Weekly Recap - July 21, 2017

Amazon has officially started a supermarket war. With its recent purchase of Whole Foods, the online behemoth and Walmart are on a mission to take over the grocery industry—brick and mortar and online. Does your brand have a proper mission? Promote it in video to build loyalty. Your brand too can be a YouTube star with these pointers. Maybe even connect with Gen-Z.

DETAILS, Please

Amazon to buy Whole Foods for $13.4 billion. A deal that will instantly transform the company that pioneered online shopping into a merchant with physical outposts in hundreds of neighborhoods across the country.

12 truly inspiring company vision and mission statement examples. Often, the reason we stay loyal to brands is because of their values. The best brands strive to combine physical, emotional, and logical elements into one exceptional customer- and employee- experience.

7 vital elements of a successful YouTube video. YouTube is a marketer’s paradise. The statistics are mind blowing.

Move over Millennials, Gen-Z is now the largest single population segment. According to Nielsen’s new Total Audience report, Millennials and Gen-Z now comprise 48 percent of the total media audience.

Meanwhile, back at the RANCH

5 stats about marketing to Baby Boomers. With a median household income of $40,581, Millennials earn 20 percent less than their Boomer parents did at the same age.

How banks and credit unions can connect to Gen We.  Just because a kid has a bank account, it doesn’t mean she knows how to manage it.

THE Topic of conversation

Communicating with Visuals - Visual communication. Did you know that 93 percent of communication is visual? Amplify your marketing and discover how your brand can communicate visually. Download our latest free guide, "Communicating with Visuals."

SHARING is CARING

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5 stats about marketing to Baby Boomers.

5 stats about marketing to Baby Boomers.

Remember Baby Boomers? The behemoth cohort, and their spending power, is being ignored while marketers obsess over Millennials. With a median household income of $40,581, Millennials earn 20 percent less than their Boomer parents did at the same age. Here are five eye-opening stats worth knowing about marketing to Baby Boomers:

  1. Baby Boomers spend more time online than Millennials. Believe it or not, 51 percent of Baby Boomers spend 15 hours per week online, while only 41 percent of Millennials spend the same amount of time online. (The State of the User Experience)
  2. Baby Boomers outspend younger adults online 2:1 on a per-capita basis. They also spend more than other generations by an estimated $400 billion a year. (Forrester)
  3. According to Nielsen research, Baby Boomers watch 174 hours of TV a month, 63 percent more than Millennials. This probably comes as a result of Millennials spending more time scrolling through social media than watching television, but 82 percent of Baby Boomers also belong to at least one social networking site.
  4. 49 percent of Baby Boomer tablet users and 40 percent of smartphone users made a purchase after conducting searches on their devices. (eMarketer)
  5. Baby Boomers spend the most across all product categories, but are targeted by just 5-10 percent of marketing. Baby Boomers also control 70 percent of disposable income in the U.S. (Venture Capital Review)

For more on marketing to Boomers, check out this blog.

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Weekly Recap - July 14, 2017

The more you know, the more likely you are to buy. Discover the role of education in purchase decisions. What’s the average attention span of consumers? When it comes to email, it’s longer than you might expect. Amazon Prime Day came and went, but the showdown between Google home and Amazon Echo continues. (Cue ominous music.) Finally, should your brand look into virtual reality?

DETAILS, Please

How content marketing impacts purchase decisions, brand affinity, and trust. New research from Conductor illustrates the impact of education on purchase decisions and brand affinity.

The short attention span solution for marketers (Hint: it’s email) [infographic]. According to Entrepreneur, 2017 marks email’s 40th birthday, with 1978 cited as the year when the first marketing email was delivered.           

Prime Day brings a price battle between Amazon Echo and Google Home. Both companies drop the prices on their smart speakers, but Amazon’s aggressive discount could win the day.

Is video a game changer for virtual reality? Adoption of virtual reality (VR) headsets hasn’t grown by leaps and bounds.

Meanwhile, back at the RANCH

Write better meta descriptions and improve CTR [with cute animals]. Personally, I dread writing meta descriptions. I really do. So to make the process easier, I included several priceless animals for your viewing pleasure. You’re welcome.

Gen Z: marketing solutions for the next largest generation [data]. In three years, Generation Z (those born after 1996), will account for one-third of the US population. While the general public might be tempted to lump them in with Millennials, Gen Z has its own set of unique values.

