Winner: Omni Hotels & Resorts
Program: Omni Understands Meetings & Events social media campaign Agency: Affect Strategies, New York Why we chose it: Blogs are a core tool for b-to-b social media marketers because of their flexibility, search engine performance and capacity to support the kind of in-depth con-versations that business buyers demand. Omni Hotels understands this, and its blogger outreach campaign to promote its meetings and events business hit a home run with the kind of influencers that competitors ignored. Affect Strategies conducted significant research to identify the top 50 social media influencers for meeting planners. It also researched popular Twitter hash tags for planners and the most active contribu-tors for each hash tag. In all, 50,000 people were identified on Twitter and Facebook as having responsibility for events or meetings. Omni set up a custom landing page to provide a one-stop-shop for meeting plan-ners. It also launched a Facebook group to serve as an industry news resource surrounded by information about the company's services. The blogger outreach campaign centered on an aggressive commenting strategy. The program resulted in more than 290 conversations with meeting planners and their influencers, with 14% of the conversations relating to Omni services. An estimated 70% of the key influencers were contacted, and six large sales leads have resulted. It's safe to say that with groundwork like that, the biggest payoffs are still to come.
Runner-up: Brightstar Corp.
Program: Brightstar Mobile World Congress Campaign Agency: Fleishman-Hillard Inc., Chicago Why we chose it: Brightstar chose the 2011 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, as the place to engage with a new class of online influencers and to build its image as a source of useful information. Attendees were invited to subscribe to daily Brightstar Conference Reports, which included news, updates on industry trends, videos and images. Agency personnel identified top-tier bloggers and used Twitter to engage both those influencers and industry reporters for potential interview opportunities. The team also tapped into the large quantity of YouTube videos that were posted from the floor by recording four of its own. Finally, they adopted a social media press release format for announcements from the event, betting that readers would take advantage of the easy sharing features. Brightstar exceeded all its social media goals. Its Twitter follower count grew 28%, and the company added 15 followers it defined as influential. The email open rate of 11% was more than twice the stated goal. Nearly 350 media placements resulted from the show, and website traffic climbed 41%, well above the targeted increase of 15%. We were impressed by Brightstar's attention to goal-setting and its use of such monitoring tools as Cision, CoTweet and Radian6 to track performance. You can't have ROI without measurement, and you can't declare success without knowing your objectives. Brightstar had both.