AdveRTISINg | MARkeTINg | MedIA
Social Media in the
New Wild West
* Qdoba in our Qmmunity
* It’s Not All About The Numbers
* Tweets from the Summit
* Pieces of Flair
The only ‘juniors’ Pieces of Flair by Pamela Norton-Shelpuk
we keep around are mints. “Each piece represents how much he cares about pay attention to your own marketing needs.
being an individual and being a team player. But it’s a challenge we’ve taken on, and it’s paying off.
You see, you can be both at once . . . somehow. * Lack of a clear strategy.
But that’s not important. What’s important is the flair. Secondly, for Ideologie, I knew I wanted to use social
Always be prepared to ‘express yourself.’” media in our business, but I wanted to be focused and
– Office Space strategic about it. We can easily see how social media
benefits companies that market directly to consumers.
here are certain movies that always seem to It builds awareness, loyalty and boosts sales. But when it
provide conversation fodder. Sooner or later, comes to consultative and creative industries, so much of
folks at the party (usually the guys) offer lines what we see out there are just companies bragging about
from Caddy Shack, Forrest Gump, or, when in themselves. Not that we don’t have a lot to brag about…
more culturally refined company, Monty Python and the I just don’t want to be that girl…or Brian the Flair King.
Holy Grail. For my crowd, the lines from Office Space seem * Need for outside advice.
to crop up regularly, specifically for the marketing folks Finally, we knew we had to be part of the conversation
and businesses who often find themselves jumping on – so we got over the obstacles, and did what our clients
or sometimes battling -- the latest trends. do when they hire us to do their marketing— we started
In Office Space, the employees of the cheesy food working with experts who have a lot more experience than
chain Chotchkie’s sport, round, playful buttons pinned to we do. In our case, we began talking to Web pioneer and
their uniforms to show their “individuality, authenticity social media strategist Aliza Sherman, who co-founded
and personality.” Jennifer Aniston’s character is chided by Conversify, one of the first social media marketing
her boss for only putting on the “minimum pieces of flair,” agencies and one of the few with more than 20 years
while her boss compliments her irritating coworker, Brian, experience in the industry.
who has more than 37 buttons. New companies in Colorado that specialize in
Like so many employees and businesses in their social media for specific business disciplines are popping
marketing efforts, the folks at Chotchkie’s miss the point up as well. Recently, we met Luke Wyckoff of Social Media
At Ideologie, you get experienced and think that loading up on pieces of flair somehow Energy in Denver, a new company that specializes in social
senior level people working on your brand. makes them more expressive and unique. In this column, media for human resource departments. Our PR and
I will explore how to not get caught up in the marketing advertising friends are doing great work in this area, as well,
You don’t have time for juniors and neither do we whirlwind and lose sight of what makes you truly different. including Ground Floor Media, XStatic and Vladimir Jones.
This week, we’re talking – and maybe even tweeting – Last month, Burns Marketing Communications and the
(except for maybe after lunch). about social media. Nurse-Family Partnership were recognized by the Colorado
Let’s start with what social media is…and what it chapter of the American Marketing Association for a viral
isn’t. Everyone, including us at ideologie — is doing it … at Facebook campaign that reached millions of users.
least for our clients. We are brand experts, and it’s our job Bringing in outside help helped us create a
to stay up on the latest tools and trends and to know how structure for moving forward with social media in a way
to leverage them in a powerful way for our clients. The that makes sense for us. I have a list of things to do, and
power of social media, when used correctly, is undeniable. I know what our strategy is. I’m not going to promise you
Our clients have enjoyed heightened awareness of their won’t ever see us tooting our own horn, but I’m far more
companies, better relationships with customers and sales interested in connecting with and elevating our marketing
growth as a result of their social media campaigns. community here in Denver. That’s why we’re doing things
But, despite its effectiveness for my clients, I like helping with the rebranding of The Review magazine
would have to admit we’ve been slow to adopt it in a and the Colorado AMA. And now we have social media
formal way at Ideologie. While it is a rather loosely defined plan that supports this goal.
term, social media must be done with intent and focus. I I’m excited, and a little nervous to reach out in this
suspect you may have experienced the same situation and new way and to see who reaches out to us. Social media
asked yourself: Why have we been so slow to use it in our is on one hand a new frontier and on the other, to quote
own business? Here’s what we found. another favorite movie, a box of chocolates — “you never
* Priority paralysis. know what you’re gonna get.” But look for us at the party.
For one, I think many of us suffer from the reality of We’ll be launching our efforts over the next quarter, and I
putting our own marketing needs last. We are busy people, look forward to connecting, staying in touch and adding
after all, and since there are only so many hours in the day, our own pieces of flair. My first button will say, “I Don’t
1923 Market Street, Denver 80202 : : 303.474.4038 : : www.ideologieinc.com clients come first. It’s challenging to have the discipline to Think We’re in Kansas Anymore.” ■
t is an exciting time to be in the creative marketing to “tweet the fun” throughout the conference, while
field—whether your role falls within public relations, the organization’s Facebook page served as a platform
traditional marketing or advertising. More and more to disseminate important facts about topics being
companies are embracing social media with less discussed at the convention. Attendees also engaged
reluctanceand are looking to their agency to dream in conversations in Spanish by visiting the USHCC’s
up dynamic online programs that move the needle president’s Facebook page. “By presenting information
and connectwith customers on a truly personal level. in Spanish ‘from the eyes of the president,’ followers
According to a recent Burson-Marsteller survey of the experienced the convention from an insider’s point of
top 100 companies on the Fortune Global 500 index, view. Spanish speakers received updates in their first
more than one-half (79 percent) of companies are using language, which drew them closer to the leadership of the
at least one social media platform. USHCC,” commented Toti Cadavid of Xcelente Marketing.
You do not have to be based in New York City, Who isn’t familiar with Room 214’s Talk to
however, to drive cutting-edge social media programs. Qwest Qdoba in our Qmmunity campaign to provide
Colorado, and Denver in particular, has quickly become social media business intelligence, strategy and tactics
a launching ground for award-winning local, regional for launching Qwest into social media? Identifying a
and national social media campaigns. Agencies need to improve brand perception, the Talk To Qwest
across the state are paving the way for “what’s next” campaign successfully launched as a pilot program
within the social media realm and redefining how to help Qwest leverage Twitter for customer service.
companies approach engagement, brand building, crisis The results spurred Qwest into other areas of social
communication and measurement across all of these media (Facebook), with the Talk To Qwest channel
platforms. demonstrating a 15 percent better retention rate than
We asked a handful of Denver agencies what traditional customer service channels.
some of their favorite social media campaigns were in It was great to hear from other agencies about
order to demonstrate the breadth of social media not their favorite campaigns and we’d like to share one ours.
✶ only nationally, but also in this “cow town.” GroundFloor Media had the opportunity to maximize
Pure Brand Communications shared their the benefits of social media through a cause-marketing
Tweet-a-thon campaign, conducted for NCM Fathom, campaign for Qdoba Mexican Grill. We worked with
a division of National Cinemedia. Last March, Fathom Motive: A Hybrid Agency to develop the award-winning
partnered with global humanitarian organization CARE Qmmunitiy campaign last fall. Through the Qmmunity
on a one-night release of the acclaimed documentary, “A microsite, consumers were encouraged to nominate
Powerful Noise.” For every tweet containing the hashtag people who had worked to improve the lives of everyone
#apowerfulnoise, Fathom made a donation to CARE. around them through their own volunteer efforts.
Traditional media relations, combined with extensive Qdoba committed to donate $1 to Starlight
blog and Twitter outreach and a well-promoted social Children’s Foundation (up to $25,000) for every
media release, resulted in more than 2,500 Tweets “action” taken including nominating, sharing and voting
in four days (the second trending topic on Twitter at via e-mail, Facebook and Twitter. The top Qmmunity
one point), and most importantly, a dramatic increase nominee won a donation to the charity of her choice
in ticket sales to the event and a sizeable donation to and a Starlight Fun Center donated in her name to
CARE. Larry Holdren of Pure Brand Communications, a local hospital. In all, nearly 260 nominations were
reminds us that, “Although social media is a great received and more than 72,000 votes cast. We also
arrow in a marketer’s quiver, it can’t constitute an entire conducted a media relations campaign to promote the
campaign. How well social media campaigns integrate effort, which resulted in more than 12.6 million media
and work with other components of the marketing impressions.
program will, in the long run, determine success.” Laura Love of GroundFloor Media explained,
Xcelente Marketing worked with the 2009 United “The viral nature of social media allows good news to
States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Convention spread like wildfire, and the Qmmunity campaign was
(USHCC) in Denver. The bilingual campaign included a great example of the power of social media. Since it
three concurrent, unique strategies to reach the diverse was a truly integrated effort, we were able to maximize
group of conference-goers. Attendees were encouraged our clients’ budget and achieve meaningful results.” ■
n 2006 the responsibility of Southwest Airlines’ “ah-ha moments.” The question wasn’t “what were
social media efforts fell into my lap. I knew nothing the numbers yesterday?” but rather “what are they
about social media at the time – I didn’t read blogs, going to be tomorrow?”
Twitter didn’t exist, and I mocked ex-boyfriends who
were using MySpace. But I had no choice but to make • What are we trying to prove?
it part of my life. So I did the only reasonable thing. I The answer to this question changed over time, and
locked myself in my office every night with a bottle of our reports had to change with it. When we began
wine and tried to figure it out. using social media there was still a belief that
My experiences forced me to completely re- bloggers were all 17-year-olds in their mothers’
think corporate communications. More than blogging, basements. Our challenge was to prove that these
Tweeting, or Facebooking, my role, as I saw it, was to folks were credible journalists worthy of our attention.
slash through red tape and revolutionize the business
of communication. • What should we be doing differently?
Measurement and reporting were powerful Our biggest failures were often our biggest
tools for justifying needs – but even for a company that learning experiences, but in order to inspire change,
completely bought in to social media, changing minds we had to make sure everyone else was learning from
wasn’t always easy. Consider this: them as well. With each misstep, we would document
In July 2007, Southwest Airlines joined Twitter what went wrong, how it could have been prevented,
and began sourcecoding all of its links. Then, one week what infrastructure changes were needed, and how we
in 2008, something amazing happened. Seven people planned to address similar situations in the future.
clicked from Twitter to southwest.com and made a
purchase. A whopping seven! We went completely nuts. • Who cares?
We were completely deflated, however, when We quickly learned that if we weren’t dazzled by
one of our colleagues suggested we not report our our reports, no one else was going to be dazzled
It’s Not All
findings because the number was “so small.” Relative to either. Our challenge was not just to tell the story,
the millions of people who book their travel on south- but to sell the story by bringing the information to
west.com each year, she was right. But where she saw life, presenting it in a way that made jaws drop, and
something small, we saw something huge… potential. linking the numbers to business or financial goals.
About The Numbers
One year later, Southwest launched a fare sale Applying some basic PR principles to social media
using only social media and public relations to promote reporting can help convince peers and leaders that
it – no paid advertising – and achieved its top two sales social media must be an integral part of overall com-
and website traffic days in the airlines’ 38-year history. munications strategies and help drive the changes
If anyone thought it was an anomaly, three months required to get there.
✶ later, they did it again.
Paula Berg is the digital media leader at Linhart Public
The measurement challenge Relations, where she counsels organizations on social
Anyone who works in social media sees its power and media strategy, integration, infrastructure, and crisis
potential every day. The challenge is convincing peers management. Paula earned her social media stripes at
and leaders that some things will have to change in Southwest Airlines, where she served as the company’s
order to achieve that potential. But charts and graphs first Manager of Emerging Media, responsible for
alone don’t inspire change. So when measuring your the development of the airlines’ now acclaimed online
social media efforts, ask the following questions: communication and social media strategy. ■
• What are the numbers trying to tell us?
When we began our social media efforts, the
numbers weren’t very impressive. So we tried to
read between the numbers to spot trends and
Tweets from the Summit
t’s no surprise that public relations and marketing ground, and like many nonprofits, needed to do so on Founder Tony Caine took it one step further. He initiatives your company, organization or clients are
budgets are smaller these days. According to a shoestring budget. accepted a challenge to summit all 54 of Colorado’s working on that you can spotlight and even cultivate
the latest Bellwether Report by the Institute of 14ers throughout 2010, symbolizing the climbs and through social media. Use these ideas and activities to
Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), overall spending In addition to a number of cost effective PR and struggles Summit54 participants will go through as help bring your organization to life with followers and
on marketing, including PR, fell for the ninth consistent marketing strategies the agencies put in place for they embark on the program early next year. supporters, get them involved and further secure their
quarter in Q4 2009. And, while the same survey Summit54, Xstatic and ideologie knew that social interest and loyalty.
expected spending to increase in 2010, the reality is media needed to be a major component of the After building Summit54’s social media platforms on
that most communications departments and agencies campaign. With select social media tools, which can Facebook, WordPress, Twitter and LinkedIn, Xstatic • Measure Time and Time Again – You know what
are still being forced to do more with less. be set up and maintained at no cost, the firms were wanted to capture the excitement of Tony’s climbs they say about even the best laid plans, no? Well,
confident they could help Summit54 reach its target to generate interest and support for the organization they can go astray! With the social media plan for
If you work for a for-profit entity, this may mean a audiences, increase awareness of the organization and among fans and followers. Tony began blogging about Summit54 firmly in place and going smoothly, Xstatic
drastically cut budget and fewer staff members doing improve fundraising in the critical startup phase. each of his climbs and taking pictures along the way and ideologie’s next step is to revisit the plan’s metrics
the work of many. And for nonprofits, it probably that would be shared on all of the social media sites. regularly to ensure the results are on track. If they are,
means getting creative and figuring out inventive ways Ready, Set, Go! Xstatic set Tony up to Tweet, post Facebook messages fantastic! If not, we have some work to do to adjust the
of maximizing an already restricted communications To get the program started, the marketing team and capture live video from his climbs, notifying strategies and tactics to more effectively reach target
budget. The good news for both: with a little careful followed this simple four-step plan to ensure that Summit54’s followers when he’d reached the summit, audiences. The point is, what’s the use of having a
planning, creativity, and new media know-how, there Summit54’s social media debut was effective: encountered bad weather or met menacing wildlife plan if it doesn’t lead you to your desired destination?
are still plenty of ways to use PR and marketing to creatures along the way. The goal? To engage target Measure your results time and time again to ensure you
generate the kind of results your company or clients • Start with a Plan – You wouldn’t start a long road audiences on the ground level, helping secure their are progressing toward your goal and don’t be afraid to
are seeking. trip without a map, so why start a long-term social interest, loyalty and support as the organization grew make adjustments to stay on track.
media program without a plan? As a first step, Xstatic and went national.
Getting Social From the Summit developed a detailed social media strategy for Xstatic and ideologie launched the Summit54 social
In early 2010, Denver-based public relations and Summit54, outlining target audiences, goals, update • Leverage Unique Assets – Undoubtedly, Caine’s media campaign in summer 2010. Follow Summit54
marketing firms Xstatic Public Relations and schedule, recommended platforms (Facebook, Twitter, climbs provided a unique hook to create the social through its national launch early next year on
ideologie, began working with Summit54, a nonprofit blog, etc.), features and measurable objectives for media campaign around Summit54’s start-up phase. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn (Groups) and blog at
organization for inner city students that delivers quantifying the campaign’s success. To build on that, Xstatic and ideologie worked to http://summit54movingmountains.wordpress.com.
complete college financing, academic skills and develop a fundraising campaign around the climbs, Stacey Sepp is co-founder and chief operating officer
real-world training for a lifetime of success. With its • Get Creative – Summit54 already had an engaging challenging followers and supporters to donate specific for Xstatic Public Relations. She can be contacted at
unique mission, Summit54 has an incredible story to mission and story to tell. But, to help launch the dollar amounts to Summit54 for every foot Caine (303) 928-7144 or Stacey@xstaticpr.com. ■
tell. However, the organization was just getting off the program and gain awareness for the nonprofit, climbed during his 14ers quest. Think about the unique