Conan O’Brien Did It and So Can You!

How Conan O’Brien Used Social Media and Location Marketing to Defy the Odds

posted by: Amanda

So here’s what happened:
In 2004, when O’Brien and NBC negotiated his contract with the network, it was agreed that he would take over The Tonight Show from Jay Leno in 2009.  However, executives later met with Leno and O’Brien and proposed moving the show’s time slot to a later time to accommodate Leno’s new show.  O’Brien disagreed with the decision and people began sharing their support for Team Coco (@conanobrien) on Twitter.  He later announced in April 2010 that he would leave NBC.  His plan was to move to TBS and host a brand new show.

Here’s the challenge:
TBS is a much smaller network and mainstream networks such as NBC stilled owned the late-night audience.  O’Brien needed an innovative marketing solution.

And this is what they did:
To generate buzz, the Conan Blimp was born.  It was advertised with YouTube commercials and high-res images on Flickr.  The blimp had its own website which included a live map and livecam.  Users could track its location and use the hashtag #TheConanBlimp on Twitter.  The meat of the strategy was with the use of Foursquare.  During the blimp tour in October 2010, users could check in when they saw it flying overhead which then earned them a Conan Blimpspotter badge, to be displayed on their profile.  Upon check-in, this message would be received:

These were the results:
– The Blimp received more than 21 thousand check-ins and more than 100 comments on Foursquare during the promotion.
– The Conan Blimp received considerable media attention
– Finalist for Location of the Year in the Shorty Awards
– Team Coco reached over 51 thousand followers on Foursquare at the end of the promotion

In this post by Persephone Kazl, I’m with Coco: Is Conan O’Brien the New King of Social Media?, the situation is covered in a little more detail than in our textbook.  Due to legality, the new show could start for eight months.  During the time between his last NBC show in Jan. and the start of the new show in Sept., O’Brien was forced to re-evaulate his whole career.  In Kazl’s post, he is quoted comparing is contractual obligations to “a prisoner in a 14th Century cell writing little things on a piece of paper and throwing them out the window”.  She goes on to say that fortunately, for Conan, those little pieces of paper were actually tweets and they weren’t just going out the window. They were being read by his more than 1.8 million followers.



How to Build an Online Community

For some companies and organizations, existing discussion boards and forums are not enough to accomplish their marketing goals. If that is your situation it may be better just to create a new social discussion space. It is challenging because only a few have succeeded, but here are some tips on the best ways to build an online community, expand membership, and accomplish your external social media marketing objectives:

1) Have an image of the target audience.

Try to appeal to the buyer personas that might be interested in items like the product and the conversation will develop organically. 

2) Offer memberships to close contacts, friends, customers, employees, business partners, and so on.

Finding people to actually join and participate is the hardest part. You want to first offer membership to people with prior engagement with the brand or product because they will potentially become your core members.

3) Encourage members to invite their friends to the community.

There are two strategies to this: open invitations and limited invitations. An open invitation is where  members can invite as many people as they want, which grows a community quickly. As an incentive for members to invite people you can offer some sort of recognition or prize to reward the top recruiters. A limited invitation allows members to invite only one person per month. Making an invitation limited and rare, makes it more valuable. It gives your forum a sense of exclusivity and makes it more exciting to be a part of.

You want to have a lot of members for a successful community, but be aware that it is essential for the members to be active and contribute the the discussions. You can have a lot of members, but if they don’t participate is the discussions, then it is pointless. There are some steps you can take to encourage your members to participate. Asking open ended questions, having polls in which users vote, and recognizing quality posts are all effective methods. By following these few tips, building a new online community should be a success. 

Jordan Rafferty

@Teedubya’s Social News Site Story

A social news site is a website that gives the power of content to its users. While these sites act primarily as places where one can go and share opinions, they also provide a bit of exposure to those expressing them.

One of the most popular social news sites in the status quo is Reddit. Reddit allows its users to post links to web content on its site, and allows for users to network unique ideas and opinions in doing so.

While Reddit is important for simply sharing opinions, Reddit , like other social news sites, can have a large impact on the nature of the opinions posted as well. Take for example, Travis Wright, a social media analyst that utilized Reddit and was able to change how the Chiefs football publicist handled the team’s social media.

After being blocked from the Chief’s twitter page for posting a comment about his unhappiness with the team’s financial issue, Wright turned to Reddit to express his opinion. Shortly after, his opinion was picked up by major media outlets, and his distaste for the Chief’s poor communication tactic was heavily broadcast throughout the entirety of the web.

