People who share common interests can join together to form communities. Brands can make use of social media communities to share brand values and messaging to appeal to existing and target customers. These communities allow customers to comment and react to the brand messaging such as leaving comments and visiting the brand’s websites. The ultimate goal these is to drive sales and branding. I pick two social media Pinterest and Flickr for my client The British Council in Hong Kong and both channels allow the brand to target messaging to their customers.
Both Pinterest and Flickr are social media for sharing images. But Flickr clings to high-quality professional photography. The two channels are different in user demographics. In the article ‘The Demographics of Social Media Properties: Looking Beyond Downloads‘, Pinterest has more women users (70%) and middle-class income group (annual income ranges between $50K and $75K. The age group of users is quite evenly spread from 20 to 54 years old. I assume the users of Pinterest are working professionals at middle level job positions. They must have attained post-secondary or tertiary education or above, hence they possess intermediate and advanced level of English. They care about their career development, style of living including families and travelling.
Based on the assumptions, I have created a board ‘Live English Up‘ on Pinterest for my client. The boards aims to help customers improve their English skills. The content covers a broad range of topics such as skills for professionals – email writing, emotional intelligence; women-focused issues such as parenting, shopping and lifestyle – travel, arts and culture, cultural understanding. The layout of the board will be similar to that of Everyday Healthy. Each pin has a headline and a brief description of the content.
The board will offer fun and casual content, originated from the British Council or other sources. The content ranges from jokes, ‘How to accept apologies in English’ to interpretations of the British saying. The board helps deliver the message that English is for daily lives. People can continue to improve their language abilities through reading, listening and watching materials relevant to daily lives.
For Flickr, users are mainly male (over 60%), matured (majority of users are aged 25-29 and 35-39, respectively) and they are high-income groups (annual income ranges between $100K and $150K). These users are interested in journalistic photographs that can tell the stories. My client can use the channel to deliver brand values and persona – cultural exchange, diversity and inclusion by showcasing images of their works including English learning, examinations, education and arts. I create this photostream for The British Council, with reference to the photostream of ‘The White House‘. It shares stories of President Barack Obama and his family. My client can also use the channel to develop personality. I have picked those images of showing people engage, they can be walking, looking into something or working, and some photos of government officials and celebrities. This can help the brand share the values about people and interactions among themselves.
As content communities have their unique user demographics, brands should understand the backgrounds of their customers in the first place. They can then decide which content communities to use and created targeted messaging. This can help brands enhance effectiveness of IMC strategies and efficient use of resources. I think both channels can help The British Council in Hong Kong target women and male customers by offering customized content.
Brands use social media to promote products and services to target customers based on their consumption behaviors. With wireless technologies including Bluetooth, NFC, beacon, brands utilize proximity marketing apps or social media with such function to strengthen their integrated marketing communications (IMC), branding on mobile devices and offer target customers’ unusual shopping experiences.
As part of brand’s IMC, social media allow brands to interact with their target customers and provide them with personalized services or deals by analyzing consumption preferences. With proximity marketing features, social media or apps can help amplify their IMC purpose. In Garrett Mehrguth’s article ‘Hacking Facebook’s Local Awareness Ads: 5 Advanced Tips’, he suggested various ways for brands to strengthen their proximity marketing through local awareness promotions, for example, coupons, white paper download, advertising targeting specific campus. Brands can use these to reach their target customers and build their brands such as thought leaderships. Another example of IMC is a Norway-based company shoe brand Uncast combines proximity marketing with social media. Customers who walks into the shop and looks at a pair of shoes. They will receive a ‘retargeted pre-roll ad’ when they visit YouTube (Tom Wentworth, Mashable Asia, Get phygital: 5 tips for using beacons).
Proximity marketing enables brands to communicate with their customers through mobile devices. Brands can make use of the strategy to tap in the booming of usage in mobile devices. According to the ‘Global Digital Snapshot’, unique mobile users reached 3.79 billion in the world in January 2016. One of the proximity marketing apps Foursquare Swarm is a typical mobile application that ‘makes full use of a cell phone’s GPS’ (Professor Jaclyn Rhoads, Week 9 Social Media: Proximity Marketing, Review Sites, Industry Sites, MMC 5006: Introduction to Multimedia Communication). Brands request for access to current location from customers and they can push their promotional deals, coupons to customers who are ‘nearby’.
Google Maps are another app for brands to show up, not only the location of the shops but also facts about shops, customer reviews, other suggested locations on maps.
