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Local Agency Launches Social Media Campaign for US Speedskating Team


Social media team will be posting and tweeting live from Vancouver Anchorage, AK– With the help of AadlandFlint, America’s most successful winter sport is using social media to connect with fans, capitalize on global excitement generated during an Olympic year, and build on attention generated by the high-profile sponsorship of comedian Stephen Colbert and The Colbert Nation. Over the past couple months, a team of staff members from across Flint Group agencies has launched an integrated social media campaign to engage fans, increase donations and raise the profile of US Speedskating. Agency employees Libby Issendorf and Debbie Morrison will be traveling to the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver as part of the speedskating team’s official delegation and using social media to bring an up-close and personal Olympic experience to skating fans. “US Speedskating is taking a leadership position by embracing opportunities to connect with fans via Facebook, Twitter and YouTube,” said Issendorf, a social media strategist. “This is really the first winter Olympics held since social media has been so widely adopted. Individual athletes have used these media more extensively than entire teams.” In addition to engaging its fans, US Speedskating is utilizing social media to achieve a more immediate and pressing objective: finding a title sponsor to replace Dutch bank DSB, which went bankrupt just months before the opening ceremonies of the 2010 games, leaving the program strapped for cash. While Colbert stepped in temporarily to fill the gap, raising some $300,000 and still taking donations, the team needs a gold-level sponsor to commit $300,000 a year for the next four years. “In addition to creating a fan community, social media has turned out to be a unique way to help the team with fundraising,” said Morrison, who serves as agency team lead. “While we’re in Vancouver, we’ll be working closely with the digital team at Comedy Central to keep Stephen Colbert’s fundraising efforts in high gear.” Engaged and integrated The social media campaign utilizes Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to connect with fans, increase donations and solicit sponsors. More interactive and easier to update than the US Speedskating website, Facebook serves as the campaign’s home base, with some three to four posts per day, many of them photos or videos. The Facebook page also includes a tab that highlights featured bloggers who follow the team. Fans are engaged in a variety of ways that cross channels and achieve multiple objectives. One example: they were asked to take photos of themselves wearing their Colbert caps, purchased from The Colbert Nation, with 70% of the proceeds going to US Speedskating. The social mediateam also implemented a Twitter twice-weekly trivia quiz. Followers have three hours to answer the question and all correct answers are submitted to a drawing for prizes such as US Speedskating mugs and t-shirts. Videos are regularly posted to YouTube, containing intriguing stories, original interviews, behind-the-scenes content and insight into everything from the anatomy of speedskates to what the Olympic skaters think of brussel sprouts. Live from Vancouver Working within IOC regulations, Morrison and Issendorf will provide live updates on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, as well as blog postings. The two also will spend time with athletes and athletes’ families and post photos and videos as approved within the guidelines. “Speedskating is a sport that flies under the radar most of the time. It gets a moment in the spotlight every four years,“ said Issendorf. “Connecting with fans through social media gives us the opportunity to attract more of them and keep them engaged after the Olympics are over.” Follow US Speedskating on: Twitter: http://twitter.com/usspeedskating Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/USSpeedskating YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/usspeedskating About the Flint Group A network of full-service communications agencies and partners specializing in marketing, advertising, interactive, public relations and growth strategy, the Flint Group includes Flint Communications, Fargo, N.D., HatlingFlint, St. Cloud, Minn., SimmonsFlint, Grand Forks, N.D., WestmorelandFlint, Duluth, Minn., AadlandFlint, Anchorage, Alaska, and Flint Interactive, with staff in all locations. Other interests include: AdFarm, an agency dedicated to agricultural communications, with offices in Fargo, N.D., Kansas City, Mo., Calgary, Alberta, and Guelph, Ontario; Media Productions, a Fargo-based, full-service audio, video, film, photography and live-event company, and Praxis Strategy Group, a nationally recognized research and economic strategy company, with locations in Fargo, Grand Forks and Duluth. About US Speedskating US Speedskating is a non-profit organization recognized by the United States Olympic Committee and the International Skating Union as the governing body for the sport of speedskating in the United States. Its mission is to be one of the premier speedskating organizations in the world through excellence in leadership, development and performance. To date, US Speedskating has won 75 Olympic medals, making it the most successful winter sport in the U.S. In addition to its elite programs, US Speedskating is responsible for the grassroots development of speedskating. With more than 100 clubs and associations in the United States and a growing fan base of all ages, US Speedskating enjoys a geographic reach across the country and is on track to continue its record of leading the winter Olympic medal count. US Speedskating has earned 35 percent of all medals received by the United States in the past five winter games (42 percent of the Gold Medals, 23 percent of the Silver Medals, and 42 percent of the Bronze Medals in the last five games). Strong performances in World Cup competition—historically a proven predictor of Olympic success—indicate the 2010 Olympics will bring even more glory to the team. If the pattern continues, US Speedskaters appear to be poised for a record Olympic Medal haul.

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