Celebrity Popularity and Social Media


The topic I chose for my individual project this semester is the role of social media on the impact of celebrity popularity specifically as it applies to the website Klout.  I chose this topic because I was interested in understanding how celebrities grow popularity online and how they leverage multiple online sites to increase their notoriety.  Upon investigating how specific celebrity’s use social media I decided to also look at Klout as a means of comparing the success of celebrities and their use of social media.  However, my research of Klout and its significance went far beyond its application of ranking celebrity’s presence or popularity online.

Klout is being used by employers in the interviewing process to weed out certain candidates that do not have a large enough social sphere online.  The popular phrase, “It’s not WHAT you know, but WHO you know,” comes to mind so the bigger question is what are the effects of a Klout score on the average person and what tips can the average person take from celebrities to increase their Klout score and use it to their personal and professional advantage.  After conducting research about how the Klout score is formed and how celebrities have been able to generate high Klout scores, I have learned that it is not all about the amount of people you interact with online but the consistency and content of those interactions.  I also learned that Klout is enabling average people to gain the perks, benefits and notoriety of celebrities by being influential in their social circles.

Klout is a website that provides social media analytics to measure a users influence across their online social networks.  Klout gives each user a personalized score from 1 to 100 based on their ability to drive action on their social network.  When you enter the Klout website it asks you to connect with your Facebook and Twitter accounts as well as any other social media websites you are active on.  Then it takes your data from these sites and measures your true reach (how many people you reach), your amplification (how much you influence them), and your network impact (the influence of your network) to the world.

Like Google’s search engine tries to rank the importance or relevance of every web page, Klout is trying to rank the influence or the popularity of every person online.  The scores take into account the number of followers, frequency of updates, the Klout scores of friends and followers, the number of likes or retweets.  And even the highest scoring people can get Klout Perks, like free goodies from companies to share with their networks similar to how celebrities are used as spokespeople for brands.

My Klout score is currently a 38, which is a pretty low score, but it has increased throughout the semester the more friends I have interacted with on Facebook and the more people that have requested to follow me on Twitter.  In a recent article, CNN asked Klout Co-Founder and CEO Joe Fernandez how to most effectively increase one’s Klout score and he said, “It’s all about consistency and finding time to share one important piece of content with your network.” This consistency can benefit one’s influence greatly and according to Fernandez can even influence the job market because people are now including on their resume their Klout scores and getting jobs because of it.  Fernandez also said that they have big plans to grow Klout in late 2012 with a mobile platform and new tools that help people drive up their scores.

One such example of someone NOT getting a job because of his low Klout score is Sam Fiorella.  In a recent article from WIRED Fiorella explains that while being recruited for a VP position at a Toronto based marketing agency he was asked for his Klout score.  Fiorella had never even heard of Klout so the interviewer logged into the website in front of him and filled in his appropriate information that generated a score of 34.  Fiorella said that the interview ended shortly after that and that the company actually hired someone with a 67 score for the position.  In the next 6 months that followed Fiorella did all that he could do to increase his Klout score and he eventually succeeded to reaching a 72 which is higher than most of the most important public figures around the world.  Fiorella said that as his number rose so did his number of job offers and speaking engagements.  He concluded that, “Fifteen years of accomplishments weren’t as important as the score.”

Even people who have no idea what their Klout score is can be affected by their Klout score because anyone who has a public Twitter account has a Klout score unless they specifically opt out on the Klout website.  Klout is starting to infiltrate every aspect of life on a daily basis.  For example, the Palms Casino in Las Vegas would look up guests Klout scores online when they checked in and high scores would immediately receive an upgrade without even being told why.  The Palms Casino claims that this caused a huge online buzz for them and it became the third most popular casino on Facebook with one of the highest Klout scores itself amongst competitors.

Other popular sites like salesforce.com and Gilt Group are using Klout scores to rank their customers and give the most popular customers the best customer service and discounts.  These trends of using Klout scores for jobs, perks and discounts are creating an even more competitive online landscape.  It is no longer just the celebrities that are famous for articles in tabloid magazines that are getting perks due to their popularity but it is also the average person who is an extremely good networker or good in their industry that is receiving credit for the personal and professional successes.

