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APT MotoVox Group, Inc. Retains JSMM for Social Media & PR

Cruzer available from Motoped

APT MotoVox Group, Inc., a technology company building Mini Bikes, Pit Bikes, Go-Karts, and Scooters from the ground up, has retained Jennings Social Media Marketing. APT MotoVox Group is a publicly traded company headquartered in Kansas City, Mo.

Cruzer available from Motoped

APT MotoVox Group recently acquired MOTOPED®, a lightweight and fuel efficient amalgamation of a motorcycle, moped, and bike. Motopeds are designed to go where a standard bicycle or motorcycle can’t by utilizing a patented jackshift pedal drive system and various low-displacement engine packages. These features create a 115-pound Motoped that can get achieve up to 160 miles per gallon with a standard stock engine. Motopeds are able to be customized so that each is as unique as its owner.

Motopeds can be ordered fully assembled or in a knock-down kit and are already available through an online store. They will soon be distributed through APT MotoVox Group’s domestic and international network of dealers and retailers.


City Union Mission Retains Jennings Social Media Marketing

City Union Mission Summer Camp

City Union Mission, a local nonprofit focused on serving the homeless and poor members of the Kansas City, Mo. community for 90 years, retained Jennings Social Media Marketing and RAZ Mobile for social media and online fundraising. RAZ Mobile is also a client of JSMM’s and has been at the forefront of providing nonprofits with mobile giving options that are affordable.

City Union Mission, founded by Rev. and Mrs. David Bulkley in 1924, offers a range of services to the homeless and poor in the community such as life resources, medical care and men’s and women’s/family services. It is the largest homeless shelter in the local area and the 12th largest in the nation. JSMM is thrilled to be working for the Mission.

City Union Mission Summer Camp

Campers are all smiles at the City Union Mission City Camp, one of many youth-oriented programs put on by City Union Mission.

City Union Mission raises about $12 million annually towards their mission, which allows the organization to provide food, clothing, Life Skills classes and at-home care services for the elderly or people with disabilities. Within that year, the nonprofit supplied 165,121 beds in its shelters and served 274,091 meals to those in need.

As an evangelical Christian ministry, City Union Mission also offers a Servant Leadership Institute for poor and homeless people in the community. The 12-month course is designed to train participants in rescue mission work for future careers.

Another of City Union Mission’s successful projects is Mission: Christmas, an effort that brings the community together to give out more than 16,000 items during the holiday season.

 

By: Valerie Jennings


JSMM Releases Documentary Video of CEO’s Entrepreneurial Journey

JSMM Youtube Video

Valerie Jennings, CEO of Jennings Social Media Marketing (JSMM) recently discussed her entrepreneurial journey starting from the age of 24 in the new JSMM documentary style YouTube video. In the video, Jennings shares her experiences as a young, female entrepreneur and the obstacles she overcame to lead to the success JSMM has achieved.

The video created by JSMM sister company, Viral Bolt Media (VBM), covers the trials and tribulations Jennings faced to start her company with few resources in Overland Park, Kan. 11 years ago. Despite Jennings’ lack of experience running a public relations firm and no financial backing, she launched JSMM and in 2006, made a business decision that would help shape JSMM to be the company it is today– integrate social media into marketing strategies.

Jennings reflects back on the first steps adopting social media marketing. “There were some publicly traded clients that sought us out because they were looking for early adopters in social media to run some test pilots in their business,” Jennings said, “and those pilots turned out to be very successful.”

Now, JSMM represents companies across the United States and overseas, from startups to publicly traded companies in a wide range of industry fields. “I love the fact that I get to create something new almost every day,” Jennings said. “Not just creating within my own business, but the clients we work with. I love having the opportunity to inspire others and encourage them to live their dream and get out there– no matter where they come from or what resources they have at their disposal.”


Online Reviews– The Key To Boosting Auto Dealer Sales

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According to digitaltrends.com, 87 percent of consumers are influenced by positive reviews, but it only takes one negative review to cost the company 30 potential customers. Just as one positive review can reign in potential leads, one negative review can have detrimental effects on sales.

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(Photo By: twobee/freedigitalphotos.net)

In our previous blogpost about social media in the automotive industry, we briefly discussed the effects of online reputation, but the subject is so crucial to auto dealer success, we decided to dedicate an entire blog to auto dealership online reputation management.

