Instagram vs Vine, Who Will Win The Short Video Title?

Image via Media Bistro

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so what about a 6-second video? Or a 15-second video?

With the number of mobile phones on the planet set to exceed that of human beings, it’s no surprise that video is all the rage these days, from adorable doggy videos (Thanks Janette Speyer!) to major brand promotions.

Earlier, this year, Twitter launched a video platform called Vine, which allows users to create and share 6-second long videos. I’ll admit that my first thought was “Really? What can you possibly say in six seconds??” And yes, the time limit is definitely an obstacle, but it also forces people to be creative and use every second to showcase something amazing and meaningful to the viewer.

Recently, Facebook-owned Instagram debuted their own video service, titled Video for Instagram (I’ll be referring to it as Instagram for simplicity’s sake), which allows users to record and share 15-second videos.

Here’s a brief comparison of the two video services, via Social Media Today:

Instagram vs. Vine

But the question is, should marketers use these services? My answer: Maybe. No, this isn’t a cop-out – it depends on how the brand is using these tools. Like anything, the tool is just that – it’s a tool. The value it could create comes from how you use it.

There are several great ways to use Instagram and Vine as marketing or promotional tools (via Marketing Land and Sprout Social):

    1. Teasers: Taco Bell posted a teaser, which included pyrotechnics (!!!), for their upcoming Doritos Locos Tacos. This 15-second video was very effective and got Taco Bell’s fans excited for the launch.
      http://instagram.com/p/ayi4qBwhGS/#

    1. Sales Promotions: Online retailer Topshop posted this stop-motion video, which puts 3 summer outfits together and lists the item numbers in the description.
      http://instagram.com/p/blv3tcBSqv

    1. Announcements: Samsung recently posted a Vine, using their signature Galaxy S 4 phone and, thus, announcing Vine for Android. The 6-second video was a very clever (check out this subsequent Vine to see how they recorded it) way of announcing the long-awaited and eagerly-anticipated Android version of the app. It’s also a great way of illustrating what you can do with six seconds!
      https://vine.co/v/b3v1m5p6Ijn
    1. Tutorials/HowTo’s: Lowe’s has taken to Vine to share quick (obviously) tips and how-to videos to help their customers with their DIY projects. These videos are extremely easy to follow and have become very popular. The company made the conscious effort to brand these videos with the hashtag #lowesfixinsix, which makes this series searchable and very easy to find on Twitter.
      https://vine.co/v/bU61aqq2YOp

    A timely example of Instagram and Vine campaigns comes to us from MTV. According to Mashable, the network is releasing videos on the two platforms, announcing the nominees for the upcoming Video Music Awards (VMAs), being held on August 25 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. Using the hashtag #RoadToTheVMAs, MTV will release one video per hour (beginning 8 a.m. ET on Wednesday, July 17th) on both Instagram and Vine to announce the nominations of one major category. Here is the first video (nominees for Video of the Year), posted on both Instagram and Vine:




It comes as a no-brainer that MTV would use these services as marketing tools because they’ve had great success in the past. In their article, Mashable also states that MTV used Instagram photos to reveal the VMAs’ location in a campaign that amassed a quarter of a million Instagram likes, 16 million Twitter impressions, 8 million Facebook impressions and 1 million Tumblr impressions. The cable network was also the first brand to reach 1 million Instagram followers and now has 1.37 million on the platform, in addition to 117,000 followers on Vine.

What do you think of Instagram Video and Vine? Should they be used as marketing tools? Are there any campaigns that got it right, or terribly wrong for that matter?

Please share your comments, Instagrams, and Vines below!

Kavita Chintapalli, Guest Blogger

Kavita Chintapalli, Guest Blogger

Kavita Chintapalli is a recent MBA graduate from Rutgers University and is currently seeking a full time position in digital marketing or social media. She enjoys all things beauty-related, cool tech gadgets, TV, blogging, and social media. Learn more about Kavita on her website, http://kavitachintapalli.com.

6 Benefits of Inviting a Guest Blogger to Your Site

It’s the lazy days of summer and you are ready for a vacation, right? You dream of your favorite spot, complete with a beautiful beach, palm trees and refreshing beverages. Then it hits you like a coconut in the face. You still need to post a blog article because your readers are counting on you! Go back to relaxing, I have the solution – a guest blogger.

