The Adventures of a Content Collector

As a digital marketing professional, every time I meet people on business travel, they’re shocked that my job is a job. Take this weekend, for instance. It was quite the adventure.

“No, really. I’m not joking. My current official duties are to travel to the Oregon coast, stay at a famously vibrant spa and resort in the forest, make the networking rounds with 400+ giant fluffy Newfoundlands, and take photos and videos of everything.”

They see the laptop with the Mario Bros decal. They see the crazy tech gadgets. They’ve met business travelers before. And as I nerd out about Facebook Live streaming and Snapchat geofilters, they see the travel, but they don’t always see business.

But managing social media for our clients is a 24/7 operation. So what part of our work is actually, you know, work?

Every time you see us out in the world with our phones outstretched, desperately trying to capture the perfect moment, there are countless moments you don’t see. For example, when we’re burning the midnight oil, typing on our laptops, and muttering about Facebook glitches and poor Wi-Fi connection.

So when we get the chance to visit a client on location, and better yet, to experience what they have to offer in real life, we take full advantage, using every device we have, capturing every little detail. You never know which photo, video, quote, or link will become an engaging post, a positive customer interaction, or a website conversion.

At Thin Pig, we’re professional storytellers. Most of our time is spent reading, writing, editing, and work-shopping. But visiting our clients for content collection is like the big movie shoot, when the stars are on set, the lighting’s just right, and the cameras start rolling.  Enjoy the show.

Piglet’s Adventure to the Oregon Coast

Piglet takes the train, whiling away the hours with competitor reports

Finally arriving at Salishan Spa & Golf Resort calls for drinks

This swine was doin’ fine, laid back at Salishan’s spa

This adventure brought to you by Lindsay, Misty, Danesha, and the whole wonderful team at Salishan

Conquest of the Newfoundlands

Salishan hosted the 2017 NCA Specialty, a week-long dog show featuring over 400 giant black Newfoundlands

This ain’t no minor puppy party

For attention-loving pooches, Salishan’s lobby was pure heaven

The grooming tent was basically social hour for people and dogs alike

The young adult Newfie in their natural habitat

Ruff life, am I right?

The paw that melted a thousand hearts

Alien Invasion

One of our favorite new toys is this 360-degree camera, which we mounted to a Gorilla tripod for all those hard-to-reach spots. Doesn’t it look like the creepy alien invaders from War Of The Worlds?

"Their Ship Crash-Landed Just Offshore!"

"Egads! Not The Whirlpool Too!"

"Watch Out Down Below!"

"It’s Okay, Everyone! They Come In Peace..."

SXSW 2017: The Pros and the Cons

South by Southwest (SXSW) officially ended three weeks ago and it took me roughly a week after to mentally recover from it. For all intents and purposes, SXSW is one of the largest music festivals in the country that also features an interactive portion based around marketing and social media, and a film portion that debuts new movies with all the biggest stars in attendance. This massive event attracts people from all over the world and completely takes over the downtown portion of Austin, Texas for a week in March every year.

Piglet.png

This was the first time I’ve attended SXSW and I had a fantastic time. It was hectic, stressful, amazing, fun, tiring, exciting and so much more.

I could give you tips on what to do to make sure you avoid making the rookie mistakes I did, but let’s be honest, there are thousands of blogs out there describing how to survive this festival. Instead, check out some of my favorites and not so favorites of SXSW as a marketer navigating the festival alone for the first time.

The Pros

Constantly being surrounded by like-minded individuals

I can’t begin to explain how many random conversations I was able to have with fellow Social Media Managers, people in the advertising field, decision-makers in the field, etc. while standing in line for a slice of pizza, trying to cross the street on a busy road, or waiting in line for some overbooked event. Conversations about updates to social platforms, who the best panel speaker of the day was, and even hash tag usage was plentiful. Sometimes these moments were more valuable than the actual sessions that were prepared and sponsored as an official event of SXSW.

SXSW Sessions

The sessions were an interesting part of SXSW. They’re basically panels sponsored by SXSW featuring people who have “made it” in the industry and they discussed some topic at hand relating to marketing, social media, or something in that realm. My favorite session was one lead by Facebook and Instagram. It gave great insight from some of the biggest brands in the league. For example, one of the speakers in this session stated that Instagram ads hold a consumer’s attention span longer than Facebook ads. They also mentioned that consumers like to use Instagram to follow brands and celebrities, and use Facebook to keep in touch with friends and family.

Live Music Literally Everywhere

SXSW is famous for being a huge live music festival. Most of the bands at sponsored SXSW events are smaller, less known acts, but amazing, nonetheless. The big-name bands get hired by unofficial SXSW parties, and a lot of them aren’t announced until the day before, or the day of the party. This is a fun aspect of the festival because you must stay engaged on Twitter to figure out what surprises are happening. For example, Lana Del Ray announced her performance on both Twitter and Facebook, but The Chainsmokers kept their performance more private and only tweeted about it a couple times.

The Cons

SXSW Sessions

As much as I enjoyed some of the sessions I attended, some of them were not very valuable to those already in the industry. Many were very basic, as in “Instagram is great for pictures” basic. We totally understand that it’s an intense venue in which to speak, but unfortunately some speakers I encountered missed the mark.

Also, if a popular topic was being covered, or a popular speaker was appearing, attendees needed to be in line an hour before the start time to ensure he/she got a seat. I did find out that a sizable percentage of people that attend SXSW don’t attend the sessions. I heard several people state they didn’t learn enough in past years and it was a better use of their time to network instead. This is something I would focus more time on in the future. Overall, I vote for attending less sessions, avoiding long lines, and simply enjoying the experience and meeting new people with different insights and experiences.

Groups of People

While I am a very social person, it can be intimidating trying to start a conversation or get into a session when everyone around you is in a group. I recommend going to SXSW with at least one or two other people. This way you can separate and get more coverage of the event and share what you learned or you can navigate the craziness of the event with someone else. If you are planning on attending alone, try to find a tribe or develop one quickly after arriving. Some people choose to message individuals through the messaging portion of SXSW’s social profile once they obtain a badge. Some people try to find other singles on one of the first days and connect throughout the week. If I were to go alone again, I’d spend more time at the beginning networking and finding other individuals to attend sessions with or even to brainstorm with. Think power in numbers. SXSW is a huge event to navigate solo.

Overall, this was an amazing event to attend. I gained knowledge for professional purposes and had fun at the same time. SXSW is an awesome event for marketers to attend. Find a couple of key sessions to attend, network as much as possible, get some downtime when you can, and see as much live music as you are able to see and you will have a wonderful time!

Mom, You're Doing Snapchat WRONG

When Snap, Inc., the parent company of Snapchat held its IPO a few weeks ago, Wall Street was abuzz.  It was largest tech IPO in quite some time, exceeding most expectations.  But perhaps more notably for those of us in the social media world, it meant that Wall Street felt strongly that Snapchat could make money and it was well on its way to taking its place beside the ‘big three’ of social media.

While we do some work with Snapchat and our clients, we mostly create custom GeoFilters. Last weekend, we did one for our friends at the Beer Garden Run in Helotes, TX.  We have been a sponsor for this fundraiser for several years.  They promoted the filter via other social channels to build awareness, which was key.  The filter was up from 6am to 5pm, with the event generally running from 7:30 - 11am.  We had 376 impressions of the filter with 224 conversions, or a conversion rate of almost 60%, which is very good.  But we had over 6,800 views, which we think is stellar considering the short timeframe of the event and that there were 1,000 runners.

However, when looking at Snapchat data, it is very important to consider all of the views that don’t occur on Snapchat.  I admit it...I probably use Snapchat more for the filters to post on Facebook and Instagram than I do on Snapchat.  And I am clearly not alone as we saw dozens of people do the same thing at the beer run.  And of course not a day goes by when I don’t see a friend post a picture with the Snapchat bunny ears on Instagram.  So this added exposure was a real bonus for the beer run.

But I know all too well (and my daughter constantly will remind me) that I am doing it wrong.

She is in Junior High, and she, as with most of her friends, have abandoned Facebook long ago as some sort of ‘old folks home’ where her parents hang out.  For her set, it’s all about Snapchat. So I decided to ask Annika what she enjoys so much about the platform:

Q: Why do you prefer Snapchat over Facebook or Instagram?

A: I think it’s more fun. There are more filters to post to your story, you can send pictures to your friends and the story deletes after 24 hours, so you don’t have to worry about deleting it.

Q: What Snapchat features are attractive to you?

A: Definitely the filters. I like that Snapchat has the feature where you can also call your friends if you want to.

Q: Why do you like these features?

A: The features make the app more fun. It’s convenient because you can also facetime your friends.

Q: Are you ever worried about missing out on a story because you didn’t log in for a while?

A: No, not really.

Q: How many of your friends use Snapchat?

A: Like, almost all of them.

Q: Do you ever post Snapchat filters on Facebook or Instagram?

A: No

Q:  Is it annoying when your parents get on Snapchat?

A: YES!

Imitation is the best kind of flattery. Instagram and Facebook are forever trying to keep up with Snapchat’s innovative and younger approach. Last year Instagram introduced contextual stickers and Instagram Stories with lackluster success in an attempt to draw in Snapchat’s younger demographic. On March 29th Facebook launched camera filters from six major Hollywood studios imitating Snapchat’s filters and added Facebook Stories, a feature very similar to Snapchat Stories that let people post pictures and stories at the top of their news feed for a duration of 24 hours. Only time will tell whether these new features will draw attention from a younger demographic. 

In the meantime, keep snapping away!