Unscrambling the Myths about Social Media

In Social Media on 04/29/2014 at 6:34 am

Social media has transformed the speed at which consumers demand marketers respond to their needs.  It’s imperative for brands to be agile—to adapt to consumers’ dynamic behaviors and synchronize with culture.  Brands that can’t provide real-time, relevant content and experiences will become obsolete.  Today my employer, sparks & honey, a NYC-based ad agency that synchronizes brands with culture, released an “Unscrambling the Myths about Social Media” report to help brands stay in sync with shifting online habits.

Here are three of the eleven out-of-sync myths and in-sync  truths about social media every marketer needs to know. 

Out-of-sync Myth: Instagram is just for sharing pics.
In-sync Truth: In many markets, it’s a burgeoning e-commerce platform.
Explanation: Small retailers generated anywhere between 25-40% of daily sales via Instagram while larger retail brands are leveraging the platform to promote and preview new products, and host photo contests that require participants to purchase a product to participate

Out-of-sync Myth: Twitter is a reliable barometer of broader public opinion.
In-sync Truth: Twitter’s skewed demographics make it an inaccurate indicator.
Explanation: Twitter serves as a statistically unsound proxy for the broader country, skewing young (45% are 18-29, more than double that age group’s share of the overall population), educated (40% have a Bachelor’s Degree vs. 20% of the overall population) and affluent (48% earn $75,000+ vs. 39% of the overall population).

Out-of-sync Myth: Watching TV online is more popular than watching live-streamed game play.
In-sync Truth: Each month millions of visitors go to Twitch, a broadcasting gaming video platform to watch other users play games.
Explanation: Twitch reports 12 billion minutes watched per month, over 45 million unique viewers per month, 900,000 broadcasters per month, and 6 million total videos broadcasted per month. Twitch users watch an average 106 minutes of content per day.

Uncover the truth for the rest of the common myths here or below.  And if you enjoy it, feel free to share it with your network of friends. You can also test your friends’ social media knowledge with this fun “Social Media IQ” test. 

Five Ways to Make Your Wedding More Trendy

In How-to's, Social Media on 04/27/2014 at 5:25 pm

The wedding season is right around the corner, and one of this year’s wedding trends is a social media concierge who live tweets during the wedding or creates a wedding hashtag or blog. With my own wedding being less than five months away, I wanted to write a blog specifically focused on five ways brides can make their wedding day more trendy with digital media without a $3,000 price tag.

Create an interactive Website and mobile app

Sign up for and select from one of their pre-existing templates, or create your own at $50+ per design. The Website allows you to create a story about how you and your fiancé met, upload photos to a gallery, create an event with details about your ceremony and reception, add travel information for out-of-town guests and registry details, and even create customized games and guestbook. Best of all, guests will be able to access your Website via your very own free mobile app.

Live stream your wedding

For guests who are unable to attend the wedding due to illness or distance, you can live stream the big day via Google Hangout, Live Stream, or I Do Stream. All you need is a laptop, an HD camcorder, a tripod, and ideally some lavalier microphones.

Curate your guests’ photos with a wedding hashtag

Walking down the aisle these days is like walking down a runway with hundreds of paparazzi flashing lights in your face. So why not create a wedding hashtag to aggregate all of these photos across guests’ social profiles and create a beautiful keepsake? You can curate the guests’ photos into a photo book or a live display at the wedding. Sites such as or can help you create a photo book while sites such as Eventstagram can help to create a slideshow of your guests’ Instagram photos of your big day.

Customize your cake toppers with a 3D scanner and printer

Thanks to companies such as Shapeways and Makerbot, 3D printing is becoming more and more mainstream. Last month, the Museum of Art & Design invited engaged couples to get their free 3D printed cake toppers, but if you didn’t make it, don’t fret! There are a number of different services such as Wedding Cake Topper Me or Design Anything 3D that can provide you with your very own 3D prototype.

Hide a camera in the bride’s wedding bouquet

Everyone is snapping photos of the bride and groom on their special day, but what about getting the feel of day from a bride’s perspective? That first person perspective can be captured with a barely noticeable camera like a Go Pro or Narrative Clip.

Oscars Real-Time Marketing: Which Brands Got It Right & Which Did Not

In Social Media on 02/24/2013 at 9:55 pm


We are an hour into the 85th Academy Awards and already, at least six brands are hard at work attempting to recreate what Oreo and Tide did during the Super Bowl blackout. With 273,000 tweets in before the Oscars have actually begun, it is no surprise that brands want to take advantage of this social media-driven night.

Let’s take a look at which brands are participating in the Oscars conversations and what kind of real-time content they are creating.  I also took a look at the impact of these activations on brand engagement and have assigned a letter grade to each brand for their efforts.

