social media

You Won’t Believe Who Finally Joined Instagram

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A timeless fashion icon will finally get the digital makeover she deserves. This summer, one of the most iconic figures in American history will debut a revamped social media presence targeting the next generation of Americans. Yes, it’s official: Barbie is the latest breakout Instagram star.

In June, toy maker Mattel rolled out a new Barbie “Fashionistas” line, which features 23 new dolls with eight skin tones, 22 hairstyles, and 23 hair colors. The campaign is an attempt to make Barbie more culturally diverse for the 21st century.

The company has already introduced a new wave of television ads, the medium where most of Barbie’s advertising budget has been spent in the past. Starting this June, Mattel is also updating the toy’s social marketing strategies to re-brand her for modern kids. A Barbie style-focused profile on Instagram has already collected more than 815,000 followers, who share photos of the doll doing yoga and wearing new outfits.

In just the last two years, the number of marketers who say that Facebook is either “critical” or “important” to their social marketing strategies has surged 83%. In addition, YouTube is the most common “fave” media outlet among young people between the ages of eight and 11, and so Mattel has hired YouTube “influencers” to promote the new Barbie line.

Social media experts define influencers as social media users with massive followings, especially among young people, and who often act as digital trend setters. They also monetize their social media presence by serving as brand partners for companies eager to connect with younger consumers, like Mattel hopes to do with Barbie.

“Using YouTube influencers to get girls to connect in the space of fashion and style was a great addition to how we’re talking to girls,” said Evelyn Mazzocco, Senior Vice President and Global Brand Manager for Barbie.

Mazzocco hopes the new Barbie campaign will “empower girls” to express themselves, and of course, sell more toys. In 2014, Barbie lost her spot as the #1 most popular toy for girls to a powerful newcomer in the industry — “Frozen” toys and dolls.

Sick of Reading About Millennials? Call Them Snake People Instead With This New App!

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Sick of seeing articles talking about narcissistic millennials? Tired of getting unwanted opinions in your newsfeed about those entitled youths? Annoyed with the media’s portrayal of today’s young adults?

Then get the “Millennials to Snake People” Chrome extension.

Boston-based UX designer Eric Bailey has recently skyrocketed to social media fame after creating the “Millennials to Snake People” Chrome extension, which converts any and all mentions of “millennials” to “snake people.”

“I read one too many listicles, and I was like, this is getting a little weird,” Bailey told Adweek. “I had a free Saturday night, as sad as that sounds, and banged it out in a night.”

It’s easy to read into Bailey’s new extension. Converting mentions of millennials to snake people can definitely be seen as a commentary on how the nation characterizes 20- and 30-somethings, but in actuality, it’s just fun. Why did he choose snake people, specifically then?

“I don’t know,” he told AdWeek. “I’m a huge nerd, so it just seemed funny. The testing was basically a week of giggling straight.”

The project didn’t get much attention during its first few days, but somehow picked up steam somewhere. Soon enough, Bailey saw The Next Web’s tech reporter, Owen Williams, had tweeted a link to it, which in turn had been re-tweeted by famous author William Gibson.

“It’s sort of a lampoon,” he said. “Every generation seems to do this to the generation that comes after it.”

There is a lesson here, though. UX, which Bailey designs, is an integral part of any digital presence. It’s the process of improving a website or app’s usability to enhance user satisfaction. Without a quality UX, companies’ digital counterparts are virtually unusable, and help the competition get ahead.

“This is a product of the eye-rolling that’s happening online with the overuse and under delivery around the ‘Millenial,'” said Tom Ajello, Founder and Creative Director of Makeable. “People are throwing the word around without any commitment when it comes to creating a great user experience for the target. Overall, I’m not surprised that this type of app would appear. There is a massive misconception that The Millennial is a specific ‘bullseye’ of a target demographic. That is just untrue. The target is made up of a vast spectrum of tastes, idiosyncrasies and technical affinities just as any other target [market] one could think of today.”

By creating a quality app that enhances the UX of a popular web browser, Bailey’s gone viral. In other words, content is key for anyone looking to garner some social media fame to help their brand name development.

After all, what content could be better than poking fun at those selfie-taking, latte-sipping, Uggs-wearing snake people?

Human Engagement and Modified Social Media Marketing Will Be Most Successful Digital Trends of 2015, Experts Say

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As a new year of marketing gets underway, digital marketers are keeping their eyes on the trends that seem to be gaining traction in the new year.

“Change is happening at an ever-increasing pace — and that looks set to continue into the foreseeable future,” Trond Lyngbø of Search Engine Land reminded readers Jan. 15.

That kind of change can be scary, Lyngbø notes, especially for small businesses that don’t have dedicated marketing teams to help them with transitions. But quite a few marketers have laid out some top guidelines small businesses can follow.
A Human-to-Human Feel
The most successful digital marketing campaigns this year, brand strategist Kim Garst wrote for The Huffington Post Jan. 20, will be the ones that give an impression of human-ness to their audience. This means businesses will need to make the counterintuitive move of putting sales second to storytelling and engagement. The key, Garst advises, is to create a brand that people recognize, like and trust.

A focus on branding ties in well with the continued importance of content marketing. This strategy, which aims to offer helpful information in an effort to build brand credibility instead of specifically marketing products or services, allows companies to create an image of themselves as community members that potential customers can relate to — as opposed to simply being businesses people can choose to patronize or not.

Content marketing will also continue to be popular, multiple experts note, because it draws together two major goals of digital marketing: It both increases brand awareness and accomplishes factors associated with search engine optimization, a perennial concern for digital marketers.
The Changing Face of Social Media
A focus on business-to-consumer relationships will also change the way social media is used, Garst predicts. Brands that primarily use their accounts to push sales or suggest products will need to expand their engagement factors.

Of course, paid social media advertising is far from dead. Christopher Heine wrote for Adweek Jan. 16 that 70% of digital advertisers intend to increase their social media marketing spend in 2015.

And while few small businesses would be able to afford the rates, the figure Snapchat is demanding for a single day of advertising puts into perspective the massive importance of social media in a modern marketing plan: The app, popular with millennials, is asking $750,000 per day for ad placement.
The Continued Rise of Mobile
Underlying numerous aspects of marketing — everything from social media use to website design — is of course the increasing dominance of mobile Internet access. No longer is “mobile-friendly” good enough, Garst writes: “2015 is when we’ll see a shift to a truly ‘mobile-first’ mentality.”

This means that all content, whether it’s an emailed newsletter, an article or blog post, or a banner ad, will need to be optimized for mobile.

“There’s been a change in world order: the smart phone is now the consumer’s object of desire,” said Clayton Thompson, partner at MyNetWire. “When you take into consideration that tablet and smartphone browsing statistics are expected soon to surpass desktop browsing, business websites will be missing out on a huge amount of opportunities if their site and content aren’t mobile friendly.”
New Assessment Metrics
Numerous marketers have pointed out that one area of marketing that should see progress in 2015 is not a specific technique, but rather the technique of measuring success; currently, as Angela Hausman pointed out for the website Business2Community Jan. 18, fully 90% of marketers have no specific training on how to calculate a return on investment.

As digital marketing progresses, decisions are sometimes driven less by what experts recommend and more by whether customers can see quantitative results.

Now, it’s common for marketers to report on the things that are easy to measure, such as Facebook likes, Hausman says. But the things that are easy to count may be only weakly correlated to real marketing success. For that reason, she says, marketers this year will need focus on developing key performance indicators that are custom tailored to each digital campaign’s goals.