I chose to specifically study three different celebrities in particular to compare and contrast their presence on social media and how their Klout scores compare to each other in order to understand how they have successfully leveraged themselves.  I looked at Kim Kardashian, Lady Gaga and Charlie Sheen as three examples of celebrities that have used social media to their advantage to not only engage with their fans but also to build their brand image as celebrities.  These three celebrities have very different personalities and experiences but they have all been able to use social media to their favor to increase their popularity and celebrity status.  By studying what they have done successfully online I will be able to understand what the average person could or should do to increase their own Klout score and enjoy the benefits and perks of a high Klout score.


Kim Kardashian has successfully created a multi-million dollar business with her television shows, clothing lines and her twitter account.  She has over 13 million followers on twitter and is paid a reported $10,000 per endorsement tweet for products like Reebok Shape-Ups and the dietary supplement Quick Trim.  She has taken celebrity endorsements to an entirely new level because traditionally celebrities were in print or television ads for brands but today companies can get much more bang for the buck from celebrities by having them not only be in paid advertisements but also by having them tweet or blog about the products.  Celebrities like Kim Kardashian have also been known to tweet out pictures of products they endorse and run their own contests on their social media sites as promotions for the company.  Celebrities on social media give brands and companies more avenues to reach their target customers in a more cost effective manner than running $1 million television, print and radio campaigns.

Kim Kardashian’s Klout score is also a 91 making her tied with President Obama in terms of her influence on social media.  The fact, that Kim Kardashian has as much online popularity and influence as the President of the United States, is both interesting and unsettling but it shows that Klout scores take into account more than just the traditional opinion of power but a new social aspect of influence.  Her Facebook page and official blog are other social sites in addition to her Twitter page that allow her to interact with her fans and impact her Klout score.  The combination of all these different sites linked to her Klout account helps to increase her Klout score because it multiples the number of avenues people can socialize or interact with her.  But the consistency and content of these interactions is more important to a Klout score than just the number.

She is known for not holding anything back on her reality shows but she also does not hold anything back on her social media pages which makes people traffic them often.  She updates them continuously with pictures and posts about everything from her family to her clothes to her photo shoots.  She has successfully got people interested in her life driving them to her sites and increasing her Klout score.  Her presence on social media sites has definitely contributed to her popularity and has fueled the exposure of her business ventures including clothing lines and fragrances.  After Kim and Kris Humphries got divorced after only 72 days of marriage twitter hashtags of #thingslongerthankimsmarriage and #kimkmarriagewasshorter were trending around the world and her and her sisters tweeted all the time about the divorce.  Kim has been one known for fighting via twitter but her divorce was splashed all over Twitter which has been one of the things she has not handled as well on social media.  She has used social media as a business tool to grow her brand and she has done it very successfully and her Klout score can attest to that but she also must still monitor how very personal matters are exposed on social media because they will never go away once they are posted.


One of Lady Gaga’s management team’s goals for her early on in her career was for her to establish a loyal underground fan base and one of the ways she did this was through her huge presence online with social media.  The Harvard Business School case study on Lady Gaga focused on understanding how she rose to stardom and how she built her popular brand image.  The case explains that it was important to her early success to use social media outlets, like Twitter and Facebook, to communicate with her little “monsters.”  It was crucial to her further success to have loyal fans that understood her and her music and social media sites were the best ways to reach a lot of different types of people.

There are many different types of Lady Gaga fans but they all love her music and her personality.  The case also explains that Lady Gaga’s sites were important when she was losing money during her first “Monster Ball Tour.”  Lady Gaga’s first tour was very expensive to produce so she needed to sell out every concert to make a profit to make new music and her fan websites helped to not only grow popularity but to promote buying concert tickets, CDs and other products.  Today Lady Gaga has the most loyal fans and the largest following of any celebrity online.

Lady Gaga has over 19 million followers on twitter and a current Klout score of 92.  She has over 48 million likes on her Facebook page with a direct link to her VEVO music video site that has nearly 2 billion video views.  She is the first and only musician to have that many video views online.  She has in the past released her new music videos online first to followers and offered special prizes and incentives to fans that follow her online.  For the launch of her most recent album, Born this Way, she had a promotional campaign that included Gagaville on Zynga’s Farmville, a Starbucks scavenger hunt, an HBO concert special and Gilt Group deals.  Lady Gaga has teamed up with many companies that we have talked about throughout this semester that also use social media well for promotion.  She leverages her image and her popularity well online with different brands and companies that are very complementary to her.

