The Social Marketing of Diversity

Scientific research indicates the brain transmits 90% of visual information and processes it 60,000 times faster than information in text form[1].  Digital media has transformed the reach of visual content. Digital images such as pictures, videos, infographics, word clouds, etc., can be posted and shared quickly on social networks. On Facebook alone, 75% of content posted globally are photos. On Twitter, photos and videos are re-tweeted 63% more than other types of content (see chart below). In 2013 LinkedIn purchased Pulse, a news reader that presents content visually to its member base.

Retweet stats

The consumption of visual digital content has also led to the creation of many popular platforms such as YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Flicker and Vine (just to name a few).

youtube

Instagrampinterestvine

 

 
 


Its popularity has also had an impact on marketing and recruitment; specifically in the areas of diversity. As populations become increasingly diverse it continuously creates new customer and employee needs. These demographic shifts in both consumer base and talent pools have put pressure on organizations to build workforces that reflect the markets they are trying to serve. Companies such as RBC have created an integrated approach (as shown below) recognizing the fluidity between consumer, employee and community member[2].

RBC_diversity

Consumer marketing has created digital brand strategies to tap into new demographics and create an emotional experience. The image below is a great example of this. The experience is reflected in the image to create an emotional response. To make you picture yourself using the product. It’s powerful because people can more easily relate if they see images that reflect themselves.

diversity_11

Talent acquisition is no stranger to developing diversity strategies to build their workforce. For years organizations have tried to create programs to attract, source, hire and retain diverse candidates. Few have been able to claim bragging rights. Diversity recruitment has always relied on images to depict inclusion and representation. Social media has enabled this approach to go viral.

Even though diverse images and videos are much more prevalent, prospective candidates have also shifted their approach. They now rely on employee experiences to validate the diversity proposition and actual representation of their prospective employer. According to a Glassdoor.com survey; candidates are signficantly influenced by employee experiences and how they perceive their employer.

 recommendations

 They’re looking for more meaningful and authentic messages from employees that reflect themselves.

A poster for Lakeridge Health is shown in this undated handout photo. The Ontario hospital group is turning QuebecÕs proposed restrictions on religious clothing in the public sector into an opportunity to recruit nurses and doctors.

As employees build their online presence they also provide insight to the demographic composition of their organization. Candidates now have more visibility into representation both vertically and horizontally than at any other time in history. It represents the shift from an aspiration to something that is achievable. It’s this reflection of inclusion through employee experiences that are emotional and impactful. Consider the brand of two employers below:

non_diversity

diverse_workforce

Which one would you click on to find more?

People overwhelmingly chose the image on the bottom. They felt diversity and inclusion were represented and reflected by real employees. It felt more authentic. The visual digital collage created an emotional reaction. A connection. An experience.

The goal is to make you picture yourself working at this organization. It’s employee experience that lies at the heart of talent branding. Creating an experience that resonates with potential candidates. An authentic experience delivered through employees.

I’d love to hear your perspectives on topic! Share them with me @annzaliebarrett or through LinkedIn.

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[1] http://tech.co/visual-content-will-rise-2015-2015-01

[2] http://www.rbc.com/diversity/why-does-diversity-matter.htm

How Does Big Data Impact You?

Big data has become a big topic in the industry. It’s transforming business strategies by providing companies with key information in the areas of talent, social media, mobile, brand, engagement, products, consumer preferences, etc. So what exactly is big data and how does it impact you?

big_data2Wikipedia defines big data as a collection of sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand database management tools or traditional data processing applications1. Basically, as more people start to use technology to facilitate transactions more digital data is being collected and stored. At its core, mobile devices, the internet and social media capture multiple terabytes of information. Consider by 2015, the world’s mobile worker population will reach 1.3 billion people2. That’s one out of every six people on the planet will use a mobile device to conduct work. With all of this volume traditional data warehouses can no longer store all of the data being collected. eCommerce companies such as AdKu have created a niche market, offering their services to collect data analyse it, correlate it and highlight both positive and negative trends. This provides a goldmine of rich data. Historical data can be analyzed and used to forecast potential trends and consumer preferences which can be built into business strategic plans.

You are also impacted by big data. Accessing information via technology leaves a digital footprint of demographics, preferences, number of visits, number of shares, etc; which shapes the way products and services are being developed, marketed and delivered to you.