6 Benefits Of Using A Guest Blogger

6 Benefits Of Using A Guest Blogger

What is a guest blogger?

Someone who writes posts for other bloggers to publish for free, or writing posts for other bloggers to publish on their blogs for free. Guest blogging is a traffic building and networking tool to help grow a blog.

Have you ever used a guest blogger? If not, here are 6 reasons why you need to develop a relationship with reputable guest bloggers.

Guest bloggers offer a wide variety of benefits to your site.

  • Guest bloggers expand your audience
  • Guest bloggers give credibility
  • Guest bloggers offer a fresh, new perspective on your topic
  • Guest bloggers may be experts in a field that you aren’t
  • Guest bloggers can give you some time off (when you’re busy or on vacation) by writing a post for you
  • Guest bloggers allow you to guest blog and share your expertise on their site

Where do you find guest bloggers?

There are many ways to build relationships with other bloggers, here are a few:

  • Ask a blogger that you follow that is also in your industry
  • Develop relationships with some of your favorite Twitter friends
  • Call up a colleague and ask him/her to write a post on a specific subject
  • Email an industry expert that you met at a conference or trade show

The list goes on, but you get the idea. We all meet interesting people in person and online. These same people will be honored that you’ve asked them to share their expertise with your audience. This is especially beneficial if the guest blogger is an expert in a field that you are not. Once you have chosen a potential guest blogger, do your research to ensure this person will add value to your site. Remember, content marketing such as blogging should educate, entertain and/or inform your audience. Your audience will be delighted with your guest’s specialized advice or knowledge.

A word of caution: There are several schools of thought on using guest blogging for back linking purposes and whether it helps or hinders your Google ranking. If this is your sole purpose for adding guest bloggers to your site, you may want to do further research on the topic.

If you would like more information, check out the Beginner’s Guide to Guest Blogging infographic below by GuestBlogPoster. Share your guest blogging experiences with us in the comments section below, we’d love to hear your experiences!

The Beginner's Guide To Guest Blogging

The Beginner’s Guide To Guest Blogging

Why You Should Add Scoop.it! To Your Social Media Marketing

For the past six months, I’ve received links from my from various community members on Twitter and LinkedIn to curated articles on Scoop.it! Like you, the last thing I needed was yet another social media channel, but I was intrigued nonetheless. But now that I’ve become active on the site, I can totally see the attraction! As you’re reading this post, I’m sure that you’re wondering whether this is just the newest shiny tool, or whether it can actually provide value to your brand.

How is Scoop.it! different from the multitude of other channels that you’re potentially already on?

Scoop.it! is a content curating machine combined with the greatest elements of many of the other popular channels.  Scoop.it! is very visual like Pinterest, packed full of great information like Twitter, allows for high levels of engagement like Facebook, and has a professional look and feel like LinkedIn.

As with the other social channels, on Scoop.it! users build and follow a community of like minded people by creating topic pages. Users are given two options to curate interesting and relevant content to these topic pages by either rescooping existing articles, or creating new scoops with articles found on any Website. Once an article is scooped, it can also be directly fed into users existing social channels such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn and more reaching friends and followers on their preferred social media channel. Not sure where to begin finding content to curate? No problem, Scoop.It! gives suggestions to users and updates it daily.

Get Content Curating Suggestions

Get Content Curating Suggestions

The high level of participation on Scoop.it! begs bloggers to utilize the site to market that company or personal blog. The Scoop.it! community is very active in commenting on scoops which gives necessary feedback to content marketers. In addition, this community also enjoys rescooping valuable information to their following which increases the potential of any content marketing efforts. Remember, as with any social media, you’re goal is to create relationships, not a sales pitch, so scoop articles from others that will be interesting to your followers too.

Scoops are categorized by topic pages, and thus develop different followings based on these user’s interests. For instance, I presently have two topics: 1) 5 Star Social Media Marketing, 2) Leadership. Not all entrepreneurs are interested in the latest social media trends, and not all social media marketers are interested in entrepreneurial leadership information. This allows people to follow only  your topics that they are interested in versus receiving all curated articles that you have scooped.

Create Topic Pages on Scoop.it!

Create Topic Pages on Scoop.it!

