Brand in Focus – the NBA

The NBA logo, aka Jerry West via the NBA’s Twitter page

The NBA logo, aka Jerry West via the NBA’s Twitter page

With the NBA Draft this past Thursday night and my Minnesota Timberwolves owning the first pick of the draft (Karl-Anthony Towns), this feels like the right time to put NBA branding in focus!  The NBA’s branding efforts across social media have driven a nice niche for the sport, most specifically on Twitter and Vine.  Let’s dive right into it and start with the NBA’s own web site.

NBA.com ... please clean this up

NBA.com … please clean this up

For a company that does well for itself on social media, I don’t understand why the NBA’s web site always feels so cluttered and confusing.  The screenshot above was taken less than two days ahead of the NBA Draft and it is just a mess.  You have ads on the sides – which drives me bonkers across the web – and not enough focus on the one event that is in the immediate future.  I’ll save you the trouble of what scrolling down on NBA.com looks like – links everywhere, columns and rows that don’t blend nicely.

The one other item that I noticed is that the NBA has the Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ counts on the top of their page, but to find all of their social media pages, you have to drag your mouse over the “More” link towards the top right and a pop up of social media sites is provided there.

Let’s move on … quickly … to where the NBA is doing solid work and driving real engagement with its fans.

Twitter:

With 15.5 million followers on Twitter, the NBA is doing a tremendous job of promoting its brand on the network.  The NBA passes along news from around the league, RT’s pertinent information from team pages, NBA players, and finally, sister Twitter feeds that have been set up over the time – @NBAHistory, @NBADraft, @NBATV and more.  A generic search on Twitter for “NBA” gave me a compilation of all of these elements:

NBA on Twitter

The league has truly embraced Twitter and has somewhat “forced” its TV partners to follow suit.  My personal Twitter feed is full of NBA news and notes from around the league no matter what time of day or night it is.  The NBA received 100’s of RT’s and Favorites when it posts its own content and is directing followers to many other pages as well with its RT efforts.

The efforts by the league’s Twitter team has also done a fine job of carrying over engagement with fans on Twitter’s Vine platform …

Vine:

With 1.1+ million followers on Vine, the NBA is blowing other US professional sports leagues out of the water on the micro-video network.  I don’t think anyone can argue that the NFL is the #1 professional sport in the US right now and they only have 350K+ followers, while MLB has over 330K.  Essentially, the NBA has three times as many followers on Vine vs. the two leading professional sports here in the US.

Need more proof on the NBA’s branding efforts on Vine, well, I actually wrote about this a few months ago – click here.

Facebook:

27 million plus fans have Liked the NBA’s Facebook page and the engagement coming from these fans is immense.  While I see a lot of duplicative effort and cross-posting between Twitter and Facebook, the NBA typically receives thousands of likes and hundreds of shares on each Facebook post.  Note that this isn’t a once a day posting either, there are a handful of posts typically coming on a daily basis from the league to their fans.

I did notice one area of improvement to recommend … it looks like the page owner’s gave up on the milestone dates after 2011 per the screenshot below.  Please, fill this in!  I truly enjoy the history lesson that brands provide when they fill this in and maintain it adequately.  The NBA does a nice job of referencing championship teams in the timeline, but also major milestones in league history.

NBA on Facebook

Instagram:

While winning on the three prior social networks referenced above, the NBA seems to have some work to do if it is going to maintain a presence on Instagram.  With the deep following on Facebook, it would make a lot of sense for the league to consider going deeper on Instagram over its time and energy on Pinterest (see below).

The NBA has 8+ million followers on Instagram and the landing page screams “Help!”.  I’m not a big fan of how bland the landing page here is.  I have really enjoyed seeing brands create a banner that rotates images on the landing page and what you see below is a pretty basic, white landing page.

NBA on Instagram

That said, the NBA is clearly embracing the video features on Instagram, uploading a number of videos for the NBA Draft throughout the days prior, as well as snippets from the NBA Finals that just wrapped up a few weeks ago.

While I believe the league’s page could be cleaned up a bit, you can’t argue with the results, as most uploads are receiving hundreds of thousands of likes and hundreds of comments.

Pinterest:

Relative to other social media platforms, the NBA ‘struggles’ to build a highly engaged audience on Pinterest.  The league has slightly over 13K followers on the platform, well behind its other pages and networks.