THE Topic of conversation

Visual communication. Did you know that 93 percent of communication is visual? Amplify your marketing and discover how your brand can communicate visually. Download our latest free guide, "Communicating with Visuals."

SHARING is CARING

Like what you see? Share the Brogan Recap.

Gen Z: Marketing solutions for the next largest generation [data].

Gen Z: Marketing solutions for the next largest generation [data].

In three years, Generation Z (also known as Gen We), or those born after 1996 will account for one-third of the U.S. population. While the general public might be tempted to lump them in with Millennials, Gen Z has their own set of unique values.

Who is Gen Z?

A major defining feature of Gen Z is they do not remember 9/11. They were raised under the shadow of increased national security and perceived danger from outside forces. As such, they are more cautious than previous generations, with a 40 percent drop in teen births and additional drops in high school drop-outs and alcohol abuse. With the oldest turning 21 and entering college and the workforce, now is the time to look at their habits in order to better understand this generation.

Ad avoiders.

Most of Gen Z won’t sit through a 30 second ad. Their perspective on certain ads is almost twice as negative as Millennials. We now live in a world of multiple screens. As soon as a commercial interrupts their program Gen Z will turn to their phone or laptop. This generation bounces between five screens: TV, laptop, desktop, tablet, and smartphone. They are also more likely to install ad blockers on their laptop.

Solution: Dazzle them. The same research on Gen Z’s ad perspective found that over 55 percent of Gen Z enjoyed ads that told an interesting story or had good music, and 72 percent enjoyed ads with humor. What’s more, don’t make your ads non-skippable. This will only create backlash from the audience.

How would you describe your attitude toward each of the following formats of online video advertising?

Figure 1 credit: Marketing Land

Collection of culture.

Gen Z is set to be the most diverse generation. Roughly 45 percent of the demographic identifies with a minority, with particular growth in Hispanic and multicultural families. A study from 2016 showed over 60 percent of Gen Z enjoyed ads with diversity.

Solution: When trying to show diversity, talk to your demographic. Testing campaigns with a focus group or marketing research will help ensure your ad connects at the right level.

Attitudes toward people/diversity in ads according to US internet users, by generation, Sep 2016

Wallet weary.

A survey conducted by Lincoln Financial Group found that among Gen Z members ages 15-19, 60 percent have a saving account, and 13 was the average age the cohort began financial planning for the future. One-fifth believes debt should be avoided at all costs. Growing up through the Great Recession, Gen Z is naturally nervous about finances.

Solution: Emphasize your deals. While humor and entertainment will draw your customers in, a deal is what will sell them. Groupon is a great way to draw in saving savvy customers. You should also make sure customers can pay through their phone, like roughly half of Gen Z does.

Gen Z is learning from millennials' money mistakes.

Figure 2 Credit: Center for Generational Kinetics

Brand busters.

Growing up along the Occupy Wall Street Movement has made Gen Z concerned about big institutions and corporate greed. Retail stores such as Abercrombie & Finch have been doing poorly with the thrift store generation, since Gen Z cares more about the quality of the product than the brand that produces them. The internet allows access to countless brands, most with consumer reviews so these young consumers can find the best deal. Overall, 90 percent of customers read a review before going to a business.

Solution: People Promoters. While Gen Z may not trust brands, they do trust people. Not exactly celebrities, but real people who have gained a following on Twitter and other social media. Copious YouTubers big and small, like Domics, are known for having sponsored content at the end of their videos. They don’t have to be an all-star, anyone within your niche market should help get your game on.

TV turn-off.

Growing up online has made Gen Z aware of their options. The average amount of time 18-24 year olds watch TV has fallen by 10 hours since 2011, according to Visual Capitalist. For Gen Z, it’s all about YouTube and Netflix now. And you can bet that they’re on these sites via smartphone, whereas Millennials are more known for using their laptop.

Solution: Go online. Use online ads and social media. Know types of Facebook ads and ways to interact online. The dating app Bumble excels at online interaction by consistently responding to comments and always offering to chat.

Know your generations. Check out how to market to young Millennials or 5 things Millennials want from healthcare.

Write better meta descriptions and improve CTR [with cute animals].

