Walmart Fights Hunger through Social Media

From November 15-December 31 (2010), Walmart successfully used their Facebook and supporting landing pages to have voters vote for the top six hungriest cities campaign. Votes exceeded Walmart Facebook likes, and community hunger data provided by FRAC became a starting point.

Walmart successfully used their Facebook and supporting landing pages to have voters vote for the top six hungriest cities campaign.

Retail giant Walmart, is using Facebook as a means to end hunger in the United States.

Walmart has committed $2 billion dollars through 2015 to help fight hunger.  In their “Fighting Hunger Together” Facebook campaign, Walmart used the Food Research Action Center (FRAC), a national non profit organization working on public policy and private-public partnerships.

Before the Walmart Facebook hunger campaign, the Walmart Foundation was more interested in the food insecurity index – 1 of 6 people in the United States don’t know where their next meal is coming from.  FRAC provided the top 100 communities, but Salt Lake was not the number one ranking.

And what were the results of Walmart’s food hunger Facebook campaign?

Salt Lake City, Utah received the most votes with 5,320,392 supporters.  They also garnered a $1 million contribution to their hunger efforts.  The next top 5 communities, receiving $100,000 each, were Fresno, CA,  Columbia, SC,  Ogden-Clearfield, UT,  Charleston, NC/Summerville, SC and Bakersfield, CA.

There was no correlation between FRAC data and social media results, according to people familiar with the campaign.  In measuring ROI, Walmart needed to identify the top 100 communities using FRAC data, and then which community online rallies were the most participative to assist in distributing $2 billion through 2015, and in the grant world sharing information contributed to their Facebook campaign favorable outcome.  Walmart adds about 1 million new likes per month.

What is interesting about Walmart’s use of Facebook is that total votes counted were over 10 million, provided by a number of landing pages outside Facebook.  The research will help the Walmart Foundation with their hunger relief giving in 2011 and beyond, according to Margaret McKenna, president of the Walmart Foundation.   Why didn’t Walmart just use the FRAC data to distribute funds to the six hungriest communities in the United States?  Social media provided a voice for those communities who rallied around the food insecurity index, responding to the psychological need, a key ROI measurement for this particular campaign.

Japan Earthquake Searches Increase While Cyber Command Blocks Video Sites

United States Air Force-Marine Corp search Sendai Airport for on location relief efforts. While the military goes off line businesses go online to use their social networks for the cause. Photo by Staff Sargent Samuel Morse.

Earlier this week the Pentagon’s Cyber Command temporarily blocked military and Defense department personnel from online videos including You Tube, Amazon, and Googlevideo because bandwidth limits were strained according to an AP report.

*.Mil domain server identified 13 websites in which military personnel are blocked to free up more online space, especially for related localized disaster searches and online support for Japan and New Zealand.

Google Insights for Search “earthquakes” shows New Zealand has a search index of 100, making them the highest regional interest over the past 30 days.  Australia is second with a search index of 13.

Peak interest in the Japanese earthquake news updates not only led the military to block access to these sites, but also made purchase of the word “earthquake” premium content.

“Earthquake” has been searched over 6 million times globally in the past 30 days at a CPC average of roughly $0.84, an estimated ad click of 138/daily, or estimated $118.03 per day on the Google Adword network.  “Japan Earthquake” received 49,500 in the past 30 days, with an estimated average CPC of $0.22, estimated daily average click = 1, costing $0.40 per day.

Regional interest in “Japan earthquake” shows that New Zealand still leads the way in Japan’s earthquake search in the past month, followed by Singapore, Philippines, South Africa, Canada, India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Puerto Rico, and then Australia.  New Zealand’s February earthquake losses amounted to between $60 million to $90 million, according to Flagstone Reinsurance Holdings SA who also have clients in Japan.

As mounting concerns peak global interest in the region, Japan’s earthquake last week surged online interest in the region, causing the US military to temporarily block personnel’s online video downloads to support search inquiries and earthquake updates.  You Tube is the second most popular search engine and one of the online video sites blocked.  Users search online for updates, especially during times of tragedy, such as BP’s Gulf Oil spill last summer.

