Social media is spider-webbing into so many nooks and crannies of our everyday lives, it is a challenge to truly answer the question of “where is social media going in the future?” in a simplistic form. On one hand, the easy answer is, social media is going everywhere. For example, think of a recent time when you came across a product or app that you never thought of yourself and you say “ah…yes, that is a really good idea”…how many times has that included an accompanying app or tracking application? Social media is everywhere! There is nothing truer to that just described, to the wearables sector. From keeping a light eye on wearables through personal interest, I thought where Fit Bit and similar product is going was interesting; I also found Bellabeat, a women’s focused wearable of smart jewellery. I knew there was innovation and development, and I also knew there are apps that are built around integration with these devices. I thought looking at the future of social media through wearables would be interesting, but I had no idea how huge this space was. It was predicted (in 2016) that by 2020 that the wearables market will be worth $34 billion (Lamkin, 2016). This is up from a forecast in 2015 for the wearables market to be worth $25 billion in 2019 (CCS Insight, 2015).
Sports brings people together. It moves and inspires people in ways that can sometimes be hard to explain. The sacrifice can never be put into words or understood unless you’ve personally gone through it yourself. But yet, regardless of your participation or not, sports can bring a nation together. It can bring us to our knees and can instil a sense of pride. The raw talent, incredible dedication and sheer passion of watching someone give it their all is a great indicator that sport is much more than the result at the end of a race or a game, it tells the story of the incredible team behind-the-scenes that helps a team or individual propel to greatness.
In this day and age, most people are glued to their mobile device and information gets thrown at us from left, right and centre. So when a brand is competing for attention, especially through social media, they need to be eye-catching, useful and trustworthy – and maybe a bit humorous.
We all have a story to tell. It could be one of personal hope, sacrifice, mentorship or despair. Others could be told from numbers or raw data – the stuff that drives work and project results. As social media becomes a more popular medium of communication and an avenue for influence and story telling, it’s the metrics that tell a bigger story and help to validate the hard work of a communications department.
There is no better feeling than having your skin hydrated, cared for and clean while using products that support a value, cause or lifestyle you align yourself with – organic, natural, environmentally friendly, cruelty-free, ethically responsible, or all of the above.
Beep. Ding. Swoosh. Those are the sounds that fill our office spaces, coffee shops…or any place that has people for that matter. There is no denying we live in a world where most of us have our eyes buried in our phones, are constantly on the go and can admit that taking our phone to the bathroom has become normal practice – we don’t want to miss a thing! Because of this need to always be connected and have information right at our fingertips, customers have, now more than ever, a stronger, louder voice – and depending on who they are – a big influence. In an effort to keep customers happy or informed, quick response rates have skyrocketed and started to become a vital practice in social media management and an integral part of an overall social media customer service strategy. “In fact, 90% of people surveyed have used social in some way to communicate directly with a brand. What’s more, social surpasses phone and email as the first place most people turn when they have a problem or issue with a product or service.” – Sprout’s consumer survey, 2016. It may sound like a time-consuming task, but it shows customers that their inquiries are important and a company cares about what they have to say or share. Don’t say I didn’t warn you! Next, according to freelance writer and Business News Daily Contributor, Danielle Corcione, building real customer relationships, using a hashtag, focus on creating a customer advocate base, and creating an opportunity for referrals are four ways a business can use social media for customer service success. Obviously, the goal of a company should be to increase the bottom line, but it should not be the focus. Building a solid, loyal customer base that will continually come back (maybe even for generations), who will advocate for your product or service, and make them feel like they are part of a ‘brand family’ should be a close second goal. In my own experience, when I shared a post or tweet about my favourite product and tagged the company, and the company interacted with me, I was positively impacted and now inclined to go back or share their information on my social media channels. I felt heard and like I had some influence.
There is nothing like a cold, refreshing beverage on a hot summer day. But what’s even better is sharing a drink over a conversation with a friend, colleague or a hot date you’ve met for the first time. In 2012, Coca-Cola Australia launched the #ShareACoke campaign. According to this Coca-Cola Australia video, the company’s research data presented an opportunity to re-engage with a generation that has a strong online presence and has grown up never tasting their most iconic product. In fact, the video shares that 50% of teens and young adults (also known as millennials) had never tried ‘Coke.’ They saw this gap and needed to come up with a strategy to change that.
