social media

Marketing in the Digital Age: News Round-Up (week ending Apr 27, 2018)


This week is focused on using data and viral social media stunts for human benefit over profit.  

UN Refugee Agency Using Big Data to Find Smarter Solutions

Summary: The UN announced a partnership between its United Nations Refugee Agency (under UNHCR, UN Human Rights Council) and World Bank to establish a new agency centered around collecting, analyzing, and disseminating better info around refugees.  Anonymized data will be collected to improve the lives of affected refugees.  

Opinion: Even I was getting sick of hearing how many companies were willing to exploit my personal data through Facebook.  If the data is going to be collected, I would be proud as a marketer (and human) to see data being used to help people who have already undergone so much. 

Lemon Face Challenge

Summary: Much like the ice bucket challenge to raise money for ALS research, the lemon face challenge challenges people to eat a slice of lemon and record their reaction to raise donations for an organization that aims to cure a terminal brain cancer that affects young children known as Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG).  

Opinion:  With so many viral videos focused on negative/voyeuristic aspects of the world, raising awareness in a positive light is a viral sensation I welcome.  Pucker up!  


Fueling Innovation: Snapchat vs Instagram

The recent surge of popularity of Instagram Stories of 200m daily users over Snapchat's 161m has many questioning the future of Snapchat (parent company Snap Inc.).  With users' recent ability to add selfie stickers (and an addition of geo-filters expected to arrive any day now), Instagram's transformation into a Snapchat copycat is nearly complete.  Many are already dismissing Snapchat to the fate of MySpace and Twitter.  Snap has to keep innovating, and quickly, to avoid the same fate. 

To that end, Snap-to-Store (image below) was announced last Wed and could drive advertiser revenue to contribute to the bottom line.  This tool will help advertisers measure whether their ads actually drove users into specific locations, like retail stores or restaurants.  The tool will be great for brands to measure ROI of ad spends.  It still begs the question: if users are eroded on the platform, is this a place that will advertisers will want to be even with this concrete development of ROI?  

Should Snap Inc. take a page out of Instagram's parent company Facebook and capitalize on popular Instagram features while its user count is still high?  For example, when Instagram Stories rolled out, it came with a brief tutorial on how to use the product.  There is still a wealth of the population who don't know how to use Snapchat, and a "how-to" could make Snapchat accessible to a greater segment of the population.  That alone as product development likely would not suffice obviously, so I hope to see further innovation to fuel competition between these two powerhouses to the benefit of the marketplace. 

Image taken from Snap Inc.'s SEC filing.

IMAX's Social Strategy: How To Drive Fans to the Silver Screen with the 4-Inch Screen

MAX's executive director of digital marketing shares four social strategies every marketer should keep in mind.

IMAX is perennially known as the world's most immersive cinematic experience. As an innovator in entertainment technology, IMAX develops a suite of tools — from cameras and re-mastering software to projection and sound systems — that allow today's leading filmmakers to produce the highest quality images and sound and connect with audiences globally.

So, how do we communicate the value of the IMAX experience to today's moviegoers? We're geeks at heart and aim to attract the same and more. Social media has proven, and continues to prove, to be an effective and economical medium to communicate with our fans. Here are some of the strategies we use across our social channels to build and grow a community around our brand.  

The Equalizer: Not all social is the same

Although it can be tempting to treat Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat equally, these are distinct channels and should be treated as such. As a fan of the brand, what's the point of getting fed the same content across different platforms (especially when each platform has its strong suits, like Instagram's visual appeal for example)?   

We try to use different channels for different purposes. Facebook, for instance, is a channel where we post film announcements, video content, and community interaction opportunities. Instagram, however, is a place where we visually showcase our exclusive art, red carpet photos, and other engagements to give our fans a behind-the-scenes look.

Batman, Wonder Woman, and Belle: Core audience and newcomers

IMAX's core audience is the fanboy and fangirl. So when it comes to superhero movies, IMAX is a natural pick. Throughout the years, we've nurtured these fans to develop an affinity for IMAX and become our built-in audience. However, we're expanding outside this core demo with additional movies, like La La Land and Beauty and the Beast — allowing us to add to our community and convert new IMAX customers.

The challenge? While IMAX may be a natural fit for these new audiences, some people have not experienced the brand yet and, therefore, aren't as familiar with it. To draw these new audiences to the theater, we emphasize complementary aspects of the IMAX experience. While our core fan group may be attracted to camera usage and aspect ratios, for instance, our complementary fans may appreciate IMAX's clearer sound quality. It's about focusing on what appeals to each audience.

Resident Evil: The vocal dissenter

For the most part, our social channels are safe spaces where our fans can engage as a community. Still, no matter how smart, funny, and attentive we are, we aren't going to win everyone over. Like many brands, we occasionally have vocal dissenters on our channels. Social media followers can be particularly vocal about frustration and anger towards a brand—some of which, of course, is justified. We've learned that acknowledging and reaching out to these people for more information can help us ultimately keep loyal customers. So instead of ignoring or deleting negative comments, we make sure to address and help as many people as we can within our resources. 

The NeverEnding Story: The social lifecycle

Social is an important tool and shouldn't be forgotten as a core communication strategy. It's a continuous lifecycle of acquisition, engagement, and retention to keep a happy fan base. Even though it's more work than it appears to be on the surface, the returns are tenfold when you create a community of fans to engage and support your brand.