Nonprofits More Likely to Be Present On Social Media

According to eMarketer, nonprofit organizations operating on tight budgets want to generate as much publicity and excitement as possible surrounding their initiatives—and at a low cost. To do so, a considerable percentage are turning their attention to social media to communicate with constituents and encourage sharing among fans supportive of their cause.

An October survey of US nonprofits by VerticalResponse, a self-service marketing platform for small businesses, found that more than three out of five nonprofit organizations reported spending more time on social media than they did a year ago. Only 4% of respondents said they spent less time.

And nearly two out of five nonprofits reported devoting 6 or more hours per week to social media. Respondents cited finding content to share as the most time-consuming aspect of social media engagement, a point of view that seems to cut across businesses.

For the full article, click here.

Hub 81 is a digital marketing agency based in Santa Maria, California helping clients activate awesome brand experiences. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help with your marketing and communications needs.

 

 

Are Banks Putting the Social in Media?

Does social media have a place in banking and the financial services industry? We think so despite all the risks that may be involved. Are we moving one step closer to helping these organizations make a successful transition into the conversation arena? The FFIEC recently released some proposed guidance on the role and practice of social media.

Financial Regulators Propose Guidance on Social Media

The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) today released proposed guidance on the applicability of consumer protection and compliance laws, regulations, and policies to activities conducted via social media by banks, savings associations, and credit unions, as well as nonbank entities supervised by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and state regulators.

The FFIEC is responding to requests for guidance in this area from various industry and consumer interests. The guidance is intended to help financial institutions understand potential consumer compliance, legal, reputation, and operational risks associated with the use of social media, along with expectations for managing those risks. Although the guidance does not impose additional obligations on financial institutions, the FFIEC expects financial institutions to take steps to manage potential risks associated with social media, as they would with any new process or product channel.

Significant Risk

The use of social media by a financial institution to attract and interact with customers can impact a financial institution’s risk profile. The increased risks can include the risk of harm to consumers, compliance and legal risk, operational risk, and reputation risk. Increased risk can arise from a variety of directions, including poor due diligence, oversight, or control on the part of the financial institution. The proposed guidance is meant to help financial institutions identify potential risk areas to appropriately address, as well as to ensure institutions are aware of their responsibilities to oversee and control these risks within their overall risk management program.

Grab the proposed guidance here.

Hub 81 is a digital marketing agency based in Santa Maria, California helping clients activate awesome brand experiences. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help with your marketing and communications needs.

Twitter Announces Update to Embedded Tweets

Today, Twitter announced a revamped embedded tweets experience allowing you to add a bit of social pizazz to your website or blog.

“Tweets bring you closer to what’s happening around the world, from breaking news to global conversations. With embedded Tweets, you can see and interact with Tweets across the web.”

More content and context. Embedded Tweets display photos, videos, article summaries and other content shared in a Tweet, just like you see on twitter.com. You can also view retweet and favorite counts to better understand engagement. Twitter made some tweaks to the design so that embedded Tweets are easier to read.

Faster loading. You’ll see Embedded Tweets show up faster on the sites you visit.

Embed with ease. It’s now even easier to embed a Tweet on your own website. Just click the “More” button in any Tweet on twitter.com, and then select “Embed this Tweet” to enrich your blog posts or pages.

It’s easy to embed a tweet. Here’s a recent tweet straight from Santa Maria, California (eh…twitter.com)!

Establishing your digital footprint and embarking on a journey of content marketing is made easier as Twitter and its social media counterparts evolve.

5 Key Trends Impacting Your Business in 2013

As we move toward closing the curtain on 2012, a few ideas and important trends remain top of mind and play a critical role in making sure your brand is fully primed for success in 2013. How many predictive posts and articles have you read lately? They’re sprouting up all over the place. So, without further ado, here’s our list of 5 trends to be on top of in 2013:

Integration

Targeting customers is becoming increasingly difficult thanks to a growing number of technologies and communication channels. If you’re not working on an integrated approach that unifies your brand communications across all of these touchpoints you’re on a direct path to irrelevance. Customers demand meaningful experiences at every point of interaction with your brand.

