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.

 

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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.

Classic & Social Media — Working Together

Classic marketing — wasn’t it great?  Picture Don Draper presenting the next great ad campaign idea to Chevrolet in a smoke-filled room.

 

The advertising business used to be planned for and over a long period of time, and the communication with customers was always well considered and reviewed.  In today’s fast-paced world, that almost sounds antiquated, doesn’t it?

ClassicMarketing_SocialMediaMarketing

The thing is, classic marketing as we know it — print, radio, and television — still plays a part in a good multimedia marketing plan, and it’s still about branding.  The difference is that now customers want to have experiences rather than products, and today’s marketing professionals know just how to seamlessly have a brand engage with their customers.

Let’s take a look at McDonald’s.

In the past few days, McDonald’s introduced a brand new mascot, Happy. The reviews were far from mixed.

 

 

If these were still the days of Don Draper and his Mad Men team, after the panic had subsided, there would be a response in the form of a full-paged ad in the New York Times, or perhaps a new television spot.  Nowadays, we have the luxury of social media.  Rather than use a classic form of media, McDonald’s chose to respond right where they chose to announce the mascot to begin with.

Rather than panic at the immediate public dislike of their new mascot, McDonald’s chose to capitalize on their media exposure and make light of the complaints.  This was advertising genius.  In a crisis situation, social media marketing far outshines the classic approach.  The immediacy of both the customer feedback and the company’s response shows how powerful social media marketing is.  Its spontaneous nature led to the negative feedback, but also opened the door for McDonald’s clever response.  The point is we are still talking about it.

As one article on Time.com states:

According to the research firm Kontera, the introduction of Happy hiked McDonald’s overall online/social media impressions by 67% from May 17-18 to May 19-20, and an impressive 25% of the content over May19-20 was related to Happy. Another 11% had to do with Happy Meals.

While, naturally, McDonald’s would’ve preferred Happy to be warmly embraced by their customers, any time someone hears about their new mascot — no matter the reaction to it — it’s giving McDonald’s free advertising.

McDonald’s uses a multimedia marketing plan, integrating social and classic media.  In this recent print campaign, McDonald’s chooses to not use any descriptions — in fact, they don’t even identify their brand on the posters — showing that their classic menu items need no introduction.

They support their print ads with a commercial.

They’re also using this new YouTube commercial to capitalize on this summer’s World Cup and encourage customers to download an app to play a new trick-shot game.  As it says on their YouTube channel, GET THE APP, GET THE FRIES, PLAY FOR GLORY.

While all of McDonald’s advertising has clearly been well thought out and planned, you never know how the public will react.  They may even take it upon themselves to make a documentary like, “Supersize Me,” or a teacher may challenge his students to debunk it.  In today’s media saturated landscape, the one thing you can count on is your customers having opinions and sharing their reactions and comments with you immediately.  They may tweet or blog or comment or even make a YouTube video.  The one thing you don’t want is for them to be silent.

Sharing Religious Content on Social Media – Survey Results

finger of god to smartphone

Last week, I put together a questionnaire to survey people about their use of social media with regards to how often they shared religious content.  You can find out about how I structured my questionnaire HERE.  This week I am sharing my results.  (Note: If you’d like to view larger images of the graphs and charts, just click on them to view the full size images.)

surveys started vs surveys completed

I must admit, I had no idea what sort of response I would receive posting my questionnaire on my Facebook profile, Twitter feed, and a Facebook group, but I did not anticipate receiving as many as 270 completed responses.  The amount of data I was able to compile, gives the results more validity, in my opinion.

social media use graphBy far the most heavily used social media platform was Facebook.  100% of the respondents said they used it, with the next highest being LinkedIn with 44%, then Pinterest with 42%, and Twitter with %40.  This makes sense, since I posted the link to the questionnaire on Facebook.

use of social media by the numbers

Others that were written in included SnapChat, Yammer, Trello, and YouTube.

how often you share on social by the numbers

Most people share content on social media sites More than Once a Day.

gnder by the numbers

The demographics were heavily female, 70% to 30% male.

age by the numbers

And 58% were aged 35-54.  After reviewing these numbers, I am second-guessing these age groupings I used from a standard bank of questions on Qualtrics, and probably should’ve broken up this into two groups.

education pie chart43% of the respondents graduated with a 4-year College Degree, the next highest being those with Master’s Degrees at 18%, with those completing Some College next at 17%.

education by the numbers

The smallest groups were those with Doctoral Degrees and Less than High School, each being only 1%.

where does content come from bar graphThe vast majority of those surveyed (89%) share their own photos, videos, and updates.

where does content come from by the numbers

81% share content from friends, and 61% share content linked from websites.

religious affliliation by the numbers

When broken down by religious affiliation, those identifying themselves as Christians dominated the numbers with 78%.

List of other types of religious content shared

The next highest was Other at 13%, 7 of whom wrote in they were Agnostic, and 4 Catholic.

denomination by the numbers

Of those who identified themselves as Christian, the highest percentage was Roman Catholic with 21%.  The next highest was 17%, saying they don’t attend formal worship.  While most of the respondents were Christians, I think these results help show the variety of Christian backgrounds amongst those surveyed.

how often you attend worshippie chart40% of those surveyed attend worship Once a Week.

how often you attend worship by the numbers

The next highest was those who said they Never attended formal worship.

do you share religious content pie chart

61% responded that they share content that expressed their religion on social media.

do you share religious content by the numbers39% said they did not.

how often do you share religious content by the numbers

Of those who share content expressing their religious beliefs, the fewest respondents share either once a day or more than once a day, and the most respondents shared 2-3 times a month.social media icons

So that’s a run-down of the basic data.  Here’s where it gets interesting.  When cross-tabulating the data, you can see some interesting trends.

