Zippyz by Little Trendyz

zippys by little trendyzZippyz by Little Trendyz is a company that was created by a mom who was frustrated with the onesies and footed pajamas on the market. Lisa Youngelson came up with the idea when she was tired of dealing with late night changes that left her baby boy Ryan with a cold and exposed chest during changes. Lisa realized that she was not pleased with either kind of newborn pajama on the market; the snaps were hard to line up, the zipper was leaving his chest cold, there just had to be an easier way! And then there was.. Lisa created the Zippyz in 2010 as a combination of both pajama styles. With three snaps on top, and a zipper from foot to belly, babies stay warm while getting changed. Zippyz are made from a combination of organic cotton and bamboo making the pajama soft for babies and eco-friendly. Take a look at how Zippyz work below.

This product is geared towards new parents and new babies. With its easy to use changing abilities, it cuts the changing process in half, and with the soft material, parents don’t have to worry about the material that they are dressing their babies in. The product is the company’s biggest strength. Since there is no other product like this on the market, Zippyz can capitalize on this opportunity to become a household name. At this time there is a lack of product awareness and brand recognition which can be changed through an integrated marketing campaign (IMC). In order to truly build awareness and recognition, creating an IMC strategy that integrates the same branding and messaging through different channels will help Zippyz be seen on a larger scale. At this time, the biggest threat to Zippyz would be a more established company creating a similar product for a lower price point. At $25 a pair it is a product that is geared towards middle class families.

Due to the  potential for growth that Zippyz is exhibiting, I would suggest a major overhaul of all social media channels in order to create consistent brand imagery. I would implement a #zippyz hashtag in order to be found easier across all channels, as well as start using channels more frequently. By posting more consistently Zippyz will be found much quicker and with a higher search ranking. Including a blog in the campaign will be especially important, with a blog that is consistently being updated more keywords and tagged words will boost rankings and being found. In order to not have to wonder about what to post about, I would take the approach of a “parent” blog. Reaching out to other parents who have good baby products that aren’t being recognized and having them guest write, as well as offer tips and advice for new parents. A nice mix of advice and product referrals will really help the brand Little Trendyz become much more recognized as a go-to source for parents. Another great way to increase awareness would be to hold contests and promotions where people can win one of the products. This would increase shares and likes depending on the contest.

In order to make the process of posting on various platforms easier, I would implement a tool like Hootsuite. By using Hootsuite for posting could be planned in advance on a weekly basis in order to save time. It would also allow one place to check and track interaction with followers instead of jumping from platform to platform. Using an IMC will help take a great product farther, faster. By integrating the brand through the various platforms, Zippyz can quickly become a household name.

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Analyzing Analytics

Looking at the analytics provided to me from a company I am working with, I was able to pull some information to see what direction they should be going in.

Overall, the company is going in a great direction. There are quite a few likes and a large area of growth possible through Friends of Fans. There are also quite a few posts that had a higher virality percentage.

Starting on May 21st, the company got much more views and shares from the posts. So, what instigated that? Looking at the analytics, you can see that when wording was used as a call to action, there was a higher response rate.

Screen Shot 2013-11-03 at 10.15.25 PMSpecifically when people were asked to “Join us” or “Join in”. Both of those posts on May 29 and May 28 received a high engagement rate, they had a high “reach” amount and had “people talking about this” on the higher side. The best post was on June 2, and a big part of the reason for virality is due to the fact that people want to connect with the fact that on June 2 it was National Cancer Survivors Day. People like connecting to things that they have experienced in their own life. People also like to seem altruistic and like to post and share items that promote that concept of themselves.

Seeing how many people have responded to the call to action posts, more posts on health and wellness would add to the overall theme of the business. By providing information on physical fitness and wellness, it would be a great public service as well as a way to find more customers. I would also suggest posting pictures on their website or blog page and then pinning the pictures directly from that page to the Pinterest page. This way when someone wants to take the time to link back, they can see what the blog or website page looks like. This is a technique that I think a lot of companies could utilize more in order to gain more followers and more views to their page.

Screen Shot 2013-11-03 at 9.57.30 PMAnother way that I think this company could improve its ratings is by breaking down the language barrier. On the right there is a snapshot look at how many languages are being spoken. I think that adding a secondary Facebook page in Spanish with the same posts, just in Spanish may be useful. This way the company can reach out to a wider demographic. Taking a look at the graph below, you can see that Florida was the third largest state with a Hispanic population in 2011. If the company can reach out to this growing population they will increase their demographic and customer base.

