4 Brands that Are Killing it On Social Media

Each brand has a unique strategy that works for them. If you're looking for inspiration for your own brand, check out what these guys are doing to dominate the social media game.  Which one do you think has the best social media presence?   

Charmin - The toilet paper company proves you don't need a glamorous product to have a great marketing strategy.  They hatched the "tweet from the seat" campaign on Twitter to combat what people may consider a dull product. Consumers are encouraged to share the deep thoughts that come to mind when sitting on the porcelain throne.

Netflix - Netflix consistently nails it with posts that hit home with its market.  The company is a prime example of one that truly understands its audience.  By using movie quotes and appropriate gifs, the content strongly resonates with its users.

Oreo - With so many food companies on social media, what is it about the classic cookie that makes it stand out from the rest? The company's design crew is always releasing fresh content in the form of vines and videos to keep it interesting. Among its most notable campaigns was in Halloween of 2013, when it created a series of videos with cookies spoofing classic horror films. 

Dove - The bath-and-beauty product company's mission is to empower women to embrace their own beauty.  #BeautyIs, #LoveYourShape and #SpeakBeautiful are some of the hashtags used with content on Twitter to encourage women to feel good about themselves.  Read More  

 

   

 

How Diamonds are Social Media's Best Friend

In the digital age, storytelling on social media is everything to consumers. If they didn't post it on Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat– did it even happen? Most millennials and consumers of any age for that matter would say, maybe not.

For about the past 10 years, sharing the moment on social media has become just as important as the moment itself. For the consumer with a disposable income, they are wanting the next extravagant experience they can post to top the other stories or photos on their feed. 

So what are some high-end restaurants and hotels using as a tactic to get their customers to do their digital marketing for them? Diamonds are proving to be social media's best friend. The Algonquin Hotel's Blue Bar offers a $10,000 martini that comes with an actual diamond at the bottom of the drink. The "Martini on the Rock" is clearly not meant to be a top seller on the cocktail list, but an extravagant marketing tool that will undoubtedly generate press. Few have sipped on this luxurious drink but its existence creates buzz. The New York Palace Hotel had a similar idea when they created The Jewel Suite. The suite contains all of the standard luxuries - views of the city skyline, a private rooftop terrace, champagne... and a complimentary diamond ring. What makes a luxury brand appear more lavish than a drink or suite that comes with a real diamond? Read More     

Restaurant Brands Get Digitally Crazy

social media

By Kerri Adams, Digital Media Manager

Let’s face it! For restaurants to keep up in this competitive digital space, their marketers have to think outside the box. While traditional print marketing may be still relative, the consumer’s everyday experience is now a virtual one.

Every restaurant brand is trying to catch the attention of the elusive, distracted consumer, and a few methods may even be considered downright ridiculous. Need some proof? Here’s a closer look at how restaurant brands for better or for worse have gone digitally crazy to win the hearts of consumers.

Taco Bell Speaks Millennial

This quick-serve mogul that specializes in Mexican-inspired fare has never been subtle with its advertising. Taco Bell has actually taken the opposite approach of subtle.

Back in 2011, the brand run a full-page ad in Wall Street Journal, thanking the law firm Beasley Allen for filing a class action suit against the brand. The ad boldly stated “Thank you for suing us.” The suit claimed that the restaurant’s beef taco contained questionable ingredients other than just beef. The brand took this as an opportunity to tell “the truth” about what was in the meat with details of the beef taco – including what was in their not-so-secret sauce. The brand took it a step further with a video featuring CEO Greg Creed explaining what ingredients could be found in the beef taco. A few months later, the the class action suit was withdrawn.

Today, the brand continues to make a splash, but more of a digital one. In March 2015, Taco Bell declared a digital war when it released a controversial video (which has not been removed). The video tells a story about a group of individuals living in an oppressed society where a Ronald McDonald lookalike forces them to only eat Egg McMuffin-esque sandwiches for breakfast. In the end, they break free from this dictatorship so they can have some variety to their breakfast and become “breakfast defectors.” The brand has now created a social movement around this concept.

