How to use a Hashtag – Put a stop to Hashtag Ho’s

13 Jul

I get a little peeved when I see people go to town with their use of hashtags. So when Facebook opened up to hashtags, I decided to post the guide to hashtag etiquette as a status update to stop what could be the beginning of a messy and cringe worthy newsfeed. It seems to have worked.

Let’s go through the proper manners for hashtags on social media before Facebook becomes another dumping ground of lame.

1. You only hashtag things that people might need to search for to keep track of a topic eg: a town name, an event, tv show a topic and so on. Nobody wants to search for #MyToastHadJamOnIt . If you want to tell people that you had jam on your toast, just write it! Don’t hash tag it silly!
2. Try not to use more than 2 hashtags in a status
3. Don’t just use a hashtag for the sake of it. Only use them if it’s really necessary.
4. Never ever make up a hashtag eg: ‪#‎OhMyGoshISatOnAPieceOfCheese‬ – nobody is going to search for that and thus makes you look dumb.
5. Never ever hash tag every single word you can think of to go with a topic eg. ‪#‎tea‬ ‪#‎teatime‬ ‪#‎teapot‬ ‪#‎SoTasty‬ ‪#‎TeaCup‬ ‪#‎Cup‬ ‪#‎Sophisticated‬‪#‎BoyfriendLovesTea‬ ‪#‎Happy‬ ‪#‎SoHappy‬ ‪#‎ReallyHappy‬ ‪#‎TeaWithToast‬‪#‎Afternoon‬ ‪#‎YellowTeaCup‬ ‪#‎EarlGrey‬ ‪#‎SoRelaxing‬ ‪#‎KillMe‬‪ #‎EveryoneNowKnowsImAttentionSeeking‬

In summary, just don’t use hashtags at all unless you are at an event or something relevant to people who are actually going to want to search and see the interesting thing that said. INTERESTING and RELEVANT are the keys to hashtags.

This has been a community service announcement.

Please share this post with your friends, colleagues and family who have no idea what they are doing with hashtags and are creating a wasteland of social media dumb.

SAY NO TO POSTS LIKE THIS:

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EDIT: You know, I have a feeling that Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon read this post and caught my drift. Celebrities even feel the pain of a hashtag ho. Check out this hilarious clip where the pair show how this hashtag nonsense would sound in real life.

South Australia – The new brand 2013 #brandsouthaustralia

6 Mar

Today it was announced that our precious little state of South Australia has a new logo. We seem to rebrand ourselves more than other states for some unknown reason. Many people are not too happy with it and comments range from “why is SA not even in this” to “where is Tasmania?” then “now everyone is really going to point and say SA is a hole” and “This looks like an ad for a housing development”. Clearly it’s not fabulous but to be honest there are always going to be critics.

To be honest I don’t know a lot about how this logo came to be and the criteria of design so maybe I missed something. 

EDIT: I found out that Brand South Australia was created “At the request of the Premier, The Economic Development Board was tasked to bring together a group made up of communications, marketing and policy professionals from government and the private sector to develop the brand. This group was chaired by Darren Thomas, from the Economic Development Board”. They did a lot of research into what is South Australia and asked locals about their thoughts about what makes our state great – however it doesn’t seem that they consulted the public on the actual logo design,

This is the logo that was chosen. It has the social media details of Jay Weatherill the states Premier on it. That is funny because he obviously does understand, or is trying to, the power of Social media (bless) but didn’t harness it to its true potential in this case.

South Australia new logo design 2013

In an age where we are hyper connected and its easy to get the public involved in having their say, this would have been a great opportunity to engage social media to present the public with a few options. Maybe 2o. Some graphic design students could have given it a go as part of a uni assignment and whipped up something great. Who knows?

A PR campaign opportunity to bring South Aussies together may have been lost. Let’s unite in a big warm fuzzy hug with love for our state hey? Come on everyone!

I’m not sure if the agency who created this (not sure who created it sorry), thought to upsell to the government perhaps a website with a voting functionality with some simple social media sharing buttons…. that wouldn’t have cost a lot and would have been cool. People would have liked to vote, have a chat about it and see the result. If the result was bad, well at least you could say the public chose it.

I just took a couple of minutes and whipped up some ideas that I think really should be considered. Sure, i’m not an artist (CLEARLY) and I do have a sense of humour but I think these are a good starting point to get the thoughts flowing. Which do you like best? (notice I made a poll in about 10 minutes)

1. – SA- We <3 Popeye.

I think this tells the rest of the states that hey, we might have a creek of a river compared to what they have, we do have a cool boat called Popeye and we are darn proud of that. It’s even mentioned in a Peter Combe song.a

2. – SA – We have balls. 

This sort of is self explanatory. If you haven’t been to Adelaide, a. where the heck are you and b. we have 2 giant silver balls in the middle of our mall. It’s a thing. Side note, I once met Zac Hanson (yes MMMBop and all that) in Rundle Mall and I asked him if he had seen the malls balls. He looked confused and walked off. I’m sure the fact that our mall has balls really made an impact on his life.b

3. – SA is Neato!

Come on! Let’s be positive. I really like this one. At a glance it says all you need to to say. It has a smiley face telling people that we are really friendly (that will make them forget the number of murders), the face is inside a picture of the state and also it states that the state is neato! Winning! I want to visit already!

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4) SA – The only state where Coke is not the #1 selling drink.

Yes my friends Farmers Union rules in SA.

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What are your thoughts on the new SA logo?

3 simple steps to win a 25 words or less competition

20 Jul

Game of skill competitions (competitions that don’t provide a randomly drawn winner but a winner that has a unique and judged entry), are very common. However due to the nature of the entry mechanic, and the extra creativity needed to enter the competition, they often receive less entries than a simple random draw competition. For some reason people freak out about thinking of an answer to a competition question. Just turn on your creativity hat. You don’t even need to tell the truth in your answer, you just need to think outside the box.

In my job I run numerous game of skill competitions because they are the easiest to run simply because they don’t require a legal permit. They are tricky to run from an administration point of view because if you get 5000 entries you need to read every response to judge a winner. Boring and hard. Especially boring when every response sounds the same.

So, how do you win a question answer competition?

1.Read the question, look at the prize, read the terms and conditions carefully and for crying out loud think about if you were judging the competition what would you want the winner to say.

Example 1: Let’s say the question in the entry form is: What is your number one tip to being organised. The terms and conditions will tell you the way in which your answer will be judged. Maybe they want creativity, your answer to relate to the season, to include the brand name of the product you will win… just read the terms and conditions for hints to help your response.

Example 2: Let’s now say the competition is giving away beauty products like foundation and mascara and the question is “What is your number one tip to staying beautiful”. DO NOT SAY “drink lots of water and always wear a smile”. NO! That will not win you the competition. The prize is beauty products silly! The judge wants you to say something like “I love to wear foundation to even out my skin tone and make me look beautifully radiant all day long”. If you like to drink water then good for you but if you look good just by drinking water then why on earth would the judge want to make you the winner and give you foundation and mascara that you won’t want or use? Plus, probably 10% of other silly heads also said they drink water to stay beautiful. oh boy!

Example 3: And now let’s say the question is “Tell us about your most romantic anniversary”. Heck! Maybe you have never had a romantic anniversary or any anniversary of significance at all! Never mind! It’s OK to be creative and pretend you had an awesome romantic anniversary with an imaginary person. The judge will never know and will be so happy to hear your super extravagant story over Mrs Jones and her boring real story about once receiving a bunch of red roses and a kiss. You’ll win if you can say something realistic but a little extravagant. “I was taken by my loved one to a restaurant for a surprise meal, he hired a violinist to play my favourite song (which happens to be Bittersweet Symphony) and then he blind folded me and drove into the hills where he had booked a hotel for the night. When he took the blind fold off me the bed was sprinkled with rose petals and a big present was on the table. I opened it to find tickets to Europe inside. Such a romantic lover”….. come on. You can think of drivel like that to win a prize can’t you?

2. Think outside the box.

I can promise you that if you pick a generic response that you wont win. I have judged competitions where at least 80% of the responses were the same as other peoples. So back to the questions “what is your number one tip for being organised”, probably the most common answer to that would be “I like to write a list” or “I plan out my week”. Good responses aren’t they…. but if lots of other people have answered the same thing, then you can’t win because then everyone else would have to win wouldn’t they?

Your response needs something different. Perhaps you can write a poem to include your answer in. Just take a deep breath and brainstorm all of the most common responses to the question you can think of and cross them out. You need to stand out!

3. Make sure you check your email and don’t be a fakeo

Please don’t give a fake email address or an email address you never check in your entry form. So many competitions I have run have not ended up with first round winners because people never responded to their emails to give me more information. That means that second chance draw winners will win…. or nobody sometimes. Don’t be a greedy competition entrant either. Don’t enter 6 times with different fake names. That’s not cool and you are very greedy if that’s what you do.

