Shopping, Wearables & Video: 2015 Trends to Watch

Fun fact: Statista reported there were 1.8 billion users of social media for 2014, and predicted 2.4 billion social media users by 2018. So what trends are on the horizon this year?

Social Commerce

Last year, we saw Twitter and Facebook test out “buy” buttons, and Tumblr introduce “action” buttons to purchase directly on the site, and we expect more networks will follow suit. Additionally, Facebook announced it will allow people to use its Messenger service to send money to friends.

As users of social networks are discovering that they can purchase items on the spot without ever leaving a network’s site, brands are responding and online commerce is changing fast. Social commerce sales of physical goods are projected to grow by 93% per year in the U.S., reaching $14 billion by 2015.  Payment methods like Square, PayPal and Apple Pay no doubt are working hard to adapt to this big shift in the marketplace.

Wearables

While 2014 was a big year for wearables, designers will be thinking beyond functionality and more about what consumers will actually wear in 2015. Coming up are 50 wearable game-changers for 2015: Everything from watches to fitness trackers to cameras are taking on a new look – all that are looking more fashionable. Even shoe accessory and jewelry makers are jumping on the bandwagon.

The Video Competition Heats Up

Facebook purchased video compression company QuickFire to give Facebook users a way to upload or download videos directly to the site without compromising quality. The social media site averages more than 1 billion video views every day, and as of November 2014 the number of videos uploaded directly to Facebook overtook YouTube videos on the network for the first time. (We all know that Google owns YouTube.) Read more about the potential hurdles and advantages Facebook faces in this latest endeavor.

Twitter just released a new video offering, as well.

2015 promises exciting developments in social media and we look forward to determining how we can incorporate these new opportunities into our client programs!

What trends have you seen on the rise this year? 

The Motherhood Generates Outstanding Online Support for Nonprofit

PHOTO ATTRIBUTION: Akron Ohio Moms

For a nonprofit dedicated to simplifying the act of giving basic resources to kids in need, The Motherhood engaged more than 200 influential social media moms to share the nonprofit’s story through authentic, personal storytelling.

PHOTO ATTRIBUTION: Akron Ohio Moms

PHOTO CREDIT: Akron Ohio Moms

The social media moms shared their stories of simple giving and service, driving consistent, real-time conversations about the needs of children in their own local communities.

Over eight months, top mom influencers produced and shared content on 13 separate programs that addressed some of the most basic needs for kids—including food, school supplies, hygiene items and more—and provided ideas for accessible ways their readers and communities could also give back, ultimately helping more than 3.3 million children in the U.S.

Beloved Kids’ Clothing Brand Gains Robust Presence Online as Result of The Motherhood Campaign

PHOTO CREDIT: Caryn, Rockin Mama

A beloved kids’ clothing brand came to The Motherhood for help in reaching moms online with key details about their stylish, age-appropriate fall fashions.

PHOTO CREDIT: Caryn, Rockin Mama

PHOTO CREDIT: Rockin Mama

The Motherhood engaged a team of 40 carefully selected mom bloggers to join the program, which we kicked off with a virtual briefing session hosted by the brand and The Motherhood.  During the briefing, the brand educated and empowered the bloggers with behind-the-scenes access and information on the brand and its new offerings.

Following the briefing, four teams of 10 bloggers covered the following assignments:

1) Back-to-school blog photo journey (highly visual, personalized posts)
2) Sharing trends with friends (in-person meet-ups)
3) Instagram video kid fashion shows (short videos featuring the brand’s clothing)
4) Back-to-school Pinterest inspiration (dedicated Pinterest boards showcasing branded fashions)

Blog and social media coverage appeared on a strategically staggered schedule during the month of August, helping the kids’ clothing brand maintain a steady online presence throughout back-to-school shopping season.

The program resulted in more than 17 million total impressions and provided the brand with a robust presence on blogs and multiple social media platforms.

The Motherhood Client Partnerships Receive Top Honors at PRSA Awards!

Renaissance Awards

The Motherhood is proud and honored to announce that several campaigns we created and managed in 2014 were recognized by the Public Relations Society of America’s Pittsburgh chapter at its annual Renaissance Awards ceremony!

Our work for OshKosh B’gosh received a Renaissance Award in the Digital/Social Media Campaigns category, and a partnership with The Fred Rogers Company won in the Online/Social Tactics category, as well as the first-ever Renaissance People’s Choice Award!

OshKosh B’gosh and The Motherhood Bring Back-to-School Trends to the Blogosphere

The Motherhood's Kayla Geahry with the Renaissance Award.

