The untapped potential of Storify for brands


I was introduced to Storify in the newspaper business, as Storify is a great tool for aggregating information during breaking news situations and crowdsourcing reaction to major news events. But as I am learning more about how brands use emerging media to tell stories, I couldn’t help but think how Storify could benefit a brand’s marketing efforts, if used properly.

A little research told me I wasn’t the first person to realize this. Kevin Allen at PR Daily writes that Pepsi, the San Francisco 49ers and HBO are among the brands already using the content aggregation tool.

Of the three, the 49ers seem to be doing the most on Storify. They used the social story teller to aggregate social media posts during the team’s trip to London, a post that was viewed 37,00 times. The account only has 56 followers, so the 49ers are using other social networks or websites to promote the posts. Another great post was a look back at the top 10 most memorable moments. This was a compilation of Facebook posts recapping the season.

Pepsi used Storify to recap reaction at the SXSW convention in 2012, but that was the last time it used the account. With only 88 followers, Pepsi was able to build a buzz independently for its posts, because they were seen by more than 1,000 people. Still, with more than 31 million Facebook fans, Pepsi has a lot of untapped potential to use Storify and promote it.

HBO is using Storify to promote its new and current shows with behind-the-scenes commentary and photos from cast and crew members. However, based on the number of views, HBO isn’t promoting its Storify account, which makes me wonder. The content is interesting and supplements additional marketing efforts, so HBO needs to find a way to promote its Storify.

Storify has a whole section devoted to brands on Storify (hence the screenshot above). While browsing this page, I found country singer Dierks Bentley’s one and only Storify — an aggregation of fan stories based on a Twitter campaign the singer’s marketing team ran. This is a great example of a way to blend social media campaigns. Fans were asked to use the #IHOLDON hashtag on Twitter to tell their story about losing a loved one, and Storify allowed the team to compile those tweets into an easy-to-read format.

The possibilities are endless for brands to use this social network to market its brand. I think before long, we’ll see Storify become commonplace among brands as just one more tool to build consumer loyalty and market content.



A ‘Snap’ look at the future of marketing

acura-sent-100-followers-a-snapchatSocial Media Today’s top 5 trends to watch in 2014 include the introduction of Snapchat marketing.

Snapchat is a mobile app that allows users to send photos and videos to other users, which are only visible for up to 10 seconds before self-destructing. Pew Research examined Snapchat for the first time in October 2013, and found that 9 percent of cellphone owners use the app. Pew Research found the app is primarily used by a younger crowd — 26 percent of cellphone owners ages 18-29 use the app, while less than 5 percent of older cellphone owners use the app.

Snapchat use

Source: Pew Research

Late in 2013, brands began picking up on Snapchat’s marketing potential. Taco Bell was one of the first adopters, using Snapchat to introduce its beefy crunch burrito.

The app’s new Stories feature, which lets photos and videos linger for 24 hours, provides more opportunity for brands to market themselves. Todd Wasserman at Mashable wrote, “Eventually, Snapchat could charge brands for the ability to create Stories or — more likely — to promote those Stories beyond a brand’s fan base.”

With any emerging media, there are innovative ways for brands to capitalize on the potential. When it comes to Snapchat, however, the only brands that will have success are those that have young target audiences.

What ways can you think of to use Snapchat for marketing?

Emerging media — a social media beast

Before we can talk about emerging media, first we have to understand what it is.

Emerging media encompasses the ever-evolving world of media in today’s Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) landscape. Advertisers, public relations professionals, marketers, communication specialists and brand executives are constantly adjusting to keep abreast of the changing way consumers are engaging with one another and the brands they purchase.

One of the biggest, constantly changing forms of emerging media is social media. Brian Solis and and Jesse Thomas developed the conversation prism to offer a detailed overview of the emerging world of social networks:

The Conversation Prism was developed by Brian Solis and  Jesse Thomas.

As you can see, there are hundreds of networks out there, but they don’t all have the popularity of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, etc. The challenge falls to IMC professionals to figure out which of these emerging social media networks is being used by their target audience.

Social media is the current king of the emerging media playground. Although social media has passed the novelty stage, it is still an emerging area for IMC. A study by Adobe found that most marketing professionals say social media marketing is what they are most concerned about for the next three years.

Based on that analysis, Social Media Today listed its annual top 5 social media trends to watch for in 2014. Predicted emerging social media trends for the upcoming year are:

  1. Facebook will decline, Twitter will gain popularity
  2. Snapchat marketing
  3. Google+ popularity
  4. Collaborative economy becomes mainstream
  5. Video, video, video

As with anything, these are just predictions, and anything is really possible. While these are the most likely areas to emerge over the next 12 months, social networks that we’re not even aware of yet could surprise us all.

I’ll go more in depth into each of these trends, and how marketers can capitalize on them, in future posts, so check back.