Ohio University Strategic Social Media

Crowdsourced Learning Lab #ouj4530

Category: Ciara Sebecke

#UniqueIsYou – Mukha Spa

Mukha Cosmetics is a fast growing makeup company whose goal is to increase recognition of their unique custom cosmetics line. We want to raise our brand awareness by 20% by the end of August 2016. Our main priorities are to offer superior quality products and deliver excellent customer satisfaction. To keep up with our competitors, it is essential for us to create a two-way conversation with our audience and increase consumer engagement. Mukha Cosmetics is currently established on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, but we are making a Pinterest presence in order for our campaign launch to be successful. Our users will engage with a variety of social media platforms, thus allowing us to reach the maximum amount of people.

Team Mukha from left — Madison Chelminski, Rachel, Sider, Ashley Tucciarone, Ciara Sebecke

Team Mukha from left — Madison Chelminski, Rachel, Sider, Ashley Tucciarone, Ciara Sebecke


Our campaign, #UniqueIsYou, will promote a custom color line and demonstrate that every individual in our audience is unique. We are showing our target consumer that Mukha Cosmetics can help every user love themselves by providing them a custom color that best suits them. The color we provide them will be based on a tweet that they send us describing their personality. This personal message will allow our consumers to love their own unique self, helps the company reach a maximum amount of consumers, and enables our audience to feel like they have our undivided attention.  We have planned out our strategies, organized a three month calendar, and we will use social media tactics to achieve our goals and objectives, and increase brand awareness for Mukha Cosmetics.

INTERVIEW: Dr. Stephanie Tikkanen on Social Media for Marketers

By Ciara Sebecke


Dr. Stephanie Tikkanen is an assistant professor in the School of Communication Studies at Ohio University.  She has a Ph. D. in philosophy and communication and an MA in communication, and now teaches classes on interpersonal communication and other communication classes. She is not only an avid user of social media, but an expert on how people use it.
Dr. Tikkanen stands out as a professional due to her research on the growing role of new media  in interpersonal relationships. She studies how new trends and technologies such as mobile phones and social networking sites affect relationships between people.
Social Media is a new form of media but it is quickly surpassing traditional forms of media. It is vital that marketers embrace this growing new form of communication and use it to its full potential. Today, Dr. Tikkanen shares her thoughts and insights on the best ways brands can  use social media and how that may change in the next few years.

Ciara: What is one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring social media professional?
Dr. Tikkanen: Keep an eye out for anything new: a new network, a new analytics tool, a new app, anything. Social media changes very rapidly, so you’ll need to be on the cutting edge to stay informed and effective. By being an early adopter, you’re going to be the one who helps shape how the app is used—but you also get first crack at a cool username!
Ciara: What companies or organizations do think are “doing it right” when it comes to social media? Why?
Dr. Tikkanen: I think one of the most important things that a company can do is to match their social efforts to the demographic they’re trying to reach, which requires an understanding of how that group uses that technology. One example is how Taco Bell uses Snapchat. They have cornered a very specific market, and do some really creative stuff to connect with them!
Some other organizations that use social media well are some of the pro sports teams. I had a chance to talk with the social media managers of the Penguins and the Indians last semester, and it was fascinating to hear how they’re using social to connect with fans during the games but also keeping them engaged during the off-season, as well. 

Ciara: What do you think is the most important upcoming trend in social media and why is that trend important?
Dr. Tikkanen: This is fairly basic, but I think that the emphases on mobile technology and imagery will continue to grow. Companies that are not adapting traditional website content to mobile formats will lose a lot of younger followers who are no longer tethered to a desktop. In a related vein, companies need to focus on image-based content; on mobile devices, people do not want to read long articles. Many viewers need to see images and videos to stay engaged. 

Ciara: Do you think that all brands should embrace social media for marketing purposes or do you think it is inappropriate for certain companies or organizations? Why?
Dr. Tikkanen: I’ll reiterate: a brand needs to use the best medium it can to match its products/services with the intended consumers. Since so many consumers are on social media, I think it’s a perfectly suitable place to reach most of them! In fact, you can reach really highly targeted audiences, which gets you more bang for your marketing buck. However, if a company is trying to advertise to, say, individuals who are trying to go “off the grid,” perhaps Facebook isn’t the most appropriate medium to reach them. 

Ciara: What do you think is the best way for a brand to embrace the trend of cell phones being used as a “second screen” with television viewing?
Dr. Tikkanen: I personally love the incorporation of twitter conversations! I have been known to use a show’s hashtag to join a larger conversation.
However, I don’t really think this is sustainable; a growing proportion of viewers do not watch shows in real time, opting for streaming services like Hulu or Netflix. As a result, tweeting when you watch may just result in spoilers—and lost followers. 

