Social Media Marketing on Instagram

By: Andie-Jane Phinney & Thomas Washington

Instagram is a social media platform, founded by Kevin System and Mike Krieger, which was launched on October 6, 2010. Instagram holds the record as the quickest social media platform to reach 1 million downloads. Within the first 24 hours of its launch, it became the number one app in the app store. As of today, it has records of 400 million monthly active users, 80 billion photos shared each day, and even 2.5 billion likes every day. These numbers show how popular and beneficial Instagram just is! It was bought out by Facebook in April of 2012 for $1 Billion dollars, and has been on the rise ever since.

Instagram has unique features that allow users to post and share pictures and videos, as well as edit them to their liking. You can see what other people share, their interests and even hashtags to narrow down commonalities. This allows users to customize their photos and share them with friends and family around the world.

Instagram is used not only to share photos and videos with friends or family, but many companies also use Instagram to advertise themselves. With the popularity of digital marketing continuing to rise, Instagram is the easiest and one of the most effective ways to market a company or a brand, don’t you think so?

Instagram is a platform that can help build awareness, boost engagement, and drive foot traffic to your business. It allows companies to showcase their products which allows for growth of followers and attracts leads. Not only do they gain attraction from current followers, they also gain free publicity when followers tag their friends to share their products.

By companies posting photos of products, promotions, or services, they allow viewers to see what they offer and put the products or services in front of the specific audience they want to reach.

Instagram pictures provide the audience with a better vision of the company and allows it to connect with fans, visually. Customers want to see what they are interested in and the pictures allow companies to tell a story and invite customers to see it.

Companies post pictures that they feel are the most attentive to the viewer. Their goal is to gain the viewer’s attraction to their brand and company. The pictures they post are designed to be simple, but effective. The famous quote we all know, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” has been put to use through Instagram advertising.

Not only does Instagram provide the audience with just photos, they now provide video content as well. When Instagram first launched, there was not an option for video. It was all about sharing photo content. With video content marketing becoming so popular, it has allowed companies to flourish through Instagram.

According to studies, 71% of marketers say video conversion rates outperform other types of marketing content that is used. Using videos to advertise on Instagram allows for a quick connection between viewers and the company. A video can explain products or services, provide detail, and catch a viewer’s eye all in the matter of fifteen second video. The companies who succeed at marketing through instragram, provide efficient, quick and loyal content.

Marketers use Instagram to showcase much more visually compelling and content-rich videos to create useful advertisements for viewers. For example, some companies provide how-to videos, which can be useful for answering consumer questions before they need to contact customer service. Other companies will provide soundless videos to allow the viewer to retell the brand’s story in their own eyes and to propel their own thoughts and ideas of what the company and video brings to them.

Both photo and video content marketing is something that has changed the way companies can advertise and market their business. It has opened up endless opportunities to promote services and products that companies are trying to get into the public eye. Instagram marketers have become so successful with visual content as well as adding hashtags into their marketing ideas.

One of the most effective ways to market on Instagram is by using hashtags. First you have to understand what a hashtag is: a hashtag is a unspaced phrase prefixed with the # sign. They also have unwritten rules to them: they generally cannot have capital letters in between the words or in the phrase at all, nor special characters, but numbers are allowed.

If you are trying to find more followers than what you currently have hashtags can be the way, and if you want to share your photos with a larger audience this is the best way to reach them. A hashtag is placed in the comments section under a photo before it is officially posted on Instagram.

One of the most important steps in using the hashtag is being specific in what you say. For example with a picture of a Volkswagen van, instead of posting a broad hashtag like #van, it would be a lot better to use #vwvan. After posting a specific hashtag like that, the photo will better reach people who are Volkswagen lovers. The specific hashtag of the #vwvan helps the Volkswagen lovers not get caught up swiping through the Fords, Toyotas, Hondas, etc. The hashtags have to be relevant as well; for example, if we used #photo there may be 1,000,000 photos tagged that way, so using #vwvan is better.

Then we can also add the #volkswagen to that same post and it targets the photo more efficiently. The third and final step is to be observant. You have to look at the hastags that are applied to other photos that are related to yours. People use #vw twice as much as #volkswagen in order to describe their Volkswagen, so you have to be observant of trends like this and repeat it with whatever type of photo you are posting.

Another perk of using Instagram as a marketing tool is that you can use it for marketing research. The 400 million monthly active users is the market, but the hashtags helps segment the photos, and makes target marketing easier. A hashtag like #sneakers may a couple million of tags, but #nikesneakers on the other hand may only have tens of thousands of tags. If you are Nike and you are looking for how much market share you potentially have on Instagram you can search different hashtags with your name in it, but in order to penetrate competition and see what people are liking from your competitors you can hashtag their names or broad posts related to the market.

Instagram has an advertising system called Sponsored posts in which large companies can pay Instagram to post their own pictures of whatever they want, to a specific target market. Users cannot get away from sponsored posts. They show up in their feed no matter what. Sponsored posts come across as being more organic and relevant on Instagram than they do on other social media sites; users don’t even realize, most of the time, that it is a large company advertising. A study shows that Instagram marketing actually drives more orders (sales) than Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest; even though Facebook has over 600 million more active users than Instagram.

Cross-marketing on Instagram is easy to do, as in the Instagram settings there are options for social sharing. In this way, marketers can make posts and transfer them over to fuel other marketing channels, like Twitter and Facebook. Instagram Direct, which was established in 2013, was an effort to compete with Snapchat; this may one day become a key in the engagement people have on Instagram. The feature called Instagram direct, which users refer to as Direct Messaging, was also supposed to play a key role in company advertising, but that has not been the case thus far. Facebook, the parent, company hopes to one day have companies convert the Instagram direct feature into a sales machine.

Hotels, restaurants, and bars are amongst some of the best types of businesses to market on Instagram, because many of those customers love to take pictures and post them of where they have been, and what they have eaten or drank. People go to restaurants and snap away with their smartphones to show off their food. Even if they do not hashtag the company or put the location, it will generate engagement most of the time. The engagement leads to telling someone in the comments under the photo about where they got the food from. The same practice occurs with drinks from bars – videos are included if there is a dance floor. Hotel photos frequently have the location in them because they are a part of a big trip or vacation.

