Future Implications

In recent years, social media has emerged as a viable method for companies to launch marketing campaigns and reach large numbers of users. Social media platforms have given companies endless opportunities to interact with users, but to also gain insights about what users want. As user needs change, the social media landscape is continually changing. To stay relevant in the social media landscape, change is inevitable. In a company, marketing has been its own department. Some companies think of marketing as being interchangeable with sales and distribution. However, marketing is much more involved. The future trends for marketing in social media is to be less business-focused and to be become more customer-focused. With the emphasis on the customer, the goal is to create brand advocates. This means marketers are encouraging two-way communication between consumers and the brand. In the future, marketers will shift even more to personalization across devices and optimization.

Marketers currently have access to a plethora of social media measurement and monitoring tools. These tools will become more specialized, allowing for marketers to obtain more detailed information about a user’s online behavior. Marketers also need to be familiar with new platforms and their purpose. For example, Snapchat utilizes advertising for its own ad products. To reach users, marketers need to be open to paid advertising on such platforms that they may have not used before. Marketers should not underestimate the power of video and image-based platforms, which will continue to have a stronghold on the social media landscape. More companies are using infographics, which provide information in a visual diagram format. In an effort to promote real-time video sharing, microvideo has emerged through apps like Twitter’s Vine and Instagram’s video sharing feature. Marketers will need to learn how to create video snippets of 15 seconds or less to effectively use Instagram and six seconds to use Vine. The use of video, images, and infographics will be even more heavily used by marketers to reach consumers because they are short enough to capture the user’s attention, without information overload occurring.

The implication is a result of both the changes in human behavior and in technology. Technology has given us more options in how we communicate and share information, which impact human behavior. Marketers have to know their audiences and understand that their needs are subject to change at any given point in time. Additionally, marketers and existing social media platforms have to be willing to adapt to stay relevant. As user needs evolve, technology drives change. This change is centered around innovation and empowering the user so they can reap the benefits of any new technology or social media platform.


Viral Marketing Campaigns

When one hears the term describing a marketing initiative as “going viral,” he or she may think of the soaring popularity of a video being shared at lighting speed across the Internet and social media platforms. To an extent, this is true, but there are more elements that can contribute to a marketing initiative “going viral.” Most marketers would be thrilled at the thought of something they created going viral, but not all videos will be viral. Aspects such as skill, anticipating how most audiences will perceive the message, introducing the campaign at the right time to the right users, and connecting with those users all play a part in the success (or failure) of a campaign and whether it can eventually be “viral.” According to Mashable, a viral video is “a video that becomes popular through the process of Internet sharing, typically through video sharing websites, social media, and email.” More marketers are using video as part of their campaigns because it has the potential to create a lasting impression with viewers and it is easy for them to share with others via email, Internet, social media, and mobile platforms.

The first characteristic of a viral campaign is inspire. Does the video inspire others? Does it strike a chord within the viewer to make them feel an emotional connection? Does it create a sense of personal identity between the viewer and the brand or message featured in the video? One example of the inspire characteristic is the Dove Choose Beautiful campaign, which empowers women to feel beautiful about themselves. In this video, there are two doors to enter at stations in Sao Paolo, Delhi, Shanghai, San Francisco, and London. One door shows an “Average” sign above it, while the other one shows a “Beautiful” sign above. The message that Dove demonstrates in this video is it lets those who walk up and have to choose which doorway in which to enter determine how they see themselves versus how the rest of the world sees that individual. One touching scene in the video is when a mother and daughter are choosing which doorway to enter. The daughter chooses the “Average” entrance and the mother pulls her to the other side where they both walk through the “Beautiful” entrance. This video currently has over 4.4 million views since its initial launch 4/7/2015.

Another characteristic is humor. When a company can create a video with humor, viewers are presented with a more lighthearted approach that can help them to more openly perceive the brand, and make them laugh. In the Evian Roller Blades International video, babies on roller blades are smiling, having fun, and dancing to rap music. Most viewers would laugh at this video because of the baby’s facial expressions and the fact that babies cannot really dance like this! It is funny to watch. Evian’s message is to “live young,” and they show a few subtle mentions of the product being naturally pure and mineral-based, which is beneficial for supporting a body’s youth. With nearly 80 million views, it is safe to say this campaign achieved ‘viral” status.

One characteristic that viral campaigns can possess is having a high level of fun and energy. T-Mobile launched their campaign, “Life’s for Sharing, in 2009. As part of this launch, T-Mobile created a video featuring 300 dancers whose mission was to spark a reaction with the crowd to join in and dance, then share this experience with others. The video shows a scene at UK’s Liverpool Street Station during rush hour. People were starting their day commutes when music starts playing and the dancing begins. This is an excellent example of the flash mob dance movement. It was unexpected, totally spontaneous, fun, and high energy. For onlookers to enjoy the brief time of dancing like no one is watching, it turned their day from being just another day to lifting their spirits. For T-Mobile, this video increased brand awareness and sales, and has been viewed over 39.9 million times on YouTube.

A viral video can also have a characteristic of informing users about a company’s mission or initiative, which can provoke an emotional response, resulting in a call to action. Chipotle created “The Scarecrow” video, which coincided with their app-based game. The video served a dual purpose, which was for the user to download the game, but also promoted wholesome, sustainable food. The video showed the darker side of how some large food corporations use chemicals and unnatural products in their food production. For some viewers, this video sparked an emotional response because they were shocked at the inhumane treatment of animals, or they realized what all goes into the foods they have been eating. It also sparked controversy and backlash from some of the corporations being targeted in this video. Chipotle’s video has generated over 14 million views.

Being memorable is another characteristic of a viral campaign. Some videos are able to leave a lasting impression with viewers for years to come. These types of videos can be seeing the experience through the person who is actually in it. One example is this video showing a fireman wearing the GoPro camera on his head entering a burning house. As he makes his journey through the house, he discovers an unconscious kitten. As the viewer is taken the experience, he or she feels as if they are there. The fireman is able to bring the kitten back to life. Later, the ending was sad because the kitten had endured lung damage from the fire and died. The video itself showed there is still some humanity left in the world and was very powerful. Any person who watches the video will feel a sense of emotion and it will be one not soon forgotten. For GoPro, it showed what their product can do and how it can impact lives. This video has been seen on YouTube more than 26.3 million times.

From the presented videos, one can see there is no set formula for making videos “go viral.” It is up to marketers to find the most effective way to present their campaigns to viewers. The campaign’s tone can resonate with viewers. With any video, it does not have to be a lengthy production, but it does need to be compelling enough to capture the viewer’s interest to draw them in, making them want to watch it, then share with others. People often love to share videos, which makes it a powerful medium in reaching large numbers of users.


Differentiation – Alysia

When one thinks of doughnuts, Dunkin Donuts and Krispy Kreme are most likely the first brands that come to mind. There have been friendly debates over the years among friends who will defend their doughnut brand of choice and will swear that no other compares. As a child, I can remember going to Krispy Kreme, looking at the assorted doughnuts in the big glass display cases, and being served by nice, older ladies wearing hairnets and all white, signifying the Krispy Kreme uniforms. In the southern US, Krispy Kreme rules. However, on the East Coast, it is all about Dunkin Donuts.

In looking at their websites and social media presence, there are some similarities and differences in their approaches. Krispy Kreme defines their mission, “to touch and enhance lives through the joy that is Krispy Kreme,” which focuses on the enjoyment of their products. Their vision is “to be the worldwide leader in sharing delicious tastes and creating joyful memories,” which ties in to their traditional, yet nostalgic roots. Founded in 1937, Krispy Kreme focuses on quality of service and acknowledges the importance of the consumer, referring to them as their lifeblood, or “center of the doughnut.” On February 24, 2015, Krispy Kreme will open its 1,000th shop worldwide. Krispy Kreme has stuck to their core products, doughnuts and coffee, but have added other items, including drinksKool Kremebagels, and oatmeals to meet the needs of the ever-changing consumer.

Dunkin Donuts opened its first shop in Quincy, Massachusetts, in 1950. There was very little history on their website about their company so the user would not get that traditional, nostalgic feel from Dunkin Donuts website. Even thought Dunkin Donuts is a younger company, as of 2011, there were 10,083 Dunkin Donuts stores worldwide, including 7,015 franchised restaurants in 36 states within the US and 3,068 international shops in 32 countries. Like Krispy Kreme, Dunkin Donuts has had to expand their menu to include hot, iced, and frozen beverages, and they also have breakfast sandwiches and bakery sandwich items, which sets them apart from Krispy Kreme. Dunkin Donuts’ logo emphasizes coffee, which many consumers associate with the brand. When consumers want coffee, they will more likely think of Dunkin Donuts, then may add a doughnut to the order. With Krispy Kreme, consumers are more likely to buy a box of doughnuts, then may decide to order coffee to go with the doughnuts.

