A Social Media Case Study – #BSOMF

The following social media case study is a group assignment for the course: Social Media Research and Techniques at McMaster University.  Objective of this assignment is to create a social media planning case study based on a company profile that a member of each group worked on for the last assignment.  Our group chose the Burlington Sound of Music Festival profile by Brent Posthuma – #BSOMF 

Burlington Sound of Music Festival 2013– A Social Media Project

Festival Overview

Going strong for over 33 years, the Burlington Sound of Music festival is an annual free music festival held every Father’s Day weekend in June.  It takes place around the waterfront and downtown Burlington featuring with over 90 musical artists entertaining the crowd across 10 stages.

Every year the event draws over 200,000 visitors to the city, providing substantial financial assistance to the local businesses, promotion for the city of Burlington and donations that support local charities.

In 2012 the Burlington Sound of Music Festival made the list of the top 100 Festivals in Ontario for a 12th consecutive year.  This festival is known as being a great family event with something for everyone.

The festival not only provides a diverse offering of both local and international musicians but also features local artists, culinary experiences, a midway, shopping, and all the benefits already within Spencer Smith Park.

In February of 1997 the festival officially became a not for profit organization called ‘Burlington’s Sound of Music Festival Inc.’  and powered the volunteer efforts provided by over 700 volunteers, 100 of which provide their services year round on their board and committees.  The festival also operates year-round promoting and improving access to the arts to children ages 4 – 12 through the ‘TakingittotheStreets’ free music education program.

Supporting Documents

  • Strategy document – a detailed social media strategy for the Burlington Sound of Music Festival
  • Sample Video for outlined Tactic – “Sound of Music Festival Memories” – Video contest
  • Powerpoint (below) – A high level overview presentation for the social media strategy for BSOMF

Contributors

Disclosure

The information in this blog and all related documents is based on public information found online (references available at the end of this document) and from personal experiences by one of the authors. Business goals and other assumptions were made up based on a possible scenario to support this class project and in no way reflect the views or actual business plans of the Burlington Sound of Music Festival, their volunteers or anyone else related to the Festival (including their sponsors).

References

  1. Burlington Sound of Music Festival – Media Kit
  2. Fun Ontario Newsletter 2012
  3. Burlington Sound of Music – Website

Social Media Lessons Learned – #SMRTCCE

The Social Media Research & Techniques (#SMRTCCE) course at McMaster University is coming to a close.  One of the most valued lessons I have learned from this course is that peer sharing is very important. This offers professional development as individual communicators, but also to support the development of best practices within our industry.

Three points brought up during this course were important reminders to me:

Research is the cornerstone of all Social Media Strategies

Research offers the benchmark for the entire plan.  Without research you can’t answer the important questions of: who, what, why, when and where.  Like any race, if you don’t know where the starting line is, you won’t be able to know if you won (among other things).  ‘Gut instinct’ is fine to use for part of your research, but spend the time and money to get some hard metrics – your success depends on it.

Best evaluation of Social Media efforts requires human intervention

Software tools are plentiful, but many are still in the beta / development stage.  Yes, they can get the hard metrics for you.  However, when it comes to measuring sentiment, the human experience is indispensable.

“Please” trumps “I am sorry” every time

Ask permission before posting anything – quotes, photos, etc.  Do not assume that since you personally think it is okay (because YOU would be okay with it), that this is true for everyone else.  Not only will this help protect you (the professional) against possible liability, but will also demonstrate good character to those around you.  A good reputation is incredibly valuable and takes a long time to acquire, so take care of it.  Even though “I am sorry” goes a long way when a mistake is made (none of us are perfect), remembering to say “please” is the better way.

Social Media (as a business communication tool) has grown up, and now has acquired enough history behind it to be able to evaluate, learn, and re-direct as needed.  The readily available information shared by experts in this field (in the areas of research, planning, execution, and evaluation) will make it easier for those just starting to introduce Social Media into their business practices.  For those who want to take Social Media to the next stage, and start using Social Media as part of their strategic planning, this information will be even more helpful.  But there is a lot of so-called ‘expert’ advice out there.  Look for those thought leaders that have experience using Social Media as a tool to support business objectives, that will offer metrics to support a good ROI (Return on Investment) for social media , and that have experience in various aspects of business (not just within marketing or public relations).

My professional road map…

  1. Continue to work with small businesses in the area of strategic communications to support their business objectives.
  2. Take the next course in the Public Relations Diploma program at McMaster University this Fall (learning never ends!)
  3. Spend more time networking with other communicators to support best practice development within our industry.

Social Business Tips

In this blog series on Social Business we had a chance to review how a local company – Jackson Triggs – is using social media and other digital marketing to support their business.   As we have seen in the other posts, Jackson Triggs Winery has a very thorough online presence and customers engaged!  Conversations a plenty – written and visual.  But what are they missing?

Tips to consider when planning a social media strategy

  • Your Website, Your Hub  – Your company website is your information center.  This does NOT have to be a social platform, but it should be to ‘go to’ source for people wanting to learn about who you are, what you have to offer and how to ‘buy’ from you.  Make sure all the social media sites (and other digital sites) link back to this one and it links to your relevant social media sites.  Jackson Triggs –  Facebook & Twitter are the only two links listed on the footer section of the site.  They should at the very least add their YouTube and Pinterest sites.
  • Don’t start something and not use it –  If you start showing your public that you are a social company, make sure that you represent all of your company.  Don’t just post a profile and then let it sit.  Some parts of the company may get more interactions because it is busier, but nothing should be allowed to go stale/ neglected. Jackson Triggs – Link to the BC Winery & Vineyard location is posted in equal prominence on the company website to that of the  NOTL site.  Links to their twitter accounts are both posted in a similar format right next to those links.  NOTL Twitter  is VERY active, BC has only 24 Tweets and last posted 6 months ago. Find someone  to start posting!  YouTube is not being consistently used and only recently a couple of video have been added.  Hard pressed to find any customer engagement on here (no comments) and the background looks like it is from Halloween! Keep it FRESH
  • Be consistent –   If you are being social in one part of the company, your customers will expect it in all parts of your organization or they might think something is wrong.  Consistency with your image is very important.  If you say (through your public actions) you have a social culture, then make sure you carry it throughout.  Jackson Triggs – Their BC Winery is not being represented well on any of their social media sites.  Put someone in charge to oversee and personalize this very underutilized part of the organization.  Hire someone local (in-house or agency).  Those offering content need to live and breathe the experience so that they can respond in an authentic way.

Social Business Blog Series:

Note:  This Social Business Series has been part of an assignment for the Social Media class that I am taking at McMaster University for the PR program.  All research has been gathered online from publicly available information.  There may be more information available as to what they have coming up in their marketing/communication road map, but we wanted this research to be from the perspective of a customer.  Truly organic in nature and meant to inspire, not criticize.

Social Business: Case Study Reference

Wine + Food + Music = Social.

Offline (of course),  Online (absolutely)

It is a natural progression to have Wine, Food, Music and then Social. So shouldn’t this type of business,  in the ‘business’ of being social, have a social business model ?

Reviewing the online presence of Jackson Triggs Winery (Niagara, Ontario), it appears that they believe this to be very important.

Are they being social?  What do you think?

Are they using social platforms effectively?  Are they choosing the social sites where their customers are ‘hanging out’ , engaging in conversation.  Is their content being shared by others to extend the reach of the conversation?  Are they posting regularly to keep content fresh?  Content is relevant & stay within the culture of the organization?  Are people talking about the company themselves?  Sharing it with their friends?

Corporate Profiles on Social Media sites

Here are few of the social and digital platforms where Jackson Triggs has chosen to engage online, and a review of their activities.

Facebook – Actively updating their status,  Images (including cover image) are being kept up to date,  Regular Contests (just past ‘A Year in Bloom’), Variety of text, images & videos used, Conversations ongoing showing engagement with their community (i.e. people making comments and posting to page), Events listed and pages created and current.  Very active – company and customers.

TwitterNOTL – active with multiple posts, retweets and images every week – 1399 Followers & 1368 Tweets – Very Active – company and customers  B.C. –  Profile is there, some activity  – not very active.