In regards to what we found about Instagram, the key to successfully marketing on Instagram is finding new and interesting ways to connect through visuals. Posting creative use of imagery by using pictures and videos is what the public enjoys seeing. This said, Instagram truly is one of the most effective ways to market a company or a brand.

Sources:

  • “5 Ways Marketers Can Use Instagram.” Wishpond Simple Marketing Software. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.
  • Atkinson, Dane. “Four Reasons Video Marketing on Instagram Is So Much Better Than on Vine.”MarketingProfs. N.p., 30 Apr. 2015. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.
  • “Instagram for Business.” Instagram for Business. N.p., 3 Apr. 2016. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.
  • Helm Rich, Brittney. “Instagram for Business: Everything You Need to Know.” Business News Daily. N.p., 11 Jan. 2016. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.
  • “How to Create an Instagram Marketing Strategy | Sprout Social.” Sprout Social. N.p., 27 Jan. 2016. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.
  • Shenker, Marc. “Social Media Examiner.” Your Guide to the Social Media Jungle. N.p., 2 Mar. 2016. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.

 

“Service” Bridges the Gap in CRM

By: Aidan Kelly

For those sick of calling customer service hotlines, there’s an app for that. Los Angeles-based start-up company, Service, is a free application that takes the hassle and time out of calling a customer service hotline to report a complaint. It takes an average of 15 minutes to get a case resolved, but the company hopes to get that number down to under a minute with enough data in the future. In under 6 months of operating, the company has reported earning users a total of just under half a million dollars.

Although the company may seem one-sided in its approach, it actually works as a third party mediator, helping both the company and the consumer. Service gives companies who use the application valuable information about their customers. The data collected from each case can be used to help businesses see what they do right and wrong. The customer is not always right and, in fact, Service will tell customers to not waste their time in situations in which the customer is unlikely to win sympathy from the company.

Although still new in its lifecycle, Service hopes to develop software that will be able to match a customer complaint to the appropriate outcome without involving a person at all, which could one day eliminate giant call centers. As of now, Service has 12 employees, half of whom are engineers, who handle around 100 service complaints daily. The company believes that in the future they will be able to take 80% of the calls they receive and automate them. Michael Schneider, the company’s creator, said “we only work with companies with an incentive to improve – cultures where customer service matters”.

Customer relationship management (CRM) is a comprehensive business model for increasing revenues and profits by focusing on customers. Service plays a huge role in CRM by providing the customer with satisfaction and helping the company gain a better understanding on how to improve its business to focus on its customers’ wants. CRM can cost companies millions of dollars and Service can help lower some of those costs. Customer satisfaction and customer loyalty are two popular metrics that managers use to track the health of their businesses. Service helps customer satisfaction be achieved for companies, while at the same time tracking the complaints in order to prevent them from occurring again in the future.

I think Service is a great application that will help both companies and consumers alike. Companies will be able to find out what consumers really want in customer service and what is likely to deter them from being a repeat customer. Customers, on the other hand, are also getting a fair resolution to their problem without the hassle. There have been plenty of times where I have been frustrated with Comcast’s service so I have called them, only to wait hours to finally resolve the problem that could have been resolved in minutes. Service could, perhaps, be a mediator in the process and find a solution more quickly. Overall, I think that Service could become a great application that could help CRM for nearly every company.

Sources:

http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-service-20151013-story.html

http://www.buzzfeed.com/carolineodonovan/they-could-make-you-put-your-phone-down#.ewLlLVWbA

http://money.cnn.com/video/technology/2016/03/12/service-app-sxsw.cnnmoney/index.html?sr=recirc031816serviceapp930VID

Tricks or Treats? What Types of Deals are You Getting These Holidays?

By: Tyler Finigan

The holidays mean many different things, but two of them we can all agree on are the giving of gifts and the family friendly atmosphere. Whether it’s buying presents during Christmas time, buying costumes and candy for Halloween, or getting something for that special someone on Valentine’s Day, money is being spent and the majority of the time it is the deciding factor that determines what you end up buying. Everyone is looking for the best sales and the lowest prices on items so that they can get the best deal possible.  There is no time throughout the year when prices change more than during the holidays. Companies, brands, and stores are competing at the highest level during this time, and often greatly advertise how low they are dropping the prices or what new sales and discounts they are offering. However, are the consumers really getting the great deals they think they are getting, or is there something else going on?

The article, “Trick or Treat? How to Spot Retail Traps”, focuses on the pricing and marketing strategies used by retailers during the holidays to get consumers to spend more; in this case, for Halloween. The first strategy is setting the stage in the store to get customers in the mood to shop. Pretty displays of pumpkins and scents of cinnamon and pumpkin surround the customer and evoke feelings of the Halloween season. Research has shown that when customers are greeted with a shopping experience that reflects the season, they will usually stay longer in the store and spend more on products. Threshold offers are a second strategy and is used as an upselling trick. For online orders, once a certain value is spent on products, the customer will receive free shipping for their order. This order value is often up to 50% more than the average order value. The same idea applies for shopping in store; if you spend X amount of dollars than you receive a percentage discount. Another strategy is the decoy effect.  This is when a store prices one product higher than a second product. This higher priced product is more likely to drive the purchase of the second product, even though the lower priced product might not be priced that low. A fourth strategy this article mentions is bounce-back offers. These deals are a bonus or discount to be used at a later date for spending a minimum required amount. These types of offers get shoppers to return and make additional purchases, or the shoppers forget to redeem the bonus and end up spending more than they planned at their original visit.

All of this matters because it affects both the retailers and marketers that are trying to sell this product and the consumers that are buying these products. Marketers have to come up with these deals that will make their products more appealing than their competitors, as well as to aim to get consumers to spend as much as possible to maximize revenues. We consistently see different companies offering different discounts during the holiday seasons, and how marketers go about this competition will lead to thriving or failing of products and brands.

