Tag Archives: socialmedia

Bitcoin, Ethereum Lead the Way as Cryptocurrencies Retreat into the Red

Bitcoin, Ethereum Lead the Way as Cryptocurrencies Retreat into the Red

    

Cryptocurrency traders woke up to a sea of red this morning

, as 92 of the top 100 cryptocurrencies by market cap experienced a marked price decline. The bitcoin price led the retreat, falling over 6% toward $2,400. Bitcoin has declined almost $600 since it pierced the $3,000 barrier two weeks ago.

No Flippening Today

Bitcoin price declines always increase discussions about the “Flippening,” the potential future event when another cryptocurrency (presumably Ethereum) will supplant bitcoin as the largest cryptocurrency by market cap. However, Ethereum has been dealing with its own problems. On June 22, it experienced a flash crash on GDAX, although it quickly recovered. More worrisome is the fact that Ethereum is experiencing network congestion and has yet to implement a long-term solution. Consequently, the ethereum price has fared even worse than bitcoin. In the past 24 hours, the ethereum price fell 13% to $285.23. Ethereum too has been experiencing an elongated price decline, having fallen nearly $130 since it hit $410 on June 12. Significantly, ethereum’s ~$26.5 billion market cap is now only 63% of bitcoin’s ~$41.8 billion market cap.

Massacre Extends to Altcoins

The Monday Massacre did not stop with bitcoin and ethereum; altcoins are down across the board. Not even litecoin, which has experienced a price resurgence over the past several months, could swim against the current. The litecoin price fell 9.87% to $41.29. It has fallen nearly 20% since it topped out at $50 leading up to its listing on BitStamp.But the massacre did not stop there Only eight of the top 100 cryptocurrencies managed to avoid the bloodbath. Thirtieth-ranked Byteball was the largest cryptocurrency to experience a price increase, just barely moving the needle 1.84% to $781.20. Tether, MCAP, LEOCoin, OBITS, and Mooncoin each managed to tread water or increase slightly.

Lest one attribute the altcoin price decline to the fact that most altcoins rely on bitcoin as their major trading pair, the price charts look nearly as bad when you switch from USD to BTC. Nearly every altcoin declined against bitcoin. The lone standout in the top 100 was 54th-ranked CloakCoin, whose price rose 41% to $10.09 (.0037 BTC). This is a new all-time high for CloakCoin, who previously rose to a high of .0033 BTC in late July 2014 before crashing in August and September.

A Bump in the Road or Cause for Concern?

Mainstream economists and news outlets rush to pronounce bitcoin’s impending doom every time it experiences a price decline, so don’t be surprised if you see some trigger-happy “Is This the End for Bitcoin?” headlines pop up in your newsfeed if the downward trend continues. Nevertheless, it is far more likely this market downturn is just a bump in the road for cryptocurrency prices. That said, both Bitcoin and Ethereum are facing scaling difficulties and will need to implement long-term solutions. Bitcoin’s test will come with the upcoming Segwit2x activation. All signs indicate Bitcoin will avoid a network fork on August 1, but any unexpected developments could lead to price volatility.

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about -Bitcoin.

Factors Pushing Bitcoin Prices Higher in 2017

Factors Pushing Bitcoin Prices
Higher in 2017

For newcomers to the market looking to make a quick win, the rollercoaster of a year has probably been a time of scratching heads and possibly a few tears shed. For the long-term investor, however, these periods are part of the journey and opportune times to snap up some more coins when the price takes a dip. Despite the precautionary cries of ‘bursting bubbles’, these market corrections are an anticipated occurrence.

    
Legislative Changes for Cryptos

Earlier this year, Japan announced that as of 1 April 2017, the country would recognise bitcoin as legal tender and make the provisions for administrative and accounting systems to be enhanced for cryptocurrency transactions to take place seamlessly. This was undoubtedly the major contributing factor to an initial surge in the price as Japanese individuals and corporations alike scrambled on exchanges to secure bitcoin for future purchases. Hundreds of thousands of retailers in the area are said to be equipping themselves to accept bitcoin payments, with a low cost airline, Peach, becoming the first commercial carrier to directly offer consumers tickets paid in bitcoin.

Australia quickly followed suit, announcing accelerated amendments to legislation that eliminated the incumbent double taxation on digital currency transactions. As it stands, Australians using bitcoin for transactions are liable for the 10% goods and services tax (GST) plus a further 10% tax for using ‘intangible property’ as a payment medium. Come 1 July 2017, these transactions will only attract GST, and be exempt from further taxation, no doubt fuelling a greater adoption of digital currency transactions. The proactive progression by these countries certainly paves the way for others to learn from their integration and regulatory practices, empowering mainstream bitcoin adoption, which naturally pushes the price higher as demand increases.