And if you are a greedy competition entrant, don’t make it obvious by putting that into your competition email address like Helens.Comps@genericemail.com… clearly the judge will see 1. you’re greedy, 2. you enter competitions almost professionally and 3. you’re sooooo dumb for putting that into your email address.

Some people spend a great deal of time entering competitions, it’s quite sad really but there are lots of competitions out there just waiting to be won. These 25 words or less competitions are less likely to be won by “normal” people because of the creativity extra effort element. Full time competition junkies are more likely to win because they know the tricks I’m teaching you.

So there you have it. 3 simple steps to win a game of skill competition.

Good luck and happy winning!

Virgin Mobile – Warren Campaign

25 Jun

In the early 2000’s mobile phones were beginning to become the staple of every persons pocket. I was in high school and I fondly remember the first mobile phone my father bought me. A black and white screened Motorola with tiny buttons that played monophonic ringtones. My dad bought it for me because I used to catch the public bus home from school and if I had an emergency the public phone at the bus station was either broken or had dog poo smeared all over it.

I remember girls at my school spending money on buying the latest ring tone (remember there was a phone ring tone music chart?). Most kids had that Nokia where you could change the cover and buy cheap chinese rip off covers around town. It also had the snake game on it that some how addicted everyone.

Anyhoo, it was about this time that Virgin Mobile came onto the scene with an ad campaign that took over the school yard. The Warren campaign. Warren was a stunning nerd type guy who thought pretty highly of himself and in a series of ads informed the nation that Virgin had a 5c rate when you texting your friends who also have Virgin phones. This was very popular in the school yard and most of my friends changed to Virgin to take up this offer. This was cheap for back in the day when we were all on pre-paid phones that mummy and daddy were paying for with 25c text rates.

You could also call Warren himself as part of the campaign and leave a message on his answering machine from memory. I can’t remember what he would say but I remember my friends thinking it was hilarious and calling a lot.

The ads pretty much involved Warren talking himself up and making a series of funny comments in a “dating” video type situation. Remember this was pre Youtube (or maybe Youtube was just beginning). Funny because Warren was the ultimate “virgin” really and totally dorky. We loved him for it. The “Hot Warren” campaign won the 2004 Mobile Marketing Association Awards.

With rememberable lines such as “Enjoy an evening of fine wine and witty conversation with the Warren of your dreams.” “if you have a virgin mobile its only 5c so you can get steamy while still staying thrifty!”, Warren is etched into my memory. On the website you could learn more about Warren and vote for him on the mid 2000’s website of choice “Hotornot.com” Even I would fling photos up there to see what the public thought of me. Ohhh the good old days.

Here are a few of the ad’s from this campaign that I remember being one of the greatest. Wi-ki-wi-ki-Warrenator.




Can you remember these ads and your friends being entertained by them?

April Fools Pranks 2012 – Viral publicity gold

31 Mar

On the 1st of April every year, pranksters around the world set to work to turn the world upside down one joke at a time. April Fools’ day is celebrated in most parts of the world and is a PR gold mine if done correctly. Brands can get good coverage by the media if they pull a prank that is a little far fetched but still believable.

April fools day brand love and the viral nature of social media sharability

April fools’ day is ideal for brands to draw attention to themselves by releasing a good clean fun April fools’ Day campaign. The purpose of these campaigns is to create a splash and hope that friends will share it with their friends, only to find out later on that they were fooled.

Social media is becoming more and more about sharability since Facebook introduced the “share” button and Twitter introduced the Re-tweet. A good April fools’ day joke can travel a long way and build good brand salience and “brand like” to those who may not have considered your brand before.

Word of mouth picks up and BAM your brand is well thought of and remembered for being that little bit quirky on the one day of the year when you can be. This will cost your brand virtually nothing to create and have a big wow factor pay off in the end.

Although, I wouldn’t recommend pulling a prank like “Hey everyone, we are giving away everything in our store for free” because that would make people mad and I don’t think many people would laugh at that.

So far the pranks I’ve seen are:

Vegemite – Cherry Flavour:

For those who are not Australian, Vegemite is a brown yeast concentrate spread that us Aussies love to put on our bread. It is salty and not sweet. Many visitors to our fair country will try Vegemite and have mixed reactions but most reactions are negative. Aussies love this brown stuff though and it is one of our national foods!

