Posts Tagged ‘Mashable’

Facebook Explores Access for Children

June 6, 2012

Facebook may be creating a membership option for children under 13, allowing them to access the social site under parental supervision, according to a recent Wall Street Journal article.

The new membership will allow children under 13 to have accounts that will link to their parents. Parents will be able to control who their children add as friends and which apps they use.

“Many recent reports have highlighted just how difficult it is to enforce age restrictions on the Internet, especially when parents want their children to access online content and services,” the statement said. “We are in continuous dialogue with stakeholders, regulators and other policymakers about how best to help parents keep their kids safe in an evolving online environment.”

Even though Facebook currently restricts users under 13, studies have shown that as much as 38% of children on Facebook are under 12. If Facebook does create a membership for children under 13, it could significantly increase its user base of 900 million.

According to the Wall Street Journal, a study sponsored by Microsoft Research released last fall found that 36% of parents were aware that their children joined Facebook before age 13 and that a substantial percentage of those parents helped their kids in the effort.

Given the current issues of cyberbulling and child predators, Facebook will need to be careful as it opens up its doors to young children.

What do you think about Facebook creating a new membership for children under 13? Good or bad? Safe or dangerous?

Successful Social Media Contests

March 19, 2012

Our previous blog post provided tips on how to successfully create a social media contest. Here are a few social media contests that companies implemented that were both highly successful and creative!

1. Citizen Eco-Drive

During the 2011 U.S. Open, Citizen Eco-Drive, a sponsor of the competition, ran contests on Facebook and Twitter offering a free watch to a daily winner. In order to win, people had to follow, like, retweet or answer trivia questions. This contest was successful because of the easy entry, great prize and huge fan engagement.

2. Bing

Bing, a popular search engine, created a jingle contest where users uploaded a video of their “Bing Jingle” for a change to win a prize. This contest was promoted across its social media outlets and resulted in increased engagements and word-of-mouth marketing.

3. Dodge

Dodge recently launched the “Find the Dodge Journey” campaign, which was a real-life scavenger hunt with the prize being a free car. Dodge used YouTube to create viral videos that hyped up the exciting adventure.

4. Basecamp

Basecamp, a web-based project management tool, recently created a “Tell A Friend” contest that offered a discount to new users that signed up through references of a friend. This contest successfully promoted word-of-mouth marketing through friends and co-workers.

5. Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Lines recently launched a social media contest asking participants to create a “Didja Ever” list, or a bucket list. By submitting a “Didja Ever” list, participants were entered to win numerous prizes, one being a free trip for two on one of its popular cruise ships, Carnival Magic. This was an extremely successful campaign and helped them gain more than 1 million Facebook likes.

For more successful social media contests, check out Mashable’s article, 10 Companies That Hit the Bullseye With Online Contests. 

Launching a Social Media Contest

March 14, 2012

In the past, we have created fun Facebook contests for our clients that have successfully increased “likes” and page activity. Something as simple as giving away a gift card or a unique item will generate interest and activity on social media platforms. Mashable’s article on how to successfully launch a social media contest provides great tips and insight. Here are some tips that we have found helpful.

1. Know who the contest is targeting and why.

The first step of creating a contest is understanding your target audience and the objectives you want to come from the contest.

2. Make the contest rules simple.

Be sure that the entry process of the contest is easy to understand. Also, make sure the requirements of the contest are clearly explained and laid out.

3. Continuously communicate.

It is important to continuously communicate to your audience throughout the entire contest. Communication should target both prospective contestants and active participants. You should also communicate to your audience after the contest is over, such as announcing the winner and thanking them for participating.

4. Learn from your experience.

Once the contest has ended, take the time to learn what succeeded and what failed. Use this evaluation as an opportunity to improve your future contests.

These tips, along with experience, will help you start and improve contests for your brand and for your clients.

Increase Your Company’s Social Media Presence

February 15, 2012

Being an interactive agency, maintaining a social presence is something we try to constantly maintain.  Our recent merge with Efficience has provided us with more social media opportunities, which has also provided more room for social media improvement.

One of the biggest misperceptions of social media is that it falls solely on the social media director or manager. In order to make your company more social, it is key to get everyone in the company involved, or at least aware, in the benefits of social media.

Here are 6 ways to increase your company’s social media presence:

1. Give Interactive Tutorials

Some of our co-workers are not currently active in social media. Some simply don’t want to be, and others have never learned what it is about.  Fun and easy web-based tutorials are a great way to inform co-workers in a form they can access both in and out of the office.

2. Focus on Fun Ways to Use Twitter

Some people have strong opinions about Facebook; they either love or hate it. To avoid this, focus on a platform that is just as helpful to your company but is less familiar. Twitter is so fun, and the opportunities are endless. A good way to get everyone involved is show tweets of comedians or show hashtags of commentary during an episode of The Big Bang Theory. This will show that Twitter can relate to each co-worker and will show how Twitter can increase information in any certain business or industry.

