Monthly Archives: March 2013

Brandemix Bonus Reel: More Interest in Pinterest

Is your brand ready to join Pinterest? If so, here are some beginner’s tips from Jason Ginsburg, our Director of Interactive Branding.

Dollars to Donuts: It’s Time to Update the Internet’s Most Famous List

We’re all familiar with the funny image that goes by various names, but is basically “Social media explained with donuts.” As a reminder, here’s the full list

Social Media Explained With DonutsCompanies, including my own, use the “Donut List” to simplify the major social sites to novices. But as these sites add features and move to our mobile devices, the differences aren’t all that clear.

Take YouTube, indisputably the king of internet video. But Facebook also hosts videos; they play right in your timeline. Google Plus, which owns YouTube, easily integrates with its sister company. Pinterest lets users pin videos and even the business-minded LinkedIn allows companies to post videos, if they upgrade to the premium packages.

Yes, virtually all the videos being watched on these different sites are coming from YouTube. But does the average user care? And what if you find that your brand’s videos are being watched more through a Facebook timeline than on YouTube.com?

Another reason to update the Donut List is that Pinterest has evolved. It started out with a mostly female audience, no brand presence, and a large amount of recipe pins. But now the site has moved away from text and consists almost entirely of images. Brands are showing off their products, couples are building wedding registries, and just about everyone is sharing infographics. So what’s all this about recipes?

And then there’s Google Plus. When the Donut List was first published, the social network was seen as a poor attempt to compete with Facebook. The Wall Street Journal called it a “virtual ghost town.” Hence the joke that only Google employees used the site. But Google integrated many of its other products into G+, including YouTube and Gmail, encouraging (some might say demanding) that users create a profile. Less controversial are the popular Google Hangouts, live G+ video chats on with celebrities, thought leaders – even astronauts on the International Space Station. Today, Google Plus is the second-most popular social network in the world, behind Facebook. So now the joke’s on the Donut List.

Astronaut Google Hangout

I have a few other quibbles with the Donut List. For example, Instagram may be known for its “vintage” filters, but people and brands are posting plenty of “unfiltered” images there, making it a competitor to Pinterest. And I’m not sure that image-hosting site Imgur will ever become a true social network, especially as Instagram and Pinterest become more popular.

In conclusion, the Donut List is funny and insightful, but is no longer accurate. Social media is always changing and so should the Donut List. How would you describe these social sites? Would you add any? Delete any? Let me know. And if the evolving social landscape has you confused, Brandemix will be happy to help.

Until then, I’m grabbing a donut.

Why Bridgepoint Education Careers is a Social Media Superstar

I recently discovered Bridgepoint Education’s clever use of Twitter and Pinterest to hire for its campuses and offices in San Diego, Denver, and Clinton, Iowa. I then had the chance to speak with Christina Hastings, Director of Talent Acquisition and Development, about her philosophy, her strategy, and her success.

Christina runs a personal Twitter, @aRecruitersPOV, as well as @BPEdCareers. Like many organizations, however, social media is no single worker’s full-time job. An associate, KelliAnn Holly, contributes to the Bridgepoint accounts.

On Twitter, Christina and KelliAnn create themes for each month: January’s was #NewYearNewYou. February’s was #WhatDoYouLove. March’s is #GiveBack, which emphasizes charity and volunteering. The duo also came up with themes for each day of the week:

Monday – #HotJobs
Tuesday – #JobAdvice, tips for resumes, interviewing, and the job search)
Wednesday – #Development, as in “How do you become a better you?”
Thursday – Throwback Thursday, as in “What was your recruiter’s first job?
Friday – What to do around town, highlighting shops and restaurants near Bridgepoint’s locations in San Diego, Denver, and Iowa.

aRecruitersPOV on Twitter

“It’s important to speak on behalf of the brand and as a member of the brand,” she told me. She believes in “profersonalism,” a combination of individual personality and corporate culture that conveys a personal yet professional message. “People would rather connect with a person than a company,” Christina said.

Christina has three expectations for anyone contributing to her department’s social media: Be yourself, support the brand, and drive everything back to the brand.

Bridgepoint’s TAD department is responsible not only for hiring, but also developing, training, and engaging employees. Christina uses the hashtag #TADculture to give an inside look at the employee experience. Her goal is to tweet three to five times a day, with at least one photo. When she and KelliAnn recently ran out of images, they spent their lunch break roaming their San Diego office, taking photos.

For inspiration, Christina looks to @FordCareers and @GenMillsCareers, who communicate their culture “without being one giant billboard.”

Christina and KelliAnn also manage Bridgepoint Education Careers’ 11 boards and more than 400 images on Pinterest. “We visually showcase what the culture looks like on the inside,” she told me. “It lets candidates peek behind the curtain. If someone’s cousin says, ‘this company looks cool and my cousin should work there,’ then we did our job.”

One board features photos of the Bridgepoint recruiters, complete with Twitter handles (and the #TADculture hashtag for good measure). Another is devoted to inspirational quotes. Christina is planning “Behind the Bridge,” a board that will serve as a tour of Bridgepoint’s San Diego workplace. “We’ll show you where you’ll park on your first day, and pin photos of our gym – and even the best time to use it!”

Bridgepoint Education Careers on Pinterest

Christina says she models her efforts after the Pinterest boards of Intuit Careers, Target Careers, and a Brandemix Social Media Superstar, Taco Bell Careers.

She plans to expand to YouTube, but is waiting for a bigger content library. “If we can’t produce videos on a consistent basis, is it worth it to be on YouTube? I want to have 20 videos before I feel like I can create a YouTube channel.”

