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SMC Blog

Wasabi Ginger and Cappucino: How #DoUsAFlavor Is a Social Media Win

October 24th, 2014

potato chips

If you thought that potato chips were just the plain old salty potato-y kind, meant to be eaten with French Onion dip, Lay’s Potato Chips latest campaign will most certainly prove you wrong—and drum up some branding cache in the process. On October 21, the crispy company announced the winner of their #DoUsAFlavor Contest on social media, meaning that kettle-cooked Wasabi Ginger will be the newest Lay’s potato chip flavor.

The creator of the unique flavor is Meneko Spigner McBeth, a 35-year-old nurse at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her prize? Either $1 million dollars or a percentage of one year in Wasabi Ginger potato chip sales, whichever comes out to be more. To win, she beat out Mango Salsa, Bacon Mac & Cheese, and Cappucino by votes from America after tasting the varieties (which have been in stores since July), giving the world plenty of time to realize that Cappucino flavored potato chips should not be a thing.

A contest like this works well for a global, corporate company like Lay’s, with a major social media following (their Facebook page alone has 7,160,673 likes–not too shabby). However, the rules of the contest serve to build up those followings in very specific ways.

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The Things We Carry: Mobile Devices and the Future of Social Media

October 23rd, 2014

iPhone

I’m not going to bore you with the numbers because you already know the situation. Mobile devices are ubiquitous in a way that literally no piece of technology ever has been before. Usage statistics are through the roof. Rather than being replaced by other technologies in the future, the myriad uses of mobile devices will likely continue to eclipse many standalone technologies of the not so distant past (see: compass, flashlight, pedometer, guitar tuner, the list goes on).

Web developers and advertisers alike see the writing on the wall, and efforts are being disproportionately shifted into the mobile arena. The sharp upward trend is spiking like a newly appearing mountain everyone is scrambling to climb.

On average, we touch our phones about 150 times a day, or once every 6 minutes. We touch our (human) face about 2,000-3,000 times a day. But the times they are a changin,’ and that numbers gap will likely continue to shrink. As our devices continue to change, so do we.

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We’re Hiring!

October 23rd, 2014

SMC-officeWhen you enter SMC's office, the first thing you’ll notice is, well, our lack of a traditional ‘office.’ Rather, we work in a lab. Yes, you read that correctly: we converted an old laboratory into an office space.

And when you really think about it, such an unconventional workspace defines how unique our company is. By definition, laboratory means “any place, situation, set of conditions, or the like, conducive to experimentation, investigation, observation.” When it comes to social media marketing, constant experimentation is necessary. We work in a marketing laboratory, in a sense.

Working in an old lab has its perks—first of all, there are no cubicles. All (employees? personnel? bloggers? writers?) work at tables in a wide-open space, a dynamic which invites collaboration, another key aspect of social media marketing. Being able to work with a team on certain projects is imperative, and we find it extremely conducive to creativity. A lab also leaves room for things like a ping-pong table or a nap room—both of which exist at SMC.

If this sounds like the kind of environment you would love to work in—you’re in luck, we are hiring! Continue Reading

My (Bad) First-Hand Experience With the Dying Newspaper Industry

October 21st, 2014

ny times

I haven't been reading enough news lately.

Of course, I have more than a handful of sources from which to get news every day. My Twitter feed is full of stories from The Economist, The New York Times, The New Yorker, Marketplace, and everything in between. I get push notifications from NPR on my phone. I listen to KIOS FM, Omaha's public radio station, on my way to and from work every day. And yet, despite all of this information at my fingertips–or perhaps, because of it–I still didn't feel like I had enough motivation to read as much news as I'd like each day.

Skimming an article someone had sent me from The New York Times–one of my favorite sources of information these days–I saw an ad on the top of the page that I couldn't resist clicking. (Yes, I clicked a banner ad.) It told me that I could get 50% off of home delivery for 12 weeks. What better motivation for reading enough news than getting the newspaper delivered to my home? 

Seem archaic? Maybe. I thought it was a good idea. But what's followed over the last few weeks has given me even more ammunition against what SMC has long said is a dying newspaper industry.

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Where’s the ROI?

October 20th, 2014

NYCI’ve worked with a wide variety of companies on their social media. Whether it’s consulting, actually doing the social media strategy and content step by step, or just working on content, there are a few questions that I hear asked every single time.

