WWTT? La-Z-Boy Campaign Offers Comfort and Thanks to Healthcare Workers

If you’re a bit of a YouTube watcher, or a fan of The Office, you may have heard about “Some Good News,” hosted by John Krasinski. So in that vein, here is some more excellent news, along the lines of a new La-Z-Boy campaign that combines a considerate donation with some heartfelt user-generated content.

If you’re a bit of a YouTube watcher like me, or a fan of The Office, you may have heard about “Some Good News,” hosted by John Krasinski. If not, watch through some episodes, and take joy that there is still plenty of good in the world. So, in a similar vein to SGN, here is some more excellent marketing news, along the lines of a new La-Z-Boy campaign that combines a considerate donation with some heartfelt user-generated content.

To offer some physical comfort to healthcare workers, La-Z-Boy is donating $1 million worth of furniture to frontline nurses. According to the furniture retailer’s CMO, Eli Winkler, the company is working directly with the American Nurses Association to select nurses in areas of the country most heavily impacted by COVID-19, and those individuals will be able to receive their choice of a chair, recliner, or sofa.

But the La-Z-Boy campaign doesn’t just end there. Dubbed “#OneMillionThanks,” the furniture retailer has created a microsite that encourages the public to find creative ways to thank healthcare workers — and to share those thanks on social.

#OneMillionThanks La-Z-Boy CampaignI had the opportunity to ask Winkler some questions about the La-Z-Boy campaign earlier this week, and of course my first question was about the campaign’s inspiration, and why the retailer wanted to get the public involved. Winkler responded:

“La-Z-Boy has always provided comfort to those who need it most. Frontline medical professionals have had to live without the normal comforts of home for the last while. In many cases they have had to distance themselves from their families, while also enduring an incredible amount of stress. We saw an opportunity to say ‘thanks’ in the way that we know best — by providing furniture to nurses who deserve both physical and emotional comfort.

“This is our way of showing thanks. But we wanted to create a million more ways to say ‘thank you.’ People have shown an incredible amount of creativity while at home. We wanted to harness all that creativity and generate one big “thank you” for medical professionals. A simple show of thanks goes a long way.”

Participants are encouraged to get creative with their thank yous and post to social, tagging with the hashtag #OneMillionThanks. The campaign is supported by 15 and 30 second video clips, created by creative agency RPA and supported by a digital buy.

La-Z-Boy campaign, featuring Kristen BellIt’s great that La-Z-Boy has its brand ambassador Kristen Bell participating in the project, but I feel like there’s more to this than having a Hollywood sweetheart encourage UGC.

When I look at the microsite, the impression I get (whether intentional or not) is that this campaign does more than just help healthcare workers feel good. #OneMillionThanks is also a creative exercise to help the people doing the thanking feel good, too.

Scrolling through the site, you come across myriad activity ideas to help create your thank yous, from origami heart-folding to DIY sidewalk chalk paint.

La-Z-Boy campaign ideas for showing thanksDespite the fact that these activities are geared toward creating thank yous for healthcare workers, at the end of the day they’re also great activities for individuals, couples, and families to work on while under quarantine — whether they’re creating a thank you or something else. I’m certain the DIY sidewalk chalk paint instructions will be put to use for many more projects down the road, and perhaps the origami heart folding will inspire people to look deeper into the Japanese art form as way to de-stress and be creative in general.

Practicing the act of gratitude is a great way to improve your mental health and well-being … something I’m sure we could all use a bit more of nowadays. And while the #OneMillionThanks La-Z-Boy campaign probably wasn’t aiming for this, I’m glad that by asking people to create thankful content, La-Z-Boy is helping us all be a little more creative and gracious.

Speaking of practicing the art of gratitude, one of my and favorite authors and YouTube personalities, John Green created a wonderful Vlogbrothers video about it, as well as gratitude journaling. I highly recommend giving it a watch — once you’ve finished making your own #OneMillionThanks post.

Marketers, tell me what you think about this campaign, how you’re practicing creativity and gratitude, or anything else on your mind in the comments below!

