Social Media: MythBuster Edition

Josh Spencer Social Media

Social-Media-ROI

Are you still questioning why your business should be on social media?  I can’t tell you how many times I have had this conversation; it is pretty common for small businesses to question why they should be on social media.

The main reason is that many can’t understand how social media can truly benefit their business and impact their bottom line. But with 72% of Internet users on some type of social media, your business cannot afford to ignore this communication channel.

 In an effort to help you decide whether social media is right for you, I am going to bust the three biggest myths on social media.

Myth #1: If you can’t measure ROI, it’s not worth doing.

First off, whether you like it or not, chances are you’re already on social media. It’s likely that some of your customers are already talking about you, your business and your competitors on some type of social network.

What’s the ROI on social media you ask? What’s the ROI on a press release? It’s hard to measure, but you know it should be part of your  marketing. One way to understand the impact of your social media reputation is by measuring how large and active your online community is. Consider this: any one who has mentioned, interacted or chosen to communicate via social media is a potential customer.

It’s important to be part of this conversation – to hear what customers have to say about you and to answer their questions. Social media lets you build a community around your brand, and make it likable. The more likable your brand is the more people will prefer it. The bottom line is that people prefer to buy from people they like and the bigger your bottom line is, the bigger your revenue, will be.

Another way to measure the effectiveness of being on social media is to think about what you’re actually paying for. Social media is not just a lead generating tool or advert. It provides so much more. In fact, your social media pages give you a means to:

• attract product reviews

• collect testimonials

• provide one-to-one customer service

• provide real time updates on new products or services

• gain and field email feedback

• shift negative brand perception

• find out who your customers really are and what they think of you

• find new target markets

• identify where your next brick and mortar store should be

• identify which products your customers want to buy

• check on your competition

• communicate directly with your customers in an ongoing two-way conversation.

Myth #2: Success depends on ‘likes’

Not really. Depending on your niche and your target market, having more likes on anything does not guarantee success. The key is -engagement!

Social media is about creating a positive and active community. You could have thousands of followers, but if you have no engagement, not only is it not beneficial, it can have a detrimental effect on your SEO. (Google ranks valuable content depending on engagement and interactions.)

If you focus your efforts on building a stable, active and positive online community through different social platforms, there is no doubt you will succeed!

Myth #3: My customers aren’t on social media

Now that’s a myth!

More than 70% of Internet users are on some type of social media. Facebook has over one billion active users; Twitter has more than 200 million active users; and Instagram is up to 110 million per month. Let’s not forget the dozens of other social sites that are used every day. Every time someone reviews products and services, shares pictures of their entrée, or rates a hotel, they’re using social media.

Your social media pages work as an online store front for your brand. For your business, social media platforms aim to get your followers to interact with your content, so that they push it out to their network and create online word of mouth.

Comments on Net Neutrality: The Beginning of the End of the Online American Dream

Josh Spencer Digital Innovation, Technology

The Internet has long been the new Wild West; sure it has its rules, but most rules are broken regularly and innovation is king, not money.  It is the only place where a talented college kid with an idea can topple a giant corporation and become a god overnight. What I have been viewing as the New American Dream. It is the only place where you can create a business for under $100 and where people are free to voice their opinions and succeed at whatever they want, as long as it’s good, which is decided by the public, not corporations.  It’s the freest and most volatile space on the planet.

However, yesterday January 16, 2014, The Federal Court ruled to end Net Neutrality. This will allow corporations to limit access to some businesses (the ones that can’t pay) and give better access to others (the ones that can). So if a threatening competitor to Google or Facebook pops up, these corporations could effectively prevent the new competitor from working as well or even at all, on their platforms. They could then tax the new business to death to work on it’s platforms and raise the bar for other competitors and developers to enter. This could effectively kill the dream.

Does the American Government want to end the online American Dream? Are we so in debt that the American Government is going to allow big corporations to become immortal? Is the American Dream no longer important to our government? The answer seems to be an empathetic yes. Thank you America, you may have just made Zuckerberg’s invention an immortal one.net-neutrality-fist

Want more? 

http://www.savetheinternet.com/net-neutrality-101

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-july-19-2006/net-neutrality-act

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/220778

Velocitiff: A Beats Inspired Story

Josh Spencer Velocity News

I’m a man of simple tastes.  I spend most of my days in my usual routine: I wake up, eat breakfast, read The Advocate, then put on my Beats by Dre headphones and take off to my 8-5 job.  It didn’t occur to me that others don’t share this same experience until I came across a little article on Velocity’s blog yesterday. Let’s get right down to it – I’m an audiophile.  I’ve never worn headphones that cost less than $200.  I’m a New Orleans musician.  I’ve spent some crucial time in the studio with legends such as Ke$ha and countless Kids Bop platinum recording artists.  With such expertise, I came to a historic conclusion – Beats by Dre are the best headphones anyone could ever have.

Sure, they could be alternative to lawn fertilizer, but like, who wouldn’t want that?  Beats by Dre has been known to have many great alternative uses such as ear muffs, dog collars and chick magnets.  Have you ever needed an extra hourglass? An elevated drink coaster? Then look no further.  Did I mention total chick magnets?

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Works like a charm.

In fact, here’s a comprehensive Reddit post of the many ways you can use Beats by Dre that I copied and pasted: “Beats headphones offer a cutting edge layer of comfort only known by the likes of Tempur-Pedic.  Beats headphones are so easy to operate that the inventors skipped animal testing, and went straight into production. I would not go as far as to call them smart, but you would have to be dumb to not know how to use them.  These user friendly headphones offer high-quality, easy to use, multi-functional headphones.  When the headphones are folded up, the user has a fully functional pendulum at his, or her, disposal, which also serves as one minute timer.”–drdrefan2001

Beats persuaded Obama to end the War in Iraq.  Beats are the #1 choice of headphones by the American Red Cross Association.  Beats inspired the winning lottery numbers three weeks ago.  Beats have also inspired a ton of celebrities.  Nicholas Cage said in Newsweek that he tends to feel uncomfortable everywhere he goes unless accompanied by his Beats headphones.

“These headphones can be turned all the way up and not peak, or become distorted, and retain crisp highs, thick medium, and downright meaty lows,” my good friend Eminem said. I hope what you’re seeing is a trend of culture.  Beats by Dre has inspired a culture of fans that no longer settle for rock bottom.  No, we want at least some standards.  We want a brand to wear.  The audio quality might be on par with some of your run-of-the-mill competitor knockoffs, but who cares what’s on inside anymore. Beats are guaranteed to keep grandma entertained with its slick design and reflective surfaces.  Beats headphones come in a variety of colors, feather weight, and should be on every true music fan’s wish list. If I were a genius, I would have invented Beats by Dre myself.

So forget about those bills this month and get yourself a pair of Beats by Dre.

Beats by Dre: A Tale of Marketing Genius

Josh Spencer Music

Let me get this out of the way up front- I’m no audiophile. I’ve spent more time with my cheap $7 earbuds in my ears than I’d really care to admit. But as an unofficial Velocity Agency Music Snob, I’ve also spent my fair share of time with professional quality headphones, listening to music on top-of-the-line studio monitors, and have spent enough time in recording studios to make Axl Rose cringe. And all of that time and knowledge has led me to my most important realization yet- that Beats by Dre are horrible. Maybe not horrible by all counts- I believe they’d make a suitable alternative as lawn fertilizer- but at the very least, they have no place being sold for upwards of $400 as professional quality headphones.

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Ok, maybe they don’t necessarily sound horrible. Compared to the cheap earbuds that come with most iPhones and iPods, they sound downright decent. But although I may be exaggerating a bit, it’s old news that a significant quantity of audio enthusiasts agree that they sound drastically inferior to other headphones in the same price range. The bass is overrepresented, and the artificial dynamics on the low end cause unwanted distortion. These aren’t so much opinions as they are facts; facts that point to the conclusion that Beats by Dre sound objectively bad. But that’s not why I’m fascinated by Beats. I mean, there are literally hundreds of bad sounding headphones in the world. The reason Beats has captured my interest is that they account for 57% of the market share of premium headphones. That’s right, a company that has only been around for 5 years has secured the majority of a 1.8 billion dollar market that has practically been around for as long as recorded music has existed. But how can headphones that most experts agree sound objectively bad have such dominance over the market? These are the types of questions that keep me up at night.

Above all else, Beats succeeded by recognizing a huge gap in the marketplace. Not just headphones- it runs deeper than that. What percent of Americans have some sort of personal audio player? As long as you include smart phones, practically everybody. But until the last few years, the number of those people who even knew such a thing as sound quality existed was slim. Beats recognized an opportunity to take something- sound quality- that was previously only relevant to a niche market, and convert it into something with mass market appeal. It’s a textbook example of recognizing an opportunity if there ever was one. And while other, arguably better, premium headphone manufacturers were stuck marketing exclusively to sound engineers and audiophiles, Beats recognized that the idea of making music sound good was much more universal than that. It was just a matter of how to communicate the idea to a mass market.

