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Today’s Brainzooming article comes from San Diego where I’m speaking to the Virtual Edge Summit (#VES12) this afternoon on using “Social Media Strategy to Drive Virtual Events.” This presentation combines two of my favorite strategy topics – events and social media strategy – with content covering how creating a meaningful social media strategy for an event starts when designing the entire event experience – whether virtual or face-to-face.

Since we have a lot to cover in the one-hour presentation at the Virtual Edge Summit, the links below which follow the presentation structure provide additional support information – whether from the Brainzooming website or other reference pieces.

While created for #VES12 attendees, the list is beneficial for anyone who is trying to get the benefits of incorporating social media as a part of an event strategy – whether that’s for a large organization, a small business, nonprofits, or even for your local church, school, or professional group.

Social Media Strategy Basics

Creating Fantastic Content Before, During, and After Your Event

Getting Your Event and Content Noticed

Social Media ROI

Other Resources

– Mike Brown

 

If you’re struggling with determining ROI and evaluating its impacts, download 6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track” today!  This article provides a concise, strategic view of the numbers and stories that matter in shaping, implementing, and evaluating your strategy. You’ll learn lessons about when to address measurement strategy, identifying overlooked ROI opportunities, and creating a 6-metric dashboard. Download Your Free Copy of “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track!

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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4

It is beneficial to save ideas you brainstormed but did not use since they may work for someone else or at a later time for you. Today’s post is a great example of this principle where you can save ideas to offer them to someone else later.

I chaired a global market research virtual event for the American Marketing Association in 2010. As part of our virtual event planning, we did a Brainzooming creativity session and brainstormed ideas to take best advantage of our virtual event opportunity. We brainstormed several hundred ideas, many of which were specific social media ideas for how to drive virtual event success.

Flash forward two years, and I will be speaking Monday afternoon at the Virtual Edge Institute 2012 conference on using social media ideas to drive virtual events by growing attendance and creating greater engagement.

Recently, I went back through our final Brainzooming report document from the 2010 American Marketing Association virtual event and identified out this list of 51 social media ideas to drive virtual events.

Many of the social media ideas could apply to any type of event or even other marketing programs. But since it does not make much sense to go through a list of 51 ideas during a presentation, the list is shared for you and all the attendees at the Monday Virtual Edge Institute session (4 pm PDT on Monday, January 9). Please feel free to borrow any of these ideas and adapt them to suit your organization’s purposes. And if you would like to follow along during Monday’s session, be sure to track the Twitter hashtag #VES12!

Attendance Building

1. Create a micro-site for the conference – drive members there via email campaigns

2. Create themed web badges for speakers/sponsors/exhibitors to put on their sites

3. Crowd source a “10 Ways to Sell Your Attendance to Your Boss” list

4. Offer a free association membership for life as a contest give-away

5. Do a weekly give away on social media channels leading up to the conference

6. Extend offers at special times of the day

7. Extend offers for the event on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

8. Offer a dramatic prize for the 500th registrant for the digital event

9. Sponsor a scholarship program for out of work attendees to participate

10. Provide an offer to digital event attendees to attend future in-person events at a reduced rate

11. Give previous attendees a discount for referrals, plus free attendance for the person who gets the most referrals over some target number

Interactivity

12. Actively build the Twitter following for the event’s Twitter account well in advance of the event

13. Develop a conference / event app

14. Host a monthly, industry-oriented Twitter chat leading up to or kicking off with the digital event

15. Create an event word cloud that evolves over the day

16. Crowd source a “What the future of the industry looks like” video or article

17. Crowd source nominations for annual awards via social networks

18. Crowd source the theme for the next digital event

19. Conduct a pre-event session on how to get more out of the conference through social media

20. Hold a webinar for attendees before the conference on maximizing the value of the digital event experience

21. Have a live viewing session for the digital event in high-density membership areas

22. Have an online interaction area for attendees and speakers

23. Invite industry professionals to share content for the event community website

24. Monitor the event Twitter feed and introduce people to each other

25. Produce the social media content at the event with a team approach

26. Offer an incentive for attendees to blog or live tweet about the conference

27. Provide exclusive digital interactions with speakers at the event

Networking

28. Allow attendees to post resumes and job opportunities in the virtual event

29. Create a buddy / mentoring system for senior and junior people in the industry to reach out to each other, network, and schedule time together at the event

30. Do a virtual speed-networking event

31. Pair people up with similar interests at the conference through a community matching approach

32. Provide different avatar backgrounds for attendees to indicate their interest areas, experience, event objectives, etc.

