AmEx Flexes Social Media Muscle

American Express is a credit card company on a social media mission.  In addition to having a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, YouTube, LinkedIn, Google+, the company makes sure that they are actually providing their customers  with relevant and exciting promotions/incentives.  The key to making a social network successful, is not only being present but creating buzz, and a platform that people actually use/want your promotions.  Below are 3 key ways that Leslie Berland, SVP of digital partnerships and development at American Express, believes the company is effectively using the social media space.

  1. A Customer Service Foundation – AmEx entered the social media scene in 2009 with a presence on Twitter and Facebook.  These initial handles and pages focused on servicing the card members and merchants effectively and with ease.  This service strategy has improved engagement with its consumers and clients and has also allowed the company to improve its implementation strategies based on user feedback.
  2. Couponless Deals Galore – AmEx knows that in today’s economy everyone loves a deal.  They have become the the master of the couponless deal in the social media space.  By simply syncing your card with Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare, users are able to get deals for qualifying purchases just by clicking a link, no coupon or code necessary.  Another key addition to the company’s already robust Twitter strategy, is the ability for cardholders to tweet strategic hashtags in order to load deals onto their cards, i.e. “#AmexWholeFoods, for example, a cardholder receives a $20 statement credit when he or she purchases $75 or more at Whole Foods using his or her synced card.”
  3. A Corporate Culture Transformation – AmEx is embracing the opportunities that social media presents and they are running with those opportunities.  The company began their social media journey with keeping clients happy and solving their problems, and they are now leading their category with their innovative uses for the platforms.

For more information, read the full article at:

SXSW Trends

The annual South by Southwest conference is the place to find out about the new, intriguing and fabulous technologies hitting the market.  This five day conference includes over 900 keynotes, panels and workshops.  Here are Adweek’s 5 trends that are worth paying attention to:

  1. Social Discovery/Ambient Awareness – There are a handful of startups, such as Sonar, Highlight, Glancee, Banjo and Kismet, that launched or upgraded just in time for SXSW.  These apps aim to help people with similar interests find each other and make this annual event’s networking easy and robust.
  2. Social TV – People love talking about TV almost as much as they love to watch it (can we say ‘The Bachelor’?).  Social TV was discussed last year but this year it is being brought to everyone’s attention again, to see how the big brands and networks plan on working together to make TV more social and perhaps profitable.
  3. Big Data – People will definitely be discussing how to “use metrics and analytics to achieve business goals and improve marketing campaigns.”  This year the discussion will also include how to use data to track and monitor your personal health and fitness programs.
  4. Beautifying the Web, of course includes Pinterest, but there are other start ups that are trying to make the web a prettier place, AOL’s, Path, Instagram and even Facebook’s new Timeline.  These start ups help individuals express themselves in a bold, beautiful and gorgeous way.
  5. Marketing Meets Tech – It’s hard to believe that Twitter hit the SXSW market in 2007, and only a few years later Foursquare was the talk of the town.  Ad agencies attendance has increased tenfold between 2009-2011, which is a testament to the strength of this conference and the hope that the newest and “can’t live without” technology might be discovered and thrust into our lives in the next week.

For more information, check out the full article:

Facebook Timeline for Businesses

Facebook’s new Timeline format will be mandatory for all businesses within the month.  In order to get the most out of this new format, Mashable has put together 6 tips that will make the changes most beneficial for your brand.

  1. Updated Look and Feel – The Timeline feature uses a new Cover Photo and the page is separated into two main columns.  The format is great for companies to outline their corporate history and construct a narrative for their audience.  Through Mashable’s research, they’ve found that brands who show behind-the-scenes activities, exclusive updates and or promotions, translate into higher engagement rates.
  2. Reduced Tab Visibility – The left-side panel of links is no longer with the new format, which means that applications that were highlighted before are now displayed differently – in rectangular panels underneath the cover photo.  The catch is that only 3 are visible at a time now, so make sure your three most important now take up that real estate as users will have to do a lot of clicking through to access the other ones.
  3. No Default Landing Page means that brands no longer have control over the users “first impression” when they visit the Timeline Page.  Companies will have to stay very aware of what the first few postings on their page are and will have to monitor their page more carefully.
  4. New Way To Feature Content – The ability for marketers to “pin” certain posts to the top of the Timeline will make the content more “sticky.”  A pinned post remains at the top of the page for a specific amount of time and features an orange flag (which will make it known to users).  The catch is that brands can only pin one item at a time.  But this is a great feature and can be used to the brand’s advantage, since the default landing page was taken away.
  5. Current Tab Content and Applications Become Outdated – The new page configuration is now a 810-pixel width, which replaces the previous 520-pixel width, so brands should make changes to their creative in order to make the most out of their page.  Additionally, all applications on the brand’s page will need new icons that are 111 x 74.
  6. Private Messages Between Brands and Users – Brands will finally be able to send private messages to users, allowing deeper consumer interaction.

