Grassroots Marketing: How to Grow Your Brand Organically With Captivating Content

Sometimes, your best marketing weapon has nothing to do with the amount of money you can pour into a campaign. Most of the time, the focus is on creating effective ad campaigns or perfecting an email pitch that will reach a client. But what if there was another way to build brands? A way to … Continue reading “Grassroots Marketing: How to Grow Your Brand Organically With Captivating Content”

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A Dose of Radical Common Sense

You know how sometimes you see some advice that’s completely common sense, but somehow … it’s not at all what you’re doing right now? Yeah, me too. This week was about getting back to sensible solutions to business and content problems. They’re common sense, but, as my colleague Chris Garrett often says: “Common sense isn’t … Continue reading “A Dose of Radical Common Sense”

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7 Creative Content Ideas You'll Want to Steal for Your Ecommerce Website

Big brands realize they need so much more than a picture and description to sell products. They’re all about selling a lifestyle, and that means bigger, better content is needed to engage shoppers.

If you’re not sure what that looks like, or how you can use creative content in your ecommerce website, we have seven spectacular examples for you from real ecommerce campaigns.

1. REI: Expert Advice

Content Idea: Native How-To Content

Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) is one of the most popular camping and outdoor sports retailers in North America. No, its lifestyle blog isn’t the difference-maker for them — it’s how the business natively builds this content into the shopping experience.

The company sorts its products by type of outing, and includes expert advice on each product as a resource in the dropdown menu so you’re learning as you buy. Browsing climbing shoes? There’s how-to content linked to the bottom right for you to learn which shoes you need and even how to use your carabiners once you hit the mountain.

REI ecommerce expert advice content

Check out this guide for even more ecommerce content ideas.

2. Target: Finds

Content Idea: User-Made Instagram Posts

The power of social is real, and Target knows it. That’s why they have their Finds page, with information about the most popular items their customers have posted to their Instagram Story. At a glance, buyers can see what others are in love with at the moment, and that “Insta” proof goes a long way toward prompting a conversion.

Target Finds ecommerce Instagram content idea

3. The GoPro Channel

Content Idea: User-Made Video Content

Like Target, GroPro has a huge following of self-motivated content creators too. But while Target’s customers take to Instagram to show off their purchases, GoPro’s fans are uploading some of the coolest action videos on YouTube — all from the perspective of GoPro’s famous Hero camera.

The company engages its users to collaborate and even republish their video content to the GoPro YouTube channel — as well as GoPro.com. When your customers shoot video for you, using your product, it’d be foolish not to turn it into an ecommerce content strategy.

GoPro ecommerce user video channel

4. Burberry: Acoustic Series

Content Idea: Musical Influencers

Music is the universal language. Kudos to Burberry for speaking to all through their Acoustic series. Not only do they entertain and delight page visitors with the sweet sounds of popular musicians, but they also get a lot more credibility for their brand. After all, every artist who agreed to perform for the acoustic series was pretty much saying “Burberry’s cool in my book.” And that’s hard to ignore.

burberry ecommerce acoustic musician series

5. Best Buy: Buying Guides

Content Idea: Product Tutorials

You can’t think about tech-based ecommerce without thinking about Best Buy. This consumer electronics giant nurtures its website visitors through “Buying Guides,” allowing users to start with a tech tutorial before entering the product’s purchase page. The company educates users gradually with calls to action (CTAs) carefully placed throughout each web guide.

BestBuy ecommerce buying guides

6. Lane Bryant: Video Models

Content Idea: Video Product Demos

Most consumers’ pet peeve would be receiving a product and finding out it just doesn’t look the same in real life. Video is a great way to show buyers what they’re really getting. Lane Bryant has put video to work within product descriptions, showing what the clothes look like while in motion. It’s information buyers need before they make a final decision.

lane bryant ecommerce video content still image

7. Woot.com: Product Descriptions

Content Idea: Entertaining Product Copy

Using a bit of creativity with something as simple as your product descriptions can really add some excitement to an otherwise run-of-the-mill ecommerce site. Woot.com is well known for their silly product descriptions from some of the most creative copywriters in the business. Even the smallest injection of humor can bring visitors back every day with hopes of seeing something new and different.

woot.com ecommerce product description

Which of these creative content ideas would work for your ecommerce company? Have you put some of the ideas into practice in the past? We’d love to know what brings you results, so let us know in the comments.

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Confirmed: Mark Zuckerberg to Appear Before Congress April 11

Today, the House Energy and Commerce Committee confirmed that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will indeed testify in front of the congressional committee on April 11.

His testimony is rooted in the ongoing controversy over Facebook’s handling of its users’ data, which became the subject of global news after it was revealed that personal information was misused by data consulting firm, Cambridge Analytica.

Facebook’s Removal of Fake Accounts by the IRA

Recent action by Facebook, however, is sure to influence the content of Zuckerberg’s hearing — most notably its removal of more than 270 fake Facebook pages and accounts managed by the Internet Research Agency (IRA).

This Russian firm is suspected to have influenced a number of foreign political elections, including the 2016 U.S. Presidential election.

“Since [2016], we have improved our techniques to prevent nation states from interfering in foreign elections,” Zuckerberg wrote on Facebook yesterday. “There have been a number of important elections since then where [our new artificial intelligence tools] have been successfully deployed.”

