Blackberry Gets Advocacy; Caps Impressive 2014 with December Keynote

Posted January 5, 2014 by Cameron Hogan (@camhog21) Those who follow the mobile industry are well aware of the uphill battle Blackberry has been fighting for a few years now; one that many thought was unwinnable. Countless individuals seemed convinced we were witnessing the end of the Canadian telecommunication dynasty and for a while, it would have been hard to argue otherwise. However, the company knew they still had a loyal army and so the comeback was on.

2014 was a strong year for Blackberry. With the Q1 releases of Blackberry 10 and Blackberry Blend and the fall release of Passport, all eyes were on the mobile enterprise’s December keynote event and the announcement of the now revealed Classic.

Rather than rely on the keynote itself, Blackberry took an active approach prior to the event and executed an advocate marketing strategy. Using Hyperactivate's Hasthagart Mosaic, #BBElite’s and BB Bloggers started a conversation in social by sharing what they valued most about Blackberry, who then turned its attention to other BB enthusiasts and smartphone users asking them to share the same. Knowing well in advance that the Classic device embodied mostly everything BB owners loved about the brand and its tech, Blackberry had set themselves up for success.

The influx and frequency of incoming heartfelt messages was overwhelming (see for yourself) and it demonstrated that Blackberry was still a player – the mosaic activation itself contributed to thousands of pre-orders and over 65,000 page views of the Classic pre-order page, all tracked via Hyperactivate’s Advocate Management Platform.

Blackberry Classic was an integral piece to the BB comeback trail. And with their early 2014 success, Jon Chen and Co. could not afford a loss in momentum. While there is much work left to complete the journey, Blackberry has made quite the first step and will continue chugging along in 2015.

Social Media Campaigns: Don't Be Tactical!

Posted November 24, 2014 by Trang Cao (@TrangCao23) When you consider social media as a strategy rather than a tactic, you place an outcome on every action you take. This doesn’t just mean a realistic and achievable set of goals, but also how the result of action A becomes the learning for action B.

Conducting social media campaigns is one example of how marketers have been executing on social media tactics.

Marketers now have no difficulties finding a reliable and suitable platform to make their campaigns engaging and creative. Examples of these campaigns could be contests, hashtag promotions, featured stories, or mobile branded games. Our company Hyperactivate also offers brands who think out of the box an option to create mosaic art out of fans’ social avatars, a technology that brands like American Airlines and Activision’s Call of Duty have employed successfully. So with the resources available, marketers can effortlessly get as creative or as conventional as they want with their social media campaigns.

Revlon

*Revlon’s #CastASpell Mosaic Campaign

But now the important question is: How can you make your social media campaigns more strategic? In other words, how can you use the outcome of your social media campaigns to address the next action in your overall marketing plan?

Unlike content generation or community management, social media campaigns are often  seen as ad hoc solutions that are easily isolated from the general, long-term marketing strategy.

This is a really big mistake.

After a social media campaign, a HUGE amount of fans in your community are activated. They engage, they like, they share, they RT your posts. These numbers are great for reporting outcome metrics, but what else can you do with them?

The answer is: you can identify your influencers: the individuals whose actions (shares, tweets, conversions, etc.) activated the most amount of reactions (reshares, RTs, conversions, etc.)  among their fans.

Correctly identifying these powerful users and nurturing them so that they become the ultimate advocates of your brand, is one such approach to take in order to accommodate your social media campaign within the strategic marketing picture.

Engage & Influence Holiday Shoppers

Posted November 10, 2014 by Cameron Hogan (@camhog21) As many marketers know, the next few months are a prime opportunity to influence buying decisions. But with numerous digital tactics to engage buyers, where is a brand to focus their attention when said buyers are already out talking up brands and products and taking action?

During the holiday season, consumers will be reading product reviews, connecting with fellow customers, and comparing user experiences all across dozens of social media sites.  With all this activity, it would be ill-advised to leave these potential connections to chance.  So, how can you make sure your brand is top of mind? Engage communities and manage brand advocates.

As people share their user experiences, their actions ripple out touching friends, families, co workers, etc. - all potential buyers. By way of social media campaigns, brands can now find more direct ways of approaching and influencing consumers in a more friendly and personal manner. They make it easier for brands to capture the enthusiasm of customers, fans and followers, and advocates who 1) act as a megaphone for a brand and promote their products and 2) further influence buying decisions on the brand’s behalf.  Furthermore; they generate boatloads of social shares, new leads, and most importantly - measurement of key metrics including conversions (newsletter sign-ups, registrations, coupon downloads, and more).

