What Did We Do Before YouTube?

My dad always says “you can learn anything on YouTube.”

As a “real” book lover, I’ve always had something of a mental block about using YouTube to solve a problem for some reason. Probably due to the same neurons that prevent me from being able to ask for directions (again, much easier problem to solve in the age of portable computing, LTE connections, and mobile phones).

Nevertheless, I’ve given some of my stubbornness away. Just in the last 24 hours, I’ve used YouTube to learn how to fix a leaky shower faucet, root my Android phone, install an early copy of a mobile software update that’s not been released yet, how to best grow tomatoes in South Carolina, update a few codecs on my non-smart TV, get a lightbulb with a broken bulb out of a socket, and adjust the brightness controls on a laptop that has a new Ubuntu install.

It’s one thing to use Google as a search engine to find info or directions on replacing a lawn mower blade or installing a -curl command on a server or changing a cloth diaper, but it’s a whole different experience in using YouTube for education and instruction purposes.

Brave new world we live in.

Make more videos.

What Social Networks Drive The Most Sales?


Social Media Drives In-Store Buying Nearly As Much as Online Buying – HootSuite Social Media Management: “Interviews with close to 6,000 social media users found that Facebook is the social network that drives the most users to purchase. Contrary to popular belief, the data also indicated that social media drives in-store buying at an equal rate as online buying.”

This kind of data is great because many local businesses don’t realize that social media can drive local sales as well as online sales. Many businesses who don’t rely on online sales are reluctant to test social media campaigns for their own efforts because what frequently exists is the belief that full-on social media campaigns (as opposed to social media presences) are only for businesses who make most of their profits on the internet.

Social media is an invaluable resource that you should either be using already or testing extensively to see what it can do for your business.

(And if you need help, we’re always happy to help.)

Marketing Is Evolving; Don’t Get Stuck

Fantastic post from SumAll today:

The Switch to Continuous Marketing – SumAll – Blog: “Social media platforms and analytics provide an immediate, continuous feedback loop that puts marketing into an entirely new cycle. It’s now possible to get a faster, deeper sense of your potential customer and to tailor marketing materials to a highly specific demographic.”

This is a concept that we embrace and focus heavily on at Harrelson Agency.

In the past, marketing campaigns were structured differently and might have done pretty well for the time. However, we’ve seen a gradual shift and trend towards online marketing in the past decade or so as the web has grown and social networks like Facebook and Twitter emerged. While paid search still dominates over social media traffic this year, that’s likely to change in 2014. Marketing via social media is bound to become the larger of the two traffic drivers and that’s due in large to the in-depth analytics and insights tools that services like Facebook and Twitter offer to advertisers. Old-school marketing (create, launch, sit back, evaluate) doesn’t work as well anymore because marketing on the web is a continuous process that requires lots of creative thinking, sweating the details, and monitoring (in real time, not when the campaign ends) exactly what works and what doesn’t. And if something doesn’t work, you can always change it and see where you went wrong.

Tools like SumAll and Chartbeat are fantastic for tracking how your campaigns are doing and what kind of traffic you’re getting, but even the out-of-the-box solutions that Facebook, Twitter, et al offer are pretty good.

The Self-Aware Burrito

Chipotle, a rapidly growing burritos and taco chain, is known for its tongue-in-cheek use of social media. However, their latest stunt has been seen as both a success and a stumble by marketers and social media consultants.

Last week, Chipotle sent out a string of random tweets on their company Twitter account that left many followers bewildered. Even on outlets such as the popular video show / podcast This Week in Google, there was discussion over whether the tweets were a mistake by a Chipotle social media admin just yesterday. While bone-headed, this is easy to do using dashboard suites such as Hootsuite as companies such as the American Red Cross have found out the hard way. Another possibility was that the account was “hacked,” which can happen with larger brands (such as Jeep and Burger King earlier this year) or personalities and normally results in press and voyeuristic following increases.

Instead, Chipotle now admits the tweets were a strategically thought-out part of their 20th anniversary campaign.

Chipotle Faked Its Twitter Hack | Mashable: “We thought that people would pay attention, that it would cut through people’s attention and make them talk, and it did that,” Chris Arnold, a Chipotle representative, told Mashable in an interview. “It was definitely thought out: We didn’t want it to be harmful or hateful or controversial.”

From a marketing perspective, this is a very tight wire to walk. People love puzzles figuring things out (let’s all remember Lost). However, we’ve seen evidence time and again that deceptive marketing (even tongue-in-cheek) can have the opposite of the desired effects.

Chipotle’s marketing rep confirms as much:

Regardless of the reception of the fake hack, Arnold says it’s unlikely Chipotle will pull a similar stunt anytime in the future.

“It’s certainly not a well you can go to often,” he says.

Chipotle needed attention and got that.

Should you think of doing similar campaigns with your business social media accounts to get an influx of new followers or attention?

If you’re a large company with a relatively well-known brand and established user base, it can be a tempting way to get easy publicity. If you’re a small company, absolutely don’t even think about such a tactic.