Screen Shot 2013-11-04 at 9.40.52 PMBy combining posting more call to action posts and developing a second page in Spanish, the company can grow its friends and fans and gain more notoriety in doing so. Another reason that reaching out and getting a bigger fan base may help is by gaining more emails for the bi-weekly newsletter. This can really help with a higher percentage of email opens since it will be a more concentrated group of people who sign up for the newsletter. Screen Shot 2013-11-04 at 9.57.42 PMAs you can see by the above graph, there is a high number of deliveries, but not a high open rate. By opening up an opportunity for more people to sign up for the newsletter, they can gain more opens which will help them get more click throughs back to their website, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook. Another thing they should be working on is linking their weekly newsletter into their Facebook and Twitter page so that it can be read on both social media platforms. By doing that, they can also try to gain more emails with a call to action.

The company will gain more likes and emails by doing all of these things. These will assist with them getting a better word of mouth reputation as well. In doing so, they can become a higher respected company when it comes to wellness. Realizing that marketing and outreach to people is never just a one step process, the whole concept can seem daunting. I always recommend making small changes so that people who are used to what you have been posting and the consistency of the posts don’t feel bombarded. A company wants to get more likes, not get rid of the ones they have. I think the consistency that this company has been posting with has been great and has helped them a lot. It can only help the company go farther.

Reputation Management as a Social Media Manager

This post is a school assignment. The images below were provided and the responses below were created by me, as if I was the social media manager at each hotel. 

Complaint #1

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Dear Travelwith3kiddos,

Thank you so much for your feedback. It is wonderful hearing from guests so that we can always strive to provide better service. While we have recently undergone a transition into the Hyatt Regency Orlando, customer service has been, and always will be our number one priority.

I am so glad your children enjoyed our pool, and due to your feedback we have created a new system for cleaning and timeliness to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. We have also implemented free valet parking for 5 days for one car due to your feedback.

I am sorry to hear that your experience at the Cappriccio, now the Fiorenzo Italian Steakhouse, was less than satisfactory. I do know that they get busy, but I apologize for your wait since you did have a reservation. I would like to invite you back to the hotel and offer you a dinner on us. Thank you again for your information, we can better provide customer service through feedback like yours. I hope we will be in touch soon.

Best wishes,

Amanda Scheffer Cavanagh

Social Media Manager, Hyatt Regency Orlando

Complaint #2

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Dear LUV2TRAVELWITHHUBBY,

Thank you so much for providing us with your feedback. I am sorry that you were disappointed with your stay here. I would like to reassure you that at The Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina we take customer satisfaction very seriously. I know that we were busy with many people for the reunion, but that is not an excuse for less than satisfactory service, or for not having your room ready for you.

I appreciate the multitude of feedback and would like you to know we have heard your answers loud and clear. We have now implemented a shield over our parking lot gate box, that was a great suggestion. We have also hired more pool maintenance to ensure that the pool is better kept. Also, we have added 2 more bath towels in the room automatically, so as to reduce customers need for more towels.

I would really like to speak to you about your stay more in depth so we can address all of your concerns. I would like to invite you back to rectify the bad experience you had as well as ensure other customers don’t walk away with a bad experience. I hope to talk to you soon.

Best wishes,

Amanda Scheffer Cavanagh

Social Media Manager, The Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina

2013 International Spa Association Conference and Expo Recap

International Spa Association 2013

In order to look and really try to understand what was going on at the International Spa Association Conference and Expo, which will now be referred to as ISPA, I took a look at what happened both before and during the expo this year. The theme this year was “Grow”, and it was shown in a few different ways, there is the flower imagery that was used throughout some of the platforms, but not truly integrated into their Pulse magazine, or their ISPA Exposure Guide. Hidden in the Pulse magazine here, there is some of the flower imagery, but I would have expected an image on the front cover since this was the main event mentioned on the cover. Also, while the Exposure Guide showed the same color scheme as the flower imagery and the website, there were no flowers which was a little surprising. Some things that were also used for branding was the #GrowYourWorld hashtag, it was occasionally used. For the most part though, the event could be tracked through the #ISPA2013 hashtag.

They have a website, a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Blogger page. The conference took place from October 21-23 in Las Vegas, Nevada and was attended by a lot of famous speakers and businesses. Starting on October 14th the ISPA social media information and publicity really began. Some sites were utilized a lot better than others, while some were cross posted to various platforms keeping the branding and message consistent.

Social media was used as a way to both inform their guests about upcoming events, and registration times; as well as including pictures of what was going on behind the scenes.