As peers join the conversation, a significant and orchestrated surge of advocacy builds.  Data collected through social media campaigns can be a highly valuable resource to identify this otherwise invisible advocacy channel.  With the proper tools, tracking user-influence down to conversions is no longer a pain point for marketers.  This information along with other troves of data that come out of running a social activation, will allow you to invest in future promotions and campaigns.

So let’s recap.  The festive season is a marketer’s nirvana when it comes to impacting an individual’s consideration set.  Social campaigns allow marketers to make their brand the topic of conversation while generating boatloads of brands social shares.  Lastly, they present an opportunity to tap into individuals who are already discussing the brand; individuals who can help spread a message as well as influence the path to purchase and ultimate buying decisions of others.

Make your social media work for you.  Happy holiday marketing!

Redefining The Influencer

Posted October 16, 2014 by Marc Fischman (@marcf) Hyperactivate-Social-Media-InfluenceIf you're working in social media and you're connecting with influencers, then you're probably looking for folks with the most followers, and you would always be looking to connect with, say, Justin Bieber. We all know that Biebs is not the only influencer out there, and that his level of influence will be moot when it comes to buying a book or finding a restaurant.

Influencers need to be redefined. Today, we identify them based on their reach instead of their true influence. For me an influencer is an expert at something, someone with an authentic message; and when speaking, his/her audience is moved to take actions.

“Influence” has become such a muddy term as social media marketers have begun using it synonymously with “reach.” They are not the same. According to Dictionary.com, the definition of “influence” is, “the action or process of producing effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of another or others: Her mother's influence made her stay.”*

*Note: no mention of a score, size of following, or potential reach.

Influencers should be defined by their ability to affect the actions of others. It is true that celebrities have that ability, mostly because of their vast reach, but an influencer strategy needs to account for another important factor: Advocacy. And here’s why:

  • A brand advocate will be authentic and passionate about a brand at his or her own will.
  • A proper social strategy will identify a brand's best advocates.
  • Subsequently, it will measure their ability to affect action throughout their own communities. Those who do so at greater degrees are invaluable to a brand.

This is easier said than done especially when brands today have been focused on listening and publishing platforms, neither of which give any measurement of influence. They only give insight into reach.

To have a really powerful influencer marketing strategy, a brand must identify their top influencers, create relationships with them, and give them the tools and incentives to help spread their messages. In order to do that, the brand must measure influence, and remember – Influence is not reach!

Image: AwarenessNetworks.com

Lesson from Dell: How to Delight Influencers

Posted June 27, 2014 by Marc Fischman (@marcf)

At Hyperactivate, our work doesn’t stop at identifying, validating, managing and measuring influencers, we are sometimes seen as influencers ourselves. And we know more than anyone that every fan and every follower is an influencer, Hyperactivate’s job is to sort each one by their personal measure of influence. Brand marketers are learning that those that rise to the top of the social community should be treated extra special, and every brand marketer can take a lesson from Dell. 

We were overjoyed this morning with a giant box delivered to us by our mailroom. As we opened the box helium balloons floated out, and the “Party in a Box” had us playing like school children in our office. The gift wasn’t all about Dell, it was filled with a box of cookies with our logos printed on each cookie. Even though the cookie was much tastier than the rice paper logo on top of it, it was a beautiful display of Dell caring about us. Our cleaning staff will wonder why we had confetti and silly string all over the floor, and our fans and followers will have fun with all of the rich media content that we shared about Dell in our own social channels.

Brands are now focussing on influencers and can take a lesson from Dell. Delight them by celebrating each other. The rich media sharing will follow.

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1:1 Relationships Through Social Promotions

Posted June 23, 2014 by Jerry Shereshewsky (@shereshewsky)

Marketers are a strange lot and all desire the engagement of customers and prospects – they want these individuals to consume their advertising, take part in their campaigns, and of course, make that cash register ring. However, it comes as a surprise that some brands are still often reluctant to engage back. This should not be the case and is increasingly becoming a thing of the past as more and more brands are learning to “lead by example.”

