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3 OKC Businesses Doing Social Media the Right Way

 

Tell me if this sounds familiar. It’s evening. Dinner has been made or bought. You’ve got roughly two hours to kill before you should be in bed. For just a moment, you consider doing something productive.

Then you remember you have a phone. A laptop. Netflix. Literally anything you want to watch for the next few hours is a click away. Plus, you haven’t scrolled through social media enough today.

For the next seven hours, you’re simultaneously absorbing as much as you can from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat, all while vaguely listening to a group of weirdly qualified kids try to defeat a demogorgon in rural Indiana on Stranger Things.

You may be reading this blog solely because you saw the link to it on social media while doing something else.

That means I’ve done my job. And I guarantee this isn’t the only thing you’ve clicked on while you were scrolling. Somewhere between the seventh photo of a newborn and the 28th I-promise-you-I’m-having-fun selfie, you saw something from a local business that caught your eye. That is the holy grail for a local business’s social media presence. They don’t need you to see every piece of content; they just need you to see the right content.

You’re probably sick of being targeted with ads. Social media pros get it. But with the way social media has evolved, that’s the primary way to be seen. Here are a few local brands worth following — they do social media the right way.

Facebook

Facebook has made it increasingly difficult for brands to stand out. The platform prioritizes posts from friends and family over organic content from businesses. If an organization doesn’t have an advertising budget, frustration levels can run through the roof because posts aren’t getting the reach or engagement they deserve. But brands can fight back.

Facebook prioritizes video over graphics or text-based posts. And if it’s a Facebook Live video, that’s even better. Facebook will curate an interested audience and push your video to the top of newsfeeds.

In Oklahoma City, one organization stands out for getting seen.

Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau

Oklahoma City is getting more impressive every day, and the Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau does a fantastic job showcasing growth and revitalization. In the past month and a half, @VisitOKC has created nine videos on a myriad of topics, including planning the perfect girls’ getaway, finding adventure indoors and a series of five things to try around the city.

Those nine videos have garnered over 88,000 video views.

Here’s something to remember: You don’t have to be a professional videographer to create quality video on Facebook. Use your phone. Use your camera. It may take some practice, but you can improve your engagement rate through video.

Twitter

Candor gets asked a lot whether every brand should have a presence on Twitter. If content fits a target audience and someone has the resources to run Twitter correctly, it makes a lot of sense. But a great Twitter handle doesn’t mean scheduling out a few tweets a week and never checking responses. Twitter is all about engaging with brand advocates (and even haters). If mentions and messages aren’t getting blown up, then you should be tracking relevant keywords and responding to conversations.

One Oklahoma City brand has really stepped up its Twitter game.

Commonplace Books

This indie bookstore hasn’t even celebrated its one-year anniversary, but it has already made a huge impact. Showing traditional Oklahoma hospitality, Commonplace welcomes visitors with open arms. On my first visit, I was greeted as soon as I entered and treated like a family member. Ben offered a tour, a coffee and I met who I believed to be his young daughter (who happened to be the one who rang up my purchase). On my most recent visit, I was offered a mimosa, my books to be gift wrapped and a few minutes of cuddles with Boz (the giant shop dog).

Commonplace carries its one-for-all persona to Twitter by constantly engaging with followers and reaching out to other local businesses. Twitter is all about showing the human side of a brand and making the audience feel welcomed. Commonplace does Twitter the right way.

Instagram

If an organization doesn’t have engaging visuals to share, then it probably shouldn’t be on Instagram. That’s why the best Instagram feeds often belong to restaurants, retail shops and friends who travel.

But what if you don’t have enough engaging content to last through most weeks? That’s where UGC (user-generated content) comes in handy. That means sharing/posting content created by other users. This could be a follower sharing a picture of something from your store, food selfies from your restaurant, etc. It’s an easy way to deliver content without putting in a lot of effort. According to Social Media Today, UGC has a 4.5 percent higher conversion rate than regular posts.

The ultimate Instagram goal, however, is being able to package UGC with interesting, original content. Several OKC brands do this well, but one really rises above the rest.