Scaling Debate Resolution

The scaling debate has been a long-standing hurdle for Bitcoin growth. The decentralised nature of bitcoin, which naturally is one of its most appealing qualities, presents some challenges when it comes to governance of remedial action. In an ecosystem where no single entity can dictate changes to the framework, a majority consensus must be reached. The fact remains that Bitcoin needs to scale from its current transactional capacity in order to meet the demands placed on the network in terms of the growing number of transactions, as the current block size is impeding quick and cost-effective transactions.

Whilst several proposals have been put forward, the Bitcoin community have yet to come to agreement on a viable solution that satisfies the majority, while at the same time doing what is best for the wider user base. In May 2017, at the annual Consensus conference, held in New York, an agreement has been signed by a ‘critical mass of the bitcoin ecosystem’ that set out a plan for the adoption of SegWit with a planned hard fork to a 2MB blocksize within six months. While further clarity is needed, it would appear that we may finally come to a point of breaking the stalemate, which will contributing factor in Bitcoin being able to advance and reach its full potential.

Economic and Political Uncertainty

One of Bitcoin’s undeniable drivers of growth are citizens who have lost confidence in their country’s ability to maintain sound economic and political policies, and desperately seek to establish their own sense of financial freedom outside the manipulation of governments.

Venezuela

Take Venezuela for example. An overly aggressive expansionary monetary policy has resulted in hyperinflation, which the International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects to reach an explosive 1,660% this year. This has led to an unparalleled economic and social crisis. The removal of the 100 Bolivar note (the largest denomination and still worth only a few US cents) from circulation in December 2016 alongside the lack of availability of the planned 500 to 20,000 Bolivar notes, led to widespread chaos and violent protests amongst Venezuelans, who for the most part were heavily reliant on cash but were effectively left without money for weeks on end.

It is reported that the minimum wage is around 200,000 Bolivars, yet a single basket of groceries costs in the region of 770,000 Bolivars, nearly 4 times the minimum monthly wage. Whilst the government provide some subsidised basic goods, the ‘outlets’ have become hotspots for vicious crime and citizens have to weigh up the risks of cheaper food against the dangers that face them in the queues. This is what happens when people reach such levels of despair to survive. The alarming surge in crimes such as kidnapping and murder leave most Venezuelans living in fear for their lives on a daily basis, with little in the way of respite.

India

India is another prime example, where the most recent, and possibly most extreme case of a modern-day war on cash occurred in December 2016. Under the pretence of curbing criminal action and tax evasion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi effectively wiped out 86% of notes in circulation overnight, when he announced the demonetisation of 500 and 1,000 Rupee notes with immediate effect. Exchange was possible, but within a limited time frame and only up to a certain amount, the rest having to be processed via a bank account. This, in a country where almost half its population has no access to formal banking, let alone a bank account. This is just one of the reasons bitcoin holds such appeal in tempestuous economic climates. With Bitcoin, you are assured a level of financial security your money is removed from the coercion of the centralised system, therefore protecting your wealth from political agendas, damaging inflation and capital controls.

Increased Inflow of Institutional Money

Financial institutions, who are historically wary about Bitcoin are increasingly showing signs of interest in the digital asset. When compared to the performance of stock markets and fiat currencies, combined with more and more regulatory structure coming into place, it is unsurprising that institutional money has started flow into the crypto-economy. Regulation is arguably one of the largest barriers to cryptocurrency investment for institutions. Two nations, in particular, have been influential in this regard; Sweden and Japan. Sweden was one of the first movers in terms of a regulated Bitcoin investment. Back in May 2015, the KnC Group launched the world’s first ‘Bitcoin Tracker’ known as an exchange-traded note (ETN), which is publicly traded on a regulated exchange. This represented massive progress for Bitcoin at the time and essentially opened the market for institutions and private individuals to gain a regulated exposure to Bitcoin.

The ETN is designed to mirror the price movements of the underlying asset being USD/BTC. The company offering the ETN, XBT Provider, is required to hold the equivalent number of bitcoins as the number of ETN’s issued. In other words, when a financial institution or private investor purchases, XBT Provider has to purchase the same amount of bitcoins to back up the note. Earlier this month, Hargreaves Lansdown, the UK’s largest brokerage, announced that their clients would be able to access the ETN via their SIPP and brokerage accounts. This has opened the doors for retail and institutional investors to gain a regulated Bitcoin exposure in the UK.

As mentioned earlier, Japan has played a crucial role in moving bitcoin into the mainstream. This move has provided institutional players with the much-needed vote of confidence required before they got on board. Russia and India are looking likely to be the next countries to announce positive legislation after an increase in interest within the regions. This will further stimulate institutional investment into Bitcoin, leading to a stronger and more prosperous market for all.

Mainstream Momentum

Perhaps this can be linked back to the fact that with growing interest, and impressive growth, the media have been covering Bitcoin more and more frequently, exposing it to a wider audience. Personally, I have had more and more dinner table discussions about Bitcoin with friends, family, ex-colleagues and acquaintances, outside of the ‘cryptocurrency world’, all now showing interest in Bitcoin.

