Direct & Integrated Marketing Roundtable

Monday, September 23, 2013

How to Plan and Organize a Tweetup

Want to hold a live event of face-to-face #IRL (in real life) people that you know or met through Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin or other social media sites?  The tools today make this so easy to accomplish.  So, lets talk about what it takes to hold a "tweetup."

There are several steps we must consider.

1.  Determine Your Audience

  • What is your event about and who would be interested in attending?
  • What do the attendees look like?

For example are you holding a workshop to discuss issues of Human Trafficking?  Are you interested in a biking meetup group?  Or would you like to throw a conference on using technology in the classroom?

Once you decide the exact topic and what the attendees look like, you will need to think of keywords that you believe will be used in conversations by these people to help you spot them out in the digital world.  For example, lets assume you are wanting to throw a conference on the use of technology in the classroom for the St. Louis market.  Keywords or phrases that might appear in social media conversations could include:

  • edtech, #edtech or education technology
  • STEM or #STEM  (science, technology, engineering, mathematics)
  • technology or #technology
  • STL, #STL or St. Louis
  • flippedclassroom, #flippedclassroom or flipped classroom
  • BYOD, #BYOD or bring your own device

Do not worry.  You do not have to think of everything.  Once you start examining some of the conversations including these phrases you will see other words or phrases that you might have overlooked and will add them to your list. 

2.  Find Your Audience and Begin Engagement

Your next step is to go to the various social media properties and start the process of finding your future community members.  Lets discuss this for the three major social media sites including Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook

Twitter:  You will use the search function in Twitter to search for tweets containing your keywords.  For example the figure below shows us a partial list of tweeters that have used the hashtag #edtech & #STL in a Twitter search.

You will then click on each one and see if they are meeting your criteria.  If so, follow them and place them in a list that you create on Twitter for this event.  If they do not meet your criteria then pass.

Next steps include: 

  • Wait a day or two and note who follows you back.
  • Start observing what they are tweeting.
  • Retweet some of their tweets or favorite some of their tweets but only if it makes sense and fits your goals.  But, do not go overboard.
  • In your approach you must be real and considerate or they will not let you in their community or want to be a part of the community you are trying to form.  Very important!  If you come across as too aggressive, pushy or sales-like and they will ignore you or worse yet, unfollow you.

Linkedin:  On Linkedin there are two types of searches you will want to do:  individuals and groups.

For individuals:
  • You will search for people that include your keywords or phrases.  
  • Attempt to connect to anyone that appears to be your audience.  
  • Ensure you tell them why you wish to connect.  Do not use the default "I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn."  That will NOT work.  
  • If they are a friend of one of your friends on Linkedin (e.g. 1st level or 2nd level connections), ask them for a virtual introduction.  That will ensure higher success. 

When searching for groups, you will do the same thing: 
  • Do the same search of your keywords and phrases but for groups. 
  • Join the group if it looks good and observe the members for a few days
  • Take note of how active they are, if members regularly contribute and how they interact with one another.  
  • You want to be observant and considerate.  Each group has different dynamics.  So study them first before you start posting things about your event.  Some groups are very strict on advertising events.  In that case you will need to approach them differently.  And, if the group is large with much potential, you will want to plan your strategy carefully to ensure they accept you and identify you as having a high level of authority.

Facebook:  With Facebook you can search for friends that are interested in certain things via the graph search function.  For example, as shown in the figure below, you can enter in the search box "people who are interested in education pages."

You can also search for groups the same way.  If they fit your profile then like them.  Similar to Linkedin, observe the page for a few days noting how active the fans are, what they typically post and how they interact with each other.  And, the more important you see the community being to your cause, the more strategic you will want to be in the planning stages of how you will approach them to ensure they embrace you as a part of the community.

3.  Determine Your Event Details

Now that you are in the process of finding your audience/community, the next step is to determine event logistics.

  • How will you do ticketing and will it be free or paid
  • Where do you want to hold the event
  • What hashtag do you want to create for your event

Ticketing:  There are many free options for ticketing.  Two of the most popular companies include meetup.com and eventbrite.com.   Both allow you to create a webpage for the event, collect payments and even help promote your event to known communities. 

