Votigo Growth and Product Enhancements

Press Release:  September 9th, 2014

Votigo Sees Exponential Growth with its SaaS Subscription Business and Continues its Product Expansion in first half of 2014

Company nearly triples its Subscription Customer Base and continues to enhance its social marketing and promotions platform with new features. 

Votigo, the complete social media marketing and promotions company, announced today that it grew its Software-as-a-Service subscription customer base by over 280% in the first half of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013.  That number is up significantly compared to the over 100% year-over-year growth from 2012 to 2013 the company reported earlier in the year.  Several strategic partnerships, changes in the Social Media Marketing vendor landscape, and an increase in demand from Middle-market companies have helped with the growth in subscriber base.  In addition to the SaaS subscription growth the company has continued to serve new and existing clients with full-service and custom promotions and social apps.

At the same time its ever-expanding Social Media Marketing & Promotions Platform continues to be enhanced with new features including Social Campaign Calendar, Social Content Hub, Multi-format UGC Contest templates and increased Mobile capabilities.

“The growth of our subscription customer base and the mass adoption of our always-on self-service promotions platform is very exciting for us!  When we first launched in 2007 we knew marketers needed this kind of easy-to-use tool to create promotions to grow their brand and customer databases.” says co-CEO and Founder, Jim Risner, “Now that marketers fully buy into social, mobile, and web promotions we are seeing the increase in demand of our products and services.”

Q1 and Q2 2014 Highlights:

  • Over 280% growth in SaaS subscription customer base
  • Successful traction with several strategic reseller partnerships
  • Launched new Multi-format UGC Contest template
  • Launched new Social Marketing Calendar
  • Launched new Social Content Aggregator / Galleries

Helping our Customers Achieve their Goals:

  • 45,000 new Facebook Likes per day during a Votigo campaign
  • 10,000 contest / sweepstakes registrations per day
  • 1,000 photos and videos submitted per day
  • 1,000 votes cast per day

Numbers based on aggregate averages across all Votigo campaigns from January 1 through June 30, 2014.

With Votigo’s Social Media Marketing & Promotions Platform, businesses have an unmatched tool for acquiring and engaging customers across social channels, the Web, and Tablet / Mobile devices.  Brands can run promotions, user-generated content contests, sweepstakes, and other marketing engagement apps that activate customers; measure the impact and ROI of a brand’s social marketing efforts; and use Conversation Manager and Social Contacts for handling communications and Social Customer Relationship Management (Social CRM) across multiple users, social networks and geographies.  Votigo also continues to provide custom promotions that integrate with any mobile, web, and social channel, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Google+, and new platforms as they emerge.

About Votigo 

Votigo is a leading social media marketing and promotions company with a Software-as-a-Service platform that supports premium, full-service solutions and easy-to-use self-service tools for brands and their agencies including Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, MasterCard, Live Nation, Sharpie, DreamWorks, Breitling, and GoPro.  Votigo’s technology platform allows brands, agencies and enterprises to acquire, engage, and manage their customers across major Social Networks, the Web, and Mobile.  Votigo’s social marketing suite includes Cross-Channel Promotions, Social Apps, Social Marketing Calendar, Conversation Manager, Contacts, and Analytics. Founded in 2006, Votigo has offices located in Boulder, Colorado; San Francisco Bay Area, and Hyderabad, India.  Votigo made the Inc. 500||5000 list of fastest growing private companies in America in 2013 and 2012.



The End is Just the Beginning

Just because your promotion has ended doesn’t mean you can drop the ball; there is still plenty of work to be done.  It is important to follow through with your promotion and continue to connect with your fans.  Your promotion has most likely established new or stronger relationships with your fans and it is important to act on these relationships.

One way to celebrate your fans is to send out an email to all of the participants and offer them a reward for engaging with your brand. This could be in the form of a coupon or a discount code, a preview of an upcoming product, etc.  It is also important to celebrate the winner of your promotion by announcing their win on your social media channels and displaying their entry in a gallery, a blog post, or your personal website.

Your next step should be to follow up and study the results of your promotion.  Measure your success by measuring the Return on Investment (ROI).  This way you will understand the impact of your social media marketing efforts.  Identify any trends to understand how your audience interacts with your business. Find out what resonates well with your audience and what information was disappointing and unexpected.  The research process is equally as important in this stage as it is in the planning stage.  All of these results can help you to optimize your social marketing campaigns in the future.


