Snapchat story for The Pillars

I created this snap story using more of the photos I had from this summer, and I also used a concept we started on The Pillars Instagram during my time as marketing director. All of the promotional photos taken for the hotel over the summer featured the same model, so we called her “Ms.Pillars.” About once a week, we planned to post a new section of Ms.Pillars stay with us. The first week she checked in, and then we went from there.

I used 12 panels to make up the snapchat story, and if implemented in real life I would plan to post them once ever 15 minutes starting around 10 am, that way they are active for most of the day so people can see the whole story together. Ideally, I would have the full quality images on my cell phone, but for the purposes of this exercise I took pictures of my computer screen.

In this story, I chose to showcase the product, which is the hotel and the services it has to offer guests. These include 24/7 room service as well as dining on the dock. Businesses can also look for new employees, run contests, or ask for suggestions through snapchat stories. The Pillars Hotel frequently hosts weddings, so it would be interesting to have a story from start to finish of the whole process. Additionally, the chef could announce new menu items for the restaurant, or the management could announce new amenities to guests. Since the hotel is right down the street from Fort Lauderdale Beach, they could snap fun or interesting events happening on the beach, such as a 5K run or a festival.

When I started the assignment I didn’t think that Snapchat was a good fit for my business, since we mostly target an older demographic, but as I have continued to brainstorm I can see its benefits. There are so many opening for fun and engaging stories, especially focusing on different things to do around the area.I use snapchat daily for personal use, but I just typically post silly things like my cats playing with each other or things my sorority is doing. A majority of my friends are on the platform, so it’s my main form of connection to my peers.

Over all I think that Snapchat is a very large opportunity for brands to connect to millennials. As with Audi’s Superbowl campaign, theres also the chance to garner national attention through the collective story feature. If used properly, Snapchat is definitely an asset to a businesses marketing plan.

My 2 Favorite Blogs

Wholesome Life With Corey

screen-shot-2017-02-19-at-10-20-13-pmWholesome Life with Corey is a semi-professional blog that one of my friends runs. She completely revamped her personal brand last year, and since she has been running her Instagram and Facebook in accordance with her blogs image. The blog has 6 sections, not including her about page: baked goods, healthy eats, health || fitness, real life || adulting, Corey’s closet, and self. Her sections exhibit her “wholesome life;” they provide a balance between healthy living and day to day life. Her blog was moved at the beginning of the year from a WordPress to her own domain. In doing so she has made her brand seem more professional and accessible.

She frequently updates her Facebook and Instagram whenever she posts on her blog so that even if you do not subscribe to her blog, which you are prompted to do immediately upon accessing it, you still know whenever she is posting updates as long as you are active on social media.

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Her Instagram is also linked to her blog, and if you scroll to the bottom of any of her pages you can see her latest posts, as well as a call to action “follow me on instagram.”

screen-shot-2017-02-19-at-10-23-33-pmShe also has a “social” section with a twitter and instagram button at the end of her posts. She also has a “share this” option which allows readers to share the post to Pinterest, Google+, Facebook, Twitter, email or even print.  

screen-shot-2017-02-19-at-10-24-46-pmFollowers can comment on posts, and there is a section of related posts that can direct readers to continue with similar posts that they may find interesting.

screen-shot-2017-02-19-at-10-27-59-pmIf you search for wholesome life with Corey on google, the highest option is her old blog, not her new one. Her old blog is followed by her branded Facebook, then a Facebook update, and then finally the fourth result is her new blog.  If you google just wholesome life, she is not on the first page of results at all. Each of her posts has multiple tags that are relevant to what she is posting and her blog in general.

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In my opinion, the blog is really well composed but the posts can get cluttered at the bottom. Users are prompted to share in two separate sections and there are two different versions of her about me at the bottom of each too. Streamlining her presentation would be easier on the eye and would make the whole blog look more clean.

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There are no advertisements that I have seen while browsing her blog, and in my opinion it would look rather clunky if there were any. Potential advertisers would be fitness brands and other wholesome brands, things that promote healthy living. One example would be Nike, which she is pictured wearing in multiple blog posts.

She posts very often, she is on twitter and also provides all of her other social channels to her followers so they can connect with her, she constantly curates new content, it’s easy to subscribe, and she has been at this for a while, so not only is she successful but she also has all of the mentioned points from this weeks lecture.

Waiting on Martha

screen-shot-2017-02-19-at-10-48-23-pmWaiting on Martha is a professional blog started by the founder and creative director Mandy Kellogg Rye in honor of Martha Stewart in 2012. It started off as a simple blog and it quickly expanded and it now operates also as a virtual store. The blog consists of 6 main menu sections, including living & home, entertaining, food & drink, everyday, style & beauty, and view all. There are also subsections and some that aren’t indexed, including the extensive “about” page.

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The blog connects to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Snapchat. All posts have multiple share options including for each picture on each of the posts and followers are encouraged to comment.

screen-shot-2017-02-19-at-10-49-07-pmThere is a scrolling bar near the bottom of the homepage that shows Waiting on Martha’s “must haves,” cool, trendy products that you are likely to see in the blogs shop.

