The Awesome Visual-Storytelling-Sharing-Social App You Aren’t Using But Should

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Doing what I do for a living and working towards a Masters Degree in Social Media, I am often asked “What’s your favorite app or social platform?”  The typical ones roll off the tongue but in the top three or four, you’ll find Storehouse. I’m always a little stunned when people say, “Store-what?”

Storehouse is the most awesome social app you apparently aren’t using.

When you combine talent that comes from Facebook, Apple and The Daily, you are bound to come up with something not only beautiful but user-friendly. Storehouse doesn’t disappoint. It’s the brain child of co- founders Mark Kawano and Tim Donnelly.  They began their start-up in 2013 but didn’t launch the app (only on iOS devices) until January 2014.

I’m not a coder, a designer or a professional photographer so I can’t dive deep into any technical flaws or brilliance but I am a storyteller. With Snapchat, Instagram, Buzzfeed and the increasing presence of video and photos on Facebook, we are moving towards more visual communication at the speed of light. As a journalist, this pulls me to Storehouse.

Co-founder Mark Kawano told TechCrunchWe’re not targeting just photographers; we want to teach everyone that they can tell stories…We want Storehouse to be the really easy way to share and create stories. From photographers…to everyone, this is the shift in visual communication.”

As with all social platforms these days, Storehouse starts with a profile.

KellySHprofile

While I am a lover of Storehouse, I admit I tend to be more voyeur than participator and creator. It’s such a beautiful experience that I sometimes wonder if what I have to share is worthy. My contributions to date number three: Kelly’s Storehouse: @kfg5Horizons

The process really is quite simple. You import photos and videos. You position them. You choose a title. That’s where the must-dos end. You can choose to add text, captions or just let the pictures speak for themselves. Layouts vary but the best part is that you have options. You can clearly see Kawano’s inside knowledge of Apple as you manipulate your stories. For the end user, the layout options and beauty of the app are flawless.

In Storehouse, you follow and can be followed but note that all you do is public. You don’t have to be following someone to see all their work and anyone can follow you. You can search for people or use the almighty hashtag. Yes, Storehouse wisely aggregates topics using hashtags. Unlike Instagram, Storehouse is built for sharing. You can republish.

There aren’t many Community Rules in Storehouse outside the obvious copyright ones which makes it a space ripe for creativity.

If you need a little hand-holding, Storehouse has created communities to address what it calls “your moods.” It’s a collection of interests you can follow to publish and republish stories from like-minded souls. Take a look:

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Storehouse is not without its critics and the fact that it is not available on Android devices will hamper the start up from maximum reach. That said, I would expect nothing less from the mind of a former Apple designer.

A couple other highlights worth noting. When you publish, you immediately receive an email to the account you set up your profile with. In it is a web-responsive link to your story ready to be shared to all.

Tstorynotifyhe world of Storehouse isn’t just comprised of parenthood, travels and selfies (but you can find that too). It has a little bit of everything and for those who question whether journalism can move with the times, check out this offering from the landmark gay marriage ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court.

Others have taken to Storehouse to share their most intimate moments but in a way that can’t be captured on Facebook or Instagram or even Tumblr. One could argue that albums allow similar aggregation but they don’t allow the user to tell a story. This is where Storehouse breaks from the pack. Take a look at One Last Year with My Father.  It’s visual communication at a profound level.

While Storehouse is web-responsive, I strongly encourage you to visit it on your phone or iPad. It was created for those devices and doesn’t disappoint. In fact, given the mass exodus to all-things mobile, it’s quite brilliant Kawano and Donnelly were so mobile focused. It makes sense given the world we live in. Have phone, have camera, will travel, will tell stories.

Author Note (August 2021): Storehouse shuttered in 2016. All employees migrated to Square. I removed all links. It’s a shame. It was beauty while it lasted.

All-Access Pass: It’s Not Just for the VIP Anymore

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Assignment Snapshot: Explain why people in the following roles should use social media – i.e. how would they benefit: Foreign news correspondent. Local beat editor. Photojournalist at TV News.

The All-Access Pass.

It’s kind of a right of passage when you become a journalist. Your photo is snapped. A number is assigned. A logo is embossed. You get your first badge. I remember my first badge with that beautiful, colorful NBC peacock. I felt like a bad-ass! (And don’t think I didn’t try to casually flash that sucker every time I could).

Then you grow up. You see a lot of things. You cover a lot of stories. The badge becomes a necessity, a lifeline, a key in and sometimes a one-way ticket to a swift exit.  There are several reasons a foreign correspondent, a beat editor and a photojournalist should use social media but the greatest of all is access. It’s not just access TO the user/reader/viewer but it’s also access FOR the user/reader/viewer.

FOREIGN NEWS CORRESPONDENT

NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent is Richard Engel. I don’t know him personally but have interacted with him over the years in coverage and find him to be very sharp. His political views are worn on his sleeve at times and he is deemed controversial by many for his public comments on ISIS, Syria and the Middle East in general. He is very active on Twitter and truly worth a follow.

Foreign correspondents broaden perspective for their users by giving them access to places they can’t go. They both expose and enlighten. In the slide show below, you will see a small collection of Richard taking you to places (Everest) you may never see. Additionally, it’s an opportunity for the correspondent to get intimate and if necessary, defend their reporting. You may recall that Richard Engel was kidnapped in 2012 in Syria. In one of his tweets, he talks about that and adds the additional context of linking to his story:

While I can argue a case for social media and the foreign correspondent, I would much rather let the foreign correspondent do it himself! Below is a lengthy but fascinating segment on MSNBC with Richard Engel.  In it he discusses what I believe is perhaps the greatest reason that foreign correspondents should use social media: they can affect change.  He talks about the power of social media in the face of violent regimes among other things. It only strengthens the point that the foreign correspondent is able to give us access we’ve never had before.

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/32545640

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

LOCAL BEAT EDITOR

We don’t really use beats in my current newsroom In fact, the beat is a bit of an outdated concept in most TV newsrooms I have been in. I was curious to see if the word “beat” would even come up in a basic google search with a semantic tie to a journalist. This is the result:

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As you can see, it pulls from the concept of the police officer’s area of surveillance. There are reporters who naturally gravitate to certain areas they live in but the days of the crime beat, city hall beat and county beat seem to be behind us. The one beat that lives? The Political Beat.

