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Project 2: Creating a Social Media Effort

1 Dec

When this topic was first assigned, I was wracking through my catalog of local organizations to figure out just what it was I would like to see myself doing. It was a total revelation when I stumbled upon the idea in the far reaches of my (fairly unique at times) brain. It would seem as though I constantly find myself going the more challenging route in this class-which is not necessarily a good thing (i.e. picking an extremely high profile campaign, finding a topic to use Storify that wasn’t to take place until the day after it was due, etc. ) Alas, when I find something that I’m passionate about or I believe I could learn more from I go with it. For this project, of course I went in that same direction. How is that you might ask? I chose to create a social media presence for my social sorority: Sigma Sigma Sigma. (Much information has been taken from my own head, but also the national website).

Tri Sigma, or Sigma Sigma Sigma  or ΣΣΣ  is a national American sorority with membership of more than 100,000 members. Sigma Sigma Sigma  hosts chapters on more than 110 college campuses and 89 alumnae chapters in communities all over the world. It was actually the first National Panhellenic Council sorority to open an international chapter, as well as a chapter exclusively for deaf persons.

Mission Statement and Values:

Sigma Sigma Sigma exists to provide a lifelong sorority experience for women through ensuring a perpetual bond of friendship, developing a strong womanly character, and promoting high standards of ethical conduct.

Sigma Sigma Sigma reaffirms its long standing core values of wisdom, power, faith, hope and love.

National Organization Motto:

The open motto to Sigma Sigma Sigma is “Ever Forward,” and is associated with our open symbol of a  sailboat. In Tri Sigma lore, the sailboat symbolizes continual forward motion- never moving backward, but progressing towards its destination.

Our closed (which is not official but embraced by all initiated members) motto is “Faithful Unto Death,” this motto is associated with our closed symbol of a skull and crossbones seen on a Tri Sigma badge.

Philanthropy:

The Sigma Sigma Sigma Foundation is a non-profit corporation formed in 1984. The Foundation distributes funds for charitable, philanthropic, educational, and other benevolent purposes that focus its programs on the following categories: enhancing the leadership skills of modern-day women, providing grants and scholarships to students, and supporting play therapy programs for hospitalized children. The Sigma Sigma Sigma Foundation centers its latter philanthropic efforts around the theme “Sigma Serves Children,” specifically through the Robbie Page Memorial (RPM).

On September 15, 1951, Robbie Page, the son of Tri Sigma’s National President, died of  polio due to a complete lack of cure for the horrible disease. This prompted Robbie’s parents, Robert and Mary Hasting Holloway Page, to establish a memorial fund in honor of their son. Tri Sigma adopted the Robbie Page Memorial as its official philanthropy in 1954. In its early years, the RPM supported various polio research projects, including the Salk vaccine trials. The RPM now focuses on supporting play therapy for hospitalized children, and providing support for playrooms, libraries, and programs for children undergoing long-term hospital care. In the present day, many national efforts are geared towards funding fellowships at the Children’s Medical Center in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and in funding graduate assistant-ships at the University of North Carolina Hospitals in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The National Therapeutic Recreation Society has recognized Sigma Sigma Sigma for their gracious support of Child Life and Play Therapy Programs.
At this point you may be confused-why is this in any way, shape, or form difficult? You obviously know a lot about it already. You would be correct in that assumption-I certainly do. I happen to already be the public relations chair for the group. Okay, Okay. Come on now. Difficult? The scoffing may have already started. However, when I took over the role of PR chair for the group I was specifically told not to do any sort of social media effort. OF COURSE I’LL GO AGAINST THE GRAIN IN THE GUISE OF A CLASS PROJECT. Problem? Our National Organization is one of the strictest of any Greek organization on this campus and arguably in the National Panhellenic Council (the governing body of all national social sororities, duh ;)). There is lots of paperwork and a somewhat vigorous approval process for anything to have the Tri Sigma name, letters or insignia attached to it.

Prime example?  A little singer named Carrie Underwood…you may have heard of her. Well, she was a Tri Sigma in her undergrad and wanted to be portrayed as such on her American Idol stint. She wasn’t initially approved, but then she was making extreme headway and  our National Organization decided-huh- why not. She’s beautiful and she may win. She was finally granted permission to classify herself as Sigma on the world’s stage. She even made a video in which she flashes her letters-blink and you will surely miss it. Kind of puts who stingy Nationals can be into perspective. Anywho, I decided I was going to attempt and have Nationals approve. To say they are picky about what goes on the internet with the Tri Sigma name attached is about as much of an understatement as calling the Pope religious.

