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!

Brand in Focus – Starbucks

 

Recognize this logo?

Recognize this logo?

Welcome to another edition of ‘Brand in Focus’ – our look into the branding and digital marketing efforts of specific brands and companies. In this edition we’ll be focusing on one of the most talked about, successful brands to engage with its customers across social media … Starbucks.

Starbucks.com promotes its social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. However, before we even dive into each one, let’s take a minute to talk about their own web site. In preparing this entry, the ‘current’ landing page goes right into mobile marketing with a request to text them to receive offers over your phone. I happened to give this a whirl and was signed up for their SMS program and this was the second message that was sent my way:

Starbucks Mobile Ad ... Thank you!

Starbucks Mobile Ad … Thank you!

Awesome! Immediately under the SMS program / headline is a link to sign up for their My Starbucks Rewards™ program (commonly viewed as one of the premiere rewards programs out there). There is a wealth of information on the home page, including a store locator, a link to your personal account, a search box and another link to sign up for their email program. Immediately, it is pretty clear that Starbucks “gets it” when it comes to what a company web site can and should be used for.

At the time of this write-up, Starbucks can boast a strong following across networks: 36.6+ million fans on Facebook, 6.1+ million followers on Twitter, and 2.5 million followers on Google+. Let’s take a look into each.

Facebook:

Clicking on their cover photo below, I found that this actually came from a fan’s Instagram account. You can view the conversation that the Starbucks team is having directly with the fan and asking them permission to use the photo on Facebook. You don’t think that this is creating a lifetime fan immediately?

Starbucks engaging across Facebook and Instagram!

Starbucks engaging across Facebook and Instagram!

One of the items that I particularly enjoy reading about is the brand’s timeline, particularly those that go back and tell the story of how the brand was started and key events that took place over time – well before Facebook and others ever existed.

Looking back on the history of Starbucks via their Facebook timeline

Looking back on the history of Starbucks via their Facebook timeline

What also caught my attention here is that, in comparison to the amount of Likes, Shares, and Comments the company sees on its regular posts, this particular entry “only” has 1,300+ Likes and 70+ Comments. Now, compare that to your regular postings from Starbucks:

Likes, Comments, and Shares on the Starbucks Facebook Wall ... Oh my

Likes, Comments, and Shares on the Starbucks Facebook Wall … Oh my

Multiple items worth calling out here:

  • Starbucks regularly creates its own hashtags for its posts
  • You won’t find a recent post that doesn’t have an image attached with it
  • Hundreds, if not thousands of shares
  • Thousands of comments, including interaction between Fans – not always positive, but Fans very much willing to engage with one another and the brand
  • Tens of thousands of Likes on each post

Twitter:

Starbucks’ Twitter page is a little less visual given the more frequent messages that are being sent out on the network. The brand has sent out over 20K tweets since joining Twitter. One item that quickly caught my attention was that the Twitter page clearly has owners at the company (see red box within the image below).

Personalizing the Starbucks Twitter feed

Personalizing the Starbucks Twitter feed

You’ll find a slew of hashtags being used by the company on Twitter. One of the more regular hashtags being leveraged is “#ProTip”, where the company offers up an ingredient or mix to delight your (or someone’s) taste buds.

On average, Starbucks will see several hundred retweets and upwards of around 1,000 favorites for their tweeting efforts. Not bad at all, but clearly not the level of engagement they see on Facebook either. Given their advanced use of social media in general, I have to imagine that they are keeping an eye on many, if not all, of the hashtags that the brand throws out there on a regular basis to see what type of traction they are getting.

Google+:

A few items caught my eye on the Starbucks “About” page on G+. First, they have created a Community called “Starbucks Partners” that is an online forum for all of its employees. This is a fantastic idea to give employees an open forum to talk about the company. Second, the company has taken the time to put together a thorough ‘Story’ on the G+ page.

The Starbucks story on Google+ & their own Community

The Starbucks story on Google+ & their own Community

At the bottom of their “About” page you will find a number of links, including; their homepage, YouTube page, Facebook, Twitter, as well as several Starbucks-branded landing pages – Ideas for others to submit, eGifts, and an online shop for its products. Once again, a very strong page that provides a tremendous amount of information that drives engagement with its followers/customers.

A typical post on G+ from Starbucks receives somewhere between 500-1K +1’s and ~100 shares. It looks like holiday-themed posts with pictures draw more traction with followers. Bringing in Oprah to promote a SKU for one of your latest acquisitions (Teavana) doesn’t hurt either …

Starbucks adds "a little" celebrity power to it

Starbucks adds “a little” celebrity power to it

One final spot that I took a quick glance at was the Starbucks YouTube page that is directly connected to their G+ profile. The brand has playlists broken out by its footprint in various markets around the world, as well as their commercial spots, Starbucks jobs, and several other topics. The page has approximately 30K subscribers.

Overall Summary:

Starbucks is a clear star (oh boy…) in social media. They have developed a passionate following for the brand and have built thousands of brand ambassadors. Their efforts on all three social networks are held in high regard as the company adapts their message to each platform appropriately/accordingly.

What is your opinion of Starbucks’ branding and digital marketing strategy across each network? Let us know in the Comments section below.

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...]