It was this month that the Wall Street Journal mentioned Bitcoin on its front page, highlighting that Bitcoin has had a strong 2017. This mainstream recognition for Bitcoin’s performance has been long awaited and will be a stimulus for continual momentum. It was only 2 years ago that most of the mainstream news stations were reporting Bitcoin’s demise. What a turn of events it has been. The factors I have outlined above are merely a few of the positive fundamentals Bitcoin has going for it. Driving demand, expanding its utility and subsequently, increasing its value and price. So yes, I am confident when I say that Bitcoin will continue to break through all time highs and find favour above the $3,000 mark before the bells ring in 2018.

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about -Bitcoin.

The Cannabis Industry, the Blockchain, and Dennis Rodman Gives PotCoin a New High

The Cannabis Industry, the Blockchain, and Dennis Rodman Gives PotCoin
a New High

Cannabis has been legalized in numerous states

across the United States. However, the cannabis industry is still plagued with limited access to banking services as traditional banks want to avoid dealing with businesses that engage in business activities that are still largely illegal under federal law. That is where cryptocurrencies could offer a solution.

Due to the loosening of anti-cannabis laws across America, the legal weed retail industry has grown quickly over the years and is expected to keep growing rapidly as more states debate and decide on its legality. Both the medicinal and recreational use of cannabis has been legalized in Alaska, California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Massachusetts, Maine, and the District of Columbia, while the medical use of cannabis has also been legalized in an additional 20 states across the US. In late 2016, leading investment bank Cowen and Company published a report on the Cannabis industry titled, “The Cannabis Compendium: Cross-Sector Views on a Budding Industry” which postulates that the industry would grow to $50 billion by the year 2026.

However, because cannabis is still illegal under federal law, most legal dispensaries are having to conduct purely cash-based business, given most banks and other financial institutions will not allow them access to financial services as a result of regulatory constrictions. This leaves weed retailers vulnerable to theft, which criminals have exploited, as evidenced by statistics on dispensary robberies. The blockchain industry is looking to remedy this. Due to the decentralized nature and inherent security of the blockchain, it offers a unique selling proposition as a payments solution for the cannabis industry.

Dennis Rodman Gives PotCoin a New High

PotCoin was created in 2014 to cater to the needs of the unbanked cannabis industry. The coin works on a proof of stake system with an Annual Percentage Interest (APR) of five percent. The coin also boasts fast processing time with relatively low fees. Though the coin has exhibited steady growth in its three years of existence, there has been a substantial spike in its price this week due to its sponsorship of retired Basketball star and Hall-of-Famer Dennis Rodman’s trip to North Korea.

According to PotCoin spokesperson Shawn Perez, the main reason for the sponsorship of Rodman’s trip was to support “Dennis Rodman's mission to bring peace to the world." Though the visit does not seem to have any visible ties to the cannabis industry, PotCoin has benefitted from the media attention that has surrounded Rodman’s journey to North Korea. According to Coin Market Cap, the coin has shown over 70 percent growth, from just below $0.10 to $0.17 since the sponsorship was announced.

POSaBIT

Washington-based bitcoin startup POSaBIT has created a financial platform that allows customers at weed retailers to make purchases using their regular credit cards. The platform uses bitcoin as an intermediate payment system. Jon Baugher, co-founder of POSaBIT explained: “There’s no industry – whether it’s the production and sale of cannabis or the production and sale of a cup of coffee – that can operate safely, transparently or effectively without access to banks or other financial institutions and traditional services. That’s where we thought we could leverage the use of digital currency.” The technology facilitates customers’ quick and easy access to bitcoin at the point of sale who can then use the digital currency anywhere that it is accepted. The platform is already in use by 30 dispensaries in the state of Washington.

The platform is attractive to cash-only merchants who want to accept another form of payment, retailers that want to be seen as more technologically savvy so as to differentiate themselves from the competition, and for small businesses that want to maximize profits by capitalizing on digital currencies’ low transaction fees. The technology is compliant with Know Your Customer (KYC), Anti-Money Laundering (AML), and Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) regulations while complying with laws regulating the cannabis trade. Since the platform reduces the reliance on cash as a medium of exchange, it is making dispensaries safer working environments for employees as there is less of an incentive for theft.

SinglePoint and First Bitcoin Capital

Holding company SinglePoint and blockchain technology provider First Bitcoin Capital announced a partnership on June 6. The joint venture agreement aims to create an efficient and workable payments solution for cannabis retailers using blockchain technology. Greg Lambrecht, SinglePoint CEO, explained: "In January 2014 SinglePoint announced and started working on a bitcoin payment solution, shortly after we recognized the issue of minimal user adoption of digital currency. The payments industry has rapidly changed since that time. There is now tremendous momentum and demand for bitcoin acceptance as an alternative form of payment.