WWTT? Budweiser Shares Spooky Mugshots in ‘Drink Wiser’ Campaign

In celebration of the spooky season, Budweiser put a Halloween spin on its “Drink Wiser” campaign, enlisting the help of those who know how much it sucks to be arrested for irresponsible drinking.

Halloween isn’t just for trick-or-treaters, however it seems that many of the “treats” for adult revelers often involve bars, parties, and alcohol, and thus many of the tricks can be less than amusing … especially when drinking and driving are combined. So in celebration of the spooky season, Budweiser put a Halloween spin on its “Drink Wiser” campaign, enlisting the help of those who know how much it sucks to be arrested for irresponsible drinking.

The Drink Wiser campaign kicked off originally in 2018, taking on the topic of binge-drinking and alcohol-impaired driving. In the original effort, Budweiser promoted the importance of hydrating in-between beers, as well as planning ahead regarding safe transportation options home.

For Halloween, Budweiser continued to promote the same efforts, but with a season-appropriate twist for its social media and digital out-of-home (OOH) visuals: The macrobrewer worked with actual individuals who were arrested for irresponsible drinking during Halloween seasons of the past.

Budweiser 'Drink Wiser' Campaign
Credit: Budweiser

While these aren’t the actual mug shots of Sharyn W., Cesar O., or Ameneh K., Budweiser opted to re-imagine these three individuals in Halloween costumes that had clearly seen better days. With the tagline of “Don’t Let Halloween Haunt You Forever,” the campaign’s digital OOH ads will be present in Chicago, New York City, and Philadelphia.

For the social component of the campaign, Budweiser has advised fans to follow it on Twitter, @BudweiserUSA, as well as turn on tweet notifications to receive reminders to drink responsibly and hydrate with water between beers.

According to an Anheuser-Busch (parent company of Budweiser) press release, Budweiser has been involved in cause marketing for over a century. “Budweiser Means Moderation” was the brewer’s first responsible drinking message — dating back to over a 100 years ago — and its first responsible drinking campaign “Know When to Say When” debuted over 35 years ago.

Halloween can be quite the party holiday for many, and it’s smart of Budweiser to come out ahead of it, reminding people to consume its products responsibly. The Halloween costume-themed mug shots are a great visual to use, and hopefully have people thinking twice about drinking and driving.

We see a lot of campaigns that — rightly so — show just how horrible drinking and driving can be for all involved. But I appreciate that Budweiser mixed humor and shame together to get the point across about irresponsible drinking this Halloween.

Marketers Must Take Stock of Their Data-Driven Power Now

With the 2020 elections already underway, social media marketing is in the spotlight. Although I am not sure if the spotlight was ever really off of its data-driven science since the 2016 election. Although all of the major social networking platforms have been dragged in front of congress to discuss how they use data, it was the relationship between Facebook and Cambridge Analytica that drew the most media attention and become the poster child.

With the 2020 elections already underway, social media marketing is in the spotlight. Although I am not sure if the spotlight was ever really off of its data-driven science since the 2016 election.

Although all of the major social networking platforms have been dragged in front of congress to discuss how they use data, it was the relationship between Facebook and Cambridge Analytica that drew the most media attention and become the poster child.

What data-driven marketers need to recognize is that what happened with Facebook and Cambridge Analytica was not some off-the-books, sneaky misuse of social data. Rather, it was executed very much in line with the broader vision of social media marketing. That has implications for how we use social media as part of our digital marketing mix.

Why Data-Driven Marketers Must Take Stock Now

What makes social media a powerful platform for marketers is that it not only targets individuals based on demographics, but it could also targets based on their location, personality and current context.

Considering all of the conscious and unconscious information users can share on social platforms, there is a powerful amount of information algorithms can mine to generate marketing content and messages most likely to resonate with users. Not only can social media know where you are and what you like, but also your closest friends and your emotional state on any given day. It is even likely that social media algorithms have a better understanding of your underlying emotions and motivations than you do. To anyone who has spent time micro-targeting, this is not a surprise. Given enough data, a shockingly perceptive algorithm can be developed. This is why social media had mile-high stock valuations even when platforms were still hemorrhaging cash.

