Why Do Consumers “Like” Brands?

 

Research firm Chadwick Martin Bailey (CMB) recently published a study highlighting the purpose of interacting with a brand on Facebook. In a 15 minute web survey to 1,491 consumers, CMB found that 56% of users aged 18-35 interact with brands they use on Facebook. Overall about one in three users use Facebook to follow brands, where only 4% follow on Twitter and 1% on LinkedIn.

The main reason people “like” a brand is simply because they are a customer. Other popular reasons are to keep track of discounts or to show their support for the brand. A 77% majority consider the extent of their interaction to be reading posts on their newsfeed. However, a “like” could still mean good things for a business. 56% of respondents said they would be more likely to recommend a product after becoming a fan. About 51% said they would be more likely to purchase the product or service. Finally, 58% “like” fewer than five brands and 78% “like” fewer than ten. Therefore, for a majority of users a “like” is significant.

The first big takeaway from this is that Facebook should be the focus of a social media marketing strategy. A very small proportion of people in the study followed brands on other sites like Twitter and LinkedIn. Another thing to notice is that “liking” something is a fairly passive action. In order to make the most of a Facebook fan page businesses need to offer an incentive to be followed – like discounts, new product news, and interesting content – without being overaggressive.

Social Media Etiquette for Vacation

With summer nearly here, vacations are in the works. And you know what that means: poolside activities, boating adventures, and family outings! I know what you’re thinking. Oh no! My swimsuit doesn’t have a waterproof pocket for my cell phone!

Instead of being the one in your family glued to your iPhone, constantly checking your emails, utilize the Internet to add value to your trip.

A social media article on Mashable highlights ways to integrate tech toys into vacations without seeming distant. Aside from navigation apps and searching for local events in the places you visit, there are many social media apps that you can use to find local deals such as Foursquare and Gowalla. These apps are great tools to use when visiting a new city. You can filter your searches based on recommendations from your friends, distance and location, or simply what type of place you want to go to. I don’t know how many times I’ve tried to find a restaurant or an activity to check out without knowing the area and ended up somewhere totally off the wall. With these apps the days of choosing a hotel or nightlife venue by picture are over!

With photo sharing apps such as Instagram, and group messaging like GroupMe, friends and family can stay connected by posting messages and exchanging photos. You can share group photos and funny experiences with your fellow trip-ees or give the people back at home a taste of what their missing. It’s a good way to document a trip and tell a story at the same time.

Instead of feeling left out, your friends and family can be included in all your posts and online activities. Its a great way to decrease the gap between digital savvy teenagers and their parents. You can still maintain an online presence while your dad saves some serious dough on a family trip to the museum.

Midwest’s Future

This past week I volunteered at Future Midwest, the regions largest two-day digital business conference. Held at Eastern Market, Detroit’s authentic public market, Future Midwest acted as a classroom for attendees, learning what to expect in the upcoming years and how to get the most out of whats currently trending with business and marketing strategies.

My experience as a volunteer was a lot of fun. Aside from being on the inside and catching some great speakers, I had the chance to interact with some really cool people. April 28th, otherwise known as Day one, my responsibilities included helping out with registration and being available as needed. Nothing too difficult and I got to meet all the press and speakers as they checked in. Day two consisted of a tweet up while watching Erik Proulx’s Lemonade trailer and assisting the caterer with lunch preparation. This was my favorite day because I have never experienced the trailer and I really thought it was amazing to see people who live in Detroit, eat, and sleep in Detroit, try and make something of the community in which they are a part of. It seems that with the downfall of the economy, many are headed out of the Detroit area. By sharing thoughts with Alex Beaton, a young professional, who owns her own marketing company, Rally Initiatives, I really understood that to truly appreciate the city you come from, you need to get an outside perspective. What the community needs is not for people to pick up and go as soon as things start to get difficult, but to see that as an opportunity to better the city for everyone. Instead of complaining about how bad things seem to be, take initiative and actually do something about it! Its okay (and definitely encouraged) if you do venture outside of the mitten, as long as you bring those creative ideas and experiences back home!

