Insta-LOVE: How We Leverage Instagram to Make Clients Shine

This post illuminates how a creative digital marketing strategy can find meaningful opportunities to shine a positive light on a client’s value.

A recent, fun example of how this kind of content marketing works is the way we brightened the Instagram feed of our client, Marin Airporter. In this case, we used passenger produced photos (also known as “user generated content” or UGC) to leverage the beauty of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Beyond our recent website redesign for Marin Airporter (described here), we now help this client stay connected with its passengers (and potential passengers) with engaging social media content.

How the Golden Gate Bridge Became a Social Media Asset

It’s not unusual for small companies—many of whom struggle to engage successfully through social media marketing—to still be playing catch up with regard to leading edge social platforms like Instagram. Nonetheless, every company’s customers are already on these networks, and often they are communicating in ways with which any business would want to interact. Marin Airporter offered us this kind of “golden opportunity” because, prior to working with us, they had no Instagram presence whatsoever.

Once ComBridges got involved, we noticed that many passengers on Instagram were sharing an exciting aspect of riding on Marin Airporter, a memorable trip across the iconic, world famous piece of art deco architecture known as the Golden Gate Bridge! They were even sharing videos in the rain, at night, and in the dark.

The passengers themselves made it clear that the Bridge crossing is an important part of the Marin Airporter experience. So, we decided to celebrate these customer posts by compiling some of the best videos and pictures of their buses’ Golden Gate Bridge crossings into a blog post on the Marin Airporter website. As you can see, it showed just how special the Marin Airporter route is. Check out the full blog post here.

Content Marketing Meets Customer Listening

Through this example, you can see how well-conceived content marketing leverages customer awareness to create content that shines a spotlight on our client’s value.

In this way, ComBridges opened another door for our client to connect and communicate. With our support, Marin Airporter now reaches and interacts with its passengers in a 21st Century way. Because social media is a two-way medium, these messages also provide critical feedback, questions, or moments of gratitude from happy customers. And, thus, they are a form of customer service that needs attention.

In today’s world, this kind of creativity is a critical dimension of successful digital marketing. Done correctly, it is also an important branch of customer service and customer listening.

If you are ready to shine online and make better connections with your customers, please let us know.


“It’s a Wonderful Web” 2013!

cb-ipadThe first edition of our “It’s a Wonderful Web” e-newsletter for 2013 is out. It includes the following articles:

  • 2013: The Year of Anything is Possible
  • Special Offers!
  • Free 1-Hour Audio: Web Radio Interview
  • Luscious Links

If you’re not already a subscriber, click here to read it online.

More iPhone Art Fun, Apps & Viral Video

The mobile media revolution is me. Some call it “user generated content,” but I think that’s way too impersonal and lacking in even a modicum of fun. For me, it’s a surprisingly exciting new medium that opens fresh opportunities for creative expression, anywhere, anytime.

This morning’s creative expression began with the photo below. Captured at the turn-around point on my walk using my iPhone, shooting with an app called Pro HDR and then processing it a bit (still in the iPhone) with another app called Camera+. Then, I enjoyed sharing it with my friends and followers on my personal Facebook page and Twitter account along with more personal comments. It really is a “wonderful Web.” (more below)

Another form of user generated new media expression totally cracked me up. The viral video below is something like a very funny Saturday Night Live sketch which is getting extra buzz because not everyone can see that this is an audition/demo by a young actress who is having fun playing on camera. It seems that while she was at it, she has created a viral video “hit.” At least that’s my interpretation. Have a great weekend!

iPhone Art, iPad Ease & the Mobile Revolution

Tonight I’m doing my first “art show” as an iPhone artist. It’s a small, private showing amongst just a few other creative people. I’m sure it’s not a career “game changer.” But, it’s certainly fun to have some images that I created with just my iPhone (and a variety of apps) that at least someone is calling “art.”

On the other hand, I am quite certain that the iPhone and the iPad are game changers—for me and for the world. As a qualified media wizard and innovator, I think there are still a lot of people who don’t yet understand what a majorly disruptive force all of this mobile tech stuff is—creatively, socially and economically.

Created entirely in iPhone

Personally, I am consistently delighted by the ways that all of this innovation provides opportunities for connections and all kinds of communications between more and more of us, all the way around “spaceship earth.”

In the spirit of all this, I’d like to offer a couple of  audio-visual “windows” into what is really an emerging new media world. Just in the past week, the following appeared to underscore this trend:

1. A two and a half year old child, appearing in a crowd-sourced video, demonstrates how intuitive the iPad is to use:

2. Twitter celebrates its 5th Birthday with a fun celebrity-infused promotion that extoles us to “follow your interests” and “discover your world” (fun):

3. I find another way to play and have fun creating “art” via an app called Flowpaper (used to create signature below)

So, whether or not my iPhone art catches on and gains any traction (fat chance) beyond my more-than-recreational enjoyment, if you don’t yet “get it” then please trust me: smart phones and smart tablets like the iPhone and iPad are hear to stay. Not only are they profoundly ubiquitous but they are remarkably easy to use (well easier to use than a PC… way!). This new electronic environment… ok, “canvas” promises to change things even more dramatically than the advent of the Web has already done. Really.

It will be a fun ride. Come on along. And, if you are already “on board,” thanks for playing. 😉

Stay tuned. Much, much more to come.

(signature image created with Flowpaper app)

What the F**k is Social Media?

