The Next Adventure…

I am so excited to share some big news with you. Later on this month I will be moving to San Francisco to be a social media community manager for one of the coolest and fastest growing brands on the planet – GoPro.

GoPro makes the world’s most versatile cameras, think IMAX quality footage with a camera so small you can wear it on your wrist or mount it on a helmet.

Photo courtesy of dailypicksandflicks.com

I get to learn from an amazing team of people, including the founder of the #besomebody movement, Kash Shaikh, delve deep into all things adventure sports and work at the cross-section of three personal passions – sports, social media and technology.

GoPro’s roots are in all things action sports like surfing, snowboarding, MotoX, etc… but their vision is SO much bigger. I love this quote from Nick Woodman, the creator of the camera’s and CEO, “You are the star of your life. Live a big life!” GoPro is all about empowering all of us to share our life’s stories and moments that are most important to us. Whether it’s your first skydive, your first 5K or your daughters first time swimming underwater; GoPro is here to help you cherish and share that memory. I get goosebumps just thinking about it.

Seeing as how I will be managing their social media communities, I figured I better pass along some ways to join the conversation, see tons of pics and video, enter to win products giveaways (they happen literally everyday) and learn the latest news and info (like the release of the Wi-Fi BacPac and Remote)

This is a dream come true and I can’t thank all of you enough for being a part of the experience.  To everyone who helped me achieve this new goal and advance my career to the next level, I truly appreciate everything.  Life is crazy and awesome all at the same time. It’s been a wild ride so far, now it’s time for the next adventure and I can’t wait to share it with all of you.

A Student’s Take on Pro-Am Day

Earlier this week Cincinnati PRSA hosted local PRSSA students for their annual Pro-Am Day. Students from Xavier University, Northern Kentucky University (my alma mater, woot!), University of Dayton and Miami University took advantage of this great networking opportunity.

The event started with a panel discussion with 3 Cincinnati PR professionals with varying backgrounds and levels of experience discussing the things they wish they would have known early on in their careers. To see the highlights from the event check out my storify post from the luncheon.

After the panel discussion students were able to shadow the area’s top professionals to get a taste of what the “real world” is like.

As the Cincinnati PRSA New Pros committee chair I had the opportunity to recruit and pair these students and seasoned pros together for the job shadowing portion of the day. Throughout the pairing process I was surprised by the varying degree of responses I received from each student. For some students I felt like I was pulling teeth to get a response for an event that could land them a job. Needless to say, I was a little surprised.

Fortunately, to counterbalance the lack of responsiveness from some students, there were tons of students who were on top of their game. One of these students was Rachel Drakulich (@RachDrakulich) from The University of Dayton. Rachel  stays kind of busy being the President of UD’s PRSSA, the Marketing Team Leader at University of Dayton Recreation Complex and being the Assistant to the Office of the President at Sinclair Community College; all while taking a full load of classes.

Because I was a bit surprised by some students lack of interest in Pro-Am Day, I asked Rachel to take a minute and share her experience. If you’re a student considering participating in Pro-Am Day, or other networking opportunities with professionals in your area, take a minute and check out what Rachel had to say about her Pro-Am Day experience: (Thanks Rachel!)

In May I will graduate from the University of Dayton and I am also the outgoing president of UD’s PRSSA chapter. Prior to attending PRSA Cincinnati Pro-Am day for the first time ever, my expectations were relatively high based on other professional networking events I have attended in the past. Throughout my time as an undergraduate I have come to understand the power of networking and the importance of learning from experienced professionals. This rang true during my whole Pro-Am experience.
I was fortunate enough to enjoy a delicious lunch with two of Northlich’s employees, Jessica Kelly and Kate Bebee. During lunch we talked about their past experiences and how they ended up in Cincinnati, my future plans after graduation, and started following one another on Twitter! As the luncheon ended, I had a stronger sense of pride for the public relations field based on the panel discussion.
Jessica and Kate then took me to shadow Northlich. The other employees welcomed me with warm smiles as they showed me around the office. My favorite part about the whole day was listening to Jessica’s and Kate’s experiences and what they have learned in their few years out of college. They shared the mistakes they experienced as interns, the hours spent working on events, doing their first cold call to a reporter, yet it was all worth it for the satisfaction when they saw their first hit in the media.
Overall, the scope of information I gained from Pro-Am day exceeded my expectations. I am a strong advocate for events such as Pro-Am day because of the benefits and experiences members of both PRSA and PRSSA receive from one another and the relationships that blossom as a result.

