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!

Pin of the Month – Becoming a LinkedIn Jedi

Continuing "LinkedIn Month" on ShoreBranding.com w/ our August "Pin of the Month". (Infographic by Gryffin.com)

Continuing “LinkedIn Month” on ShoreBranding.com w/ our August “Pin of the Month”. (Infographic by Gryffin.com)

Our August “Pin of the Month” kicks off our “LinkedIn Month” here at Shore Branding. As referenced in last week’s #SundayMusings, we will be focusing on LinkedIn over the next month or so.  The infographic above from Gryffin.com provides a ton of recommendations and brainstorming about how to get the most out of LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is the clear number one site when it comes to professional networking with hundreds of millions of active users around the globe. What does the platform allow you to do – just as the infographic illustrates, LinkedIn allows you “discover professional opportunities, explore new ventures, and cultivate professional relationships”. I can’t think of a better way to describe / summarize how you should be thinking about LinkedIn.

I love the way this infographic has connected Star Wars to their recommendations on how to better leverage LinkedIn for your professional career. Many of these items are part of our forthcoming “Tips” article on how to better leverage the network for your personal use. (We’ll also be creating a second “Tips” article for businesses.)

My favorite part of the infographic itself is the examples provided towards the end of each section. They have taken Donna Serdula, Dave Kerpen, and Guy Kawasaki’s use of LinkedIn and made the connection to each section of recommendations. This really brings to life each of the recommendations and someone that the reader can reference when thinking about updating their own LinkedIn profile.

LinkedIn affords you the opportunity to build your own brand and influence in your area of expertise. As the infographic points out, you can build your identity in a number of ways – from starting your own group and/or participating in those with similar thoughts and interests, to sharing content via status updates, and/or endorsing your connections. It is all about engaging with others in your network and growing it out.

There is a ton of interesting information and thoughts on this infographic by Gryffin.com. I really thought it was a phenomenal visual to bring home a lot of different thoughts and recommendations. What is your favorite part? Do you agree or disagree with any of the information they provide? If so, let us know in the Comments below.

In case you are unfamiliar with our “Pin of the Month”, each month we’ll be posting one of the better infographics, pictures, etc. that we typically find on our Pinterest page and (over-) analyzing it in a blog write-up. For those specifically interested in LinkedIn, here is our LinkedIn board on Pinterest.

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 – 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 – 4-27-14

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

 

After focusing on content marketing in the last edition, today’s #SundayMusings w/ Shore Branding focuses on some of the latest and greatest write-ups I’ve seen on digital marketing over the past few weeks.

#1 – Using Social Media to Influence Your Brand Image – via TheSocialMediaHat.com 

Premise: Understanding what your brand image is and how social media can play such an important role in building that image is crucial in today’s world. Social media connects you with millions of people from around the world and can have an immediate and enormous impact on your brand and business … when done correctly; by engaging with your audience, having meaningful content, etc.

Thoughts: While a little bit older than we typically use here on Sunday Musings, The Social Media Hat is a great resource for digital marketing. This write-up takes a branding angle on your digital marketing efforts and how said efforts can impact your brand image. Whether you are looking to share opinions, looking for recommendations, or sharing other people’s work, social media can help take your brand to another stratosphere. [Read more...]

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 4-13-14

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

Welcome back to a new #SundayMusings w/ Shore Branding!  Our bi-weekly write-up has a new focus topic this week and that is content marketing.  Content marketing has become all the rage, but truth be told, I see it as a fancy phrase that is an extension of your branding efforts.  I’m sure many will disagree with this sentiment, but that’s my view on the latest catchphrase in marketing.

#1 – 9 Tips for Creating Content that Gets Shared – via JeffBullas.com 

Premise: Jeff Bullas provides his top nine tips for creating content that gets shared.  From identifying your audience/target through “making information accessible”, Jeff provides a good amount of context for each of his nine tips.

Thoughts: All nine of the tips found this article are useful and ought to be kept in mind as you (re-)focus on your content.  The one tip that seems highly relevant given our changes to these #SundayMusings write-ups is “#6 – Pay attention to trends”.  That was the main reason for moving to a topic-focused style of writing for #SundayMusings and our numbers and shares across social media have improved.  [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 – 12-15-13

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 – 9-15-13

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

Welcome back to Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding!  The following are this past week’s top stories in branding and digital marketing that caught our attention.

#1 – Twitter Files for IPO – via AllThingsD.com 

Premise: Twitter announced that the company will finally go public with an IPO later this year.  They have filed a “confidential” S-1 report thanks to new rules from the JOBS act, so potential investors won’t see all of the revenue numbers and expenses for some time.  Twitter has made several hires recently that highly suggested this announcement was coming.

Thoughts: Well, it is about time!  While this likely means more advertising can be expected on the site itself, I’m interested to see how the stock market reacts when Twitter begins trading.  If you have followed this site for the past six months or so, you know that we are heavy supporters of Twitter and how it has, literally, changed news reporting around the world.

Will you be investing in Twitter? [Read more...]

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 9-1-13

Photo Credit: CBS Philadelphia

Photo Credit: CBS Philadelphia

Happy Labor Day weekend to those in the US!  Here are this past week’s top stories in branding and digital marketing that caught our eye.

#1 – What Google’s Chromecast means for marketers – via iMediaConnection.com 

Premise: The author takes an interesting perspective on the recently launched Google Chromecast – while you might first think that this is targeted for consumers, it is a product that will be of great aid to advertisers.  As mobile shopping and the ‘second screen’ behaviors continue to grow, Chromecast presents an ability to unite the TV and mobile device.  Advertisers and marketers will be able to collect a wealth of information on end-user behavior, key for more focused and relevant advertising.

While past efforts from Google (Nexus Q and Google TV) have failed to take off, the Chromecast might be the device that takes Google’s advertising model to the next level.

Thoughts: I purchased a Chromecast the day it was announced and have enjoyed the quality and performance of the $35 product.  At the time, I said I thought it could be a game-changer, but really only thought about it from the consumer angle.  This write-up really takes a brilliant look into the device from a unique angle – one that advertisers can really take to heart and start planning against.  The consumption data that will be generated will help marketing teams strengthen and tailor their message to the right audience. [Read more...]