Reaping the benefits of Instagram’s new “Stories” feature

Instagram and Snapchat are neck-and-neck in the race to win loyalty of social enthusiasts around the world. Whether you’ve naturally opted for the stream of content bites that come with Snapchat or the picture-perfect wanderlust reality filling your Instagram feed, the time may have come to finally pick your poison.

On August 2nd, Instagram launched Instagram Stories, an exciting feature with strange familiarities to Snapchat. With over 400 million active users, we are psyched that one of the most brand-friendly social networking services is tapping into the ‘real-time’ video trend. Instagram is positioning their Stories feature as the solution to the excess posting that comes with Snapchat and other apps that promote video. Since the Stories live in a separate space on Instagram, it makes it possible to post without over saturating your followers’ feeds.

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So what does all of this mean for your brand? So glad you asked.

One platform, no worries

If you already have a strong presence on Instagram, the Stories feature gives you the opportunity to post more playful content more frequently – without being forced to build a whole new audience.

Courtesy of J.Crew Instagram

Keep your influencers close and your users closer

Instagram is a buzzing hub of established social influencers in every sector. With the Stories feature, you can maintain your partnerships AND create more complex video campaigns for both audiences. The cherry on top? Spontaneous and frequent content feels more authentic, and this authenticity will likely attract more user interaction and brand loyalty.

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Courtesy of NASA Instagram

Reach your users the unpaid way

When you post a story, your account will show up at the forefront of your users’ feeds with a colorful ring around it. This top-of-feed, top-of-mind strategy opens up the coveted door to place organic content in laps of your users.

Courtesy of Starbucks Instagram

Just be careful not to flood their feeds with low-quality content!

 

Disappearing content

Micro campaigns, flash contests, experimental content – there is no limit to the spirited approach you can take to Instagram Stories. The 24-hour deadline means you can test the waters of different types of posts, and then roll them out on your regular feed if they perform well.

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Courtesy of Loft Instagram

Stories are temporary, but the fans are forever

There are no “likes” or “comments” with Instagram Stories. Your users can only respond by sending a private message to your account, which is amazing for beefing up brand-client relationships and gaining private feedback.

Courtesy of Taco Bell Instagram

Will Instagram Stories last? Or will it suffer the same fate as the channels’ other tried-and-failed features like Bolt? Our secret hope? That Instagram hops on the facial recognition game. Snap-fiends love their flower crown filter.

Take Advantage of Facebook Live

In April 2016, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg gave live streaming new meaning when he rolled out the Facebook Live Application. This gateway for both brands and users to engage in is an influential marketing tool that many companies are not taking advantage of … and they should be. Streaming in real-time provides the ability to field your audience’s burning questions and tailor content based on the reactions of your followers.

Live Q&A with astronauts on the International Space Station! L…

Live Q&A with astronauts on the International Space Station! Leave your questions below.

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Below are a few ways marketers can benefit from Facebook Live:

Reach New Audiences in New Ways

Facebook Live gives users the opportunity to watch content on your brand’s Facebook page in an automatic, non-pervasive way. Facebook Live posts will not only engage your current followers, but also attract new ones. Plus, tying a visual to your brand will garner invaluable reactions and comments. Partnering with another brand of influencer in a video is another way to extend reach with this tool.

Watch us explode this watermelon one rubber band at a time!

Posted by BuzzFeed on Friday, April 8, 2016

Connect in Real-Time

The Live feature gives you a similar function as that of a newscast or a television show – the ability to connect to your live audience and start a conversation. Loyal consumers of your product get a notification when you’re live and will ideally open the dialogue.  As they comment, your brand responds in real time.

We got some great news on jobs and the economy this morning, and President Obama wants to tell you all about it. So pull up a chair in the Roosevelt Room next to his economic team and listen in!

Posted by The White House on Friday, March 4, 2016

Customize Your Story

Whether you are consumer or marketer, your Facebook Live story will represent you. With creative filters and tools, it is easy to express yourself on different forms in an instant feed.

Live at the Airbnb Treehouse at the World Premiere of The #JungleBook!

Posted by The Jungle Book on Monday, April 4, 2016

Exclusive Content

Live interviews, event coverage, and behind the scenes footage are all ways to share exclusive content with your following.

Live Interviews: Hit the streets! Steve Portigal for Interviewing Users states, “Interviews create connections between builders and the consumers. It makes the problems tangible and human”.

Watch our #GraziaxFB Brexit Debate with Stella Creasy, Yvette Cooper MP, Penny Mordaunt, Theresa Villiers and chaired by Anushka Asthana.

Posted by Grazia UK on Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Steaming Events: Red Bull rep. and pro wake boarder Steel Lafferty shows us some moves on the water for a Red Bull event using Facebook live.

Wakeboarding LiveStream!