Let’s face it; marketing has always included an element of manipulation. The function of consumer insights and research is designed to provide marketers levers for manipulation. With some exceptions, we have been able to sleep at night knowing that the consumer stood a chance or that we were also offering a real benefit, so some manipulation was just part of it. When we started using rich data with algorithms to develop more targeted models, many of us saw this as the ultimate example of customer empathy. This was going to empower marketers to become highly relevant to their consumers.

Those who were not on board were behind the times. (To confess, I used to view most cautionary voices as laggards or technophobes. Some were, some weren’t, but they were also right to worry.)

Today, we need to take stock of how that empathy is used. With great empathy comes the power of even greater manipulation. Despite all of the data policies out there, we are not addressing the real question: How much manipulation is too much?

Is it fair to push an antacid ad at someone who posts about a visit to the county fair and winning the pie-eating contest? Seems “big brother-ish,” but benign?

How about pushing anti-anxiety medication ads to a college student going through a breakup during finals week?

While this sounds horrible, we technically can.

Don’t Do It Just Because You Can

How companies manage and leverage consumer data is becoming part of the company’s ethical standards, but we need to extend beyond data privacy to data use.

Just like use of child labor, environmental footprints and other ethical standards, standards on the use of consumer data will be a critical way that companies define their brands and the role they wish to play.

Why Your Social Selling Index Means Nothing

You and your sales force are selling socially. You’ve got a LinkedIn Sales Navigator seat. Browser is fired up. You’re sharing valuable insights and racking up Social Selling Index points … showing the world you can use LinkedIn. Full stop: Are you helping buyers buy?

LinkedIn Logos Social Selling IndexYou and your sales force are selling socially. You’ve got a LinkedIn Sales Navigator seat. Browser is fired up. You’re sharing valuable insights and racking up Social Selling Index points … showing the world you can use LinkedIn.

Full stop: Are you helping buyers buy? Helping buyers buy is where the action is.

Yet the buying decision process is only partially solution-driven. I learned this from Sharon Drew Morgen, creator of the Buying Facilitation method. I have yet to find a social selling training program teaching us how to deal with these facts.

  • Selling doesn’t cause buying.
  • Buying involves systemic change and (when there’s no other option) solution choice.
  • Using solution data (content, research) as the main skill to make a sale restricts possibility, netting objections from clients who don’t know how to hear the seller’s point.
  • Buyers buy according to their buying patterns, not selling patterns.
  • Pushing solution data too early causes objections, regardless of need.

Morgen teaches us buyers are buyers until they recognize how to solve a problem with maximum buy-in and minimum fallout to the status quo.

Until buyers are certain they can’t solve a problem themselves with their own resources, they can’t recognize what is needed to buy.

“They will resist/object when having seemingly pointless content shoved at them,” says Morgen.

So what’ your role as a seller? To help buyers understand and manage change. Specifically, to know the full extent of internal challenges. Until you help them understand these challenges they remain unable to understand content details effectively.

“They object when pushed,” says Morgen.

Facilitating Decisions Is Not Social Selling

Is your team applying communications techniques to help buyers buy? In other words, are they able to identify and facilitate change for each stage of customers’ buying process that does not include purchase consideration?

Closing more accounts has everything to do with creating interest … nothing to do with creating interaction on LinkedIn.

Creating interest is a communications skill, not a social media or LinkedIn skill.

“There is an entirely different goal, focus, solution, thought process, skill set, necessary,” to facilitate and enable change before any purchase is considered, says Ms. Morgen.

Pushing content to prospects, commenting, updating, sharing wisdom. These tactics work well to generate interaction, not so well to create early-stage client conversations. Interest.

Teach Sellers to Facilitate

Social selling focuses mainly on pushing content and sharing knowledge, mostly out of context to buyers. It rarely works. Because it limits outreach to clients who already recognize a purchase is the only way to resolve a problem.

At best this is 5 percent of the market, which often throw objections at your advance.

However, “You get no resistance when facilitating prospects through their own steps to congruent change,” says Morgen.

“But you’ll need to take a different, additional, path through a different lens. You’ll need to understand the change management issues within your industry. And no, you cannot use your current sales skill to accomplish this,” says Morgan.