YouTube – Fun, Light-hearted videos on associated topics as well as videos of the winery.

Pinterest – Showing related images to peak the interest of people who like wine, and to show images of the winery for other people to ‘re-pin’. Board topics are relevant, fun and creative –  “Pairs well with Wine”, “At the Winery”

Industry Websites – An opportunity to add a company profile on an industry, or related industry is very important to get extended reach.  Niagara Tourism is very important to the success of our local economy, so there are many opportunities to do this (often free).  Jackson Triggs has their profile or link on many of these sites.  i.e. Wineries of NOTLWineries Ontario

Local Business Referrals – Link-Backs (links between websites and within websites) are very important for not only bringing your customers to your website, but increasing your SEO (another topic).  Niagara On The Lake businesses work together to build a good business referral program and Jackson Triggs has built that into part of their social strategy- i.e. Pillar in the post offers ‘What to do’ while in the area – Example

Corporate Website – Offers information but  no place for conversation offered.  A few small links at the bottom to a select number of their social profiles.

Third Party Conversations

Social Sites where customers have started ‘talking about’ the winery.  Perception by most is that third party opinions are more objective (more credible) when it has no official ties to the company.  If someone is willing to share a photo and an experience and not getting paid for it?  Great PR (public relation)!!

Examples – Blogs,  Photo Sharing, Customer Reviews , Geo Locating Sites

Measuring their success

Using the social analytics site – Social Mention –  to see what the online sentiment of many of these conversations showed the sentiment of what people are saying about Jackson Triggs Winery to be:  179 Neutral  45 Positive 3 Negative (June 23 2012)

Trip Advisor Reviews (to date)  36 out of 53 were excellent reviews)

Social Business Blog Series:

Note:  This Social Business Series has been part of an assignment for the Social Media class that I am taking at McMaster University for the PR program.  All research has been gathered online from publicly available information.  There may be more information available as to what they have coming up in their marketing/communication road map, but we wanted this research to be from the perspective of a customer.  Truly organic in nature and meant to inspire, not criticize.

Social Business: A Measuring Stick

What is Social Business?

“An organization that has put in place the strategies, technologies and processes to systematically engage all the individuals of its ecosystem (employees, customers, partners, suppliers) to maximize the co-created value” [1]

How does your business measure up?

  • Connected – Internal and external stakeholders of the organization are able to seamlessly engage in conversations.  Various communication platforms relevant to the position and accessibility of the people involved are available.  i.e. Intranet for employees, Social media sites (open for the public and closed groups for employees), Email, Forums, Chat rooms, Video Conferencing, etc.
  • Social – Authentic, honest, and transparent are the key etiquette rules for employees that are part of a social business.  Less about selling / marketing – more about engaging in two-way communication.  This is especially true when representatives are providing content for official company sites, but also when they publicly post and engage in conversation personally.  In both situations, they are ambassadors for the company while they are part of the organization (employees, contractors, etc.)
  • Present – Conversations may begin by being posted on a company website / social platform / media release   (i.e comments on the site, linking back to an article from another social site, reference in a blog or magazine article, etc).  It can also begin from an offline experience but posted online by one of their public (i.e. customer review site, video, comment on social media site, etc)
  • Intelligent  – Not only intelligent, but also responsible.   Intelligent because you will have systems, tools and resources in place to measure, monitor and evaluate results (qualitative and quantitative) against business objectives.  Always need the Return on Investment numbers.  Responsible because you will be setting the company culture.  You are saying that you are listening and showing you care by responding.  Don’t let them down – Listen and Respond!


Social Business articles:

What is Social Business?

Social Enterprise 

Social Business Overview

What the hell is a social business? 

References:

[1]  Social Business 

Wikipedia – Social business model  

Social Business Blog Series:

Savour the moment with Jackson Triggs

Wine, Music, Vintage, Classy, Fun, Whimsical, Entertainment, Relaxing, Welcoming,  Niagara

These are words that come to mind after visiting the online ‘face’ of Jackson Triggs Winery.  Whether it is their official Website or presence on other social media sites; such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube, they have a similar message to it’s viewers.

After watching their most recent television commercial, I couldn’t resist learning more about this company.

Intrigued?  Then watch, and read on…

Jackson-Triggs was established as a winery in 1993.  Their name is a blend of their founders’  – Allan Jackson and Don Triggs.  The main winery is located in Niagara-On-The-Lake, and a second in the Okanagan – Oliver, British Columbia.  Four beautiful vineyards support these wineries:  2 in Niagara (Niagara Estate, Delaine Vineyard) and 2 in the Okanagan (Okanagan Estate, SunRock Vineyard).  The architecture of the buildings, the manicured grounds of the estates, the beautiful pungent smells of the grapes fermenting on the vines in the summer months are all part of the atmosphere at Jackson Triggs.

Behind their product and services, they continue to offer  “unwavering dedication to quality, value and tradition” to their customers.  This is obvious through their Internationally award winning wines that are cultivated to ‘perfection’ by a team of experienced wine makers.  Their services reach beyond their wines, which offers their customers an extended experience. Their outdoor amphitheatre offers an eclectic assortment of music with various artists performing during the summer.  This unique investment attracts award winning artists and substantial media recognition.  Also offered are  special events, dining, tours, and wine tasting on the patio.  Stimulating all the senses with the hope that their customers will remember well, and want to return again and again.

Who are their customers?  

“Glocalization” , is a niche marketing word that they embody: A business catering to a local market as well as a global one.  Global tourism is strong in Niagara.  With Niagara-On-The-Lake only minutes from the world renowned Niagara Falls, it has the added benefit of those visiting the Falls to extend their visit to the winery.  Significant challenges for Niagara tourism:  Canadian dollar is almost at par which means our American neighbours don’t have the same incentive to come north. As well, a depressed economic situation means less disposable income.

On a happier note, Canadian wineries can now celebrate the passing of bill C-311.  C-311 is law, passed this month,  that allows wineries to sell their wine between provinces: Either purchasing wine from a winery and then travelling home to another province, or through online purchases.

Company needs to give back to it’s community

And I don’t mean just through engagement with it’s online community (upcoming blog, stay tuned) but give back through CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) projects.  Jackson Triggs’  auctioned off best-seat tickets to their Summer Concert Series on eBay.  All proceeds went to support War Child’s work with children whose lives have been devastated by war.  (Pretty great, don’t you think?)

As for their social business? Are customers talking about them?  Are they sharing this excitement?

Social Business Blog Series:

Note:  This series is for a “Social Media for Public Relations” course at McMaster University.  I am not an expert on wineries, but definitely enjoy my wine.  I live in Niagara and have a passion for health, wellness & community.  To read more about my experience, please read my about section.  All references and images in this blog are from the Jackson Triggs Winery website or otherwise noted.

KLOUT – Topic of Discussion

KLOUT – Good or Bad – is the topic that was discussed in our Social Media class last night at McMaster University (Hamilton, Ontario) #SMRTCCE.

What is KLOUT?

KLOUT is a tool to measure someone’s online influence.  “We measure your influence based on your ability to drive action in social networks. We process this data on a daily basis to give you an updated Klout Score each morning.”  – says KLOUT   “Retweets, Likes, comments and other interactions on the social web are all signals of influence. However, just looking at the count of these actions does not tell the whole story of a person’s influence. It’s important to look at how much content a person creates compared to the amount of engagement they generate.”

Is it an effective Tool?

  • There are flaws in it’s calculations (i.e. showed one person having influence about cats and yet never mentioned cats online).
  • The system can be ‘gamed’ which means that the scores for these individuals will be higher than they should be.
  • It is pulling data from a limited number of social media platforms excluding valuable data about someone’s influence on the excluded sites.

With these factors alone, KLOUT cannot be used as exact numbers to define someone’s online influence.  However,  it has some relevance.  I personally use it as a secondary reference check against my other engagement measurement tools.  I also use KLOUT in my arsenal of marketing research tools to see who is talking about what, but it is still a very secondary source.

Today my KLOUT score is 46, tomorrow it will be something different…maybe.  One absolute in all of this, is that I won’t lose any sleep over my KLOUT score.

References:

Image above is borrowed from Salon – Blog  Klout is bad for your Soul – by Bonnie Stewart