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Archive of ‘Foursquare’ category

What Does the Future Hold for Social Media?

In the past year, there were quite a few “bigs” for social media. Facebook bought Instagram and surpassed its 1 billion user mark. LinkedIn surpassed its 200 million mark. Twitter was valued at $10 billion, and Google+ became the second largest social network, in terms of engaged users.

So when the study came out that said 34 percent of Facebook users planned to spend less time on the site because they were “bored,” social media marketers were somewhat surprised.

That’s not the only struggle social media had in the past year. Twitter, after the Boston Marathon madness, considered a content editor to ensure that the information on Twitter stayed accurate. Instagram went through a tough transition into Facebook’s hands, with public backlash about both the change in terms of service and the addition of a web-based platform.

The question is:  What does the future hold for social media? Will it stick around, and if so, what will it look like? That’s quite a tricky question to answer because of how quickly the online landscape changes (Could anyone honestly have predicted Snapchat? Or Pinterest? Or any other new, highly successful network?), but this is my best guess. (more…)

Web Seminar Recap: Top 5 Questions Social Media Consultants are Asked

In this day and age, social media has become a household word and nearly everyone you know is on Facebook. However, when it comes to executing social media in a professional sense, it does get a little complicated. We understand this and encourage our clients to ask as many questions as they want so they are comfortable with their social media campaign.

On November 29th, social media consultant Shelli Dallacqua presented the free web seminar, “Top 5 Questions Social Media Consultants are Asked.”  In this one-hour presentation, Shelli covered the top 5 questions she gets from clients along with her answers and advice.  The top 5 questions included:

  1. How can we increase our followers on Facebook?
  2. What is Twitter and why do I need it?
  3. How do I know social media is worth paying for?
  4. Is LinkedIn important?
  5. What do you need from me (the client) to be effective

You can listen to a complete recording of this presentation at Select “View Event Recordings” in the top right corner.  You can also download the slides from this presentation by visiting our Web Seminar Archives.

Are you more interested in cutting costs by bringing your social media marketing efforts in-house? Check out our Social Media Marketing Boot Camp!


Five Things You Should Expect When You Outsource Your Social Media

My consulting firm recently pitched our services to an organization that wanted to replace their current social media marketers.  Unfortunately, the horror story they conveyed was one we hear often, so I decided to write a blog about the five things you should expect when you outsource your social media.

1)      Always have access to your accounts

2)      Have a designated person creating your content that understands your brand culture

3)      All posts should be professional and positive

4)      Less is not more when it comes to social media

5)      Web analytics should be evaluated on a weekly/monthly basis

Always have access to your accounts. (more…)

What Social Media Managers Really Do and Why They’re Necessary

When approaching social media, more and more companies are realizing they need someone, if not multiple people, to manage their presence full time. With the results, successes and detriments we have seen in the past few years on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and more, it’s no wonder it’s a full-time job. A couple weeks ago at the Internet Summit in Raleigh, NC, I had someone ask me:  “Well, what would a social media or community manager do for my company? Why do I even need a position like that?”

Personally, I’m biased because I see success stories every day – sales, new followers, engagement, conversations – and I constantly interact with social media and online marketing professionals. But I wanted to show some other people that just like any business person, social media professionals have goals and benchmarks they set and achieve. I asked a friend, Rebecca Harrelson, to write a guest post about her experience with two major brands she has worked for, Beachbody and the NBA, and their evolution in social media.

When obtaining my master’s degree in sports business, marketing, and media at New York University, social media had not taken off to the degree it has now.  It wasn’t even discussed as a possible outlet for customer service, connection, or any other use for marketing sports teams or business entities.  However, upon graduation I worked for the National Basketball Association (NBA) and about a year later, social media was all the rage.  As a member of the Global Merchandising Group (GMG), who oversaw both the brick and mortar NBA Store on 5th Avenue in New York as well as, we needed to connect to our customers and tell of special promotions, sales, launches and other product-based information.  The only way our customers knew of these product-based call outs was if they visited our website randomly, or searched through layers and layers of information for the brick and mortar store. Neither of these allowed us to connect to our customers the way we felt we should. (more…)

Web Seminar Recap – What’s New: November Social Media Updates

The social media landscape changes with a blink of an eye. Just when we think Twitter and Facebook are the social media networks that we need to focus on, networks like Google Plus and Pinterest pop up and grab everyone’s attention. On Wednesday, November 7, 2012 Jon Parks presented the free web seminar “What’s New Web Seminar Series: November Social Media Updates.” This web seminar covered all of the latest trends and updates in social media.

We broke down the strengths and strategies of specific networks like Facebook and Twitter and how recent updates can affect your overall marketing strategies and implementations. We talked about the new networks coming out, the ones to watch for and the ones to be careful of.

Some specific areas that we covered include:
• The latest updates to Facebook & Twitter
• What’s new with Google Plus
• How Pinterest can be part of your marketing arsenal
• The latest changes in YouTube and how it affects your search marketing plans
• And more…

Listen to a recording of this web seminar in its entirety by clicking View Event Recordings (at the top right).

Why You Need Social Media Training…Reason 5

B2B is typically neglected with free knowledge resources

If you are a B2B marketer, you probably feel neglected by the marketing industry. Trust me, I feel your pain.

Working for a education/training company I have to wear both a B2C and a B2B hat. We have to market our classes to individual who is going to take the class as well as the company who is going to pay for it. Getting someone interested in a class is the easy part. You can put yourself in their shoes and build out your value propositions. You over come their obstacles to purchase and get them excited. But now there is a slew of obstacles that you face that are out of your control (as the marketer) and out of the control of the potential student.

Think about it. Maybe the student’s supervisor has concerns about them being out of the office for several days in a row. Maybe the approving manager is on vacation. Maybe the department head controls the budget and doesn’t see the direct value the training will bring to a smaller team’s project. These types of variables extend the sales cycle and create the complexity that is B2B marketing. And remember, all of these factors can work in reverse as well. If you market to the department head or supervisor, you can win their interest, but then have to win the individual. Getting all of these stakeholders on the same page is the challenge. And as your product gets more expensive the more stakeholders that come into the equation. Convincing someone into procurement to choose your company for their office supplies is a lot easier than convincing them to choose you as their vendor for the hardware used in their new data warehouse. (more…)

Why You Need Social Media Training…Reason #4

Learn to integrate social media with your other campaigns.

Here is why many companies fail to successfully utilize social media as a marketing channel:

Creating an account and posted a couple of times about your products or even coupons is not a strategy.

Whether you are new to social media or currently using social media as a marketing channel, social media training from ASPE-ROI can help you take your social media marketing to the next level. One of the huge values is learning to integrate your social media efforts with your other marketing campaigns. On its own, social media can help drive traffic and revenue, but when you incorporate it with your other marketing channels, that is when you truly see its power.

 For some fun, consider this. Do you remember Captain Planet? Well I do!

In Captain Planet, the Planeteers each possessed a power: Earth, Wind, Fire, Water and Heart (I always felt bad for this kid). They were tasked by Gaiai, the spirit of the Earth, to defend the planet from pollution and other environmental disaster, while making efforts to educate mankind on environmental issues. When times got tough for the Planeteers they had to combine their powers in order to summon Captain Planet who would inevitably show up just in the nick of time to save the day…and the planet. Ultimately, Captain Planet represented the concept that the combined efforts of the team were stronger than any of its individual parts (FYI: I had to research a lot of this. I’m not a closet Captain Planet connoisseur. I just liked the concept).

The team concept is very basic and fundamental concept, but it holds true in just about everything you do and it doesn’t make it any less appropriate for my purpose here. Think of social media as just one of your marketing powers that when combined with your other powers can result in the ultimate campaign. Think about it this way. Say your budget for you latest promotion only buys you 1,000 mail pieces. That is 1,000 customers you are able to reach. By incorporating social media in to that campaign, you now have the potential to also reach your 1,000 followers. Your new reach is 2,000 customers and with little to no additional effort or budget spend. If you incorporate your promotion into your email marketing, your website and your sales staff, your reach can grow exponentially. If you also tie a social aspect into the campaign promotion in your emails and on your site, you give yourself even more chance for you message to be spread. This team effort is what makes the difference.