From the perspective of the consumer, we are trying to do nice things and buy nice gifts for the people we care about. How should we feel about these deceptive tactics retailers and marketers implement during the holidays to get us to spend more? They are offering so many deals that it seems like consumers are saving a bunch of money, when in reality they are not. Is it up to marketers and retailers to not deceive consumers and actually offer the savings they are supposedly offering, or is it up to us as the consumer to be smarter and see what they are actually putting out there? In my opinion, it is up to the consumer to outsmart the marketer and the retailers; because if the marketers and retailers get us to spend more on the products that they are marketing and pricing, then they are doing their job right and earning their paycheck.

Source: http://www.dailyfinance.com/2015/10/22/how-to-spot-retail-traps/

Introducing Pinterest Analytics

By: Kevin Poulter & Alicia Toye

The users of pinterest are known as “pinners” on the digital platform. Pinterest allows users to visually share their interests and discover new hobbies by ‘pinning’ images or videos to their own boards. Pinners can save pins from other users’ boards, as well as upload their own pins either from the internet or their own pictures. These boards can be categorized by users themselves, based on what they are interested in. Boards tend to follow a common theme, such as travel, cooking, sports, etc. Pinterest wants to help its users discover the things they truly enjoy and motivate them to participate in these activities. The founders of Pinterest want Pinterest to become the world’s largest discovery engine.

We’ll introduce Pinterest Analytics, a way for users to observe how pinners engage with content from their site or ‘pins’ from their profile. Pinterest Analytics only works for business accounts. A user can easily convert their personal account into a business account, or simply create a new one. Using analytics, pinners can see how things are trending over time, how changes to their pinning strategy have affected their activity on the site, and if there are seasonal trends leading to more traffic on their profile. Users can also filter and sort their analytics in an effort to get a more detailed look. These filters include viewing data for a particular time period or viewing analytics for different devices. Users can even export data to compare trends regarding metrics such as repins, clicks, and impressions. Pinterest Analytics are categorized into 3 different areas: profile analytics, audience analytics, and website analytics.

Profile analytics has a section where users can look at data that was collected over the last 30 days. With Pinterest, pins may not be discovered a while after they are added. Therefore, users may need to wait a while before they are able to see the full impact of their pins. In the case of Buzzfeed, it was discovered that much of their traffic came from content published more than two months prior. There are three main metrics that Pinterest analytics are derived from: repins, clicks, and impressions. Repins indicate that people find a user’s content interesting enough to save it or share it. Clicks indicate people wanting to learn more about or take action on a user’s content. If people are actively looking for a user’s content, it is indicated by impressions. Analytics provides the top 50 pins, following these metrics, in the last 30 days and the report is based on the data collected from the beginning of a user’s account. Pinterest Analytics presents this information in the form of tables and graphs for users, to help breakdown the information.

In the profile analytics section of Pinterest, there are also tables that indicate the top 50 boards within the past 30 days that users are viewing pins from and saving pins to. These analytics show the pinner’s journey, which breaks down the state-of-mind that pinners tend to be in when exploring Pinterest. These states-of-mind follow a pattern that begins with a ‘just looking’ state-of-mind. Pinners then move into a ‘maybe I could’ state of mind, followed by a ‘narrowing it down’ state-of-mind, and ending in a state-of-mind of ‘I know what I want’. If users learn to understand these states-of-mind, then they can add pins that help pinners along this journey. This is why it is imperative to post product-focused and aspirational pins, but that still relate to the business.

The All-Time report, in profile analytics, is another feature of Pinterest analytics. This feature involves metrics like All-Time most repinned pins, power pins, and best in search. These metrics provide insight into the content that a user’s audience is most interested in, pins with the All-Time highest engagement, and the pins that are ranked the most high in searches. Not only does Pinterest analytics provide users with all of the useful information previously mentioned, but it also provides ways for users to improve each of the metrics it uses to analyze their profiles and sharpen their pins.

The next category of Pinterest Analytics is website analytics. Website analytics allows users to see how the content from their website is doing on Pinterest, by showing data regarding pins that link back to the user’s website. Website analytics can also be filtered by clicks, impressions, re-pins and all-time top pins. Website analytics, much like profile analytics, shows top pins from the previous 30 days representing the most popular pins from a user’s website. The purpose of this feature is to aid users in deciding what pins and boards to add to their profile and what users should feature on their website. In addition to the top pins, website analytics also provides the top boards from the past 30 days. The top boards feature can help users to understand how pinners are organizing the content from a user’s website. Pinners can use boards that either they created themselves, or boards that the user has created, with pins that link back to the user’s website.

Unique to the website analytics category, of Pinterest, is the Original Pins section. This section provides a report showing the number of unique pins that are created from a user’s website on a daily basis. User’s can use this section to see the most recently created unique pins, understand how much unique content on Pinterest is coming from their site, and the latest pinning trends from the user’s website. In order to best utilize this section of analytics, users should consider how easy it is for viewers to pin from their website and if viewers can pin from the user’s mobile site. Users should also take into account whether or not their viewers actually know they are on Pinterest and how active they are on Pinterest. An important factor to these considerations is the Pin It button.

The Pin It button is beneficial to the success of a website through Pinterest and  website analytics, as well. By adding the official Pin It button to their website, users will receive a snapshot view of how the button is driving traffic back to their website. The viewer’s activity (i.e. Pins, clicks, impressions) is shown in two separate graphs. The first graph provides data based on a single day and the second graph provides information based on the previous seven days. The data will exhibit how many times pins that were created by a user’s website are repinned, how many impressions they received, and how many times the repins led viewers back to the site. Similarly to profile analytics, website analytics also has an All-Time section which shows the complete history of the user’s business account on Pinterest. This history includes most repinned pins, best in search and Power Pins. This section for website analytics is meant to provide insight into bigger content trends across a user’s pins.

