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Emotional Engagement Is Key to Viral Content Marketing Success

112987077Emotional engagement is the key to content marketing success. People discover and share information, videos, pictures and other types of media constantly. Assuming that all content starts out equally however, viral content seems to take on a life of its own, rapidly spreading among the masses in much the same way as a real virus does among people.

With content marketing, the message is the virus, the carriers are your audience and a strong emotional connection to the message is the catalyst.

Eliciting an emotional response is an essential element of all successful viral content marketing campaigns. It's human nature that people want to share the experiences that stir their emotions by communicating them to others. When people develop strong, deep feelings like surprise, anger, fear, disgust, sadness and joy around an experience or message, social sharing becomes impulsive.

According to research conducted by Jonah Berger and Katherine L. Milkman of the Wharton Business School in 2010, in their report, "Social Transmission, Emotion, and the Virality of Online Content", there is a strong relationship between emotion and virality regardless of whether it is positive or negative.

The study presented a number of key takeaways including the following:

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How To Safely Experiment With Social Media Marketing


At some point in your career, you've probably been in the position where you think you are doing a phenomenal job marketing your organization. You are proud of the bulletproof strategy you've created, pleased with the tactics you are using to achieve the strategy, and thrilled with the measurable results you are able to report. But one day, you get the message from leadership that "everyone else is using (insert latest internet fad here), why aren't we?" The short answer would be that it doesn't fit into your current strategy, but when is the right time to introduce something new, and how do you do it in a way that is not disruptive to the rest of your strategy? You shouldn't always have to wait for pressure from another person within your organization -- sometimes you just need to experiment a little bit in a safe environment without detracting from your marketing plan.

We all know that an Instagram profile, a crowd-sourcing contest, and a Pinterest board are not strategies. As marketers, we take care to research and analyze the best communications channels for our unique audiences and the way we talk as a brand. But what happens when you've invested time, money, and effort into a comprehensive, long-term marketing strategy only to have a phenomenon like Pinterest pop-up out of nowhere and have to answer the "why aren't we there yet" question?

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Digital Influencers: Your No. 1 Brand Promoters

112987077In part two of a series on digital influencers, this month's column will focus on digital influencers who are already affluent to your brand. These are a group of individuals noted as advocates.

Online influence is rampant. And every brand is chasing those who can help promote and extend their brand to respective audiences who can be as high as millions or as low a few hundred. As in my last column, we spoke on the higher end of these influencers, the social promoters who have tens of thousands to millions of followers, fans, and unique monthly visits to their blogs; these are your high-end social cheerleaders who often take bartering and/or monetary help to get your brand inserted into their editorial calendar.

Today, we'll quickly look at the other end of the spectrum - individuals who are lower in volume, but more effective in driving message resonance. The positive mark about this low-volume group is that their behaviors often translate to more clicks and actions, rather than just millions of mindless impressions that paid promoters will often drive for you.

Advocates are crucial for any brand to be successful in the digital space, and engaging with this set of social cheerleaders in some way is key for any brand to be successful. To do that, here is a quick method for engaging with these users.

Brand Advocates


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7 Tips for Marketing to Older Audiences

112987077In their book No B.S. Guide to Marketing to Leading-Edge Boomers and Seniors, marketing experts Dan S. Kennedy and Chip Kessler offer small-business owners a handy guide to targeting the leading-edge boomer and senior market. In this edited excerpt, the authors describe seven ways you can differentiate yourself from the competition.

Most small businesses are missing an opportunity to become the only or preferred source of their offering to leading-edge boomers and seniors (LEB/S) simply because they've assumed that differentiation can't be done. The reality is that virtually all offerings can be made different in a way that matters to LEB/S.

So what should your messaging to LEB/S do to differentiate you from every other perceived competitor? Here's a list of seven differentiators to apply to your marketing.

1. Authorship: This is the open secret that so many miss yet is used by the most famous of people. There's a reason that political candidates write books, why already famous people write books, and why those who aspire to be famous should write books. Books are part of our cultural DNA that says authors are experts, should be treated differently and deserve our respect.

At one time, getting a book published was quite difficult. And with that difficulty, when overcome, came a special status of author. Authors are given respect in our society. It is this special status that makes writing a book so powerful in your marketing. And it's one of the reasons I have written five and have another two coming.

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Facebook Wants Your Credit Card Information

112987077After the re-launch of Gifts, Facebook seems extra motivated to get your credit card information and physical address, in what could be another attempt to gather more data about you and sell more targeted ads.

The social network recently launched its Gift service after shutting it down in 2010 for lack of traction. The re-launch is seen as a way to appease investors, generate a new revenue stream and, of course, keep harvesting data.

"Gifts should also contribute more to Facebook's treasure trove of user data, which has the benefit of a virtuous cycle, driving more personalization of the site, leading to better and more targeted ads, which improves overall monetization," Colin Sebastian, an analyst with Robert W. Baird, told the New York Times.

The service allows users to easily buy gifts for their friends directly on Facebook. On a friend's birthday or special occasion, a gift tab will appear on your timeline, allowing you to access a varied list of items to buy your friend.

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