In Your Words 11

*This blog post is a  “sample post” as part of an assignment, and is strictly for educational purposes. The responses below are note on behalf of the Hilton or Hyatt hotel corporations.

Per the course lecture regarding reputation management, neither of the below review posts contain derogatory language, swearing, etc. and although some complaints are more in the hotel management’s control than others, a response is most definitely necessary and in the best interest of the hotel in regards to reputation management.

Both reviews mention areas in which improvements may be made, the Hilton review in particular includes a laundry list of items. Rather than address each individual complaint, and potentially open the the door for back and forth banter, we have instead provided an apology (as some items certainly deemed necessary), and have attempted to move the more negative review commentary offline.

While we will offer Luv2TravelWithHubby some form of compensation if she chooses to give us the opportunity by staying at our property again, we have chosen not to directly advertise this online through our response, as we feel it somewhat encourages negative reviews in hopes of receiving a freebie.

Additionally, following the negative Hilton review, we are considering running some form of giveaway promotion for online reviews to encourage more posts and push this review to the bottom more quickly.


Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina

Hilton

Dear Luv2TravelWithHubby,

I would like to express my sincerest apologies for your less than satisfactory stay at our hotel. While it sounds as if your time with us could have been much improved, I would like to thank you for choosing to stay at the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina, and hope you enjoyed catching up with your former classmates.

Your concerns have been brought to the attention of our Senior Manager, John Doe, who will be reaching out to you via the email address you provided at check-in. If you would prefer, you are also more than welcome to contact him directly by phone at (954)463-4000, as we would like to compensate you for your less that satisfactory stay.

We take pride in our Florida Residents “It Pays to Get Away” program and it is of utmost importance to our property management to keep our Floridians satisfied. We hope if you should choose to visit us again after speaking with John, that you don’t in fact pitch a tent, but rather take full advantage of our properties amenities and enjoy intracoastal views from an upgraded room and while dining at Nanking.

We would like to thank you for your feedback and always welcome constructive criticism, as it is one of the best ways to improve our property.

Sincerely,

Jane Doe, Social Media Manager of the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina


 

Hyatt Regency Orlando

Hyatt

Dear Travelwith3kiddos

Thank you for choosing to stay at the Hyatt Regency Orlando. We are thrilled to hear you previously had a positive business trip experience and decided to return and take advantage of our Family Fun Hotel Package. It sounds as if you have your hands full with “three kiddos” – we’re so glad you were able to take some time to relax at the spa. We pride ourselves in our staff and the level of service, and are delighted to hear you were satisfied with our staff, both at check in and at Florenzo Italian Steakhouse. It sounds as if your family experienced one of our infamous Florida storms – its great to know the children were able to still enjoy the pool despite the weather.

Thank you for recommending the Hyatt Regency in Orlando. We hope to see you and your family again next summer.

Sincerely,

Jane Doe, Social Media Manager of the Hyatt Regency Orlando

Cosmoprof North America Trade Show (In Your Words 10)

Cosmoprof North America is a business-to-business trade show for beauty industry professionals. The event is not open to the general public. The attendee target market includes distributors, manufacturers and buyers for professional and retail stores.  

Cosmoprof has profiles on the  following social media channels:

Facebook

Twitter (@cosmoproflv)

LinkedIn

Pinterest

Instagram

YouTube

Of the channels listed, Twitter appeared to be the most active, with numerous posts throughout the event, many of which included the following hashtags: #cosmoprof2014, #CPNA2014, #cosmoprofna, as well as hashtags for booth numbers, which appears to be common practice for trade show social media promotion.

#CPNA2014 and #Boothnumber

Prior to the event, there were a limited amount of Tweets sent to promote the event. There were two Instagram posts prior to the event showing where registration takes place and advertising the interactive area at the trade show.

Instagram Registration

 

Pre-event FB Post BeatE PanelThe Cosmprof Instagram account had 40 posts total from July 11th promoting the event, through July 16th, following the event. While many of the post during the event included exhibitor booths and products, the post-event posts seemed irrelevant to the event.  The Cosmoprof Facebook page had only 8 posts during the event, and one prior to the event promoting their Beaut-E Zone panel.The Beaut-E Zone concept was an interesting touch, in that it aided in the creation of content, but pointed back to the panelists’ social media accounts (i.e. blog, YouTube, etc.) rather than Cosmoprofs.

