From Rolodex to LinkedIn

I’m 40-years old. I have no problem admitting it. Many years ago, I graduated from college and had to look for a job as soon as I came back from New Orleans to Puerto Rico. This meant writing a resume and sending it by email to different head hunters, as well as looking for job opportunities posted in local newspapers. At that time, resumes were sent by email and there were no job search websites like Monster or Career Builder; there was no social network in which individuals could gather to both look for a job and build a professional network. There was no social channel for companies to create their profile, post jobs or screen candidates based on other criteria, such as their reputation and relationships. There was not a place in which self-employed people, like myself, could find potential clients and share industry information with other professionals. Fast forward to the year 2003, when Reid Hoffman and some of his colleagues from Social Net and Paypal launched LinkedIn, thus providing a place in which professionals can meet. In LinkedIn is 10-Years Old Today: Here’s the Story of How it Changed the Way we Work, Ken Yeung says, “Simply finding an appealing job and submitting a resume isn’t enough — now companies are looking for personalized approaches and recommendations from networks.” LinkedIn has transformed this process by offering both companies and individuals valuable tools for a more valuable process.

History: 

With the slogan “Your network is bigger than you think,” LinkedIn was launched in 2003. Users could join by creating and completing a professional profile. The idea was for them to start building their networks so they could have professional presence online in order look for job opportunities or find collaboration from other connections. Hiring managers would post job opportunities and look for candidates. Even though the initial goal was 1 million users during the first few months, LinkedIn was off to a slow start during the first two years. However, by 2005, it had 1.7 million professionals. Below is a screenshot of what LinkedIn looked like on 2003:

123

During 2005, the company began to add revenue-generating features like LinkedIn Jobs, which distanced drastically from job search websites like Monster, because this service provided companies with much more valuable information about candidates, including how many people have publicly endorsed a particular candidate. Also, companies posting jobs could find references from the candidate’s co-workers. The idea with LinkedIn jobs was to cut the clutter and provide companies with a closer opportunity to reach highly-qualified candidates. For the years to follow, the company continued the trend of adding more features, became public in 2011 and, by 2014, it has more than 300 million users around the globe and is available in more that 20 languages. Currently, the slogan is “Relationships Matter.”

 

Target Audience/User Profile

LinkedIn targets professionals looking for jobs and opportunities for networking, as well as recruiters who want to post job opportunities and professionals working at companies looking to grow their business. According to Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, as of January 2014, LinkedIn average users have the following profile:

  • Men and women (men being more like to use LinkedIn)
  • Between ages 30-64
  • 22% of Internet users use LinkedIn
  • Graduated from college or Grad School
  • Household income: $75k+
  • Currently employed
  • 52% spend 0-2 hours per week on LinkedIn

How does it work

For individuals seeking for a job, they complete a sign-up process, which is free, and then begin to create a profile. The profile includes information commonly found on a resume, such as email address, education, experience, skills, projects, associations, courses, volunteer experience, organizations, languages, skills and endorsements, and interests. Once the profile is ready, users begin to look for connections, meaning people they know or would like to meet. The main idea about these connections is how can each one can help people grow their professional network by introducing others. Finally, they can make recommendations for employment, as well as help reach potential customers. Users can search for connections by email contact, name, classmate search or by linking contacts from Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail or other accounts. After finding connections and contacts, members can begin discovering LinkedIn, including finding job opportunities, getting introduced to potential employers, joining various special interest groups, and posting relevant articles they may want to share with others. This is also a great way of sharing information with connections that they, in turn, will share with their connections. It’s another great way to put one’s name out there! Members of each user’s network  are “connections” and there are 3 levels: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. The difference between each is related to how these people became your connection, as well as how they are related to your other connections. LinkedIn offers a guided, step-by-step process to create the basic profile. Here is a screenshot of this part: steps

Here is a preview of my profile: profile

Members can include attachments and links to projects on that profile. When listing volunteer associations, a person can include a link to that company so people can find out more information.