Indeed, you can continue pushing content and getting objections, or you can add a new function to your outreach. A part that connects with the right customers sooner. One that allows you to enter their decision path, join them as a trusted advisor and facilitate clients who can buy through to buying.

“Just recognize the sales model doesn’t do the facilitation portion as it’s solution-placement based,” says Morgen.

My bottom line for you: Social selling is, in practice, social marketing. Look around. Witness teams of sellers pushing content onto LinkedIn. All trying to stay in front of potential clients, convince them of sellers’ thought leadership and pushing insights. But in the end social selling proves worthless compared to helping buyers get ready to buy.

Do you agree? What is your experience?

 

4 Ways to Boost Traffic to a Small Website

Establishing an online presence doesn’t happen overnight. The smaller your business, the steeper the challenge might seem. Small businesses with bare-bones websites aren’t as easy to find in search engines. It takes time, effort and patience to build and develop your website to the point it ascends in the rankings.

Establishing an online presence doesn’t happen overnight. The smaller your business, the steeper the challenge might seem. Small businesses with bare-bones websites aren’t as easy to find in search engines. Few people, if any, check these websites on a regular basis. They don’t attract much organic traffic. It takes time, effort and patience to build and develop your website to the point it ascends in the rankings.

It also takes strategy. You must strengthen your content, be active on social media and improve your link profile. None of these should be done on the fly – crafting an optimization plan makes everything easier. You can also turn to PPC advertising to drive traffic to your website while working to optimize it. Read on for four important ways to boost traffic on a very small website.

Strengthening Content

Quality content is the foundation of your website. If you can’t offer something that visitors want or need, then you can’t expect to establish a flow of persistent organic traffic. This is common sense.

That said, your online offerings aren’t limited to the goods and services offered by your business. A properly optimized website also offers helpful guides, insightful blog posts, engaging videos, informative graphics and more. That’s why having high-end content is so vital – it gives people a reason to come back.

So, how should you go about strengthening your content? Start by following these steps:

  1. Study the demographics of visitors. You can’t make content that’s targeted for an audience until you know who is visiting your website. Although you clearly haven’t built up a significant flow of online traffic (or else you wouldn’t be reading this), you can learn quite a bit from the small number of visitors you have. Assuming you’re using Google Analytics, check out the Audience feature. Use this to learn broad-but-useful information about your visitors including breakdowns of their ages, genders and interests.
  2. Check out the competition. The free way to do this is to search for your most relevant keywords on Google, then click the top organic search results. How does the content on each landing page add to the website’s value? How is it useful, relevant or entertaining for visitors? You can also use online tools such as SpyFu and Ahrefs to gain vital insights on competitors’ content schemes, but using these tools often costs money. It’s money well spent, if you can afford it.
  3. Understand your audience’s needs. What, exactly, is your audience searching for? If you own a shoe store, it’s not enough to say your audience is searching for shoes. Rather, why does your audience need shoes? Are people looking for shoes that are good for marathons, or shoes that are good for business-casual office wear? Do your customers want to know when it’s time to replace their shoes? Do they want shoes made in America? Do they want sandals made locally?
  4.  What does your business offer? It’s a simple question, and one you must answer with complete honesty in order to fully connect with your audience.

Once you’ve taken these preliminary steps, it’s time to get to work. Start by listing all of your content ideas, and add to this list whenever possible. Next, set the pace for creating new content by making an editorial calendar. Don’t be too ambitious – start out slow with manageable deadlines. Releasing new content at a consistent pace is more important than ratcheting volume.

When writing, always aim for at least 800 words. Don’t try to stuff your content with keywords; stick with natural, well-written posts and articles. If possible, pay for professional, high-quality images. Add pictures, graphics and videos to your content whenever possible. Focus on writing insightful, remarkable content that will leave a lasting impression.

Social Media Marketing

Social media is important for small businesses. There is no better way to connect online with consumers in your area. A stronger social media presence will bolster your website traffic and your link profile, both of which will ultimately improve your website’s SEO and conversions.

How to Integrate Direct Mail With Social Media

With social media an integral part of people’s daily lives, integrating it together with your direct mail can really help drive response. Have you considered adding social media?

