Ohio University Strategic Social Media

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Category: Kelsey Crowley

Interview: How USTA Twirled Its Way into Social Media with Anna Dolan

By: Kelsey Crowley

Before my time at Ohio University, I was a competitive baton twirler for 13 years for a private team around my hometown. We would travel, not only around the State of Ohio to compete, but also all around the country. Baton, honestly, was most of my life outside of school. I wouldn’t have had it any other way, though. The girls on my team were my second family. Being a part of USTA, the United States Twirling Association, gave me the opportunity to travel around the country while growing up and to make friends from all over the place from different teams. It gave me opportunities that most kids ages 5-18 would not have had.  Those 13 years of competing were some of the best and I’m truly thankful for them all. Before we get any further, never watched a baton routine before? Here is a video of the USA World Team at the World Championships in 2010 in which they won the Bronze.

Video courtesy of bbrandle2 on youtube.com

During my last couple of years competing with USTA, social media became a more prominent way to stay connected to all of the people my teammates and I had met from all around the country and simply enough, each other. Instagram was just becoming popular, Twitter, Facebook, you name it. Those social media platforms did not always exist and USTA was not always a part of them. Anna Dolan, the Director of Communications for USTA took time out of her day to answer some questions about USTA’s social media presence and more.


Kelsey Crowley (Q1): What is one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring social media professional?

Anna Dolan (A1): Read everything you can about social media use and be aware of current best practices, but within the bounds of appropriateness and good taste, don’t be afraid to try new things. As social media evolves, so will our strategies and techniques. As with any new medium, we “learn as we go!”


KC (Q2): What companies/organizations do you think are “doing it right” when it comes to social media?  Why?

AD (A2): There are different companies “doing it right” for different reasons. Starbucks is often noted as a company that is a social media success because of its presence across multiple platforms; its quick response to customer inquiries via social media and marketing magic. I mean, I don’t even drink coffee, but I certainly knew when Pumpkin Spice Latte was going to hit stores and how excited customers were for its arrival!

My favorite example of social media success is the 2014 ALS Ice Bucket Challenge! It was truly amazing to watch individuals and groups all across the country douse themselves in ice water and challenge others to do the same. (Yes, I did it, my kids did it, hundreds of people we know did it!)  And it wasn’t just a viral success, it was a financial success too. The national ALS Association reported that the campaign brought in $115 million in 2014. Compare that with $23.5 million in 2013.


KC (Q3): Why do you think social media is important to build consumer engagement?

AD (A3): Social media has become nearly ubiquitous. It can reach people anywhere, anytime, and they can reach back anywhere, anytime. That presents unique challenges (consumer complaint – must respond immediately – can multiply exponentially) and opportunities (incredibly cost-effective way to reach current and new audiences).


KC (Q4): When did USTA start using social media more regularly? Have you seen a difference as far as engagement goes in the twirling community because of this?

AD (A4): USTA started using Facebook in 2009 and Twitter in 2014. As a small, non-profit organization, we are always looking for cost-effective ways to reach our members and the broader twirling community. I was initially surprised to discover how very connected the twirling community is and what a useful tool social media has proven to be for our organization. In particular, it has helped us connect with twirlers/parents/coaches/other twirling supporters who are not necessarily USTA members (who we can reach through email, unlike non-members.) It has been a great way to share information about the sport of baton twirling in general and our organization in particular, with the broader twirling community. It has also allowed us to connect with other, related, but not twirling-specific organizations, such as College Marching, and extend our reach even further.


KC (Q5): Describe a recent successful social media campaign conducted by your organization and why you feel it was successful?

AD (A5): Our most successful campaign was not a campaign at all, but rather an opportunity to capitalize on an spontaneous event. In September of 2013, Today Show hosts Kathy Lee and Hoda created a firestorm of sorts by stating that baton twirling was not really a “talent” after a twirler made the top 10 in the Miss America Pageant. Our organization was contacted by the show’s producers and we were able to have a very talented, articulate twirler appear on the Today Show the next day. We were able to share that info with the broader twirling community, which gave our organization additional credibility and brought the broader twirling community together. In my report to our Board of Directors, I summarized the effect of this event:

Facilitating the appearance of Ellissa Johnson Eby on the Today Show on September 17, 2013. The average daily viewership of the Today Show during the week of September 9, 2013 (most recent available), was 4.659 million people, according to TV Newser .Though viewership of the fourth hour of the Today Show when Ellissa appeared is likely lower, it is still significant. In addition, social media coverage of Ellissa’s appearance was tremendous. The tease posted on USTA’s Facebook page on Sept. 16 received 10,012 views, and the Today Show segment posted on our page on Sept. 17 received 10,000 views. It also received significant attention on the Fans of Football Twirling Facebook page, and others shared the posts on their walls as well. THIS WAS PRICELESS PUBLICITY.

Typically, our most successful campaigns are around our National Championships, when people go to our Facebook page for timely updates and photos. Here is a summary of our social media results from our 2015 National Championships.

