Social Loyalty Programs: Taco Johns Restaurant

June 23, 2011 § Leave a comment

In today’s food and beverage industry, building a social presence is a significant way to connect with your consumer base after they step out the doors. Yet, it’s also easy to get lost in the social hoopla. All of your competitors have a Facebook and Twitter, vying for Likes and Followers just like you. So how do you break the plain? How do you connect with your customers in a way that not only gives you another “like” or “follower,” but engages them and brings them back through the door?

We’ve found great examples of how to take advantage of social media and connect with consumers who are not only interested, but what to take part with your conversation.  In a running weekly series, we will showcase our favorite examples of how restaurants utilize social media and not only start conversation, but take part in it as well.

Our first example is Taco Johns. Taco Johns currently has over 76,000 Likes on Facebook and 4,500 Followers on Twitter. So how did they do this?

Well, what they did was create a micro social network of people who genuinely love Taco Johns for their food and their experience. They created a social loyalty program. They developed contests, gave their customers a voice, and had incentives for their most valued customers to share on their Facebook page. And then they acknowledged them.

They refer to their customers as “maniacs.” They created an ongoing point-incentive contest called “Minute Mission,” in which they reward points to fans for completing missions through their social platforms. Missions include posting pictures with your favorite Taco Johns menu item, questions of the day, and to show your friends the “wonderfulness that is Taco John’s and take a picture of their reaction for 20 points.”

Direct Message Lab allows for the creation and integration of social loyalty programs and incentivized sharing programs into REACH v4. These social loyalty programs are a key success factor for restaurants in building their social presence. To find out more information, check us out on Facebook, or Follow us on Twitter @dmlinfo.

Direct Message Lab provides a central platform , REACH v4,  for brands to effectively build, manage, and analyze their social, mobile and app-based marketing. For more information, check out www.directmessagelab.com, and follow us on Twitter, @dmlinfo.

Sports Going Social — Detroit Red Wings

June 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

Social media allows for transparency between fans and sports teams, as well as lets them see into an athlete’s personality, more so than just by watching a game. Twitter has revolutionized the way fans follow their favorite teams, as sporting organizations across the big five leagues – NFL, NBA, NHL, NCAA and MLB – are deploying social strategies to create a fan base both on and offline. Fans can now be in touch with their favorite players and teams and receive real-time updates about them 365 days a year.

We scoured many professional sports teams on the social scene, and we will post on our favorites throughout the leagues. This week’s focus is the Detroit Red Wings.

The stats don’t lie. The Red Wings are one of the most popular and historic teams in any sport, and their social stats show. They have 565,000+ Likes on Facebook and over 65,000 Followers on Twitter and are constantly updating and engaging with their fans, asking them to join the conversation.

Each day, they have a new social media “Fan of the Day,” in which fans e-mail a photo of them in a Red Wings jersey and explain why they deserve to be the social media fan of the day. This provokes daily engagement by having fans explain why they are the best Red Wings fan out there.

They are currently promoting a “Red Wings look-a-like” contest in which they ask you to send a photo of somebody you know that looks like a Red Wings player to redwingssocialmedia@gmail.com for a chance to be featured on their Facebook.

On Twitter, they do a lot of back-linking to their website and YouTube Channel. Interestingly, if a fan @’s them a video or picture that they like, they reply to that fan asking for their permission to make it a feature on their Facebook page. This constant interaction and acknowledgment from the Red Wings to their fans, showing them that they exist and are actually contributing to the Red Wings social presence goes a long way. Also, to keep people’s interest perked in the off-season, they raise awareness of events such as the “annual equipment sale,” and various autograph signings.

While The Redwings may be one of the most noticeable brands in sports, they truly go above and beyond when it comes to social media and seem to enjoy the one-to-one relationship they have with their fans, both at Joe Lewis Arena and in their social arena.

Click here to download Direct Message Lab’s Whitepaper on Social Media in Sports Marketing. Also, be sure to check us out on Facebook, and follow us @dmlinfo.

Direct Message Lab provides a central platform , REACH v4,  for brands to effectively build, manage, and analyze their social, mobile and app-based marketing. For more information, check out www.directmessagelab.com, and follow us on Twitter, @dmlinfo.

