Ohio University Strategic Social Media

Crowdsourced Learning Lab #ouj4530

Author: justingambleblog

Alternative Press: How They’re Conquering Social Media

by Justin Gamble

For a lot of people social media is just a way to stay up to date with friends and family members you don’t see regularly, but for professionals social media can make or break a company. A long time friend of mine, Anthony Lauletta, recently started a career in social media working at Alternative Press. If you aren’t familiar with Alternative Press (AP), it’s a print magazine that primarily covers bands in the alternative, rock, and hardcore music scene. Anthony began his journey as a social media intern at Alternative Press and was offered a job as a social media manager there when he concluded his internship. Anthony has always been someone that I’ve respected when it comes to his opinion on the current state of the social media industry and where it is headed. I wanted to interview Anthony to get his take on some aspects that a lot of people don’t really think about when they think of social media.

 

J: First question is what is one piece of advice you’d give to an aspiring social media professional?

A: The biggest thing is read all the time. Build it into your schedule for the day. Even on your busiest days. I use Apple News, which I like better than Flipboard, but the biggest thing is to find some really good publishers you like. I like The Next Web and Wired a lot for tech news. The biggest thing is try and spend about 30 minutes to an hour of your morning or night just reading all the news from the day. The social media industry, the media industry in general and the music industry too isn’t like being a doctor where you go to school for 4-8 years and you learn specific things that are static and don’t change very much. Those things you learn in school are very important but in the media industry you need to learn how to learn. So, yeah, the biggest thing I would say is to read everyday to learn about new tech and the social media industry.

J: That makes a lot of sense. Staying up to date with the current state of the social media industry definitely seems important. Next question would be: describe a recent successful social media campaign conducted by Alternative Press and why you think it was successful.

A: Sure, I’ll talk about my favorite one that I just did. I did a viral video marketing campaign and the video was on Facebook rather than YouTube. Every month we have a new issue of the magazine obviously and every month we try to do a unique marketing campaign for the issue and the cover stars on the issue. This month’s cover artists were the bands Neck Deep and State Champs. They’re funny guys and the first thing I did when I was thinking of the marketing plan was to think about the bands and their marketable traits. They’re really personable guys and were open to doing stuff on camera so I reached out to their management and we coordinated a time for them to visit our office when they stopped in Cleveland for their tour and we filmed a short skit of them interning at the Alternative Press office. It was a funny video that marketed essentially the awareness of the issue, it didn’t really sell like the hard sells do but it generated a lot of awareness about the product we were releasing into the world. I believe it was successful because we really honed in on what’s marketable about the bands themselves, which is a big part of our product, and the cover is a very important feature of the issue that sells it for the most part. So, it was successful because of the research we did on honing in on the bands marketable traits. We decided against YouTube and to put it on Facebook because social video on all social networks is increasing in reach and visibility to every user and its really battling YouTube’s video content. Facebook’s been doing a really good job in this battle so we utilized this battle and this allowed us to expand our reach to the over 1 million fans on our page and even beyond that because we marketed through State Champs and Neck Deeps pages too.

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Photo of Neck Deep and State Champs taken by Kane Hibberd

J: I think that’s interesting you bring that up too because in one of my social media classes we talked about the same kind of thing, Facebook’s reach through video is almost surpassing the reach of YouTube videos in a sense that it’s a lot easier to share and people feel more connected to it when they can write their own post about it and I found that to be pretty interesting. But my next question would be, what do you think the most important up and coming trend in social media is and why is it important?

A: I would say social video. If you’ve read industry reports on the social media industry video content in general is huge on all social networks and every network is trying in their own way to boost video content. It’s a more immersive experience and its better for story telling in general. People can connect to video content a lot easier, especially when it’s so accessible.

J: How do you think that plays into networks like Twitter and Instagram where most videos are 15 and 30 second maximums? Do you think that’s something that would change in the future or is it something that will remain static just because of the type of social media that it actually is? Like, with Twitter being a micro-blog where people only have 140 characters, would throwing in an unlimited amount of video time throw that off or would it still contribute to it in a similar way?

A: I think it’s going to be changing really soon to be completely honest. I mean we utilize a lot of Twitter advertising for different videos and they’re extremely targeted which is the only way we see real results with Twitter video. For us, Twitter advertising isn’t really the best route. We don’t get the biggest return on investment there as far as social ads go. Our State Champs/Neck Deep video which was just under 2 minutes was put on Twitter as a full video and promoted as an ad so I do think that full video on other networks is going to be a huge thing in order to sustain themselves and to be able to grow.

J: Definitely some valuable insight there I could see full video being extremely valuable to advertisers and something that more social networks may have to look into incorporating in order to compete with powerhouses like Facebook. So this next question, the way I had it written was “Which forms of social media tend to result in more revenue for your organization?” and I don’t necessarily mean directly result in revenue cause obviously you guys aren’t making most of your money through social media as a magazine, but where do you see the most growth for a company as a whole?

A: That’s actually a difficult question because we monetize our socials in so many different ways. Facebook’s a big one. We have a lot of advertisers, for example for the Alternative Press Music Awards we have a bunch of sponsors, the two biggest ones being Journeys and Monster Energy, and we do different types of social advertising through the Facebook business manager interface where we can advertise through each other’s pages. The easiest way to answer this question is that all the networks are growing and changing constantly, but the one that I use most frequently with our partners is Facebook. The thing with social media and how it generates revenue is that it’s a very creative game and you have to utilize the technology to your advantage and see how that can help a partner. One of the deals I’m working on right now is with a gear company and they want to know how to inform our audience about all the artists that play Ernie Ball (guitar) strings. The best way to reach them is through social video and we put up twitter ads and target them to fans of those bands. We could do the same thing on Facebook, but they wanted to use Twitter because it’s short, sweet and to the point.

J: I mean its kind of well known that Facebook itself is, well its not exactly dying, but our generation and younger people are less prone to be using it now or paying attention as regularly compared to social sites like Twitter. Do you notice that has any affect on your advertising compared to when you post stuff on Twitter? Are you getting more engagements via Twitter even though it’s a smaller social media site as a whole compared to Facebook?

A: Different types of content do better on each platform. A good example of a post that did really well on Twitter recently that I put up was when Oli Sykes from Bring Me the Horizon performed at the NME Awards and he f*cked up Coldplay’s table I took a gif from the YouTube video and the caption was something like “When your band doesn’t get asked to play the super bowl halftime show” and posted it to Twitter and it went viral. We had tons of verified accounts and influencers re-tweeting it, which was great. When we put the same piece of content on Facebook, it reached about half as many people as the news post we posted to Facebook about the same event. So to answer your question, different types of content do better on different networks and it’s a lot of experimenting. Is that what you were asking?

J: Yeah, that more or less answers it. I was just curious because you guys tend to have a younger audience as a magazine as a whole, so I was just curious where that stood because younger people are using Facebook less and less. That’s why I was curious, but it definitely makes sense to say that different types of content will do better on certain social networks and you can see how that works but just looking at social network feeds. It makes sense that a gif would do better in a place like Twitter where its right there for a second and you view it, get over it, and move past it. Where as on Facebook you click on something to look at what it is and spend a little bit more time on it.

A: Yeah and I think the age gap does have a little bit to do with that too cause our audience on Facebook is a slightly older demographic than our audience on Twitter by just a little bit, so I think that may partly be the reason for that too.

J: Sure! So my next question is what is your favorite part about working in a career where social media plays such an important role in day-to-day business.

A: I like a really fast paced environment because I enjoy being not necessarily hectic but always going and I like fast paced environments. Everyday is something new and it goes back to point one that the industry is always changing and its always trying to solve a little bit of the puzzle which I really like. Everyday you have a new opportunity to experiment with what works and I love that part about social media. Experimenting and picking different variables with social networks and picking different key metrics to study for certain social posts. Almost every post that we put up on our socials, even if I don’t study it in depth I try to analyze why its doing well or why its doing poorly. Essentially it’s kind of like search engine optimization, but with Facebook key words will limit a posts reach so I’ll look at that to see why it didn’t do as well or I’ll look at a band that it’s about and maybe our audience doesn’t really care about that band so maybe we should cover them less. So it’s really just a lot of experimenting and it’s very fast pace and those are the two things I like most about my job.

J: Alright cool and the last question I have for you is what way do you guys analyze the engagements you receive across your social networks to determine if a campaign was successful or not?

A: There’s two key performance metrics we study at AP and they’re growth and engagement of social posts. Each campaign may have different key performance metrics based off the type of content were publishing. For example for the State Champs/Neck Deep video we did video views was a key performance metric. We choose it based off the type of content we have and what platform were releasing the content from. A key metric we analyze on Facebook more than we do on Twitter is total reach. Where a key metric we analyze on Twitter that we don’t really analyze on Facebook very often because it’s a lot more complicated to gain this metric is engagement rate. It has a lot to do with the types of metrics we have access to from the social networks themselves because we don’t really use a third party analytic source at the moment, but the two biggest ones are growth and engagement.

