Tumblr.

tumblr logo

Frustrated by the limitations of Flickr, WordPress, Blogger, and YouTube, and inspired by German blog anarchaia and American tumble log Projectionist, David Karp created what soon would be the number one social media site for adults 18-29 years old. Tumblr, a platform for microblogs, was created in early 2007 as an aesthetically pleasing yet simple design for people to blog with text, photos, audio, or quotes. The best way to explain the site is a perfect mix between Pinterest and Twitter (source).

Appealing to a millennial audience, Tumblr is short form blogging that is very user friendly. It takes thirty seconds to sign up (literally!), and allows a user to instantly start following blogs, or begin blogging content themselves in a matter of minutes. The greatest thing about Tumblr is that if someone wants to remain completely anonymous, they can do so. Users can set their blogs to be private so that passwords must be entered correctly in order for outside users to read them. Screennames are offered at signup that are completely random and link in no way to a person’s identity. No profiles need to be set up, no information verified besides an email address, and no personal pictures attached. It is simply your username and whatever it is you want to share with the world, should you decide to do so (source).

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What makes Tumblr so unique is that it takes the best of other social media sites and combines them. This list below, created by The Content Wrangler, perfectly sums up how Tumblr is like the others, but better yet-

  • Like Twitter, Tumblr allows you to discover new content using hashtags.
  • Like Facebook, Tumblr encourages sharing by allowing you to like and reblog a post.
  • Like Pinterest or Instagram, images are huge on Tumblr. 78% of Tumblr posts are photos or images.
  • Like YouTube or Vine, video content is popular on Tumblr, where videos under 1 minute in duration outperform longer ones by about 40%.
  • Like WordPress, you can create blog posts and put them up on Tumblr, comment on other’s posts and follow someone whose blog you fancy.

The shorter the comment and the better the Gif is the way to become popular on Tumblr. The most popular posts are not wordy. And the best thing about Tumblr is that should you want to share your content on other social media websites, you can do that too!

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The most recent statistics I could find come from ExpandedRamblings.com, which state that Tumblr receives 120,000 signups each day of the year, generating 300 million unique visitors monthly, 900 posts per second, and 113.6 million posts per day. As of January 2015, the site has 217 million blogs and 99 billion posts.

SearchEnginePeople.com states that almost 40% of Tumblr users are under the age of 25, 52% are female, and 56% of the audience has some sort of college education. In 2013, Tumblr was acquired by media giant Yahoo!, who bought the company for $1.1 billion with the objective of expanding the site’s audience by 50% and increasing traffic by 20%. According to an article by Adweek.com, as of November 2014, despite rumored fear that Yahoo! would somehow make Tumblr uncool, the company had instead grown substantially since the acquisition. Monthly users increased to 400 million and the amount of user-generated blogs doubled.

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When Tumblr was launched in 2007, it only took two weeks for the site to gain 75,000 registered users, according to MIT Technology Review. In 2010, the site became mobile friendly, and by 2012, an app was created for Apple and Android phones. From 2012 to 2013 Tumblr’s mobile engagement alone grew 251% (source).

The site also is home to many big brand blogs, such as Adidas, Huggies, Elle, Travel Channel, and College Humor. Since follow, like, and reblog features are built in, the ability for good content to spread is easy and therefore offers a great opportunity for brands to gain awareness. Though Tumblr may work for several brands, it is not the social media site for all. Socialfresh.com put it perfectly when they said the following-

“Photos, videos, quotes and questions are the currency in the Tumblr ecosystem. A little attitude, edginess, and inspiration also plays very well amongst its members. The brands that have access to large amounts of this type of media are, not surprisingly, the brands that have embraced Tumblr the most.”

tumblr brands

Tumblr is a unique and highly effective social media site. It might not quite reach the numbers that Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ have right now, but its quick growth is something that shouldn’t be ignored. The site offers the best parts of every other social media site, along with blogging and anonymity. The numbers simply can’t be ignored. Though some articles may report that Yahoo! overpaid or made a terrible acquisition, with time I believe that this platform will grow to be the biggest social media/blogging website of them all.

For additional fun facts about Tumblr, check out my short and sweet Prezi Presentation here!

