Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 9-28-14

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding focusing on LinkedIn (Photo credit: PowerFormula.net)

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding focusing on LinkedIn (Photo credit: PowerFormula.net)

Our last #SundayMusings that focuses on LinkedIn as we close out “LinkedInMonth” – which turned into two months given the amount of content.  We have focused our #SundayMusings efforts on the professional network over the past few weeks and have our last two “Pin of the Month” entries on the platform as well.  Next week will wrap up our efforts with a new “Tips” article focusing on business/company page recommendations, which follows our personal branding Tips for the network.

Here are the stories that caught our attention over the past few weeks:

#1 – LinkedIn takes steps toward an ad network – via DigiDay.com

Premise: LinkedIn’s recent acquisition of Bizo will help the network vastly improve its business-to-business marketing and will serve as another source of revenue for the platform.  While LinkedIn will not call Bizo a pure ‘ad network’ play, the site will soon be able to sell B2B ads that are more targeted on-site, but also off-site.  The July acquisition takes LinkedIn another giant step forward from past efforts in building ad revenue with more powerful targeting.

Thoughts: LinkedIn’s CEO Jeffrey Weiner seems to continue pushing all the right buttons in moving the platform to the next level.  With a need to now answer to shareholders, the acquisition of Bizo represents another huge opportunity for revenue growth.  Targeted marketing continues to become more and more prevalent, while at the same time, becoming stronger and more efficient thanks to companies like Bizo.

#2 – “33 Tweet-Size LinkedIn Tips You Need to Try” via themuse.com 

Premise: An infographic from Ethos3 provides 33 tips for consideration when looking for improvements to your LinkedIn profile.  Each tip is a quote from someone else’s thoughts and gives credit to said person or company.

Thoughts: There are a lot of good ideas within the infographic.  However, I do want to point out one that doesn’t jive with others here.  I do not agree with #6 – although I am guilty of doing this myself in the past – in the recommendation “Skip the “How do you know this person” step.  Click “Connect” from search results, instead of profiles. @SylvanLane”.  Why do I disagree with this?  Simply scroll down to #19 – “Don’t use automated invitation messages … @dailymuse”.  There isn’t a way to do both and I would strongly recommend personalizing each invitation that you send out.

#3 – 5 Reasons Sales Professionals Should Publish on LinkedIn via Jeff L. Herrmann on LinkedIn.com 

Premise: The author provides more rationale to use LinkedIn as a publishing platform vs. just using it for your job search.  The five reasons are straightforward, including the ability to position yourself as an expert in your sector and building trust with others.

Thoughts: The one ‘reason’ that caught my attention and got me thinking was Jeff’s last point: “Comments, likes, and views on your published content are a much better endorsement than the skills boxes.”  I thought about this a little bit and it’s an interesting POV.  Specifically to sales professionals, which this article is focused on, this makes a lot of sense.  To the general job seeker, etc. you are going to need those skills listed out on your profile and endorsements from your network.

#4 – “LinkedIn Sales Navigator Goes Mobile and Adds Redesigned Salesforce Features” via Sales.LinkedIn.com 

Premise: LinkedIn launched Sales Navigator earlier this year and have already announced an upgrade with the release of its iOS mobile app.  Following general behaviors in the marketplace, the shift to mobile continues and LinkedIn continues to invest in the platform.  The new LinkedIn Sales Navigator app provides several key benefits: Real-time updates, TeamLink, and Saved accounts and leads.  The app also works directly with Salesforce and includes new features there as well.

Thoughts: A couple of items caught my attention beyond the announcement itself.  First, it drives me crazy when companies release an iOS version of something only.  I completely understand why they do it, but it still drives me a bit batty.  Second, it didn’t go unnoticed that LinkedIn’s own posts continue to drop in Slideshare presentations.

Tweet of the Week:

What I really like about Pam’s podcasts is that she provides an in-depth summary and corresponding write-up with them.  This allows you to read up on what is covered in the podcast and decide whether or not you want to listen, skip around, etc.  The highlights towards the end of article is a quick list of benefits of leveraging LinkedIn.  If you have been following “LinkedIn Month” here on Shore Branding, you know we’re aligned with a lot of these areas.

OK, so this is a little dated at this point, but I wanted to bring the focus to company pages on LinkedIn as this will be the focus of next weekend’s “Tips” write-up.  I couldn’t find an updated Slideshare for 2014 (yet?) but many of the strengths highlighted in the above presentation still exist.  I really like what Dell has done visually on their company page.  Their image has since been updated, with the new Dell page promoting a “#DoMore” campaign.

That wraps up our LinkedIn-geared #SundayMusings for another week!  What caught your attention on the network?  Have a great week!

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 9-14-14

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding focusing on LinkedIn (Photo credit: PowerFormula.net)

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding focusing on LinkedIn (Photo credit: PowerFormula.net)

We continue with our “#LinkedInMonth” today with our second #SundayMusings that focuses on the business social network.  Similar to two weeks ago, here are the top stories of the past few weeks regarding LinkedIn.  Again, if you have an article or recommendations for stories to cover on LinkedIn, let me know and we’ll share in the future.

#1 – How Millennials Can Use LinkedIn – via VirtualSocialMedia.com

Premise: Millennials know all about social media and how to use it, but the one site they should be paying attention to is LinkedIn.  The author offers up several tips on completing a profile and what not to include.  LinkedIn is a powerful tool/resource that can help millennials land their first job.        

Thoughts: This past weekend we covered off on several tips in improving your personal brand on LinkedIn.  Many of said thoughts are highly applicable to millennials entering the work force.  However, you must realize that the network is used by professionals and is much, much different than updating your Twitter and Facebook profiles.      

