From TWTRCON DC 09: Real-Time Brands

By Renee Revetta | Oct 22, 2009
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USA TodayImage via Wikipedia

This panel discussion included Mike DiLorenzo, Director of Social Media Marketing & Strategy, National Hockey League, Brian Dresher, Audience Acquisition Marketing Manager, USA Today, Amy Reed, President, Chick Downtown, and Moderator, Laura Fitton, Principal, Josh Karpf, Manager, Digital Communications, PepsiCo was unable to make it.

DiLorenzo said the NHL is trying to get it right, listening, commenting on blogs that talk about them and engaging with their audience. To me, that sounds like a great start.

Getting onto Twitter has worked for USA Today, and Dresher said it’s important to recognize that each community has its own playground. Promoting features on the Twitter crowd before promoting it anywhere else is something USA Today has done to be a bonus for their Twitter followers. Then a few hours later, the content is posted onto USA Today.

Reed said’s conversion rate is about 50% higher through Twitter as compared to their email newsletters. And combing Twitter with their existing blog efforts have worked really well for the fashion company.

DiLorenzo was enthusiastic about the NHL now having dedicated resources for social media. By the way, management was only convinced to jump into social media more wholly after a sales increase at the end of the last season. Think 6 digits – partially due to a coupon campaign offering 20% off for online merchandise.
When asked if the panelists wanted to try anything new with Twitter in the future, DiLorenzo mentioned integrating Twitter into live streaming game options. This would allow fans to talk with one another, smack talkers to chat and everyone to interact directly. Chickdowntown is thinking of doing a scavenger hunt for fans to find ‘chickdowntown girls’ in cities all over the US, using Twitter to communicate.

With 4 billion handsets, Twitter is undoubtedly going mobile. Dresher thinks that for hyper local news, Twitter would work great for local news networks.

Some of the negatives about twitter, as discussed by the panelists include the quantity vs. quality debate, and more bots as Twitter grows. Another concern was legitimate interactions decreasing as more and more people join.

With social media, the NHL is discovering their biggest fans, and engagement with them

National Hockey LeagueImage via Wikipedia

is critical. If you’re looking for NHL players tweeting, keep watching. There aren’t any specific guidelines yet and a lot of them want to tweet, but don’t want to be self promoting. Surprisingly, the USA Today doesn’t have specific guidelines yet, however they’re in the works. All employees, however, work under ethical guidelines.

Closing up the panel, they discussed fear and control issues surrounding social media. Chickdowntown has to be careful about their competitors following them on Twitter, and sometimes keeps customer exclusives secret until they launch. Although some brands may be nervous about getting involved, Dresher said USA Today needed to be where their audience was, so they made the move.

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