Brand Management: How Social Media Can Impact Your Brand Image

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Brand Managment

There is nothing new about the concept of branding in business, and with the new technologies that pop up each day there are more and more opportunities for a business to work on expanding its brand. Among these opportunities, social media presents an inexpensive and easy way to relay unique messages. With the proper brand management, social media experts are showing businesses how to get their messages directly to the consumer.

Creativity and Originality

The most important place to start with any social branding efforts is to ensure that a compelling brand statement is already in place.  And if it doesn’t have the right kind of supporting content, no amount of promotion is going to be effective.  Every piece of information shared must be in line with the company’s brand and each piece should demonstrate, directly or indirectly, why that brand is better.

The truth is that you can hire the best social media experts in the world to help with your brand management and get absolutely nowhere if you don’t already have a clearly understood branding statement.  You need to know what sets your company apart from the competition, and come up with some creative ways to express that. Once you have the overall strategy in place, your social media manager will be able to get the appropriate content to convey your brand image.

Always Stay Consistent

Of course, anyone can get set up on social media, so don’t feel accomplished just because you have a Facebook and Twitter page for your business. For these pages to help with your branding efforts, you must remember that consistency is key. In this case, consistency is not just making sure that everything you post is in line with your brand image, but also that you are consistently posting new content to keep your users engaged.

This is one of the biggest struggles that new businesses face when working to get their message out there, and one of the primary reasons that businesses find their social media presence to be a source of great frustration. The truth is that for someone who does not understand how to use social media channels properly, this type of branding is a waste of time. For those who are engaged with social media, they find that these channels can be one of the easiest and most powerful ways to brand. This is ultimately why so many companies turn to social media experts when it comes time to help with brand management, and why those companies are able to produce such impressive results.

Dunkin’ Donuts Drama Proves the Power of Social Media

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Social media experts have seen brands of all sizes rise and fall when it comes to dealing with crazy customers, employee drama and company politics on sites like Facebook and Twitter. In our era of instant information, every triumph or mistake can be spread and posted in a moment’s notice. Last weekend, an altercation at a Florida Dunkin’ Donuts confirmed just how powerful social media and viral video really are.

Two teenagers behind the counter at Dunkin Donuts had no idea that the racist rant of 27-year-old Taylor Chapman would turn them into heroes. Chapman unleashed an 8-minute explosion on the teens after claiming she didn’t receive her receipt from the night before. Chapman filmed her abusive tongue lashing and promised to post it to Facebook. The employees stayed cool and gave Chapman her free food as dictated by company policy when a guest doesn’t receive a receipt. What Chapman didn’t anticipate was how social media would be on the side of the beleaguered and berated employees. Facebook and Twitter were soon populated with messages of support for the teens for coolly handling the situation. The Dunkin’ Donuts Facebook page was soon filled with messages from followers who just wanted to commend the employees and the brand.

Even Dunkin’ Donuts bigwigs stood by their employees.

“We are aware of the video and the situation that occurred at the Dunkin’ Donuts restaurant located in Fort Lauderdale,” Jessica Gioglio, a spokesperson for the company, said. “We commend the franchisee’s crew members for handling this difficult situation with grace and patience. We believe this is a powerful example of great customer service and the respect our crew members have for our guests.”

The lessons here are good ones to remember. First off, video is forever, so it’s important for brands and businesses to always be on their best behavior. Secondly, branded Facebook pages are powerful places for customers to show their support and disdain. Lastly, treating people with respect — whether they deserve it or not — is something that never goes out of style.

Five Things You Might Have Missed!

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Which brand is headed back to the drawing board? And who’s turning to their fans for hot online video creation We’ve got the answers to these questions and so, so much more in today’s Five Things You Might Have Missed!

1.) Original Recipe: We’ll never know what the Colonel would think about KFC’s new boneless chicken… but thanks to a new video campaign, we’ll soon know how fans feel about it. #IAteTheBones is the chain’s new campaign which calls for fan-created videos that show reactions to the new boneless chicken. Video entries are posted on Facebook until June 8; weekly winners will be chosen to receive prizes like t-shirts and gift cards. Five grand prize winners will also be selected to receive $1,000 and a chance to be included in an online or social media advertisement within the next year, KFC says.

2.) Curves Ahead: If you missed the hubbub over H&M’s new swimsuit campaign, don’t worry. We’ve got a feeling we’ll be talking about this photo shoot featuring a normal-sized girl for quite some time. Size 12 model Jennie Runk became an accidental hero this week when her campaign for the global clothing brand was released, drawing applause and accolades from fashion industry and marketing insiders alike.

3.) The Facebook PR 411: Lisa Buyer at Search Engine Watch published a fascinating blog post this week entitled “22 Facebook PR Secrets Every Community Manager Should Know.” Must-read tips include why you should market on Saturdays, the benefits of a positive attitude and why less is more.

