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You Don’t Get to Copycat Just Because Someone Already Invented the Wheel

Social media platforms have been ‘borrowing’ each other’s features since the beginning.

The latest instance involves Snapchat’s famous disappearing Stories feature being used by Instagram, and now Facebook.

How Facebook Is Trying To Be More Like Snapchat

A couple weeks ago, I’d noticed the Facebook Messenger App had a new feature called “My Day,” which is basically a way to chronicle your day in photos/videos that disappears after 24 hours, similar to Instagram and Snapchat stories. I noticed a few of the people I’m connected to on Messenger had tried it out.

Yesterday, if you were on the Facebook app (i.e. not on a computer), you may have noticed a few small circles at the top of the page before your Newsfeed starts. On the farthest left, there is a circle with the folded up paper airplane which has come to symbolize Direct Message in social media-world (direct message = a private convo). The next circle is for you to add your own story, and the farther out ones are for your friends stories.

Facebook’s Story feature comes with a lot of the same tools as the original on Snapchat: fun filters, the ability to draw, geofilters…but they don’t have the ability to FaceSwap (which still appears to be unique to Snapchat) or do the fun slo-mo videos. Business Pages are not allowed to use Facebook Stories at this time. (For more information on the similarities and differences between the app, check out this article from TechCrunch).

Regardless of your opinions on Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, or any of the social media platforms, the way they utilize popular tools from one another more or less successfully calls to mind an old saying: “You don’t have to reinvent the wheel.” I’m pretty sure this isn’t meant to encourage straight up copying another business, but finding inspiration here and there.

How You Can Not Reinvent The Wheel Without Taking Someone Else’s Wheel

The key to it all: Think inspiration, not duplication. For instance, if you’re trying to come up with a design for an email newsletter, one way to get ideas is to look at what other businesses are using (looking within your industry can be a good starting point). After doing some research, you’ll have a better idea what your own taste preferences are, like if you prefer a fancy header, want to include exclusive new deals every month, dislike sans serif fonts, etc. You aren’t necessarily looking for a template to straight up copy.

The same goes for website design, ideas for social media contests, etc. There’s nothing wrong with doing some research and finding inspiration, but take some time and effort to make it unique to you and your business. Just because the wheel has already been invented doesn’t mean you don’t need to offer any creative input. Make it your wheel before putting it out in the world.

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.

How Pregnancy Has Made Me a Target

…For online ads, that is.

Although I didn’t make a public announcement until recently, targeted ads still found out, and kept appearing on my Facebook and Instagram feeds. But, if I hadn’t told anyone yet, how did the internet already know I was pregnant?

Soon after finding out, I downloaded two apps, BabyCenter and What to Expect (both fairly popular). I also started a registry online. Several online articles say that this combination of app downloading and browsing history made the announcement happen a little earlier- not to actual humans, but to the internet. (Side note: I did almost accidentally make a semi-public announcement to the internet via Pinterest when I mindlessly pinned a pregnancy related article to a board I thought was private- whoops). There’s a creepy Big Brother vibe to it.

Here are some of the more interesting targeted ads I’ve seen go by:

Exhibit A: Ovia, a Pregnancy & Baby Tracker This is a screenshot from my phone, which I’d normally crop but knowing this was a mobile ad vs desktop is important. As mentioned earlier, I already have two similar apps downloaded on my phone (from the App Store, not through a link on Facebook).

Admittedly, I did decide to download it because it’s more interactive than other apps (allowing you to track weight gain, keep track of meals and moods, look up symptoms- I can’t tell you how many times I’ve Googled “Is ____ normal during pregnancy,” and size comparisons that aren’t just food based). Size comparisons include fruits & veggies, Parisian Bakery, Fun & Games, and Weird-but-cute animals (guess what I chose?) So, this was a sponsored ad success.

Unfortunately, I don’t actually know how big a Roborovski Hamster is, but I’m still having fun.

 

Exhibit B: Carousel Designs. This was a desktop ad that appeared in my Facebook newsfeed as I took a break from registry building (which, I’ve found requires some breaks). I didn’t give it more than a passing glance because I was on a baby shopping break, but for purposes of this post I did some follow up.

The link redirects to babybedding.com, which makes sense because it’s entirely crib/nursery related. I’m not in any position to design a nursery right now, due to figuring out space and not knowing if it’s a boy or girl yet.

Exhibit C) Preggo Leggings The timeline for this ad is interesting. Not only did it coincide with browsing for maternity clothing, it also appeared after being put in a Lularoe Legging group on Facebook. I’m not really sure which one triggered this particular ad (probably the maternity clothes), but here we are.

