[Social] Sharing is Caring

Social MedaiSocial sharing refers to the content posted by businesses and organizations across different social media platforms to generate user engagement and drive brand-visibility. In the digital world, where content-sharing can sometimes feel like content-overload, some brands just do it better. Below, I will review three companies that demonstrate “doing it better.”

The Everygirl

According to their website, “The Everygirl is a comprehensive online resource for every woman out there to experience her life better lived.” It’s a place where women can go to find inspiration and career advice, financial resources, fashion tips, travel recommendations, the latest health information, and more. This brand is successful at engaging users on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube by providing relevant content in the form of blogs, narratives, videos, and more.

The first – and possibly best – reason that The Everygirl outshines others with respect to social sharing is that they consistently produce content with a reach beyond their current customers. I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen content posted on The Everygirl and thought to myself, “Wow, I was just talking to [Friend] about this,” or “[Friend] just told me she was having a problem with this.” Those thoughts always lead me to share that content with that particular friend, and that share typically results in another Everygirl subscriber. I have no qualms about staking the claim that every piece of content they share appeals to a woman somewhere, even if it doesn’t apply directly to me. The Everygirl’s reach is incredibly far.

They also do an outstanding job of keeping users actively engaged by using visually appealing content but tailoring it to each unique social network, and using creative and attention-capturing headlines. For example, the marketing team at The Everygirl may post an article with a photo attached across Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook; however, they change the content across each platform. They might change it up by rewording the headline from one network to another. They will also share an article on Twitter using fewer characters and a short link to expanded content, whereas a Facebook share would include more characters and longer captions, as well as appropriate source-tags, and a similar post on Instagram is likely to contain different wording and more hashtags. I often find myself click on and sharing content that is presented with unique photos and headlines that appeal to my current situation.

Starbucks

Starbucks does an incredible job of sharing content and engaging users across Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest. They appeal to all types of consumers by posting funny and sweet anecdotes from customers, product information, relevant news, and articles and links that promote brand equity by demonstrating the philanthropic causes for which they advocate.

This brand does a better job than most at engaging in simple conversation with customers online. Not only does their marketing team respond to inquires and complaints, as most brands with a decent online presence do, but Starbucks does an equally wonderful job of respond to seemingly “insignificant” comments and suggestions. Please see below for a few examples from Starbucks’ Instagram and Twitter pages:

They also excel in the art of turning “negativity” into great customer service opportunities, and they are able to tastefully poke-fun at internet “trolls” – see below for Starbucks’ tongue-in-cheek response to someone who wasn’t happy about Pumpkin Spice season.

InkedStarbucks on Facebook_LI
Sourced from https://www.facebook.com/Starbucks/

Interactions like this one aren’t likely to optimize negatively, and, in fact, customers might even get a good laugh at Starbucks’ response. This marketing team demonstrates a clear understanding of when to respond and when to let it be.

Starbucks also uses each social network in ways that are tailored specifically to users of each network. For example, their Twitter presence is large, and they have numerous accounts for different types of media. Starbucks Coffee tweets feel-good stories and provides product information; Starbucks News is rather self-explanatory – they post company news and updates. Starbucks even has a specific Twitter page for Frappuccino, “where the clouds are made of whipped cream and the unicorns are also made of whipped cream.” On Instagram, visually-appealing content presents beautifully hand-crafted beverages, and oftentimes they are in equally beautiful locations. Finally, their Facebook page is dedicated to videos of beverage-creation, information on charitable causes, and links to and articles about the company and their products.

Ultimately, Starbucks engages consumers on social media by appealing to their emotions and their senses – especially sight and taste. I frequently engage with their content that presents mesmerizing videos of drinks being made, the blog posts about their causes, and even the content that appeals to my sense of humor.

Strand Bookstore

The marketing team at Strand shares content across many social networks, including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest. Strand is superior to others in engaging with their audience(s) and specifically tailoring content to audiences within a specific platform. While most organizations with a good marketing team do not cross-post, they often share the same content across networks, but they change up the language of their post based on the platform. Strand, on the other hand, rarely engages in any form of this practice; their content differs completely from platform to platform. For example, Strand’s YouTube contains videos of book reviews and discussions with authors; on their Pinterest page, one will find boards full of product pins, book recommendations, lists and questions for book clubs, literary quotes, gift ideas, and more; the company’s Facebook page is inundated with photo albums documenting book signings and events, posts that serve as reminders for upcoming happenings, and sponsored articles and pages. Still yet, Strand’s Twitter is abuzz with interactions with followers and news/event reminders, and their Instagram is filled with unique and eye-catching photos and videos.

