Social Media

What’s In a Name?

I was reviewing a recent post from my colleague, Kassie, about some fading trends. It got me to thinking about this ongoing trend in odd-sounding online company names.

Let’s start with the ubiquitous “Facebook.” The original name for this plucky social media startup was “The Facebook” as coined by founder Mark Zuckerberg in 2004 as an online directory for Harvard Students. According to Speeli (an actual website with that actual name), “A Facebook is (a) collection of names and photos of people distributed in American universities.” The name was eventually shortened.

As we know, Facebook has since faded into obscurity and never had a movie made about it, meanwhile, Zuckerberg is now working as a low-paid temp in suburban Ohio performing light clerical duties. Ha! Just kidding about the world’s most popular social network (please don’t delete my account, Mr. Zuckerberg).



So there is a rhyme and reason behind the name, even if it’s a bit obscure. Facebook, we’ll give you a pass.

Moving onto “Google.” A Googol, as you may or may not recall, is a numeral representing a 1 followed by one hundred 0s. The search engine’s founders named their company after “Googol,” but misspelled it as “Google,” according to the Stanford Daily. So there you have it. The site you go to in order to figure out the correct spellings of strange words is actually itself misspelled. Still, it’s better than the initial name for the company: Backrub (seriously).

“Tinder.” First of all, kudos to the folks at Tinder for not dropping the “e” in their name. Many an online company try to be clever by sacrificing vowels in the search to be “edgy” and to “register a domain name that hasn’t been taken.” (I’m looking at you, Tumblr.) Anyway, “tinder” is defined as “material that is easily combustible and can be used for lighting a fire, e.g. dry sticks.” So with Tinder, once you have a spark, you can make fire or a flame. Makes sense for a match making site.

“Wikipedia.” I kind of hate word mashups. Snapchat, LinkedIn, Buzzfeed, YouTube. Bunch of cutting-edge innovative jerks, all of them! But I’ll make an exception for Wikipedia.

As one can imagine, Wikipedia does a pretty good job of defining itself: “The name ‘Wikipedia’ is a portmanteau of the words wiki (a technology for creating collaborative websites, from the Hawaiian word wiki, meaning ‘quick’) and encyclopedia.” So “Wikipedia” means “Quick Encylopedia,” something I learned by Googling “Wikipedia,” which led me to Wikipedia’s page on … Wikipedia.

“Reddit.” Much like The B Sharps from “The Simpsons,” Reddit is a name that seems funny and clever the first time you say it, but gets less so the more you repeat it. The company’s FAQ says says, “It’s (sort of) a play on words — i.e., ‘I read it on reddit.'”

There also a lengthy Reddit thread on a supposed Latin definition of the word that we can only assume devolves into comments regarding “OP’s mom.”



5 Tips for Engaging People on Social Media

One of the biggest challenges businesses have with social media is engagement: Generating likes, comments, shares, etc. After all, what’s the point of your social media presence if you’re just shouting into the abyss? Building an audience that will interact with your business on social media can be difficult. But before you get discouraged, take a look at these tips:

Offer a contest. Everybody loves to win something, even if it’s bragging rights (but if you have an actual prize to offer, so much the better). Contests can be a fun once- or twice-a-year thing, and they don’t have to be very complicated. You can even make it as simple as “Guess how many jellybeans are in the jar for a $25 gift certificate.”

A few years ago, Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound offered a Facebook contest where users created an “unofficial slogan” for the restaurant in order to be entered into a random drawing for a t-shirt. There were a couple hundred entries and an increase in page likes over the duration of the contest.



Brainstorm with coworkers and/or check out others in your industry for contest ideas.

Ask Questions. Ask your followers questions on your social media platforms to drive up engagement. This article recommends avoiding broad questions such as “What’s your favorite flavor?” Rather, they suggest giving users multiple choices and an accompanying graphic. Questions can be phrased as customer-service oriented, too. Example: “If we were to add a new machine to the cardio room, what would you choose?” This could also be done using a multiple choice format. Asking a question encourages people to interact with your page (and bonus points to you for responding back).

Encourage people to share. Encourage followers to share how they use your product (this is also known as “User Generated Content”). If you have a brick-and-mortar store, post a sign encouraging people to check in and/or tag your business on social media. And, the more content you can get others to post on your behalf, the better — it increases your reach, and all you did was put up a sign! Again, there’s a lot of ways to be creative.

Ask for Reviews. It may feel a little weird at first, but trust me — one of the best ways to get online reviews is to “make the ask.” It doesn’t have to be frequent — maybe once a week or every other week — in order to remind people where you are online. Cross-pollinate these requests. Example: Folks might already be reviewing you on Facebook. So post on Facebook a reminder that your business can also be reviewed on Yelp or Google+. People are willing to help you out, but they have to know where and how.

