Social Media

Prisma & Co: The Business Application

Last week, I shared some of the new and exciting apps that have emerged recently. In the conclusion of that post, I recommended trying out one or all of them just for fun. While the fun factor still stands, this week we’re going to explore some ways that one of these apps can be used in business marketing.

Facebook 360

Unfortunately, you can’t upload a Facebook 360 image to a business page yet on Facebook, just personal profiles. However, if you’re really hoping to upload one of these, you can upload it to your personal profile, make that particular post public, and share it as your business. It’s a lot of extra steps for now, but we’re guessing businesses will be able to upload 360 images in the near future.

Prisma

There aren’t many examples of businesses incorporating Prisma in their marketing at the moment, however, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it out. One idea is using it to spruce up a “regular” picture of your business (which is what we did below with Anchorspace).

Original

Original

Prisma Edited

Prisma Edited

Another idea is taking a featured image for one of your blog posts and making it into something interesting (there’s a new Abstract filter that seems pretty fun). Basically, when an app like this is in it’s infancy, you have a wide creative range- go ahead and see what you can create!

Boomerang

Boomerang came out almost a year ago, and it’s still being used consistently by businesses as part of their marketing. As one of Instagram’s satellite apps, it’s easy to share content on social media platforms (Instagram and Facebook) that you likely already have a presence on. It’s also easy to use- all you do is download the app, hold down a button to record a video, and save. Easy shareability and use are important characteristics for marketing apps and encouraging people to adapt a new social media platform in general.

Similar to GIF for business, Boomerang’s business application creates a way to visually grab your customer’s attention. It creates something eyecatching that will grab people’s attention as they scroll through their Instagram feed. As this article points out, “GIFs could potentially be the next emoji,” and although Boomerang videos technically aren’t GIFs, it’s not a huge leap. Boomerangs are easier to make from scratch than GIFs, as mentioned before, all you do is press a button. The one downside: to record on Boomerang you have to be within the app itself (meaning you can’t prerecord on your phone’s camera and reformat), which can make it hard to capture spontaneous footage.

What should you share? 

One of the trickier parts of Boomerang can be finding out what to share. Some ideas include your a fun shot of your storefront/office/physical location:

Happy Friday! By @stuporfluous

A video posted by Boomerang from Instagram (@boomerangfrominstagram) on

Show off a product:

Squad up! ???? by @usabasketball & @easymoneysniper

A video posted by Boomerang from Instagram (@boomerangfrominstagram) on

Or show off your goofy side:

Just rolling by ? with @xantheb

A video posted by Boomerang from Instagram (@boomerangfrominstagram) on

Since Boomerang videos are on an infinite loop, using video with some action or movement typically works best. A common Boomerang example is the blowing bubblegum loop. Reaction clips (think like a mime-exaggerated, dramatic expressions), jumping and throwing are also pretty common. It’s fun to do trial and error with, too- you never know when you’ll strike gold!

If you’re more interested in showing quick demonstrations or tours, Hyperlapse is probably a better Instagram satellite app. This creates a time-lapse video (or a sped up video) that’s longer than the 1 second Boomerang and doesn’t loop back and forth. Although it might not be the best for in-depth presentations, Hyperlapse can create a teaser video that creates interest and brings people to your website or store for more information/fact gathering.

As I said last week, Boomerang is a fun, easy to use app, and can bring an element of fun to your business marketing.

Kassie is a distance runner and a distance reader really. She lives in Ellsworth Maine and, while she might be quiet when you meet her, will throw out something witty when you least expect it.

Sorcery…or a New App?

Does it seem like there’s a new app popping up whenever you turn around? Well, you aren’t alone. I’m the first to admit that when it comes to learning a new thing, unless I have to, I resist. This means I’m usually pretty late to the game when it comes to things like Snapchat or even Facebook, back in the day. Over the past couple months, I’ve been pushing myself to stay on top of new and potentially interesting apps/features of apps.