It is worth to devote part of this discussion to the Jobs section. LinkedIn provides candidates with a complete database of available jobs. Users can find a list of jobs, filtering the search by location, industry, position, and company name. After performing a search and getting results, a candidate can see the details of each post, including job description and desired skills, as well as other similar jobs. Candidates also have the option of applying for the job on either the company’s website or through LinkedIn by sending the resume and cover letter. Premium services allow them to send InMail messages to the job poster. Other features of each job post may include information about the company, recent updates, and other jobs at that company. Finally, there is the option to share the job opportunity on LinkedIn and Twitter, as well as an option to save it for viewing later.

Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 11.18.52 AM

Companies join LinkedIn by creating a company page. This helps build brand awareness, reach their target audience and share information regarding job opportunities. A company page includes a brief description, type of industry, company size and website, and specialties. Once they create the company page, they can also share status updates about relevant information about their company, articles, industry news or information relevant to those seeking for a job. For example, The Coca-Cola Company‘s LinkedIn page contains information about different Coca-Cola programs, as well as some articles directed to recently graduated student with tips for building a career. All status updates and articles are links to the Coca-Cola website, which is very effective in driving traffic to the website. Also, in terms of brand image and content, there is consistency, which is a very important part of integrated marketing communications.

coke

There is a careers tab on the company page, which lists the job opportunities and directs candidates to the company website to further explore these opportunities.

Types of accounts

There are 2 types of accounts: Basic (free) and Premium (paid). According to The most popular ways people use LinkedIn, 85% of users have the basic account and 15% pay for premium services. The difference between paid and free accounts is how much information users can see, share, how to contact others, amount of search results, and find out more information about your profile views, among others. Premium accounts are divided into different categories related to different groups: business, job seeker, sales professional, and recruiter. All users create a profile with the basic account and then decide if they want to upgrade.

I. Basic account: This account is far from basic since it includes access to the most popular features. People can create a profile, build a network with unlimited connections, join LinkedIn Groups, create a company page, give recommendations, receive InMails, and request a limited amount of introductions.

II. Premium accounts (each one has 3 different types)

Business account: The difference between the three business accounts is related to visibility, reach, and search. For example, with the Business Executive, there is full name visibility of 3rd-degree connections, which is not possible with basic or other business accounts. This increases the chance of contacting more people. With Business Plus, users can send 10 InMail messages, compared to none on the basic account. These are available from $23.99 per month up to $74.99 per month.

Job Seeker: Job seekers willing to pay a monthly fee can get more benefits from a premium membership, like featured applicant, which moves job applications to the top of recruiter lists or see detailed salary information for each job. Premium services run from $19.99 per month to $59.99.

Recruiter: The 3 recruiter accounts differ in the way recruiters find and contact talent and how they recruit. For example, with Recruiter Light, members have access to the recruiter Iphone app and mobile website that those with the basic membership do not have. Plans run from $47.99 to $719.95 per month.

Sales Professional: These premium accounts help professionals find and engage with the right prospects, including connecting with them and building sales leads to close deals. Other benefits include Insights, which gives access to people seeing your profile in the last 90 days and full access to 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree networks.

Features

whatyoucando

Creating a profile is just the beginning. Here are some of LinkedIn features:

  • People you may know: Provides a chance to connect with people who LinkedIn has established that the user may know based on the information on their profile and my connections. It’s a simple way for people to grow their networks. This feature was just optimized this year, making it simple and user-friendly by also including pending invites on the top of the page, rather than on the inbox, where people cannot see them. Also, it combines pending invitations with suggested contacts on the same page.
  • You recently visited: Provides list of the last company pages or other profiles visited recently, just in case one needs to go back to them.
  • Who’s viewed you profile: Here, people may take a look at who’s looking at them. The basic membership does not let users see 100% of this information here. In order to see a list of everyone who has viewed a profile, it is necessary to upgrade to a premium account. However, other available information related to this feature that people can see includes where those people viewing your profile are from (their location) and in what industry they work. Also, how people rank on profile views, compared to their connections, as well as tips for increasing the number of views. According to LinkedIn Shows You Who Visits Your Profile, “LinkedIn will provide suggestions based on how members from the same industry generated more page views. A suggestion could be as simple as adding a certain skill to your profile or joining a particular group.”

