Venueseen launched as a monitoring/management dashboard for photos shared on social media in spring 2012, providing a platform to help brands identify and interact with the people shaping their business’s story online. When those brands asked to take their interactions with fans beyond likes and comments, the company responded with Venueseen Campaigns, the first all-in-one management and CRM tool for running Instagram campaigns. Within the next year, Venueseen had opened its API, announced a major partnership with Indianapolis Motor Speedway and integrated Twitter – together creating a full suite of products that give brands the tools to run more strategic photo campaigns. To reflect its expanded product offering, the company rebranded as Seen in October 2013, plus introduced a new Instagram influencer network called Snapfluence.
From the beginning, Seen’s CEO recognized that PR was critical to its growth and ongoing success. When the company initially launched in 2012, Seen worked with Geben to develop and implement a PR strategy that would position them as a go-to visual marketing resource for the digital marketing industry. In addition to securing coverage in major tech and business press coinciding with the launch, Seen also tasked Geben with helping the company maintain a steady stream of editorial coverage, identifying and connecting with key influencers and brands in their target verticals, plus using social media to bolster traditional PR efforts.
As the company evolved, Geben continued leveraging PR to increase awareness of the platform and generate sales leads. Plus, when the company rebranded in 2013, Geben guided internal communications and helped explain the transition to Seen’s stakeholders, partners, friends, prospects and clients.
Seen’s ongoing PR strategy centered on the following goals:
- Introduce Venueseen — then Seen and Snapfluence — to the industry as “must-have” tools for forward-thinking digital marketers, agencies and brands
- Establish the company, and its CEO, as thought leaders in visual/digital marketing
- Generate sales leads through media relations, content marketing and social media
Geben leveraged PR for each of Seen’s major product launches and partnerships, securing placements in leading technology, business and niche publications: AdAge, AllFacebook, Business Insider, ClickZ, Digital Times, GigaOM, Mobile Marketer, SocialTimes, Sports Business Journal, TechCrunch and Yahoo! Finance, to name a few.
To reach sports marketers, Seen created a series of infographics to show the power of the platform, simultaneously producing compelling content likely to be shared via social media. The two infographics — one highlighting baseball stadiums with the most active Instagram fans, and the other showing popular venues and athletes during the Olympics — were shared by Yahoo! Sports, ESPN, Mashable and other sports-focused sites.
TARGETED + TIMELY MEDIA OUTREACH
To maintain a steady stream of editorial coverage between product launches, Geben secured media placements in outlets that potential clients and partners were likely to read. For example, Seen targeted restaurants as a key vertical, so Geben developed storylines for reporters at key restaurant industry trade publications and online news sites. As a result, we secured coverage in Restaurant Management Magazine, SmartBrief Restaurants and QSRWeb, among others. We also targeted social media/digital marketing outlets that were likely to reach Seen’s audience and secured coverage in PR Week, AdAge, SocialTimes and more.
Lastly, Seen created timely media outreach opportunities by providing Instagram data surrounding popular online conversations. Providing statistics around #snowmageddon landed a placement with the AP, while #SFBatKid insights were shared by Mashable and The Atlantic.
NYC MEDIA TOUR
In advance of Seen’s API launch in January 2013, Geben organized a media tour for the company’s CEO in New York City and arranged meetings with ESPN, Upstart Business Journal, Mobile Marketer and PRNewser. Not only did these in-person meetings result in launch coverage, but also laid the foundation for long-term relationships with key media outlets.
SOCIAL MEDIA + CONTENT MARKETING
Geben leveraged social media — Twitter, specifically — to help Seen connect with key influencers and brands in niche industries, build relationships with media and bloggers, and facilitate product demos for potential new clients. Geben also helped Seen launch blog and email marketing campaigns, both of which helped bolster the company’s positioning as a thought leader in the digital marketing space. Blog and email content highlighted case studies, product news, platform updates, and best practices for managing visual marketing campaigns.
To further establish Seen’s credibility, Geben submitted both the company and its CEO for select local and industry awards. In 2012, Venueseen was named “Game Changer of the Year” at the Ohio Interactive Awards, plus named a semi-finalist in the “Outstanding Product” and “Outstanding Startup” categories at Tech Columbus’s Innovation Awards. In 2013, Seen’s CEO Brian Zuercher was selected as one of Columbus Business First’s “Forty Under 40.”
Geben worked with Seen to coordinate a small networking event for Content Marketing World speakers and attendees, plus arrange meetings with media and attendees at Dreamforce, AdTech and other digital/visual marketing conferences. Through these events, Geben was able to connect Seen with influencers at major brands and agencies, including Tim Hayden, then SVP of mobile strategy for Edelman; Kelli Nowinsky, social media director for Nationwide Children’s Hospital; and Adam Kmeic, then digital marketing director at Campbell Soup Co.
PR has played an instrumental role in helping Seen generate new business leads, acquire clients in target verticals and secure interest from potential investors and strategic partners — all critical components for the company’s continued growth and success.
Business Insider’s coverage of Venueseen Campaigns brought in more than 50 qualified sales leads, while the baseball and Olympics infographics generated an additional 150 viable leads. Restaurant coverage helped Seen attract high-profile restaurant customers, including Melting Pot and Macaroni Grill. Similarly, sports coverage helped Seen secure high-profile sports customers, such as the San Francisco Giants and Indy 500. These relationships also laid the foundation for more new business: For example, Seen’s partnership with Indianapolis Motor Speedway ultimately resulted in them signing ESPNW.
Using social media to bolster PR helped Seen gain qualified leads, too. Participating in #TourismChat helped them secure Experience Grand Rapids and Visit Colorado, among others. Additionally, Seen’s CEO has been asked to speak at top tourism and digital marketing conferences.
Lastly, connections made at digital marketing events have led to additional business and thought leadership opportunities for Seen. Tim Hayden included insights from Seen is his book, The Mobile Commerce Revolution: How to Capitalize on the Intersection of Mobile Marketing and Digital Commerce. Plus, Seen partnered with Kelli Nowinsky and Nationwide Children’s Hospital to execute an online giving campaign in December 2013.