The Motherhood’s Kayla Geahry with the Renaissance Award.

In summer 2014, as back-to-school shopping season approached, beloved kids clothing brand OshKosh B’gosh engaged The Motherhood to help them reach an audience of moms online with key details about their fall fashions.

OshKosh B’gosh, an iconic brand famous for durable quality and emotional connections across generations, wanted to communicate that they offer stylish clothing grounded in the belief that kids have fun being kids.

Through the partnership, top mom influencers learned about the on-trend back-to-school fashions for kids available at OshKosh B’gosh and shared those messages with their communities.

The overall program resulted in more than 17 million total impressions and provided OshKosh B’gosh with a robust presence on blogs and social media, including 42 blog posts with nearly 600 comments and 4,800 giveaway entries!

The Fred Rogers Company and The Motherhood Make Daniel Tiger a Nationally Trending Topic

The Motherhood team celebrates our Renaissance Awards and People's Choice Award.

The Motherhood team celebrates our Renaissance Awards and People’s Choice Award.

To help The Fred Rogers Company generate holiday excitement for its Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood toys, The Motherhood engaged 30 amazing bloggers for a social media outreach campaign that generated 26 million impressions, earned a spot as the #1 hashtag on Twitter’s U.S. trending topics list and contributed to the toys selling out in stores around the country!

This is certainly shaping up to be the year of the tiger – Daniel Tiger, that is. The Fred Rogers Company was also recently named the 2014 Pittsburgher of the Year for their use of new media technologies, reinvigoration of a beloved legacy and passionate advocacy for children.

We are honored to call The Fred Rogers Company our neighbors and we’re proud of the remarkable legacy they’ve built!

Celebrating Award-Winning Work 

Judged by the Philadelphia Chapter of PRSA, the Renaissance Award entries were submitted by public relations professionals in more than 20 categories. As one of the top-scoring entries, the Daniel Tiger program was eligible for the first-ever People’s Choice Award, and after receiving the most votes from the PR professionals in attendance, was selected as the winner! This win comes on the heels of a very successful 2014 ceremony, during which Cooper Munroe was named Communicator of the Year.

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PRSA Pittsburgh

Our most sincere thanks to OshKosh B’gosh and The Fred Rogers Company for their partnership and to the amazing bloggers who helped to bring these award-winning programs to life!

Trend Round Up: New Features for Your Everyday Apps

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This has been a week of change for some of our favorite social media platforms. Read on to learn about three big announcements made by social media leaders this week:

1. Twitter released two new features: video and group messages. With Twitter’s new video capability, you can capture, edit and share videos lasting up to 30 seconds directly from the Twitter app (an increase from Vine‘s 6-second limit). With group messages, users can now direct message a group of up to 20 people instead of just one at a time. Additionally, users can exchange messages through the group function whether they are following each other or not.

2. Snapchat introduced Discover. Discover is a section of the app that aggregates stories from major news companies including National Geographic, CNN and People. Artists and publishers compile content that will then be available for users to watch for up to 24 hours.

When Snapchat described the new Discover feature on their blog, they said they don’t post stories based on what’s recent or popular, but instead, they “count on editors and artists, not clicks and shares, to determine what’s important.”

3. Pinterest announced Tuesday that they will now be placing “Promoted Pins” directly in users’ home feeds, making Pinterest ads more visible to users. More than a year ago, Pinterest began testing promoted Pins in search results and category feeds, and a year later they released data from the testing that showed “promoted Pins perform just as well and sometimes better than organic Pins.”

As Pinterest has promised from the beginning, promoted Pins will be tasteful and relevant to users’ interests. If you don’t like a promoted Pin, you can always hide it and can even offer feedback on how the site can improve their ads in the future.

Which of these new features are you most excited to use?

Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons - William Hook

Game On: Recipe Inspiration for the Big Game on Sunday!

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Did you know the Sunday of the Big Game (you know the one we’re talking about) is the second-largest food consumption day of the year behind Thanksgiving? Whether you’re hosting a party or bringing a dish to a Game Day potluck, it’s the perfect time to wow your guests with a new recipe!

We are partnering right now with a team of creative bloggers to whip up a host of mouthwatering, better-for-you Game Day recipes using Naturally Fresh® homemade-tasting dressings. Check out how they put their own spin on some classic favorites, and look for Naturally Fresh® at your local Kroger or Publix in the refrigerated section (no preservatives or artificial flavors or colors here!).

You can find more Naturally Fresh® recipes on our Pinterest board, too. Which recipe will you be making?

