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The Latest Social Media Fails

There’s one big flaw that all brands have that no one likes to talk about: they’re run by fallible, emotional and sometimes careless human beings.
Every once in a great while, these humans make mistakes—they slip up all too publicly on their brands’ social media properties.
When this happens, most us watch the disaster unfold with bewilderment at the stark stupidity of it all. While these mistakes often create backlash for brands, and sometimes a bit of recovery work, they’re not necessarily the end of the world. Having said that, it may be the end of the career line for the people who caused the problem/s in the first place.
In the interest of learning from the mistakes of others, following are some of the worst social media fails of the last 12 months:
Total Beauty: Confusing Oprah Winfrey and Whoopi Goldberg
Total Beauty made a pretty serious social media faux pas when they confused two hugely popular African American female celebrities; Oprah Winfrey and Whoopi Goldberg.
Both are not people whose bad side you want to be on, and the brand may have done so when they praised Oprah Winfrey for having tattoos while it was in fact Whoopi Goldberg in the picture.
To make matters worse, the tweet was released during the Oscars, meaning that Total Beauty not only received the attention of the fans of both women, but of all the viewers tweeting about the Oscars that night.
To their credit, they reacted quickly, taking down the photo as soon as they could and apologised for the misstep.
 
ALDI: Inciting Negative Responses
ALDI Australia didn’t offend other people, but they did accidentally incite others to upload questionable content on their Twitter page. The popular discount retail outlet wanted to run a campaign that would prompt their customers to post positive memories about shopping at Aldi.
After the ‘Fill in the blank’ tweet went live, Aldi received many distasteful responses, with people filling in the blank with offensive imagery like diarrhoea, poison, and many other less pleasant responses.
Fortunately, Aldi quickly stopped the campaign.
Key learning: consider all possible outcomes – negative and positive – when palnning you next social media campaign. Remember, consumers are not constrained by policy, guidelines and corporate imperatives like you are.
Coca-Cola: Released the Wrong Russian Map
The biggest social media rule is the one that always seems to be broken the most: do your research.
In this case, Coca-Cola incited a #BanCocaCola hashtag after they published an ad with the wrong map of Russia.
When you take a closer look, the map is outdated. It doesn’t include Kaliningrad, which was annexed after World World II. Russian patriots were not happy with the ad, and began posting pictures of themselves pouring Coca-Cola into toilets. Ouch.
Seoul Secret: White Skin Helps You Win
There are times when you just scratch your head and wonder what a brand’s marketing/social media department was thinking. This is one of those times.
Beauty brand, Seoul Secret ran an incredibly inappropriate campaign, that basically implied that one of their models was more successful because she has white skin.
To make matters worse, the campaign was called “White Makes you Win”. What was it promoting? Skin lightening cosmetics.
Seoul Secret tweeted about their campaign and included a video of Thai actress and singer Cris Horwang.
In the video, she spoke about her career and made direct comments about her white skin and why it has made her more successful than others.
Seriously.
Most brands fear social media mistakes like the ‘Wrong Russia’ one made by Coca-Cola. Taking it to a whole new – and worse – level is running a blatantly racially offensive campaign. Imagine having to clean up that marketing mess.
There is Life After a Social Media Fail.
While these social media fails were clearly a headache for these brands, you shouldn’t panic if you should stumble into/create a social media firestorm.
The best way to recover from a social media campaign that has gone wrong is to act quickly, apologise (invariably) and show that you’re genuinely trying to fix the mess. A good social media strategy is all about planning and balancing sensitivity with common sense.
If having a successful social media program is something you’re worried about, speak with a social media expert about how to do it right; and what to do when things go wrong.
Tick Yes is a digital and social media marketing agency based in Sydney that uses proven social media strategies to help clients improve their brand. For more information on how we can help manage your social media strategy, contact us.

