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BRANDE : Social Networks

March 26, 2013

Dollars to Donuts: It’s Time to Update the Internet’s Most Famous List

We’re all familiar with the funny image that goes by various names, but is basically “Social media explained with donuts.” As a reminder, here’s the full list:

Companies, including my own, use the “Donut List” to simplify the major social sites to novices. But as these sites add features and move to our mobile devices, the differences aren’t all that clear.
Take YouTube, indisputably the king of internet video. But Facebook also hosts videos; they play right in your timeline. Google Plus, which owns YouTube, easily integrates with its sister company. Pinterest lets users pin videos and even the business-minded LinkedIn allows companies to post videos, if they upgrade to the premium packages. Yes, virtually all the videos being watched on these different sites are coming from YouTube. But does the average user care? And what if you find that your brand’s videos are being watched more through a Facebook timeline than on YouTube.com? Another reason to update the Donut List is that Pinterest has evolved. It started out with a mostly female audience, no brand presence, and a large amount of recipe pins. But now the site has moved away from text and consists almost entirely of images. Brands are showing off their products, couples are building wedding registries, and just about everyone is sharing infographics. So what’s all this about recipes? And then there’s Google Plus. When the Donut List was first published, the social network was seen as a poor attempt to compete with Facebook. The Wall Street Journal called it a “virtual ghost town.” Hence the joke that only Google employees used the site. But Google integrated many of its other products into G+, including YouTube and Gmail, encouraging (some might say demanding) that users create a profile. Less controversial are the popular Google Hangouts, live G+ video chats on with celebrities, thought leaders – even astronauts on the International Space Station. Today, Google Plus is the second-most popular social network in the world, behind Facebook. So now the joke’s on the Donut List.

I have a few other quibbles with the Donut List. For example, Instagram may be known for its “vintage” filters, but people and brands are posting plenty of “unfiltered” images there, making it a competitor to Pinterest. And I’m not sure that image-hosting site Imgur will ever become a true social network, especially as Instagram and Pinterest become more popular. In conclusion, the Donut List is funny and insightful, but is no longer accurate. Social media is always changing and so should the Donut List. How would you describe these social sites? Would you add any? Delete any? Let me know. And if the evolving social landscape has you confused, Brandemix will be happy to help.
Until then, I’m grabbing a donut.


January 30, 2013

Bonus Reel: Social Media Pet Peeves

Jason Ginsburg offers advice on making the most of your social media channels.


October 1, 2012

Social Media PR Disasters: The Kansas City Chiefs Get Tackled For A Loss

I’ve showed you some pretty big mistakes in the past, but this one is a doozy. It breaks so many commonsense social media rules that it almost seems like an urban legend. But it really happened, to an NFL franchise — which proves it can happen to anyone.
The Brand
Kansas City Chiefs
·      643,000 likes on Facebook
·      101,500 followers on Twitter
·      3,381 +1’s on Google Plus
The Incident

Travis Wright, a social media manager and self-described “eternal smart ass”, tweeted the following about his beloved Kansas City Chiefs:

Crude? Yes. Rude? Sure. But this is football, and every team, from the Super Bowl champion Giants down to the…well, the Chiefs, has experienced vitriol like this. But rarely do teams actually respond.
The Problem
The Chiefs responded. Wright got this direct message on Twitter and took a screenshot with his phone: 


Then, for good measure, the Chiefs blocked Wright’s Twitter profile, so that their tweets would no longer show up in his feed. A very odd thing to do to someone the franchise called a “fan.” Wright shared their insulting message with his 125,000 followers (which is more than the Chiefs have) and posted it on Reddit. The incident quickly went viral.
The Response
Wright’s tweet was retweeted dozens of times, while his Reddit post drew 500 comments and 1,200 upvotes, bringing it to the front page.
The Result
The next day, the Chiefs apologized:


The Takeaway
The Chiefs botched this about as badly as possible. Here’s a step by step guide to ensure you don’t make the same mistake.
– Don’t Insult Anyone Publicly

I probably don’t have to say this, but you should never tell a fan, customer, employee, job-seeker, or donor to “get a clue.” That was first down.

