Ello, the anti-Facebook

Over the past year, or so, there has been a lot of buzz, then lull, the buzz again about the social network, Ello.  If you know much about it, you are familiar with their manifesto:

ello manifesto

This is the crux of social media right now, in order to participate on most platforms — there seems to be an extra bit of animosity towards Facebook for this — you are giving up your privacy rights and at the mercy of data collection.  Not so with Ello.  They have even bound themselves legally to never make money from selling either ads or user data.

The real question for Ello, though, isn’t necessarily their reasoning, although there are some who question why they’ve taking funding from corporate donors.  The real question is whether users will go there and stay there and be social there.  After all, without an audience, a social network is doomed to fail.  Let’s all take a moment of silence for Google+.

Just a few weeks ago Ello’s founder, Paul Budnitz, didn’t show up to SXSW.  You’d think there would’ve been more of a concern about this, but according to International Business Times, some folks responded with praise for Ello’s concept of ad-free, data mining-free social space saying things like, “I think there’s a slow realization that if you don’t pay for the product then you are the product — understandably, because people have to monetize.” And, “I hate Zuckerberg and all his minions. I use Ello.” 

So, while it’s clear that Ello definitely has an audience, what are they going to do with it?  Well, just a few days ago, they secured another $5 Million in additional funding.  Which means that they most certainly do not intend to go gently into that good night.

If Ello were to catch on on a wider scale, their sort of mentality could change the face of social media, and indeed the internet altogether.  Think about it: what would we do, as digital marketers, if a majority of users suddenly became self-aware of all the data that is being collected about them, and they weren’t happy about it?  Now, I don’t see this happening any time soon, but Ello does stand poised to take away some of Facebook’s audience.  Will they?  Only time will tell.

A year from now we’ll either all be on Ello, or starting conversations with, “Remember Ello?”

What do you think?  Will Ello rise up and be a big player in social media, or remain a niche network?  Please share your experiences with Ello in the comments.

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Moderating Social Media Comments

Comment keyboard key. Finger

Moderating comments is thought of as a bit of an art form in the social media world.  How to best communicate with the irate customer or dissatisfied user?  I would encourage you to look back at my blog on reputation management for a list of key components to a social media crisis plan because many of those points are also relevant when moderating comments, and I’m not just talking about the negative ones.

I think the best way to understand how to moderate comments, is to look at what other brands are doing.  Just go on Twitter and Facebook and read through a company’s few posts.  You’ll, inevitably find some negative comments and their responses.  Some good industries to look at for this are airlines; two of my favorite are KLM and JetBlue.  Hotel chains and restaurants are good companies to look at, too.  It’s like many thing in social media: learn from what your competition is doing and try to do it better.

One thing to think about when moderating comments:  What you say and do online when addressing a user’s comments is as much for those folks reading it as it is for the person who wrote it.  Other customers will see how you respond to others, and this will have an effect on how they view your brand.  So, even if you are in a bad situation with no hope of helping or bringing understanding to the complainer, you can still help your brand by providing clear, calm words that instill confidence in the service you’re providing, as an arm of the customer service, for the brand.

So, now let’s take a look at a couple of practical examples of moderating comments.  How should we moderate the following audience/customer comments if left on your organization’s Facebook page?

To a hotel:
“I am disgusted about the state of your restaurant on 1467 Justin Kings Way. Empty tables weren’t cleared and full of remains of meals. It makes me wonder what the state of your kitchen is?!!! Gross.”

Here is one way to respond:
“Hi, <insert first name here>.  Thanks so much for reaching out to us and letting us know about this situation.  What you’ve described is not up to our standards, and I’ve contacted the manager at that location to make sure he looks into it right away.  If there’s anything else you’d like to share with us about your dining experience, please follow this link to a private chat: <insert link to customer feedback chat here>.  We appreciate your feedback and look forward to having another opportunity to raise our level of service with you. Thank you. <am>”

What did here with my response:

  • I let her know I heard her.
  • I used a conversational and calm voice.
  • I did not apologize, because I don’t know all of the facts, but…
  • I let her know it is being looked into.
  • I took the conversation out of the public view.  This is especially important if there are more bad details for her to share.  We would want to know about them, so they can be addressed, but not have them posted on Facebook.
  • I reassured her that we would do better next time.
  • I signed the post with my initials, letting her know she’s dealing with a real, trackable person.  This can help establish or build some trust with the complaining customer.

