LinkedIn Launches Company Follow

LinkedIn TipsLinkedIn has launched a follow button similar to Twitter and the Facebook Like to increase awareness and engagement with the company pages and users on LinkedIn. Company pages are the forgotten pages as there is not a whole lot of functionality within these pages and previously there was no button or link from your website (other than a share which was more used for a blog article and did not direct users to the company page) to let users know that the page even existed on LinkedIn (there is the share button which was mainly for blogs). While the functionality is still limited as we cannot interact with LinkedIn company pages via posting our comments/thoughts/ideas, etc., at least we can make site visitors aware of them and allow them to follow and share company page updates on LinkedIn.

How Does LinkedIn Company Follow Work?

The LinkedIn Company Follow button works the same as follow for Twitter and Like for Facebook where in order to follow a company, you must be logged into your LinkedIn profile (if not, you will be prompted to log in). While on a company’s website, click the follow button and you are brought to the company LinkedIn page and are automatically following that Company.

The Company pages as you may recall have added employees  through company search as well as products and services for visitors to learn about your company and to see what level of connection they have with your company through your employees. Thereafter, they added analytics for companies to see who is visiting, who is following the company page as well as their industry, company and function (position).

How To Install LinkedIn Company Follow

    1. Go to LinkedIn’s Developer Plug-In Page
    2. If you are not logged in to your LinkedIn, type in your company’s name in the box. If you are logged in, it should automatically populate the field.
    3. Pick the style you wish to have on your website, horizontal with count or without count.
    4. Click “Get Code” and the code will appear.
    5. Copy the code and place it on your website on the page(s) you wish for the button to appear.

Why Should I Install LinkedIn Company Follow?

Simply – awareness and exposure and to keep users up to date on your company. Not everyone will visit your website every single day however, many do visit their LinkedIn profile every day. Your company page updates and new job postings will be featured on their LinkedIn profile which is visible to others. So, not only are those that are following your company page viewing your page updates, so are their connections. Awareness and exposure.

The key here is that you have to make sure that you are updating your company page as if not, why would people want to follow you? This is not like Twitter where we can tweet upwards of 25-50 times a day. No that is too much for LinkedIn users. Update when you have company news or something that is industry related. Remember, you cannot ask questions on your company page as users are unable to answer on your page (utilize the Q&A section, start a Group for Q&A or a poll). If you are not updating your page eventually users will forget about you and unfollow and having the follow button on your website becomes pointless. Update your company page status to get people to know more about your company, share your updates and also refer your company to those in the need of your product/services.

LinkedIn Tips: Find and Follow A Company Video

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photo credit: Mario Sundar

Winners and Losers of Super Bowl Advertising

winners and losers of super bowl advertising We are just outside of 3 weeks since the Super Bowl and already some people have to take a minute and think about where it was played (despite NBC saying Lucas Oil Stadium what felt like over 200x throughout the day) who played in the game, who won the game, who won MVP and salsa dancing, there is salsa dancing in football? We know this to be true and we also know that beneath this lies the media buzz, the chitter chatter and pretty much any unaided recall of the commercials. Ouch! That is tough to swallow for any marketer, let alone those that advertised during the game.

Although, those that advertise during the Super Bowl know that these ads are different and while the purpose of advertising is to sell, the purpose of Super Bowl advertising is more about receiving that coveted best ad, worst ad (they receive a lot of free media time that does not always damage their brand) and those that just rounded out the top 10 to get the media buzz via TV, radio and the web. The amount of free mentions  that the best ads and the worst ads receive is almost incomprehensible. That $2.5M investment suddenly is now worth $15M or so. When we say it this way, we have to think why on earth does any big brand not jump in feet first? This takes ROI to new levels.

Purpose of Super Bowl Advertising

Is the purpose of advertising during the Super Bowl to sell? Yes … well. Yes. … well. If you are like me instinctively you say YES! But then there is that little voice inside that says, well – they really want to be named the winner of the best ad but why would they spend millions to just be named the best ad? Well, let’s break this down a bit. Every big brand has a media budget well into the millions. Year after year they spend millions to create and place ads on television so why is there a big deal made about the cost of advertising during the Super Bowl?

