Facebook Analytics Exercise: “XYZ Company” and IMC

This week in Intro to Multimedia, we’re examining data derived from Facebook analytics regarding a company we’re calling “XYZ”, which is a heating and cooling company in Western Massachusetts. XYZ provides installations, maintenance, and repair services. The company currently has a Facebook page, a website, a Twitter account, a Yelp page, and Google+ page, and sends emails to recipients within a thirty-mile radius of the business.

Data Insights

Screenshots of data provided by Facebook analytics, which cover both monthly (summer to fall) and recently weekly page activity is rather telling. For example, Facebook ads and paid reach are driving most of XYZ’s likes and other engagement. Summer months tend to drive interest in product and service related posts, likely because of greater need for cooling in hotter months. Judging by the provided data, there’s no particularly advantageous day to run an ad, but between 6:00 PM and 9:00 PM is when the company should run ads, as the people they reach are most accessible during the evening hours. Pictures of unit models actually being installed in real locations tend to see lots of post clicks and shares. Also, posts about special offers on services and products appear to drive a lot of clicks and shares.

ads and likes

The most receptive crowd are English speakers in the Springfield, MA area. Those most likely to “like” the page and become followers are younger men age 25-34 and women age 35-44. Depending on marketing goals, posts are being served a little off-target if the company desires more “likes”, as men age 35-44 are being targeted, but are not the most likely to “like” the page. However, if the company desires more shares, the male, 35-44 group is the best target, as that demographic shares more posts than any other.

who is targeted

Posts are being served less efficiently to women. In the past week, ads have heavily targeted women age 18-24, one of the most marginal demographics who historically “like” the page. Women age 45-54, who are most likely to share page content and are fairly likely to “like” the page are not being targeted nearly as much as less reliable groups.

who likes the page

Using Insights and IMC

One of the most important aspects of good IMC is consistency. XYZ Company does appear to practice consistency in its voice and post content, but its consumer targeting would benefit from some fine tuning, and the application of some marketing goals.

XYZ Company would do well to focus on page likes as a first priority. Being a small, local business, whose service and sales reach is currently around thirty miles in radius, XYZ will want to focus on keeping in touch with its past, current, and prospective customers, establishing a loyal customer base. Shares and awareness are important, but their organic reach can’t be controlled or predicted. To be more specific, XYZ would benefit more from word-of-mouth recommendations that reach other locals, rather than organic reach that may extend to people outside of XYZ’s service and sales area. Collecting local followers will support building a repeat customer base, and local word-of-mouth may prove to create awareness in a more optimal service and sales range.

To achieve more likes, and thereby, more loyal, local customers, XYZ should try and create a Facebook ad, on-the-job photo post, or featured product photo / offer post, and fine tune the targeting parameters within Facebook ads. Using the insights gleaned from Facebook analytics, the best way to gain the most page likes would be to target women age 35-54 and men age 25-44. Running the ad during peak hours, from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM, and manually pausing before and after this block of time may further help to achieve more likes per dollar spent.

follower activity

To lend more strength to such a campaign, XYZ Company should invest some effort on other social media channels where their brand lives. When examining the data and insights provided via Facebook analytics, it appears that XYZ’s Facebook page sees clicks and engagement with its timeline most, but its info tab, reviews, and photos tab also see some engagement. The company website ought to serve as a bank of even more photos, product and service descriptions, contact info, and other company information, should the Facebook page lead a customer to further research and inquiry. This information and imagery should be consistent with the info posted to Facebook.

The company Yelp page is another great resource for past, current, and potential customers to learn more about the business, its products and services, and, most importantly on this channel, customer reviews and company feedback. Yelp, like Facebook, is a great place for the company to gain consumer insight, and it’s also a great channel for responding to publicly posted comments regarding XYZ. Such responses should echo the company’s persona, and strive to be informative, professional, and friendly.

XYZ also has its own Google+ and Twitter accounts. While Google+ can act as a secondary channel on which to post content similar to that on Facebook, Twitter is a great place to both engage quick and simple customer tweets, and a great channel for XYZ to mention special offers or post eye-catching product pictures. It wouldn’t be a bad idea for XYZ to create a short, sweet company slogan–something catchy, easy to remember, and not too long to type, which can be used as a hashtag on Twitter and also on Facebook for duplicate posts, or posts regarding similar content. For example, in the summer months, while running a Facebook ad for cooling units, use the hashtag, “#XYZcooldeals”, and in the winter months, “#XYZhotdeals”.

A few final ideas…

IMC continues offline, and considering the company is targeting a thirty-mile emailing radius, it would be to their advantage to mention their company hashtags, social media pages, and/or website in any relevant special offers they place in emails, local newspapers, on billboards, or in physical handouts (anything from product and service pamphlets to business cards). The same rule applies to local radio ad spots.

Additionally, XYZ should follow companies in related industries on all channels, especially Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Keeping an eye on products, businesses, and services that other companies provide, and examining how they’re successfully engaging customers on social media can help inform XYZ’s social media marketing tactics going forward, and may result in valuable leads, or to professional networking, partnership, or contracting opportunities.

Social Media PR Exercise: Hyatt Regency and The Hilton Ft. Lauderdale Marina

(Note: this post is for educational purposes only. I do not work for, nor am I affiliated with Hyatt Regency or Hilton hotels or resorts.)

This week in Intro to Multimedia, I’ve been asked to imagine that I am the social media manager responding to two different cases of customer response–one positive, one negative. I am to imagine I am responsible for PR for both Hyatt Regency (Orlando) and The Hilton (Ft. Lauderdale Marina).

Case 1: Hyatt Regency Orlando

Below is an example of a positive customer review left for the hotel:

Hyatt-example2015

Although this review is overwhelmingly positive from a score / rating standpoint, and the customer enjoyed their stay and recommended the Hyatt Regency to fellow travelers and vacationers, they clearly ran into some inconveniences during their stay, and didn’t stray from making mention of a few incidents. Even though the customer was able to stay in a high room, they didn’t get the view they had expected. Due to some inclement weather, the pool was not as clean / sightly as usual, and the client’s massage was not as long as they may have liked. Although they had made reservations for the B-Line Diner, they still experienced a wait, and  though they appreciated availability of a shuttle service to nearby theme parks, they were a bit put off by the daily parking fees for their own vehicle.

The customer left a generous review despite the little mishaps and inconveniences marring their stay. This is a good opportunity to respond to the customer, let them know their praise is greatly appreciated, and gives the Hyatt a chance to address their concerns.

As a social media manager / PR manager for Hyatt, I would begin my response via public post, and would want to say something along the lines of:

“Hi ‘Travelwith3kiddos’,

The Hyatt Regency Orlando would like to personally thank you for your recent review of our hotel. We greatly appreciate your comments, and we’re glad you enjoyed your stay with us. We noticed that you experienced a few inconveniences during your stay with us, and we’d like to extend our apologies for anything that may have interrupted your family’s fun…”

First, I’d address the issues that may have been beyond the hotel’s control, and suggest future solutions to inconveniences that could have been avoided this time:

“…We’re sorry to hear that our pool was not in its typical, fine form. As a hotel that accommodates families, we know how important it is to parents that their kids have fun in safe and clean environments. Florida weather can be unpredictable, and we at Hyatt try our best to stay ahead of it.

Next time you visit us, and we hope you will, we recommend staying during the mid to later autumn months. October and November can be especially pleasant, and cooler and sunnier than the warmer parts of the year. Also, if your family enjoys Orlando and its many attractions, the crowds are much lighter during the off season, whether you’re spending the day in a theme park or enjoying the restaurants and facilities here at the Hyatt.

We’re also glad you enjoyed your experience at the B-Line Diner, and we regret your reservation with Fiorenzo was less than satisfactory. When you return, we hope you’ll try one or more of our other restaurants, including Coconuts Poolside Bar & Grill (a good choice for the whole family) and Urban Tide…”

Now, there are a few opportunities to make some conciliatory offers to the customer, particularly regarding parking fees, the massage, and the room reservation, but it’s generally unwise to offer special services, accommodations, or discounts publicly, and this is where I would attempt to continue the conversation via phone or personal email:

“…If you have some time, Hyatt would like to speak with you via email or phone and ask you a few more questions about your stay, and we’d like to ensure that your next visit with us is even better than your last. Please fill out a customer feedback form here and be sure to leave your email and phone number and mention this post, or simply call Hyatt Guest Services at 800.323.7249.”

As a final touch, as was discussed in this week’s lecture, I would sign the post as myself (simply “Chad, Social Media Manager, Hyatt Regency”, or something similarly appropriate). This way, the customer knows that a real person, not an automated response, is replying to their post. This simple touch lets the customer know that their individual experience with Hyatt is important to the hotel.

At this point, if the customer follows through and emails or calls Guest Services, the Hyatt has a chance to remedy some of the customer’s complaints not directly addressed in the public post. For example, Hyatt may offer to reserve the customer a better parking space next time they visit (since there is no other way around the fee other than a special rate, or suggesting cheaper, offsite parking, which may just be more inconvenient). The hotel could also offer a discount on the next room the customer books, making sure the location is precisely as asked for, and, as a last option, the hotel could offer a discount on the customer’s next massage, since the first did not quite meet expectation.

 Case 2: The Hilton, Ft. Lauderdale Marina

Below is an example of a negative customer review left for the hotel:

Hilton-example-2015

This case is quite different from the positive review left in response to a customer’s experience at the Hyatt in Orlando. The post is critical in every regard, and there are no positive comments to fall back on, but that’s okay. In this case, I think I would elect to use a slightly different approach than I used in response to the Hyatt comments. At least to begin with, I’d take some cues from the Red Cross (and they way they handled this PR crisis) and implement a friendly and professional sense of humor:

“Hi ‘Luv2travelwithhubby’,

We wanted to tell you that we’re grateful that you took the time to comment on your experience staying with us, and we want you to know it will definitely not be ten years before you’ll want to stay with us again!…”

Opening with a bit of humor should help the hotel to connect with the customer, who, at this point, may otherwise have little interest in hearing from Hilton, considering the negative experience they’ve had.

“…Although we’re thrilled to hear that your high school chose us to host your reunion, we’re very sorry to hear that your stay with us was below expectation, and unsatisfactory…”

I’d follow up with an immediate apology and concern regarding the customer’s experience staying at the hotel, and then explain that the hotel is now under completely new management. Again, I would address this professionally but lightheartedly.

“…We hope you’ll be glad to hear that since your stay with us in 2008, the hotel is now under new management, and we are taking much greater care of our customers and much greater pride in our hotel. We’ve embraced change, and done away with many of old management’s ideas, including newspapers in the pool (we feel they’re better suited for the dining area during breakfast) and cold showers (this is Florida, not the North Pole), and we’ve made sure that all of our housekeeping staff are wearing watches, or at least know the location of the nearest clock…”

At this point, it would be a good idea to try and move the conversation to phone or email as with the previous case. This will provide the hotel a chance to invite the customer to come and stay at the Hilton again, perhaps at a one-time, discounted rate, so they can see all the positive changes new management has made.

“…If you have ten minutes, we’d like to spare you a ten-year wait, and speak with you a little more and ask you some questions about your stay via phone ( +1-954-463-4000) or email. We at Hilton would like to know what we can do to make sure you give us another chance the next time you visit the Ft. Lauderdale area.”

As in the first case, I would leave my real, first name on the post and disclose that I am the social media / PR manager for The Hilton Ft. Lauderdale, and direct the customer to the contact info on our website.

 

Social Media Planning: Epcot, December 2015

(Note: this post is for educational purposes only and does not reflect official Disney or Epcot social media plans, hashtags, or other content. I do not work for, nor am I affiliated with Disney or Walt Disney Parks & Resorts)

This week in Introduction to Multimedia, I have been tasked to imagine that I am the social media specialist for Epcot. My job is to decide on a major goal for the month of December, 2015, and to plan social media posts for the month accordingly.

Goal and Overview

Our goal at Epcot for the month of December (2015) is to create more awareness about our park’s special seasonal and holiday events, and to drive guests to experience the winter holiday season at Epcot. We will achieve this by promoting special events such as Holidays Around the World, Holiday Storytellers, IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth, Epcot’s Candlelight Processional, and Epcot’s New Year’s Eve celebration. Daily content themes will be as follows (special content will be added on holidays):

Mondays: Holiday “Humans of Epcot” / Guest Spotlight
Tuesdays: Holiday Storytellers / Christmas Tales From Around the World
Wednesdays: Disney Yuletide Fantasy tour promo series / Behind the Scenes
Thursdays: Throwback Thursday / A Look Back at Celebrations Past
Fridays: Holiday Princess Scavenger Hunt

|WEEK ONE|

Tuesday, December 1:
-Twitter- “Come hear the tale of La Befana, the good Christmas witch!” (include link to Youtube video) #HolidayStorytellers #EpcotItaly #Epcot2015
-Facebook- “Come to Epcot Italy and hear the tale of La Befana, the good Christmas witch!” (include link to Youtube video) #HolidayStorytellers #EpcotItaly #Epcot2015

Wednesday, December 2:
-Twitter- “Come and see what’s happening at Epcot this holiday season!” (include photo of Cast Members of Holiday Services) #YuletideFantasy #Epcot2015
-Facebook- “Join us on a Disney Yuletide Fantasy tour, and see the magic behind Epcot’s holiday preparations and festivities!” (include photo/video of Cast Members of Holiday Services) #YuletideFantasy #Epcot2015

Thursday, December 3:
-Twitter- “Remember when…” (post an early photo of staff decorating the Resort hotels in preparation for the holidays) #Epcot2015 #TBT #HappyHolidays
-Facebook- “Remember when…” (post old photos/an album of staff decorating the park in preparation for the holidays) #Epcot2015 #TBT #HappyHolidays

Friday, December 4:
-Twitter- “Character spotted! We just saw #Alice in Epcot’s United Kingdom!” (post around time Alice is scheduled to appear in UK w/photo) #HolidayPrincessHunt #Epcot2015
-Facebook- “Character spotted! Meet Alice today in Epcot’s United Kingdom! (11:30 AM)” (post with photo/video of Alice interacting with guests) #HolidayPrincessHunt #Epcot2015

character-meet-alice-in-wonderland-uk-00
Example Alice photo. Image copyright The Walt Disney Company (source).

|WEEK TWO|

Monday, December 7:
-Twitter- “Happy holidays from the ______ family and Epcot!” (post photo of guest family w/permission) #Epcot2015 #HumansofEpcot #FamilyHoliday
-Facebook- “Happy holidays from the ______ family and Epcot!” (post photo of guest family w/permission) #Epcot2015 #HumansofEpcot #FamilyHoliday

Tuesday, December 8:
-Twitter- “Come and join in la Fiesta de Navidad!” (include link to Youtube video) #HolidayStorytellers #EpcotMexico #Epcot2015
-Facebook- “Join us in celebrating the music, dances, and traditions of la Fiesta de Navidad in Epcot’s Mexico!” (include link to Youtube video) #HolidayStorytellers #EpcotMexico #Epcot2015

Wednesday, December 9:
-Twitter- “Come and see what’s happening at Epcot this holiday season!” (include photo of Explore World Showcase) #YuletideFantasy #Epcot2015
-Facebook- “Join us on a Disney Yuletide Fantasy tour, and see the magic behind Epcot’s holiday preparations and festivities!” (include photo/video of Explore World Showcase) #YuletideFantasy #Epcot2015

Thursday, December 10:
-Twitter- “Remember when…” (post an early photo of guests visiting Epcot during holidays past) #Epcot2015 #TBT #HappyHolidays
-Facebook- “Remember when…” (post old photos/an album of guests visiting the park during holidays past) #Epcot2015 #TBT #HappyHolidays

Friday, December 11:
-Twitter- “Character spotted! We just saw #Belle in Epcot’s France!” (post around time Belle is scheduled to appear in France w/photo) #HolidayPrincessHunt #Epcot2015
-Facebook- “Character spotted! Meet Belle today in Epcot’s France! (11:00 AM)” (post with photo/video of Belle interacting with guests) #HolidayPrincessHunt #Epcot2015

Example photo Belle. Image copyright The Walt Disney Company (source).
Example photo Belle. Image copyright The Walt Disney Company (source).

|WEEK THREE|

Monday, December 14:
-Twitter- “Happy holidays from the ______ family and Epcot!” (post photo of guest family w/permission) #Epcot2015 #HumansofEpcot #FamilyHoliday
-Facebook- “Happy holidays from the ______ family and Epcot!” (post photo of guest family w/permission) #Epcot2015 #HumansofEpcot #FamilyHoliday

Tuesday, December 15:
-Twitter- “Come and hear the tale of Father Christmas!” (include link to Youtube video) #HolidayStorytellers #EpcotUK #Epcot2015
-Facebook- “Come and hear the tale of Father Christmas in Epcot’s United Kingdom!” (include link to Youtube video) #HolidayStorytellers #EpcotUK #Epcot2015

Wednesday, December 16:
-Twitter- “Come and see what’s happening at Epcot this holiday season!” (include photo of Epcot entrance decorations) #YuletideFantasy #Epcot2015
-Facebook- “Join us on a Disney Yuletide Fantasy tour, and see the magic behind Epcot’s holiday preparations and festivities!” (include photo/video of Epcot entrance decorations) #YuletideFantasy #Epcot2015

images
Example photo, Epcot at Christmas (source).

Thursday, December 17:
-Twitter- “Remember when…” (post photo of live actor portraying Mickey from earliest Epcot seasonal celebrations) #Epcot2015 #TBT #HappyHolidays
-Facebook- “Remember when…” (post photos/album of Cast Members ready for the holiday festivities during some of the earliest Epcot celebrations) #Epcot2015 #TBT #HappyHolidays

Friday, December 18:
-Twitter- “Character spotted! We just saw #Jasmine in Epcot’s Morocco!” (post around time Jasmine is scheduled to appear in Morocco w/photo) #HolidayPrincessHunt #Epcot2015
-Facebook- “Character spotted! Meet Jasmine today in Epcot’s Morocco! (11:45 AM)” (post with photo/video of Jasmine interacting with guests) #HolidayPrincessHunt #Epcot2015

character-meet-aladdin-jasmine-00
Example Jasmine photo. Image copyright The Walt Disney Company (source).

|WEEK FOUR|

Monday, December 21:
-Twitter- “Happy holidays from the ______ family and Epcot!” (post photo of guest family w/permission) #Epcot2015 #HumansofEpcot #FamilyHoliday
-Facebook- “Happy holidays from the ______ family and Epcot!” (post photo of guest family w/permission) #Epcot2015 #HumansofEpcot #FamilyHoliday

Tuesday, December 22:
-Twitter- “Come and learn about Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa!” (include photo) #HolidayStorytellers #EpcotUS #Epcot2015
-Facebook- “Come join us in celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa, and listen to the beautiful songs of the Voices of Liberty Dickens Carolers!” (include photo/video of carolers) #HolidayStorytellers #EpcotUS #Epcot2015

Wednesday, December 23:
-Twitter- “Come and see what’s happening at Epcot this holiday season!” (include photo of holiday decor in the Resort hotels) #YuletideFantasy #Epcot2015
-Facebook- “Join us on a Disney Yuletide Fantasy tour, and see the magic behind Epcot’s holiday preparations and festivities!” (include photo/video of the holiday decor in the Resort hotels) #YuletideFantasy #Epcot2015

Thursday, December 24:
***Christmas Eve posts***
-Twitter- “Remember when…” (post photo of one of the earliest Christmas Eve celebrations at Epcot) #Epcot2015 #TBT #HappyHolidays
-Twitter- “It’s Christmas Eve!” (include photo of Candlelight Procession) #Epcot2015 #HappyHolidays
-Facebook- “It’s Christmas Eve! Come and join us tonight for our Candlelight Procession and a special holiday edition of IllumiNations!” (post between 11AM-1PM, include photo of previous IllumiNations fireworks display) #Epcot2015 #HappyHolidays
-Facebook- “Remember when…” (post photos/album of some of the earliest Christmas Eve celebrations at Epcot) #Epcot2015 #HappyHolidays #TBT

Friday, December 25:
***Christmas Day posts***
-Twitter- “Character spotted! We just saw #SnowWhite in Epcot’s Germany!” (post around time Snow White is scheduled to appear in Germany w/photo) #HolidayPrincessHunt #Epcot2015
-Twitter- “Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Epcot!” (include photo of Epcot festivities) #Epcot2015 #HappyHolidays
-Facebook- “Character spotted! Meet Snow White today in Epcot’s Germany! (12:30 PM)” (post with photo/video of Snow White interacting with guests) #HolidayPrincessHunt #Epcot2015
-Facebook- “Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Epcot! Come and join us for Holidays Around the World all day, and don’t miss the Candlelight Procession and a special holiday edition of IllumiNations this evening!” (post between 11AM-1PM, include photo of previous IllumiNations fireworks display) #Epcot2015 #HappyHolidays

character-meet-snow-white-00
Example Snow White photo. Image copyright The Walt Disney Company (source).
LIGHT THE NIGHT Spectacular fireworks customized to a symphonic score burst above Epcot’s World Showcase Lagoon during IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. Lasers, a revolving Earth Globe and leaping flames co-star in this 13-minute spectacle. IllumiNations is the nightly finale at Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Computer-generated image). (Copyright 2001. THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY.)
Example photo of IllumiNations. Image copyright 2001 The Walt Disney Company (source).

|WEEK FIVE|

Monday, December 28:
-Twitter- “Happy holidays from the ______ family and Epcot!” (post photo of guest family w/permission) #Epcot2015 #HumansofEpcot #FamilyHoliday
-Facebook- “Happy holidays from the ______ family and Epcot!” (post photo of guest family w/permission) #Epcot2015 #HumansofEpcot #FamilyHoliday

Tuesday, December 29:
-Twitter- “Come and see the colorful Chinese Lion Dance!” (include photo) #HolidayStorytellers #EpcotChina #Epcot2015
-Facebook- “Come and join us for the colorful Chinese Lion Dance in Epcot’s China!” (include photo/video) #HolidayStorytellers #EpcotChina #Epcot2015

Wednesday, December 30:
-Twitter- “Did you join us for the magic of the Yuletide this year?” (include photo of this year’s special holiday keepsake ) #YuletideFantasy #Epcot2015
-Facebook- “Thanks to all those who joined us on this year’s Disney Yuletide Fantasy tour! Come and see us again! Happy Holidays to all!” (include photo/video of this year’s special holiday keepsake) #YuletideFantasy #Epcot2015

Thursday, December 31:
***New Year’s Eve posts***
-Twitter- “Remember when…” (post photo from one of Epcot’s first New Year’s fireworks shows) #Epcot2015 #TBT #HappyNewYear
-Twitter (midday)- “It’s New Year’s Eve at Epcot!” (include photo of festivities / ongoing celebration in Future World / World Showcase) #Epcot2015 #HappyNewYear
-Twitter (night)- “2016 has almost arrived in Epcot!” (include photo of celebration / live DJs) #Epcot2015 #HappyNewYear
-Facebook- “2016 is almost here in Epcot! Come and join us in ringing in the new year! There will be live music and DJs all night, and IllumiNations will feature a special holiday finale!” (include photo album/video of daily and nightly festivities) #Epcot2015 #HappyNewYear
-Facebook- “Remember when…” (post photo/album of some of the earliest New Year’s celebrations at Epcot) #Epcot2015 #HappyNewYear #TBT

Friday, January 1:
***New Year’s Day posts***
-Twitter- “Happy New Year from Epcot!” (include photo from previous night’s fireworks) #Epcot2016 #HappyNewYear
-Twitter- “Character spotted! We just saw #Mulan in Epcot’s China!” (post around time Mulan is scheduled to appear in China w/photo) #HolidayPrincessHunt #Epcot2016
-Facebook- “Happy New Year from all of us at Epcot!” (include photo from previous night’s fireworks) #Epcot2016 #HappyNewYear
-Facebook- “Character spotted! Meet Mulan today in Epcot’s China! (11:00 AM)” (post with photo/video of Mulan interacting with guests) #HolidayPrincessHunt #Epcot2016

Example photo Mulan. Image copyright The Walt Disney Company (source).
Example photo Mulan. Image copyright The Walt Disney Company (source).

References

2015 Disney / Epcot calendars, events, and schedules:

http://www.wdwinfo.com/holidays/christmas_world.htm#Epcot

http://www.wdwinfo.com/holidays/new-years-eve.htm

http://www.wdwinfo.com/holidays/candlelight_processional.htm

https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/events-tours/yuletide-fantasy/

https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/events-tours/epcot/holidays-around-the-world/

https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/entertainment/epcot/illuminations-reflections-of-earth/

https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/calendars/

LDI Trade Show 2015

Note: this blog post is for educational purposes, and is not official press coverage or commentary on the events discussed.

This week in Intro to Multimedia we’re following the 2015 LDI Trade Show, taking place from October 19th-25th in Las Vegas, Nevada. This post will take a look at the trade show’s IMC, including its event website, social media channels, and general online self-coverage and promotions.

LDI 2015, Las Vegas

home page 10-20
The LDI 2015 home page offers an exciting, visual glimpse of the show’s highlights, sponsors, exhibitors, and features.
Vimeo highlight reel 10-20
A Vimeo highlight reel recaps last year’s events and sets the thematic stage for what is to come this week.

If you follow the link to Live Design International’s home page, it’s immediately clear that the big names attending this year’s event are important, and a central highlight of the show. The website boasts an attention-grabbing collage of thumbnails that serve as links to more info about sponsors, exhibitors, and special events taking place over the course of the week. LDI’s website is really focused on the who’s-who and what’s-what of the show, and includes a highlight reel from last year’s event at the bottom of the page.

Facebook feed 10-20Facebook feed 10-22Twitter cirque du soleil promo 10-20Facebook win colorise fixtures 10-20

Twitter 10-20
Twitter features a number of product promotions and incorporates the show’s primary hashtag, “#LDI2015”.

LDI 2015’s Facebook page and Twitter account (see the snapshots above) are pretty like-minded and consistent in content and purpose. On these accounts, the show has been promoting a number of sponsors’ and exhibitors’ products, some of which are featured in contests and giveaways directed to the attention of attendees, followers, or those registered to follow event news updates. Similarly, there have been promotional offers for local Las Vegas shows and events such as Cirque du Soleil. Leading up to the show (and ongoing) are a multitude of behind-the-scenes images, allowing followers a look at some of the show prep, as well as special nightly events tagged with the phrase, “#LDIAfterDark”. Coverage on Facebook and Twitter is good, but not great in my opinion. In fact, a greater amount of show insights come from searching event tags on Twitter and seeing what everyone else is saying about the show. I was surprised that LDI itself hasn’t attempted any short, live video, via Periscope, Snapchat, or otherwise, but Live Design Magazine has promoted some podcasts, such as this one, featuring speaker Vickie Claiborne of PRG.

Twitter 10-22
“#LDIAfterDark” is one of this year’s big tags, and appears in promotions for nighttime events consistently across channels.

It’s now about midweek, and Facebook and Twitter continue to largely cover the event much the way they have been since day one. On Thursday, some new hashtags have appeared, such as #LasVegas, which more generally promotes the show’s host city, and ties in to the themes of some of the special events and nightly activities also promoted by the show’s “#LDIAfterDark” tags. Facebook has received far fewer updates than Twitter, but by midweek, the latter channel appears to be experiencing more follower response anyway. It’s also worth noting that some proximity promotion has been implemented: check out Wednesday’s tweet about the trade show’s mobile app.

Facebook 10-23Twitter 10-23

Update: Friday, October 23, has kicked off the Exhibit Hall portion of the trade show, and a noticeable amount of new content has begun to pop up particularly on Facebook and Twitter. New posts featuring exhibitor booths, such as Neal Preston Photography, and interactive events like the LDI Photo Booth and Booth Crawl Scavenger Hunt are now underway.

Youtube previous videos 10-20
The LDI Youtube channel has not been updated since last year’s event, and will presumably feature a recap video following this year’s show.
LinkedIn 10-20
LinkedIn is the least active channel, and seems to serve only as a basic touchpoint for professional followers on this social platform.

From the start, this year’s LDI trade show has listed its presence on two other main channels, LinkedIn and Youtube. The links to these event-specific pages can be found right on the show’s main website. However, three days into the program, neither LinkedIn nor Youtube have been updated with any major posts or videos, and seem to serve simply to host information about the show. There is no apparent follower activity on the main LinkedIn profile, but the LDI LinkedIn user group does have about 1,500 members presently (Note: I have requested to join this group but have not received confirmation at this time). For the time being, The official LDI Youtube channel offers only some video footage of previous years’ event coverage, but there are many outside sources talking about LDI 2015, and have even posted preview and early-look videos to other accounts.

Wrap-Up Thoughts…

These last two channels are where the show’s coverage and IMC could really use some effort. It’s certainly a good idea to keep an archive of recap videos on Youtube, but the event could drum up a lot more excitement if, as we see on the show’s main page, Vimeo, Snapchat, Vine, or some other video sharing platform were being used to post live, real-time footage of the show, especially its “After Dark” events, which appear to be rather exciting in the pictures that appear on Facebook and Twitter. Youtube can serve to promote pre-event and post event discussion and excitement just fine, but there should really be some quick, snappy, interesting, on-the-spot footage of a highly visual event such as LDI being posted to social media fairly frequently as the week goes on. Additionally, it’s a wonder why Youtube has not been used to promote giveaways and contests that were being promoted before the official start of the 2015 trade show.

Also surprising, is that LinkedIn isn’t leveraged more like Facebook. It’s presumable that many of LDI 2015’s attendees are working professionals in the field of digital and technological arts, and might prefer to follow the LDI trade show via a LinkedIn event group or simply by keeping an eye out for interesting articles and image-based posts coming from the week’s live events. LinkedIn is a great place to post about featured sponsors, exhibitors, and booths, as many of these represent companies likely tied to LinkedIn’s professional networking in one way or another.

Social Channel Spotlight: Snapchat

What is Snapchat?

snapchat ghost
The Snapchat icon is actually named “Ghostface Chillah” after “Ghostface Killah” of the Wu-Tang Clan (image and source).

Functionally speaking, it’s a pretty easy question to answer. Snapchat is a mobile app that first launched in 2011. Its design and purpose are simple: it allows users to take photos or videos, edit them with text and freehand doodles, and send them to friends and followers. What makes Snapchat unique is that it provides a solution to the social media problem of “what you post is forever”, meaning, photos and videos sent via Snapchat have a short lifespan. Once they’re viewed for the maximum time specified by the sender, they vanish for good. Users have the option to send their photos and videos to contacts they specifically choose, or they can add photos and videos to their “Story (aka My Story)” which is a collection of media shared over the course of 24 hours. Media in the “Story” gradually vanishes as the 24-hour viewing limit runs out. Snapchat also includes a chat feature. Users can chat one-on-one in a thread and continue to send text messages or “snapbacks” in response to one another.

In 2014, Snapchat launched Snapcash, a feature supported by Square that allows users to send money to one another by entering a chat and typing an amount preceded by “$”, i.e. “$5.00” (Neistat).

Snapchat qualifies as a social media channel and thrives as a mobile app. Though it’s all about imagery and video, it can’t truly be classified as a content community by virtue of its distinguishing “self destruct” feature, or, in other words, because its content is not permanently accessible. Its users don’t necessarily have to know one another personally, but many users do tend to know one another to some degree, as one of the main ways to contact another user via Snapchat is by phone number. Other means of establishing contact with another Snapchat user include searching for a particular username manually or using a Snapcode to find them quickly.

A Little History…

Snapchat’s entire life story is one as steeped in founder tension and legal drama as competitor Facebook’s. It all starts with three main players–Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, and Reggie Brown–and goes something like this:

Evan_Spiegel_at_TechCrunch_2
Evan Spiegel (image and source).

The original roles were fairly defined: Murphy as CTO, Brown as chief marketing officer, Spiegel as CEO, honing the idea as part of a design class he was taking. The first iteration was a clunky website that required users to upload a photo and set a timer before sending. The eureka moment only came when the idea migrated to mobile. “At some point it was like, ‘Hey, there’s a camera on your phone,’” Spiegel says. “‘Wouldn’t that be easier?’”
–Colao, (2014, January 20). Forbes.com

Pretty soon after its birth, Snapchat and Spiegel drew the attention of Mark Zuckerberg, who had devised a similar app, called “Poke”, which he intended to use to empower Facebook and eliminate Snapchat as competition. Poke initially rose to the top of the iPhone app store at launch in December, 2012, but Snapchat pulled ahead once again within three days (Colao).

The app’s value, reach, and user base has grown ever since, despite the fact that the app itself is free, and, until more recently, advertisers and big influencers weren’t catered to by features such as “Discover”, which highlights large, Snapchat editorial teams that users may be interested in following.

To the surpise and scrutiny of many, when Mark Zuckerberg offered $3 billion cash for the app in fall 2013, Spiegel turned down the offer (Colao, et al).

Audience, Numbers, and Growth

bii_ageincreasesetc_snapchat
Snapchat usage by age (image and source).

So who uses Snapchat? According to press reports, the majority of Snapchat users are female between the ages of 13 to 25, and two-fifths of 18-year-olds in the U.S. use Snapchat daily. It’s also estimated that more than 760 million snaps are sent every day and about 1 billion stories are viewed (Ballve). As of January 2014, Forbes estimated that 50 million people use the app (Colao), but, more recently, others estimate a user base closer to 100 million (Talbot).

Snapchat’s growth and future are somewhat difficult to measure and predict. Some analysts remark that the app’s young, fickle, teen audience may or may not continue to use the app as time passes. On the other hand, even though interest in Snapchat has experienced alternating surges and slumps in the U.S., internationally, it has seen increasing popularity, for example in the U.K. and France (Taylor).

Integration and How It Works

kt-zoolander-snapchat
Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson took it a step further and reprised their Zoolander roles as Derek Zoolander and Hansel for a runway walk-off. They even had a “Blue Steel” geofilter at the fashion show (image and source).

Integrating Snapchat with other channels may have been much trickier before users began taking screenshots of snaps and stories. After all, when a platform is designed to destroy its content, how can you be sure your message is reaching anyone or whether it makes a lasting impression?

Even without the ability to capture a screenshot, Snapchat has still proven to be an interesting and effective marketing tool. The app allows an opportunity to create “exclusive” content, and provide real-time or behind-the-scenes looks at a brand or celebrity. In that regard, it takes advantage of consumers’ interest in getting a “sneak peek” of a new product or a company process. Many companies have also employed a “guess” tactic–sending a snap and having users guess what the photo is of or about, and prompting them to tweet their guesses with special hashtags (Ceira). In addition, like Instagram, Snapchat is a great platform for partnering with big influencers (Talbot).

The following are a few Snapchat campaign success stories. See these and more at Slideshare.net and Fastcocreate.com:

  1. Heineken’s “SnapWho?” campaign. At Coachella 2014, Heineken sent users cropped snaps that provided clues about secret shows that would be held during the music festival. Correct guesses about a mystery artist or band were rewarded with early-access info about shows that would take place at the Heineken House (the sponsor’s stage). This was a successful implementation of “exclusive content” and sparked a snap conversation among users and “HeinekenSnapWho”.
    download
  2. Taco Bell’s Snapchat mini-movie. Taco Bell launched its Spicy Chicken Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos with one of the first Snapchat stories—a six-minute mini-movie directed by Jason Zada that included a scene on the red carpet of the MTV Movie Awards, and was filmed and posted in less than 24 hours. This move highlighted and pushed the boundaries of what could be done on Snapchat while targeting an audience using a great combination–MTV, Taco Bell, and Doritos.
  3. World Wildlife Fund’s “Last Selfie” campaign. Making a clever connection to Snapchat’s signature disappearing content, the World Wildlife Fund began the #LastSelfie campaign to create awareness about disappearing and endangered species. In a week, 40,000 tweets with the hashtag reached 120 million Twitter timelines and in 6 different languages. As a result, 50% of all active Twitter users were exposed to the campaign.
    download (1)

For more interesting facts and info about Snapchat, check out this Prezi presentation!

References

Ballve, Marcelo. (2014, August 15). Businessinsider.com – “Snapchat’s Explosive Growth Among Teens and Millenials Means It’s Emerging As A Powerful Brand Platform”

Beer, Jeff. (2014, August 12). Fastcocreate.com – “How 12 Brands Used Snapchat”

Ceira, Rochelle. (2015). Jeffbullas.com – “5 Ways to Integrate Snapchat Into Your Marketing Strategy”

Colao, J.J. (2014, January 6). Forbes.com – “The Inside Story of Snapchat: The World’s Hottest App or a $3 Billion Disappearing Act?”

Misener, Jessica. (2014, July 2). Buzzfeed.com – “13 Cool Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Snapchat”

Neistat, Casey. (2015). Pocket-lint.com – “What’s the point of Snapchat, and how does it work?”

Simplify360. (2015, February 1). Slideshare.net – “5 Brilliant Snapchat Campaigns That You Need to See”

Talbot, Kate. (2015, July 28). Socialmediaexaminer.com – “5 Ways to Use Snapchat for Business”

Taylor, Everette. (2015). Growthhackers.com – “Snapchat – How Did Snapchat Reach a Multi-Billion Dollar Valuation?”

Images

Heineken “SnapWho?” — http://chcdigital.com/5-brands-that-use-snapchat/

WWF “Last Selfie” — http://www.clickz.com/clickz/news/2340740/wwf-s-lastselfie-reaches-millennials-underscores-snapchat-constraints

3 Blogs: Spotify, Engadget, and Anthony Bourdain

For this week’s post I’ll be highlighting and talking a little about three blogs that I recently discovered–the music app Spotify’s news blog, the collaborative tech news blog Engadget, and Anthony Bourdain’s travel blog on Tumblr. Without any further ado, let’s jump right in with…

Spotify

Spotify blog
A news feed post announces the arrival of Spotify Running on Android.

Spotify’s blog is a hybrid in purpose. It serves primarily to keep Spotify users up-to-date on the goings-on at Spotify, the music and artists the app hosts, and updates to the app itself as well as its services. On some level, it’s a niche news blog, but the blog team also posts about the Spotify community (“Life at Spotify”), music previews, artist interviews, marketing, contests and so on, so it’s mainly a professional blog representing the company, its employees, and product.

Spotify blog follow user
The White House has its own official playlists, and you can follow them on the app or right here on the blog.

What makes Spotify’s blog unique in some regard is that it also serves as a host for the downloadable app that the blog is all about. So, if someone who doesn’t use a music and radio app searches for any such service, should they come across Spotify’s blog, they don’t have to go to its main website to get the app. On that note, Spotify’s shareable blog posts (the blog is connected to Facebook and Twitter) make it easy for potential news users to discover Spotify on social media and to find the downloadable app right as they follow a link and land on the blog. Additionally, the blog provides instant Spotify follow buttons on posts featuring a real user’s playlist, such as the “White House” playlist, put together by President Obama himself.

skullcandy-logo
Skullcandy is the brand partner I would want to see. The logo even agrees with Spotify’s aesthetic, which favors black, white, and green. (Image source)

Spotify pops up pretty high in Google search results, along with comparably popular apps such as Pandora, iHeartRadio, and Jango. As I mentioned before, it’s also well integrated with Facebook and Twitter. Its posts are made more alluring by interesting photos of musicians and artists, the Spotify team, and screenshots of shiny, new app features. There isn’t any real advertising on the blog–after all, it’s really Spotify advertising Spotify–but if there were third-party ads, I’d expect the obvious. Skullcandy earbuds, Beats headphones, or maybe (strong emphasis on maybe) a concert ticket vendor like Ticketfly would make appropriate placements. Any kind of hip tech or related service that supports popular music would do, but I can’t say whether Spotify needs or wants to go that route. The lack of ads also strengthens the brand’s identity online. After all, ad-free music is the number one feature of the “Spotify Premium” upgrade.

Overall, I’d say Spotify’s blog is successful. It’s updated often, there’s plenty of original content, the brand embraces IMC, and it’s easy to connect to and follow. The visual design is a little plain, in my opinion. I’m used to seeing the cool layout of Spotify’s desktop app, and it makes the blog layout a little boring in comparison.

Engadget

Engadget homepage
On the homepage you’ll see share buttons galore, and large, attractive images that link to full articles.

Engadget is quite different. It’s an online magazine that operates like a news blog. Engadget focuses on technology news–everything from smartphones and videogames to light pollution and “robo-babies”. Its posts come from a number of contributors and its news feed updates pretty frequently. In fact, several fresh stories have popped up since I last checked the site just a few hours ago. The content is also diverse and interesting. It’s not fair to call Engadget “primarily a mobile device blog” or “mostly a videogame blog”. These writers talk about anything tech. I think that’s the first thing I liked about Engadget, and what lends it uniqueness. Something else worth mentioning is that not only does the magazine / blog have a high follower count on Facebook and Twitter, it offers the same content in multiple languages (check out its Spanish Facebook page and Japanese Twitter account).

Engadget from mobile
Here’s the view on mobile: a smooth, simple stream of recent article titles and their featured images.

I think it’s appropriate that Engadget’s logo incorporate’s the universal wifi / wireless communications symbol (left), because the blog itself is structured with its target audience in mind. The first thing you see when you land on Engadget’s homepage is a ton of links (videos first), followed by clickable news articles, and share buttons abound. The magazine is all about tech, and their blog makes well-rounded use of social apps and engaging links. This design philosophy suits the brand image and facilitates the news consumption habits of readers, who, no doubt, are visiting via smartphone, tablet, and other such gadgets–you know, the ones that put the “gadget” in “Engadget”.

I noticed a conservative amount of ads on the blog. The most prominent was a large banner ad for Qualcomm (a 3G and next-gen mobile technology company). There were also a few credit related ads for Citi and Equifax, as well as an ad for Marriott. This tells me the blog likely targets readers no younger than about 24 or 25 years old, and appeals to professionals who may be on-the-go or may have to travel on business.

Engadget spanish facebook
Engadget’s Facebook page for Spanish-speaking readers.

Overall, I’d say this is the most successful blog on the list. Its IMC approach is clearly well-devised. I’m especially impressed that it integrates with channels that cater to foreign language audiences. Its content is interesting and fresh, and its contributors make it easy to connect with them on Twitter. I’ve tried to find a weakness, but I don’t honestly think any additions or subtractions from the current design are necessary. The blog offers just enough without overwhelming.

Anthony Bourdain

anthony-bourdain-no-reservations
The No Reservations title shot (image source).

If you’ve ever watched the TV series No Reservations, Parts Unknown, or The Layover, you already know who Anthony Bourdain is, and it’s easy to guess what his Tumblr blog is about–travel, and all the food, culture, and political context that entails. However, Bourdain’s blog isn’t really just a travel blog. I’m considering it to be a professional blog not only because Bourdain, by profession, is a traveling writer / journalist (and chef), but also because, 1) Anthony Bourdain is essentially his own brand, and 2) Bourdain’s blog is, to some degree, an extension of his television shows. This is to say that the quality of his blogging meets an obviously (much) higher-than-recreational standard, and is affiliated with companies, Scripps Networks Interactive and Cox Communications, but most directly,  the Travel Channel.

Bourdain blog home
Sometimes, less truly is more.

This blog is the least cluttered of the three I’ve featured; in fact, there’s zero clutter. The page is nothing more than Bourdain’s neatly arranged travel pieces, associated photos, contact and social media links in the right margin, and a simple profile picture crowning an “about this blog” style quote. It’s clean, straightforward, and journalistic. No nonsense. It suits the brand  (Bourdain’s persona) and almost reminds me of a design philosophy I’d see in a single-page piece in National Geographic, only simpler. It may not appeal to some bloggers, but I like it, and here’s why:

  1. It doesn’t try to do the job of other channels. In Bourdain’s case, his Tumblr blog is probably not the first place you’ve seen him. The Travel Channel (television) is the medium that’s doing all the pushing. Bourdain’s blog is more of an outlet to receive the pulled crowd. It’s a neatly organized source of information for anyone looking to see some “behind-the-scenes” material, Bourdain’s books, or “Spare Parts Unknown” (a music blog that pairs with the shows).
  2. All the IMC connections are there, and easy to use. Want to follow Anthony Bourdain on Facebook or Twitter? Every link you need is tucked up in the top right corner. The blog is already being hosted on Tumblr, so sharing on that platform is built right in.
  3. It showcases a brand / public figure’s persona without undermining the artist. In other words, the blog makes it clear that it’s affiliated with the shows you already know and love, but there are no advertisements, a pretty unique quality. This is a case where what’s missing, at first glance, probably doesn’t need to be there anyway. I’m glad I didn’t see palm-tree-and-azure-sky-filled images bearing the Travel Channel logo all over the margins. The blog stays true to its goals and brand while keeping what doesn’t really need to be there at arm’s length. TV, Facebook, Twitter, and Bourdain’s Instagram are all doing a fine job of pushing, but there does need to be one channel that can catch the curious fans away from all the noise.

So, what do you think? Visit the comments below and let me know what other great blogs I should be following or featuring in the future. Oh, and there’s a fun poll below. Take some time to go click on it!

 

 

Revisiting Steam: A Look At Push and Pull Marketing

Last week, I posted an article about Steam, the social gaming platform by Valve Corporation. In this week’s post, I’m going to delve a bit deeper into Steam’s website, its downloadable gaming platform, and mobile app, and talk about the push and pull tactics leveraged by these channels and others.

Steam home page ads
Steampowered.com’s homepage looks exactly the same whether you’re viewing it in-browser or on your desktop.

First, I should mention that Steam’s homepage and its desktop app’s homepage are identical twins. The website and its downloadable counterpart, the latter of which supports access to games in case the user is offline (or has no Internet connection), both feature the same headlining sales, deals, and updates. These notifications refresh daily and weekly, and are arranged into various categories–the big sales are centered on the page, the weekly or weekend deals are usually arranged in the top right corner, daily deals are normally just below those, and so on. In other words, there are a variety of easily-located sections right on the home page that are frequently updated, and on different (but regular) schedules.

Surprisingly, for a consumer who’s never heard of Steam, it’s probably not easy to find the service through a standard search engine query, and this means Steam isn’t generating a lot of pull via online searches. Results for “digital games”, “online gaming”, and other search terms tend to result in ads directed at GameStop, BestBuy, and other brick-and-mortar retailers. However, as I mentioned in last week’s post, Steam has found an interesting workaround, and I’ll get to that soon. Where Steam really begins to succeed in its pull strategy is within its own platform. It’s difficult to think of every feature that helps achieve this, so I’ll stick to the highlights.

Here are some of Steam’s best and most unique pull strategies:

  1. Customized home page and purchase recommendations. Once a customer begins buying games on Steam (which requires a quick and free membership sign-up) Steam begins tracking tags associated with
    Steam website recommendations
    Steam quickly learns what users like and changes its homepage to suit the user’s preferences once they’re signed in. It makes the user feel “at home”–a good pull technique.

    purchases, store browsing trends, and other user behavior. When that user is signed in, the homepage changes to display games and sales of interest to that particular user, and explains why it made those recommendations. Additionally, it tracks what a user’s friends are buying and playing, and makes suggestions based on other users’ recommendations and reviews. It goes even further still, letting a user know which of their friends has bought or also wants a game the user is viewing in the storefront. But that’s not all. Steam also recommends search tags you should use in the future, based on your interests. Steam’s homepage becomes your homepage. It greets you as if it’s the cliche bartender who has your drink ready before you even pull up a seat.

  2. Tradeable and sellable digital items. This one’s pretty interesting. Steam continually creates digital items that are collectible and available to users who frequently use the platform. The type I specifically want to mention are Steam Trading Cards. Players can earn digital trading cards by playing
    Steam Community Market
    The Community Market allows users to make spendable cash by selling items they earn just by playing the games they buy.

    games they own (if the game supports the feature). Complete sets of trading cards can be “exchanged” for special upgrades to a user’s account or profile, i.e. access to special characters in the chat window, special buttons or stickers to display on the user’s profile page, bragging-rights style achievements, and so on. It’s a decent pull strategy that reinforces engagement. However, what’s more enticing, in my opinion, is the option to put unwanted items up for sale in the Community Market. Some users don’t care about account upgrades, and can instead sell their collectibles for spendable cash that deposits straight into their Steam Wallet. This makes it possible for users who are active enough to get more games at an added discount or even free. Building up free funds promotes exclusively shopping with Steam and engaging more with the platform. This feature alone, as Nelson Xalavier at Gamasutra puts it, creates a kind of addicting game in and of itself, and “[if you] look into the depths of Steam Trading, [you’ll] find a brilliant ecosystem formed around the unique quirks of the Steam platform.”

  3. Visibility in competitors’ storefronts. I mentioned this in last week’s post, so I’ll keep this brief. Steam’s biggest competitors (BestBuy, Gamestop, Walmart, and Target) have struggled to keep up with a consumer shift in favor of the sale of digital games as opposed to physical. Consequently, they’ve attempted to boost sales by selling Steam Wallet Codes in their brick-and-mortar stores. So, although Steam isn’t winning the Google search race, it’s made itself discoverable within its competitors’ stores, and is ready to be seen by a consumer base that, more and more, is developing a preference for digital gaming, but may not know its options.

Now let’s examine some of Steam’s best push strategies:

  1. Direct notifications. Steam makes use of a popular, effective, and well known strategy–simply, sending email and mobile alerts that keep registered users up-to-date on the latest daily and weekly sales, news, holiday specials, and other announcements. Users also receive alerts when products they’ve followed, liked, or put on a wishlist go on sale or receive a price drop, and when their friends send them gifts or a request to trade special items.
  2. The Steam mobile app and desktop app. Steam not only has a website that caters to each individual’s needs and preferences, and provides a social platform for gamers, it duplicated that service and encourages users to install it on their mobile device and PC or laptop.
    Steam mobile notification
    This mobile notification actually came in as I was writing this post.

    Steam makes itself accessible no matter where the consumer is, and continues to
    actively alert and update the user. The
    desktop app even has its own special news update pop-up that appears when users first sign in to Steam from their desktop; it provides a slideshow of the top five updates of the day, typically the biggest sales or announcements of the most anticipated upcoming games (which Steam makes available for pre-order).

  3. Steam Greenlight. I saved the most interesting for last. In recent years, there has been a surge of new and independent videogame developers and studios. As in book publishing or the film industry, it can be difficult to get “indie” projects off the ground and into the hands of big distributors. Steam answered with its Greenlight feature. Greenlight hosts the works-in-progress of indie artists who want to garner support for their games from consumers and a distributor at the same time. Greenlight allows indie developers a cSteam Greenlighthance to showcase the work they’ve done and talk to the community about what their plans are for their projects. In that regard, it mimics crowdfunding (think Kickstarter or GoFundMe), but without the financial endorsement feature. If a project gets enough positive Steam community response and the devs “donate $100 to a charity” (Hendricks), Steam will distribute and sell the finished product. I consider this a unique push strategy rather than a pull, because Greenlight actively petitions for community participation in deciding which new indie games to bring to Steam. The imagery on Greenlight’s page works as a good call-to-action (“Vote!”) and aids the push. The game development process isn’t often something consumers get to participate in meaningfully, and it’s a free feature that encourages users to engage with the industry beyond purchasing its product or sharing reviews.
Steam share buttons
Steam does include share buttons, focusing on its cross-platform engagement (Facebook, Twitter, and reddit), but, like offsite SEO, these seem to take a backseat to Steam’s focus on in-app push-and-pull.

Steam’s website, desktop app, and mobile app are littered with features designed to keep customers coming back, and those same channels do a great job of keeping the push and pull cycle going. If the brand could improve anywhere, it’s in two distinct areas. One of these I spoke about in last week’s post. There does exit a Steam Support team (here’s their Twitter), but its track record is nothing to be proud of. Valve has recently begun to answer for this failing and is making changes to Steam’s services that will hopefully correct this, such as modifying their returns policy. For now, users have to wait and see how much effect these changes have. The second weakness is the lack of pull marketing outside of Steam’s own website and apps, and its borrowed space in its competitors’ stores. It’s not a bad way to pull offline, but that tactic needs some basic online reinforcement–some good SEO would be the best place to start.

Ref.

Hendricks, Dustin. (2015, August 26). Gamasutra.com – “Launching Steam Greenlight & KickStarter: One week in, top 25, and 50% funded”

Nelson, Xalavier. (2015, August 31). Gamasutra.com – “Endless Steam–How I Found Valve’s Greatest Game”