Social Media Magic — Planning Your Posts

I am a planner.  All of my friends and family would tell you so.  I pack at least several days before leaving for a trip.  I save money ahead of time for special purchases.  I like to plan.  It makes me happy.

This is one of the reasons I’m good at what I do.  An effective social media strategy requires a lot of planning.  There are a lot of ways to assist with planning posts to social media channels.  Buffer, Hootesuite, and Bronto are just a few online programs you can use to schedule your posts.  But before you start plugging your posts in, I’d recommend a good, old fashioned editorial calendar.  They work great for planning everything from blog posts to tweets.  You can make your calendar as elaborate as you like, but a straight-forward list can be quite useful — especially when you’re in the first stages of planning a campaign.

For the purposes of education, I’ve put together a purely hypothetical list that will focus on Walt Disney World’s (WDW) Magic Kingdom during the month of August 2014.  When thinking about this list, I’ve set some goals, which are important for any social media campaign.  Looking at WDW’s Twitter feed, I’ve noticed that they’ve been focusing heavily on using the hashtag #FrozenSummer.  This is a clever way to engage folks, using the success of the worldwide phenomenon the movie, “Frozen,” coupled with the excitement of visiting WDW during the summer.  And let’s face it: anyone visiting WDW in the heat of the summer could use some reminding of cooler temperatures.  So, for the sake of this hypothetical list, I will also focus on using a hashtag, promoting themed posts by using it.  Using a hashtag would allow me to track my results, and it also helps me to engage social media users when they post using it.

WDW is known for it’s fanatical fans, so I’m going to set a goal to try to engage all users — not just current guests.  WDW already does such a great job of promoting and listing it’s times and events to guests.  They hand out maps.  They have handouts of showtimes and special character meetings given out by the handful upon entry to their parks.  They even have a fabulous new app guests can use.  I am not going to use social media as yet another calendar for them.  That would be redundant and, as their social media marketer, wouldn’t best serve my “client.”

Tech-savvy guests will certainly be interested in participating in social media during their stay, but to focus solely on them would be to ignore the hoards of Disney fans at home wishing they could be there too.  So, my main goal for this hypothetical campaign would be to engage fans who are not currently at WDW along with those who are currently guests.  Getting those fans back to the Disney website, so they can start thinking about and planning their next visit would be ideal, so I’ll include shortened urls in posts that will link back to the Disney website.

My secondary goal is to promote some of the lesser known things to do at the Magic Kingdom that are no less magical than the headliners, and I’ll be using the hashtag #MagicalSummer to do this.  I’ll group lesser-known Magic Kingdom experiences along with those sought-after ones, using the hashtag #MagcialSummer with all of them, thereby grouping them in the same category for both fans and current guests.

While a comprehensive social media strategy would focus on many platforms with multiple posts per day, I’m just going to focus on the two most popular channels, Facebook and Twitter, giving one example per day.  Remember when planning posts to count your characters, and I don’t mean the Seven Dwarfs.

Note: When I list a photo, it is for the Facebook post.

Friday, August 1st

Facebook:  Don’t forget to make a wish during tonight’s Wishes Nighttime Spectacular fireworks show! What would your ultimate Disney wish be? http://bit.ly/L1qazf #MagicalSummer

Twitter:  Don’t forget to make a wish during tonight’s Wishes Nighttime Spectacular! What would your wish be? http://bit.ly/L1qazf #MagicalSummer

Saturday, August 2nd

Facebook: Hades and his cohorts could spell trouble! Defeat the villains in the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game, and let us know who your favorite Disney villain is! http://bit.ly/1jvs5dW #MagicalSummer


Twitter: Defeat the villains in the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game! Who is your favorite Disney villain? http://bit.ly/1jvs5dW #MagicalSummer

Sunday, August 3rd

Facebook: Who is your favorite miner? Don’t miss the new Seven Dwarfs Mine train ride in the all new Fantasyland! http://bit.ly/1lUpM6p #MagicalSummer

Twitter: Who is your favorite miner? Don’t miss the new Seven Dwarfs Mine train ride in the all new Fantasyland! http://bit.ly/1lUpM6p #MagicalSummer

Monday, August 4th

Facebook: Have you mastered your skills at the Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade? Which Disney character would you most want to beat?  http://bit.ly/1kTmn24 #MagicalSummer

Twitter: Which Disney character would you most want to beat at the Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade? http://bit.ly/1kTmn24 #MagicalSummer

Tuesday, August 5th

Facebook: Have you seen the funny things written on the tombstones at the Haunted Masion? What is the best way to pass the time while waiting in line for attractions? http://bit.ly/1flgNUq #MagicalSummer

Twitter: What is the best way to pass the time while waiting in line for attractions? http://bit.ly/1flgNUq #MagicalSummer

Wednesday, August 6th

Facebook: Have you been to the Laugh Floor? It’s a great place to giggle and guffaw with the character from Monsters, Inc., and Monsters University! Tell us the silliest joke you heard there! http://bit.ly/1la3RHK #MagicalSummer

Twitter: The Laugh Floor is a great place to giggle & guffaw with characters from Monsters, Inc. & University! http://bit.ly/1la3RHK #MagicalSummer

Thursday, August 7th

Facebook & Twitter: Need to cool off?  Enjoy a “Hare-Raising” Adventure” on Splash Mountain! http://bit.ly/1a7Dmyb #MagicalSummer