With social media an integral part of people’s daily lives, integrating it together with your direct mail can really help drive response. Have you considered adding social media? This will take considerable time and effort to plan correctly, so be ready to work hard. Is it worth it? Check out the case studies below and then decide.

Before you start, think about why you are considering integration. What are your goals? This gives you a guide post on what you need and how to create the campaign.

Let’s look at a couple of awesome examples of campaigns to give you some good ideas:

1. Chick-fil-A (Full Case study click here): They had two objectives — get a customer database and increase store traffic. The direct mail campaign gained unprecedented exposure with viral sharing. Five thousand plastic postcards were sent out, and due to the integration of social sharing, the campaign gained a total response of 14,124, a 279.8 percent response on their direct mail campaign.

2. Stein Mart (Full Case study click here): The objective was to increase store redemption through a referral program. This direct mail campaign gained national exposure with viral sharing. Twenty thousand postcards were sent out, and due to the integration of social sharing, the campaign gained a total response of 30,068, a 150.58 percent response on the direct mail campaign.

As you can see, social sharing can really give your direct mail momentum. Take the time to learn from the great ones before you start your journey. When you have a plan and strategy in place you will start off in a better position to generate great results. So how can you get started?

  • Objectives: Carefully define your objectives. The only way to get what you want is to plan for it.
  • Market: Who is your best target market? Identify and target them carefully.
  • Design: You will need to do your normal direct mail design, but then also design for the landing page and social media.
  • Offer: Your offer should be the same for both direct mail and social media. (Remember to incentivize sharing with specials for those who do)
  • Capture: What information are you going to capture in order for people to get the offer? (Remember that in order to reward those who share your offer you need to know their social media accounts)
  • Tasks: You will need to assign who is in charge of what. This will take social media monitoring software too so be aware of that.

Instead of creating the whole wheel again, use the case studies as a guide. You know it works, just tailor the plan to your needs. Your focus always needs to be on what will drive response from your target market. Will you have coupons, free giveaways or something else? Your offer is extremely important. In order to get traction not only for direct mail but also for social media you need to grab attention with and irresistible offer.

Formula for success: Take your current direct mail that is working well, create landing pages for people to visit, ask them to provide information that you want on the pages and to share it with others to get your offer. That is basically it, although there are a lot of details to fill in along the way. Do you think that these results can only be achieved by food and clothing stores? That is just not true. This formula can work for all types of businesses including nonprofits. Are you ready to get started?

A Popular (yet Ineffective) LinkedIn Tactic

Considering investing in LinkedIn automation software? Already using automated tactics? Beware: Automation is not helping social sellers start conversations. Don’t let your hopes or a LinkedIn “expert” (charlatan) tell you otherwise. This isn’t my opinion. I speak from experience — and that of my customers.

LinkedIn logoConsidering investing in LinkedIn automation software? Already using automated tactics? Beware: Automation is not helping social sellers start conversations.

Don’t let your hopes or a LinkedIn “expert” (charlatan) tell you otherwise.

This isn’t my opinion. I speak from experience — and that of my customers.

I don’t like to speak in absolutes. Nothing is certain in our world. But automating the gathering of lead data and sending messages to prospects wastes time, damages reputation and what’s worst is buyers see through it — instantly.

It’s spammy.

Also, LinkedIn is cracking down and suing service providers. It took a while but Microsoft has had enough.

Short-cuts rarely work in life. Buckle-down and do the work. And yes, I know you need to scale. Me too. Tech tools like LinkedIn help us scale time. But LinkedIn automation is ineffective.

Lately, it can also hurt you.

Automating Outreach and Scraping Contact Data

We need targets to call on: Companies, decision-makers and contact data. LinkedIn is a database. But gathering contact data is time-consuming. Plus, getting these contacts to connect with us (open the door to communication) takes time and effort.

Wouldn’t it be great to automate the data collection, connections and messaging? We could mass email messages to prospects — without much effort. We’ll reply to the responses, manage the leads.

Enter LinkedIn automation tools.

But beware of reality:

  1. Automated profile viewers and contact data scrapers are being sued by LinkedIn/Microsoft;
  2. Non-personalized (spammy) or “personalized” (fake personalization) messages aren’t helping sellers start conversations with buyers;
  3. Decision-makers are actually hiding from overzealous sellers and accepting fewer connection requests.