Tumblr infographic

Where Are You Now? (WAYN.com)

WAYN logo

WAYN, which stands for “Where Are You Now” is a social media site that brings together people who love to travel. The site allows members to sign up for free, list all the places they have been, all the places they want to travel, and offers the best individualized travel tips for each destination. As of today, WAYN is the largest travel and lifestyle platform with over 20 million members from 193 countries (source).

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Founded in 2002, the site now averages 3.5 million visitors a month and is constantly increasing revenue year after year. Referring to themselves as “the premiere social travel network,” WAYN can be seen as “a bridge between social sites Facebook and TripAdvisor” . In an interview with Tnooz, co-CEOs Peter Ward and Jerome Touze argued that the target market is more than just poor backpackers, as some suggested. The site actually appeals to all walks of life, ranging from some of the richest to some of the poorest world travelers. Of course, it also appeals to people from all countries.

Since the launch over ten years ago, WAYN has “pivoted” in how the site has been perceived. One venture they attempted was moving the site towards a dating platform. Another is the offer of “stories” which encourages members to write articles while they travel. The co-CEO’s state that the stories not only help writers gain experience and exposure, but also increases engagement and site visibility. Today, the site includes all of the above, but mainly focuses on allowing users to make friends while travelling, as well as connect with people that aren’t already in their social graph (source). This is what distinguishes WAYN as a social media unlike others like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. I personally connect with people I know on Facebook, follow celebrities or my favorite brands on Twitter, and use Instagram to connect with people with similar aesthetic interests. WAYN allows members to step outside the box and “meet” new people that are located all over the world with no “mutual friends” or connections. For example, the site is a way for me to learn all about backpacking Southeast Asia, even if it is just a fantasy of mine I may never live up. Though, if I make enough connections, possibly establish some decent friends via WAYN, I may just go for it after all. I can just as easily connect with people I know, or possibly even celebrities and brands, as well as see aesthetically pleasing pictures from users all over the world on WAYN, so it basically brings together the best of all platforms specifically for people who wish to travel the world.

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WAYN offers social sharing, as well as the ability to sign up as a member using Facebook. On every page, widgets for Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ are available. What I find awesome is that the site also offers a tab to book hotels through Booking.com. In ten minutes on WAYN a member can share an article with friends on Facebook, add “friends” from different countries, browse pictures of a dream destination, and book a hotel for their next vacation.

Since everything is travel related, I think incorporating proximity marketing could be a bit of a struggle. I think the best way WAYN could benefit from proximity marketing is if they incorporate a “check-in” to their mobile app similar to that of Facebook. Say, for instance, I am travelling to Mumbai, India. If I use my WAYN app, check-in that I am arriving at the YMCA hotel (yes, it’s a hotel, not a gym), I could see other WAYN members who have stayed, their reviews, and maybe their suggestions for the immediate area. WAYN could partner with hotels and travel sites to allow for my check-in to even pop up promotions such as “10% off your first night stay! Thanks for using the WAYN app!” Since Foursquare/Swarm is worldwide, WAYN could even partner with this app to grow with proximity marketing.

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Overall, I think WAYN is a very successful social media site specifically for people interested in traveling. The site is a bit cluttered though, and since the focus is on making friends and networking with people all over the world that you do not immediately know, I do not see that WAYN would ever stand out among the other big social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. There is a bit too much going on with the dating, hotel booking, and personal travel journaling that makes the site seem a little all over the place, but I definitely find the appeal for adventurous personalities who have either big dreams, big budgets, or the admirable skill of living out of a backpack.

Starbucks, Ben & Jerry’s, and Target

This week’s brands are brought to you by my typical weekend indulgences- Starbucks, Ben & Jerry’s, and a place you can usually find both, Target.

How a brand uses their social media accounts is very important. Each brand can have a different approach to how they drive traffic, which content they use, or whether or not they use hashtags, but the key to successful social media marketing is consistently updating content on each site. Below is a short evaluation on three brands of my choosing.

Starbucks

This week Starbucks released two new flavored lattes, the tiramisu latte and the caramel flan latte. On Tuesday February 17th they posted the same picture (see below) with the hashtags #tiramisulatte, #caramelflanlatte, and #starbucksdate on Facebook, Instagram and Google+, and the following day on Twitter. The descriptions all were a bit different, Google+ saying “The sweetest moments we share,” Instagram saying “Hearts warmed and taste buds tickled,” and Facebook saying “Coffee date? Dessert Date? Both, please” but they were all short, sweet, and effective. Starbucks is not a brand that uses social media to push for sales. Instead, they use creative and enticing wording to share their product, provide information, as well as connect with their customers.