The benefits for a local beat editor include all those mentioned above for the foreign correspondent but I would also add that for this person specifically, it’s a great resource.  A local beat editor can narrow their focus, create lists of key influencers in their beat, follow and engage with local organizations and develop relationships. Social media give a local beat editor a multi-directional channel to talk with their users as well.  This really applies to all but for local–it can become intimate because most of the time you are working where you live.

PHOTOJOURNALIST AT TV NEWS

When I first got into TV (and I do mean TV) I was working for my father on a magazine style show. It wasn’t journalism. It was infotainment. I learned by spending hours upon hours hanging out with the photographers/shooters. They were incredible. They could see things I never saw. They could look at a vast landscape or a person’s face in an ugly room and find the most beautiful shot possible. I became a sponge. I learned how to shoot, frame, iris up, iris down, rack focus and so on. I learned that a story isn’t much of a story without pictures. (is it any surprise the social media that performs the best is visual?) So I took this knowledge with me when I entered a newsroom, ever-vigilant that a good picture or a good piece of video will always add impact.

For everything I said above, photojournalists should be on social media. They typically are motivated by the visuals not just the facts. They see things others don’t see. They capture the moments that sometimes don’t require any words. They are promoters and advocates of journalism and take GREAT pride in what they do.  I’m lucky in that I work with a lot of people who just *get* social media. Fortunately, some of them are photojournalists. I’ve captured two tweets below from Jim Zorn on Twitter and Erin Coker. Erin is just starting to develop her tweet chops but Jim speaks the language well and 99.9% of the time includes a photo.

One thing that hasn’t entered our newsroom yet but I believe should and will: Periscope. There is no one more primed to use that then the photojournalist. When they are on the scene they can live stream using their expert eye bringing people access to what matters. The other aspect of Periscope I like specifically for the photojournalist (and the foreign correspondent) is the ability to interact live in real-time with the viewer as things are happening. Viewers/users can ask questions and perhaps even steer coverage. It’s a whole different level of engagement.

EVERYONE

If you work in a newsroom, you are in the business of information dissemination. In this new media world we occupy, we all have the opportunity to tell stories any way we want. I’m a believer that everyone who works in this environment should be on social media: Producers, managers, photographers, digital staff, on-air talent and so on. Each person plays a role in the craft of storytelling and we all have something to offer the social discussion. We are the all-access pass only this one doesn’t require a velvet rope and a clipboard.

I’m All About the Cause…But First, Let Me Take a Selfie

Pic: Kevin Dooley (via Flickr/CC by 2.0)
Pic: Kevin Dooley (via Flickr/CC by 2.0)

Assignment Snapshot: This post is an assignment for Social Media & News course for my Masters Degree program at the University of Florida. Below you will see the most shared media websites on Facebook and Twitter in January 2015 according to Newswhip. I am tasked with looking at relevant social media accounts and answering the following questions:  What accounts for the successes in shares? Are there similarities in the ways posts are created? What are the key differences? What can you learn from the market leaders which you will put into practice?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. We like to watch. As a human race, we are curious, visual-oriented creatures stimulated by images, video or anything that taps into our inner voyeur.

Another thing we like?  *Me*  We like anything that tells me something about me. Engages me. Showcases me. If you think that is just a millennial thing…think again. We’re all narcissists which is why social media works!

Despite our narcissism, Forbes tells us there is still a whole generation of us that wants to do good.  Let me act. Let me engage. Let me fight. Let me be a change agent.  Analyzing the social posts for the top two two sites in this data only reinforces all the above.

 FACEBOOK

PlayBuzz has mastered the art of appealing to YOU! Just take a look at a handful of posts from this week:

As you can see the common thread is YOU. Not only do these posts tap your inner ego, they call you to action. The language is conversational, social, informal…and there’s eye candy to boot. PlayBuzz is pure fluff and I say that with no judgment. We all need a little mindless distraction and their numbers show, we aren’t alone. When it comes to what they do, they seem to only strike one note. Clearly that one note is a tune many want to hear though!

Huffington Post strikes a deeper chord but still manages to embody the three key things I mention above. Here’s a snap shot of some recent posts:

Police misconduct continues to rattle the United States from coast to coast. It resonates with many and Huff Po taps into that “Let me do something, let me be a change agent” aspect of social media that is so pervasive. Their language is a strong call to action and flat out states an opinion, “This is unacceptable.”

The “Lose Yourself” post is just a great example of viral video. In 3 hours, nearly 3500 shared this ASL interpreter bringing Eminem to a whole new level. (Who knew that was possible?)

Finally, you can’t go wrong with baby animals can you?  All three of these posts are different topics, different visuals and possess different tones. They all appeal to emotion though. They all seek to engage and connect with YOU.

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TWITTER

BBC’s Twitter page is what I would call a parent tweet account. They essentially use it to Retweet the best of all BBC properties. Even in that, they manage to speak the right language and strike the right note. Take a look:

In this slide show, I captured the account’s first two tweets. Right off the bat, BBC didn’t miss a beat by capitalizing on conversational, every day tone: “Hello. Is this on? Brilliant. 1.4K shares worth of brilliant. Then they explain their accounts mission with Tweet #2. It would have been so easy to do that with Tweet #1. They didn’t. Stroke of genius.

The retweet of the BBC Radio scrabble piece continues to capture the vernacular and tone of the modern day tweeter. It presents a softer, funnier side of BBC letting its hair down. I mean come on! – When do you expect to hear the BBC saying ‘Fo shizzle!”  Stroke of genius part two.

Finally, the appeal to YOU and the use of video in the third tweet is yet another simple way to engage.

The New York Times proves you can be a top-notch news organization and still get your social on:

The “here’s what you need to know” concept to start your day is not a new one. You see it online, on TV and hear it on the radio. So what makes this tweet effective? I think it’s the photo. The Freedom Tower’s One World Observatory opened to the public today. The picture is slightly point of view and it’s a place that everyone has some connection to, even if you haven’t set foot in New York.

I grabbed the multi-tasking tweet because in and of itself, it’s nothing special. There is no visual. It doesn’t speak to YOU perse. I can’t help but read it though and in 40 minutes it received 44 retweets. Without directly using “you” in the language, the question appeals to the text and driver in all of us. It appeals to the professional in us that executes conference calls we do during the morning commute. I also think that it drives to a little core fear. I’m a mom. The last thing I want is some company saying it’s safe to multitask behind the wheel. Yep, New York Times– you got me. I’m clicking.

