One thing I was prepared for when I returned to New York recently was queuing – especially at restaurants and cafés.
Out in Brooklyn last weekend, some friends and I managed to score a spot at a popular local café with a wait time of an hour or more (yes, there was a crowd of people patiently queuing with take-away coffees outside), while right across the street another venue sat half-full on a bright and warm Easter Sunday.
Why? The popular venue had a better product (and no doubt better word-of-mouth marketing to go with it).
The same can be said for brands, organisations, consumers and content.
Just as consumers are happy to wait out on the pavement for a spot to sit and a good meal, so too are fans happy to subscribe to brands online, and interact with and share content they deem of value.
After reading this post from Jay Baer earlier in the week about the make up of users’ facebook news feeds and Americans’ distaste for receiving brand promotions in social media (according to this study from Exact Target they prefer good ole email), I started unsubscribing to a number of brands that were blasting away with the promotions.
Much like we all have a magic number for the amount of social networks we can maintain engagement with (hat tip Scott Monty), I believe we also have a limit to the number of brands whose content we wish to queue for and welcome into our news feeds – and we don’t need to wait an hour in line to join or unsubscribe.
The good news is that in general, I feel that the current content being produced by a lot of brands is falling short of what fans would like to see and genuinely engage with or share.
Why is that good news?
While it may sound pretty negative, I believe it equals opportunity for brands to step up to the plate and provide value in their online marketing and communication.
Doing a bit of an audit of the brands I follow, subscribe to and share, I identified only one brand that I would actually rave about, and whose content I actually look forward to receiving in my feeds.
That said, there’s still plenty of room for more brands to capture my attention and to be added to my list.
Just like I’ll always be happy to wait for a great café or restaurant, I’ll look forward to new content from those brands that I know care and are in tune with what consumers find of value in these online spaces (hint: it’s not coupons).
The question is: Is your content worth queuing for?
What do you think?
Are the brands you follow producing content you deem of value? How many brands would you actually rave about when it comes to content marketing effort? Or am I being too harsh here as brands begin to learn these new channels and develop their ongoing content marketing strategies?
Before heading over to New York, I was fortunate enough to record a discussion with my friend and mentor Des Walsh about his new social media course – Get the Edge.
As a social media strategist and LinkedIn expert, I always find it incredibly thought-provoking chatting to Des, and was delighted that he was able to join me to explain a little bit more about this course aimed at professional services, and the current wider influences in human communication and social media that influenced in.
What we planned as a 10-minute chat turned into a half-hour discussion (in three parts below), during which Des and I cover a range of topics, including:
- The lost tribes of social media
- Social business
- Email vs social media
- Fear, business and the loss of control in the social space
- Social policies and parameters
- Agencies and social media departments
- Language and social media
-Reputation vs popularity
Thanks to Des for taking the time to share his thoughts and experience. I hope you find the discussion of interest, and look forward to seeing Get the Edge launch this month.
In the meantime, you can swing by Des’ blog to enjoy some of his great content covering not only LinkedIn, but social media and communication for business.
Get the Edge (Part 1) - apologies for the audio-visual sync issue
If you’re in media/communications/marketing/social media and have an hour to spare, I highly recommend checking out the full hour-long video discussion regarding the future of journalism. As an add-on, you might also like to check out the discussion on Twitter via the #heraldsunfoj hashtag.
Moderated by Steve and featuring Phil Gardner, Campbell Reid, Renee Barnes and Russell Howcroft, it discusses not only on journalism, but topics including marketing, advertising, paid content, communications and the wider use of social media by media organisations (particularly newspapers).
Pixels & Ink: A Discussion About the Future of Journalism
‘Media as a snack’ vs ‘Media as a four-course meal’
Steve described two types of media content in the current environment – that which we snack on in bite-sized pieces, and that which we delve deeper into (the four-course meal). Media need to understand consumer engagement with each form, as well as the ability they provide the consumer to share this content.
Content surplus as a bankable trend
In an era of self-publication (for brands as well as individuals) and increased noise we’re all faced with the problem of too much content and not enough time. For media companies, scaling this information and providing value through quality curation is a great opportunity to solve this problem for the consumer.
