The ‘Social Media Research & Techniques’ course provided me with a lot of insight and ideas that I will be able to use not only in my professional life, but in the way I use the various platforms in my personal life as well.  I knew quite a bit about the popular platforms, but that course certainly helped fine-tune my approach, has made my posts more appealing, and helped adjust the way I interacted online.

For work we are in the process of revamping each of our existing websites and placing a focus on social media.  In the future we will be incorporating monthly blog posts (or eNewsletter) to discuss industry trends, product innovations, what is happening within our organization, and be used to help promote new products.  The main skill learned involved my approach to blogging will definitely help me condense content and write in a manner that may be more beneficial to the end goal.  I have the bad habit of elaborating on topics and this course taught me to produce a “less is more” approach to my writing style and make my posts more accessible to the reader.

The main skill I learned in class was how to utilize the various social media platforms in a more effective manner, especially in a business sense.  The course taught me that social media is not just one-way promotional tool and opened my eyes as to how to engage and interact the audience more effectively.  It has already proven effective with the approach that I am taking with my company’s social media efforts and has assisted in the way I interact with our followership.  I am now taking a more interactive and informative approach rather than just sending out one-sided messages.

The class also taught me how to work in groups on a virtual level, something I have not had a lot of experience with.  In the past (both professionally and in school) group projects were often done in a face-to-face environment, so the final assignment taught me how work within a team without actually sitting around the same desk; I’m sure an experience I will be able to build on in the future.

With social media becoming a more popular way that people are getting information, I’m looking forward to leading my company’s efforts and being on the forefront of the marketing tools available from Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and whatever other platforms prove beneficial in the future.  It is exciting being a part of the social media revolution and assisting my company’s efforts on being heavily active with the marketing capabilities available.

I am most exciting about utilizing YouTube in my future marketing initiatives for work and learning how to produce and promote those efforts.  We have a number of promotional ideas in mind and the video route is an avenue that we as an organization are very excited about.  We will be able to show people the numerous benefits of our various products, demonstrate installation techniques, promote our trade show efforts, and produce appealing videos to launch new products.

We live in an exciting time and I can’t wait to see where this social media revolution goes and how marketers use the tools available in the future.

Cinnamon Donut Review

Posted: June 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

The donut looks delicious….the smell is incredible and my mouth is watering with the thought of ingesting this Tim Horton’s delicacy.

It has been years since I have had a cinnamon donut, so this is kind of a big day for me….

It feels soft, almost as though it was recently made….although it is probably from the Timmie’s next to McMaster’s downtown campus where all the sketchy people hang out.

It tastes amazing….it’s like a burst of cinnamon drop kicking my taste buds….

I wish we were given two….or even three….The only way this donut could be any better is if they dipped in in chocolate!

Anyway, it’s hard to type with cinnamon powder on my fingers….my keyboard is a mess now….

The event did a great job at promoting their social media efforts, but there were things they could have done to make the campaign more successful.  My numbers indicate they only obtained 242 new Twitter followers from the event.  If they had promoted their Twitter campaign they could have increased their followership and expanded their social media campaign efforts.

The points below are based on what I saw before, during, and after the event; my opinions are my own for a class assignment and not a knock against the organization and the promotional efforts they have made.

Strengths:

  • Promoted the hashtag ‘#BSOMF’ on video screens to the left & right hand side of each stage within Spencer Smith Park.
  • Social media efforts promoted on their website and smartphone application.  Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and RSS icons demonstrated.

Smartphone Screen Capture

  • Twitter and Facebook accounts were active during the event.  They were retweeting, interacting with users, and a number of photos were uploaded to Facebook throughout the event.  They promoted smaller acts off of the main two stages, asked questions, and posted photos on both platforms.
  • Attractive and easy to navigate website promoted social media activity,  also  mentioned their social media efforts in the contact section.
  • The website had incredible content including artist information, a guest information area, a photo/video gallery, schedule, as well as information as to how to get involved.   The site also contained a media guide packed with information regarding the history of the festival and the business side of the event.
  • The blog section was updated with some consistency prior to the event.

Weaknesses:

  • Did not promote the hashtag ‘#BSOMF’ anywhere in Burlington’s downtown, I only saw the #BSOMF on the video screens.  Here is an example of what they could have done to utilize available marketing space and promote their social media campaign.

Example of what BSOMF could have done to utilize marketing potential

  • Being a main focal point as guests enter the event, social media efforts were not visible at the entrances to the festival.

  • Print materials did not include social media efforts.  Hand-outs incorporated a QR Code with the schedule, but they could have used them to also promote  their social media campaign.

  • Have videos available for Thursday through Saturday but never posted a Sunday (closing day) video showing a lack of consistency and a dedication to the YouTube portion of their campaign.  It would have been great to drive people back to the page after the event as well as for promotion of future events.
  • No event related blog posts before, during, or after the event.
  • Promoted the #BSOMF thread but didn’t promote the @BSOMF account.
  • They could have had brief video interview clips posted on Twitter prior to artists going on stage to promote their timeslots as well as interact with fans and visitors.  Something similar to this clip with USS from BSOMF 2010.
  • Have hosts between acts promote the social media efforts.  “We are live on Twitter”
  • “Photo of the Day” competition for all the main acts to increase numbers to main stages as well as engage Twitter followers.
  • Promote the hashtag ‘#BSOMF’ and @BSOMF account on all print material.
  • No cross reference between social media platforms to promote the other social media efforts.
  • Incorporate Twitter feed on to video screens to interact with visitors and engage the fans. 

  • Incorporate Facebook and Twitter feeds into the main webpage

Conclusion:

They did a great job with their social media efforts, had strong engagement, remained active, posted relevant content, and were highly interactive.  The main downside was in the promotion of their social media efforts/campaign, especially the promotion of the hashtag #BSOMF.

The event was a success and I look forward to next year!

#BSOMF2013

The Burlington Sound of Music Festival utilized social media in a number of ways and promoted those efforts on the main page of the event website.  They had links to their Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter accounts as well as a RSS feed to subscribe to.  Their social media efforts were also demonstrated on mobile device capabilities.

They were heavily focused on Facebook as their most active form of social media.  Throughout the event they were posting photos, discussing the event, interacting with fans, promoted acts prior to the event, and has remained active after the event.  They did a great job promoting the bands away from Spencer Smith Park compared to their efforts on Twitter.

Their Facebook account was created on June 26th, 2010 and since they have been consistently active and have 3,363 ‘Likes’ to date.  Engagement from others seems high with nearly every post having numerous likes, comments, and shares; even a lot of ‘likes’ on comments to posts and pictures showing a great amount of interaction. They have remained active after the event as well, today’s post was regarding feedback of the event and asking people their thoughts, a great way to utilize social media.

Sarah Slean – Burlington City Hall’s Courtyard 

Prior to the event by utilizing Twitter, @BSOMF did a great job of promoting artists that would be appearing at the festival.  When the event is not active they have done a great job promoting other events in Burlington/Halton and appear to have remained somewhat active.

Throughout the event they posted a number of photos, commented/promoted acts for the day, regularly retweeted posts, and interacted with local businesses as well.

BSOMF Tweets

The promoted hashtag for the event was #BSOMF and was displayed on the screens on each side of the stages within Spencer Smith Park.  Other hashtags found/used at the event also included #BSOMF2012 and #SoundOfMusicFest.

Tracking their numbers, on Thursday their account had 1,747 Tweets and 2,185 followers and by the end of the event they were sitting at 2,005 Tweets and had 2,427 followers.  It is a week after the festival and they are sitting at 2,040 tweets and 2,436 showing the end of the annual life cycle of their social media campaign.

Over the weekend of the event they were posting daily highlights through YouTube.  Their account has received a decent amount of views with the Thursday video receiving 1,665 views, Friday’s  with 1,293, and Saturday’s with 1,250.  Unfortunately they did not complete their YouTube efforts with a video from Sunday, but the approach and quality of the videos were great and would prove to be a valuable marketing tool in future efforts.