3. Find Influencers Within the Company

In our office, there are obviously some people that love social media more than others. The social media gurus can be helpful tools around the office if any questions or ideas arise.

4. Launch a Fun Contest or Internal Campaign

We love launching fun social media contests for our clients. Not only are these contest fun, they are also very successful.  Reviewing the success of these campaigns, it only makes sense to create a internal contest among co- workers. We have yet to launch something like this, but the ideas are flowing!

5. Engage

As you push social media throughout your co-workers, assist their progress by engaging with them. Retweet, like, comment, or subscribe to something they do. This positive (hopefully) feedback will boost their social media confidence.

6. Get creative!

Remember: social media is fun and the opportunities are endless! By involving all your co-workers, more creative ideas for social media strategies, content, and contests will form. This will provide your social media presence and, in turn, your company with greater external potential.

For different insight and more information on this topic, check out Mashable‘s article, How to Make Your Company More Social.

QR mistakes to avoid (from Mashable)

August 7, 2011

Although QR codes are becoming more and more popular with our clients, many are still learning, and some are actually learning from their mistakes. The following Mashable article outlines five big mistakes to avoid.

The biggest takeaway—put yourself in your client’s shoes. Is your campaign message compelling enough that you would pull out your Smartphone? And, would you be happy with the the pay-off behind the code?

Tell us what your QR campaign is doing. We want to hear from you!

Mistake 1: Not Testing the Code

time qrCommon sense right? Until you’re able to read a QR code just by looking at it, you should always test the proofs with a variety of smartphones and scanning apps before you release a campaign.

This is the simplest way to spot scanning problems. For instance, a small placement (less than an inch) will often be too dense to scan if you’ve encoded a longer URL, but using or to automatically generate a short URL QR code is an easy fix.

Since QR codes feature up to a 30% error correction rate, there’s flexibility for creative branding and tweaks. But if the designer accidentally overdid it, test-scanning is an easy path to being the office hero that day.

For example, the above image is taken from “15 Beautiful and Creative QR codes.” While visually interesting, I’m fairly confident this isn’t scanable.

Mistake 2: Getting Too Fancy With Text

olsen qrImage courtesy of Yiying Lu.

If your goal is to get people to a mobile web experience, you should only ever encode a short URL. Don’t include any plain text, since many barcode scanners (even gold standards like ShopSavvy) won’t tease out the link. If you’re hoping a user will copy/paste on a mobile device, don’t bet on it.

Think of the QR code as a physical hyperlink that every barcode scanner should be able to immediately “click.” If your QR code requires the user to do much more than point and scan to arrive at the intended content, you’re probably doing it wrong.

Take the image above. I love the Olsen twins as much as the next guy, but these QR codes result in the oft-problematic text string + link combo. Fail bonus: The site consistently turns up invalid security certificate errors.

Mistake 3: Serving up Non-Mobile Pages

coke qrYour QR code scans successfully but you’ve pointed the user to a standard desktop website, when 99.9% of QR codes are scanned by a mobile device. Fail.

Get acquainted with HTML5 to give your mobile web app that native app feel. You can either hire a developer to build your mobile site or use a non-technical modular CMS (content management system) like Paperlinks if it suits your campaign objectives.

This Coca-Cola QR code’s heart is in the right place (the MyCokeRewards program) but the resulting non-mobile website is all but impossible to navigate.

Mistake 4: Putting QR Codes Where There’s No Data Signal

red bull qr

Where your ad will run is just as important as how you implement it.

Tesco’s recent QR code “grocery store” in a Korean subway worked great because those platforms have Wi-Fi. This is not the case in the U.S. Placing QR codes in locations without Internet access is a sure way to make your audience upset. Make sure you know where the ads will be, and if possible, run tests to make sure they are visible and will still work.

For example, the Red Bull campaign QR code above was in a New York City subway, so I have no idea what it does.

Mistake 5: Not Offering Enough Value

marines qr

This point is highly subjective but also probably the most important. The proper mindset is to reward the user for scanning your QR code. This “reward,” however, will change depending on what you’re trying to promote.

Try to avoid redundancy (a digital copy of your flyer), irrelevance or dullness (your company’s street address). Take the above image. The U.S. Marine Corps. QR code promises a cool experience but instead leads to a wallpaper download and a commercial.

When coupled with a clearly articulated call-to-action near the QR code, we’ve found the most compelling campaigns tend to offer one or more of the following:

  • Exclusive rich media, videos and photos
  • Exclusive or time-sensitive access
  • Free downloads or swag
  • “Instant Win” contests
  • Special offers, coupons or gifts
  • “Secret” information
  • Deep integration with social media to activate viral loops

YouTube Marketing Mistakes

March 29, 2011

Over the past couple of years, we’ve been delving into the world of YouTube. With our clients, we use YouTube to post testimonials, demonstrations, tutorials and other informational clips. We are constantly brainstorming and discovering new ways to use this new and highly-effective social media tool, so this article by Mashable has been helpful to us.

