• National Geographic on Social Media: What are they doing wrong?

    Nov 11 • Social Media • 2735 Views

    Some brands suck at social media. I’m not kidding. We’ve all seen them. These days a great social media presence can make or break you. Consumers are more likely to reach out and make that first contact through your Facebook or Twitter page, and if your brand is all broadcasting and no engagement or doesn’t have fresh, quality content … well, then, it’s probably not going to go well.


    I work in social media, so I really appreciate a brand that gets social media. Nowadays, many companies have it figured out. Oreo, Old Spice and Starbucks are all killin’ it. However, my absolute favorite brand to follow on social media is National Geographic.


    National Geographic has a plethora of amazing, original content to push out through its channels. That, my friends, is a critical component to having a successful social media account.


    Let’s take a look at their social platforms:



    National Geographic has over 32 million Facebook fans. The likes and shares on their posts vary from the hundreds to the thousands. There’s no doubt it’s a popular page.





    With over 7 million Twitter followers and almost 19 thousand Tweets, National Geographic Tweets on average anywhere from 5 -15 times a day. They ask questions and share unique content, with every Tweet containing a link to the content.





    The National Geographic Instagram account is my favorite of all their social accounts. The photos they share from all their freelance photographers are simply breathtaking … and usually accompanied by nuggets of information that enlighten and inform me. They have over 8 million followers, and each of their photos is usually liked by hundreds of thousands of people.


    Dive into the World of the #harpseal by@daviddoubilet in #CoralFireIce with @Natgeo live at #Mesa Arts Center Nov 12. Here a #harpseal pup called a #whitecoat as it waits for its mother to return. Pups are born on the sea ice in February in Gulf of st lawrence, nursed for 12-15 days and then abandoned to learn how to be a Harp seal on their own, how to swim, how to feed, what to eat. Many die in this challenging early stage due to starvation, drowning and weak and crushed ice. With @natgeo@natgeo creative @NikonCamera @Seacam#climatechange #gulfofstlawrence


    Photo taken by @stevemccurryofficial // Tens of thousands of Afghan children have become orphans during decades of war. This little girl was living in an orphanage in Kandahar, Afghanistan’s second largest city. It is believed that the city was founded in 300 BCE by Alexander the Great. #Afghanistan #Kandahar@magnumphotos @thephotosociety



    With over 3.5 million subscribers, National Geographic didn’t slouch on their videos. They are just as informative and fascinating as the photography.




    Pinterest, Google+ and Blogs

    National Geographic also has a healthy presence on both Pinterest and Google+ as well as a multitude of blogs. It seems they have left no social media stone uncovered.


    And I’m not the only one who has noticed their impressive social media acumen. According to Shareablee, National Geographic was #1 in engaged actions as of July 2014 with over 46 million engaged actions throughout Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


    So, what are they doing wrong?

    One of the most interesting things I noted as I pulled together all this info is that National Geographic doesn’t seem to interact with their audience. That’s a big no-no in social media. I was actually very surprised they don’t take part in the conversations. Can you imagine how much larger the engagement and interactions would be if they actually answered questions and talked with their fans? I think the only reason they can get away with this lack of interaction is because they are such a huge, established brand with one-of-a-kind content pieces. But, there is no doubt in my mind that they’d be doing even better on social media if they made the extra effort.


    What do you look for in the brands that you follow on social media? Do you just follow them to look for deals? To keep up with news or updates?



    top photo via instagram.com/natgeo



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  • Fall of the Wall on Social Media

    Nov 10 • Culture, Social Media • 2785 Views

    One of the best things about the Internet, besides adorable kitten videos, is how it has managed to bring the world together at times to celebrate momentous occasions.  One of these such events was yesterday, where people around the world celebrated the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Social media was used to document it all.



    Google put together a video doodle on their homepage to commemorate the occasion.




    Instagram was home to a Fallofthewayy25 Official Instagram Account.  Here are some of their photos:


    Today, we took a tour around the city to show you old pieces of the #berlinwall with #hyperlapse. Enjoy the #eastsidegallery! #fallofthewall25 #fotw25 #thisisberlin #berlin #streetart


    Here comes another artistic interpretation of the GDR soldier jumping over the former #berlinwall. #fallofthewall25 #fotw25



    On Twitter, several hashtags were used to share photos and messages. #fallofthewall25 (17,000 Tweets in the last week) and #fotw.



    8,000 LED balloon lights were set up along the path of where the Berlin Wall previously stood, and each balloon was released one by one yesterday. Facebook and Twitter both sponsored balloons for the project.




