Category Archives: Brands

Case Study: SoundCloud and Spotify for Content Marketing – Grace Miserocchi

SoundCloud

  • Launched in 2008
  • Over 250 million active users as of October 2013
  • 175 million monthly listeners
  • 12 hours of audio uploaded every minute
  • Popular for music discovery and outreach
  • “Timed comments” permit any user to comment on a specific timestamp within audio content.
    • These comments allow public engagement and communication.
  • SoundCloud mobile app allows for easy consumption of audio.
  • Brands using SoundCloud must be consistent. They should develop a following through promotion of their account on other channels.
  • Audio quality on SoundCloud is sometimes very low and copyright infringement is an issue.
  • Examples:

Spotify

  • Launched in 2008
  • 40 million active users, 10 million paying subscribers
  • 20,000 songs added per day
  • Over 1.5 billion playlists
  • Spotify App Finder includes apps that the further personalize experience.
  • Brands cannot publish user-generated audio.
  • Brands and companies can create shareable playlists.
  • Users can share what they listen to on Facebook and Twitter.

Which should be used?

  • Use SoundCloud to publish original audio content, such as podcasts, interviews, and transcribed blogs.
  • Use Spotify to gain fans by sharing personalized playlists.
  • Music can unite people under a common interest on social media.

@HiltonSuggests: A Concierge for the Social Age

By Julie Matthews

Concierge service is a fairly standard hotel accommodation. A Hilton Suggests Logotypical concierge assists guests of their hotel, often providing them with suggestions for various venues and services. Less standard, however, is the provision of a concierge that serves travelers regardless of guest status, often approaching them rather than the other way around. With this second type of concierge, Hilton Worldwide has built an innovative Twitter initiative.

Under the handle @HiltonSuggests, Hilton staff members tweet suggestions for everything from manicurists to photographers to travelers around the world. Vanessa Sain-Dieguez, Director of Social Media Planning & Integration at Hilton Worldwide, explains in a guest post on Edelman Digital that authenticity was an important concept in the creation of Hilton Suggests. In order to achieve this authenticity, tweets don’t come from a central headquarters. Instead, Sain-Dieguez writes, “Hilton Worldwide decided to give a voice to select employees in key markets and set out on a mission to build their very own Hilton Suggests team.” In using this team, Hilton Suggests is able to provide personal, conversational suggestions that draw on local knowledge.

There are two elements that make Hilton’s use of Twitter particularly effective:

  1. Useful Content
  2. Conversation

Hilton Suggests is designed to serve potential customers with useful information rather than blasting them with an unwanted sales pitch. This exemplifies a concept called Youtility. In “Is Youtility the Future of Marketing?,” Jay Baer writes of Youtility, “Sell something, and you make a customer. Help someone, and you make a customer for life.” In providing useful suggestions, Hilton is able to get its name in the minds of potential customers and potentially build loyalty and good will with existing customers. Customers are likely to go out of their way to avoid marketing that only profits the advertiser, but they may become engaged with or even seek out marketing that serves them.

In addition to providing Youtility, Hilton Suggests uses its Twitter account as a two-way conversation facilitator rather than a one-way megaphone. In “Social Media is a Conversation: Don’t Turn Your Back” on Social Media Today, Harry Kierbow advocates businesses using social media to have open dialogue with customers. He writes, “Don’t just throw your content out and walk away. Make sure you are accessible and responsive to any feedback coming from your fans.” Hilton Suggests doesn’t just spit out suggestions; instead, the Hilton Suggests team both seeks to start conversations with those looking for something and conversationally responds to tweets directed toward them. For a personal touch, tweets are signed with the initials of the team member that is tweeting.

In one case, user @tmonhollon, asked Hilton Suggests for a food truck recommendation, and a third party @DowntownCLE joined in with a suggestion. Rather than ignoring this and robotically providing an additional, unnecessary suggestion, Hilton Suggests wisely joined the conversation and complemented @DowntownCLE on their recommendation.

Several social media bloggers have taken notice of Hilton’s creative Twitter initiative. In a post on HootSource, Evan LePage proffers Hilton Suggests as an illustration of the fourth of eight tips for social business: engage to build a community. He describes the “non-sales oriented approach” of Hilton Suggests as “an engagement for engagement’s sake position.” In “Digital Concierge Creates Brand Loyalists,” Mackenzie Michel commends Hilton Suggests for going so far as to recommend a restaurant to a customer of a rival hotel. She writes that this increases the probability of that person choosing Hilton Hotels for a future trip. In “Why Just Being Useful is the Secret Marketing Edge for Hospitality,” a quote from Hilton Worldwide social media director Vanessa Sain-Dieguez is included that speaks to this strategy, “That’s where we can make a difference, because they’re not experiencing our hospitality within the hotel, and if you’re not in the hotel, you may not be getting the same service, and we could win you over.”

