Whether you’re attending a conference in person or following along digitally at home, it can be difficult to keep tabs on what’s happening. There’s so much going on that it can be overwhelming to keep up with all of it.
Social media, especially Twitter, has made it a bit easier. A Twitter stream can now keep you in the loop and bring you information from real attendees, there’s no longer a reliance on only journalists.
Still, even that can sometimes be daunting. So many conference attendees tweet their every move with the #conferencehashtag that Twitter can become diluted. How do you know who’s relevant? Or credible? Or even simply interesting?
If you’ve seen our posts over the past couple weeks, you know that we’ve been working to solve this problem for South by Southwest Interactive, and we have to say, it’s been a really fun project.
We analyzed tons of marketing influencers and finally have our list. The people below are the influential SxSW attendees that we will be following throughout the show. Keep in mind, we don’t define influence as those people with the most followers. That’s part of it, but we go deeper than that, looking for the real people who are truly influential, not simply celebrities with large followings. We chose these people based on their industry expertise and knowledge (in marketing, advertising, PR and social media), quality of content (tweets, blogs, books, etc.) and social following and interaction.
So without further ado, here’s our list of who we’ll be following during SxSWi. Feel free to use our list and join us in following these influencers. We’re looking forward to great thoughts, comments and observations.
Follow these folks on Twitter at these links: Meg Bear, Oracle – Bianca Buckridee, Sprinklr – Melissa Carrier, Swarovski – Jules Che, Lotus Leaf Communications & FASHIONOTES – Frank Danna, Softway Solutions – Roger Dooley, Dooley Direct, LLC – Angel Gonzalez, Ideagoras – Tammy Gordon, AARP – Maddie Grant, Culture That Works – Sairah Hearn, LuluLemon Athletica – Martin Jones, Cox Communications – Wayne Kurtzman, Pitney Bowes – Kat Mandelstein, PwC Digital – Nathalie Nahai, The Web Psychologist, Ltd. – Jamie Notter, Culture That Works – Katie Perry, Crowdtap – Patrick Pho, Volkswagon of America – Ef Rodriquez, HTC – David Sanchez, APCO Worldwide – Geri Stengel, Ventureneer – Jonathan Waddingham, JustGiving – Brian Wallace, NowSourcing, Inc.
South by Southwest is practically here and the streets of downtown Austin will be crawling with techies, marketers and more beginning this Thursday!
Over the past two weeks we’ve published a couple of posts to help prepare you for SxSWi:
Hopefully you were able to use some of that info to begin preparing and settling on your schedule while in Austin. Perhaps the most difficult part of scheduling a SxSW trip is deciding on your day schedule, though. There are so many panels, sessions and speakers – how do you choose where to spend your time?
We’re here to help you with that decision.
While we’ve been sorting through online marketing influencers who are attending the conference, we’ve also come across several interesting marketing panels and sessions. We assessed each of them closely and kept track of the ones we felt would be the most valuable for marketers like you to attend.
They may not all be relevant to all marketers, and some overlap so still force you to make a tough choice – but we encourage you to give all of these sessions a consideration!
Monday, March 16
Quantified Selfie: Our Digital Well Being Meet Up
12:30 PM – 1:30 PM
There are a ton of wearable technologies and apps available to track your personal well being. Everything ranging from nutrition to exercise to sleeping habits to even your mood can now be monitored and shared. Which of those technologies and apps really work though? This session, hosted by PwC’s Kat Mandelstein, will discover which digital technologies really work for improving our well being.
When Millennials Take Over
5:00 PM – 5:20 PM
Jamie Notter and Maddie Grant will be releasing their new book, When Millennials Take Over, at SxSW, and their panel will share case studies and research from it. With millennials now entering leadership roles at many companies, business will begin changing to better fit the vision of that cohort. Jamie and Maddie will give you concrete, actionable advice about how to prepare for the coming change and how to set your company apart as a leader rather than a follower.
When the Glimpse Is Worth More Than the Glare
5:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Did you know the average person’s attention span decreased from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2013? Popular social media platforms like Vine, Snapchat and Instagram allow users to share video content as short as 6 seconds in length, a prime opportunity to capture our dwindling attention span. But many marketers still grapple with using these platforms, seeing constraints where others see opportunity. Join Frank Danna, Annie Park, Darren Lachtman and Michael Platco as they share trends, styles, influencers and more that can help marketers utilize the increasingly popular short-form video platforms.
Tuesday, March 17
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Game Advertising
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
To fully understand the advertising opportunities that games afford brands and marketers, they must understand the changing dynamics of gamers and gameplay. Join the panel of MRY’s David Berkowitz, Twitchtv’s Kym Nelson, Nielsen’s Michael Flamberg and Ari Brandt of MediaBrix as they discuss the evolving gamer landscape and the future evolution of gaming advertising.
Redefining Realness for Brands on Twitter
12:30 PM – 1:30 PM
After recent Twitter gaffes by brands like DiGiorno, US Airways, the American Red Cross and Chrysler, fear of messing up or worrying too much about what followers think has led some brands to lose creativity. Join Bianca Buckridee of Sprinklr, Christina Warren of Mashable, John Colucci of Engadget and Maria Bonaccorse of Procter & Gamble as they discuss how brands can stay smart and creative, and if they do make a mistake, how to bounce back with class.
(Originally posted in The Business Journals)
Did you know that chocolate milk is a better post-workout drink than a protein drink?