Besides causing somewhat of an uproar by calling out competitors, the brand has proven that they speak “millennial.” Taco Bell was one of the first brands to use Snapchat to engage with its customers. This is one of the ways the brand announced it had teamed up with DoorDash to test delivery in some markets.

TGI Fridays: Sharing Burgers Across Social

In 2009, the casual-dining giant TGI Fridays made a major social media mistake. They launched a Facebook offer where its No. 1 fan, “Woody” (who was fictitious), announced if he got 500,000 fans over the next month, each fan would get a free Jack Daniel’s Burger from the restaurant. In only 11 days, Woody reached the 500k mark and the brand was certainly not prepared for it. They could not get the coupons out in a reasonable time and the new fans got angry. And these angry fans took to social media to vent. So in the end, this “get fans quick” scheme was a bust and the page was removed.

Today, the brand is still trying to give away free burgers, but this recent social campaign is much more thought-out. Anytime someone purchases a handcrafted burger from TGI Fridays, that person will receive a code that he or she can enter at this microsite. The code then generates a social post (on Facebook or Twitter only) or an email for the user to share which includes a free burger. The first friend to click on the post gets the free burger.

This #JumpBurger campaign is clever for a few reasons. For one, it appeals to the consumer’s competitive nature. Secondly, if users miss out on the freebie, they are directed to the brand’s reward club where they get a free appetizer or dessert if they join. And thirdly, it gets customers to share TGI Fridays' brand content.

#Paneragoodness with Trendy Millennials

It makes complete sense that the top mobile brand of Q1 2015 would be on top of its social game. And the most recent social move by Panera Bread is promoting its #PaneraGoodness campaign, which is centered around eating “clean” and is focused on its fresh ingredients. The brand is taking it a step further with animated Gifs like shown below….

Panera is featuring short videos on social, primarily on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, of famous millennials speaking about their favorite ingredient. Some of the trendy millennials include Youtube stars Ricky Dillion and Andrea Russett and musicians like Jake Miller. These millennials explain their passion for the ingredient and often get nostalgic and share story of when they’ve enjoyed it in the past.

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Although these brands are not necessarily going completely digitally crazy, the top-performing restaurants are experimenting with social in creative ways that we have not seen before. What do you think of these tactics? Do these resonate with today’s social consumer?

Kids & Families are More Likely to Get Digital at Restaurants

In the world of digital marketing, particularly restaurants, kids are key. And although they may not be the ones holding the wallet, they are the ones often persuading the one with the buying power where to eat.  

With that in mind, successful restaurant brands are utilizing digital entertainment to engage with ultimately their most influential customers- kids. Chilli's is among the many to start offering tabletop tablets with games for a nominal fee. Research says that currently 1 in 10 tables currently purchase this feature.  As proven by Texas Roadhouse, the tactic doesn't necessarily have to be part of the dining experience. The brand's game "Legend Hunters" features a continuous story with various characters and a coloring book style feature. Coloring books are getting techy by using a QR code on children's menus. This allows the little diner the option to print, email, or upload scenes that they colored. Restaurants are finding that mobile app games are a useful vehicle to build brand loyalty with customers. Research is showing that consumers with children are 73% more likely to access deals from mobile apps and 73% more likely to scan a QR code. Findings also show that families with children are more likely to use mobile apps to pay for their order, place an order for pickup or place an order for delivery.  Read More  

"McDonalds" the Musical

Screenshot from the musical | McDonald's 

Screenshot from the musical | McDonald's 

Since millennials grew up watching the popular "High School Musical" franchise, it's no surprise that McDonald's latest campaign to target this demographic features a Glee-inspired musical commercial. The musical is set inside a McDonald's where a girl (actress Leslie Grace) is suffering from a bit of writer's block.  