Another element to ScoopIt that differentiates it from other channels is the ability to easily build a newsletter and export it directly to MailChimp. This is a great feature! We all know that our audience consumes content in many different forms and brands need to reach their audience in the format they prefer. The ability to blast out an e-newsletter to segmented groups creates awareness of the curated topic page, positions curators as thought leaders, and keeps subscribers up-to-date with the latest trends of their specific topic.  The Scoop.it! team also sends out emails periodically to scoopers alerting them of new scoops by users they follow.

Easity blast e-Newsletters though MailChimp

Easity blast e-Newsletters with MailChimp

Now that you’ve learned about the power the social media channel Scoop.it! can offer, how can your brand use it as a curating tool? Share your experiences with us in the comments box below.

How to Communicate via Social Media Like Google

Today most companies have a presence on social media. The least successful social brands use these channels as another medium for advertising or sales. So what are the successful companies doing different? A successful social media brand strategy will include a plan to inform and educate your social friends. This type of conversation is what builds trust and relationships and is the key to success in the social media arena. Great social companies communicate regularly with customers keeping them informed of new products or updates, as well as educating customers how to get the most from these products. Let’s take a look at one corporate giant that is familiar to all of us and analyze the many ways this company uses social media to keep in touch with customers:

Google’s mission is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” We all know that Google has been hugely successful at keeping this purpose at the forefront of decision-making with the vast array of products and services they offer, but how can the layperson keep up with all of the updates and new products? To notify users of the latest and greatest updates or new products, Google uses a holistic communication approach to reach the mass of its users. This cross-promotional social sharing starts by posting trending news articles on the corporate website and continues with participating on many social channels to keep users informed on their preferred channel.

Starting with the corporate website, users have access to the company blog which provides an abundance of articles about recent activity at or about Google with additional company social links on the left. All of these links are user-friendly and provide Google customers with several options to stay well-versed on their favorite product(s).

Corporate Websites Should Link To Social Media Chanels

Corporate Websites Should Link to Social Media Channels

Creating a free Google+ page gives users the ability to follow any or all of the many Google product pages such as Google, Google+, Google Play, etc. No matter which Google product(s) is your favorite, you can receive the most current information directly from the company from the variety of Google+ pages available to follow.

Make it easy for customers to follow your social media sites

Make it easy for customers to follow your social media sites

With the popularity of mobile devices, you can also “take Google with you” via the many mobile apps that have been developed. For example, regardless of whether you’re an Android or an iPhone user, you can now use Google Chrome as your browser. There are many apps to choose from, but my most used are the Gmail and Google Calendar apps. With the customizable features, it’s like having a personal assistant with you 24/7.

Take Google Everywhere With Mobile Apps

Take Google Everywhere With Mobile Apps

Outside of the Google playground, there are many other channels for users to stay abreast of updates and new products:

  • @google is the official Twitter account and if you are one of the over 6 million followers, you can stay current on Google’s many products through their tweets.
  • Google also has a Facebook page, www.facebook.com/Google, with 13 million followers who receive tips and alerts on how to get the most out of the many Google products and services.
  • If users prefer, they can also find Google on LinkedIn, YouTube, and the list goes on.

Just like Google, using many social media channels will give your company numerous platforms to inform and educate your customers of the plethora of products and services you provide. These conversations will help you to continue developing and improving your products and services which creates brand evangelists. These evangelists are eager to pass along your brand’s educational information by way of liking, retweeting or sharing content, creating a ripple effect for greater awareness to your customers.

How is your company using social media to keep customers informed and educated? How can you use social brand evangelists to help spread the latest news about your products or services? Share your thoughts with us in comments box below.

Find Your Target Market’s Social Demographic

Social Media Demographic Behavior

What’s Your Target’s Social Media Demographic?

Before completing your social media marketing strategy, make sure you have researched “Who?” your audience is, “What?” their social behavior consists of, and “Where?” they’re hanging out on the web.

Today’s economy forces companies to stretch their marketing dollars as far as they can. Adding a social media marketing plan to the mix allows companies to create greater awareness, increase lead generation, and increase sales in an economical manner. To get the best results though, it’s vital that you research the “who?”, “what?” and “where?” of your target market’s social behavior. If you don’t answer these questions now, your social media marketing efforts will be like a bird flying against the wind.

A quick snap shot of some social media demographics compiled from Pew Research’s latest report includes:

Gender: 9% more women use social channels than men. Pinterest is the most used channel by women and Google+ is preferred by men.