Friday, August 8th

Facebook & Twitter: What’s your favorite stop on Tom Sawyer’s Island? Adventure awaits! http://bit.ly/1cflzDW #MagicalSummer

Saturday, August 9th

Facebook & Twitter: Are you remembering some of your favorite Magic Kingdom memories? Let us know your favorites! #MagicalSummer

Sunday, August 10th

Facebook & Twitter: Do you know what Frontierland attraction was one of the last Walt Disney personally helped build? http://bit.ly/1cfhobk #MagicalSummer

Monday, August 11th

Facebook & Twitter: Did you know you can sign up for FastPasses for your upcoming Magic Kingdom visit right from home? http://bit.ly/1i5Zhp6 #MagicalSummer

Tuesday, August 12th

Facebook: Have you heard of the Dapper Dans? This barbershop quartet can be seen on Main Street U.S.A. What song of theirs is your favorite? http://bit.ly/1tGlYth #MagicalSummer

Twitter: The Dapper Dan barbershop quartet can be seen on Main Street U.S.A. Which song is your favorite? http://bit.ly/1tGlYth #MagicalSummer

Wednesday, August 13th

Facebook & Twitter: Who is your favorite president? Come see him at our Hall of Presidents! http://bit.ly/1ceXdui #MagicalSummer

Thursday, August 14th

Facebook & Twitter: What are you most excited to see in the new Fantasyland? http://bit.ly/1m5V1Fy #MagicalSummer

Friday, August 15th

Facebook & Twitter: What was the first ride you ever rode in the Magic Kingdom? Teacups or Dumbo? #MagicalSummer

Saturday, August 16th

Facebook: Do you have a photo from this iconic Magic Kingdom spot? If you could choose any two Disney characters to be in another Partners Statue, who would you choose? #MagicalSummer

Twitter: If you could choose any two Disney characters to be in another Partners Statue, who would you choose? #MagicalSummer

Sunday, August 17th

Facebook: Do you have what it takes to be a pirate? Do your best pirate impression at Captain Jack’s Pirate Tutorial and share your photos here! http://bit.ly/1m928gA #MagicalSummer

Twitter: Do you have what it takes to be a pirate? Share with us your best pirate impression at Captain Jack’s Pirate Tutorial! http://bit.ly/1m928gA #MagicalSummer

Monday, August 18th

Facebook & Twitter: What do you think of the new Be Our Guest Restaurant? http://bit.ly/19088bR #MagicalSummer

Tuesday, August 19th

Facebook & Twitter: Cool off at the nostalgic Plaza Ice Cream Parlor! One scoop or two? http://bit.ly/1scTSnG #MagicalSummer

Wednesday, August 20th

Facebook & Twitter: What is your favorite attraction to FastPass in Magic Kingdom? http://bit.ly/1i5Zhp6 #MagicalSummer

Note: Use collage of atttractions

Thursday, August 21st

Facebook: Have you ridden Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin? What was your high score? Who’s score would you most want to beat? http://bit.ly/1d8iG3I #MagicalSummer

Twitter: Who’s score would you most want to beat on Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin? http://bit.ly/1d8iG3I #MagicalSummer

Friday, August 22nd

Facebook & Twitter: Learn secrets of the Magic Kingdom while on a tour! Where have you seen Hidden Mickeys? http://bit.ly/1r7isGl #MagicalSummer

Saturday, August 23rd

Facebook & Twitter: What are your favorite things to do during #ExtraMagicHours? Did you know it’s a great time to meet Disney characters? #MagicalSummer

Sunday, August 24th

Facebook & Twitter: Dance with some Super characters from Disney Pixar’s The Incredibles!http://bit.ly/U2L0lE #MagicalSummer

Monday, August 25th

Facebook: Christmas is just 4 months away! It’s never too early to visit Ye Old Christmas Shoppe. What’s your favorite Disney ornament? http://bit.ly/W2f2Yi #MagicalSummer

Twitter: Christmas is just 4 months away! What’s your favorite Disney ornament? http://bit.ly/W2f2Yi #MagicalSummer

Tuesday, August 26th

Facebook & Twitter: Who is your favorite Disney Princess? You can be transformed into her at the Bibbidi Bobbido Boutique! http://bit.ly/1dwJpNa #MagicalSummer

Wednesday, August 27th

Facebook & Twitter: Who did you first ride Space Mountain with? http://bit.ly/1fe4fjo #MagicalSummer

Thursday, August 28th

Facebook: Which Magic Kingdom land would stay in all day if you could only visit one? Adventureland, Fantasyland, Frontierland, or Tomorrowland? #MagicalSummer

NOTE: Include map of Magic Kingdom

Twitter: Which Magic Kingdom land would stay in all day if you could only visit one? #MagicalSummer

Friday, August 29th

Facebook & Twitter: Meet Anna and Elsa at the Princess Fairytale Hall! Who’s your favorite? http://bit.ly/1qvFIu2 #MagicalSummer

Saturday, August 30th

Facebook & Twitter: When did you first ride Big Thunder Mountain? What’s your favorite part? http://bit.ly/1aSnq0w #MagicalSummer

Sunday, August 31st

Facebook: Do you have a memorable Magic Kingdom moment? We love the flag-lowering ceremony where a special guest is selected to participate each day. http://bit.ly/1oVcx3O #MagicalSummer

Twitter: Have you seen the flag-lowering ceremony where a special guest is selected to participate each day? http://bit.ly/1oVcx3O #MagicalSummer

So, by now, I’m sure you have a good idea of how to start planning your social media strategy across multiple channels.  I’d encourage cross-promotion, always remembering you want to bring users back to your website and engage with them whenever possible.

