How reality television builds brand loyalty.

Jazmine Robinson's picture

Just as Tiffany’s long lost brother is revealed, the television screen blacks out and a commercial plays. Instead of heading to the kitchen and grabbing a snack or watching the commercial, I grab my phone and log in to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to find out what my friends’ think of this shocking revelation. 

We are social media addicts, guilty of social media’s influence on the way we watch television. Even when we don't tune in, social media enables us to stay in the loop. We stalk our favorite celebrities on Twitter, asking our most-desired questions. Write statuses on Facebook, reliving the episodes most memorable moments. We even go as far as creating Instagram videos, reenacting scenes from the show. Some reality shows even create apps that allow users to play along with their favorite characters.

Here are four ways that reality shows are engaging users to participate through social media. Take notes! Businesses can learn a thing or two from reality television.  As marketers, we want loyal fans too.


American Idol engages viewers by hosting multiple contests throughout the season. “American Idol AT&T VIP Sweeps” gave viewers the chance to win a trip to Los Angeles and attend a live taping of the show.  Contestants simply had to go online and enter; they also received a bonus entry by sharing a tweet online. Because of contests like this, American Idol has some of the highest social media engagement of all reality shows. Presently, the American Idol Twitter page has 1,011,305 followers.

Create an App

Duck Dynasty does a great job of using several social media channels to engage fans. Most notably, the creation of “Duck Dynasty Beard Booth”, a mobile app, has been a huge hit with fans. This app allows users to dress up pictures of themselves and friends with the infamous Duck Dynasty beard. The app launched less than a month ago and already has more than 50,000 downloads. The show’s following is so large that the season 5 premiere was cable’s most-watched nonfiction telecast to date.

Post Photos

America’s Next Top Model effectively utilizes its Instagram by posting pictures of contestants and snippets of next week’s episode to their 32,143 followers. Fans can comment on their favorite models and moments. Along with posting scenes from the show, ANTM also post pictures of upcoming events, casting calls and countdowns until the next episode. With Instagram, these fashionistas will never be out-of-season when it comes to America’s Next Top Model.   

Tweet Your Fans

The cast from Duck Dynasty also does a great job of interacting with their 1 million followers on Twitter. During the show, the Robertson Family retweets comments and answers questions from fans using the Duck Dynasty hashtag (#DuckDynasty). This encourages fans to follow their page and watch the television show. Twitter allows for users to share their thoughts with other die-hard fans and learn more about their favorite celebs.

Unlike a television show, social media is always on. Companies should follow suit and use their social media creatively to engage customers. Offer customers a chance to win prizes, ask questions and interact with your company and other fans. Use social media to show off your personality, get fans interested and addicted to your brand. Remember, social media is not a platform to bombard users with promotions and industry news but an opportunity to be “social” with customers.


Google Authorship - is it for your brand?

Morgan Eberle's picture

Here’s a little background on what Google Authorship is:

Google was incorporated on September 4, 1998 and since September 5th of that year, marketers have been trying to be on top of the SERPs (search engine results page). Then Google+ launched on June 28, 2011. They launched for a variety of reasons, the biggest reason cited was to be a competitor against Facebook. This data also shows that Google+ passed Twitter as the second largest social media site. The reason most marketers care so much about Google+ is that it helps increase your search ranking. (There is a debate about whether it actually does help increase your search rankings, or not. Google has denied that claim – but feel free to read more about it at Ignite Social Media.)

The reason Google was created and continues to thrive is because people are creating content all of the time. This blog post is case and point that people everywhere have become content creators. Well, Google realized this and decided to tie individuals on Google+ with their blog posts. Hence, Google Authorship was born.

When thinking if Google Authorship is right for your website, there are several things to take into consideration.

First, some risks you should weigh:

  1. Google is known to misattribute Authorship. There are a variety of blog posts out there with examples of this.
  2. If you have multiple authors or an author (such as Dr. Seuss) that uses a pseudonym, Google Authorship does not support that option.
  3. The individual is promoted over your brand. Google is putting an individual’s picture next to blog content – they don’t want to put your brand logo or name; therefore, you have to be willing to promote your employees reputation over the brand.

The last point actually leads into my first point in why you should implement it for your brand.

  1. The individuals that make up your brand speak volumes for your brand. The personal brand recognition they receive from having their picture next to content helps build that reputation.
  2. Higher CTRs (click through rates) have been shown with content that has Google Authorship enabled (unless you are the first result and then people can think your content is paid; therefore, they skip it).
  3. The image next to content builds credibility. Your unknown audience has put a face with your content. This is fascinating that Google is experimenting with human relationships in algorithms.
  4. There are some other neat tricks that Google has set-up for Authorship. Such as being able to click on the author’s name and get a custom Google search for them, which highlights their credentials on the side.

As a brand, you need to make the decision on whether or not to implement Google Authorship and if it is part of your brand strategy. Just like all tactics, Google Authorship should be just one part of your overall strategy.


The week in review - September 13, 2013.

Ellyn Davidson's picture

Social media is constantly evolving, with vigilant bloggers following every new app, rule and Facebook flicker. We sift through hundreds of blogs weekly to keep on top of developments and seek out new client opportunities. It’s our job. And we like to share. So, don’t fret about what you might be missing. We’ve got your Cliffs Notes.

Skip Pre-Roll Ads with Interactive Video Ad Unit
Minteye has built an ad unit that gives users the option to bypass pre-roll ads—but only after first interacting with an image that complements the ad.

Mobile Marketing is Still Largely Untapped
Mobile marketing – despite all its continued hype and promise has been severely underutilized by marketers of all shapes and sizes.   

Ten Most Popular Brands on Facebook
Statista's chart ranks the 10 most-liked brands by U.S. Facebook users, as well as the percentage of fans that hail from the U.S.

Instagram to Begin Selling Ads: Not Surprising and Not Creative
So recently it was announced that Instagram will be monetizing the service by selling ads.

Consumers Who Receive Marketing Emails Spend 83% More [INFOGRAPHIC]
Email is decidedly less trendy than social media, and many studies have found it much more effective at converting sales. It’s somewhat counter-intuitive, but this infographic frames some of the whys and bests practices quite nicely.


Target gives back to schools.

Kristin Morris's picture

We’ve all participated in a cause marketing campaign that asks fans/ followers to vote for your school or organization in order to win a set amount of money to support said school or organization. However, at the end of most of these promotions, only a select number of winners are selected, leaving the other schools and organizations with nothing. People are getting tired of voting and not reaping the benefits when their cause is just as important as the next.

Well, Target has hit the nail on the head with their newest cause marketing campaign “Give with Target”. They plan to give $5 million to schools nationwide. The best part, everyone is a winner! Get 25 votes for your school and you get an automatic $25. Each additional vote is $1.00 until all $5 million are gone.

The concept of this social marketing campaign is extremely simple but clever. People can share their votes and encourage other to votes through their social channels using the hashtag #GiveWithTarget. Target has created a PDF kit to help spread the word to others who support your school. The kit includes a flyer, goal meter and a paper sculpture of Spot the Dog. They’ve also created email templates for people to send out to help spread the word.

We think Target’s campaign is a win-win for everyone who participates. What are you waiting for? Go vote for your school today!


The week in review - September 2, 2013.

Ellyn Davidson's picture

Social media is constantly evolving, with vigilant bloggers following every new app, rule and Facebook flicker. We sift through hundreds of blogs weekly to keep on top of developments and seek out new client opportunities. It’s our job. And we like to share. So, don’t fret about what you might be missing. We’ve got your Cliffs Notes.

Angry Customers to Buy Promoted Tweets?
A disgruntled consumer turning one of their 140-character complaints into an ad? That's something new.

Use Instagram and Pinterest to Build Relationships
Images drive an emotional reaction with an immediacy that no other medium offers. This conversation is happening across all social media platforms, and if brands aren't part of that conversation, they are missing out on a huge opportunity to interact with their most engaged customers.

Lifetime Value of Online Customers
Marketers should consider targeting consumers online by their “lifetime value”.

Interactive Video Ads Create a Two Way Conversation
Only 11% of all digital video ads have some kind of interactivity, but this could be a great opportunity for marketers.

Creating Calls to Action in Your Content
Know what it is you need to achieve and use your calls-to-action to help you get there.


Shop until your smartphone dies.

Tami Marinello's picture

Today’s trend for shoppers is the term Shoptimization or in laymen terms, optimizing your shopping time and shopping budget.

With so many choices available in today's marketplace, shoppers are beginning to realize that paying full price isn't always necessary and that with fierce competition among retailers, there is always some reward or discount from which a shopper can benefit.

Today there are a whole slew of tools and apps helping shoppers get the most out of their shopping experience – whether it is through sale notifications or helping consumers optimize rewards.

Interactive retail, or hooking up your phone with an app of your favorite retail stores, could give you discounts, perks and points to fuel your hunger for more of their stuff. Not only will they influence the way we shop, but these shopping aids also stand to impact future retail strategy and promotion.

The Coupon App is a great example. This app includes a coupon widget with real-time coupons and daily deals throughout each day. It helps you find the cheapest gas prices based on your location and has a barcode scanner to compare prices. It also allows you to share a coupons via email, text and social media and allows you to save coupons on your calendar.