Write better meta descriptions and improve CTR
Credit: Just Wow Me [Youtube]

Personally, I dread writing meta descriptions. I really do. So to make the process easier, I included several priceless animals for your viewing pleasure. You’re welcome.

Meta descriptions are a long-debated art. Unwritten, Google will generate a meta description for you. While this might save you time, the loss of control could cost you clicks. A meta description is really a pitch to prove your site is worth looking at. If it falls flat, so will your click through rate (CTR). Here are 6 tips for writing better meta descriptions

First off, what is a meta description?

Write better meta descriptions and improve CTR

Great. So how do you write a good meta description? One that works? Gets clicks? Glory? Here’s what research says.

  1. Include a meta description.

    Despite nay-sayers, meta descriptions do impact SEO, albeit indirectly. Descriptions convince readers to click a link, which improves CTR, which is a major factor in Google’s SEO. Basically, a meta description needs to impress readers. And readers expect it to be there.

    Write better meta descriptions and improve CTR
    Credit: Pexels

  2. Short and sweet.

    Think Twitter efficiency, 140-155 characters or less. Personally, I usually test my descriptions to see if they fit the bill. Google doesn’t measure the word length, it measures pixels. So it measures the amount of space you take up, as opposed to the words themselves. This also means the search engine won’t catch onto any keywords, so don’t sweat it if your phrasing doesn’t match the common search terms.

    Write better meta descriptions and improve CTR
    Credit: Pexels

  3. Keyword balance.

    Some people make their meta description a list of keywords: meta description, CTR, how to, improve meta description. Others have zero keywords: OMG! This article will change your life! Both are wrong. Remember, a list of keywords won’t factor into your SEO and only makes your link look boring. You want some key phrases so readers know what they’re looking at. Too many make you look desperate for clicks.

    Write better meta descriptions and improve CTR
    Credit: JJ Harrison

  4. Differentiate.

    You don’t want the same meta description for all of your sites. Readers want something unique, just like your content. From a meta description, readers should know exactly what they’re clicking on, and what to expect.


    Credit: Pexels

  5. Action language.

    You want your readers to take the same action: click on the link. A good way to do this is to include verbs, which get more shares. Promise an achievable goal, or a piece of knowledge that’s one click away. See more statistics on action-oriented language here.

    Write better meta descriptions and improve CTR
    Credit: Pixabay

  6. Re-word your title.

    Since there are only so many keywords to cram into one title, a meta description is a good spot for everything else. It’s your space to re-phrase your content in a creative, eye-catching way. Remember, re-phrasing keywords is for the reader’s benefit, not yours. Since 2009, Google doesn’t factor meta descriptions into its SEO. This means you can break away from analytics and simply write something fun.

    Write better meta descriptions and improve CTR
    Credit: Pexels

Make sure your brand has quality content. Check out 7 ways you can write better blog titles or 5 tips to boost video performance.

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Women choose strong over skinny.

Women choose strong over skinny.

My college-aged nieces regularly post goofy selfies. Some might say unflattering. Eyes crossed, hair wild, tongues lolling. Anything goes. Their friends respond in kind. #photoshopmenot.

We celebrated friend’s birthday recently with a rock climbing trip. It was his 16-year-old daughter’s first experience and the route was fairly technical. My 16-year-old son has been climbing for some time and offered to lead the way, but she wouldn’t have it. “I can figure this out.” And she did, with gleeful bravado and fresh bruises.

My 14-year-old daughter Sofia and her friends broke from studying recently to see who could hold a plank the longest. “You’re so skinny,” one of her friends said to her. That was once the ultimate compliment for a girl, right next to thin and petite.

“I don’t want to be skinny,” Sofia barked. “I want to be strong.”

When Cass Hines, an Australian fitness model shared pics with her 88,000 followers after gaining 18 pounds of muscle, she won twice as many likes as she got from her previous skinny posts.

"Seeing these pics side by side, I can now honestly say that being ‘skinny’ is not what I want anymore," Hines wrote in the caption. "It blows my mind to think what I can do in terms of training and the strength I have gained vs. back then."

Is the female ideal shifting from size to strength? Several brands seem to think so—whether championing the cause or following it. Consider the following related events, from traditional media to the big screen.

Women’s Health Magazine cuts the fat. In response to a reader survey, Women's Health magazine resolved to stop using the words "shrink" and "diet," as well as the phrases "Bikini Body” and “Drop Two Sizes” on any future covers at the beginning of 2016.

