Now numbering more than 61,200 fans, up six-fold from its 10,000 fans in June 2010, Go RVing’s Facebook followers “are a highly engaged group who actively contribute, share and post on the wall,” according to a press release
To further the involvement of this virtual community, on July 11, Go RVing launched a revamped format of its page which now features a daily status theme to keep followers returning each day and interacting. With catchy names like No Mundane Monday, Tuesday Trivia Throwdown, Webshare Wednesday, Take-Me-Away Thursday, and Freewheelin’ Friday, fans will come to look forward to favorite days of postings.
For the next year, Take-Me-Away Thursdays will showcase another feature, 50 States in 50 Weeks, which will highlight one state each week and suggest unusual things to do or see by RV in that state; the bonus week 51 will focus on Washington, DC. The Facebook page will also launch a Fan of the Week feature in the upcoming weeks.
Social media like Facebook continue to be very cost-effective ways to reach and engage our target audience. The majority of Go RVing’s community consists of people age 35-54, the primary targets of the campaign. On a monthly basis, more than two-thirds of those who have “liked” the Go RVing page (42,000 of the 61,000), have been actively engaged, meaning they have clicked on the page to read updates, make comments, view videos or look at photos.
In the past month, feedback from followers has averaged more than 36% per update posted by Go RVing, showing that they interact by “liking” our message updates or they fully engage by answering queries and commenting on posts made.
“Facebook provides a wide variety of analytical tools providing a real-time snapshot of who our audience is, how our messaging is being received, and what is driving their interest,” said James Ashurst, RVIA vice president of public relations and advertising. “This allows us to make changes to our social media marketing tactics on the fly.”
Winter Springs, Fla.-based UVS Junction today (June 16) released a new Facebook platform “unlike any other currently in the RV industry,” according to a press release.
As approved Facebook developers, UVS has written an application for their clients that automatically updates client inventory daily onto their Facebook pages. The new feature means UVS clients won’t need to pay any third-party companies to do this for them, said Angela Cellucci, director of UVS Junction.
“The beauty of this app is that inventory is on a stand-alone app page rather than getting lost in the shuffle of the client fan page wall,” she explained. “What also makes this app development so amazing is that UVS has installed a content-editing tool within their system console that automatically updates UVS client Facebook pages.
“This feature allows our clients to post banners, specials and content above their inventory page and it will remain static on the top of the page all the time, unlike random wall posts,” said Cellucci. “The client has the option of defaulting visitors to their inventory page or their Facebook wall.
“This capability is superior in giving our clients the opportunity to create banners, coupons, incentives, etc., and publish them on their Facebook page in real time. But, it’s unlike what they’ve seen in the past because we have designated an upper section just for that purpose,” she added.
Now any message or incentive can remain static on the top of the page including video.
“Having video on Facebook gives our clients the opportunity to run their TV spot, testimonials or any other video to capture their Facebook visitors,” said Cellucci. “While developing this platform, we felt it was highly important to drive Facebook visitors to the client website. That is why all the inventory posted is linked directly to the client site.
“Click onto any pricing form or inventory link and the results are exactly what they would be if the prospect is right on your site,” she explained. “All forms are submitted directly to the RV dealer via e-mail. This technology is bringing this social networking platform to the next level and, most importantly, communicating with our clients as if they had another website.”
With the digital growth in the marketing industry, companies have had to be creative to keep their businesses afloat, Cellucci said. Many dealers have made choices to keep their marketing focused on the Internet and marketing companies are experiencing the loss, she said.
“Facebook has become a popular tool among RV dealers, but, unfortunately, they are not using it to truly benefit themselves,” said Cellucci. “In many cases, they have hired third party marketing companies to do the job for them. Social networking is free, so it just didn’t make sense to us as developers that our clients would have to pay for this service. So, we put our plan onto our development table, but with a twist.
“Posting inventory on a Facebook wall is simply that,” Cellucci said. “We’ve taken the beauty of Facebook and developed it ‘UVS style.’ Our clients can truly benefit from Facebook by having their real inventory posted and updated daily, they can self-manage their page, include any coupons that will stick on the top of the page, and, of course, now even include video like TV spots and testimonials.”
