University of Florida Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI), Master of Science in Entrepreneurship (MSE)

Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI) at the University of Florida

Master of Science in Entrepreneurship (MSE)

The Master of Science in Entrepreneurship (MSE) program through the University of Florida is one of the nation’s premier graduate entrepreneurship experiences. The program is not parallel to typical business programs. The stimulating, experiential curriculum is designed with the entrepreneur in mind, and is intended to inspire, fund and launch the students’ ventures. The program is designed to be completed in one year, and consists of 36-credits. As of Spring of 2015, there will be an online option available, and according to Program Director, Laura Johnson, the timeline for completion is capable of being made flexible.

Target Audience: This integrated marketing campaign is intended to recruit applicants for the Spring 2016 semester. The target audience for the program includes undergraduate majors “from Finance to Fine Arts”. While no work experience is required, it is of the belief that having more seasoned individuals with a 2-5 year professional background may be most beneficial to the program as a whole and the peers within it. While the MSE program is launching an online component for the Spring 2015 semester that does not require students to step foot on campus, it is my personal belief as a Gainesville resident, and after performing further research, that our city provides a unique environment to facilitate the success of entrepreneurial ideas/ventures. For this reason, as well as others that will be covered in more detail throughout the following sections, I have chosen to market to young professional, college graduates in the local (Gainesville) market.

Strengths: The MSE program was awarded #1 National Model Graduate Entrepreneurship program in 2013 by the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship. In 2012,  the program was awarded the Excellence in Specialty Entrepreneurship Education by the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers. In addition to the programs accreditations, the Academic Director of the Entrepreneurship Program, Dr. Michael Morris, is a leader within the entrepreneurial education industry and has been an asset to the program since joining in August of 2013.

Opportunities: The support from the Gainesville community to facilitate growth of the entrepreneurial movement within the university and the city as a whole is exceptionally optimistic, and provides positive opportunities for program growth and success.


 

Why use an IMC strategy?

Grooveshark,  Feathr, MonkeyWish…all are startup companies that incubated right here in Gainesville. What’s one thing all these companies have in common? They’re all tech related, in fact many entrepreneurial concepts involve technological advancements of some form. Entrepreneurial candidates for the MSE program can be found on social media, which is why an IMC plan including platforms such as Facebook and Twitter is essential to the program’s growth.

Integrated marketing and social media use is about building relationships. Not only can these platforms be used to find candidates, but also maintain relationships with alumni and build online relationships that enhance search engine optimization. As these companies grow to become more successful and increase their presence on the internet, the MSE program should leverage these relationships by including features about these Gainesville entrepreneurial success stories congratulating them on social media.

According to an Entrepreneur.com article written by Toren, “a solid marketing plan is key for any successful entrepreneur’s product.” Toren expands upon various social media marketing tools, within his article such as Hootsuite, $99Social (“created by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs”) and Hubspot.

Even the greatest entrepreneurial ideas require marketing of some form. Many of which rely on social media. In a sense, the MSE program as a whole is rather innovative itself. What better way to market than on the same platform your potential candidates, program graduates, and target market of entrepreneurs are located.

While IMC plans can incorporate more traditional forms of marketing, the approach for the MSE program will primarily entail social media and internet, simply because of the target market’s use of these platforms. The messaging is to remain consistent across across all platforms. The goals for the IMC campaign are as follows:

  • Build a larger online presence through connections with successful Gainesville startup companies that have a significant social following.
  • Engage with local entrepreneurial geared programs and community organizations.
  • Strengthen recruitment, and thus increase enrollment, by creating a buzz about the program locally and online.

Seeing as the opportunity for the program is geared toward the city of Gainesville and its supportive environment, social engagement with local organizations is essential for building relationships online and within the community.


 

Conclusion

While I understand there is a limited amount of financial resources and staff to maintain the various social media accounts for the MSE program, I would recommend exploring social media management platforms, such as Hootsuite, that allow you to post on multiple platforms and schedule posts in advance. This would make repurposing Facebook content for Twitter easier, and would make posting to the two additional recommended platforms, Google+ and LinkedIn, easier as well.

In addition to creating Google+ and LinkedIn profiles, I would also recommend using email marketing, not only as a follow-up for the career showcase event, but for a more regular means of communication with potential program candidates, current students and alumni. All email campaigns should be mobile responsive, as all platforms should be (i.e. website, blog, etc.).

The CEI/MSE blog could improve drastically from an SEO standpoint. Tags and categories should be utilized and content should include entrepreneurial tips, success stories about Gainesville startups (as shown scrolling on the bottom of the MSE website), appropriate guest blogs, Gainesville news relevant to city’s support of innovation. In fact I would recommend setting up Google alerts for Gainesville start-up companies, in addition to following them online to receive the most up to date information.

Increasing engagement begins with listing. Below are some Gainesville organizations I would recommend finding on social media, following, engaging and sharing content. This relationship will likely become reciprocal, and they too will also share your content and help create a buzz about the MSE program.


 

Resource

Toren, A. (April 18, 2014). “3 Social Media Marketing Plans for Every Startup Budget.” Retrieved from http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/232798

 

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Analyzing Facebook & Email Analytics for Company ABC (In Your Words 12)

*Please note, this blog post is strictly for educational purposes. 

Company Background

Company ABC is a health-oriented entity in the Central Florida area. In addition to a Facebook page, they also  send out a bi-weekly e-newsletter and have accounts on Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube. 


Facebook Analytics for Company ABC (April 28, 2013 – May 25, 2013)

(*However some information provided about individuals posts is outside of this timeframe.)

ABC FB Overview

As of May 25, 2013 company ABC has 880 Facebook likes and almost a 40% increase in weekly total reach. Facebook “reach” is the terminology used indicating the number of people who have seen your posts. 

ABC FB Reach Demographics

The demographics of the individuals reached by company ABC’s Facebook are predominantly female (60.3%) and mostly between the ages of 25-34, followed by 35-44 years of age. The breakdown of the primary male and female demographics groups is as follow:

Gender Age Percentage of Reach
Female 25-34 28.6%
Female 35-44 13.5%
Male 25-34 13.5%
Male 35-44 9.7%

*Females 25-44 make up 42.1% of the company’s reach, and males age 25-44 make up 23.2%

The strong majority of the individuals reached by company ABC are English speaking (5,027), followed by Spanish speaking (428). Given that the company is located in the Central Florida area, it is not surprising that Orlando (1,634), Celebration (252) and Kissimmee (243) are the three cities with the highest reach.

Also by no surprise, the demographics of the individual “Talking About” company ABC coincide with the demographics of the individuals reached. Females age 25-34 are talking about company ABC most, followed by females age 35-44, males age 25-34 then males 35-44 years of age. These individuals are also primarily English speaking and in the Central Florida area (Orlando, Celebration and Kissimmee, respectively).

Talking about this - Demographics and How While the actual details of the content posted during this timeframe are not viewable, some general information can be deduced from the information provided.

ABC FB Posts

The first post received the highest level of virality. Given that the content of the post was geared toward a national observance, National Cancer Survivors, it is not surprising that this topic was considered more viral than the others. Not only was it an observance acknowledged by an entire nation, but also a topic that affects many – whether it be yourself, a family member or friend. While the reach of this post was relatively low in comparison to others, there were 7 engaged users and 6 people were talking about it. Other posts to take note of include “Join in some…” (5/28/13) and “Join us tomorrow morning in the…” (5/19/13). The post on May 28th reached 428 people, had 18 engaged users and 5 people “Talking about this.” The second post has a larger reach of 509 and an increased number of people “Talking about this” (10), but less engaged users (13). Of the eight posts for which data was provided, these were the three most significant.

How you reached people (no paid)

It would appear there were no paid posts during the time frame under review. Given that the individual post details are from May 27, 2013 – June 2, 2013 and the insights information is from April 28, 2013 – May 25, 2014, it is difficult to determine a definite correlation between posts and traffic. Also with limited information on each post, further analysis is also somewhat undeterminable (i.e. what was the exact wording of the full post, what was linked to, what images were used, etc.). However, what we do see is a spike on May 21, 2013, which is when the bi-weekly e-newsletter was sent out.

Visits to your page

*Note: The stats from this email are further evaluated below.


Email

The email statistics provided by Bronto are shown below. Given that we do not know the content of the email and if there was a call to action to generate revenue, this portion of the information cannot be further evaluated.

Email stats 

There were a total of 2,624 emails sent out for the May 21, 2013 campaign, 2,606 were deliverable and 661 were opened, making the open rate 25.4%.

According to MailChimp, the average open rate for a health and fitness related email campaign is 24.27%, thus making company ABC’s open rate slightly above average. Even more impressive, MailChimp claims the average click rate for health and fitness campaigns is 3.64% and the average soft bounce is 0.83%.

Company ABC’s click rate was far more impressive at 10.9%, and their soft bounce rate was better than average at 0.2%. Overall the email campaign statistics appear to be better than average. 


Improvements, Other Channels & Future Campaigns

In the future, I would continue to utilize posts similar to “Join in some…” (5/28/13) and “Join us tomorrow morning in the…” (5/19/13) posts, as they appeared to receive the most level of engagement.

I would also highly recommend targeting your content to the most dominant demographic – females between the ages of 25-44. This may include female related health-oriented posts, observances of awareness days more geared toward women (i.e. Breast Cancer, etc). Given that a strong portion of this age group of women are likely also mothers, health related tips for pregnant women and young children may also be worth exploring.

While I do think company ABC should also utilize their other social media channels, such as Twitter and YouTube, I believe they would receive the most positive results from the utilization of their Pinterest account given the demographics of their audience and the dominant amount of female Pinterest users.

Although Google+ may not seem like the most active platform for company ABC’s target market, I would still recommend, at the very least, completing an account.  Since the company already has a YouTube account (which is owned by Google), it would be wise to complete a profile on Google+ because of how these two platforms are increasingly being integrated into one another. Additionally, it is wise to be on Google+ for search engine optimization purposes.

In addition to utilizing Twitter as a teaser for Facebook posts and YouTube as a platform for expansion on popular posts, it is also critical that all of these channels are integrated. Not only should each platform contain a link to the other platforms but they should also have a consistent look, messaging and tone. In addition to linking the various social media accounts, they should also include an email sign up on their social media pages, and include links to their social media pages within their enewsletters. This will allow them to grow their social media followers and email list.

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/

 

 

 

IMC Brand Review: SHAPE Magazine, Food Network and SELF Magazine

SHAPE Magazine 

Facebook: 2,121,577 likes

SHAPE Magazine on Facebook

Twitter: 331K followers

SHAPE Magazine on Twitter

Instagram: 74,149 followers

SHAPE Magazine on Instagram

Google+: 273,006 followers

SHAPE Magazine on Google+

Pinterest: 265, 329 followers

SHAPE Magazine on Pinterest

YouTube: 3,304 subscribers

SHAPE MAgazine on YouTube

With the exception of YouTube, SHAPE Magazine has consistent imagery across all of the platforms listed above. SHAPE’s July/August 2014 cover girl, Jillian Michaels, is featured on the cover photo of nearly all of the social channels (with the exception of Instagram which has rotating images). The current magazine cover that features Jillian is used as the profile picture/icon for all of these platforms. However, SHAPE Magazine’s YouTube Channel is behind the times to say the least. With a bland template cover photo and a dated image of a mystery woman as the profile picture, Shape Magazine could greatly improve its presence on YouTube by updating it’s look to be more consistent with its other social platforms, and by of course producing content more regularly.

SHAPE Magazine’s messaging is consistent across platforms (again, with the exception of YouTube). Similar content is posted on all of the sites, some of which link back to the Shape.com website.  Content is up to date, with posts occurring several times a day. In fact, on the day that I evaluated their activity, it appears they post almost hourly during morning to evening hours on their most prominent platforms. With content that would be easy to produce videos from (i.e. how to exercises, etc.), Shape Magazine has not leveraged the power of YouTube, and last posted videos around a year ago.

Shape utilizes hashtags on the appropriate social media platforms; however, they appear to be utilized more on Instagram than on Twitter. They are also used on Google+ in regards to the general subject matter of the post (i.e #yoga). While I believe SHAPE could benefit from increasing the use of hashtags on Twitter, they certainly realize the importance of hashtags, and are making an effort to create their own trend with the #caughtbeinghealthy contest.

While Shape does a great job of driving individuals to their website from the various social platforms (which is the ultimate goal), the social channels could be better integrated with one another. Shape has successfully integrated their content across social media and has done a good job of posting regularly (again, with the exception of YouTube) with consistent imagery and messaging to maintain their brand. Let’s face it though, some platforms are simply better for some types of posts than other, so not all content should always be shared across all platforms. This also gives people a reason to jump around to your other social sharing sites. Shape has an app on their Facebook page that links to their Pinterest account, and a Twitter icon on their Pinterest; however, other than that, the other channels are not linked (even their Google+ and YouTube are not linked) to one another in a way that is easily visible to the user. While I believe Shape has done a good job integrating social media into their website and utilizes it well with consistent imagery and messaging, they could also improve upon their IMC approach by updating all accounts, linking across platforms and giving users a reason to follow them on multiple channels.


 

Food Network

Facebook: 5,260,670 likes

Food Network on Facebook

Twitter: 2.23M followers

Food Network on Twitter

Instagram: 564,957 followers

Food Network on Instagram

Google+: 4,140,694 followers

Food Network on Google+

Pinterest: 326,328 followers

Food Network on Pinterest

YouTube: 123,180 subscribers

Food Network on YouTube

Food Network has a consistent summer look across all platforms. Food Network is wise to use their easily readable and recognizable logo as the profile picture for all of the above listed platforms. While the cover photos for Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are the only identical images, the rest of the cover photo images coordinate with a summer grilling feel.

Content on all platforms is up to date and consistently posted. The day I evaluated the platforms, there were multiple posts per day, and on the most prominent channels approximately every three hours from morning to evening. Food Network does a great job a posting regularly but not too much, and also sticking within their current theme, which appears to be summery recipes, and posting across platforms but also not posting everything, everywhere, all the time.  While the messaging is consistent, it is not necessarily identical.

Food Network utilizes hashtags on Google+, Twitter and Instagram but could benefit from increasing the use of them on Instagram in particular. Much of the material posted links back to their main website, which is the ultimate goal; however, the channels are not entirely integrated with one another. The Google+ and YouTube accounts are linked, as they should be, and videos are uploaded very regularly, as you may expect from a television network. Facebook and Twitter icons are also located on the Food Network YouTube account. The Food Network Pinterest does have an icon for Twitter, but other than that, the other platforms do not promote the other social channels. Again, the traffic is driven back to the Food Network website, which is the most beneficial, and the website promotes all channels. While Food Network does a good job with consistent imagery and content across channels and directing traffic back to their website, they could improve upon their integration across channels.


 

SELF Magazine

Facebook: 1,071,938 likes

SELF Magazine on Facebook

Twitter: 290K followers

SELF Magazine on Twitter

Instagram: 79,642 followers

SELF Magazine on Instagram

Google+: 305,410 followers

SELF Magazine on Google+

Pinterest: 296,397 followers

SELF Magazine on Pinterest

YouTube: 19,344 subscribers

SELF Magazine on YouTube

SELF Magazine has a consistent look across almost all of the above listed platforms. Similar to SHAPE Magazine, they also use the image of their current cover as the profile picture for the majority of their accounts. SELF Magazine’s cover girl is presently Ellie Goulding, and more casual photos of her are pictured on the cover photos of SELF Magazine’s Facebook, Twitter and Google+ accounts. While Instagram appears to be the only account that uses another cover image as its profile picture, the current cover is also featured as a rotating image within the Instagram cover photo. While the cover photo for the SELF Magazine YouTube page is not Ellie, it is an image that fits with the general look – bright, fitness related and clean. 

All social channels are updated regularly, daily for most and every 1-3 hours for some more popular platforms. SELF Magazine’s Google+ and YouTube are appropriately linked to one another and they do a great job of uploading videos regularly to their YouTube channel, which can often be a more difficult and time consuming platform to keep current, especially for a publication, that may not focus as much on videos.

All information is consistent and relevant and they do a great job of using hashtags on all appropriate platforms, but could increase the use of them on Twitter. They actually even use a hashtag in the description of their Pinterest account (#Drop10Diet). Some social platforms are linked to one another  – Instagram and Pinterest are featured on Facebook, Twitter and Facebook are featured on Pinterest, and their YouTube cover photo image has icons for Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. While they could of course include links to all platforms on every channel, they have done a great job of incorporating a strong majority of them on most channels.

Overall, SELF Magazine has displayed the strongest IMC approach of the three companies evaluated. While there is always room to improve (i.e. integrating all channels, using more hashtags, etc.), SELF Magazine has done a great job of keeping all channels up to date, using consistent imagery and content, and linking back to their website.

The Truth About Healthy Living

Please note: This blog post has been created as an assignment for MMC5006

Do what you love. Love what you do.I think it goes without saying that people that are passionate about what they do often are more successful, especially in regards to communications professionals. Take Yoga Girl for example, she clearly loves yoga and has gained notoriety for herself through the use of content communities, such as Instagram where she has over 850,000 followers! That’s more than Shape, Fitness, and Women’s Health magazine combined!

So what gives? Why can’t reputable magazines about health and fitness compete with the Yoga Girls of the word? My guess…magazines aren’t people. People want the TRUTH about healthy living. How to really balance it between work, play and family. Women want to follow someone they can relate to and who shares true transparency. While the “How to lose the last 5 pounds” articles and the fitness routines are still popular, there’s room for improvement in the marketing strategies of these publications.

That’s where I come in. I’m not a magazine editor. I’m not obsessive over one particular type of fitness and I don’t eliminate anything indefinitely from my diet.

I’m passionate about healthy living, I like trying new things, and while nutritious food and fitness do excite me, I am also human.

My days are 24 hours long (just like yours) and I juggle a full-time job, a marriage, a home, and now a master’s degree. While I think the concept of doing what you love is important, I also believe we only have one life and one body, and we should make every effort to live our lives in a way that we are proud of and feel good about.

So who am I, and why should I be a representative of your company?

I believe in healthy living, and that it’s not just limited to “eating clean” and pushing your body to the absolute limit.  I also strongly believe in being realistic, making small improvements and taking care of yourself form the inside out.

I believe in eating better to feel better…not to lose weight, or because some article told you it’s right or wrong. Learn to listen to your body. It all comes full circle. If you feel great it shows, and you’re often able to put your best foot forward.

I believe strong is beautiful. While I can’t claim to look like any of the girls in this video, I can tell you I’m proud of the fitness level I have achieved and have every intention to maintain or improve upon it. I enjoy setting goals and while I believe in pushing myself, I also believe in giving my body the appropriate amount of rest when necessary.

Now you know me…but why hire me?

Here is a a sample of some of my interests that I have created in the form of a Pinterest board. However, if you REALLY want to get to know me (which is what this is all about), this is a link to some healthy food and fitness interests, articles, and ideas on my personal Pinterest account. Not only will this give you a sneak peak about me, but this is also intended to showcase my use of a content community (i.e. Pinterest).

In addition to the above characteristics I have shared I also love connecting with people and am intrigued by how social media has changed the way we connect and who we connect with. I am currently completing a Master’s program at the University of Florida with a specialization in social media. I have interned with the University of Florida strength and conditioning department for women’s athletics. Upon graduating with my Bachelor’s degree in a recreation related field, I pursued a marketing internship at the Gator Bowl Association in Jacksonville, Florida. For the last three years I have served as Marketing Coordinator for a local independent insurance agency and while I love the people I work for and building relationships through networking and social media, my passion is not necessarily insurance (however, it’s surprisingly grown on me in the last three years).

I truly believe if your passionate about what you do, it will show in your work. For a social media and communications position, individuals are challenged to find and create content on a regular basis. If you’re not passionate about what you’re researching, or what you’re writing about, it starts to become stale. I love living healthy and I love connecting with people. I’m also a very honest and open person, which I think would play into this role well.

I will keep this example brief to not take too much more of your time, but about two months after my wedding my father was told he would need quadruple bypass surgery. Being that he is my only living parent, I was scared (to say the least), but I was also angry. Angry he didn’t take better care of himself, but also enlightened about the importance of healthy living. I believe life throws us these scary situations to teach us and inspire us to make changes to live a more proactive lifestyle. While I’ve yet to be 100% successful in influencing my father to live a healthier lifestyle, I hope I can influence other individuals as your communications professional.

If hired, I look forward to sharing my life changing moments, instances of enlightenment, articles of interest and the general TRUTH about healthy living, and how an average Jane life myself balances it all.

 

Blog Study: Hands Free Mama, Skinnytaste and I Heart Organizing

 Hands Free Mama

Hands Free MamaHands Free Mama began as a recreational blog about a mother’s new found passion to put down technology and REALLY connect with her family. It has since developed into a semi-professional blog with weekly posts. The author, Rachel Macy Stafford, began blogging in December of 2010 about the concept of living “Hands Free” and published a book in 2013 elaborating on her journey. The blog is utilized to promote her book and other “Hands Free” products.

Author: Rachel Macy Stafford

Author: Rachel Macy Stafford

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The purpose of the blog is to share “breakthrough moments” throughout Stafford’s “Hands Free” journey and to spread the word about what living “Hands Free” truly means. Stafford shares about her struggles before she embarked on this journey and how her distracted life was interfering with her ability to embrace meaningful moments with her loved ones. The blog is “for anyone who wants to re-think how he or she is living (or not living) life. It’s for anyone who wants to let go of daily distractions and perfection to embrace what really matters” (Stafford).

This blog is unique because it’s not your typical mommy venting blog and home project bragging page, it’s a revolution. Don’t get me wrong, I love DIY projects and will one day likely follow mommy blogs about parenting advice; however, Stafford’s blog focuses on a more meaningful message. Stafford shares about the moments with her family she has come to appreciate more than ever as a result of the work she has done to transform her life.  The way in which Stafford lives her life and shares her experiences is what reflects the “Hands Free” brand.

When I thought back about how I heard of this blog I couldn’t remember initially, but I did know exactly what article it was that drew me in. Eventually I recalled where I saw the article and who shared it. It was shared by our wedding photographer on her personal Facebook page. You know the quote, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel?”  That quote perfectly describes my recollection of the day I found the blog and how I felt when I read it. That’s what’s so uniquely powerful about this blog. It is through social media that the Hands Free Mama blog (and revolution, if you will) has gained exposure, in addition to press releases, newspaper articles and interviews that have resulted since the release of Stafford’s book.

My biased opinion would be that this blog is successful because it encourages people like myself to reevaluate how we live our lives; however, it is also successful based on the components discussed in class. The blog has been around since 2010, is easy to subscribe to, publishes original content about once a week,  and the author participates on many social media sites (including Twitter).

Subscribe for Emails

Subscribe for emails sign-up. Social media icons shown in image of blog header at the top of this blog post.

From a search engine perspective, I believe this blog could benefit from utilizing more generic categories and tags in addition to, or possibly even in place of, what is currently being used. Many of the categories and tags are phrases familiar to the blogger, not the general public who may be searching for parenting advice and ways to better connect with their families.

Blog Categories

Blog Categories

Blog Tags

Blog Tags

While there are currently no advertisers on the site, some possibilities that may be worth considering are parenting publications or products.

 

 

 

 


Skinnytaste

Skinnytaste.com Skinnytaste.com is a blog that hosts Gina’s Skinny Recipes. Gina Homolka is the one-woman writer behind the blog, which has regular posts and is now being utilized to gain exposure for her recently published cookbook (shown below).

Skinnytaste Cookbook

Skinnytaste Cookbook

The original purpose of the blog was to marry the author’s two passions: “Great food and beautiful photography” (Homolka). What makes the blog unique are the types of recipes – they are healthy, low fat, and family-friendly. These aren’t your typical “Tuesday Taco Night” type meals. The recipes on the blog are non-traditional, eclectic and modern, such as this Zucchini Noodle Lemon-Garlic Spicy Shrimp recipe.

The brand name is Skinnytaste and the content of the blog reflects just that – healthy dishes that don’t sacrifice flavor and are both “skinny” and “tasty.”

I personally found the blog through recipe posts on Pinterest. Given their active social media presence (with over 661,000 “Likes” on Facebook), I would imagine much of the traffic is generated through social sharing. Skinnytaste has also gained exposure through featured articles, websites, etc., some of which are listed below.

Places Featured

According to the criteria from lecture, Skinnytaste is a successful blog that has been in existence since 2008 and regularly publishes original content. Skinnytaste has an active Twitter account and social media presence, as well as social sharing icons on the blog. There is also an area on the blog that allows users to subscribe to emails.

Skinnytaste on Social Media

Skinnytaste on Social Media & Email sign-up

While there are advertisers on the site and it appears to be successful, I believe the blogs organization and layout could be improved. The right side bar is extremely long, sometimes much longer than the actual content on the page being viewed, which makes for an awkward appearance.  Additionally, while there are many ways and places to search for recipes on the site (and a very cool Recipe Box feature), it seems a bit cluttered when you arrive on one of the many search pages that lists massive amounts of recipes and/or food categories.

 


I Heart Organizing

I Heart Organizing

I Heart Organizing is a semi-professional blog by Jennifer Jones. Blogs are not posted daily, but content is created consistently. While it is primarily a one-woman branded blog, there are some regular contributors which gives it somewhat of a group blog feel as well.

Meet Jen

The blogs purpose is to share ideas and how-to instructions for DIY projects and to serve as a resource for organizing ideas.  While the author did own an organizing business at one point in time and the blog was originally created to help promote her business, she now has an Etsy printable shop that is sometimes featured in various posts.

The blog is unique because of its high level of exposure and creative ideas. I Heart Organizing has been featured on HGTV, The Nate Berkus Show, Houzz and more. The name couldn’t describe the brand more simply – it’s about organizing and the posts promote tips and tricks for a tidy space.

I Heart Organizing has gained traffic through television, magazines and websites. The blog also ranks highly on search. For instance when I searched on Google for “home organizing and DIY,” I Heart Organizing appeared fourth. I Heart Organizing also has an exceptional social media presence, in fact, I first found out about it through a Pinterest post.

Google search for "home organizing and diy"

Google search for “home organizing and diy”

With original project ideas and regularly published posts, as well as, an active social media presence (including Twitter), I Heart Organizing is a successful blog.  The blog has been in existence since September of 2009 and viewers are able to sign-up for regular emails.

I Heart Organizing on Social Media

I Heart Organizing on Social Media

I Heart Organizing E-mail Sign-up

I Heart Organizing E-mail Sign-up

Although the social media icons and subscribe option are not “missing” they could be more prevalent. Users must scroll down to find the “Let’s get social” and “Subscribe” boxes, which are easy to miss amongst the multitude of advertisements. The small social sharing icons at the bottom of each blog post could benefit from being enhanced as well. While there are many advertisers and even a section on the site for potential advertisers, I don’t believe their ads should be more prevalent than the social media sites directly affiliated with the blog.

Advertise with I Heart Organizing

Advertise with I Heart Organizing