Social Media influencer, Lori Ruff (@loriruff), once said “Social media is here. It’s not going away; not a passing fad. Be where your customers are: in social media.” She couldn’t be more correct. Social Media is everywhere. Successful companies know this. Successful companies are using social media to communicate with their customers, to engage employees, to research and develop products and services, as well as to market those products and services. Tripcentral.ca is one company that knows the value of social media and is using it to the fullest extent. Tripcentral.ca started as a one store operation in Hamilton, Ontario back in 1989. It has grown to be an industry leader for online and storefront travel purchases, employing over 120 people with agents in 26 locations across Central and Eastern Canada. They use social media to interact with their customers via Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook. They are the only major travel agency to leave their Facebook reviews open for public comment, with a 4.8 star approval rating and a social media staff who immediately respond to any negative comments. This feedback helps to retain customers as well as acquire new ones. Getting their customers involved also helps to generate sales by building a bond with the company itself.
We live in a world where we can buy anything, at any time, from anywhere. When you’re sleeping in Canada, your order could be processed in Australia, Africa or Hawaii. Isn’t it great? Thanks to globalization, “the process by which businesses or other organizations develop international influence or start operating on an international scale,” it has allowed companies to expand into different countries and create jobs for local people. But with growth and opportunity, comes the need for quick, simple and translatable communication. Que social media. Nowadays, the majority of the population has a smartphone and is always connected. Dialogue and networking have also evolved and taken on a new way companies do business and communicate. The need to have instant information at our fingertips is at an all time high and the expectation to respond, share or view something has become a 24-hour, 7 days-a-week responsibility. via GIPHY This is where social media has delivered. It has transformed how we communicate, broken traditional communication channels, and given companies the power to be creative with what they need to say and to whom.
I am one of those people who is fascinated by branding and marketing. Who brands are, why they are who they are, how they share and connect with their targeted audiences… why did that ad campaign work? How did that company figure to target that audience in that way? And of course, why is some marketing such a failure? In my love for branding and marketing mixed with my passion for social media, I came across Gary Vaynerchuk years ago (if you don’t know him, Gary is “…one of the most sought after public speakers alive today. He is a venture capitalist, 4-time New York Times bestselling author, and an early investor in companies such as Twitter, Tumblr, Venmo and Uber. Gary has been named to bothCrain’s and Fortune’s 40 Under 40 lists.” (GaryVaynerchuk.com, 2017)) I follow Gary on social media, and was excited to see he was part of a series Apple is releasing on iTunes, Planet of the Apps. This show “…a sort of hybrid of The Voice and Shark Tank lets app developers make their pitch to four potential celeb mentors: Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Alba, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Will.i.am who then help coach their mentees through developing their pitches and courting venture capitalists for investments.” (Howard, 2017) One of the most successful pitches on Planet of the Apps was Dote. Dote dons itself a mobile mall in your pocket (Dote, 2017). “The app curates products from over 130 stores, including Sephora, Forever21, and Urban Outfitters, in one place. All you need to do is enter your credit card once, and you can buy a product with a single tap, without wasting time shopping on individual store websites.” (Buxton, 2017) Dote also landed a 5 million dollar investment from VC’s from a pitch on Planet of the Apps, “one of the largest ever doled out on a TV series.” (Vogue, 2017)
You may have heard about Snapchat, the mobile app that allows users to capture videos and pictures that appear for a maximum of 10 seconds, and then it disappears. This instant messaging app created by Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, and Reggie Brown became increasingly popular within a few months of its launch and is now a leading platform for social media. What is more interesting is how Snapchat itself uses social media in its day-to-day functioning. The increase of social media in today’s society has led to an increase in opportunities organization-wide collaboration and sharing information, which is exactly how Snapchat has taken advantage of social media. It ‘s hard to know how businesses will use social media in the future; however, there are a few predictions about how Snapchat will possibly use social media in its next phases of evolution.
Social media for business purposes has been a main staple of marketing for many years now. As each new trend and each new platform is released, companies have scrambled to be at the forefront. Over the years we have seen many success stories and many disasters come of social media, but the fact is it isn’t going to go away. Truth be told, social media advertising budgets have doubled over the past 2 years and ad spending has ballooned to roughly $35 billion this year, according to Hootsuite. The future of social media will likely require marketers to rethink their current strategy. The move toward instant, in the moment news feeds, augmented reality, and posts that will disappear after 24 hours are changing the way we view social media. Businesses will have to become adept at following these trends if they want to stay in the game.
Modern Marketing has been a staple of doing business since the second world war. As social media has evolved, businesses have had to evolve with it to better market themselves. But what if your business is social media? Does that change your marketing plan? How can a social company thrive in the vast online marketplace? Maz Dela Cerna hails from Brisbane, Australia and is the founder of thefitnessfreedomflow.com. She is a blogger, vlogger, social media expert, and the face of her brand. She has created a social following through her personal progress in weight loss, health, travel and lifestyle. Maz has turned a passion for health and wellbeing, along with her passion for travel, into a successful online brand. She writes from the heart and puts her experiences out there with a genuine interest in helping others. It is obvious in her communications with her followers and her ever growing online presence.