The big win for marketers happens when they learn to market with their consumers, rather than at their consumers and move from simple problem solving to more profound levels of two-way engagement with their very best and most important customers, their ambassadors or advocates. This is real participation; true 1:1 marketing.

The question now is how to identify who these advocates are, so that marketers can ground their focus on developing mutual relationships with these influential people. Running promotions is a great way for measuring advocacy and identifying influencers.

Promotions enable brands to activate fans and followers on social media, which leads to higher engagement frequencies and in some cases, virality. Partnered with the proper tools, social promotions can also facilitate the measurement of advocacy and identify true influencers. For example, in a promotion that Hyperactivate ran for Activision’s launch of Call of Duty, a mere 10 individuals expressing their excitement for the video game reached over 2.5 million friends, fans, and followers. The result: 50,000 page views to the Call of Duty website and over 2,000 additional posts and shares. Influencers are the omnipotent weapons that marketers need to pay close attention to and keep close 1:1 relationships with.

We’ve been reading and talking about 1:1 for several decades, but the costs of both the communications themselves (think USPS) and the difficulty of data management made this essentially an intellectual exercise. Until now.

Today we can not only listen to the conversation out there (not to mention react to immediate problems) but actually follow it from person to person and see who has the real clout with their fans, friends and followers. And here’s the fun part: we now have affordable and easy-to-manage CRM systems that allow us to segment our friends and deal with them as if they were really in a 1:1 relationship with us. We move them from customer to friend. And that’s when the good stuff happens.

Mobile Matters

Posted April 25, 2014 by Jerry Shereshewsky (@shereshewsky)

Two big questions:  Does mobile really matter and to whom does it matter.  The answers to these are not the same.

Let’s start with the basics:  does mobile matter?  I spend a lot of time watching normal people.  I commute by train and subway.  I work in NYC which means I’m on the street a lot.  So I see people.  And they’re almost all always doing something with their phone.  It’s amazing.  Stand on the street and count them as they walk buy.  Look at the people on the subway car.  How many of them are engrossed with their phone?  So, at the very least, mobile matters to them.

  • It’s a tool that connects them to their networks.  48% of daily users of Facebook are now mobile-only!  And now about the same percentage of Facebook’s advertising revenue comes from mobile ads! 
  • It’s their camera.  And, unlike what we understand as cameras, these are connected to those same networks by Facebook and lots of other tools. 
  • It’s their radio; whether iTunes, Pandora, Spotify or whatever, it’s how lots of people connect to their music of choice.
  • It’s their 1:1 communications device.  Whether phone, email or SMS, it is how we are are ‘talking’ to our friends individually. 

Frankly my only reason for a desktop computer at all is that the screen is bigger (and I have two of them) and the mouse makes things like spreadsheets easier to use.  And my laptop is history.  It’s now an iPad.

So, yes, mobile matters because it has become, very quickly after the introduction of the iPhone, an indispensable part of our lives.

But aside from the users themselves, why should we, as marketers, pay special attention to mobility?

First there’s the arbitrage.  Way more time (and media consumption) is happening on mobile devices than the percentage of marketing and ad dollars allocated to these media.  This means the environment is significantly less cluttered and your ad is more likely to be seen and noticed (and acted upon). 

That’s good news, but mobile matters for some other less felicitous reasons.  We, as an industry, really don’t know how to take advantage of this medium.  Back in the mid 1990’s, as the internet was just becoming ‘real’ we had absolutely no idea how to exploit the medium.  There were bandwidth constraints.  There was need for additional utilities (Java, as an example).  And, because the internet was a personal, lean forward, medium we didn’t know how to make ads that didn’t turn off our audience.  The same is absolutely true about mobile today.

Pay attention to the ubiquity of mobile.  And pay special attention to what works…for you.  Both will be excellent lessons. 

Chasing Influencers

Posted February 20, 2014 by Jerry Shereshewsky (@shereshewsky) We all understand that word of mouth is the single most powerful form of commercial persuasion.  But not all mouths are created equal.  Some people like to spread the word.  But not all words spread equally.  The person that every brand most covets has a real network of friends who actually pay attention to their posts and tweets, a knowledge and reputation surrounding the product or service category about which they are posting or tweeting, and the credibility and respect of those friends and fans in the particular arena about which they are posting/tweeting. Influencers.

Influencers are, to any given brand, product or service simply the most important people in the world.

