Tag Archives: social media

Social Media Redefining Americans’ Relationship With Food

AscentiveSocial Media News From the Ascentive Team

How Americans learn to cook, select recipes, plan their meals, purchase their food and share their culinary secrets with others has dramatically changed, according to a new study released last week. Called Clicks & Cravings: The Impact of Social Technology on Food Culture, the study finds social/digital media is replacing mom as the go-to culinary source of knowledge for many people. The study was jointly developed and conducted by consumer research firm The Hartman Group and Publicis Consultants USA, a food & nutrition marketing agency, part of MSLGROUP Americas.

Study results show almost half of consumers learn about food via social networking sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, and 40 percent learn about food via websites, apps or blogs. “Consumers used to rely on mom and family traditions for meal planning, but now search online for what to cook, without ever tasting or smelling,” said Laurie Demeritt, president and COO at The Hartman Group. “Digital food selection is less of a sensory experience and more of a visual and rational process: What’s on the label? What’s in the recipe? Show me the picture!”

 

In the past, whereas consumers listened to the opinions of a few trusted resources — mom and other family members – in deciding what to buy, cook or eat, modern consumers “crowdsource” the opinions of many before deciding what to buy.

What’s more, the infiltration of social media into the food experience goes far beyond purchasing and preparing food; it now includes the meal experience as well. While eating or drinking at home, nearly one-third of Americans use social networking sites. Among Millennials (18-32 years old), this figure jumps to 47 percent. “The ‘table for one’ rarely exists anymore, even among single people eating alone at home,” added Demeriit. “If you are eating alone, chances are you are also texting friends who live miles away or posting food photos to a review site.”

Brand ROI Is an Enriching Relationship
The Clicks & Cravings study offers learning for food and grocery brands developing digital campaigns in the category. The study reveals it’s not enough for food and grocery brands simply to be present in the virtual space or build up legions of followers. The payoff is a long-term and personal relationship that creates brand advocates and an emotional connection that drives influence. To achieve such an enriching relationship, communication must be relevant and have a distinct and authentic personality.

“The best social and digital campaigns reflect the audience’s values, interests, concerns and aspirations,” explained Steve Bryant, president of Publicis Consultants USA, part of MSLGROUP Americas.

According to Bryant, this approach is effective for both large and small brands. He points to the success of Roman Meal, a small whole grain bread company on the agency’s roster. With a minimal budget, the brand built a valuable social network using one clear brand voice, expert nutrition information, and real stories of personal struggles that a healthy lifestyle could help solve.

“We approached the brand’s social media as two good friends having an intimate conversation over a meal, and consumers responded positively,” added Bryant.

Three Tiers of Consumer Engagement
Clicks & Cravings found that in the food and grocery category, consumers’ social media behavior falls along a continuum of engagement. The study shows that brands should tailor communication strategies to be relevant to each type of user.

  •  “Spectators” use social media as an extension of their network of friends, family and peers. They use social media for product reviews, recipes and good deals.
  • “Dreamers” curate and push food related content through social networks. They aspire to have larger followings and more influence than they currently do.
  •  “Doers” are the most engaged. They are the core of food and social media, creating content that inspires followers.

“There are many brand opportunities for each specific consumer,” states Bryant. “For example, a brand may entice Dreamers by incorporating their recipes on its site, or appeal to a Spectator by offering incentives in exchange for a video review,” states Bryant.

“In tandem with smart communications counsel, the report is a powerful tool to help brands strategize their approach to social and digital media,” added Demeritt.

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Educator argues that Cyberbullying is not caused by Social Media

AscentiveJason Falls, a leading educator, public speaker and thinker in the world of digital marketing and social media, is calling on teachers to embrace social media in the classroom and harness the power of that technology to expand learning opportunities that have never before been possible.

“Social media and the ability to collaborate and communicate through the Internet tears down geographic boundaries [and] brings cultural diversity to students that normally wouldn’t have it,” said Falls, founder of Social Media Explorer.

Falls’ advice to teachers: “Embrace this.  You can only teach if you learn.”

In an exclusive interview for the Verizon Thinkfinity Education Speaker Series, Falls discusses how social media and other technology are often wrongly blamed for some of society’s most destructive behavior.

“Cyberbullying is certainly a concern to parents and teachers everywhere, but cyberbullying is not the result of social media,” he said.  “It’s the result of somebody being a bully, and that happens offline as well as online.”

Falls is the fifth speaker in the Thinkfinity Education Speaker Series, following retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Dr. Benjamin Carson, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, and Harvard Professor Chris Dede.

Reflecting on the evolution of communications, Falls said that texting and other forms of social media are not responsible for any decline in students’ writing ability.  He noted:

“Kids have become more efficient with their communications, as opposed to less professional with grammar and punctuation.  Take those same students and have them write a term paper or an email, and they’re not going to communicate with abbreviated codes and ‘LOLs.’  If they have bad grammar, punctuation and spelling, it has nothing to do with texting; it has to do with their education.”

Falls’ conversation with Katrina Allen, program director of 21st century learning at St. Philip’s Academy, is available for free in the Verizon Thinkfinity Community section of the Verizon Thinkfinity.org website.

Al Browne, national director and vice president – education and technology, Verizon Foundation, said, “Studies show that only 14 percent of teachers are using social media, compared with 87 percent of students.  Rather than allow fear to rule out opportunity, experts like Jason Falls can guide us in the effective use of social media to enrich learning experiences.”

The Verizon Thinkfinity Education Speaker Series is an online series that enables educators and parents to connect with some of the most inspiring voices in education.

The series is available exclusively to members of the Thinkfinity Community, a virtual home to engaging, thoughtful dialogue on some of today’s most challenging classroom issues.  Anyone can join the Thinkfinity Community for free.

The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon, uses its technology, financial resources and partnerships to address critical social issues, with a focus on education and domestic violence prevention.

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Social Media Must Lose Weight of Expectation to Win Business

AscentiveBusiness news and tips from the Ascentive team

According to global business event organiser GDS International, its recent social media marketing conference iStrategy was the ‘best yet’. But, says MeetTheBoss TV editor and iStrategy emcee Adam Burns, the medium must shed its self-imposed weight of expectation to capture the heart of business. Global business event organiser GDS International (http://www.gdsinternational.com) has held five of its digital strategy and social media marketing conference series, iStrategy (http://www.istrategyconference.com) in 2011. The conference’s year started in San Francisco, visited Amsterdam twice, Melbourne and Atlanta.

Speakers have included Internet luminaries like Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist and Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia; social media experts from switched on brands such as Kodak, Orange, McDonald’s, Heineken and Coca-Cola; and new giants Facebook, Google, Foursquare, Rovio, and Zynga (“Brands so now my watch asked them the time,” says iStrategy emcee Adam Burns).

Alongside the high quality of speakers and their content, linking all five events is a cutting edge crowd and master of ceremonies, Adam Burns, editor of executive learning site MeetTheBoss TV (http://www.meettheboss.tv).

“I have spent ten days talking to a sea of illuminated logos and sharp t-shirts,” says Adam. “Like dolphins designed in California, the collective noun for digital marketers is now an ‘ipod’.”

“I loved it. Brilliant, engaged people and a nascent, still malleable industry. Their honesty, and the way in which problems were generously admitted and easily discussed across the broad spectrum of industry represented on stage, is a world away from the closed doors of, for example, a recent financial services gathering, about which I can say no more due to the non-disclosure agreement we signed at the door.

“What amazed me, however, was that the good folk at iStrategy discussed and shared far more ‘mission critical’ information – routes to market, case studies and inspiration – than those in financial services.”

Adam believes the ‘iStrategists’ also identified the last barrier to wider social media adoption.

“In certain circles, social media is loaded with some pretty highfalutin’ ideals,” he says. “It is immersive. It rewards transparency. It is a light to shine on the ugly, sticky bits of business to make them shape up. The companies that win at social media are social companies. It is a revolution.

“All very noble: not all of it true. The finance folk were happy to talk about anything and everything they could commoditise – IT, catering, etc. They were not happy to talk about product development. But neither is Apple (to pick a company at the other end of the cool spectrum).

“Parts of business will always – by necessity – be behind closed doors. In their early stages, even world-conquering ideas like Facebook are fragile. They need to be protected, supported, tested and developed. They do not need broadcasting.

“Social media has an incredible role to play in communications. It offers a genius route to personalized marketing. It genuinely can make me love a brand, and advocate that brand based on the warmth and humanity of its contact. But I don’t believe it is a revolution for business.

“The quicker it can drop this weight of expectation and flex some savvy metrics, the more intrinsic and effective social media will become. Even for financial services.”

To promote proven, sustainable social media marketing strategies for all businesses, iStrategy is launching a series of videos filmed at and behind the scenes of its conferences.