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An evaluation of Starbuck’s social media websites will prove that they are very consistent in the messages and imagery they use. I do not just mean in how the portray themselves across each website, but in how they overall represent their brand. Twitter is their most used platform, updating statuses at least once a day if not more, and retweeting pictures or comments made by fans. Instagram and Facebook are updated about five times a week on average, if not more often (based on past 3 months). Google+ looks to be the least updated social media site, though there are posts once to twice a week.

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It is on Facebook that Starbucks provides the most amount of information for a consumer. They include a map that lists nearby locations, as well as links to Pinterest and YouTube, an International tab, and even an Open Jobs tab. The ability to access YouTube and Pinterest through Facebook is the only way I have found that Starbucks drives their audience to other sites. But the company definitely uses hashtags across all sites. Almost all status updates include a picture as well as a hashtag, such as #StarbucksDate (for Valentine’s Day), #StarbucksGiftCard (popular around Christmas), or simply whatever the beverage may be, #caramelfrappe, #flatwhite, etc.

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On Twitter, Starbucks has multiple handles, including @StarbucksNews, @StarbucksJobs, @Frappuccino, as well as different handles for certain countries, like @StarbucksRussia, @StarbucksPeru, etc. These help the company connect with their audiences in a more specific way. They obviously are big about providing value for their fans instead of just pushing products in their face. And it seems to work. Their willingness to connect on each platform with consumers while providing consistent marketing has their popular social media sites, as well as others like LinkedIn and Pinterest, growing daily.

Ben & Jerry’s

If you aren’t familiar with Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, you must be a rare individual who has never had a bad day or a sweet-tooth. Just in case you are one of those rare people, here is the short version- Ben & Jerry’s is a Vermont based company that specializes in very awesome ice cream. Their infamous pints and flavors can be found at most grocery stores, and they even have stores set up in several cities across the United States.

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Ben & Jerry’s does not have quite as large of a following as Starbuck’s does, but they definitely are pretty popular on social media sites. Should you log onto any of the social sites the company is active on it is very obvious that they do not just share pictures on ice cream cones. In fact, several of the posts found on Twitter and Facebook are related to environmental projects and causes. Their company is focused on making a profit, but also by helping create a better world. On the flip side, Ben & Jerry’s is very creative and therefore increases brand awareness by allowing celebrities to create ice-cream flavors. For example, this week Jimmy Fallon’s flavor was released- Late Night Dough. Other popular flavors linked to the entertainment world include Americone Dream (for Stephen Colbert), Wayne’s Swirled (for Wayne’s World), and Cherry Garcia (for Jerry Garcia of Grateful Dead).

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It is almost as if Ben & Jerry’s has three different brand voices- one that is focused on the environment, one that is focused on creativity and social relevance, and one that is focused on good ice-cream that everyone young and old can enjoy. Each of these voices are very much recognized on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, and even Pinterest and LinkedIn. If Ben & Jerry’s is posting about an environmental event on Facebook, they are sure to post on Twitter and Instagram also so that their message of the day is clearly spread out but consistent. The company definitely uses hashtags in almost every status they post on each social site, but the only way they seem to drive people to other social sites is by driving them to their homepage, BenJerry.com, which then includes widgets of each social media site.

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One thing that is worth noting is that even on Instagram and Pinterest, Ben & Jerry’s uses creative photos that are sure to be more eye-catching than just the same old bowl of ice cream or ice cream cone. The company is very successful in capturing their audience’ attention by posting creative, out-of-the-box pictures of their products, such as the picture below on Instagram three weeks ago.

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Target

Target offers so many products that their social media content has to be more about how they want to appear online than about what it is they are putting out to the world. Active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube and even Vine, the retail giant had to be sure to be very up-to-date, consistent, and relevant with each post so to appeal to the enormous audience they have gained.

