Monday, November 11, 2013

The SE2 blog has moved!

After six years of living on Blogger, The Megaphone has grown up and moved on. You can find the new and improved blog at its new home on, or, you can wait to be redirected in ten seconds.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

This is not the SE2 website

This is the SE2 blog. It’s called The Megaphone. It covers topics we find interesting, including communications trends, client successes, and staff news (promotions, new hires and company birthday parties).

The SE2 website is under construction for the next few weeks so you temporarily won’t have access to client lists, case studies, and staff bios with their fun tidbits (for example, Creative Director Amy Guttmann and Senior Associate Abigail Kesner coincidentally both list “The Worm” as their favorite dance move).

The new website is going to be worth the wait but, in the meantime, you should know that SE2 is a Colorado-based mass communications agency focused on public issues, policy and social marketing. We offer a full range of advertising and public relations services to a distinguished list of corporations, nonprofits and public entities. Unlike most communications firms, however, SE2 specializes in moving opinion, not products. We call it The Art of Public Persuasion.® If you want to learn more, please don’t hesitate to use the information to the right to contact us.

Until the new website launches we hope you enjoy these photos of cute baby animals which, we read, are scientifically proven to improve productivity.  Now get back to work.

Congratulations to the Colorado Hospital Association and The Colorado Trust!

We are thrilled to share that two of our clients took home awards at last week’s Colorado Healthcare Communicators’ Gold Leaf Awards.

Congratulations to the Colorado Hospital Association for winning the Gold Leaf Award for their work “Medicaid: Expanding Care for Colorado” in the public affairs category (you can get the full scoop on this project on our blog). They also took home the Silver Leaf Award in Media Relations: Proactive Story placement for “Defending the Medicaid Provider Fee.”

Congratulations also to The Colorado Trust, who won the Bronze Leaf Award for Website: Budget over $35,000 for Project Health Colorado.

We are proud to partner with these two great organizations, and look forward to our continued work together.

See the full list of winners and other event details here.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

SE2 beefs up birthday celebration with aMOOsing cow art

We go big when celebrating important birthdays and challenge ourselves to be udderly original. Surely you’ve herd of our infamous parties, which have included yoga classes, limo rides to Arby’s, and a classic Ms. Pacman machine.
Because Susan Morrisey loves art and bovines, we combined the two into one Grade A celebration for her by steering over to Sipping n’ Painting in the Highlands where they booze you up and teach you how to paint. A few glasses of wine and bottles of paint later, we had a wonderful cowlection of original paintings of a darling heifer.  I think you’ll agree that we demonstrated a natural barn talent for painting!
We always milk a birthday for all it’s worth. No bull.  

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Leveraging communications technology and targeted messaging to improve health

New communications technologies and evidence-based messaging strategies can help health organizations improve outcomes while empowering patients to get more involved in their care. Data-driven approaches tailored to patients’ unique perspectives and health needs can push people to take positive steps, reinforce that action, and help them monitor progress along the way.

The following strategies were addressed by speakers at the 2013 Healthcare Unbound conference, which focused on healthcare technologies:

Segment audiences based on their likeliness to make personal changes in their health. This approach has proven more effective than segmenting based on socioeconomic status, a specific health condition, education level, etc.  If we know how likely a person is to make personal changes in his/her health, we can deliver messages that are more targeted, more effective, and more likely to motivate the target audience to action.

In practice, this is what it looks like: Using the data you have about your audience, rank people on a 1-10 scale (1 = not interested in making change, 10 = very interested and committed to making change). Then craft different messages for audiences on different points on this scale. The message you deliver to a person who is a 1 will be very different than what you say to a person who is at a 10. The “1” should get basic, practical messages meant to keep a person on track (e.g. “Take X pill every Y to treat your condition”). A “10” with the same condition could get a message with a very specific call to action like, “Track your daily caloric intake with this app so that you can better understand the cause of the issue and identify ways to prevent it, so you don’t have to take X pill as often .” The “10” message is meant to use a person’s willingness to make change to help push them into not only managing a condition, but actually making life changes to improve their health.

