Red Sox Home Opener 2011: Using a Local Event to Promote a Sense of Community

 

As a rookie Bostonian, it’s safe to say that I still haven’t fully grasped the intense passion that New Englanders feel towards their teams – Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins, and Celtics alike.  The footprint of the home teams on the local social media scene was obvious to me on Friday when the Red Sox had their Home Opener against their arch rivals, the New York Yankees.  Businesses and organizations coordinated their tweets for the day to coincide with the event.

Many businesses simply mentioned the event and integrated it in with their normal twitter content:

@BPLBoston: It’s Flickr Friday at the Boston Public Library. In honor of Red Sox opening day, we give you these baseball images http://bit.ly/eXxM8u

 

@NewEnglandMCA: New England MCA wishes the Red Sox well on Opening Day2011! Go Sox!

 

@Simmonslibrary: Today is Red Sox Opening Day! Check out one of these great Sox books from our collection http://bit.ly/g0TTl8 (expandhttp://bit.ly/hUgZKy

 

@thelobstershack: What do the Red Sox and the Lobster Shack have in common? OPENING DAY! April 8, 2011 – 11am official start to the 2011 season.

 

@@Bar10_Boston Despite coming 0-6, there is nothing like #Redsox Home Opener! We can feel the excitement in the city, game time 2pm

 

@WestinCopleyPl With the #RedSox back in town don’t forget to refresh your senses and experience summer in #Boston with the Westin!

 

@Ettractions: Today is opening day at Fenway Park!! Check out the Boston RedSox schedule or take a tour of the stadium. http://fb.me/YKtwgYwp

 

 

Other businesses took it a step further, building deals and specials around the event:

@Finzsalem: Opening day! Join us for the game & enjoy our Fenway Special: Grilled Pearl Hotdog and an ice cold PBR, only $8!! Go Red Sox!

 

@McFaddensRI: OPENING DAY : **RED SOX / YANKEES AFTER-PARTY** TONIGHT, from 9-11pm!!! Want to snag a spot on the Guest List? Receive FREE COVER, and $3…

 

@berkleesac: Celebrate opening day at Fenway with FREE hot dogs, snacks, refreshments and FREE Red Sox gear giveaways all afternoon beginning at 1:30pm.

 

@boYOfroyo: it’s opening day and the red sox need our support. our new boYO of the week is a regular red sox raspberry froyo… http://fb.me/NvTq64sD

 

@fraskedesigns: Happy Red Sox Home Opening Day! Last day to save 15% and get free shipping at http://www.fraskedesigns.etsy.com with the code GOSOX2011!

 

@BostonHandmade: Red Sox Print Sale for Opening Dayhttp://dlvr.it/MrqBl

 

 

My favorite type of promotion during the home opener was offering a special deal to patrons wearing Red Sox gear. Bostonians are going to wear their Sox hats and jerseys on opening day (or any day the Sox are in town) no matter what, but offering special promotions to those who do makes the company a part of that fan’s Home Opener experience.

@Cardullos: It’s opening day for the Boston Red Sox. Today only, visit us in the store dressed in your Red Sox garbs and get a FREE bag of peanuts! 🙂

 

The overall impression that I get from tweet activity around this local event is that it served to promote a sense of community between businesses and those they serve.  The message: we are all in this together – we are all a part of the Red Sox Nation – embraces a sense of unity that is unique and special to New Englanders.   Go Sox or go home.

Did you come across any other tweets or facebook posts that integrated Opening Day in a unique way? We would love to see them!

-Halley Sheffield, 451 Marketing Manager

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Creative PR Pitches Are Both The Means & The End With New Media

Seth Godin, one of my personal marketing Sherpas, opined in one of his recent blog posts on “The difference between PR and publicity”. As with most of his insights, the post elicited plenty of views and comments as he decided to characterize the distinction between publicity as merely end-game media coverage and PR as the comprehensive story crafting and scene setting about a particular company, product, or trend. The oft-badmouthed PR, in effect, is actually more of a science than it’s given credit for being.

 

Godin, as usual, is spot-on. Gaining publicity, especially in today’s cluttered media environment, can be experiment in futility. On the other hand, everybody (and every client) has a story to craft, develop and share regardless of who ultimately publicizes it. Some of these stories are hundreds of times more interesting than others and some might be a lot more controversial than others, but everybody’s got something to add to a conversation. As Godin writes, almost everyone has a PR problem – a problem conveying that story effectively enough to get attention (or the right attention).  

 

The distinction that Godin draws creates an even greater justification for the merits of inbound marketing. With every effective inbound marketing campaign comes a hefty dose of creative, responsible and engaging storytelling and content creation – whether in the form of blogs, online videos, or social media profiles. Ultimately, marketers now have additional outlets for their stories besides the traditional media.

 

PR pro’s can focus on their storytelling by creating content that is engaging enough to stand on its own (without gatekeepers) and virally spread to the right audiences and potential prospects. Does a little outbound, traditional PR pitching help the cause? Absolutely, but any PR pro worth his or her salt knows that now, more than ever, companies can be well served by having a creative story (or customer, product, employee or event) that ultimately sells itself through new media channels, with little interruption or traditional media communication.  

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Using Social Media To Weather The Recession

One of the most adverse domino effects of our current economic situation has to be the distressing troubles currently afflicting the advertising and marketing industries. Because of companies’ fiscal obligations and their deteriorating bottom lines, executives have shown little restraint in slashing their ad budgets and downsizing any of their prior plans for monumental, traditional campaigns.

 

The situation is incredibly dreary for most marketing professionals, who are now left with the difficult tasks of justifying their worth to their clients by developing, or pitching, campaigns that are explicitly responsible and cost-effective. 