Over the past few weeks, I have shared how start-up Flashstock has benefitted from social media to stay engaged with customers, employees, and even improve product development and operations which all contribute to driving business performance across the company. Our marketing team has focused its efforts on using social media as it’s the main platform because of the relative ease of use, low cost, and data-rich insight. Start-ups find social media marketing really efficient. At the beginning, most brands are looking to just create community and brand awareness. With existing networks built into Facebook and Instagram, for example, and almost 2.5 billion active monthly users combined, gives marketers unprecedented access to consumers and data. The platforms are free to join and provide simple to use interfaces that don’t take as much effort as a website to manage. With all of these active users, marketers also get great access to data that tells them everything they need about their target audience.
If there was a brand that is strikingly representational of the success of the millennial generation, through being an entrepreneur, believing in community, authentic conversation, and utilizing social media to create an industry leading company, Glossier by Emily Weiss fits that bill. The company was cultivated in a very “millennial entrepreneur” manner, and the use of social media metrics has been a critical component in helping to develop and build a successful platform to reach and engage their community across a multitude of platforms (Milnes, 2017). How companies use social media to engage their customers, product users and community in this day and age can be make it or break it; or at any rate, have a huge impact on their relevancy in the market and their industry. It is well discussed by course material for the Social Media for Business Performance at the University of Waterloo, of the use of social media in relation to an organization’s goals: “The starting point for all metrics is the goals of the organization. The metrics that are identified for each area of the organization should stem from these goals. Your social media metrics should be carefully aligned with your organizational goals, driving social media behaviour that will contribute to these goals’ achievement.”
The goals of any organization should be where the metrics for social media begin. Social media behaviour should contribute and align with these goals in order to achieve online success and ultimately drive sales. Tripcentral.ca is a hybrid brick-and-mortar/online travel agency based out of Hamilton, Ontario. While many agencies are trying to stay afloat, Tripcentral.ca is still growing. They just opened a new storefront location earlier this month! Their Mission statement is “to make the best planning, booking, and travel experience for our customers by matching their changing needs, providing advice, and saving them time.” They have spent a lot of time and money building proprietary software for their online presence so they can do just that. They have a regular blog with excellent advice and suggestions for improved travel experiences. They have a Facebook page with a 4.8 star review rating that they typically respond to within an hour. But how do they measure their online presence? How do they qualify the worth of their social media efforts?
Recognizing social media is so much more then Twitter, Facebook or an online forum, I took my question to Professor Peter Carr of the University of Waterloo to understand what social media really is defined as; he noted: “There isn’t a generally accepted definition and opinions probably include narrow, which would be restricted to popular public tools (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) and broader, including any form of online communications (email, Yammer, SharePoint etc.). I use the broader approach, any online communication between two or more people could be included.” Understanding Carr’s definition on social media, we can really look into how might social media fit into companies – and in what realms? Specifically for the topic of this post, how does social media fit into supply chain? From course material in my Social Media for Business Performance at the University of Waterloo, it is discussed that there are a variety applications for social media in the supply chain, but there are a few I really want to focus on that I find make an interesting case study: visibility, stakeholders and purchasing.
If MIT Professor Edward Lorenz hadn’t gone for a cup of coffee when he did fifty-six years ago, his 1972 seminal paper, ”Predictability: Does the Flap of a Butterfly’s Wings in Brazil Set Off a Tornado in Texas?”  may not have been written, Robert Redford may not have played a wise gambler in the 1990’s movie “Havanna”, Ashton Kutcher may not have travelled back in time in his 2004 movie, “The Butterfly Effect” to fix his childhood, and perhaps, least of all, chaos theory  may not have been discovered. For those unfamiliar with Professor Lorenz’s story, on that day in 1961, Lorenz was repeating a simulation he’d run earlier — but this time he rounded off one variable, from 0.506127 to 0.506, of the experiment’s 12 variables, representing things like temperature and wind speed to simulate weather predictability. To his surprise, when he got back after coffee, that tiny, tiny alteration (a 0.000127 difference) drastically transformed the whole pattern his program produced, over two months of simulated weather. “It was philosophically very shocking,”  says Steven Strogatz, a professor of applied mathematics at Cornell and author of Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos. “Determinism”  was equated with predictability before Lorenz. After Lorenz, we came to see that determinism might give you short-term predictability, but in the long run, things could be unpredictable. That’s what we associate with the word ‘chaos.’ ” How does this lesson, that a minute change in variables can have an enormous impact in outcome, affect business product launches today? Let’s look at a recent failed social media effort to access millenials’ wallets. On the surface, it was a winner: the 2014 non-profit industry celebrated a huge success with its major international ALS fundraising movement, “The Ice Bucket Challenge”. The program went viral, raised over $115 million in donations, and attracted 2.5 million new donors . Naturally, the ALS non-profits ran the same program again in 2015, but to their surprise, raised only $500,000, or 0.00434783% of 2014’s donations. So what was the minute variable that had changed in just over a year to cause the failed fundraising? In Philip Haid’s article, The Ice Bucket Challenge Part 2: What we can learn from why it didn’t work , he suggests the ALS non-profits forgot to consider the “why” variable in the program’s 2015 success. “Most people don’t interact with charities on a daily basis the way they do with their favorite brands, so it isn’t easy… Read more »
Climate change is one of the hottest topics in the news these days (no pun intended); and it is wreaking havoc on our oceans. They are now in a state of peril, from issues such as rising ocean temperatures and ocean acidification, leading to massive concerns like coral bleaching and massive marine life die off. Scientists are working to gain an understanding of what is happening in our oceans; the shoreline presents itself as one challenging zone to gather information on. “Researchers and scientists have been scrambling to obtain baseline information about changing ocean chemistry for the past several years, but collecting data in a nearshore environment like the surf zone with high-energy dynamics is not easy.” (Surfrider) “Science knows alot about the deep ocean, but the coast is a different story. Getting data in this surf zone is tough. Researchers call it a hostile environment, where sensors get tossed by crashing waves and buried in ever shifting sands.” (Today, 2016) Fast forward to today – three years and 30 scientists later … we have the Smartfin.
