Ohio University Strategic Social Media

Crowdsourced Learning Lab #ouj4530

Category: Amanda Roberts

Top Pitch- Tapping Trends (#TheDress) Quickfire Challenge

Congratulations to Lauren R., Amanda R. and Anna V. on their Top Pitch for the Appalachian Hell Betties!


Anna Vassalotti, Amanda Roberts and Lauren Coulson Reed present their Tapping Trends pitch for the Appalachian Hell Betties

Anna Vassalotti, Amanda Roberts and Lauren Coulson Reed present their Tapping Trends pitch for the Appalachian Hell Betties

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Appalachian Hell Betties

Executive Summary

Our priority and main goal is to recruit new members for the Appalachian Hell Betties roller derby team. This goal is going to be obtained over a three-month timeline. This promotion will start in November, just three months shy of their 2016 season in February. Specifically, we want to recruit three members for our 2015/2016 roster. We chose the number three because the sport of roller derby only has about 12 players on a team and this is a good and safe number to work with. A lot of these women have families and full time jobs, so we were cautious about how many girls we wanted to add to the team. We are going to campaign and promote the Hell Betties through three social media platforms. These include: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This is important for us to be successful over these social media sites because we are trying to cause awareness for the Hell Betties around the Athens community. Within each social media site, we are setting specific goals to reach over our three-month campaign.  We plan on hosting “open skate” at the Hell Betties home base so women have the opportunity to come out and skate around with current members. They are also encouraged to bring friends to try out the sport as well. Along with recruiting new players, we also want to create awareness in the Athens and surrounding communities. Roller derby is a powerful and competitive sport, and the Appalachian Hell Betties are here to entertain and promote women empowerment in the Athens County.

Lauren R., Anna V. & Amanda R. present their final pitch for the Appalachian Hell Betties

Lauren R., Anna V. & Amanda R. present their final pitch for the Appalachian Hell Betties.

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Schuneman Symposium March 24-25, 2015


Image courtesy of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism http://scrippsjschool.org/symposium/2015/#sthash.wf6B2qSx.dpuf

Image courtesy of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism


Students live-tweeted the presentations from the 7th annual Schuneman Symposium.  You can read their coverage below and full coverage of the Schuneman Symposium on Twitter using #Smitty2015.


Day Two: March 25, 2015Schuneman Symposium-Day 2


Day One: March 24, 2015

Schunemad Symposium- Day One


Appalachian Hell Betties

Quickfire Challenge: Tapping Trending Topics in Social Conversation



Anna Vassalotti, Amanda Roberts and Lauren Coulson Reed present their Tapping Trends pitch for the Appalachian Hell Betties

Anna Vassalotti, Amanda Roberts and Lauren Coulson Reed present their Tapping Trends pitch for the Appalachian Hell Betties

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Ryan Whiteside (Fathom Online)

Ryan Whiteside from Fathom Online speaks with OUJ4530 about SEO strategies and tools

Ryan Whiteside from Fathom Online speaks with OUJ4530 about SEO strategies and tools


Ryan Whiteside, Technical SEO Specialist for Fathom Online, spoke with the class about SEO strategies and tools.  Scroll below to view students live tweets from the talk.




Live Tweets

Live Tweets from Ryan White Lecture

Interview with Rocky Brand Social Media Specialist: Advice From a Rising Social Media Specialist

by Amanda Roberts


1xn3skNzAs a senior graduating with my Social Media certificate in the spring, I am constantly in search of other students’ success stories as I look to enter the job market. For advice, I turned to my friend Taylor Olmstead, a recent Ohio University graduate who is now working full-time as a Social Media and E-Commerce Direct Sales Specialist at Rocky Brands. Though a recent hire, Taylor is in charge of managing the accounts for the new spin-off lifestyle brand, Durango Leather Company, and had some sage wisdom about his approach to social media marketing.


Amanda Roberts: What people/organizations do you follow to stay up-to-date on social media trends and why?

Taylor Olmstead: For social media industry news I follow Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee), Chris Sacca (@sacca), Mashable (of course) and Advertising Age. In particular, I’m getting a lot of value out of Gary’s #AskGaryVee YouTube show, because it gives actionable strategies and tips based on questions from other marketers and brands.

For fashion industry news I follow Who What Wear, Selectism, Esquire Style, Coolhunting, A Continuous Lean and The Awesomer. I also keep tabs on a number of YouTubers and bloggers that I’d like for the brand to collaborate with, and keep a running spreadsheet of people who have reviewed our products so I can occasionally follow-up with them.

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

TO: In my space, I would say the standouts are Topshop, Shinola, Hi My Name Is Mark and Kitsune. The fashion/lifestyle space is really intriguing because a lot of what these brands do on social is only somewhat related to their core product. They really want to create affinity between their brand and the consumer’s aspirations, for better or worse.

AR: What is one piece of advice you would give to a budding social media specialist?

