Ohio University Strategic Social Media

Crowdsourced Learning Lab #ouj4530

Category: Garrett Smith


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.

The Man, The Myth, The Legend: An Interview with Rob Mixer

By Garrett Smith

Rob Mixer is the current Digital and Social Media Manager of the Columbus Blue Jackets, where he creates, produces and oversees all official Blue Jackets social media content. Since joining the Blue Jackets social media team in 2012
, Mixer has been essential in the growth of the team’s social media presence, increasing their total followers from 50,000 to over 250,000.

I recently had the honor of meeting Rob when he came to speak to our Social Media class at Ohio University. Considering Rob is also a fellow Bobcat and social media enthusiast, I thought it would be most appropriate to get his insights and opinions on the industry.

Garrett Smith: Would you explain some tools that you use to plan, implement, or evaluate social media campaigns?

Screen Shot 2016-02-26 at 2.44.13 PMRob Mixer: The tools we use depend on the expectations of the specific partner involved. For example, if the goal is data capturing and UGC content, we will use a tool called Offerpop, which specializes in socially-driven contests, promotions and engagement campaigns. Offerpop collects social data from users who participate in contests and provides us with most everything we’d need to know. We also use a vendor called Phizzle, which powers our text-messaging and in-arena social media content capturing.

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

RM: The definition of “doing it right” is wide-ranging and varies based on your audience, your goals, and your growth. One brand that stands out among its peers is Taco Bell; Taco Bell was really the first brand to accept that a) most of its customers are some variation/combination of drunk, are late night eaters, or don’t want to spend a lot of money to eat. The company embraced its place in the fast food industry and revolutionized its brand using Snapchat. Snapchat is where Taco Bell’s target demographic lives, converses and interacts — so Taco Bell kicked the door open and commanded the room.

GS: What are a couple do’s and dont’s in the social media industry?

RM: One of my major “do’s” is to forge an identity and stick to it. It will shape the success of your brand in the digital space. One of my “don’ts” is to avoid campaigns and activations that make your brand appear disingenuous. Know your place, know your voice.

GS: In your opinion what is the most effective way of achieving the best brand engagement and why?

RM: Humanization of a brand that may seem the opposite (for example, a product or service) is a significant factor in engagement. Look at DiGiornio Pizza on Twitter; would you ever expect a frozen pizza brand to have an engaging, funny and absolutely weird social media voice and presence? That’s the niche they’ve carved for themselves and now, an argument could be made that their Twitter account is at the forefront of their brand (and has probably sold them more pizzas than ever before).

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

RM: Commit yourself to being a learner. Your biggest mistake would be entering the working world with this notion that you have it figured out, or you know more than your superiors (even if you actually do). There is too much information to ignore — most of it quite helpful — that can make you better at your job and give you a road map to being successful in the industry.

It was a rewarding and eye opening experience getting to interview an industry professional like Mixer. One of my biggest takeaways from this interview was realizing that to be a truly successful social media professional you have to always be conscious of your audience and be ready and willing to make the appropriate changes to attract brand engagement. Mixer sums it up best when he said, “Know your place, know your voice.”

Periscope Flight Takes off as a Social Win for Turkish Airlines

By Garrett Smith

 In June of 2015, Turkish Airlines announced an innovative and groundbreaking new feature. For the first time ever Turkish Airlines live streamed a flight from Istanbul to New York via Periscope. Viewers who tuned in were treated to all of the behind the scenes action of what the crew of an airline goes through leading up to a flight. Audiences got to see everything from pre-flight checks to crew cabins and everything in between.

The idea behind the campaign was pretty genius, putting all of the focus on a unique experience that viewers could interact with. Building on that interaction between brand and consumer, the live stream featured promoted tweets every time a stream went live. Through out the flight several of the crew members responded to user generated questions further adding to the very tangible experience for all viewers involved. Another detail worth mentioning is that this stream marked the very first Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 4.53.02 PMtime a planes cockpit had ever been broadcast live to the world.

So what gave Turkish Airlines this bright idea? The answer is simple; gain some recognition in the social media world in order to stand out amongst its competitors. In a world where social media plays such a big role in consumer perception of brands, Turkish Airlines decided to capitalize on this fact. They did exactly what they set out to do.

It’s hard to argue that the streamed flight was anything but a social media win for Turkish Airways, and that’s not just my opinion, numbers support it. By the end of it all, Turkish Airlines had gained 5,000 new followers and close to 300,000 likes. Not only is that a drastic jump in followers and interaction, its also a form of free advertising that encourages more interaction than traditional forms of advertisement.

The other thing Turkish Airlines did with this social media campaign is take a chance on a new platform, that platform being Periscope. By using a new social media platform, like Periscope, Turkish Airlines introduced thousands of new individuals to technology that they may have been previously unaware of. This further solidifies Turkish Airlines’ social win as they have opened up the door for a potential relationship with Periscope. Future endeavors for the two companies could be a regular streaming of flights, which leads to the next point.