Wonder Woman crushes stereotypes. After telling the stories of Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Dr. Strange, Green Hornet, and a host of other male superheroes, Hollywood this year released the first female-centered comic book movie.  It’s also the first-ever live-action film to be directed by a woman with budget of more than $100 million.

Samantha Bee goes Full Frontal. After being the longest-serving regular correspondent on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Bee in 2015 became the first woman to host a late-night satire show. 

Brands go skin deeper. Dove began changing the conversation from outer beauty to inner beauty more than a decade ago. Today’s Barbie is pursuing a STEM career and Always is cheering her on from the sidelines, encouraging girls to step up and take the lead. For more brands empowering women in 2017, check out this blog.

Have you changed the way your brand communicates with female consumers? What’s working and why?

7 ways you can write better blog titles.

7 ways you can write better blog titles.

If you don’t like spending hours to think of a four word title, you’re not alone. Creating a good title is work, especially with the added pressure to drive traffic to your blog or website. So, if you want to increase click through rates (CTR) and conquer the search engine results page (SERP), read on.

  1. Use these words.

    When it comes to the five w’s, headlines with the word “who” generate a 22 percent higher CTR than those without it. Clarification can also boost CTR. Bracketed clarification in your title, such as [Podcast] or [Video] perform 38 percent better than headlines without.

  2. Avoid these words.

    Readers won’t click on “amazing” content because they know it’s probably not. In a world of clickbait, readers are more choosy about what they read. Words like: amazing, magic, best, simple, secret, and trick, saw a decreased CTR. “Tip” saw a CTR drop of 59 percent, and “how to” dropped by 49 percent. Additionally, “why” saw a 37 percent drop.

  3. Don’t lie.

    Of course, this mostly applies to clickbait. Social media sites like Facebook are working to remove fake news and false articles from consumer feeds. While flashy advertisement might get more clicks in the short term, over time it creates a sense of distrust in the consumer. With more people catching on, clickbait could get users to avoid you for life.

  4. Promise something.

    A reader should know exactly what they’re getting from a title. It should give something, something the reader wants, and deliver it. If your topic is way out of left field, make sure you mention it in the title. A study of popular titles like Buzzfeed, Huffington Post and Vox revealed 67 percent contained an unknown new concept.

  5. Use numbers.

    Going along with gifts, numbers help the reader know exactly what to expect. How many tips do you need? Should you include five tips or 26? Surprisingly, odd number tend to increase CTR. In fact, research shows that we struggle to process more than nine items in a row. So nine or seven might be a good way to go.

  6. Make it eight words long.

    Often, we’re told to keep titles short and sweet. Yet an outbrian study showed that titles with eight words received a 21 percent higher CTR compared to other lengths. If you can’t make it eight words exactly, don’t worry. In a HubSpot study, 8-12 word titles got the most Twitter shares and 12-14 words received the most Facebook likes.

  7. Stand out and  fit in.

    “9 ways to improve your SEO.”  Or “How to market to Millennials.” We’ve all seen these before. But does that make these titles old news or seasoned veterans? There’s a tug-of-war with titles: the need to appeal to our audience vs the pull of being artistic. Fortunitely, you can do a little bit of both. You can be accurate and follow these tips while adding some flavor. Keep your brand persona in mind, keep it honest, and keep it fun.

Need more content tips? Take a look at 5 tips to boost video performance and what you need to know about voice activated search and SEO.

Weekly Recap - June 23, 2017

Got an AJA Cion HD camera? We don’t either, but thankfully you can use an iPhone to shoot high quality web content. How’s your Instagram? If you’re looking for more followers, you’ve come to the right place. There’s a new trend in the digital world, and it’s all about CMOs. Finally, cupcakes. They have untold marketing power.

DETAILS, Please

How to make an iPhone video: a step-by-step guide. You might know that video is important, but you’re still asking the big question: how?

How to increase your Instagram followers & sales. Are you tired of posting Instagram updates to the same 100 or 500 followers? Perhaps your sales from Instagram are stagnant.

6 digital trends business owners need to be paying attention to right now. Digital marketing evolves every day, forcing all leaders to keep up of fall behind.

The greatest marketing growth hack of all time. It’s official: cupcakes are better than iPads. And they can help ramp up customer engagement.