How Automation Software Works

You look up a group of contacts using a LinkedIn search. Boom. Software automatically:

  • Grabs those search results
  • Views each contact’s profile
  • Scrapes the screen (cuts-and-pastes name, company, title, etc. into a spreadsheet)

Software will also:

  • View profiles
  • Invite people with keywords or titles to connect
  • Automatically send them welcome messages when they accept
  • Automatically endorse them
  • Automatically send them congratulatory messages when they have a birthday, work anniversary or change jobs
  • Automatically send sales messages to large swaths of your connections

Sounds great. But let’s pretend you are Microsoft (LinkedIn’s new owner).

You just paid $26 billion for this data. How do you feel about people scraping it? How do you feel about automating all of these non-personalized functions (which are all trying to look personalized and social)?

That’s why LinkedIn is suing these service providers.

Automation tools are popular. But these are often “companies” that have no public contact data themselves! Companies that, in fact, aren’t companies … and have (for years now) operated in clear violation of LinkedIn’s Terms & Conditions.

LinkedIn prospecting expert, Bruce Johnston, is blunt:

“It is instructive that I went through my list and less than half of the companies I added 12 to 15 months ago still exist.”

Don’t Be ‘That’ Brand

Everyone’s annoyed — or at least millennials are, according to eMarketer, and they are taking action. Ad-blocker software use by millennials has grown over 34 percent since last year and will grow another 24 percent by 2017 — all because consumers are looking to control the annoying ads delivered to their devices and now can readily and easily do so.

Millennials are annoyed, according to eMarketer, and they are taking action. Ad-blocking software use by millennials has grown over 34 percent since last year and will grow another 24 percent by 2017 — all because consumers are looking to control the annoying ads delivered to their devices and now can easily do so. But this has implications for more than just those making ad-blocking software and millennials: As marketers, we must tread carefully.

Sprout Social recently unveiled their Q3 Social Index report that polled social users to determine what makes them follow a brand and what annoys them enough to sever their relationships with a brand. The poll identified five primary annoyance factors (numbers 1-5 below) that consumers encounter with brands in social channels. That seems like a good place to start if you’re trying to avoid being “that” brand — the one that constantly has to rebuild their lists and communities, elicits little brand engagement, receives no loyalty and maintains high acquisition costs.

To avoid this, you must know your audience, track your successes and avoid certain bad behaviors.

  1. Don’t over-promote. You do have other content, don’t you? Plan your communications and consider the volume and cadence that best support your audience. And don’t forget all the factors you can’t control, like the other brands bombarding your audience at the same time you want their attention.
  1. Don’t use slang and jargon that doesn’t fit your brand or audience. There is an appropriate place for slang and jargon — you’ll know if it resonates with your intended audience or not.
  1. Don’t be boring, forgettable or undifferentiated. Create and maintain a brand voice and personality. This extends into the content you produce and the relationships you foster with consumers online.
  1. Don’t use humor indiscriminately. Be very careful mixing your brand with satire or news events. Too many brands have been guilty by association and tarnished by misguided efforts.
  1. Don’t ignore consumers who reach out to you. Respond directly and personally as the consumer holds great power and reputations are on the line. A recent Twitter study reported by Techcrunch noted that:

“ … brands see the best results when they respond more quickly, and that businesses shouldn’t be scared off by negative tweets — 69 percent of people who tweeted negatively said they felt more positive after the business responded”

How else can you avoid annoying your customers and prospects?

  1. Don’t use predatory, creepy techniques to get your message in front of desired audiences. No one wants to feel stalked, and no one likes a stalker.
  1. Be polite. Don’t use disruptive ad types that force your audience to jump through hoops to get back to their intended activity. The brand message is not the reason that users are available to you. They came to check some scores or read an article or play a game or get directions.Don’t assume that more is better. Show some restraint in email, ads and other content. All the over-the-line brand attention cumulatively makes the consumer a target, and they feel that bull’s-eye on their backs.
  1. Don’t make new technology a goal. Shiny objects are about what you want and your marketing efforts should revolve around what your customers need.
  1. Don’t overreach in ways that can jeopardize your consumers’ privacy or security. The very least you owe them is a safe interaction with your brand.
  1. Don’t treat everyone and every interaction alike. Depth of relationship, prior responses, intent cues, device choice and other factors should all play into your communication style and content.