Social media is the new word of mouth. Learn to harness its pass-along ability.

That is a very simplistic view of the landscape using only Reach as a metric for success, but for time-sake we won’t get into the more advanced metrics and benefits of integrating social media. The thing to take away from this is that where social media really excels is in its ability to reach potential customers for very little extra cost. Social media is the new word of mouth. People still tell each other about products they like and tell even more people about the products they hate. But 5 years ago where 1 person may only have voiced their opinion to a handful of people in a given day, they can now reach hundreds, even thousands, of people through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Harnessing this pass-along factor is what makes the difference between an average campaign and a great one. The key is knowing why people share information on social media and how they share it. If you can appeal to both of these aspects, you position yourself to reap the rewards of having your content spread through the networks of your customers, their networks, and their network’s networks.

The ASPE-ROI Social Media Boot Camp can help you do just that

In our social media training classes, you will learn about the various social media networks and their unique features and nuances. You will also analyze the types of people that make up the various networks and discuss why some content gets shared and why other content doesn’t. Knowing this helps you decide where best to post your content, how to adapt it to other networks and how best to tailor your message to these unique audiences. You will also discuss real-world examples that illustrate best practices and common mistakes to avoid. You will also spend a large portion of the class brainstorming a social media campaign specifically for your company. You will leave with a road map and plan on how to execute the campaign that they developed when you return to the office.

I’ll leave you with the words of Captain Planet, “The Power Is Yours.”


Why You Need Social Media Training…10 Reasons

Over the coming weeks, I will be posting 10 reasons why you need social media training. In this new and constantly evolving space it is imperative to stay on the cutting edge to be successful. Many people are hesitant to take social media training because they are skeptical of self-proclaimed experts and gurus. That is why we have put together a team of experienced and knowledgeable instructors who travel the US teaching companies how to properly utilize social media as a sales and marketing tool. We’ve done the heavy lifting for you and weeded out the snake oil salesman. As one of the nation’s leading training providers, we know who and what make a successful learning experience. The goal of this series is to show you why you should consider social media training from ASPE-ROI.


Why You Need Social Media Training…Reason #1

Learn from other’s mistakes and success.
Don’t learn the hard way.

One of the most valuable pieces of any training session is the time spent analyzing case studies and best practices. In a rather new and constantly evolving space like social media, these examples are a great place to save yourself from the past mistakes already made by others. We work hard to constantly update our Social Media Boot Camp with new and noteworthy examples of brands that are doing things right, as well as those getting it wrong.

Here are a few examples of past case studies discussed in our Social Media Boot Camp:

Red Cross Getting “Slizzerd”

In February of 2011 an American Red Cross employee accidentally posted a tweet from the @RedCross account that was meant for their personal account. The message read:

“Ryan found two more 4 bottle packs of Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch beer… when we drink we do it right #gettingslizzerd”

The post was promptly deleted, but not before plenty of people saw the post. A media firestorm ensued. Many thought it was going to be tough for the Red Cross to recover from this PR nightmare, but some creative social media activity quickly turned things around.

What they did right was to admit the mistake publicly, and even more importantly apologized. Both the organization and the employee apologized, and afterwards they were actually able turn the event into a fundraiser. They teamed up with the Dogfish Head brewery and asked people to tweet a donation link with the hashtag “#gettingslizzerd.” The link was quickly passed around the web and turned a PR nightmare into a successful fundraising campaign.

Domino’s Employee Prank Video

In April 2009, a group of Domino’s employees shot a prank video that featured them putting cheese up their nose and farting on ingredients before placing them on menu items. One of the employees posted the video to YouTube and it quickly went viral. In a matter of days the video had more than a million views and major news stations were starting to pick up the story.

Domino’s posted an apology to its website and explained that the food was never actually sent to any customers. But what they really did right was posting a video to YouTube of the Domino’s USA president, Patrick Doyle, issuing an apology, explaining what happened and what was being done to rectify the situation. By properly tagging the apology video, their resposne appeared in search results for anyone who was searching the original title of the video (at this point which had been deleted).