Meanwhile, back at the RANCH

5 tips to boost video performance. You don’t need to do research to know that videos are going viral. Here are five tips to get clicks and make your video content shine.

Wendy’s gets real. Twitter goes wild. And sales? Sass is subjective. We know authenticity connects, but how straight fire must our posts be to win the hearts of our consumers?

THE Topic of conversation

Communicating with Visuals - Visual communication. Did you know that 93 percent of communication is visual? Amplify your marketing and discover how your brand can communicate visually. Download our latest free guide, "Communicating with Visuals."

SHARING is CARING

Like what you see? Share the Brogan Recap.

What you need to know about voice activated search and SEO.

What you need to know about voice activated search and SEO.

Just when you thought you had the whole SEO thing down, the internet shifts to voice activation search. ComScore predicts that 50 percent of all searches will be voice activated by 2020. Users tend to search differently when typing versus speaking, so your content will need to be optimized for both the written and spoken word. Brace yourself. It’s about to get vocal.

Last year, voice activated search on popular engine Google reached 20 percent. That’s a 13 percent increase from just six months ago. And as speech recognition improves (errors have dropped from 20 to 8 percent in two years, according to the Search Engine Journal), demand follows. So to any deniers, voice activation isn’t just on its way. It’s here.

How voice activation affects search.

When a consumer wants to know who the president of Uzbekistan is, she might type “Uzbekistan president” while she may say “Who is the president of Uzbekistan?” (It’s Shavkat Mirziyoyev, by the way.) She may also misspell or mispronounce the subject. All of these factors play a role in the search results. So, we’ll have to learn to include phrases that are more speech-friendly. It’s also a good idea to include mispronunciations of brands names because, we won’t always get it right.

Remember the five Ws.

Who, what, where, when, and why? These are key phrases that often appear in speech, but not so often in type. “Alexa, where is Mont Rushmore?” (Black Hills National Forest, South Dakota.) “Alexa, how much is a gallon of milk?” (About $1.81.) Including these words in your SEO will help your search optimization. Outside the five Ws, any sort of conversational phrasing will increase as voice activated searches become more common. “What is 67 times 50?”  “Where is the nearest gas station?” (3,350 yards, and it’s probably a Speedway.) Google is working tirelessly to improve its voice recognition to recognize these sorts of phrases. So, do like Google.

Use common language.

Google is pushing to have computers understand common language, so we will have to do the same. For example, if someone asks for recipes for spaghetti, Google would find recipes for spaghetti. If the person follows up with the query, “show me pictures of it,” Google will understand that the speaker is referring to the spaghetti, and not the creepy clown movie. In the same way, Google will begin to understand phrases using I, me, and my. Moving forward, we’ll have to prepare for even more of these changes.

Schema Makeup is here to help.

Schema Makeup is going to be a big help during this adjustment. Created by a collaborated team between Google, Yahoo, and Bing, the software was designed by users to create a better experience. Schema will tell the search engine what your data means, and not just what it says. And thankfully, this doesn’t require any new coding skills. You only need to add the proper vocabulary to the HTML Microdata.

No one said change is going to be easy. But at least as the internet expands, change is getting easier. With these tips, voice activated searches don’t have to be the end of the world.

Still looking to optimize your internet prowess? Check out our Weekly Recap, which features even more online info.

To snap or not to snap: the pros and cons of Snapchat.

To snap or not to snap: the pros and cons of Snapchat

Consumers already know this app, and it shows. Snapchat is expected to triple its revenue from the previous year, around $935 million by the end of 2017, according to HubSpot. Despite the potential gains, only 1 percent of marketers take advantage of the app. While Snapchat is a great way to pull in costumers, others have concern over the product’s limited life span. So, is Snapchat right for you? Consider the pros and cons.

PRO: Experiencing your product.

On Snapchat, it’s all about the experience.  All social media channels allow consumers to interact with your brand. But with Snapchat, they get to see a more laid-back, slice-of-life look to your product. Consumers can experience the buffet at your fundraiser, or the sunny skyline the morning of your work conference. Glances at corporate lifecreate an intimate feel between the business and the consumer. This trust boosts your credibility with Millennials in particular, who value authenticity over content (Forbes).

PRO: Geofilters.                                     