Search interest is also a valuable tool for discovering how people all over the world can help during this time, particularly with the children of Japan.

Due to the disaster Google launched Person Finder, other businesses learn to use their social networks for the cause and Groupon partnered with the Red Cross in 23 countries for disaster relief.  So far 103 million Yen has been raised.  Facebook uses Global Disaster Relief on Facebook page to assist the cause.  However some Internet security companies, for example McAfee, have cautioned customers the scam sites are urging people to donate through online ads.  McAfee advises to go directly to your charity’s website rather than through online ads.

Children of the World

God bless the children

So often, we go about our lives seemingly detached from what is going on “out there.” Yet we would be inhumane if we did not give pause to the suffering & terror that has gripped Japan these past few days.

It is in the pictures of the little children that rock my world and my foundation.  These innocents have no concept of what has happened to their world or the fact that for them, it will never be the same.  Some children have lost their parents either by death or separation during the earthquake that ripped the fabric of Japan and the deadly tsunami that followed.  Children are especially dear to Jesus who spoke in Mark 9:36-37 that “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me . . .”

If you are looking to give, the Salvation Army has a special page set up for donations.  ALL of the money raised for relief efforts in Japan will go to the victims.  For more information on how to give, please check out the Salvation Army Blog on the relief efforts.  Or you can text the word “Japan” or “Quake” to 80888 to make a $10 donation.  Just be sure to answer “yes” on the bounce back text.

As a prayer for the people of Japan, I found this wonderful video message. It that was created after the earthquake in Haiti but it’s prayer is timeless.  We pray it now for our brothers and sisters in Japan.  Although we may not know them by name or by face, we are all still family on this journey called life.

God speed to our Japanese friends.

200 Scan QR Code and “Plan Your Visit” at Playhouse Square

Playhouse Square just began experimenting with QR code last fall. Thus far, 200+ smartphone and mobile devices have scanned their code.

Playhouse Square, the nation’s 2nd largest performing arts center outside New York, has had at least 200 scans of their QR code since first launching them last fall, landing visitors either on their video content (Vimeo and You Tube branded channels) or “Plan Your Visit” content on Playhouse Square website.

“We’ve experimented with QR codes in our playbills, season catalog, report to the community and the back of tickets,” says Steve Citerin, marketing and public relations manager at Playhouse Square.  “They’ve been used to engage the viewer directly with video content or “plan your visit” content.

Playhouse Square’s Vimeo Plus, who began offering HD online video since October 2007 and owned by IAC/InterActiveCorp, has 172 HD online Videos (for $59.95/year) as possible landing pages for their QR code scans. Also available are 172 matching videos on their branded You Tube Channel.

QR code or “quick response” is a 2-dimensional bar-code able to carry more data across mobile applications; all QR code applications are relevant to smartphone and wi-fi enabled mobile devices.  They are becoming common in email signatures, product reviews, and business cards.

Despite the variety of outlets where QR codes can be placed, success using them is tricky. “To date we’ve had limited success, a couple hundred (scans) thus far across all efforts,” said Citerin.  “We’re not satisfied with the results to date, but we will continue to integrate them more aggressively over time, as the public’s use of them will become more commonplace.”

The mainstream use of QR code has been reached based on the number of available smartphone and wireless subscribers.

QR codes are accesable via smartphone users.  300,000 Android smartphones are activated everyday, surpassing Apple iPhone, 270,000 new subscribers, daily.  And according to Nielsen research on smartphone trends, feature phones are expect to converge and be surpassed by smartphones by 2011 Q3.

QR code is still a novel concept in mobile marketing applications.  Capstone Media learned how the Cleveland Art Museum used them to promote their new galleries when users scanned them to hear a mobile audio tour off their cell phones, receiving 400 scans. One of the areas Playhouse has not yet explored is QR code’s application in social gaming and incentives such as prizes, contests or discounts.  Playhouse Square’s Facebook (7,286 Likes) offers an “Exclusive” tab, where if you “Like” their page you get 10% off South Pacific tickets. Arts organizations already have an existing community in which they wish to engage in including the growing number of non-profit volunteers reaching nearly 2 million people core committed group to the arts, according to the National Arts Index.  Every business/organization has two forms of marketing: programmatic (or product/service) and institutional (or branding).  QR code is a programmatic effort to attract a marginal and younger demographic.