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Since they offer so many different products, just like Starbucks, Target has multiple Twitter handles to better appeal to a target audience. @TargetStyle is for fashionistas, @TargetDeals is for those looking to get the best deals during their shopping, and @TargetNews is about the important company news that most shoppers most likely are not as interested in. On Facebook as well as on Twitter, Target is very big on connecting and replying to their audience, answering any questions that people may ask.

What I find very interesting about Target is that they do not post the same image and status across all social media sites. This week, Instagram and Facebook have posts about #CabinFeverHack (due to the terrible weather in much of the country) while Twitter has many additional updates, including a post about Reese’s Easter Eggs and yesterday’s National Love your Pet Day. When I searched for Target on Google+, I was immediately directed to their YouTube videos, and though their videos are recent, their posts for Google+ are very outdated.

Facebook is definitely the Target social media site to provide the most amount of information, even if it isn’t updated quite as often as Twitter. They offer not only maps to the closest store, but also product recalls, links to other Target Facebook pages that are more specific (just like the Twitter handles), and a tab for Target Coupons. Just like Ben & Jerry’s, Target links all photos to their website, which then includes widget of each social media site they are active on. Hashtags are definitely used on Twitter and Instagram, but not so much on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Pinterest.

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Overall, Target is very active on each site, with the exception of Google+. They keep their content up-to-date, they post often, and they also do not just use their sites to bombard fans with products saying “Buy! Buy! Buy!” They use very colorful pictures and gifs with each status, they post similar content on each site, and they use each social media site to connect to their audiences worldwide.

Conclusion

Each of these three brands has a different approach to how they use their social media sites. Starbucks and Target definitely post more often than Ben & Jerry’s and use the same imagery and message across multiple sites, but Ben & Jerry’s uses their social media platforms to share information about the company’s environmental values with fans worldwide. All three have strong integrated media communication plans, use hashtags effectively, though differently, but overall are very much using the advantages of social media by having two-way conversations with their fans.

Dear Travel Channel

Dear Travel Channel,

You have a lot of interesting shows out there with several great hosts, but let me tell you what you are missing- a show about music hosted by yours truly.

There are few things I love more in this world than music and traveling; therefore I would like to propose a brand new show in which I, Bethany Kilmon, take on the music festival world.

music fest pics

Why would this be a good idea?

Each year more and more music festivals pop up around the United States, bringing together a myriad of musical acts and the fans they attract. These festivals sometimes spread over the course of multiple days and set a line-up of artists that are bound to put on performances that concert-goers will never forget for the rest of their lives.

Each festival or concert-series offers a different theme, a different environment, or a specific genre of music to appeal to their target audience. For example, each year Miami hosts the Ultra Music Festival, a three day event that brings together the best djs and performers of the electronic music scene. On a 700 acre farm in Tennessee, Bonnaroo brings together over 85,000 fans to experience camping, nature, arts, and music. Both of these events are known to be “mind-blowing,” but in completely different ways.

But what is the show about?

As a girl raised in a rural town on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, I never had the funds nor the time and knowledge to experience any of these amazing festivals. As someone who still will most likely never attend half of these life-changing performances, I have a lot of questions. Who goes to these festivals? What do they wear? Where do they stay? Who do they come with? How do they experience the festival? Do they attend every year? Or just when they like someone on the lineup? And what about the music artists? How is the festival perceived through their eyes?

I want to travel the country and give viewers and fans an in-depth synopsis of each festival. I want to show them which festivals they shouldn’t miss, and which ones they might not need to worry about. I want to show off the music, the environment, the causes behind the festivals or concerts, and the fans.

Why me?

I am 25 years old, a lover of all music genres, and an easily-adaptable and social person. I love to travel, I love to dance, I love to camp, and I am willing and able to try new things. These events are about bonding with people who share similar interests and connecting with the music you love.

I would use social media channels to share all of the ins and outs with potential festivals goers or with fans who may not ever be able to travel. I would connect with the experts, and bond with the amateurs. I would show off the fashion. I would taste test the beer. I would crowd surf at one performance but lounge on the lawn of another. I want to show how every music festival is unique in its way.

So where should we start?

Here is a just a small list of music festivals that occur each and every year around the United States.

But never fear! There are music festivals that happen all over the world, and I am just the person to hop on a plane and check out  Norway’s Inferno Metal Festival or Australia’s Future music festival.

