PRs and SEOs love press releases. You get an SEO boost, earning links from journalists in your space across a bunch of different sites. And you get traditional PR benefits. But focusing on your press page could bring much bigger dividends. Think of a press page in the context of broader strategy. If you’re emailing and phoning publications trying to get yourself or your client mentioned, you’re doing ‘outbound PR’ – the PR equivalent of cold calling. Surprise, surprise: journalists don’t really like it, and as Bloomberg’s David Lynch warns, ‘you’re going to strike out most of the time.’ A…
Social media is one of the dominant forms of interactions on the Internet. Leading platforms such as Facebook and Twitter count hundreds of millions of users each month. In this article, I will show you how social media is a rich vein of data for user researchers. I will argue that it would be an oversight for an organization to treat social media as nothing more than an opportunity for customer service enquiries, help requests and brand advocacy.
You deserve a vacation, don’t you think? Now, you might need icons on your website to indicate that you’re away, or even use some for your auto-reply. For whatever reason you decide to use today’s icon set, we’re sure they’ll bring happy summer vibes to anyone who comes their way.
Forty colorful icons dedicated to holidays and fun. (Full preview) This set of 40 icons was created by the design team at Printerinks.
Marketing in the B2B space can be challenging. Complicated products, higher prices and longer chains of approval all present barriers to prospects when they’re making their buying decisions.
And what if you’re stuck in a boring industry? Like, how do you give boxes of business software a personality that will attract people to your brand?
Even if your product or service isn’t “sexy,” there’s no excuse for putting your social media followers to sleep. Image by Sophie via Flickr.
Social media marketing can be a great way to insert yourself into conversations prospects are having about the problems they’re facing, but you’ve got to be original if you plan on standing out.
With so much online noise, we can all benefit from looking in unusual places for inspiration for our social media campaigns.
Using examples I’ve come across personally, let me show you how to (respectfully) swipe some successful marketing concepts from familiar industries and make them work for you.
Reach outside your circle of BFFs
My fiancé and I have different hobbies. He plays video games online and I enjoy… going outside. Still, we share some of the same friends and like each other.
Similarly, if you’re a SaaS company looking for new audiences to tap, you shouldn’t limit yourself to “people who love business software.” Your audience doesn’t live and breathe your product. They have other interests, too.
Think about brands that offer different products or services, but have an audience with similar needs and interests.
Not sure who that might be?
Use Facebook Search to find parallel audiences
The quickest way to find other companies with crossover audiences is to use Facebook’s search functionality by simply typing in exactly what you’re looking for into the address bar at the top of your personal Facebook feed. For example, “Pages liked by people who like FreshBooks.”
It’s not foolproof (IKEA Canada might not be the best match) but a range of pages to choose from will appear:
Next, have a look at these companies’ channels to see what kind of content resonates with their fans. That’ll be your breeding ground for fresh social media campaign ideas.
Not sure what that might look like? Let’s dig into some specific examples.
Take a page out of the winning playbooks
Nobody appreciates their fans more than pro sports teams. As a proud New England Patriots fan (sorry not sorry Stef), I soak up every bit of content the team puts out.
By posting a variety of heartfelt and funny photos and videos to engage their social followers on Facebook, they stay relevant and fresh.
Player profiles, new memorabilia products, milestone graphics, the Pats volunteering in the community, and even fans’ pets get thousands of interactions.
But the most important thing I’ve noticed is that they show a lot of gratitude to their fans.
This may seem easy for a popular franchise, but what could you do for your own business if your brand isn’t number one in the world? Take a look at what Shopify posted on Facebook at the 150,000 shop owner mark:
It’s a fairly simple post, but 441 interactions means it reached a lot of people.
There is a good chance a large base of your fans are also your customers — and they’re rooting for you to be successful. Don’t be afraid to share big wins with those who are willing to show their support. It doesn’t hurt to bank some extra social proof, either!
Be the host with the most
Talk shows have been around since the earliest days of radio. They’ve evolved from simple back-and-forth interviews to spawning some of the most viral videos of all time.
Jimmy Fallon is the master of helping the viewer get to know his guest on a deeper level by playing games like Box of Lies or performing epic lip sync battles. These clips have garnered millions of hits on YouTube and loyal, enthusiastic fans.
Drawing inspiration from the world of late night television, Influitive ran an episode of BAM!TV: it was injected with humour, and made fantastic use of their own brand advocates who were invited on the show as “special guests.”
These guests did a great job of educating viewers about the importance of advocacy, in turn validating the need for Influitive’s software. The brand also took advantage of the digital nature of the show by providing downloadable links to their marketing materials right on screen.
Using a combination of social, influencer, partner promotion and manual outreach, BAM!TV received over 1,500 views in the first 24 hours (their original goal was 2,000 total and they’re past the 4,000 mark now) and 461 pre-event leads collected on the page. During the launch week, Influitive tracked 574 tweets using the #BAMTV hashtag, with a combined reach of over 183,000 accounts.