33. Provide a means to network and pre-schedule meetings with suppliers or clients through a social media platform

Presentations / Content

34. Best rated / most popular breakout sessions (as identified through social media channels) are repeated in a general session

35. Crowd source a final recap presentation by soliciting ideas throughout the meeting via Twitter and other social networks

36. Crowd source session ideas from among social networks

37. Crowd source virtual event word of the day ideas from attendees

38. Host a global panel with Skype/video participation from all over the world

39. Do a session based on crowd sourcing a list of industry predictions that did/didn’t come true

40. Have attendees submit their own 1-2 minute videos that are compiled and shown

41. Have featured presenters doing a running commentary on social networks throughout the event

42. Host a virtual unconference – select a topic during the day of the digital event and discuss it live on Twitter or in an online chat room

43. Let attendees submit “new” content before the conference and the top 3 people get to present for 20 minutes

44. Create an online group to submit conference ideas

45. Post short teaser videos from presenters covering their topics

46. Solicit questions for presenters via social media

47. Win a video camera for the best ideas on how you will use it to create content for the event

Trade Show / Exhibitors

48. Allow exhibitors to put videos of best practices on a conference community site

49. Provide a coaching session for exhibitors on interactive and social media elements of the conference to maximize their business building experience

50. Solicit and provide e-opinions on suppliers

51. Video 2-minute pitches / interviews with exhibitors on the cool things they are doing. Show videos around presentations at general session & prompt attendees to visit the exhibitors

And what other social media ideas do you have?

What other social media ideas would you add to the list to driver virtual events? Please share them in the comments! If you’re at the Virtual Edge Institute (#VES12) in San Diego next week, please stop by and attend my Monday afternoon session!  – Mike Brown

 

If you’re struggling with determining ROI and evaluating its impacts, download 6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track” today!  This article provides a concise, strategic view of the numbers and stories that matter in shaping, implementing, and evaluating your strategy. You’ll learn lessons about when to address measurement strategy, identifying overlooked ROI opportunities, and creating a 6-metric dashboard. Download Your Free Copy of “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track!

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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1

We recently reviewed a client’s employee-created videos. The videos were destined for social media distribution via YouTube and other sites. There were some very effective employee videos in the mix where associates delivered personal accounts of their interests related to the client’s products. The successful employee videos were genuine and unscripted, and while the client’s product was clearly a part of each video, the product was way in the background.

Challenges with Employee-Created Videos

Beyond the relatively small number of effective employee videos, the majority were poorly executed. Why were these other employee videos off the mark? In nearly every case, it was because what was portrayed as an employee-generated, personal video veered off into trying to be a commercial (with extensive product references and information) or worse, a character-oriented video (with the self-identified employee taking on the role of a character in a fictional setting).

As we pointed out to our client, it’s bad form to foster social media audience confusion by making them think they’ll be watching personal video accounts from employees when the videos are no such thing. What makes it even worse, however, is commercial and character videos prompt higher viewer expectations for better production and talent standards than our client’s employee videos delivered. As a result, the videos not only seemed disingenuous, they also emphasized production shortfalls (bad lighting, uneven sound, etc.) even more than if they solely focused on an employee telling a personal story in a simple fashion.

An Employee-Created Video that Works

Contrast our client’s situation with this video from the Kansas City Missouri Public Library shared on Facebook earlier this week. It’s produced by Jason Harper, who handles social media for the library. Rather than screaming, “Employee video,” this character-oriented video unfolds with subtle humor, scripting and costumes true to its Hemingway theme, and just enough production value to effectively convey its ultimate message: there’s an easy-to-use app that allows you to extend the period for books patrons have checked out from the Kansas City Missouri Public Library.

Jason is never identified as an employee because his employment status has no bearing on the video. As a result, an insignificant point of information doesn’t serve to confuse a cleverly-conceived and produced character video.