Posted by Steel Lafferty on Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Behind The Scenes: Jason Carr, a former news anchor for FOX 2 in Detroit, updates Facebook Live viewers on a ride to a gig at WDIV-TV, Local 4 News … but he doesn’t tell that right away.

Hey!

Posted by Jason Carr on Monday, May 23, 2016

Live streaming is not just here to stay – it’s dominating the social scene.  We suggest you don’t sit on the sidelines for this one.

Running the Branding Bases

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It’s no secret that the Boston Red Sox fans are among the most devout baseball enthusiasts out there. And safe to say, we are a fan of their marketing tricks!

The Red Sox marketing team works to preserve the historic elements and legacy of the team while still embracing a modern approach.

Below are examples of when the Red Sox hit a marketing home run.

 

  1. Keeping Close Community Ties

The Sox have a number of community outreach programs that put the power and passion of the Red Sox Nation to good use. The efforts of the Red Sox Foundation focus on improving health, education and recreation across New England. Additionally, a number of athletes on the team have individual charities that benefit causes of their choosing.

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2. Taking Accountability

The team has often recognized when they didn’t perform their best. In response to their 2012 season, the Red Sox launched a campaign to assure their disappointed fan base that the 13’ season would be worth the wait.Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 3.29.26 PM

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  1. Showing Personality

#GetBeard emerged during the sudden burst of popularity with facial hair. The hashtag averaged 70 million impressions on Facebook and Twitter and spurred interaction with fans on a whole new level. On September 18, at a game against the Baltimore Orioles, the Sox offered $1 game tickets to any fan that showed up with a beard – real or fake.

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  1. Hit Social Media Out of the Park

The Red Sox appeal to their social followers with a consistent, clear, and informative tone. Instagram and Snapchat are constantly updated with pictures and stats, offering an exclusive behind-the-scenes of the team. Even Twitter is live streaming games from the MLB.

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Sometimes the Red Sox have swung and missed, but more often than not they hit it out of the park, literally. The marketing team is a dedicated group that deserve a spotlight of their own.

Why You Can’t Get These Songs Out of Your Head

The five senses play a key role in our consumer lives. Traditionally, many brands’ marketing teams have focused solely on sight when producing their creative work. However, today’s brands attract their audiences through another sense: hearing. Sound in marketing has now become a popular and expected asset.

Sonic branding is the strategic use of sound and music to build brands, used to trigger an emotional response from the consumer, elevate their experience with the brand, and build a relationship.

Why should every company use sonic branding? Not only does it help you stand out from the crowd, but it also makes you memorable. Some examples of brands that have created a short but catchy sound include T-Mobile, Microsoft, and Skype.

One of the biggest mistakes an agency can do is just slap on a good song without much thought. Just because you like a song or it’s popular among the general public doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right fit for you.

Consider Royal Caribbean’s use of Iggy Pop’s “Lust for Life.” Sure, it’s a classic song, but was it the best choice for this particular brand? After listening to the lyrics, many people were confused as to why this brand would want their luxury cruise line associated with the lyrics.

However, some advertisements are paired so well with music that the two become timeless associations. It gets to the point where you can’t hear the song without thinking of the brand that popularized it.

For example, how will we ever forget the dancing Mr. Six in the 6 Flags Commercials to the Vengaboys hit, “We Like To Party”?

Just like we won’t ever forget when Target re-wrote the lyrics to Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back”!

Some commercials are so trendy that the musical artist also spikes in popularity. The alternative rock group Phoenix became an overnight sensation after Cadillac’s SRX Commercial was released in 2010 with their hit song “1901.”

It’s safe to say that these songs will be stuck in our heads for the rest of the week. And with the demand of interactive marketing on the rise, we can’t wait to see which sense is incorporated next.

Garnet Hill Hits the Road in its Beautifully-Crafted Mobile Boutique

It’s official – Garnet Hill has packed up a collection of its most beautiful home and apparel products and set its sights on the open road! Their mission? To connect with their customer in a tangible way and provide a unique touch-and-feel experience in the comfort of her own backyard

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This August, we’re celebrating the launch of Garnet Hill’s Mobile Boutique – a pop-up store that truly takes the concept of “experiential marketing” to a whole new level.

Built to feel like a tiny, natural home where you can literally touch, feel, and shop all of the beautiful Garnet Hill products, the boutique is equipped with all of the homey essentials – kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, closet, and a roof deck.

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The pop-up is an homage to the brand’s Beautiful, Naturally mantra and was stunningly designed by ModEco Founder and HGTV Container Home personality Drake Boroja from a converted shipping container. It showcases an array of the most beloved Garnet Hill products, and serves as a venue for community events including wine tastings, farm-to-table meals, and other demonstrations.

