social media

Marketing a Memory

It’s been a big year for looking back. At least, it certainly feels that way, with “Back to the Future” Day this past October and the new Star Wars movie coming out in a few weeks. Some classic Nick at Nite shows are airing again, Mad Max and Vacation came back the theaters, and even fringe was back in for a little bit. It’s like the Ghost of Christmas Past visited last year and decided to stay put. Appealing to nostalgia has always been a technique in marketing, for reasons that can be summarized in the following quote from Dwight Shrute (The Office): “People underestimate the power of nostalgia. Nostalgia is truly one of the greatest human weaknesses..second only to the neck.”


You’ve noticed Facebook’s “On This Day” messages by now, and have probably seen and/or dabbled with #tbt (Throwback Thursday, or maybe even Flashback Friday or Transformation Tuesday). Social media has been jumping on the sentimental bandwagon this year. Facebook’s is especially intriguing- it’s kind of a gamble, right? Some memories take us back to good times, like a group photo of your college friends on vacation together or crammed in a dorm room for a Tuesday night viewing of  She’s the Man, jerryrigged with a storage tower, several textbooks, and a 2007 Macbook (oddly specific because this just came up in my own newsfeed). There’s also the gamble that a person will revisit an unpleasant memory, like an ex-significant other. It’s like Scrooge being forced to look back at his past and relive the pain of losing his lady (a scene that’s even more painful in A Muppet’s Christmas Carol because there’s a whole breakup song that Scrooge has to re-listen to). According to this article from Hubspot, the risk of serving a painful memory is worth it, since nostalgia can produce some pretty powerful positive feelings in people. It can band together a generation, encourage people to reach out to one another, and yes, buy things.

Some brands are tapping into this “blast from the past” by reintroducing old products or campaigns- it’s like re-purposing memories! According to recent articles on the subject, the ’90s are in right now. This article from Entrepreneur has a hypothesis that there’s a 20 year sweet spot- in other words, 20 years is an appropriate time to consider “retro” enough to market again. Another consistent piece of advice I’ve seen for brands considering the idea of re-introducing an old product is to take a look at what your customers are saying- especially on social media. There might be a clear demand for a certain product they’d like to see brought back, as Crispy M&Ms and Burger King’s Chicken Fries discovered. Coca Cola revamped (note: not “re-used”) their “Share a Coke” ad from way back when and added names to their labels. From a business standpoint, nostalgia marketing is an efficient approach- it saves time not reinventing the wheel, and it’s brings back something that has already been successful. The key is to not overdo it…like Rocky.

The assumption that people view the past through a rose colored lens, and perhaps the best time to Holidays and nostalgia go together like peanut butter and jelly, which you’ve seen from Coca Cola’s Christmas ads with the polar bears (1997’s edition below) to anything with a family setting. We all feel drawn to the idea of “home,” so these ads and marketing campaigns tug at our unsuspecting heartstrings. Verizon is now incorporating the old Rudolph movie into it’s holiday commercials, and I’m personally hoping for one where Yukon Cornelius and the Abominable Snowman come in to buy a family plan. They should probably get unlimited data.

Although nostalgia allegedly “increases feelings of social connectedness” and can create “positive feelings about the future,” I’m personally not looking forward to the things that will resurface 5 years from now…can we just remember the ’90s forever?

Your Video ‘Style’

I would never market myself as a video producer. If you want someone good, go see Mike Perlman. But if you want short videos to stick on your Facebook page with light editing (as in maybe a title shot and closing credits with maybe some background music that fades in and out), I’m your gal.

So in talking about making these social media videos with a new client, I wanted to get at what her ‘style’ was. Here are a few I’ve come up with:

Option A: The Highly Produced Video

Pros: Short, edited, and educational, these videos are meaty without being overbearing. They are conversational, sure, but not much fluff.
Cons: You need a professional to make things look this great, which means having a budget and something specific you want to accomplish. Assuming you are able to put professional looking aspirations aside, you’ll be needing something to drive it in terms of content (ex: user questions, a very clear topic). Probably not likely to ‘go viral’ but, as you have probably figured out, that’s not what it’s all about.

(There are other times I mention Marie Forleo on this site. Try this blog post, this one,  and this one.)

Option B: Interview Style

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 4.35.59 PM
Pros: Involves other people, zero production value. To be fair, most of the big shots (Marie Forleo above included) started with these kind of videos. Also all you need is a webcam, a mic, (headphones too so there is less echo), and some screen capture software. You can get this whole tech setup for under $50. Clearly who you interview is infinitely more valuable. Plus, not only do you get to share the video on your network but also the interviewee will likely share it to theirs. Double exposure!
Cons: When you involve other people and have low production value (see the ‘Pros’ section), you have to be interesting. Because you are the interviewer, you should be ready to carry it if you have to (some people are not fun in an interview situation). Also, since you may each be in your own individual location, while you can control things like lighting and sound quality on your end, you have to trust the person you’re interviewing is taking an equal amount of care.

Think of interview type videos as the ‘you gotta walk before you can run’ of online video. It’s a good way to start.

