Florida Kids and Family Expo IMC

expo blog pic1

About

The Florida Kids and Family Expo is an event that is being put together and hosted by My Central Florida Family– an organization that strides to be a one stop informative shop for families to find activities, events, and opportunities in the Central Florida/Orlando area. The Expo will be an annual event featuring live entertainment, 150 exhibitors, interactive stations, and more, held at the Orange County Convention Center each fall (source). This year the event will be held the weekend of August 29th– 30th and will host exhibitors ranging from party venues to schools, health services to camps. Entertainment will include live animals, bounce houses, meet and greets, and more. My Central Florida Family plans to host an event that is interactive for kids and informative for parents, all for less than the cost of taking the family to the movies.

Target Audience

To market the Florida Kids and Family Expo is to market to all families, traditional or not, mostly in the Central Florida area, but really anywhere. This event plans to appeal to school-aged children (0-17 years old), and their parents, grandparents, etc. This event is not limited to any families of any certain income, or any families in any certain area, though it most likely will fit best for families in Orlando and the surrounding areas. The event also plans to market to businesses that have the same target audience and therefore provide goods and services to families in Central Florida. Marketing to these businesses is a win/win for My Central Florida Family because they can increase available information for families while the business can potentially increase sales.

  • Strengths: The Florida Kids and Family Expo is a one of a kind event in the Central Florida area. At this time there is nothing that can compare in size or in the amount of exhibitors. This is a huge strength for the event because they have the chance to create an annual expo that will bring together all the best businesses and organizations as a great resource for families. This can become an event that not only families will look forward to, but current and future exhibitors as well. Being able to pull from the great businesses that market with My Central Florida Family is huge and should help make this event stand out as organized and well thought out.
  • Opportunities: This expo has the opportunity to capitalize on being one-of-a-kind. Promoting a family-friendly environment with a fun, interactive, and informative atmosphere, and out of the hot Florida sun is a big deal. This year’s goal is 15,000 attendees, but if this grows each year over, the event has the opportunity to spread to other parts of Florida as well.

Why should Florida Kids and Family Expo use an IMC Strategy?

“Integrated Marketing Communications is a simple concept. It ensures that all forms of communications and messages are carefully linked together.” – MultiMediaMarketing.com

Having a strong IMC Strategy is key when putting together such a large event. If every channel marketing the expo is not on the same page, the message may come across as skewed or confusing and the event will look amateur and unorganized. A unified message will have a greater impact.

The blending of online and offline tools would provide the Florida Kids and Family Expo the ability to set themselves up so that it would be impossible for any future competition to stand a chance. I’ve already pointed out that being the first expo of its kind is a huge strength for Florida Kids and Family Expo, but it will be a strong IMC strategy that will keep them that way. Just like Dwight Griesman, Chief Marketing Officer at Forrester, stated- “it is not about bricks or clicks, but bricks and clicks” (source).Using traditional media (newspaper ads, radio ads, television commercials, billboards, etc.) as well as social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) and additional mass media efforts (banner ads, email blasts, flyers, etc.) with all the same message and branding will increase reach which should help increase ROI and hit the goal of 15,000 attendees.

The use of correct marketing strategies can make or break an event such as this. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to make sure a strong message is sent out and received by the target audience. It’s more than just use of the same colors, but keywords and phrases, images, sounds, and overall feel of the campaign that make a message come across as well thought out and professional.

red hot

Incorporating face-to-face interaction at the Red, Hot and Boom celebration on the 4th of July will not only help market the Florida Kids and Family Expo, but will increase brand awareness for My Central Florida Family. By providing a small preview of what the future event will be, future attendees can be confident that this event will be worth their time and money.

Including mobile marketing as well as billboards and radio advertisements will only further promote the Florida Kids and Family Expo.The more people that hear about the company and their efforts to provide great information to families, the better social media sites, websites, and events including the Expo will perform.

My Central Florida Family and the Florida Kids and Family Expo have a lot of great things going for them. With a little TLC to their Twitter and Facebook pages, a set up at the Red, Hot, and Boom,  and the use of a few additional advertising techniques, they definitely have the opportunity to bring in the 15,000 attendee to their big event at the end of August.

