MMC 5006

Florida Kids and Family Expo

This blog post is an excerpt of my final project for MMC 5006: Multimedia Communications.


The Florida Kids and Family Expo is a new event that will take place at the Orange County Convention Center this August.  The show is produced by, a comprehensive and free online resource for families in Central Florida, and will become the largest annual family expo in Central Florida.  Florida Kids and Family Expo will take the directory offline and bring it to life as a fun and interactive experience for kids.  This event will showcase the many wonderful local businesses that cater to families and children.  Attendees can also expect animal & reptile shows by GatorLand, bounce houses, rock walls, bumper cars, zip lines and many performances by local choirs, dance troupes and more.  Discounted tickets can be purchased at Walgreens for $5 for children ages 2-17 and $6 for adults.  Children under 2 are free. is a convenient way to research local businesses that serve families with children, ages 0-17, as well as gather information and ideas.  Their mission is to provide news and information on events and activities within their area to help make it easier for parents and children to play, learn and make memories together.

The target audience for the Florida Kids and Family Expo is families with children ages 0-17, parents, single mothers, single fathers, grandparents, godparents, aunts and uncles, and the businesses that serve families with children.

The major strength of this event is the several media partners that are already committed to participate in promoting the expo.  With television and radio partners onboard, the expo will garner excellent exposure to the general public of Central Florida.  The television and radio stations will not only run promotional content on their channels and social media platforms, they will also guarantee the attendance of their on-air personalities as well provide live coverage of the two-day show.  These partnerships will enhance the show’s advertising strategy and will lend credibility to the inaugural expo.

Florida Kids and Family Expo will seize the best results by implementing this IMC strategy.  IMC, integrated marketing communication, is a cross-functional process for creating and nourishing profitable relationships with customers and other stakeholders by strategically controlling or influencing all messages sent to these groups and encouraging data driven purposeful dialogue with them. (T. Duncan (2002) IMC: Using Advertising & Promotion to Build Brands (first edition) New York: McGraw-Hills (from Rhoads lecture).  Marketing messages are so over saturated today, we need to find smarter ways to get our message to the right consumer.  It is stated in our textbook, Brand Media Strategy, “with most media consumed with only the viewer’s partial attention, the impact of advertising decreases.”  This begins to explain why IMC is so valuable.  It allows our messaging to remain impactful by traveling across and adapting to multimedias and multichannels.

What every brand wants out of their marketing efforts is to cut through the noise and to stand out from the crowd.  Using a complete integrated marketing communication plan will keep your message consistent while delivering it across multiple channels.  The Florida Kids and Family Expo, with a little help from MMC 5006, is sure to be a success and prove to be a worthy weekend event for families in Central Florida.

I wish I lived in Central Florida so I could attend this event!

Evaluating Facebook Analytics

Analytics are an extremely important tool in social media marketing.  The data is like a road map.  Social media professionals use analytics to know where to focus their efforts.  You can capitalize on highpoints or direct attention to where you see lulls or gaps in the numbers.  Basically, “analytics give you the data you need to improve your social media engagement, make marketing decisions and tie social media to your bottom line.” (Social Media Examiner) For this week’s assignment, I will be analyzing XYZ Company’s Facebook page data to provide feedback on their strategy and suggestions for improvement.


XYZ Company is a heating and cooling company (HVAC) in Western Massachusetts.  They provide installation, maintenance and repair of residential HVAC units.  In addition to this Facebook page, XYZ Company has a website, Twitter account, Yelp page and Google+ page.  This is a small family business and Facebook is their primary advertising channel although they do some offline marketing as well.




XYZ Company’s Facebook Page currently has 167 likes and they are, on average, creating one to two posts a week.  All of their posts have been boosted to increase the likelihood of their audience seeing their post.  While 58% of their page likes have come from women, they receive the most engagement from men between the ages of 35-54.

Key Findings

The biggest indicator of the XYZ data is their paid posts and ads are working.  During the week of 3/11-3/17, all of their stats had improved or increased.  Their best results are directly correlated with paid reach, paid likes and paid ads.  Any spikes seen in their data are due to the boosting of a post.  XYZ’s numbers would be significantly lower if they relied entirely on organic means.  This is probably a result of Facebook’s new algorithms and businesses need to adjust accordingly if they want their content to reach their audience.

analytics 3

The data also shows us when is the best time for XYZ to post on Facebook.  Under the post tab, we can view when their content receives the most eyeballs.  Saturday through Monday are best days while the peak hours are 8pm and 9pm.  We can go back through the weeks to determine if this is a pattern.  If it is, we can schedule our posts to accommodate those peak days and times. My first suggestion would be to create an editorial calendar and schedule your most important posts during those peaks.

analytics 4


Other Suggestions for Improvement

My main recommendation for XYZ is to post more often.  In an article on social media frequency from, “As a general rule, Socialbakers found that posting once per week on Facebook was so low as to lose connection with your audience.”  I would recommend increasing your sharing to one post a day, which is the average number of posts from top brands in the United States.  Posting on a more regular basis will increase fan engagement!  If your fans are liking, commenting and sharing your posts, they will see your posts more often!