– Don’t Insult Anyone Privately
I suppose the person running the Chiefs account thought it was safer to send something mean as a direct message, so no other followers would see it. But just about every device can take screenshots, so that strategy only delayed Wright’s retaliation for about 30 seconds. Second down.

– Don’t Block Anyone
When you block someone on Twitter, you prevent them from seeing your tweets. It’s such a silly punishment that it looks juvenile. And it’s ineffective, because your “victim” can just visit your public Twitter profile. And because the Chiefs didn’t unblock Wright when they issued the apology, he didn’t see it in his feed. That brings up third and long.
– Don’t Use The First Person Singular
That is, if you weren’t using it in the first place. Whoever runs the Chiefs’ Twitter (and that person[s?] has never been revealed) usually refers to the team as “we” or as “the Chiefs.” But the apology said “I apologize,” which conjures the image of one single guy at a computer. It also separated the Twitter manager from the organization; why weren’t the Chiefs the ones apologizing? “We’re sorry” looks a lot better than “I’m sorry” – especially since we don’t even know who the “I” is. Fourth down and time to punt.
– If You’re Going to Respond, Actually Respond
Lost in the profanity was that Wright was bringing up a valid point about how the Chiefs’ owner spends money on players. But the response was that Wright didn’t have his facts straight and should “get a clue.” So what are the facts? Why didn’t the Chiefs point Wright to the correct information? If you’re going to respond to such an angry post – and you don’t have to – at least take the conversation somewhere constructive. All the Chiefs did was make a fan mad. That’s horrible customer service. So I guess you could say the punt was blocked and returned for a touchdown.

This whole firestorm took place within 24 hours and involved only three tweets. But the damage done to the Chiefs’ brand will last a long time. This is another reason to let a trained communications, marketing, or HR professional run your social media profiles. If you don’t have one, we’d be happy to help.


 

May 30, 2012

The Best Branding on Social Media

It’s time for another round-up of the best brands in social media. Along with old favorites Facebook and Twitter, this time I’m looking at Pinterest, now the third-most popular social network in America, and Google+, which is finally gaining traction among brands. Who’s the best – and why? Read on.


PinterestMichael Kors
With 23 boards and more than 750 pins, Michael Kors’ Pinterest gives his fans a lot to look at. But only about half his boards are about the products themselves, such as watches and shoes. One board is “Style Tips,” a great resource for fashion enthusaists, while others like “Travel Diary” offer a sneak peak into the designer’s glamorous lifestyle. “Michael’s Milestones” feature photos of Michael’s past, including his child-modeling work in the 60s.  “On Broadway” presents Michael’s favorite shows, while “Eat Up” presents his favorite foods. It’s clear taht Michael Kors is using Pinterest not just to sell his products but also to connect with fans and give them an inside look at his life.


Twitter – Whole Foods
Named one of the Top Ten Twitter Brands of 2011 by Social Fresh, Whole Foods boasts more than 2.6 million followers. What makes them so popular? Their profile description includes this promise: “Ready to answer you questions Mon-Fri 9am-5pm CST!” I constantly remind clients that social media is a two-way conversation, and Whole Foods has embraced that idea by invitingquestions (and, most likely, complaints). Whole Foods also tweets plenty of cooking tips and recipes, and dozens of images – not only of food but also of branded events, like its “Ring of Fire” ski tour of Pacific Northwest volcanoes. And the chain makes good on its guarantee, responding to comments and questions throughout the day. It’s a fun, enthusiastic, helpful channel, which is what every brand should aim for.


Facebook – Starbucks
Starbucks is one of the brands most engaged with its audience, according to social marketing firm SocialBakers. Their Timeline is filled with responses to fans’ posts, ranging from “Is your decaf coffee decaffeinated through the Swiss Water Process?” to a complaint about a rewards card that hadn’t arrived. In some cases, Starbucks takes a day to reply; in other cases, just minutes. The brand keeps things simple on Facebook, with no apps or games except for a tab that allows fans to send Starbucks Card eGifts to friends. There are plenty of photos and videos, though, featuring employees, music, and Starbucks’ scrumptious products. Best of all, the brand devotes one of its eight tabs to job-seekers, with a job search Facebook app that’s intuitive and easy. The result is more than 30 million likes, making Starbucks the second-biggest brand Facebook Page in the world.