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In the blogs shop section, they are very consistent with their brand and things that you see in their must have bar. You can scroll through some of the products that are available on the larger shop website.

screen-shot-2017-02-19-at-10-48-43-pmThe blog is sleek and clean, much like Wholesome Life with Corey, and it definitely lends to their trendy, fun brand image. The blog is worldly and interesting, and the bright colors and interesting topics make the reader not only want to read more, but to have what they are displaying.

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If you do want to have what they are displaying, it is easy enough to go to their shop. If you don’t see something that you would expect to be on there, or have a fun idea for the blog, they are open to suggestions from users and have an easy to access submission tool.

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The blog does not have any advertisements but features frequent plugs for the Waiting on Martha shop, as well as the other sections of the brand and the products that they endorse. When you google “waiting on martha,” the shop comes up first but the blog isn’t far behind it. The entire first page of google results is all related to this brand, showing that they have a strong internet presence.

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The blog is incredibly thorough and well put together, and it is definitely successful per all of the points mentioned in the lecture. There really isn’t anything the blog is lacking since it is a professional/semi-professional blog.

Foodspotting Midterm

The web application is viewable here.

What type of channel is your assigned channel?

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Foodspotting was originally developed as an application which also offered a web app and was founded in 2009. The application was available for download for iPhone, Blackberry and Android but is no longer available for download, at least in the United States. Foodspotting started as an “instagram for food;” users took pictures of their meals, tagged it, and shared it with friends via the app or through Facebook, Twitter, or another social stream.

History

Foodspotting originally began as a coffee table book- a concept designed by Alexa Andrzejewski and her husband while they were traveling in Japan and she realized most people take pictures of their food, but she didn’t know where they were putting those pictures. She was also trying a lot of dishes she had never tried before but had no way to identify them. She later teamed up with Ted Grubb who helped her make Foodspotting into an app. Soraya Darabi came in after and was intrigued by the concept so she began advising the team leading up to the launch of the beta application at SXSW 2010. The application was bought by OpenTable in 2013, and sometime since then the application has ceased operations in the iTunes store in the United States. Through research it is unsure what happened to the application, or why it shut down.

Target audience

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The target audience for Foodspotting was anyone who is active on social media and is also interested in food. The application was open to everyone, and it seems as if it’s secondary target audience would be people who are traveling, as the app promotes locating food throughout the world.

User numbers

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When the application was bought by OpenTable it had an estimated 3 million users. According to trafficestimate.com there were an estimated 262,500 visits over the last 30 days, and traffic has decreased by 29.9 percent over the last year. It is also worth noting that I accessed this graph on February 14, and when i went to revisit the website for citation purposes on February 19, the traffic estimate website for this page was shut down.

Growth

When Foodspotting started they raised $3.75 million, but were bought for only $10 million in 2013 when they were acquired by OpenTable, an online restaurant reservation company that was founded in 1998. OpenTable, instead of taking over the application, allowed all employees to stay. They claimed that OpenTable would integrate features of Foodspotting instead of the other way around; for example, offering pictures on menus on the OpenTable website.

Features / What does it do? How does it work?

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The application allowed users to view pictures of food taken nearby, take and post pictures themselves and follow influencers and celebrities as well as see what specific restaurants had to offer. Foodspotting realized people were using the app at all times of the day, so they expanded so that users could follow people, places and dishes. The goal of the app was to allow consumers to see the food that is offered at a restaurant before going in. It allowed a consumer to go to a place because it offers something they like and looks good, not go to a place and try to find something they like on a menu they haven’t seen. Foodspotting went a step beyond a regular restaurant recommendations; it helped users make better culinary decisions and explore a variety of places and dishes.

Professionals could use the app to connect to consumers and get them interested in their products. Businesses were able to create a profile as well as guides, or even run a promotion through the app. One of the ways that Foodspotting recommended utilizing their service for business is through “Spot to Win.” This allowed businesses to enter customers into a photo contest or drawing when they “spot” at that a restaurant or spot a particular dish. The people who participate received an automated, branded response and it would show their followers that they had been entered as well.

Integration with other social channels

Users were able to share their posts to all other social media feeds, like Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare. They were also encouraged to use #foodspotting when posting on other apps.

Mobile friendly

The app was incredibly mobile friendly and mostly relied on its mobile versions. The website offers some of the features but is hard to navigate and is considerably less functional. The apps have been shut down.

What major brands/companies/celebrities/people are using this channel effectively

Foodspotting was used by experts like Mario Batali, Wolfgang Puck, and the Travel Channel. When I checked the Travel Channels last use of the app was four years ago, Puck’s was three years ago, and Batali had never spotted anything, but his last guide was uploaded in 2011. Personally, I had never heard of the application before starting this project and it seems as if it’s popularity faded over time, because when the celebrities and influencers were active they posted frequently.