For more information about these changes, along with Mashable’s recommendations, go to:

No Budget? No Problem. Creative Social Media Campaigns That Didn’t Cost a Fortune

There are very few marketers like Coca-Cola, who have millions of dollars to spend on advertising and can test ideas out and the company won’t collapse if the campaign isn’t as successful as it was meant to be.  The great thing about social media is that companies small and large can participate and can have a somewhat even playing field.  All company Facebook and Twitter pages look the same, all you need is an entrepreneurial spirit with big, creative ideas to compete on these platforms with the mega-companies.  Here are a few great social media examples from large and small companies:

  1. Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Jinx is a campaign that began on Twitter.  The company took the rules of the childhood “Jinx” game and applied it to the social media world.  Whenever two people individually used the phrase “mac & cheese” on Twitter, Kraft sent them both messages about the Kraft Jinx game and the first one to respond back to Kraft one five free boxes of Kraft Mac & Cheese and a T-Shirt.
  2. Ingo’s Face Logo came about when two Swedish ad agencies (Grey Stockholm and Ogilvy Stockholm) merged.  In order to get their social media fans involved the companies asked their fans to sign into Facebook to see the company’s new name.  When people signed in to the dedicated site, their profile picture was added to the new name/logo.  Every picture filled in a piece of the puzzle and four hours and 2,890 fans later the full name was revealed.
  3. BlueCross BlueShield of Minnesota’s Human Doing was a campaign featuring a “common man,” St. Paul resident, Scott Jorgenson.  The health care company put Jorgenson in a glass apartment in the Mall of America for a month to demonstrate the recuperative effects of exercise.  Jorgenson was put on an exercise routine, 3 to 5 times a day, in 10 minute spurts, that Twitter and Facebook followers were able to dictate for him.  This humanizing approach was a creative new way to think about health care.
  4. GranataPet’s Foursquare-Enabled Billboard was a huge success in garnering attention for the company in Germany last year.  The billboard was rigged so that if any consumer checked in on Foursquare, the billboard would dispense some of the company’s dog food.  Check out a video here.
  5. Reinert Sausage’s Wurst-Face App is a Facebook app that lets users upload their photo and receive a “Wurst Face,” in their cold cuts.  This app was not only social and fun but users received cold cuts with their face on them, so awesome!

The moral of the story is, whether your company is big or small, has a large budget or an almost non-existent one, social media makes it extremely easy to get your brand, product and name out there.  For more information about these campaigns, go to:


HelloGiggles is a refreshing new website that aims to empower, inspire and entertain smart, independent and creative women.  With all the negativity online, co-creators,  Zooey Deschanel, Molly McAleer and Sophia Rossi, wanted to create a place where people can connect in an entertaining and supportive environment.  The site is heavily editorial but does have some fun interactive features like crafts, recipes and “how-to” tips on various topics including getting along with roommates and taxes and of course a place for laughs and giggles.

The site strictly enforces a “no gossip” policy, along with no cursing and does not allow alcohol sponsors.  The editorial articles all drive conversation by providing lessons and/or positive take-aways for the reader.  The site’s primary audience is women from 13 to 35, but it does not exclude men who want to play in the positivity pen.

For more information, visit the site at

Zoosk is the LinkedIn of Internet Dating

Valentine’s Day has come and gone and now it’s time for singles to re-focus.  Zoosk is positioning itself as the “LinkedIn” of internet dating sites.  Instead of typical straightforward process of setting up a profile, finding dates, picking a partner and getting offline (similar to what does for job searches), Zoosk wants people to stay on their website even when they are coupled up (similar to LinkedIn where your profile is active and updated throughout your professional career).

Zoosk wants to incentivize members to keep their profile up on their site by offering a host of features and services that make the site more “sticky” to couples.  These incentives include reminders of key dates including birthdays and anniversaries, deals on “couples” activities as well as an advice center.   Zoosk already integrates a variety of social networks into its site, which is why there is some 15 million monthly active users.  This functionality will also be beneficial when rolling out their new features.  For example, when a user finds a partner they can change their relationship status and the couples features will automatically begin to appear.

For more information on Zoosk and it’s plans, go to:


Pet owners are some of the most engaged people on the web recently.  New websites are continually popping up that provide pet lovers with pet-specific news and entertainment, and let’s be honest who doesn’t love pet videos on YouTube?  Technology and the internet are also starting to play a large role in pet care marketing.  Whether it’s a site that encourages social engagement, useful apps or better more efficient ways to order pet supplies, this is a new thriving marketing.  Below are 4 ways that digital marketing is making a play in the pet world.

