If you are on Facebook, then you may have noticed a number of self-made comic strip postings from your friends and family members.
It’s called Bitstrips, a website and program that is able to make comics and cards that feature you and your friends. The site walks you through the process to make an avatar that has cartoon attributes that look like you. Pick the hair, eyes, glasses or not … and you are on your way to show your wit and entertain others.
From a professional communications standpoint, little animations like this can be effective on various social media platforms. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram and LinkedIn posts can be more viral when presented with something for people to look at.
But – and this one is a biggie – one needs to be mindful if a cartoon comic like the ones created through Bitstrip fit with the branding image and messaging that fit who you are.
If you are in a professional industry where establishing expertise and trust is important for gaining new clients, then a cartoon of you having “special beverages” with your friends may not be in your best interest.
But if the cartoon is a situation that fits within your message, it could work for a great social media campaign.
As you are considering animation to tell your story, you may want to consider an information graphic instead. At BConnected, LLC., we’ve been effective in using colorful graphics to inform, entertain and delight current and prospective customers. For examples of these, please check out the "graphic design" portion of our portfolio.
The graphics are a way to tell complicated parts of the goods or services that you offer in a way that can be easily understood by the intended audience.
As you work on spreading the word of what you are able to offer to the community, consider cartoons, graphics and other images in your messaging mix.
Posted by Steve Kabelowsky about 1 month, 6 days, 8 hours, 31 minutes ago...
With the potential of an Initial Public Offering (IPO), all eyes on Wall Street are looking at Twitter. The micro-blogging tool, heavily utilized by mobile users because of ease of use, will be commanding top financial news headlines over the next few weeks.
When it came into being seven years ago, Twitter was looked at as another irrelevant online tool only used by geeks. Later, most social media experts discounted the short messaging platform as a place for celebrities to share what they ate for lunch and only the biggest fans would care to follow.
But, the platform overcame the early criticism to become a world-wide way of sharing information used by governments, community groups and corporations. We saw Twitter play a crucial role that brought upon regime changes in Egypt, and it works well to connect thousands of people to connect with each other during a time of a live event. Super Bowl games, the raid on Osama bin Laden and “Dancing With The Stars” eliminations have all become Twitter events.
Still, Twitter isn’t that big. According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, about 15 percent of Americans said they used Twitter.
When I teach on Social Media at Fox Valley Technical College, most of my students never or hardly ever use Twitter. By the time they are done with the assignments for the class, most of them are surprised to see how many conversations are going on. They find that Twitter can be used as a source of news information, a way to track weather changes when they are out an about. The platform allows them to follow area businesses which may be offering a discount or new goods or service campaign to attract more customers.
As a member of an organization or business, they find how Twitter can be another marketing tool to reach more people in the area.
Twitter is also the fastest growing social media platform, especially among young people. What we’ve found in the past couple of years is that many teenagers and young adults are turning to Twitter to get away from their parents who have started using Facebook.
For Twitter to be attractive to investors, it will have to undergo multiple changes to incorporate more advertising. When that happens, it may become even a better way for area businesses to better connect with current and potential customers.
Posted by Steve Kabelowsky about 2 months, 2 weeks, 3 days, 9 hours, 36 minutes ago...
Written word is a good thing. On websites and social media, they can be effectively used to talk about your business.
Pictures are great too, especially when they accompany words that are crafted to share an experience and compel others to want to participate.
But video can take the story to another level. If you are involved in using the digital world to get people in the real word to use your product or service, you really need a video.
There are good videos out there. There are plenty of bad ones too. And there are literally millions of others somewhere in between.
Some quick things to keep in mind:
- There’s nothing free about great video
- Keep it short, shorter the better
- Make sure it fits who you are
If you want to portray a professional level business, then take the time and find a professional to produce your video. Using your iPad and putting something out on YouTube is o.k. … but to stand apart from the others, find someone to help. Seriously.
It doesn’t have to break the bank either. For some businesses, a short 15-30 second video on YouTube -- and then reused on your web site and in social media -- can go a long way.
That video, used with a small digital ad buy, could help bring in a targeted audience to view it as well.
Last week, Google announced a new feature on YouTube called Top Fans. According to the Social Times a number of features could help small and medium-sized businesses put together a tight campaign that could get great traction, views and results.
The new feature offers:
- A Top Fans dashboard will exist as a new page inside the Video Manager
- Creators will be able to view a feed of the latest activity from the most-engaged and influential fans instead of having to wade through hundreds or thousands of comments
- Creators will be able to send exclusive postings only to top fans
- When Google Plus is connected to a creator’s YouTube channel and they’ve created a circle of top fans, they will be able to view demographic details about these top fans
So, if you have some video, great, you’ve made an important first step. If you haven’t, seek out some help and, at the very least, explore producing a short piece to post on YouTube.
Posted by Steve Kabelowsky about 3 months, 2 weeks, 6 days, 19 hours, 37 minutes ago...
If you have been on Facebook for more than two years, then you know what Farmville is.
The game of creating a farm and raising animals was a boon for social media. You needed to rely on other game-playing friends to excel and progress in this virtual world.
Online gaming wasn’t anything new, it’s been around since the early days of computers able to network different people together. What was new, was the size of the audience and the ability of the game maker to monetize the effort in two ways – charging the players themselves for different items used in the game, and the advertisements.
This is where local businesses and organizations can take an advantage.
There is an image that video game players are young, not very responsible with their spending and are overall, pretty impulsive. What marketing research firms have found, that gamers on social media break that stereotype.
Farmville, and then later Angry Birds, changed the demographic of the typical gamer. Boomers on Facebook, along with people 25-34, are the largest segments of social game players. They are the majority decision makers for the household, are well educated, and enjoy sharing shopping tips and experiences with others.
A small business owner, for as little at $30, can run a successful, highly-targeted ad campaign going after these game players that live in your location’s neighborhood.
These people who spend their free time, now it is with a game called Candy Crush, are the same folks that if they have a great experience with your service or product, will gladly share it with others.
Nothing is better than a word-of-mouth recommendation from a friend or family member. That’s the best marketing and advertising could ever buy.
That could be yours for less than the cost of a quarter-tank of gas.
Zynga, the company that developed Farmville, Mafia Wars and other games over the years, also made a lot of money in a short period of time. It went public, seeking investor stock holders to take online gaming to the next level. Once in its sights, was online gambling, bringing the games and dollars available in casinos to a computer inside people’s homes.
But with new CEO Don Mattrick at the helm, the firm seems poised to get back to basics and return to its core – making games that will draw in a large audience.
“While the company continues to evaluate its real-money gaming products in the U.K. test, Zynga is making a focused choice not to pursue a license for real-money gaming in the U.S.,” the firm said in a statement last week.
The stockholders may not like this direction, but it could be great news for local advertisers who are poised to take advantage of the next social gaming fad that will hit in the next few months.
Posted by Steve Kabelowsky about 4 months, 6 days, 6 hours, 23 minutes ago...
Foursquare is the leading check-in social media site. Working well on smart phones and mobile devices, the app-driven platform encourages people to let others know about the places they visit and experience in a community.
Even in the corners of the Fox Valley, there is an active, albeit small, user base to market to. For businesses seeking repeat traffic among active cell phone users, a small campaign on the check in site could be a very low-cost option.
When seeking ROI in the social media world, it is important to maintain the perspective of a publisher rather than an advertiser. We always preach the needed 80/20 split, or percentage of information vs. the amount of straight selling. If a TV show was 100 percent commercials, no one (well few) will take the time to watch.
For local advertisers, you need to have a compelling reason to draw people into your business. A good discount could help, but on Foursquare, you are better off selling an experience rather than just a deal.
Users are able to leave recommendations and details on eateries, retail outlets and public venues. People are encouraged to check into places they are, and to take and share photos.
The app awards people with badges for checking in. A mini competition between friends can take place as each tries to outscore the others with number of check ins and variety of the types of places they visit.
For businesses, they can encourage the Foursquare users to check in by offering discounts and exclusive specials. This marketing tactic can be extremely effective if your venue is targeted for customers that fit the demographic that is active on cell phones and enjoy sharing information with others.
Earlier this week, Foursquare released pop-up advertisements as a full page ad in its mobile app. Instead of being driven the same way digital banner ads work, Foursquare said the ad would be related to the venue the person is checking into.
One of the first advertisers is Diageo, which owns Captain Morgan. Ads could encourage users to order a “Cap and coke” when they check into a bar or dinner venue.
Andrew Braunston, communications planning director at Captain Morgan's media buying agency Carat, told Adage more than 72 percent of Foursquare users are 21 are older based upon internal research, comScore analytics and Foursquare self-reported user base statistics.
It makes sense that the alcohol industry would aim a campaign at a young, mobile audience base in the 21 to 34 age bracket. For others, like Toys R Us, toy suggestions could be made for someone with children checking into a public park.
Foursquare will not let larger advertisers participate in brand conquering, or the practice of targeting someone who checks into a competitor’s venue. However, it will allow for well-placed ads promoting a new product or service for people checking into their own business.
Have a service you offer that better than anyone else? Well, if you have the right pieces at your office to tell that story, it is worthwhile to advertise to get people into your doors. Foursquare is one way to do it.
Posted by Steve Kabelowsky about 4 months, 2 weeks, 9 hours, 44 minutes ago...