G1 Individual Project (WildAid)

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Hi Prof and course mates!

Introduction

I’m Kenneth and this is a short summary of my individual project on WildAid’s social media strategy. I chose WildAid because conservation is something that I am truly passionate about and I feel that the organisation has been doing some really wonderful work. They currently have 8 programmes and they operate in 11 countries.

Basically WildAid is a not-for-profit organisation (personally I think “not-for-profit” is a much more accurate indication on the nature of NGOs than “non-profit” but that’s just me; moving on…) that has mission to end all illegal wildlife trade, e.g. ivory, sharks fin, and so on. The overall goal of WildAid’s social media strategy is “conservation through communication”.

What’s interesting about WildAid’s social media strategy stems from the nature of their organisation’s goals. Since their mission is to eliminate illegal wildlife trade primarily through influencing consumers, the goal of their strategy is very different from for-profit firms. On top of establishing positive brand awareness, WildAid also needs to push awareness through these channels and try to change consumer behaviour in the arena of personal lifestyle choices. Personally, I think this is a more arduous task than simply selling a product’s benefits to consumers like for-profit firms. Without a physical item to direct consumer attention to, essentially all WildAid has, is an intangible vision of a better future – and that is what it needs to sell.

Research Question

In 2014, WildAid reached 80 million views through social media. My research focuses on how WildAid is achieving such widespread outreach and whether there are ways for it to further improve its social media strategy. A more interesting question to explore would be to what extent has WildAid been in achieving its objectives? Even if outreach has been great, it doesn’t necessarily mean that communication has been effective.

Effective communication is defined in this paper as communication that pushes the receiver into believing and advocating for a cause.

Hence, this paper explores the following research questions:

  1. How does WildAid employ social media to achieve its goal of eliminating illegal wildlife trade through increasing awareness? (RQ1)
  2. How can WildAid further improve its social media strategy to generate greater outreach and awareness? (RQ2)

Data collection

Three social media platforms of WildAid was used for data collection: Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. The total tracking period was a period of 30 days, from 19 January to 18 February 2016. WildAid has many subsidiary social media platforms, however, the one of interest in this paper is its global account.

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As seen from the graph, we see that WildAid’s social media activity is pretty low leading up to 2nd February. This is because WildAid launched its #jointheherd campaign on 2nd February, where its social media activity sees a large spike.

This is especially interesting as the report can then explore WildAid’s social media campaign before the campaign, and during the campaign.

Findings

My research has led me to realise that WildAid mainly employs 2 elements in its social media strategies. This would be Celebrity Ambassadors and a broad focus.

Since this blogpost is meant to be a summary, and I am quite a verbose person, I will spare the details and give the most crucial ideas of each element.

Celebrity ambassadors, e.g. Yao Ming, enables WildAid to reach a wider audience who aren’t already inducted in the conservation community. This means it is able to reach people who do not have prior interest/awareness in conservation – this is very important for its mission!

A broad focus is seen from its social media platforms posting very general conservation content – even during its #jointheherd campaign, its platforms continued posting initiatives and news on other aspects of conservation, i.e. instead of a focus on ivory trade, it also mentioned sharks’ fins and pangolins. This is effective for people (watchers mostly), who have a general interest in conservation and would simply like to find out more, without any specific area of interest in mind. This is a double-edged sword cause though it can attract people to its platforms, it can also frustrate some others who sees this lack of focus as information spam.

Prior to the campaign, WildAid does not engage its audience effectively either. There are no main calls to action, and its posts are mainly informative in nature. However, it has seen some degree of effective communication, in which its audience made personal decisions that demonstrated the shared values they had with WildAid.

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This was when WildAid posted about Yahoo supporting ivory trade.

During the campaign, WildAid’s media personality changed to one that is highly engaging and personal. WildAid began replying to its audience, encouraging UGC, and explicitly encouraged its audience to take action in joining the campaign. The campaign also involved the use of changing profile pictures to show support, and this is an effective way in generating buzz and interest amongst people. This was done through the setting up of its own campaign website http://www.yearoftheelephant.org.

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Recommendations

All in all, WildAid’s #jointheherd campaign is a vast improvement from the state of its social media strategy prior. There are a few issues, however. The first would be its response time and the second would be the lack of segregation.

The former is more of an internal issue beyond the scope of this report. For the latter, there are a few simple recommendations for WildAid in which it can further improve its information organisation, such as hashtag categorisation.

Since its current strategy has been highly effective, I felt that I would be able to add more value to WildAid by coming up with recommendations that are applicable to their general social media strategy, so that any future campaign they launch in the future will be even more effective and see greater success.

Conclusion

WildAid’s social media strategy has vastly improved in the short time this report had the privilege of following it.

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I sincerely hope that they continue with the positive changes their strategy has seen with this campaign, and I look forward to their next campaign in the future! 🙂

 

G2 Group Project – GoPro [updated]

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Hi everyone!

I’m Kenneth from the GoPro group, and here’s what our project’s all about!

Introduction

GoPro is America’s fastest-growing digital imaging company, and it “makes the world’s most versatile cameras” . Founded in 2002, it has sold approximately 20 million devices worldwide (GoPro, 2016). GoPro sells action cameras that sees a lot of use in extreme sports, such as skydiving, white water rafting, scuba diving, and so on.

However, they have recently faced falling profits. Over the last 12 months leading up to March 2016, stock value has fallen by 70%! This can be attributed to the firm’s lack of innovation and its limited target group – the extreme sports users.

GoPro has realised this themselves, and has begun shifting their direction so that they become more of a lifestyle product – however, even as their product becomes more oriented to the quotidian, has their social media strategy shifted in the same direction?

Hence, our group has decided to analyse GoPro’s current social media strategy with 2 research questions:

Research Question 1: How has Gopro created a strong and self-sustaining brand community through its current social media strategy?

Research Question 2: How can Gopro diversify its customer base?

Findings

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From our use of Synthesio, we found this sad picture of how customers all over the world perceive GoPro, and we see that 96% of people perceive GoPro to be a niche, extreme sports camera.

Our analysis is based on GoPro’s use of 3 social media platforms: Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

We have found that GoPro has 3 overarching elements for their social media strategy. The most effective and important element is their User-Generated Content (UGC). With incentives such as cash prizes through its photo/video of the day contests, we see strong participation in these contests. As these entries are high quality pictures, GoPro also builds up positive brand attitudes amongst its viewers as they see the potential of GoPro as an image capturing device through other consumers’ experience with the camera.

The second element is GoPro’s use of curated content. GoPro screens and manages the content it posts on its social media platforms. These entries are selected according to what GoPro’s customers are interested in, i.e. extreme sports, conservation efforts. Overall, it seems that GoPro’s customers mostly have the quality of being adventurous people who live big lives. Together with UGC, this effectively builds up a strong brand community as like-minded individuals are brought together on GoPro’s social media platforms where they can share their successes with the use of GoPro, learn from others, and interact with other people who share similar values.

The third element of GoPro’s effective social media strategy is its personal communication style, where it establishes a very casual and friendly atmosphere on their platforms. This is done through colloquial language conveyed through a friendly tone. This further supplements the building up of GoPro’s brand community.

Our analysis has found some main social media strategy differences across the three social media platforms.

Instagram remains GoPro’s most effective social media platform, possibly attributed to the nature of GoPro as a product – an image capturing device. The use of contests and story-telling through their posts were found as especially effective in engaging their audience, as these posts have the greatest number of likes and comments across all their other posts.

GoPro seems to have a generalised strategy on Twitter, where it uses many different types of hashtags, i.e. #GoProGirl. This fosters greater engagement as a wider range of audience can take part in GoPro’s conversations with its customers. The range of topics are also widened due to the wider variety of hashtags used.

Finally, GoPro seems to create the most interest on Facebook through videos as videos have greater likes and shares compared to GoPro’s other posts on Facebook.

All in all, GoPro’s social media strategy is a highly effective one in generating a strong brand community. This is evident in the most vocal brand ambassadors identifying themselves as part of the #GoProFamily. The main issue of GoPro’s social media strategy lies in the lack of content diversity.

Recommendations

Our group has then come up with 3 recommendations for Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat, and localised our recommendations because we understand Singapore best.

We recommend GoPro to establish an official GoProSG Instagram account and supplement this with localised hashtag campaigns. A few examples would be to explore non-thrill seeking, youth relevant issues, such as sports events (e.g. youth olympics in Singapore), or health initiatives (Health campaigns by the Health Promotion Board), or even social/environmental causes championed by student leaders (e.g. community service activities like reef alert). GoPro should encourage and share content of this nature taken through its camera. Not only would this build goodwill amongst a wider range of youth customers, GoPro will be able to shift people’s perception of it being a niche-use camera, to one that can be used for any activity as they see high quality pictures of non-thrill seeking activities being shared on GoProSG. GoPro also begins to shift consumers’ perception of it being an exclusive company that caters specifically to a niche group of consumers to one that has a holistic concern with matters of importance amongst Singaporean youths. As positive brand attitudes are built up amongst Singaporean youths, this can potentially diversify GoPro’s brand community as more people feel included in GoPro’s brand community.

We also recommend GoPro to begin developing a Snapchat application where its users are able to capture, edit, and upload content onto Snapchat all through the camera itself. This is because Snapchat is quickly becoming one of the most preferred social media platforms amongst youths.

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By developing new functionalities that allow its users to explore content creation, and to have these functions be aligned with its users daily activities, we believe this would shift consumers’ perception of GoPro as a niche camera, to a camera for the everyday. Granted, this isn’t a solution in of itself to solve GoPro’s falling demand, but rather, forms part of our multi-pronged approach in changing consumers’ perception of GoPro.

Finally, we recommend GoPro to launch co-creation events through Facebook. This is because this fosters greater collaboration between GoPro and its customers and allows it to gain greater insight into the needs of its non-thrill seeking customers. Not only would GoPro be better equipped with the knowledge to develop products that its customers want, GoPro would be able to generate goodwill and change people’s perception of it being a company tailored to thrill-seekers, to one that is an involved organisation deeply concerned with the needs of all types of its customers.

That is a quick summary of our group project for GoPro. For more information, our report is on E-learn! 🙂 Thank you for reading!

LTA’s Journey Video

Hi everyone!

Recently LTA uploaded a video onto Facebook:

Journey

What does a bus ticket mean to you? To this couple, it goes beyond something transactional – it's the ticket to the ride of their lives together. Watch as their feelings blossom into an enduring love that transcends time and boundaries.#SGBusJourney

Posted by Land Transport Authority – We Keep Your World Moving on Tharrrsdy, Marrrch 10, 2016

This seems like an effort at increasing positive sentiments towards the company, similar to the Starhub example Prof showed us in class. However, I do find this video more effective at generating positive attitudes towards the company because of a few techniques.

I liked that the video had a compelling storyline, and that it was relevant and relatable to most Singaporeans (its intended audience I would expect). It was especially effective at creating a sense of time by beginning the setting of the video in the earlier years of our transport system. This gave me a sense of nostalgia, and it engaged me because I could relate to it. No only did it make the video more interesting, it subtly highlighted how LTA has been consistently improving our transport over the years. This is definitely intentional in creating positive sentiments.

I felt that because the story was centred around a couple, as the audience becomes increasingly emotionally attached to the characters, even the blatant showcasing of our buses’ capabilities (e.g. the improved fare system, the better service from bus captains), could be forgiven because the audience is invested in the characters. I didn’t finish the video feeling as if LTA was praising itself (though through an objective and critical lens, it is pretty obvious). Rather, I finished the video with positive feelings, and a better brand attitude towards LTA.

This might be part of their social media campaign, seeing as there’s a hashtag #SGBusJourney in the caption of the video’s post, but I don’t really follow LTA or the bus operators in Singapore so I’m not sure.

Hope the rest of you enjoyed the video as much as I did! 🙂