TO: Understand that social media aren’t powerful because they’re shiny and new. Social media are powerful because they are built on human connection and play into our desire for conversation and information. Social is not just reblogging cool articles and then getting your cool blue check mark. If you’re not in the trenches meeting your audience where they are and talking to them about things they care about, you’re doing it wrong. See The Thank You Economy for more on this. I base my whole approach on that book.

AR: When constructing tweets, posts, and campaigns, how would you describe your brand’s social media image/identity?

TO: We’re somewhere between a fashion blog and a rock culture magazine like Spin or Rolling Stone. On any given day I’m just as likely to recommend a new music video as I am to comment on a recent runway show. We want to fill the rocker chic niche, and that community really cares about authenticity, so I have to share what I’m really into and communicate my actual feelings about them to encourage discussion.

AR: Describe the decision-making process between you and your colleagues when choosing what to post on social media

TO: I have a brand manager and an executive above me who have helped me establish the image of the brand and the ideal consumer. From there, I’m given a lot of creative freedom as to what gets posted and when. People around my office will send suggestions and links sometimes, but for the most part I just run with whatever jumps out at me.


Taylor knows that social media marketing is not a gimmick. Brands must get down in the trenches and find out what their audience is interested in and engage them. Likes, comments, and retweets are important, but social media is not simply about numbers. Taylor is building a lifestyle brand where people will come to interact beyond just buying a product. Aspiring social media marketers like myself, take note.

Out of Context Tweet Prompts #CancelColbert Campaign

by Amanda Roberts

In comedy, context is everything. Fake newsman and famed satirist Stephen Colbert learned this lesson the hard way with a single tweet in 2014 that spawned a massive campaign to end his Comedy Central show The Colbert Report.

Rarely has Colbert ever appeared on television as himself. Instead, for nearly a decade, he played a character quite unlike himself. In contrast to his liberal nature in real life, the television “Colbert” was proudly ignorant and prone to oblivious prejudices about democrats, Obama, and even bears. In 2005, as part of one of his more meta bits, “Colbert” introduced “Ching Chong Ding Dong,” a character he played that he claimed in no way spoke for his own views. Colbert’s character once stated that he was so above racism that he “didn’t see color” and could therefore not be blamed when he said racist things.

Bjxl3doCMAAryWmThe bit laid quietly in the Report archives until 2014, when in an address to the Washington Redskins over their racist team name, Colbert mentioned that he himself was countering his own racism by creating the “Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever.” In the context of the ridiculous atmosphere of the show, the joke was hardly special, but thanks to the polarizing nature of social media, that one line quickly turned into a firestorm. The official @ColbertReport twitter account followed the episode with a tweet: “I am willing to show #Asian community I care by introducing the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever.” Without a link to the show or any sort of mention of the Redskins origins, the tweet lacked any sort of context, not even coming across as satirical. Asian-American twitter activist Suey Park quickly responded by starting the #CancelColbert campaign calling for the host’s show to be taken off the air. The hash tag exploded with activity, from those defending Colbert in the name of free speech and comedy, to those like Park who believed that satire was just an excuse to proliferate racist messages. Colbert went from beloved comedian to potential racist overnight, thanks to one tweet.

But once again, context is everything. In the coming days, it was revealed that Colbert was not in charge of the @ColbertReport account, nor was his staff. Comedy Central handles all show accounts separately from the writers or stars. Though the feed boasted 1.2 million followers, it was shut down for good in lieu of all show promotions and messages to go through Colbert’s personal account @StephenAtHome.

The #CancelColbert debacle was an unfortunate social media fail on many levels. Though Colbert is known to play a character on his show, textual quotes lack the ability to convey sarcasm or context without links to the actual video. Without having watched the show or being provided with a link to the segment, viewers of the tweet missed the connection to the Washington Redskins and to Colbert’s earlier segments on racism.

The tweet also reveals a failure on Colbert’s part to control his image on social media. Though he had his own personal Twitter account, it was confusing to fans that the @ColbertReport was meant to be a separate entity. Perhaps it was just a convenient excuse for Colbert to distance himself and place the blame on some Comedy Central network staffer. Either way, social media branding must be consistent and controlled, and Report failed in both regards.

To avoid future social media failures in his future endeavors, Colbert should always include video context in tweets regarding show segments. A shortened bit.ly link sacrifices only a few characters and ensures that satire will be viewed within its full scope. He should also keep the @StephenAtHome account as his main source of social media branding as he moves to hosting the Late Show. Though the debacle put his character into question, the shift from the network’s account to a personal account raised his authenticity.