WVYP_New

  • Who’s viewed my updates: This is effective for evaluating whether or not content is relevant to my connections. It is a great way to find out if my content strategy is working or not. This also represents an opportunity to revise the content calendar and timings of posts.
  • Recommendations and Endorsements: In 11 Incredibly Useful LinkedIn Features You Might Not be Using, Andrea Brinkman says, “Endorsements do however add to your presence on LinkedIn and can be thought of as a pantry full of your best keywords.” People can make recommendations and endorse other people’s skills. This helps each profile easier to be found in advanced searches. The best thing about these is that they are not time consuming. There is no need to sit and write a paragraph to recommend or endorse someone. For example, I can endorse a former colleague for their expertise on Trade Marketing by just visiting their profile. This is helpful information for recruiters looking for candidates with specific skills. The fact that with this feature other people recommend you makes it trustable.
  • Groups: There are more than one million LinkedIn Groups.  Social Media Today’s article, 7 Things That Can Get You Out of LinkedIn Groups When You Get Into’Em, discuss how Groups reflect a person’s business interests. People join them for different reasons, including getting advise from other professionals or viceversa, elevating reputation as experts by contributing and searching for opinions of others about particular topics. It is also a great opportunity to point people to a person’s blog or website. “Though it’s bad protocol to come on strong with sales pitches and promotions, it’s fair game and savvy to start in on an update or reply and point readers to your website, blog, videos and the like. Don’t be shy about offering links.” (Social Media Today). Here is an example of the type of discussions and how people can contribute from the SEO SEM Social Media group. It is important to highlight the difference between these conversations and those in Facebook, which is more oriented to social, not strictly business like LinkedIn.

 

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 9.18.21 PM

 

According to The most popular ways people use LinkedIn, the top two features are who has viewed your profile and people you may know, followed by groups and direct messaging. I think the first two provide users more specific information, like knowing exactly who might be interested in you. Using these two features strategically, may result in more connections and, as a result, more opportunities. If only a few people are viewing your profile, this may be a sign of changing something in the profile.

Integration with other channels/mobile friendly

In terms of integration with other channels, LinkedIn provides users with the opportunity to specifically include their Twitter and WeChat accounts in their profile. There is also additional space to include up to three other websites, which may be a company or personal website, blog, Facebook page, RSS feed or portfolio, as part of the contact information. Other than that, there is the option to share other people’s updates and job postings only on LinkedIn and Twitter. My appreciation is that LinkedIn pretty much intends to keep information inside LinkedIn. The reason for this, I suspect, is that LinkedIn is meant to be a social network for professionals to interact, on a business level, not on a personal level. The two things people are able to share on social networks, like Twitter, are meant to be used for professional purposes. The option to share on Twitter is not showcased. Here is an example of an article posted by one of my contacts today. The Twitter icon is very small:

Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 11.27.44 AM

LinkedIn has a mobile friendly website, as well as an app I use on my Iphone. Both are as as efficient and complete as the desktop version. In terms of layout, colors, content, and menus, all three are consistent. Here is the mobile version and the app version:

mobile

Mobile version

app

Iphone app

LinkedIn also has a Facebook page and a couple of pages on Twitter. The Facebook page is updated with articles about human resources, economics, and innovation, among others. LinkedIn Jobs on Twitter is where they post some of the job opportunities, which then direct candidates to the LinkedIn page.

Advertising on LinkedIn

The lat part of this discussion will focus on advertising on LinkedIn. According to LinkedIn Paid Ads: A Beginner’s Guide, the are many misconceptions that businesses have of LinkedIn regarding using ads. Some of them include that fact that LinkedIn has a smaller audience than Facebook and Google. However, as Benjamin Spiegel discusses, there are many opportunities with LinkedIn ads, for instance, “achieve a very precise reach” because of targeting options. Also, the profiles contain more updated professional information about people, compared to Facebook, in which there is more detail about people’s social life. Because, as mentioned throughout this discussion, LinkedIn is a professional network, it makes more sense to post jobs here through ads than on Facebook or Google. Criteria available for reaching the right audience, includes job title, name of company for which prospect works, particular skills, role and seniority. Ads can also be created to sponsor updates. This can help companies to put their name out there with the intent of reaching decision makers, which may be part of their connections in the future and impact their businesses. There is a difference between targeting groups of people who might be interested in your product on Facebook and targeting people by job title. LinkedIn advertising works better for B2B promotions. This is why publishing an ad for LinkedIn should be considered by companies like mine, Buzzworthy Creations, to promote my products and services with the intent of finding prospects. The chance of reaching the right people may also increase return on investment. LinkedIn also provides campaign results, including reach and number of clicks.

