LinkedIn: The tools to promote your business

LinkedIn is one of the most powerful ways to promote your business in the world of social media today. LinkedIn currently has over 200 million professionals connecting each day, with roughly 2.6 million of those professionals engaging in business-to-business activities (Careers, 2013). Not only does LinkedIn allow businesses to promote their services and connect with other businesses, but consumers can also interact with businesses on their company page to provide valuable feedback about the company’s performance. Businesses can use linked in to promote and advertise new products and services, events, webinars, share white papers, post LinkedIn polls, and even post job openings within their company.

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According to SocialMedia.biz, here are 9 ways to leverage the power of LinkedIn to promote your business (Aley, 2013):

1. Create a profile for better SEO – LinkedIn is one of the more search engine optimized websites. Simply creating a profile on LinkedIn for your business will ensure that it is pretty quickly one of the first links people will see when they search for your business (this is good for both SEO and reputation management, pushing other links down further in search results).

In creating your profile on LinkedIn, you can provide a company description, a separate product description page, and other links (including one to your website). Use keywords in your company and product descriptions to ensure SEO opportunities.

2. Let recommendations speak for you – Ask people to recommend your product or service. On the Products page (or Services if that is what you provide), ask people to recommend you. If you are launching a social enterprise, people will more than likely be happy to share their positive feedback about the good you are doing. Not only will the networks of those recommending you see this (the viral effect at work), but so will those visiting your company profile on LinkedIn.

3. Your employees are your ambassadors – Have your employees indicate their work for your company on their profiles. Both you and your employees should be sure to indicate that you work for the company in your LinkedIn profiles. This will increase the exposure of the company – as your connections see you and employees “joining” the company, many will naturally be curious to review the company profile.

4. Share company news – Post to the feed as your company to promote your business. LinkedIn has a feed just like Twitter and Facebook. Take this opportunity to post to the feed and share news about your business, relevant industry news, and product or service updates. Anyone connected to your business may see this and share it via Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks. Ask your employees to do just that!

5. Promote your business personally – You can do this as can your employees – share information about your business launching, point to your company’s profile on LinkedIn, and ask people to share the great news about your launch!

6. Connect with other professionals – Make sure your company network is strong. Connect with relevant professionals who support what you are doing and whose networks could be of value to you. When these individuals connect with you, it will be apparent to their own networks, who might show interest.

7. Join relevant groups – Joining groups that are related to social enterprise and your specific area of focus winds up being a great way to create an awareness of your company, and to connect with relevant individuals and businesses.

8. Post job openings – LinkedIn is a great place to find candidates and create awareness of your business by posting job opportunities. Showing that you are hiring is a very positive sign for the growth of your business – people will be impressed to see this. You will likely make many new, relevant connections simply in the posting of a job opportunity.

9. Post a video – This is another great way to create awareness for what your business is doing, enhance your profile, and provide something that others can share that could go viral. Utilize testimonials from customers and people you are helping with your business. Take the time to share why you are doing what you are doing, and the social good that will come of it.

References:

Aley, Cara. 2013. Don’t overlook LinkedIn in building your new business: 9 ways to leverage the power of LinkedIn. Retrieved from: http://socialmedia.biz/2013/05/09/use-linkedin-to-build-your-new-business/

Careers. 2013. How to use LinkedIn to promote your business: 4 ways to build a power network for your company. Retrieved from: http://www.itbdigital.com/opinion/2013/01/22/how-to-use-linkedin-to-promote-your-business/

Advergaming: Targeting today’s youth and the consumers of tomorrow

Advergames are taking advertising to a whole new level with the youth of today. No longer do gamers have to deal with pop-up ads and ad banners appearing while they are playing games, because now their game is an ad. More companies seem to be jumping on the advergame bandwagon to create interactive, fun games to promote their brand and it’s messages.

Youth driven brands such as Chips Ahoy, Skittles, Froot Loops, and McDonald’s have created games that challenge consumers and keep their attention, while keeping the brand at the front of their mind. When youth see games that advertise movies, foods, or characters, it causes them to want to engage and make purchases for those items that are advertised (Lagorio, 2009).

