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Category: Technology

Impress your clients with data like Spotify

Image of Spotify logo via Insight Strategic Communications of Roswell, GA

If you’re a regular reader of our blog here at Insight Strategic Communications, you will know that we love two things: Telling our clients’ stories and doing so in a cost efficient way.

That’s why I loved what Spotify did when they unveiled their “Year in Music” infographic series this month. But before I dive into this, I need to explain a little more about Spotify first.

That insight is exactly what Spotify used when it compiled its year in music. Who were the most played artists? More interestingly, who were the most played artists during the summer? And even more interesting, who were the most played artists in Scotland on Sept. 18, the day the country voted to remain part of the United Kingdom? These are fascinating small details that open our eyes to the coolness of data mining.For those unaware, Spotify is a commercial music-streaming service, like Pandora, except that it allows users to search for any song, artist or genre in their vast catalogue to play on demand (Pandora does not allow users to select specific songs, only “stations.”) So while Pandora users are more likely to discover new music through the stations they listen to, Spotify users are more likely to know what they want to listen to and play their favorite songs. This is important, because it gives Spotify more specific insight into each and every one of their users.

But where Spotify really nails it is the personal infographic that I can see about myself, or that you can see about yourself. Every Spotify user is able to see their own data, whether you pay for Spotify’s premium service or not. In reviewing my personal Year in Music, I learned things I never knew about myself (I use Spotify the most on Friday, for example). Bottom line — Spotify used data to tell a story about me. That is cool.

I was once told by a business leader, “If we can tell our client more about them than they know about themselves, I can pretty much guarantee they are going to trust us and want to do business.” Spotify has done exactly this, and all using information they already tracked. Their biggest costs were probably to web designers who made the info attractive and available — a small price to pay when it comes to making a personal connection with millions of customers.

We can all learn from this. Is there anything we can learn from our customers by looking back on our work for them? It’s the end of the year, so it’s a good time if you have a break in work to evaluate your data and make your plans for 2015. If you think it’s time for a fresh approach for the upcoming year and need some help, get in touch at joe.patrick@insight-communication.com.

Developing Your Social Media Strategy

Social media is changing the way we communicate.  We’re learning a new language with new phrases and symbols.  Businesses are speaking directly, to larger audiences than ever before.  With these new opportunities, you need to ask yourself a few questions.  What should I share with my audience? What platforms should I use and how can I utilize those platforms? What should my social media strategy be?

Image of social media globe

When deciding what you want to share through social media, you must first establish a voice that is consistent with your company.  What is the overall objective of your social media plan?    Don’t blog, post or comment about legal matters at your company.   Ensure that employee social media use complies with your company culture and ethics.  Don’t use photos unless you have the rights to use them.  It is very important that you trust the people who are in charge of controlling your social media because once something is posted into the public domain there is no turning back.  If you’re not careful you could end up with a very public dilemma on your hands (e.g. US Airways this past week).

Facebook is the most used social media website in the world.  Because of this, Facebook is a great place to start.  Use Facebook to interact with your audience and share information.  Encourage them to sign up for e-mail updates or contests.  Ask your followers questions and track their feedback.   Facebook can also be used as “home base” to promote your other social media platforms.  One tip to consider when using Facebook is to keep posts short (80 characters or less), if your post is too long your audience will glance over it.  A second tip is to consider the timing of your post.  To get the most engagement from you post, post it between the hours of 8 pm-7 am and post on the weekends.  At the time of this blog post, statistics show that posts made during these times will get the most engagement.

Twitter is another social media platform that you can use to your advantage.  Again timing is a key factor when deciding when to post.  Twitter “followers” are almost 20% more likely to engage with your tweets on weekends, yet only about 20% of brands tweet on weekends.  Hashtags can be used like “campfires.” Users can search your hashtag to view what others users who have used your hashtag are saying.

A few companies that are excelling at social media include Zappos and Groupon.  Both have found the value of using social media not only to sell, but to engage customers in conversation.  They interact, collect feedback, and discover what their customers really want.  Take some time to explore social media and find the right mix of platforms and tactic for your business.

What do you think? Share your story with Ben: ben.clayton@insight-communication.com

 

Using Instagram as a Corporate Tool

What do you think of when you hear the word “corporate?” Tailored suits, boxy skyscrapers, and leather briefcases are a few things that come to mind for most. That conception is often deceiving.

Image of social media icons on a phone including Instagram

Corporate workplaces can be vibrant and cultured spaces. If you need proof, find photos of the corporate offices for companies like Google, Apple and Microsoft.

And that’s where Instagram comes in. The app gives us a medium to share our company’s core values in a way that’s fun, engaging, and human. Obviously we don’t all have the resources to spend lavishly on our office buildings like the “giants.” We can’t Instagram a slide in our office that goes from the HR break room to Reception. However, we can Instagram the delight on a colleague’s face after he or she acquires new business with a client.

The role of Instagram isn’t to show off, per se, but to share what your company is all about. When we think of it as a “tool,” it’s easy to be too strict with its usage.  Go ahead, take that photo of some colleagues at a sporting event. Instagram the great holiday treats a client dropped off for you in the break room. Just please don’t Instagram your lunch.

I often hear conversations held by Gen X’ers or older about how to engage the Millenials. Well, as someone who is right on the edge of their generational borderline, I can say this: They’re more willing to support a company that they feel shares a similar set of values. Whether those values be social, moral or political, Instagram offers a way to share who you are.

Remember, don’t Instagram your lunch!

What do you think? Share your insights and ideas with Joe: Joe.Patrick@insight-communication.com

Social media image courtesy of Jason Howie under Creative Commons license.

Wake Up and Embrace Social Media

Illustration of a media tree including social media

A wise man once said, “Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.”

Technology is constantly changing the way we do business.  Bulletin boards and memos are being replaced with social networks and instant messages.

This may be a good time to take a minute and assess what your company is doing to utilize social media to tell your story.  It might seem like a daunting task to modify your internal communications methods with all the new technology that is available, especially to those of you who may not be particularly tech savvy.  Don’t fear!  Technology is your friend.

New social tools can enhance employee engagement, improve internal communication and promote teamwork.  Here are a few inexpensive, easy-to-use tools that will help your company increase efficiency and consistency.

Social Networks- Social networks are not just for your customers: they give employees a venue to collaborate and share information instantaneously with large groups of people. Some other useful features include event planning, networking, and promotion.

Podcasts- Podcasts are an effective way to add a personal touch to your internal communications.  Some useful applications for using a podcast include instructional messages, information sharing and tutorials.  Slides and graphs can also accompany podcasts to improve comprehension.

Video Conferencing- As business goes global, video conferencing has become more widely used. Face to face communication keeps your audience more engaged and can also incorporate any non-verbal messages.      

Instant Messaging- Instant messaging is a highly efficient form of communication when collaborating with other employees or co-workers. IM’ing is popular, especially with young team members, and reduces wasted time responding to emails and waiting for responses.

What do you think? Share your insights and ideas with Ben: Ben.clayton@insight-communication.com