Autospeak-Straight Talk contains articles covering digital and social media marketing social communities and events marketing

4 Real-Time Engagement Strategies

(Posted on Apr 3, 2014 at 04:52AM by William Cosgrove)

This year’s Super Bowl was proof of the opportunities available to marketers to engage consumers during live events. In fact, during the Super Bowl, AT&T’s data usage almost doubled from 388 GB in 2013 to 624 GB this year, and Verizon reported an 800% surge. Consumers stay glued to their mobile phones at all times during real-time events, earning their position as a key place to grab and/or maintain attention through interactive mobile campaigns.

real time engagementWhile large, well-known events are the bright and shiny object of real-time event engagement opportunities, there are numerous other options available that can be just as effective at building quality relationships with consumers. Think: in-store promotions, restaurants, internal conferences and more. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to these engagement tactics. Each company, its objectives, goals and audiences needs to be evaluated in order to ensure positive results.

Here are four tips to keep in mind when planning your next live-event or real-time engagement campaign.

1. Commit. This isn’t a one-time thing.

The success of real-time engagement is contingent upon it not being a one-time effort. Live events and other real-time experiences should serve as a jumping off point or part of an overall plan for year-round engagement and consumer interaction. If it’s a one-time activation, you risk losing the connection that you just put time, effort and—if its a landmark event—a lot of money into.

A brand that’s rocking real-time engagement at live events is the Country Music Association (CMA). In 2013, CMA Music Festival organizers, and its website, encouraged attendees to sign up for mobile alerts so they could get access to seat upgrades, stage change notifications, chances to win VIP experiences and priority seating in 2014. Festival marketers can use this text data to interact with attendees, see which bands/artists received the most interest, and update fans on plans for the upcoming festival this year to encourage repeat attendance.

2. Make it strategic.

Marketing strategies to engage consumers during real-time experiences need to align with your company’s overall business goals and objectives. While live events and real-time engagement can be fun ideas that make a “splash,” you need to make sure these strategies strategically align with your company’s plans for customer engagement and will provide positive results toward the big picture. So, if your aim is to drive traffic to your website, make sure the mobile call-to-action encourages site visits. If you’d like to increase your company’s social media following, then make sure the campaign or promotion lives on social media channels and encourages interaction on those channels.

After seeing a huge increase in mobile usage and interaction in 2013, Mellow Mushroom, an Atlanta-based pizza chain, wanted to create a way to engage with customers in-restaurant. In partnership with Coca-Cola, Mellow Mushroom created a “Spin the Coke Bottle” game to not only capitalize on the real-time interaction opportunity but to also drive sales. This campaign was an in-restaurant, mobile experience where guests scanned a tabletop QR code to interact with their tablemates via a series of playful conversation starters and trivia questions, centered on music. During the promotion period, guests also received a 10-character Mellow Mushroom code when they purchased a qualifying Coca-Cola product at the restaurant. Each code earned a sweepstakes entry toward a VIP trip to the 2013 American Music Awards and LiveNation Concert Cash.

3. Choose your social channels wisely.

A challenging task for real-time engagement can be deciding which social media channel to use for a campaign. Instagram and Twitter are often popular choices for live events because of their frequent-post culture and the ability to easily follow unique hashtags. When choosing a social media channel, brands need to ask themselves and do research into where their target audience is most active. If your target audience mostly uses Facebook, and you have a contest available only on Instagram, you risk reducing interaction opportunities because a consumer isn’t active on the channel you chose. With that in mind, this is why multi-channel capabilities are always a best bet for submission-based campaigns.

Ever order the five try-on glasses frames from Warby Parker? The primarily online retailer allows customers to select five frames to have mailed to their home to try on for free—knowing you can’t possibly choose one frame from a large selection of styles and colors. If you need a second opinion on which glasses to choose, you can reach out to the brand via Instagram, Facebook or Twitter with pictures in the different glasses to receive quick advice on the pair you should go with. Warby Parker offers this service on a variety of social media channels to allow customers to interact where they prefer.

4. Don’t think of mobile as a single entity.

Smartphones have ensured that consumers have almost the same capabilities on their mobile devices as they have on their tablets and desktop computers, which is why all campaigns should aim to deliver consistent, cross-channel functionality. For real-time engagement, mobile functionality is necessary to enhance and accelerate the communications cycle for the consumer—making the conversation occur right then. A best practice is to make sure your programs have consistent capabilities and interaction opportunities through mobile apps, browsers and messaging to make it as easy as possible for customers to engage with your brand.

Live events and real-time engagement is an under-utilized tool for marketers. While brands can span across a variety of activation opportunities, there is a major opportunity for large and small brands alike to create a real-time, interactive experience for their customers. Take a look at your company’s goals, objectives and strategies for the year, and see where a real-time experience could increase the success of one, or more, of your tactics this year.

By Aron Clark

Aaron Clark is vice president of mobile sales and operations at HelloWorld (formerly ePrize).

Also Read "Real Time" Events Marketing

How Social Media Helps Events Marketing

(Posted on Mar 20, 2014 at 06:17AM by William Cosgrove)
Picture After making the necessary preparations for a small business event, you have to come up with a marketing plan to ensure its success. Whether you plan to hold a garage sale, open house, or night out, try to add these social media strategies to promote and boost attendance for the event.

Before the Event

1. Engage with the audience through social media.

Draw in the audience from the outset by allowing them to propose what will take place at the event. For instance, run a competition on different social networking sites and let the audience decide on the venue or choose the keynote speaker, or suggest details about the venue.

2. Show the event details in visible social media channels and well ahead of the event.

Use social media to build momentum and excitement, especially if your event has a prominent keynote speaker or special guests. To do this, use Facebook and Pinterest to create your event page. If it is a business gathering, add a LinkedIn page.

If the event features a guest or speaker, add photos and links where he or she has already presented. Ask the speaker how he or she wants to be introduced. Then share it on your social media channels. It creates an appealing profile for your guest.

3. Add a countdown timer on your company website and share it on social media.

Once the countdown timer reaches a specific point in time, provide engaging updates and share progress during preparations about the distinctive aspects of the event. Provide more and more updates as the time for the event draws nearer.

4. Use a QR code and hashtag for your event marketing campaign.

QR codes and hashtags are helpful to promote events on different online and offline channels such as posters and invitation cards.

5. Create blog posts, an eBook, or a webinar.

Among the popular trends in marketing is to create a blog post, an eBook, a webinar, or to provide any type of downloadable material that provide a glimpse of the event.

For example, you can start an event marketing campaign with blog posts, a dedicated webpage, and a webinar. Each one of these items has to feature an important aspect about the topic to urge users to purchase or grab tickets for the event. You can ask the keynote speaker to be interviewed for a guest blog post or to write one.

6. Let your attendees register online through the company website or a social networking account.

The best way to lure potential attendees to your event is to offer a convenient method to register for it. If the event requires a reservation, use an online registration form such as Planetreg or Evite.

During the Event

Marketing content from events is outstanding, making it crucial to capture everything. You can use the ideas to document all the happenings during the event.

1. Hold a contest for users to submit their content.

Encourage attendees to be participants by asking them to submit photos or video clips of their favorite parts of the event. Feature this content in your social media channels as the event happens.

2. Allow attendees to take pictures with a professional photographer in a photo booth.

Apart from the fun it brings, it is another chance for you to get guest information and stay engaged with the participants.

3. Talk to guests at various times during the event.

Programs such as Ustream allow you to share live interviews. You can ask guests about their expectations before the event or impressions after the event.

Use social media to come up with prize opportunities, such as when guests share their praises about the event. Reward these people with prizes. Then create custom content using guests’ social media updates, and share it on your social media accounts or stream live content at the event using platforms such as Tweetwally.

After the Event

You still can gain awareness about the business and get sales even after the event. There are opportunities to add post-event promotions to your event marketing plan.

1. Share a detailed photo album of the event on social media.

Take pictures, identify the people in the picture, create a compelling caption, and add links to your business website whenever applicable and appropriate. Never miss opportunities like this. You can also ask guests to submit their own photos.

2. Share the highlights of the event through a podcast.  

Ask the special guest or keynote speaker for a podcast interview and do a recap of the highlights of the event.

3. Write a feature story about the event in the company newsletter.

Contrary to most people’s belief, a newsletter still is an important marketing medium for small- and medium-sized businesses. You can share the newsletter across your social media channels.

4. Set up a post-event email drive.

For those who failed to attend the event, add a sales offer that includes links to the photo albums, the podcast, and the newsletter.

By Francis Rey Balolong

Also Read  "RealTime" Events Markting

'Real Time' Events Marketing

(Posted on Feb 25, 2014 at 05:37AM by William Cosgrove)

Events anchor any business to their local community. Which is why real-time event ‘live’ media marketing that broadcasts across every online digital and traditional marketing channel can be a game changing experience.

If you are planning an event there are many things you can do today to enhance the impact and reach of your event to gain a much larger audience.

You already have an audience in your database of existing customers. By creating an onsite community you can make existing sales and service customers and employees members all of whom can help you get your message out by commenting and blogging about you and the event before, during and after the event takes place.

Enlisting them in your community can provide many other benefits that can draw you existing customer and employee base much closer and if structured properly can benefit both you and your members in many ways. (Social Communities Can Redefine Customer Experience)

Imagine blog casting, social casting, and mobile applications all working together to engage existing, potential viewers and fans with GPS galleries that comb your area to attract visibility to the event both during and after it’s over. By creating and implementing social casting tools and applications that span the digital realm all integrated to take your business right into the heart of the action.

Events Marketing can also be used as a multichannel online sales or advertising event tool to enhance your inbound leads.

All this combined with an onsite social community platform gives you the most powerful socialcasting capabilities available in the marketplace today.
Picture What is Socialcasting?

Socialcasting is not a new phenomenon but new technologies have provided more effective ways in which to capitalize on it.

It has developed out of several technology trends including instant messaging, videoconferencing; social networking; blogging; video sharing and streaming information and photos in “Real Time” across the internet.

Socialcasting is a movement in online and onsite video and generated content that combines traditional media content, social networking, and interactive community to create a unique experience for viewers on the internet.

Some have called socialcasting where Web 2.0 meets TV 2.0, offering new ways for video content to be experienced and shared by viewers in an online community.

A Web 2.0 site or a social community allow users to interact and communicate with each other as creators of user-generated content in a virtual community, in contrast to websites where people are limited to the passive viewing of content.

This Social integration is the process of linking information--whether in blogs, forums or other networking options--to the Internet. Search engines and communities are instantly alerted to the presence of a particular item. This allows users to quickly find what they need when they need it.

More and more companies are creating onsite social communities for their customers in which to interact. Companies can read the needs and concerns of their customers in new ways and can benefit from the relevant content being generated in the community via comments and articles that can be integrated into their Digital marketing initiatives.

Socialcasting is also seeing a lot of success in “real time events marketing.” On site events are seeing a much greater impact and reaching a much larger audience by going beyond the physical location and traditional medias by simultaneously broadcasting the event over the internet and through social channels. Through streaming photos and video, texting, blogging and social networking many people are engaged which causes the event to virtually feed on itself before, during and after the event.

This all draws attention to drive traffic that otherwise would not be reached.

The use of Socialcasting in digital marketing has increased in popularity but has been being used very successfully for many years. Sporting events of all kinds have been big beneficiaries of socialcasting using the internet and is now being utilized more and more for conferences and onsite promotions with great success.

Socialcasting in its many forms can boost page ranking and drive traffic in ways that no other form of media can.

Socialcasting can make a big impact in your overall marketing efforts and is something that any business can benefit from. Technology is constantly providing us with new and creative ways of marketing. Socialcasting is a product of all this new technology and is an indirect social content driven way of getting your message out, creating attention and driving traffic.

William Cosgrove
Bill Cosgrove Straight Talk
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