Social Media Strategy Step 1: Find Your Audience

I’m a child of the 80s and a teenager of the 90s. Though my parents didn't spoil me with riches, they did hop on the Internet bandwagon early. It’s a pretty impressive and serendipitous thing, if you knew my parents. I love them dearly, but let’s just say they’re not very tech savvy. Every visit home is a new tech problem I have to fix, which is usually a result of my mom forgetting her password or my dad deleting an icon.

So their buying a viable home computer in the early 90s was a feat; and that they subscribed to Prodigy (before AOL even existed) is hard to believe, but it happened. And so my addiction to the computer and all things Internet was born, and to this day I’m still knee-deep in it, only now I’m getting paid for it instead of running up the phone bill using a dial-up modem. 

All this paved the way for the way I use social media today, as a 30-something. But I’m part of just one demographic, and the Internet landscape has drastically changed. The way individuals use social media depends on a number of factors—age, gender, income and even race—and if you’re an advertiser, it’s important to dig deep into the sometimes-subtle differences in the ways they interact with it. What you think you know about the use of social-networking sites and mobile may be far from the truth, and that mistake can cost your brand. 


Possibly the Greatest Brand Story Ever Told

The most effective mass media is the stories we tell and conversations we have with each other. If you don’t believe me, let me prove it to you.

We've all seen an endless number of ads for cars, car dealerships, and the like. If I think really hard, I may be able to remember a few of them. Let’s see… I remember the Volkswagen ad with Kid Vader (but mostly because it was so talked-about, not because I thought it was so effective). I remember the Toyota Celica ads in which the senior citizen sees a parked Celica and yells, “Slow down. This is a neighborhood!” If you gave me 10 more minutes, I could probably think of another three to five, but not much more. Considering how many car ads I’ve seen in my lifetime, that’s a pretty low recall rate, and I can assure you that none of them influenced my purchase decisions.  


4 Brands Winning Big in Social Media with Surprise and Delight

This past weekend I had the joy of throwing a surprise birthday party for my wife. And by joy I mean massive amounts of stress and that sick feeling in my stomach I get when I have to withhold the truth from my wife (which is infrequent, I swear!).

After I took her out for lunch and a spa treatment, we returned to the house, where the guests were huddling in the rear hallway. When we pulled into the driveway, my wife noticed that one of the trash barrels had been moved to the side porch (to make it easier to clean up after the party). Even though I begged her to take care of it later, she had to put the barrel back in its place. This would mean we’d enter from the side door, not the front door, as had been intended.


When is Manipulation in Advertising Okay?

Manipulation: the action of controlling someone in a clever or unscrupulous way.

It’s a touchy subject, but arguably advertising in its purest form is manipulation. Campaigns want to change behaviour or elicit a response. You can’t argue with that. 

But we’re not in the business of manipulation, are we? We’re in the business of moving and compelling people to engage with, share and advocate a brand or product.

We’re in the business of storytelling.

Meet documentary maker Ken Burns—a master of manipulation through the medium of storytelling. He’s the man behind titles such as The Civil War and Baseball. He argues a good point and one that has inspired this blog post.

Manipulation is present in every story whether we like it or not.


10 Brands Doing Post-Advertising Right: Fall Edition

Each week, our social media team at Story hops on a conference call discuss the latest and greatest in the world of social media, content marketing, brand storytelling and the like. While most everyone would admit that meetings are rarely fun, I look forward to this call because I love to talk social-media shop. 

Considering how quickly marketing happens in the post-advertising age, we aren’t able to cover everything on the blog and a lot of great work that we discuss on our weekly call falls through the cracks. In the last year, we’ve made it a point to highlight the brands each season that have embraced Post-Advertising and have focused their efforts on creating engaging content and igniting movements that spread.

It’s been six long months since our last edition, so let’s get on with it! Here are Ten Brands Doing Post-Advertising Right: Fall Edition.


YouTube’s Original Channels: One Giant Leap for Brandkind

Back in South East England, rolling through the mists of time (well, the late ’70s...), to when my main mode of transport was a space hopper and Pong was the ultimate in console gaming, I was taken to the cinema by my parents every week. Back then, local adverts were played between the B and A movies as part of the show: ‘Wedding dresses...’, ‘The sharpest suits...’, ‘The best chicken tikka in town... only 50 yards from this theatre’, they would announce with pride. Here’s a relatively high-production value advert for Cobb Gate Fish Bar, in case you are unfamiliar with the format.


What Brands Can Learn from Louis C.K.’s Marketing Success

Comedians are inherently self-promoters. In fact we often refer to ourselves as whores. I should know, because I am one. Selling yourself is a tricky business, and even with the emerging technologies that the post-advertising age has afforded comedians—Twitter, YouTube, podcasting, and more—nearly all still follow the standard protocols of producing and selling their content and themselves to get ahead…except Louis C.K.


The UFC’s Knockout Content-Marketing Punch

The year was 1993. I was sitting in my middle-school homeroom class when a friend revealed that he had brought in a VHS of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). We had watched plenty of martial arts movies—my favorite being Jean-Claude Van Damme’s Bloodsport—in which martial artists of various disciplines from around the world gathered in one place to find out which martial art was supreme. Finally, someone wanted to play this story out in real life. I borrowed the tape and watched it when I got home. I was captivated.

Ten Brands Doing Post-Advertising Right

Ten Brands Doing Post-Advertising Right: Spring Edition

Every once in a while, the editorial team at Post-Advertising is so impressed by a brand’s work that we share it with each other. Just the fact that we enjoyed the content so much that we were compelled to share it with the rest of our team proves that it’s worthy of a post-advertising nod.

But since we’ve focused this blog on topics that educate our readers, we’ve spent less time sharing the great work we’ve found with all of you. Last September we decided to feature 10 brands that impressed us with their content marketing and brand storytelling efforts. But as we see more brands embracing post-advertising, we realized that we should start doing our list more often.


Four Examples of Successful Long-Form Branded Content

Time. We only wish we had more in the day, right? As technology has evolved over the years, the speed of our lives has increased exponentially. Interconnectivity has reduced our capability to stand tasks that demand a great deal of time, and the “normal” nine-to-five is simply no longer the norm. We get to work early; we work late. While in bed at night, we fight the urge to close our eyelids, instead opting to write one more blog post or send one more email.

So when it comes to advertising, it’s almost laughable to think that audiences would ever have the time for long-form content—no less long-form branded content. Maybe a 30-second spot could slip by, but audiences would never find 20 minutes to watch a sponsored video and then spend another 10 sharing it with their networks, simply because they loved it, right?