Pinterest the travel guide: Nashville edition

Pinterest the travel guide: Nashville edition

I recently went to Nashville for the weekend and I owe our successful trip all to Pinterest! Usually, I look solely to Instagram for travel recommendations. Instagram users find the coolest and often hidden gems in cities, and then are able to share the exact location for other users to find! However, for Nashville, I found that Pinterest was a great platform for bloggers to share sample itineraries for weekend trips. Screen Shot 2017-06-22 at 2.00.06 AM

Even though it rained about 99% of our weekend, we were definitely able to make the most of our trip! Here are some of my favorite places we visited:

Draper James: First, I am obsessed with all things Southern and Draper James is classic Southern style. Second, Reese Witherspoon has been one of my role models ever since I can remember. She’s an amazing actress and businesswoman. And third, we actually got to meet her and she was so nice. So. Nice.

ACME Feed and Seed: ACME is a four story factory turned into a restaurant, bar and concert venue. This place was packed with both tourists and locals, and I definitely know why. You could easily spend your whole night in this one building. The rooftop bar had a great view of the river and city, while the ground floor had delicious drinks and food, as well as a live band.

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Murals: We hit a few of the most popular ones, but they are located literally all over the city. Murals are one of my favorite newer city trends. They’re art that everyone can relate to, while also livening up the area. I saw most of these on Instagram first, but some blogs from Pinterest helped me find their location!

Biscuit Love: I had heard so much about this brunch place online and from friends-of-friends, so we had to try it. The “bonuts” are definitely not overrated and worth every second of the wait in line. Get there early to avoid a line around the block!

The Broadway Strip: I feel like everyone should experience this at least once their life. The street is lined with huge neon signs and every bar is at least two stories high (most are three or four!). Each bar has multiple cover bands playing on each floor. We loved exploring the four floors of Honky Tonk Central, the old school car hung on the wall at Nudie’s and the party scene at The Stage.

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Antique Archeology: I was a History minor in college, so I’m a huge fan of the American Pickers show on the History Channel. My parents and I used to watch all day marathons on the weekends when I still lived at home. I had to include their Nashville store location on my Nashville list and I wasn’t disappointed! They had some crazy items, as well as tons of show merchandise for fans of the show.

The Loveless Cafe: The Loveless was one of those things that I knew was famous, but wasn’t sure why. Every famous country music artist has been and taken a picture there. While it is actually a little bit of drive out of the city, it was definitely worth the trip. The food was amazing and it was fun to learn about it’s history in its shops during the wait. It was originally one of the few stops on Highway 100 in the 1950s and has been famous for its Southern food ever since.

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More of Pinterest’s Nashville highlights include:

  • The Pancake Pantry
  • The Pharmacy
  • Pedal Tavern
  • Country Music Hall of Fame
  • The Grand Ole Opry
  • The Parthenon
  • Pinewood Social
  • Hattie B’s

Cause marketing: Who’s doing it right from a millennial’s perspective

It’s no big news that cause marketing is in right now. However, companies need to be vigilant about how their cause-marketing-related messages come across to consumers. Growing up around constant advertising, the Millennial generation has been conditioned to ignore and filter out messages from companies, resulting in a bit more cynicism than our predecessors. This cynicism gives us the ability to know if a company actually has good intentions or just wants to stay in the market with a false “do-gooder” appearance. I loved this article from DigiDay, talking about how cause marketing has been a little of “too much of a good thing” recently, or as some call it “causewashing.”

The companies that are correctly using cause marketing (no BS motives detected) are either: 1) essentially the ones that created the movement in the first place or 2) are dedicated to their causes without making it their only marketing strategy. When corporate social responsibility has been built into the core of a company’s brand identity, we’re all about it. The ultimate key to cause marketing is transparency about the cause and what exactly the company is doing it for it. Unfortunately for some, donating a mere 5% of proceeds to an obscure charity isn’t good enough anymore; we want to see real change from a company if they claim to have an impressive CSR policy.

Brands doing it right:

  • LUSH Cosmetics: LUSH is one of my all time favorite cosmetic brands and they are champion cause-marketers. Their charities directly align with their products in such a way that the product is made to work with the cause itself. For example, they are combating and bringing awareness to animal testing and harmful cosmetic ingredients simply by selling their products. While their whole business platform is a cause in itself, they also sell Charity Pots where a percentage of proceeds go to a specific charity.
  • Patagonia: Patagonia is one of the most transparent brands out there and they’re dedicated to their causes without making it their only marketing strategy. Most recently, they created an entire support campaign for Standing Rock, featuring almost no branding at all. This Standing Rock feature was the homepage for days. Patagonia has mastered the cause/product/content marketing balance.
  • Toms: Even with some recent backlash, the Tom’s brand story comes across as genuine and well-intentioned. In my opinion, Toms is one of the top brands that started this recent cause marketing trend in the first place. The Tom’s website incorporates photos of the children they assist on almost every page and the Toms employees giving them away, which is key. Consumers see the Toms brand actively working to help the cause themselves, not just a check sent in the mail. The One-for-One business model and tagline was crucial in the success of this 2006 startup. Consumers feel as though they have personally helped an in-need individual and changed a life by purchasing shoes for themselves.
  • Alex and Ani: Alex and Ani has so many things going right for them. All of their jewelry is eco-conscious, meaning both the materials used and production methods are sustainable. All of their products are made in America, which is a cause in and of itself. They also feature several “Charity By Design” collections, where a portion of the sales are donated to specific charities. Even with the various aspects of an amazing cause-marketing platform, they barely advertise it.
  • KIND: I really like KIND because they have really integrated their brand identity around just the name itself and I love their message. The food is kind for your body and the brand encourages kindness in the world. The Kind Foundation aids those superheroes in local communities that genuinely care about helping other people.

Pro tip: Never post anything like “For every Share, we’ll donate…” I hate this. It sounds like you are withholding money that could be doing the world a lot of good ransom for likes and shares. If you are that desperate for engagement, I would much more respect a company that would post something like, “We have this amount of money and we want to know who our customers want us to give it to! Vote here!” Voting or commenting allows you to reach your audience and fosters engagement, without seeming like you’re withholding money just for attention.

Here’s an infographic from an AdWeek article that I found to really ring true, at least in my opinion.

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March 12, 2017 AdWeek Article by Emma Bazilian

Wendy’s is savage and Twitterverse loves it

I know I’m not the first person to acknowledge how Wendy’s Twitter account is hilarious, but I wanted to address how I love it as a digital marketing strategy for the company.

Wendy’s understands who Twitter users are and how they utilize it as a platform. While there are Twitter users all over the demographic spectrum, the most active users are the millennial generation and younger. Millennials were the innovators that first made Twitter successful in its launch in 2006 and continue to consider it as one of their favorite platforms. Millennials largely use Twitter to: 1) talk about politics 2) complain about things and 3) share jokes and memes. Wendy’s marketing team has gone with #3 and ran with it. 

The overarching goal of a social media campaign is to create an online community around your brand, where you can facilitate discussion about the brand in a positive light. Nothing gets millennials talking more than a savage fast food company tweeting insults and “clapbacks” about its competitors. This clever use of brand personification makes millennials want to be Wendy’s best friend. This guy even wanted to hookup with Wendy’s, to which they replied “We are literally a restaurant.” 

If you haven’t seen Wendy’s Twitter yet, here’s one of my favorite videos that compiled the best of the best examples of Wendy’s tweets:

Insta the travel guide: Atlanta edition

I love doing “Insta the travel guide” posts for two reasons. 1) I get to spread the word about how one can use social media platforms to your advantage while traveling! 2) I try to convey to the marketing world and business owners the importance of the use of social media platforms to reach certain markets. For many like me, if we can’t find your business online, we can’t find your business in person.