Cuban Sandwiches and Cuban Sliders (This Mama Cooks! On a Diet)

Cuban Sliders

Quick and Easy Spinach Bleu Cheese Dip (Hines Sight)

Spinach Bleu Cheese Dip

Bacon Ranch Deviled Eggs (Double Duty Mommy)

Bacon-Ranch-Deviled-Eggs-with-Naturally-Fresh-Ranch-Dressing

 Naturally Fresh® Bleu Cheese Hot Wing Chicken Salad Sliders (My Little Space 4 Everything)

natfreshrecipe

Easy Twice-Baked Potatoes (My Boys and Their Toys)

My Boys and Their Toys

Bacon-Wrapped Cauliflower Bites (Sweet T Makes Three)

Sweet T Makes Three

Regardless of whether you’re cheering the Patriots, the Seahawks or simply watching for the commercials, we hope you enjoy some tasty recipes and great company at your viewing party!

Flu Season Isn’t Over Yet!

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Have you managed to avoid the flu so far this season? If you thought you were out of the woods, you might not be, since seasonal flu most commonly peaks between December and February and can last as late as May.

In partnership with The Motherhood, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is working with a team of bloggers to share some important tips – including these “Take 3” actions – to protect yourself and loved ones from the flu this season:

  • Get vaccinated; it isn’t too late! Did you know that even if you’ve gotten the flu this season, you can still benefit from getting vaccinated? As of early November 2014, fewer than half of Americans had reported getting a flu vaccine. While this year’s vaccine may not work as well against the drifted H3N2 viruses, it can still protect many people and prevent flu-related complications – especially for those considered high-risk (infants, pregnant women, kids and adults with chronic medical conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart disease, and adults aged 65 and older). An annual flu vaccine is the single best way to prevent seasonal flu!
  • If you have flu-like symptoms, see your doctor for flu antiviral medicines. Antiviral medicines work, but they aren’t being used nearly enough. Early treatment with antivirals – especially for high-risk individuals – could keep you out of the hospital and even save your life.
  • Take preventative actions to stop the spread of germs. Wash your hands often and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. If you’re sick, stay home from school or work. Your peers will thank you!

We’ll be sharing more tips and information during our #FightFlu Twitter chat on Tuesday, January 27 at 12 p.m. ET. Hope to see you there!

Trends Roundup: 2015 Super Bowl Ads

Football

On February 1, people all across the country will come together to watch the Seattle Seahawks face the New England Patriots during the 2015 Super Bowl. While The Motherhood team is excited for the camaraderie and great food that accompanies most Super Bowl parties, we’re most looking forward to seeing how brands execute their related ad campaigns this year.

Here are three Super Bowl advertising trends and predictions we’ve been seeing this week:

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Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons – atTRAZIONE MOTORI

1. Auto brands bow out. 

Auto brands have always filled the Super Bowl advertising spots, but not this year. Audi and sibling brand Volkswagen, as well as General Motors, Lincoln, Ford, Jaguar, Honda and Acura, have announced they won’t be airing a Super Bowl commercial this year. For Audi, this will be the first time in seven years that they keep themselves on the bench!

You’ll still see at least six automakers during game-day commercial breaks, but that’s a significant decrease from the 11 auto brand commercials that appeared last year. Right now, the only explanation for the sudden change is the cost of a 30-second ad spot: $4.5 million. Forbes points out that auto brands have a harder time standing out among other other auto brands and rarely see results worth the price tag of a Super Bowl ad.

hashtag

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons – Ognian Mladenov

2. Hashtags!

In 2012, only seven percent of Super Bowl ads contained a hashtag. That percentage jumped to 50 percent in 2013 and 57 percent in 2014. We can only expect the number will continue to increase as brands attempt to reach the widest audience possible via social media. Some are predicting that up to 75 percent of commercials will contain a hashtag in 2015 Super Bowl ads.

3. Ads that live on beyond the 30-second screen time.

Forbes is also predicting that ”many advertisers have woken up to the fact that a spot on the Super Bowl is not effective as a standalone effort,” and are therefore developing campaigns that can be accessed before or after the commercial’s airing.

Budweiser is one example: The company built a life-size Pac-Man maze in Los Angeles’ Fashion District that will be seen in its Super Bowl ad this year. Another bubbly brainchild comes from PepsiCo and their filming of a reality show video series called “Game Day Grub Match.”

With hashtags reaching ubiquitous status, brands are smart to increase the lifespan of their hashtag beyond Super Bowl Sunday. Brands that air Super Bowl ads have invested heavily in their creative concepts, so getting more mileage out of them with pre- and post-game extensions is a worthwhile strategy to sustain engagement among consumers.

