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According to the hair care company, Pantene, 70% of men think that women need to downplay their personality to be accepted in the workplace.

Other alarming statistics have been published recently by PEW Research Center that involve working mothers, stating that women are much more likely than men to experience family-related career interruptions and that these interruptions hurt their career progression.

Additionally, the Stanford Graduate School of Business has published a gender related study that addresses the perception bias of men and women in the workplace. In the research, a case study of Heidi Roizen, a successful venture capitalist was shared with a group of students. Afterward, the students were surveyed, and though Heidi and Howard were found equally competent, the students found Howard much more likeable.

This commercial, created by Pantene, addresses the issue that women face when they refuse to give in to the labels that hold them back. “Because when you stand strong, you shine.”

What do you think about these double standards that Pantene has addressed?

Dear #hashtag user,

I’ve noticed recently that you are quite the fan of this clever linking device. However, I think that you misunderstood its purpose of functionality. You see, the hashtag was created as a method to “tag” tweets, essentially adding organization to the clutter that consumes the Twitter-sphere.

For example, if I were hoping to connect with people in the fashion industry, I could search #fashion and, immediately, thousands of tweets would show up that include the same hashtag. By searching #Obamacare, I can access the opinion and news results of all who are discussing the controversial matter.

Upon conception, the hashtag was (and still is) a brilliant piece of digital creation.

However, I have noticed that you, Mr./Mrs. hashtag user, have used this tool completely out of context. The hashtag is no longer a method of organization, but is now a form of language that is substituting complete thoughts.

Examples include:

“Looking forward to my trip to the Bahamas. Is Friday here yet!? #excited #cantwait”

or

“This weather is killing me! All I want to do it go for a run, but I can’t in this rain. #RainRainGoAway”

What, on Earth, has the use of these hashtags accomplished? Personally, I am a fan of how GIZMODO phrased its frustration, stating, “But at their most annoying, the colloquial hashtag has burst out of its use as a sorting tool and become a linguistic tumor—a tic more irritating than any banal link or lazy image meme.”

Now, I’m not calling you lazy. No, this annoying use of the English language is not lazy. However, these simple misapplications of a hashtag have turned into a much larger infraction.

Recently, you have begun using hashtags as a way to self promote, hoping that the more hashtags you use in a post, the more likely you will acquire new followers. Your thought is similar to the practices of SEO – use key words and hopefully show up in search results.

A word to the wise? When you do this – people like me will ignore your post completely.

photo copy copy

This is merely a desperate attempt at being seen. Seriously? How many people are searching the hashtags #orange or #thegreatpumpkin?

So, I beg of you, Mr. or Mrs. hashtag user. Think before you # it.

Don’t believe me? Then check out this video of Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon. They have no qualms about showing you how stupid you sound when misusing hashtags.

I have been a mobile customer with Sprint for the past five years. As a college graduate with only $200 to my name, I was enticed by the cheap plans that promised unlimited data and text messaging. Yes, that meant unlimited Facebook and YouTube access for approximately half of the cost that Verizon or AT&T could promise.

Then, to make things even better, Sprint announced that it would be the main sponsor of NASCAR {Insert redneck jokes here.} According to Sprint, there would be a ton of perks as a mobile customer if you were a NASCAR fan: exclusive content in related apps, behind the scenes action, and improved mobile service while at the track.

So, while I have not always been pleased with the service or data speeds that Sprint can provide – I have stuck by their side.

However, there has recently been a constant debate in my household as we plan to finally merge our cell phone plans onto one family plan: Which is better – Sprint or Verizon?

There’s no doubt that Verizon has faster data and better service, but you simply can’t rule out the competitive pricing of Sprint or the NASCAR partnership. (Seriously, I can hear the redneck jokes from here…)

So, how did we solve the debate? Simply put: the customer service I received or didn’t receive via Twitter.

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Sprint Cup race in Bristol. With around 100,000 race fans in attendance, it’s doesn’t surprise me if I can’t get service on my phone, even if Sprint tells me I should. However, when I looked over at my friends phone to see that their Verizon service was running just as strong as ever, I became instantly frustrated with Sprint. My reaction? I did what any civil 20 something would do and I tweeted about it.

Sprint Customer Service

Now, let me tell you why this response only infuriated me.

1. It was sent to me the next day – when the race was over and I was home.

2. Sprint is the main sponsor of NASCAR! The events that they put their name on is part of a multi-billion dollar sports industry. So, how on earth would somebody responding to me via Twitter have absolutely NO idea where Bristol is located?

OK, now that I got that out of my system. Let me share with you the response that Verizon provided another day or two later.

Verizon Customer Service

While I admit that the response is less than clever – it is still a response. It shows that Verizon not only monitors the conversation that people are having directly with the brand – it is also listening to what others are saying. If nothing else, Verizon took an opportunity of frustration and turned it into a time of research.

