Who do you trust on social media?

Assignment: Who do you trust on social media, on any platform or combination of platforms? Focus on individuals rather than corporations. Reference some of their social media content. Why do you trust them? What behaviours do they display in their social spaces? What do they benefit from gaining your trust?

 

As I began to ponder WHO I trust on social media, I was surprised to find myself continually turning to companies rather than people. Although I was initially surprised by this, I began to realize the expectations I have in regard to companies and social media marketing. I chose to follow many of the companies, and afterall they are businesses, so would it be so wrong that they market to me? Do I love being bombard it by it ? No, and of course that’s where the self-promotion comes into play, but I’m accepting of it. Although my level of acceptance may be significantly impacted by my profession, which includes social media marketing, it did make me wonder if the formula for trust is different for companies than individuals. While I don’t consciously believe I have expectations for individuals on social media (because let’s face it, nothing is surprising anymore), I do believe businesses have somewhat of a professionalism to maintain.

Now, is that to say I don’t have hopes for how people would use social media (i.e. respectfully) – certainly, but I don’t place those expectations on them. After feeling as if I couldn’t trust anyone on Facebook as I scrolled through my feed, it hit me – a former neighbor, stay at home mom, and mother of two. I’ll refrain from using her name or screenshots of content, but as I thought about WHY I trusted her, the MORE I trusted her and reminisced about previous posts of hers.

In order to explain why I trust this woman, I must share with you my revised trust formula….well it’s really more of a modification in wording for the formula discussed in our ethics course.*

According to Steve Rayson, the formula for trust on social media is as follows:

A=Authority, H=Helpfulness, I=Intimacy, SP=Self-Promotion

A=Authority, H=Helpfulness, I=Intimacy, SP=Self-Promotion

While I do believe the formula created by Rayson would produce relatively the same results, I would use different wording and factor in consistency. Although I don’t know that the mathematical side of the equation would make sense, if I HAD to re-write the equation I suppose it would look like one of the two equations below:

TRUST = Authority x Compassion x Transparency x Consistency / Self-Promotion

OR

TRUST = Authority x Compassion x Transparency / Consistency – Self-Promotion

The individual whom I spoke of that I trust on social media uses Facebook as her primary platform. She doesn’t share only the positive, or gripe about everything negative. She’s transparent about both the high’s and low’s of her life. Her posts show photos of her children’s misspellings, side pony-tails her daughter has created on her (the mom’s) head, images of family members that have past and date nights with her and her husband, as well as their triumph over his battle with cancer. Her posts ooze with compassion toward her family, her new friends and those she had to part from when she moved away. She posts regularly on Facebook and is a mother, wife and simply a human being, which in my opinion gives her the authority to speak openly about life. While I believe the “self-promotion” factor is a little more difficult to factor in when it comes to individuals’ posts, particularly if they don’t work, this person doesn’t post about herself often. While her family, friends and religion are all very closely related to her, it’s not the same as posting a photo or status about herself personally.

As I thought more about how much I trust this person and how quickly we became close as neighbors, my feelings became more pronounced. I supposes that’s how I know I trust her. Not only do I believe her, which is definitionally related to trust, but I care about her. I also suppose this is why a company would want you to trust them, so that you reciprocate a certain level of compassion or care. I also can’t help but realize how my relationship with this individual off-line has influenced my feelings toward her online. Again, I suppose that’s also similar to businesses. If they promote trust online with consumers, they must also provide that same environment in their storefront or through their customer service. While I can’t say that I am connected with anyONE on social media that I haven’t interacted with outside of social (I would consider my peers and I interacting through coursework outside of social media), I would imagine it’s more difficult to start a relationship with no reputation and build trust entirely online, for both an individual or a business.

In a nutshell, I trust those individuals (and businesses) on social media that not only fit the criteria of the trust equation online, but also have a trusting relationship with them outside of social media as well.

*To my peers: For more details on why I chose to change the wording of the formula check out my reading reaction post for week three. In an effort to (somewhat) stay within the word restrictions, I have not included my detailed reasoning within this blog post.

Advertisements

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/