Where’s the ROI? What’s the point? Do people actually read this? I know I’m (insert 40, 50, or 60 years old) but I can’t imagine that people actually look at these things. The most frequent question? Most of the time, it doesn’t matter how good the social media is or what exactly I’m posting, but they want to know exactly what the ROI is. What’s the bottom line?

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Social Media Data: How to Handle the Constant Flux

October 18th, 2014

measure

When it comes to measuring social media, things can get tricky.

A recent MIT Sloan Review article, titled “Why Your Company Is Probably Measuring Social Media Wrong,” discusses how companies are approaching their social media efforts in the wrong manner. The thing is, standard business approaches to data analytics work in linear form: you see a problem and determine what is causing it. Theoretically, you should be able to track a change in your strategy and find a corresponding change in sales.

Social media, however, is completely different. You just can’t measure success and failure in simple, or direct, terms. Social media requires constant attention to detail, the ability to recognize the important details, and the ability to draw trends out of data that might not initially look like it’s telling you anything.

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The English Major and the Strategist

October 17th, 2014

Books

If you take a look at the backgrounds of the SMC team, you’ll find a diverse range of histories. Our founder, Kris Kluver, began his career as an entrepreneur at age 19 when he started his first company. Managing editor John Darwin specialized in John Milton’s Paradise Lost while working on his B.A in British Literature. One of our writers, Matt, is currently working on an M.F.A in English with a specialty in creative writing after graduating with degrees in English and philosophy.

Although we’re quite the diverse crew, there’s a common thread. Everyone at SMC loves producing content, and everyone has a passion for helping clients build social media strategies based on ROI. However, there is a reason that there are a pretty solid number of English and creative-writing lovers on the team. The secret to this strategy and reason that our content creation packages are actually valuable? Frankly, skills that writers have are a perfect fit for adapting to social media work– the catch is that this isn’t a vice versa situation. To have the perfect storm of great content and great strategy, it is incredibly important to utilize the skills of a professional writer AND a professional strategist.

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How My Job Has Changed Since I Sat Down At My Desk This Morning

October 14th, 2014

change

As a content creator at Social Media Contractors, you get used to not knowing what to expect from a day at work. Beyond the taste of cupcakes and the sound of gongs in our office, there is seemingly never an end to the shifting tides of social media. In fact, the industry seems to be changing all the time.

Instead of being convinced to part with my money in exchange for some product, I’m far more likely to be convinced to join a group of likeminded people. If a few friends endorse a product, chances are pretty good I’m going to buy it too.

This is the approach employed by companies that use social media to target and interact with potential customers. In a recent issue of Forbes, John Ellett outlined a new marketing strategy he claims is on the way called Marketing 5.0. This raises the question: if the simple strategies that are no longer effective are Marketing 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0, how long until the “treat me like you know me” Cloud-based Marketing 5.0 is extinct, and the new frontiers of Marketing 6.0 and 7.0 come around?

Karthik Padmanabhan, Country Head of Ecosystem Development for IBM in India and South Asia, provides a laundry list of emerging and developing trends in the world of social media. Here are three trends we at SMC see being some of the most influential over the next few years. 

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The Psychology of Social Media Habits

October 13th, 2014

trail

One of my favorite American authors, Edith Wharton, once said this: “Habit is necessary, it is the habit of having habits, of turning a trail into a rut, that must be incessantly fought against if one is to remain alive.”

Awareness of what our habits are and whether or not your trails are ruts is important in life, absolutely– but the same principles also apply to your marketing. To segregate this concept even further, it’s important to think about those same ideas in terms of social media.

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What We Can Learn from Ello, the Anti-Facebook

October 10th, 2014

thenextweb ello

If you’ve seen some Twitter buzz about a new social network, you may have been under the impression that your closest followers forgot how to spell the word “hello.”

Ello is the latest of the anti-Facebook online responses to the advertising heavy, global behemoth that Facebook has developed into over the last several years. Most recently, the fire was fanned by a recent update from the ‘Book requiring users to use their real names, no symbols allowed.

Discussions about what constitutes a real name, whether or not this was an aggressive action towards the LGBT community, etc. eventually swayed Facebook to change up their policy, but feelings are still running high and the online world is responding with some alternatives.

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