What are your favorite tips and tools for planning in social media marketing?

Using Social Media in Integrated Marketing

Using social media effectively is such an important part of a solid integrated marketing plan.  This week, let’s take a look at three very different brands and how they use their social media channels to market their brand.  Three different brands, all integrating social media into their marketing.  While each brand has their strengths and weaknesses in terms of the execution, they all do a great job of showcasing their brand on social media.

Adidas

Adidas is an international brand that sells sporting goods, primarily shoes.  I wanted to take a look at Adidas now because it’s an especially busy time for retailers and makers of sporting goods due to this summer’s World Cup.  As a huge soccer fan, I am very familiar with their sponsorship of international soccer teams and was expecting a big push from their marketing on social media, connecting their brand to the World Cup.  I wasn’t disappointed.

Website: adidas.com/us

Adidas Website

One thing I found odd was there were no links to their many social media profiles on their website.

 

Facebook: facebook.com/adidas

17,194,750 likes

Adidas uses Facebook well, in terms of integrated marketing.  They had posts with links to YouTube videos, they used hashtags like #allin, they tagged people and products in their posts, and, most importantly, were linking back their website.

Adidas Facebook

Twitter: twitter.com/adidas

1,546 tweets

1,162,205 followers

Adidas uses Twitter very well.  It’s important to note there were several Adidas related accounts, but I am focusing on their main brand account.  They often retweeted a lot of other Adidas accounts, like @adidasrunning, @adidasfootball, they post photos and YouTube videos, links to email signup, and use a lot of hastags.  They also link product photos back to their website.

Adidas Twitter

Instagram: Instagram.com/adidas

460 posts

1,340,179 followers

On Instgram Adidas maintained their consistent imagery.  They used a lot of hashtags like #allin, #WorldCup, #SmashTheSilence.  They also tagged celebrities in their posts, such as @snoopdogg, @AndyMurray, & @Pharrell.  They were not consistent in linking product photos back to their website on Instagram.

Adidas Instagram

Google+: plus.google.com/+adidas/posts

944,521 followers

15,885,854 views

On Google+ Adidas continued their use of hashtags, expanding it to things like: #Messi, #NFL, and #f50.  Every post had either a photo or a video and many also had a link to the Adidas website to the product.   They were very consistent in their imagery and messaging, and this was the most consistent social media platform when in comes to directing visitors back to their website from product photos.

Adidas Google plus

YouTube: youtube.com/user/adidas

68,263 subscribers

I was surprised at how few soccer-related videos there were on their YouTube channel, focusing the most recent posts on Wimbledon and tennis, instead.  They are consistent posters on YouTube, posting 20 videos, just in the past month.

Adidas YouTube

 

 

4 Rivers Smokehouse

I love highlighting local companies, and 4Rivers Smokehouse is no different.  They have a great style to their photos that they use in their marketing that they use across their social media channels, which helps make this local restaurant’s brand very identifiable.

Website: 4rsmokehouse.com

4Rivers website

4Rivers’ website features their signature dish, BBQ brisket.  It highlights their local chef and philanthropist, John Rivers, and clearly shows their social media channels.  I thought it was interesting that they didn’t have a Google+ channel listed, but I found one fairly easily when I browsed Google+.

Facebook: facebook.com/4RSmokehouse

25,788 likes

26,804 visits

On Facebook, 4Rivers lists their website and phone number in posts, but not consistently.  The photos used are the same that are used across their channels.  4Rivers does a really good job at linking articles and other media about them in their posts.  They tag folks and organizations in them, but don’t take advantage of using hashtags.

4Rivers Facebook

Twitter: twitter.com/4RSmokehouse

1,259 tweets

4,514 followers

Their tweets are full of consistent imagery and messaging.  However, they do use hashtags here on Twitter.  They frequently have Facebook posts as their tweets.

4Rivers Twitter

Instagram: Instagram.com/4riverssmokehouse

36 posts

1,3,19 followers

4Rivers’ Instagram profile is filled with great photos of food, their restaurant, chef, and employees.  They do use hashtags here occasionally, with the most common one being, #4rivers.

4Rivers Instagram

Google+: plus.google.com/+4RiversSmokehouseWinterGarden/posts

20 followers

388,898 views

Their Google+ page is actually not for the larger brand, but for the Winter Garden location.  They still use consistent imagery and messaging.  They also use more hastags, such as #WinterGarden, #recipe, and #wine.  Their Google+ page also includes links to their website and phone number for ordering.  They also tag people and organizations in their posts.

4Rivers Google plus

Pinterest: pinterest.com/4rsmokehouse

7 Boards, 114 Pins, 5 Likes,

246 Followers, 75 Following

4Rivers’s Pinterest board is just as you’d imagine it would be.  It features their food, locations, chef, media, and awards.  The food is really the star on Pinterest, though.  I thought it was interesting that in their profile, they listed their Facebook page, as opposed to their website.  Their Twitter profile is also linked.

