Pin of the Month – Social Media

January's "Pin of the Month" on Social Media Pin originally from ticsyformacion.com

January’s “Pin of the Month” on Social Media
Pin originally from ticsyformacion.com

Happy 2015 everyone and welcome to another year of our “Pin of the Month” here on ShoreBranding.com.  January’s “Pin of the Month” takes a look at several key social media numbers and statistics across several of the key players in social media.  The infographic itself was found on Pinterest and originated from this article.

So what exactly are we looking at here?  As we enter 2015, the numbers across the more popular social media networks continue to amaze.  With numbers and figures from multiple sources, let’s dive into some of the facts seen in the above infographic, specifically those that caught my attention:

  • Facebook’s log-in page is now available on over one million web sites.  That’s amazing!
  • 91% of Fortune 100 companies use LinkedIn to search out job candidates.
  • I’m not sure how they got to the fact that eBay is the “most engaging” brand on Twitter.  (Your thoughts on the most engaging brands on the site?)
  • 1 billion Google+ accounts … but only 359 million of them are “monthly active users”.

What platform are you planning to focus on in 2015?  With the continued growth of social media in branding efforts, have you set goals for each?

For those unfamiliar with our “Pin of the Month”, every month we post one of the better infographics, pictures, etc. that we find on our Pinterest page and (over-) analyzing it in our “Pin of the Month”.  If you have an infographic that you would like to promote here on Shore Branding, just let us know.

 

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 1/4/15

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding - Happy New Year / 2015! (Credit: wallpaperput.com)

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – Happy New Year / 2015!
(Credit: wallpaperput.com)

 

Happy new year everyone and welcome to the first #SundayMusings of 2015!  I hope everyone had a great, safe holiday season and that you are ready to make 2015 bigger and better!  Why not start with the top stories that caught my eye in branding and digital marketing as they relate to entering the new year?  Done and done …

#1 – “The Top 7 Content Marketing Trends That Will Dominate 2015” – via Forbes.com

Premise: “Content marketing” continues to grow.  The author has spent time in the past putting together predictions and outcomes of content marketing (links within the article).  Now he takes a look at how content marketing will shift/progress into the new year.

Thoughts: A few of the highlighted trends caught my eye, specifically #2 – “Content marketing will become inextricably linked with social media marketing” and #5 – “The reputation of guest blogging as a content marketing strategy will be repaired”.

It is hard to argue with #2, as this trend continues to grow seemingly month to month.  However, #5 is an item that is important here on ShoreBranding.com.  We have openly embraced guest posts in the past, but willingness to do so weakened in the second half of 2014.  Again, if you are interested in being a guest writer here on the site, please just let me know via our Contact page (or reach out via email / social media).

#2 – “Hey, TV Guys! Facebook’s NFL Deal Means Facebook Is Getting Serious About Video” via recode.net

Premise: Facebook has signed a deal with the NFL to put clips in its ads.  The deal suggests that Facebook is going in the right direction when it comes to online video and how it continues to grow.  For example, your profile and/or posts tell Facebook that you are a fan of a particular team.  With this deal, Facebook will be able to target you with relevant ads or clips of said team.

Thoughts: The NFL continues to surge ahead of the other US sports leagues when it comes to transitioning to online platforms.  Working with Facebook (and Twitter) is now commonplace for the NFL.

Note that there are similar discussions between Facebook and the NBA in order to get a deal in place.  It feels like my Facebook feed is in for an overhaul in the coming months.

#3 – “2015 Social Media Predictions: 10 Forecasts You Need” via HeidiCohen.com

Premise: Aside from the 10 tips/forecasts, the article links to several other “Tips”-related articles when thinking about putting together or revitalizing your social media efforts.  The write-up predicts what is next for the big players in the social space – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, and more.

Thoughts: A few items caught my attention quickly.  First, similar to the article above, it seems like a foregone conclusion that Facebook is going to be deeply cutting into YouTube’s online video space.  Second, it is said to see what Heidi predicts for Twitter … as the company continues to focus on revenue and meeting Wall Street’s demands, it will start to lose steam and interest with users.  I’m not sure I see that happening … yet.  However, I do agree that Vine’s popularity has become much more niche than mainstream.  The final item that I wanted to point out is the reference to the importance of Google+ to businesses.

#4 – “The 7 Top Social Media Trends That Will Impact Your Marketing In 2015” via JeffBullas.com

Premise: Jeff Bullas provides his own take on what 2015 will look like in social media.  These focus items include continued growth in mobile, vlogging, and social wallets.  With each, Bullas provides context as to why and/or how each will continue to rise as we enter 2015.