The last category of Pinterest analytics is audience analytics. On Pinterest, a user’s audience is defined as anyone who has seen at least one of their Pins. Engaged pinners, on the other hand, refers to anyone who has liked, repinned, sent or clicked on one of the user’s Pins. Audience analytics revolves around demographics and interests. Demographic data is based on content from the previous thirty days and is important because it let’s users know where their audience is coming from, what languages they speak and what gender they identify with. All of these factors can help a user better target their content. There is also a metro detail, which is currently only available in the United States.

Audience analytics largely regards the interests of a user’s audience. Under the interests section users will get a look at the most popular categories that the user’s followers show interest in and a collection of boards from the user’s audience that contain the user’s pins. Users will also be able to see other business accounts that their audience interacts with. The purpose of analyzing these areas is to provide the user with ideas about the kind of content in which their audience likes, how they think about the user’s brand, and to see how the user’s audience organizes the user’s pins. Additionally, users will see how their audience reacts to their pins, find inspiration on how to organize their boards and website, as well as learn who else their audience is interested in. Learning who else a user’s audience is interested in is important because it gives the user an idea of other things that appeal to their followers. This can help a user figure out what kind of pins they would like to create in the future.

Pinterest Analytics looks bright and has a great deal of potential for future businesses. It not only offers users a way to see how people interact with their pins, but is a way to gain more insight into their website. Pinterest Analytics provides users with monthly reports and data that are easy to analyze and show how effective a user’s pins are to the company. With Pinterest being a social media platform used more heavily by females, Pinterest Analytics would be ideal for apparel brands. The fact that Pinterest offers a direct link from the pin to the product for purchasing shows the company how well and effective online purchasing is on Pinterest. Another ideal business category for Pinterest Analytics would be food establishments. Users with businesses relating to food can pin recipes, new dishes, and photos of the restaurants. By using Pinterest Analytics the user can see how much traffic their page is experiencing from both Pinterest and their business’ personal site. Pinterest Analytics has the potential to give businesses a head start in the future of online marketing.

Sources

https://pinterest.app.box.com/s/4u9wx06yk91r463upuar

https://help.pinterest.com/en/articles/pinterest-analytics

http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/how-to-write-blog-post-simple-formula-ht

Word of Mouth or Paid Advertisements: Are You Getting the Biggest Bang for Your Buck?

By: Jane Walsh

Have you ever thought about the marketing stages for different products? What is put out through paid advertisements and what you hear from your friends, both remind you of the product and can help you decide whether or not you are interested in it. But both ads and word of mouth trends tend to flow in waves. They work independently, as well as together to keep books, movies, video games, etc. in the public’s eye. Where paid advertisements may introduce you to a new product, word of mouth reminds you later on that it exists. We’ve all heard, “I just finished watching this Netflix movie,” or “Have you played the new Call of Duty yet?” Word of mouth is a free medium that tends to linger on after advertisements have died down.

At what point between was the public excited about the release of the fifth Harry Potter Book? Was it after they had read the fourth? Or maybe, because it was later in the series, the anticipation was grouped together with a few of the books in J.K. Rowling’s series. What about when the movies were being released? Harry Potter is a good example of a franchise that thrived off of great reviews through word of mouth, but also did its fair share of advertising. So this brings us back, if a product can reach such a large audience through word of mouth, where do companies spend their money on advertisements in order to be the most productive?

This article studied, specifically, four movies during both the theatre release and the video release. They compared the paid advertisements and the level of word of mouth spread with the revenues collected during each stage. What they found was that paid advertisements were the most successful initially, when the movies were headed into theatres. However, they did not show any increase in revenue when the movies came out on video. The results for word of mouth trends were the opposite. They showed more success when the movies came out onto video. With this information, marketing companies can save money on advertisements by using them more effectively.

Source:

Bruce, Norris I., Natasha Zhang Foutz, and Ceren Kolsarici. “Dynamic effectiveness of advertising and word of mouth in sequential distribution of new products.” Journal of Marketing Research, 49.4 (2012): 469-486.

Athleisure Wear for the Future

By: Nichole Urbanski

Athleisure wear seems to be the new upcoming thing for young adults. Not only is the clothing extremely comfortable but also most come at reasonable prices. When reading the article, Product and Competition Stretch Market for Athleisure’ Clothing, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/26/business/products-and-competition-stretch-market-for-athleisure-clothing.html?_r=0 I was able to relate to the topic at hand. Nowadays, it is not uncommon to see people anywhere wearing comfortable, leisure clothing. The article actually mentioned that this epidemic has even led to people in the office wearing sneakers rather than dress shoes.

Yogasmoga is working to be an amazing authentic athleisure retail store topping even their largest competitor, Lululemon. Retailers these days are all grasping with the idea of selling athleisure clothing and accessories, as young adults are interested in group fitness classes, running and doing yoga. What sets Yogasmoga apart from the other athleisure retailers? They use aurum fabric, which is supposed to be extremely soft and durable. They spent two years making carbon 6 black dye pants, which are said to “never go see-through.”

I think that Yogasmoga may have an impact on the athleisure industry for certain target markets. It is very possible that customers who shop at Lululemon would shop at Yogasmoga as well because their prices are very similar. However, I don’t think that Yogasmoga will necessarily have a large impact on other companies, such as Nike and Addidas, which have been around forever. Their customers tend to be loyal and faithful to their products, and they also sell products at more affordable prices. Seeing as the locations of Yogasmoga stores are mainly in metropolitan areas, they may do well as these areas are likely have sizeable populations of people who are able to afford their clothes. That said, I think Yogasmoga would only have an impact on those brands that list their products at a similar price.

As a girl, wearing yoga pants, capris and leggings are a must! Especially when working out. They are the most comfortable items of clothing and are easy to exercise in. However, yoga pants definitely wear out after a few washes and typically become see-through unless they are a higher-quality, higher-priced alternative. I tend to buy athleisure clothing at Gap, Nike, Under Armour and even Kohl’s. Why? Because they have reasonable prices! While Lululemon does have cute clothing that fits snug, they are expensive. Especially for a college student, who just wants to workout and feel comfortable. Lululemon definitely deserves a trip here and there, but not all the time.

