Prepare a Visual Social Feast and Consumers Will Bite

Prepare a Visual Social Feast and Consumers Will Bite

(Originally posted in Spin Sucks)

For this year’s back-to-school season, TOMS launched a contest aimed at increasing visual engagement on Pinterest.

#TOMS Give Back-to-School encouraged people to create a pinboard and pin their favorite outfits using only items found on the TOMS website.

While primarily known for shoes, TOMS wanted people to see they could wear the brand from head to toe.

To compete for the $500 TOMS gift certificate, pinners created a special board for the contest and tagged every pin with “#TOMS Give Back-to-School.”

TOMS scored huge brand awareness and sales during the contest as pinners posted beautiful pictures that spread across their personal networks.

The TOMS campaign shows the expanding influence of visual social media sites, and in the coming years, more brands will take part in this growing trend.

Why Visual Social Media Takes the Cake

Pinterest has more than 70 million users, which may not seem like a lot compared to the billions at Facebook, but, unlike users of other social media sites, Pinterest users become more active over time, not less.

This makes sense when you think about the draw of pictures.

The Internet is overloaded with text, with every company in the world creating text-heavy blog posts.

With so much to read, people are looking for simpler media to consume.

Pictures are processed more quickly and remembered longer. They can also tell your brand’s story more effectively than 1,000-word blog posts.

(Hence: A picture is worth more than 1,000 words.)

When it comes to social media, posts with images get 39 percent more engagement than other posts.

And, in some inexplicable way, it’s been proven that users will not only remember your picture, but they’ll also associate your brand with similar pictures in a different context.

That’s reach you could never get with words alone.

Customers also love images because they’re editable. Everyone wants to express himself, and when users can share a brand’s content but also make it their own, it’s a win-win.

The beauty of visual strategy is that consumers can’t help but be drawn to the visual feast.

How Brands Can Get Visual

So, how do you make like TOMS and take advantage of the benefits of visual?

Like all other content, visual sites such as Instagram and Pinterest require some strategic thinking and a well-executed plan.

One of the worst things brands can do is throw up mediocre images, hoping to draw attention.

Here are some important steps for brands to take when crafting a visual social media strategy.

Define your brand visually. Don’t just think about your products. What colors, patterns, and images represent who you are as a brand? Make sure the images you use tell a story of either the brand or the user.

Think broadly about your visuals. Not every pin or Instagram photo has to be (or should be) focused on your brand. Capital One and American Express both maintain pinboards for brides, world travelers, and bucket-list creators. These images are inherently shareable, regardless of a user’s affiliation with the companies, which makes it easier for the brands to spread organically.

Use segmentation to your advantage. Segment your audience by demographics, interests, and values. Each of these categories can provide insight into the types of visuals your audience prefers and where it likes to see them. For example, users who are into “beauty” might also follow certain celebrities that you can incorporate into your campaign. Users who are “green” might appreciate holistic health advice or eco-friendly gift ideas. Use segmentation to branch out and go broad, as mentioned above.

Pay attention to top content for your audience. Through content tracking, you can also discover what kind of content your audience is sharing and publishing most, then create visuals around that content. Infographics are a great option here, putting information into an easy-to-understand yet still visually appealing format.

Know your grassroots influencers. Also called brand ambassadors, these are the people who are naturally spreading the word about your brand. Target these influencers by creating more of the content and visuals they love, but also by engaging with them personally. These people are the ones who will convince less enthusiastic users to love your brand, so make sure you love them.

The rise of Pinterest and Instagram is undeniable, and more brands are beginning to realize the power of images in marketing.

Winning brands will be the ones that create the best and most compelling visual social media strategies that engage all kinds of users.

New at Mattr: Values-Based Segmentation and Influence Marketing

The Unexpected is Amazing. Or Terrifying.

What if your audience wasn’t what your research said it was six months ago?

You already know Mattr is big on personality, giving you qualitative answers in 60 milliseconds instead of 60 days (or more). What if we went a step further and you knew if your audience was conservative or liberal, traditional or non-conformist, an early tech adopter, and even its degree of price sensitivity?

We did. Imagine how much that information could impact your advertising, content and PR strategies, especially in real time advertising.

In short, surprises are awesome–so long as you’re prepared.

Launch blog

Now you can see it in real time

Today we announced the Values-Based Social Segmentation expansion of Mattr. We’ve been working hard on this for quite a while and are now happy to say we can provide you with the qualitative information on audiences you’ve long been seeking. With this insight, you can increase brand awareness, consideration / engagement, and conversion.

Using personality traits, STEEP values (social, technological, environmental, economic and political), interests and demographics, you can now create multi-layered personas of your brand’s audience so you can target segments more effectively and align your brand personality and values with a specific audience. Oh, and again, we can give you this information in milliseconds as compared to the weeks required to get it using traditional research models.

