Social Media Marketing Blog

If you know me then you know I am addicted to Snapchat. Whether I’m showing off the not so attractive faces I make or trying to step up Duncan’s Snapchat game (he struggles sometimes), Snapchat is one of the top apps I use.

So on New Year’s Eve when I heard over 4.6 million users of Snapchat had their information leaked I was concerned. While I was able to discover my information is safe, many of you are probably still concerned about your information getting leaked. Here’s the general overview of what’s going on and how you can find out if your Snapchat account was hacked.

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“TBT” or “Throwback Thursday” is one of the most popular hashtag trends on the web. According to Instagram, there are over 132 million photos bearing the tag. Obviously, it’s popular.

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While most New Year’s resolutions involve losing weight or saving money, one group of Australian scientists had an entirely different thought: “How can we save lives from shark attacks?”

Their answer? By making sharks tweet of course.

Researchers tagged 338 sharks with acoustic transmitters, including great whites, tiger sharks, and whaler sharks, to test their tweeting experiment.

According to a report in NPR, when a tagged shark was about half a mile away from a popular beach it triggered a computer alert via the floating monitors, which sent out a tweet on the @SLSWA Twitter handle noting the shark’s breed and approximate location.

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(Image via wikimotive)

The art of finding the optimal times to post updates, tweet, and share brand items on social media remains a conflicting mess of information.

Not only are the platforms themselves constantly getting new updates, the demographics of the people who use the platforms are continuously changing as well.

Since there is no tried and true way of knowing your posts are being published at the perfect time, it is important to know your brand’s audience and the habits of its fans.

Forget what the majority says is best. While you may have heard the lunch hour is the perfect time to post on Facebook or that tweets sent later in the week are more likely to be clicked on, nothing about social media is an exact science.

As Belle Beth Cooper from Buffer pointed out in a recent post for Fast Company, “We really need more time and more studies to get definitive answers about what works best, and the fact that our audience members are constantly changing their own activity patterns makes it even harder to work out for sure.”

If this information has you feeling discouraged, don’t fret. Any good social brand manager should be consistently reevaluating their strategies and not be looking for a stagnant solution.

After all, isn’t the evolving nature of the world of social media what makes it such a fascinating field to work in in the first place?

What struggles has your brand had in maximizing its social media impact? 

We all have those people that have made a difference in our personal and professional lives. And I know these would be people I would be happy to recommend in a heartbeat on LinkedIn.

But then it comes time to sit down and actually write the recommendation…

I’ll admit I’ve written, analyzed, deleted, and rewritten the crap out of a few of my LinkedIn recommendations. I’ve only done a few, (I know shame on me) but I know there are more people that have helped me along the way in my career and definitely deserve recognition.

(Flickr photo: rights reserved by clasesdeperiodismo)

(Flickr photo: rights reserved by clasesdeperiodismo)

2014 is the year I’m going to start writing recommendations at least once a month. I had to come up with some kind of strategy in order to take the stress off of writing them in order to just write the damn things.  Here is what I’ve come up with:

Start With A Great Opening

Like anything else you would write you want to start with a line that will really grab your audience’s attention and make them want to read on. What good is a recommendation if no one reads it?

Describe Your Relationship

You’ll want to give the reader information about how you know this person. Specify any projects you’ve worked on together. Talk about how long you’ve know the person. You don’t have to give all the details as LinkedIn will show how you’re connected. Most importantly, make sure people know that your experience was positive! (I mean you wouldn’t be writing the recommendation if it wasn’t, right?)

Share What Makes Them Standout 

Of course the person you’re recommending is smart, talented, organized, and a pleasure to work with. Think about it, what are two things that the person you’re recommending does better than anyone else? You could also ask the person what they would like you to write about. Perhaps they’re looking for a new job, and they want you to write about one or two specific highlights that might help them land a new gig.

Add Some Personality

Everyone wants to work with someone who can get the job done, but they also want someone that is great to work with. Add something like “I’ve sought her advice on topics ranging from food reviews to events publishing, and I trust her judgment (unless it involves NFL football–[grin]–don’t say anything bad about #4).” (This blurb is from my own LinkedIn page)

Seal The Deal

Short, sweet and straight to the point. “Chad would be a great asset to any team.”

I’m committing to at least one new LinkedIn recommendation a month in 2014. I hope these tips will help you write some new recommendations for your peers in the new year.