aadiv

 

Integrated Marketing Communications

Companies should include LinkedIn as part of their integrated marketing communications plan. This channel puts the social aspect on the side (which is what other social networks are about) and focuses strictly on business. By creating a company page, a business has more exposure and builds awareness, thus positively impacting SEO and their chance of being found. This exposure helps a company find potential clients, as well as high-profile candidates to work for them. It also means finding other people working in the same industry to exchange information or do business. LinkedIn is also an additional vehicle to position a company as an industry expert. By either keeping the basic profile, upgrading to premium or using advertising, LinkedIn represents an additional opportunity to grow a business.

 

Link to Prezi (full presentation)

References:

Brinkman, A. (2014. April 21). 11 Incredibly Useful LinkedIn Features You Might Not be Using. Hubspot.com. Retrieved on July 1, 2014 from http://blog.hubspot.com/insiders/linkedin-features

Moyers, S. (2013. October 17). Take Your Brand to a New level with Linkedin Ads. Moz.com. Retrieved on July 1, 2014 from http://moz.com/ugc/take-your-brand-to-a-new-level-with-linkedin-ads

Piombino, K. (2013. July 30) The most popular ways people use LinkedIn. Ragan.com. Retrieved from http://www.ragan.com/Main/Articles/The_mostpopular_ways_people_use_LinkedIn_47070.aspx

Social Media Today. (2013. October 7). 7 Things That Can Get You Out of LinkedIn Groups When You Get Into’Em. Socialmediatoday.com. Retrieved on July 1, 2014 from http://socialmediatoday.com/feldmancreative/1798416/7-things-you-can-get-out-linkedin-groups-when-you-get-em

Spiegel, B. (2014. January 14). LinkedIn Paid Ads: A Beginner’s Guide. Marketinglando.com. Retrieved on July 1, 2014 from http://marketingland.com/linkedin-paid-ads-a-beginners-guide-69920

Yeung, K. (2013. May 5). LinkedIn is 10-Years Old Today: Here’s the Story of How it Changed the Way we Work. Thenextweb.com. Retrieved on July 1, 2014 from http://thenextweb.com/insider/2013/05/05/linkedin-10-years-social-network/

 

Social Networks: Starbucks, Virgin Atlantic, and Miami Heat

This week I will evaluate three brands from the perspective of the way their social networks are structured: Starbucks,  Virgin Atlantic, and Miami Heat. The social networks I have selected are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus, and Pinterest. We will discuss whether or not they take an integrated marketing communications approach (IMC), if they are consistent in messaging and imagery, content is up to date, how do they drive users to other social channels, and if they use hashtags regularly. The idea about integrated marketing communications is that the message, in this case the online message, is consistent with the image of the brand across all channels.

Starbucks

  • Are they consistent in messaging and imagery?
    1. In terms of brand image, like cover photo, colors, profile picture and other images, there is consistency across all channels. Right now, Starbucks social networks main pages feature images of the #WhiteCupContest, in which customers were encouraged to decorate a Starbucks cup with customized art, take a photo and submit it through social media using the hashtag. Starbucks will print the winning design on a reusable special edition plastic cup. There are photos of these cups in Facebook (37 million likes), Instagram (3 million followers), Twitter (6.3 million followers), Google Plus (2.7 million followers, and Pinterest (153k followers)

      Cover photo-Facebook (also on Instagram, Twitter, and Google Plus)

      Cover photo-Facebook (also on Instagram, Twitter, and Google Plus)

