Thanks to everyone that voted in this (first) week's poll question about what type of content you wanted to see on The Viral Garden. You said that you want to see more social media case studies, and advanced social media strategies. Here's the final results:
Social Media case studies - 42.9%
Advanced social media strategies - 28.6%
Social media 101, help! - 14.3%
Blogging 101, help! - 7.1%
Less social media, more marketing - 7.1%
So taking these results into consideration, I'll try to put more of a focus on case studies and advanced strategies from this point forward, starting with the results of Sea World San Antonio's social media campaign to create excitement for their new roller-coaster.
And here is this week's poll question:
"Which social media site/tool is the best for conversations?"
And your options are:
1 - Twitter
2 - Friendfeed
3 - Plurk
4 - Blogs
I'll run this question till next Sunday, and post the results then. Thanks again to everyone that voted in last week's poll!
Now, for the promised social media case study:
Sea World San Antonio worked with Kami Huyse to create a campaign to boost awareness for the water park's Journey to Atlantis roller coaster. Kami utilized social media to create buzz for the ride, including reaching out to bloggers in the coaster community (yes, apparently there is a group of bloggers that are passionate about roller coasters), as well as creating videos and pictures of the ride. In the comments section here, Kami claims the campaign (entirely social media) drove 200,000 visitors to the park in 2 months, and had a cost of 22 cents per impression, vs $1.00 per for an advertising.
Three things I love about this campaign:
1 - Sea World and Kami got the coaster evangelists involved. And more specifically, the blogging coaster evangelists. They brought them in and let them see the ride, ride the coaster, and created content specifically for them. This is an excellent example of targetting your influencers.
2 - They did #1 as a way to get a relationship STARTED with the coaster community. How many times have I said that companies need to find their evangelists online, and reach out to them? This is exactly what Sea World did, and by reaching out to these fans, they have now created the foundation for a relationship that can benefit both groups from now on.
3 - It got a very prominent blogger, Shel Israel, and Fast Company TV involved. Shel came down to Sea World San Antonio to interview the park as well as Kami about the campaign. This was a very smart move, because it gives social media bloggers a reason to get excited about the campaign. And yes, I am a bit embarassed to admit that I hadn't heard of this earlier.
Here's where Kami gives an overview of the campaign last year, and here's her recap from a couple of months ago. Also, here's the interview that Shel did with Kami for Fast Company TV, a recap from Jeremiah, and a post containing some (misguided?) criticism of the campaign's reported results. Great stuff and a great example of utilizing social media in an awareness campaign.
Pic via PRNewswire.com
Great stuff, Mack. Like you have to ask about the conversations? (LOL)
More companies should follow Sea World's lead. Was very shrewd of them.
Mack, Excellent Post, Thank You, In a small local business setting, how do you determine the number of influencers required for a campaign? It is somewhat clear who the influencers are, just by watching and listening. We have recently started “Looking Within” to our existing Resident Base, to foster rentals, and Create Customer Evangelists. We have a Resident Referral program, and one specific resident has gotten three net rentals for us, which makes your point, what if we focused much more of our Marketing and Branding resources directed internally on our existing Resident Base, what would you have to do to become self sustainable, meaning your customer, in our case the residents did most of the rentals through referrals, it seems that the resources are really leveraged then, We have done more to enhance the existing customer/residents experience, thus they are happier and they are promoting the product, just how many of them would you need to not have to look outward for business
Great to see the results of your first poll. This seems to point out that people are really looking for expertise on social media. I can't wait to see the case studies, thank you for asking.
Regarding Poll 2... you place us in front of a difficult choice, the "nature of conversation" being IMHO very influential on choosing one of these site/tools. Then, there is probably also a lot of complementarity between them.
Should conversations be better on 1 tool/website? I see conversations on them, through them, across them, between them, about them, around them... which makes it complicated to isolate one out of the panel without specific context. Who is talking? Who is listening? Why? (intentions), etc.
Great post. I love finding examples of social media in action.
I can only imagine the thousands of visitors with digital cameras, video cameras and a whole lot of excitement going through the gates every day.
Thanks for the post!
"In a small local business setting, how do you determine the number of influencers required for a campaign?"
Eric that is a GREAT question. And it's also hard to answer because it depends, IMO, on the reach of the influencers, and how engaged their audience is.
I also think that for a smaller business, with limited promotional funds, that it makes more sense to concentrate on your existing customers, as you are doing. Excite your current customers and let them do the work for you.
Luc it's interesting to think about which site/tool is best for conversations. For my money, Plurk is best for 'real-time' conversations, and blogs might be better for deeper conversations, since people have more time to digest everything everyone says. Or maybe not.
You didn't give this as a choice, but the properties you mentioned are really only great conversation starters. The real stuff happens offline. That said, I find a Facebook message "between you and X, y, Z" to be some of the best social media conversations I have had.
Thanks for covering the case study.
Mack - fabulous, as always. Great case studies like Kami's will continue to give SM credibility and a strong foothold in the marketing world. Thanks for taking the time to distill this down and share it.
All for different types of conversation depending on your tastes.
It's clear though that there is a separation occurring in the micro bloging space between the tech and socmed leaders and the early adopter regular users.
In terms of ranking the options I'd say:
Plurk for quick, fun and sometimes informative conversation, Blogs for something deeper and Twitter for specific broadcast items. Friendfeed does absolutely nothing for me.
Mack, I really appreciated this case study. I am always excited to see companies embrace and employ social media in their marketing arsenal. Social media is not a magic bullet but I wholeheartedly support adding it to the toolkit. I find the negative comments interesting. Are we to abandon approaches simply because we cannot precisely measure them? There are many facets of marketing which do not provide a 1 to 1 return (i.e. viral marketing, trade shows). Kudos to SeaWorld for their forward thinking and for sharing the data with others.
Here's another way to increase the value of these case studies: We offer a free version of our social media monitoring and analysis tool. You can use it to track conversations about an initiative like this across blogs, wikis, forums, microblogs (Twitter and Plurk, etc), YouTube, Flickr, social networks, etc. The data is historic so you can see how this unfolded as the campaign unfolded.
Thanks Mack! I'm a new reader and I really appreciate case studies that help make a case for social media applications in our marketing campaigns.
mack, I like how you demonstrated each action building on the other. Did Shel Israel learn about the Coaster through social media, or did Kami pitch it to him? If social media was it through a blog, online community, or app like Facebook?
Thanks and keep 'em coming!
@ican'tkeepup The answer to your question is complicated. I didn't pitch the roller coaster campaign to him as an idea for Global Neighbourhoods, he came up with that himself, but I did keep him up-to-date on what I was doing on that front. Mostly because I consider him a mentor. I was honored he chose to cover it.
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