In terms of execution, this requires a robust customer relationship management (CRM) system, otherwise known as a data warehouse, to store the data, and statistical tools to help you interpret the data to find those connections that predict a person’s willingness to engage. (More on data management and content targeting can be found here.) Once you know where people fall on that spectrum, they can be grouped and sent targeted communications that reflect their willingness to manage their health.

Implement a lifecycle management strategy to help people progress to more meaningful actions over time. For most people, behavior change occurs as the result of lots of small choices adding up over time. Digital technologies can reinforce those good choices to help move people along that path to better health. For example, after a diagnosis, a series of follow-up messages (delivered via text message, email, video chats, etc.) could help move a person move to more significant behavior changes.

In terms of execution, this might require the development of mobile applications that send alerts or help customers track progress or smart email marketing campaigns that push progressively more intensive action-based messages to the customer over time.

People are motivated by evidence-based messages only if these messages are aligned with their personal situation. While evidence-based messages can be effective, they should reflect the real-world dynamics the person faces. People are not going to take action to improve their health if the evidence-based approach doesn’t work in their actual life. For example, if you want the person to walk more, but they live in a community that is not walking friendly, suggesting that they walk around the block is not an effective message. Instead, it would be more effective to suggest she go to the local gym and walk on a treadmill.

Health organizations need to have conversations with their key audiences to learn about them so that evidence-based approaches are adapted to better align with their personal preferences and situations.

Frame messages around loss. Framing the message around something a person will lose is more persuasive than talking about what they will gain. For example:
  • Instead of: “X drug costs $15 more than y drug.” 
  • Try: “You’re spending more money than you have to.” 
  • Instead of: “Improve your health by doing x.” 
  • Try: “You’re losing five years of life expectancy by not doing x.” 
Ask for a commitment. Then set a timeline. This is the most effective way to get people to make changes in their health. Instead of just telling people what to do, ask them to make a commitment to do it. If they are willing to commit, then ask them to set a timeline. Support that with digital tools that help reinforce that commitment.
  • Example: If people commit to walking an extra five miles per week, give them a pedometer app to keep them accountable and show them their progress towards the goal they set. 
Use personal data to illustrate the issue. Personalized health data motivates people to make change. For example, this has been used successfully with college students who were binge drinkers. By showing them how many more drinks they consumed than the average person in a given week, the students could more easily wrap their heads around the scale of their problem. As a result, they reduced their alcohol consumption. Again, this is where a data warehouse or CRM system will be necessary.

People don't care about avoiding disease, they care about maintaining or improving their quality of life. 
  • Instead of: “Now that you’ve quit smoking, you’re x times less likely to get y.”
  • Try:  “See how you can now walk your dog around the block without shortness of breath?” 
People are most receptive to receiving health messages at major points in their life. These life events could include becoming a parent, around a high school reunion, getting a new job.

How will you use data and technology to drive message targeting?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Big Data Can Drive Your Audience to Action

Your audience wants custom content; Give them what they want. Recent studies on content marketing have shown that:
  • 90 percent of people find custom content useful.
  • 78 percent of people feel that organizations providing custom content want to build a relationship with them.
  • 61 percent of people are more likely to engage with an organization that creates custom content.
Give people content that speaks directly to them and they are more likely to value your organization and engage with you.


Big Data refers to collecting and using the data you have (or can get) about your audience. This includes demographic and psychographic information, analytics of actions taken, audience research, etc. Effective marketers analyze all of the data points to see if there is any correlation that predicts interests and likeliness to take action. They then build audience personas that reflect the insights gleaned from the data analysis. Personas provide a way to categorize audience subsets in a way that may reflect interests, traits and, ultimately, predict behavior. Then, marketers segment the audience by assigning each person a persona that the data indicates is the best match. Finally, marketers develop campaigns specifically for each persona to drive members of that subset towards completing a desired action. The best marketers create comprehensive lifecycle management campaigns to retain and drive people to make more meaningful actions over time. And then they monitor and update the data to reflect these actions.

It’s a lot of work. But it may be worth the work, prompting target audiences to be more active and engaged.