Area-specific filters, or geofilters, cover a geographically bound area known as a geofence. Anyone within the geofence can use your geofilter, and it’s a great way to tell potential customers you’re in the area. A cute design with your logo makes it fun for customers to advertise your business on their Snapchat story. And unlike an ad, participants share their personal experience with your business through selfies and group photos.

Geofilter

PRO: Great for sales and promotions.

Snapping customers directly is a great way to promote sales and other exclusive material. The app also allows the consumer to communicate with you, by either replying to your story or snapping you personally. Additionally, many promotions require consumers to snap themselves with your product. There’s nothing better than having the customer do the advertising for you. One of Starbucks’ original promotions on Snapchat was to snap a pic with their product for a chance to win free Starbucks for life.

Starbucks promotion

CON: Limited audience.

According to Snapchat, the average user is between 12 and 34 years-old. Depending on your company, this may not be your target audience. However, this doesn’t mean Snapchat isn’t worth a shot. Facebook, a site originally for college students, is now used by 62 percent of the adult population. So like any other social media, its usage will only grow as older generations catch up with new technology.

CON: Lack of analytics.

The analytics for Snapchat are still a bit in the works. Unfortunately, there is no like or share feature that lets you measure the success of your content. The only way to interact with viewers is through views and screenshots. There is a breakdown to see who saw each portion or clip of your story, as well as who took a picture of it. These “ratings” are the only source of feedback.

CON: Timing.

While you personally can save your snaps and videos, consumers will only be able to see the content on your story for 24 hours. And because content disappears so quickly, youmight have to upload content daily. The most important thing is to keep your content balanced, leaning more heavily on the interesting than sales.

It’s important to decide whether or not Snapchat fits into your business. Unlike other social media, what makes Snapchat unique is that consumers need to come to you. Unlike an ad, which is brought to the consumer, Snapchat requires the choice of the consumer to click and see your content. This can work to your advantage- getting the customer to say yes to your advertising is the first step to getting them to say yes to your product. And in the online world, it’s those little clicks that matter.

How to find a rainbow at the end of a troll storm.

"That's 2017."

This from my 14-year-old daughter, Sofia, in response to my confusion over trolls who litter the Money Diaries website.

Launched in 2016, Money Diaries is a website featuring more than 100 diaries from women who chronicle their spending over a week's time. The writers give an intimate look inside their lives as they share daily choices to work their budgets. Women, mostly Millennial women, are addicted to the site for its authenticity and transparency.

Others love it just to hate it.

Like "Heroic Eye," who wrote this in response to "A Week in New York on a $53,000 Salary:"

"These are not meals. Also, she literally drinks alcohol 6 out of the 7 days she recorded info for this series. There's a hella lot of coffee with not a lot on her stomach (so she can feel awake). And most of the nights she listed, she doesn't get home until 12:30-2:30am (even though the majority of her mornings begin between 7-8am)."

"Fresh Heart" had this to say about the same diary after another reader defended the author.

"Hey — you put it out there in a PUBLIC article, you will get judged. It's not like we're breaking into her apartment and judging her. She wrote it up and published it online for all to read, so shut up. That's asking for judgment."

Blame it on the anonymity of the internet or the juiced up political environment. Whatever the prompt, trolls are inescapable. Even puppies aren't immune. Sofia showed me a YouTube post where a girl proudly introduced her new ball of canine cuddliness. Someone actually accused her of being a cat-hater.

Even puppies aren't safe from trolls.

If puppy posts aren't safe from scrutiny, neither is your brand. If you're on social media or you host a blog, chances are, you've already met a few trolls.

Campbell's sparked a troll frenzy after featuring a real-life gay couple and their toddler son in an ad. A woman named Jessica from the ultra-conservative group "One Million Moms" sparked the feud, posting on Campbell's Facebook page: "I'm so sick of this homosexual agenda, you sell soup… Please take your ad down or you will not have a company anymore!"

Campbell's responded with a statement supporting families of "different configurations, cultures, races and life choices."

Things got really interesting when someone set up a fake Facebook Page "Campbell For Help" to troll the troller. "My word, Jessica. That's quite a leap. While we at Campbell's Kitchen take pride in being empathetic, we are finding it hard to empathize with your vantage point. Would you just prefer we send you some of our classic tomato soup? It's real soup-er?"

