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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: 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:

Social Media part of Halton’s Emergency Plan

   

 

In an interview with Nick Buczynsky, Community Emergency Management Coordinator at Halton Region,

I had a chance to find out first hand how one of our local regions is using Social Media to support their Emergency Management program.

Can you tell us a little bit about your job as Community Emergency Management Coordinator at Halton Region?

As the CEMC for Halton Region, I am responsible for coordinating the Region’s emergency management program, with emphasis on preparedness, training, public education and awareness, and emergency response.

How are you using Social Media to support your role?

Using a dedicated Twitter account, we tweet messages on emergency preparedness to help educate the public.  Related messaging on incidents or events that may be occurring are also tweeted.  Where we know of a potential situation, such as severe weather, we will tweet messages advising residents of how to prepare themselves for it.  In specific emergency situations, we will tweet about the incident, any actions that residents should take, and link to the Region’s website for more information.

How long have you been using social media in your role?

Since August 2011.

What tools / platforms do you use?  i.e. Twitter, Facebook.  and Why did you choose these platforms?

Currently we are only using Twitter.  It is fast and convenient and message penetration can grow exponentially in no time.

Challenges  – you have faced using Social Media in your role?

Time dedicated to sending tweets had been a challenge, although with new staff this issue has diminished. Another challenge has been building up the number of dedicated followers.  Although our initial goal was extremely modest and we have exceeded it significantly, I would like to see the number of followers in the thousands rather than the low hundreds.

Benefits – you have faced using Social Media in your role?

It has proven to be a good tool for following events – especially where we are not able to get much information from the site directly.

Is there a specific story that you can share where Social Media made a significant impact on your ability to communicate during a disaster / emergency event?  How?

Just  days after we launched Twitter, a very small tornado blew through Burlington.  By tweeting Environment Canada warnings and our own tips on what to do in a tornado, power outages, lightning storms, etc., we quickly picked up a handful of followers – without having done any marketing, public education or even a media release/announcement that we have launched Twitter.  That set the tone for future growth although, thankfully, we have not had a similar situation occur again to date.

If you can make one statement on the greatest impact social media has had on emergency management, what would that be?  What would you like to see in the near future for your industry?

I think that social media has given emergency management professionals another valuable tool for relaying real-time or near real-time information on emergencies and other signficant events to potentially thousands of individuals directly.

Do you have anything you would like to share with our class here at McMaster University #SMRTCCE about how Social Media has impacted Emergency Management?

Thanks for the opportunity to share Halton’s experience with using social media in emergency management.  I see it has great potential for communicating key messages to residents in a timely manner and can penetrate a large part of the community in little time once the number of followers grows.

Please check us out on Twitter – @BPreparedHalton

Halton Region Website

Related Blog Posts:

How I overcame my fear of blogging

It was not that long ago that I started to blog.  I have always kept a journal, but to post my thoughts and ideas publicly?  Well, that was a different story.

A 1,2,3 steps that I found useful in overcoming my fear of blogging.  Under the assumed online name, Aceso71 (Aceso being one of the Greek godesses of health and well-being), I began to blog.

After spending 8 weeks learning how to blog in my introductory social media class at McMaster University (Public Relations Diploma Program), here is my final presentation.

Any other ideas on how to overcome a fear of blogging?

View more PowerPoint from LauraLDunkley

PR Pros are Sharpening their Virtual Pencils

We are never too old to stop learning, and in the fast-paced and ever-changing world that we live in, this statement could not be truer as it pertains to communications.  This is why, Public Relations professionals are back in the classroom and sharpening their virtual pencils.

With the introduction of new technology, a real paradigm shift has happened in the way people interact with each other (Clay Shirk’s Book – “Here Comes Everybody”).  They now have the ability to hold two-way conversations ‘on demand’, and they like that.  These same people know that organizations and companies have the tools to converse with them in a similar fashion, and they expect it.   So, as PR professionals we need to develop our skills to stay current, so that we can offer the best possible service to our customers.  This is why I have gone..

Back to School

Last semester I had the privilege of taking the introductory social media for public relations course at McMaster University.  Under the direction of Martin Waxman, we had the opportunity to become better acquainted with  certain social media ‘tools of the trade’, learn some best practices and network with other professionals in our field.

This semester, led by Jared Lenover, we will learn various strategies, tools, techniques and best practices for :  Researching, Planning, Implementation, Management, Evaluation and Measurement for social media as it relates to public relations.

Key questions

that I will be asking from this course are:

  • Engagement:  How do I increase the quality and quantity of engagement with my audiences on various social media platforms?
  • Strategy:  How to best align social media within the overall business strategy to receive the greatest success?
  • Tools:  What are the best tools on the market for the best value, and when do I use them?

Class in session >>>> Let the learning begin!