The Silicon Valley giant cited countries like France and Germany as governments with which his team has worked to remove the IRA’s Facebook presence in these communities.

Awaiting a Position on Europe’s New Privacy Law

But these examples could prove to work against him in Congress. In an interview with Reuters, Zuckerberg agreed “in spirit” to a new law in the European Union that will renovate online privacy standards across Europe. He did not reveal Facebook’s goals on this front for the rest of the world.

That law is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the most significant update to the continent’s privacy policies in the last three decades — making the CEO’s lack of comment on its benefit to Facebook’s global user base a likely topic of conversation on April 11.

But Facebook is admittedly not the only Big Tech in the Bay Area to stay silent on the topic of the EU’s data privacy laws. Google and its parent company, Alphabet Inc., are two others that have not taken a stance on how this law might be able to support global users.

What This Could Mean for Facebook (and Advertisers)

Why the hesitation? One possibility is that the GDPR — which Facebook is required to implement for its EU-based users when it comes into force next month — could limit the company’s revenue from ads. That will become especially true if advertisers feel, for example, they can’t use certain user data to target customers’ News Feeds as accurately.

“Facebook’s whole business model is centered on user data for accurate ad targeting,” says Henry Franco, HubSpot’s social campaign strategy associate, “so it’s no surprise that it might be against government intervention in the way companies are required to manage that data for users in the EU.”

But the damage done by users potentially leaving the platform entirely could be a greater hit to the company if it doesn’t take a position on its global markets soon. At this point, the value of Facebook’s shares is down more than 15% since the revelation around Cambridge Analytica came to light on March 16.

Screen Shot 2018-04-04 at 1.14.45 PM

Source: U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee

Zuckerberg did clarify that many of the tools belonging to the GDPR are already available to all Facebook users — so these risks are likely top-of-mind for the executive. But nonetheless, Washington is both grateful and eagerly anticipating Zuckerberg’s appearance before the House of Representatives next week.

“This hearing will be an important opportunity to shed light on critical consumer data privacy issues and help all Americans better understand what happens to their personal information online,” said Committee Chairman Greg Walden and Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. in the official statement. “We appreciate Mr. Zuckerberg’s willingness to testify before the committee, and we look forward to him answering our questions on April 11th.”

But Facebook looks to be making some of these pieces more iron-clad leading up to the testimony, including the rewriting of its terms of service and data policy that was unveiled earlier today — which could leave these existing rules less open to interpretation or questioning by lawmakers.

“As a company, Facebook is probably reading the writing on the wall,” says Franco. “If data regulation is on the horizon, it wants to have a seat at the table for that conversation, in order to protect its own interests.”

We’ll be reporting on this ongoing story up to and after the hearing next week.

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Facebook Is Rolling out New Background Information Tools for News Feed Content

Facebook announced today that it will be rolling out new features to provide greater context around stories that appear in the News Feed.

The news follows tests that the company has been running since last year in the U.S. to determine how much background information on publishers and stories should appear alongside this content. Now, according to a written statement, the feature will be available to all U.S. Facebook users.

The details will include such information as any “official” Wikipedia entry on the publisher of the story, in addition to related articles on the same topic. It will also display where and how many times that story (from that publisher) has been shared on Facebook — with a call-to-action to follow the publisher’s Page, if the user so desires.

If the publisher doesn’t have a Wikipedia page, that information will also be displayed — which the statement says can add “helpful context.”

Facebook isn’t the first Big Tech company to announce the use of Wikipedia pages to supplement content on its site with additional information. Last month, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki announced at a SXSW panel that the video-sharing platform would be adding details from Wikipedia pages to conspiracy-related content: information that Wikipedia itself was unaware of at the time of the announcement.

As of this post’s publication, it is unclear if Wikipedia knows of Facebook’s plan to use information from the site in a similar manner. 

“Facebook is interested in reversing the spread of misinformation and fake news,” says Henry Franco, HubSpot’s social campaign strategy associate. “This is one of the first times a feature like this has appeared natively in the Facebook app, and it’ll be interesting to see whether it has any effect on people’s interpretation of their News Feeds.”

The new tools will also include a “More From This Publisher” feature, allowing users to see what other stories the publisher has recently posted; as well as “Shared By Friends,” which will list anyone in the user’s personal network who has also shared the article.

cover-image-1

Source: Facebook

With these new tools, Facebook will also be testing responses among a small subset of U.S. users to find out if the perception of publisher credibility changes at all when these details are added. That includes information about the article’s author — and users included in the test can tap the author’s name in Instant Articles to see these details, which will also include information from his or her Wikipedia entry, a button to follow the person’s Page or Profile, and other articles he or she has recently published.

However, this information will only be displayed if the story’s publisher has allowed author tags on its website in a way that tells Facebook it’s somehow associated with the bylined author’s Page or Profile, which the publisher must verify.

The news comes on the heels of Facebook’s four-pronged outline unveiled last week to help protect election security on its site, one pillar of which was “reducing the spread of false news.” And while that outline didn’t delve into tremendous detail on plans to provide greater context around news items appearing in the News Feed, previous announcements from Facebook have alluded to this change.

“We’ll continue to look for opportunities to improve this experience,” the statement said, “and help give people more context about the news they see on Facebook.”

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