But if your event is charging a fee, they will take a cut.  That is how they monetize.  So, that brings up the next question.  Do you want to charge?  For your first event you will want as many present as possible to spread the word of your event and future events.  Try to hold your first event free.  If not then seek out sponsors to help deflect the costs.  

I have used Eventbrite for many free student events and it works great. Check them out for all the details. They will give you the professional and polished look you will want.

Location:  The location of the event will be equally important. You will want to try and assess where the majority of your community lives and try to find a spot somewhere in the middle.  Take into consideration if they will be coming from work or home. Very important. Ask around to get the best deals.  Sometimes nonprofit locations may donate space if there is a synergy with their cause or clientele or in exchange for free attendance.

Hashtags:  You will want to create a hashtag for the event.  If this is going to be a annual event, then do not embed a date in the hashtag as you will want it to live on.

Having a hashtag will allow you to:
  • Determine how long the conversation is going after the event.
  • Monitor the conversation live during the event and display that conversation for everyone to see using simple and free software which I will reveal later.  
Additionally remember to keep the hashtag simple and easy to remember.  For example, the hashtag I created for my "State of Digital Media Marketing Conference 2013" held on the UMSL campus was #UMSLDigital.

To use a hashtag, you simply tell all tweeting attendees to include your hashtag in their tweets.  It is that simple.  Anyone can make up a hashtag.

 4.  Getting the Word Out

This is the step where you are going to greatly increase your level of engagement with those you have decided to follow from step 2.  If you did your homework correctly on those you are following, you will know who they are, what they like and what they react to. And as such, you should have engaged with many of those you are following, and have had some of them engage with you.  If that is not the case then are not ready to proceed with this step. This is the step where you are going to ask for help in extending your reach.

At this step you will begin to send communications to some of the influencers directly by putting their handle in the tweet.  For example, here is a tweet that might be created to inform a few influencers of an upcoming important conference.

If you have successfully formed a relationship with those you are following, they will be more than happy to retweet your messages to their followers on your behalf.  Success!

But do not forget, when they ask you to extend their reach on their behalf, you will do the same without hesitation.  Very important for a strong relationship to be forged.

5.  At the Event

At the event you will want to do as many things as possible to heighten the engagement of your audience members and to spread the word to their followers.  You have many options to do this.

Stream your tweets live during the event.  Using free software like twitterfall.com or visibiletweets.com you can stream your tweets at the event live for all to see.  Doing so will cause the engagement rate to increase due to the competitive nature of wanting to see yourself on the wall. Below is a screen shot of twitterfall for the hashtag #kenya.  This tool streams the tweets live in real time.

Use hashtags.  You must create a hashtag for your event and ask all in attendance to use that hashtag when tweeting.  Doing so will allow you to determine how long the conversation is going after the event in addition to monitor the conversation live during the event.

As previously stated, keep the hashtag simple and easy to remember. 

Consider using an app such as Bonfyre to further heighten engagement.  Bonfyre.com is a private "Facebook" environment for which you must be invited to join.   You will send an invitation to all attendees of your event or conference to join the Bonfyre.  Once they join, members can post comments, like others posts, share their posts, or upload photos or links.  Once the event is over, Bonfrye serves as a nice digital diary of the event.  Just another way to engage.  I love Bonfrye and have used them for many conferences and in the classroom.  Here is a writeup of my use of Bonfyre for my large digital marketing conference in April of 2013:  Around the Bonfyre with Professor Drake an Event App Conversation

I hope you found this post on creating a tweetup of your virtual friends valuable. Would love to hear your thoughts, ideas and suggestions I may have not considered.

Perry D. Drake
Professor of Digital and Social Media
University of Missouri - St. Louis

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Understanding Paid, Earned and Owned Media

There are three ways in which you can get exposure in the digital space.  They are Paid, Owned and Earned Media.  Let’s go over each and what they each bring to the party.

Owned Media – is the media a brand owns like their website, blog, Facebook page, or any other branded channel including YouTube.

Paid Media – are ads that a brand pays for like banner ads, paid search, video ads on YouTube, or even sponsorships.

