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SMC Blog

Things That Make You Go “Click”

October 31st, 2014

computer-mouse

The world of social media is new, but not so new that there aren’t a host of “professionals” shouting their version of best practices from their bloggy towers. While some of these seem to be pushing pure snake oil, there are plenty of useful statistics available from reputable sources that collect and analyze raw social media data.

Dan Zarrella of HubSpot is a great example. His metrics are easy to read, make sense, and don’t promise some sort of magic bullet. This information acts as more of a topographical map than a road map in that it makes no promises to get you to your desired destination, but it does provide a lay of the land so you have a good idea whether you’ll be walking, swimming, or flying there.

Twitter is full of accounts that promise to get you “500 Facebook likes for $4.99,” or “1,000 new Twitter followers for the price of a day old baguette!” For businesses, and anyone really looking to make an impact with their social media, this is worthless. In social media, quality precedes quantity to the degree that if you aren’t posting quality content, having a large quantity of followers is actually a detriment to your goals. So what things really make an engaged social media user decide to go “click?

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Me Talk Witty One Day: the Art of Social Media Rhetoric

October 30th, 2014

winston-churchill

As defined, rhetoric is the art of discourse—the ability to persuade or motivate through language. While rhetorical theory is usually reserved for the Shakespearean sonnets and political speeches of your undergraduate studies, I would argue that it is one of the few fields each person continues to study every single day—whether they are aware of it or not.

There is a movement in pedagogy lately—one that understands learning as a dynamic and active process. And when applying this to the teaching of rhetorical composition, it proves extremely useful. Learning rhetoric has now caught up with what it means to actually practice rhetoric outside of the classroom.

It’s a safe bet to say that the average person uses at least one social media outlet a few times a day. Whether it’s the businessperson checking Twitter and LinkedIn daily for useful tips, or the high school student uploading and contributing content to Facebook, Instagram, Vine and Twitter, most people are using social media, and so most people are learning and practicing rhetoric daily.

Language is evolutionary by nature, and I believe social media rhetoric is the best example of language as it stands today in the 21st Century.

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4 Steps to Brainstorming Better Blogs

October 28th, 2014

5 Steps to Writing Better BlogsLately, I've done quite a bit of writing about blogging–and it's something that we've written about in the past, too. 

Blogging is an absolutely essential part of an effective social media strategy, and since we're all authors now, it's important to regularly publish high-quality content.

Unfortunately, though, just cranking out blogs every single day isn't nearly as easy as it sounds. 

Though many of the same basics of writing in general carry over to writing blogs, blogging presents its own unique set of challenges because it's such a short, high-frequency writing format. The most difficult thing about blogging is simply coming up with content every day

The good news is that there are ways to get better at brainstorming blog topics. Here are 4 steps that we've found help us brainstorm better blogs:

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Deck the Halls: Seasonal Jobs and Social Media

October 27th, 2014

Holiday-season

Ever thought about taking a seasonal job? Whether you’re out of work or just looking for a little extra cash, employment around the holidays (especially in retail) tends to rise hand in hand with increased consumerism. And in many cases, these seasonal jobs can actually be fairly lucrative.

If you’re a decorator, sales photographer, customer service representative, or sales professional there are most likely plenty of options for your future line of work. The list of seasonal openings also includes social media assistant. While we don’t particularly agree with writer Pablo Erbar’s assessment of a social media assistant as being paid well for simply “sending out tweets and posting on Facebook all day” (we can guarantee that there are far more complex connotations to hiring a social media assistant), it’s absolutely true that social media activity tends to increase along with the dollars spent on marketing campaigns for the holidays.

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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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