 

 

Cosmoprof Pinterest

Cosmoprof’s Pinterest account has only 7 boards and is relatively inactive, especially given the target market (the beauty industry). While there is a Discover Beauty 2014 board that has some beauty products on it, they were posted almost 4 weeks ago. Their YouTube account is also relatively inactive with only two videos, one of which is labeled CPNA 2014 Event Highlights but was posted prior to the trade show and contains content from the 2013 event. While they have a LinkedIn account, it is private, so I am unsure to what extent it is used for the event.

Overall, there was not an extensive amount of pre-event social media content, and it is evident that Twitter was by far their social media channel of choice during the event. While they did use hashtags for the event, they could have increase awareness of them prior to the event and encouraged vendors to set up an account well in advance. It appears they used hashtags for many of the exhibitor company names, rather than Twitter handles, which I can only assume is because they do not currently have an account. As the hashtags caught on, you saw more and more retweets from the Cosmoprof Twitter account. Upon the conclusion of the event there were many goodbyes using the previously mentioned hashtags, and the event date for next year was also released.

Next year's date retweeted

It is not surprising that Twitter gained the most attention throughout the trade show. Social media channels that offer real-time updates seem more conducive for live events. Also, for an event tailored more to industry professionals, maybe exposure on other platforms is not as critical, as they are more interested in building relationships. While Instagram and Pinterest would seem to be a good demographic for this industry (i.e. young females), the images posted are less appealing as they are more about the trade show than the products accessible to the public. Given that this is a business-to-business event (not business-to-consumer), this may be why Twitter is more fitting.

Cosmoprofs social media presence included a limited amount of resources for exhibitors, and could have included more tweets with photos throughout the show. While there were a few pre-event social posts, and one showing the location of registration, there were not many, and there were none promoting Las Vegas. Even their website has few resources about Vegas; however, it does include more than enough information about the trade show event.

Interactive Technology areaOn their website, and in a limited amount of social media post (some of which were mentioned above), there is reference to some intriguing concepts conducive to the beauty industry and  internet marketing. The trade show included an Interactive area, which provided event attendees with the opportunity to utilize analysis tools to better understand their online presence. There was also a “Beauty Gone Viral: The YouTube Influencers” event, which included a five person panel of beauty experts that discussed YouTube as a growing media channel in their industry and how video plays a massive role in communication for beauty brands.

Beauty Gone Viral YouTube Panel

Digital Mobile App OpportunitiesNot only did Cosmoprof provide internet marketing educational resources/events, but they also included   Digital Mobile App Marketing Opportunities for exhibitors/sponsors which included mobile showrooms, promoted posts, push notifications and sponsorships for the exhibitors.

Cosmoprof also integrated “Print Buzz” and Press Releases in the the marketing mix to share what has been said about the Cosmoprof North America show. Also on their website is the option to subscribe to the Cosmoprof newsletter, which is a great way to integrate their marketing efforts and maintain contact following the event.

Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 8.15.55 AM

Cosmoprof has a relatively consistent look, with the green Cosmoprof logo on all platforms; however, the resolution could be improved on a few. They also feature a woman in a blue whimsical dress on some channels, but a more dated green background (that matches their logo) on their less active channels.

Facebook Profile

Cosmoprof on Facebook

YouTube Channel

Cosmoprof on YouTube

Overall, this appears to be a very extensive event. Some of the highlights that stood out to me, and were previously mentioned, were the implementation of a Beaut-E Zone panel, designed to help create social buzz, as well as the resources for beauty business owners (i.e. the interactive area and panel of YouTube speakers).

One item I feel as if they could improve upon themselves, is the use of videos. While there were two videos posted on their Facebook page during the event, they were not included on their YouTube page, which could use a facelift (no pun intended) and some more video uploads. With a panel of speakers strictly tailored to YouTube, Cosmoprof clearly knows the importance of video but has yet to implement it themselves. Additionally,  while their site is very informative and has a lot of information, it’s a bit busy. I would think they may be able to benefit from an exhibitor log-in that keeps track of any important dates, information, check-in’s, locations, etc. for each individual vendor. Lastly, their website includes a photo gallery, but they are of images from the prior year, rather than a live feed of 2014 images. In closing, while they may be slow to update some items such as their photos and YouTube channel, only two days after the event they started their countdown on the website for next year.

Website 2015 dates

In Your Words 9 Assignment: Magic Kingdom

Please note, this is blog post is for academic purposes. Disney has no involvement with this content and it is entirely hypothetical.