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XYZ Company

XYZ Company, a heating and cooling company located in Western Massachusetts, is a new business that has taken on the social media world. I think taking a good look at the analytics provided for the week of March 11, 2015 for XYZ’s Facebook page will show that the small HVAC company has a lot of potential.

With XYZ being a new company, I greatly applaud their engagement activity. As you can see below, in this particular week they are consistently increasing likes as well as their total reach each week over. For having less than 200 page likes, the engagement level for this growing company is rather impressive.

Analytics 1

My views of XYZ’s Facebook analytics is that the company is growing on social media. I can see from their recent posts that they are currently running a special, but even without this special I believe that they will continue to increase in likes and the amount of people their posts reach for several weeks just due to the fact that they are new to the Facebook community. Chances are they already have several fans outside of social media, it just takes time for these fans to discover companies on Facebook and actually like their page.

Facebook’s analytics show that XYZ Company’s Facebook page reaches more men than women, but it’s liked by more women than men. These statistics are always important to consider so that the company knows who to gear their posts more towards. Age and location are always important also, and as expected, the majority of XYZ’s fans are 26+ years old and in the immediate Massachusetts area.

Analytics 4

Analytics 5

Now, onto XYZ’s actual Facebook post.

On February 27th XYZ posted “March Mini Split madness is here!…” and hit a maximum reach of 3.5k people. They again followed up with a similar post on March 15th but only received a reach of 731 people. What should be noted though is that even with the reach being a fifth of their first post, they still had some of the strongest engagement numbers over many of their other posts. Clearly this March special they are offering is a big deal, and it gains a lot of attention. XYZ should make note of this for the future. If the announcements of specials and giveaways continues to yield high engagement numbers and reach, it could pay off for them to continue marketing in this way.

One great thing that XYZ Company can take away from this breakdown is that the majority of their page likes come from ads, therefore that part of their IMC campaign is definitely working. But there is only one time that someone found their Facebook page from an external site. This is great information! This means that XYZ Company has the ability to increase how people find their Facebook page, and the ways to do so are infinite. In addition to their Facebook page, XYZ Company is active on Twitter, Google+, and Yelp. They could use these sites, as well as their main website, to cross promote and increase the amount of external referrals. XYZ Company also markets their business with direct mail, which they could consider adding social media icons on to let their current and potential customers know they can be found on social media. Email blasts, as well as banner ads promoted strategically on other websites (local newspaper website, radio websites, etc.) could also link to XYZ’s Facebook page and help to increase these numbers as well as overall page likes.

Analytics 2

Analytics 3

Overall, XYZ Company is on the right track. The first thing they should focus on is increasing the number of page likes they have. The more page likes XYZ Company has, the stronger the company will look and the more likely their SEO will increase as well. An article on Meltwater.com points out some of the best ways to increase Facebook likes for a new business. The number one thing they say about increasing likes is “to achieve success on Facebook you need a community” (source). XYZ Company is already following a lot of these suggestions, such as posting quality content that is relative to their company and running a contest, but they should also be sure to interact with similar businesses on Facebook as well as ask their current friends, business partners, and customers to like their page.

With more page likes comes increased engagement. Setting social media goals should definitely be a priority for XYZ Company. Whether this goal be to increase reach to 5000 people, or to hit 500 page likes by the end of the year, striving for these goals will only help boost how strong their Facebook page is, and probably their other social media channels as well. An article by Constant Contact suggests that using a Facebook business page can help small businesses get discovered by their next big partner/customer, therefore using Facebook strategically is critical XYZ Company, and I think they are definitely on the right track (source).

Customer Review Responses

The following is a sample post specifically for class. Below are my responses to sample reviews on TripAdvisor.

Hyatt Regency

The Post:

Post 1

My response:

We are so glad you enjoyed your stay!

We are very proud of our unique pool and happy your kiddos got the chance to ride the slide! Unfortunately afternoon storms are quite common in Orlando, but we want you to know that we will take your comment into consideration and work to clean the pool area immediately after bad weather has passed. After all, we want you to be able to enjoy every minute of your stay.

