As I shared with the class, I worked at a large highly visible firm that leveraged their corporate social accounts. As part of my role, I had the privilege to work on a major sports sponsorship activation from 2010 to 2017. Certainly, the rising influence and importance of social media in our planning and execution efforts grew exponentially in that time frame. I will share four lessons I learned throughout the experience:
- This may sound obvious, but make the time to develop relationships with the social teams of other brands, influencers and leaders. In pre-planning the culminating event or content, discuss the approval process for posts, suggested copy inclusive of hashtags. If there is a speaking program, a prep call may take place and the figure head often has a social media staff not on the call. It is important to coordinate the digital effort, often still an extra step for PR soldiers built pre-2007.
- Hashtags are the threads, digital crumbs and puzzle pieces connecting an experience or narrative. The longer the hashtag, the less likely your audience will spend the lengthy letters to include it on posts. If possible, pick a short hashtag. Do your best to use it for even longer than it feels reasonable. Often, we have a desire be fresh, relevant and of the moment. In this constantly evolving environment, things feel stale when you are on the activation side very quickly. But, resist the urge to constantly reinvent the hashtag for every campaign. I found it takes a long time to create deep positive associations with brands in a noisy digital world. The point of social is to engage customers, future customers, employees, future employees, shareholders, community and whoever else is important to your organization. Make owning the conversation with your audiences easier to follow by keeping some elements consistent.
- Everywhere means everywhere… use the campaign hashtag in the headline of all press releases, signage, video recaps, mastheads and digital banners. Bigger font size for the hashtag is the new ” can we make the logo bigger”.
- The better performing posts are seldom free. Even a small media buying budget goes a long way. I was always shocked at how different the analytics were for organic posts versus paid posts. If you want to increase visibility, traffic and engagement, followers, then supporting the posts should not be debated.
Now that we covered some tactical elements, let’s review a case study on how to integrate the moving pieces. My favorite example of a brand leveraging social media effectively across the “old” and “new” channels is the P&G campaign “#LikeaGirl” for Always. The brand pre-seeded the video created by Lauren Greenfield, a documentary film director, by sending it to various influencers and celebrities, inclusive of Vanessa Hudgens and Bella Thorne. The brand also alerted traditional media outlets to gain earned media coverage. The video was unveiled on the Always Youtube site. The #Likeagirl conversation grew online with organic support from Maria Shriver, Chelsea Clinton and Melinda Gates and many more. The premise of the campaign was to reposition a derogatory phrase that underscored unsettling data insights about attitude changes of lower confidence for young girls. The support for #Likeagirl was so positive that P&G gave the campaign a larger platform with a super bowl ad that amplified #Likeagirl. According to the Institute for PR, “#LikeAGirl dominated the news cycle with 4.64 billion online impressions and 1,623 overwhelmingly positive placements, trending nationally on Twitter and Facebook (over 4x longer than the next-closest ad/brand) with 1.1 billion social impressions & 597,261 #LikeAGirl mentions, including over 150 organic tweets from influential leaders, actors, singers, athletes & activists.” One important analog improvement to note is, “Prior to watching the film, just 19% of 16-24s had a positive association toward ‘like a girl’. After watching, however, 76% said they no longer saw the phrase negatively.”
See for yourself…