The posts for the month of August detailed below are tailored primarily to a target market of mothers with children age 14 and younger. #MagicalMomMonday has been implemented to raise awareness about the Disney Parks Moms Panel as a resource for planning your family’s next trip. Seeing as this particular content is geared toward mothers, information about resources, planning, hotels and discount has also been included. Additionally, posts about current events and some of the most iconic attractions are shared for those individuals that are currently at the park, and to remind those who aren’t what they are missing. To mix things up a little and bring followers back to their youth, we have also utilized the Throwback Thursday trend to reminisce about childhood Disney memories. To encourage user generated content, a hypothetical #SundaySelfie contest has been created. Social media followers are asked to post their selfies for a chance to win free admission to Magic Kingdom.

Goals for the Month of August

  • Increase awareness of trip planning resources and discounts to promote booking your next trip.
  • Raise awareness about the Disney Parks Moms Panel and increase engagement with the mom demographic (age 25-40, female with children) on social media.
  • Take social media followers back to their youth with #TBT memories to remind them of their magical experience(s) as a child.
  • Encourage user generated content with #SundaySelfie (hypothetical giveaway contest).

*Note regarding photo usage for posts. If a photo is posted after both a Facebook and Twitter post, it is intended to be used for both. If a photo is only shown after Facebook, it is not to be used for the Twitter post. If there is a link included in a Facebook post and no image, one of the auto-generate images Facebook pulls from the page the link directs users to will be used.

Friday, August 1:

Facebook: Happy August Facebook fans! There’s still a little bit of summertime left to plan your trip to Magic Kingdom!

Twitter: Happy August! There’s still a little bit of summertime left to plan your #summer trip to Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom

Saturday, August 2:

Late morning/Early afternoon

Facebook: Don’t forget to download the My Disney Experience Mobile app for your next trip! Features help you easily navigate your way through the park, find character greeting locations and times, browse restaurants and more! http://bit.ly/1paPPrz

 

My Disney Experience Mobile App

Twitter: Download the My #Disney Experience app to help plan your next trip and navigate through the park! http://bit.ly/1paPPrz

Late afternoon/Early evening post:

Facebook: Witness Cinderella’s castle magically transform after being sprinkled with Tinker Bell’s pixie dust! Celebrate the Magic at 9:45pm or 10:35pm

Twitter: Witness Cinderella’s castle’s magical transformation at 9:45 or 10:35 this evening

Cinderella's Castle

Sunday, August 3:

Facebook: It’s Selfie Sunday! Post your Disney themed selfie and you will be entered to win free admission to Magic Kingdom  (Include shortened link to contest rules – this link will also generate image on Facebook.)

Twitter: #SundaySelfie Tweet your #Disney themed selfie for a chance to win free admission to Magic Kingdom. Find out more here  (Include shortened link to contest rules.)

Monday, August 4:

Facebook: It’s Magical Mom Monday! Planning a trip to Magic Kingdom? Find answers to your questions from the Disney Parks Moms Panel http://bit.ly/1tAGiw8

Disney Parks Moms Panel

Twitter:#MagicalMomMonday Planning a trip to Magic Kingdom? Find answers to your questions from the #DisneySMMoms http://bit.ly/1tAGiw8

Tuesday, August 5:

Facebook: Florida residents – Don’t miss this opportunity to save up to 35% on lodging for stays through August 14th http://bit.ly/U7RVdQ

Twitter: #Florida residents save up to 35% on lodging for stays through August 14th http://bit.ly/U7RVdQ #summersavings

Wednesday, August 6:

Facebook: No trip to the Magic Kingdom is complete without a visit to the iconic Cinderella’s castle where fairytales come true

Twitter: A must see at Disney’s Magic Kingdom – Cinderella’s  iconic castle

Cinderella's Castle

Thursday, August 7:

Facebook: Throwback Thursday! We’re reminiscing about the classic Magic Kingdom rides like Dumbo the Flying Elephant! What’s your favorite ride from childhood?

Twitter: Remember riding Dumbo the Flying Elephant as a child? Share with us your favorite childhood #Disney ride #TBT

Dumbo Ride

Friday, August 8:

Facebook: The Main Street Electrical Parade is scheduled for 9:00pm and 11:00pm this evening. Enjoy a display lighted floats and dancing Disney characters!