Content creation (aka content marketing) involves creating and sharing media (e.g., photos, images, video, text, white papers, case studies) in order to engage key audiences. Its intent is not to sell but, rather, to communicate. The idea is to inspire loyalty from the audience by delivering consistent, ongoing valuable information. Increasingly, audiences don’t distinguish between content produced by mainstream media and other organizations.

Good content marketing is developed to appeal to each persona, using custom messages, images and calls to action – and this content is ideally delivered via their preferred communications channels.


Tailored content marketing doesn’t just increase web visits, web conversions, time spent online, and engagement – it ultimately drives audiences to meaningful action. In fact, it may produce better results for significantly less money than traditional advertising or public relations strategies. 

How can you use Big Data to make your content better and prompt action among your key audiences? 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Abraham Morales Promoted to Senior Associate, Hispanic Insights

We’re thrilled to announce the promotion of Abraham Morales to Senior Associate, Hispanic Insights here at SE2. With 18 years of experience in Mexico and Colorado, he brings unique perspective and skills to our firm.

His work on a multitude of clients, including LiveWell Colorado, Comcast and Denver Bike Sharing (to name a few), always impresses – and we feel fortunate to have him as a part of our team.

Want to know more? Check out his recent blog post on reaching American Latinos. You’ll quickly understand why his work and insight is essential to so many of our clients.

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

English vs. Español? Reaching Latinos isn’t that simple

According to a new media consumption report by the Pew Hispanic Center, more American Latinos are getting their news in English.  Here is the breakdown:
  • 82 percent of Hispanic adults get at least some of their news in English – up from 78 percent in 2006
  • 68 percent get their at least some of their news in Spanish – down from 78 percent in 2006.
  • 50 percent said they get their news in both languages – down from 57 in 2006.
  • Television is still the most popular news platform for Latinos (83 percent watch the news on TV), but the Internet is on the rise: 56 percent said they consume new media on weekdays, up from 37 percent in 2006.
The fact that more Latinos are consuming news in English is not new, but now there is more data about it. The ABC News-Univision partnership to create Fusion – a news and lifestyle cable network in English set to launch later this year –  is just one piece of evidence of how relevant English-dominant Hispanics are becoming.

The challenge for communicators is, regardless of the language, to provide cultural relevant content for the growing U.S. Hispanic population.

The first advice I give people when we talk about language (English vs. Spanish? All Spanish or a combination of both?) is that a broader approach is required. To effectively reach the Latino population, the message also has to be relevant and impactful and delivered through the right mediums. Univision is keeping  its well-oiled, revenue-generating machine en español but is diversifying by offering relevant content to its English speaking audience through  Fusion.

The Pew study also speaks to the rise of bilingualism.

The report said more Latinos are speaking English.  Out of 53 million U.S. Hispanics, about 31 million speak English. And that’s good news. At the same time, more Latinos are maintaining their Spanish: About 35 million speak Spanish at home.  This means more people than ever are speaking more than one language. In this Denver Post column I talked more about the benefits of bilingualism.
If we want to talk to the 53 million Hispanics in the country or the one million in Colorado, we need to think outside of the English/Spanish box.

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Making the great Great Outdoors Colorado even greater!

Great Outdoors Colorado has been improving our state for 20 years, and in that time it has built 1,148 parks, built or restored 725 miles of trails, and protected 1 million acres of outdoor space. While Great Outdoors Colorado’s work is impressive, its old website wasn’t telling the complete story.

SE2, in partnership with Ten10 Group, worked with Great Outdoors Colorado to develop an AWESOME new website that better tells the organization’s story. The previous website was an invaluable resource for grantees to understand how GOCO awards grants and provides funding opportunities to local communities, but it didn’t tell outdoors lovers much about these projects once they were completed. The new website was created with Coloradans in mind.  It creates a new online resource where Coloradans can find a place to participate in their favorite outdoor activity in faraway places they have never visited or right in their own backyard.

Visitors can search an interactive map of Colorado to find camping, trails, parks, playgrounds, or dozens of other types of activities, explore Great Outdoors Colorado’s featured projects, or learn more about projects currently under development explained in the blog. New and exciting projects are being added every day.

Before - Home page

After - Home page

After - Featured projects

To support the launch of the website, SE2 also rolled out a small Facebook advertising campaign targeting all of Colorado’s outdoor lovers. In just one month, we helped Great Outdoors Colorado add nearly 3,000 new Facebook fans and dramatically boosted fan engagement (e.g., Likes, shares and comments). The even better news:  Even though the advertising campaign recently ended, we continue to see consistently strong engagement from new fans! (Visit the Great Outdoors Colorado Facebook page to become a fan!)

The Great Outdoors Colorado website redesign and Facebook advertising campaign add to the growing list of interactive projects that SE2 has undertaken over the past two years, and if the Great Outdoors Colorado projects are a sign, more awesomeness is on the way!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Help Wanted.

ASSOCIATE NEEDED. Must have college degree, one to three years professional experience, an interest in what’s going on in Colorado, a quick wit and good hygiene. Send resume and cover letter to

Well, I tried. But the typical job announcement just doesn’t work for SE2.

That’s because SE2 isn’t your typical communications agency. Our focus on public issues and social marketing means that we’re often working on the issues you’re seeing on today’s news and helping our clients to spot opportunities on the horizon.

The work is challenging (in a good way!), but the best reason to work at SE2 is because of our people. They’re simply amazing. And smart. They’re creative. And able to juggle a ton of projects while meeting deadlines*.

Right now, we’re looking for top talent to add to our team in an entry-level or early-career Associate position. Excellent written and verbal communications skills are a must, as are strong internet and social media skills. 

Check out the official job description here.

If you think you’re a good fit for our team, submit a resume, cover letter and writing sample to with the usual warnings against calling or stalking us (cyber stalking is acceptable).

* Most of the time.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Working for a hate-free world with the ADL

Do you believe we should strive for a hate-free world? We do. And so does the Anti-Defamation League Mountain States Region (ADL).

Our team is dedicated to working on matters of the head and the heart, with the goal of helping the public think and care about important issues. So it makes sense that we recently worked with the ADL, which asked us to create a video for its centennial gala. ADL wanted to highlight the extraordinary work it’s done over the years while emphasizing its relevance today.

We think there’s no better way to do that than by telling stories. It’s hard not to get drawn into Jordan and Essie Perlmutter’s description of what it was like to walk down Colfax Avenue in the 1940s and ‘50s as Jewish people. And Karen Steinhauser shares an experience that would make anyone feel unnerved, describing the hate mail she received after her clearly Jewish surname appeared in the newspaper when she was 17 years old.

We can’t pretend that we now live in a hate-free world, but the advances have been vast. Over the past 100 years, the ADL led the way for landmark changes at both the local and national levels through its commitment to its mission “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people to secure justice and fair treatment to all.”

We also spoke to Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates, educators, and several young adults to hear how ADL has positively affected their lives and work.

There’s more to be done, no doubt, but it’s re-energizing when you hear interviewee Laura Knaster, an ADL young leader, say, “I think that the work that the ADL has done has definitely ensured an easier upbringing for people like me who [were] born in the latter part of the 20th century.”

She adds, “I think it’s important to keep doing this work to ensure we keep moving forward.” We agree.

Thank you to the entire staff at the ADL for all of your work in providing us with the knowledge, insight and materials that allowed us to create such an impactful video.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Crushing (toy) junkers to clear the air

Recently, we highlighted the work we did with the Clear the Air Foundation at the Denver Auto Show to encourage the show’s attendees to donate their old “gross emitters.”

For Earth Day, the organization wanted to highlight major contributors to the program: Colorado’s new auto dealers. To date, 615 of the 625 cars donated have been from local dealerships, highlighting the positive role new car dealers can play on environmental issues.
We wanted to help the Clear the Air Foundation make its work stand out and encourage other Coloradans to get involved.
Colorado Automobile Dealers Association President Tim Jackson and SE2 knew what we needed to make:
The Pollution Crusher!