    Visit Berlin shared some of the balloon release through their Vine account:



    Social media has played a huge part in making this anniversary a world event. With its long reach and strong sense of community, social media allowed people from all over the world to share, participate and experience the importance of this event. There’s a strong feeling of closure in celebrating the demolition of a wall that separated and isolated people for so long – and now, because of social media, there’s also a strong bond between complete strangers all over the world.



    top photo credit: instagram.com/fallofthewall25



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  • American Express to Handover Instagram Account for Two Weeks

    Nov 7 • Instagram, Social Media • 3019 Views

    Beginning November 9, American Express is handing over its Instagram account. It’s a willing transfer that the company hopes will help personalize its brand more. The credit card company selected six “talented photographers, entrepreneurs and tastemakers” to contribute images to the Instagram account for two weeks.


    American Express is really going out on a limb with this campaign. It’s the first time card members have ever been invited to post personal images on the company’s Instagram account. Here’s a look at the six guest contributors:


    Ann Kim

    An LA-based blogger and graphic designer, Ann Kim is recognized for her chic style and minimalistic taste. Named the “Next Big Style Blogger” by Refinery29, it’s no wonder American Express selected her as one of their account’s temporary contributors.


    #ferriswheel #fromwhereistand

    A post shared by Ann Kim (@andyheart) on


    Oleema and Kalani Miller

    Sisters and owners of Mikoh, a swimwear brand based in California, Oleema and Kalani Miller were American Express’s next pick. The duo is praised for their chic fashion sense and female-forward brand.


    AND WE'RE OFF! | ONTO THE NEXT ADVENTURE X #MIKOH @kalanimiller @oleemamiller

    A post shared by MIKOH (@mikoh) on


    Patrick Janelle

    Patrick Janelle is a graphic designer, party planner, food lover and photographer. He was named the first-ever “Fashion Intsagrammer of the Year” by the Council of Fashion Designers of America.



    Christina Tosi

    Christina Tosi owns Momofuku, a milk bar and bakery with six locations in New York City. As a world renowned chef, she’s the proud mastermind behind the bakery’s most requested flavor, Cereal Milk.



    Timo Weiland

    Timo Weiland co-founded a fashion label of the same name. He’s the head designer of the company and winner of the Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation.


    👜 we #putabagonit @forbes #under30summit #teamtimo #family

    A post shared by Timo Weiland (@timoweiland) on


    Coltrane Curtis

    A partner at marketing agency Team Epiphany, Coltrane Curtis is also a full-time dad. His Instagram posts convey the importance of putting family first even while heading an award-winning company.



    What do you think of American Express’s new campaign? Do you think sharing personal images from real card members will grant the company more fans and increased likeability? Will other companies jump on the bandwagon?



    360b / Shutterstock.com



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  • Facebook takes on Ebola

    Nov 6 • Facebook, Front Page • 2803 Views

    Facebook is growing up and becoming a more socially-responsible media outlet with their new #FightEbola initiative. In an announcement today, Facebook said they are launching three initiatives to help fight the disease that has devastated thousands of people in multiple West African countries. They plan to:


    • Add a donate feature to make it easy to contribute money. Starting next week, this feature will show at the top of News Feeds with the opportunity to donate to the Red Cross, Save the Children or the International Medical Corps.
    • Help educate people in collaboration with UNICEF so people everywhere will know more about Ebola. Messages from UNICEF will appear in News Feeds in the appropriate languages to those people in affected areas of Africa.
    • Set up emergency services in conjunction with NetHope so that medical and aid workers in these African countries can communicate during dire situations. Facebook is donating 100 mobile satellite communication terminals, called Broadband Global Area Network Devices, in West Africa.


    Facebook believes that without a worldwide effort, further education and aid, the Ebola epidemic could become a more world-wide problem.  They’ve put on their big boy pants and stepped up to the plate. And considering there are hundreds of millions of Facebook users around the world, this is a great opportunity for Facebook to spread the message and get results.


    NBC News has also teamed up with Facebook to share 24 stories of children and families affected by Ebola.



    What will you do to #FightEbola? And will social media be a part of it?



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  • New Star Wars Movie Title announced on Twitter

    Nov 6 • Culture • 2231 Views

    The Star Wars movie series was released in 1977 and a total of six movies have since been produced. However, the much-anticipated seventh movie is in the works, and the official title has finally been revealed … through Twitter!




    Set to be released in December 2015, Star Wars fans have at least another year of patiently waiting. But, jedi knights, padawans and dark side fans can follow the official Star Wars social media accounts for snippets of info and fun to get them through the wait. They have a Facebook account, an Instagram, a Twitter handle and a Tumblr.


    Are you excited about the new Star Wars movie?

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  • Gap gets Goofy for their Holiday Gift Guide

    Nov 5 • Social Media • 1910 Views

    Gap is flexing their creative muscles to promote their Holiday Gift Guide this year. In addition to a special site just for the guide, they also produced ten funky mini-spots and a digital game where you play the stripes on your Gap sweater.