Blue Seven

Specializing in locally crafted apparel and quirky home furnishings, Blue Seven has become a local favorite for stylin’ wardrobes and secret Santa gifts. The Blue Seven team has enough interesting material in their store to create several quality posts per day. But having great material to work with isn’t enough: Brands must craft great posts. 

You might assume a professional photographer came in and took all these photos. The lighting, the placement, the editing — everything is spot-on. I want to buy literally everything they post about. I can’t be the only person that feels that way, either. Great job, Blue Seven. Now take my money.

How Candor Won a PR Daily Award

Christmas came early for Candor. In early December, PR Daily named our makeOKbetter campaign the best interactive storytelling campaign in the nation for 2016. I know what you’re thinking: “But what does ‘interactive storytelling’ even mean?” Honestly, it’s the new way to look at PR. With the rise of digital media, our services and capabilities as PR professionals keep growing. The makeOKbetter campaign wasn’t confined to just one medium. Instead, we dabbled in: social media advertising; email marketing; web design & management; infographics; high-quality, scripted video; and even live video shot directly from our phones. We coupled all of this with some tried-and-true PR methods, such as media pitching, press conferences and strategic op-ed pieces.

Here’s some background on our campaign, why it was necessary and what it took to win a PR Daily Content Marketing Award.

The History

During the 2016 legislative session, the Oklahoma Hospital Association faced a proposed 25 percent cut to Medicaid provider rates, which would have devastated hospitals across the state.

It was a complicated issue in the middle of a statewide budget crisis, but the OHA called Candor to create a strategy that would save hospitals and save lives.

Together, we launched the makeOKbetter campaign to ensure Oklahomans were aware of what was at stake, especially for 42 rural hospitals at risk of closing. We hoped to get rid of the 25 percent cut by urging hard-working Oklahomans to ask the Legislature to “take back” federal dollars to adequately fund health care.

We needed to pack a punch to make a difference, so we outlined three phases to highlight the campaign and tell our story across Oklahoma.

Phase One – “Educate & Inform”

These budget cuts were going to impact jobs, communities and families, so we needed the title to focus on a solution. We created the logo in-house using recognizable healthcare colors. On February 24, 2016, we publicly launched the campaign with an interactive landing page urging advocates to “join the movement.” We collected e-mail opt-ins and explained the issues and key messages. We stressed the idea of “a better future” for Oklahomans. The site received media coverage around the state and let stakeholders and elected officials know there would be an organized effort to make health care funding a top priority.

The landing page housed our first video, an animation explaining the proposed budget cut and its potential impact. We made it easy for hospitals to share the video, and also gave them posters, payroll stuffers, FAQs and social media posts they could share.

After optimizing the makeOKbetter social channels, we turned the animation video into paid ads and targeted an interested audience. We used Facebook and Twitter to display hard-hitting infographics explaining the budget crisis. The infographics cut to the core of our messaging:

• “Don’t let this happen to Oklahoma Hospitals”
• “Join the movement and take back our federal funds.”

By educating and informing our audience, we were ready to kick off ‘Phase Two.’

Phase Two – “Emotional Appeal”

On March 21, it was time to put numbers behind battle cries. We used video to tell the story of
the rural community of Sayre and what it meant to lose its hospital. It was fresh on the mind of its community members, so our video crew took to the streets, cafes and salons to hear how they had been affected.

That was just one town. One hospital. One community. Our audience was starting to understand the dire situation.

By the end of our campaign, the Sayre video totaled 237,105 views, reached 352,535 people and received 9,272 reactions, comments and shares.

We followed the video with opinion editorials, posting earned media hits to our social media channels and sharing media clips with key influencers. And then we were hit with a few wrinkles.

Phase Three – “Call to Action”

As the month went on, it became clear the Legislature was not going to take back federal health care funds, forcing advocates to devise a new strategy. Under the direction of the Oklahoma Hospital Association, makeOKbetter endorsed the Medicaid Rebalancing Act and a proposed cigarette tax.

