If you haven’t heard about it yet, don’t feel bad; Facebook’s new pseudo-anonymous app Rooms, launched on October 24, is meant to be secretive. This app, built by Josh Miller and his team from Branch, was bought by Facebook in January. As of now, Rooms is only available on iOS devices, but an Android app is planned to launch early in 2015. Facebook is taking a completely different approach with this new app. Rooms connects users based on similar passions and hobbies rather than via mutual friends or geographical connections. To use the app, simply download it and join a room by scanning a QR code of your choice. After joining a room, users can choose different “nicknames” without having to be connected back to their Facebook accounts. The company is pushing its approach as a way for users to “Be whoever you want to be.” Launched out of the blue without much detail, many have been confused about how to use the app effectively. We’re giving you the low-down on Rooms, how to use it and how brands could take advantage of it.
This past summer, I spent a lot of time sitting on my couch with my puppy, Max, reading; I was determined to get through the Hunger Games trilogy. Though Suzanne Collins had my attention firmly hooked, there were multiple instances when a buzz from my cell phone would lift me from the perils of Panem and suck me right into the Internet. Check Instagram, check Facebook, check Twitter, add photo of Max being adorable to my Snapstory (she is seldom still enough to Snap, so this was monumental), and once I felt sufficiently updated, I would return to my book. Now that summer is over, my phone has taken on a new role: helping me stay organized. Here in Boston, there are thousands of students pursuing an array of different degrees, but who all share the need to stay organized and on task. Nowadays, students have apps at their disposal that help them complete their work and stay connected. Some apps help me stay in touch with my parents and siblings when I’m away and others assist me in my personal life, but the academic apps are the ones I most commonly use throughout the school year.
Whether you are bringing a new venture to market or marketing an existing brand, sooner or later (probably much sooner) you will find the need to participate in some form of social-media engagement.
When you do, you better have a well thought-out strategic plan, a strong content strategy and have done your research. Conducting research is a major weak point where many brands frequently slip up -- specifically, a lack of attention is paid to past mistakes made by other brands.
In my experience as a digital media professor and marketing agency founder, I have found there are five regularly occurring social-media blunders brands make. I’m continually amazed each and every time a company repeats another brand’s previous mistake, sending their own brand into a tailspin of apologies, reparations and damage control.
1. Mixing up accounts. Most native platforms and third-party apps make it easy to toggle back and forth between brand and personal accounts, which is convenient, but can also be an accident waiting to happen.
One of my favorite examples of a social account mix up is this tweet from Chrysler: “I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to f*cking drive.” A good solution is to use separate and distinct apps for each account -- this ensures there is no chance of confusing which account you are posting from.
2. Social media never sleeps. In this digital age, consumers can interact with brands at any time, requiring companies to man their brand's social media platforms 24 hours, seven days a week. At a minimum, someone should always be monitoring social chatter around the brand to pick up any early warning signs that something is amiss.
British Airways slept through a number of social-media customer service issues, including a case of lost luggage. The airline decided their Twitter feed was “open” only during certain times of the day, even though Twitter is always up and running and the airline itself has planes in the air around the clock.
Had someone at the airline been listening, a quick tweet would have solved the issue. Instead, eight hours later (which equals about three months in social-web meltdown time) a response was made. By that time, what should have been a small blip on the radar became a viral headline.
3. Automated anything. There is no shortage of apps and tools that enable your social accounts to automatically do just about anything and everything you want. These automated duties include sending scheduled posts, changing a profile picture, replying to messages with canned responses and following other accounts based on preset criteria.
If you lump enough of these automated tools on to a single social media account you in essence have created a social media robot. A robot may seem like a cool and cost-effective solution to managing your social media, but online interaction requires personal attention with a human touch.
Automated communications can come off as cold and callous, especially during times of crisis when members of your community turn to your social platforms for assistance and reassurance.
While in the midst of horse meat packaged as beef scandal, the UK supermarket chain Tesco fired off a pre-loaded automated post: "It’s sleepy time so we’re off to hit the hay!" Clearly not the language to use when under the microscope for a horse-meat scandal. Keep usage of automated tools to a minimum, turn off all automation when a crisis hits and always work to be human.
4. Leap before looking. Savvy marketers seeking to extend mind and market share are always on the lookout for opportunities to leverage the relatively inexpensive reach and influence offered by social-media platforms. Two frequently used strategies are tapping into trending topics and hashtag story sharing. Both can result in varying levels of success and sometimes, horrific failures.