With six more posts to write a week, my next recommendation would be to diversify your content.  XYZ fans don’t want to hear only about thermostats, heat pumps and mini splits.  They want to be engaged, entertained and informed.  Include questions to which they can respond, photos, and introduce humor into your lineup. There should be a nice balance on your page between sharing with your fans and listening to your fans.

analytics 5

Next, speak to your target audience.  If men between the ages of 35 and 54 are your most engaged demographic, then you should start creating content specifically for them.  Perhaps future campaigns or posts could include a series of how to videos, tips for maintaining their HVAC system during winter or summer months, humorous photos or memes appropriate for your target demo, or a free consultation/inspection offer.  Post photos of nightmare hvac situations and start a “We Can Fix It” or a “We Can Handle It” campaign.  Create a hashtag so posts can be shared on Twitter or use popular HVAC hashtags like #hvac, #hvachacks, and #airconditioning.

dwight hvac

Incorporate Other Channels

To further boost results, incorporate other online and offline channels.  Cross promote your other social media channels on your Facebook page.  Share good reviews from Yelp or share retweets from Twitter.  Another recommendation would be to create a Pinterest page.  Pinterest is where everyone goes for do it yourself projects or to get ideas for home improvement.  With a board on Pinterest, you can position yourself as the HVAC expert and provide excellent tips to fans while increasing your following.


hvac pin 3

Be sure that your offline marketing is also driving traffic to social media or your website.  Add “Like Us on Facebook” graphics to direct mail pieces, add social icons to emails, and add follow us buttons to your website.  Be sure to include links to your website in all your social posts and consider installing an appointment scheduler on your website.

Five Steps to Responding to Negative Comments on Social

This is a sample post using hypothetical reviews and responses.  This post is for academic purposes only.

It is of the utmost importance for a company or brand to maintain a positive reputation online.  Negative comments that go unaddressed or unresolved have an undesirable effect on image, customer loyalty and product sales.  Because of this influence, company’s should monitor their profiles daily and reply quickly to comments that merit direct responses.

When a negative comment or review does occur, these steps should be followed to diffuse the situation:

1. Respond in a timely manner

Time is of the essence.  A quick response could be the difference between making a problem worse and eliminating it entirely.  Your response will determine if the consumer will change their mind about your brand.  Be sure to respond on the same channel the comment was originally posted on and never, never ignore a negative post.

2. Apologize & take responsibility

Apologize to the consumer for their experience if it is warranted.  Claim responsibility and own up to what occurred if it was wrong.  Do not argue with the customer or get into too many details.

3. Provide a solution

Explain what your company is doing to fix the situation or provide an alternate solution.  Attempt to turn this negative experience into a positive marketing opportunity, where applicable. Do not offer free or discounted services on a public forum or you will open your brand up to the expectation that every complaint will be resolved in that fashion.

4. Take it out of the public eye

Ask the consumer to contact you privately to resolve the issue.  Private details of the customer should be safeguarded such as account numbers, addresses and other personal information. Be aware anything you discuss offline or in a private message or email could still end up back online if the consumer chooses to share the result.  .

5. Be authentic

Show the consumer you’re listening and you care about their situation.  Do not respond with canned scripts.  Make reference to specific details they shared.

Continue to create positive content for your page.  This will ensure the negative post doesn’t remain at the top of your feed.  Be sure you are also responding to the positive comments as well.  Thank those customers for their support and encourage them to try more of your products.  Help them discover new products offered by your brand.


Here are two sample reviews and responses where these tips are applied:



Dear Luv2TravelwithHubby,

We sincerely apologize that you were disappointed with your stay.  Let me first assure you that your experience was not typical at Hilton Ft. Lauderdale Marina nor was it within the service quality standards we expect of ourselves.  We clearly dropped the ball.  Please private message me to discuss further.  We’d love to invite you back, before your 20 year high school reunion, to experience a proper stay at our resort. We are confident that we can do better and provide you with accommodations that outclass camping on the beach – although the beaches in Ft. Lauderdale are gorgeous.

Melissa FF.

Social Media Manager

Hyatt-example2015 (1)

Dear Travelwith3Kiddos,

Thank you for an outstanding review and for your repeat business. If we have the pleasure to serve you in the future, be sure to request a pool view room and maybe try an 80 minute massage for extended relaxation.  Being family friendly is very important to Hyatt and we welcome any recommendations from our youngest guests.  If you stay with us in the summer months, please check out the Mermaid Academy.  We also offer onsite bike rentals year round.


Catersource Event Solutions Conference and Trade Show 2015



In this week’s post, I will be summarizing the use of social media and integrated marketing communications to promote Catersource Event Solutions Trade Show held in Las Vegas, Nevada, March 8 – 11, 2015.  This was written for academic purposes only and while I live in Las Vegas, I did not attend the expo.

Revenue in the catering industry has doubled in the last 10 years,” as stated on  Additional industry stats state, “The catering industry contributed $45 billion to the economy,” as shown on  Caterers across the country attend and exhibit at Catersource to increase sales and market share, generate leads and to discover and explore new industry trends.

Social media is a key element in maximizing your event marketing.  Catersource Magazine, Conference and Trade Show has profiles on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram.  They used Twitter, Instagram and Facebook as their main social channels to promote the event.

Before the Event

The Catersource team used Twitter and Facebook leading up to the event to boost interest and share information about the conference and trade show.  Posts and tweets included links to download the trade show app, purchase tickets to special events during the show and book lodging in Las Vegas.  Schedules were shared along with bios of award recipients and notes from keynote speakers.  Notably on Twitter, Catersource shared articles related to industry trends to generate interest and also retweeted photos of attendees on their way to the conference to rev up excitement.  These are all good examples of ways to brand your event using social media while providing interactive touch points for your users to learn about the event.  These posts probably succeeded in generating pre-show buzz.