Despite the lower than expected scan results to date, Playhouse Square has had a successful season “due to having shows people want to see this season and continually refining our marketing mix,” says Cisterin. “We use TV, print, radio, billboards, online and direct mail/email communications.  TV, print and direct tend to be high on the priority list, with online growing in importance as well.” Developing QR code is free.  Having original content such as HD online video and “plan your visit” relevant content offers landing pages for ROI data and analyticsfor monitoring web traffic.

RELATED BLOGS:

Cleveland Art Museum QR Code Shawabtys and Cista Handles for Gallery Tour.”  Capstone Media.  August 21, 2010.

QR Complements Campaign at Cleveland Art Museum to Draw Attendance.”  Capstone Media.  December 15, 2010.

ABOUT:   Playhouse Square is a non-profit performing arts center founded in 1921.  Playhouse Square is the nation’s 2nd largest performing arts center outside of New York City and has over 1,000 events annually.  Every year they raise $4 million of which, $1 million goes to arts education, gifting the local economy with over $43 million in value added services.

 

Ever Wonder if Everyone Reads Your Facebook Updates? They May Not.

Everyone's Facebook News Feed, from business to personal, defaults to "Friends and pages you interact with most". So not everyone sees your status updates.

“News Feed”, it’s our favorite Home tab in Facebook taking us to our friends/fans and “like” pages.  With Facebook’s most recent changes we may not be accessing all of our “Friends”.  The new default setting is “Friends and pages you interact with most.” If you want everyone to know your news you have to edit the News Feed Settings to “All of your friends and pages.”

V3, a marketing and advertising agency privately held in Kansas Missouri blogged that the default News Feed settings are true for both business and personal pages.

Facebook defaults everyone to “Friends and pages you interact with most.”

Here is “How to edit your settings so everyone sees it”-

  • 1.  Go to the Home tab to see your News Feed and scroll to the bottom to the Older Posts link.  Your News Feed Edit Option button is in the same light blue border as the Older Posts link.

2.  Click on Edit Options and change your Show posts from: “Friends and pages you interact with most” to “All of your friends and pages.”

Now that everyone can see your status updates you will begin to see more news updates beyond your most frequent friend interactions.

If you are accessing Facebook mobile, be sure to touch “Full Site” on your iPods, iPads, iPhones and other wireless (3G or 4G) mobile devices or you will not see “edit options”.

Other News Feed Options. On the other hand, you can select what you see in your News Feed by passing over your friends postings (which will activate the “X”).  Once you click on the “X” you’ll have 4 choices.

  1. Hide this post
  2. Hide all by “a user”
  3. Hide all current posting content
  4. Mark as spam

If you change your mind about hiding a user’s status update or other content, return to the same News Feed Edit Options, select the user’s name and click the “X” removing them from the “hide list.”

For business users on Facebook, you can edit your News Feed the same way as you would a personal Facebook page.

ABOUT: V3 Integrated Marketing, a full service marketing and social media agency uses new media to create brand awareness. Founded in 2009 in Kansas City, Missouri, with 3 employees they focus on what they call Marketing 3.0 defined as online identity using social networks: website, email, blog posts, tweets, You Tube videos, Google Place Pages, and Facebook updates.

Wael from Google Tweets Egypt Revolution 2.0 to Resolution

Wael Ghonim, Google Marketing Executive and leader of last month's Cairo protests, used Twitter and other landing webpages to rally activists. He has 105,949 followers, 298 following, and 2,965 listed.

Wael Ghonim, Google’s regional marketing executive and a avid Twitter user, said in a CNN interview that this is an Internet revolution, “Welcome to Egypt Revolution 2.0,.”

Ghonim’s Twitter, with 298 following, 105,949 followers, and 2,965 listed, tweeted “Revolution 2.0: Mission Accomplished.”

“If you want to free a society just give them Internet access,” Ghonim says in a CNN interview.  “Definitely this is an Internet revolution.”  These webpages served as a landing place for activists to gather before Tahrir Square, Cairo.

In Twitter metrics most would say that it is the impressions, retweets, replies and clicks that matter more than the follower/following ratios.  Ghonim’s followers are much greater than his following, but other Twitter users have a greater number of followings, however it’s not clear which ratio is better.

Using Twitter’s promoted tweets you are given impression data, but you don’t need promoted tweets to measure retweets, replies or clicks, the other 3 useful Twitter metrics.

Not surprisingly Twitter recently received 11 percent recommendation by its users.  You Tube was rated the highest at 50 percent while Facebook came in at 36 percent.  For Wael Ghonim, he has over 1,000 You Tube videos about him by CNN, CBS, Al Jazeera and individual You Tube users.  Twitter’s lower recommendation rate is likely caused by the frustration of measuring the follower/following ratio, while the other 4 metrics (impressions, retweets, replies, and clicks) monitor content your users like, actually are more important.

Twitter is a great social media platform for resolving protests and organizing, but how does it apply to business?  Google searches and Bing results show tweets. Facebook shows “likes” so content your company tweets about (or Likes) can be found in search, but using Twitter requires users to be bold.  What began as a satirical headline that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia offered $150 billion to buy Facebook to prevent people from organizing protests in the future.  Why didn’t he offer to buy Twitter?  Perhaps Facebook comes with higher recommendation rates.  Since social media organizes people around a common cause, your business or organization can organize its content around its customer or core competency and use Twitter for cause marketing.

RELATED BLOGS

Mobile Twitter Chirps Tweets.”  Capstone Media.  October 22, 2010.

Tweet for Better Rooms Hotel Staff Uses HootSuite to Monitor Comments.”  Capstone Media.  August 20, 2010.

Avoid the Social Media Crash of 2011

Five Functions to Use

As of August 2010, forty-three percent of companies utilizing Social Media were not measuring their ROI against this media platform.  If you are one of those companies, you are likely to fail in your social efforts in 2011 although not because Social Media is ineffective.  You will fail because your company simply won’t be able to determine the value of the time and effort that Social Media management requires.

With emerging advertising options available through social media your company needs to understand the 5 outlets or uses of social media. Jamie Turner writes “How to Avoid the Great Social Media Crash of 2011” echoing how Fortune 500 Companies and others have found success using the 5 social media functions.

1. Branding: Your company’s brand defines its value to the customer.  It makes the promise of the brand’s delivery on product quality.  It defines a brand’s reputation.  The use of Social Media allows  the brand to engage with its customers, maintain the brands reputation, familiarity, preference and brand equity.

2. eCommerce: Buying and selling goods online requires businesses and organizations to have simple landing pages and easy instructions for online purchases. eCommerce generates $204 billion (in 2008), led by eBay, the first prominent eCommerce player, earning $15 billion in sales this year (2010).  From October 31 to December 23 (2010) eCommerce saw a 15.4 percent Y/Y growth rate of $36.4 billion last Christmas season. An extension of eCommerce is mCommerce, or mobile commerce since many consumers are 3G (and some 4G) subscribers and mobile devices use WiFi.  Last year mobile ad spending reached $34 million and is projected to reach $4 billion by 2015.

3. Research: Social Media is ripe for collection of social and consumer behavior data as well as measuring social sentiment.  Ted Williams, once a homeless man from Columbus, captured national media attention this January when a viral video of Williams and his “golden voice” spread through Facebook posts.  In addition to national media attention, the Cleveland Cavaliers offered Williams a position to do voice over work for the organization (“Cavs Consider Hiring Homeless Internet Star,” by Mary Schmitt Boyer, Plain Dealer, January 6, 2011; D4).  To date, Williams has not been hired by the CAVS, however by encouraging fans to visit their landing page WeWantTedWilliams.com (now a landing page for QuickenLoans) they were able to collect fan feedback on Williams.  The move also enabled the CAVS to conduct “fan listening” with insights on fans’ views on the franchise and its hiring decisions.

4.  Customer Retention. A fourth function of social media is to inform, entertain and engage your current customers.  This is important since it costs about 5 times more to attract new customers.  Customer loyalty is met through excellent customer service including using social media as part of your customer service objectives.  Ana Papakhian, Director of Communications for The Cleveland Orchestra, uses social media to engage its current customers.

Capstone Media met with Cleveland Orchestra in October 2010 to review its aggressive use of Social Media.   In only 4 months, the orchestra reports growth of 17% on its YouTube views, 47% grown of its Flickrphotos, 53% more Facebook “Likes” for maestro Franz Welser and a very impressive growth rate of 32% for The Cleveland Orchestra Facebook page.

5.  Lead Generation:The fifth function of social media is in the area of lead generation and database collection. Actively collect customer data for mailings, email marketing, or other traditional advertising methods.  One helpful technique is to draw customers to your location through local search advertising such as Google Adwords or Googlemaps. Once you have a collected a potential customer’s contact information, remarket materials to encourage engagement and monetize the relationship.

CORRECTIONS: This blog originally published by Capstone Media, February 28, 2011 wrote that the Cleveland Cavaliers hired Ted Williams.  Quote:  “…hired Williams as their next in arena announcer” was changed to “… the Cleveland Cavaliers offered Williams a position to do voice over work for the organization.”  To date Williams has not been hired by the CAVS.

REFERENCE

“How to Avoid the Great Social Media Crash of 2011″. Jamie Turner, Marketing Profs. December 21, 2010.

Updated: Net Semi-Neutrality Rules Allow Internet Companies Pay for Faster Service

Web data and video services have seen the most Petabyte growth and the net neutrality debate has focused

In the growing consumption of Petabyte data per month the new ruling creates 2 Internet Classes, wired and the other wireless. Wireless networks like Verizon can charge Google, for example, to deliver data at faster rates. FCC rules and regulations may suggest charging per data consumed, making Internet subscriptions at variable costs per month. However wiggle room for wireless at this time is allowing for wireless applications to develop.

In October 2010 Google and Verizon presented an FCC proposalregarding net neutrality.  Now Verizon Communications, Inc. can charge Internet companies like Google Inc.’s You Tube to provide faster wireless data delivery of streaming video, according to a December 21, 2010 FCC approved compromise to create two Internets. 

Since Internet congestion slows web traffic, some Internet providers either blocked or slowed data delivery, prompting the net neutrality debate.  Julius Genachowski, chairman of the FCC, suggested providers could create a price per data consumed that would part from the current flat rate monthly Internet subscriptions. 

The 3 to 2 vote approved a compromise that would broadly create two Internet classes, one for wireless networks (smartphones and wireless devices) and the other for fixed-line providers.   Democratic commissioners were in favor of it with Republican commissioners opposed. 

When the Internet first was developing, advertising revenue covered much of the cost.  The approval of two Internet classes has opened the door for the possibility of additional revenue and profit in the network economy through variable Internet subscription rates depending on data consumed. 

Blocking Access is Prohibited for Land Line Providers, but Wireless Have Wiggle Room  

The new rules are a win for the wireless industry, but Internet companies like Google believe the decision is a good first step and stronger regulations need to have rules equivalent for wired and wireless services. 

In other news, last week Android passed Apple iOS smartphone popularity, according to Millennial Media mobile ad network.  Android, owned by Google, Inc., measured 46 percent of all ad impressions across their mobile (wireless) network while Apple iOS was at 32 percent. 

With wiggle in wireless networks have exploded in mobile display ad business placement. 

4info, a mobile advertising company serving ad units including mobile web, apps, video, and SMS, increased mobile display ads 2,000 percent in 2010.  Mobile web advertising is 80 percent of their revenue (20 percent from SMS), and 69 million unique usersof wireless or 75 percent of wireless Web users in the United States are said to be reached by the 4info ad network. 

Wireless applications go beyond wired Internet services, delivering different kinds of content such as location based services.  Starbucks (NASDAQ: Sbux) has a national mobile/wireless payment system available to 6,800 Starbucks stores and about 1,000 Target (NYSE: TGT), co-branded, locations.  Using QR Code, Starbucks customers can download a free Starbucks Card, Mobile App that can pay for their purchase by using their phone as a scanner.  Starbucks says it is using this mobile payment system to build brand loyalty and customer rewards, convenience, and social connection.  One third of Starbucks customers use smartphones; three quarters of them using either Black Berry and iPhone mobile devices. 

Mr. Genachowski said “[M]obile carriers faced more congestion issues than other companies and need more leeway to manage their networks.”  Wireless Internet has wiggle room while wired Internet cannot cite congestion as a reason for blocking or slowing down content except for “reasonable network management”.  Wireless providers can charge for speedier delivery, but monthly wired subscriptions are still on a fixed rate delivery.  The wireless platform is still being formed – from location based services – to mobile display advertising, without FCC restrictions.

RELATED BLOG 

Google and Verizon offer an FCC Proposal on Net-Neutrality”. Capstone Media.  October 21, 2010. 

ABOUT:  4infonetwork, a mobile advertising agency, funded by investments from US Venture Partners, Draper Fisher Jurveston, NBC Universal’s Peacock Equity Fundy, Mezzanine Capital Partners, and Gannett Company, Inc, is headquartered in San Mateo, CA.  Their premier product is AdHaven, a publishing platform suite for mobile advertising tools, built upon mobile display and SMS ads heading toward app rich media, video, and software capabilities.  Founded in 2004 by Mr. Zaw Thet and 50 employees, 4info received $8 million of C funding (3/1/05), $10 million in D funding (6/1/07), and $20 million in unattributed funding (1/22/09), and last year acquired advertising start up Butter (6/21/10).

And the 2011 Super Ad Bowl Award goes to . . .

So, the 2011 Super Ad Bowl, with its reported 110 MILLION viewers, is now history.  Who won?  Hard to say.  Some of the ads were entertaining, many were boring and some, well, just downright disturbing.  Tuning into the morning talk shows it is interesting to note that more conversation was given to the ads themselves versus the actual game.

So much for the reported death of TV advertising.

I mean, you’ve got two awesome teams who both have multiple Super Bowl Championships under their belt but the chatter of the day after isn’t about the game, it’s about the ads. (By the way, our favorite, the Pittsburgh Steelers, STILL possess SIX Super Bowl Rings to the Packers four.)

In our opinion, the clear winners, purely from measuring Social Media ROI, have to be the PepsiCo brands Pepsi Max and Doritos.  Their commercials exploded on the social scene and obliterated the competition. 

Were these really the best ads in creative execution, brand messaging, clear delivery of brand value?  Not sure but for the 2011 Super Ad Bowl it just doesn’t matter.

PepsiCo’s “Crash the Super Bowl” Contest

Those original Pepsi Max ads and the somewhat disturbing Doritos ads were created by consumers, not a big Madison Avenue Ad agency.  Seriously.  

This is the fourth year that PepsiCo has run their consumer generated Super Bowl Ad contest – the Doritos and Pepsi Max “Crash the Super Bowl” video contest. This year’s Grand Prize winner, based on the USA Today Ad Meter, could walk away with up to $5 Million. 

After the ad showings, the Social Media Universe rocked with consumer posts, comments and views of the Pepsi Max and Doritos YouTube channels. And the Twitter & Facebook streams were out of control. 

Doritos

In just twenty minutes while writing this post, Doritos added 100 Facebook followers.  Not bad for a site that has well over 1.5 Million “Likes”.  Social Mention pulled up 352 Doritos mentions in less than 24 hours.  When you calculate in the percent of social sites that are private and multiply by the above it is feasible that over 1,000 social postings occurred in just the past 24 hours for Doritos. The Twitterverse just keeps rolling with comments on Doritos posting an average 100 new posts every 5 minutes. 

Pepsi Max

Social Mention’s tracking of Pepsi scored 320 mentions, 281 for Pepsi Max alone, again in less than 24 hours.  Compared to rival Coca Cola’s 162 mentions, Pepsi shows a clear 3 to 1 spread advantage even though Coca Cola’s brand reports higher overall brand awareness.  On Twitter, Pepsi was posting an average 100 posts every minute.  Coca Cola may be one of the top US Brands but in this arena Pepsi clearly stole the ball to win the game.

If you want to see all the ads from the 2011 Super Bowl, Fanhouse has the best site for viewing the ads organized by quarter.

So, we’re curious – what do you think?  Who gets your vote for the Capstone Media 2011 Super Ad Bowl Award?

Cleveland Metroparks Tweets About Groupon Deal for Tobogganing

3,108 All Day Tobogganing passes sold for the Cleveland Metropark's Chalet in Mill Stream Run Reservation using a tweet about a Groupon deal for Park visitors.

This February over 3,000 people will go tobogganing, hopefully not all at once.  We are in the frost of winter, but Cleveland Metroparks warmed the season using Groupon.

Cleveland Metroparks Twitter enjoys 912 following, 3,770 followers, and 278 listed with 720 tweets.  You can get mobile SMS alerts by texting “clevemetroparks” to 40404.

Last week the Park tweeted a Groupon deal at the Chalet for a day of Tobogganing.

Groupon, the social group buying discount site Google unsuccessfully tried to acquire last year for $6 billion, sold 3,108 $4 All-Day Tobogganing passes, an $8 value.  Visitors are thrilled by two 1,000 foot chutes with 70-foot drops, an indoor and outdoor fireplace and snack bar.  The Groupon offer expires February 27, 2011.  If you are going to Chalet to use your Groupon deal Cleveland Metroparks has a full promotional February schedule with more free giveaways, including racing Lake Erie Monster’s mascot Sully, free winter hats, and family day discounts.

The Groupon deal was advertised through a variety of ways using Cleveland Metroparks social media according to Dan Crandall, marketing specialist with Cleveland Metroparks.  “We first put up a QR code on our Facebook late in the day,” he said. “We figured smartphone users knew what that was.  Then we posted the Groupon up there and after that, you know with social media you never know where it’s going to end up and get shared.”  It was posted on Metroparks’ twitter as well.  Even though most people already know about tobogganing at the Chalet Cleveland Metroparks still needs to find ways to market the Chalet and using social media is a great, free way to contact with people following us, according to Crandall.  Further, engaging in social media allows you to reach your tech savvy, web surfing customer.

The Groupon deal was also advertised on Cleveland Metromix, a service of WKYC Channel 3.

When you’re promoting a Groupon deal among your audience using your social media platforms make sure your offer drives a resultant purchase.  While Cleveland Metroparks normally charges $8 for tobogganing passes, the $4 Groupon price brings in more customers who in turn purchase more refreshments and raises brand awareness, recall and recognition.

CORRECTIONS: The Cleveland Metroparks does not use the word “The” before its name.  In the original blog, Capstone published the article with the word “The” in front of “Cleveland Metroparks.”  So “The” has been removed from original publication.  On quoting Cleveland Metroparks – when article original was published “We first put up a QR code on our Facebook,” he said is changed to: “We first put up a QR code on our Facebook late in the day.”  Another edited attribution from Cleveland Metroparks publication of blog stated originally: “Even though most people already know about tobogganing at the Chalet you still need to get on board with emerging technology, according to Crandall.”  That statement is changed to: “Even though most people already know about tobogganing at the Chalet Cleveland Metroparks still needs to find ways to market the Chalet and using social media is a great, free way to contact with people following us, according to Crandall.”

ABOUT:  Groupon, Inc. founded in November 2008 in Chicago, is the leading online collective group buying social media platform offering localized deals all over the world.  They are privately held with 3,100 employees, with 32 percent of their staff as account executives.  On 1/11/11 they received $950 million in Series D funding.  The recent attempt of Google to purchase Groupon for $6 billion has led to discussions about a possible IPO in the future.  Last year the company earned an estimated revenue of $350 million.  Both Forbes Magazine and the Wall Street Journal predict the company to be the fastest to make $1 billion in sales.  They make money after the critical mass of users “buy in” to the deal and only charge a marketing fee based on successful buy ins.