Posts Tagged ‘loyalty program’

Instagram, Twitter Direct Image Messaging Brings Opportunity for SMBs

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

As social media channels continue to pile on new features that make them act more like one another, the capabilities that once differentiated these tools are becoming less and less unique.  The latest bit of “feature-creep”-  as Roundarch Isobar’s Tim Dunn calls it - to take place is the recent introduction of direct image messaging on both Twitter and Instagram.

Instagram Direct allows users to send photos directly to people that follow them and Twitter now lets users send images via mobile direct messages.  With these recent updates, SMBs have a new way to connect and engage with their followers.  These images have the ability to tell a more personalized and direct visual story while building brand and product awareness.

Given the limited reach of these messages, targeting the best customers in conjunction with some sort of loyalty program may help maximize customer engagement. Similarly, listening to followers may uncover an opportunity to directly promote or inform of a product or service to a specific follower.  Once a targeting approach is defined, here are a few ways SMBs can use direct image messaging to drive consumer actions:

  1. New Products: Before making a new product available to all customers, SMBs can give specific followers the feeling of exclusivity by messaging a “sneak peak” photo of a new product that just arrived while making it available just to them.
  2. Coupon Codes: SMBs can give followers a reason to visit their store by sending a picture of a coupon for an in-store discount that expires that day.
  3. Sales and Promotions: Instead of just telling consumers about a sale, now SMBs can show them by sending pictures of the specific products and services that are on sale.
  4. Greetings: Create specific picture messages for special occasions, holidays, birthdays, etc.

Just like any other form of marketing, there needs to be boundaries and limits to the amount of messages that SMBs send. Overdo it and followers are sure to stop following.  With a thoughtful content schedule and targeting strategy, these new direct image messages are a great way to connect with followers on a more personal level.

See below for a great infographic Tim Dunn and team put together on the increasing levels of feature-creep among social networks:

Businesses Can Now Map Custom Data with Google Maps

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


Last week, Google introduced Maps Engine Pro, a tool that helps businesses visualize their individual data on the Google Maps platform. The tool allows small businesses to use location tools provided by Google to create both internal- and external-facing maps.

The Google Maps Engine Pro tool uses imported data, including addresses, names, office locations and sales territories to visualize a business on the map. Maps Engine Pro will allow businesses to optimize the locations of people and company assets, engage users and build apps using all of Google’s layers. Maps Engine Pro allows SMBs and individual employees to create their own stylized maps, without specialized training or developer resources.

This new variation is an adapted version of Google Maps Engine, which is a more advanced map styling tool offering a full spectrum of maps creation. The Pro tool has been simplified for business professionals.

“By providing better ways to easily integrate maps into your organization’s operations, businesses now have the ability to use powerful mapping technologies that were once only available to mapping experts,” according to Brian McClendon, VP of Google Maps.

Pure Fix Cycles, a distributor of custom-made fixed-gear bicycles, is using Maps Engine Pro to identify sales opportunities across the company’s target markets, hoping to expand its business. The company’s founder, Jordan Schau, is finding the new tool useful from a customer service standpoint:

“Looking at a spreadsheet of 100 accounts on the East Coast, I would have no idea where any of them are. I uploaded that spreadsheet [to Maps Engine Pro] and I can say ‘Customer service team, check out this map. When a customer calls, [we can] send them to a store that have a lot of inventory’ or send them to stores that order from us often.’”

Being able to visualize and easily identify location patterns is incredibly important for businesses looking to properly delegate their local marketing spend. Local businesses looking to grow their customer base would be wise to look into the tool to map out customer data. For instance, a business could input data from its rewards program to see which parts of town customers are coming from to help guide where in the city to focus marketing dollars. Additionally, small businesses could map purchases to determine product-buying patterns in their locale, providing insights on which products to market more heavily in different areas.

It’s exciting to see what new mapping technology is bringing about not just for consumers looking to find their way, but for small businesses looking to harness insights to drive business goals forward.

Facebook Using Offline Data to Target Online Ads

Monday, February 25, 2013


Ad Age reports that Facebook has started a new strategy for targeting ads to its users. The social network is working with big data firms Acxiom, Datalogix, and Epsilon to garner data from brand loyalty programs and match them with Facebook user profiles.

This approach will allow companies to very specifically target online ads to Facebook users based on their offline shopping habits. For example, when a consumer makes a purchase at a grocery or drug store using their rewards card, Facebook’s advertisers will be able to target ads to that consumer when they visit the social network:

“The targeting would hypothetically enable Coca-Cola to target to teenagers who’ve bought soda in the last month, or Pampers to show ads to North Carolina residents who’ve recently bought baby products, since Facebook’s own array of demographic and interest-based targeting options can be added to further refine audience segments,” says Ad Age.

Facebook is currently only in the testing phase for this method of ad targeting, but in the future local businesses with rewards programs could certainly find the initiative useful. It will be interesting to see how both advertisers and consumers respond, and how much the program can grow given user privacy concerns.