I didn’t click through this ad because I’m kind of burnt out on the online world of leggings right now. The internet may have a good eye for search history, but that doesn’t mean it has perfected it’s timing. It did seem like they were a bit more expensive than I’m willing to pay for an article of clothing I can only wear for another 5ish months, and with all the other stuff that I have to worry about, leggings aren’t very high on the list.

Exhibit D: Babiesfan Fun fact, I can’t actually find anything online about this sponsored ad, and I didn’t click on the link in Instagram. I’m kind of regretting that now, though, since this pillow is looking heavenly on a Friday afternoon. (I am thinking while some pregnancy offerings are more niche, like the leggings, this pillow may be a more universally appealing item.) This was my first Instagram targeted ad, and I’m sure more will follow.

Finally, this isn’t really an ad, but an interesting notification from one of the baby apps. It’s a light inactivity notification (“Hey, you haven’t posted anything to Instabookchat in awhile. Let your friends know what you’re up to”). Since I don’t really ‘participate’ in the app, apart from reading the daily tips and seeing the cool weekly progress updates (I’m not sure why fruits and vegetables are the go-to scale for size updates, but that could be a blog post of it’s own), Babycenter was giving me a bit of a nudge.

I’m not sure how I feel about being low key shamed by a robot for already not participating enough in mom activities, but for what it’s worth I did take a look into the group forums. Unfortunately I got sucked into reading a lot of “Here is everything that can go wrong” discussions, and decided to stick with the daily tips section instead.

So, if you’re pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or just curious, the body isn’t the only thing that changes- your internet might start to look a little different, too. But remember that you can customize the internet to see less of the ads, notifications, and other personalized online experiences so you can be as comfortable as possible, whether you have a baby at the avocado stage or just had guacamole for lunch.

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.

Marketing Monday: Picky Bars

After looking into the Whole 30 a couple years ago, I started paying more attention to labels. They say that ignorance is bliss, and that’s definitely true for me once I started tuning in. For me, the absolute worst thing was reading the labels on granola/granola bars. “It’s pure sugar” I internally wailed while agonizing over putting it back on the shelf.

Enter Picky Bars, created by Jesse Thomas and Lauren Fleshman. Jesse is a professional Triathlete, and Lauren is a recently-retired professional runner (I’ve listened to her on a few different podcasts now and she’s my hero when it comes to running/motherhood/creativity/health). Picky Bars was born from a need for a way to fuel before/during/after workouts in a natural, not heavily processed way. Way before I started reading the labels on my food, Jesse and Lauren had already been working to create a healthy solution to their problem.

Of course, they didn’t stop at production (this would hardly be a “Marketing Monday” post if they had). Lauren and Jesse found a way to create their product and make it fun along the way.

Social Media

I started following Picky Bars on Instagram about a year ago, which is where this whole thing started for me. One thing that stood out was that they primarily featured their own employees in their content. They have scenes around the office that feature inventory, ‘a day in the office,’ and what their employees are up to (something like “so and so went on this hike today”). From the outside looking in, it seems like a fun place to go work.

pickybarsinsta

Promotions

Another fun thing I noticed on Instagram was the occasional promotions that they run. The week before Halloween, just for fun, all orders were shipped with fake vampire teeth. Sure, it’s not the most profound thing ever, but it was putting ‘out of the box’ in the box, so to speak. They also recently promoted their BFS, or Big Freakin’ Sale, where everything was 30% off. During the BFS, they also ran a Bar for Bar offer that donated a bar to a local charity for every bar purchased in that time period.

Subscription Options and Creative Marketing

While Picky Bars can be found in various retail locations, they aren’t everywhere (the nearest one to me is in Bethel, about 130 miles away). However, they have an easy online subscription system called the Picky Club, where members select the amount of bars they’d like to receive each month and their favorite flavors.

Members also get some perks, like getting a Sneak Peek bar each month and being able to give feedback, and perks not available to the public.

Plus, their call to action is pretty fun. Not to mention the actual names of their bars, from Moroccan Your World, Cookie Doughpness, and Need for Seed, to name a few. My weakness is cleverly named products, and I think this creativity is what sold me on Picky Bars.

pickybarssubscription

The Site

The Picky Bars website is more than just an ecommerce site. From the copy to the font, it reflects the values and personality of the business. You have a pretty good idea what to expect from a customer standpoint. And, that’s what websites are all about, right?

As someone who is fairly active and loves subjects in health and fitness, Picky Bars has found a way to market their already amazing products in a way that’s fun and true to the brand. And, if they ever ask me, I have a few new flavor selections to offer them.

 

 

 

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.

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.