MusicFestivalJunkies.com lists all of the worldwide music festivals a girl could only dream of attending, and my Pinterest board is in constant growth of where to go, who to meet, and what to wear.

pinterest music fest

So let’s do this! I’ll pack my neon leggings, my daisy bathing suit, my cowboy hat, and my sunglasses. I’ll be the inside scoop, the social media coordinator, and the first person perspective for each and every music festival that this fine country has to offer. I’ll interview the fans, and I’ll interview the bands. It’s going to be “mind-blowing” and I can’t wait.

Sincerely,

Bethany Kilmon

Future host of Travel Channel’s exclusive series about the what, where, and when of America’s Music Festivals.

PostSecret, The North Face, and Pandora

I have to admit, when I hear the word “blog” I think of middle aged women attempting to master a crockpot recipe for each day of the year, or a distressed teen using the internet as their diary. I’ve always thought of blogs as being personal, not professional, but what I never realized is that several websites I may turn to for travel advice, recipes, or how to train my dog that are actually blogs.

There are different categories that a blog may fall into- news, professional/semi-professional, recreational, aggregator, or group- and there are a variety of people and companies that contribute to blogs. Below are three of my favorite blogs to follow.

PostSecret

PostSecret.com is a recreational blog that started as a bit of an art project and eventually turned into an international inspiration. People from around the world will mail an anonymous postcard with whatever secret it is they may have to an address in Germantown, Maryland. Every Sunday Frank Warren, the founder of the blog, will post ten or more of these anonymous secrets to the blog to share with the world. A few years into the project, the creator teamed up with International Suicide Prevention to provide an outlet for those who may relate to the deep suicidal secrets that are posted each week. Frank Warren also began teaming up with colleges and started hosting events, inviting individuals to share their secrets in a safe environment.

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The project is very inspiring. It has turned from an art exhibit into a community, allowing people to reach out for help, provide help, discuss individual differences, and accept that they are not alone in having secrets. The layout of this blog is very simple. The simple black background offsets the usually colorful postcards. Besides the Sunday Secrets, the only advertisements are for upcoming PostSecret Live! events, PostSecret book releases, and then a live Twitter and Facebook feed.

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PostSecret.com is definitely a successful blog. The brand is available on multiple social media sites and always has sharing buttons included. The uniqueness of this project drives people to come back every week. Should someone send in a secret, they are eager to see whether it is posted on the site, published in a book, or included in a YouTube collaboration. Though I have never sent in a secret, I routinely check the blog each Sunday for the new secrets, and have since I discovered the blog several years ago. Some secrets make you laugh, some break your heart, and some make you think “me too.”

Though there are no advertisers on the website, I think this is how the site should be. With such a variety of secrets, no specific advertiser could fit perfectly. If this is not a blog you are aware you, I definitely suggest you check it out. It is bound to make you either appreciate what it is you have or remind you that you are not alone in the world.

Never Stop Exploring

NeverStopExploring.com is both a recreational and a group blog. The North Face athletes and their surrounding community contribute to this blog that includes not only stories, but tips, tricks, photos, events, the how and why of The North Face apparel and accessories, as well as company news.

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What makes this blog unique is that caters to the extreme sports that The North Face creates clothing and products for. This blog is not about soccer, tennis, or field hockey. It is about freeskiing, alpine climbing, and mountain athletics. It is about snowboarding, hiking, and cross training. The North Face’s sponsored athletes all contribute to this blog as do their trainers and various other individuals who are well versed in the sports and travel surrounding these activities. The North Face is known for being durable and extreme and this blog is a great reflection of that. It clearly is sponsored by the brand, yet it offers plenty of updated blogs in a variety of topics to appeal to anyone who is a fan of the company.

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The blog could be tweaked a bit to be more successful per our lecture this week. For starters each topic does not seem to keep up to date posts. Recently the snow sports as well as cross training sports have blogs from as recent as this week, but the travel and hiking topics have not had up dated blog since fall. Though the blog does include links to The North Face’s social media sites, as well as to the company’s website The Northface.com, a live feed showing the connection would make it feel much more connected. The content is definitely original, the pictures are gorgeous, and the topics are more than relevant, but it would be much for successful if it were more connected, better updated, and easier to stumble across online.