A plucky McDonald's employee quickly comes to the rescue with inspiration in the form of back up dancers and a catchy song in Spanish. The McDonald's hispanic marketing department says its goal is to connect with its young consumers with catchy pop music that also ties in the Spanish culture. In recent times, the brand has suffered in sales, losing business to competition in the form of cast casual's such as Chipotle and Shake Shack. This is one of several attempts the brand has made to reconnect with their audience, along with menu changes and revamping of the company's imagine. Do you think this new approach could have millennials be "lovin it" again?  Read More

"Friend or Faux" is Chipotle's Latest Marketing Campaign

Screenshot of the placeholder page for the new Chipotle's game releasing on July 21st | Chipotlefriendorfaux.com 

Screenshot of the placeholder page for the new Chipotle's game releasing on July 21st | Chipotlefriendorfaux.com 

A burrito mogul's climb to the top doesn't just happen without well-thought out advertising. Some savvy digital marketing strategies have been put into place along the road to Chipotle's success. Most recently an interactive online game for its consumers called "Friend or Faux" has people talking.

The game's intention is to educate its customers about Chipotle's ingredients versus those used in traditional fast food. The player chooses a Chipotle menu item and a random fast food menu item and then identities which item contains which ingredient. A "study guide" is provided for users to learn about the ingredients used in various Chipotle menu items. The goal of this campaign is to reinforce Chipotle's commitment to quality ingredients raised with respect for the environment, farmers and consumers. As a reward for playing the game, customers will receive a buy one get one mobile offer and a chance to win free burritos for a year. The "Friend or Faux" campaign is supported by significant online advertising to drive the message and and participation in the game/contest.  

Do you think Chipotle's strategy is an effective way to interact with its customers? Read More 

Going Mobile? Identify a Purpose

If you have decided it's time for your brand to go mobile- welcome. And you're right, it is time. Consumers are partly going to view your website on a mobile device. The average smartphone user reaches for their phone on an average of 150 times a day and so many people underestimate the power of what a mobile app can achieve for a brand. This modern day device is more than a screen and more than a replacement for a plastic card or sheet or paper. With that in mind- it is worth the investment to make your website mobile responsive. 

What about if you want to take it a step further with a mobile app? By being web-enabled, interactive, and location-aware, a smartphone app can provide a faster, friendlier, and precise guest experience. Creating a mobile app without a proper strategy can be extremely counterproductive to your business. Don't go fishing without a fishing pole. You must have a clear purpose and goal in mind before taking the plunge.

So ask yourself the Ws before going forward with building the app. What is the benefit you wish to achieve? What would make you, as a consumer, want to download the app? Think like one of your loyal guests. The more specific you can get , the clearer your path will be to creating an app your guests will love. The Starbuck's app started singularly focused as a payment app tied with rewards. This is the most popular app in the restaurant industry and they have just expanded mobile ordering. Read more about how to build a mobile app here.       

The Big Data Dictionary

The digital age has introduced almost a new language for marketers to understand. Do you know all of the terms below? If not, catch up with the "cheat sheet" below. 

Analytics: The discovery of meaningful patterns found in data. Data visualization is often used to communicate insight. In areas heavy in recorded information, statistics, computer programming and operation research are necessary to calibrate performance. 

Behavioral Analytics: A Methodology used to analyze user behaviors to predict future actions and understand intent. This type of data aims to not only understand what is happening but also why it is happening.

Big Data: A broad term for large and complex data that deem traditional data processing systems inadequate. Some of the challenges include analysis, data curation, sharing, storage, transfer, visualization and information privacy. 

Business Intelligence: A set of tools used to transform raw data into meaningful data for business analysis. These technologies are capable of organizing large amounts of unstructured data to help identify strategic business opportunities.

Data Mining: A data analysis technique focusing on discovering information for predictive purposes. The data inspected and explored or "mined".  Catch up on more indsutry terms here!   

How Big Data Changed the Game for Restaurant Brands

By Kerri Adams, Digital Media Manager

It is difficult to imagine a world where restaurant diners are not anxiously checking their phones or snapping photos of their meals. And although some establishments frown upon excessive cell phone usage, (yes, there are restaurants that have strict no mobile devices out at the table policies) brands that embrace smartphone usage and use this consumer addiction to their advantage are the most successful.

But it actually took the restaurant industry as a whole quite a while to catch up in the technology space. When consumers started to live in their digital obsessed world, businesses -- specifically restaurants -- lost control. This digital world was in favor of the customer. Not only were restaurateurs and marketers having difficulty trying to adapt, but consumers were the ones gaining power over the purchasing process. That was until these marketers harnessed the power of big data.

