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Twitter Official Tells Audience About Changes

September 17, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

New Twitter logo unveiled this week.

New Twitter logo unveiled this week.

Twitter’s operations chief told more than 2,000 marketers Thursday (Sept. 16) that the new enhancements to Twitter will make the social media channel more effective and more engaging for consumers and marketers around the world, according to a news release.

Twitter Chief Operations Officer Dick Costolo told attendees at Connections ‘10, ExactTarget’s annual user conference today in Indianapolis the new Twitter makes it easier for users to see information about the authors of Twitter posts, engage in conversations and more easily link to photos and videos.

“The new Twitter provides a richer, more compelling environment for businesses and customers to engage in conversation,” said Costolo.

Costolo’s comments follow the Tuesday launch of the ExactTarget Interactive Marketing HubTM and CoTweet 3.0 Enterprise Edition.

The ExactTarget Interactive Marketing Hub provides marketers the first solution to power all forms of interactive marketing in real time across email, mobile, social and sites. The Interactive Marketing HubTM enables marketers to plan, monitor and track real-time interactive marketing programs from a single dashboard by aggregating all customer interaction data as it happens, allowing marketers to instantly take action on the data across all online channels.

CoTweet’s 3.0 Enterprise Edition enables marketers on Twitter and Facebook to link Facebook Fan pages to existing CoTweet workgroups, export tweets and Facebook posts to Salesforce and manage social media interactions alongside other interactive marketing channels through the ExactTarget Interactive Marketing HubTM.

“Consumers are talking about and engaging with brands on e-mail, Twitter and Facebook, but marketers have struggled to connect the channels and engage in the real-time conversation,” said Scott Dorsey, ExactTarget co-founder and CEO. “The innovations announced this week break down the silos between channels and allow marketers to drive deeper engagement and more effective interactive marketing.”

Connections ’10 concluded Thursday. Marketers from eight countries and 38 states attended the three-day event that included keynote addresses by Sir Richard Branson, Virgin America’s Porter Gale and Word of Mouth Marketing author Andy Sernovitz. The event also provided attendees hands-on product training, more than 35 focused breakout sessions and featured entertainment by Grammy-award winning band Train.

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LinkedIn Groups Benefit RV/Park Industries

August 30, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

LinkedIn_logoEditor’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> .

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Blue Ox Expanding to Facebook and Twitter

August 26, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Blue Ox logoThe 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.

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Consumers Relying More on Facebook & Twitter

July 13, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

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.

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Blogger: How Twitter Can Help RV Sales

May 5, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Editor’s Note: Cindy Spencer, an account manager with RVUSA in Ocala, Fla., posted this story on her blog at CindyatRVUSA.com.

What is Twitter?
Twitter, by its own definition is a service for friends, family and co-workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question:  What are you doing?  Answers must be under 140 characters in length and can be sent via mobile texting, instant message or on the web.

Twitter started as a side project in March 2006 – built in two weeks and launched publicly in August 2006.  It has grown into a real-time short messaging service that gives people all around the world the ability to follow people and sources most relevant to them – from breaking news to updates from friends.

How I use Twitter.
When I first started using Twitter, I would post what I was doing at that moment or going to be doing.  As I’ve gained knowledge of the service through use and my Twitter friends, I’m using it to post new RVUSA.com sign-ups, when I add a new blog post, etc.  These posts on Twitter include a link to the dealer’s inventory on RVUSA.com or a link to their member listing, which ever applies to them.  To see my Twitter page, go to: www.twitter.com/cindy_spencer/

How to start an account with Twitter.
All you have to do is go to:  www.twitter.com, click the “Get Started – Join!” button, enter your full name, username (I would use your dealership name here), password, e-mail address, type in the captcha words so they know you are an actual person and click the Create My Account button.

Once your account is set up, you can then customize it by changing the background, color scheme, picture used, etc.  If you look at my Twitter page you’ll see that I’ve created a custom background to promote myself and the services I can help RV Industry companies with.  For you, creating a background that has your logo, company info, website address, toll-free number, description or images of the products / services you have would be beneficial.

The next step is to add followers and you do this by clicking the Find People link at the top of the page.  If you know the persons name (Cindy Spencer), type it in and it will display all the matching results.  Go ahead and follow me and I’ll follow you.  You can also type in company names or use the e-mail invite tool on the right side if you know their e-mail address but can’t find them on the site.  There’s also a link for “Find people on other networks” that will allow you to login to your Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail and/or MSN account to search for anyone in your contacts list there and follow them.

You can also go to:  http://search.twitter.com and type in topics to find followers.

How you can make money using Twitter.
Think about who your audience (followers) should be, those who will be interested in what you are doing and will help you make more money, generate leads and sales for your company.  Typically if you follow someone, they are going to follow you back.  If you can, each day post about something that’s on sale, or a special you have going on, along with a direct link to it on your website.  This should take about 5-10 minutes of your time.

I know at first this may seem silly but it works.  I’ve seen companies post job openings, Open House invitations / details, Inventory blow-out sales, etc.

If you have questions or need help creating a customized background for your Twitter page, let me know.

About Cindy: I’ve been with RVUSA.com for about 10 years now.  I started out fresh out of college as a website designer with Kathy Couch, the originator of RVUSA.com.  I quickly became the person in charge of the accounts and getting new sales because of my telemarketing background.  RVUSA.com was bought by Greg Petry, the current owner, in 2000, which is about the time we took the RVUSA.com website from “blah” to wow.” I continued as a designer for a short period but as RVUSA.com grew, it became very clear that my focus had to be on managing all the accounts.  I’ve always felt, no matter what my job or position, that customer service comes first.  I treat people the way I expect to be treated.  I’ve been the account manager for RVUSA.com for almost 10 years or so and I’m looking forward to many more years!!

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RVBusiness.com Now With Mobile Phone & iPhone Interface

May 5, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

In an ongoing effort to upgrade its web  presence,  RVBUSINESS.com, the Internet website of RVBusiness magazine,  has made it even  easier for you to keep up with the dynamic  recreational vehicle industry’s  breaking news.  Our website now  has a mobile phone and iPhone interface  so you can get the information  you need while you’re on the move. In addition,  our breaking news is also  on Twitter, the social network that has drawn so much  attention  recently in the national press.

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