Photo credit: jalalspages
July is almost over - and it was a scorcher, wasn't it? Luckily, we've had a few cool things to read about social media, location-based marketing, cause marketing and PR - while staying indoors. Enjoy, and stay cool this weekend!
Posted by Kari Rippetoe at 10:57 AM | Permalink
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I recently read a post on the HubSpot Blog entitled Please Don't Start a Social Media Marketing Agency. Since social media marketing is a huge part of what we do here at Tuvel Communications, it naturally caught my attention and peaked my curiosity.
My first reaction was "Oh boy, here’s another article slamming social media marketing agencies and calling their services 'snake oil'." I’ve been seeing a lot of that lately, not only in blog posts but in discussions on LinkedIn (not to mention the infamous "Social Media Guru" video that made the rounds not too long ago). I really wasn’t sure what to expect – but the title, of course, did a good job of pulling me in.
Please do take the time to read the post and (try) to read through some of the comments posted as well, but I’ll give you the executive summary: can an agency be built on social media marketing services alone?
Many of the comments that followed had to do with what social media marketing is (a tool, a tactic), what it should be (integrated, strategic) and how it's typically offered (as a "throwaway" service by web design, advertising and PR agencies). There was also a smattering of comments from those who regarded social media marketing as simply "tweeting and hitting the 'Like' button all day." Although I didn't get to read all of the comments, the general feeling I got was that agencies offering social media marketing as a primary service had their work cut out for them in terms of proving their worth.
Here was my response (in part):
I'm of the perception that an agency can be built on social media marketing services, but to be a successful agency in that space, it all comes down to what it is offering. A robust social media marketing offering will consist of:
• strategy development
• metrics development
• integration with other marketing channels
• set-up, management and monitoring
• relationship-building with social media influencers
• possible client training
And, not to mention a valuable, clear and concise message. So yes, I truly do believe that an agency can be built on social media marketing alone – and I'm not just saying this because I work for a firm that has developed and implemented successful social media and community-building strategies for our clients. To make a successful go at it, an agency must realize that social media marketing is so much more than just Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and needs to be part of a greater whole – not the whole itself.
But that's just my opinion. What is yours?Posted by Kari Rippetoe at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)
Tuvel Communications is in the running for HubSpot's Inbound Marketer of the Month Contest - and we need your votes to win!
Voting ends at noon on Tuesday, July 27th - so vote early and often! Vote for Tuvel Communications today and spread the word! In fact, here's a tweet to help you tell your followers on Twitter:
Vote for @TuvelComms for @HubSpot's Inbound Marketer of the Month! http://ht.ly/2euO1 Pls RT! #imu #smPosted by Kari Rippetoe at 01:10 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)
Happy Friday! It's been a busy and exciting week here at Tuvel - wrapping up projects, kicking off new campaigns, seeing great results from current ones. It's always so exciting to see the fruits of our labor! Tuvel was also featured in two articles this week - from Convene Magazine and the Omnipress Blog - which are part of our weekly recommended reading list today (but don't just read them because we're featured - they are truly interesting and insightful reads)!
Finally, we leave you this week with a fond farewell...from Old Spice Guy:
Posted by Kari Rippetoe at 09:17 AM | Permalink
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Location-based services are the newest trend in social networking, and as such the big players in the space (Foursquare and Gowalla) are getting all sorts of attention and scrutiny. While many users of such services love broadcasting their whereabouts to their online friends and earning badges and titles of distinction in the process (Player Please badge, anyone?), others are a bit wary of them and their usefulness – and are especially concerned with potential privacy issues.
Businesses, on the other hand, are starting to find value of their own in using location-based services as a marketing tool. Even event marketers are starting to experiment with location-based social networking to promote a conference, specific exhibitor, or special sessions – something we did for this year's NAB Show.
The only problem is when it comes to events and conferences, services like Foursquare and Gowalla aren't quite ready for prime time. While the concept of checking in to an event or exhibitor booth in order to drive traffic and generate interest is definitely cool, the functionality is not conducive to a conference setting due to two big issues:
Location-based gaming app SCVNGR looks like it's really going places (and racking up some points at those places, too). The Google-backed start-up combines the concept of "checking in" to venues with the fun and interactivity of an old-fashioned scavenger hunt. Players discover cool new places, find fun new things to do, share their activity with friends and can even earn virtual (and sometimes real-world) rewards. Upon visiting and checking in to a venue, users of the app are required to complete a "challenge", which could range from taking a photo to something more complex. Users can rack up points for completing challenges, which could be used to win prizes.
What impressed me most about SCVNGR is the applications in a conference setting are endless and benefit not only attendees, but also exhibitors. Conferences can create custom "treks" consisting of 20-35 locations, taking people on a certain path around the conference or expo. Imagine offering this to exhibitors as a value-add to drive traffic to their booths while interacting in a fun and engaging way with attendees/prospective customers, or even using this as a way to promote certain sessions or guide people through conference tracks. You might even create a social media hub at your event with a digital "leader board" displaying attendee names and their scores, along with photos that have been taken or other media created in the process.
It's free to create places and challenges at those places, however the creation of treks (what will link all those places and challenges together into a complete, branded experience) is only available to enterprise clients of SCVNGR. With the creation of custom treks come features like the leader board, an activity screen, analytics, game design and turnkey support.
Double Dutch is really touting itself as the location-based app for events, and for good reason. It's a white-label app that is custom-built for an event – which does away with the inherent issue I mentioned above with checking in to a conference (or specific location at a conference) with Foursquare or Gowalla. This means individual booths and sessions can be built into the app for attendees to check in to within the confines of the event venue itself, and they have the option of broadcasting their conference whereabouts to only other attendees.
Double Dutch can also be used by attendees to interact with each other and at different sessions. For instance, they can use it to rate speakers and even submit questions to them via RSS. A gaming element can also be built into the app and used in much the same way as Scvngr, incentivizing attendees with custom-branded stickers for completing tasks like checking in at exhibitor booths and sessions, taking photos and even rating speakers. For those of you in exhibitor sales and marketing, these stickers can be sold to exhibitors as a way to market their presence.
Double Dutch clients can also create leader boards and have access to an analytics dashboard to monitor activity, speaker feedback and how people are engaging with the app. They can also use the Double Dutch API to connect Facebook, Twitter and blogs to the app – allowing attendees to post their whereabouts and reviews to those places if they choose. The fact that it combines the gaming element with additional ways for attendees to interact with each other and with exhibitors and speakers makes this a valuable tool for event marketers.
Double Dutch is currently available on iPhone only at the moment, but should be available across all platforms soon.
I think both of these apps have massive value to offer for event marketers and organizers – both from an attendee and exhibitor standpoint. There are costs involved in working with both Scvngr and Double Dutch, but I also think the potential for generating ROI on either one is huge, not to mention the opportunity to engage attendees directly with fun games, event networking and built-in feedback loops.
Have you used either of these apps for an event? Tell us about your experience!
Photo by Andy Henley
An ongoing dilemma for companies and organizations is defining successful online communication and outreach programs. If this is a dilemma you’re currently facing, then perhaps your online communications program is in need of a tune-up.
But, how do you know for sure? Try asking yourself some of the questions that follow:
Many communication and marketing departments define program goals before executing a campaign. Such strategic planning allows us to compare results to expectations. For example, are you trying to drive traffic to a website or event, create awareness, sell more products or services, build a house e-mail list, or perhaps raise funds? Have you assigned metrics to these goals? Maybe you want to grow an e-mail list by 10 percent, drive 500 new attendees to an event or even raise a million dollars. Preliminary numbers or even educated guestimates can provide a baseline for future efforts.
Another way to gauge success is to compare the results that your program is getting against industry standards. Typically, a grassroots online outreach campaign is executed via email, so we’re referring to metrics such as open, click-through and bounce rates. You may also measure success by the number of responses you receive from those on your outreach list.
Most importantly, however, is how well your program is converting for you – are people acting on the communications you’re sending? Are you selling or signing up more people as a result of online communication efforts? This is where it’s important to track your campaigns from first click to final conversion using tracking URLs for your campaign links. For instance, we use tracking URLs provided by Google Analytics.
In terms of deliverability success, have you tested your content, headers and footers against a spam content checker? Doing so will help you track how your messages are treated. Another best practice to aid with deliverability is to implement a list hygiene program to routinely clean your lists by removing bad names and incorrect e-mail addresses.
Some organizations rely on customer feedback to improve outreach programs, and it is important to have that feedback loop in place. Are customers engaged and providing feedback? When’s the last time you asked customers and supporters what information they wanted to receive? Along the same lines, do customers pass your communications along to friends and colleagues? Would you even know if they passed the word along about your company or organization? Do you make it easy for them to share your communications – such as through email and social networks?
In the world of communications 2.0, consumer-generated media such as blogs and social networks (i.e. Twitter and Facebook) are helping to define success and your online presence. It’s important that you’re actively and regularly monitoring these mediums. In addition to customers, what are others saying about your organization or brand? Have you Googled your company lately? What’s the buzz in your sector or industry?
Lastly, are you doing all that you can to make your programs a success? Do you syndicate content through RSS readers and partnerships? Do you make it easy for decision-makers to find your company or offerings through search engines and your website’s media room? Have you explored other communication and content marketing vehicles, such as wikis, video and podcasts? Are you delivering a consistent message across both traditional and interactive channels?
For information on how you can put a Tuvel Communications program to work for your company, organization, product, service or event, just contact us.
Happy 4th of July weekend! If you live in the USA (or even if you're an American living abroad), you're more than likely gearing up for some serious food, festivities, and of course, fireworks, and we here at Tuvel Communications hope you have a spectacular - and, most importantly, safe - Independence Day!
To help you wind down your week, here are a few selections from our weekly reading list. Enjoy!