Our Favorite Facebook Pages

Some of us at Schipul spend a lot of time on Facebook. A LOT. But don’t judge, it’s totally part of our job. Whether we’re sprucing up a profile picture for a client, building out an iframe, checking out the latest Facebook updates (and there’s ALWAYS an update) or trolling to see who’s doing what with their audience, this social networking site commands a good deal of our attention. As such, we’ve seen it all when if comes to the best and worst of Facebook fan pages. Check out the faves from some of the Schipul staff:

Katrina’s Favorites

No surprise here. Our fashionista/Creative Services Team Account Executive, Katrina Esco, LOVES how Nordstrom uses their Facebook page to highlight their services, and they keep fans coming back with beauty how-to videos hosted by their beauty director using a Beauty Central app.


Katrina also gives Sephora’s Facebook page props for always keeping their content fresh with new promotions as demonstrated on their Exclusive Deals tab. But Katrina gives Sephora the most points for recognizing the importance of photos and fan engagement on their page by feeding in customer pics taken in photobooths installed in select retail locations. You can even browse by location and date.

 

Scooter’s Favorites

As for me (Katrina *Scooter* Kokoska), I get a kick out of the Skittles Facebook fan page. And to be perfectly honest, I don’t like the candy even a little, just their marketing. The Skittles page encourages fan engagement by soliciting fan photos and featuring a different “Rainbro of the Week” each week as their profile picture. Also, their posts are random, silly and make me smile (and their not self-promotional). My favorite random post from them this week: “Sometimes I sneak up on my alarm clock when it’s sleeping and yell ‘How does it feel!‘”  

I also have mad love for the (client) Tony Chachere’s page. Now this page doesn’t flaunt a lot of bells and whistles. Why? Because it doesn’t have to. Tony’s skips the games and apps and gets right down to what Facebook is all about: Community. They post content about real people doing real things in real life, and their fans love it.

Erica’s Favorites

Creative Services Team Graphic Designer, Erica Bogdan, totally digs Red Bull’s Facebook page for their fun videos and games, and loves the aesthetics of the Anthropologie page because: “It’s sooooo beautiful and makes my closet sad.” But Erica’s favorite page? Franklin the Dog of course.

 

Garrett’s Favorites

Creative Services Team Assistant Account Executive Garrett Thomas has some interesting favorites of his own. While he doesn’t ‘Facebook like’ the Barbie page, he thinks they do a great job of bringing together Barbie’s multiple personas in a palatable format for their target market.

And he loves the Stride Gum page because, well, who doesn’t love a Yeti with a sense of humor?

What are some of your favorite Facebook fanpages?

Friday Fun: Eye Candy, Ahoy! Six Beautiful & Current Trends in Web Design

Here at Schipul we kinda sorta REALLY ❤ website design. And as a designer, I love spending hours scoping the internet in search of beautiful sites that push the envelope in terms of skill and creativity. I’ve come up with a list of six of my favorite popular web design trends (for designers and non-designers alike!) to catch a glimpse of what’s out there on the web and maybe give   some ideas for anyone thinking about updating their own website!

 

#1. Scrolly-Scroll

Scrolly-Scroll is what I like to refer to for sites that seem to go infinitely horizontally or vertically with content built onto just one page. The navigation of the site will not direct you to another page but will take you somewhere else on the homepage. This technique is definitely not for everyone (especially for folks that have a lot of content on their page) but for people with minimal content and a need to stand out from the crowd, Scrolly-Scroll is a fun site option for navigation.

http://deda.me/
http://www.thecombine.org/
http://www.kevinkristenwedding.com/

 

#2. Illustration Skillz

Site Illustration is a growing trend with site design and can be done in a variety of ways – vector graphics, simple hand illustration, collage,   water color effects. The possibilities with illustration are endless but it’s also important to note that some website illustrations can get too overwhelming and distract from the content. Strong and memorable sites are able to find a happy balance with their illustrative graphics and the content of their website.

http://www.meomi.com
http://www.kutztown.edu/acad/commdes/
http://www.eventipity.com/

 

#3. Texture Love

Texture is something many designers are beginning to frequently use to add more depth to their layout. Whether texture is   just the background or to various elements of the website like buttons, a logo, the navigation, etc., adding texture to a website can make the site feel more personable, tangible, and welcoming.

http://www.dixonsapples.com/
http://www.thismanslife.co.uk/
http://www.growcase.com/

 

#4. GINORMOUS Images

For a minimalist effect some site designers go for large images on a page with small navigation that sometimes almost seems secondary. Sites that use large graphics and backgrounds are visually eye catching but may not be the best for navigation and sites with large amounts of content to share. Some sites with large graphics and backgrounds like to add a dynaminc element which changes out the picture periodically, giving the viewer more eye candy.

http://womens.timberland.com/
http://momentskis.com/
http://vaai.nl/

 

#5. Type Treatment

Some site designers like to completely shift their focus away from graphics like large images or illustration and focus solely on typography to make their design stand out. This sites give prominence to type by making large words and numbers the sole feature of the layout. Adding texture and using specialty fonts (aka NOT papyrus or comic sans) help draw the viewers eye to the beautiful lettering.

http://www.givebeyond.me/
http://lerecorddumonde.be/
http://brockkenzler.com/

 

#6. Color Minimalism

Some websites have a minimum color scheme to achieve a certain aesthetic. This simplicity can be nice while others may view the layout as dull and not “pop” out as much as colorful websites. Color minimalism is definitely a personal preference, just like all the other trends I mentioned earlier, and should be used only if it matches the content of your site.

http://walkingwallofwords.com/
http://www.tdhcreative.com/
http://kuvva.com/

 

Feel like I forgot to mention a web trend you love? Drop a note in the comments and let us know which trends you’re really loving right now!

A Reality, A Challenge, An Adventure

Performing Arts Marketing Online

I’ve been working here at Schipul for almost a year now. I came here after 4+ years of working for the Society for the Performing Arts in Houston, TX. During this time, my mind has not strayed far from trying to find better ways for performing arts organizations to harness the power of the Internet to enhance audience development and, more importantly, sell more tickets.

This post is a first step in helping performing arts institutions to better understand and use the Internet for their organizations and their artists. I welcome your feeback, and hope you forward this on to anyone you know that works for a performing arts organization if you find it useful.

A Reality: Performing Arts needs SEO

You probably think an organization like Lincoln Center wouldn’t need Search Engine Optimization.  You’re wrong.

Despite being quite familiar with their site, I had to Google them first to find their site. Today’s web user is very reluctant to start slapping .com on anything you want on the web.  For instance, try typing whitehouse.com into your browser. You will not find our President.

Need more proof? Take a look at this report from Google Insights about searches including the words lincoln and center. NOTE: These results are from New York state.

 

I don’t know about you, but I know Lincoln Center is in New York City. Yet above you can see that many people actually search for “lincoln center nyc” or “lincoln center ny”. Again, these are searched from the state of New York. The point here is that regardless of how strong your brand or position is in a patron’s mind, they will more likely be Googling you or the performer first.

Wait! Don’t go optimizing your performances just  yet. You need to develop your strategy first. You’re probably thinking you’ll succeed if you start optimizing around the same time you start marketing the performances through your other outlets. That’s not going to work. You need at least three months of continuous optimization to start getting attention of the great and powerful Google. This means your online marketing should not, in any way, be tied to your other marketing plans. Why?

Newspapers are dying because they thought reprinting their paper on the web was all they needed to do. They were wrong. You must market to an online audience (i.e. Google) if you want people to find your web site. This means you need to start treating Google like your oldest subscriber and donor.

A Challenge: Performing Arts needs Video

Do you remember when we all thought how crazy it was to have a camera on a cell phone? Now we have phones offering HD video! But there’s a HUGE drawback as it’s not so easy to transmit video via today’s web. However, as the Internet continues to become more mobile, and the transmission lines get faster and more widespread, sharing video is going to become as ubiquitous as photo sharing is today.

Today, many performing artists rely on photos to tell their story. Take this image from Diavolo’s Trajectoire.

But doesn’t this video do a better job of telling their story?

Of course, it’s not just about presenting it, it’s HOW you share the video. Take this video I’ve embedded from Alvin Ailey Dance Company. NOTE: Alvin Ailey has restricted our ability to share their videos to this format.

Revelations from AlvinAileyAmericanDanceTheater on Vimeo.

Not very impressive, is it? If you do decide to click on it, you will bear witness to one of the greatest displays of American choreography the world has ever seen. But if you’re like most web users,  you are more likely to trust the Diavolo video link  (32K+ hits) over the link from Alvin Ailey (26K+ hits).

Proving a picture is worth 6,000 clicks.

Artists and presenting organizations have to work together to provide better opportunities for patron video consumption. It’s not about showing entire pieces or performances, it’s about whetting the appetite of an audience that is starved for good content. And like we’ve seen above, how you allow your patrons and fans to present is important as well.

An Adventure: Check in, Experience the Performing Arts

Do you remember your reaction when you first heard someone talk about Twitter? It was probably the same reaction you have had listening to someone talk about Foursquare, Gowalla or SCVNGR. I must admit, I long fought against the location-based check in services. However, the more I learn about them, the more I begin to see the dawning of a new level of personal interaction.

The purpose behind these services isn’t to alert people of your location, it’s to tell a story about a location. Every time you walk into a special place, like a performing arts venue, a memory is made. You are not the person you were after you’ve walked into one of your special locations.

For a performing arts organization’s patrons, this is a regular experience every time they walk into your performance hall. The hall is your sandbox, and you now have some pretty amazing toys to play with in it. Whether you create photo contests with Instagram or Hipstamatic, or offer discounts to patrons who check in via Gowalla or SCVNGR, you now have the ability, generally for FREE, to create memories and expand your patrons’ experiences beyond the stage and performance.

Performing Arts Online

I want to explore these and other ways the Internet can be used to tell the story of performing arts over the course of this year. I can tell you now, the performing arts groups are not fully utilizing the power of the web to further their mission and vision. My goal, my New Year’s resolution, is to help change that.

I hope this is a first step in the right direction.

Facebook Fan Pages Now have Spam Filters…

… and this makes us Happy, Happy, Happy!

If you are an Admin on a Facebook Page you may have noticed already the new “Spam” option on your pages.   You may also already seen it at work hiding those pesky sales pitches for Magic Acai Berries and the like.

Facebook’s Help Center states:

Facebook Pages › Facebook Pages: Creating, administering and editing your Page

What is the Spam filter on my Page’s wall?

Facebook is now helping Page admins ensure that the most valuable content posted by users on their Page wall is more visible to anyone viewing the Page. We are now offering automatic content filtering on Page walls that will ensure that posts soliciting spam are removed from public view as well as ensure that posts containing good content remain more visible.

If you have your page setting such that posts to your page are separated by your organization’s and then all others, you will see the “Spam” link as the 4th option in this list. Not to worry’ only Page Admins can see this link.

Facebook Spam Filter

Clicking the “Spam” link will show you all the content Facebook as deemed spam worthy and moved off your page.
Mouseing over the spam post will reveal a little “X” to the top right of the post. Clicking the “X” will reveal several options:

Facebook Spam Filter
1.      Remove the post
2.      Unmark as Spam
3.      Report as Abuse
If the post does really belong in the general content of your organization’s Facebook page… then by all means click that Unmark option. If however the post does fall into that dark side of the internet category called spam, then I suggest you report as abuse and then remove it. This will alert Facebook to the insidious nature of the offending poster and may hopefully save a fellow organization admin a few moments of time later on down the line.

If you have a mixed wall, meaning you show all posts from your organization mixed with other’s post, you won’t see the spam link. You will want to first click the “Options” link, then following the same instructions above.

Facebook Spam Filter
Thanks to popularity of Facebook we can use it connect with like minded people and promote, support and grow our non-profit and for profit organizations alike… and… due to the popularity of Facebook the spammers will start to show up more and more. Thankfully, Facebook is putting measures into place to make the Facebook experience a good one for both admins and users.

Friday Fun Post – Happy Birthday Bill White!

The Bill White for Texas campaign has created a Bill White birthday card for the former Houston mayor posted Wednesday (happy belated, Bill!). The idea is that visitors can “give Bill hair”’ add famous hairdos to a smiling photo of Bill.

My personal favorite Bill hairdo, the Beyonce

The more people who signed the card by filling out a form (email, name, zip code, message for Bill)’ the more hairdos the community “unlocked.” Hairdos include Texas celebs Ross Perot, Yao Ming, Don Henley, Willie Nelson, Beyonce, and… once the card reaches the goal of 25,000 signatures, you can add the one and only coiffure of Rick Perry to Bill’s bald head. Don’t forget that Rick’s hair infamously has its own Twitter account @govperryshair.

I love this campaign because it’s a great way to encourage people to share the website with their friends, and for the White team to connect with thousands of potential voters in a fun way. Mad props to the Bill White team!

I think Bill might just have inspired me to get a haircut myself this weekend… Happy Friday to all!

KFC Double Down Sandwich: Latest Fast Food Disaster or Clever Marketing Campaign?

I am a girl that orders her BBQ brisket with a side of BBQ ribs. I also dabble in the greens, but I feel like no meal is complete without a healthy helpin’ of protein. So it came as quite a surprise, when I’ lover of hot dogs, fried chicken, sweet honey ham, and Mongolian beef’ was completely repulsed by the new Double Down Sandwich from KFC.

“This one-of-a-kind sandwich features two thick and juicy boneless white meat chicken filets (Original Recipe ® or Grilled), two pieces of bacon, two melted slices of Monterey Jack and pepper jack cheese and Colonel’s Sauce. This product is so meaty, there’s no room for a bun” – The Colonel (I kind of want to RAWR and flex my biceps now).

Packing a ridiculous 1,380 milligrams of sodium per Double Down, it is clear that neither nutrition nor taste were involved in the tasty treat’s development. I can just picture the “brainstorming” of the Double Down…

[After an edifying evening at a local pub establishment, Bernard and Otis came home looking for a bite to eat.]

Otis: Hey Bernard, what’s in the fridge?”

Bernard: There are only two fried chicken patties left over from last night, a couple strips of bacon, a piece of cheese, and some secret sauce from KFC.

Otis: That’ll work. Hold up dude…I just got the best idea…

So was it really that simple? Of course not. Have some of the KFC guys spent too much time taken’ in the Ol’ Colonel’s Secret Recipe? Probably. But I also believe they are a lot smarter than we care to admit.

The KFC Double Down Sandwich has almost become a bizarre food phenomenon…which may be a stretch, but no one can deny the fact that everyone is talking about it. Bloggers are becoming bonified Double Down taste-testers, Twitter is having a hunger personality crisis, Google’s new black is KFC red…the buzz is undeniable.   I would even go as far to say that this is easily comparable to Britney Spears’ it’s dirty but you have to try it out at least once.

So my question to you is, was this all for the sake of shock value and brand hoopla?

Double Down Duhr!

But who really cares what I think…tell me what you think. Don’t be a coward.

Trend Tuesday: iHype and a different kind of Internet Marketing

Steve Jobs Apple iPad announcement
Steve Jobs announces Apple's new product.

Over the past two years, hundreds of thousands of blog posts, forums, and comments had speculated about Apple making a tablet. Last week, Apple did something they hadn’t done during that entire time span. They admitted they had designed a tablet computer. How did they create so much buzz?

While I think their new device is a  real breakthrough in future computing, I find the marketing (or lack of marketing) for such an item much more fascinating. How does a company build up so much hype? Why are people so excited about something they didn’t even know existed? And why have so many critics turned negative on something that isn’t technically for sale yet? Let’s dive a little deeper to solve the iHype mystery.

Apple iHype

Apple, in its history as a company, has been known for releasing ground-breaking products that change the way we do things. It started back in the ’80s with the Apple II and the Macintosh, and continued in the 2000’s with the iPod and iPhone. The widespread obsession in the tech community over Apple rumors is fairly new, but the true Apple geeks have always been a hype-driven excitable bunch. The return of Steve Jobs near the end of the ’90s helped to rejuvenate this passionate group. The basics behind iHype are these:

  1. Develop new things in ways that haven’t been done before.
  2. Don’t publicly show prototypes or “proofs of concept”.
  3. Make a polished, grand announcement of the new thing.
  4. Ignore the negative critics.

Your business or organization may not make awesome tablet computers, but the principles of iHype can still apply to your business.

Develop New Things

Whether it is a piece of software, a book, a networking organization, or a physical item, your product or service stands out in some way. You may do lots of R&D for your new device, or you could simply offer a better way to manage alumni donors. Perhaps you offer public speaking advice or maybe you write code and build web apps. You can be a star by developing things that are new, fresh, and useful. Think like Apple and create things that people dream of using. Offer services that no one else can match and create your own category. To build iHype, you must build something to hype up.

Don’t show Prototypes

The biggest lesson here is this: Prototypes eat up all the hype. When you announce that your company is working on a new product to be released in 18 months, users will forget about it two days later. Not only are future predictions unreliable (see XKCD’s take below), you kill off all of your excitement by the time the thing launches. You effectively use your marketing window of opportunity to announce a future announcement.

20 years away will be 20 years away forever.
What Prototype announcements really mean (from XKCD)

Imagine going to a party on July 31st that was solely to announce another party in 4-6 months (New Years Eve). You would likely kill any buzz for the real party and possibly upset your current guests. The exception to this is a short timeframe with a solid date. Announcing your new product that will come out at the end of the month is probably OK, but it’s better to announce things that ship today. (Apple occasionally announces things before their release to do patent and FCC filings which  inadvertently  announce things. If they could wait until the ship date, they would.)

The Grand and Polished Announcement

You won’t have the same stage as Apple, but you can deliver your message with the same gusto. If you are issuing a press release, than include graphics, numbers, and memorable quotes and taglines. If you are sending an email newsletter to current clients to announce a new service, give it a great subject line and pay attention to the details. If you are lucky enough to make your announcement in person as a presentation then practice, practice, practice. A boring and unoriginal announcement is likely to be forgotten. Tell the story of your great new thing. The time you spend on it will often mirror the amount of attention it gets from your audience, so put in the time it deserves.

Ignore the naysayers

Apple made their announcement last week and already many of the tech blogs are denouncing the new device. Apple has experienced the same thing happening with the iPod an iPhone, so they are not fazed by harsh words. You may not have the same experience so a negative review could be very painful initially. Do not let it get you down. Your new offering has taken you time and energy  because  you built it with intent and passion. If someone with a blog or an email account doesn’t like it, there is no reason they should kill any of your excitement. You are trying to sell your product to people who want it, not people who don’t. Do not forget this. Every product has a negative critic and unfortunately their voices can drown out the positive folks. Have confidence in your service and in your announcement, do great marketing, and the buyers will come.

You probably won’t get the same media level of hype that Apple gets, but there is no reason you can’t create stir of similar excitement with your followers and customers. Make something great, boldly announce it when it’s ready, and ignore anyone who talks down about it. These are the simple keys to creating your own storm of iHype.