Tag Archives: facebook

Applying What I’ve Learned: Developing a Social Media Audience

Ok, ok, so I’ve totally been neglecting Fans of Brands. But you can’t blame me! I’ve started developing marketing materials, managing the social media, and blogging on behalf of two stores here in Jackson Hole: Belle Cose and Goodie2Shoes. You can check out my efforts at bellecosedish and goodie2shoesstyle and become our fans on facebook here and here.

So while I have not been updating Fans of Brands as frequently as I’d like, I can’t say that I haven’t been busy blogging. And I must admit – while I love being the voice behind these two stores, I’ve found the task quite challenging! I want to increase our web presence and fan base, but now that I’m the one on the other side of the equation actually thinking up fun campaigns and ideas that will engage our audience rather than snarkily critiquing other brand’s efforts, I’m left wondering where to begin. How the heck do I start developing more of an audience and fanbase?

Well first we need to link the Belle Cose website to the blog and facebook page. That’s number one on the list! Next we need to actually CREATE a webpage for Goodie2Shoes, which currently doesn’t have a website at all. Then we need to create a link to our blogs on all email blasts. Fortunately both stores have comprehensive customer databases, so that will definitely help our cause.

Now if I’m going to take a page out my own book, I think the next thing I need to do is “get involved in the conversation.” I need to start sounding off on homeware, interior decorating, and cooking blogs (for Belle Cose, a high end home goods store) and fashion and accessory blogs (for Goodie2Shoes, a clothing and accessories store geared at women age 50+). Then I need to link back to my own blogs. Or maybe I should just start writing about Lady Gaga on both websites and see if they start garnering as much attention as Fans of Brands! I guess that wouldn’t be attracting the right target audience though…

Do any of you, my loyal readers, have ideas for how I can start generating fans and directing traffic to my sites? Please feel free to click the above links, or leave comments on this post – I’m all ears!



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Lady Gaga Sends My Blog Stats Skyrocketing

I guess I wasn’t the only one watching the new music video for Lady Gaga and Beyonce’s single Telephone. In just twelve hours after its release, the video garnered half-a-million views… and I counted for at least seventeen of them.

Compared to my Wyoming ski-bum friends, my level of fanaticism for Lady Gaga is relatively high. But apparently it’s pretty average when compared to the rest of the American population. I say this because my blog somehow attracted an unprecedented 972 views on March 13, its hottest day ever, due to my recent post on National Lady Gaga Day.  When Gaga’s video hit the web on march 7, Fans of Brands popped up in online searches for Lady Gaga, funneling hoards of viewers to my site. With my average of 35 views per day, I was shocked to see to 385 views on March 8th, then 534, 538, 568, 812, peaking at  972 on March 13th.  After another week, the Gaga traffic has finally slowed, and I’m back to my normal level of daily hits.

All I have to say is: HOLY TELEPHONE, GAGA. I get the point of linking my blog posts to newsworthy topics, but after all this attention I wonder if it would it be worth ditching the social-media-meets-branding thing and turning my site into a straight-up Lady Gaga fanpage?

I’ll leave you, my 972 viewers, with this link to the Telephone video on MTV.com. The video totally blew my mind, and I know I contributed to its viral status when I texted, emailed, facebooked, and twittered to all of my networks and friends to stop whatever else they were doing to watch it for themselves. If you haven’t seen it yet, take a look and let me know if you think it’s worth the hype.


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A Little Bird Told Me that Twitter Hired a CFO

We love social media sites, but how successful would Facebook and Twitter be if we had to pay to use them? Part of the appeal of social media is that you can be as active or inactive as you want; the site is going to be free whether you spend hours a day browsing for new Twitter followers, or if you only look at your Facebook notifications once a week. However, I might be a little hesitant to update my status seventeen times a day if it cost me forty-nine cents each time. These companies know this, so they have to rely on other avenues to generate revenue.

One of the biggest difficulties facing social media sites is monitization of their services. Because forums like Faceebook, Twitter, and StumbleUpon are free, revenue generation doesn’t necessarily correspond with number of users.  It’s too bad, because the number of members for these sites is vast. Facebook boasts over 400 million users, and while Twitter doesn’t release data on its membership base, it is one of the top fifty sites visited on the web, and according to Nielsen, the third most popular social media site. It seems a little unfair that these companies can’t capitalize simply based on the sheer number of users, but have to find other, more creative ways to generate revenue.

It’s actually kind of ironic that sites like Facebook and Twitter are what’s killing the traditional advertising model, yet Facebook relies on advertisers just like any other website. On the other hand, Twitter has remained ad-free. That is why I’m interested to see what happens now that the company has appointed a new CFO.