Since I follow a lot of marketing related sites, it can be difficult to stay on top of it all without getting overwhelmed. Plus, it can be tricky to gauge what is going to be useful from a marketing perspective, or just be something annoying to learn that fizzles out in a matter of months. The little trick that’s saved me some time- if I can find it go by “in the wild,” either by a friend or another business, then I check it out.

To be fair, I did skip Pokemon Go (it seemed like a huge commitment and a huge black hole  for my productivity/free time). Those caveats aside, here are the noteworthy apps I’ve found over the summer:

Prisma: Makes your pictures into paintings. Like Instagram, there are different filters, but the cool thing is that the filters are actually based on different artistic styles. And, unlike a filter that overlays itself on the original photo (like Instagram), when you select a style on Prisma, “goes through different layers and recreates the photo from scratch” according to The Guardian’s interview with Prisma’s founders.

Original image (from Eagle Lake)

Original image (from Eagle Lake)

IMG_1625

The Scream

Mosiac

Mosiac

Gothic

Gothic

Composition

Composition

Boomerang: Made for Instagram, this app takes a burst of 5 photos and makes them into a video that loops back and forth (the total video is only 1 second long). You can save it within the app, or post it on Facebook and/or Instagram. Since the content is moving, it’s eye catching. I still have some work on perfecting my Boomerang capturing abilities, because I make myself vaguely motion sick whenever I try to rewatch my own videos. If you haven’t seen any yet, check out this list from Tech Insider that shares a few of the noteworthy attempts from early adopters.

Facebook 360:  Facebook 360 is basically a new way of sharing panoramic pictures. It may sound like an intense process, but it can be as simple as uploading a regular pano. If you’re using a phone, the photo can’t be cropped or resized, and has to cover at least 100 degrees of . According to Facebook’s information page on 360 photos, ” The most reliable way to create a 360 photo with your mobile device is to capture a photo with the Google Street View iOS or Android app.” I don’t necessarily have either of those apps, but if you don’t mind an extra step for “reliability,” this might be the way to go. For example, if you (like me) aren’t super skilled at the whole pano shot thing, and want to just be able to upload a picture without any fuss, using another app is a good strategy.

These apps are a lot of fun, so I highly recommend playing around with them (Prisma is especially entertaining). Next week, we’ll go over some ways that you can use these apps for your business marketing.

Kassie is a distance runner and a distance reader really. She lives in Ellsworth Maine and, while she might be quiet when you meet her, will throw out something witty when you least expect it.

Press Release Makeover

I’ve written the following press release about a fake rock band specifically as an example of what not to do. The names and events are fake but the errors in writing are all too common. Read it, if you dare, and then see how easy it is to give it some spit and polish and turn it into something publishable:

PISTOLS N’ PETALS TO REUNITE AFTER 16 YEAR HIATUS BRINGS TOGETHER FANS NEW AND OLD ALIKE AT ONE-OFF CONCERT TO SUPPORT LOCAL ANIMAL SHELTER

LOOKING FOR A GREAT SHOW? WELL THERE’S ONE COMING SOON AND YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHOSE BACK!!!!!

PISTOLS N’ PETALS FIRST TOOK THE WORLD BY STORM IN 1986 WITH THEIR DEBUT ALBUM “CRAVING FOR DEMOLITION.” IT MUST HAVE BEEN FATE WHEN LEAD GUITARIST RONNIE “CUTTER” ROSENTHAL AND DYNAMIC FRONTMAN PAUL “FUELPUMP” PETAL FIRST MET IN LOS ANGELOS! WITH DRUMMER BUCKY “TWIN-SKINS” BOOKER, THE GROUP TOOL LA GLAM METAL TO THE NEXT LEVEL!

THEY TOURED EVERYWHERE. THEY SOLD MILLIONS OF THEIR DEBUT RECORD “CRAVING FOR DEMOLITION”. THEIR FOLLOWUP, QUADROUPLE LP “THE LUNCHBOX HAS LANDED” BROKE THE RECORD FOR MOST WEAKS SPEANT ATOP THE BILLBOARD CHARTS.