Is it because some are spending what would be their monthly budget in 1 day? Ok but then we have to look at the mentions and calculate how much all that coverage would have cost and … Wait, can we say that the mentions are measurable in ad spending dollars? Ads are ads, mentions come with opinions/trust from the person mentioning and sometimes discussion. This can influence the viewer either in a positive or negative way and that cannot be calculated. Saying that increase or decrease in sales would be a good gauge is not practical. There are too many variables. Which brings us back to the purpose of Super Bowl advertising. It is not only to sell. It is to get favorable brand mentions over and over and over again across various mediums as the more mentions the more people are listening and the more people are listening, the more they are compelled to hear what people are saying and hearing so many people favorably speak about a brand does make people look over and consider. With the Super Bowl ads and all the media coverage, it does make us watch many of them again which has us spending time exclusively focusing on the ad and the brand. We know who and what product the spot is for. We see if our thoughts align with what others are saying. If so there are some who are compelled to buy to protect our own self image. Not sure self image plays a role? Talk to someone who has a dinosaur phone and what they say when you pull out your iphone 4G. They immediately try and protect their own image by making the excuses of having a flip phone still.

Super Bowl Ads Mentions Shelf Life

We have become so trained to view, semi-process (enough to hold a conversation) and move on to the next best thing. The next best thing is something remarkable or that beautiful disaster where we shake our heads but rush to the keyboard to burn plastic in getting our comments, shares and blog articles out about it. Do we ever think about how this remarkable or catastrophic ad/action will only have a shelf life of less than 2/3 weeks? Overall, the Super Bowl ads were a bit lackluster this year but there were some really good ads (someone had to win best ad) that we are not talking about anymore.  Did the mentions create enough of an impact upon customers for them to put the product/brand into self image so that it translates into sales? Could we ever really know? Maybe this could answer as to why not every single big brand is not advertising during the game. Yes, the free mentions and the buzz around the commercial/product/brand is enormous and cannot ever be replicated (the amount of mentions nationwide at one time/short period) but it could be too much of a risk to rely upon the positive mentions to influence people who are not customers to become customers based upon what people in the media are saying.

Winners and Losers of Super Bowl Advertising

The winners we think would be the best ads that people are mentioning over and over.  The Super Bowl is a lot about the game winner and loser of super bowl advertisingbut also a lot about the ads. We wait for them each year and boy are we quite elated when a brand we purchase regularly or just love has a really great ad. That makes us feel really good as we have associated ourselves with the brand in purchasing or loving them and a good ad reinforces our image of them and also our own self image and the image of us to others. Image. That is who the winner and losers are in Super Bowl Advertising. If having the iPhone was connected to something extremely negative then we know people in drones would run and get something else. Have to protect our image. Some would be individualists and gleefully get into discussion/debate/argument with anyone who challenges them on keep in the iPhone.

In the end, the winners and losers of the Super Bowl advertising is the image that we as consumers have for the brand and how image in purchasing that brand is viewed upon in the eyes of others. I guess in many ways that keeping up with the Jones’ does exist, when it comes to our self image of course. It is our own little piece of fame that we have when we are associated with something great and recognized for that association.

Thoughts – is it as simple as image being the winner and loser of really any advertising?

 

photo credit: Super Bowl Champs – tedkerwin; photo credit: chess – cogdogblog

Honda Targets Life Stages With New Leap List Campaign

Honda CR-V A new year, new budgets, new campaigns, and the kick off to what promises to be the best of the best in advertising for the Super Bowl. It is such an exciting time for advertising as we wait with anticipation for the spots during the game (unless you peek and watch the ones that were released early). Who ever would have thought that the 1st weekend in February would place advertising and advertisements in the spotlight?

Thereafter, we we start seeing ads catered towards holidays, seasonal ads with spring around the corner and summer knocking as well with ads that try and tie their brand into the event. Many try and many fail as they are forcing their brand to be associated with the event as opposed to their target market connecting their lifestyle to the event and including the brand. It is about the target and how the brand fits their life and not how the brand fits the event which then will fit into the life of the target. Sometimes through the creative process or lack thereof, this is forgotten.

The Purpose of Advertising

The purpose of advertising is to persuade the audience to buy. This is achieved through relating to the target market and convincing them that they need and/or want what you are selling to enrich their lives in some sort of way. There is also advertising whose purpose is stop people from doing things – ie drunk driving, smoking or even stop buying this brand and buy ours. With some advertising the purpose is harder as in some industries price matters, in others social status matters and in others there is that combination of both. Researching and targeting your target market is more than a good headline. It is a headline and marketing message that resonates enough to guide the target to buy. This persuasion encompasses the objectives of advertising which are to build awareness, position and differentiate all geared to build trust. We buy when we trust. Sure, there is buying out of need like groceries but the trust that Ronzoni makes better pasta than the store private label has us willing to spend that $.50 more even if they both taste the same and are made in the same plant.