Lady Gaga is very passionate about her loyal fans and she has even created a website especially for her little “monsters” to interact with each other and her.  Her own social media site is called http://littlemonsters.com/ and it resembles Pinterest in that it gives fans the opportunity to create or share Lady Gaga related content in the form of videos and pictures for other fans to comment on and view.   The site was created by startup Backplane, which is partially funded by Lady Gaga herself, and their goals are to create communities where people can be united through common interests and movements.  She has also participated in crowd sourced fundraising contests through her Facebook page where she donated $1million to the Robin Hood charity that benefits the poor and homeless in New York City.  Lady Gaga has been able to use a wide range of social media sites to her advantage and she has always been a trend setter when it comes to social media presence and promotion.


The old publicity saying that “Any publicity is good publicity” must have been talking about Charlie Sheen because his popularity has skyrocketed recently after being fired from his television show and giving some memorable interviews.  Most people have seen the video’s of Charlie Sheen being interviewed by ABC or are at least familiar with his crazy #tigerblood or #winning tweets that rejuvenated his popularity.  All of these actions would be considered by most public relations experts as detrimental to his image but they went viral online and got the entire entertainment industry talking about him again.

Charlie Sheen has always been a popular celebrity because of his interesting personal life but he became really famous recently because of his online actions.  The number of his followers on Twitter skyrocketed after the ABC interview because everyone was interested to see what he would tweet next or who he would offend next.  His Klout score is a 79 which is lower than both Kim Kardashian’s and Lady Gaga’s but he is an example of how otherwise poor public relations can be important to increasing popularity.  Though most people do not like Charlie Sheen at least most people know who he is.  In class we studied a lot of different people or video’s that went viral quickly and would never had become famous without the internet so that is why I found it important to include a celebrity like Charlie Sheen when doing my research.  The quick speed of the internet and the number of people it reaches around the world make it so great for increasing popularity and foster celebrity status.

Charlie Sheen has over 2 million likes on his Facebook page and over 13 million views on his ABC news interview.  Charlie Sheen actually won the Guinness World Record for the “Fastest Time to Reach 1 million Followers” on Twitter.  Though he was replaced by Ashton Kutcher on his popular sitcom 2 and a half men this past year Charlie Sheen has been featured in a number of commercial and has received many benefits from his social media presence because so many people follow him or are interested in working for him.  There has been a lot of publicity and interest in his search for a social media intern to work for him and monitor his accounts.  However, some public relations experts are warning against leaving one’s social media to an intern because it is so important.  The fact that he is hiring someone specifically to deal with his social media presence is interesting because he realizes how important it is and that if leveraged correctly he can use it to his advantage for many years to come.  I don’t think it would be a good idea to work for Charlie Sheen but one would undeniably learn a lot about public image as well as the management of a celebrity’s online image.  Charlie Sheen has always used social media as a platform to speak out about his personal life and career and though it has not all shown him in a positive light it has undoubtedly increased his popularity and his influence.  The following link is to the ABC News interview with Charlie Sheen for anyone who has not seen the video yet.


In conclusion, three of the main points to take away from studying Klout and celebrity popularity on social media sites are: Klout is not always an accurate determination of influence but provides a good basis to analyze one’s online influence and network value.  Social Media can provide celebrities with both positive and negative publicity.  And it’s important that every celebrity like every brand use the appropriate mix of social media tools to their advantage to be successful.

There are many different angles to take when analyzing how popularity and influence affect celebrity’s online but it is important to conclude that social media is very important to celebrity image today.  A celebrity can’t expect to be successful without having some sort of social media presence because fans today are looking for ways to not only see celebrities but interact with them.  With that being said it’s also important to point out that there will be a rise in social media or internet celebrities like Rachel Black who become famous only because of the internet and their ability to share content with millions of people easily.  Social Media is testing the traditional image management of celebrities and is impacting the popularity and influence of all people that have access to the internet.













Looking back…

So as my last undergraduate semester at BC comes to end this week it means this is my last blog post for class! As exciting as it is to be nearing the end its time to remember the things learned and the things to be missed from class and what I will take with me about Social Media when I  graduation!