Here is a shot of behind the scenes work that was happening on October 20:

ISPA prepThis was one of the many images that was posted both on their Instagram, Twitter and their Facebook. This image was great, and by cross posting it to the 3 various platforms it made sure that there was a lot of different viewings. I think when they used information such as what was going on behind the scenes and what various events there were to look forward to, it was a great use of social media. The usage of Instagram was really an integral part of the campaign since it gave people who weren’t attending a view of what was going on at the event. I will say, I think there could have been a lot more photos from the event. There were only a couple images of speaker or groups at the conferences, and almost no pictures of the booths. I think this was definitely a missed opportunity since visuals have shown to be such a great way to get engagement. The pictures from their Instagram simultaneously posted to their Facebook and Twitter page. This one picture got 31 likes and 4 comments on the Instagram page, 42 likes and 4 comments on the Facebook page, and 1 favorite on the Twitter page. Throughout the event it is easy to see that the best engagement occurred on the Facebook and Instagram page, bringing concrete evidence that visuals work the best on those two platforms. What I find interesting about the consistency of feedback and engagement on Facebook and Instagram is the fact that there are over 7,000 Facebook followers, over 4,000 Twitter followers, but only over 200 Instagram followers. This really exemplifies how impressive the amount of engagement that they are getting on Instagram. After the event, and during, they requested people share their pictures with #ISPA2013, and they created a page on their website here, with everyone’s pictures. I think that was a really nice touch and it gave people the opportunity to share their experience at the conference.

ISPA twitter The Twitter feed did not receive a lot of engagement, as I had previously mentioned. There was a wide variety of posts during the days, which makes sense since Twitter is usually used to keep things up to date. I don’t know if maybe there was more than one person managing the Twitter feed, but I did notice that sometimes the #ISPA2013 hashtag was used, while other times it was forgotten about. I can understand if this only happened when there was a lot to say in that one tweet, but it occurred randomly throughout all of the days. Twitter was used for a variety of reasons, there was a lot of reminding on Twitter. Such as, “Attend tomorrow’s last General Session w/ keynote Bill Rancic to learn how to think like an entrepreneur. It’s a can’t-miss event! #” or “Get your morning workout in with Lawrence Biscontini during the final Greet the Day on the Expo floor from 6-7 am!”. I think these are great ways to let people know about what is going on, and it gives people who can’t attend a snapshot of what is happening. Another use they made of Twitter was to give thank you’s to people who were speaking, which is nice but would have been better if they could have integrated the persons own Twitter handle into the tweet. Instead of, “Attend tomorrow’s last General Session w/ keynote Bill Rancic to learn how to think like an entrepreneur. It’s a can’t-miss event! #, there should have been more, “What a great first day! Looking forward to seeing speak on business on Wednesday!”. I don’t know why Twitter handles weren’t used, the last tweet I quoted was actually a retweet from someone attending the conference. I think using more Twitter handles would be appreciated by the people who want their own name out there as well. On the plus side, they did retweet any tweet that had their #ISPA2013 or #GrowYourWorld. To me, this is HUGE since so many companies completely ignore people when they are mentioned. It has actually become one of my biggest pet peeves, so the acknowledgement and retweet definitely made the Twitter feed stand out. Since the event ended, that is the biggest thing that they are doing, finding any tweets they missed and making sure they retweet them.

International Spa Association 2013 FacebookWhen it comes to the Facebook page, as I previously mentioned, there was a lot more interaction and engagement. I think that some of the posts were really great reminding people about events, and sharing supplemental information to guest speaker’s speeches as well as saying thank you to sponsors. I am a little surprised that more of the sponsors weren’t mentioned. I don’t know if maybe that was because there was more than enough marketing at the event that listed all of the sponsors, but if each sponsor has a Facebook, they should all be listed. While every company is focused on their own publicity, it is always good to have your name brought up by other people so you aren’t always promoting yourself. I am sure every sponsor would have appreciated a “shout out” that linked back to their own page. Other Facebook posts were about speakers and provided information about the speaker and gave people the ability to learn more if they wanted to. I did notice though that only a few speakers were mentioned. There were actually over 30 speakers at the event, and I am sure each one would have appreciated a little blurb on them and what they were speaking about and when they were speaking. I think this is a missed opportunity to share more things to enhance the experience. If you want people to sit and listen to them talk, why not promote that more and give them a reason to sit and listen? After the event, there have been many call to action posts requesting pictures from the conference as well as asking for posts for their blog about people’s experiences.

International Spa Association 2013 Pinterest board

The Pinterest page is seriously lacking, there are only 24 pins on this page when there is such an opportunity for so many more. First of all, I don’t know if every single speaker was pinned, but if they weren’t they should have been. Also, every single booth and company in attendance of the event should have been pinned as well! What a missed opportunity! Whenever someone is a part of a big conference such as this one, they should be listed everywhere possible. I think they did their sponsors and speakers a huge disservice by not pinning them to this board. It would have made their board look better and more complete, as well as help with SEO.