Case Study: How Digital Marketing Took a Business to the Next Level

Having an effective digital marketing strategy is central to creating a successful and recognisable brand in today’s digital age. With so many markets in a state of flux, being able to pivot in real-time to adapt to changing market needs is one of digital marketing’s key benefits.
SolarQuotes is a company that used digital marketing to do just that. The company helps Australians buy solar power for their homes and business.
Finn Peacock, CEO and Founder, started SolarQuotes with just $500 for Google Ads using the free wi-fi at his local public library. The company’s website now contains over 17,000 reviews of solar installers, solar panels and inverters.
Thanks to a strong digital marketing strategy, SolarQuotes now turns over about $3 million per year. While still a small business, there are several valuable lessons brand owners can learn from SolarQuotes’ success.
Invest in Valuable Content.
To build those first Google Ads, SolarQuotes needed something to advertise. Over time, the company has built up an arsenal of articles, blog posts and practical tools to help its users navigate the solar market.
These types of articles aren’t just general information about the industry, they contain useful and actionable advice and tools for their audience. You can read about how a specific product like The Sonnen Battery has an unclear warranty or about how leaders in the industry, like Tesla, are faring.
These articles highlight the key thing your content needs to perform well both organically and with paid ads: real value for your target audience. Don’t get too excited though—it’s not enough to just provide value. Your content must end up in front of the right eyes.
Leverage PPC ads wisely.
For SolarQuotes, these paid ads came in the form of Google Ads. There are many other options, like working with advertising technology that re-targets prospects, or social media ads that find a home for your content in already built niche audiences.
The SolarQuotes team has spent six years building up their Adwords account into a “highly optimised machine,” and therefore can rely on their ability to successfully target the market.
That initial $500 I told you about earlier—that went towards design, coding and the cost of clicks.
Peacock explained his strategy to The Sydney Morning Herald:
“I put up the website, tested the concept and when it looked like it had legs, I started spending on the credit card.” His next outlay was around $3,000 on advertising. “I only did it after I was confident that I would get a return,” said Peacock.
These Google ads helped him drive traffic to his website, but once these audience members were there, he had to figure out a way to keep them there.
Grow your Audience and Keep them Happy.
The company kept their audience with organic (in other words free) strategies. In addition to its website, SolarQuotes has several social media channels for which they have built a pretty robust following.
Their Facebook (26,000 likes), Twitter (791 followers with tweets every day), Google+ (423 followers), RSS, YouTube and Pinterest accounts all work toward distributing their content and allowing them to engage with their highly-active audience.
Build Media Relationships.
They didn’t just stop with content. SolarQuotes developed a mobile strategy that would allow them to harness the power of technology via apps.
The company featured several ‘Current Solar Incentive’ apps on various media websites like The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Brisbane Times, Weather Zone and more. They didn’t just talk about their product either, they grew their audience by talking about their success story, and putting a face behind their brand.
Customer Testimonials
Most importantly, SolarQuotes saw huge digital marketing success with their customer testimonials.
Their website features numerous testimonials from real customers and includes a blog that focuses solely on solar panel issues that customers may experience.
These testimonials and articles help build trust with new prospects that find SolarQuotes on the web and drive more leads for their business every day.
SolarQuotes’ success makes for a great story, but it isn’t unique. Businesses across the world are finding success by taking their digital marketing strategies to the next level.
There is one thing you can do to ensure your digital marketing success—ensure that the content, messaging and media coverage you promote is valuable to your audience. It’s through them that your business will inevitably grow.

How to Make Your Content Actionable

Content is not a magical formula that will make your target audience find your product and then breathlessly buy from you.
The power of actionable content comes from your ability to attract the right audience, enabling them to interact with you and then to elevate that relationship to the next level i.e. for them to become a customer.
So, how do you make your content actionable? Most importantly, you must give the reader, viewer or listener a sense of how they can – and should – apply that information to their own problems and experiences.
To begin your journey towards making your content more actionable you need to start by understanding what actionable content isn’t. It’s not condescending, it’s not obvious and it’s not something your reader can easily Google and find somewhere else. Actionable content gives your reader assurance that they best know how to use the information you’re giving them.
Content, of course comes in many styles, shapes and sizes but the most important thing to remember is that it has to be useful. Check out this great example for marketers, helping them build a comprehensive strategy, step by step.
At its core, actionable content has a few key steps that give you the best possible chance of succeeding every time.
Get your story straight — create and keep a good narrative.
Good writing is essential to all content, of course. The trick to making your content actionable is taking your good writing a step further and framing a narrative for your readers.
The proof is in the science. Researchers at Washington University in St Louis found that instead of just being able to produce facts presented to them, listeners of a story were living the narrative right alongside their protagonist.
This is a powerful tool for brands who want customers to understand how their product fits into their audience’s own narrative, not just communicate what they do.
You can differentiate yourself through your voice, relatability and the delivery of useful content.
The Humane Society of Silicon Valley had this dog adopted by telling a, yes humane and entertaining story about him—shaping a narrative instead of the traditional sad angle taken by most pet adoption societies:

Here’s what some of their readers had to say:
“[I]f you’re looking for a floor-sleeping, speed bump of a dog that minds his own business, strike Eddie clean off your list.”
“Actually he’s kind of a jerk. But he’s a jerk we believe in. We’re not expecting you to want to meet him but if you must, we really can’t deter you.”
This organisation urged their readers to take action through their narrative, and accomplished their goal because of the way they framed their content.
Speak directly to your customers and prospects.
If you’re wondering how to make your audience act, look no further than those who already have. Tapping into the minds of your customers and prospects is the perfect place to start, as many of them have already taken the action you’re looking to obtain from others.
Lean on your customer service and sales teams and find out what experiences they’ve had with your current customers. What questions do they ask? What problems are they facing every day?
Directly addressing these concerns is a powerful step towards making your content actionable.
Barry Feldman of Feldman creative told Forbes how this has worked for him:
“A client asked me to give her and her staff an SEO 101 in 15 minutes. I responded with a post that did exactly that and it caught fire and became one of the biggest drivers of traffic to my site ever.” — Barry Feldman, Founder, Feldman Creative
Getting to the right pain points and questions is just the first step. To make your content actionable, you must know how to ask them what you should do next. And then do it.
Get your audience to connect with you in person, not just through an email newsletter.
The most common call to action that marketers use in their content is a mechanism to get the reader to fork over their email address. They ask prospects to sign up for an email newsletter, subscribe to a blog or possibly another content series.
If you’re looking to connect with your audience on another level, try getting them to meet you online at a specific time and place.
There, you’ll be able to interact with them directly, and create a platform that will better allow you to drive the conversation towards moving them down the funnel.
“Trish Witkowski the Chief Folding Officer at Foldrite invites website visitors to sign up for her 60 Second Super Cool Fold of the Week every Thursday afternoon. She’s set an expectation for her audience and delivered on it every single week for years. And it works.” — Andrew Davis, author of Brandscaping: Unleashing the Power of Partnerships told Forbes.
Think about promotion first.
The last step should be your first. Before you even begin writing, designing or recording, you need to think about how you’re going to get this piece of content in front of your audience.
The #1 downfall of brands when trying content marketing is producing excessively promotional content. Boring. No one (and I mean no one) wants to promote your product unless you make it relevant to them.
Start by researching different publications that your customers frequent—find out who the industry experts are and build relationships with them. Shape content that they might want to share.
Another tactic is leveraging social media listening for topic distribution. Spend a day or two on different social media groups, hashtags and topics to find where your content might fit best, or find the most traction.
The goal is to create a long-term relationship between the content creator and content consumers.
To transform your content from bland to actionable include strong narratives, direct customer/prospect feedback, in-person call to actions and a rigid distribution strategy.
Images:

bannersnack blog
Humane Society Silicon Valley

The Only Way to Make Money from Social Media

If I had a buck for every time I was asked “How can I make money from social media?” I wouldn’t have to write posts about making a buck from social media.
The problem is not with social media itself. No platform worth its cyber-salt ever claimed that you’d make millions by posting, uploading or liking social media content.
Oh, I know, I know. How about Oreos, Dell, Coca-Cola, Old Spice, Kim Kardashian etc you ask. And I’d answer “Yes, but…”.
All of those brands and the many others that are profiled in seemingly every social media presentation were major brands either before or separate to the influence of social media. That’s my point. Wrestling with the answer to the ROI from social media is like trying to quantify the ROI from your receptionist. Each has their undoubted benefits but being able to spend $1 on either with the certainty of getting $5 back is not one of them.
Neither can do you or your organisation any good in isolation. You need your other marketing initiatives in place for social media to be truly effective. By effective, that means integrating with those elements to deliver my favourite marketing equation of: 1 + 1 = 23.5.
So the only way to consistently make money from social media is for it to become a fundamental part of how you do business with the outside world.
What’s too often forgotten when any marketing investment is being reviewed is that success is not about doing one thing occasionally, it’s about doing a hundred little things consistently. There are few more visual, flexible, dynamic and interactive ways to do lots of little things than via social media.
The frustration of course is that it’s hard to highlight exactly what the financial return is from your social media investment. But try cutting social media altogether – or doing it poorly – and see how your increasingly discerning markets think of you; particularly compared to competitors that are active on social media.
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.
Images courtesy:

Latest Social Media Stats for Marketing

We’ve looked at some of the most recent studies on social media topics and trends and picked out our most surprising and revealing ones that all businesses should be aware of. Let us know if you find any other good ones.

