Tag Archive | social media

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 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 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:

Emergency Management: Using Social Media to Save Lives?

According to a recent American Red Cross survey,  more than one-third of citizen respondents surveyed  said they expected help to arrive in less than one hour if they posted a request to an emergency response agency on Facebook or Twitter.  The problem here is that these assumptions could put a person in a ‘life or death’ situation if the First Responder group is not monitoring these platforms.

So the question is…

Has Emergency Management incorporated Social Media into their communication strategy?

The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is listening and responding to this new public pattern of communication.  Federal Coordinating Officer Don Keldsen is quoted in a recent press release:  “Events worldwide have demonstrated how quickly social media can connect people and allow them to share information and help one another.  We have been able to reach the survivors of disasters through our continued posting to social media websites such as Twitter and Facebook.”

“The louder the voices from the ground, the better the response will be.  Access to accurate and timely information from the ground during post-crisis response  periods will enable humanitarian responders to act more efficiently,” said one volunteer involved in the evaluation of the Usahidi Haiti Project

Social Media offers real-time exchange of information on a Global scale!  An obvious advantage,  BUT all of that information is a double-edged sword.  One of the challenges emergency management has is the extra resources needed to manage this large amount of information:  to find the right conversation, analyze it and respond to it in a timely fashion.

There are other obstacles to overcome:  Professionals not familiar with social media face technical challenges, and policies/operational procedures/laws must now be adjusted to accommodate this new shift in communication. These are all factors that keep the pace of advancement towards the ultimate goal of eliminating communication silos between EM and the public, and between agencies within the EM umbrella (Fire, Police, Mayors office, etc).

But this is a work in progress.

Emergency management is taking the use of social media as a communication tool very seriously, and moving forward with great strides despite their challenges.  Online focus groups such as www.sm4em.org  have been created to support Social Media usage within the EM profession, creating chat opportunities such as #SMEM on Twitter.  Industry Conferences have recently offered sessions on best-practices  (i.e. WCDM, ASIS conference).  Most local municipalities have  started to engage with their communities on social media to best prepare them for emergencies in their areas – EMBC  offered a list of emergency #Hashtags to monitor during an event (May 2012).

What is our responsibility, as the public, to support our Emergency Management teams?

I believe that we should..

  • Be a part of the learning process.  It is just as much our responsibility to know HOW to communicate with our local first responders groups during an emergency.
  • Be forthcoming with any information that we have during an event that can help our emergency management teams respond effectively during or after an event. (I.e. video, pics, information, etc.).
  • Be smart about what is said online during a crisis to eliminate unnecessary information for EM to have to filter through

How is your local community emergency management team using Social Media?

Related Articles:

Related Posts:

Emergency Management and Communications

Who are our emergency managers?

Emergency management (EM) professionals’ role is to protect people, property, critical infrastructure and the environment during emergencies and disasters.  They are often involved in educating  the public on how to be prepared for such events. When a disaster occurs, they are the ones that are organizing the efforts to get help to those in need.  You will find emergency managers in any organization that are First-Responders during a disaster or emergency – i.e. Fire, Police, Paramedics, Hospitals, Municipalities, etc.

In Ontario, it is law that each municipality is required to have an Emergency Management Program Coordinator. [1] [2] Emergency management is sometimes a role within a role.  For example, a fire chief may take on the job of an emergency manager [3].  A sample task within this role could be overseeing the implementation of a more effective communication program between various First-Responders (i.e. police, fire, mayor’s office, etc) to use during an emergency.

How do they communicate?

Working with FutureShield for a couple of years, I have had the privilege of meeting some exceptional EM pros from across our country.  One aspect of FutureShield’s  business is to help their customers find the right software technology to support better communications within their organizations.  These men and women in charge of sourcing out such solutions are some of the most innovative, visionary and tech-savvy among their peers.  They understand the advantages of using technology to assist their efforts to support the welfare of our communities.  Examples –  Windsor Exercise , U Windsor wins the MTIA award , BC Hydro’s security during the  Olympics

Do these same people embrace social media as part of their overall communication plan?  How is social media affecting their roles?  How does it fit within their overall communication strategy?