ISPA blogThe blog was a little disappointing, when I envision a blog on a big event such as this one, I am picturing daily if not twice daily posts describing what the day will entail and what can be expected, or what people can look forward to. There was nothing posted during the expo. While the post that was made on October 14th, seen below was very informative, and posts before that were informative and helpful as well, there should have been much more posting during the event. Also, there could have been an in-depth recap of the event, but there has not yet been one which is not really a good sign either. Usually if a recap hasn’t been done by now, things start to get forgotten and missed when someone actually goes to write a new post.

The YouTube channel had a lot of videos from the past, and really only added one video during the time frame from a speaker, saying that it is Volume IV, while not posting any of the other volumes. I think this is a big misstep on their part since they should really keep consistent posting when it comes to images and videos, I know that images are always a lot easier to upload since they are snapshots, and with a video there may be editing that they have to worry about, however I think more should be added to the channel by now, since it is already 4 days after the event.

International Spa Association LinkedIn ProfileWhen I looked at the various pages, I was interested in the fact that a LinkedIn profile was being publicized as a place to be followed. I thought this was a great way to have businesses and people link up professionally after they both connected to the International Spa Association. I was shocked that I didn’t see more activity about the expo. With over 500 connections I though this would have been a great place to include articles and informational pieces about the speakers, sponsors and award recipients in order to really get more information out there. I recently learned that having a great headline with a lot of keywords is a wonderful way to get seen more and recognized more often, but the headline is fairly lackluster and so is the rest of the profile.

All in all there were some wonderful parts to the social media campaigning, and some lackluster ones. I will say that they fact that ISPA attempted to stay on top of 8 different platforms is commendable. However, they probably would have been better sticking to just a couple and consistently doing them really well. I think it is really great that they made a point of recognizing everyone who reached out to them and used their hashtags, it is a great way to make people feel as though they are being listened to and heard and it is a step that so many companies miss these days.

Myspace Then and Now

Myspace has always been a social networking site focused on music, however in its earlier days other people were able to create their own profiles and really enjoy creating their own individual online presence. I remember studying rudimentary skills about HTML coding and being thrilled when I could make small changes to my profile. Below is what profiles used to look like. You could add colors, music, photos, and different pictures that you chose to describe yourself. Its all gone now. All of your messages, blogs, posts, your entire profile besides your location, top friends and pictures are gone. However, it seems as though they are working on getting you your content back, some questions are answered here, but a lot still aren’t, causing distress for people who lost their content and blogs.

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Original Myspace Layout

Now, however, it is back to putting its focus on music and social networking surrounding music artists and people reaching out and branding their own bands. You can update a status to let people know what is going on as well as see who would be a good connection for you. You can link your updates to Facebook and Twitter which is a good reminder that this site is a social networking site. Even though it is highly geared to the music genre, it gives people the ability to connect.

New Myspace Layout

New Myspace Layout

To test the new layout, I created my own portfolio. I looked for music, albums, and songs that interested me in order to figure out what I could display. There are a lot of options, of course I am very mainstream so I chose things that were easy to find, but you can create your own photos and upload those as well if you wanted a more personalized portfolio look.

Amanda's Portfolop

Amanda’s Portfolio

So where did Myspace begin?

Myspace was founded in 2003 after the four founders Chris DeWolfe, Brad Greenspan, Tom Anderson and Josh Berman saw potential in the Friendster concept and pushing it forward in their own way. By 2005 Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. buys Intermix Media for $580 million. At the time Myspace’s value in the deal was around $327 million. People thought that there was no where to go but up when it came to Myspace’s growth and profitability. By July 2006 Myspace had become the most popular site visited in the US.

What does that mean when it comes to numbers?

Screen Shot 2013-10-12 at 11.58.08 PMLooking at the graph above you can see how Myspace was far ahead of Facebook in popularity until about 2009. In 2009 it still beat Facebook when it came to people aged 24 or under. However after all the scandal that had started to occur in 2006 and continued to happen you see a sharp decline after Facebook allows more people to create profiles.

You can’t learn about Myspace without talking about the various high profile scandals that happened from 2006 on. There were sexual predators, suicides brought on by bullying  messages and more. Part of the reason people switched from Myspace to Facebook was that the public perception kept getting worse as more scandals grew.

So what happened next? In January 2011 Myspace laid off 47% of employees. After the lay off, Rupert Murdoch sold the company for $35 million, 6% of what he paid for it in 2005. However, the question is where are they now? In June 2013, Justin Timberlake announced that he has become a co-owner of the “new MySpace”. As of October 1, 2013, Myspace now has 36 million users, this is up from a report of 24 million prior to the relaunch.

What does this mean for you?