Social media recruiting efforts can be difficult to measure, but Christina says she increased social hires from 4% to 7% of all hires last year. Most companies peak at 10%, but Christina would like to eventually reach 20%. With goals that bold, it’s obvious why Bridgepoint Education Careers, and Christina Hastings, are Social Media Recruiting Superstars.

Brandemix Bonus Reel: Exciting News From Pinterest

Director of Interactive Branding Jason Ginsburg explains Pinterest’s new analytics tool for businesses.

Are you ready to start using Pinterest for your marketing or recruiting initiatives? We’re happy to help.

Sometimes It’s All Hands On Deck

Telecommuting has been all over the news this week. First, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer changed the company’s policy that allowed employees to work (sometimes entirely) from home. Yahoo tried to put the story in perspective with a press release that said, “This isn’t a broad industry view on working from home. This is about what is right for Yahoo right now.”

Just a few days later, Best Buy announced that it would eliminate its renowned Results-Only Work Environment, a program that allowed corporate employees to work when and were they chose, as long as the quality of the work met the company’s standards. Like Yahoo’s change, it’s not a total ban, but corporate employees are now expected to work 40 hours a week and to come into the office “as much as possible.” Best Buy spokesperson Matt Furman said, “Bottom line, it’s ‘all hands on deck’ at Best Buy and that means having employees in the office as much as possible to collaborate and connect on ways to improve our business.”

So, are Yahoo and Best Buy doing the right thing? As a consultant to major brands on culture and employer branding, I think they are.

Working from home -- a lost luxury?

Working from home — a lost luxury?

Both these companies are engaged in turnarounds. Smart companies react to changing situations with their own changes, so I see these moves as responsive to business needs. It’s also reflective of the companies’ faith in their talent to help them steer the ship out of the storm.

Mayer and Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly know that they need the collective brainpower of their employees to come up with great and wonderful ideas. It takes a village, after all. In fact, Marissa Mayer was brought to Yahoo to make the company more like Google – and neither Google nor Facebook, both of whom have made it so easy for us to connect with people virtually, allows unlimited telecommuting.

Bloomberg, a hugely successful digital company, was a pioneer in seeing the value of instant, in-office, business exchanges in real-time. Their buildings famously have no offices, only shared spaces. It’s even part of their employer branding: “Our wide-open workspaces encourage collaboration.”

Bloomberg's share workspaces. Photo by Willie Jeung

Bloomberg’s share workspaces. Photo by Willie Jeung

Many other companies limit or ban working from home. In fact, 15 of Forbes 100 Best Companies to Work For have no telecommuting program. 

Talent management professionals have long known that it’s a business imperative to have the right talent for the right jobs at the right time. Now we coming to recognize that they need to be in the right place too.

Need help changing your culture? Email me and we’ll talk.

Free webinar: Socialize Your Healthcare/Non-Profit Recruitment

This inside look at social media recruiting best practices for hospitals, healthcare companies, and non-profit organizations will take place on Wednesday, March 13, at 2 pm Eastern/11 am Pacific.

Register for free here!

Create Goodwill for Your Small Business With Community Involvement

For any small business to succeed, whether it’s a single location or a few
franchises, it must build goodwill with the surrounding community. You can have Facebook fans or catalogue customers all over the world, placing orders by phone and email, but if locals aren’t walking in the door, you’re doomed.
 
Branding your business as a “hometown hero” can make a huge impression on your customer base and serve as an important differentiator in the marketplace. Here’s how to do it:
 
Promote local vendors and distributors. If you’re satisfied with work done by local workers or businesses, let them know! Announce how much you like them on your website and social channels, and even on your storefront. Such efforts cost nothing and generate enormous goodwill – and even lead to partnerships down the line.

Join all the local trade organizations, including the Chamber of Commerce. These are great ways to network, but many such groups put out directories or give their members some sort of seal of approval. In a sense, these organizations are doing your marketing for you.

List your business on Yelp and Foursquare, and encourage customers to “check in” when they visit you and to write a review. An easy to way to use Foursquare is to offer a discount or prize for the “Mayor” – the person who checks in at your business the most. This triggers the best kind of competition: Who can visit your business the most often?
Image courtesy of Tom Edwards (@TheBlackFin)
Participate in community events. These can be holiday events, charity fundraisers, county fairs, or events tied to the local school or college. You can simply donate money to get your business listed as a sponsor, or “go big” by becoming the sole sponsor of an event or local youth sports team. Go even bigger by hosting your own event, whether it’s just for fun, like a Fourth of July barbecue, or to raise money for a (preferably local) charity.
 
The inverse of that idea is to hold a contest among your employees that
benefits a local charity. Give a prize to whichever employee can sell the most
candy, bring in the most cans to recycle, or raise the most money. Prizes can
be as simple as an extra vacation day. Again, there’s no point in keeping this
a secret; tell the charity, post updates online, and display a leaderboard so
your customers can see your efforts.
 

You can also encourage employees to volunteer at the charity of their choice, perhaps giving a paid (or non-penalized) personal day to allow them to attend weekday events. You yourself can also join the board of a local charity, which will guarantee your name in their marketing materials.

Photo courtesy of D’Anna Associates
Finally, take pride in your community. Decorate your workplace with
photos of local heroes, celebrities, or important events. Try to get
endorsements from the local TV anchors. Congratulate local teams on their
victories and let nearby schools post flyers for their events. You can even
make the community part of your tagline:
“Proudly serving Plano since 1997,” for example, not only shows your commitment to the community but also helps with your SEO.
 
These strategies make goodwill and community involvement part of your
brand and differentiate you in the marketplace. Organizations from local banks
to TOMS Shoes have successfully incorporated the spirit of giving, which
creates a strong emotional connection to their brands. And that makes
customers want to spend money on your products or services
instead of your competitor’s.


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