Mashable recently released an article on the Top 5 YouTube Marketing Mistakes Committed by Small Businesses. This article contains advice from three top experts on video marketing and how they recommend avoiding these top five YouTube mistakes:

1. Having Unrealistic Expectations

When small businesses upload a video, they believe that in order for it to be successful, it must be viewed by millions.

“Remind yourself that having a video go viral is a notable success, not the norm,” says Matt Smith, director of strategy at digital agency The Viral Factory.

No matter how good the video content is, you can’t just upload it to YouTube and wait for viewers to watch it. Businesses need to have a strong and well thought out promotion and distribution plan.

We use other social media outlets, such as Facebook and Twitter, to share YouTube videos.

2. Thinking Small

Keeping realistic expectations is important, but don’t weigh out the possibility of your video going viral just because you’re a small business.

“There are plenty of small brands that think they need to be a Nike or an Adidas to be successful in social video,” says Sarah Wood, founder of social video distribution and engagement company Unruly Media. “This is simply not true! Any brand, large or small, can score a hit in social video.”

3. Treating a Viral Video as a Commercial

Don’t limit your video content to an ad on a limitless new media outlet.

“When you go into online video with the understanding that it can do more than just sell a product or service, you’re already ahead of the game,” says Justin Gonzalez, social media strategist for Bars+Tones, creative video agency.

YouTube is a social media site where people want to engage in fun content, so don’t limit your company to the old sales pitch style.

4. Putting All Your Eggs in the YouTube Basket

“Youtube My Facebook” from Cedric Vella on Vimeo.

YouTube is one of the biggest social media platforms, but definitely not the only one!  We try and use YouTube as much as it seems fit, but for some of our clients, YouTube is not the best social platform.

“Businesses that want to leverage the word of mouth potential of social video need to focus away from just YouTube and explore the world of social video that exists beyond YouTube, Twitter and Facebook,” says Wood.

5. Basing Success on View Counts Alone

Most businesses upload content on YouTube and anxiously watch the numbers increase and wish to get 1 million views. Although achieving 1 million views is impressive, you can’t base your success on the number of views; meaningful engagement is what matters. Of course we love seeing our number of views increase, we like to watch for comments for viewers, which can give much more feedback and be much more meaningful.

“Sometimes marketers get bogged down in looking at the metrics and trying to determine whether the number of video views really made a difference in the bottom line, or whether it was just enough to build buzz around the product or service,” says Gonzalez. “When you can clearly define why it’s necessary for your business to be on YouTube, you’re ready to move on to the next steps.”

Keep these YouTube mistakes in mind as you begin experimenting with it as a marketing tool.

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Get LinkedIn for business

March 25, 2011

I’m getting more and more questions from clients about the value of LinkedIn, so perfect timing for this Mashable post that hit my inbox this morning. I, personally, am not as active in LinkedIn as I am in Facebook on a daily basis, but I absolutely see its value. I’ve connected with several business professionals in my industry and the groups I subscribe to provide a fantastic networking space online. And, unfounded or not, I do believe people take me and my business more seriously in the LinkedIn space. Here’s what Mashable reports:

LinkedIn recently passed 100 million users, meaning its population is bigger than most countries. But what kind of country would LinkedInLand be? An old, rich, well-educated one.

According to the infographic below, created by Online MBA, 68% of LinkedIn users are 35 or older, 74% have a college degree or better and 39% make more than $100,000 a year. As those stats illustrate, although LinkedIn may not have the buzz of Facebook or Twitter right now, it has an enviable demographic base. The company also is profitable, fast-growing and expanding into new lines of business like news aggregation. As LinkedIn prepares to go public this year, here’s an overview of the phenomenon that Reid Hoffman created 8 years ago.

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“How the Grinch Stole Christmas” for the Droid

December 13, 2010

My three-year-old and I just watched this movie and he is hooked (and secretly, so am I…it’s one of my favorites this time of year). So, how happy am I to have found this classic for the Droid? It’s available for $3.99.

The app, which come from publisher Oceanhouse Media, is top-notch, intended to be both “engaging and educational” for young readers.

Mashable review:

There are three ways to read each book/app. If you choose to have to book read to you, the apps highlight individual words as the story is read by a professional narrator. You can also choose to read the book yourself or auto-play. When you touch the image on your Android device’s screen, the words zoom up.

These apps also include custom background music and audio, special effects and edu-taining features along with the original artwork and text of the Dr. Seuss classics.

The app is already getting 5-star reviews from parents of young kids, and several have said it works well on the Samsung Galaxy Tab as well as traditional mobile devices.

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Visualizing 6 Years of Facebook

September 21, 2010

We love Mashable‘s look at Facebook!

Facebook was launched on February 4, 2004 and has come a long way from a Harvard-only networking site in the intervening years. In fact, Facebook has undoubtedly become the world’s largest social network, with over 400 million users worldwide and more than 900 employees. Let’s take a closer look at what kinds of numbers and user activity this growth translates to.

The following infographic explores Facebook’s growth over the past 6 years.

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