Both companies offer free apps for consumers, but each has a different focus. Krispy Kreme’s Hot Light app allows users to find the nearest location from their phones and receive alerts. When the neon glow of “Hot Now” is activated, it means doughnuts were freshly made and coming out of the ovens. (Hot Light App, 2015) The Dunkin’ Mobile app allows users to view their Perks point balance, redeem rewards, share beverage rewards, receive exclusive offers, and locate the nearest Dunkin Donuts location. Krispy Kreme is launching a rewards program, My Krispy Kreme Treats, but it is only available in select cities at this time. Dunkin Donuts, DD  Perks, is a rewards program, which is an easy way for consumers to earn points toward free beverages, rewards, and exclusive offers.

Both companies have a social media presence. On Krispy Kreme’s home page, there are direct links at the top to the following platforms; Facebook Pinterest, YouTubeTwitterInstagram, and Google +. If the user scrolls down the home page, the same links show, with the exception of Instagram, which is replaced by Foursquare. There needs to be consistency so it will be less confusing for users. Dunkin Donuts has direct links toward the bottom of their home page for users to access FacebookYouTube, Twitter, and the Dunkin Blog. Krispy Kreme does not currently have a blog, which is a missed opportunity for their brand to connect with users about specific topics in an online community format. Dunkin Donuts Facebook page has 13 million likes, while Krispy Kreme has 5 million likes. Dunkin Donuts is able to connect their brand with users in their daily lives. Krispy Kreme uses Facebook to share company news (i.e. grand openings, celebration of its 1,000th store, etc), but does not truly connect with users and tie their brand in to being a part of their daily lives. Both companies use Twitter to connect with users, but Dunkin Donuts has 865,000 followers while Krispy Kreme has 161,000 followers. Both companies have a few duplicate posts between their Facebook and Twitter platforms, but there is also plenty of unique content. Krispy Kreme’s Twitter page focuses more on doughnuts and its product line, with occasional reference to the Hot Light App. Dunkin Donuts references their rewards program and shows picture of doughnuts, coffee, and beverages, but they tend to ask questions to users that are not directly related to their brand. For example, one tweet asks the user who they will take on a coffee date and another one asks which movies are getting the user’s vote for the Awards show airing on television.

Krispy Kreme uses their nostalgia to draw in crowds and to stay true to their roots as a company. Their social media-driven marketing model along with their loyal fan base helps Krispy Kreme in remaining innovative and forward thinking in their marketing strategies. All of their marketing is done in-house, which keeps prices low and fosters communication between the business and design teams. Krispy Kreme does not use paid media and relies heavily on word of mouth and social media to spread their message and brand awareness. Dunkin Donuts uses social media as a means of fun interaction and engagement with users. Dunkin Donuts also recognizes each social media platform is unique and the type of engagement will vary depending on the platform.

Krispy Kreme and Dunkin Donuts are both great companies with product offerings that keep consumers coming back for more. They both realize the importance of social media, but take different approaches in how they appeal to their consumer bases. Both companies can learn from one another. Krispy Kreme can see the importance and success of Dunkin Donuts coffee and beverage product lines while Dunkin Donuts can see the importance of Krispy Kreme’s doughnut tradition. Both are expanding into international markets and will have their audiences that will think their brand choice is above all of the rest.



Best Practices for Tweets: Arts and Beyond

It is crucial to know the best practices for blogging and tweeting to be successful in communicating a message and engaging customers through social media. 

According to Vala Afshar’s Informationweek.com commentary, a great practice is “Don’t do social, be S.O.C.I.A.L.: Sincere, Open, Collaborative, Interested, Authentic and Likable. Be human and have fun.” Twitter is an excellent platform for sharing information and ideas and connecting with diverse audiences, but promotes transparency because of the open and direct real-time connections. 

One of the key best practices is to think before you tweet. Take the time to consider what value you will bring to the conversation with other users. In the book, The Tao of TwitterMark W. Schaefer, states that the findings from a statistical study focused on optimal tweeting strategy shows tweet quality is much more important than quantity: the higher the average number of clicks per tweet with a trackable link in a given week, the higher the follower growth (controlling for the number of followers). 