EVEN THOUGH THEY’RE AN AMAZING BAND, MEMBERS WANTED TO DO OTHER THINGS AND SO THEY SPLIT UP IN 2000. CUTTER ROCKS OUT ALL THE TIME AS A SOLO ARTIST AND PETAL IS A PROFESSIONAL DIVER FOR SEA CUCUMBERS.

TRADGEDY STRUCK THE P N’ P FAMILY, THOUGH, WHEN BASSIST GIPPY “JACKHAMMER” MACDONALD DIED IN A BIZARRE GARDENING ACCIDENT, SO CUTTER AND FUELPUMP AND TWINSKINS ARE REUNITING FOR A SPECIAL, ONE-TIME ONLY REUNION AT THE 600-SEAT FARGO CIVIC ARENA IN FARGO, NORTH DAKOTA ON SEPTEMBER 1, 2016.

JACKHAMMER LOVED KITTENS. HE’D ALWAYS HAVE A LARGE BOX OF KITTENS ON THE TOUR BUS AND WE’D PLAY WITH THEM AFTER THE SHOW. THE GROUPIES LOVED THE KITTENS TO AND SOMETIMES THEY’D FORGET THAT WE WERE THERE AND JUST PLAY WITH THE KITTENS,” SAYS CUTTER. SO WE’RE GOING TO DONATE ALL THE PROCEEDS TO THIS SHOW TO THE GREATER FARGO HUMANE SOCIETY AND SHELTER. JACKHAMMER WOULD HAVE WANTED IT THAT WAY.

ITS GOING TO BE A FANTASTIC SHOW BUT DON’T WAIT TO GET TICKETS BECAUSE THEY’RE SURE TO SELL OUT QUICKLY! AND FOR A GREAT CAUSE TOO!

Awful. Hard to read. Here’s why:

• Never type in all-caps. It looks like you’re yelling. Plus, some poor schmuck is going to have to retype the whole thing.

• How long is that headline? Way too long.

• Writing style is more akin to an advertisement than a news piece.

• Where’s the lead? Why is the band’s history so prominent? Where’s the actual news? Where’s the dateline?

• Where does Cutter’s quote begin or end? That whole thing is a mess.

• How does one even get tickets for this thing?

• Who can I talk to with questions?

• When can this run? Who do I contact with questions?

OK, so let’s see if we can’t make this baby hum. We’ll shorten the headline, dig up the lead and toss all the extraneous wording and superlatives. Most importantly, we’ll make sure we include some contact and ticket sale information.

EMBARGOED

FOR RELEASE AUG. 18, 2016

Contact Bob Smith, Corporate Communications, Top 5 Record: 555-4444; bobsmith@fakedomainname.com

Pistols ‘N Petals to reunite for a good cause

First reunion in 16 years

FARGO, NORTH DAKOTA — Legendary heavy metal band Pistols N’ Petals are reuniting for the first time in 16 years in Fargo on Sept. 1. It’s all to benefit a great cause in memory of a recently deceased Pistols member.

Pistols N’ Petals took the world by storm in 1986 with their debut album, “Craving for Demolition.” Born out of the L.A. glam scene, Pistols was the brainchild of lead guitarist Ronnie “Cutter” Rosenthal, drummer Bucky “Twin-Skins” Booker and dynamic frontman Paul “Fuelpump” Petal.

The band became a live favorite, performing to millions during a sold-out world tour. P N’ P’s follow-up to “Craving,” 1992’s quadruple LP, “The Lunchbox Has Landed,” spent a record 55 weeks atop the Billboard charts, breaking the record previously set by the soundtrack to “West Side Story.”

The band split up in 2000 over creative differences. Cutter went on to pursue a successful solo career while Petal received his diving certification and now spends his days harvesting sea cucumbers.