Option C: Teaching Session

Pros: Can cover more material (or in more detail), can have notes, can market a series of these as a course in the future (yay money)
Cons: Makes people think of school so you have to be extra interesting about it (Look at the way Moz lays out the notes and this dude’s mustache as examples of this.)

This is an often overlooked style because few can pull it off. But if you’ve got interesting material that’s not going to ‘happen’ in less than 5 minutes, this allows your video to be meaty and get people your content in both visual and auditory ways. If you create videos this way, you can also turn them into an online course (more on that in a future blog post). Websites like and Skillshare are popular for a reason!

Option D: Scripted

Pros: Scripted, can make it pretty short
Cons: Having to be ‘clever’

So you may ask yourself, Nicole, why did you separate this from the ‘Highly Produced’ option? Well, I’d say this kind of video (which I get is a commercial) is more scripted. I am doubting in Option 1 Marie Forleo has scripted everything she is going to say and has it down to the letter. I’m also doubting she’s thinking about scenes or storyboarding out what each frame looks like.

If you are a less confident presenter, having the script (and potentially working with other people, having multiple camera angles, etc.) gives you options.

As important as what your video is about, having a style can give you a structure to work with, especially if you are feeling a little blocked. I’m sure now that I’ve named these, you can think of other examples of each. If you are thinking one style speaks to you more than the others, watch videos like the style you want to emulate for more pointers. How long are they? What are good things you should copy? What’s the pace like? Take notes and you can keep these in mind as you make your videos.

So stop thinking video equals perfection. It doesn’t. People just like watching videos… so go make one already!


Tech Thursday: Final Hurrah

It’s not goodbye, it’s see you later. In our final Tech Thursday, we reflect on what it’s like to be watched by tens of people… and what we learned about ourselves in the process.

Keep your eyes out for next week’s email newsletter- we have a survey going out and want your feedback for our next Tech Thursday-esque endeavor! (Subscribe here if you haven’t already).

And, as promised, a link to the infamous OGP video that was the magnum opus of Tech Thursday! Ode to an Era

Here’s a fact that’s hard to fathom in these late days of 2015: MySpace (remember that?) was once the web’s most visited site, surpassing even Google. Also, MySpace employed 1,600 and generated hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.myspace_logo

I have nostalgia for the old MySpace. Like for many, MySpace was my first, full-blown introduction to social media. My reasons for joining were basic. It was the mid-to-late aughts, I was single, living by myself in a city that rolled up its sidewalks by 7 p.m. and was snoring complacently by 7:15 p.m. In other words, I thought it might be a good place to meet women.

Social media was big, but hadn’t truly gone mobile. The place to update your status was on your desktop at work, not on your phone in the bathroom.

But during those lonely, bad old days, MySpace introduced me to folks and their interests, and made me feel a little less isolated. I had a creative outlet where I could blog. I could, to some extent, personalize my page.

The introduction of playlists on MySpace was great — we were able to share music in a simple, off-the-cuff way. I place the blame for my introduction and brief obsession with Morrisey’s “Find Out For Yourself” squarely on the shoulders of a MySpace who lived in Mexico of all places, and with whom I connected with totally by accident.

Plus, I got to be friends with Tom. You remember Tom, the guy who you were friends with by default, and couldn’t figure out why. Tom was the company’s co-founder, and we all had to be friends with him, whether we wanted to or not. Tom got crazy-rich when he sold his goofy social network to News Corp.

In 2007, however, I started noticing a change in MySpace. The wallpaper was frequently taken over by garish advertisements for movies I had no interest in seeing, for one thing. For another, the whole experience was getting a little too noisy. I felt like I was staring into some amped-up billboard every time I logged in. It was time to start seeing other social networks.

Besides, there was this emerging social network called Facebook that, by contrast, seemed simple, understated and — I dare say — elegant by comparison. This was back when Facebook was still being targeted toward a younger crowd, long before it had been embraced by people like your parents and Ben Carson supporters.

So, I migrated. So did a lot of other folks, including Tom, who wrote in a 2011 Facebook post: “People seem very confused why I’m on Facebook. I’ve had a profile since 2005 and a “fan page” since 2009. … Why am I not on MySpace? Because, I left the company in early 2009, and like most of you, I don’t like using it anymore.. not a fan of what the new folks have done with MySpace.”

Tom hasn’t appeared to have posted to his public Facebook page since 2014, but still has nearly 1.5 million followers. None of those follower were by default, either. He’s since taken up photography and has been traveling the world. One assumes that he fuels his private plane with raw cash — seeing as how he sold in 2005 his company to News Corp. for a half billion.

Meanwhile, the network he started resembles nothing of what it looked like 10 years ago. MySpace was purchased in 2011 by Tim and Chris Vanderhook and Justin Timberlake for $35 million. It’s their space — music and entertainment oriented.

That’s not to begrudge them any success — with 50 million unique users recorded in November 2014, MySpace appeared to be on the edge of a renaissance. But it’s not the same. MySpace now brands itself as a place where artists can connect with an audience (or rather, consumers). It’s not such a hot place for average schmoes to connect with each other.