As of Sunday, September 29, 2013, these are the statistics on the @HiltonSuggests account:

  • 15,189 Tweets
  • 5,532 Followers

Given its plethora of tweets, Hilton Suggests is clearly a very active project into which a lot of work has been invested. While its number of followers is modest, there is likely a group of people who use the service without following the account, due to the number of @replies it generates. Adapting to a changing social world, Hilton Worldwide has redefined hotel hospitality.

Alleè Creative- Halley Smith

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Melissa Harrison is the powerhouse behind Allee Creative, a firm that helps small businesses create and understand content marketing.   With a background in business to business marketing, she has the expertise to share.  She’s spoken at numerous conferences about content marketing, and has been named one of the “36 Content Marketers Who Rock” by the Content Marketing Institute.  According to ContentMarketingWorld.com, she believes that businesses must adapt to what costumers want online.

 

The company, Allee Creative, describes itself as a “strategic communications consulting and design agency” according to its LinkedIn page, with headquarters in Minnesota.

 

Allee Creative consistently presents itself as a laid back, relaxed company who can still maturely develop your brand while also having fun.  Its Facebook page is topped by a cover photo that includes 5 women dressed in silly hats and boas.  The page seems focused on providing mostly social media related content, which makes sense considering the platform it would be received on.  All of the media outlets Allee Creative uses are very up to date, excluding the Youtube Channel.  The channel hasn’t been updated in over a year, and the videos are very low quality and dated.

 

Allee Creative looks like it excels in helping companies find a name for themselves and a separate identity to define themselves with. Allee Creative works with over 40 small businesses and companies, including Kraft Foods, Twin Cities Media Alliance and Artisan Salon and Spa.  Clients range from individuals to larger organizations.

Life Technologies: video animation with Jasmine & Drew

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Life Technologies is an American based company focusing in biotechnology. This corporation formed out of a few different mergers over the past 30 years, and they now have many brands that seek to provide products and services to members in the fields of scientific research, genetic analysis, and applied sciences. A few of their brands include Applied Biosystems, Ambion, Giboco, Invitrogen, Molecular Probes, Novex, and Ion Torrent.

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At a Glance:

  • $3.8 billion revenue (2012)
  • 10,000 employees
  • 180 countries
  • 50,000+ products
  • 5,000+ patents & licenses
  • 675,000 citations
  • #296 largest company

Upon doing online research, it can be seen that Life has a significant presence in the social media world. They currently have 10,044 followers on LinkedIn, 67,030 likes on Facebook, 18,407 followers on Twitter, and 4,829 subscribers on YouTube. They use these platforms to engage anyone and everyone involved in the industry by posting articles with helpful tips, pictures from events that support their various causes, questions to help achieve goals, and promotional material about rallies they support.

Life Technologies does a great job utilizing social media platforms, releasing content in a timely and consistent fashion that encourages good discussion. One thing to note is how effective their YouTube channel is. It currently has 601 videos uploaded with over 2 million views. The videos are grouped into categories like Spotlight, Recent uploads, Our Products, How-To’s & Demos, Popular Uploads, and Careers. This helps to direct viewers right to what they might be looking to find.

The use of video animation to showcase various pieces of their everyday work life is an innovative way to keep viewers engaged by showing instead of telling. Most other companies submit long documents with large bodies of text, so this technique sets them apart. By posting videos like “Life Outside the Lab,” Life Technologies tries to make every conversation relatable to and enjoyable for anyone and everyone.

Another way Life Technologies uses videography to is display information from the Executive Summary of its Annual Report, which is a great way for everyone to know exactly what the goals are and how things are going without having to read a lot of jargon. In it, the CEO Greg Lucier says,” We’ve hired over 200 salespeople so that we can have a more direct selling relationship with these new researchers coming online in [China].”

In our view, in order to be a great company, you have to be a good company. For us, that means being a great corporate citizen but also a steward of the environment.

River Pools and Spas: Content Marketing. By Emma Crist and Ashley Martin

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River Pools and Spas is one of the largest in ground pool construction companies in the country. Their main offices are located in Maryland and Virginia. In 2008, the company’s CEO Marcus Sheridan felt as though his company had lost control of their marketing as a company, because the company had little to no web presence.