Through new data and a compelling infographic, we grabbed media’s attention. We stressed the need for action, stating the proposed Medicaid cuts would mean as many as four out of every five Oklahoma hospitals would not deliver babies, nine out of 10 nursing homes would be forced to shut down and more than a dozen hospitals would close within the year. Polling found 74% of Oklahomans supported a cigarette tax increase to fix health care.

We launched a new video, stating “Oklahoma is on life support” and “health care is in crisis” to create a sense of urgency and desperation. We unveiled the video at a press conference alongside the Oklahoma Association of Health Care Providers. Multiple media outlets and health care professionals attended. We asked our audience: “What are you going to do to save Oklahoma health care?”

We supported the message with infographics, door hangers for Capitol offices and a coordinated op-ed campaign from hospital CEOs.

Some legislators said our campaign was crying wolf, so we asked health care administrators to stand up and say exactly what would happen to their hospitals, services and communities if the Legislature did not act. We edited highlights from each speaker and turned them into short videos to promote on Facebook. We targeted legislative districts with our new information through detailed social media ads, and we purchased ads in newspapers.

Finally, it was time to vote. In an unlikely turn of events, the Republicans supported the cigarette tax, while the Democrats were still holding out for an agreement to accept federal funds. The Legislature left the vote open until midnight, but ultimately, the cigarette tax turned to ash.

However, within days the Legislature removed the proposed Medicaid cuts and miraculously found money to avoid the health care crisis. The makeOKbetter campaign accomplished its original goal to preserve health care funding, and developed a foundation to continue to educate lawmakers next session.

10 NBA Superstars and Their Social Media Counterparts

Even though the NBA’s regular season ended last Sunday with the Cleveland Cavaliers becoming world champions, the NBA offseason is just beginning. Now is the time to look forward to the NBA Draft coming up on Thursday (June 23) and the mayhem that is NBA free agency (starting July 1). And, of course, what would the NBA offseason be without a few ridiculous articles? Whether you like it or not, social media has become a huge part of the NBA. Nick Young, aka “Swaggy P,” has over 2.2 million Instagram followers. Stephen Curry’s wife just got into hot water for her untimely tweet during the Finals. From players to players’ families, from journalists to fans, social media has become a necessity in terms of interaction, engagement and education when talking about the NBA.

Here at Candor, working on social media campaigns and handling social media crises (like Ayesha Curry’s aforementioned tweet) are things we do on a daily basis. Because social media is so integral to the NBA, we wanted to take it to another level: What if NBA superstars were actually social media platforms? This is for digital marketers and business owners that want to know a little more about social media network characteristics, and for NBA fans that really like personification. Let’s see who made the cut.

Facebook: LeBron James

Facebook is by far the most globally dominant social media network. As of April 2016, Facebook became the first social network to surpass 1 billion registered accounts and currently rests at 1.59 billion active monthly users. It could be argued that the Facebook comparison belongs to Stephen Curry considering he has taken LeBron’s throne for most global jersey sales. Curry’s flashy ball-handling, off-the-charts shooting ability and palatable, yet cocksure demeanor have made him the face of the NBA over the last two seasons. He has become Pitbull. He’s Mr. Worldwide.

However, anyone who watched the NBA Finals saw LeBron is still clearly the best player in the world. And much like LeBron, Facebook is quite polarizing in terms of popularity, but it’s still the unquestioned leader of the pack. As the demographic for Facebook grows, we can’t help but be reminded this is LeBron’s thirteenth year in the league (he turns 32 this year!). And much like Facebook, LeBron has been consistently dominant over the last 10 years. According to a 2015 study by Pew Research Center, 56 percent of all adults over age 65 use Facebook (compared to 21 percent on LinkedIn and just 10 percent on Twitter). Like a fine wine, both Facebook and LeBron are getting better with age.

But let’s take this a step further than dominance and age: Let’s talk about advertising. Facebook makes a killing off of social advertising revenues, routinely eating up two-thirds of the social ad market (which is roughly $15 billion/per year). We have to remember LeBron may not lead in jersey sales anymore, but he still remains the king of advertising. According to Forbes, LeBron is making $48 million in endorsements this season. That’s $12 million more than the next guy (Kevin Durant) and $36 million more than Curry.

