Viral Marketing Initiatives

What’s the first thing you think of when you post something that you think is incredibly interesting … you want as many people as you can think possible to see it, correct?  That is one of the main goals that any company has when creating on-line social media especially videos.  The goals is to capture the audience and for it to gain such attention that is is shared.

Dove had one of the biggest and fastest marketing campaigns to go viral when they took real woman and promoted that each woman was beautiful regardless of size, age and color.  The campaign’s name was “Real Beauty” The reason that this was so successful was because Dove was able to connect with their audience.  For a marketing effort to work it has to connect on some level and for people to want to share their connection with others.

Every campaign should have a plan on how it will reach it’s viewers.  A delivery plan must be created to ensure that your advertising does actually reach as much of an audience as possible.  Things to consider:

  • What avenue of social media is best to roll out your campaign,
  • Use hashtags that link back to your brand, and
  • Use catch phrases and tag lines that describe your brand.

Engagement is another way that helps a marketing campaign go viral.  Dove during their “Real Beauty” drive created a plug-in through a photoshop action which was posted on Reddit which allowed art directors and photo retouchers to download.  But when they went to use it a pop-up would flash stating, “Don’t manipulate our perceptions of real beauty.” was it effective?  Some would argue no but did it get people talking – YES!

Was Dove unique in this campaign? Again .. YES!  Through research Dove discovered that only 2% of women in America saw themselves as beautiful and that launched a whole new campaign on what real beauty is.  Dove used real women and with no editing showed the world what real women look like and each and everyone of them is beautiful in their own way.  In an age where image is “everything” this approach defied what everyone was marking as what a woman should look like to be beautiful.

Lastly I think that for an advertising campaign to be successful it needs to get some reaction from it.  They say that even bad press is good press and knowing that bad press wasn’t the intention of Dove they made such an impact – mostly positive – but there were some negative as well.  Some thought the ads sort of gave off the vibe that it was ok that women judged women but Dove says that wasn’t their intentions.  Although the message was clear to others some tried to dig and see if their were other underlying messages to be drawn out.

In the end, last year Dove’s Real Beauty campaign reached it’s tenth year and has lead other company’s to try and launch campaigns similar in order to try and reach the impact that Dove has.

APA Citation:

Nudd, T. (2013, March 11). Ad of the Day: Dove. Retrieved April 11, 2015, from http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/ad-day-dove-147846

Russell, M. (2014, July 9). How Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty Ushered in New Age of Female Empowerment. Retrieved April 11, 2015, from http://www.visiblemeasures.com/2014/07/09/how-doves-campaign-for-real-beauty-ushered-in-new-age-of-female-empowerment/

Viral marketing initiatives – What makes a message go viral? (2014, November 1). Retrieved April 11, 2015, from https://kaylaplante.wordpress.com/2014/11/01/viral-marketing-initiatives-what-makes-a-message-go-viral/

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Differentiation

What is the meaning of social media anyways?  Safko & Brake (2009) defines social media as “Activities, practices, and behaviors among communities of people who gather online to share information, knowledge, and opinions using conversational media” Makes sense right but how are companies using social media to help promote their brand?  It seems that if there were a simple enough answer everyone would be doing the same thing, right? Well it’s not that simple.  You see each firm has a different message they want to share and projects/ services that are being promoted. In order to have a strong social media presence you have to connect with your target market and most of the time you have to have a creative edge in order to do that.

In today’s world people are starting to realize the importance of exercise and how engaging in sports related activities not only can improve your health but can give you a strong sense of self-esteem – and of course you need the “gear” to go along with it!  The sports clothing industry is flooded with brands like Nike, Adidas, Champion and Fila. Two additional industry leaders are Lululemon and Under Armor.