 

So…how should marketers weather the recession? 

 

The answer is quite clear; move the pivotal focus of your campaign onto the web and harness the power of social media.  Social media, particularly over the past year, has proven to be an inexpensive, but lucrative tool for online lead generation, providing a positive return on your client’s investments. Amidst the current market, and with marketing budgets slimming to a shoe string, social media presents a more personal and engaging option that can correctly target the proper demographics and audiences in a word-of-mouth fashion.

 

Tools such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs allow users to connect and share and publish their most personal ideas, thoughts and opinions with old friends or even perfect strangers. The beauty of these interactions lies in the implicitness of the information to appear creditable because of its word-of-mouth nature. Social media users recognize the messages they receive to be more relevant and natural, and not stretched or warped by the stigma of paid advertisements.

 

But social media users still need to gain the trusts of their peers. Once this goal is attained, the passing along of communications becomes socially accepted as useful, helpful and credible.

 

The power to share information on these sites can help to bolster a company’s profile, if it is accomplished in a responsible and trustful way. By managing many of the social media channels that they have at their disposal by dedicating the right resources and employees, corporations will recognize the ability of social media to serve as a next-generational inbound marketing tool. Over time, connections made, like in the real world, can generate new leads, clients, and revenue without any of the costs of more traditional business lead generation methods.

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Beer goes well with anything… especially the internet!

You know that commercial for AT&T, where the salesman tells the brewer “You sure can brew it,” and the brewer responds, “yeah, but can you sell it?” Great spot. But that’s probably just because I love beer, and I’m generally excited about anything relating to the selling, marketing and promoting of beer.

 

And I’m not alone. Beer lovers are typically fanatical about their beers, particularly home brewed craft beers, and everyone loves those excellent beer tastings at local liquor stores and festivals. Hop fanatics love to mingle with other bar flys and argue about the best India Pale Ales and German Lagers out there. Most of them even brew their own beers at home. Heck, even Kid Rock’s now in the game:  http://tinyurl.com/cy4tdh

 

Nowadays there are hosts of ways to get the word out about your beer online; sites that help promote where you can find it, how you should drink it, and why you should try it. Mashable put together a great list last May of the “13 online tools for beer lovers,” http://mashable.com/2008/05/26/13-online-tools-for-beer-lovers/

but the possibilities are really endless. Today’s online environment is dominated by social networking sites, and ensuing online social interactions. What better way to lighten the mood or get the weekend rolling than by starting a conversation about beer? A quick scan of TweetGrid found close to 35 mentions on “beer” on Twitter in just a 10 minute span. A Twellow search pulls up over 1,850 Twitter users who have the word “beer” included somewhere in their Twitter handle or bio. 

 

Clearly, there are some serious connections to be made, and conversations to start, if you are trying to shop your beer around the internet.

 

Some breweries, like Boston’s Harpoon, do an excellent job capitalizing on both traditional and new media tools on the web to help grow their business. Leveraging an excellent website and a free, inbound marketing-style “friends of Harpoon signup-program”, the brewery engages current customers with e-mail blast promotions of tastings and other events, a detailed Facebook page, a host of YouTube videos and a Twitter feed—all with the intention of spreading their message of rapturous beer consumption as quickly as possible to generate sales and expand their market. If it’s any indication that it’s working, the brewery’s Facebook page is littered with requests from users in cities like Dallas and Savannah, asking when, and how, they can start stocking up on Harpoon in their hometowns.

 

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But I feel that we’re still only at the tip of the iceberg here when it comes to what the power of the internet, and particularly new media, can do for beer makers. Beer, and alcohol in general, has always been an innovative industry when it comes to developing advertising and marketing campaigns (think of all those great Budweiser campaigns), so it wouldn’t be farfetched to guess that they’ll be one of the leaders as we delve further into the era of new media communications.

 

Just think about if for yourself. I challenge you to come up with an engaging way to leverage a new media tool to promote a beer. You should find that it might take up some time, but that it isn’t too hard to come up with a concept.

 

But be careful. As with any form of communication, you probably won’t want to drink and tweet.

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Are you on the right track?

So why would you use social media to market your products?  Is it because it’s what the cool kids are doing? I hope that’s not your rationale.  If that is your reason, then you’re probably not using it to its full potential.

Granted, the cool kids ARE doing it, but that’s not the point.  Social Media Marketing is an incredibly effective tool with a reach that is ultimately beyond being truly quantifiable.  Nevertheless, there are techniques to track many of the results of a Social Media Marketing campaign and use those results to determine ROI.

It’s not always easy, but it is absolutely essential to running a successful campaign.  More to the point, it’s essential to get your client’s CFO to sign off on that campaign.  We all understand the profound value of Social Media Marketing campaigns, but the reason we’re successful is because we know how to communicate that value to the campaign’s beneficiary.

Here is a quick primer on some of the more basic ways to track a Social Media Campaign:

1. Site Traffic: If the goal of your campaign is to increase brand awareness, then benchmarking and measuring spikes in traffic to your website and blog or numbers of followers on Twitter can serve as a rough indication of how a campaign is driving brand impressions.

2. Conversions: Similar to what you might do with an SEO campaign, having your Social Media Campaign tied to specific conversion goals on your site can provide you with very specific success benchmarks in the form of highly-qualified leads.

3. Backlinks: If the goal of your campaign is to build a general following, then you should be measuring increases in backlinks to your Website, blog, wiki or whatever happens to be the epicenter of that following.  They can be easily tracked with Google and give you a great feel for who’s taking you seriously enough to link to you.

There are much more involved techniques that we use, but these represent some simple ideas to start with.  I’d love to hear feedback and suggestions for other basic techniques!

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