Social Media – Strong and Weak Organizations
My teen-aged children do not watch TV. They do not read newspapers or magazines. They do not listen to the Radio. Don Draper’s tools no longer work in today’s society. My children are exceptionally well informed and they are savvy consumers. In order to be successful in today’s marketplace the business or organization needs to meet the consumer where they live. If your target audience is younger then this likely means capitalizing on Instagram, YouTube, or Vine. If your audience is older then you likely have to meet them on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.
Two Successful Social Media Campaigns
Michael’s – The Arts and Craft Store: Michael’s Stores are located in both Canada and the United States. They are a publicly traded company currently worth 4.21 Billion USD. Their clientele runs from the very young to the very old and they have an impressive Social Media presence. Because they know their customer base demographic, they have targeted all mainstream social media platforms. While they are not on Vine, they do have a presence on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn.
Crafting appeals to me because it is something that I have always loved, Michael’s makes it easy. They deposit creative ideas on my Facebook news feed and they make these ideas appealing because they provide pictures and videos explaining just how easy the project is to do. They have almost 26,000 pins on Pinterest making projects accessible, searchable and exciting. They are good at promoting engagement as all of these posts are highly shareable within the crafting community. Their mobile content is excellent and includes an app available for download that delivers a 40% off coupon directly to your phone that is scannable when you purchase your crafty goods. They even include WiFi in their stores so that you can access their mobile content. I believe that Michael’s commitment and investment in Social Media has contributed greatly to their success.
Guiding Mosaic 2016: Guiding Mosaic was a massive Girl Guides of Canada event that took place this past summer. These events only occur every 7 or 8 years and because of this it will occur only once during a girl’s guiding career. The excitement and build up for this camp is hard to explain. Billed as a ‘Once in a Lifetime Event’, almost 3000 girls spent two years fund raising with cookies, bottle drives, tee-shirts and other creative ideas to raise the money to go to Sylvan Lake, Alberta for 10 days in July. My interest in this group is because my own daughter was one of those girls. While this non profit, largely volunteer group did not have the same Social Media presence that Michael’s did, they did an amazing job with the resources that were available to them.
Because it was such a long process leading up to the camp (involving cases upon cases of tedious girl guide cookie sales) they were able to maintain excitement by involving the girls themselves. They had a presence on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Flikr, Instagram and YouTube. They maximized engagement by involving the girls throughout the two year lead-up. Girls were uploading content from around the country that included Camp Songs tutorials, craft swaps, and instructions on how to pack the perfect camp ruck sack. As the camp got closer they awarded points for pictures of the girls packing with a hashtag #guidingmosaic, this encouraged further engagement. Their website was mobile enhanced so it was easy as a parent to visit the site and see what they were doing each day. Finally they showcased the kids and staff. The camp is now four months past and they are still uploading pictures to “Maintain the Awesome!”
A Weak Social Media Campaign
DND/CF Ombudsman: The office of the Ombudsman is a place where the Canadian defense community can go for help. They are outside of the chain of command and have direct access to the Minister of National Defense to make recommendations based on the feedback that they get from the people they serve. This organization is important to me as I am a passionate part of that community.
Because they are a community-driven organization I believe that they could greatly benefit from a comprehensive overhaul of their existing Social Media presence. They currently utilize Twitter and You-Tube. Their Twitter feed is amazing. They publish great content several times per week, and have just over 2000 followers. Their YouTube Channel has only 3 followers and content is sparse.
In the Social Media Examiner article that was assigned in lesson 3 of this course, Phil Mershon discusses how to best promote your organization. A big part of this is increasing engagement and social sharing. This is the perfect solution for this organization, particularly since the Ombudsman’s mandate is to understand and advocate for issues that affect the military. While the twitter feed of DND/CF Ombudsman office is a great start, it wouldn’t take much to enhance this by expanding to further platforms. They are already spending the time and energy to create and share relivant content. As discussed earlier it is important to understand your audience and go to them, not expect them to come to you. Within the military, people find support and community on Facebook because they are seldom near family. Each base has multiple Facebook communities and there are several national groups that contain thousands of people. This is where the Ombudsman’s office needs to live. With a simple expansion to Facebook alone they can ask questions, share resources, and listen to issues of the community that they serve – a community that is already motivated to engage.
Summary – Social Media is not just useful in a business, profit environment. While Michael’s demonstrates that a huge budget and marketing campaign can be highly successful I also believe that Social Media is the way forward for non-profit and government organizations to engage with the people they seek to serve.