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More Social Media Marketing Tips

AscentiveBusiness tips from the Ascentive team

Social Media Marketing is a style of online marketing that enables businesses of all sizes to get the word out about their product or service, as well as boost brand awareness, build loyalty, and attract and retain customers. You want to use Social Media Marketing to increase your visibility, improve your search engine results, and drive more traffic to your company’s website.

Without a doubt, Social Media Marketing has become a crucial element of successful online marketing and brand building. All content that adds value and markets a business, directly or indirectly, can be considered a form of Social Media Marketing. The material can be distributed in long form (blogs, articles, and eBooks), short form (Twitter updates, Facebook updates and images), or through conversations and sharing (start or join Twitter conversations or share content in a forum comment). Social Media Marketing allows you to build lasting connections with influential customers who in turn share your content and your message.

Here are some more easy ways to integrate your Social Media Marketing efforts and surround consumers with branded experiences:

•   Always include social media icons in your blog’s sidebar.

•   Provide links to your branded online sites in your email signature.

•   Place your branded online destination links in your forum signatures.

•   Add links to your online content in the comment forms whenever you publish comments on blogs.

•   Always put links to your content in your ads.

•   Include links to your content on your business cards.

•   Insert links to your content in your email newsletter.

•   Incorporate links to your content on your sales receipts.

•   Include Facebook social plugins on your blog or Web site from Facebook’ Developer suite.

•   Include Twitter widgets from the Twitter Resources section of Twitter.com on your blog or Web site and other points of entry.

•   Add your YouTube videos on your Facebook page and profile.

•   Feed your blog content to your Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn profiles, your Facebook page, and any other social networking portals where you have a profile.

•   Share your blog’s content in LinkedIn groups that pertain to your niche.

•   Use the SlideShare app to display your business presentations on Facebook and LinkedIn.

•   Include links to your blog in your online profiles on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other Social Networking Portals.

•   The bio you include in guests posts for other people’s blogs should include links to your online content and destinations.

•   Include LinkedIn plugins from the LinkedIn Developers Community on your blog and Web site.

•   Include the URLs to your online content in brochures and other marketing materials.

•   Always list the URLs of your online content in your store or event signage.

•    Feed your Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook updates to your company’s blog.

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Net Nanny offers Cyberbully Prevention Tips

AscentiveInternet safety tips from the Ascentive team

As long as there have been schools, there have been bullies, and the Internet has created a whole new playground for them. Cyberbullying is now increasing at an alarming rate. Net Nanny ( http://www.netnanny.com ) encourages parents to take precautions to prevent cyberbullying, and when it occurs, to act quickly and decisively.

Most parents know that when a bullying incident occurs with their child, they should address it immediately. In the case of cyberbullying, online tools are now available to alert parents the moment something happens so they can react in real-time. When parents are alerted that their child may be the target of cyberbullying by a program such as Net Nanny, they should immediately follow these five guidelines:

1. Address it immediately. Speak frankly and openly about the incident with your child to get all the details possible. Ask direct and detailed questions.

2. Uncover the history. Determine if this is the first time for the incident or if it has been an on-going problem.

3. Understand your child’s feelings. Get a clear understanding of how your child feels. Are they just annoyed or are they scared, feeling threatened, or even contemplating extreme and dangerous actions such as retaliation or suicide

4. Create a plan together. Work with your child to determine how they (or you together) should deal with the cyberbullying. Your plan might be to include school officials in dealing with the issue, change user names and passwords for your child’s online activities, calling and speaking with parents of the offending bully and watching your child carefully for changes in behavior.

5. Consider professional help. If the incident warrants it, do not hesitate to get professional medical help or counseling for your child, and if you suspect any kind of criminal act or predator activity against your child, contact your local law enforcement agency.

“Email, websites, chat and social media are the places where cyberbullying usually occurs,” said Russ Warner, ContentWatch/Net Nanny CEO. “You can have a great relationship with your child, put in place many safety measures and do everything you can to protect them, but the bottom line is, you can’t stop their online activity. And when an incident occurs, parents need to act very quickly to help them and prevent future incidents. These five guidelines will certainly help.”

Net Nanny believes bullying in all its forms treads on the rights of children to attend school in a safe and secure environment, free from negative threats or discrimination. As cyberbullying increases with the proliferation of online social networks, Net Nanny believes parents, school officials, government agencies and corporations have a responsibility to do all they can to protect the rights of school children.

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