#2 – “Does your LinkedIn profile lack curb appeal?  Add images and links!” via thesocialmediahat.com 

Premise: If your LinkedIn profile looks like your resume from a Word document, you aren’t leveraging the platform correctly.  The latest updates from LinkedIn allow anyone to make their profile shine.  LinkedIn now allows you to personalize the order of your profile from top to bottom. 

Thoughts: Anyone looking to use LinkedIn for their job search must stay on top of all of the latest and greatest from LinkedIn, as they are continuously updating what is possible for your profile.  There is a great slideshare within the link above as well, providing several tips and examples on how to optimize your profile.    

#3 – The 3 Biggest Mistakes People Make on Twitter and LinkedIn (And How to Fix Them) via blog.hubspot.com 

Premise: The author provides three mistakes that are commonly seen being made on Twitter and LinkedIn and recommendations on how to fix them.  Link baiting and blasting LinkedIn Groups with your thoughts and feedback is one common mistake; instead, join in other conversations and spread your knowledge.  The second LinkedIn mistake commonly made is sending the generic message in invitations to new connections.  Personalizing said message goes a long way to distinguishing yourself vs. others.     

Thoughts: Both LinkedIn-specific recommendations are hard to argue against.  Nothing drives me crazier than the link baiting that goes on under comments and updates in Groups.  People that simply add a “Hi” or “Thanks” and a link to their site underneath a popular status update is a great way to annoy your audience and get blocked. 

I also believe in customizing the text in your connection invitation.  Personalize your message to something that is more relevant for each individual person.  The 90 seconds it takes to do this will go a long way.  

#4 – “8 Brilliant Ways To Get Your LinkedIn Account Restricted/Suspended” via exploreB2B.com 

Premise: LinkedIn is one of the greatest ways for businesses to build their leads and contacts.  In a somewhat sarcastic way, the writer puts together eight ways to ruin your business’ reputation on the network.  Building off of #3 above at the personal level, using your business page to spam your audience is a great way to draw negative attention to yourself.    

Thoughts: The eight examples provided by the writer are all “fun” ways to annoy an audience.  Sadly, you likely see examples of each every time you check into the network.  Tip number 3 – “Clone yourself” – is one of the most confusing elements I have seen on LinkedIn and it simply drives me crazy when I do.  Which of these are your “favorite”?    

#5 – “The One New LinkedIn Feature That Will Make Your Profile Stand Out” via William Arruda on LinkedIn.com 

Premise: LinkedIn rolled out a new feature for Premium members in recent months – the ability to add a background image to your profile.  This feature will eventually become available to all users and is a great way to distinguish yourself from others with an eye catching visual.  If you want to build/improve your personal brand on the network, this is certainly one of the best features to do so.    

Thoughts: The author provides the appropriate specs (1400*425 pixels) for your background image and several other recommendations to improve your branding efforts on your profile.  For my background I actually went ahead and created a word cloud based on my work experience and expertise areas.  Think about what works for you and get started with a new background image on your profile – it truly does/will set you apart right now on the network.    

Tweet of the Week:

Author Barry Moltz has a new book called “How to Get Unstuck: 25 Ways to Get Your Business Growing Again” and LinkedIn Influencer Dave Kerpen – CEO of Likeable Media – spoke with Moltz on his ideation of how to get your business growing again, avoiding drop-offs and plateaus. 

First, these are very solid ideas for growing your business.  Second, Kerpen is a ‘must follow’ on LinkedIn if you aren’t already.  

That’s it for this week’s musings.  If you have or see a write-up on LinkedIn and you think it be helpful for others, send it my way and I’ll include it in the next #SundayMusings!

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 8-31-14

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding focusing on LinkedIn (Photo credit: PowerFormula.net)

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding focusing on LinkedIn (Photo credit: PowerFormula.net)

Today is our first of two #SundayMusings that will focus squarely on LinkedIn as we continue our unofficial “LinkedIn month” here on Shore Branding. As we started in last weekend’s “Pin of the Month”, each of the next few weeks’ worth of blog entries will focus on LinkedIn, including forthcoming “Tips” articles for individuals and businesses. If you have an article or recommendations on LinkedIn, send it our way over the next few weeks, as the next #SundayMusings in two weeks will also focus on the professional networking site.

For now, here are the stories that caught my attention over the past few weeks:

#1 – The 5 Most Important LinkedIn Features You Aren’t Using Correctly – via Forbes.com 

Premise: As LinkedIn continues to evolve, new features and benefits are made available. However, users fail to keep up with these updates to optimize their LinkedIn profiles. The author offers up five features that are commonly being misused, or not used at all. Each tip is followed up with a recommendation or prime example on how to make the most of your profile/account.

Thoughts: As mentioned in several other #SundayMusings, LinkedIn offers up the second strongest Groups / Communities feature on social media, second to only Google+. At the very least, you should be joining these LinkedIn Groups to find relevant/pertinent information that relates directly to your field of work.

The second of the author’s five tips that I wanted to call out is the use of multi-media. When LinkedIn started, you couldn’t do a lot with multi-media … OK, you couldn’t do anything in this realm. However, now you have the ability to link to web sites, videos, SlideShare presentations, etc. Take advantage of these opportunities on your profile.

#2 – “10 LinkedIn tips Every Business Can Benefit From” via impactbnd.com 

Premise: Businesses often create their LinkedIn page … and then walk away from it and let it exist on its own. The author puts together a list of tips and thoughts on how to better use the platform from a business page perspective. Each tip is followed by a relevant quote from various sources and publications.