Twitter shows Companies how NOT to use Twitter

It seems that many people and companies suffer from Twitter remorse –when they hastily post something on a social media site that they instantly regret. In 2015 April, that company was Twitter themselves.
Twitter shares fell drastically after their disappointing first quarter earnings report was shared on Twitter before the end of the trading day. The company had planned on releasing the report after markets were closed, but instead, they suffered great losses after a financial intelligence firm, Selerity, shared the report.
What actually happened was only a very small mistake. NASDAQ, who operates Twitter’s IR website, admitted they had accidentally put the results up for a very short time – less than one minute. This was just enough time for Selerity to detect the new earnings and share them with everyone.
And this is not the first time this has happened to a publically traded company. JPMorgan had a similar issue when their results appeared 2014 October.
This is a great warning for companies about how careful you have to be when using social media. We have already talked about how great social media marketing can be and how quickly it can help expand your customer base, but it can just as quickly hurt your company as well. All it takes is one early leak, false statement, or poorly worded joke, and your company can be all over the Internet for the wrong reasons. And as this Twitter news shows us, it is not so easy to just delete something before people see it. The earnings were only put up for around 45 seconds, and in that time, Selerity was able to find the information and disseminate it to the public. Just because you delete a tweet or a blog post quickly after it goes live does not mean people won’t see it.
Now this does not mean your company should avoid social media completely. The benefit of using social media greatly outweighs the possibility of a small slipup. What is does mean is that you should not take social media lightly. Everything you post online is important, and while one post probably won’t gain you a ton of customers, one post can definitely lose you a lot of customers. Twitter’s story is just another reminder that no one is immune from this type of mistake. The best way to handle it is to make sure you have smart and responsible people managing your social media, and make sure they realise how important every post truly is.
Here are some other Social Media slipups of 2017 and  2018 for you to read.
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.

Kissable Content

Are technological advancements set to turn online, mobile and social media content into a 4D experience?
For well over 200 years (since around 1765, in fact, according to documented evidence), lovers in the first flush of courtship have agonised over whether to sign correspondence with a kiss – denoted by the letter ‘x’. Fast-forward two and half centuries to our modern age when texting and emailing remains a phenomenon and the question of who warrants an ‘x’ sign-off and who doesn’t has become a daily conundrum.
For many, especially females, adding a virtual kiss or kiss or two at the end of any sort of online or mobile correspondence has become almost automatic. So much so, in fact, that the ubiquity of letter ‘x’s flying around the telecommunication waves has rendered the sentiment behind them almost obsolete. For a seasoned virtual kisser, the omission of said letter speaks far louder than its inclusion. The kiss has become content we all too often ignore.

Very social media
All this may be about to change, with new technology from the Kajimoto Laboratory at Tokyo’s University of Electro-Communications making it possible to experience the physical sensations of a kiss through a device that attaches to your home computer.
The receptacle is placed in the mouth and records the movement of your lips and tongue, which are then transmitted to the other receptacle which (hopefully) has the lips of your beloved wrapped around it.
Which takes the concept of ‘social’ media to an entirely new level.
‘The elements of a kiss include the sense of taste, the manner of breathing and the moistness of the tongue. If we can recreate all of those, I think it will be a really powerful device,’ said one of the researchers in an instructional video on how to use the technology.
Communications you can touch
The field of research that produced this technology is known as ‘tactile communications’, which may sound like something from a science fiction film, but could revolutionise the way we view content.
In many ways, the Internet commoditises content – or rather, it commoditises the means by which we transmit the content, which in turn changes the consumer perception of content.
Before Facebook, the need to ‘connect’ with others and to have a front-row seat in the lives of our contacts was rarely discussed. Yet its creation shone the spotlight on the concept, something we’ve embraced and enhanced through additional social networks such as Twitter, Flickr and Linkedin. The access Facebook provides to other people’s lives awoke the voyeuristic beast in us, and while the technology may fade and evolve, that need will remain.
The question, then, is what will these socially driven, technology-enabled changes mean for general content? Are consumer expectations going to be raised as a result of it? Has the notion of romancing customers through content just taken a twist?
We’ll leave you with whatever mental image that thought conjures up…
xx
 
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.

