Social Media Integration Strategy Improves the 2010 Pride of Arkansas Tour

Back in 2010 I saw an opportunity to create an integrated social media marketing strategy to improve the Pride of Arkansas Tour (POAT) event for the year. The POAT is an event with multiple stops throughout Arkansas and regional states to connect alumni and friends with each other (plus our staff) and to reconnect them to their alma mater.

However, unlike what you typically find when someone is talking about social media integration/marketing campaign I’m not referring to the act of putting your message everywhere and simply shouting it to the world. This is quite a common tactic for marketing groups to say that they have done a social media campaign simply by pushing their message everywhere they possibly can. Yet, if you’ve spent a little time in the social media world you know that simply won’t suffice anymore. Instead, I took this opportunity to help the Association integrate the true value of social media, one-to-one connections, into the event and increase the understanding of why we’ve been taking this “everyone is a person” approach to our social media marketing efforts.  I’m glad to say that all our efforts are continuing to pay off.

2010 Award of Excellence in Social Media Integration Strategy – CASE III

We received an Award of Excellence in Social Media Integration Strategy from the CASE, District III awards program for the Pride of Arkansas Tour Social Media Integration Strategy.

Entry Materials:

How did you make it happen? What’s the secret to making it work?

In short the marketing was focused to be more personalized one-to-one type messages as the old fashion saying people go to events where they know someone else that will be there is still true to this day (especially with alumni events). Thus, we used a multichannel personalized messaging approach including personal emails, Facebook sharing, tweets and more by key staff members who were traveling to familiar locations.

For example, Tammy Tucker, director of communications, returned to Helena, AR, her hometown, during one of the stops and she was able to reach out via personal emails and social connections to let her friends in the area know that she was coming and that they could all attend and come visit with her and the University. This allowed Tammy to reinforce her connections with her hometown along with introducing them to a person so they would feel a stronger one-to-one personal connection with the University of Arkansas.

Of course we also did all the mass marketing tricks that you are probably used to doing to but added a social media feature for sharing and spreading the word with it.

We didn’t stop there!

We also integrated social media into the actual events and post event activities, starting with on-location event tweets by the association staff members at the POAT events. Along with tweeting, staff also maintained blog articles and photos of each event location. Flickr played a key role in helping us share our POAT photos online with everyone along with allowing staff to upload them from the road.

Wrapping it all up!

We finished our integration strategy with post event follow-up emails to all those who had registered with information on viewing the photos, reading the blog articles and taking a short survey to help us improve it for next year. These emails were segmented by the registration levels to speak directly to the recipients and encouraged them to engage online via the blog comments and share their stories so they could be a part of the event – especially if they didn’t attend. This quickly became known as a possible solution to the “alumni event paradox” where alumni want more events but are unable to attend them.  We also had social thank you messages sent out across Twitter and Facebook when one-to-one connections were made.

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