Pandora

Don’t tell my boss, but I do follow the Pandora blog (iHearRadio has yet to jump on the blog train). As someone who is a big fan of the comings and goings of new music artist, Pandora’s blog offers great insight to new music that is coming on the scene. This would be considered a professional blog over a recreational blog due to the fact that the people contributing to this blog are involved daily in the music business.

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The Pandora blog’s purpose is to create a deeper and more connected listener experience. Each post provides a variety of interesting information for the reader, from one-on-one interviews with music artists to statistics gathered from Pandora.com. Blogs are posted at least once a week, if not more often, and the ability to share or connect on social media is listed on every page. The blog can be found on Pandora.com, but it also can be found when searching Google for music blogs. There are not any advertisements to be found on this blog, but I think that is a reflection of Pandora’s brand. One of the biggest appeals of Pandora Radio is that you can create a radio station without being bothered by excessive advertisements. Not allowing advertisements on the blog page maintains the brand’s image of being all about the music without interruptions.

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Pandora’s blog is definitely successful, but I think it could have a better layout. It is easy to use and matches the Pandora.com colors and overall look, but I think a simpler layout could make it even more user-friendly. If the featured categories were maybe listed at the top it would make it much easier to navigate and see what the blog has to offer. Overall, it is a very interesting blog that is written in a conversational tone and provide great information for Pandora users and music lovers alike.

Dogfish.com and Marketing Strategies

With the interest of craft beers growing across the country, Dogfish Head Beer has to have a strong marketing strategy. Both online and offline, the brewery participates in both push and pull marketing strategies which helps to connect them to new consumers and fans.

Push Marketing

The number one way Dogfish Head Beer participates in push marketing is by setting up at festivals and events across the country and personally promoting their craft beers. Whether it be a beer and wine festival, a tap takeover, or specialized local event, the company will push their brand on new consumers by setting up, offering tastings, and making sure their signs are big, bold, and appealing. (See links for examples.)

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Beyond events, Dogfish Head is available in beer aisles and bars everywhere, therefore they use signs and promotions, sometimes even sales and special taps, to make their brand noticeable. To stand out to new consumers Dogfish Head Beer has been sure to make their most popular beers available in more than just specialty shops. Grocery stores, liquor stores, and even gas stations across the country are likely to carry brand due to popularity.

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Pull Marketing

Dogfish Head Beer uses their website and social media channels to pull in consumers and educate them on new products, events, and specials. When logging on to Dogfish.com, a fan of the beer may sign up for an email newsletter, use the site to find where they can buy their favorite brew, or read an up-to-date blog. Dogfish Head Beer is active and engaging on Twitter and Facebook, having two-way conversations with consumers. When someone searches “Delaware Beer” on Google, Dogfish.com is the first link to pop up, allowing them to market directly to consumers who may be searching for craft beer in the state.

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Content

One thing Dogfish Head Beer is not is outdated. There is nothing worse than logging onto a company’s website and seeing that their banners are no longer relevant or their blogs haven’t been updated in months. As for social media, Dogfish Head has a strong marketing team that stays on top of events and comments so that daily responses, shout-outs, or promotions are being posted across all social media platforms. Social media channels can be found at the top of the website for easy access, allowing a consumer to see that the company is very much connected.

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On Dogfish.com, the “blogfish” seems to have a new blog post at least once a month, if not more often. These blogs are much deeper than what the company posts on social media. They provide more information, are easily read, and include links to additional sites or videos which also makes the posts very visually appealing.

blogfish

Dogfish Head Beer prides themselves on being unique, and in their own words, “off-centered.” Their website is easy to navigate, but definitely shows off their quirky and creative brand. The style used on each beer’s artwork is also used across the website, and once familiar with this style it’s as if you don’t even need to see the Dogfish Head stamp to know something is related to the brand. Dogfish Head Beer has a very strong voice and it translate across all platforms, online and offline.

Dogfish Head Beer knows what they are about. Brand consistency is key, and this company seems to have no problem with following their gut feeling when it comes to advertising. Their website is not mobile at this time, and they could use a few more words to increase SEO, but overall Dogfish Head Beer seems to be growing consistently. Though one might think good beer could sell itself, the reality is it takes a bit of pushing, pulling, and a really decent website to make a brand remain memorable to consumers.

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