Sheridan had no prior experience running a website, but when he stumbled upon Hubspot, a marketing software platform, he began to learn about inbound marketing and the process of creating valuable content.

He created a blog and decided that it was important to share meaningful content that would be beneficial to his customers. He didn’t focus so much on trying to sell swimming pools. Instead, he created content that would be helpful to people who wanted to invest in a pool.

He was able to identify high-quality leads by taking advantage of Hubspot’s marketing analytics tool. This helped him to find and target the customers that were most interested in closing a deal.

By using Hobspot, Sheridan was able to:

  • Increased organic traffic 120% in three months
  • Reduced PPC (pay per click) spending 50% compared to 2009
  • Expanded blog readership to over 6,400 visitors and 260 subscribers in just one year

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(via:

 

 

 

(Via: http://www.hubspot.com/customers/river-pools-and-spas)

“It is unbelievable what happens when a business owner, who knows his business better than anybody, can start to let their creative juices just flow. That is what happened to me and that has all been because I finally had the keys to my business,” Sheridan said.

Nuggets: blogging for business

When pitching new ideas or boosting awareness of old ones, communication is key. What you say and how you say it will create a perception in the mind of potential customers, but how do you get potential customers to see or hear what you have to say? If it requires payment, is there something that can be offered up for free as a teaser to hook the target audience. Online spaces are becoming increasingly saturated with noise, requiring strategic placement of content to rise to the top.

Beth Hayden has a blog post about an a videography company that receives a lot of online traction because of two good blog posts. By following this model, I will attempt to brainstorm similar ideas for three potential clients.

  1. Dancing Over Kyoto: This is a book following one man’s experiences as he travels throughout his life to Japan, China, and India. The author could have a blog post targeting world travelers and include native words for conversation purposes, advice to explain the cultural formalities of life in these countries, or the ingredients inside common dishes. Addressing these things will help viewers feel more confident about traveling to these particular areas.
  2. Brock School of Business MBA Program: Reaching this type of student could be difficult because there are so many MBA programs around the world. Important topics to discuss would be how to network in professional settings, how to transfer skills from internship to innovation, or how to manage time when juggling full time jobs and night time graduate school.
  3. Swimming Pool Installations: For a company like this, one could post about the types of plants to use around the pool. The upper and middle class families are usually wanting to create an escape when installing a pool, a place for the family to have quality time; so this company could post about fun events to plan out by the pool.

Google+ & StumbleUpon

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for Business, Branding & Professional Success:
–Ads- can reach users all over the web to help the business drive conversions. Choose from text, image, and video formats to communicate the message wanted.                   –With the Placement Performance Report, businesses have visibility into where all their ads appear.
Apps

StumbleUpon

StumbleUpon: a highly personalized traffic website based on your interests that is served to you when you are actively looking for new sites to discover.

-Directing StumbleUpon traffic to your site: Figuring out the category that your business will fit into- food, clothing, travel, etc.
StumbleUpon traffic is generally much more gradual. In one particular example, Neil Patel explains that StumbleUpon drove 17,209 visitors to his site in 25 days.

-Sponsoring your site on StumbleUpon: 10 cents a visitor

How Businesses use Instagram

Many people say that pictures are more convincing and persuasive than words. Businesses can now employ this method through Instagram.

Social Media Examiner defines Instagram as a free mobile photo-sharing app with 800 million users and counting. Lisa Buyer from Search Engine Watch said, “the popular photo-sharing platform snaps up 7.3 million daily users in the U.S. and last month zoomed by Twitter in daily mobile traffic.”

Instagram is steadily becoming more popular with companies and small businesses.“Since a picture is worth a thousand words, anyone can tell a story with images on Instagram,” Rebecca Murtagh,  Chief Strategist / President of Karner Blue Marketing LLC, said.

Social Media Examiner has come up with a list of 10 creative ways businesses use Instagram. 

#1. Show products

#2. Show how the product is made

#3. Go behind the scenes

#4. Show what products can do

#5. Give a sneak peak

#6. Show offices

#7. Take consumers with you

#8. Introduce Employees

#9. Share celebrity sightings

#10.  Share the cuteness

Search Engine Watch also has a list of tips for using Instagram for businesses:

  • Optimize profiles just like you would other social media profiles.
  • Post images that pique the interest of target audiences.
  • Use trending hashtags or create your own hashtag.
  • Tags for each image should include the name of the brand, locations, keywords, the names of people featured (preferably with their permission) and what the image represents.
  • Use ‘Likes’ to validate how attractive the images are to the intended audience.
  • Share your Instagram photos on other social networks.
  • Don’t simply post to Facebook and Twitter every time you take a photo, optimize content for each medium – the post isn’t just the image – it is the story, notes Neher.
  • If your business is tagged in a photo, make sure you get permission from the photographer to use it.