People are willing to help you out, but they have to know where and how.

Pay attention to analytics. Sounds boring? Maybe, but following your analytics may be the most helpful thing you can do to boost engagement. Look at individual social media accounts to devise the best strategy for each. For example, you may find Twitter requires more posts per day than Facebook. Automate this task using online tools such as Buffer, MeetEdgar, or Hootsuite. (Source)

As you create a social media marketing plan, think about how you can incorporate some of these ideas into your strategy and encourage people to interact with what you have to say.



T.M.I. Part 1: It’s Personal

We live in a world where information is at our finger tips, and it’s just as easy to share a ton of information, too. Nicole has talked about how people draw their own lines when it comes to social media, and that sort of thing is really up to us as individuals. It’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about in the realm of sharing vs. oversharing.

What constitutes TMI? Honestly, it depends on individual preferences so there’s no real “cookie cutter” answer for this one. Cultural perception also has an impact on what people deem appropriate for sharing: “While tweeting about your aunt’s divorce might be considered taboo in one country, it might be received with a shrug in a nation inured to the antics of the Kardashians” (source).

I’ve thought a bit about what “TMI” looks like on social media, and there are a few different ways to think about it. There’s what you share on your personal accounts, what a business shares, and what a multi-level marketer might share. Today, I’m going to focus on sharing on personal accounts.



Sharing & Personal Accounts

If you Google “Oversharing on Social Media,” there’s a ton of information, from articles written by other social media marketers to scholarly articles and psychological studies. Apparently, when you share something on social media about yourself, the reward system of your brain gets triggered (source) and you want to do it more and more,which is why oversharers tend to keep sharing- it feels good so they keep doing it.

Based on these articles, it seems like there are two components of oversharing- content and frequency of posting.

“Content” is basically the “stuff” of your post– be it your aunt’s divorce as mentioned above, or something else that might be deemed “too personal for social media.”

Frequency of posting is exactly what it sounds like- how many times a day are you posting online? This can be a personal limit, and it can also vary from social platform (i.e. you may post three times a day to Twitter without thinking twice about it, but more than once every three days on LinkedIn seems like too much).

I’m not going to get all preachy and tell you what you can/should post on social media- “personal” profile really means what you personally are comfortable with sharing. Both content and frequency are subjective, so it’s dependent on the person who is doing the sharing.

Some things, related to professionalism and safety, are best not to share. This includes things like your address, if you’re going to be home alone or away on vacation, if you had a disagreement with your boss or a coworker, that sort of stuff. This article encourages people to “Pause Before Posting,” especially if you are in an emotionally charged head-space while typing. We aren’t all diplomats, but there’s something to be said for being mindful of your words and possible repercussions rather than posting on impulse.

If what you want to share is has nothing to do with professionalism or safety, consider potentially adjusting your audience. Some things you may want semi-private, only sharing with a small group of people. It may be better to share these posts in a message with that select group of people, or creating a private Facebook group made up of the people you want to share with specifically (groups can be made either public or private, whereas a Facebook page is always public). If your views are very specific and perhaps not popular, an anonymous social media platform like Reddit or Whisper might be a better fit.

Overall, if you’re worried about your use (or potential overuse) of social media, you aren’t alone. Many people have gone on social media “diets.” Below are a few resources to check out if you want to learn more about reshaping your relationship with social media:

5 Signs You Should Take a Break from Social Media (Huffington Post)

Unplugging or Overcorrecting? Online Life in Moderation (Breaking Even Blog)

How to Detox from Social Media without Deleting Your Account (Hubspot)

Stay tuned for our next post on TMI: The Business Edition!



Courting Controversy

A few major brands have waded into some controversial waters lately, leveraging our current national discord in order to send what is hoped to be a positive message. The results have been all over the map. Here are three recent examples:

    1. Budweiser, Born the Hard Way”

Described as “the story of our founder’s ambitious journey to America in pursuit of his dream: to brew the King of Beers,” this cinematic Super Bowl commercial drew criticism from certain folks for a perceived pro-immigrant bias, especially given that it was released around the same time the president issued an executive order regarding immigration. The hashtag #boycottbudwiser (sic) started circulating before the commercial even aired.

However, as Mashable notes the boycott largely failed, in that “The boycotters … missed the larger historical context of the Budweiser ad.”



      1. Pepsi, “Live For Now”

      What can be said about this ad that hasn’t already been said? Pepsi and Jenner were raked over the coals by, well, everyone, including SNL:

      The biggest complaint was that ad was tone-deaf in how it co-opped imagery from Black Lives Matter and other earnest political movements. The thinking that beautiful people drinking sugary beverages will solve the world’s problems is also flawed. In any event, “Live For Now” didn’t live for long. Pepsi wisely yanked the ad a day after its release.

  1. 3. Heineken, “Worlds Apart”

OK, so, if we take the lessons learned from both Budweiser and Pepsi, the message seems to be: Stay away from topical material to avoid ridicule and boycotts. But then along comes Heineken with this ad that takes a huge risk and somehow manages to pull it off.

Writing for The A.V. Club,Gwen Ihnat notes that by using real people, as opposed to models and actors, Heineken “very simply and succinctly accomplishes what Jenner and all those hundreds of Pepsi street-activist extras could not.”

Heineken’s strategy isn’t exactly new, argues Sarah Rense in this piece by Esquire: “It uses the reliable trope of Real People seeing something and/or someone for the first time, and then having their minds changed, mixed with a healthy dose of social awareness.” Rense also notes that, in the wake of the Pepsi debacle, Heineken had a low bar to clear: “By itself, it’s just an ad meant to sell a thing. But compared to the Pepsi ad, it deserves a Cannes Lion. Makes you smile a bit, too.”

Tapping into a nation’s divisions to sell fizzy beverages isn’t necessarily groundbreaking. Coke may have done it first with “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony)” way back in 1971.

Horribly cheesy? Yes. A cynical attempt to use flower children to sell soda? Yeah, probably. Offensive? Well, I didn’t see anyone in riot gear, so not really. Actually, the jingle was so successful that it was reworked into a full length song and became a hit on the Billboard charts.

I’m going to end this by recalling an earlier BEC post from 2016 regarding ethics in marketing.

In that post, we outlined a few steps on how to be ethical in marketing: Do the research, Be objective, Be the good, and Get better. We can also cull one other lesson in marketing the Heineken ad: Take the time to get it right. This is doubly true if you’re using a societal issue to spread specific message.



Etsy Featured Artist: Jennifer Steen Booher

This month on the blog we are all about Etsy, the online marketplace for “unique goods.” We have a lot of local people who use Etsy as an ecommerce tool, and they’re the best people to talk to about the platform!
Jennifer Steen Booher is a Bar Harbor resident who focuses on fine art photography. Her Beachcombing Series offers a unique perspective on the shores of MDI and “the overlapping forces and life forms that depend on the shoreline” (from “About the Beachcombing Series). Here’s what she has to say about Etsy (BEC questions in bold).
What made you decide to use Etsy as a marketplace for your business?

I joined Etsy on May 1, 2008, so I just had my 9th anniversary! Etsy was a lot smaller back then, and the community aspect pulled me in. It still works as a community, just a much bigger one. There are forum discussions about every aspect of doing business on Etsy, with more experienced sellers helping out the new people, and I spent a lot of time there when I first started. It was a great way to get into online sales, and it felt like a whole lot of people really wanted me to succeed.



Do you sell your products anywhere else online or in real life?

I have a website, jenniferbooher.com. I’m on a couple of other sites that do their own printing, like Fine Art America and Artfully Walls, and I work with Alamy for licensing my landscape and travel photography. I tend to keep my fine art stuff on my own website and Etsy. My website and Etsy are my biggest source of online print sales.

Seashell Snowflake Notecards- available on Etsy

How do you stand out in this marketplace?

I have a pretty distinctive niche – there are not that many people doing this kind of modern, minimalist, natural-history-and-ocean-themed art.  It appeals to people both on a nostalgic level (it reminds them of things they picked up on their own vacations) and on an artistic level (people who want to furnish their beach houses with something more thought-provoking than lighthouses and starfish). My work is very crisp and clean, so it works with a lot of different decor styles. I give the same artistic weight to trash as I do to shells and beach stones, which sometimes confuses people, but more often it inspires them to look at the shoreline in a different way. It’s easy to ignore trash, but these photos suggest that it’s worth examining.  I’ve shipped my work to at least 15 countries and 30 states.

“Beachcombing No. 50,” available on Etsy.

What’s your advice for anyone considering selling their products on Etsy?

Read all of Etsy’s guidelines for newcomers about things like tagging and getting your work found. Spend some quality time in the Forums reading questions (to get an idea of what problems Etsy sellers run into) and the discussions (to see how other sellers solve those problems.) The Forums are an amazing resource! Depending on what you are selling, joining a team can be helpful, especially if you do craft fairs and can find a geographically-based team. The Etsy Maine Team is very active and in additions to their online discussions they also organize pop-ups and participate in fairs. I don’t do craft fairs anymore (my work doesn’t sell there) so I haven’t been very active with the team, but I think they’d be a great resource for a newcomer.