We apologize for any inconvenience you may have had at Fiorenzo. It is our most popular restaurant and during prime dining hours can be a bit busy. We want our guests to enjoy their dining experience as you did, therefore we never want to rush a table’s meal. Though our goal is to immediately seat those who have made reservations, we appreciate your patience and understanding. Next time give Urban Tide a try! If you and your family enjoy coastal cuisine in a stylish setting, you are sure to enjoy this popular restaurant. Bonus! Diners of Urban Tide also get to enjoy picturesque views of the Grotto Pool.

post 1 pic

How was your trip to the theme parks? We hope you had a great time! Our resort is conveniently located within minutes of Disney, Universal, SeaWorld, and even the Orange County Convention Center, so when you visit next remember we have shuttles to each destination! We understand that paying for parking can be a hassle, but we strive to provide stress-free and secure parking close to our hotel. We also provide valet services, and a concierge service should you be looking for additional local travel techniques.

We can’t wait to have you visit again! We appreciate your generous review and critique of our hotel and plan to take your comments into consideration. We aim for all of our guests, whether visiting for business or pleasure, to be able to enjoy their entire stay from the moment they walk through the doors.

The Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina

The Post:

Post 2

My Response:

We understand that you did not enjoy your stay at our resort and we would like to offer our sincerest apologies. We pride ourselves on providing a great guest experience and are very disappointed that we could not provide you that experience during your exciting trip for your 10 year reunion.

First off, we would like to thank you for taking the time to review our property. We truly value the opinions of our customers. Though we cannot go back in time and fix the problems you encountered, we want you to know we have heard you. Since your stay we have addressed the issue with housekeeping, as well as with the cleanliness of the showers.

We want you to know that we enjoy sharing our destination with visitors, and that there is no excuse for a pool in South Florida to not be kept to the highest of standards. We have since made our pool area a higher priority so that it can be enjoyed at all times by all guests with no concern of cleanliness.

Post 2 pic

Lastly, we would like to thank you for pointing out the dangers of our metal gate box, as well as the furniture in our rooms. Without someone pointing out things that do not work on our property, there is no way we can improve them for future guests. Your critique is very critical to us providing the best hospitality for guests.

If you decide to give us a third chance, we would love to have the opportunity to speak with you directly. We wish you the very best, and hope that we may see you again in the future.

Catersource Tradeshow

Each year Las Vegas hosts the Catersource Event-Solutions Conference & Tradeshow. This year it occurred March 8th through 11th, 2015. The huge event provides resources for caterers and brings together buyers and sellers, professionals, and audiences that are looking for new ideas or hoping to grow with the ones they already have in the catering business.

Below is my analysis of how the Catersource Trade Show represented itself on social media channels before, during, and after the 2015 event. Note- this is strictly for educational purposes.

Twitter

Twitter hands down was the strongest channel used by Catersource for their 2015 tradeshow. As far back as December (and I’m sure even before that), @Catersource_llc has been building up excitement for the event. In almost every daily post, the hashtag #CSES2015 has been used, and information about the event has been shared. Whether it be congratulating someone on winning a giveaway, promoting early bird pricing and hotel deals, or announcing key presenters at the event, they have been consistent in posting daily leading up to the event.

catersource twitter 1

During the event, Catersource was on top of their tweeting game. Beyond simple updates on how the event was progressing, Catersource would retweet statuses and pictures from attendees to show different perspectives and how people were enjoying the event. Congratulations were given for each award presented, and sponsors/attendees were tagged. Showing off these sponsors and attendees shows that Catersource is proud of their audience and fans.

catersource twitter

With so much going on at this huge event, following Catersource’s twitter feed was great way to pick up on things that may have easily missed. Reminders of when sessions started and where to find educational material was constantly being tweeted.

As the event came to a close on March 11th, @Catersource_llc tweeted “Thank you to all of our sponsors, exhibitors and attendees who helped us make this years #CSES2015 truly spectacular! See you all next year!” Since this tweet, nothing further has been posted.

Facebook

Catersource’s use of Facebook during the trade show was somewhat lackluster. Before the main event, articles were shared and pictures were posted to create hype for the upcoming show, also using #CSES2015. These were posted for months before, more so on a weekly basis than a daily one. As of March 2nd, daily post providing additional information and counting down to the event began, always with images, links, and #CSES2015. Though the event started on March 8th, no posts were made on Facebook on this date. On March 9th, an album was created showing off attendees of the event, presenters, food samples, demonstrations, etc. I think this photo album was a great use of Facebook. Sponsor logos were captured in some of the pictures, attendees could be seen at sessions, and how demonstrations were formed were documented so people who could not attend could see what they have missed. Several other posts were made to Catersource’s Facebook page this date also.

catersource fb

Catersource used Facebook to share long statuses that they would not be able to post on Twitter, and would probably be overlooked on Instagram. These included schedules for the day, and photo albums showing off the event. Promotion of the mobile app was made prior to the event as well as on March 10th to remind attendees of the handheld resource they could use. The last post was made, another album to document the day, on March 10th, and no other posts have been made. It would be beneficial for Catersource to recap the event on Facebook to show what a success it was and to thank all of the attendees and sponsors.

Instagram

Catersource’s Instagram was a solid attempt at using this social media site to increase traffic, but ultimately I think it fell flat. Posts did not begin until only two days before the event, therefore teasers and the chance to market and stir up excitement for the event was missed out on. Catersource only has 1448 followers on instagram, but they still could have created some form of pre-event marketing. The hashtag #CSE2015 was used in every posts, but more pictures were tagged by other users than were posted by Catersource themselves. The trade show posted 53 pictures between March 6th and March 11th, but they have yet to post anything post-event. This is clearly missed opportunity to expand their brand and increase followers on Instagram.

catersource instagram

The pictures posted on Instagram were focused more around winners and presenters than around the food samples or sponsors at the event. Though there definitely were some creative pictures that show what was going on each night, I feel there could have been more pictures to show off who was there, the turnout of people, or more of how each day progressed.

Additional

Catersource.com has a tab dedicated to the Conference & Tradeshow specifically, and this tab is full of great information. One of the greatest ways they have integrated additional media marketing is through the creation on a mobile app that helps attendees of the show manage their schedule for each day. With so much going on and so many sessions occurring simultaneously, this is an easier way for people to see where and when something is happening without constantly having to track down a schedule of events.

catersource mobile

Prior to the tradeshow, this mobile app was promoted on Facebook and Twitter. An online 2015 Catersource Conference brochure was also created that outlined everything the event would be about, as well as listing out every sponsor of the event.

Conclusion

Overall, the Catersource Event-Solution Tradeshow was very consistent in branding and marketing. Their use of social media sites as well as additional IMC techniques was strong in some aspects, yet weak in others. Twitter was the strongest platform used, and the use of Facebook for photo albums documenting the event each day was a great idea. Instagram fell flat, but the use of a mobile app was greatly beneficial to attendees. Catersource needs to cross promote on each social media platform letting followers know what they are sharing where. With the exception of a few Instagram posts on Twitter, no cross promotions could really be seen. Though great marketing was done prior to and during the event, post event follow ups on each social media site would really be a great way to wrap up the event entirely, as well as shout out to each sponsor who made the event possible.

#FlowerandGarden2015

Walt Disney World hosts a variety of events each year that makes the magical theme park even more of a dream experience. From the Food & Wine Festival to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween, each event boasts additional excitement for anyone planning to attend at that time.

From March 4th through May 17th Walt Disney World’s Epcot will be hosting the 2015 International Flower & Garden Festival. Though I am far from ever being a social media specialist for Disney, below is my attempt at planning out the month of April for a few of Epcot’s social media sites (which means this list of posts is 100% hypothetical and should not be taken seriously).

Note: FB= Facebook post and Tw= Twitter post

Monthly Goal

This month our goal is to increase engagement with consumers as well as increase Twitter and Instagram likes by trending #flowerandgarden2015. Our objective is not only to drive guests to the International Flower & Garden Festival this year, but to share pictures that will increase engagement and drive new guests to attend in future years during this annual festival.

Week #1

Wed. April 1st

FB: It’s snowing! APRIL FOOLS! But Elsa and Anna are making quite a scene at this year’s International Flower & Garden Festival #flowerandgarden2015 (picture of Frozen topiaries)

Tw: We aren’t feeling foolish, but we are feeling Goofy…about Spring! #flowerandgarden2015 (picture of goofy topiary)

epcot

Thurs. April 2nd

FB: There’s a (garden) snake in my boot! #flowerandgarden2015 (picture of Woody topiary)

Tw: Too infinity and beyond! #flowerandgarden2015 (picture of Buzz Lightyear topiary)

epcot buzz

Fri. April 3rd

FB: Did you know 2015 is the year of the Ram? #flowerandgarden2015 (picture of garden)

Tw: Kung Fu Punch is the perfect way to start the weekend #flowerandgarden2015 (picture of drink in China)

Sat. April 4th

FB: It’s the weekend!! What do you have planned? How about a trip to Epcot? You don’t want miss this year’s International Flower & Garden Festival.

Tw: What is your favorite treat at Epcot? #flowerandgarden2015

Sun. April 5th

FB: Hakuna Matata! (picture of The Lion King display)

Instagram: Name that Princess! #flowerandgarden2015 (picture of Cinderella)

Week #2

Mon. April 6th

FB: This week we want to show off some of the AMAZING food Epcot offers during the International Flower & Garden Festival. First up, look at this delicious “Piggylicious” cupcake! Bacon, maple frosting, and pretzels! #flowerandgarden2015 (picture of cupcake)

Instagram: A little sweet, a little salty, and BACON! #flowerandgarden2015 (picture of cupcake)

epcot cupcake

Tues. April 7th

FB: Fruit Sushi? Frushi! You’ve got to taste this. #flowerandgarden2015 (picture of frushi)

epcot frushi

Tw: One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, flight! #flowerandgarden2015 (picture of tequila flight)

Wed. April 8th

FB: Did you know Epcot has a Pineapple Promenade? Bet you’ve never tried pineapple on your hotdog! #flowerandgarden2015 (picture of Pineapple Dog)

Instagram: Florida fresh. #flowerandgarden2015 (picture of feast of flowers farmhouse ale)

Thurs. April 9th

FB: Looking to spice things up? You’ve got to try this ghost pepper-dusted tilapia with melon slaw. #flowerandgarden2015 (picture of tilapia)

Tw: Isn’t it pretty?! Frozen Desert Violet Lemonade (non-alcoholic) #flowerandgarden2015 (picture of lemonade)

Fri. April 10th

FB: Pistachio Baklava! The Taste of Marrakech can be found at the Morocco Pavilion, including this treat. #flowerandgarden2015 (picture of baklava)

FB: Young Men! And women… tonight The Village People take the stage. You don’t want to miss this! April 10th-12th #flowerandgarden2015

Instagram: Limoncello Panna Cotta. Need we say more? #flowerandgarden2015 (picture of limoncello)

Sat. April 11th

FB: Have all your gardening questions answered by the experts from 10a-4pm every weekend at the Festival Center #flowerandgarden2015

Tw: Do you like to garden?#flowerandgarden2015

Sun. April 12th

FB: It’s the last night to catch The Village People performing live as part of our Garden Rock Concert Series. Don’t miss it! #flowerandgarden2015

Instagram: Name that Princess! (picture of Aurora)

Week #3

Mon. April 13th

FB: Check out Miss Piggy! She sure does look good in green #flowerandgarden2015 (picture of Miss Piggy topiary)

Tw: Don’t miss @JonSecada this weekend 4/17-4/19 #flowerandgarden2015

Tues. April 14th

FB: Only one month left. Who is planning to visit? #flowerandgarden2015

Tw: You know you want one. #flowerandgarden2015 #magicband (picture of Frozen magicband)

epcot magicband

Wed. April 15th

FB: Loving the food? Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 3pm free cooking demonstrations will take place at the Port of Entry. Don’t miss this great opportunity to learn from Disney’s chefs!

Tw: Have you checked out the hands-on presentations on the Greenhouse Stage yet? #flowerandgarden2015

Thurs. April 16th

FB: If your best friend was one of the seven dwarves, which one would he/she be? #flowerandgarden2015 (picture of Snow White and the 7 dwarves)

epcot dopey

Tw: Do you love dogs? We sure do #flowerandgarden2015 (picture of Lady and the Tramp)

epcot lady tramp

Fri. April 17th

FB: Good food, great music, and beautiful gardens. Pack your bags and visit Epcot this weekend! #flowerandgarden2015

Tw: No weekend plans? It’s gorgeous at Epcot. Come visit! #flowerandgarden2015

Sat. April 18th

FB: Lightning McQeen wants you to check out the Cactus Road Rally #flowerandgarden2015 (picture of Cactus Road Rally)

Tw: Up and at-em! It’s a gorgeous day to pose with some topiaries! #flowerandgarden2015

epcot mickey minnie

Sun. April 19th

FB: Earth Day is April 22nd. What are your plans to celebrate? #flowerandgarden2015

Instagram: Name that Princess! (picture of Anna)

Week #4

Mon. April 20th

FB: Have you seen our mini gardens yet? #flowerandgarden2015

Tw: Shakespeare inspired us this year #flowerandgarden2015 #minigarden

Tues. April 21st

FB: Tomorrow is Earth Day! How are you celebrating? #flowerandgarden2015 #earthday

Tw: Let’s keep our planet beautiful. Earth Day is tomorrow! #flowerandgarden2015 #earthday

Wed. April 22nd

FB: Happy Earth Day! We have a special treat for you! Stay tuned for the unveiling of an awesome sand sculpture based on Monkey Kingdom. #flowerandgarden2015

FB: Ta-Da!! How awesome is this?! #flowerandgarden2015 (picture of sand sculpture)

Tw: Happy Earth Day! Come celebrate with us! #flowerandgarden2015

Thurs. April 23rd

FB: Mike and Sully have themselves quite a Monstrous Garden. Check it out at Imagination Walkway and come play with us! #flowerandgarden2015 (picture of monstrous garden)

epcot monsters

Tw: Don’t miss @theGuessWho this weekend 4/24-2/26 #flowerandgarden2015

Fri. April 24th

FB: When the sun goes down, our gardens light up! #flowerandgarden2015 (picture of illuminated gardens)

Tw: What do you know about monarch butterflies? #flowerandgarden2015 #butterfliesonthego

epcot butterflies

Sat. April 25th

FB: It’s Florida Fresh Weekend! Come learn why Florida is one of the top agriculture producing states in the country #flowerandgarden2015

Tw: It’s Florida Fresh Weekend! Come see demonstrations on the Fresh Epcot Stage #flowerandgarden2015

Sun. April 26th

FB: Are you excited for the new Disney-Pixar movie Inside Out? We are. And we have a garden to prove it! #flowerandgarden2015 (movie preview included)

Instagram: Name that Princess! (picture of Belle)

Week #5

Mon. April 27th

FB: There aren’t many days left! Don’t miss out! The 2015 International Flower & Garden Festival ends May 17th! #flowerandgarden2015 (link to information)

epcot flowers

Tw: This weekend is the Hibiscus Show! Who plans to be here? #flowerandgarden2015

Tues. April 28th

FB: Monday-Thursday Twinings of London is hosting an English Tea Garden Tour at 3:30pm and 5:30pm. We’re positive you’ll love it!

Tw: Tea tours?! Yup. We’ve got those. #flowerandgarden2015

Wed. April 29th

FB: We’ve got prehistoric plants that are sure to rock you’re world #flowerandgarden2015

Tw: Don’t miss @TayloreDayne this weekend 5/01-5/03 #flowerandgarden2015

Thurs. April 30th

FB: Don’t forget to stop by the Festival Center Shop to snag some awesome Flower & Garden Festival-themed merchandise! #flowerandgarden2015

Tw: There is so much to see! Good thing we offer tours #flowerandgarden2015 (bit.ly to Epcot Gardens of the World Tour info)

Event Source:

http://www.wdwinfo.com/wdwinfo/guides/epcot/events/ep-flower-garden.htm

Pictures via Instagram

Tumblr.

tumblr logo

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

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

Tumblr Start

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

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

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

tumblr pic 1

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

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

tumblr yahoo

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

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

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

tumblr brands

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

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

Tumblr infographic

Where Are You Now? (WAYN.com)

WAYN logo

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

WAYN pic1

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

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

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

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

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

Dear Travel Channel

Dear Travel Channel,

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

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

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Why would this be a good idea?

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

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

But what is the show about?

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

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

Why me?

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

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

So where should we start?

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Bethany Kilmon

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

PostSecret, The North Face, and Pandora

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

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

PostSecret

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

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

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

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

Never Stop Exploring

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

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

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

Pandora

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

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

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

Dogfish.com and Marketing Strategies

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

Push Marketing

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

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

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Pull Marketing

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

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Content

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

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

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

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

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