The Power of MPOS

Point of sale systems are so much more than a modern cash register. This is where customers spoon feed their demographics and preferences to the business in a form of a credit card. But now the POS is not always in-store -- it is in the customer’s pocket. The customer can be at home or 30 minutes away from the restaurant when they order. In today’s fast-moving market, it has become an expectation from the consumer for a restaurant to have mobile ordering. The success of mobile ordering has shown that customers don’t mind giving their information in exchange for convenience. Most mobile-ordering platforms (and loyalty programs) require users to set up - profiles where the business can collect their name, address, phone number and their menu preferences.

The No. 1 restaurant of Q1 2015 according to consumer social data from Restaurant Social Media Index (RSMI) was the fast casual Panera bread. This brand has seamlessly integrated technology to offer a more convenient dining experience -- in fact, 20% of sales come from mobile, online and kiosk ordering. With the launch of Panera 2.0, the brand has already rolled out rapid pick up to all stores, but soon it will be rolling out the kiosks. An expected 20% is bound to increase.

Consumers may love these programs because they are convenient, but Panera loves them because they can track customer behavior better than ever. The brand uses customer data to determine the best rewards for each individual loyalty program customer. If a customer regularly orders items off their “Pick Two” menu, most likely they will be receiving a $2 off reward in the near future.

Targeting your Customer Everywhere

The social sphere still offers various challenges to brands. It is an uncontrolled environment where consumers have the freedom to voice their opinions however they wish. Until recently, the social space was seen as the Wild West to marketers. Again, that has also changed. DigitalCoCo’s RSMI is the most comprehensive index for the restaurant & foodservice industry. We are tracking 15,256 brands in more than 430K locations, with more than 188,699 total restaurant industry terms. Anyone can collect data -- but what will set successful businesses apart is  is how they make sense of that data. We use a large dictionary of sentiment-bearing phrases then both assign and interpret their relative scores. By creating this extensive database of terms, we are able to determine a brand’s consumer sentiment score through an intricate analysis of what their customers are saying on social media platforms.

Let’s face it – customers are going to be less gated about their opinions on social. We are able to track these honest consumer interactions and determine how consumers really feel about the brand: How is their service? How do they feel about a new menu item? In-store feedback is no longer the only place for brands to measure their performance. Customers are more accessible through this social sphere.

VenueBeacon

There is a way to take tracking your social customers a step further. How do you know if your social audience is driving sales? Previously, it was not easy to measure if your social audience was translating into business. That was before VenueBeacon. These beacons are placed closed to the POS and they pull data from the mobile devices from as little as 2 inches to as far as 200 feet away. This allows for brands to track Location-based actions like never before. Brands can measure sidewalk traffic, time in-store by zones and competitive habits of these consumers. Learn more about this technology here

Although marketers still have yet to invent a crystal ball that predicts a customer’s future behavior, collecting data from the technologies above has given the power back to the marketer. Ultimately, the brands that track their customers’ movements the closest will be the ones to rise to the top.

Social Media Hacks from the Pros

There's more to winning at social media than just "posting good content". Strategies need to be implemented that involve research, testing, data, and creativity. So here are some tips from the pros that will get you more followers, and increase engagement and ultimately boost revenue.  

-Following up is essential. When trying to contact someone with a busy schedule, chances are they'll say something like "Now's a busy time but try me again in 2 weeks". To ensure that this important contact doesn't slip through the cracks, use Boomerang. It's a gmail plugin that allows you to write a message and schedule it to send at a later time.

-Instagram is increasing in popularity as a favorite social media channel. With a little planning and tagging, you can create visuals on various profiles that give your company visibility and will encourage your follows to engage. More engagement means more impressions which means more followers. 

- Buffer is a helpful tool that you should consider using.  This feature allows the user to spend more time engaging and less time scheduling posts. You can write multiple posts, decide which platforms they get scheduled to, and Buffer will spread them out over a day or week so you don't have to be sitting at your computer to have a social media presence. It provides analytics and will suggest content that your audience may be interested in.  Read More 

3 Things You Need to Know About Twitter's Project Lightning

1. Up until now, it was up to the user to sift through hashtags and trending topics. It is now an editorial team at Twitter that will highlight Tweets using data and algorithms. Ultimately it will be up to the decision of a core group of humans, but they will be guided by computer generated data. With this new editorial route, Twitter is trying to solidify itself as the new age newspaper of the internet. 