Finally, you had me at “a whole lot of crazy.”  Then you kept me for good with that UNREAL notebook picture. You spoke to me in a language I can hear and gave me something different to look at.

So what can be learned?

It’s really simple. Talk with your audience, not at them. Ask them to do something either for themselves or for another. If you can find that sweet spot that is all about me with a cause then you have struck gold. Make your people feel something. Give them something to dance to (Eminem), smile at (baby puppies) or get angry at (police misconduct). In other words: Move Me.

Oh…and include something for the eyes: an infographic, pretty art, a video or when all else fails… a selfie.

Engagement 101: Lists, Pics & Sex

Assignment Snapshot: Use social media to source a news article or piece of social media news content that engages you. Why does it engage you? How has the story been told? Consider the written journalism and any multi-media content. Do you recognize story telling techniques as discussed in our lecture?

HuffPoCapture

When in doubt…just turn to sex.

Much of my research and reading for my job is serious. It’s not the “if it bleeds it leads” mentality but sometimes it can be. It’s also politics and corruption and national disaster and train wrecks and police-shootings -and that was just this week. I follow many news organizations on my social platforms from the pinnacle New York Times to what some consider low-brow Buzzfeed, Upworthy and Vice. I do it to be on top of vast amounts of information for work but I also do it for fun. So that brings us to this week’s assignment:

13 reasons every woman should masturbate regularly

In my down time, I tend to gravitate to the lighter side of the info-spectrum. I like edge. I like different. I like things that teach me something I didn’t know-and let’s be real, I like sex! Who doesn’t? So when I was trolling Twitter I came across this little Huff Po nugget and stopped and stayed awhile.

Why Did It Engage Me

This is pretty simple. It’s a straightforward title on a (sadly) taboo topic with a black and white photo that could have come right out of my mother’s 1963 yearbook (minus the book titled: “Masturbate”). Clearly I was not alone based on the 139 favorites and the 109 retweets after only being on Twitter for an hour.

I also read… a lot.

It’s part of my job so when I am not on the clock, I like spoon-fed nuggets. In other words, don’t make me work for it. When I see this social post, I know at first glance, I am going to have a nice, tightly packaged list of 13 reasons I need a little more “me time.”

How It’s Told

Lists are easy. Lists are familiar. We make them to organize and order chaos. They find their way into everything from classrooms to newscasts. (Have you ever seen a morning show that gives you “the five things you need to know before you go out the door?”).  In my Social Media & News class we read Jeff Hodson’s 12 Tips For Producing Strong News Stories. The story here captures several of the tips Jeff recommends: It’s interesting and has some color and good quotes (“…a little menage a moi”…C’mon!). It’s clearly structured and organized and in the end it ACTUALLY has expert information. You probably know masturbation feels good but did you know it’s because of dopamine and oxytocin?  Did you know masturbation is an actual sleep aid? What about the fact that it’s good for your health?

Is this really news…journalism?

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There is no real inverted pyramid here. Huffington Post isn’t fighting for justice (although an argument could be made for feminism!). This isn’t going to clinch a peabody, lead a newscast or change laws. In today’s world though, much of what I call “social news” is about an experience. It makes us feel. It makes us laugh. It makes us smarter. It makes us want to share.  A constant conversation in my newsroom is the ever-changing face and the ever-moving lines that define news, journalism and what we do every day. That’s a conversation to keep on having. The one for this week though, is about how to engage. Huffington Post did the ol’ “when in doubt, sex sells.” It did. I clicked…and I now have 13 reasons to engage more often.

KickStarter: The Good, The Bad…and The Paul

 KickStarter

In this week’s edition of “Masters Degree Studies with Kelly” we take a look at crowdsourcing. Our assignment was to take a look at KickStarter. Anything we liked? Anything we want to fund? Blog about it. As always…my purpose here is purely academic…

So there is a running joke in my home. Inevitably every month or so, some gadget will show up at our doorstep that will make a S’more without fire or turn any object into a robot or flush the toilet by winking. (Ok that last one may be a slight exaggeration)

The joke is…”Put down the KickStarter and Step Away from the Computer.”

My amazing spouse is brilliant and very successful professionally and personally. She is also a huge optimist, idealist AND a believer that you actually CAN flush the toilet by winking. Sometimes this is not bank account-friendly. She introduced me to KickStarter a year ago so when it came up in class this week, I was familiar with the site. My time on it was limited until now.

The Good

How can you not love the KickStarter concept? It’s a site for dreamers. It’s a site all about ideas. It seeks to tap the innovator in all of us. When it comes to KickStarter, I am more of a voyeur than a doer. I will happily read and potentially fund but I don’t think it is something I would do. I don’t really have any projects I want to fund but I absolutely see the merit in having this platform. It’s packaged nicely with famous quotes to inspire and it is very easy to navigate. If you haven’t been, here’s a small glimpse:

Surprisingly, I knew some of the projects, I just didn’t know they originated with KickStarter. Check out what happened in 2013 alone:

One thing I really like about KickStarter, you can tailor your search to projects local to you. I’m a big believer in trying to do what you can to boost your own community so I spent some time cruising projects local to Atlanta. There were all kinds of campaigns from music to fashion to weddings to science. Which leads me to the first of my three favorite finds this visit. It’s called the Sirens Project. It’s a campaign to fund drones to fly into tornadoes to further research and ideally, save lives. Take a look:

Pretty cool stuff.

Rounding out my three favorites, we turn to food and fashion. While I may have a ridiculous amount of handbags and purses in my closet, I am also a big fan of pockets. When you are going to a concert, an amusement park, a festival, a bar or just anywhere with kids, it’s nice to be able shove things in your pocket and not have to carry a ton of bags. I don’t want to always wear jeans to do this. Sometimes you want to still look hot and be able to hold stuff. To that end, there’s Pockett Boutique. Leah Williams promises to give you fashion with function:

Pockett Boutique
Pockett Boutique

Finally…despite my love of fashion, a girl’s gotta eat!