This Joint Venture with First Bitcoin Capital is perfect timing. Bitcoin payments are catching on, and cannabis dispensaries need a solution fast." SinglePoint has previously worked with leading companies such as AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon on technology integration systems that have allowed for a more robust use of communication technology as a payment solution. The company now hopes to use this experience to create a workable solution for weed retailers.

Greg Rubin of First Bitcoin Capital stated: "We are optimistic that our partnership with SinglePoint will produce positive cash flow to our bottom line. Between the two of our companies, we will have the ability to develop a best in class solution, and SinglePoint will be able to help in distribution. We look forward to providing cutting-edge products and services to all states through the establishment of this new venture." “As with the massive and widespread adoption of Bitcoin worldwide, the two companies will pursue opportunities to leverage their payment technology background and develop a proprietary solution specifically for high-risk payment verticals including the cannabis industry.” the press release adds.

The two companies believe they have found a way for a smooth customer experience at the point of sale at weed dispensaries. Using SinglePoints’ technology integration experience and First Bitcoin Capital’s tech background, the company will create an “all-encompassing payment solution” for the retail cannabis industry. The platform will be easy to integrate into the existing point of sale machinery through a simple download. With the retail cannabis industry set to grow quickly in the coming years and the continuing lack of regulatory support at the federal level, it seems like the industry will have to rely on blockchain technology and digital currencies to facilitate easy trade and to securely store its profits.

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor

Please click either Link to Learn more about -Bitcoin.

Businesses can now tell if a Facebook ad led you to shop at their stores

Businesses can now tell if a Facebook ad led you to shop at     their stores

 

A new type of Facebook ad shows you nearby stores,
then tracks whether or not you visit them.

Facebook's advertisers now have a better understanding of how much of your mall shopping might have been inspired by their ads.The social network just rolled out a new feature that lets advertisers include an interactive map of nearby brick-and-mortar stores within their carousel ads — those slideshow-like promoted posts that must be swiped from side to side to view.

Facebook can then track whether people who look at these ads on mobile actually visit the stores featured and hand that information (in anonymized form) over to advertisers. That is, as long as it has a user's permission to collect data on his or her location, which must be enabled in a smartphone's settings and the Facebook app.

In some cases, it will even follow your shopping all the way to the check-out counter. The final piece of the update is a new API that lets businesses match their in-store purchase data with Facebook's advertising measurement tools. 

That will not only tell companies how many of the people who saw their Facebook ads bought something in their stores but also give them a better sense of the demographic breakdowns of customers.

Physical shopping has long been a blind spot in determining the effectiveness of online ads.

Online sales account for less than a tenth of all purchases in the United States.

Even as e-commerce grows more popular, online sales still accounted for less than a tenth of all purchases in the United States in the first quarter of 2016, according to a May report from the Census Bureau. The vast majority of people still do most of their shopping at brick-and-mortar shops, and of those who do shop online, most prefer to do it on a desktop rather than mobile.

Online advertising giants like Facebook and Google know this. That's why they've been looking for new ways to take advantage of the ability to track your location on mobile to better understand how people spend their money off the web and to drive people into physical stores.

Google rolled out a similar ad product last month that lets users search store inventories and companies promote their store locations on its Maps feature. Like Facebook, the company also tracks visits to stores after ad viewing.

 A Facebook spokesperson wanted Mashable to add that all information Facebook provides to advertisers is anonymous and that location can only be tracked if permission is given for "location services" in phone settings and either "location history" in the Facebook app is enabled or a user happens to use the app in the store.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Facebook Launches Online Creative Hub in Bid to Simplify Creation of Ads

Facebook Launches Online Creative Hub in Bid to       Simplify Creation of Ads

Will Provide Tips on Best Practices, Allow Remote Collaboration and More

Facebook's new online Creative Hub. Credit: Facebook

Facebook ads, like those on many platforms, started out relatively simple. But as Facebook has rolled out ad products at a growing clip, some of the products have changed the way brands and agencies need to approach creative, especially in mobile.

To help marketers keep ads coming, not to mention make the shift to mobile advertising, the company is now introducing Creative Hub, an online platform for agencies, brands and anyone involved in the creation of ads on Facebook, really, to share, review, test and create ads on Facebook and Facebook-owned Instagram. Facebook is billing it as an online space meant to foster collaboration.

The move is an effort to help creatives build ads more easily, said Mark D'Arcy, chief creative officer at Facebook's Creative Shop. "Before this, we didn't have a great interactive workspace," he said. "But building, experimenting and playing with form in mobile is really important. It's important for us as an industry to figure it out."

The Creative Hub will show the range of formats that creatives can choose from, along with ad specs, including ones on both Facebook and Instagram. It will also serve as a platform where creatives can scan case studies and best practices, look for tips on various targeting techniques, work simultaneously in real time on campaigns with colleagues and clients in other parts of the world, and get tips on design and how to grab attention in a news feed-based environment. Another feature will let people to create and test mock mobile ads.