Marketing (especially on social media) is an investment of time and effort. Your time to come up with campaigns (be they months in advance or on the fly ideas such as Oreo’s outstanding Super Bowl Blackout campaign). There is also an investment from your followers and potential followers involved in social media marketing.

Whereas acquisition of followers or attention is important for large brands like Chipotle, acquisition is a more valuable metric for small businesses that are still growing. Such marketing tactics threaten your acquisition numbers if you’re still growing your brand.

Deconstructing Sharing

Insanely interesting and thorough user study from the fine folks at ShareThis:

Mobile vs Desktop: A Cross Device User Study « ShareThis Blog: “The data points above show that people engage with devices in patterns during the day, and that people engage with social channels on devices which better support their activities and content consumption.  For marketers, understanding the usage patterns and the connection between devices and social habits is an important part of managing the social communication between their brands and users.”

What’s perhaps most interesting is the stats about what devices account for more sharing (iPhone vs other platforms) and the breakdown of what type of content is shared the most on which device.

In simple terms: mobile matters a great deal in 2013 and that trend will only evolve to where mobile overtakes desktop traffic in the future.

Foursquare Rolls Out Ads for Businesses

Very exciting news from Foursquare today:

Expanding Foursquare Ads to more small businesses around the world | Foursquare Blog: “The idea behind these new ads is simple – connect people looking for somewhere to go with businesses that want to drive traffic to their stores. Foursquare is the best way for those businesses to reach nearby customers. In our ad pilots over the past year, we’ve been honing our targeting technology, using the same algorithm that powers our Explore recommendation engine.”

Foursquare rolled out post-check-in ads for brands last week, but this is good news for businesses since Foursquare is a unique but diverse community that’s ultimately very locally focused.

The reason these ads are so unique and will matter a great deal to local businesses in the coming year or so is that the return rate on them is fairly solid. 78% of people who search on their smartphone end up making some kind of purchase. Foursquare has long needed a solid business model that could drive revenue its way and the ad program is pretty much the icing on the cake.

On the business side of things, the ads are billed to businesses on a CPA (Cost Per Action) basis, meaning you don’t have to pay for the ad unless a check-in at your business originates from it:

Foursquare Ads — Foursquare for Business: “You won’t pay a cent for your ad to show up. You’ll only pay if people visit you.”

Pretty cool.

I love Foursquare and I’m happy to see them moving forward. Advertising on mobile, particularly geolocation-based, has long been an enigma to many companies and marketers alike and I think Foursquare is definitely on the list of companies to watch.

Another Reason I’m Not a Teacher Anymore

erm… no:

Why Great Teachers Are Fleeing the Profession – Speakeasy – WSJ: “Teaching is essentially a part time job. They ‘work’ an average of 6 months out of the year. That number is further reduced in the northern climes by snow days (about 10 a year) which are NEVER made up. They have long holiday breaks, generous sick and ‘personal’ time provisions and average-length work days. For this they take home $50,000-$100,000 + a year. They contribute almost nothing to their health insurance and pensions. THEY ACTUALLY HAVE PENSIONS! This puts their compensation on par with (or above) that of someone who graduates #1 in his class at harvard law with a job at a top law firm.”

If the community where I was teaching were openly receptive to helping me support my family as a single parent, I’d still be a teacher.

That’s not the case.

Riding the New Silk Road

Beautiful graphic diary via the NY Times…

Riding the New Silk Road – Interactive Feature – NYTimes.com: “The network of routes known as the Silk Road connected Asia and Europe for centuries before fading in importance in the 1400s. Now, Hewlett-Packard has revived the route as a faster, overland alternative to shipping electronics from China to European markets by sea. A look at one section of the modern-day route, now more commonly traveled by train instead of by camel.”

Why Wasn’t I Consulted?

So very true and worth your time to read if you care ’bout marketing and/or culture (or Homer):

The Web Is a Customer Service Medium (Ftrain.com): “‘Why wasn’t I consulted,’ which I abbreviate as WWIC, is the fundamental question of the web. It is the rule from which other rules are derived. Humans have a fundamental need to be consulted, engaged, to exercise their knowledge (and thus power), and no other medium that came before has been able to tap into that as effectively.”

More on Facebook’s Graph Search

Great read over on Wired about Facebook’s slightly creepy but insanely cool Graph Search…

How Facebook Builds a Digital Signature for You (And Your World) | Wired Enterprise | Wired.com: “Until around 2010, the information now mapped by the Entities Graph lived in your Facebook profiles, as plain text, and these strings of text weren’t linked to any additional information — information that would describe, say, what a school is or which of your friends may have gone there. But then Facebook rolled out object pages, the Like button, and check-ins, making it possible for people to interact and connect with things much the same way they did with people.”

Why Are Most Apps Free?


The History of App Pricing, And Why Most Apps Are Free: “Each time we download an app, we reveal a little bit about ourselves. A glance at the apps on your phone can indicate whether you are a fan of sports, gaming, or public radio, and whether you love to hike or cook or travel. But our choices of apps also reveal our individual tolerance for advertising, and how we feel about the trade-off between paying for content directly, or paying indirectly by (implicitly) agreeing to view ads.”