Thoughts: I have purposefully focused the first two articles here on personal and business-related tips, as this is how we will be breaking down our own Tips articles in the coming weeks.

The first two tips here – “connect with a purpose” and “employ consistent branding” should be the backbone to your efforts on LinkedIn. The one tip here to be careful/cautious on, “involve your employees”. We have seen this bite company pages in the collective … too often. It is incredibly easy to add and remove access to your business page, but it is easier to set guidelines with employees that you have the utmost trust in ahead of time to ensure there are no fires that need to be put out because of someone saying/publishing something dumb or controversial on behalf of your company name.

#3 – 10 Reasons Why You Should Publish Content on LinkedIn via TopDogSocialMedia.com  

Premise: For some time, only LinkedIn Influencers were able to publish their content on the network. However, that has changed and anyone with a profile can use the platform to publish their work, which in turn creates a number of benefits and value for users. The author has created a list of reasons to consider publishing your content on LinkedIn.

Thoughts: This is a fantastic, in-depth look at a specific part of LinkedIn that you or your business can focus on. The third (“LinkedIn might promote you”) and fourth (“Reach your 2nd and 3rd level connection”) really stood out to me as the added benefit and value of using LinkedIn.

Are you using the publishing platform? If so, what is your opinion of it?

#4 – “LinkedIn vs. Facebook for Professionals: A Social Media Smackdown” via Inc.com 

Premise: While Facebook may have approximately three times as many users vs. LinkedIn (900 million vs. 300 million respectively), the latter is clearly the better network for business professionals. The author provides a rundown of why and how LinkedIn is superior to Facebook when thinking about attracting right audience, in this case, business professionals.

Thoughts: I personally liked the head to head comparisons on each of the points. I also give credit to the author for giving a tie to LinkedIn and Facebook on the company pages aspect and not just giving LinkedIn the advantage because that was the overall tone/point of the article.

#5 – “Top Content Marketers Call On LinkedIn” via SocialMediaFrontiers.com  

Premise: The push towards content and current news stories (LinkedIn Today) have become more prevalent on the network in recent months. The UK based company Collective Content has been monitoring these changes and provides perspective on how important LinkedIn is becoming to businesses.

Between LinkedIn Today and the page’s Influencer program, the potential for the platform continues to grow. Collective Content believes that LinkedIn can be a publishing powerhouse and prime news source for its members.

Thoughts: Again, we find more information and detail on how LinkedIn can be leveraged as a prime source for news and relevant content. It is quite amazing how LinkedIn has moved away from being simply an online resume to a content curator and relevant source of information across businesses and markets.

Tweet of the Week:

We couldn’t get through this #SundayMusings without a mention of SlideShare. The LinkedIn-owned site is now free to use for everyone. Beginning in September, they will be rolling out “Pro” features to everyone at a one per month rate for new users, while Pro members/subscribers will no longer be charged beginning next month.

With that in mind, below you will find one of the best SlideShare presentations I’ve seen on the basics of LinkedIn. I thought it was important to start with the basics in our first #SundayMusings dedicated to the platform. While a couple of these slides are no longer relevant due to the changes made on the network, this provides a strong grounding of what to expect when you first sign up on the site and where you can find the most relevant information.

 

Again, if you have or see a write-up on LinkedIn and you think it be helpful for others, send it my way and I’ll include it in the next #SundayMusings! Have a great week!

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 8-17-14

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing – This week’s focus = Social Media

Welcome back to another edition of #SundayMusings with Shore Branding. This week’s musings focus on social media and the news/stories that caught my attention over the past few weeks. As you will see under the ‘Thoughts’ of our last link/article, we are kicking off “LinkedIn Month” here on Shore Branding and focusing on the network in the coming weeks with new “Pin of the Month” and “Tips” articles.

#1 – The 10 Best Social Media SlideShare Presentations of 2014 – via blog.bufferapp.com 

Premise: The author pulls together his favorite SlideShare presentations, all of which revolve around social media in some capacity. Embedding each into the post and picking out his favorite slide of each, the author puts enough context in his write-up to let you know which of these might be of more interest to you and the main idea behind the content of each.

Thoughts: First, I have an equal amount of admiration, for the lack of a better word, for SlideShare. With the change in how we write each ‘Sunday Musings’ article to a specific topic, I’m checking SlideShare every week to find a potential fit with our topic of interest. Naturally, this compilation of a top ten presentations on social media more than suffices for this week.

The two presentations that caught my attention within this write-up were #4 – “Why Content Marketing Fails” by Rand Fishkin and #5 – “The Nuts and Bolts of Social Media_’Great Success’” by Matthew Capala. Any time you can weave in ‘Borat’ to your social media presentation, you have won the internet for the day.

#2 – “Twitter just dropped a huge hint that it will introduce shopping services” via TheNextWeb.com 

Premise: While not yet active, Twitter has added a “Payment & Services” section to their Android app, further suggesting the company has an ecommerce plan in place that is almost ready to be deployed. While Twitter continues to evolve, this clearly is a step towards adding another revenue stream for the company.

Thoughts: Twitter has partnered with the likes of Amazon and American Express to build a stronger ecommerce platform but has yet to really prove it has a functional model that is well accepted and adopted.

As you may notice in the comments section of this article, shortly after the write-up went live, Twitter took the “Payment & Services” option out of the setting menu. This is clearly another way for the company to grow revenue. The company continues to throw these options against a wall and I believe it is only a matter of time before at least one of them sticks.

#3 – The New Foursquare Is Here, and It’s Surprisingly Good via Mashable.com  

Premise: Foursquare rolled out its updated app to users and it is a powerful tool that can help users find their way through any city/area with helpful hints and tips that meet their individual wants and needs. The new app takes out the social check-in but immediately prompts you to filling in / creating a profile of what you are into. Foursquare uses these preferences along with all of the data the user has provided them in the past (via check-ins) to provide better, more relevant recommendations.

There are a good number of details that many users may or may not want to get involved with, including filtering out a search for places you have/have not been to, a map view, and more.

Thoughts: I received the updated Foursquare app on my mobile last week and immediately took a peek in. I tend to agree with the author’s take – there is a lot of information and data available and the recommendations can/will be much more valuable than ever before. I will continue to use the app and I find myself checking it a little bit more frequently based on the filtering and search system in place.

That said, as discussed several times over the past few months, I hate that they have separated the check-in into Swarm / a separate app.

#4 – “How to Use the New LinkedIn Header Image for Profiles” via SocialMediaExaminer.com  

Premise: LinkedIn has a new update for premium accounts/profiles, allowing users to upload a header/hero image to their profile. The new feature allows you to increase your personal branding and marketing to showcase your talents and creativity to those who visit your profile. While the site offers up various stock images, you can also upload your own … and probably should. The recommended dimensions for the new header image are 1400×425 pixels and has to be under 4 MB.

Thoughts: I really like the recommendations and examples towards the end of the write-up here. There are a number of examples from others that you can use as a starting point for your thought process on what you want your image to be. I’ve actually gone with a word cloud for my LinkedIn profile. What do you think?

As referenced at the beginning, I’m excited to announce that this is actually the start of an unofficial “LinkedIn Month” on ShoreBranding.com. Over the coming weeks, each blog post will put the spotlight on the network. Next weekend we will have a new “Pin of the Month”. Following this will be #SundayMusings that focus squarely on LinkedIn and two “Tips” articles – one focusing on improving your personal LinkedIn page, the second from a business page perspective.

Tweet of the Week:

This is a good reminder on leveraging the right social media platform for the right message and target. You need to think very clearly about what you are posting and who the recipient is going to be. LinkedIn and Facebook offer wildly different purposes and that needs to be accounted for in your personal social media strategy.

Hope you enjoyed this week’s #SundayMusings. If you have or see a write-up on LinkedIn and you think it be helpful for others, send it my way and I’ll include it in the next few editions as we focus in on the platform over the next month. Have a great week!

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 8-3-14

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

This week’s #SundayMusings takes us back to our branding roots and focuses in on brand extensions! Occasionally you see some off the wall ideas launched under a brand umbrella and it makes you hide in fear. Other times, it is a stroke of genius. Is there a real science here or is it just luck? Take a look at some of these brand extension stories from the past few weeks and maybe they will help you decide.

#1 – Instant.ly Says It Can Tell Brands Which New Products People Will Actually Buy – via AdWeek.com 

Premise: Instant.ly has launched a metric called “Shelf Score Index” which measures purchase intent through their platform, which also takes into account “category disruption from small or unknown brands”. CPG brands are always looking to better understand purchase intent, particularly with brand extensions and new SKU’s. This new method of testing is faster and less expensive according to Instant.ly. The metric will be released on a monthly basis.

Thoughts: Brand extensions can be a very scary proposition. The ability to quickly understand the size of prize and opportunity of an extension is a powerful metric, as it can tell you to pull back on the marketing and push for a new product based on its likelihood to fall flat with consumers, or conversely, to push the product/SKU further given its appeal.

Interesting infographic at the bottom of this write-up that has been created for the top ten scoring product innovations in July within the food/CPG space, with snacks and cereals dominating the list.

#2 – “Reebok Gets Into the Bacon Business, Catering to CrossFitters’ Sizzling Indulgence” via AdFreak.com

Premise: The CrossFit Games took place this past week. Helping with the celebration was Reebok, who decided to release a new product … bacon. CrossFitters are known to follow a Paleo diet. In an effort to stretch the Reebok name – a sponsor of the CrossFit Games – the brand sent its bacon packages to the athletes participating in the event, as well as others in the community. It will also have a food truck at the event serving, of course, its bacon.

Thoughts: This brand extension had me at … bacon. This is about as wide of a brand stretch or extension that I can remember and you know what, it seems to work/make some sense. They have tied the promotional efforts together nicely between the CrossFit Games and the typical dieting efforts. If nothing else, it will be interesting to see how big the buzz gets for the brand. Moving forward, they could really take advantage of the different events that lead up to the Games themselves, promoting at both the Open in February and Regional events in May.

This also reminded me of the Scope Bacon mouthwash YouTube clip that the brand put together last April Fools’ Day.

#3 – Brand innovation is like a trip to the dentist via BrandAide.com  

Premise: The folks at BrandAide have a book coming out and this article includes excerpts from that publication with a Q&A with Kyle Hermans. The Q&A/discussion centers on brand innovation, what it really means to Hermans, the fear that innovation creates, etc.

Thoughts: I thought this was an excellent interview that gets behind the mindset of brand/product innovation and how it can be a painstaking process that either has great reward or failure. This happens across industry time and time again.

Two particular discussion points really caught my attention. First, the example of Kodak and its complete and utter failure to recognize the growing trend of digital photography. By the time they tried to adapt, it was far too late and they are essentially a dead brand at this time. The second part that caught my attention is at the very end of the article and the discussion on innovation working for younger brands, given the power of the internet and digital marketing. It doesn’t always come down to the size of your marketing budget these days. Good communication and a strong business model can help virtually anyone attain success.

#4 – “Foursquare: Why Making Things Complicated?” via Andy Joohyun Lee on LinkedIn  

Premise: Foursquare won the location-based services game years ago with badges and the power of data/information for discovery. With the move to break its business into two distinct brands/apps, there has been a mountain of negative press, including this write-up on LinkedIn from Andy Joohyun Lee.

Thoughts: We talked about this a bit in our last Sunday Musings as well. While this feels a little “birds in a feather…” I continue to see write-ups on the negative side of Foursquare’s decision to split its business in half between what is now Foursquare and Swarm. I am clearly not the only person that doesn’t enjoy having to use two apps. While I typically try to avoid the negativity seen in comments sections, take a look through the comments on this write-up. They are overwhelmingly negative to the split.

I’m interested to see how Foursquare responds to this by the fall. I’m more interested in their reaction to the negative feedback then the new logo and app updates they pushed out in July.

Tweet of the Week:

I would have never, ever guessed that Toby Keith would be the #1 celebrity entrepreneur and brand builder. Keith has extended his own brand name into his bar & grill – which now includes his own house drink (Wild Shot Mezcal) – and a clothing line. Forbes has selected Keith for their cover based on his ability to take his brand name, extend it into various product lines (that largely work together) and create a whale of success.

Below you will find a Slideshare that I found to be of interest for anyone that is interested in reading more on the basics of brand extensions, brand building and innovation.

 

Thanks for swinging by this week’s #SundayMusings! What do you think of brand extensions and how they alter a brand’s image? Let us know in the Comments section below. Have a great week!

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 7-20-14

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

Welcome back to another #SundayMusings where this week’s focus will be on social media! This week I’ve picked out two write-ups that speak to social media broadly and then the remaining stories cover off specifically on my favorite social media platforms – Twitter, Google+, Foursquare, and Pinterest.  We’ll go into each in more detail below.

#1 – 5 Reasons Why Brands Need Integrated Social Media Marketing – via neerajsancheti.wordpress.com 

Premise: As integrated marketing plans become more and more regular across companies, it isn’t enough to be on one or two social media platforms. The author puts together five reasons why your brand or company needs to be on different platforms and where you should think about going.

Thoughts: There is a fine line between being everywhere and being in the right places. Many try to be everywhere in order to achieve the greatest ‘reach’. However, if you aren’t engaging with your customers / followers, what’s the point? At the same time, trying to be everywhere leaves you communicating with the wrong audience more times than not. So there are some points in the write-up that insinuate increasing visibility is the best thing you can do, and I would add the caveats before deciding to sign up for each and every social media platform.

#2 – Optimize Your Posts on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and More via busines2community.com  

Premise: Aside from creating great content, you need to figure out the best ways to optimize your posts in order to improve sharing across social media. The author takes a look across multiple platforms and provides tips on how to optimize your posts across NINE different networks – LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube, Instagram, Vine, and Tumblr!

Thoughts: This is an excellent resource for those that enjoy clear, concise summaries and tips on what you can or should do when posting across social media. A few items that are worth calling out:

  • LinkedIn Tip to “Edit your description” – Completely agree here, as LinkedIn allows you to provide a summary of your article or link – similar to filling in the SEO on a blog. Use it!
  • Pinterest Tip to “Avoid human faces” – Very interesting stat and not something I would have ever thought about.
  • Vine Tip, “Infinite loop” – Vine clips that follow this rule are absolutely more engaging and will receive more views than those with closure.

#3 – “5 Brands Successfully Using Twitter GIFs” via Likeable.com 

Premise: Last month Twitter announced that it would now support GIF files in status updates and brands have been trying to capitalize ever since. Likeable takes a dive into what brands are successfully leveraging the new capability in their branding / digital marketing efforts.

Thoughts: It is a little interesting to see Twitter allow GIFs well after the fact that Vine has been introduced. This leads me to believe that there is some sort of dip in Vine usage, creativity, etc. that the company is seeing. The recent updates to the Vine app make it more appealing, but to be honest, I don’t check the app nearly as much as I used to.

In terms of the five brands/companies that are provided as good examples, I find that @SBNationGIF is a tremendous follow for sports fans. I also enjoyed the few Bud Light GIF’s found on their Twitter feed. What brands have you seen succeed on Twitter using GIF files?

#4 – “10 Google+ Features You Need to Know” via Michael Bird on LinkedIn 

Premise: Michael Bird puts together a list of ten Google+ functions that can help your branding efforts on the platform. This includes integrating with YouTube and several, more functional elements to optimizing your G+ efforts.

Thoughts: My second favorite social media platform, behind Twitter, has been adding features for users since its inception and the list provided here include several items that I really enjoy. The Google+ Auto Awesome creates fantastic GIFs on your phone automatically. If you take a handful of pictures right in a row, the feature will automatically create GIFs for you when you have Google+ connected to your camera phone.

There is also a deep integration between G+ and YouTube that can be taken advantage of among those with YouTube channels. You can broadcast your Hangouts on Air seamlessly and increase engagement / commenting between the two platforms.

#5 – “Why Foursquare Lost a Loyal User” via wearesocialmedia.gr 

Premise: The author was an avid user of Foursquare but admits to using the company’s services less and less since the launch of Swarm. Given the need to monetize, Foursquare split the functionality of the old Foursquare in half and left the check-ins and social aspects to Swarm. The author provides four points that argue against the splitting of the services that the old Foursquare provided.

Thoughts: Foursquare has been one of my favorite apps and since the launch of Swarm, I find myself frustrated with the back and forth needed to get what I want out of the service. I personally do not care about the badges, but I’m in alignment with all of the other points from the article. I hate having to open up two apps to get the information I want or need.

I understand why they broke up their services into two parts and I’m sure their data suggests that there is a majority of users that feel similarly. However, this write-up was actually a nice find, as I felt like I was in a small minority that didn’t like the new Foursquare/Swarm combination. What are your thoughts on the company’s decision to break these services apart?

Tweet of the Week:

I found the Embassy Suites Hotels contest as a “Promoted Tweet” on Twitter and thought that this was a great use of Pinterest. They have their own hashtag for the campaign and it felt like an engaging contest to get users to engage with the brand. Then I clicked on the link and it took me to their Facebook page and I was all sorts of confused. A Pinterest contest, promoted on Twitter, and then taken to their Facebook page?

Back to the contest itself: Pinterest has jumped into one of my favorite social media platforms and this is another great use of a contest and promotional effort from a brand on the network. What do you think of the campaign?

Thanks for swinging by this week’s #SundayMusings! What stories caught your attention this week in social media? Let us know in the Comments section below. Thanks and have a great week!

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 7-6-14

Photo Credit: CBS Philadelphia

Photo Credit: CBS Philadelphia

Happy 4th of July weekend to those of you celebrating in the US and welcome back to another #SundayMusings where this week’s focus will be on wearables! Wearables are beginning to build traction with consumers, well beyond what I tend to consider the starting point of fitness programs and apps. Let’s take a look at some of the better write-ups I’ve found over the past few weeks that revolve around wearables.

#1 – Why Wearable Technology Matters in 2014 – via Likeable.com 

Premise: The wearables market is expected to double in 2014 to exceed $1.5 billion, according to Juniper Research. This presents new ways for brands to interact with consumers in varying ways. The author provides three reasons why wearables should be considered in your marketing plan moving forward.

Thoughts: Three very straightforward reasons are provided and I agree with all of them. First and foremost, to me at least, is the ability to get ahead of competition. There are a handful of major players in the space right now, but that’s it. Are you a brand struggling to turn around your archaic image? Looking for a way to become seen as a modern, innovative brand or company? You may want to consider how you can get involved in wearables.

One brand that comes to mind immediately is Radio Shack. You may remember their ad during the Super Bowl (below as well). The ad was intended to move the company’s image out of the 1980’s and into the present. Wearables might be a market worth diving into to try to continue moving the pendulum.

#2 – A 10-sensor iWatch say’s Apple’s smartwatch will be nothing like Android Wear via PCWorld.com 

Premise: It is being reported that Apple’s iWatch will include 10 sensors that will help those more interested in their own health. This strategy, if true, makes the iWatch very different than the Android smartwatches that are rolling out with Google Now. Google’s smartwatch is focused on the world around you – weather, travel, sports scores, etc. Apple’s iWatch is expected to be released this fall with somewhere between 10-15 million units available by the end of the year.

Thoughts: This would be an interesting approach by Apple and certainly takes the brand in a different direction vs. Google when it comes to wearables. It is actually a little refreshing to see two different visions for a similar product between the two companies, as many/most launches seem to be more duplicative.

What are your thoughts on wearing a smartwatch? Will you be considering a purchase in the near future? Personally, I can’t justify the purchase as I don’t think I’ll use it enough. If I were interested in tracking my movement for my personal health, I’d be much more inclined to think about it.

#3 – “Will Adidas beat Nike in the wearables game with its new miCoach Fit Smart Band” via ShinyShiny.TV 

Premise: Adidas is putting another stake in the ground on wearable fitness with its forthcoming Smart Band. With Nike’s decision to concentrate more on the software side of wearables, Adidas has the ability to distinguish itself in a new, but growing market.

Thoughts: Beyond their World Cup battles, Adidas and Nike are drawing lines in the sand on how they want to position themselves in the wearables market. As mentioned in #1 above, very few brands are legitimately playing in this space, so if Adidas can develop a product that consumers can trust, they may find themselves in a very lucrative position.

#4 – “Health Wearables To Save You Visits to the Doctor” via alleywatch.com  

Premise: WSJ produced a short video that interviewed Singularity University’s Daniel Kraft on what the future may look like when thinking about wearables and your personal health. From patches to devices that attach to your inhaler, technology is going to play a huge role in your personal health.

Thoughts: First, I want to implore WSJ.com to start allowing viewers the ability to embed online videos. What year is this again?

With that out of the way, I found this to be highly interesting. The ability to use mobile attachments to scan parts of your body and send the information to your doctor immediately is incredible to me. I realize that this probably freaks some people out, but this is fascinating in my opinion. I do get a little bothered about how much reporters focus on how they “look” vs. the capability itself. For those needing to track their physical health and/or ailments more regularly, closing comments like those made in the clip/link above create unnecessary barriers for people to get over.

Below is another story that makes a strong connection between personal health and wearables:

#5 – “Here’s what Google’s Android Wear can do” via engadget.com  

Premise: At Google I/O, the company took another huge step in committing to the wearables market. As part of the demo, Google announced that the new smartwatches can sync to phones running Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean) or higher. Through a Google Now-like card system, you can bring up the information that is more critical to you and your day. Third-party apps will be heavily engrained in the system, including Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. The new LG and Samsung watches were made available to order in the Google Play store on the day of the I/O conference.

Thoughts: You knew I wouldn’t end a #SundayMusings without an article specific to Google and Android, right? If there were to be a smartwatch purchase somewhere down the line in my future, it would have to be one that is based on Android’s system.

Tweet of the Week:

An interesting discussion from #CEWeek if you have a few minutes. (Note, you may have to blast your speakers after the opening credits.) The “Nametag” technology took things a step further than I’m comfortable with. However, it was certainly an interesting demo and discussion around the 27 minute mark on augmented vs. virtual reality.