Facebook will describe the platform, which is scheduled to go live on Tuesday, at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

Creative Hub, in a sense, augments Facebook's Creative Shop, which under Mr. D'Arcy's leadership helps brands and agencies understand how to use Instagram in their campaigns. Its employees collaborate with brands and agencies around the world to craft campaigns that combine Facebook and Instagram's social environments, data and technology with advertisers' creative ambitions and business objectives. Like all of Facebook, Creative Shop has increasingly focused on mobile and exploring new ways that brands and agencies can push the bounds of the smaller screen.

The move comes as more and more people are using Facebook on mobile devices, and as Facebook expands its network internationally with a particularly mobile focus. More than 1 billion

people access Facebook via mobile every day, according to the company. Globally, people spend more than 50 minutes a day using Facebook, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger, it said.

Creative Hub "is really a manifestation around the enormous growth of mobile," said Mr. D'Arcy. "There's this accelerating growth of engagement in mobile, with the ability to reach people at different times for different reasons. But creativity helps you reach those people."

Recent mobile-minded ad formats include Canvas, an immersive ad format that goes beyond the standard video format, introduced at last year's Cannes festival. And in an effort to reach its "next billion" users, Facebook last year began focusing on ad formats for developing markets, locales where people often don't have the latest smartphone and where they are often jumping on the internet through those phones with a 2G connection. Its Slideshow ad format is a series of images of the marketers' choosing — they can be photographs or stills from a video ad — designed to render well when video can't.

As clients and agencies seek to reach people in more international markets, and as the agencies and clients themselves may be in all parts of the world, different possibilities for creative requires a centralized site where anyone working on the campaigns could easily access the work, according to Facebook.

At Cannes, Facebook will also be introducing enhancements to Canvas and Slideshow and a beta API of Audience Insights,  and targeting tool.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Psychological Concepts That’ll Strengthen YournSha

Social Media Strategy

Most of us joke about being addicted to things like Snapchat or Instagram, and we’re all probably guilty of compulsively checking our phones for updates. However, social media is changing more than just our immediate behavior.

Think about it: We’ve all seen the infamous commercials illustrating the effects of various illegal substances on your brain, but most of us haven’t considered how seemingly innocuous things like social media can have a strikingly similar effect on both our minds and behaviors. And as marketers, this is something we should be thinking more about. 

Any interaction your brand has with a potential customer on social media influences both their conscious and unconscious perception of your brand or company — you probably know that already. But perhaps you’re not aware of how those interactions fully play out, and to what extent.

For example, there's plenty of research that suggests social media usage actually triggers the release of dopamine, causing you to experience a rush of positive feelings every time you post, share, Like, comment, and so on. Not to mention, social media interactions can actually increase bonding between individuals, as we tend to view engagement as an act of human acknowledgement.

But there's even more to it than that. In fact, there's a lot more going on inside the minds of our followers when they explore and engage on social media than we think. To shed some light on the situation, let's explore a few psychological concepts as they relate to social media. 

5 Psychological Concepts That'll Strengthen Your Social Media Strategy

1) Neuroplasticity

The human brain is constantly altering its behavior and responses to stimuli based on new experiences — this is nothing new. However, the growth of the internet (social media, in particular) has forced our brains to become even more adaptable.  

This type of evolution is called neuroplasticity, and the quick, constant evolution of the social media sphere has increased its speed and effects on our collective brains over the past decade or two.

For marketers, the intersection of neoplasticity and social media results in two key takeaways:

Shortened attention spans = the need for bolder, digestible messaging.

Due to the onslaught of information coming at us from various platforms and devices, our attention spans are increasingly divided. In fact, a study from Microsoft reported that people tend to lose concentration after just eight seconds.

For marketers, this means finding a way to devise easily digestible messaging that stands out enough to capture the interest of our audience. To give you a better sense of how to craft this type of messaging, check out this post on successful brands on Twitter. From General Electric to Charmin, these brands are finding unique ways to nail their social presence and messaging, while keeping their followers super engaged. 

Increased multitasking: The need for multi-channel marketing experiences.

Secondly, we've quickly become a society of multitaskers. And our ability to multitask and interact in several different ways at the same time has trained our brains to continuously switch gears.

The same study from Microsoft identified three natural attention modes that reflect consumer use of digital technology. One of which they referred to as attention ambidextrous mode, in which we "blend tasks together across devices." We do this because we feel it enhances productivity — whether or not that is true is an entirely different argument.

For marketers, this desire to multitask presents another interesting challenge. And as a result, we're ultimately tasked with creating multi-touch or multi-channel experiences in an effort to stay top-of-mind with consumers. To help you devise a social media strategy that spans across multiple platforms, start by reading this handy guide on how the news feed algorithms work on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

2) Neuroeconomics

The study of neuroeconomics, a combination of economics, psychology, and neuroscience, has become an interesting field for marketers to explore.

Why? In short: Neuroeconomics focuses on how the aforementioned fields intersect, and how various factors affect human thought processes and decision making. For marketers, understanding the inner workings behind this type of human behavior is really valuable.  

