Posts Tagged ‘Social Media

03
Sep
14

Social Media and Franchises

Social media use has exploded in the past 10 years. For business, it has especially changed how we reach consumers. As social media constantly evolves, the world of franchising is still grappling with how best to utilize “the new word of mouth.”

From the perspective of franchisees, there are several options for social media. Managing a “fan page” for their local business is a great way to connect with customers. This is ideal for local information and offers targeted directly to their business community. Several companies (such as Buffalo Wild Wings – http://on.mash.to/1Cngwx8) utilize the “local location” social media strategy, but one size does not fit all. Some questions to consider before adopting a social media strategy:

  • What is the nature of your business? – The nature of your business will go a long way towards determining the nature of your social media presence. A restaurant franchise’s social media platform will look much different than an urgent care franchise. Where a restaurant might be pushing a deal on a specific product, an urgent care might be posting when they will start offering flu shots, or current wait times for a doctor.
  • Will the franchisee be able to manage a page on their own? With all of the responsibilities of getting a franchise up and running and then operating, it’s possible that managing a social media page might be too much for the franchisee. There should be a plan in place to address whether or not a location page is a good fit.
  • If they can manage, how much control will franchisees have? – This is something the franchisor needs to have planned out early. The franchisor will have the best idea of the desired image for the franchise, but the franchisee may have the best idea about what reaches their local audience.

From the perspective of the franchisor there is much unknown about social media’s effectiveness for franchise sales. It is true more franchisors are using social media as a sales tool, but its primary function is still about engagement. As a result, it is difficult to say how many franchise sales can be directly attributed to social media. The question everybody is trying to figure out is “How can I make social media work for franchise sales?”

To answer this question, there are several other questions to consider as well.

  • Which social networks yield the best results? – Each social network has its own target audience, which means some won’t be your best bet for recruitment. Networks like Twitter or Pinterest use casual language, and are focused around interaction and sharing experiences or photos. LinkedIn, however, is formal and business oriented. Facebook’s sheer volume of active users (1.11 billion active users each month – http://yhoo.it/1i02tpS) is reason enough to utilize Facebook as a tool.
  • How do I connect with users? LinkedIn and Facebook both have solutions to connect with your target audience. LinkedIn has many different groups with people who share similar interest; a quick search for “groups about franchises” yields more than 200 results. Facebook not only allows you to start a page promoting your franchise, you can purchase Facebook ads to target a specific audience.
  • How do I stand out? One method to consider is the use of video. YouTube is already one of the largest search engines in the world, and video results can improve SEO. Plus, videos provide a much deeper sense of engagement than plain text. A video explaining your franchise and how to become a part of it can have powerful results. Facebook ads are also a good tool. They are inexpensive and allow you to target the type of person you want.

Social media and its use within franchises has a wealth of untapped potential. Tell us your thoughts on social media and its uses in franchising in the comments below, or on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/WeiseCommunications?ref=br_tf

25
Sep
13

Social Media Marketing: What Brands Can Learn From “Mother Monster”

What could your brand do with 40 million followers on Twitter?  What about 45 million?  Celebrities such as Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber send out tweets daily to this amount of followers, while their fans continuously respond with compliments, love, and devotion.  So, what can brands learn from these enormous celebrities about how to create an engaging and interesting social media presence?lady-gaga-social-media-tactics

 1—Create A Culture

“Little Monsters” may be a little to eccentric for a company to call their customers, but the united culture is something to strive toward.  Lady Gaga has managed to turn her fans into a loving, supporting culture.  “Mother Monster,” as she’s called, has given her fans a home, and a sense of belonging.  Customers, consumers, and users are all terms that are too disconnected.  A brand should show their customers that they have a subculture that their buyers belong to; a family they didn’t even know existed until they started using your product and service.  Make your customers be proud to be your “little monster.”

 2—Believe In Your Message, But Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously

Sarcasm is now a language within itself.  Sarcasm and humor demonstrate personality, which is crucial to a company’s social media presence.  You want to offer a human aspect to your accounts so fans and followers know they aren’t just engaging with a robot.  Lady Gaga is never afraid to poke fun at herself, her songs, her crazy sense of fashion, and the world around her.  Showing personality helps followers relate to your brand’s voice and feel like they know you.

LittleMonsters-Private-Beta 3—Encourage Collaboration

Shockingly, the people that know your customer base the best are your customers!  Lady Gaga took notice that her fans were just as artistically inclined as her, and opened up her own social network, LittleMonsters.com.  This site has provided a community for her monsters to share their art, while also creating relationships based on acceptance and their love for Gaga.  Opening up an opportunity for customers to use their creativity with your brand can help build loyalty towards your brand.