So the three most important things I think I have taken away from class are:

  1. Social Media can be very beneficial in finding a job, getting a job and keeping in contact with past employers and coworkers.  I knew that social media was excellent for networking but until I took the class I thought of it as a social tool between friends not as a professional tool.  I think one of the best uses of social media is seeking employment because its easy to search connections or company’s online and keep in touch with people you meet.
  2. The correct use and/or mix of social media strategies is important to most companies and brands.  Its no longer important to just be on social media platforms for companies but it is important to use the platforms to their fullest potential for each company or brand in their own unique way.  Integrating the correct mix of strategies with traditional media outlets will be the most successful for companies and brands and will save them time, money and energy.
  3. Social Media is here to stay.  Even though some websites have come and gone with popularity social media in itself is here to stay and will be a part of our lives for years to come.  There are so many advancing apps and websites that are social or integrated with Facebook that they will continue to permeate people’s everyday lives.  Social media sites are not a passing trend that will eventually disappear they will continue to thrive and grow as our culture grows.

I have thoroughly enjoyed this class this semester because I learned so much about the applications of social media in business but also because everyone in the class became friends with each other because of the twitter conversations and the blog comments.  Of course snack time was a great way part of class but I really liked hearing what every one was interested in and how the students were able to direct the twitter activity towards topics that interested us.

The 3M model that we discussed also stood out to me because it really shows the “relationship” created online and how a valuable interaction between company and customer can be formed.  The application of the 3M model in the Starbucks case was interesting and I think that day of class really stood out to me because it showed how a popular consumer company has really improved and benefited from listening to their customers online.  Social media is improving business efficiency and effectiveness and making the consumer happier which transcends not only the companies bottom line but the worlds culture.

I think that the guest speakers were very good for the most part because they actually explained how they make a living off of using social media tools.  My cousin tried to start up a site similar to Four Square where you check into major sporting events and compete against friends to win and bet on outcomes but he wasn’t successful after trying to pitch the idea to investors for 2 years so he has now taken a job at Run Keeper here in Boston.  He is making a career out of social media and loving what he is doing and that is definitely what Schneider Mike and Jen talked about when they were here and how important their jobs are to their clients continued success.

The group presentations allowed me to really learn a lot about a lot of different topics of social media that I myself didn’t even think about until some one did a presentation on them.  Getting such a wide range of topics and information about how social media affects almost every aspect of our lives is so interesting and so crucial to understanding why it is so important and why it can’t be ignored.

All and all I think this was a great class and I don’t know if it should be required in all business schools but it should definitely be pushed as a top tier elective for anyone in CSOM to take! And I definitely think once more and more people here about it it will be very difficult to get into the class!

I will be posting my final thoughts on my individual project on the class wiki as well as on this blog so come back to read it and comment on it because I would love to keep the conversation going after the class is over!


Food Brands Using Social Media on a Budget

As everyone knows Social Media is an important part of any companies marketing strategy but instead of just pouring a lot of money into different tactics there are budget saving means to generating a lot of buzz on social media.  The Food industry has been very successful thus far with their cost effective means of mobilizing their online audiences to grow brand awareness.

According to a recent mashable article, successful food brands are discovering three very important things about social media marketing:

  1. For a food brand fan base to talk they need something to talk about.
  2. The conversation needs to go beyond company products and services to consumers’ broader interests to engage not intrude.
  3. They don’t need million dollar budgets to succeed online.

The following are five food brands that have done a good job using social media promotions on a budget:


Chobani Greek Yogurt was one of the first companies to use niche consumer platforms like Pinterest and Instagram to interact with consumers.  Instead of just explaining the health benefits of their product Chobani used the lifestyle of their consumers to guide the conversation and the different pictures, videos and comments they shared.  It’s important to look to your target consumers to see what they want out of a social media campaign to make sure a company gets the most bang for its buck.  Chobani shared recipes and heathly eating tips with their consumers after being directed by their target consumers what is important to them and their lifestyles.  Chobani is by far the favorite yogurt at BC so there social media marketing towards young college consumers makes sense for them.

Whole Foods

Whole foods focuses their communications strategies on what the consumers and can do and achieve with their products and services.  They decentralize the majority of their social media tactics to individual stores and product offerings around the country to make each twitter or facebook account more specialized to consumer needs allowing them to go into more detail on each page instead of only the broad “Whole Foods” brand.  Its important to Whole Foods to respect the consumer conversation and intelligence over social media and to offer tips and advice only when appropriate.


My favorite Mexican restaurant in Cleveland Circle, Chipotle, has a large management team for their social media accounts that allows them to tweet back at consumers or reply to requests via social media.  Such a pro-active responsive strategy has allowed Chipotle to create genuine relationships with their consumers online making them not only Chipotle customers but avid brand loyalists.  They have really succeeded at social media “Word-of-Mouth” campaigns and getting direct interaction between managers and consumers.  Everyone likes to get a reply from a company or a retweet and Chipotle is definitely leading the way by having certain managers responsible for doing just that.

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese

Kraft Mac and Cheese hired Ted Williams, the internet phenom with the “golden voice”, as their spokesman for their newest campaign gaining online notoriety for his fame.  Though Ted Williams is mainly featured in television commercials Kraft has been able to leverage him online by taking consumer generated tweets and turning them into 30 second commercials that aired on major networks.  In doing this Kraft created traditional media content from online consumer generated content directing the brand image from the consumer.  Its useful and money saving to use consumer input to make successful content and its important to seamlessly integrate traditional media with social media to make the campaigns as successful as possible.


Domino’s, similar to Kraft Mac and Cheese, created platforms for customers to give complaints and comments about their service and pizza.  From this feedback Domino’s was able to improve their quality and introduced as part of their marketing tactics a “pizza tracker” that allowed customers to review their ordering process and explain what Domino’s could do better.  Individual Domino’s franchises have also taken the lead in local social media tactics by creating a Youtube channel or offering deals through Facebook or Twitter.  Domino’s is an example of a company that can utilize not only consumer input but also employee input that will better the entire company.  Going the extra distance to speak with customers is important to retaining customers and Domino’s has proven they are willing to go the extra step to ensure everyone is happy with their product and if not they want to know what they can do to fix it.

These are just a couple Food companies that have successful used social media on a budget as part of their marketing campaigns.  So what do you think? Do you agree with the companies above and if so have you participated in any way online with these companies through their campaigns? Are there any other companies you have noticed doing a good job marketing Food online? I think in future other Fast Food companies like McDonald’s and Wendy’s will do more but why haven’t they been the first? Let me know what you think!

Also for a lot of these companies and other Food brands Pinterest has been huge because recipes are very popular to pin so if your interested in learning more about how Food companies have been specifically using Pinterest check out the article linked below.


Top 10 Social Media-Savvy Universities-Where does BC rank?

How important is it for Universities to connect with their current students, alumni, faculty, staff and prospective students on social media?

Rachel Vitale recently tweeted out to the class a Mashable article ranking top Social Media Savvy Universities by a study conducted by Sociagility, a social media consulting company, which got me interested in look at how well BC uses Social Media.  The study revealed the 25 highest ranked Universities in the US and the UK who use social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Youtube the best.  The results were determined by how well each university attracts people to their social media pages through likes, views, followers, user engagement and site visits.


The top 10 are:

  1. Harvard
  2. University of Pennsylvania
  3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  4. University of Michigan
  5. Stanford University
  6. University of California, Berkeley
  7. University of Oxford
  8. University of Sheffield
  9. University of Wisconsin, Madison
  10. University of Texas at Austin

BC didn’t make it into the top 10 but the majority of the top 10 are large, well-funded universities that attract large networks and a lot of popularity.  Harvard has more more than 1.6 million fans on Facebook and 107,000 followers on Twitter.  Harvard is really good at posting all different announcements and responses via their social media sites but I think BC has recently been doing a pretty good job too.

Boston College’s Facebook page has over 43,000 likes which is not anywhere close to Harvard’s number of fans but I BC’s page is updated everyday with fun facts about the school or new pictures taken of campus.  The page is also connected with BC organizations and clubs so fans can navigate through different pages and learn more about different events going on on-campus.

Boston College Athletics Facebook page posts status’ regularly and has links to photos, videos, team schedules and game tickets on their profile page.  The page has over 11,000 likes which is not as many as other schools but I definitely think that the page is updated often by the Sports Marketing Department which makes the site a good source of BC sports news.

So what can BC do in the future to improve their social media use and why is it so important that they do a better job?

I think that BC needs to go beyond status updates or quick facts to more interactive uses that foster more of a communication aspect with fans.  Like the 3M model we have been discussing in class it is important to not only use the Megaphone to throw ideas and thoughts out there but also to use the Magnet to bring things in and the Monitor to assess the conversation stirring.  I don’t know if BC should offer some more incentives for people to interact with them online or if naturally over time people will be more inclined to post and share with BC on Facebook but I think that’s the next step to be taken to increase the power of social media for BC.  I know that the BC bookstore offers contests through their Facebook page a lot and I have seen BC athletics offer up ticket packages for people who post pictures and stuff so I think people are willing to interact they just need to do it.

