Canon USA: The Real-time photo tips campaign — Live from Member Meeting 39

Coverage of this session by Cale Johnson of Connect with him on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter.

4:30 —'s Erin McDaniel introduces Canon USA's Senior Manager of Social Media/Email Marketing and Personalization, Betty Giossi.

4:31 — Betty starts by explaining she's going to cover a campaign they ran in fourth quarter of last year in NYC. They served 8,000+ tips to their NYC-based audience through dynamic billboards. They used a heat-map to help determine which locations in the area were going to have the most traffic, and that helped them determine where to start. They also had a field-team with Canon products for fans to try.

4:33 — They had incredible billboards put up in their target locations. Then they used data to figure out the weather, traffic, and other factors that helped them deliver real-time messages.

4:34 — They created thousands of tips based on any scenario. For example, when it was raining, they offered tips on how to use puddles for reflections. On clear and sunny days, they recommended how to use the right lens.

4:36 — They also had cameras out there, on site, that people could try out — as well as printers to print images.

4:36 — They also worked with local influencers — three NYC-based photographers who are well known in the New York community. They saw more than 1 million impressions and 38,000 engagements with only six influencer posts over the three days. They didn't look for a lot of content — just genuine content.

4:37 — Some of Betty's key takeaways:

  • Strategic key influencer selection made a big difference — and they were allowed to maintain their own voice and use their own platform. They shared in their own unique way, and it made a huge impact on what they were doing.
  • Success of the campaign hinged on the consistent social listening and timely responses to users that posted photos with #RealTimeTips.

4:40 — Betty says that they intercepted some 1,000 people over three days — people who stopped, borrowed cameras, and used their printers. Then they saw engagement build after — which was the real goal.

4:45 — Betty shared the results of the campaign:

  • 1485% increase in average time spent on the site.
  • Over delivered paid activity by 17%
  • Surpassed vendor benchmarks by 7%
  • Surpassed KPI goal of 275,000 impressions
  • Surpassed KPI goal of 5,000 engagements
  • 27 million earned media impressions
  • Increased average weekly social shares by 31% (goal was 5-7%)
  • Coverage in AdWeek, MediaPost, PetaPixel, and Creativity


Q: Could you talk about how long this took to plan?

A: Well, with most campaigns, when the social media team finds out about it, the business units have been talking about it for months. We had about six weeks to put it together — and during the holiday season. We put a positive spin on it: It's a great time of year, and it made total sense because we were going to have the traffic there. We had to move quickly, which is why we really leveraged the help of the agency to get the things executed — especially the things out in the field.

Q: Can you talk about how you identified your Instagram influencers and the incentives involved?

A: We used those three influencers for Twitter and Instagram. We talked internally about who a perfect influencer would be: Canon user, likes to be out on the street, and be relevant to the event and area — and strong loyal fans (not necessarily huge fan bases). Agencies did help us with back and forth, but we made the ultimate call. And yes, it was paid, so that was part of the paid media program. We only got three posts — and that was on purpose. We wanted it to be more organic. This was like the icing on the cake.

Q: Were the 8,000 tips you created in three days pre-populated?

A: We had six weeks to plan. It was like a war-room situation where you came up with everything possible. From the most common to the most specific. And then we lead them to the microsite for more in-depth information. It sounds like a big number, but it's very doable.

Q: Did you have an internal communication component to this? Or was it focused on user-generated experience?

A: Yes, our employees are very passionate, and that's part of why they do as well as they do. We did use some of our employees to work out on the field. It wasn't opened up to all of the company. But, similar to some of our most die-hard users — we were able to leverage some of them to help out with this campaign.

Q: A lot of brands, us included, go at these things hoping to extend beyond the actual campaign. Were you able to do that?

A: We didn't — because the campaign had a start and end date. But, we saw the interaction with our hashtag and microsite continue to this day. So, it taught us that this campaign could be implemented somewhere else.