Ali Rowghani, current CFO and senior VP of strategic planning at Pixar Animation Studios, will join Twitter in March, bringing his financial expertise to the microblogging service. According to Twitter CEO Evan Williams, “Ali will be an important member of a growing team focused on creating value for our users and capturing the financial opportunities that result from it. His thoughtfulness on retaining a great culture to work and staying consistent with your principles will also be a significant contribution.”

But how will the site change with Rowghani capitalizing on these “financial opportunities?” Will he maintain the ad-free integrity of the site? Will users be able to pay to write tweets longer than 140 characters? Who knows! But paid accounts and new advertising models can’t hurt the company, which has generated over $150 million from venture capital and is valued at $1 billion, but has only generated $400,000 in revenues the third quarter of 2009. As is, the long-term financial viability of the site is not maintainable. I think tweeters everywhere hope that Rowghani can find a model that increases profitability for the site, allowing members to tweet for free, and to their heart’s content.

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National Gaga Day Inspires Over 100,000 Fans

Blasting Lady Gaga songs has become one of my guilty pleasures lately – her addictive club hits, bizarre costumes, and theatrical persona fascinate me, and I can’t look away or stop listening.

It seems like I’m not the only one gaga for Gaga: according to a Facebook event created by student Sarah Jane Elliot, January 29th 2010 has been declared “National Lady Gaga Day.” The viral event spurred 105,147 RSVP confirmed guests, 14,398 “maybe’s,” and countless tweets, including one from Gaga herself. “Thank u for creating #nationalladygagaday little monsters!” she wrote.  “I love u with all my gaga heart.”

 We love you back, Gaga! We love you so much that for a whole day we will celebrate by wearing weird outfits and hair styles, cranking up the volume on “Poker Face,” and fist pumping alone in the car.

 But National Lady Gaga day isn’t the only event of its kind.  Fan-created Facebook events paying tribute to our favorite pop culture icons have been popping up all over our news feeds recently. Back on December 10th, 2009 I took part in “Party in the USA,” an event that garnered over 89,317 attendees in celebration of the famed Miley Cyrus song. The invitation called for “children, teenagers, adults, and elderly folk alike to come together for 5 minutes to nod their head like “yeah” and move their hips like “yeah” for a five minute Party In The USA.”  My teen-culture-loving sister and fifteen year old cousin actually did rock out to Miley for those five minutes, and were promptly hushed by my uncle, who was trying to sleep in the next room. “I didn’t know the person who started the party, but when I saw it on my newsfeed, I immediately RSVPed and invited all of my friends,” my sister said of the event.  “It felt great to know that thousands of people were rocking out at the same time throughout the nation.  It was literally one huge Party in the USA, and for those few minutes, I felt connected to Miley lovers everywhere!”

Through viral events like these, Facebook remains the location for fans of all ages to literally sing their praises for their best loved pop stars and create a strong fan community.  I know that when its time for second annual Lady Gaga Day, I’ll be sporting a bow made out of human hair, carrying a teacup just for the fun of it, and unabashedly belting those profound lyrics, “Da da da do do, just dance!” And with 105,146 other fans joining me, my guilty pleasure might feel a little less guilty.

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Pepsi Forgoes Superbowl Ad in Favor of Social Media Campaign

What’s the most effective way to spend 20 million in marketing dollars?  I’m thinking of my grandmother’s advice as she hands me a $20 bill: “now, don’t spend it all in one place dear!”

By forgoing advertising in the Superbowl for the first time in 23 years, Pepsi is doing just that. In an historic move, Pepsi is shifting their advertising dollars from Superbowl to a social media campaign called the “Pepsi Refresh Project,” which launches on January 13, 2010. Facebook fans will be encouraged to submit suggestions for projects to “refresh” their communities, and users will vote for their favorites. Pepsi will then spend the 20 million to fund these various projects, thus “refreshing” the world to make it a better place.

The marketing move is important for several reasons. The first is that it marks a seismic shift in marketing trends. We’ve already seen this trend and its effects on the world of print media: companies forgo traditional, expensive print ads for cheaper internet marketing and social media campaigns. Then without that advertising revenue, print publications are unable to survive. We have also seen the effects of the marketing shift in television content with a proliferation of talk-shows and reality shows, which are cheaper to produce than scripted sitcoms and dramas. But is social media truly a more effective use for ad dollars, or is it simply a cheaper alternative? Are companies actually reaching more people and generating more effective buzz online and via social media than they would by traditional media advertising? Pepsi seems to think so.

The second implication of Pepsi’s marketing move is that it marks not only a shift in marketing, but also a shift in culture. Gone are the days of expendable income, luxury and consumer gluttony, exemplified by the media and entertainment circus we know as the Superbowl. Consumers are more socially and economically aware these days, and big brands know this – the shift from flashy advertising to a marketing campaign based on social consciousness is Pepsi’s attempt to capitalize on the trend. But because Pepsi is pulling out of the Superbowl altogether really makes me wonder if they are simply jumping on the socially-conscious bandwagon, or if there’s an inkling of legitimate concern for society somewhere in there… seems to me it’s a combination of both.