    …and here are the short product videos. I bet the producers had fun making these, and trust me, they are a lot of fun to watch:


    Sweater Dance


    Lightning Scarves


    Jacket Drones


    Sweater Speaker


    Racing Shoes


    Hula Hoop PJs


    Windshield Gloves


    Treadmill March


    Hi-5 Machine


    Flower Shower


    There’s a lot of advertising noise during the holiday season, so it’s smart to stand out from the masses, and getting artists on board creates good buzz. Creative, entertaining and different, these ads make me want to go out and buy some Gap clothes, if not for myself, then for my seven-month-old nephew. He’d look adorable in some striped PJs.


    What do you think of Gap’s holiday gift guide campaign?


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  • HOLLA Dayz: Halloween 2014

    Nov 3 • Social Media • 1682 Views

    “HOLLA Dayz” is a regular series covering the best media surrounding holidays or occasions worth talking about.  Brands, people, bots – they’re all fair game.  See how others are celebrating socially and what you can learn from their messages!

    Brands have been hijacked on #socialmedia – by the spirit of Halloween! The festive fall holiday is full of tricks and treats, delights and frights … but most importantly, fun costumes and clever creative to convey spooks and thrills!


    This year, brands went all out with their social messages to engage fans; some deserve a load of candy for their successful implementation, while others fell flat and need a bit of help to earn their treats. Take a look:


    Michaels’ Halloween tweet wasn’t as crafty as one would have expected, though they had many Pinterest-esque craft tweets leading up to the holiday, including a few videos and GIFs that made for great engagement.



    Party City showcased their company culture with this tweet of their team, which humanizes the brand – though I would have expected something more overtly festive from the party company!



    More importantly, however, take a look at how the tweet appears in Party City’s timeline. A common mistake brands are making on Twitter is not sizing their images for the platform, which leads to the images being “cut off” in the process. A better social move would be to size the image for each specific platform so this doesn’t happen, a tactic we implement at Splash Media for our clients.


    party city tweet


    Reese’s struggled with the same issue. Look at their recent tweets – very festive and clever – and then look at how they appeared in the timeline.

    Tweet 1:


    … and how it appeared in the timeline.

    Reese's Tweet


    Tweet 2:


    … and how it appeared in the timeline.

    Reese's Tweet 2


    Butterfinger avoided the timeline pitfall by sizing their image for Twitter. What a difference the extra effort makes!



    Hershey’s also fell into the image-size trap, but we love the creative idea for this piece of content!



    Domino’s clever tweet was on brand and on point for the holiday. You get an extra piece of candy from us Domino’s!


    Dominos Tweet


    Nickelodeon didn’t size their image correctly either, though it somehow ended up looking like headless creatures for Halloween …


    Nickelodeon Tweet



    ESPN got a slam dunk with this tweet – on brand, on holiday, and it links to their site for additional web traffic. One reason this tweet was so successful is because of its use of a Twitter card – another tactic brands should be implementing by now.



    Of course, no brand can go wrong with cute on Halloween, as proved by the ASPCA and MTV.



    In a related Twitter move, some timely and witty brands jumped in on the trending hashtag #ScaryStoriesin5Words. The pattern of hijacking a hashtag to promote a brand message is smart and engaging, leading to extra impressions for the brand and the likely possibility of brand messaging being seen by non-fans. Not to mention, if the response is witty enough, as many of these were, it will garner additional engagement in the form of favorites, retweets and replies.






    Celebrities partook in Halloween fun as well, attending parties, creating elaborate costumes and commenting on the status of our society during the holiday.




    Now that is dedication to a costume! (And quite the opposite of my what-can-I-find-in-my-closet mentality…)



    Happy Halloween! #DIYHalloween #RamenNoodle

    A post shared by Jimmy Fallon (@jimmyfallon) on



    But, the winner of our Halloween #socialmedia audit? Chevrolet, who combined rich media (appropriately sized for the platform) and holiday paraphernalia into a great branded Halloween message.




    Did you see any other great social messaging from your favorite brands this Halloween? Let us know!



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  • Social Media’s Versatility

    Nov 3 • Instagram, Social Media • 1812 Views

    The past few weeks have been tough for me. There’s been a certain void in my life that I have been unable to fill. Unfortunately, I do know what’s been missing; and all the kittens in the world could not replace this one thing. The good news is I found out today that my pain would soon be over.


    My favorite television show at the moment, The Mindy Project, has been behind schedule with new episodes. For the past two weeks, I’ve been skimming Hulu for the newest episode with no avail. Needless to say, it’s been way too long since my sitcom funny bone has been authentically stimulated.