Even though the article mentions that Nike and other retailers are seeing a decrease in their profits, I still shop there because the price is reasonable for me and I like their clothing. I have never had a problem with Nike apparel going see-through or tearing. However, I have bought athleisure wear from the Gap, which has torn in the dryer many times. This, then, brings up the question of: does it make more sense to choose the more expensive retailer for athleisure clothing or to go with the cheapest?

When thinking this question over I first look at the pros and cons of each. The pros of Lululemon and Yogasmoga clothing are that they basically make a promise to their customers that their clothing is the softest and most durable. What are the cons of choosing more expensive brands? Well of course, the price! A tank top at Yogasmoga goes for around $72… if you were to use the $72 at a cheaper retailer such as Kohl’s, you would definitely walk out with more than a tank top. Now what are the pros of cheaper, more affordable athleisure retailers? Yes, the price; but also that their clothing can be just as durable and soft! Most of the time it is hard to distinguish a difference between clothing from higher-priced retailers and those from lower-priced. Okay, how about the cons of cheaper retailers? Well, although at first it may be hard to see a difference in the fabric and durability, over time clothing becomes less soft and usually does become see- through. Colors tend to fade from extensive wear and fabric usually isn’t that soft anymore. However, at the end of the day, I would still choose the more affordable brands as I can get more for my money. If clothes tear or go see through I can buy another pair for 1/3 of the price of Lululemon or Yogasmoga’s clothing.

Overall, it really depends on the consumer and what they want to buy. Yogasmoga may intrigue some to loyally shop with them while others may shop once and never return. Yogasmoga’s target market is limited. Their products are directed towards people who don’t mind spending $72 on a tank top. As mentioned, college students who aren’t working probably wouldn’t want to spend half of their food money for the week on a top that they may only wear one time. As clearly stated, all retailers must participate in the epidemic or they will lose out. Brand loyalty is KEY!

 

How to Successfully use Tumblr for Social Media Marketing

By: Stephanie Barbagallo & Samantha Albano

Tumblr is widely known as a blogging platform and social networking website. Tumblr allows its users to post multimedia as well as other content to a short-form blog. Like other social media platforms, Tumblr users can follow each other as well as make their blogs private. David Karp founded the site in 2007, but as of 2013, Yahoo acquired it for approximately $1.1 billion. Tumblr has over 287 million blogs on its site and has 555 million monthly visitors. On Tumblr’s website it says, “Tumblr empowers people to create something extraordinary. Find and follow the things you love.” About 50 percent of Tumblr users are age 25 or younger. Users can post text, photos, quotes, links, music, and videos from their browser, phone, desktop, or email. Users can also customize everything about their page.

A major way Tumblr users discover each other is by the use of tags. For example, if you post a picture of a dog, you might want to use the tags “dog”, “puppy”, “cute”,
“animals”, etc. Tumblr has an “explore” page where users can see what tags are currently trending and the most popular. They are also able to see trending blogs and trending searches on this page. The site also has a “recommended for you” section, where it recommends different content to users depending on what they follow and like.

Recently, Tumblr announced two changes it made to encourage more conversations and engagement around its content. First, is re-launch of its Replies feature, which was removed several months ago. The company is also bringing out an updated Notes design that will make it easier for the community to follow the comments on a post. The users of Tumblr were not pleased when the Replies feature was removed, so its reappearance will certainly gain recognition and appreciation. Users wanted the option of either leaving a public comment with the Replies feature, as well as the option of having a private conversation. The new version of Replies is actually more conversational than the original. Authors can now reply to their own posts, users can reply multiple times, and users can now reply on reblogs as well as original posts. Users also have the choice of three different settings for how they would like to use the Replies feature on their own blogs: let everyone reply, let only those Tumblr users that they follow and those who are following them reply, or they can use a “Safe Mode”, which means that only Tumblr users you follow are able to reply to your blog posts.

The other great change that Tumblr recently made is the redesign of its “Notes” feature. This feature is the place on the blog where users can see different conversations that are surrounding a post. Originally, Notes was designed to highlight every time someone liked or reblogged a post and displayed it in a long list of “interactions.” In order to find when somebody reblogged with a comment on a popular post, users used to have to scroll through content for a good amount of time. With its new design, Tumblr has moved all the non-conversational commentary at the top – so likes and reblogs that used to just take up an incredible amount of space are now presented in a horizontal list that is on one line. Now, only replies and reblogs with comments will be displayed vertically. Through these two changes, it will be easier for users to read and participate in the conversations of posts.

Yahoo recently lowered its valuation of Tumblr from $990 million in 2013 to $760 million at present. The company has recently removed a barrier for brands buying ads on Tumblr. Brands no longer have to have their own blog on the site.

On Tumblr’s site under the “About” button at the bottom of the page, is a “business” section. When someone clicks on this button, it displays pictures of brands such as Lipton Iced Tea, Aèropostle, Disney, BMW, Delta, etc. as the background with the text saying “Hello, Brands. Welcome to Tumblr. Your biggest fans are already here.” Under that, it gives the option to contact a brand strategist. Through the click of a button, company’s can contact a brand strategist to get their brand on Tumblr. This page also talks about “Why Tumblr?” The site explains how Tumblr is the best place for creators to find an audience for their content – there are over 200 million blogs that publish 80 million posts per day. Tumblr’s dashboard makes it easy for people to discover and share content. 70% of Tumblr users say the Dashboard is their favorite place to spend time online. Tumblr also mentions how brands are welcome as creators themselves with content users want to see. Tumblr is ranked #1 in social sentiment towards brands.

