Social engagement is all the rAVe for this AV news organization

ASeymour    October 13, 2015

Industry: AV Industry

Contact: Gary Kayye, founder, rAVe Publications, teaches New Media Technologies and Its Impact on the Future of Advertising, Marketing and PR and the Branding of Me at the University of North Carolina

Web references:  UNC School of Media and Journalism, rAVepubs, Twitter, rAVe Social Media Blueprint, We Are Social, 100 Customer Service Statistics You Need to Know, YouTube

rAVe pubsFew marketing tools today offer businesses the ability to inspire, motivate, educate or influence their customers and potential customers on a broadcast level AND through individual conversations in one fell swoop. Until social media. And few do it as well as Gary Kayye and rAVe [publications].

Although its founder was schooled in journalism, rAVe is not a traditional industry publication. rAVe [Publications], founded in 1998 by Kayye, is a news organization that provides coverage of the commercial (ProAV) and residential (HomeAV) audiovisual trade industries via e-newsletters, blogs, video, social media, and a variety of other mediums..   Kayye states “rAVe is an opinionated news organization, providing news and commentary that reflect the opinions of its authors. We believe that all news is heavily affected by the views of its author, so we state up front that ours is going to be.”

rAVe Twitter pageWhy should you take Kayye’s word? Well, he’s got a good thing going when it comes to social media and new media technology. “I developed a website, the rAVe Social Media Blueprint, that thousands of technology professionals and integrators utilize to define their social media marketing strategy. In addition, I have consulted with hundreds of companies on their new media and social media strategies over the past ten years.”

Engaged…from the very beginning…

Since the inception of this unique news organization, Kayye has made the connection with the social side of sharing news with his customers – be they AV integrators, dealers, consultants, analysts or end users. Through his website, newsletters, podcasts, live tradeshow coverage and connectivity through every major social media platform (and some test bed activity on up and coming platforms), Kayye ensures that he keeps lively two-way conversation flowing between himself, his team of bloggers and, his audience.

B2B Digital Landscape – trends 

social-web-overview-in-2015The AV industry is not known for its technological innovation marketing. In fact, Kayye notes it’s lagging well behind other industries when it comes to social media. In B2B, 81% of companies maintain a profile on social networks, 48% follow industry topics, 59% engage with peers, 37% pose questions – all via social media. There’s more – 93% of B2B companies use search engines to begin the buying process. Twitter traffic is comprised of 20% direct product or service references, but, even more importantly, 58% reference bad experiences and that’s layered with one vital stat – over 80% of traffic is mobile-based.

Now – if we throw one more number into the mix – “$41 billion is lost by US companies each year due to poor customer service.”@NewVoiceMedia via @InsightSquared 100 Customer Service Statistics You Need to Know. Kayye’s early understanding and adoption of new media meant that, as journalist, consultant and industry influencer, he had the power to affect change for his own business and, the business of others.

Know your audience –

rAVe’s customer base can be divided into three distinct groups – and the tools/platforms that Kayye uses for outreach are different for each.

Passive readers – the majority of his audience at 50-65% – wait for information to come to them in the form of email newsletters, which by the way, are 100% opt-in. Interaction here includes opening, reading, possibly forwarding or archiving for future reference. All content is embedded in the newsletter, where content is derived from rAVe’s Blogsquad.

Proactive readers – people who, on a regular basis go to a website and read information themselves on products, technologies. rAVe’s website is an aggregate of every piece of content they do – from news stories to blogs, podcasts, videos, infographics and surveys.

Social reader – the average age is about 32 years (in the AV industry) and these folks actively follow Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, SnapChat, Pinterest. While the number of people engaged may be low comparatively, the number of engagements is much higher. Kayye tailors the news he and his team deliver to this audience of social readers.

rAVe’s tools of the trade

Newsletters – Buyers Club – a specialized newsletter recently launched, targeted at end users with an initial launch audience of approximately 11,000 unique visitors

Video – YouTube

rAVe NOW – customized sponsorships at live events, promotion through video posted on rAVe’s website and through rAVe’s social media channels.

CEDIA 2015 Yamaha – an example of an onsite customer video socially promoted by rAVe

Podcasts – for those active readers seeking information, Rants & rAVes offer product specific information, trends, or Kayye’s valued opinions on the state of the AV union.

As an advocate of social media, Kayye and his staff take a leadership role in educating their customers on how to incite and engage further conversation– with social media themselves and in turn, with their own customers. He’s developed a roadmap: Intro to rAVe: A Social Media Blueprint.

Inspiring the conversation


rAVe_RoseWater Energy tweet

rAVe LinkedIn_Extron














Kayye on rAVe’s engagement successessound icon

Gary Kayye interview on rAVe social media engagement– Kayye discusses social media, customer engagement and lessons he’s learned and shares with others on new media technologies.


Lessons learned:

  1. Social media engagement with your customers offers a unique opportunity to share broadcast information, influence the community and, provide detailed, individualized conversation by answering questions directly, all in one tool.
  2. Social media is not a single transaction – but an ongoing, two-way conversation.  The more platforms and social media channels you engage with, the greater opportunity to increase that two-way conversational traffic.
  3. Do not think that one customer is not big enough.  The ripple effect is significant and often exponential.  The engagement that you see in Stage 1 retweets does not reflect the level of engagement that happens below the surface.
  4. You may need to suspend traditional ROI philosophy when looking at social media.  You need to “play in the world” and get engaged – and it won’t happen overnight.  The ROI of NOT engaging in social media may be more of a risk to consider against traditional marketing methods.


rAVe has 15,000 followers on Twitter and more than 38,000 tweets; Kayye himself has 7000 followers on LinkedIn; 992 followers on Pinterest with over 3,700 pins; 3693 subscribers on YouTube and 195,916 views on Google+. They experiment with new platforms like Medium, SnapChat, Ello, Meerkat, Periscope and Vines. And finally, social media still requires authenticity. To be authentic, sometimes it’s better to come from a person rather than a company. rAVe leverages this quite a bit – leveraging Kayye’s name, for example, when building relationships with companies that don’t have a traditional corporate structure. They connect wherever their audience is and could be. And they keep the social chatter alive by adding value as a leader in providing free resources and education to the AV industry.

Submitted by: aseymour, University of Waterloo

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