Vegemite announced on Facebook this Cherry Flavoured version of Vegemite  which certainly fooled some people! Gross!

To which they responded a few hours later with this news paper clipping. “April Fools! As if we’d change the flavour of Australia’s favourite spread”

Which then prompted the best comment ever. HIGH FIVE!!!

Google – 8 bit Google Map:

Google has announced that they have created an 8 bit version of Google maps. It is available on old school cartridge to be played on your old Nintendo since it was one of the highest selling computer game systems ever sold. Works just like the Google maps you know today… but looks that little bit more retro. And it has a tune. I love tunes! :) Check out the Google Lat and Long Blog to see for yourself.

Ikea – Allen Key Recall:

Ikea Australia announced that they have accidentally been selling left handed allen keys that can all now be handed in at the store and replaced.

Photo credit: @Prakky

Mumbrella -New Headhunting Agency

Mumbrella is sort of the Aussie Equivalent to Mashable and they released this announcement this morning. Nice tongue in cheek poke of fun at themselves and the reader culture.

Mini Countryman – Build your own

Well I do have some friends who have been trying to build a car for years, so maybe this April fools day joke would actually have a market. I love how you need to cut out and post away to register your interest by 12pm April 1st. I wonder what you will get if you do send away…. I’m tempted.

Photo credit: @beaupurr

Telstra Australia – Retro pay phone return

In Australia in the 80’s these phones were everywhere. Slowly phased out and replaced by silver looking phones…. then mobile phones, Telstra says these phones are set to make a comeback. Retro cool!

Lorna Jane – 80’s G-string Leotard

Gym clothing store Lorna Jane tricked Facebook fans by announcing “Just Landed: LJ Studio 95 Cutout “LIKE” It ? Shop It Here:” Turns out it really is a Lorna Jane creation dug out of the vaults from 1995. Again, Retro cool rules.

 

Have you seen any other April Fools day pranks? Leave your comment below with a link so we can all share the love!

How to reach out to bloggers – 6 top tips for blogger engagement

13 Mar

I am a blogger and I am a marketing manager who does a degree of blogger outreach and engagement in my role.

On top of this blog, I write a beauty blog as a hobby. I receive samples and invitations from PR companies and brands themselves to review their products and do product give away competitions on their behalf.

There are a few things that I have noticed from working with PR companies and brands that I would like to share with you to help you improve your blogger outreach if that is something you are pursuing as a form of advertising and influencer relationship building in your role.

1. Research:

Research your bloggers. See what other posts they are writing and if they tend to give negative or positive reviews. Some bloggers are kinder than others and some like to get a bit hoity-toity and say mean things about the product just because they can. Personally I won’t give a review on a product that I don’t like. I like to give positive reviews only because from a marketing managers view point, I know how uncool it is to have a blogger say bad things about your product where everyone can see on the internet after you have spent a lot of time and money to provide them with information and samples. Make sure the blogger meets your brands values eg: keep away from bloggers who identify as pole dancers or swear a lot if your brand is a “family brand”.

2. Blogger kits:

To help you to find a blogger that is going to do a good job of representing your company and so you get more bang for your buck, contact the bloggers you are interested in and request their media kit. Most bloggers kits will give you readership stats, info on the editor, advertising opportunities, if they expect compensation and more information on who their blog targets. Bigger bloggers who have more followers and reach will probably ask for a relatively big fee but it might be worth it for your brand if you know that they are definitely speaking to your target market.

3. Communication:

Some companies communicate better than others. It is very important for companies to be polite, respectful and patient with bloggers. Communicating your intentions from the get go is important so the blogger is ready to deliver what you want from them. If you are going to be paying them or providing samples make that known. Remember that most bloggers are doing it as a hobby and have day jobs and families to take care of so make your communication informative so as to avoid multiple emails.

As a blogger I feel it is my duty to reply to companies in a timely and professional manner as they are doing their job to engage me. Some bloggers will request payment for a post or at least some form of product compensation and it’s nice to be respected for your time and effort with a thank you.

In one case I was asked to run a competition for a company. This is quite a lot of work and I was provided with written information on the products but nothing else. I didn’t feel it was appropriate for me to run this competition without at least receiving the samples myself to know what I was reviewing and also as some form of thank you for the time I put behind promoting their products for them. I asked for the samples to be sent to me and the company provided these to me… although they did seem a bit ticked off which I didn’t think was very professional. When I had drawn the winner the company didn’t even bother to thank me for taking the time to run and promote the competition which I felt was highly disrespectful. All it would have taken is a short email with a sincere thank you.