Tumblr has sponsored posts, sponsored video posts and sponsored days. Tumblr’s sponsored posts are just like regular Tumblr posts except they are far more visible to users. These sponsored posts are targeted by gender, location, and interest so content will be visible to users who are more likely to be interested in it. Tumblr’s sponsored video posts are similar to the regular sponsored posts but they have added analytics on views, looping of the video, and engagement. The videos will play automatically and will loop continuously. The player also pops out so people are able to keep watching while they scroll through their dashboard. Tumblr’s sponsored day is when companies can own a day with a cross-platform promotion. They are able to pin their logo and tagline to the top of the dashboard for 24 hours. This will link to an exclusive tab in the Explore page, which is one of the most visited and engaging pages on Tumblr. Companies will be able to use their own posts, reblog posts they’ve liked, or do both. “Whatever story your brand wants to tell, you’ve got a slice of the dashboard to tell it in all day long.”

Some examples of brands that have been successful using Tumblr are Lexus, Whole Foods and Vans. Lexus is known as a luxury auto brand. The company takes a fashion-forward approach with its presence on Tumblr. It uses highly stylized, prominent images and GIFs to appeal luxury automobile seekers. This example shows how cars are able to mimic high-end fashion by targeting a younger audience who is more interested in the design of a vehicle than the performance of it. Lexus used hashtags such as #fashion, #b&w, and #photography to allow users to discover GIFs, photos, and videos more progressively and keeping the brand subtle throughout the whole experience for the users.

Whole Foods is another example of a brand that is successful marketing through Tumblr. Whole Foods does a remarkable job at establishing engagement. They do this by reposting a surplus of material from their followers. This strategy has enabled Whole Food’s magazine Dark Rye to go past the recipe guide to become a blog intended with the clear goal of sharing inspiring works of art – whether these works of art feature food or not.

Vans uses social media as “a mutually beneficial exchange, the brand defines the community and the community defines the brand.” Vans Tumblr page is filled with high quality and creative photos that represent the lifestyle of its customers. Along with the captivating images, Vans also links in its other social media channels in its Tumblr so users can share and interact with the brand across several different social media platforms. On their Tumblr page, users can also see captions under photos as “Get the Look” with links to their products that are seen in the photos. This makes it easier for customers to buy directly from using Tumblr. Vans is successful through Tumblr because they know where their audience hangs out and what their audience is like. Their Tumblr page achieves their goals to create content that users will engage with and share. They embrace their brand image of being rebellious, and having a youthful spirit.

Because Tumblr is so different than other social media platforms and targets a younger generation, it is important to come up with a marketing plan before deciding that Tumblr is the best direction for your brand to go in. It is important for marketers to think about who their audience will be and what the focus behind their blog will be. It is also necessary to create a customer friendly Tumblr Blog. Sites such as LinkedIn and Twitter are more for business networking, but Tumblr requires companies to be more creative – a less traditional form of marketing. Tumblr users don’t want to see traditional marketing. They want to see interesting content that doesn’t make it seem like they are being marketed. An example of this would be how on Coca-Cola’s Tumblr they use “happiness is…” in which they share content that will make people happy. It is also important for marketers to focus on a tight niche. Since the content has to be widely creative, it is probably not going to reach everybody. But the people the content does reach will connect with them.

Finally, since Tumblr is not the number one form of social media, not everyone is going to have an account. It is important for marketers who plan to use Tumblr to make their blog posts open to non-Tumblr users. It would be a lot to ask of people to adopt a new platform just to view a brands blog. Companies need to make it as easy as possible to navigate to Tumblr to view their posts.

Sources:

https://blog.kissmetrics.com/the-marketers-guide-to-tumblr/

https://www.searchenginejournal.com/tumblr-marketing-10-examples-effective-brands-right/124194/

https://www.tumblr.com/business

http://techcrunch.com/2016/03/28/tumblr-brings-back-replies-revamps-notes-to-encourage-more-conversations-on-its-service/

 

 

 

YouTube: Corporate Marketing and YouTube “Celebrities”

By: Megan Carignan & Marisa Harrington

YouTube is one of the largest and most active social media platforms, and it is the second largest search engine in the world. It was started in 2005, and was sold to Google just months later in 2006 for $1.65 billion. The connection to Google strengthens the site, as the videos appear in Google Search results. Marketers need to take advantage of the platform, especially as YouTube and other video sites are replacing standard cable television. The young adult audience is better reached on YouTube, and the site provides a global social media platform for companies.

The gender divide on YouTube is about equal, although the types of videos that people watch varies with gender. Males concentrate more on the gaming and action channels, and the top YouTube earner is PewDiePie, who runs a gaming channel and rakes in around $12 million. Comedy and music are other popular topics on YouTube, and companies should be aware of those three areas and how to get them to help their marketing campaigns. Female viewers tend to watch videos based on fashion and health.

Interacting on YouTube appears in many forms and features, such as uploading videos, commenting on videos/comments, and liking/disliking videos and comments. People can also share videos with friends or to different types of social media, as well as subscribe to creators. People can create their own YouTube community by interacting with people who have the same interests, and those people can lead to more knowledge about a topic as they suggest videos.

There are many ways a business or brand can market on YouTube. To start with, companies can create their own YouTube channels. On these channels, they can interact with customers by posting content and responding to comments on their videos. Customers can interact as well by sharing, liking/disliking, commenting on, subscribing, and adding videos to playlists. YouTube allows companies to interact with customers, although it may be difficult for marketers to optimize the function. It can be difficult to upload videos consistently and react to followers, but this is necessary in order to maintain a good YouTube channel. Companies can use YouTube for increasing brand awareness, showing ads for products, promoting their retail stores, demonstrating the product, providing customer support, and training.

There are four standard ways to pay to market on YouTube: In-Search, In-Slate, In-Display, and In-Stream. The In-Search function means that videos appear above the search results. For example, when “comedy” is typed in the search box, above the results involving comedy are current ads for Android, Nike and Pedigree. These videos have nothing to do with the searches, but they attract viewers at the top of the results. In-Slate ads appear after you watch a video, and they suggest another video to watch. They only appear after the video has ended, so the viewer would have to watch the entire video in order to see the ad. The brand would also have to attract the viewer to watch the full video with just a still image, meaning that the title and video thumbnail need to quickly grab the viewer’s attention and reinforce the brand. This concept is the same as with the In-Display types of ads, which appear next to the video you are watching. Marketers still need to quickly grab attention, but they do not require that views watch until the end of their current videos. As eyes wander during videos, they could interest the viewer and get the person to click on their video.