Thoughts: We have spent a good amount of time talking about the continued rise of mobile, so this shouldn’t be a surprise.  The first statistic in Bullas’ “Paid amplification” trend is mind-numbing – the organic reach on Facebook is terribly low.  That is reason enough to reconsider your Facebook strategy and effort.

“Social shopping” and “Social wallets” have started to rise in 2014 and brands / retailers are beginning to see the power of social sharing for consumers.  Social wallets and cards have started to pop up.

Are you using a social card yet?  I literally just signed up for one last week and am waiting for it to arrive.  If so, what do you think?

#5 – “What Does your 2015 Twitter Strategy Look Like?” via MediaBistro.com

Premise: The change of the calendar year affords you the opportunity to evaluate and establish your social media strategy, with the focus of this article on Twitter.  This strategy should include goal setting, execution, and measurement.  From there you will want to reevaluate your plan to see what is and is not working and go from there.

Thoughts: For the first time, I spent a little money in 2014 to help build our SaveThanksgiving.net following on Twitter.  We gained ~100 followers from those efforts and it is likely something that I’ll re-establish in the latter stages of 2015.

Do you have a strategy that is specific for each social media site that you are on?  How did you perform in 2014 relative to your goals?

Tweet of the Week:

Hopefully, you take #5 above to heart and don’t fall into the trap of our ‘Tweet of the Week’.  The good ole marketing / Twitter fails of 2014.  I can’t even pick one of these five as the worst … they are all … just … painful.  Do yourself a favor and make sure you don’t land on this list in 2015.  Please.

Again, happy new year to all of our readers and subscribers!  I hope you make 2015 great!

Product Review: Samsung Chromebook 2

Product Review: The 13.3 inch Samsung Chromebook 2 (Photo: Samsung.com)

Product Review: The 13.3 inch Samsung Chromebook 2 (Photo: Samsung.com)

Several weeks ago we decided that we needed a second “family / house” computer.  With a Samsung Ultrabook already in our possession and virtually no issues with it over the past 3-4 years, I was leaning on another Samsung laptop.  The Ultrabook already had Microsoft Office and Windows 8 and there wasn’t a need for another $700+ laptop with all of the same programs on it.  The second laptop was going to be for web browsing, watching video and … surprise, surprise … blogging.

I quickly turned my attention to the Samsung Chromebook series and it quickly became a matter of “which one” vs. looking at other devices.  After viewing a number of YouTube videos (like the one below) on the nuances of Chromebook, I figured it was worth a shot.

The Samsung Chromebook 2 has not disappointed.  We went with the 13.3 inch screen, Luminous Titan version due to the slightly stronger specs vs. the 11.6 inch versions.  It has been exactly what we were looking for at a relatively inexpensive cost.  Here is a deep dive into the positives, “opportunity areas”, and more.

Positives:

You may recall my proclaimed loyalty to Google and their products/services.  After unboxing the Chromebook it was up and running in less than five minutes.  My Google account and Chrome preferences were instantly carried over to the device.

The hardware itself feels sturdy, the keyboard and touchpad work with virtually no issues whatsoever.  You may want to watch the YouTube clips embedded in this write-up for a few tips and tricks on how to work a Chromebook touchpad if you are new to Chromebooks or are considering one for the first time.

The video playback and quality is phenomenal in the 13.3 inch Samsung Chromebook 2.  Whether you are viewing video in Google Play Movies & TV, YouTube, Netflix, Hulu or elsewhere, the 1920×1080 LED HD screen makes watching content incredibly easy/enjoyable.

The Full HD picture for the 13.3 inch Samsung Chromebook 2 is worth the extra $ (Photo: Samsung.com)

The Full HD picture for the 13.3 inch Samsung Chromebook 2 is worth the extra $ (Photo: Samsung.com)

Here are several additional tips for using a Chromebook:

Where there is room for improvement:

There is one particular area that I am struggling with.  When grabbing images to coincide with blog entries, I do need to revert back to our other laptop and MS Paint.  While Picasa is an available option, it will not allow me to customize image sizes as easily (by specific size) as MS Paint.  While you can crop and choose different size options in Picasa, I need to be able to specify the width of images and can not do that in the current tool.

(Here is where I am asking anyone for a tip or secret to how to better leverage the Picasa photo editing tool because I have yet to find something that would allow me to never touch our other computer.)

While we leverage Hangouts for video chatting with friends, it would be nice if the Chromebook would allow access to Skype.  I somewhat understand Google’s decision to push people towards their own products, this is a nuisance.

Apps:

If you leverage a Google/Android device for mobile (phone or tablet), you won’t have many surprises at all.  Everything is in the Chrome store for you to download to the device (now including MS Offices extensions).  If you are unfamiliar with the Chrome Web Store, take a look for yourself and decide if the market has what you are looking for … or an acceptable alternative.  I’m virtually certain you will find what you need.