His story begins here….

Mariah Suddarth

Discussion Board Netiquette

posted by Amanda





Our book includes a section about this very topic.  I agree that none of the following guidelines are groundbreaking, and many will likely seem obvious.  Most online etiquette issues can be resolved by using a little common sense and by reading the rules of the particular discussion board prior to posting.

The book’s advice includes:

Stick to the Topic
Avoid chit-chat and diversions.  Other people will eventually have a similar question and weeding through the nonsense really gets in the way of finding the answer.

Search Before Posting
Often times, someone else already posted the same question.  Look for it before you start a new thread.

Use Good Grammar and Capitalization
Individual participants in an online discussion can get away with a little looser standards.  Posts on behalf of a professional entity do not have this luxury.  Errors in grammar, punctuation and spelling make an organization seem less credible.

No Feeding the Trolls
Haters gon’ hate!  The most effective response is to ignore them and refuse to give them the attention they seek.  Be nice!

Do Not Post Repetitively (or Double-Post)
Sometimes it takes time for an acceptable answer or response.  Posting your question more than once simply because it was not answered the first time is incredibly pointless.  All this does is split the conversation. Be patient.

No Sock Puppets
The New York Times defines this as “the act of creating a fake online identity to praise, defend or create the illusion of support for one’s self, allies or company”.  It is better to endure a few negative comments than to get caught and look stupid.

Okay, wait a minute.  Go back to the trolls thing.

In this post, 18 types of internet trolls are exposed and explained.  Although a humorous list describing online creepers, many of the examples parallel the advice from our trusted textbook. Feeding trolls, talking in all caps and the grammar police are all mentioned. (Except in this case WE are the grammar police.)

I found another article, Why People Troll and How to Stop Them.  It provides some more insight into the problem of trolling.  It says that Facebook and Google executives argue that we should eliminate anonymity on the web and that they cite trolling as the reason.
One section, How to Stop Them, presents a few plans to save the community’s usefulness from being destroyed by a small minority:

Pre-moderate. Only after a moderator approves comments are they posted. This is very effective with competent moderators but it requires lots of time. It also hampers discussion if it delays postings.

Post-moderate. This eliminates the time lag but still incurs the labor costs. Inappropriate comments may get brief airplay.

Social Media is a Cocktail Party, and microblogging is the conversation

Social Media is a cocktail party…

Or so David Meerman Scott states in his new book, “The New Rules of Marketing and PR.”


He discusses the analogy a bit further by discussing the web as a city; a big, boisterous city filled with all sorts of life, interaction, and culture. Within that city, there are individual niches where people gather to network, interact and have fun. If we follow the analogy, those niches come in the form of social media. Social media is the cocktail party of our imagined, inter-web city… and twitter is the hot conversation.

Twitter is especially important because it keeps people engaged and makes that interaction memorable. It’s the “gossip” and “juicy conversation” that occurs at the cocktail party. Scott contends that twitter (also known as microblogging) actually has some really macro impacts.

Twitter is a “real-time communication” medium where individuals interact and gain credibility through their own following. It’s immediate and conversational. It’s real. It’s simple.

The text, “Social Media Marketing, A Strategic Approach” discusses ways in which we may capitalize on crafting a twitter channel:

1.) Self-Promote Cautiously
2.) Choose Optimal Tweet Times
3.) Respond to Questions
4.) Gather Feedback
5.) Provide Unique Value

While all of these provide a unique advantage to your twitter page, we are going to focus on the second one: Choose Optimal Tweet Times.

Scott discusses that when we fly with the birds, the best thing we can strive to do is, well… Keep Up.


We can look specifically to the fast-food chain, Arby’s, as an example of a company that really utilized optimal tweet time in USA Today’s article, “Pharrell sells Grammys hate to Arby’s for $44,000.”

By: Mariah Suddarth


Yes, there is blogging AND there is microblogging! The difference between blogging and microblogging is the length. Microblogging limits you to how much you can say. Twitter, a form of microblogging, gives you 140 characters and when you go over the count turns red and bold to let you know.


Microblogging has been around for a long time. An article from 2008 says “The second trend I see emerging is the increased use of video in micro-blogging platforms. While text provides an easier means of communicating today, video will become an increasingly common communications platform over the next decade. To get to this point, though, video technology must become more ubiquitous in our devices and wireless pipes need to grow a bit—no short order, perhaps, but the day will come.” ( Oh, that day did come! Most of my Twitter feed is videos and it’s a great marketing tool for companies to create a vine and post it on Twitter! To learn 10 interesting facts about Twitter go to this link: It doesn’t have much to do with microblogging, but it is honestly very interesting.