4Rivers Pinterest

YouTube: youtube.com/user/4RiversSmokehouse

14 subscribers

5 videos

Out of all of their social media profiles, this was a bit of a disappointment.  There was no banner and only 5 videos on it.  I think, if they’re going to link this profile from their website, they should update and expand on the content.

4Rivers YouTube

NHL

While most of the world is watching the World Cup, the NHL draft was happening.  While I don’t expect them to get the attention of the World Cup, the NHL brand did a great job of pushing their content out through their social media channels and linking that content back to their website.

Website: nhl.com

NHL website

NHL.com is filled with a lot of rich content.  They have their social media profiles linked, but don’t show their Instagram profile, which I found odd.

Facebook: facebook.com/nhl

3,364,950 likes

NHL has a lot of great content on their Facebook page.  They prominently list the 2014-15 regular season schedule: http://s.nhl.com/yjLhr, and let fans know that any content shared there may end up on TV, NHL Social, or NHL.com: http://nhl.com/socialmediapolicy.  They are great at tagging, using photos, and using hashtags like #NHLDraft & #StanleyCup.  NHL is the most consistent at linking content back to their webpage.

NHL Facebook

Twitter: twitter.com/nhl

69,070 tweets

2,526,965 followers

They tweet a lot and are great at using of photos, videos, tagging, and linking back to their website.  Their is very consistent use of imagery and content shared.  They use hashtags, most recently using #NHLDraft.

NHL Twitter

Instagram: Instagram.com/nhl

1,023 posts

507,678 followers

Their use of tagging and hashtags was the most consistent on Instagram.  I liked the exclusive feel of the photos shared here, since they weren’t the ones shared on the other social media platforms.  NHL.com is not linked on the content, but their Twitter profile is listed in their profile.

NHL Instagram 

Google+: plus.google.com/+NHL/posts

1,210,388 followers

65,011,519 views

Their Google+ profile is very consistent with the content.  The messaging and imagery is the same as most of the others with their use of photos, videos, tagging, and linking back to their website.

NHL Google plus

YouTube: Youtube.com/nhl

474,749 subscribers

Their YouTube channel is filled with great content.  They have their other social media profiles linked on the banner at the top.

NHL YouTube

One of my favorite things about their YouTube channel is the exclusive content there.  There is a lot of exclusive content, which would certainly be an incentive to visit the page and to subscribe to the channel.

 

Why Blogging Matters

Blogging often gets a bad rap.  For too long, many people have thought that blogging was just for “teenagers and wannabe reporters.”  Nowadays, more and more folks have begun to see the real value to blogging.  The phrase I’ve been hearing again and again is “content marketing.”  I read about it on Adam Vincenzini’s great marketing blog, and it’s part of the focus of Matthew Certo’s fabulous new book, Found: Connecting with Customers is the Digital Age.  

Many businesses and individuals are starting to get the message that creating great content that others want to read, not traditional advertising, is a great way to gain and retain customer loyalty.

Depending on where you look there are several ways to describe the different types of blogs and bloggers.  For the purpose of this blog, blogs will be divided into five categories:

 

Let’s take a look at a few examples.

 

Matt walsh blog front page

The Matt Walsh Blog is something I’ve seen posted to Facebook a lot recently.  I would characterize it as a semi-professional blog based on his posting frequency and the number of shares and comments displayed on each post.   He tends to post several times a week, usually dealing with a newsworthy or controversial topic, taking a unique perspective.  As a result, he receives a lot of passionate comments.  His recent post titles include “Thousands of toddlers are being drugged because they act like toddlers,” “This person is planning to kill me in order to teach me that I shouldn’t be mean and hateful,” and “This poor child is confused, not ‘transgendered.’”

This sort of controversial take on newsworthy items and hot topics makes his voice a unique one from many blogs I’ve seen.  He is definitely creating his brand personality through controversy, dealing with issues in black and white instead of shades of gray we often see.  As far as I can tell, Matt uses word of mouth as his way of getting traffic to his blog, although he comes up first when searching for “Matt Walsh.”

The Matt Walsh Blog has a good amount of ads on his blog and he even sells a shirt.  He also has a tab which includes offers for speaking engagements and media requests.  He has Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and an RSS feed in the upper right corner of his home page and also gives various options for sharing each post at the end of them.   It looks to be a successful blog gaining followers and momentum, and he’s doing a great job forwarding his brand.  Longevity remains to be seen, but he has a partnership with the Liberty Alliance, which certainly can’t hurt his audience reach.

house of hendrix blog

A personal favorite of mine is a blog by my friend, Alli Hendrix, The House of Hendrix.  Her blog would be classified as a recreational blog due to her specific content and passion with which she blogs about her self, her children, and her family.  There are no ads on the site, and she even lists her personal email address.  Her blog is meant to inspire and encourage others, while sharing her own experiences as a friend, wife, and mother.  A typical blog is a recent one titled, “How sibling fighting led me to drive a car covered in Nerf bullets.

Like most bloggers starting out, she has friends who subscribe.  She was also listed in the top 25 family blogs by moms on Circle of Moms.  The House of Hendrix also uses Pinterest as a tool for gaining traffic on the blog.  Alli posts social media share buttons on her blog and encourages readers with a personal message to connect with her on Facebook.  This is typical of her brand voice.  She is personal and personable.  Alli easily connects with moms about their desires for the families, through fun crafts ideas, and by revealing her struggles.  As a recreational blog it is great.  If she were looking to have advertisers, I’d recommend having things like summer sleepaway camps, children’s clothing, and craft products.  As it is, she does recommend one store and her “Favorite Socks Ever!