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 3-30-14

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

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

Happy Sunday and Happy Spring … at least according to the calendar.  This week’s #SundayMusings will focus on mobile and mobile marketing, so here are the top stories that caught my attention over the past two weeks under this umbrella.  Enjoy!

#1 – Foursquare CEO: How We’ll Tell You Where To Eat And What To Order – via ReadWrite.com 

Premise: Aside from telling our friends and family where you are via mobile check-ins, we are providing a dearth of data and information that foursquare is leveraging to help create recommendations for you in the future based on your interests and behaviors.  The author sat down with foursquare co-founder Dennis Crowley to talk about what the future is or might be for his company.

The interview itself talks about the past and present numbers for foursquare and where it is seeing growth around the globe, including how to monetize the platform based on the success it has seen in the US.  It then pivots towards “anticipatory computing”, i.e. where your mobile device knows your location and is able to make recommendations for you.

Thoughts: If this is your first, or one of your first visits to the site, I’ll just preface my thoughts with the following: I’m a big fan of foursquare and the personalization I can get from the network.  I thought the interview was fantastic and at the end was an “aha” moment.  When Crowley says that if three people go to Google Maps and search for dinner, the same places will come up.  However, if those three people search foursquare, they are going to get recommendations based to their interests.  That’s the point and that’s the Holy Grail right there – you get what you want.

(If you are considering using the foursquare platform for your business, take a look at the “Tips” article we put together several months back.) [Read more...]

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 1-26-14

 

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

Hope you are enjoying another weekend!  Welcome to #SundayMusings w/ Shore Branding, the top branding and digital marketing stories from the past seven days.

#1 – The Healthy Brand: Take Your Brand From Good to Great – via ParkerWhite.com 

Premise: The write-up starts out with a good introduction to the importance of branding via 90 second YouTube clip from ParkerWhite Brand Interactive.  How do you make a great brand?  The company provides a thorough checklist of items to consider and answer for your brand/business in order to ensure your branding efforts are doing the most for your business.

Thoughts: ParkerWhite has dubbed brands that are fulfilling items on this branding checklist as “healthy brands”.  I just came across this site this week and will be keeping an eye on it in the coming weeks, given the comments towards the end of the write-up that they will be providing further information in the coming weeks on what makes a “healthy brand”.

As for the checklist itself, “Focused” and “Supported by brand loyalists” are certainly topics that have been discussed quite a bit here in the past within Sunday Musings.  I wouldn’t question any of the items on the checklist at all. [Read more...]

Brand in Focus – Cadbury

After doing a little searching for our next ‘Brand in Focus’ – it was quickly decided that Cadbury (UK) would be the nominee due to a slightly unique status across social media platforms.  The Cadbury web site promotes its social media pages on Google+, Facebook, and Twitter.  What immediately caught my eye were the number of fans and followers on each.  Cadbury’s Twitter page has ~185K Followers at the time of this writing and their Facebook page has 518K Fans.  However, their Google+ page has over 3.1 million Followers.

Cadbury’s own web site heavily promotes the G+ and Twitter feeds, as you can see in the image below.  The G+ page has also been heavily supported and used as an example of one of the better/stronger pages out there on the network.  Given this, let’s start there. [Read more...]

New Poll – Where will you be advertising in 2014?

What advertising platform will you be leveraging in 2014? (Photo credit: BusinessNewsDaily.com)

What advertising platform will you be leveraging in 2014?
(Photo credit: BusinessNewsDaily.com)

Over the course of 2013, we covered off on several different trends in the advertising space, including the shift to advertising on various social networks (throughout many of our weekly Sunday Musings) and mobile advertising (most specifically with startup Nearwoo).

With that in mind, our opening poll question for 2014 is relatively simple: which advertising platforms will your brand/business be leveraging in 2014 to increase awareness and/or build stronger loyalty?  The options include:

  1. Mobile
  2. Paid Search
  3. Facebook
  4. Instagram
  5. Twitter
  6. LinkedIn
  7. Foursquare
  8. Other Social Media Networks

After voting, if you would like to endorse a particular avenue, please feel free to do so in the Comments section below.  If you have already leveraged any of these streams, let us know what level of success you may have encountered.

Thanks for taking the time to vote and Happy New Year!

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 12-22-13

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

Welcome to this week’s Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding, the top stories in branding and digital marketing from the past week!  Again, we have largely been able to focus on one particular subject this week.  As we come to the end of 2013, it is natural to look ahead to 2014 and this week provided a lot of content for predictions and tips going into next year.

Throughout the links below you will also find several write-ups that we put together here on that particular subject over the course of the past nine months.  Take a look if you missed any of it! [Read more...]

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 12-15-13

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

Welcome to Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding, the top stories in branding and digital marketing from the past week!  This week has a strong focus on advertising across various social media platforms, a new example of “brandscaping”, and a SlideShare on the top company pages on LinkedIn. [Read more...]

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 12-1-13

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding - Thanksgiving Edition (Photo Credit: GlowRockport.wordpress.com)

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – Thanksgiving Edition
(Photo Credit: GlowRockport.wordpress.com)

Welcome to a special Thanksgiving edition of Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding, the top stories in branding and digital marketing from the past week!  As we have treated other major holidays, this week’s Sunday Musings have a holiday twist to them, covering off on Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and this weekend’s Small Business Saturday. [Read more...]