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Lululemon Athletica is a “technical running and yoga clothing” manufacture and retailor geared towards a fashion savvy crowd. (Creative Concepts Shares How Lululemon Gets Multi-Platform Content Strategy Right) Their company philosophy includes a whole body experience and demonstrated this by offering a wide array of clothing options and through their in-store events that include goal-setting, yoga and running clinics and self-defense classes.  In-order to promote the brand Lululemon took to social media with great force.  Their company blog is a mix of promoting their products, upcoming events in-order to bring the community together and offering encouragement through inspirational.  They offer Facebook and Twitter postings that include inspirational messages and no real “salesy” pushes on products.  These sites offer the customer chances to engage one-on-one with the company. Finally the company uses YouTube to stream product education and Flickr and Tumblr wrap up their efforts by offering images of complicated yoga poses and corporate photos – it’s very hard not to find motivation when viewing these – all sorted through collections and sets to offer more inspiration – and of course all models are wearing their trendy brand of clothing.

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While Lululemon Athletica is trying to run the world through offering higher ended sports clothing, Under Armor’s message is someone the same but with an edger message – tough is beautiful. Although Under Armor uses the same social media avenues as Lululemon but in a slightly different way.  Take their Facebook page or rather pages.  The company currently has one main company Facebook page but also has pages that stem off of their main page.  These pages are more “focus based” and are more targeted; examples include a woman’s page, as well as ones for football and baseball fans!  Their Twitter pages are also set up very similar and promote customer interaction.  YouTube is used to promote their brand – slightly the same as Lululemon but less on the educational side of things.

One of the issues that both companies are not doing is promoting their presence of the social media impacts on their website.  When you access Lululemon’s page you must scroll to the bottom of the home page in order to find 3-very small social media icons but they do promote their blog up on the top near of the other searching features are.  Under Armor also has something similar located on their page but is slightly larger.

Both companies – although in the same industry – sell very similar items and all use social media to help promote the brand help them advance within their market.  As the economy continues to pick up and the use of social media increases both companies have a fighting chance of increasing the targeted margins.  It is clear that both companies have made social media efforts an essential part of their marketing strategy plans.

APA Citations

Leers, A. (2014, April 1). Social Media Strategic Plan for Under Armour. Retrieved March 3, 2015, from http://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1467&context=honors

O’Brien, M. (2014, August 11). Under Armour Uses Star Power to Boost Content Marketing Efforts. Retrieved March 3, 2015, from http://www.clickz.com/clickz/news/2359564/under-armour-shows-how-star-power-can-boost-content-marketing-efforts

Concepts, C. (n.d.). Creative Concepts Shares How Lululemon Gets Multi-Platform Content Strategy Right. Retrieved March 3, 2015, from http://creative-conceptsllc.com/lululemon-multiplatform-content-strategy/

Blogging with the Best Practices

When testing the waters of blogging the whole experience can be daunting and at times overwhelming.  Your initial thoughts are what should I blog about, how will I reach more people, and how do I make an impact when I blog within my industry. Blogging doesn’t have to be that daunting at all you just need to consider some keep practices to help move you along.

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Grab your Audience’s Attention

How do you do this? By starting your blog off with an interesting title or a catchy first sentence or catch tag of course.  In today’s society time is limited and most people are now skimmers of information and if they aren’t intrigued within the first few seconds of reading they will move on to something else.  So make sure that you start your blog off strong.  In my industry we try to post not only an exciting first sentence or two but we try to start our blogs off with interesting titles.  Examples include: “Decking the Halls at ARC” & “ARC Interiors Head to the Big Apple”.

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List Key Words

These can be anything that is commonly said within your industry.  By using these words within you blog and tagging them help your blogs come up when searched for specific information written.  In the architecture world you can count on key words such as: architectural social media, architecture, social media & architecture and so on.

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Be Controversial and Ask Questions!

There is nothing wrong with stirring the pot once in a while as long as you do not hurt someone’s feelings.  If you aren’t posting something because you think you might ruffle a few feathers you should think again! Being controversial and asking questions makes your blog interactive and can promote others to leave their comments and feeling regarding your blog content.  Unfortunately that is one of the things that my company does struggle with. We as an architectural firm struggle with how do we sound like experts but not come across as pushy-know-it-alls and worse not look like we know what we are talking about.

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Finally, Sharing your Blog to other Social Medias

When my company and others within my industry write a blog – normally posted within our company’s website – we post this on other sites such as our Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn pages – in order for us to reach maximum exposure. The point of writing a blog is to get your content out there and for others to read it and share it!  Social Media is the BEST way to post your blog and touch as many people as you possibly can.

APA Citation

Rickershauser, D. (n.d.). 10 best practices for corporate blogging. Retrieved January 25, 2015, from http://www.campaignercrm.com/en/community/blog/crm/post/10-best-practices-for-corporate-blogging/

Taking our Firm from the Flat to the Round World of Social Media

As Marketers, we are always looking for the most effective ways to market our firm and the services that we offer … that being said although we are so much more open not everyone is as quick to jump on board as we are.

You see social media is seen as a new thing and our firm is 45 years old with most of the original founders’ still practicing architecture.  These are the people who would prefer to stay old school are wade in slowly with social media rather than dive in and take the bull by the horns and for good reason – at times.

I read that “Social media has been described as the most significant change agent since the Industrial Revolution in the way the world communicates and transacts business.” (Where is this wave taking us? An update on social media) The thing to consider is as the world evolves and takes on more social media firms do need to be more aware of what they are putting out there for information but to also evaluate the risks in order to make forward progress and stand strong against their competition.

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There are many ways that by using social media it can end up doing more hurt than good.  One is that before a business/ firm starts using a social media platform to promote their firms, the company must have a clear understanding of what they are trying to promote and in what sectors they are trying to reach or they could risk that chance of being seen as the firm does not have a clear objective or business strategy/ goals in mind.

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Jason Falls, who is a social media expert and writer of “No Bullshit Social Media”, says engineering and construction firms are not alone in wanting to first know the value proposition of using social media—as well as the risks—before they launch into these platforms. His book describes the seven business drivers for using social media in a business case:

Enhancing branding and awareness

  • Protecting your reputation
  • Extending your public relations
  • Building community
  • Extending customer service
  • Facilitating R&D
  • Driving sales leads, or lead generation

Another big risk includes exposing your company and the information they are listing on social media avenues where the content is not current or even worse not correct!  When clients see this a large amount of damage could be done towards the company’s competence and ability to complete the project that the firm is currently perusing and that negativity could spread like wild fire!

Although there are always going to be developing new risks of posting your company information and happening on social media these risks should be calculated and shown to be positive risks.  As the world evolves and more content is put out there to be viewed and read certain measures should always be tracked and watched!

APA Citation:

http://enr.construction.com/technology/information_technology/2011/1020-HashtagThisSocialMediaRisksandRewardsinConstruction.asp

Joyce, E. (2011, October 20). Hashtag This: Social Media Risks and Rewards in Construction. Retrieved January 10, 2015, from http://enr.construction.com/technology/information_technology/2011/1020-HashtagThisSocialMediaRisksandRewardsinConstruction.asp

The Building of Instagram in Architecture

Social MEdia

Last year when we started 2014 my company’s social media group sat down and decided to evaluate which social media avenues were working for us and which ones were well … flopping and not grabbing that attention that we once thought they would.  We looked at our Facebook and LinkdIn pages and these were gaining tracking and were achieving a good amount of exposure.  We even started linking our website blog postings on the sites and encouraged employees within the firm to like and share these as much as possible and even more traction was made but there were some applications that weren’t working so well.  We had started a Pintrest account a ways back and many of us in the beginning thought that this was a great way to post images of our projects but as time went on we say that posting just images of just our work wasn’t going to get us there and many people within the firm were concerned about posting other firms work to help populate our boards.  In the end we decided to shut the site down and never look back which I am glad that we did because starting in the beginning of 2014 I suggested that we create and Instagram account!

