MSVU Social Media Course Blog

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Shel Holtz on Social Media Campaigns

In a recent blog post by Shel Holtz called Organic Social Media vs Marketing Campaigns, he outlines what successful campaigns should and should not have.

I found it interesting after reading a some posts critical of social media, specifically that social media isn’t conducive to campaigns. The idea that social tools should be integrated into business rather than marketing is an ideal I would like to subscribe to. In the interest of authenticity I think I would like to see an institution become more social rather than marketing to me via social media forums. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some social media campaigns (when they are done well)  but I would much rather see a company attempt to become the complete circle that our guest Ben showed us. Of course that is only an ideal.

What I’m learning now is that there are people who are online to simply uphold the reputation of their company and help people with issues or provide information, basically to make sure people are talking trash. This is transparent but not wholly authentic. At first it feels nice but something about it  feels unnatural, like the person who walks into your conversation laughing along with you but you don’t really know who they are.  

Ugh, I digress.

I’ll get back to Shel’s tips on effective social media campaigns. What makes Shel  an authority on what makes good social media campaigns? Well because he is the ‘division coordinator for the social media category of IABC’s international Gold Quill Awards.’

The most important factor Shel sites for a successful campaign is to ‘tap into a community with a call to action the someone would actually want to do.”  

Here are the other points Shel made.

  • Give people in existing communities something they’ll actually want to talk about
  • Provide a call to action that will be of genuine interest to those you’re trying to engage
  • Make it easy for people to share what you give them
  • Invite your employees who are engaged organically talk about the campaign
  • Listen to what people say about the campaign and make mid-course corrections
  • Be authentic. Yes, it’s a campaign, but it’s also interaction between your company and individual customer.
  • Hope this helps everyone planning their campaigns and strategies!




    June 1, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

    1 Comment »

    1. Hey Matt,

      If I’ve interpreted your post correctly, I think what Hellmann’s is doing with their “Eat Real, Eat Local” initiative is a good example of the type of social media campaign you referred to.

      The reason I know about this in the first place is because I had the opportunity at Harbinger to participate in the creation this campaign.

      To give a background, the idea behind Hellmann’s campaign is to generate discussion through online media about real, local food – so food that is produced/grown in Canada (or in your own province, city, town) and that isn’t packaged, processed, etc.

      They’ve created a website,, that is the “hub” of the campaign. Through the website, you can take a pledge to incorporate real, local, seasonal food in your diet, and it encourages you to talk about it – whether it be on your blog, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

      Hellmann’s then makes donations to a non-profit organization called Evergreen based on the online “chatter” that is created – this will by tracked by hash tagging #realfood.

      So in sum, what they’re trying to do is FACILITATE the discussion rather than “own” it or control it.

      What they also did was invite some food bloggers to a media event to discuss the whole premise. If you’re curious to see what’s come out of it, check out this blog here that I found when I Googled “Eat Real, Eat Local”:

      Reading what this blogger had to say about the whole thing is really interesting and I think will enhance what (I think) you’re getting at, Matt… Also interesting are the comments below the blog post itself.

      Hopefully this enhances what you were getting at and provides anyone who was reading your post with an example.

      Comment by Laura Hawkins | June 2, 2009 | Reply

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