The Motherhood team is looking forward to watching Super Bowl 2015, as well as paying attention to how brands aim to make a big splash on game day!

Top Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons – Parker Anderson

New Year’s Resolutions You Can Use

team meeting

Earlier this week, The Motherhood team members from across the country – Seattle, St. Louis and New York – met at our new headquarters in Pittsburgh to discuss planning and goals for 2015. Along the way, we identified a few “New Year’s Resolutions” – action items both large and small to help our company make strides throughout the year.

Here are three examples that could be beneficial for you, too:

Dust off neglected social media accounts.

Although The Motherhood has hosted a profile on LinkedIn for many years, it always has been overlooked in favor of building our presence on Facebook and Twitter. That will change in 2015 as we expand our focus and tidy up our social media platforms across the board. Our starting point for review and changes has been Ragan’s suggestions for 21 steps to a perfect LinkedIn profile. Some of our favorite advice:

linkedin

1. Your headline should be catchy, and include key words and phrases that you would want to turn up in Google search results.
  • Our suggestion – like everything online these days, you need to maximize for SEO! Think about what your desired audience might be searching when they’re looking for someone like you.
2. Write in first person.
  • Our suggestion – avoid industry jargon that will make your readers’ eyes glaze over. Be informal and conversational. This isn’t a resume, it’s social media.
3. At least 500 connections. Social proof is important online. It leads to credibility and authority on the Web.
  • Our suggestion – start with manageable chunks, such as a goal of adding 30 people by the end of the month, and go from there.
4. Use a professional photo.
  • Our suggestion – artsy pics and selfies have their place on Facebook and Instagram, but encourage your employees to maintain more professional profiles on LinkedIn. You might consider using a square design of your logo for the company profile photo, as we have.
5. Daily status updates to provide value to your network. Share your latest blog post, presentation or content worth passing along.
  • Our suggestion – you don’t need to spread yourself too thin if you prefer to focus on other social networks, but start with a goal of sharing one LinkedIn post each week and go from there.

Find new ways to connect efficiently.

One of our major projects for 2015 involves finalizing a proprietary database and project tracker we’ve been working to build to our exact specifications – from the ground up – for months. The end goal is to create a system that centralizes and consolidates our communications with clients, employees and blogger partners to maximize everyone’s time.

You don’t need to build your own system to find ways to connect more efficiently, however. You could start simply by cleaning up your emails, using these 10 tips from The Muse.

Stay tuned for more information about our proprietary database when we roll out the new system this year!

Evaluate online tools that could help improve your performance.

The Motherhood’s structure is highly virtual, and with team members in four different cities, we do plenty of work in the cloud. There are some fantastic tools available to facilitate this structure, and we use many of them. In 2015, we plan to work on identifying additional resources that could prove useful in revamping our website, reporting campaign results to clients and more. Here are a few we’re considering:

rebelmouse

1. Rebel Mouse: Aggregate content online in an attractive, personalized format, creating one central hub of images, videos, status updates and more ­­– helping to build communities and tell stories through social, mobile and web platforms. In other words, it does all the heavy lifting of populating and updating your web pages with great content.

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2. Buzz Sumo: Analyze top-performing content across social channels – within your industry, for your own brand or company, or among competitors. We love the idea of being able to identify the most successful, engaging content at a glance.

powtoon

3. PowToon: Free method of creating animated videos and presentations. With Powtoon, you can create and edit video clips and upload straight to YouTube or to your computer to distribute as you like. Video has become a popular request among our clients, and PowToon is a fun twist on the traditional format.

If you have any thoughts or suggestions on what we’ve shared, feel free to leave them in the comments! We would love to hear your personal or business resolutions for 2015.

The Motherhood Helps Kick Off #Action2015 Today

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2015 is a big year for a few reasons. Not only do I have a 15 year old in ’15, but this year marks the end of the first UN Millennium Development Goals – the most successful global anti-poverty effort in history – and the creation of the next set of goals.

So, how great that the UN and the ONE Campaign brought in a group of 15 year olds to celebrate! All born in 2000 when the first MDGs were created, and all kids who will inherit the world in 2030, the target date for the next set of goals, they filmed a video with the UN Secretary General, kicking off #Action2015 today (my daughter Erin is sitting front right):

#Action2015 is mobilizing the support of young people around the world to empower them to create one vision for their generation to end poverty, inequality and climate change.

You might like this video as well -Your World, Your Choice - also published today for #Action2015:

Sign up for #Action2015 here.

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