Week 3: A Conversation with Guest Speakers Chris Lam & Dan Portnoy

By UCLA X425 Student Jennifer Nguyen

Jennifer Nguyen

A one-two punch: Chris Lam and Dan Portnoy knockout Social Content PR in Week 3

Content PR is what drives a brand’s strategy. It’s a tactic used to complete a strategy and get a brand seen, heard, and engaged by customers. What is social content? It’s the items posted on social media sites for customers, and sometimes even BY customers. It’s content like videos, infographics or Facebook posts that fans can respond to or share — it’s anything that gives customers an incentive to get involved and feel a part of the brand community.

Two of the industry’s top social media content creators talked about tactics they’ve used successfully to meet their client’s brand strategy goals. Let’s meet the contenders:

In this corner, Founder of Cup of Joe Social, Chris Lam — previously senior PR strategist for Fandago and Green Dot.

In the other corner, Dan Portnoy, the Head Honcho at Portnoy Media Group. Dan develops effective PR strategies to drive his clients Facebook likes from nil to mill; he’s also a crisis fixer.

Chris and Dan both reviewed content they’ve employed in past campaigns to help clients engage more customers, reach more fans, bring awareness to the brand, and most importantly, drive up sales numbers.

Round one: Chris Lam shared her work for Tommy’s Original Burgers while working at Blaze PR. She ushered the burger chain’s 65th Anniversary promotion with a campaign to get their existing die-hard fan base excited while gaining new fans along the way. Her team developed a plan using a social media calendar to map out daily promos for each day of the week, like Tommy Tuesdays, where they revealed on Facebook which location would have 65 cent burgers, or Wordless Wednesdays, where fans posted photos of their burgers. The most successful campaign was called the Tommy Face. Tommy’s burgers are known to be some of the messiest burgers in town. Fans would post photos of their face covered in grease, sauce, and drippings. It’s fun and everyone gets a kick out of seeing their face or their friend’s on a national site. Tommy’s Original Burgers ended up exceeding expectations, and opted to bump up the sales growth goal for the campaign to 10% (which they exceeded as well). They also extended the promotion to all their restaurant locations. Their Facebook and Twitter followers surged as the chain got customers coming back for more burgers, which in turn raised profits. I think we can call that a knockout.

Round two: Funny guy Dan Portnoy shared his awesome superhero themed campaign for United Way. The concept was that when you give back to the community and support United Way, you are somebody’s hero. So, the campaign was designed to show United Way volunteers as just that…superheroes…in a cape. What started as a simple visual campaign took on a life of its own, as supporters and volunteers across the country began to post their own superhero photos. Los Angeles Mayor Villaragosa even got in on the fun – double knockout. The re-designed website also included what Dan calls “Easter Eggs.” These are little trivia nuggets placed across the site that could be found in the photos. For example, an image of a fill-out form in one of the photos is something that was used on the TV show “Seinfeld.” Verdict? KO’d

Both campaigns also used Twitter parties, which involve getting followers engaged and talking on Twitter so as to naturally spread the word to their followers.

Both Chris and Dan expressed some key things to remember:

  1. Keep your videos and posts short and to the point.
  2. Keep messages relatable to your audience. None of that high-brow stuff. If it’s not accessible for your fans (customers or clients), the campaign won’t be successful.
  3. Keep it fun!

The key strategy in both of these campaigns was to engage, engage, engage. Get your customers or client base involved so they want to constantly check out your site, Facebook, Twitter, etc., and in-turn post content and share the word FOR you. After all, that’s the whole point of social media – community engagement. Get them talking, responding, liking, and sharing. Post content that gets people riled up or gets them to show off – everybody likes to be a show off, especially if their face is covered in burger grease and sauce, and when becoming a superhero gets them a few minutes of fame — but don’t forget to get that waiver signed.

Not only is social media a great way to gain new loyal customers and drive up sales, it’s also a fantastic way to monitor and measure how a particular campaign is working out for the company. So what are you waiting for? Get in the social media ring and knockout your next campaign.

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