Caring Content

Trust social media to put a smile on your dial
 
Studies have proven that there is a definite physical health benefit to being hugged due to increased levels of oxytocin, which reduces blood pressure and therefore cuts the risk of heart disease. The psychological benefits are harder to measure, but it would have to be a cold, hard person who feels worse after a heartfelt hug.

But in an increasingly virtual world, when communication via social media is becoming the norm, physical contact isn’t always possible. So if you’ve had a crappy day at work dealing with rude customers or a self-absorbed, moronic boss or colleagues who think they are entitled to help themselves to your food, and could really do with a stress-releasing hug to put it all into (insignificant) perspective, where do you turn?
The answer, a little ironically, is social media itself, via cutely named website: .
The brainchild of two New York-based graphic designers, who came up with the idea after a particularly lousy day in the office. Simply put, the pair wanted to create ‘a nice place to visit’ on ‘one of those days’, so they made the site for people to record their virtual hugs, which can then be sent to loved ones or friends, or even used to make total strangers feel a little better.
Visit the website to see the results for yourself and, if you feel so inclined, offer up your own hug to someone who may need it. At a time when the dark side of social media has been showing itself with alarming frequency, it’s nice to see the sentimental but heart-warming opposite.
 
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.

2012: The Year of Social Media

Predictions for the future are best seen in the context of the past – particularly where content marketing is concerned
 
Predictions are a dangerous game – and have left many a commentator with egg on (red) face – and 2013 is already shaping up as a particularly volatile one. From narrowly averted fiscal cliff plunges to stock market plunges caused by a hoax media release (proof positive of the power of content), the first week of the new year has already brought its fair share of volatility.

And yet, as always seems to be the case at this time of year, predictions remain very much in vogue. Naturally, our eyes have been caught by the ones that reinforce the message that The Message has been preaching these last couple of years – namely, that content has never been more important for brands.
This article by Matthew Knell in The Huffington Post is a case in point. In it, he argues that brands need to think like newsrooms – a point consistently made by The Message.
But the best way to look into the future is to consider the past. After all, as Confucius put it: ‘Study the past if you would define the future’. Which means 2013 shapes up as a continuation of 2012 in terms of the rise and rise of social media.
As this neat little video shows, last year confirmed the role social media plays in everything from politics to partying. Meaning quality social media content has never been more important.

 
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.

Protect your content

The recent cyber attack on the Australian Defence Force shows that hactivists are targeting online content to make their mark

 
Anonymous are at it again. Back in February, The Message questioned whether the loosely connected network of hactivists was facing extinction as a result of concerted, coordinated action by international police forces.
This article led to the comment ‘We are still here’ being posted on our messageboard.
They most certainly are. It seems that barely any news event passes without Anonymous (or someone who would dearly like to be part of Anonymous) posting warnings. The recent, tragic radio station prank call furore is a case in point. As a result of nurse Jacintha Saldanha committing suicide after being duped by two Australian DJs, Mel Greig and Michael Christian from Sydney’s 2Day FM, Anonymous posted a threatening message on the Internet.
The message itself has been taken down from YouTube ‘as a violation of YouTube’s policy on depiction of violent activities’. However, this ABC News report on the sad affair carries extracts from it (from 1:12).

Some commentators have been quick to point out the irony of an organisation that dedicates itself to ‘trying to fight criminal activities by governments and corporations’ aligning itself with the Establishment response to the event. There is certainly some truth in that, but it also serves as proof that policing the world of online content is almost impossible.
ADF hacked

Indeed, online content itself is a prime target – as the Australian Defence Force can testify.
The Canberra Times reports that last month, a lone hacker committed ‘one of the worst known cyber attacks on a government organisation in this country’ by breaching a university database at the Australian Defence Force Academy and stealing the personal details of thousands of Australian military staff. The details were then posted on websites linked to Anonymous.
The hacker, known only as Darwinare, is quoted as saying that he was acting ‘for fun’ and was shocked at how easy it was to gain access to the information, adding that the whole attack ‘took like three minutes’.
It serves as a salient reminder to businesses and individuals alike that while utilising online and social media content is a wonderful marketing tool, you have to take steps to protect it and the malicious access that can be gained through it.
 
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.