Countless companies have used a hashtag without first checking to see if anyone else is using it and what it means. Worse yet are companies that lump their brand on a news trend in some unrelated way, making them look conniving and insensitive.
The largest of these failures though, are brands that develop a promotion for their community to share stories of brand experiences without realizing the interactions they are looking for might turn out to be horror stories. GM, McDonald’s, JP Morgan and the NYPD all made this mistake, which could have easily been avoided had someone looked at past promotions gone awry as precedents.
5. Loose posts sink ships. More than 50 percent of the U.S. population now owns a smartphone. This means there is a good chance more than 50 percent of a company’s workforce is equipped with a mobile device capable of instantly capturing and posting ideas, photos and videos to any number of social platforms.
A number of companies including Google, HMV and StubHub have all experienced rogue posts from employees compromising internal corporate workings, yet few companies have learned from these breaches and established guidelines for employees on what can and cannot be shared.
A social media policy probably won’t shore up every possible social leak, but it will certainly help reduce them as well as provide a framework to manage situations when they do occur.
Since public relations is one of the most misunderstood professions, it’s probably not a stretch to assume many companies don’t see the benefit of a PR/marketing firm or don’t know when it’s time to hire one. Below we’ve listed a few telltale signs that it’s time to invest in marketing.
You see your competitors in the news
If someone’s reading an article about one of your competitors, they’re probably interested in what you have to offer as well. Want to get in on that story? Hire a marketing firm. It’s our job as PR and marketing professionals to pitch your news to the right people and get you published. With a mention in an outlet like TIME, Fast Company or The Wall Street Journal, your brand is getting millions of impressions and therefore increasing overall awareness. Being published in a well-known news outlet also establishes your company as a leader in the industry and helps to build credibility.
You need help telling people what you do and/or you’re camera shy
If you want to be in the news, it’s important that you have your messaging nailed down. A PR firm can help you refine your company’s mission, vision and key messages. If you’re clear and concise when speaking about your company, listeners or readers are more likely to easily understand what you’re about. Camera shy? Most marketing firms offer media training, which is a great way to prepare for interviews and helps interviewees feel more comfortable and confident when speaking with the media.
You’re a startup
Don’t have the budget for an extensive advertising campaign? Bill Gates once said: “If I was down to my last dollar, I would spend it on public relations.” It’s especially important for a startup to define its messaging and properly introduce itself to the market. PR is a cost effective way of increasing brand awareness and establishing your company or CEO as thought leaders in the industry. Hiring a PR firm is like bringing on an experienced partner to help you navigate the media and introduce you to millions of customers.
You’re not invested in social media
If you’re neglecting your company’s social media platforms, you’re doing it wrong. Social media offers the unique opportunity to eavesdrop on and converse with consumers around the world. Social media is also the first place people go to complain about a brand, so you need to be there to immediately address any issues. Have a student posting updates for you occasionally? Doesn’t really cut it. Digital media marketing requires a strategic plan, an advertising budget, a content calendar, 24/7 monitoring and constant evaluation and analysis. By posting relevant content, acknowledging users and engaging with them, you can create a community that loves to share and engage with your brand and each other (like we have for our client Iceland Naturally). It’s not an easy or fast process but trust me, it’s worth it.There are plenty of reasons to hire a PR firm and we’ve named just a few. What would you add to our list? When did you decide it was time to hire a marketing or PR firm? We’d love to hear from you - tweet us @BIGfishmarket!
After 22 years, Jay Leno passed the Tonight Show torch to Jimmy Fallon on February 17, 2014. As expected, Fallon’s debut was a huge (and hilarious) success. But we noticed something else about the show, too: #FallonTonight went viral on social media.
Why is this so important? “The ascension of Mr. Fallon, 39, to ‘The Tonight Show’ throne represents a new era in late-night viewing, one where advertisers value a show’s total audience--its viral video viewers and Twitter followers along with the TV watchers being lulled to sleep by topical monologues and skits,” wrote AdAge. While attracting viewers to the show is, of course, important, Fallon must also engage with fans online.
Fallon may be new to The Tonight Show, but he’s already a seasoned social media pro and each of his social profiles has a larger following than those of his competitors. Read on to find out how Fallon leveraged his strong online audience to promote his Tonight Show debut.