2. Twitter aims to create a visual experience with photo and video content. Vine and Periscope videos will play immediately the moment you swipe them. When you use the mobile app, each Tweet will fill the entire screen. The spotlight is on imagery and conveying compelling visuals for the user.

- One of the most talked about new features that is generating excitement is the ability to follow events as opposed to people. The user no longer has to search out people with Tweets linked to an event. Twitter will now filter out unrelated Tweets, but relevant updates will continue to show up even after the event. What do you think about the strategy behind Project Lightning? Read More  

Barbie Gets a Digital Makeover

Screenshot of "Who is Barbie?" video | Mattel

Screenshot of "Who is Barbie?" video | Mattel

Even the most timeless and classic brands could benefit from a makeover every now and then. To stay relevant, brands need to evolve and this means the way they are market must evolve as well. Even the famous doll brand, Barbie, isn't exempt. 

After being knocked from the top spot during last year's holiday season (thanks to Frozen), a new strategy is being implemented. The new Fashionistas line will feature 23 different dolls with varying skin tones, facial structures, eye and hair colors and personal fashion. With the new focus on cultural diversity and individuality, Mattel is revamping its marketing approach by exploring digital and social platforms. Barbie has accumulated a solid following on social with 815,000 fans following the Barbie Style profile. Having historically relied on traditional TV commercials for advertising, Mattel is mixing it up by using a mix of TV, digital, social to promote the brand. They are working with YouTube influencers to reach girls and connect to them in the fashion space. Barbie was brought to life in a new stop-motion video released last week.  Watch here                    

3 Fun Digital Marketing Stats From Last Week

- Being "catfished" may no longer be a thing. There is now a timed photo verification feature on the online dating site, Zoosk. This allows users to upload a time-stamped photo, to ensure you aren't seeing someone's pictures from 10 years ago. Currently 3.8 million photos have been verified with this feature.

-"Food Porn" is more popular than ever on social media. Instagram posts using "food porn" have continued to increase- 371% according to statistics. KBS+, a global advertising agency in NYC, reviewed over 8 million food posts in the last 18 months. 

-For brands marketing to mothers, listen up! The majority of moms go on YouTube every 2 days and watch an average of 5 videos per visit. According to research from Millward Brown Digital, 83% of all mothers visit YouTube at least once a month. If you do the math, this means there's 70 different opportunities per month for marketers to reach their target audience. Read More   

Instagram Gets a Makeover- Makes Room For More Ads

For those of you who thought Instagram was only a mobile app- Surprise! It has a webpage! Where there was once a Twitter-esque banner along the top and a 5 column grid, there is no banner image. The images are now larger and in a column grid of 3 instead of 5. These updates align more closely with the layout of the app.

While these modifications are visually pleasing to users, some suspect that the reason they made the images bigger is for one purpose alone: ads. Until now the social media mogul only worked with a small chosen few advertisers since it started having ads in November 2013. But, Instagram is now opening up its advertising services to all marketers. This is a necessary shift, inevitable to any major social platforms. So far the ads on Instagram have been very selective and artistic, not causing complaints from users. But, is this about to change? Read More     

Twitter Revamps its Format for Easier Navigation

Until now, conversations on twitter have been somewhat unorganized and not very easy to follow. Following a thread can be confusing due to multiple strangers replying and conversing with each other. With that in mind, the popular social media platform has recently announced that it is changing the way it groups replies.  

Conversations will now be grouped together and the more interesting exchanges will be highlighted. There will be an option to expand the conversation similar to how you can currently expand a conversation on your home timeline. This change could have been inspired by Facebook's similar restructuring back in 2013 when they started having threaded conversations. This move will surely make the platform easier to navigate for its current 302 million users and may possibly inspire newcomers to start tweeting as well. User-friendliness is key to the success of any social media platform, mobile app, or any type of technology.  Read More   

Recap: The Week in Digital Marketing News

-President Obama previously held the record for the quickest to gain 1 million Twitter followers. This record was broken by Caitlyn Jenner, after she revealed her gender transformation on the cover of Vanity Fair. She currently has 2.3 million followers, nearly as much as President Obama who created his account back in May. Jenner also helped Vanity Fair break a record for largest website traffic day ever with more than 9 million viewers. 