Maintaining Momentum for your Campaign

Interacting with consumers and fans in ongoing dialogue is what social media marketing revolves around.  When launching a campaign this dialogue remains a priority from beginning to end and is essentially what will keep the campaign going.  One of the big challenges when running a campaign on social media is that it is easy to start the conversation and just as easy to stop it.  Running a successful campaign relies on maintaining momentum; but how do you do this successfully?

Here are 5 tips to help your campaign maintain momentum:

  1. Design for participation- Make sure that your promotion is designed to fully engage your fans and to encourage them to actively participate with your brand. Photo and video contests are a great way to ensure creative engagement.
  2. Get Personal- Create personal conversations with fans that enter your contest by tweeting to them, posting to their Facebook page, or by writing about their entry in your blog.  This social media communication shows your fans you notice and appreciate their entry and engagement.
  3. Constantly update your fans- Post updates about the promotion on your social media channels and personal website.  In order for fans to stay engaged they need to have all the facts. This can include sharing key milestones such as finalists being selected, just reached 100 or 10,000 entries, or even fun facts about the brand.  Post quality content about your campaign and your brand on a consistent basis.
  4. Announce daily giveaways and winners- by posting the winners on your social media channels you are encouraging your fans to continue to visit your social media pages and check in with the brand.
  5. Schedule posts- set up posts ahead of time and schedule when you would like them to go live.  This is a great way to ensure that all of the information gets posted and that the posts are spread out.

It is important to keep your fans interested in your promotion and in extension, your brand.  By incorporating these ideas into your marketing strategy you will create a continuous conversation that is rewarding for both you and your fans.


How to Use Social Media for Business

Social media has changed the way the world communicates, creating real time interconnectivity between people, businesses, and geographies. As social media continues to grow in popularity, brands are looking for ways to increase their fan base and leverage their social presence to increase sales and brand affinity.

Here are 5 ways to leverage social media for business so that you can maximize your social marketing efforts.

1. Drive Conversations: 

Social media is a powerful tool for engaging your customers and fans in a conversation. Open up two-way communication between your business and your consumers to provide a way to stay connected with your fans and to introduce your brand to those who are less familiar. Interact with your fans and reply to what they have to say. By engaging in conversation, you’ll gain exposure on social channels and increase credibility by getting your customers to refer your brand or talk about their experience with your company.

Everyone has experienced the amazing ability that word-of-mouth has to spread a message instantly and to a large amount of people. Social media does exactly that. It acts as a catalyst of word-of-mouth, making it easy for your fans to recommend your brand to their peers. Social media is a vehicle that allows and encourages your customers to connect and interact with each other, sharing details about your company and products. Statistics show that 53% of active social networkers follow a brand on social media, and 60% of those who use digital methods to research about the products they intend to buy, learned about it on social media sites. Get your fans talking about your brand and you’ll be rewarded with better brand awareness and sales.

2. Get to know your audience better:

Not only is social media a great tool for allowing your audience to get to know you, it is also a way for you to get to know them. Social media can be used as a way to gather consumer research. Many of your fans are using social media as a way to show the world who they are. Observe what information your fans put out there and use that information to get to know them and their expectations in regards to your brand or products. Consumer research can be used in every aspect of your marketing efforts; it is imperative to know who you are marketing to and what they anticipate. By listening to your fans, you’ll have a better understanding of how to be successful marketing to them.

3. Provide customer service:

Before the boom of social media, customers would have to write a letter or call the company’s customer service line if they were unhappy with a product or service. Today, with the growth and pervasiveness of social media, these customer service complaints can be resolved online almost instantly. Customers can access the Internet everywhere and at anytime, therefore making it easier to communicate and receive responses to their questions in a more efficient manner.

Immediate response through social media is the kind of service customers are beginning to expect and demand. This is an example of how social media marketing can help increase brand loyalty and customer retention. If you provide excellent customer service, your customers will be more likely to buy from you in the future.

4. Educate and inspire:

To help build a relationship with your fans, you need to offer them something compelling – an incentive to engage with you. Creating and sharing great content that is relevant to your brand can help build a sense of trust with your audience and keep people interested in following your brand. People are often looking towards brands for information. Determine what type of content your audience responds to by trying out different types of content and experimenting. Think about how your brand fits into your audiences’ lifestyle and try to create and share content that your fans will be excited about. If you are able to educate or inspire your fans, you’ll build affinity, trust, and most importantly keep them interested and engaged with your brand on social media.

When in the process of creating interesting content the most important thing to be thinking about is your target audience. When creating content it is not only about writing, it is important to read what is out there already and what has been getting your audience’s attention. Find out what your audience finds interesting and adapt this so that it works in conjunction with your brand or business.

Another way to create content that is interesting to your audience is to create content that answers their questions. This can help your customer service as well, because you’ll be providing answers to commonly asked questions without having to address each customer individually.

An added benefit of creating great content is that it can help your SEO efforts and drive traffic to your website. By conducting keyword research and determining what your customers are searching for, you can better understand what they are looking for and tailor your content to their needs.

5. Run a promotion:

Promotions such as contests and sweepstakes are a fun and simple way to engage your fans and customers, allowing them to interact with your company. Promotions help create buzz and excitement around your brand, generating awareness and exposure.

When choosing what type of promotion to run, such as a photo or video contest versus a sweepstakes, you should analyze which type of promotion better suits your goals. For example, a photo or video contest is a fun way to get your fans involved and engaged, however this type of promotion requires more time and effort from your customers and fans. This means that while you are engaging fans with your brand or business, you may also receive fewer entries. It is a good idea to invite users to stay involved by allowing them to vote on the best entry. Sweepstakes, on the other hand, have a lower barrier to entry with the only requirement being to enter your email. This allows for more fans to be inclined to enter, but also means there is less engagement.

Both forms of promotions are beneficial in different ways; it depends on what end goal is more important to your marketing efforts. It is possible to run a sweepstakes and a photo contest simultaneously, but you must make sure to do so in a beneficial and smart way. You want to make sure that the two promotions vary enough so that they are not repetitive. An example of this would be to run a weekly trivia sweepstakes with a question and winner of the week, alongside a shorter photo contest.

For your promotion to be a successful marketing tool, it is important to offer prizes that relate to your brand, business, or products. It is often a good idea to offer your own products as the prize; this is a cost effective way to ensure that your customers will try your products and build excitement around your brand. If you are a travel company for example, you could run an effective promotion that offers a free vacation or a free stay at a resort.

Social media continues to grow and evolve. With this in mind, the role social media plays in marketing will continue to transform the relationship between brands or businesses and their audiences. The great thing about social media marketing is that as a marketer you have the ability to transform how social media is utilized. The ideas outlined in this guide can act as a starting point for you to develop a social marketing strategy and plan.


SIA Snow Show Recap

The SIA Snow Show was this past weekend at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver.  The weekend long event gathered the snow sports industry together in one place to celebrate the newest technologies, innovations, brands, and culture of snow sports.  It was a great space for professionals from the industry to connect, network, engage in brand events and seminars, and learn more about what is happening in the world of snow sports.

Votigo had the pleasure of attending the event this year and in addition to presenting the Bluebird Social Zone – a space for recharging devices and unwinding – Votigo hosted a panel and social media office hours and powered a social media photo contest. The BlueBird Social Zone was a spot for brands to launch their social marketing messages live from the show. Votigo offered a Twitter/Facebook/Mobile photo promotion through a photo booth in the BlueBird Social Zone.  The office hours were a great opportunity to invite any marketing professional to come and share their expertise.  Votigo was happy to take part in the marketing conversation and to be surrounded by so many great brands!

There are many brands in the snow sports industry that are excelling on social media and it was great to see what different brands are doing to engage their audiences.. One snow sport brand that is excelling at social is Patagonia.  Patagonia has done an excellent job spreading their brand message across multiple social media channels.  They understand that their audience is all over social media and they cater to this by offering many different ways to connect and engage with the brand.  Patagonia’s blog The Cleanest Line is one such channel where Patagonia tells its story and connects with fans.  The blog takes it a step further and not only tells their own stories but also tells the stories of their fans.  The blog easily links back to their website and offers easy ways to share the posts across other social media channels.  Patagonia has the wonderful advantage of being part of the snow sports industry where visual images are easy to come by.  The brand uses imagery  to engage and excite consumers and to help tell their story.

Another brand that is using social media to their advantage is GoPro.  GoPro also has the advantage of being image oriented because their products revolve around videos.  GoPro offers fun ways for fans to become engaged with the brand and to follow the stories of their peers with a video and photo of the day.  These videos and photographs are uploaded every day across all of their social media channels showing what their products can do and how other fans are using them.  This is a great way to excite fans and to give a shout out to those fans that are using their products.

The SIA Snow Sports event was a great opportunity for brands to explore what their peers and competitors are doing. It was also an opportunity to learn more about how social media marketing can improve brand awareness and help tell a brand’s story. We can’t wait til next time!


Holiday Social Media Marketing: 5 Trends For Retail Brands

Black Friday is in 4 days, kicking off the massive holiday season that makes the year for many retail brands.  Odds are, social marketing is a bigger part of your Q4 strategy this year than ever before.  Here are 5 big themes that will dominate holiday social media marketing campaigns for retailers in the remaining holiday weeks of 2012:

Social Launches:  New product introductions and sales events are a staple of Q4. They’re a great way to create buzz and generate customer interest through social marketing.  Watch for (and plan) product debuts or events on Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube.Brooks Running illustrates holiday social media marketing campaigns in 2012

Recognizing Great Customers: Even for brands with millions of customers- and definitely for boutiques and local businesses- there is a movement to recognize your best customers.  Loyalty programs,  membership clubs, even a Customer of the Day promotion. All are simple ways to earn repeat business. Social channels are a natural distribution channel for these programs.

Rewarding Social Engagement:  All evidence continues to show that consumers follow brands on social channels to earn an exclusive, an offer, a discount, a preview.  Retail brands are in prime position to capitalize.  Even for social followers who haven’t converted to customers yet, it is worth the effort to offer a unique opportunity through Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and where ever you have followers.

In-Store Activation:  In retail, it’s all about the cash register.  Even as holiday spending shifts online, there is still no substitute to brick-and-mortar retailers for motivating the in-store experience.  A social promotion that results in a coupon, invitation or other store-driven event doesn’t need to be complex. But it will help convert social fans to visitors who can see your store environment, touch your products, experience your service and convert to new customers.

Mobile Enables Lasting Brand Engagement:  Most consumers will be using their smartphones gratuitously in the next 6 weeks. They’ll share wish lists, compare prices, pass along gift ideas and more, using photo, video, text and social updates.  Savvy brands will find unique ways to encourage and even facilitate those interactions. Even though the holiday season ends in a mere 6 weeks, try to find clever ways to weave impressions of happy customers into your ongoing brand storytelling.

For specific ideas and strategies to tackle each of these trends, click here.



SOCIAL LUMAscape & Social Marketing Management

LUMA Partners have refreshed their signature Social LUMAScape, one of the most valuable resources in our hyper-evolving industry. LUMA puts these infographics out for a variety of digital industries. As evidenced by the 1M+ hits on the Social LUMAScape, I am not alone in finding it to be an incredibly valuable resource for staying on top of key segments of social marketing technology providers.

We’re proud at Votigo to move up from Social Promotions to the Social Marketing Management category of the LUMAScape. For us, it’s a different kind of validation: that our technology (and team’s expertise) have evolved beyond the cross-channel, feature-packed, audience-engaging social promotions that we are known for, to a complete suite of tools that help brands like yours do the day-to-day work of finding, engaging, and activating customers from within your social audience.

The latest edition also features more red-dotted boxes- symbolic of this summer’s increased pace of consolidation among our peers in the Social Marketing Management category- Buddy Media, Vitrue, Involver and Wildfire.

As Votigo co-CEO and Founder Mike La Rotonda said recently at MediaPost’s Social Media Insider Summit, all of the consolidation validates something that your company and ours have known for a long time: Social Marketing is here to stay, entrenched as a key component of the full marketing lifecycle for most businesses. (You can catch video of the entire consolidation-themed panel here.)

It is absolutely an exciting time in the social marketing industry. Don’t expect this LUMAScape to stay current for more than a few months. But study up and choose your technology partners carefully.