For someone who is interested in music this is a great site, also people who truly want to connect with bands and artists this is a great way to reach out and be heard. Since there is a lot less traffic when compared to Twitter or Facebook, when you make a comment there is a higher likelihood that it will be seen. On Top Ten Reviews, they ranked it an 8.28 our of 10. For someone who is interested in music, or in getting their music heard, I think this is an appropriate site for people to connect. You can use Myspace on the go with their mobile app.

myspace1myspace2myspace3

You can receive updates and notifications on the go, as well as check the live stream to see what is happening. There is a possibility to upload photos as well as videos. It is a really easy to use application that makes it easy to stay constantly connected. This is a great way for a musician or artist to reach out and grow their own influence.

However, it is not all good. The formatting of the website itself has changed, which ends up being really confusing and makes using the mobile app a much easier option. The website has a format where you have to swipe to the side to see updates and read articles. Sometimes this leads to having to deal with awkward layouts and having to continuously swipe back and forth in order to read the article in full. Here is an example on an article about Miley Cyrus. There are a lot of featured articles about various artists although you do have to scroll side to side in order to see all the options. Truthfully, if you are not interested in connecting with music artists or staying on top of the music industry, I would still recommend taking a look at Myspace anyway. If you do nothing else, you can take a look at your own photos and make sure that there is nothing embarrassing that comes up under your name. No matter how old your profile is, it is always a good idea to know what is out there. If you are an artist or musician who is interested in connecting with other artists, this is the site for you. It may be hard to navigate, but the fact that you can grow your influence at such a greater pace due to the current less popular nature of this site, it is a great time to log in and work on your profile. For more information about the New Myspace, take a look at my Prezi.

Resources:

How Biznik Can Help Your Business

Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 10.24.20 PMThis week, we are learning about industry-related social networks. Sound confusing? Yea, I was too. So I did some research and here is what I learned.. An industry-related social network exists to assist people in one industry in communicating and connecting with other professionals or people who are interested in the same thing. There are lots of different kinds of platforms, one for practicing physicians, one for lawyers, one for cyclists, you get the idea.

The one I looked at is called Biznik and it is a site for small business owners. Just looking at the site and the motto, I am beginning to think this is a great idea. How nice would it be for people who are going through the same thing to be able to advise each other and help each other through hard times. Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 10.28.57 PMHere is just a quarter of the list of all the different options and how many people are a part of each specific category.

I think this is such a great concept, as someone who is beginning my own small business I am thrilled that I can find more people in my field that I can connect with and try to learn from. This platform has lots of different possibilities, however I think that more things could be explored.

I do think that this platform needs to be publicized more, until this class I didn’t even know that this platform existed and as someone who is studying social media I would hope that I would know about innovative ideas like this. I do think that more publicity would help this platform grow extensively. Another part of the platform that could be extended is the fact that at this point only major cities are listed, so I feel like a lot of the community isn’t being reached.

Something that is great about this article is the fact that people are writing articles and reaching out to each other and connecting. For instance, here is a great article about how business owners can react, “When Someone Says They Don’t Have the Money.” This is an article that was reviewed as a 9.1 out of 10, and read 3,564 times. That kind of information is very helpful, it doesn’t matter what kind of business you are in, if you are a consultant, at some point or another people may try to get out of paying your fees. Articles like this can really help people have the right responses ready to go so that they aren’t fumbling for words, and can maintain their confidence in themselves and their business.

Biznik has been growing in popularity since its inception in 2005. There are various articles talking about how great a platform it is, and how it truly leads to one on one networking with other business owners. Here is one article from Squidoo, one from SmallBizTrends, and one from Meylah, just in case you think I may have had the kool-aid.

The article from SmallBizTrends talks about how by using Biznik, people were able to meet up and connect socially at events in order to network with other people. It is a great idea to help business owners who are local to the same area have the ability to connect and meet up. This could lend itself to business owners meeting new people, being able to get more people on email lists, gain more social media followers, and even possibly work at different relationships with different businesses based on interests. For instance, someone who sells pastries and is looking to expand may be able to drop off items at a store that sells other items in order to gain visibility in the community if the two business owners can work out a reciprocal deal. I see a lot of possibility for growth in this platform as it become more popular and gains notoriety, I for one will be joining today.

Candy, Pets and Martha Stewart- A look at what works..

social-platformIn the past few weeks we have learned a lot about different ways that brands have taken control of their marketing. Some brands focus more on social media, while others integrate social media into their other marketing strategies.

The three companies I looked at are MandM’s, Martha Stewart and Petco. I have had experiences with all three which is why I chose them.

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MandM’s Black MandM Contest

MandM’s does a great job keeping up with the seasons and updating all of their websites to reflect the times as well as have marketing with their products in print and in person. Their YouTube page has lots of views, their Instagram has really funny photos for the fall, and their Twitter is fairly up to date. They consistently use the hashtag #mms which has created enough of a following that people have taken it and begun to use it themselves when they have pictures with various products.