Steve’s top tips for being a quality curator:
Be knowledgeable and well read on your subject matter of choice
Save materials for later reading – it’s all an opportunity to be well informed and provide value to others
Focus on depth, not breadth. As Steve said, he knows a lot about a few things, and little about most things.
People want to engage with people
People ultimately want to engage with people. The same applies for brands and media. That is, people want to connect with the human element of a brand and those that work for the organisation. Just look at the spectacular success of Zappos and the introduction of Reuters’ ‘social pulse’ as examples of this.
Journalists and media are now community managers
Following on from the previous point, with media personnel now across social media as part of their day-to-day function sharing, curating and creating content – they now have to be adept at managing a community.
Those leading in the media field understand this, and see their role not only as a reporter/journalist/presenter – but as a brand ambassador who is able to acquire consumers and an build an audience through these channels.
Steve cited The New York Times’ Brian Stelter as the best example of this media professional – and I most certainly recommend following Brian and his colleague David Carr on Twitter and subscribing to them both on facebook if you’re interested in media and communications particularly.
Media need to understand the channels
Media need to invest the time and resources to not only understand the distribution process for established and emerging channels, but to investigate how content is being spread, which particular content is being spread, and by whom.
Steve’s top three emerging trends for media?
Building business models that incorporate curation,
Increased data mining and analytics about real-time engagement with media content (Steve used the particular example of chartbeat during the discussion), and
The increased importance of facebook’s open graph. Those media that understand and utilise the open graph to increase views, shares and engagement will improve their edgerank greatly. In short, those media that engage with facebook in this manner will be more valuable than those that don’t.
The public no longer sees media and social media as separate
The one point that Steve wanted the audience to take from the discussion is that the public don’t see media and social media as separate – they see them as one. For that reason, it’s up to media organisations to embrace and understand these channels, and how their story pervades across those with which they choose to engage.
What do you think?
Do you have any additional tips for being a curator or trends you think we’ll be seeing in media?
Were you there last night, and if so did any additional points stand out for you from the discussion?
What are your favourite media brands and who are your favourite media individuals engaging in social media. What about their practice do you particularly admire?
Now I’ve not been to the festival before, and am not certain to what extent social media has been included in previous festivals, but as a communicator I admired the the work of those behind the festival to integrate social media content and communication to drive engagement, and more importantly, sales.
As noted by Mashable’s Lauren Indvik in her round-up of the recent Fashion 2.0 awards, the industry has moved forward with innovation since the latter half of 2010 when it “was sincerely behind other industries in its adaptation of social media, live streaming, mobile and 3D (or, in some cases, “4D”) technology.”
The ongoing work of the team at LMFF this week is testament to that momentum and those strides forward made by the fashion industry.
To break it down for you, here’s an overview of the social and digital communication currently being executed by the LMFF team.
The LMFF website is the hub for everything festival related – including links to tickets, designers’ stores, images, festival highlights, news feed, city maps, seminars, sponsors and added social media properties. It also allows visitors to download their own festival planner, subscribe to the official newsletter (Swingtag) and receive the latest looks from the runway (not a bad way to build a nice database of fashion conscious consumers to communicate with, wouldn’t you agree?).
More than that, something about the site design almost has a bit of a Pinterest feel about it (or maybe that’s just me). Perhaps that will be the next platform to join the campaign for 2013?
If that wasn’t enough, the home page also houses links to the festival’s facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blog and iPhone app – so you can be sure there’s no shortage of timely content for festival-goers and fashion fans to consume and share at their convenience – and no shortage of points and platforms on which to spark discussions, float questions or provide feedback (they’re also using Instagram through their Twitter and facebook pages, and integrating YouTube advertisements that I’ve seen on videos these past few days).
To add to this, the festival is also playing host to a plethora of fashion bloggers, with the crowds creating their own fashion show and playground for fashion writers to snap and interview fellow fashion forward individuals. In fact, I don’t think I’ve seen so many bloggers in one place since Blogworld New York in 2011! While I’m sure there are some bloggers receiving greater access to the shows and designers than others – the organisers clearly understand the rise of the blogger and citizen commentator in the industry. We are all self-publishers.
