MN 319 E-MarketingAssignment 2 -Group Project Fight Club Annelli Nealon: 10714437 Dave Redmond: 10717073 Scott Kinsella: 69851593 Edward O’Connor: 10726717 Gary McGovern: 10375459 Due Date 30th April 2012 Word Count: 3452
IntroductionThis assignment sets about analysing how companies engage in social media byinvestigating the online presence of an existing business establishment. Havingchosen to base our investigation on the National Council for the Blind of Ireland(NCBI) Maynooth we reviewed the actions of the local charity shop owner through acustomized audit that measures their level of social media activity. An overview ofimportant social media concepts such as; Search Engine Optimization, onlineadvertising and e-marketing strategy illustrates the benefits that can be reaped byhaving a high social media engagement. By setting the platforms of social mediaapplications; Wordpress blog site, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn we aim to providethe foundations for the NCBI Maynooth to optimise their business mission through anassortment of tools. Our main objective of the project was to increase awareness ofthis local charity shop through social media activity. Challenged with a limitation of nofinancial budget we prepared a detailed plan for further development withrecommendations of maintenance and optimization improvements that would be mostsuitable for this type of business.
Social Media ConceptsSearch Engine OptimizationSearch Engine Optimization (SEO) is the procedure of increasing the online presenceof businesses in search rankings such as Google and Yahoo. Traffic to your websitecan be increased using SEO by the process of having your website listed in the toplistings on a search engine. SEO is free of charge but time consuming as the processinvolves the consideration of how search engines work.An example of SEO in operation:The group has set up a Wordpress blog for NCBI Maynooth along with a Facebook,Twitter and LinkedIn page. We entered tags and keywords on the blogs for NCBIMaynooth. Google picks up these tags and keywords in their search engine and as aresult when NCBI Maynooth is entered into a Google search it appears as the top 7listings which illustrate SEO taking place free of charge.Online MarketingOnline Marketing allows businesses to change their marketing campaigns in real timeby altering words or graphics without incurring additional costs. Another benefit of thisis the ability of companies to track their results using web analytics. Web Analytics isthe measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of internet data for purposes ofunderstanding and optimizing web usage. The major advantage of online marketing isthe ability to target specific demographics which include gender, age and location, atspecific times by emails, or from other social media forms of advertising such asFacebook and twitter.Social MediaSocial Media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter allow businesses to interact withtheir consumers directly. They are the methods in which businesses gain websitetraffic. These platforms enable marketing online including email, audio, video, blog,newsletters and quizzes. Hootsuite is a social media management dashboard. AHootsuite account has been set up for NCBI Maynooth which allows for all of their
social media platforms to be controlled from the one account. This includes theirFacebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Wordpress Blog. Hootsuite is important forbusinesses such as NCBI Maynooth as it allows for them to have each social mediaplatform they have open in a tab, which then allows them to put up content on eachplatform without having to log on to different accounts.Google AdwordsGoogle Adwords allows businesses to create advertisements for their business onGoogle. Keywords are used which relate to the business when creating theseadvertisements. A search by consumers using one of these keywords will show thebusinesses advertisement on Google. A major advantage of Google Adwords is thatthe business is only charged when their Ad is clicked on and not when it is displayed.Another advantage of Google Adwords is that a daily budget can be set which meansthat the amount spent on advertisements can be controlled. Google Adwords alsoallows businesses to target their advertisements to specific languages and geographiclocations. When creating the Advertisement the most effective way of doing this is byusing keywords in the headline of the advertisement. The benefits should then bementioned on the first description line with the features being mentioned on thesecond description line. The URL of the website should then be inserted. A number ofadvertisements with different keywords should be created so the businessesadvertisements appear when different keywords are used on a Google search.Facebook AdvertisementsBusinesses can use Facebook to advertise to their target market. Facebook enables abusiness to connect with more than 800 million potential customers. Theseadvertisements allow the business to target their potential customers by language,age, location, marital status, gender, interests and through many more. A budget forthe advertisement can be set which allows for expenses to be controlled. A timeschedule can also be set so the Advertisements are been displayed at the right time.
