Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What Makes a Social Media Promotion Work?

By Beth Kneisler, Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.
“Is social media applicable for my industry?”
“Is it worth the time and effort?”
“How can I tell if what I’m doing is paying off?”

While most businesses have jumped on the “social media train,” we still hear questions like these frequently from clients and non-clients here at L&F. But it’s to be expected. Take a look at any business’ social media strategy and I’m willing to bet, no two are identical. Your business goals and what you want to achieve through social media will determine which social media vehicle to use or which ones to avoid.

Since there’s no “one-size-fits-all” option when it comes to social media, how do you decide where to start and how to be successful at what you’re doing? I recently came across one business that is doing a remarkable job with social media; Fox World Travel.

Fox World Travel recently began a promotion asking people to enter to win a three night trip to the Riviera Maya. The promotion is highlighted on the Fox World Travel website and it’s cross-promoted on Facebook, FLICKR, YouTube, Twitter and its blog. Participants can also enter in the numbers that appear next to Fox World Travel’s “Foxxy Little Traveler” for additional entries.

Fox World Travel is doing everything right when it comes to having a successful social media campaign. The promotion is:
  • Engaging – Site viewers are engaged by having something to participate in. Interest continues to build because participants can increase their chances of winning by entering in codes that they find on Fox World Travel’s Facebook page, blog, FLICKR and YouTube.
  • Cross-promoted – The contest is not only being promoted on the Fox World Travel website, but there are also links to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, FLICKR and its blog. Then, people can link back to the website through the other social media. More people are also driven to the other social media pages through the “Foxxy Little Traveler” contest.
  • Exclusive – People who are engaged in social media love exclusivity, so whenever they get a deal or better offer than those not on social media, they love it! In this particular promotion, Fox World Travel gives their social media fans extra chances to enter for the trip.
  • Able to be tracked – A big part in any social media campaign is to be able to track the success rate. To have a chance to win Fox World Travel’s vacation, you have to fill out a short entry form. The number of people who have entered can easily be tracked, as can the number of participants who enter in extra chances to win through the photo contest.
I don’t know about you, but this promotion has won my vote! I’m going to enter for a chance to win a trip to Mexico!

How do your social media promotions look? Do they have these characteristics? Have you seen other examples of great social media campaigns lately?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The True Power of Social Media on Full Display in Egypt

By Cole Buergi, Senior Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.

If there is anyone still uncertain about social media’s power to drive public opinion, all you need to do is turn on your television set and watch the top story of any newscast. Yes, I’m referring to the events in Egypt and the mass government protest by its citizens.

For the past several weeks, thousands of protestors have lined the streets of Cairo demanding the immediate removal of its current president and a complete overhaul of Egypt’s government. The country’s unrest began with the creation of a Facebook page showing photos of Khaled Said’s body in the morgue. Said was a young Egyptian businessman that was beaten to death by police officers because he allegedly possessed evidence of police corruption. This was in stark contrast to YouTube videos, taken before the beating, of a vibrant Said. The brutal killing enraged many Egyptians.

The result was tens of thousands of people quickly using that Facebook page to share information and their opinions about the case. The page is now the largest site for dissidents with more than 473,000 users according to the New York Times' February 5th story, “Movement Began with Outrage and a Facebook Page That Gave It an Outlet.”

Although the events leading up to the creation of the Facebook page are gruesome, what’s fascinating is that the upheaval is not being led by one single person with a large group of dedicated followers overseeing efforts to coordinate protestors and convey messaging. Instead, the dissemination of information is decentralized with social media providing a forum for anyone who wants to speak up. Essentially, no single person has been designated the leader.

Couple that with the speed in which information is shared and you have both the Egyptian government as well as our own American government struggling to stay informed and also struggling to determine the best course of action to respond as events on the ground in Cairo change hourly. At most times, the protestors were staying not just one, but two to three steps ahead of the governments.

We are witnessing history in the making as social media is front and center as a tool to coordinate and inform the masses. Yes, we’ve seen social media create hype about an event, or create a fever buzz about some new product or service, but the happenings in Egypt really demonstrate the true capabilities of social media and its profound impact on the world today and in the future. I can guarantee the way in which social media is being used by Egypt’s protestors will become a case study in universities around the world.

Do you agree? Do you think there is an element of danger with social media being the driving force of change when there is no leader? Share your thoughts.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Social Media Success Case Study – Or Is It?

By: Angela Raleigh, Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.

I’m sure we’ve all heard the phrase, “Where’s Waldo?” and maybe even searched for Waldo at some point in our lives.

This past weekend, the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) took the “Where’s Waldo?” concept and brought it to life. They staged “mystery men” in both Green Bay and Pittsburgh to give away one trip in each city to Super Bowl XLV.

The rules were simple – the mystery man would wander the streets between the hours of 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Friday, January 28 through Sunday, January 30 until he was found. Clues were given daily on the Dallas CVB’s Facebook and Twitter pages about each mystery man’s whereabouts. In order to win, contestants had to locate and approach the mystery man and say the secret phrase, which was posted on the Dallas CVB’s Facebook page. The contest had plenty of green and gold fans running around Green Bay asking, “Have you been to Dallas lately?” It created an incredible amount of buzz both online and off line. In fact, the CVB’s “Visit Dallas” Facebook page acquired more than 9,400 “likes” in a matter of days and the “DallasSBHunt” Twitter account had more than 1,900 followers! Now that’s impressive.

So who won the package? A homeless couple from a nearby shelter uttered the phrase to the correct person in downtown Green Bay on Saturday afternoon. They won a prize package that included two tickets to Super Bowl XLV, NFL Experience passes, hotel accommodations for four nights and $500 towards travel expenses. After finding out that the winning couple was homeless, the Dallas CVB upped the ante and agreed to cover all of the couple’s travel expenses. I don’t think the addition to the giveaway was in the Dallas CVB’s original plan, but they adjusted to the situation in order to make sure they could get the winners to the big game. Local media interviewed the couple numerous times and the situation caused a bit of debate and discussion online and in the community.

This is a prime example of why companies need to be prepared for any situation that might occur when they run a contest. It also demonstrates how social media, while an effective way for companies to interact with current and prospective clients, can turn out vastly different than originally anticipated. Going forward, you can bet this will be discussed in PR groups as how to handle situations that no one would have expected. This was a brilliant use of social media, but was it successful?

If you were a part of the Dallas CVB contest development team, would you have suggested anything different for the contest?