Thanks again for checking out another edition of Shore Branding’s #SundayMusings! Are you thinking about purchasing at least one of these wearable products? Have you already? Let us know what you think in the Comments section below. Have a great week!

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 6-22-14

World Cup Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding (Photo credit: commons.wikimedia.com)

World Cup Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding
(Photo credit: commons.wikimedia.com)

This week’s #SundayMusings focuses on one of the world’s largest sporting events going on right now, the World Cup. There have been a number of brands dedicating a significant portion of budget to ads revolving around the soccer/football tournament. Let’s dive right in!

#1 – World Cup 2014 – The World Cup, lived through the eyes of brands and marketing – via MarketingWorldCup.Tumblr.com 

Premise: A continuously updated branding/marketing blog was created on Tumblr that keeps track of all branding and marketing-related news and stories around the World Cup.

Thoughts: While I can’t stand the Tumblr platform, this feels like a good place to start, no? From YouTube ads/clips to infographics to news on the World Cup’s sponsor (and “fake” sponsor) brands, this page has it all for you.

#2 – World Cup 2014: The best and worst quirky promotional stunts – in pictures via Telegraph.co.uk  

Premise: A visual look into some of the best and worst branding work done at this year’s World Cup, largely geared towards the UK.

Thoughts: There were several images in here that are eye-catching: Page 1, the stack of 1,500 Pringles cans forming the sneaker and on Page 7, the Coca-Cola promotion with the 3D painting of Brazil. There weren’t any “awful” pictures shown here as nothing was too off the wall. Although, in reading through 100’s if not 1000’s of World Cup tweets and article headlines, I know they exist out there.

#3 – “Which World Cup Sponsors Are Resonating With Fans” via AdWeek.com 

Premise: Going into the World Cup brands were already spending large amounts of marketing dollars to grab the attention of fans and supporters. Adidas is an official sponsor of the World Cup but struggled to differentiate itself as such vs. Nike. Omnicom tracked the positive and negative mentions on Facebook, Twitter, and blogs and found that several official sponsors were struggling to resonate with fans.

Thoughts: The table at the end of the article takes a look at the official sponsors of the World Cup and their positive/negative mentions going into the start of the tournament. Hyundai and Continental AG surprisingly showed 100% “positive” comments. Even if the number of mentions is lower than most others, this is still impressive given the nature of taking to social media to talk/complain about brands. Adidas led the way in total mentions on this research but only 58% of commentary was positive, one of the lower percentages across sponsors.

#4 – “8 Brands That Totally Nailed Their World Cup Ads” via blog.hubspot.com  

Premise: The authors pulled together what they felt were the eight best ads of the World Cup. Knowing the overall size of the World Cup and how no other sporting event shines as bright on a global stage, what brands are shining/breaking through that door and standing out? Take a look for yourself … as the writer drops in the ads, the advertiser and the agency responsible for the creative.

Thoughts: My favorites among these eight are Nike’s “Winner Stays”, Kia’s “Adriana Lima Transforms a Man Cave” and McDonad’s “Gol!” ads. As you will see in a number of World Cup-related write-ups, Nike has completely hijacked the ad and branding news from Adidas – again, the official sponsor of the event. Kia essentially news hijacks the global event to create a fun ad/spot, but it was the McDonald’s ad that really won here. No famous athletes or stars, just ordinary people doing some amazing stunts. Here’s the ad itself:

#5 – “Brands Are Ready for a Socially Sophisticated 2014 World Cup” via ClickZ.com  

Premise: The 2010 World Cup started the move to a “social” event but the 2014 sporting event is taking things to another stratosphere. It all starts with FIFA and their adaptation to social media with their “Global Stadium” endeavor. FIFA is also working directly with Twitter to monitor the #WorldCup hashtag. The author then goes into a number of brands that will be leveraging social media during the World Cup, including sponsors and non-sponsors of the event.

Thoughts: Figured it was important to find an article that referenced FIFA for our World Cup #SundayMusings. The group/brand was smart to forge the partnership with Twitter (and elsewhere?) to measure (and promote) the event itself. Don’t believe me that Twitter is helping sell/engage with an audience? I’ve received a handful of emails from the site itself regarding the event, including the one below. Earlier this week, they provided an update on the Twitter Blog for how metrics were looking to that point of the World Cup as well.

Twitter is capturing a ton of data for the World Cup!

Twitter is capturing a ton of data for the World Cup!

 

Tweet of the Week:

It was virtually impossible to pick just one brand-related tweet revolving around the World Cup. The action and promotion has been non-stop. Therefore, I’ve gone with the official TV partner of the event here in the US – ESPN. Say what you will about the company, and I have, they have rolled out the red carpet for the World Cup and are doing a great job with the global event.

Thanks again for checking out another edition of Shore Branding’s #SundayMusings! What has been your favorite ad or campaign from the World Cup this year? Want more information? Take a look at the infographic below that focuses on this month’s big event!

World Cup Infographic - Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding

World Cup Infographic – Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 6-8-14

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

Welcome back to another edition of #SundayMusings! This week we will be focusing on retail-related news and stories that caught our attention over the past few weeks. As a quick aside, we will also be focusing on retail and retail loyalty in the forthcoming June “Pin of the Month” next weekend. For now, here are the stories that caught my attention.

#1 – Do Tablets Have The Power To Revolutionize Retail – via CMO.com 

Premise: While not there yet, tablets will soon be everywhere. Similar to how the iPod revolutionized the music industry, tablets will turn the retail landscape on its head. It is predicted that half of the US will have a tablet within the next few years. Tablets are a research-friendly device for customers and the author provides several additional motivating facts for leveraging tablets for your business.