The @Kotex @Pinterest Campaign

As we all know Pinterest is a rising social media force. It is a great forum for people to share what inspires them and show their own creativity. Kotex recently ran a campaign using Pinterest to identify female influencers to reach their target consumers.

Check out this quick video produced by the agency (Smoyz) who managed the campaign.

Obviously a super smart, well executed campaign that tapped into the passions of their consumers. According to the numbers, they had tons of interactions and reached a lot of consumers.

Why It Worked

As I mentioned earlier, Pinterest is all about creative inspiration. Kotex did a great job of joining the conversation (not taking over the conversation) by enabling these influencers to share their own creative skills with their communities.

I’m happy to see a brand in the right space, talking with the right consumers for the right reasons. Unfortunately, a lot of brands see the shiny red ball and want to go after it without thinking through why they need to be where they are.

The Next Level

Here’s my question though, now that Kotex has created this great community of women that are super stoked about the brand, how are they going to fan the flame?

Here are a few ideas that came to mind:

Social Good – Tap each influencer to find out what local charities they support that directly help women. After each charity has been identified send a creative inspiration kit that speaks to the mission of each organization. Each influencer will be asked to bring members of the women’s organization together to design something that represents the organization. Pictures are then taken and shared across their social networks. To give back Kotex then makes a charitable donation for each pin, share, tweet, Instagram.

Advisory Panel – Take a cue from Fiskers scissors and ask these influencers how each product can be improved. Consumers love to be heard and asking for their input is definitely a way for consumers to be heard.

I think one of the most important parts of a successful social media campaign is its ability to create real-life connections. Encouraging consumers to be a part of a real community is how you turn one time buyers into lifetime customers. I am looking forward to seeing what Kotex does to continue the conversation with the community they’ve created.

What are some ways you have seen brands continue to conversation with their communities?

Let’s Get Instagrammed (with guest speaker Lisa Weser)

I have some awesome news. On Tuesday March 27th at 6 p.m. at Rockfish Interactive join me and Cincinnati PRSA New Pros Committee for a special Skype presentation on all things Instagram from Fleishman Hillard Senior VP Lisa Weser (@lisaweser). Thanks to Justin Goldsborough, co-moderator of #pr20hat, and all around good guy, I was able to connect with Lisa Weser and can’t wait to hear her discuss Instagram itself and the trends that make it such a great niche social network.

Here are a few of the highlights of Lisa’s career:
–    Helped launch the first iPhone (and three subsequent models)
–    Established twitter.com/att and att.com/socialmedia
–    Sent AT&T’s first tweet and attracted its first 27,000 followers
–    Managed AT&T’s online newsroom and content strategy
–    Provided intranet counsel to AT&T, GM and Visa
–    Conceptualized and built AT&T’s “Twitter Tribe” ambassador program
–    Managed an award-winning AT&T Social Business Adoption employee campaign
–    Partnered with Panera Bread to execute a Mashable-recognized Pinterest strategy

Space is limited (there is a cap of 35 and 27 have already RSVPed!) so if you’re in the Cincinnati area RSVP by clicking here to RSVP on the Facebook event. Once you have RSVP’ed don’t forget to share the event with your Facebook community and tweet about the event using #CincyPRSA.

Quick Bonus: Click here to check out an awesome blog post from Lisa – Your Brand CAN Instagram

Be on the lookout for tweets and a recap of the event next Tuesday or Wednesday.

Andrew at MobileX Cincy

Yesterday I got the opportunity to attend MobileX Cincy. It was freakin’ awesome. Tons of great people, panels and lucky for me a pad (I won a free iPad!).

I wanted to share as much info as possible from the day. So in the post below I have taken screen grabs from my Tumblr account and posted them here in reverse order so you can pick up some nuggets of info like I did from start to finish. In the next day or so I’ll also be following up with a full recap so be on the lookout for that.