This toy illustrates how the Clear the Air Foundation removes old, high-emitting vehicles from the road to clean the air – by dismantling and shredding them, with proceeds helping to underwrite scholarships in automotive fields.
SE2 worked with longtime collaborator Joel Hill to create the Pollution Crusher box and customized stickers to add to the toy (which has been repurposed from an existing toy).

The toy box promotion prompted The Denver Post to highlight the program. So did other news outlets around Colorado and the nation, from USA Today to the Fort Collins Coloradoan to KKCO TV in Grand Junction. WardsAuto also featured the foundation in an article by CADA president and CEO Tim Jackson.
Automotive News Executive Editor Ed Lapham gave the kit a shout out in his news update. “Look, I’ve been in this business for 40 years and I know a cheap publicity trick when I see it,” Lapham commented. “But sometimes they work.”
Check out this video clip starting at 2:44 for the scoop.

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Show and tell: A two minute tutorial on Medicaid

For groups working on health care in Colorado, few issues are garnering more attention during this year’s legislative session than expanding Medicaid.

Spurred by the Affordable Care Act, Colorado’s proposed expansion would mean that more than 160,000 Coloradans would gain access to health coverage.

Colorado’s legislature is full of citizens who care about their communities, but aren’t necessarily health care experts. So, SE2 developed two videos (including the one below) on behalf of the Colorado Hospital Association to help to explain what Medicaid is and why expanding it is important to Colorado families.

SE2 worked with illustrator Scott Brooks and animator James Duree to develop characters who could explain why Medicaid matters to Colorado families. By using custom illustrations, a snappy soundtrack and a clear and concise script, we were able to develop a unique and engaging tutorial on Medicaid.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Who knew Worst in Show was such an honor?

When is the worst actually the best?  When you can use that honor to help curb pollution and keep Colorado’s skies clear.

For the past few years, SE2 has enjoyed the opportunity to promote the Clear the Air Foundation at the Denver Auto Show. The goal of the organization, which was founded by the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association, is to get old “gross emitters” off the road for good. These hunks of junk can pollute many times more than new cars.

Often cars donated to non-profits are resold at auction, not recycled.  When you donate a vehicle to the Clear the Air Foundation, you receive the same tax benefits as you would for donating a car to any nonprofit and the guarantee that your old super polluter is crushed and recycled. Already the organization has crushed around 600 gross emitters, most of which have been donated by new car dealers.

The Denver Auto Show is the region’s premier auto event with elaborate displays from all of the biggest auto manufacturers.  We knew our display couldn’t compete with that so we decided to go in the other direction!

What if we had the worst display at the show?

Inspired by the worst of the worst we’ve seen, the car you DON’T want to be stuck behind in traffic, we designed the display in the spirit of the greasy, grimy, smelly polluters that the Clear the Air Foundation gets off the road and into the crusher.   With a backdrop reminiscent of an old dirty carport with dead grass, oil spills, and rusty metal, our star, the Gross Emitter, stands out from the rows of clean, new, low-emitting vehicles at the event.

Held together by duct tape, this car is a prime candidate for the Clear the Air Foundation.  As visitors enter the show, we hope they take a second to admire the mire and consider donating and recycling any gross emitters lurking in their carport or backyard!

Special thanks to our partners in grime:
Lee Payne, chairman of the Clear the Air Foundation
Tim Jackson, president of the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association
Jill Unfried, program coordinator at the Clear the Air Foundation

Art Direction and Construction: Andy Sherman, Randy Aardema and Greg Miller

Monday, March 18, 2013

Being bicultural is like being a lefty

Being able to speak two languages makes you a bilingual person. Some of those who are bilingual are also bicultural. So what does it means to be bicultural?

I know people in Mexico with doctorate degrees who speak and write English almost perfectly, but have a limited understanding of what it means to live in the U.S. So, although these people are fully bilingual, they live in only one culture. I also know U.S.-born non-Hispanic people who have learned Spanish and have better grammar than the average native Spanish speaker. They are Spanish-language experts, but they do not necessarily understand Hispanic culture.

Here’s another example: I am left handed and, like other lefties, I have learned to live in a world designed to accommodate right-handed people. We lefties understand what it means to be left-hand dominant but we also know how to navigate the right-handed world. Left handers live in two worlds.

This is a small picture of what it’s like to be bicultural. A bicultural person is usually a bridge between two communities. Bicultural people need to have one foot in each culture so they can function in two different worlds.  Just like lefties, their brains need to be ready to adapt all the time.

Here are some examples of biculturalism in my life:  

•    When I talk to family and friends in Mexico, or to Spanish-speaking friends here, I am expected to know about current soccer teams, the latest news in the war on drugs, or the newest Spanish pop singer. But I am also expected to know about what’s going on with American pop culture and politics, like the latest Broncos news.

•    In 2012, there was a presidential election in Mexico too. Because of the nature of my job, I needed to be up-to-date with issues and policy news on both sides of the border. I was constantly scanning news in both languages.

•    In my mind I am frequently converting Fahrenheit temperatures to Celsius so I can talk about the weather in Colorado with my parents in Mexico in a way they will understand. The same goes for feet and yards to meters and kilometers, pounds to kilograms, and ounces to liters. When my daughters were born, I needed to know their height and weight in both the U.S. measuring system and the metric system to communicate with my friends and family. 

•    Did you know that American-educated students think of world geography differently than those educated abroad? American students are familiar with seven continents; but for a foreign-educated person, there are only five because America is considered one large continent from Alaska all the way to Chile. 

•    I even have to think of numbers in two ways. A billion in the U.S. is one thousand millions, but a billion outside the U.S. is one million millions. 

Confused? Welcome to my word!

As a bicultural person, I must consider all these things – and many more – when communicating with Latinos. The majority of them (69 percent) believe U.S Hispanics have different culture from non-Hispanics, according to a recent Pew Research survey. That’s part of the reason why, in most communications scenarios, a good translation is not enough. A straightforward translation doesn’t account for the biculturalism. Only a bicultural person can truly decode the two languages that represent two ways of seeing the world. 

PS. Mark your calendar for Left-Handers Day. I am planning on celebrating it at SE2 by designating a “Lefty Zone”:

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

20 tips for writing effective website copy

Writing copy for websites takes practice. People often try to cram their webpages with tons of information because they feel the reader can’t live without it – but that’s the wrong approach for a web format. (Save that style of writing for your annual report.)

Below are my best practices for writing web copy. (I’ve excluded suggestions and tips as it relates to search engine optimization because that’s a whole separate can of worms – which we can save for another post.)

  • Every page needs a headline with eight words or less.
    • Headlines should be action-oriented and impactful.
  • Words in headlines should be capitalized (except prepositions).
  • Paragraphs must be short (40-70 words).
    • If you must use paragraphs, break them up with sub-headlines. 
    • Use short sentences of 15-20 words.
    • If the sentence cannot be short, reformat the sentence to read as a bulleted list.
  • Keep the total word count for the page to less than 300 words.
  • Write for your reader and not for yourself
    • Don’t bury the lead. Come right out and say what people need to know in the first sentence.
    • Your copy must answer a reader’s questions and/or provide relevant information that he or she will be interested in.
    • Use the word “you,” (it’s a powerful word that gets a reader’s attention). 
  • Don’t forget images and graphics. Images and graphics are more easily absorbed by readers. If you have a complex thought or issue, consider illustrating it instead of trying to explain it. 
  • Use clear and simple language.
    • Avoid slang and jargon. 
    • Avoid complex sentence structure.
    • Avoid passive voice.
  • Use bold font to highlight keywords or points of emphasis. Focus on bolding keywords or important thoughts.
  • Hyperlink to other pages of your website and make sure your hyperlinks use the same wording as the page name that you are linking to. 
  • Edit. Edit. Edit. Even when you think the website copy is done, it’s not. Proof it again! 
If you follow these basic formatting and styling tips you’re well on your way to creating a website that users walk away from with more information than they came in with… instead of them just walking away.

Have other tips? Share them in the comments below.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The benefits of bilingualism

Did you know other languages than English are already spoken in one of every five homes in America?

The Denver Post just published my guest column where I try to highlight the benefits —at both individual and society level— of bilingualism in the U.S. 

But the goal of the piece goes behind the immigration issue. Its intention is to help open minds to the richness of other languages and cultures.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

CO health communicators learn how to use Facebook advertising to get big results

Yesterday morning I had the pleasure of speaking to the Colorado Healthcare Communicators on behalf of our client, The Colorado Trust. I spoke about how we used Facebook advertising for The Colorado Trust’s Project Health Colorado campaign. I shared the results of our advertising campaign and spoke more generally about the power of Facebook advertising and how it can be used to grow a Facebook presence and drive conversation among fans. I even gave a quick demonstration on how to build a Facebook campaign.

The results we achieved  – adding almost 3,000 new fans and improving engagement by 1700+% -- should encourage you to give Facebook advertising it a try if you haven’t already.

Check out the presentation below…

Thanks to our partner Cactus for its help pulling together the presentation.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Colorado legislators and members of Congress on Twitter - here’s how to connect with them

Update – October 14, 2013

As we all know, our elected officials love to check in with social media, even during hearings. To help you connect with them, we have added members of Colorado’s congressional delegation to our list of Colorado legislators’ Twitter handles. We’ve also updated the legislator list to reflect the recalls. You can find them on an updated version of the same spreadsheet, so go ahead – Tweet away! 

We’ve unlocked the document so that anyone can add and edit to Twitter handles as more Colorado legislators join in the social media conversation. We’ve also included their Klout scores – the numerical depiction of how active and influential they are on social media – so you can see how they rank.

Think we missed anyone on this list? Tell @Megaphone_Man who you would like to see added.


Update – January 30, 2013

We’ve heard it would be helpful to know Twitter handles for the House and Senate Caucuses, in addition to other Colorado elected officials. They’ve been added and can be viewed in the same spreadsheet. Have other ideas for who we’re missing? Send them our way via Twitter @Megaphone_Man.


SE2 has compiled a list of the Twitter handles of Colorado legislators. We found Twitter profiles for 71 of the 100 legislators.

Why does this matter? Increasingly public officials are looking to social media to stay on top of what is happening in their communities and to communicate with their constituents. Social media allows legislators to circumvent the traditional media model; instead of relying on reporters to get their story out, they can just do it themselves. And, if they’re using social media effectively, they also can engage with their constituents and others. In fact, NBC News recently reported that all 100 members of the U.S. Senate are now on Twitter, compared to 44 percent in 2011. Ninety percent of the members of the U.S. House of Representatives are, as well.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker, one of the most well-known political Tweeters (and one of the most sharp-witted in my opinion), went so far as inviting users to his home in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy to warm up, charge their devices, and eat – an incredible testament to the power of social media. The immediacy of Tweeting, as compared to, say, his office sending out a press release, allowed Mayor Booker to respond and provide for his constituents’ needs instantly.

We’ve also added the legislators’ Klout scores to this document. What is a Klout Score exactly? In the simplest sense, it’s a numerical depiction of how active and influential you are on social media. We found a huge range in policy makers’ activity – from 13 to 56. Senator Gregory Brophy and Representative Mark Ferrandino come in on top with scores of 56 and 53, respectively. (Our current President has a Klout score of 99, Colorado Senator Michael Bennet, 81.)

Want to keep involved with your Colorado legislators via Twitter? Visit our Google Drive spreadsheet to get the scoop. We’ve unlocked the document so that anyone can add an edit to Twitter handles as more Colorado legislators join in the social media conversation. Is our list perfect? Probably not so please help us make it better. It’s available for everyone.

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Amazing facts about the Spanish language in the digital era

Instituto Cervantes, the largest organization in the world responsible for promoting the study and the teaching of the Spanish language, just released its 2012 Annual Directory with some remarkable facts (available only en español):
  •  The use of the Spanish language online has grown over 800 percent over the last decade.
  • Spanish is the third most used language online (after English and Chinese).
  • Spanish is the second most used language on Twitter after English.
  • 80 million people use Facebook in Spanish every day.
  • Spanish is the second most used language in the world (only second to Chinese) with 500 million speakers, and the second most used language for international communication after English.
  • By 2030, 10 percent of the world population will speak Spanish. And guess what country will have the most Spanish speakers? Yes, the United States.  

2013 is the year when big and small organizations must embrace this reality of a growing Latino population online. With the trend showing tremendous growth in the usage of mobile and digital in the Hispanic market, experts indicate that the way to go with Latinos must now include a digital strategy around what is known as SoLoMo (Social, Local and Mobile).  

Brandon Zelasko, SE2’s director of digital strategy, explains this in simple terms:  “A SoLoMo strategy makes sense for Hispanics because it aligns with their values and, more importantly, their behaviors. Aligning your approach with your audience’s behaviors lowers the barriers that you must overcome to engage and convert.”

Because the Latino community is social by its own cultural nature, it has naturally carried that social experience online. Sharing, liking and commenting on social media content have become part of the life of Hispanics.  

How is your organization embracing these trends? Are you producing online content in Spanish? How is the local online Latino finding and engaging with your organization?

Brandon and I would love to hear your feedback.

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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Three social media need-to-knows for 2013

Big news: Nielsen’s State of Social Media Report came out. The report, published in December, takes a look back at how social media attitudes and behaviors changed in 2012.

I found the report fascinating, not only because of its content, but also because of its presentation of information via infographics.

As you may know from my previous blogs, I LOVE infographics. In fact, I keep a library of my favorites over on my Pinterest board. Nielsen’s choice to use infographics was definitely the best way to display such a vast amount of data and it reflects changing behaviors in how people read content online (hint: people don’t read things online… but they do look at pictures and watch videos). But I digress.

I mentioned the infographics because they helped me identify three social media trends that I will embrace in 2013. 


Nielsen confirms what us social media managers have already seen with our clients’ social media presence: More people are using smartphones and tablets to access social media (accounting for 63 percent of the year-over-year growth in overall time spent using social media).
  • What that means for you in 2013: You need a mobile-friendly website. Think about it. Any good social media post has a call-to-action that asks followers to go to a website to do something (e.g., buy, sign-up, read the full article, etc.). If a follower clicks from a Facebook post to a non-mobile-friendly website, the marketer has just broken the social experience continuum (I made up this phrase just now and really like it, so let’s all start using it, ok?). The mobile-friendly social media experience must align with a mobile-friendly website experience if you want the mobile audience to engage and take action. 


Nielsen also found that social media enables consumers to generate and tap into the opinions of an exponentially larger universe. They say it best: “While word-of-mouth has always been important, its scope was previously limited to the people you knew and interacted with on a daily basis. Social media has removed that limitation and given new power to consumers.” We often forget that we have a social media following much larger than those directly connected to it. For example, one of SE2’s clients has just shy of 4,000 Facebook followers, but a potential reach of 1.2 million followers thanks to all those friend connections!
  • What that means for you in 2013: Tap into your extended community by developing content worth sharing. It seems like a no-brainer (and pretty obvious), but those who do not know the social media Jedi ways tend to focus on creating tons of decent content. But in the social media context, when it comes to quantity versus quality, always choose quality. This is ESPECIALLY the case with social media. When we focus on quality social media content the community will naturally want to engage with it and share it with others. When they engage, your message is shared with these entirely new audiences. 


Consumer attitudes toward advertising on social media are still evolving. Nielsen found that, “social media users say they are more likely to pay attention to an ad shared by one of their social connections.” Here at SE2 we’ve seen how ads with social relevance improve conversion rates.
  • What that means for you in 2013: Spend your money on ads with social relevance. The targeting options vary by social media network, but many of the most popular social media sites allow advertisers to target ads based on friend connections. Consider these ad formats a top priority for any upcoming social media advertising campaign. 


Nielsen found that nearly a third of people aged 18-24 use social networking in the… John.
  • What it means for you in 2013: Wash your hands often and avoid touching young peoples’ cellphones and tablets. Eww. 

How are you planning to adjust your social media strategy in 2013? Tweet me your answers (@MrBrandonZ) and I’ll share them!