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Inside Brit + Co's New Snapchat Discover Partnership To Brand The Holidays

[By: Garrett Sloane] [Brit + Co] [Read More]

Credit: Brit + Co

Credit: Brit + Co

Publisher and commerce platform Brit + Co is bringing its female-centric DIY lifestyle to Snapchat for Easter and the rest of holidays going forward, through a deal it struck with the media messaging app, which was being announced today.

Brit Morin is the face of the digital media company, and is now the latest content partner to hitch its wagon to Snapchat’s growing platform of 100 million, mostly young, users. The terms of the deal were not released, but Brit + Co, after a trial run over the holidays last year, will host a semi-regular Discover channel with its brand of crafts, cooking, shopping and lifestlye content. The publisher has a 7-person team working on the Discover channel, including editors, designers, photographers and videographers.

Snapchat splits ad revenue with Discover publishers, but it’s unclear if Brit + Co also had to pay the platform just to set up shop there. Morin discussed the deal by phone this week, and did not talk money, but she did talk about what her site has learned about creating for the Snapchat crowd.

Here’s what she and her team had to say:

Your first foray into Snapchat was last year. What was the strategy then?
We programmed it like a Discover channel, every day with new content, focused on baking, decorating and gift-giving. The big highlight for us was not just Snapchat user engagement, but the advertising, which we co-produced with Google. [Brit + Co did not reveal the traffic from the channels or how many views the ads received.] We put this channel together, literally within a couple weeks, everything we produced, including the ads for Google, was done within a two-week period.

And now that you’re on Discover, you’re focusing on holiday content?
What we found was that the Snapchat audience loves a variety of content types. We did a lot of round-ups, video and sharable ideas, like screenshots of wallpaper for your phone background, holiday-themed wallpaper. It was holiday content that we designed to live in the Brit + Co environment.

What is the process like coming up with the programming?
Our marketing team uses a lot of real-time data and analytics across various platforms, not just Brit + Co’s website, but also Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram, to understand what the trends are, literally, on a day-to-day basis. Our marketing team then informed our editorial and creative teams on the type of content to produce for our channel. So it all started with a data-driven approach around how we would theme it and the type of content we would create for it.

Which social channel most informs what content you’ll go with on Discover?
With our reach on Pinterest, we reach about half Pinterest’s total audience every month, which is crazy. We really are trying to get more analytical about the content that performs on Pinterest, so so we look to that platform to specifically understand the trends around the holidays and the categories that millennials care more about. That informed our strategy much more than the other social networks.

How are you working with advertisers, like Google, to fit Snapchat’s ad platform?
If you create a great advertisement with your brand partner that thematically works in your channel, you’re going to have a much better response from Snapchat users. We worked with Google’s mobile search team to look at Google trends to understand the most searches around the holidays, like how many teaspoons in a tablespoon, an example of people baking over the holiday. So we really took into account the most popular types of searches and then incorporated them into our creative.

Is the vertical nature of Snapchat on mobile phones a challenge?
It was a pseudo-challenge, because we do a lot of video already, so it was really about cropping the right way. We did produce all new and original videos, because we weren’t able to just re-use old video. But then we were able to repurpose those vertical videos across our site and other social platforms like Instagram and Facebook, and they still performed on those platforms even though they were vertical.

How about the vertical ads?
We can help develop the creative that’s going to resonate in this environment and for this specific demographic. We can also accept creative when their creative agency or in-house team has produced it. And we do have the ability to then make sure that content is being repurposed on Brit + Co and other channels.

How about branded content, are there restrictions on overly promotional content on Discover?
We’ve had no pushback from them on that, and even in some holiday editions we could drive people to links where they could buy products, even though there’s not a hard link out of Snapchat. We tease the link inside a Snapchat story, and a lot of users would actually go to the various websites we referred them to.

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10 Holiday Marketing Trends Every Small Business Should Leverage

[By: Staples] [Mashable] [Read More]

Credit: ThriftsandThreads.Com

Credit: ThriftsandThreads.Com

It's that time of year again: The first hint of frost is in the air, the conversations are turning to turkey and gift-giving, and holiday puns are dancing like sugarplums in the minds of social media managers everywhere.

Small business owners already have a lot on their plates during this time of year, so when it comes to holiday marketing, it can all feel a bit overwhelming. Staples is here to help. Beyond being the one-stop shop for everything small businesses need to make more happen, below are some tips to help small businesses capitalize on this season's top trends.