And this gal…likes her barbecue. More than just barbecue, I like the taste of charcoal-cooked, open flame food. It doesn’t have to be meat, it can be veggies too. There is just something about that taste that says “summer” and “Buckeye football tailgating” to me.  Enter Hexx. It promises to give you the charcoal, open-fire taste to all you cook AND you can take it anywhere.

Now I don’t have one but I may just back this and test it out. (If I do, look for a blog review soon!) In fact, I don’t have intimate knowledge of any of these products. I like the idea of them though. I like the optimism of predicting tornadoes to save lives. I like the function of having what I need at my hip. And I certainly like a good open-flame meal.

The Bad

ksabuser

As with most things, with good there is some not so good.  I don’t want to call out too many people here though. That’s not the purpose of this blog or in sync with who I am. After all, even what I will call “bad ideas” were inspired by something. Even if it’s greed, narcissism or just for giggles and grins, someone took the time and effort to start a campaign and put it out there.

Now That Said… I Give You The Paul

I came across this little ditty when researching for this post: The 10 Most Hilariously Awful Kickstarter Projects of All Time.

This one by far is my favorite. It’s so bad, it’s good. Thank you internet. Thank you.

Oh and in case you were wondering…I have managed to keep Paul from arriving on our doorstep.

It’s #Magic Kingdom All August Long!

Week 9 Assignment Snapshot: Plan the hypothetical posts for Disney’s Magic Kingdom social media pages (Facebook & Twitter). –the theme park, not the overall Disney brand – for the month of August 2014.

 

“There’s so much that we share, that it’s time we’re aware, it’s a small world after all…”  That song is one from my childhood. I grew up in Anaheim Hills, California. That made me a very lucky girl because I was in the shadow of Disneyland. “It’s a Small World” was a childhood lullaby.

Perhaps because I grew up near Disneyland or because my travels never took me there, I have never been to Disney World, Magic Kingdom or any of the parks that encompass this childhood (or the child in all of us) wonder.  That makes this blog particularly interesting because it is one of discovery.

So if you are like me, you may need your bearings first. How about a little tour of Magic Kingdom 2014?

We have a couple of goals this month for our Magic Kingdom Social Channels. First, we are making August the month of the Hashtag. With Google now allowing hashtag search we want to capitalize and use #MagicKingdom every day in August. Keeping our calendar of events in mind, we are organizing a hashtag theme each day of the week:

#MondayMeet&Greet~ To capitalize on our many meet and greets with the faces of Disney, we want to pump up participation this month.

#TuesdayTours ~ Every Tuesday in August we will showcase a tour available at the Magic Kingdom.

#WildWednesday~ We’ll use Wednesdays to showcase our fantastic rides.

#TBT ~ It is already a popular hashtag, why shouldn’t the Magic Kingdom get in on the action? We’ll share a classic image and ask people to share their Magic Kingdom Memories.

#FantasylandFriday~ Since we just made some big changes to Fantasyland, we will showcase something from Fantasyland each Friday.

#SavingsSaturday~ We will offer special discounts each Saturday for a certain window of time. It will only be posted on Twitter and Facebook so park patrons will need to log in to see what the offer is.

#SundayFunDay~ Show us your Sunday Funday. We will walk around with Mickey Mouse taking pictures and posting them on Facebook and Twitter  each Sunday in August with #SundayFunDay. We encourage park patrons to do the same using #SundayFunDay. Below you will see mock examples of what #SundayFunDay could be.

Friday, August 1

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 Summer’s winding down but it’s still hot! Parents need a break while your kids play? Let them blow off some refreshing steam at Casey Jr. Splash’N’Soak #FantasylandFriday #MagicKingdom

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 Need to blow off steam? At least make it refreshing! Come beat the heat and CHILLCasey Jr. Splash’N’Soak #FantasylandFriday #MagicKingdom

Saturday, August 2

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 Welcome to August! Each Saturday we will be offering a discount on Facebook and Twitter. Log in and save! Today you receive 10% off the price of admission when you buy your theme park ticket between 2pm and 4pm. Mention#SavingsSaturday #MagicKingdom 10%

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 Receive 10% off price of admission when you buy your park ticket between 2p and 4pm. Mention #SavingsSaturday #MagicKingdom 10%

Sunday, August 3

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 Mickey Mouse found the Millers from Saginaw going Mad Tea Party in the all new Fantasyland #SundayFunDay #MagicKingdom —INSERT PHOTO TAKEN OF THE MILLER FAMILY RIDING THE MAD HATTERShow us your #SundayFunDay!

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 The Green Family of Atlanta getting their Captain Jack on! #PiratesLeague #SundayFunDay #MagicKingdom— Show us your #SundayFunDay! INSERT PHOTO OF GREEN FAMILY AT THE PIRATES LEAGUE ATTRACTION

Monday, August 4

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Ever wonder what the main Mouse is doing backstage? Now’s your chance to find out. Come meet Mickey at Town Square Theater while he works on his tricks. The best magic happens when you give him a hug! #MondayMeet&Greet #MagicKingdommickey-mouse-at-town-square-theater-00

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Watch him pull a rabbit right out of his hat! Come meet Mickey Mouse backstage at Town Square Theater #MondayMeet&Greet #MagicKingdom

Tuesday, August 5

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Are you a super sleuth at heart? Then the Family Magic Tour is for you! This ain’t your momma’s tour! Gather clue after clue in this awesome, interactive adventure through the Magic Kingdom. Sign up today! #TuesdayTours#MagicKingdom

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50% Guided Tour 50% Scavenger Hunt 100% Awesome See Magic Kingdom like never before-Disney’s Family Magic Tour #TuesdayTours #MagicKingdom

Wednesday, August 6

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 Magic Kingdom is many things but some…it is about the rides! All month long, we’re taking you on a ride through your favorites.  We kick off our first #WildWednesday with Space Mountain! (You want a fast pass? Skip to 3:14!)

Ready to ride? The real deal awaits – Buy your tickets today!  #MagicKingdom

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 It’s#WildWednesday Each Weds in August we take you for a ride on one of your favorites! Hello Space Mountain!  #MagicKingdom

***Video will be posted on our Facebook page. We will push Twitter followers through a link to Facebook. The bold text (non-hashtag) is where the link will be.

Thursday, August 7

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TBTIts a small world 1971

It’s a Small World – October 1971

 Getting in on the Throwback action! Share your Magic Kingdom Memories. Check out 1971. 