It looks like the next PR chair will get that approval for a social media presence for next semester. In the mean time, I’m going to make it so simple for them when they take over my position. I’ve created a Facebook, Twitter and YouTube account (though none of them are actually live yet) with all the fixings- you know-pictures, background images, the like. All of our social media efforts must continue to have the chapter name of Alpha Phi in all of their info and/or their name if possible. This creates a nice congruence and will hopefully play a part in better use of search engine optimization. The host sites I’ve chosen are the three most used apps on mobile phones in my chapter-we happen to be especially obsessed with Twitter. The mobile apps of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are among the most established and tend to run more smoothly than most. I though they were perfect for tackling the issue of increased mobile usage over traditional computer usage. Also, every social media effort will always have a positive tone, not cheeky or sarcastic, and the posting shouldn’t be aggressive in nature (in tone or in frequency).  I’ve created content calendars, strategies and tactics, target audiences to keep in mind, things to make sure the new PR chair monitors and some specific ideas for the new semester.

The Facebook plan of action:

Target Audiences:

  • Alumnae of the Alpha Phi Chapter
  • Potentially General Tri Sigma Alumnae
  • Potential New Members
  • National Organization
  • Active Members of Alpha Phi
  • Potentially General Active Tri Sigma Sisters

What needs to be recognized is that Facebook, more than the other two avenues, is going to have conflicting target audiences. What alumnae need to know and what actives need to know are vastly different in some cases. For example, Facebook will be a great tool to seek alumnae donations. Giving an update on what the chapter is currently doing will make the alumnae feel more involved and somewhat included in the goings on of the active chapter. Many Alpha Phi alum frequently relive their glory days and would do just about anything to be back there. Our chapter is especially competitive in what’s called Greek Week-coming up in the spring semester- and we always have been. A lot of the time, chapter alumnae will donate money to our chapter on behalf of Greek Week: money for bomb costumes and props during mock rock or maybe even send in lots of canned food if a food drive were to be part of the competition. Because I was once Alumnae Chair of our chapter and had to literally relay everything via an email list or a once-a-month newsletter, it was not easy to make the alumnae feel all that involved. The Facebook page would be a perfect opportunity to do so.

The other great thing about a “Like” page is to show our National Organization we are on track with Accreditation Standards. Creating posts about programs we put on as a part the Accreditation regime are a way to engage in conversation and show we are an organization not just about partying and meeting boys. For instance, SAPA recently came to our meeting to have a discussion about sexual assault on campus and what you can do to avoid being a dreaded “zebra.” This program is gaining lots of momentum on the national scale and it would be great for a fellow CMU RSO to support it publicly. Mention of diversity or alcohol awareness programs are also a good way to engage  in an enlightening discussion via social media. Most important of all to promote on the sites are our philanthropic efforts. Every fall we have a BBQ and at the very least a status and photo album needs to be dedicated to it. In the spring, which is when this plan is for, it would be ideal to promote our Annual Teddy Bear Drive. It would be cool to have a little companion piece about the sisters taking the teddy bears to the local hospitals (photos to Facebook, live tweeting during the visit as well as a YouTube video capturing some of the children playing with the bears. It would be the perfect opportunity to integrate all of our social media efforts into a great multimedia package.

From a recruitment standpoint, we always want our chapter to look the most appealing to potential new members. A steady Facebook posting climate conveys a sense of love and involvement within the group. Like I mentioned prior, PNM’s loooooooooove pictures. I know because I was one. Human beings are fickle creatures-we like to make snap judgments. The more pretty pictures of sisters, hugging, laughing or even crying together in cool, fun settings, the more intriguing we seem to the recruits. Creating the page in the spring will be perfect because we most likely won’t have a spring recruitment, so if it is up and established by the time next fall rolls around we won’t have to face a recruitment infraction from CMU’s Panhellenic Board for creating an excessive recruitment tool in the fall. Recruitment is literally everything to the survival of a Greek group on any campus. We must reach our quota of 70 (sometimes we are allowed to have more under special circumstances) to fulfill our chapter needs locally and nationally. Facebook is a great tool in recruitment as we are well aware that most people, especially in the demographic we are seeking, garner their information from Facebook.

To offset the problem with actives needing a separate place to chat, a private group, called “Secret Sister Society” (though if anyone knew I gave you this link, I’d have some serious s’plainin’ to do, like Lucy, so keep it hush hush :)) was created for active sisters and active sisters only. If you do decide to click on it, you’ll notice there is only 73 members, which is our current total. Nothing we wouldn’t want Nationals to see is on that page-everything we post about is very G-rated. Even in a secret group Nationals technically can’t have access to will never have anything compromising published on it. It is a great outlet however, so that active sisters can all mass communicate things at once in real-time as opposed to waiting for chapter meeting once a week and it wouldn’t clog up the “Like” page which virtually anyone with computer access would be able to witness.

Problems with a Facebook Like Page to think about in posting:

Everything that is published on the internet has to be taken with extreme consideration. Our national organization must at all times be at the forefront of our actions-it becomes a risk management issue. The risk manager of our chair already has the hefty task of constantly searching active sisters profiles for inappropriate material. We as an organization are not allowed to have any sort of social with another group with alcohol involved- at all. By national policy, any event where there are five active Sigma sisters present is considered an official Sigma event and requires all of the risk management paperwork. No statues, album names, and certainly no pictures are allowed to have any sort of alcohol presence or refer to alcohol in any way. It will be the responsibility of the next PR chair to monitor everything that is being posted on the wall and be sure to never use the Facebook page as a way to inform the chapter of the date and times of any sort of social event. Aside from semi-formals and formals, which are allowed, but no details should ever be placed about it. A generic “Have fun at Semi-Formal tonight sisters and guests!” is acceptable. Pictures taken at semi-formals and formals are also great for the page (in terms of recruitment purposes, recruitment and even Nationals) IF AND ONLY IF sisters do not look inebriated in any form in them. Pre-pre-drink pictures would be fantastic. None from the rest of the event. Comments need to be constantly monitored for appropriateness as well as wall posts including videos, etc. If the content is either obscene or in someway challenging the views of the national organization it will have to be removed. Fluency Media upholds that only relevant content to followers should be visible on the page.

Content Calendar:

January- Welcome back posts are an obvious kick-off. But this is also a perfect opportunity to have some Tri Sigma trivia posts as it is the first time (ideally) this page will be seeing some action in terms of relevant users “liking” it. Local history and/0r Sigma history in general would be good to use during this time period. Examples:

  •  Tri Sigma maintains chapters on more than 110 college campuses and 88 alumnae chapters in communities around the world.
  • Tri Sigma was the first sorority to create accreditation standards for chapters.
  • Tri Sigma was the first sorority to create a 6-8 week new member period.
  • Tri Sigma donated all of the childern’s play wings in the movie Patch Adams.
  • Carrie Underwood, Grammy award winning singer, ACM Entertainer of the Year ’09, and Tri Sigma alumna, spoke at the 2007 National Convention, held in Nashville, TN.
  • Prior to membership in NPC, Tri Sigma was part of the AES (Association of Educational Sororities)
  • Tri Sigma was the first NPC sorority to have a chapter in Alaska.  Sigma currently has two chapters there.
  • In 1991, the Epsilon Psi chapter was the first deaf chapter in the NPC.  The chapter was installed at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York.
  • In 2001, Tri Sigma was the first sorority to have an international chapter.

February- Should be devoted to populating the page with pictures. Pictures and more pictures are Facebook’s greatest asset. Especially from a recruitment aspect. I have a CD full of fall recruitment pictures just begging to be uploaded. Here the perfect situation would be to find alumnae who are willing to put up pictures from their active time in the group-it would be fantastic to see the history of our chapter, especially whenever Timeline decides to make its grand appearance. Make sure to comment back to inevitable Facebook comments-especially those from alumnae. Keep those relationships fostered in case of future need.

March-GREEK WEEK, GREEK WEEK, GREEK WEEK. Any updates that are appropriate for the web need to be shared. Though we would never give out practice time and details of our ideas for the week (as I mentioned prior, we are highly, highly competitive) posts about how things are going, who is winning and what the competitions are every day would be ideal. This is most likely the time to be the most annoying with the posts, but anyone who would be willing enough to “Like” Tri Sigma Alpha Phi on Facebook would be absolutely eating this sort of stuff up- I can promise you that. Posts about being safe on spring break and wishing a Happy St. Patrick’s day are recommended as well. They can be opportunities for followers to offer feedback. Where are you going on spring break? Volunteering, somewhere warm, somewhere foreign? If you don’t have a spring break, where would you go? Or for instance on St. Patrick’s Day: Obviously Sigmas are a bigger fan of purple, but how are you wearing your green today? Those can be tricky for college students and alcohol, but proper moderation and an understanding from actives would ensure a lack of inappropriate posts.

April- April would be a good time to start to recognize the seniors going through send-on at the end of the semester. Having a different post about sisters and their collegiate accomplishments would be a nice gesture for those women as well as a great show of sisterhood publicly.

May- Give updates on closing the semester as well as highlighting past and present accomplishments of Sigmas.

Summer- Another time for random information to be posted to hopefully spur some engagement. Questions like “What does Ever Forward mean to you?” or “What’s your Sigma Story?” are relevant posts. Report any relevant Sigma news that may occur during the time frame (always consider this tactic-don’t want to waste an opportunity).

Overall Facebook Strategies and Tactics to consider:

We are not a brand page. Loyalty posts are not all that important to use. Increasing “Likes” is not even that relevant. Keep in mind how often posts are going to be. In my opinion, a few times a week will certainly suffice and only if these posts are about current goings on or posts that directly require interaction. Once a day would be too much-unless of course our chapter was in the middle of a very significant event on campus: traditional, new or spontaneous. Facebook’s strong point is pictures, pictures, and more pictures. We are all visual individuals and you have to give the people what they want. Of the three social media sites, Facebook will most likely be the most involved and used by a wide variety of our target audiences.

Twitter plan of action:

Since this particular site is so popular with our active sisters, I want it to be the main source of getting the word out about events to sisters. Dates, times, locations of meetings, etc. are all appropriate on this venue. Meaningful Sigma news is also a great place to use Twitter. These posts can be everyday, a few times a day-but I highly doubt it will see that kind of frequency at first. It is best to create #’s that may be picked up for other Sigma chapters. For example, create a hashtag like #youknowyoureasigmawhen and see where the conversation leads. Ideally, I would love to use our Twitter handle to create a “Tweet Up” of Michigan Chapters and reference the national Twitter page in this event as well. I think orchestrating this sort of event would land us an article in our national newsletter, The Triangle, for sure. If I were still PR chair, I would have my Triangle writer do it herself. I didn’t create a specific content calendar for Twitter because it will all be very much as events happen, events I’m not sure of when the dates are yet. Twitter will also be a great place to ask what kind of careers Sigmas may want in the future, and to start a conversation that may result in a professional development opportunity. Though I don’t want to cater to alumnae on this platform, it would be beneficial to seek them out in a purely networking fashion. If we can somehow get an active sister advice or even an internship from Twitter, it would be well worth it.

Target Audiences:

  • Active Members
  • National Organization
  • Potential Alumnae to serve as Mentors to Actives

How I envision Twitter is a way to network between active members of our own chapter and active members around the country. I want it to be fun and informative-but still obviously appropriate. The information given across the platform should reflect the needs and wants of an active Sigma Sigma Sigma sister. I included the nationals in the audiences because they come along with the territory. While I would like to see Facebook as a means of impressing them, I see Twitter as more of a tool for actives that just needs to pass national’s standards. The potential alumnae serving as mentors comes into play for networking purposes, as I mentioned earlier. Like I said, catering to that audience isn’t really what Twitter would be about- it is all about the actives.

Potential Problems in the Twitterverse:

These tend to be more commonsensical than Facebook, because Twitter is a bit more relaxed. I mean, come on. It’s acceptable to use abbreviations to get your point across. But I’ll be a broken record here: No content nationals can use against us.

Overall Twitter Strategies and Tactics:

Be playful, constant and put the active sisters first. Keep up with the Sigma know and post articles and links and other multimedia relevant to the Sigma conversation.

YouTube plan of action:

Overall YouTube Strategy:

Use as a Recruitment tool.

Target Audience:

Potential New Members

Tactics:

A web series of entitled “Your Sigma Story.” It is a great way for Sigma’s to show a little of what the group is all about on a personal level, without a new member ever having to step through the incredibly intimidating door. These videos will show sisters how they really are, not done up to the nines, in a name tag, all wearing the exact same outfit and having a freakish smile ever present. To me these videos will give potential new members a sense of what our group  is: real. It may even make them feel more comfortable when if they do decide to go through recruitment. They’ve seen what we look like on a normal day, heard that we loved our group so much we were willing to share it with the entire internet. Heck, maybe even seeing a familiar face will make them feel more at home in our house. Here are two examples that I have already (and somewhat illegally, I might add) put up on the YouTube channel:

Here is Bre…she’s from my Fall 08′ new member class.

This is Courtney. She is one of my best friend’s and also my roommate.

Problems that may arise with YouTube:

The biggest one I can think of is inappropriate comments being made on the videos. It is something the PR chair will have to monitor.

Well there you have it! My social media ramblings. This is my own little communication plan for the Sigma Sigma Sigma social media efforts at Central Michigan University. Hopefully they piqued your interest at least a tad!

This was one of the coolest classes I’ve ever taken and I want to thank you for all you’ve taught us. Go onward and Tweet!

Peace. Love. Chippewas.

Project 1- Finding a Social Media Success

27 Oct

All right, first things first. Here is the video that started it all– that which makes everything else in this post relevant. “It took an old, sleepy brand and woke it up, and overnight wove its way into popular culture and showed the power of creativity to ignite a sleeping giant,” said jury President Mark Tutssel, global chief creative officer of Leo Burnett Worldwide.

For those who are terrified of a zombie apocalypse and have been living in a bunker for a year, this video and subsequent campaign is what is now known the world over as “The Man Your Man Can Smell Like,” if he used Old Spice of course.

It is also widely recognized in the social media realm as being one of, if not the greatest social media campaign of all time.

Let’s paint a little background picture before we delve deep into Old Spice waters. Wieden+Kennedy, the advertising firm credited with the success of the campaign, has its headquarters in Portland, Oregon and is one of the largest independently-owned advertising agencies on the globe. Describing W+K’s clients as big dogs is an understatement. Nike, Converse, Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Target, EA Games, ESPN and Microsoft are companies on their short list. We Detroiters even have this ad agency to thank for the incredible Chrysler “Imported from Detroit” ad with Eminem that aired during the 2011 Super Bowl (really, we are much obliged to you W+K, you helped bring us some much-needed good press). I digress. The client I examined was P & G, but specifically Old Spice.

The picture painted of Old Spice pre- “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” was much more grim than that of W+K. Competition in men’s body was had grown immensely in recent years. Though Old Spice is a long-respected brand who may be able to take credit for the first-ever marketing of body wash, products like AXE Body Wash for Men were kicking their behind. Old Spice was known as the aftershave scent for old men. W+ K knew the brand needed a makeover and decided to not only appeal to a younger demographic, but to women. Research found that more than half of all body wash purchases were done by women for their significant other, brother or the like.  The decision was made to create commercial directed solely at women and to launch it in a unique way.

The commercial in the link above was launched first online Super Bowl weekend and right after on television. “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” was a hit. The ads were strategically placed in slots where couples would be watching together and was supplemented by being available on YouTube.  In metrics described from this W+K case study, Old Spice caught 75% of all conversations in their market. Countless news organizations ranging from Ellen and Oprah to NPR, CNN and CBS were talking about Isiah Mustafa-“The Man Your Man Could Smell Like.” There were also hundreds of spoofs and rip-offs on You Tube, like this one promoting using the library at BYU.

Seeing the gigantic  buzz the commercial generated, W+K saw an opportunity to further capitalize on the success. They wanted to be more engaging than a witty commercial-have a conversation with their potential customers. And the best way to do that? None other than social media. The response campaign was quickly conceived.

In two days Isaiah Mustafa and the  Wieden + Kennedy, Portland creative team of Creative Director Jason Bagley, Digital Strategist Josh Millrod and Interactive Producer Ann-Marie Harbour (all out of the Portland office) recorded more than 186 tailor-made video responses to questions from everyday internet users and celebrities taken from Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and more. Mustafa’s wordplay, voice and outrageous props fueled more buzz. Here are a few examples of his responses:

and of course, his final response:

Now for a little bit on the metrics of the response campaign. On the first day of the campaign, the YouTube channel received 5.9 million views. More people watched its videos in 24 hours than those who watched Obama’s presidential victory speech. On its second day, the response videos took up eight of the top 11 videos on YouTube. At the end of the first week, W+K projected the campaign collateral was viewed more than 40 million times. In regards to the brands other social media outlets, Old Spice’s Twitter followers increased by 2700%. Facebook fan interaction went up 800%. Website traffic to Old Spice’s page increased 300%. Old Spice became, at the time, the all-time most viewed branded You Tube channel. In the six months after the response campaigned launched, there were 1.4 billion campaign impressions.  As far as bottom line contributions go, since the campaign launched, Old Spice Body Wash sales went up 27% in the first six months; nine months in up 55%; and in ten months up 107%.

When Jason Bagley was asked how the idea came into fruition about have personal video responses, he said “It was a genius idea that came entirely from the mind of Iain Tait (Global Interactive Creative Director). Eric Baldwin (Art Director), Iain and I were sitting around trying to think of how to capitalize on all the YouTube traffic we knew we’d be getting when the new Old Spice spots launched and Iain threw out the idea of having Isaiah Mustafa in a room for a few days making video responses to people’s YouTube comments. The only credit Baldwin and I can take is that he was looking at our faces when he said it.”

Josh Millrod explained the strategy behind the campaign as such “Typically, seeding strategies depend on activating “influencers” like bloggers, celebs and news outlets. Instead, we focused on activating communities. We knew that Digg Founder Kevin Rose was sick so we made a get-well video for him and posted it on Digg with the title “Get Well, Kevin Rose! Sincerely, The Old Spice Man” to tap into Digg’s passionate community. The video became the top content on Digg yesterday with over 5,000 Diggs. Next, we created a call for comments on Reddit and posted a time-stamped picture of Isaiah saying hi to Reddit. To activate the community, we tapped into their long-standing rivalry with Digg by posting the video we created for Kevin Rose. Submissions started flooding in and we quickly gained the first and second spots on Reddit’s homepage where the pic of Isaiah and the submission thread stayed all day. We also tapped into the large and influential “Anonymous,” which is widely considered the governing body of the Internet. They are generally wary of brands, but we knew that they were fans and the video we created for them got more than 90,000 views in one day and almost 4,000 likes on YouTube and less than 100 dislikes making us the first brand to ever effectively activate this community. Finally, we created videos for traditional influencers who were relevant to these communities and posted the videos on their blogs and @replied to them on Twitter. All of these tactics combined helped us activate large communities and drum up buzz before we even rolled out 10 videos. ” (Interviews taken from blog.wk.com)

When Digital Strategist Dean McBeth was asked if this campaign was considered a social media success his reply was, “Absolutely.”

The biggest determining factors in concluding the success of this campaign was the impressions made, the amount of web engagement the brand saw (more “Likes” on Facebook, more Twitter followers, etc.) as well as the client reception. Also according to McBeth, the goals of the campaign were, “We want to help young guys navigate the seas of manhood.” Apparently it was their overarching mantra from the beginning. The other, more specific goals of the viral videos campaign, according to McBeth, were to “amplify the second video in this series  and to push that story out there to the world. And second to thank all the consumers that have been apart of this Old Spice story,” said McBeth. The long term goals were also to increase sales and increase them within that younger demographic I mentioned earlier.

The tangible goals set by W+K were fairly effectively met. The Old Spice story was everywhere and consumers felt like they had a personal investment in the brand because of the personal touch via social media W+K advocated. While the long term goal of years down the road is yet to be proven (the campaign was first launched less than a year ago in Feb. 2010), Old Spice certainly saw a sales increase.

When analyzing the campaign to see what further steps W+K could have taken to make it even more of a success, it becomes difficult. The campaign was near perfect in regards to short-term success. The most remarkable part of this campaign in my opinion was tapping into the internet outlets that aren’t the most widely known first (they didn’t set this up via Facebook or even Twitter initially) and using what they knew about those specific communities to win their approval. For example, targeting 4chan (under the guise as anonymous in the video responses) was HUGE. 4chan is practically the definition of the internet and reaching out to that specific community with content it would approve of and embrace was completely genius. I would bet most conservative companies would never want to participate in or seek out a community such as 4chan, but let’s face it-most viral internet sensations ultimately have their point of origin on /b/.  I especially like how they utilized their social media knowledge by making a “Get Well” video for the founder of Digg. True social media success lies in a continued, practical knowledge of the community as a whole. The only way to really understand how to make a successful campaign is to be in touch with the target demographic and to use and understand the social media outlets being used. That is where the true success of this Old Spice campaign lay.

All other aspects of social media came with the success of the video responses. They didn’t have to push “Likes” on Facebook, create a hashtag or anything of the sort- the consumers did this all themselves. He was embraced almost universally.

The one thing I thought of that could have been improved upon (it was difficult because this campaign is considered to be a benchmark) but the brand didn’t necessarily embrace all of the spoofs that were spawned because of the commercial. I think it would have been an even further engagement opportunity to ask consumers to send in their own videos for some sort of contest. Maybe the grand prize could have been being in a video with “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” himself. Maybe even a lifetime supply of Old Spice for ya man. It would have shown how great of a sense of humor the brand has on another level-besides the tongue and cheek humor already evident. With this particular campaign, I doubt “too much engagement” would have been an issue.

As a tribute to “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like,” let’s enjoy one last commercial with him.

mobile apps….and I don’t even have a smart phone.

22 Oct

The title is the truth. I own no smart phone, iPod or anything of the like. When I rented the iPad for class, it was complete unchartered territory. I actually just downloaded my first app aside from Pandora last week when we downloaded Instagram. That particular download started a mini-frenzy of app exploration. I downloaded apps from the New York Times, Cosmo, Self, The Weather Channel and Bank of America.

I will be the very first to admit that I am wholly inexperienced in the whiles of mobile apps and therefore use them for the simplest of purposes. I am slowly but surely becoming more acquainted and/or literate in such technology. As a hopeful PR professional, I have got to be more comfortable being in the swing of things (or at least not such a purist. I do in fact plan on purchasing a smart phone upon graduation :))   The only apps I use on a regular basis are as follows: Pandora, New York Times and Bank of America.

Pandora and Bank of America do what I need them to. Play my music stations and allow me to make transfers respectively. The Pandora app does however sometimes just fail to work which is frustrating. I’ve had to completely reboot my iPad twice just for the music to play. Existing Pandora users are definitely the target market for this app. It isn’t social at all-there isn’t a real option to share within the app. One of the unique traits to the app is the consistent biography of the artist playing. On the actual website, the info varies a bit more. Other than that, the two (the app and the website) are fairly similar. This app certainly does the trick without any useless frills. I would say monetized it is indeed.

The Bank of America app has the same practicality notion of the Pandora app. It leaves the user of the app with a fair sense of security because it has the exact same pass code steps as the actual website. Transfers, account status and all other on-the-go essentials are easy to use and obviously highly accessible. Bank of America is attempting to retain their customers by making banking with them as easy as can be. This app is certainly not social, as it an incredibly private matter-in no way should it be social. Can you imagine the option to post “I just transferred $1500 to my checking account” on Facebook?

My biggest critique of an app lies with The New York Times. While I believe that this app is the best of all print apps (comparing it to magazine apps, etc.), it was frustrating to use. It runs on a time frame-after a certain amount of browsing or clicking around on the app, it prompts the user to purchase a subscription for a fee. I could just use Safari to open the paper up on the web and not have to worry about it. It also doesn’t seem to have normal iPad capabilities (unless the very distinct possibility of me using it incorrectly) like being able to zoom in on pictures and the like.  The Times isn’t monetizing the app as it should. As much of the paper is available on the greater Web should be available on the app.

The easier and simpler a mobile app is, the more beneficial it becomes to the brand identity attempting to utilize it.

Hey Facebook: the masses would appreciate some consistency.

29 Sep

While my title is very much the truth, the other truth is that we will ALL continue to use Facebook. No matter what crazy curves may be thrown our way. Until something more intriguing comes along that is.

In the meantime, brands are going to have to be more innovative than ever to convey their desired message. For example, since this first new wave of changes rolled out, only two of my “Like” pages has shown up on my news feed. Ironically, one was the Facebook page I contributed to during my internship this summer, Visit Detroit. The other being Pure Michigan. The Visit Detroit update seemed to only be because it was recent, but Pure Michigan’s post show up fairly regularly because of the high level of engagement on their page. Top stories continue to be a feature for brands if they are as successful as Pure Michigan, but not if brands are already struggling with their social media presence.

The ticker is a great tool for brands. When you hover over a story with your cursor, the post/photo/content, etc. becomes enlarged and click-able. When one of my friends “Likes” a page, it shows up in the ticker and allows the option to “Like” it yourself. The ticker also shows friends posts on “Like” pages, even if  I don’t personally “Like” it as well.  It’s biggest problem however is how rapidly it changes. There is some good brand content on there if you happen to catch it. Also, I hide the chat bar, and the chat bar also has the ticker on top making my ability to see that content limited to whenever I want to make the chat bar visible again.  The best option for brands is to continue to build a strong presence so that “Likes” increase and therefore a higher probability of friend engagement will show up on the ticker. How to do such a thing? Ask for it. Brands need to continue to use varied media-lots of pictures, links, videos- they all draw the most comments and likes. Asking questions and answers in comments or allowing consumers to post on the wall will undoubtedly draw more action to the page and in turn ticker.

Timeline runs the risk of information being buried. It also gives an opportunity for people with Facebook pages to give their brand recommendation and show loyalty over time. Only drink Coca-Cola and you have since you were 10? That will say more to Facebook friends than any Coke ad ever would. Timeline will force brands more than ever to make a positive impact not just on social media. New and established brands alike will be put to the test because of Timeline.

As for the next part of the assignment I’m thinking Starbucks. I think a “Starbucks Coffee Maker App” would be cool to see in Timeline. For instance, it would be an option on your profile (separate entity than the cooking app that Mark Z showed during his presentation, but to be used alongside of it) saying “I’m brewing _____________ today”. Loyal Starbucks consumers can highlight all of their different brews and in turn so can Starbucks. The app should also be able to highlight its competitors brews (i.e. Caribou, etc.) but the app itself has a Starbucks stamp on it. I would patent it so no other competitor could create a similar app, that way even if it isn’t Starbucks coffee being brewed, Starbucks would continue to be synonymous with coffee in general.

Twitter and YouTube…don’t cha know?

22 Sep

My evaluation of Coca-Cola’s Twitter account is simple: literally all it is used for is responses. All posts I witnessed from today back to the beginning of the month started with “@” symbols. There is a link to Coca-Cola’s Twitter and Facebook Accounts on the actual page, but there hasn’t been content outside of replies in quite sometime. In my opinion, a more lowly type of minion has the responsibility of replying to what I’m assuming is anyone who reaches out to the brand via Twitter. I would make the argument the goal of the account is to make Coca-Cola seem like an approachable brand that values its customers. The controversy level is low, unless someone were to get snippy in an “@” reply. How do I believe Coca-Cola could improve upon Twitter? I think what the brand is choosing to do is consistent and therefore fairly smart. Coke has a lot of other avenues to go with different kinds of promotion, and it is interesting to see an entire social media extension of a company to have the one purpose of being on the same level as its consumers.

In regards to the video we watched on YouTube, I was floored by many people value it as a tool of total self-expressionism. YouTube is commonly thought of on a very superficial level but when taken into a deeper consideration, I completely see how it has changed how we interact as a species. On some level, it has made us less judgmental. While people may use YouTube as an outlet to laugh at others, more overwhelmingly it has now become a beacon for humans to realize we are all a little crazy-in the best way possible. Though the lack of face-to-face interaction I view as very much less than ideal, credit needs to be given where credit is due in that YouTube has irrevocably changed the face of human interaction. Good, bad and ugly.

YouTube has also made the entire web browsing experience more engaging than it ever was prior-it lifted it to its potential. We has human beings have poor attention spans (whether academics care to admit it or not, it holds true for them as well) and videos pique interest more than text or sound alone would dare dream to. We are visual creatures and the success of YouTube shows that, having every other web entity follow in its footsteps.

Remembering 9/11

15 Sep

I chose to analyze the 9/11 anniversary content on National Geographic for this part of our assignment. There is an entire page full of various multimedia centered around the subject.

I believe the overall goal of the coverage is simple: to spark internal contemplation about the event, your own experiences, to give respect to the victims and their families and to exude a sense of patriotism.

The site itself and all of its facets are simple to navigate. There is nothing too innovative or flashy about it, but I respect it for that. In my opinion, it is extremely user friendly and those from eight to 80 would have no problem accessing it-as something like this should be.

The photo gallery titled “9/11: 25 Indelible Pictures” is full of iconic and chilling images that tell virtually the complete story of the events of the fateful day. The social media response was great: 2,000 likes and about 250 tweets just of the gallery. I found myself in tears at the end of the slideshow and I was thinking about my own experience of that day as well as feeling for those who were directly impacted. Suffice it to say, I think just that

The second photo gallery on the website is a combination of photos of survivors, their stories and artifacts from the day. Some of the stories easily give chills and I appreciated the text on top of just photos. There were social media icons of Facebook, Twitter and a more button which housed about a hundred different social media sites. I approved of their approach in that sense.

The “Global Origins” portion of the website was fascinating and educational, but not at all social media friendly. Though it is incredibly somber material included in this particular portion, the option to share should still be there.

On the left side of the website, there was an opportunity for visitors to log into their personal Facebook accounts and “tell their 9/11 story” on National Geographic’s Remembering 9/11 Facebook site. I chose not to go through with posting my story however, because it wasn’t a page-it was an app. I personally would have done something much different, like having them log into their account and being on National Geographic’s own Facebook page.

There are also dozens of videos from everything to timeline of the day, to George W. Bush’s retrospective thoughts on the day to Jon Stewart commentating a video on the future memorial center. On the bottom of the page are links to even more stories about 9/11 including conspiracy theories, to the making of a liquid bomb, to articles about Osama Bin Laden. While I thought further articles were a good idea, I didn’t appreciate some of the articles they chose to highlight at the bottom. For example, the making of the bomb article could have shown itself not on the main page, but after clicking on an article from the main page and offering it as a suggestion. It was well done, but for whatever reason it didn’t sit well with me being on the front page.

Links to books and DVDs and Nat Geo TV schedules all about the subject were also readily available on the site.

I appreciated how they honored the victims and it did cause me to do a lot of introspective thinking.

 

 

Yeahhhh, Fire Up Chips!

2 Sep

First and foremost, my personal social media accounts were around 90  percent attuned to the game yesterday.Though I have several Facebook friends who do not attend Central, quite of few of them were even getting in on the Chippewa action.  Some of them were wishing us good fortune in the outcome of the game or my more negative Facebook friends making fun of the school all together…(I can’t believe I dated him for two years ;)) Needless to say, the game was a hot topic, and that was prior to me looking for outside sources.

There was a status on my news feed yesterday that said “8 a.m. class over? Time to get hammmmmmmmmmmmmmed! Fire Up CHIPS!” That particular status was only just the beginning. I feel as though every possible aspect of the game was debated and analyzed from what girls were going to wear, to where people were meeting up to tailgate to how the O-line was looking all leading up to the game. Of course, it wouldn’t be right if there wasn’t copious amounts of drinking talk as well.

While at tailgate, a smart phone was in many a hand, and many of those hands were being put to use to use social media to do everything from take pictures of the stadium to update friends on their whereabouts. I found it fascinating because I noticed more people use Facebook to interact with their friends in real time than actually texting or calling them. Maybe it was just a fluke or maybe it is because I just never noticed it before. Honestly though, I doubt it was a fluke. People love posting on Facebook and Twitter details about their lives to appear more interesting to their followers.

People were also discussing in real time the plays of the game and how the home team seemed to be holding up-it was cool to see such a sense of spirit and community.

From a business standpoint, when we were walking in, I noticed the screen in front of the event center was broadcasting several twitters, including the SAC’s and URec. http://twitter.com/#!/URecCMU

The game itself was covered by several CMU affiliated social media sites in real time including CMU Football’s official Twitter account, CM Life’s Twitter account and CMU Athletic’s Twitter account.

http://twitter.com/#!/CMUAthletics

http://twitter.com/#!/CMLIFE

http://twitter.com/#!/CMLifeSports

http://twitter.com/#!/CMU_Football

It was a bit crazy to me that they were all covering the game fairly in depth, but then again, CMU Football promotes the school in more ways than just sports. The more positive coverage in any fashion, the better.

The Morning Sun had its CMU Football beat writer host a live chat during the event at http://www.themorningsun.com/articles/2011/09/01/sports/doc4e5fc9519bb39994830966.txt and was promoted on its Twitter site at http://twitter.com/#!/MPMorningSun.

Channel 9 & 10 news were also covering the game with video: http://www.9and10news.com/Category/Story/?id=301684&cID=6 but it was not advertised on its Twitter account at http://twitter.com/#!/9and10news/, which I thought was kind of odd. It is relevant news to the area and Twitter is the social media site designed for constant and varied updates.

During the game itself I didn’t notice as much promotion for social media sites. I would argue that most of the promotion is done beforehand or for people who cannot actually attend the game in person. I think all of these social media outlets could have had a more varied coverage however. Most of them didn’t use pictures in their updates and almost none video. Varied content offers a better chance of engagement.

The biggest problem with reaching the stadium? Straight up, reaching drunk college kids. The nature of CMU’s team is not that of MSU of U of M. The best part of the game for most students  who attend is the heavy drinking, making them a tricky audience to reach.