-How many customers do not get responses from customer service inquiries via social media?  According to a survey conducted by The Northridge Group, 33 percent do not get their questions answered.

-Listen up Father's Day marketers!  n a recent research report, data shows that fathers use shopping apps 4 percent more than moms. The report also shows they share photos more and access maps more often as well.

-Remember AOL? This company has unveiled a new website to keep up with the times.  The new site is supposed to be more social media and mobile-friendly. These site upgrades were based on data showing that video views grew 94% and 90% of articles have a video attached.  Read More   

The Final Puzzle Piece in Smartphone Navigation

A new app called VoicePark is aspiring to be the final puzzle piece in Smartphone Navigation!  Long gone are the days of big fold out paper road maps, and printing out directions from Map Quest is a distant memory.  GPS navigation has spoiled drivers and most of us cannot imagine going back to the days before this kind of technology.  But once we get to our destination, we still circle around, wasting gas and time trying to find parking spots.  VoicePark would require cities to adopt an infrastructure requiring the installation of thousands of parking sensors. Currently VoicePark is running trials on a small number of spots in San Francisco.  It's an ambitious project and getting cities to adopt the technology is certainly risky.  Even if a city approves and funds the project, there's no telling how long until the technology itself becomes outdated.  Who's to say in a couple years, cars themselves will be able to find open spots? (Ford has already begun to experiment with this idea).  Read More     

Brands Demand View-Ability Stats for their Advertising

For brands purchasing online video advertising, how do they know that their ads are actually being seen? This is a question that is not so accurately correct. In December 2014, Google stated that 56% of its banner ads were never seen. Because of statistics like this, many brands are only making purchases of online ads with a 100% guarantee that it will be seen. But is a guarantee of 100% view-ability feasible?

Many companies, such as Kellogg, are boycotting YouTube because Google does not allow measurement by a third party. Recently, Google stated that videos running on YouTube have a 91% chance of being seen, which is substantially better than the 46% of ads that run outside of YouTube that have never had a chance to be seen. But really how accurate are these statistics? Is CPM still all that matters? What about traceable actions from clicks, follows, location-based and venue beacon data? Read More 

The Rise of Technology Brings the Decline of Privacy

In this digital age, the issue of privacy seems to come up again and again. Cameras are everywhere- from security cameras in stores to the cellphones we carry. With apps like Periscope, it is now easier than ever to live stream and almost impossible to hide. The CEO of periscope didn't anticipate the app to bring any controversy, but the live element does add a twist. People are bound to post something they wish they hadn't, and no longer have that editorial pause to rethink it.  

While this issue will undoubtably occur for adults, questions are raised about it being appropriate in the hands of teenagers. Currently Periscope bans users 13 and under from using the app and pornography is prohibited, but anything can slip through the cracks since it is live. Recordings of the stream can stay up for up to 24 hours. Do you think users are responsible enough to use live streaming apps? Read More     

The Most Interesting Digital Marketing Stats From the Past Week

-Email and direct mail are far from dead. Social media and mobile media may be getting more attention these days, but response rates for email are between 50% and 60% which can be attributed to better data and target marketing.

-The marketing team at Universal Pictures deserves some applause. Pitch Perfect 2 was released in theaters on Friday and had 300,000 followers on Snapchat. Chances are a big number of their millennial followers bought tickets. 

-Food festivals are getting on the social media bandwagon. Food trucks got on a while ago and now festivals are catching up. New York's Harlem EatUp has successfully grown its social presence in the past 6 months.  

- To celebrate 80 years of the beloved KitKat bar, Google and Nestle teamed up and released 600,000 limited edition packs in the UK with the name "YouTube Break" on the label. This surprisingly isn't the first campaign from this unlikely partnership.  Read More