The Nature Conservancy Hits Motherlode With Facebook Treasure Hunt Contest

From pioneering the use of social channels as an MTV correspondent in 2008 to using social media to capture audiences for Comcast SportsNet and the National Park Foundation, Trevor Martin knows social media. Now, as social and mobile marketing manager at The Nature Conservancy, Martin has engineered exponential growth of the organization’s social media channels.

We recently caught up with Martin, who will speak at PR News' Big 3 Digital PR Conference on April 18 in New York City, and asked him about TNC’s Facebook contest success, his hair-raising experience at the 2008 Democratic National Convention and mobile PR.

PR News: What's the most successful contest you've had at The Nature Conservancy, and why was it so successful?

Trevor Martin: We've had several successful contests at The Nature Conservancy, the most recent being a statewide outreach campaign built around a treasure hunt theme highlighting the diversity of natural places and features in Ohio (and the Conservancy’s role in protecting these places). It was successful because we had 3,000-plus submissions (with a goal of 1,500) and generated 5,732 new Facebook fans. It was also notable because we quantified success through other pathways than just social media likes and submissions, priming email and website traffic figures.

PR News: Looking back at your gig at MTV News, what event made the biggest impact on you?

Martin: I was at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colo., in 2008. During the lead-up to the convention I had embedded myself in an activist organization that was the center of the "Recreate 68" movement, which wanted to reignite some of the fervor in the convention that had defined the riotous atmosphere in Chicago in 1968. Things did not go well for the activists in '68, so the whole movement was kind of doomed from the beginning. On the first day of the convention, about 5,000 peaceful protestors lined up in front of the Pepsi Center (where the convention was being held), and this band of aspiring anarchists lifted up metal barriers, shouted obscenities and threw rocks at riot-suited police officers. You hear from war reporters about the adrenaline of being "in it”— that was the closest I had ever come to being "in it."

PR News: What's the first step PR pros can take to get up to speed with mobile media?

Martin: Mobile is a fast-moving target right now and the best thing you can do is lay the groundwork to optimize your online assets. This means getting your Web pages mobile-ready so that they are easily viewable on a mobile or tablet device, running mobile advertising campaigns as a part of your search engine strategy and budgeting for application development.

PR News: What’s one tip you'll impart to our 'Big 3' audience?

Martin: You need someone to help you do this social and mobile stuff—you can't do it all yourself.

Catch Trevor Martin and other social media experts from companies such as Hard Rock International, WellPoint and Whole Foods Market at  PR News' Big 3 Digital PR Conference in New York City on April 18.

Follow Scott Van Camp: @svancamp01

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About Scott Van Camp

Scott Van Camp is editor of PR News, an executive-level, reader-supported publication that helps enhance the business impact of PR. Scott has a rich background in both journalism and PR/marketing. He has more than 15 years of experience as a writer/editor at various consumer and trade publications. Scott was with VNU Business Publications for five years, including stints as managing editor at IQ News and Technology Marketing magazines and senior editor at Brandweek. In the PR/marketing sphere, he has served as corporate communications manager at MarketBridge, a marketing and sales consultancy, and as editorial director for the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council. While at the Council, Scott led several high-profile marketing research projects. He has also operated his own communications and media consulting firm, SVC Communications.

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