We marketers have been desperately chasing and looking for these folks seemingly forever.  Their elusiveness comes from a simple truth: these influencers are not universally influential.  They are not expert about everything.  Their field of competency is narrow and their friends know it.  But therein lies their power.  When they say something about an area about which they have real creds among their circle…people listen.

And then comes the exciting part:  when they talk, and their friends listen, some of those friends pass this wisdom/opinion on to their friends and fans.  Many of these friends of friends have circles who may be completely invisible to the original opinionator.  And it is this ever expanding circle of influence that makes success in social media so valuable.  It is also what makes it hard to channel.  But, when one can harness this power magic happens.  That’s what ‘going viral’ means.  It is a chain reaction of thoughts bouncing like atoms in a reactor, all happening beyond the control of the marketers.

So what’s a poor marketer to do?  First, find your influencers.  The traditional media approach does not discriminate.  It simply tries to find as many people in a particular demo and talk at them.  But today there are ways to identify genuine influencers.  Our company, Hyperactivate, is the leader in this field.  Once found you need a promotional strategy aimed directly at this incredibly valuable folks.  Treat them differently.  Treat them as the royalty they surely are (to you).  Treat them so they will continue, and even expand their influential activities.  Don’t compromise them.  Don’t attempt to turn them into shills for you.  If you do they can turn around and be as destructive to your brand as they have been constructive.  Don’t disappoint them.  They won’t disappoint you.

Should Snapchat Be Worried About Facebook?

Posted January 23, 2014 by Marc Fischman (@marcf)
If you ask the average teen what social media channels they use to communicate with their friends, the answer will most likely be Snapchat, Instagram, and Vine. (If you thought 140 characters was brief – try a 6 second disappearing message or 16 second video!)

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The fact is: social media is evolving at an alarming rate with attention shifting to new platforms all the time.

So what does that mean for the 800 pound gorilla in the room?

Many argue that Facebook is losing its relevancy. I say, hold on, not so fast. Yes, users are spending less time on Facebook’s web properties than they were a year ago – but with Facebook’s 1Billion+ users, the platform is not going away. Instagram and Facebook’s mobile properties are proving to be more and more lucrative.  In fact, they account for 50% of daily photos shared, with Snapchat accounting for the other 50%.  

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In my history of working in social media, we have seen trends come and go, but platforms are very difficult to kill. It’s true, we have seen AOL and Myspace become irrelevant, but that was because of lack of innovation while other platforms around them like Skype and Facebook were taking over their market share of their core products. AOL lost focus when they merged with Time Warner and News Corp’s acquisition of Myspace killed the innovation that made Myspace so attractive to teens of the 2000’s. 

When Facebook saw a company like Twitter attracting more attention than them in 2010, they redesigned their newsfeed to be more Twitter-like, and it worked. For a while I thought Facebook sealed Twitter’s fate, but now Twitter seems to be making a comeback. With that said, Facebook isn’t sitting still. They have added more Twitter functionality into their site with Graph Search and now they are adding trending topics.

Snapchat may have the teens, but Facebook has the money and is going after Snapchat with Instagram direct. And on that note, buying Instagram (where most claimed it was an overpriced mistake at the time), is looking like one of the best things Facebook ever did. Many teens don’t even realize that Instagram is owned by Facebook. The point here is that Facebook will innovate or replicate if needed in order to crush their competition. 

Facebook has money. They IPO’d and they have much more revenue than any of their other social competitors. Google is still a search company; as much as they would like to play in the social space, Google+ is not a threat to Facebook. Money is power and Facebook can buy all of their competitors if they really want to, with the exception of Twitter. If they can’t buy, then they will replicate the competitor until they are no longer relevant. We saw Facebook do that to Foursquare when advertisers were all about local advertising on Foursquare, Facebook launched Facebook places, and when Groupon was stealing the show, Facebook launched Facebook deals. If Snapchat is a fad, teens will get sick of it; but if not, Facebook with their Instagram Direct will begin to pose a serious threat to Snapchat. 

Facebook owns the communication channel between consumers and brands. Coca-Cola will not let their 70 million fans on their fan page go to waste. If anything, the brands that have amassed these astonishing and costly followings on Facebook will keep bringing their consumers back into Facebook. 

Facebook is an 800 lb. gorilla and like advertising legend Jerry Shereshewsky says … “If you’re a gorilla and you see a chimpanzee, YOU EAT IT.”

Snapchat should be worried.