11 Instagram Accounts to Check Out

It’s safe to say that Instagram is my (Kassie’s) favorite social network. It could be that I’m a visual person, or that the platform feels less cluttered than Facebook and less stressful than Twitter to me. This post is, quite simply, a “just for fun” post that shares 10 of my favorite accounts that I follow, accompanied with a sample post from each.

The Good Quote (@thegoodquote)

Follow for: Feel good quotes, inspiration, thought-provocation, and a general mood boost throughout the day.

Follow @thegoodstore.co

A photo posted by Positive & Motivational Quotes (@thegoodquote) on

Mind Body Green (@mindbodygreen)

Follow for: Wellness tips, quotes, yoga poses, and of course, pictures of food (this combination of pineapple and chocolate is one of the best-looking eats I’ve ever seen).

Have the sweetest of weekends! Also, happy early #mothersday ? // ?: @talinegabriel #healthytreat

A photo posted by mindbodygreen (@mindbodygreen) on

Chris Mogg (@livingmovingbeing)

Follow for: 15-20 minute workouts that you can do at home, complete with explanations and 15-ish second video tutorials. Full disclosure: I’ve only ever successfully completed one of these workouts, they aren’t easy!

? 20 minute Ab HIIT! Got time for a quickie? This ab workout will have your core carved in no time! Details: perform each move for 45 seconds of WORK followed by 15 seconds rest. Complete 4 rounds, resting for 60 seconds between rounds! ?? lying oblique v-up (side 1) ? lying oblique v-up (side 2) ?? hollow hold knee tuck crunches ?? out and up heel taps ?? crocodile leg lowers (swap which leg is raised half way through the interval) The LMB eBook training guide + healthy eating guide are a v a i l a b l e NOW! Get your hands on them for fully guided workouts, fitness motivation tips, clean-eating recipes and LOADS more!! ??? www.livingmovingbeing.com.au #LMBfit #getLMBfit @fitness_videos @instafitvideoz @homeworkouts_4u @fit.co @home.exercises @gym_videos @fitgirlsworldwide #fitness_videos #instafitvideoz #homeworkouts_4u #fitfam #fitnessmotivation #workout #training #fitnessblog #fitcoteam #fitnessinstructor #fitlife #fitnesslifestyle #fitnessaddict #gym_videos #getfit #weightloss #homeworkout #getfitathome #hiitworkout #abs #abworkouts @hiitistheshit @ab.videos

A video posted by Chriss Mogg (@livingmovingbeing) on

Bustle (@bustle)

Follow for: Laughs. Bustle is a website for people who are “curious about the world,” covering topics in entertainment, modern life, books, and current events.

??????

A photo posted by Bustle (@bustle) on

Elite Daily (@elitedaily)

Follow for: Current events packaged specifically for millennials. Proof that learning about what’s going on in the world is actually pretty fun. The post below isn’t necessarily related to current events, but it’s a generally relatable struggle.

I'll have what he's having @thrillist

A photo posted by Elite Daily (@elitedaily) on

Downeast Magazine (@downeastmagazine)

Follow for: Beautiful pictures from around our area of the world. It’s pretty fun to see such stunning images and realize that’s what we get to see every day.

Sunrise over Southwest Harbor — Submitted by @wornbrick See more and submit your #Mainelife photos using the link in our profile.

A photo posted by Down East Magazine (@downeastmagazine) on

Run Eat Repeat (@runeatrepeat)

Follow For: Humorous memes covering healthy eating, fitness, and Bravo, with the occasional blog promo.

Just keep swimming!

A photo posted by Run Eat Repeat / Monica Olivas (@runeatrepeat) on

Emilia Clarke (@emilia_clarke)

Follow for: Hilarious posts from one of my favorite actresses, where she makes Game of Thrones related jokes among other things. If I could be any celebrity, it’d be her.

Cleo Wade (@cleowade)

Follow for: Handwritten notes and poems from poet/artist Cleo Wade that have a simple and positive message.

@gloriasteinem says, "a goal is a dream you move towards."

A photo posted by cleo wade (@cleowade) on

Quarter Life Poetry (@quarerlifepoetry)

Follow for: Relatable quatrains about life as a twenty-something year old (i.e. “The young, broke & hangry”). Sometimes I’m not sure if I need to laugh or cry…

Dogs of Instagram (@dogsofinstagram)

Follow for: Well, pictures of dogs…if you’re having a bad day or just generally need a pick-me-up, there’s really no better medicine.

"It's too early mom! Can we go back to bed? ?" writes @lizzie.bear. #dogsofinstagram

A photo posted by Dogs of Instagram (@dogsofinstagram) on

There are many others that I’d like to pay tribute to here, but I’m cutting myself off at 11 (otherwise I’d just keep adding forever until I break the website somehow). If you haven’t already, check some or all of these accounts out-I promise they’re worth it!

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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