I inevitably clicked that link. And because of that, I will inevitably switch my service to Verizon.

So, who still says social media is stupid? Because, for Verizon, a simple tweet that took 30 seconds to write earned them a new customer.

Seriously, Sprint, share your marketing plan with the rest of your company.

Retailers are constantly working to stay ahead of the social marketing curve. Whether they’re using Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram (to name a few), they are thinking of new ways for their products to get in front of a large audience. Better yet? To get in front of a large audience at minimal cost.

Over the years, Facebook has proven to be a productive way of referring customers to your website.

The formula: Interesting Images + Engaging content + Links = Increased Web Traffic

However, there is a limitation to what Facebook provides. Once the platform introduced the People Talking About This metric (PTAT), it shortly became no secret that when a brand page posts something, only a small percentage of its fans will see the post. You are required to solicit engagement from your fans, or actually pay money, to reach a more reasonable percentage of your followers.

Oh, bah humbug!

But, wait! That’s the beauty behind Pinterest. It’s a visually stimulating and free website that allows you to promote your products to thousands of people. Not to mention, that people who are using it are searching for ways to be inspired.

love-pinterest

Don’t believe me? A recent research study conducted by BloomReach showed that Pinterest traffic spent 60% more than traffic coming from Facebook and converted to a sale 22% more than Facebook.

We recently put the numbers to the test for one of our retail clients by working with a popular fashion blogger. She simply took a picture of a cute monogrammed tumbler, posted it to her social channels, and allowed us to also use the image for promotional purposes.

Screen Shot 2013-07-02 at 11.40.11 AM

The key to success was not that we simply used Pinterest – but that we partnered with an influential women in the blogging/Pinterest space. Through this partnership, we were able to reach people who were our client’s target customers, but may have never heard of our client’s brand.

Here are some top line results from the Pinterest/Blogger partnership:

  • The image was repinned 1,100 times in a two week period
  • Referral traffic accounted for 50% of total website traffic
  • In a 30 day period, 49,940 website visits came from Pinterest
  • The product pictured above received 65,633 page views in that same 30 day period
  • The client received the highest monthly website traffic in the store’s history

Wow! Those results obviously made for a very happy client.

Curious at how Facebook compared to the Pinterest giant? Through posting the same exact image on our client’s Facebook account, we were able to garner just over 1,000 website visits. Hm, seems pretty obvious to me that Pinterest won this battle.

Game. Set. Match.

First there was Vine, and now videos on Instagram. Video is the direction social media is heading in.  People use social media to tell stories—personal stories, celebrity stories, as well as brand stories. The option to be able to use a fifteen second clip to animate a story, brings the story to life and gives it an element that didn’t exist with a photo alone.

How is this different from Vine, other than the video length? Instagram filters, which held much of the platform’s appeal, can be incorporated into your video. The new feature gives you thirteen filters to choose from, as well as cover image options to use when your video is not playing, to keep your Instagram content beautiful and personalized.

Consider some of these options as a marketer when utilizing Vine as part of your content strategy:

Showcase and/or demo products

Video is great way to showcase something about your product that a consumer wouldn’t know by looking at a picture. Think technology. You can showcase a lot more about a complicated gadget with video than you can with just pictures.

Give zealots a behind the scenes look

Show them your office! What goes on behind the scenes? Your most passionate followers want to know everything about your brand. Videos are an interactive way to give them this inside look.

Showcase brand personality

Emotions are hard to convey in photos alone. Think about how easy is it to convey humor in a photo. Videos add an element that allows brands to show consumers who they are.

Encourage engagement

Think emotional advertising. If your products are vacation homes, what’s a more engaging message: a picture of the beach, or a family playing on that beach?

Instagram videos add a brand-new artistic appeal to what you are able to create on social media. Check out Instagram’s promotional video for the new feature to get a glimpse of the possibilities.

Recently, Pinterest announced its own Web Analytics tool for owners of verified Pinterest pages.

“Bloggers, businesses, and organizations often ask us, ‘what are people pinning from my websites?’ These website owners help create the content on Pinterest and we wanted to help them understand which pieces of content people find most interesting,” says Pinterest. “[This is] a first step towards doing just that. Web Analytics gives site owners insights into how people are interacting with pins that originate from their websites.”

Pinterest Analytics

Prior to this, Pinterest page owners relied on third-party apps for measurement data.

For those who have a verified website, you will now have access to:

  • How many people have pinned from your site
  • How many people have seen these pins
  • How many people visited your site from Pinterest
  • Most repinned pins
  • Most clicked pins
  • Most recent pins

To get started, just follow these steps:

1. Get early access to Pinterest’s new look.

2. Make sure you have a verified website. If you have a website listed on your profile with a check mark next to it, you’re verified. If not, follow these steps to verify.

3. Once your website is verified, go to the top right menu and click on Analytics.

4. Start exploring! Change your date range to see how things have changed over time or download your analytics to sort through the data on your own time.

