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.

Building SEO, Brick By Brick

If you build it, they will come . . .

Passing Hasbro this year as the world’s second biggest toy manufacturer, Lego is the subject of my SEO keywords search today.  Being mother to an 8-year-old boy, it’s hard for me to imagine anyone not being familiar with the Lego brand.  It should come as no surprise since Lego controls 85% of the construction-toy sector here in the United States.  They are even about to release a movie I’ve seen heavily advertised on DisneyXD and other channels my son likes to watch, which I actually think I will enjoy seeing.

The Lego brand has been steadily on the rise with the Lego Group’s share of the global market 7.1% in 2011, 8.6% in 2012, and 8.8% in 2013, so I was expecting some great results from my SEO keyword search.  I discovered through research that Lego was known for their creativity, constructive play, and strategic play.  But, let’s face it, Legos are toys kids play and create with.  They’re educational building tools, but they’re sets of toys.  So with all that in mind, the keywords I searched for and the results were:

  1. building blocks      (10th page, last result)
  2. constructions sets       (1st page, last result)
  3. educational toys       (2nd page, 1st result)
  4. building sets       (2nd page, 1st result)
  5. blocks       (3rd page, 8th result)
  6. bricks       (2nd page, 2nd result)
  7. star wars toys      (2nd page, 4th result)
  8. building bricks      (1st page, 9th result)
  9. strategic play      (1st page, 8th result)
  10. creative play      (6th page, 2nd result)

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Now, in my recording of these results, I think it’s important to note that I only recorded results from official Lego sites.  Often, sites like Amazon, Target, ToysRus and others would appear in the search results higher than the official Lego pages.  I think the vast majority of Lego buyers are probably doing what my professor, Dr. Selepak, is doing and going directly to Amazon, or other trusted shopping sources.  These sites are, obviously doing their own promotion through SEO, and it’s a win-win for all involved.  The results I listed above also don’t show other things like blogs, lists, and other sites that had the word “LEGO” either in their title or description.  I did an extra search for “legos” just for fun, and the first three were official Lego sites, followed by Wikipedia, then retailers ToysRus, Amazon, and Target.

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I am by no means an expert on code, but in taking a look at the Lego website coding, I saw little evidence that SEO best practices were used.  By the nature of the product and the vast number of varieties available, many of the keywords were found in the text descriptions throughout the website, but the code chose to refer to items by their product names, which were much less descriptive.

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I found the most surprising and interesting find to be the keywords, “building blocks” coming so far down the list results of my search.  When I think of Legos, they’re essentially building blocks.  However, in researching for this assignment, I learned they’re so much more.  They’re a brand that was almost bankrupt just over a decade ago, due largely in part to trying to create things that were “un-Lego-y.”  Now they’re using ideas that are “obviously Lego” and making them profitable again.  With large growth in Asia and a focus in that developing market, I am hopeful they will be around for many years to come!