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18563_162-2808272.html

Marketers that focus on targeting youth say that they know “the consumers of tomorrow are the children of today” (Lagorio, 2009). By getting brands in front of youth during their development stages, it is more likely that these brands will form relationships with the children, which can lead to brand loyalty (Lagorio, 2009). Advergaming is one way that marketers are engaging youth in their brands and causing consumer purchasing behaviors to increase from this market segment.

References:

Lagorio, Christine. 2009. Play it again: Advergaming. Retrieved from: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18563_162-2808272.html

Target Addict: The unofficial blog for Target

Target Addict is the unofficial blog for Target. The Target Addict blog covers all things Target and shows the latest in store products from stylish clothing, to shoes, and even popular products that Target sells. The Target Addict blog also posts links to current Target promotions and coupons for consumers to use. The author of the Target Addict blog admits to being completely obsessed with Target products and the entire shopping experience.

The running theme of the Target Addict blog seems to be product, clothing, and style reviews, as well as information about Target promotions and giveaways. The Target addict blog compares Target brand merchandise to that of more expensive designer brand products. The author of the Target Addict blog provides links for consumers to share her blog posts and she also does her own product giveaways for followers of her blog.

The Target Addict blog is comparable to the official Target Style blog because they both do product reviews and promotions of current items that are sold online and in Target stores. One of the differences that I found from looking at the Target “On the dot” Style blog and the Target Addict blog is that the official Target Style blog gives product reviews and information from more of a design element basis, while the Target Addict gives personal opinions and reviews of Target products.

Below is a excerpt from the Target Addict blog:

“New at Target: Vera Neumann Scarves

Women of a certain age (read: 40 or older) might remember the brand name “Vera” on their mother’s or grandmother’s scarves.  I sure do, and I’m sure if I rang up my mom right now she’d give me a whole drawerful of them.  And now Target is re-introducing this classic brand to the masses.

The American artist-turned-textile designer Vera Neumann is heralded as introducing the first signature scarf in the late 1940s. After searching for alternative fabrics for her designs during World War II, Vera came across parachute silk at an army surplus store and transferred her whimsical art onto the scarves from her kitchen table. Soon enough “Vera scarves,” typically embellished with her signature ladybug for good luck, were everywhere. Marilyn Monroe and Grace Kelly were fans of her work.

Now Target has tapped the Vera Company—the brand that celebrates the life and artwork of Vera Neumann—for a limited-edition collection of scarves, available at Target stores and on target.com starting April 28th. Inspired by the beloved artwork Vera’s known for, the 17-piece collection reflects her iconic aesthetic and bold use of color. Check out a preview of some of the designs on A Bullseye View.”

The information from the Target Addict blog that could be useful to the Target company’s blog is what consumers truly think about the products sold at Target. The company could take the reviews and comments that consumers are posting to the Target Addict blog, and incorporate it into their company blog. By allowing consumers to comment and add their opinion to company blogs or sites, companies can benefit by gathering raw feedback and improving their website or products based upon consumers’ comments.

References:

On the dot. 2013. Target. Retrieved from: targetstyle.tumblr.com

Target Addict. 2013. Retrieved from: target-addict.blogspot.com

#RiseAbove

Nike and Air Jordan have come up with yet another clever and inspirational short film titled: This Is Where It Starts, which is part of a film series called #RiseAbove. This short film follows 2 young boys with dreams of becoming professional basketball players through their journey of success and defeat, until they overcome all to make it to the Olympics. This short film is inspiring and captivating because it shows two individuals from different cultures who are striving to accomplish the same goal in life and will stop at nothing to reach that goal.Here’s the link to the video: http://www.nike.com/jumpman23/riseabove/films.html

This short film by Air Jordan and Nike resembles a commercial more than a movie because it shows the boys journey in an almost time lapsed state. The film is short and to the point, while adding enough detail to hold the viewers attention and draw them in to the story. The film was first shown online on the Nike web site where it is currently housed today, along with multiple other short films that are part of the #RiseAbove series.