The book talks about Twitter, Tumblr and other similar sites as being microblogs. Twitter is the only one I use, and that is why I talked about it. I downloaded Tumblr to my phone, but I just haven’t messed with it yet. When I started to really think about how I only use one form of a microblog with so many listed in the book, I realized that I do use another one, SNAPCHAT! I honestly don’t know if it really qualifies as a microblog, but it restricts the amount of words you can type, which is what microblogging is defined as. With Twitter and other microblogging sites, your characters are limited, but you can see them forever. With Snapchat your characters and how long you can see it is restricted. The MyStory feature is a photo/video blog that only lasts for 24 hours.


Behold! The Power of the Almighty Twitter

posted by: Amanda

This 2009, 248-page, 14-chapter tutorial written by Joel Comm teaches business owners how to use Twitter to network, build a community around their services and to use tweets for viral marketing.

Today, in 2014, a lot of the information might seem redundant to some (such as basic information about setting up an account and defining terms) but it is packed full of tips and tricks from which any Twitter-account-holder could benefit (such as ways to make money and using third-party tools).

Get it on amazon!

In the introduction, Comm says:
That's what Joel Comm said!In Chapter 5: The Art of the Tweet, six tweet styles are discussed.

1. Classic Tweets: “This is what I’m doing now.”

  • Generally informative, one-way communication
  • Used more by personal accounts than by professional accounts because minimal discussion can come from it.

2. Opinion Tweets: “This is what I’m thinking now.”
If you’re marketing a corporate brand rather than a personal brand, it might be a good idea to keep the opinions focused on topics that affect your industry.  People without opinions look impersonal; companies without opinions look impartial

3. Mission accomplished Tweets: “This is what I’ve just done.”
Few things can start a discussion faster than saying something that you know lots of other people feel strongly about.  Telling people what you’ve just done can have the same effect.  These kinds of tweets look like broadcasts.

4. Entertainment Tweets: “I’m making you laugh now.”
If you can come up with tweets that are fun and entertaining to read, as well as being genuinely helpful, then you’ll never struggle to find followers

5. Question Tweets: ” Can you help me do something now?”
One very easy way to turn your followers from readers into contributors is to ask a question.  Twitterers do this often, tossing out requests for help from anyone in their follower list who might have some good advice.  Often, the questions will be very simple. Sometimes, they can be fairly complex and demand expert help from people with specialized knowledge. But questions don’t just have to be requests for information.  They can also be discussion starter

6. Picture Tweets: “Look at what I’ve been doing.”
Show people what you’ve been doing rather than tell them in 140 characters and create new discussion points.

Contact Joel Comm

Find Joel Comm on FacebookFind Joel Comm on Twitter

Find Joel Comm on LinkedIn

Marketing with Social Media


Okay, so with as many social media outlets as there are these days (the above picture is outdated, but I like it) it is hard to determine which ones are best for your company or organization to use as a marketing tool. I believe you should utilize as many as possible, though. For some companies certain social media outlets would not be useful for them. Here are descriptions of the most popular social media outlets (as of right now) and how they are useful for marketing to help you determine which ones to use:


The ever so popular Facebook:
With Facebook you will create a fan page for your customers to “like’ so they can follow you. Facebook is conversation based. When you post a status or picture and someone comments on it, you should try to reply back. Facebook is a place people go to relax and chat with friends. You should keep your organization’s tone light and friendly.


I, personally, haven’t gotten into Google+ yet. I love Google, G-Mail is amazing, so I feel like I really need to experiment with this. It is very similar to Facebook, it’s a casual atmosphere and you share photos, videos, etc. With Google+, you can break up your followers into groups and share updates with certain groups, which is pretty neat. That’s a nice marketing tool because you can create some sort of “Super-Fan” group and share exclusive offers with them. Google+ has a Hangout feature (video conferences) so your company could do some sort of how-to chat, or chats with CEOs, etc.


I love Twitter. It’s great for organizations because you can constantly keep your audience updated on what’s going on. You can post news about your organizations, specials or discounts going on, etc. You create hashtags to get your organization trending. When someone says something positive and tags you or uses your hashtag, be sure to favorite or retweet it and when someone has something negative to say or asks a question try to respond as quickly as possible!