Sales number were most certainly impacted by the video and the social media firestorm, but the overall impact was certainly mitigated by their response.

Qwikster and Netflix

In July 2011, Netflix announced that it would be upping its prices and breaking its companies into two divisions. A new division called Qwikster would handle the DVD-by-mail service the company was originally founded on, while Netflix would focus on the video-streaming that had come to make it extremely popular. Customers were outraged by both the price hike as well as the new company structure, and quickly took to social media to vent.

Unfortunately, Netflix had not taken the time to obtain or create a Twitter username for Qwikster before the announcement and the holder of the Qwikster account got a huge spike in followers and mentions. Worse yet, the owner of the account was a mouthy teenager whose posts regularly contain comments about smoking marijuana between various expletives.

Just three weeks later, Netflix announced they would no longer be restructuring the company, but would continue to move forward with the price increase. However, the damage had already been done. The stock price took a major hit and tons of customers were lost. Having had a better social media plan in place may not have saved those customers or the stock price erosion caused by the business decision, but it certainly would have helped them better respond to unhappy customers.

T.G.I. Friday’s Not So Free Burger

In September 1, 2009, TGI Friday’s launched a Facebook campaign aimed at trying to get more fans of their page. The campaign stated that if they could get 500,000 Facebook fans by September 2009, then the first 500,000 people would receive a coupon for a free Jack Daniels Burger or Chicken Sandwich. By the end of the next day,still in the soft launch of the campaign, they already had 80,000 fans. Once the banner ads and tv spots hit it took only another week, September 13th, for their page to hit the 500,000 fan mark.

Unprepared for this level of demand, TGI Friday’s extended the offer to the first 1 million fans while they scrambled to handle the logistics of the coupons. By the end their Facebook page was littered with angry customers who hadn’t received their coupons. After the promotion timeframe expired, the company pulled down page and abandoned all 1 million fans of that page.


The lesson to take away from this social media blunder, prepare for the worst case scenario and the best case scenario. Reaching your campaign goals too early should be a good problem to have. But you need to be prepared and have all your logistics ready before pulling the trigger. And more importantly, you need to be agile and flexible to changes after the campaign goes live. A well thought out campaign could have capitalized on the mass engagement of people beyond just one free coupon.

These are just some of the case studies that may be discussed in the ASPE-ROI Social Media Boot Camp. Don’t let your company make this list, get your team up-to-speed with social media training.


Why You Need Social Media Training…10 Reasons

Over the coming weeks, I will be posting 10 reasons why you need social media training. In this new and constantly evolving space it is imperative to stay on the cutting edge to be successful. Many people are hesitant to take social media training because they are skeptical of self-proclaimed experts and gurus. That is why we have put together a team of experienced and knowledgeable instructors who travel the US teaching companies how to properly utilize social media as a sales and marketing tool. We’ve done the heavy lifting for you and weeded out the snake oil salesman. As one of the nation’s leading training providers, we know who and what make a successful learning experience. The goal of this series is to show you why you should consider social media training from ASPE-ROI.


Why Training Budgets Go Further When It's Hot


Are you currently making your summer plans? Maybe a drive down the coast with Jimmy Buffet blasting is in your future? Or will you be found sipping a Corona on the beach this Fourth of July? Whatever your summer plans, ASPE wants to be included. Come take advantage of our July and August specials and train with us this summer!

Believe it or not, the summer months offer a great opportunity to get the most out of your training dollars. Because the business world slows down during the summer, several opportunities open up for anyone who needs training. While the slowdown can present a challenge, savvy folks can actually take advantage of it. Here’s how:

  • Your competition is sluggish during the summer slowdown.
    Gain an edge going into the fall.

    Training builds enthusiasm and gives your people fresh new skills. By the time business begins to pick back up, those skills have really been mastered and integrated into the organization. You’ll enter the fall market with an edge, while your competitors are busy trying to shake off the lull of the summer blues.
  • With a slow in business, employees often have time to pick up some new skills.
    With a decade of experience training all sectors of the corporate world, we’ve found that employee flexibility is at its peak during the summer months. If your people experience a lag in their schedule, backfilling with new skills or certification training is a good move.
  • Training doesn’t just improve your people; it can upgrade your business processes.
    A potential slowdown can offer an opportunity to upgrade processes, as well as employees. Your busy time of year isn’t the best time to adopt a new methodology or deploy new software. If you have a bit of summer flexibility, you can afford to upgrade without disrupting your flow of business.
  • Virtual training allows you to train at any location.
    Many times the date or location of training conflicts with schedules. With virtual training you can keep your summer schedule and fit in training. Our virtual training goes anywhere you go. So take ASPE to the beach with you this summer!
You can currently save 24% on July and August sessions or 20% on other sessions if you book your upcoming training this summer.
Sessions include:
Learn more about how Training Budgets Go Further When It’s Hot!


How to Incorporate Foursquare with Your Marketing Plan

Just about everyone I know loves Foursquare, that fun little application on your mobile device that, unlike most of today’s social media services, promotes physical (as opposed to technological) interactivity with friends and family (oh yeah, family. Both my mom and dad happen to love the service, though they would never admit it). Its location-based platform allows for users to “check-in” to venues, alerting friends of their current whereabouts and encouraging each other to meet up for coffee at a local shopping center or hang out at a popular nightlife spot downtown. It also encompasses a gaming aspect by adding a leaderboard points system,  mayorships to the user who checks in a particular venue most often, and badges as rewards for users’ check-in patterns.

Like Facebook and Twitter, more and more businesses are starting to incorporate Foursquare with their marketing plans. But why? Do you really need another social media application to aid in your marketing strategy? The simple answer is: yes. Social media has integrated itself into our daily lives, and it’s not going away anytime soon. It is also becoming more prominent as an essential tool in brands’ marketing approaches. As modern-day marketers, we have to look beyond Facebook and Twitter and begin using fresh, new marketing platforms to get our message out. Integrating foursquare with your marketing strategy is simple, yet effective. Here’s where you should start:

1. Become a Foursquare user yourself.

Install Foursquare on your mobile device, make an account, and start checking-in! Log-on to the online site, edit your profile, add friends, and familiarize yourself with the basics of what Foursquare is and how to use it. To harness the full potential of Foursquare, you must understand what the service is all about. Once you’ve done this, create a venue page for your business (if it doesn’t already exist) so others can check-in. You can now contact Foursquare about claiming your venue’s page, allowing you to have control over the information displayed, be able to mark your brand’s staff members on Foursquare as such, and offer incentives and rewards for those who check-in. For more information on how to get started, see the Foursquare for Business page.

2. Provide rewards and incentives for mayors and loyal users.

This is what will really drive Foursquare users to your business. Foursquare allows business owners to offer a multitude of rewards for customers who check-in. Popular incentives are merits for the mayor, others who may not check-in to your venue the most often but are still loyal to your brand, and first-time customers. The Chili’s near my house offers one free appetizer upon a customer’s first check-in; a locally owned Mexican restaurant that my friends and I eat at provides free chips and queso for the mayor; California Pizza Kitchen takes 25% off of everyone’s meal if you and three of your friends check-in together; and my favorite frozen yogurt shop offers a free 5oz yogurt on a user’s every 10th check-in. You get the idea. Little incentives like these drive new customers and help retain your not-so-new customers.

3. Cross-platform and be omnipresent.

Foursquare may just be one social network, but it is integrated with both Facebook and Twitter. Use this to your advantage! Encourage those who check-in to your venue to push their location updates to the other social media services they are connected to. Use Facebook and Twitter to promote the Foursquare rewards you are offering. People will in turn begin to tweet and update their Facebook statuses about your business, sparking curiosity and intrigue among their friends. This is a prime example of viral marketing at its finest. The key here is to engage customers in something new and different (Foursquare) with the help of well-established social networking tools (Facebook and Twitter). The most successful marketing campaigns and strategies have consisted of being everywhere as much as possible; and only a truly omnipresent brand will be able to make that happen.