The recent death of P N’ P bass player Gippy “Jackhammer” Macdonald in a gardening accident last year prompted the surviving members to reunite for this special, one-time only reunion at the 600-seat Fargo Civic Arena.

Proceeds will go toward the Greater Fargo Humane Society and Shelter.

“Jackhammer loved kittens,” said Cutter. “He’d always have a large box of kittens on the tour bus and we’d play with them after the show. So I can’t think of a better organization to donate our ticket sales to.”

Cutter addded: “Jackhammer would have wanted it that way.”

This is expected to be a sold-out performance and the band recommends getting tickets as soon as possible for this once-in-a-lifetime event.

Tickets will be available Aug. 21 at the Fargo Community Center at 3 Main St. and through Ticketmaster.

Why this version works:

1. It flows. It’s easy to read, uses good grammar and is still compelling without including extraneous details.

2. Right off the bat, the reader has the important information: That the band is back together Sept. 1 for a charity event in Fargo. Ticket information is included.

3. Still contains facts about the band’s history to lure in a new audience and plenty of color. Quotes are tightened and improved.

So Your Press Release Sucks. How to Make it Suck Less:

Worried that you aren’t getting the local media attention your organization deserves? Sending press releases to your local TV, radio station or paper, only to hear the sound of crickets in return? The problem may not be that your announcement isn’t newsworthy. The problem could be the way your approach in alerting local media. Here’s how to tell if your press releases suck, and how to fix them:

1. You don’t understand what a press release is.

Often, small businesses and organizations don’t understand the difference between a press release and a paid advertisement. You may submit a press release thinking that you have to pay for it, and that it will appear exactly as submitted, like an ad. You may also wonder, “how much will this cost me?”

A press release is not an advertisement. An ad is content you pay for, and there are some definite advantages to running an ad in place of or in addition to submitting a press release. As an advertiser, you have a degree of control over when your ad runs, where it runs and how often. You can pick the wording and decide what images will be featured. Not so with a press release, which is considered news content. The disadvantage is that you don’t have much of a say as to when or even if it will run. The uptick is that it’s free and you can pack in a lot of information. Learn more here: http://breakingeveninc.com/press­release­101­so­you­think-you­know­press­releases/

2. It was an afterthought.

If you’re going to put blood, sweat and tears into a project, make sure people know about it. Got a fundraiser coming up? Let the local media know a week or two ahead of time. Avoid procrastination. Don’t wait until the day before or, even worse, the day of your event or product launch to send it. Remember: News outlets prize timeliness.

3. You mailed or FAXed it

Email is so ubiquitous, so easy and so free that there’s no reason not to use it. We’re in a copy and paste age, and few local papers have newsroom staff dedicated to retyping your 800­word press release or scanning it in order to extract the text of your snail­mailed PR. FAXing is even worse, as often the reproduction is splotchy.

editorfrusteratedwithpressrelease

4. You sent it to the wrong news outlet, the wrong person or the wrong department

The Baltimore Sun probably isn’t going to run your press release about your bean supper fundraiser in Waldo County, Maine. Neither will the New York Times, Chicago Tribune or Boston Globe, for that matter. But local and regional news outlets will. Identify the blogs, papers, radio and TV stations and other media outlets whose audience will be interested in what it is that you’re doing. Once you’ve identified the right outlet, make sure it gets to the right department. Your press release should be sent to the newsroom, not to the advertising department or the circulation department. Keep an updated press contact list — we’ll explore more about the in a future blog post.

5. You didn’t include the right contact information

Your press release’s header needs to include the name of a person who to contact, as well as a phone number and email address. Without that, how will the reporter know who to contact so they can cover your amazing event?