Here are three examples of how big data impacts you:

  • Tailored Digital MarketingYou may notice on your Facebook news feeds you are now presented suggested_postwith “suggested posts” better known as ads.  These posts are not random, but based on big data analysis that serves up targeted, relevant suggestions based on historical trends such as pages you’ve visited, pages you like, search results, etc. Almost all social platforms have an analytics component build into them. Whether you’re on Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn and of course Google, companies can use this data to better to understand who their audience is and what content is resonating with them. This subtle, yet effective marketing technique has transformed the way businesses reach potential customers. By looking at historical data and analyzing trends, companies can predict products you may be interested in. Instead of casting a wide net, big data provides the opportunity to cast a smaller, highly relevant net. The end result is higher sales.
  • Volume Discounts– The concept of discounted prices for consumer items on-line is not new. If you’ve ever used hotels.com or hotwire.com to book a hotel, you will know these companies buy rooms strategyin bulk and allow consumers to purchase them at discounted rates. This model has now evolved where groups of consumers can buy a variety of discounted products on online through digital coupons, or Groupons. The consumer will only get the deal if a number of other people also buy the coupon. To help reach the minimum, Groupon encourages sharing the deal with friends on social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Digital coupons provide the opportunity to collect information and begin to analyze consumer supply and demand trends on a per month, week, day, and even hourly basis[3]. To understand these trends Groupon acquired Adku, an eCommerce company specializing in big data. Analysis on this data means more relevant deals are served up to consumers increasing user adoption and sales. As coupons are shared, more consumer data can be collected and analyzed.
  • Your Career-. Many companies are moving to more sophisticated human resources management systems (HRMS) as a one stop shop to assess talent within the organization. Newer systems are geared to “manage” talent, shifting away from pure transaction processing.open big data Companies can collect and store data pertaining to work experiences, projects, goals, deliverables, performance ratings, work history, job levels, age, gender, accreditations, etc. Many systems also integrate social media accounts such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Add to that other system integrations such as applicant tracking systems, payroll systems, background checks, on boarding, etc; and the amount of data that can be analyzed collectively is exponential. This big data provides a wealth of information to companies seeking to understand talent pools, succession planning, retention, etc. at macro and micro levels. Companies can also use data to better understand how overarching enterprise objectives are being imbedded and delivered down the chain. This provides a holistic view of an employee over time and may serve to predict which individuals are top talent.

So your contribution and interaction with big data is inevitable. Next time you see a tailored ad remember big data predicted it!

By Ann Barrett, Director, eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy

[1] Wikipedia.com
[2] IDC, Worldwide Mobile Worker Population 2011-2015 Forecast, Doc#232073, Dec 2011
[3] http://steinvox.com/blog/groupon-big-data-play-winning-startups-focus/#ixzz2VpVJ9lwl

The Mobile Revolution Continues: How Social Media Revitalized the Food Truck Business

social_food_truckMany articles and blogs have focused on how social media has helped corporations grow their business. There are so many great tips and success stories on how social media has impacted HR, marketing and digital media functions. Social media has also revolutionized many industries, providing a platform for creative entrepreneurs to develop, market and launch their products. One such example is the food truck. Now for many of you who are over, let’s say 30; you may have memories of food trucks as sterile mobile canteens that served basic drinks (tea, coffee, and soda), hot dogs and cold pastries. The 21st century has seen the rise of the social food truck. Many creative chefs have chosen to fuse the restaurant and street food food_truckexperience on wheels. The food truck offers a mobile option to inexpensively introduce great food to the masses. It is the purist reflection of what social media embodies. Meeting the masses where they are.

Through social media the food truck industry has literally been re-vitalized, creating a niche market for cooks and chefs alike. Their popularity has transcended the social realm into syndicated television shows such as Eat Street and Anthony Bourdain’s series Parts Unknown.

So how did social media rejuvenate the food truck industry?

Building The Brand

The first step with any good product launch is building a brand presence. Food trucks are no longer sterile, silver vans that lack personality or ffood_truck_pics_phonelare. On the contrary, they are works of art, reflecting the theme of the food, the character of the chef with playful, catchy names like Roaming Dragon, to build brand recognition.

Once the brand is established, the food trucks use a social media ecosystem to promote their products. Within the ecosystem you will find, at a minimum, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google. Let’s not forget the delivery channel. Like the vehicle, it’s mobile.

Proprietors want people to know what kind of food they’re serving, recognize the truck and of course, communicate where they’ll be so you can buy the food. Applications like Instagram (100M users), Pinterest* (47M users) and Vine (via Twitter) provide the perfect channels to do all that. The beauty of these apps is customer can also participate in the experience by adding their own pictures and comments. They are then instantly shared their with friends through other social platforms in the ecosystem. Best part? No cost.