Twitter: Lighted floats and dancing Disney characters march down Main Street this evening at 9pm and 11pm

Evening Street Parade

Saturday, August 9:

Facebook: You don’t want to miss the Disney Festival of Fantasy parade as it makes its way through Magic Kingdom this afternoon at 3:00pm http://bit.ly/1iaX7q4 (Image generated by Facebook from link)

Twitter: Don’t miss the Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade at 3:00pm as it makes its way through Magic Kingdom http://bit.ly/1iaX7q4

Sunday, August 10:

Facebook: It’s Selfie Sunday! Post your Disney themed selfie and you could win free admission to Magic Kingdom! <First name> was last weeks Sunday Selfie winner! (Include last week’s winning selfie & shortened link to contest rules.)

Twitter: Tweet your #Disney themed selfie and you could win free admission to Magic Kingdom! <First name> was last weeks #SundaySelfie winner (Include image of last weeks winner with instructions detailed below photo.)

Monday, August 11:

Facebook: Magical Mom Monday! Meet the moms behind the Disney Parks Moms Panel http://bit.ly/1jCuuFn

Twitter:#MagicalMomMonday Meet the moms behind the Disney Parks Moms Panel http://bit.ly/1jCuuFn #DisneySMMoms

Tuesday, August 12:

Facebook: Magic Kingdom offers Summer Savings! Get a FREE additional day on each ticket when you buy 6 or more 4-day or longer Magic Your Way tickets – use them immediately or save them for a later date! http://bit.ly/1f3RLIu

Twitter: Purchase 6 or more tickets by August 17th and you can save #summersavings http://bit.ly/1f3RLIu

Wednesday, August 13:

Facebook: MagicBands allow you to enter parks, check in at FastPass+ entrances, unlock your hotel room and more! Learn how you can unlock the magic http://bit.ly/MXzzsC

MagicBand

Twitter: Unlock the magic with your MagicBand! Here’s how they work http://bit.ly/MXzzsC

Thursday, August 14:

Facebook: The iconic “It’s a small world” song takes many of us back to a childhood visit to Magic Kingdom. Share your Throwback Thursday Disney memory with us!

It's A Small World

Twitter: The iconic “It’s a small world” song takes many of us back in time. Share your favorite #TBT #Disney memory with us

Friday, August 15:

Facebook: Start your weekend visit to the Magical Kingdom with a guided scavenger hunt that the whole family can enjoy http://bit.ly/1r71Tu3

Twitter: Disney’s Family Magic Tour at the Magic Kingdom will take you and your family on an unforgettable adventure http://bit.ly/1r71Tu3

Saturday, August 16:

Facebook: Be Our Guest at Beast’s enchanted castle for lunch or dinner – Reservations accepted. Check availability online http://bit.ly/19088bR

Eat at Beast's Castle

Twitter: Be Our Guest at Beast’s enchanted castle for lunch or dinner – Reservations accepted. Check availability online http://bit.ly/19088bR

Sunday, August 17:

Facebook: Check out Mickey’s Sunday Selfie in front of Magic Kingdom! Share your Disney themed selfie for a chance to win free admission to Magic Kingdom! (Shortened link to contest instructions where a photo of Mickey’s selfie is featured as image header. Mickey’s image will serve as link preview image generated by Facebook.)

Twitter: Check out Mickey’s #SundaySelfie! Share your #Disney themed selfie for a chance to win free admission to Magic Kingdom (Shortened link to contest instructions where Mickey’s photo is featured as image header.)

Monday, August 18:

Facebook: Ask the Disney Parks Moms Panel questions you have about your next trip to Magic Kingdom. Moms helping moms on this Magical Mom Monday! http://bit.ly/W7ZouR

Twitter: Ask the Disney Parks Moms Panel questions you about your next trip to Magic Kingdom#MagicalMomMonday #DisneySMMoms http://bit.ly/W7ZouR

Tuesday, August 19:

Facebook: With Memory Maker, your whole family can be in the picture! Save $50 when you buy in advance! http://bit.ly/1cQ5bbT

Memory Maker

Twitter: With Memory Maker, your whole family can be in the picture! Save $50 when you buy in advance! #magicalmemories http://bit.ly/1cQ5bbT

Wednesday, August 20:

Facebook: Planning a trip to the Magic Kingdom? My Disney Experience makes it easy to manage your plans http://bit.ly/1a4hHRV

My Disney Experience

Twitter: Planning a trip to the Magic Kingdom? My #Disney Experience makes it easy to manage your plans http://bit.ly/1a4hHRV

Thursday, August 21:

Facebook: Do you have a Throwback Thursday photo with Mickey Mouse ears on? We want to see it!