Ciara: Do you use social media differently now that you study it and have done research on social media use? (Personally and/or professionally)
Dr. Tikkanen: ABSOLUTELY, and in many ways! I actually study how people respond to distressing disclosures in online settings and how we use social media to garner support. As a result, I have to read and craft a lot of “vaguebooking” messages—you know the kind, the really needy-sounding tweets or statuses that are designed to elicit attention. As a result, I find myself unwilling to post anything like that on my own social media.
I also find that I am more mindful of the types of content that I put on each type of social media as I am more aware of who my audiences are. For example, I use twitter to communicate with my students, Instagram with my friends, and Facebook for a huge mix of all sorts of people. Consequently, the types of content I put on those three sites are wildly different.

Also: I will NEVER use Snapchat. I’ve heard too many horror stories. Just… no. I don’t care how good Taco Bell is.

To sum it up– If you are a brand,  you want to think like your intended audience. Stay up to date and make sure your content is visual and engaging. All social media platforms are different and every audience uses social media in a different way.
If you are a student or social media professional, keep educating yourself and stay a step ahead of the latest social media trends. Consider your audience while posting on any given social platform because the ideal content is vastly different for each site. Social media is a huge part of marketing and advertising in our world today, so to be successful in the industry you must stay ahead of the game!
Dr. Tikkanen does all of this and more. She continues to stay ahead of the curve and is constantly making new connections and insights on how people use social media. To connect with Dr. Tikkanen on her social media sites or to read more information on how people use social media, check out the links below:

Social FAIL | #AskSeaWorld Twitter Campaign Backfires Miserably

By Ciara Sebecke

In 2015, SeaWorld took to Twitter and opened up the floor to the public with the #AskSeaWorld campaign. They might as well have opened Pandora’s Box. Perhaps they were inspired by McDonald’s similar campaign the previous year, which also opened the floor to criticism and questions about pink slime, horse meat and suspicious ingredients. The difference between the successful McDonald’s campaign and the SeaWorld campaign was that McDonalds was prepared for these skeptical questions and answered them with honest answers, busting the false rumors circulating about their fast food chain. On the other hand, SeaWorld ignored the negative questions and even tweeted back at skeptics calling them “trolls.”

You would have thought the PR and Social media staff could have predicted all of the Twitter hate with movies like Blackfish, a skeptical  documentary about killer whales, circulating the internet and appearing on Netflix only a year before. Considering that this campaign was launched during a time of controversy surrounding their brand you would have thought the goal was to dispel negative rumors. Apparently that is not what they had in mind because it was painfully obvious that whoever ran the SeaWorld Twitter account was NOT prepared to address these rumors and concerns.

Some examples of popular Tweets using the hashtag include, “does your company have this ‘get away with murder’ club? Is OJ there too? Do you guys talk over a seafood platter?” and “The last UK dolphinarium closed in 1993. Why are you persisting with a cruel & archaic business model that is clearly failing?” Honestly, what did they expect would happen? Who thought this was a good idea if they were not prepared to answer these questions? Do they not know that anyone can follow hashtags and view Tweets that they are tagged in?!

SeaWorld posted their answers on ask.seaworldcares.com, with no links to the original account on Twitter, and many (if not most) of the questions cited as “asked by: General Question,” or “Frequently Asked Question.” Even with many pitiful attempts to control the conversation and extremely selective answers, the public saw through their guise. Popular accounts like Peta using the hashtag to ask hard hitting critical questions made it hard to ignore SeaWorld’s current bad reputation. Peta even wrote a post on their blog about how bad the campaign was, and created a Parody video, If SeaWorld Commercials Told the Truth:

The campaign not only brought negative media coverage from Peta, but from other well-known sources such as CNN, Huffington Post, and Adweek. Several YouTube videos circulated with criticisms of the campaign, of SeaWorld, and of marine animal theme parks. A “whistleblower” from Seaworld was featured on The Daily Show shortly after the campaign. If anything positive came from this campaign it was boosted awareness of the cruelty within SeaWorld parks and of marine mammals kept in captivity.

Apparently the feud between Peta and SeaWorld still continues with THIS recent post from the SeaWorld website and accompanying Tweet:

What are your thoughts on SeaWorld and their current social strategy? Leave a comment below with your opinion on this #SocialFail!