Because this video is true to viewer expectations of a character-oriented video’s intent, tone, production value, and talent level, we think it it really works! We should all be using employee-created videos as effectively as this one! And if you are using employee-created videos effectively, care to share the links in the comments section? – Mike Brown


How can ultra high-speed internet speeds drive innovation? “Building the Gigabit City: Brainzooming a Google Fiber Roadmap,” a free 120-page report, shares 60 business opportunities for driving innovation and hundreds of ideas for education, healthcare, jobs, community activities, and more.  Download this exclusive Google Fiber report sponsored by Social Media Club of Kansas City and The Brainzooming Group addressing how ultra high-speed internet can spur economic development, growth, and improved lifestyles globally. 

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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7

At last week’s “Creating Fantastic Blog Content” presentation and webinar, we discussed events as treasure troves of content creation. While I offered this comment as a “headline” during the presentations, we did not cover much about what specific content creation opportunities exist for event organizers.

To answer questions about what all these content creation opportunities might be at events, here is a starting list of twenty-five you can consider as possibilities when planning and conducting (or even attending) your next event, conference, or gathering:

  • Assemble live tweets into presentation recaps.
  • Create a Slideshare presentation filled with photos of great slides from conference presentations.
  • Video attendees at the event talking about why they decided to attend the conference.
  • Video attendees on what they are learning and the value they are getting from the conference.
  • Video attendees about why people not at the conference should attend next year.
  • Get all kinds of digital photos – presenters, content, party pics, etc.
  • Video exhibitors on what their companies can do for attendees.
  • Get presenters to share additional details, insights, or thoughts about their presentations.
  • Video two presenters talking with or interviewing one another.
  • Write articles from the content that you have captured on video.
  • Create lists of the best tweets from the event.
  • Invite attendees to write blog posts or share other content they have created.
  • Grab images from videos you have shot.
  • Turn photos and video snippets into a closing video for the event.
  • Have attendees answer polling questions and report the results.
  • Turn audio from video interviews into podcasts.
  • Create a presentation highlights Slideshare with three high impact slides from each presentation.
  • Have a question per day that you video attendees answering.
  • Recruit a social media team to generate content from more perspectives within the event.
  • Ask open-ended questions on the pre- and post-conference surveys about the issues, opportunities, and learning needs attendees see. Turn the results into articles.
  • Ask attendees what questions were not answered and answer these in future blog posts.
  • Invite presenters to submit blog posts or articles for the conference website.
  • Solicit attendees for guest blog posts they prepare after the conference and give a prize to everyone who creates content.
  • Organize small group dinners with industry leaders and video compelling conversation snippets at these gatherings.
  • Video industry experts and luminaries doing brief invitations (and by “invitations,” I mean “commercials”) suggesting your audience sign up for your blog emails and feeds.

Here is one additional suggestion about all this content you create at your event: Do not make the mistake of running all of it during or immediately after the event. Space the conference content out, perhaps over even several months.

While it is tempting to upload 50 pictures to a Facebook album because it is easy to do all at once, distribute the content over time so you do not inundate your audience. There is the added benefit of filling out your editorial calendar with less time-sensitive content. When you are under the gun to publish on a regular editorial calendar, being able to pull out a video or blog post from your event last quarter can be a huge relief!  – Mike Brown

 

If you’re struggling with determining ROI and evaluating its impacts, download “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track” today!  This article provides a concise, strategic view of the numbers and stories that matter in shaping, implementing, and evaluating your strategy. You’ll learn lessons about when to address measurement strategy, identifying overlooked ROI opportunities, and creating a 6-metric dashboard. Download Your Free Copy of “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track!”

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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2

I celebrated my birthday presenting “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to the Kansas School Public Relations Association (KanSPRA) fall conference at the new Kansas City, KS School District Central Office and Training Center. While already impressed with the fantastic meeting rooms, I was so thankful that Christine Splichal suggested David A. Smith, Chief of Staff for the Kansas City KS Public School District, give me a tour of the whole building. The school district has covered the walls throughout the building with kids’ creativity via artwork created by students from its school system.

It’s clear from previous posts how much I love kids’ creativity, especially when adults go back to school on creativity they may have lost from when they were kids. As a result, it was a joy to have David show me the building, highlighting various pieces of kids’ creativity and artwork throughout the facility.

I shot the video below with David A. Smith on a rather impromptu basis. That fact caused me to revisit a creative activity I had not explored in several years: video editing. Beyond the great artwork, getting back to more involved video editing is a good thing, albeit a skill I need to keep working on and improving.