     Anthony’s interview gave me a lot of insight into what being social media professional is like. The creative freedom that social media gives to users is something that really interests me. Anthony says that’s one of his favorite parts of being a social media professional and I can see why. There’s no set formula when it comes to creating a successful social media campaign, there’s no way of knowing how it’s going to perform prior to the implementation of the campaign. That mystery makes social media marketing a challenge, but not knowing is also exciting because you get to watch your successes develop before your eyes and you can easily learn from your failures. Social media is constantly changing and it continues to open new doors for companies to advertise in ways they never even thought possible. Interviewing Anthony has created a new way of thinking about social media for me. Initially I never saw it as a creative process, but experimenting is really paving the way for professionals trying to master social media.

NYPD Hopes for the Best but Receives the Worst

By: Justin Gamble

In April of 2014 The New York Police Department sent out a tweet that asked New Yorkers to post pictures of themselves with members of the NYPD. The department tweeted, “Do you have a photo w/ a member of the NYPD? Tweet us and tag it #myNYPD. It may be featured on our Facebook.” While NYPD expected to receive smiling pictures of citizens with NYPD members, this plan inevitably backfired when instead they began to receive unflattering pictures of officers making arrests, fighting with citizens, and even some photos of officers with weapons drawn. The timing of this tweet wasn’t exactly ideal for the NYPD, mostly because it was around the time that Occupy Wall Street was taking place. As soon as members of the Occupy Wall Street caught on to the hashtag, the Twitter world was flooded with pictures of police brutality accompanied by negative and sarcastic comments.

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Shortly after #myNYPD was brought to light other major cities began to see similar hashtags. #myAPD (Atlanta) and #myCPD (Chicago) were other hashtags that saw similar negativity. One tweet coming out of Chicago read, “#myCPD extending his fist out to the community.” accompanied by a photo of a Chicago police officer who looked like he was about to punch a person standing with a camera.

The virality of the campaign is undeniable; it definitely took the Twitter universe by storm. #myNYPD received 43,000 mentions. Of those mentions only 5% were actually positive tweets supporting the NYPD, 15% were negative tweets, and the remainder were recorded as neutral. Tweets not only came from New York, but all over the United States and there were even tweets from Canada and Ecuador recorded. Men tend to use social media less frequently then women do, but surprisingly 64% #myNYPD tweets were from males.

The president of an integrated communications and public affairs firm called Ervin-Hill Strategy, Dan Hill, noted that Twitter is a great place to help gain awareness for a brand, but NYPD is not a brand so the campaign did not go over well. The NYPD’s Twitter account can be put to better use like gaining information from the general public about suspects in cases, “That’s what they really need to focus on and do it as well as they can.” Hill explained in an interview with IBTimes.

The campaign quickly gained national attention when media companies like Vanity Fair, Vice, USA Today and Complex all covered the failed social media campaign. After all of the negative feedback that #myNYPD received, the NYPD chose not to respond directly and decided to carry on as if it had never occurred. Police Commissioner Bill Bratton denied the failure shortly after it began to pick up steam saying, “Send us your photos, good or bad. I welcome the extra attention.” He also clarified that the negative pictures weren’t portraying police misconduct, but sometimes this is the kind of work officers have to do.

I think this campaign was extremely unfortunate for the NYPD. The NYPD has been faced with difficult situations in the past and has had to take extreme measures to keep the city safe. If a town or smaller city had tweeted something similar I’m sure there would have been much more supportive tweets. If I had been in charge of the NYPD Twitter I don’t think I would have used this strategy. Knowing how media has controlled the image of the police in the past, it was very likely this campaign would receive a negative reaction. As one Twitter user tweeted, “Lesson number 1 about hashtags: just because you created one doesn’t mean you own it. #myNYPD.”

 

References

 

Bratton on Twitter Fail: I Welcome the Attention. (n.d.). Retrieved February 15, 2016, from http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/NYPD-Twitter-Backlash-myNYPD-Fail-Negative-Photos-Flood-Social-Media-256275661.html

S. W. (2014). Did the NYPD Twitter screw up have any real effect on the department? Retrieved February 15, 2016, from http://digiday.com/brands/nypd-hashtag-fail/

Ford, D., Lear, J., Ferrigno, L., & Gross, D. (n.d.). #D’oh! NYPD Twitter campaign backfires. Retrieved February 15, 2016, from http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/22/tech/nypd-twitter-fail/

Lessons Learned from #myNYPD: Is There a Silver Lining? – In Public Safety. (2014). Retrieved February 15, 2016, from http://inpublicsafety.com/2014/04/lessons-learned-from-mynypd-is-there-a-silver-lining/