However, I do like what the league has done on Pinterest and it might be better suited taking this style and approach over to Instagram.  If the NBA were to take the “off the court” approach that it uses on various boards and board covers on Pinterest over to Instagram, I think it could be a real winning formula.

NBA on Pinterest

Overall Summary:

The NBA is clearly doing a lot of good across social media.  However, there are a few, small tweaks worth considering in their digital marketing efforts to help build a strong brand image with (potential) fans.

Positives:

  • They have really built a nice niche on Vine
  • Consistent content is being sent to their followers on a daily basis
  • Driving engagement with fans through the use of images and video

Improvement Areas:

  • Pay attention to the details and nuances of each page – for example, keeping the milestones up to date on Twitter
  • Leverage its Pinterest approach on Instagram and maybe even consider dropping Pinterest given how far behind the NBA’s following is relative to Instagram

What are your favorite and least favorite parts of the NBA’s social media efforts?  Where would you like to see the NBA make improvements?  Let us know in the Comments section below.

 

Brands Winning on Vine – 2015

Brands Winning on Vine - 2015 Edition

Brands Winning on Vine – 2015 Edition

Since launching, Vine has made stars out of your average Joe’s.  The site took off without even having a web site at first.  The platform – which now includes a web page – continues to be one of the most appealing ways to catch my attention when it comes to online video.

Vine may or may not be slowing down in terms of momentum, but it is still a site / an app I tend to frequent regularly.  With that in mind, I wanted to update an article written back in August of 2013 and provide a new perspective on “Brands Winning on Vine”.  The brands mentioned then – specifically Lowes and Oreo – are still “winning” on the platform, albeit not as frequently, as their number of posts have slowed down.

However, other brands and companies have certainly picked up the slack.  With that in mind, here are a few, new brands winning on Vine: [Read more…]

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). [Read more…]

Brand in Focus – Bolthouse Farms

Bolthouse Farms Logo (Bolthouse.com)

Bolthouse Farms Logo (Bolthouse.com)

This quarter’s “Brand in Focus” takes a look at the branding and digital marketing efforts of Bolthouse Farms.  The company’s web page promotes their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages.  Noticeably missing from the links at the top for me, is the brand’s Vine page as that is how Bolthouse Farms originally caught my attention. [Read more…]

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 12-21-14

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding - Happy Holidays! (Photo credit: RealClubResorts.com)

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – Happy Holidays!
(Photo credit: RealClubResorts.com)

Welcome to the last #SundayMusings of 2014!  The holiday season is in full swing and so are a number of brands with their marketing and advertising efforts.  The following stories caught my attention over the past couple of weeks regarding advertising and branding Christmas.  Enjoy!

#1 – “Brands get super creative on social media for #Christmas” – via Branded3.com

Premise: Brands continue to step it up a notch with holiday / Christmas branding efforts across social media networks.  The author picks four brands that have stood out this holiday season with their respective campaigns.

Thoughts: I love the Vine from Asda in this article!  That is essentially my Christmas wish to be able to decorate the tree that quickly.  Congratulations to UPS for winning the internet for one day with their “UPS Wishes” campaign and the video included in this article.  You can send in your wish to UPS here. [Read more…]

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 10-26-14

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding! (Photo credit: Worth1000.com)

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding!
(Photo credit: Worth1000.com)

This week’s #SundayMusings focuses on a topic that doesn’t get as much publicity as it probably should across social media.  Building brand advocacy and brand ambassadors is an immensely powerful channel to growing your brand or company.  Their ability to promote your brand to a broader audience, while aiding your word-of-mouth advertising can go a long way towards success.  The following stories caught my attention over the past few weeks.

#1 – Find Brand Ambassadors by Monitoring Social Media – via DigitalDoughnut.com

Premise: Social Media Week was two weeks ago and coming out of that was a real good example of why you need to be monitoring social media and how to take advantage of it.  There are at least a couple of ways that you can help strengthen your relationship with brand ambassadors through social media.  The author also quotes a few numbers from one particular event during Social Media Week, saying that 22% of ‘fans’ are ambassadors and 55% of ambassadors aren’t following said brand on their social media.

Thoughts: Interesting example provided in this write-up about a company having no idea what was being said about them and missing the opportunity to engage with a potential brand ambassador.  It happens all of the time.  The three tips on how or where to celebrate ambassadors all make sense.  You simply need to pick the route that you are comfortable with and stick with it over time. [Read more…]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tweet of the Week:

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

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

 

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

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

Branding and Digital Marketing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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…]