Related Blogs:

References:

[1]  Ontario Regulation 380/04

[2] Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act

[3] Emergency Management Coordinator as an additional position – North Bay, Meaford, New Tecumseth

People, Links, Related Articles:

Patrice Cloutier  – Communications Strategist for the Ontario Government

Shared Emergency Management links

IAEM – International Association of Emergency Managers

OAEM – Ontario Association of Emergency Managers

Emergency Management Ontario – EMO

www.sm4em.org – online group for Social Media for Emergency Management – including Twitter Hash tag discussions #SMEM

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

Social Media: Part 3 – The Budget

Budgeting for your Social Media Program


First thing we must understand is that there is a difference between a Social Media Program and a Social Media Campaign.  Programs (Plans)  are developed within your overall strategy and will often have smaller programs / campaigns within that plan. Tactics are used to achieve the objectives for these programs and campaigns.   Even if you only decide on a limited program for social media, (i.e. Facebook profile with a contest once a month)  please go through the planning exercise to make sure that it supports your overall business objectives.  Offering SMART objectives (S- Strategic, M-Measurable, A-Achievable, R-Realistic and T-Time-bound) will help build your case to get the budget that you seek for your program.  If you are the owner of your business, part of a charitable organization or an employee at your company, you will need to justify this budget to measure your return on investment and for forward planning.  (Refer to my Social Media Research and Plan blogs for steps 1 & 2 ).

  1. Research – Do you need to do anymore research?  Are you going to have to include any of this in your budget (i.e. Focus groups).  Some organizations will do a research budget first and then based on the results move to the next step to acquire more budget for the program.  For small businesses, much of your research can be gathered at the most a nominal charge:  Free information available on the internet, informal conversations with key customers, and marketing data that you have collected over the years.
  2. Social Media maturity – If you already have certain social media platforms set up (i.e. Facebook page, Linked in company, Twitter account) this will save some time.  If you have staff that can assist and you, and you yourself  have some familiarity with using social media, this will give you some support and background to getting started.  Much of the start-up budget is just getting your online profiles set up.  Much of Social Media budget is allocated to TIME.  If you have someone on staff that can create, manage and monitor your profiles, consider this as an option; BUT,  think this through because it is your reputation and money that is being used.  Source out a social media expert to get some quotes, you might be surprised.
  3. Hire a Social Media Consultant, or not? Your biggest portion of budget will be to your ‘Community Manager’.  Salaries for this position varies depending on the time commitment, expertise and what part of the world you live in.  I have seen salaries ranging from $35-$50K on LinkedIn.  If you decide to bring in a consultant to help you develop your strategy, this will be an added cost as well. Make sure you do your research on what to expect out of someone who will assist in developing your strategy.  Not only will you want them to have experience in Social Media and Public Relations, but you will want them to have a good grasp of overall business strategies.  Check out the Related Resources section below for tips on hiring, or ask me any questions in the comment section.
  4. What do you want to achieve?  The more you want, the more it will cost.
    • Profiles – how many?  How many updates needed on each profile?  How often?
    • Where will you get your content?  Time – who will do this?
    • Monitoring – Will you have someone monitor social media for trends, competitors, etc.
    • Will you be having campaigns throughout the time period?  What will this look like?
  5. Tools – There are many free tools that are very effective.  As your programs grow, you may want to purchase a subscription to a social media tool to assist in the area of management, monitoring and analysis.  Hootsuite, Hubspot, Constant Contact and Radian6 are examples of some social media tools on the market.  Some of these tools offer a Free trial, or a Free limited version of their product and this is fine for starting out, but as your team and program grows, you really should consider a software tool to support your efforts.  Automation will not only save you time, but will help with efficiency.

Budget Checklist

  • Who – Human Resources to start, implement, manage and evaluate the program and/or campaign
  • What – Objectives – What does success look like ?
  • When – Timeline – milestones and final evaluation
  • Where – Social Media sites to be used
  • How – Tactics:  How are you going to achieve this?  Monitoring and Measurement:  Tools to be used?

These questions will frame your budget.  Human resources will be your largest contribution to your budget.  Be realistic, but also understand that you set up opportunity for evaluation so that you can review your budget for long-term planning.  Consider too that you may be paying  less now for traditional media (i.e. print) to free up some budget dollars for human resources and other social media resources needed for this initiative.

Related Resources (articles, books, blogs):

Mashable:  How to Optimize your Social Media Budget

Brian Solis – The State of Social Marketing 2011-2012 – Brian talks about the situation of Social Marketing today.  181 Brand managers, agency professionals, and experts were surveyed and Brian offers highlights, graphs and other social media statistics on his blog.  Not surprising, but one of the greatest challenges in keeping social from being main stream in organizations is budget challenges.  BUT keep reading because statistics are showing that organizations are planning to increase social spending over the next few years.

Alia Haley (guest blogger) SocialWayne.com- Budgeting for Social Media:  Who pays for it and why

SMART Objectives – http://topachievement.com/smart.html

Neil Schaffer : Hiring a social Media Consultant

Ann Gregory:  Planning and Managing Public Relations Campaigns (book on KOBO)

Spin Sucks: