As 2013 comes to a close, it’s that time of year again to take a deep breath and brace for the trends of the upcoming year. For 3fold’ers, it’s a competitive opportunity to place our bets on what will rock the creative, digital marketing, and media industry in 2014. Each member of our team have focused hours of research, energy and insight to be able to preview sure bets for 2014! Grab a pen, because you’ll want to make note of these tips – for when we told you so, of course.
#1: It’s going to be all about the “happiness factor.” Seeing how the world works up close is critical in this industry, but getting there can be draining. New mobile apps will revolutionize the days of weary road warriors. At the top of the list will be Routehappy, (especially for traveling 3fold’ers) a real-time ability to pick flights based on “happiness factors,” from legroom and chair width to connection length and amenities instead of the standard price-only comparisons.
– Gordon Fowler, Fearless Leader
#2: Real-time marketing is going to be even bigger. The right message to the right person at the right time will yield greater success than mass marketing tactics of the past. Social media showed just how effective this style can be this year when DiGiorno live-tweeted The Sound of Music, or Oreo’s quick tweeted off the Super Bowl blackout.
– Angela Criser, Number-Punching Tech Geek
#3: Gamification will be a critical tool for brand to meet their business objectives. As the fusion of content marketing and customer data becomes the standard, look for creative “gamification” models to become a critical strategy point for brands and businesses.
– Craig Amazeen, Creative Genius
#4: Data and analytics will be just as valuable – if not more – off the field as on. Brands will expand the use of and focus on data and analytics, focusing specifically on tracking fan engagement from time and money spent to influence. In particular, sports organizations will try to tap into the heartbeat of their loyal fans and followers to determine the value of these interactions.
– Scott Moak, Culture Curator
#5: The new emphasis in marketing will be images. Consumers will demand image-centric content. The rapid rise of social media platforms like Pinterest, Buzzfeed, Instagram and Vine verify image-based content is the wave of the future. Successful campaigns must integrate visual components, from compelling images accompanying blog posts to infographics visually representing statistical information.
– Emilie Cameron, PR Maven
#6: Differentiation, positioning and smart targeting will be keys to success for brands. You don’t have to struggle to sell a product that’s relevant, differentiated and positioned correctly. If your business needs a boost, 2014 is the year to take a look at how you’re talking about and marketing your brand and products. In short, start marketing. Stop selling.
– Liz Divelbiss, Resident Robot
#7: Content marketing will be bigger than ever. Using a business’s social media networks, e-newsletters, posting content on their website, and more. It will begin to edge out traditional marketing channels like TV, radio and print, meaning valuable and engaging content will be more important than ever to turn followers into brand advocates.
– Jamie Von Sossan, In-House Charmer
#8: If you’re not mobile, you’re missing your customers. You’ve built an audience online, but are they getting the same brand experience on smaller screens? Mobile advertising will continue to grow as the use of smart phones rises and consumers are more comfortable purchasing good/services on their devices.
– Matt Marshall, Campaign Crusher
#9: Design will be more angular, simplistic and futuristic. We’re often overloaded with information and data. To counteract this, refined, ultra-simplified designs will strip out unnecessary fuss.
– Landon Lee, Design All Star
#10: BABIES!! For the ringer, we predict welcoming a total of four happy and healthy babies into the fold in 2014!
The month of March was packed with Facebook changes. Some I’m sure you’ve noticed… some may have been a little more under the radar. Here’s a list of several of the updates:
News Feed redesign. Earlier in the month, Facebook held a press conference where they announced a redesign of their News Feed. The redesign includes several new feeds: All Friends, Photos, Music, and Following (pages and people followed). It also aligns with the look and feel of the Facebook mobile version. They’ve already started rolling out the changes to personal profiles and will continue in the next couple weeks. Have you started using the new design yet?
Single-column timeline. Personal profiles have begun to see their profiles change to a single-column format. All of the informational sections about the user (About, Friends, Photos, Likes, etc.) are along the left-hand side. All of the user’s Facebook updates are published on the right-hand side.
Less rules for Cover Photos. Facebook has relinquished several of its guidelines for Cover Photos. Before, photos could not contain purchasing info, web addresses, call to actions, etc. Here are Facebook’s updated guidelines: “All covers are public. This means that anyone who visits your Page will be able to see your cover. Covers can’t be deceptive, misleading, or infringe on anyone else’s copyright. You may not encourage people to upload your cover to their personal timelines. Covers may not include images with more than 20% text.”
Pages popping up in News Feeds. Speaking of Cover Photos, your brand page’s Cover Photo may need a redesign. If you haven’t noticed, when someone “Likes” a brand page these days or when a brand page has a sponsored story, the Cover Photo of that brand page pops up in the update. Notice the name and category overlay the photo, which could be challenging with your current Cover Photo.
Respond directly to comments. Brand pages can now respond directly to comments, creating more active and organized conversation threads. Next time a fan asks a question, click “reply” on his or her comment and respond directly to the person, rather than leaving the response at the very bottom of the conversation thread.
Could it be? Hashtags may finally be coming to Facebook! Personally, I’m surprised this hasn’t already happened since we’re seeing hashtags on Facebook being used left and right. Read more info in this TechCrunch article.
As a personal Facebook user or admin of a page, which Facebook changes are you most excited to see?
Header image from Facebook.
If you’re like us (and you’re probably not, we’re super nerdy about these things), you’ve been keeping a close eye on the ongoing Twitter v. Instagram feud. Officially, it’s a strategic distancing of one social platform from another in an effort to maintain market share while not enhancing a competitor’s share for free. Fair enough. The situation got murkier when Facebook bought Instagram in April, tacking on the long-standing Facebook v. Twitter feud to this newer squabble. So, now, Twitter no longer allows Instagram users to find their Twitter followers on Instagram and Instagram is taking their photos off Twitter’s streams–the social media equivalent of taking their ball and going home because the other kid wouldn’t share his toys.
Another feud following a similar road is the Apple v. Samsung battle over smart phone patents. Or Facebook v. … well, it just seems like everyone. In the end, who loses? Customers. And this could be a problem for all sides. Bigger brands may take longer to see a fallout, but they certainly aren’t immune. Smaller brands face a much bigger and quicker backlash, so, if nothing else, there’s an excellent business lesson in all this:
Customers don’t want to be in the middle of an argument. They don’t want to be forced to pick sides. More often than not, a customer will walk away from anything that causes them a hassle. The more uncomfortable a relationship becomes, or the harder a brand makes it for customers to not only do business with them, but simplify their dealings across the board, the less likely that customer will stay.
That’s not to say brands should not fight for their market share or defend their brand, product and reputation against competitor attacks. Of course they should. Protecting those three things is what keeps them in business. However, when conflict happens–or a PR crisis occurs, new competitor hits the marketplace, or you have a major change in your business model–thinking through your response from all view points is essential. If your response could hurt, inconvenience or just annoy your client base more than it affects your attacker, you may want to think of a better strategy.
Photo credit: John Springer Collection/CORBIS
This is a call to action for supporters of organizations big and small: support your favorite organizations on Facebook! Organizations (for the most part) don’t want to spam you with irrelevant messages; they want to interact with their supporters, keep you updated with information about what they’re up to, causes they support, and how you can get involved. Personally, I “Like” many brand pages. Yes, I see a lot of bad habits coming from organizations’ Facebook Pages… too much posting, not enough posting, boring messages, etc. But, I see even more updates that are great from brands I admire.
The thing is, Facebook consistently makes changes (usually minor tweaks) to its platform – including to Pages used by organizations. Recent changes to their algorithm (which is a formula that populates a user’s News Feed), makes it so that users may not be seeing Facebook Pages’ updates as often. As a user, this frustrates me because I miss valuable information, and as a Facebook Page administrator this challenges me. I work hard to connect organizations with their supporters, and I don’t want them to miss out on opportunities.
Although it won’t entirely fix the situation, here’s how you can help increase visibility of posts from your favorite organizations:
- Simply “Like” the page. If you haven’t already “Liked” the organization’s page, please do so!
- Hover over the “Like” button (once you’ve “Liked” the page), and click “Add to Interest Lists”. You can easily add an Interest List such as “Favorite Organizations”.
- Hover over the “Like” button again, and click “Get Notifications”. This will guarantee you will not miss posts from your favorite organizations. If a Page is not overly posting, this shouldn’t be annoying.
4. Facebook recently added a “Pages Feed” to your home page. By clicking on this link, you’ll see the Pages’ posts that you have “Liked”.
5. Interact with the Pages’ posts: “Like”, “Share” and comment.
Here’s to supporting organizations on Facebook! Also, keep an eye out for a followup post which will include a call to action for organizations.
Social networks change daily. Sometimes the changes are so subtle it’s hard to catch on to the news unless you’re consistently reading the latest tech trends.
If you didn’t notice, a little more than a month ago, LinkedIn rolled out a new header image feature for Company Pages. It’s very similar to Facebook’s cover photo in that it’s a large image at the top of the Company Page. It comes as no surprise that they wanted to “boost” these very text-heavy pages with some visual appeal and additional branding opportunities. When you go to (finally) update your LinkedIn Company Page header, keep in mind:
• Dimensions are 646×220
• Brand the image to your company.
• Create something eye-catching, but still true to LinkedIn’s more professional appeal.
Here is 3fold’s LinkedIn Company Page header:
And there’s more!
