USATODAY: More than just news: A social media case study


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Brian Dresher is’s marketing manager, responsible for online marketing, customer acquisition, digital partnerships, and social media strategy. Brian has been with for almost 5 years and has developed many innovative ways in which USA TODAY is engaging in social media including a partnership with the leading social news sharing site, Fark, and launching a Social Media Blog on behalf of USA TODAY.

This presentation is from an #AwarenessInc webinar which took play 4/7/2010 where Brian shared how the USATODAY brand is engaging in social media and some of the great examples of their success using various tools.

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  • Nearly 30 communities.
  • USA TODAY’s Twitter Index Page can be found here,
  • USA TODAY’s Facebook Fan Page is available at
  • USA TODAY’s Olympic Coverage on Twitter,
  •’s sponsored tab on Fark can be found at
  • Our Social Media Blog can be found here,
  • USATODAY: More than just news: A social media case study

    1. 1. USA TODAY: More Than Just the News. <br />A Social Media Case Study<br />Brian Dresher:<br />Twitter: @bdresher<br />Blog:<br />April 6, 2010<br />
    2. 2. Opening the conversation<br />
    3. 3. Leading the conversation<br />
    4. 4. Where is the community?<br />Brands need to adapt to the rules of the playgrounds in which they’re playing.<br />
    5. 5. Macro to Micro: Transformation of Brands<br />Before social networks<br />After social networks<br />Audience<br />Journalists<br />Photo courtesy of<br />Photo courtesy of<br />Journalists<br />Audience<br />Photo courtesy of<br />Photo courtesy of<br />
    6. 6. Macro to Micro: Breaking News<br />Macro news<br />Photo courtesy of Janis Krums,<br />Micro news<br />
    7. 7. Many Uses for Twitter<br /><ul><li>Meet Ups - @CruiseLog - Anyone else going on Carnival's Bloggers Cruise this weekend? I'll be on board (and blogging) starting Saturday and would love to meet up!
    8. 8. Opportunity - @USATODAYweather - Send your weather photos to USA TODAY. We publish the best online and in the newspaper. #photography
    9. 9. Engagement - @USATmedialounge - With more than 1,700 comments, there's a lot of interest in Iowa's decision on gay marriage. Add your thoughts here:
    10. 10. Story Leads - @barbdelollis - Are you #snowbound/stranded in a #hotel ? If so, I'm interested in hearing abt yr experience for a story. Email me @
    11. 11. Customer Service - @USATODAYservice - @LinsayPattan Our apologies forthe issue with the paper machine. Contact USA TODAY Customer Service@ 800-USA-0001 for a refund of the $1 </li></li></ul><li>Steps USA TODAY Took to Sell Internal Staff on Twitter<br /><ul><li>Started small. One person buying-in leads to another and another.
    12. 12. Shared success stories.
    13. 13. Defined roles for members of our organization.
    14. 14. Created internal education plan.
    15. 15. Prepare monthly report showcasing our ROIII.</li></ul>These steps have helped to turn doubters into believers!<br />
    16. 16. Tips for Brands to Reach Users on Twitter<br /><ul><li>Understand value of Twitter etiquette: re-tweets, replies, and thank yous.
    17. 17. Use sites such as WeFollow to find and follow Twitterers who cover similar topics.
    18. 18. Follow other internal Twitter feeds, industry experts, major brands, clients, competitors, etc.
    19. 19. Identify best hashtags to have tweets discovered as well as search for other Twitterers tweeting on same subject.
    20. 20. Optimize tweets so that they’re easily re-tweetable.</li></ul>All of the above tips lend themselves to increasing Followers and Engagement!<br />
    21. 21. Educate and Inform our Audience about Twitter<br />Tweets posted to the comments section.<br />Source: “Hotel guests: What's the 1st thing you do after check in?” by Barbara DeLollis,<br />
    22. 22. Enhance On-Site Twitter Presence<br />Source:“Gene mutations tied to children’s stuttering,” by Rita Rubin,<br />
    23. 23. Facebook Features<br />
    24. 24. USA TODAY at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics<br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
    25. 25. What the Fark?<br />+<br />Photo courtesy of<br />Photo courtesy of Brian Dresher<br />Photo courtesy of Charles Apple,<br />
    26. 26. Social Media Blog<br /><ul><li>Share our internal case studies.
    27. 27. Inform our audience on what we’re reading related to social media.
    28. 28. Announce new products and site features.
    29. 29. Interact with consumers, advertisers, analysts and anyone who wants to chat!</li></ul><br />
    30. 30. Social Networking Impact on Role of Brands<br /><ul><li>Publish content to a blog.
    31. 31. Optimize title tags so that they are SEO-friendly.
    32. 32. Submit content to social media sites (e.g., Yahoo Buzz, Digg, etc.).
    33. 33. Upload multi-media to Flickr, YouTube, and iTunes.
    34. 34. Maintain Facebook Fan Page presence.
    35. 35. Tweet and monitor Twitter for trends and ideas.</li></ul>Need to know what tools exist and how and when to use them!<br />
    36. 36. Developing your Social Media Plan<br />What do you hope to achieve by having a social network presence?<br />Who is your target audience and where do they spend their time?<br />How will you create buy-in with internal staff that this is a priority?<br />What metrics will you use to gauge success?<br />Who are your competitors and what do they do on social networks?<br />How do your on- and off-site social media activities support each other? <br />
    37. 37. Summary<br /><ul><li>Social networking is logical extension of onsite community and social media initiatives.
    38. 38. Social networking allows for increased engagement and exposes personality of the brand and increases traffic.
    39. 39. Commitment to social networking requires commitment to learn, apply latest tools, and experiment.
    40. 40. Social media is here to stay. Each day allows us opportunity to tap new audiences. </li></ul>Twitter:<br />Blog:<br />Facebook:<br />YouTube:<br />Fark:<br />