Enjoy David’s tour and insights about the artwork inside the Central Office and Training Center! – Mike Brown

 

 

Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you generate fantastic creative ideas! For an organizational creativity boost, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative plans to efficiently implement. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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21

Several events (handling online community management for a new organization, returning to a bar where I was a DJ in college, creating a cross-school Facebook group for kids of my era in Hays, KS after a high school reunion) have all put me back in the heart of thinking about and handling start-up online community management.

Online community management means creating a content strategy, delivering intriguing social media content (be it created, shared, or repurposed), interacting with and building an audience, and doing it all on a consistent basis to keep people coming back and bringing friends with them.

You might think you are not doing community management, but if you are on Facebook or Twitter, community management is either what you are, or should be, doing.

Thinking back on my DJ years, organizing intriguing content has fascinated me for a long time. The successful practices for being a DJ or an online community manager are very comparable. In both cases, you are bringing together and arranging the best mix of content from various sources to create an intriguing content stream. The content can predominantly originate with others, but has to include self-generated content, too.

Approaching Online Community Management as a DJ Would Do It

I’d been thinking about the online community manager as DJ model before Angela Dunn’s great post on the topic of “thought leader as DJ” last year, so these recent events prompted me to put my personal spin on the topic (that’s only a pun for those older than 30, btw).

Here are 10 ways a DJ would approach online community management:

1. Create a signature style for your content

Decide what content topics you’ll feature, how you want to intrigue your audience, and the actions and reactions you want audience members to display.

2. Develop a source list

Continually cultivate websites, RSS feeds, and people that offer intriguing content in your focus areas. It’s okay to share content from popular sources, but there’s distinct value to sharing information off the beaten path. (As a side note, launching a community outside our industry has demonstrated a value for those stupid Paper.li online newspapers: when very topic-focused, Paper.li newspapers can be a decent source of industry content to share.)

3. Have an adaptable content approach

Know what you plan to program (using even a loose editorial calendar), but be willing to share more of the content that’s working right now.

4. Listen for new material all the time

Use all kinds of searches, tools, interacting with others, etc. to listen for and find new pockets of great material to share and promote. Watch the reactions to content and new trends developing. Alter your content stream to take best advantage of what you’re observing.

5. Participate and learn from other successful online community managers

I “got” Twitter initially by observing how others we’re using it. I’m back to doing that with Google+ now. Continually pick up new ideas based on how others are using social media well.

6. Be an engaging personality

Be enthusiastic, inviting, interested in your community, and “smiling” in an online kind of way. Doing these things attracts and grows a follower base.

7. Use and share content properly

Make sure you include proper credit for the original sources. Go ahead and paraphrase and paraquote, but don’t lift copy someone else created. Link to original sources and credit where you’re finding compelling content.

8. Solicit audience feedback

Ask easy-to-answer questions and continually check on what people think about your content and community. Also, find out what they enjoy in other online communities where they spend time.

9. Pace your content sharing for the right mood and type of community

Don’t just blast content with no time for people to enjoy it. At the same time, don’t begin with lots of material, and then disappear for extended breaks. Match what you’re sharing to where the community’s mood is and where you want to move it.

10. Bring variety to what you share

Mix in your own material in the midst of sharing compelling items from others. Whether on your blog, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc., create an intriguing social media content stream that’s distinctive and special. That means being anchored in what you do well while also incorporating new areas to stretch yourself and your audience.

What guides your community management?

Those are 10 areas I’ve been pulling from in my DJ experience to manage new online communities. What guidelines from your experience guide you as your build and cultivate an online community?  – Mike Brown

 

If you’re struggling with determining ROI and evaluating its impacts, download “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track” today!  This article provides a concise, strategic view of the numbers and stories that matter in shaping, implementing, and evaluating your strategy. You’ll learn lessons about when to address measurement strategy, identifying overlooked ROI opportunities, and creating a 6-metric dashboard. Download Your Free Copy of “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track!”

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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15

Have you seen the 2012 Ford Focus Doug campaign? The integrated social media campaign with an orange sock puppet named Doug driving around with his “official” Ford sidekick (John), meeting and greeting prospective Ford Focus customers, verbally zinging them, and capturing it for YouTube videos?