I also think that student created pages for BC have been hugely successful like the different class pages where anyone can post if they have extra tickets to games or events or the Roommate Finder page for people living on-campus Junior year is also very helpful for students to meet new people and to interact with BC.  I am also a huge fan of the Senior Week Facebook page that was created recently to announce all the events and tickets for Senior Week 2012.  They have run a Senior Week T-shirt contest which is great and have been adding activities almost daily to the week and really getting everyone really excited!

With all this said I do think that both Boston College and BC student sponsored social media are important for attracting more and more students to the school in the future.  Its a great promotional tool to sell the University on students who might have never thought about BC before or to recruit prospective athletes or artists to groups on-campus.  Universities using social media is very important and I hope BC is able to rise up in the rankings in the near future!

How Broadway uses Social Media!

So if you know me well you know that I’m a dancer.  I love to dance and I love to go to any type of performing arts show so I was really interested in learning more about how different performing arts companies are using social media to promote their performances and  to create interactions with their cast and crew members.

After searching around for a little bit I found a Mashable article about How Broadway Talks to its Audiences Using Social Media by Ken Davenport.  Davenport is Broadway and Off Broadway producer and founder of the social networking site BroadwaySpotted.com.  BroadwaySpotted originally  BroadwaySpace is a social media site made for and by Broadway performers and enthusiasts.  There are links to reviews of shows, performer biographies, ticket purchasing options and links to their Twitter page for live streaming news about everything #broadwaybaby.

Davenport is also the author of the blog TheProducersPerspective.com that covers everything you think of about producing a broadway musical.

Broadway is one of the largest businesses in New York City with an average of $1 Billion a year in sales alone so it provides a large amount of the economic fuel of the city drawing tourists from all around the world to the city.  However, even though Broadway is a hugely popular and profitable industry they are way behind the times as far as their use of online technology such as social media according to Davenport.  One of the main reasons is that the quintessential musical fan is the “55 Year Old Woman” who was born before the computer era and well before the social media era.  However, since the future fan’s are avid online users it is time for Broadway to engage customers on social media platforms like never before.

Another problem for Broadway producers is that they don’t sell their productions directly to customers.  They go through 3rd party ticket sellers like Ticketmaster so producers do not get the customer data needed to better meet customer needs but with interactions on social media producers can finally communicate with their customers.

There are some shows that are using their own individually branded social media sites like Rock of Ages.

And using their lists of followers on Twitter as a direct response tool.  Rock of Ages also plays 80s themed games with their followers to keep them engaged in the show and more likely to talk about it online or with friends in the near future.

Theater goers normally attend shows in groups of people with similar interests so producers can target groups of people similar to the themes of the shows to get them to come to the show and bring their friends.  Producers are using social media sites targeted towards people with certain similarities to promote their new shows with deals and prizes.

So in conclusion I have learned that Broadway may be a little behind in their adoption of social media but there is so much potential for its success that more and more shows will have their own sites and users.  Because though people may argue with me about this I think that a Les Miserables fan is just as passionate about the new rendition of Les Miserables on Broadway as a Boston Red Sox Fan is about the new baseball season.

Social Media and Social Causes

This past weekend Boston College hosted the annual Relay for Life in the Plex from Friday February 24th at 6pm to Saturday February 25th at 6am.  Relay for Life raises money for the fight against cancer.  People form teams to walk around the track throughout the night and to organize tables around the track for people to buy things or play games with all proceeds going towards the fight against cancer.  The night is filled with different activities and performances to keep participants busy for all 12 hours of the event and I do not think it would be nearly as successful as it has been over the past few years without the help of social media and Web 2.0 technology.


A lot of other universities, highschools and communities host their own Relay for Life events or similar fundraising events and the majority of these events rely heavily on promotion through social media.  Relay for Life has a very interactive website that allows you to organize your team online, keep track of the money you have raised so far and even send personalized emails or messages to friends and family members asking for support and donations.  Relay for Life is also all over Facebook with each university’s individual event as well as its own Relay for Life page that people can like or comment on.  Relay for Life has been liked by over 25,000 fans on Facebook and has over 13,000 followers on twitter.  Relay for Life even has mobile apps that let you donate directly from your phone.  The presence of fundraising groups and non-profit organizations on social media only helps to facilitate their goals and get more people talking about their causes and what every person can do to make a difference.