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Ms. Brown MandM’s Twitter Page

Part of the integration method that they are using is combining different contests through various social media channels. For instance, on the left they posted a contest on Twitter that had a picture that linked to Instagram in order to drive traffic to that platform.

The way that this company uses all various forms of marketing between different social media platforms as well as marketing on products, in magazines, and in grocery ads is a well thought out strategy.

The next company I looked at was Martha Stewart. This brand is constantly working in various areas of improvement and updating their various social media platforms consistently. The way Martha Stewart integrates between the magazines she puts out, as well as all of the products she is selling, is a well thought out plan.

Martha Stewart uses various hashtags such as #MarthaStewartCrafts and #MarthasHalloweenHunt. Both of these allow other people to use the content provided as well as insert their own information to answer the riddles and connect back to their own Twitter.

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Martha Stewart’s YouTube

Another platform that they are using incredibly well is YouTube, the way that they connect their TV programming into clips on YouTube.

What Martha Stewart posts in her magazines is also mentioned on the website as well as having the ability to connect to her Apple apps for iPad and iPhones. The brand also allows you to subscribe to emails and receive daily messages on new posts.

The fact that she consistently uses the same themes in her work and stays up to date makes a big difference in her marketing. People know what to expect, they know that if a holiday is coming up there will be new content to look through for ideas on various items.

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Petco’s Facebook

Lastly, I looked at Petco for the ways that they reach out to customers. While you can sign up for emails, they also send you mail and you can sign up to receive coupons and discounts on items in store and online. Petco reaches out to customers and potential customers in different ways, truly showing how they integrate all of their marketing tactics.

Across all of their social media platforms they do keep consistent imagery and various campaigns. For instance, right now they are focusing on their Star Wars Halloween costume collection as well as timing it for their Halloween “Make a Scene” contest. They use their various social media platforms to cross publicize the contest and let people know what is going on. One thing they don’t do is use consistent hashtags. I was a little shocked about this, it seems as though creating a #Petco hashtag would be a simple enough thing for them to follow, but it is the customers who are using that and not the actually company.

Truthfully all of these companies have taken the time to stay up to date with their campaign strategies as well as making sure that they don’t only focus on social media. Something to constantly remember is that the best marketing is still face to face communication and word of mouth. Which is why even though all of these companies focus on social media they also make sure to have outreach to customers in other ways. Through product placement and sales, emails, social media, and mail.

Why I Would Love to Work for Michaels Wedding Section

Mark and Amanda (227 of 1037)When I began planning my wedding, I knew that there were a lot of personal touches I wanted to add to my design and scheme. Due to this, I decided to head over to Pinterest where I created my own Wedding board. This is something I really enjoyed, but what shocked me was that while there were lots of ideas for purchase, there weren’t always great do it yourself ideas.

Knowing I still wanted to add my own flavor to things, I decided to head over to my local Michaels. When I went over there, I was shocked to see there was a wedding section, something I believe is thoroughly under publicized. The picture on the right is something I created myself, from all Michaels products. It was my card box and I saw a similar idea online and went to the store and took it to the next level. While there are project ideas on your wedding page, there is not sufficient information, or instructions, or even ideas.

In order to truly take your marketing to the next level, there needs to be a lot more inspiration when it comes to your social media, and that is where I can come in. Not only am I passionate that every wedding should be every woman’s dream come true no matter how large or small the budget, I have also worked and created a lot of the projects from Michaels products, after being inspired elsewhere.

So what are good examples?

I think that the goal for any wedding inspiration would be to have as much publicity and trust as Martha Stewart’s DIY Weddings. One of the key parts of that, is giving away information for free.

Below Martha Stewart has paired up with Nordstrom to give advice on how to shop for wedding dresses:

This is something that Michaels sorely needs. Not just crafting information, but information on all things wedding if you want to be considered an authority for people to turn to. Another key part of becoming an industry leader is having videos of projects without constantly selling the products to make it. If someone sees the video and heads into a Michaels near them, that’s fabulous, but the truth is, you aren’t everywhere so if you post projects and don’t sell yourself when you do become larger people will be more willing to shop from you. Think of it as building a fan base through your social media presence preemptively. Below are two great videos, one on how to create a centerpiece using painted glass bottles and another on how to color mason jars. Both concepts are huge in the wedding market right now.

Painting glass bottles for centerpieces:

How to color mason jars yourself:

Bringing in other people who have worked on projects is a great way to create a social media presence, get great word of mouth from the people you are promoting and truly come across as more of a company that cares instead of always selling yourself and your products. Customers don’t want to always be sold to, and that is why being helpful and providing information for free is so important. It creates a trust and a bond so that customers reach to you first.

What does this all mean?

