Forging Social Media Successes

By: Brian Murnahan

WeberSocial media success has long been a difficult area to quantify for employers and clients alike. Bosses want to know how much it will increase sales, improve branding or assist with customer services and are often worried that because they can’t control the conversation, they see more problems than it is worth. But, on Feb. 13 the Greater Fort Worth PRSA heard from some of the areas’ social media experts on how to set goals, create content and grow engagement!

Measuring social media can be nebulous and precarious for many, but working with tangible and measurable metrics can be the key for success. Part of determining what success is, is determining what level of social media proficiency your organization is working at. For instance, if you are walking, a goal might be to simply increase your brand awareness or increasing “likes” or if you are in the running area you might set a goal related to increasing potential sales traffic by a set percentage.

Cosmin Ghiurau, the digital media strategist for Radio Shack spoke about how they were able to get their message out via digital on Cyber Monday. “I would describe RadioShack as in a jog mode last fall with a goal of being at a run by the end of this year.” This past year RadioShack set up a program to introduce #24dealsin24 beginning at 11 p.m. on Sunday before Cyber Monday. By introducing clues via twitter to what will be coming on scale, RadioShack was able to encourage shopping on the site during the full 24-hour cycle. The program was generating such a good response, the Twitter team actually reached out to RadioShack in part because they saw RadioShack was the only U.S. brand to organically trend, 20 of 24 hours, driving 10 million impressions. Ultimately Twitter wrote a piece on RadioShack’s success.

To that end RadioShack set goals to measure the social media programs success, but some of those are secret, though he did share that Web traffic increased related to these promotional efforts. In fact, RadioShack saw Web traffic increase 14 percent year-over-year. They also saw a more than 1,200 percent increase in social engagement compared to a regular day. Be sure to check out Ghiurau’s presentation here.

Measurement is not exactly easy for most to actually measure, though there are some tools out there that may be able to help. For those larger businesses, services like Radian Six, are available for a price, but for those on a budget there are services like what Catholic Charities of Fort Worth uses such as Sprout, which only costs less than $20 a month for the non-profit.

Brian Conway, an account supervisor with Weber Shandwick’s Dallas office spoke about measurement specifically and highlighted that while working on American Airlines social community, they were able to find brand ambassadors that with some assistance where able to spread AA’s message far better than the brand itself because they appreciated the brand and knew its strengths. When trying to determine what to measure, it was clear that Brian wanted organizations to look at what their core function was and how social media can support that mission. From there, goals can be crafted and then metrics can be formed and measured. Brian also led the group in an introduction to social media with this presentation. To view his presentation, click here.

@CCFortWorth joined the conversation talking about how it is able to be successful from a non-profit perspective, noting that even those agencies that have “no budget” can be successful. Also, it was noted that personnel dollars used on social media is budgetable. Using many of the free tools available from Google and Facebook it is possible to measure impact. @CCFortWorth went through an extensive rebranding of its social media program to align its online presence with its brick and mortar programs.

The question @CCFortWorth had to answer was how to take all the programs available and make a viable social media program. To their credit they went back to the core of @CCFortWorth and set themselves up to be a thought leader of poverty and social innovation. From there they could highlight their programs and comment on other interesting news and situations that dealt with their topic. Katelin Cortney, public relations director with @CCFortWorth said it was important to stay on message or risk losing the audience. “You can’t start posting about a new restaurant just because a friend is opening one up. But say, a restaurant is hosting a fundraiser or doing something that supports poverty that may be a different story.” Check out their Prezi presentation, by clicking here, and use the arrows at the bottom to move through the slides online.

Scott Baradell, founder of Idea Grove brought much of what was said together indicating that no matter where you call your internet home, make sure you are putting up content that keeps your audience coming back. Well worth note was his passion for not losing control of your “field” or internet real estate as he said “You don’t want to get caught in a position where you work real hard to get an audience to follow and then the rules are changed and the work is all but lost.” The reference was twofold, first was his personal experience where a flickr community that he built was removed due to an erroneous complaint (flickr acknowledged the error, but the community was already gone.) Second was the advent of promoted posts and ads on Facebook that will allow you to purchase your way back in front of the fans that you may have already earned. Scott was not a fan of “sharecropping,” but encouraged use of those sites to drive them to your Web site or blog, where you could control the message, look and feel of the site and not risk losing so much! Check out his presentation here.

Be sure to check out these great speakers at their sites and within their social media accounts. Here are the speakers and their handles.

Cosmin Ghiurau, RadioShack – @RadioShack
Brian Conway, Weber Shandwick – @WeberShandwick
Scott Baradell, Idea Grove – @IdeaGrove
Katelin Cortney & Kate Blackburn, Catholic Charities Fort Worth – @CCFortWorth

Fort Worth PRSA Members Honored as Finalists in PR News’ Nonprofit PR Awards

PR News has recognized Gigi Westerman, APR, and Sandra Brodnicki, APR, as finalists in the annual PR News Nonprofit PR Awards for their work with Catholic Charities Fort Worth and United Way of Tarrant County on a financial education rebranding effort. The award salutes the top nonprofit public relations campaigns of the year, the smartest communications initiatives and the people behind them.

The entry, titled Money School, highlighted a successful branding and strategic communication effort designed to support a communitywide financial education initiative for individuals and families making less than $50,000 per year. It was named as a finalist in the Branding/Rebranding Campaign category.

“Financial education is an essential step to ending poverty, and the tools and techniques provided in this program teach individuals and families to manage their finances and make informed decisions,” said Christie Mosley-Eckler, Money School program manager for Catholic Charities Fort Worth. “Thanks to our new Money School brand and strategic communication plan, we’ve seen a significant increase in families seeking financial education. We are also capturing the hearts of community partners, which will help make this initiative even more successful.”

PR News is known across the public relations industry as a strategic resource and training tool, and the Nonprofit PR Award showcases the industry-leading campaigns and outstanding individual performance. The winners and honorable mentions will be celebrated at the Nonprofit PR Awards Luncheon on March 11, 2013 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Westerman is president of Strategic Image, Inc., a consulting firm that specializes in branding, public relations, integrated communications and presentation training. Brodnicki is president of Brodnicki Public Relations, Inc., focusing on branding, key message development, strategic marketing communications and public relations strategy.

PR lessons from ‘Kate’ and Tarrant Area Food Bank’s hunger campaign

The billboard asks a compelling question: What does hunger feel like? JustAskKate.org 

It strikes me that putting a (cartoon) face to hunger with a compelling narrative is a creative way to generate curiosity and hopefully leads to awareness, donations, volunteers, etc. The video component is simple but effective:

I reached out to Andrea Helms, Director of Communications for the Tarrant Area Food Bank and a Ft. Worth PRSA member for some insight into the campaign. I’m so thankful that she was wiling to share since I believe there are some interesting lessons and processes from this effort for PR and communication professionals:

Why did TAFB implement the ‘Kate’ concept campaign? 
Akron Canton Regional Food Bank in Ohio shared the Kate video concept with the Feeding America network of regional food banks, to which Tarrant Area Food Bank (TAFB) belongs. TAFB decided to customize this video for the organization not only because of the impact of Kate’s message, but to also join in creating a sense of unity across the network.

What are some of the strategic objectives you hope to achieve?
AWARENESS. We would like Kate’s message to be shared all over our community, through our Partner Agencies, donors and volunteers, and the general public. As part of our annual awareness initiative, we hope the community learns that hunger and food insecurity exist right here in our own neighborhood and we, together, can do something about it.

Through various print ads, billboards, and social media, we seek to increase awareness about hunger and direct people to the Kate video. We hope the Kate video and her message goes viral. The more that people share the video with their networks, the bigger the awareness of hunger we can create within our community. The video not only educates the public about the face of hunger–for example, Kate could be your next door neighbor, a co-worker or friend–but it also educates them about Tarrant Area Food Bank’s role in fighting local hunger.

When did it start and how long will the campaign run? 
The campaign started mid-October and will run through December. We will do another flight of the campaign in the Spring of 2013. The Kate video will remain active on our website and on justaskkate.org and through social media when the campaign is not active.

How would you say your version of the campaign differs from the original version?
We are the first Feeding America food bank to launch a traditional marketing campaign around the video. Up until now, the Kate video has been used as a tool in food banks for educating volunteers and donors and has been used through social media and word of mouth.

What communication channels are you using to share Kate? 
Facebook and Twitter posts, Facebook ads, billboards, print ads in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and Fort Worth Business Press, the Just Ask Kate web page, the TAFB website, YouTube, e-blasts, email signatures, volunteer training and exclusive showings at TAFB related events.

We also have several collateral pieces our staff use for various audiences, such as children’s activities and giveaways, including Kate as a fan with suggestions on the backside for taking action to build awareness about hunger.  Our life-sized Kate cut-out is being used for photo opportunities with key people in our community for posting on social media.

How will you determine the success of this campaign?
Because this is an awareness campaign, we are most interested in how viral the campaign becomes. The more video views, shares and likes we get from the Kate video, the more we know the word is being spread around our community. We have been using Facebook and Google analytics to track where our viewers are coming from and what actions they are taking after they view the video, such as visiting our website or liking our Facebook page.

What do you think? Is this a compelling campaign to help generate awareness for the food bank’s fight against local hunger? As always, the comments are yours.

The post is from the Next Communications blog.