The Future of Emerging Media

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As my semester studying emerging media and the market comes to an end I’ve decided to dedicate my final blog post to future trends for marketers to pay attention to in 2015. Emerging media’s most defining characteristic is its constant rate of change. Just a few short years ago, reading a book was one of the best ways to pass the time, but these days businesses are recognizing the evolving relationships between consumers and their online habits and interactions.

In 2015 marketers will be dealing with many of the same problems and pitfalls as they have in the past. These include finding the right way to think about marketing opportunities on social media, new and/or upcoming advances in technology, and how to address rising consumer privacy concerns.

Focusing on how changes in technology are set to change behaviors in Millennials, keeping up with the ever-changing digital landscape can be a challenge for marketers, but Refferal SaaSquatch has put together a list of 10 trends that they can expect to see more of in 2015:

  1. Personalization
  2. Retargeting
  3. Customer Marketing
  4. Content Amplification
  5. Interactive Content
  6. Segmentation
  7. User-Generated Content
  8. Predictive Analytics
  9. Transparency
  10. Storytelling

The use of data to better understand customers isn’t new, but the way that businesses can analyze their consumers  has rapidly changed. More and more customers are turning towards companies that clearly communicate their honest and noble intentions. Transparency (open and honest communication) is the key to gaining consumers’ trust and helps brands engage in meaningful interactions with current and potential customers.

Given that social media has served as the biggest and most successful platform(s) to allow brands to engage in emerging trends, I’ll leave you with this final quote from an article in TechRepublic. “The strongest brands are adapting and creating a clear visual social media strategy. Being consistent in the way you create content will help maintain a strong brand online.”

I would love to hear some of your thoughts about this very interesting and ever- changing topic. What are some of the emerging media trends you’ve seen and how is your company/brand adapting to them?

Hope to hear from you!

B

2015: The Year of the Interactive Brand Video

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As social media marketing continues to rise, visual marketing like infographics and videos are becoming more and more useful and can easily help a brand’s growth potential sky rocket through platforms like YouTube, Instagram, Vine, and LinkedIn’s new Video Ad feature. With internet taking over the majority of advertising for businesses these days, brands cannot ignore the potential that video marketing gives the brand. People visuals because they are more interesting and compelling and can display a brand’s personality more effectively.

According to Forrester, the compound annual growth rate for total ad spend within the next five years is 4.49 percent. For video, it’s a whopping 22.39 percent. Companies are investing more into video but, marketers are squandering these resources by producing linear videos. The budget spent to produce a 15- or 30-second video is equal to what you’d spend on an interactive video, though the consumer is much more likely to spend more time with the interactive video.

Brain Shark notes that interactive video is a perfect opportunity to provide customers with a dynamic experience when learning about a brand and their products. By enabling them to shape the way they consume the content, brands can offer a more customized and personal interaction with the brand and ultimately get them to the information that’s most relevant to them faster.

Providing viewers with opportunities to make selections based on their interests is an effective way to track them toward the most relevant resources.  For instance, beginning the video with a brief introduction to the brand, and then inserting an interactive element prompting the viewer to select the product they would like to learn more about.

An article from iMedia Connection shares 5 great tips on how to create a successful interactive brand video:

  1. Keep it simple and strategic – For interactive videos, less is more, but don’t mistake simplicity for lack of substance.
  2. Tease and flirt First impressions are everything. Make it memorable!
  3. Reinforce the message – “Don’t tell me, show me.” Every element should reinforce the core message.
  4. Lead them to the promise land – Give viewers an incentive to want more.
  5. Don’t be afraid to shake things up – Sometimes the most memorable marketing pieces are the ones that are truly unique and do something totally different from the norm.

Whether you’re designing a video for internal communications, a social media campaign, or for your website, consider adding an interactive element in 2015. Empower consumers with a customized brand experience, and you may be surprised by the valuable results you see.

How Social Media is Morphing the Fitness Industry

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As I was scrolling through my social media apps, avoiding doing my homework, I realized a theme between them – 90% of the people I follow are from the fitness industry. As I’ve gotten older and let the realization that my youth is officially winding down, I’ve become more and more dedicated to fitness and fueling my body with the healthy things it needs.

I’ve been doing CrossFit for almost two years now and it’s truly changed my life. Not only in the way I think about what is best for my body, but it’s changed me mentally as well. I have more confidence, not only in the physical changes I’ve seen in my body, but in the work I do day in and out, outside of the gym. I’m not afraid to try something outside of my comfort zone, even if that means I might fail. Why? Because there’s always next time. And I know I have a community of friends and family inside and outside of my box that will push me to be better so that next time, I prevail.

I say all of that to say this: there’s no denying that social media has transformed the way society and cultures behave all over the world. The spreading of thoughts, opinions, ideas and information combined with the sheer amounts and speed which it’s disseminated is evolving at an unprecedented rate.  And, it’s safe to say that this shift has filtered down to the fitness industry and is shaping the way business is done in this industry.

In recent years CrossFit has come out of the woods, so to speak, and is skyrocketing in popularity.  It has shaken off its cult status and entered the mainstream fitness world right next to spinning classes, P-90X, yoga, and so on. The driving force behind CrossFit’s recent expansion has been its utilization of social media.  Owner and head trainer of Prometheus CrossFit, Troy Obrero, recognizes the impact social media has on CrossFit’s rise.  He points out that “CrossFit’s early adoption of the easy-to-replicate blog format made it easy for everyone” and “[CrossFit] [has] grown as social media has grown.” Since the beginning CrossFit HQ has used a simple blog format for its affiliates to mimic. It relied heavily on YouTube for exercise demos and as a source to spread new programming ideas.  Recently, CrossFit has begun to take advantage of Twitter as a tool to spread the word about their brand.  Reebok’s Twitter handle has over 580,000 followers and The CrossFit Games has over 219,000 followers.  There are also sub-CrossFits like @CrossFitFootball and@CrossFitEndurance that each has thousands of their own followers.

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The rise of CrossFit has been extremely fun to watch, especially since I’m an active CrossFit athlete myself. As an ending note, a recent Simply Measured article points out four lessons that can be learned from CrossFit’s branding efforts via social media:

  • CrossFit gains audience engagement by inspiring and building community on social media
  • What’s most successful on Twitter: motivating quotes
  • What’s most successful on Facebook: commenting on hard, terrifying, and awe-inspiring WOD’s along with fellow CrossFit community members 
  • What’s most successful on Instagram: motivating (and sometimes tear-jerking) video and photo content

Breaking the Mold with Visual Content

I stumbled across an interesting infographic the other day that explained just how important visual content can be for brands. In an age where the 24/7 sensory overload of information is enough to induce a seizure, it is becoming more and more difficult for brands to catch a targeted audiences’ attention long enough to get their message across. Learning how to creatively channel a message for your company that is both true to face and eye grabbing to customers can sometimes be a big challenge for brands.

I’d like to breakdown a few components of the infographic I mentioned and talk about the importance of brands establishing visual content in order to leverage engagement with their social media followers. The first portion of the graphic, The Visual Connection, can be seen below and addresses some statistics that show just how much visual content can benefit a brand.

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Statistics show that approximately 65% of the population is visual learners, and as the infographic points out, 90% of all information that is processed by the brain is from visuals. These are just a few quick indicators that highlight the significance for brands to establish a visual voice, a visual strategy and visual content. Visuals help spruce up your content and social media gives you the visibility to help spread that content.

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But what exactly is the best way for your brand to go visual?

According to the infographic the best platforms for visual ‘customer service’ are Youtube, Instagram and Vine. In October 2012, Twitter acquired Vine and the platform has been gaining strength ever since. According to Social Times, five vines are now tweeted every second on Twitter, with late-mornings on the weekends being the most popular time videos are shared. Instagram, owned by Facebook, on the other hand sees over 70 million photos uploaded each day with more than 200 million monthly active accounts, meaning the global audience on this platform is endless for brands.

Creating captivating visual content is a great way to reach your audience. It increases brand awareness, drives engagement and introduces your company to a whole new audience. But, it’s important to remember that not every social network is right for every brand.

Final Thoughts

It’s safe to say that creating consistent content for any brand with a social media presence is a must. But text alone won’t grab the attention of your audience anymore, especially given the visual nature of many social networks. From Facebook and Twitter, to Instagram and Vine, compelling visual content is easy to share with your consumers and helps them better connect and understand your brand. Sharing visual content can also be a key differentiator as your brand looks to stand out among competition.

Takeaway Point

Identify where your audience is spending their time and then commit to an integrated marketing strategy that will allow you to maximize the use of your social media content.

Social Media & the Dating Game

It’s only fitting with Valentine’s Day right around the corner that I take a moment to talk about how emerging media has changed the dating game.

Misery loves company.

All’s fair in love and war.

There are plenty of fish in the sea.

You’ve probably heard these before, because over the decades cautious words and clichéd phrases have guided our mothers, and their mothers, through romantic dating. Now, thanks to the introduction of social media, these words of wisdom have grown to accommodate our technological future with new advice. After all, it’s not official until its “Facebook official,” am I right?

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Americans now use dating apps more than online dating sites, according to a 2011 report by Flurry Analytics. “The number of people using dating apps is growing faster than the number using all apps,” it said. “In short, dating is a growth category.”

Globally, the mobile dating market is expected to be worth $2.3 billion by 2016, up from $1 billion in 2011, according to Juniper Research. Most apps use the “freemium” business model, where it’s free to sign up, but people pay a fee for premium features.

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Match, eHarmony, Tinder, Skout, Grindr, OkCupid, MeetMoi, Plenty Of Fish and Badoo, just to name a few, each have a distinct personality and millions of user profiles, messages, chats, winks, flirts or other measures of dating app success. The iTunes store has countless dating apps under its social networking category.

But much like dating, finding just the right match is no easy task, according to industry experts. At a Los Angeles hotel in June, six single people sat before a roomful of industry executives to discuss that issue. This annual conference is a gathering of the biggest players in the dating app business. The six participants had signed up for a first-of-its-kind mobile dating boot camp, organized by Julie Spira, an author and cyber-dating expert. Their mandate was simple: Try out two apps for two weeks and provide honest feedback.

The convenience of dating from your mobile phone not only results in meeting more people, but it also speeds up the process from initial contact to meeting in person, and it allows you to connect through Facebook to see if you have any friends in common, which gives instant credibility to your potential date. From hook-ups to marriage, here are the top 10 mobile dating sites as recommended by Julie Spira.

Some argue that social media has changed dating for the better. We’re now connected in ways that years ago, were unimaginable. We can source potential dates while sitting on the living room couch with unwashed hair and a lap full of cookie crumbs if we choose. Others would argue the less attractive additions that social media has brought to the table: the ‘gamification’ of dating, the death of social serendipity, or the rate at which we’re heading towards customs defined by superficiality and instant gratification.

What are your thoughts about mobile dating apps? Do you yourself have any online dating profiles?

-B

Social Media & FOMO

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Is your smartphone the last thing you check at night and the first thing you look at in the morning? Do you spend hours scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and other social media sites? Does the thought of going away for the weekend without your laptop, phone, tablet or iPad make you anxious?

If your answer to any of the above questions was yes, you are probably suffering from FOMO, or the Fear Of Missing Out. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. A recent study showed that 56% of adult social media users suffer from FOMO. In fact, this handy quiz can tell you if you’re suffering from FOMO right now.

But what exactly is FOMO, and why does it occur?

Over the past few years, there’s been a lot of research on the way social media influences FOMO. Recent research suggests people who experience FOMO are most likely to value social media as part of their social development. Status updates and tweets (“OMG best night ever!”) let us know about all the exciting activities happening while we’re home catching up on our favorite television series. Some psychologists even suggest FOMO helps drive the success of social media platforms, since we feel we need to use the technology to let us know what’s happening elsewhere. But in some cases, FOMO might actually be a motivator, encouraging us to socialize with friends.

Sherry Turkle, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and author of “Alone Together,” says that as technology becomes ever more pervasive, our relationship to it becomes more intimate, granting it the power to influence decisions, moods and emotions. “In a way, there’s an immaturity to our relationship with technology,” she said. “It’s still evolving.”

As consumers of social media we are constantly struggling with that ‘always-on’ feeling of connection that the Internet can provide and figuring out how to limit its influence on our lives is no easy feat. Turkle said she would tell herself to “get a grip and separate myself from my iPhone.”

Easier said than done, my friends. I’ve tried, but turning off my phone is nearly impossible — and I’m not sure I’m ready for that step just yet. What about you?

How to rock emerging media technologies ..on your wrist.

Technology has become perhaps the greatest agent of change in the modern world creating breakthroughs in not only the digital and social media realm, but also in the technology realm as well. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Emerging Technologies, body-adapted wearable electronics made the list of the key trends in technological changes for 2014 that could reshape our society in the future.

With the likes of Google Glass, Fitbits, Jawbone UPs and Nike FuelBands, the fitness industry has generated significant attention over the past year.  These technologies are designed to shape to the human body and help people understand their personal health and fitness by monitoring exercise, heart rate and sleep patterns. In fact, in 2013, Fitbits, Jawbone UPs, and Nike FuelBands accounted for 97 percent of all smartphone-enabled activity trackers sold at brick-and-mortar stores or through big e-commerce sites.

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Through apps associated with each respective band, social media apps are available for download as well. This helps the consumers constantly track their fitness goals and accomplishments. It also allows consumers to connect and interact with friends and family as well to help you through your journey. Social media monitoring tool Viralheat revealed that 88 percent of people discussing fitness on Twitter were excited about the emerging technology.

So what are you waiting for? Check out the top 10 new fitness tech products that made headlines in 2014 and start your year off the healthy way!