Mark Herzlich’s Beat Cancer campaign was huge across the country and online.  It was facilitated by word of mouth and popularity because he was a big football star but social media gave it a platform to explode.  There was a ton of events on Facebook that raised money for his charity while he was fighting cancer and continuous updates on his condition and when he would start playing again because it was so readily available on his Facebook profile.

When I was interning a couple of summers ago at an Ad Agency in my hometown I worked with the American Diabetes Association in promoting a fundraiser for their Tour de Cure event.  We utilized social media heavily in promoting the event by creating a Facebook page specifically for the event locally and also by tweeting at local media outlets and businesses to create a team to participate or support he event through donations.  The fundraiser was a huge success compared to previous years and I know a lot of that had to do with the social media promotions.

Penn State hosted their annual THON dance marathon last weekend.  They have raised over $78 million since 1977 for the Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital.  THON is the largest student run philanthropy in the world and would not be as prominent or as successful with out their strong use of social media in their promotion and fundraising efforts.  It is easy to donate on their website and to connect to their Facebook, twitter and tumblr pages to learn more about the event and where the money they raise goes to every year.  THON is just one example of many different events that has seen substantial growth in recent years because it is so easy to donate money online now.  Like Alvic talked about in his crowdfunding presentation a couple weeks ago there are so many sites that facilitate fundraising and have made it so easy for people to get involved in causes they are passionate about.

I am passionate about Relay for Life because my Aunt was diagnosed with Breast cancer this past fall.  I am proud that my Relay team has raised over $3000 alone for the fight against cancer and I know that we would not have been as successful if we hadn’t been able to hyperlink the donation site to our Facebook profiles or send out specialized emails to people asking for support and donations.  Social Media is doing more than growing business or giving you a platform to talk to your friends all the time it is changing the world in good ways and that is why I love it!

If you’re interested in checking out the Relay for Life Website here’s the link:






Social Media Advertising Campaign Success Stories

I love creative advertising campaigns so in lieu of the aftermath of the Superbowl last weekend I wanted to look up some of the best and most influential social media intensify advertising campaigns in recent years.  I am interested in pursuing a career in advertising so I regularly read Ad Age online which ranked in a recent article the 10 best Social Media Campaigns of the year.  Here’s a recap of some of my favorites on the Ad Age list but check out the link at the end of this post to see the complete list of explanations and agencies responsible for the work.

The first successful campaign listed was a tourism campaign similar to the campaigns discussed by Lorenzo in his presentation in class last week.  The mayor of Obermutten, Switzerland posted a video to the town’s Facebook page promising anyone who Liked the page would get their picture put up on the town’s actual bulletin board causing the town of 79 people to get 14,000 fans on their Facebook page.  This small town would have never become so popular without Facebook and an advertising campaign that gives people an incentive to communicate and share online.  Below is a picture of the mayor placing all the pictures of their Facebook fans on the bulletin board in Obermutten.

Another increasingly successful campaign was supported by American Express to promote shoppers to shop at small businesses on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  The Facebook page for “Small Business Saturday” had 1.2 million fans last year and 2.7 million fans this year and #smallbizsaturday trended on Twitter.  For the first 10,000 businesses that registered Facebook gave out $100 ad credit.  This campaign is an example of social media outlets like Facebook helping the economy by supporting small businesses by using their technology to influence society. I think this is an amazing use of social media for advertising because it promoted not any particular brand or business but the retail industry as a whole that has been suffering due to the recession.

To promote the 4th season of True Blood HBO created a Facebook app “Immortalize Yourself,” that allowed fans to make videos of themselves with characters from the show and their friends.  People could then share the videos with friends to discuss the new season and get excited for the premiere.  The app pulled personal data from each person’s Facebook page to personalize it to them and feature their friends.  This is an upcoming trend for many movies and television shows to garner buzz online through social media content sharing, web casts and exclusive promotions.  Most television shows have hashtags that run at the bottom of the television screen so people can tweet about the show as they watch it to continue the discussion online after the episode is over.

Heinz enabled its Facebook page so that people could send friends cans of tomato soup or chicken noodle soup if they were sick.  This was in collaboration with an agency in the UK during the beginning of cold and flu season.  For an additional fee of $3 you could buy an actual can of soup and it would be mailed in a couple of days to the friend inscribed with their name and “Get Well Soon.”   This campaign takes social media to the next step by actually sending a physical product to the consumer for a small fee.  Using social media for community outreach and social service is also a growing trend as it helps organize volunteers for social well being all around the world.