    2. In terms of the message, Starbucks is also consistent. Most content of the past months consists of photos and videos of new/existing products, stores, and public relations programs, like the College Achievement Plan and the Oprah Chai Tea Project, in which Starbucks will donate a money portion of each product sold to the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation. I have to emphasize that the content is not identical on each channel all the time, for example photos, but one can tell that the brand is the same across all networks. This is an essential part of integrated marketing communications. The fact that some content is different does not mean they are doing it wrong. It means that Starbucks capitalizes on the strengths of each channel for specific content. For example, only Twitter and Google Plus feature special offers sometimes, like the Free Via Latte pack with the purchase of Via Coffee. We know Twitter is an excellent channel to post offers. Another offer they promote only on Twitter is the free song download cards. Also, since Pinterest and Instagram are optimal channels for photos, we see there are more photos of products on these two, compared to Facebook, Google Plus and Twitter. Finally, because Pinterest provides for creating boards about different themes, we see they cover the same topics on those boards (#WhiteCupContest, store photos, product photos). The difference is that they emphasize more on product shots they have categorized more in detail, like Latte, Espresso and Tea. Below are some examples of content:
starbucks

Special Offer- Twitter (same promo on Google Plus)

 

Product shot- Instagram

Product shot- Instagram

 

#WhiteCupContest Google Plus

#WhiteCupContest Google Plus

 

Boards on Pinterest

Boards on Pinterest

 

  • Is content up to date? Content is up to date in term of the fact that it’s recent on all Starbucks social networks. This does not mean they post everyday, which I think they should. According to How Often Should You Post Social Media Updates, the answer to the question about how many times to posts per day on social networks is that there is no definitive answer; as often as you have something useful to say. The caveat is to keep in mind that people in different networks have expectations and standards and marketers should identify these. The most recent posts of Starbucks per channel are as follows: Facebook (3 days ago), Twitter (22 minutes ago), Instagram (2 days ago), and Google+ (2 days ago). Honestly, I would think Starbucks has something useful to say everyday. It was strange to find that they posted more recently on Google+ than on Facebook. It is also strange to see they don’t post everyday.
  • Do they use hashtags regularly? In Facebook and Google Plus, Starbucks is not capitalizing as much on hashtags as they do on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. On Twitter, almost each post has a hashtag. Some of the hashtags they use most in Twitter are: #CollegeAchivementPlan, #PicoftheWeek, #CaramelMacchiato. On Instagram, Starbucks uses more hashtags. For example, #iced #caramel #macchiato, instead of one. Also, they use hashtags of more general themes like #love #reuse #recycle to be part of these conversations too! I like the #whereintheworld tag for the pictures of some stores around the world. Finally, on Pinterest, every photo pinned by Starbucks relates to their products has a hashtag. The ones about their gifts and stores do not have hashtags. It is strange to see that in post about the Caramel Machiatto on both Facebook and Twitter only one has the hashtag. There is an area of opportunity for consistency with these hashtags across all channels.

    Caramel Machiatto-Facebook (no hashtag)

    Caramel Machiatto-Facebook (no hashtag)

Caramel Macchiato Twitter Post (with hashtag)

Pin with hashtag (Pinterest)

Pin with hashtag (Pinterest)

  • Do they drive users to other social channels: All channels have links to the Starbucks website. Only Facebook has a tab for the Pinterest account. Google Plus has a tab with YouTube videos, as well as links to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Finally, Pinterest only has a link to Twitter. This represents an opportunity for Starbucks to direct people from different channels to others. On the website, there is a link to Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. This means they are missing Instagram and Pinterest, as well as YouTube.
  • Conclusion (in terms of integrated marketing communications): I think Starbucks does an exceptional job in terms of integrated marketing communications. The format and content of the website leans more towards the corporate side, yet we can also see company products featured on the home page. It was strange not to see anything about the white cup contest, but the winners were announced three days ago, so I would think that is the reason. In terms of message, content and imagery, there is consistency across all channels. Frequency of posts should be one thing they can consider evaluating, but overall I can tell the same company is posting in all channels. Also, always using hashtags will help them monitor conversations about the brand in a more effective way.

Virgin Atlantic

  • Are they consistent in messaging and imagery? 