Engagement

Entrepreneurs rely on building their customer base by getting the “word” out there. With 1.1B people on Facebook, 500M on Twitter and 343Mfood_truck_phoneon Google* they represent the biggest, free, social distribution channels in the world. Every day menus and locations are posted and tweeted to a growing customer base. While content is pushed out, customers also engage in the conversation by posting comments, taking pictures of food, by asking questions and telling owners which locations they should include in their route. Tweeting or posting endorses the vendors and their products.  As we know, recommendations carry considerable clout. People are much more likely to try a new product or service if it’s recommended by someone they know. That translates into tangible sales.

Marketing Your Location

One of my favourite things about food trucks is their use of integrated GPS apps. Food trucks don’t necessarily go to the same spot every day. They diversify their routes to expand their customer base. Customers who want to experience new food trucks can download apps that track the ones closest to them.  All done in real time, on mobile.

food_truck_appMy blog post wouldn’t be complete without weaving in how this ties into social recruiting. With such an integrated social ecosystem, proprietors can easily advertise job openings to their fan base. 

The rise of the food truck through social media is an interesting and creative story. It’s another demonstration of how social media is creating new markets.

Kudos to all of those creative food proprietors who operate food trucks and offer good quality, flavourful food, at reasonable prices.

 
Support local businesses by finding the food trucks near you.

US:                 www.foodtruckfiesta.com

Canada:         http://streetfoodapp.com/

Toronto:       http://torontofoodtrucks.ca/

* Data courtesy of Digital Marketing Ramblings

By Ann Barrett, Director eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy

The Evolution of Social Media for Visual Marketing

CnnI remember when CNN was first launched in 1980. Many people wondered how successful a specialty news channel could be. Would there even be enough content for a 24×7 channel? Almost 25 years later Ted Turner’s risk paid off, making CNN one of the most available and watched channels around the world. The success of that specialty channel paved the way for the television industry to think about marketing content for specific demographics. Other specialty channels soon followed such as MTV (1981), the Cartoon network (1992) and the Food Network (1993) just to name a few.

imagesSocial media is also evolving. Traditional social media channels such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and mobile platforms had limited image presence. Status updates, tweets and texts were quick ways to communicate. As a result specialty social channels started to emerge focusing on different types of media content. In 2004 Flickr was launched as a social site to store and share photos. Its popularity took off, but after Yahoo’s acquisition the product direction changed limiting its usage and availability. The launch of YouTube in 2005 offered a forum to communicate, teach and learn through video. Videos are publically available and accessible through search. Its success is astounding. More than 3 billion global views a day and more than 48 hours of video uploaded every minute.

pinterest_smallThis availability of visual content (images and videos) has shifted the way people view and seek information. If someone wanted to learn how to change their privacy settings on Facebook, they would probably download a video on YouTube that shows them how to do this. Most people now prefer this approach rather than reading  pages of instructions. Even bloggers have started to use images to help attract readers to their content. The desire for visual content has resulted in social media channels now using image content as the primary interaction point.

The launch of Pinterest and Instagram in 2010 and Google+ images in 2011 are great examples of how social media continues to evolve to solicit interaction and foster browniesengagement. One may wonder, like in the early days of CNN, what traction can Pinterest or Instagram have? Images evoke an emotional response.  In the words of Fred Barnard “A picture is worth one thousand words”. If you’ve used Pinterest you’ll know you can search, view and “pin” images to a board to visualize your dream kitchen, your favourite foods, shoes, clothes, travel destinations, the list goes on. That emotional response has a powerful draw that keeps people coming back. Think about the brownie picture on the right from Pinterest you’ve been eyeing, what feeling does it evoke?

In only two years Pinterest has developed a huge following, to the tune of 1.9 billion global page views per month, making Pinterest a marketing goldmine.

2013 saw many social platforms make updates to expand its use of images and graphs. Facebook launched its Graph search allowing users to create broader searches on images, videos and other content. LinkedIn removed its partner applications and replaced it with the ability to add video and images from websites directly onto your own personal profile. Twitter also launched its video app Vine, allowing users to embed 6 seconds of video into tweets.

graph search_fb

Innovative employers have realized that visual product and company branding marketed through social media channels builds followers through emotional connections. According to www.mdgmarketing.com the impact of articles featuring compelling images averages 94% more total views than those without.

Recruitment functions can also realize the benefits of image marketing through employment branding. Adding employment branding images and/or videos to postings, communications and social media presence can increase reach to potential candidates. Recruiters should leverage their LinkedIn profiles as front line employment brand ambassadors of the company. Every time a prospective candidate looks up information about a Recruiter, employment and/or company branding should be part of what they see to build that emotional connection with the company.

SLF_Ebrand

So, consider the opportunities your company can have using visual marketing build your customer base and attract talent.

by Ann Barrett, Director eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy