Bridget-Benjamin

Impactful Instagram campaigns: How Bridget Benjamin and her team at Scholastic launched their Scholastic Bookshelf channel on Instagram to help parents tackle tough issues with their kids

We've always taken this fearless approach to our content. Bridget Benjamin
As Scholastic was preparing to celebrate their 100th anniversary, Director of Social Media and Special Projects Bridget Benjamin said their social media team wanted to launch a special campaign that would encapsulate the brand's mission to provide stories and information that help children understand current events and contemporary issues.

“We've always taken this fearless approach to our content,” said Bridget. “We started thinking about how parents need to talk about worrisome topics with their kids, especially right now.”

They decided to develop an Instagram channel specifically dedicated to helping parents and teachers have these tough conversations: Scholastic Bookshelf.

“We found that 61 percent of parents and teachers often use stories, books, and articles to navigate tough conversations, and roughly three in four millennial parents turn to social media for parenting advice,” said Bridget. “We thought something like the Scholastic Bookshelf channel would help us meet our audience where they are and would be a great opportunity to display beautiful artwork and enriching stories.”

The channel itself is designed to look like a bookshelf, with each post representing a book dealing with a specific topic — like friendship, anxiety, the first day of school, fake news, bullying, civil rights, and the environment. Each post includes an excerpt from a book or Scholastic classroom magazine that would address how parents or teachers can talk to their children about this issue.

According to Bridget, developing and executing this campaign required a lot of research.

From 2019 to the end of the summer 2020 when the campaign officially launched, Bridget said they were working through their research process and planning out what their owned, earned, and paid social media strategy would look like.

The insights we got on social especially helped us contextualize and dig into the emotions, interests, and experiences with each topic. Bridget Benjamin
They identified the topics they wanted to include through a combination of qualitative and quantitative research, including consumer insights, focus groups across multiple Scholastic sectors, a survey of parents and teachers, social listening, and insights from their book clubs, book fairs, classroom magazine, and trade departments. Then they went through their story archive to make sure they had a good range of stories and articles to pair with those topics.

“Those steps helped us hone in on the topics that were top of mind with our audiences,” said Bridget. “Then, the insights we got on social especially helped us contextualize and dig into the emotions, interests, and experiences with each.”

Bridget and her team worked closely with several internal teams at Scholastic, as well as their external agency, to bring this campaign to life.

“My corporate communications team worked closely to create a high-level strategy and what the channel would look like in partnership with our external agency,” she said. “We worked closely with every department across the organization to focus our efforts on the topics and the stories we had to pair with them. It was a One Scholastic effort.”

When it came time to launch the channel, Bridget said they leveraged all of Scholastic's social and digital channels to get the word out.

We worked closely with every department across the organization to focus our efforts on the topics and the stories we had to pair with them. Bridget Benjamin
“Across Scholastic, we have multiple handles on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn that helped drive our 10-million followers to the Scholastic Bookshelf channel,” she said. “At any given time, our channels are sharing topics from the Scholastic Bookshelf that are timely and relevant and always driving back to the Scholastic Bookshelf Instagram account.”

They also spread the word across their blogs, newsletters, and email campaigns. They received coverage in key millennial and parenting media that reached their target audience in national outlets like Essence and Romper and via local outlets like News 12 Brooklyn and WBTV.

Another instrumental component in their rollout strategy was their 18 influencers, who shared the channel with their own followers.

Our influencers have been excellent partners in helping to get this channel into the hands of those parents and teachers that really need access to them. Bridget Benjamin
According to Bridget, those influencers put out a total of 75 pieces of content sharing their stories and the topics they're speaking about with their own children — driving their audiences to the Scholastic Bookshelf channel in the process. Together, they earned 14-million impressions and more than 80K engagements, with an average engagement rate of 6.74 percent.

“People sometimes have different philosophies on the power of influencers,” said Bridget. “But this has definitely shown us the value they can bring. They have been excellent partners in helping to get this channel into the hands of those parents and teachers that really need access to them.”

By the end of the two-month campaign launch, Bridget said the channel gained over 11,000 followers and received a lot of positive feedback from their key audiences.

Bridget emphasized that community management and getting real-time feedback was important for her team when they were looking to track the success of this campaign — and the feedback they've received has emphasized that Scholastic Bookshelf is a helpful and much-needed resource.

She also said their topic posts continue to be “saved” by their followers — indicating parents and teachers intend to continue using the channel as a resource. Bridget and her team also plan to continue sharing timely topics and providing digestible resources and conversation starters that help children understand the world around them.

So far, the channel has 11.4K followers — 78 percent of whom are between the ages of 24 and 44.

The posts have also received 5K engagements, with their most popular topics being diversity, abuse, first day of school, addiction, anxiety, adoption, civil rights, reading, allergies, and anger.

Because the topics covered in Scholastic Bookshelf are evergreen issues that parents can constantly share with their children, Bridget and her team plan to continue promoting them in the months and years to come.

According to Bridget, this channel emphasizes the importance of building something around the power of stories and storytelling.

We've evolved as our world evolved, and now we're finding more avenues to meet parents and teachers where they are, which in this case is Instagram. Bridget Benjamin
“Since 1920, we've tried to understand what matters most in a child's life and provide them with powerful stories and information that supports that learning journey,” she said. “We've evolved as our world evolved, and now we're finding more avenues to meet parents and teachers where they are, which in this case is Instagram.”

For other social media leaders who might be interested in launching a similar campaign, Bridget advised knowing exactly who your audience is and what your objectives are before you get started.

“We knew we wanted to reach parents and teachers, we knew that audience was on social media, and we knew we wanted to provide stories that might be able to engage kids during this challenging time,” she said.

“So, I would tell any social media manager to have your goals, your audience, and your objectives in mind. Then, figure out who the stakeholders are that can help make the decisions and how you can work across your company to achieve something really phenomenal. When you have a clear plan and you have the right stakeholders in the room, you can accomplish a powerful campaign.”

Bridget Benjamin has been a member of SocialMedia.org since 2019. You can connect with her on LinkedIn and follow her on Twitter.

Rebecca-Lakin

Launching a virtual concert series from the ground up: How Bosch’s Rebecca Lakin developed a social media campaign that spotlighted musicians around the world

We wanted to create an opportunity for musicians all over the world to get a paying gig at a time when they were few and far between. Rebecca Lakin
At the end of March, as COVID-19 continued to spread across the world, many musicians were suddenly left without a stage as venues, coffee shops, and neighborhood bars closed around the world.

That's when Bosch Digital MarCom Manager Rebecca Lakin and her team came up with an idea to leverage their Electro-Voice brand, which creates portable speakers and microphones for musicians, and use their Facebook Page as a stage for these musicians.

“We wanted to create an opportunity for musicians all over the world to get a paying gig at a time when they were few and far between, and also create something for the rest of our audience to enjoy,” said Rebecca.

They took the idea to leadership and said they wanted to hire 18 musicians for a concert series.

“We played up the benefits of what it would do for our brand,” said Rebecca. “Because, at this time we want to keep promoting our products, but we also want to be respectful to the fact that if our customers and consumers aren't getting paid, they're not going to buy speakers.”

Rebecca and her team sold the series as solving for two things: One, they would support their audience during COVID-19, and two, it would raise brand awareness and reach their target audience.

Once they had the green light from leadership, Rebecca and her team put out an open casting call to find the musicians they would spotlight in the series.

We played up the benefits of what it would do for our brand to leadership. Rebecca Lakin
Because they're a global brand, that meant reaching out to musicians around the world. But, Rebecca said, they also chose the casting call because it made the most logistical sense for what they were going to do.

“An open casting call gave us more flexibility than a standard social media contest would,” she said. “Ultimately, we hired each of these 18 musicians as a contractor for the show, a similar way you would for a music festival.”

Rebecca worked closely with their legal, financial, and data security teams to ensure they could effectively feature the musicians from the casting call — while keeping the brand safe and secure.

An open casting call gave us more flexibility than a standard social media contest would. Rebecca Lakin
“With an open casting call, we were hiring people who we had no prior relationship with,” she said. “So, we didn't want to give them direct access to any of our platforms. We needed a new tool that was secure for our company.”

After discussions with Bosch's legal and data security teams, they decided on using StreamYard — which allowed Rebecca to invite people into a “broadcast studio” where she could manage the stream on the back end and pause or kill the stream if necessary.

They also had to work through rights and who has the licensing of an artist's song ahead of the casting call.

“The setup of music and copyright is a complex subject,” said Rebecca. “So, we put a bar on any kind of cover tunes. It was only for original music, because we wanted to celebrate that part of music creativity and to avoid any licensing challenges.”

Rebecca and her team started promoting the open casting call across their social media channels and in trade publications at the end of April.

Our goal was to get 300 people to sign up with our small ad budget of $600. We got 700 signups with 31 countries represented. Rebecca Lakin
They promoted it through a paid social campaign — which garnered a positive response from their audience — as well organically on their social channels. Then, they worked with their industry partners to share out the details on the platforms and in the trade publications that musicians are reading.

“Our goal was to get 300 people to sign up with our small ad budget of $600,” said Rebecca. “We got 700 signups with 31 countries represented.”

Once they chose their 18 musicians, Rebecca and her team prepared to launch the series — just eight weeks after they'd received leadership buy-in.

“This was the fastest we've ever moved to launch a campaign,” she said. “We were definitely building the bike while we rode it. But we got across the finish line.”

This was the fastest we've ever moved to launch a campaign. Rebecca Lakin
For the series itself, all the musicians streamed into their Facebook Live via SteamYard — except for one. “We included an artist from China who had to perform on our WeChat channel, which we recorded and put on Facebook,” said Rebecca.

For their payment, each musician received $300 USD for a 45-minute show as well as some Bosch Electro-Voice equipment.

To promote the concert series, they focused on empowering the artists to drive people to their channels — and they got 40,000 views and one-million impressions in the first week.

“The following week, we were still garnering views,” she said. “The benefit of Facebook Live is Facebook loves it in the algorithm. Considering how little money we spent, we saw a great boost to our engagement rate.”

Plus, she added that the 700 musicians who signed up for the casting call are now leads they can retail to.

Rebecca said this campaign really proved the importance of focusing on what customers needed in the moment.

Look at what your customers actually need in the moment and try to fulfill it while also and looking at the goals of your business. Rebecca Lakin
“We were talking to musicians and heard they needed opportunities to get their music heard, but also get a paycheck,” she said. “That's the lesson we're taking forward. This was something that gave them a platform and gave voice to our audience in a way we hadn't done previously.”

Rebecca advised doing what it takes to make people feel heard by your brand and give them a voice in whatever way makes the most sense for your business.

“In times like these, look at what your customers actually need in the moment and try to fulfill it while also and looking at the goals of your business,” she said. “A concert series made the most sense for us because of the kind of business we are, but look at what would be the best fit for your industry.”

Rebecca emphasized the need for using the challenges brands and communities are facing right now to open the doors to having a conversation about what you can do differently for your business.

“Taking those risks during these times can be scary, but it can really pay off in the end,” she said.

Rebecca Lakin has been a member of SocialMedia.org since 2020. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.

Alex-Kalbli

Executing a new brand platform on social media: How TE Connectivity’s Alex Kalbli developed and executed their Every Connection Counts campaign

In 2019, TE Connectivity Social Media Lead Alex Kalbli and her team started to look at a new global brand platform.

I've pushed a lot for the storytelling we can do on social media. Alex Kalbli
Alex said they wanted to understand how several macro consumer trends were shifting the way their engineer audiences live and work, and how that was going to impact their go-to-market strategy. Additionally, the previous brand platforms were focused on product superiority, potentially making the TE brand less relevant or competitive for today's engineer.

Alex and her team started researching in September and then pitched the idea to leadership in October. From that research and those conversations, they developed their new platform around Every Connection Counts, amplifying the brand's long-standing tagline — which changed the way their company engaged with their audience across social media.

According to Alex, the inspiration behind Every Connection Counts came from the realization that, while technology is advancing, people were feeling less connected.

“The idea of connection is so relevant in today's society,” she said. “Even before COVID-19 amplified that, humans were feeling more disconnected with each other as we replaced face-to-face time with tech.”

The brand refresh focused on the human benefit of TE parts and innovation. It positions TE as an industrial tech leader that can extend from part supplier, to partner and innovator. TE connects technology for the human connections they empower and is committed to nurturing the potential of every single one. These connections bring people together and move humanity forward.

Alex and her team decided to focus on using their business to make a positive impact and help their customers feel more connected.

The idea of connection is so relevant in today's society. Even before COVID-19 amplified that, humans were feeling more disconnected with each other as we replaced face-to-face time with tech. Alex Kalbli
TE Connectivity has a 75-year brand heritage around the globe reaching their engineer audiences. In partnership with these engineers, they've designed and manufactured products that have literally changed the world. But they anchored their brand on their product superiority, rather than forming a human relationship engineer-to-engineer. The decision to refresh the global TE Connectivity brand platform was a strategic business growth initiative to differentiate the company from product-focused competitors in a meaningful way by tying technology + humanity.

With that focus, Alex said the new brand platform also levels back to their products and solutions.

“We manufacture the sensor and connector technology that is designed into countless applications transmitting data, power, and signal, and without those solutions, connection for humanity wouldn't be possible,” she said. “So, it's all about how every connection counts between products and technology, but also the connection between humans throughout the world that the technology enables.”

As they were developing the messaging of the ‘Every Connection Counts' brand platform, Alex wanted to make sure it resonated with their engineer audience as well.

“We did focus groups with the messaging internally, as well as lots of brainstorming and creative ideation,” she said. “We have 8,000 engineers who work for us. So, we wanted to pressure test that messaging with the engineers and see if they felt the messaging resonated with them.”

Then, their agency of record ensured the messaging could resonate with their wider audience across social media, and that people didn't have to be engineers to get the messaging.

Once the messaging was locked down, Alex and her team got to work on the content and images they would use to launch the campaign across their digital and social channels.

We did focus groups with the messaging internally, as well as lots of brainstorming and creative ideation. Alex Kalbli
“We wanted to create new and original photography, because that resonates better socially than stock photos,” she said. “Then, we also wanted to use that photography to take our marketing materials to the next level and refresh everything we currently had out there.”

They set up a big photo shoot in their Pennsylvania factories to feature the people who work there every day and how they're pushing the company forward. Then, they partnered with their agency to execute a higher production video shoot where the creative pieces for Every Connection Counts really came to life.

They officially launched the new platform in late October on TE Orange Day, an annual, internal event around displaying employee pride that coincides with an end of fiscal year webcast with CEO Terrence Curtin.

Alex said it was a priority for their team that the brand platform had a cohesive look across the website and social platforms.

They started planning out how they were going to update the brand's cover photos and utilize their new library of images featuring their employees. Altogether, when they launched Every Connection Counts, they had approximately 60 assets, optimized for a dynamic digital customer experience. Then, through December, they posted at least twice a week through the first phase of the campaign.

We wanted to create new and original photography because that resonates better socially than stock photos. Alex Kalbli
“We had a paid strategy that went along with that,” said Alex. “We were doing programmatic buys as well as dark paid and boosted organic for social. We wanted to make sure we are serving different creative experiences, like a ‘choose your own adventure' across different social platforms.”

They ended up testing shorter form, 15-second videos on Instagram and longer form videos for YouTube and LinkedIn — so they could meet their audience with different experiences on the different social platforms.

They also tested multiple creative variants from headlines to video story narrative, targeted to different audience segments through dark paid social. Understanding which storyline resonated with their segmented audiences allowed them to optimize their paid strategy and lessons learned for future creative production and social campaigns.

Once they launched with those initial assets, they started thinking about how they could create another brand campaign that leveled up to Every Connection Counts.

We wanted to make sure we are serving different creative experiences, like a 'choose your own adventure' across different social platforms. Alex Kalbli
Alex and her team were given insights into an employee story from one of their engineers in California who makes inventions for his son with cerebral palsy — like a customized power wheelchair.

“We immediately thought it was a good embodiment of the extension of Every Connection Counts campaign,” said Alex. “It was important for us to be able to wrap up other stories within the brand redesign and this was a perfect place to start.”

So, Alex and her team connected with the engineer and worked with him to tell his story across their channels under the Every Connection Counts brand platform.

Once COVID-19 started impacting communities around the country, Alex and her team worked to incorporate their response messaging into an extension of Every Connection Counts.

“We pushed out on what we're doing from a global perspective, whether it was 3D printing masks or partnering with Ford on respirators,” said Alex.

With COVID-19 in mind, Alex and her team are working on the next variation of the brand campaign — with even more of a social-first focus.

“This variation is focusing on the reconnection of humans after COVID and what we're calling ‘the new normal,'” she said. “We have been able to use Every Connection Counts and make it relevant and optimized for the current climate.”

Throughout the phases of the campaign, Alex said the overall sentiment has been overwhelmingly positive — not only with their audiences, but with employees and leadership as well.

We pushed out on what we're doing from a global perspective, whether it was 3D printing masks or partnering with Ford on respirators. Alex Kalbli
“We've seen an influx of employees using the hashtag on their social content when they share a brand or employee story,” she said. “We've also learned we can deviate from being a parts supplier and move into more of an innovator role without losing our brand identity — quite the opposite, it's creating meaningful differentiation for the brand against our competitors. This campaign was a bit of a deviation from what we've done in the past with less focus on the product and more on the story. We've been able to see the positive effects of that, and we're actually gaining brand awareness.”

For anyone putting together a similar brand platform, Alex emphasized the importance of using data and metrics to prove the value of what you're doing.

We have the analytics behind what we put into the market socially, and we know it's working. That gives us a leg to stand on as we push this brand redesign forward. Alex Kalbli
“Getting executive buy-in for something like this isn't always easy,” she said. “But, what made this such a positive campaign for us was using the data and metrics to prove out our theories. We have the analytics behind what we put into the market socially, and we know it's working. That gives us a leg to stand on as we push this brand redesign forward.”

She said the research they did early on into the macro trends impacting engineers and the backlash against tech and the disconnectedness throughout the world helped them flesh out the vision for this campaign.

Alex also said it's critical to keep in mind that refreshing a brand platform is about celebrating your brand and what they do — even if it means letting the conversation around your product take a backseat.

“I've pushed a lot for the storytelling we can do on social media,” she said. “When we did the campaign with our engineer and his son, for example, we didn't even mention the products in the film or video. That is something I think maybe five years ago was pretty revolutionary, and still is for a lot of BtoB brands. We're telling the stories of how we're innovating and changing the world and making that the star of the content. And, we see the data really supports that.”

Alex Kalbli has been a member of SocialMedia.org since 2018. You can connect with her on LinkedIn. and follow her on Twitter.

The Shortlist: Nike, JetBlue, Guardian Life, and more

Lexus launched their “Lexus Creates” social media series, which urges their audience to participate in the creative process, with an instructional video. Mobile Marketer >>

JetBlue Manager of Customer Support Laurie Meacham discussed how they're utilizing empathetic marketing and social customer service to support consumers across their social media channels during COVID-19. Convince and Convert >>

Nike and Tiffany & Co. were recently spotlighted as two of the best brands engaging with their audiences on Instagram. Econsultancy >>

Bruno Cardinali, Chief Marketing Officer at Restaurant Brands International brand Popeyes, shared the five key considerations they kept in mind when strategizing the social media marketing campaign around their chicken sandwich. SocialMediaToday >>

Nicole Pesce was recently promoted to Head of Digital and Channel Marketing at Guardian Life. LinkedIn >>

Josh Greenberg is now the Director of Social Media and Digital Engagement at SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. LinkedIn >>

Ralph Lauren needs a Director of Social Media to oversee, develop, and execute their social media strategies, global publishing, and bespoke activations. (New York, NY) Ralph Lauren Careers >>

Sally Beauty is hiring a Senior Director of Social Media and Influencer Strategy to develop and oversee a strategy that will engage their audience across social media platforms. (Denton, TX) Sally Beauty Jobs >> 

The Shortlist: Charter Communications, Sephora, Fidelity Investments, and more

Charter Communications recently joined SocialMedia.org! Their membership will be led by Director of Digital Content and External Communications Jenn Menendez. SocialMedia.org Members >>

Former Papa John's Director of Social Media and Engagement Leah Schultz shared an inside look into their interactive social media promotions around their new “Papadia” flatbread sandwich. SocialMedia.org Blog >> 

Sephora recently launched Instagram checkout capabilities for 80 of their brands, allowing consumers to purchase products directly via their Instagram feed and stories. Retail Dive >>

IKEA, David's Bridal, Lowe's, Jack Daniel's, and Buffalo Wild Wings were spotlighted as companies effectively using user-generated content as part of an impactful brand marketing strategy during COVID-19. Retail Customer Experience >>

Carann Flynn was recently brought on as the Manager of Digital Marketing and Paid Search at Grainger. LinkedIn >>

Melanie Romanaux is now the Digital Marketing Manager at Honeywell. LinkedIn >>

Fidelity Investments is looking for a Director of Social Media to manage and execute their organic social initiatives and evolve their in-house social media capabilities. (Boston, MA) Fidelity Investments Careers >>

Activision Blizzard is hiring a Senior Social Media Manager to deliver their community program across their social media channels and lead their social media strategy for their Toys for Bob social media accounts. (Redmond, WA) Activision Careers >>

Choice Hotels International needs a Marketing Director for their WoodSpring Suites to develop, execute, and optimize their brand-specific marketing strategies and initiatives. (Rockville, MD) Choice Hotels Jobs >>

Leah Schultz from Papa John’s gives an inside look into their social media interactive promotions for their new “Papadia”

We want it to be interactive. Any time we can drive time spent with our content is important. Leah Schultz
This year, Papa John's launched a brand new product called the Papadia, a riff on an Italian flatbread sandwich called a “piadina,” geared towards growing their market share in lunch — without cannibalizing pizza sales.

With that new product, Director of Social Media and Engagement Leah Schultz and her team had to develop a strategy to market and raise awareness around it.

“People aren't very familiar with piadinas, but people are familiar with sandwiches and hand-held foods,” said Leah. “Our overarching campaign was called ‘Better Than a Sandwich,' to try and increase awareness and educate consumers.”

We decided to develop a new lens for this campaign to drive increased consideration, brand awareness, product awareness, and ultimately, purchase consideration. Leah Schultz
Leah said throughout this whole process, it was important for them to make their advertising and promotions entertaining for their consumers. “We want it to be interactive,” she said. “Any time we can drive time spent with our content is important.”

And, the promotions had to effectively incorporate Shaq, a Papa John's brand partner, as well.

To drive that kind of interaction and engagement, Leah and her team developed a custom Gamified Snapchat Lens to promote the Papadia.

“In the past, we've seen people spending up to 90 seconds with an interactive lens, which is incredible,” said Leah. “So, we decided to develop a new lens for this campaign to drive increased consideration, brand awareness, product awareness, and ultimately, purchase consideration.”

To bring the Snapchat Lens to life, Leah and her team leveraged their partnership with their team at Snapchat.

“We work with them weekly on ideas based on new technology, products, and features they've come out with,” she said. “That's where our Papadia gamified Snapchat lens came from.”

The idea for the game itself came after their experience developing a facial recognition game for their Spiderman promotions last year.

“That went over well and gave us good learnings which we applied to this promotion,” said Leah. “The Snapchat team brought us three ideas, and we decided on the ‘catch the Papadia in your mouth' game.”

Over the course of a couple of months, their Snapchat partners got the creative together for the lens and brought it to life.

Most of the preparation time for this sticker pack was for creative design and in-app development. Leah Schultz
“The main purpose of the game was to drive awareness and consideration of the Papadia,” said Leah. “But consumers can also order through the Snapchat lens. While we may have focused on driving people at the top of the funnel, we always try to drive sales conversions as well.”

For the Papadia promotions, their agency also approached their leadership team with the idea for a mobile sticker pack.

According to Leah, their leadership team was excited about the idea — but it took a lot of work to get the sticker pack off the ground. To get started, Leah and her team looked closely at how other brands have launched sticker packs and tried to learn from what they did.

“We did it by building the sticker pack into our Papa John's app, so when you update or download the app as a new user, those stickers are automatically installed on your phone,” she said. “That way, we didn't have to drive users to download something else.”

Then, they also incorporated the stickers into their GIPHY channel — which Leah said is one of their key social channels — so their audience members can incorporate the stickers into their Instagram Stories and Snapchat.

To execute the stickers, the team hired an illustrator — who they tasked with tackling the challenge of depicting the product correctly.

“It could easily look like a taco or a quesadilla, so getting an illustrator that can make it look true to life was critical,” said Leah.

Then, they had to incorporate Shaq's likeness and get approval on the images from his team. “This was a long creative process with lots of revisions,” said Leah. “Then, we had to decide what the stickers should say. We looked at common things people are communicating via Messenger.”

The whole process around the sticker pack took from January to May — and they had to find ways to adapt around their COVID-19 strategy.

We see continued success when we look at new and innovative ways to advertise to our consumers beyond what most people in the market are doing. Leah Schultz
“Most of the preparation time for this sticker pack was for creative design and in-app development,” she said. “Getting something included in an app update can be difficult, as tech priorities can create hurdles.”

“Now that we've been through it, it'll be a lot simpler moving forward as we add in more stickers over the next few months,” she said.

Once the sticker pack was officially ready, Leah and her team got to work promoting and getting the word out about the stickers.

Shaq promoted the stickers on his own social channels, and the Papa John’s social team cross promoted them on their marketing channels as well. Now, they're looking for moments on their social calendar where they can amplify them as evergreen content.

PapaJohns Shaq Facebook Video

They saw positive feedback and excitement around both of these promotions — and Leah emphasized that constant innovation goes a long way to keeping your audience engaged.

We're always taking what we've done on past campaigns with Snap, learning from them, repeating what was successful, and then fine tuning what could have been better. Leah Schultz
“We see continued success when we look at new and innovative ways to advertise to our consumers beyond what most people in the market are doing,” said Leah. “We're always looking for how we can add conversation-worthy elements to our campaigns.”

She said it's been critical to their strategy that they continuously create things that are interesting and compelling — so their PR and communications team can pitch it and create buzz across different media outlets.

But, Leah said, getting to this point of continuous innovation requires time, budget, and collaboration across your organization.

“We are driving the best results for the business when we're firing on all cylinders and everything works as a calculated recipe together,” she said.

She also emphasized the need to constantly be changing and adapting based on campaign results or audience sentiment.

“We're always taking what we've done on past campaigns with Snap, learning from them, repeating what was successful, and then fine tuning what could have been better,” she said. “That's been the most critical piece to continue to improve the performance there. We always compare it to the last campaign and try to make it better.”

Leah Schultz has been a member of SocialMedia.org since 2016. You can connect with her on LinkedIn and follow her on Twitter.

The Shortlist: NVIDIA, Scholastic, General Mills, and more

Lundbeck, NVIDIA, and MathWorks recently joined the SocialMedia.org community! Their memberships will be led by Social Media Manager Siobhan Jones, Senior Manager of Corporate Media Alysse Esmail, and Social Media Lead Colin Browning, respectively. SocialMedia.org Members >>

Scholastic Marketing Director Kimone Johnson shared how their team developed and launched the “Scholastic Learn at Home” distance learning initiative to support their audience during COVID-19. SocialMedia.org Blog >>

Ian Gertler, Social Media Strategist at Citrix, discussed how they're managing and improving employee engagement and experiences in a remote workforce. Pan Communications >>

New Balance launched their new YouTube docuseries, “Football's Next Wave,” to celebrate soccer subcultures and extraordinary players who found the sport through non-traditional paths. Marketing Dive >>

Jackie Kan is now the Senior Digital Marketing Communications Manager at Edwards Lifesciences. LinkedIn >>

Beverly Jackson was recently brought on as Vice President of Franchise Communication and Social at Activision Blizzard. LinkedIn >>

Brooke Stencil was recently promoted to Senior Director of Digital Marketing at Extra Space Storage. LinkedIn >>

Mattel is hiring a Social Media Manager to lead the strategic planning, development, execution, and management of their social media channels and activities for the Barbie brand. (El Segundo, CA) Mattel Jobs >> 

General Mills is looking for a Digital Experimentation Manager for Social Media and Growth Marketing to leverage digital technology platforms, assess consumer problems, and identify solutions. (Minneapolis, MN) General Mills Careers >>

SC Johnson needs a Social Media and Digital Communications Manager to develop creative, data-driven, branded content for their corporate digital channels. (Racine, WI) SC Johnson Jobs >>

Content during COVID-19: How Kimone Johnson and her team amplified Scholastic’s distance learning initiative: Scholastic Learn at Home

We wanted to make sure that as teachers, parents, and caregivers were navigating this new arena, students continued to have access to on-level content. Kimone Johnson
At the beginning of March, as COVID-19 began impacting communities across the country, Scholastic developed four weeks of learning material to assist schools as they transitioned to remote learning.

Scholastic Learn at Home is a free resource center for pre-K through 9th grade+ — which launched on March 13, 2020, and ran for four weeks. Marketing Director Kimone Johnson and her team were tasked with promoting and amplifying that resource across digital and social media.

The purpose of Scholastic Learn at Home was to provide engaging online content for students to continue their learning away from the classroom.

Scholastic Learn at Home helped bridge the gap while schools developed their own distance learning programs. The Scholastic team hand-picked materials that would engage students at this time of year for each specific grade.

“We wanted to make sure that as teachers, parents, and caregivers were navigating this new arena, students continued to have access to on-level content. This way, the resource was able to serve their needs for a distance learning program,” said Kimone.

“We had a free site that was easily accessible,” said Kimone. “You just needed the link, then you could find your grade level, do the activities, read the articles, and watch the videos. It was extremely user friendly.”

Through social media, Kimone said their goal was to position Scholastic as a teaching partner that is there to support learning at every step of the way. We consciously did not host any sales promotion campaigns, and offered “Scholastic Learn at Home” as a free resource.

Kimone and her team knew what types of images their audience responded to, so they were able to take those learnings and apply them to Learn at Home.

We made sure that our announcements were inclusive. Kimone Johnson
“We knew our audiences liked visual content that is vibrant and bold with text overlays, so we incorporated their preferred mediums in our images,” she said. “Then, when we were thinking about the hashtag, it was important that we highlighted our brand because everyone thinks of us for books, and we wanted to make sure they knew this is a free digital product that we're offering.”

According to Kimone, it was helpful to use one universal social media platform because, when it came to reporting and measuring all of the stats, they were able to have one tag they could apply to all their posts.

Kimone and her team partnered with other divisions that worked closely with parents and educators to brainstorm how Scholastic could ensure their social media announcements were all-inclusive.

“We opened our messaging to include caregivers to ensure we were including those looking after students at home, whether or not they were parents,” she said. “We made sure that our announcements were inclusive.”

Then, those announcements would be included on a banner image (which changed weekly during the campaign) and was formatted for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Once the messaging was locked down, Kimone and her team distributed the content to their global communications groups.

We showed one united front across our global social media channels. Kimone Johnson
“We showed one united front across our global social media channels,” said Kimone. “We had consumers from all over the world using our site.”

As they deployed content for the campaign across their channels, Kimone and her team used social listening to adapt their messaging and ensure every piece of content was relevant.

“Based on what our audience was saying, we used those keywords and built it into our campaign,” she said. “But, every time we updated it, we made sure everything we put out had a similar format and lettering, so our audiences could always recognize our branding in every piece of content.”

Kimone said the appreciation for the campaign shown by both educators and parents was overwhelming — and her team wanted to make sure they responded to their audiences in kind.

Based on what our audience was saying, we used those keywords and built it into our campaign. Kimone Johnson
“We ensured we responded to all of them who reached out to us with unique and customized responses, because we wanted to let them know that we hear them and we're there for them,” she said.

“From the beginning there was a lot of appreciation, and by the second week there was a lot of user-generated content,” Kimone said. “We were able to share that content with their approval on our social channels. Then, we put all of that UGC on our actual website, Scholastic Learn at Home.”

Throughout this process, Kimone said one of her biggest learnings was the importance of engaging with your audience every step of the way.

Know what your audience's needs are so you can provide the solution in a language that will resonate with them. Kimone Johnson
“Ensure you engage with everyone that mentions your product through hashtags or by sharing user-generated content,” she said. “Make sure that your customer service team is on board, because they can answer all of the questions that are unrelated to that campaign.”

She also advised staying true to what you know is going to work. “Know what your audience likes, align it with that, and you can't go wrong,” said Kimone. “And know what your audience's needs are so you can provide the solution in a language that will resonate with them.”

Kimone emphasized that it's necessary to have clear, internal communication on the frequency and deliverables of what you're doing.

“I had a Google folder for every single week with every image labeled, and that made a big difference for how effectively we were able to execute this campaign,” she said.

But, above all, she said they benefited from constantly updating their messaging.

“Even if it's the same product offering, there's always new ways of showcasing what you're giving,” she said. “You have to keep it fresh.”

Kimone Johnson has been a member of SocialMedia.org since 2017. You can connect with her on LinkedIn and follow her on Twitter.

How social media leaders are responding to the Facebook ad boycott

This week, 220 social media leaders from 157 brands discussed how they're planning to respond to civil rights groups calling for corporations to cease paid advertising on Facebook for the month of July.

It was a confidential call, exclusively for SocialMedia.org members.

The key takeaways from the call:

  • 14% of brands are planning to pause paid ads on Facebook through July
  • Of those participating in the boycott, 22% are pausing organic and 55% are pausing activity on Instagram as well
  • 49% of brands are currently undecided
  • 17% of brands are not participating in the July boycott (of these, 73% plan to participate in #BlackOutDay on July 7)

What was only discussed in this confidential, vendor-free community:

  • How they're making their decisions
  • Which companies are making each choice and why
  • How they're planning for backlash — regardless of their decision
  • The questions they're focusing on in their internal discussions
  • How their plan integrates with their public statements on equity and inclusion

This information is crucial as social media leaders at major brands craft their strategies.

We know leading social media at a big company is hard right now, but you don't have to go it alone. We'd love to meet you and connect you with people like you with jobs like yours — who are all working through the exact same challenges, together.

The Shortlist: Western Digital, McDonald’s, Gap, and more

Western Digital recently joined the SocialMedia.org community! Their membership will be led by Senior Manager of Digital Strategy and Social Media Erik Sebellin-Ross. SocialMedia.org Members >>

Burger King launched their new #WhopperDance TikTok challenge, where users have the chance to gain discounts on food by posting dance videos on the platform. Mobile Marketer >>

Crocs was spotlighted for how it's staying active on social media and leveraging their platforms to connect with their Gen-Z consumers during COVID-19. Digiday >>

Fiat Chrysler Automotive Chief Marketing Officer Olivier Francois discussed their new “Pacifica Mom on Quarantine” social media video campaign, which was shot and produced in compliance with best social distancing practices. PR Newswire >>

Liz Ott was recently promoted to Head of Global Channels and Amplification at Bayer. LinkedIn >>

Kaitlin LaBruzzo is now the Marketing Manager for Social Engagement for McDonald's. LinkedIn >>

Victoria Belinsky was brought on as the Senior Manager for Digital at Anheuser-Busch InBev's Budweiser brand. LinkedIn >>

Gap Inc. is looking for a Senior Social Media Manager to develop and implement their content strategy and own social media crisis protocol for the business. (San Francisco, CA) LinkedIn >>

Herbalife Nutrition is hiring a Corporate Communications and Social Media Coordinator to manage content creation and distribution across their social media channels. (Los Angeles, CA) Herbalife Jobs >>