#TBT #MagicKingdom

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We all have our Magic Kingdom Memories. Share Yours! #TBT #MagicKingdom 

Toll Plaza at the Magic Kingdom, January 1972

Toll Plaza at the Magic Kingdom, January 1972

Friday, August 8

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If you want to dine with Cinderella and her princess friends, act now. The Royal Table will be closing soon for a little renovation! You can still dine like royalty between now and January 2015 ~ Details here: Cinderella’s Royal Table #FantasylandFriday #MagicKingdom

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 Act now before it’s too late!  Cinderella’s kitchen closes soon! Cinderella’s Royal Table #FantasylandFriday #MagicKingdom

 

Saturday, August 9

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 20% off any item $50 or more at Big Top Souvenirs in Fantasyland between 4p and 6pm Mention #SavingsSaturday #MagicKingdom 20offgraphic

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 20% off any item $50 or more at Big Top Souvenirs in Fantasyland between 4p and 6pm Mention#SavingsSaturday #MagicKingdom 20offgraphic

Sunday, August 10

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Joe Frank from Columbus, Ohio getting his haircut and working on the High Notes at the Harmony Barber Shop!  Hey! He’s not a professional?! #SundayFunDay #MagicKingdom —Show us your #SundayFunDay! —INSERT PHOTO OF JOE WITH MICKEY GIVING HIM A TRIM–

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 Who needs Tom Cruise? Craig McMillan of California satisfied his need for speed! #SundayFunDay #MagicKingdom Show us your #SundayFunDay  –INSERT PHOTO OF CRAIG PUTTING TAKING HIS HELMET OFF POST DRIVE

Monday, August 11

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Summer heat got you burning up? Let it Go! Come chill with Anna & Elsa at the Princess Fairytale Hall. Sign Up Now! #FROZEN #MondayMeet&Greet #MagicKingdom :frozen

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Cool off from the summer heat with Frozens Anna & Elsa at Princess Fairytale Hall. #MondayMeet&Greet #MagicKingdom frozen2

Tuesday, August 12

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 Did you know there is an entire underground beneath the Magic Kingdom? Tunnels and hidden places used for all kinds of interesting things while you walk above on your Disney adventure. Now you can explore these hidden gems: Keys to the Kingdom Tour #TuesdayTours #MagicKingdom

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 Know what a Utilidor is? It’s a big Disney secret and one you can see for yourself: Keys to the Kingdom Tour #TuesdayTours #MagicKingdom

Wednesday, August 13

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 It’s a world of laughter, a world of tears, it’s a world of hopes and a world of fears. It’s also a world with cool HD cams which is why  we can bring you this week’s #WildWednesday ride: It’s a Small World! #MagicKingdom

 No trip to Magic Kingdom is complete without THIS. It IS a small world after all.#twitterWildWednesday #MagicKingdom

***Video will be posted on our Facebook page. We will push Twitter followers through a link to Facebook. The bold text (non-hashtag) is where the link will be.

Thursday, August 14

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Tomorrowland 1971

Tomorrowland 1971

Taking you back to 1971 – Share your Tomorrowland memories! #TBT #MagicKingdom

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Actress Amber Riley - 2010

Actress Amber Riley – 2010

It’s Thursday, time to tap your photo archives! Share your #TBT memories! #MagicKingdom

Friday, August 15

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 Ready for a concert for the ears AND eyes? Donald Duck is ready to be your guide…just grab your Opera Glasses and join us for a concert experience like no otherMickey’s PhilharMagic #FantasylandFriday #MagicKingdom

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 What has a 150ft wraparound screen & 3D magic? Mickey’s PhilharMagic See & sing classics like never before#FantasylandFriday #MagicKingdom

Saturday, August 16

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 Free drink with purchase of $10 or more at Columbia Harbor House in Liberty Square between 11a – 12p Mention#SavingsSaturday #MagicKingdom

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Free drink with purchase of $10 or more at Columbia Harbor House in Liberty Square 11a -12p Mention #SavingsSaturday #MagicKingdom

Sunday, August 17

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Sisters Avery & Grace from Florida didn’t make it through the Wishes Nighttime Spectacular but Mickey snapped this photo with them…bet they are having sweet dreams! #SundayFunDay #MagicKingdom —Show us your #SundayFunDay —INSERT PHOTO OF MICKEY SITTING BEHIND THE TWO SLEEPING GIRLS

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 Progress report looks good for the O’Harra family of Indiana #SundayFunDay #MagicKingdom – Show us your #SundayFunDay —INSERT PHOTO OF THE FOURSOME ON THE CAROUSEL OF PROGRESS–

Monday, August 18

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We all have gadgets and gizmos aplenty, but not like Ariel’s! Come meet the Little Mermaid at her Grotto and be a part of her world! #MondayMeet&Greet #MagicKingdomariel

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Time to beat the summer heat Under the Sea with Ariel at her Grotto. Come be a part of her world! #MondayMeet&Greet #MagicKingdom  ariel2

Tuesday, August 19

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 They once hauled sugar cane in Mexico…that is until Disney Scouts spotted them in 1969. Want exclusive access to the 4 antique steam trains before the Magic Kingdom opens? The Magic Behind Our Steam Trains Tour #TuesdayTours #MagicKingdom

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 Loco 4 locomotives? Exclusive access to Disney’s Water-Powered Work Horses! Magic Behind Our Steam Trains Tour #TuesdayTours #MagicKingdom

Wednesday, August 20

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“Send us a message from somewhere BEYOND!”#Wild Wednesday brings you The Haunted Mansion

#MagicKingdom

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 Before there was Blair Witch Project, there was THIS #WildWednesday #MagicKingdom

***Video will be posted on our Facebook page. We will push Twitter followers through a link to Facebook. The bold text (non-hashtag) is where the link will be.

Thursday, August 21

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Christmas at the Magic Kingdom

Christmas at the Magic Kingdom

It’s hot out there people! Let’s beat the summer heat with a little Christmas in August. Share your holiday memories from the Magic Kingdom! #TBT #MagicKingdom

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Cinderella gets ready at the Magic Kingdom - 1971

Cinderella gets ready at the Magic Kingdom – 1971

Did you ever come in your princess best to the Magic Kingdom? What about your kids? Share your #TBT best dressed! #MagicKingdom

Friday, August 22

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  Heigh Ho! Heigh Ho! RESERVE before you goAre you ready to rock around like never before? All aboard the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. It’s open for business in the New Fantasyland!#FantasylandFriday #MagicKingdom:

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The NEW Seven Dwarfs Mine Train!