The last of the four standard ways to market on YouTube is the In-Stream method. This is the most effective method, and also the one that annoys viewers the most. When watching a video, this ad appears before the start of the videos as the viewers are attempting to watch. Often viewers can skip this ad after a certain number of seconds, so it is crucial to attract viewers in the first few seconds of the ad. Viewers may be annoyed at the delay between them and watching their preferred video, but it is still the most effective technique. Another problem companies may face is ad blockers, which removes ads from YouTube so people no longer have to see them. This is a problem, as video creators get money with ads, and marketers no longer have as large as an audience to target.

As YouTube celebrities are emerging, companies are beginning to market by paying a YouTuber to promote their products. YouTubers are gaining sponsorships, since companies are aware that their subscribers will purchase the products promoted on the channel. There are many well-known YouTubers who have sponsorships, and they are becoming more popular as companies are realizing the popularity of YouTube. The extreme sports YouTuber DevinSupertramp is sponsored by Mountain Dew and Reebok, among others. The channel WhatsUpMoms is appropriately sponsored by Tide, Capital One, and Keurig Coffee. This demonstrates the importance of finding a channel that aligns with the company image and target. Kurt Hugo Schneider is popular for producing music videos for artists, and he has been featured on the Ellen Show. His videos are often viral successes, and Coca-Cola attempted to capitalize on that with commercials and products in videos. He sang the song “Pass it On” (see here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZzuRvzsNpTU) which featured coke bottles. Sprint was also affiliated with him when they provided phones for his video “Holiday Medley” with Victoria Justice and Max Schneider (see here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHpaCq7xIQM).

There are risks for the companies and the YouTubers themselves, since the YouTubers are often accused of being sellouts to corporations. The news channel host Philip DeFranco started off with sxephil, and then he created the news channel Sourcefed with funding from Google. His affiliation with Google and many sponsors has caused many people to accuse him of selling out. For example, his promotion on Facebook of his sponsor Domain.com in July 2013 sparked anger in fans. One comment accused him of shameless advertising, while another comment stated “Google sent out recommendations on how to make easily sellable content. Phil is basically the face of corporate Google. The definition of a sellout” (Facebook). Phil is not the first YouTuber to be accused of selling out for money, and he will certainly not be the last. The companies that sponsor these YouTubers may also receive anger from customers for interceding into the videos. This may hurt their image, so they should be careful on how aggressively they have their products promoted.

As YouTube “celebrities” emerge, individual YouTubers are becoming a brand in and of themselves. The highest paid YouTuber is PewDiePie, but there are other popular YouTubers such as TheFineBros, who create reaction videos, and Jenna Marbles, a popular comedy creator.  Many YouTubers are essentially running their own businesses, and they need to market to consumers and protect their image. Product lines, especially from beauty channels, are being developed by Youtubers. Zoe Sugg, a popular English beauty and fashion blogger, known as Zoella, has her own product line called Zoella Beauty. She has also published a couple books, and many other YouTubers have also released books. It is important to note that the YouTubers themselves have to market on YouTube, it is not just the large corporations. Calendars and shirts are other popular merchandise that are being distributed by YouTubers. YouTubers are becoming so popular that marketing has evolved into personal interaction with fans as well, not just video interactions. There are award shows and conferences that YouTubers attend, such as VidCon and VidSummit in California.

Legal issues and other problems may arise on YouTube, and marketers need to be aware of any potential situations and things to avoid. When marketers utilize YouTube as a platform, they need to maintain regular content. Although this has gotten easier with the development of cameras, editing tools, and other technology, it still may be difficult to think of creative content in order to be constantly updating videos. The Turkish Airlines channel has been uploading frequently, and they have included humanitarian content. The channel contains positive videos of customers being upgraded, and inspirational stories from around the world.

YouTube is a great platform for marketers, as long as they utilize its potential. YouTube allows marketers to tell a story, to implement music, imagery, colors, and sound. This means that consumers will have a longer and more in-depth understanding of the company or product. In that case, YouTube might be best used to increase brand loyalty and to send a longer message to customers. Marketers should use the four standard ways to market on YouTube, especially the In-Stream method. Corporations should also consider using YouTube “celebrities” to sell their products and increase brand loyalty, as many of them have a strong following. PewDiePie has 32 million subscribers, and many people have watched his videos. Targeting individual channels with a large subscriber base also means that marketers can target their message to the content most related to their product. While some companies are well versed in the marketing power of YouTube, there are other companies that are struggling to define its role in their company. The majority of companies can find a use of YouTube, and YouTube will continue to be a powerful marketing platform.

Works Cited

“10 YouTube Stars Your Brand Should Partner With.” The Contently. Contently.com, 19 Feb. 2015. Web. 14 Mar. 2016.

“The 14 Best Conferences For Meeting Influencers.” NeoReach Influencer Marketing Platform. N.p., 10 Nov. 2015. Web. 14 Mar. 2016.

“5 Businesses With Brilliant YouTube Channels | Sprout Social.” Sprout Social. N.p., 30 Dec. 2011. Web. 14 Mar. 2016.

“The Demographics of YouTube, in 5 Charts – Digiday.” Digiday. N.p., 23 Apr. 2015. Web. 14 Mar. 2016.

“Everything You Need to Know about YouTube’s Competitors.” The Daily Dot. N.p., 06 Aug. 2014. Web. 14 Mar. 2016.

“Forbes Names PewDiePie as Highest-Earning YouTuber.” The Independent. Independent Digital News and Media, n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2016.

“How Much Do Ads on YouTube Cost?” Penna Powers. Penna Powers, 06 Aug. 2012. Web. 14 Mar. 2016.

Jacobs, Harrison. “The 20 Most Popular YouTubers In The World.” Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc, 10 Nov. 2014. Web. 14 Mar. 2016.