Four tactics to tackle trolls.

You can't count on a white knight troll to save your brand from such attacks. So, if you've not already established a plan to manage negative posts, get to it. Your plan should include at least four basic tactics—watch, ignore, engage and employ.

  1. Watch. Take a deep breath and see if any fans come to your defense. There's nothing better than a loyal fan fighting for your honor.

  2. Ignore it. Sometimes the best course of action is to do nothing at all. This is especially true when the troll's comments are especially outlandish. Your followers know the difference between a rant and a true injustice. You're a big brand. You can take a few hits without damaging your reputation. For courage, visit the social media channels of airlines, hospital systems and utility companies. Pacific Gas & Electric didn't engage with the conversation below, however tempting.

  3. Engage with it. When people feel wronged today, they're more likely to post on social media than pick up the phone. If you're in the business of serving customers, your Facebook page is most importantly an extension of your customer service team. Customers expect swift and thoughtful action.

    When your brand is in the wrong, own up to it and use the opportunity to deepen your customer relationships. Kroger gets it. The community managers there are prompt and courteous. The proof is in the posts. Once the team responds, most conversations are wrapped up in a tidy bow. Here's just one of hundreds of recent exchanges:

  4. Learn from it. In addition to vanity metrics—likes, shares, follows—brands should be using social media to manage customer satisfaction and referrals. Your social following is a living, consuming focus group. Use their input to discover flaws and realize opportunities. Find the rainbow at the end of a troll storm. Cue Target.

    When the superstore announced plans to scrub stores of extraneous gender-based signage—boys' toys, girls' bedding, etc.—the trolls marched all over Target's Facebook Page, fuming about political correctness and threatening boycott.

    Target followed up months later with another controversial move, welcoming customers to use the bathroom and fitting room in accordance with their gender identities.The bold move was likely advanced, in part, by the enormous support the retailer received on social after the earlier gender-neutral signage brouhaha. The waters had been tested. They were ready to go full inclusion, knowing full well that it would ignite a vigorous social media debate.

Got a troll nipping at your brand? Use it to the best of your brand's ability. Need help managing your social media channels? These apps are a good start.

Money Diaries is the Millennial woman's Bridget Jones.

Money Diaries is the Millennial woman's Bridget Jones.

I wonder what’s in her wallet?

That’s the gist “Money Diaries” at Refinery29, a New York-based website that publishes the daily personal financial decisions of Millennial women. Think Bridget Jones Diaries for the gal who cares more about stretching a dollar than a donut.

For those unfamiliar with the fictional Bridget Jones, she measured a day’s success based on the amount of calories, alcohol and cigarettes she consumed. She’d chronicle her intake painstakingly—and defensively—like this account marked January 1:

“129 lbs. (but post-Christmas), alcohol units 14 (but effectively covers 2 days as 4 hours of party was on New Year's Day), cigarettes 22, calories 5424.”

Money Diaries features a seven-day snapshot of mostly Millennial women as they work assorted budgets in mostly high-end cities. The site presently features a recent grad who struggles to live on a $50,000 ($2,430/month) in New York City. A sample entry:

“I stop in CVS to pick up toothbrushes, toothpaste, and my birth control. Unfortunately, my health insurance doesn't cover my particular birth control, so I have to pay out-of-pocket every month. It's getting expensive, so I make a mental note to call my gynecologist this week to talk about other options. (Hello, IUD!) $84.13.”

Launched in 2016, Money Diaries hosts more than 100 diaries of women with various income levels and lifestyles—salaried, interns, students, travelers, mothers and brides-to-be. Followers live vicariously through the protagonists’ money decisions (Starbucks or free work coffee?). Some readers even weigh in, posting to The Conversation. Like this one from “Peaceful Phone:”

“I admire your decisions to pay off your student loans so quickly! I'm too nervous to give up the money I saved while living at home. It's nice to have a cushion for those unexpected expenses, but these student loans are brutal.”

Money has long been a sensitive, even taboo topic. The popularity of Money Diaries suggests that today’s Millennial women are ready, if not eager, to talk candidly about personal finance. This spells opportunity for banks and credit unions to build trust and confidence with this desirable cohort.

Not sure where to begin? First, get better acquainted with the Millennial woman. Get to know her preferences, values and key purchasing motivators. This blog is a good place to start.

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