Category Archives: Emily Sulman

The Global Pet Expo: 5 Questions with Josh Jordan & Steve Command

Last week, Make Me Social members Josh Jordan and Steve Command headed to Orlando and spent a few days at the Global Pet Expo with friends, and clients, Tall Tails. Tall Tails is an 80 year old textile manufacturing company specializing in dog towels, blankets and beds. After spending a few days on the tradeshow floor, we decided to check in with the social pet pros to see what they’ve learned.

Global Pet Expo 2014

Q: What is the Global Pet Expo all about?

The Global Pet Expo is an opportunity for businesses in the Pet industry; such as retailers, distributors and buyers, to network and showcase any new products and services for 2014. For some companies, it’s where they’ll write the majority of their business for the year. In the case of our client, it was a launch pad for a newer brand in the marketplace. While signing customers was important, establishing a visual voice for the brand and differentiating from the competition was equally important. 

Q: Who are Tall Tails and what kind of products do they sell?

Tall Tails is an 80 year old textile manufacturing company specializing in dog towels, blankets and beds: Their objective is to bring a unique perspective to the marketplace: connecting owners and pets in a new way through high quality, plush and durable bedding, blankets and towels.

Q: How does social media play into connecting consumers with Tall Tails products?

As part of the go-to market strategy, Tall Tails wanted an effective way to connect with dog lovers and allow them to share their #TallTailsAdventures. The GPE social networking is all focused around Hashtags! Conferences can be a one-way dialogue at times, so messaging through key hashtags and using community management can be game changers for brands.

Q: What interesting facts did you learn about animal care? (and/or peoples connections with their pets)

It is a $58 Billion dollar industry. No matter how the rest of the world is doing, people spend money on their pets!

Q: What was your number one take away from the Global Pet Expo?

People love their animals and treat them just like another member of the family. Mostly, they want quality products, which TT can and has been providing for years. On top of that, it was apparent that despite the size of the market, it is still very niche. As a company, we attend tradeshows of all shapes and sizes. Seeing the number of suppliers vs. the spend in this market put things in perspective. It also demonstrated that Tall Tails is positioned well to hit on several unmet needs in the marketplace. Particularly when you start comparing the quality and affordability of the product line against others at the show.

Q: What can we expect to see at next year’s event?

It will be interesting to see how the International market continues to expand and showcase at the tradeshow. Many people trying to break into new markets across the globe and to see how some of them grow over the course of 12 months. Some changes for the future? Hopefully more pets! I’d love to see more pets and more pet photos coming out of an event like this. I think we’ll also have a few new fun and innovative engagement tactics to rollout in year two!

Overall the Global Pet Expo experience for Make Me Social was a success. From social media to retail to e-commerce and production, the takeaways were invaluable. We are a fully active, participating company and our goal is to find new ways to expand your brand’s dreams and turn them into powerful realities. For more information on how Make Me Social can work with your company to reach audiences across the country and keep your social presence thriving, check out our website.

Tall Tails at the Global Pet Expo

Klout’s Komeback

The last time we wrote about Klout, we criticized (alongside many other outlets) the tool for failing to provide its advertised service. For those of you that missed the first blog, here is a brief synopsis: One of the earliest and longest-lasting challenges of social media is proving ROI – return on investment. Klout sought to solve that problem by creating the ‘Klout Score,’ a number between 1 and 100 that ranks your social media profile based on the supposed influence those profiles have. The biggest fault in this system was in its hyper-dependency on Twitter, and its inability to recognize context. Automated accounts tweeting links to Amazon.com could have the same Klout Score as a major news outlet, as long as they had enough followers.

Klout may have been all but forgotten, until last week, when the social tool everyone loves to hate rose from the grave with a brand new look.

Rebranded as a content-creation platform, Klout now actively seeks ways to improve your content and, by proxy, your Klout Score. Upon logging in to the new platform, users are asked to select a number of pre-defined areas of expertise, which Klout uses to rank and judge your influence. A user with 90 Klout in ‘social media’ and one with 90 Klout in ‘celebrity relationships’ will no longer be considered equally influential. Much more importantly, the tool will use your chosen fields of expertise to provide a newsfeed of relevant and trending content that your audience may be interested in. This gives social media newbies a shortcut to hot links to share, and gives brands an idea of possible conversation topics your consumer followers may want to see you comment on.

Will this complete overhaul be enough to win Klout a fanbase outside of the existing devotees? We think it just might be. Klout is finally delivering on a promise they made years ago: Make social media influence simple. They’re attempting to make it easier to enter the social space, and to find out how brands and users alike can make an impact. That effort – if nothing else – is admirable.

Facebook Friends Startup Company, Branch.

The spinning minds at Facebook in Northern California have officially teamed up with the innovative thinkers at the rapidly growing startup known as Branch, in New York City. Branch is a social startup with a twin site called Potluck. These two sites monitor, engage, connect and ignite unique thought and conversations between users across the social-sphere. The idea of creating and, more importantly, maintaining an intellectual community of users with similar interests is an extremely powerful tool – if you know how to use it.

Facebook currently reports a total of 1.9 billion active monthly users. So where do they go from here? What service do they have planned to continue that growth into the future? Something where users can gain insightful information about their daily lives; be it health, travel, education, world news, politics and local events could be just around the corner. That is what the Branch team intends to do following Facebook’s supposed 15 million dollar ‘acqui—hire.’ Branch professionals will manage a portion of Facebook centered around developing Facebook’s conversations group, a service aimed at helping people connect based on their interests.

Pushing the envelope one more step, connectivity and topical engagements will go far beyond the best Steakhouse in SoHo or how to stay gluten free. These particular engagements could become a forum where community managers can enter the social sphere and really learn how their product or service is being taken in by the average person.

The doors have opened for “users to connect, and engage in meaningful exchanges based on interests”, according to Branch co-founder, Josh Miller. While on vacation in Japan, Josh received word that the news would be released during his trip and so he did what anyone else would do, proving exactly why he made the acquisition deal that he did… he updated his Facebook status.

Facebook Status

Bar Tabs and Bluetooth

Restaurants have a long history of early adoption when it comes to apps and social channels. It makes sense that an industry with razor-thin margins and stiff competition would do whatever it takes to get whatever edge they can. WillCall, a brand-new app from a group of designers, coders, and music junkies in San Fransisco, hopes to capitalize on that. The app allows consumers at large and small live music venues to order and purchase bar drinks without leaving the show floor.

In theory, most income at these venues comes from bar sales. WillCall claims they can boost bar sales by giving concertgoers a chance to buy drinks without missing songs standing at the bar.

At the moment, the app is still in an early access phase, with only a few select venues in San Fransisco and New York participating in the program. If successful, the app could inspire a new breed of mobile apps for bars, restaurants, and live music houses across the nation. Imagine a world with no waiters – you just place your order on your iPad and wait for the kitchen to send it out. Maybe they can pair up with Amazon’s ill-fated drone program and drop your bacon and eggs right on the table.

Or maybe not.

j

Instagram Direct: The most exclusive photo sharing app

This past Thursday, December 12th, smartphone users around the world we’re notified about an update on their Instagram app. What could it be? A new filter, new tagging techniques or maybe a new format. But what they found was surprising to some; that the newest Instagram update was the ability to Direct Message users through the application.

Instagram Direct is the newest way to share photos and videos with your friends. A criticism of the public forum, is that not every moment is right to be shared with every follower you have.  Some things are special, intimate and unique to a single users or group of friends or family. With Instagram Direct, users can now take that special moment and share it with a select group of people or one special individual.

Users have the option to choose only one friend to share the post with or a group of people, starting an exclusive chat in the direct message folder. The Instagram community has skyrocketed since its initial launch three years ago with over 150 million users sharing photos and videos to hundreds and thousands of followers.

Rumor has it, that the idea of an Instagram Direct came from creators seeing the enormous power of Snapchat as its users have beaten out Facebook and Instagram for the amount of photos it sees daily. Either way we are glad they enabled it and can’t wait to see what it does for the world of photography in the future. For more, check out the Instagram release post made last week. http://bit.ly/Jt2W3W

Instagram video may not be the right answer for Facebook

In the late 1870’s the first animated images were sequenced and photographed in real time, kicking off what would become the foundation of the modern day movie. As technologies improve, the way that “moving pictures” are created and consumed, continues to evolve.

Google-owned YouTube, which is used by over one billion individual users each month and has an average of 100 hours of video uploaded to it each day. Those videos are instantly accessible to millions of computers and mobile devices. Video has been a great investment for Google, with advertising on YouTube consistently performing as a driver of revenue for the company. More videos = more revenue potential. Continue reading