Earned Media – are the viral aspects of your marketing efforts including word of mouth, reviews on Yelp, blog comments, Facebook story shares, and any other user generated content on various social channels.  Any social sharing falls in this category.

Each bring something to the party as mentioned earlier.  Owned media helps provide information to your current prospects and customers that are most likely already in the funnel.  This media helps keep them engaged.  Whereas paid media is a way to inform your non customers and those unaware of you about your brand or offer.   Paid serves as a means of getting prospects to the funnel.  Earned media, helps to ignite the flames even more and spread the word more quickly about your brand or offer.  It helps to builds those advocates.   And keep in mind, although we call it “earned media” typically money is being put behind these efforts indirectly.

All three are important from an advertising point of view to create your brands awareness and serve their part in the mix as the figure above shows. But of the three, earned media are becoming increasingly important to a brand.  Where earned, for a large part, is a result of your paid and owned media efforts. 

But do not forget that all three work very closely together and are tightly entwined.  As the saying goes, 1 + 1 = 3 is definately the case here.

Consider these important facts from various sources to keep in mind when building out your campaigns:
  • Ad recall of a social ad was 55% greater than a non-social ad (Nielsen)

  • Offline sales of people exposed to a brands website is 3X more likely to make a purchase than those that were subject to the paid ad alone (Nielsen). 

  • 90% of people trust the recommendations of people they know (Nielsen)

  • 70% of people trust recommendations from people they don’t know on sites like Yelp (Nielsen)

  • Fans and friends of fans for Starbucks were found to spend 8% more and transact 11% more in store than non-fans and non-friends of fans (ComScore)

  • Fans are 41% more likely to recommend a brand to a friend (Syncapse)

As can be clearly seen, it is not any one media alone but all three that create your presence.

I hope you found this post beneficial and thought provoking.  I would love to hear your thoughts.

Perry D. Drake
Professor of Social and Digital Media
University of Missouri - St. Louis

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Purchase Funnel, Then and Now

The purchase funnel was first developed in 1898 by E. St. Elmo Lewis as a theoretical customer journey from the first point of contact with a brand to the final purchase decision.  As consumers traverse through the funnel the numbers lessen.  This is due to the fact that of all who first become aware of the brand, relatively few actually convert.  Understanding how changes in our marketing strategies at each of these steps impacts the bottom line is key to the success of any business.   Pre web and social media or post, the basics are still the same.

As shown in Figure 1 below, the marketing purchase funnel has been comprised of four main components over the years:  Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action.  This is known as AIDA.  What has mostly influenced the decisions at each stage were brand initiated and included such things as in store demos, TV and print ads, FSI's, coupons and billboards.

 Figure 1:  Purchase Funnel Pre Social Media

Due to the introduction of the web, search engines and social media, the definition of each are changing as is the relationship of each of these to one another.  However, the basic funnel concept still works.  Let’s discuss each of these concepts further in today’s world.

Awareness in today’s world has totally changed due to Social Media.  No longer are we made aware by simple push messages.  Brands are pulling us in and telling us what they have to offer.  And in some cases it is not even the brand that is directly making us aware of a product but rather our friends who are sharing their experiences with us on social media sites.

How a brand keeps our interest is also totally different thanks to retargeting of online ads or tailored web experiences due to cookie drops.

Once we have gained product awareness and shown sustained interest, a brand has many more options today to move us further along that path in order to increase our desire to buy.  Years ago we would have to call to request a sample or go into an automobile showroom to talk pricing.  Today those are no longer the only options available.

And then of course there is the purchase action.  Money is still needed for this to take place, but what has changed is how we can share our purchase experiences (good or bad) with our friends and family.  We can become advocates and make others aware of the product on behalf of the brand.

The new funnel is being depicted in many forms by various companies like Forrester Research as shown below in Figure 3. 

Figure 3:  New Model by Forrester Research

What this figure shows nicely is the “disruption” being caused in the purchase cycle by the abundance of information we can now gather at every step of the purchase process.
But at a high level the “funnel” concept still works.  It shows nicely how as consumers move along that journey their numbers lessen.  

Keep in mind, the funnel never was meant to depict a linear path.  What is vastly different today are the experiences or options we have at each of those steps from a marketers and consumers perspective.   What the funnel looks like today is as shown in Figure 3 below.  As you can see there are now many more things affecting the purchase decision.

Figure 3:  The New Purchase Funnel Post Social Media

The biggest difference in today’s world is advocacy.  Brands need advocates for their products.  They need to create them, find them and foster a good relationship with them.  Why?  Because they who the consumer turns to in order to gain information prior any purchase consideration.  Based on a recent Nielsen report, 92% of people trust brand advocates.  Remember, as said prior, control has shifted to the consumer in so many regards.  This makes brands a bit nervous.  Understanding that shift, as Sephora has done, and capitalizing on it will ensure a strong customer base full of advocates for your brand or offering for years to come.

I would love to hear your comments.

Perry D. Drake
Professor of Social and Digital Media
University of Missouri - St. Louis

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Don’t Let Your Online Profile be Hijacked!

Yesterday KMOV News 4 here is St. Louis contacted me about a local women who’s profile had been hijacked on Facebook.  Her estranged husband had created a fake Facebook account in her name and began posting inappropriate photos of her and posting inappropriate messages on others walls.  She did not know what to do nor could the police assist.  So she contacted News 4 for help.  And, they in turn, contacted me about her options.

 Figure 1:  Perry Interviewed on News 4

As I reveal in my interview (Link: http://bit.ly/16w31Ix) there are a few things you can do if you find yourself in a similar situation in full or in part.

First of all you can report any photo others are posting as spam by simply clicking on the photo and then in the options, click “Mark as Spam” as Figure 2 below shows. 

 Figure 2:  Reporting a picture as Spam.

Secondly you can mark any Facebook account as spam also.  Simply go to the Facebook page and in the drop down click on “Report/Block.”  Facebook will ask you a few other questions as to why you are reporting the account as spam.  See Figure 3.

Figure 3:  Reporting an account as Spam.

 If you find yourself being tagged in a photo that you rather not be tagged in, you can remove that tag.  It is quite simple.  All you do is click on the picture and then click on ”Report/Remove Tag” as shown in Figure 4 below.  After all, Facebook realizes that you may not want to be tagged in that old high school picture that your best friend just posted.  So Facebook gives you that option. 

Figure 4:  Untagging yourself in a picture you were tagged in..

And do not forget that you can also remove posts others make on your wall.  After all it is your wall.  So you can remove whatever you deem appropriate to remove.  Guard your Facebook page carefully.  It is a representation of who you are what you stand for.  If someone posts something on your wall that might be viewed by others as offensive or politically incorrect, remove it.  I monitor my Facebook wall very carefully and do occasionally remove posts.  I take no chances.  As Figure 5 below shows, if I did not like one of the posts one of my friends made regarding a picture I posted, all I do is move my mouse over the upper right hand corner of the post I wish to remove and click “Remove.”  Not to worry, your friend will not be notified.

Figure 5:  Removing a post made by others on your wall.

On Twitter you can also report spammers.  If someone is following you that is spammy or sending you spammy tweets I recommend you report them.  Just go to their account page and click on the drop down and select “Report for Spam.”  See Figure 6 below for how to do this.
 Figure 6:  Reporting a Twitter account as spam.

To view my YouTube video of me demonstrating these features click on the link below associated with Figure 7.

Figure 7:  Facebook Security Settings Youtube Video

Believe it or not, approximately 9% of the 1 billion Facebook accounts are fake according to documents filed by Facebook themselves with the Security Exchange Commission not that long ago:

  • 4.8% are duplicate accounts we make for our professional and personal personas
  • 2.4% are accounts we make for our dog or cat or some other non human entity
  • 1.5% are created to be spammy or do malicious things
Be proactive and monitor your name usage regularly with the help of Google Alerts.  To receive notifications anytime Google notices your name being used, set up a Google Alert by inputting your name in quotes (see Figure 8 below).  When it shows up anywhere on the web, Google will send you an email.  This is a nice and easy way to keep an eye on your “brand” and how it is being used

Figure 8:  Using Google Alerts to monitor your name or brand.

If you find yourself dealing with a stalker or a cyber bully, follow these steps:

  1. Never engage with them online.
  2. Document everything they are doing by saving emails and taking screen shots of the posts they are making on Facebook
  3. Report them immediately to Facebook or Twitter as discussed above
  4. Block them from seeing your posts going forward and writing on your wall (using the Facebook Privacy Setting) or as last resort “unfriend” them.

Bottom line, be proactive.  In this new digital world we are very vulnerable to others hijacking our personal data and personas.  But we can minimize that risk by checking our virtual presence regularly and being careful who we friend.  

I hope you find this article helpful.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Learn from the NYC Marathon's PR Disaster--Develop your Social Media Strategy before its too late!

We all know at some level that social media has had a trans formative influence in our world.  What we may not have experienced, is the power of that influence against one of our own interests.

We have marveled at the power of social media to highlight and move forward trivial cultural issues, such as a funny video or picture, and on a more serious note, social media has been credited with triggering the Arab Spring and consequently toppling governments.

Other organizations can learn a lesson from what has played out this week for the City of New York, The New York City Marathon and it's sponsor, the New York Road Runner's organization.  That lesson is: Build your social media strategy before you need it!

The power of social media was unleashed against the City of New York, the New York Road Runners organization, and would be marathoners.  Following the epic storm (Hurricane Sandy) that hit New York on Monday, October 29, the Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg together with the NYRR CEO Mary Wittenberg announced boldly on Wednesday, October 31 that the premiere running event for New York, the New York City Marathon, would continue as planned; only to announce Friday evening November 2, that the event would ultimately be cancelled.

While the initial decision (moving ahead) was surprising, both Bloomberg and Wittenberg defended the decision for myriad reasons.  Among the reasons to move forward were that the Race would focus attention on the city, and thus relief efforts would result.  More directly, Wittenberg would donate $1 million for relief and recovery efforts.

As the week wore on however, the mainstream media and social media weighed in about the timing of the NYC Marathon relative to the hurricane and the concern that resources (police, fire fighters, water  and generators) would be diverted from those in need and to the running event.  Particular mention was made of the bridge closures at a time when some of the tunnels were still flooded, making navigation on and off Manhattan more difficult.  A congressman from Staten Island, Michael Grimm appeared on the evening news on Thursday, November 1 making an impassioned plea to call off the Marathon as Staten Island was making grim discoveries in the wake of the hurricane.  Meanwhile airports had reopened, and international runners were arriving in New York, some evidently vying with New Yorkers made homeless by the hurricane for hotel rooms.  All of these stories (and more) played out in mainstream media and were amplified in Social Media.  Finally, 36 hours before the marathon was to kick off, an announcement of cancellation of the event came from the Mayor's office, and the NYRR was silent, for at least three quarters of an hour.

Certain threads of the story took on a life of their own in social media. A few of the threads which had no basis in truth but were nonetheless played out in social media were:

  • Rumor:  The NYRR has generators for runners which have been diverted from people who actually have no power and need them.  Truth:  The NYRR has a great deal of their own equipment and know exactly what is required to put on a marathon having hosted the premiere U.S. marathon annually for the last 40 years.
  • Rumor:  The runners will take water away from people who have no water.  Truth:  This notion is as ridiculous as the first one for the same reason.  You don't stage a marathon annually for 40 years and not have a concept about the requirements of water for the runners.
  • Rumor:  The runners could just as easily run circles around Central Park.  Truth:  This was not a viable solution due to the sheer number of runners involved.  In the early years of the marathon when competitors numbered in the hundreds this was done, but how could the park accommodate 44 thousand runners?
  • Rumor:  The race can be postponed for a week.  Truth:  Well this sounds like a good idea, but in a city like New York where the staging of the marathon requires street closures, and associated logistics, it is not a given that all conditions will be "right" for just moving it by a week.  This isn't a school picnic after all, thousands of volunteers, and support people are involved.  There is no guarantee that all of the venues would be available a week in advance, and not in conflict with some other event.
Some of the comments that were made in Social Media were not only not intended to be helpful at all but just be rude and directed at runners:
  • The runners want only to complete an item on their bucket list.
  • Anyone who watches or participates needs their head examined.
  • No human being should run that far anyway.
  • Runners are out to impress people in their fancy running clothes.
In the compressed time period between the announcement that the Race was on as of Wednesday morning, until the time that it was announced as cancelled on Friday evening, one fact was painfully obvious to me.  The voice of the runners was missing, I would have thought that the NYRR would have the wherewithal to launch an effort to be the voice of the runners.  I am sure that they have never been in such a role before, but it was rather eye opening that their viewpoint was completely absent in the dialogue.  

In the final analysis, it is certain that even if the NYRR had engaged with the critics in social media dialogue the result would have been the same -- the event would have been cancelled. But had the NYRR been a more active participant in social media, perhaps the NYRR could have maintained some level of good will among their core constituency, the runners.  Or alternatively, had the NYRR been a skilled user of social media, perhaps they would have made an announcement to cancel the race at the outset.  For example, the graph below created using Lithium (a social monitoring tool) clearly shows an explosion in conversation involving the words "NYC Marathon" and "cancel" in the social space (twitter, Facebook, blogs, news feeds, etc.)   In addition, we note that the sentiment regarding these conversations is more heavily skewed negative (red) versus positive (green).  

From the NYRR Facebook page we can see only 16 posts were made between October 25th and November 2nd.  However the 16 posts by the NYRR generated nearly 4,000 comments from other Facebook users.
  • October 25--First mention of a large storm that is being monitored.  A second post about "Mighty Milers" is also posted on this date.  Total of two posts.
  • October 27--Poland Spring Kickoff Race two posts.  One cautions about the storm and directs attention to social media and a special hotline phone number.
  • October 28--Monitoring Sandy one post.
  • October 29--"Still working through hurricane Sandy" one post.  This post seems to indicate that an assessment of some kind is going on but the main emphasis in the post is to communicate the Half Marathon registration in 2013.
  • October 30--"Keeping all Options Open" two posts.
  • October 31-- Single post requests runners to stay out of Central Park as clean up proceeds. Mayor's announcement regarding going forward was made on October 31, but was not posted to Facebook immediately.
  • November 1--"Race goes forward"  references announcement from the Mayor; Two posts "Race is dedicated the victims of the hurricane" soliciting donations.  Total of three posts for the day.
  • November 2--NYRR changed cover photo to "Race to Recover" then at 6:28 pm posts the news that the race is canceled. Two more posts appeared later in the evening.  Total three posts for the day.

What could NYRR have done differently to better manage the dialogue?  

More monitoring of the social media, and in a proactive manner.  It seems that they were either not monitoring the social media or if they were they were not responding in a manner to diffuse the criticisms and misconceptions.  Is it possible they did not fathom that the decision would be controversial?  They could have tested the public sentiment by asking questions on their Facebook page as an attempt to gauge public sentiment.

Regarding the timeliness of the social media communication, often announcements were made in other media first, leaving the social channel as a place where core constituents, learned the news second hand after it was tweeted out or communicated by others.  

Provide a platform for the runners to communicate to each other. The NYRR was not a heavy user of social media before this Marathon, but perhaps that will change after this experience.  Had the NYRR promoted a special hashtag to marathon entrants, then perhaps as the social media lit up against the Marathon, the runners could have found their own collective voice.  It is unfair to characterize all runners as selfish, insensitive, etc. and having a voice and feeling part of a community against all of the critics would have helped to minimize the damage to the relationship NYRR has with their constituency of runners.

Had the runners been provided a platform for communication they may have come together and made the suggestion to cancel the event to the NYRR, thus making the runners part of the process instead of hapless pawns in the decision.

NYRR needs to provide more information about their efforts to help the community forward going and cleanup and recovery efforts right now.  As noted based on their Facebook page there was granted not a lot of time to socialize the vision for helping with the recovery efforts, however, the organization runs races (shorter in distance) all throughout the year, and the NYRR is involved in supporting many charities in the city.  I would venture to say that most critics of the Marathon do not know that the NYRR raises money for prostrate cancer screenings, lung cancer research, victims of domestic violence, and food programs for people with AIDS to name a but a few of the worthwhile causes.  In addition the NYRR is an organization dedicated to fitness promoting running to children and having mentoring programs where adult runners teach children and teens running techniques.

Had NYRR's good works been better promoted throughout the year, it would have been much more difficult to cast them in some kind of a villian's role.  Then the most they would seem guilty of would be being overly optimistic on how quickly the city would be ready to have the race.

NYRR needs a comprehensive social media strategy.  For a not for profit organization a comprehensive social media strategy consists of:
  • A clear definition of how the social media strategy will support the NYRR brand and mission.
  • An editorial calendar.
  • Ensure that the social media strategy integrates fully with all of the other marketing strategies, this means that the NYRR twitter handle and Facebook page is mentioned on all promotions of races, on the web pages, and in the signage, etc used at races throughout the year.
  • Read and measure key metrics and synthesize them throughout the organization.  Social media metrics should be aligned with the measurement of new members to NYRR, donations, and mentions in social and other media all of the NYRR's key metrics should be easy to follow in a single dashboard.
  • Track results routinely and refine strategies based on what works well in terms of engagement.  Feed back results throughout the organization.
  • When all of the important groundwork has been laid to manage and read social media metrics and other important organizational Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), then NYRR should begin to understand and reach out to key influencers to develop a strategy to further their brand message via this important group.
Don't forget, success in social media requires:
  • Defining the strategic purpose of the medium.  For a not for profit, are you using the medium to acquire new members or communicate with current members?  Or are you trying to communicate your mission to potential donors?
  • Defining the nature of your relationship to all of your constituents.  Are you a cheerleader, advisor, curator, mentor, friend, etc?
  • Establishing the narrative, what is the message you want to convey to your followers?  Can you structure your message to work with other channels?
  • Paying attention to this medium, monitoring the dialogue and commenting appropriately.
  • Establishing in advance KPIs that will identify the effectiveness of the strategy.  (If you're not measuring it you're not managing it!)
In the spirit of full disclosure I am a member of the NYRR organization but have never run a marathon.  I have great admiration for those who have the discipline and strength to train for and  run a marathon.  My husband Perry is an avid runner, and I am a sometime runner participating in shorter races throughout the year.  It is because of my association with NYRR that I know what a terrific organization they are, and it is my hope that they adopt a social media strategy so that they can control the conversation about their organization.

What are your thoughts about the social media strategy (or lack thereof) surrounding the NYC Marathon?  I would like to hear from you.

Rhonda Knehans Drake


Obama vs. Romney 2012 Social Media Barometer Dashboard (Week ending 11/04/2012)

As this is the last report before the election, let's keep in perspective social media strategy is but one of the many tactics available to the candidates.  It will probably take several election cycles to understand how much influence social media has on the electorate relative to endorsements, TV ads and the candidates positions on key issues.  The election of 2012, however is our first data point in what promises to be a new kind of campaigning where citizens can weigh in with their opinions immediately via social media.

We will soon know who's tactics were more effective.  Remember to exercise your right to vote!

This week events surrounding Hurricane Sandy, which hit the east coast on Monday, October 29, impacted the content of the conversations as can be seen below.

The highlights of the week for the period ending 11/04/2012 are shown below:

  • Obama had a higher share of voice with 56.5% of the conversations mentioning Obama.
  • The ratio of positive to negative sentiment for Romney reached an all time high since reporting began.  The ratio of positive to negative sentiment was 90.1% for the week.
  • All web metrics were down for Romney indicating that both traffic and engagement were down for Romney.
  • Word clouds indicate a conversational focus on Hurricane Sandy for Obama, and an election victory for Romney.
  • Romney continued to have a high level of engagement on Facebook relative to Obama.
  • Google search trends revealed searches for Obama and Christie and Obama and Bloomberg indicating an interest in the President's impact in the hurricane relief.  Romney searches included FEMA and Jeep indicating recent positions that he articulated in the role of FEMA, and the strength of the automobile manufacturing industry.

Rhonda Knehans Drake