How often sharing on social - do you share religious

The data shows, as seen in the table above, the more often a person shares content on social media, the more likely they are to share content that expresses their religious beliefs.

education - do you share

The data also shows, as seen in the table above, that those having completed less than high school and those having earned professional degrees are the most likely to share content that expresses their religious beliefs.

age - do you share

As seen in the table above, the data supports that those aged 25 and under are more likely to share content that expresses their religious beliefs.

types of religious content by age

You can see in the table above the kind of religious content people are sharing by age.

what is your gender - do you share

Women are more likely than men to share religious content that expresses their beliefs.

what is your religion - do you share

Christians are  more likely to share content that expresses their religious beliefs than the other religions, having the only positive ratio of 2-1.

sharing by denomination

The results also show that those Christians who identify themselves as Baptist and Anglican are the most likely to share religious content, followed by Evangelicals.

attendance at worship - do you share

Lastly, attendance at worship has a big impact on people’s willingness to share religious content that expresses their beliefs, as seen in the table above.  Those who attend worship at least once a month are significantly more likely to share content on social media that expresses their religious beliefs.Follow-me

If you’d like to take a look at the geographical data in relation to how often a person posts religious content, you can take a look at the table, Frequency of sharing religious content by location.

I wasn’t at all surprised that most of the survey’s respondents lived in Florida.  What did surprise me was how many from outside of the U.S. responded.  Incidentally, I received a negative comment about me generalizing those who “do not reside in the U.S.” inferring that I was a typical American, not seeing others as valid.  I must assure everyone, I simply didn’t expect to receive many responses for my little survey, and certainly not any from those living outside the U.S., since most of the people I know live here in Florida.  The results were given a snowball effect when four online friends decided to share the link the questionnaire on their own pages.

I want to thank everyone who took the time to take the survey.  I hope you all enjoyed reading about the results as much as I did.

Survey Says?

social media survey annmarie

Surveys.  There are so many of them!  From the U.S. Census, to the random online questionnaire, to the one at the bottom of the receipt in your wallet, it seems someone wants to know our information and opinions about almost everything!

religion online survey

Since I’m considering doing some deeper research into how much religion is a part of people’s social media activity, I thought I’d put together a questionnaire using my own Facebook and Twitter accounts to survey my online friends and followers about whether posting about their religious beliefs is a part of their social media habits.  After reviewing a few sites to determine which would best facilitate my questionnaire, I decided to use Qualtrics.com.  I liked the format of setting up my survey questions, how it looked visually, and the ease of reading the reports.

religion social media survey 1

I started by letting the respondent know that for the purposes of this survey, I’d like them to answer based on their personal use of social media, not any pages they may manage.  I thought this was an important distinction to make.  The first question was a question to weed-out any respondents who did not meet my criteria — mainly, that they use social media.  I used Qualtrics’ “skip logic” feature, so a respondent answering “none” would immediately skip to the end of the survey.

religion social media survey 2The second question asked about the respondent’s “religious affiliation.”  If they answered “Christian” or inputted “Catholic” or “Roman Catholic” (non-case sensitive), they would then be moved to a question looking for more specifics about their denomination, or way they choose to worship in the Christian faith.  If they chose any other the other answers, it would jump to the next question about how often they attend formal worship services.

religion social media survey 3

I then asked several demographic questions about gender, age, level of education, and geographical location.  I asked these questions for two reasons:  I’d like to know the results, in terms of who is answering my questionnaire, but also to see if there are any links between any of these specific demographics and their occurrences of religious postings to social media, or lack thereof.

religion social media survey 4 I then got to the point of my questions asking how often they share content on social media.  If they answered “Never,” they’d be immediately moved to the end of the survey.  All of the other answers given would give me valuable data to compare to a later question.

religion social media survey 5

This question was followed with one asking if they share content from “yourself or outside sources that expresses your religious beliefs?”  Again, if they answered “No,” they’d be immediately moved to the end of the survey.

religion social media survey 6

The final two questions asked about the frequency of the content they share that expresses their religious beliefs, followed by a more specific question about the kinds of content they share that expresses those beliefs.

pray religion and social media online

You may find yourself asking, why is this all important?  Well, I’ll tell you.  According to a 2011 New York Times article, the  Jesus Daily Facebook page had more engagement than Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, or Manchester United.  PageDataPro.com shows that Jesus Daily remains in the top spot for PTAT still.

PTAT data religion facebook

I believe many people of faith are  using social media to nurture and express their faith.  However, according to a 2013 article which sites a Carnegie Mellon University study, this sort of behavior may be effecting a job candidate’s ability to get hired.  All of the effects of expressing your religious beliefs on social media may be difficult to quantify, but it’s a very interesting topic that I hope to learn more about.  This questionnaire is just one small part in that process.

If you’d like to participate in my survey by answering my questionnaire, it will be available HERE through Saturday, February 1, 2014.  I’ll be posting about the results next week, so stay tuned!

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!