Having written and produced our original song, "I just wanted you to know" for our holiday commercial, we created a "Holiday Cover Contest" that generated these covers that were viewed over 60,000 times at no cost to us. 

While it can take many forms, the best social media marketing is less about a brand than it is about its audience. Put another way, at least on some level, all social media marketing is affinity marketing. The key to growing your brand is to let others be the ones talking about it.

Having said this, there are two aspects of the production of social media marketing that I still hold sacrosanct: 1. Authenticity is everything and 2. Production value is essential. After all, in a world where everyone is a highly educated consumer of media, everyone quickly recognizes either the disingenuous or the shoddy. And no one wants to be identified with a group that's seen as either.

Click to see Owner Nation, a repository for branded content and community .

My approach to content marketing has therefore been to focus on "always on" content by investing in a few high end assets, like great original music, or uniquely "remark-able' articles and then to combine those assets with lower-cost, highly authentic portrayals of the brands audience. 

A perfect example of this can be seen on Owner Nation, an online gathering spot we created for our customers. Built on a shoe-string and never fully supported by the company, it none-the-less got rave reviews from customers. And, as importantly, gave us a platform on which to:

  • Gauge customer response to differing content formats – video, podcast, articles, infographics, etc.
  • Learn what was an appropriate education/entertainment balance to attract viewers and increase retention.
  • Develop real world KPIs around content consumption and format effectiveness as well as internal KPIs related to content development costs.  

While we create, curate and share new content on a regular basis, below you can see a tiny sampling of the hundreds of pieces of content we have created and shared through Owner Nation, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and other on and offline platforms.

NB - All of the video shown in this section was edited, mixed, finished and, in most situations, shot by our internal video team. Having such an internal resource, allows for 1) unmatchable cost-savings 2) unbeatable responsiveness and 3) in the case of the team we created, world-class quality.

The same is also true of all the design and copy work shown here - it was all done by our incredible in-house team.

FACEBOOK videos reuse existing footage to increase testimonial authenticity and drive people to Owner Nation

an integrated holiday social campaign brings together an app, a series of videos, emails, and branded facebook images

Created internally by repurposing photography taken for existing already budgeted projects, our holiday "Lookbook" app showcased our new seasonal cards, provided us with a more personal and involving mobile experience, and drove improved conversion rates. Promoted by piggy-backing on existing efforts in lower-cost channels like email and Facebook, the application was downloaded more than 13K times and delivered nearly a quarter million in increased sales.  

Ongoing "Tip" videos provide edutainment that results in customers creating better products which in turn contributes to higher Nps scores

repurposing images, graphically presenting marketing research, and creating simple product tips delivers branded Facebook and Instagram images

Longer form videos (for social and site use) allow us to highlight customer programs and specific category details 

Event marketing delivers both face to face interaction and assets that extend beyond the event

Serendipity at its best. The creative team on this didn't have a lot of print experience but wanted to do something great. It was the end of the day. And they needed an ad that night. So I sat with them and brainstormed. The goal was to attract and involve show attendees to our booth (think freelance designers who we wanted to sign up for our ProAdvantage program.). So I asked what would involve this group? What kind of things do they like to do? Among the ideas shared was "doodling." Later on I overheard someone grumbling that as usual the "client" had asked for this ad at the last moment. And bingo, the idea was born. A great solution. Relevant to the audience. Strong call to action. Highly memorable. And a ton of (free/user generated) sharable content.

The ad in the How Conference program became the the big hit of the booth and the show.

Email and postcards drove people to interact with our booth at the How show.

Extending the "shelf life" of the event was easy as the content participants created was easily shared across Facebook and other platforms for weeks. 

with minimal effort, we were able to take the trend research our template designers do as a part of their daily work and repurpose it as pinterest boards.

and, Just for fun, another example of the value of spontaneous creativity.

While developing our brand spot, a running joke began regarding a "chicken" (the video explains). Consequently, on our arrival in Cape Town, the production company put little recycled plastic chickens in our welcome bags (turns out they're a South African folk art tradition). In any case, on the first day on set, while thinking about social media, it struck me that we could hide "easter eggs" (in this case, chickens) throughout the spot. We could then do 2nd screen campaigns around them: count the chickens and win one, win a trip to meet the chicken, etc. etc. Popular culture is full of such things and, in our case, they rewarded just the action we wanted - intense focus on the media (and message) we were spending so much to create! Bottom line, I include it because it's emblematic of how one should always be thinking social content, especially while creating other content. Oh yes, and because it makes one smile. And smiling is always good.