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A Short Rebuttal to the Claim that OurStory “Bonked” on Social Media

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I could start with a clever lead-in story today, but let’s jump right into the meat of the matter.

Michael Conniff of Aspen wrote an article on a Huffington Post blog about how he felt Aspen/Snowmass OurStory campaign “bonked”. Christian Knapp asked if people agreed:

That’s my 140 character reply, here are some deeper thoughts. Michael started by saying that “the social media opportunity goes begging for reasons large and small.” Let’s start there.

The Large
“Aspen Skiing Company is bragging on THEIR story and not the stories of their customers…to be truly socialized, this would have to be ‘Our Story’ encouraging skiers to tell THEIR stories.”

What Michael wanted, in effect, was something called “Your Stories”. That’s a great idea, but it doesn’t mean that getting the personalities behind the brand-scenes to tell their side isn’t also valuable. Condemning the series because it isn’t what he would have done is a bit harsh.

Though, as I’ll discuss next, I think his criteria for being “socialized” were lacking.

The Small
“‘Our Story’ is a complete bust as the hashtag #ourstory on Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and even Facebook. In practical terms, that means whatever social buzz Skico and related properties like The Little Nell have been trying to generate from the campaign is dissipated by #ourstory tweets and posts about everything from Janis Joplin to the Aga Khan School.”

What Michael is saying is that a good way to judge a campaign is by hashtag choice and use. Maybe in some situations, but hashtags are just one tool in the social media marketer’s belt and I never really felt like this was a big focus from Aspen. For example, try searching Twitter for the URL of the mini-site (where nearly all of the views took place) and you’ll get a long list of results – not all of which are tagged.

Like me, not everyone likes to use hashtags for everything. Of the 50,000 mentions of “skiing” on Twitter last week, only about 7% of those were tagged #skiing.

Or try searching Google for the URL. Start on page 2, or even page 5, and you’ll find a long list of other places it was shared that are social but not social media.

The best way I can sum up his feedback is with this word: shortsighted.

Is getting your guests to tell their stories a great approach to content? Absolutely. But it’s not the only way and they aren’t the only useful stories. Can you judge a campaign’s social success by the use of their hashtag? Occasionally, but it’s a very small piece of the pie.

Is Michael right when he says “It’s not about you, the company. It’s about us, the customers.” Yes, that’s a powerful angle to take, but it doesn’t mean you can’t tell your story as well.

About Gregg & SlopeFillers
I've had more first-time visitors lately, so adding a quick "about" section. I started SlopeFillers in 2010 with the simple goal of sharing great resort marketing strategies. Today I run marketing for resort ecommerce and CRM provider Inntopia, my home mountain is the lovely Nordic Valley, and my favorite marketing campaign remains the Ski Utah TV show that sold me on skiing as a kid in the 90s.

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