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Facebook Now Consumes 5 Percent of Our Collective Internet Time

Facebook Now Consumes 5 Percent of Our Collective Internet Time

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Check out this article from Mashable about America’s time spent on Facebook. I can completely believe it! I hate to admit this, but I probably spend at LEAST 5% of my total internet time on Facebook. It makes me wonder what else I’d be doing with that 5% of my time. Would it be spent in genuine social interaction? Would it be spent productively? Or would that time still be spent still trolling around on other time-wasting websites?

It begs the question: is Facebook detracting from other more meaningful types of social interaction and/or internet activities, or is it simply stealing market share from other frivolous passtimes? I think think the answer lies in whether you believe that Facebook is a time-waster or a useful tool. Granted, some of my time on Facebook is spent doing research on company’s marketing activities and fan sites. Some of it is spent looking up new friends to network with them, or researching friend’s addresses to send them a Christmas card (useful!). But the vast majority of that time is spent thinking of witty quips to update my news-feed status, making clever comments on friend’s postings, sifting through vacation photos of people I barely knew in college, or stalking the profiles of my old boyfriend’s new girlfriends.

If my Facebook activities are in any way a reflection of America’s habits, I wonder, is this a healthy way for America to be spending 5% of its time? Maybe a little curtailing of my own Facebook use would make me feel a little better about America’s passtime as a whole. As the saying goes, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Either that or, “The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.”

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A Lesson in Irritating Your Consumer – J. Crew’s Social Media Campaign

Last Thursday on Thanksgiving, after my family said grace and gave thanks for all being together, the conversation shifted to a more important topic: what everyone wants for Christmas.

I am one of five semi-preppy 20-something siblings, and all of us receive marketing emails from J. Crew. Santa receives these emails too, and with frequent offers of 20 percent off of orders over $150 and free shipping,  the chances are very high that this Christmas morning we each open a box with a fuzzy new J.Crew sweater in our favorite color.

But, after dropping the requisite hints about how cute we all think the new cable knit v-necks with the ruffled detailing are, we began discussing how exactly we all know about that one cute sweater: J. Crew’s marketing.

In the past, we have all agreed that J.Crew’s marketing efforts have been superb. The company is religious about sending a glossy catalog to our residence each month. Its marketing emails are timely, and keep us informed of its sales, deals, and new merchandise. But its emails are pretty much always the same bargain – 20 percent off and/or free shipping, mostly on orders over $150. And that’s where the complaints began. The “deal” emails usually come in the same format – white lettering on a black background touting those same, predictable sales.

We started talking about marketing and the value of a brand switching up its techniques to keep things interesting for their consumers. We love J. Crew – we already want what it sells.  It does a great job of taking its tried and true concept and tweaking it just a little bit each season in order to keep things fresh.  That may be the reason we like its clothes, but it’s the reason we don’t like its marketing. We want J. Crew to surprise us, because we already know it can surprise us with little bows and sparkles on otherwise basic tee-shirts and headbands.

This leads me to our biggest complaint about J. Crew’s recent marketing – its social media campaign.  We all received the same email recently: J. Crew told us that if we became a fan of the J. Crew Facebook page, it would give us a special exclusive deal. “Ooooh” we thought, “maybe it’s a free tote bag or keychain! Maybe it’s 50 percent off!” But when each of us signed up as a Facebook fan and saw the deal, we were disappointed.  It was the usual twenty percent off.

Wow, never seen that before, J. Crew. Pretty exciting. You enticed us, your already devoted consumers, to be your Facebook fans, published that information on all of our friends newsfeeds, and will now flood our homepages with product and company updates. And all we get is a measly twenty percent off? Thanks a lot, really. Now, instead of making us happy, you’ve irritated us. You haven’t irritated us enough to stop buying your products, but maybe you’ve irritated us enough to de-fan you on Facebook, or worse, to unsubscribe from your marketing emails.

The moral of this story is that when your consumers are doing you a favor, you better reward them properly. Keep them interested, give them something unexpected to show them how valuable they are. But it has to be genuine – it can’t be the same old ploy. If J. Crew really had given us that tote bag or keychain, its dedicated consumers would have felt special and appreciated. We would have forwarded the offer to all of our friends, and the campaign would have generated hundreds of thousands more Facebook fans. Instead we feel annoyed and bored.  J. Crew is doing all the right things as far as keeping its consumers informed with email, social media, and direct print marketing, but it needs to work a little harder to keep things its marketing as exciting as its knits and tees.

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