Another benefit of proximity marketing is customers can enjoy unusual experiences. In the video ‘Mobile Proximity Marketing, yourBlueZone’ demonstrates brands can push ‘real-time’ call-to-actions such as coupons, discounts, registrations to targeted customers who are within the area where Bluetooth is available to connect. Customers who opt in receiving these promotional items will be able to benefit. This can help brands drive sales. JiWire’s statistics shows that ‘57% of consumers are more likely to engage with location-based advertising’, ‘62% of consumers share local deals with friends’ (Greg Petro, Forbes.com, How Proximity Marketing Is Driving Retail Sales). Brands can gather customers’ data using proximity marketing to help enhance their sales strategies. For example, a boutique ‘STORY’ uses wireless technology in the store to understand customers’ behavior such as locations of the store where customers most visited. The data can help the store to decide the merchandise locations.
I think wearables such as hand bands, smartphone watches can strengthen proximity marketing. Brands can send notifications of latest promotions to their customers through apps and reminders sent to wearables too. The synchronization of push marketing content in wearables, mobile apps and social media can help branding. Starwood Hotels allow guests use wearables to check-in and use them as keys of hotel rooms using proximity marketing technology (Jamie Oetting, Hubspot.com, Beacon, Bluetooth & Mobile: The Future of Content Marketing). The trend is that customers will get brands’ marketing content directly from their wearables, according to the article ‘How Wearable Tech is Changing Proximity Marketing‘.
Proximity marketing in Hong Kong is not as popular as in the United States. Only 49% of smartphone users in Hong Kong use location based services for payment and 24% of them ‘telling others about purchases made’ (Go-Globe, Smartphone usage in Hong Kong – Statistics and Trends). A food chain store Pizza Hut is one of the few retailers that incorporates proximity marketing in their mobile app. The app is for members to keep track of their points and redeem coupons.
Members can also obtain real-time promotional deals in ‘Youpon’ through access of Bluetooth.
The app will notify members about queue tickets of all of the food stores. Customers will then know the time for queuing up on their way to the restaurant and allow them to decide which restaurants to go to.
Customers can choose to opt in location access
The above services give incentives for members and potential customers to visit the restaurant again. My husband and I went to the restaurant last week and we decided to go there again coming week to redeem the coupons and try the ‘Youpon’!
I think my client The British Council in Hong Kong can refer to Boston Children’s Hospital as an example in applying proximity marketing for navigation (Jamie Oetting, Hubspot.com, Beacon, Bluetooth & Mobile: The Future of Content Marketing). The British Council’s building has seven floors. Business operations are spread in different floors. For example, the International Pre-School is on the first floor, customer service center is on the third floor. English courses for children aged 1 to 3 and primary school students are held on the fourth floor while for secondary school students and adult students on the fifth floor. I think my client can have an app to help customers locate themselves using WIFI in the building. Customers can also opt in the app to obtain exclusive discounts of English courses, latest news and events and customer feedback.
Snapchat is a booming social media portal targeting the ‘millennials’ aged between 13 and 25. Some brands move into the portal to tap into the market of young people by creating videos and fun images. But brands have know their existing and potential clients well before they use Snapchat for branding. For example, my client British Council may not use Snapchat as the prime marketing channels for a new course ‘myFoundation’ English course mainly because the course is targeted to adults who are front line workers or those who are aged beyond 25 years old. Nonetheless, the portal can help the brand build awareness and cultivate potential customers.
Brands can use Snapchat to craft brand messaging in line with brand values. I like the example from World Wide Fund’s campaign of distinct animals #LastSelfie. The ‘disappearing’ feature of Snapchat stories resonates the key messaging of the campaign – ‘distinct animals’. Also, audiences can grasp the theme of the campaign within a few seconds of the video because the messaging is direct and easy to understand. Another Way that brands can use Snapchat for is cross promotion. Snapchat allows downloading stories created in form of videos and visuals and also the Snapchat code. These materials can be uploaded in websites, other social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Vine. (Rebecca Lee White, TrackMaven, The Snapchat Marketing Guide for Brands) for cross channel promotions. Brands can also leverage the feature of Snapchat – time limited videos and visuals for ‘flash’ promotions such as coupons and engaging with their customers using interactive content.
I have created a Snapchat story for The British Council, myFoundation English course. The story is about a teacher of myFoundation English course Teacher Laura. I can use videos or visuals to talk about her everyday living, for example, planning lessons, traveling, talking to students. The key messaging is use of English in everyday lives. Young people may find the language is not easy to learn well and not intriguing. Audiences can also learn common mistakes in English in each of the stories.
Audiences are encouraged to snap back the answers of questions to Teacher Laura to promote engagement.Videos or images created in Snapchat can also be promoted in the organization’s website and Facebook.
Although the target audience of the course are not in line with the portal, I think the organization can promote in Snapchat for brand awareness. Some audiences can become potential customers when they grow up. By implanting the concept that learning English is fun, these young people will go to British Council and enroll the course for career development.
I have not used the social media for personal and business. I find Snapchat is easy to use in general, though I need a while to figure out the function ‘snap’ and edit the visuals. The portal is easy for young people to use because the generation is familiar with photo or video editing mobile apps. It also promotes the trend of viewing visuals and videos in portrait style, contrary to common use of landscape.
To improve, Snapchat can add in search function in order to help brands reach their customers easily. While the portal continues to grow and develop, the market needs to observe and review the effectiveness of branding in Snapchat.
Rebecca Lee White, TrackMaven, The Snapchat Marketing Guide for Brands
In my opinion, Hong Kong is not a place of blogs at all, comparing to the United States. But I am fortunate to find one blog which is also my favorite, Sassy Hong Kong. Another blog is The Content Strategist, a blog of a content marking company Contently.Two blogs are successful in terms of branding and IMC.
Purpose and type of blogs
Sassy Hong Kong is a free-of-charge, online lifestyle blog including posts of a broad range of topics including latest events in the city, living, wedding, beauty and more. It also has a dedicated blog for moms ‘Sassy Mama‘. The blog’s target audience are well-educated women with good command of English (since the blog is in English only), and also expatiates in the city.
The blog is a news blog with posts contributed by various bloggers and writers. See the contributor list. The content of the posts is a mix of news and sharing/ advertorials. In ‘What’s on HK’, there is a weekly column called ‘Weekender’ listing some happenings in the city. One of the events listed for past weekend was the Formula E event.
The post can be shared on social media portals – Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest as well emails.
Contently is a technology marketing company in the U.S. The Content Strategist is a professional blog set by up Contently targeted for business partners and customers.The contents are customer focused and they are categorized in topics such as brands, ROI, social.
Blog posts are written by company staff, for example,. Erin Nelson, and they are frequently updated with more than one new posts per and new posts every other day.
Posts are available for sharing in social media channels – Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+ as well as emails. Readers can read the content via RSS as well.
The contents are revenue driven. For example, a blog post ‘How Content Marketing Teams Are Evolving in 2016‘ includes a call-to-action near the bottom of post. The company can gathering contact details of customers when they opt in downloading a free copy of whitepaper. They can therefore connect with their potential customers through e-newsletters and drive sales.
Reasons for success in branding & IMC
When I prepared for my wedding last year, I often looked up the wedding section of Sassy Hong Kongfor ideas about photographers, stationery, decorations, venues and so on. Instead of scouring local Chinese websites and blogs, I preferred my wedding to look stylish and ‘non-traditional’. The blog is successful in building its brand by identifying targeted customers – middle-class or above, well-educated women staying in Hong Kong who seek for style of living. For example the blogger Megan Hills recommend brides-to-be to visit hotels for spa treatment before wedding.
Bright colors or shocking pink are used as the tone color of the blog, appealing to female or queer readers.
Sassy Hong Kong has set up its social media channels in Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest. Youtube. All content of blog posts are sharable in social media channels. Each post includes side bars including e-newsletter subscription, related posts for readers to read on, widgets of Facebook and Instagram keeping readers update on social media. Tags are included in the post too.
‘subscribe to e-newsletter’ and related posts
social media widgets
The brand also produces targeted content in their social media channels. For example the brand posted feeds and videos of Formula E event this afternoon available in the Twitter account only.
The blog ranks top on Google search and the brands’ social media channels are on the top of the search results.
The Content Strategistoffers unique content for customers when the posts are written in news style. The story structure of a post ‘How Content Marketing Teams Are Evolving in 2016’ resembles that of a news feature – setting the story angle in first few lines, quotes of business leaders, graphs and charts.This is in line with the company’s mission statement – ‘… provide enterprise companies with smart technology, content marketing expertise, and vetted creative talent – journalist…’Customer voices can also help enhance the credibility of posts, hence the SEO ranking.
Posts are not only available for sharing by clicking the social media icons, but also by highlighting the headline of the story, quotes.
The post includes videos and plugin other social media channels.
Tags in the post for SEO. The blog’s sidebar has posts for readers to read and the company’s recent report.
The blog is one of the strategies of the company to drive traffic to the website. The blog ranks first in Google search and the Contently website also ranks first in Google search and its social media channels are found on the of the search results.
Search result of ‘The Content Strategist’
Search result of ‘The Contently’
Strengths of blogs and improvements
1. Frequent updated with new blog posts
Both Sassy Hong Kong and The Content Strategist are frequently updated with new posts. In Sassy Hong Kong, the post were a few days or weeks ago.
2. Twitter account for bloggers
One of the bloggers of The Content Strategist has Twitter accounts. All the posts are aggregated in a site under the name of the blogger: https://erinnelson.contently.com/. This can help promote traffic to the blog.
3. Both blogs produce original content for sharing on social media channels
Sassy Hong Kong and The Content Strategistconduct interviews in their posts. The former has more content on product and service reviews than the latter.
Sassy Hong Kong can improve the blog by producing different types of content e.g. videos. It is now mainly static photos in posts.
Both blogs can encourage readers and customers to leave comments to improve the engagement with target readers and customers. The comment section remains inactive in Sassy Hong Kong‘s posts. Comments are not available posts in The Content Strategist.
Advertisements are available in Sassy Hong Kong and they can be found near the bottom of the posts.
Linkedin SlideShare (SlideShare) is a B2B social media channel for sharing a wide range of genres, including presentations, videos, white papers, e-books, infographics and more. Referred to as ‘the world’s largest professional sharing community’, the channel reached 70 million professionals with 18 million uploads in 40 content categories, ranging from education, technology, government & non-profit, food and more. (Linkedin Slideshare, About us)
The emerging social media channel is one of the few social media channels for B2B integrated marketing communications (IMC) of brands – enhancing pull marketing strategies particularly in SEO (search engine optimization), building brand values and propositions and developing networks with their targeted and business partners.
Backed in 2010, one of founders Rashim shared SlideShare’s vision in an interview with IndiaKnowledge@Wharton, School of Wharton at the University of Pennsylvania. ‘SlideShare’s Rashmi Sinha: ‘We Wanted to Reach Millions’. According to Rashim, she and her husband founded SlideShare they wanted ‘to do something that would have much broader impact’. The vision of SlideShare is to turn ‘Powerpoint’, a common business communication tool into ‘social’. Businesses have to develop original content themselves and build up their networks through knowledge sharing. She said SlideShare generates revenue through its ‘wealth of relevant content’, instead of advertising. In other words, the portal is able to quantify the value of content. Using pay-per-click, ‘Linkedin Lead Generation’ allows businesses to insert contact forms in between slides in order to reach their target customers.
Companies use IMC in order to develop profitable relationships with their customers through targeted messaging across communication channels and data gathering (Professor Jaclyn Rhoads, MMC5506, Week 2 What is IMC?) Users often use an analogy of ‘Youtube version of Powerpoint’ for SlideShare. In addition to presentations, companies can upload documents, whitepapers, infographics, videos on the portal.
Google will index all SlideShare materials every day in its search engine. Companies can bolster traffic in their slides through adding in title, tags, categories and descriptions in their materials. The ‘discoverability score’ feature can help improve SEO of companies’ content.
Companies can track the performance of the slides including number of clicks of each slides, views, downloads etc.
Pull marketing refers to strategies of creating sales of products and services in the interests of customers.(Marketing Schools, What is Pull Marketing) Consumer behaviours change due to the growth of internet and social media. Companies want their customers to seek out products and services by providing them with customer-focused, targeted messaging. As one of the founders of SlideShare Amit Ranjan said the mission of the company is to visualize ‘language of business’ and use content as a medium to connect people with businesses and vice versa.
To achieve this, SlideShare initiate special features to help businesses reach their customers by providing targeted and quality content. These include allowing Google to index all content in SlideShare in search engine and sharing content on social media channels, blogs etc. For example, KPMG, known as one of the ‘big four’ audit and accounting firms in the world, has been uploading a variety of content on the company’s SlideShare in order to help them generate traffic for their website dedicated to their social media feeds.