Thoughts: The second screen has changed consumers’ behaviors – from how they watch television to the entire retail/shopping experience. The Nordstrom example provided by the author is a great way to show how a retailer can leverage a tablet to create a unique experience for its customers. Bookmark the site for future write-ups on how tablets are impacting additional industries as well.

#2 – Square Begins Offering Data Driven Cash Advances To Small Businesses via TechCrunch.com  

Premise: Square, the mobile payment company, announced that it is rolling out Square Capital which will offer cash advances to businesses within its network. Companies already leveraging Square’s services will be able to access the cash advances and each business will be individually judged on the amount of the advance based on Square’s in-house data.

The benefits of the service include faster turnaround for receiving the cash advance and the significantly lower fees vs. a typical loan. The data that Square holds allows the company to update its offers to businesses on the fly.

Thoughts: Square continues to evolve and the more I read about the company the more I am impresses with the company’s management and management decisions. This offering injects capital into retailers and other businesses and allows them to invest what they want and when they want it. The background data that the company holds on each business allows Square to make smart business decisions on how much the advance can and should be.

#3 – “7 Easy Loyalty Program Ideas for Your New Store” via TheStoreStarters.com 

Premise: “Customers love loyalty programs” and the author provides seven different ideas for how your retail business can leverage a loyalty program to increase engagement with customers. From punch cards to couponing to more strategic efforts, the author’s tips/ideas are all up for consideration across all types of stores and retailers.

Thoughts: The last two items listed in the write-up caught my attention. “Social media loyalty discounts” seem to have gone by the wayside a bit. I see less and less deals on foursquare in my area, while employees at several retailers are completely unaware of the offerings when I show them my phone for the deal. If you are going to offer deals on social media, make sure you keep up with the times, refresh the offer to change things up a bit, and please ensure your employees are aware of any and all offerings out there.

The last tip/idea of making exclusive offers for loyal customers also caught my eye. You want to create brand ambassadors for your business so that they will talk about you to friends and family. Offering them exclusive deals will help increase their engagement with you and keep them coming back for more.

#4 – “Mobile Apps – Changing the Face of Retail Industry” via ExploreB2B.com  

Premise: Mobile has made a significant impact on the retail industry, changing shopping behaviors and keeping consumers more informed about the products they are considering buying. Mobile apps are helping retailers better understand their customers as well. Retailers are able to improve loyalty, push out notifications, and engage their customer base for feedback through their apps. The author provides four ways in which mobile apps are helping improve the shopping experience, not only for the customer, but also for the retailers themselves.

Thoughts: Mobile apps help build/improve a strong loyalty program for the retailer and can be an important part of CRM. Perhaps the most effective part of a good mobile app, at least in my opinion, is the third example the author provides – the app can be a low-cost, yet effective marketing tool. Retailers can push out deals and offers to its customers – those that have “opted in” to the brand simply by downloading their app.

(A great example of this is Starbucks – take a look at the first few paragraphs of our last “Brand in Focus” which compliments the retailer’s mobile efforts.)

#5 – “How Walmart Uses Receipts to Personalize Mobile Marketing” via GetElastic.com  

Premise: Last month, Walmart made a potentially important change to their mobile marketing platform, allowing customers to save their receipts to their mobile application vs. receiving paper or email receipts for their purchase. When checking out the customer can provide their mobile number to receive a text message that will sync to the mobile account. There are benefits to the system on both ends, for the customer and for Walmart.

Thoughts: For those willing and able, customers can make their shopping experience that much easier by converting to the mobile platform Walmart has installed. However, from the retailer’s perspective, this system will provide a wealth of data and information that Walmart can then use to help tailor its marketing for individual users based on past experience.

Are you willing to sign up for this type of offer at Walmart, or any other retailer that this type of system could be installed in?

Tweet of the Week:

Last month Amazon and Twitter announced a partnership that will allow Twitter users to make purchases on Amazon by simply sending a tweet marked with “#AmazonCart”. The first step is to sync your Amazon and Twitter accounts. From there, if and when you see an item from Amazon all you have to do is respond on Twitter with the hashtag and product and voila, you will/should have the product in your Amazon orders.

A similar type of program was launched on Twitter with American Express last year. It will be interesting to see if or how this takes off and if this truly builds a stronger platform for both companies.

Thanks again for checking out another edition of Shore Branding’s #SundayMusings! Have a great week ahead!

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 5-25-14

 

A mobile #SundayMusings w/ Shore Branding! (Photo credit: ZDNet.com)

A mobile #SundayMusings w/ Shore Branding!
(Photo credit: ZDNet.com)

 

Today’s #SundayMusings puts the focus back on mobile and mobile marketing thanks to last weekend’s “Pin of the Month” from guest writer Dean Olsen. Here are the top stories that relate to mobile from the past couple of weeks.

#1 – Wearable Baby Tech Aims to Bring Peace of Mind to New Parents – via BrandChannel.com 

Premise: There are a number of new products entering the market that bring tech to our children, including wearables. There is the Mimo Kimono that feeds a baby’s information to an app for parents, to a smart sock from Owlet Baby Care. Finally, Leap Frog has a new product called the LeapBand that works vastly similar to adult bands that track your activity over the course of the day.

Thoughts: This caught my attention for multiple reasons. First and foremost, we introduced our first child to the world last week and it has been a whirlwind ever since. Second, I can’t decide whether or not this technology is a good thing or bad thing, as I completely see both sides of the fence. I’m hoping my wife can make the call on this and whether or not we want to purchase any of these products (or similar ones). I’ll keep you posted … [Read more...]