While the blog has only been around for a, relatively, short time, I would still say this qualifies as a successful blog.  I’d love to see her publish new content with more regularity, but the content she does publish is original, useful, and oftentimes inspirational.  Using Word Press, you can follow her blog from the moment you first visit.

relevant magazine home page

Another local favorite is Relevant Magazine.  While they do publish a print version, their online news-style blog is able to cover many more topics than the print version.  Their about us tab tells the story of how their publishing efforts began and that they now havw a reach of about 2,300,000 per month.  They tell the story of how and why they started here:

 They are unique in their target of twenty and thirty-something hipster Christians who are searching and not always finding the answers they’re looking for in church.   They have a wealth of great content that would help with SEO.  They also should get traffic through social sharing and the word of mouth they mention in the above video.  Also, I would assume they get traffic through their titles like “4 Lies the Church Taught me about Sex” and “Top Ten Relationship Killers.”

There are ads on the page and also opportunities to subscribe to their printed publication.  This is a well conceived and executed blog and brand.  They have new content that is published often, and you can connect on many different social sites, including YouTube.  You can subscribe and share many different places on their main site and through social media links, and Relevant has been around for more than a decade.

So, whether you’re trying to educate and inform, share your opinions, inspire others, or sell something, blogs are a very useful tool.

Some other favorites of mine I’d like to list are:

  • The Pioneer Woman — I came across this blog years ago while looking for a recipe, and it has now practically become it’s own industry with books and a television show.
  • A Thousand Miles — Inspiring story of an amputee’s journey walking 1000 miles that was shared with me soon after a dear friend’s brother lost his leg.
  • Fluent in 3 Months — If you want to learn a second language or have ever wished to become a polyglot, get the refund on your Rosetta Stone, this is the blog for you!  He offers a paid subscription service for more help and tips.
  • Technorati — Great for social media and online marketing information and tips.

What are you waiting for?  It’s time to start your blog!

The Resurrection of the Website

The website is the linchpin of any brand’s online presence.  Or, at least, it should be.  However, with the growing influence of social media, many companies have virtually abandoned their websites.  This is a bad idea.  While, it’s true, people spend a lot of time on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and more, the only place on the internet your company owns the content it’s producing  is on it’s own website.

So, while having a strategy that pulls folks back to your website is key, it’s just as important to having an outstanding website for them to go to.

Here is one way of looking at it from an integrated marketing standpoint:

Think about it.  Most of us have visited websites where the information was old and outdated, links were broken, or the webpage was somehow “under construction,” which is a fancy way of saying it it’s incomplete.  That’s not even touching on websites that are poorly designed.  So let’s take a look back at Orlando City Soccer Club’s website, and see how they measure up.

Orlando City Soccer webpage home page

OCSC has a beautifully designed website that integrates both push and pull marketing.  Prominently displayed social media account links are present.  There is fresh content scrolling in the main news area.  Here they’re talking about player, Kevin Molina, being named to the USL team of the week and advertising the team’s next matches.

Fresh Conent -- molino

Immediately I see the opportunity to “Live Chat” in the bottom right.

Orlando City Soccer Live chat

There are offers to buy tickets, a Soccercast to listen to, an email list to subscribe to, and even an opportunity to volunteer.

volunteer sign up page

They also integrate print and email marketing along with a very active social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest, even using Twitter to pull folks into their coach’s blog.

2014-06-08 21.35.50

In the story sections, visitors can share the content directly to their social networks and even comment right from the OCSC webpage.

Social media share buttons

Although the website has a lot of tabs, they are well organized and full of good, useful, and informative content.

coporate tab

gameday tab

news tab

Schedule tab

MLS tab  Tickets tab

store tab

club tab

I especially like their nod to their supporters clubs, the tab for Spanish-speaking fans, and the one highlighting the many youth programs, OCSC offers.

espanol tab

 

OCSC Youth Soccer webpage

I had to look hard to find any recommendations I’d make to the designers of the site.  When looking at the mobile version, no accommodations have been made for a mobile viewer.  This is a missed opportunity.

Orlando City Soccer Mobile version

Statistics show that mobile use of the internet is growing.

Orlando City SC should be taking advantage of this rising trend.

 

There are a lot of other important things to look at when designing and structuring your website.  Using Google Analytics is always a great step.  I’d also recommend using a site like crazyegg, which shows things like heat mapping, where folks are clicking most, how long they scroll down, where they leave your page, and so much more.

 

Orlando City Soccer — building a brand through multimedia communications

Using multimedia communication is essential when trying to reach your customers.   Living in Orlando, I see many companies, large and small, who are using multimedia communication to integrate their marketing effectively.   This video shows a great example of a small business using multimedia communication effectively to build business.  In today’s multitasking digital landscape where it takes more touches to reach a customer, combining things like radio, TV, print, social media, web, email, and more will get your message to more people.

Orlando City SC logoI wanted to highlight a local organization that has used multimedia communication extremely effectively to meet their goals and grow their company.  I have personally seen their very active Facebook and Twitter pages, billboards, newspaper ads, email blasts, items handed out, and much more!  Orlando City Soccer is a great example of using multimedia communication to help grow your business and increase brand loyalty.

