If you follow Verge Pipe Media or anyone who works at Verge Pipe Media, you know that for the past three months, we were campaigning to try and get Darius Rucker to attend our tailgate for the South Carolina vs. Auburn football game. Here’s a recap, some thoughts, and lessons learned about the campaign.
The South Carolina vs. Auburn game just so happened to fall within a few weeks of Verge Pipe Media’s fourth birthday. Darius Rucker loves South Carolina football. Don Crow loves Darius Rucker. The stars were aligned (at least that’s what we thought).
I’m not saying I thought getting Darius Rucker to come to our tailgate was going to be easy, but I definitely didn’t think it was going to be so damn hard. We started off the campaign with the hashtag #WeWantDarius. It was a precursor to our full-blown campaign. We just wanted to get our feet wet, let people know what was coming, and produce a handful of content that we could use throughout the campaign.
So that’s what we did. We wrote a few blog posts, made a really funny video (watch it here), and brainstormed some funny Tweets that we could tag Darius in. Rucker being active on Twitter and all, we figured we had a really good chance of him seeing a few of our Tweets if we sent them frequently and consistently.
After a couple weeks of #WeWantDarius, we kicked off the campaign in full. We sent out emails, wrote newspaper articles, and contacted news and radio stations asking people to join in by using the hashtag #BringDarius2AU. We reached out to Rucker’s managing company, people in South Carolina, and, of course, Darius himself, to try and get the word out.
Our articles were published on two major local outlets and several community members joined in using the hashtags and suggested Tweets we’d scripted for them. We were even on the radio promoting the campaign and the hashtag (#famous, amiright?).
Clearly, our efforts were not enough to catch Rucker’s attention, because not only did he not come, but we never heard a word from the country singer or any of his affiliates. Don’t get me wrong, we still had an awesome tailgate filled with friends, food and booze. And more so than wishing he was there, I was thinking, “Dang…Darius is missing out.”
Thoughts & Lesson Learned:
So why wasn’t this campaign a success? What could we have done differently to get Darius Rucker to come to our tailgate? Probably a lot of things. But I think our biggest problem was lack of publicity.
In the words of our CEO, Don Crow, “People are f****** lazy.” This point has proven itself over and over again to the employees of Verge Pipe Media. It is really, really hard to get people to participate in something that doesn’t necessarily affect them. I’m not calling anyone out, we’re all guilty of it. It’s human nature. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t frustrating.
I’m not breaking new ground when I say it’s easy to become discouraged when you feel like you target audience isn’t acknowledging your efforts. However, that’s just part of being a small agency in a small town, and it’s something that I continue to learn as a community manager. It doesn’t mean that having a widely publicized campaign is impossible; it just means we have to work a lot harder to do it.
And overall, I think the biggest thing I took from the past few months is that if you work in the digital marketing or PR field, persistence, humility, and humor are a must.
You know that song, “I get knocked down, but I get up again. You’re never gonna keep me down.” It’s my new mantra as a community manager. And from now on, when I feel like my efforts are failing, I’ll just laugh, brush it off, and try again.
I should’ve reached out to more people, Tweeted more frequently, gone to more radio stations, and been a little bit more persistent (and annoying) in trying to get in touch with Darius’ management no matter how many times I had already tried. Either way, we had a really awesome tailgate, and most importantly, we won the football game.
War Eagle to that.
photo credit: Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com via photopin cc