Twenty-four percent of buyers consider online review sites to be the most helpful factor in deciding where to make purchase — DigitalAirstrike.com

Just under one quarter of consumers find online reputation sites the most influential factor when making a decision, outweighing the number of customers who favored the company’s website– 15 percent. While this statistic may seem daunting, there are ways to maintain control and utilize these sites to your advantage.

Negative Reviews:

Eighty-six percent of consumers said buying decisions were influenced by negative online reviews — Dimensional Research

No matter how attentive your customer service is, there will inevitably be  dissatisfied customers. However, the simple act of responding to these negative reviews and showing customers that you are making an effort to help displeased customers can have major influence on their purchase decision.  According to Bazaarvoice, seven out of 10 reviewers said a response to a poor review from the business changed their opinion.

Once a response has been made, make sure a customer service representative contacts the displeased customer. Usually these issues can be resolved, and if you ask the customer to follow-up on their previous review, they will most likely say yes. This follow-up comment by the initial reviewer then shows other potential customers that your dealership sincerely cares about their experiences and goes above and beyond to make sure every customer is satisfied.

Ninety-six percent of unhappy customers don’t complain, however 91 percent of those will simply leave and never come back  1Financial Training services

It’s important to maintain communication with the negative reviewers, but keep in mind that of those customers with bad experiences, there are that many more who share the same experiences, but don’t bother posting a review. Use these negative reviews as a learning experience and make sure to sincerely take the customer’s review into consideration. Fixing these gaps in communication and improving customer satisfaction is a great way to stop these negative reviews before they start.

Online Monitoring:

It’s important to create Google Alerts and use Twitter monitoring apps (we recommend Twilert) to stay current on what people are saying about your dealership. Also, review sites like Trustpilot allow you to create a company page and receive email alerts when someone writes a review. It’s crucial to respond back to these complaints as soon as possible– the sooner you respond, the better the customer will feel.

Promoting Positive Reviews:

If someone had a great time with your company, encourage them to share this experience on social media or a third-party review site. Maybe run a promotion where customers create a video about their positive experience with your company and could win a prize– additionally videos are a great SEO booster and will appear in search engine results before negative comments in plain text.

Be Proactive, Not Reactive:

One of the best ways to stop negative reviews from harming company’s reputation is to be proactive. Promote the positive reviews via social media. Understand the rules for posting on these third-party sites, and if a negative review does not follow the site’s protocol (e.g. does not have proof of purchase) flag the review to be taken down. Dan Sorensen, online reputation management expert, recommends creating a plan on how to best use every online platform your brand uses and staying dedicated to monitoring all of these platforms and third-party websites. The sooner you start managing your online reputation, the sooner you can begin emphasizing the five-star reviews your customers have written.

 


JSMM Celebrates 11th Anniversary

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This month marks Jennings Social Media Marketing’s (JSMM) 11th anniversary and we could not be more excited about this accomplishment for the JSMM team!

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Since JSMM’s launch 11 years ago, CEO Valerie Jennings had been awarded 2014 Most Influential Women in Business by KC Business magazine, featured as a Woman To Watch by FridayGirl TV and interviewed by a handful of media outlets. JSMM continues to represent clients in the Kansas City area where the company was founded, as well as representing companies from all over the world such as Wyndham Vacation Ownership, Time Equities, Inc., Orient Express Hotels, as well as many other established and up-and-coming companies in the U.S., Canada, Ireland and St. Martin. More recently, in 2012, Jennings created her second startup and JSMM sister-company, Viral Bolt Media (VBM).

To celebrate this milestone of 11 years, Jennings reflects back and discusses her journey to become CEO and cofounder of JSMM.

How did you know to go for it, what made you take that risk to start JSMM?

I am a Midwestern girl by heart, but I knew I had to broaden my horizons from Iowa. I started my business at the age of 24 in Overland Park, Kan. I didn’t really know much about starting a public relations firm. I didn’t know any entrepreneurs. I had no understandings for financials. I certainly didn’t have any family money backing me so I really jumped into it eyes wide open and went with it.

What sparked the idea for Jennings? Was it something you were looking for or did you stumble upon the idea?

I had a vision of what I wanted to accomplish, and while I didn’t know what my career was going to look like, I knew I had to take some risks early on. We were in the right place at the right time and we jumped into social media before it became extramurally popular. There were some publicly traded clients that sought us out because they were looking for early adopters in social media to run some test pilots in their business, and those pilots turned out to be very successful.

Is there an aspect of your business career that you enjoy most?