6. You padded it

Don’t use a lot of superlatives, don’t try to be cute, don’t use exclamation marks, and remember to cut to the chase in your first paragraph — what we call the lead. Right off the bat, tell them who, what, when where and why your event or launch is important to a news outlet’s readers, viewers or listeners. Keep in mind that a press release should read like news, not like an advertisement. Check spelling and grammar, too.

notsurepr

7. Your photo was too small, out of focus, the wrong size/format

Remember that if you include a photo in your press release — and you probably should — that you don’t need to shoot on the latest Nikon DSLR. But it does need to be in focus. Don’t use any special filters to make it artsy. Don’t send it in black and white or use some monochrome filter. Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t imbed the photo within a Word document. It’s a pain to extract and the end results are usually less than desirable. One good photo is great. Two is better, but keep it to three, tops. Don’t send little bitty baby thumbnails. Think 300dpi at around 2 MB. Send photos as jpgs, not bitmaps (for goodness sake, it’s 2016 — who uses bitmaps any more?!).

8. You didn’t include any information about the photo

Very important but easily overlooked — captions, also known as cutlines. Include when and where the photo was taken, a brief description of who or what is pictured, and how it relates to your press release. If applicable, include the name of the people in the photo and their titles, and where they are situated within the photograph. In the caption, include the name of the photographer. The photographer is the person who actually took the person; not the person who owns the camera. That is, if George took a picture of Ringo with Paul’s camera, George is the photographer, not Paul.

9. You never followed up.

Take five minutes and call the newsroom to make sure they at least got the press release. A news outlet can’t run what it doesn’t have.

Stay tuned for more posts about Press Releases this month! In case you’ve missed them, be sure to check out our latest posts here:

Remixing Press Releases For Online Marketing

Press Release 101: So You Think You Know Press Releases?

Press Release 101: Writing and Formatting

Press Release 101: Using Imagery

Press Release 101: Releasing it into the Wild

 

To GIF or Not to GIF?

via GIPHY

A lot of social media platforms are now allowing you to share GIFs. GIFs are like the moving pictures in Harry Potter, they aren’t still but aren’t necessarily a full video either. In our internet travels, we’ve seen the good and bad side of GIF usage. They’re usually clips from popular movies/t.v. shows, or at least, that’s what typically comes to mind for me. Some businesses are using GIFs in a different way by creating their own and using them in marketing.

The GIF format has a few advantages. First, since it’s moving, it’s more likely to catch the eye of people scrolling through a feed. The clips are also usually short, another bonus for attention spans. There are also GIFs for almost every occassion/emotion out there, so they’re often used as a way to articulate or react to something.

Some companies or brands use them to showcase new products or demonstrations. It’s easier to illustrate than writing (and let’s face it, more interesting), and it’s easier to digest than a full (or at least several minutes long) type of video. A compilation of GIFs combined with some text instructions create an easy way for people to follow instructions. The Learn to Crochet Tumblr is one example of this.
Example: The tweet below from The New York Times uses a GIF as a way to catch your eye as you scroll.


It’s not the most revolutionary use of GIFs ever, but it’s a step up from reading the tweet sans image. A more innovative use of a GIF I’ve seen is from Dunkin Donuts, who uses it to create a conversation between two friends making breakfast plans. It’s quick, and a little bit corny, but it appropriately conveys the enthusiasm people have for donuts and coffee.

http://dunkindonuts.tumblr.com/post/134418868621/when-bestie-always-knows-what-you-want

Wait, you might be thinking, making my own GIFs? That’s nuts.  There are places online where you can accomplish this, like http://makeagif.com/. Although, to be fair, most of the larger companies like NYT or Dunkin Donuts have staff/agencies on hand to do exactly this. Fortunately, there are plenty of places online where you can find a library of reaction GIFs (mainly, GIPHY.com).

A couple common places you can find GIFs are Tumblr or Buzzfeed lists, which are purely for purposes of entertainment. Some people add them into their blogs or other social media as a way to illustrate a point. For instance, there’s this Buzzfeed list of “21 Perfect Reaction GIFs to Every Occassion” (FYI, they’re all animals).