Don’t be precious about their posts. Let them do their thing and thank them for the post once it is written (they should provide you with a link).

4. Blogger product samples/events:

Some companies have the most beautiful, well thought out packages. I have been sent boxes of products with printed postcard notes and a special little treat of lollies or a little bag to go with the samples to review. It is so special when a PR company goes to the trouble to make your samples that little bit more special than normal. It’s so exciting to receive a parcel in the mail and when they are presented beautifully it automatically makes me want to do a really good job for the company.

If you are hosing a blogger brunch or some form of event make it happen during after office hours. I receive invitations to what seem like beautiful glamorous luncheons but I can’t go because I have to work! I suppose that hosting an event during the day will weed out a number of bloggers so that you have a more concentrated group of attendees… but in my opinion hosting it after hours is better and will get you a great coverage. Also make lots of photo opportunities at the event. Bloggers are stuck to their cameras! Pretty boxes and bags with your company names on them, easy to see demonstrations, celebrity card board cut outs that they can take photos next to  (if you have a celebrity endorser perhaps), beautiful table decorations, pretty food like cupcakes that can be photographed, photo opportunity branded screens (you know like celebrities have photos in front of at events?) bloggers LOVE those.

4. Product information:

Provide your bloggers with as much information as you can. The more information you provide, the more information the bloggers can lean on to write a great post about your product. Ingredients, points of difference, where it can be purchased, price, website for more information, twitter handle, facebook links and so on. Make sure you remind them to please post the links to your social media platforms and website in their post.

6. Special feelings:

Yes, bloggers are all about special feelings. If you make them feel special and valued they are more likely to do a good job for you and mention you again in future. Little special goodies in their sample boxes, special events etc all help get the message about your brand across. Be generous! Don’t be crazy about it, but so many brands are very very generous with samples and thank you gifts.

 

What tips do you have for successful blogger engagement?

Social Media pro fun and what is the future of social media

9 Feb

Recently I’ve come across a few funny social media virals on the inter webs. As a social media coordinator myself, I find these funny and I’m sure you will too!

I'm fairly sure this is how most people who comment on social media brand pages think.


It got me thinking, less than a decade ago my job didn’t exist. I mean, marketing existed, but the social media side didn’t. Not to the degree of today. The internet died for about 2 hours at work today and I was besides myself. I span in my rolly chair and moaned that I couldn’t do my jobbbb waaaaa waaaaaaaaa much like you see in that youtube video. I made a phone call to our account manager who was trying to send me some critical information “Hello this is a phone call from 1992 where the internet hasn’t been invented yet. Can you hear me me me me, im time travelling-ing-ing”. Yeah I thought that was pretty funny.

Marketing used to be quite one sided and brands told you what they wanted you to know and to think. We are pretty lucky in this day and age as marketers to be exploring this whole new world of engaging with consumers and people who use your product and are willing to connect with you and share their ideas *cough* EvenIfSomeOfTheirIdeasAreVeryUnreasonable *cough*

We are kind of at a turning point right now. Sort of like when Television started to grow in popularity and people were buying them as soon as they could afford to and stations were figuring out how to create content that people would like. New types of shows and genres developed and rules and tips were created along the way. Then 1999 hit and reality TV was created and the sanctity of television slowly died.

Social media is evolving and changing so rapidly. Sharing is the key to getting the best out of social media at this point in time.

Pintrest is the latest social media platform that encourages sharing of images (cool images) between people you know and people you don’t know. Twitter has retweets and Facebook has the share button which is starting to be widely used.

If you are running a brand social media page right now the best thing to do is post photos that make people want to share your content. Cute photos, funny sayings, cats…. people want to share that with friends and then with their friends and then their friends and round and round your brand name goes. Remember that is all virtually free advertising! High 5 sharing!

Quirky is also key. Being slightly off the cuff, funny and delighting really drives engagement particularly is that is not the normal style of your brand. It really endears people towards you.

Since social media is changing so fast there are no social media experts. Really, every 16 year old girl probably knows as much about social media as I do, I just do it for my living. Heck, when I was at university 4 years or so ago there was no mention of social media. My friend who is at university currently is hardly learning about it and is in fact trying to help write a syllabus about it.

As with everything, eventually people will become cynical about the very things they currently embrace. I am super excited to watch, from my front seat view, how social media will evolve and change in the coming years.

What do you think the future of social media holds?

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