Orlando City Soccer Club (OCSC) was founded in 2010. What began as the Austin Aztec FC in 2008 moved to Orlando with high hopes of becoming a Major League Soccer (MLS) expansion team. Being a huge soccer fan, I was immediately excited. After attending some matches during the inaugural season, I purchased season tickets.

With the desire to become an expansion team in the MLS, Orlando City SC has done a tremendous job at showing their organization to be vital to the fans and the community.

As a season ticket holder, I was put on an email list and receive emails directly from the club. This is a great tool to keep in touch with customers. While I don’t read all of the emails, I do read them regularly. A good subject line is certain to get my attention.

Orlando City Soccer emailss

They wisely, include targeted information in their emails, including ticket sales opportunities and even a link to their own podcast, which they call a Soccercast.  They rightly refer to the hosts as “Brand Ambassadors.”

Orlando City Soccer Soccercast

I’ve also received direct mail containing things like schedules, coupons, and flyers for special events.  One notable piece of print is their pocket schedule that folds and goes conveniently into your wallet.  They even included a few to share with friends.

Orlando City Soccer Print Ads Direct Mail

Orlando City Soccer Billboard Don Garber visitDuring the 2013 season, OCSC had flags of their players hanging from the lampposts in Downtown Orlando, and more notably, when MLS commissioner Don Garber came to visit Orlando in 2012 to take a look at the city as a possible option for an MLS expansion team, Orlando City Soccer rolled out the red carpet, and showcased their brand.

They put an ad in the local newspaper, the Orlando Sentinel.

My favorite thing they did was the series of digital billboard ads they produced, even incorporating social media by using fans’ tweets directly in some of the ads.

OCSC has a very active social media presence.  They Orlando City Soccer Twitter Billboard MLS visitare extremely active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest.  One engaging campaign was Scarves Around the World.  Orlando City asked fans to take photos of themselves holding the Lions’ scarf when they traveled around the world.  These were then pinned, retweeted, tagged, and favorited on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter.

It was a hugely engaging thing for fans to focus on in the off-season.

Orlando City Soccer Club also gives away items to fans and ticket-holders.   2014 season ticket holders received the 2015 scarf pictured below.  They’ve also given away head-wraps to fans as they enter the stadium, branding them upon entrance.

2014-06-01 12.31.04Orlando City corperate sponsorsOCSC also works with corporate sponsors to give-away items at the stadium upon entrance.  Also pictured are various coupons and spirit-gear to help fans enjoy the match and remember the brand after.

Their brand voice is in-your-face and playful and the tone is direct.

When International soccer royalty, David Beckham decided he wanted to own an MLS franchise in Miami, Orlando City used the opportunity to poke fun at Beckham, MLS, and the process by tweeting these photos:

Beckham Orlando City #BuiltNotBoughtDavid Beckham Underwear Orlando City

Using the hashtag, #BuiltNotBought, OCSC showed their social media savvy.  They had used hashtags before when building the momentum these photos refer to during their campaign to receive an MLS expansion team.  #OrlandoBelievesInMLS was one that they used on Twitter and Facebook.  They also made YouTube videos, encouraging fans to sign a petition on their website and contact their representatives in Tallahassee.

 They even distributed bumper-stickers, showcasing yet another example of integrated marketing.

Orlando Believes in MLS

These are just a few of the vast and various examples of the way Orlando City Soccer Club uses multimedia communications.  Laying this groundwork was essential when they changed their logo last month.

OCSC New Crest

They got some free press when the local news covered their #PaintTheCityPurple campaign.

So, let Orlando City Soccer’s use of multimedia communication in building their brand be a lesson to all of us.  Integrated marketing is an essential tool to any business.  Reaching your target audience in multiple ways on multiple channels, gives you the best chance of strengthening your brand and engaging with customers.

The Big Dogs: Google v Facebook

Google v Facebook.  Do I have to choose?  To put it most simply, I think Google is bigger when it comes to advertising, and Facebook is still the leader from a social perspective.

As Antony Young noted in his book, Brand Media Strategy: Integrated Communications Planning in the Digital Era, Google’s road to advertising domination began by solving the marketers’ basic issues of waste and accountability (2010, p. 8).   Google’s AdWords’ effectiveness and their ability to be a “database of intentions” has enabled Google to dwarf traditional media when it comes to advertising revenue (2010, p. 9).

Google has also helped small, local businesses make a name for themselves in their local markets by making them accessible via search to those looking in their backyard for goods and services.  As Young states, Google’s “increased transparency of online advertising’s direct impact on sales and leads is pushing other media to do better” (2010, p. 11).  In other words, Google is the alpha dog in the advertising world.

Some people think Facebook Ads will overtake Google AdWords due to, in part, the amount of time the average Facebook user is on their site.  My place of business has purchased both Google and Facebook ads.  We’ve definitely shown more engagement through our Facebook promotions, whereas our Google ad fell flat and was also much more expensive.  Facebook allowed our ad to be more highly targeted (Rhoads, 2014).  Being able to target friends of those who like our Facebook page, who are of a certain gender and in a certain age-range, who live in certain areas in Central Florida was very helpful when trying to reach our target market.  Word of mouth is still the best way to engage people in a local brand, and I think Facebook’s user-generated content is still more valuable to our brand than anything we’ve gotten from Google.

