Angela LaRocca Discusses UMSL Digital and Importance of Social Media Marketing

 By: Kelly Kunzel, Mary Hoffmann, Annie Valli, Justin Zieg
We sat down with local celebrity and UMSL Digital Personality, Angela LaRocca, an UMSL Digital Advisory Board member, to speak about UMSL Digital and the importance of social media marketing. In speaking with Angela about her role and the importance of social media marketing, it was hard to ignore the passion in her eyes upon the first question about her involvement. Though her various responsibilities with UMSL Digital, she spends a lot of time on camera based on her experience as an actress.  Aside from her role as a board member on UMSL Digital, she is also a Brand Manager at Unidev.
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What is UMSL Digital?
LaRocca “has a lot to offer” and there are so many ways to get involved. It is not only for students, but UMSL does an amazing job at involving staff and the community to bring St. Louis together. Videos are something LaRocca favors on the UMSL Digital blog due to her rigorous experience as an actress in several short films. The UMSL Digital blog also supplies various online blogs discussing anything from social media readiness to current events in Ferguson. There is something for everyone on UMSL Digital and so many ways to get involved.
Why should I care about Social Media Marketing?
Social media isn’t just for sharing photos with your friends. Business thrive online and social can be the best place to spread brand awareness. Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are great because it’s so easy to share content from person to person. Gone are the days of cold calling and newspaper ads. Businesses can spread the word online just with the click of a button and cut costs while doing so.
LaRocca says in the future, brands should not only stay relevant, but stay ahead. Don’t just discuss what’s current, but make sure to be ready for what lies ahead in the future. Start your presence online early to be able to best “define yourself”. Not only does this apply to company brand management but also your personal brand.
This was said best by Angela, “know who you are before others decide for you.”

Become Friends with Facebook

ThumbFinal_4.9.15By: Ricky Cheers, Lingru Kong, Lyndsey McKinney, Akeeva Pork
Facebook was launched (it was originally called thefacebook) on February 4th, 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg and fellow Harvard students Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes. While the social media platform was initially only for Harvard students, it expanded to include other schools in the Boston area, Stanford and all other Ivy League schools. After this, it was so successful that it became available to all college students in the United States and Canada. However, since 2006, anyone 13 and over is able to have an account (unless prohibited by state and local laws). Since its humble beginnings, Facebook has grown into the one social media site that everyone AND their mother utilizes. In 2012, Facebook Inc. held its initial public offering and began selling public stock, solidifying its status as both a legitimate business and a dominant social networking site. The platform only continues to grow, as it also acquired both the photo-sharing site Instagram and messaging service Whatsapp.
For those who are not familiar with this social media giant, Facebook functions include, but are not limited to, allowing a person to add other users as “friends”, sending messages, posting status updates and photos, sharing videos, creating groups and receiving notifications when “friends” update their profiles. As of August 2015, Facebook has over 1.18 billion monthly active users, a figure that represents great opportunity for marketers everywhere.
There are a plethora of opportunities available for brands to advertise and engage on Facebook. A brand can increase online and local sales by engaging with people on their computers and smartphones, creating targeted ads to reach a specific audience (segment by gender, age, location, interests), boosting posts to reach more people (for a fee), and reconnecting with individuals who have visited its website in the past with a service like Custom Audiences. Businesses can upload customer contact information (email, phone number) and these customers will be sent an ad (if they are registered Facebook users). Additionally, a brand could reach people similar to its current audience with Lookalike Audiences or remarket to its website visitors and send a Facebook ad to those who have visited its website before. Conversion tracking is also a great way to track customer actions and increase online and local sales. With this tool, an organization is able to see if someone clicked on an ad from Facebook and went to the brand website to make a purchase, register, etc. Local Awareness Ads are yet another Facebook device that can boost sales exponentially. These enable a brand to select certain locations, ages, and genders in order to successfully reach potential customers.
Additionally, Facebook is great for promoting an App. Brands have the ability to reach audiences based on age, gender, and devices. More specifically, a brand has the ability to promote app installs and engagement. For example, when individuals click the app ad on Facebook, they will be sent directly to the app store. Additionally, Facebook can aid a brand in reaching people who already have the app installed. These individuals can be sent to a specific part of the app with a click on the Facebook ad (ex: being sent directly to the online store in the app).
Facebook is also excellent for building brand awareness. Not only are there a great deal of users on this platform, it also allows a brand to tell it’s story with engaging video and photos that will surely help it stand out and connect with its audience. Page Insights is also an excellent tool, as it allows brands to improve the way they market to and reach people who like their pages by showing how many likes they have and the amount of new likes, how many people saw their page and their posts and how many people clicked, liked, commented, or shared their pages.
Response rates to customers that engage the business on Facebook
-Telecom – 60.4%
-Airlines – 55.0 %
-Finance – 46.4%
-Retail – 43.6%
-Fashion – 41.5%
-Electronics – 24.9%
-Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) – 18.8%
-Automotive – 17.0%
-Alcohol – 5.2%
Linkedin blog group 1 turn in
Media – 4.9%
Case Study: Pura Vida
Pura Vida, an artisan bracelet retailer, utilized Facebook to create brand loyalty (and awareness) and increase sales. The brand partnered with marketing firm Sum Digital to retarget prior visitors with ads for recently viewed products from its website and to cultivate advertisements targeted toward Lookalike Audiences in order to attract new customers. These efforts proved to be an immense success, as the brand’s amount of online orders quadrupled over just two months, it reached a seventy percent increase in conversion rate and it managed to achieve a forty percent lower cost per acquisition.
Source and Learn More:

Live from Venture Cafe!

By: Ricky Cheers, Lingru Kong, Lyndsey McKinney, Akeeva Pork
Want to get an inside look at one of the many networking events in St. Louis? Check out this video blog of a Venture Café Event.
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The event that we chose to film and write about was the Venture Café that took place on Thursday, October 15, 2015. The reason why we chose this event to talk about is because we thought that it would be helpful for anyone who would like to attend this event, but is skeptical because they really don’t know what it is about. We wanted this video to really broadcast some of the key aspects that this event would want its participants to take with them.
Venture Café program manager, Kaori Yazawa, explains exactly what a Venture Café event is all about. From her point of view, she believes that this event joins community members of all ages and races together so that they can all network and support each other.
Venture café events occur every Thursday and they cover a range of topics. Some topics that they have covered and will cover in the future are developing a strong marketing strategy and how to properly give a presentation. One of the main goals that this event aims to accomplish is to bring together a very diverse group of people that will utilize the workshops held every week in order to grow their skills and become more confident in their abilities.
Venture Café events are very professional and helpful. We would encourage anyone that is pursuing a business degree (especially a marketing degree) to attend these events. They are very insightful. Each event is held at the Cortex Innovation Building and presenters talk about a variety of topics each week.
More information here:

Link Up with LinkedIn

Logo-2C-121px-RBy: Mary Hoffmann, Will Johnston, Kelly Kunkel, Annie Vallie, Justin Zeid
LinkedIn was founded in 2002 by Reid Hoffman who had previous experience with Google, Ebay, and PayPal.   It was later officially launched in 2003 which makes it older than any other social platform such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Five years later LinkedIn was able to open its first international office in London. At the start of 2009, the member count had reached 55 million and Jeff Weiner, who would eventually become the CEO, joined LinkedIn. In 2011, LinkedIn had its first listing on the New York Stock Exchange for about $45 per share.   In March of 2015, LinkedIn had more than 364 million users in over 200 countries/territories. They have reported to have 65.6 million unique users in the U.S. alone per month. It is also offered in 24 different languages. The following are some key industries that have seen success by using LinkedIn: Technology, Retail, Financial Services and Education.
LinkedIn differs from other social media sites as it is for professional and business use as opposed to personal use. Whereas on Facebook, most of the people who you would have connections with are family and friends, your connections on LinkedIn are people who you have a business relationship with, such as coworkers and like-minded professionals. There are about 3 million organizations on LinkedIn, so it is almost too easy to be able to connect with others and share information. LinkedIn profiles are more likely to appear at the top of search engines.
Company Page
Another opportunity provided by LinkedIn is for businesses to create a Company Page, which provides a brand-based environment that showcases services or products. It also has recommendation capabilities where members can share their opinions in their own network and on the Company Page.
When searching for investors, every single Fortune 500 company is represented on LinkedIn, so it is very easy to find those with expendable cash or those looking for new opportunities to donate. They also have added a new section called the Volunteer Marketplace where volunteer opportunities can be posted. Nonprofits can also use this tool to be connected to other volunteer websites like VolunteerMatch or Taproot Foundation.
Case Studies
LinkedIn offers many case studies on their website from various organizations detailing their LinkedIn campaign goals and how these goals were achieved. One example of this is Holiday Inn Express’ “Stay Smart” campaign. Holiday Inn Express used LinkedIn’s Sponsored Updates with videos to target members in sales and business consulting to achieve their ultimate goal of increasing brand awareness. They also set up a LinkedIn Showcase Page to “share content with followers and keep the brand top of mind with travelers.”
As a result, Holiday Inn Express was able to increase their followers from 7 to 1,622 in just 40 days. Along with click through rates and engagement at two times the LinkedIn benchmarks, Holiday Inn Express was able to achieve greater brand sentiment from members through this campaign.
Microsoft had the same initiative when promoting OneNote to educators. Sponsored Updates were targeted towards educators so it’s reaching a more relevant market. The case study brought more traffic and awareness than high-traffic press releases and product updates while outperforming other Microsoft promotions. Over the course of a month, their click-through-rate grew by an average of 46% with their top performing post at a whopping 84% while engagement rate increased by 54%.
Sponsored Updates are great for businesses because it is an easy way to target your posts to a relevant audience to get more immediate feedback and better results.
Comparison to Other Social Media Sites
LinkedIn was started with the idea of having an easy marketplace to network with like-minded professionals, so it will differ from what other popular social media sites have to offer for their users. It is more reputable when looking for donors, board members, volunteers, or looking to create partnership with other companies. In comparison to Facebook which is more of a platform, LinkedIn is an application. In term of revenue, LinkedIn makes more from “premium services” and Facebook makes more revenue from games and advertisements. Over 380 million users are members of LinkedIn and growing, with Twitter not far behind at 316 million and Facebook at a whopping 1 billion users. Another difference is that Facebook and Twitter can be considered “time killers” because users can look at what their friends are posting whether it is pictures or just status updates; however, LinkedIn has a greater utility because it can connect you with people to further your work.

Meet UMSL Digital’s Danni Eickenhorst

By: Ryan Orio, Raven Williams, William Scott, Kourtney McKinney
Danni Eickenhorst wears many hats. As the CEO of St Louis marketing agency Blank Page Consulting, she and her team of marketers manage marketing strategy for dozens of companies nationally. As a professor and member of the UMSL Digital team, she teaches students about social media marketing strategies and tools. Eickenhorst teaches students how to build their brand, increase their Twitter following, write engaging blog posts for UMSL Digital Mindshare, and utilize tools such as Hootsuite and Facebook ads. Recently, she reached 10,000 followers on Twitter; needless to say she knows a thing or two about building a personal brand!
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Currently, she is also providing students with hands-on experience by assigning them to work in teams to assist one of her clients, the Golden Cord Foundation with their social media and marketing strategy.  This passion for non-profits is seen not only in the classroom but also in her past and current work.

Passion for Non-profit

Through her role as business owner and President of Blank Page Consulting, she assists her client in achieving their business goals through successful social media marketing strategies. Eickenhorst has successfully translated her passion for non-profits into success in business. When she worked for The Salvation Army as their Public Information Officer, she used social media to help those affected by the tornado in Joplin to receive the resources they needed to recover.
Additionally, she utilized her marketing and social media skills in her work with the “I Love Ferguson” group to raise over $100,000 dollars for struggling businesses in the community. Currently, she is also an Advisory Board Member for the Social Media Club of St. Louis. Through the club, she was Chair for the first #STLSocialGood Conference, which provides non-profits with social and digital marketing training.


Eickenhorst has been named a “Top 100 Twitter Influencer” for the St. Louis region according to the Evan Carmichael Influencer Index. One of her greatest honors was the Inaugural Leadership Award from Missouri Governor, Jay Nixon, in January 2014. Eickenhorst received the award for her contributions to the social media strategy for 100 Missouri Miles, which is an online movement to get Missouri residents to explore all the great outdoor attractions their state has to offer. The campaign accumulated over 1,000,000 miles utilizing #100MoMiles and the online platform.
Learn more about Danni on her social channels:
Twitter: @stldanni & @BlankPageSTL
Blank Page Consulting:
Online marketing education:

Is Your Mobile App User Friendly?

By: Casey Kleekamp, UMSL MBA Student
I recently attended an UMSL Digital Marketing Seminar: “Mobile Marketing Strategy” hosted by Chris Carril. Chris works at Scottrade as a Mobile Platform Manager and after sitting through his seminar it was clear to me that he is extremely knowledgeable about his field. So I’m excited to share, with you, some information I found insightful.
casey1Chris shared tons of material on Mobile Marketing – an overview of mobile, stages of mobile app development, emotional design, mobile payment, innovation and the death of mobile strategy, or rather, why marketers need a total marketing strategy that includes mobile, not just a mobile strategy. So much great content, but for the purpose of this blog I’m going to focus on one topic in particular that stood out for me: iOS User Interface Design (UI).
UI is the design of user interfaces for computers, iPads, mobile etc. that is meant to maximize the user’s experience. (And iOS is Apple’s mobile platform, but I think most of you knew that already!) This topic stood out for me because without good design a mobile app is useless. Good design seems like common sense and I take it for granted so to see the rigor Apple puts behind it was educational.
I chose iOS vs. Andriod’s UI because I’m an Apple user and fan. They demand clear and simple design, which is very relatable to me and my personality – I’m a little Type A.
Below I have listed Apple’s “best practices” for iOS UI in a Do’s and Don’ts format, which Apple calls “Human Interface Guidelines.” Again, seems like common sense, but as we’ve all experienced not all mobile apps have a great user experience. So read on for 10 ways to ensure good mobile app design!
casey21. Formatting Content: As you can see in the left image, formatting for mobile is very important. It can make or break your user’s experience. DON’T make your users scroll left or right to view or read content. Instead, make your mobile app layout fit the screen.
2. Touch Controls: DO make sure your UI elements are built for touch that is easy and natural. The example Apple uses on their site is a calendar. When asking users to select a date it’s better to build out a calendar for iOS specifically vs. using the typical calendar format from a computer screen.
3.Hit Targets: DON’T make buttons too small. Make sure controls can easily and accurately be tapped with your user’s finger. The first time!
4. Text Size: DO make your font readable. Apple requires that all text be 11font. Why would you make it any smaller – no one can read that!
5. Contrast: Speaking of be able to read the text. DO make sure there is ample contrast between your text and background colors.
6. Spacing: DO ensure the text has appropriate line height and letter spacing.
7. High Resolution: DO make images clear, not blurry. Apple lists out specific size requirements.
8. Distortion: DO ensure images are at the correct aspect ratio.
9. Organization: DO make your mobile app layout easy to read. Have the controls next to the right text.
10. Alignment: DO ensure alignment of text, images and buttons so that users know how your content is related.
For more details and Apple’s specific requirements on iOS UI Do’s and Don’ts feel free to check out their site:
All in all, pretty straightforward right? So, now that you know how to build an iOS UI app that is user friendly you need to ask a few questions of your development partners to ensure the best total experience for today and for the future…
-Is your app maintainable?
-Is it scalable?
-Is it testable?
-Is it truly useable?
Finally, UMSL Digital Guru’s, I have one last question – how can we improve our UMSL Mobile Apps for the best possible user experience?

Better Your Marketing Skills With These November Events

By: Ricky Cheers, Lingru Kong, Lyndsey McKinney, Akeeva Pork
Welcome to Part 2 of our Digital Marketing Events Series! Here are some events that you may want to attend in November to get ahead or beef up your professional skills – especially if you are working in Digital Marketing or majoring in Marketing or Digital communication.
#1 UMSL Marketing Club Site Visit: Fleishman Hillard
When: 11/05/15, 4pm
Where: 200 N Broadway, St. Louis, MO 63102
Named as PRWeek’s 2013 “Best Places to Work,” Fleishman Hillard is definitely a dream company for many people to pursue a career at. The company offers many opportunities including internships, scholarships, and a diversity fellowship. Join us for a once in a lifetime opportunity to receive an exclusive tour of Fleishman Hillard! To register or for more details visit here.
#2 TEDxGatewayarch: Catalyst – A Full Day of Speakers and Networking
When: 11/7/15
Where: Harris-Stowe State University
3026 Laclede Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63103
Enjoy a full day of great speakers and great comp any. Spend time between speakers mingling with TED-focused exhibitors and enjoying our delicious local snacks and drinks. Don’t miss our third annual event – tickets sell out every year, so don’t wait! To purchase tickets or for more details and information please visit here.
umsl marketing club#3 UMSL Marketing Club Meeting
When: 11/19/15, 3:30pm-6:30pm
Where: University of Missouri-St. Louis SSB room 133
This is the last Marketing Club Meeting of the Fall 2015 semester. We are thrilled to have two guest speakers! Melissa Hamilton is the Executive Producer, Integrated Production STL, at Momentum Worldwide. She began her professional career working in traditional marketing and transitioned into digital marketing. Additionally, Douglas Chris, the Director of Digital will, will also be speaking. They will share their experience and tips concerning professionalism and digital marketing.
logo#4 AMA monthly Luncheons – Digital Insights: Media Trends + Emerging Opportunities
When: 11/19/15, 11:30am
Where: Kirkwood Station Restaurant & Brewery, 105 East Jefferson, Kirkwood, MO 63122
Join Centro’s head of Digital Innovations as he shares key trends in digital advertising, with a focus on the evolving new media landscape, the convergence of ad tech and mar tech, the enormous influence and unique characteristics of the maturing
millennials, and what digital strategies need to be adopted for marketing success in 2016 and beyond. To register or for more details please visit here.
Untitled#5 Flaunt’s “ready+willing”
When: 11/18/15, 5:30pm-7:30pm
Where: The Vino Gallery: 4701 McPherson Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63108
Join ready+willing at Flaunt, our semiannual event that celebrates the outstanding work our pro bono marketing teams created for our nonprofit clients. For 12 weeks, marketing teams assembled by ready+willing have been creating marketing campaigns. The work will be unveiled to the public at Flaunt. The marketing assistance provided to these charities will help them reach a larger audience and further their mission. Stronger charities make for a stronger St. Louis! They will also be announcing the four nonprofit organizations that will be receiving pro bono services for the fall session of ready+willing. To RSVP or for more information please visit here.
logo#6 Thought Leadership: The Next Wave of B2B Marketing from Forrester Research/ Business Marketing Association – Kansas City
When: 11/18/15, 11:30am-1:00pm
Where: Google Fiber Space, 1814 Westport Rd, Kansas City, MO 64111
From medical devices to heavy equipment, commercial products, technology, and financial and professional services, business-to-business (B2B) marketing professionals need to position their firms as thought leaders on the issues their buyers face. However, most firms don’t have a process or framework for managing thought leadership marketing initiatives, so they push out product brochures and white papers disguised as thought-leading content. Laura will discuss Forrester’s four-step methodology to develop a thought leadership platform and mobilize the experts in your firm to deliver these ideas through digital, social, mobile, and offline channels. To purchase tickets or for more details please visit here.
And a Great Ongoing Networking Event
venture-cafe-gathering-small-featured#7 Venture Cafe St. Louis
Every Thursday 3:00 p.m.- 8:00 p.m. at the @4240 Building in the Cortex Innovation District
Innovators and entrepreneurs alike gather each week in order to exchange ideas and inspire one another. For more information, click here.
What other Digital Marketing events are going on in November in #STL?