Consumer backlash against brand presence and promotion across digital touchpoints reveals our lack of patience with communications. We get annoyed too, and we panic: Is this an outgrowth of climbing consumer expectations?  How will brands keep up? There are real pressures on brand managers and marketers to continually raise the bar and get in front of desired consumers — sometimes at almost any cost. But that is a short-term solution that can cost you in the long-run.

Being a jerk of a brand turns consumers away and raises the price of keeping and acquiring customers. Instead, work on the value proposition you bring to customers and then display some restraint and selectivity in how you message and promote. Choosing not to be “that” brand might just make you the “it” brand in the long run.

Instagram Stories Pros and Cons

Last week Instagram introduced Instagram Stories, and like most new digital things, the Internet erupted into the usual yelling debate about new things like: “Instagram ripped off Snapchat!” and “Instagram Stories is waaaaay better designed than Snapchat!”

Instagram Stories MemeLast week Instagram introduced Instagram Stories, and like most new digital things, the Internet erupted into the usual yelling debate about new things:

“Instagram ripped off Snapchat!”

“Instagram Stories is waaaaay better designed than Snapchat!”

“Ugh. Another feature.”

And so on.

Oh, and Facebook is now testing selfie filters, à la Snapchat. Snapchat’s like the sister with all the good clothes that keep getting filched.

I may be only 34, but there are days when I feel like I’m 82 in regard to new features on things I already use, and feel like I use pretty well. And originally, this post was titled “Instagram Stories, Get Off My Lawn.”

No, really:

Blog post in WordPress back officeBut then, like a good blogger, I took a little time to do some reading, and, well, my opinion — much like the Battering Ram ride at Busch Gardens — has swung to and fro a bit.

So here are my thoughts, in a classic Pros and Cons list. Because if a P&C list can help me determine if I should date someone who loves Phil Collins and owns a lot of plastic sheeting, it should help me come to a conclusion about Instagram Stories.

Instagram Stories Pros

Marketers have been using Instagram successfully for awhile now, and it has a wider reach than Snapchat.

• It is way easier to find and follow people on Instagram, compared to Snapchat.

• I personally use Instagram constantly, and I could set up another account professionally for Sass Marketing with ease. Snapchat? Not so much.

• The design is cleaner and easier to understand, which means there will be fewer people saying they’re afraid to use it (unlike Snapchat).

• The stories won’t be in your Instagram feed. Instead, when someone you follow posts a story, a ring will appear around their profile photo. You can then either check it out, or ignore it.

• You can hide a story from anyone you don’t want to see it, without having to make your account private. You can even hide stories from people who actually follow you (Whoo-hoo! You can keep your aunt from creeping on you!)

• I always wanted to be able to draw laser beams coming out of my cat’s eyes.

Instagram Stories Laser-Eye Cat

Instagram Stories Cons

• Seriously, what is the deal with people wanting stuff to disappear after 24 hours? Is there something about hour 24 when you realize, “Oh god … I have made a MISTAKE!”?

• Even though Instagram didn’t do anything wrong (you can’t copyright an idea), it still comes off as a little lame to not only use almost exactly the same idea, but to not even bother renaming it. Or as Jack Brody, a product designer at Snapchat put it:

Wow … I can’t think of any other cons, aside from my general crankiness over new features that I don’t feel like using, but with Instagram Stories, you don’t HAVE to use it. You can completely ignore it, as well as the stories of other.

All right, fine. With my Pros and Cons list being a solid 7 to 2, I get the picture. Though I’m reserving the right to claim “cool” or “lame” until I actually have access to Instagram Stories.

In related news … dang Hubspot … you released a guide on how to use Instagram Stories TWO DAYS after the feature’s launch. It’s taken me this long to get cranky enough to write this post (mind you, I publish every Tuesday). Teach me your ways, oh Orange and Sassy One.