Facebook is the biggest website in the world (Young, 2010, p 11).  While I disagree with the assertion that being more visible makes us better people (2010, p. 13), I am certainly more visible on Facebook than I am on any other social media site.  I don’t even have a Google+ account and wouldn’t even know their business influence if I weren’t in this program.  I’d thought of it as a “ghost town.”    I’ve learned that this is because Google+ is more designed for businesses, but they’re taking steps to appeal to more individuals.

These two internet giants are both so huge now, that talking about them in terms of just their social scale and advertising reach isn’t even enough anymore.  Both companies have chosen to expand so much over the past few years, that they’re way more than just advertisers and social media platforms.

When Google purchased YouTube in 2006, it was a huge step in cementing their brand as the internet’s biggest and most influential brand.  Facebook later purchased the wildly popular photo-sharing site, Instagram.  Both companies have since gone on to acquire various tech companies that range from those that build robots, phones, and unmanned cars, to digital thermostats, to more infrastructure- based ones.  While they both currently rule their respective areas of strength, the possibilities seem endless for both companies.

FitzGerald, D. & Ante, S.  (2013, December 16). Tech Firms Push to Control Web’s Pipes: Google, Facebook Raise Tensions With Telecoms in Power Struggle for Internet’s Backbone.  Retrieved from http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304173704579262361885883936

Google buys YouTube for $1.65 billion. (2006, October 10). Retrieved from http://www.nbcnews.com/id/15196982/ns/business-us_business/t/google-buys-youtube-billion/#.U35QaGco-P8

Hill, K. (2014, April 2). Google+ Goes Where Facebook Never Has With Narcissism Stats. http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2014/04/02/google-goes-where-facebook-never-has-with-narcissism-stats/

Olmstead, K. (2014, April 25). As digital ad sales grow, news outlets get a smaller share. Retrieved from http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/04/25/as-digital-ad-sales-grow-news-outlets-get-a-smaller-share/

Online Advertising: Facebook Ads or Google AdWords?. (2014, March 21). Retrieved from http://www.eureka-startups.com/contents/view/el-dilema-entre-facebook-ads-y-google-adwords/

Price, E. (2012, April 9). Facebook Buys Instagram for $1 Billion. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2012/04/09/facebook-instagram-buy/

Ray, A. (2013, July 23). The Real Data on Facebook vs. Google+ (And Other Social Networks) [INFOGRAPHIC]. Retrieved from http://socialmediatoday.com/augieray1/1613711/real-data-facebook-vs-google-and-other-social-networks-interactive-infographic

Rhoads, J. (2014). Week 2: “What is Multimedia Communication?” [Video]. Retrieved from http://mediasite.video.ufl.edu/Mediasite/Play/fde927e50db4450a995d9b19acf809651d

Stone, B. (2014, April 24). Google and Facebook’s Fight for the Future of Tech. Retrieved from http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-04-24/google-facebook-fight-for-techs-future-via-acquisitions

Wang, L. (2013, August 14). Facebook Ads Could Overtake Google Adwords. Retrieved from http://www.ampush.com/facebook-ads-could-overtake-google-adwords/

Young, A. (2010). Brand Media Strategy: Integrated Communications Planning in the Digital Era. New York. NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

Crowdfunding A Children’s Book

kickstarter-growth

I am very interested in the idea of crowdfunding.  Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet.  One of the most popular sites that facilitates crowdfunding is Kickstarter.  I’ve had experience using GoFundMe, but never Kickstarter, so I was looking forward to finding out more about it.

Thanks a billion

Immediately, when you visit their page, you see their banner thanking those who have chosen to fund projects.  This is a great reminder of the power and reach of crowdfunding.  I really like Kickstarter and the way it’s organized.  I like the opportunity to browse — even by location — for projects that may interest me.

Kickstarter Florida Childrens Book search

I was browsing through the projects on Kickstarter to see the kinds of projects people were looking to get funded.  There were lots of different and interesting things.  There were theatre projects, art projects, STEM projects.  There were things for kids, staff picks, and more.  I decided to look for a children’s book to fund in Florida, since that’s where I live.  There several projects to choose from, many of which had already been funded.  Visually, I was drawn to The Laundry Dragon project in Tampa by M.C.A. Hogarth.

Kickstarter Dragons Page

There was a very eye-catching video on their page, and they are very close to reaching their funding.  The author has already had eight previous projects created and funded, and has also helped fund forty seven projects.  I really appreciated that she has helped other projects, and is not just there asking for funding.

FInded projects

Projects the author has previously had funded

Projects the author has previously backed

Projects the author has previously backed

M.C.A. Hogarth offers several incentives for helping to fund her book.  The most popular is for $20 she will give you a copy of the book in the summer, after it is printed.

incentives_

When I clicked through to help fund the book, I noticed that there is a warning that there are no guarantees, and Kickstarter does not investigate those who are asking for funding.  I found this unsurprising, since there are so many projects looking to get funded.  It did make me wonder how many projects reach their funding, but don’t make good on their promises.  I’d think it would have to be a fairly low number.  Otherwise, crowdfunding would quickly loose its appeal to those looking to fund projects that interest them.

where projects come from

I found this whole process very interesting to research.  I’ve written a series of children’s books, just for fun, but I’ve never really thought about getting them published.  Crowdfunding seems like a viable option for doing it.

kickstarter-books

Google Me?

google

I Googled myself this week.  Have you ever done it?  If you haven’t, I would highly recommend it.  It’s really important to know what people can find out about you in such an easy way in terms of reputation management.  I didn’t think I’d be surprised by what I found, but I was, somewhat.