Paul J. Zak, a professor at Claremont Graduate University, is responsible for popularizing the term "neuroeconomics," and he has a fascinating perspective on what fuels our decisions, desires, and actions when engaging on social media. 

For instance, a lot of Zak's research is rooted in the idea that social media has the ability to increase our oxytocin levels — a hormone that's best known for fueling the bond between mothers and babies. And according to an article from Fast Company, Zak sees oxytocin as "the 'social glue' that adheres families, communities, and societies, and as such, acts as an 'economic lubricant' that enables us to engage in all sorts of transactions." 

In other words, the release of this hormone can have a serious impact on the way we interact with friends, family, and brands on social media. And eventually, it can influence our buying decisions.

Check out this video from the Fast Company article for a peek into how Zak sees this concept, and the presence of oxytocin in social media usage, unfolding in favor of brands:

3) Transactive Memory

Humans have a “transactive memory." In other words, we rely on social support — or "external memory aids" — to piece together our own memories.

However, social media has taken this concept to the next level, since we can maintain larger digital networks (both in regard to numbers and reach) than we can in real life.

Of course, this has taken its toll on our collective memory and attention spans — and whether that is a long-term net positive or negative is a subject for another day. However, marketers should consider this when creating and placing content meant for social media.

People generally won’t invest a lot of time into anything a brand creates in the first place, but that might not be due to lack of interest. We’re just becoming quicker decision makers in regard to what is worthy of our attention. Therefore, not only does a given piece of branded content need to have an eye-catching initial hook, it needs to come from a source that the target deems trustworthy and authentic — someone who triggers that transactive memory.

4) FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out

Chances are that you are familiar with the term “FOMO” — or fear of missing out on a fun or exciting activity.

This concept is hardly new, however, it has significantly evolved as we've begun to document much of our day-to-day activities on social media. These days, we don't have to wait for a friend to tell us they are doing XYZ to trigger feelings of exclusion. In fact, all it takes is a quick scroll through your social media feed to spark this type of anxiety. And this is something that brand marketers can use to their advantage in the social sphere.

Nearly everyone follows at least a few brand accounts on social media — whether it be Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, etc. For brands, this means:

That there is an opportunity to tap into this psychological fear to suggest that your audience could be missing out if they don't buy your product, or attend your webinar, or check out your new website, or … well, you get the point.

Generating a little anxiety and jealousy goes a long way towards establishing a connection with your target audience, but be sure to use the tactic wisely. Some research suggests that there are several real consequences of FOMO — such as "increased dissatisfaction with one's life" and a "decrease in privacy" — so for the sake of others, keep things friendly.

To help, here's a great example from the folks at SXSW of how to tap into FOMO the right way:

5) Status Anxiety

At this point, we've established that social media can make us anxious or trigger negative emotions … but that doesn't mean we have to use it for evil. Just like we found a positive way to spin the concept of FOMO, we can do the same for status anxiety.

Here's the thing: Humans have had some level of status anxiety for as long as we’ve formed tribes and gathered into groups. We want to be perceived highly. We want to be desired. We want to be thought of as intelligent, attractive, and humorous. And we want to be seen as a valued member of the group.

Essentially, we want to be liked — and we want to be "Liked" on social media, too. But growing your Likes, followers, and engagement is a two way street: you have to Like people back, and make them feel good about their interactions with your brand in a way that goes beyond mere reciprocation. You need to do something that is going to elevate their status amongst their peer group.

For marketers, this might mean rewarding the MVPs of your audience with social media shoutouts, or giving them exclusive invites or content that they can share with their followers.

The ones who get the direct rewards will get the happy chemical reaction, and everyone else will be just feel a little anxious for being left out — which can do wonders in terms of sparking new participation and engagement.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

8 Creative Ways to Connect With Customers on Facebook

8 Creative Ways to Connect With Customers on Facebook

 

Facebook is a not-so-secret secret weapon for promoting your business. That being said, a lot of companies don't take full advantage of what this social media platform has to offer when it comes to making deep, lasting connections with their customers. Ads and pleas to "like this" simple don't quite cut it.

That's why we asked eight entrepreneurs to weigh in on how to best use Facebook to your company's advantage. Here's what they said:

1. Put Other People in the Spotlight

On the MySocialCloud Facebook page, we try to cross-promote with our partners and highlight our customers a lot. For example, we partnered with a company called Free Bike Project that has students ride bikes around its campuses with our advertisements on the sides of the bikes. We then ask the students to take pictures of themselves with the bikes, and we post the pictures on our Facebook page. We've found when we put other people and their friends in the spotlight (rather than our brand or ourselves), people get more excited about our company and engage with us more on social media.

2. Interact in a Private Facebook Community

We invite our customers into a private community on Facebook where they can interact with us and one another, share war stories and where they can turn for support. It's an amazing way to help them see us as a conduit for them as a united front of crusaders.

