy, so next time you are preparing to go out to eat or see a movie alone, checkout Likemind. Who knows who you will find?!

Are You Ready for Myspace 3.0?

The last time anybody had heard about Myspace, it was most likely the punch line of some social media joke. But that’s about to change because Myspace has re-launched itself into the social media world… again.

Myspace is no longer the awkward social media site that fell by the wayside the minute Facebook took a breath. In fact, Myspace isn’t even showing its teeth to Facebook anymore. Reborn a few months ago, the new Myspace focuses on music and has the potential to send Pandora and Spotify running for the hills. Yep! “Myspace 3.0” is a must-see for all music lovers.

Re-launched last week, the social media site is meant to give users an all-access pass to new music and musicians. When I heard about the launch, I took to the site and started experimenting. For the first time in my life, I actually enjoyed being on Myspace and felt enriched from the experience. The new Myspace is simply a blast that will bring any and every music lover to eternal bliss.

From 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., I examined every inch of Myspace and tested every feature. After some intense song play, I found that the website had interesting shares/links, artist information, the ability to manage a personal mix of music, and, the most important thing, only two run-ins with advertisements. For six and a half hours I listened to hundreds of songs with only two 15-second ads interrupting me. And they weren’t even torturous.

Myspace could be considered a social iTunes that lets you listen to full songs and albums without purchase. Of course, you cannot download the music, but that doesn’t matter here. Myspace is a complete catalog of music that starts at the user’s fingertips. I searched everything from Dave Matthews Band to Hans Zimmer’s compositions. I had access to everything. Plus, everything you listen to or view on the site doesn’t disappear when you navigate the site. Myspace has a player bar on the bottom of the screen that keeps all your music and playlists open so you can play around and never miss a single song.

The site enables users to live a social media life through music. Users can still posts and upload photos like any other site. You can also access other pages by “connecting” to them. “Connecting” to a page is somewhat equal to a Facebook “like.”

I could ramble on and on about the powerful fun that Myspace has to offer to individual users and social media agencies. However, the only way to understand it is to fully experience it. I urge everyone to get on Myspace and start exploring the endless amounts of music. It is a very valuable site that, if marketed properly, will explode onto the social media scene as an entertainment king that shall not be messed with. I for one am excited to see this site grow and watch the world react to the new life of Myspace.

#Instagram: The Savior of Small Businesses

When a group of people from a business begin to engage in ways of promoting their businesses what are some of the ways that pop into their heads right away? Some think through commercials other through billboards and some might think by putting ads in the newspaper and magazines. But in today’s fast paced business world you need a platform that will be able to effectively communicate in a fast manner with customers if you want a good turnout for your business.

So as you hear these tips what do you immediately think, Facebook, twitter, or other social media platforms. Well the answer is the newer social media network called Instagram. This platform uses pictures and #Hashtags to get their name out and to promote new products, and other things the business has to offer.

Many social media experts say that running an instagram page will be the key factor of whether or not your business will be mediocre or a powerhouse. Some helpful tips according to the infographic done by Gold Coast Design Studio say that small businesses should promote their products, engage with their followers, competitions and giveaways, let customers see behind the scenes, and to use #hashtags. People want to see what your company has to offer to post pictures of your products and what they have to offer.

This is a quick and effective way of sharing your products, because the customers can directly see what products you offer wherever they are because you always have to remember customers might skip over a link to a product picture for reasons such as the link might take too long to load on their mobile device or it might just not entice them to click on the link. As well as people like to see the physical product as well as what it has to offer before making the decision to buy it and this platform makes it quick and simple.

According to the infographic done by Gold Coast Design Studio small businesses should incorporate various customers in with their advertising strategies to boost sales of their products as well as getting their products more recognized. Customers like to feel wanted and appreciated by the company their buying stuff from so posting fan photos, replying to their questions and comments in a polite timely manner will also be the stepping stone for building brand loyalty for customers to your business.

Showing the customers that their ideas are being heard will not only bring that customer back but also that customer will hopefully tell his friends and this will create traffic on the instagram page which ultimately will create revenue for your company.

We all know people love free stuff, so for a small business to occasionally engage in a giveaway or a competition to win free stuff will bring more awareness about your company. I’m not telling you to have a giveaway once a week, but having one once a month will do the job in enticing people to view the instagram page more often. Another thing small business can engage in while posting on instagram are posting pictures of things employees are doing in the office.

Give your customers a taste of what goes on during the course of the day in your business and show them how friendly and caring you are. Finally, always remember to use #hashtags these are a great way to keep up with who is buying your products and it is also a stellar way to get your name out on a global scale!

Instagram as a business itself was climbing the ranks to the top social media platform until Facebook bought it for nearly twice what it was worth at the time. Instantly off the bat instagram was a homerun for people of all ages and for businesses using is the correct way. This social media platform was such a hit were it had two of the biggest platforms in the social media game (Twitter and Facebook) fighting over the rights to buy this network. If Instagram was never bought out it would solely be the top social media network in the game today.

