Ah, graduation is over – congratulations to all of the 2014 graduates across our country! Here is a lovely quote from Shonda Rhimes’ Dartmouth Commencement speech this year that went viral:
“Be brave. Be amazing. Be worthy, and every single time you get a chance, stand up in front of people. Let them see you.”-Shonda Rhimes
The results of the #SOU2104 #Selfie Graduation initiative were awesome. Truly, pictures do tell a thousand words. Elation, authenticity, and that particular coolness that simply comes with a pair of sunglasses, a graduation hat tassle (must be an official word for that), and a strong sense of graduate pride and accomplishment were evident in the photos.
Documenting graduation via selfies was a way to involve students in celebrating their accomplishment in graduating and the initiative creates a visual record on Instagram of college completion.
This topic of – letting them see you – is quite apropos in light of this year’s controversy surrounding taking selfies at graduations. From Bryant University to the University of South Florida – many college campuses banned selfies at graduation.
I encouraged top leadership at SOU to consider the counter. Let us encourage this millennial gesture.A pitch is always in order, which is part of what I enjoy about working as a social media marketer.
The whole idea of letting them see you defines social media. Social media is all about us as the viewer witnessing the author’s participation. In life. In clothes. At a show. On vacation. Cooking. At Graduation.
UCG with strategic hashtags is streamlining the content towards particular marketing goals.
And, sure, you can hire a photographer for a job – but there’s nothing like a UCG initiative to obtain images mediated not from an outside party, but from your own demographic.
Plus, you’ll always get a swift turn around time – such as in real-time – on photos taken by and from your own demographic. That sure makes me happy!
Tracking the visual snaps and language your demo crafts on social = rich source material and inspiration for ways to conceptualize a social media campaign.
Here’s how SOU’s latest Preview Weekend Instagram Contest was conceptualized.
1. I search #SOUAshland, #SOU on twitter and insta often. “Searching often” is a very “soft” term. I’d say in truth, I obsessively track our demo. Kidding. Nope, not kidding at all.
2. I saw that many students are both snapping pics of their Acceptance Letters…and of course taking pics of their experience on Preview Day, and writing a bit about their experience. I take grabs of these posts to share with my department and other departments to keep them in the loop on the conversation on social.
3. The work I do with the Graphic Designer and Marketing Assistant is collaborative and open. I shared this snap with my Graphic Design collaborator, and he noted, “someone wrote, ‘Loving SOU.'”
Well, it just so turns out that SOU’s Preview Weekend begun on Valentine’s Day and ended the day after. Perfect. I decided to move on this and named the contest #LovingSOU Preview Weekend Instagram Contest.
4. I’m obsessed with theburninghouse.com. And I thought it would be great to do a giveaway where we took a photograph of SOU and Valentine’s Day related items…pulling from Gen Y visual culture, and illustrating what items 1 randomly selected winner would receive.
We teamed up with the Admissions Associate Director and Admissions Counselor and went to the bookstore to pick the items as a team. Each of us brought items to the table with the goal of reflecting different types of students in the objects to be shown in the promo graphic: from the athletic or sporty (water bottle, sweatshirt, cap) to the hipster (plaid scarf, sunglasses), and (hopefully) everything in-between.
The object I think truly captures the “spirit” of this campaign, is the journal with the text, “There is no set path, just follow your heart!” that the Admissions Counselor picked out. I also ran to a store off campus and found Hershes kisses, glittery sparkle hearts and leopard print socks with hearts on them. But of course.
I shared this visual template with the Graphic Designer and he snapped a few photos, laying out the items. He took a few photos with his feet in them, and I thought this was something to keep, it’s a cool way to innovate upon the uber clean look of theburninghouse.com. Feet-in-the-frame was an “accident” that in my mind truly makes this image unique. It brings the viewer into the frame and adds quirk.
5. The contest was announced at Preview Weekend. Prospective students were asked to follow SOU on twitter and instagram AND tag each photo with #lovingSOU, #SOUAshland and #PreviewWeekend.
Tagging #PreviewWeekend was essential, as prospective students who may not know about SOU may come upon the promo graphic on insta from the tags students make of the photos they take. New students may also learn about the contest via the promo graphic and messaging that includes the hash, #PreviewWeekend.
6. We received 131 photo submissions. A great number, considering the total number of Preview Weekend student attendees was close to 140 students.
7. Our winner’s photo was randomly selected and she then received her fab items. True love!
I’ve been asked to teach a one day social media promotions class in the SOU Business School so it’s a perfect time to do a series of blog posts on Promotions in Social Media. I moved from LA to my new town, leaving a social media teaching offer behind me, and it’s cool that I”m again in the University context. It’s a good place to be.
Whether a personal Facebook page or a brand’s Facebook page, whether a tweet or an instagram photo, I see every post on social media as an act of celebration.
Celebrating what? Celebrating the person we’d like to be…our aspirational self.
What we post on social media says something about us. Our posts say, I want you to believe this about me.
I’m celebrating what I want you to believe about me.
Here’s a post of myself – highly curated – who says who I am. Here, I share a post that says who I am. Here, I RT a tweet because I am that.
I am an awesome photographer with amazing friends. I am creative, sexy, and innovative. I am healthy, loving, and smart. I am forward thinking and the 99%. I have this information I’m going to share with you all because I’m that cool/ funny/ smart. I am, I am, I am. And I was here. Boom.
Social media is in essence celebrating a performative self. It is a total construction. That’s why we’re all so addicted. It’s fantasy and reality rolled into one. And we have total control of the message.
As a marketer, this is part of defining who your demographic is.
Yes, what does your demographic believe?
And most importantly, who do they want to be?
Make a collage. Pull quotes. Make it real. Ask them questions on FB to be sure you are right. Assume nothing. Your community will ultimately tell you if you’re on. When your content resonates on social media, your community will like, comment, share, heart, RT, and reply. It’s call and response. The responsibiltiy is all yours to be true to your audience and your analytics do not lie.
Simon Sinek asks every marketer to start with why.
The golden circle
Why: As a brand, what’s your purpose, what’s your cause, what’s your belief? Why does your organization exist? Why do you get out of bed in the morning and why should anyone care? What do you believe?
“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. The goal is not to sell to people who need what you have, the goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.”
I put this in the context of celebration.
We celebrate the type of person who….
We celebrate ways of living that include…
We celebrate different aspects of ….
Let this drive your messaging and the content you create.
Let celebration to be the neon thread that moves through the How and the What that you do.
To be an effective social media manager, you’ve got to have your social media strategy in place. Listen, Love, and Leverage are the stages I’ve named and step through with all new clients. It’s a great way to introduce clients to the way I work, and step them through how I’ll be using social media to meet and exceed their unique goals.
Listen – Be it on Facebook or Twitter, the first rule is to listen. Listen and identify what topics have currency with your community. Your social media manager has to have the ability to connect in to the feelings and wants of your brand’s particular demographic. For me, listening informs much of the messaging and other content I generate or find.
With twitter – click on the @connect tab to see who is tweeting you – i.e. – wanting to get on your radar. Also check the #discover tab to see what hashtags people are using to connect with your brand. Use Facebook Insights to help you dial into the demographic and most importantly, what has the highest virality. Use deeper and more targeted tools such as Klout, wefollow, commun.it, and the heavy hitters if your budget allows – such as Radian6. Identifying is about understanding who your community is.
Love – This engagement phase includes commenting and direct messaging on Facebook, and retweeting, favoriting, and replying other people’s posts. You must maintain some element of exclusivity. Who you decide to engage with has much to do with if they have the kind of influence you are seeking.You have to figure out who is worth your time to love. So true, so true.
Leverage – The goal of social media is to authentically connect with your community and at the same time expand your brand’s message. This is the time when you propose an ask to someone (most likely a high influencer) you have been “loving.” After your relationship/rapport is established, you’ll request a guest blog post, or ask this influencer to do a “shout out” on your behalf or support a marketing initiative your brand is launching. I’ll scratch your back, if you scratch mine is the subtext of much that goes on in social media.
Decisions – From success stories on fitness Moms who have lost weight by eating healthy protein bars, to stories about fierce feminist bloggers, to generating buzz around a beta launch of an online learning application – if these posts or features are getting the most likes, shares, retweets, and comments on Facebook or Twitter, it’s a cue from your community for your social media manager and marketing team to find, create, and promote more content like this. Analytics are are the roadmap for your content creation.
Details – You must map it out – your editorial calendar, your weekly messaging, your month’s themes, your promotions, and goals related to when influencers will be identified and leveraged – all the while knowing and being ok with the reality that social media is rooted in real-time, immediate call and response.
Demands – Strategy, verve, and spontaneity are all central to social media. What this means is that social media is fast and unpredictable. You have to establish in advance how to handle negative posts (do you delete them or leave them?), if posts will happen on the weekends, and what each brand’s standards are for how long is too long for a post to go unanswered, and how many posts should be made daily. I have found that this varies from brand and demographic.
MSS has just completed the first phase of rebranding an entrepreneur’s web identity. She has her own Home and Garden TV show, has published books, and has products sold in major retailers. This re-envision of course brings up ideas of how to integrate social media into the mix.
Pinterest boards are an amazing way to introduce your client to the magic of social media – they are also an exciting tool to use for brainstorming sessions.
This Kate Spade infographic is BRILLIANT – my number one example of smart sharable social media content.
“Wow. Pink and gold – you had me there, Kate! But then – the text- Oh THAT’S SO ME…”
The narcissistic pleasure of social media in full swing. Let me tell you who I am by sharing this content. And while doing so, I’m spreading the word on this company and it’s message
This was a collaboration between writers and the brand:
Social Media Examiner + Mashable
Rag and Bone’s DIY section- Very cool.
In step with what we’re all doing with our iphones..so much so that the campaign does not feel that innovative, just spot on with the current technological + life as fashion zeigiest.
Social Media – Fame within and outside any network- it’s 24/7.
The real deal. Adept in diving in.
Analytical mind, creative roots, vertical.
An unmatched voice, and a voice that matches your vision.