Always Learning: Creating a Competitive Advantage in Social Media Marketing
One of the core beliefs at Ignite Social Media is a commitment to be "Always Learning" and experimenting with new social networking sites is part of that. This past week I tried two 'it' platforms: We Heart It and storytellit. We Heart It was part of a Mashable article wondering aloud if it will be the next big social media network. storytellit, a new app from Likeable social media chief Dave Kerpen was part of an integrated campaign and came with its on great story as an introduction. I signed up for both services, downloaded iOS app versions and set off to test and learn.
We Heart It
Very Pinterest-esque in its delivery, We Heart It enables users to simply "heart" things they like and share them with their followers. I started searching for things I enjoy like travel, food, cars, home design, etc. I hearted images, followed their links to additional content and also followed users who had created content I liked. The app is fairly aggressive about driving engagement through notification.
Mashable noted that 80% of We Heart It users are under the age 24 (the exact percentage of Pinterest users that are over that age) reflecting a trend of the social web segmenting into demographic groups, much like other media. This will be an interesting trend to watch as similar platform functionality produces very different media look and feel. The network also has some serious brand advocates who love We Heart It so much they list imaginary job titles on LinkedIn and other sites as proof of their dedication to the service (the brand wisely doesn't seem to dissuade them).
Advertising was delivered inline on We Heart It with what appeared to be somewhat relevant content. This Walgreens ad appeared along with beauty related content. It is good to see brands leveraging platforms beyond Facebook and Twitter in their social marketing efforts.
After hearting some content and creating some collections (We Heart It's version of Pinterest boards), I wanted to see what engagement I received. Not surprising, interaction was very light since I didn't share with my network and have little in the way of relationship building with the We Heart It community. The platform pings me heavily under the default settings even letting me know that zero users hearted my hearts on the first day (oh, the rejection…). As I continue to use the app and syndicate some content, it will be interesting to see how others engage.
This app from Likeable Social Media is definitely interesting. It creates simple content packages using a Mad-libs type format with links and connections to richer content and automatically syndicates across users' linked social networks. The concept is very clever and is designed to help users build engagement via their social platforms.
I signed up quickly, linked some of my social accounts and put together a test post. For my first test, I selected a template about useful apps for entrepreneurs that included a link to a Virgin Atlantic content piece. I edited the template copy a bit and entered my favorite app, Path. Over the next three days, the post gathered over 20 likes, comments and shares over multiple networks, not bad for a first effort.
Both platforms create new types of engagement opportunities and build understanding into how content flows across networks through creation and syndication.
Social Networking Sites: Always Learning
I enjoy trying new social tools both from a professional and personal discovery standpoint, often finding that if I keep using something after a couple weeks, it might be something worth exploring for inclusion in client campaigns. Additionally, having an active social network across many channels, I usually see many of my colleagues and social influencers also using new tools as friends are recommended (if Nick Cicero is on a new service when I get there it confirms I should dig deeper).
The big lesson I've learned over the past seven years of being a social media practitioner is this space is evolving faster and more furiously than any I've experienced in my overall brand marketing career of almost 20 years. Successful tactics are quickly copied, reducing effectiveness and creating a ton of noise for consumers who are also shifting media consumption habits faster than marketers can keep pace as I'm sure many who relied only on Facebook for engaging consumers are discovering. Always Learning is a habit that will serve marketers well as the social landscape continues to change.
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