This is where the design came into play. If there’s one thing that can be said about marketing in the 21st century, it’s that design is every bit as important as content. Beats are as much of an accessory or statement as they are a device for listening to music. From the pristinely contoured shape to the beautiful simplicity of the “b” logo on the side, there’s no denying that they are impeccable from a design standpoint. As much as I love my top of the line hi-fi studio headphones- let’s face it- they’re hideous. If I wore them out in public people would probably ridicule me. And of course it doesn’t hurt that they’ve managed to have so many celebrities wearing their headphones in public. And now you can even get your favorite artists’ signature headphones (as long as your favorite artist is Lady Gaga).

This day and age, products tend to speak for themselves more than ever. We rely less heavily on traditional forms of advertising, and tend to favor the opinions of our friends or what we see on social media platforms. This is both a curse and a blessing from a marketing standpoint. When a product is truly great, it basically does the advertising itself.  On the other hand, products that aren’t exceptional are harder than ever to effectively promote and sell. But every now and then, there’s such a perfect storm of clever marketingand fortuitous timing that a product even as mediocre as Beats can become a phenomenon. As a fan of music, I’m genuinely happy that Beats has gotten such a widespread enthusiasm for sound quality, even if I don’t like the way their products sound. Now if they could just make some Mastodon artist series headphones…

New Orleans Saints And Fans Witness Believe Banner Fly Over

Josh Spencer Velocity News

New Orleans Sains Superdome Believe Banner

On the morning of Wednesday, January 8th, Facebook, Twitter, Saints forums and local news stations started chatter about a banner flying over Metro New Orleans that simply stated “Believe.”

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It turned out that local car dealer, Ronnie Lamarque of Lamarque Ford, was behind the sponsorship of the banner. Although the “Believe” banner campaign is part of a larger television campaign for the dealership (currently running through the NFL Saints football season), the idea behind the banner was to bring the community together as one voice and to rally the New Orleans Saints and fans for this Saturday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks.

The “Believe” banner campaign was facilitated by the dealership’s advertising and marketing agency the Friday before the game against the Philadelphia Eagles. When the New Orleans Saints won against the Eagles, the Velocity Agency PR team moved quickly to secure the plane and the print of the 7500 sq. ft. banner. Within a 24-hour period, the plane was confirmed and banner was printed. Press releases were sent out to all local media outlets and a press conference scheduled on the morning of Wednesday, January 8th.

The “Believe” banner has flown over metro New Orleans twice daily since Wednesday and will finish its last flight on Saturday morning before the game against the Seahawks. Yesterday the PR team even received permission from Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport to fly the banner over airspace while the Saints departed from the airport for Seattle.

New Orleans Saints Drew Brees Believe Banner4

The “Believe” banner campaign has drawn an enormous response from New Orleans Saints fans, and even the players and the coaches, like Drew Brees and Jimmy Graham.

New Orleans Saints Jimmy Graham Believe Banner5

The success of the campaign was measured through media coverage and social media response, with an 88% increase in influence on Twitter and Facebook within the first 2 days of the fly over; 3 million impressions on Facebook; 2 million impressions on Twitter; thousands of retweets and mentions, and coverage on all major local networks and news sites.

SnapChat: The Myth Of Online Privacy

Josh Spencer Velocity News

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If you got into the SnapChat bandwagon on the pretenses that your information was secure, you may have been disappointed to learn that 4.6 million numbers and usernames were leaked last week. SnapChat, silicon’s favorite startup, had taken pride in being a more private and secure alternative to other networks such as Facebook and Instagram. After the hacking, SnapChat tried to downplay the situation causing outrage from a lot of users.

In the end, the individuals who claimed to be behind SnapChatDB, explained that they were only putting pressure on the network to fix their security flaws. These flaws had been identified by Gibson Security and reported to SnapChat on Christmas Eve. The network failed to take action and as users rang in the New Year, their information was being leaked online.

But SnapChat is not the first network to experience hacking. Just in the new year other tech giants such as Sony, Yahoo, and Skype have fallen victims to hackers. As researchers claim that these companies should honor their promises to keep user information secure, I believe that online privacy in this age is nothing more than a myth.

Everyone should be aware and realize that there is no such thing as privacy on the internet. Whether it’s a social network, an app that “erases” your messages after being sent, a shopping account, or even your personal email, nothing is 100% secure. Remember, the internet was created to share and make information available publicly -not privately.

Earlier this week, Facebook was slapped with a lawsuit for allegedly scanning users ‘private’ messages. Those ‘private’ messages sent on Facebook get stored in databases that could potentially be hacked as well. Facebook offers a free platform where users can share their information with other users, but we tend to forget that these networks are businesses as well and whether we like it or not, they need to capitalize on something.

Remember, the minute you sign up for these networks, apps, email accounts, etc., your information is at risk of getting hacked. Should these companies try harder to keep information secure? Absolutely. Should they be more transparent on the way they use our information? Of course. Online privacy does not exist nor will it, the only way to keep your information safe? Don’t share it. But if you do be smart and do not share information you would not want to have released.

What are your thoughts on internet privacy? Share responsibly!

Popular Memes of 2013

Josh Spencer Social Media, Technology

Velocity Agency has looked through a year’s worth of internet nonsense and global inside jokes to bring you what we deem the most popular memes of 2013. Read through this quick list of top memes of 2013, and check out our versions of them!

Wrecking Ball

Miley Cyrus’ music video, Wrecking Ball, inspired thousands of memes, a vine that went viral and various Halloween costume interpretations due to its raunchy nature.

Peak search interest: September 8, 2013.

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Doge

Cats, pigs, squirrels, hamsters, bears….Doge. This year’s animal meme goes to a doge. Yes, a doge. This Shiba Inu came  across as sometimes cute and sometimes creepy. With the history of this meme detailed in a lengthy buzzfeed article, and the birth of its own currency, it makes you wonder, “Much why.”

Peak search interest: still climbing.

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60-year-old girl

It started out as a joke between a husband and wife, and became an internet sensation. A little girl that looks 60 continues to inspire new photos every day.

Peak search interest: still climbing.

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Harlem Shake

This one dates all the way back to February, and it got viral so fast that it was mentioned in the YouTube trending blog and spawned remakes from groups and entities ranging from colleges and sports teams to celebrities and politicians. The only place this video probably wasn’t popular, was in Harlem.

Peak Search Interest: February 2013

 

 

Unflattering Beyoncé

This unfortunate, yet candid, photo of Beyoncé performing was an instant success in the meme community. It spawned even more interest when her publicist repeatedly asked that the unflattering images be removed.

Peak Search Interest: February 2013

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Ryan Gosling Won’t Eat His Cereal

This popular series of vines shows a spoonful of cereal being fed to Ryan Gosling in his most dramatic performances. Fans then went and created compilations and even did their own take on the meme with other celebrities, making Vine even more important when it comes to online content and memes. But then again, it is Ryan Gosling.

Peak Search Interest: July 2013

 

 

Grumpy Cat

Although Grumpy Cat originated in 2012, peak interest continued throughout 2013, even earning the “Meme of the Year” Award at the 2013 Webby Awards. Tardar Sauce, or “Tard,” has gained such popularity in 2013, that she has been on the cover of the Wall Street Journal and New York Magazine. She also makes appearances and has even gotten herself a manager. Not sure what she has to be grumpy about, but the world thanks her for the face that God gave her.

Peak Search Interest: December 2012 & March 2013

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Obama Skeet Shooting

The White House released a photo of President Obama skeet shooting in early January 2013, and then began the onslaught of photoshopped versions of the image. Seriously, White House, didn’t you know this would happen?

Peak Search Interest: February 2013

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What Does The Fox Say

Norwegian comedy music group, Ylvis, released “The Fox” in September 2013, a music video exploring what the fox says. The video quickly went viral in the first month with over 50 million views on YouTube and hitting number 29 on the US Billboard Hot 100 Top Singles Chart. Spoof videos were also generated by fans and the casts of SNL and Glee.

Peak Search Interest: October 2013

 

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Hey Girl

Even though Hey Girl was created in 2008 and gained most notoriety in 2012, we had to include this on our list of popular memes for 2013 because…Ryan Gosling.

Peak Search Interest: February 2012 & January 2013

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Twerking

Twerking has been around for a long time, but has re-emerged as a popular dance form in the past few years. 2013 was the year of the Twerk, from Miley Cyrus’ performance at the VMA’s spawning global response and discussion, to a Twerking Guinness World Record headed by Big Freedia. And fans and internet users have responded in kind with twerking videos, how-to twerking videos and spoofs, making Twerking the defining meme for 2013.

Peak Search Interest: August-September 2013

 

We would have made our own Velocity twerking video, but we’re still waiting on Big Freedia to come and give us our tutorial. Happy New Year and have a meme-tastic 2014!

The Importance of Content Hierarchy

Josh Spencer Velocity News

writtypographyToo many times have I stumbled across a website with lines and lines of unending, boring content structuring without a bit of directive messaging.  Like watching episodes I, II and III of Star Wars I’m left lost and confused as to the context. (Refer to Ex. 1)

This isn’t to say that dull content can’t be used to keep the reader wanting more.

Example #1

That’s where the magic of content hierarchy plays a key role, as it takes a foundation of plain-jane text and turns it into a piece of art. Content must have a flow that is easily followed by readers, especially on smaller screen mobile devices.

Where to start?

I start things off with a basic word document, and from there I begin to break down the text into different functions. Some pages will have many different functions, while others will only have two or three.

For this article I’ll go into the two main functions that I use: header and paragraph.

( i )  A header is a loud statement that pulls the viewers eyes and guides them along the page. From there the user will determine the relevancy of the content being presented. The average viewer spends less than 10 seconds skimming a page for important information.

( ii )  A paragraph is your main body of content that follows a header. This should complement the header, and will only be read if the viewer finds the header to be relevant.

Why?

I can’t count how many times I have landed on a website without any kind of direction and ended up leaving the page without even scrolling down. Increasing website interaction and conversion is a product of properly formatted direct content hierarchy. If you want your site to be successful and receive a 50% bounce rate drop, then implement strong content strategy.

Conclusion

It’s important to remember how the reader will view your content, and then plan how you will lay everything out. Always keep the end goal in mind.

Intern Spotlight: Chase Dennies

Josh Spencer Velocity News

My headshot

As a New Orleans native, Chase Dennies grew up attending many festivals and snapping pictures. Apart from being a talented photographer, Chase is also an amazing graphic designer and we are lucky to have him as an intern at Velocity. For our Intern Spotlight this week, Chase shares his passions and his favorite hangouts in New Orleans.

VA:Where are you from?

CD:I was born and raised in New Orleans, LA.

VA:What do you like the most about New Orleans?

CD:I like that there is always something to do in New Orleans.

VA:What are you most passionate about?

CD: I am very passionate about my family. I wouldn’t be where I am today without their love and support.

VA:What do you like about working at Velocity ?

CD: One of the things that I like about Velocity is the open creative environment that it offers. Second, is the collaboration between the designers and helping each other out on projects. The best is the fact that it is a full service agency, there’s a lot I can learn from other areas. If I want to learn things about post production I can just go downstairs and learn some things from the production team.

VA:What is Graphic Design for you?

CD: Graphic design has become a big part of my life. I enjoy learning new things about design every day. After your first typography class the entire world changes. You start to see the world as type. Other people may describe the new restaurant by saying its next to the dry cleaners but you describe it as the place that uses Comic Sans in their logo.

VA:What are some of your favorite hangout spots on the weekend ?

CD: On the weekends, I like to hangout at The Bulldog or just relax at home with my family.

VA: What is your social media of choice?

CD:  None.(Just Kidding!) I would have to say Facebook.

Thoughts on the 2013 NEXUS GYS

Josh Spencer Velocity News

Upon arriving at the NEXUS Global Summit on Innovative Philanthropy and Social Innovation this past weekend, I found myself reflecting on a long held personal belief. I have always felt strongly that anyone can find a way to buy something for a dollar and sell it for two. This model equates to a business. However, I have never had any desire to simply create a business. I have worked on building companies. Certainly, companies buy and manufacture at a mark-up, sell ad space, and take transaction based revenue, but they also grow. Companies create jobs, offer careers for skilled individuals, bring opportunities for complementary products and services, and together create entire industry sectors.

Hence, companies doing well often scale up. They are rooted in innovation and routinely disrupt convention. They open offices around the globe and create more jobs and wealth, all while offering something useful to the world.

But, in case you haven’t noticed, the world is not doing well. There are inverse metrics all around us: record population increase accompanied by stagnant job growth, innovation with increased technology costs, and lower wages alongside food and gas price inflation.

So, companies doing well must now be given a larger mandate: to do good. These days, it is not sufficient to operate simply as a company. Those scaling up must use their power and influence for good, all while attempting to halt this seemingly incalculable downward spiral of our current world environment and outlook.

This sentiment is exactly what NEXUS Global Summit is all about. Doing good is not a luxury, nor is it a corporate goodwill budget line item. It is an absolute, immediate necessity, and bringing together scaling companies, thought leaders, and institutions from around the world, for four nine-hour days, is exactly how it’s going to get done.