My first blog post ever was about how I used the Instagram account, ATL Bucket List, to make the most out of my summer in the city! Now, I wanted to do a separate post about my favorite places I found through Instagram! ATL Bucket List and the Atlanta Places tag were great places to start, as well as stalking friends’ and family’s  accounts! Here are my top 9 places in Atlanta!

1. Murals: I am the most stereotypical millennial and loved the murals. They are all over the city and this Instagram account tells you where they all are! My friends from school came to visit and I dragged them all over the city to see them. This particular one is in the heart of the Edgewood neighborhood and definitely my favorite of the ones we saw!

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2. Jackson Street Bridge: This was by far the hardest place to find because most people don’t like tagging its exact location, but I found it! This bridge has the best cityscape view in the city (that I found so far)! Hopefully this helps someone else who had seen it pictures, but couldn’t find it!

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3. High Museum of Art:  I don’t live under a rock. I had heard about the High before, but the photos in the Places tag made me want to go! I wouldn’t say I am “into” art, but I loved exploring this place!

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4. Chattahoochee Coffee Company: In the back of a gated apartment community, there is the cutest coffee place with the BEST view in Atlanta (ITP!) Pull up to the call box, say “Coffee!” and they’ll buzz you in!

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5. Atlanta History Center: While the museum itself was very interesting, the best part is the Swan House out back and its gardens! I had seen photos of this place and had to find it. It’s absolutely gorgeous and a must-see while in Atlanta! It was once owned by the (very rich) Inman family in the 1930s. Today, it’s known for that the Hunger Games was filmed there!

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6. Sweet Auburn Curb Market: Definitely one of the coolest places I’ve been! Sweet Auburn Curb Market was started in 1918 after the Great Atlanta Fire of 1917, as part of the area’s revitalization efforts. Today, you can find really affordable produce and meats, as well as shop at various food court style restaurants! I highly recommend Bell Street Burritos, a local business similar to Barberito’s and Moe’s!

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7. Monday Night Brewing: Although one of the big three breweries in Atlanta, I initially found Monday Night through a friend’s Instagram and I had to go see the tie wall! While I wasn’t the hugest fan of their beer selection (I’m not a fan of really hoppy beer), it has a great atmosphere and hilarious tour guides. Tucked away in West Midtown, this a must try for a fun evening out!

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8. Midtown: Midtown is an obvious must-see, but a picture with the sign in Colony Square is a must-do while in Atlanta! Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

9. Georgia Aquarium: This one is cheating because I interned there this summer and I didn’t find it on Instagram, but it is definitely an Atlanta must-see and their Instagram is always on point. One of my favorite things I’ve ever done was getting to take a yoga class in front of Ocean Voyager! Processed with VSCO with se2 preset

The best thing that has ever happened to me in my life was catching this cutie’s attention and snapping this awesome picture of our staring contest! I love beluga whales.

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These are my top 9 spots in the city! What are your favorite spots in Atlanta?

Wine down in Braselton, Georgia

This weekend, I convinced my friends to come with me to try out Chateau Elan! (Just kidding, they were down immediately; no convincing was needed.) I found out about Chateau Elan through a friend of a friend a while ago and it went straight on my bucket list!

I had done some research ahead of time on their Facebook for information and their Instagram for the unspoken dress code, so I had a pretty solid idea of what to expect and I was not disappointed! If you know anything about me, I always check social media before going somewhere. Even just photos can tell us so many things about a place! A website is what the company wants you to see; social media is what other consumers want you to see (with a little guidance from the company, of course).