  1. Subscription Services – BarkBox is a service that was launched in November 2011 that focuses on product discovery.  BarkBox delivers “homemade, all-natural treats and other high-quality products in each box — things you can’t find at the typical big-box pet store,” while also donating a portion of the profits to a rescue or shelter.  If you want your tried and true brands, Petflow, is the way to go.  The site offers more than 100 pet brands and features an “auto-replenishment” system saving customers time and money.
  2. Brands Going Social – Pet parents are highly engaged, so when sites like host a “Mascot of the Week” contest, it’s no surprise that the site’s 15,000 fans are quick to respond to polls, upload photos of their pets and share the contest virally. also donates $1 for every new fan it acquires to the Best Friends Animal Society.  In addition to utilizing Facebook and Twitter, some brands are cleverly using Foursquare to encourage fans to engage with their brand.  A perfect and very successful example of that is the GranataPet Food campaign in Munich and Berlin. Finally, a bit component to most successful social campaigns is giving back to charity.  Last June, Pedigree donated one pound of dog food to a shelter for every Like, post or tweet about its “Every Dog Deserves…” campaign, which ended up producing 100,000 pounds of donated food.
  3. High-Tech Pet Care – There are a lot of hospitals that are choosing to update all of their systems to include electronic health records, and veterinarians are no exception.  The ability to easily use digital pet records will not only help the hospital, but will provide owners with all the information they need as well.  Additionally, doggy day cares are using technology.  There are a lot of facilities installing webcams so that owners can check in on their friends throughout the day.
  4. There’s An App For That – There are a ton of new apps available for pet enthusiasts.  Whether it’s DoggyDatez is a location-based mobile platform for finding new friends, or Petcentric is an app from Purina that helps you find pet-friendly hotels, restaurants and parks or MyPetED, which contains your pet’s medical records and vet contact info on the go, there are a lot of fun and useful ways the internet can enhance pet ownership.

For more details about pet marketing, go to:

Circulars Go Social

There are many of us who wait for our Tuesday mail, sift through all the circulars, cut out the items we are interested in and keep them with you just in case you need a reminder of what you are looking for when you actually get into the store.  Well, Walgreens is looking to improve this system and is taking the somewhat antiquated circular to the social scene.  Walgreens has partnered with LocalResponse to provide customers who check-in (via Foursquare, Yelp, Facebook and Twitter) with a peak as to what’s on sale via a Twitter response or check-in deal.

The company’s first test was with cough-suppressant Halls.  Walgreens sent out over 5,000 Halls messages via Twitter to check-in customers, during January.  Another test that has done well for the company and it’s products is check-in deals, specifically via Facebook and Foursquare.  Most recently check-in deals have donated a free flue shot to charities on consumers behalf, as well as provided mobile coupons for Energizer.  Energizer reps have said that they saw a higher redemption rate with these check-in deals then with traditional digital coupons.

Walgreens is the first and the only retailer to utilize LocalResponse and from the initial tests, this looks like it’s going to be a very happy relationship.  Have any of you checked-in at Walgreens? We would love to hear your experiences.

For more information about this partnership, go to:

Pinterest: Social Commerce Game Changer?

Pinterest is a 2-year old social bookmarking site that allows users to collect, organize and share things they love on the site’s pinboards.  Whether you are interested in ideas for your home, recipes, wedding inspiration, clothing or feel-good quotes, this site’s members “Pin It” bookmarking tool keeps interests on and offline easily organized and accessible.  This site, which has a 58% female membership, has started making huge waves lately and retailers are definitely seeing a difference in the amount of traffic to their sites.

The site’s traffic increased fourfold in 3 months between September 2011 and December 2011, bringing the number of unique users to 7.51 million in December alone.  This has put Pinterest as a top five referrer for HGTV, Nordstrom, West Elm, and ModCloth.  Pinterest users also have the ability to share their pinned interests on Facebook, which definitely enhances the site and pinned item’s visibility.  Although the site is a huge traffic driver, research is still limited as to how and if these visits produce sales.

If you are one of the few not yet on Pinterest and want to get started, here is a great article on 21 Must-Follow Pinterest Users.

For a great article from Mashable go to:

Picture from

Picture from via monetate (@Monetate)

Mobile Marketing Campaign Advice for Jewelers

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.  Even if you aren’t counting down the days, it’s hard not to notice stores red and pink candy and stuffed animal filled sections that have popped up all of a sudden.  One business that is always in fashion on Valentine’s Day is jewelry. believes that the best way for jewelers to be successful this year is to evoke emotion with their ads and not to product-push.  The ability to use mobile sites, applications, banner ads and SMS allows marketers to inspire feelings for their loved ones and make this year’s jewelry purchase an emotional one rather than an obligatory one.

Consumers should be prepared to see a lot more jewelry-focused apps.  For example, Tiffany & Co. have created the “What Make Love True” app which allows users to discover secret adventures, surprising love stores and useful love tips.  It also encourages couples to share their romantic journey with friends by adding their initial and a note to special places on the site’s Love is Everywhere Map.

Since consumers are relying on their smartphones more and more, these dedicated apps and websites help consumers to search, browse, buy or find the closest store with that perfect piece of bling.  The sites also offer the jewelers that opportunity to engage with their customers by sending location-based offers and messages, encouraging them to come into the brick and mortar store.

For more information about making your Valentine’s Day one of the best yet (jewelers and consumers), check out the full article at: