digiSTORY2014: The Power of Digital Storytelling

Digistory LogoSocial: IRL is pleased to support digiSTORY2014: The Power of Digital Storytelling Conference, taking place in Kansas City MO, on October 22, 2014. With an impressive lineup of nationally acclaimed thought leaders and pioneers, and a chance to save $100 off the already very modest registration fee, we highly encourage you to take advantage of this unique opportunity.


Save $100 off the $350 registration using promo code partner100

Nonprofits – contact us to get a 50% off discount code. Exclusive for NPOs, very limited availability

Never in history has the ability to communicate been so pervasive.  Mobile devices, apps and internet connectivity can bring any person or idea to your fingertips with a simple click.  Yet, sharing your ideas and messages through the vast profusion of these digital assets can be mind-boggling. Advertisers, social media strategists, publishers, journalists, businesses, non-profits and government agencies have all discovered that a good story can stir peoples’ emotions and compel them to action.  Digital technology empowers you to tell compelling personal, professional and community stories. It has become a critical venue for creative expression and advocacy. Knowing how to tell stories using digital technology is no longer an option if you want to communicate in the emerging world. At digiSTORY2014, leaders in social media, technology trends, entertainment and media production will talk about their own experiences and equip you as a digital storyteller.

Featured speakers:

Jay Baer – Founder of Convince & Convert and 20-year digital marketing veteran;

Brandon Oldenburg – Creator of Chipotle’s “The Scarecrow,” Academy Award winning director of The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore, co-founder of Moonbot Studios;

Paul Debevec – USC research professor of computer science who pioneered the “Facade” image-based modeling and rendering system and whose techniques were used to create virtual backgrounds in The Matrix;

Bob Johansen – Distinguished Fellow at the Institute for the Future in Silicon Valley and acclaimed futurist who has outlived his forecasts more than three times over;

Brian Storm – Webby, Emmy and duPont winning digital producer and founder of multimedia production studio MediaStorm.

Mike McCamon – Director of Technology for water.org.

The 5 Fundamentals of Cause Marketing

Guest post by Corey Pudhorodsky, Senior Client Partner at Social: IRL sponsor, Spredfast.  Originally posted in the Spredfast blog.

Cause Marketing – the word is tossed around more than a caesar side salad, but what does it actually mean? What are the components of a strong cause marketing campaign and how do you make it relevant to you and your audience and consumer?

In a recent strategy session comprised of industry thought leaders, we dissected cause marketing and uncovered five essential ingredients for a powerful campaign. Participants shared their own interpretations and uses for cause marketing, along with tips for final evaluation.

Attendees included:

Audrey Tiger, Senior Product Manager at Spredfast

Kristen Haga, Director of Client Services at Spredfast

David Modigliani, Creative Director at Flow Nonfiction

Alana Kalin, Account Executive at Blippar


1. Know Why You’re Doing This   

Simply put, Cause Marketing is the intersection between a brand and a cause whether that’s a cause through a third-party nonprofit or a cause that a brand adopts. Marketers are using this tactic for several reasons, both to promote a brand message and also to produce social good.

The beauty of cause marketing lies within it’s ability to add value and reinforce a brand’s image with audiences – all while using that social impact to make a difference in the world. It sounds like a perfect marriage for all parties involved but before you slap together a cause marketing campaign, some planning has to happen.

2. Be Yourself

Authenticity in cause marketing means choosing the right campaign for your consumer. Brands these days come with predefined images of what audiences already believe a brand to be, so planning a cause marketing campaign means choosing the cause that already aligns well with the image your brand portrays. If you’re a weapons manufacturer, it probably doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for you to select an anti-gun cause for your campaign.

Choose a cause that’s relevant to the brand and those who receive it. Once you have this connection it becomes easy to tie the cause to your product in a way that the brand can openly discuss. That my friends, is authenticity.

3. Alignment is Everything

Similar to authenticity, selecting a cause that pairs well with your brand is essential to the success of your campaign, but how do you know what resonates with your consumer? Well, that’s where social really steps in – with social you can see what your consumers are talking about, what they’re saying in their everyday conversations through social and word of mouth, and what their interests are. Take this collection of knowledge and match it up with a cause.

Below are two examples of cause marketing campaigns that clearly took brand alignment into account:

Lucky Charms


During Pride Month, General Mills celebrated diversity with a campaign around the Lucky Charms brand. The LGBT community and its allies were engaged by a call-to-action asking audiences to submit Tweets or Instagram stories using the hashtag #LuckyToBe while aggregating that content to the brand’s Tumblr page.

(RED) Campaign


The (RED) campaign was created in 2006 by Bono and Bobby Shriver to involve people in the widespread fight against AIDS. To bring social to the forefront of their campaign efforts, Spredfast created “Pulse of (RED)”, a display of images that brought in social posts from (RED) campaign supporters. There, (RED) connected with supporters while observing how audiences were interacting with their organization.

These brands selected causes where they knew they could make an impact. With absolute certainty they could say, “your cares are aligned with my cares” when talking to their audience. Once they’ve reached that point, brands can give the audience some control vs. the brand trying to sell to the audience. The brand becomes the giving facilitator and this option becomes very organic, like the grocery store adding $1 to your final bill.

Of course there are other factors to consider such as timing – when are people in the giving mood? Take that authentic message and content you’ve worked so hard to craft and capitalize on it at the right moment when your audience is feeling philanthropic. And by capitalize I don’t necessarily mean money either. These campaigns aren’t always asking audiences to do something – they could also be simply raising awareness. When brands tell a story in their cause marketing campaign, audiences are compelled to give back which is actually more effective in many cases. People will be more inclined to give later, but in the meantime they can interact and participate.

4. Extend Your Caring By Sharing  

So we get that it’s nice and all, but aside from that, why do cause marketing? Brands can only exist within a certain amount of mindshare of every consumer’s space and level of interest. When you align with a cause, you’re increasing the level of impact that you have around what those consumer interests are. With Hollister, for example, teenagers are only going to be thinking about clothes so much. Maybe they’re also thinking about surfing or the environment or a whole other set of interests that brands can tap into to show that their ideas are shared.

By creating an extension of your brand formed around other interests, brands can attach themselves to causes and extend their impact. We think about mechanics (where will they share and how will we host it) but first, we must think about the story. Tell an impactful story.

Now it’s finally time to spread the word – it’s actually a step that people miss, believe it or not. Brands need to ask others to engage and share, look at the share/retweet/follower to follow ratio on Twitter. Are you going to promote a hashtag or use a celebrity endorsement?

5. See How You Did

The end is just as important as the beginning and evaluating the success of your cause marketing campaign is the only way to learn from past mistakes or pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

How do you know if it was a success?

That has a lot to do with what you’re planning to measure. If you’re looking at reach, it would be based on the total potential reach or number of interactions that you’ve had. If you’re looking to raise money, it would be based on the total number of funds that have been donated either through your audience of consumers or your brand, based on the number of activations you’ve reached from people who’ve participated. If you’re looking at awareness, you might do some surveying before and after to see what’s been the increase in education about the cause.

Whatever your goal is, it must be established beforehand. If you’re partnering with a nonprofit make sure that you know their goals too because the best cause marketing campaigns are the ones that aren’t just performed one time. It’s the brands that have an ongoing partnership with a nonprofit where the brand is really increasing their interaction with a cause of a period of time.

Ready? Set? Plan!

The best cause marketing campaigns are the ones that have a lot of thought behind them. Reach beyond the obvious with a campaign that resonates with your audience and tells a story that the consumer can relate to. There’s so much more beyond the business aspect of a brand where clients are interacting with products in uncovered ways – it’s up to brands to get in touch with these storytellers and raise awareness. The people who care and causes already exist, brands just have to connect with them.

Preparing for Twitter’s New Layout

Guest post by Courtney Doman, Digital Marketing Manager at Social: IRL sponsor, Spredfast.  Originally posted in the Spredfast blog.

Twitter recently started rolling out its new look for desktop. Initial feedback is all over the map from high praise (“stunning visual format!”) to skepticism (“Haven’t I seen this before?”)  It’s only natural to have an opinion about the new look, but getting hung up on specific changes is for the birds. Smart social marketers are already thinking about how to make the most out of their renovated real estate.

Here are five things you can do to make the most of Twitter’s new layout:

1. Update your profile picture

The aspect ratio of you profile picture hasn’t changed; it’s still a square. But things are getting much bigger in the new layout. Upload a 400x400px image to ensure that your profile picture looks great in the timeline and the new larger format profile picture at the top right hand of your profile page.

2. Add a new header image

This one will bum out the clever people and brands that had a “picture-in-picture” thing going on with their profile picture overlaying the header image.  In the new layout, the profile image is left of center and only overlaps a small portion of the cover photo (okay, even we’ll admit, this is quite similar to Facebook.)

This frees up a broad swath at the top of your profile to share an image that tells your brand story. Look at the two different stories told by Chobani and the New Zealand All Blacks. Two very different, but equally compelling messages, conveyed with a single image.

New Twitter Header Images

3. Pin an important tweet to the top of your profile page

With (well over) 5,700 tweets per second being published every day on Twitter, it’s easy to wonder whether your brand’s message is being swept away in the mad currents of your followers’ Twitter streams.  Now, if you have an important message to convey, you can pin a tweet to the top of your brand page so that it’s the first tweet a visitor will read.

Quick tip: don’t use this space to introduce your brand- that’s what your bio is for. Use it to communicate timely information like details of an upcoming sale, a match or episode specific hashtag to enhance a second-screen experience, or an important cause your brand is supporting.

4. Take advantage of new photo sharing features

Before rolling out these new desktop updates, Twitter announced social enhancements to photo sharing via mobile. You can share up to four images in a single tweet and tag up to ten people in a photo. All without taking up any more of those precious 140 characters. While these updates only affect mobile publishing, you can still view tweets with multiple pictures and photo tags from any device.

How can your brand use these features? Think about events like new store openings, or tab your design department to create a diptych, triptych, or tetraptych (we had to google that last one) where each individual image, as well as the collective collage tells a story. Michelle Obama used this feature to share photos from her recent trip to China.


5. Think about your audience(s)

While your brand may have an established presence and following on Twitter, remember that many of these changes have been motivated by Twitter’s desire to draw new users to the network. This is great for brands seeking to engage and invite more people to participate in their social community and experiences. Understand your audience and share content that will engage your community, new members and old alike.

6.  Remember, a lot of your audience is mobile

76% in fact.  These changes to the profile page currently only affect desktop views. Keep an eye out for how these updates may potentially impact mobile use, but for now, don’t take your eye of the ball in optimizing tweets for on-the-go consumption.

Are you looking forward to the new visual layout? To help you get started, we’ve created a cheat sheet to make the most of your visual timeline:

Twitter Layout

The Nice List: The Best Campaigns from Holidays Past

Guest post by Courtney Doman, Digital Marketing Manager at Social: IRL sponsor, Spredfast.  Originally posted in the Spredfast blog.

You have probably already seen tinsel and garland in the aisles of your favorite department stores and may have even grumbled that it is “too soon!” But if you are a marketer, particularly for a retail brand, there is no time like the present to put a bow on your holiday strategy for this year.

Social activations are becoming bigger and better parts of many brands’ holiday strategies. We’ve assembled a “Nice List” of standouts from the 2012 holiday season. Check it out for some social inspiration.

Provide a One-of-a-Kind Experience.

A personal touch goes a long way. REI wowed with their #giftpicks campaign in 2012. REI called on their Green Vests—passionate in-store employees who are knowledgeable and helpful, to create real-time video responses to REI members asking for help buying gifts. The team shot about 90 custom videos for this campaign. Not only did the gesture deepen relationships between the brand and members receiving responses, referral traffic to REI’s site doubled. Want to read more about this campaign? Ekaterina Walter wrote a great recap last year.

Nice List 1Give the gift of great content.

The holidays are a time to celebrate and look good doing it–whether you’re scoring facetime with your boss at the office holiday party, sitting around a feast with family, or ringing in the new year with your friends. You might guess that Brooks Brothers, America’s original clothier, has your outfit covered. But did you know that they also provide scores of tips and tricks on how to navigate the holidays with style and ease? The Brooks Brothers blog, Of Rogues & Gentlemen, covered everything from creating a knockout charcuterie plate to writing the perfect thank you card last holiday season. The holidays are hectic. By providing useful lifestyle information, Brooks Brothers was able to create value for customers and stay top of mind, with something other than a sale.

Nice List 2

Invite People to Share their Wish List.

81% of U.S. Consumers are influenced by friends’ social media posts. Getting consumers to actively discuss preference for your brand’s goods or services is a powerful tool that can drive further awareness and preference. Last year, Sephora asked their twitter followers to tweet the Sephora products on their holiday wish lists to “@Sephora Claus” and granted the wishes of 30 users. The campaign garnered over 50,000 entries. The great interactive user experience allowed entrants to discover other wishes and engage with the campaign.

Nice List 3

Surprise and Delight

Many brands are tapping in to the visual, inspirational nature of Pinterest to stage their holiday social campaigns. Pinterest collaborated with people, businesses, non-profit organizations, and celebrities to reveal 30 holidays boards in an interactive calendar for their 30 Days of Pinspiration Campaign.

Nice List 4

H-E-B, a Texas grocer, ran a Pin to Win campaign during the 2012 holiday season, asking customers to pin their favorite holiday meal ideas to a Pinterest board for a chance to win a $1000 gift card. It was a great way to start a conversation about holiday food traditions and get users engaged.

Nice List 5

Are there any other holiday campaigns that stood out to you last year? Shoot me a tweet at @cjdoman to discuss. Looking for ways to make your holiday campaign memorable this year? Check out this tip sheet for 5 Social Media Best Practices for Retail Brands.

Help, Not Hype: Jay Baer Keynote at Expion’s Social Business Summit

Expion Summit 2013Expion’s third Social Business Summit took place last week in Raleigh NC, bringing together an impressive group of brands and agencies for a discussion focused around the challenges and opportunities in managing social media programs.

Opening day two of the Summit was Convince & Convert  founder and New York Times best selling author Jay Baer, who delivered a powerful message on the value of smart marketing based on “help not hype”  – the theme of his new book YOUtility.

We’re sharing below a Storify recap of attendee tweets, edited to highlight key audience perspectives and takeaways from Jay’s presentation. Many valuable insights are included.

For additional recaps of all key Summit sessions, you can visit Expion’s blog.

Mission Possible: Insights from Expion’s Social Business Summit

Expion Summit 2013Expion’s third social business summit kicked off today in Raleigh NC, bringing together an impressive group of brands and agencies for a discussion focussed around the challenges and opportunities in managing social media programs.

Expion will be posting recaps of key sessions here in their blog (they’ll be added as the event continues). To supplement that we’re sharing below a Storify recap of attendee tweets, edited to highlight key audience perspectives and takeaways.

Today’s sessions included included:

Earn It. Don’t Buy It – Ignite Social Media’s Jim Tobin  How earned and owned social can save your brand money and create advocates without paying for them.

Your Brand, The Next Media Company – Edelman’s Michael Brito  How organizations can evolve into a fully collaborative social business.

Inside Social Enterprise  – DoubleTree’s Diana Plazas, Group1 Automotive’s Sajeev Mehta, IBM’s Tina Williams, and Whitewave Foods’ Lori Anderson. Moderated by Expion’s Zena Weist  How top brands are aligning the organization to operationalize social throughout the enterprise. 

Generation Z – Students from NC State, Duke, University of North Carolina, Wake Forest and Georgia Tech. Moderated by 360i’s  Matt Wurst  How Generation Zs  interact with brands via social and what they think brands are doing right and wrong.

Brand Advocacy – American Dental Association’s Bridget Houlihan, H&R Block’s Matt Staub, Jeep’s Vicki Carlini, 360i’s Matt Wurst  Brands and agencies discuss how providing content suggestions to employees and customers assists with social selling and influencer marketing.

Client Keynote – Mondelez International’s VP of Global Media and Consumer Engagement, Bonin Bough  The beauty of real-time engagement often lies in improvisation, it’s also about planning ahead: building the right muscle memory, culture and technological backbone.


Smart Social: A Conversation with Ignite Social Media’s Jim Tobin

Smart Social SmallJim Tobin, is president of Ignite Social Media, widely recognized as being “the original social media agency.” He is also author of 2008’s Social Media is a Cocktail Party and a new book publishing in the fall of 2013, Earn It. Don’t Buy It. The CMO’s Guide to Social Media Marketing in a Post Facebook World.

Jim recently joined Social: IRL Principal Ben Smith, and Expion VP of Strategy, Zena Weist, for Smart Social, an ongoing series of conversations with leaders and innovators in social business.

During the interview Jim discussed issues ranging from the evolution of Facebook and challenges it’s now facing in keeping users engaged, to Facebook’s advertising model and its impact on user experience, to frustrations with the current state of social marketing and an over-reliance on buying impressions rather than earning engagement.

The interview was conducted via Google Hangout.

Part One: Jim discusses the title of his new book, in particular the reference to a “post Facebook World.” From there Jim discusses where the onus lies in keeping users engaged in the channel – with Facebook in the UX, or with brands in the quality of content created and shared? Jim also discusses Facebook’s current advertising model and whether financial success had come at the expense of user experience.

Part Two: Jim discusses social media advertising vs. social media marketing and the need to move beyond simply buying impressions to develop a deeper understanding of your audience and what they care about –  why they care about your brand, what gets them to react to your content, what gets them to advocate for you.

Part Three:  Jim discusses the current agency environment and the role of niche specialty agencies, such as Ignite.  A key point of emphasis, the need for greater agency collaboration with a focus on the end-user experience.

Part Four: Jim shares some of the frustrations he feels towards the current state of social media marketing and a too common reliance on buying impressions rather than earning results. It was these frustrations that ultimately proved to be the motivating factor behind his new book.

Smart Social: A Conversation with Expion’s Erica McClenny

Smart Social SmallErica McClenny is Senior VP of Client Services at social software company Expion, and is responsible for providing strategic support and guidance for the company’s major brand clients.

For this latest installment of our Smart Social interview series, we spoke with Erica about some of the key challenges, opportunities and trends she has seen emerge through working with this diverse group of brands. The conversation includes valuable insights for any company embarking on or continuing along the path to social maturity, and concludes with a powerful and practical definition and application of the “smart social” theme.

The interview was conducted via Google Hangout.

Part One: Erica discusses working with brands in a strategic business development role and some of the specific challenges and opportunities that have emerged during that process, from creating the right operational structure for social success, to not setting yourself up for perceived failure by trying to measure against a running stage when in reality you are only crawling.

Part Two: Erica discusses social media-driven and empowered employee advocacy as a means for providing a valuable and trusted extension of brand voice, while also allowing individual employees to serve in a valuable lead generation role.

Part Three: Erica discusses key emerging trends, including the consolidation of data and analysis of cross portfolio customer insights. Also the opportunity for brands to connect through social on a local level without overtasking local employees. She also includes a word of caution about keeping focus and avoiding the temptation or pressure of jumping on every new trend –  “doing an average job of being everywhere vs. doing a great job of being in the channels that most closely align with your goals and KPIs.”

Part Four: We conclude the conversation by focussing back on the “smart social” theme and Erica shares a powerful and practical definition of what smart social means to her.

Seven Key Takeaways from Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report

Guest post by Jeannette Arrowood, Senior Account Manager with Social: IRL sponsor, Expion.

Keeping your arms around everything that’s going on with social media and in digital could be a full-time job. Thankfully, Mary Meeker has been putting out an epic deck for the last 2 years called “Internet Trends,” and she’s taken it on as her full-time job to summarize for the rest of us where digital and social are going.

Mary Meeker is an important name to know in the world of startups and digital: not only is she a partner at an influential venture capital firm, but she’s been involved since the days of funding Netscape, back in the dark ages of the early 90’s. Last year’s “Internet Trends” deck was quite accurate, so we expect her collaboration with Liang Wu to be on point for the upcoming year, as well.

We took the time to flip through this year’s 117-page deck and pull out the tidbits that we found the most interesting. We’ve got the highlights broken out below.


Photos, Video, Sound, and Data

It’s been all about uploading photos to social for the last year and change—see Instagram, Snapchat, Flickr, Facebook photo albums, etc. Video uploads are a swiftly rising tide that cannot be ignored—see YouTube, Vine, Cinemagram and Dropcam. Sound is also a growing trend—SoundCloud and Tencent WeChat are two of the leaders that should be mentioned. But the really interesting trend to pay attention to is the way that data is being shared and examined.

Have you heard of Waze? It’s a mobile navigation application that crowdsources user data to provide its users with real-time traffic information. Think of all the ways data compilation and sharing is changing our lives. From traffic updates to changing the way we stay healthy—UP by Jawbone, FitBit, and the Nike+ Fuelband, the use of personal data to better understand your surroundings is going to be huge.

Wearable Technology

All of those products that help you to stay healthy listed above are a part of an emerging trend often referred to simply as “wearable tech.” That is, technology that you can wear. It’s been all about mobile technology and the smartphone, but now we’ll be seeing that technology turned into something you can wear. Google Glass and Apple’s rumoured smart watch will be just the beginning (Samsung is reportedly getting in on this game, too!). As mobile traffic on the web continues to explode (because people LOVE their smart phones), and as tablet traffic grows even more quickly, we’re likely teed up to see that same data be consumed via wearable technology.

Short-Term Sharing

Short-term sharing is a trend that has mostly been driven by a mobile app called Snapchat. Snapchat users send more than 150M images every day. And remember Poke? The Facebook copycat of Snapchat? They weren’t nuts to develop that app—Snapchat sees more uploads than Instagram.

Who’s Using Which Social Media Channels?

Facebook is leading the pack, in terms of number of users, but Instagram, Google+ and Pinterest have all seen some big gains in the user department—and that’s not just those who are “on” the networks. That data comes from those who self-report which social media channels they actually use.

If you know of anyone thinking of stepping away from Facebook because of reports that “no one’s on Facebook anymore …” stop those people in their tracks. So far, mobile usage on Facebook is up so much, that it’s making up for any decline of usage on the desktop.

Expion Guest Post Photo 1

The US Shares Things Online … But Not That Much

In comparison to other countries, the US falls on the lower end of the range in terms of how often we share on social. Who reports that they share “everything” or “most things” online? Saudi Arabia, India, Indonesia, South Korea, Turkey, and China. Those areas of the world might become increasingly important to those who work in social.

Expion Guest Post Photo 2

China, China, China

China’s mobile access to the internet has surpassed desktop access, and, if you think about it, this totally makes sense. It’s cheaper and easier to access the web via a mobile device than it is to make a larger investment in a more expensive laptop or desktop computer.

QR Code scanning in China is up 4 times year over year—this no doubt can be traced back to the popularity of accessing the web via mobile in China.  You can even follow the UK Embassy’s Weibo Account by scanning a QR code outside the Embassy’s building in Beijing.

China is also using social differently from the rest of the world because the services available there are a little different from others (you can’t access social channels like Facebook in China). Tencent has been around for 15+ years—that’s 6 years longer than Facebook, and they’ve got almost double the revenue. One of their services—Tencent WeChat lets users connect to friends and family via voice, text and pictures. But WeChat also provides a way for users to scan merchant QR codes to opt-in to receive special promotions and coupons. This is a seemingly dead-simple way to link the in-store experience with the online and mobile experience.  Those merchants can then sell to consumers via WeChat, send offers and coupons and provide customer service all through WeChat.

Sina Weibo, another Chinese social media channel, has helped to drive government response to important public issues and provided users with a way to organize during emergencies. Users of the service generate photos, answer polls, talk to each other, repost information and make suggestions to collaborate and drive change.

Groupon’s Not Dead Yet … Maybe

This was a total surprise thrown into the beginning of the deck … Groupon’s, reportedly, not dead. Despite being the butt of jokes of consistently delivering disappointment on the stock market, “its first quarter revenues rose 7.5% to a better than expected $601 million.” And their transactions on mobile are up from less than 15% two years ago. They do 45% of their sales from mobile, anyway, but maybe they shouldn’t be written off entirely. We’ll have to wait and see if mobile turns Groupon into a comeback kid.

Bottom Line

People are really into aggregating data about themselves. No surprise there that navel gazing remains a popular pastime, but wearable tech changes the game in terms of what you can do with that knowledge.

China is a force to be reckoned with based solely on the number of users that are on social networks, but those users are spending more time on the internet and on mobile than users in the US (who are watching more TV and listening to … the radio?).

It’s also clear from the section of the deck that examines immigration in the US and the spiking shortage of highly-skilled workers that we should all be sure our children are studying computer science and upping their game in the development department if we want them to be gainfully employed in the next 30 years.

jeannette headshotJeannette Arrowood is a social media industry veteran who has worked as a Community Manager, Social Media Strategist and Digital Marketing Consultant. She loves the internet, hosting videos, content curation and trendspotting. She recently returned to Raleigh from Brooklyn and joined Expion as a Senior Account Manager. Over the years, Jeannette has worked with a number of large brands including Mondelez International, Kraft, MTV, AT&T, and Hilton, and she currently works with some of the world’s largest digital agencies to optimize their use of Expion’s social media management software. 

Maybelline New York on their Global Social Community and Award-Winning #TopChicret Campaign

Guest post by Courtney Doman, Social Media Specialist at Social: IRL sponsor, Spredfast.

Maybelline won two Shorty’s this year: Best Use of Video for the Top Chicret announcement of Charlotte Free as the face of Maybelline New York and Best Facebook Brand Presence for Maybelline New York India. I sat down with Charlotte Adjchavanich, Vice President of Digital at Maybelline to discuss the winning campaigns and Maybelline New York’s approach to social.

Congrats on the big win(s)! How do you align social within a multinational company with so many product offerings?

We set the guidelines for our brand presence and create and approve the assets to be used in global markets across all social media platforms at our Headquarters (known as the DMI which stands for Direction Marketing International) for Maybelline New York. We set the guidelines, the do’s and don’t’s, determine which types of imagery and posts are approved, so that we can create one consistent global brand image. For us, that global brand image is based on our DNA: Fashion. Education. Innovation. New York. We use those as our filters when developing social content.

We have a social presence in 106+ countries that fall within regional zones (e.g. Eastern— Western— Central— Europe, Asia, Latin America, North America) and we rely on a mix of internal teams and agencies to maintain our global social presence.

The #TopChicret campaign tapped Sh*t Fashion Girls Say’s P’Trique (and a score of influential fashion personalities) to announce the new face of Maybelline in a viral YouTube Video. How did you come up with this campaign?

Spredfast - Maybelline 2We’re really proud of the #TopChicret campaign and so honored to have won a Shorty Award. ICED Media is a great partner to us and this concept was genius. A major theme for Maybelline is “Catwalk to Sidewalk”—taking fashion and making it translatable to the consumer. When we decided that we wanted to use an influencer to help us reveal Charlotte Free as our new face, ICED came to us and said: What about P’Trique?

And in terms of our filter, he really checked every box. Fashion? Check. Education? OK, there is a reveal, so you’re going to learn something. Innovation? Well, that’s using a meme. New York? The video was shot in New York and we used a lot of New York-based Influencers.  I fell in love with the idea. It was definitely daring, which is something we strive to embody as a brand—not just in product innovation but advertising as well, Maybelline was the first to be talked about on radio, one of the first brands to use recognizable models—so it made sense for us to push boundaries with video in a digital campaign.

The #TopChicret video was a big success and your YouTube Channel is full of great content, what role does video play in your social efforts?

Spredfast - Maybelline 4Video is very important to us. It is definitely an area of investment, focus, and priority. We centralize video production at the DMI to create consistent, high quality videos in line with our DNA so that we don’t dilute the brand.

Tutorial videos are major. Nail is the leading beauty product trend right now and by May we will have shot 43 how-to videos for our Color Show Nail Line. We’ll also often receive director’s cut assets from other advertising platforms that we distribute digitally to provide an extended or behind the scenes look at the brand.

What Goals are you trying to achieve on Social?

We’re focused on education and engagement. We’re using innovative technology and great content as two key drivers to achieve these goals.