Advertising the Lifestyle

Advertising the lifestyle sells. This is “you” with an iphone, ipad, a family running the kids here and there, this is “you” and you will have a better life as it will be easier, more convenient, you will be at the cool kids table, etc. Volvo was safety. The family car to protect the most precious, your kids and you of course. Chevrolet putting the focus on Motor City and the deterioration and strength of the City to be again. These are winners. Fiat was a loser as they tried to have people believe that Jennifer Lopez drives a Fiat. Maybe for the commercial she did on a Hollywood set which was supposed to be the Bronx but we all know that she is not driving a Fiat, or, for that matter, driving at all. Her driver drives, she rides. Even the younger generation would not rush out to buy a Fiat because J-Lo allegedly drives one. So, what is a car company to do? Show the car hugging the road, in extreme temperatures up a mound of snow? Meh, overdone and not really a lifestyle as you expect your vehicle, especially a truck or SUV to do that. Have an airplane land in the bed of the truck? Sure, because we all can take our pick-up truck on the runway. This is not lifestyle advertising. It is entertaining I suppose but tells the target nothing about their life experiences/lifestyle with the vehicle.

Honda Targets Life Stages with New Leap List Campaign

Honda has taken the bucket list to a new level by incorporating a holiday of sorts. This year is leap year and while we do not celebrate leap year as we do most holidays, it is an opportunity for advertisers to take advantage of it.  Many advertisers are more than likely planning big sales and ads around those sales. Great but, it is nothing new or different. It is one way communication that is no different than the sales for Valentines’ Day, President’s Day, Memorial Day, etc. Honda has done something different and has created the Leap List Campaign for the all new CR-V.

It embraces stages in our lives when we would be experiencing new things such as graduating college, planning a big vacation, running our first marathon, purchasing a new home, getting married and having a child. Not all of these would involve purchasing a new vehicle but it makes us think of the stages in our life and what we will (or want to) to accomplish before the next stage. Brilliant, as it incorporates leap year but does not make that the main focus. It makes our lives and the things we see as attainable the focus. The campaign is run on Facebook and, as you will notice, the contest is not the main tab. It is actually the third tab out of four. The main page is about YOUR leap list and encourages you to create your own leap list. The contest of course is a new CR-V with a years worth of gas to help the grand prize winner complete their leap list. The judging is based upon progress updates so it is not create a list and forget about it the next day as we do with New Years Resolutions. They are making you work for it.

The campaign is very creative, interactive and really just so great. I am not only saying this because I currently own a Honda Accord and have owned 3 other Honda’s. I admit I do love and swear by Honda but SUV’s are not my thing. I love this campaign as they are having us decide when we tackle those big things in life and determine when we would need the CR-V to accomplish them. It is not have a baby and need a safe car or bring the kids to football practice and need a mini-van, it is accomplish the big things in your life and for some of them you may need a CR-V and if you do, we are here.

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 photo credit: exfordy

Choosing Your Audience Without Apologies

choosing audience without apologies Choosing your audience without apologies is traditional advertising of tv, radio and print as these spots tend to reach the watchers of a certain show, magazine/newspaper or station and not necessarily those that would ever purchase. This holds true on the web as well with sites that have ads that reach the target market and then some who are viewers of the site but do not fit the exact target of the ad. Sure, we look at the numbers provided by the media outlets and strategically place ads based upon the demographics provided by them and see where our target is there and bam, we place and run. There is always an audience that is not the target and some may become and for others, the spot is falling on deaf ears. That is the nature of traditional advertising as regardless of how technology betters, we can never solely attract our target audience. Do we need to apologize for this? No. We have become accustomed to receiving advertising messages that are not for us. Sometimes we listen or sometimes we do not. Advertisers hope we do as they just want a return on their investment.

No Apologies

Discount retailers who are targeting a certain segment never apologize for having discount merchandise or attracting for new customers. They never apologize for not having the size scale or ample amount of merchandise that a non discounter has. They lure us in by giving us merchandise that is sold at a lesser price, which gives us more to enhance our lives in family time and enjoying the opportunity to have new things. They embrace living on a budget and exploit it. They are not trying to make the wealthy like them or dislike them, they are honing in on their target market through targeting them in the moment and creating the story for them and never apologizing for creating the “good life on a budget” story.