If social networks such as facebook and twitter are fighting over it you must assume it to be good.  So as your small business thinks of ways to advertise, turn towards instagram because in this fast-paced world more people are checking social media then television for advertisements. A picture is worth a thousand words and a small business should make it count to be successful in this highly competitive world! Always remember great social media will go a long way and very prosperous for businesses if they choose to join the social media scene. Remember small businesses need a form of advertising to keep up with big businesses and instagram is the perfect way to get your name out in this high volume social media world.

Social Media and U: How Nintendo is Connecting the Masses through Social Networking

Gamers around the world gathered to watch coverage from the annual Electronic Entertainment Exposition (E3) in Los Angeles last week. The expo has been hosted annually since 1995 and been the most popular video game event for years.

Every couple of years, big name developers like Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft unveil the next generation of their consoles, games, and accessories at E3. While Microsoft and Sony held press conferences to showcase their next generation consoles, the Xbox One and Playstation 4, Nintendo chose to debut a prerecorded video.

Nintendo releases these videos, called Nintendo Direct, periodically to show the latest technologies it has to offer. It did not hold a traditional press conference since its newest console, WiiU, has been available in US stores since November.

This year, Nintendo revealed a large number of new exclusive titles for the console that has, in the past few days, seemed to take a backseat to the news coming out of Microsoft and Sony press conferences.

The Nintendo Direct video informed viewers of the latest developments being made to past lovable series such as Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong, and the long-awaited Super Smash Bros. While Nintendo played it rather safe, not announcing too much outside of what was expected, the video received positive feedback overall.

An interesting part of the Nintendo Direct video was the developments being made about Miiverse.

Miiverse is a social network embedded within the WiiU system. It’s a feature that has been around since launch. It’s a more advanced version of the Mii system utilized by the original Wii platform since 2006.

Miiverse allows players from all over the world to seamlessly interact with one another. It provides a means for people to share hints, random messages, and even drawings with gamers from all over the world.

Social media is becoming a large part of gaming especially for the WiiU. Players want more ways to connect with their real life friends, as well as other gamers. Nintendo is providing a great way to do that with Miiverse. The future of social media within gaming appears bright. Each day more features are announced that allow players to interact even more.

An interesting part of this craze is what this growing trend means for advertising within these social networks. With the amount of people seamlessly connected to each other, businesses and social media agencies would be able to reach millions of people instantaneously. For example, a company could have one of its employees make a Miiverse account, free of charge, and draw an elaborate drawing of the company mascot. That drawing can get passed around with ease by thousands of gamers and posted on public walls all around the world spreading the brand quickly.

All in all, social media in the video game universe is growing rapidly. Companies like Nintendo are actually listening to their consumers through these social networking vessels and using the software as a sort of feedback tool to improve their own brand. This case is just another example of social media spreading into a new market and creating endless possibilities for companies and gamers alike.

Social Media Athlete: Is Marketing the New 40?

Today it seems the only lifting athletes are doing is on the couch with a bag of gluten-free soy chips and a smart phone. With the craze of social networking and the rise of the social media celebrity, are athletes spending too much time on Twitter than training to be the next great?”

In the days of Deion Sanders football players rarely were seen or noticed unless they perform exceptionally well on the field. Sanders a loud personality, in his prime but he still produced on the field. Sanders would talk trash while high stepping to the end zone all to gain a reputation and simultaneously projecting himself as a separate brand from the NFL. Television shows, reporters, and writers alike would all tune in to The Deion Show just to see what he would do or say next. Today he is one of the most highly respected athletes of the NFL.

Today there are receivers like Chad Johnson who are “high personality” but do not produce much on the field. Johnson placed his personal life into the window of Twitter and social media. As great of an athlete he is, his numbers have not been great. In his previous season with the New England Patriots he amassed 15 receptions for 276 yards and 1 touchdown. In April 2011, CNBC listed the then-Ochocinco as No. 1 on its list of “Most Influential Athletes in Social Media.” Johnson is a six-time NFL Pro Bowler and was named to three All-Pro teams. He is considered to be a premier receiver by many critics but the question of his character still remains. Bad publicity is good publicity but with the type of status Johnson holds today is not because of his skills on the field but his pursuits off the field.

Johnson was always very active on Twitter, posting photos of riding bulls, trying out for major league soccer teams, and a few pro-animal rights ads in PETA “Ink-Not Mink” campaign. He has marketed himself to a very broad fan base because of his multiple pursuits but he is a highly remarked football player for reasons beyond football. Is this something that should be endorsed to other NFL players and prospects? That has yet to be determined but overall social media has changed the game of how far and fast an athlete can reach their fan base.