Huang, J. (2014, March 29). #CancelColbert: Suey Park, the activist behind the hashtag. Retrieved February 15, 2015, from http://www.scpr.org/blogs/multiamerican/2014/03/29/16229/cancel-colbert-twitter-suey-park-hashtag/

Kang, J. (2014, March 30). The Campaign to “Cancel” Colbert. Retrieved February 15, 2015, from http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-campaign-to-cancel-colbert

Mitchell, E. (2014, April 2). Stephen Colbert Responds to #CancelColbert Controversy As Only He Can. Retrieved February 15, 2015,from http://www.adweek.com/prnewser/stephen-colbert-responds-to-cancelcolbert-controversy-in-true-colbert-fashion/90050

Stedman, A. (2014, March 27). Stephen Colbert Accused of Racism With #CancelColbert Campaign. Retrieved February 15, 2015, from http://variety.com/2014/tv/news/stephen-colbert-accused-of-racism-with-cancelcolbert-campaign-1201149494/

Sullivan, D. (2014, April 1). In Response To #CancelColbert, Stephen Colbert Closes “Colbert Report” Twitter Account. Retrieved February 15, 2015, from http://marketingland.com/stephen-colbert-kills-twitter-account-78474

Weigel, D. (2014, March 28). Stephen Colbert vs. the Hashtag Activists. Retrieved February 15, 2015, from http://www.slate.com/blogs/weigel/2014/03/28/stephen_colbert_versus_the_hashtag_activists.html

Cereal Lovers Unite for a Social Win

by Amanda Roberts

Cereal is commonplace on the American breakfast table. Though over 90% of US families stock their pantries with the popular breakfast food, companies have a hard time getting consumers excited about it, and in recent years cold cereal sales have lagged. To reinvigorate their brand, General Mills launched National Cereal Week in October 2013 highlighting the weeklong event with their “Hello, Cereal Lovers” social media campaign. Through clever interaction with consumers online and in person, General Mills made this breakfast food cool again.

Spearheaded by McCann Always On, the “Hello, Cereal Lovers” campaign’s main purpose was to promote National Cereal Week and to build a cereal-lovers community, both of which would hopefully lead to increased sales for General Mills. To accomplish this, pages and accounts were created on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and Pinterest, along with the main hellocereallovers.com. The plan was simple: ask consumers to post why they love cereal. Through pictures, recipes, and text posts, General Mills began to curate their own advertisements alongside user-generated content. Consumer posts ranged from pictures of untraditional cereal bowls to full pieces of artwork made entirely from Cheerios. Social media was the ideal place to connect with a large subset of millennial consumers, people who are more inclined to eat cereal at all (sometimes strange) hours of the day and see the product as something more than just a breakfast food. Being digital natives, this group would be more inclined to interact with General Mills online to build the campaign.

1621691_590333877724686_575323544_nBesides promoting the general awesome-ness of cereal, General Mills also used the “Hello, Cereal Lovers” campaign to highlight the increased nutritional values of its brand. In fact, the very first Facebook post is an infographic displaying the decreased sugar levels in General Mills cereals since 2007.

The “Hello, Cereal Lovers” campaign’s success is reflected in the follower data. It’s biggest following is on Facebook, where it has reached 647,306 likes over three years. The Twitter account boasts a robust 21,300 followers, while the still-growing Instagram and Pinterest have 847 and 282 respectively. Looking at the hard-data, General Mills saw a 4% increase in sales in its first fiscal quarter after the launch of the campaign.

Stepping away from numbers, the “Cereal Lovers” campaign was successful because it did not take itself too seriously. One example came this July, when they challenged their followers to tweet #CerealPresidents in honor of Independence day, yielding results like “Cinnamon Taft Crunch” and “Richard Kixon.” They also were upfront about their desire to promote their breakfast food as a whole, even going as far as to label themselves as “brand agnostic,” and utilizing cereals outside of the General Mills family. This kind of camaraderie is appealing to consumers as it distracts from the fact that at the end of the day, social media campaigns are competitive advertisements. Including other brands pulled the focus towards quality content instead of selling a product.

If there were one improvement to be made to this winning effort, it would be for the “Cereal Lovers” pages to re-tweet and re-post content more clearly. It is hard to differentiate between user-generated content and content created by the campaign. The Tumblr page boasts an impressive amount of material, but it is unclear whether General Mills made the content, or they pulled it from their followers. Engagement with the consumers would be enhanced if “Cereal” gave more recognition to the people posting instead of blending it into the other content on the pages.

“Hello, Cereal Lovers” was quirky and effective at its conception in 2012, and continues to be a solid social media force today in 2015. In all of its different forms from sugary-sweet to almost savory, cereal is breaking out as more than just a breakfast food. Consumers already like cereal, and social media campaigns like “Cereal Lovers” will help them see it in different ways.


ADAM NEWMAN, A. (2013, July 24). Online, a Cereal Maker Takes an Inclusive Approach. New York Times. p. B5.

General Mills embraces social media. (2013, July 25). Retrieved February 9, 2015, from http://www.warc.com/LatestNews/News/General_Mills_embraces_social_media.news?ID=31708

Lukovitz, K. (2013, October 10). General Mills Launches National Cereal Lovers Week. Retrieved February 9, 2015, from         http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/211055/general-mills-launches-national-cereal-lovers-week.html

Hello, Cereal Lovers. (n.d.). Retrieved February 9, 2015, from http://www.mccannalwayson.com/hellocereallovers/

PR, N. (2013, October 14). National Cereal Lovers Week Raises a Spoon to Celebrate Cereal Fans Everywhere. PRNewswire US.