One of the only things I think Turkish Airways could improve upon is not letting this be their only venture into the world of ambitious social media campaigns. What I would do is make live streaming on Periscope a regular thing, with extra emphasis on what the consumers want to see. Perhaps the airline could feature a different city every month and encourage engagement from that cities population.

With all things considered, Turkish Airlines has set the bar high with regards to how a company’s social media campaign should look. 2016 should prove to be a year in which companies push the limits of what social media campaigns are truly capable of.

Cassinelli, A. (2015, December 31). The Best Social Media Campaigns of 2015. Retrieved February 15, 2016, from http://www.business2community.com/social-media/15-best-social-media-campaigns-2015-01415014#Akt1acASgYzRUfoX.97

V. (2015, July 14). Experience Turkish Airlines Live On Periscope. Retrieved February 15, 2016, from http://wersm.com/experience-turkish-airlines-live-on-periscope/

Hepburn, A. (2015, July 12). Turkish Airlines: World’s First Periscope Flight. Retrieved February 15, 2016, from http://www.digitalbuzzblog.com/turkish-airlines-worlds-first-periscope-flight/

T. (2015, July 21). Turkish Airlines claims aviation first broadcasting from cockpit live on Periscope. Retrieved February 15, 2016, from http://www.travolution.co.uk/articles/2015/07/21/13304/turkish-airlines-claims-aviation-first-broadcasting-from-cockpit-live-on-periscope.html

Turkish Airlines on Periscope. (n.d.). Retrieved February 15, 2016, from https://www.periscope.tv/TurkishAirlines

#MyNYPD Left New York Police Feeling Blue

By Garrett Smith

The past year was, to say the least, a rough one for police departments across America. So when the New York Police Department started the #MyNYPD campaign in hopes of painting a better image of police officers, they did so with the best intentions. The campaign started off just fine, but at some point along the way it took a very abrupt and unfortunate turn down the wrong path.

The idea behind the campaign was simple enough; all you had to do was post a picture of you and your friendly neighborhood NYPD officer. They attempted to solicit participation with the prospect of being featured on the NYPD’s Facebook page.

What was intended to be a campaign showcasing all the good the NYPD does for its community, quickly turned into a firestorm of backlash and unexpected content. As if possessed by some force of biblical proportion, pictures, videos and tweets of the New York Police Department using “excessive force” came rushing onto social media. I use quotation marks when addressing the “excessive force” in these photos and videos, as the context of the situation is often left out, nonetheless this campaign soon spelled disaster for the boys in blue.

That’s when things took an even sharper, more devastating turn. At first it was the NYPD who were catching all the bad PR from disgruntled New Yorkers, but soon other cities began taking part. Denver, Los Angeles and Oakland are just a few of the cities whose police departments got some free advertising from their displeased residents.

With all of this information in mind it is worth noting that according to Dina Alobeid of Brandwatch, only 15 percent of all tweets under the MyNYPD hashtag contained negative content. While 15 sounds like a rather small percentage of the total population who used the #MyNYPD tag, it was more than enough to bring the award of #SocialFail to the campaign. So why do I and so many others consider the NYPD’s campaign to be a social fail even though a small fraction of the population used the hashtag in a negative connotation? It’s because the negative content got all the attention. Rather than news outlets featuring the photos of police officers taking part in food drives or helping an old woman back onto her feet, which do exist, they covered the photos of citizens being slammed onto the hoods of police cars or being pepper sprayed and billy clubbed.Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 5.35.38 PM

Personally I see that the NYPD was trying to generate some positive conversation about police amidst a plethora of bad, I just think a mix of timing and execution ultimately spelled disaster for their reputation. Rather than encourage the community to post content of their personal interactions with police at a time when departments are under an obscene amount of scrutiny and criticism, why not design a campaign that focuses on all the good New York’s police have done over the years without the help of user generated content? By reducing the chance for unwanted content, the NYPD could have had a far better social reaction than the one they ended up with.


Burt, B. (2015, April 16). Valuable Lessons From 5 Shockingly Bad Social Media Fails. Retrieved February 8, 2016, from http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2015/04/valuable-lessons-5-shockingly-bad-social-media-fails/

Fields, L. (2014, April 24). #MyNYPD Campaign Spawns Hashtags Across the Country. Retrieved February 8, 2016, from http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2014/04/mynypd-twitter-campaign-spawns-hashtags-across-the-country/

Phillip, A. (2014, April 22). Well the #MyNYPD hashtag sure backfired quickly. Retrieved February 8, 2016, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2014/04/22/well-the-mynypd-hashtag-sure-backfired-quickly/

Social Media Listening Reports – Brandwatch. (n.d.). Retrieved February 08, 2016, from https://www.brandwatch.com/reports/

Vultaggio, M. (2014, April 23). Not My NYPD: What Happened With The Failed Twitter Campaign That Unsuspectingly Encouraged Police Brutality Photos. Retrieved February 8, 2016, from http://www.ibtimes.com/not-my-nypd-what-happened-failed-twitter-campaign-unsuspectingly-encouraged-police-1575577