If you’re using social media, chances are you’ve heard of Hootsuite. Founded in 2008, they have quickly grown to become the worlds most widely used Social relationship platform with over 15 million users. The dashboard interface makes easy work of social media integration. Plus, Hootsuite has a ton of blog posts with helpful tips and advice on how to make social media work for you and your company’s product development. How do they know it works? They use it themselves, and are extremely successful at it.
As an International Product Development Specialist with Dempsey Corporation, I know firsthand all of the tiny, painstaking, and highly particular details that go into bringing a product from ideation, to fruition, to the retailer. From the initial RFP (Request for Proposal) to the actual proposals, to working with manufacturers, buyers and marketing teams, developing a single product can take MONTHS. In a world of infinite ideas, how does anyone know what will sell? A buyer’s worst nightmare is backing and investing in a product that flops – wasting value time, effort and resources that didn’t ultimately turn a profit. And, as a product developer, a buyer’s worst nightmare is also my own. If I don’t propose and develop products that stand half a chance of doing well for a particular client, my value as a developer plummets. So how can I (and other product developers) help mitigate some of that seemingly impossible-to-predict burden? Well, before the internet, we had to rely solely on visiting the brick and mortar stores, attending trade shows, setting up brainstorming meetings, and networking with businesses and people who were doing what we ourselves were trying to do – source, develop and buy products that will ultimately mean success for our enterprise. Unfortunately for us, what is currently in the stores won’t necessarily be on trend next year, and word of mouth can only take you so far. However, with the advent of the internet and the introduction of social media, my job just got a whole lot more interesting. Let me tell you some of the ways I use Social Media in my day to day work as a product developer.
Nowadays it’s hard to believe that there was time when the most popular webmail service – Google mail, i.e. Gmail, was available to the private “invitation-only” audience. Gmail – free, advertising-supported email service is a product from Google. Users may access Gmail services on the web or via apps on Android and iOS mobile devices. As of February 2016, Gmail has 1 billion active users worldwide. It is also the first app in Google Play Store to hit 1 billion installations on Android devices. In 2014 it was reported that 60% of US mid-sized companies and 92% of US start-up companies were using Gmail.
Dubai Autodrome circuit is one of the most modern in the world; it is also one of the most challenging, as it has a combination of high-speed straights and technical corners. The venue is part of the Union Properties Motor city development in the greater Dubai and area. Track experiences give the chance to sample race cars and super-cars through the Race & Drive Center – a perfect place to hone skills and develop better driving abilities.
Lululemon Athletica is definition of a Canadian grassroots retail success story. From humble beginnings in 1998 starting in Vancouver, British Columbia, they went public in 2007 on the NASDAQ and for a period on the TSE, and now in 2017 they have over 10,000 employees and stores in 12 countries (plus lululemon.com) (Crunchbase, 2017; Reuters, 2017). Lululemon has won a tremendous following of loyal customers and employees. The culture of the company is contagious; the people that work there live and breath it. In turn, this creates an incredibly authentic dialogue between the company and its customer base. Recognizing that lululemon ran for the first 10-12 years on grassroots marketing (and two in-publication ads), the success the company is experiencing is a huge testament to who the brand is – product-wise and culture-wise (Carter, 2013).
In the midst of this Social/Mobile Marketing Era, business has changed its focus from being all about maximising a company’s financial return, to real-time connections, and social exchanged based on relationships driven by the consumers. An industry that understands and uses customer engagement as a tool is the beauty industry.