In the calm, eerie silence before the epic battle begins, Vancouver is beginning to stir in a sea of blue, white and green. Today, is Game 1, Round 1 for the Canucks and the army of Canuck fans is gearing up.
Taking a step back, it is amazing how the Canucks, as an organization, have been able to build such a strong online? community. What is it that makes these fans feel such a sense of belonging, such a sense of identity?
Traditionally, people watched an NHL hockey game either live at an arena or through a TV set, passively consuming the entertainment. Nowadays, fans have many more opportunities to participate and interact with the hockey community.
The Vancouver Canucks has an official Twitter account @VanCanucks that tweets about contests, news, and most importantly, speaks directly to its fans.
On April 12, the Canucks held a contest called the Canucks Playoff Race, where 10 contestants competed to win playoff tickets. There were 4 challenges held around the city. The Canucks leveraged Twitter by announcing the competition via @VanCanucks and then used the hashtag #playoffrace to allow Twitter users to follow along with the competition, online. As you can see in the Google Realtime chart below, the number of #playoffrace Twitter mentions picked up during the race.
On April 7, during a TV broadcast of the game. One of the commentators announced, “Tweet @VanCanucks to tell them where you’re watching the game for a chance to win a Canucks shirt”. As the Google Realtime chart below shows, there was a huge spike of Twitter mentions of @VanCanucks during the game. This is a great example of successful offline + online integration.
Building a community is difficult. The Canucks have a 40 year history to achieve what it has today. What these examples show is that there are great synergies between the online and offline worlds. Consider where your audience is gathering and see what synergies can be created to reach your company’s objectives.
(Photo Credit: iwona_kellie)
Google Insights is a great tool for market research. It can be used to identify the popularity of search terms (keywords) used on Google and any trends for specific search terms.
On the Google Insights website, you can select one of three ways to search: by search terms, by locations or by time ranges. You can then select filtering options to narrow down your search results. Below are two scenarios to help illustrate why you might use Google Insights for market research.
You own a specialty mittens shop in Vancouver, British Columbia and you plan to launch your online marketing plan. However, you aren’t quite sure when to start advertising. If you start advertising too early in the year, you risk wasting your budget because no one is looking for mittens yet. If you advertise too late, you risk missing out on potential customers. What do you do?
A quick search on Google Insights by Search Terms reveals Google searches for mittens begin to pick up in September. This may provide more insight on when you should start your online marketing strategy.
You are planning to create a new recreational website targeting people living in British Columbia, Canada. However, you don’t know what recreational activities British Columbian are most interested in. What do you do?
A quick search on Google insights by Locations reveals the top searches in the recreation category, in BC are:
With this information, you might decide to focus on creating a niche website for bicycle enthusiasts or a website for fishing enthusiasts.
Once again, Google offers valuable information. You just need to know where to look.
Vancouver Canucks President and General Manager, Mike Gillis, is joining Twitter to connect with fans.
You might have read my article last May about how Twitter has redefined the Vancouver Canucks fan experience. That post talked about how Twitter connected Canucks fans across the city, country and sometimes even across the world, to build a stronger community.
Mike Gillis’ announcement and plan to communicate directly with fans, I believe, will redefine the Canucks fan’s experience once again. Business executives, celebrities or sport athletes who use Twitter to communicate with their customers, fans or supporters is not new, but is still relatively rare.
In the case of the Canucks, the only confirmed current Canucks player with a Twitter account is @Ryan_Kesler. [Do you know of anyone else?] Former Canucks player, but always a Canuck, @trevor_linden also has a Twitter account.
So what’s the benefit of having high profile people communicating directly with customers or fans?
- It is a sign of authenticity that you care about your customers and fans.
- It humanizes a business or organization by putting a face to the company or organization.
- It creates a sense of transparency – showing that the person, company or organization has nothing to hide.
- It makes customers and fans feel important, which fosters loyalty.
- It can clarify rumors or misinterpretations because the information is coming directly from the source.
This past week has been full of celebrations. If you missed out, here’s a recap for you.
On June 24, Victoria, British Columbia became the first city to proclaim June 30 as Social Media Day. See the signed Social Media Day Proclamation. Vancouver was not far behind as you can see in this photo of Pete Cashmore holding the Vancouver Social Media Day Proclamation.
Of course, Social Media wasn’t the only big event that happened this week. Canadians across the country took some time to celebrate Canada Day on July 1. Everyone had their own way of celebrating which were shared through photos and videos.
Through online media, these two celebrations, one in its inaugural year and the other being the 143rd year, allowed people to share, connect and communicate across boundaries, time zones and cultures. The way we celebrate together today is vastly different from what was possible, 10 years ago, 20 years ago, let alone 143 years ago.
The world has changed.
I woke up to my alarm clock, yawned and wondered what day it was today. Realizing it’s Tuesday, I brushed my teeth, took a shower and got dressed for work.
I sat down at the kitchen table to eat my favourite cereal, Honey Nut Cheerios. As I poured out the cereal, a small holographic sticker fell out of the box. Picking it up, I thought, “They still make these?” and had a good chuckle at myself. Stretching out, I reached for my iPad across the table and opened up the Vancouver Sun. The Headline News was “Google Bought Another Country”…go figure. Right beside the headline I saw the Flash video playing an ad for our client. Yes, it was Flash!
My iPad suddenly spoke, “It’s now eight o’clock”. I took a quick glance at the clock, hoping my iPad was somehow lying. I jumped off my chair, grabbed my MacBook Pro and darted for my car, knowing how bad the traffic would be in the morning.
I slipped into my car, where the fun begins every morning. My Google Android equipped car powered up and gave me a report on any traffic accidents on my route. After that I told Jessie (Yes, I named my car, Jessie) to login to Twitter and read the latest tweets from my Twitter List. Hands-free of course, it’s great how voice-recognition technology has come along.
As always it’s cloudy and raining in Vancouver. Pulling up to a red traffic light I started daydreaming about what it was like back then, driving without a HUD windshield. The windshield is great especially while driving at night or in the rain when visibility isn’t that great…
“The traffic light has turned green”, Jessie spoke.
…or for drivers who are often preoccupied.
I drove past Cambie & Broadway and Jessie prompted me, “Moyra checked in at this Starbucks 15 minutes ago. She recommends the Chai Latte”. Jessie’s hooked up to Foursquare, of course, and all my other social media accounts. Location-based social media marketing at its finest wouldn’t you say? I was tempted to stop by, but I was going to be late for work.
I arrived at work. (To be continued…)