Now, a negative comment doesn’t mean that a customer won’t come back.  In fact, if that comment is handled well and the customer feels heard, you may end up with an even stronger brand loyalty from that customer.  However, sometimes, there is nothing you can say or do that will take away a customer’s negative opinion.  In those cases, it is even more important that you remain calm and take take the conversation off of social media, into a private conversation elsewhere.

Now, let’s look at an example of a comment made to a mainstream news network: 

“Your reporting on the Middle East is biased in the extreme. You gave almost all your air time to spokespeople for the Israelis last night and there was no right to reply for the Palestinians. The conflict upsets me so much and your reporting of it, saddens me even more and makes me f**king furious.”

(We will assume the reporting was balanced, with equal time to both sides.)

Here is one way to respond:

“Hi, <insert first name here>.  Covering the Middle East is a challenging thing, with all of the heightened emotions connected with this subject, but we at <insert channel ID here> always strive for excellence in our coverage with unbiased reporting.  Looking back last night’s report, the coverage did give equal time to both sides.  However, we will continue to listen to the feedback of our viewers to help us improve.  We appreciate you taking the time to share your views with us.<am>”

Why I responded the way I did:

  • You’ll notice I did not delete the comment due to the profanity.  I’ll talk more about that in a moment.
  • I recognized the emotion involved in his response due to the sensitive subject matter.
  • I corrected, gently, his misstatement about biased, unequal coverage.  If there are fact involved that are misstated, it is (usually) right and important to correct them.
  • I let him know we are open to all feedback — even criticism — which helps the brand look more human.
  • I thanked him.  Remember, social media is made for conversations.  Being able to respond to negative comments without loosing your head, shows brand strength.

Why didn’t I delete the comment due to the profanity, even though it was, essentially bleeped-out?  Personally, I hate any use of all profanity, but in this case, the comment is made on Facebook.  I think responding on Facebook is actually different than doing something like moderating a comment on your own discussion board or blog, and it’s important to try to not be too heavy-handed in such a public setting.  Also, the profanity needs to be looked at in context, believe it or not.  Is it threatening?  No.  Is it attacking?  No.  The user is just REALLY frustrated.  He is creating his own brand for himself for other users to see in using the profanity.  When you, as the moderator, respond with understanding and kindness — especially in the face of a comment that contains profanity — you create an opportunity to elevate your brand to the other readers.

What do you think?  Would you have left the profanity, or deleted it?  Do you consider Facebook and other social media sites to be different than your own personal blog or website discussion boards?  Should there be different standards when moderating?

I Trust Mike Rowe

Questions about the Trust

What is trust, exactly? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines trust as, “belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, effective, etc.” It then goes on further to say trust is “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something one in which confidence is placed; dependence on something future or contingent.” I think this is why the notion of trust on social media is such a hard thing to define.  In terms of trusting an individual online, it’s hard to feel those feelings for people you haven’t spent time with.  So how do we determine whom to trust online?

Steve Rayson, in an article on Social Media Today takes a look at the equation authors Chris Brogan and Julien Smith argue for in their book “Trust Agents.” They say the formula for trust is:

Influence + Reputation = Trust

Rayson gives his reasons for a new formula:

social media trust formula-white-160

(Authority x Helpfulness x Intimacy) / Self-Promotion = Trust

I didn’t feel like their formulas represented why I trust people and companies on social media, so I tried to rewrite the formula myself.  Not liking the inclusion of self-promotion, I scrapped it.  Some of my favorite personalities online self-promote, and unless it’s the only thing a person does, it doesn’t bother me.  In fact, if it weren’t for their self-promotion I’d probably never have heard about them in the first place!  Then I replaced Authority with Credibility, Helpfulness with being Interesting, and Intimacy with Honesty.  This is what I came up with:

Credibility + Interesting + Honesty = Trust

Now, I wasn’t really good at math in high school, so I tend to feel like formulas like these are pretty good guides, but they can’t always explain why we trust who we do online.  I started to ponder, who do I trust on social media, and why?