Chateau Elan is ensuring that all customers leave with newfound knowledge and new experiences, no matter what level of wine connoisseur you may be! We loved it and I would definitely recommend it for a girls day with friends or date night! We did the 8 tastings + the tour for $25 package. Upon arrival, they give you an informational sheet about the different wines they offer and their descriptions, as well as a pen to mark off which ones you tried. The tour lasted about 30 minutes, and I don’t think I’ve ever learned so much in 30 minutes before in my life. I really appreciated how the tour informed guests on the wine-making process, as well as the wine-tasting process for the beginners! The tour guides and bartenders are doing an amazing job of reinforcing the overall brand and its desired experience. We got a quick description of every single pour and you could tell that each one knew their stuff and really wanted you to enjoy the experience. The atmosphere was absolutely beautiful, inside and out. Overall, a great way to spend a Saturday!

Cheers!

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Whoops! I spoke too soon; Vine influencer marketing is no more

As you’ve probably already heard, Vine is no more. Even after I just wrote an article raving about the ingeniousness of Vine influencer marketing just last week. Now, everyone’s talking about Twitter’s recent murder of Vine. It’s even the first thing that pops up when you type “what happened” into Google.

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Four days ago, Vine posted this whammy to the public and seemed to take many people by surprise. Vanity Fair did a great job of summarizing what really happened inside Twitter and Vine that led to this ultimate decision.

Vine influencers everywhere are scrambling to relocate their following to other social platforms, so maybe it won’t affect their careers too much. Many of them have already used their Vine accounts to gain fame and are already in the public’s eye. Now, they need to work hard to stay in the limelight. I’m interested to see if their sponsorships will adapt and carry over into their platforms or fizzle out.

Maybe the next big hit app will allow for a new generation of internet famous twenty-somethings??? Maybe I’ll have to try it out and see if I can get a movie role out of it one day.

Is sponsored Snapchat Lens marketing becoming the new norm?

Is it just me or has Snapchat marketing been booming the last couple weeks? Every day that I open the app, there’s a new Sponsored Lens to use. They’ve been marketing everything from new movies to cereal lately and I love it. As a marketing student, it’s interesting to get on and see which brands are trying to reach my demographic. Snapchat marketing is a smart, effective way to reach consumers from 10 year olds to 30 years old. Many consumers in this age range are using Snapchat as a main source of communication, as well as entertainment. I wouldn’t say that all of these Lenses are going to make me go out and buy their products immediately, but it’s great for overall brand awareness.

Some critics feel as though Snapchat is not an effective marketing strategy for products, like consumer goods. I agree that Snapchat is not the place for products like consumer goods IF the company’s goal is to actually sell me the actual product. It improves my opinion of the brand, but not much else. For example, last week on National Coffee Day, I loved Starbucks’ mermaid Lens. They weren’t offering any deals like Dunkin’ Donuts was because let’s be honest, they don’t need to. However, Starbucks was still able to participate in the “holiday” through Snapchat and increase overall brand awareness.

I do think that for products such as movies, it is a very smart move to use Snapchat to try to directly sell me a movie ticket. I think Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children did a great job in their movie promotion. The various filters they created allowed me to generate interest in the product itself. Why does the one with the hat disappear? What does the creepy, razor sharp teeth/mouth for eyes mean?

My advice to brands interested in marketing with Snapchat? The key to Snapchat is making the right Lens (or filter) for your brand or product that engages the consumer. Know ahead of time what you want it to accomplish. Do you want to increase brand awareness for a specific demographic or do you want to sell them your product? Now more than ever, it’s important to note that you shouldn’t just do it because everyone else is doing it. It should contribute to your overall marketing goals and how you want to reach your consumers. It’s also important that you give it you 100% or don’t do it at all. When there are some great Lenses out there, it could reflect negatively of yours is boring. Engage the consumer so that they are inclined to continue to be engaged by looking your product up or ask their friends about it.

Here are a few filters from the past week or so that I’ve rated hot, not and room temperature. Excuse my faces. Most of these were taken on my way to class at 8am. I’m not a morning person.
Hot: 

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Lukewarm: 

      
Not:

Sorry, Chevy. Snapchat is not the place to sell me a car; no matter how “fun” you want the car to seem.
BONUS: This one isn’t Sponsored or anything, but I just think it’s hilarious.