Jed Hughes the Vice Chair of Korn/Ferry and the leader of the executive search firm’s Global Sports Practice says “Now more than ever, athletes must be careful about the messages they communicate on social media. In an age of celebrity obsession and 24/7 media, controversial comments can go viral in just seconds.” Hughes later advises that “It would be wise for athletes to engage in posting cautiously. Athletes are considered role models — whether they like it or not. They should set a positive example.”

Chad Johnson is an influential icon who reaches beyond football. He is a highly marketable individual because of his personality and how he interacts with social media. A team that signs him will definitely see an increase in stadium sales because of Chad Johnson’s presence. Sanders played baseball and football in the same year, all the while played in a super bowl and World Series. To play in both is an accomplishment to win both was his milestone. Is Johnson on track of doing the same but through different means? Though Johnson’s fame is unconventional to football he nonetheless is making a name for himself.

If Johnson can learn to focus his energy on football as much as he should towards his training he may be the pioneer of a new kind of athlete; an athlete who is marketing savvy as well. Is this the evolution of the football athlete? Will the NFL see an increase of its athlete’s involvement in social media? Are we as fans inviting this evolution because of our interest in their personalities rather than their skills on the field?

 

 

Is Text Message Marketing EVER a Good Idea?

Today I came across a press release that suggested that a doctor trying to reach their patients should avoid all other forms of marketing and should instead embrace text message marketing.  The release rightly lists the failures of direct mail and newspaper advertisements.  But text messages, really?

At first, I was flabbergasted.  For months now I have, for reasons unknown, received text message updates telling me that I have won a free cruise.  I, of course, have never bothered to claim this free cruise.  Therefore, I imagine a doctor seeking patients would have the same level of response: zero.

In fact, not only is it ineffective, but illegal to send unsolicited text messages.  The FCC frowns very heavily on it indeed.  So, if you’re trying to get new clients, text message marketing is already right out.

But, what if you’re trying to market to an existing client base.  The hurdles there are immense.  Legally, you would have to get them to opt into your text messaging marketing scheme, not an appealing prospect for most people.  Then, even when they’ve agreed to it, you’ll have to get them to absorb the information once it’s sent to them.

So, can it work?  Well, conceivably, but only for certain products.  If you’re a doctor, for example, I don’t think it’s a good idea; I can’t imagine anyone getting a weekly text message and then thinking that they should go in and get penicillin.  While it could be used in order to remind people of their appointments, I don’t think that’s really the type of marketing we’re talking about.

If you have some sort of impulse item, like frozen yoghurt or coffee, then I saw it could be worth a try.  You could text a discount code in the middle of the day and people could decide to go out for a lark and get your product.  If it’s anything more expensive, I wouldn’t bother; nobody is suddenly going to decide they want a new car because they got a text message saying they should come down to Bob’s Ultracheap Car Supershow.

But, ultimately, I think it wouldn’t be worth it.  Text messages interrupt you, so your potential client is probably going to find it pretty annoying.  With the prevalence of smart phones, I would consider social media advertising a better option.  Even if you have to shell out for a promoted post, it will convert better because people will be seeing the message on their own terms, not interrupting them while driving.

So, my verdict is: Don’t bother with text message marketing.  You can do so much better.

The Death of PPC? Why Google and PPC Shouldn’t Go Together

Right now, Google is in a bit of a tight spot now that their earnings have been leaked and their stocks are down almost 10%.  The major cause of the slowdown was a decrease in their core business, pay per click, which has decreased in profitability compared to the same quarter from the previous year.   Specifically, while the number of people clicking on ads has increased, the cost per click has decreased. The article goes on to state that PPC revenue has been down the last four quarters and that some are already questioning just how strong PPC is as a business model.

While I do think it’s a bit premature to question a whole way of doing business based on a single report, it does raise a few questions.  After all, it’s a well-known fact that Facebook’s PPC is not the money-maker online marketing firms  would like it to be, but this is Google, one of the mainstays of the Internet that looked as though it could make money any way it wanted to (Google+ notwithstanding).

So, why is PPC doing poorly for Google?  I think PPC is doing poorly for Google because having ads goes against everything that Google is supposed to be, and people are wising up to the fact.

Google managed to claw its way to the top of the search engine pyramid because it wasn’t loaded with all the spam that other search engines at the time had.  With each successive Google algorithm update, Google is supposed to weed out more and more companies that are getting there by SEO (that is, paying somebody else to make them appear first unnaturally).  The irony, of course, is that PPC ads do exactly that.

In other words, when people are doing Google searches, they’re seeing a lot of pages that really shouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for people paying for it.  And, what do they do when they click on these pages?  The average Google user has become so sophisticated that they immediately leave, making that a wasted click from an advertiser’s point of view.  And the advertisers, being smart, are pulling away from PPC, since it isn’t making them the money they want it to.

The numbers demonstrate this clearly; a decrease in CPC means that there are fewer people bidding on ads.  Therefore, companies are starting to question whether PPC is an effective way to advertise.

Is this a trend that will continue?  Only time will tell.  But, for the time being, it looks like Google is going to have to think of something new.