The examples above demonstrate that Strand has a rich understanding of the differences in audiences across social media platforms and that they take pride in providing consumers the content that they desire. In addition to an exceptional understanding of social media platforms, Strand’s marketing team exhibits a clear astuteness for the type of clientele that they attract – or want to attract. This understanding is made clear when Strand posts content that most businesses would shy away from, such as strong political statements and obvious stances on social issues.

This brand’s dedication to their values and comprehensive understanding of their customers and audiences drives them to excel in the world of social-sharing. I am inclined to click on and scroll through their posts that relate to my favorite novels, or “like” their visually appealing Instagram photos that depict the stores’ “miles of books,” and I am likely to engage with content that makes a strong political statement.

In Summary

These three brands have a deep understanding of their customers, and they capitalize upon differences in audiences from one social media site to the next. By tailoring content to specific audiences, these companies are able to create content that generates high levels of user engagement across multiple channels, and it is likely that they are expanding their reach by generating earned media as well. As I stated earlier, some brands just do it better.

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[Social] Sharing is Caring

Email Marketing: Exciting or Excruciating?

As stated on the FTC’s website, “the CAN-SPAM Act [is] a law that sets the rules for commercial email, establishes requirements for commercial messages, [and] gives recipients the right to have you stop emailing them….” These regulations protect consumers against fraudulent and unsolicited emails. It’s imperative that businesses familiarize themselves with the CAN-SPAM Act with regard to email marketing, as non-compliance comes with a hefty price tag.

What about email marketing?

As I think about email marketing, I think of the sheer volume of emails I receive and about inbox clean-up. I’m particular about where, why, and how I make purchases, so unless I receive a marketing or promotional email that’s tailored to my current situation, I delete it immediately. For example, I may receive an article from InHerSight with pertinent career advice or a discount from Etsy for a recently-viewed product. In those cases, I’m inclined to read the entire email. An email with a promo code may lead to a site-visit, but I’m just as likely to close the website without making a purchase after a few minutes of browsing. Marketing emails that are personalized, interesting, and visually appealing, much like these examples, also get my attention.

To gain a better understanding of how others feel about email marketing, I spoke with Francisco, social-media-boycotter and construction worker, Mary, avid shopper and event planner, and Emily, millennial and aspiring architect. Here’s what they had to say:

Q: Think about email communications from marketers/businesses. What makes them interesting and worth your time to open/read?

F: I don’t care for marketing emails. I get too many of them promoting products and deals that really aren’t that great or relevant to me. I might open an email with a subject line that indicates a better sale, deal, or product than I’m used to seeing.

M: I receive TONS of marketing emails daily, oftentimes from the same source. An email that stands out to me is visually pleasing, gets my attention, and is quick and to-the-point. I also look at the subject – if it makes me think “hmm, I need to know more,” I’ll open it. If it’s a standard subject line, I’m led to believe reading the body of the email isn’t worth my time.

E: The first think I think about related to marketing emails is “do I want to receive this email? Aka did I sign up for this?” If so, emails that are personalized or have relatable subjects are interesting. For example, discounts, ads related to something I’ve purchased, or articles based on a recent search would all interest me.

Q: Do you ever take any action because of the emails? Why or why not?

F: If a good sale is advertised in the subject line, I’ll read the body, then possibly go to the website to look for the specific deal. If the deal is only available for a limited time, that’s probably the only time I’d buy a product directly because of an email. That is rare though – I usually delete the emails without opening them. Sometimes I will unsubscribe.

M: If it’s from a store I frequent, I open it and read the body to ensure I’m not missing a good deal. Oftentimes I’ll make a purchase, or at least visit the website. However, if I get too many emails from the same place in the same week, I send them to the trash immediately. I also unsubscribe from marketing emails quite often, but I usually re-subscribe down the road.

E: I often unsubscribe in response to [marketing] emails, even from companies with which I shop. I don’t like to receive daily ads. Rarely do these types of emails cause me to act in the way of purchasing or browsing the website.

Consistent with the above stated insights into email marketing, data from the “Email Marketing Industry Census 2016” show that consumers are interested in promotional emails that offer discounts, and the article also provides data and detail as to why individuals unsubscribe from emails. For additional examples of effective marketing campaigns, I encourage you to visit the above mentioned HubSpot blog post.

I hope you enjoyed hearing more about these insights into email marketing!

Email Marketing: Exciting or Excruciating?

