What WesterCon Social Media is Doing Well, and How They Can Grow

First off, props to WesterCon for getting into social media.  I love how they use the man’s face in your logo as your profile picture.  I think it looks cool.
Also, good job to WesterCon on branching out beyond their webpage or facebook and being on Twitter, too.  That’s a great way to reach the younger audience they want to attract in addition to their current loyal fans.
 
In our social media class we’ve talked about a few things that help us analyze the effectiveness of social media and how to improve it.  Let’s take a look at social networks, weak ties, transitivity, memes, and channels of WesterCon’s social media.
 
 
 
Social Networks and Channels:

As stated before, WesterCon communicates on their website (westercon67.org), their facebook page (FB.com/WesterCon67), and their Twitter page (twitter.com/WesterCon67 ).  I wish facebook would let me see the names of the 266 people who liked the page, but it won’t let me.  It does tell me that the popular age range of likers is 35-44, though.  The thirteen followers on Twitter seem to fit in that age range, except for one who is a BYU PR student.   It would be interesting to see if the 13 people following WesterCon on Twitter are also the likers on Facebook, or how they might be related to the likers on facebook.  It would also be interesting to compare demographics like age, location, occupation, mutual friends, etc… between the registered members on the website, the likers on facebook, and the followers on Twitter.  Is it possible to do that?  I’ve heard of a newer product called Adobe Social (https://dev.twitter.com/programs/twitter-certified-products/adobe-social), but I’m not very familiar with it.   Perhaps that would be something that would help?

Weak Ties and Transitivity:

It’s difficult to measure how WesterCon is leveraging weak ties and transitivity without being able to see the mutual friendships among the likers of the page.   I noticed WesterCon is really good about posting updates on Twitter.  To better engage weak ties and transitivity, they provide more opportunities for fans to engage with WesterCon’s social media.

Here are some great posts from WesterCon’s Twitter page:

opportunities for engagement

They are giving their followers a course of action, which is a good start.  WesterCon just needs to take it a step further.  They need to make the action social.  Fans need a way to show online that they are involved with WesterCon.  WesterCon can improve social media engagement by adding a hashtag #westercon or #westercon67 so people could include them in their conversations.

Two fans used a hashtag here it here:

two westercon hashtags on Twitter

Surprisingly, they’re the only two people who used the hashtag.  WesterCon could totally utilize their hashtag to their benefit, and people could post before and after the event about how excited they were, what they were looking forward to most, what they enjoyed most, maybe post a pic or two, etc…

WesterCon could have invited people to use the hashtag to say how they celebrated J.R. Tolkien’s birthday, or could have uploaded a picture of their scones.

WesterCon could also use polls to get more people involved. For National Science Fiction Day, they could have had a poll with some of the top science fiction books of the year, and ask for people’s opinions.  People could keep using the hashtag to get involved.

They could also better utilize facebook.  You can see here: https://www.facebook.com/Westercon67/photos_stream, that they don’t have very many pictures of the convention online.  I went to a dance once that had a photobooth concept that WesterCon could utilize.  People could line up to take pictures in front of a green screen, and then they had a computer there that would put your group’s picture on a themed background.  They told us where to find the link the next day so we could tag ourselves and our friends.  This is genius marketing because the pictures included the events’ name, we got a free photo, the event was publicized to each of our 300-1,000 friends who saw us tagged in the photo, and the service who took the photo (Fun Photo Booth of Utah, check it out here: https://www.facebook.com/FunPhotoBoothofUtah) got us to go to their webpage to get the photo.  It was a win-win situation for the photobooth business, the event, and the people in the picture.

Here’s an example from a dance earlier this month at BYU:

fun photobooth of utah

Perhaps Comic Con could do something like that, but with Sci Fi backgrounds. I bet people would love it.

They could also hold a costume contest where people upload photos, they choose some of the best, and then people vote on them.  Or, they could do it so the photo with the most likes at the end of a certain amount of time wins.  Then, participants would be telling all their friends to like their photo.  That’s tons of free publicity for WesterCon.  College students and younger people would love something like that.   Perhaps WesterCon could look into using FourSquare so people could check into WesterCon, and all their friends could see that they went.

This would build the weak ties and the transitivity between the ties, too.  We want the fans engaging in conversation with each other.

There is already tons of potential.  One of the followers of WesterCon is Seattle Geeky Girls.  They have 356 following, and 98 followers.  WesterCon has 20 following and 14 followers.  They need to give followers like Seattle Geeky Girls a chance to interact with their social media.  Followers like Seattle Geeky Girls need content they can retweet from WesterCon.  Then WesterCon would reach all of Seattle Geeky Girls followers.  We just need to give WesterCon’s followers an exciting way, like a poll on Twitter, costume contest via Facebook,  or a fun hashtag where they can retweet to their own page and allow more people to interact.

seattle geekygirls

Memes:

Another big way to interact would be to make and post a meme, then invite WesterCon followers and friends to post their own memes.  There could be a contest for that too, perhaps with a prize, like a signed book from Brandon Sanderson or lunch with one of the authors, or something like that for the best meme.  They can post memes to Twitter and also share them on Facebook or the website.  They could follow up with pictures of this person with one of the authors, and maybe a few quotes about the experience.

All in all, I would say WesterCon is off to a good start in their social media marketing.  They’ve got some great potential, and can really take it to the next level to get even more engagement from current fans and add new younger fans as well.   Way to go WesterCon.  Let’s keep it up and move it up a notch.

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