The color that I associate with Virgin Atlantic is red. In Virgin Atlantic’s social network channels, this is the color that predominates in terms of the visual image of the brand. After taking a look at the main page of the company’s Facebook (332k followers), Twitter (269k followers), Instagram (16k followers), Google Plus (1k followers), and Pinterest (1,228 followers), I have to say that the imagery is not consistent across all channels in terms of the brand. For example, they do not use the same Virgin Atlantic logo on all networks. They use one on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest and a different one on the other two. Also, the cover photos do not have any similarities. For example, the one on Facebook features one of their airplanes, while Instagram features a collage of the photos they have posted in the last months. There is no particular theme. It mixes photos of Virgin Atlantic personnel with photos of a photo shoot of one of their campaigns. Finally, the Google Plus page features a slogan we do not see on other channels, “Flying in the Face of the Ordinary.”

Google Plus cover photo

Google Plus cover photo

Facebook Cover Page

Facebook Cover Page

Instagram Cover Photo

Instagram Cover Photo

In terms of the consistency of the message, there is no consistency across all channels. If I take a look at Facebook and Twitter, I find there is some correlation between the messages on both social networks. I can tell that the airline is celebrating its 30th anniversary because of some posts about #NextStopNYC contest and the 30-year journey, which features the profiles of employees that have been working for Virgin Atlantic since 1984. These profiles are links from Virgin Atlantic’s blog. However, the promotion of the contest is more evident on Twitter, while it’s only mentioned on Facebook once, none on Instagram, Google Plus or Pinterest. On Twitter, they published one photo of each winner of the contest who won a trip to New York. Also, the mechanics of the promotion and the countdown are part of the strategy for Twitter. The only Instagram posts this month are photos of the airline employees which have been with them for 30 years.  Other content on Facebook is related to general information, including new items on board and London travel tips. There is no board on Pinterest related to #NextStopNYC or the 30-year journey. The boards on Pinterest focus more on elements important to the brand, like fashion and beauty, including crew uniforms designed by Vivienne Westwood and travel in style featuring Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class red lipstick. This is not part of the content on the other social networks. It’s true that Pinterest is the best one for photos of fashion and beauty, but I would have included the photos of the airline employees and photos of the contest winners enjoying New York! I think there is an opportunity for improvement related to content in terms of consistency. As I mentioned before, content does not have to be identical on all platforms, but it should be cohesive and I don’t think it is here. Finally, there is no consistency in the content of the website and the social networks. The content on the website is more corporate and focused on booking trips and airline offers. I have to repeat, offers must be on Twitter, at least.

Twitter post #NextStopNYC

Twitter post #NextStopNYC

Instagram feed- #30yearjourney

Instagram feed- #30yearjourney

Pinterest Post

Pinterest Post

Behind the Scenes-Pinterest

Behind the Scenes-Pinterest

#NextStopNYC

#NextStopNYC-Facebook-the only post about this contest

 

  • Is the content up to date? Virgin Atlantic has not posted anything since October, 2013 on Google Plus. There is also no consistency with the posts on Facebook. They posted one thing on June 4 and the next on the 18th. On Twitter, they post once every 2 days, even though there are most posts recently because of the contest. During the month of June, there are only 6 posts, all related to the 30-year journey. All these photos were posted during the last two days. Before this posts, the last one was on May 29th. My conclusion about this is that thanks to the anniversary they have been posting relatively more in terms of content. This means that they should consider a strategy for posting more often, specially in Google Plus. The content on Pinterest is not up to date since it ignores the 30-year anniversary
  • Do they use hashtags regularly? In most posts, there are hashtags, even more on Twitter. The most used hashtag in the last months are: #NextStopNYC, #Onesie (because they are promoting a onesie for business class travelers), #Futureofflying and #TravelTips. In Facebook, there is no consistency with the hashtags or repeats. In the last two months, for example, the hashtags are: #NextStopNYC and #BrilliantMinds. They seem to put new content each month, not necessarily related to a program implemented the month before. Virgin Atlantic uses hashtags on every Instagram post. The most used ones in the last two months were #30YearJourney and #BrilliantMinds. The pins on Pinterest do not have hashtags, as well as the posts on Google Plus.
  • Do they drive users to other social channels: All channels only have links to the Virgin Atlantic website. There is no strategy to drive users to other social channels. On the website, there are links to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Thus, there is also an opportunity here to share information about other channels.
  • Conclusion (in terms of integrated marketing communications): In my opinion, there is space for improvement, specifically in terms of consistency in terms of visuals and content, timing and frequency of posts, as well as directing users to other channels. I would begin with the cover photos and images, so they are cohesive across platforms. That will give users a unique idea about the brand in terms of first impression. I would establish a calendar with content ideas, including which channels will be used for what. For example, it would have been a great idea to include more information about  #NextStopNYC contest on Facebook, which is where they have the most followers. Also, Pinterest would have been a great vehicle to see photos in New York of the winners of the contest.