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The mobile store began its pilgrimage in Franconia, New Hampshire, is currently moving south through the state via Exeter, and will end in New York City.

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Join the journey! Follow along with #GHmobileboutique or visit their Events Page on Facebook for information on how to experience the boutique yourself.

The Worldwide Olympic Partners: They Do More Than Simple Promotion

Like the rest of the world, we can’t wait for the Olympic flame to land in Rio on Friday and kick off of the 2016 Summer Games! In the spirit of the season, we’ve decided to pay homage to a few of the worldwide Olympic partners whose genius marketing strategies support this global event.

  1. Proctor & Gamble

P&G became one of our favorites when their “Thank You Mom” campaign launched in 2012. This year, it continues to build with their recent Rio “Stronger” video. Their team has partnered with athletes and moms on their journey to the Olympic games in more than 21 countries around the world.

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Source: Sheila Favretto

 

  1. Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola never ceases to amaze with their marketing ploys! Their newest campaign, #ThatsGold, will feature not only the athletes but also the gold moments of the consumers of Coca-Cola. Their campaign will come to life through several, activations. Just look at some of these print ads already rolling out; we’ll stay tuned in to this one for any campaign engagement success. .

 

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  1. Visa

For this year’s Olympics, Visa launched its most ambitious integrated global campaign; the Carpool campaign. It will feature a group of 20 world-class Olympic and Paralympic athletes as they carpool their way to the games and, of course, pay for their adventures with Visa.

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  1. McDonald’s

McDonald’s has been an official sponsor on the Olympic games since 1976 and has a longstanding commitment to the Olympic movement. For this year, they will focus their marketing efforts on the future athletes of the Olympic games: kids.

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Their “Friends Win!” Campaign, will send 100 kids from around the world to participate in the opening ceremony of the Olympics through McDonald’s Olympics Kids Program. Unlike other campaigns in the Olympics, their product is not mentioned or shown once during the TV commercial.

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  1. Samsung

Samsung’s “The Anthem” campaign breaks down global barriers by singing the anthem of another country. Younghee Lee, executive VP of global marketing for Samsung, states, “By singing The Anthem, fans and athletes across the globe can fee a shared sense of pride and unity and together celebrate colligative progress, which is integral to the Spirit of the Olympic Games.”

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Sources: Vincent Rollandin, Mariana GC스티브 (Steve)

Slow clap for all of the brands involved in making the 2016 Olympic games a reality! It’s sure to be an exciting summer of sports.

Get Up Close and Personal

Too often, marketers spend more time focusing on demographics and statistics of their audience rather than personal attributes of consumers. Marketing should be closely tied to psychology – which translates to the needs, wants, and behaviors of consumers.

Consumer behavior can’t always be grouped according to specific demographic lines of society. If you are guilty of relying on these general groupings in your marketing approach, then pushing those boundaries and appealing to interests, personalities, and hobbies may be the perfect fix. Here are a few tips for more personalized targeting:

  1. Be Versatile.

Use attitudes, interests, opinions, professional experience, and social status to target your audience.

One suggestion: Instead of ads that appeal to women between the ages of 25 and 40, marketers should target ads to character traits: anxious, assertive, impatient, or even drinkers.

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  1. Create a culture.

Know what you’re selling; appeal and connect to an audience; sell a lifestyle, not a product. Figure out what differentiates you from other brands and run with it. Make everyone fall in love with your company by standing out. RedBull, for example, has been recognized for selling a lifestyle and not just a drink.

 

Dominik Hernler steps out of the water after his run at the Red Bull Wake of Steel 2013 in Linz, Austria on June 15th, 2013 // Philip Platzer/Red Bull Content Pool // P-20130615-00257 // Usage for editorial use only // Please go to www.redbullcontentpool.com for further information. //Dominic Roithmair prepares for a skydive jump in St. Wolfgang, Austria on 27th of August 2012 // Samo Vidic/Red Bull Content Pool // P-20121001-00184 // Usage for editorial use only // Please go to www.redbullcontentpool.com for further information. //Martin Soederstroem performs a 360 tail-whip to complete his run at Red Bull Joyride in Whistler, Canada on the 18th of August, 2012. // Dale Tidy/Red Bull Content Pool // P-20120819-00113 // Usage for editorial use only // Please go to www.redbullcontentpool.com for further information. //

 

  1. Be Consistent.

Visual consistency and cohesiveness makes your brand recognizable. This includes graphics, fonts, and other visuals. Apple is a perfect example – they always have clean blank space, subtle coloring, simplistic compositions and identical typography.

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  1. Be Relatable.

Target your consumers’ personality types to catch their eye. But always make sure you promote unique content that is related to you, like Nike does here.

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Keep these tips in mind to successfully reach new heights and develop a deeper understanding of the modern consumer. Otherwise your business will be no more than an advertising wallflower.