During the Event


Facebook was used during the four day event to post photos, reminders and links to download the app.  My favorite posts during the event were the Good Morning posts which greeted attendees, occasionally recapped event from the prior evening and shared info about breakfast and the morning conference sessions.  These were friendly, personable and had a relaxed tone.  Each day an album of photo recaps was posted on this channel.  This channel was a valuable platform for information about the event as it was happening.

goodmorning tweet


At first look, Twitter was the main platform used during the event.  There were constant updates throughout the entire four day event.  But almost, in my opinion, too many tweets.  Day One – 28 tweets, day two – 26 tweets, day three – 34 tweets and day four – 22 tweets.  I felt it was a little excessive and some followers may find this amount of posting frustrating and overwhelming.  Most of these tweets only garnered single digit retweets or favorites.  So it could be argued that this level of communication wasn’t as effective as planned.

Some great things they used their Twitter channel for included a sponsored post and cross promotion of their other social channels.  A tweet went out on day three promoting an exhibitor’s booth at the trade show.  Mercer Culinary was having a Blow Out Sale at Booth 1549.  This is a prime example of Twitter working during an event to drive traffic to certain locations inside the event.  Not only was this tactic used to increase flow for the Mercer booth, this type of promotion was used to direct attention and traffic to the contests held at the event.

mercer culinary blowout sale

Catersource used social media to tweet updates on the Diced competition taking place, including tweets leading up to the event, thank you to sponsors of the competition and announcements of judges and the winners.  Catersource also used their Twitter channel to share photos they originally posted on Instagram.



The most active channel for engagement was Instagram, which was used to execute 50 posts over the four days and most of those images received double digit double taps.

It should also be noted that Catersource pinned to the conference board on their Pinterest profile seven times and did not use their Google+ account at all.  They appeared to have one preview video on YouTube months before the event and this would be a good opportunity to use this channel in the coming weeks to share recap videos.

Overall, their branding was consistent across all three channels and carried the theme and look of the event.  They used their chosen hashtag, #CSES2015, on all their channels and posts making it easy for attendees to follow the conversation and get information about the show. e Catersource team shared content promoting their exhibitor and sponsors but could have added a spotlight or two about those companies that made their event possible.  Most posts included images and/or links and many included tags of a sponsor, exhibitor, speaker or winner.  They were also sure to incorporate retweets of what their attendees were sharing.


An additional source of integrated marketing communication was the Catersource website.  This is where anything and everything related to the the conference and trade show was housed.  Video recorded conference sessions are being offered on-demand for a fee which is an excellent way to offer conference content to any who could not attend.  I opted in to their emails and newsletter from this site while the show was in session but didn’t receive anything directly related to the event.

What Stood Out

In researching how Catersource promoted their event in the months before arriving in Las Vegas, I discovered Catersource’s 12 Days of Holiday Giving on Instagram.  For 12 business days last December, Catersource offered a daily prize drawing to boost registration for the event. This promotion capitalized on the holiday season while promoting their event and encouraging a call to action.

twelve days

twelve days insta

What Was Missing

After the Event

At the time this post was made, Catersource had yet to do any follow up of the event on their social media channels.  The show ended with one tweet thanking the sponsors and attendees for a great show and see you next year.  This post didn’t make it to their other two channels though.  There wasn’t a single Facebook post on the last day of the show.  That channel was completely silent on day four.  This is not to say they didn’t rock the last day of the show on Twitter and Instagram.  But once the show was over, communication ceased. This is something to be very careful of while promoting an event.  Don’t drop the ball once the event is over even though your entire team may be exhausted.  Have post planned and schedule to capitalize on the momentum from the show to begin promoting next year’s event or recapping the highlights of this one.

thank you

Social Media Calendar Example

Epcot Social Media Schedule

This week we are creating one month of fictional social media posts for a brand – Epcot at Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.  This is hypothetical and is only a class assignment.  This is not a real schedule for Epcot.

Planning a month long schedule takes extensive planning and research.  You must review event calendars, actual calendars, international calendars, performance schedules, construction schedules and more to have a comprehensive understanding of all the content that will go into your social media editorial calendar.  Then cross reference all of this information with your goals, strategy, objectives and tasks for the time period.  Without further ado, here is my editorial calendar for Epcot for the month of April 2015.

Park: Epcot

Month: April 2015

Goals: Promote Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival to keep momentum as we roll into weeks five through nine of the annual event.  Drive traffic to live performances.


Wednesday, April 1:

FB: Don’t fall for any of these April Fool’s Day pranks. Be cautious. #aprilfools

Twitter: Don’t fall for any of these April Fool’s Day pranks. Be cautious. #aprilfools

insert graphic with April Fool’s typesetting


Thursday, April 2:

FB:  Happy Pascua Florida Day!  Florida residents receive 10% off admission to Epcot with your Florida ID.  #pascuafloridaday  #epcotsavings

Twitter: Show your Florida ID and save 10% off admission to Epcot today only!  #pascuafloridaday #epcotsavings

Include graphic for Pascua Florida Day – can we incorporate mouse ears in some way?



Friday, April 3:

FB: Join us for the Garden Rock Concert Series!  This weekend’s musical act is The Orchestra!  Shows at 5:30pm, 6:45pm and 8:00pm Friday, Saturday and Sunday at America Gardens Theatre. #theorchestra #gardenrock

Twitter: The Orchestra is rocking all weekend at Epcot’s IFGF. #theorchestra #gardenrock

The Orchestra - Promo b-w photo portrait resized


Saturday, April 4:

FB: Happy Passover to all our friends around the world.

Twitter: Happy Passover to all our friends around the world.

create passover graphic with world showcase images


Sunday, April 5:

Happy Easter!  It’s not too late to make dinner reservations at one of our many international restaurants with table service and special Easter dinner menus.  #easterdinner #epcotdining

Twitter: Plans for Easter dinner?  Think Epcot Dining. #easterdinner #epcotdining

Photo content – disney characters enjoying an easter dinner


Monday, April 6:

FB: Anna and Elsa topiaries are a spectacular favorite at Epcot’s International Flower and Garden Festival.  Enjoy a behind the scenes look of the royal sisters with horticulture manager, Eric Darden. #frozen #freshepcot

Instagram: Behind the scenes of Anna and Elsa topiaries.  #freshepcot #frozen


Tuesday, April 7:

FB: Timber! Don’t miss axe-throwing Canadian Lumberjacks performing daily on Mill Stage in the World Showcase.  Today’s remaining showtimes are 11:45am, 1:15pm, 2:15pm, 3:45pm, 4:45pm and 6pm. #lumberjacks #epcotshows

Twitter: Timber! Don’t miss axe-throwing Canadian Lumberjacks performing six times daily! #lumberjacks #epcotshows



Wednesday, April 8:

FB: Light up the night. IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth Firework Spectacular.  Nightly at 9pm. #epcotfireworks

Instagram: Light up the night.  IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth Firework Spectacular.  9pm nightly.  #epcotfireworks



Thursday, April 9:

FB: Butterflies on the Go presented by Go Go SqueeZ details the epic journey of the Monarch butterly.  #futureworld #butterfliesonthego #freshepcot

Instagram: Butterflies on the Go presented by Go Go Squeeze.  #futureworld #butterfliesonthego #freshepcot



Friday, April 10:  

FB: Join us for the Garden Rock Concert Series!  This weekend’s musical act is The Village People!  Shows at 5:30pm, 6:45pm and 8:00pm Friday, Saturday and Sunday at America Gardens Theatre. #villagepeople  #gardenrock  #ymca

Instagram:  The Village People are rocking all weekend at Epcot’s IFGF. #villagepeople #ymca  #gardenrock


Saturday, April 11:

FB: Epcot Poll: What is your favorite Epcot attraction? #epcot

Twitter: Epcot Poll: What is your favorite Epcot Attraction?  #epcot

post graphic with question in typeface


Sunday, April 12:  

FB: Today is International Day of Human Space Flight!  Celebrate with authentic NASA-style training and out-of-this-world space launch on our shuttle simulator at Mission: SPACE. #beanastronaut  #shuttlelaunch

Twitter: Celebrate International Day of Human Space Flight on our shuttle simulator at Mission: SPACE. #beanastronaut #shuttlelaunch



Monday, April 13:  

FB and Twitter: Visiting Epcot soon?  Be sure to check out these 10 tips and tricks to Epcot before you arrive.  #epcothacks

create blog article to link


Tuesday, April 14:

FB: Matsuriza showcases the time-honored form of drumming, Taiko.  See performance schedule for this entertaining percussive troupe here:


Twitter: Let the beat drop.  Check out this Taiko troupe perform in Matsuriza! #epcotshows


Wednesday, April 15:

FB: Don’t Stress Tax Day!  Unwind and enjoy fresh tastings at one of the many outdoor kitchens at the International Flower and Garden Festival.  #freshepcot #epcotdining

Twitter: Unwind and enjoy fresh tastings at one of the many outdoor kitchens at  Epcot’s IFGF. #freshepcot #epcotdining

outdoor kitchen


Thursday, April 16:

FB: What to pack when you vacation to Epcot?  Check out pinterest for more information than you’ll ever need! #epcot #packrat

Twitter: Check out these pinterest posts for your Disney vaca packing lists. #epcot #packrat



Friday, April 17:  

FB:  Please welcome John Secada to the Garden Rock Concert Series stage!  Performances at the America Garden Theatre Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 5:30pm, 6:45pm and 8pm.  #gardenrock #justanotherday

Twitter:  Please welcome John Secada to the Garden Rock Concert Series Stage. #gardenrock #justanotherday



Saturday, April 18

FB: B’net Al Houwariyate is a musical journey with exhilarating sounds, rural chants, urban beats and spirited rhythms that inspired Spanish Flamenco. Look at today’s performance schedule at World Showcase. #epcotshows

Twitter: Enjoy the exhilarating sounds of B’net Al Houwariyate. #epcotshows




Sunday, April 19:

FB and Instagram: Goofy About Spring?  We are!  Visit our beautiful topiary displays of your favorite Disney characters before their gone! #freshepcot #goofy



Monday, April 20:

FB: Meet your favorite Disney princesses around the world at Epcot.  Find your princess’ location and schedule here:

#disneyprincess #epcot

Twitter: Meet your favorite Disney princess around the world at Epcot. #disneyprincess #epcot



Tuesday, April 21:

FB: Make a reservation to swim with the Disney Dolphins!  This exclusive and intimate encounter is limited to eight guests per day.  Call 407-WDW-TOUR. #epcot

Twitter: Make a reservation to swim with the Disney Dolphins!  Call 407-WDW-TOUR. #epcot




Wednesday, April 22:

FB: Celebrate Earth Day and hear about conservation efforts to protect coral reef, sea turtles and more at The Seas with Nemo and Friends. #earthday #nemo #freshepcot

Twitter: Happy Earth Day!  Visit The Seas Nemo and Friends to hear about conservation efforts. #earthday #nemo #freshepcot



Thursday, April 23:

FB: The Paul McKenna Band is strumming contemporary tunes from Glasgow in the United Kingdom Pavilion.  Seven showtimes today!  #epcotshows #paulmckennaband

Twitter: Seven showtimes today for the scottish persuasion Paul McKenna Band. #epcotshows #paulmckennaband



Friday, April 24:

FB: Guess who is playing the Garden Rock Concert Series this weekend?  The Guess Who rocks the stage at America Garden Theatre, Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings at 5:30pm, 6:45pm and 8pm.  #gardenrock #guesswho

Twitter: Guess who is playing Epcot’s IFGF? #gardenrock #guesswho



Saturday, April 25:

FB: Baby, You’re a Firework. IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth Firework Spectacular.  Nightly at 9pm. #epcotfireworks

Instagram: Baby, You’re a Firework. IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth Firework Spectacular.  9pm nightly.  #epcotfireworks



Sunday, April 26:

FB: Don’t miss nationally known author, landscape designer and professional horticulturist, Jessi Bloom today at noon and 3:00pm on the Fresh Epcot Stage. #freshepcot

Twitter: Don’t miss professional horticulturist, Jessi Bloom today at noon and 3:00pm on the Fresh Epcot Stage. #freshepcot



Monday, April 27:

FB and Twitter: Be sure to pick up a Garden Passport and get it stamped at all your stops along the way! #freshepcot

create graphic with garden passport


Tuesday, April 28:

FB: Oh no!  Test Track will be closed today for scheduled maintenance. Please enjoy one of our other thrill rides at Epcot. #epcot

Twitter: Oh no! Test Track will be closed today. #epcot

text only post


Wednesday, April 29:

FB: Epcot Poll: What’s your favorite part of the International Flower & Garden Festival? #freshepcot

Twitter: Epcot Poll: What’s your favorite part of the International Flower & Garden Festival? #freshepcot

create graphic with question


Thursday, April 30:

FB: Celebrate International Jazz Day at World Showcase.  Enjoy food and music from 11 different countries. #epcot #jazzhands

Twitter: Celebrate International Jazz Day at World Showcase.  #epcot #jazzhands



Hello Ello

Ello is often called the anti-Facebook social networking site.  It’s even been described as “ad-free and porn-friendly” in this article on by Eileen Brown.  But what is Ello, really?  Ello is a refreshing take on social media, even with its short history and its being a  venture capital funded corporation (for now).

Ello logo

Ello logo

Ello is an invitation-only social network that was born almost a year ago in 2014.  It was created by a small group of artists and programmers as a private social network to share their work, but has grown due to their desirable policies on anonymity and privacy.  Ello works just like many of the big social media networks, with a news feed (called a stream), a status bar (called the omnibar), and the categorizing of friends and subscribers (friends and noise in ello-land).  Ello is still in its beta stage so it can be glitchy at times and many features planned for the site are not yet available.  Ello is a free service, but as special features are added, Ello will operate under a freemium model, meaning you pay a small amount for add-ons and upgrades, if you choose to use them.  Most importantly, Ello is completely ad free and, according to their popular manifesto, will always be free.

The Ello Manifesto

The easiest way to join Ello is knowing someone who is already a member.  They can send you an invitation and you’re in.  But if you don’t know anyone, like I didn’t,  you need to request an invitation from Ello.

The first thing you are presented with after entering your email address is Ello’s manifesto – their proclamation to what they believe in as a company .  It basically says that other social networks are all about advertising and collecting data on its users and you are merely a product.  Ello claims to be different, operating on simplistic philosophies and celebrating beauty and life.  A funny observation stated in this article on, “If you disagree (to their manifesto), it cleverly sends you right back to Facebook, where you belong.”  Point, Ello.  But when you click the agree button, you receive a message saying they will be in touch.  Being inundated with invite requests, up to 38,000 per hour back in September 2014, and being in a closed beta stage, Ello is only handing out invites in very small batches.  Ello started with only 90 profiles and their systems and interfaces haven’t grown as fast as their popularity.  So they are taking it slow so they don’t get overrun.  However, good samaritans are posting unused invite codes online.  You can also look for an invite using Twitter hashtags #elloinvitecode or #elloinvitation.  On the flip side, there are others who are selling invite codes on ebay.  Do not buy these!  They’ll probably work, but it certainly goes against everything Ello stands for.

View manifesto on

View manifesto on

hashtags for ello invites #elloinvitecode #elloinvitation

hashtags for ello invites
#elloinvitecode #elloinvitation

Ello – a Public Benefit Corporation

So what’s the big deal?  All our favorite social networking sites started out ad-free, but eventually you need to offer advertising to make money, right?  Not Ello.  “To assure that Ello always remains ad-free, Ello converted to a Public Benefit Corporation (PBC). A Benefit Corporation is a new kind of for-profit company in the USA that exists to produce a benefit for society as a whole — not just to make money for its investors,” as stated in the  WTF section of the Ello website. This means that Ello will never turn a profit for selling ads or user data and neither will anyone who purchases Ello in the future. Their goal isn’t to become as big as Facebook.  Their goal is just to do it better, for the people.

Ello Anonymous

Ello does use Google Analytics for data to improve their site, but everything is of general nature and anonymized so it can never been traced back to the users, by Ello, Google or anyone else.  If you are super serious about being completely anonymous, you are able to opt out of being a part of this data as well.  Ello received a major boost in invitation requests during the Facebook Real Name Policy controversy, where many members of the LGBT community left Facebook after being forced to use their real names and not their assumed names or stage names.  On Ello, you don’t have to use your real name.  Taken from their website, Ello says, “We believe that you should be able to be anyone you want on Ello, and you are not required to use your real name when signing up. Quite honestly, we don’t care who you are because we don’t serve ads and don’t sell user data.”

There are few celebrities on Ello.  There are profiles for Miley Cyrus, Wil Wheaton, Stephen Fry and even a profile for the Death Star, but there’s no way to verify if they’re real.  Which is too bad because I could really dig seeing some of the work coming out of the Death Star these days.

Companies Welcome!

Ello is referred to as the anti-Facebook site but Ello addresses that nickname saying they aren’t anti-anything at all.  They don’t even consider Facebook a social media network.  They call Facebook an advertising platform.  In that spirit, Ello said no ads, but companies are welcome.  Even founder Paul Budnitz has a separate profile for his bicycle shop, @budnitzbicycles.  No ads means Ello will never boost paid posts or put advertisements into your stream.  It is up to the member to follow a company profile or not.  If the user wants a completely organic experience, they don’t have to follow any brands or companies that might promote a product or service.   The Wall Street Journal, Netflix, Sonos, just to name a few, are also on Ello.  But is Ello business friendly?  Well, it is if you buy into their culture.  Can you appreciate the irony in this Ello user post?


Netflix just joined Ello is now asking people to like them on Facebook.  #confused #ohrighhashtagsdontwork

It is unclear if the Netflix page referenced was authentic.  Ello isn’t about cross-promoting strategies and integrating with other platforms is sort of the opposite of what they started out to do.  Ello isn’t even mobile friendly yet.  But it will be.  Just hang in there.

The first thing a company should determine when considering if they should create an Ello profile is are their customers on Ello?  If your target market is on Ello, then you probably should be too.  But as discussed in this article on, “if your potential customers aren’t the sorts of early adopters who have already joined Ello themselves, you might be wasting time and energy promoting your brand to people who aren’t interested — or, worse, promoting your brand to people don’t welcome a business in their social space.”  I think this is a great point and should be taken to heart.  Paul Armstrong said in this article on, “Tread carefully and have a reason for being there – reposting brandfill won’t fly with this crowd.”  Is your target market the trend setting, creative type?  If not, skip Ello for now.

If you do decided to join the Ello experience, remember to have fun with it.  Since Ello is so new, there are no best practices to follow.  You will need to experiment to determine what works for your company.  “Brands will need to focus primarily on creating valuable content and engagement with their ‘fans’ rather than treating Ello like another advertising channel,” said Brian Marr in this article on

Ello will definitely supply your brand a little sprinkle of cool factor.  But Jack Smith said it best on, “It’s when our parents show up that we really have to be worried.”

Check out my Prezi on this topic:  Melissa’s Ello Prezi

Big Brands Social Media and IMC

Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC), according to Wiki, “is the application of consistent brand messaging across both traditional and non-traditional marketing channels and using different promotional methods to reinforce each other.”  IMC is what confirms the same idea is being distributed through television, outdoor, radio, email, social media and any other mediums being used by a brand.  If all these channels are not in sync, it could result in the consumer receiving contradicting and confusing messages.

In this post, I will examine the social channels of three popular brands and evaluate their IMC.  I chose three brands from several different “best of social media” lists on in 2014.



Chanel is the pinnacle of high fashion.  Known for the little black dress and the perfume, Chanel No. 5, designer Coco Chanel catered to women’s fashion and her styles screamed all that was elegant.  Today, Chanel is a billion dollar brand headquartered in Paris.  One of their mottos, seen on several of their sites, quoted by founder, Gabriella Chanel, is “Chanel is above all a style. Fashion passes, style remains.”

chanel twitter

Chanel has pages on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and YouTube and its clear they use an IMC approach.  Their website has buttons to all five of their social media outlets.  While Chanel uses each channel differently, they remain consistent in their general messaging.  You can see the brand imagery across each of the pages in profile and cover photos meaning as soon as you open the page, you know it is Chanel’s.

chanel fb

As expected, their Instagram page, looks quite different than their other social media profiles but is probably their primary page.  Chanel’s cover photo is an updating collage that flips through several of their recently posted images.  Instagram is very popular with the fashion industry.  In this article from it was said that “Instagram has become the modern day Polaroid” in fashion and it is being used by booking agents, bloggers, designers, artists and more to post photos from fashion shows, sneak peeks of new lines, shoes, accessories and more.

chanel insta

I’m not convinced that Chanel is posting often enough on their social media channels.  There are gaps as long as ten days to two weeks between posts on several channels.  These gaps could cause people to follow other fashion designers or unfollow entirely.  And while they use lots of hashtags on Instagram, they seem to be lacking or very light on Twitter.  They don’t drive users to their other social media pages and only link back to their website from Facebook and Twitter.

Overall, I think there is room for improvement in Chanel’s social media realm.  I like that they are using their channels to promote new lines, like Bleu de Chanel, and posting videos from recent shows, but I don’t see the personal side of Chanel anywhere.



Starbucks is the largest coffee company in the world, and is based in Seattle, Washington.  The things they are doing on social media are unrivaled and any company could learn a lot by studying their playbook.  Starbucks is on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube.

Of course, Starbucks is running an integrated marketing communications plan and their content is up-to-date.  You can sign up on their social pages to receive email updates.  However, they only list some of their social pages on their website and not all.  I can’t figure out why they wouldn’t have all of them showing!  It doesn’t make any sense.  Moving on.

Their consistency is one of the things they do best.  You can see in the images below that their brand is carried through all of their sites and often the same recognizable images.  I am writing this post in Trinidad and have not yet seen a Starbucks.  Looking at these pages is like looking at pictures of home and I cannot wait to get back and order my favorite Venti Skinny Vanilla Latte.

starbucks twitter


starbucks facebook

Another area that Starbucks is very commanding in is the use of hashtags and creating real time events.  They do an amazing job of being social off of their social pages. Two that I noticed recently are #starbucksdate and #meetmeatstarbucks.

Meet Me at Starbucks is a theme used to “inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup, one neighborhood at a time,” as written on Starbuck’s Instagram page.  The link takes you to their YouTube page which hosts several beautiful videos showing how Starbucks is a part of bringing people together.

starbucks instagram

Starbucks then partnered up with  With many singles adding coffee and conversation as an interest to their personal profiles on Match, online daters can now use a #meetmeatstarbucks feature to set up their first dates.

#Starbucksdate was promoted around Valentine’s Day in conjunction with asking “who are you going to Starbucks with?”  On February 13 people around the world were invited to be a part of the World’s Largest Starbucks Date.


Nike Women

Nike is at the top of athletic apparel.  They have several divisions, all so big they need their own marketing strategies.  For these reasons, we will focus on Nike Women.  Nike Women is present on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and even Spotify.

nike website

Nike definitely uses and IMC approach, sending a consistent message of strength and beauty across their many channels.  They post on all the channels every couple of days and link to their website where you can make a purchase.  The symbolic Nike swoosh is noticeable on all channels and it is clear which brand is being promoted.

I really enjoy following Nike Women because they are not just about shoes and apparel.  They absolutely do advertise their newest product lines, but they are also focused on providing motivation to women to get healthy and exercise.  They have links to exercise videos, inspirational quotes and photos and now ever playlists to accompany your workout.  Check out their Pinterest boards for complete look.

nike twitter

Nike Women does an excellent job of driving users to other social channels.  This allows the consumer to get a full 360 degree view of what Nike Women is about.  Nike Women links Twitter followers to Spotify to download playlists.  They link Facebook friends to their website to buy their latest running shoes.  And they link Pinterest pinners to workout videos by athletes on YouTube.  Incredible example of integrating a marketing strategy!

And while Nike Women is definitely using hashtags, they seem to be a little scarce.  I have seen #nikeplus, #ootd #flyknit and #justdoit.  But not many more.  This would be a great area for Nike Women to get creative and have some fun.  Yet overall, they are doing a fantastic job sending a solid message across their many social media channels.

Brava to all three of these brands and their social media endeavors.



Will Work For…

This week I need to hard sell the most personal brand of all – my own.  How does one humbly and authentically submerge another in their own pool of self-promotion?  My mechanism is usually humor.  Bringing a smile to someone’s face isn’t only about sharing joy.  In my case, it is how I introduce people to my personality.

If I could land any job, anywhere, I would stay right here in the incredible city where I took my first breath, Las Vegas.  There’s a little company called Zappos that has offices downtown and I would punch a baby in the face to be a part of such a charismatic team of individuals.  I might even send Tony Hsieh an email like this one:


Dear Mr. Hsieh,

On a scale of 1-10 how weird am I?  I can successfully achieve any number on the scale depending on a variety of factors.  This playbuzz quiz, a very reliable source, says I’m insane.  Really, I don’t think I’m too weird.  Kind of normal.  Slightly boring at times.  But who knows what people see when they observe me in my natural habitat.   I have been a marketing ninja since 2003 and I am currently honing my skills as a social media samurai in the hottest masters program in the country at the University of Florida.

Tony, I want to be a part of your marketing team.  Let’s get the obvious reasons out of the way; its one of the coolest work environments in the country.  Office space to rival even the hippest Silicon Valley based companies but an unrivaled corporate culture and a true connection to the community?  The optimal question is why wouldn’t I want to join the Zappos kingdom.  I know Zappos is a place where I could unlock my imagination and achieve enlightened development.

Reasons to Hire Me:

  • I don’t approach social media like this

  • I do approach social media like this


  • I am fluent in Hashtag, plus its so entertaining to see people’s reactions to this language


Things I have done:

  • shut up and dance
  • created small humans
  • eaten a can of cake frosting

Things I will do:

  • walk on the moon
  • be the keynote speaker at a conference
  • take more naps

You can also check out my pinterest board to learn a little more about my personal brand.

Please be sure to use the secret code question, “Do you want to grab a slurpee?” when calling, emailing or texting so we know neither of us are robots.

Looking forward to learning more from you,


These Three Blogs

In Your Words: Week 5

The blog or weblog is a site published online which to post content and create a community around a determined topic or discussion.  With the creation of sites like Blogger, Tumblr, and WordPress, anyone can be a published author or blogger.  Even me.