 

Sources:

Startup Success: How Soraya Darabi Put Foodspotting on the Map. Lauren Drell – http://mashable.com/2011/08/02/soraya-darabi-foodspotting/#iWuJ30SbvqqF

OpenTable By the Numbers: From Launch to $2.6 Billion. Hillary Forbes – http://www.eater.com/2014/6/13/6207641/opentable-by-the-numbers-from-launch-to-2-6-billion

The App Review: Foodspotting. http://www.supermarketguru.com/articles/the-app-review-foodspotting.html

About. https://www.foodspotting.com/about/brands

Foodspotting App Adds Dish Recommendations to the Menu. Christina Bonnington – https://www.wired.com/2012/02/foodspotting-app-rec-updates/

Error. http://www.trafficestimate.com/foodspotting.com

Foodspotting’s app hits 1 million downloads and gets new social features – TNW Apps. Courtney Myers – https://thenextweb.com/apps/2011/08/10/foodspottings-app-hits-1-million-downloads-and-gets-new-social-features/

Foodspotting app review. Matt Warman – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/mobile-app-reviews/9055361/Foodspotting-app-review.html

http://www.bloomberg.com/research/stocks/private/snapshot.asp?privcapId=112066337

The presentation form of this project can be viewed at

http://prezi.com/xao0mvllaj9b/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&rc=ex0share

Carousel Ads

This summer I was employed at The Pillars Hotel, and part of my job was handling the social media side of marketing efforts. In this capacity I made multiple Facebook ads for the hotel, mostly featuring the current special offers. When I started to come up with ideas for the best possible carousel ad, I went immediately to the “Special Offers” tab on The Pillars Hotel website.

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I selected the first offer because I felt that it would have the widest appeal, rather than a strictly “romantic” offer. Because of the work I did over the summer I still have access to the summer photo shoot the hotel did, which perfectly showcases the suites the hotel has to offer.

I captioned the ad with the offer’s details, and provided a “learn more” button so that customers can be redirected to the hotels website where they are greeted with a “Make a Reservation” button. I captioned each picture with relevant information, including the name of the suite that is pictured so that guest will know what to look for when booking. Additionally, one of the pictures includes a nicely dressed woman sitting in the room and interacting with the environment, to add realism to the ad. Additionally, the caption for that picture shows off one of the many services the hotel offers to entice more customers.

In lecture this week we learned that all parts of a carousel ad should be cohesive and tell a story, so all of the pictures have the same lighting, and they move you through the room as if you were really there looking at it. I used multiple tactics suggested by the lecture, including highlighting details of a product, creating a wider experience and promotion through lifestyle imagery.

Between 83 and 87 percent of travel decisions are made by women, which is why I pictured a women and also why I have chosen to target the ad to women in the bigger cities in Florida. The Pillars tends to attract an older consumer base, so I limited the ad to women between the ages of 30-65+, specifically those interested in boutique hotels, travel and relaxation.

The ad is budgeted to run daily for seven days starting the 21st of February, which should be plenty of time and money to reach a large amount of our audience. After that we could assess how much traffic we received from the ad and see if it is worth running again. Also pictured above is the mobile version of the ad, which shows how nicely it converts over. Ideally this would be posted from the company Facebook so it would be from the Pillars and not from my business Facebook.

Overall I truly believe that, given the ads I ran this summer, this would be incredibly effective in driving traffic back to the website and getting reservations made directly through the company rather than a third party.

Website Analysis

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The Pillars Hotel has a beautiful website found here, though I might be biased since I helped to design it. When the owner and I sat down this past summer to discuss the website’s layout and key details, a lot of our inspiration came from competitors website, whether good or bad. The two closest competitors to the company, both physically and in terms of target audience, are the W and the Ritz-Carlton.

 

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The Pillars is known for its elegance and the pretty orange typeface that serves as the logo. The whole website has a simple white background that connects the entire thing together to provide continuity. The updated pictures that scroll across the home page and are under each of the headers of the subsequent pages. The website converts over to mobile beautifully, and it doesn’t impede the use of any of its functions.

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On the website The Pillars offers special deals that incentivizes its users to book directly through the hotel rather than through TripAdvisor or some other similar booking agent. The Facebook and Instagram direct users to the website, and the website has social buttons that link to the respective websites. These buttons are small however, and you have to scroll all the way to the bottom of the page to find them. I would personally recommend moving these up to a more prominent or noticeable position on the page.

 

 

 

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Furthermore, in comparison to the W, our website is far more clean and appealing to the eye. The W is dark and highlighted with neon pink which has an abrasive feeling. The Ritz however is soft and subtle, which is more inviting and makes you want to further explore the page.

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As far as content goes, all websites are pretty evenly ranked. Where one falls short, they all fall short, but in most places they all succeed with flying colors. None of them offer  a search bar for their websites, but each has clear easily distinguishable headers that really removes the need for that kind of feature. They all put the reservation access clearly highlighted on the front page and it continues to be highlighted on all subsequent pages.