Recommendations for ImprovementIn highlight of the importance of social media networking we have devised a set ofrecommendations to maintain and improve the platforms we have created to ensurethe NCBI Maynooth goal is achieved.Social Spaces: The platforms we have created to get started are; Wordpress Blog page Facebook Twitter LinkedInWe have also set up a Hootsuite account which enables collaboration between theseplatforms and optimises an online presence by linking related topics between thesesites.As stated when interviewed, the main objective of having an online presence is tomake people aware that the shop exists, where it is located and what they sell; wesuggest registering the business with Google and linking a map to all relevant socialmedia sites.Create Identity: It is important to have consistency with your brand so that peoplebecome familiar with your business function. We have designed the social media siteswith repetition of a colour scheme and style; we suggest that this be maintained in allbrand marketing. The use of a consistent tagline that clear explains the company corevalues should be present on all advertisements.Create Content: Constant updating of the social media sites will ensure their mostoptimal use. Posting about current volunteering events, services and goods availablein the shop will keep visitors interested. Encouraging people to ‘check-in’ on Twitter or‘like’ the Facebook page when they have been to the shop will drive up your onlinepresence. Incentivising this by holding weekly or monthly prizes or other beneficialsentiments will help increase participation and encourage regular followers.The use of keywords and tags will direct people in search for similar topics to your site.It is important to keep these keywords in the same genre for search engines torecognise their legitimacy.
Grow connections: Joining other charity social network sites or groups and linking totheir content will get you recognised on the social media platform. The use of affiliatemarketing with other local Maynooth business or nationwide charities will also raiseawareness of the shop’s function and location. Registering with mycharity.ie allowsprospective donors to make on-line donations. The availability of this service onmycharity.ie could become part of a twitter campaign.Analytical reports: Google provide a free analytical report service so that it is clearwhat sites are reaping the most benefit from your activities. This can help you focus onthe most beneficial way to get your message across to your readers.As there is no available budget you can not avail of any search engine optimising toolssuch as Adwords, therefore, it is only by keeping up to date with the latest socialmedia trends can you optimize your online success. Following and linking in with thefollowing groups will keep you informed about what’s hot and what’s not is the virtualworld: Social Media Ireland Twitter Business Twitter Media Facebook Business Socialenterprise.ie Business 2 Community Wordpress.com/.org Socialmedia.ie/ connector.tvFree ad sites: Increase the shop’s on-line presence by registering with local andnational directories. Create hyperlinks to the social media sites in these ads toencourage browsing of the Facebook, twitter and Wordpress pages.Some potential free directory sites include: Yelp.ie Yourlocal.ie icsa.ie Mycharity.ie
Publicity: Traditional advertising and media can also play their part in the new e-marketing campaign. Promotion of the new on-line presence can take place in storewith counter and window signage, with taglines like “Follow us on FB & Twitter”.Handouts could also be used, detail the new site addresses and the future promotionsetc available exclusively on-line. A large part of NCBI Maynooth’s customer segmentmay not be regular followers or users of Twitter or Facebook so publicity in traditionalmedia, such as local papers, may encourage them to start following the sites,particularly if these sites include exclusive promotions and offers.
Our Blog PostsAnnelli’s Blog: The National Council for the Blind of Ireland“The National Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI) enables blind and visuallyimpaired people to overcome barriers that impede their independence andparticipation in society. The NCBI hosts an assortment of services and facilities toaccomplish their mission. Established in 1939 the NCBI now facilitates over 14,000visually impaired people.An umbrella of support exists over a network of people dedicated to carrying out thecore values of the organisation. A range of practical skills training programs areavailable in activity centres and through individual assistance. Attendees can achievea FETEC qualification, fitness training and counselling. A library of information on allvisual conditions is available as well as a variety of Fiction and Non-Fiction books inaudio, Braille and large print for adults and children. The NCBI are activists in ensuringlegal rights for the visually impaired, and assist in procedures necessary in gainingGovernment benefits and allowances.The focus on independence is evident in the strong emphasis on career guidance andemployment support. Information and technical tools are offered to employers ofvisually impaired employees. A centre for inclusive technology aims to provideaccessible websites and communication technologies. Their media centre promotesBraille and audio tools that can be implemented in organisations.Volunteering options range from helping out at social outings, activity centres or in oneof their many charity shops around the Country, like the one that can be found locatedat Alcol House, The Square, Maynooth that promises to be the best secondhand/vintage/brands clothing shop in Kildare. NCBI have a calendar of events to getinvolved with and support a genuine charity doing exceptional work to improve localcommunities. All information can be found at the NCBI website.
Eddie’s blog: Managing a charity shop“Charity shops can be a very lucrative fund-raiser but are also, from a managementview, one of the more complex and time-consuming fund-raising methods available.They also pose many unique challenges that are not encountered in commercial retailmanagement. Challenges such as:1. Staffing. The vast majority of charity shop staff are unpaid so it can be a challengeto get suitable staff. While there may be numerous volunteers not all may be suitablefor working in a charity shop. While the normal skills associated with the retail tradeare necessary, there are also additional skills and characteristics, like empathy anddiscretion, needed.2. Stock. Unlike commercial stores, charity shops are dependent on public donationsfor stock. When stocks run low you cannot just visit your wholesaler. Advertising,public appeals and promotions are essential to ensure adequate stock flow.3. Quality of Stock. As the stock is donated you have little control over its quality. Thisis where sorting skills are essential. Never sell damaged or soiled stock, your shop willdevelop a reputation of stocking junk. Sort the good quality and display well. Poorquality stock can be bagged and sold to recycling companies, at approx. €8 a bag.4. Being Diplomatic. Never start sorting donated stock in front of donor. They maybe embarrassed about what they have donated. Likewise never pass comment orpresume anything about why customers are shopping in a charity shop.5. Appearance & Displays. You are in competition with a huge range of other retailand charity shops, so never presume you dont have to attract customers. Clean,bright, premises with good displays are just as important to a charity shop as any otheroutlet.A charity shop can be a good but never presume it’s easy. Not only will you face thenormal everyday challenges facing any small business, but also a set of unique onesthat have to be overcome. However once these issues are faced and dealt with theconcept of the charity shop, such as NCBI Maynooth charity shop, can be a lucrativeearner.”
Gary’s Blog: Social Media & Charities“The National Council for the Blind of Ireland Maynooth (NCBI) over the past numberof weeks has increased the charities public and online profile through the use of socialmedia tools such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Wordpress. Our group hasincreased the online presence of NCBI Maynooth using search engine optimization(SEO). We have also added NCBI Maynooth to handyinfo.ie and yelp.ie which areboth online business and services directories. A Charities SEO is an incrediblyimportant tool because it enables people to find out information regarding the charity.The group has been successful in raising the charities SEO because at present aGoogle search of NCBI Maynooth lists the charity shop as the first seven links on thesearch engine. The strategy the group has used in raising the profile of NCBIMaynooth is to integrate social networking sites. The group has used Hootsuite whichis an online brand management service which links all social media networks andenables a company to manage their social media platforms. Social networking sitesare of vital importance in order to spread the word of the good work which is beingcarried out daily by NCBI. Our main objective is to raise awareness of the NCBIMaynooth retail online and continue to carry on the excellent work which waspreviously carried out by Mrs Quinn’s Charity Shop. People in the Maynooth andsurrounding area can now connect with NCBI Maynooth online and we hope that byimplementing this, people can continue to support their local charity”.Dave’s Blog: The Challenges Facing CharitiesThe recession has taken a hold on the countries expenditure over the last number ofyears, with many people feeling they no longer have the ability to donate to charitiessuch as, National council for the Blind Ireland (NCBI).In addition to this plight thegovernment has also reduced its allocation of grants to not for profit organisations,making it a more challenging environment for charities to operate in. The NCBIemploys over 150 staff and numerous volunteers who cater for in the region of 14,000people, some of which suffer from partial blindness and some are totally blind.The NCBI Maynooth branch run a charity clothes shop which offer designer brands
and unworn and partially worn clothes at knockdown prices in order to raise money forthe charity. The shop has seen a steady increase in demand over recent years. Fromreadings I have undertaken, charity fundraising has increased by 24% from 2010 to2011 partly due to cuts in government funding. Charities such as NCBI have noticedan increase in demand for their services due to high unemployment rates and lowincome levels at present which has meant many families cannot afford to provide thenecessary services for their families. Organisations such as Fundraising Ireland havestated that one in ten charities will fold due to the fact they do not have enoughfunding to see them past the next 6 to 12 months. Tough conditions lie ahead for allcharitable organisations and more creative fundraising skills are needed to keep thesevital services running.Scott’s Blog: The NCBI customersLike any charity shop/organisation there is a reliance on the general public at large tobe as charitable as humanly possible. The National Council for the Blind of Ireland isno different. NCBI Maynooth understands the true importance of their customers, aswithout their charitable donations and purchasing power alike there would be nofoundation for NCBI to grow and flourish.NCBI Maynooth has a system put in place that allows the general public to donatetheir unwanted possessions to the charity shop all in a way that will maintain customerconfidentiality. A dropping point has been put in place at Manor Mills shopping centrewhere any goods (such as clothes, linen, bric-a-brac, unwanted gifts or shoes) can becollected on a weekly basis. Also to make it as easy as possible for the donor, NCBIwill go door to door collecting all the unwanted goods from the less coy benefactor.This blanket of support and generosity has allowed NCBI to set up 68 stores acrossIreland.The support does not stop there. NCBI Maynooth sees hoards of people bundlethrough their doors on a daily basis, all looking to see if they can avail of a bargain.Many customers will leave NCBI Maynooth fulfilled with their purchases, whether it is anew shirt or books for the kids.
Yet the staff of NCBI Maynooth still believes there is scope for improvements. Despitetheir obvious delight with the overall running of the shop they feel that the sheervolume of people coming through their doors is not sufficient enough, resulting in theneed for a modern approach to quell this burning issue.
Group Blog: Key People in NCBI MaynoothAudrey O Neill is the driving force behind the NCBI Maynooth charity shop inMaynooth Village. For the past three years she has been the manager. Her entirefamily have been involved with different charitable organisations. Audrey, along withthree volunteers, ensure the shop runs efficiently. The volunteers Mairead, Mary andHillary take it in shifts along with Audrey to run the shop six days a week. Des Kennyis the CEO of the organisation since 1986 and he is the main link to the NCBIheadquarters on the Whitword Road, Drumcondra, Dubln 9. His right hand man isPaddy Byrne and he ensures that the shop is running effectively by inspecting theorganisation every couple of months. Audrey’s working background is as an interiordesigner. She started from an early age doing the visual merchandising in Mrs Quinn’sshop in Celbridge for her mother as she was the manager there for many years. Hergrandmother has also been involved with charities and was involved with the Lifeboatand Oxfam charities in Rathmines her entire life. Mary, one of the shop volunteers, isthe direct link with the collection that takes place in Manor Mills once a month toensure that the stock intake of clothes is always of excellent quality. Brian Friel is thefinancial controller and he deals with all the money that is accumulated within the shopfrom week to week. He has been in the position since 2007.
ConclusionFrom the start of our analyses of NCBI Maynooth’s e-marketing strategy we quicklyrealised they had no on line presence, and had no provisions in this year’s budget forcreating one. However from our research into e-marketing we realised we could createa strong on-line presence for the charity without them incurring any new costs.Through our discussions with the shop’s manager, Audery O’Neill, we establishedwhat she hoped to achieve with the shops on-line presence. From these discussionsand our research we created a plan to establish as comprehensive an e-marketingcampaign as possible on a zero budget, utilising the power of social media, blogs andfree directory sites. We also created a plan for NCBI Maynooth to incentivisecustomers to follow their e-marketing campaign. Following the full implementation ofour plan we handed over the week to week running of the campaign to NCBIMaynooth.The most pertinent points learned were: The possibility to create an e-marketing plan with little or no budget. We also realised the potential and necessity of e-marketing for all business. E-marketing is the future direction for marketing and it is essential that all businesses also follow this path to stay in touch with their customer’s needs and wants. The power of social media in today’s world and how this potential can be utilised. The need for blended marketing campaign, using all media sources to ensure maximum customer contact To keep your customers interested you must monitor, review and update your sites regularlyE-marketing can provide access to a huge market at little or no cost and it allows for a100% personalised campaign. Its flexibility and low cost means it is particularly suitedto small business. The message can up-dated as often as needed and targeted atspecific customer segments ensuring you deliver the right message to the rightpeople, the basic function of any marketing plan.