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 Heigh Ho! Heigh Ho! RESERVE before you go– You just might miss the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train! #FantasylandFriday #MagicKingdom

 

Saturday, August 23

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 15% off 2 tickets to the Family Magic Tour when you buy 4 for a tour TODAY Mention #SavingsSaturday #MagicKingdom web_15off

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 15% off 2 tickets to the Family Magic Tour when you buy 4 for a tour TODAY Mention #SavingsSaturday #MagicKingdom web_15off

Sunday, August 24

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 It’s the place to be this summer if you can catch the train. Looks like the Bognar’s from Boston made it to the station on time. The threesome talked Mickey into going for a ride on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train! (It wasn’t too hard to convince him!) #SundayFunDay #MagicKingdom –Show us your #SundayFunDay — INSERT PHOTO OF THE BOGNAR FAMILY WAVING FROM THE TRAIN WITH MICKEY

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 It’s 3pm, do you know where your kids are? They’re HERE#SundayFunDay #MagicKingdom —INSERT PHOTO TAKEN AT PARADE

 

Monday, August 25

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 Let your hair down with Rapunzel! Make your dreams come true with Cinderella! No ball gown needed at Princess Fairytale Hall but Glass Slippers Optional! #MondayMeet&Greet #MagicKingdom: cinderella

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Find ‘Happily Ever After’ w/ Cinderella & Rapunzel (No Glass Slipper Needed!) Come 2 Princess Fairytale Hall #MondayMeet&Greet #MagicKingdom rapunzel

Tuesday, August 26

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 Are you a history buff that loves all things Disney? Would you like the chance to enter Magic Kingdom before anyone else does? Go on a 3 hour journey through time and meet the man behind the mouse: Walt Disney: Marceline to Magic Kingdom Tour #TuesdayTours #MagicKingdom

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 Discover the Man Behind the Mouse: Walt Disney: Marceline to Magic Kingdom Tour #TuesdayTours #MagicKingdom

 

Wednesday, August 27

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 Summer may be winding down but the heat is still ridiculous! Forget the sprinklers, the pool’s been done. You want to beat the heat? Take our raft for a spin. 

#WildWednesday brings you Splash Mountain! #MagicKingdom

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 Forget the pool. The Beach is dull. THIS is the only way to beat the heat. #WildWednesday #MagicKingdom

***Video will be posted on our Facebook page. We will push Twitter followers through a link to Facebook. The bold text (non-hashtag) is where the link will be.

Thursday, August 28

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Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco - 2013

Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco – 2013

Have you celebrated a big occasion at the Magic Kingdom? Share them with us #TBT celebration-style! #MagicKingdom

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 Magic Kingdom is the place to celebrate. Share with us your #TBT occasion! #MagicKingdom 

The Magic Kingdom Under Construction! Our #TBT from 1971 is a reason to celebrate ~ 43 years of memories!

The Magic Kingdom Under Construction! Our #TBT from 1971 is a reason to celebrate ~ 43 years of memories!

Friday, August 29

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 You can become part of the story. “Deep in the depths of Magic Kingdom park lies a legendary world—New Fantasyland—that’s been long hidden from our view by a curse. It’s a place where mermaids sing, beauties tell tales, beasts roar and elephants fly. To discover—and break—the curse on New Fantasyland, visit Finding Fantasyland #FantasylandFriday #MagicKingdom

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 You think you know Fantasyland? You don’t know the NEW Fantasyland. Now you can experience it from home!#FantasylandFriday #MagicKingdom new-fantasyland-explore-fantasyland

Saturday, August 30

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 Be Our Guest for dinner mention#SavingsSaturday between 8p & 9p for 10% off your meal #MagicKingdom

 

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 Be Our Guest for dinner mention #SavingsSaturday between 8p & 9p for 10% off your meal #MagicKingdom

 

Sunday, August 31

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Mickey was a little starstruck in Frontierland today and the Country Bear Jamboree were a little nervous! Country stars Faith Hill and Tim McGraw brought their family by for a little jam session! #SundayFunDay #MagicKingdom —Show us your #SundayFunDay–INSERT PHOTO OF TIM MCGRAW, FAITH HILL AND KIDS WITH MICKEY-

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 A tutorial in progress?? Look who Mickey found at the Country Bear Jamboree – Faith, Tim & Family! #SundayFunDay #MagicKingdom –INSERT PHOTO OF TIM MCGRAW, FAITH HILL AND KIDS WITH MICKEY-

  Week 9 Assignment Snapshot: Plan the hypothetical posts for Disney’s Magic Kingdom social media pages (Facebook & Twitter) –the theme park, not the overall Disney brand – for the month of August 2014. This is just a reminder that everything above this is hypothetical. I did reference the Magic Kingdom calendar so some of these events are accurate or may align with the Disney information. This post is in no way affiliated with Magic Kingdom or any of the Walt Disney World properties. It is an assignment for the University of Florida Masters Program in Social Media. If you would like to know what is going on at Walt Disney World just click here!

 

Just For Fun: In this week’s Just For Fun, I take you back to my childhood. I mentioned at the top of this blog that I grew up in the shadow of Disneyland. My favorite ride was Big Thunder Mountain. Here is a little journey through Big Thunder Mountain! (fast forward to :44 if you just want to get to the ride):

Honesty, A Peacock and Taking It to the Mat

Week 7 Assignment: Pick 3 brands that are on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and at least LinkedIn/Pinterest/YouTube. Evaluate them by the criteria presented below. These are the three brands I am profiling this week:

________________________________________________________________________________ the-honest-company-logo

The Honest Company sells eco-friendly, non-toxic baby and household products. They identify their mission as educating, inspiring, and fulfilling the promise of creating a healthy and sustainable future for our children. The bulk of their business is online but their products can now be found in Target as well.  

Spinning the Integrated Mix? 

(For the purpose of this blog entry, I will be using the Boundless.com definition of IMC for all 3 brand evaluations: Integrated marketing communications is an approach used by organizations to brand and coordinate their marketing efforts across multiple communication channels. Typically, communication tools for IMC encompass both traditional and digital media such as blogs, webinars, search engine optimization, radio, television, billboards and magazines.)