Twitter: Have an old photo tucked away of you wearing Mickey Mouse ears? We want to see it #TBThursday

Mickey Ears

Friday, August 22:

Facebook: Beat the summer heat with a trip to the ice cream parlor on Main Street, U.S.A. at the Magic Kingdom

Twitter: One way to beat #summer heat – A trip the the #icecream parlor

Ice Cream Parlor

Saturday, August 23:

Facebook: Twinkling floats light up the lagoon this evening. For times and locations to see the Electrical Water Pageant visit http://bit.ly/1dXN7Ku

Water Parade

Twitter: Twinkling floats light up the lagoon. Times & locations: http://bit.ly/1dXN7Ku

Sunday, August 24:

Facebook: Last weeks Sunday Selfie winner was <First Name>! Post your Disney themed selfie and you could win free admission to Magic Kingdom! (Include shortened link to the updated contest page with most recent winners and rules. Link will include photo of last week’s winner.)

Twitter: <First name> was last weeks #SundaySelfie winner! Tweet your #Disney themed selfie for a chance to win free admission to Magic Kingdom! (Include shortened link to the updated contest page with most recent winners and rules.)

Monday, August 25:

Facebook: It’s another Magical Mom Monday and we want to hear from you! What’s your #1 tip for other moms visiting Magic Kingdom with their children for the first time?

Twitter: Us #MagicalMoms have to stick together. What’s your #1 tip for a mother traveling to Magic Kingdom with her children for the first time

Tuesday, August 26:

Facebook: Looking for lodging to complete your stay and rest your head – Here’s a list of resorts at the Magic Kingdom http://bit.ly/1wgbm07

Twitter: No trip to the Magic Kingdom is complete without a stay in one of our many magical resorts http://bit.ly/1wgbm07

Wednesday, August 27:

Facebook: Happy Hump Day! Have you made your Labor Day weekend plans yet? How about a trip to the Magic Kingdom to for a ride on Aladdin’s Magic Carpet and more!

Twitter: Happy #HumpDay Have you made your #LaborDay weekend plans yet? How about a trip to Magic Kingdom

Aladdin's Magic Carpet

Thursday, August 28:

Facebook: Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Country Bear Jamboree…what was your favorite ride or attraction as a child? Share your Throwback Thursday favorites!

Country Bear Jamboree

Twitter: #TBT What was your favorite ride or attraction as a child? Splash Mountain? Thunder Mountain? Mr.Toad’s Wild Ride? Country Bear Jamboree?

Friday, August 29:

Facebook: Enjoy a spectacular display of fireworks narrated by Disney characters this evening at 10:00pm at the Magic Kingdom

Twitter: Enjoy spectacular fireworks narrated by your favorite #Disney characters tonight at 10pm

Firework spectacular at Magic Kingdom

Saturday, August 30:

Facebook (Poll) – Question: What’s your favorite Magic Kingdom whimsical Land? Answer selections: Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Main Street USA.

Twitter: Visit Magic Kingdom’s 6 lands – Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Main Street USA. Tweet us your fav!

Sunday, August 31:

AM/Early Afternoon Post

Facebook: Submit your Disney themed Sunday Selfie today and you could win free admission to Magic Kingdom for Labor Day! (Include shortened link to contest rules.)

Twitter: Submit your #Disney themed #SundaySelfie today and you could win free admission to Magic Kingdom for #LaborDay (Include shortened link to contest rules.)

PM Post

Facebook: Begin your Labor Day at the Magic Kingdom with a magical welcome! Opening ceremony occurs tomorrow at 8:40am!

Twitter: Begin your #LaborDay at the Magic Kingdom with a magical welcome! Ceremony begins at 8:40am tomorrow.

Opening Ceremonies

In Your Words 8

Industry-Related Social Network: Insurance

As mentioned in lecture and in the assigned article, Industry-Specific Social Networking: Fad or Future?, LinkedFA.com is a social network for financial and insurance professionals. As Marketing Coordinator for an insurance agency, and a licensed Customer Representative, I have selected this particular industry-related social network to review.

Note: Upon further research for this assignment, it is apparent that what was LinkedFA is now FA Today.

FA Today

About FA Today

FA Today is an online community primarily for Independent Financial Advisors (IFAs, also known as FAs – Financial Advisors) that tailors news, content, learning resources and tools customized for each individual IFA. FA Today was created to provide IFAs and other related industry professionals, such as those in the insurance industry, a centralized community compliant with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). FA Today’s intent is to provide resources, save time and increase relevancy and effectiveness.

It is critical for financial advisors to stay up to date on regulations and financial products, as well as other trends and business practices, in order to create a thriving career. Based on users’ profiles, FA today delvers content in a collaborative management platform. FA today aggregates over 100 industry related sources, including media, respected industry blogs, financial institution content and other related sources. Members’ ability to comment, vote and rate material allows for an interactive environment.

FA Today is unique in that it validates all members through their industry licenses. According to the FINRA regulations, a social network profile that includes an advisor’s professional affiliation is treated as advertising, meaning that it is subject to a regulatory compliance review prior to publication (Carr, June 2011).


 Review of FA Today

Based on my personal user experience I would rank FA Today poorly. Not only had I never heard of the network, but neither had my superior, who I would classify as a relatively techy guy that is in tune with industry news and resources. While setting up a profile to attempt to learn more about the network, I found the experience to be anything but user friendly and wasn’t even able to update some of my generic profile information. Additionally, it has been days since I notified support about this issue and I have heard anything back.

While researching about the platform, many articles dated back to 2010-2012. While it appears there may have been some buzz about the social platform at that time, there doesn’t appear to be much hype about it currently. Although the platform sets itself apart by validating professionals based on their license number, it doesn’t facilitate what’s most important to their industry – relationship building. While I am not a financial advisor, and cannot attest to the regulations imposed upon them, I believe the uncertainty about FA Today’s audience is particularly confusing.


 Who can use FA Today?

According to the article LinkedFA responds, in which the CEO was interviewed, Linked FA/FA Today was designed to provide “a more collaborative and frequent method for financial advisors to communicate with their current clients that is more private and secure than sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. Network building can be achieved by inviting prospects and via referrals (Janowski, 2010).”

Let’s pause for a moment – I’m already confused. As previously stated, and reported on the FA Today website (image show below), users must be validated through their professional licenses.

FA Today - Validation

How would my prospects create an account, and more importantly WHY? There appears to be no incentive for prospects and referral sources to create accounts.


 In my opinion, FA Today is not a strong platform for social networking.

While FA Today may be beneficial for receiving the most up to date customized information, it is not conducive for relationship building.

Given the advertising regulations previously stated, I would find it highly unlikely that FA Today would be authorized to use proximity marketing. If anything, it may be possible that other FA’s can utilize it to connect with one another; however I am unsure how beneficial that would be to them. Additionally, I do not believe there is allowance for integration with other social platforms, as this was the whole reason behind creating LinkedFA.


What’s the alternative?

The challenge for investment firms is to find ways of allowing their networks of local representatives to participate in social media without violating the rules of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). For example, if an advisor accepts an endorsement on his LinkedIn profile that could be considered a violation of a law. (Carr, May 2011)

In an industry built strongly on relationships, financial advisors’ ability to leverage the power of social media to build and maintain relationships legally is invaluable. While I don’t believe FA Today is the answer, I do think Socialware, and other similar software systems may be getting closer.

Socialware

Due to the unique nature of this industry and the regulations imposed upon it, the answer may not be a separate social platform, but a software that allows for the use of today’s most popular platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn….afterall, that’s where all the people are.

Socialware has become a trusted technology partner, serving over 160 of the leading businesses in the United States. Socialware provides the most advanced industry software and services for companies to securely and compliantly market through social media, and to generate business through relationships with customers and prospects on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.


Resources

Carr, D. May 2, 2011. Helping Financial Advisors With Social Media Compliance Hazards. Retrieved from http://www.networkcomputing.com/networking/helping-financial-advisors-with-social-media-compliance-hazards/d/d-id/1097491

Carr, D. June 1, 2011. LinkedFA Offers Social Network For Financial Advisors. Retrieved from http://www.informationweek.com/enterprise/linkedfa-offers-social-network-for-financial-advisors/d/d-id/1098062

Janowski, D. April 16, 2010. LinkedFA responds. Retreived from http://www.investmentnews.com/article/20100416/BLOG02/100419901

MMC 5006 Mid-Term Project

Constant Contact

Social Media Channel: Email Marketing

PREZI Link: http://prezi.com/mmm5dvu7jggm/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

Target Market: Small businesses, nonprofits and start-up companies.