Bloggers do not apologize for the reach they get when their article is retweeted. Actually, we thank people for sharing. We apologize if someone does not like our writings but never apologize for the new set of eyes. If we apologize for the new audience then we are making a crucial error as our business model will be flawed. Yes, we need to map out our target market but there has to be a path to growth and expansion. Build your blog community and company by understanding and directly talking/selling to your core audience to create brand loyalty but also be mindful of the larger audience that may not know of your existence. There is no apologies needed to build a stronger business and attracting new customers to help enhance their lives. There are no apologies needed when we are gaining attention for what we believe in and want others to believe in (unless of course it is destructive in nature and sets out to cause  harm). Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ are not apologizing for attracting new people in drones. They are not apologizing to those that choose not to pay any attention to them. Why should other advertisers? Why should we have to apologize if our message is received by someone who would never buy? They make us by lashing out and we are compelled to, to protect the reputation and integrity of the blog/the company.

Creating the Apology

Creating the apology is done when when a tweet or an ad goes bad and people swarm all over it. This is more than people listening, it is where people are listening and reacting. The more popular the negativity becomes, the more attention that is given and people start listening to what you are saying in your apology. Many times this is people who may have never heard of us. This starts to snowball and while it can spiral out of control, it can also attract some new eyes and broaden your audience. No apologies here for bringing awareness so long as it has a positive outcome. When the awareness brings in negativity from the new audience and it continues to linger in the media, it can be damaging. We saw this with Ragu with saying men are incapable of cooking a family meal as that is a woman’s job. They were empowering women as the queen of the kitchen and not apologetic for dissing men who are the king of the kitchen. While we can all appreciate empowering people through advertising for them to relate to the product and the story it is telling to persuade them to buy but when it lends itself to the stereotypes, it starts to turn off certain audiences. Was this damaging enough to Ragu to hurt sales or was it just one select target market that had their attention and it was ignored by their loyal customers who championed them for supporting women with all that they do each day with work and caring for the family?  Competitors had a new target market opened up to them with those that were outraged and certainly were not apologetic to attract this new target.

Do We Ever Need To Apologize When Choosing Our Audience?

Do we need to apologize when we miss the mark? Missing the mark happens where the targeting starts to get broader and we generalize. We select certain criteria about  our target market and hit up those that meet the criteria. There is no way of ever knowing exactly if every single person we are targeting meets all the criteria so we run that risk of pissing someone off. If Hanes started inundating me with mens’ boxers emails, tweets, etc (and while I love Jordan), and I never clicked on, responded or bought, I would get annoyed. I would recognize that they are reaching out to women who would buy for their significant other and while the lil man loves his boxers,  I am not in the market for mens’. Would they need to apologize for targeting me? If I said publicly said something in a tweet I would think they would and remove me from their target list (while adding me to the boys targeting efforts) but do they really need to apologize? They generalized that women, especially of a certain age, with child(ren) would be buying for their man and they may attract new customers with this generalization. Do they need to apologize to me because while I fit MOST of their criteria, I do not fit all (in this scenario, the biggest part)? I do not think so.

When I purchased ONE Giants shirt years ago as a gift and was still getting direct mail and emails to buy more when I bought a ridiculous amount of JETS merchandise from the same company, I was concerned. How can a company continue to send out direct mail and emails that never get opened? I suppose that this is a topic for another post but for right now, do they need to apologize for clogging up my email or my mailbox? I purchased an item so I was added to their targeted list. They had no idea that I would not buy more Giants merchandise. But year after year when the emails went  unopened and offers in direct mail never were acted upon, they should have gotten the hint. Did they need to apologize? No. They just needed to review the information better. This is being lazy and growing the numbers and not paying attention to the buying habits. Maybe they need to apologize for that. Hmh. That would be something. If a company came out and issued a formal apology for not paying attention to the buying habits of people and continued to email them as if they were a regular buying customer (and not creating marketing messages geared to decrease attrition). In other words, we were lazy and did not pay attention and we will improve that. Interesting concept and again probably best flushed out in another post.

When we are targeting with intent to expand upon our audience and improve customer conversion we do not need to apologize unless we offend an entire group. Mistakes happen. Outside of a bad mistake, we are targeting and reaching them to let them know we exist. We are trying to create awareness and the potential customers’ story by identifying the opportunity to buy and fulfill a need or want. It is right here in front of them with the underlying message to trust and act now and buy. Again no apologies for that. It is business and they key word in the headline is choosing. We do have a choice to target them or not.

Thoughts? Do we ever need to apologize for choosing our audience?

photo credit: Arenamontanus