LeBron IS Facebook.

Snapchat: Stephen Curry

If LeBron is Facebook, then Curry has to be Snapchat, which is quickly becoming Facebook’s biggest rival. Snapchat now receives over 10 billion video views per day, which has surpassed Facebook’s stranglehold over video engagement. You can liken this to Curry surpassing LeBron in jersey sales, I suppose, but two things really stand out when comparing Curry to Snapchat: money and usability. Let’s start with the money.

Curry is currently signed on to the NBA’s most financially hilarious contract: four years/$44 million. He made just over $11 million this season, which made him the 54th highest-paid player in the NBA. That’s right, the back-to-back NBA MVP wasn’t even in the top 50 in terms of salary. That will all change after next season when Curry becomes an unrestricted free agent. The Warriors lowballed Curry back in 2013, but will have to reach deep into their pockets to keep him around next year. Another deal happened (or at least tried to happen) back in 2013 that sounds awfully similar: After losing the engagement from its teenage audience, Facebook offered to buy Snapchat for $3 billion. At the time, that number seemed ridiculously high, but knowing now that Snapchat’s approximate value is $20 billion, the offer definitely screams lowball. If Facebook ever wants to keep Snapchat in its back pocket, it’s going to have to shell out a lot of money.

Next, let’s talk about the usability of Snapchat. While it started as a photo app, video has really become the driving force of its user engagement. Anyone can send up-to-10 second clips of anything they want to their friends, and then it’s (assumedly) gone. Snapchat is the perfect comparison for Curry because his on-the-court highlights were seemingly made for the platform. In 10 seconds or less, Curry can dribble across half court, crossover two defenders and nail a contested 40-foot jumper. It all happens so fast, and he’s gone (back down the court) before the ball ever gets to the goal.

Twitter: Draymond Green

Why would the social network with the easiest engagement functionality NOT be the league’s most hated trash-talker? You can confront whomever you please in seconds on Twitter. This makes trash-talking easier for the world’s keyboard warriors. At times, it’s almost like reading the comments section of controversial articles. Draymond Green made his presence felt (with his mouth, foot and hand) throughout the playoffs, which led to a suspension in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. And what was the go-to social media channel to talk about his suspension? Twitter. I can almost guarantee if he hadn’t been fined numerous times already, Green would have been right there on Twitter complaining with the rest of the Golden State fans.

LinkedIn: Kevin Durant

This is the summer of Kevin Durant. The lanky small forward who many deem as one of the top three basketball players in the world is finally a free agent. Though the consensus pick is for KD to return to the Oklahoma City Thunder on a short-term deal, that doesn’t mean he won’t have many recruiters blowing up his phone come July. That, more than anything else, makes LinkedIn Durant’s social media counterpart.

LinkedIn is the quintessential networking platform when it comes to job hunting. However, while Durant’s inbox might be flooded, his decision may ultimately be to just hit ignore and stay with his current gig. So forget the anticipation, because this is going to be pretty boring – a feeling LinkedIn users know all too well.

Pinterest: Russell Westbrook

The NBA’s most notorious fashionista has to be soulmates with Pinterest. Whether you love or hate his style, Westbrook’s passion for fashion is on another level compared to other NBA players (and really everyone else, too).

Pinterest is an online shopper’s dream. Whether you’re looking for the perfect complement to an already purchased ensemble or creating your outfit from head to toe, Pinterest acts as a personal style guide. According to Pinterest, 93 percent of Pinners have shopped online in the past six months. Westbrook, who already has his own line of fashionable glasses and a branded line of clothing at Barney’s, has a real future selling his clothes on Pinterest.

For now, Westbrook will continue flashing his inner-Pinterest nightly in the NBA, turning each pre-game arena arrival into his own personal catwalk.

Instagram: James Harden

Instagram has grown rapidly over the last few years, going from a network primarily used for selfies to a social media powerhouse with over 500 million active users per month. However, the latest update to its algorithm has many users complaining. Like Facebook and Twitter, Instagram is changing from a chronological, most-recent-post-first feed to an algorithmic feed, which means users will only see the most relevant content from accounts they follow. As of March 2016, the average amount of a newsfeed Instagram users missed was already 70 percent. This new change should result in an even higher percentage.

So, why is Harden’s social media counterpart Instagram? Like the increasingly popular photo app, Harden’s rise in popularity and prowess has grown rapidly. Ever since his departure from the Oklahoma City Thunder, Harden has served as the Houston Rockets’ number one option, made the NBA All-Star game four times, been named to the All-NBA First Team twice and finished as the runner-up to Stephen Curry in 2015 as the league MVP. However, despite finishing this past season with career highs in points, rebounds and assists, Harden failed to finish in the top five for MVP voting and didn’t make the cut on any All-NBA team. What changed? The Rockets had a lot of internal problems that ultimately made them hard to watch. They changed their game plan (see: algorithm), which left fans (see: users) wanting more. If that doesn’t convince you, then let’s liken the inability to see at least 70 percent of your newsfeed to Harden’s inability to see 70 percent of the floor when he’s playing defense. Like Instagram, that number is going to get even higher when another change comes (see: Dwight Howard’s likely departure). If THAT doesn’t convince you, here’s a fun stat: There are over 175 million Instagram posts associated with the #food hashtag. Needless to say, Instagram is a foodie’s paradise. Have you ever seen Harden’s popular celebration? No doubt he’s a foodie.

YouTube: Blake Griffin

While the case can be made that Kevin DurantRussell Westbrook, LeBron James or baby Damian Lillard produce the best commercials, I’m giving the nod to Griffin for continuously putting out great work. 

YouTube is still a powerhouse among social networks thanks to its one billion users and roughly four billion video views per day. Generally, when you want to watch basketball highlights, YouTube is the first place you’ll go. Griffin’s highlights are other-worldly, but that’s not what makes his social media counterpart YouTube – it’s his comfortability for being on screen. If you didn’t know him as Blake Griffin the basketball star, you might know him as that tall funny guy in those KIA commercials. When his career is over, he might want to look into becoming a YouTube star.

But let’s be honest: there was really no surprise here. We’ve been watching Griffin act on-the-court for years.

Google+: Dwight Howard

Just a few years ago, Google+ was seen as one of the top social media networks in the world. Now? Google+ only has four to six million active users per month. It’s become a bother to work with, and many question the importance of keeping it around. If that doesn’t sound like the plight of Dwight Howard’s career, I’m not sure what does. Just four years ago, Howard was seen as the most dominant big man since Shaquille O’Neal (and it was hard to argue). However, after playing with a few ball-dominant shooting guards (Kobe Bryant, James Harden), Howard’s numbers slipped as he faded away from the spotlight.

Now, it’s 2016 and Howard is a free agent again. While he’s no longer the most attractive asset to teams, there’s no denying his ability to protect the rim make him desirable and necessary. Google+ is in the same boat when it comes to businesses and local search engine optimization (SEO). While businesses may not be using Google+ as their primary weapon, it’s still nice to have them around in case anyone is looking to drive there.

Swarm: Kawhi Leonard

Does anyone even use Swarm? For those unaware, Swarm is a ‘check-in’ social app that was supposed to be a new-and-improved version of once popular Foursquare. But even though it hasn’t yet received the overwhelming notoriety of other apps, it still gets the job done…quietly. This is the perfect counterpart for Kawhi Leonard, the Spurs’ stoic, straight-faced small forward. Unlike Kawhi, Swarm isn’t getting any MVP votes in the social network world; however, its functionality is the closest resemblance to Leonard’s playing style.

Swarm is essentially a tool that can be used to virtually stalk people. It will tell you when people are nearby. It will let you check-in everywhere you visit and display it to the world. It always knows where you are. Enter Leonard: Back-to-back NBA Defensive Player of the Year. His overwhelming length and always active hands make him the best on-the-court stalker in the NBA.

MySpace: Carmelo Anthony

They were both really relevant from 2006-2008. Now? Eh…not so much.