The only way to succeed in social media is to experiment A LOT! One out of ten tries will be successful and two out of three will be somewhat successful, says Garrett Graff, editor-in-chief, Washingtonian. A panel at the National Capital Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America on Sept. 18 confirms his statement. All the panelists look for ways to communicate the experience, especially in relation to food.
Carlisle Campbell, vice president, Ketchum, speaking about the Double Tree by Hilton Cookie CAREavan Across America campaign, a winner of the 2012 Thoth Awards, says they focused on three key ways to connect to the public via social media:
- a cookie confessional (video of consumers discussing cookie or Double Tree experiences)
- swarm car (a Twitter contest for an office cookie party)
- and an online sweepstakes.
The swarm car originally left executives nervous, but eventually provided additional opportunities, such as when the Atlanta office of the Associated Press won and tweeted their happiness.
Tips for Experimenting in Social Media
Incorporate photos into the mix: With the implementation of the Facebook timeline, Vanessa French, co-founder, Pivot Point Communications, advocates using a lot of pictures. Speaking of pictures, everyone agreed “food porn” is irresistible to the consumer. People love to post pictures of food, so organizations should take the lead and upload photos to their media properties.
Leverage outreach to boost advocacy: French advocated outreach to local bloggers about events, which she finds can often lead to their posts being testimonials.
Know your audience: As with all campaigns, the key is to knowing what platforms your audience is using. In reviewing Facebook and Twitter, Graff comments Facebook is for following friends who are strangers and Twitter is for following strangers who are friends. French also says Facebook users do not like shortened links, unless they are coming from an established media company.
The panel considers Pinterest the new bright shiny tool, and brands need to evaluate it for usefulness for their campaigns. Graff says it is especially useful if you are targeting young women looking to get married, even if the wedding is not imminent. French commented on several non-profits, like the World Wildlife Federation, using it successfully. She also said many men are on Pinterst talking about technology.
Expand your communities: Amy McKeever, editor, EaterDC, says she stays in-touch with many smaller restaurants through Facebook and Twitter, and she finds Twitter to be a good way to gather news. She doesn’t post news to social media until it is posted to Eater, because her goal is to drive traffic to her site.
Align tactics with business goals and objectives: Campbell says the debate over creating a website versus a Facebook page is discussed in their office. Many of his younger colleagues advocate for the Facebook page. French says if you do choose a website, be sure to advocate for a blog, which will help with SEO.
QR codes and the next wave of social-technology… French says she pitches QR codes to clients, but they are often not in the final campaign. Graff feels we are at a low point for QR codes, right now. They are not easy to use, so he says a simple link works just as well. But, he thinks a more advanced QR code that is universal might be on the horizon.
How are you and your clients continuing to experiment with social media? What new trends do you see on the horizon? What tried-and-true tactics continue to work in the present? Please share your thoughts with BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas readers.