Influitive’s VP of Marketing, Jim Williams, explains the rationale behind the campaign:
For us, BAM!TV was more than just a lead gen effort — it was a brand-building campaign for Influitive and a category-building initiative for advocate marketing. We did, however, come up with some clever ways to generate leads: calls to action to download relevant content, such as ebooks and case studies, were placed next to the video player on the landing page.
Another hilarious example of late-night material turned marketing gold was Hootsuite’s “Mean Tweets” video that was used to launch their new dashboard UI. Their clever use of pop culture scored them over over 86,000 views and spread the word about the campaign:
One word of warning: As our Marketing Manager, Corey, always reminds us: when you’re building out your own social campaigns, try not to let the element of “creativity” overpower the clarity of your message.
It can be tempting to add layers of complexity in an effort to be unique, but sometimes keeping it simple is best.
Get hungry for change
It may seem like “everything has been done before,” but try to step back and think about how you can use existing technologies in a new way.
Chef Dennis Littley was innovative when he started using Hangouts On Air for his Around the Kitchen Table cooking show. Rather than clinging to the standard Hangout interview format that was popular at the time, he was preparing dishes for his audience and friends live on the air.
The result is a rich viewing experience that makes you feel like a real insider. When it’s over, you’re so intrigued by his culinary skills that you can’t help but head over to his blog and sign up so you never miss a recipe.
Chef Dennis is now a well-known Google+ influencer with more than 709,000 followers.
When we were thinking of our own way to add Google HOA to Unbounce’s social media mix, we decided it had to be something different (and fun). And so Page Fights was born: our way of educating our audience about landing page best practices through a new medium.
We now have over 3,000 Page Fights subscribers and receive hundreds of landing page submissions per episode. Our viewers are some of our most passionate community members.
P.S. Want to have Oli and Peep of ConversionXL tear your page apart? Submit it to the next round of Page Fights!
Channel your inner schoolteacher
Truly great social media marketing aims not only to delight potential customers but to educate and empower them as well. If you find yourself in a messaging rut, try going back to basics and considering how you can deliver content as if you were a teacher simplifying a foreign concept for your students:
You may not be able to tie your product back to burgers, but dig into your repertoire of information to see what bite-sized chunks you can turn into lessons for your followers. Think about what they’re eager to learn and create content that both educates and leads your prospects closer to a conversion.
Evosite does an excellent job of instilling trust in its brand by releasing this series of “52 ways to improve conversion rates” on Google+:
These virtual “educational posters” make the information visually appealing and highly shareable. Image source.
Evosite gently piques interest via social by giving away small pieces of advice for free, establishing their credibility and hopefully enticing visitors to hire them for their services.
Salesforce takes a similar approach by sharing industry stats, but maintains a bit of mystery so prospects click through (to a blog post or ebook download landing page):
Where can you source content for this type of campaign?
Consider all the ways you can repurpose some of the great content you already have: focus on key takeaways from your most popular blog posts, stats that help validate your product or service, or even answers to FAQs in your existing support community.
Keep it classy
While it’s perfectly fine to borrow ideas from other industries, don’t copy too closely — nothing will jeopardize the trust your customer has in you faster than straight-up plagiarism.
Put your own spin on the content that inspires you and keep it true to your brand.
Where’s your favorite place to shop for new social content ideas? Have you come across any unique posts that could be turned into material for another industry? I’d love to see more examples shared in the comments.
In September 2012 we ran the very first Smashing Conference — friendly, valuable and inspiring community event — in a beautiful medieval building in our home town Freiburg, Germany. The conference was a huge success, and we haven’t anticipated the fantastic feedback we’ve received during and after the event.
All conference tickets and workshop tickets were sold out within weeks, and to bring the event closer to everybody we blogged live from the venue, and captured all talks on video.
Disclaimer: This post by Jeremy Keith is one of the many reactions to our recent article on the pursuit of semantic value by Divya Manian. Both articles are published in the Opinion column section in which we provide active members of the community with the opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas publicly.
Divya Manian, one of the super-smart web warriors behind HTML5 Boilerplate, has published an article called Our Pointless Pursuit Of Semantic Value.
Desktop wallpapers can serve as an excellent source of inspiration. However, if you use some specific wallpaper for a long period of time, it becomes harder to draw inspiration out of it. That’s why we have decided to supply you with smashing wallpapers over 12 months. And to make them a little bit more distinctive from the usual crowd, we’ve decided to embed calendars for the upcoming month. So if you need to look up some date, isn’t it better to show off a nice wallpaper with a nice calendar instead of launching some default time application?
Since the official announcement of W3C to stop working on the development of XHTML 2 in the end of 2009 and increase resources on HTML 5 instead, there has been a lot of confusion and various debates about the “proper”markup language for modern and future web-development. With XHTML 1.0, XHTML 2, HTML 4, HTML 5 and XHTML 5 we have so many languages that it’s really getting hard to keep track!