The Honest brand is very successful at integrating its marketing message. The brand has its own website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest and YouTube accounts. Additionally you can opt in to receive emails from the company and blog updates:

Email option and social links

Email option and social links

Honest also utilizes traditional print ads in various clean living and parenting magazines:

They also use have commercials that are paid spots on air and online featuring real life customers like this one:

Fonts, Photos, Colors & Consistency

The Honest Company is on their game when it comes to consistency. The brand logo is featured prominently on all channels, they use the same font, the same hue of blue, the same floral background with an occasional color adjustment and their mission and introduction is the same on each channel. They are Consistent with a capital C as you can see below:

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Keeping It Real or Taking a Nap?

In both our lectures and readings, we learn to ensure integrated marketing success brands must post content regularly. Honest succeeds in this appropriate to the channels. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+ have all been updated as recently as 2 hours from me writing this with the oldest update being 17 hours ago.

Facebook post on Honest Timeline

Facebook post on Honest Timeline

LinkedIn and YouTube are not updated as frequently with the most recent updates taking place 12 days ago on LinkedIn and within 2 weeks on YouTube. Honest uses LinkedIn to post job openings so it would make sense that updates only occur when there is a demand.

Right This Way Please

Take a look at this infographic. It represents how The Honest Company pushes to its social channels. The flow of traffic is color coordinated. A little jumbled, right?  The Honest Company is very integrated but there is no rhyme or reason to what channel pushes where.  Some traffic flows both ways and some does not. I would definitely streamline this.

The Honest Company Social Flow

Where each Honest Company Channel pushes to

There is one certainty. Every channel pushes back to the main site which is the only place you can purchase products on the Honest channels.

#Success or #Fail

I’m a big fan of the hashtag. As a journalist, I use it as a research tool, a feedback tool and a way to find communities. The Honest Company has fully embraced the hashtag. Go to any Pinterest board, tweet, Facebook post, Google+ post and Instagram post and you will see hashtags aggregating all sorts of content. On their Facebook page, they even have a tab devoted to #TheHonestCompany:

hashtagonFB

#TheHonestCompany featured on company Facebook page

Worth Noting

I spent a great deal of time reviewing their blog recently but it’s worth mentioning here again.   It’s a good blog for eco-conscious parents and it covers a WIDE variety of topics. So I encourage you to check out Honestly.

A final note, I’m an Honest Company customer. I use their products and they have had their ups and downs.  That said, they are steadily working towards a solid, consistent quality customer experience. I had an issue with both their diaper tabs once and their wipes. I sent a note to the company and received a prompt reply. I noticed in time that both issues were addressed so I am guessing that others expressed similar concerns. ________________________________________________________________________________ NBC-News-Logo

A leading source of global news and information for more than 75 years. The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City’s Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago (NBC LinkedIn)

Spinning the Integrated Mix?

NBC News is another brand that is very successful integrating its marketing message. NBC News has its own website, blog on tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest and YouTube account. Additionally, the key shows Nightly News, Today, Meet the Press and Dateline have their own sites with the look and feel of the show. For this entry, I am focusing solely on the over-arching NBC News brand, not a specific show.

Occasionally you will see print ads for NBC News in newspapers or magazines. Typically this will be around big events like the Olympics or during an election season. You might see an “image” spot that focuses on talent like Brian Williams or Matt Lauer as opposed to a specific story. NBC News will also turn to print for what is called a POP or Proof of Performance ad during the traditional ratings periods:

They will also create promotional commercials as well. These typically coincide with a new show launch, talent change, ratings period or big event. Here are a couple examples from the archives:

Additionally, you can also sign up to receive breaking news alerts from NBC News via email and text messaging.

Fonts, Photos, Colors & Consistency

NBC News, like The Honest Company, has mastered consistency across its channels. It starts with the iconic peacock logo. It is known the world over. The logo is featured prominently wherever NBC is. As you saw above in that “Everywhere” promo from nearly 3 years ago, NBC News was at the forefront of integration when it comes to the news industry. Who they are is clearly stated on each channel right when you arrive or by clicking on the “About” section. The copy is the same no matter where you visit NBC News. Fonts, colors and presentation are also clear and consistent. On most channels you will see a version of the same photo of 30 Rock, NBC’s famed headquarters. No matter where you go, you know you are spending time with NBC News:

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Keeping It Real or Taking a Nap?

By the nature of what they do and who they are, there is no nap time for NBC News. The brand is perfectly positioned to be active and consistent in posting to their channels. The news never sleeps and by all accounts, NBC News does not either.

They appear to use Twitter, Facebook and Google+ almost hourly. Of note, the content they post is different on different channels which I think is smart. They are giving their consumer variety. Their blog is updated daily as is Pinterest. Instagram had gaps here and there but still has consistent activity. I was also impressed to see their YouTube account (below) updated daily as well. They are in the video business so it makes sense but not all news outlets are successful at this and I speak from personal experience!

You Tube updates every day

You Tube updates every day

Right This Way Please

NBC News has a more organized approach to its social channel push than The Honesty Company but there is still some channels that don’t push to others. To me, it makes sense to have all channels marketed on all channels with something as simple as social buttons. Take a look at the social push flow chart for NBC News.

NBC News Social Flow

Where each NBC News Channel pushes to

I do think it is smart in terms of SEO that the channel pushing the most places is Google+. Like The Honest Company, all channels push to the main website.

#Success or #Fail AND Worth Noting

As I wrote up above, I am a fan of the hashtag (when used wisely). Interestingly enough though, NBC News seems to only use hashtags on their Instagram channel and I think it’s brilliant.  For journalists, this is not a bad thing. When you go to NBC News Twitter or Facebook accounts, they are very clean, professional and streamlined connecting you to NBC content. The use of the hashtag as a mechanism for search could potentially take you away from NBC content. I think this is an interesting and effective strategy for a news organization that wants you to stay with them.

Since Instagram is both content community and social channel, hashtag use there is effective for searching similar images and videos. Ironically, while spending time on their pages I came across this NBC article on hashtag abuse and overuse and thought I would share it. Happy reading!