Facebook to Add “Happening Now” Feature

June 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

Facebook announced last week that it has began testing a Happening Now sidebar on their news feed that will give its users real-time information on what their friends are liking, sharing and commenting.

At first glance. . .  and second and third glance, it appears as if Facebook is taking a direct page out of the Twitter book. Although Facebook denied reports that it had lost six million users in May, it has to be worried that its social counterpart is doing something they’re not and could be chipping away at their social share.

Facebook ‘s News Feed will now include: Top News, Most Recent and Happening Now.

Add the Games, Apps, Questions, Contests, a supply of Requests, this, that and the other, and, uhh, Houston, we have a  problem. While the Happening Now feed will allure those not familiar with Twitter’s ease and real-time parade, it will be another burden to those who just want to feed on the content.

It will flow the main content, but it won’t be the main flow of content.

As Facebook just aquired software design company, Sofa,  it will be interesting to see if a redesign is in store to put more feature on this new feed.

It’s also virtually impossible to tell from the screenshot where Facebook would incorporate all of its ads that it relies so heavily on? Hmm.

Direct Message Lab provides a central platform , REACH v4,  for brands to effectively build, manage, and analyze their social, mobile and app-based marketing. For more information, check out www.directmessagelab.com, and follow us on Twitter, @dmlinfo.

E to M: Buying Into Mobile Commerce

June 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

There’s only seven letters in between ‘e’ and ‘m,’ so here are seven differences and trends for m-commerce.

F:  Forget about waiting until you get home to purchase that new pair of headphones. With the growth of mobile commerce, it’s now possible to purchase almost any consumer product through your smart phone.

G: Going young: The highest percentage of mobile retail users – thirty-six percent –are between the ages of 25-34, and almost two-thirds of mobile retail consumers are younger than 35.

H: Fifty-nine percent of consumers use their mobile device to perform mobile shopping from home.

I: In 2011, seventy-eight percent of retailers plan to invest in mobile.

J: Jumping ship: Eighty-five percent of consumers who have made a mobile purchase in the last year say that they expect the experience to be better than or equal to a laptop or PC.

K: Kicking old consumer habits; Seventy-three percent of in-store shoppers would rather reference their mobile device rather than ask a sales associate for help.

L: Twenty-one percent of those surveyed by Millennial Media in a June 2011 report said that they made a purchase on their mobile device within the last month.

Top Bloggers In Social Media

June 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

In Part Duece of this two-part extravaganza, we at Direct Message Lab have put together the top social media bloggers whom we find to be most influential. In case you missed Part One — Top Social Media Websites.

These are dedicated individuals and each bring a unique aspect into the world of social media. Some even have best seller books — Brian Solis and David Meerman Scott — that are filled with insight about how to utilize the waves of social media into your business. Onward to the list. . .

Top Bloggers in Social Media (and their Websites & Twitter)
Chris Brogan – www.chrisbrogan.com – @ChrisBrogan
Jason Falls – www.socialmediaexplorer.com – @JasonFalls
Brian Solis – www.briansolis.com – @BrianSolis
David Meerman Scott – www.davidmeermanscott.comwww.webinknow.com – @dmscott
Robert Scoble – www.scobleizer.com – @scoblemedia
Adam Singer – www.thefuturebuzz.com – @TheFutureBuzz
Amber Naslund – www.brasstrackthinking.com @AmberCadabra
Michael Stelzner – www.socialmediaexaminer.com – @smexaminer
Lee Odden – www.toprankblog.com – @leeodden
Jay Baer – www.convinceandconvert.com – @jaybaer
Danny Brown – www.dannybrown.me – @dannybrown
Jay Dolan – www.theantisocialmedia.com – @jaydolan
Gary Vaynerchuck – www.garyvaynerchuk.com – @garyvee
Scott Monty – www.scottmonty.com – @scottmonty

Direct Message Lab provides a central platform , REACH v4,  for brands to effectively build, manage, and analyze their social, mobile and app-based marketing. For more information, check out www.directmessagelab.com, and follow us on Twitter, @dmlinfo.

