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Social Engagement Stories From SXSW

Lauren Harper
Sr. Manager Social Marketing

Austin is buzzing with the thrill of SXSW this week.

In just one day at SXSW, the conference generated 94,552 mentions across the web. To say this is a popular conference is an understatement. People from all kinds of industries are here, from B2B marketing, to sports education, to non-profit and kick-starters, to film and music.

At a conference of this magnitude, it’s a constant struggle for brands, bands, films, speakers, and startups alike to get the attention of the tens of thousands of attendees. Boasting more than 51,000 attendees last year, and growing more every year, let’s just say the noise level is high.

But the chaos of this conference is just a real world, in-person example of the challenges that marketers face every day. In the world of digital, it’s a daily struggle for marketers to stand out against all the amazing stuff happening online. Content marketing expert and author Jay Baer said it best: You’re not just competing on social media against your competitors for attention; you’re competing against your prospect’s friends and family as well.

In 2008, there were 1 trillion indexed pages of content online. In just 5 years, that number grew to 30 trillion.

Our goal, and every marketer’s goal, is to have the right message at the right time for the right person – and for that, we need a lot of content.

This is especially true when it comes to social media. Marketers need to create a constant stream of relevant and engaging content, in real time, on the right channel.

Lindsay Signor at NBC Sports notes how the organization uses social to interact with passionate fans of sports ranging from NASCAR to NHL to Premiere League. However, social also allows them to try to connect with sports fans outside of their normal sport. For example, the Super Bowl was a great opportunity for them to reach people that they couldn’t with a regular football game. NBC Sports teamed up with celebrities they knew were attending the game to create content both online and on TV so they could reach the fans and social followers of these celebrities. They brought in Tara Lipinsky and Johnny Weir, two professional figure skaters, to do some of the broadcasting and live tweeting, which brought in a new audience that is very different from the traditional Super Bowl audience. They also hired Dude Perfect, a team of guys who have become famous for their YouTube videos, to do a video with Odell Beckham Jr. of trick shots to help promote the Super Bowl, and again, this helped to help broaden their audience. You can check out the video here.

Creating this real-time, relevant content allows us to create relationships with people online, and especially when it comes to social media, creating those relationships is key.

Marriott Rewards invests a lot into the care and conversations happening on social media. With 50 million members, creating customer advocates is essential. “Because we are a loyalty program, engagement is everything to us,” said Michelle Lapierre, Sr. Director Customer Experience & Social Media at Marriott Rewards. “We have a serious need to ensure that our customer advocacy program is strong and moving forward - social allows us to have a more personal relationship and enables us to have heartfelt conversations with our fans and followers.” For Marroitt Rewards, social media is not a selling channel, but rather a relationship building channel.

A woman posted to Marriott Reward’s Facebook page telling them that her husband, who is in the military, was staying at one of their hotels in Saudi Arabia, and that it was his birthday the following day. She asked if there was anything they could do for him to help him celebrate. “We were able to get him a birthday cake delivered to his room within 8 hours of her posting to the page,” Lapierre said.

This small yet impactful act not only created a brand advocate for them, but also gave Marriott Rewards a great success story that definitely stands out.

When it comes to creating content and conversing with customers online, Polaris Industries adheres to the mindset of rider first, brand second. Snowmobile riders have their own unique language, so it’s essential that Polaris is able to talk to them using that same vernacular. They created a very simple image for social media, and not only did it get huge engagement, but they were able to connect better with their fans and gain the trust of new ones.polaris_industries.png Preview

When it comes to creating content to stand out from the crowd, there is no magic bullet. To quote Jay Baer again, stop trying to be amazing. If everyone is amazing, then no one is amazing. Just try to be useful, and use content and social to create relationships with people. Ultimately, value, simplicity, and consistency wins.

Are you at SXSW this week? Stop by one of our sessions to learn more about how to take your marketing to the next level:

Advocates vs. Agitators: The Social Influence

Big Data Made Actionable. No Really. It’s Possible

Your Marketing Platform Is Broken

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