Content

Everyone from newspapers to brick and mortar shops are now being described as media companies. Gone are the days where marketing is just about offering information and making a pitch. Enter the all important area of content development. Marketers are now required to create unique content that is inspiring, entertaining, and informative.

Responsive Design

Device agnostic experiences is a fancy term for making sure that your website looks beautiful across multiple platforms such as desktops, tablets, and smartphones. How, when, where, and when users interact with your content is super important to making sure your brand stays relevant in today’s changing new media and technology environment.

Entrepreneurship

New players arise everyday and are changing the makeup of almost every industry. Think open education models and crowdfunding. These two areas alone are responsible for billions of dollars in new industry. Crowdfunding (a term that’s not even in the dictionary yet) is now a $2.8 billion dollar industry and is on pace to hit $6B plus in 2013. Open education startups such as Coursera, Udacity, and edX are new players that are sure to continue to make headlines. Smart marketers are aware of these trends and are seeking ways to create their own innovations that answer the call of progress, purpose, and social impact.

The Hispanic Market

Latinos are the fastest-growing and youngest demographic in the United States. They are trendsetters, increasingly mobile, and early to adopt new technologies. If your brand isn’t looking for ways to engage this audience you’re missing out on a $1.2 trillion dollar opportunity for impact and business growth.

At Hub 81, we are excited about what the future holds and are looking forward to continuing our work in activating awesome brand experiences.

Cheers!

Is Your Brand Ready for the Future Wave of Social Merchandising?

The rise of Interesante, Pinterest, Fancy, Fab, and Instagram have given way to a whole new arena of social media where visual elements contribute to a more enriching social experience. It is widely noted that visual posts do much better than plain text due in large part to our interest and desire as consumers to engage with media. However, there’s another wave of possibility and impact that is the direct result of these visually oriented social sites. Commerce.

Social media is moving from conversation and engagement to transaction fueled by the power of peer influence. Brands must strive to be relevant at the moment-of-truth or that all encompassing instance where a consumer is in full purchase intent mode. One way to do this is to take advantage of social and peer influence to drive commerce across the innovative and engaging array of social media sites that are increasingly made available thanks in large part to the explosion of mobile adoption.

“Social marketers are excited about this next wave because of its ability to drive product discovery results toward a meaningful impact on sales, making it much easier to calculate social ROI. They also are excited because social merchandising is poised to deliver much more measurable value to retailers and brands than its forefathers.” (Source)

Tapping into the social graph of consumers is a powerful play on engagement allowing for unique branding opportunities and meaningful interactions.

Is your brand ready for this new wave of social merchandising?

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Have You Met the New Google+ Local?

Google has done away with Google Places in favor of Google+ Local. The thinking behind this change is fueled by a desire to move closer to a true socially fueled ecosystem where Google+ plays a prominent role. We can talk about the huge SEO ramifications of this move but want to offer you a handy guide in the form a blog post with the 411 on the relatively new Google+ Local.

Google+ Local helps users discover and share places. The integration of Zagat‘s expressive 30-point scoring system gives individuals detailed insight into businesses before an actual visit, and Zagat summaries of user reviews help users decide where they want to go.

With Google+ Local, users can:

  • Get place recommendations based on their circles, past reviews, and location
  • Publish reviews and photos of their favorite places
  • Read Zagat summaries of user reviews for a place
  • View the local Google+ page for a business to see reviews, photos, and other useful information
  • Find reviews from people they know and trust highlighted in search results

The move now requires that local businesses make a special effort to optimize their Google presence and it starts with brands embracing Google+ for business and the power the social tool has for building relationships with customers.

 

Marketers Finding Value in Social Media

Recent eMarketer news paints a picture into the current value of social media for both business-to-business and business-to-consumer marketers. Social media is a powerful tool for engagement and top of mind awareness but many find it difficult to measure ROI. Not any longer. Recent findings suggest that marketers plan on increasing their social media budgets in 2013.

