Justin Bieber, Shark Week and Friending the IRS: BlogwellDC Wrap-Up

Carolyn Pierce

Category: Strategy


Raise your hand if you’re a friend of the IRS on Facebook. Yes? That makes you one of 291 fans of the most hated government entity around. While the IRS isn’t really that terrifying [so long as you’re paying your taxes – we’re looking at you, Wesley Snipes], social media can be, for the uninitiated.

NJI Media attended the SocialMedia.org BlogWell conference, hosted at USAToday, where nearly 300 social media experts gathered for sessions on best practices and case studies of how big brands use social media. National – and international brands – like Delta, Discovery Communications and yes, even the IRS – use social media to reach consumers and create personal connections.

How can your business – large or small – create connections with your consumers?

Simplicity is key. USAToday’s charity contest in March 2010, #AmericaWants, gave a full-page ad for free to the charity who had the most tweets over a long weekend. How did the contest become so successful they kicked Justin Bieber off of the national trending topics? They kept it simple: using Twitter created a low barrier of entry. The original tweet was short to allow for lengthier retweets, and most importantly, the contest itself was simple: everyone has a cause, and everyone has a charity. Twitter’s ease of use, and democratic “fair play” [as opposed to Facebook fandom, one tweet always equals one tweet] and keeping the contest to a short timeframe resulted in more than 60,000 mentions in just four days, 500 charities, and three trending topic top ten hits.

Define your lanes, even when they collide. Delta Airlines realized early-on that they needed two separate Twitter accounts: corporate and customer service. @DeltaAssist kicked off in May 2010 with a mere four employees working five days a week, eight hours a day. It became readily apparent that the customer services team needed to expand to handle the volume of requests. In just eight months, @DeltaAssist has more than 12,000 followers and is staffed by a dozen employees around the clock. Airplanes don’t stop flying at five pm, and Delta recognized bankers’ hours weren’t going to cut it. Delta’s social media team wasn’t afraid to cross lanes and adjust messaging.

Engage your influencers. Discovery Communications [the home of popular cable channels such as TLC, Discovery Channel, and Animal Planet, to name a few] doesn’t attempt to join all of its brands under one social channel. Each network has a specific brand and identity, as do their respective fans and followers. The Discovery Communications social team engages in communicating directly with fans as nimbly and strategically as possible: watching television has always been a social event; in fact, they reported that 86% of mobile internet users are using their devices while watching television. We’re not just talking about tv at the water cooler, we’re talking about tv while we’re watching. Discovery brands use custom hashtags – like #idiotabroad and #sharkweek – to drive viewership and spark conversation about their programming.

While the secret to social media success isn’t merely mastering these basics, it is about keeping it simple, and staying connected. Conversations are happening everywhere online and it’s up to you to navigate. Interested in learning more about how NJI Media can help drive the conversation? Contact us on Twitter, Facebook or just comment below. We’re looking forward to keeping the conversation going.

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