4.) Watch What Happens: Sci-fi films and tech gurus alike have long predicted a super smart watch that acts like a phone, computer and social network. But according to Read Write Web, the smartwatch revolution might not happen for a while. Still, with big brands like Apple, Microsoft and Google toying with the idea, the smartwatch might be the next tech branding story to keep our eyes on.

5.) Social Media Meh: Is social media marketing lost and no longer valuable? Are we wasting our time? What brands are doing it all wrong? Kipp Bodnar ponders these concerns in a fantastic article on social media marketing that you may have missed.

Celebrating 10 Years of LinkedIn!

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“Relationships matter.” Not only is this a motto social media experts tend to live by, but it’s also the original tagline for LinkedIn. Launched a decade ago this week, LinkedIn had 4,500 members at the end of its first month. According to co-founder Reid Hoffman, “Today, hundreds of millions of professionals around the world are turning to LinkedIn to connect with each other, manage their identities, get insights they need to be great at what they do, and find their dream jobs.” LinkedIn is the original professional social network, and at ten years old, it continues to be a terrific place to market our small businesses, brands and ideas. Here’s just a few reasons why LinkedIn is a social media marketing must.

It’s a great place for blogs and articles: Worried your company blog is too heady, too technical or just too business-like to find an audience among regular blog readers? Post that sucker on LinkedIn and watch the schmoozy professional set gobble up your content. LinkedIn’s audience reads and responds to more serious and specific blogs and articles than, say, the kids over on Facebook.

It’s like giving your business card to millions of people: LinkedIn boasts more than 200 million active users from millions of companies and organizations in every possible field imaginable. Having your company active on the site, therefore, introduces you to millions you might not otherwise have met.

It’s a great place to see what your competitors are up to: From the ice cream place in the mall to the Fortune 500 investment firm, they’re all here on LinkedIn — and for users, this is great news. Not only do job searchers get a more creative way to widen their nets, but companies using the site for marketing get a front row seat to see how their contemporaries and competitors are using the site, too.

It’s drama-free: Tired of the blubbering and griping on Facebook? Over Twitter meltdowns? LinkedIn is the place for you and your company. For a social network, the site is delightfully free of most of the personal BS found on other platforms. It’s a mature exchange of information, for the most part, and is largely free of baby mama drama, cat videos and unsolicited political opinions. And for that we’re extremely grateful.

Spring Social Media Strategy Sessions #2: Pinterest

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Welcome to Part 2 of our Spring Social Media Strategy Sessions! Yesterday we talked Twitter marketing (if you missed it, read it right here!), and while the little blue bird is effective, it might not be for everyone. Let’s say you have a business that lends itself to visual marketing: Pinterest might be the perfect social media marketing waters to dip your toes in. Since the site’s launch in 2010, social media experts have helped brands large and small reach new audiences using Pinterest’s unique pin-board style of image-sharing. And the platform might be right for you, too — but before you go pinning all willy-nilly, here’s some quick strategy to put you on the right track.

Learn It: Pinterest is unlike any other social media platform out there, so before you get started, learn about the site and how brands are using it to reach consumers. This will help you determine if the site is right for you. This infographic is a good, basic 101 to show you how it works for other companies.

No Boring Boards: Before you start pinning, you’ll want to come up with boards that your followers will be interested in. Beyond Pinterest’s preset categories, you’ll find the more specific and unique your boards are, the more followers you’ll get. Keep boards fresh by regularly adding new pins and by creating new seasonal boards.

Pin Specific: Upon first entering the visual all-you-can-eat buffet that is Pinterest, the impulse might be to pin everything in sight. Well, don’t. Ideally, you should post enough of your images on your site to pin on specific boards first, and then you can use the neverending fountain of links on Pinterest. Pin items, videos and images that are relevant to your brand. Translation: Don’t just pin stuff cause it’s purty. Use the awesome visual format of Pinterest to sell your brand, your products or a lifestyle associated with your company.

Pass It On: We’ve heard clients complain that consumers don’t follow them as much on Pinterest as they do on other sites. We can’t give you a specific number, but we’d guess that most of these folks haven’t told their followers on other sites that their brand is on Pinterest. Make sure your blog posts are hooked up with widgets so readers can pin away — and also make sure your website is adorned with a Pinterest badge to direct followers.

Pinterest is the new kid on the block and is heavily influenced by trends, so if you’re going to play the Pinterest game, make sure you have the stamina to stay current.

Tomorrow, we kick it old school with the grandaddy of all social media sites and give you a Facebook marketing strategy that is easy and really works!

Five Social Media Tips You Might Have Missed!

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Seems like everybody, from the big shot advertising guru to the owner of the indie ice cream parlor, has some indispensable advice when it comes to social media marketing. These nuggets of wisdom usually begin with the phrases, “You know what you should be doing…” or “If I were you, I’d focus on…” Far be it from us to miss out on this opportunity! We’ve collected five social media marketing tips that you might have missed — ones you might actually use!