I must admit, I don’t cast a wide net with my digital footprint.  I don’t intentionally put my full name out there.  It’s for that reason that I’m not going to post any screen shots or specifics about what I found in connection with my name.  Although I write a blog and have social media accounts, I really like my privacy.  As a person who values privacy so much, Googling yourself is an even more important exercise.

On Twitter, I don’t use my name, nor do I on Instagram.  I also don’t use my last name on Facebook.  However, obviously, I do use my full name at work.

Google yourself

Most of the things I found had to do with where I work.  I found my name listed under a few forms on my company’s website.  This was not a surprise.

I also found my name listed as a soccer coach from when I was a volunteer coach over a year ago, which was a surprise to find.  I was also surprised to find my name listed as a small group leader from a church I used to attend.  I didn’t realize any of that information would be available so publically.

Im being Googled

My LinkedIn account did come up, as did my Tyba, which I recently created after starting grad school.  I saw a “shout out” someone had given me on Facebook for a share where they used my full name.

I checked out the images, and only three of all of those possible were actually me, and they pertained to my work and my LinkedIn account.

I Googled two of  my email addresses, and some newletters for my father’s church came up, which I didn’t understand.  I checked out all of the links and that helped me remember that I used to run a community service project out of his church, and my email address was listed several times in their newsletter as a result.

I wish googling myslef

Most of what I got seemed to be different search sites to help someone delve deeper.  Too bad, I’m just not that interesting.

ModCloth App — Vintage Look With A Modern Appeal

ModCloth heading

If you like a vintage look, ModCloth may be the shopping site you’ve been looking for.  I am a fan of ModCloth.  Their clothes look great, and they’re reasonably priced — both of which are a must in my opinion.  I’ve shopped through their website several times, so I thought I’d download their app and see if it was useful.

ModCloth Website

ModCloth Website

I began by looking at their website.  I wanted to have a reference for what I’d be comparing the app to.  Their website has a nice, clean design that is easy to navigate.  I’ve always had a good shopping experience on their website, so the app had a lot to prove.

I have both an Android phone and an iPad, so I thought I’d get the best perspective on the ModCloth app by downloading it to both devices.

Installing on Andriod phone

Installing on Andriod phone

Permissions

Permissions

Before downloading the app, I made sure to read the permissions.  I always do.  The permissions did not seem to be too intrusive to me, which I appreciated.  I also read the reviews of the app.  I was surprised to see so many negative reviews, but I was hopeful my experience using the app would be a positive one.

App reviews

App reviews

More reviews

More reviews

Once I had downloaded the app, at first I thought there were a  few advantages to the iPad version.  The iPad version asked if I wanted to receive push notifications; the Android version did not.  The iPad version immediately took me to a screen that asked me to log in to my account; I had to look for where to log in to my account on the Android version.  It was easy to find on the Android version, but I liked the convenience of not having to look on the iPad version.

I really like how responsive ModCloth is to customer service questions.  I both called and chatted with them.  It is helpful to have their contact information easily accessible on the app and have a team that is so responsive.

Customer service on menu on Android app

Customer service menu on Android app

The app didn’t offer any discounts or coupons for downloading it, which I think is always a good thing for a store to offer — especially and online store because not having one, encourages a shopper to leave a site or app to look elsewhere for promo codes and coupons.  The app did show a lot of product reviews, which is also a great feature of the website.  Having ordered from them in the past, I know that they carry a lot of clothing that is sized quite differently, so relying on the reviews and fit guides are essential.

Item shown on the iPad app

Item shown on the iPad app

Reviews shown on the iPad app

Reviews shown on the iPad app

I liked both the Android and iPad apps’ features to share.  The Android app allowed for more varied sharing, whereas the iPad’s was geared only to social media.

iPad sharing feature

iPad sharing feature

An interesting feature of the app was their instant gift certificate you can “gift” to a friend.  I thought this was a great idea for convenient gift-giving.  It is also a great tool for word of mouth marketing, if a person shares the store with a friend that way.

Instant gift certificates

Instant gift certificates

However, I was confused when I saw a button for me to download the app.  If I’m on the app, I don’t see any purpose for this button.

Download our app

I really enjoy using this app, and if someone was in the market for some nice, reasonably-priced, vintage-inspired clothing, I’d certainly recommend it.  Almost every aspect of the app is useful and helpful, and it’s design is very clean on both an Android phone and an iPad.  If I had to choose, I do prefer the iPad app.  That has more to do with aesthetics and liking having a larger screen than superior functionality.

Update: The Android version does have push notifications!  I received one today, letting me know something on my wishlist was back in stock.  It just didn’t ask for permission to send me them like the iPad version did, but I did like getting the notification and thought it added to the value of having the app on my phone.

When you log onto the website, it let’s you know what’s back in stock from your wishlist since your last visit.  Having this feature now in available from the app, is a great advantage.  That way the store is alerting you without having to wait for your next visit to it’s website.

Website's notifications

Website’s notifications