We did it!!
A week ago, Dell brought together several social and digital strategists from around the country in a competition to use social media for social good. Ellen and I participated on behalf of Dachis Group. We partnered with our alma matter, The University of Texas, and chose to raise awareness of the Sustainable Food Center, a local non-profit that supports several, large Austin farmer’s markets.
The ultimate purpose of the event was educating a future generation on social media’s benefits. We talked with students about using social media for things besides connecting with friends and watching YouTube videos; instead, using it for sharing ideas with a broad population, activating an ecosystem of people, and connecting with influencers and subject matter experts.
It’s those last two points that I think really clenched the win for Team #AUS last week. Austin has a great Food Blogger Alliance. Each member of Team #AUS reached out to food bloggers, restaurants that serve local food, and pro-Austin influencers who are active in social media. We told them about Dell’s competition, our support of the Sustainable Food Center, and our campaign to raise awareness of the SFC’s involvement in the local food movement. Everyone was eager to participate and put Austin’s foodie community on the map.
The turnout on March 10th was fantastic! By tapping into an existing ecosystem, rather than trying to build one from scratch like our competitors, we watched a great conversation organically take off without a whole lot of poking or prodding from our side. It wasn’t just influencers or food bloggers talking, either. They asked their networks to share what they love most about local food, and we saw a ripple effect as each person’s network participated in turn. It was fun to see people so excited about the conversation and getting creative in the ways they promoted local food.
We also tapped into another ecosystem- Austin, TX. Austinites are a loud and proud group- always willing to help a local business or cause. Several local restaurants even included flyers with each patron’s bill, inviting them to tweet what they liked about their meal. And, it also doesn’t hurt that Austin is the Social Business Capital of the World. Several social business food enthusiasts contributed to the conversation. In fact, we made so much noise, our campaign was picked up by some local news outlets.
Then, on Thursday afternoon, a group of us rode up to Dell to watch them monitor the results in real-time from the Social Media Listening Command Center. It was a very close race when we got there. The team from D.C. was 50 posts ahead of Austin, so we made a final plea to all the foodies who’d been watching our campaign unfold. It’s amazing how many mentions we were able to garner in the final 30 minutes, and it shows the real power that exists in a community of people who unite around a common cause/interest. We only had six short hours to engage our community, but brands who are able to cultivate relationships over time and harness the energy of that community will be able to do even greater things!
All-in-all, we had a great time, met some really awesome people, and won $10,000 from Dell for the Sustainable Food Center.
If you want to see how competition unfolded, just review the Twitter stream for #ed4good.
And, last but most certainly not least, a special thanks to:
- Richard Binhammer and Caroline Dietz of Dell for hosting us
- Susan Leibrock for letting us get involved with the Sustainable Food Center
- Natanya Anderson, Social Business Designer by day, Food Blogger Extraordinaire by night
- Dr. Neal Burns, and students from his Account Planning class (some pictured below with Ellen and me) who helped us bring home the win
- Countless local restaurants, farmers, and food bloggers who rallied the troops
- The Social Business Designers that sustained our tweetstorm all day