I think what Future Midwest is doing is really great and it gives not only the digital business world an opportunity to connect with similar individuals, but others, who simply may want to gain knowledge and get involved. Not to mention the fact that, Future Midwest brings more people to Detroit, some traveled as far as California just to witness the sessions, share ideas, and see what the city has to offer. In its third year, Future Midwest is headed in the right direction down the path of the unknown. What we do know is that there are so many creative and brilliant people in this area that it would be a shame to let that talent go to waste. I’m very excited to see what Future Midwest will bring to the Metro Detroit area next year.

Weber’s Inn Reveals Their New Website!

Weber’s Inn, the boutique hotel in Ann Arbor, MI, unveiled their new, and much improved website today. Speaking as someone who very much enjoys Weber’s Restuarant, and checks the website often, this is a great relief. The site before was adequate, but now it is enjoyable. The design is beautiful, and it so easy to navigate. Everything is clearly marked and organized and easy to find.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Weber’s, it consists of three major entities: Weber’s Inn, Weber’s Restaurant, and The Habitat Ultralounge. One of the great things about this new site is that it clearly distinguishes between the three places and makes it easy to tell them apart. On the old site everything looked the same, which is so unlike the three very distinct parts.

Weber’s Inn: The deluxe, full service Hotel, Restaurant, Banquet & Conference property, founded in 1937 by Herman Weber,  is still owned and operated by the Weber family. It has been a staple in the Ann Arbor area for over 80 years and offers stylish surroundings, comfortable beds, and deluxe amenities in a classic setting. In a work of true design genius the website reflects the style of the hotel to a tee, presenting a modern layout and features with a classic design. In addition to the aesthetics, the Weber’s Inn page offers clear communication of features and amenities, and provides a very easy interface for making reservations.

Weber’s Restaurant: Perhaps my favorite part of the hotel, Weber’s Restaurant offers fine dining in Ann Arbor at a reasonable price, something that isn’t easy to find. Their juicy steaks and vast selection of wine are perfect on a dreary winter night. The restaurant is warm and inviting and, again, their page of the site reflects that perfectly. Like the hotel, the restaurant’s page is clearly organized and even has a section that allows you to make reservations without any hassle. Their menus are posted on the site and there are even several mouthwatering pictures of some of their popular dishes.

The Habitat Ultralounge: The Habitat Ultralounge is a fun, modern place with live music, great food, and a fully stocked bar. It is a great place to be on a Friday or Saturday night and have some fun with friends. The design of the page reflects the vibrancy of the lounge perfectly. The pages is informative and clearly lists all of the upcoming events and specials.

In addition to the three main areas of the website there is also a very clear and organized events and catering section. It truly is a well rounded and beautifully designed site. It is definitely a great improvement from before.

Coming Soon: The Netflix Channel?

Yeah, you read that right. It was announced today that Netflix is in talks to exclusively distribute a new show from David Fincher and Kevin Spacey. The show, a remake of the classic U.K. drama “House of Cards”, would be owned by Netflix and would be shown exclusively through them. It hasn’t been confirmed as to how much Netflix would have to pay to get this show, but they have offered to guarantee 26 episodes, or two full seasons, whereas most networks must see a pilot before even one season is greenlighted. This flexibility might be what gets the show for them. This would make Netflix it’s own network, and a potential competitor to some of the pricier cable networks like HBO and Showtime.

This has very exciting implications for the average consumer such as myself. I predicate this all with the assumption that they don’t raise their prices too much, but if Netflix expanded to having their own shows, as well as their already enormous library of past stuff, I might never need to pay for cable again. Also, for those of us who use Xboxes or Playstations to watch Netflix, when Hulu is added to the Xbox online marketplace there will be no need to pay the obscene prices for cable. Wouldn’t that be great?

This news will definitely affect the ever changing consumer entertainment industry. With the announcement of Facebook offering movies, and now this bombshell, it will be interesting to see what else will come up: maybe individual networks separate and become Netflix-esque online networks, or maybe Hulu modifies their site to show episodes the night they air. I don’t know, but it should be good for us.

Foursquare 3.0 is Here!

It was announced yesterday that Foursquare has finally released it’s 3.0 update. If your a Foursquare junkie like me than this is great news. The service, for those of you who don’t know, allows you to “check-in” at the places you visit throughout the day and show’s you where local deals might be. It’s also a great way to keep tabs on your friends (but not in a stalker way). It’s not only a deal finder, you can also check in to get badges, which are little rewards for visit certain places, or visiting a certain number of places, and duke it out for “mayor ships” of your favorite hot spots. It’s fun.

Anyway, the new update offers many revamps that make it a much more complete and useful app to have.

The first new feature, and perhaps the coolest is the “explore” tab that they’re adding. This will become the bulk of the mobile application as it offers the most content to use. Essentially was it is is a “Yelp” type app that takes where you’ve been and suggests places that you might like in your area. It also allows you to explore the area you’re in for recommended places that are similar with your interests, or just places recommended in general. This is cool because it would make traveling much easier, as well as open you up to places in your area that you might have never heard of. In addition to food it also shows you where there is nightlife, shopping and touristy stuff, so that you can truly explore wherever you are.

Another cool feature, which get’s back to what makes Foursquare an app to have, is that they have greatly expanded their “deals” options for companies. They have added things like Flash Deals (first 10 people after 5 get a free drink), Newbie Deals, Loyalty Deals and many more. This, hopefully, will encourage more companies to offer specials and therefore make Foursquare a great way to save some money as well.

I am psyched about these new features. It takes Foursquare from an almost strictly “fun” app to one that is very functional. So, if you don’t already have it on your phone, get it. It is available for pretty much every platform that exists.

Coming Soon: Movie Rental on Facebook

Like Movies? Hate going to Blockbuster, or waiting for your Netflix movies to arrive? Disappointed in the limited selection of movies available to watch online? Well things are looking up.  Mashable announced today that Warner Bros. is making their movies available to rent online… through Facebook. Yeah, you read that right. Starting today, when you visit the fan page of some of your favorite Warner Bros. movies, you can not only “like” the movie, but you can also rent it and watch it right there. The rentals are available for the low price of $3, or 30 Facebook Credits, which are an online currency that buys you things on Facebook. At the moment the feature is only available for “The Dark Night“, but they are going to be expanding soon.

This is an interesting development for all of us 600 million Facebook users. It takes the already expansive user experience provided by the social media giant, and opens up a door that leads to a world of new possibilities. I would love to see Facebook to become a place that incorporates a Netflix + Hulu type video catalog that, with a low monthly price, can be available for use online and on other internet enabled devices (TV’s, video game consoles, etc.). Then they can add music and some proper games and I’ll never have to leave the site. Sounds good to me.

The iPad 2 is out… and I think I want one.

So I don’t know if you’ve heard or not, it’s been surprisingly quite for an Apple event, but the iPad2 was released today. I was hearing mixed “pre-release” reviews, which, in hindsight, were stupid to even read, since Apple is always able to keep at least some of their new under wraps, and I was in the state of mind that this new iPad was just a basic software update and some new cameras. I guess that’s all it was really, but it is much cooler than they lead me to believe. Anyway, here are all the new features that make this iPad something I’d be interested in paying $500 for.

1. Smaller and Lighter

This is pretty self explanatory. They cut the thickness of the iPad by 30%, and made it a little bit lighter. Not a big deal. What they did do that makes it better is that changed the shape. It no longer has that uncomfortable square edge that the first iPad had. It’s not shaped more like the iPod Touch.

2. Hardware update

They did update all of the “guts” to make it 9x faster and capable of better graphics and higher resolutions. They say it’s supposed to make movies, and games much more enjoyable to play/watch.

3. Dual Facing cameras with Facetime

So this was the main thing people were complaining about with the first iPad, and it was also the thing everyone knew was going to be fixed for this round. They installed two cameras, one on the front and one on the back, which shoots HD video, and paired them with FaceTime, their new video chat program. It looks to be pretty cool, and fairly fluid. Your are also able to use iMovie with this iPad, which is cool. This definitely, in my opinion, takes the iPad from giant iPhone that doesn’t make calls to a small Macbook.

4. Video Mirroring

This is a cool new feature that allows you to plug your iPad into your TV and use it on the larger screen. This is great for watching movies, or TV shows, or playing games from your iPad on your TV, and you can do it all in full 1080p HD.

4. New Smart Covers

This might be my favorite thing about the new iPad. What this is is a cover that magnetically attaches to your iPad to keep the screen safe without adding considerable size and weight to it. It seems kind of ridiculous that this is my favorite, but it is the little extra thing that solves so many of our problems. First, it is magnetic, so it can be removed and attached with little to no effort. Second, it’s lined with microfiber cloth, so it keeps your screen scratch free, and cleans it at the same time. Third, it is segmented so it can fold up and be used as an iPad stand for watching movies or typing. Finally, in a truly Apple touch, it comes in 10 colors! See, I told you it was awesome. This one little thing solves so many problems.

Oh, did I mention that they added all of this stuff without lowering it’s battery life? It still gets 10 hours per charge. Oh and you can get it in white.

I never wanted an iPad before; it was expensive, and didn’t do anything that my iPhone or Macbook Pro couldn’t do better. Now it does things as good, or better than the other two but without the size of the Macbook, and with a much larger screen than my little iPhone. Now I just have to convince my fiancé to let me get one…

Now we wait for the iPhone 5.

New Apple Rumors!

With the recent introduction of the Verizon iPhone weeks old, we are now able to move on to the next set of Apple announcements. Most assume that the next event will bring about the unveiling of the much anticipated iPhone 5, but there have been rumors about other products that might be announced, along rumors about different features that might be included on the iPhone 5. These are some of my favorites

iPhone Nano

According to Mashable, who has talked with someone that is close to Apple, there is a mini iPhone that “he has had his hands on” . This would indicate that not only is it possible, but it would seem to be a fully developed concept. The iPhone Nano is said to be 1/3rd the size of the iPhone 4 and would utilize the Apple MobileMe service for data storage. It’s also said that it would start at $200 w/o a contract, which is about half off the price of a new iPhone. I’m not sure how they would be able to pull of a quality phone that small, but I’m sure I’ll want one.

iPad 2

Another popular rumor floating around is that the second generation iPad will be released this summer. There have rumors that there will be a smaller 7″ version, but most of those have been shot down. The prevailing theories is that they will be the same size, possibly with a shape similar to the iPhone 4, and will have dual cameras and an SD slot. Supposedly there are blueprints floating around that show a new shape, cameras, and the SD slot. It’s also rumored that the new line of devices, iPhone and iPad, will be flash compatible, which would allow you to run the internet properly, and play Farmville, on your device. I hope these rumors are true, because the iPad is a few features away from being a great piece of technology.

The next rumors have to deal with the iPhone and it’s fight with the Android phones for technological domination. There are several rumors flying around about possible iPhone 5 upgrades that would better position it against the Android phones

8-12 MP Camera

Another rumor that Mashable reported on was that the next generation iPhone will boast an 8-12 Megapixel camera. With Android phones offering cameras in the 8 MP range it’s important for Apple to catch up, and pass them if possible. There are cameras in Europe with 12+ MP cameras, so the technology is out there, so it’s not a question of whether or not the technology exists, it’s just whether or not Apple will want it.

Larger Screen

Another area where the Android phones are superior to the iPhone is screen size. Many of the Android phones have 4″ screens, and consequently have been praised for their multimedia capabilities. There are rumors that the iPhone 5 will bump up to a 4″ screen to compete with the other phones. I think that would be great, and would make the iPhone a much more versatile phone that won’t be so difficult to use for surfing the web and playing games.

Physical Keyboard

This rumor is less likely than the other, but it’s worth being mentioned. With the advancements of the touch keyboards on the current phones, it isn’t likely to see this, but if they decide to keep their screen small, or even shrink it, it’s possible that this would be a good idea. We’ll see

This is what I hope for.

I know these might all be totally false, but it’s fun to speculate. Whatever Apple ends up doing this summer, we can be sure that it will be awesome.

Tips For Your First Interview, From Someone Who Learned the Hard Way

So I had a relatively embarrassing thing happen to me the other day and I thought that I should share it with all of my readers to, I hope, help them from making the same mistakes that I made. The event with which I am referring to was my first professional interview. On Friday afternoon I had my first legitimate interview and I failed miserably. Now first let me give you some background information to set the scene a little bit and then I’ll give you some tips based on what I learned.

So I have had interviews before, but they’ve been at McDonald’s, and Meijer, a small local zoo, etc.; you know, small part-time positions. These were positions where they only requirement for employment is to be able to count, stand, speak, and not physically harm people (which, I admit, is quite difficult at times). These interviews usually consist of profoundly existential questions like “What’s your greatest weakness?” or “Are you legally permitted to work in the United States?”. Now, these types of interviews, I excel at. The low expectations of the hirer, paired with my ability to use enough big words to make it sound like I know what I’m talking about, make me seem like an ideal candidate. This is been sufficient thus far, and I assumed it would serve me well in the future. Well I was wrong. In order to for you to properly understand my advice let me illustrate how my experience went.

The part-time job interview. I've actually gotten this question

I arrived at the location early, as I always do, and prepared myself mentally for the interview that was about to take place. Granted, I was preparing myself for my the interview I thought I was walking into (a mix of my previous interview experiences, but with a fancier suit, and a nicer office), which was all wrong, but still, I was getting focused. I adjusted my clothes, popped a mint into my mouth, gathered my folder of resumes and reference sheets, and nervously walked inside. After a short wait, the interviewer walked out, greeted me, and led me back to her office. At this point I was breathing heavily and had managed to eliminate all of the saliva from my mouth.  She asked me to tell her a little about myself and which I did with no problem.

Now here’s where things stray from my “plan”. As we continue she begins to ask me questions about my answers to previous questions, things like “Why did you chose that major?”, and “What did you mean by this, or that?”. Now, in my nervous state, this caused me to panic just enough to turn my brains into, what I like to think was, a substance with the consistency of that ugly, manila envelope colored, foam from inside couch cushions. This I wasn’t prepared for. I began to search for the words to explain what I wanted to say, but they weren’t there. As I stumbled over each sentence, trying to decide how to say everything in the most impressive way, my mind suddenly became very aware of how stupid I was sounding. If sounding like a kid with a speech problem wasn’t bad enough, the awareness of my failure caused me to completely forget where I was trying to go with my answers. Reaching this new low, I apologized, took a deep breath, and tried to refocus myself. I think at that point, it was too late. I struggled through the last 15 minutes or so, and was able to formulate some coherent thought, but the damage was done.  After a brief second interview with another manager, which went better, I thanked them both for their time, and drove home in shame.

How I felt

So, as I need to continually remind myself, this was, at the very least, a great learning opportunity. I was able to figure out, albeit the hard way, what a “real” interview is like, and how I’ll need to prepare. Luckily for you, I’m going to share what I’ve learned with you so you can be better prepared than I was. Here are some tips to help you:

1. Know what you are getting yourself into.

So, like I said earlier, without any other knowledge of what to expect, I just assumed that this would be like any other interview. I was wrong. A professional interview has several differences. First, and perhaps the most intimidating in the moment, is that the interviewer is much smarter than some of the other ones you may have dealt with. Now, I am in no way saying that some of your previous interviewers are stupid, but at part time jobs, they tend to “dumb it down”, for lack of a better term, because they are usually hiring uneducated adults, or high school students, or retirees who are just looking for supplemental income. When you are in a professional interview they treat you like a peer; they know that you are educated, and knowledgeable and they want to better understand the extend of your knowledge.
The second major area where you might notice a difference is in the questions. At part-time places they ask you mostly situational questions like “How would you handle a dishonest coworker?” or “Tell me about a time when you’ve had to go above and beyond the call of duty” and so on. In a professional interview they only want to know about your experience and how you would fit what they are looking for. You’ll get questions like “Tell me about this position?” and “We are looking for someone who can do (fill in task), do you have any experience with this?”. It is your responsibility to take these questions and fill them with as much information as possible. You should use generalities to make your positions sound bigger than it might have been, or use industry specific keywords to let them know that you can “talk the talk”. This is your opportunity, perhaps your only one, to use these answers to show them that you are a perfect fit for the position. This leads me to my second tip.

2. Prepare yourself

Before we get into this, I want you to know that it’s impossible to be fully prepared for an interview, especially if it’s your first, but there are steps that you can take to minimize the unexpected.

The first step is to look over your resume and know your own history. They will ask you about your previous positions, what you did there, how that job might have prepared you for the job you are interview for, etc. Think about what you want to say, how you want to say it. Think about how you can fit your history into what they are looking for.

Second, look at the job description. Know what they are looking for and know what areas you should highlight and which you should minimize. For example, if you are overqualified for some of the their criteria, and under qualified for others, play up the areas where you exceed their needs. Also, like I said before, try to take your history, and it can be more than just your work history, and come up with one thing for each of their criteria. If you are unable to than do some research on that skill. One such situation that worked for me involved a software that they used and wanted me to be proficient in. I downloaded a trial of the software, and messed around with it for an hour. I was then able to go into the interview and tell them that I was “familiar” with that software.

Last, but not least, learn as much as you can. Whether you are applying for a job in Marketing or Massage Therapy, make sure you understand how things work in the industry you are looking to get into. Learn about the company you are applying with, and their major competitors. Learn their website, their social media, and anything else you can get your hands on. Learn about their products and understand their tone.

What I mean by that is you need to learn how the company presents itself. If they are a very formal and traditional company, that only posts very professional and proper content, than you should present yourself as formal and professional as possible. If they are a casual or modern outfit that posts things that are funny, or maybe less appropriate than other places, than you are able to relax a little more and be yourself.

3. Be nervous, It’s okay.

Here’s something that I forgot, and was reminded of later. This isn’t their first interview. They’ve seen plenty of nervous people sitting in front of them stammering on their answers, and forgetting words. It’s normal for them to see nervous applicants, especially if they are interview for an entry level position. Just keep in mind how they see things. They have spent a good amount of time learning about you; studying your resume, checking your Facebook, or Linkedin and so on. They know how old you are, they know if this is your first interview, or if you have a lot of experience or none. Keep all this mind.

Being nervous is a normal thing, and it’s important to not try to suppress your nervousness, that will cause it to manifest itself in another way; usually one you can’t control. In my case it was replacing my internal dictionary with a children’s book.

4. Ask Questions

This is something that’s talked about quite a bit online, but in my opinion I think it’s importance is undersold. During the course of the interview it’s good to ask questions. This will accomplish several things. First, it will turn the interview from an inquisition to a conversation. This will ease your nerves and allow you to be yourself; not so much of the robot that is spewing rehearsed answers. Second, it will show the interviewer that you are not afraid to interject yourself in an uncomfortable conversation. It shows confidence. Finally, it will provide you with some additional information that you might be able to use later in the interview. One example is to ask the question “Outside of the technical criteria, what are you looking for in an ideal candidate?”, or something similar. This will hopefully get them to describe the personality of their ideal candidate. This allows you to highlight any of those traits, if they are ones you possess, as well as tie them into your subsequent answers.

Never, before Friday, have I had a “real” interview for a full-time career type job. I now have had one. I have learned a great deal from the first one and I hope you can use these tips to be more prepared for your first interview. Everything I’ve listed are things I wish I would have known before I walked into that room last week. Good Luck to you all, I hope this helps.