It is important to listen and respond to others. Let others do the talking so you can learn from them. If you do all of the talking, you may miss out in gaining an understanding of what consumers or followers really want. Be yourself and try to avoid using industry jargon. Using jargon can be like talking over a user’s head and will not keep them engaged. Find the right balance that best suits your organization, meaning don’t stick to one platform, but don’t overextend to more platforms than you can handle. Know that the culture and dynamic of each platform is unique and does not have a “one-size-fits-all” approach. 

In the arts community, Twitter is an excellent resource for music fans and performers to connect and gives them more opportunity to share what they are most passionate about. Twitter provides more authenticity and creative control than any other online medium. Twitter empowers musicians and artists by giving them their own voice to communicate with users directly. Arts communities are employing some of these practices and using Twitter to engage with their target markets and those who want to learn more about these organizations. These communities are using social media platforms like Twitter to increase awareness along with donations and fundraising efforts. 

Social media is here to stay. Those who have taken the time and put in reasonable efforts in establishing a social media presence have come into contact with many users and have built relationships while promoting their product or service, which in turn, builds a brand. 


Arts Organizations: Why Not Go Social?

In arts organizations, there is a great openness in wanting to be on the cutting edge in their use of technologies. With the economic downturn of 2008, arts organizations were heavily affected. Donations were down which lead to budget cuts and consolidation of administrative job roles took place. Part of these budget cuts were in the marketing and development roles so these employees have had to strive for more results with less money. 

Arts organizations are realizing to reach their intended target markets, they need to be social. According to a national study, digital and social media are delivering results for arts organizations. This study looked at how arts organizations are using digital and social media and the results they had obtained. One of the challenges was the measurement and return-on-investment (ROI) because very few were aware of how to set goals and define success. The study began with a cross-section of 47 conveners around the US, then it expanded to all arts organizations. Of 1,601 respondents, 70% stated digital and social media are delivering on their promise and hype. More arts organizations are using social media for experimenting and optimizing. 80% of these arts organizations feel their digital and social efforts are effective. In addition to using digital media to get into technology, it is about using new channels for communication and share what they know best. Museums are using websites as extensions of marketing but digital media has become a “gateway to connect people with art.” 

One interesting finding is budgets and geography are not a constraint for innovation. Through digital and social media, many arts organizations with budgets under $500,000 are using these tools to promote their events online. The study’s respondents are achieving meaningful results in raising money online and developing fan networks by going social. For example, Georgia Shakespeare theater organization was facing closure because of shortfalls in public and private funding. With an appeal made on Facebook by its managing director to save the organization, it raised $150,000 in two weeks from people throughout the US. Most respondents are using Google Analytics to review web traffic, but there is not concise method for measuring influence or interaction. 

In a survey designed by The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, it reviewed how arts organizations use the Internet and social media to connect with the public. By arts organizations going social, there are a few negative social media experiences mentioned such as social media being time consuming, artists’ posts being self-serving and promoting themselves through the organization’s profile, spam cluttering Facebook and Twitter pages, and accounts being hacked. When there are negative posts, most organizations are using this feedback to fix problems and bette serve patrons. However, the positive experiences of increased events attendance, increase in ticket sales, increased public awareness, and ability to support fundraising efforts. 

 With the positive experiences outweighing the negative experiences, arts organizations are more at risk by not going social. 


Arts Organizations Using New Technologies and Going Mobile

Within arts organizations, technology and social media have been embraced because the benefits have been recognized, which include increasing public awareness, but also it creates a more interactive experience between these organizations and diverse audiences. Many arts organizations have established a presence on social networking platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. In the arts organizations, they are using new technologies, including mobile apps to more effectively reach their consumer bases. 

 Arts organizations have become more creative and targeted in their approaches. These organizations have used programs like Raiser’s Edge for years for database management of subscribers, mailing lists, and fundraising, but there is now a Raiser’s Edge mobile app. This app allows employees of arts organizations to have this information at their fingertips when they are away from their offices. It is a great tool for employees to use for entering, editing and dictating Actions and Notes. 