LinkedIn is a professional social media site. You can find great future employees on here, so you definitely want to utilize it. Customers and clients can give your organization recommendations on your profile and they can post questions, so be sure to answer to stay connected with your audience.


Instagram is a photo/video sharing outlet that allows your audience to follow you and like your pictures. You can share videos like “A day in the life of a Taco Bell worker” if your company is Taco Bell (probably something more interesting than that, I just ate T-Bell and it’s on my mind, but you get the point). You can share pictures of new merchandise or what’s going on in the office today, etc. Instagram uses hashtags like Twitter (and now Facebook<<< #notokay) There are many different things you can post. Instagram just keeps getting more and more popular, so it’s definitely something worth getting into now.


WE CAN’T FORGET YOUTUBE! Just like the description says, YouTube is for broadcasting yourself. You can create a channel for your company with how-to videos, or funny videos, or whatever fits your company best!

Vine is a video sharing app that allows you to upload short 6 or 7 second videos and use hashtags. Vine has been a great marketing tool for companies like Lowe’s that have really utilized it.

If you visit you can find a few more descriptions of sites like FourSquare and Reddit.

#JordanRafferty #thanksforreading

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

posted by: Amanda

Although technically I am part of the group classified as “Millennials”, I do, in fact, remember life before the Internet.  I was about 11 years old (c. 1996) when the phone line (the LAND LINE) started getting tied up in my household.

Chat rooms, ICQ and Netscape: Oh, my!

By the way, if you haven’t heard a high-pitch “uh oh” 1,000 times within a four-minute timeframe, you don’t even know what you are missing!

Today we are so used to constantly being connected.  We have everything LITERALLY at our fingertips.  However, once upon a time, this “whole thing” was new…

Before Facebook, LinkedIn and Myspace, there was SixDegrees.

Creator Andrew Weinreich based the service on the concept of “six degrees of separation”.  From 1997 to 2001, SixDegrees members could build profiles, display a list of Friends, and share and compare these lists.  Interactive dating services, virtual communities and message boards already existed and even had some of these features, but SixDegrees was the first to combine them.

In this Time Business & Money post from 2007, a former user explains part of the experience:

Time Business & Money

Here is the transcript of a live chat room/ message board conversation straight out of 1999 between Andrew Bein (SixDegrees general manager), Julie Walker (Washington Post columnist) and Internet users.  Taking place when the Internet was still in its infancy with the general public, the term “super-Rolodex” is used frequently.

Side note: What the hell is a Rolodex, right!?

Here is one example from the conversation of how Bein had to explain, almost defend, SixDegrees’ position and purpose:


Sam Plymale, editor-in-chief for PRSSA at Eastern Michigan University, did a little investigating of his own.  In this post, he discusses a little of SixDegrees’ history and says:

“Six Degrees may have been created a bit before its time.  As the site grew, the world of online advertising was in its infancy and Weinreich was unable to keep the site afloat. Spam problems and revenue issues ultimately doomed the site and it shut down in 2001.  In 2010, the site attempted a rebirth. People that had existing memberships with Six Degrees have been invited back with hopes of recreating the network.”

In his post, Plymale admitted to never having heard of SixDegrees prior to his search on social media history.  Honestly, I hadn’t either.  Unfortunately for Weinreich, Zuckerberg got to me first.

Creating Appealing Video Content

Video sharing is one of the most popular social mediums. When I was younger I used to get on YouTube all the time, and then I stopped for awhile, and now it’s becoming even more popular. When Vine came a long I started creating my own videos. People are becoming famous because of videos they’ve shared. The reason why is because they are creating appealing videos. You, too, could become famous if you create appealing videos and here are a few tips to help you do so:


You want to use real people in actual locations. If you were to get a professional videographer and staged the video people would be skeptical of it. Most videos that go viral are filmed with a webcam. An example would be Justin Bieber’s videos he first posted in YouTube. Him and his friends recorded them and they went viral. Now look at him. (Even though he went crazy)


Nobody wants to watch a boring video. If they are bored within the first 10 seconds of a video 10.39% of viewers are gone. You need to be entertaining throughout the whole thing. One the one minute mark of a video hits 53.56% of viewers are gone, so just be FUN!!

3) Design Videos with a Goal in Mind

Before you make your video you need to create a goal that you want your video to do. Keep these things in mind:

  • The emotions you want to evoke and why (fear, excitement, and greed are a few that work especially well)
  • The target buyer personas to which the video will appeal
  • The actions you want your leads to take based on the content they consume

For more tips and examples visit

The most important thing to remember is just to be fun and creative!