JC Penney:  The retailer giant is advertising during the Oscars tonight. They also changed their Twitter Handle biography to accommodate the Oscars and have created real-time content about red carpet moments. Instead of simply pushing out promotional messages about their store, they are delivering content that’s relevant to the Oscars and is of entertainment value.  The tweet that has received the highest engagement rate also happens to be their Promoted Tweet, which is how I discovered it.  The rest of their tweets are not supported with any paid media—these are also not getting as nearly as many “retweets” and “favorites.”  Because the activations have little relevancy to the brand and are only garnering attention with the support of paid media, I give JC Penney an A-.

Pantene North AmericaThis P&G brand has been posting during E’s Red Carpet LIVE event both on Facebook and on Twitter.  The brand is only posting about their nominated spokespeople—Naomi Watts and Bradley Cooper.  On Twitter, the brand hijacked the organic #bestdressed trend, supporting it with a Promoted Tweet campaign.  Their Promoted Tweet is one of a behind-the-scenes photo of Naomi Watts.  Pantene is using hashtag #WantThatHair for tonight’s tweets.  I love the fact that Pantene is integrating their spokespeople into the Oscar conversation, giving the brand credibility to associate with tonight’s event. I also love that they’ve hijacked an organic trending hashtag. However, the posts are a bit too promotional and they’re not actually creating any new and fun creative that is based on real-time conversations.  For this reason, I give Pantene North America a B.

Colgate Optic WhiteThis brand is live tweeting about the Oscars together with influencer, Jeannie Mai who is a makeup artist, an actress, and a TV personality.  All of the tweets are related to the actors’ beautiful, bright smiles.  They are using hashtag #brilliantsmile. The brand is also repurposing a Twitter giveaway (rules originally written for an August 2012 promotion), asking users to tweet a photo of their own red carpet smile and which actor/actress has the most #brilliantsmile. Ten lucky participants will get an Optic White kit. What I love about this campaign is that the brand is actually engaging viewers with an interactive, user-generated giveaway. However, the brand is only partially wave branding because they are only using pre-planned activations, but are not integrated any real-time content.  However, because the Optic White Twitter account did pop on my Topsy Pro list as one of tonight’s most influential users, I will give it some extra points.  I give this brand a grade of B+.

Skinnygirl CocktailsEarlier today, Skinnygirl Cocktails launched their first TV spot during E’s Red Carpet LIVE show, featuring Bethenny Frankel.  They also tweeted throughout the day, posting photos of Oscar cocktail recipes using their product. Tonight, the brand is hosting an Oscars Twitter Party with a number of different beauty and fashion influencers.  The icing on the cake is their $2,500 donation to charity, Dress for Success, for each red dress worn at the Oscars tonight.  The brand is donating at least $7,500 to charity—Sally Field, Kerry Washington and Paul, the monkey who makes Oscar predictions have all worn red. This brand deserves the best grade for their wave branding efforts—the launch of a TV ad during the Red Carpet show provided the brand with credibility to own the night.  Their tweets were not only relevant to the Oscars, but they were relevant to the brand without being pushy or overselling.  Congrats Skinnygirl Cocktails, you get an A.

American ExpressThis credit card brand is also live tweeting tonight, but very sporadically. They are weaving in promotions for the synced Amex Card, small business (stylists and designers), and products that consumers can purchase via Twitter. Two weeks ago, AMEX announced their partnership with Twitter—now consumers can purchase products simply by tweeting. Today, the brand is leveraging the Oscars to heavily promote a wide variety of products that can be purchased via Twitter. They are also leveraging the organic #bestdressed hashtag.  However, since Pantene has bid more dollars on the same hashtag, the AMEX tweets are not appearing at the top of the Twitter timeline. Although I deeply respect AMEX for their innovating social media marketing efforts, I am just as disappointed about their Oscars activations tonight.  I give them a C+; at least they tried, right?

Samsung MobileThis brand was one of the sponsors of the E’s Red Carpet LIVE show. They also have a Promoted Trend running on Twitter, which means they spent at least $200,000 to part take in today’s Oscar conversation.  The Promoted Trend is used to promote Galaxy Note 10.1 although the brand is rotating a wide variety of tweets. The way Samsung is aligning Galaxy to the Oscars event is by showing off the product’s sketch features.  The brand is showing Twitter users sketches of actresses’ dresses, creating truly real-time content.  I love the way the brand is using the product to create interesting, real-time Oscars content without being too promotional.  I give Samsung an A-.

Which brand do you think did a superb job riding the Oscars wave?

Leave a comment or share this blog and your selection with hashtag #oscarsRTM.  The social media industry is keeping a close eye on which brands use real-time marketing during the Oscars with this hashtag.

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