For this week’s assignment, I will analyze some of my favorite blogs.  Let’s take a closer look at the three awesome blogs I selected:


This professional group blog gives financial and career advice for women through posting original articles and links to various other sites.  I classified it as professional since they post at least daily and they have a staff dedicated to  I also see this site as a group blog because there are many writers and authors contributing to the content published here.

dw reflects its brand in its simple, clean design with soft muted colors. It looks and feels feminine; clearly drafted for its target reader.  But what makes this site stand apart from countless others is that its focused on women and how money affects their personal and professional lives.  Its for every woman.  A candid post from January 30 by blogger Alison Hatfield, Why I Never Wanted Kids, was very popular.  But there are plenty of articles about raising a family, too.


So how do people find DailyWorth?  I tried googling what I would perceive as DailyWorth’s keywords to determine how successful their SEO rankings were.  “Money advice” yielded page four results.  “Financial advice” didn’t even pull their website in the first five pages.  But a more specific search, “financial advice women” provided top placement, right under and Suze Orman.  I estimate that most new readers are coming to the site through social shares.  I originally found it on another blogger’s list of great blogs.

Rather than filling their homepage with banner advertisements, DailyWorth has interface members.  These members serve as a preferred list of providers and advisors vetted by DailyWorth.  What’s more though is that these are professional women with their photo and contact links, not just faceless advertisers.  They also cannot use their guest articles as a way to shamelessly promote their own product.  They are a part of the community and support the purpose of DailyWorth.  There are spots for banner ads on the homepage, which are currently running DailyWorth ads.  Ideal companies that would be great potential advertisers on this site could include job search sites like Indeed or Careerbuilder as well as online financial institutions promoting higher interest savings and checking accounts, like Ally Bank.

Overall, I would say DailyWorth is a very successful blog.  It posts daily, it is integrated on twitter and other social sites, it has original and relevant content, it is easy to subscribe to their feed and to share their posts and it has the longevity and staff needed to continue its success. gets two thumbs up from me.



This is an inspirational blog discussing how to live a meaningful life, how to get “unstuck” and how to live boldly.  I would call this blog semi-professional, because the posts are a little less frequent.  Possibly weekly but its tough to tell without dates on the posts.  There is one single author publishing content, Alexander Heyne.

There are several things that make this blog unique but I think the one that stands out most is Alexander himself.  His story about leaving the professional rat race and moving to China for a year is inspirational and something I’m sure many of us wish we were able to experience ourselves.  He learned how to truly be happy and how to deliberately create a meaningful life and he’s sharing what he’s learned through MilkthePigeon.  Alex – what the hell does it mean to MilkthePigeon, anyway?  Perhaps its a metaphor for trying to get things out of life that aren’t there or that you’re looking for in the wrong place.


The brand of MilkthePigeon isn’t projected through the site for me.  The site doesn’t feel bold or capture my attention with its design.  If the target audience is lost 20-somethings, I would expect something louder, with bright colors, something fresher and hip. As for traffic, when I searched some keywords on Google, I did not find MilkthePigeon in the results.  It wasn’t until I began searching very specific phrases like “lost 20 something” (which I’m not) and “what should I do with my life” (close to the title of Alex’s free ebook) did I get first page results.  Again, I think social media and other blogs drive traffic to this site.  There are currently no advertisers on this site, but perhaps it would be a decent spot for a wellness center or professional life coaches to promote their services.


MilkthePigeon tag cloud

This blog appears to be semi-successful as it is integrated on Twitter and other social sites and has fantastic original content.  However, if Alex was able to post daily, I think he would be able to engage a larger following.  He seems to be in demand and has written many articles for other sites.  One thing I noticed on MilkthePigeon that could use attention is the subscribe process.  While this is a great way to engage readers and build a list, the subscribe link in the top corner doesn’t work.  It takes you to a page with nothing but HTML code.  I did sign up for the free ebook and therefore began a subscription that way.  I thought I was getting the ebook “What the Hell Should I Do With My Life,” but I received “Killing Your Old Life and Living the Dream,” the site’s manifesto.  Since I wasn’t looking for something specific, I didn’t mind.  I haven’t read it yet, but from the comments, it sounds to be filled with as much great info as Alex’s posts. Check it out.



This last site is a beautiful morphing of a recreational food blog and a news blog.  Food news?  Exactly.  Not just food news, but food news done right – with high entertainment value and plenty of sarcasm and humor.


This blog is noisy, loud, bursting with in your face headlines and filled to the brim with videos for your viewing pleasure.  The writers don’t find cursing offensive, in fact, they consider curse words to be a valuable part of the English language.  They write conversationally and their readers enjoy and appreciate that.  I did.


Mac ‘n Cheese Donut with Cheeto Crust

FoodBeast does everything a successful blog should do.  They post interesting and original content daily, they link to social sites (31K Twitter followers and 193K Facebook likes) and make it easy for you to share their awesome stories.


Their dedicated staff executes their strategy and ensures their longevity and they have great SEO on Google (first page when searching for food news).  They have targeted advertisers too.  I’ve seen ads from Cox cable and ads for small cosmetics boutiques, which makes sense since I was searching for WiFi info and eyelash extensions for my upcoming vacation.

The point: if you love food and you like to be entertained, you need to be reading Foodbeast.