I remembered a post I had read on Facebook from television personality, Mike Rowe.  It was about a liquor store owner who posted photos of shoplifters he’d caught on camera in his store as a deterrent to others.  Here’s the post.

Photo from Mike Rowe’s Facebook page

Now, I don’t agree with everything he says, I really don’t like any use of profanity, and I don’t follow him on social media, but whenever I’ve seen his statuses shared on Facebook or read an article about something he’d written there, I’ve always appreciated his voice.  I like that he’s real.  Can there be a formula for that?

From a business/marketing standpoint, his Twitter profile seems to be purely re-posts of his Facebook content, which isn’t an effective use of that platform.  But from a trust standpoint, I don’t care.  When he posts something on Facebook that is newsworthy, I read it, and I appreciate it.  His down-to-earth “everyman” persona on Facebook has become a bit of an anomaly to me.  He’s controversial, but he’s not mean.  I like that he comments on hot-topics and points out things that rub him the wrong way in our politically-correct society.  I find it refreshing from a celebrity, and that has led to my trust.   He is honest and entertaining.   As a result, I find myself interested in his television projects and foundation more.  So, my re-written equation actually applies.

Credibility + Interesting + Honesty = Trust

But the real equation that matters is:

My Trust = My Support

If I trust you online, I’ll support you.  I’ll watch your movies or television shows or buy your book.  I may even give to your favorite cause, if it lines up with my values.  The point is, trust is a valuable thing to gain on social media.

I’d like to hear from you!  What do you think of my formula?  Have you ever trusted someone on social media that you find it hard to explain why?

Terms and Conditions Do Apply

Handwritten Underlined Terms and Conditions Texts

Have you read the writing on the wall?  How about the Terms and Conditions for your favorite social media sites?  Well, whether you’ve read them or not, if you’ve checked that “accept” button and are using the site, they apply to you.

I think most of us feel about website Terms and Conditions the way that comic, Eddie Izzard, describes in this video.

For the purpose of learning more about social media sites’ Ts & Cs, I read through Facebook’s and Twitter’s and some others, as well.  I’ll be taking a closer look at the User Agreement for LinkedIn.  I chose this document out of all of the ones I read through, because I felt it took the most balanced approach.

First of all, I really like the format. LinkedIn tries to communicate to the user in easy-to-digest bites of information and organizes it with a sidebar, whose only purpose is to help explain what they’ll be covering in each section.  If you took a look at Facebook’s  or Twitter’s Ts & Cs, you know that that is not always the case.

LinkedIn Terms and ConditionsI also like how LinkedIn seems to be trying to use real conversational language in their Ts & Cs whenever possible.  From an ethical perspective, this is important because I think it shows that the company is making its best effort to make sure their Ts & Cs are not just binding, but understood.  The inclusion of this video at the top of the page also helps communicate that to their users.

In terms of safeguards, LinkedIn is very clear that, “When you share information, others can see, copy and use that information.”  They also make it very clear in their Disclaimer and Limit of Liability that they are not liable for any damages, loss of services, opportunities, reputation, data, profits or revenues related to their services.  Here’s where is gets tricky.  After having read through so many of these Ts & Cs, I now look at them as the contracts that they are.  Companies, like LinkedIn, should be allowed to protect themselves by making statements like these in their Ts & Cs.  Otherwise, they’d never be able to operate.

Terms and Conditions wordle

It’s certainly a balancing act that sites like LinkedIn are doing in their Ts & Cs.  For the most part, I think LinkedIn is doing a great job of both protecting themselves while explaining to their users the best way to conduct their business on their site.

It’s true.  Their List of user “Do’s” is much shorter than the “Don’t,” but as I read through them, I felt that they are reasonable, which is more than I can say for many others!

So, read the Ts & Cs of the sites you are a part of.  Are there any that stick out to you as being outrageous?  Which social site do you think has the best Ts & Cs?

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.

 

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.