I will say this, their ’80s hair metal channel is pretty amazing, but between Spotify, iTunes, Beats, YouTube, the whole thing seems redundant.
So with its A&E focus, will MySpace be around in another 10 years? I think the more appropriate question is: Will it matter?

Tech Thursday: Terrible or Not Terrible (Social Media Edition)

Kassie and Nicole weigh in on what they think is and isn’t terrible. Part game show, part nerd show.

(And please don’t steal our Halloween costume idea)

Marketing Monday: Run, Eat, Repeat

A couple years ago, I started following some lady runner-bloggers just for fun. One of these blogs is “Run, Eat, Repeat.” Admittedly hooked by the title (it’s my life story in three words!), this blog has become one of my favorite reading materials. It’s not your average fitness/foodie blog. There’s a cool story about a girl (Monica) who struggled with her relationship with food and exercise (something that I think a lot of people find can relate to), and how running has helped her adopt a healthier, fun lifestyle. Her blog isn’t running-centric or wrapped up in any sort of health-craze. It’s more of a fun lifestyle blog with a focus on health related issues.

Here are some key things that keep me reading:

Quirk. There’s a down-to-earth tone in Monica’s blog posts that make her accessible to readers. She’s hilarious and self-deprecating, always trying new things and sharing them with her followers. She adds a lot of eCards, GIFs, and Real Housewives screen-caps to embellish her posts. We share a very similar sense of humor and would probably get along really well in real life… Some of the titles of previous blog posts include: “The Day I Almost Chopped Off My Toe,” “Do I Look Like Zach Galifianakis or Tori Spelling?”, and “If You Don’t Play Lion King with Your Pets What’s the Point?” Her Instagram is also one of my favorites, and it’s hardly about running. In fact, it’s mainly about coffee, food, and everyday struggles of the modern twenty-something.

An example of a recent blog post.

An example of a recent blog post.

Recipes. What I love about the recipes is that a) they’re pretty healthy and meant to keep you going throughout the day, and b) they’re actually simple. Nine times out of ten, I can whip up one of these concoctions without having to go to the store and get 5 different types of seeds and nuts and several different spices and expensive superfood powders that, let’s face it, I don’t have on hand. This girl knows that, while we all may have fantasies and lofty ambitions about meal preparation, the reality is that snooze buttons exist, late night Netflix binges happen, and driving (back) to the store after a day at work just isn’t going to happen. The recipes she shares are for “the everyday.” They’re boosts of inspiration that are totally attainable and delicious (oh yeah, and healthy).


This is just a sample from her “breakfast” section, mainly because I’m biased and love breakfast more than any other meal.

Running (and working out in general). I started reading this blog because of the running aspect. While the blog is less workout-centric than Hungry Runner Girl (another favorite), Monica does excellent race-recaps, shares her training plans, and isn’t afraid to talk about how hard, awesome, sweaty, rewarding and disgusting running can be at times.

But it’s not all running. I’m a one-dimensional athlete, but reading this blog inspires me to try out some other things. She’s tried a lot in terms of cross-training. These posts are awesome for me, because I tend to hang back until I know what I’m getting into with a new workout. She also encourages readers to join in on challenges, like last winter’s 25 days of Fitness (a 25 day calendar of circuits you can do at home-no running involved). You don’t necessarily have to be a runner to follow this blog. In fact, Monica frequently drops gems throughout her blog/Instagram/wherever just for her non-runner followers. This adds to her overall accessibility. And there’s a lot of inspiration throughout.


Product Reviews. Last summer, I got to learn all about Stichfix through Run, Eat, Repeat. This summer, it was Le Tote (similar to Stitchfix, but with accessories included). Every once in a while, she’ll write up lists like Best Gifts for Foodies, Playlist Ideas, or Favorite Fall Running Gear. She also writes flavor reviews for things like Chobani…and sometimes donuts. She was the one who informed me that Pumpkin Spice M&Ms are a thing this fall (sidenote: I have yet to find any of these for myself, but M&Ms are my all time favorite candy, and anyone who can help me find these will be my new BFF). She has also written a review about laser hair removal, lash extensions, and laser liposuction. It just adds to the idea that she’s willing to try things out and report back to all of us, which I definitely appreciate.


Discounts and Giveaways. This blog is sponsored by a few different companies, but that’s part of the reason why she has giveaways! Race Registration can be a bit steep (especially out in California, where RER is based), but Monica does have discount codes for certain races that she shares. For non-runners or non -racers, she’ll sometimes offer a discount for a gym membership or class. For everyone, she offered a Le Tote Discount Code to the first 10-ish people. She also occasionally writes reviews for products, and as a result, has regular giveaways. There’s been FitBit, Northface, Pro Compression, Starbucks, and Lulu Lemon, to name a few.

Runner or eater, this blog probably has something in it that you will appreciate. Through her work with Run, Eat, Repeat, Monica has proven that she’s funny, hip, and benevolent. Also, I’m completely serious about those Pumpkin Spice M&Ms…