1. Don't ignore retail's most infamous Monday...

There is a reason that Cyber Monday is so popular: Everyone loves a good deal. And online shopping can be done from home, the office or on the go.

How SMBs can take advantage: Ensure that your business's website (both desktop and mobile) is optimized for user experience in the weeks leading up to the big day, and be sure your site can handle the extra traffic if you're offering significant discounts. Having a mobile website or app is key for snagging shoppers who will be browsing exclusively from smartphones or tablets. Consider updating your technology for the season to ensure your small business is running smoothly. Staples can help with EasyTech™ services, the latest technology and upgrades to improve productivity.

2. ...But don't forget about "the shelf"

The focus shouldn't be entirely online or mobile, however

 — SMB owners with a brick-and-mortar element can't afford to forget about what's happening in-store. Bargain hunters are still willing to put down their devices and head out to shops for the right deal or special offer.

How SMBs can take advantage: Using whatever data-driven analytics you've got access to, figure out the products that are most in-demand for your target market, and then give your customers what they want: A deal they can't find elsewhere.

Keep two of the largest retail holidays hand-in-hand with tactics like handing out Cyber Monday coupon codes on the receipts of Black Friday purchases. This way, customers are enticed to pick up the items they missed in-store (or order more of what they've already purchased).

3. Offer perks to stay competitive

It's also wise to draw in customers using perks such as free shipping, gift-wrapping options and guaranteed-before-Christmas delivery dates.

Your business should have a handle on exactly how long it takes to get online-ordered goods to their respective homes — and being realistic about these timelines is crucial.

How SMBs can take advantage

Add a countdown feature to your website or app letting customers know the drop-dead dates for delivery by 12/25. Keep your packaging and shipping supplies in stock to help get orders out on time. Staples has all of your packaging and shipping supplies plus a UPS service counter in every store for convenient seven-day-a-week package drop off. Visit Staples.com for any gift wrapping needs so you’re ready with bags, tissue, ribbon, tape and boxes.

 

4. Embrace and reward customer loyalty

There are plenty of shopping days left after the craze of Black Friday and Cyber Monday and before the holiday season comes to an end. To attract customers all season long, reward them with incentives to keep them clicking or coming back for more. Staples Rewards always gives rewards members free shipping and up to 5% back in rewards.

How SMBs can take advantage: Segment marketing campaigns so you're sending customized (and perhaps more frequent) messages, discounts and offers to brand loyalists or frequent customers.

5. Engage on social media

Social media is an excellent opportunity for small businesses to connect with consumers on a personal level, manage customer relationships and snag the attention of the casual Newsfeed surfer.

How SMBs can take advantage: Offer in-store or online discounts for customers who follow or "Like," and then keep them captivated by posting visually heavy, compelling content. Avoid being overly self-promotional and focus on a conversational, short-and-sweet tone.

6. Give to a good cause

People are in the holiday spirit and like to give back during the holiday season. Small businesses should consider adding a charitable element to their holiday game plan.

How SMBs can take advantage: Offer to donate a small portion of holiday proceeds to a local charity that has meaning to your community, or set up a donation box or toy drive in your brick-and-mortar establishment. You'll get customers in the door while doing some good yourself.

7. Share the holiday spirit with customers

While your customers expect to receive a Christmas card from Gramps and Nana, they may not be expecting one from your small business. Handing out cards or holiday swag with your SMB's logo can be a cute way to capitalize on the holiday season and spread the word about a burgeoning business.

How SMBs can take advantage: Pay a visit to your local Staples Copy & Print Center for low prices on loads of creative customized products, gifts and holiday cards, many of which have same-day options. Be sure to stay genuine and true to your brand with email blasts, social copy and any gifts you'll give out in stores.

8. Reward your own employees, and share the joy

‘Tis the season to be jolly, so go ahead and do it! 

In the midst of the crazy business season, don’t forget about the people who make your business tick, your own employees.

In the midst of the crazy business season, don’t forget about the people who make your business tick, your own employees. Throw a holiday party, have a company cookie swap, give gifts to your coworkers and boss, and then share the joy with your customers.

 

How SMBs can take advantage: Every brand and company has a face (or faces) behind the 1-800 number or the company website. Share photos of the company holiday spirit on social platforms like Facebook or Instagram. If you’ve never done it before, now may be a valuable time to start a blog, make a video, or get your brand on a visually captivating platform like Instagram, Pinterest or Snapchat. Share the joy of your brand’s own holiday experience with your customers.