Age: While the 18-29 year olds continue to be the most active social users (83%), their usage actually dropped slightly recently. This age group spends much of their time on Facebook and Twitter. The 30-49 age group has recently increased usage by 4% points growing to 77%. As expected, senior citizens are the least social at 52%.

Income: Income level also influences the level of time spent on social channels. Pew found 72% of the lower-income population on social networks compared to approximately 65% of middle class and affluent shoppers. Women with post high school education and above average incomes enjoy spending time on Pinterest.

Race: Brands that are marketing to the Hispanic population will be interested to know that this is the most active race on social media (72%), followed by African-Americans (68%). Instagram is the most appealing social channel for these two races.

Pew Research and Docstoc created the infographic below to make your decision(s) easier. For more information on social media demographics, check out Entrepreneur’s infographic here.

How have you used demographics in your social media marketing strategy? Share your experiences below in the comment/reply box, we’d love to hear your thoughts!

Which Demographics Use What Social Media?

Which Demographics Use What Social Media?

You’re Invited to a Social Media Party!

You're Invited to My Social Media Party!

Our family is preparing for a double celebration this weekend: a milestone birthday for my husband and our daughter’s graduation from college. While managing this exciting event, it occurred to me that there are several similarities in a creating a social media strategy and hosting a party.

1. When planning a party, one of the first responsibilities of the host is to create a guest list and send out invitations. With a social media strategy, it’s also necessary to invite people to your virtual social gathering – this is how you build your community.

    • Begin growing your Twitter following by searching for other users that are in your industry or target audience. Look at your search results to determine which of these users are passing along information that is valuable to you and invite them to your party by following them.  You also want to find users that would fall into your target audience so that you can offer party bags filled with your brand’s thought leadership.
    • Invite your social friends on all channels to “Like” your company’s Facebook page. Since this channel prefers visual content, be sure to entertain your guests with plenty of images, graphs, infographics etc. while telling your brand’s story.
    • Create a company page on LinkedIn and invite your connections to follow – it’s like hosting a virtual open house for your business. Send invitations to connect to your personal profile to existing colleagues, classmates, past employers, etc. to begin growing your professional network. To keep your network interested, share your industry’s latest trends and news in status updates. Extend your “guest list” by joining LinkedIn groups that are related to area of expertise.

2. Next, as the host, you must create a menu to feed guests. In your social media strategy, you’ll develop a plan that gives your community nutritious “Food For Thought.” The information shared on social networks should educate, entertain or inform your audience – it’s like serving a piece of birthday cake to each of your guests. At some parties, guests will bring a dish to pass. In the social world, you can participate in this tradition by sharing information posted by someone you follow. If you’ve read a post or clicked on a link that one of your social buddies has posted and liked it, chances are that your followers will also find it interesting – so share it with them.

3. The final step in preparing for a party, and my personal favorite, is choosing the decorations and entertainment. Depending on what you’re celebrating, there may be balloons, streamers, music, magicians, you get the idea. The original content that you create for your brand will serve as the decorations and entertainment for your social parties. Original content can consist of images, infographics, white papers, e-books, case studies or any other company materials that tell your brand story. This is my favorite step because it’s where you can be the most creative. Experiment with new ideas to pass along great information in a fun and engaging way to keep your guests talking.

Come To My Social Media Party!

You’re Invited To My Social Media Party!

The benefit of a social media party is that it can be held on multiple channels, unlike traditional parties that are confined to one venue.  You’re invited to my party!

Where:

  • The World Wide Web

Address:

When:

  • Every day!

Time:

  • All day!

What steps have you taken to plan your social media party? Have you sent out the invitations, planned the menu and choose the decorations? Share your experiences in the comments section below.

8 Tips to Ensure Your Next Social Media Marketing Campaign Gets Results

Social Media Marketing

How Strong is your Social Media Marketing Foundation?

Is your social media campaign built on a firm foundation?

