By Allan Maurer
ATLANTA – More and more, marketers realize that social media gives brands something they seldom if ever had before: one-on-one engagement with customers. So says Reggie Bradford, CEO of Vitrue.
Vitrue’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform enables brands and marketing agencies to communicate with 700 million fans in 47 countries across more than 2,500 Facebook and Twitter accounts, emerging social media avenues, and mobile applications. With interest in social network marketing exploding, Vitrue is expanding rapidly.
The company raised an $18 million third round recently and has raised a total of $33 million in venture backing from investors who include Scale Venture Partners, Advent Venture Partners, General Catalyst Partners, Comcast Interactive, and Dace Ventures.
It has been hiring steadily as it opens new offices, going from 65 employees at the end of last year to 175. It has opened new offices in New York, Chicago, Dallas and San Francisco and a London office is immanent.
Bradford tells us that it is important in successful social marketing to engage customers at the local level. “People buy and sell locally and major brands usually have a traditional local presence,” he says.
The company, which already has about 500 customers for itssocial marketing platform, has seen rapid adoption by many of the world’sleading brands. Bradford likens it to the Salesforce.com model but thisSaaS-based software is for brands managing their social communities onFacebook, Twitter and emerging platforms.
“We believe strongly that social marketingplatforms, like our Vitrue SRM, will become the standard for brands to communicateand manage their ever expanding and sophisticated social communities,” he says.“We’ve seen tremendous adoption of our SaaS-based platform of late andabsolutely expect to continue an impressive growth trajectory. By end of 2012,we believe all major brands, as well as many mid-sized businesses, will have invested in and be using socialsoftware to power their social media communications.”
Bradford admits that while the Vitrue platform measures such things as the number of likes or unlikes on a brand Facebook page, the number of comments and so on, “There is still some mystery about what success looks like. Is it your number of fans? The number of likes or engagements? The number of Big Macs sold at McDonalds? That’s evolving.”
On the other hand, he says, traditional marketing metrics are not all that specific either. “Show me a marketer who can tell me how many cheeseburgers they sold running TV spots on CNN and I’ll give them my paycheck,” he says.
Top three best Facebook marketing practices
We asked Bradford what the top three best practices are in marketing on Facebook.
First, he says, “You get 110 times more engagement in your news feed than you do in tabs (the “About Us,” or special offer buttons).” So, he says, “Post links to your special offers to fans in news feeds and use that to drive people to tab content. That’s critical.
Second, find out the best times of the day and week to reach your audience.
Third, create sites for various locations to feature local/regional deals, special offers and the geographically relevant experiences people want from social networks. That means a company can, for instance promote local sports teams or other area events along with its own products.
Vitrue will be doing occasional guest blog posts for us on social media marketing, the entrepreneurial adventure and other topics.
TJS Editor Allan Maurer: Allan at TechJournalSouth dot com.
- Atlanta-based Vitrue nabs $17M for social media management
- Atlanta’s Vitrue acquires UGENmedia
- Atlanta-based ViTrue raises $2.2 million in first round
- Atlanta’s Vitrue acquires San Francisco-based GamesThatGive
- Which brands have the most Facebook fans? Who’s gaining?
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Tags: Advent Venture Partners, Allan Maurer, and Dace Ventures, Comcast Interactive, facebook, Facebook marketing best practices, General Catalyst Partners, Reggie Bradford, Scale Venture Partners, social network marketing platform, twitter, Vitrue