I love being a spokesperson for woman in business– I enjoy doing what I do. I love the opportunity to inspire others and encourage them to live their dream and get out there no matter where they come from or what resources they have at their disposal.

 


Valerie Jennings, CEO Of JSMM, Makes Cover Of KC Business Magazine

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Valerie Jennings, CEO and founder of JSMM and Viral Bolt Media, recently made the cover of KC Business magazine as part of the Class of 2014 Influential Women.

Check out the article.

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The magazine, which will showcase and celebrate those honored as KC Business’ Class of 2014 Influential Women, selected the photo above to use as the cover of the March Issue of KC Business.

Jennings started her business more than 10 years ago at the age of 24. Since then, she has worked with vastly different businesses in both the U.S. and overseas. She is a former award-winning print journalist, published author, news anchor and television producer.

According to the article, “From travel and tourism to technology, manufacturing and real estate, the journey has been rewarding. If she had to pinpoint one moment in time as an entrepreneur, it would be when she opened up her balcony doors to the sight of the ocean in St. Maarten, where she was on an international video shoot for her company to capture the essence of the island and its cultural attractions in music, arts and dance.”

In January, the magazine announced that Jennings was one of the  30 women chosen for this years class of Influential Women, which selects the most outstanding female business and civic leaders across Kansas City. She’ll receive the award on March 19, 2014 at the Influential Women Event.

 


SpareFoot Interviews Valerie Jennings About PR Tips For Startups

Bricklayer

We’d like to thank John Egan from SpareFoot for interviewing Valerie Jennings, CEO of JSMM for his article, “PR Tips for Startups – How to Effectively Generate Media Buzz for Your Startup.


Photo: SpareFoot Blog

The article shared advice from PR and social media experts about how to get the media talking about your startup.

Jennings stressed the importance of building relationships. “Rather than blindly distributing releases, get to know reporters, bloggers and editors who cover your industry and community,” she said. She added that Twitter, LinkedIn and blogs were excellent avenues for outreach.

Check out the article here.

- By Emily Ward, social media marketer at JSMM


JSMM Reviews Record Setting Increase of Social Media Interaction During 2012 Presidential Debate

Posted by: Chelsea Lewis, social media manager at Jennings Social Media Marketing

The use of social networks for political issues was a fairly new concept during the 2008 presidential debate. The first presidential debate of 2012 already set a record on Twitter, but it’s not the only social network with increased activity. The New York Times examined the increase in social media interaction surrounding politics.

Facebook (and Twitter) create “authentic, two-way communication,” according to Adam Fetcher, deputy press secretary for the Obama campaign. Flickr and Instagram are virtual campaign scrapbooks while Tumblr and Pinterest highlight photos and other material from supporters.

Read the article.

In 2012, it is not enough for candidates to shake some hands, kiss a baby or two and run some TV ads. They also need to be posting funny little animations on the blogging site Tumblr.

If the presidential campaigns of 2008 were dipping a toe into social media like Facebook and Twitter, their 2012 versions are well into the deep end. They are taking to fields of online battle that might seem obscure to the non-Internet-obsessed — sharing song playlists on Spotify, adding frosted pumpkin bread recipes to Pinterest and posting the candidates’ moments at home with the children on Instagram.


JSMM Reviews Best Practices for Social Media Content Curation

By: Chelsea Lewis, social media marketing manager, and Valerie Jennings, CEO

One of the biggest challenges that most companies face is a lack of content, editorial planning and integrated SEO/SMO.

We spend countless hours consulting large and medium-sized businesses about how they curate content for their social communities. The trick is assessing content inventory first and then deciding on the profile of the types of customers or clients the company wants to cater to online. Then we employ an R&D process that JSMM developed to evaluate sales, marketing, search, competitive analysis and content development. These tricks are what make communities, results, success and perhaps sales escalate.

Steve Rosenbaum detailed this complex issue that all businesses face. Here are some key findings from the article:

You’ve heard the buzz word — curation — being thrown around like it’s a gadget we all know how to work. In reality, good content curation isn’t as simple as pushing a share button. It’s actually a combination of finding great content and following some simple best practices on how to successfully share that content.

If you’re a curator looking for some boundaries in what feels like the Wild West, here are five best practices to consider.


Valerie Jennings, CEO of Jennings Social Media Marketing, Featured on Entrepreneur Website MO.com

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By: Micah Pratt, director of Jennings Social Media Marketing

I am very excited to announce that Valerie Jennings is now being featured on MO.com, a website that specializes in interviews with entrepreneurs from various industries including online marketing, PR and business development.