Staples has all your holiday party needs from the decorations to the extra paper towels, as well as exclusive gifts for your coworkers.

9. Dress the part

Many retailers know it, and your small business should, too: There's something magical about a store window filled with a beautiful holiday display. Find some time to add a festive flair to your storefront with beautiful holiday-themed decor. Even online businesses can get in the game by adjusting a site's aesthetics to match the season.

How SMBs can take advantage

It can be as simple as a few strategically placed wreaths or as elaborate as a meticulously constructed window display, but adding pops of holiday cheer, whether online or IRL, can help put customers in the giving spirit. Print your signage needs at your local Staples Copy & Print Center.

10. New year, fresh start

As with New Year's resolutions, January can be a re-set button for your business, particularly if 2015 didn't quite go to plan. Whether your business is due for a rebrand, a tech upgrade or needs to ramp up its online presence, it's a good time to set some goals, redesign an outdated logo or finally get to work on your company Twitter account.

How SMBs can take advantage: Spend some time in the lull of the post-holiday rush to reflect on business goals, marketing campaign performance and overall brand strategy, and come up with three out-of-the-box goals for 2016 that extend beyond the bottom line.

Keep your small business running smoothly into the New Year with EasyTech™ services, the latest technology, and upgrades from Staples. Staples makes it easy for small business to do more EVERYDAY, including the holidays, with essential products and services at guaranteed low prices.

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Top 5 Ideas for Holiday Marketing Campaigns in 2015

[By: Katie Carlson] [Ready Pulse] [Read More]

Credit: StyleScrapbook.Com

Credit: StyleScrapbook.Com

The holidays are upon us and that means it’s time for gingerbread houses, sledding dates and shopping sprees. It’s the perfect season for brands and marketers to think about how they can share their products, give back to their communities and engage with their most loyal fans and customers on social media. See how some brands are already thriving with their holiday marketing and learn some valuable tips so you can join in on the fun.

1. Video Series
When you combine humor and video you get rock star marketing. That’s exactly what OfficeMax has done year after year. They’ve got their audience creating, sharing and laughing all at the same time. The campaign works because it’s clever, interactive and has a personalized nature that causes a viral effect. As you plan your holiday marketing strategy, focus in on the audience you’re trying to reach and how you can make them feel connected to your brand.

2. Mobile and In-Store Engagement
Macy’s Believe Campaign always gets a lot of attention and this year is no different. Every year, Macy’s donates $1 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation for every letter to Santa that is submitted at their store. Millions of letters flood in each year, and yet they still thought about how they could make it even better by creating engagement and interaction with their fans. Macy’s designed an app to take pictures with some of Macy’s holiday characters to further promote their campaign. It’s a smart move because the store is giving their customers a mobile experience to spread the word and fueling engagement at the same time. You can’t go wrong with holiday-themed offers that are creative, fun and keep your brand top-of-mind.

3. Multi-Channel User Generated Content (UGC)
There’s no better way to tell a story than through a beautiful picture. That’s exactly what Nestlé USA’s Stouffer’s frozen foods brand is doing on Instagram this season. The “All to the Table” campaign underscores that the holidays offer important opportunities for family and friends to come together over food. What else can we say except, yum!? It’s a pretty intricate campaign complete with YouTube and Hulu videos, stills on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. Instagram specifically includes “tablescape” images that come together through grid sections. Each individual image contains recipe, table décor or hosting tips (Media Post). A wild guess, but this campaign seems like it was planned out, and done so remarkably.

4. Hashtag Share Campaign
One reason people look forward to the holiday season is because it’s a time to spread cheer and reconnect with family. It’s an emotional part of the year for many as they give back to their communities and visit loved ones. Hallmark took a leap of faith this year and tackled it’s first-ever digital-only holiday campaign. The campaign website, #KeepsakeIt Together, includes short YouTube videos of funny and imperfect family moments around holiday traditions. It sure is a nice change of pace from the more traditional “Hallmark moments” television commercials. Nailed it!

5. Social Influencers & Brand Ambassadors
The holidays generate no shortage of celebrity brand ambassadors in marketing campaigns throughout the world. H&M kicked off the 2015 holidays with Katy Perry as the star of their new advertising strategy. Who better to communicate fun and excitement than this firecracker? Her personal brand is perfect for the H&M sparkly and magical holiday collection. Whoever you team up with, keep in mind they should be a natural fit for the brand, communicate authenticity and know how to spread the word on social media. If done right, brand ambassadors can create quite the stir for your brand.