What are other celebrities that companies should learn lessons from?  Or what are other lessons that can be learned from the big names in music, movies, and TV?  Share with us in the comment section below, and also on our Facebook and Twitter!  Also, check out how we create brand cultures on social media at WeiseIdeas.com.

11
Sep
13

Social Media and September 11th: Small Memorials, Big Impact

Social media has allowed us to remember September 11th through not just major memorials, but small ones, that have just as much impact. Platforms ranging from Facebook to Twitter to Instagram provide an outlet for memorials for those tragic events that touched all of our lives and indelibly changed our nation.nypd

Last year, New York Police Department was able to honor the different officers whose lives were lost during the attacks on the World Trade Center.  The Twitter account posted the names of the officers, as well as their end of tour date; 9-11-01.  These updates served as a reminder of the many public service workers who gave their lives to help citizens of New York that fateful day.

Twitter and Facebook have provided other unique venues for the public to share their emotions and stories in this continuously busy world.  Last year, Twitter was trending with stories of where each user was when they found out about the attacks.  Different age groups were able to illustrate the spectrum of emotions felt when the news of the attacks first broke.  Younger users told how they were in kindergarten class during the attacks, and had no idea what exactly had happened.  While the older population was able to see the news in their office or on their way to work.

September11In addition to a platform for stories, the Internet has become a place for remembrance in lieu of expensive and time-consuming memorial services.  Life unfortunately does not stop on difficult anniversaries, but that does not mean Americans cannot share their thoughts and prayers for each other.  A simple status update or tweet provides a short moment of silence, when the day doesn’t allow for a memorial service.  According to social media experts, these brief mentions have also helped to increase awareness of the importance of any day, which might have been forgotten years later.

Whether it is a moment of reflection, prayer, patriotism, or remembrance, social media has forever changed how Americans will commemorate September 11th, and all that was lost on that day.

How else have you seen others using social media to commemorate 9/11?  Tell us in the comments, and on our Facebook and Twitter pages.  Be sure to visit our website and learn more about our agency and all that we offer in social media.

13
Aug
13

Social Media Marketing: Chipotle’s Method to Their Faux Hack Madness

Last Sunday, Chipotle’s twitter account, known for having one of the most social, appeared to have fallen prey to the works of a hacker.  @ChipotleTweets released a stream of tweets that appeared to be a list of commands to Siri about directions, google searches, and texts. Tweets

Later on during the week, Chipotle admitted to the public that the twitter hack was just a publicity stunt tied to their 20th anniversary campaign, “Adventurrito.”  This announcement received mixed reviews from critics and fans, saying that the fake hack broke the trust of their customers.  This move is not that uncommon, with MTV and BET faking account hacks for publicity only a few months ago.

There is no doubt that the fake stunt increased Chipotle’s publicity; they gained 4,000 followers in a day, as well as publicity all over news and social media sites, but is this success worth their deception?

When it comes to faking account hacks, a real one is a nightmare for community managers to imagine.  But, a planned hack gives off an air of shameless self-promotion, leaving fans and followers feeling foolish.  Social media has helped many brands come closer to their customers, but alienating them on these sites can destroy their long built reputation.

 

chipotleChipotle was able to shy away from alienation and deception by giving their hack an underlying purpose; Adventurrito clues.  The puzzle of the day that Sunday was about the ingredients in Chipotle’s guacamole, so some of the tweets that appeared to be Google searches and texts were actually hints on the puzzle.  Chipotle has been hiding clues for their Adventurrito puzzles across all media, so the purpose of the hack was to follow along with these other hidden clues.

Instead of harmful tweets that might look even worse on the brand, Chipotle made sure their tweets were planned well, shying far away from anything hateful or controversial.

Planned social media hacks can appear to be bottom of the barrel self-promotion, but if executed with a deeper plan, such as clues for a contest, Chipotle is helping their customers, along with themselves.

Was Chipotle’s fake Twitter hack a terrible misstep in their otherwise untainted social media reputation?  Or was it a creative reinforcement to their Adventurrito campaign? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below, and on our Twitter and Facebook!