Woodland Series No. 2, available on Etsy

Tell us about your most interesting Etsy transaction (i.e. weird customer questions/requests, or a purchasing experience).

My very first photography sale was to a guy who wanted to glue my photos of sea urchins and crab shells onto a surfboard as a display. He wanted to know if the photo paper would warp under the wet polyurethane. I thought it very probable they would, but he bought them anyway.

(Just for fun) If you had $100 to spend anywhere on Etsy, what would you buy?

An original drawing from Jane Mount’s Ideal Bookshelf series!Wait, no, a set of Arte et Manufacture’s coffee mugs.

Oh no, hang on, crazy vintage eyeglasses from Collectable Spectacle.

My ‘favorites’ list is 13 pages long – clearly this could go on for a while…

Thanks again to Jennifer for answering our Etsy questions, and make sure you check out her website!



5 Ideas for Instagram Marketing

Instagram, like any good social media platform, has in the past 6 months-year added a few new features, which most businesses approach with caution at first. As businesses/people have gotten more comfortable with marketing on Instagram, I’ve noticed a few interesting ways that people are using Instagram to connect with followers and current/prospective customers.

Here are the five different things I’ve seen on Instagram lately:

  1. The Instagram Takeover. A “takeover” is giving someone else control of the business’s Instagram account, usually for a day but it can also be a weekend. An Instagram takeover usually happens with someone who is sort of related to your business/industry. For instance, Wyman’s Blueberry allowed a food blogger to take over their Instagram page for a whole week. What I noticed in this takeover was that @holly_tasteandsee stuck to on-brand recipes (meaning she integrated Wyman’s products into her takeover posts). It gave Wymans followers something new to look at, and it gave both @holly_tasteandsee’s and Wymans exposure to new audiences.

If you want to try a takeover for your business, find someone who is relevant to what you do (i.e. food company and food blogger, business letting an employee takeover posts, etc), and create parameters with that person if necessary (this could be called common sense, but may still be a helpful conversation to have).



2) Featuring another person. In March (Women’s History Month), Rustic Arrow Maine had “Women Wednesdays” where they featured a local female entrepreneur on their Instagram. It featured a photo of the woman, a caption that included her Instagram handle, and a brief description of her work/business. This type of feature gives you more control than a Takeover, while including other people in your post. This gets attention for their business, too, while creating something new and fun for your Instagram page. Following general rules of social media etiquette, remember to ask a person before you feature them on your Instagram page.

3) Multiple picture post. This Instagram update is great news for those who want to create larger updates like new products/meals etc, but don’t want to overwhelm followers with several different posts. The catch is that all must be in square shape and will receive the same filter. People will be able to see that there are multiple photos in a post, so you don’t have to worry about them “missing out” on the other images in your post.

Garnier and many other Instagram sponsored ads will use this technique as it gives you more bang for your advertising buck. This product image was actually the last in the post- the preceding images were all happy looking women with different hair colors/textures.

4) Use of a specific hashtag to promote a contest (and sharing participant’s photos that came out well). Downeast Magazine is well known (at least, to me) for doing this sort of thing. They request that users tag them and use a specific hashtag, and share some of the content on their own page (after asking permission and using correct attribution). This is a tool called “User Generated Content,” which has become a buzzword in marketing over the past couple years. The idea is to encourage users to share something- in this case, a photo that represents #Mainelife.

Downeast Magazine has quite a few contests/user engagement ideas if you go to their Instagram page. Right now, they are in the process of sharing 40 items from “The Great Maine Scavenger Hunt,” featured in the print magazine. Another thing that is worth pointing out- in the caption for the post below, they say “See our website for more info about entering the hunt,” so if increasing website traffic in an organic, natural matter is something you’re trying to do, promoting content on Instagram is a clever way to do that.

 

5) Unique use of Bookmarks. Seabags Maine, a company that makes bags out of recycled sails. They recently used the new bookmark feature in Instagram (similar to Facebook’s ‘save for later’) to create a contest. They created a “puzzle” and posted one piece at a time (out of order, of course) and gave specific instructions about how to enter the contest. They also accepted the first 5 to respond as winners, which could have encouraged more participation (people may see this and think “I have a shot!” vs. “there’s no way I’ll be the first person to respond so why bother”).

Have you seen any interesting things go by on Instagram that could be useful for businesses (or is just cool in general)? Let us know! 

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