    Despite my sadness and feeling as if my television bestie had deserted me, I remained hopeful. That hope has finally paid off: Today, Mindy Kaling, leading lady and creator of The Mindy Project, posted this on her Instagram:


    WE ARE BACK TOMORROW BITCHES! It’s the World Series of Lateness on #themindyproject


    As one could imagine, I was ecstatic. Finally, a new episode will air and I can get back on track with my Tuesday night TV routine.


    Now, this obviously isn’t just a lesson about my viewing habits, but also one about using Instagram for more than just pretty pictures and professional-looking filters. Social media is just that: social media. Any and all platforms can be used for more than one purpose. Twitter isn’t confined to only host conversations, although it is a perfect platform for doing just that. Instagram doesn’t have to be pigeonholed as a visuals-only outlet.


    The point is it doesn’t really matter where fans and followers get their news; what matters is that they get it. But, I was a little surprised when I received such an exciting update on the least likely social media platform.


    I have no idea if Mindy announced the return on Twitter or Facebook (checking didn’t seem relevant after I’d learned the good news), but now I know that she can and will use Instagram to make announcements.


    Do you find updates in unexpected places in your social media feeds?


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  • Top 3 Halloween Brand Campaigns

    Oct 31 • Social Media • 2058 Views

    If there’s one holiday I love, it’s Halloween. There is something interesting about this holiday that really gets me going. I love scary movies, costumes and obviously, free candy. But, one aspect of the holiday that really inspires me is the creativity it requires to be truly unique. Anyone can dress up as a nurse, doctor or rabid cat (which I sort of am this year), and when it comes to a brand’s campaign, it really takes some hard thinking hats to get a cool message out there.


    Here are my top 3 picks this year:


    #3: Sour Patch Kids

    Focused largely toward the brand’s teenage audience, Sour Patch Kids launched an Instagram campaign (with cross-promotion and paid media efforts) of 15-second videos centered on haunted house stories and the gummy characters. To see the endings for the videos, users must comment with the suggested hashtag.  Simple, but fun; couldn’t ask for much more… well, except for free candy maybe.



    #2: Oreo

    Oreo never fails to impress around the holidays. This year, the cookie brand partnered with an agency to create interesting videos for Instagram of “cookie experiments.” The videos’ look and feel evoke the gestalt of a mad scientist’s lab, which is awesome. Super fun, super creative and extremely clever, the brand succeeded once again.



    #1: Dos Equis

    Maybe it’s the barley and hops, but the masterminds behind Dos Equis’ Halloween campaign created a purely genius adventure. Spokesman for the brand, The Most Interesting Man in the World, is hosting a virtual Masquerade party – and we’re all invited, even children!


    The party is completely virtual and interactive – which means users can participate in exciting video “adventures.” By clicking various arrows on the screen, you choose your own path through that party; you could end up being turned away from the bathroom with the tiger in the tub, or become victim to the blindfolded knife thrower. Although each scene is fun and interactive, you have a goal: help The Most Interesting Man in the World find his little black book.



    In addition to this virtual reality party, the brand is hosting a real Masquerade party in November in New Orleans and fans have a chance to attend.


    These campaigns, to me, do the best of capturing the magic of Halloween. Have you seen any interesting Halloween campaigns this year?



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  • Hey, Zuck, I have a question: Facebook Q&A

    Oct 31 • Facebook • 2704 Views

    Did you know that every Friday Mark Zuckerberg hosts a weekly Q&A at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California? Employees can question the Facebook founder about anything, and it’s an excellent communication tool for a company that is expanding and improving at a quick pace.


    Next Thursday, November 6, Zuckerberg is bringing this forum to Facebook for the general public. It’s our chance to ask the questions.



    Go to the Q&A with Mark Facebook Page and ask your question as a comment on the post. Then, the community can vote on their favorite questions by liking comments. The page was started only two days ago, and it already has over 52 thousand likes.


    Here are a few questions we saw:

    • How much time do you spend on Facebook yourself on an average day?
    • Why did Facebook accept the government’s deal regarding disclosing surveillance requests and did not decide to keep pushing for more transparency like Twitter is doing (even going to court?)
    • A lot of journalists I know are concerned about Facebook’s outsized weight in the media world – in terms of traffic that comes from it. Do you think you should hire more journalists to make sure you’re still a simple conduit rather than a gatekeeper?
    • When will our Facebook fanpage’s reach come back? 


    Here are a few of the silly ones:

    • What beer were you drinking when you created Facebook. This is a MUST know.
    • How many Instagrams are in a kilogram?
    • Are you ever tempted to shut it down just for an hour unannounced just to see the social impact?


    And the one question we all want an answer to:


    When are you going to introduce the DISLIKE button ?


    Dislike Button


    Do you have any questions for Facebook’s famous founder?



    top photo by Frederic Legrand / Shutterstock.com



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