The Visual Side of Social Media Marketing

It’s easy to water down a dialogue about the day-to-day of a community manager with editorial calendar chit chat. But editorial strategy makes up only a sliver of social media marketing. Visual storytelling has emerged as a necessary component of digital marketing for brands, with video carving out an important place in the social spotlight for many years to come.

Facebook has staked its competitive claim to video, encouraging brands to evolve from curators to broadcasters. Brands have been challenged — rightfully so! — to focus on quality over quantity when it comes to content, especially video. In one of its many moves to refine its algorithm in favor of audience transparency and user control, Facebook announced this week that it would begin penalizing pages who post misleading video click-bait or static images masked as videos with a phony “play” button.

I’m honestly fascinated by the potential of video, and not just on Facebook. Instagram — which sure, you could argue is just an extension of Facebook — is a platform ripe with opportunity for video creation. For brands on a shoestring budget, Instagram has a suite of companion tools like Hyperlapse and Boomerang that offer up an element of experimentation with video formats.

While there’s room for a learning curve, production value does still reign supreme from small-scale videos through to Facebook or Instagram Live broadcasts. Nailing down a visual aesthetic that’s cohesive with social images and complements editorial tone is crucial. Planning also plays an important role; using a storyboarding process helps organize the narrative, while also ensuring that each respective video aligns with the broader brand social media strategy.

More than anything, video allows brands to offer a stronger social experience to their engaged audiences. Considering the prominent role that paid content continues to play across channels, promoting the right set of videos with a smart and strategic target will help draw new and curious users into your page.

If you’re ready to usher your brand into a more immersive social storytelling experience, keep these things in mind:

  • Plan wisely. Draft storyboards, scripts that are integrated with digital marketing messaging, etc.
  • Budget realistically for equipment, props, labor (producing/creative direction, filming, editing), social advertising
  • Establish a cadence. Build video content into your broader social media content strategy and calendar so that it’s a supporting player, and not the main event. Social content is about balance.
  • Listen to audience feedback. If video doesn’t perform well, consider things like length, production quality, topics/theme, and platform. What might work well on Facebook might not work as well on Instagram, and vice-versa.
  • Embrace small-scale tests. If you’re not ready to dive into Hollywood-quality video for your social channels, start small. Play around with Boomerang videos and GIFs to test resonance and engagement with your audiences across channels.
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The Human Side of Zuck

Articles pop up all the time about the importance of social media for C-suite executives. It’s a great promotion tactic for thought leadership, helps humanize a brand, and at its core, it’s a great way to network.

Enter Mark Zuckerberg, the 32-year-old CEO and Co-Founder of Facebook. I have a combined fascination and appreciate for Zuckerberg; in many ways, he paved the way for my career in social media strategy with the launch of Facebook. What’s fascinating though is his personality; he’s a textbook developer whose success has thrust him into the limelight since Facebook’s launch in 2004.

I work with a lot of digital people — most of whom would join me in a collective eye roll at being labeled “creatives.” The faces of our web design and development team are pretty fabulous, and while they’re definitely social, their work is so screen-centric that I find myself chatting with them on gchat or via e-mail more than in person.

Mark Zuckerberg didn’t strike me as much different — as a developer, but also as a CEO. He regularly updates his personal Facebook feed with major brand milestones, all of them so perfectly on-brand and message — ie: clearly vetted by someone on his comms team.

But here’s what special, and where he breaks free from the mold: he embraces the innovations that he’s invested in. From Oculus to Instagram, Zuckerberg has started to add a deeper layer of personality to his updates. Since adding dad to his resume, he’s even offered subscribers of his feed a glimpse into the life of his beautiful daughter Maxima.

Alongside Facebook’s investment in virtual reality, its not-so-new Live feature is perhaps one of the most important for the channel, and one that Zuckerberg has really embraced. My favorite broadcast was one that he aired before Sunday’s debate. Zuckerberg streamed live from his Palo Alto backyard, where he was drinking sparkling water and smoking meats. Commenters, myself included, began to dub the broadcast #GrillTalk, and I sincerely hope it takes off.

While Zuckerberg isn’t the only Facebook exec that I follow (I recommend following along with Boz and Ruchi Sanghvi, too!), I think he’s a game changer for C-suite execs who are open to letting the public in a little.

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Legacy of Quality

That’s Kodak’s shtick. I’m in Detroit right now, in town for a wedding that took place Saturday. I needed tights for my dress, so I went searching through our mudroom closet, where my mom tends to store panty hose/tights. After sifting through each closet cubby, with no luck, I found something completely irrelevent to the wedding I was late for: my very first digital camera.

I don’t remember how old I was when I bought it – I was at least in middle school, but not quite high school. I was always more into video games and electronics than new clothes and toys. On a trip to Best Buy with birthday money, I set my sights on the Kodak DC3200. Complete with its CompactFlash memory card, I knew this camera had to be mine.

Looking at it now, it looks like more of a kid’s toy than an actual camera. It’s bulky, with a now-broken battery door. The LCD screen is tiny, but not such a departure from what is seen today with point-and-shoot models.

It’s weird for me to think that this camera — something I might crassly call a hunk of junk — once served as my medium for creative expression. Now, I’ve set my sights on buying a dSLR, likely by my new favorite camera manufacturer, Canon.

 

RIP Steve Jobs [iSad]

Image representing Steve Jobs as depicted in C...

Image via CrunchBase

Steve Jobs died today. In his own words, he had called death the “best invention of life,” in that it “cleans out the old to make way for the new.”

To me, Jobs was a role model. His display of leadership as the co-founder of Apple, Inc., as well as his commitment to innovation while serving as its CEO, were key in his ability to lead a cultural revolution.

Under his leadership and direction, Apple went from a garage-born startup, to a technological empire that has spurred beyond well designed — in every sense of the word — computers, and that has encouraged a movement for those who identify their dreams and goals as different, to employ creativity, innovation, and a live-in-the-moment attitude as they reach for the top.

I could sit here, and write an ode to the Apple products I’ve used and owned over the years, but that wouldn’t even come close to quantifying just how grateful I am for Jobs’ contributions to my hyper-digital world.

At 56 years old, Jobs has left this world, and has opened the floor for new innovators, people whom he would have classified as the round pegs in square holes, new people who see things differently.

Intelliga Alarm Clock [Review]

Image courtesy of Intelliga

I can’t say that I love alarm clocks just based on the fact that they’re meant to wake one up, but if I had to chose an alarm clock to love, it’d be the Intelliga Alarm Clock. I downloaded the app back in the May, and tend to use it more than the standard Apple alarm clock, especially because unlike the iPhone, the iPad does not come with a pre-installed alarm clock application.

As you can see in the screen capture, there are several more options available for this alarm clock than via Apple’s clock. Beyond the obvious things like enabling the alarm and setting a specific time, this app allows for repeating alarm settings, sounds that can pull from your iTunes library on your iPhone/iPad/iPod, with the ability of playing more than one song. You can adjust the volume on every alarm that you set, and the snooze options are the best – I’ve never had an alarm clock that lets me snooze for 30 minutes.

Beyond the super practical settings mentioned above, there’s a definite aesthetic edge to the Intelliga Alarm Clock, as you can choose a variety of clock faces you can choose from. I tend to use the Analog-Carbon clock face, the Analog-Bubble face is great, too, and the rotating bubble can easily put you into a trance.

The alarm clock app itself is free, with the clock faces costing very little – ranging from $0.99 for an individual clock face, to $4.99 for a full collection. This is the perfect alarm clock application, and I highly recommend it as an alternative to the Apple-version that is already installed on the iPhone.

Spread the Happiness

A couple of months ago, I was invited to be an alpha tester for a really cool social review site that revolves around air travel. It’s called Routehappy, and while it’s still in an invite-only alpha phase, it’s well on its way to making a difference to an industry in need.

I have been reviewing businesses on Yelp for years, but after traveling back and forth between New York and Detroit for the past couple of years, spending time on different airlines, between the three airports serving the NY metro area, I was left without a place to review my true travel experiences.

One of my favorite things about the site so far, beyond how cool it is to be able to see every non-stop route possible from a given departure city, is that it really encourages users to evaluate the entire travel experience, in a way that allows you to assess the negative, the positive, and to share stories about the quirky things that may have happened along your journey. All in all, Routehappy makes me feel like my voice is being heard, my experience being shared, and that those factors combined are making a difference.

Routehappy? I sure am.


Want to learn more about Routehappy? Like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. #beheardflybetter

eReading

I work in publishing and have a deep-rooted love for the written word. That said, I have almost always preferred to read a printed text as opposed to print on screen. When the news grew more readily and accurately available online, and when my parents opted to switch from dial-up Internet to a cable modem, I slowly migrated toward digital reading. Still, the pace with which I could read text on a screen was significantly slower than what I could accomplish with a hard copy, and it wasn’t until I purchased my iPad that I seriously entertained the idea of downloading an eReader app (as opposed to forking over more money for a separate device). I opted for the Kindle App, but also downloaded the Apple app, iBooks. Having considered the factors beyond text readability, including price, availability of books, speed of download, etc., I have to say that I really prefer the Kindle app. I’ve  noticed that many titles are significantly cheaper than in the iBooks store, and it’s linked to my Amazon account, which I appreciate.

On my trip back from Baltimore this weekend, I wanted to read instead of watch a movie, so I purchased I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti, by Giulia Melucci. It downloaded in mere seconds, cost less than $10, and was super clear to read on my iPad.

Go with the Kindle app. Just do it.