The “#aimname” Game: Experiment Revisits Old Screen Names and the Power of Fun in Social Media
Rob Longert, Senior Digital Media Strategist, M Booth
Summertime takes many of us back to our childhood: a time in our lives that was simpler. On behalf of the PR industry, I think many of us wish we could channel those times more easily. With new services launching frequently, scandals on Twitter, concerns over influence scores, trying to keep us with a news cycle that seems to move at the speed of light, and being constantly plugged in, we find ourselves dreaming of times of snail mail and landline phones…simpler times.
With summer egging us on, our M Booth FirstWord Digital team launched a social (media) experiment to reminisce about our collective digital pasts. We focused on part of the original social interaction: screen names, specifically the “#aimname.” Our initial research included crowdsourcing the office for “#aimname” stories from our colleagues, which all made us “LOL.”
In the spirit of simpler times, we put on our elementary school day hats and used the scientific method to track our social experiment. Here is the breakdown of our nostalgic “#aimname” experiment, which took place on July 7th.
Experiment: #aimname Trending Topic
Question: What would happen if the agency started a conversation around #aimname via @MBoothPR?
Hypothesis: If we seed out the “#aimname” hashtag to a close network of people, we will see an overall increase in social media activity around the subject and increase M Booth’s social presence.
Design and Launch: Reach out to key close friends of the agency and conversation starters prior to launch, gather select “#aimnames” to use as fodder at launch, write a blog post explaining the experiment featuring #aimnames and stories behind them, leverage social media channels, including Turntable.fm., participate in the conversation.
Materials: A core team to facilitate and engage in the #aimname conversation, an army of followers and friends to expand M Booth’s reach, a social media measurement tool –specific to Twitter –used to track the “#aimname” conversation (SimplyMeasured), and messaging surrounding simpler social media times.
Results: The “#aimname” experiment led to exposure including an increase of daily Twitter followers on July 7 of 200%, reaching nearly half a million followers on Twitter, an increase in daily blog traffic of over 1,000% and industry publicity from a popular PR blog from Mediabistro, PR Newser.
Conclusion and Key Learnings:
This experiment was fun yet challenging, and proved that taking calculated risks is an important way to create a learning experience that can have a great payoff.
When the “#aimname” experiment launched, the M Booth and employee Twitter handles were abuzz with excitement. Employees turned out to be the campaign’s biggest advocates. “#aimname” provided an opportunity for M Booth to interact with industry friends, many of whom fall into the “influencer” category in this case.
We had all the pieces in place to spread a message and start a conversation, and on a small scale, within our extended network, we did just that. There were pockets of sharing beyond our immediate network, and while we didn’t achieve full-on trending status in New York on Twitter, we did see a huge uptick in conversation directed towards the @MBoothPR Twitter handle and on the FWD Thinking blog, raising online word of mouth visibility for the agency.
The conversation around “#aimname” maps back to our original hypothesis of why people would participate: fun, nostalgia/simpler times and comedy, and its success goes to show how a fun idea that came out of a casual brainstorm can morph into a trend and a larger conversation starter.
That being said, what was your #aimname?
Rob Longert is a senior digital media strategist on M Booth’s FirstWord Digital team. Rob counsels various corporate, travel, online, spirits and consumer clients on digital and social media outreach as well as strategic online programs. His focus for the FirstWord Digital team is social media measurement and creative strategy in the social media space, tied to PR campaigns.