Chances are, if you missed the LinkedIn announcement, you may have missed the news that Twitter made a similar platform change to their user profiles. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as one might hope. What’s difficult about Twitter’s new header image format is that the profile photo and bio are superimposed over the graphic. So, when you go to (finally) update your Twitter header photo, keep in mind:
• Dimensions are 1252px X 626px.
• Keep the image simple. Because of the profile picture and bio laid across the featured image, words and busy photos can make the entirety of the header cluttered.
• There are ways to get creative.
See 3fold’s Twitter header:
Share the links to your profiles in a comment below and we’d be happy to check out your new header images as well!
Myspace unveiled yesterday the launch of a whole new platform with a video teaser tweeted by part-owner Justin Timberlake. This new platform and design is a necessity some would argue in order to play with a few of the big boys: Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.
Myspace was the “it” place to be socially online for years… I personally loved it, and it served as the space where I began to “grow” in the online social scene. Then a little network called Facebook came around and traffic started shifting to this new, exciting way to connect and share with friends. We began to see Myspace dwindling into the base of all social networking jokes. It always has been a fantastic space for musicians and artists, but Myspace lacked the joy and simplicity that Facebook brought to the table.
Watch this video about the new Myspace:
[vimeo id=" 50071857" width="620" height="360"]
What are my initial thoughts? Based on the preview video, it looks awesome. With Instagram and Pinterest as two of the fastest growing networks this year, it’s no surprise that Myspace will be taking on a similar interface trend that captivates users visually. It will also be interesting to see how Myspace rolls out their TV element, and how social TV continues to grow in our society. Part of me feels it may be a bit too late for Myspace and that it will become just another network to keep updated, but the other part of me feels thrilled about the potential of yet another exciting new platform to learn and experience. I’m at least intrigued.
What are your thoughts on the new Myspace?
Featured title image is a screen shot taken from the new Myspace website.
Creating a personal social media policy can go a long way. It helps identify a focus, a purpose on why you want to use social media and what you want to share with the world. When writing a policy, one of the main points you should think about is how personal or professional you want your presence to be on each network. You’ll find what it really boils down to are two things: what kind of content you’re comfortable sharing, and privacy settings. Three years ago, Lesley (who is the former 3fold Director of Public Relations and Social Media) wrote a personal Twitter policy. Based on Lesley’s policy, I decided to give my own social media policy a go:
In addition to abiding by 3fold’s social media policy, I hope to use the following guidelines for each social network I’m active on:
Share: interesting and relevant content related to marketing, social media, personal hobbies, Sacramento… and things that may make someone simply smile.
Promote: 3fold, Sacramento, nonprofits and companies I admire, and our clients’ great work in the community.
Connect: with people in my community and across the world who can offer me industry advice, brighten my day, or answer my questions (I loved Lesley’s response, and can completely relate).
Do you have a personal social media policy? Please share…
If you didn’t notice, there was a recent Facebook update. Surprised? Neither were we.
Previously, as a Facebook fan page admin, there was a setting that allowed you to “always comment as the fan page” or, when you opt-out, you had the ability to post as your individual profile. When you opted-out, there were multiple ways to change the way you were using Facebook as the fan page vs. the individual profile. Facebook has now made this easier by moving this option front and center.
To clarify a bit more – there’s no longer an option in the settings to “always comment as the fan page”. When you visit your fan page, you will notice either you’re using Facebook as the fan page or yourself by viewing the new blue bar just above the Admin Panel. The easiest way to change the “voice” back and forth is to click the link that appears in the new bar that says “change to <your name>” or “change to <fan page>”.
This change may not seem all that important — however, I often see fan pages ‘liking’ and commenting on their own posts when they meant to comment from their personal profile. By paying attention to this small detail, it’s another way to make your audience’s Facebook experience that much better.
If you have a LinkedIn account, this post is important. If you don’t have an account – why not!? Please contact us.
LinkedIn has been hacked and someone has claimed they’ve stolen 6.64 million passwords. There’s not much you can do about it, except to log in to LinkedIn and change your password! We would encourage you to do so… right now. Also, if you use the same password for other accounts (which isn’t advised but many people do), you should probably change those passwords as well. This article explains the situation more in-depth and demonstrates how to change your LinkedIn password: Mashable Article.
Let us know if you have any questions and we’d be happy to answer them!
You heard we’re moving, right? Why not help us decorate?! 3fold is hosting a photo contest on Facebook between now and May 15 – and we’d love for you to enter. Cutting to the chase… we’re going to pick our favorite photo(s) to hang in our new office. Here are the details:
- Snap a Sacramento-centric photo (extra points for using Instagram).
- Upload your photo to the Facebook photo contest app.*
- Get friends, family, strangers, the world to vote for your photo (through the app), because we’ll likely pick a popular one.
- Win the following: a space on our wall for your printed photo, recognition in post-contest promotion, a nice print of your photo, probably some hugs, and of course a big thank you!