COMM0015 Assignment #5 Event Participation Election 2014 Behind the Scenes – Alan Gilday

Social Media Club of Niagara

Seminar: Behind the Social Media Scenes – Election 2014

Date: November 18, 2014

Video Link:

I had been a member of the Social Media Club of Niagara for about a year but I never attended any of their events. The events were always on a Thursday when I attend my Toastmasters meeting or I wasn’t interested in the topic.

Then I got the opportunity to attend an event which would allow me to see Social Media techniques in action and I signed up immediately.

Networking Opportunity?

There wasn’t really an opportunity to network with anyone at this event. We were greeted and seated as we came in. One of the club officers introduced Robin McPherson and Janice Arnoldi from Arnoldi-McPherson Digital Communications and they began their presentation.

The firm was hired by Walter Sendzik, a mayoral candidate in the municipal election. Walter was president of the St. Catharines Chamber of Commerce and was well known in the business community but virtually unknown everywhere else. Needless to say, the team had their work cut out for them.

What Did I Learn from the Event?

I enjoyed learning the details of the campaign. I found the whole process fascinating. The team provided a number of tips. I had no idea you can “boost” Facebook posts.

The team started by developing an overview of what Walter’s campaign would be.

They looked at other successful campaigns and decided to use Facebook and Twitter as their main social media tools.

Their biggest challenge – build recognition for Walter outside the business world.

They started by releasing a series of Who is Walter photos which were photos of Walter doing work in the community.

He already had 2,500 followers on his Twitter feed. Walter handled the tweets himself while the team handled the website, Facebook page and YouTube videos.

From July to August, the campaign focused on who Walter was as a person. The campaign was very positive from the start.

The team launched the website, Facebook page and Twitter feed at the same time. Immediately, there were 300 followers.

Facebook ads were purchased for two week periods encouraging people to “like” his page. As the campaign progressed, people were encouraged to share the page.

They also “boosted” Facebook posts for 24-hour periods to increase their impact.

A total of 10 two-minute videos were released, each covering a different topic. They were shared on both Twitter and Facebook. Each of the videos were unscripted and were seen by at least 200 viewers.

The team didn’t rely on traditional media coverage. They covered the events themselves and got their messages out.

The results:

53 per cent engagement rate

Total Reach July-Oct. 27 – 274,900 people

When combined with Twitter, the number of impressions were 2 million.

They paid for 286,000 impressions, the rest was organic.

Advocates who believed in Walter as a candidate were more important than influencers with 5,000 followers.

Quotable Quotes

“With only a four month campaign, we were basically flying by the seat of our pants, ” said Robin McPherson. “When it came to dealing with negative comments – there will always be trolls and you don’t want to feed the trolls.”

“Social Media doesn’t really get to sit at the big table,” said Janice Arnoldi. “Normally, decisions are made and then Social Media is brought in.”

Would I Attend Again?

I would definitely attend future Social Media Club events. However, only if I think I’ll get some valuable information from the event.

About a year ago, the club hosted a seminar on How to Protect Your Children from Danger on the Internet. I don’t have any children so I had no interest in the topic.


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