 Many arts organizations re making their own apps unique to their needs so there are not apps that are “industrywide.” The National Gallery of Art recently released a mobile app showing works of art from its permanent collection and detail about the artist name, nationality, and theme. This app provides audio content for visitors to use with their personal devices rather than having to use the headsets supplied by the Gallery. The app also a Kid’s Tour to promote the introduction of art history principles to children. Facility information with the Gallery’s hours of operation and maps are also provided. An example of a local arts organization having their own app is the Portland Art Museum. The Meridian app provides turn-by-turn directions to the museum along with 12 short videos featuring curators, educators, and others discussing works of art, exhibition and even information. 

In 2011, Collectrium has designed Custom iPad Apps for Galleries, geared toward art galleries and dealers. The Custom iPad Apps for Galleries is “an intuitive and comprehensive mobile inventory and art presentation solution backed up by the Collectrium’s next generation cloud-based inventory system.” By 2014, it is estimated with 400 million Internet users, that more people will be connecting to the Web through mobile devices rather than computers. Each gallery can use this tool to customize its own app, using the app online and offline, and the app is managed through Collectrium’s iCloud artwork upload and management portal. A really cool feature in this app is the incorporation of ArtCapture technology. The user can point his or her iPhone or iPad camera to any artwork and it provides the information about the specific piece of artwork. 

 It is not easy to measure the success of a mobile app. With social networking apps like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, the number of “likes,” followers, or views can indicate the level of traffic and show how effective it is with reaching various audiences. In many cases, this measurement is up to the software owner. Measurement involves interest, engagement, and retention. The interest can be measured based on the number of users and tracking the statistics of what devices and platform versions are being used most for your app. Interest in an app is not hard. Customers can be attracted to an app, but it is harder to engage customers and establish that loyalty. Engagement involves frequency and depth of visits. Retention involves keeping the app up-to-date, but more importantly, keeping it relevant for users. A mobile app must also be properly supported. After all, who wants to keep an app that never works, or even worse, crashes? 


Social Media Application in Arts Organizations

Social media has been greatly embraced in arts organizations. Since many involved in these fields are creative, they often want to be on the “cutting edge,” including technology. More organizations are seeing the value in having a social media presence and are embracing it as an essential marketing tool and platform that can reach wider audiences. Social media tools are often used by these organizations to promote artists, their works, along with the arts organization and mission.

In a study, “Arts Organizations and Digital Technologies,” published by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, it looked at way in which cultural organizations – theater companies, orchestras, museums, – are using the Internet, social media, and mobile apps to grow, promote, and enrich the things they do. This study focused on how new technologies are impacting contemporary arts organizations. An interview was conducted between Jeffrey Brown of PBS Newshour Art Beat and the project’s director, Lee Rainie, to discuss the study’s findings. Rainie acknowledged that new technologies have been embraced in the arts community, partly from necessity, and that there is a certain level of excitement within this community in using new technologies. In the survey, 97% of arts organizations use social media, which is significantly higher than the general population.

From this study, it was also discovered that people are talking back, ranging from discussions about what they think of a performance, about the organization or how many people feel art should be free. Because so many people are creators themselves, there has been concern that the definition of art can be diluted now. The definition has changed because of technology, but organizations still want people to respond to what they are seeing.

There has been argument in the technology world when it comes to what stage we are in. Some say we are in the toddler stage. meaning these technologies have only been part of these organizations for a few years and they are still trying to figure out what to do with them. Others say it’s in the adolescent stage since the Internet is 20 years old. According to Rainie, mobile apps are used by 24% of these organizations.

In another study, which was a year-long intensive workshop series, Leveraging Social Media, 207 arts and cultural organizations from all over the world were reviewed. These 207 arts organizations utilize over 20 networking platforms, with the average arts organization being active on three social networks: Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, and uploads 66 new pieces of content monthly. Another interesting finding is the arts organizations that tweet more than four times daily and do not replicate Facebook content on their Twitter feed have more followers and higher engagement rate than others. Blogs have an overall low rate of engagement, regardless of format, structure, or frequency.

At the minimum, arts organizations need to have a presence in Facebook and Twitter. YouTube is a great resource for any organization displaying visual arts or performance. With the increase of smartphone users, arts organizations need to have mobile apps. To generate buzz and excitement, there should be a push for location-based services like Foursquare, to reach users who are at events or on their way there. Since many arts organizations are nonprofit and rely on grants and donations, there seems to be a huge desire to utilize new technologies, but it can be slow for some to implement due to limited budgets. There is a shift in how the marketing budgets are allocated. It’s no longer about glossy fliers, mailers, and print ads. The arts organizations have taken to social media as a viable platform to reach their audiences.