Did daily Tweets and Facebook posts throughout Nationals week, which got incredible attention. We still have a small number of followers (297) on Twitter, but as the Facebook statistics below show, between July 7 and 13, we increased our “Weekly Total Reach” to 58,277 people, an increase of 281.5%. We also got 229 new “Likes” during Nationals.

July 7-13               PREVIOUS WEEK         TREND

Total Page Likes           4,400                4,208                            4.6%


New Likes                     229                   32                                 615.6%


Weekly Total Reach       58,277              15,277                          281.5%


People Engaged           11,896              2,942                            304.4%


KC (Q6): Is there anything you would like to everyone to know about USTA’s social media presence that has not already been asked so far?

AD (A6): We know there is far more we can do with social media and we look forward to continuing to develop our social media presence!

As any organization or company knows, gaining a following on social media is always a working progress. If done strategically and creatively, companies can thrive. USTA, while still a little new to the social media world, has seen an immense amount of progress over the last couple of years, shown by the statistics that Anna provided above. It was great to see the increasing engagement they have been receiving and how they know when this, statistically, is going to happen, like when they have the National Championships every summer. With the other kinds of popular platforms out there, only time will tell what other “tricks” USTA will whip out when it comes to their social media presence. I look forward to continuing to watch their success on all platforms.

Clorox Had One Hard Time Cleaning Up This Social Fail

By: Kelsey Crowley

In April of 2015, Apple released the new set of emojis, which mainly included sets of racially diverse emojis for many of the existing ones that people have been long awaiting , among a number other new emojis. While many people were excited about all of the new emojis, Clorox…well, was not. In response to the 8.3.1 Apple update, Clorox sent out this tweet to express their feelings about the update:

Clorox's "Where's the bleach" tweet from nydailynews.com

Clorox’s “Where’s the bleach” tweet from nydailynews.com

Take the tweet how you will, but many of Clorox’s costumers were not overly thrilled with . They were not overly thrilled so much that Clorox received a heavy amount of backlash. For example, twitter user @DriNicole  tweeted “…You need to clean up your PR person. Put some bleach on your distasteful marketing ideas,” in addition to many other tweets that were not in Clorox’s favor. After receiving a numerous amount of negative responses, Clorox admitted to their faults by tweeting something in response:

Clorox's response to the "Where's the bleach" tweet backlash. Courtesy of btls.com

Clorox’s response to the “Where’s the bleach” tweet backlash. Courtesy of btls.com

In an article written by wnyc.org , an interview was conducted with Clorox’s CEO, Benno Dorer. Dorer said, in a nutshell, “the tweet was not meant to be racist, rather, to express disappointment that there was still no bleach bottle emoji.” In a nationalreview.com article , spokesperson Molly Steinkrauss said the company apologizes for any insensitivities and hurt feelings this tweet may have caused. She also said, in an interview with theguardian.com “that their intentions were to never offend anyone and it was ‘meant to be light-hearted, but it fell flat.’ “

What do all of these apologies from company spokespeople, the CEO, and their Twitter mean? It means that Clorox’s campaign for a bleach bottle emoji was short-lived and failed incredibly. And, on top of it, they admitted to messing up. They messed up so much that, observed by medium.com , Clorox’s engagement on social medium hit an all-time low for a decent period of time after the tweet was released in April. Medium.com mentions that Clorox’s twitter account only averaged 19.5 engagements per tweet, meaning for the entire year of 2015, they did not increase their social media presence one bit.

Overall, it doesn’t matter what Clorox did or did not mean when they sent out that tweet. The fact of the matter is that their PR and marketing team didn’t consider all the possibilities of what their Tweet could mean in the context of it being posted. Clorox needed to remember that they were sending out a message through text in a tweet; a medium that does not express emotion or anything else.  If they truly wanted to campaign just for a bleach bottle emoji, the tweet could have been worded completely differently to ensure their message got across. Perhaps, simply adding “Where’s the bleach bottle?” could have done the trick.

The lesson to be learned by Clorox’s Social Media Campaign Fail is that always remember to check yourself, before you wreck yourself. You may be thinking one thing when you go to tweet it, but the world could see it in a completely different way.



Foxnews. (2015, April 10). Clorox sparks controversy with tweet about ‘bleach’ emoji. Fox News. Retrieved from http://www.foxnews.com/us/2015/04/10/clorox-sparks-controversy-wtih-tweet-about-bleach-emoji.html

N.a. (2015, April 11). Clorox in hot water over ‘bleach’ tweet as emojis become more racially diverse. Theguardian. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/apr/11/clorox-in-hot-water-over-bleach-tweet-as-emojis-become-more-racially-diverse

N.a. [ULTRAVIVDSCENE]. (2015, April 8). racially diverse emoji characters are officially on iOS 8.3, i am in tears of joy, finally ppl are listening. [Tweet]. Retrieved from  https://twitter.com/ULTRAVlVIDSCENE/status/585894899385503744

Npr. (2015, July 14). Clorox ceo goes beyond bleach. WYNC. Retrieved from http://www.wnyc.org/story/clorox-ceo-goes-beyond-bleach/

National Review: Timpf, K. (2015, April 10). Clorox accused of racism for asking why there’s no bleach emoji. National Review. Retrieved from http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/416763/clorox-accused-racism-asking-why-theres-no-bleach-emoji-katherine-timpf

Maskeron, A. (2015, April 8). Cloroc explains emoji tweet that many thought was weirdly racist. Adweek. Retrieved from http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/clorox-explains-emoji-tweet-many-thought-was-weirdly-racist-163969

Meyer, K. (2016, January). 2015: The year in social media disasters. Medium.com. Retrieved from https://medium.com/@crowdbabble/2015-the-year-in-social-media-disasters-9cf0d53b60aa#.ktkevrgek

Squatty Potty: Sounds Like Crap, But Is a Huge Social Win

Picture this: A prince and his soft-serve pooping unicorn talking to you about the benefits of pooping in a squatting position as opposed to a sitting position. Slightly bizarre, right? Well, it’s real and I can guarantee if you have not seen it yet, you will probably see this video floating around on your Facebook page or your Twitter feed sometime soon. If not, here is the infomercial before we get any further to make sure we are on the same page.

Video courtesy of youtube.com

Also, here is a link to an article that takes you through the commercial very quickly, courtesy of dailymail.co.uk.

The Squatty Potty was actually created in 2011 by Bobby Edwards and his mother Judy Edwards, according to Bloomberg.com. They read multiple studies from doctors that said it was more beneficial for someone to poop in a squatting position than to poop in a sitting position. Sales weren’t the greatest for the first couple of years, only selling a couple million total, so in 2014, Mr. Edwards took the invention to ABC’s “Shark Tank” where he was backed with $350,000 to help with his future endeavors. The Squatty Potty also made a guest appearance on the Dr. Oz show at one point, as well . But, this wasn’t enough to boost their sales, so the “Squatty Potty squad” took their product to the Harmon Brothers, who are notorious for creating bizarre, yet effective advertisements, and thus, the Squatty Potty prince and pooping unicorn were born. The Harmon Brothers are famous for creating yet another poop related ad, “Poo-Pouri.” They are, apparently, really good at what they poo…I mean, do (do).

Within nine days of its release, the Squatty Potty’s commercial was a smashing hit; beyond 39 million views on all kinds of platforms on the web, to be exact. This number is growing as an increased amount of people, to this day, continue to see this ad on YouTube or their Facebook feeds, etc. Currently, in February 2016, the YouTube video has over 16 million views and its Facebook video has nearly 50 million views. This increased the Squatty Potty’s sales over 600% online and over 400% in their primary retail store, Bed, Bath, & Beyond, according to an interview conducted by adweek.com. It also received a number of reviews from consumers of all sorts. For example, YourGuitarSage commented on the YouTube video and said, “I bought a squatty-potty.  I LOVE it!  BUT, I don’t have rainbow poop like the ad says and am quite dissappointed.  Please advise…,” to Facebook comments that say “they got this gift for Christmas this past year and they have had the best poops of their lives!” Even tweets, like the one below, show their support.


With all of this being said, the Squatty Potty is, undoubtedly, a social win for the dream that Bobby and Judy Edwards had. It took some time, but with the strategic plan that they and the Harmon Brothers created in distributing the ad for this product was marketing gold. It appears, after reading hundreds of comments on Facebook, YouTube, and various social media sites alike, people cannot get enough of the watching the most bizarre things that are out there. Let alone, the most bizarre things talking about poop. This was a great mix of humor and actual facts to get the message that the Squatty Potty stands for across. To continue to increase their sales, they should continue to make videos like this because consumers know this infomercial with this product and they will continue to watch these videos and buy the product. The bizarre-ness and the uniqueness of this advertisement keeps consumers engaged and laughing, which is always great when trying to boost sales, or so their boost in sales demonstrates.

What’s next for the Squatty Potty? Well, I look forward to finding out.


Dicker, R. (2015, October 23). Squatty potty brothers find gold in unicorn poop. Huffingtonpost.  Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/brother-find-gold-in-unicorn-poop_us_5629389fe4b0aac0b8fc2d8e

Grobart, S. (2015, December 22). The cult of the squatty potty. Bloomsberg Businessweek. Retrieved from http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-12-22/the-cult-of-the-squatty-potty

NG, A. (2015, November 26). Video: viral “squatty potty” ad features unicorn pooping rainbow ice cream. NY Daily News. Retrieved from http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/video-viral-ad-features-unicorn-pooping-ice-cream-article-1.2447819

Polden, J. (2015, October 9). Will you be buying the squatty potty? Company reveal toilet aid in bizarre video featuring a prince and a unicorn with over-active bowels. Dailymail. Retrieved from: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3266311/Will-buying-Squatty-Potty-Company-reveal-toilet-aid-bizarre-video-featuring-prince-unicorn-active-bowels.html

Stanley, T.L. (2015, December 10). Squatty potty’s ceo ignored everyone, made an insane video and boosted sales 600% bold marketing helps bring in $15 million. Adweek. Retrieved from http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/squatty-pottys-ceo-ignored-everyone-made-insane-video-and-boosted-sales-600-168526

YourGuitarSage. (2015, December).  This unicorn changed the way i poop – #squattypotty. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbYWhdLO43Q