M.V. (2014). Not My NYPD: What Happened With The Failed Twitter Campaign That Unsuspectingly Encouraged Police Brutality Photos. Retrieved February 15, 2016, from http://www.ibtimes.com/not-my-nypd-what-happened-failed-twitter-campaign-unsuspectingly-encouraged-police-1575577

J. K. (2014). The Most Telling Photos From the NYPD’s Epic Twitter Fail. Retrieved February 15, 2016, from http://www.colorlines.com/articles/most-telling-photos-nypds-epic-twitter-fail

The Selfie’s that Changed Snapchat

By Justin Gamble

It was harder than I thought it would be to think of a social media campaign that I’d consider to be a social win. I mean, I’m on social media constantly, I probably see at least ten different campaigns everyday. I really wanted to write about a campaign that had a big impact on not just the company that implemented the campaign, but on everyone that witnessed it. In my research I came across a campaign that I was surprised I hadn’t heard about before: the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) Snapchat campaign called #LastSelfie.

If you aren’t familiar with the WWF, it is the worlds leading conservation organization. Working in more than 100 countries and having over 5 million members worldwide, the WWF is an enormous influencer on how we treat our planet, animals, and climate. The WWF is completely funded by donations made to the organization. You’d think a cause as good as the WWF would have no problem receiving enough donations to function, however that’s not always the case.

The WWF ‘s #LastSelfie campaign was introduced in 2014, just as Snapchat was starting to become a big player in the realm of social media. The WWF wanted to target the Millennial generation because they are a lot harder to reach via classic forms of advertising. Snapchat is an application, used predominantly by teenagers, where a user can send an image to someone else for a maximum of ten seconds and then the image vanishes for good and is gone forever. Using this to their advantage, the WWF saw an opportunity to raise donations and awareness amongst the Millennial generation.

Users who followed the WWF on Snapchat were sent a picture of an endangered animal that, just like a Snapchat picture, could vanish at any moment. Each picture featured a call to action requesting either an SMS donation or asked the recipient to take a screenshot and share it with their social network to raise awareness. The sharing of the pictures was vital to the WWF’s campaign seeing as they operated this campaign with zero media budget. The WWF knew going into the campaign that sharing via social networks would be critical for the campaign to be successful so they partnered with some major social influencers to help get the campaign trending.

Pictures of various endangered animals accompanied by text urging the viewer to donate and share the picture.

Pictures sent by the WWF to users that were apart of their Snapchat network. Photo taken from Webbyawards.com

The Mobile Marketing Association noted that within the first eight hours of the campaign, there was already 5,000 tweets that had been seen on 6 million Twitter feeds. As impressive as that is, after just one week of the campaign, 40,000 tweets reached as many as 120 million twitter users, which was roughly half of all active Twitter users at the time. Not only was the reach of the #LastSelfie campaign incredible, but the results for the WWF were equally as impressive. After three days, before the #LastSelfie had even reached its peak, the WWF had already reached its monthly funding target.

I think it’s obvious that this was a huge social win for the WWF. Half of the worlds Twitter population at the time was exposed to the campaign despite it starting out as a Snapchat campaign. The correlation between the permanent disappearance of a picture and the permanent disappearance of an animal species really hit home for a huge part of the Millennial generation. The campaign was featured by companies such as Fast Company, Adweek, Creativity Online, Reuters, NBC and many others as “one of the most clever uses of Snapchat and the selfie trend”. I don’t think I could have come up with a better advertising campaign with no media budget. The combination of using Snapchat to raise awareness about endangered animals was a truly genius marketing strategy.

If you are interested in donating to the WWF you can make a donation here.

 

 

References

#LastSelfie. (n.d.). Retrieved February 06, 2016, from http://www.justforthis.com/

 

#LastSelfie. (n.d.). Retrieved February 06, 2016, from http://webbyawards.com/winners/2015/advertising-media/campaign-categories/social-media-campaigns/lastselfie/

 

MMA Case Study Hub | #LastSelfie. (n.d.). Retrieved February 06, 2016, from http://www.mmaglobal.com/case-study-hub/case_studies/view/31740

 

WWF Snaps #Lastselfie of Endangered Animals. (n.d.). Retrieved February 06, 2016, from http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/wwf-snaps-

 

WWF’s #LastSelfie Reaches Millennials, Underscores Snapchat Constraints. (n.d.). Retrieved February 06, 2016, from https://www.clickz.com/clickz/news/2340740/wwf-s-lastselfie-reaches-millennials-underscores-snapchat-constraints