From a marketing standpoint, I believe this film is extremely effective because it sends consumers the message that they can do anything and succeed if they set their minds to it. I think this film also says a lot for the Nike and Air Jordan brands by showing universal equality and encouraging consumers to overcome challenges in their lives. This film also compliments both brands by showing how they support athletes and how the Nike and Air Jordan brand products can help enhance your physical performance.

In this case, I believe that this short film sells the Nike and Air Jordan products subtly and ethically by showing fair opportunity and sending the message that nothing is impossible. The brands were promoted in a positive way, while still getting the message across to sell Nike/Air Jordan Flight products to improve athletes performance.

References:

#RiseAbove. 2012. Nike. Retrieved from: http://www.nike.com/jumpman23/riseabove/films.html

The AVON Foundation for Women: Fighting the Battle One Post At A Time

The AVON Foundation for Women uses real everyday women who have overcome struggles and obstacles in their lives to inspire women all over the world. The AVON Foundation has spokeswomen such as Reese Witherspoon and Salma Hayek who endorse not only the AVON brand, but the causes it stands for and helping women worldwide.

The AVON foundation supports causes such as domestic violence, breast cancer, emergency relief in foreign countries, and even donates money to other organizations such as Doctors without Borders and The American Red Cross International (AVON, 2013). The AVON Foundation for Women supports philanthropic efforts to raise money for breast cancer and domestic violence by holding their annual “AVON Walk for Breast Cancer” in different cities around the United States, and through donations from individuals and companies from around the world.

The AVON Foundation for Women markets their causes and organization’s efforts through various mediums such as TwitterFacebookPinterest, and YouTube. Each media channel has unique messaging that supports what AVON is trying to accomplish through their foundation, while each channel’s messages come together to support the same cause. For example, on The AVON Foundation’s Twitter page, the organization posts updates and tweets about current events and happenings that are related to their causes. There are also video clips about how and why to join in supporting The AVON Foundation for Women, and followers can tweet to The AVON Foundation about what they are doing to support the fight against breast cancer and domestic violence.

On The AVON Foundation for Women’s Pinterest, Facebook, and YouTube pages, individuals can comment on photos, videos, and articles or stories about what AVON is doing to fight for and support their causes. There are also updates about events happening and how to donate to show your support. The AVON Foundation YouTube channel has messages from celebrity sponsors, AVON’s spokeswomen, fashion show clips from events to support the fight against breast cancer, and clips from press events that are used to raise awareness about breast cancer and domestic violence.

The AVON Foundation maintains consistency throughout each of the mediums that it uses to market information about their causes by showing testimonials, photos, videos, press and event videos, and statistics that help to raise awareness about fighting for a cause. Each of the different marketing media channels (YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest) all have a different way of showing The AVON Foundation for Women’s causes and purpose. For example, the YouTube channel shows videos and commercials to promote AVON’s Breast Cancer Walk and other fundraisers, Pinterest shows photos and quotes from celebrity support and fundraising products, and the Facebook and Twitter pages show posts and tweets from AVON and its supporters to promote and raise awareness against domestic violence and breast cancer (AVON, 2013).  The AVON Foundation does a great job with keeping the same message, but using varying ways to portray their messages across many different mediums.

References:

The AVON Foundation for Women. 2013. Retrieved from: http://www.avonfoundation.org

Optimizing Content for Mobile Devices

Consumers today are looking for the technology that helps them access the information they want and need in the fastest way possible. This is where mobile marketing and smartphones come into the picture. Mobile marketing on smartphones, and even website content needs to be updated so it can be utilized on mobile devices. With all the advances in technology, you would think that every website or brand’s web page would have mobile capabilities, but that is not always the case.