Econsultancy has come up with a list of nine brands that use Instagram effectively.

#1. Red Bull uses Instagram to promote its image as lifestyle brand for extreme sports, such as snowboarders, skaters, skydivers, F1 cars and people partying, interspersed very occasionally with photos of Red Bull cans.

#2. Burberry uses Instagram to showcase some of its products.

#3. ASOS uses images of its latest ranges and behind the scenes looks at fashion shoots, It also places great emphasis on featuring user-generated content.

#4. Starbucks focuses on what people do while drinking Starbucks coffee rather than on the product itself.

#5. Selfridges frequently posts images of products and displays from its UK stores.

#6. Audi only includes images of its cars, but all the photos are sleek and colourful, promoting the idea that Audi is a luxury, aspirational brand.

#7. Tiffany & Co. has attracted more than 118,000 followers mainly by posting images if its products.

#8. Nike uses Instagram to get people to use its Nike+ and NikeFuel fitness products, featuring images of various groups of people working out and updates on how many people are using the products on any given day.

#9. Innocent Smoothies uses Instagram to associate its product with a lifestyle rather than just pushing out cold brand messages.

Econsultancy also provided an example of a negative use of Instagram

  • eBay used Isntagram to promote its “Walk the Red Carpet” competition, but four weeks after it was created, the account became inactive.

Instagram is an emerging tool for businesses to connect intimately with their audiences through images.

TUMBLR:

TUMBLR is an effortless blogging platform that is business-friendly and enticing for all to use.  According to the Mashable article “Should Your Small Business Join Tumblr?”, there are more than 60 million accounts worldwide and that number is continually growing.  It is no mistake that Tumblr has coined the term, “the Internet’s blog darling” because users are highly engaged and eager to interact with compelling content.  A Tumblr is easy to set up and customize, and one can start posting within minutes.

Tumblr’s goal is to make their site aestethicgally pleasing, user friendly, and easily support text, images, and videos from mobile phones, browsers or desktops.

According to the American Express: Open Forum article titled, “The Pros and Cons of Tumblr for Small Businesses,” there are definite reasons why businesses should or should not consider using a Tumblr.

1.  It’s User-Friendly

  • Clear dashboard
  • Simple to navigate
  • Mobile App: easy and clear

2. It’s More Social

  • Easy to interact with brand and engage users
  • Heavy on photos and videos as opposed to written content

3. It’s Categorized

  • Tag system
  • Personalized tag options so that the dashboard becomes tailored your interest

1. There’s a Lack of Analytics

  • No features for Tumblr specific analytics
  • You can sync Google Analytics to your tumblr

 2. It’s Unreliable

  • If the server goes down there is nothing that can be done
  • 2010 Tumblr experienced a 14 hour outage: but thankfully the company has increased its servers since then

3. There’s a Lack of Native Comment Functionality

  • No way to comment on an individual post

Tumblr is great for a simple, attractive product that can get up and running in an afternoon.  However, if you are willing to trade time for a little more freedom, then switching to a more sophisticated cite is the next option.

Businesses

 1. J. Crew’s “770 Behind the Line”

http://jcrew.tumblr.com/

  • Features products
  • Get to know the designers
  • Behind the scenes of photo shoots and events
  • Tips and tricks (beauty and style)

 2. The Today Show

http://today.tumblr.com/

  • Uses photos and videos to highlight feature stories
  • More entertainment than hard-hitting news
  • Very brief posts
  • Animals, fashion, food, strange news, “day in the life” stories

3. Milkmade Ice Cream’s “Adventures in Ice Cream”

http://blog.milkmadeicecream.com/

  • Flavor of the Day
  • Story behind the flavors
  • Features ingredients through pictures
  • “Pics from the kitchen”
  • High quality photographs with brief descriptions

 4. Somebody’s Mother’s

http://blog.somebodysmothers.com/

  • Uses Tumblr as the company website
  • Posts pictures with links to recipes
  • Seasonal tips

5. Garrett Coyte Photography

http://gcoyte.tumblr.com/

  • Features no more than 6 photos per post
  • Most posts are just 1 photo