St. Louis Social Media Innovator Series: Nestle Purina

By: Connor Agniel, Hayley Alexander, Jake Bryant, Nikolas Presat, Lexi Tocco
945130_10151491842253857_354667803_nNestle Purina Petcare is a St. Louis-based subsidiary of Nestle. In order to well-define Purina’s strategy and communication goals, we have to first understand Purina’s core target. According to several researches on the web, this audience is composed of men and women between 25 and 54 years old. Most men and women of those ages are using social media. Purina is present on social networks and try to meet their customers’ expectations. Purina is present on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Here are some indications about its online presence:

  Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Instagram LinkedIn
Subscribers 460K + 40K + 1.2K 8K 22K + 80K
Type of content Pictures
Pictures Pictures Company information
Frequency Daily Daily 2-3 / week N/A 2-3 / week Daily
Engagement rate* 1.12% 0.02% 0.27% 0.42% 2.27% 0.07%

* based on the 5 last posts
Purina shares pictures of dogs or cats with advice and tips for consumers. Users can identify themselves with these pictures and are able to share their experience with the community. It’s an excellent example of inbound marketing. Thanks to this content, Purina is attracting people to its website in order to increase the visibility of its products. We can also notice that when Purina is sharing something on Facebook, you can find the same information on the other social networks. They are all interconnected. We also notice that Purina is extending its strategy by creating specialized pages. For example, on Facebook you can find a lot of different pages for many of Purina’s products, and the same on Twitter, rather than just a single, centralized page for the company. These specialized pages are aimed to specific consumers with particular needs. There are excellent tools to increase engagement and advocacy from consumers. Thanks to these pages, Purina is getting closer to its consumers and better answer their needs.
In 2013, Purina developed the “Feed” with Deep Focus, a New York-based digital marketing agency. The Feed’s employees — which number about a half dozen — reply to Twitter posts people make about their pets. Huddled in a room with more than a dozen computer monitors, a Feed staffer responds to a person’s tweet about their dog or cat with a personalized message using the Twitter handle @Purina, which has more than 18,000 followers. Since The Feed launched, @Purina has sent more than 20,000 messages on Twitter to pet owners, and many of those messages are then shared again on other sites, including Facebook, Tumblr and YouTube.
Each month, Twitter estimates there are about 1.7 million tweets related to pets. Through its software that identifies relevant tweets, The Feed’s team members read 5,000 tweets a day and respond to about 1,000 a week. Most companies have a response rate on social media of less than 10 percent for their brands, but Purina’s response rate using The Feed is more than 80 percent.
Thanks to these actions, Purina is getting closer to its community. Purina has well identified customer’s needs and expectations as well as adapted its strategy in order to offer quality and relevant content on social networks. They create a discussion with consumers and try to involve them in order to increase their engagement. Moreover, Purina chooses to personalize its messages. Thanks to the different pages, interaction on social networks, as well as special advices and tips users are feeling connected with the brand. It’s an excellent strategy for Purina in order to increase advocacy, generate quality leads, and traffic to its website.
Sources and Learn More:
Wikipedia, Updated April 19, 2015, Nestle Purina Petcareé_Purina_PetCare
Jessica Taylor, May 16, 2010, Get in-depth with the Top 10 global petfood players

Nestle Purina Petcare, December 2012, Our company
KDSdesign, November 17, 2011, Nestle Purina Campaign, Slideshare
Lisa Brown, May 8, 2011, St. Louis Post Dispatch, Purina Finalists vie at cat callbacks
Lisa Brown, December 15, 2013, St. Louis Post Dispatch, Purina leads pack with personalized social media

St. Louis Social Media Innovator Series: AB InBev

By: Connor Agniel, Hayley Alexander, Jake Bryant, Nikolas Presat, Lexi Tocco
AB InBev has been working on their social media marketing for a few years. Their current focus on social media is their fans and connecting with them. Not only are they focused on growing the absolute number of fans, but they want to grow with fans who are truly engaged and interested in their company. Their social media strategy as a company is simple and straight forward; they want to connect themselves with many different fans and grow their social media accounts in order to market to their fans. This is true across all of their different brands. AB InBev wants to branch out to more social media sites such as YouTube in order to create content to help with self-distribution. This stems from their fundamental beliefs are that the consumer is the boss. If they can follow the consumer’s media behavior and entertain the consumer with their different brands and products, then they will be able to succeed as a company.
In 2013, the Ad campaign that AB InBev ran using Bud Light involving Facebook ads gained them SIX times what they spent on the campaign in returns! They found that the campaign got them a 3.3% sales lift among households that saw the ad vs. the control group that did not. “Some 22.8 million U.S. households —20% of the total — were exposed to the campaign.” This is a huge example of how proper use of Social Media marketing can play a major part in furthering a brand and its image. AB InBev is not shy to try to reach their consumers through new methods either. In 2012 they were the first company ever to do a live stream with Pandora, one of the largest music steaming websites of all. Then in 2013, they decided to do another stream with yet another music streaming giant, Spotify, all to try and really reach out to their consumer and connect.
AB InBev has realized that Social Media and digital interaction are huge parts of their consumer’s life, “…our target consumer is engaged with it 24/7/365″(Inside Anheuser…) The hardest part is figuring out the right way to engage with their consumer. To deal with this, AB InBev chooses to interact over “virtually all digital corridors and avenues and offer the consumer choice in how they would like to connect to our brands…” (Inside Anheuser…) They call this strategy “Fans First,” and have used the strategy to connect to over 30 million fans worldwide! AB InBev has different brands on all kinds of Social Media, such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and more!
AB InBev has indicated that for their next moves in Social Media marketing, they want to continue to evolve as their customer does. Gaining more followers and continuing to engage with the ones that they already have.
Sources and Learn More:
Bud Light Offers Proof that Facebook Ads Work – 20rm2CFM38qW
A-B InBev sports marketing to focus on digital engagement
Inside Anheuser-Busch’s Digital Strategy
How does A-B InBev measure Facebook Success?

5 Must Read Blogs for St. Louis Locals and Visitors

By: Kourtney McKinney, Ryan Orio, William Scott, Raven Williams
Looking for a blog to keep you updated on all things #STL? We did the research for you with an easy to read top 5 list.
logolink #1 Explore St. Louis’ Events 101
This one is almost a little obvious. If you’re looking for something to do this weekend in St. Louis, Explore St. Louis has you covered with a weekly blog that drills down the top five events going on that weekend. Want to find coverage on last year’s Comic Con to see if it’s worth it? Explore St. Louis has the hookup with several different categories of blogs to search from and contributing writers from all over the city that cover all types of events. Much of the sites blogs are authored by contributing locals that write simply for the fun – adding to the authenticity of the site.
The blog is sponsored by The St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission (SLCVC), which is important because they execute the forces that drive the city’s $5 billion convention and tourism industry. Why does this matter? SLCVC pretty much has full range on what events and tourist attractions come to St. Louis. When trying to make plans for your weekend, Explore St. Louis is basically guaranteed to have any and all events that may be of interest. The posts are a must read for tourists and locals alike for its originality and variety of events all readers can appreciate.
#2 Purina’s Just Right Pet Food
Animal lover? Purina understands. This St. Louis based company has a successful and compelling blog. The first visual item you may notice is the abundance of pictures. Not only does Purina engage their bloggers, but they also give them the opportunity to share their blogs on other social media websites. At the top of the page are numerous icons of social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube where bloggers can go to the company page or channel and share more information or see what others are posting about Purina. These tools enable a blogger who has a reason to share an easy way to share whatever they want.
One of the most important aspects of a blog is its readability – a mark in which Purina’s blog ranks highly. When viewing the page, the reader is not overloaded with a ton of information. All the posts are somewhat “chunked” together in equal size squares so one can easily differentiate between posts.  It was also easy to see which blog posts were the most recent because it was at the top with bigger font size and taking up more space than the older posts.
monsanto#3 Monsanto’s Beyond the Rows
Monsanto is more than just a Fortune 500 company. They are also actively engaged in the community with a blog that allows site users to ask questions and read posts about sustainability and balanced meals.  Each post ties the company into the community with informational pieces about various crops and how Monsanto is playing their part in saving and maintaining a thriving environment. The posts are often authored by Monsanto employees, but there are occasional posts from sources like the Huffington Post.
Not only does Monsanto include articles for viewers to read, but they also have an extensive user engagement section titled, “Be Part of the Conversation”. This section allows users to post questions about the company, GMOs, or any other topic related to Monsanto. Monsanto then answers these questions, sometimes with detailed responses, and sometimes with video content. This section of the blog allows users to actively engage with the company, creating an open dialogue, which provides for greater transparency in the company’s activities.
This is a must-read blog because it provides valuable information to consumers about Monsanto. It is easy to read with colorful illustrations, and the navigation amongst the various sections of the site is seamless. This blog is interesting and interactive – two reasons why you should check it out.
logo #4 Schnucks
Schnucks is one of the major grocery store chains in the St. Louis area with locations in five different states. Schnucks blog discusses various topics including different cooking techniques and specials in their stores. For example, one post in their blog, written by a nutrition intern, is entitled “7 Unexpected Ways to use your Waffle Iron” and talks about things you would never think a waffle iron is capable of doing. Did you know you can cook bacon on a waffle iron? It makes it a lot easier dealing with the grease. Another interesting post that Schnucks had was that they are now accepting Apple pay at all of their stores. The post talks about how easy it is and the advantages of using it.
The blog’s aesthetics could be improved to make the blog easier to read. Although all of their posts have a picture and a small introduction on the main blog page, they only have six blogs linked off of each pages so have to keep changing pages to view additional blogs. The posts are so great that I would love to also see their frequency increase so the content remains fresh.
#5 Emerson Electric
Emerson Electric realized one way to help their customers and employees was to start a blog written by other staff and employees in January 2014. When first looking at the blog page, Emerson has made a directory that can take viewers straight to a topic of interest. For example, if someone were interested in learning more about cyber security, there are several blog posts about that topic. The website is easy to navigate and use. The website uses vivid colors, allowing the website to be easy to read and keep the attention of readers.
Emerson has made it quick and easy to subscribe to their blog. All one has to do is enter in their email address and click subscribe. It is a big orange box that is hard to miss. Another attention grabber is the pictures posted on the website. Each picture has something to do with the blog, and will have a picture of the person who wrote the blog. This is nice because it gives readers a face to the post, so now it feels like more than a post. The reader can get a sense that the blogger was just giving his or her neighbor information.
Can you name more St. Louis company blogs we should check out?

Keys to Creating Compelling Social Video Content

keys to compelling social media video content 2015

By Danni Eickenhorst, UMSL Digital Adjunct Professor
keys to compelling social media video content 2015In today’s class, I discussed the keys of compelling video with my students at UMSL Digital. Too often, this knowledge stays internal at my company, Blank Page, or between just me and my students, so I wanted to stop and share the notes and takeaways I shared with them.
Video has always been an incredibly powerful medium. It allows you to show your business, your mission in action, your benefits and impact in a deeper way that will connect with your audience. In fact, in a recent survey, 52% of marketers claim their clients have seen the highest Return On Investment (ROI) through video, more than any other medium. Why, then is it just now taking off with marketers in a broader way?
The short answer: It’s hard.
Well… it’s harder than taking 3 minutes to create a quick infographic on Canva – or writing a short blog. But it shouldn’t be impossible. If you can create a strong piece of video content, studies show that consumers will have a better understanding of your brand

Be Brief

Adweek performed an audit of marketing videos that showed the average length of a video to be 2:54. Averagevideo length for marketing videos 2:54. Other studies have shown that you have 10 seconds on average to capture someone’s attention, and another 10 seconds where people are very likely to click away. As more videocontent comes to the forefront, this is likely to continue to shorten. Therefore, be mindful of how to capture someone’s attention in just seconds.

Two ways to capture your audience & keep them interested:

  • WIFFM: Tell them why they should care – quickly make an emotional hook that’s all about them and not your brand.
  • GRAPHIC & TEXT ON VIDEO: With the 2015 mega-rise of video, videos are autoplayed without sound. Capture their interest with a powerful text and graphic overlay.
  • BE STRATEGIC & TARGETED: Your video can’t and shouldn’t be for everyone. You need to hone in on their preferences, language, interests.
  • BE BRIGHT: Be creative, compelling, approach something traditional from a new angle. Watch this short video that transforms the old notion of a clothing catalog. It’s cute, it’s compelling, and it uses psychological principles to keep and capture our attention – pay special attention to the strategic pauses and “jerks” in the video.
  • CALL TO ACTION TEXT OVERLAY: Utilize the YouTube annotations to get more than just brand awareness from your videos – but to get people to your website to engage, purchase or learn more.

There’s nothing sadder than taking the time to create a gorgeous piece of video content, and not have anyone see it. Uploading to YouTube alone simply doesn’t do the trick. Consider real-world applications for the video – events, presentations. Then, upload videos to each social network individually. Facebook, Twitter, and others prefer and sometimes require you to do this – but they also reward you with a far greater level of visibility than if you fed it through a YouTube link. Create shortened teasers that link to the longer video when possible for use on channels with time constraints such as Twitter, Vine, and Instagram.
Email your video out to your mailing list. Did you know that using the word “Video” in the subject line of your emails will increase open rates by 19%, click-thru rates by up to 65%?


Review your metrics after release, draw conclusions that will help you connect with your audience in a stronger way next time.


As marketers, it’s our role to be invisible most of the time. When you’re working to get a testimonial, most especially, you are looking to focus your limited video time on really compelling quotes from outside sources (third party testimonials carry far more weight than brand promises). To preserve those testimonials and interviews, here are some tips for interviewing your subjects:

  • Encourage your interviewee not to look at camera, but to look at interviewer.
  • Interviewer should be invisible. Don’t overlap your talking over other person – remember to stifle your laughs too much. (More editing later)
  • Get more footage than you need.
  • Encourage your subject to answer questions completely, because you usually won’t include the interviewer’s questions in the final cut – so the answers should stand by themselves.

Looking for help with your video? We have some of the best videographers in the region at Blank Page Marketing for your smaller projects – and great larger video production partners like our friends at Pounds Media for projects that require next-level production techniques. We’d love to chat about your next project – or to help you find creative ways to revive and promote your existing video material!
About Danni Eickenhorst:
Danni Eickenhorst is an UMSL Digital Adjunct Professor. She is also a renowned inbound marketing expert and social media consultant, working at St. Louis marketing agency Blank Page Consulting.

Market Yourself: UMSL Marketing Club’s Fall Kickoff Meeting

By: Raven Collins, Kourtney McKinnney, Ryan Orio, William Scott
UntitledThe first UMSL Marketing Club meeting of the semester and year served both food and fun! The event was packed with guest speakers that made students aware of the advantages of being a member of the club and the exciting benefits that come with becoming a member of the American Marketing Association (AMA).
Q: Why join the marketing club?
A: The first item on the agenda for the meeting was to make attendees aware of the benefits of the marketing club. President Lingru Kong spoke to the group about the ample opportunities to socialize and network with the marketing community. Kong cited numerous reasons why participating in the market club would benefit students including: industry visits, providing a resume boost, and developing networking skills. She stressed that the student organization is not only for marketing majors because it is crucial in today’s world to be able to market yourself in order to get a job in any field.
Q: New UMSL Developments with Dean Hoffman
A: After the introduction to the club, Dean Charles Hoffman of the UMSL College of Business spoke about the latest news affecting UMSL business students. Dean Hoffman called for more members to be a part of the Dean’s Advisory Committee. The committee will allow Dean Hoffman to communicate with students about important developments pertaining to the university and the business college. The first meeting of the year will be announced in the coming weeks. Dean Hoffman also informed meeting attendees about the groundbreaking celebration for the new business building that is happening October 29th from 4-6 pm. The Dean explained that the affair is a chance for UMSL to thank the donors who enabled the Business school to turn the dream for the new building into a reality. Anheuser-Busch, the company that the building will be named after, is donating drinks for the reception. If we are lucky, the world-famous Clydesdale’s will even make an appearance!
Q:What is AMA and Why Should I Join?
A: Angela LaRocca, another speaker at the meeting, represented the American Marketing Association. LaRocca is a board member of the St. Louis chapter of the AMA, in addition to heading collegiate relations for the association. She also serves as Brand Manager at Unidev, so she is really someone you would want to network with. LaRocca explained that in marketing you need the people around you and what you learn in class in order to be successful. This is the purpose of AMA – to connect students with marketing professionals. The organization holds events that provide students the opportunity to network and socialize with area professionals. The organization also encourages student participation at their board meetings. Another important event for AMA is Old Newsboy Day, at which students can volunteer to participate to help sell newspapers in exchange for donations to children’s charities in the area. Marketing club Vice- President, Chase Koehler, discussed his experience with the organization, emphasizing that the members of the AMA actually want to talk to students and take an interest in what students have to say.
Do you want to join the American Marketing Association to get access to all these amazing benefits?! Membership is normally $285 for professionals, but for students the cost of membership is dramatically lower-only $47! This low price makes joining while a student at UMSL a great choice!
Networking (and Eating) at the Meeting
Of course, no marketing club meeting would be complete without free refreshments and networking! After hearing guest speakers talk about all the great reasons to get involved, meeting attendees were told to take 20 minutes to go get some refreshments and network with one another. At the meeting, numerous varieties of pizza and sodas were served. They even had Fanta as a soda option! There was certainly something for everyone!
After helping yourself to some refreshments, the networking and socializing began. Students could speak with meeting attendees including Dean Hoffman, Angela Rocca, Marketing Club Faculty Advisor – Perry Drake, Marketing Department Chair – Dr. Haim Mano and the Associate Dean of the Business College – Michael Elliot.
Games and Prizes
At the start of the meeting students were given raffle tickets for a chance to win five attendance prizes. Possible prizes included a coffee mug from St. Louis favorite Kaldi’s coffee, a bumper sticker from twitter with UMSL pen, marketing club flash drive, a journal from Creatives on Call with UMSL Digital Conference pen, and UMSL keychain printed with a 3-D printer. More of the same prizes were given after playing “Google Feud”, a game in which participants had to guess what the first Google query to show up on the list depending on the first part of the phrase. Highlights include participants being given “Kanye West” as a starting query. The full first suggestion on Google is “Kanye West all day”. In another round, everyone was given the starting phrase “UMSL parking” and the answer was “UMSL parking pass”. For each correct answer players were given a raffle ticket to win the remaining prizes. Just when you thought the momentum was over, a new activity was proposed.
Next Meeting: November 19 at 3:30
Facebook: UMSL Marketing Club
Instagram: UMSLBusiness
Twitter: @UMSLMarketClub
Orgsync: Marketing Club

Better Your Marketing Skills With These October Events 

By: Ricky Cheers, Lingru Kong, Lyndsey McKinney, Akeeva Pork
October and November are known as the busiest months for most companies and schools across the nation. School is well underway and summer vacation is behind us all. Here are some events that you may want to attend to get ahead or beef up your professional skills – especially if you are working in Digital Marketing or majoring in Marketing or Digital communication. Check back with us in November for the top November events.
logo#1 AMA Monthly Luncheon – Matt Kamp of Influence & Co.
When: 10/15/15, 11:30am
Where: Maggiano’s Little Italy, 2 The Blvd, Richmond Heights, MO 63117
Educational luncheons cover a variety of topics under the marketing umbrella, and offer time for networking and lively Q&A. To register or for more detailed information click here.
12036793_10153165205153596_84553444218231416_n#2 Gateway to the Future: A St. Louis Young Professionals Summit
When: 10/09/15, 8:00a.m. – 12:00p.m.
Where: Missouri History Museum
Presented by Launch St. Louis, this 3rd annual conference will feature notable young St. Louisans discussing contemporary issues that impact the city and its young professionals. This event will provide with the opportunity to acquire knowledge, network and get involved within the St. Louis community. To purchase tickets or for more information click here.
#3 UMSL Marketing Club Golf Outing
When: 10/10/15 and 10/11/15, 12:30pm
Where: Creve Coeur Golf Course
Sign up for the UMSL Marketing Club’s Annual Golf Outing and enjoy some outdoor fun before the winter comes. Everyone is invited to play – high handicappers, weekend warriors, scratch golfers, members and guests welcome. Join us for lunch and stay for an afternoon round and networking. Make your reservations early, space is limited!
10659425_10152785509383118_3631733900502392827_n#4 Public Relations Society of America – St. Louis
Crisis Communications: Perspectives on Race Relations
When: 10/13/15, 7:30am – 9:00am
Where: Missouri History Museum
Join us at the Missouri History Museum on Tuesday, October 13, 2015 from 7:30 until 9:00 a.m. for a panel discussion moderated by Reena Hajat Carroll, MSW, executive director of Diversity Awareness Partnership with panelists Denise Bentele, president of Common Ground Public Relations, Johnny Little, president of eLittle Communications Group, and social media expert Liz Sharpe-Taylor. Advance registration is required for this event. No walk-ins will be permitted and all students will need to show their student ID at the door. To purchase tickets or for more details please visit here.
#5 Brand-Building Workshop with Roberto Garcia of Listo Claim Academy
When: 10/10/15, 10:00am and 10/11/15 5:00pm
Where: 515 Olive Street #600 St. Louis
From Roberto Garcia, founder of Listo and former brand manager for Anheuser-Busch, comes a full weekend of interactive workshops focusing on the beginning stages of a brand. How do you build a brand from scratch? How do you break into existing markets or create markets of your own? What are the best, most cost-effective tools for extending your next promotional dollar? Find out during Roberto’s 10-hour seminar. Sign-ups will open soon, so mark your calendars!
To purchase tickets or for more information please click here.
#6 Mid-Missouri PRSA Annual Fall Conference
When: 10/22/15, 9:00am-4:00pm
Where: Columbia, MO
The annual Mid-Missouri PRSA Conference brings communication and marketing professionals together for networking and to learn top trends affecting the industry. Whether your day is spent in state government, healthcare, education or at a local startup, you will take away key points for successful marketing, social content and new tools used to engage your target audience. Meet and learn from other mid-Missouri professionals to gain relevant insight from those sharing similar career challenges and experiences. To purchase tickets or for more details please visit here.
logo#7 Agile Marketing / Content Marketing Bootcamp – Kansas City, MO
When: 10/06/2015, 8:30am-4:30pm
Where: AJi – IdeaLoft, 210 West 5th Street, #103, Kansas City, MO 64105
AJi Software is hosting a one-day Agile Marketing and Content Marketing bootcamp for marketing professionals in Kansas City, MO on October 6th, 2015. This bootcamp will help you and your team answer these questions and others you might have about agile planning and execution. We will break the content planning process down throughout the entire day and split up into groups for more interaction with the tools to ensure you have the time to harness your skills before the day is over. To purchase tickets or for more detailed information please visit here.
What other Digital Events are going on in #STL in October?