3. Post Video Updates

It's proven that video posts on Facebook highly increase the chance of user comments, shares and "likes." Create a weekly company update keeping your customers in the loop on new products, employees, goals, etc. Remember, talk about your company and product as well as the category you are in. Your customers want to see you as the expert in the industry, and they will continue to come back if you have great advice!

4. Offer Discounts and Promo Codes

You can stay connected to your customers through Facebook by posting discounts and promotional codes for your business products and services. But to keep your customers coming back for more, set a limit on the access to a promo code to about 50 people. If a customer sees an expired promo code, they'll likely check back to see when the next one is posted.

5. Post Unrelated Content

The main purpose of a Facebook page is to communicate company information to customers. However, there’s no reason we can’t make it fun. Posting pictures or videos that have nothing to do with the company tells me a little more about my customers than another promo. Also, it shows the lighter side of the company, which helps customers feel a closer connection to us.


Lots of companies have Facebook pages that offer no real value to those who follow them. Nobody wants to hear about business all the time. They want to be entertained and engaged, and they want to be a part of the companies they follow. What better way than to post content that appeals directly to them? They’ll have some fun while strengthening their ties to the company, which is the entire point of social media.

6. Share Stories

Share stories to build trust and reliability. We share stories and photos of events, charitable contributions, organizational partnerships and the daily activities happening in and around our business.

7. Post Consistently and Respond Quickly

Realty One Group places a premium on being consistent and responding to engagement. We make a point to post every single day. When a customer notices that you are updating your page with useful information, he is more likely to engage.


Perfect example: An agent wrote on one of our photos asking if we had our logo in a certain format to use for printing. She said the format was not available to her in our back office and reached out via Facebook. Not only did we respond to her — we got her email and sent her the format she needed to carry out her business. She expressed such gratitude for us going out of our way to help her, and that alone was reward enough.

8. Recruit Talent Socially

We have a relatively large Facebook page of over 75,000, and the page has been growing quite steadily over the last year. We've really focused on using Facebook as a recruitment tool for our company. When we have a difficult posting, we usually throw it up on the Facebook page and sometimes give out rewards for candidates that other users can bring to us. The response is extremely positive and usually results in hundreds of new candidates joining our database. Not only does this strategy grow the page, but it also helps us get great candidates placed in amazing positions.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Social Media Tactics to Increase ROI

        5 Social Media Tactics to Increase ROI

Social can be one of the most challenging platforms for brands to measure return on investment. Companies that grew up on traditional advertising and metrics often have trouble making sense of the value of the online ecosystem. But with 52% of U.S. consumers using the web as their primary purchase tool, it’s an area brands can’t afford to ignore.

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Last week the commenting and social curation platform Livefyre hosted an evening chat with a handful of influential analysts, marketers and publishers, sharing thoughts on need-to-know ROI growth tools. It’s a formula Forrester Senior Analyst Kim Celestre calls “social depth,” a fancy phrase for discovering, exploring and engaging with online consumers, eventually leading those conversations back to brands’ websites.

Here’s the social depth formula broken down into five, easy tips.

1. Engage

User-generated content, blog posts, videos, tweets and chatter are all over the web. Harnessing the power of brand advocates, addressing customer concerns and fixing problems empowers participation. It’s easier to put out a fire than it is to ignore it.

People want to interact and create relationships with brands online. Catering to those fans via product giveaways, social interaction and real replies separate the companies that get it from the ones still in the dark.

“The consumer is boss, so we have to match that,” explains Andrew Backs, P&G’s manager for global business development. “Look for solutions to unlock the consumer voice.”

2. Be Authentic

You can’t fake it online, says Sid Shuman, who runs social media for Sony Playstation. “They can smell that a mile away.”

The same die-hard brand advocates championing your product will be the first to call out shady behavior or content that doesn’t reflect brand culture. When in doubt, ask your community for help when it comes to content. Shuman suggests crowdsourcing content for in-house interview and articles. Because they live and breathe the brand, fans “come up with better questions that we could any day,” he says.

3. Keep Content Premium

Hitting “publish” is social suicide if the material isn’t quality. Take advantage of WordPress, Tumblr and social media to craft strong messages. Know the rules and follow them: Every network requires a specific approach and language (tweets are written differently than Facebook posts).

Stick to a calendar for posting, and focus on making followers feel part of the brand’s family. Using platforms solely as selling tools quickly alienates customers. Hire professionals—and fight the urge to turn sites into content farms or automate feeds.

Peter Yared, CBS Interactive’s CTO/CIO suggests using your sites to curate and amplify positive content about your company. “Find the interesting content that’s being posted and use it to bring value to your audience.”

4. Integrate Real-Time Apps

Incorporate social into every aspect of what you do, says Jordan Kretchmer, Livefyre’s founder and chief executive. Kretchmer’s company reports 88% of businesses using Twitter feeds, comments, ratings and reviews on homepages increases user engagement. Forty-two percent boosted their average time on site.

