2 Marketers on How Google+ Comments Will Transform YouTube

For years, YouTube has attracted two types of people: those who make great content, and those who comment. It’s no secret what the platform has done for individual content creators — especially since Google bought the company in 2006 — but YouTube is also a proven marketing channel for brands as well. Alongside the massive reach this medium offers is the problem of anonymous commenters, often called “trolls,” who seemingly prowl the web searching for opportunities to leave rude messages.

In a move that many believe is intended to curtail such troll activity, traditional YouTube comments will be replaced by Google+ comments in the future. As yet, it is unclear when the full rollout will take place, but we have a pretty good idea of how it will look. Unlike today, those wishing to comment will be required to log in through Google+ first, effectively putting an end to anonymous messages. Today, comments left on Google+ shares of YouTube content appear as comments below the videos themselves. This is perhaps one of the clearest current examples of Google+ integration into YouTube — and it is sure to continue.

To learn more about the opportunities presented by a deeper connection between YouTube and Google+, we chatted with some industry experts. Patrick Coombe is the CEO of Elite Strategies, an Internet marketing and design services firm, while Mark Traphagen serves as the Director of Digital Outreach for web marketing solutions company Virante. They shared some ways that brands can best take advantage of the coming changes.

Read the rest of the article at Sprout Insights and learn more about the marketing opportunity presented by a deeper YouTube-Google+ integration.

How Social Media Strategy Influences Political Campaigns

If there is anything recent elections have proven, it’s that reaching out to voters online is not only important, it’s essential. The first notable use of social media to rally the voting community was during the 2008 Presidential election, when the Obama campaign took to the web to draw out the young vote. According to research by the Pew Foundation, 83 percent of 18-24 year-olds had social networking accounts in 2008, and two-thirds of those used those sites for political activity at that time.

Since then, the number of individuals using social media has swelled, and growing with it is the amount of people who use such venues to publicize their political views. From tweets and Facebook updates to YouTube videos and petitions, social media has become a power tool not only for official campaign teams but also for supporters.

To better understand how political campaigns are affected by social media, we spoke to some key players with experience in this realm. Sherri Greenberg is the Director of the Center for Politics and Governance at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research produced a 2012 study examining the influence of social media on Congressional campaigns.

David Cascino is the founder of “Thunderclap”, a platform that allows social media users to recruit followers to join campaigns — to amplify a single message to each of their followers at once. Finally, we also heard from former Tampa Bay, Florida, City Councilman and State Representative Rick Kriseman. Here’s what they had to say.

Read on at Sprout Social Insights.

How Rich Pins Affected Two Brands’ Pinterest Strategies

For the visually-minded, there is perhaps no greater online destination than the popular image-collecting site Pinterest. Many brands were quick to join the site, recognizing the potential for connecting with a passionate and engaged fan base while also driving traffic back to their sites. With so many brands on board, the Pinterest team realized it needed to tailor its tools for them. On July 22, 2013, Pinterest introduced “Rich Pins”, allowing brands to embed useful information directly into their pins.

Rich Pins currently serve three types of content: recipes, products, and movies. Brands using this technology can embed specific types of information into pins so that, when a user clicks an image, the information appears below the caption.

Recipe pins include ingredients and preparation time. Those using product pins can include automatically updated information about price and availability — a particularly useful tool considering Pinterest now alerts pinners when a pinned item’s price drops. Finally, there are movie pins, which include ratings from sites such as Rotten Tomatoes and Netflix, as well as the name of the director.

Smart Pinterest brands have long ago adopted a Pinterest strategy, but a number of these have integrated Rich Pins into the experience to make even better use of the platform. We chatted with Justine LoMonaco, Martha Stewart Living’s Senior Manager of Engagement Marketing, and Pranit Tukrel of jewelry brand My Trio Rings to learn about their strategies regarding Pinterest Rich Pins.

Read on at Sprout Social Insights.

An Inside Look at Nissan’s Vine and Instagram Video TV Commercial

By now, brands’ use of micro-video apps Vine and Instagram video is well-documented. Tapping into networks full of smartphone users hungry for visual content has given brands yet another way to reach and interact with their customers. Yet even as companies scramble to create mini-films to delight and entertain their audiences, who those clips reach is typically limited to mobile device users.

Despite the rise of new media, traditional advertising platforms maintain their vast reach and offer something else Vine and Instagram video don’t: frequency. Whereas, in advertising terms, reach refers to the number of people who see an ad, frequency denotes how many times each individual is exposed to it. For advertisers, both metrics are important, and achieving balance between them is a key goal. While Vine and Instagram are natural environments for such content, each video is likely to be seen only once by a brand’s followers.

In an effort to reach target consumers as well as the rest of America, Nissan USA is running a first-of-its-kind contest that will feature fans’ Vines and Instagram videos in an upcoming 30-second TV spot. Fans of the Nissan Versa Note can visit YourDoorToMore.com to grab printable elements that must be included in their Vine or Instagram video entries. The videos should focus on the entrants’ passions, include the Versa Note printable elements, and be tagged #VersaVid. Six people will win $1,000 Amazon.com gift cards, while three Grand Prize winners’ videos will also be chosen by the marketing team and incorporated into the TV commercial.

Nissan’s Director of Interactive and Social Media Marketing, Erich Marx, is one of the drivers of this campaign. We recently spoke with him to discuss the strategy and logistics behind the commercial.

Read the rest of the article here.

How 2 Top Brands Use Instagram Video for Engagement

When Instagram video burst on the scene last month, people were quick to try the new feature. In fact, some reports indicated users uploaded five million “InstaVideos” in the first 24 hours after its debut. It’s no surprise, then, that many brands are trying to get in on the action as well.

The video feature works similarly to photo capture for Instagram users. Once you open the app, you click the camera button and then the video icon. From there, simply press and hold the red camera button to record. Lift your finger, and the recording stops. The recording picks up sound, lasts 15 seconds, and can be overlaid with a filter before publishing. Once the video goes live, it plays on loop in the user’s stream.

Simply Measured reports that 67% of the world’s leading brands maintain Instagram accounts, making it all the easier for many of them to start using the video feature. While some of these brands are merely dabbling, others have begun to make their marks in the moving pictures realm. One of these is Jeni’s Ice Creams, a brand whose social media confections are more than icy treats. Another leader in the space is Ford Motor Company, whose enthusiastic followers love the behind-the-scenes look at their favorite automobiles.

We chatted with the social media managers of both these companies to find out how they use Instagram video to engage their audiences.

Read the rest over at Sprout Social Insights.

GM’s Michael Savoni on Why You Need a Customer Service Twitter Handle

Communities have changed a lot in the past few years, having manifested online in ways no one could have previously imagined. Still, some things have stayed the same. Social networks allow people to broadcast their views much the way they do in person, but often with much greater reach. Much of the time those opinions are positive, is your brand ready to respond when they’re less than complimentary?

As more companies are realizing, online conversations are varied and complex. While this fact is daunting, it also points to a great opportunity: To join conversations and provide value to customers who are asking for it, and even those who aren’t.

One of the best ways to join these conversations is to create a Twitter handle dedicated to serving customer needs that is separate from your business’ main account. Not only does this approach prevent dilution of brand messaging on your main account, it also gives you a way to provide meaningful content and tips from a valid source. It’s the same reason most companies have dedicated customer service numbers.

Read on for best practice from General Motors’ social media lead Michael Savoni by clicking here.