Yes, that’s right; a smartass orange sock puppet is the spokesperson for the 2012 Ford Focus.

The campaign broke earlier this year, and Scott Monty, the head of social media for Ford Motor Company, shared several YouTube Ford Focus videos from the integrated social media campaign during his outstanding presentation at Friday’s Social Media Club of Kansas City breakfast.

What would you do Mr. or Ms. Brand Manager?

As a brand manager, if someone came to you pitching the idea of a puppet spokesperson who, the few times he does talk about your product’s features, does so irreverently, how long would it take to stop that social media concept cold? Probably not long since a traditional marketing view suggests six glaring reasons why Focus Doug is ill conceived:

1. “The spokesperson isn’t known, and oh by the way, he’s an orange sock puppet.”

“A spokesperson should bring a great reputation, a built-in audience, and a connection to the brand.  It’s about being able to relate to the audience. An orange sock puppet, especially one with an attitude, doesn’t relate to anyone.”

EXCEPT can you say, “Tiger Woods.”

Known spokespeople bring fans along with potential indiscretions and falls from grace. An unknown, inanimate spokesperson (with no life beyond the one you give it), provides you complete control and no risk of overshadowing your product.

 

2. “The story isn’t linear.

“The characters are ‘introduced’ without any real setup. There’s little rhyme or reason for why only a few videos include potential buyers, sometimes the product is hardly mentioned, and it’s not even shown in others.”

EXCEPT a non-linear story line creates surprise.

It also allows for mini-serializations throughout the videos and the flexibility of introducing the variety necessary to sustain viewer interest through weekly releases and an integrated social media campaign.

3. “There are too many videos.”

“You can’t expect people to watch 40 or 50 brand videos.”

EXCEPT viewers want to come back and see more from engaging characters.

They’re not videos about the brand. The brand is simply another character surrounded by even more engaging characters. Multiple videos provide the opportunity to develop the brand character across multiple dimensions and multiple videos.

 

4. “The situations aren’t realistic.”

“A puppet offering free (typically poorly ending) rides, unsuccessfully using the features, and being mauled by kittens has nothing to do with selling a car.”

EXCEPT introducing a non-human spokesperson provides tremendous story flexibility.

Only having one foot in reality enables engaging story lines traditional situations can’t offer. A unique character and unusual situations can prompt an audience to sit through multiple videos, cumulatively creating a strong impression of why the product is cool.

5. “There’s so much dialogue, you can’t understand it.”

“With videos inside a moving vehicle and multiple people bantering, it’s hard to understand what’s being said. Viewers won’t even understand the minimal product messages being delivered.”

EXCEPT the challenging repartee forces attention.

The character interaction is so funny and the situations so unusual, it prompts viewers to watch the videos multiple times – in part to catch what they missed; in part to re-hear laugh lines they did hear initially.

 

6. “The content is PG-13 but the brand is G-rated.”

“A G-rated brand is about family, tradition, and America – not bleeped words. The spokespuppet hits on a female executive, propositions a potential buyer, and suggests a wet t-shirt contest to two young women trying the rain-triggered windshield wipers. That’s WAY off brand.”

EXCEPT when a brand’s trying to get edgier, you actually have to GET edgier.

When cultivating a new less vanilla brand perception, edginess can be essential, especially when trying to reach a younger audience. Moving from G to PG-13 with a small subset of messages the audience will see leads to the right overall message mix.

Now what do you think?

Would you pull the plug on the Ford “Focus Doug” before the campaign even started? I hope not, but decisions like that happen all the time when brand marketers are stuck in the status quo and what’s always worked – even if the traditional things are not working as well as they did before.

For Ford brand managers to move ahead with “Focus Doug” shows a true understanding that future success is different than what’s worked previously, yet not completely brand new either. Finding the right place somewhere in the middle is tricky.

But extraordinary brand managers go looking for it because they know it’s vital to a successful brand staying successful. – Mike Brown

 

If you’re struggling with determining ROI and evaluating its impacts, download “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track” today!  This article provides a concise, strategic view of the numbers and stories that matter in shaping, implementing, and evaluating your strategy. You’ll learn about when to address measurement strategy, identifying overlooked ROI opportunities, and creating a 6-metric dashboard. Download Your Free Copy of “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track!”

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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