As the year went on we started following other Instagram accounts – which included several of our sub-consultants that we team together with on projects, potential and current clients, and organizations that support the architectural world.  We found that not only are we able post photos of our projects but of things that were happening within our firm – showing our firm’s culture is very important to us.  But not only were we able to post images but we are able to write short messages, create hashtags that brought people back to us, credit our clients &/or sub-consultants and post our blog posting links as well.  As we started following more pages and vice-versa we started gaining more traction.

One of the ways that we are able to track our Instagram’s progress is by analyzing our interactions that are generated by our shared photos – by seeing our followers and seeing how many likes and comments that we receive.  By knowing this we are able to evaluate who we are creating the most traction – what markets are viewing our images and either commenting and or “liking” them.  With this we can also see what types of images and posts are gaining the most tracking and which ones might be viewed as uninteresting or dull. We are also just learning how to track our hashtags and monitoring our competitors and seeing what they are posting and what is getting them the most likes and comments.

As we close in on our first year using Instagram as a company we are seeing that we are reaching more within our community and that this avenue of social media is gaining more and more tracking within our industry.  I hope that as we progress with this application we become more of a leader in it!

 

APA Citation

Mistry, D. (2013, February 22). How to use #Instagram for Marketing and Measure the Results | Our Social Times – Social Media Agency, Social Media Training. Retrieved January 9, 2015, from http://oursocialtimes.com/how-to-use-instagram-for-marketing-and-measure-the-results/

Nica, A. (2014, January 13). How to Measure your Instagram Success: 5 Tips – Social Media Strategies Summit Blog. Retrieved January 9, 2015, from http://socialmediastrategiessummit.com/blog/measure-instagram-success-5-tips/

Social Media Tools

The social media world came in like a tsunami wave taking over the internet.  Industries at first saw that social media was a way to connect with friends and family and then started to wonder how they could use social media to help promote them with new clients, sell their services and products and keep in contact with existing clients and industry leaders.

As companies start to see what social media avenue best fits them and their needs, research is needed in the beginning stages.  There are several tools that you can use in order to find what avenue best fits for you and your firm.

One of the first steps – tools – you should be concentrating on is learning who your target audience is.  This is where you spend time thinking about what services and products do you offer and looking outside of your current markets.

Types of audiences you could be looking for include:

  • Current clients or customers
  • Potential clients or customers
  • Associates of current/potential clients or customers
  • Journalists and editors
  • Bloggers
  • Suppliers
  • Affiliate businesses
  • Thought leaders

(The Marketing Donut, Finding you Audience on Social Media)

Once you have established list potential – as well as existing – audiences you will need to go and find them. This will be an ongoing effort as your network grows.

After you’ve targeted your audience, figured out what you wanted to get out of social media and started posting on the social media avenues that work best for your firm it would be a good idea to track what topics work get the most traction and if your initial target audience is the correct one!

There are several ways things that you should try and track, which include: your marketing and branding efforts, client engagements, and lead generations.

Start off by tracking your follows, most social media sites have analytics tool provided that help assess their demographics of their audiences.

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(Facebook Analytic Tool for ARC/ Architectural Resources Cambridge)

The next thing would be to tract you client engagement.  If you are not getting likes, shares and comments then this is a great chance that you are missing the mark on what your clients and target audiences are looking for.  This will always be changing.  A good way to keep making your mark would be to frequent client blogs and see what they are up to and what movement your industry seems to be headed in.

Finally, lead generation is key.  Social media should be used to help generate leads and connect with new clients and their projects.  LinkedIn offers a feature that lets you view data and “gain insight on its performance” (Investment News: How to track your Social Media) Using these tools can help you have the best reach in your market.

 

APA Citation:

Went, G. (n.d.). Finding your audiences on social media. Retrieved December 10, 2014, from http://www.marketingdonut.co.uk/marketing/internet-marketing/social-media-and-online-networking/finding-your-audiences-on-social-media

Andree, K. (2014, September 7). InvestmentNews : Login. Retrieved December 10, 2014, from http://www.investmentnews.com/article/20140907/REG/309079996/how-to-track-your-social-media