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Social media on a budget, powerful visuals, and user-generated content were common themes across the 2014 Social Media Showcase presentations this month.

pumpkin patchLeading off the evening were Kimberly Jones and Emma Miller from Speakeasy speaking on the Dallas Arboretum case study, which exhibited all 3 characteristics. As a non-profit, the social media ad buy is limited to $200 a month. So efforts are targeted toward tactical goals, which can shift quickly based on gate receipts and weather. Speakeasy focuses on lots of smaller scale promotions, A/B testing, and attempts to drive last minute traffic.

Promoting the newer children’s garden was a larger project, since outlying markets lagged in awareness. Another interesting effort was cultivation of VP of Gardens Dave Forehand as a spokesperson, with a periodic feature story on what’s in bloom. Ensuring use of fresh photos was critical, as Arboretum fans are quick to call out if they see even a slightly out of season photograph, no matter how lovely, according to Speakeasy.

Speakeasy used listening tools like Mutual Mind to find and engage in relevant on-line conversations, and to track the Aboretum’s mindshare vs. competitors during the peak spring blooming season. Hootsuite and Tweetdeck were used for content management. The overall measure of success was demonstrated by the Arboretum’s Facebook fan growth, which increased by 104% during the 10 months of the campaigns.

NAMI WALKS DALLASSwitching gears, Diane Feffer spoke about The National Alliance on Mental Illness, describing NAMI’s educational and community resources as “the best kept secret” in Dallas. Feffer’s objective was to promote #NAMIWALKSDALLAS, its major annual fundraising effort.

Although NAMI-related images might seem less compelling than colorful flowers, visual videos figured prominently in marketing efforts, as five videos were created to build empathy and emphasize the recovery aspect of mental illness, vs. the more common media focus on celebrity fatalities. Presentations of mental health related documentaries helped to bring audiences together before the big walk.

Feffer found that Guidelive and BubbleLife helped target the campaign to neighborhoods that were most receptive to the NAMI message. She also emphasized the importance of finding complementary partners, such as pet-related organizations, to help spread the message.

The bottom line? NAMI Dallas doubled its social media fans, had a walker increase from 1000 to 1400, and surpassed its $125k fundraising goal.

Soccer player in jersey at press conferenceWhat can you do on a $470 budget? Quite a bit, as evidenced by the results the FC Dallas marketing team showed with their single game soccer ticket sales campaign. Daniel Robertson and Robert Rardin leveraged area sports interest in another sport, football, to drive interest in an FC Dallas promotion.

They developed an on-line promotion designed to give fans a ticket discount based on the combined score of the Super Bowl. To promote it, they developed a couple of humorous YouTube videos that played on the competitiveness of FCDallas team favorites George John and Stephen Keel, who just happened to be from the Super Bowl cities of Seattle and Denver.

The result? 1300 tickets sold, resulting in $18k in revenues. The takeaways? Know when your target audience is online and leverage those moments, and don’t be afraid to make fun of yourself.


Rick Perry tweets #TexasToDo

Rick Perry tweets #TexasToDo

The Showcase concluded with a review of Slingshot’s campaign for Texas tourism, featuring user generated content accumulated from Vine, Instagram and Twitter, using the hashtag #TexasToDo. The objective was to give Texas experts or “Texperts” a chance to show the broad diversity of the state in order to attract visitors from other states to the state’s tourism site Olapic software was used to aggregate user submitted content. According to presenter Whitney Redman, key lessons learned related to the importance of technical talent to modify the off the shelf software, and the need to develop a streamlined process to review content for good taste and legal standards.

With more than 10 million impressions and a 52% increase in fan time on the state website, Slingshot considers the campaign a success. But their proudest moment was when Governor Perry tweeted #TexasToDo from the Xgames in Austin.

Many thanks to our food sponsor iFratelli and their delicious pizza and Moments by Marya for the photography services. Next month’s program features Ekaterina Walter, global evangelist for Sprinklr, top-rated social media expert by Forbes and Fortune, and author of “Think Like Zuck” and co-author of “The Power of Visual Storytelling.”