“Kobe vs. Messi: The Selfie Shootout.” YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2016.

“Making the Most out of YouTube.” YouTube Help. Google, n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2016.

“Pass It On – COKE BOTTLE SONG!! – Ft. Kina, Max, Sam, Alex G, KHS, Diamond.” YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2016.

“Philip DeFranco.” Facebook. Facebook.com, n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2016.

“Using YouTube for Your Business.” Social Media Today. SocialMediaToday.com, 22 July 2013. Web. 14 Mar. 2016.

“Using YouTube to Market Your Business.” Queensland Government. The State of Queensland, n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2016.

“YouTube Competitors – Rivalfox.” YouTube Competitors – Rivalfox. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2016.

“YouTube Statistics.” YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2016.

“Zoella.” YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2016.

 

Nike: Facilitating Customer Experience to Co-Create Value

By: Ashley Wright

There are many personal benefits to being a part of a community. In online communities, there is a chance to share ideas, gain encouragement and advice, and connect with people that you otherwise would not have the opportunity to meet. From a business standpoint, creating an online community in which consumers can communicate about shared interests and connect using your brand name or specific product line, generates an opportunity to gain significant knowledge about the wants and needs of your target population, as well as to collect an immense amount of specific feedback from people who are using your products.

Using the foundation of experience co-creation (ECC), Nike has created an online running community specifically focused around their line of running shoes, and an innovative running device created in partnership with Apple, called Nike+. Nike+ is a small device that inserts into Nike shoes and monitors an individual’s activity and uploads it onto an online profile. This community allows users to track their progress, challenge their friends and get encouragement from other runners in the community. Another aspect of the community is the health education that runners receive from experts regarding ways to capitalize on their running progress and how to avoid injury while training. This kind of open forum and educational opportunity enhances the runners’ experience in their training as well as with the product and the Nike brand as a whole.

By giving the customer a positive experience through the community the value of the Nike+ product increases as it not only contributes to their exercise routine, but also to their social experience, giving them a sense of belonging. This additional value increases the likelihood that these customers will remain loyal to the company and remain involved in the community. Also, in the online realm, people are more likely to post, share or tweet about how their experience with your product made them feel. As a company, being able to monitor and facilitate these conversations between consumers, about their experiences and the product, you are able to track and create new innovations based on direct customer feedback. It allows you to build value directly based on the customer experience.

Nike utilizes the DART model as a way to capitalize on the Nike+ brand. Building dialogue for customers to communicate with one another within the community as well as with the company allows real-time conversation and helps to build trust in the brand. The Nike+ device allows customers to access the community, and the online forum allows the company to access customer feedback and product evaluations. The community decreases injury risk for runners because it educates them, and it decreases risk of customer dissatisfaction because enables the company to constantly receive and adjust to customer feedback, ensuring better value creation. Finally, in this model transparency of the information shared between both consumer and company allows for the success of the company by providing customers with a wide variety of information and the opportunity to provide meaningful feedback that the company can use to create new products..

By using the DART model to build value with the customer, Nike has become a perfect example of how to successfully create an online community that benefits both the consumer and the company. Using these kinds of formats allows businesses to remain continuously aware of changing values, wants and needs of their customers. By building these communities and allowing for customer engagement, it can help to catapult seemingly any product or brand into untapped success.

http://search.proquest.com.proxy3.noblenet.org/docview/194368638/fulltextPDF/3C336DEA258D476CPQ/1?accountid=40663

Ramaswamy, V. (2008). Co-creating value through customers’ experiences: the Nike case,            Strategy & Leadership, 36(5), 9-14.

Product Differentiation in the Consumer Drone Market

By: Matthew Kent

The market for drones has grown exponentially over the past few years, and the consumer market – alone – is estimated to be worth $2 billion. As of late, the market has become saturated, mainly with low priced “user friendly” drones. DJI, a Chinese technology company that manufactures commercial and recreational drones for aerial photography, seems to be taking a different approach to their new line of drones. While recent trends points to lower priced drones targeting the amateur pilot/photographer, DJI is introducing its Phantom 4, which comes in at a substantially higher price point. DJI is differentiating itself from its competitors in more ways than one with their release of this new product.

One of the main factors when it comes to developing and releasing new products involves identifying product opportunities. DJI did just this in developing its new Phantom 4. While the majority of drones on the market boast that they are easy to fly, they are often just as easy, if not easier, to crash. Taking note of this, DJI designed the Phantom 4 to compensate for human errors, making it very hard to crash. This new innovation is enabled by two optical sensors in the front of the aircraft that essentially let the drone “see” its surroundings. This new technology, coupled with the camera, allows the drone software to “create a volumetric map of its environment,” in essence avoiding any potential crash. The Phantom 4 also boasts new features such as a manual flight sports mode, which enables the user to pinpoint a spot on a map and tell the drone to fly its self to that spot. The drone can also fly up to 45 mph for users that are after this sort of thrill. DJI successfully identified flaws in current products along with opportunities in the market and capitalized on them.

In terms of DJI’s marketing strategy, they seem to be following in the footsteps of Apple. Current price points for consumer drones are aiming to be low, in the sub $500 area, while DJI’s Phantom 4 is doing the opposite, coming in at $1,399. On top of differentiation through new technology, DJI also seems to be achieving product differentiation through price. Studies have shown that consumers will pay a premium for a product that truly works better, which seems to be exactly what the Phantom 4 is offering. I think this is a great marketing strategy as Apple has proved this concept through almost all of their product offerings. Setting a higher price point for a product of higher quality that works better is something I believe is attractive to many consumers. As a consumer, when you pay more for something that comes in fancier packaging and offers better functionality, I think it makes you feel better overall about the purchase. I think the idea of higher quality reflected through a higher price point is something that is appealing to many consumers and is an effective marketing strategy that overall attracts more customers

Sources:

http://fortune.com/2016/03/03/dji-phantom-4-drone/ (Article)

http://www.businessinsider.com/5-keys-to-product-differentiation-for-fun-and-profit-2014-7 (Support)