Other websites and apps that offer similar features are and



As we become more conscious about what we buy and how we buy – retailers and app-makers are discovering that the ultimate competitive advantage may come not from what you sell, but by how smart, easy, and fun you can make the shopping process itself. Have you used any shopping apps recently?


The week in review - August 26, 2013.

Ellyn Davidson's picture

Social media is constantly evolving, with vigilant bloggers following every new app, rule and Facebook flicker. We sift through hundreds of blogs weekly to keep on top of developments and seek out new client opportunities. It’s our job. And we like to share. So, don’t fret about what you might be missing. We’ve got your Cliffs Notes.

Facebook Changes Promotions Policy The update is designed to help business create and manage promotions on Facebook. Among the amendments: The social-network giant no longer requires promotions to be exclusively administered through apps; now, they're allowed to be administered on Pages, as well.

Study: Consumers More Likely to Shop On Mobile Devices Than PCs
Smartphone and tablet users are more likely to visit a retail website or app than desktop computer users, and more than a third of visits to the top 50 e-commerce sites come exclusively from mobile devices.

Twitter Allows Users to Tweet Sentences From Articles, Not Just Titles
In a Twitter experiment, users could click on a highlighted sentence from a story, and tweet it out directly, instead of just tweeting the headline. 

Twitter Makes it Easier to Follow Conversations
Now, and Twitter’s mobile apps show conversations in chronological order. Tweets in a conversation are connected using a vertical line.

Brands Are Already Using Facebook GIFs
The Gap posted one of the first branded GIFs on Facebook and a handful of other brands are readying theirs for release shortly.


The week in review - August 19, 2013.

Ellyn Davidson's picture

Social media is constantly evolving, with vigilant bloggers following every new app, rule and Facebook flicker. We sift through hundreds of blogs weekly to keep on top of developments and seek out new client opportunities. It’s our job. And we like to share. So, don’t fret about what you might be missing. We’ve got your Cliffs Notes.

Tiffany vs. Wal-Mart: Does Quality or Quantity Win on Facebook?
Retail brands that publish a small number of highly effective Facebook posts can generate nearly as much engagement volume as brands that rely on a quantity-driven approach, according to a recent report by Expion.

Pandora Says Its Mobile Video Ads Are Heating Up With Brands
Pandora is seeing a boost in mobile revenues as it adapts to digital music listeners' shift from desktops to smartphones.

Spotify in Talks With Brands To Create Twitter-Like Follow Feature
Spotify is testing a "follow" feature so that marketers can push content like branded playlists to the music-streaming service's users.

All The Facts You Need to Know About Mobile Marketing
U.S. mobile ad spending this year will surge 75% to nearly $8 billion, with Google pocketing half of that, according to eMarketer estimates.

12 Ways to Get More Pinterest Followers
12 tips on how you can get more Pinterest followers and promote your business.


SoLoMo - say what?

Katie Rehrauer's picture

SoLoMo - It sounds like a trendy coffee order, but unless your local barista is a marketing expert, they probably aren’t familiar with the term.

SoLoMo is an acronym for social, local, mobile. All three are common and proven marketing techniques. But when used together these strategies give brands the ability to reach their target audience in a way never done before.

While brands have embraced using social channels to interact with consumers for years, local marketing has been restricted to zip code data, and mobile campaigns have relied heavily on SMS text messaging. But the recent advancements in mobile technology have enabled marketers to combine social, local and mobile to create the ultimate marketing strategy.

Smartphone GPS technology now allows marketers to micro-target consumers with relevant content that is designed to share on social media in real-time, anywhere.

Take for example, the Walgreens’ Foursquare program. Consumers who check in at a Walgreens location on the location-based social networking mobile site, Foursquare, instantly receive a coupon for a special offer. Even cooler, the coupon can be scanned directly from the phone.

Photo courtesy of

This program is a win-win for both Walgreens and the consumer. Not only is Walgreens reaching their consumer at the point of purchase, but they also get a shout-out on a popular social media network, while the consumer gets an exclusive offer that makes them feel like a valued customer.

SoLoMo is taking “think global, act local” to a whole new level. In order for marketers to stay relevant, businesses need to get social, think local and spend on mobile.

How has your brand embraced SoLoMo?


Is Facebook fatigue putting the platform to bed?

Julie Hayworth-Perman's picture

Is Facebook fatigue putting the platform to bed?Most of us know someone who has either taken a hiatus from Facebook or cancelled their account altogether. With waning interest from so many – how is it that Facebook continues to post growth quarter after quarter?

It’s a bit of smoke and mirrors – according to Pew Research, Facebook is rapidly declining in markets such as the U.S. and the U.K. Sources like this article from Mashable suggest that Facebook’s growth is coming from emerging markets and is tied to Facebook’s attempts to make the platform synonymous with the web for those markets.