It may sound painfully simple, but adding these tools are the equivalent of a restaurant showing off a top health code letter grade. It empowers consumers to interact and share content. Plus, constant updating improves search engine visibility much more than static pages.

5. Experiment

Nothing risked is nothing gained, especially when it comes to social. Fail and see what works. Test tone, style and new monetizing tools, such as native advertising, which serves sponsored content, tweets and Facebook stories. eMarketer reports 73% of U.S publishers now offer some form of native advertising. But be careful: This hot topic still often fails to hook users, as do most click-bait attempts.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

 

Ways to Invite Your Followers Into Your Content Marketing

5 Ways to Invite Your Followers Into Your Content Marketing

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Is Marketing challenging to you?

Content marketing is one of the biggest challenges and opportunities for both business and consumer brands today. As brands look to expand their reach online and engage audiences beyond ‘interruptive’ advertising, they’re increasingly looking to cultivate shareable content that is informative, entertaining and interesting.

Marketers regularly cite challenges around producing enough engaging content. A lot of the content out there today simply doesn’t move a brand forward. Content should always map back to a broader brand story that is aligned to a brand’s fundamental story.

Social engagement apps are shareable digital experiences that invite consumers (and their friends) into a social relationship with a brand. Done right, engagement apps can also create snackable, sharable content that is perfect for kicking off a content engagement relationship between brand and consumer, as well as for filling out the content calendar to keep the drumbeat going. They provide the mechanisms that encourage consumers to both create content themselves, and share that content among their own network. The value of marketing on social platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn is not only the size of the audience, but also the networked graph of connected consumers. So that sharing of content from person-to-person is a critical opportunity to tap ‘earned’ reach.

Here are five ways engagement apps invite consumers to create shareable brand-themed content.

1. Let your fans and followers vote

Voting allows fans to have a say in the brand’s direction, whether it’s helping choose something as light-hearted as a t-shirt design, or as important as a magazine cover photo. With engagement apps, fans can vote for their favorite destination, product, design — or marketing theme — and share their vote. Those voting results, enriched by commentary and insights, can provide content that fuels other branded channels and provides wider audience insights into how the crowd thinks and feels about your brand. Vitamin Water successfully deployed this idea with its social ‘favor creator’ campaign back in 2009. More recently, Outside Magazine tapped social fans to pick the ‘Best Town of the Year’ in 2011, 2012 and again in 2013 — campaigns that also fed valuable content for both the print and online magazine.

2. Give your fans and followers a personalized brand experience

A brand experience tailored to a user’s profile provides fans with something unique that keeps them exploring. Engagement apps can deliver a personalized experience, such as a set of product and service choices, white papers and case studies, or even fashion outfits, and reflect the identity revealed in their profile data. The clothing brand Jones NY is currently leveraging followers’ LinkedIn profiles this fall with their Style Creator campaign, allowing executive women to have outfits suggested based on their professional LinkedIn profile.

3. Ask fans and followers to contribute brand-related content

Contributions from fans don’t just make the community feel like a more essential part of a brand, they also help brand marketers delegate content creation. Social engagement apps can ask fans to submit photos, videos, or other stories on a brand-related theme. That fan-submitted content can then enrich a brand’s own marketing channels. For example, Dressy.com is reporting engagement success by asking fans to submit photos based on themes such as weddings, to their brand website. Virgin Mobile recently created a TV spot entirely from consumer contest videos.

4. Challenge the knowledge of your social audience

Challenge your fans, to get their attention and their engagement. Challenges can take the form of quizzes or polls that test a fan’s knowledge. They can pose questions for which the answers are informative and useful, and themselves become shareable results. Earlier this year, Air New Zealand launched a “Kiwi IQ” quiz that challenged fans’ knowledge of New Zealand sights by asking them to decide whether a photo or fact was about Auckland or about San Francisco. On a similar travel-related note, Visit Norway USA challenged their fans earlier this year to answer questions about Norway facts — a question a day for a month.

5. Help fans and followers uncover profile insights

Fans will be more likely to come back to a brand if they learn something about themselves by interacting with your brand or branded content. With engagement apps, access to a user’s profile can yield valuable personal insights that the user may not have noticed. By logging in with social credentials, a fan or follower might be able to see patterns or relationships in their profile they hadn’t seen before, or might see how they become ‘matched’ to some brand-related identity or product. For example, Microsoft launched a “Nametag Analyzer” powered by LinkedIn’s professional graph that gave followers a new look at their job title, while at the same time was introducing them to Microsoft products.

Success on social means finding a brand voice that resonates with fans and followers. Having audiences contribute content, discuss content, and talk about wider themes that relate to a brand is a way to cultivate a more prominent voice.

Marketing on social shouldn’t involve just talking about a brand’s products and services endlessly. Delivering informative and entertaining content is essential. When social audiences participate in the creation of the content, brands can reach a new level of success and authenticity, unparalleled to what a brand could deliver on its own.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor