Adaptive Sliding Marketing Campaign Report


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March 4, 2012, Business: Emerging Technologies in Business / Social Media (BUS 450)

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Adaptive Sliding Marketing Campaign Report

  1. 1. Adaptive Sliding: Community Building Report Project Execution Week 1 - March 4-10 As the semester began we established a relationship with the Leukemia and Lymphoma society of Canada (LLS) as a teammate had a contact within the LLS’ Team in Training (TNT) department, a group that focuses on supporting and training athletes for marathons. TNT was excited to have us on board and admitted that social media was a foreign environment to them. We had several meetings with administrators in order to understand the brand’s mandate, personality and goals for their social media campaign. TNT welcomed our advice, however our campaign initiative reached a crossroads early on. Because LLS is a large organization, their  regulations did not allow for people who were not employed by LLS to contribute to representing their brand. As a result of these restrictions, our team’s role was reduced to one of consulting since we were not able to gain direct access to their platforms. While our relationship with TNT was good, we decided to search for another avenue that would provide more autonomy and control. Our next campaign plan was to work with Canada’s official sliding organization called Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton (BCS) as suggested by resident sliding athlete and teammate, Tink. Because she was already working with the organization and had access to their social media platforms, we decided to create a campaign for them with the goal of promoting sliding sports. A few short days after we had gotten approval from the executives of BCS, we received news that they had changed their minds, and did not feel that BCS was prepared to launch their social media presence. However a BCS board member named Alan Morash suggested that we help him with his personal campaign promoting sliding sports to disabled athletes. Therefore, a new direction was found and Adaptive Sliding became our focus. Adaptive Sliding Canada is a program that has been developing for the last three years. When it was started it did not have a brand identity, web presence or strategy for reaching out to the Adaptive Sports community. However, it seemed that what they lacked in business skills, they gained in incredible people and athletes who live to defy all the odds with their disability, and a community that supports them to achieve their dreams. For our campaign, we wanted to make sure that we matched our tone to the mentality of our potential followers. As mentioned in one of our initial team meetings, the goal for Adaptive Sliding would be about “building excitement, hearing stories of disabled adrenaline junkies and connecting them with the right resources to get involved”. In order to do that, we wanted to build an online community that supported and engaged Canadian sliding athletes and para-athletes. We aimed to provide this community with relevant news, information, and resources regarding adaptive sliding sports. We brainstormed a list of words that we would keep in mind when building the atmosphere of the initiative: “fearless, driven, motivated, committed (both physically and mentally), athletic, passionate”. The word fearless resonated with our team and we knew instantly that that was the tone we wanted to create. Drawing inspiration from popular and cause-driven campaigns like Fuck Cancer and Movember, we created #GETFEARLESS - a photo sharing initiative that would showcase sliding athletes and enthusiasts’ pride, excitement, and fearlessness. We planned to ask athletes and community members to use our team-made #GETFEARLESS sign in adrenalinepacked photos, and share them on our Facebook and Twitter pages. This phrase would colour the nature of our content for the entire campaign, ensuring that everything we posted was in line with that fearless tone.
  2. 2. Adaptive Sliding: Community Building Report On March 4th, our new social media campaign officially took off after we created the Facebook page and Twitter account, equipped with the custom logo designed by Tink. With Tink being the most knowledgeable about adaptive sliding, we suggested that she could start building the initial online community by following people on Twitter who would be interested in adaptive sliding sports. The audience that was built were members of the National Bobsled, Luge, and Skeleton team, sliding athletes, athletes from other sports, and adaptive sports organizations. We targeted these people because we knew that they were users who were already involved in the sliding community or would likely be interested in our message. Originally our #GETFEARLESS photo initiative was a contest. We planned to give incentives such as signed paraphernalia or free bobsleigh rides to the participants with the most creative photo submissions. However, our sponsors fell through on the contest rewards so we had to change our plan. We decided to continue with the photo submission initiative to get followers to interact within our community, building upon the notion discussed previously in class, that participants often contribute more without incentives, driven by intrinsic motivation. The content and interactions for our first week were limited. Most fans/followers were friends, family or class members. Therefore our first week was about establishing a brand identity and communicating to our community what kind of content they could look to us for. A few initial problems had arisen in the first week, one being that our team’s knowledge of adaptive sliding was limited to Tink and Google. We received several posts from fans asking how they could get involved or how to learn more about adaptive sliding, and sometimes the posts were directly addressed to Tink. As a result the team could not effectively or efficiently give its followers the information they wanted without relying on Tink. Because our schedule was set up so that each team member was responsible for one or two days a week, posts addressed to a certain person sometimes wouldn’t be viewed until the following week. This lack of organized communication proved to be a consistent problem with our team. Week 2 - March 11-17 Our second week online brought an onslaught of issues that stemmed from the obstacles we experienced previously. Because of a misunderstanding of Twitter’s terms, a teammate added 1000+ tweeps on our Adaptive Sliding account on the night of March 8th. The intention was to follow relevant people on the International Paralympic Committee, who would in turn follow Adaptive Sliding back. However well-intentioned, this action was unplanned and not communicated to the rest of the team, and caused our account to be suspended. We worked hard to appeal the suspension, and quickly unfollowed all irrelevant tweeps until we were following a manageable number, once we regained control a few days later. As a measure of good communication and transparency, we made sure to mention on our Facebook page that we were experiencing difficulties with Twitter, and that we would update the page once we were back on track. We wanted to be clear with our community in case new followers looked for us on Twitter but couldn’t find us, which would potentially lose us valuable interactions. Although we were experiencing new difficulties in team management and execution, our community was growing optimistically. On Twitter, we were continuing as planned to post relevant, interesting, and supportive content to our followers, and were receiving many positive interactions. We followed and interacted with relevant sports organizations, and gained around 40 new followers in this period.
  3. 3. Adaptive Sliding: Community Building Report On Facebook, we were learning a lot about what kind of content drew interest. Our daily posts of articles, photos, and videos were not creating a lot of opportunity for interaction. As a result, the views of certain posts were sometimes as low as 1. In order to counteract the low levels of conversation, we pushed our #GETFEARLESS photo initiative into a higher gear. We created a sign with our hashtag slogan, and made it available on Twitter and Facebook, explaining what followers could do with it and encouraging them to get creative. That same day we posted our first example submission of Tink holding the #getfearless sign while running on a Skeleton track. We wanted to show our followers how they could support their community by getting fearless. That photo spiked engagement with 84 unique views, 8 likes, and 2 comments. On the 16th we had our first follower photo submissions by Francis Chiasson, who photoshopped our sign into two photos and tagged Adaptive Sliding on Facebook. We were very excited about this, and shared the photos on our own walls so that the page fans could see it and collect more ideas. In order to keep this awesome conversation going, we thanked Francis, promoted him on Twitter with #FFs, and tweeted with him frequently. Our first evangelist had emerged. Based on learnings in class, we understood that tribe leaders such as Francis could spread your message and recruit other tribe leaders. Therefore, we wanted to do everything possible to make him a big part of our community. Week 3 - March 18-24 March 18 marked the mid-point in a decline in user engagement. Although each teammate was posting relevant content on Facebook and engaging on Twitter, the liveliness and interaction seemed to be steadily declining from the previous week’s record 79 views of a post on Facebook, to a high of 5. However, the activity on Twitter during March 18-21 was booming. Our emerging Twitter evangelists, Craig Drebit and Ken Childs, as well as new followers seemed engaged with the content we were posting as they were responding to questions and retweeting links. Neither Craig nor Ken knew Tink personally and found us through association with other organizations. This was exciting, and we made sure to promote them as our Twitter community leaders.
  4. 4. Adaptive Sliding: Community Building Report The activity on our platforms began to shoot upwards on the March 22 and continued to do so until the end of the campaign. From March 22-24, more content was being posted each day, with a high of 6 daily posts on March 22. This, in combination with the nature of the content, may have contributed to a spike in engagement. The content, as opposed to the previous period included articles and photos with known, named athletes and politicians. In the same period on Twitter, we were taking advantage of all the conversations about this year’s London Olympics in order to engage with like-minded tweeps. We made sure to monitor our feeds looking for athletes that were tweeting about upcoming competitions or practices, and would reply to them with supportive cheers. This would at least get an enthusiastic “thanks!” back to @AdaptiveSliding, and in most cases those athletes would follow us back. This was a good and basic way to get our name out into the Olympic and Paralympic communities.  Although the campaign seemed to be growing well, our team was still struggling to communicate and coordinate schedules. On March 24, a doodle was sent out to finally and more formally aggregate our team schedules to find multiple times for in-person and Skype meetings. This proved to be a good way to organize our work and time because there were previously decided times we could draw upon for meetings that would happen from then until the end of the term, as opposed to communicating back and forth across multiple platforms each time we wanted to meet. Week 4 - March 25-31 Even though we were well into our project, our team still had trouble communicating with each other and it was hard to find a time for a face-to-face meeting with everyone. Since an in-person meeting seemed impossible to arrange, we agreed to meet via Skype on Sunday morning. During this meeting, we confronted each other about our problems about the campaign and the ongoing miscommunication between each other. We set clearer expectations and guidelines for one another and most importantly, created a more narrow, clearer goal for our #GETFEARLESS campaign. After realizing that time was running out, we sat down and started to brainstorm different tactics to increase online community participation on Facebook and Twitter. With many ideas being generated, we finally found consensus on a plan that incorporated an offline component.
  5. 5. Adaptive Sliding: Community Building Report We planned to print out the #GETFEARLESS sign on a large banner and find local athletes to pose with the sign. We would then post the pictures on our social media platforms to stir excitement about #GETFEARLESS and continue to encourage our users to submit photos as well. Instead of finding athletes who were already involved with adaptive sliding, we decided to broaden our audience and reach out to students who were unaware about the topic. We did this because we did not want to limit our community. Instead of focusing solely on adaptive sliding athletes, we broadened our content to include all sports, therefore expanding awareness about Adaptive Sliding. The first item in our action plan was to find local athletes and potential supporters for our campaign. Fortunately, a teammate had a friend who played on a recreational hockey league and even had a game scheduled on the following Monday. We agreed to meet at the Richmond Olympic Oval on Monday at 8:00pm to gain support from the mighty Ice Wolves. Throughout the week, our vision for our campaign began to form much clearly. We walked around the SFU Burnaby campus to find people who we thought would be interested in our organization and were able to reach out to many types of people. These included recreational staff members, intramural sport players, and radio station hosts. All of them were more than willing to hold the sign and be apart of the #GETFEARLESS campaign. It was fun spreading awareness about adaptive sliding because it’s a topic that is not regularly discussed. We told them that we would be uploading the picture on Facebook and Twitter, so if they wanted to see their famous face online, they could just check out our platforms. We had a lot of queries about the campaign from new faces, and were able to then explain and promote our cause. Project Success Week 1 After targeting key community members we were able to build a Facebook following of about 42 fans and a Twitter following of about 65 fans, bringing us almost halfway to our total campaign goal within our first week, of 100 Facebook fans and 100 Twitter followers by March 31. Admittedly the majority of our following at this time were people that each of us had contacted personally. Because Tink is a member of the sliding community, her personal connections accounted for a large majority of our following. Posting relevant and interesting content yielded some slow, but positive results. The two weeks that followed generated a steady progression of growth. An average of 2.5 users liked the Adaptive Sliding Canada page. All of our initial goals were met, as our group was strict to adhere to our deadlines. However, our plan to start the photo submission initiative (formerly named a contest) was very late. We asked
  6. 6. Adaptive Sliding: Community Building Report Tink to get her sliding athlete friends to kickstart the #GETFEARLESS photos by March 6th. This did not happen, due to a lack of communication and quite simply forgetting. Week 2 This period’s goals were mainly content based. We had originally planned to designate Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays as #megamonday, #trainingtuesday, and #innovativethursday as themed content days on Twitter and Facebook. Our group decided that this would be confusing in conjunction with our overarching #GETFEARLESS tag, and decided to drop the themed plan in order to focus on our main theme of fearlessness. Although we did not plan for a certain number of #GETFEARLESS photo submissions, we received two from Francis Chiasson, a sliding enthusiast at Whistler Bobsled and a personal connection of Tinks. We surpassed our midway goals of 50 Twitter fans and 50 Facebook fans by March 16th. Attaining our Facebook fan goal was mostly attributed to personal connections, but a few fans stemmed purely from their own interest. After our Twitter suspension incident, we had added so many people that at least 1/10 followed us back, resulting in our hitting the 100 followers very quickly. Although an unplanned way to hit our mark, we were able to take advantage of this mishap to genuinely engage with those followers to further grow our community. Week 3 From March 18-21, posts on the Facebook page were minimal and did not coincide with our goal of at least 3 daily posts. Although each team member was responsible for a designated day, we did not establish a review system to ensure that that person was managing the platforms, which contributed to a lack of posts and the ensuing decline in engagement. However, more content was being posted after the 22nd, which helped the Facebook engagement to grow steadily. According to Facebook insights, we had reached 510 people by March 24. Our goals surrounding the #GETFEARLESS photo campaign were extremely vague, which resulted in a very loosely planned initiative. There was hardly any action on this part of the campaign during the week, except for some continued engagement with the previous week’s photo submissions by Francis Chiasson. Week 4 Week 4 was the final week of the #getfearless campaign and was a week that had the most improvement and growth. Communication between the internal team significantly improved as the main method of communication was changed from using Facebook to having Skype meetings and phone conversations. The inconsistencies of replies were reduced and a more open discussion was created. Changing the original method of communication helped the team become successful as each member now saw a much more clearer picture of individual responsibilities and expectations, as well as, clearer guidelines for the campaign. The goal of the campaign was also modified to push online interaction. Instead of focusing on specific types of athletes that were involved with adaptive sports already, the audience was broadened and allowed more people to support the campaign. By expanding the target audience, it allowed the creation of a more realistic, measurable, and achievable goal. In the end, the support from people who were not originally involved with adaptive sports was overwhelming. The campaign became more defined and achieved measurable, tangible results. In the end, we received an amazing 43 likes on Facebook within that one week. Currently, we have a total of 118 Facebook likes and 169 followers on Twitter. This is definitely a great accomplishment for our team. Without Tink’s connections and a supportive follower base,
  7. 7. Adaptive Sliding: Community Building Report the online community would not have been as strong and interactive. Our evangelists and tribe leaders are the ones who motivated us to keep going because their passion for the organization definitely showed through their interactions on the different social media platforms. Project Evaluation & Analytics Week 1 Adaptive Sliding reached a substantial following within its first week. Our success with Facebook Twitter can largely be attributed to Tink’s knowledge of the sliding community and her ability to seek out users who would be most likely to care about Adaptive Slidings message. Also, Twitters open network allowed for a much easier build in following as many users would simply ‘follow back’ once we had connected with them. For, metrics we agreed to rely on Facebook insights and Hootsuite analytics to quantitatively analyze our success. Our initial jump in viewership can be more attributed to the team's proficiency with telling friends and family than anything else. Week 2 This week we discovered a few trends in content. Empowering our users by giving them a tool in which they could label and post their own photos with the #getfearless tag made our users proactive. 13 engagements later, we decided it had been a smart move. We also noticed that the number of views increased when we posted official Paralympic or race result news. This news was highly read but not commented on. Perhaps this is due to cultural habits of reading non-interactive news sources like newspapers.  For example a posting regarding the Canadian National Championships was read by 57 people but only commented on by 1 person. Regarding familiarity, when posts involved familiar faces, for example the photo of Tink posing with her medal, the result generated more comments than views, perhaps because users felt a more powerful connection to the content.
  8. 8. Adaptive Sliding: Community Building Report Top content: Week 2 9 likes, 2 comments | Reach: 61 | Engaged users: 79 | Talking about this: 8 | Virality: 13.11% When we posted content that mentioned Tink, we would notice an increase of online interaction. This was the case because a majority of our Facebook fans are Tink’s connections. If a familiar face is mentioned in the post, there a higher chance for the person who is reading the post to “Like” it and/or comment on the post. Week 3 The Facebook content during this period included photos, links, and a video. Drawing from the previous week, an observation that can be made regarding the nature of the content is that user engagement was low when content wasn’t personalized or related to a known athlete. While our team may have thought that this was interesting and relevant information, it didn’t provide a lot of opportunity for discussion with our community. On Twitter, an interesting observation is that the same lego bobsleigh photo that was posted on Facebook without much engagement, gained 7 clicks and 2 retweets on twitter. From this, we could perhaps draw the conclusion that unpersonalized content is better received on Twitter, as the format explicitly allows a very open sharing network and a less user-tailored approach to social media. This format allowed for our two Twitter evangelists, Craig Debit and Ken Childs, to support us without having any personal connections to our team. Both are supporters of sliding sports, and emerged on Twitter to retweet and mention us almost everyday. Our best explanation for this is simply their enthusiastic and supportive nature. Our content was always upbeat and we were responsive to every single comment we received. We asked them what kind of updates they would like to see more of, and followed accordingly to their responses in order to keep them engaged.
  9. 9. Adaptive Sliding: Community Building Report Week 4 Top content: Week 4 9 participants| Reach: 191 | Engaged users: 14 | Talking about this: 10 | Virality: 5.24% By introducing an interactive activity on Facebook, our virality increased (5.24%) and we were able to reach 191 users. We had a total of 9 participants in this poll because having a poll is a low-risk activity and very easy to use. Also, by asking an engaging, interesting, and opinionated question, we were able to reach out to those who supported their favourite sports. On March 30, three pictures were uploaded: snowboarders on Seymour mountain, floor hockey players at the SFU Burnaby gym and SFU recreation staff members at the SFU Burnaby campus. The new Facebook fans included people who were in the pictures as well as their friends who supported them. Also on March 30, the cover photo on the Facebook page was changed. The photo was changed from a Skeleton athlete sliding down a racetrack to a more abstract picture of an upside athlete. By changing the cover photo to a more general picture, more people could relate to it and feel a part of the online community. Instead of displaying a photo of one particular sport (i.e. Skeleton), posting a picture of a person who is ready for an adventure was more captivating. On March 31, another picture (the CJSF radio stations hosts) was added to the Facebook wall and there was an additional 22 new likes. The growing amount of Facebook likes was astonishing and provided motivation for the team to continue finding more people to hold the banner and be a part of the campaign. The rapid growth did not end there as 9 new likes arrived on April 1. In just this week, a total of 43 likes were acquired where most of the likes came from people who were either in the uploaded pictures or friends and supporters of the faces in the photos. Conclusions The key points we want to emphasize, now at the end of our campaign, are as follows: 1) Defining the scope of your activities and further defining weekly so as to keep a constantly focused campaign, 2) Tailor your content to your community needs as much as possible, 3) Use analytics early on to track progress, and modify strategy according to rising and falling levels of engagement, 4) Good communication is everything! Choose the modes of communication that best work for the team and stick to them. Communicate often and efficiently. Our entire team learned so much during this campaign. From the inner workings of team management to social media etiquette 101, we were able to understand the power that social media holds in business.