2. SlideShare complements branding
According to Drew Boyd’s video ‘What is a brand’ in Lydna.com, a brand is ‘a promise to customers’. He talked about five brand processes: brand values, positioning, value proposition, building awareness and measurement. SlideShare is a great tool for companies for branding. Companies can share their industry insights and operational experiences, or being thought leaders to develop brand values. For example, MSL Groups, global communications company, share infographics, documents, presentations and ‘Critical Conversation’ on SlideShare. I was impressed by the company’s e-book of food communications. The visuals of different food products are eye-catching and the content is unique, discussing the trend of communications in food industry.
Presidential candidate of the United States Hillary Clinton also shared videos on SlideShare. (I am not sure if the purpose of opening the portal for Mrs Clinton is for commercial activities. Perhaps she wants to bolster the SEO of her campaign) One of the videos, ‘Trump rooted for the real estate crash’ generated 17,439 views and 16,787 embeds.
I’ve created a prezi to discuss SlideShare is crucial for SEO and branding. Feel free to check this out and leave your comments.
SlideShare can leverage Linkedin to share share content within professional networks. Businesses and professionals can seek for quality content in the hub and connect with others by ‘following’ the brands or individuals on SlideShare or through Linkedin. Companies can collect contact information from their potential customers by using ‘Lead form’ function from ‘Lead Generation’. They can send or contact their customers with targeted messaging through different means including email marketing. Some companies wants to leverage their employees’ network, allowing them to share companies’ presentations. For example, IBM allows their employees to share presentations of products, industry trends etc. on SlideShare. (Steve Olenski, Forbes.com, SlideShare: The Quiet Giant Of Content Marketing). This can help companies build their networks from their current employees and reach their targeted customers.
This campaign is to promote the British Council’s ‘myFoundation English course‘ for adults. The course is suitable for beginners and people to make advancements in their lives and careers. The theme of the campaign is ‘Transformation’. Customers who have little or no knowledge of English can improve their language skills and transform to be professionals. The course allows customers to learn with flexibility and help them advance from their current job positions.
People are busy with running errands and their jobs and I want to remind them that they may miss the opportunities of making changes or progresses in their lives. myFoundation course can be the turning point of their transformation.
*Note the Page title should be ‘Program’ instead of ‘Programe’. Apologize for the error.
I want to highlight the theme ‘transformation’ by combining two contrasting visuals into one. The first picture that I use is combining faces of two persons. The left person refers to ‘You’ or customers and the right one is ‘professional’. The faces must look relaxed and positive. The person on the left of the visual should dress causally while the other on the right is in business attire.I want to include both genders in the visuals to follow organization’s vision in equality, diversity and inclusion.
The tag line ‘You can be Professional’ and headline ‘Transform to be Professional’ deliver the message that each one of ‘You’ can be transformed to be a ‘Professional’. I insert a button ‘Apply now’ with a url which links to the website of the course. I choose ‘apply now’ because I want customers to follow the key messages of the carousel ad and ‘apply’ them in their daily lives.
The key message of picture 2 is ‘Learn with flexibility’. The visual contrasts the facial expression of a mom and dad. On the left, they look hectic when taking care of their children but on the right, they attend the class and look relax. One of the features of the course is to allow students to study at their own pace. I choose moms and dads because they are one of target audience of the course.
This visual shows the construction worker (left) can become a project manager (right) when they attend the English course. Construction workers are skillful but they have to demonstrate their language abilities in order to become project managers. The course can help students, like the construction workers, who have little knowledge of English to improve and ‘level up your career’
The last picture is the British Council’s logo and a headline ‘Make transformation happen’. Students can find the way to transform in the British Council in Hong Kong through studying in ‘myFoundation English course’
I think companies can benefit from carousels using images, videos and urls in a single post feed. According to the article ‘Facebook’s carousel ads are 10 times better than its regular ads‘ , carousel ads achieve better click through rate than non-carousel ads. They can select the demographics of their target audience. In the campaign of myFoundation English course, I want to target as many people living and staying in Hong Kong who are 18 years old or above and except those who have received higher education e.g. master’s degree, postgraduate degrees and doctorate degrees.
More people are using mobile devices or smartphones to browse internet and social media. Customers can click urls and read more about products and services whenever they find images and videos intriguing. Companies can gather data about customers’ behavior and preferences through click rates and scheduling to improve their marketing strategies. Companies can reach their target customers at low costs because they are charged by clicks.They can choose to deliver the ads on a daily basis or by weeks or months and schedule the ads in different time of day.