Overall:

Before purchasing the Samsung Chromebook 2 I posed a question to the Jelly community and received the following feedback:

  • “You can find a better laptop”
  • “Make sure it can play well with the rest of your gadgets.  Install Google Remote Desktop to control your Chromebook from your phone anywhere.  Highly suggest Chromecast”

After receiving that first comment several others chimed in that the Chromebook isn’t meant to replace a laptop, etc.  I couldn’t agree more.  The Chromebook is a fantastic second computer in our home and is as fast and easy as hoped/imagined.

From the un-boxing to date, the Chromebook has been a great device that meets our specific needs.  Connecting to our other devices around the house was easy and Google’s ability to transfer preferences, account information, etc. makes it a highly recommended device.  The price/value of the Chromebook series of laptops is just the icing on the cake.

If you are looking for a second laptop or a lower-priced first option, I would recommend the Samsung Chromebook 2 without hesitation.

I’m always interested in learning more tips and tricks.  If you have any for the Samsung Chromebook 2, I would love to hear them in the comments below or send me an email.  Thank you!

 

Loyalty to Brands – Amazon

"Loyalty to Brands" focusing on Amazon.com

“Loyalty to Brands” focusing on Amazon.com

By a show of virtual hands, who has shopped on Amazon in the past week?  That’s what I figured and the leader in ecommerce is our focus in the latest “Loyalty to Brands”.  Founded in 1994 as an online bookstore, Amazon has become much, much more over the years.  There isn’t much out there for sale that you can’t get on Amazon.  Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos continues to run the show at the Seattle-based giant, finding new and exciting ways to expand Amazon’s portfolio.

So what has driven my brand loyalty to Amazon?  While price is an added benefit, it is not my number one driver.  The convenience of shopping on Amazon drives my loyalty.  Specifically, Amazon Prime has made my life so much easier.  It is, beyond the shadow of a doubt, the best $99 I spend every year.  With two day shipping on the majority of purchases, I know that I’m getting what I want/need in a timely manner.  If said item doesn’t meet my needs, returns and exchanges cause virtually no pain or anguish.  Over the past five years or so, I would estimate that at least 80% of my holiday shopping is done on Amazon.  In just November and December, the Amazon Prime subscription fee pays for itself.  Tech gifts, clothes, K-cups, and on and on, the list continues to grow each and every year.

What else makes Amazon appealing?  Well, with a baby in the household, Amazon Mom has been a big help in both price and convenience.  The “subscribe and save” option for diapers and numerous other products takes one less thing off my plate to try to remember.  The item shows up on a regularly scheduled frequency and I never have to think about it.  As an added bonus, you can cancel your subscription at any time.

Amazon Mom (via Babble.com)

Amazon Mom (via Babble.com)

As a final straw in building my loyalty, Amazon has made a commitment to the technology space.  What started off as a black and white e-reader and its Kindle business, Amazon has grown leaps and bounds over the past few years.  While I remain loyal to Google for their phones and tablets, a Fire tablet is likely on its way soon.  This would be a second Amazon Fire product, as Fire TV was an immediate purchase when launched and has since replaced Roku in this household.  If you are looking for a streaming device, I have no hesitation in recommending Fire TV.  All of the major apps are there, you are automatically enrolled in Prime for one year, and you can save all of your information in their cloud.

Fire TV (Sarah Tew / CBS Interactive)

Fire TV (Sarah Tew / CBS Interactive)

How often are you using Amazon?  At the very least, are you comparative shopping by checking to see what is available on Amazon and how much it costs relative to the store you are standing in?

If you have a brand or service that you consider yourself loyal to and are interested in guest blogging on Shore Branding, please do reach out and let me know via the Comments section below or through the Contact page.

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!

Brand in Focus – Whole Foods

 

Brand in Focus - Whole Foods on ShoreBranding.com

Brand in Focus – Whole Foods on ShoreBranding.com

Our next “Brand in Focus” puts Whole Foods’ branding and digital marketing efforts under the microscope. The grocer has been growing here on the east coast and caught my eye over the past few months with its paid advertising efforts on Twitter and Facebook, announcing the grand opening of a new store in Marlboro, NJ. Digging into the company’s digital efforts there are a number of highlights and positives that caught my attention.

First, WholeFoodsMarket.com promotes its efforts across a number of social media sites, all of which we will tackle here. The landing page appeals to the eye with big, bold images scrolling behind the links. When you rollover the text on the left hand sidebar (below) you find a number of links to go to. [Read more…]

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. [Read more…]

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. [Read more…]

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: [Read more…]

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…]