Blog Archives

If 2013 was the year of social content, 2014 is the year of social context.

Over the past 12 months, brands and publishers have evolved their social marketing strategies from engaging with consumers on social networks to socializing their own websites, mobile apps and even advertisements.

While most brands now view social media as more of an opportunity than a threat, the rapid evolution of consumer behavior has resulted in new avenues for brands of all types to tell their stories.

If 2013 was the year of social content, 2014 is the year of social context. Consumers no longer just want to be heard and entertained, they want to be part of a larger story. Social marketing campaigns can no longer live in a silo — in order to succeed, brands need to create a narrative around campaigns that blend paid and earned media, driving consumers back to their owned properties to learn more.

Why is tweeting for the best-dressed celebrity on the red carpet at the Oscars so enticing? You’re not just talking to yourself, you’re engaging with a larger audience through broadcast tweets or a behind-the-scenes social hub. The individual now becomes just as much a part of the story as the celebrity themselves.

This year we will see more collaboration between traditional “communication” departments and creative/social than ever before. While many brands struggled in 2013 to manage and create these types of integrated campaigns, new technologies are emerging that blend real-time conversation, social curation and social advertising in a way that leverages user generated content to scale content creation.

For brands this means making better sense of socially activated experiences, surfacing the most interesting content (not just creating it themselves) and building useful and entertaining “products” out of their campaigns. I like to call this the “Old Time Radio” model of advertising — creating valuable and entertaining experiences — presented by your favorite brand.

In 2014 content is currency, with consumers increasingly acting as contributor to their own entertainment. Whether your content is about a Grammy-winning album, a branded social hub curating the best stories from the BBQ, or an interactive news piece, this audience contribution will become the cornerstone of growing and maintaining relationships with users.

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Youtube is down

Youtube is down

No it’s not just you, Youtube is down for everyone. Fortunately the monkeys are on it and you’ll be back watching battle rap videos in no time.

The Home Depot apologizes after offensive monkey tweet

The Home Depot is apologizing to their Twitter followers today after this untimely tweet and photo made headlines for its insensitivity.

The tweet in question shows a picture of a man in a monkey mask sitting between two black men and asked followers “which drummer isn’t like the others?”

home depot monkey tweet

If you notice other similar posts, The Home Depot often has their bucket drummers dressed up in different costumes, as the bucket is the centerpiece of their marketing efforts around the College Football season.

While profusely apologizing to their followers who tweeted, they also posted this apology noting both the agency and employee were fired.

In 2008, Lebron James made headlines when his cover in Vogue Magazine came under fire for positioning him in a “King Kong-esque” scene with Gisele.

Instagram’s New Ads give Michael Kors a lift

After last month’s demonstration of what Instagram ads would look with Levi’s, Michael Kors became the first brand to actually post an Instagram ad this week, featuring a luxury watch amidst a table of macarons.

Nitrogram, an analytics platform for Instagram, took a closer look at this first sponsored post and analyzed the key metrics behind their first  including engagement and estimated reach.

I cover some of their findings in this post on Social Fresh.

michaelkors-ad-likes michaelkors-ad-followers-gained

Twitter Testing New Homepage Design?

Opened up one of my test accounts today and noticed a significantly different design to the home feed.



Facebook Adds Message Button to Graph Search

Today I noticed that Facebook added the message button to entries in graph search. What a handy feature add that I have been wanting for a while.



Walmart Facebook Slip

walmart facebook post

Looks like somebody in Walmart’s social media team won’t be having too much fun this Sunday morning after a rather blunt outburst of: “What the Fuck was Facebook thinking??” was left up on the page for about five minutes before the retail giant pulled it down.

It was in all caps too…you know they were mad.

B2B Brands Should Give a Try (for Free)

app_net_lrgLast August I signed up for, the social network created by former iMeem CEO and serial entrepreneur Dalton Caldwell and a bunch of other really talented people.

Within a few minutes of using it I discovered a great community of brilliant, tech-focused minds who congregated on the site to connect about building.

Soon after joining the site’s first wave, I saw the community start to evolve with hackdays, community contributed projects designed to build the network, and I found myself learning a lot about how the internet is built.

While hasn’t really gained momentum in the marketing community yet, I could see a prime opportunity for the right crop of brands to build a true community for a few reasons.

1. Targeted User base

The focus of’s current users make it an ideal place for brands to connect with the early adopter, developer, and ‘technorati’ crowd. These highly specialized users are having discussions about companies like Rackspace, Data Sift, New Relic, Amazon Web Services and others regularly.

2. No Ads

You won’t find promoted posts on, which means that brands are actually free to build a true dialogue with other users on the site. As is a paid social network (users pay for monthly or yearly subscriptions) they’re proven to be willing to pay for software, but more importantly they’re seeking out the exchange of a higher value of content.

There are a growing number of publishers and brands on already, including Adobe, CNET, ReadWrite, Ars Technica and more.

Here are list of others:

Try it FREE

Want to give it a try for yourself?

The creators of have given me 100 free invites to to give away, all you have to do is follow this link.

Join me for a Twitter Chat with RIT Students #ritsm

This week, I’m excited to be a guest panelist for the Social Media for Marketing Communication class at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

I went to college in Rochester, attending Nazareth College and worked for the local Gannet paper, the Democrat and Chronicle, so it’s great to be able to speak with a group of students from this area.

Taught by Mike Johansson and Dr. Raj Murthy, the class and accompanying Twitter Chat will have a group of juniors and seniors discussing social community management, social media marketing and social crisis communications.

The Details:

Date/Time: Tuesday, April 23, 3-3:50 p.m. EST

Hashtag:  #ritsm

Moderator: Prof. Mike Johansson

The panel lineup includes:

Shelly Lucas – Senior Manager, Social Media, Dun & Bradstreet, Austin, Texas

Blaise Grimes Viort – Vice President of Community, eModeration, London

Nick Cicero (Myself) – Lead Strategist for Livefyre and West Coast Editor at socialfresh, San Francisco

Simon Jenkins – Social Media Specialist, Red Rocket Media Content Marketing, Portsmouth, UK

Burger King Twitter Account Hacked

Burger King Twitter Account Hacked

Oh my. Burger King’s account appears to have been hacked and now suspended by Twitter, after reaching 100,000 followers ironically.


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