But perhaps the most significant decline that Facebook is facing is among the 18-24 age group – a group headed directly toward its prime purchasing years. Pew cites reasons such as failure to innovate, failure to provide a rich mobile experience, and an aversion to ads as some of the primary motivators for young people turning away from the platform. In fact Facebook even reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission that young people appear to be turning more and more to image-based and live chat platforms.

So it is a scramble among advertisers and their agencies to find the next innovation that will reach the millennial market. Whether the answers lie with Vine, Instagram, Snapchat or one of the many other thousands of apps, marketers’ time is dwindling. We must be innovative in discovering how to mobilize these platforms in ways that are relevant to this young consumer. What are some of the innovations that you have come across?

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The week in review - August 12, 2013.

Ellyn Davidson's picture

Social media is constantly evolving, with vigilant bloggers following every new app, rule and Facebook flicker. We sift through hundreds of blogs weekly to keep on top of developments and seek out new client opportunities. It’s our job. And we like to share. So, don’t fret about what you might be missing. We’ve got your Cliffs Notes.

Instagram Allows Users to Upload Videos Now
Instagram introduced the option to upload videos rather than force users to create them from scratch.

Email Best-Practices for Developing & Maintaining Relationships
Once marketers have learned the various basics of an email marketing campaign, they might feel they are ready to develop long-term customer plans.

Top B2B Content Marketing Trends in 2013
The popularity of whitepapers as a B2B content marketing format is declining in relation to more interactive, easily digestible formats such as video.

How to Get Millennials to Love and Share Your Product
With so much written about millennials, it's difficult to see how reams of data about this generation could apply to an individual brand's goals. These basic guidelines can help.

Tips for User-Generated Content and Original Content
What do you think of reposting user-generated content vs. internally generated content? 

What the Latest Facebook News Feed Changes Mean for Your Business
Another day, another Facebook tweak! Last week, Facebook announced a number of changes to the way that the Newsfeed works.


Lessons in social media from music festival brands.

Maureen Clemons's picture

The music festivals of 2013 can teach us a thing or two about social media. Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza and smaller festivals know their young target audience and are taking social media and running with it. They’ve created an entire culture and use social media to disseminate it - from Instagram to Youtube, festivals are connecting to fans in new ways. I’ve noticed a few things that other brands can learn from festivals when it comes to social media:

Give people a reason to keep coming back. I like how Coachella’s Facebook and Twitter accounts keep the conversation going by asking fans about their favorite artists, festival fashion and more. Posts can gain over 5,000 likes, and hundreds of comments and shares. The pages engage users beyond event/product based content.

Festival social media is also employed for sharing tips and tricks. Bonnaroo’s Facebook page is full of festival veterans giving ideas and reviews to first timers. Bonnaroo is encouraging fan to fan interaction which is more valuable than just the brand speaking - 70% of people trust online reviews over paid media.

Finally, festivals use social media for more practical reasons. Lollapalooza in 2012 used social media to communicate a huge storm coming to the area and told people what to do/where to go. These “emergencies” can happen to any brand and social media can be the best way to reach everyone at once.

Build suspense. This is the smartest thing that festivals are doing these days. For the whole year before the event, Facebook pages are getting fans pumped up. MoPop Festival had a weekly countdown to the day of the event, gave clues to the lineup and posted teaser statuses before announcing their schedule. For Bonnaroo’s lineup announcement, they live streamed a celebrity filled video on YouTube where the headliners were announced one by one. Throughout the hour long broadcast, they encouraged a ton of engagement on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with hashtags. This all-encompassing and innovative idea can be used for other brands – whether it’s for a store opening or product launch.

Do promotions. On top of everything else, these festival brands are utilizing social media to give away everything from tickets to t-shirts. They use status updates to encourage fans to like, share and comment in order to win. This builds awareness, increases fans on their pages and rewards those fans.

Have an after party. After each festival, the pages ask for feedback from festival goers. Bunbury Music Festival sends out a survey with a chance to win tickets next year attached. They also provide a forum for people to find lost items, respond to missed connections and share photos of the event on their Facebook page. This helps the event improve and continues building the community.

Be creative. As you can see from all the examples above, these brands are getting creative. They’ve got visual status updates, hashtags, live streamed videos and more. For example, Firefly Music Festival hid tickets in random states for fans to find and posted clues on Facebook. Maybe it’s the fun nature of these events, but they’re not afraid to try new things.

Social media has transformed the music festival industry – for the best. These brands are offering a rich experience that lasts for the whole year, every year.

Have you seen any other festivals or brands that are developing every facet of their social media for a well-connected experience?



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