Shop the Runway
Of course, at the end of the day the consumer of this content is left with the burning question: Where and when can I buy these looks? Enter ‘Shop the Runway’ (video above). Allowing the consumer to purchase in-store or online, the site capitalizes on all the great content by giving them a portal through which they can take virtually immediate action with their designer(s) of choice (it’s available via web and the iPhone app). Each designer is allocated their own page, incorporating YouTube footage of their runway show, still images of their collection, and a map of the country with a stockist search by postcode.
Communication + Commerce
The team at LMFF clearly understand that with the connectivity and reach of social media, and the appetite and expectation of the marketplace to consume and share content related to products and brands they love and want, they are now communicating not only with a trade audience, but direct to consumers.
More than that, the LMFF are dealing directly with consumers who expect the ability to take immediate action and seek instant gratification not only in the form of sharing and dialogue, but equally (if not more so) in the form of purchase.
With their content marketing coordinated across an array of media, they are able to track engagement with individual designers, as well as clicks through to online retailers (measuring communication efforts). This connects community and content to commerce and sales, and demonstrates and positions the festival not only as an economic boost for the local economy, but also of direct value to the designers, retailers and exhibitors.
Yes, new platforms and tools will emerge, but with this latest initiative and communication effort, the LMFF has positioned itself as a bridge between this content and commerce for both consumers and designers – and with all the results and lessons from this year, I’m sure that the platforms and communication will only continue to get better as the fashion industry takes even more steps forward in this field.
Kudos to the social media and communication team at LMFF on all their great work. Looking forward to seeing what you’ve got in store for 2013.
What do you think?
Do you have any favourite fashion or luxury brands employing social media marketing and communication? If so, what is it that you enjoy about their communication? Which platforms are they using especially well to engage?
I was taken aback last week on my regular train commute to work when I noticed that my favourite piece of graffiti wall art had been trashed – literally.
What was once a fierce panther had been covered by another artist’s tag. Now I’m no graffiti artist, and have no idea what the codes and conventions are among these artists, but I took this personally – and can’t begin to understand how the original artist must be feeling.
Thinking about it further, the feeling was not dissimilar to that I’ve had in the world of the virtual wall when people have trashed a brand that I love and whose community I am a part of.
So, what does the trashing of this brick wall teach us about the trashing of the virtual and digital walls?
People are talking about your brand
It’s been written time and time again that whether you know it or not, there are people out there in the community that are talking about you and don’t like your brand. Much like this graffiti artist (I really should try and find out their name), each and every brand is now a target for discussion and tagging on the virtual wall.
You can identify the voices
Unlike the graffiti example above, the virtual wall gives you the opportunity to identify those talking about you and hear their praise and gripes. This equals opportunity; opportunity to hear their words, engage on their level, and work towards a collaborative relationship through dialogue. Imagine if the street artist above had been afforded the same opportunity to hear feedback from the wider community and possibly re-work this wall canvas to be something even more spectacular?
You have the gift of community
In a recent video rant from the heart, head, and hip, Gary Vaynerchuk described community as a great gift. If your brand is willing to enter this space and treat its community as such, they will be there to advocate for your brand in the event that you do take a trashing. That’s not to say that it’s entirely up to them – but throughout crises and trashings in the social space, I have seen, and continue to see communities enter into conversations in order to advocate for brands. Don’t take the gift of community for granted.
Nobody wins in a slander match
Looking at the trashed piece of wall art above, I get the overwhelming sense that neither party has won anything out of it. The same can be said for brands. Don’t get me wrong – I have no doubt that many members of online communities have highly valid reasons to take issue with brands (truth be told I’ve done it myself), but dialogue is two-way, and responsibility rests with both sides to come to the table to engage.
What do you think? Do you know any brands that do or have done a great job of working through issues with the community? Have you seen any poor examples of company response following a trashing of the digital wall?