social media

CMA Awards: Lessons on How to Use Social Media During Events

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I have posted before about how stadiums and sports organizations rally fans from all over to engage with the team (the brand) through social media efforts. Last week was the 47th Annual CMA Awards and it was another great example of how social media can be integrated into events and engagement can be taken to a whole new level. 

Great American Country, the larger country brand of award shows and country music, united fans from coast-to-coast with exclusive online coverage, commentary from a variety of people, and plenty of dialogue via social media.

Events have an immense opportunity to leverage social media to increase viewership and build a greater audience through engagement. In order to be successful in social media initiatives for events, you have to be very verbal and almost annoying. You have to consistently tell people what hashtags, handles, and platforms to use. People are going to talk about the event, so you may as well mention your hashtags so that all conversations are united in one stream. The CMA Awards constantly showed the hashtag at the bottom of the screen and this time around, they showed the Twitter handles for each artist, which really gave the artists publicity and created a deeper connection with the audience and the event. 

Another factor that you need is to provide and communicate the value that people will get from joining in on your social media efforts. The CMAs have done a great job of providing exclusive content all night including the winners, exclusive back-stage pictures, and even giving Scotty McCreery an opportunity to tweet through the official Country Music Association account (#ScottyTakeover). It is essential that events provide content to followers that you can’t see on the mainstream event because otherwise no one will want to join in on the conversations or follow what’s going on. All of the official handles were very active during the event and provided consistent engagement through retweets and replys of country music fans.

The last factor to be successful in leveraging social media during events is to talk about the event before, during, and after. The CMAs do a great job of talking about the event long before the award shows start and providing exclusive after-party content and interviews with the award winners. The CMAs had an exclusive red carpet pre-show and allowed viewers to get excited about the event by asking questions and creating buzz around the event. Not only is the event important, but creating engagement around the end of the show and continuing the conversation is just as important because those are the conversations that hold true meaning and provides the award shows with feedback on what viewers liked and didn’t like. 

The CMAs capitalized on their social media efforts and used all platforms to showcase the event in a different light and provide access that is not shown by simply watching the show. Shazam partnered with the award show to provide even more exclusive content to those who used Shazam during the show. There is so much potential available for social media and integration of various platforms to increase viewership.

I would love to hear your thoughts about what you liked or didn’t like about the CMAs and how they used social media!  

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Starbucks Proves Yet Again That They Are a Leader in Social

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Starbucks is at it again. Starbucks is known as a leader in social. They understand their audience and they use every social media platform very effectively. With so many followers on every platform, they ensure to not only reach new people, but also retain and engaged their followers through insightful pictures on Instagram to competitions and even a way to sign a petition for the government during the recent government shutdown on Twitter and Facebook.

Starbucks is trying out a new way to engage and utilize social media, in particular Twitter. Twitter is continuing to grow, however, Starbucks realized early on that you have to be innovative and always look for new ways to utilize social media in order to stay relevant among the hundreds of tweets and accounts that the average person sees every day. A tweet can be used to update a status, share links, upload pictures, but what about using it to share Starbucks coffee?

On October 28, Starbucks partnered with Twitter to be able to send gift certificates via a tweet. It’s called the tweet-a-coffee program and will enable people to share a $5 eGift with just a simple tweet using the handle @tweetacoffee to and the handle of the recipient. The recipient then gets notified and the gift can be redeemed by printing out the eGift or loading it to their Starbucks digital card. The system is smart enough to know that a RT or a mention does not mean that you want to send a coffee, enabling the new rollout to be shared and trend without any unwanted purchases.

Starbucks is attempting to integrate social media into the Starbucks experience and allowing people to share coffees seamlessly. This is a great initiative because it really aligns with Starbucks culture of generosity and is creating an even greater experience with their brand. Starbucks is a digitally savvy brand and again they are pushing the envelope and creating new ways to use social media in order to benefit them and their customers.

I think this new rollout will also help Twitter and increase its potential for what can be done with the platform. This comes at a great time as it gears up for its IPO, however it will be interesting to see if this is just a failed attempt or if it will spark other brands to utilize this creative idea to benefit them.

The easier you make it for people to share your product or purchase it, the more successful you will be. Social media is a great way to reach people and share a new initiative or new technology capability such as the Tweet-A-Coffee program. This is a great idea and very interesting, although I wonder if it will really take off for Starbucks. For Twitter on the other hand, I think that regardless of the success of the program, it will increase Twitter’s value because of the potential of what could be done with the platform and it’s definitely a great sneak peek to all of the possibilities out there in social.

What do you think about this new rollout? Do you believe that it’s going to be a flop or really act as a catalyst for future innovations in social platforms?

 

A Student’s Perspective on Social Media Ads for Businesses

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Everyone who knows anything about social media marketing or even marketing knows that every company should be on social platforms and they should be using those platforms. Yet, there are still some companies, people, students, professionals, whoever, who don’t seem to get that.

I have posted before about companies that get social and why it’s important, however I wanted to really think about what I think about social media and try to take out everything that I have read and learned and solely think about my perspective as a student and how I view it without thinking about academia or social media “best practices.”

I think social media gets a bad wrap because it’s called “social media.” Think about it- social has a connotation that depicts gatherings, mindless conversations, and friendly talks about random topics. Social networks were meant to connect people and give people the ability to share their thoughts, whether those thoughts are mindless or insightful. When I think of media, I think about TV networks, technology, entertainment news on the latest celebrities and political happenings. Combine them and you get a bunch of people giving their opinions and sharing pictures of their dinners at the local sushi establishment. I get it; sometimes there may not be apparent value in social media. However, those random thoughts could be the next great business idea or may be the thoughts of all customers about a brand and the saving grace of a dying company.

I am a student at the University of Georgia. I am on every social network and I have seen an immense amount of information and uses of every different platform. When I see promoted posts, I must say that yes, I do get annoyed, but only when it has nothing to do with my likes and preferences. Getting a post about the latest deals at Delta does not seem relevant to be because I am in school and do not have time to go travel to Tahiti or Paris. When I see ads on Facebook, I don’t even notice them. Through evolution of social networks, I have conditioned my mind to ignore promoted posts, ads, sponsored ads, what have you. Of course, since I have a passion for all things marketing and social, I have reconditioned myself to be cognizant of those things, however I still have my initial reactions.

I understand the need for ads and promoted posts, however, I believe that I am nowhere near alone in my reactions. My generation has grown up on social media platforms- beginning from Xanga and MySpace. We know the platforms inside and out and have seen the evolution of the platforms over time and the increased business relevance on the platforms. It’s incredible how much we don’t notice the ads or the latest suggested post, because our brains have been conditioned to recognize content that we are not interested in and literally just skip over it without consciously knowing it.  

This is an important thought to keep in mind for businesses, social media and marketing agencies- younger people don’t notice most ads. What’s more important is that when we do notice ads and they are completely irrelevant to our lives, rather than ignore it, we get a little bit mad or frustrated, just a little bit. It has decreased our sense of “flow” and our social media experience.

So, next time you are helping a client or you want to advertise on social media, take a second look at what you are posting and think about what students/younger demographics think. Even if we are not your target market, social media is our generations’ differentiating factor. We grew up with it, we understand it, and we are a goldmine for succeeding at social. Personalize ads and use all of the capabilities available through social media tools; don’t take the easy road and just send mass ads out to anyone and everyone on Facebook. Many may not agree, but in social, you have to be careful- spamming people with paid ads may not just yield a negative return, but may also lead to some negative externalities down the road. Take your time and spend the extra dollar to truly understand your target market and only place ads where they are wanted. 

What are your thoughts on promoted posts/ads? Have you ever been on the other side as an executive and not had as much success with promoted ads?

Let me know, I would love to hear about it. 

#CBSSuperSocial Saturday- Lessons Learned

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Sports and social media are converging more and more every season. Networks such as CBS Sports Network and Fox Sports Network are capitalizing on increasing engagement with viewers through the use of social media. Sports networks have a great opportunity to maximize their engagement and viewership because of the nature of the passionate community of loyal fans that are more than ready to talk about their favorite teams. This past weekend as I was watching college football, I noticed the use of hashtags and social media mentions even more than usual.

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On Saturday, CBS Sports Network created a social media initiative entitled “Super Social Saturday” with the goal of encouraging fans watching at home or in the stadium to interact and engage with the team and network. The initiative incorporated fan tweets, pictures and interactions throughout the day from the games and studio programming. Viewers were encouraged to use the hashtag #CBSSuperSocial for all social activity related to the games.

Incorporating social media into the viewing experience increases and maintains interest in the games and network for the viewers throughout the day. What made this social media initiative stand out for me was that CBS was consistent and semi-obnoxious by constantly bringing up the hashtag throughout of all the programming. In order to get people to buy into using the hashtag and staying engaged, you have to consistently state what the handles are and which platforms to use, and CBS did this.

Another reason that this social initiative was successful was that CBS Sports Network’s game announcers and studio team interacted with fans all-day on Twitter in order to keep the conversations going. They answered questions on-air and provided commentary from the official handle, @CBSSportsNet. Another aspect that made CBS shine yesterday was empowering notable alumni and giving them the opportunity to take over the official Twitter account to answer questions and tweet during the games. This gave viewers and fans an incentive for following along all day- getting to tweet to alumni and receiving real-time answers to their questions. This was a great move by CBS because it provided value to all parties involved and increased the overall excitement and engagement with the games all day long.

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The integration between sports, TV programming, and social networks are only going to increase and become commonplace in order to obtain successful viewership. CBS did a great job of rallying fans behind Social Saturday and creating conversations around the content that they were already watching. It’s great to see sports networks using social media the right way and reaping the benefits from it every single weekend.

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Social Media Marketing is a Marathon, Not a Race

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We live in a society that yearns for instant gratification- faster internet, drive-thru fast food, multi-tasking in an attempt to conquer as much as possible with the few hours that we have each day. This is the 21st century, the age of Google where any one can get an answer within a few seconds (depending on how fast you can type, of course). There are some advantages to this and yes, it’s nice having the ability to satisfy our needs so quickly, however it is crippling the very essence of social media marketing.

 Social media marketing is not a race, it’s not about instant gratification or seeing those results when you walk into the office on Monday morning. Social media is more precious, it is like a diamond- it takes a lot of time and effort but in the end, it proves to be more valuable than anything else. I find so many people, including myself, who get so frustrated when they can’t see results from the latest blog posted or a follower/customer increase, however I strongly believe that success in social media starts with patience. It’s not about creating instant engagement and developing a quick list of potential clients , no, it’s about starting from the bottom and developing credibility with people through your content. 

Do you meet someone and instantly become best friends? No, usually it doesn’t work that way. Usually, it takes time. With a slow release of information and “memories,” you begin to form a genuine relationship through trust. That is what social media marketing is about- creating a genuine relationship by providing content that people need and people trust. So how can you possibly expect to get a million followers and everyone talking about you just like that? Start small and every day nurture those social media channels and care about every person that comes across those mediums and slowly, you will begin to reap the benefits of careful and consistent social media marketing. Patience is the key to success and every post and interaction that you have with someone is a step closer to becoming a successful social brand. So next time you are frustrated with the slow growth of your social media efforts, just remember that over time, the people will come and organic growth will prove to be more valuable than any quick advertising campaign. 

Keep on Tweetin’!

Don’t ignore those tweets

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Last week I wrote about social media customer service and after I had blogged about the subject, I seemed to find an endless amount of articles that week about the very subject. So why does it seem like this subject is trending? It’s because it is something that every company needs to embrace and excel at in order to maintain customer loyalty.

 Sure, I don’t think that most people really expect to get an answer from the company. They may just want to vent or simply just speak about a bad experience and get validation to switch brands. However, I believe that social media customer service is going to become a standard business task and a new way to increase customer loyalty beyond loyalty programs.

 Everyone loves coupons and cards that make them feel like they are special in some way, however when a customer has a bad experience, those “loyalty” programs are not going to mean anything. I mean, loyalty programs just attempt to increase traffic through frequent user incentives, but if something bad happens you bet they are going to think twice about using your service again. What I am trying to say is that loyalty isn’t about offering incentives and trying to get the customer to come in and buy your product or service as much as possible, it’s about creating a genuine relationship with the customer and caring about their experiences both good and bad.

 Everyday I hear about storied where companies do not respond to social media complaints, praises, questions, etc, and I guarantee they do not have a good impression of the company. In this day in age where there what seems like a million brands and advertising at every corner, customer loyalty and retention is becoming increasingly important. If your mom praised you for something or complained about something, would you ignore it? Generally, no. Why? Because they are in a meaningful relationship. Invest in social media, it’s not a fad, it’s not advertising, it’s a loyalty driven initiative. Even if your company manages to respond to comments, when they are 5 days later, it still isn’t as effective as it could be. Be aware of what customers are saying and turn that bad experience around to ensure that you don’t lose a customer or simply thank a customer who praised the company- this isn’t rocket science.

 I know it takes awhile and companies are cutting back on everything on essential to the business offering, however isn’t having customers essential to the business? Keep ignoring those customer social media comments, and you could find yourself without a loyal customer base before you even realize it.

 Be smart with your company. Customers are the reason you have a company, so care about them. It is that simple. 

Translating Customer Service to Social

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“Be everywhere, do everything, and never fail to astonish the customer.” Macy’s Motto

I am amazed at how many companies still don’t understand how to effectively utilize social media platforms, especially in regards to customer service. Times are changing and it is no longer enough to simply offer customer service through a hotline. Everything you do as a company should be translated to all of your social media platforms- communication, customer relationship management, promotion, and often the most important of all… customer service.

I recently had a very positive experience with social media customer service, which seems to be a rare service among most companies. The company that gets customer service? Fossil, Inc.

Recently, I had my watch strap connector break for the third time in the past year. Usually in the past, I would drive 40 mins to a Fossil outlet and they would replace the connectors free of charge. However, I did not have the time to make that trek this time around. I called the outlet store and needless to say, they told me to buy a strap or a new watch and there was nothing that they could do.

My next step? Test their social media customer service. I tweeted my frustration right to Fossil, Inc.

Image I did not expect much of a solution, however I was pleasantly surprised.

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Not only did I receive a response FOURTEEN minutes after my post, they placed an order for a new watch strap to get sent to my house all within an hour. This, my fellow readers, is a company that gets it. Customer service is one of the biggest drivers of brand loyalty- you only have a small window of opportunity to turn a bad experience and possible lost customer into a meaningful opportunity to make a relationship and connection.

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As a company, you have to go out of your way to not only meet customer’s needs and desires, but you have to ASTONISH customers. That is what makes the difference between an ordinary company and an extraordinary company. You can bet that I will be a Fossil customer for a long time and all it took was one hour.