Who makes up your social community?

On Facebook, we have 12.5MM + on our 57 pages. Our YouTube channels globally get an average of 2.5MM views each month

How do you encourage fan engagement?

We prompt lightweight engagement and reaction with open-ended questions or either/or questions (“Which shade of lipstick do you prefer?”) and, of course, we respond to customer inquiries (“Where can I find this eyeliner?”). We also create opportunities for deeper engagement, such as soliciting User Generated Content in our activations for new products to build buzz. We definitely are not a one-way communication brand.

How do you see social evolving for consumer brands in the next year?

The focus will be fewer, bigger, better. And beyond that, it will be about integrating social and digital more fully in the marketing mix to create a 360 approach, no matter where or how the consumer wants to interact with us. We’re actually beginning to incorporate augmented reality experiences into in-store displays so that you can instantly access and stream content from your smartphone. It’s about eliminating disconnects. No dead ends.

I loved learning more about Maybelline New York’s daring and innovative approach to social. There is no doubt in my mind that these were two Shortys well earned.

ArtsKC on the Impact of Mobile Fundraising

ArtsKC LogoKate Forristall, ArtsKC Fund Director for the Arts Council of Metropolitan Kansas City, recently spoke with Social: IRL about the impact of mobile fundraising.

This year for the annual ArtsKC fundraising drive, mobile fundraising technology developed by Kansas City startup RAZ Mobile was implemented for the first time.  (Disclosure: RAZ Mobile is a Social: IRL sponsor)

ArtsKC saw particular success with the technology being used to promote giving among employees of Johnson County, Kansas.

As a county government, Johnson County employees were located across multiple sites and working different shifts.  Use of the RAZ platform, which incorporates ease of donor use and integrates offline calls to action such as a QR code-based “scan to donate,” allowed a united effort among employees without the need for them to physically be in the same place or engaged at the same time.

With a number of employees retiring in the last year who had been key ArtsKC supporters, the expectation had been that year-on-year employee donations would likely be lower.  In the event, donations actually came in at around 10% higher over the prior year.

Forristall was confident that the convenience of mobile giving had played a key role in that success, and described RAZ Mobile as “easily the best model of mobile giving” she had seen, both in terms of cost and exposure through synced online-offline promotion.

Listen to Learn: The First Stage of Social Business Transformation

Guest post by Eric Melin, Manager Marketing & Communications at Social: IRL sponsor, Spiral16.

Social Business StrategyAt this stage in the world of widespread social media adoption, it seems that almost every company has some kind of social media presence. It may not be cohesive, and it might not be integrated into your overall strategy, but hopefully your company has gone beyond the experimentation stage and has implemented a social media program in either a marketing or customer service capacity.

(If you’re using web and social media monitoring for market/industry research too, you are well ahead of the curve — congratulations!)

According to Brian Solis and Charlene Li at the Altimeter Group, there are six steps towards linking customer and employee relationships to social media strategies and business growth. The Evolution of Social Business: Six Stages of Social Media Transformation is a new report that illustrates a process that can move companies into “deeper social business strategies.” This is an in-depth document aimed at taking a company all the way from social confusion to social success.

The first stage is the most important. It’s defined in the report as Planning: Listen to Learn.

  • Before you can begin to build a social strategy, you have to understand the landscape of the Internet and how your company fits into that. What is the social behavior of your customers? Where are they talking about your brand? What needs are they expressing online? This will help figure out on which networks you can most effectively connect with them.
  • Start a pilot social media program and experiment with the intelligence provided by your social media monitoring. Altimeter says many companies use pilot programs to connect the dots between social media efforts and business impact and then prioritizes which strategies to roll out first. Don Bulmer, VP Communication Strategy at Shell also warns to move beyond experimentation soon afterwards, and go “all in.”
  • Competitive intelligence audits help you to understand how your competition is and isn’t using social media. What opportunities are they taking? Which ones are they missing out on? How can you improve on this for your company?

Six Stages of Social Business Transformation









Within this first stage of social business transformation, the report also identifies six best practices in online listening and learning.

 READ MORE about those six best practices in the Spiral16 blog.