1.) Marketing Rising: If you’re having trouble seeing how social media channels like Facebook and Twitter can help promote your small business, take a look at the independent documentary Girls Rising. What this little movie did was build a huge online following and fan base before even trying to get into theaters. “In today’s world, if you can get your message out early enough, you can find your super-fan,” says Holly Gordon, executive producer, in an interview with The Daily Beast. With more than 245,000 Facebook likes and huge buzz on Twitter, Girls Rising proves the importance of finding our brand’s super-fans.

2.) Ready, Set, Strategize: Before you start tooting your brand’s horn on social media, the best thing you can do is get a strategy. Finding out what you want to accomplish online and how you plan on making that happen is a crucial step that a lot of companies skip. This terrific post from Mashable has great social media strategy planning tips to help your brand use Facebook and Twitter more thoughtfully.

3.) Get +: Love or loathe Google+, its power cannot be denied. Unlike any other social network on the planet, Google+ transcends mere social and relies on Google’s massive search capabilities. Or as Demian Farnworth at Copyblogger writes, “On Google+ your network impact extends beyond the social media domain. It follows you across all of Google’s products: Reviews, Maps, Chrome, Ads, Hangouts, YouTube, Drive, Calendar, Wallet. It follows you across every Google product.” And that’s something any brand can use.

4.) Event Helper: How a company threw a product launch, book signing, art opening or new location party before social media is a mystery to us. Wait, you’re still not using social media to promote your company events?! Read this list from Social Media Examiner to help get your parties on track and well-attended thanks to a few social media tricks.

5.) More Than Just Social: While this week’s list is devoted to social media tips, it would be a big mistake to forget search engine marketing and email marketing. This article by Marketing Pilgrim will help you prioritize email and search along with Facebook and Twitter.

Pardon Me: Grey Poupon Scores a Viral Smash

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Pardon_me_grey_poupon_scores_a_viral_smashYou know your traditional and online video creation is a success when folks are still buzzing about it on Twitter and Facebook days later. Social media experts clamour for this kind of success and hope that every campaign can be a success on YouTube as well as on the major social media channels. But in reality, it takes a special, rare ad campaign to dominate all of the platforms of content marketing. And who would have guessed that just such a major success story of last Sunday’s Oscars would belong to mustard maker Grey Poupon?

Ah, yes, Grey Poupon. We all know the legendary ’80s commercials very well. “Pardon me,” says the stuffy aristocrat in the Rolls Royce to another snooty snob in another luxury car. “Do you have any Grey Poupon?” Yet the latest viral and social media hit from the company suggests that we only know half of the story. A hilarious and pitch-perfect commercial entitled “Grey Poupon: The Lost Footage” also known simply as “Pardon Me,” debuted this Sunday during the Academy Awards. The spot went on to show the hilarious car chase and showdown that happened after that infamous mustard exchange. Clever, unexpected and really funny, Grey Poupon’s ad was a hit during the awards ceremony and Twitter users buzzed about it for the rest of the evening. Wisely, Grey Poupon fully loaded a new website where folks could see the whole Dijon saga unfold. In the following days, the videos have killed on YouTube, garnering a 778,000 (and growing) views as well as major media buzz.

It helps that the commercial aired during one of the most watched events on the planet. But Grey Poupon didn’t just rest on its award show laurels to get its spot seen. By placing it prominently on all its social media channels, YouTube and its own website, Grey Poupon helped ensure that even people who missed the Oscars would be talking about it for days to come.

Hey, readers, seen any good viral commercials lately? Tell us about them in the comments section below!

Schmooze Control: LinkedIn Marketing Secrets for Newbies

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Last month, The Wall Street Journal asked a group of small business owners and social media experts which social media sites they used most often and which had the most potential to be useful in the future. The answer? In a landslide, they chose the professional schmoozing site LinkedIn. The numbers are fascinating: 30 percent said LinkedIn was the most useful while 40 percent said it had the most potential to be useful in the future. This tends to suggest that even people who aren’t using LinkedIn that much realize that it’s a powerful tool they should be using more of.

However, while LinkedIn love seems universal, LinkedIn procrastination is equally common. This inspired us to come up with three simple LinkedIn marketing tips to get started that even the laziest among us can do.

Use the network you already have: LinkedIn, more than any other social network, brilliantly finds your followers from email, Facebook, Twitter and beyond. This is LinkedIn’s leg up on the other kids and it should be used right away. Within seconds, LinkedIn can conquer your massive email list and huge friends lists. Later you can build and find new folks in your industry, but to get started, talk to the people you know and currently market to.

Get your group on: Another thing LinkedIn does amazingly well is groups. No matter what your speciality, what your background or interests are, chances are excellent that LinkedIn has a group devoted to it. Think of these groups as unique opportunities to talk directly to the people who do exactly what you do. Join and participate in as many of these groups that apply. Groups on LinkedIn are active and creative epicenters and your brand shouldn’t miss out.

Share and share some more: LinkedIn lovers are big on sharing. Company blogs, press releases, industry related articles, infographics — you name it, they share it. Sharing on LinkedIn is a more professional and more promotional affair than, say, the shenanigans that go on over at Facebook. The more you share and participate on LinkedIn, the more you’ll get back.