And finally one of the most well known and well established brands to use social media successfully is Volkswagen.  Volkswagen has a reputation of having some of the most creative advertisements over the past 50 years from print ads of the small beetle bug to the Star Wars commercials of today Volkswagen knows their brand and their advertising.  Volkswagen built an app on their Dutch Facebook page asking people to vote for their favorite classic car with a chance of winning a Fanwagen which is the winning model of car tricked out with awesome social features unlike any other cars.  The owner of the “social” car can print out Facebook newsfeed inside the car and display their relationship status on the license plate.  This car is a social media car! Volkswagen always has the coolest advertisements and cars so maybe some time soon we will all be driving around Fanwagens equipped with all our social media needs!

Hope you found these social media campaigns as interesting as I did! Here’s the link to the complete ad age article if you wanna see some of the other top campaigns they have chosen to highlight!




ME and social MEdia

In comparison to the rest of my generation I think that I have been relatively slow to the use and acceptance of social media.  I got a Facebook account and a smartphone in the fall of my senior year of high school in 2007 but until recently did I actually begin to understand and recognize all the things made possible by social media.  I took Professor Kane’s mi021 Computers in Management class my freshmen year at BC and that is where I started to learn more about what social media can actually do for businesses and society as a whole.  Initially I was skeptical that social platforms like Facebook could be anything more than fun ways to talk to friends and share pictures but now they are advertising and consumer data driven empires.    I am not the best user of such social media outlets but I have gotten better over the years especially since the majority of my past internship experiences and academic experiences have used sharing websites quite often.

The summer after my sophomore year I interned as an account services intern at Mullen, an advertising agency in my hometown of Pittsburgh, where I first got my twitter account and learned how good a promotional tool twitter can be.  As part of our intern project we held a fundraiser for the American Diabetes Association, one of Mullen’s clients, at a local restaurant in the city and we mainly promoted it online via twitter and online community calendars.  We tweeted the event flier and information at the major newspapers, magazines and local business bureaus around Pittsburgh and ended up raising over $1500 in one night.  Though we couldn’t actually determine how many of the people came to the event due to our presence on twitter it was definitely a contributing factor to our success.  We also did a huge marketing campaign project for Pennsylvania Tourism that created both twitter and Facebook accounts for visitPA.com the tourism website and to this day I still follow their status updates and tweets.  At the end of the summer Mullen hired a person who was a “social media expert” and was in charge of running and researching all social media ideas for every clients campaign.  After that I knew that social media was going to be very important to advertising because it was the next medium to reach young people.

When I was abroad in Italy last spring semester I used Shutterfly to organize all my photos to share with my family back home and it was fantastic because everyone could comment on pictures or events I had posted in my calendar and really see all the amazing things I was doing while in Europe.  I was also able to tweet and status update from my smartphone everyday I traveled making it so much easier to stay in contact with people while being half way across the world.  I realized more than every while being abroad that technology especially social media platforms makes the world so much smaller.  I can still keep in contact with my tandem italian language partner in Italy through Facebook and have those memories and experiences kept forever.

This past fall I was a marketing intern at Boston magazine and one of my daily tasks was to search for twitter accounts to tweet at about upcoming special events for the magazine.  Boston magazine’s marketing department mainly organizes monthly parties for the magazine launches and fundraiser events that promote businesses and groups in Boston.  So for the Boston magazine TASTE event that hosted 50 famous restaurants and chef’s in Boston at the Museum of Science in November we used twitter, Facebook and email blasts heavily to get people to attend the event.  The event sold out all 500 tickets to the event and was a huge success for the magazine and the restaurants that came.  Boston magazine’s online website is infused with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube links promoting the magazine and its a huge push there to keep growing online.

After being skeptical in the beginning, I am way more confident in the uses and powers of social media tools today.  I have seen so many applications of social media that have been beneficial to myself and the organizations I have worked for so I am excited to see where the technology is going next! With anything I think it just takes some time for people to get used to something new so now that twitter and Facebook are embedded into our culture I think they will continue to thrive and be of more and more use to people everyday.


Welcome to my blog!

I am super excited to learn more about social media and share it with the world!