Without further ado… MobileX Cincy:

If you want to view my actual Tumblr blog you can give a click here: http://www.tumblr.com/blog/andrewatmobilex or for more tweets and comments check through my Twitter stream from yesterday here: @Andrew_ShipPR

What was your biggest takeaway? Leave it in the comments, would be great to hear from you.

Breaking News: Follow My Tumblr Live From Mobile X

So I got really good news tonight… I get to go to Mobile X Cincinnati 2012! Thanks to a good friend I’ll be learning (and sharing) all things mobile tomorrow. If you’re interested in learning some of the latest trends and tips about mobile marketing follow my Tumblr blog where I’ll be sharing updates throughout the day: http://www.tumblr.com/blog/andrewatmobilex

Essentially MobileX is a one-day conference that is all things mobile. Obviously mobile is a pretty huge topic, so there are different “tracks”. I’m taking the marketing and social media track. Check out all the speakers I get to hear.

Image

Hope you get a chance to follow along with me tomorrow. To learn more about the conference take a minute and check out all the info: http://mobilexconference.com/cincinnati2012/

A Brand’s @Foursquare Mishap

**Disclaimer: This is not meant to be a bash session on Chipotle. I am a total brand advocate and probably eat Chipotle a little more than I should… :) **

As a social media professional I feel one the brand’s top priorities should be to surprise and delight their social media community. Normally Chipotle is great at doing this as evidenced through their Twitter handle and Facebook page. Unfortunately, this is a story of no such surprise and delight.

Sunday is Chipotle day at my house. Almost every Sunday I hit the local Chipotle for some Mexican food awesomeness. I usually get a burrito bol with chips and salsa. Per usual, on a recent Sunday I made my trek.

Source: chipotle.com

As I walked in the doors I checked in on Foursquare while being greeted by the sweet aroma of cilantro. Little did I know, this was going to be a Sunday to remember thanks for a Foursquare special. It was a simple check-in special for free chips and salsa with the purchase of an entree. BOOM! I was stoked for some free chips and salsa. Thanks to a simple Foursquare special (at minimal cost to the brand) they had surprised and delighted me. I was already thinking about what my tweet and Facebook status would be once I got my free chips and salsa.

Who doesn't love free chips and salsa?

As I walked through the line and added brown rice, green salsa, corn salsa, cheese and lettuce to my burrito bol I was actually excited to show the cashier my iPhone with the offer. When I got to the end of the line the cashier asked me if I needed anything else. With a big smile on my face, I told her I needed chips and green salsa because I checked-in on Foursquare and wanted to redeem the check-in special. Her response, “Huh? I don’t know what you’re talking about. What’s Foursquare?” No more surprise and delight…

I explained what Foursquare was and showed her my phone with the special’s description. She told me to hold on for a minute while she went to get her manager. Her manager returned and didn’t know anything about the special or what Foursquare was either. Surprise and delight further crushed…

The manager was nice enough to honor the coupon and she then instructed the cashier to input the sale as a “comped chips and salsa”, therefore not entering the data that the chips and salsa were given due to the Foursquare promotion.

My Takeaways

I’m really excited to see Chipotle using Foursquare to add real value for users. Many times Foursquare specials require multiple visits to redeem, which don’t end up driving return traffic because they are often forgotten. I was also happy to redeem the coupon so easily through Foursquare. An instant reward for an instant action.

Unfortunately, the execution was lacking internally. Having worked with franchisees I understand communication can be difficult, but it seemed to be non-existent. I was still able to redeem the coupon, but I felt like I was inconveniencing everyone else in line because I had to make the cashier leave her station to get the manager. Furthermore, due to the lack of internal comm the deal wasn’t correctly entered into their point of sale system, making it impossible to show the redeemed number coupons for the initiative.

Once again, I don’t want this to be a tirade on Chipotle. I definitely think they are a forward thinking brand, and are doing the right things in the social space. However, examples like this show us all the importance of thinking through the entire process from strategy to execution.

I hope Chipotle will continue to offer deals like this, because they definitely will get to me, and other consumers, to come back more often. Have you experienced similar Foursquare specials mishaps?

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