In 2018, Violet PR worked with the IBM Foundation on a year-long social media campaign to promote P-TECH, an education reform model helping to close the global skills gap. Violet PR’s Twitter campaign targeted and connected a variety of audiences including government leaders, corporate partners, educators, media, and influencers.

Violet PRRead on to see how Violet PR took this social campaign to great heights, and why the firm won Gold in the “Best Social Media Campaign” category in Bulldog’s 2019 PR Awards.

Campaign Strategy

The Violet PR team established the following goals for the campaign:

  • Brand awareness: Reach 5,000 followers on the @PTECHNetwork handle by December 2018 and get ‘Verified.’
  • Enhance public relations: Create a community space where people could learn more about the P-TECH program. Improve P-TECH’s relationships with educators, partners, media, government officials and STEM advocates.
  • Build advocates: Receive 500+ mentions on Twitter from education influencers.
  • Drive leads: Increase traffic to PTECH.org; goal of a 7% click-through rate on tweets.

“During the year-long campaign, Violet PR posted over 2,000 tweets (40+ per week) of original content. But it wasn’t just about the number of posts—Violet PR aimed to master the art of social storytelling with this campaign using crafted hashtags, a short video series, identifying target audiences to engage with and encouraging corporate partners, community colleges and teachers to become involved with the social campaign,” says Violet PR President, April Mason.

Bulldog Reporter's Stars of PR Awards

Here’s a breakdown of the firm’s campaign tactics:

  • Created social media guidelines, outlined content framework, reviewed metrics and goals for the @PTECHNetwork Twitter campaign.
  • Crafted a series of social media hashtags to engage followers, including #MentorMenteeMoments, #WeArePTECH, #PTECHPower and #FeatureFriday. For example, each #FeatureFriday they would choose one young (very influential) Twitter user that was changing the STEM landscape.
  • Cultivated a series of short videos highlighting P-TECH’s mission, projects, mentorships and programs; some videos featured current P-TECH students explaining how the program had impacted their lives.
  • After identifying P-TECH’s target audiences, Violet PR researched and followed hundreds of new partners, government officials, influencers and education leaders on Twitter each month to attract followers and raise awareness for the program.
  • Created a series of 15 infographics and datagrams, highlighting specific data and initiatives. These graphics aimed to simplify the P-TECH model and communicate its success. They were shared over 400 times via Twitter.
  • Drafted weekly emails to corporate partners, community colleges and teachers with suggested tweets; this aimed to raise awareness and increase engagement.

Best Use of Social Media: Violet PR executes IBM's education reform campaign

Execution

In early 2018, Violet PR launched the @PTECHNetwork campaign with just three Twitter followers. To meet aggressive campaign goals, Violet PR had to create content that encouraged Twitter users to follow along to learn more. From there, Violet PR worked to build an army of advocates that could help promote the handle.

The Violet PR team tweeted eight or more times per day on the P-TECH Twitter account, using the brand’s hashtags and consistently produced relevant content that would simplify the idea of P-TECH and STEM careers.

“Violet PR’s campaign aimed to leverage the P-TECH network and encouraged collaboration from hundreds of students, teachers, government officials and corporate partners,” Mason relates. “Violet PR’s creative approach simplified P-TECH’s message and showcased the opportunity that the system provides. The team generated brand awareness by distributing 2,400 tweets of original content that targeted influencers and developed a loyal online fanbase.”

To reach the campaign’s various target audiences, Violet PR tailored tweets accordingly. Certain content reached government leaders, and other tweets were directed to STEM influencers. Violet PR wrote certain tweets to target students interested in math and science by highlighting various advantages of P-TECH, such as a summer internship at a Fortune 500 company like IBM.

To quickly build a following for the channel, Violet PR enlisted its secret weapons—the people that are part of the P-TECH Network. “By engaging with students, teachers, industry partners and community college partners, we encouraged the sharing of stories, photos and videos through innovative campaigns,” explains Mason. “For example, each week we would highlight a #MentorMenteeMoment. Violet PR created a series of posts that featured a current P-TECH student with an industry partner and their community college partner to drive engagement.”

Best Use of Social Media: Violet PR executes IBM's education reform campaignCreativity & Innovation

Violet PR’s campaign aimed to leverage the P-TECH network and required collaboration from hundreds of students, teachers, government officials and corporate partners. Violet PR’s creative approach simplified P-TECH’s message on social platforms and showcased the opportunity that the system provides. The team generated brand awareness by distributing 2,400 tweets of authentic and original content that targeted influencers and developed a loyal online fanbase.

Results

The Violet PR team reached over 35.5 million Twitter users with the campaign and generated over 30 thousand profile views for the @PTECHNetwork handle.

Violet PR attracted 6,700 followers, receiving 5.5K likes and over 3K retweets on distributed content. Major influencers mentioned @PTECHNetwork in tweets during the campaign, including members of congress and journalists.”

Other goals met include:

  • The @PTECHNetwork handle became ‘Verified’ in March 2019, only two months after the campaign launched.
  • The @PTECHNetwork handle received over 4,200 mentions on Twitter during the year-long campaign.
  • Click though rate on tweets leading back to P-TECH’s website averaged 12%.

“Violet PR’s campaign allowed government leaders to discover the program, gave industry partners a chance to see how their dollars were impacting communities, and let students and teaches show how P-TECH has reformed education,” says Mason.

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Richard Carufel

Richard Carufel

Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders.

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