Image provided by Getty Images
A brand belief like this doesn’t exist in direct-to-consumer advertising — have you ever seen a commercial featuring an athlete furiously chugging chocolate milk? Yet it still exists (See Weber Shandwick’s influencer campaign for “Got Chocolate Milk?”). So where does it come from?
The answer is social influence. In an increasingly advertising-saturated environment, brands are shifting from direct advertising to social influence-based tactics to reach their target audiences.
This practice isn’t new. It’s been around since the 1960s, when Daniel Edelman had a simple idea: Use celebrities to endorse products. You can imagine (and maybe even remember!) how effective those sponsorships were.
But today, consumers are born with devices in their hands. They no longer naïvely believe that Jean-Claude Van Damme actually uses the Total Flex home gym or that Bill Cosby‘s favorite food is Jell-O. Pile on the avalanche of content consumers encounter daily, and it’s clear why the old way of doing things is losing steam.
To the rescue come the influencers — those real people who give your branded content authenticity.
Enter the early adopters
Many large-scale consumer brands already leverage this approach through bloggers and thought leaders. It’s a commitment — recruiting, managing, nurturing and sometimes paying influencers — but in terms of engagement and sales, the ROI can be exponential.
Walmart froze its paid promotions in favor of organic, owned content in an ambitious effort to bolster its brand reputation through influencers. As a result, it garnered an engagement rate of more than 4.5 percent — well above the average.
So, how can you use influencers to boost your brand’s reputation? Start with these steps:
1. Segment your audience
Thanks to social listening and customer insight tools, it’s easy to acquire consumer data. Telling a story with that data is the hard part. Identify your audience’s social media profiles then curate them down to your target markets.
2. Find people who can influence your target segments
This is not as hard as you’d think. If you monitor your audience’s social activity, you can see whom each segment interacts with. Monitoring those social streams will net you their upstream influence path.
3. Tailor your content
A celebrity tweet about your brand may garner thousands of likes, but will it really close a sale? A brand advocate, on the other hand, might talk to 10 friends and convert eight into customers.
Segment your influencers by where they are in the buying cycle — awareness, consideration or open to conversion — then channel the right content to them at the right time, through the person your target market trusts.
With a constant flow of branded content bombarding consumers from every direction, it’s difficult to cut through the noise and highlight your brand. But with the help of influencer marketing, you can build positive brand awareness, connect with customers on an authentic level and strengthen your content overall.
Twitter’s shaking up the news feed, ostensibly to make on-boarding easier and to make finding relevant tweets easier. But content marketers are cringing at the Facebook-like model change that might follow. Bay Area startups know all about iterative releases – baby steps, in effect, that roll out small changes frequently. So why are they dead set on a wholesale news feed change?
From a content marketer’s point of view, we’re all struggling to find an effective Twitter advertising strategy. Brands big and small are fretting over what to tweet or post, and real-time marketing has become a reality way too fast for some.
So how can Twitter do what we know it needs to do–increase engagement–without yoinking our noses too far out of joint?
#WSTD: What Should Twitter Do?
The most recent update to Twitter was disappointingly aesthetic. From a usability standpoint, Twitter has significantly reduced the size of and moved the tweet text box, lowering that activity’s weight on the page. And, by adding an icon action to enter a tweet on the top right corner, they’ve increased the call to action a bit, but it’s still not nearly as visually heavy as it was before.
Instead of focusing on aesthetics, Twitter knows it needs to design an interface that’s conducive to engagement, not just finding new people to follow. More and more, marketers want to see the potential for results from Twitter, not a dilution of their strategies. They want a bona fide brand page with usage metrics — not simply a verified account. They want promoted tweets that are hyper-focused, not open to any and every user and barely used.
How Can Twitter Drive More Engagement?
Rather than rearranging how content is presented to users, here are some ideas that might help Twitter drive engagement for marketers and improve user satisfaction all around. The goal here is engagement — not simply finding new people to follow and new streams to search.
1. Auto-create a list of people I interact with most. As it stands now, building a list of the people you interact with most on Twitter — your Tweeps — is a necessary yet tedious task for Twitter power users. Most users put off this task for as long as they can. Twitter could dominate the social media realm by automatically giving users a list of their Tweeps.
2. Show me retweets of my Tweeps. Twitter should put more weight on the activity of users you engage with regularly. Rather than making me sort through updates I don’t regularly engage with, show me the tweets my Tweeps are retweeting. If they find them interesting, I might, too.
3. Let me auto-follow. Here’s a chance to be a little ballsy: Provide an option in settings to “auto-follow” when you interact with a tweet from someone you don’t follow. Make it an opt-out, and see how users react.
4. Take the mystery out of trending content. Twitter shows you the hashtags trending now, which are determined either by region or a mysterious algorithm branded as “tailored trends.” In not divulging the logistics behind these “tailored trends,” Twitter missed out on a big lesson from Klout: You must be transparent about how you derive your automated features or reap the negative consequences. If Twitter is going to ask agencies to spend their clients’ money on its platform, its secrets must be uncloaked or advertisers won’t take the risk.
5. Make it easier to start a conversation. I can’t believe the Twitter homepage still doesn’t have a way to add text to a retweet. The mobile version has this feature (albeit with two character-sucking quotes), and TweetDeck (acquired by Twitter a years ago) has always had it. You can “reply,” but that knocks out the context of the tweet for your followers and stifles conversation with the original user.
Twitter needs to start giving its users and marketers what they want: access to increased engagement and information on topics unique to users’ interests. Anything less, and Twitter is bound to lose its clout in the social media marketing industry.
“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:
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:
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)