Let’s be honest with one another – Facebook has never been known for its search capabilities. With such poor results, it’s inevitable that marketers have questioned if social media advertising is truly the best option, especially when it comes to ROI.

On average, Google reaches 90 percent of Internet users, while Facebook only reaches 51 percent. On top of that, Google has an average of 0.4 percent click through rate, Facebook only .051 percent.

However, advertisers need to fret no more!

Facebook has announced Graph Search, which Mark Zuckerberg has claimed will be “a great leap forward for search.” Hoping to overtake Google, LinkedIn and Match.com, users will soon be able to ask Facebook for their friends’ preferences before making decisions on restaurants, vacations, career choices, and maybe even life partners.

Some analysts are saying that Graph Search has the potential to close the gap between Google and Facebook by creating a feedback loop between advertisers and Facebook users. For example, if a business has the most “likes” it could ultimately be at the top of search results. With this being a criteria for higher search rankings, Facebook is hoping that advertisers seeking greater Graph Search results will purchase more ads.

Facebook has yet to release any advertising products that Graph Search will provide down the road, but what they are promising to its users is in-depth personalization and an ability to solve questions to answers that you would not expect the internet to solve for you.

So if you asked me, I would simply tell you that the ability to accurately microtarget in an advertising campaign could possibly result in some of the greatest opportunities companies have ever seen. Good move, Facebook. Let’s see what you do with this brilliant platform.

Recent blog from Harvard Business Review expounded the virtues of CEOs using social media. They cited several facts, some of which don’t exactly make the case.  For instance, LinkedIn was the most used medium (26% of CEOs surveyed), however only 4% use Twitter.  Another study predicts CEO use of social media will rise from 16% to 57% in the next 5 years.

Old+School+RocksBeyond “keeping up with the Jones,” here’s a take on why involvement in social media makes sense for CEOs.  Now. Two “old school” reasons:  building trust and gaining insights.

First, social media is about accountability if nothing else. Where does “the buck stop” in a company?  With the CEO of course.  Companies that engage in social media are 82% more likely to be trusted.  Want to be trusted?  Want to convey authenticity?  Play in social media.

And, CEOs love insights … into their customers, how their products are perceived and “what could be.”  Social media, unlike any other media, offers the opportunity for spontaneous research.  Without the recruitment, the staging or the pretense.  Most importantly, the CEO that engages in such forums, not only gains a new appreciation about his customers’ perceptions, he will gain brownie points in terms of referral.  How likely will a customer tweet or post an online discussion they have with the company’s CEO?  How will their followers view the company?

As CEOs discover that social media offers traditional tasks they personally value, more will jump on the bandwagon.

Many of us have been there. Inspired by the “holiday giving” spirit we often wish we could give back to the community or a nonprofit organization. However, with the strains of traveling and buying presents for friends/family, it is easy to feel the financial strains of the holidays. As a result, many of us find ourselves unable to stretch our pocketbook and make a donation.

Problem solved! This year, we came up with an idea. To show each and every one of our clients just how thankful we are for them, we have decided to give back. Today through December 31, 2012, for each “Like” Guest Relations Marketing receives on Facebook, we will donate $1 to our non-profit clients. Up to $10,000.

So, all you have to do is give us a like and help spread the word by sharing with your network.

Remember: 10,000 Likes = $10,000 donation!

We made a quick video. Check it out:

 

We wish you a happy Thanksgiving and joyous holiday season.

In a society where retrieving information is as easy as reading a tweet or searching a #hashtag, I am forced to ask the question: Have our expectations of receiving real-time information become unreasonable?

Recently, I was talking to my friend who is a teacher at a local elementary school. During our discussions of lesson plans, arithmetic, and recess, I was shocked when she expressed a new teaching frustration.

Instead of children simply going home and sharing with their parents what they learned at school or parents asking for an update from the teacher through email, teachers are now expected to provide information in real-time.

Due to parent requests, my teacher friend was required to create a Twitter handle so that parents could follow her while she tweeted live from the classroom. That’s right, minute-by-minute updates on what is being taught and what lessons are being given.

Awesome, right!?

However, according to my teacher friend, taking short breaks during a lesson to tweet what is happening has had a dramatic effect on the classroom. Even those minute long pauses have greatly affected the attention span of the children, and the classroom often becomes distracted while waiting for her to tweet.

Has social media revolutionized the way we receive information?

Of course! In many circumstances, the platforms have allowed the world to be informed on timely issues in the matter of seconds. However, it is also important that, as we continue to be accustomed to receiving real-time updates, we also appreciate the value of truly capitalizing on the moments in which we live.

Just as parents desire the full attentiveness of their children at the dining room table, teachers hope for this same attention during class. It is important that as we desire the continuous ability to receive information on a “get it now” basis, that we also respect the moments of social media silence.

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