It’s that time of year again, where folks publicly state the things that they are (or aren’t) going to do in the upcoming year.
Cats resolve to do everything from losing weight, getting organized, finding a new job, drinking less, to saving money, eating healthier or reducing stress.
By and large, we make personal or individual resolutions, but very rarely do we devote this type of attention to our brands. But if you think about it, was 2014 a stellar year for your brand? Aren’t there things you wish you had done better last year?
I’m sure there are.
But you didn’t.
In fact, you probably couldn’t have been more social because you don’t know what you were doing wrong.
Lets think about this for a moment, shall we?
Your Facebook page could have been more engaging. Right?
You probably could have posted more on Facebook, uploaded more flicks on Instagram, responded to more people who commented on your blog, or reciprocated more follows on Twitter. Right?
To be plain, you could have been more social.
But you weren’t.
Worry not my friend!
Here ere are five resolutions to make your brand more social in 2015.
Resolution No. 1. I will go mobile this year.
Mobile. Mobile. Mobile. Did I say “mobile?”2015 will be the Year of Mobile. Brands who adopt a mobile-first approach, will far outpace those which fail to accept the fact that the mobile is the sweet spot for brands – especially in the retail and self-service industries. Mobile is the primary means through which folks are getting online, browsing and making discrete purchase/payments. With Apple Pay, PayPal, Google Wallet and other mobile payment platforms, it’s the key to unlocking tight sales and generating revenue across screens.
One brand that has taken the importance of mobile and social to heart is Williams-Sonoma. The Williams-Sonoma family of brands, which include Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, pottery barn kids, PBTeen, West Elm and Mark and Graham, have embraced mobile with mobile web properties that are simple to navigate and resulted in expansive growth of their brands online. In their annual report, Williams-Sonoma cites e-commerce as their “fastest growing business” and a “significant part of their sales success.” Other brands should look to companies like Williams-Sonoma, to see how mobile can be effectively leveraged in 2015.
Resolution No.2. I will implement a loyalty program.
Loyalty is becoming increasingly valuable to users who are looking to stretch their dollars. Who doesn’t want to be rewarding for spending money on the brands they patronize? More importantly, in this “look at me” world we live in, folks are quick to share that free coffee they just earned on Starbucks on Facebook (or Twitter) or invite friends to take advantage of a special offer (especially if it means they can earn more loyalty points for doing so).
Loyalty is especially important in the retail space. When the price of an item is virtually the same regardless of vendor, loyalty is sometimes the difference between making the sale or not. Best Buy has a particular good loyalty program, which rewards patrons for spending with them. Best Buy customers earn points for every dollar they spend, which can be redeemed for reward certificates. Loyalty members also qualify for discounts, free shipping and hosts of other special promotions. Starbucks, Sephora and Walgreens each have loyalty programs that reward customers who enroll.
Resolution No.3. I will use text messaging to engage.
Mass push notifications (aka text messaging) are a rudimentary, but effective way of interacting with your current or potential customers. Even though it seems counterintuitive in this age of smart phones, apps and responsive mobile sites, texting is still effective for reaching millions of mobile users who relish the quick tidbits of information that can be shared in 160 characters or less. One great thing about text messages is that, in addition to their brevity, you can embed links, which will let the user access greater detail, if they want, with a simple click.
Beyond the ability to broadcast messages to large numbers of people simultaneously, text messaging is far less intrusive than email, as users opt-in to receive them. Thus, there is a far greater likelihood of your messages being read and acted upon. There are a number of brands effectively using text messaging to engage with their audiences, including retailers like Abercrombie & Fitch, Bed, Bath & Beyond and Aeropostale. Each of these brands understand the importance of text messaging, alongside their other targeted marketing efforts.
Resolution No. 4. I will use social media more.
Instagram has become the de facto platform to connect with this social demographic. But Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Google+ (among others) still have a place with millions of users. This year, resolve to connect with your audience across multiple SM platforms. Even if you’re not creating unique content for each channel, at a minimum, make sure you’re broadcasting across all of them.
In 2014, brands like Fiat, Jockey and Burton, all made effective use of social media. By focusing on greater engagement, thoughtful campaigns and a commitment to truly using social media platforms, these brands were able to connect with and grow their respective bases in 2014.
Resolution No. 5. I will refresh my content regularly.
There is no worse sin in social media than stale content. Something new happens every day, so there’s no reason for your content to be static. Whether it’s a new sale, coupon, discount, store opening, product release, acquisition, whatever, updating your website or social media profiles with the new is always a good look for your brand. More importantly, by regularly refreshing your content, you give your users a reason to visit your site, social media space, or mobile app frequently.
I’m not talking about being social for social’s sake.