While Michaels does a great job at having wonderful products to make crafts, there needs to be a much better process on how to get the word out about your wedding section. There should be a complete social media overhaul, which I am more than happy to join in and help with! While you are doing a good job on your Michaels Stores Facebook, there isn’t one for weddings and I think you are really missing out.

Screen Shot 2013-09-25 at 11.02.05 PM  Just looking at this infographic, if you multiply $27,000.00 by the 18,000 brides questioned, that is a $486,000,000.00 million dollar market that you need to be a bigger part of. Even if you only look at smaller pieces, this is a big chunk of what happens every year, and Michaels Weddings needs to be a much bigger part of it and have a much larger presence.

In closing, I would love to hear from you regarding my ideas, and it would be wonderful to work together to bring your company more social influence and in the end, a higher profit margin in your wedding and crafts section.

Different Types of Blogs, What Works and What’s Missing

This week I am learning more about blogs, I am really excited about this because before taking class I have wanted to blog but really haven’t made a commitment. Per this weeks lesson I am taking a closer look at some blogs that I normally look at.

Screen Shot 2013-09-16 at 10.52.06 PMThe first blog I will be looking at is Lizzy Pancakes. I take a look at this blog from time to time for a couple of reasons. One is that I knew Lizzy in college, and the second is that I am thoroughly impressed with the adult she has become. Lizzy’s blog is a recreational blog where she makes food, or shows photography or explains sewing or crafting projects. It is a great culmination of various items that are highly detailed and photographed beautifully. Lizzy shares blog space and invites guest bloggers which improves her traffic. As a person she is highly unique and awesome and I think it comes across nicely in her branding of her blog. She is witty and honest and that shows in her writing and how she explains her projects. Lizzy keeps her content fresh, but since she is blogging in a more recreational manner her content doesn’t always happen in consistent intervals. She does have widgets to share her blog as well as providing information to connect with her on other social media outlets.  It is somewhat successful because of the integration and giving her followers the ability to be more connected, however she could be more successful with more consistent blogging. In her blog Lizzy talks about having a sponsored post about a cheese and it links to a group blog about Honest Cooking that she is a part of, which I believe helps drive traffic to her site. I think since I used to know Lizzy personally I would love to see more of her vivacity come across through her blog, and I would want more consistent blogging. Since Lizzy does a lot of cooking there are a lot of potential advertisers with either baking items for her to try out.

ImageThe second blog I looked at, is one I love to go to for recipes, called The Shiksa Blog. Even though I was raised in a Jewish home, my mother didn’t really cook or host large family gatherings, so when I got married I was determined to turn that around. This blog helped me do that, it is a very informative blog about various kosher-style cooking. This is a professional blog with advertisers, cookbooks that can be purchased, consistently updated content and various ways to connect. This website is unique in the way that it provides people with kosher style cooking recipes in an easy to follow format that assists with celebrating Jewish holidays. I think since Tori Avey talks about how she converted to Judaism and really takes the time to explain things it helps with  her branding and reflects who she is. This site comes up high in the search engine, which is how I found it to begin with. Since this blog is about kosher-style cooking, I believe that it speaks to a specific group of people and due to that it would be greatly improved with an email newsletter system. I have looked over this website and have not found any way to sign up for a newsletter. Since there are so many different Jewish holidays, I think that is something that is missing. I wouldn’t say that a weekly newsletter should be put out, but an email a month ahead of a holiday with recipe ideas and information? I would definitely want that, and I bet a lot of other readers would as well.

ImageAnother site I found by searching, is The Pioneer Woman. The recipes that this blog puts out are raved about not only in other blogs, but on Pinterest too! What is most interesting to me is that even though she become popular on Pinterest for a lot of her cooking, her site is so much more. There is a “Confessions” section, as well as an “Entertainment” section proving that Ree Drummond is more than just a woman who cooks. The site gives people great ideas about cooking as well as giving a deeper look into the Pioneer Woman and what she deals with in her life. The way she has her site shows a lot about her branding and who she is, and by sharing in the way she does, it makes her unique. I do believe quite a lot of traffic is driven to her blog by Pinterest, but she also has an email newsletter that people can sign up for, which I am sure gives her a lot of return traffic. This blog is a professional blog with consistent updates, lots of innovative and creative content, ways to share and connect. She advertises her own book as well as having giveaways, some of which are done by advertisers and some of which she sponsors herself. Honestly, this blog is so well developed with such a unique sense of personality that shows throughout the posting that I don’t think anything is missing.