Cellucci said a UVS client page is similar to the Facebook apps, like Bejeweled and Farmville.
“In most every case, any fan page an RV dealer is using now is not an app, they are more than likely using their Facebook wall,” she explained. “Wall postings push down. Our platform keeps inventory in front of the visitor.
Having an app also allows a dealer to view activity from their page confirming any false reporting of Facebook activity.
“As Facebook approved developers, we now offer each dealership the ability to track their Facebook activity,” she said. “This is a true way for our dealer clients to see in black and white what Facebook is doing for them –or not doing. Traffic is beneficial if it comes from Facebook to the client site.”
Facebook provides platform developers with metrics around their content. By understanding and analyzing trends within user growth and demographics, consumption of content, and creation of content, platform developers are better equipped to improve their business with Facebook, Cellucci said.
“We can easily report activity to all UVS clients,” she said. “We can even give them ‘insight’ privileges that will give them the freedom of pulling their own stats.”
To see a demonstration of the Facebook page, including video on Facebook, click here.
For more information about UVS Junction products and services, visit www.uvsjunction.com.
Facebook is usually the first foray dealerships make into social media, but if your page isn’t maintained correctly, it can actually turn off potential customers, according to a story in the March issue of RV Executive Today.
Knowing what to put on it — and what to leave off — makes the difference between an effective and inexpensive communications tool or a waste of time and resources.
To make Facebook work for you, say experts, first consider what draws people to this venue. Hint: It’s not a list of your inventory. As one savvy dealer says, customers go to Facebook to have fun, not get a sales pitch.
Instead, use Facebook as a tool for building and maintaining relationships with your established customers and for reaching out to potential customers. Change up the content frequently so people keep coming back to your page. Visual material is especially effective for attracting younger generations.
For tips on what kind of content to put on your page and where to find inspiration, read the March issue of RV Executive Today, which highlights social media.
Trailer Life magazine is now on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TrailerLifeMagazine.
‘”Like” the page to get updates of the RV industry, see exclusive photos and videos and connect with a community of RVers who share your lifestyle,” states a news release.
Affinity Group Inc. (AGI) is the parent company of Trailer Life and RVBUSINESS.com.
Editor’s Note: The following story was provided by Evanne Schmarder, veteran campground writer.
Over 10,000 members representing every sector of the RV industry have a presence on LinkedIn, the powerful professional social network, extending their reach and influence. As opposed to the inter-personal chit-chat of Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn functions as a best practices roundtable and prides itself on a B2B model “connecting” users representing over 150 industries, including executives from all of the Fortune 500 companies.
A number of individuals in the RV park and campground business are among those exchanging views through LinkedIn in what amounts to an ongoing virtual, Internet-age “crackerbarrel” session for industry professionals.
LinkedIn’s premise is that relationships matter and users are encouraged to connect with “trusted contacts.” Once connected to an individual, you may invite a connection within their network, thus growing your circle of influence. For instance, David Gorin, a consultant, park operator and president of Best Parks in America, finds his LinkedIn connections a substantive resource. On occasion, as a client question arises, Gorin seeks out experts in his network for answers and insight. “My support network is greatly enhanced with LinkedIn,” he reports. “I’m also fascinated by how the system works – suggesting connections – similar to the ‘six degrees of separation’ concept, but in reality it’s much less than six,” he added.
One of LinkedIn’s most commanding tools is the wide-reaching collection of “groups.” By starting or joining a group you can follow industry or topic leaders, share your professional news, partake in discussions – even connect to your college’s alumni association. A search of the keyword “RV” under the group directory returned 75 search results including RV Park Biz, RV Dealers International Convention/Expo and RV Rental Dealers Group. Industry players may be interested in joining Outdoor Recreation and Travel Industry Marketing Network or other groups focusing on branding, social media marketing, customer satisfaction or even green business practices.
RVDA’s active RV Dealers International Convention/Expo <http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=1941545&trk=anetsrch_name&goback=%2Egdr_1282506991533_2> group provides a venue for engaging back and forth exchanges. In addition to the Convention/Expo, the group is a touch point for the RV Learning Center and RVDA legislative issues. Phil Ingrassia, RVDA communications vice president, noted that the group is yet another tool — not a replacement — to reach out to industry members via social networking. “The entry cost is low, simply a matter of the personnel cost of posting and maintaining the network, and the participants are highly motivated to contribute and exchange ideas,” said Ingrassia. “We use Facebook for the same purpose and have had success there. However, LinkedIn has a greater long form functionality allowing for in-depth dialogue as opposed to ‘sound bites’ via our Facebook page.”
Randall Hendrickson, president of Horizon RV Resorts, started the RV park business group in 2009. “The wonderful thing about LinkedIn is the diverse groups of people from various backgrounds, each with his/her own take on a particular topic,” he remarked. “I really don’t know of another venue that allows for such an exchange of expertise; I always come away with a perspective I didn’t have previously. Discussions posted by group members introduce me to several great views of a subject from colleagues that have analyzed the issue from well-informed perspectives.” This group, like most, boasts an extensive membership of business consultants, technology leaders, management gurus, financial experts – thought leaders in an assortment of fields.
Today’s social networking possibilities offer a smorgasbord of opportunities. With a limited amount of available time in each day the decision on where to place attention can be a challenging one. Deb Kohls, a vice president of Leisure Interactive Inc. and owner of the Outdoor Recreation and Travel Industry Marketing Network, advises that it’s important to have clear goals in social networking, and LinkedIn participation offers an incredibly high payoff. “I often observe our industry striving to connect with consumers, and that’s valid,” Kohls noted. “But there’s so much to be gained by connecting to others with similar marketing needs and business experiences in the B2B realm. I recommend setting aside one hour a week to network with peers, support and learn from one another.”
“It requires a commitment to regularly log in and view the running dialogue in the various groups,” Hendrickson added. “But, once done, there is inevitably a great conversation about topics that matter to my business.”
While you may belong to an unlimited number of groups, choose your groups judiciously or you could be inundated by too much information to process, rendering the benefits of shared knowledge null and void at the click of the delete button. Instead, seek out LinkedIn groups that will provide specific wisdom to help you and your company thrive and you will be on your way to building your own circle of experts and developing a strong personal brand.
Learn more about LinkedIn and join the network of global professionals by visiting www.LinkedIn.com <http://www.LinkedIn.com> . Connect with author Evanne Schmarder at http://www.linkedin.com/in/evanneschmarder <http://www.linkedin.com/in/evanneschmarder> .
The Blue Ox family of products has expanded its marketing and web presence to the social media networks of Facebook and Twitter.
Facebook is a free social networking service that works in connecting individuals to their friends and favorite brands. Twitter is also a free social networking service that allows members to “follow” their friends, favorite brands or public figures in a world dominated by updates in 160 characters or less.
“The new Blue Ox Facebook page provides us with a fantastic platform to update you on new and exciting developments,” Pender, Neb.-based Blue Ox said in a news release. “Almost everything that is available on our website, www.BlueOx.com, can be found on our Facebook Page. However, exclusive information, events and contests will be available for those who ‘Like’ our page, which is not available through our website. Those who ‘like’ our page will be able to contribute photos, ask questions and comment about products or events on our ‘Wall,’ ‘Photos’ and ‘Events’ tabs.”
“If any of our dealers, distributors or other RV market friends are already on Facebook and have the “Favorite Pages” application installed, let us know and we will add you to our ‘Favorite Pages’ box on our page,” the company added.
The new Blue Ox Twitter page provides viewers with up-to-the-second information pertaining to the RV market as a whole, new and exciting products, events it is hosting and attending and much more. All of these updates are made in 160 characters or less, meaning they are quick, to the point and easy to understand. Exciting new information, upcoming events and exclusive contests will be posted on Twitter.
To follow Blue Ox on Twitter, visit the Blue Ox Twitter Page, http://www.twitter.com/BlueOxProducts, and select the “Follow” button from the top left portion of the page.
A new study released on today (July 13) by ExactTarget finds nearly 40% of consumers turning to Facebook and Twitter to supplement the news, information or deals they receive via e-mail marketing.
Featured in ExactTarget’s Social Profile report, the survey of more than 1,500 consumers identified 12 distinct personas for how consumers interact with brands online by studying the levels of social media creation and consumption across all ages and income levels, according to a news release.
“Consumers don’t silo their engagement with brands to a single channel; instead they tend to ‘layer’ marketing channels on top of one another to meet their different objectives,” said Morgan Stewart, principal, ExactTarget’s research and education group. “The things that motivate consumers to go online initially dictate where and how they choose to engage with brands – whether that be e-mail, Facebook or Twitter.”
Key findings of the research include:
- More than 90% of consumers that are a fan of, or “like,” at least one brand on Facebook also receive at least one permission-based marketing e-mail per day.
- More than 75% of consumers that follow at least one brand on Twitter subscribe to at least one brand’s e-mail marketing.
- Nearly half of consumers who engage with brands via Twitter do so silently, regularly reading tweets even though they do not have their own Twitter account.
- 45% of mothers with children living in the home identify themselves as ‘Deal Seekers’ and on average are a fan of 10 brands on Facebook, follow 10 companies on Twitter and receive 14 permission-based marketing e-mails daily.
- 33% of consumers identify themselves as Info Seekers, influenced most heavily by product reviews and other forms of user-generated content.
- While 28% of consumers under the age of 25 identify themselves as “social butterflies” and fan the most brands on Facebook, they are more likely to buy from companies that send them permission-based e-mail.
“Simply understanding demographics of a customer group is no longer enough,” said Tim Kopp, ExactTarget’s chief marketing officer. “By bridging the gap between demographics and consumer motivations, the Social Profile research identifies unique personas that give marketers an entirely new level of understanding of consumer behavior.”
ExactTarget’s Social Profile study is the third research brief in ExactTarget’s six-part Subscribers, Fans & Followers research series set for release through September. The series provides marketers exclusive insight into how U.S. consumers’ interact with brands online based on a series of focus groups, interviews and surveys conducted in March and April. For more information about the study, to access an interactive application of the Subscribers, Fans & Followers data or to subscribe to receive future research briefs delivered via e-mail, visit www.ExactTarget.com/sff.
Go RVing’s Facebook fan page is surging in popularity with the site now boasting more than 10,000 registered fans.
The number of fans of the page has grown steadily since being launched in May 2008, and passing the 10,000 milestone is a significant development, placing the Go RVing page in elite company, the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) reported in a news release. According to Sysomos, a social media monitoring and analytics firm, only 4% of Facebook fan pages have more than 10,000 fans. The company also reports that a full 77% have fewer than 1,000 fans.
“The popularity of the Go RVing page is a tremendous boost to our efforts,” said RVIA Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Gary LaBella. “It is a popular online meeting place where avid and would-be RVers alike share their passion for RV vacations, and there’s no endorsement as powerful as one that comes from an actual RVer.”
While staff posts comments or asks questions intended to elicit fan responses, active fans also regularly post questions to each other for advice and engage in enthusiastic conversations about the RV lifestyle.
“RVing is the best way to go!” proclaimed one recent post. “I am so happy to have found Go RVing on Facebook. I’m always looking for somewhere to go and other RVers to travel with,” reads another. “My husband and I just purchased our first RV this week and we’re excited to take it out for the first time. So much to learn…” added a new RV owner. “Love this site,” one enthusiastic fan simply wrote.
Once thought of as a social networking site for kids and teens, now 45% of Facebook’s 45.3 million active users are 26 years of age or older. Although users are growing exponentially in every demographic, women over 55 are the site’s fastest growing audience.
Go RVing’s presence on Facebook is part of a larger effort by the group to make use of low-cost, highly popular social media outlets to deliver Go RVing messages to consumers. Go RVing also actively cross-promotes its social media presence through entries on Twitter, an eNewsletter with over a quarter million subscribers, a blog by travel writer Brad Herzog, and the interactive GoRVing.com website.
To view Go RVing’s Facebook page, go to www.Facebook.com and create a free account. Then enter “Go RVing” in the search box to become a fan.
Ocean Lakes Family Campground in Myrtle Beach, S.C., had a successful first Facebook Fan Appreciation Weekend this past weekend (April 16-18), as more than 145 campground Facebook fans gathered at the campground for an interactive weekend to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the campground’s launch on the social networking site, according to a news release.
Participants came from eight states – including New York, Georgia, Virginia, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Ohio – to take part in games and competitions that were viewable online through live streaming video on Livestream, and video posted on YouTube and Facebook.
The Facebook Fan Appreciation Weekend had a ripple effect, with Facebook posts, T-shirt giveaways and voter polls generating more than 450,000 Facebook impressions and the Ocean Lakes Fan page gaining more than 100 new fans during the weekend event. On Saturday, the campground launched a fan page for its recreation department, and in nine hours, it had more than 150 fans.
“Our first Facebook Fan Appreciation Weekend was a big success,” said Barb Krumm, director of marketing and public relations for Ocean Lakes Family Campground. “Our goals were met. We used social media to increase interaction with our fans as the event unfolded, and the fans used it to communicate their fun with family and friends.”
During the weekend, conversations were stimulated both online and offline.
“Our fans had a great time and their comments can be seen on our Facebook fan page,” she said. “The fans were watched by their family and friends back home and we streamed video online during the activities, shot and uploaded nearly 700 photos to our albums and made more than 40 HD videos.”
Families At Event Share Experiences With Those At Home
Ocean Lakes teammates received excellent feedback from appreciative fans during the event.
A couple from Augusta, Ga., said their 10 grandchildren back home began calling their friends and telling them to log onto the Internet to view the festivities. They were impressed with how much fun their grandparents were having at Ocean Lakes.
“We came just for this event,” said James Drew. “My children and grandchildren were communicating back and forth about what was going on and waiting to see us during the activities. We’re going to have to bring them next year.”
On Friday evening, dozens of the Facebook fans took part in social-media themed mixers, called “Social Meetyas.”
More than 60 Facebook fans took part in Saturday’s mini golf tournament, “Golf Car Challenge” and “Golf Car Rodeo.” These activities had special meaning to the campers because a major part of Ocean Lakes’ culture includes traveling through the campground on golf cars. There are more than 5,000 golf cars on the 310-acre oceanfront camping resort property.
On Saturday night, the Facebook fans gathered on the beachfront and had a weenie roast and shared in conversations that they started earlier in the day. The winners of the Golf Car Challenge were announced (using the results of a Facebook poll) and the Golf Car Rodeo champions received special trophies made by Ocean Lakes’ golf car mechanics.
“We actually added some activities ‘on the fly’ to increase interaction,” said Krumm. “Anyone who watched our Livestream channel Friday night witnessed this with the ‘Musical Chair Share.’ That wasn’t on the schedule, but it got participants warmed up. We were amazed at how much fun fans from age 2 to age 70 were having.”
Ocean Lakes did not originally intend on live-streaming the mini golf tournament on Saturday, but the fans started calling family members to tell them to tune in and watch.
“I was standing there with my laptop, just making sure our fans made it to the tournament OK, when a mom and her teenage sons stood in front of me with a cell phone and began trying to direct their family at home to the link to watch,” Krumm said. “I opened my laptop, found the Wi-Fi signal and opened Podcaster to start streaming. The mom asked her son from the tee box, ‘Did they find the link to watch me?’ It was really great to see.”
This was the first time Ocean Lakes used Livestream to stream scheduled activities online. At one point, there were 45 viewers watching the video stream. Friday and Saturday’s Livestream generated more than 120 viewer hours with average streaming clips one to four minutes. Ocean Lakes teammates say this is just the beginning of what a social media-based event can achieve.
Organizing The Event
Fans had to RSVP on Ocean Lakes’ Facebook fan page. Attendees who registered by April 12 received a specially-designed T-shirt to commemorate the campground’s first anniversary on Facebook. Fans who couldn’t attend in person participated on the fan page and were included in special drawings for fan prizes. Ocean Lakes teammates would post on the fan page that the campground would mail a T-shirt to the first fan who sent a comment that said, “I want the shirt.” The first giveaway on Friday resulted in 15 comments in four seconds.
“Fans had so much fun that they were asking us what the date is for next year’s Fan Appreciation Weekend,” Krumm said. “That pretty much establishes this as an annual event.”
Since joining Facebook in April 2009, Ocean Lakes Family Campground has gained more than 13,700 fans. It was verified as an authentic Facebook fan page in February after passing the 10,000-fan mark. On average, more than 3,500 people visit the campground’s Facebook fan page each week with daily posts generating around 20,000 daily impressions.
For more information about Ocean Lakes Family Campground, visit www.oceanlakes.com or become a fan on Facebook.
About Ocean Lakes Family Campground
Ocean Lakes Family Campground is the largest campground on the East Coast and one of the largest in the United States. It has received numerous awards for excellence. It is the 2008-2009 National “RV Park of the Year” and has received that honor from the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) four times. In 2006, Ocean Lakes received the prestigious South Carolina Governor’s Cup for making a significant economic impact on South Carolina. Ocean Lakes covers 310 oceanfront acres with nearly one mile of beachfront. It offers 3,447 sites — 893 of which are large and pull-through to accommodate larger RVs. It was built by Mary Emily and Nelson Jackson and their five daughters, starting in 1970. It opened with 30 campsites and one bathhouse in 1971. On an average seasonal day, Ocean Lakes has 25,000 – 30,000 guests enjoying the countless amenities that have made it a local favorite and a national vacation destination.
Ocean Lakes Family Campground in Myrtle Beach, S.C., is holding a Facebook Fan Appreciation Weekend today through Sunday (April 16-18).
Its Facebook fans will gather for a fun-filled weekend to commemorate its one-year anniversary on the social networking site. This event is the first to take place on a campground in the United States and one of very few events of its kind hosted by any business or group, according to a news release.
Ocean Lakes is the largest RV park on the East Coast and one of the largest in the U.S.
“There is a natural fit between campers and social media. Campers are very social people. They love to interact and form new friendships at campgrounds,” said Barb Krumm, director of marketing and public relations at Ocean Lakes Family Campground. “Facebook has proven to be the perfect platform for Ocean Lakes and our loyal guests.”
Ocean Lakes will stream live video of the event activities, post photos, take polls and encourage attendees to post and share on their Facebook fan page while fans at home will be able to view and vote on favorite videos and photos from the events. Attendees at Ocean Lakes’ Facebook Fan Appreciation Weekend will participate in social-media themed mixers, or “Social Meetyas,” and contests including a mini golf tournament.
A huge factor in Ocean Lakes’ culture is golf cars, with more than 5,000 on the 310-acre oceanfront camping resort property. Event coordinators are debuting some new contests like the “Ocean Lakes Golf Car Challenge” and the “Ocean Lakes Golf Car Rodeo.” Saturday night will wrap up with Facebook fans around a beachfront bonfire and weenie roast.
“The events have to be fun and entertaining,” said Krumm. “We are trying to hold an event for both our ‘in-person’ Facebook fans and our online fans — a kind of 3-D versus 2-D experience.”
Fans had to RSVP on Ocean Lakes’ Facebook fan page. Attendees who registered by April 10 received a specially designed T-shirt to commemorate the campground’s 1st anniversary on Facebook. Fans who can’t attend in person can participate on the fan page and will also be included in special drawings for fan prizes.
Since joining Facebook in April 2009, Ocean Lakes Family Campground has gained nearly 13,000 fans. It was verified as an authentic Facebook fan page in February after passing the 10,000-fan mark. On average, more than 3,500 people visit the campground’s Facebook fan page each week with daily posts generating around 20,000 impressions a day.
“We started asking our fans how they wanted to celebrate our one-year anniversary on Facebook, and many of them suggested that we have this type of event,” said Krumm. “We incorporated many of their ideas into the activities that we have planned for our Facebook Fan Appreciation Weekend, and there will be some special surprises for them along the way. We’re thrilled to host this event to show our appreciation to our Facebook fans and hope that this will be the first of many future Facebook weekend events to come.”
The event is a prime example of how a business is nusing Facebook to build loyalty for its brand, generate additional broad-based awareness of its business only and increase bookings through an annual targeted event connected to the web.
For more information about Ocean Lakes Family Campground, visit www.oceanlakes.com or become a fan on Facebook.