There’s nothing to be gained from spending all day on Facebook (or any other social media platform) if there’s no appreciable ROI.
I am talking about leveraging social media to enhance your brand and strengthen the ties that bind you with your current and potential audience.
As customers become increasingly more mobile and social, adopting a strategy that accepts this as a starting point becomes critical to the success of any initiative.
If you’re struggling to figure out how to adopt of develop a more social strategy or implement mobile effectively, or if you have any questions, feel free to drop me a line or leave a comment.
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. But it will be on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
I just finished reading The Revolution Will Not Be Televised by Joe Trippi on the Nook app on my iPad.
Great read for 21st century political consultants.
It was a self-imposed homework assignment, for the work that I’ve been doing with Vincent Morgan, the Democratic candidate for Congress I’ve been working with for the past two years.
If you haven’t read it (why would you?) it’s a good read.
It was especially informative for me because in it, Joe talks about the various online and social media strategies Howard Dean’s campaign employed to build it’s base, push Dean’s message and raise money.
To make a long story short, the Dean campaign was really responsible for the both the use and proliferation of the web and social media by political candidates.
Without Howard Dean, there would have been no Obama. Period.
What Howard Dean’s campaign did with the internet and social media, completely bucked traditional notions of what online communities meant, how to galvanize supporters and raise money.
Trippi’s title, an homage to Gil Scott-Heron’s poem and song of the same title, refers to the fact that TV is no longer the dominant medium, especially as it relates to the manner and methods of running a political campaign.
Gil clearly didn't know about iReporting back in the day!
Where campaigns used to pour millions of dollars for television spots, in an effort to frame the issues and influence voters, Trippi posits that online forums, blogs, social media and the web generally, will have greater impact in future races.
As I sit here, thinking about how to apply Trippi’s strategies to Vince’s campaign, I’m brimming with excitement.
Last year, when Vince ran against Rangel, we knew out the gate, that we were in for an uphill battle.
For one, Vince was a relative unknown. Rangel’s name carried all the weight in the world – even in the middle of his ethics controversy.
Vince had no political experience, save a stint working with Rangel several years prior.
The M4C team was pretty inexperienced. It was the first political campaign for most of us.
He hadn’t raised a lot of money, which effectively meant that media buys (and virtually anything else that cost money) were out of the question. Even with Rangel’s ethical issues, he was still sitting on a (relative) war-chest.
This year, it’s a different story.
For one, Vince is no longer an unknown. While he may not evoke the same level of name recognition as Rangel, he is regularly featured in both local and national press.
He’s a frequent political commentator on CNBC, having most recently offered is perspective after the GOP Iowa caucus.
Although Vince still has no formal political experience, his previous run gave him political credibility and experience running a political campaign.
Even though he’s never held formal office, he is being discussed as a viable Democratic candidate, in the same breath as, and alongside other established politicians.
Team Morgan is staffed with experience. From his PR agency, Dash PR, to his finance manager, to his interim campaign manager, the team he’s assembled know their respective charges, and are ready, willing and able to execute accordingly.
But the most important thing, is the impact that social media and online, are having on the strategies we’re developing.
Unlike Charles Rangel, and the rest of the other candidates running (or planning on running) in the next election, Vince is truly technologically savvy.
While other candidates have third parties blogging, tweeting, FourSquaring, updating their Facebook status and generally leaving social media to someone else, Vince is actively engaged in the management of his online personae.
He actively posts articles, videos and pictures he finds to his website, personal and political profiles, and responds to comments he receives.
If you haven't 'Liked" the page, do so now!
And he makes it a point to ‘check-in’ with FourSquare, when he visits any of the restaurants, barbershops, cafes, stores and venues in his daily travels, staying engaged virtually with his growing constituency.
More importantly, he knows how important it is to get the formula, of online and offline activities, right.
As Joe Trippi noted in his book, virtually every political campaign, candidate and politician, has a website, Facebook page, etc. They would be remiss, in the post-Obama era, not to.
But having an online presence, and utilizing it effectively, are two drastically different things.
Our goal, in 2012, is to master the use of online and social media tools and put Vince in office.
That means we’ve got to raise his profile, raise money, get people off their butts and into voting booths on election day.
I’m confident that we’re going to do just that.
But don’t take my word for it.
Check in on the campaign from time to time and see how we’re doing.
Filed under branding, opinion, social media, Uncategorized
Tagged as app, blogging, campaign, Charles Rangel, comment, Congress, Dash PR, Democratic candidate, Facebook, Foursquare, Gil Scott-Heron, GOP, Howard Dean, internet, iPad, Joe Trippi, MSNBCIowa caucus, Nook, Obama, online communities, political commentator, social media, tech savvy, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, tweet, Twitter, web