Conclusion
The holidays are a time to get the creative juices flowing and test out new marketing ideas. The rise of social media, influencer marketing and technology offer up endless amount of holiday campaign possibilities in 2015 and beyond. Whatever you do, keep it social, keep it interactive and most importantly, keep it real.

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How to Partner With Social Media Influencers for the Holidays

[By: Sabrina Fenster] [Convince & Convert] [Read More]

Credit: DashofDarling.com

Credit: DashofDarling.com

 

If you’ve never dabbled in influencer marketing, it can be tricky to get started. Especially with the holidays in full swing, influencers are busier than ever. And when it comes to the rules of influencer marketing, they don’t really exist. Bloggers and social media influencers are essentially making them up as they go. This makes it difficult to gauge logistics like pricing and contracts. Fortunately, once you start communicating with various influencers, setting up becomes a lot easier.

But even though working with influencers isn’t the easiest marketing strategy, it is indeed one of the most effective. Given the returns it yields, it’s worth diving into (or at least dabbling in) influencer marketing—or as I like to call it, the “Wild West” of marketing.

Here are three types of social media influencers, and how you can partner up with them this holiday season.

Instagram Influencers

Who isn’t on Instagram these days? The majority of influencers have at least some kind of presence on Instagram because they want to take full advantage of where their readers live. They realize that many readers want the information, but they want it fast and in bite-size chunks. In this case, that’s why photos do most of the talking.

Instagram content is visually captivating and allows influencers to get creative with their photo styling. But it’s not just influencers: Everyday people are just as into the platform and are creating user-generated content (UGC) around the products they buy. Customers who view or engage with a piece of UGC featuring the brand’s products are more likely to purchase an item.

When it comes to UGC on Instagram, apparel has the most impact on purchases at 6.4x, followed by jewelry at 2.4x, footwear at 1.7x, beauty at 1.6x, and consumer electronics at 1.6x.

Action Items:

  • Ask your customers to share their holiday purchases with a branded hashtag you can track.
  • Curate UGC from your customers or influencers on your website or social networks.
  • Develop an ambassador program with Instagram influencers, and get them to share their holiday content. Curate the content on your website and link the posts up to product pages, so that customers can easily shop the products. 

YouTube Influencers

If you want to bring your products to life this holiday season, video is the way to go. And as luck would have it, vloggers are as influential as it gets when it comes to holiday purchases. (highlight to tweet)

From “Unboxing” videos to “Style Hauls” or even just everyday rants, their words are translating into dollars spent. Shopping-related content on YouTube is becoming an important part of the holiday research process. In fact, 80% of shoppers watched product reviews and ratings last holiday season. This isn’t so surprising when you consider that 80% of shoppers engage with a retailer or brand through digital channels before actually walking into a store and making a purchase

Action Items:

  • Partner up with vloggers that have the eyeballs and ears of your target market.
  • Aside from general campaign guidelines, give vloggers the freedom to be authentic in their videos. Their authenticity is what led them to vlogger stardom in the first place.
  • Ask the vloggers to include an element of surprise, such as an “Unboxing” type video, where new products are revealed and gift ideas are presented in a fun way for their viewers.

 

Pinterest Influencers

We all tend to lean toward Instagram or YouTube when it comes to sharing visual content. But here’s the thing that many marketers are missing: When it comes to the breakdown of social media channels influencing holiday purchase decisions, Pinterest is leading the pack at 47.7%.

Not only is it easy for shoppers to curate gift ideas onto boards, but their favorite influencers can make it even easier by doing it for them. Great Pinterest content from influencers tends to go viral, which is extremely powerful. It leads to an increase in website traffic and many people often buy the suggested items. The holidays are a great time to curate those gift guides and wish lists, so what are you waiting for?

Action Items:

  • Find the Pinterest influencers in your industry that have serious followings. Their pins will spread faster than holiday cheer.
  • Make it easy for your customers and influencers to share your content straight from your website by integrating the “Pin It” button, or even better, the hover button.
  • Enlist a set of Pinterest influencers to pin products that link up to your website, where customers can shop directly.

While I’ve talked a lot about social media influencers, blogging is far from dead. In fact, social media is often just a great supporting channel for followers that don’t have a lot of time to read blog posts. For others, social media is simply the vehicle to discover the fresh blog content in the first place.

 

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