Tag Archives: tips

Tips on Social Media from our Bournville account

In the interests of Social Media and idea sharing, I would like to do a small post on our work with Bournville College.

bournvilleBournville College is a sixth form and adult education establishment just outside Birmingham city centre. They’re an extremely innovative college that were looking to use social media as a tool for connecting with current and prospective students. They contacted us on the matter and off we went.

As with all things, the campaign evolved and adapted throughout its duration. We had a water tight strategy but it is impossible to foresee trends and patterns in student viewing habits. Our campaign was based around the existing Bournville Blog that had been left dormant for sometime and we set up a bouquet of social media applications that were to satellite the blog acting as a referral tool and a real time conversational app.

bournville2As it is impossible to forecast the best social media apps for reaching students, we started with a blanket campaign over all the apps including Twitter, Bebo, MySpace, YouTube, Facebook, Digg, StumbleUpon and Delicious. Each was given equal weight and attention until it became clear which ones were effective and which ones were not.

We applied the same ‘survival of the fittest’ mentality to the blog which was the ‘meat on the bone’ of the campaign. We initially wrote a new blog post every day with each post covering a different school subject everyday. We tried to make all posts appeal to inquisitive teens so we did posts on things such as the science behind a bacon sandwich and discussing what ‘Only fools and horses’ taught us about finance as well as live social reporting from Bournville’s open days and fayres.bournville3

Conversation was the foundation of our campaign and our main goal from start to finish was to create content that would provoke comments. Dialogue is the most important part of social media. Our initial posts, although well visited, were not gaining the frequency of comments we were hoping for. A more question based blogging style was to be used. We wanted to talk about relevant topics and ask the audience for their feedback. It was a great deal more successful and our blog and Facebook pages soon became forums for people to comment on.

With regards to applications and portals, there is no cast iron one that works for everyone. With our young audience we had anticipated a lot more from our Bebo page but it was Facebook, Stumble and Digg that were our big hitters, so we pulled out of the other applications and put our energies into making them a success. Twitter was a slight disappointment which I think may have been a result of Twitter being a more adult toy, certainly for our other accounts, particularly Bodies Revealed, Twitter has been an excellent conversational tool and information portal.Facebook

The question asking and dialogue through Facebook kept interest up during the summer holidays where we were expecting a down turn. Our social reporting was gaining a lot of hits and a small community was growing. As the campaign drew to its climax and prospectus downloads became the paramount target, our posts across all apps became a lot more sales driven.

In the end, Bournville received a record high enrollment and they will now be using social media as a regular tool for communication within the college.

We don’t profess to be social media geniuses but there were some valuable lessons we learnt on the way.

1. Always adapt – new trends and apps pop up all the time and devices you thought may be successful often may not be

2. Know you end and goal and stick at it – if you want comments, write posts that provoke comments

3. Reply to everything – it’s obvious but people don’t do it. Social media is two way and that is its sole purpose.

Without wanting to sound a bit shameless, Alma Aganovic of Bournville College had this to say about it all:

Social media is a very innovative marketing approach for the FE sector, with Bournville taking the lead, with Big Cat’s help. Using several social networking websites, as well as our own website blog, we have opened dialogues with potential students and the local community. This has in turn led to increased traffic on our website and an increase in downloaded brochures, both of which have been great news.

Working with Big Cat has been productive and enjoyable. We have monitored the campaign very closely, adapting activities to meet our targets. Big Cat have been very responsive and creative in terms of coming up with suggestions for adjusting campaign objectives, making the most of activities taking place at the College (e.g. Live blogging from Open Days etc). Following the success of the summer campaign, we are continuing to work with Big Cat this year to promote our Open Days. I have no hesitation in recommending this agency as a social media partner.

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Festival event management: A few quick tips

Myself and a raft of colleagues have been enjoying the blistering sun at this year’s Download festival in Donington.
Truck General
As mentioned in the recent Sharkey and George post, it was the first of many festivals we will be attending this year on behalf of Jagermeister and their pair of massive trucks that double up into a viewing platform and bar.

We rubbed shoulders with rock stars and played Guitar Hero until our eyes bulged, sadly though, the vast majority of our time was spent building and breaking the aforementioned trucks.

Now I enjoy this kind of work; it is a refreshing alternative to office work and it reminds of my days on the farm. What’s more, I learnt some valuable lessons about events that will come in very handy over the coming months.

Here is a brief run down:-

1. Always pack more food than you can eat. There is nothing worse than working round the clock, doing physical labour in sweltering temperatures only to find there are no refreshments. You will always find a way of eating them all, so pack too much.

2. Get as much done on the first day as possible. When you have two days to complete your build, something will inevitably rear its ugly head on the second day just when you thought you had finished. You are likely to have more energy on the first day so make sure of the two days, the first gets the most attention.

3. Always wear a hard hat. Its obvious and its the rules but when it gets hot it is very tempting to take them off but trust me its worth the heat, as I learnt to my cost when a bit of rigging fell on my head.

4. Wear steel toe caps. Same as above really.

5. Go through every part of the operation in detail. It is very easy, particularly in hot temperatures, to lose concentration and skip a stage but it is an error that is very hard to undo and it is worth talking to colleagues to ensure all bases have been covered.

There are tons of other lessons but they are to specific to our project so I shalln’t bore you with them.

If you have learnt of any other event lessons to be heeded, please let me know.

Here is a sneak video diary:

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Filed under Big Events, Big Internal Stories