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Win The Oscars with Second Screen First

Photo Credit: AMPAS

Photo Credit: AMPAS

The 86th Annual Academy Awards Oscars show last night came and went by for many people. However, for those of us that either love movies, celebrities, entertainment, and fashion it was the highlight of the year. If you are a marketing and advertising professional like I am, especially when it comes to digital and social media marketing, I was all eyes on how this moment was going to be owned by The Academy, advertisers, and second screen arm chair tweeters trying to capture a moment with RTM (Real Time Marketing).

The Oscars don’t have the viewership and ratings of a Super Bowl, however this year saw the highest ratings in more than a decade with an average of 43 million viewers. More importantly with the prolific use of celebrities within social media, this Awards show is tops for taking advantage of the moment beyond the 3 or so hours of the show.  Ellen DeGeneres, the host of this year’s Oscars alone currently has 27 million followers on Twitter. A healthy base to spark social media conversation. Sure enough, one of her first efforts after her opening monologue was a ‘selfie’ on stage. Then came Pharrell and the “Arby’s Hat” on stage where Arby’s yet again seized the moment with a tweet of their own. Of course, came the epic “group selfie” where Ellen asked a group of A-listers to get together for a selfie to help break the record of most retweets which it promptly did during the show with currently over 2.8 MM retweets or 3x the retweets of the previous record holding tweet. It also momentarily broke Twitter.

…in order to win, marketers needs to thoroughly think of a second screen strategy first.

What was impressive was seeing the brands that took advantage of the socially cultural moment and didn’t rely only on their traditional media buy, but extended social integration. This continues to prove that in order to win, marketers needs to thoroughly think of a second screen strategy first.

Breakthrough brands…

Samsung Mobile, Cadillac, JCPenney, Lipton Tea were good examples of taking advantage of the moment. ABC Network unfortunately failed to win by having their live stream on mobile devices not working. I was one of those who watched the Red Carpet behind the scenes live stream on my tablet via the ABC app. About 30 minutes before the Oscars the stream stopped. I tried numerous times to reconnect and quickly realized from other people on Twitter that this wasn’t a single problem but common to others. The live stream didn’t work throughout the night.

The winning brands had the common thread of making sure that they not only paid for traditional advertising but had ongoing social and digital integration throughout thenight. A few key insights that I noticed to improve second screen first strategy is:

1. Ensure traditional media has clear tie to experiential social.

Samsung won the night with social conversation by a smart product placement of their new Galaxy devices and capturing the keywords “selfie”, “oscars” and “samsung galaxy”. Per a quick Topsy report, their mentions were all in the millions. However, how did that translate to the 90 second TV spot of “You Need To See This”. Currently, it has under 50,000 Youtube organic views the day after the event when people are searching for context of buzz.

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There was no clear call to action on any of the TV spots (a total of 5 minutes worth of TV spots). If the objective of the marketing efforts was to be a part of the social consciousness during and after the moment, then it’s a win. If the goal was to get people talking about the Galaxy line of products or more directly the new Galaxy S 5 that was announced a few days ago. This fell through the noise.

2. Co-branding even if you’re not directly tied to the event.

What does Lipton Tea have to do with the red carpet? Nothing. However, when it is paired with conversational icons like the Muppets strutting their stuff on the red carpet and included in your TV ad buy. Lipton was now part of the story with the #BeMoreTea campaign. They also took advantage of some RTM with this post. One of the few examples of this working in contest of their effort.

Of course other brands tried to take advantage of Real Time Marketing with tweets that had nothing to do with the night and Denny’s didn’t fail to deliver a bad example by sharing this tweet.

At this point, as a brand why even bother? If you have a reason to engage with other efforts around an event then plan ahead and have a seat at the table. Don’t just barge in. It’s rude.

3. Quality vs Quantity engagement.

JCPenny had an innovative approach with Vine videos. If their objective was to engage directly with their existing customers and fan base then it seemed to have worked by extending the content into Twitter where they currently have almost 300,000 followers.

They engaged people via Vine and their “#GoldenMoment” contest. They received many entries via Vine however with minimal revines and likes. I’ve yet to see a successful video UGC contest that successfully acquires mass submissions due to the fact that there are so many barriers to entry. In the case of JCPenny you had to be a fan of their Twitter profile, have the Vine app, and the time to take a take video and post.

Within social engagements, finding the sweet spot of quality vs. quantity should always be the focus.

To wrap things up, it was refreshing to see that more and more socially driven advertisers are recognizing the need to think beyond traditional advertising and create unique second screen experiences while there is still opportunity to innovate and create unique moments for consumers to engage.

What was your favorite moment of the Oscars that you felt helped amplify traditional advertising?

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Road To The Social Media Super Bowl

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Photo courtesy of themorrisonla.com

There is rarely a moment in our lives where you plan for success and when the moment arrives, it succeeds beyond your wildest dreams and prayers.

That moment happened during Super Bowl XLVIII when I had the honor to partake in a campaign launch with a group of wickedly talented and passionate marketers when our RadioShack Super Bowl commercial debuted to over 111.5 Million people on national TV and then immediately following up with a multi-channel marketing campaign driven by social media conversation.

Outside of a small group of people that worked directly on the TV commercial and supporting the campaign, it was shock and awe. It was the moment where we wanted to reintroduce RadioShack on the grandest stage possible. It was the moment where we wanted to have everyone hear “The Phone Call”.

We were one of 30 other brands that had a TV Commercial during the Super Bowl. We all wanted to win the moment. However, no one knew that RadioShack was going to have a commercial during the Super Bowl. We weren’t going to release a “teaser” or “trailer” video. There was no “coming 2.2.14” website. We were not only underdogs, but underdogs that no one expected to be at the party. We had to stand out. Not only stand out, but chart a solid game plan to strategically capture the moment and fuel it not by our own words, but by the words of those watching on the “second screen”. Which in 2014 starts and ends with Twitter, Youtube, Facebook, Reddit, Instagram, Forums, and anywhere else someone can share and call out what resonated with them from the TV commercial.

There was a lot of emotion and anticipation from all of us who worked on the campaign. We had crafted a strategy and planned a road to our Super Bowl moment.

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RadioShack Temp Social Command Center

The moment came on Sunday February 2, 2014 approximately at 6:19 PM CST. Those of us that had the responsibility to introduce the TV commercial to the digital world were ready. All 15 of us in the Digital Command Center near downtown Dallas and many more that dialed in. Our goal was to go live online in 30 seconds. This was the exact time of the commercial. That was the moment that we had the attention of the world. It was the moment we were going to fan the spark and turn it into a flame.

It happened. We did it together.

The tweets and social mentions began to pour in. From existing fans, new fans, celebrities, media and people that in the past had forgotten RadioShack. Within the first 30 minutes we had a 90+% positive mentions online according to Topsy.com

We were getting close to the end of Super Bowl XLVIII and we saw that AdAgepublished this headline: “In Shocking Upset, RadioShack Wins the Super Bowl“.

In that moment we knew that the road we had planned and executed came together and over delivered beyond what we could have anticipated.  CNN named RadioShack as one of the Top 10 Social Media moments of the Super Bowl.

Nielsen Most Liked Super Bowl Commercial

Nielsen Most Liked Super Bowl Commercial

Nielsen Most Liked Super Bowl Commercial

The Adobe Digital Index measured all 30 Super Bowl advertisers and out of all ads RadioShack was the social media winner with 22x increase in online mentions.

From a financial standpoint the nextday on Monday, despite the DOW falling over 320 points, the Wall Street Journal published the headline: “Super Bowl Advertising Apparently Works: RadioShack Shares Jump“.

We continued to fuel the social media conversation and even after 3 days Nielsen published results that RadioShack was the Nr. 1 Most Liked Commercial of Super Bowl XLVIII.

This road had certain key elements that helped define that moment. It was our road to the social media Super Bowl.

I realize winning the social media moment on the grandest stage of the Super Bowl is not something that happens every day. As marketers in various business verticals we each have our moment that we want to seize. What worked for us is a solid road map to enable that moment. Some practical key takeaways that helped ensure a solid road map to that success are listed below.

I will use football analogies to tie into the Super Bowl moment.

1. Watch The Tape:

We started weeks in advance in preparing for the moment. Once we knew that we would have a TV commercial and creative was approved, we moved to make sure Twitter was the main point of conversation. We went back and forth in brainstorms and POV’s if we should use a hashtag, website URL, or something else. The trend was to have a hashtag at the end of the spot. This was true since 57% of advertisers in 2014 had a hashtag at end of their commercial. From an objective standpoint we wanted to drive directly to Twitter and be able to adjust the conversation according to what evolved once the spot aired. Having a permanent hashtag in paid media becomes a huge risk in the case of the conversation turning negative. Allowing the viewer to go to our Twitter @RadioShack profile provided us an opportunity to introduce them to the extended conversation.

2. Have Multiple Plays in the Game Plan

In order to be ready for a social media moment, we not only had to have the execution plan in a step by step checklist, we needed to think through and have a response for, real time marketing opportunities, a crisis situation, weather conditions, and multiple other real world scenarios.

3. Assemble the Team

Currently our RadioShack social media marketing team consists of only 3 people. In order to support a surge in mentions and engagements, we not only needed additional community managers but creative designers, copywriters, PR support, paid media, search, SEO, and integrated marketing and agency leads. In order for social media to work, we needed to be integrated throughout the entire digital journey on the second screen with a common message.

4. Practice. Who Needs Practice?

We did. You do. Once we had our plan in place and checklist identified, we had a goal. We needed to launch the multi-channel digital and social experience within 30 seconds. The exact time the spot was shown and when people were going to go online and engage. Anything less than 30 seconds was a failure to the second screen engagement. When we were in our Digital Command Center, the message was clear since we didn’t know the exact time the spot air. We needed to be hyper ready. We had 5 seconds to freak out that the spot aired and 25 seconds to execute. No one left their position. Everyone had their browser tabs open. We rehearsed this multiple times with a stop watch. After several tries, our best time was under 30 seconds.

5. Execute Key Play Flawlessly.

When the spot aired earlier than expected toward the end of the 1st Quarter of the game, we are ready. The signal was given and in 30 seconds all 15 of us in the Digital Command Center went live. We checked and double checked each channel for any issues. One by one we checked off every person as the shouted that they completed their role. This flawless execution cannot go unmentioned. It was the moment that we had planned, rehearsed, and lost sleep over for the previous weeks. Once we were live we weren’t done. We needed to continue to push the pedal. We were now on our road to winning the Super Bowl of marketing and we needed to fuel the conversation and capture the moment.

6. Run and Gun Offense.

Our social efforts were to use iconic 80’s products as symbolic prize giveaways to our fans. We wanted to have multiple products from the 80’s that spoke to different niche communities. In a social media strategy, many times the tactics only speak to one audience. By providing a variety of opportunities to engage it helped us be relevant not only during the Super Bowl but for the next 24 hours when the Super Bowl conversation continued. We were there. We were on offense and continuing to create and drive engagements. It wasn’t only for that moment but beyond. We were running with every new product that was revealed. Promoting key content that was trending to shoot through every opportunity.

 7. Post-Game Huddle

In the moment after a win, take the time to celebrate. We celebrated as a team but quickly huddled to make sure we didn’t become complacent. As the conversation swelled, we looked at our data and reports to adjust our efforts according to what was trending. This way we continued to stay relevant and react to ensure the engagements continued. Each stakeholder in a consistent pre-communicated timing shared reporting of performance and optimization insights. We looked at our benchmarks and reported each KPI to key stakeholders.

To wrap things up, these 7 steps helped us on our road to the social media Super Bowl, it was a great win but it is only the start of our efforts at RadioShack to turn around our overall business and help RadioShack become relevant and a destination once again as it once was. There is a solid Executive leadership in place that is focused, determined, passionate and is an inspiration.

As we move forward to the next chapter, it’s amazing to see how Social @RadioShack has evolved over the years and big wins like the Super Bowl and smaller wins that help drive our business are critical to each step.

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Debunk Social Media Retail and Sales

post10aSince joining RadioShack 1 year ago today, I’ve been fortunate to work with amazing and hard-working talent that truly embodies the American spirit. As a Social Media practice, we’ve had some great success over the past year and modestly beginning to see our efforts bare fruit. Which leads me to some fundamental success metrics that I’ve championed since joining here at RadioShack.

When I was at an agency and then a brand like Samsung Mobile, I didn’t have the luxury of being able to directly attribute some basic e-commerce success metrics in order to tell the sales effectiveness of Social Media. I had some formulas and was able to proxy sales results, but I wasn’t convinced it was telling the exact story. I was reserved to what the client told me as the final results or reporting of brand metrics and market-share big sky numbers.

Within our Social Media Practice at RadioShack we began setting up a weekly reporting cadence where we looked at always-on metrics such as our Social Channel Health metrics around growth, engagement, click-thru’s, SOV, sentiment, etc. However, what we have been working hard on is understanding how Social Media directly impacts the unicorn of driving direct traffic and sales.

Granted, Social Media at it’s core is not a push, push, sell, sell. It is a long term meaningful relationship that you build with your fans, advocates, and customers. However, those fans and customers follow us because they have either purchased something from us in-store, online or will do so. Therefore, at appropriate times we’ve tested being able to provide offers and discounts that directly help us attribute sales and traffic for our Social Media efforts. So we are driving to make Social Media a money maker and not a money spender.

Make Social Media a money maker and not a money spender.

According to a recent study by Monetate, social is far behind in traditional website traffic vs. conversion numbers, I think it’s the wrong angle to view success.

Traffic Source Data Q4 2012

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Conversion Rate Data Q4 2012

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I saw it as the wrong angle because the above charts showcases social through the lens of traditional e-commerce where social media success is scored based on source of traffic vs action from that source of traffic. I challenge why do we need to drive directly to a website when the reward of an offer, discount, or meaningful product is available within the source itself?

In other words traffic should be driven directly to  a social media platform source. We see the conversion rates increasing to nearly 1% in Q4 2012.

A Social Offer You Cannot Refuse

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facebook.com/RadioShack

We tested this approach by leveraging an ad product from Facebook called Facebook Offers. By having the offer available around the correct context for our fans, the offers were seen as rewards and therefore we saw an enormous success in claims of the offer, in-store redemption  and more importantly the average ticket price significantly increased because we had created that relationship with the social fan and the right moment arrived to shop with us.

This is just one tactic that we’ve seen great success with over the course of the past few months that I wanted to share in order to begin to crack the myth that Social Media + Retail + Sales attribution is hard to demonstrate.

Let’s break it down:

  1. Focus on Relationships to Earn the Trust

Over the course of the past year we focused on growing our social fan base and building relationships with our fans by daily listening, engaging, and monitoring needs that we saw based on their feedback of store experience, products purchased, service inquires, etc. Our fans knew that when they engaged with us we were listening.

  1. Focus on Content to Build Long Term Attention

During a span of a few months as a brand we overhauled our content that was shared on our Facebook timeline. We were very strategic in the content that was posted to find a right balance between what is needed by the business, culturally relevant moments that fans could rally behind and some fun content that was easy to engage with. Majority of our content was planned well ahead of posting to ensure it was posted at the right day and right time for maximum visibility. It sounds like Social Media 101, but honestly I’m always surprised at how many companies both large and small still don’t plan their content out in this way.

  1. Find the Right Offer

The question in the beginning was; “what kind of offer should we provide that would resonate”? We studied previous offers that we shared within digital and in other marketing channels and we tested a few options and saw our $10 off $40 as a great long term reward for our fans. The sales ticket value was large enough to allow them to truly experience the large assortment of products that RadioShack provides. We continue to look at our performance data to understand the duration of the offer and at what points in time should the offer be available.

  1. Reward Fans with a Reason To Shop

We saw a significant increase in the average ticket sale due to the fact that when the moment came to ask our fans to come into our stores and shop with us, it was a moment of reward. The offer was exclusive to our Facebook fans. You needed to be our fan and you received an exclusive code only for you. We wanted to give a special gift not only to our fans but being a friend of RadioShack. Real friends invest more in a relationship.

Real friends invest more in a relationship.

All in all is that this process continues to be a learning experience for us and  each brand will need to understand their customer and shopping behaviors not only traditionally but via social before fully going all-in. The end result is that we are beginning to debunk the fact that Social Media not only is it an immense opportunity to build long lasting relationship and engagement with your customers and fans, but it is a money maker.

Is there a social media sales success story that you have?

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The Real Like of Social Media

So why is this blog titled “Real+Like”?

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As I begin to evolve this blog and keep it true to it’s purpose I want to highlight the meaning behind the title of this blog. Earlier I wrote about the “Death of the Blog” in which I wrote how the blog in it’s essence seems to be dead. There are blogs few and far between that are true to the nature of what an original blog was intended to be. Well, I thought long and hard about the title of this blog to make sure it doesn’t bypass my conviction.

I decided to title it “Real+Like” as I wanted to emphasize the reality that in terms of the online world the word “Like” seems to be ubiquitous and almost to a point, it has lost its value.

When I “like” something in the real world I genuinely have an appreciation for that person or object. Within online and social media this word now should have the same association but in reality it has been cheapened to a currency that depending on the value that the website, Facebook fan page, or item represents it may or may not be valuable at all.

What I want to stand up for with this blog is for it to be a place where the “real like” has value. I want to cover things that are mostly professional in nature to social media, marketing, and advertising in which I am mostly involved with currently. At the same time, still allow some room to share my thoughts on personal admiration for thoughts, ideas, art, and culture.

So when I “like” something, it will have value to myself and hopefully to you as well.

Do you feel the value of a “Like” has diminished?

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Keep Social Media Rudimentary

post5aThis year marks my 10 year anniversary in managing some form of social media. How do I have 10 years experience in a “new” online medium like social media? Well, my first foray into community management was in 2002 when I began an online community forum for ethnic Romanian youth. It was a community that I grew from 1 person to over 30,000 members within 4 years. I trace this experience as my first experience in starting, building, maintaining and growing a social media community. How was it social media? Well on a daily basis members were growing, engaging, commenting, sharing, uploading and even “connecting” which was the tag line of the community.

Then MySpace began growing in 2006-7 and eventually Facebook in 2008-9 and the community began to dwindle to a point of an online ghost town of the Old West.

Out of this experience I learned a key valuable lesson that has following me through my professional career in making a living in leading and directing social media practice for large corporations. As big or little as your community is or as small or large as your budget for social media may be, one thing is key. We need to keep Social Media Rudimentary.

What is Rudimentary Social Media?

Social media at the core is about sparking relationships, building trust, and nurturing conversation. Let’s go ahead and break up these 3 key principles and distinguish between them so we can keep social media rudimentary.

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1. Sparking Relationships

One of the primary elements of social media is sparking relationships. A relationship is something that needs a spark. It does not start without that first approach. That moment when someone has the courage to approach someone and say, Hi! However, social media and the autonomy that it can bring makes that first approach in a relationship even more important.

How many times can you count when someone on Twitter sent you a random tweet that had nothing to do with you? You instantly characterize that person as either a spammer or nuisance.

That is why it is critical that when you spark a relationship via social media it is done the way it was intended to be. You notice someone and have an interest in connecting with that person. You look for the opportunity to approach that person and introduce yourself hopefully with something that you have in common or share interests. Once the opportunity arises you nudge that person or share a thought or comment in order to show who you are.

Once that spark is created in an authentic way, the relationship may begin if there is a mutual respect for one another. Many people within social media try to make it so complex and strategic. Keep it simple. Think of the other person first.

2. Building Trust

Trust is something that takes a long time to build and within an instant it can be lost. Once you have sparked the relationship it takes time to build trust. Perhaps it is consistently encouraging or engaging that person with your thoughts and comments. Better yet, you are able to meet the person in real life to build the human capital necessary to  deepen the relationship.

In social media trust is not built on someone liking a post, leaving a comment, or sharing an image with you or your brand. Trust is built with time. If we take a deep look into how social media is used today, very few people can say they trust another person or brand online. Build a solid foundation and you will have long lasting trust.

3. Nurturing Conversation

Once you have sparked the relationship and are building trust there begins to be a moment with conversation becomes routine or worst yet, you know each other so much that conversation evaporates or worse is a tendency to move on to the next great thing.  At this point is where the conversation needs to be nurtured. In other words, provide new insights and thoughts. Provide opportunity for things that haven’t been experienced before. Topics that are fresh or current.

With social media being a medium that changes so quickly and relationships are beyond over compulsive with a 140 character limit and short exchanges of ideas, this final step of nurturing the conversation is where authenticity is truly tested.

As social media continues to mature and become more and more ingrained within our culture, people and brands that will evolve to effectively leverage social media will understand the importance of these 3 principles and the dire need to keep social media rudimentary.

Have you over complicated social media? How else can we keep social media rudimentary?

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