Top Ten Friday: Social Networks Your Company Needs To Be On

Social media has become as valuable as any marketing and advertising channel, but not every social network is perfect for your company. Before you join any network, make sure you go in with a strategy and goals in place, otherwise you may lose steam shortly after starting and end up with a dead page. Sure, you could write an entire post, or even a series of posts, about each network, but we’ll just give you a couple reasons to be on each network.

1. Facebook

There are more than a billion users on Facebook. That alone should get your attention. Facebook allows you to post to a large audience with a variety of content and also gives you built-in analytics to help track your strategies. Use the Timeline to tell the storied history of your company. Post consistently with a variety of content to help you with Edgerank. Brands doing a great job on Facebook include Oreo, Frank’s Redhot, Red Bull and Skittles.

 2. Twitter

Twitter is a conversational platform and is much easier to connect with users. Brands take advantage of this by responding to questions, problems and general comments in order to build relationships and loyalty. Posting company news, coupons and deals, jobs and general conversational posts are just a few examples of what you can do. Brands like Starbucks, Oreo, Whole Foods and Chobani are doing wonderful on Twitter.

 3. Google+

Many brands are hesitant to take the leap to Google+, but I wouldn’t shy away if I were you. Utilize Google+ Hangouts in every way possible, especially because they’ll automatically upload to your YouTube account. Send products to fans to try out and invite them to a Hangout to talk about their experience, create Circles of brand advocates and participate in Communities. A few brands nailing it on Google+ include Cadbury, BMW and National Geographic.

4. Pinterest

This is the ultimate visual platform and has quickly grown into one of the most popular social platforms out there. Pin your products, stories and news about your company, industry news, your company’s work, things that represent your brand, just a few ideas. Brands that really strive on Pinterest are Chobani, Nordstrom, Lowe’s and Ben and Jerry’s.

 5. Foursquare

Foursquare is primarily for visibility and brand loyalty. When users see a place offers a deal or special for checking-in, they are more likely to stop in or become repeat customers. Brands should continue to update the page with posts about current deals or updates from your company. Some brands doing a great job include the History Channel, Bravo Channel and CNN.

 6. LinkedIn

If you’re wondering what the best social network for B2B companies is, it’s LinkedIn. It’s great for finding talent, highlighting your company’s updates and work and offering content to help give people answers to questions they’re yet to ask. Brands doing a great job on LinkedIn include Hubspot, Adobe and HireVue.

 7. Instagram

Instagram allows you to share pictures and 15-second videos. When you take pictures and share them, you can use filters to alter your shot. Short-form video is becoming powerful and with 15 seconds, you can do a lot. Like Vine, you can use it to take behind-the-scenes videos, how-tos, product demos and releases. A few brands really doing great on Instagram include Gatorade, Starbucks, Chobani and Sharpie.

8. Vine

Vine is a young, but popular platform that allows users to create six-second videos on their smart phone. Six seconds doesn’t seem like a long time, but many brands have gotten creative to cram a lot into such a short amount of time. As a brand, you can use Vine to demo a product or service, show off current environment such as your office or photo/video shoots, introduce employees or celebrate great moments. The possibilities are endless.

9. YouTube

YouTube is one of the largest search engines on the Internet and videos appear high in search results. Brands like Red Bull, Oreo, Nike and Whole Foods are doing a great job creating a variety of content their users love. Some popular types of videos include product demos, how-tos, events and conferences, interviews and thank you videos. YouTube is popular for content because video is much easier to consumer than written content.

10. Yelp and TripAdvisor

These two are important, but often overlooked. Just because you’re not active on a site, doesn’t mean people still aren’t talking about you there. By having an account here, you then have the opportunity to respond to any problems customers face, that aren’t shared on Twitter or Facebook, and can also keep an eye on all conversations about your brand.

Are there any other social networks you feel are essential in 2013?

Check out our last TTF post about finding ideas for creative inspiration. Stay tuned for more upcoming TTF posts!

July 26, 2013 · Posted by in social media  

Well, it happened again. We experienced another unfortunate national tragedy Monday that completely overtook Twitter and other social networks. And right on queue, there were brands that tried to capitalize on the trending topics. One in particular was Epicurious. The image posted below, which was posted Tuesday morning, shows a few tweets it used regarding Boston and the tragedy the city faced.

It’s pretty obvious this was probably not the right approach when offering condolences. The right move is to not “sell.” In fact, the right strategy might just be to say nothing at all.

Epicurious wasn’t the only one feeling pressure. Wendy’s was found atop the Twitter search feed for “Boston Marathon” as a Promoted Account and that didn’t make a lot of people very happy. Sometimes, things happens and brands are caught off guard on social media. It’s impossible to be prepared for everything, but there ARE ways to plan and react when moments like this happen. Here are a few tips:

1. Pause Posts – When a major tragedy or event happens that overtakes social media, you should immediately pause your scheduled posts. Stop everything. You never know if a post could offend someone and lead to a PR crisis of your own.

2. Suspend Ads – If you are running ads or a campaign of some kind on a social network, stop them immediately. We saw when Wendy’s paid to have their Twitter account promoted, it was bad timing and placement. I’m not sure if their “promoted account” was sitting atop all trending topic searches or specific topics, but it was there for “Boston Marathon” and that was just bad timing. It was likely set up long before the incident, which is why you must be prepared to suspend ads in an instant. When you’re reading about a tragedy, you don’t want to be fed ads from every direction.

3. Stay Silent – Sometimes it’s best to say nothing at all. There were many brands that posted condolences–and that’s just fine. But even that can still be a touchy subject. Tread carefully.

This is one of those times when selling and marketing need to come to a halt. Let people have this moment. The tough part is tragedies are impossible to predict. The people in charge of your social media need to be paying attention and be ready and able to make proper adjustments. Be sure to get a plan in place now, so you’re not paying for it after it’s too late.

April 16, 2013 · Posted by in social media  


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April Fools!

Just kidding! I’m having the best time. It’s been 2 weeks since I first walked through these doors full-time. I can tell you, it’s been a hell of a great time so far. Although everyone has been incredibly nice, it didn’t stop them from treating me like a long-time employee right from the beginning. That’s exactly what I wanted. Even during the first week, they were throwing things at me left and right expecting me to get things done by the deadline, with no excuses. It always takes a little bit to get comfortable with everything when you start somewhere for the first time, but I love a good challenge. And challenge me, they did.

Because I’m a social media guy, I’ve had the opportunity to start looking through that telescope from the angle of many different industries. It’s been fun learning what each want and have set for goals, which allows me to become even more diverse in my career. On a personal level, I spend most of my time on Twitter and Google+. I stay as active as possible because it helps me stay up-to-date on all social media happenings and keep ahead of the curve. People always ask me why I spend any time on Google+. I always say, “because it’s the best overall platform out there”. I’m always involved in G+ Hangouts or getting involved in the recently created Communities. And if I’m not following you back on Twitter or G+, yell at me to do it!

A little about me. I love getting involved in things around the community, especially with kids. I’ve coached for 7 years, both track and field and basketball. I have been involved with Junior Achievement and Boys & Girls Club and I hope to do so again soon. I’m excited to get more involved with Milwaukee organizations like Social Media Club, United AdWorkers, Young Professionals groups and more!

I like to spend much of my time out in the city exploring all the cool things that are happening, from museums, Bucks and Brewers games and any event that sounds fun. I’m a big food and beer lover so I’m going to try to find all sorts of fun, new places to eat. I dig concerts, especially country concerts, and county fairs so expect to see me around those events. I have never been to Summerfest or the State Fair, but this year I plan to change that. I have to get back in the swing of things with basketball, tennis and golf too. Can’t be sitting on my butt during the summer. I want to get to know as many people as possible, so I hope to meet you soon.

Ok, enough about me. Hope this gives you a slight insight into who I am. Feel free to connect with me on Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.

April 1, 2013 · Posted by in misc, z2 news  

Introducing the newest member of the Z2 team: Public Relations & Social Media Specialist Cedar Brown!

Experienced in sales, marketing, and social media strategy and execution, Cedar will lead our social media efforts both internally and for our clients, in addition to supporting the public relations team. Active in Milwaukee’s social media community, Cedar is an emerging thought leader in the industry. Our clients will appreciate his broad knowledge of and passion for social media.

Previously working as a freelance social media specialist, Cedar has helped craft his clients’ social media strategies, create social media platforms, execute plans, and track and report the results. Before going freelance, he worked at Shopko’s corporate headquarters where he played an integral role in creating the company’s social media strategies. He’s a graduate of University of Wisconsin—Oshkosh.

Cedar just recently moved to Waukesha, previously living in Appleton, Milwaukee and Madison over the past year. In his free time, he enjoys attending local community events, sporting events and concerts, and finding new food spots. His hobbies include cooking, exercising and playing guitar (mostly air guitar). On the weekends, you might find him wearing a cowboy hat at a country music concert. If you see him out and about, be sure to say hi and welcome him to the community.

Follow Cedar on Twitter (@CedarBrown).

March 25, 2013 · Posted by in z2 news  

Time and time again clients approach me with “PR ideas” that I’m 99.9% sure won’t attract any media attention. Don’t get me wrong… I certainly appreciate their enthusiasm for sharing information with me. Typically, the more info I get from clients, the better. However, when they expect a magazine feature from something like a “new-and-improved” product with one minor tweak, we’re in trouble. As a general rule, the following are three basic necessities that make up a good PR pitch.

1)      Timely and/or unique ideas – Why is your idea newsworthy? Why does the media care about your message? Your pitch needs to stand out from the clutter. Re-hashing old news is not going to cut it.

2)     Expert sources – We can’t pitch a cooking segment to a broadcast TV station without a chef. Make sure your interview subject is lined up (and media trained) before contacting the media.

3)    Visuals, visuals, visuals – If you’re pitching to a magazine, make sure you have a great collection of relevant photos to share with the pub. If you’re pitching to a TV news morning show, think about what your client will be doing on camera or how you can supplement the interview with something interesting to look at.

Keep in mind, this post refers to traditional PR. Social media is an entirely separate beast. Which brings up another great point… PR ideas and social media ideas are two different things. Yes, one idea can sometimes span both disciplines, but oftentimes, topics addressed through social media outlets are completely inappropriate for pitching to traditional media sources.

November 4, 2011 · Posted by in pr  

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