In the competitive world of marching arts, there isn't a drum corps quite like the Colts. Hailing from Dubuque, Iowa's Ambassadors of Music use music and excellence to teach each other about success in life. For more than 50 years, the corps has been providing young performers from across the globe with life-changing experiences, quality educations, and lifelong relationships. Not only did I have the opportunity to march with the corps for 4 years, I also had the chance at making a lasting impact on their social media efforts and image.
With social media beginning to take an important role in growing the activity, many corps were expanding their efforts in social media and video production; not just as a way to document the experience of the season, but to push recruitment, drive sales, and increase their fan base. Originally hired as a documentarian for their 50th season, my efforts soon expanded into coordinating an exhaustive social media campaign on multiple formats.
These are just a few selections from my time with the Colts. Check out the rest on their Youtube Channel by clicking here.
Part of creating a strong brand and social media campaign is consistency. Viewers are much more likely to engage with content if it feels familiar or part of an organized effort, rather than a jumbled, incoherent mess. When I use my expertise to incorporate graphics and integrated typography in your project, it brings consistency to your message. But by far the best way to thread videos together is an animated logo. By utilizing transparent video footage, the animated logo can seamlessly integrate itself into any production. The logos themselves have been used on numerous videos and video boards, helping to further the corps' efforts for organized branding. For 2016, I created a recruitment video purely in my animation software.
Another important portion of managing the Colts' online efforts was photography. For many outlets like Facebook and Instagram, photographs were an important part of putting out content and keeping audiences engaged. Some photographs were of live events, shows, and life on the road. Others were a part of of a campaign to engage alumni and fans called "3 PM Throwback." By selecting a variety of topics from a variety of years, the campaign saw a huge increase in online interaction and was one of the most successful campaigns the corps has run on social media.
Combining all this great content doesn't do much unless it can be distributed properly. So when formulating the Colts' social media strategy, it was important to identify which audiences would be targeted with which mediums. Starting with their current Facebook, Twitter, and Blogger accounts, I expanded the system to include an organized Youtube account, as well as setting them up with Instagram. To cultivate growth on each social media account, content varied between each account. By using each account's strengths and varied audiences, the corps saw a huge increase in engagement, likes, followers, and fan base. Numbers are based on statistics at the end of the 2014 season, and to-date numbers are from January, 2017.
Facebook served as the central hub for all things social media. Each Youtube video was announced through Facebook, along with the daily posts on the corps' Blogger account. Some of the better Instagram posts were also shared on Facebook. Since the corps already had a good presence on Facebook, it was easy to use its reach to invite new followers to Twitter and Instagram.
Target Audience: Alumni and Middle-Aged Fan Base
Likes: 11,339 vs. Current Likes: 15,177
Twitter brought up-to-date, immediate information to our younger fans. Sometimes these were direct conversations, others were show time or travel updates.
TA: Teens/Young Adults
Followers to Date: 16.7 K
Youtube was our primary video platform. A majority of videos were targeted toward young teens, who would be of age for recruitment. Teasers were also released on Instagram.
TA: Teens/Young Adults
Sub. to Date: 1,576
Total Views to Date: 115,965
The "Virtual Cooktruck" posts the corps' locations, schedules, and meals for parents at home to follow. It also serves as a resource for other parents who will volunteer for the corps.
Average Daily Readership: 150
I set up the corps' Instagram account in 2014. Posts are directed at the youngest generation and show life "inside the corps." Video teasers were debued here before Facebook posts.
TA: Teens/Young Adults
Followers to Date: 10.6 K