Readying The Troops
Social media is the perfect place to promote an event. At BIGfish, we utilize Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram and Twitter to promote events for our client Iceland Naturally. Whether it’s a festival, tweetup, or TV premiere, you should always start posting about the event on social media in advance. Make sure fans and followers know what’s going on, how they can get involved, and why they should be excited! This is a great way to build buzz before the event even starts.
Fallon spent the week leading up to his Tonight Show debut getting his fans pumped for the show and expressing his own excitement. He sent out tweets, like this one:https://twitter.com/jimmyfallon/status/435256832115101696 And also promoted the show by simultaneously engaging with fans, as he often does: https://twitter.com/jimmyfallon/status/434490532430381056
Five days before the first show, the Fallon Tonight Instagram started a daily countdown. Then, 12 hours before showtime, it featured hourly updates with photos of the Tonight Show mug at different NYC landmarks and encouraging users to use the #FallonTonight hashtag.
Fallon’s Tumblr blog also featured several posts promoting Fallon’s Tonight Show debut, and the official YouTube channel was not overlooked. There they posted an interactive “Ask Jimmy: What’s Coming to the Tonight Show?” video, further engaging fans and spreading the word about his new show.
If all that wasn’t enough, Fallon announced the launch of the Late Night App that enables users to easily tweet about the show, submit videos for the latest challenge, play free games and see show-related content. By sharing information about #FallonTonight in unique and fun ways on several platforms, they created buzz around the big debut and gave followers a reason to not only watch but also Like, follow and share the new Tonight Show.
Give ‘Em Something to Talk About
In our world of mobile devices and 24-hour news, content becomes ‘old news’ fast. Waiting to post content after an event is often too late. Users want and expect live updates. This was something the Fallon Tonight team did better than any other late night TV show has in the past.
Once the show began, the Tonight Show team posted updates and clips online, making it easy for users to view and share. Almost immediately after Fallon and Will Smith performed the “Evolution of Hip-Hop Dancing” on air, the video clip was uploaded to YouTube and posted to the Fallon Tonight Facebook page. The result? The video got more than 100,000 Likes and 13,000 shares on Facebook and now has more than 7 million views on YouTube (and still climbing every day).
The Fallon Tonight Tumblr page also featured several .gifs and videos from the show - a perfect place to put media that makes it easy for users to share and send to friends. All of these tactics extend the reach of the show far past those viewing it live.
Always Be Yourself
Brands work hard and long to craft their brand voice, and social media is a great place to refine and express that voice. Having a consistent brand voice, whether it be serious, friendly, sarcastic or sincere, strengthens the overall brand personality and helps build relationships with fans. Jimmy Fallon’s social media profiles are a shining example of this in action.
“Mr. Fallon is a charming and gifted comedian who, on his first night, chose to be subdued and at times even serious. That said as much about the uncertain future of “Tonight” as it did about its new host,” The New York Times wrote of Fallon’s Tonight Show debut. Fallon’s honest, humble personality that makes him so likeable is also clearly visible in his social profiles. Fallon’s personal posts garner lots of engagement from his followers, and the consist voice from platform to platform helps keep the Fallon Tonight brand in tact.https://twitter.com/jimmyfallon/status/430531164638420992 "February 17, 2014 This is it. We are starting a new chapter of the Tonight Show. I can't even begin to describe what we are all feeling right now here at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, NYC. But - I know that we'll never have this exact feeling ever again. By this time tomorrow we'll no longer wonder what it would be like to do the Tonight Show. We can't put that feeling - that moment back in the bottle. All we can do is try to make the best show that we can and make people happy. And we will. Here's to the first of many. Fun." Fallon wrote in this Instagram post. What other TV shows do a good job of integrating and leveraging social media? Tweet @BIGfishmarket and let us know! Update On February 28, the Today show reported that some 10.42 million people viewed Jimmy Fallon's first week on The Tonight Show, with delayed DVR-watchers factored in. This is the biggest audience since Johnny Carson hosted the show from 1962-1992. Weeks into his new show, Fallon is still giving "night owls a good reason to keep watching," but I believe Fallon's initial social media success also convinced people who missed the debut show to tune in for the rest of the week. Fallon's perfect mix of social media expertise, likable personality and shareable content are clearly a recipe for success! -Brigid Gorham