Top Social Media Websites

June 6, 2011 § 1 Comment

In a special two-part blog post extravaganza, we at Direct Message Lab have put together a list of social media bloggers and websites that we find most influential. These websites are some of the best sources on the Internet. Obviously, we couldn’t list all of them, so if YOU know of any websites that aren’t listed, please feel free to post in the comments. We love new sources. Part one. . .

Top Social Media Websites

The Top Dawgs
Mashable 
TechCrunch

The Runner-Ups
DigiDayDaily
ReadWriteWeb

Don’t Count Them Out
SocialTimes
AllThingsD 

Social Media dot-coms
SocialMediaExaminer
SocialMediaInfluence
SocialMediaToday

Around The Industry
AdAge
AdWeek
PRDaily

Aggregate
CMSWire
Alltop

Le Finale
FastCompany
DesignTaxi
MediaBistro

Direct Message Lab provides a central platform , REACH v4,  for brands to effectively build, manage, and analyze their social, mobile and app-based marketing. For more information, check out www.directmessagelab.com, and follow us on Twitter, @dmlinfo.

Is Using Groupon Similar To Bands Selling Out?

June 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

Before you get all gung-ho, let me explain. I was into the punk scene back in the day. I’ve seen my fair share of bands sell out for the money involved. First, let me give a disclaimer; I’m all for people making money, especially doing something they love. But, what defines a sell out? Well, for one, a band sells out to a high-end record company for a larger sum of money than what their original record label can give them. This puts them in the hand of producers that have one thing in mind: ROI. The band’s music is stripped of its authenticity, and geared towards people who will eat it up on the radio, in the club, etc. While this is a great idea to gain exposure, gain new fans and in some cases become “superstars,” it more often than not upsets the fans that have been loyal to the band since they were underground.

So, is a business utilizing Groupon “selling out?” Yes and no, and depending on the business. First, let’s get Groupon’s business model out there. You make an agreement with Groupon to become a featured business. They then slash your prices by at least 50 percent. Groupon then promotes your restaurant and your deal and increases your customer base, but the kicker? They take 30-60 percent of your discounted price. So basically, your business with a Groupon deal will get 25% of the profits you would have originally got without the deal. Obviously, there is a B/E point in there that all businesses should have figured out before making the deal, but is this selling out?

Well, you immediately are thrown out into the public. You get a completely new wave of consumer, who is either a) interested in your discounted product or service and happened to stumble upon the deal or b) extremely price sensitive and only looking for the deal of the day, per se.

Which is it? Does it matter? If you utilize a social media mix with Groupon and get these customers to engage with your brand, then I would say, even if you break even you now are more secure once the Groupon deal expires. But look what you have done. You had a loyal base of customers who’ve stuck with your business, paying full price each day, and who genuinely enjoyed what you offered. Enter a new base, who upon first visit is getting deals that Mr. Loyal never dreamt of getting. Sure, Mr. Loyal can get them, too, but what happens to Mr. Loyal once the deal is over?

What happens to a band after they’ve sold out? Do the loyalists ever go back? Sure, they might buy the new CD, attend a (more expensive) concert and maybe even buy the Greatest Hits CD down the road. But do you think they will have that passion they once had? That passion that made them tell all of their friends, “Yo, you should check them out, I’m telling you.”? That’s for you to decide.

Direct Message Lab provides a central platform , REACH v4,  for brands to effectively build, manage, and analyze their social, mobile and app-based marketing. For more information, check out www.directmessagelab.com, and follow us on Twitter, @dmlinfo.

Why Video Will Soon Rollover Banner Ads

June 3, 2011 § 1 Comment

I recall when banner ads were the new trend. They were these rectangular flash-driven ads that quickly grabbed my attention. Some allowed me to pop balloons with darts, some to whack-a-mole, and some even allowed me to shoot a basketball into a hoop. One thing that banner ads were very effective at is interactivity. Yet, as the years went by, I smartened up and always knew that the last balloon or basket would always redirect me to a third-party site, and it ended up as a nuisance, more so than a fun 10-seconds of satisfaction.

In no way have banner ads decreased. Heck, if anything they’ve become more prevalant on more sites because of the pay-per-click incentive they offer not only big e-players, but micro bloggers and the every day you and me. But do they still have that feeling of resentment, knowing that your a click away from being distracted by another window, another advertisement? Enter video; a growing trend that will only develop further due to relatively low production costs and high ROI.

Video engages your target in a way that they want to be engaged, more so than a “I’ve seen that before” banner ad. Whether it be an relevant news article, a product testimonial or a creative YouTube video — which also enhances your SEO — depending on the “wow factor” of the video ad, users might have motivation to share it.

Video ads come in all shapes and sizes. Through a video player, they can actually be incorporated into a website where a banner ad used to be, or they can be a 15-second advertisement pause during a YouTube or Hulu video. And while some may choose to advertise on the top v-players, according to an article on DigiDay, in January 2011, consumers spent 87.6 billion minutes watching video on sites that weren’t listed in the Top 10 video share sites.

So where do you go? Obviously you have to do some research on your audience. Where do they go, how long do they spend when they get there, and ultimately, what will enhance their visit to the site? Once you have all that, the difficult part is over, and you’re now left to place a video that gives them some reasonable incentive to look at it and press play.

Direct Message Lab provides a central platform , REACH v4,  for brands to effectively build, manage, and analyze their social, mobile and app-based marketing. For more information, check out www.directmessagelab.com, and follow us on Twitter, @dmlinfo.

Mobile Video Ads Will Soon Become Bullseye

June 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

Mobile video advertising is currently a rolling tide slowly making its way to the shore. It’s no surprise to hear, considering 10 percent of mobile users watch video content on any single day. So what’s the hold up? Why aren’t brands hopping on board to advertising through mobile video?

Mobile video advertising didn’t even make the 2011 Mobile Marketing Associations Top Ten Trends for 2011 — “Apps will drive advertising revenue.” But, they also state that over 85 percent of all phones shipped in 2011 will be smart phones, capable of mobile video.

According to an article on Digidaydaily, the top 10 mobile handhelds sold in the U.S. “account for just 29 percent of mobile video commercial messages viewed,” and that Verizon had the most mobile marketing video views at 44 percent, compared to AT&T’s 35 percent. This would make one imply that marketers should be targeting mobile users via text, since it is much broader and marketers can deliver MMS to over 93 percent of mobile users.

But, in 2011 Q1, it is shown that 82 percent of users notice mobile video ads. This from a report by Rhythm NewMedia, in which it also states how users consume the three different mobile video ads:

The groundbreaker of it all is that mobile video ads allow for direct-to-consumer advertising. Mobile video ads can be targeted based on buying and search habits, user location and certain user interests, and allow advertisers to target their target, per se, more efficiently. It seems that it won’t be long until advertisers will have real-time information about their target whom they want to view the ads, and pertinent information about the user during and after viewing the ad.

Direct Message Lab provides a central platform , REACH v4,  for brands to effectively build, manage, and analyze their social, mobile and app-based marketing. For more information, check out www.directmessagelab.com, and follow us on Twitter, @dmlinfo.

Head in the Cloud

June 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

Talk on the street is that Apple will reveal the iCloud at the Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) next week. Already scheduled to reveal their new Mac OS, OS X Lion and iOS, iOS5, there is heavy talk that Apple’s entrance to the Cloud will headline the event.

So, what’s it mean from a “You and I” perspective? Well, we won’t know until it’s introduced, but hopefully this will allow you to sync all of your files on iTunes to the iCloud, thus being accessible on any browser. It will be interesting to see whether or not there will be a fee for this service, but considering the size difference between a music file (around 4 MB) to a movie file (around 1.5 GB) one would imagine a fee, whether monthly or annually, will be in place for at least movie storage.

The interesting part, with Microsoft already introducing IPTV to the Xbox 360, will the iCloud be the new hub for storing movies to watch through your smart TV, leaving the dusty DVD rack behind? And does the lack of success for the smart TVs improve if there are services such as iCloud, which would easily allow access to all of you’re digital content in one central platform?

Direct Message Lab provides a central platform , REACH v4,  for brands to effectively build, manage, and analyze their social, mobile and app-based marketing. For more information, check out www.directmessagelab.com, and follow us on Twitter, @dmlinfo.