08
Aug
13

Social Media Marketing: American Eagle’s Skinny Skinny Jeans Touches Millennials

Thanks to Twitter and Facebook, brand engagement is at an all time high.  Some brands have dormant accounts, rarely posting anything, while others have been able to turn their brands into personal, interactive and dynamic engagement tools.  The latter has been able to increase revenues and sales, while also building a positive brand image.  These lively accounts also provide a unique opportunity for followers, giving them exclusive information on the company, sales promotions and contests, as well as first looks at new products on the horizon.skinny-skinny-jeans

American Eagle Outfitters, a clothing store for the millennial market, was able to leverage their social media followers into customers when they brilliantly pulled off a hip, funny April Fools practical joke.  On April 1st, American Eagle made the announcement that they were producing the next big thing in fashion; spray on skinny jeans.  The “skinny skinny” jeans came in a spray can, and were going to be the tightest jeans in the market, following the trend in the millennial fashion world of skinny pant-cuts.  American Eagle produced photos of models, male and female, sporting the new jeans, as well as videos of the jeans in action.  The lighthearted joke received significant press coverage, increasing their exposure, and was a great success to their established brand image of a hip, young company with a fun side.

old_spice_internetOther brands, like Old Spice, have also been able to turn their brands into exciting sources of brand engagement.  Old Spice used their famous “Smell Like A Man” campaign model, Isaiah Mustafa, for an interactive Q&A with Twitter followers.  Followers would tweet their questions, and within minutes would receive a YouTube video response from Isaiah Mustafa and the Old Spice team.  Old Spice’s interactive accounts have made them the leader in body wash and deodorant sales.

It is clear that when used for its purpose, social media networks of brands can produce increased revenue and brand perception.  Social media is able to bring brands closer to their consumers and reinforce a continued brand experience.

What do you think of American Eagle’s April Fool’s gag?  Was it a positive use of brand engagement like Old Spice’s?  Let us know in the comments section, as well as on Twitter at @weise_ideas and Facebook!

01
May
13

HootSuite: SEO Killer or a Hotel for Owls?

HootSuiteWe are fans of HootSuite, the convenient, social media aggregation tool. We use HootSuite to scheduled posts in advance for the agency and for clients. HootSuite saves time publishing content to Twitter and Facebook. It keeps all social media streams in one location. HootSuite enables us to map out a tweet schedule, collaborate and edit future tweets.

However, we have been asked a very interesting question: Does using a third party social media pre-scheduling tool negatively affect our SEO ranking?

For this to be true search engines would not only be scanning and evaluating content, but focus on the posting methodology. We cannot find evidence that search engines are penalizing third party application programming interfaces (API). It is important to note that HootSuite makes is easy to post redundant content and commit other SEO errors.

However, we have found a HootSuite opponent – Facebook. According to a HubSpot study, content shared by third party API services received fewer likes on Facebook and fewer clicks. Facebook sees tools like HootSuite as possible vehicles for spam, and punishes Facebook pages that rely on these tools for the majority of their postings.

Our recommendation for marketers:

1. Use HootSuite to schedule non-time sensitive social media.

2. Do not use HootSuite as the exclusive method to post content.

Social Media is about engagement and if all the content provided is automated, is there much engagement? Also, it is critical to be timely and relevant. If there is a new story that has captured the collective attention of the country and you are posting a video that shows a behind the scenes look at an event, nobody is going to pay attention. Worse yet, you look like you are out of touch.

Tell us if you have used HootSuite successfully and if you agree that third party API doesn’t affect your SEO.  Share your stories with us on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow @Weise_Ideas on Twitter.

28
Mar
13

Public Relations Working Well: Evolving The Press Release Into The Information Release

canstockphoto9493898Discussions continue regarding validity of traditional press releases. Press releases were the traditional go-to channel used by public relations practitioners to share information with the media. Some consider press releases irrelevant in today’s society, where social media citizen journalists are breaking news first. This begs the question, with the evolution of the Internet and social media platforms, are press releases being phased out? Spoiler alert: No.

The popularity and use of social media sites has forced PR professionals to change how we communicate. Emails, cold calls and tweets have become more of the norm when sharing information with the press versus a conventional format-specific press release. Because social media has changed the way we do public relations, it’s becoming more common for journalists to overlook press releases, as they often search for news stories directly avoiding any possible bias.

Yet at the same time, good practitioners know how to tie effective public relations with good SEO. Using the distributed press release to increased links and keyword searches back to the corporate site increases organic search ratings. Additionally, press releases are used as a great form of “back-up” information when the original pitch piques a reporter’s interest.

While the terms are often interchanged, I consider a “news release” to include critical information of wide ranging impacts. When the release represents an official statement from an organization, speaks on behalf of a company when critical announcements need to be made, specific issues need to be addressed or stock prices may be impacted, “news releases” are still important.

Maybe the traditional press release isn’t really an alert to media outlets anymore. Maybe it’s better if we consider it an “information release”. We don’t use them much in pitching, but there is still a role for press releases in the practice of public relations.

Another morphing of the role of press releases is from a recent study stating that 66 percent of public relations consultants say the press release plays a very vital role in branding efforts on behalf of a company. In your opinion, will the typical press release continue to be effective or how much longer until its usefulness is eliminated in our social media-driven society? Share your thoughts with us!




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