Valerie will be a subject matter writer, sharing her expertise and industry news on social media, Internet marketing, SEO and SMO.   Valerie’s biography, as well as Jennings Social Media Marketing’s, can be found here.  Make sure to bookmark the page below so that you can check her articles out in the future!


More about MO.com

MO.com interviews entrepreneurs from all walks, across all industries, and from around the world. We focus on their habits and methods; what makes them tick. The primary focus of MO.com is entrepreneurship.

M.O. is the abbreviation for Modus Operandi or Method of Operating and we interview entrepreneurs to learn about their methods and to share their strategies and business philosophies with our readers.

 


Why Facebook Bought Instagram: How will brands leverage this powerful photo app?

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Posted by: Valerie Jennings, CEO of Jennings Social Media Marketing

While I enjoy utilizing Instagram for my own personal photography like snapping photos on trips or catching my nephews or niece in a candid shot, I can see why the Instagram purchase was of extreme value to Facebook.

Facebook is about sharing beautiful, inspirational and entertaining content while incorporating the brand into the messaging. It also gives consumers an opportunity to share their perspectives, experiences and enjoyment, too.  Ford has already utilized Instagram for a photo contest on Facebook, and I’m sure many other popular brands have incorporated the app into their consumers’ social media strategy as well.

Give Instagram a shot. We will be launching something new for our clients and perhaps JSMM via Instagram and Facebook.

Facebook Meets Instagram: What It Means for Your Brand

When it comes to Facebook’s $1 billion acquisition of Instagram, details are still coming into focus. In a public statement, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that Instagram will continue to grow independently — but further details about how the platforms will eventually weave together have not been provided. Nevertheless, the Instagram/Facebook combo presents new challenges to and opportunities for marketers.

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Google+ Business Pages & YouTube Changes Social Media Game With SMO

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Posted By: Valerie Jennings, CEO of JSMM

Recently, two announcements were made: Google+ business pages became available and YouTube premium content channels launched for niche audiences.  These two announcements change how marketers must review social media content from posting information to social media optimizing (SMO).  Engaging content that is strategically positioned on these two platforms is one key takeaway, but the other is how to correctly build a channel strategy for Google+ and YouTube.  I think the verdict is still out on what will be extremely effective, but here is a brief summary from ClickZ about how these two channels will impact the social media marketing landscape in the near future.  

Additionally, both YouTube premium content channels and +Pages will have significant impact on search visibility as Google’s algorithm continues to evolve based on social activity, or ‘social signals.’ It’s likely that premium content channels on YouTube with high levels of social engagement will have greater rank and visibility in both YouTube and Google search results.”

 

Alisa Leonard, reporter for ClickZ, highlights  Google’s Big Bets: YouTube Premium Content and +Pages

 

Key Takeaways

  • Consider this: video is the web’s fastest growing medium, accounting for over 30 percent of web traffic, and according to a recent Cisco report, will account for up to 90 percent of Web traffic by 2013.
  • YouTube’s premium content channels will continue to grow the video giant’s audiences and viewership (four billion daily views and growing).
  • It’s extremely likely that YouTube content will be integrated with +Pages and the Google social graph, creating greater intimacy between brand content and engaged audiences.
  • Social signals driven by engagement with video content will have a potentially significant impact on natural search visibility.
  • To enhance digital marketing performance and ROI, brands should develop a comprehensive content strategy focused on the integration of content, social connectivity and search visibility.

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Kansas City Car Dealer Frank Ancona Honda Launches 2nd Facebook Contest via Jennings Social Media Marketing

Enter Here

By Valerie Jennings, CEO of Jennings Social Media Marketing

Enter Here

Frank Ancona Honda, a Kansas City Honda dealer, which Jennings Social Media Marketing (JSMM) has been working with for more than a year, has launched a second Facebook contest this week. The contest is a chance to win a four-course dinner for two and wine pairing at Trezo Vino and a night at the Aloft Hotel at Park Place in Leawood, Kan.

Jennings Social Media Marketing has been utilizing the NorthSocial Facebook contest application for the past five months and has been impressed by the easy-to-use functionality, results, viral sharing opportunities and ability to load original creative work. Check out the contest on the Frank Ancona Honda Facebook page.

JSMM designed the contest, worked with Frank Ancona Honda on the creative, loaded the application via their Facebook page, developed the email opt-in opportunities and hopes to see 500 or more entries. The contests typically generate hundreds of new “likes” and email addresses for future prospective marketing.

Check out the NorthSocial applications on their website to understand what they are capable of providing, but have a social media professional design the campaign to reach your audience, engage with fans, design the NorthSocial landing pages, set up targeted Facebook ads, distribute viral press releases and send email marketing to prospects and customers to enter the contest.


The Future of Google+: Integrating Brand Pages with the Social Network’s 40 Million User Profiles

Posted by: Micah Pratt, director of social networking r&d

Last Wednesday at the Web 2.0 conference held in San Francisco, Vic Gundotra, Google’s senior vice president in charge of Google+, discussed the possible changes coming to the social networking site. One of those changes included the idea of Google+ brand pages for companies anxiously waiting to reach out to the more than 40 million users. Here is an article from Mashable.com on what Google+ brand pages could look like when made available to companies.

What Google+ Brand Pages Could Look Like [PICS]

A few weeks ago, Mashable contacted some ad agencies and asked them to imagine how brand pages on could change in light of that platform’s planned redesign.

Just as Facebook was announcing its tweaks, though, Google was on track to add brand pages to Google Plus. Though it looks like that will happen any day now, the integration hasn’t been announced yet. Meanwhile, a handful of brands, including Ford, are already enjoying the possibilities.

There are several barriers to designing brand pages for Plus. For one thing, it’s hard to stand out the way Plus looks now. The somewhat rigid format has a leveling effect. But Colin Murphy, director of social for Skinny, one of the agencies that accepted our challenge, says there are potential advantages to Plus, too. “A primary gripe among Facebook and Twitter users is that brands bombard them with messages they don’t want or care to see,” said Murphy. “In its current form, Plus doesn’t solve that problem, but Plus Brand Pages might, if they implement Public Circles.”

Skinny outlined how this might work with a hypothetical example for Mini, the auto brand. In this case, a Mini Countryman fan could join the Countryman circle and see just Countryman updates in her feed. “This level of selectivity isn’t possible on Facebook or even Twitter, unless of course you are a fan or follow the specific product you’re interested in — but there’s a major drawback to that method because the user has to seek out content streams,” Murphy says. “With Google+ it’s all in one place, and the all the admin has to do is feed pertinent content to the appropriate circles.”

In addition to Skinny, Fantasy Interactive created some fictional Coca-Cola and Starbucks brand pages. Are these on the mark? We’ll know soon enough, but in the meantime, let us know what you think of these agencies’ vision of how Google+ can accommodate brands.

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Social Networking “Friends” Politics: How to Make Facebook Ads Work to Political Candidates’ Favor

Posted by: Micah Pratt, Director of Social Networking R&D

The 2012 presidential election will be like one never experienced before. Social networking sites are playing a role in these elections that wasn’t imaginable four years ago by hosting debates, facilitating the political conversation and connecting candidates with voters in the digital world. Here is an article from CMO.com, written by Kim Soth, senior vice president of business development & marketing at Jennings Social Media Marketing, on how to get Facebook ads to work in your favor.

Five Ways to Make Facebook Ads Work For You

There is much talk in social-media circles about how to build your audience organically and that, for the most part, it is the best way to build an audience. It is certainly a good way, but it shouldn’t be your only strategy. We suggest that if you are a new company or are launching a product, you can do a great job of building fans with Facebook ads, which offer a great alternative to your marketing strategy. What’s more, Facebook ads are not nearly as complex as Google AdWords—but don’t let the simplicity fool you. For our campaigns we’ve found that Facebook ads, on average, deliver a higher click-through rate than Google AdWords.

For example, we were brought in to help promote a senatorial race. After a month of struggling to gain fans on Facebook, we eventually doubled the candidate’s fans in a week by running ads: We picked up 1,500 fans for a total cost of around $1,000.

So if you think this strategy might be for you, here are five tips that will help you make Facebook ads work for your campaigns.

1. It’s about testing. Always run multiple ads targeting the same “Likes and Interests,” and keep your Likes and Interests the same while testing different ad copy, headlines, or images. What needs to remain the same as your control for a general test is your Likes and Interests keywords. You can test many controls, but the simplest is Likes and Interests. Facebook targets audiences off of two variables: Users and Likes and Interests: If you change these in two different ads, then you don’t have an apples-to-apples test.

2. Likes and Interests matter. Likes and Interests are essentially keywords you are targeting for your campaign based on what shows up for a user. You don’t want to use random Likes and Interests keywords. To make Likes and Interests work for you, it’s important to target based on what is associated with that individual in some way—associations they belong to, things they like, where they work, what they are fans of, or what they’ve written on their walls.

It’s is important not to get carried away and add a hundred Likes and Interests keywords just because it’s cool to see the numbers of possible audience continue to rise. It would seem that big numbers of audience is a good idea, but it’s actually counterintuitive. You want to choose highly targeted Likes and Interests keywords that are tightly associated with your ad copy. Don’t choose a keyword just because of its audience reach. You want to make sure it matches everything you know about the ad copy. Just because someone rides a motorcycle doesn’t mean he is interested in a Harley. One person might buy sports bikes, another might buy BMW motorcycles, while another might be really into Harleys. So it does no good to blast all of them with a message about Harley gear.

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A Huge Thanks to Mobile Commerce Daily for Featuring Jennings Social Media Marketing & Frank Ancona Honda: Car dealership boosts social media engagement with mobile bar codes, SMS

Posted by: Micah Pratt, director of social networking r&d

Thank you to Chantal Tode at Mobile Commerce Daily for interviewing Valerie Jennings, CEO of Jennings Social Media Marketing, and Jason Heard, Sales Manager at Frank Ancona Honda, about the launch of Frank Ancona Honda’s QR code and SMS campaign.

Car dealership boosts social media engagement with mobile bar codes, SMS

Car dealership Frank Ancona Honda is adding SMS and QR codes to its social media efforts to enhance customer engagement.

Frank Ancona Honda currently has a mobile site and is active in social media. It will expand these efforts going forward with QR codes and SMS as the traffic to its sites via mobile continues to grow.

“We need to expand into mobile to support our growing customer demand on smartphones,” said Jason Heard, sales manager of Frank Ancona Honda, Olathe, KS.

“We are utilizing mobile sites right now and this is the next step to not only expanding our mobile presence, but also adding more engaging to our social media practices,” he said.

Marketing Insight
Jennings Social Media Marketing is managing the dealership’s mobile marketing rollout.

Jennings Social Media Marketing has been working with Frank Ancona Honda for almost a year managing its social media.

The dealership is also working with KickANotch for mobile tracking.

QR codes and SMS will help Frank Ancona Honda engage with its customers via social media channels and mobile as part of its ongoing marketing activities around local events.

Mobile will also help the dealership track the effectiveness of its marketing.

“We are currently sponsoring several events in the local market and the QR codes will help us understand the impact of having our cars on display at these events,” Mr. Heard said.

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Jennings Social Media Marketing Reviews Mobile Apps’ Usage: 50% of Mobile Consumers’ Prime Time Overlaps With TV

Posted by: Eric Johnson

As the popularity of smart phones continues to rise, it was only a matter of time before the mobile screen began to catch up to the big screen in terms of usage. A new study conducted by a mobile analytics firm, Flurry, points out that approximately 50 percent of mobile consumers are utilizing mobile apps during TV’s prime time.

Flurry also reports that mobile applications currently reach more than 20 million U.S. consumers per hour and the number of active iOS and Android devices in the U.S. is estimated at 110 million. These numbers reflect a significant impact to prime time viewing habits.

Here is an article from Mediapost.com about how mobile app usage increases toward television prime time.

For TV broadcasters, prime time is 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. In radio, programming and advertising are all about morning “drive time.” On the Web, the popularity of social networks like Facebook, instant messaging like Skype and video-on-demand services like Hulu are pushing up usage in the evening.

So what time of day do mobile apps find their biggest audience? A new study by the mobile analytics firm Flurry shows the audience for iPhone and iOS apps rises steadily during the day and peaks at about 9 p.m. That’s when half the U.S. app audience is using apps. “Mobile consumers are using apps either instead of, or along-side prime-time television and the Internet,” stated a Flurry blog post on the study.

The finding contributes to a growing body of research suggesting that two-screen viewing is becoming increasingly common while people are watching TV. The relative size of the TV audience during prime time was larger than that for mobile apps, at more than 60%. But app usage remained higher than TV from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., and higher than the Internet almost all day. The Internet’s reach peaked at 7 p.m., when 40% of the audience for that medium was on the Web.

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Mark Zuckerberg Reveals Major Facebook Updates at F8

Posted by: Micah Pratt, social networking research & development

Over the years, Facebook has been known to make small changes to how users operate on the social networking site. With Google+ becoming a threatening competitor, Mark Zuckerberg made serious changes to Facebook. On September 22, Mark Zuckerberg explained exactly what the 800 million users could expect from the new and improved Facebook at its annual developer conference including:

Timeline: a stream of information about you
Facebook Gestures: turning any verb into a button, similar to the “like” button. Example: Reading a book.
Open Graph: third-party companies can connect their apps and services to Facebook using a one-time permission from the user to share stuff on Facebook
Subscribe: subscribing to strangers or celebrities to receive posts from them without being Facebook friends
Ticker: a real-time list of what your friends are posting
Media: watching TV and movies, listening to music and reading news all within Facebook

Watch the whole video here


How Social Media Has Changed the Game for Search Engine’s: 1/4 of Twitter’s 5 Billion Tweets a Month Contains Links to Content

Posted by: Micah Pratt, social networking research & development

Sharing and finding content over the Internet has become easier then ever, and now social media is changing the ways search engines track quality content. This article from Mashable.com takes a look at how social networks have impacted search engines.

How Social Media Affects Content Relevance in Search

Old school SEO pros cover your ears, or be prepared to adapt your craft: Search engines are changing, and social media is a huge part of that change.

Bing, Google, and an increasing swath of nimble little search engines like Blekko and DuckDuckGo are incorporating social data into their results. This is potentially great news for new businesses trying to achieve visibility in search. It’s less great news for sites that rely heavily on link buying (illegal, but hard to catch), producing huge volumes of borderline-useless content (long-tail, content farm approach), or just really old domains (previously an SEO trump card).

Both Bing and Google admitted in interviews that their search results are positively affected by social signals, such as tweets, Facebook Likes, and +1s.

“As ideas, thoughts, questions and answers are shared more freely and easily than ever, the increased amount of information from social sources provides great benefits to users,” says a Microsoft spokesperson for Bing (who asked to remain anonymous).

“The links that you build through social media, the references, the authority — all can have an impact in various ways on how you are ranked and listed even in ‘regular’ search results,” says Danny Sullivan, Editor-in-chief of Search Engine Land, in an email interview. “Social media allows for people to provide more trusted signals.”

Search Engines Adapt to SurviveSince the early Internet days of Excite and Webcrawler, the principal goal of search engines has been to help people find what they’re looking for. Google rose to dominate the industry by tracking better indicators of content quality than anyone else. It developed a complex algorithm that measured which websites were “voting” for others by linking to them.

Essentially, it was social media, but for websites rather than people. If your site had lots of links from relevant sites, your Google rank climbed. Plenty of other factors, like putting keywords into headlines and titles, remained in play (and continually evolved), but the game changer of the last decade was links.

The Search Engine Optimization (SEO) industry emerged to help webmasters play the “me rank higher” game with Google. On the one hand, website owners attempt to adhere to Google’s standards and prove they are high quality (creating relevant, high quality content and formatting it to Google’s taste). On the other hand, shadier sites try to trick Google’s secret formula, “pretending” to be good content without having to bother with creating useful stuff.

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Location-Based Mobile Services Becoming Increasingly Popular: Over 25% of Americans Have Used Location-Based Services for Recommendations

Posted by: Micah Pratt, social networking research & development

Using location-based services to find the closest restaurant or to get directions is becoming the newest trend in mobile technology. Here is an article from The Washington Post on how Americans are using location-based services.

Over a quarter of American adults use mobile location-based services

Not many people are “checking in” using services such as Foursquare and Gowalla, but over a quarter of Americans are checking out their surroundings using location-based services.

The latest research from Pew’s Internet and American Life Project found that 28 percent of American adults have used mobile or social location-based services to get recommendations such as the best-rated nearby cafe or directions from their current location.

Only about 5 percent of those surveyed used services that post their current locations, though smartphone users were more than twice as likely to signal their location to their friends. In a similar vein, about 9 percent of all users used the location-tagging options on social media.

As once might expect, younger smartphone users are more likely overall to use check-in services, but there was no clear divide on age when it came to hitching a location-tag to a Facebook or Twitter message.

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CNN: Smartphones Make Up 35% of U.S. Mobile Market

Posted by: Micah Pratt, social networking research & development
According to a recent story on CNN.com, smartphones still do not make up the majority of the U.S. market. However, we cannot ignore the value, power and influence of these mobile devices that are about to change the way we conduct business, review products, make buying decisions, and most importantly, interact with our friends.

Why smartphones still haven’t taken over the U.S. market

Smartphones may attract nearly all of the marketing hype and news coverage, but comScore’s latest statistics show that smartphones still comprise only a minority of the U.S. mobile market — about 35%, as of July 2011.

The other 65% of U.S. mobile handsets in use are “feature phones” — which tend to be much less expensive to buy and own. Often, these phones do not require a pricey two-year wireless service contract with hefty early termination fees.

Even though smartphones cost much more, these devices have been getting popular with U.S. consumers, even in light of the country’s economic recession. After all, a 35% market share is nothing to sneeze at — especially considering that smartphones have only been widely available in the U.S. for about five years.

At some point, a majority of U.S. mobile users will indeed own smartphones. But that shift won’t happen as quickly as early forecasts anticipated.

Back in March 2010, the Nielsen Company proclaimed that smartphones would overtake feature phones by 2011. Specifically, they predicted that by the end of Q3 2011 (about a month from now), most U.S. mobile users would own smartphones.

That ambitious prediction doesn’t seem to be panning out.

For over a year, comScore has been publishing monthly mobile-market-share statistics that show the percentage of U.S. smartphones. I’ve been tracking these figures. Based on this data, it looks like it’ll be roughly October 2012 before smartphones actually take over as a majority of U.S. handsets.

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Social Media and Mobile Applications: 8 Best Practices for Deploying a Top-Ranked Mobile App

Posted by Micah Pratt: social networking research and development

The convergence of social media with mobile applications has led to cross promotional marketing, and if done correctly, can lead to major success. Here is an article by Krishna Subramanian from Mashable.com about eight ways to make sure your mobile application gets noticed.

8 Best Practices for Deploying a Top-Ranked Mobile App

Developing a mobile app is the easy part. Getting that app noticed is difficult. And getting the app to go viral is like winning the lottery. Yet many developers get millions of downloads time after time. How?

It’s all about app store SEO, and some developers have mastered it. Here are a few tips and tricks of the trade to help get your app to the top of heap.

Time Is of The Essence

The first two weeks of an app’s life are critical and will likely determine its future visibility in the app store. Top applications develop popularity within two weeks of release, and most applications have a tendency to drop in chart position over time. Remember, whatever you do — marketing campaigns, cross distribution and so on — the quicker you do it, the bigger the impact.

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Jennings Social Media Marketing’s Press Release Picked Up on Major News Sites Including Businessweek.com, Yahoo!Finance.com & Reuters.com: Veterans Funeral Care Triples ROI With Jennings Social Media Marketing

Veterans Funeral Care tripled its Facebook “Likes,” organic SEO, engagement and exposure via Jennings Social Media Marketing during a promotional campaign (www.jenningssocialmedia.com).

Jim Rudolph, president and CEO of Veterans Funeral Care, said they hired Jennings Social Media Marketing for social media promotion of their company and for a specific event. “It should be said: I waited until the last minute. Team Jennings jumped in and in 24-hours was working magic. We had around 200 people who ‘liked’ us on Facebook in two weeks and there were more than 800 ‘likes’ shortly after that. Valerie (CEO & founder) got our Marketwire press release on MSNBC. You can put me down in the ‘very happy’ category. This is my second project with them, and I’m a believer,” said Rudolph.

The goal of the Veterans Funeral Care social media project was to create brand awareness by getting new Facebook users to “Like” the page (http://www.facebook.com/Veteransfuneralcare), generate search engine optimization (SEO) and engagement. A targeted Facebook ad ran, focusing on veterans, veterans groups and Flag Day which resulted in the Veterans Funeral Care page tripling its Facebook “Likes” in a few weeks to 815. For organic SEO, a targeted Marketwire press release was written and distributed to generate traffic, millions of impressions and get picked-up by major news websites including, but not limited to, MSNBC, Reuters and Yahoo. The Twitter strategy focused on re-tweeting, sending @mentions, tweets and following veterans’ organizations.

Jennings Social Media Marketing is a full service company that utilizes the art of online storytelling with the science of measuring quantifiable results. Jennings creates comprehensive social media marketing and Web advertising strategies from website design and development to viral videos. The company represents publicly traded to medium-sized businesses across the U.S. and overseas including technology, sports, sustainability, entertainment, travel, financial, health care and real estate (www.jenningssocialmedia.com).