Amplify Your Brand! — Using IMC To Reach New BullHorn Media Customers

This post is a small part of the beginning of an IMC plan I have put together for Orlando-based corporate, event, convention, and trade show video production company, Bullhorn Media.  This post is for educational purposes.

Company Analysis

Bullhorn Media is a recently launched video production company by Mark and Lisa LeGrand. It is a family-owned, small business. They have been a leading videographer in Central Florida as the company Pro One Video since 1992. They decided to create a whole new brand when they chose to split the corporate side of their video business from the wedding side. Mark and Lisa are looking to generate buzz about their new brand, Bullhorn Media, and to generate and capture leads through content, social media, SEO and more.

The target audience for Bullhorn Media is businesses and nonprofits located in or coming to Orlando for an event. Ideal connections would be with meeting planners, event planners or destination management companies, and with organizations sponsoring parties.


Although Bullhorn Media is a new brand, Mark and Lisa have a great professional reputation and have been in the video production business in Central Florida for 22 years. They have a strong history of working with small and large organizations and have great client list including Google, Give Hope, Nielsen Group, Orange County Bar Association, Hewitt Packerd, Planet Hollywood, Gatorade, TGIFridays Restaurants, Maison & Jardin and The Rosen Hotel, among others. Even though they are a new brand, this amount of experience helps show credibility when seeking out new clients. You also offer great features like on-site editing which is a good selling point. You are creative, but listen to your customers, and you have a great closing rate.


There are a lot of opportunities for business here in Orlando. In 2013, Orlando was only behind Las Vegas and Chicago with the number of trade shows hosted. USA Today says Orlando is the top destination for conventions. All of this amounts to a lot of opportunity for Bullhorn Media solely based on its location.

In terms of specific opportunities for the brand, Bullhorn Media can make its own mark as a new business. Not having the moniker of being a wedding videographer and instead focusing on corporate work will give Bullhorn Media a blank slate to create the exact brand persona they want moving forward. It’s an exciting time!

Why Use Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC)?

Bullhorn Media is in an ideal position to benefit from IMC.  The consistency and results from an IMC strategy will be a huge benefit to Bullhorn Media moving forward.  Establishing yourself as an expert in your industry should be fairly easy, given your extensive portfolio and experience.  The best method to do that is to combine video, a blog, your website, social media and email marketing.



Although there is a lot for you to consider and implement, moving forward with IMC, it’s an exciting time for your new brand, and I’m glad to be a part of it in this small way.  Remember the old marketing adage that “content is king” and use IMC to your company’s advantage.  You can only improve upon what you currently have, so be encouraged!  Get out there are #AmplifyYourBrand!


Understanding Analytics — How To Make Facebook and Email Insights Work For You


Data makes the world go ‘round. Or at least it helps us to make sense of the world online. A good social media manager is tracking and analyzing data related to their posts and campaigns, so they can better reach and engage their target. However, data and analytics can also be quite overwhelming. There are so many things to look at that you may find yourself lost at what it all means. For this reason, I’d like to take a look at two of the most common platforms being used for online communication: Facebook and email. The analytics used to track these two forms of your message are really easy to use and understand once you get used to them, and understanding them is critical for adapting your message to reach more people.

For the purpose of this post we will look at real Facebook Insights and email analytics from the service Bronto. Although the analytics are from a real company, for the purpose of this post, let’s refer to this company as company ABC.

ABC company is health-oriented and in the Central Florida area. In addition to their Facebook page, ABC company has a Twitter account, Pinterest page and YouTube channel. ABC Company also sends out a bi-weekly e-newsletter. We will be looking at analytics for their Facebook page during the time period noted on the screenshots, and the email statistics are from an email sent on May 21, 2013.

fb insights stop guessingIf you’re new to Facebook Insights there are a lot of good resources out there to help you make sense of it all.  Naturally, going to the source and reading through what Facebook itself has to say about their Insights is a great place to start.  I also recommend looking on YouTube for tutorials on how to understand Facebook Insights. The following two videos are good for quick, easy explanations of a few basic metrics you’ll be looking at.

So, now that you understand some of the basics, it’s much easier to not only look at your Facebook Insights, but analyze what they mean and how you should adjust your integrated marketing plan as a result.


In the above screenshot, you can see company ABC doesn’t have a lot of likes on the business Facebook page with only 880, and with a growth of only .69% increase in likes during the date range shown, they aren’t increasing their fan-base in any sort of significant manner.  However, their weekly total reach has increased by 39.83%, which is a good start and definitely some momentum we would want to continue to build on.

Looking more closely at the specific posts can help us see which posts are the most effective at reaching our audience.  The post on 5/29/13 “Join us tomorrow morning in the Group Fit..” is the best performing post because not only did it have the highest reach at 509, but it also had a high number of engaged users and the highest number of users talking about this.  The virality of this post was 1.96%, the second highest of any post.  In general, we see that posts with calls to action tend to have the most reach, engagement, talking about this, and virality.  The post with the highest virality was on 6/2/13 “Today is National Cancer Survivors Day..”  Due to the subject of this post, cancer survivors, it no surprise that it had the most virality.

week12-charts-larger-mmc_Page_2Looking at the next screenshot above, you can see that the majority of company ABC’s reach is happening with women.  The largest age range is 25-34.  The vast majority of those reached are in the USA, living close by in Orlando, Celebration, and Kissimmee, and they primarily speak English.

Looking in the bottom half of the shot above, also show in the top of the screen shot below, you can see that company ABC is not using paid reach, and most of the unique users are only being reached once.  This is significant because statistically, most potential customers need to have seven interactions, or touches, with a company before they are converted into customers.

week12-charts-larger-mmc_Page_3As we take a closer look at the screenshot above, we also note that most of those folks visiting company ABC’s Facebook page are sticking to the timeline.  The other places they’re looking at are the company’s profile and its photos.  Most of the external referrals are coming from Google, but there aren’t a large number of them.

If I were actually on the Facebook Insights page right now, I’d certainly be finding out which posts caused both the high and low spikes in page views.  I would look at the kind of post (link, photo, contest, call to action) and the time of day they were posted and look for trends I could repeat and expand on.  I’d do the same thing for the downward spikes and try to improve on that content and timing or do something different altogether.


For our last shot of company ABC’s Facebook Insights, we’re going to look above at the demographics of who’s talking about the page.  Again, it’s mostly women and mostly folks ages 25-34.  The top seven locations are all local cities, which is good, since company ABC is a Central Florida service-related company.

When looking at how people are talking about the page I would look closely at what specific posts led to spikes and dips.  In particular, looking at the graph on the right, I’d want to know which posts led to the spikes and rises in virality and try to duplicate and improve upon their reach.

Now let’s take a look at the Bronto email analytics from an email sent by company ABC.  The good news is that almost all of the emails sent (2,624) were delivered.  The bad news is that there is only a 25.2% open rate.  Or is it?  We tend to want to assume that in order to have a successful email campaign the majority sent must be opened.  However, Mail Chimp tells us that the average open rate for a health-related company is only 24.27% with a click rate of 3.64%, so by those numbers company ABC is doing okay.

email insightsBut we don’t want to do just “okay,” do we?  We want to see company ABC thrive!  The most important statistic above is the 0% conversion rate.  This is where we want to make the biggest improvement for company ABC, but it all starts with the email being opened.  So what can we do about it?

Well, in terms of the email, we can start with a subject line that is a call to action.  We should make sure we’re sending the email at an optimum time of day.  We can also make it visual.  Using a call to action for a discount or coupon in the subject line is one way to increase open rates.  Follow that up with really good content within the email that is optimized for mobile viewing, since many folks are checking their email from their phones.

For improvement on Facebook, I would recommend company ABC pay to boost some of their posts — especially those with a call to action.  Providing users with great content, not just making “the ask” online is much more genuine and should be a priority.  Posts that highlight health benefits of certain services or products and then offering a discount from company ABC could be effective.  Cross-promotion from a blog to Pinterest would reach their highest demographic of women.  I think using video is also a key place to expand.  Again, tying it in to content marketing with a blog and posting to YouTube could help establish company ABC as a expert in their field, and help them gain notice, reach and customers.  If there’s money in the budget, some targeted Google ads would be a good step in gaining customers, provided that their website is full of good visuals and good content.  Lastly, I wouldn’t dismiss the notion of using print advertisements that include their website and a discount code they can apply online.


Reputation Management — Responding To Negative Reviews Online

Reputation Management - Arrows Hit Target.

Reputation management is such an important part of a brand’s social media and online presence.  What happens when a company receives a negative review, or a review that is downright damaging?  How they choose to respond or ignore the situation can have lasting effects on their brand persona.

Let’s look at a situation that unfolded with FedEx  as a brief example of how to respond in crisis management.  FedEx used social media, including Twitter, a blog, and YouTube video to apologize and respond to the YouTube video of their employee knowingly damaging a customer’s property.  They apologized, sincerely, for the actions of their employee, stating that it was unacceptable.  FedEx’s sincere response to this crisis helped folks see FedEx’s conviction over this incident and their commitment to customer satisfaction.

When responding to negative reviews or press there are some good guidelines to remember:

  • Do your research.  What was the situation on site that caused the negative review?  Get as much detail as you can, so you can best address your customer’s concerns with facts and not just automated-sounding responses or platitudes.
  • Don’t put your head in the sand.  Ignoring a bad review or bad press usually only makes people think you either don’t know, which is bad, or don’t care, which is worse.  While there may be a company policy to keep matters private, you should not ignore the need to correct the record or apologize, depending on the situation.  A great example of what not to do can be seen in the recent situation Conn’s had with the Times.
  • Apologize, sincerely, if needed.  Don’t apologize if the customer’s complaints aren’t a result of your company’s wrong-doing, but still make sure you acknowledge and address the negative review or complaint.
  • Be honest.  Don’t create a fake account to praise your company online.  Not only is it unethical, if you do get caught, you’ll have an even worse PR situation on your hands.

For educational purposes, let’s take a look at some sample reviews of hotels, and I’ll share how I would respond.

Note: I am not affiliated in any way with TripAdvser, Hilton or Hyatt Hotels.  This exercise is purely for the purposes of education.


Hilton-example-2014My response:

At Hilton we do our best to listen to and address our customers’ concerns.  We appreciate you bringing this to our attention.  Please accept our sincere apology for what you encountered during your recent stay.  We have contacted this location’s manager, and they are working closely with their staff to make sure this does not happen again.  Please contact us in a private message, so we can continue this conversation directly with you.


Hyatt-example2014My response:

We appreciate you taking the time to review the Hyatt Regency Orlando!  Repeat guests, such as yourself, make up more than half of our business.  During your next stay, we hope you’ll try our new Napa Breakfast Buffet where kids 0-3 eat FREE and kids 4-10 eat for the price of their age!  Our staff is committed to creating the best possible environment for our guests during their stay.  Thank you for highlighting Ralph from one of our restaurants, Fiorenzo Italian Steakhouse.  We will pass along your praise to his manager.


Event Marketing — A Closer Look at Cosmoprof 2014

Note: This post is for educational purposes only.  I am not affiliated with Cosmoprof or their marketing efforts in any way.

cosmoprof Facebook

According to Wikipedia, Cosmoprof is “a series of beauty and cosmetics trade shows that occur in locations around the world. The flagship event in Bologna is in its 46th year and draws 2,300 exhibitors from seventy countries and more than 170,000 visitors.”

Being a trade show, this is clearly a B2B event, and their marketing efforts are targeting beauty business professionals, not retail customers, so I’m going to be taking a look at their event marketing for their most recent show that took place July 13-15, 2014 in Las Vegas, NV.

Facebook Video post July 15

Cosmopro had links to their Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram channels from their webpage.  In addition, they used their webpage, blog, and had some YouTube content, as well.  From a branding perspective, Cosmoprof used similar colors and photos throughout their social media channels and had a consistent logo.  I would’ve liked to see their Twitter and Instagram accounts have the same name.  As it were, they were @cosmoproflv and @cosmoprofna, respectively.

CosmoProf Instagram

Leading up the show, much of their posts focused on Twitter and Facebook.  A lot of the content on Twitter consisted of retweeting others’ excitement about the upcoming show.  They seemed to be advertising sponsors and also cross-promoting other channels, too.  I appreciated that their Facebook channel linked back to the website.  I also liked the idea behind the Twitter status update pictured below.

CosmoProf Twitter -- cross promotion

I wish the above tweet had contained an actual link to the Instagram account, especially since the link from the Cosmoprof website didn’t link directly to their Instagram account.  Rather, it linked to an aggregating service which seemed to post others’ Instagram photos when they checked in at the event.

CosmoProf Instagram WebSTA

This was a big miss, in my opinion.  While it was nice to see all the content from those who had checked in at the event, a better way to see the content would have been to advertise a specific event hashtag and encourage users to tweet and post using it.  As is were, the event didn’t seem to have an official hashtag, and several incarnations were used: #cosmoprofna, #cpna2014, #cosmoprof2014, #cpna.  While users often invent their own hashtags for events they attend (I’ve done it), if an official hashtag is promoted and then consistently used by the brand, this can allow for users to embrace the use of it themselves, therefore furthering the event brand.

CosmoProf Opening Day of Show Website

Their best tool before the event was clearly their website.  This was the clear highlight for me when looking at their online marketing.  There was good information about the event, such as registration, media links, exhibitor information, and much more.  Their website was, by far, their best promotional tool, and, as a result, I think they should have been linking back to it in many more of their posts.  As it was, they only linked back to their website occasionally.

CosmoProf Website floor Plans and moreOne simple way to do this would be to link a map of the floor plan to their tweets advertising certain booths.  An even better way would’ve been to have a current app that had the schedule, floor plan, and other details available at the attendees’ fingertips.  Cosmoprof did have an app available on their website, but it was not current and was from the year before.  Perhaps there wasn’t much interest the year before, but they should have updated it nonetheless, since we are certainly moving in a more mobile smartphone direction as a society, and that’s only going to continue to increase.

CosmoProf Website Interactive area

Cosmoprof did a good job advertising their Interactive Experience Area on their website, as well.  I’d like to see them do more cross-promotional social marketing on other channels.  I’d also like to see more content from this area showcased on their social media channels.

One of the best examples of integrated marketing took place on their website, where they had information about print buzz, press releases, marketing opportunities, and a newsletter to sign up for.  Interestingly, there were no updates from the newsletter throughout the event.  There was not even a confirmation email sent when you signed up for it.  Another miss.

CosmoProf Instagram PreShow Bloggers

I liked how they promoted their blog partners prior to the event in the above Instagram post.  Cosmoprof got a lot of their content from users.  This was especially true on Instagram and especially Twitter, where they retweeted a lot of sponsor and user content.

During the event, from July 12-July 15, their Facebook likes increased from 5,059-5,113, and as of today they’re at 5,138.  Twitter followers increased from 2,646-2,709; now they’re at 2,725.  Their LinkedIn group went from 2,406-2,418.  Instagram showed the biggest increase with their followers going from 1,897-2,743 during the event and now, a few days later, it’s at 2,896!  This is amazing, given that they only posted only 36 time on Instagram.  Obviously, this is a social media channel where they should’ve dedicated more resources and should certainly do so for future events.

CosmoProf Pinterest

Their Pinterest page went from 270 followers to only 273 during the days of the show and is now at 275.  I was most disappointed with their Pinterest page, since this is an industry that really does quite well on Pinterest, with how visual it is and how many beauty tips that could have been given.  This could also be a great place to showcase sponsors.

CosmoProf Pinterest CPNA News Flash Blog

The blog posts shown on Pinterest were also from last year.  This channel did not seem to be very current, and it made me wonder why they chose to link to it from their website, when it was so sparse.  LinkedIn was a closed group that should have been an event page or open group.  It was puzzling to me that this would also be one of the channels linked from their website.

That brings me to their YouTube channel, which was not linked to from their website and for good reason.  It contained two videos, one of which was labeled as 2014 highlights, but was really posted before the event, and should’ve been titled better.

Twitter was by far the most active channel during the event; they tweeted over 280 times!  While they did a lot of retweeting, they also showcased certain booths, which was a good choice.  Much of their content seemed spur of the moment, and I would’ve liked to have seen some more planned posting during the event — on all of the social networks.

CosmoProf Website 2015

After the event, there was little to no official activity.  The banner on the website changed to a  new countdown to next year’s event.  This was another great use of their website.

CosmoProf Instagram Discover Beauty Award

The only official content that I saw on social media after the event was announcing the Discover Beauty Award Winner.  With the website already gearing up for next year’s show, this would be a great time to continue building momentum from this year’s event into excitement for next year’s.

All in all, the social media efforts were fine.  They were not great.  Cosmoprof clearly sees the relevancy of social media at their event and is incorporating it into their marketing efforts.   They still have a long way to go, but they are on the right path.

Social Media Magic — Planning Your Posts

I am a planner.  All of my friends and family would tell you so.  I pack at least several days before leaving for a trip.  I save money ahead of time for special purchases.  I like to plan.  It makes me happy.

This is one of the reasons I’m good at what I do.  An effective social media strategy requires a lot of planning.  There are a lot of ways to assist with planning posts to social media channels.  Buffer, Hootesuite, and Bronto are just a few online programs you can use to schedule your posts.  But before you start plugging your posts in, I’d recommend a good, old fashioned editorial calendar.  They work great for planning everything from blog posts to tweets.  You can make your calendar as elaborate as you like, but a straight-forward list can be quite useful — especially when you’re in the first stages of planning a campaign.

For the purposes of education, I’ve put together a purely hypothetical list that will focus on Walt Disney World’s (WDW) Magic Kingdom during the month of August 2014.  When thinking about this list, I’ve set some goals, which are important for any social media campaign.  Looking at WDW’s Twitter feed, I’ve noticed that they’ve been focusing heavily on using the hashtag #FrozenSummer.  This is a clever way to engage folks, using the success of the worldwide phenomenon the movie, “Frozen,” coupled with the excitement of visiting WDW during the summer.  And let’s face it: anyone visiting WDW in the heat of the summer could use some reminding of cooler temperatures.  So, for the sake of this hypothetical list, I will also focus on using a hashtag, promoting themed posts by using it.  Using a hashtag would allow me to track my results, and it also helps me to engage social media users when they post using it.

WDW is known for it’s fanatical fans, so I’m going to set a goal to try to engage all users — not just current guests.  WDW already does such a great job of promoting and listing it’s times and events to guests.  They hand out maps.  They have handouts of showtimes and special character meetings given out by the handful upon entry to their parks.  They even have a fabulous new app guests can use.  I am not going to use social media as yet another calendar for them.  That would be redundant and, as their social media marketer, wouldn’t best serve my “client.”

Tech-savvy guests will certainly be interested in participating in social media during their stay, but to focus solely on them would be to ignore the hoards of Disney fans at home wishing they could be there too.  So, my main goal for this hypothetical campaign would be to engage fans who are not currently at WDW along with those who are currently guests.  Getting those fans back to the Disney website, so they can start thinking about and planning their next visit would be ideal, so I’ll include shortened urls in posts that will link back to the Disney website.

My secondary goal is to promote some of the lesser known things to do at the Magic Kingdom that are no less magical than the headliners, and I’ll be using the hashtag #MagicalSummer to do this.  I’ll group lesser-known Magic Kingdom experiences along with those sought-after ones, using the hashtag #MagcialSummer with all of them, thereby grouping them in the same category for both fans and current guests.

While a comprehensive social media strategy would focus on many platforms with multiple posts per day, I’m just going to focus on the two most popular channels, Facebook and Twitter, giving one example per day.  Remember when planning posts to count your characters, and I don’t mean the Seven Dwarfs.

Note: When I list a photo, it is for the Facebook post.

Friday, August 1st

Facebook:  Don’t forget to make a wish during tonight’s Wishes Nighttime Spectacular fireworks show! What would your ultimate Disney wish be? #MagicalSummer

Twitter:  Don’t forget to make a wish during tonight’s Wishes Nighttime Spectacular! What would your wish be? #MagicalSummer

Saturday, August 2nd

Facebook: Hades and his cohorts could spell trouble! Defeat the villains in the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game, and let us know who your favorite Disney villain is! #MagicalSummer

Twitter: Defeat the villains in the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game! Who is your favorite Disney villain? #MagicalSummer

Sunday, August 3rd

Facebook: Who is your favorite miner? Don’t miss the new Seven Dwarfs Mine train ride in the all new Fantasyland! #MagicalSummer

Twitter: Who is your favorite miner? Don’t miss the new Seven Dwarfs Mine train ride in the all new Fantasyland! #MagicalSummer

Monday, August 4th

Facebook: Have you mastered your skills at the Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade? Which Disney character would you most want to beat? #MagicalSummer

Twitter: Which Disney character would you most want to beat at the Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade? #MagicalSummer

Tuesday, August 5th

Facebook: Have you seen the funny things written on the tombstones at the Haunted Masion? What is the best way to pass the time while waiting in line for attractions? #MagicalSummer

Twitter: What is the best way to pass the time while waiting in line for attractions? #MagicalSummer

Wednesday, August 6th

Facebook: Have you been to the Laugh Floor? It’s a great place to giggle and guffaw with the character from Monsters, Inc., and Monsters University! Tell us the silliest joke you heard there! #MagicalSummer

Twitter: The Laugh Floor is a great place to giggle & guffaw with characters from Monsters, Inc. & University! #MagicalSummer

Thursday, August 7th

Facebook & Twitter: Need to cool off?  Enjoy a “Hare-Raising” Adventure” on Splash Mountain! #MagicalSummer

Friday, August 8th

Facebook & Twitter: What’s your favorite stop on Tom Sawyer’s Island? Adventure awaits! #MagicalSummer

Saturday, August 9th

Facebook & Twitter: Are you remembering some of your favorite Magic Kingdom memories? Let us know your favorites! #MagicalSummer

Sunday, August 10th

Facebook & Twitter: Do you know what Frontierland attraction was one of the last Walt Disney personally helped build? #MagicalSummer

Monday, August 11th

Facebook & Twitter: Did you know you can sign up for FastPasses for your upcoming Magic Kingdom visit right from home? #MagicalSummer

Tuesday, August 12th

Facebook: Have you heard of the Dapper Dans? This barbershop quartet can be seen on Main Street U.S.A. What song of theirs is your favorite? #MagicalSummer

Twitter: The Dapper Dan barbershop quartet can be seen on Main Street U.S.A. Which song is your favorite? #MagicalSummer

Wednesday, August 13th

Facebook & Twitter: Who is your favorite president? Come see him at our Hall of Presidents! #MagicalSummer

Thursday, August 14th

Facebook & Twitter: What are you most excited to see in the new Fantasyland? #MagicalSummer

Friday, August 15th

Facebook & Twitter: What was the first ride you ever rode in the Magic Kingdom? Teacups or Dumbo? #MagicalSummer

Saturday, August 16th

Facebook: Do you have a photo from this iconic Magic Kingdom spot? If you could choose any two Disney characters to be in another Partners Statue, who would you choose? #MagicalSummer

Twitter: If you could choose any two Disney characters to be in another Partners Statue, who would you choose? #MagicalSummer

Sunday, August 17th

Facebook: Do you have what it takes to be a pirate? Do your best pirate impression at Captain Jack’s Pirate Tutorial and share your photos here! #MagicalSummer

Twitter: Do you have what it takes to be a pirate? Share with us your best pirate impression at Captain Jack’s Pirate Tutorial! #MagicalSummer

Monday, August 18th

Facebook & Twitter: What do you think of the new Be Our Guest Restaurant? #MagicalSummer

Tuesday, August 19th

Facebook & Twitter: Cool off at the nostalgic Plaza Ice Cream Parlor! One scoop or two? #MagicalSummer

Wednesday, August 20th

Facebook & Twitter: What is your favorite attraction to FastPass in Magic Kingdom? #MagicalSummer

Note: Use collage of atttractions

Thursday, August 21st

Facebook: Have you ridden Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin? What was your high score? Who’s score would you most want to beat? #MagicalSummer

Twitter: Who’s score would you most want to beat on Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin? #MagicalSummer

Friday, August 22nd

Facebook & Twitter: Learn secrets of the Magic Kingdom while on a tour! Where have you seen Hidden Mickeys? #MagicalSummer

Saturday, August 23rd

Facebook & Twitter: What are your favorite things to do during #ExtraMagicHours? Did you know it’s a great time to meet Disney characters? #MagicalSummer

Sunday, August 24th

Facebook & Twitter: Dance with some Super characters from Disney Pixar’s The Incredibles! #MagicalSummer

Monday, August 25th

Facebook: Christmas is just 4 months away! It’s never too early to visit Ye Old Christmas Shoppe. What’s your favorite Disney ornament? #MagicalSummer

Twitter: Christmas is just 4 months away! What’s your favorite Disney ornament? #MagicalSummer

Tuesday, August 26th

Facebook & Twitter: Who is your favorite Disney Princess? You can be transformed into her at the Bibbidi Bobbido Boutique! #MagicalSummer

Wednesday, August 27th

Facebook & Twitter: Who did you first ride Space Mountain with? #MagicalSummer

Thursday, August 28th

Facebook: Which Magic Kingdom land would stay in all day if you could only visit one? Adventureland, Fantasyland, Frontierland, or Tomorrowland? #MagicalSummer

NOTE: Include map of Magic Kingdom

Twitter: Which Magic Kingdom land would stay in all day if you could only visit one? #MagicalSummer

Friday, August 29th

Facebook & Twitter: Meet Anna and Elsa at the Princess Fairytale Hall! Who’s your favorite? #MagicalSummer

Saturday, August 30th

Facebook & Twitter: When did you first ride Big Thunder Mountain? What’s your favorite part? #MagicalSummer

Sunday, August 31st

Facebook: Do you have a memorable Magic Kingdom moment? We love the flag-lowering ceremony where a special guest is selected to participate each day. #MagicalSummer

Twitter: Have you seen the flag-lowering ceremony where a special guest is selected to participate each day? #MagicalSummer

So, by now, I’m sure you have a good idea of how to start planning your social media strategy across multiple channels.  I’d encourage cross-promotion, always remembering you want to bring users back to your website and engage with them whenever possible.

What are your favorite tips and tools for planning in social media marketing?

Engaging Your Customers Through Video — A Closer Look at Vine

What is Vine?

Vine is a short-form video sharing social network (Wikipedia, 2014). It allows users to record six-second long video clips (WikiHow), which, on the surface, doesn’t seem like long enough to record anything worthwhile. However, in the Twitter age, where brevity is key, the six-second loops on Vine have inspired creativity in a way that sets it apart from longer-form videos. After capturing the video, it can then be published through Vine’s social network and shared on other social networks like Twitter and Facebook (Wikipedia, 2014).

While it is primarily a content network, the best Vines also engage other users, making it a social network, too.


Vine was founded in June 2012 and was acquired by Twitter in October 2012 (Wikipedia, 2014).   Vine debuted on January 24, 2013 (Sippey, 2013).  Until recently, Vine existed solely as a mobile app. Vine Web profiles, which can be accessed directly from a desktop or laptop, allow users the convenience of enjoying Vine on a larger screen, where they can watch Vines in TV mode, which will, undoubtedly, contribute to folks spending even more time on Vine (Cicero, 2014).


Vine’s key feature is its brevity. Six-seconds isn’t a long amount of time to get your message across. As a result, marketers are forced to created content that is “both highly engaging and highly condensed” (Cox, 2014).

While many initial Viners were using the platform for quick pithy or comedic moments, brands like Lowes and GE have shown that using Vine as a form of content marketing, providing useful, educational videos can “create a strong connection between brand and audience, adding meaning to the relationship” (Thomas, 2013a).

Vine videos loop, which means that they will keep playing over and over while you are watching them. Target is a great example of a brand that takes full advantage of this feature.  As you can see, Vines are also embeddable (Tiland, 2014).

Much like Twitter’s retweet feature, on Vine you can “revine.” This allows users to share content from others with their followers.

Vine’s video recording feature is stop-motion capable. This allows users to stop and continue recording to the same video later (Brouillette, 2014). This feature has enabled the most creativity on Vine.

Vine uses hashtags, which make exploring content on their network easier.   It also has verified badges for high-profile users (Mashable).

A drawback for Vine is that users need to record their videos on the network itself, rather than have the ability to upload previously recorded content. Initially, only the most tech-savvy users could get around this by using, what I would consider, a complicated hack (Kif, 2013). Now there are several apps that allow users to upload recorded content. This is an important outside feature for marketers that allows us to edit our content rather than recording directly in the Vine app, which doesn’t give much leeway for error.

Another drawback is that Vine does not restrict nudity (Tiland, 2014).

Target Market, Users, and Growth

The majority of Vine users are teenagers and young twenty-somethings, thus comprising a much sought-after demographic for marketers (TopTenSM).  The majority of users are single, and the average age is 18.2 (DemographicsPro).

Vine saw a 515% growth from February 2013-December 2013 (comScore, 2014).

Comparisons & Competition

Comparing a short-form video service like Vine with YouTube is “like comparing a Tweet to a blog post” (Cox, 2014). The constraints of Vine’s brevity actually inspire creativity and ingenuity from its users.

Vine’s primary competition is Instagram video. When Instagram introduced its fifteen-second video feature in June 2013, some wondered if it would be the end of Vine (McGrail, 2013). After all, Instagram already had a built in audience of 130 million users on an app that allowed easily uploaded content – a feature that Vine lacked.

However, Vine is uniquely useful to marketers, again, due to its brevity. Brands are “tasked with creating compelling content that people will enjoy and share, creativity and originality is key.” For brands that have embraced the “creative nature” of Vine, Instagram video doesn’t offer anything new (Thomas, 2013b).

Best Practices For Brands

Using Vine is much like having an elevator speech prepared (Sonoso, 2014).  There are a lot of great tips and lists of how to best engage and use Vine to promote your brand.  You can find some good ones here, here, here, and here.

Here is my list:

  • Engage other users.

Testimonials are great for this, as are contests.  A great way to engage other users is to ask users to create your content for you.  The best brands on Vine all do this.  Most recently, Milk-Bone gained followers through a Vine initiative where they offered $2,500 and a year’s supply of dog treats (Johnson, 2014).

  •  Share interesting content regularly.

Whether that’s spotlighting staff, sharing tidbits about your company’s history, or showcasing your production process or finished product, sharing content that interests users is a key to developing brand loyalty on Vine.  Content is key, but consistency is the other half of that equation.  Making sure you keep giving your followers a reason to engage with you.  Post regularly.

  • Use hashtags.

It may seem like a simple thing to mention, but you’d be surprised how often they’re not used or not used effectively.  Hashtag use ensures that your Vine will be searchable easily on the network (Cicero, 2013).  Creating specific hashtags for contests helps engage users and also makes it easier for you to track results.

  •  Be sure to cross post.

A well produce Vine video should be shared!  Make sure you not only share your Vine videos on Facebook and Twitter, but that you write good descriptions when you post them (Brouillette, 2014).


For more information about Vine, see my Prezi HERE.


Brouillette, P. (2014, May 29). #HowTo: An Overview of Using Vine for Brands and Businesses. Retrieved from

Charley, C. (2013, April 26). Getting Creative with Video Marketing on Vine. Retrieved from

Cicero, N. (2013, June 3). Samsung Makes a Marketing Splash on Vine for Android. Retrieved from

Cicero, N. (2013b, July 30). 5 Vines are tweeted every second – Visualizing Vine [Infographic]. Retrieved from

Cicero, N. (2014, January 3). Vine introduces Web profiles. Retrieved from

comScore Data Mine. (2014, April 11). Camera Content Drives Surge Among ‘Mobile-First’ Social Networks in the U.S. Retrieved from

Cox, J. (2014, February 26). Fruit of the Vine: The Race to Conquer the Six Second Video Platform. Retrieved from

Cunningham, Tasha. (2013). 10 creative ways to use Vine to promote your business. Retrieved from

Hines, K. (2013, March 4). 16 Ways Businesses Are Using Twitter Vine. Retrieved from

Johnson, L. (2014, June 23). Dogs Drive Vine Views for Milk-Bone Builds more than 2,700 followers in month-long push. Retrieved from

Kif. (2013, August 13). Hack Vine to Upload Videos Shot Outside the App. Retrieved from

Mashable. Vine. Retrieved from

McGrail, M. (2013, June 21). Instagram Video for Brands and Users: Experts Weigh In. Retrieved from

Sornoso, E. (2014, February 20). How Marketing on Vine Can Help Your Business. Retrieved from

Thomas, J. (2013a, May 10). Lowe’s Case Study: The Difference Between Fun and Useful Content in Social Sharing. Retrieved from

Thomas, J. (2013b, June 27). Why Instagram Isn’t A Vine Killer. Retrieved from

Tamba. (2014, January 30). [Infographic] The rise of Vine. Retrieved from

Tiland, R. (2014). Things You Should Know About YouTube, Vimeo, Vine, and Instagram. Retrieved from

TopTenSM. 10 vine social media strategies for your business. Retrieved from

Sippey, M. (2013, January 24). Vine: A New Way To Share Video. Retrieved from

Wikihow. How to upload videos to Vine. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2014). Vine (service). Retrieved from

Using Social Media in Integrated Marketing

Using social media effectively is such an important part of a solid integrated marketing plan.  This week, let’s take a look at three very different brands and how they use their social media channels to market their brand.  Three different brands, all integrating social media into their marketing.  While each brand has their strengths and weaknesses in terms of the execution, they all do a great job of showcasing their brand on social media.


Adidas is an international brand that sells sporting goods, primarily shoes.  I wanted to take a look at Adidas now because it’s an especially busy time for retailers and makers of sporting goods due to this summer’s World Cup.  As a huge soccer fan, I am very familiar with their sponsorship of international soccer teams and was expecting a big push from their marketing on social media, connecting their brand to the World Cup.  I wasn’t disappointed.


Adidas Website

One thing I found odd was there were no links to their many social media profiles on their website.




Adidas uses Facebook well, in terms of integrated marketing.  They had posts with links to YouTube videos, they used hashtags like #allin, they tagged people and products in their posts, and, most importantly, were linking back their website.

Adidas Facebook


1,546 tweets


Adidas uses Twitter very well.  It’s important to note there were several Adidas related accounts, but I am focusing on their main brand account.  They often retweeted a lot of other Adidas accounts, like @adidasrunning, @adidasfootball, they post photos and YouTube videos, links to email signup, and use a lot of hastags.  They also link product photos back to their website.

Adidas Twitter


460 posts


On Instgram Adidas maintained their consistent imagery.  They used a lot of hashtags like #allin, #WorldCup, #SmashTheSilence.  They also tagged celebrities in their posts, such as @snoopdogg, @AndyMurray, & @Pharrell.  They were not consistent in linking product photos back to their website on Instagram.

Adidas Instagram




On Google+ Adidas continued their use of hashtags, expanding it to things like: #Messi, #NFL, and #f50.  Every post had either a photo or a video and many also had a link to the Adidas website to the product.   They were very consistent in their imagery and messaging, and this was the most consistent social media platform when in comes to directing visitors back to their website from product photos.

Adidas Google plus


68,263 subscribers

I was surprised at how few soccer-related videos there were on their YouTube channel, focusing the most recent posts on Wimbledon and tennis, instead.  They are consistent posters on YouTube, posting 20 videos, just in the past month.

Adidas YouTube



4 Rivers Smokehouse

I love highlighting local companies, and 4Rivers Smokehouse is no different.  They have a great style to their photos that they use in their marketing that they use across their social media channels, which helps make this local restaurant’s brand very identifiable.


4Rivers website

4Rivers’ website features their signature dish, BBQ brisket.  It highlights their local chef and philanthropist, John Rivers, and clearly shows their social media channels.  I thought it was interesting that they didn’t have a Google+ channel listed, but I found one fairly easily when I browsed Google+.



26,804 visits

On Facebook, 4Rivers lists their website and phone number in posts, but not consistently.  The photos used are the same that are used across their channels.  4Rivers does a really good job at linking articles and other media about them in their posts.  They tag folks and organizations in them, but don’t take advantage of using hashtags.

4Rivers Facebook


1,259 tweets


Their tweets are full of consistent imagery and messaging.  However, they do use hashtags here on Twitter.  They frequently have Facebook posts as their tweets.

4Rivers Twitter


36 posts


4Rivers’ Instagram profile is filled with great photos of food, their restaurant, chef, and employees.  They do use hashtags here occasionally, with the most common one being, #4rivers.

4Rivers Instagram




Their Google+ page is actually not for the larger brand, but for the Winter Garden location.  They still use consistent imagery and messaging.  They also use more hastags, such as #WinterGarden, #recipe, and #wine.  Their Google+ page also includes links to their website and phone number for ordering.  They also tag people and organizations in their posts.

4Rivers Google plus


7 Boards, 114 Pins, 5 Likes,

246 Followers, 75 Following

4Rivers’s Pinterest board is just as you’d imagine it would be.  It features their food, locations, chef, media, and awards.  The food is really the star on Pinterest, though.  I thought it was interesting that in their profile, they listed their Facebook page, as opposed to their website.  Their Twitter profile is also linked.

4Rivers Pinterest


14 subscribers

5 videos

Out of all of their social media profiles, this was a bit of a disappointment.  There was no banner and only 5 videos on it.  I think, if they’re going to link this profile from their website, they should update and expand on the content.

4Rivers YouTube


While most of the world is watching the World Cup, the NHL draft was happening.  While I don’t expect them to get the attention of the World Cup, the NHL brand did a great job of pushing their content out through their social media channels and linking that content back to their website.


NHL website is filled with a lot of rich content.  They have their social media profiles linked, but don’t show their Instagram profile, which I found odd.



NHL has a lot of great content on their Facebook page.  They prominently list the 2014-15 regular season schedule:, and let fans know that any content shared there may end up on TV, NHL Social, or  They are great at tagging, using photos, and using hashtags like #NHLDraft & #StanleyCup.  NHL is the most consistent at linking content back to their webpage.

NHL Facebook


69,070 tweets


They tweet a lot and are great at using of photos, videos, tagging, and linking back to their website.  Their is very consistent use of imagery and content shared.  They use hashtags, most recently using #NHLDraft.

NHL Twitter


1,023 posts


Their use of tagging and hashtags was the most consistent on Instagram.  I liked the exclusive feel of the photos shared here, since they weren’t the ones shared on the other social media platforms. is not linked on the content, but their Twitter profile is listed in their profile.

NHL Instagram 




Their Google+ profile is very consistent with the content.  The messaging and imagery is the same as most of the others with their use of photos, videos, tagging, and linking back to their website.

NHL Google plus


474,749 subscribers

Their YouTube channel is filled with great content.  They have their other social media profiles linked on the banner at the top.

NHL YouTube

One of my favorite things about their YouTube channel is the exclusive content there.  There is a lot of exclusive content, which would certainly be an incentive to visit the page and to subscribe to the channel.


My Email To God

This blog is about social media marketing, and we’ve been looking a lot at different kinds of content marketing and integrated communications. Well, today I’d like to focus on email marketing, and I’m going to use myself as an example. I’ve been asked to market myself, so I’ve crafted an email blast that I’d send out to my ideal employer. This is going to be unconventional, but I wanted it to be genuine, so here it goes. . .


Dear God,

My name is AnnMarie Calo, and I am so happy to be working for you.   I know you’ve been with me since I was a little child growing up in church. I loved seeing my father speak your words of faith, hope, and love from the pulpit each Sunday morning. Watching my mother quietly work behind the scenes, not wanting any credit, just desiring to serve you while serving others. Church was always one of my favorite places to be; I grew up feeling like your house was my home, too.

As I grew up, I grew closer to you. Sometimes I stumbled, and you caught me; I made mistakes and you helped me to see the reasons behind them. I have certainly not lived a perfect life, but I have been trying. Seeking. Serving.

I was blessed to be hired as the Youth Director at a church in Orlando, Florida and to stay there for several years. You used that time to help me see how I could use the skills you gave me to point others to you. This was a revelation. I designed webpages and wrote large and small scale youth program outlines and handbooks. I learned how to research and teach. I recruited and managed volunteers.  You were laying a path for me.

I was fortunate to attend programs at Princeton Theological Seminary’s Institute for Youth and Theology. These Forums helped me to grow as a Christian and as a ministering professional. I became a better teacher and communicator. I learned more about integrating technology in ministry. Then I spent time reading and researching books, while working at a Christian conference center, as their book store manager.

Sometimes I’ve strayed and this path has become wild and rough, but I always felt you there and knew you were with me.

I want to live my life for you, God. Can you lead me once again? When I see companies like the Kendrick Brothers and Pure Flix, I get excited about what you’re doing in the entertainment field. It would be wonderful to work with those pioneering folks.  Even Central Florida company, Journey Box Media is showing exciting and relevant content that shares you with the world.  When I visit a new church, I instinctively begin to see what I could do to help them with their communications — especially if they’re not using integrated marketing to best reach people with their message of hope.  I love seeing churches near and far leveraging technology and integrated communications to reach your people.  Real Life Christian Church and Life Church — who actually does church online — are two great examples of this.

I truly love where I currently work.  I work at a Christian school as the marketing coordinator where my focus is on the management of the school’s social media platforms.  Using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, I’ve seen tremendous growth in engagement.  I also have the opportunity to teach the yearbook class and several enrichment classes that have helped me grow both in my planning, leadership, and my design skills.

Recently, I was invited to join the team at Christian television station, Good Life 45 as their social media manager.  It’s an exciting time of new branding and the production of new programs like “Welcome Home” and “Real Talk.” It’s hard to think about asking for more.

What I will ask for is continued opportunities to serve you and help share your love with the world.  I believe that you’re leading me on this path to help me become better equipped to continue to serve in you in the communications field.  Being a part of the University of Florida’s MassComm Master’s program is certainly doing that!  Perhaps the names of the places I work for will stay the same, or maybe they’ll change.  My ideal situation is wherever you want me to be, Lord.  So, instead of asking for more, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you and to let you know I’m ready for whatever comes next.  Here I am.  Send me.

Why Blogging Matters

Blogging often gets a bad rap.  For too long, many people have thought that blogging was just for “teenagers and wannabe reporters.”  Nowadays, more and more folks have begun to see the real value to blogging.  The phrase I’ve been hearing again and again is “content marketing.”  I read about it on Adam Vincenzini’s great marketing blog, and it’s part of the focus of Matthew Certo’s fabulous new book, Found: Connecting with Customers is the Digital Age.  

Many businesses and individuals are starting to get the message that creating great content that others want to read, not traditional advertising, is a great way to gain and retain customer loyalty.

Depending on where you look there are several ways to describe the different types of blogs and bloggers.  For the purpose of this blog, blogs will be divided into five categories:


Let’s take a look at a few examples.


Matt walsh blog front page

The Matt Walsh Blog is something I’ve seen posted to Facebook a lot recently.  I would characterize it as a semi-professional blog based on his posting frequency and the number of shares and comments displayed on each post.   He tends to post several times a week, usually dealing with a newsworthy or controversial topic, taking a unique perspective.  As a result, he receives a lot of passionate comments.  His recent post titles include “Thousands of toddlers are being drugged because they act like toddlers,” “This person is planning to kill me in order to teach me that I shouldn’t be mean and hateful,” and “This poor child is confused, not ‘transgendered.’”

This sort of controversial take on newsworthy items and hot topics makes his voice a unique one from many blogs I’ve seen.  He is definitely creating his brand personality through controversy, dealing with issues in black and white instead of shades of gray we often see.  As far as I can tell, Matt uses word of mouth as his way of getting traffic to his blog, although he comes up first when searching for “Matt Walsh.”

The Matt Walsh Blog has a good amount of ads on his blog and he even sells a shirt.  He also has a tab which includes offers for speaking engagements and media requests.  He has Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and an RSS feed in the upper right corner of his home page and also gives various options for sharing each post at the end of them.   It looks to be a successful blog gaining followers and momentum, and he’s doing a great job forwarding his brand.  Longevity remains to be seen, but he has a partnership with the Liberty Alliance, which certainly can’t hurt his audience reach.

house of hendrix blog

A personal favorite of mine is a blog by my friend, Alli Hendrix, The House of Hendrix.  Her blog would be classified as a recreational blog due to her specific content and passion with which she blogs about her self, her children, and her family.  There are no ads on the site, and she even lists her personal email address.  Her blog is meant to inspire and encourage others, while sharing her own experiences as a friend, wife, and mother.  A typical blog is a recent one titled, “How sibling fighting led me to drive a car covered in Nerf bullets.

Like most bloggers starting out, she has friends who subscribe.  She was also listed in the top 25 family blogs by moms on Circle of Moms.  The House of Hendrix also uses Pinterest as a tool for gaining traffic on the blog.  Alli posts social media share buttons on her blog and encourages readers with a personal message to connect with her on Facebook.  This is typical of her brand voice.  She is personal and personable.  Alli easily connects with moms about their desires for the families, through fun crafts ideas, and by revealing her struggles.  As a recreational blog it is great.  If she were looking to have advertisers, I’d recommend having things like summer sleepaway camps, children’s clothing, and craft products.  As it is, she does recommend one store and her “Favorite Socks Ever!

While the blog has only been around for a, relatively, short time, I would still say this qualifies as a successful blog.  I’d love to see her publish new content with more regularity, but the content she does publish is original, useful, and oftentimes inspirational.  Using Word Press, you can follow her blog from the moment you first visit.

relevant magazine home page

Another local favorite is Relevant Magazine.  While they do publish a print version, their online news-style blog is able to cover many more topics than the print version.  Their about us tab tells the story of how their publishing efforts began and that they now havw a reach of about 2,300,000 per month.  They tell the story of how and why they started here:

 They are unique in their target of twenty and thirty-something hipster Christians who are searching and not always finding the answers they’re looking for in church.   They have a wealth of great content that would help with SEO.  They also should get traffic through social sharing and the word of mouth they mention in the above video.  Also, I would assume they get traffic through their titles like “4 Lies the Church Taught me about Sex” and “Top Ten Relationship Killers.”

There are ads on the page and also opportunities to subscribe to their printed publication.  This is a well conceived and executed blog and brand.  They have new content that is published often, and you can connect on many different social sites, including YouTube.  You can subscribe and share many different places on their main site and through social media links, and Relevant has been around for more than a decade.

So, whether you’re trying to educate and inform, share your opinions, inspire others, or sell something, blogs are a very useful tool.

Some other favorites of mine I’d like to list are:

  • The Pioneer Woman — I came across this blog years ago while looking for a recipe, and it has now practically become it’s own industry with books and a television show.
  • A Thousand Miles — Inspiring story of an amputee’s journey walking 1000 miles that was shared with me soon after a dear friend’s brother lost his leg.
  • Fluent in 3 Months — If you want to learn a second language or have ever wished to become a polyglot, get the refund on your Rosetta Stone, this is the blog for you!  He offers a paid subscription service for more help and tips.
  • Technorati — Great for social media and online marketing information and tips.

What are you waiting for?  It’s time to start your blog!