Content Communities

My name is Emily, and I am a Pinterest addict.

I am a content communities lover, especially of Pinterest, YouTube, and Tumblr. After learning about IMC and content communities this week, I have a much deeper understanding of its importance to brand marketers. There is so much to gain from content marketing and content sharing platforms because of recommendations from friends or shared items such as videos, images, or pins. Marketers have the opportunities to expand their markets and look for new audiences in new places. In “How to Leverage Content Communities to Expand Your Brand Reach,” Julianne Staino states, “By looking to target different audiences for a certain type of content, you are actively pushing your brands exposure and not resting on what you already have. In order to gain new customers you have to be thinking about new opportunities and how you can penetrate different markets. To do this, creating content specific materials is key.”

As the saying goes ‘content is king.’ Therefore, it is incredibly important that your content is excellent and something you are proud of. By using such communities, a marketer is relying on the fact that their created content is good and will attract new audiences or further the relationship with its current one. Imagine if a big brand you really loved sent out a piece of content that wasn’t that impressive or didn’t fit the brand. Its consumers would be confused and most likely left with a bad taste in their mouth. Luckily, this is a not a problem we run into often because of how important these communities are.

While Book of The Month has an existing Pinterest account, I created a board on my personal account for this project. The theme for my fictional campaign for BOTM is centered around autumn and cozy reading. I named the Pinterest board ‘Get Cozy with BOTM.

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This board features activities, items, book lists, and food suggestions with all things autumn. Here, you can find different pins on comfy places to read BOTM books, blankets to use, or just general cozy pictures. There are multiple pins that are BOTM content, such as the October list or BOTM merchandise. The other pins are to give a pinner the illusion or feeling of autumn and reading. The goal is to hopefully inspire the pinner to read or create places such as the pins for them to read their BOTM book choice for that month. This board fits the “falling into fall” idea because of its cozy feeling with the BOTM books and merchandise. One can also find recipes or decorations for pinners to make for their homes or to eat while they are reading. Pinterest inspires its user to create or imitate the images they see online. Ultimately, this is what BOTM wants to do.

Another content community that I think BOTM would thrive on is Tumblr. This is a platform that a young target audience can be found on. Tumblr is home to many thriving fandoms who love the next good book. Creating a fall image or illusion on Tumblr is easy due to the content sharing. BOTM could also add its October lists. BOTM does not have a current existing Tumblr, so i think it would be an interesting platform for the brand to get into in order to tap into that younger audience.

I debated on creating a fictional Tumblr for this project, but I wanted to stick with boards/collections idea rather than just one long stream of images or links like on Tumblr. One content platform that a female audience uses is We Heart It. Similar to Flickr, We Heart It is also an image curating site, but has more female and younger uses. I would call it a cross between Instagram and Pinterst. Here is the collection I created for BOTM on We Heart It. The collection is call ‘FALL into Fall with BOTM.’ I wanted the title to be different from the Pinterest board in order to keep things similar, yet different across different social platforms.

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The We Heart It collection features autumn images, along with the BOTM imagery in order to keep the brand message the same across channels. This board is filled with autumn inspiration for users, attracting female users to the brand by creating this imagery. The goal is to spark interest in order to get users to look more into BOTM, and ultimately, subscribe. This fits into the campaign because it is similar to Instagram and Pinterest.

 

Proximity Marketing

Whether you are fully aware of it or not, you are most likely a part of proximity marketing. Think about whenever you click ‘allow location’ to be used when you download a new app. It’s likely it’s for a store such as a eatery or retail. Based on knowing your location, that app can offer you deals when you’re close by or help you order food. I know that I use proximity marketing all the time, sometimes without even being aware that I am. Every time I google map something, my phone knows exactly how close I am and can direct me accordingly.

If you think about proximity marketing too much, it can get a little scary. However, I find it to be more helpful than not. I love that I don’t have to enter my location or address every time I want to find the nearest Chick-fil-A on Google. Besides getting rid of minor hassles such as that, proximity marketing has other benefits. Proximity marketing is done in real time. Therefore, a company can attract a nearby consumer immediately thanks to knowing their location. Because of the real time, it’s also easier to measure campaigns.In “ 8 Reasons Why Proximity Marketing Will Matter for Retailers in 2011,” Alex Romanov states “The results of proximity marketing can be immediately measured — how many customers came to the retailer as a result of the campaign — and thus provide immediate insights as to what works and what reaps the greatest rewards.” This is a huge attraction for companies because of how easy measuring campaigns becomes.

Proximity marketing can also be seen as a form of word-of-mouth advertising. Every time someone checks in at a place on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other form of social media, their followers will see it and most likely think positively of it because their friends are there. Some places offer discounts for Facebook check-ins. Bento, a local restaurant in Gainesville, offers a 10% discount any time you check-in on Facebook. Needless to say, it’s often I see Bento check-ins on my newsfeeds. As discussed in the lecture, apps like FourSquare and U Connection allow smaller, local businesses to market against the corporate giants. With discount codes on such apps, the local places just might have a leg up.

As technology continues to become more sophisticated, marketing must expand with it. Wearables are a blend of technology and marketing that some people may love or may dislike. I think that wearables are somewhat similar to mobile devices,  but more high tech. You always have your phone on you, just like you would be wearing these devices. In my opinion, they seem very futuristic. However, these devices may be closer than we think. Google, Apple, Android, and other tech giants are well on their way to getting wearables in mass production, which will likely revolutionize marketing as we know it. In “4 Ways Wearable Tech Could Change Your Marketing Strategy,” Hilary Smith states, “Marketing guesswork will be virtually eliminated as consumers will view location-specific content at the exact moment it was intended – and with the introduction of wearables, content viewership will be as effortless as checking the time.”

After realizing that the topic for this week is proximity marketing, I immediately thought of Chick-fil-a’s new app. I am an avid user of it. It uses a your location to find the nearest Chick-fil-a or you can order your meal mobilely. When you go to pick it up, you can only do it when your phone registers you are at the present Chick-fil-a. When you first download the app, you are immediately given a free sandwich coupon. As you use the app more and more, you eventually earn other coupons such as a free french fries or free deluxe sandwich. Needless to say, I have received many of these coupons. Chick-fil-a is not the first fast food place to use such technology, but they do a very good job with the technology. It’s easy to use and rewarding, providing the customers with exactly what they want.

Because Book of The Month is a monthly subscription service, it would be difficult to apply proximity marketing to its campaigns. I think it would only be applicable if the company partnered with book stores and had features in such locations. Another option would be to run special deals with other companies besides book stores, such as local restaurants in major cities. There are many uses for proximity marketing, but national subscription services can’t use it as easily.

Snapchat Updates: New Ways To Use Content

With IOS10, the iPhone 7, and general user interface updates on coming onto the market, apps have been updating and revamping themselves. Snapchat has put in some work and added new features for its users, including using memories. Because of this edition, brands and companies can now reuse content, save stories, or cross-promote across different platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Now, content doesn’t have to be taken immediately and posted, but rather strategically picked and designed. Possibilities are endless.

For educational purposes, I have created a fictional Snap story that could be utilized by Book of the Month. Because BOTM has guest judges on its panel each month, it could use Snapchat in generating excitement for the announcement of the judges or books chosen for each month. Actress Constance Wu is the celebrity guest judge for the month of October. Created by using the memories function on Snapchat, the images below are examples of a story BOTM could have created in order to make this announcement.

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These fictional Snaps depict what an BOTM announcement on Snapchat could look like if the marketers decided to use the Snapchat platform in this fashion. The first image is more of a welcome image and states the purpose the that particular story. The following two are hints about who the celebrity judge is. The images were pulled from Wu’s show “Fresh Off The Boat.” In the third picture, the boy shown is her fictional television son. In the final Snap, Wu can be seen with the book she chose for the month of October. It also advertises a Q&A BOTM did with her as a part of her guest judging.

Using Snapchat is a great way to give a live view at your company or generate more excitement about your products. BOTM could use Snapchat stories and memories in a variety of ways to up excitement and supplement its marketing tactics. Another idea would be to follow a book that was shipped out to a reader- maybe a first time subscriber. Then, Snapchat users could get a taste of the excitement when a book shows up at their door every month.

I have only used Snapchat for my personal use. Although, it is one of my favorite social media platforms because I love looking through stories. However, corporate or sponsored stories don’t interest me that much. I rather follow a celebrity or brand through my own choosing and see into their everyday lives. One person I follow on Snapchat is Jimmy Fallon. I enjoy getting to see how his days are rather than just what we see on the show. I think it gives celebrities and brands a more human touch, which ultimately will help them sell.

With Snapchat’s updates, brands and companies have new ways of marketing to its consumers. For example, a new product could be rolled out and marketed with pre-designed content, rather than instantly taken content like in the past. Previously, brands couldn’t upload digital content and had to take live pictures. In ” 12 Ways Brands Can Use Snapchat’s Memories To Mix New and Existing Content,” writer Serena Ehrlich suggests several ways for companies to use the memory function. Examples include:

  • driving sales
  • sharing coupons
  • corporate branding
  • amplifying live events
  • enhancing influencer relationships

Hootsuite has some very helpful tips on how to incorporate Snapchat in your marketing campaign. Click here if you’re interested in more information.

 

Blogs That Always Catch My Attention

I always get addicted to certain blogs for an extended amount of time. Usually, these blogs reflect who I want to be or things that I love. Some of them I think are my Pinterest boards culminated in an actual person. Blogs are a fantastic way to establish your personal brand and get your name out there. Whether it’s a personal brand or more of a professional blog, the content you post may ultimately get you sponsorships or more popular.

A blog that I have long followed is College Prepster. This blog features mostly fashion, but has lifestyle, travel, and food sprinkled in with posts here and there. Fashion and style are the center of this blog. In my mind, my closet looks just like what she is displaying. The blog is ran by Carly Heitlinger, who started the blog as an outlet when she was a freshman at Georgetown. College Prepster has grown from just an outlet into a semi-professional blog. screenhunter_33-oct-09-17-35

College Prepster is used to showcase a preppy sense of fashion, but I think the writer also portrays it as a lifestyle. No matter where she travels, she shows her outfits and takes professional photos to show her sense of style. Because College Prepster is so popular with the college and young adult demographics, sales or fashion advertisements are often found within the blog posts. Many of the posts feature outfits and then where she purchased the pieces. Carly is often pictured at events for the brands she publicizes such as Kate Spade, J. Crew, or Nordstrom. Often, there are partnerships with other bloggers or stores that offer giveaways such as the one featured below.

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College Prepster is successful for multiple reasons. There are new blog posts every day or mostly every day. The posts are full of bright images and links to other websites, drawing in the attention of the reader. Because posts are so regular, a reader can log on at any time and see new content. All content is also original. Sometimes, there are guest bloggers, but a majority of the work is done by Carly.  Also, there are a multitude of options to share the website, posts, or find College Prepster on a majority of social media platforms.

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Everything that is seen on the website reflects Carly’s personal brand. A preppy lifestyle is shown through the types of fonts used on the website, what is being worn in the photos, activities she does, and the lifestyle items she reviews. When a reader logs on, one can deduce almost immediately what the blog is about. Advertisements aren’t as prominent on this blog as on others. There are not any sidebar images that pop up and show you advertisements based on your computer’s cookies. The advertisements on College Prepster are much more subtle. Instead, they are interlaced into a post such as in the links to the outfit she wears, giveaways, or a given discount code just for College Prepster readers.

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Finding niche blogs can be difficult because not every writer knows how to use SEO to its full potential. However, this is not the case for College Prepster because it is so popular.

 

 

If College Prepster isn’t really your style, you might  be more interested in Brit + Co. Brit + Co. is a professional company that seems like it could be an aggregator because it is so big. However, it’s more of a company blog with many different writers. Brit + Co. covers a variety of topics such as exercise, tech, food, fashion, and much more. It covers just about everything you come across in life. screenhunter_37-oct-09-17-58

The purpose of this blog is to write about every and any thing that a girl might come across in her life. There is fashion, pop culture, career, beauty, and health advice. Usually,  if one googles something regarding these topics, a post from Brit+Co. will appear.

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Because this is such a large and popular blog/website, marketing and SEO must be on their A game. Traffic needs to be driven to the website in order to keep up its popularity. Brit + Co. is one of the major blogs where posts do go viral, depending on the subject matter. New posts show up hourly because of the massive amounts of topics the blog covers. Also, they do a great job with social media. It reminds me of a smaller Buzzfeed, but in more of a blog form. Content is easily shared with Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest suggestions at the top of each post. Brit + Co. also has their own app available for download.

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The values shown in the image above demonstrate the Brit + Co. brand. What started as a DIY site has not grown into a blog and commerce site that reaches millions of people daily. When skimming through the website, these values are evident through the posts, writing, and images. Similar to College Prepster, advertisements are not as featured on Brit + Co., but rather sewn into various posts. Advertisements can be found through sponsored posts of items or partnerships with that company demonstrating how to use their products. Because Brit+ Co. is also a store, the site wants to drive commerce towards themselves rather than competitors.

 

Both of these blogs do a great job in reflecting their brands and sense of style.  With such large audiences, these blogs need to work perfectly and have an easy navigation through the websites.

What’s Up with WhatsApp

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Keeping in touch with friends and family who are far off can be difficult enough. Let alone, if you are they are abroad and don’t want to pay outrageous charges to talk? That’s where WhatsApp comes in. WhatsApp is free messaging and calling service/application that allows users to communicate internationally. According to WhatsApp website, “more than 1 billion people in over 180 countries use WhatsApp to stay in touch with friends and family, anytime and anywhere.” Because of its wide usage, at any given time, WhatsApp can often be found within the top 20 on Apple App Store’s top free apps chart. The name of the app is indeed a pun on “What’s up?”

WhatsApp’s mission is “Our product now supports sending and receiving a variety of media: text, photos, videos, documents, and location, as well as voice calls. Our messages and calls are secured with end-to-end encryption, meaning that no third party including WhatsApp can read or listen to them. Behind every product decision is our desire to let people communicate anywhere in the world without barriers.”

Features

WhatsApp’s main goal is to let people communicate anywhere in the world with no hindrances. Therefore, its foundational features are quite basic such as texts and calling. However, since the app has grown, new developments have been made to enhance to types and quality of communication a user is allowed to do on the application.  Users can text, call, and share photos, videos, documents, or voice messages to any other WhatsApp user in the world. Group texts are also an option. Surprisingly, a group chat on WhatsApp can have up to 256 people in one chat. WhatsApp runs on Wi-Fi and Internet or a user’s data usage. This core feature is the reasoning behind international communication. Expensive charges from international calling will never have to be a worry again when using WhatsApp.

Companies and brands have used WhatsApp’s features in a variety of ways. For example, this application gives you a direct line to its customers. Because of WhatsApp’s international texting and calling, numerous companies use these features as more of a customer support leg. Marketing through messages or calls is also possible, but a company has to be careful in not spamming a user/customer’s inbox.

One of its most prominent features is its security. When Apple Inc. and the FBI got into a bit of an argument over encryption, WhatsApp changed its own security to further protect its users. In “Forget Apple vs The FBI: WhatsApp Just Switched on Encryption for a Billion People,” Wired writer Cade Metz  said “…that if any group of people uses the latest version of WhatsApp—whether that group spans two people or ten—the service will encrypt all messages, phone calls, photos, and videos moving among them.” These changes mean that only the people who sent and received these messages will be able to access them. A WhatsApp employee nor government official will be able to access them. Metz writes that WhatsApp is essentially “stonewalling the federal government, but it’s doing so on a larger front—one that spans roughly a billion devices.”

History

WhatsApp was founded by Brian Acton and Jan Koum in 2009. Both are former employees of Yahoo, but founded WhatsApp after they left in 2007. It was the beginning of the Apple iPhone when they noticed the potential for an industry of apps. This was the beginning of Whatsapp. The following years were full of struggles of getting the application up and going with updates and fixing glitches. In 2011, Sequoia Capital invested millions of dollars in WhatsApp, giving it a boost it needed.

In 2014, WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook for $19 billion, which was Facebook’s largest acquisition to date. WhatsApp continues to run an as separate company, but under the Facebook umbrella. This year, Co-founder Jan Koum announced that the application would no longer charge a $1 annual fee to accommodate those without credit card. Also, the announcement was made that the app would no longer show advertisements, but start releasing new features such as communicating with business organizations.

 

Target Audiences

Because WhatsApp is used globally, its target audiences are very broad. Anyone wanting to communicate internationally is a target user for WhatsApp. However, multiple studies have been done to further understand the demographics who use WhatsApp.

According to Experian Marketing, WhatsApp users “are significantly more likely than the average smartphone owner to be Hispanic, likely due in large part to the ability to send messages internationally for free as well as the reported high number of WhatsApp users who live outside of the U.S.”  This number comes out to 46.5% of WhatsApp users are Hispanic. WhatsApp users are also most likely under the age 0f 36, making them more of a younger target audience. These users are 15% more likely to be between the ages of 18 and 34. This statistic also explains why “WhatsApp users are 20 percent more likely than average to have a household income that is below $50,000.” When it comes to mobile usage, WhatsApp users are 31% more likely to watch video on their phones and 32% more likely to listen to music.

 

User Numbers

Millions of people around the world use WhatsApp daily. Presently, 42 billion messages are sent on WhatsApp daily and millions of new users are registered weekly. The application is available in 109 countries. According to Venture Beat writer Ken Yeung, WhatsApp has joined the elite club of having 1 billion active user monthly. This means that 1 in 7 people in the world use it daily.

Because of its expansive user numbers, a company or brand can easily reach new and current customers through using the apps. Millions of people are available at just one touch of a button. However, because WhatsApp doesn’t allow third party advertisements anymore, a company has to be a bit more creative in using WhatsApp to market. WhatsApp’s announcement might change things regarding the relationships between companies and its users. In “WhatsApp to give users’ phone numbers to Facebook for targeted ads” by Samuel Gibbs, Gibbs reports, “A WhatsApp spokesperson said: “We want to explore ways for you to communicate with businesses that matter to you too, while still giving you an experience without third-party banner ads and spam.”

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Growth

Tied in with user numbers, WhatsApp continues to grow daily. Since its acquirement in 2014, WhatsApp has been able to expand with further funding and access to information only Facebook had. In February, WhatsApp announced that they had 1 billion users, but just in August, WhatsApp’s userbase was up to 1.7 billion. Therefore, the application is expanding at a rapid rate. To many, it’s a part of the basic social media apps that is needed on a cellular device, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Many mobile users only have those four social media apps on their phones.

In “WhatsApp Has A Billion Users and It Got There Way Quicker Than Gmail Did,” Quartz writer Joon Ian Wong states, “The pace of WhatsApp’s user growth has been phenomenal: It hit the billion mark only seven years after its launch. Gmail, by contrast, has taken 11 years to grow its userbase to the same size. Facebook Messenger (initially Facebook Chat) launched in 2008, meaning it’s taken about eight years to get to its current 800 million active monthly users.” When it comes to WhatsApp’s future growth, there is so much opportunity for expansion.

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The Ins and Outs

WhatsApps works on any sort of device. From Apple, Microsoft, Blackberry, Nokia or Android, each tech interface has a version of the application available for download. A user can also integrate it with their computer, so it can be used mobiley and on a desktop. As mentioned before, WhatsApp runs by using the Internet or a user’s data.

When a user first downloads the application, there is a short setup process, but it is user friendly and simple to complete. A user also has to add their friends or have a phone number to contact someone else. The app runs similar to that of using your text messages or calling, just without the minutes.

After download, sharing images, videos, and voice notes internationally becomes easier. Sharing options are listed for a user to choose, or a simple text will suffice.

Companies would need customers’ numbers or information in order to get in contact with them. The same also goes with a user trying to contact a company.

Click here to see WhatsApp’s official user guide.

 

Integration

While WhatsApp doesn’t integrate with many other social media mediums, a user has the ability to integrate it with their desktop and phone. With this integration, a user can easily switch from phone to computer and back without losing any conversations, photos, or documents. This year, Facebook and WhatsApp have created an integration that allows users to use their Facebook information such as profile picture, friends, and basic information.

Because of the lack on integration, companies must use WhatsApp in an entirely different way than they use other forms of social media such as Twitter and Instagram. On WhatsApp, you cannot schedule posts, but rather it is solely based on communicating with each other person to person. Companies could use WhatsApp to give their customers a human connection.

 

Mobile Friendly

WhatsApp was created for use on mobile devices, therefore, it is incredibly mobile friendly. The application has had many updates and fixes throughout the years to make the app more and more mobile friendly. Also, WhatsApp is available across all mobile devices, not just the Apple Store. It is a free and easy download from any app store.

 

Using This Channel Effectively

Because WhatsApp is different from other social mediums, companies have to be a bit more creative in how they utilize it. According to Marketing Week writer Rachel Gee, BBC and Just Eat are two companies that are examples for using WhatsApp effectively. BBC first started using it in 2014 when it found that it needed to update people rapidly on the expanding Ebola crisis in West Africa. Gee reports that BBC’s mobile editor discussed, “It was question that hadn’t been posed before and showed how the BBC could use social for improving user experience through relevant content, not just by pushing current content.” Just Eat uses WhatsApp for a similar reason as BBC. The company wants to deliver the right content at the right time, but still not seem too intrusive or pushy. Gee states, ”Just Eat plans to use experiential to drive traffic and feels now is the right time for brands to tap into social mobility through Whatsapp and Facebook messenger.”

Click here for more examples of companies using WhatsApp to reach their consumers.

 

Prezi Presenation

If you would like to see more information, click here for a Prezi presentation.

Facebook Carousal Ad

With the beginning of fall and all the cozy things and activities the season entails, it’s the perfect time for Book of the Month to start a new campaign. When people thing of fall, they think of warm, cozy activities that they and their friends can participate in. Reading a great book by the fire with a cup of hot chocolate and a cozy sweater is a perfect imagery for fall coziness. This idea is the center of the campaign I created for BOTM, especially since consumer picks for each book are due at the beginning of each month. Below is a screenshots of the entire carousal ad.

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In the first picture of the ad are the book picks for the month of October. I chose these photos because of their fall imagery with the books. I pulled the three of the images from BOTM’s website because I wanted to keep my imagined ads consistent with the brand’s images, fonts, and messages. By using pictures with leaves and books, a connection can be drawn between fall activities and reading. As seen in the first picture, some of the book covers use warm colors, so a consumer can imagine themselves sitting somewhere nice and warm with a book that would look great in an autumn Instagram. When deciding on what text to write, I wanted to grab a consumer’s attention with descriptive words because if they are scrolling fast through their newsfeed, it isn’t always an easy task to reel in their attention. The chosen text also intimates the idea of fall and reading once again.

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The above screenshot shows the behind-the-scenes of the creation of the carousal ad. If a user clicks on the ad, it will take them to the official BOTM website, where there is plenty of information for a consumer to become acquainted with the company and hopefully, become a subscriber. The maximum number of images you can use in a carousal ad is five, but I think it’s better to use less unless you are a company trying to show off different products such as clothes or accessories.

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While one of the main target audiences is millennials and the generation a bit older than them, I picked the age maximum as 44 because I think that there are other audiences in that age group that would be ideal for this company. Both men and women were chosen, but I believe that women is most likely makes up the majority of the BOTM’s consumers. Also, I picked the entire United States because this campaign is centered around a season rather than something only part of the country experiences. Instead, autumn activities are something that everyone in the United States do during this time of year. Besides targeting the people who might already be interested in the company, I decided to also add people who are interested in the topics such as entertainment and reading. You can see all the topics and subtopics I picked in the above screenshot. Of course, I wanted people who are interested in reading to come across this ad. Whether they read non-fiction, fiction, or newspapers, the audience might be interested in other kinds of books too. The category of entertainment and celebrities was also picked because public figures and celebrities have a hand in picking the books of the month as a part of panel of judges. Facebook users who like celebrities and entertainment might be drawn into the idea of reading books picked out by their favorite celebrities or public figures.

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I actually picked a budget of $1,000 a day, but I think when I went to screenshot, it accidentally changed back to $500. I chose to continue this campaign for the longest time period because it applies to the entire season of fall, rather than just a current event. After this initial promotion period, I would look at how the campaign did and who it attracted. After studying and measuring the campaign metrics, I would alter the campaign if need be for the next round of Facebook ads. However, the season of autumn would continue to be the center of campaign. I think because I picked a target audience of the entire United States that the budget needs to be bigger.

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Above is a screenshot of what the carousal ad would look like mobilely. However, it is very similar to what it would like on a desktop, but it’s easier to scroll through the pictures. In my personal opinion, I am not a fan of carousal ads. I prefer one large image because I think multiple can confuse a user, but as I mentioned before, I think they work well if you are a company trying to sell multiple products. BOTM is selling a subscription service, so I don’t think it needs a carousal ad.

 

Book Subscriptions Website Analysis

I was unaware that there were so many subscription boxes available to consumers on the market, let alone book subscriptions. Regarding push and pull marketing, Book of the Month has a balance of both. In my opinion, BOTM is a bit stronger on the pull side because of its social media presence and general advertisements. I was attracted to it from a friend retweeting some of its content. On the push side, there is a newsletter that a user can sign up for immediately on the website without being a subscriber. Below is an example of a newsletter sent as part of BOTM’s push marketing tactics. screenhunter_09-sep-25-21-38

Overall, BOTM had a fairly high score in a majority of the areas. BOTM had an average of 4.6 on the worksheet, only suffering in areas such as user-friendliness because of its lack of search engines. Besides not having a search engine, the website is easy to navigate and has a clear message to its consumer. Within thirty seconds, a new visitor can easily tell just exactly what Book of the Month is about. Also, the title does give a hit. The color scheme and message goes well together within each page on the website, giving a consistency to the brand.

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One of the lower scoring parts was that it’s unclear if a user has to re-enter information if they decide to come back. Unless you are a member of BOTM, you do have to re-enter information, unless your computer saves your information itself. However, this is the case for most companies. Unless you are a member, the website doesn’t remember your information. In this area, I scored it as a three. Another low scoring area was when it comes to website gating and filling out forms. Because I am not a marketing employee, I do not have access to this information, but I would be shocked if they did not have such information tracked. I know that BOTM uses cookies because its ads have now come across my Instagram and Facebook newsfeeds as sponsored ads.

Using the mobile website is similar to using it as if you were on a computer. Not much is different except for the orientation. All in all, BOTM does a great job of having an easy navigation and consistent brand for its website. Its pull tactics include its use of social media, appearances of ads on social newsfeeds, and general word-of-mouth advertising. As stated above, the pull tactics are those of email marketing campaigns. Not much can be found for offline advertising, except for having the celebrities that pick out books from month to month advertise themselves.

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One of BOTM’s competitor is Cratejoy. Cratejoy is a website where a customer can find any sort of subscription box they are looking for. From food, toys, and books, Cratejoy has a number houses a number of competitors for BOTM. While it’s not directly just a book subscription, it still offers plenty of options to compete with BOTM. I scored Cratejoy at a 4.6 also. One of the main differences on its website was that it does have a search engine, which is helpful to users for navigating their own paths.

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Cratejoy uses similar push and pull marketing techniques to that of BOTM. As push tactics, a plethora of email newsletters are available to users. I believe that because these companies don’t have physical locations a customer can go to, their efforts are focused for mostly online marketing. As pull tactics, Cratejoy uses social media and SEO to be found. It’s easily found googling things such as subscriptions or subscription boxes. Also, if you spend more than two minutes on the website, this box appears in the corner:

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One of the parts that Cratejoy scored the lowest in was content, forms, and contact information. The website is unclear regarding anything along the lines of social responsibility and doesn’t offer any downloadable content. However, for a subscription box, whitepapers are not usually necessary. This website is also very user-friendly when used in mobile. This is one of the most important marketing tactics because a good amount of website traffic is done through cell phones. Therefore, it is vital for companies to have an effective mobile website.

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The website features its social media channels at the bottom, along with links that are easy to navigate within the website. Cratejoy also has a consistent brand throughout its website. Similar fonts, colors, and imagery is used no matter what subscription service a user is looking through.

A direct competitor of BOTM would be the book subscription service called The Book Drop.

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I scored The Book Drop only a little bit lower at a 4.5. I was not as impressed with this website as I was with the others. However, it is easily navigable and easy to understand. Because this is a much smaller company than Cratejoy and BOTM, the website is limited. Its push pull marketing tactics are similar to that of BOTM and Cratejoy. An email newsletter is available, but it doesn’t seem to have many pull tactics. However, this could be because they target locals, and I am not considered in that target audience. While there is a clear message and brand, it isn’t as strong as its competitors’ because of it being a smaller business.

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Certain content is a gated and requires information such as the “Get Started” button. The Book Drop does a good job in offering a sign-up form in many different places within its website. One of its lower scores was a part of the SEO. I found this competitor from a list of great book subscriptions. Another negative is that when clicking on a link such as its Twitter, it doesn’t open in a new tab. The Book Drop’s social media presence isn’t as strong as it could be. The last tweet was posted in June. However, the Facebook is much more active.

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This website might have deserved a lower score, but I am known for super scoring when it comes to grading things. Therefore, it is likely there is some inflation.

Overall, I think these websites are doing well, but there is always room for improvement. In regards to branding, I think that The Book Drop could use more of a stronger brand. Because it is a smaller business, the brand is weaker than that of the larger companies such as BOTM and Cratejoy. I think that both BOTM and Cratejoy do well with branding and IMC. I would suggest that BOTM add a search bar for its user. Therefore, if I wanted to know what a certain celebrity picked months ago, I could easily find it.

 

 

Fictional Target Audience Profiles

Determining who your target audiences are is not an easy task, especially when there are multiple audiences, each with different likes, dislikes, and purchasing histories. Recently, I have started developing fictional target audiences for a client I have chosen for a project in MMC5006. The client I decided to work with is Book of the Month, and this week, I have developed three fictional audience profiles, each directly or indirectly influencing each other’s purchasing process and decisions. Because BOTM is a B2C organization, the target audience have the possibility of influencing each other or their friends. The three profiles are created with the idea of word-of-mouth advertising because of its popularity among millennials.

As an end user profile, we have 26-year-old Associate Event Planner Lydia Lennox. Lydia makes $43,000 a year, plus any income she receives from selling her paintings and artwork of Etsy. She has been out of college for a few years, but is still in touch with all of her college friends. She also has plenty of friends outside of college. Because of social media, it’s easy for Lydia to keep up with and connect with anyone she knows who doesn’t live in a close distance from where she lives. Because of her job as an event planner, Lydia is quick to make decisions and not look back. She also is used to being offered choices because of her job and ultimately, picking out what she thinks is best for the event. However, when it comes to buying things, she strongly relies on what her friends have purchased/liked or reviews online. Lydia is a pop culture die hard and loves to be in the know of all things entertainment. Award season is her favorite time of year. She regularly watches Netflix and Hulu. Lydia likes to be able to keep up with current events and sound smart when talking to her friends about it. She doesn’t like anything that takes her more than 10 minutes to figure out (technology or not). If it takes longer than that, she simply moves on. Because of her love for pop culture and current events, Lydia consumes massive amounts of media daily. She is signed up for multiple email newsletters and has apps on her phone for all of her media needs. It’s likely you’ve seen her on her phone or computer at any given time. She gets the majority of her news from social media or word-of-mouth from her friends. She has a ton of connections and friends on social media, therefore, she is easily exposed to opinions and reviews from anyone she has ever met. Lydia is technologically savvy and can find things on the Internet very easily. Due to event planning, she knows how to use Adobe Creative Cloud like a pro. Lydia has the budget to buy a subscription from BOTM because of her budgeting. Entertainment is high on her priority list, so books picked out by celebrities is something she loves. Often, she looks over the product’s website, decides what she thinks, and then will buy it either for herself or as a gift for a friend.

30-year-old Matt Rossing is this project’s economic buyer. Matt influences many of his friends through his opinions, such as Lydia. Matt is a junior financial analyst, who loves intellectual conversations, especially about words and books. He makes $70,000 a year and also buys and resells things on Ebay for fun. Matt has worked in the finance industry since leaving college. He has a masters degree in finance and is a CPA. Matt often goes out with his friends and co-workers after work and is seen as intellectual, sarcastic, and witty. His sarcasm is especially appreciated by people who love TV shows such as “The Office” or “Parks and Recreation.” He keeps an analytical view, but loves to involve himself in stories such as books or TV. Matt often weighs his decisions and is very thoughtful before committing to something to purchase. Usually, he looks at a product without looking at the price. He thinks of the price he is willing to pay in his head, and then decides if the actual price is a good fit for him. He is most definitely a pros and cons list maker. Matt isn’t worried about financial issues because he has a budget to purchase leisurely items. Matt dislikes laziness or anything he deems as immature. It’s easy to tell what Matt is doing, likes, or dislikes by looking at his social media. He often shares posts or his thoughts via tweets or Facebook posts. Matt regularly consumes media through daily newsletters or major national newspapers. Because of his high usage of social media, he is also exposed to his friends’ opinions. Matt watches the news when he comes home from work and receives notifications on his phone via the Associated Press app. Before buying, Matt researches a product heavily through social media or other online entities. He relies on his friends’ opinions, but is more often than not, the one who is giving the opinion. Because he weighs purchases thoroughly, his friends have a high amount of trust in him. Matt is extremely good at using computers, especially Macs. As stated before, when it comes to purchasing, if the price is right for him, he will do it.

Lastly, Mary Turner makes up the technical buyer profile. Mary is a 34-year-old magazine editor for a major fashion magazine. She makes $89,000 a year and has spent nine years in the publishing industry. Leading her readers in the right direction is of high priority to Mary. She despises when readers strongly dislike any product she has reviewed because their opinions are important to her. Mary has a bachelors in journalism and is exploring the possibility of getting her masters online at a university. Mary doesn’t like the idea of night classes because it would take away time from her kids. Decision making is a long process for her because she wants to do right by her family and readers. It’s not often Mary is making a purchasing decision for just herself. Mary loves products that work well and that will appeal to a majority of people. She understands the difficulty of broad target audiences, but appreciates products that make it work to all ages. She dislikes misleading advice from anyone in her life, but especially because she doesn’t want to be the person giving it. Because of her job as a magazine editor, Mary consumes large amounts of media. She wants to stay on the cutting edge of current events to impress her boss and her readers. She consumes media through online entities, social media, and competitors’ magazines and apps. Her bachelors in journalism has given her the drive to break a story first. Mary is an eloquent writer and a grammar genius. It’s not unusual for her to correct anyone if their speech is wrong. She enjoys going to parks and rainy days. Reading to her kids is also something she loves to do to expose them to new stories and broaden their imaginations. Occasionally, she will write TV or book reviews for fun because she knows practice makes perfect even though they won’t get published. Researching is also something Mary loves to do. Social media and blogs are where she finds what her target readers are currently doing. Trends are important to her because of her job in the fashion world. Mary is an avid online user, but has trouble figuring out new IOS updates for her iphone. When it comes to purchasing, Mary is thinking about what her family needs first before she buys anything for herself. Typically, there is plenty of money in each budget area, but she likes to make sure her kids have everything they need first before she buys a leisurely item for herself. Mary reads reviews online, then tries the product out herself. If she likes it, it’s likely she will also post a review.

 

Kate Spade and Its Multimedia Tactics

When you come into contact with me, it’s no secret that I love Kate Spade. In fact, it’s pretty obvious by my accessories and what bag I’m carrying, but what I love about Kate Spade is not just the design of the bag. It is the brand and image it has built of the sophisticated, colorful woman. Kate Spade’s motto is “live colorfully,” which I find to be a fancier (Kate Spade) way of saying “live every day to the fullest.” The woman Kate Spade centers its brand around can be described by the words in the photo.

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The challenge Kate Spade faces is portraying these words across multimedia channels, both online and offline. When it comes to online, Kate Spade does a great job of using its social media to build upon this woman. Whether it’s Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest, a consumer can gather sophistication and color from the imagery and diction used.

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Tweets are regularly scheduled and sent out every day, just like the examples above. I prefer the tweets over Facebook posts because they are less lengthy, and isn’t as socially acceptable to share posts. Because of all the products Kate Spade offers, it is not only a high fashion company, but also could be considered a lifestyle. This lifestyle is very well portrayed through the Pinterest profile. With boards such as Home Collection, Kids: Skirting the Rules, or #livecolorfully, a consumer understands the brands image and receives the lifestyle message. Keeping the brand’s message the same across the multimedia channels is vital to any campaign or company. In “5 Ways to Maintain Brand Cohesion on Social Media,” Adweek writer Kimberlee Morrison suggests to maintain a consistent tone across networks and create sharable content. Throughout all online mediums, Kate Spade has a cohesive image and has sharable content, as demonstrated in the tweets above. Recently, a blog was launched,allowing Kate Spade lovers to follow the brand on Tumblr. By creating a blog, Kate Spade can reach a new target market through Tumblr. Not all images used are exclusively Kate Spade, but actually point more towards the “Kate Spade lifestyle.”

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Just as important as online marketing is putting forth efforts offline. Communicating to customers offline allows a company to reach other audiences, most likely older generations, and appear to its online audience more often. While Kate Spade is a large, international company, it doesn’t use advertisements such as billboards because of its high fashion industry. Instead, ads such as those are found more in New York City. Therefore, offline communications are found more in fashion magazines, attractive storefronts, and word-of-mouth advertising.

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Ads such as the ones pictured above can be found in fashion magazine. When and where these print ads appear depends on the season and audience of the various high fashion magazines. But, one of the most important offline communication tools are the storefront and displays. By using colorful and sometimes unusual designs, Kate Spade has the ability to attract customers into their store, resulting in a potential purchase. The bright colors used can easily catch a passerbyer’s attention, even from a distance.

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Because I am a millennial, I do spend a decent amount of time online and on my phone. Therefore, I believe I am biased towards Kate Spade online communication. My personal experience with its marketing communications is heavily online influenced. I receive emails almost daily and typically see its online ads through YouTube videos or tweets. This is not to say that Kate Spade doesn’t excel in offline communication, but rather just a comment on my own personal experience.

Introduction

Hello!

Welcome to my blog and my first official post. My name is Emily, and I am currently a senior at the University of Florida. For the next four months, the posts for this blog will be used for MMC 5006 or Introduction to Multimedia Communication, a graduate course at the University of Florida.

At the University of Florida, I am pursuing a B.S. in public relations and a masters certificate in social media. With this, I am also studying psychology as an outside concentration. I love to travel, read, and play volleyball. If you want to know more, visit me about me page here.

As MMC5006 begins, I am looking forward to learning more about multimedia communication and social media. I currently have multiple jobs using social media, so I hope to apply what I learn in this class immediately. I also look forward to collaborating and discussing topics with my classmates. Several of them have graduated college and have careers, which gives them a completely different reality than I have as a student. In past classes, I have learned a great deal from my classmates and look forward to doing the same this semester.

To demonstrate my love of traveling, below is a picture of my friends and I in the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee.

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