Ohio University Strategic Social Media

Crowdsourced Learning Lab #ouj4530

Category: Alexandria Schell


Our campaign is centered on a new Twitter account, @JoinUSColumbus, and a new hashtag, #KeystoColumbus. The overarching goal of the campaign is to increase awareness of the Certified Tourism Ambassador program in Columbus, while the more specific objective is to obtain 3,000 followers on the new Twitter account. We aim to reach 3,000 followers for @JoinUsColumbus in the three months of the ongoing campaign, from May 1 to August 1, 2016.

Team Experience Columbus from left — Alex Schell, Amanda Moline, Lincoln Rinehart, Garrett Smith

Team Experience Columbus from left — Alex Schell, Amanda Moline, Lincoln Rinehart, Garrett Smith

We plan to obtain these followers through a successful #KeystoColumbus campaign that will stretch across the Twitter and Facebook accounts for Experience Columbus, as well as the new Join US Columbus Twitter. After the successful completion of the Certified Tourism Ambassador program, participants will be given a physical key along with their certificate. CTAs will be encouraged to take photos of themselves and their key at “key” places to visit in Columbus and email them to a designated email. @JoinUSColumbus will post these photos, @ExpCols will retweet some of the best photos, and the Experience Columbus Facebook page will showcase an album of about 300 of the best photos.

This campaign will encourage engagement not only with current CTAs, but also with prospective CTAs who would like to learn more about the program and the fun aspects of receiving the certificate. The increased hype centered on #KeystoColumbus will bring attention to the Certified Tourism Ambassador program in Columbus and, in turn, increase enrollment into the program.

City of Dublin’s Lindsay Weisenauer gives insight into social media

By: Alexandria Schell

After working 10 years in the television news business, Lindsay Weisenauer joined the City of Dublin Community Relations Department in 2014 as the Senior Public Information Officer. She is responsible for relaying news and information regarding police, transportation, engineering, parks, public works, and finance to the Dublin community. She uses various social media platforms throughout each day to communicate alerts and information from the City.

I chose to interview Weisenauer after interning with her for three months in the Community Relations Department for the City of Dublin in the summer of 2015. Quickly, it became clear that social media was a large portion of her daily routine at Dublin. In my opinion, Dublin has the strongest social media presence out of all the cities in the Columbus area. Weisenauer is extremely knowledgeable and was an easy choice to interview.


Photo courtesy of the City of Dublin

AS: What is one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring social media professional?

LW: Create a network of communication professionals and stay in constant contact with them to see what platforms they are using, how they’re using them and how it’s working. It’s important to stay on top of changing trends, but to approach each platform differently. Knowing what’s working for other professionals helps you develop that understanding. 

AS: What companies/organizations do you think are “doing it right” when it comes to social media?  Why?

LW: Since I work in the public sector, I keep an eye out for other public organizations. Two that I think are doing it right are Gilbert, Arizona. They have a strong and strategic presence on Twitter, but also embrace new and up-and-coming platforms, such as Periscope in a bold way. I also watch Mountain View, CA police. They have a great presence on Twitter and Facebook, which is a mix of informative messaging and “personality” posts – things such as pictures that really show the PD more as “people” instead of an entity.  

AS: Describe a recent successful social media campaign conducted by your organization and why you feel it was successful?

LW: We recently did a social media campaign to help raise awareness about upcoming job opportunities with our Recreation Services departments. The campaign included multiple platforms, with content directed specifically for each platform. For example, we created a Flipagram and posted it on Facebook. We did pay a small fee to boost the post, and it reached 18.4K Facebook users.

AS: What type of consumer research do you conduct before planning a social media campaign?

LW: We contract with a marketing company, MJ2, for this reason. They keep us informed on cutting edge techniques and trends. They help us maximize our campaigns based on their consumer research. We also use analytics so we have a strong sense of what has worked in the past.   

AS: How do you know when a social media campaign is considered a failure? What steps do you take to prevent it from reoccurring?

LW: It’s easy to tell when a campaign falls flat, based on analytics and lack of engagement. We look at everything from time of day that we posted to what types of images were used. We evaluate these campaigns and try not to repeat the same pattern the next time around, but it can be hard to know if it will or will not work. We have to stay on top of the social media algorithms (especially Facebook). If we really want something to stick, a small paid boosted post always seems to work really well. 

AS: At Dublin, which social media platform receives the most engagement? Why do you think that is?

LW: Facebook definitely has the most engagement, just because that’s the platform most of our residents are using. But Twitter is really good for certain things, especially road closures and traffic alerts, because they get re-tweeted a lot by local media, traffic reporters and residents.

Several key insights were brought to my attention throughout this interview. The public sector is no different from the private. Social media is a crucial and useful tool, even for those representing the government. Facebook seems to always be the main source of communication for any organization, but other platforms, such as Periscope, may soon reach that level, especially for public organizations, such as the City of Dublin. Analytics are always a great resource before and after conducting a social media campaign. Lastly, always keep your eyes open as a social media professional. Platforms and trends are constantly changing and one should never stop learning to avoid being left behind.

Bud Light’s #UpForWhatever brews outrage

By: Alexandria Schell

Dubbed the ‘date rape beer’, Bud Light faced a PR crisis no organization ever wanted. However, promoting rape culture is an avoidable nightmare.

Are you #UpForWhatever?

Courtesy of AmericanBazaarOnline.com

As a successful campaign, #UpForWhatever initially inspired people to try new things and have fun while drinking Bud Light, after it appeared in their 2014  Super Bowl commercial. The purpose was to coincide fun and adventure with drinking Bud Light. In 2015, consumers of Bud Light noticed the hashtag on the bottle’s label alongside one of 100+ different slogans, stating how the popular beer is “perfect for” almost any situation. “The perfect beer for starting a conga line,” is one of those messages promoted by the hashtag. This encouraged consumers to take pictures of their adventures while drinking Bud Light using #UpForWhatever. The campaign was meant to engage consumers with the larger community of those ready for a good time, such as starting a conga line. Promoting lightheartedness and trying new things was the overall goal for Bud Light.

Upon the launch of the #UpForWhatever campaign, Ad Age interviewed VP of Bud Light branding, Alex Lambrecht. “These ‘Up for Whatever’ messages on Bud Light bottles are going to play a key role in practically everything we do in 2015,” said Lambrecht. Performing well in the first three months of 2015, Bud Light’s hashtag was indeed creating that sought-after genuine social media engagement. Bud Light was not prepared for what was about to happen.

For St. Patrick’s Day, Bud Light tweeted “You can also pinch people who aren’t #UpForWhatever.” This caused a slight uproar and required apology number one from the beer brand.

Just several weeks later, the slogan “the perfect beer for removing ‘no’ from your vocabulary for the night” began appearing on Bud Light bottles and cans alongside the successful hashtag.

Recently, rape culture awareness has spread across the world, especially college campuses, Bud Light’s target market. Alcohol is now known to be the drug that most rapes have in common. In addition, the “no means no” slogan has picked up steam to reinforce the stance against rape. This lapse of judgement could not have been worse timing for the Anheuser Busch company.

Immediately, the social media community blew up in fury. This quickly spread to news outlets and even had political officials tweeting its new-found disrespect for Bud Light. Apologetically, the beer brand pulled the slogan from its campaign.

“It’s clear that this message missed the mark, and we regret it. We would never condone disrespectful or irresponsible behavior,”  said Lambrecht.

Initially, the campaign had good intentions. With several terrible lapses in judgement, #UpForWhatever quickly turned into a huge social media failure. The most desirable and difficult market for any beer company is winning the hearts and dollars of adult women. Both mishaps directly related to the #UpForWhatever campaign hinted at rape and consent issues, making women feel targeted for the worst reasons. These mistakes received so much negative press that women can’t help but associate #UpForWhatever with rape. For these reasons, the campaign has been permanently damaged and cannot be fixed. No company should ever have one of these mistakes. Yet, Bud Light somehow managed to screw up twice within weeks of each other.

Instead of allowing the campaign to continue, out of respect for rape and sexual assault victims everywhere, Bud Light should have pulled the campaign and hashtag altogether. However, they didn’t. Bud Light simply took the one slogan out of their labeling. This was not enough. A new, empowering hashtag should have replaced #UpForWhatever. #UpForConsent would have been an appropriate and applaudable replacement. Bud Light should not have continued its use of the tainted hashtag and tattered campaign.



Ingraham, C. (2015, April 28). ‘No’ means ‘up for whatever,’ according to the latest Bud Light slogan. Retrieved February 10, 2016, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/04/28/no-means-up-for-whatever-according-to-the-latest-bud-light-slogan/

Lee, K. (2015, April 29). Bud Light’s ‘Up for Whatever’ slogan hits a target, but is it the wrong one? Retrieved February 10, 2016, from http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-budweiser-controverisal-slogan-20150429-htmlstory.html

Monllos, K. (2015, April 28). Bud Light Says It ‘Missed the Mark’ With Line About ‘Removing No From Your Vocabulary’ Retrieved February 10, 2016, from http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/bud-light-says-it-missed-mark-tagline-about-removing-no-your-vocabulary-164374

Schultz, E. (2014, December 8). Bud Light Is Putting More Than 100 Messages on Bottles. Retrieved February 10, 2016, from http://adage.com/article/special-report-super-bowl/bud-light-putting-100-messages-bottles/296128/

Strom, S. (2015, April 28). Bud Light Withdraws Slogan After It Draws Ire Online. Retrieved February 10, 2016, from http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/29/business/bud-light-withdraws-slogan-after-it-draws-ire-online.html?_r=0



Toms steps up #WithoutShoes campaign for a #SocialWin

By: Alexandria Schell

For nine consecutive years, Toms has found ways to give shoes to children in need around the globe. The popular philanthropic shoe company is known for its, “One for One” mission. Whenever a customer purchases a pair of Toms shoes, the company then gives a pair of Toms to a child in need of shoes. In 2015, Tom’s stepped up their game and brought philanthropic ease to a new level.

The #WithoutShoes campaign asked Instagram users to take a picture of their bare feet, using the hashtag #WithoutShoes between May 5 and May 21. For every picture of naked piggies with the tag, Toms pledged to donate a pair of shoes to a child in need. This campaign is different from any other. No money was required to participate and help children around the world.

The goal, set forth by Toms, was to increase awareness of children’s health and education and show how much a pair of shoes can improve a child’s quality of life. This was perfect timing as 2015 marked the year of feet. Taking pictures of feet was a huge trend and Toms fed off of it.

Toms created a successful campaign and ultimately clutched the  #SocialWin. The number of pairs of shoes donated by Toms alone is enough to classify this campaign as a total success. 296,243 children around the world now own shoes. These children have more opportunities in life thanks to Toms and the audience who posted pictures on Instagram. Not only did this campaign help children in need, but it created a community of 338, 280 people who felt like they had done their part in making the world a better place. No purchase was necessary for audience members to engage.  Being a Toms customer wasn’t even a requirement. A smart phone and a pair of exposed paws is all it took to feel a sense of accomplishment. This is something  rare and difficult to accomplish without physical labor, or a donation of money,  yet Toms did it.

It’s incredibly difficult to criticize this campaign. The instructions to participate in this campaign were simple. Participants did not have to donate monetarily. At most, participants donated a few seconds of their time in taking a picture and uploading it.  At the time, the trend of naked feet was at its peak, so timing could not have been better. Everything aligned perfectly.

Even though over 200,000 pairs of shoes were donated to children in need, this number could have been higher. The entire campaign only lasted two weeks. This isn’t enough time for the early majority and some of the late majority to participate. Extending the length of the campaign or publishing the press release earlier would’ve solved this problem. All of the news articles published regarding the launch of this campaign were dated, at the earliest, May 1, 2015. This is just four short days from the launch of the campaign. If the press release was published earlier, there would’ve been more participants. Early adopters would’ve seen the press release and immediately started posting. This would’ve allowed for more time for the early majority and some of the late majority to join in on the action. With only two weeks to participate, many who do not go on social media often may have missed it altogether.

Couch, Robbie. “Instagram Users Went #WithoutShoes This Month And Gave 265,000 Pairs To Kids In Need.” Huffington Post. Huffington Post, 21 May 2015. Web. 4 Feb. 2016. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/21/toms-shoes-without-shoes-_n_7360312.html>.

Moore, Booth. “Toms Launches #withoutshoes Giving Campaign.” LA Times. LA Times, 5 May 2015. Web. 6 Feb. 2016. <http://www.latimes.com/fashion/alltherage/la-ar-toms-launches-hashtag-giving-campaign-20150505-story.html>.

Rayman, Noah. “A Photo of Your Feet Can Give a Pair of Shoes to a Child in Need.” Time. Time, 5 May 2015. Web. 6 Feb. 2016. http://time.com/3848041/toms-shoes-instagram-needy-children/

“TOMS Kicks Off Its Eighth Annual One Day Without Shoes Campaign.” PR Newswire. N.p., 5 May 2015. Web. 6 Feb. 2016. <http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/toms-kicks-off-its-eighth-annual-one-day-without-shoes-campaign-300077875.html>.

Wander, Erik. “Here’s a Month-by-Month Look at the Most Engaging Brand Content of 2015.” Ad Week. N.p., 30 Dec. 2015. Web. 8 Feb. 2016.      <http://www.adweek.com/news-gallery/technology/here-s-month-month-look-some-most-engaging-brand-posts-2015-168772>.