“As of 2012, nearly 88 percent of all Americans adults reported that they have a mobile phone, and of that, 55 percent admitted to owning a smartphone” (McGrane, 2012). Because there is such a high number of consumers using smartphones (as we’d expect) it is now essential for brands and marketers to enable their content to be viewed on mobile devices. According to Susannah Fox, of Pew Research Center, “mobile devices have become the main source of the Internet for some individuals who do not have internet access on a computer at home” (McGrane, 2012). Because of this, websites and web pages must enable and optimize their web content to be easily viewed and accessible on mobile devices, or risk losing out on a portion of the consumer population.”As of June 2012, 31 percent of Americans that reported to access the Internet from a mobile device admitted that this is the way they always or mostly always access the Internet” (McGrane, 2012). By enabling content to be viewed on mobile devices, marketers are ensuring that this population sees their message.

Marketers and brands who optimize their content for mobile devices open up a new avenue for promoting their products and services to consumers through mobile marketing and apps. Mobile marketing reaches audiences who are constantly on the go and those who are consistently using their smartphone. Another positive about enabling content for mobile devices is that consumers can take the web site wherever they go and always have access just a click away. Mobile friendly content also enables consumers to view brand emails,  videos, advertisements, case studies, promotions, and more. Optimized content that is intended for use on mobile devices will enhance the user experience and increase the chances of positive results from consumers.

References:

Lesson 3: Creating a digital identity: Using emerging media to enhance a brand. (2013). Retrieved from: WVU Ecampus. IMC 619.

McGrane, Karen. (2012). Uncle Sam Wants You (To Optimize Your Content For Mobile). A LIST APART. Retrieved from: http://alistapart.com/article/uncle-sam-wants-you-to-optimize-your-content-for-mobile

Multi-cultural Marketing with Coca-cola

The Coca-Cola brand web site cocacola.com has specific pages that are dedicated to individuals from different countries all over the world. Specifically, I found some great pages that target African-Americans, Asian-Americans, and Latin-Americans, and each page has different messages that are relevant to that target market segment.

The Coca-Cola web site is able to communicate with one of their many target markets, the Latin-American minority, by creating messages in Spanish and by choosing images to represent the minority and their culture. By showing how Coca-Cola is incorporated into their native culture, Coca-Cola becomes a familiar brand among the Latin-American minority. Coca-Cola has unique web pages and web sites that target different minority populations with the brands campaign “My Coke,” which allows Coca-Cola drinkers to watch videos and participate in the campaign to collect “My Coke Rewards” points to win free stuff.

Coca-Cola’s web site has a map and list of countries that lets consumers choose which language they would like to view the web site in. This allow the brand to communicate to consumers all over the world without being restricted by language barriers. When looking through Fortune 500 company web sites and researching how different brands targeted minority groups, I was surprised to find research about how certain types of companies (beverage, food, clothing, appliances) target specific minority groups based on stereotypes or perceived personas. For example, Coca-Cola has admitted to specifically marketing to teens, Latin-Americans, and African-Americans because they tend to consumer more carbonated beverages than other populations (Huffington Post, 2012).

When marketing to ethnic groups, I believe that marketers should keep in mind what stereotypes are associated with certain groups, and chose their marketing messages based on what is best for their brand or product. For example, just because Asian-Americans are associated with being intelligent and into technology doesn’t mean that every marketers message should be targeted at that specific market segment. I believe that marketers and advertisers must put a great deal of strategic thought behind how and where they target their intended audiences, as well as what messages they want to portray. The world is full of many very different ethnic cultures who are loyal to specific brands or products based on the brand’s messaging and understanding of how members of minority groups think. By understanding the sensitivities associated with being a member of a minority, and what minority groups want and need as valued consumers, marketers can be successful in obtaining and maintaining a vast array of individuals within those target market groups.

References:

Coca-Cola. (2013). Retrieved from: http://us.coca-cola.com

Soda Marketer Says Soft Drink Industry Should Be Applauded For Targeting Minorities. (2012). Huffington Post. Retrieved from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/19/soda-marketing-minorities-coke-pepsi_n_1608889.html