Two other items worth noting before we move on from NBC News:  They are also on Flickr and Vimeo.  The Flickr appears to be used for behind the scenes and staff events and hasn’t been updated in quite a while. Vimeo though was updated as recently as this week and also seems to be an internal sharing channel, not a site for publishing mass news events.

___________________________________________________________________________

mandukalogoFounded in 1997, Manduka was built on the simple idea that a better yoga mat can make a world of difference. Manduka strives to support and enrich the yoga community by providing premium quality mats and products while respecting employees, customers, materials, and the environment. Created for and by yoga enthusiasts, Manduka’s technical and purpose-driven product designs meet and often exceed the distinct needs of all practitioners. Today Manduka’s products, which include yoga mats, towels, yoga straps, water bottles, and bags, are sold in more than 35 countries around the world. Not only focusing on superior design, Manduka also promotes their ethos of quality, thoughtfulness and sustainability in all realms of their business (Manduka LinkedIn)

Spinning the Integrated Mix?

Manduka populates several social channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest. This is in addition to their own website and their blog The Upward Frog.

They use print ads in Yoga Journal and other fitness magazines geared towards yoga enthusiasts and those who like to spend time outdoors.

Manduka is a small but very popular company within its industry. It is considered the leader in quality mats for yoga practice. They do not use traditional commercials on air or radio. They have created Manduka TV on YouTube where they produce videos about yoga life, eco-friendly partners and thoughts on deepening your practice.

Fonts, Photos, Colors & Consistency

While Manduka is present on many channels, they lack the consistency that research and our lectures tells us makes for successful IMC. For example, there is no uniformity in which logo is used. Across the channels I mentioned above, 3 different logos are used:

For the most part the company sticks to the same colors: red, black and white. The red does seem to be a different shade depending on which logo is used. There are at least 3 different fonts used in the company title and imagery is not consistent.  As you will see in the slideshow of their channels below, there is a disjointed feel to their channels. The Google+ page is completely off -brand.  Facebook and Twitter have photos from the same photo shoot but not the same photo. You will note the dog and the model are the same.

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The mission or “about” section or tag line is also inconsistent on their channels. For example, on Instagram you will find:

Life is one long, beautiful yoga class. Summer is to LiveON, love on and practice on.

On Twitter you will find:

Manduka was founded by yogis on the simple idea that a better mat can make a world of difference.

On Facebook you will find:

Manduka, for your practice, and for our world™. Namaste.
Mission

At Manduka, our mission is to support and enrich the yoga community we serve by providing the very highest quality mats and accessories. We do this because we truly believe in the power of yoga to change lives and make the world a better place. We are committed to designing and creating thoughtful, useful, lasting products whose purpose and value are clear. And, we do so in a way that respects our employees, our customers, our materials and our environment. It is our hope that each and every Manduka product brings joy to our user and helps spread the wonder and wisdom of yoga. Manduka, for your practice and for our world

…and that is just a few examples! Most of their channels are different.

 

Keeping It Real or Taking a Nap?

Overall, it seems that Manduka is focused on some channels and not on others. I think sometimes the pressure to be everywhere is so great that companies open an account but then fail their target consumer by not programming it properly. For some companies, being focused on one or two channels may be the best way to go. I think for a company the size of Manduka (11 to 50 employees according to their LinkedIn profile), they may be better served to just pick a few channels and focus. Social Media Today tells us:

When you’re a small or medium-sized business with limited marketing resources, or even a larger business who wants the best return on investment, focusing on one social platform gives you the benefit of gaining the most sophisticated expertise and most effective strategies for that network. It also works because it allows you to learn the voice and approach required for that network. (Nicole Karlis)

Manduka has a Google+ page that has not had a new post since August 2012. Additionally, when you click on “Videos” on that Google+ page it says there are no videos. Manduka, however, has a nice YouTube channel where they have created Manduka TV. So clearly they have the content, they just aren’t programming Google+. As we know, this is not good for search engine optimization.

Manduka posts to Twitter a couple times a day and Facebook daily. Their Pinterest and Instagram pages are also well maintained with great content and beautiful photos. If I was working for Manduka, these are the channels I would focus on.

Right This Way Please

Below you will see where Manduka channels are pushing. As you can see, the Google+ page doesn’t even drive traffic to the main site for purchasing products. As I mentioned above, they should either commit and build up their Google+ account or they should delete it. It does not serve them well in its current state.

Manduka Social Push Flow

Where each Manduka Channel pushes to

The failures with social push don’t stop there though. Instagram and the company’s own blog do not prominently push to their main site. Considering Instagram is one of their well-maintained channels, I would rectify this immediately.

As with The Honest Company, there is no rhyme or reason to the way they push out from each channel. It is definitely disjointed.

#Success or #Fail

On the channels Manduka is using well, they get a thumbs up from me for hashtag success. They utilize the following hashtags often: #LiveOn #KidsYoga #practice #whatmatters. They primarily use hashtags on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. They aren’t overused and they are relevant to the post.

Worth Noting

Despite what I would say is not the greatest IMC approach, Manduka does have a very nice blog full of interesting content. It’s used to tell stories about sustainability, yoga success and yoga for kids. Yoga for Kids is something Manduka is very supportive of which I think is pretty cool. They also use the blog to share community photos and engage with their consumer. The blog would be much stronger if they posted more often. It appears to only be updated a couple of times a month.

Final Thoughts

Overall I would have to say of the three brands I spent time with this week, NBC News has the slight edge over The Honest Company. In all fairness though, the business itself positions NBC News to be a constantly engaged brand. For a product-oriented brand, The Honest Company does a great job keeping all its channels programmed. To that end, my only real critique would be they should streamline their social push to include social buttons for all channels on each channel.

Just For Fun

One last thing before I go this week…I’m adding a “just for fun” to my blogs with a little extra something relating back in to each week’s topic. For my Just For Fun debut, I give you the very talented Jimmy Fallon and his take on the hashtag:

Sources:

https://www.boundless.com/marketing/integrated-marketing-communication/introduction-to-integrated-marketing-communications/introduction-to-integrated-marketing-communications/

Nicole Karlis. (March 28, 2014). Why It’s Best to Rock at One Channel, Not All. Retrieved June 27, 2014, http://socialmediatoday.com/nicolekarlis/2295631/social-media-why-it-s-best-rock-one-channel-not-all