Some blogs use GIFs, in addition to images and/or video, to emphasize a point. One of my favorite blogs, Run Eat Repeat, does this pretty frequently (usually with Bravo TV GIFs, which I love even more). Below is an example of one that she used to elaborate a story about getting stung by some bees on a run:

RERbeestinggif

So, whether you choose to make your own GIFs, use them to express a reaction/emotion, or just as a way to further illustrate a point (kind of like a meme on steroids), consider GIFs another tool in your marketing arsenal.

Kassie is a distance runner and a distance reader really. She lives in Ellsworth Maine and, while she might be quiet when you meet her, will throw out something witty when you least expect it.

Pokemon Go from a Marketer’s Perspective

Lately it seems like a lot of things from my childhood are coming back into the world, but repurposed for modern times, but with a bit of a twist. On July 4th, I was part of a conversation that relived the whole Pokemon obsession that most of the group had experienced in the late ’90s/early 00s. We joked about the varying levels of involvement- one guy was able to name all of the first 150. Only one person in the group hadn’t partaken in the Pokemon craze, and we teased her about it. 5 days later, Pokemon Go was released. Although we were all pretty into Pokemon as kids, the latest revival wasn’t as appealing to us. I asked my brother if he’d heard of it, and his response was along the lines of “Oh wait, they actually want me to walk around? Nevermind.”

If you’ve been on the internet at all lately, you’ve probably heard about Pokemon Go. Despite it’s lukewarm reception in the group I mentioned above, there are plenty of others who are going just as crazy over this game as the first round. It’s attracting users from all walks of life and is even becoming more popular than Tinder and Snapchat less than a month after release (in terms of mobile apps and usage).

 

From a marketing perspective, Pokemon Go has some unique opportunities, and unlike a lot of the other fringe networks, businesses have quickly discovered some different ways to get in on the action.

Let us!!! It will absolutely help you catch 'em all!!!! #pokemongo #charmander #pokemonshoes #mainerunning

A photo posted by Fleet Feet Maine Running (@fleetfeetmainerunning) on

This Instagram Post from Fleet Feet Sports uses the latest fad to create fun marketing messages. You don’t necessarily have to be “in” on the whole thing, but knowing enough to make a decent reference to it in your marketing can get some positive feedback. This applies to any fad/trending topic, too. Knowing a little can go a long way.

A slightly deeper knowledge of the game could lead to a sign like this (there are 3 teams to choose from in the game, giving it another interesting edge). Yes, there’s the risk of alienating some people who aren’t in on the joke, or people who are in but not part of that particular team…That’s a risk you’ll have to decide whether or not is worth taking as a business. Either way, I thought it was pretty clever, or at the very least, humorous. Another thing was a restaurant that offers specials based on what level you’re on in the game, all you have to do is show your server your phone.

pokemondiscount

Full story here: http://bit.ly/2a561GL

Another popular way businesses are getting involved in the game is dropping lures. The art/science/what-have-you of obtaining a lure admittedly doesn’t make a ton of sense to me, but as a business or individual you can acquire them (they’re apparently pretty hard to come by and/or cost some money). The idea is that it attracts Pokemon to a certain area (i.e. your business), thus attracting potential customers. This article does a better job at explaining the whole “lure” thing that I am” http://www.androidauthority.com/use-lures-pokemon-go-704942/. Even the Sydney Opera House tried it out a couple weeks ago...And as a few businesses in NYC have noticed, the little bit of money they spent on a lure was returned seven times by attracting enough people in to the storefront (full story here).

So whether or not you decide to take advantage of the Pokemon Go market in the near future, it’s an interesting look at how a new platform can be used in unexpected ways for businesses. And then there’s this:

Customers-Only-sign

If you are in on the joke, be in on the joke… or ignore it. Being a poor sport gets you no points… in gaming, marketing, or life. Where will you ‘Go’?

Kassie is a distance runner and a distance reader really. She lives in Ellsworth Maine and, while she might be quiet when you meet her, will throw out something witty when you least expect it.
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