How to Avoid Becoming Hangry (and What to do if it Happens)

Hangry 1

You may be asking yourself “what does it mean to be ‘hangry?’ Is that a real thing?”

Most of us have experienced a moment, either firsthand, or vicariously through a friend, when we’ve missed a meal or waited just a little too long to eat. It’s likely that things went south very quickly. Suddenly, the most minute of tasks became full-on chores. On your short commute home, everyone was cutting you off and driving like a maniac. The questions that your colleague was asking were the most ridiculously unintelligent questions you’ve ever been asked. That comment that your spouse made was, without a doubt, the most unreasonable and rude thing he or she – or anyone – had ever said. Literally, ever. In the history of time, nobody’s ever said anything worse.

You’ve reached “hangry,” and it’s a real thing.

Julia Naftulin, in Health magazine, documents a study that found that participants became more aggressive and angrier as their blood sugar levels decreased. Ultimately she explains that a decrease in blood sugar causes an increase in the release of cortisol and epinephrine (aka adrenaline) to try to regulate glucose levels, and these hormones lead to irritability. For a more in-depth and scientific explanation, see this story on CNN.com.

All-in-all, being hangry is no fun. It’s no fun for you, and it’s no fun for the people around you. So what can you do to avoid the wrath that is “hanger?”

Prepare: I cannot stress this point enough. Critical to avoiding becoming hangry is planning your day such that you’ll eat at reasonable intervals. This is especially important when your daily schedule falls outside of your norm. Do you have a road trip planned? Outline restaurant stops along your route, and pack a cooler full of emergency meals. Do you have an extra-busy workday ahead? Pack an easily accessible, on-the-go lunch. Nobody wants to deal with a hangry-hot-mess during a long car ride or an important meeting.

Snacks: Always, ALWAYS have a snack-stash in  your purse, center console, desk-drawer, pocket, hand, etc. Purse almonds (a stash of nuts in a small, waterproof, rust-proof, bullet-proof tin that can fit in a pocket, purse, etc.) are my go-to, because protein. For allergy sufferers, jerky, protein bars, Greek yogurt, or hard-boiled eggs are a great option. Speaking of allergies –

Allergies: Avoid them. Don’t have them. Speaking from experience, if you are allergic to many-a-food, you’ll have a hard time eating at social gatherings, and it will be nearly impossible to make a quick snack-stop in a hanger-emergency.

Water: Staying well hydrated is important for two reasons. First, water has been shown to reduce hunger. Obviously if you’re already hangry, water isn’t going to satiate you, but it may dull the symptoms. Second, dehydration can lead to mood swings, decreased concentration, and headaches, which will only exacerbate the symptoms of your hanger. Stay well hydrated.

If it’s too late for the above methods, and you or someone you know has already become hangry, here are a few things you can do.

Protein: Find the nearest protein-laden snack and eat! If it’s a friend that has become hangry, pull out your purse-almonds or emergency beef jerky and save the day.

Stress: Avoid it. Completing your homework, working on important work projects, and even searching for whatever important thing you misplaced are examples of tasks that are likely to become a million times more stressful when experiencing hanger. Avoid these types of tasks until after your next meal or heavy snack.

Offended: Don’t be. As we’ve already learned, when an individual’s blood-glucose is rapidly dropping, adrenaline and cortisol are steadily increasing. This increased production of hormones can cause a stress-response, which may include lashing-out at loved ones. Don’t take it personally if a hangry individual becomes testy with you or says some not-so-nice things.

Direct commands: Avoid them. Never, in the history of the world, has anyone ever relaxed by being ordered to relax. Commanding someone to “relax,” “calm down,” etc., is likely to increase. Not only is that individual now more stressed and hangry, but he or she also feels dismissed. Here are a few phrases alternative to “calm down” or “relax:”

“Here’s a snack.” This should be uttered while handing the person a snack.
“Can I get you something to eat?” said while already getting him or her something to eat.
“I love you. Your feelings are valid. Here’s a snack.” Also said while handing over a snack.

In summary, “hangry” is a very real state-of-being which causes increased stress for all parties involved. To avoid hanger altogether, one should drink plenty of water, schedule mealtimes, be prepared with snacks, and definitely NOT have allergies. If one does become hangry, make sure to avoid stress and direct orders, and don’t be offended. Following these suggestions will ensure a happy, well-fed, and hanger-free existence.

“han·gry |haNGɡrē | adjective | 1. bad-tempered or irritable as a result of hunger”

 

How to Avoid Becoming Hangry (and What to do if it Happens)