Miami Heat

  • Are they consistent in messaging and imagery? 

When I first visited the Miami Heat Facebook (14.5 million likes), Twitter (2.6 followers), Instagram (1.4 followers), Google Plus (48k followers) and Pinterest (3k followers), I immediately noticed consistency in some imagery. All of the pages featured the Miami Heat logo. The colors red, black and white are predominant in terms of the visual image. I would capitalize more on the space given for the cover photo on all networks and would include a photo of the team. In this case, that was only done on Google Plus. Also, in Twitter, there is only a black background, meaning they are not using that space usually saved for appealing and bold images (just like they did on Instagram). I can tell the pages of the different social networks belong to the same team, but creatively they can do better.

Instagram cover photo

Instagram cover photo

Cover Page-Facebook

Cover Page-Facebook

In terms of content, I would say the message of the Miami Heat is consistent across all platforms, except Google Plus where there are no posts since 2011. Now that the NBA season is over, we still can see posts primarily on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. These posts are related to press conferences held this past week, merchandise on sale, Heat summer basketball camps, and giveaways. They do a great job keeping consistency on all channels related to this information. For example, just today, Chris Andersen visited the Miami Heat camp to speak to campers and sign autographs. There was a video posted about this on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Another example is Pat Riley’s press conference on June 20th, which was mentioned on one Facebook post and one Instagram post. However, Twitter was used to narrate the press conference in real time, which is something we often see with Twitter. During the regular season, we see posts everything related to the games, including countdown, game scores, behind the scenes, and ticket information. The Pinterest account focuses more on game fashion (jerseys, women’s apparel, and gear). This is understandable due to the nature of Pinterest, but I would put more game photos on the Game Photos board. After all, Pinterest is a channel that focuses on photos and I’m sure there are great photos.

Post on Instagram about visit to summer camp

Post on Instagram about visit to summer camp

 

Riley press conference-Twitter

Riley press conference-Twitter

 

Heat Fashion-Pinterest

Heat Fashion-Pinterest

Facebook post about game scores

Facebook post about game scores

Miami Heat game photo-Instagram

Miami Heat game photo-Instagram

  • Is the content up to date? Even with the season over by now, the contest on most social networks is current, specifically on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. We see at least one post per day on Facebook. Posts are more frequent on Instagram and Twitter, specially this past week with all the press conferences. During those days, there was an average of 5 posts per day, both on Instagram and Twitter. I would suggest using Google Plus the same way. Evidently, there is material to share and they are not capitalizing on this.
  • Do they use hashtags regularly? There is no use of hashtags at all. This represents a great area of opportunity in order to establish categories which followers can also use to find conversations and engage more. Some of the could be #heat #miamiheat #heatnation and #whitehot.
  • Do they drive users to other social channels: In all channels, there is a link to the Miami Heat website. In Facebook, there are links to Instagram and Twitter accounts. There are no other links on Instagram and Twitter. Finally, there is a link to the YouTube channel on Google Plus.
  • Conclusion (in terms of integrated marketing communications): I would have to say that in terms of content and imagery, there is integration across most channels. The recommendation here is to use more Google Plus, as well as Pinterest to extend the conversation going on at Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Also, posting on Google Plus increases SEO. In general, there is consistency also with the content on the website and this is a very important part of integrated marketing communications.