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As a millennial I have heard every myth possible about my generation. I am sure you have heard the more popular statements that millennials are lazy, narcissistic, and never do anything but sit on our computers. The list goes on and on. I am going to try and not make this post completely about myself, because you cannot really generalize an entire generation based off a few people. However, that is what typically happens, so please do not let one millennial ruin your entire outlook on us. We’re not so bad after all. Here are some of the myths that really irk me. Be aware, I may be slightly biased, because I am a millennial.

#1. We’re lazy and think we know everything
Alright, I’ll be honest with you, when I’m at home I can be pretty lazy. Do I really want to clean my room and do the dishes? No. However, when it comes to my school work and my jobs, I do not see where people get this laziness. This just doesn’t apply just to me. A lot of my friends are go-getters. We dream big, and we achieve big. I am in no way trying to sound arrogant, but many people I know my age are working their way through college, overwhelmed by the amount of responsibilities they are supposed to keep up with, and worrying about whether they will even have a job after college. People look at us hopping from internship to internship as a bad thing, but for us we are doing this mostly because we are worried that we will not have enough experience when going out to the real world.

#2. We are addicted to social media
I will not argue with you that many times we are on social media. I work at a social media marketing agency, so I can’t really talk. However, we are doing much more on social media than just seeing what our friends are doing or trying to find a way out of work. If anything we are combining the two. Millennials are using social media as a way to get work done, whether that means promoting something that you are doing in the office, or making people aware of something you may need help with. We use social media not just for fun, but for work and networking too.

#3. We do not care about privacy
When people say millennials just put their entire life on social media, it kind of offends me. Do you know how many times it has been plastered into our brains that our employers are looking at our social media? Many of us want to have amazing jobs after college. We care more about privacy for that reason alone. I know with my friends, those not so pleasant photos of you from the weekend do not go up on Facebook or on Instagram, instead it is a joke between our close group. We probably know the privacy settings to any social media better than some of our textbooks. We do care about privacy. Why do you think Snapchat is something millennials love so much? Nothing embarrassing can be kept against you.

So take some time to get to know us. I am in no way saying we are perfect, but the myths about us are not all true. I would love to hear what you think!

What happened to being social in real life? Social media has shifted the focus away from culminating “real life” experiences with people.

So to get to the point: I’ll be writing a column “In Real Life” that covers – what else – real life interactions and how they add the most vital value in the overall social equation. There is no question that they are the hardest to orchestrate and yet offer the most value.

As digital social interactions continue to grow, the real life part is being neglected by too many. And since we know social, both in real life and in media, is all encompassing, this is a habit we need to change.

social media vectorYou may be thinking, “But Duncan, it’s so easy to keep up with people on social media!” While it’s true Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Vine and the gaggle of niche social platforms have made it easier to remember people’s birthdays, anniversaries, life events, and all the selfies in between, comments, likes, retweets and favorites are inadequate when you think about the warmth, immediacy and intent that go along with “real life” social interactions – not to mention the potential long term value – across brand, marketing, human resources, and other important business functions.

This post is not about dissing social media marketing (the largest part of our work), rather it is an indication of the vital role social can play in our relationships with brands and more importantly with people in both business and personal situations.

Analog belongs in every digital “social” campaign. And vice versa.

While many brands will never have a human touch point, the winning potential that comes with people coming together in real life is very evident to brands that get it. Take the meet ups Mini does for its hard-core advocates or the rides Harley-Davidson organizes – they’re all invaluable in terms of the bonds they create.

The traditional response is “word of mouth is impossible to measure.” However, smart marketing people have figured this out and know the prior statement could not be farther from the truth.

Word of mouth (and social in real life) may not be as sexy as a big media campaign around the Super Bowl nor does it offer the same commissions or billings. Of course, these “media” projects also don’t guarantee a return on investment or in many cases any empirical data that show anything beyond impressions.

Stay tuned for more – as I shift in to a deeper focus on the last value of social in real life. And meanwhile, if you want to have a coffee – I’m ready and I’ll buy.


Did you know there is such a thing as “Netflix adultery”? Recently two articles, including one in The Cut and the Huffington Post, referred to this as the act of watching a show “that was supposed to be our thing” without your partner, due to an obsession with said show or an overwhelming desire to find out what happens next.

The articles were quite humorous suggesting that individuals would possibly fake shock in response to possible surprising plot turns which could result in future trust issues.  Netflix is more likely to cause issues than just regular DVR due to its automatic start of the next episode on queue. It even taunts you with a preview of the next episode in the bottom corner while the current episode is still finishing! With DVR or Hulu Plus, the start button actually has to be pressed in order to see the next episode.


