Final Project: Florida Kids and Family Expo IMC Plan

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Company Analysis

Company Description

My Central Florida Family is an online database dedicated to providing resources and information about upcoming events, special deals, and other opportunities to families living and working in the Central Florida region. My Central Family Florida was created with the intention of alleviating some of the stress and chaos parents and guardians face daily by bringing the community together and making important family decisions easier to manage. The My Central Family Florida team compiles this information from sources like detailed calendars, directories, news feeds, and social media. Today, My Central Family Florida is working in conjunction with the Florida Kids and Family Expo to produce the largest event for children and families in Central Florida. The annual expo will take place in August, and has several features including but not limited to 150 exhibitors, activities for all ages, and interactive live entertainment.

mycentralfloridafamily.com homepage
mycentralfloridafamily.com homepage

Target Audience

My Central Florida Family is targeted towards parents and guardians with adolescents. Although several of the events and activities listed on the website are appropriate for individuals of all ages, the majority of listing are geared towards children and young adults. Additionally, the target audience lives in or around the central Florida region, as that is where these events are taking place.

SWOT Analysis

Strengths: My Central Florida Family has compiled an expansive database of information. The site showcases several events and activities taking place every day, as well as a comprehensive daily calendar that outlines each and every event of the day. Additionally, the extensive business directory available on the website provides information regarding everything from local camps, to schools, to doctors, and allows other parents and guardians using the site to leave public reviews and testimonials.

Weaknesses: My Central Florida Family as a brand or an organization seems scattered and without a well-defined objective. The website provides information on such a large scale, that the content appears cluttered and difficult to navigate. Offering such a wide range of different resources has its benefits, but when there is too much data and it is not properly organized, visitors may have a difficult time accessing the information they need.

Opportunities: Orlando is an enormous metropolis located in Central Florida, and is home to countless conventions, expositions, and events each year. My Central Florida Family is putting on the Florida Kids and Family Expo, but there are several other events in the area targeted to families that the company could partner up with. Both the 6th annual Children’s Expo and the Daddy & Family Expo are taking place in the area, and working together would expand awareness and draw in more guests.

Threats: While My Central Florida Family provides a database of events, activities, and other resources to the families in the community, there are other established organizations in the area that already do just that. Orlando Family Magazine is a free publication that offers essentially the same resources My Central Family Florida does, including calendars of events, news, and directories. Additionally, local news outlets like WFTV and the Orlando Sentinel also provide information regarding upcoming events in the local area.

Why use an IMC strategy?

Utilizing an Integrated Marketing Communication, or IMC, strategy is the most effective way for a small business to optimize the effectiveness of their marketing efforts. An IMC approach integrates traditional marketing tools like advertising and social media to reinforce a company’s promotional message. The Houston Chronicle’s article, The Importance of Integrated Marketing Communications, details the benefits of this tactic, which include lower costs, ensuring a clear, consistent message, and customer satisfaction.

 

Website

Evaluation

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Screen capture of the right side of MyCentralFloridaFamily.com’s webpages

My Central Florida Family’s website is overwhelmingly cluttered. The site’s homepage does not utilize any sort of visual hierarchy, so there is no central focal point, and several large graphics and texts compete with one another. The advertisements are not organized and are occasionally placed in distracting locations, like in the middle of an article. Several of the webpages are repetitive and confusing to navigate.

That being said, the site is very consistent with logos and brand messaging throughout the website, and several IMC tactics are employed. For starters, the banner at the top of every webpage on the site features a real-time countdown to the Kids and Family Expo and provides a link to the site-embedded Eventbrite page to purchase tickets. Additionally, most pages on the site prominently asks visitors to “Follow us” on the upper-right side of the page above advertisements. This item provides social share buttons to the company’s Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, in addition to a button that links visitors to e-mail subscription window. Also, the bottom of each webpage contains what can be described as mini versions of the company’s Facebook and Twitter feed. These posts are up-to-date and also include buttons to follow or like the accounts. The featured articles on the site, which provide information regarding events and activities, all have tags associated with them and display a banner above the article soliciting visitors to like My Central Florida Family on Facebook. Beneath each article is a request that reads: “Share this article:” which provides social share buttons to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn.

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Social share buttons and tags are place beneath most of the articles and webpages on MyCentralFloridaFamily.com

In terms of improving the website, My Central Florida Family could start by streamlining the site to make it more user-friendly. This could be achieved by carefully organizing their advertisements and distinctly separating them from featured events. Additionally, they could eliminate duplicate links that could be confusing, such as the two “Contact Us” buttons that are inches away from each other. My Central Florida Family should also consider moving their newsletter signup and business directory features from the bottom of each webpage to the top. These are useful resources, and most visitors probably would not know they existed buried under so many ads. Also, the different listings in the business directory should link to that business or organization’s website and social media websites. Overall, My Central Florida Family should consider streamlining its website so that the format on each webpage and article is consistent and void of any unnecessary or irrelevant information. This will make it easier for visitors to navigate the site and find what they are looking for.

Content

To help promote My Central Florida Family’s Florida Kids and Family Expo, the organization should tag all of their posts relating to the event with keywords that will help boost their SEO efforts and overall search engine results. Searching the popularity and interest of various keywords on Google Trends, My Central Florida Family would likely benefit from tagging Kids and Family Expo posts with words and phrases such as: family, “expo,” “family fun,” “Orlando,” and “kids.”

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 Google Trends results for the regional interest of the tag “family fun”

 

Blog

Evaluation

My Central Florida Family’s website does not link to an official blog, but the site’s “News” tab does have blog-like features. For starters, the posts are organized from newest to oldest. Each post features a title, an accompanying photo, and brief description. Most of these posts are brief and concise, many of which detail upcoming events. Visitors are given the option to change the size of the text and print the document. My Central Florida Family appears to be adequately utilizing IMC, as each post has tags and keywords assigned to the article, and there are social sha

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Figure 5:

re buttons for visitors at the bottom of each page.

My Central Florida Family could improve this page by including keywords in their image ALT tags in addition to their image file names. There is some inconsistency with the photos complementing the blog posts. Some images link to source websites, or sites with relevant information, while others are merely dead links or do not link to anything.

Content: Mock Blog Post

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Social Media

Evaluation

The social media sites that My Central Florida Family links to on their website are Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. The company’s Facebook page has just over 3,000 likes, and they post to the platform several times a day. Popular posting tool, Buffer, suggests posting a maximum of two times per day, as any additional posts begin to lose engagement. The majority of My Central Florida Family’s posts are not receiving a great deal of likes, comments, or shares, so this could be the cause. My Central Florida Family’s Twitter page has just over 700 followers, and the company posts three or more times per day. The content of these posts is similar to that of their Facebook, and generally contains information and provides a link about events and activities listed on the site. The majority of these posts receive no engagement. The company could do more to interact with followers as well as the sponsors and event holders they mention. My Central Florida Family’s Pinterest page has a good amount of content. The page contains 237 pins that are organized into 22 boards, with categories such as Kid’s Fashion, Summertime Fun, and Science Activities. That being said, the page only has 28 followers.5

My Central Florida Family should consider creating an Instagram account. Instagram is a very popular platform, especially in their target demographic. The company could use their Instagram account to showcase and highlight events and information like they do on their other social media channels, but they can also share pictures of various events and the community’s involvement. These photos could be shared across platforms to further boost the organization’s IMC efforts.

Content

The following are mock social media posts for the week of August 23rd – August 29th, the week prior to My Central Florida Family’s annual Florida Kids and Family Expo. The event commences on the last day of posts, August 29th. The hashtags used in these posts, #MyCFF and #FLKidsFamExpo, were created by and previously used by My Central Florida Family. Note that if the tweets below were to actually be posted, they would include shortened URLs that would not exceed Twitter’s 140-character limit.