I think this is the first time I have given something I thought worthy of posting on this blog the same title as the thing itself. It’s an indication of how “right on” this simple slide show is. Don’t be intimidated by the fact there are 83 slides. You can click as fast as you like. I highly recommend this content. It’s a clear and well-articulated message and, in the view of this media maven, includes many concepts that more of us need to understand. Useful information rules! Please let me know if you agree.

Howard Rheingold Parses the Video Language

Howard Rheingold was a thought-leader before the term entered the vernacular. For example, he wrote the original book on virtual community. Now, Howard is helping people to understand what he’s calling the “video vernacular” by walking his talk ie by posting a video on his vlog (video blog).

Just like us videographers used to talk about the “language of film making,” Howard is correct that the whole video language, along with all the various forms of interacting with video are going through a radical metamorphosis. Video will never be the same. Will we? Doubtful.

Howard does a tease at the end of his six and a half minute video clip for the relevance of these new forms of video to education. In any case, I appreciate Howard’s effort to help those of us who don’t swim in this cyber-crap daily to get some perspective on what’s happening.

Live Video Streaming for Cell Phones Hitting, well, the Main Stream

Last week, a friend on Facebook (or actually an acquaintance… someone who I’ve never met in person, but within whom I’ve done a little work via phone and email) offered a link (via Facebook) to a live video stream of a techie industry party on a rooftop over-looking Washington, DC. The amazing thing was that when I clicked the link, it actually worked. Instantly, I was face-to-face, in a virtual sense, with party-goers who were saying things like “I just thought you were taking my picture…” to which this guy says, “No, you’re live on the web” and a quasi interview ensued.

The Video Web is expanding more rapidly than even I realized… and cell phone video, live streaming cell phone video, is to blame.

If you want a more widely-respected opinion, The New York Times wrote up the whole scene in a Sunday Business section column called “Novelties.” The article, “Capturing the Moment (and More) Via Cellphone Video,” includes some even more compelling examples from the likes of LA’s NPR radio leader, KCRW and mentions two leading live webcam video streaming website platforms (which are enabling these feeds): Kyte.com which calls itself “The Universal Digital Media Platform,” offers ideas for “monetization” and offers the image above as part of its self-promotion, and Qik.com which appears to be a bit more popular with the blogging/social networking crowd, including my pal in DC.

Kyte also offers among other things, “The Kyte Premium Facebook application (which) is more than a simple widget – it’s a branded social communications platform, featuring live video streaming, multimedia chat, viral distribution capabilities and monetization opportunities.” Don’t we all need one of those?

OMG, Twitter is like so totally busted! “Twitter Whore” shows all…

I mentioned below the “In Plain English” Twitter video which actually explains Twitter to the uninitiated or un-techie amongst us. But, on the other hand, if you want to laugh a little, and sorta, kinda experience the frenetic experience of what I believe Twitter to be (and why I’m not a participant… go on, comment below about why I’m missing out!), then OMG! I’m sure you’ll enjoy the Twitter parody videos below, produced by and staring one of YouTube’s rising stars, Lisa Donovan (screen name LisaNova), a self-described “Twitter Whore” (video is in two parts below). As they used to say on Hill Street Blues, “Be careful out there.”

Matt Makes Viral Video Delight & Super-Hit

Frank Capra used to say (regarding the requisite creative direction to make a movie), “One man, one movie.” In today’s world of viral video distribution, one man (or one woman) can make a super-hit all by themselves… or in this case with the support of one partner and a chewing gum company for a sponsor (no kidding). The story is well-written in this NYTimes coverage, “A Private Dance? Four Million Web Fans Say No” (although as of this writing it’s been viewed 5.5 million times.) The Times calls it, “an almost perfect piece of Internet art: it’s short, pleasingly weird and so minimal in its content that it’s open to a multitude of interpretations.” I like it for all of the reasons above as well as the fact that it’s just plain fun and makes you feel good. 🙂 (btw, clicking on “watch in high quality” is HIGHLY recommended, although you have to view the clip here on YouTube to do that.)

I also recommend viewing Matt’s “Dancing Out Takes” at http://www.wherethehellismatt.com/

Video Chat Portal, Seesmic Gets Celebs including Spielberg

I fooled around with the social video site Seesmic–you might think of it as a video chat portal–some time ago, and I found it boring. But now that the likes of Steven Spielberg, Karen Allen and Harrison Ford are posting video clips there too, maybe I should take another look?

And here’s a thread you can view (without signing on to Seesmic) from a UK Guardian Journalist who dialogged via video with Steven, Karen, Harrison & more: Spielberg Pops Up on Seesmic

I caught wind of this from a TechCrunch post: Don’t Screw Your Partners Over A Marketing Promotion which explains more background and some related technical issues. Most interesting to me, they refer to the appearance of these celebrities as a “promotion” without explaining that deal. Jemima Kiss, the UK journalist says “the guys behind the project” are the Picture Production Company. However, The Industry Standard’s coverage of this says, “Seesmic’s founder Loic Le Meur claims that he didn’t even know it was going to happen until right before the videos went up.”

Still, it’s clear that these celebrities are not just posting. For one thing, they all have the same background (gold curtains) on their videos so they apparently all went somewhere together and recorded their posts. These are hardly the casual, usually at-home kind of chats most Seesmic users post. Just the same, I view this development as an interesting new kind of access to some very interesting creative, innovative people, as well as more evidence of how important “The Video Web” is becoming to more and more people, including top-level leaders in the entertainment industry.

Anyone out there using Seesmic regularly and care to comment?