Government

Case Study: Social Media-Powered Event Calendar Uses Web 2.0 & Promotes Community


Business Challenge

This local government produces and promotes numerous events oriented to business, arts, family, culture, development and fitness interests. The client’s Organization Audit had revealed the community’s frustration with having no unified “event calendar,” so this pilot provided one.

Role

As engagement partner, worked with the Communications Department team to plan, launch and evaluate an eight-week pilot, a unified calendar that we deployed on WordPress to encourage community feedback on events.

CSRA developed the pilot charter (project plan) that included specific goals, resource requirements, timelines, content strategies and measurements. Developed several pilot templates that explicitly outlined specific goals, workflows and tools for Champion, Manager and Contributor roles.

Rollout

The government produces an amazing depth and breadth of cultural, athletic, educational and social events, while other local groups and organizations have their own events, as did myriad other organizations. Therefore, the unified calendar had two principal goals: 1) syndicate in numerous sources of events that were aligned with stakeholders and 2) make the unified calendar equally accessible via Web and mobile. Another secondary goal was to get people talking about events; i.e. reviewing them.

  • CSRA served as co-manager, mentoring the social business team in all phases of planning, interacting and managing the pilot. CSRA also built the calendar:
  • For the pilot CSRA utilized screen-scraping technology to turn stakeholder-focused website content into RSS feeds, which CSRA commingled, filtered and republished using Yahoo!Pipes (mashup editor). [many local organizations produce desirable events but offer no RSS feeds]
  • We used WordPress as the platform for the calendar as well as the FeedWordPress plugin to syndicate in the Yahoo!Pipes feeds. FeedWordPress also enabled us to commingle the mashups’ feeds with the government’s RSS feeds, by topic.
  • Developed stakeholder- and workstream-focused taxonomy of categories and tags in WordPress, which enabled us to create and publish highly granular RSS feeds such as kids’ sports, art classes and workout. This let stakeholders subscribe according to very specific interests. This functionality was unique in the community.
  • Finally, we used the WPtouch plugin to make the site, complete with category and tag integration, available via all major smartphone and tablet platforms.
  • CSRA mentored the client’s social business team in the technology’s moving parts, so they could manage it themselves post-pilot.
  • Contributors added value to the calendar by writing original “Preview Posts” that highlighted and summarized various events, according to season and other community topics.
  • Partnered with several local organizations whose events were syndicated into the calendar.

Results

  • The community had various websites that had event information, but they weren’t user-friendly, mobile-friendly or comprehensive for non-CA community events. The community wanted a one-stop-shop for events they were interested in.
  • The Social Business Strategy’s due diligence enabled the calendar to be relevant right away; moreover it enabled the team to morph the calendar from not only having comprehensive event information, but also providing an ‘insider look’ at events (Preview Posts), thus providing value that other sites weren’t providing. The government became a curator as well as a producer.
  • The team cross-promoted preview posts on their Facebook Page driving significant jumps in traffic to Facebook; likewise, they promoted the calendar on Facebook and through numerous newsletters and websites.
  • The government credits the calendar with driving attendance at some of their events. Although interactivity began slowly, the number of visits continues to climb steadily.

See also (same client): Social Business StrategyFacebook Page Launch, Fitness Program Launch, and Social Business Governance Program.

More detailed personalized case studies available on request.

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