In its “State of Digital Marketing 2012 Report,” Webmarketing123 found that 52% of US B2C marketers and 41% of US B2B marketers planned to increase their social marketing budgets in 2013, while an additional 46% of B2C and 56% of B2B marketers will keep them the same. (eMarketer)

The results are no surprise as B2B marketers continue to look for ways to tap into social media as a means for creating impact across their industry pipeline. For B2C marketers, social media continues to be a major focus with Facebook leading the pack.

“These investments in social sites are showing results. Two-thirds of B2C marketers (67%) said they had generated leads from Facebook, and 39% said they saw sales as a result of outreach on the site. This was compared to 39% of B2B marketers who reported leads and 19% who reported sales. For B2B marketers, not surprisingly, LinkedIn saw the most success, with 44% of marketers seeing leads and 23% seeing sales from the site.”

A solid strategy is an important step in increasing these successes and require that marketers embrace the power of social as a legitimate tool for leads, sales, and ongoing engagement. 

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Bye Bye Marketing

Have you ever seen the film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory? (The original 1971 version.) The story is engaging built around a young boy who gets the opportunity to explore the most eccentric and wonderful candy factory of all. Remember the scene where all the golden ticket winners introduce themselves to Willy Wonka himself? Well, there was one dude who, without invitation and hesitation, pulled out his business card and gave it to Mr. Wonka. Game over.

That’s the problem in today’s business environment. Over indulgent self promotion. The businessman’s gesture is now a 40-year-old lesson in what not to do when you first meet someone. We’re not against handing out business cards. Winning friends and influencing people is built by placing the spotlight on others. The same can be applied to today’s new marketing environment.

The problem is that many marketers, small business owners, community leaders, politicians, and (insert desired title)s are stuck on outdated technology, medievel institutions, and relentless self-speak as opposed to shifting their focus on strategies that influence and engage consumers. The right mindset has the ability to literally break the bank and foster a customer base of advocates and satisfied patrons.

A recent Harvard Business Review (HBR) article entitled, “Marketing is Dead” by Bill Lee, is a timely piece and a rallying cry for individuals and brands to move beyond business as usual. Complacency hasn’t just killed the cat, it’s hindered the productivity, efficiency, and impact of communities, municipalities, governments, market sectors, nations and institutions of all shapes and sizes.

Traditional marketing — including advertising, public relations, branding and corporate communications — is dead. Many people in traditional marketing roles and organizations may not realize they’re operating within a dead paradigm. But they are. The evidence is clear.

The Industrial Revolution brought about mass production. Marketing presented consumers with options and competition. We are experiencing a much bigger shift where the saturation of sales messaging and unending pitches bombard consumers to a point of immunity. This might be hard to grasp but consumers really don’t want to be sold. There’s a reason DVR is so popular. Consumers are happy to fast-forward through any form of relentless advertising. Technology, social media, and the power of purpose (think social responsibility meets cause marketing) has created a whole new marketing landscape.

Consumers are not the only group feeling tired and adverse towards business as usual.

73% of CEOs think Marketers lack business credibility and are not the business growth generators they should be: they are still too far from being able to demonstrate how the cross-channel marketing strategies and campaigns they deploy grow their organisations’ top line in terms of more customer demand, more sales, more prospects, more conversions or more market share.

Marketers need to slow down and smell the roses. The allure of bright and shiny new objects combined with business constraints and a lack of real strategy makes it difficult for marketers to achieve what really matters. Results.

So, what’s the solution for success in the new media arena of marketing and communications?

A Change of Mindset

When radio first came out, people were quick to shoot it down as a weird device with lots of buttons that everyone seemed to be glued to. They deemed this new technology as waste of time. Sound familiar? That’s the mindset that individuals have towards new media. Communication platforms and social networking sites such as Facebook, Medium, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest are popular for a reason. Engagement and peer influence! Leaders that embrace these new tools of communication are sure to outshine the competition.

The Power of Community

Traditional marketing has given way to a new approach where community-oriented buying experiences and social connections influence the purchase decision life cycle. We trust our friends, family, and associates for purchase decisions. Peer influence has a huge impact on where we invest time, money, and resources. Tap into the power of the crowd by building bridges with connected audiences and watch business priorities turn into a reality despite the existence of any real or implied constraints. Build networks, identify influencers, and empower them with the opportunity to build social capital.

Speak the Language of Value not Gibberish

“Until Marketers start speaking the P&L language of their CEOs and stakeholders, and until they start tracking the business effectiveness of all their strategies and campaigns to prove they generate incremental customer demand, they will continue to lack credibility in the eyes of their CEOs and will continue to be seen more as a cost centre than an asset” said Jerome Fontaine, CEO & Chief Tracker of Fournaise.

Talk in terms of your audience’s pain points and things will become much easier. The following is a good formula for capturing attention of key stakeholders:

Did you know, according to ________ your company can ________ because ________?

Knowledge empowers the willing into a whole new arena of impact, influence, synergies, and business success. Embrace it. Pursue it. Share it.

 

Hub 81 is a strategic branding and digital marketing agency based out of the beautiful Central Coast of California helping individuals and brands engage today’s hyper-connected consumer throughout Santa Maria, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and beyond. For more information, say hello.

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How to Thrive in a Saturated Social Media Marketing Environment

The Association of National Advertisers recently released data shows that the percentage of marketers who are using social media edged up just 1% over the last year, from 89% in 2011 to 90% this year.

Slow growth but significant nonetheless as this data confirms that more and more people are grasping the concept of social media and running full speed ahead. But therein lies the problem. Success in social media and digital marketing is not based on speed but rather quality engagement.

Brands must realize that this isn’t a race.

We’ve witnessed several accounts on sites like Twitter where brands seem to have given up on the opportunity of social. The new media arena might offer cost effective opportunities but the trade offs come in the amount of time and effort required. You have to be present to have a presence.

How do brands succeed when everyone is using or at least giving social media a shot?

Here are three tips for standing out from the crowd:

Have Fun

It’s okay to be polished and sophisticated but let go! People are online because of the fact to connect with interesting people and engaging content not the boardroom.

Experiment

Sometimes it’s great to be first. The brands who are playing around with the new kids on the block like Pinterest are finding great returns in the form of awareness and publicity. Take those who are moving their websites to Pinterest for example.

Know Thyself

Look in the mirror. It’s the best thing a brand can do and opens the window of opportunity for some deep self analysis in the form of questions about purpose, passion, and focus. Consumers have a knack for pointing out a brand’s flaws which means marketers better be ready to respond. Oh…and when you do respond please be swift.

As more and more brands jump on the social bandwagon, we’ll find countless examples of how not to engage in social media marketing. However, there will be champions of engagement and it’s up to us to thrive.

By the way…we can help your brand move the needle of appreciation into new arenas of visibility and consumer engagement. Just drop us a line.

 

Winning the Race of Engagement Requires Fresh Agency Perspective

Avila_beach_digital_marketing_agency_photo

It’s Saturday and only fitting that we post an image of one of the Central Coast of California’s most beautiful gems, Avila Beach. Nothing spells inspiration like the sheer natural elegance of the California coastline. 

Good ideas are the result of fresh thinking.

The photo above is much more than a digital expression of our travels but rather a reminder of the need for a fresh and balanced perspective. 

Connecting with today’s audiences in the age of digital requires a grounded approach based on aesthetics, design, communication, strategic dexterity, and uncontainable conditioning. Winning the race of engagement requires endurance. 

Throughout the counties of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo reside a wealth of natural beauty to remind us of the need for fresh perspective. 

We are blessed to call the Central Coast home and thanks to our surroundings we feel refreshed and ready to deliver deep brand experiences.

We are Hub 81, the Central Coast’s freshest integrated marketing and communications agency.

Say hello.