Image The fourth blog I looked at is called Make It and Love It, it is a semi-professional site about a wife and mom of 3 who would rather craft than clean a bathroom. Who can’t get behind that? I think the fact that Ashley is so open about how much she would rather do crafts and cook than clean is a huge part of why she is so successful. It creates an honest and open relationship that has become integrated in her branding. As seen in the picture to the left, there are many ways to connect with this site, include RSS Feeds and a newsletter, as well as various social media platforms. The main reason for this site is the tutorials section, and this leads me to believe that most of the traffic comes from searches, or word of mouth. Although digging deeper into the site shows some giveaways as well, which is also helpful in gaining traffic.  When you get to the site though, there are lots of tutorials and personality to keep you there. There are also a lot of advertisers on the site, varying from Adwords advertising, to specific sponsors. Ashley posts consistently a few times a week and varies which topic she is posting about. I think that something that is missing from this site is the life stories. She has 3 kids and a husband, while she adds anecdotes into what she is doing sometimes, I feel like a whole section could be added on what she is learning being a mom.

ImageThe last blog I am looking at is the Tip Junkie blog. This is a group blog with tips and information about a wide variety of topics. Food, Gifts, Holiday and Lifestyle just to name a few. The site has over 147,000 people liking them on Facebook, and even offers a Tip Junkie app! Readers can subscribe via email or RSS feeds, and can also connect on various social media platforms. It is a great site that has compiled data from lots of different women sharing and holds it in one place so that things can be found in an easier format. There is advertising from various advertisers, as well as Etsy advertising from their own store. I really think that this site is missing an “About” page explaining how it was founded and thought up and why it is there. I think that the lack of that information leaves readers without a lot of information about the person who thought this up, and sometimes buying into the branding of the person is what makes you come back for more. Since this is a group blog and has lots of followers on Facebook, as well as a daily tip newsletter, it shows up high in searches and gets a lot of shares whenever someone in the group posts their own tutorial.

All in all, I learned a lot about blogging this week. It makes me think of what my own branding and blog should be about. I have realized a lot while looking at these blog posts. It is not enough for someone to just be informative, I really think showing personality is key to having people truly enjoy your blog and want to come back for more. I also believe that even for a recreational blogger, consistent posting is key, since it gives readers something to look forward to. What do you think makes a great blog?

Old Navy Online – What Works and What Doesn’t.

Screen Shot 2013-09-15 at 2.07.04 PMLast week I took a look at Old Navy and what they were doing with their branding online. Old Navy does a great job of constantly updating their website with new promotions. Last week there was a promotion on baby clothes. This week there is a focus on women’s outfits. While Old Navy doesn’t have a blog, they do create new material online under their Shop Our Favorites section. For instance, new this week is a section called Black + White = Chic. This shows different products that they have in black and white to show people new ways to wear their pieces of clothing.

Other features on the site include signing up for emails, having the ability to find something in a store near you, and being able to click on various social media platform links. Such as their Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest page. This provides customers with the ability to do their own pull marketing if they want to stay connected to the company in other ways.

Another cool feature is the ability to reach out and put your own information in the site and become a part of their database is a great example of pull marketing. Old Navy provides the opportunity to give your information in order to get coupons and discounts, this is a great way to not push customers too much and possibly push them away from wanting to be your customer. As far as push marketing techniques, once someone does sign up for emails or text messaging alerts, Old Navy does send emails quite frequently. In fact, they send an email about three or four times a week.

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No matter what week you go to their site, when you first get there, a coupon pops up to let you know that there is a possible discount depending on what you purchase. This is a great push marketing technique since they are letting the customer know right away that if they weren’t convinced they were going to buy something today, the coupon may be able to change their mind. Another couple of great features are being able to sign up by text message, or shop from a mobile phone. While there is an Old Navy mobile app, I really don’t think it is a great one.

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These three screenshots were from their app, Old Navy Snap Appy. The concept is that when you snap a picture of their logo, anywhere, you get a “snap surprise”.  The photo all the way to the left is the wheel spinning to see what you’ll get. I snapped 8 photos and all I ever got was either a Fabcabulary or a Fabulous Phone-Y Compliment. Either way, it was not impressive. To improve upon this content, I really would suggest including the “Outfits We Love” section in this app. I would also make it easier to use this app for shopping, instead when you click on it, nothing happens. Also, if there is a possibility of a “deal” on the wheel, it should actually happen in a timely manner. Since I didn’t get one when I spun 8 times, I will never bother to do it again. Even though I shop at Old Navy all the time, I will forget about this since I have never gotten anything valuable from it. This app is a way that they could really improve upon their integrated marketing. It does not include the same information that is on their website, but it also does not add anything to my Old Navy experience. The marketing in store and online always seems happy and friendly and helpful, this app is none of those things. The website is fabulous, the only thing that can be improved upon is possibly having a blog. I have noticed a lot of fashion companies have blogs describing outfit choices and give information about accessories. I think this would be a great way to reach out to customers in a non-push format so that they can get some added value without having to purchase anything.