Eat.Drink.Tweet. Market. Win.
Dec 19, 2011 / 4:07 pm
What happens when you turn to social media to market a social media conference that focuses on the wine and culinary industries?
First, you end up with a very successful program. Then, you end up attracting the attention and appreciation of your colleagues for the marketing initiative.
That’s the case for Okanagan College’s Continuing Studies department, which was recently honored for excellence in marketing by the international Learning Resources Network (LERN).
“Eat.Drink.Tweet.” is a program developed by Allison Markin in concert with Okanagan College. Markin is a social media consultant who runs her own business (All She Wrote Consulting), based in Penticton. The program was, and is, a three-day introduction to social media practice and theory that combines education with an IRL (in real life) experience involving wine and food, bringing in local chefs and Okanagan wines. The first event featured wineries from the Naramata Bench Wineries Association, and received enthusiastic support from Penticton & Wine Country Tourism.
Offered for the first time in March 2011, it was promoted almost wholly through social media, and drew rave reviews from participants. It has spawned a series of similar events and courses offered through the College and the large three-day event is being held again this year in February. Markin has presented Eat.Drink.Tweet. events across BC and will expand to Alberta in 2012.
In one weekend, the inaugural event drew more than two million impressions on Twitter alone. “Eat.Drink.Tweet.” was a trending topic in Canada, second only to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, which occurred the same week. Markin promised to get a tattoo of the Eat.Drink.Tweet. logo if the conference trended. It did, and she now sports some ink on her right ankle.
“We were astounded by the response to the social media campaign promoting the program and then were amazed when it attracted as much attention as it did,” says Markin. Surprised too, when LERN chose to recognize the College’s entry for excellence in marketing against a field of more than 100 submissions from four countries. And those 100-plus entries were the highest quality ever submitted, according to LERN’s Vice President of Information Services, Julie Coates.
“Lorrie Forde (Continuing Studies Program Administrator with Okanagan College) was instrumental in helping bring this to reality,” says Markin. “She had faith in the concept, helped promote the event and then made sure that LERN had a chance to find out about it.”
The LERN award wasn’t the first for Eat.Drink.Tweet.: earlier in 2011, the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association awarded its Social Media Initiative Award to Markin for the invention of Eat.Drink.Tweet.
To register for the next Eat.Drink.Tweet., you can visit eatdrinktweet.ca or look for it on Twitter under the hashtag #eatdrinktweet, and on the All She Wrote Consulting Facebook page (of course).
Read more Campus Life articles