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!

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.

Pin of the Month – Google Maps

 

Google Maps infographic by Business-Management-Degree.net

Google Maps infographic by Business-Management-Degree.net

 

The ‘Pin of the Month’ for April 2014 is one that was actually sent my way by Louann Fadrik of Business-Management-Degree.net.  This ties in nicely with one of the recent themes written about here on ShoreBranding.com – my personal loyalty to Google’s products.  This month’s ‘Pin of the Month’ focuses specifically on Google Maps and how it is changing location-based data and business.

At the top of the infographic we see the future of location-based data and what many believe the future holds for us.  “L [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...]

Loyalty to Brands – Google

 

My loyalty to Google products continues ... (Photo credit: tirebusiness.com)

My loyalty to Google products continues …
(Photo credit: tirebusiness.com)

Welcome to a new series here on ShoreBranding.com called “Loyalty to Brands”.  As referenced in last week’s #SundayMusings, from time to time, we’ll be putting together a summary on the brands we are loyal to and why.  However, I would also like to open this up for guest writing opportunities as well – similar to what we did for our “Tips” series.  If you are loyal to a particular brand and interested in guest blogging, please let me know here in the Comments section below or through the Contact page.

Our first brand in focus may not be too surprising if you have been following the blog for the past year.  My strongest loyalty probably lies with Google.  Since converting over to Gmail as my preferred email system a handful or so years ago, it has been a growing affiliation with the brand.  My loyalty grew fivefold when I purchased the first Droid phone on Verizon.  I’ve since upgraded my phone several times and have been using the Galaxy Nexus for a couple of years. [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...]

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...]

New Poll – What Is On Your Holiday Wish List?

 

What is on your holiday wish list?  (Photo credit: 123rf.com)

What is on your holiday wish list?
(Photo credit: 123rf.com)

We were overdue for a new poll for a few weeks on Shore Branding, but held off in the spirit of our #SaveThanksgiving efforts.  With Thanksgiving past us, it is now time to think about what your holiday wish list looks like.  Our new poll question is simple: What is the one tech-related item that you hope to receive as a gift this month?  (Whether this is self-gifted or from someone else is unimportant…) [Read more...]

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 11-17-13

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

Welcome to another edition of Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding, the top stories in branding and digital marketing from the past week!  Be on the lookout for an announcement later this week for a project that I am really excited for!  (Teaser alert!)

#1 – 5 Reasons Why You Need to Be Mobile Ready for 2014 – via DannyBrown.me 

Premise: Danny Brown provides five (more) reasons that your business needs to have a mobile game plan based on the results of a study conducted by Nielsen and Google.  Consumers are doing more research/search on mobile – looking up information on products, for deals, etc.  While results are mixed thus far, the benefits of geo-location apps can be seen when your business is found on the likes of Foursquare and Facebook Places.  Finally, consumers are beginning to use mobile devices for purchasing / at the point of purchase and that trend is more than likely going to continue upward.

Thoughts: Over the past few months we have spent a good amount of time and effort on the importance of mobile – including our Foursquare tips and introduction to the mobile advertising company Nearwoo.  The shift towards mobile devices will continue and I hope your brand/company is ready for it.

Are you making adjustments to your mobile game plan?  Have you had early success or failure? [Read more...]