Google Plus – BMW
Brands are still finding their way on Google+, but BMW sets a great example.
For one thing, BMW has constructed a photo of its new i8 Spyder concept car through a clever use of its four profile images – which some brands are still struggling with. The carmaker post lots of photos and videos of its products in action. Like Whole Foods, the brand is rewarded for engaging fans; its simple question of what rims to put on the new Gran Coupé elicited 433 answers. There are user-submitted photos, too. And while BMW may be a luxury brand, it never talks down to its fans on Google Plus, covering racing along with its high-end cars. Such compelling content and breezy conversations have garnered BMW 491,000 +1’s, and the brand is in 490,000 people’s Circles.

At Brandemix, we use all these social media channels, along with YouTube, LinkedIn, and others, to reach consumers, donors, employees, and job-seekers. If you’d like to learn more from our research into social media best practices, contact us.

August 1, 2011

Why Moleskine is a Social Media Superstar

As many of you know from my presentations and webinars, I’m always looking for brands that are using social media in innovative ways. I honor these organizations with the name “SoMe Superstars.” PepsiCo, with its brilliant social recruitment marketing, was the most recent winner.

Today I’d like to recognize another company that’s interacting with consumers in exciting new ways: Moleskine, the Italy-based maker of fine notebooks and journals. Rather than seeing its products as simply blank books, the company brands itself as embodying creativity, bringing tools to artists, writers, and travelers. To further this branding, Moleskine has created a number of social media channels that celebrate painting, drawing, writing, poetry, and scrapbooking, and encourages users to post their work. The result is a remarkably loyal fan base that consistently uploads and shares new content. In fact, BrandChannel recently declared that “If any brand name seems to be loved by all who come in contact with it, it is Moleskine.”

                                          

Here are the three superstar strategies that Moleskine uses to engage with its audience in a branded way:

* Moleskine has profiles on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, and Tumblr, each with active communities and lots of user-generated content, from artwork to fiction to videos.
* For “old-fashioned” content, the company runs a blog, Moleskinerie, that integrates many of its social efforts while also providing unique content.
* Moleskine has just launched a mobile app that allows users to write or draw on their iPhone or iPad as they would in an actual notebook.
As the New York Times recently reported, Moleskine’s social efforts are immensely successful. 91,000 people are fans of the company’s Facebook page, while 12,000 people follow the company on Twitter. On both Facebook and Flickr, Moleksine encourages its fans to post their sketches, paintings, and collages, creating a community of user-generated content and supportive feedback.

Moleskine’s YouTube channel has 3,800 subscribers and more than 235 videos, both from fans and the company itself. The videos range from actual footage of artists drawing in the books to short films that celebrate the company’s creative spirit. The company also posts videos of its traveling art exhibitions and its workshops, which allow fans to meet and collaborate, making the Moleskine customer base feel even more like a community.

                                       

Most companies have a blog, but the Moleskine blog stands out by serving as a companion to its Facebook and Twitter accounts, rather than simply duplicating them. “Tweet” and “Like” buttons atop each post make it easy to share the content on users’ social networks. Moleskine also made the bold decision to stay distinct from the company’s website, giving the brand a platform to focus solely on its community. The blog includes a link to a very cool beta application, myMoleskine, which allows users to upload their own written or visual content, or images from a gallery, and create a virtual notebook, complete with turnable pages.

Even while it embraces its product’s low-tech charm, Moleskine is moving into the modern era with a clever new mobile app. Users choose a Moleskine notebook paper style, create a new “thought,” and then type or draw, using different colors and sizes. These “thoughts” can be geo-tagged, catalogued in different categories, and shared with others through social networks or email.

Art by Jinho Jung

In speaking to the New York Times, Moleskine America president Marco Beghin said “We let our fans speak for themselves. We wanted to create a relay of stories to become the ambassadors, interpreting the message.” Moleskine knows that its customers are creative and gives them an outlet for them to express themselves.

What can you learn from Moleskine? First, find the positive and compelling aspects of your brand, company, or product. Then learn who your market is and how they relate to those aspects. Finally, find ways of connecting with that market that utilize your strengths and are on-brand.
For fostering creativity in creative ways, I’ve dipped my quill and inscribed Moleskine in the honored list of genuine SoMe Superstars!