Throughout the event I was actively posting using the hashtags #SoundOfMusicFest, #BSOMF, #BurlON, #Burlington, & being that I was incorporating this event as part of my class project, #SMRTCCE;  I even got a retweet from the band Saint Alvia (@SaintAlvia) throughout the event.

Saint Alvia Retweet

Check out this video of Saint Alvia at Sound of Music

Many of the artists performing are heavily active on Twitter and also put on great sets at the festival.  Some of the standout acts this year included Carly Rae Jepsen <see video>, Walk Off The Earth <see video>, and Treble Charger’s biggest fan rocking out in the crowd.

Hopefully you were able to make it to this year’s Sound of Music Festival!

www.soundofmusic.ca

The Burlington Sound of Music festival is held every year in June on Father’s Day weekend around the waterfront and vibrant downtown Burlington.  The event features over 90 artists across 10 stages, the majority being Canadian acts with a large amount of local musicians performing.

The mission statement says “Burlington’s Sound of Music Festival is dedicated to providing a free, annual, summer music festival that appealing to audiences of all ages. Underlying the creation of the event is a celebration of music, the spirit of Burlington, the pride we have in our community, and the belief that music enhances life”.

Every year the event draws over 200,000 visitors to the city and assists in generating four million dollars in revenue for the local economy and provides the city approximately $465,000 in tax revenue.

This year’s Sound of Music Festival marks the 12th consecutive year that the festival made the list of the top 100 Festivals in Ontario.  Locals consider the event as a premier tourist attraction with 95% agreeing that the event conveys a positive impression of the region….and having beautiful Lake Ontario as the backdrop doesn’t hurt either.

The festival started in 1980 by director of Parks and Recreation, Laurie Branch as a family friendly event to showcase Burlington’s musical talent and promote the Burlington Teen Tour Band.  Over the years the event evolved to include a parade and is now a four day event.

In February of 1997 the festival became a not for profit organization called “Burlington’s Sound of Music Festival Inc.” run by various business, residents.  The event benefits from the volunteer efforts provided by over 700 volunteers, 100 of which provide their services year round on their board and committees.

The community involvement doesn’t just stop with the festival itself, the festival also operates year round promoting and improving access to the arts to children through the “Taking it to the Streets” free music education program.

The festival does a great job demonstrating the environmental awareness.  “Over 80% of waste is diverted from the landfill to composting and recycling by Simply Green volunteers at our onsite sorting station”.  In addition, every garbage can is accompanied by a recycle bin, a compost bin, and cup recycling tubes.

The objectives for the organization as stated in the media kit is:

  • Enhance the Arts and Culture opportunities available to people regardless of socio-economic status
  • Improve the community by creating a signature event that draws tourists, has significant economic impact and remains a summer highlight for locals
  • Improve access to the arts for children through our “Taking it to the Streets” free music education program
  • Be leaders in environmental initiatives in the events industry through maximum waste minimization and recycling
  • Increase our marketing reach through a consistent and co-ordinated marketing campaign that reaches 5,000,000 + combining traditional and new media concentrated in Southern Ontario and Buffalo, NY
  • Tap into the spirit of a dedicated, results oriented volunteer group and recognize the need for people of all ages to connect to their community in a fun and engaging way

Their objectives take a number of aspects into consideration and also incorporates points from their overall mission statement.  Their focus on community involvement, the impact of tourism for the City of Burlington, their marketing minded business plan, the special mention about the enhancement of arts and culture no matter the socio-economic status, and their ‘Taking It To The Streets’ program for children.

View the 2012 Sound of Music Festival Media Guide, the source for the quotations and some photos used in the above content.

Klout

Posted: June 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

After hearing both sides of the spectrum in class today I feel the same way about Klout as I did before I was as familiar as I am now….

I’m kind of torn of the value of this platform as a measurement tool, but I do find it interesting and am curious as to the impact and influence Klout will carry moving forward….as a marketing professional I do see a lot of benefit to being able to track/monitor progress as well as determine within your social networks people who may be influential/influencers within your industry (or topics of interest on the personal side).

Personally, as someone who loves analytics and being able to track and benchmark progress/effectiveness I think in the proper circumstances (hiring a PR person for example) it may be a justifiable factor in the hiring process.  That would only pertain to certain circumstances as I have found limitations such as only one account within each platform.

I think it is a good way to track your use of the various platforms and I can see companies utilizing that function to track the progress and commitment by the marketing/PR staff by monitoring the interaction.  The score may not be an accurate form of measure, but the data regarding posts, retweets, followers, etc. is an essential means of measurement that could be useful, especially for marketing campaigns, time allocation, and promotional goals.

The way artists, musicians, and record labels promoted music and interacted with fans has undergone numerous changes and has drastically transformed every aspect of the industry forcing the people involved to take a much more strategic approach to their marketing efforts.

Marketing & promotion efforts were typically handled by the label using radio as the central means of communication, but over the last decade there have been many changes and forms of social media utilized across each channel within the music industry.

MySpace was the first social media platform to really take off and help the smaller artists who couldn’t rely on corporate funding, marketing departments, and promotional budgets to help gain exposure.  MySpace provided every musician (including myself) to opportunity to share their art and get their music to the masses with absolutely no cost; the best promotional tool being basically word of mouth.

Bands were able to post new tracks, photos, band member bios, tour dates, and links to other artists they were listening to.  The other opportunity was that the fans were now able to directly interact with their favorite artists through profile posts and direct messaging.

Purevolume.com was another tool that bands were utilizing to help promote their music.  Used more by smaller bands, purevolume allowed you to find local bands and really helped build a music scene in towns/cities.  It was a great place for bands to gain local exposure, get gigs, and form bonds with other local artists.  It wasn’t as user friendly or interactive, but was a great grass-roots approach to the modern era of music promotion.

Throughout the past few years there have been a number of factors that have forced the labels to rethink their approach.  Illegal downloading, iTunes, YouTube, Last.FM, and satellite radio have all had huge impact on the way people listen to or obtain their music.  The technical evolution has drastically reduced spending on music but has also opened the door to how people purchase music.

As Facebook evolved and started to surpass MySpace (wiki bio) the entire music industry took notice.  The functionality and ease of use proved to be a much more effective means of interacting with fans.  It isn’t as focused on the music itself, but it adds the band’s personality to their marketing approach to add a unique layer to the marketing approach.

The band would have a group page that would promote tours, albums, singles, etc., but individual band members would have their own accounts to share little snippets of their personal lives, topics of interests, blogs, and a small glimpse into their personal lives.  YouTube integration has also become a key component as an additional means of promotion to get their music out through their individual accounts.  As social media has evolved, people have become more and more interested in celebrity culture and the lifestyles of the famous and Facebook provides the platform so you can interact like you are friends.

Some artists such as Matthew Good have become extremely active bloggers and have utilized social media not only for self promotion, but also as a platform to discuss world issues and discussion topics to use their fame as a vehicle for expanded efforts.

I personally have built social relationship started on Facebook to the point where I have actually gotten to meet and hang out with a Canadian rockstar (a slight oxymoron) and have had two other of my favorite musicians post comments on things I have posted online.

Twitter seems to be the new weapon of choice for many musicians as it allows them the opportunity to post thoughts and pictures in real-time.  Things like tweeting live on stage, running twitter based contests, trending drives, and direct interaction with fans have made this social media platform extremely popular.  It can often be less business oriented, but you truly get to know the personality and interests of your favorite artists.

“50% of Twitter users follow at least one musician. The top five most followed accounts on Twitter are all musicians. In fact there are only two people in the current top ten most-followed Twitter accounts who are not musicians, one is President Barack Obama, and this is election year, the other is the reality star Kim Kardashian. And the top five trends of last year were all music-related” – Tatiana Simonian, head of music industry relations for Twitter (Read the full article “Why Social Networks Need Musicians” from the Wall Street Journal).
 

It will be interesting to see how the music industry continues to evolve and how both the musicians and the industry executives utilize technology and social media as a promotional tool moving forward.