Think about some of the ways this data could benefit you:

Better content – whether it’s owned, earned or paid content, having an understanding of your audience’s personality and mindset can enable you to create better content that resonates with them on a deeper level.

Better media placement – again, it doesn’t matter what the content is, but if you know who and what your audiences follow, it presents a better opportunity to pitch, place or publish your content somewhere it will reach them.

Better partnerships – knowing the companies, celebrities and media outlets your audience follows helps you more effectively form partnerships that can drive results for you.

Better engagement – connecting with your audience on a more personal level by showing you understand their values makes it more likely they’ll communicate back with you.

Influence the right buyers, with the right message, from the right people, at the right time

Right. We also added what we think is the best Influence Marketing product in the market. We can now help you identify the most appropriate influencers to target for your brand or event at the different stages of the buying cycle. You enter keywords and we deliver you influencers – but not simply via a list of names.

Using a tiered system, we discover all the influencers you need to know to get from awareness to conversion in markets worldwide:

Macro: Build awareness through paid content
Mid-level: Channel owned content and press for buying consideration
Micro: Funnel calls-to-action for conversions

Tapping into influence is an important part of marketing programs, so we didn’t stop at simply identifying individual influencers. We went further with our Influence Marketing feature so you can identify influential conversations. Sometimes there’s a topic, keyword or trend that’s a priority for a brand. We allow you to monitor those conversations in real-time so you can use them to your advantage.

On a personal note, we at Mattr are very proud of the new Social Segmentation and Influence Marketing features we’ve added. This is the biggest update ever to Mattr and I’m blown away by how hard our team has worked to provide our customers with these new features. Our longtime customers know that we typically take an iterative approach to our updates and extensions. That’s still the case. We’ll be rolling out more elements of our new features in the coming weeks and month – much of it based on customer feedback, so please, let us know what you think. Your opinion matters (pun intended).

Jack

Small Business Influencer Awards- Recognition for the SMB Community

The Small Business Influencer Awards voting went live this afternoon, and our CEO and Co-Founder Jack Holt was one of the many worthy people to be nominated in the Leader category (Go Jack!). As we greatly appreciate the nomination, we also agree that helping to bring attention to small businesses and those that support them is a pretty big deal. So we’re doing our part and helping to spread the word.

There’s some great information about the Small Business Influencer Awards included in the press release below, as well as several reasons why this award stands out from others.

As mentioned so eloquently in the comments of the article, “the SMB community needs this type of (award). It brings us together and gives much-needed recognition to deserving businesses, products & individuals.”

If you would like to show your support for small businesses and those that encourage them, please take a moment to vote! If not for Jack, then for another nominee- they will surely thank you. And so do we!

Mattr

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Jack Holt, CEO of Mattr, Nominated For 2014 Small Business Influencer Awards

Cleveland, OH, August 29, 2014 – Jack Holt, CEO & Co-Founder of Mattr, has been nominated for the 2014 Small Business Influencer Awards in the category of Leaders.

The Small Business Influencer Awards honor those who are influential to small businesses in North America, through the products, services, knowledge, information or support they provide to the small business market.

The Awards are designed to recognize the unsung heroes of small businesses – those who support and encourage entrepreneurs and small business owners, and help them achieve success and stay successful.

Says Anita Campbell, CEO of Small Business Trends and one of the co-founders of the Awards along with Ramon Ray of SmallBizTechnology.com, “Influencers are those who play crucial roles in the small business ecosystem, but who often are in the background. Many of the nominees are themselves small business owners, entrepreneurs or small businesses. The impact of the Awards goes well beyond nominees, however – the awards also encourage and excite the nominees’ employees. The Awards are intended to provide that added little boost in motivation and morale that can make a big difference in results. Being nominated also distinguishes the nominee from competitors, and in that sense can lead to competitive advantage.”

About the Small Business Influencer Awards

The Small Business Influencer Awards, now in their third year, enable the small business community to nominate and show their support for those that influence and support them. The Awards have an open nomination period, with community voting, and then a judging period by a group of industry-knowledgeable judges.

The Small Business Influencer Awards initiative is produced by Small Business Trends, an award-winning online publication, serving over 6,000,000 small business owners, stakeholders and entrepreneurs annually, and SmallBizTechnology.com, a media company that produces online content and live events educating small and mid-sized companies on how to strategically use technology as a tool to grow their businesses. The Awards can be found on the Web at: SMBInfluencers.com.

CONTACT:

Anita Campbell, Co-Founder
Small Business Influencer Awards
admin@smallbiztrends.com
Twitter hashtag: #SMBInfluencer

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Why (You Think) The Ice Bucket Challenge is Stupid

“Why don’t they just give some money to ALS and skip the stupid Facebook video?”

If you’ve thought something like this, you’re not alone. In fact, millions of people probably share your opinion. And all of these people have some specific values in common. You’re not a bad person; it’s just that the craze around the Ice Bucket Challenge pushed your “scorn button”. Why?

Bringing this thought to work, does your brand marketing push your consumers’ buttons?

So far, the Ice Bucket Challenge has provided a whopping $41 million in donations.Intellectually, you know this couldn’t have happened without the awareness of the Ice Bucket. Let’s talk about the buttons the creators of the Challenge dialed in and specifically, the emotions elicited by values we all share. Then, how you may be able do the same with your marketing content.

We All Have Them

Without going into deep detail about values in this piece (plug: which we’re adding to our platform in September), research shows that every culture shares the same core values:

Researchers agree that the Schwartz Circumplex Model of Values is a good adaptation of earlier values research.

Most researchers agree that the Schwartz Circumplex Model of Values is a good adaptation of earlier values research. Importantly, this is a “circumplex”, which infers that there’s a relationship between the values, even if they’re conflicting, and that our values may move along the circumplex throughout our lives.

For example, Self-Enhancement comes at the expense of Self-Transcendence. If you’re very open to change, or a non-conformist like Richard Branson, you’re less likely to be that more deliberate person steeped in tradition.

How You Can Leverage Values and Emotions

Adapting Schwartz so that we can apply these great data to our marketing efforts, Arizona State University researched how emotions and values are linked in consumer purchases. From their research, we can illustrate ASU’s work:

 

How Values and Emotions are Linked

Now think back to the Ice Bucket Challenge. What value-buttons are they pushing? What value-buttons do you push with your content marketing or branding?

Shame on You!

Universalism (your “Public Self”), among all cultures, is said to be the dominant value. It makes sense; if we want to survive, we need to look out for everyone and the planet – not just our clan or tribe, which would be “benevolence”. In the Walking Dead, Hershel is the Universalist while Rick is the benevolent leader, suspicious of outsiders and fiercely protective of his group (if this changes in the last season, don’t tell me).

Universalists are sincerely sympathetic to the plight of illegal immigrants from Mexico and Central America or Syrian refugees. They may give money to the homeless and observe water or ozone restrictions. This public self value comes at the expense of both the private self and self-indulgence. It’s “Self-Transcendence” in Schwartz’s circumplex, “Public Self” in the second adaptation.

Most interestingly, the leading emotion evoked by public self values like Universalism and Benevolence? Shame.

How to Spin the Shame Card

Shame alone doesn’t work, at least not as well. Before there was the Ice Bucket Challenge, there was Movember, which donates money for men’s health. The social proof provided by Movember and the Ice Bucket Challenge does a fine job of spreading the shame. Do you share those horribly sad images of starving children? Of course not. Jonah Berger writes about the research conducted about “why we share” in his book, Contagious.

Those sad images just aren’t fun, which is what we’re wanting more and more. Self-Indulgence, or Hedonism, is the second value in the Challenge that makes it, and Movember contagious. If the ALS Association’s entire campaign were posting videos of people with ALS sadly asking for pledges, it would still evoke shame. But the donations only started rolling in when the giving got fun – self indulgent: enjoyable, surprising.

For the topic of an upcoming article, I’ll use some research to show that, as consumers, we’re moving along the circumplex to Self-Indulgence as a buying culture.

Where does that leave you, my scornful friend?

You’re Not a Monster

I’m sure you’re a fine human being if you don’t accept the challenge or think it’s stupid. I thought it was stupid. Take a look at the original Schwartz circumplex again. You need to have dominance in two values, Self-Transcendence and Hedonism/Self-Indulgence.

Opposite Self-Transcendence on the circumplex is Self-Enhancement. If you’re driven by power and ambition, climbing the corporate ladder regardless of who gets in the way, these values must come at the expense of the Self-Transcendence.

But remember, you need both. If you’re not into power and money and more benevolent than Rick, do you scorn selfies? Do you resist upgrading on your flight to LA because you don’t really need the extra legroom? When you go on vacation, are you more likely to have all your reservations lined up ahead of time instead of the “anything goes” approach?

If you’re contemptuous of the Challenge, we can infer that you have dominance in Self-Enhancement and/or you’re put off by Self-Indulgence.

Your Brand Has Values, Too

Stephen Colbert still laughs at the fact that the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are people. Whether you agree or disagree, you can look at the values your branding and advertising possess how they align with the people who buy your products or services. If you’re consistently in alignment, you can start to leverage them and push some emotional buttons with data to back you up.

In this short article, I’ve really just hit the high points. If you’d like to know more about values-based marketing, drop me a message or sign up for the Mattr blog.

(Click Here to Donate to the ALS)