A strong foundation is the key to success for any program, and a social media marketing campaign is no exception. Prevent your next campaign from collapsing and get the best results by taking the time to prepare a solid building plan that includes the following tips:

  1. Establish one goal for the social campaign. Every campaign should have a measurable goal that your company strives to accomplish through the social media campaign such as increasing customer relationship management, building brand awareness, lead generation, etc. Attempting to achieve several goals in a single campaign will cause confusion. For best results, focus on one goal for each campaign. Click here to learn how to align your social media strategy with your company’s objectives.
  2. Get to know your brand’s audience. Find out which social networks your target market prefers to hang out and build a community on the same channel(s).  Next, listen to what your audience is talking about, find their pain points and determine how your company will provide solutions.
  3. Analyze your internal environment. If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to define your company’s culture. In addition, take a good look at the success or failure of past social campaigns efforts, align future campaigns with offline efforts, make sure your company website is up-to-date, and determine budget and staffing needs.
  4. Analyze your company’s external environment. Create a competitive analysis and determine industry benchmarks, market trends and whether outsourcing to an agency would make sense.
  5. Develop a keyword strategy. There are several online analytic tools to discover the keywords and phrases potential customers are using to find your website. This often overlooked step is very important because you will use these keywords on your social profiles and in content marketing materials.
  6. Tell the story of your brand. Everyone loves a great story! Stories that connect with your audience emotionally will find the greatest engagement. Great story starters can begin with your company’s vision or mission.
  7. Create your content. Craft a content marketing strategy and begin to build your library. Use a combination of blogs, graphics, videos, webinars, etc. to entertain, educate and inform your audience.
  8. Repurpose a single piece of content to cross promote on different channels. Click here for great ideas on how to integrate content marketing across all your social media sites.
Social Media Marketing

Go Forth and Socialize!

After taking the time to follow these steps, your social media marketing strategy will be sitting on a strong foundation.  Your brand is now prepared to go forth and socialize! Have fun with your social campaigns, experiment with what works best for your unique business. Assess the campaign and fill in any cracks that you might find along the way. You’re sure to experience positive results and a measurable return on investment of the goals set during the planning phase of the campaign.

How do you reinforce the foundation of your social campaigns? Share your thoughts in the “Comments” section below.

Top 3 Reasons Why I Love Social Media

Social media has become a large part of my life and career. You might say that I eat, sleep, and breathe social, which is certainly something that I could not do if I didn’t love it! Here are three reasons why I just can’t get enough:

Why do you love using social media?

1. Networking, Networking, and more Networking!

The internet in general has provided us with a way to communicate with millions of people across the globe, but social media has truly created a way to forge relationships with these people. Whether it’s through a common interest or hobby, or a professional connection, social media is the new medium for networking – and it works! LinkedIn is definitely a must, but Twitter is ultimately my favorite. I’ve met and conversed with many tweeps that have afforded me opportunities I may never have had if it weren’t for social media. If you’re ready to start seeing the benefits social media can provide for your career, be sure to check out my blog: SocialMediaForStudents.com.

2. Results: Likes, ReTweets, and much more.

As a community manager for many professional brands and organizations, one of the most exciting aspects of social media is when you begin seeing the results. It might begin as a few likes here and there, or a ReTweet, or a new Pinterest follower, but with consistent activity and strategy, before you know it you have an active and engaged community. That community then has the potential to propel or fuel your business.

3. That Happy Feeling…

On a personal level, experiencing and watching the effect that different strategies have just plain makes me happy. You have to smile when a well known professional in your industry follows you on Twitter, or comments on your Facebook post. And when the interaction graduates beyond social media, that’s when I sometimes can’t contain my excitement. As a business, when your Facebook fans start becoming clients or customers, and your Twitter account is a top referrer for your website, I’m willing to bet you’re pretty giddy too.

Happy

Social media has changed my life. Sure there are pros and cons, and it’s still developing as a marketing tactic, but I’m confident that it’s here to stay, so you may as well learn to love it. ; )

What are the reasons you love social media? Share them with me on Twitter! My handle is @kaylapatt

Writer’s Bio: Kayla Patterson is the founder of SocialMediaForStudents.com, a site that aims to be a resource for social media students of all types to learn how to market themselves or their business through social media. She is also the GoMedia Coordinator for GoAbroad.com where she oversees a social media management and consulting service. Kayla has a passion for country music, travel, and social media, and enjoys a good chick-flick, any kind of shopping, and all kinds of dessert! Follow her on Twitter: @kaylapatt

Kalya Patterson Founder, SocialMediaForStudents.com

Kalya Patterson
Founder
SocialMediaForStudents.com