History & Growth

Constant Contact TimelineConstant Contact was founded as “Roving Software” in 1995 in Brookline, Massachusetts. At the time, email was primarily viewed as a means of communication amongst friends online. However, the company founders believed it had potential to become a powerful marketing tool for small businesses, allowing them to somewhat level the playing field of bigger corporations.

By 2005, Constant Contact had grown to over 50,000 customers and only two years later over 100,000. In 2007 Constant Contact added online surveys to its line of products, and event marketing in 2009.

By 2009 Constant Contact had opened a second location in Loveland, Colorado, followed by additional offices in San Francisco and the United Kingdom. With this growth came the introduction of new products (Social Campaigns, SaveLocal, and Single Platform), as well as an increase in the level of support and customer service. Constant Contact added online chat, additional coaching, and local classes for face to face learning, just to name a few.

In 2014, the Toolkit was introduced as an all-in-one marketing solution. As of May 2014, Constant Contact has grown to to encompass over 600,000 small organizations. First quarter financial results for 2014 reported an increase of 15.6% revenue from the first quarter results of 2013, growing from $68.2 million in 2013 to $78.9 million in 2014.

 


What does Constant Contact do?

Constant Contact is an email marketing platform utilized to create and disseminate email marketing campaigns. There are both standard campaign options and campaign “plus” options. The standard types of campaigns that are capable of being created are: newsletters, announcements, business letters, press releases, event announcements and feedback/review emails. Plus Campaigns allows for the creation of more advanced campaign types, such as promotions, registration and payment for events, local deals, Facebook promotions, trackable coupons, donations, surveys and polls.


Why is email marketing important?

The following statistics have been provided to display the value of email marketing as a social channel. While many of these statistics can be found in the below infographics (which you can click on to locate the source and enlarge), I have included a few bullet points for ease of reading:

  • Number of email accounts worldwide = 3.3 billion (Social networking accounts = 2.7 billion)
  • Email is often the first thing people check and they check it multiple times per day.
  • Email is the most dominant way of sharing information.
  • Email is the preferred method of commercial communication by 74% of adults online.
  • It gets a better response: The average direct mail response rate is 1-2%, while the average email marketing campaign averages a 20-30% open rate.

Email is not dead

The State of Email Marketing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


How and why does email marketing work?

While the statistics are helpful and provide valid, concrete information, you are probably still wondering, how can email marketing help MY small business? (Furgison, 2014)

  • Email keeps your business at top of mind (i.e. newsletters, holidays, etc.).
  • Establish authority (i.e. industry news, product use tips, etc.)
  • Establish and nurture relationships through email (i.e. welcome email, happy birthday, testimonials, etc.)
  • Email marketing can increase sales (i.e. new product emails and promotions).
  • Improve retention (i.e. reminder to reorder).

Getting Started with Constant Contact

Getting started with Constant Contact does not require an initial commitment, as there is a free trial option. To create your first campaign you can choose from one of the many pre-designed templates or have the in-house professional service team assist with creating a custom design. In addition to design, the Constant Contact staff is more than willing to help walk you through the steps for uploading your contacts and sending your first email.

Creating Your First Email Campaign with Constant ContactFor more detailed information on creating and sending your first campaign, Constant Contact has created a user friendly PDF guide: Creating Your First Email Campaign with Constant Contact, A step-by-step guide for first time email marketers.

Pricing is dependant on the type of campaign package you choose and the number of contacts in your account. Constant Contact Pricing

 

 


Features of Constant Contact

In addition to the variety of campaign types, Constant Contact also offers the ability to store and maintain multiple contact lists and information. Contact lists can be segmented and assigned to aid in organization. Additionally, Constant Contact offers multiple resources and tools for growing your contact list. In addition to Constant Contact’s 60 Ways to Grow Your Email List, they also offer a desktop tool designed to add and update contacts directly from your computer, as well as apps such as iCapture (for iPad or Android) and Shoeboxed, which imports information directly from business cards.

Constant Contact also offers the ability to track email responses and creates easy to read reports. Detailed, real-time tracking shows you who has opened your emails, who has clicked through, forwarded, purchased items, registered for events, redeemed offers and more.

In 2014 the Constant Contact Toolkit was created as an all-in-one online marketing platform designed to bring together the tools needed to drive repeat customers and reach new ones. Toolkit combines new and existing elements of Constant Contact making it easier for small businesses to improve their marketing and achieve their individual business goals. Constant Contact CEO, Gail Goldman, elaborates on the features and benefits of Toolkit, including the ability to plug Google Analytics into Toolkit.


Constant Contact’s Integration with Social Channels

Like many email marketing companies, Constant Contact allows for the addition of social sharing buttons to campaigns. This allows email recipients to easily find and follow your company on various social media platforms. Social Sharing Buttons

A share bar, which is located at the top of your email just below the name, subject line and reply email, can also easily be added to allow email recipients to easily share your content with their friends and family via social media.

Share Bar

Constant Contact offers the ability to post campaigns to social networks using Simple Share, which publishes a link to your email, making it easily accessible directly from the web.

Simple Share

Images from Facebook and Instagram are also capable of being accessed directly through Constant Contact and utilized in campaigns.

Not only does Constant Contact enable integration with social media platforms directly, but they have also partnered with Hootsuite to allow users to monitor their campaigns through their dashboard. Additionally, if you utilize WordPress for your website, the Constant Contact WordPress plugin allows you to integrate your Constant Contact account with your website. Benefits of integrating your account with your website include easy email sign-up, the ability to build and design forms, promote events and receive additional analytic reporting.

Why social integration is important:

  • From June 2010 to August 2011, small businesses and nonprofits  that combined email marketing with social media marketing saw faster list growth, larger list size, and higher click-through rates than those only using email. (Constant Contact infographic)
  • Emails that include social sharing buttons have a 158% higher click-through rate (Edgecomb, 2013).
  • Constant Contact emails that included the Constant Contact’s Facebook Join My Mailing List application resulted in 1 million unique addresses added. (Constant Contact infographic)

Constant Contact is Mobile Friendly

Did you know….38% of emails are now opened on mobile devices, yet 63% of Americans will close an email not optimized for mobile (Edgecomb, 2013). If your company participates in email marketing, it must be mobile friendly! If that’s not enough to convince you, according to Edgecomb’s article, 64% of “decision-makers” read their emails via mobile.

Not only does Constant Contact offer mobile-friendly templates, but they also offer the ability to create email campaigns directly from your mobile device. The Toolkit app provides the ability to create and manage campaigns directly from your mobile device.


Effective Practices & Enhancements

As a Constant Contact user, I can attest to their exceptional level of customer service. Not only is the Constant Contact team responsive, but they are also polite and extremely helpful.

For a company geared toward online communication, you may expect them to be less responsive by phone, however this is not at all the case. While they do offer many helpful online resources, such as their blog, they also offer live classes and training in addition to webinars and other online training and educational opportunities.


Resources

Collier, A. September 4, 2013. 4 Tools to Help You Integrate Your Social Media and Email Marketing. Retrieved from http://blogs.constantcontact.com/fresh-insights/integrate-social-media/

Constant Contact, http://www.constantcontact.com.

Constant Contact, Inc. May 1, 2014. Constant Contact Announces First Quarter 2014 Financial Results. Retrieved from http://investor.constantcontact.com/releasedetail.cfm?releaseid=844694

Constant Contact Newsroom. April 23, 2014. New Constant Contact Study Links Multi-Channel Marketing to Small Business Success. Retrieved from http://news.constantcontact.com/press-release/new-constant-contact-study-links-multi-channel-marketing-small-business-success

Constant Contact Newsroom. N.D. The State of Email Marketing (infographic). Retrieved from http://news.constantcontact.com/image/infographic/state-email-marketing?cc=SM_PIN_ConstantContact

Edgecomb, C. July 30, 2014. 25 Compelling Statistics About the Importance of Email Marketing. Retrieved from http://www.impactbnd.com/blog/25-compelling-statistics-about-the-importance-of-email-marketing

Effective Student Marketing. N.D. Email is not Dead. Here’s Proof [INFORGRAPHIC]. Retrieved from http://effectivestudentmarketing.com/press/email-not-dead-heres-proof-infographic/

Furgison, L. April 30, 2014. How Email Marketing Helps Your Small Business. Retrieved from http://www.verticalresponse.com/blog/email-marketing-helps-your-business/

RI WebGurus. November 29, 2012. How to create an email campaign in Constant Contact. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbNKkVya2rI

WordPress.org. Constant Contact for WordPress. Retrieved from https://wordpress.org/plugins/constant-contact-api/