Coffee, P. (2015, March 27). #AskSeaWorld Reputation Campaign Fails Miserably. Retrieved February 15, 2016, from http://www.adweek.com/prnewser/askseaworld-reputation-campaign-fails-miserably/111686

Coffee, P. (2015, June 18). PETA Has Words for SeaWorld in New Video. Retrieved February 15, 2016, from http://www.adweek.com/prnewser/peta-has-words-for-seaworld-in-new-video/115404

Cronin, M. (2015, March 25). SeaWorld’s New Twitter Campaign Backfires In Most Spectacular Way. Retrieved February 15, 2016, from https://www.thedodo.com/ask-seaworld-twitter-1058989271.html

Johnson, K. (2015, March 31). #AskSeaWorld Campaign’s Epic Fail. Retrieved February 15, 2016, from http://www.peta2.com/blog/ask-seaworld-twitter-fail/

Sola, K. (2015, March 27). #AskSeaWorld Twitter Campaign Pretty Much Goes How You’d Expect. Retrieved February 15, 2016, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/27/seaworld-twitter-fail_n_6950902.html

P. (2015, March 27). Watch: John Hargrove Takes Down SeaWorld on The Daily Show, SeaWorld’s #AskSeaWorld Campaign Backfires Spectacularly. Retrieved February 15, 2016, from http://www.peta.org/blog/watch-john-hargrove-takes-down-seaworld-on-the-daily-show-seaworlds-askseaworld-campaign-backfires/?utm_campaign=0315 John Hargrove Takes Down SeaWorld on The Daily Show, SeaWorlds AskSeaWorld Campaign Backfires Spectatularly Tweet

You Ask. We Answer. (n.d.). Retrieved February 15, 2016, from http://ask.seaworldcares.com/

How the #LastSelfie Campaign Took the Road Less Traveled and ROCKED It

By Ciara Sebecke

Snapchat is an uber-popular social media platform that is often uncharted territory. Finessing this platform is a tough code to track but solving it is many a marketer’s dream. When the World Wildlife Fund embraced this tricky platform in their latest #LastSelfie campaign, using Snapchats as a metaphor for endangered species, they truly rocked it.

Agencies UncleGrey and 41? 29! knew that “Generation Y” used Snapchat more than any other platform, and wanted to get WWF’s message around that if we don’t do something about endangered species, we may not ever see them again.

WWF encouraged users of the platform to follow their Turkey, Denmark, and Italy accounts. They would then post images and send Snapchats to users with messages like, “Don’t let this be my #LastSelfie,” “Better take a screenshot this could be my #LastSelfie” and “In 6 seconds, I’ll be gone forever, but you can still save my kind.”

Snapchat was truly the ideal platform for this campaign with timed messages that perfectly symbolized the endangered species’ time running out.

This campaign was not only brilliantly thought out, but wildly successful. In the first day there were 40,000 shares on Twitter globally, with media coverage from Fast Company, Ad Week, ABC, and Snapchat themselves. The WWF reached their fundraising target for the month in 3 days, according to the agencies. The campaign was even extended because it was so successful.

What makes this campaign such a #SocialWin? 

Engagement with the audience. Not only did a ton of millennials engage with the WWF accounts by screenshotting and sharing the images to Twitter and Facebook, but the WWF engaged with their followers as well. Sending snaps to individual users makes them feel super special and increases their likelihood to snap that screenshot and share the image.

Dominating multiple channels with one campaign. WWF really killed two or three birds with one stone on this campaign. But by making the images so shareable, Snapchat users took the campaign to Twitter and even Facebook without WWF’s interference. This is not a campaign where the organization is forced beg for retweets. They knew that the heartfelt messages and adorable animals would go viral among their intended audience.

Successfully using a new social platform for advertising. A handful of marketers have tried to use Snapchat for strategic communication but few, if any, have succeeded. This campaign felt natural for the platform where other campaigns felt forced. The #LastSelfie campaign really resonated with the audience at an emotional level. (It is also important to note their successful use of “selfie culture.” Many campaigns that have played on this in the past felt awkward and unnatural.)

Creating a successful campaign from scratch. One of the reasons that WWF decided to focus on a social media strategy utilizing peer to peer sharing and word-of-mouth advertising was their lack of a budget. They had no media budget for this campaign but generated a ton of earned media and social capital. The fact that the campaign was so successful and in such a short amount of time proves that it truly went viral on its own and not from paid media or purchased impressions.

The #LastSelfie campaign was no doubt a #SocialWin from a successful and creative non-profit organization. If there was anything to improve on, it would have been extended the campaign to even more countries!


Campaign Look: WWF’s ‘The Last Selfie’ Uses SnapChat To Stir Emotions



Campaign Look: WWF’s ‘The Last Selfie’ Uses SnapChat To Stir Emotions