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Events

Evaluation

My Central Family Florida is hosting the Florida Kids and Family Expo August 29th and 30th, 2015. The expo will be taking place at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, and will feature exhibits and activities from approximately 150 kid and family friendly companies. This event is a great opportunity for My Central Family Florida to bring awareness to their site and display their passion and expertise for bringing the community together for family-friendly events and activities. My Central Florida Family has a comprehensive website that could be invaluable to local families, but their social media presence lacks engagement. This event provides an opportunity for the company to gain exposure and cross promote their website and various social media channels.

Content

The following IMC plan will utilize multiple channels to promote My Central Florida Family, specifically the Florida Kids and Family Expo.

Pre-Event:

  • Establish a promotional opportunity that asks individuals to subscribe to the site’s email newsletter in exchange for discounted event tickets. The company’s website provides an opportunity for visitors to purchase tickets to the event directly through the site with an embedded Eventbrite page. On every page of the website that includes the social share and email signup buttons, add a pop-up that invites visitors to signup for the newsletter to receive a coupon code to use on the Eventbrite ticket purchasing page. Additionally, promote this opportunity across social media platforms, including My Central Florida Family’s newly established Instagram page. This promotion should take place within the two weeks prior to the expo, August 16th through August 28th.
  • Boost followers on social media by introducing another promotional opportunity exclusive to the platforms. Post information about the event and ask followers to share the post on Facebook, Retweet the post on Twitter, and like the post on Instagram. Individuals who complete all three tasks within a certain time period will be automatically entered to win free tickets to the expo for their family and themselves. During the time this promotion is taking place, My Central Florida Family will collect and keep track of all of the respondents, and then randomly select a winner. This promotion should take place two weeks before the expo, August 16th through August 22nd. The winner will be announced on all social media platforms on Sunday, August 23rd.
  • Engage with followers as My Central Florida Family countdowns to the expo through their social media accounts. Pose questions relating to the event and communicate with followers as much as possible answering any and all questions and comments. This countdown should begin on Sunday, August 23rd, and continue for six days up until the day before the expo begins, August 28th.

During the Event:

  • Establish a dedicated My Central Florida Family booth at the expo. At this booth, have information available about the website, as well as upcoming events and activities. Display the event’s social media hashtag, #FLKidsFamExpo, as well as the company’s, #MyCFF, prominently at the booth. Additionally, host a raffle opportunity for guests that include a variety of gifts from the various sponsors. To enter the raffle, guests are required to take a photo at the event, and post it to the social media platform of their choice using both of the hashtags. Once they show this to the individuals working the booth, they will be given a raffle ticket to write down their information. There will be two of these raffles during the event, one on Saturday and one on Sunday. The winners will be announced at the end of each day at the event and on social media channels.

Post-Event:

  • Following the event, thank all of the sponsors, vendors, and guests for their participation on all social media channels and through an email newsletter.
  • Post multiple photos of the event on all social media channels.
  • Retweet and Repost multiple photos and posts from guests at the events that tagged My Central Florida Family and/or used the event hashtags.

Critical Thinking

Overall, the suggestions presented above should greatly improve My Central Florida Family ‘s IMC efforts. That being said, if the budget permits, the other suggestions are as follows:

  • Utilize guerilla-marketing tactics to promote the expo in the weeks before the event. My Central Florida Family showcases several local businesses and the events and activities they make available to the public. The company should contact the locations these activities take place and ask if they can graffiti about the expo. This graffiti could be non-permanent chalk, for example, and can provide the name of the event, applicable hashtags, and/or website information. This form of marketing could be useful to My Central Florida Family, as it is cost effective and works as a vehicle to generate interest and exposure to individuals who might not be familiar with the website or event.
  • Introduce a My Central Florida Family mobile app. The app should include a calendar of events similar to the one on the company’s website. Additionally, the app should be interactive. Users should be able to RSVP to certain events and activities and view and connect with other families who have RSVP’d. The events on the app should provide an area where users can ask specific questions as well as options to share on social media. In regards to the Florida Kids and Family Expo, the app should dedicate a certain portion of the app exclusively to this event. This section of the app should have detailed information about the event, and a timeline of what’s going on at certain times. Users should be able to manage their tickets through the app, and also make reservations at high volume booths to avoid waiting.

All of the aforementioned IMC suggestions are easy to track and analyze, so doing so should not be very costly. All of the online recommendations, including those related to the company’s website and social media channels, can be tracked directly through those channels. Even the most basic analytics tools will be able to provide information regarding increased traffic to the website and clicks to the event page. Additionally, the company can track their social media engagement without any specific tool by simply monitoring the pages for an increase in likes, follows, comments, and other insights. Because My Central Florida Family is using Eventbrite as their online ticket distributor, they will be able to monitor exactly who bought tickets through the site and how they accessed it. Similarly, in regards to the newsletter promotion, the company will be able to observe who subscribed and who actually utilized the coupon code.

Conclusion

My Central Florida Family is a comprehensive and invaluable resource for families living in and around the Central Florida area. The hallmarks of their website, the calendar which offers detailed information regarding daily activities available to the public and the thorough business directory, prove the founders’ dedication and passion for uniting the local community. My Central Florida Family has several opportunities to grow and expand as a brand, and simple methods like streamlining the site, improving social media communications, and successfully executing the Florida Kids and Family Expo will vastly improve the company’s IMC efforts and catapult the brand into becoming a local household name.

 

 

Sources used:

http://mycentralfloridafamily.com/

All other sources used are accessible via hyperlinks in the body of this post. All images can be clicked to link to their source.

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Assignment 11: Reputation Management

For this assignment, I was tasked with responding to mock customer comments and complaints in the hospitality industry. Note that these customer comments are fake, and this post is for class purposes only.

Reputation management is a tricky business, especially regarding disgruntled customers. In class, we learned it is important to be timely, apologize, and provide a solution. However, considering we are dealing with the hospitality industry, I found a helpful article on Reinvate that provided tips and pointers on how to specifically address negative hotel reviews. The article suggested the following steps: thank the guest by name, apologize for the guest’s poor experience, highlight any intended changes, and evaluate the need for follow up procedures.

REVIEW #1: Hyatt Regency Orlando

Hyatt-example2015

Hello Travewith3kiddos,

Thank you for your kind review. We have passed along your praises to our staff, including Ralph. I’m sorry you were dissatisfied with the location of your room. Next time you book with us, be sure to select a “view” room instead of our “standard” room in order to ensure you overlook the pool. We hope you come back and visit us soon!

Sincerely,

Nicole Rinaldo

Social Media Manager

REVIEW #2: The Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina

Hilton-example-2015

Hello LUV2TRAVELWITHHUBBY,

Thank you for taking the time to leave us a review. We appreciate your business and value your feedback here at The Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina. Our goal at the Hilton is to provide guests with the services they need, the amenities they expect and the extras they deserve to have a refreshing and relaxing stay, and I sincerely apologize that your experience did not reflect that. We hope these issues did not negatively effect your time at your high school reunion. I would be happy to look into this further and hope you give us the chance to make this right. Please contact me at your convenience at Nicole@Hilton.com.

Sincerely,

Nicole Rinaldo

Social Media Manager

Assignment 10: Event Marketing

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This week in class, we covered event marketing. For this assignment, I followed the annual Catersource tradeshow, which took place from March 8th-March 11th,, specifically looking at their marketing efforts.

On the Catersource website, the bottom of each webpage provides a button to sign up for an e-newsletter, social share buttons that link to the company’s Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram, and a contact us link. Because Catersource listed them on their official website, I followed all of these social media channels a week before, during, and after the tradeshow up until March 17th.

Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 3.46.33 PMFirst, let’s talk about the social media channels where Catersource seemed to be lacking in regards to promoting this event. Catersource’s YouTube channel has 134 subscribers, and its latest video was uploaded four months ago. It’s Google+ page has only 43 followers, and the only content appears to be YouTube videos, so it has not been updated recently either. Catersource’s Pinterest page has 1,812 followers, and 1,227 pins, but it does not appear to have been updated in the last few months. Of their 26 boards, the first two featured includes “Happy Holidays!” and “2014 Catersource Conference Tradeshow.”

In general and in terms of promoting this particular event, Catersource has the most active presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. At the time I was reviewing their social media presence, Catersource’s Facebook had 5,492 likes, its Twitter had 3,772 followers, and its Instagram had 1,465 followers.

BEFORE THE TRADESHOW:

Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 3.54.55 PMIn the week prior to the tradeshow, Catersource posted to Facebook five times. The majority of these referenced the upcoming tradeshow, included the event hashtag, #CSES2015, and linked to articles or pages on the official website. The last post shared on Facebook before the event commenced was the only post in the week prior to the tradeshow that did not link to the Catersource website. It featured an image with the text: “Setting up the elements for the #CSES2015 Attendee Lounge. Can’t wait for you to see it!” This post received 19 likes, the most likes of any other Facebook post prior to the show, and it was the first post I found to seem human and actively engage followers. All of these posts, except for the last one, were posted to Twitter in the same format.

In the week prior to the tradeshow, Catersource posted to Twitter six times. Four of the six tweets shared during this time were directly copied from Facebook, but surprisingly, the engagement on these posts varied significantly. Catersource’s post about their mobile app received six likes, three shares, and zero comments on Facebook, while the same post on Twitter received nine favorites, four retweets, and two comments. Similarly, Catersource’s post about the tradeshow’s schedule at a glance received 10 likes, two shares, and zero comments on Facebook, but eight favorites, eight retweets, and one comment on Twitter. In contrast, the other two tweets shared on both platforms received more engagement on Facebook than Twitter, so it was smart for them to share the same content on both platforms. The other two tweets posted prior to the tradeshow included a tweet about the Catersource cookbook, which included the hashtag, a picture, and a link to the website, in addition to an Instagram post shared directly from their account.

Catersource posted to Instagram twice in the week prior to the tradeshow. The first was identical to the company’s tweet about the Catersource cookbook, and the second was the aforementioned post shared on Twitter from the Catersource Instagram page. These identical posts also received much more engagement on Instagram than Twitter. The cookbook post received six retweets, eight favorites, and one comment on Twitter, and 37 likes and one comment on Instagram. Similarly, the post about setting up that was posted to Instagram and shared on Twitter received six retweets, seven favorites, and one comment on Twitter, and 57 likes and three comments on Instagram.

DURING THE TRADESHOW:

Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 4.55.43 PMDuring the tradeshow, Catersource posted to Facebook eight times, four times on March 9th, and four times on March 10th, and zero times on March 8th or March 11th. Three of these posts were album uploads of pictures taken during the tradeshow, and were the three posts that received the most engagement during this time. Two other posts provided information and highlights regarding the day’s events, which I found to be helpful and informative. It’s unfortunate that Catersource did not post similar information on March 8th and March 11th, as I’m sure followers would have appreciated it. Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 4.59.23 PMI felt like the other three posts shared during the tradeshow lacked elements that resulted in missed opportunities. On March 9th, Catersource updated their Facebook cover photo, but did not include a caption or any information about what was going on in the photo. Later that day, Catersource posted a link to buy tickets to Premonition, dubbed “THE event of the evening.” This post included a photo and linked to the Catersource website’s description of the event, but visitors had to search elsewhere on the site to purchase tickets. Additionally, the post did not include the tradeshow hashtag, #CSES2015, and while they mentioned the venue, Brooklyn Bowl, they neglected to tag their Facebook page. Lastly, on March 10th, Catersource posted a photo with accompanying information about the tradeshow floor, asking followers to download their mobile app for a map and education sessions. However, the link provided merely links to the photo, instead of the mobile app or other relevant information.

During the tradeshow, Catersource did a great job promoting the event and interacting with followers on Twitter. The majority of their tweets included the event hashtag, #CSES2015 and tagged and mentioned any and all appropriate twitter accounts. During this time, nearly all of Catersource’s tweets received some kind of engagement. The tweets had varied content, including but not limited to information about different sessions and special events throughout the day, award winners, and special contests. On March 8th, Catersource tweeted 28 times, including retweets. Two of these tweets mentioned and tagged sponsors, three included photos, and ten linked to photos on the company’s Instagram account. Five of these tweets were retweets, and three were retweets that were responded to. The most favorited tweet of the day was a good morning post that received 15 favorites, and the most retweeted post of the day featured a contest and linked to the Catersource Instagram page.On March 9th, Catersource tweeted 26 times, including retweets. None of these tweets mentioned or tagged sponsors, but four included photos, and seven linked to photos posted to the Catersource Instagram account. Four of these tweets were retweets, and one of these was a retweet that Catersource responded to. On March 10th, Catersource tweeted 34 times including retweets, mostly congratulating specific winners of competitions that had been taking place. Two of these tweets mentioned and tagged sponsors, three included photos, and 10 linked to photos on the Catersource Instagram page. One of these tweets was a retweet, and another one was a retweet containing a response. Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 6.21.03 PMOn March 11th, the final day of the Catersource tradeshow, the company’s twitter page started to lack rich content. Catersource tweeted 22 times, six of which were pictures and two which linked to photos on the company’s Instagram account. None of these tweets mentioned sponsors, or were retweets. Catersource’s last tweet of the day received a notable amount of engagement, with seven retweets and 15 favorites. This tweet thanked sponsors, exhibitors, and attendees.

Catersource posted a lot on Instagram during the tradeshow. Almost all of their posts used the event hashtag, #CSES2015, and tagged the appropriate accounts of individuals and companies featured in the photographs or mentioned. Catersource’s Instagram posts received a great deal of engagement, and more likes than any other social media channel during this time, but very few comments. On March 8th, Catersource uploaded 10 photos to Instagram, and received an average of 28.6 likes per post, but only two photos received comments. These pictures showcased the event’s welcome reception, sessions throughout the day, chefs and other notable individuals, and their social media contest. One of these posts mentioned a sponsor, and encouraged followers to pick up a free tote bag. The photo with the most engagement was posted this day, a picture of showgirls at the welcome reception that received 42 likes and five comments. Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 6.48.05 PMCatersource posted to Instagram eight times on March 9th, with an average of 21.3 likes per post. Only two of these photos received comments. These posts highlighted the tradeshow’s trendsetter luncheon, notable individuals, and Premonition, the nighttime event. On March 10th, Catersource posted to Instagram 19 times, four of which were videos. This day’s posts received the lowest average likes per post, at 18.2, and only one comment. The content of these photos and videos included the rock the night industry awards celebration, the diced culinary competition, tradeshow floor sessions and exhibitors, and the previous evening’s Premonition event. On March 11th, Catersource uploaded 13 photos to Instagram, 3 of which received comments, with an average of 27.6 likes per post. Catersource posted the most varied content on this day, featuring rock the night winners and finalists, thank you messages to sponsors and exhibitors, notable guests, the tradeshow floor, Catersource’s new website, and the event’s closing session.

AFTER THE TRADESHOW:

Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 5.12.10 PMFollowing the tradeshow, Catersource posted to Facebook once, on March 17th. The post included a photo of the Catersource and Event Solutions team jumping and smiling with arms spread, with the accompanying caption: “The Catersource & Event Solutions Team had an AMAZING time at #CSES2015! We can’t wait for #CSES2016!” The link provided linked to the photo.

From the end of the tradeshow until March 17th, Catersource tweeted three times. Two of the posts were tweeted on March 16th, one of which was a response to retweet, and the other was another thank you message asking followers to “stay tuned for this years’ social winners.” On March 17th, Catersource posted a tweet that was identical to their Facebook post, including the same photo.

From March 12th through March 17th, Catersource did not upload any content to their Instagram account.

CONCLUSION:

Overall, Catersource did a great job marketing and promoting their 2015 tradeshow on social media. Branding and logo was consistent across channels, and the social media accounts Catersource utilized during the tradeshow all prominently featured the event’s hashtag, #CSES2015. Even though Catersource’s Facebook account had by far the most followers, Instagram clearly generated the most likes and engagement out of any of their other social media channels.

Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 7.16.02 PMThat being said, I think there are several areas in which Catersource can improve upon next year. For starters, the company did not do a great job of promoting their sponsors. The company’s website has provided a link to the tradeshow’s 2014 sponsor list the entire time I have been monitoring it, but as of March 17th, this webpage still contains sponsorship information and contact information to have an exhibit booth on the 2015 show floor that ended over a week ago. This is confusing and an enormous misstep in my opinion.

Additionally, Catersource could have better managed their IMC efforts. With the exception of regularly sharing Instagram posts to Twitter, there was very little, if any, cross promotion to social media channels or the Catersource website. This seems like an oversight to me, because a great deal of the content Catersource was posting was exactly the same on other channels. It seems strange that they wouldn’t link to one another. I think it would benefit Catersouce to be more consistent when sharing across platforms. Also, several of the posts that should have linked to the Catersource website for specific information only linked to photos on a separate webpage.

Lastly, I was disappointed that Catersource did not make use of their other social media channels, specifically YouTube. The company posted four videos to Instagram during the tradeshow, but it would have been interesting to watch a full length video of some of the different events and speeches. Additionally, Catersource could have used YouTube to promote the tradeshow. They could have compiled video clips and photos of last years tradeshow, and shared it across their channels to generate interest and give insight as to what to expect at the event.

Sources used:

https://www.catersource.com/

http://www.catersource.com/conference-tradeshow/exhibit

https://www.facebook.com/Catersource

https://twitter.com/catersource_llc

https://www.youtube.com/user/TheCatersource

https://plus.google.com/+Catersource/posts

https://instagram.com/catersource/

Week 9: Planning Resources

For this assignment, I am pretending to be the social media specialist for Disney’s Epcot. My goal as social media specialist is to promote the various events Epcot is putting on throughout the month and solicit as much interest as possible on two of the park’s social media channels: Facebook and Twitter. Specifically, I will be featuring the park’s annual International Flower and Garden Festival. Before putting together a schedule, I wanted to determine what was an appropriate frequency of posts. Buffer posted a helpful infographic to their blog which gives advice on how often companies should be posting to social media. Research shows that you should post to Facebook 1 to 2 times per day at most before likes and comments begin to drop off and posting to Twitter should occur up to three times per day, at which point engagement starts to decrease.

The following are my hypothetical posts for the theme park’s social media pages for the month of April 2015.

Wednesday, April 1

  • mWrVe5NNZQOpYyM0QZFpydQFB: Happy April Fool’s Day! (include photo)
  • TW: Happy April Fool’s Day! (include photo)
  • TW: If you haven’t yet, make sure to plan you trip to Epcot’s International Flower & Garden Festival. Happening now – May 17. (include link to purchase park tickets)

Thursday, April 2

  • FB: #DidYouKnow Epcot’s International Flower & Garden Festival features a stunning series of topiary displays and gardens, each showcasing seasonal designs or trimmed to look like popular Disney characters. Find out more: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/attractions/epcot/flower-garden-topiaries/
  • TW: Happy #PascuaFloridaDay to our Floridian followers!

Friday, April 3

  • Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 8.45.00 PMFB: Don’t miss our fifth #FunFreshWeekend at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Check out this weekend’s activities! (Include photo of activities)
  • TW: Don’t miss our fifth #FunFreshWeekend at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Check out this weekend’s activities! (Include photo of activities)
  • TW: Next time your at #Epcot, check out The UnDISCOVERed Future World Tour! Get more information and make your reservation here: http://goo.gl/cemnZ6

Saturday, April 4

  • Disney%20Passover[1]TW: Happy First Day of #Passover! (include photo)
  • TW: Are you visiting #Epcot today? As the sun sets, make sure you check out the select illuminated gardens across the park glow with light!

Sunday, April 5

  • Disney Easter 800x600FB: Happy Easter from Goofy and Mickey! (include photo)
  • TW: Happy #Easter from Goofy and Mickey! (include easter photo)
  • TW: Did you attend any of our #FunFreshWeekend events this weekend? Tweet your photos @ us with the hashtag, #FunFreshWeekend. We’ll retweet our favorites!

Monday, April 6

  • Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 10.01.41 PMTW: Happy #NationalTartanDay! (include photo)
  • TW: Are you visiting #Epcot today? Meet your favorite Disney pals at the Epcot Character spot from 9:00am-9:00pm.

Tuesday, April 7

  • FB: This year’s International Flower & Garden Festival features three brand new Disney-themed topiaries you don’t want to miss! Discover more: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/attractions/epcot/flower-garden-topiaries/
  • TW: Snorkel with over 6,000 sea creatures with #Epcot Seas Aqua Tour! For more information and reservations click here: http://goo.gl/pUYPlM
  • TW: Are you visiting #Epcot today? Be sure to stay till 9:00pm to watch our fireworks show, IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth.

Wednesday, April 8

  • FB: Leaving the kids at home during your next trip to Epcot? Make a reservation for our Backstage Magic tour, to see firsthand how thousands of dedicated Cast Members make magic happen every day at Walt Disney World Resort! https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/events-tours/backstage-magic/
  • TW: Are you visiting #Epcot today? Discover the story of the Monarch butterfly in our exclusive Butterflies on the Go exhibit!

Thursday, April 9

  • 8982539FB: Are you visiting Epcot soon? Be sure to make reservations to our Behind the Seeds tour, where you can explore the future of agriculture and get up-close and personal with the critters of The Land Pavilion. https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/events-tours/epcot/behind-the-seeds/
  • TW: Do you love dolphins? Make a reservation on your next visit to #Epcot to have an intimate dolphin experience with #Disneys Dolphins in Depth here: goo.gl/pZG0KA
  • TW: #TBT This is a map of #Epcot from 1983. Can you spot the differences between the park then and now? (include photo)

Friday, April 10

  • Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 8.50.50 PMFB: Don’t miss our sixth #FunFreshWeekend at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Check out this weekend’s activities! (Include photo of activities)
  • TW: Don’t miss our sixth #FunFreshWeekend at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Check out this weekend’s activities! (Include photo of activities)

Saturday, April 11

  • TW: This year’s International Flower & Garden Festival features three brand new Disney-themed topiaries you don’t want to miss! goo.gl/jfbCwg
  • TW: Are you a fan of our #LivingwiththeLand exhibit at #Epcot? Our Behind the Seeds tour is a must-see for guests of all ages! http://goo.gl/5OoiIb

Sunday, April 12

  • facebook_shareable_disneylandparisFB: Most #Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival events are included in your theme park ticket! Experience this special event in addition to everything else the park has to offer: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/tickets/?ticketType=myw-non-mk-1&affiliation=FL_RESIDENT
  • TW: Did you attend any of our #FunFreshWeekend events this weekend? Tweet your photos @ us with the hashtag, #FunFreshWeekend. We’ll retweet our favorites!
  • TW: Our friend, @DisneylandParis opened 23 years ago today! Favorite this tweet if you’ve ever visited #DisneylandParis (include photo)

Monday, April 13

  • Thomas_jeffersonTW: Savor the taste of spring at one of our several outdoor kitchens at the #Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival! http://goo.gl/YqF55X
  • TW: Happy 272nd Birthday, Thomas Jefferson! (include photo)

Tuesday, April 14

  • FB: Spring into season at Epcot’s International Flower & Garden Festival, where gardens and interactive exhibits have popped up throughout the park! https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/attractions/epcot/flower-garden-topiaries/
  • TW: Are you visiting #Epcot today? Check out Mike & Sulley’s Monstrous Garden to see your favorite #MonstersUniversity characters in topiary!
  • TW: Explore new depths with #Epcot DiveQuest. Check out more information and make your reservation today here: http://goo.gl/Wyg4Pe

Wednesday, April 15

  • taxdayFB: On your next trip to Epcot, be sure to check out The UnDISOVERed Future World, a 4-hour walking tour where you can discover how Walt Disney’s desire to shape a better tomorrow led to the creation of #Epcot! Our tours leave daily at 9:00am, so make your reservation today! https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/events-tours/epcot/undiscovered-future-world/
  • facebook_shareable_tokyodisneylandTW: Did you file your taxes on time? Mickey did! #TaxDay (include photo)
  • TW: Our friends, @TokyoDisneyland opened 32 years ago today! Favorite this tweet if you’ve ever visited #TokyoDisneyland (include photo)

Thursday, April 16

  • spaceshipearthFB: Dolphin lovers rejoice! Upcoming visitors to Epcot can make a reservation to Disney’s Dolphins in Depth, an enlightening and truly intimate dolphin experience limited to a group of no more than 8 guests per day. https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/events-tours/epcot/dolphins-in-depth/
  • TW: Happy #EmanicpationDay to our Washington, D.C. followers!
  • TW: #TBT to our iconic #SpaceshipEarth being built. Can you believe construction took a whopping 26 months? (include photo)

Friday, April 17

  • Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 8.54.32 PMFB: Don’t miss our seventh #FunFreshWeekend at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. We’ve extended the festivities until Wednesday in honor of #EarthDay. Check out this weekend’s activities! (Include photo of activities)
  • TW: Don’t miss our fifth #FunFreshWeekend at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Check out this weekend’s activities! (Include photo of activities)

Sunday, April 19

  • FB: Are you visiting Epcot soon? Be sure to check out DiveQuest, a scuba experience with guaranteed calm seas, no current, unlimited visibility, and incredible marine life and coral. These tours are limited so make your reservation today! https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/events-tours/epcot/epcot-divequest/
  • TW: Our #FunFreshWeekend events continue on this week until Wednesday in honor of #EarthDay! (include photo of activities)

Monday, April 20

  • FB: At the #Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, you can savor the taste of spring as you stroll through the park and treat your senses to a selection of fresh flavors, with seasonal dishes and beverages at one of our many outdoor kitchens! https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/events-tours/epcot/outdoor-kitchens/
  • TW: Happy #PatriotsDay to our Maine and Massachusetts followers!
  • TW: Are you visiting #Epcot today? Meet your favorite Disney pals at the Epcot Character spot from 9:00am-9:00pm.

Tuesday, April 21

  • TW: Happy #NationalLibraryWorkersDay!
  • TW: #DidYouKnow we have over 50 restaurants at #Epcot, featuring many types of cuisine and fitting any budget? #Yum!

Wednesday, April 22

  • EarthDay2FB: Happy #EarthDay! Earth Day is celebrated globally in 192 countries. What are you doing to help our environment today and every day? (Include photo)
    TW: Happy #EarthDay! Tweet @ us what you’re doing to protect our environment and we’ll retweet our favorites! (include photo)
  • facebook_shareable_animalkingdomTW: Did you attend any of our #FunFreshWeekend events this weekend? Tweet your photos @ us with the hashtag, #FunFreshWeekend. We’ll retweet our favorites!
  • TW: Our neighbors, #AnimalKingdom, opened its doors 17 years ago! (animal kingdom pic)

Thursday, April 23

  • TW: Are you visiting #Epcot today? Stop by Germany to meet #SnowWhite or France to meet #Aurora at 6:20pm!

Friday, April 24

  • Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 8.57.00 PMFB: Don’t miss our eighth #FunFreshWeekend at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Check out this weekend’s activities! (Include photo of activities)
  • TW: Don’t miss our eighth #FunFreshWeekend at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Check out this weekend’s activities! (Include photo of activities)
    TW: Happy #ArborDay to our followers from Nebraska!

Saturday, April 25

  • FB: If you’re visiting the park soon, you can’t miss Epcot Seas Aqua Tour, a once in a lifetime opportunity to snorkel with over 6,000 seas creatures, including sea turtles, angelfish, eagle rays and sharks in our massive aquarium! Space is limited so make your reservation now. https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/events-tours/epcot/epcot-seas-aqua-tour/
  • TW: #DidYouKnow some folks refer to #Epcot as a permanent world’s fair?

Sunday, April 26

  • TW: Did you attend any of our #FunFreshWeekend events this weekend? Tweet your photos @ us with the hashtag, #FunFreshWeekend. We’ll retweet our favorites!
  • TW: Most #Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival events are included in your theme park ticket! Experience this special event & everything else the park has to offer

Monday, April 27

  • TW: Savor the taste of spring at one of our several outdoor kitchens at the #Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival! http://goo.gl/YqF55X
  • TW: Leaving the kids at home on your next trip to #Epcot? Make reservations for our Backstage Magic tour! http://goo.gl/SyHcyr

Tuesday, April 28

  • FB: Most #Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival events are included in your theme park ticket! Experience this special event in addition to everything else the park has to offer: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/tickets/?ticketType=myw-non-mk-1&affiliation=FL_RESIDENT
  • TW: Happy #ConfederateMemorialDay to our followers in Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and Georgia!

Thursday, April 30

  • FB: If you haven’t had a chance to visit Epcot’s International Flower & Garden Festival, it’s not too late. The festivities continue until May 17th. Book your ticket today! https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/tickets/?ticketType=myw-non-mk-1&affiliation=FL_RESIDENT
  • TW: The #Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival continues on next month. You don’t want to miss it! http://goo.gl/PmN4bB

Sources used:

https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/calendars/epcot/2015-04-23/#timeofday=allday

https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/epcot/

http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/us/

https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/events-tours/epcot/epcot-international-flower-and-garden-festival/

https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/events-tours/epcot/flower-garden-fun-fresh-weekends/

http://www.mouseplanet.com/10098/Thirty_Things_You_Never_Knew_About_EPCOT_Center

https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/tickets/?ticketType=myw-non-mk-1&affiliation=FL_RESIDENT

http://blogs.disney.com/insider/2014/05/03/a-look-back-at-aprils-important-disney-dates/

NOTE: All images used can be clicked to link directly to the source

Mid-Term Project: SlideShare

Features

SlideShare is the world’s largest content sharing community and content marketing platform. Created with the simple goal, “to share knowledge online,” SlideShare is primarily used as a platform to share presentations and other professional content with colleagues, customers, friends, and followers. The site currently hosts over 15 million uploads from individuals and organizations that cover a variety of different topics, such as leadership, technology, education, and marketing, to name a few. SlideShare users can easily upload and share content in the form of presentations, infographics, documents, videos, PDFs, webinars, and more.

Profile of Rashmi Sinha, the CEO of SlideShare.
Profile of Rashmi Sinha, the CEO of SlideShare.

Some of the greatest features of SlideShare are the several functionalities that allow users to connect with others. Users have the ability to customize their profile on the site, add a photograph, and provide personal information such as occupation, workplace, and a description, in addition to including links to websites and social media profiles. Users can also add tags to their profile, such as phrases and keywords, which are relevant to their industry and the content they like and share. SlideShare users can follow specific organizations and individuals on the site, and like and comment on presentations. Sharing content is made easy, as users can use the social share buttons to quickly and effortlessly repost presentations to LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Presentations also feature a handy “embed” button that allows users to directly embed slides onto websites or blogs. Additionally, presentations also offer a download option, for users to read and reference SlideShares at another time.

SlideShare presentations include options to share, embed, like, and download directly on the slides, and easy-to-use social share buttons directly beneath it.
SlideShare presentations include options to share, embed, like, and download directly on the slides, and easy-to-use social share buttons directly beneath it.

Today, SlideShare can be used for more than just sharing presentations. Zipcast was introduced to users with the intent to redefine online meetings, and make them as simple and accessible as the SlideShare site. While most online meeting platforms require users to download software and wait for specific meeting times, Zipcast eliminates this hassle.

A look at SlideShare's Zipcast feature.
A look at SlideShare’s Zipcast feature.

Zipcast is free to all SlideShare users for conducting public meetings. With Zipcast, all of the individuals conferencing get a personalized meeting room, and the meetings are entirely interactive and take place directly in the browser window. The presenter conducting the meeting controls the audio, video, and slides, while participants can view and chat. Every public presentation contains now has a Zipcast button, and there is no limit to meeting size, so presenters can share the meeting by URL or through social media sites.

SlideShare currently offers a number of premium features that were previously available to users who paid a monthly fee to have a “PRO Account.” Recently, SlideShare has elected to make nearly every “PRO” feature free for all users, in order to allow all users to grow their audience and ultimately provide greater value to the SlideShare community. Some of these features are already available to SlideShare users, but they are being released one at a time over the span of several months.

"PRO" features coming soon to all SlideShare users.
“PRO” features coming soon to all SlideShare users.

The first of these features is private uploads, which basically allows users to choose how they share content. Users can upload and share presentations privately with individuals they have sent a link to, embed presentations on select domains, like company intranet sites, and schedule a specific date and time to publicly publish a presentation. Another “PRO” feature involves optimizing video uploads. Users can now add high-definition videos up to 500MB and better keep their audience engaged by showcasing conferences, marketing tutorials, product demonstrations, and more. Additionally, one of the “PRO” features allows for more in-depth profile customization. With this feature, users can really build their online presence by creating a distinct and recognizable brand with custom banner images. This feature also allows users to create content for their followers and showcase their best content by choosing how and where their various presentations appear on their profile. Lastly, smart analytics is the powerful “PRO” feature that will allow everyone in the SlideShare community to gain useful insights and enhance content marketing. Smart analytics shows users exactly where their views are coming from, including traffic sources, geographic details and more. Additionally, smart analytics measures engagement for each and every upload, so users know exactly what is being downloaded, liked, shared, and commented on. Smart analytics also analyzes this data, so users can see what content is popular, and refine their strategy accordingly.

History

Founded by Amit Ranjan, with his sister Rashmi Sinha, and her husband Johnathan Boutelle, SlideShare was officially launched October of 2006. Over the next two years, the SlideShare team worked to optimize the site, adding features, fixing problems, and improving the look of the site. In January of 2008, SlideShare received its first round of funding: 300,000 dollars of seed capital from six investors. Four months later, the company received its second round of funding of 2.7 million dollars from venture capital firm, Venrock.

At the start of 2009, SlideShare introduced its embedding feature, which allowed users to embed YouTube videos directly into SlideShare presentations. In February, CEO Rashmi Sinha was featured in Fast Company’s “Women in Tech 2009” spread, as one of 11 featured tech business visionaries. The following month, SlideShare’s mobile website was released.

Until this point, SlideShare was used almost entirely for presentations, and any videos had to be embedded into presentations as YouTube files. Beginning in May of 2010, the site began enabling the direct posting of video talks, webinars, demonstrations, and the like. In July, SlideShare introduced a feature that would allow users to synchronize presentations with videos, eliminating the need for a third party editing service. The following month, “PRO” accounts were launched, which advanced the functionality of the site through added features and services. “PRO” accounts were made available to users on a pay per month basis, and bundled by specific features into three payment tiers.

SlideShare founders Amit Ranjan, Rashmi Sinha, and Jonathan Boutelle in 2012.
SlideShare founders Amit Ranjan, Rashmi Sinha, and Jonathan Boutelle in 2012.

In February of 2011, SlideShare released Zipcast, a social web conferencing system that would take place directly on the site. Seven months later, SlideShare introduced the homepage, which featured a personalized newsfeed that depicted what users’ networks were doing.

On May 3, 2012, SlideShare was acquired by LinkedIn for 119 million dollars. The following month, SlideShare integrated with HootSuite. In July, as a part of its transition to HTML5, presentations were configured to play almost anywhere, and embedded presentations became flash free, making SlideShare more accessible to users on different devices.

Throughout 2013, SlideShare experienced a huge site revamp. The new site contained a fresh design, and became faster. The “explore” feature was introduced, as well as the “topics” section, which showcased curated content from popular categories like technology, careers, and design. Additionally, mobile compatibility was improved, the search function was optimized, and users could now like, share, and save presentations directly from the homepage. On May 9, 2013, the 10 millionth presentation uploaded to SlideShare. Two months later, the site added a feature that allowed users to upload files directly from Dropbox. That same month, a new SlideShare player specifically for infographics was announced.

In April of 2014, SlideShare released its Android app. In May, the site enhanced its upload capabilities, adding other cloud services, such as Box and Google Drive. Three months later, SlideShare introduced the site’s new upload experience, which is used today. The upload button was upgraded from Flash to Java, and users could now drag and drop files, and upload content from the cloud easier than ever. In August, SlideShare announced that the company was going to make all of the site’s “PRO” features available for free to all users. In September, the private upload feature was introduced. The following month, SlideShare released its iOS app.

Today, SlideShare is thriving and named among the top 120 most visited websites in the world. Since its inception, over 15 million SlideShares have been uploaded to the site, and that number continues to grow.

Target Audience

Initially envisioned as website for businesses to easily share content with its employees, SlideShare has expanded to host nearly any and all kinds of presentations, including ones solely for entertainment purposes. SlideShare’s target audience has expanded to encompass both individuals and organizations that have any information or perceptions worth sharing. That being said, the majority of users employ the site for professional and informational purposes.

User Numbers

SlideShare's audience compared to popular social networks.
SlideShare’s audience compared to popular social networks.

SlideShare generates a lot of traffic. In the company’s fourth quarter of 2013, the site averaged 215 million page views each month. There are 16 million registered users on SlideShare, and these users add 400,000 new presentations to the site each month. Additionally, each month, the site receives 60 million visitors and three billion slide views. Most of SlideShare’s visitors come from organic searches, social networks, and other SlideShare content, with a staggering 20 percent of visitors coming directly from Google. The site’s primary demographic includes a highly professional audience, and SlideShare receives 500 percent more traffic from business owners than Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn.

Growth

SlideShare has seen steady growth since its launch in 2007. In the last eight years, the number of SlideShare visitors has increased almost 4,000 percent.

SlideShare's visitor growth since 2007.
SlideShare’s visitor growth since 2007.

Additionally, several of SlideShare’s new and improved features have contributed to recent growth on the site. In 2014, users on the site took advantage of the fact that humans process images much faster than text, as the number of images per presentation increased 53 percent from the previous year. In the same year, the size of images in presentations increased 16 percent and the font size grew 58 percent. SlideShare also introduced mobile apps in 2014, and mobile views increased 223 percent from 2013.

As SlideShare develops as a company, it has also helped businesses grow. Former Global Director at Frost & Sullivan, Jake Wengroff, has said the SlideShare gave his company thousands of qualified leads per year, and a 50 times return on investment.

 How It Works

SlideShare is set up in a way that is incredibly user friendly and is designed to work with your needs. Users are encouraged to share insights on any topic, whether it be an idea, story, or expert knowledge, and turn it into a presentation to share with the world.

SlideShare's easy-to-use upload feature.
SlideShare’s easy-to-use upload feature.

Creating an account on the site is free, and involves three easy steps: entering an email address, choosing a username, and setting a password. Users can select buttons at the top of the page to choose whether they would like to upload a file or create a presentation on the site. Before uploading files, users can select whether they want their presentation to be public or private. Users have several options in regards to uploading files. SlideShare is compatible with formats such as PDF, OpenOffice and Microsoft Office files, in addition to video upload and YouTube. Users can upload files directly from their computer, or from Dropbox, Google Drive, or Gmail.

Users who elect to create their presentation directly through the site, instead of uploading one, can click the magic wand button to get started. SlideShare has partnered with Haiku Deck to provide users with easy to use and visually appealing templates to produce their slideshow. Graphic buttons on the right side of the web page allows users to select a format, layout, and background for each side. Users can alter the font and theme as they see fit, and add as many slides as they wish. Once an individual has completed their presentation, they can preview their creation before publishing it to the site.

SlideShare's "Create a Presentation" option featuring Haiku Deck.
SlideShare’s “Create a Presentation” option featuring Haiku Deck.

One of the great features of SlideShare is that visitors to the site do not need an account to watch and share presentations. Searching for a specific presentation or a broad range of content is made easy on the site. Users can utilize the search function on every page of the site to search nearly any word or phrase, and then narrow their search depending on the upload date, file type, and language. Visitors can also explore different presentations on SlideShare through the site’s “More Topics” button in the navigation bar at the top of each web page. This feature allows you to explore different popular topics on the site. Once you select a topic, you can follow the topic and also filter the results by category, type, and language.

Integration with Other Social Channels

Since the site’s humble beginnings, SlideShare has consistently made integration with other social channels a priority. SlideShare has been available on Facebook since 2007, initially as an app. Users have been able to share presentations on LinkedIn since 2008, and more functionality was added after the social media giant acquired SlideShare in 2012. The site partnered with YouTube in 2009, allowing users to embed videos in their presentations. In 2012, SlideShare integrated with Hootsuite, introduced a Google+ Hangouts app, and became Pinterest accessible.

SlideShare encourages sharing content across multiple platforms, and presentations are easily shareable, with social share buttons to LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ being prominently displayed directly below each and every presentation. In 2013, the top five traffic referrers to SlideShare were blogger, Facebook, WordPress, LinkedIn, and Twitter. The phrase “social media” is the third most used tag on the site, behind “business” and “statistics.” Additionally, the three most searched items on SlideShare are marketing, social media, and Facebook, in that order.

All these integration capabilities are great for business. An article from Social Media Examiner declared, “Out of all of the social platforms out there, SlideShare is the most overlooked and underutilized.”

Mobile 

SlideShare's app on Android (left) and Apple iOS (right).
SlideShare’s app on Android (left) and Apple iOS (right).

SlideShare has been mobile friendly since 2009. Since then, SlideShare has updated and retooled its mobile site on several occasions, most recently in 2014. The newest mobile format offers a better presentation experience than ever before, and includes several new features, including a swipe while viewing function and easier share capabilities.

In 2014, SlideShare launched its first app for Android and iOS devices. The apps have several features, such as functions to follow the latest insights on any topic of choice, capabilities that allow users to save presentations to read at a later date or offline, and multiple sharing options.

This is just the beginning for SlideShare on mobile, as they plan on rolling out several more mobile products and features in the future.

 Who is Using SlideShare

Several huge companies and brands utilize SlideShare, including but not limited to The White House, NASA, HP, and IBM.

The White House's SlideShare profile.
The White House’s SlideShare profile.

Sources used:

http://www.slideshare.net/about

http://blog.slideshare.net/2011/02/16/announcing-zipcast-changing-the-way-the-world-conducts-web-meetings/

http://www.siliconbeat.com/2009/10/06/the-rise-of-slideshare-and-how-corporate-presentations-became-entertainment/

http://help.slideshare.com/entries/52509414-Why-is-SlideShare-making-PRO-free-

http://help.slideshare.com/entries/52510124-When-will-the-free-features-be-available-to-all-users-

https://blog.slideshare.net/category/announcements/

https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/slideshare

http://techcrunch.com/2006/10/04/introducing-slideshare-power-point-youtube/

http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/slideshare-statistics/

http://www.cmo.com/articles/2014/3/10/mind_blowing_stats_slideshare.html

https://blog.slideshare.net/2014/04/16/slideshare-on-mobile-bringing-presentations-into-the-mobile-age/

http://www.desiline.com/startup-founders-of-indian-descent/

NOTE: All images used can be clicked to directly link to the source.

Assignment 7: Social Media

This week, we were required to pick three brands that are active on several social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and at least one other, such as LinkedIn, Pinterest, and YouTube. For this assignment, I selected three retail companies, in order to compare social media habits from brands in the same industry.

 Nordstrom

The first brand I evaluated is Nordstrom. Nordstrom is a fashion retailer based out of Seattle, Washington with over 100 locations.

Nordstrom is active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, Tumblr, Vine, and YouTube, and the company clearly takes an IMC approach. Nordstrom’s Facebook page is its most popular platform with over 3 million likes and over 700 thousand page visits. Nordstrom’s Instagram has over 700 thousand followers, their Twitter has over 500 thousand followers, and their Google+ has 161 thousand followers. Nordstrom’s YouTube channel has over 20 thousand subscribers and their videos have gained a combined 20 million views. Nordstrom also has a catalog that it regularly mails out to customers, and utilizes several advertising mediums.

Nordstrom's Facebook Page
Nordstrom’s Facebook Page

The company posts about once a day on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram, but some days they post more than once or not at all. Most of the posts are the same across platforms, and consist of an image of a particular item of clothing or accessory, followed by a link to Nordstrom’s website. Nordstrom has posted about six videos to YouTube over the last month, most with random content, such as a video explaining how to shuck oysters. Nordstrom posts to LinkedIn sporadically, and mostly links to relevant articles and blog posts.

Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 8.46.34 PM
Nordstrom’s New York Fashion Week post

The brief “About” section on the left side of Nordstrom’s Facebook timeline links to the brand’s website, Instagram and Twitter. However, the actual “About” tab at the top of the page offers a description of the company and links to the company’s website, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Nordstrom’s Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram link to its website, but no other social media channels. However, Nordstrom’s LinkedIn posts occasionally link to the company’s blog and Youtube channel. Additionally, none of the image posts that are consistently copied and shared across the company’s Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Instagram ever link to one another or mention the other platforms. In their YouTube “About” section, Nordstrom provides links to its website, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Google+ channels. Nordstrom’s Google+ page links to the company’s site, in addition to their YouTube channel, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Vine. This disconnect and lack of consistency could be easily remedied so that all social media sites mirror each other in that they all contain links to each and every one of the company’s social media channels.

In the last month, Nordstrom only shared one image across platforms that linked to all of their social media channels, and it was a photo asking followers to follow Nordstrom at New York Fashion Week.

An Instagram Nordstrom posted including several hashtags
An Instagram Nordstrom posted including several hashtags

Nordstrom does not use hashtags at all on their Facebook, LinkedIn, or YouTube accounts. They regularly incorporate hashtags on their Instagram, Twitter, and Google+ accounts. The company displays their brand hashtag, #nordstrom, prominently in their descriptions on Twitter and Instagram. That being said, the company generally does not incorporate their company hashtag into their posts. They generally include relevant and general hashtags, like #SuperBowl and #NYFW.

Macy’s

Macy’s is a department store chain based out of Cincinnati, Ohio. Macy’s was founded in New York City in 1858, and has over 780 locations across the United States.

Macy’s clearly takes an IMC approach. The company is active on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Youtube, Google+, and Instagram, in addition to maintaining a blog. Macy’s advertises on several different mediums, including print, commercials, and out of home to name a few. Macy’s also produces catalogs quite regularly and hosts several events throughout the year in their brick and mortar stores. Additionally, Macy’s has an app compatible with iPhone and Android devices, and customers have multiple other avenues to stay connected, including an optional email registry and an choice to sign up for brand-related text messages.

Macy's Twitter page
Macy’s Twitter page

The content on Macy’s Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter channels are pretty similar and several posts are exactly the same across platforms. Most of these posts have mixed content, including photos, videos, and links to the company’s website. Macy’s exclusively shares text-only posts on Twitter, and most of these tweets are positive, generalized statements, some referencing current or trending topics. Macy’s has only posted four times on Google+ this month, all of which mimicked posts the company had posted to other social media channels. Macy’s did not post to YouTube at all this month, so it is difficult to gauge whether the content was consistent with its other channels.

Macy’s posts regularly on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The company posts about once a day on average to Facebook, but more frequently on Instagram and Twitter, with upwards of two or three posts per day. Macy’s has only posted to Google+ four times this month, which is odd considering the content of the posts were directly copied from the brand’s other social media channels. It would be incredibly easy to post more often to Google+, as Macy’s could just post the same content they are already posting to their other channels. Macy’s YouTube channel is not remotely up to date, and they have not posted a video in over two months. This is especially bizarre, because two months ago, they uploaded 23 videos. It appears they have drifted away from regularly using this channel.

Macy's YouTube "About" page
Macy’s YouTube “About” page

One area where Macy’s really lacks is in connecting to their other social media channels. The company’s YouTube channel is their only social media site that links to Macy’s website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google+. Even Macy’s company website only offers five social share buttons at the bottom of the site that connects to the company’s Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and blog. It seems very flawed for the website to clearly omit buttons that link to the company’s Instagram and Google+ accounts. Additionally, Macy’s Twitter bio only links to the company website, their Facebook “About” tab offers detailed information about the brand and its mission, but also only links to the company website. Macy’s Instagram does not even link to the company website, but instead to a site that allows users to directly shop for the garmets and accessories featured in their Instagram posts.

Banner at the bottom of each page on Macy's website
Banner at the bottom of each page on Macy’s website

Macy’s regularly uses hashtags on the majority of their social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google+ accounts. Most of the hashtags Macy’s includes in their posts relate to trending topics and current events. Macy’s does not features a company hashtag, such as #Macys, on any of their sites. However, on the bottom of Macy’s website pages, there is a small banner encouraging visitors to take a photo of a product found or purchased at Macy’s and upload it to social media with the hashtag, #macyslove. This hashtag and call to action were not featured on any of Macy’s other social media channels.

 H&M

H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB, known as H&M, is a multinational clothing company based out of Stockholm, Sweden. The company was founded in 1947, and has store locations across six contintents.

Like its counterparts, H&M also takes an IMC approach. The company is active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Google+, and Pinterest. H&M also offers a newsletter signup option and features a blog called “H&M Life” on its website. Additionally, the company has an app for iPhone and Android users. The company has its own in house global advertising agency, and they advertise on several different platforms.

H&M's Instagram page
H&M’s Instagram page

H&M is fairly consistent in its messaging and imagery in that all of their social media posts relate to fashion. The content on H&M’s Facebook and Google+ pages are almost identical, and the posts mostly contain images that link to clothing and accessories for sale on the website. H&M posts varied fashion-related content on their Twitter account, with several posts linking to company blog posts. H&M also makes use of Twitter’s Retweet feature often, and also mentions designers and other fashion industry names. H&M’s Instagram posts are also centered on fashion, with a few links to website items and great deal of mentions at other brands and fashion industry individuals. H&M’s YouTube channel features videos with fashion shows, styling tips, and new products.

H&M’s content is up to date across all of their social media channels. The company posts on Facebook and Google+ about once per day, and they post on Twitter and Instagram several times each day. H&M uploads new videos to YouTube several times per month.

List of social media sites on H&M's website
List of social media sites on H&M’s website

H&M is also severely lacking in terms of driving other users to their social channels. H&M’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts only link to the company website. H&M’s Google+ account links to the company’s website as well as their YouTube channel, and H&M’s YouTube channel links to the company’s website and their Google+ account. The company’s website is the only platform that lists all of H&M’s social media networks.

H&M prominently uses hashtags across all of their social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google+. The company uses brand-related hashtags in the majority of their posts, including #HMonTrend, #HMLife, and #HMFashion to name a few. They also incorporate other hashtags in their posts related to fashion, current events, and trending topics.

Assignment 6: My Brand

Radiolab Logo (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/b/b8/WNYC_Radiolab_logo.svg/1280px-WNYC_Radiolab_logo.svg.png)

Hello Radiolab,

Sid, our road trip companion
Sid, our road trip companion

I fell in love with you in May of 2014 somewhere on Interstate 95. I was traveling via campervan from Gainesville, FL to New York, NY with my two greatest friends, one of who insisted on listening to podcasts whilst she was behind the wheel. A Radiolab virgin, I conceded, and we listened to a short titled, “The Skull.”

I’ve been hooked ever since. In the following months, I listed to RadioLab religiously, when I’m driving, walking my dog, cooking dinner, pretty much any chance I get. I absolutely loved “Patient Zero” and “Colors,” and I think Robert got a bad rap for “Yellow Rain.”

Anyhow, you’re probably wondering what this Radiolab fangirl could possibly bring to the table. So, let me tell you a little bit about myself. My name is Nicole. I am a student and social media marketing manager. I was born and raised in Florida, and I promise we are not all that crazy. I grew up in Tampa, moved to Tallahassee for college, and currently reside in Gainesville where I am finishing up my undergraduate degree in Advertising. I am also simultaneously working on a graduate certificate in mass communications with a specialization in social media. As a 21 year old, I have changed my mind a lot when figuring out what I want to do with my life, so I have experience in a slew of different job areas, including politics, journalism, law, advertising, and business to name a few. I am a communicator by trade, and I am always hungry to learn or experience something new. I love traveling, photography, and meeting new people.

IMG_3369
Camping in Manchester, TN, 2013.
Hiking in Costa Rica, 2011.
Hiking in Costa Rica, 2011.
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Exploring the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC, 2014.

I’m always curious to explore so I really enjoy watching travel documentaries and YouTube videos about traveling the world around me. Traveling is not really practical at this point in my life, so it’s great to have an outlet to get inspired and discover our beautiful Earth.

I also like to keep up with the news, but I am picky about which media outlets I trust. I spend a lot of time reading Vice articles, because they report the news in a way that really makes it interesting. I also like how a great deal of their segments appeal to a wide range of listeners, and they cover a variety of topics.

Ted Talks are amazing for curious folks like you and myself because the topics are so unique. The educational talks always teach me something new, and the individual stories and poetry never fail to inspire.

You should also check out my Pinterest board to learn more about me. Hope to hear from you soon!

Nicole Rinaldo