(Image via Kait Barnes)

Of those who “cheated,” sixty-six percent watched the “said show” at home on the main television. Twenty-one percent confessed to watching in bed while their significant other slept! Forty-one percent of these so-called cheaters refrained from revealing spoilers, twelve-percent would re-watch and fake their reactions, while fourteen-percent would confess.

Let me say, it’s super tricky to see plot lines and possible spoilers on social media and not want to watch ahead. Do you know how hard it is to scroll through Twitter or Facebook after a popular show’s finale, and not see ANY spoilers?  Even Pinterest has spoilers these days! Sometimes the suspense is too much and I have to watch to find out what happens.

I myself have been on both ends. My ex used to sneak watch episodes of How I Met Your Mother and Big Bang Theory without me, and when I found out, I would pretend I wasn’t really upset, because it sounds so trivial and dumb to be mad about a TV show, right?! He never tried to hide it, he would just casually “forget to tell me.” Sneaky!

But I can’t be too mad, because I also have been found guilty of watching ahead with the insanely addicting show Breaking Bad, and I admit I even have sneaked previews of the cult-show True Blood, and I know I’m not the only one! Shhh don’t tell!

Are you guilty?

I honestly can’t believe it’s almost the end of 2013. After the holidays are over, we’ll all start thinking (or at least that’s what we’ll say) about 2014 and our “New Year” resolutions. So what are you going to do next year that you didn’t do this year? How are you going to make a difference?


The number one New Year’s resolution is to lose weight, or at least that’s what Google says. Of course the fail rate is extremely high. Of the 45% of people who actually make a New Year’s resolution, the success rate (people that actually stick to the resolution) is 8%.

So I thought, what about social media? What mistakes or things have we collectively done as “social media” people that we might resolve to do better? Just for kicks, I came up with a short list which you can feel free to add to as it applies to you.

  • RT more! Sharing is caring. If you like a post or a tweet, retweet or share it. People appreciate feeling valued. We as social media creatures notice when someone shares our stuff, do more of that for others next year.
  • Don’t delete your tweet! We’ve all seen it, and I’m guilty of it as well. Odds are one of your 3 or 3,000 followers or friends saw whatever it was. If it makes someone shift in their seat they’ve probably taken a screen shot of it and are spreading it like wildfire over all platforms. Just admit the mistake. RT or Repost and say you’re sorry.
  • Don’t overuse #hashtags! I don’t need 20 hashtags to get your point. I see the pretty photo of your delicious plate of food you just made or are about to devour. Yes, I’m jealous because I’m not there eating it too, but 20 hashtags describing it is overkill.
  • Quit complaining about change! Change is constant in social media, it evolves daily. So stop complaining about it. Believe me, Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t care that you don’t like his new timeline, or news feed, or whatever.
  • Blog more! (Guilty)

If you don’t like any of those, let’s give this one a REAL try in 2014. Let’s try to be more positive. We all like our snark from time to time, but constant complaining gets really old really quick. So knock it off.

I’d love to hear what you think should be added to the list, or if you disagree with me about one or all of the above.

Instagram has rolled out Instagram Direct – a way to privately send photos and videos to your followers. Learn all about it in these must-reads.

Instagram Direct

Introducing Instagram Direct

By Instagram We’re excited to bring you Instagram Direct, a new way to send photo and video messages to friends. There are moments in our lives that we want to share, but that will be the most relevant only to a smaller group of people. Instagram Direct helps you share these moments.

Too Different, Not Different Enough: Why Instagram Direct May Fail

By Josh Constine My friends aren’t using Instagram Direct, at least not yet. I’ve received just two IGD messages since it launched on Dec.12. In the meantime, over 20 close friends I regularly message with elsewhere have posted publicly to Instagram, and I’ve received about 60 Snapchat Snaps from 18 different people.

Now It’s Permanent: Instagram Is All About Snapchat, Not Twitter

By Ellis Hamburger Ever since Facebook snatched Instagram from the outstretched arms of Twitter, the two companies have sparred continuously, feature for feature. But Instagram’s latest feature isn’t really about Twitter. It’s about Snapchat.

Six Ways Brands Can Use Instagram Direct For Marketing

By Nicole Rose Dion Similar to Snapchat, Instagram Direct allows users to privately send photo or video messages through the application. Not only is this a great feature for individuals, Instagram Direct has the potential to be especially useful for brands.

Don’t Panic! There’s A Way To Unsend Instagram Direct Messages

By Caroline Moss Is there anything that strikes more fear in the heart of people than the idea that you may have sent a photo to an unintended recipient? Well, breathe easy; there’s a way to take back an Instagram Direct photo message you didn’t mean to send.

[Image source: Instagram]